Bismarck vs. Hood

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
Bgile
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Post by Bgile » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:39 pm

It would be nice to have a photo of those Iowa class battleships in that chase.

I talked to a guy on USS New Jersey who told me that at flank speed the white water at the stern was higher than the level of the main deck, that that he thought he could have surfed on the wake.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by RF » Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:49 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Let´s forget Denmarck Straits. Let´s forget VADM Lancelot Holland´s approach manouver. Let´s have Bismarck vs. Hood in another circunstances, aproaching at 90 degrees or engaging at parallel course.
So, same result? Or... a Hood victory?
Best regards!
Another angle in looking at this would be a night action in which Hood uses complete darkness as cover to approach Bismarck to close range on a collision course. In other words something similar to what Holland had wanted in the early hours of 24 May 1941 (only Suffolk lost contact with Bismarck temporarily causing Holland to miss this oportunity).

This would mean a close range action, in darkness. Now does this even the odds?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by lwd » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:47 pm

My feeling on Hood vs Bismark. Hood will mostl likely come out the worse in just about any confrontation. She has a chance of winning but the odds are on Bismark. The odds are also against a catastrophic loss of Hood. Close range is probably worse for Hood than long range due to the Bismarks high velocity guns and rate of fire. On the otherhand if they are close enough that Hood can penetrate Bismark then both ships are likely to take significant damage.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:27 pm

I always wonder about the "general" perception that:

1. If Bismarck score a huge victory against Hood it was just an "accident", something as fortitous as an asteroid striking Earth.
2. That any damage given to Bismarck was the product of incredible allied technology and military performance.
3. That, generally speaking, the axis had an overall disadvantage in technology and doctrine. Barham sinking or the Channel dash or Pearl Harbor or South Dak being disabled are, for obvious reasons, not considered as undeniable facts. The simple notion that the axis performend better, where superior or developed some techonlogy that the allies didn´t is herecy.
4. That, generally speaking, the allies had an overall advantage in technology and doctrine.

Which, of course, didn´t explain many historical facts. We can see, as an example, the following:

1. How many capital ships attacked by the Germans in WW1 and WW2 blew sky high when hit?
2. How long the Germans lasted to inflict those casualties to the allies?
3. On the other hand: How many German capital ships blew sky high when hit by the allies?
4. How long the allies lasted in destroying these units?

And specially,

Analysing those combats where we can find which side had the numerical strategic and tactical superiority. Because is not the same to inflict damage when being outnumbered than being the one outnumbering.
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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Bgile » Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:49 am

Yes Karl, it's a miracle the allies won, considering the superiority of everything German. Everything they did was better; they just had bad luck.

You know, most of us here believe that the Germans had a lot of good stuff. We just don't believe as you seem to that everything they made was better simply because it was German.

:?

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:22 pm

Bgile,

I don´t want to argue a lot about this. My idea was to cancel some of the usual common wisdom displayed here, not to ofend some national pride. But to be sincere I don´t believe that the allies would have won any war, WWI or WWII, on a one vs. one basis against the Germans. As a matter of fact when the Germans fought on a one vs. one basis they usually won.
About that everything they did was a lot better, well, sorry, but more or less it´s the idea. If we look for the 100 WWII best air aces, they´re German (and the best WWI also), or the top tank ace, or the top sub skipper, or the most sophisticated tank, or the most modern fighter or sub, or rocket and, of course, some of the greatest field officers of the century. The main factor that gave the allies the edge were:
1. The bravery of the British and Russian people. The determination of Churchill and Stalin to fight whatever the costs.
2. The enormous size and tradition of the Royal Navy.
3. The gigantic capability of the USSR to put massive armies one after another on the field of battle.
4. The fact that the German racist policy made hundreds or thousands of scientists to flee to Great Britain and later to the USA so to develop radar and nuclear technology against the nazis.
5. The industrial might of the USA and their capability to supply it´s allies.
6. The incredible size the US Armed Forces displayed during the war in order to cover two global fronts.
7. That Hitler was a jackass big enough to decide to fight USRR without securing that the GB or USA won´t fight him simultaneously.

Amognst others but not necesary that the allies developed better warfare tactics, technics or were more proficient. By this I don´t mean, please, that I regard the allied war effort in a despective way, nor that I don´t have high regard for the sacrificy done by the British and Russian peoples that fought so long the Germans whilst waiting for the USA intervention. Nor that the allies did have superb commanders as Nimitz, McArthur or Patton. But, again, I doubt that if the Germans had all their eastern front units, for example, on Normandy at 5:00 am June 6th, 1944 the invasion would have lasted some minutes before retreat was to be called.

Best regards.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Bgile » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:25 pm

Hi Karl,

I agree with a lot of what you say. German equipment was by and large better. Their problem was that it took too long to make it. Almost everything they did required a lot of fine machining and unique fit to a specific weapon. It was individually superior, but not enough better that the difference would be decisive.

A good example of this is the 40mm Bofors, which was technically not German, but the same principle applies. When the US Navy decided to adopt it, we had to completely redesign the components so they would be interchangeable and not require individual fitting for each weapon ... in other words, to make it capable of mass production.

The Germans realized this to a certain extent. A good example is the MG42 machinegun. It was much more efficient to produce than the MG34 it replaced.

With respect to performance of German military personnel, you have to realize the learning curve involved. For example, German Infantry was the best in the world because of their experience, training, and doctrine. US Infantry was very poor early on for the reverse reasons, but by the end of the war it was very good.

You mentioned fighter aces. It's true that Germany had individuals with much higher counts than anyone else, but those pilots fought the whole war from 1939 through 1945. The US didn't do that ... we pulled people out and sent them home after so many missions. This provided a really good cadre for training. Eventually, the average US pilot was a lot better than the average German pilot.

I think there was little to choose between the best piston engined fighters on both sides, and the Me262 was a bomber destroyer. If it had been introduced earlier it might have stopped the strategic bombing campaign, but I don't feel that was all that important anyway. IMO it took up much more resources than it was worth. It's notable to me that Eric Hartman chose to leave the jets and go back to the Me109 because he felt he could contribute more in them.

You are right though ... this could be debated endlessly and it's off topic.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:40 pm

Karl,

Germany was up against it not only because of the number of Allies arrayed against, but also because it could in no way match the industrial capacity of the United States. The US out produced the combined Axis many times over by itself. German industrial capacity could not keep up. This was evident even by the Battle of Britain, and the BoB certainly is an example of a single nation standing alone and beating Nazi Germany. It wasn't just a quantity vs quality issue. The Allied quality was pretty darn good too, and combined with superior quantity, it was not something Germany could stand up against indefinately. Germany only built 4 battleships (2 with only 11" guns) vs how many by the Allies? I don't find German battleships as superior or as inferior to their opposite numbers in the Allied camp.

WWII was interesting because it pitted the most technologically advanced nations against each other. I find that many aspecs of German technology was the equal of the Allies, or even superior in some cases, although the exact methods were not always the same. I find on forums that a particular template is held up as being the correct template, and anything that doesn't conform to the template is assumed to be the wrong way.

Luck certainly plays a role in warfare, and I would contend that so does Devine intervention.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:49 pm

Bgile and Dave,

Very good answers from both of you, as always. About luck, well, it was Clausewitz who put it quite "clear": 3/4 of any activity in war lies in the fog of war... So luck plays a good deal. But I suspect that if you lack of good equipment, training, morale and a good agressive will to fight and conquer then luck will play against you.

Very kind regards to both of you.
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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by dunmunro » Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:19 pm

I always wonder about the "general" perception that:

1. If Bismarck score a huge victory against Hood it was just an "accident", something as fortitous as an asteroid striking Earth.
The RN recognized that an unmodernized Hood was not a equal match with Bismarck, and that Hood's magazines were poorly protected. In that sense the outcome was predictable, albeit unlikely to end so quickly.
2. That any damage given to Bismarck was the product of incredible allied technology and military performance.
Well, most of the damage was a result of superior allied technology. PoW's gunnery was aided by her superior FC computers which helped to offset her disadvantages in lack of training and work-up. The Swordfish that hit and crippled Bismarck were guided to their target, by ASV radar. The Swordfish was a slow biplane but it was, in modern parlance, an all weather, day/night strike bomber, something which no other navy possessed.

3. That, generally speaking, the axis had an overall disadvantage in technology and doctrine. Barham sinking or the Channel dash or Pearl Harbor or South Dak being disabled are, for obvious reasons, not considered as undeniable facts. The simple notion that the axis performend better, where superior or developed some techonlogy that the allies didn´t is heresy.
4. That, generally speaking, the allies had an overall advantage in technology and doctrine.
No one doubts that the axis had some superior examples of applied technology, Knickebein, Fritz X and LL torpedoes being 3 prime examples. But in general the allies did have greatly superior applied technology. The KM was the only axis navy to deploy radar, in operationally useful numbers, for example.
1. How many capital ships attacked by the Germans in WW1 and WW2 blew sky high when hit?
Scharnhorst, apparently, did suffer a magazine explosion when she sank.
2. How long the Germans lasted to inflict those casualties to the allies?
Comparing WW1 designs to WW2 designs is not very illuminating.

3. On the other hand: How many German capital ships blew sky high when hit by the allies?

Scharnhorst, as mentioned, but take a look at Bismarck's magazine schematics, and then imagine that PoW's hit that flooded the machinery spaces, had exploded at the same relative location, but abreast the main magazines.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Ramius » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:12 pm

dunmunro wrote:
I always wonder about the "general" perception that:

1. If Bismarck score a huge victory against Hood it was just an "accident", something as fortitous as an asteroid striking Earth.
The RN recognized that an unmodernized Hood was not a equal match with Bismarck, and that Hood's magazines were poorly protected. In that sense the outcome was predictable, albeit unlikely to end so quickly.
2. That any damage given to Bismarck was the product of incredible allied technology and military performance.
Well, most of the damage was a result of superior allied technology. PoW's gunnery was aided by her superior FC computers which helped to offset her disadvantages in lack of training and work-up. The Swordfish that hit and crippled Bismarck were guided to their target, by ASV radar. The Swordfish was a slow biplane but it was, in modern parlance, an all weather, day/night strike bomber, something which no other navy possessed.

3. That, generally speaking, the axis had an overall disadvantage in technology and doctrine. Barham sinking or the Channel dash or Pearl Harbor or South Dak being disabled are, for obvious reasons, not considered as undeniable facts. The simple notion that the axis performend better, where superior or developed some techonlogy that the allies didn´t is heresy.
4. That, generally speaking, the allies had an overall advantage in technology and doctrine.
No one doubts that the axis had some superior examples of applied technology, Knickebein, Fritz X and LL torpedoes being 3 prime examples. But in general the allies did have greatly superior applied technology. The KM was the only axis navy to deploy radar, in operationally useful numbers, for example.
1. No offense to anyone in the UK, but if the British knew Hood was a national symbol and had a major weakness in the deck armor, then why the hell did they send her out with Prince of Wales instead of KGV??? Thats like saying to an Iranian terrorist today,"OK, heres the biggest (INSERT YOUR COUNTRY HERE) flag in existence" knowing they will burn it up without a second thought.

2. Yes, America had (and still has for that matter) the greatest industrial strength and the greatest number of capable scientists and therefore their allies had their tech and supplies. But the technology part coming into play for the allies came latter in the war when America joined in. Which means, yes, in the beginning parts of the war Germany did have mostly superior technology due to limits in the Washington Naval Treaty that they almost completely ignored along with Japan.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by dunmunro » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:56 pm

1. No offense to anyone in the UK, but if the British knew Hood was a national symbol and had a major weakness in the deck armor, then why the hell did they send her out with Prince of Wales instead of KGV??? Thats like saying to an Iranian terrorist today,"OK, heres the biggest (INSERT YOUR COUNTRY HERE) flag in existence" knowing they will burn it up without a second thought.

2. Yes, America had (and still has for that matter) the greatest industrial strength and the greatest number of capable scientists and therefore their allies had their tech and supplies. But the technology part coming into play for the allies came latter in the war when America joined in. Which means, yes, in the beginning parts of the war Germany did have mostly superior technology due to limits in the Washington Naval Treaty that they almost completely ignored along with Japan.
1) Hood was recognized to be weaker than Bismarck, but Repulse was even weaker, so PoW went with Hood and KGV with Repulse.

2)The UK had a substantial lead over the USA in many areas of applied military technology, including key areas such as radar. By May 1941, even RN corvettes were being equipped with centimetric radar, for a brief account of technology transfer from the UK to the USA:
http://www.radarworld.org/tizard.html

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Ramius » Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:04 pm

So we can agree here, Germany had the best stuff in the beginning of the war, Britain caught up in the middle, and in the last few years America overshadowed the lot of them at industrial strength and tech.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:43 pm

Ramius:
So we can agree here, Germany had the best stuff in the beginning of the war, Britain caught up in the middle, and in the last few years America overshadowed the lot of them at industrial strength and tech
Not so fast... Even hours before the surrender in 1945 Germany was ahead to any allied country in jet fighter technology, rocket technology, syntetic fuel technology and manufacture of super tanks. They also had designs and prototypes for submarines that the allies were capable to build in the late forties and early fifties. They also had an incredible knowledge in medical and biological sciences that were under censorship because most of it was developed via inhuman experiments in the death camps.

The allies, again, did won because they combined their technology with the incredible industrial output of the US, the manpower of Soviet Russia and the British control of the seas. Otherwise ve vill ve speaking lik tis...

Vezt regardz...
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Re: Bismarck vs. Hood

Post by Lutscha » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:54 am

The synthetic fuel did not compare well with 150 octane fuel in fact in was clearly inferior... The Allied had their own "super tanks" but decided against building useless monstrosities like the Maus.

They also had APDS ammunition which the Germans lacked.

Whatever the Germans would have done, if they could not prevent being hit by nuclear bombs they would have lost in 45. As Sealion was never possible they could not have done this.

Although their jets had an edge in speed, they were still vulnerable in dogfights and not invincible but if the Americans wanted they could have outproduced the Germans in jets if they wanted. The P80 had the great advantage of having turbines, which will not fail after a few hours.

I don't see how their insane and inhuman experiments gave them any edge at all, as I don't see any scientific gains in the mad experiments Mengele and the like did.

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