teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

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teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby paul.mercer » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:35 pm

Gentlemen,
As Scarpa Flow had PoW, Hood and KGV available what would be the outcome if KGV was sent out with PoW instead of Hood, which could easily have happened?

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:42 am

.. If the same geometry would be present (GErmans crossing the T of the BRitish), the outcome would probably be heavy damage suffered by KGV and PoW, Prinz Eugen sunk or scuttled, Bismarck badly damaged and later sunk by the 6 escorting DDs.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:09 pm

Thanks for that, poor old KGV class, they can't win anything can they!

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:32 am

Battle geometry helped the Germans a lot.
With KGV in the lead and PoW behind,
Luetjens could fire from 16 long range radar-guided guns against Tovey's flagship, while Tovey could answer back with 12 guns, of which 6 radar-guided. In addition, KGV and PoW would be attacking against the wind, thus having their forecastles awash and with water spraying their director lenses, altering visibility from control positions.

Thus, in the first 5-7 minutes of battle , KGV would probably be hit more times than Bismarck and Prinz Eugen would be, and could lose main fire control and part of the con tower, and some machinery power.

PoW would be under fire from Prinz Eugen, but Bismarck would continue to fire on KGV - scoring probably 4-5 more hits in the critical 6:00 - 6:03 segment.

During that time, PoW would zero in repeatedly on Bismarck, and hit her more times then historically - probably 3 more times. KGV may plant 1 or 2 x 356mm hits on Bismarck as well before being heavily damaged.

PoW would start to be hit by 203mm shells, and lose secondary directors and have some underwater damage. PoW would be required to divide battery fire to Prinz Eugen - targeting her with 2x356mm guns and all 133mm battery.
Bismarck would ravage KGV from close-range, destroying the funnels and 2 main turrets, and aft command post and all radars.
In return Bismarck would lose her foretop command position (Luetjens dead), 1 main turret, all radars, and suffer repeated forecastle and stern damage, forcing down her speed to 15kts due to heavy flooding.

At about 6:07-6:08 - Bismarck could shift fire to PoW. Gunnery duel would last until 6:20, with both ships suffering heavy damage topside, Prince of WAles with 6 guns working, Bismarck with 4 guns remaining.

Prinz Eugen would not be left alone, and would suffer 1 direct 356mm hit perforating inside machinery room, and repeated 133mm hits.

6:20 - disengagement under smoke screens, neither force could sink the enemy. Bismarck - 12kts, KGV - 12kts, Prinz Eugen - 15kts, PoW - 20kts.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby RF » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:52 am

In point of fact KGV, POW and Hood were all available, along with Repulse.

It was necessary to split this force in two because Tovey had to cover all the entrance routes into the Atlantic that Lutjens could take.

KGV and POW would probably be the best combination for a long battle. The actual DS battle was very short because Hood blew up. In this scenario KGV is flagship so as in the real battle POW commences with some free target practice. Without KGV blowing up and continuing as the Germans punchbag POW becomes more effective, particulary as without the KGV exploding there will be no violent alterations of course to upset the POW gunnery.
Additionally there will be sixteen 5.25 inch guns to fire on Prinz Eugen.

I would expect both German ships to be substantially damaged and likely to be slowed down in a long action. Then there will be time for Norfolk and Suffolk to add supporting fire plus also the six destroyers that would be available for torpedo attack.... an attritional situation likely to result in the loss of both German ships.


Whilst this would have been the best combination of two ships the flip side of the coin is a Hood/Repulse combination to cover the other passages - and that combination offers the risk of double disaster.....
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:10 pm

That's what I thought as well,
KGV drawing fire as PoW has more time to badly damage Bismarck.

What I ddi not think about was the other pair - Repulse with Hood... Which makes me wonder if the historical distribution of forces (1 new and 1 old battleship) wasn't a matter of random chance, but instead the product of carefull deliberation ?

And, in the end, what did the British know about Bismarck before the battle ?

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby RF » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:47 pm

The Hood/POW combination was determined by Tovey, particulary as he needed to keep KGV (his flagship) at Scapa Flow for as long as possible to retain the direct telephone link to the Admiralty in London, while Holland was ordered to cover the passage north of Iceland - the passage furthest from Scapa..
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby RF » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:52 pm

alecsandros wrote:
And, in the end, what did the British know about Bismarck before the battle ?


Bismarck was launched pre-WW2 so the British had the publicity releases surrounding the launching of the ship. That means alleged tonnage and armament information.

The British experience of WW1 and Jutland would tell them all they need to know about the battle capabilities of German warships.
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby RF » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:05 pm

alecsandros wrote:What I ddi not think about was the other pair - Repulse with Hood...


There is another consideration to this in respect of the detail of the DS action.

Hood and Repulse do offer the most efficient gunnery solution compared to the KGV class insofar that neither ship was subject to gunnery breakdowns. Repulse had a good reputation as a gunnery ship.
Replace POW with Repulse in an exact rerun of the DS battle would be interesting - although only six guns maximum I would reckon that in the period prior to Hood blowing up Repulse not under fire would have landed more hits than POW.
When Hood blew up Repulse could immediately break off without controversy....

Another aspect to this is what might have happened if Hood had opened fire on Bismarck. I think there is an outside chance of a very early heavy hit on Bismarck (particulary as the British opened fire first and Lutjens hesitated) sufficiently degrading Bismarck's fire so that the fatal hit on Hood is delayed or even not happen at all....
With the two best gunnery ships these two vessels do offer the best chance of a quick domination of the fire fight at the early stage that could lead to victory.
But it comes at a huge risk.
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:48 am

RF wrote:The Hood/POW combination was determined by Tovey, particulary as he needed to keep KGV (his flagship) at Scapa Flow for as long as possible to retain the direct telephone link to the Admiralty in London, while Holland was ordered to cover the passage north of Iceland - the passage furthest from Scapa..

Excellent point, thanks !

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:49 am

RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
And, in the end, what did the British know about Bismarck before the battle ?


Bismarck was launched pre-WW2 so the British had the publicity releases surrounding the launching of the ship. That means alleged tonnage and armament information.

The British experience of WW1 and Jutland would tell them all they need to know about the battle capabilities of German warships.

So and so,
From the decison that Holland took (approach at high speed and acute angle to reduce the range), it seems they did not know much about the capabilities of Bismarck's artillery (which was more powerfull versus vertical armor then versus horizontal armor)

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:12 am

RF wrote:Hood and Repulse do offer the most efficient gunnery solution compared to the KGV class insofar that neither ship was subject to gunnery breakdowns. Repulse had a good reputation as a gunnery ship.
Replace POW with Repulse in an exact rerun of the DS battle would be interesting - although only six guns maximum I would reckon that in the period prior to Hood blowing up Repulse not under fire would have landed more hits than POW.
When Hood blew up Repulse could immediately break off without controversy....

Indeed, but Repulse could also be damaged more badly then PoW was (in theory).



Another aspect to this is what might have happened if Hood had opened fire on Bismarck. I think there is an outside chance of a very early heavy hit on Bismarck (particulary as the British opened fire first and Lutjens hesitated) sufficiently degrading Bismarck's fire so that the fatal hit on Hood is delayed or even not happen at all....

Indeed,
However that would leave Prinz Eugen free to fire unopposed (without decks being drenched by water columns produced by the 381mm rounds from Hood - and probably also optical instruments being parialy obscured by those water spouts, along with the sensation of fear induced in the crew) - which may bring additional hits on Hood.

My personal opinion is that Hood had little chances of hitting Bismarck (if it wer to target the correct ship from the beginning), as her optics were hindered by spray (Holland was attacking against the waves) , had only 4 guns to use and to range the enemy - thus firing only 2-gun salvos (and not 3-gun salvos as PoW did).

With first salvo fired at 5:52:30 (2 x 381mm shots), time of flight ~ 35sec (but decreasing as range decreased), Hood would have probably enough time to fire 6 to 8 salvos, each containing 2 x 381mm shots... Before receiving the first hit from Bismarck (5:57), that destroyed the foretop (and after which firing accuracy was immediately degraded). So 6 to 8 double gun salvos... without radar... Prince of Wales required 6 triple salvos to find the range of Bismarck (and also produced a hit in the 6th salvo).

So, I guess it woudl be improbable for Hood to damage Bismarck before being damaged herself - that if Lady Luck doesn't come into play, of course....

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby RF » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:10 am

alecsandros wrote:From the decison that Holland took (approach at high speed and acute angle to reduce the range), it seems they did not know much about the capabilities of Bismarck's artillery (which was more powerfull versus vertical armor then versus horizontal armor)


Holland had to adopt the approach that he did because he found himself out of intended position due to Suffolk losing contact for a while in the hours preceeding the DS battle.

Holland had intended to meet Bismarck head on under cover of darkness - so Bismarck would have only Anton and Bruno to bear unless Lutjens opted to present his ship broadside on.

However by 5.40 AM Bismarck was running more or less parallel to Holland as a result of Suffolk's earlier contact loss.

The approach intended by Holland was I think intended to quickly close the range for two reasons - firstly he was aware of Hoods' vulnerability to long range plunging fire, secondly closing the range quickly would improve Hoods' gunnery optics. As you imply Bismarck's gunnery was an unknown quantity to the British at that point, but as I have said previously the RN would know that Bismarck would not have been sent out as unprepared as POW was. They were aware that Bismarck had been working up for several months in the Baltic and had reports (unofficial) from the Swedes who of course as a neutral outside British blockade control had extensive maritime trade access to Germanys' Baltic Sea area.
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:26 am

Holland also probably considered his own gunnery as most effective somewhere around 15 to 18 km from target (where he attempted to bring his full broadside to bear), and probably hoped he could attack better from that range.
There is also a British 1935 document, which concludes optimal range for BC/BB battles is between 14000 to 18000yards.
He proobably wanted to get in that battle range...

As for Bismarck being prepard or not, I have presented my opinion before - Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were not prepared for an Atlantic mission (but quantitatively at least they were "more" prepared then Prince of Wales was). Agreed the British did not know of German shortcomings (and repeatd postponements of battle training) , and considered both ships as efficient and fit to fight.

IF they would have known the correct capabilities of German optics , fire control and guns, they would probably have stayed out at 22km or more, keeping target angle of ~ 30 degrees, and firing in concentration fire against the Bismarck. It could be that they would fail to destroy the enemy (from that range), but they would also conserve their own strength until the enemy is slowed down/damaged, while more or less eliminating the threat from Prinz Eugen's 203mm guns.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby paul.mercer » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:57 pm

RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
And, in the end, what did the British know about Bismarck before the battle ?


Bismarck was launched pre-WW2 so the British had the publicity releases surrounding the launching of the ship. That means alleged tonnage and armament information.

The British experience of WW1 and Jutland would tell them all they need to know about the battle capabilities of German warships.


Gentlemen,
If the RN knew what they needed to know about German battleship capabilities then they must have also known about the German range finding and firing capabilities which would appear to have been far better at Jutland - perhaps with the exception of the newer QE class in the 5th battle squadron. After the beating that Beattie's battle cruisers took from the German ships,they should have realised that sending an elderly and comparatively lightly armoured battle cruiser against a heavily armed and armoured battle ship was simply asking fro a repeat of the disasters of Jutland -and it happened!


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