teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:24 am

Very interesting thought,
Especialy as Holland's flag was on the Hood... Thus placing him exactly in the front of the "charge"... Thus drawing enemy gunfire.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:50 pm

The British fighting doctrine at the time was to rapidly close to 12,000 yards and force a decision (see Friedman). It's a very offensive, rather, than a defensive tactic, if one thinks about it. One is trusting in one's ability to destroy the enemy before the enemy can destroy you. It is the very opposite of a protracted slugging match scenario.

One of the points to come out of inquiries was that they had underestimated the Bismarck's 15-inch gun penetrative power, before the battle. They speculated that the muzzle velocity of Bismarck's guns may have significantly exceeded 2700 ft/sec. Of course Bismarck's 15-inch gun MV was actually closer to 2,700 ft/sec at 2690 ft/sec, but they would not know until after the war that the design of the new German L/4.4 armour piercing shells did in fact give it significantly superior penetrative power compared to the Hood's 15-inch guns, and even many 16-inch guns, especially during oblique impact.
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: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby paul.mercer » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:15 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:The British fighting doctrine at the time was to rapidly close to 12,000 yards and force a decision (see Friedman). It's a very offensive, rather, than a defensive tactic, if one thinks about it. One is trusting in one's ability to destroy the enemy before the enemy can destroy you. It is the very opposite of a protracted slugging match scenario.

One of the points to come out of inquiries was that they had underestimated the Bismarck's 15-inch gun penetrative power, before the battle. They speculated that the muzzle velocity of Bismarck's guns may have significantly exceeded 2700 ft/sec. Of course Bismarck's 15-inch gun MV was actually closer to 2,700 ft/sec at 2690 ft/sec, but they would not know until after the war that the design of the new German L/4.4 armour piercing shells did in fact give it significantly superior penetrative power compared to the Hood's 15-inch guns, and even many 16-inch guns, especially during oblique impact.


Yes, that is quite true, but surely they must have been aware that like Beatties battle cruisers,Hood was not as well protected as a fully fledged battleship and to send her out against what they all most certainly knew was the most powerful ship afloat at the time AND put her in the firing line as leading ship was asking for trouble? I know it's easy to be wise after the event, but the RN was the oldest and most professional navy in the world, yet no one seemed to realise the implications or the probable outcome.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:42 pm

But the Hood wasn't like Beattie's battle cruisers and they knew it. They knew the Hood had battleship level vertical protection even if the horizontal protection was out dated (Hood's deck protection was still heavier than most operational battleships circa May 1941 and the RN knew that too) . Hence during the inquiries it is stated that the Hood should have been safe, at the battle range and target angle in question, if the Bismarck's guns had velocities (and penetration power) normally ascribed to 15-inch guns.
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:03 pm

I wonder just how much confidence officers like Tovey and Holland had in the then brand new, and unproven, KGV class? I'm not talking about actual or potential capabilities, but rather what these men may have thought at the time. Surely they were aware of problems that had been encountered, and I doubt they actually believed that the new 14-inch gun was a match for the proven 15-inch guns. The thinking was on destroying the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible and not what punishment their own ships could and should receive in return.
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: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby paul.mercer » Sat Oct 01, 2016 4:24 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:I wonder just how much confidence officers like Tovey and Holland had in the then brand new, and unproven, KGV class? I'm not talking about actual or potential capabilities, but rather what these men may have thought at the time. Surely they were aware of problems that had been encountered, and I doubt they actually believed that the new 14-inch gun was a match for the proven 15-inch guns. The thinking was on destroying the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible and not what punishment their own ships could and should receive in return.


Thanks for that Dave, but I do sometimes wonder if Hood, with her elegance and powerful guns and who had been used as a sort of British Ambassador when visiting other countries was seen by the general public and the Admiralty as the last word in RN sea power that would overawe any opponent who dared to challenge her - in other words they overestimated her capability to fight a more modern, heavily armoured battleship that possessed similar firepower? I have great respect for Hood and I realise that there has been endless discussions in this forum of what might have happened if she had not blown up, but having read all the various opinions I cannot help thinking that she would have not fared well in the battle.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby dunmunro » Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:49 pm

paul.mercer wrote:
Dave Saxton wrote:The British fighting doctrine at the time was to rapidly close to 12,000 yards and force a decision (see Friedman). It's a very offensive, rather, than a defensive tactic, if one thinks about it. One is trusting in one's ability to destroy the enemy before the enemy can destroy you. It is the very opposite of a protracted slugging match scenario.

One of the points to come out of inquiries was that they had underestimated the Bismarck's 15-inch gun penetrative power, before the battle. They speculated that the muzzle velocity of Bismarck's guns may have significantly exceeded 2700 ft/sec. Of course Bismarck's 15-inch gun MV was actually closer to 2,700 ft/sec at 2690 ft/sec, but they would not know until after the war that the design of the new German L/4.4 armour piercing shells did in fact give it significantly superior penetrative power compared to the Hood's 15-inch guns, and even many 16-inch guns, especially during oblique impact.


Yes, that is quite true, but surely they must have been aware that like Beatties battle cruisers,Hood was not as well protected as a fully fledged battleship and to send her out against what they all most certainly knew was the most powerful ship afloat at the time AND put her in the firing line as leading ship was asking for trouble? I know it's easy to be wise after the event, but the RN was the oldest and most professional navy in the world, yet no one seemed to realise the implications or the probable outcome.


There is not much difference (~10% advantage to Bismarck) in penetration between Hood's 15in AP shells and Bismarck's and Rodney's 16in were in general superior.

Modern simulations including carefully done works such as Santarini's Bismark and Hood show that a KM victory at DS was an unlikely outcome as was Hood's destruction.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:52 am

Dave Saxton wrote:I wonder just how much confidence officers like Tovey and Holland had in the then brand new, and unproven, KGV class? I'm not talking about actual or potential capabilities, but rather what these men may have thought at the time. Surely they were aware of problems that had been encountered, and I doubt they actually believed that the new 14-inch gun was a match for the proven 15-inch guns. The thinking was on destroying the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible and not what punishment their own ships could and should receive in return.

... KGV was comissioned in Dec 1940, and was still reporting troubles with her quad turrets in February.

However, Tovey chose KGV as his flagship, and that says alot about what he thought about the capabilities of the new battleship class.
Afer all, if the quad troubles were fixed, the KGVs were very powerfull battleships. Churchill also appears to have held them in high esteem, at least from some correspondence that I've read.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:00 am

dunmunro wrote:There is not much difference (~10% advantage to Bismarck) in penetration between Hood's 15in AP shells and Bismarck's and Rodney's 16in were in general superior.


At 20km, German shell perforates 412mm of own KC armor, versus about 340mm Hood's guns with standard charges. Thus difference between them is 21%.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:32 pm

alecsandros wrote:

However, Tovey chose KGV as his flagship, and that says alot about what he thought about the capabilities of the new battleship class.
Afer all, if the quad troubles were fixed, the KGVs were very powerfull battleships. Churchill also appears to have held them in high esteem, at least from some correspondence that I've read.


Tovey didn't really have much choice. He was not the BC squadron leader and that really left only KGV, unless he took a cruiser. However, the cruisers were in the patrol rotation, plus cruisers are relatively short legged.

Churchill was quite critical of the KGV in comparison to the North Carolinas and the Bismarcks in his books, which included correspondence on such criticism with the Admiralty.

Nonetheless, you have to dance with the girl you brought to the dance.

I'm not raising these questions to discredit the KGV class, as I have always liked them. Of course KGV had better firecontrol systems, and far superior protection than any other RN alternative at the time, and KGV was fast. But did the officers have confidence that a KGV had sufficient firepower to quickly and efficiently execute their aggressive fighting doctrine at that time?
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: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:36 pm

I was thinking about the correspondece prior to sending Force Z to Singapore. It appears that, at the time, Churchill was quite confident of the power Prince of WAles had:

"On 4 November Churchill wrote to Stalin: “With the object of keeping Japan quiet we are sending our latest battleship, Prince of Wales, which can catch and kill any Japanese ship, into the Indian Ocean, and we are building up a powerful battle squadron there."

http://www.winstonchurchill.org/publica ... considered

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby RF » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:46 am

Tovey had little choice in what ships were available - he was the victim of the inter war years of depression, minimal defence expenditure and appeasement.
Britain and the RN were not ready for total war in 1939 and by spring 1941 were only slowly catching up. Tovey was fortunate to have POW at all. Without rearmament commencing in 1936/1937 there would have been no KGV or POW - just Hood and Repulse....

Hood and POW were not bad choices by Tovey given the alternatives. At DS a combination of factors, some of them avoidable mistakes, worked against the RN. These included Holland being out of his intended attack position, having Hood as the lead ship and Hood opening fire on the wrong target.
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:14 am

... If he wanted to, Tovey could have hoisted his flag on HMS Victorious.

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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby RF » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:44 am

He could have done, but Victorious had to be diverted away from his battleship to launch air attacks on Bismarck. He could retransfer his flag but that causes a delay which holds up Victorious with the risk of Bismarck escaping before Victorious gets into range.
Last edited by RF on Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: teleportation in time PoW and KGV v Bismarck

Postby alecsandros » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:46 am

RF wrote:He could have done, but Victorious had to be diverted away from his battleship to launch air attacks on Bismarck

He couldn't have known that prior to the sortie from Scapa Flow.


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