Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

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Karl Heidenreich
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Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Sep 20, 2006 3:34 pm

What do you think? This is a obvious scenario that never´s been approached in the forum. Bismarck, alone, finds the Rodney that is looking for her in middle of the Altantic.
What would happened? Bismarck speed (even damaged earlier by PoW) and armour against the 16" shells of this British dreadnought... :?:
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Gary
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Postby Gary » Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:36 pm

Hi Karl.

I'm afraid my money would be on the Rodney.

The best thing Bismarck could do is to take advantage of the fact that Rodney can only make about 22 knots.
Bismarck should run for France.

Rodney has heavier (and more) main guns and to the best of my knowledge they are not as vunerable as Bismarcks turrets.

The Rodneys Captain would be expected to engage and beat the crap out of Bismarck.

Bismarcks Captain would be expected NOT to engage and to try to escape.

Dare I say that for a ship of the line style slug - out, Rodney is better armoured?

My money is definetly on Rodney :cool:
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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Tiornu » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:19 pm

If Rodney has the crew that she had during the historical encounter, then Bismarck has a reasonable chance. But really, Bismarck should be running for her life. Even if she wins, she'll probably lose.

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:13 pm

I´ve been studying the Nelson Class and found that this couple of strange BBs present, actually, problems in many areas that in combat could be decisive.
But first let´s see their main specifications:

Nelson Class Battleships
Number of ships: Two ordered and commissioned
Preceded by: Revenge-class
Succeeded by: King George V-class
General characteristics
Displacement: 33,950 tonnes / 38,000 full load
Length: 710 ft (216.5 m)
Beam: 106 ft (32.3 m)
Propulsion: Two Brown-Curtis geared turbines; two screws
Speed: 23.8 knots
Protection: Belt: 14 inches (356 mm)
Deck: 6 inches (152 mm)
16-inch turret front 16 in. (406 mm)
C turret: 18 in (457 mm)
Turret sides: 9 in. (229 mm)
Barbettes: 15 in. (381 mm)
6-inch turrets: 1.5 in. (38 mm)
Citadel: 13.4 in. (330 mm)
Complement: 1,361 officers and enlisted
Armament: 9 x 16-inch (406-mm) /45 guns
12 x 6-inch (152-mm) guns
6 x 4.7-inch (119-mm) AA guns
14 x Bofors 40-mm AA
48 x 2-pdr (40-mm) pom-pom in multiple mounts
61 x 20-mm AA
2 x 24.5-inch (622-mm) torpedo tubes

O.K. These vessels present serious manouverability problems due to her particular configuration, as a matter of fact the center of gravity was too far from the middle of the ship. That, with the problem presented by the fact that the sole rudder was outside of the propellers race make the Nelsons quite difficult to manouver, even in harbour, more in harsh seas.
Moreover there is the fact that her inclined main armour belt had a very steep angle that compromise the safety of her inner vitals against an enemy shell that could hit under it (this sounds particular well known as a flaw design in Bismarck).
Also, in order to save weight and had a higher fire rate (and to be inside the Treaty Regulations) the loading mechanisms were very light but also keen to malfunction. In addition the triple turret arragement (quite different from all RN BBs and BCs) also gave some difficulty to their crew.
And we have the blast problem that affected seriously the bridge, to a degree that in some occasions it disrupt the officers.
But what it´s more important is the fact that being a compromise design the Nelson Class present a particular balistic characteristic: her 16" shells were very light (in comparison to USN or IJN shells) and had an inferior impact than the one expected on such a calibre (L45).
This last element remind me of James Cameron "analysis" that shows that from the total impacts of 16" shells there wasn´t the expected damage of such a weapon.
To that we must add the fact the being only 216 meter long she didn´t had too much a surface to be punished without serious damage, and that she was slow.
The "slow speed issue" is being underestimated because one thing is fire to a target like May 27th, 1941´s Bismarck, doing 7 knots, listing, and without proper fire control due to her rudder damage, and be in combat with a 27 knot full operational BB with all her FC properly working. If the Bismarck skipper could manouver his ship properly the Nelson can "only" aim and fire 6 of the 9 main guns while the Bismarck could aim his 8 x 15" L47 main guns. And, despite the fact that there were duds in the AP shells of the German ship, we have very good muzzle speed, rate of fire and penetration capability.

In conclusion I will not bet all my money blindly in a Nelson Class against a Bismarck Class. Even with the 16" guns there is no absolute and definitive superiority just because the number of guns and calibre. In this very forum there has been a lot of talk about the PoW´s 14" shells performance against Bismarck and those same arguments are quite valid in this duel.
The Bismarck not only stands the chance of getting out of the combat without being battered but, instead, give the Nelson some horrible surprise.

In any case, if I have to choose to be on board of one of those two while in combat, I´ll be in Bismarck.

Best regards.
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Postby Tiornu » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:51 pm

"These vessels present serious manouverability problems due to her particular configuration"

The Ship's Cover indicates that "it was a misconception to say that the ships were unhandy and difficult to maneuver." The real problems were at low speed, below 10 knots. She was slow to answer the helm, and she was unusually subject to weather conditions, but she had a good turn radius and was sometimes considered more maneuverable than QE in calm weather.

"Moreover there is the fact that her inclined main armour belt had a very steep angle that compromise the safety of her inner vitals against an enemy shell that could hit under it (this sounds particular well known as a flaw design in Bismarck)."

You can see the RN's ultimate judgment on the Nelson armor scheme by looking at KGV. Designers went from one end of the AoN scale to the other. A key disadvantage for Rodney is the limited volume protected by her armor; the key advantage is the extreme difficulty of penetrating into protected areas. It would be very difficult for Bismarck to score a hit on Rodney's belt without exceeding the proof conditions of the German shells. Even the thin portion of the deck is secure against 15in hits out to c28,000 yards. The turret roofs are secure out past 34,000 yards.

"Also, in order to save weight and had a higher fire rate (and to be inside the Treaty Regulations) the loading mechanisms were very light but also keen to malfunction."

The Nelsons had more than a decade of remedial time for their main battery bugs. Most of the problems were dealt with, though RoF remained unusually slow. This could be a significant disadvantage especially at short range. Reliability was not a major concern, unlike in Bismarck whose hoist problems were never corrected.

"But what it´s more important is the fact that being a compromise design the Nelson Class present a particular balistic characteristic: her 16" shells were very light (in comparison to USN or IJN shells) and had an inferior impact than the one expected on such a calibre (L45)."

After the great success with heavy shells for the 15in and 13.5in guns, the British reverted to light shells due to misinterpreted firing trial results. (Ironically, the latest Warship International arrived today in the mail, and it has some of my information on the very subject of the Nelsons.) The shell proportions were more like the ones common in WWI--in fact, the German 15in shell from the Bayern class was slightly smaller. Bismarck's shells were actually a step up from previous weight standards. I'm not sure what damage would be "expected" from a hit by Rodney, but at the ranges I checked (10-20,000 yards), Rodney delivers more striking energy than Bismarck, while also having better belt and deck penetration and of course a larger burster.

"If the Bismarck skipper could manouver his ship properly the Nelson can 'only' aim and fire 6 of the 9 main guns while the Bismarck could aim his 8 x 15" L47 main guns."

That's possible if the British captain allows it. Similarly, if the German captain allows it, Rodney can aim nine guns at Bismarck while Bismarck can respond with only four guns. Why either captain would make such allowances, I cannot guess.

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Postby Bgile » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:01 am

I don't think I could predict the winner of such an engagement.

I agree with Karl about Rodney's belt being suspect. Diving shells could present a big problem.

Once Bismarck accepts battle, speed is not relevant at all, and there is no way Bismarck can avoid being targeted by all three of Rodney's turrets. Rodney simply turns when necessary to keep arc open.

Bismarck is a larger ship, and as such has more internal volume to absorb hits.

Rodney has thicker turret armor, and this is a major weakness of Bismarck whose turrets can probably be knocked out by Rodney at any reasonable combat range.

Bismarck has higher rate of fire. This could be important once Bismarck gets the range, which she tends to do very quickly.

Bismarck has better fire control system when undamaged.

In short, I give the advantage to Bismarck, but wouldn't be surprised if the winner is left in no shape to deal with anyone else.

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Postby Nellie » Sat Oct 07, 2006 7:35 pm

Hi! With this two ships it will be a Question of wich captain making the best decisions where none of them can´t afford misstakes! Thats my opinion!

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:41 am

Nellie:

Hi! With this two ships it will be a Question of wich captain making the best decisions where none of them can´t afford misstakes! Thats my opinion!


:clap:

In addition of the Fire Control that the Nelson Class had, which was better than those other British ships used in WWII.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Postby miro777 » Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:10 am

hey...

Rodney vs. Bismarck...

i would agree that in reality BS would probably run for it...
but lets say it comes to an encounter...

Karls arguments about Rodneys strange behaviours,etc are valid
so are the better armament of Rodney...

one argument which was not brought up yet...is that
if Bismarck hits Rodney's bow once or twice...
then basically her whole main armament is gone..
im talking about the strange arrangment of the three turrents..

if BS hits one of them, and a fire starts, a chain reaction could start...
(just a possibility)

anyhow, i would agree that id rather be on BS on such an encounter...
especially the 4 15in turrents, i put my faith in, to outgun the Rodney...


adios
miro
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Postby Gary » Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:09 am

Hi Miro.

Rodneys 3 turrets being grouped together on the forecastle does not make them easier to knock out (I used to think it did too).

A 15" hit on one of Rodneys turrets might knock it out.

A 16" hit on one of Bismarcks turrtes will knock it out.
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Postby RF » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:59 pm

Would Rodney survive against Iowa - 16 inch on 16 inch?
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Postby lwd » Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:14 pm

RF wrote:Would Rodney survive against Iowa - 16 inch on 16 inch?

Possibly but not probably.
Rodney's guns from:
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_16-45_mk1.htm
AP Mark IB - 2,048 lbs. (929 kg)
Muzzle Velocity New gun Mark I rifling: 2,586 fps (788 mps) New gun Mark II rifling: 2,614 fps (797 mps)
Armor Penetration with 2,048 lbs. (929 kg) AP Shell
.
Range Side Armor Deck Armor
15,000 yards (13,716 m) 14.4" (366 mm) 1.95" (50 mm)
20,000 yards (18,288 m) 12.2" (310 mm) 2.85" (72 mm)
25,000 yards (22,860 m) 10.3" (261 mm) 3.90" (99 mm)
30,000 yards (27,432 m) 8.8" (224 mm) 5.10" (130 mm)
35,000 yards (32,004 m) 7.6" (193 mm) 6.50" (165 mm)

Iowa's
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_16-50_mk7.htm
AP Mark 8 Mods 0 to 8 - 2,700 lbs. (1,225 kg)
AP - 2,425 fps (739 mps) (average gun)
Range Side Armor Deck Armor
15,000 yards (13,716 m) 23.04" (585 mm) 2.79" (71 mm)
20,000 yards (18,288 m) 20.04" (509 mm) 3.90" (99 mm)
25,000 yards (22,860 m) 17.36" (441 mm) 5.17" (131 mm)
30,000 yards (27,432 m) 14.97" (380 mm) 6.65" (169 mm)
35,000 yards (32,004 m) 12.97" (329 mm) 8.48" (215 mm)

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:40 am

In this particular of an Iowa vs. Rodney case I believe that we have an analog situation of Iowa vs. Bismarck.
Moreover that the Iowa is a much modern ship than Rodney with the adition of the suspicious belt and other "glitches" that behemoth present.

Kind regards
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Postby dunmunro » Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:25 am

lwd wrote:
RF wrote:Would Rodney survive against Iowa - 16 inch on 16 inch?

Possibly but not probably.
Rodney's guns from:
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_16-45_mk1.htm

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_16-50_mk7.htm

Those numbers are not comparable. Here's numbers created using equivalent calculations for each weapon:

http://www.geocities.com/kop_mic/

and/or you can use this program to generate your own penetration figures:

http://www.panzer-war.com/Naab/NAaB.html

here's some output from NAab:
Iowa (against Bismarck) (2500fps)
Penetration Range yds.
29.9" 5,000
26.0 10,000
22.5 15,000
19.6 20,000
17.3 25,000
15.4 30,000
13.9 35,000
12.2 40,000
10.8 42,400
Nelson (against Bismarck)
Penetration Range yds. (2525fps)
28.0" 5,000
23.5 10,000
19.7 15,000
16.6 20,000
14.3 25,000
12.5 30,000
10.4 35,000
7.6 39,800
Penetration Range yds. (2586fps - new gun)
28.9" 5,000
24.4 10,000
20.4 15,000
17.2 20,000
14.9 25,000
13.0 30,000
11.1 35,000
8.7 39,800

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby RNfanDan » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:21 am

Tiornu wrote:If Rodney has the crew that she had during the historical encounter, then Bismarck has a reasonable chance.

:shock:

Explain please, how having the same crew aboard Rodney would increase Bismarck's chances against her, when that crew has already proven they could dispatch the German ship?

If you're going to change a variable, try changing Rodney from a hard-driven, sea-worn ship with a tired crew, already on its way to Boston for a much-needed refit, to a freshly-refitted ship with a rested crew after a stint in the yards.

Bismarck could hardly have faced a lesser Rodney than the one she lost to...


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