Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

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Byron Angel
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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:50 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:..... When comparing the gunnery efficiency of PoW versus Bismarck at Denmark Strait, I think it is necessary to keep in mind that neither PoW nor her crew were properly worked up. That materially affected her shooting. PoW's FC radar immediately proved u/s and IIRC barely any optical range readings were taken.

B

hi Byron,
according to Bismarck AVKS-700 testings, Bismarck's crew was also insufficiently prepared in the critical aspects of main battery fire and AA defense...




Alex,

Denmark Strait was fought on 24 May 1941.

Bismarck had been commissioned on 2 August 1940, so had at least nine months to work up before the battle.

PoW was commissioned on 19 Jan 1941, having been rushed to completion with various teething problem still unsolved, so had perhaps four months to work up. PoW had undertaken only a single main battery gunnery practice before Denmark Strait. Her FC team in the battle was so unpracticed that they failed to recognize and enter into their FC table the radar range data being fed into the FC station by mechanical counter. I don't think that Bismarck's shortcomings were quite that dramatic.

Interesting web reference, go here -
http://www.wlu.ca/lcmsds/cmh/back%20iss ... 20Navy.pdf

- or search under "Stuart E Paddon HMS Prince of Wales".


B

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:20 am

Byron Angel wrote:
Denmark Strait was fought on 24 May 1941.


... I know, however AVKS test was done only in late March early April 1941, and even then in was cut short due to the need to start preparations for Rheinubung.

Previosuly, various technical problems and bad weather prevented the Bismarck from training.

What can be said is that Bisamrck's crew was more familiar with the ship than Prince of Wales crew was...

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby paul.mercer » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:35 pm

Gentlemen,
I think that I read somewhere (I cannot find the book at the moment) that almost at the end of the war Rodney was bombarding gun positions on the Channel Islands - with remarkably accurate results, presumably she had a fully worked up crew, but my point is this , she did not appear to have any of the dispersion problems mentioned in other posts. If this was the case then a fully operational Rodney with a good crew would certainly give Bismarck something to think about!

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby tommy303 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:20 pm

The dispersion problems were the result of too light weight and short a shell (APC) for the muzzle velocity and rate of rifling twist. The shell did not properly index in the gun barrel and the velocity was too high for the rate of twist, causing the shell to damage the rifling. This led to excess barrel wear and dispersion problems. The difficulty had been worked out by WW2, and a reduction in powder charges reduced the velocity enough for the shell to properly stabilize. This was a stop gap measure and it had been planned to introduce a new shell design, but in the event, this was never done. For shore bombardment, Rodney used primarily an HE shell which was both longer and in the event better stabilized than the comparatively short APC round.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:41 am

alecsandros wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:
Denmark Strait was fought on 24 May 1941.


... I know, however AVKS test was done only in late March early April 1941, and even then in was cut short due to the need to start preparations for Rheinubung.

Previosuly, various technical problems and bad weather prevented the Bismarck from training.

What can be said is that Bisamrck's crew was more familiar with the ship than Prince of Wales crew was...




Alex,

Comparing PoW's single practice gunnery shoot (perhaps a day at sea and 6 rounds per gun) to Bismarck's AVKS program, which focused on practicing and refining her gunnery system over a period of nearly a month despite the delays, is like comparing one student class to an entire semester course - completely different things.

B

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:12 am

Byron Angel wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:
Denmark Strait was fought on 24 May 1941.


... I know, however AVKS test was done only in late March early April 1941, and even then in was cut short due to the need to start preparations for Rheinubung.

Previosuly, various technical problems and bad weather prevented the Bismarck from training.

What can be said is that Bisamrck's crew was more familiar with the ship than Prince of Wales crew was...




Alex,

Comparing PoW's single practice gunnery shoot (perhaps a day at sea and 6 rounds per gun) to Bismarck's AVKS program, which focused on practicing and refining her gunnery system over a period of nearly a month despite the delays, is like comparing one student class to an entire semester course - completely different things.

B


Byron,
The Bismarck AVKS testing was scheduled to take place between 19.03.1941 - 11.04.1941, but it was cut short to 2.04.1941.
From the document: "Under these complicating conditions, a considerable portion of the intended tests had to be abruptly dropped"

Several problems with the main artillery and fire control systems were detected, and it is not certain wether they had been resolved in time for Rheinubung...

Prince of Wales performed several gunnery exercises, on the 28, 29th of Jan, and between 26th of March and late April.

http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono ... 0Wales.htm

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:50 am

..... Alex, with respect, there is a clear distinction to be made between "gun trials" and "gunnery exercises". There were severe problems with PoW's main battery turrets in January. Her main battery FC radar was not fitted until some time in February. She was bureaucratically declared to be completed only in March, but even then still did not have a fully operational main battery. Main battery turret problems persisted through April, when she should have been undertaking a proper gunnery program, but it was not until 27 April that she was able to conduct a practice shoot with her full main battery.

Bismarck's Mar/Apr working up period (whether 2 or 3 weeks), according to the AVKS document, was mainly devoted to gunnery practices to train the crew in the new FC system. I hope you will agree there is a material difference here.

B

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:19 pm

Byron Angel wrote:.....

Bismarck's Mar/Apr working up period (whether 2 or 3 weeks), according to the AVKS document, was mainly devoted to gunnery practices to train the crew in the new FC system. I hope you will agree there is a material difference here.

B

The AVKS tests lasted for about 14 days.

Problems were detected at hydraulic drive for the turrets, turret loading mechanisms and remote control for gun elevation, integration of EM-II instruments (radars) into the fire control systems, and others.

[Tirpitz encountered similar problems during her summer 1941 tests, and was called back for refits. Only in Oct was she ready for main battery firings, that proved satisfactory.]

Bismarck was far from being worked up, or prepared for battle , in May 1941.

There were many other tests contained within AVKS , with main battery firings lasting no more than a few days.

===
I don't know what kind of difference there was between the training of the 2 ships/crews.

It would seem Bismarck's crew got more experience on board their ship, as she was comissioned earlier.
However, the British started working up Prince of Wales just days after her comissioning, culimnating with nearly 2 months of testing in Scapa Flow and surroundings.

Bismarck's working up was constantly delayed by various problems, and thus, in the end, her crew wasn't quite ready for war.

I belive Lindemann himself said in May 1941 that "his crew is perfectly fit to serve for peacetime operations", or something like that.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Guest » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:31 pm

Tirpitz encountered similar problems during her summer 1941 tests, and was called back for refits. Only in Oct was she ready for main battery firings, that proved satisfactory.


This formulation is unfortunate, as the valuation of the quality of military training (and equipment) was measured in schoolmarks.
"satisfactory" means "befriedigend" wich is definately not good
very good - sehr gut
good - gut
befriedigend - satisfactory
...

When talking about the Tirpitz practice results during autumn 1941 they(SKL, K-Amt) assessed the results as "ausgezeichnet"
with the meaning better than "very good".

Lindeman used the "befriedigend/satisfactory" terminology, when assessing Bismarcks state of Air defense training/capabilities.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:06 pm

True, and thanks for the input...

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:07 pm

To be perfectly honest, I remember now reading about Bismarck's trials in Nov 1940.
However, I don't have any kind of info whatsoever onto the type of tests performed, and the findings...

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:32 pm

I was the guest
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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:20 pm

Gentlemen,
Just a thought, but as Rodney was built to Treaty specifications (even though she exceeded them) the Germans must have had some idea of her armour and armament, yet she was he first ship targeted by Bismarck, whose gunnery officers obviously held her to be the more dangerous ship of the two and was capable of severly damaging them. Also, in one of my books on the twins it states that when they met Rodney escorting a convoy they avoided battle 'with a ship that mounted such formidable guns'. I realise that they were under orders and that they also avoided Ramilles and Malaya, but it would appear that the German Admirals had more respect for Rodneys capabilities than some on this forum!

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:58 pm

How did Rodney exceed the treaty limits? She actually came in underweight.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:03 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Her FC team in the battle was so unpracticed that they failed to recognize and enter into their FC table the radar range data being fed into the FC station by mechanical counter. I don't think that Bismarck's shortcomings were quite that dramatic.

Interesting web reference, go here -
http://www.wlu.ca/lcmsds/cmh/back%20iss ... 20Navy.pdf

- or search under "Stuart E Paddon HMS Prince of Wales".




If you read Paddon's account, he states that he had 3 targets on his radar...obviously there was a problem there and the gunnery officer probably disregarded his ranges as a result.


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