Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:46 am

dunmunro wrote: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.



..... I did of course read Paddon's account. He indicated that he was personally manning the scope of the 281 set. I do not understand how Paddon's description of having 3 targets visible on his scope automatically suggests that some sort range transmission confusion existed on his part. It seems like pure speculation to me to be honest. On what grounds do you dismiss Paddon's commentary that the FC staff in the T/S were simply unaware of the importance of the data coming in on the T/S range counter?

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:40 am

Byron Angel wrote:
dunmunro wrote: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.



..... I did of course read Paddon's account. He indicated that he was personally manning the scope of the 281 set. I do not understand how Paddon's description of having 3 targets visible on his scope automatically suggests that some sort range transmission confusion existed on his part. It seems like pure speculation to me to be honest. On what grounds do you dismiss Paddon's commentary that the FC staff in the T/S were simply unaware of the importance of the data coming in on the T/S range counter?

B


Paddon wasn't in the TS, so any statement of his regarding what transpired there has to be taken with a grain of salt. Clearly there were only two KM ships present and if Paddon told the GO that there were three, what do you think the GO would make of that? Would he be inclined to trust ranges that were perhaps being taken on an imaginary ship? This is from PoW's Gunnery Aspect's report:
4. No results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 R.D.F.; it is understood that Signal School Officers are now of the opinion that Type 281 suffered interference and Type 284 was defective, although it appeared at the time that 284 was also suffering from interference.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:32 am

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

By 1944, the ship was ~ 44000 tons...
Though it's true standard displacement pre-war was ~ 33000 tons

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:09 am

paul.mercer wrote: but it would appear that the German Admirals had more respect for Rodneys capabilities than some on this forum!

...
At the time of their completion, the Nelsons were considered to be the most powerfull battleships in the world.

This image stayed for quite some time, and certainly 9x16" guns would make any opponent think twice about a battle.

But of course, real life is much more complicated, and if the Germans would have known about Rodney's turret problems and dispersion issues, they would have been probably more relaxed :)

As for targetting Rodney first in the last battle, it was German Navy's doctrine to engage first the enemy equpped with the most powerfull artillery.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:21 am

dunmunro wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:
dunmunro wrote: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.



..... I did of course read Paddon's account. He indicated that he was personally manning the scope of the 281 set. I do not understand how Paddon's description of having 3 targets visible on his scope automatically suggests that some sort range transmission confusion existed on his part. It seems like pure speculation to me to be honest. On what grounds do you dismiss Paddon's commentary that the FC staff in the T/S were simply unaware of the importance of the data coming in on the T/S range counter?

B


Paddon wasn't in the TS, so any statement of his regarding what transpired there has to be taken with a grain of salt. Clearly there were only two KM ships present and if Paddon told the GO that there were three, what do you think the GO would make of that? Would he be inclined to trust ranges that were perhaps being taken on an imaginary ship? This is from PoW's Gunnery Aspect's report:
4. No results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 R.D.F.; it is understood that Signal School Officers are now of the opinion that Type 281 suffered interference and Type 284 was defective, although it appeared at the time that 284 was also suffering from interference.



..... Even if Paddon had a false return on his scope, range and bearing data on the other two would have corresponded to what the T/S was receiving from the director. With all due respect, your argument is simple speculation, based apparently upon an assumption that Paddon's account is a complete fantasy and the gunnery report is a 100% accurate representation of events. It can equally well be speculated that the author of PoW's after-action gunnery report simply blamed the lack of radar ranging data input on the radar team rather than admit that the T/S staff failed to understand the significance of the incoming data.

To be fair, there is Insufficient data to conclusively prove the case either way.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:42 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
..... Even if Paddon had a false return on his scope, range and bearing data on the other two would have corresponded to what the T/S was receiving from the director. With all due respect, your argument is simple speculation, based apparently upon an assumption that Paddon's account is a complete fantasy and the gunnery report is a 100% accurate representation of events. It can equally well be speculated that the author of PoW's after-action gunnery report simply blamed the lack of radar ranging data input on the radar team rather than admit that the T/S staff failed to understand the significance of the incoming data.

To be fair, there is Insufficient data to conclusively prove the case either way.

B


I'm not speculating that Paddon's account is incorrect, as the composition of the KM force has been well established.

Paddon's account was written 41 years after the event and is full of errors and inconsistency while The Gunnery Aspects report was written about 3 weeks after the battle and would have been compiled while all the participants memories were fresh and their own written reports available for reference.

Type 281 was a metric radar with poor bearing accuracy. It could use beam switching to improve bearing resolution but at a cost in maximum range, and at DS Bismarck would have been at the very limit of type 281's maximum range upon opening fire and thus beam switching would not have been an option. Paddon actually states "...a certain amount of interference occurred..."

Hood and PoW's radars were checked by Stephen Roskill before she left Scapa Flow and PoW's radars were again tested before the action, while the ships were underway. These checks would have necessarily have involved the transmission of radar ranges into the TS so that they could be plotted against target movement (as was done on Hood at Scapa flow) so the claim that radar ranges were being ignored in the TS is highly suspect. Paddon himself would have been tied into the FC voice circuits as he, himself, could not possibly decide which of the three blips (by his own account) was Bismarck so there would have had to have been an interactive exchange between the DCT, TS, and Paddon in the type 281 office, as to which target to select, yet Paddon doesn't mention such an exchange nor does he mention any queries on his part to the DCT or the TS. Paddon's account of the sinking of Pow is also incorrect, as he gets the sequence of the torpedo hits reversed. Paddon's account is not all fantasy, but it has enough inconsistency that is cannot be used to overturn the official gunnery report. Only Paddon's written report, filed after the action, can be considered to be a reasonable accurate account and that report would make for interesting reading.

Of course there is some valuable info in Paddon's account such as this statement, which can be taken as gospel:
The only other feature that comes to my mind is that as we proceeded then to Rosythe for damage repairs, we were still able to steam at thirty knots... :whistle:

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:51 pm

alecsandros wrote:
paul.mercer wrote: but it would appear that the German Admirals had more respect for Rodneys capabilities than some on this forum!

...
At the time of their completion, the Nelsons were considered to be the most powerfull battleships in the world.

This image stayed for quite some time, and certainly 9x16" guns would make any opponent think twice about a battle.

But of course, real life is much more complicated, and if the Germans would have known about Rodney's turret problems and dispersion issues, they would have been probably more relaxed :)

As for targetting Rodney first in the last battle, it was German Navy's doctrine to engage first the enemy equpped with the most powerfull artillery.


As has been stated, Rodney's turret and dispersion problem were resolved prior to WW2. Rodney, if equipped with type 284/281 radar (as Nelson was in late 1940) would have been a formidable opponent, and could easily emerge the victor if she scored the first decisive hit. Without radar ranging Rodney would have been at the same disadvantage as any other ship when faced with an opponent with superior ranging technology.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:22 pm

dunmunro wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
paul.mercer wrote: but it would appear that the German Admirals had more respect for Rodneys capabilities than some on this forum!

...

As has been stated, Rodney's turret and dispersion problem were resolved prior to WW2. Rodney, if equipped with type 284/281 radar (as Nelson was in late 1940) would have been a formidable opponent, and could easily emerge the victor if she scored the first decisive hit. Without radar ranging Rodney would have been at the same disadvantage as any other ship when faced with an opponent with superior ranging technology.

... Many problems had been resolved,
However rate of fire remained 1.5 rounds/minute, and dispersion was around 400y at 16ky for 3 gun salvos, IIRC.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:56 pm

dunmunro wrote: Type 281 was a metric radar with poor bearing accuracy. It could use beam switching to improve bearing resolution but at a cost in maximum range, and at DS Bismarck would have been at the very limit of type 281's maximum range upon opening fire

A few minor niggles; Beam switching would improve the bearing accuracy but actually make the bearing resolution worse as well as reduce range attainment, assuming it was available at that time. The bearing resolution was already about 20* (Freidman lists 45* but that's probably with beam switching), so it's unlikely that PG and BS could even be discriminated from each other for bearing by the 281. The resolution for range was 450 meters on low power, so BS and PG would need to be seperated by that much by distance to be discriminated from each other for distance. If the radar was set to attain max range then the resolution for range became 2,250 meters. So the question becomes what were the different targets its was indicating? My guess is it was suffering side lobe interference.

Nelson's 284 in 1940 was just a temporary prototype installation. 284 Series One wasn't really ready for primetime until April 1941 at the earliest.

If Holland forbad the POW the use of 284 earlier to prevent interference with Hood's 284; the POW's 284 would not have been ready, steady, go, until after the battle ended. This may have been interputed as "interference".
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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:33 pm

alecsandros wrote:
... Many problems had been resolved,
However rate of fire remained 1.5 rounds/minute, and dispersion was around 400y at 16ky for 3 gun salvos, IIRC.


RN 16in guns averaged 278 yd spreads in 1938, compared to ~255 yds for 15in guns, however during these trials the larger spreads were associated with a higher hit rate. The 16in maximum salvo rate (2.2/min) was higher than for any 15in gun and during their prolonged firing trials Rodney and Hood had essentially the same RoF.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:59 am

[quote="dunmunro"]
I'm not speculating that Paddon's account is incorrect, as the composition of the KM force has been well established.

..... False echoes are not unknown.


Paddon's account was written 41 years after the event and is full of errors and inconsistency while The Gunnery Aspects report was written about 3 weeks after the battle and would have been compiled while all the participants memories were fresh and their own written reports available for reference.

..... Perhaps.


Type 281 was a metric radar with poor bearing accuracy. It could use beam switching to improve bearing resolution but at a cost in maximum range, and at DS Bismarck would have been at the very limit of type 281's maximum range upon opening fire and thus beam switching would not have been an option. Paddon actually states "...a certain amount of interference occurred..."

..... Type 281 was an air search radar with surface search ability. Paddon was using it in its surface search capacity. It was not a FC radar system and would never have been expected to deliver the sort of bearing accuracy necessary for directing of gunfire. Bearing data would have been provided by the director. A quick review of web available data on PoW turns up the comment of PoW's gunnery officer to the effect that the range of the 281 had "more or less unlimited range" and that the T/S was ale to receive range data from the 281. Paddon indeed mentioned "a certain amount of interference", but NOT in the sense that it had any deleterious effect upon his target tracking.


Hood and PoW's radars were checked by Stephen Roskill before she left Scapa Flow and PoW's radars were again tested before the action, while the ships were underway. These checks would have necessarily have involved the transmission of radar ranges into the TS so that they could be plotted against target movement (as was done on Hood at Scapa flow) so the claim that radar ranges were being ignored in the TS is highly suspect.

.....Possibly. As I mentioned: insufficient data to come to a firm conclusion.


Paddon himself would have been tied into the FC voice circuits as he, himself, could not possibly decide which of the three blips (by his own account) was Bismarck so there would have had to have been an interactive exchange between the DCT, TS, and Paddon in the type 281 office, as to which target to select, yet Paddon doesn't mention such an exchange nor does he mention any queries on his part to the DCT or the TS.

..... Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is quite possible that Paddon did not deem it necessary or desirable to include such nuts & bolts detail in a short article.


Paddon's account of the sinking of Pow is also incorrect, as he gets the sequence of the torpedo hits reversed.

..... Horrors!


Paddon's account is not all fantasy, but it has enough inconsistency that is cannot be used to overturn the official gunnery report. Only Paddon's written report, filed after the action, can be considered to be a reasonable accurate account and that report would make for interesting reading.

..... I do not find the Gunnery Aspects Report conclusive as evidence contradicting. The only mention of radar issues is as follows -
"No results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 R.D.F.; it is understood that Signal School Officers are now of the opinion that Type 281 suffered interference and Type 284 was defective, although it appeared at the time that 284 was also suffering from interference." No context is provided. The interference assertion is offered up as essentially hearsay evidence with no confirmation that the author of the report understood anything at all about radar, whereas Paddon, the principal radar expert aboard, makes no mention of the interference causing any tracking problem.

The report's "no radar ranges" assertion appears to be contradicted by McMullen's letter, which states -
"Once the range was down to about 20,000 yards the T. S. had a good Range Plot including radar ranges from the 14 inch Director Tower set ..."

McMullen also mentions -
"Both radar sets had been switched off to maintain Radar Silence and were switched on at the order "enemy in sight. The main gunnery set due to its technical limitation was unable to pass ranges until the range was reduced to 24,000 yards. As far as I can remember the range on opening fire was about 26, 000 yards. No range was obtained before opening fire from the air warning radar set; I think (but am not certain} due to having been switched-off and slowness in becoming operational after being switched-on again."

Note the caveat: "no range was obtained before opening fire from the air warning radar set." McMullen's letter does not specifically speak to the period after opening of fire, probably because he was not located in the TC and was therefore unable to personally view the 281 counterdrum.

McMullen's letter places him aloft with the spotting and rate officers. The Gunnery Aspects Report provides no information as to whether the author was actually present in the TS during the battle. If no range data from the 281 was employed in the FC process, there is nothing within either of these documents that can satisfactorily explain why that might have occurred. Unless some more detailed evidence can be turned up, Paddon's claim that the 281 data had been overlooked in the TS remains a legitimate possibility.


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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:05 am

dunmunro wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
... Many problems had been resolved,
However rate of fire remained 1.5 rounds/minute, and dispersion was around 400y at 16ky for 3 gun salvos, IIRC.


RN 16in guns averaged 278 yd spreads in 1938, compared to ~255 yds for 15in guns, however during these trials the larger spreads were associated with a higher hit rate. The 16in maximum salvo rate (2.2/min) was higher than for any 15in gun and during their prolonged firing trials Rodney and Hood had essentially the same RoF.


... That's is the dispersion of 1 gun.
I was reffering to a 3-gun salvo.

The maximum salvo rate was not achieved in reality, due to the complicated turret mechanism.
In the initial segment of the battle with Bismarck, when Rodney averaged, for some guns, 3 rounds/minute, was helped by the ready-use ammunition.

After that, rate of fire dropped abruptly (being further degraded by various failures to fire)

" During the "Final Battle" against Bismarck, Rodney fired a total of 380 rounds. For the first hour of the battle, she fired at the equivalent of 1.5 salvos per minute. During the entire battle, she fired 1.6 salvos per minute during salvo firing and 1.1 broadsides per minute during broadside firing with outputs of 77% and 62% respectively (salvos were of four and five guns while broadsides were of all nine guns). The following description of the problems encountered by Rodney is taken from "The Final Action: The Sinking of Bismarck, 27 May 1941" by John Roberts:

She experienced various minor problems with mechanical failures and drill errors, the worst being with the right gun of A turret. This gun missed 11 salvos due to problems with the slide locking gear and then, at salvo 65, a complete jam occurred in the right shell pusher hoist. As a result of drill errors the top shell was rammed up the hoist and jammed in the gunhouse with its nose against the rangefinder supports. It was not cleared until 12 hours after the action. In addition the centre gun of A missed 2 salvos due to slow drill and all the salvos from 64 to 88 due to mechanical failures, the left gun of A missed 10 salvos and did not fire after salvo 97 due to mechanical failures. B turret's centre gun misfired at salvo 4 and missed 5 or 6 over a period of 7 minutes towards the end of the action due to drill errors. The left gun of B had several delays as a result of drill errors but X turret suffered only two jams which caused only minor delays.
"

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:46 am

Byron Angel wrote:
..... False echoes are not unknown.


Yes, and they indicate either a problem with the set or another problem which rendered the radar data useless. Padon's claim that there was a ~28 knot supply ship with the KM force should be enough to convince most readers that he can't be trusted as a source on this topic.



..... Perhaps.


Not perhaps, for certain.


Type 281 was a metric radar with poor bearing accuracy. It could use beam switching to improve bearing resolution but at a cost in maximum range, and at DS Bismarck would have been at the very limit of type 281's maximum range upon opening fire and thus beam switching would not have been an option. Paddon actually states "...a certain amount of interference occurred..."

..... Type 281 was an air search radar with surface search ability. Paddon was using it in its surface search capacity. It was not a FC radar system and would never have been expected to deliver the sort of bearing accuracy necessary for directing of gunfire. Bearing data would have been provided by the director. A quick review of web available data on PoW turns up the comment of PoW's gunnery officer to the effect that the range of the 281 had "more or less unlimited range" and that the T/S was ale to receive range data from the 281. Paddon indeed mentioned "a certain amount of interference", but NOT in the sense that it had any deleterious effect upon his target tracking.


Type 281 was a combined WA, WA and GA and GS set. It could range on surface targets on a 0- 28k yard scale with a 75 yds RMS accuracy via a precision ranging panel and could use beam switching to achieve 1/2 degree accuracy to allow it to discriminate between targets. It certainly didn't have unlimited range, but it might well have ranged to 26k yds (without beam switching). Again, Paddon's account was written 40 years after the fact and it simply doesn't pass even the most cursory checks for accuracy.

.....Possibly. As I mentioned: insufficient data to come to a firm conclusion.


The gunnery aspects report has to be considered definitive.



..... Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is quite possible that Paddon did not deem it necessary or desirable to include such nuts & bolts detail in a short article.
Sigh, so now you claim that the Gunnery Aspects Report, which was written when Paddon was on board and would have been based, in part, upon Paddon's own report, was falsified?


..... Horrors!


No, just an old man's failing memory.




..... I do not find the Gunnery Aspects Report conclusive as evidence contradicting. The only mention of radar issues is as follows -
"No results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 R.D.F.; it is understood that Signal School Officers are now of the opinion that Type 281 suffered interference and Type 284 was defective, although it appeared at the time that 284 was also suffering from interference." No context is provided. The interference assertion is offered up as essentially hearsay evidence with no confirmation that the author of the report understood anything at all about radar, whereas Paddon, the principal radar expert aboard, makes no mention of the interference causing any tracking problem.

No tracking problem? what about tracking a non-existent ship?

The report's "no radar ranges" assertion appears to be contradicted by McMullen's letter, which states -
"Once the range was down to about 20,000 yards the T. S. had a good Range Plot including radar ranges from the 14 inch Director Tower set ..."

The McMullen letter was also written years after the fact, and PoW did obtain radar ranges during a later engagement, as stated by the Gunnery Aspects Report, so Mcmullen may have been confused about the exact timing of events.

McMullen also mentions -
"Both radar sets had been switched off to maintain Radar Silence and were switched on at the order "enemy in sight. The main gunnery set due to its technical limitation was unable to pass ranges until the range was reduced to 24,000 yards. As far as I can remember the range on opening fire was about 26, 000 yards. No range was obtained before opening fire from the air warning radar set; I think (but am not certain} due to having been switched-off and slowness in becoming operational after being switched-on again."

Note the caveat: "no range was obtained before opening fire from the air warning radar set." McMullen's letter does not specifically speak to the period after opening of fire, probably because he was not located in the TC and was therefore unable to personally view the 281 counterdrum.

McMullen's letter places him aloft with the spotting and rate officers. The Gunnery Aspects Report provides no information as to whether the author was actually present in the TS during the battle. If no range data from the 281 was employed in the FC process, there is nothing within either of these documents that can satisfactorily explain why that might have occurred. Unless some more detailed evidence can be turned up, Paddon's claim that the 281 data had been overlooked in the TS remains a legitimate possibility.


Again, this was written years after the fact. We know that Hood's type 284 was able to range beyond 24K yds (and could plot the ranges on her Dreyer table) as was KGV's and KGV obtained useful ranges at just over 25k Yds on May 27, so McMullen is wrong about type 284 and so he is not a reliable source on this topic.

The Gunnery Aspects Report states that there was interference with type 281 - hence no ranges. Paddon's claim is not a legitimate possibility because it was formed 40 years after the fact, and even within this claim there is completely false claims of a 3rd KM ship - hence Paddon letter is useless.

The only way to dispute the Gunnery Aspects Report would be to find the reports submitted by Paddon after the action and investigative reports done by the ASE after the action.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:25 pm

"The only way to dispute the Gunnery Aspects Report would be to find the reports submitted by Paddon after the action and investigative reports done by the ASE after the action"

..... This all appears to boil down to your complete reliance upon the accuracy and veracity of one official report and your dismissal of any contradictory ex post facto accounts, even from those who were physically on the scene. I am not so ready to do so. Hence we will have to agree to disagree on this matter.


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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Dave Saxton » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:06 pm

Type 281 was a combined WA, WA and GA and GS set. It could range on surface targets on a 0- 28k yard scale with a 75 yds RMS accuracy via a precision ranging panel and could use beam switching to achieve 1/2 degree accuracy to allow it to discriminate between targets.


Duncan, bearing accuracy is not the same thing as bearing discrimination or bearing resolution. Discrimination/resolution is a function of 1/2 power beam width. Beam switching of the type used will cause a wider 1/2 power beam width, not a narrower one. With 281 we are talking 10s of degrees.

By the same token range accuracy and resolution for range are not the same things. Even if the PRP could measure the time base differential to an accuracy of 75 yards, the resolution for range (discrimination between two or more targets for range) will be 450 meters, or 2,250 meters using long rang mode.
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