Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Dave Saxton » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:22 pm

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.


British radar, especially the 284, were not instant on. The 284 could take up to 45 minutes to warm up before it could supply usable data. This was due to the technical limitations of the pulser tube and anode modulaton. It may have been ranging by the time the battle range closed to 24,000 yards (21.9km) but the accuracy of those ranges would have been highly suspect.
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: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:11 pm

Byron Angel wrote:"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.


B


No, it boils down to the fact that a official report, written immediately after an event, that is based upon written reports submitted by the officers involved and with input from the ASE is much more likely to be accurate than letters written decades after the event.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:24 pm

dunmunro wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:"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.


B


No, it boils down to the fact that a official report, written immediately after an event, that is based upon written reports submitted by the officers involved and with input from the ASE is much more likely to be accurate than letters written decades after the event.



..... It is strictly your choice to accept and discard whatever you like in the way of data. If you believe that the official report in this case is accurate, all-inclusive, error-free and a precisely correct representation of events in all ways, that's perfectly fine. If you take it as an article of faith that the statements of Paddon and McMullen are defective in every case where they differ from the official report, I don't believe there is anything I can say to sway you. As I said, we will have to agree to disagree.

B
Last edited by Byron Angel on Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:29 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
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.


The long range mode was not used for FC. Beam switching did allow for target discrimination within the beam switching limits of accuracy; if it didn't then any FC radar that used beam switching would have been useless when faced with multiple targets, and this was certainly not the case. I doubt that PE and Bismarck were within 500 yds of each other at any time during the battle.
Last edited by dunmunro on Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:04 pm

Byron Angel wrote:


..... It is strictly your choice to accept and discard whatever you like in the way of data. If you believe that official reports are always accurate, all-inclusive and error-free, that's perfectly fine by me. As I said, we will have to agree to disagree.

B


Official reports are not always fully accurate (especially when attempting to convey info beyond the writer's ability to verify), but any official report written immediately after an event is far more likely to be accurate than a letter written years after the event. Memoires, letters, interviews, etc, etc, can be used to add colour to a historical account, but count for very little when weighed against an official report, written under military discipline where submitting a false report is a serious criminal offence.

Leach submitted a report stating that type 281 did not obtain ranges due to interference:

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.
and he bases his conclusion on ASE officer's opinions. Leach also stated that the RDF systems were checked twice during the period at sea prior to intercepting Bismarck:
A - Events prior to First Action

Thursday, 22nd May. - B.C.1 indicated the gunnery policy to Prince of Wales in the following signal:-

"If enemy is encountered and concentration of fire is required, the policy will be G.I.C.; if ships are spread when enemy is met, they are to be prepared to flank mark described in H.W.C.O. 26."

A range and inclination exercise was carried out with Hood during the forenoon and R.D.F. sets worked well.

2. Friday, 23rd May. - Another range and inclination exercise was carried out during the forenoon with R.D.F. Sets again working well.


and the only way to check RDF ranging accuracy would be to plot it on the AFCT, so PoW's TS must have been familiar with doing this.



Hypothetically, if an Apollo astronaut or NASA employee published a letter stating that the moon landings were faked, would you then use that to challenge NASA's official reports?

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Dave Saxton » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:59 pm

dunmunro wrote: Beam switching did allow for target discrimination within the beam switching limits of accuracy; if it didn't then any FC radar that used beam switching would have been useless when faced with multiple targets, and this was certainly not the case..


Yes, it was the case many times. And no, if the bearing discrimination could match the bearing accuracy then why seek finer bearing resolution. However, a narrow beam was highly prized and sought for. This was one of the factors why Mk3 could not acquire targets at Suirgao while MK8 could. I suppose that the operator could rock the antenna aim back and forth and see if if he can match pips on two or more points within the bearing resolution range, but there would still be only one target pip shown on the indicator. OR maybe it just matches pips on the center of the entire area. This may have been the case at Tassafaronga, BTW.
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: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Byron Angel » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:31 pm

..... I really think we are belaboring the issue at this point, but it is important to read exactly what Mr Leach stated and did not state.
[ 1 ] Mr Leach stated that no results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 RDF; he does not explicitly state WHY no results were obtained.
[ 2 ] He seeks to explain the lack of radar range date by citing opinions of Signal School officers who were themselves not present at the action that both the 281 and 284 sets must have been suffering from some sort of undefined "interference".
[ 3 ] Mr Leach then leaves the reader to assume that this interference was sufficient in degree to prevent any range data whatsoever being obtained by PoWs multiple radar sets, despite them having been twice tested with satisfactory results on the preceding days. Did Mr Leach himself have any practical understanding of radar technology? We don't know.
[ 4 ] The report is silent as to where Mr Leach himself was stationed in the ship and what his own specific duties were during the action, whom he interviewed in the preparation of the report and what effort he took to verify whatever testimony he took from other parties.

In other words, Leach's report appears to corroborate Paddon's account with respect to 281 radar range data not being used, but, beyond passing along speculative hearsay, the report offers no concrete explanation as to why.

An example of how complicated things can become when official reports are uncritically accepted - Admiral David Beatty's Jutland report, complete with diagram, described a serpentine turn by the BCF of 180deg to starboard followed by 180deg to port between 6:50 and 7:05pm that he claimed he ordered in order to reduce the interval between the GF battle line and his force. Numerous officers disputed Beatty's report, asserting that the BCF was in fact led about in a great circle to starboard. The official track chart of "New Zealand" (as printed in the Official Despatches) indicates a 360deg turn to starboard. Who's telling the truth?

My last word on this topic.

B

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:13 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
dunmunro wrote: Beam switching did allow for target discrimination within the beam switching limits of accuracy; if it didn't then any FC radar that used beam switching would have been useless when faced with multiple targets, and this was certainly not the case..


Yes, it was the case many times. And no, if the bearing discrimination could match the bearing accuracy then why seek finer bearing resolution. However, a narrow beam was highly prized and sought for. This was one of the factors why Mk3 could not acquire targets at Suirgao while MK8 could. I suppose that the operator could rock the antenna aim back and forth and see if if he can match pips on two or more points within the bearing resolution range, but there would still be only one target pip shown on the indicator. OR maybe it just matches pips on the center of the entire area. This may have been the case at Tassafaronga, BTW.


As long as multiple targets are separated by the minimum range resolution, then they can be discriminated by beam switching, within the limits of beam switching bearing accuracy. Only when the targets are within the minimum range resolution and minimum bearing resolution will beam switching not be able to discriminate between them.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:47 am

dunmunro wrote:As long as multiple targets are separated by the minimum range resolution, .


That would be the case with or without beam switching.

The only thing beam switch might further help would be to then determine the exact bearing of each target one at time. Such would not be possible with 284M/285M but could be possible with Mk3/MK4 ( what a mess of confusing traces it would be though!). The concept would also not work with a B-scope or a PPI.
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: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby dunmunro » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:58 am

Byron Angel wrote:..... I really think we are belaboring the issue at this point, but it is important to read exactly what Mr Leach stated and did not state.
[ 1 ] Mr Leach stated that no results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 RDF; he does not explicitly state WHY no results were obtained.
[ 2 ] He seeks to explain the lack of radar range date by citing opinions of Signal School officers who were themselves not present at the action that both the 281 and 284 sets must have been suffering from some sort of undefined "interference".
[ 3 ] Mr Leach then leaves the reader to assume that this interference was sufficient in degree to prevent any range data whatsoever being obtained by PoWs multiple radar sets, despite them having been twice tested with satisfactory results on the preceding days. Did Mr Leach himself have any practical understanding of radar technology? We don't know.
[ 4 ] The report is silent as to where Mr Leach himself was stationed in the ship and what his own specific duties were during the action, whom he interviewed in the preparation of the report and what effort he took to verify whatever testimony he took from other parties.

In other words, Leach's report appears to corroborate Paddon's account with respect to 281 radar range data not being used, but, beyond passing along speculative hearsay, the report offers no concrete explanation as to why.

An example of how complicated things can become when official reports are uncritically accepted - Admiral David Beatty's Jutland report, complete with diagram, described a serpentine turn by the BCF of 180deg to starboard followed by 180deg to port between 6:50 and 7:05pm that he claimed he ordered in order to reduce the interval between the GF battle line and his force. Numerous officers disputed Beatty's report, asserting that the BCF was in fact led about in a great circle to starboard. The official track chart of "New Zealand" (as printed in the Official Despatches) indicates a 360deg turn to starboard. Who's telling the truth?

My last word on this topic.

B


Leach's report is a summary of individual reports, which were also forwarded to the Admiralty. Within those reports is the data that might prove or disprove Leach's report. Paddon's own account, if anything, indicates that interference was encountered that was of sufficient magnitude to preclude accurate ranging since spurious targets appeared on Paddon's display. Paddon reports that he passed ranges to the TS, yet we have no clue as to how he divined which target was which, yet target selection would have involved McMullen in the decision making process, yet we have Leach stating that no radar ranges were obtained, and we know that McMullen submitted his own report to Leach (and the Admiralty) as did Paddon, and we are supposed to believe that Leach ignored both officer's statements that radar ranges were obtained when he wrote his report? If an error occurred in the TS why would this not be reported when errors in drill are routinely reported, especially when this would, in fact, strengthen Leach's case that his ship had to withdraw from combat? Why, for example, did Roskill, who was privy to the individual reports not comment on PoW's error in drill?

Here's an excerpt from the McMullen letter, written over 30 years after the fact:

The procedure at that time was for the "Spotting Officer" (Lt. Cdr . Skipwith, R.N. ) (on my right} to give the routine orders, "enemy in sight" etc., "bearing and description"; for the "Rate Officer" Lieut. Buxton RNVR (on my left), to give Enemy's Inclination and speed while the G.O. in the middle, communicated with the Captain, kept an overall view and then, being in direct touch with the T.S. Officer (Mr. Murphy) discussed the range plot and arising therefrom the open fire range.

Thus on this occasion I remember almost "imploring" Mr. Murphy for ranges and his reply "No Ranges".

I can also remember asking the W/T operator (by my left foot) for ranges from Hood, also negative. Then Mr. Murphy's report of one range from D. C. T. and my "estimation by card"; then Hood opening fire and we following as per drill in our "time sector" on a mean of two ranges. (One from a 15 foot range finder and one estimated).


Yet Paddon blithely states that he supplied radar ranges, from 26000 yards, on Bismarck when only McMullen could have helped him decide which of the 3 possible radar targets to range on!!!

Yes, numerous officers and reports which were written at the same timeframe as Beatty's report and drawn from data recorded at that time, not years later in accounts drawn from officer's failing memories! I've been making this same argument from the beginning of our discussion on this particular point.

I

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Vic Dale » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:43 pm

I believe the only 284 Radar Range Repeaters, of the M-Type Transmitter pattern, were fitted in the TS. What McMullen would have got from Lt Paddon in the Radar Office would would have come to him via the telephone. It is easily possible that range repeaters in the TS had not been switched on or had blown a fuze, or suffered some other defect.

That the TS did not get ranges does no automatically imply that the 284 did not secure ranges during the battle.

Bradd

Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Bradd » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:30 pm

When battleships fought battelships, it came down to gunnery. Those big guns could do a lot of damage, and the one who could get on target first had a much better chance of winning. The Germans understood this, and the Bismark had multiple design features which were intended to maximize the accuracy of her gunfire. When Bismark destroyed Hood the main reason was accuracy. The Germans started hitting very early, within just a few short minutes of opening fire, and bang - Hood was gone. Notice also that Hood never hit anything. If Bismark fought Rodney with the same gunnery efficency that she had against Hood, she would have had a very good chance, and if Rodney responded with the same gunnery efficency as Hood, she would have had no chance. If there was one thing the German navy was known for, it was accurate gun fire; I'm not sure the same could be said about the Royal navy.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby northcape » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:14 pm

Bradd wrote: If there was one thing the German navy was known for, it was accurate gun fire; I'm not sure the same could be said about the Royal navy.


This is a bit of generalization and not necessarily corrobated by evidence at a statistical level. What about PoW's and DoY's very accurate gunfire? But you are right, at least Bismarck delivered a remarkable performance during her short life.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby RNfanDan » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:23 pm

For the record, there was no German battleship named "Bismark" involved in any of the above. There may have been range marks, gun-marks, wandermarks, ink marks, and even Duetschmarks....but no "Bismark".

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby northcape » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:46 am

If it is for the record, it also was the "Deutschmark" and not "Duetschmarks" !


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