Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:33 am

northcape wrote:
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.


... Very accurate fire ?

Explain, pls...

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Ersatz Yorck » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:47 pm

Byron Angel wrote:[ 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.


As he was the captain I think the Admiralty would have a pretty clear idea of his duties and station in combat without him detailing that in the report.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby northcape » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:46 pm

alecsandros wrote:
northcape wrote:
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.


... Very accurate fire ?

Explain, pls...


Yawn. We had this a thousand times at this forum...PoW, despite coming more or less direct from the outfitter without much training, hit Bismarck after a few minutes. DoY hit Scharnhorst with one of her first, or even with her first salvo. It is a matter of taste whether one calls this very accurate or accurate gunfire, and - in my view - stands the comparison with Bismarck, or with the German Navy in general.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:54 pm

northcape wrote:Yawn. We had this a thousand times at this forum...PoW, despite coming more or less direct from the outfitter without much training, hit Bismarck after a few minutes.


No, if you go back a few pages on this thread, you'll see that PoW crew performed gunnery drills for some good weeks before the action. It's not to say the ship was fully worked up, I just don;t like the old cliche of PoW being "new and untested". The ship performed her first gunnery exercise within days of completion !

PoW obtained 3 straddles out of 18 salvos fired (+3 on local control)

DoY hit Scharnhorst with one of her first, or even with her first salvo.

... probably with the first, but at 10km range, using late 1943 systems.
Total 14" shell hits on Scharnhorst before the destroyer attack was 3-4, out of hundreds fired.

It is a matter of taste whether one calls this very accurate or accurate gunfire, and - in my view - stands the comparison with Bismarck, or with the German Navy in general.

Can you count the straddles Bismarck obtained during Rheinubung.. ?
And then make a comparison ?

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Vic Dale » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:24 am

The gunnery teams in PoW did have green hands among them, but the majority were first rate gunnery NCOs and ratings, with many years experience between them. Some of the key ratings and NCOs will have come from KGV and a good many will have been able to visit the Flagship and participate in gunnery drills. They will also have been trained at Whale Island before being sent to the ship.

When we speak of PoW being a "Green Ship" it means she had not been in actual combat before the Denmark Strait, but most of her work-up had completed and in most respects she was a fighting ship. In the RN, no more than about 5% or 10% of a ship's company is represented by men straight out of training. That the ship did so well despite the mechanical defects in her turrets and elsewhere, is an expression of thoroughly competent and disciplined men. That Captain Leach was able to transfer his combat position in less than two minutes and resume the battle, says a great deal about the degree of training and combat readiness which existed. All of his communications numbers were killed on the compass platform and those men were replaced very quickly, by men primed and ready to step in and have the new command position ready for the Captain.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby RNfanDan » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:40 am

Vic Dale wrote: When we speak of PoW being a "Green Ship" it means she had not been in actual combat before the Denmark Strait, but most of her work-up had completed and in most respects she was a fighting ship.

The ship's workup was foreshortened, her crew were inexperienced, and was so new that she still had civilian technicians from Vickers-Armstrongs aboard her to help with the quad 14" mountings---yes, these men were still aboard when she battled Bismarck (I hope they received hazard pay afterward)!


Vic Dale wrote: In the RN, no more than about 5% or 10% of a ship's company is represented by men straight out of training.

(**Cough**) While this may have been the case in Vic's post-war time, or even since then, it seems rather optimistic for the WW2 RN. I think a more accurate picture can be gained in the following passage, written by the very captain of a KGV-class battleship, himself:
Travelling across the Atlantic in December 1941, Captain Charles Lambe saw deficiencies in the crew of the ship: ...60% of the ship's company have never been to sea before{emphasis mine-Dan}. The proportion of RNR and RNVR officers is very high. They are a shapeless lot somehow and there is none of the active service sailor's swing about the ship. (AND) "They are all worried little chaps doing a bigger job than they can cope with -- civilians dressed up in fact."
[Quoted from Churchill's Navy - The Ships, Men and Organization 1939-45(Brian Lavery, 2006, ISBN: 978-1844860357]

Now to put a point on the above, the author explains that the "big" ships actually suffered LESS than other warships from these high percentages, as the pool of experience evaporated rapidly after 1939 (this is NOT a quote).

Note here, that I am not claiming Prince of Wales had six to twelve times as many raw-green crewmen aboard in May of that same year---no doubt the proportions of H.O men increased as the war went on---but 5-10% doesn't fit well, either.

I post this just in case the "movie script" fails to match-up with the reality....

Cheers,

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Bradd » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:13 am

If you read-up on the thinking and strategy of the Royal Navy's High Command while the Bismark was afloat, I think you will find that the general feeling was that the Bismark was the most powerful battleship in Europe, and there were no thoughts of trying to take her on in a 1-on-1 fight. The basic game plan was to sight, follow, and than direct multiple heavy units into an engagement, as in exactly what happened in the Denmark Straight. The problem was that they were more correct than even they realized; the Bismark was way better than anything the Brits had at the time, and if you look at the details of the battle, it seems likely that the Bismark could have destroyed both the Hood and the POW all by herself, with no help at all from the PE. And by the way, the German High Command was thinking the same thing. That is why they attempted to send the Bismark into the Atlantic by itself with only the PE as an escourt. The idea was that the Bismark could overpower the convoy escorts while the PE went after the merchant ships, and that the threat of the Bismark on the loose in the Atlantic would have disrupted the whole convoy system. These facts are fairly well known, and I am surprised that so many of these posts don't seem to be aware of them. I will enjoy reading your responses, thanks.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby RNfanDan » Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:32 am

The ship's name was Bismarck, not "Bismark" At the upper left of this page, the forum's very title is clearly visible and should be referred to for any confusion about the spelling.

There are Deutschmarks, book marks, datum marks, Denmark, the mark of Zorro, benchmarks, and watermarks; marks all over the place.

But there was no German battleship "Bismark" afloat during 1941.

FYI
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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Vic Dale » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:25 pm

Travelling across the Atlantic in December 1941, Captain Charles Lambe saw deficiencies in the crew of the ship: ...60% of the ship's company have never been to sea before{emphasis mine-Dan}. The proportion of RNR and RNVR officers is very high. They are a shapeless lot somehow and there is none of the active service sailor's swing about the ship. (AND) "They are all worried little chaps doing a bigger job than they can cope with -- civilians dressed up in fact."
[Quoted from Churchill's Navy - The Ships, Men and Organization 1939-45(Brian Lavery, 2006, ISBN: 978-1844860357]


What ship?

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Wordy » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:01 am

Vic Dale wrote:
Travelling across the Atlantic in December 1941, Captain Charles Lambe saw deficiencies in the crew of the ship: ...60% of the ship's company have never been to sea before{emphasis mine-Dan}. The proportion of RNR and RNVR officers is very high. They are a shapeless lot somehow and there is none of the active service sailor's swing about the ship. (AND) "They are all worried little chaps doing a bigger job than they can cope with -- civilians dressed up in fact."
[Quoted from Churchill's Navy - The Ships, Men and Organization 1939-45(Brian Lavery, 2006, ISBN: 978-1844860357]


What ship?


I'm reading Ian Ballantnye's "Rodney Slayer of the Bismarck & D Day Saviour" and that quote does ring a bell, not 100% sure if it's about HMS Rodney though, I'll check tonight.
In the Highest Tradition of the Royal Navy - Captain John Leach MVO DSO

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby RNfanDan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:49 pm

Vic Dale wrote:
Travelling across the Atlantic in December 1941, Captain Charles Lambe saw deficiencies in the crew of the ship: ...60% of the ship's company have never been to sea before{emphasis mine-Dan}. The proportion of RNR and RNVR officers is very high. They are a shapeless lot somehow and there is none of the active service sailor's swing about the ship. (AND) "They are all worried little chaps doing a bigger job than they can cope with -- civilians dressed up in fact."
[Quoted from Churchill's Navy - The Ships, Men and Organization 1939-45(Brian Lavery, 2006, ISBN: 978-1844860357]


What ship?

HMS Duke of York. Pardon is begged for my omission. I also wish to correct one minor point in my post--Lambe was not the Captain of DoY at that time, but was aboard the battleship (apparently as a member of Churchill's entourage).

My apology for the delayed response.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Bradd » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:53 pm

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

Ha Ha! LOL! Good responses, fun to read, thanks very much!

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby RNfanDan » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:18 pm

Deutsche Marke...ja?

Tut mir leid! :oops: :D
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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:29 am

These scenarios are no doubt fun statistically but I fundamentally disagree with some of the discussion.

Using the criteria used by some in this forum statistically the Bismarck should have been able to shoot down all the swordfish biplanes within minutes and be immune to their torpedoes. Guess what though they couldn't do it and despite all the superb torpedo defences on the vessel she received damage that all but guaranteed her destruction.

We can argue all day long about how good the Bismarcks air defences and torpedo defences were, and indeed I'm sure there will be statistics about how efficient they were, but they were not infallible and so they proved.

As for discussion about who would win based on theoretical scenarios they are all flawed. The Bismarck wasn't designed to go toe-to-toe with British capital ships. Arguing that she could of beat any of them is really conjecture because the people who built her and those who sailed on her knew that gunnery battles between battleships are slugfests and almost always end with both sides receiving damage. Its why her orders forbade her to engage any of the big ships and why her Admiral hesitated when he realised they were up against the Hood and PoW. She did destroy the Hood and force the PoW to flee, but as expected she received damage that effectively meant she had to get repaired and which forced her to abandon her mission. Now we can argue that the KGV was no match for the Bismarck but the idea it would destroy one in 10minutes when she actually fought one and only damaged it (receiving damage herself) really seems to have been forgotten.

Now you will get no argument from me about the fact the Bismarck was a superb ship and could beat any British battleship. But what I will argue is she would not have come out unscathed and could equally be beaten by them. Her captain and her crew, unlike some members of this forum, knew she couldn't afford to get into a fight with British capital ships and on the two occasions where she did, she received damage requiring port repairs and was then smashed to pieces.

In short if a Nelson class was ever to have come up against the Bismarck, the Bismarck would have sailed away at full speed to avoid getting damaged, and that would have been exactly the right thing to do. If she couldn't run then I think both ships would have smashed each other up.

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Re: Bismarck vs. Rodney: hand to hand?

Postby RF » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:01 pm

Guest wrote:
In short if a Nelson class was ever to have come up against the Bismarck, the Bismarck would have sailed away at full speed to avoid getting damaged, and that would have been exactly the right thing to do. If she couldn't run then I think both ships would have smashed each other up.


As an observation I would mention that if Rheinubung had proceeded at its original full strength, with Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in company with Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, Lutjens would have had discretion in a convoy attack to use Bismarck to draw the fire of an escorting battleship, to draw it away from the convoy so to leave it open to the other three German ships.

Whether a Nelson class battleship as convoy escort would have been treated as such is debateable, but theoretically it could have happened.
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