Richelieu vs. Bismarck

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spicmart
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Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby spicmart » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:04 pm

How about an encounter between these two beauties?

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Mostlyharmless » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:17 am

At the time when both ships were afloat, it is easy to predict a victory for Bismarck. The critical advantage is that Bismarck’s guns had much less dispersion and Bismarck had radar for ranging and a good fire control system as judged by comparison with that of contemporary RN battleships. We can add that Richelieu’s guns or shells were defective in 1940, although that might have been corrected by 1941 had France not fallen in 1940.

If we look at armour schemes and immunity zones, it is more complicated. One problem is that there is conflicting information on the quality of French armour. If Richelieu’s armour had been made by Britain or Germany, she would have had a very good immune zone against Bismarck’s guns. However, the short armoured citadel of Richelieu suggests that Bismarck might be able to cripple Richelieu by multiple hits outside the citadel.

On the other hand, we know that Bismarck’s guns were vulnerable to hits at likely battle ranges. There is a puzzle (at least for me) in that Richelieu’s turrets might be more vulnerable that one might initially suspect to hits on turret roofs if such hits could cause fragments to detach from the inside of the facehardened armour.

The two ships would both be vulnerable to hits below their armour belts but, alas, I do not know anything about the delay of French fuses.

Richelieu was significantly faster than Bismarck but had a much shorter range. She might be vulnerable to a terrible loss of morale if she suffered damage to her wine store as occurred in 1945 off Malaya.

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby spicmart » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:55 pm

Thank you. But not too many answers till now. Had this been discussed before?
I coudn't find a specific thread.

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:16 pm

there wer quite definitive findings of german engineers regarding french projectile and armor qualities beeing inferior when compared to usual german ones, these findings werent substantiated to what degree

French armour showed a increased tendency to crack(see also hit on turret roof of Dunkerque) and french projectiles showed greater quality variances.

the french ship had thicker plates as the citadel was considerably shorter

the french guns suffered from high dispersion

comparable torpedo defense - more depth Richelieu/thicker plating Bismarck

less redundancy in firecontrol capabilities in the french ship.

a)much more unprotected displacement in the french ship
b)waterline of the French ship vulnerable to ligthest Shells and even non penetratin hits against the belt
a+b the French extensiveley used water excluding material (ebonite mousse) wich may overcome possible flooding problems to a certain degree
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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby spicmart » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:52 pm

And what if given the case that Richelieu's armor and armament were up to german standards? How would the comparison then be?

Did the ebonite mousse give any significant advantage compared to the german system?

And why was the german propulsion system so uneffective?

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Guest » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:55 pm

In which way was the German propulsion system ineffective? As far as I understand available data, it may have been the most fuel-efficient one, not surprising given the operating conditions (high temperature and pressure).
The French propulsion system seems to have been on the thirsty side, but powerful for its size and weight... which is also unsurprising given the specifications.

*

The Germans did an analysis of the French armour scheme, and concluded that their own would achieve better protection with less weight. But as often in these matters, this may reflect different design priorities rather than absolute superiority ("we'd need more weight to meet our objectives; the advantages inherent in the foreign system aren't things we consider critical").

The different weight distribution and larger angle between belt and scarp is more conductive to providing immunity down to very short ranges. The French system has a thicker outer belt which is also declined, so there's a range band where it stops shells that would cause damage to nonvital parts in the German scheme. However, protected volume is much lower for the French ship.

The French gun/shell combination is appreciably more powerful, on even technology and equally competent detail design they should have better penetration. Probably at most ranges - high muzzle velocity, heavier shells, sharper head shape.
The guns are more stressed though, and quad mounts were tricky... lower accuracy and rate of fire are to be expected.

Nothing is certain, but I'd have more confidence in the design of Bismarck.

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:07 pm

spicmart wrote:
And why was the german propulsion system so uneffective?


The German propulsion system was ineffective? I have not heard of that before. A case could probably be made that it was less reliable or less durable than expected. However, nobody's system was fully reliable or timelessly durable. That is why WWII warships had to be put back in dock yard hands every year or two to overhaul the propulsion systems.

And what if given the case that Richelieu's armor and armament were up to german standards? How would the comparison then be?


Even if the quality was up to German standards, it protected much less of the ship's hull than the German protection scheme . It not only provided a shorter citadel in terms of protected length but it was also shorter in terms of depth and height. The French main armoured deck, which capped the tops of the main belts, was two levels below the weather deck, not one as in the KGV or North Carolina. Additionally, it did not feature an upper citadel above the main citadel as in the German scheme. The top of the main belt in the Richelieu was not far above the waterline. Settling and then widespread flooding above the citadel was a risk. The main belt was internal and therefore it did not protect the water plane. If the thin outer shell became riddled by splinters then there would be flooding and settling.

The internal main belts were sloped which increases their ballistic resistance, or in other words increases their effective thickness. Nonetheless, a sloped belt increases the vulnerability to diving shell and/or shells passing below the belt. Unlike Yamato or Iowa/SD there was no lower belt extension.

The belts, assuming their quality was up to par, provided protection against 15" shellfire down to about 20,000 meters. This is inferior to that provided by the German scarp triangle scheme. The decks, assuming the quality was up to German standards, provided protection out to about 30,000 meters against 15" shellfire. The German ship has about the same level of protection at long range as the French ship, but has superior protection at shorter ranges assuming equal armour quality.
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: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby spicmart » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:52 pm

As for the ineffectiveness I read it somewhere and just found this quote of
Thorsten Wahl:

On the other side the Richelieu had a very powerful machinery. The HP output was increased in comparison with the german machines.
aditional the weigth was roughly 500 tons less according with the german piece and it also needs less space on board only 16 m in width, this allowing an very broad TDS. and it seems the machinery was very reliable.

the french machinery needs roughly 8000 m³ in comparison to the german machinery which needs around 14000 m³, in my eyes a quantum leap, the best part of the french ship.


How could there be such big difference?

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:33 pm

spicmart wrote:As for the ineffectiveness I read it somewhere and just found this quote of
Thorsten Wahl:

On the other side the Richelieu had a very powerful machinery. The HP output was increased in comparison with the german machines.
aditional the weigth was roughly 500 tons less according with the german piece and it also needs less space on board only 16 m in width, this allowing an very broad TDS. and it seems the machinery was very reliable.

the french machinery needs roughly 8000 m³ in comparison to the german machinery which needs around 14000 m³, in my eyes a quantum leap, the best part of the french ship.


How could there be such big difference?


Less efficient would would be be a better use of English language words than "ineffective". Ineffective implies that it could not effectively do what it was designed to do. It could do effectively what it was designed to do. In Tirpitz it produced 163,000 HP and could drive the 50,000 ton battleship at sustained speeds of about 30 knots. That is very effective.

The French machinery is more space and weight efficient according to Thorsten's post quoted. But that doesn't mean the German machinery was greatly inefficient overall. It weighed less and produced more power than the machinery in the KGV or the North Carolina, for example. So it was more weight efficient than KGV but less weight efficient than Rich.

Max HP produced according to one handy source:
Richelieu:179,000
Tirpitz:163,000
Littorio:139,561
North Carolina:121,000
KGV:114,000
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: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:16 am

Dave Saxton wrote: ".....Max HP produced ......Littorio:139,561"

Hi Dave,
the figure for Littorio's ship is correct as this was the maximum power produced during machinery trials (producing a speed exceeding 30 knots, albeit at very light load).

However, one curious point is that, due to "economical" constraints and to fear that the machinery could break and would force the ships to a long work period (not allowable during wartime), the trials for all ships in the class were NEVER conducted forcing the extra-power designed for the propulsion plant ("prove a tutta forza in extrapotenza") that were commonly run on all Italian warships.

Vittorio Veneto only used the extra-power during her career. It happened in action for some 20 consecutive hours after being torpedoed at Gaudo, for the right turbines and shafts only, developing 120% of the design power, demonstrating the reliability and performances of her propulsion plant.
This figure would let imagine a max extra-power of more than 160.000 HP and a speed of 30+ knots, even at deep load, for the Littorio class battleships.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Mostlyharmless » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:51 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Snip....
Even if the quality was up to German standards, it protected much less of the ship's hull than the German protection scheme . It not only provided a shorter citadel in terms of protected length but it was also shorter in terms of depth and height. The French main armoured deck, which capped the tops of the main belts, was two levels below the weather deck, not one as in the KGV or North Carolina. Additionally, it did not feature an upper citadel above the main citadel as in the German scheme.


There is only one deck in Richelieu (my very large TIFF images are actually of Jean Bart) between the 22 mm weather deck and the 170 mm armour deck over the main magazines. The weather deck further aft seems to be 26 mm over 150 mm but there is still only one deck between.

I think that the British, American and French ships have one deck while the German, Italian and Japanese ships have two decks between the weather deck and the main armour deck.

Added as edit: The images can be found via http://3dhistory.de/wordpress/warship-d ... uild-1940/

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby dunmunro » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:42 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
spicmart wrote:As for the ineffectiveness I read it somewhere and just found this quote of
Thorsten Wahl:

On the other side the Richelieu had a very powerful machinery. The HP output was increased in comparison with the german machines.
aditional the weigth was roughly 500 tons less according with the german piece and it also needs less space on board only 16 m in width, this allowing an very broad TDS. and it seems the machinery was very reliable.

the french machinery needs roughly 8000 m³ in comparison to the german machinery which needs around 14000 m³, in my eyes a quantum leap, the best part of the french ship.


How could there be such big difference?


Less efficient would would be be a better use of English language words than "ineffective". Ineffective implies that it could not effectively do what it was designed to do. It could do effectively what it was designed to do. In Tirpitz it produced 163,000 HP and could drive the 50,000 ton battleship at sustained speeds of about 30 knots. That is very effective.

The French machinery is more space and weight efficient according to Thorsten's post quoted. But that doesn't mean the German machinery was greatly inefficient overall. It weighed less and produced more power than the machinery in the KGV or the North Carolina, for example. So it was more weight efficient than KGV but less weight efficient than Rich.

Max HP produced according to one handy source:
Richelieu:179,000
Tirpitz:163,000
Littorio:139,561
North Carolina:121,000
KGV:114,000


Maximum known power produced by a KGV class battleship was 134k shp by PoW.

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:22 pm

Mostlyharmless wrote:
Dave Saxton wrote:
There is only one deck in Richelieu (my very large TIFF images are actually of Jean Bart) between the 22 mm weather deck and the 170 mm armour deck over the main magazines. The weather deck further aft seems to be 26 mm over 150 mm but there is still only one deck between.

I think that the British, American and French ships have one deck while the German, Italian and Japanese ships have two decks between the weather deck and the main armour deck.

Added as edit: The images can be found via http://3dhistory.de/wordpress/warship-d ... uild-1940/


That is different from the cross sectional drawing I have of Richelieu which shows the main armoured deck two decks down. I now suspect that my drawing is incorrect.
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: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby dunmunro » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:07 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Dave Saxton wrote: ".....Max HP produced ......Littorio:139,561"

Hi Dave,
the figure for Littorio's ship is correct as this was the maximum power produced during machinery trials (producing a speed exceeding 30 knots, albeit at very light load).

However, one curious point is that, due to "economical" constraints and to fear that the machinery could break and would force the ships to a long work period (not allowable during wartime), the trials for all ships in the class were NEVER conducted forcing the extra-power designed for the propulsion plant ("prove a tutta forza in extrapotenza") that were commonly run on all Italian warships.

Vittorio Veneto only used the extra-power during her career. It happened in action for some 20 consecutive hours after being torpedoed at Gaudo, for the right turbines and shafts only, developing 120% of the design power, demonstrating the reliability and performances of her propulsion plant.
This figure would let imagine a max extra-power of more than 160.000 HP and a speed of 30+ knots, even at deep load, for the Littorio class battleships.


Bye, Alberto


VV had extra steam available, without forcing the boilers because some of the turbines were shut down. The boilers are always the weak links when forcing past safe limits is required.

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Re: Richelieu vs. Bismarck

Postby spicmart » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:01 pm

Sorry.
I didn't differentiate between "ineffective" and "inefficient". Just took over "ineffective" that I read somewhere on this forum without overthinking.

the french machinery needs roughly 8000 m³ in comparison to the german machinery which needs around 14000 m³, in my eyes a quantum leap, the best part of the french ship.


But this difference seems to be of an order of magnitude and even more so when one considers Richelieu's greater power output.


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