Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
User avatar
Dave Saxton
Supporter
Posts: 3048
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains USA

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by Dave Saxton » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:44 pm

dale3242 wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:58 pm


During Scharnhorst's last mission, the battle of North Cape, she hit the Norfolk twice, but failed to hit the Duke of York even once. 38 cm guns would have decreased her chances of hitting the Duke of York. Not getting hits with bigger guns doesn't help. Better radar and radar use was needed instead.
I agree that the 28 cm weapon was big enough for just about every application short of taking on a full sized modern battleship. In that case, however, it didn't have the required belt penetration at medium range nor the required deck penetration short of extreme ranges. Once either armor piercing projectile gets through the opponent's armor the 38 cm was far more destructive. A hit from a 38 cm will be more effective. Against unarmored or lightly protected targets the 38 cm using semi armor piercing or high explosive rounds will be far more destructive per hit. It was more likely to disable or possibly destroy the target quicker. In the case of using HE or SAP rounds, splinters from near misses against small targets would certainly cause more damage.

As far as I know the 38 cm was a more accurate gun than the 28 cm. It had low dispersion and it had better over all ballistics at medium and long ranges.
Better radar and radar use was needed instead.
The Scharnhorst had excellent radars for fire control applications. Its radars had recently been upgraded and both the forward and the aft sets had a bearing accuracy within 1/10 of a degree and a range accuracy tolerance of only 25 meters. These accuracies compare favorably with any WWII gun laying radar. What the Scharnhorst and Bey really needed was a surface search set equipped with PPI display. Such became available to German surface ships a few months later.

The fact that Scharnhorst only scored a handful of hits against the Duke of York*, all to the upper works, and that the Duke of York also scored only handful of hits during the 90 minute chase phase of the battle probably had to do with it being a stern chase at night in appalling weather and heavy seas. The Duke of York straddled the Scharnhorst dozens of times. Moreover, British accounts report that the Scharnhorst consistently straddled the Duke of York after the Duke of York's radar jammer was knocked out. In both cases these facts do not indicate that the fire control technology was inadequate for Duke of York or Scharnhorst.

* One hit passed through a mast knocking out one of the radars. Another passed though and through below the radar office for the Type 273 radar, temporarily knocking it out. Another possible hit to a mast may have been responsible for knocking out the radar jammer.
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.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3325
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:51 am

Hello everybody and Happy New Year !

I tend to agree with both dale3242 and Dave Saxton: the 28 cm guns proved good in any situation the twins had to fight into (especially against Glorious with a very long range hit), but they lacked the punch to kill any modern battleship. It must be kept into account, however, that a deluge of 28 cm shells can quickly compromise any modern battleship fighting efficiency by knocking out radars, rangefinders, directors etc., severing vents and uptakes and heavily flooding fore and aft compartments out of the citadel.

I would say that it would have been "interesting" (from a speculative viewpoint) to see a duel for the kill between a single Scharnhorst (or both the twins...) and any modern battleship to check whether the speed and RoF could offset the light punch.


It's my understanding that during Berlin the real reason for not attacking Ramillies, Malaya and possibly even Nelson was not the "inferiority" of the twins on paper, but more the orders given to Lutjens not to engage battleships to avoid damages and possible losses, as per German strategy.


At Cape North, Scharnhorst would have been a very hard nut to crack for DoY even with 28 cm guns, had the two ships been alone (while the British were surrounding the German ship) and had Scharnhorst had her fore radar working, thus not being taken by surprise. Had Scharnhorst disabled the only Type 284 of DoY with one of her first salvos (KGV totally lacked redundancy of gunnery radar, while Scharnhorst had two of them), IMO the battle could even have resulted in favor of Scharnhorst (that carried torpedoes too, in order to "finish" her crippled enemy, instead of using the 28 cm, had the duel been aimed to the "kill" of the enemy).

Had Scharnhorst been armed with 6 38cm guns and had she fought DoY alone, despite less guns available, DoY would have been out of immunity very soon, exposing a large area of her vitals, while the belt + scarp arrangement could have given an advantage to Scharnhorst at very short ranges, leaving only the 60 cm boiler hump (and the "under the belt" area) "exposed" to 14" shells.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7587
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by RF » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:50 pm

dale3242 wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:58 pm
During Scharnhorst's last mission, the battle of North Cape, she hit the Norfolk twice, but failed to hit the Duke of York even once. 38 cm guns would have decreased her chances of hitting the Duke of York. Not getting hits with bigger guns doesn't help. Better radar and radar use was needed instead.
I believe there were two 11 inch hits which did little damage as the shells did not penetrate into the upper decks.

A 15 inch shell would have had greater penetration power. The problem here is that Scharnhorst was fighting blindly so perhaps not a good test.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7587
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by RF » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:02 pm

dale3242 wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:58 pm
The German Twins were the most successful German battleships. They were the only capital ships to ever sink a fleet aircraft carrier. They were the only German capital ships to successfully attack British Atlantic shipping.
Sinking merchant ships isn't really relevant here as they are not worth the expenditure of battleship sized shells.....

Ship for ship the most economic German regular warship to attack merchant shipping was Admiral Scheer. Arguably Operation Berlin could have achieved the same merchant ship sinkings using one ship instead of two. The problem overall was convoy attack, because of the risks posed by escort ships (particulary torpedoes)

It is I think that the biggest irony that the most successful raiders were the hilfskreuzer; in the pursuit of merchant ships they achieved more than the regular warships and on a proportionate scale did more damage to Allied warships as well....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 784
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:53 am

At Cape North, Scharnhorst would have been a very hard nut to crack for DoY even with 28 cm guns, had the two ships been alone (while the British were surrounding the German ship) and had Scharnhorst had her fore radar working, thus not being taken by surprise. Had Scharnhorst disabled the only Type 284 of DoY with one of her first salvos (KGV totally lacked redundancy of gunnery radar, while Scharnhorst had two of them), IMO the battle could even have resulted in favor of Scharnhorst (that carried torpedoes too, in order to "finish" her crippled enemy, instead of using the 28 cm, had the duel been aimed to the "kill" of the enemy).

Had Scharnhorst been armed with 6 38cm guns and had she fought DoY alone, despite less guns available, DoY would have been out of immunity very soon, exposing a large area of her vitals, while the belt + scarp arrangement could have given an advantage to Scharnhorst at very short ranges, leaving only the 60 cm boiler hump (and the "under the belt" area) "exposed" to 14" shells.

Hi Alberto,
Many thanks for your post.
While I will always bow to your superior knowledge on naval affairs, I sometimes wonder why the KGV class capabilities always seem to be underestimated, particularly the later ones which had most (but not all) their problems solved. I realise that Scharnhorst was a powerful (and beautiful) ship, but it seems that in the later KG's she would be giving away around 10,000 tons and had 9x11" against 10x14", so although I would agree Scharnhorst would be as you said 'a tough nut to crack'' but surely barring any major disaster there should really be only one winner in a 'one to one' confrontation.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3325
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:18 am

Hi Paul,
I agree KGV's are often underestimated as battleships. I personally think they were powerful ships.

When I say Scharnhorst would have been a hard nut to crack, I mean that Scharnhorst had the same belt+scarp scheme than Bismarck (excluding the upper belt and citadel of course), thus she would have been immune to KGV guns at basically any practical range, as well as KGV would have eben to 28 cm guns. My point was that KGV relied on a very good gunnery radar for blind fire and that this radar was unique on board (don't know whether and how the surface warning radar could have been used for directing fire, surely in a uch more approximate way).
Scharnhorst had 2 radars capable of blind fire.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3859
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by dunmunro » Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:05 pm

paul.mercer wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:53 am
At Cape North, Scharnhorst would have been a very hard nut to crack for DoY even with 28 cm guns, had the two ships been alone (while the British were surrounding the German ship) and had Scharnhorst had her fore radar working, thus not being taken by surprise. Had Scharnhorst disabled the only Type 284 of DoY with one of her first salvos (KGV totally lacked redundancy of gunnery radar, while Scharnhorst had two of them), IMO the battle could even have resulted in favor of Scharnhorst (that carried torpedoes too, in order to "finish" her crippled enemy, instead of using the 28 cm, had the duel been aimed to the "kill" of the enemy).

Had Scharnhorst been armed with 6 38cm guns and had she fought DoY alone, despite less guns available, DoY would have been out of immunity very soon, exposing a large area of her vitals, while the belt + scarp arrangement could have given an advantage to Scharnhorst at very short ranges, leaving only the 60 cm boiler hump (and the "under the belt" area) "exposed" to 14" shells.

Hi Alberto,
Many thanks for your post.
While I will always bow to your superior knowledge on naval affairs, I sometimes wonder why the KGV class capabilities always seem to be underestimated, particularly the later ones which had most (but not all) their problems solved. I realise that Scharnhorst was a powerful (and beautiful) ship, but it seems that in the later KG's she would be giving away around 10,000 tons and had 9x11" against 10x14", so although I would agree Scharnhorst would be as you said 'a tough nut to crack'' but surely barring any major disaster there should really be only one winner in a 'one to one' confrontation.
DoY had multiple radars that could be used for gunnery:

Type 284 dedicated 14in gunnery
Type 273 surface warning with a gunnery ranging panel
Type 281 air warning with with gunnery ranging panel
Type 285 x 4 dedicated 5.25in gunnery

Scharnhorst was about 3-4k tons lighter than DoY.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3325
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:51 pm

...of which, AFAIK, only the Type 284 was comparable to FuMO26 in terms of blind firing capabilities against surface targets.... and there was only one 284 aerial on board PoW, while Scharnhorst had two FuMO26 antennas.

Possibly Dave Saxton can help here.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3859
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by dunmunro » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:16 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:51 pm
...of which, AFAIK, only the Type 284 was comparable to FuMO26 in terms of blind firing capabilities against surface targets.... and there was only one 284 aerial on board PoW, while Scharnhorst had two FuMO26 antennas.

Possibly Dave Saxton can help here.


Bye, Alberto
Type 273 was a 10cm radar that was superior to type 284 ( it detected Scharnhorst at 45k yds) and was considerably superior to Fumo26. See the videos in the Naval Technology forum. Type 285 was shorter ranged than Type 284 but was similar in capability.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3325
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:17 pm

I'm afraid the detection range performances means nothing here (despite having a weight tactically). Type 273 was a surface warning radar, not a specialized gunnery radar, as Type 284. FuMO26 was a multi-role radar.

Type 273 performances might have been superior to FuMO26 (I would ask Dave to comment, as I not an expert and I remember FuMO26 had very good range performances: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1724&hilit=FuMO26&start=45#p71853) in detecting an enemy at long range, NOT for its precision in giving the range and the bearing and detecting the fall of shots during the engagement in order to blindly direct fire... These charateristics are the only ones that matters for a gunnery radar, not the absolute range.

Type 275 was mainly intended as an AA gunnery radar, I have no clue what its performances could have been in directing the main armament against a surface target .


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3859
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by dunmunro » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:05 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:17 pm
I'm afraid the detection range performances means nothing here (despite having a weight tactically). Type 273 was a surface warning radar, not a specialized gunnery radar, as Type 284. FuMO26 was a multi-role radar.

Type 273 performances might have been superior to FuMO26 (I would ask Dave to comment, as I not an expert and I remember FuMO26 had very good range performances: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1724&hilit=FuMO26&start=45#p71853) in detecting an enemy at long range, NOT for its precision in giving the range and the bearing and detecting the fall of shots during the engagement in order to blindly direct fire... These charateristics are the only ones that matters for a gunnery radar, not the absolute range.

Type 275 was mainly intended as an AA gunnery radar, I have no clue what its performances could have been in directing the main armament against a surface target .


Bye, Alberto
Type 273 had a full gunnery ranging panel and was superior to the type 284 in the gunnery mode. It could detect FoS and measure bearing very accurately.
Last edited by dunmunro on Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3325
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:29 pm

"Of course DoY's type 273 also had a precision ranging panel and gave ~25 yd ranging accuracy but could not give high accuracy in bearing"
who wrote this sentence here (viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1724&hilit=FuMO26&start=45#p63765), confirming that Type 273 was not precise in bearing ? How would you direct blind fire with an approximate bearing ? :lol:

Please read (again...) on this thread (viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1724&hilit=FuMO26) for the performances of FuMO26 vs allied radars, instead of thinking that whatever is produced in Britain is superior "a priori"....


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3859
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by dunmunro » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:30 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:29 pm
"Of course DoY's type 273 also had a precision ranging panel and gave ~25 yd ranging accuracy but could not give high accuracy in bearing"
who wrote this sentence here (viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1724&hilit=FuMO26&start=45#p63765), confirming that Type 273 was not precise in bearing ? How would you direct blind fire with an approximate bearing ? :lol:

Please read (again...) on this thread (viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1724&hilit=FuMO26) for the performances of FuMO26 vs allied radars, instead of thinking that whatever is produced in Britain is superior "a priori"....


Bye, Alberto
The videos I mentioned show that Type 273's ranging panel provided beam switching for high accuracy bearings and it could spot FoS as well. This is new to me information.

If you are going to quote me please include the full statement or else indicate that there's more via ..."

What I actually stated:
Of course DoY's type 273 also had a precision ranging panel and gave ~25 yd ranging accuracy but could not give high accuracy in bearing, IIRC.

DoY could spot 14in fall of shot up with the type 284m3 up to 20k yds and could use the Type 273 beyond that range, but as her type 273 had a PPI display Fraser preferred to use it to coordinate his forces.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3325
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:27 am

Hello everybody,
and despite having missed such an important disclaimer, the "old" sentence still makes more sense: a surface warning radar is not designed in order to have a very high resolution in bearing.
NO evidence whatsoever yet that Type 273 could have had a bearing precision and a fall of shots separation sufficient to effectively assist gunnery in a blind duel, as the "training" videos give no technical info at all, just saying that in case 284 is unable to direct guns, 273 can transmit data to the TS... The gunnery radar on board was the single Type 284.

I hope Dave can clarify this point.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3859
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Scharnhorst w/ 38cm's and other improvements

Post by dunmunro » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:52 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:27 am
Hello everybody,
and despite having missed such an important disclaimer, the "old" sentence still makes more sense: a surface warning radar is not designed in order to have a very high resolution in bearing.
NO evidence whatsoever yet that Type 273 could have had a bearing precision and a fall of shots separation sufficient to effectively assist gunnery in a blind duel, as the "training" videos give no technical info at all, just saying that in case 284 is unable to direct guns, 273 can transmit data to the TS... The gunnery radar on board was the single Type 284.

I hope Dave can clarify this point.


Bye, Alberto
Video 4 shows full blind fire via type 273 with the 273 operator spotting the FoS.

Type 285 had the same capability as 284 for beam switching (albeit with shorter range) and was used for this purpose against Scharnhorst whilst controlling the 5.25in armament but the range and bearing information could be directed to the 14in AFCT, if needed.

Type 281 and type 273, even if they could only give ranges, would still be of great assistance since the target's gun flashes could be used to determine target bearing. Type 281 ranged on Scharnhorst out to 25k yds.

Post Reply