Anson and Tirpitz

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alecsandros
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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by alecsandros » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:21 pm

Tirpitz also had RPC for elevation, which, in those conditions, could make the difference on precision firing.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by dunmunro » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:16 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:46 pm
paul.mercer wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:08 am


Thanks Dave,
I think you may well be right, however with 10 guns v 8 (and all firing properly!) would Anson not cause an immense amount of damage to Tirpitz's upperworks, including her radar, fire control systems etc even though her shells might not actually penetrate the main armour, in a similar way that happened to Bismarck - although I realise that the range was much closer in the Bismarck action?
The reason I ask is that while in the early years the KGV's had problems and are usually judged in that light, the final versions, Anson/Howe seem to have been a lot better overall and are perhaps not always given the credit they deserved.
The Duke of York with ten guns did not do much further damage to Scharnhorst's upper works during the chase phase of the historical battle. With both opponents having functional radars at the beginning of the battle, the battle range will probably not start at 11,000 meters as in the historical battle. Although being the polar night and during a raging storm it will not be a long range battle either. Perhaps the Germans allow the range to fall to 17,000 meters to ID the radar contact, which allows a battle to develop. The slightly longer ranges favor Tirpitz in my opinion. Anson's type 284M will have a more limited maximum range that it could provide consistent spotting in the conditions. Tirpitz's sea keeping in the storm allow it to gradually pull away into the night, once the range exceeds 21,000 meters.
Anson was most likely fitted with type 284P.

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:17 pm

284P was not deployed. They decided to wait until 274 was available instead.
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: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by dunmunro » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:38 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:17 pm
284P was not deployed. They decided to wait until 274 was available instead.

I'm not sure why you'd think that. Anyways I've identified type 284P4 on several cruisers via their action reports in Glasgow, Black Prince and Diadem.

I suspect that policy might have been to upgrade 284 to 284M but Anson would have received a Type284P when built as they were the current production model in Aug 1942. Anson also had a gunnery ranging panel for her type 273.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:04 am

It is not what I think but what I have read.
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: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:42 am

Thanks again to everyone for their input, I suspect that unless Tirpitz was caught unawares like Scharnhorst, that the presence of a 'heavy unit' either accompanying or close to a convoy would probably be enough for her to not engage unless Hitler or Donitz had specifically ordered her CO that she must attack a convoy, like Bismarck, she could not afford to take heavy damage particularly if there were torpedo carrying cruisers or destroyers in the escort which I understand some of which usually escorted a convoy, a battleship, or a carrier.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by alecsandros » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:19 am

Command is key IMHO.
If Tirpitz keeps her radars switched off (as Scharnhorst did) , she will be caught with her pants down and broadsided at least 2 times before she could effectively respond with her batteries.
In theory, Tirpitz should have been a more stable gun platform then Scharnhorst was. Also, she had 4 aft guns, and not 3 as Scharnhorst. She also carried a RPC system, which I don't think was installed on Scharnhorst.

If Tirpitz switches radars on, and showers HMS Belfast with 380mm gunfire (Belfast was tracking Scharnhorst from 13 to 17km away in fog banks), there is the probability that splinters from 380mm sea-impacts will cut off Belfast's aerials (as happened with HMS Sheffield on May 26th and with Duke of York on Dec 1943), thus cutting the continuous range inputs for the British side (Belfast was vectoring Duke of York on the correct heading for correct interception, until Duke of York's own main radars acquired the target)

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by dunmunro » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:15 pm

BTW, according to Jordan and Dumas, Richelieu was fitted with Type 284P4 in Nov 1943.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:19 pm

Scharnhorst operating with its radars switched off was most likely due to how pressed for time Bey was in getting the operation under way, rather than as a matter of KM doctrine. When Kapitan zer See Helmut Giessler began investigating why Scharnhorst's radars did not catch the approach of the enemy cruisers, he was puzzled. He noted that Scharnhorst was equipped with the latest model radar sets available. Furthermore, he was aware of the performance tests of the new radars carried out by Scharnhorst in the weeks prior to the operation, which included blind fire gunnery exercises and drills. He remained puzzled until he examined the war diaries of the destroyers and the operational orders contained therein. He realized that rather than drawing up new orders tailored to the operation at hand, the OOs were just basically a copy of the OOs used the Spitzbergen operation during early Sept 1943. During that operation they had clear weather with unlimited visibility and more than 14 hours of day light. There was no need to risk giving away the element surprise by radar transmissions being detected by the enemy, so radars were ordered switched off. On Dec 26th the conditions could not have been more different. Yet they also ordered the radars switched off.

Bey was running way behind schedule. He was supposed to depart the fjords by 17:00 hours. Scharnhorst had had steam up since before noon. Bey did not arrive at Scharnhorst until 18:15. The passive radar gear on Scharnhorst failed to test and Z38's radar detector was removed and installed on Scharnhorst. Scharnhorst weighed anchor at 19:01. Not until after this did operational orders get handed to the destroyer commander. From Jacobsen:
A two page document that had clearly been dictated by a man badly pressed for time. Several typing errors had been corrected by hand...


Not until 20:30 did Scharnhorst clear the anti-torpedo nets with the aids of two tugs. Scharnhorst finally passed Point Lucy 15 miles from Stern Sound at 23:03 hours. Six hours behind schedule. Had Bey been on time, he likely could have intercepted the convoy and got back before either Burnett or Fraser could have intervened. there were no RN heavy units with or near the convoy.
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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Dave Saxton
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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:21 pm

Type 284P would not have altered the circumstances in favor of Anson. Not even Type 274.
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: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:28 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:21 pm
Type 284P would not have altered the circumstances in favor of Anson. Not even Type 274.
Thanks again Dave for your input, poor old KGV class, they don't seem to have many supporters do they?

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:14 pm

Thanks again Dave for your input, poor old KGV class, they don't seem to have many supporters do they?
I like the KGVs actually. They were fast and well armoured. They operated in adverse and diverse conditions and were capable of fighting at night. They incorporated many innovative design elements. I think they would have been even better with 9 x 15" guns but that was the fault of politicians.

And their radars were very good. Type 284M/P and 285 was better than USN's MK3/4 in my opinion, and probably better than FuMO27. Type 273, especially 273Q, was one of the best surface surveillance radars of WWII, particularly when equipped with a PPI indicator. Type 279 and Type 281 proved to be outstanding air warning radars with the BPF.


Late war, they had Type 273 taken away from them and replaced by a poor performing replacement system, but that was by bureaucratic diktat. Type 274 was a very powerful radar with very fine resolution, but it employed such a narrow beam that it could not see shell splashes falling outside the beam. And the transmitted beam was not scanned because that would have made it vulnerable to certain types of jamming. It eventually required another radar set to be used along with it for spotting post war.
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: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by northcape » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:37 am

One thing which is often forgotten about the KGV's: Compared to most other WW2 battleship classes, they could actually prove themselves at many occasions. 3 battleship to battleship actions, many coastal bombardments, anti-aircraft actions, convoy duties. It is always one thing to compare numbers on paper, but which other classes were so extensively/widely used and therefore allow for real-world comparisons? Scharnhorst class maybe, but after that I'm not sure.

So we have a good record of their strengths and weaknesses, as they were (as all ships) desperately needed by the RN, over the entire course of the war.

I like them very much, but still I think they had many deficiencies. I also still find it interesting that all classes after the QE were somehow strange compromises between novel design features and limitations imposed by budget(?) and political constraints. e.g why not build some more QE instead their overall weaker R-class successors ? Why was the successor of the Nelson class not convincingly "better" (or stronger) than the Nelson? (In a 1:1 standoff between Nelson and KGV, I'm not sure about the outcome). Don't get me started on the Vanguard...

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by alecsandros » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:49 pm

US Washington class had as well alot of missions (Arctic convoy duty, Guadalcanal fight-to-the-death missions, AAA coverage of fleet carriers, coastal bombardment).

Japanese Kongo class (4 units) also had ample war coverage, from carrier escort to coastal bombardment, Java battles, Indian Ocean forray, etc.

The KGVs were nice ships , allthough I'm having difficulties separating them from the Royal Navy as a whole. I.e. , even with better or worse characteristics, the KGVs would have anyhow benefitted from the ample support of ocean destroyers and vast array of bases spread around the globe , which offered invaluable support for the battleships. An interesting thought exercise is to swap KGV class with another battleship class of the same years. Swap it with Bismarck and see what you get. Does the Kriegsmarine benefit from KGV more then it had with the Bismarcks ? (other then by expended raw materials for construction). Does the ROyal Navy benefit more by having 2 Bismarcks then 2 KGVs ?

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:48 pm

northcape wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:37 am


I like them very much, but still I think they had many deficiencies.
All one must do is look at the upgrades incorporated into Vanguard to identify the deficiencies.
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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