Anson and Tirpitz

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:07 pm

alecsandros wrote:
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 ?

The RN did have a reasonably close Bismarck in the form of Vanguard. Was it an upgrade? I think so.

Would the KGVs been a better fit for either USN or IJN at Guadalcanal? I think so.
Would a Tirpitz or two been an even better fit than a KGV or two for either protagonist at Guadalcanal? I think so.
Would a 1943 Iowa been a better fit for the Germans during the historical Bismarck 1941 mission? I think so. (Based mainly on AAA.)
Would a 1942 North Carolina or South Dakota been a better replacement for Bismarck's historical mission? I don't think so.
Would a 1941 KGV done better than Bismarck if they were swapped? I don't think so.
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 alecsandros » Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:42 pm

It would be very interesting to see a heavy weight boxing match in Dec 1943, between Anson and Tirpitz.

IMHO, a fully worked up Tirpitz, with her destroyers, could adequately deal with Norfolk/Sheffield/Belfast (Norfolk and Sheffield badly damaged, Belfast's radar knocked out - Tirpitz moderately damged, main radar and several AA and secondary guns destroyed, 1 destroyer lost for either side). Assuming radar contact kept by British destroyers for some time, and a stroke of luck for HMS Anson with HMS Jamaica, interception could be done at say 16:00h, only that Anson would be discovered by a German destroyer (which would be sunk in short order), and Tirpitz would be training her guns through the fog, against the recently discovered enemy.

Thus, at 16:47 , BOTH Anson and Tirpitz would exchange broadsides. 3 German destroyers close by would rumble with HMS Jamaica. Tirpitz would be hit early on by 2 x 356mm shots (turret Caesar knocked out, 1 boiler room flooded), but Anson would receive 2 x 380mm hits as well, 1 knocking out her main radar set, and the other damaging her funnel uptakes, forcing reduction of speed down to 15kts. Several broadsides later and Tirpitz has 2 extra holes (1 in forecastle reducing speed to 25kts, 1 in the aft command tower killing everybody inside), and Anson 2 more as well, 1 in the "A" barbette, blocking the turret, and 1 in the stearing gear shafts, cutting off 1 of the 4 shafts completely, and temporarily jamming another. Hence speed remains down.

As the British destroyers close , Tirpitz fires with 6x380mm , 4x150mm and 6x105mm against them. Saumarez takes a through-and-through APC 380mm shot that puts off all her boilers. Scorpion receives 4 successive medium artillery hits and catches fire. Savage and Stord approach to point-blank range and launch 16 torps, 2 of wihch strike Tirpitz amidships. Speed drops to 18kts, then to 14kts. Saumarez receives 3 x 380mm hits or close nearmisses and breaks in 2.

In the mean time, of the 3 German destroyers, 1 is burning (later to sink) , hit by 152mm gunfire from Jamaica. The other 2 successfully pin the light cruiser between them and launch torp attacks from both sides. 1 torp hits Jamaica, blowing off her stern and rudder- the ship has to be towed. The 2 remaining dsetroyers race to rejoin Tirpitz. As waterspouts burst between them, they understand Anson is still in pursuit, albeit at a slower pace (16kts).

Tirpitz is joined at 18:30 by her 2 destroyers. The battleship slowly builds back speed up to 18kts, and limps away. Anson fires from time to time, with 1 x 356mm shots hitting the main armor deck of Tirpitz at 18:40, and exploding low order.

Tirpitz would slowly break away, into the night.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:44 pm

Tirpitz, unlike Scharnhorst, had three radars that could see forward by late 43/early 44, one possibly with a PPI. Their reliable range was plus 30,000 meters. Only incompetence or very bad luck causes Tirpitz to be brought to battle under such favorable, to the RN, circumstances. If we go forward into 1944 Tirpitz receives an additional 50cm radar, and a 6cm PPI set. Furthermore, Tirpitz, by late 43 would likely have a reliable centimetric radar detector which Bey did not have on Scharnhorst during the historical mission.

At Barents Sea, the 10cm radars on RN destroyers were effective to maximum range of 16,000 yards. Additionally, destroyers would not be able to keep up with Tirpitz into heavy seas. In the historical mission RN cruisers could not make more than 24 knots into the seas. The German admiral could simply walk away from shadowing destroyers by taking a course into the seas and break contact.

Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst changes the dynamics in profound ways. Anson is fundamentally not much different from Duke of York.
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 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:21 pm

Another main difference between Scharnhorst and a Tirpitz (not damaged by subs in '43) would be the more reliable machinery of the latter (less prone to breakdowns). If we assume that Scharnhorst's sudden decrease of speed was not due to an hit from Anson, but due to a more likely* boiler breakdown, then it was her unreliable machinery which sealed her fate.
According to operational orders (if they would have been the same for Tirpitz as for Scharnhorst), Tirpitz would turn away and outrun Anson, while fighting a retreat battle (very likely more successful than Scharnorst, better radar and 4x38 cm aft instead 3X28 cm). Again, this would only happen if Tirpitz would accept Anson coming that close at all.


* Nobody knows for sure what has happened, but as pointed out by other analysis, a hit from DoY at that time with exactly that impact would be VERY lucky. Scharnhorst's high-pressure boilers were known to break up at extreme load, weren't they?

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by alecsandros » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:05 pm

northcape wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:21 pm
* Nobody knows for sure what has happened, but as pointed out by other analysis, a hit from DoY at that time with exactly that impact would be VERY lucky. Scharnhorst's high-pressure boilers were known to break up at extreme load, weren't they?
They were, and nearly got her into the jaws of the Royal Navy on another occasion as well (1940, battle for Stromvaer).

Swapping her for Tirpitz means Tirpitz would be somewhat slower, no ? Scharnhorst was rated at 32kts, Tirpitz at 30kts...

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by northcape » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:58 pm

Bu Anson in 1943/44 is what - 27 kts? By 1945, a fully loaded KGV could not make more then 26 kts (I think from G&D, or Roberts). Tirpitz has less speed advantage then Scharnhorst, but still. And without slowing down, no chance for the British destroyers to catch up and deliver their torpedoes.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by paul.mercer » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:36 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:42 pm
It would be very interesting to see a heavy weight boxing match in Dec 1943, between Anson and Tirpitz.

IMHO, a fully worked up Tirpitz, with her destroyers, could adequately deal with Norfolk/Sheffield/Belfast (Norfolk and Sheffield badly damaged, Belfast's radar knocked out - Tirpitz moderately damged, main radar and several AA and secondary guns destroyed, 1 destroyer lost for either side). Assuming radar contact kept by British destroyers for some time, and a stroke of luck for HMS Anson with HMS Jamaica, interception could be done at say 16:00h, only that Anson would be discovered by a German destroyer (which would be sunk in short order), and Tirpitz would be training her guns through the fog, against the recently discovered enemy.

Thus, at 16:47 , BOTH Anson and Tirpitz would exchange broadsides. 3 German destroyers close by would rumble with HMS Jamaica. Tirpitz would be hit early on by 2 x 356mm shots (turret Caesar knocked out, 1 boiler room flooded), but Anson would receive 2 x 380mm hits as well, 1 knocking out her main radar set, and the other damaging her funnel uptakes, forcing reduction of speed down to 15kts. Several broadsides later and Tirpitz has 2 extra holes (1 in forecastle reducing speed to 25kts, 1 in the aft command tower killing everybody inside), and Anson 2 more as well, 1 in the "A" barbette, blocking the turret, and 1 in the stearing gear shafts, cutting off 1 of the 4 shafts completely, and temporarily jamming another. Hence speed remains down.

As the British destroyers close , Tirpitz fires with 6x380mm , 4x150mm and 6x105mm against them. Saumarez takes a through-and-through APC 380mm shot that puts off all her boilers. Scorpion receives 4 successive medium artillery hits and catches fire. Savage and Stord approach to point-blank range and launch 16 torps, 2 of wihch strike Tirpitz amidships. Speed drops to 18kts, then to 14kts. Saumarez receives 3 x 380mm hits or close nearmisses and breaks in 2.

In the mean time, of the 3 German destroyers, 1 is burning (later to sink) , hit by 152mm gunfire from Jamaica. The other 2 successfully pin the light cruiser between them and launch torp attacks from both sides. 1 torp hits Jamaica, blowing off her stern and rudder- the ship has to be towed. The 2 remaining dsetroyers race to rejoin Tirpitz. As waterspouts burst between them, they understand Anson is still in pursuit, albeit at a slower pace (16kts).

Tirpitz is joined at 18:30 by her 2 destroyers. The battleship slowly builds back speed up to 18kts, and limps away. Anson fires from time to time, with 1 x 356mm shots hitting the main armor deck of Tirpitz at 18:40, and exploding low order.

Tirpitz would slowly break away, into the night.
Hi Alecsandros
Thank you for a most interesting scenario, the only thing I have a question about is the serious damage to Norfolk/Belfast/Sheffield, surely three cruisers are not going to attempt to engage a ship like Titpitz, after all, Norfolk and Suffolk had a lucky escape from Bismarck and to pitch 1x8"" and 2x6" cruisers against a heavy battleship would be tantamount to suicide? I realise that Norfolk scored a serious hit against Scharnhorst but also got badly damaged in reply, so it seems to me (as an amateur)that if they could not tackle Scharnhorst between them, Tirpitz would be out of the question. Also, I would have thought that Jamaica would have been powerful enough to see off three destroyers and as for the other British destroyers attacking Tirpitz which still had six of her main armament plus secondary armament left it would be another suicide dash.
But whatever the result, Anson seems to come out fairly well from the battle, not a walkover for Tirpitz
Thanks again for your evaluation.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by paul.mercer » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:45 pm

northcape wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:58 pm
Bu Anson in 1943/44 is what - 27 kts? By 1945, a fully loaded KGV could not make more then 26 kts (I think from G&D, or Roberts). Tirpitz has less speed advantage then Scharnhorst, but still. And without slowing down, no chance for the British destroyers to catch up and deliver their torpedoes.
Hi Northcape,
That's a terribly low speed for what is supposed to be two modern battleships, even the QE's were rated at 25knots and the 'R's and Nelsons at 23knots,
if this applies to all fully loaded ships are we saying that a fully loaded Bismarck or Tirpitz would not have reached the speeds they were supposed to be capable of?

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by dunmunro » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:47 pm

northcape wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:58 pm
Bu Anson in 1943/44 is what - 27 kts? By 1945, a fully loaded KGV could not make more then 26 kts (I think from G&D, or Roberts). Tirpitz has less speed advantage then Scharnhorst, but still. And without slowing down, no chance for the British destroyers to catch up and deliver their torpedoes.

In 1945 KGV had a bad bearing on one shaft which did limit her speed to 26 knots. On 26 Nov 1944 Howe ran a two hour full power trial @ 44850 tons and produced 114350shp; the ship was 9 months out of dock with a foul bottom and she made 27 knots at 226.5 rpm, as measured by log and land fixes. This trial was run just south of Ceylon only 8deg north of the equator. With a clean bottom 28 knots would probably have been recorded. BWOC contrast DoY made 28.6 knots on trials @ 42970 tons with 111200shp and 232rpm. KGV made 28 knots on trials but with paravanes streamed for the loss of ~.75 knots.

The KGV class could produce more power and PoW* recorded 128-134000 shp during Bismarck operations. She also averaged 239 rpm for the one hour prior to meeting Bismarck; based upon KGV and DoY's trials this was probably equivalent to ~29.5 knots under trials conditions.


*Hood ran trials in late March 1941 after a short refit. She made 28.8 knots with paravanes streamed, so probably ~29.5 knots "clean".

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by alecsandros » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:13 am

paul.mercer wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:36 pm

Thank you for a most interesting scenario, the only thing I have a question about is the serious damage to Norfolk/Belfast/Sheffield, surely three cruisers are not going to attempt to engage a ship like Titpitz, after all, Norfolk and Suffolk had a lucky escape from Bismarck and to pitch 1x8"" and 2x6" cruisers against a heavy battleship would be tantamount to suicide?
IMHO, the 3 cruisers weren't capable of tackling Scharnhorst either. Only poor visilibty helped them , inasmuch as the battle was opened from only 12000meters - within range of their entire batteries (the 8x203mm from Norfolk and 24 x 152mm from Sheffield and Belfast). Had visibility permitted fire from, say, 20.000meters, they would have stood little to no chance at all (see Battle of River PLate where 1 CA and 2CL battled with the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The 3 cruisers at River PLate where all smaller then the cruisers at North Cape , by about 50%. But Graf Spee was 3x smaller then Scharnhorst!)
Thus , the fact that they stood against Scharnhorst, makes me believe they woudl have stood against Tirpitz as well.
Jamaica would have been powerful enough to see off three destroyers
At moderate range, Jamaica would probably have the upper hand, but at such short ranges , the 3 destroyers would make use of 24 x torpedo launchers and 15x150mm guns, which would overwhelm Jamaica, IMHO.
and as for the other British destroyers attacking Tirpitz which still had six of her main armament plus secondary armament left it would be another suicide dash.
It would not be far of from the charge of Vian's destroyers as happened historically against KM Bismarck in the night of May 26th/27th 1941. 5 destroyers launched multiple torp attacks from 3000 to 8000meters (IIRC), several were damaged by near misses, and no hits were scored. However, with a "suicide dash" down to 1000meters, Tirpitz would be hit, IMHO, as she did not have sufficient gun batteries functional to stop all 4 attackers (Savage, Scorpion, Saumarez, Stord).

Of course, the battle could go differently - Tirpitz's charge against the 3 cruisers may be stopped dead in it's tracks by a lucky torpedo hit (launched by the destroyers nearby Norfolk); OR the torpedo attacks by German destroyers could hit HMS Anson, and slow her down right away, cutting off chances of pursuit. Etc.

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Re: Anson and Tirpitz

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:43 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:13 am

IMHO, the 3 cruisers weren't capable of tackling Scharnhorst either. Only poor visilibty helped them ,
During the second skirmish of the historical battle, Scharnhorst swept the cruisers aside with ease, even without a forward radar. Bey broke off only because of the risk poised by destroyer torpedo attack. He was "going by the book." KM fighting instructions forbade capital ships from risking torpedo attack at night. (See Bekker). Burnette's cruisers did not repulse the Scharnhorst.

Nor did they repulse Scharnhorst at the first skirmish. Once the forward radar was destroyed, Bey obviously decided on a tactic of approaching the convoy from the northeast during the noon twilight instead. Burnette thought so too, and positioned himself accordingly. Doenitz also thought that was what Bey was doing but he thought it was mistake. Doenitz thought Bey should pushed on past Burnette's cruisers and went directly to the convoy. There were no RN destroyers with the cruisers. Jamaica was also with Duke of York hundreds of miles away.

Tirpitz would not charge the convoy risking torpedo damage. As long as German destroyers are still with it, it would stand back out of effective range of enemy torpedoes, and protect the attacking German destroyers from the RN anti-destroyer forces using radar directed gunfire, while the German destroyers destroyed and/or scattered the convoy. That was its role. Bey recommended that German destroyers go at it alone historically and not risk the Scharnhorst at all, leaving the Scharnhorst home. But he was over ruled by higher authority citing that the German destroyers would likely be repulsed by convoy escorts.

Once Scharnhorst had swept aside Burnette's cruisers, the German destroyers had still not arrived, so Bey broke off-much to Doenitz's regret.
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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