SMS Baden Fire Control

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Christian VII.
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SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Christian VII. » Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:00 am

Hello guys, I'm new here :)

Reading a lot about Jutland and how both navies learned from it, I was wondering wether or not the Germans adopted directors for fire control after Jutland, esp. on their newer designs such as the SMS Bayern & Baden?

Looking at pictures of the SMS Baden it certainly seems as though the GN did adopt directors, and also higher mounted range finders than on any RN ship.

Also would it be wrong to assume that the SMS Bayern class was infact the most powerfull battleship in the world by the end of WW1?

Anyway hope this leads to a good discussion which will answer these questions :)

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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby tommy303 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:57 am

Generally speaking, the dreadnoughts and battle cruisers of the HSF did mount a form of director; the director pointer was a simpler instrument that the complex British gun director, and was used mainly to point out the target and keep rangefinders, spotting glasses, and gunsights on the designated target. After Jutland though, the HSF underwent a number of changes designed to improve gunnery. The main impetus for this was the increased range demanded by the planning staff in response to the longer ranges at which the British 13.5 and 15-in gunned capital ships had opened fire. The steps taken included greater attention to aloft spotting and aloft mounted range finders, longer based range finders, the provision of a gyro firing mechanism for the guns (Abfeuerungs Geraet) to relieve the gunlayer of having to pick out the target and fire his gun or guns as his sight crossed the horizon, since at longer ranges he probably would not be see much of the target at all at long range from his position in the turrets, and finally improved range clocks (predictors). The development of a true central fire control system however, had to wait until after the war.

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Byron Angel
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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Byron Angel » Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:17 pm

..... Various thoughts here:

Based upon the practical results of WW1 gunnery engagements, German FC, taken as an overall system, produced consistently good results - quite arguably superior to that delivered by the British system. By system, I mean the combination of system design + technology + personnel training + robustness.

Much is often made of the "training only" nature of the German director compared to its British counterpart, but I would argue that this is an apples versus oranges argument: the British director was conceived as a master gunsight; the German director was designed for use (IMO) as a tactical fire control management tool. The general efficiency of German gunnery during the war, reflected by its consistently good/tight salvo patterns in a variety of sea conditions, suggests that reliance placed upon the gunlayer to maintain proper elevation against ship's roll motion and to fire his gun was a satisfactory solution for the time. This is not to say that German efforts in gunsightingwere by any means in stasis. Development of the Petravic system, an early example of a gyro controlled vertical stable element, had been under way since before the war as a means of improving the accuracy of fire under heavy sea states. Derfflinger carried an experimental version of this device at Jutland (it suffered a mechanical failure quite early on - probably a result of shock from the ship's gun discharges).

Perhaps the greatest advantage (IMO) was the German approach to range-finding. Readings from multiple (up to 6 or 7) range-finders were electro-mechanically transmitted on a continuous basis to an automatic mechanical data averaging device (Mittlungs Apparat), with the output being fed on a more or less real time basis into the FC computer/predictor. The British understood the concept on theoretical grounds (they referred to it as "range-finder control") and aspired to develop it, but never fielded anything akin to it during the war. (I do not believe that any British capital ship of the era had more than a single range-finder electro-mechanically linked into the FC system).

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Christian VII.
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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Christian VII. » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:42 am

But what about the Bayern Class? Any info on this later German design?

Also who were the first to use these gyro stabilizers you guys mentioned?

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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Byron Angel » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:51 am

Almost all fire control and sighting gear had been removed from Baden before its surrender and internment, so British examination was inconclusive from the point of view of physical confirmation of the presence of the Petravic system. However, it is my belief that what is commonly referred to as the "Petravic device" was ultimately perfected and fitted post-Jutland to at least some of the German capital ships in the guise of the AG (Abfeurungs Geraet), as earlier referenced by Tommy303) firing system. It is known to have been fitted to Hindenburg. It would be difficult to accept that it was not also fitted to Baden and Bayern, Germany two most powerful capital ships.

Great Britain had its "Henderson gear" gyroscopic system in development more or less simultaneously. It started to reach the fleet in mid-1917 or so IIRC. I would be unable to say who "won the race" - probably too close to call.

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Christian VII.
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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Christian VII. » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:59 pm

Thanks Byron, makes sense :)

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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Byron Angel » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:51 pm

Christian VII. wrote:Thanks Byron, makes sense :)


FWIW, Gary Staff's excellent new book on German battlecruisers places an AG/Petravic system also aboard Lutzow, where it displayed a similar susceptibility to failure through shock from own gunfire. Considering that it was fitted aboard all three ships of the class, I now wonder whether the installation was not so much "experimental" as it was a premature commitment to a new technology not yet fully perfected for service use.

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Christian VII.
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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Christian VII. » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:15 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Christian VII. wrote:Thanks Byron, makes sense :)


FWIW, Gary Staff's excellent new book on German battlecruisers places an AG/Petravic system also aboard Lutzow, where it displayed a similar susceptibility to failure through shock from own gunfire. Considering that it was fitted aboard all three ships of the class, I now wonder whether the installation was not so much "experimental" as it was a premature commitment to a new technology not yet fully perfected for service use.

B


Interesting, at what point during the battle did the system "crap out" so to speak? :D

Also did the British experience similar issues with the Henderson system?

Thanks again :)

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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Byron Angel » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:03 am

Once again, according to G Staff -

Derfflinger's AG system broke down almost immediately @ Jutland; Lutzow had numerous breakdown problems with her AG system during a gunnery practice in mid-May 1916 and opted not to use it @ Jutland. In both cases there were apparently parts breakages (gyro axles mentioned) as a result of the shock of own main battery guns firing.

I do not know the development and trial details of the RN Henderson gear. Homework is necessary, which is going to involve hunting through a lot of filed away documents.

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Christian VII.
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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Christian VII. » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:13 am

Many thanks Byron, I'll have to check out that book :)

It would make sense if the Bayern class fielded an improved variant of the Petravic system, and it would probably be mentioned in documents concerning the live fire exercises conducted with this class, of which I don't know if any have survived to this day?

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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby tommy303 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:20 pm

I do not know the development and trial details of the RN Henderson gear. Homework is necessary, which is going to involve hunting through a lot of filed away documents.


The Henderson gyro firing gear system was mounted at the director and stabilized an internal prism in the director sight, giving the director trainer an artificial horizon to work. It performed the same functions in the vertical plane as the Austrian Petravic system and the German Abfeuerung Geraet, but lacked the latters' stabilization in the horizontal plane. It was installed post Jutland and was later perfected as the Gyro Director Training Gear.

To my knowledge, the German Abfeuerungs Geraet was in most surviving heavy units in the HSF by the end of the war.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

Christian VII.
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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Christian VII. » Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:14 am

Excellent info guys, many thanks!

Christian VII.
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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby Christian VII. » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:42 am

Just to recap, neither the Germans nor the British made use of gyro stabilization for the main guns at Jutland, the British because they didn't have it yet and the Germans because theirs were prototypes that simply didn't function properly yet, correct?

By the time of the SMS Baden most German capital ships however most likely did feature the improved patrovic gyro stabilization system under the guise of AG, whilst the RN ships had the henderson system. Correct?


Another note: On wiki (not a reliable source I know) it is mentioned that Baden's guns weren't considered as accurate as the 356mm guns of the previous capital ships. What is this based on, does anyone know?

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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby delcyros » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:46 pm

Am away from my books but I kinda remember that some of the NASSAUs or HELGOLANDs were fitted with the A.G. in the prewar (1911-1913) period initially for experimental reasons and shipped the equipment throrough Jutland and may indeed have used it there. These ships with four wing mounted turrets were notorious for rolling heavily and the artificial horizon provided by the firing circuits of the A.G. allowed a particularely sharp reduction of pointing errors in these ships when committing fire at moderate or poor sea.

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Re: SMS Baden Fire Control

Postby tone » Sat May 13, 2017 2:14 am

The Henderson gear was not the same as gyro stablizing the guns in pitch, but as Tommy outlines, it merely tried to negate the pitch of the director telescope. It did not perfectly negate it, but it reduced the motion to a slow "wander" that was easier to track. The director layer's trigger for the guns became a "permissive" switch in the firing circuit when the gear was in use, and the firing circuit was completed by the Henderson gear when the roll brought the horizontal wire "on".

Adjustments could be made to anticipate the moment of firing to account for the slight (0.1-0.2 sec, as I recall) delay between a trigger press and average discharge time of the guns.

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