tone wrote: I think it is pretty clear that the British had a greater "frontal lobe" for fire control whereas the Germans, at the pivotal test in 1916, had the more developed lower brain stem. Hindsight makes it plain that the autonomic level of control - issues like how to use ladders and spotting rules and when to change the tempo of firing - were more important, given the unreliable nature of the observational data feeding the plotting systems (which would also prove latent in function) unique to the British effort.
The Germans proved wise to focus on the lesser aspirations they had within reach. They mastered them well. When Beatty's tactics, shells and drill proficiency were offered as opposition, this pragmatism spoke loudly.
..... Hi Tone,
My impression is that Germany did a better job than Great Britain of developing a comprehensive overall approach to the issue of long range naval gunnery. Great Britain lavished extraordinary effort on development of computing devices of great sophistication and complexity to deliver predictive fire solutions, but failed to develop the instruments and data delivery systems necessary to provide data inputs of sufficient real-time accuracy to enable those remarkable computers to achieve their potential and, IMO, never really integrated their new FC technology with fleet gunnery doctrine to create a cogent fire control system tuned to real world gunnery issues. Germany, on the other hand, settled for a somewhat less sophisticated but perfectly suitable computer coupled with a highly sophisticated range-finding system with electro-mechanical data transmission and averaging that proved (as a system) to provide more accurate data, faster, over a greater extent of battle ranges and visibility conditions. Germany also appears to have developed a better gunnery doctrine - with emphasis on early straddling and rapidity of fire - for the real life action conditions that were ultimately faced at sea. This is not to say that the Germans had it all their own way - British director control technology was important and German failure to embrace centralize control of gun elevation might have cost them dearly, had they had occasion to fight in heavy weather.
I've also developed a feeling that the RN and the IGN had different views on gunnery, in the sense that the RN saw FC as a "scientific" exercise (i.e. - estimate target range, speed, inclination, deflection, and conduct careful bracketing fire to develop a straddling solution while the target cooperatively sails along) whereas the German approach seemed to be more "active" (estimate target range, speed, inclination, deflection, then get on target as fast as possible and deluge it with shells before it evades away) - completely subjective, I know ... but, as I said, it is just a feeling I have developed from my reading.
Strictly my opinion, of course.