KGV Class 14-in Turret Problems

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Nellie
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KGV Class 14-in Turret Problems

Post by Nellie » Thu Apr 26, 2007 8:57 pm

Hi! Are there anyone out there who have read something about this? I mean taken a more closer look of what the specific problem was with the quadruple mounts that they couldn´t solve during the hole war. Was it something with the loading mechanism or the ability to elevate the turrets that failed? What was the technical differences between the quadruple monts and the double mounts wich in comparison worked much better. I became very curious about this.

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Re: KGV class turretproblems!

Post by Tiornu » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:20 pm

As is often the case with problems serious enough for discussion, there were multiple causes. All the turrets had a complex set of safety interlocks; the more guns, the more likely they are to cause interference. So the quad turrets were more prone to casualties than the twins, which served pretty well. Also, the tolerances between the rotating structure and the fixed hull was too fine, so that hull flexure etc could cause interference. This would apply to quads and twins. And lastly, a hydraulics component known as a surging stop was getting overloaded, caused by the weight of the quad but probably not the twin. It appears to me that, in practice situations with a relatively calm crew and attentive hydraulics maintenance, the guns would not experience any more casualties than you'd find in other ships. But during a wartime deployment, and in the heat of battle, the system appears to have been overly sensitive to trying conditions.

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Post by RF » Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:54 pm

Tiornu,

Would a slightly larger size of turret have helped in overcoming these problems?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Post by Tiornu » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:09 pm

No.

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Post by Nellie » Sat Apr 28, 2007 5:13 pm

With the Quadruple trouble in mind it had certainly been better if they had choose to use four pieces of the superfiring double instead, two in front and to aft, it is true that it is two guns fewer than with original design but instead far more reliable, in an action like the one with Bismarck or Scharnhorst this design would in my opinion deliver a higher rate of fire because of avoiding all the turret jams, furthermore i understand that the superfiring double had a faster firingcycle than the quadruple one or am i wrong? With this design the total gunweight would be lighter and maybe result in a bit higher speed.

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Post by Bgile » Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:29 pm

Nellie wrote:With the Quadruple trouble in mind it had certainly been better if they had choose to use four pieces of the superfiring double instead, two in front and to aft, it is true that it is two guns fewer than with original design but instead far more reliable, in an action like the one with Bismarck or Scharnhorst this design would in my opinion deliver a higher rate of fire because of avoiding all the turret jams, furthermore i understand that the superfiring double had a faster firingcycle than the quadruple one or am i wrong? With this design the total gunweight would be lighter and maybe result in a bit higher speed.
The original design involved 4 more guns in 3 quads. The US North Carolina class was the same, but the US Navy also designed a 3/16" gun turret with the provision to use that weapon if the treaty "escalator clause" was invoked, which is what in fact happened. North Carolina's completion was delayed because of the switch to 16" guns.

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Post by Tiornu » Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:58 pm

I have never heard that the twins had a faster firing cycle. More reliable, yes. The smaller turret had fewer interlocks and less weight to strain the hydraulics.

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Post by MichaelC » Thu May 10, 2007 10:29 pm

Nellie wrote:With the Quadruple trouble in mind it had certainly been better if they had choose to use four pieces of the superfiring double instead
Actually with the benefit of hindsight IMO they would have been better off going for 3x3 14" from the start. If they had been able to devote the time spent to developing a design for 1 turret that corrected the flaws of the 3 gun turrets in Rodney and Nelson the result in terms of reliability and standard production would have more than offset the loss of a single gun and probable slight increase in topweight.

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Post by Bgile » Fri May 11, 2007 2:28 am

MichaelC wrote: Actually with the benefit of hindsight IMO they would have been better off going for 3x3 14" from the start. If they had been able to devote the time spent to developing a design for 1 turret that corrected the flaws of the 3 gun turrets in Rodney and Nelson the result in terms of reliability and standard production would have more than offset the loss of a single gun and probable slight increase in topweight.
The original design was to have 12 14" guns in 3 quads. If they were going to revert to only 9 guns, IMO it would have been much better to us the tried and true 15" gun, which was more powerful than the newer 14".

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Post by MichaelC » Fri May 11, 2007 4:04 am

Bgile wrote: The original design was to have 12 14" guns in 3 quads. If they were going to revert to only 9 guns, IMO it would have been much better to us the tried and true 15" gun, which was more powerful than the newer 14".
The reason for dropping 2 guns to begin with was to cut weight down to improve protection while staying within treaty limits.

I'm guestimating a 3 gun 15" turret would have weighed almost as much as a quad 14".

If the treaty wasn't an issue then yes 9 15" would have been the way to go.

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KGV turrets - pretty much the same as others

Post by dunmunro » Sun May 13, 2007 6:47 am

Much has been written about the KGV class turrets being "defective"...but were they?

Let's compare the PoW, KGV and DoY against some other battleships:

PoW had only completed the physical installation of two of her turrets on April 27, 1941. IE, less than one month prior to meeting Bismarck. PoW had carried out one (yes, just one) live practice shoot, prior to going into combat.

PoW versus Bismarck: 18 Salvos @74% availability (1st action)
12 salvos @ 85% Availability (2nd action)
30 salvos @ 79 % availability (average of both)

KGV versus Bismarck: 50 salvos (with no noted problems) over 30 minutes, and then she began to suffer breakdowns. This means that KV fired between 150 to 250 rounds with no major problems.

DoY versus Scharnhorst: 450 rounds fired over 85 minutes of requested fire for a 68% availability rate. (450 rounds is an all time record for BB firing in one ship to ship action). This was accomplished while steaming at high speed into a Force 10 gale.


Some comparisons:

"USS West Virginia at Surigao Straits:

So we get the 93 rounds of ammunition fired, 89 AP and 4 HC. With 106 possible discharges, this gives West Virginia an availability rate of;

87% counting the HC used from the store in the gunrooms.

83% if you count only the AP she intended to fire. "(16 salvos total)

USS Washington (2nd Guadalcanal)

"I happen to have Washington’s action report here and it lists a total of 14 salvos missed by the battery. It should be noted that this includes the “first phase” against the screening elements upon which the main battery expended 42 rounds. Mathematically that means that the main battery had to expend at least 5 salvos at Sendai (et al) so at least 3 guns missed salvos in this phase. For the second phase at least 9 salvos minimum and it’s more likely that at least 10 salvos were expended against Kirishima. So that would make a total of 15 salvos or a theoretical maximum of 135 rounds; 117 were fired or an output of 87%."

USS Idaho fired 600 rounds in 156 salvos, in perfect weather and low speed, and managed a 74% availability rate, during a WW2 practice shoot where she was ordered to empty her forward magazines, to test these ships ability to carry out a sustained bombardment. The ship was steaming at 15 knots in calm weather.

Bismarck fired 93 rounds out of 104 possible at DS, (IIRC) for about a 89% availability rate.

Scharnhorst suffered numerous, serious, breakdowns to her main armament during her first encounter with Renown, many of which sounded very similar to PoWs problems during her first combat, except that Scharnhorst had been in service for 2 years, and PoW for less than one month....

In conclusion, I would argue that the KGV's main armament was no better, but also no worse than any other BB of the period, including Bismarck. The idea that the KGV class had “defective” armament simply does not stand up to detailed examination. The PoW's main armament was simply too new to be reliable, while KGV and DoY both fought very lengthy engagements, during which KGV did very well initially, and had KGV replaced PoW at DS, she would have maintained a nearly 100% availability rate and would certainly have hit Bismarck many more time than PoW did. Additionally, PoW's secondary armament fire control and command was defective, and, for example, her secondary guns were never ordered to fire in local control, and fired only a handful of rounds during the action. In contrast KGV's 5.25” guns fired hundreds of rounds. DoY fired 450 14" rounds in extremely difficult conditions, and it is unlikely that any other BB could have done better.

cheers

Duncan

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Re: KGV turrets - pretty much the same as others

Post by Tiornu » Sun May 13, 2007 7:33 am

If West Virginia had 13 missed salvoes, that puts her at 88%.
If Washington had 14 missed salvoes, that would put her at 89%.
I know no basis for assigning Idaho a 74% availability rate. How many missed salvoes did KGVs suffer due to having to move shells from the farthest reaches of the shell rooms? Are you confusing mount unreliability with operational limits?
There's nothing wrong with arguing that the KGVs had no reliability issues, but the RN disagrees.

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True?

Post by Laurenz » Sun May 13, 2007 8:10 am

Dear Duncan,
PoW had only completed the physical installation of two of her turrets on April 27, 1941. IE, less than one month prior to meeting Bismarck. PoW had carried out one (yes, just one) live practice shoot, prior to going into combat.
is that true?
i ask some weeks ago, why Lütjens did not used the Tirpitz at Rheinübung.
Sombody told me that PoW was in better exercise conditions as Tirpitz.
So your sentence makes me wonder.
Kind regards,
L.

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USS Idaho

Post by dunmunro » Sun May 13, 2007 8:30 am

from US BBs by Freidman (page 352):

"Only in 20 cases did all six guns fire. More often (forty-seven times) five of the six could fire together. There were twenty-two 4-gun salvos, thirty-one 3-gun, twenty-five 2-gun, and eleven 1-gun. On average, the interval between salvos was 1 minute 24 seconds. However, a 5 gun salvo was fired only forty-nine seconds after the previous salvo, and salvos sixty to eighty, mostly 5-gun salvoes, were fired at an average interval of sixty-seven seconds. By the end of the exercise, all firing was delayed by slow arrival of shell and powder, and salvos 148 to 156 were all (except for one 2-gun salvo) 1-gun salvos fired with an average interval of two minutes. Guns generally failed to fire for minor reasons: the need to adjust or replace a gas check pad (seventy-eight times); the need to adjust a rammer seventy-five times); or a misfire (thirteen times)."

Idaho, in perfect weather, and at slow speed, was trying to fire all 600 rounds, in 6 gun salvos, but required 156 salvos to fire all her ammo, due to the non-availability of guns on numerous occasions. DoY was steaming at high speed into a full gale, and did nearly as well, in fact better, if we calculate that each of Idaho salvos averaged 3.84 rounds, but 6 rounds were requested for an average availability of 64%, but there may have been mitigating circumstances in some cases.

Washington fired 117 rounds, when 135 were requested for a 86.6% availability rate.

there was an interesting discussion on this topic here:

http://www.bobhenneman.info/forum/viewt ... c&start=30

When you begin comparing the KGV to other BBs, they don't look so bad, in fact they look pretty good.

cheers

Duncan

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Re: KGV turrets - pretty much the same as others

Post by dunmunro » Sun May 13, 2007 8:53 am

Tiornu wrote: How many missed salvoes did KGVs suffer due to having to move shells from the farthest reaches of the shell rooms? Are you confusing mount unreliability with operational limits?
There's nothing wrong with arguing that the KGVs had no reliability issues, but the RN disagrees.
Of course the KGV's had issues...all BBs had issues, but the KGV's are blown out of proportion due the the supposed poor performance of PoW, and the lengthy nature of the KGV and DoY's actions, and the poor weather conditions in which those actions were fought. Read Scharnhorst's gunnery report about her encounter with Renown:

http://www.bobhenneman.info/forum/viewt ... c&start=30

It doesn't sound much different than PoWs report after the Bismarck action. Of course the RN wanted 100% availability all the time, but then so did everyone else, but this was seldom achieved in combat, by anyone.

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