Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby aurora » Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:37 am

Rodney fired two 24.5-inch (622 mm) torpedoes from her port-side tube and claimed one hit. According to Ludovic Kennedy, "if true, [this is] the only instance in history of one battleship torpedoing another". Earlier in this same action the starboard side tube had its sluice door jammed as the result of a near miss from one of Bismarck's early salvos.

On 27 September 1941, Nelson's port torpedo station almost proved to be a liability when an Italian air-launched 18" torpedo holed the compartment behind the torpedo body room causing 3,750 tons of water to enter the vessel. Following this the Nelson's torpedo capability was said by one reference to have been removed, although according to another, the torpedo tubes were still retained in both ships in 1945.
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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Garyt » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:52 pm

I have corresponded with Joseph Czarnecki and consider him rather more than highly biased. His entire argument in this article of his is based upon a perceived Japanese "failure" to meet their pre-war estimated hit percentages in a series of engagements that never involved the types of targets anticipated in their planning.


I agree. Had there been the "decisive battle" with a huge US battle line the Japanese were looking for (Early war perhaps early '43 at the latest, so their fleet would not be decimated by overwhelming US air superiority) I would think the type 93 would have done better against a good sized US battle line of surface vessels, whcih is what indeed it was designed for.

Actually, the entire Japanese navy seemed to be built for "the decisive battle". :D

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Garyt » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:00 pm

On 27 September 1941, Nelson's port torpedo station almost proved to be a liability when an Italian air-launched 18" torpedo holed the compartment behind the torpedo body room causing 3,750 tons of water to enter the vessel. Following this the Nelson's torpedo capability was said by one reference to have been removed, although according to another, the torpedo tubes were still retained in both ships in 1945.


Makes sense. Increased flooding hazard if below, and in particular case of the type 93, a very explosive liability if on deck.

With the type 93, I'm not sure if the Japanese Heavy Cruisers would have been better off with or without the type 93's on deck. They took out a few ships with them, but also lost some of their own heavy cruisers because of them. Personally, my thought would either be a less volatile torpedo on deck or at least no reloads if the type 93. If no reloads, they could be launched in a surface battle prior to a gunfire exchange.

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby aurora » Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:03 am

Gary- I think Japanese heavy cruisers almost invariably launched their torpedoes before they opened fire with their guns-it was part of their Decisive Battle Plan
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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby aurora » Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:26 pm

Torpedo attack was the cornerstone of the night attack, and a critical element of the day attack intended to rectify Japan’s initial 3:5 and worsening deficit in numbers in
THE JAPNANESE DECISIVE BATTLE PLAN AT NIGHT

The night attack force was to launch an intricately coordinated long-range salvo of 130 torpedoes from 11 different groups using half their ready torpedoes. This salvo was designed to converge upon and hit 10 American capital ships with 20 weapons (a rate of ~15%).

After the initial salvo at long range (20,000 meters), the four Kongo Class battleships and 17 Class A cruisers detailed to the night attack force were to break through the American screen--suicidally if necessary--and clear the way for the force’s two torpedo cruisers and the light cruiser and 14 destroyers of a destroyer squadron to expend the remainder of their ready torpedoes in a close range attack from as little as 2,000 meters.

Once all ready torpedoes were expended, the night attack force was to fight its way clear, reload torpedoes, and execute further attacks if possible. Survivors would eventually join the battle line for the “Decisive Battle” at dawn.

Further information to be found via the link provided
http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-067.htm
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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Steve Crandell » Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:39 pm

aurora wrote:Torpedo attack was the cornerstone of the night attack, and a critical element of the day attack intended to rectify Japan’s initial 3:5 and worsening deficit in numbers in
THE JAPNANESE DECISIVE BATTLE PLAN AT NIGHT

The night attack force was to launch an intricately coordinated long-range salvo of 130 torpedoes from 11 different groups using half their ready torpedoes. This salvo was designed to converge upon and hit 10 American capital ships with 20 weapons (a rate of ~15%).

After the initial salvo at long range (20,000 meters), the four Kongo Class battleships and 17 Class A cruisers detailed to the night attack force were to break through the American screen--suicidally if necessary--and clear the way for the force’s two torpedo cruisers and the light cruiser and 14 destroyers of a destroyer squadron to expend the remainder of their ready torpedoes in a close range attack from as little as 2,000 meters.

Once all ready torpedoes were expended, the night attack force was to fight its way clear, reload torpedoes, and execute further attacks if possible. Survivors would eventually join the battle line for the “Decisive Battle” at dawn.

Further information to be found via the link provided
http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-067.htm


Knowing what I know now, it seems logical to me that their attack might have been successful. Unfortunately for them, the ships they would have been sinking weren't critical to victory.

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby aurora » Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:30 pm

The Decisive Battle Plan looked fine on paper; but strictly speaking it did not turn out exactly that way in terms of success. Only a handful of battles are documented well enough to yield exact totals. Thus, approximations were made based upon what could be observed of Japanese torpedo doctrine. For example, up until about half-way through the Solomons Campaign, Japanese doctrine was to fire half of their ready torpedoes in one salvo, empty the tubes with the next and then withdraw to reload.

About mid-1943, they appear to have abandoned this doctrine in favour of flushing the tubes on the first salvo, then withdrawing to reload. This is based on some careful inference from Evans and Peattie about Japanese pre-war doctrine, and those firings that actually were well documented. Up through Komandorski islands, half-salvoes were used. From Kula Gulf on, full salvoes. Of course, there were exceptions both before and after July '43.
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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Dod Grile » Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:25 pm

Hello,

I very much doubt that this interpretation of IJN torpedo doctrine is either accurate or relevant. In the early battles in which torpedoes were dominant (Java Sea & Sunda Strait) the IJN most certainly did not adhere to firing half-salvos at all...For the most part they fired everything they could when they could. And the sole reason that HAGURO fired less than 8 in her first salvo was due to mechanical malfunction as a result of human error. In reality, most of the other ships fired full torpedo salvos on Feb 27 & the next night at Sunda Strait as well.

NAVTECHMission to Japan did not actually field test the Type 93, but used the [oxygen-fueled] Type 95 instead because it was shorter-ranged...and while it did have some accuracy issues--as any torpedo would--its speed characteristics were quite impressive: usually in excess of 50kts.

FWIW,

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Garyt » Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:58 pm

. In the early battles in which torpedoes were dominant (Java Sea & Sunda Strait) the IJN most certainly did not adhere to firing half-salvos at all...For the most part they fired everything they could when they could.


I would think the reloading process would keep them from firing ALL of their torpedoes initially.

The other issue is that if they were fired initially from good range, they would want to get closer to prime torpedo range with their second volley I would think to have more hits occur.

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Dod Grile » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:27 am

The idea was to fire everything they had--meaning the entire battery on whichever side was required. Whether or not they then reloaded would depend upon circumstances.

There was a pretty clear doctrine re distances for destroyers, but as one may imagine, a lot of this went right out the window in battle...It seems like the cruisers had more freedom in their firings, but I will not swear to that. DDs were supposed to close to within about 3,000 m, but that was easier said than done under heavy shellfire.

The critical factors were getting a good target angle, approximating the enemy's course & speed with some accuracy, and then (lastly, I suspect), range...since the Type 93 had such an extravagant range that it made firing from anywhere up to 10-15 miles a not entirely unrealistic possibility. Certainly and without question the CSF column at Java Sea did not think they were really within effective torpedo range when JAVA and De RUYTER were hit. The column had started a turn away when the Type 93s arrived--and the distances were not unimpressive: about 15,800 yds for the hit on JAVA and perhaps a little over 18,000 for De RUYTER. Most on HOUSTON thought they were being hit by submarines, in fact.

Tassafaronga is an even better--or at least more extreme--case, but IJN records of that very chaotic engagement are not as clear as at Java Sea.

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:57 pm

Regarding Tassafaronga. According to Tanaka, both divisions fired all their loaded torpedos (44) in a matter of minutes. Reloads were fired after the first salvos hit, silohetting new targets from the fires of the earlier hits.

There appears to be some mystic about the LL from Tassafaronga with the assumption that it was superior torpedo performance and doctrine that allowed the Japanese to score hits. In this case the superior performance of the Japanese torpedoes didn't matter one way or the other.

The visibilty prevented the Japanese from spotting the Americans until the range was down to 7,000 meters. At that point the Americans had already launched their torpedoes and were preparing to open fire with 8" guns from a gun range of 9,200 yards. The Japanese swiftly suspended their unloading of supply drums operation. According to Tanaka, they used the American gun flashes to aim their torpedo strikes. It was a rather short range affair. The high speed of the LL may have helped to score hits from the re-load salvoes at these short ranges.

The ongoing problems with the American torpedoes also didn't matter. According to primary documents of Box 241 Group 38 at the archives, the Minni. had the Japanese on SG radar from 23,000 yards. Fletcher 2 miles ahead also had an SG, but with the lower antenna height it was some time before its SG detected the Japanese warships. Once it did, however, Commander Cole set about delivering a torpedo strike. Apparently, Admiral Wright made the mistake of not realizing that the ranges from his flagship would not be the same as the range to the enemy of Cole's destroyers. Wright would not give permission to launch torpedoes because the range was still too great or he thought. When Wright finally gave permission to fire the enemy was already passing abaft the beams of Cole's destroyers. The American torpedoes would have to over take the Japanese targets from behind after a long run-they scored no hits.

All this was done with radar as the optical visibility for the Americans was no more than two miles according to the action reports.

The American battle plan and doctrine had been drawn up by Adm Kinkaid after GCII. It was to launch torpedoes before engaging with artillery but using radar controlled artillery as an advantage from longer ranges to nullify the apparent Japanese torpedo advantages. The cruisers were to be no closer than 12,000 yards (the max that cruiser caliber shell splashes could be spotted on radar by Mk3). 12,000 yards was just barely beyond torpedo water according to American believes at the time. But already the plan was unravalling as the range dropped below 10,000 yards from the cruisers to the enemy by the time Cole fired his torpedoes. Wright ordered then 8" fire opened.

The target for almost all was the closer (7,000 meters) Takanami because it represented the largest radar pip. Some cruisers had trouble acquiring the Takanami with MK3. New Orleans used SG for firecontrol although SGs bearing accuracy was inadequate. Starshells burst above the clouds making spotting impossible. Fortunately for the Americans, Takanami's skipper disobeyed Tanaka's orders to not return fire, and its gun flashes allowed the Americans to correct their fall of shot. Takanami then took a terrific pounding at nearly point blank range. By then the LLs arrived, having only a short run from the unseen and untargeted remaining IJN destroyers.
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: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby aurora » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:22 pm

Up to Tassafaronga the Japanese had always used the USN gunfire flashes (they had no flashless propellant up to that time) to aim at. After Tassafaronga the Ordnance Bureau seemingly bestirred themselves and flashless propellant was produced thereafter; but by then- a lot of damage had been wreaked on USN warships by the LL. :(
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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby Dod Grile » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:38 pm

The engagement at Tassafaronga was a chaotic melee if ever there was one, and the Type 93s saved the Japanese bacon-so to speak-in no uncertain terms.

In this reference to Tanaka's version of the initial launch (written later), that 'matter of minutes' was actually on the order of fifteen minutes. So it was not all that swiftly...and the Japanese certainly began spotting our units--or some of them--before any gunfire began. But the real heroics, it seems, were by the ship that suffered the most--TAKANAMI--because she was closest to the USN lines. Due to that proximity she was able to see & fire first, and she got off (I believe) eight Type 93s in her opening salvo...which did fearsome damage. The forces were close enough that Type 90s might have been just as effective, but the larger Type 93 warhead wrought unholy hell on our cruisers.

Some of the torpedo hits later were not close-range at all, but medium (I would say), being in the at least 10k to 13k meter range, roughly.

We have good data on the times of the launches & the hits, but whether the Japanese were using the preferred 36 knot speed setting or higher (42 or 48) is not clear to me...It would make a difference of anywhere from approx. 1,000 to 1,600 yards (not meters) in range to the first hits by TAKANAMI. And IJN doctrine did prefer the 36 knot speed setting, it should be noted...What is more significant to me is that the original IJN track charts of Tassafaronga do not give a very good idea of what must have been some good target angles. If the target angles were not very good, then their success can only be explained by the remarkable performance characteristics of the Type 93 weapon, meaning its great speed & range.

If, as suggested, the Americans still believed they were beyond torpedo water at 12,000 yards, this battle should have been a heckuva unpleasant learning experience. And a belated one. I definitely feel that RADM Doorman at Java Sea thought that he was safe(r) remaining outside of 10K yards from the Japanese cruisers late that night...and of course he paid very heavily for that ignorance. So, it is quite painful to realize just how little they had actually grasped re the Japanese torpedoes being employed against them even nine months later...and well after Savo Island, Cape Esperance, and the two brutal naval battles of Guadalcanal in November.

DG

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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby RF » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:49 pm

northcape wrote:Hi!

Regarding the Bismarck: There are absolutely no indications/observations from either the British or the Germans that Rodney's torpedoes hit their target - this possibly is as close as possible to 'Categorically'.


Was the hit not observed on Rodney?

It is entirely possible that there is no German confirmation due to the small relative number of survivors to the total crew and in the heat of battle the ship firing a torpedo that hit may not be identified.
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Re: Rodney torpedoes compared to Long Lance?

Postby aurora » Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:00 pm

Vis a vis Tassafaronga

"Training, training and more training", Nimitz named the lesson of this battle, quite correctly in one sense, but training was not needed with the crews, but for the leaders. Wright had blundered in not allowing Cole to fire torpedoes when he wanted, for whatever it was worth (due to the torpedo problems). He had not deployed pickets, and he had opened fire to early. To his credit, he took the blame for all mistakes committed. Other important aspects in the technological deficiency of Wright's force were not addressed at all. 8" guns were completely useless to track and fire at fast moving destroyers at night; their rate of fire was too slow to adequately cover the enemy.
The famed SG radars, though providing useful spotting, were too frequently used to track shell splashes

The battle may be called a strategical victory for the U.S. by the line of reasoning that the resupply mission was prevented. But the services of four heavy cruisers were high a price for the disruption of only one resupply mission, and thus, it must be judged that it was a defeat strategically as well - for U.S. forces never again would manage to assemble surface opposition to Japanese runs to Guadalcanal.

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