The end of Scharnhorst

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paul mercer
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The end of Scharnhorst

Post by paul mercer » Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:21 am

On page 208 in Jacobsen's book 'Scharnhorst' it states 'In the course of the next 27 minutes the DOY pumped more than 200 heavy shells at the Scharnhorst from distances as short as 4000m'. 'Strangely only seven or eight of them appear to have scored hits'
Quite apart from the rate of fire which would suggest that DOY had all her guns operational, over 200 shells and only 7 or 8 hits at around 2 or 3 miles - point blank range for a big gun?
Surely even without radar that is truly awful shooting?

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Post by marcelo_malara » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:02 pm

from distances as short as 4000m'
It appears that 4000 m was the minimum distance, not the distance of all the engagement. But yes, at 4000 yards there is no firing solution: according to http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_14-45_mk7.htm the elevation for 5000 yards is a mere 2.5 degrees, the time of flight should be around 8 sec. It is just "point-and-shoot". There should be more impacts.

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Post by tommy303 » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:38 pm

While 4000 is extremely close, shooting at such close ranges is actually rather difficult. considering the weather conditions and sea state, DoY was probably rolling and pitching quite heavily, and trying to keep the guns on target under those conditions is hard. At close ranges the rate of roll and rapidly changing bearing can be faster than the trainers and layers can handle.

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:05 pm

I guess shooting with weapons the size of those in sea conditions as rough as they were could be rather "clumsy" if you understand.

Maybe like trying to shoot a butterfly with a 12 guage.
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Post by Bgile » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:45 am

tommy303 wrote:While 4000 is extremely close, shooting at such close ranges is actually rather difficult. considering the weather conditions and sea state, DoY was probably rolling and pitching quite heavily, and trying to keep the guns on target under those conditions is hard. At close ranges the rate of roll and rapidly changing bearing can be faster than the trainers and layers can handle.
Aside from the bearing rate, I don't understand why the problem with pitch and roll would be worse at close range. Every error is magnified as the range increases.

With respect to the bearing rate, I don't recall any mention of that being a problem for Rodney when wrecking Bismarck. It seems to me that if the turret can train fast enough, there is no particular problem. I've spent some time in the gunner's seat of a tank, tracking much faster targets at closer ranges so you'd think the problem would be exaggerated, and it wasn't too hard for a competent gunner.

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Post by Tiornu » Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:48 am

No, some errors actually minimize at long range. An elevation variance of 20 minutes at long range may not be noticeable while at short range it might prove obvious. For DoY, the need to fire at the exact same point of her role may have been emphasized.
As far as I can tell, DoY's gunnery was excellent at North Cape. I believe she opened fire on Scharnhorst in three separate episodes and achieved first-salvo straddles at least twice. Overall she fired 52 broadsides and scored 31 straddles. With the very limited visibility and the tempestuous seas, a hit rate of 3-4% seems reasonable.

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Post by Bgile » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:29 am

Tiornu wrote:No, some errors actually minimize at long range. An elevation variance of 20 minutes at long range may not be noticeable while at short range it might prove obvious. For DoY, the need to fire at the exact same point of her role may have been emphasized.
As far as I can tell, DoY's gunnery was excellent at North Cape. I believe she opened fire on Scharnhorst in three separate episodes and achieved first-salvo straddles at least twice. Overall she fired 52 broadsides and scored 31 straddles. With the very limited visibility and the tempestuous seas, a hit rate of 3-4% seems reasonable.
I don't understand. An elevation variance of 20 min at 30,000 yds might be several thousand yards. At 3,000 yds it would be in the danger zone for the whole 20 min because of the flat trajectory.

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Post by Tiornu » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:49 am

At short range, hat change in elevation is also a change in the danger space. There is almost no change in danger space or range when you take that to extreme ranges.
Just grabbing some handy data from a 15in range table:
Increasing range from 5000 yards to 10,000 yards requires an elevation increase of just about 2.6deg, and the descent angle more than doubles. From 30,000 to 35,000 yards, the elevation increases by 6.5deg and the descent angle increases by about one third.

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Post by marcelo_malara » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:00 pm

I am with Bgile. An error in elevation would maximize at long distance. That is something every shooter knows.

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Post by Tiornu » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:25 pm

"Shooters" do not shoot at long range. All small arms fire is analogous to short-range naval gunnery.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:48 pm

Small arms fire (like infantry or tank fire) is flat trajectory because it´s direct fire. The naval ordnance is in some ways analogue to indirect firing in land artillery. And, yes, it seems to me that any small mistake in the aiming at long range develops in a huge mistake where the target is.

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Post by Bgile » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:43 am

Tiornu wrote:"Shooters" do not shoot at long range. All small arms fire is analogous to short-range naval gunnery.
OK I understand where you are coming from here. However, point blank range is still point blank range. If you want to split hairs, I can see that the effect of roll is greater. But we have the guns being electrically fired as the roll passes though level. Any way you look at it, you should get lots of hits at short range.

IMO at point blank range the way to ensure the most hits was to fire one gun at a time in local control. Late war tests with the Iowa class confirmed that one shot at a time was the most accurate way to hit a single stationary target. Of course, if you are trying to straddle you can't do that, so it doesn't normally work against a ship once the range reaches a certain point.

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Post by Tiornu » Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:00 am

Yes, you certainly should get more hits at short range. Can you direct me to a reference on that Iowa test?

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The end of Scharnhorst

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:27 pm

Ciao all,

... but suddendly Scharhorst speed felt down .....

.. according to you what slowed down the Scharnhorst ??? :think: :think:

Ciao Antonio :D

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Post by Gary » Wed Jul 11, 2007 7:38 pm

A 14 inch shell into the infamous boiler hump.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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