The Battle of Stromvaer

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tommy303
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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby tommy303 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:37 pm

In the official narrative, she was aiming both main and the secondaries at the ship identified as Scharnhorst, but which was in reality the Gneisenau. The real Scharnhorst was identified as Hipper and therefore not considered so much a threat, and so was not taken under fire until she crossed astern of Gneisenau to lay smoke as the Germans turned away. As to the mistake in identification, it may have been that the British at that time did not realize Scharnhorst's main mast had been stepped aft in the fashion of the Hipper class.

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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby paulcadogan » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:24 am

It's pretty clear that was the reason for the misidentification. Actually I've wondered if that was at least part of the reason for the relocation of Scharnhorst's mainmast - to cause confusion..

It is stated in Peter C. Smith's book that Renown concentrated her main armament on the Gneisenau with her 4.5's on the Scharnhorst. (If the second and third hits Gneisenau received were in fact 4.5's then I guess Mr. Smith is wrong.) He later states that when Gneisenau turned away, Renown "concentrated all her fire on Scharnhorst".

There is an interesting addendum to the battle that is recounted in Fritz Otto Busch's "The Sinking of the Scharnhorst" in which he describes how Lutjen's - maintaining strict radio silence - sent a report on the encounter to Trondheim and the Hipper by Arado. He tells of the amazement of Hipper's captain (Heye) when the aircraft arrived and he got the story:
"What next? I've only just heard from British reports that the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau have been sunk!"

I guess Dr. Goebbels wasn't the only propaganda master! :lol:
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Postby Terje Langoy » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:14 pm

Here's a map of phase I, 'the effective part' of the duel.

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Hopefully it will be able to provide a general perspective

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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby paulcadogan » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:02 am

Some things do not add up in your map Terje. I'm no navigator, so I hope what I'm about to say makes sense! :oops:

First - Renown opens fire at 18,600 yards on a course (not bearing) of 305 deg. At first, when she swung around onto 305 deg, her A-arcs were just open, but I suppose she was steaming at 20 knots vs the Germans' 15 so when she opened fire she was almost level with Gneisenau - hence the relative bearing Green 90 (or actual 035 deg).

Then, you show G & S turning away 40 deg before G opens fire with the range supposedly down to 16,000 yards - yet your map suggests the range should have increased.

If the Germans' 40 deg turn took them onto 350 deg - then that means their initial course was 310 deg which would have been diverging from Renown from the start i.e. the range should have been increasing not decreasing.

So, something's not right with the German's course...
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Postby Terje Langoy » Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:52 am

Speed difference...

At around midnight Lütjens ordered speed 9 knots, with one boiler on line pr. shaft, on a N.W. course. By the time H.M.S. Renown hauled around to course 305 at 0459 hours she had worked up speed towards 20 knots. At 0507 hours Lütjens ordered speed 24 knots to ´clear the ship from shell splashes´. Gneisenau opened fire her at 0511 hours and had increased speed at that time to 15 knots, and rising. Naturally distance must at first have closed some until Gneisenau matched speed of H.M.S. Renown.

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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby paulcadogan » Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:43 pm

Still doesn't work Terje.

If Renown is on 305 deg at 20 knots and S&G are on 310 deg at 9 knots increasing and they are roughly abeam of each other at 0505 the range would still increase as the courses are divergent by 5 deg.

If the course of S&G is accurate, then Renown would have to have altered more to starboard to close the range.

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Postby Terje Langoy » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:50 pm

paulcadogan wrote: If Renown is on 305 deg at 20 knots and S&G are on 310 deg at 9 knots increasing and they are roughly abeam of each other at 0505 the range would still increase as the courses are divergent by 5 deg.


Since H.M.S. Renown engaged with her 'A-arcs just open' they could not possibly have been abeam of each other at 0505 hours. I take it that her 'A-arcs' (as referred to by David Brown) actually would be the fire arc of her aft turret and so forth this suggest the Galloper was sailing up behind Gneisenau on a parallel, and intercepting, course, some 18 000 yds off Gneisenau's port quarter and, while doing that - also opened fire once the aft turret could bear on target...

That's my impresssion of the duel so far... but of course if you should sit on any info that say otherwise, Paul, then please do reply. Your inputs can only make my battle map more precise:)

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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby paulcadogan » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:25 pm

Terje Langoy wrote:Since H.M.S. Renown engaged with her 'A-arcs just open' they could not possibly have been abeam of each other at 0505 hours. I take it that her 'A-arcs' (as referred to by David Brown) actually would be the fire arc of her aft turret and so forth this suggest the Galloper was sailing up behind Gneisenau on a parallel, and intercepting, course, some 18 000 yds off Gneisenau's port quarter and, while doing that - also opened fire once the aft turret could bear on target...


That's what I was thinking at first - but then what confuses the issue is that the Admiralty report states that Renown opened fire on bearing green 90 - and this is also the bearing from which they say the hits Renown received came - which is 90 deg from her bow or almost straight on her beam. One has to wonder where the inaccuracy lies.

It would seem strange to me that Admiral Whitworth would order a course that is divergent from that of the enemy unless in the poor visibility the gunnery team incorrectly estimated the targets' inclination. But if Renown straddled with her third salvo this is unlikely.

There must be some more definitive info available...but where? :think:
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Postby Terje Langoy » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:31 pm

I think 'green bearing 90' must be considered as 'presenting beams' rather than an accurate bearing.

David Brown (Naval Operations of the Campaign in Norway) appears to use at least parts of Admiral Whitworth's' war log as source and I quote:

When she first sighted the German ships, at 0437 hours, the Renown was steering 130 deg at 12 knots, with her destroyers stationed astern. The enemy lay broad on the port bow, 10 miles distant or rather more, steering to the northwest, on a course approximately opposite to that of the British force. The Renown maintained her course for ten minutes, then altered to 080 deg. increasing speed to 15 knots and soon after to 20 knots; at 0459 she hauled right round to 305 deg., roughly parallel to the enemy, with her 'A-arcs just open'; at 0505 hours, when just abaft the beam of the leading German ship, she opened fire at 18 600 yds. It was not until 0511 hours that Gneisenau returned the fire; she had sighted the British force at 0450 hours, but in the poor light to the westward had not recognized it as such until 0500 hours, when the alarm was sounded for action. The Scharnhorst on the other hand did not sight the Renown until the latter opened fire at 0505 hours. A fierce engagement ensued during the next ten minutes or so, both the Gneisenau and the Scharnhorst firing at the Renown, which was engaging the Gneisenau with her heavy armament, and the Scharnhorst with her 4.5-in., all the destroyers joining in with their 4.7-in. though at such range their fire could 'hardly have been effective'. The Renown was hit twice, without serious damage; the Gneisenau received a hit at 0517 on the foretop at a range of 14 600 yds., destroying the main fire control equipment, and temporarily disabling her main armament. At 0518 hours, with only her secondary armament in action, the Gneisenau altered course to 030 deg. 'with the obvious intention of breaking off the action'.

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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby paulcadogan » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:05 am

Terje! :shock:
You say that was written by David Brown?

Most of that is word for word out of Peter C. Smith's book. And it is not in there as a quote....
Do you have a copy? I have the new version with the title "The Battle-Cruiser HMS Renown 1916-1948".

The times are quoted as 1 hour earlier:

"At 03:37 Renown was steering a course.." Then there are details of her sighting a darkened ship, IDing it as Scharnhorst with Hipper. Then: "The enemy ships lay broad on the port bow..." Then after a few paragraphs "Renown maintained her course...... At 03:59 she hauled right round..... and continues word for word but instead of "A fierce engagement ensued.." it says "Both the German ships concentrated their fire at Renown for the next ten minutes or so, while Renown..."

Let me not say anymore on that... :silenced:

On the matter of bearings, from what I understand, for indicating the relative bearing of a target "red" and "green" were used for port and starboard respectively along with the approximate angle from the bow. So "Green 90" means the target is directly abeam - not presenting its beam. The ship's turrets would be trained at right angles to its heading. Similarly Able Seaman Newell on Suffolk shouted "Ship bearing Green 140" when he sighted Bismarck - indicating the ship was 40 deg off her starboard quarter.

Paul
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Postby Terje Langoy » Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:02 pm

My previous post was an extract from pg. 20 of the book Naval Operations of the Campaign in Norway, written by author David Brown. (Cass Series - Naval Staff Histories - published in 2004) What led me to believe Brown could be using Admiral Whitworth’s log is another quote found above on the very same page:

“…from midnight onwards, runs Admiral Whitworth’s diary, the weather improved; but knowing that the destroyers would be widely strung out on account of the weather I decided to wait until the first sign of dawn and sufficient light to make the turn to the south-eastward without losing touch with them or any part of them”

Just to have said it, David Brown use British time in his account, not German; as this was changed by me in order to combine with German sources. (K/S)

I also have a copy of The Battle-Cruiser HMS Renown 1916-1948 by Peter C. Smith. However I have not noticed the exact wording between the authors Brown & Smith. But if you say they reflect the work of each other then that is, to me, heavenly bliss. It’s a constant source of head-ache when authors contradict each other (which source is correct?) and so I’m just glad they both agree on the story.

Onwards to the core of discussion; the quote ‘A-arcs just open’, which has confused me quite a bit, have to be a reference made to her course change; onto course 305 deg - with aft turret ‘just open’, and so if Gneisenau were reported at bearing ‘green 90’ at 0505 hours then H.M.S. Renown must have catch up with Gneisenau considerably during those first five minutes. K/S states that Gneisenau made radar contact at port quarters and that the Galloper was later spotted at similar bearing at 0459 hours. Speed difference so forth must have brought the British ship onto a parallel bearing pretty fast.

Gneisenau’s range, 16 000 yds at 0511 hours, was a rough extract I made from Brown’s two range readings, (18 600 yds at 0505 hours -14 600 yds at 0516 hours) suggesting range closed by 4 000 yds after some 10 minutes. I therefore arrived at an estimate that at 0511 hours range could be some 16 000 yds - of course not exact - since rate of range decreased would not be linear but curved due to speed variable. (Steep at first – then flat out as Gneisenau speed increase and ultimately match H.M.S. Renown speed) However this estimate has a vital presumption that H.M.S. Renown must close in on Gneisenau from her port quarters, not being parallel to her already at 0505 hours. The Galloper was steaming a lot faster than her counterpart in the first minutes of the duel and so, considering a ‘green 90’ bearing at 0505 hours I just have to wonder from where Brown got a range of 14 600 yds at 0516 hours, at a time after courses had been severely divergent. (305 deg. – 350 deg.)

As you said, something does not add up…

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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby paulcadogan » Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:33 pm

Unless David Brown and Peter C. Smith are one and the same person with one name being a pseudonym, they've got an issue to resolve! Even if they used the same source (Whitworth's log) the exact word for word matching in the descriptions without direct quotation can't be coincidental...

I'm not sure what the forward limit of Renown's after turret was. Hood's was 30 deg off the bow (though blast would have caused extreme damage so I don't think it was ever used!) To have her A-arcs safely open I would think the target would have to be about 45 deg off the bow ( Prince of Wales' forward limit was 45 deg).

As I said, we need more info than what has been presented to work this thing out.

Paul
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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:20 pm

Ciao all,

well this is much more interesting than responding to Vic Dale never ending fantasies about Denmark Strait battle that are well known fact to me :wink: .

If I can be of any help, feel free,... meanwhile I go and document myself a bit more in order to be able to join in this nice discussion with so many friends.

Do you like to have a complete battle map ?

Can anybody post a file here in if I send it to him ? It is a kind of 2 MegaByte

Talk to you soon.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: The Battle of Stromvaer

Postby paulcadogan » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:17 pm

Hi again and welcome Antonio.

Here's the battle map Antonio sent to me. The captions are in German and I'm not sure what all the numbers mean bu it does show the converging course at the start, but then has Renown turning to port at around 05:12 to present her full broadside and this explains why Gneisenau's hits came in from Green 90. It suggests Renown did not open fire on a Green 90 bearing but off her bow.

If we can get a translation that will be great!

Thanks Antonio!

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Postby Terje Langoy » Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:49 pm

H.M.S. Renown is turning onto a parallel course 0512 hours..! Before that courses are converging with the Galloper steering way more towards north, some 340 - 350 deg - between 0440 hours and 0512 hours. This contradict all my sources so far where H.M.S. Renown was heading at course 080 deg, working up speed towards 20 knots, before she hauled around to course 305 deg at 0459 hours. Interesting but also confusing - to say the least

Still, it's new information on the table. Thanks, Antonio!


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