USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

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Byron Angel
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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Byron Angel » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:41 pm

alecsandros wrote:... Bismarck was doing 7kts and was on a preset course. That should have helped a little don't you think ?

And how abot KGV obtaining a similar performance?

And let me remind you that Morrison mentions the testimony of a japanese survicor from kirishima , that said she was scuttled after receivingv8 or 9 heavy hits.
Imagine them going back to japan d saying they scuttled another battleship adter receiving 8 or 9 shells.

..... Bismarck may have been doing 7 knots, but her course was hardly "pre-set". Between her rudder damage and the wind and sea, she could not maintain a steady course of any sort. She was constantly weaving an yawing about a very crude base course. But that really is moot. The biggest problems confronting Rodney were [a] her inability to get any good ranging data, the poor state of training of her gunnery department and [c] large spreads. Rodney opened fire at over 23,000 yards and was still at 20,000 yards when firing her 24th salvo - those are not trivial distances for a ship lacking accurate range data. Rodney was NOT conducting target practice as 5,000 yards. In any case, no one really knows with absolute certainty how many hits Rodney made; the same source, "Progress in Naval Gunnery - 1942", makes a point elsewhere in the chapter about the great difficulty of detecting even heavy AP projectile hits at any range over about 6,000 yards.

I have the text of Horishi's original testimony. Horishi was the assistant gunnery officer; my guess is that he would have been stationed below decks in the transmitting station. His 9 heavy + 40 light hits was an estimate. He made no mention of having physically witnessed or examined any of the damage. While there is little doubt that he would have been able to sense heavy caliber hits near his position in the ship, there is no reason to suppose that he would have been able to properly sense heavy caliber hits at points more distant from his post. This would have been Horishi's first experience under fire from an enemy battleship and there is a reasonable possibility that he mistook 16in hits upon more distant parts of his ship as lighter caliber hits. This would explain his estimate of 40 light hits, which is statistically far too high (by a factor or 3x/4x) for the range and ballistics of the 5in/38.

B

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:00 pm

... Dear Byron,
It was a heavy battle which happened a long time ago.

The action report that we have (Washington's), does not fit Lundgren's analysis, which is the only source mentioning 22 heavy hits. THis source draws exclusively from 1 (key) eye wittness.

This source does not mention any underwater concusion damage, underwater splinter damage, and does not explain why would 16" shells explode 1-2-3 meters behind 150mm of vertical armor, OR on hitting Kirishima's decks (instead of traveling ~ 20m and exiting on the other side,at leats for the shells fired in the first stage of the firing)

The total number of claimed hits does not fit with US 16" 9-battery night trial firings, does not fit with Washington's action report, and does not fit with Horishi's initial report. It also fails to explain why did Horishi testified that Kirishima was "scuttled".

It also does not fit at all with known undrwater behavior of heavy shells, examined in the later years by Jurens and Okun.

It also does not fit with % of hits obtained by any other navy's battleship, under any conditions (KGV versus Bsimarck ? Hood bombarding Dunkerque ? )

As I said earlier, the best way to reconcile the sources appears to be taking the underwater hits as damaging near-misses - which certainly could happen, and could cause massive hull damage and let water inside.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:26 pm

Extremely short range shooting by heavy naval artillery naturally produces a large scatter for range. This is because of the extremely flat trajectory. Shells that pass over the target by only a few meters could go hundreds of meters before splashing into the sea beyond. Shells that are just a bit low could hit the sea well short of the target. Ironically, at extremely short ranges the hitting window for large caliber naval artillery is rather small.
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: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Steve Crandell » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:24 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Extremely short range shooting by heavy naval artillery naturally produces a large scatter for range. This is because of the extremely flat trajectory. Shells that pass over the target by only a few meters could go hundreds of meters before splashing into the sea beyond. Shells that are just a bit low could hit the sea well short of the target. Ironically, at extremely short ranges the hitting window for large caliber naval artillery is rather small.
Then how do you explain the curve in the Fischer/Jurens study in Warship International Vol. 43 #1 which shows the probability continuing to increase as the range decreases? It uses curve fitting, but the actual wartime hit percentage point closest to 10,000 yds is over 30%, and at 15,000 yds it is over 25%. The trajectory IS very flat, and that is why the probability goes up. Shorts and longs just aren't in it much anymore. Yes, the total spread increases, but those longs are going through the target's structure.

Now, Rodney was aiming "down 100" in an attempt to get underwater hits, but there were big waves and at that range many of her shells would have just emerged from the water again and gone over or through the ship's superstructure. It would have been very unlikely to get underwater hits at such a short range.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:38 pm

Yes, the danger space is greater assuming no MPI error, but the margin for MPI error is very narrow at these ranges. According to the action report they were walking the salvos back and forth over and under the measured target range. This is a good idea if there was an MPI error, because if in error it could mean that only near misses would likely be scored if all the savos were fired with an MPI error at these short ranges. It does mean, however, that 2/3 of the salvoes fired did have an MPI error.
Last edited by Dave Saxton on Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:40 pm

Steve Crandell wrote: It uses curve fitting, but the actual wartime hit percentage point closest to 10,000 yds is over 30%, and at 15,000 yds it is over 25%. The trajectory IS very flat, and that is why the probability goes up. Shorts and longs just aren't in it much anymore. Yes, the total spread increases, but those longs are going through the target's structure.

.
Check the details - there is an additional curve for firing at night, and that one is not 25% at 15000y, but more like 10-12%, and that during trials, against a non-manouvreing 20kts target sled, which had the target shaped like a box (and not with irregular shape like a real battleship)

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:48 pm

alecsandros wrote:Check the details - there is an additional curve for firing at night, and that one is not 25% at 15000y, but more like 10-12%, and that during trials, against a non-manouvreing 20kts target sled, which had the target shaped like a box (and not with irregular shape like a real battleship)
And they were not able to correct for MPI error at night. That night the radars proved unable to spot the fall of shot and optical spotting was rendered impossible because of their own gun flashes. They did try and observe the fall of their shots using hand held binoculars, which must been how they made their hit estimates. It does call into question their observations in the action report on the otherhand.
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: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Steve Crandell » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:13 pm

Dave, I just reread the account of the battle by Hornfischer in "Neptune's Inferno". He says "over 20 hits", and gives Japanese testimony of "30 foot holes" in the deck amidships.

My question now is, are you only selecting things he says that agree with your point of view (turret 3), or do you agree 20 hits was possible?

Also, to Alexandros ... how does a 16" shell that fails to explode because it passed all the way through the ship leave a 30 foot hole in the deck?

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:02 pm

I dont know. You tell me ?

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:03 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:Dave, I just reread the account of the battle by Hornfischer in "Neptune's Inferno". He says "over 20 hits", and gives Japanese testimony of "30 foot holes" in the deck amidships.

My question now is, are you only selecting things he says that agree with your point of view (turret 3), or do you agree 20 hits was possible?
Yes I know. Hornfischer cites Lundgren.

I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other, other than to say that of course its possible but not probable. I dont think it matters how many direct hits were scored. It can't be proven or disproven. Of course I'm not selecting things that only agree with my point of view, are you?
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: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Steve Crandell » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:39 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote:Dave, I just reread the account of the battle by Hornfischer in "Neptune's Inferno". He says "over 20 hits", and gives Japanese testimony of "30 foot holes" in the deck amidships.

My question now is, are you only selecting things he says that agree with your point of view (turret 3), or do you agree 20 hits was possible?
Yes I know. Hornfischer cites Lundgren.

I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other, other than to say that of course its possible but not probable. I dont think it matters how many direct hits were scored. It can't be proven or disproven. Of course I'm not selecting things that only agree with my point of view, are you?
That is a fair question. I definitely look for things which support my point of view, but I really try to be objective about things which don't agree with it. For example, at one point in my "education" about matters naval I looked at Bismarck's protection and it was "obvious" to me that it resembles that of Baden. I still believe that, but I can see now that by increasing the thickness of the armor on the weather deck and some other areas they achieved an entirely different result in Bismarck.

I also agree that either point of view with respect to the number of hits on Kirishima could be true.

I don't believe the turret 3 hit resulted in South Dakota losing her entire main armament, and I think Bill Jurens is probably correct that it was HC and not AP.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Byron Angel » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:17 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Extremely short range shooting by heavy naval artillery naturally produces a large scatter for range. This is because of the extremely flat trajectory. Shells that pass over the target by only a few meters could go hundreds of meters before splashing into the sea beyond. Shells that are just a bit low could hit the sea well short of the target. Ironically, at extremely short ranges the hitting window for large caliber naval artillery is rather small.
..... Very short range shooting, say < 3,000 yards, may well have been under gun layer control rather than director control. This method was, IIRC, still in favor in the RN - particularly for FTP ships such a Rodney - as they felt it produced better results.

The Devil is always in the details.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:13 am

alecsandros wrote:... Dear Byron,
It was a heavy battle which happened a long time ago.

The action report that we have (Washington's), does not fit Lundgren's analysis, which is the only source mentioning 22 heavy hits. THis source draws exclusively from 1 (key) eye wittness.

This source does not mention any underwater concusion damage, underwater splinter damage, and does not explain why would 16" shells explode 1-2-3 meters behind 150mm of vertical armor, OR on hitting Kirishima's decks (instead of traveling ~ 20m and exiting on the other side,at leats for the shells fired in the first stage of the firing)

The total number of claimed hits does not fit with US 16" 9-battery night trial firings, does not fit with Washington's action report, and does not fit with Horishi's initial report. It also fails to explain why did Horishi testified that Kirishima was "scuttled".

It also does not fit at all with known undrwater behavior of heavy shells, examined in the later years by Jurens and Okun.

It also does not fit with % of hits obtained by any other navy's battleship, under any conditions (KGV versus Bsimarck ? Hood bombarding Dunkerque ? )

As I said earlier, the best way to reconcile the sources appears to be taking the underwater hits as damaging near-misses - which certainly could happen, and could cause massive hull damage and let water inside.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by dunmunro » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:53 am

Byron Angel wrote:

As I said earlier, the best way to reconcile the sources appears to be taking the underwater hits as damaging near-misses - which certainly could happen, and could cause massive hull damage and let water inside.
[/quote]

Really? A 40lb burster just isn't going to much in the way of UW damage, unless it actually explodes in contact, or nearly so, with Kirishima's hull.

I have to say that I'm pretty skeptical of the ~20 16in hits claim as well

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:52 am

Hello Duncan, Byron,

Actualy i did notvthink about the shells exploding in thecwater, but only about shock damage and splinrwr damage caused by the pressure wave produced wjen the shell hit tje water.
I remember Suffolk and Sheffield suffered some underwater damage from Bismarck's near misses ( which I don't know if they exploded ? )

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