Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

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aurora
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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby aurora » Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:25 pm

The fact that Konstam provides no Bibliography-I consider most unusual-can't say that I've seen a historical book without one.I now have Otto Busch's account and his account published in 1956 may well have recollections with errors of commission and omission,We have two other accounts-one by John Winton and one by A J Watts-I am of the opinion we are at Deuce (A la Tennis) :stubborn: :stubborn:

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:03 pm

I commented earlier that I don't believe a truly satisfactory account has been written. It may not be possible.

There were no officers that survived. Only (if I recall correctly) 36 survivors were saved and none of those were officers. (Btw, there is no basis to accuse the RN for cutting rescue efforts short because after some many minutes there could be no survivors left alive in Arctic seas.) There was no KTB to examine. No way to ask Admiral Bey why he did this or that. No way to ask Engineer Koenig about details of damages/breakdowns to the power/propulsion machinery. We have good accounts and data from the British side, but not a lot from the German side. This is why I value Busch's account, because it does provide some light on what happened aboard the Scharnhorst, warts and all.

For example, Petty Officer Goedde's, (a major contributor to Busch's account), battle station was at the forward night optics fire control director, which on Scharnhorst was positioned just forward of the admirals bridge on the same level. He therefore over heard conversations from time to time between senior officers, and he was included in the gunnery telephone circuits, so he heard the orders and comments of the gunnery officers. Hintze also brought him in to the admiral's bridge to take shelter a few times. Besides a petty officer usually knows more than a commissioned officer does about the technical operations of the ship in action.

All the books contain errors. For example, none of the post war writings, with the exception of those by Helmuth Giessler contain a correct description of Scharnhorst's radar equipment. How do I know Giessler had it right? Because it checks with the primary documents' descriptions of the Scharnhorst's equipment. Busch's account also conforms more to those primary documents pertaining to the radars than any others, besides Giessler.
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: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby aurora » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:12 am

I wholeheartedly agree with you Dave-maybe we shall never know the absolute truth-the sad part ,as all the books contain errors-choosing which one; will have to be left to the individual-so Amen to that.


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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:16 pm

By combining accounts one can probably develop a clearer picture. For example, Jacobsen reports that on the strength of a radar transmission intercept Scharnhorst turned away to the south west at about 0730 hours. Other accounts, including Winton, report that it turned away based on a radar contact toward the north. So who is correct? Scharnhorst was on a south course leading up to the first skirmish. Battle Summary 24 (based on Burnett's reports) can probably settle this issue. Scharnhorst was first detected on Norfolk's type 273 radar at ~ 33,000 yards (~30,000 meters) at 0840 hours. The radar contact was on northeast course at 12 knots. With in a couple of minutes the radar contact changed course to the southward and increased speed to 19 knots.

Another example, Busch reports that Bey was in contact with his destroyers via radio link in the minutes leading up to the first skirmish. Survivors also reported this but the British interrogators dismissed this because there were no British interceptions of these radio transmissions recorded. In a German document compiled by Giessler, dated 1948, (citing the 1944 Abwer analysis and debriefing of exchanged prisoners) it is reported that Z33 was communicating with Scharnhorst at 0925 hours stating: 'we are to your north and are trying to join you for the coming battle'. (The Germans had a 70 cm voice radio with scrambling in addition to the VHF frequencies normally monitored by the British.) At about 0900 hours Belfast registered a second radar contact to the north west at 24,000 yards on a north east course at 8 knots. Burnett reasoned it was a convoy ship. It was obviously Z33 in hind sight.

Another example, was Goedde's testimony that Scharnhorst had Burnett's cruisers on radar some minutes previously and wasn't completely surprised at the second skirmish. This does not conform to just about any British account. But Goedde is quoted by Jacobsen:

Shortly before 1230 several look outs, myself included, observed and reported three vague shapes ahead. The alarm had already been sounded based on a radar contact. Before our guns had time to fire, the first star shells were hanging above the Scharnhorst. Enemy shells began to fall pretty close to the ship. The first salvoes from our own guns bracketed the targets. I personally saw that after three or four salvoes a raging fire broke out close to the the after funnel of one of the cruisers and there was a lot of fire and smoke smoke both forward and aft on another cruiser. After further salvoes I saw that the third cruiser had been hit forward..


British accounts (either Fraser's dispatch or BS 24 but I don't recall which) reports that the order of opening fire was Belfast (w/ star shell), then Scharnhorst, then Norfolk. So Goedde was mostly correct with his observations.
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: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby northcape » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:46 pm

Always a good read:

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Scharnhorst trials

Postby dunmunro » Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:34 pm

I've been reading through Jacobsen. There's some very interesting info in it:

On page 33 he gives info on Scharnhorst's radar trials off Denmark's Bornholm island in January 1943; the forward set was able to detect a destroyer at 8 to 13.2km while the after set could detect the same at 10 to 12km.

on page 88 he states that in 1940 Scharnhorst achieved 31.14 knots on trials and he gives details of Scharnhorst's two hour full power trials of 25 November 1943; Scharnhorst achieved only 29.6 knots even though the engines performed well. Jacobsen quotes from an entry in Scharnhorst's war diary by chief engineer Konig:

"The overall result of the speed trial is highly satisfactory...the engines ran smoothly at full power, also during the two hours they delivered revolutions for 29 knots or more...the loss of speed is ascribable to the ship's being heavily laden . Compared with the speed trials of 1940 and 1942 she now lies more than half a metre deeper in the water."


An increase in draft of ~55cm = an increase in displacement of ~3000 tonnes so this implies a full load displacement well in excess of 40,000 tonnes.

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Re: Scharnhorst trials

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:56 am

dunmunro wrote:I've been reading through Jacobsen. There's some very interesting info in it:

On page 33 he gives info on Scharnhorst's radar trials off Denmark's Bornholm island in January 1943; the forward set was able to detect a destroyer at 8 to 13.2km while the after set could detect the same at 10 to 12km.



That range attainment is typical for WWII radar depending on conditions, and especially if the destroyers are end on. For example, the reliable range to destroyers of Type 284 and Type 271 was 14,000 yards (12.8km). The range attainment listed in USN documentation for the 40cm Mk3/4 is 25km battleship to battleship and 14.5km battleship to destroyers.

Those 1940 model radars tested aboard Scharnhorst in Jan 43 were no longer equipping the battleship by Dec 43. They had been replaced by the same model sets that Prinz Eugen was equipped with here:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6757&start=15
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: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby paulcadogan » Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:01 am

To Northcape..

Thanks SO much for taking the time to scan and post those pages - a vivid personal account indeed and better still for me, it's from a JAMAICA crew member.... :cool:

It's the first account I've ever read from Jamaica's point of view.

Much appreciated sir! :clap: :clap:
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby northcape » Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:17 am

You are very welcome!

I like the account also very much, it is indeed very well and vividly written. It is also interesting that the author mentions that he took photographs during the battle - it is a pity that none of these (and possibly hundreds of others during other battles) have never surfaced and most likely are lost now.

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby Christian VII. » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:18 am

aurora wrote:Death of Scharnhorst:
With its radar out, Scharnhorst was caught by surprise as the British attack developed. Using radar-directed fire, Duke of York scored hits on the German ship with its first salvo. As the fighting continued, Scharnhorst's forward turret was put out of action and Bey turned north. This quickly brought him under fire from Belfast and Norfolk. Changing course to the east, Bey sought to escape the British trap. Hitting Duke of York twice, Scharnhorst was able to damage its radar.


Hmm.. according to all I've read it took the DoY at least five minutes of firing before it manged to hit the SH.

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby Christian VII. » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:23 am

Btw, from where is the information that SH was straddled with 31 of the 52 salvos? If they couldn't see the SH on anything but radar, and if said radar couldn't spot the fall of shot properly, how could they then claim 31 straddles? Just curious :)

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby dunmunro » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:45 pm

Christian VII. wrote:
aurora wrote:Death of Scharnhorst:
With its radar out, Scharnhorst was caught by surprise as the British attack developed. Using radar-directed fire, Duke of York scored hits on the German ship with its first salvo. As the fighting continued, Scharnhorst's forward turret was put out of action and Bey turned north. This quickly brought him under fire from Belfast and Norfolk. Changing course to the east, Bey sought to escape the British trap. Hitting Duke of York twice, Scharnhorst was able to damage its radar.


Hmm.. according to all I've read it took the DoY at least five minutes of firing before it manged to hit the SH.


Maybe you can state where you read that?

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby dunmunro » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:11 pm

Christian VII. wrote:Btw, from where is the information that SH was straddled with 31 of the 52 salvos? If they couldn't see the SH on anything but radar, and if said radar couldn't spot the fall of shot properly, how could they then claim 31 straddles? Just curious :)


Scharnhorst was illuminated by starshell almost continuously for the first half an hour or so while DoY's radar could spot the fall of shot fairly accurately, under 20k yds.

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby Christian VII. » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:28 am

dunmunro wrote:
Christian VII. wrote:
aurora wrote:Death of Scharnhorst:
With its radar out, Scharnhorst was caught by surprise as the British attack developed. Using radar-directed fire, Duke of York scored hits on the German ship with its first salvo. As the fighting continued, Scharnhorst's forward turret was put out of action and Bey turned north. This quickly brought him under fire from Belfast and Norfolk. Changing course to the east, Bey sought to escape the British trap. Hitting Duke of York twice, Scharnhorst was able to damage its radar.


Hmm.. according to all I've read it took the DoY at least five minutes of firing before it manged to hit the SH.


Maybe you can state where you read that?


Battleships - Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II by William H. Garzke & Robert O. Dulin

According to them it was after 5 min of firing that DoY managed to make its first hit.

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Re: Death of the Scharnhorst in ww2

Postby pgollin » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:47 pm

Christian VII. wrote:
Battleships - Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II by William H. Garzke & Robert O. Dulin

According to them it was after 5 min of firing that DoY managed to make its first hit.



Not exactly a reliable source.

The Admiralty report (a bit more reliable) stated that according to N.I.D. "......... The first ten-gun salvo from DUKE OF YORK was fired at 1651 at a range of 11,950 yards to score a straddle and a hit low down and well forward which appeared as a greenish glow along the waterline. Duke of York was firing green 'K' shell. ........"


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