Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:52 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga,

Ok, ... lets go for Cape Matapan here in ... of course.

Do you have a good enough action map with each warship course and battle time, so we can see distances and manoeuvres.

You know, ... I am used to Denmark Strait battle map and events ... so at least I would like to have similar details if possible, ... and usually during winning battles the Royal Navy ones are pretty detailed ... if I think at May 27th, 1941.

I imagine that for Cape Matapan something similar has been produced ... :wink:

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 )

A Raven

Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby A Raven » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:19 pm

Re memoirs,
Did the ship's cat ever write his/her story of the events in question; might be important; a cats eye view sort of thing.

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:43 pm

Hello everybody,

... a cat will know about it ... :shock:

Joke_Cat_Churchill.jpg
Joke_Cat_Churchill.jpg (130.94 KiB) Viewed 771 times


... hope you like the joke ... :wink:

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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wadinga
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby wadinga » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:56 pm

Hi Steve,

The Doctor's eye witness account is from a letter sent his son shortly after the events described actually happened, therefore he was not aware of what had happened at other close range actions eg Narvik or those that would happen in the Pacific a year or more later. He is however, far more likely to be aware of the circumstances prevailing when Barham's searchlights were rendered inoperative, than a confirmed fantasist concocting a story half a century later of heroic, but doomed Zara machine gunners causing casualties and damage that the perfidious British have successfully hidden ever since.

The other triumphs of this Italian amateur bank manager historian include claiming Warspite was hit at Punto Stilo, at about the time she scored one of the longest hits in naval history, which was also remarkably successfully covered up, and that Ultra intelligence was never effective against Italian codes and Harry Hinsley of Bletchley Park made all its successes up. I found an Italian language website which my crude Google translate efforts revealed a score of vociferous Italian critics reviling a book called something like Ultra-the Myth for gross inaccuracies and ludricrous unjustified assumptions.

In case there is any confusion over the identity of this amateur italian historian taking tiny nuggets and extrapolating them by distorted logic and simple invention into a Byzantine and astoningly-effective conspiracy by dastardly British naval authorities to distort truth and history, his name is Enrico Cernuschi.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:58 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga

I do not know yet if Enrico Cernuschi is correct or not with his findings about Cape Matapan, ... but I will find out about it soon.

What I do know is that in some occasions I have researched carefully, ... like on Denmark Strait or the HMS Glorious sinking case, ... on the Royal Navy official side and after for more than 70 years on published books written by English authors, ... there have been plenty of manipulated/incorrect declarations.
I think I do not need to list them once again, you know them pretty well given last years post’s.

Consequently, you are not in condition to point your finger against anybody, since the evidence so far are all against you.
This made clear once for good, lets talk about Cape Matapan here in.

Here a map I found on an Italian publication on 1970’s, but I am sure that being a winning battle on the British side, like on May 27, 1941 against the Bismarck, there will be plenty of maps and official reports from all the involved Royal Navy warships, detailed gunnery Official reports and so on … not like on May 24, 1941 at the Denmark Strait, … as we all Know very well.

Matapan_02.jpg
Matapan_02.jpg (62.55 KiB) Viewed 695 times


As far as I have understood the 3 Royal Navy battleships, … the Warspite, the Valiant and the Bahram ... fired for a very short time to the Italian warships.

Lets realize now as good as we can to which warship they did fire, how many salvoes, from which course, with how many turrets, how many total shells they fired, when they opened and ceased the main guns fire.

Cdr George Stitt account seems to be an interesting reading about it, according to the NAVAL REVIEW :

Calabria is followed by the action off Cape Spada, better known as the Sydney's battle, which was
another chase, and a very successful one. Then come good accounts of the Taranto and Matapan actions,
on which it is unnecessary to enlarge, except to remark that here the confusion and mistakes in identity
are brought out rather more clearly than in " Battle Experiences," where mistakes are usually glossed
over


Being such a short engagement should not be so difficult to realize it precisely.

HMS Prince of Wales gunnery report at Denmark Strait was pretty precise about it, at least with the main salvoes on central control, … lets see if on those warships they have been better or worst as far as gunnery report.

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 )

dunmunro
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby dunmunro » Sun Aug 02, 2015 5:21 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga

I do not know yet if Enrico Cernuschi is correct or not with his findings about Cape Matapan, ... but I will find out about it soon.

What I do know is that in some occasions I have researched carefully, ... like on Denmark Strait or the HMS Glorious sinking case, ... on the Royal Navy official side and after for more than 70 years on published books written by English authors, ... there have been plenty of manipulated/incorrect declarations.
I think I do not need to list them once again, you know them pretty well given last years post’s.

Consequently, you are not in condition to point your finger against anybody, since the evidence so far are all against you.
This made clear once for good, lets talk about Cape Matapan here in.

Here a map I found on an Italian publication on 1970’s, but I am sure that being a winning battle on the British side, like on May 27, 1941 against the Bismarck, there will be plenty of maps and official reports from all the involved Royal Navy warships, detailed gunnery Official reports and so on … not like on May 24, 1941 at the Denmark Strait, … as we all Know very well.



As far as I have understood the 3 Royal Navy battleships, … the Warspite, the Valiant and the Bahram ... fired for a very short time to the Italian warships.

Lets realize now as good as we can to which warship they did fire, how many salvoes, from which course, with how many turrets, how many total shells they fired, when they opened and ceased the main guns fire.

Cdr George Stitt account seems to be an interesting reading about it, according to the NAVAL REVIEW :

Calabria is followed by the action off Cape Spada, better known as the Sydney's battle, which was
another chase, and a very successful one. Then come good accounts of the Taranto and Matapan actions,
on which it is unnecessary to enlarge, except to remark that here the confusion and mistakes in identity
are brought out rather more clearly than in " Battle Experiences," where mistakes are usually glossed
over


Being such a short engagement should not be so difficult to realize it precisely.

HMS Prince of Wales gunnery report at Denmark Strait was pretty precise about it, at least with the main salvoes on central control, … lets see if on those warships they have been better or worst as far as gunnery report.

Bye Antonio :D



Spelling!

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:36 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Dunmunro,

... sign of destiny Duncan, ... Barham, ... Bahram, ... :wink:

... now lets see against which enemy warship the HMS BARHAM opened fire at Cape Matapan ... at what time ... when she ceased fire and why ... and everything that happened on those few minutes on her.

Obviously we will try to realize also what really happened to her searchlights ... :think:

Here we have few more information and some maps, that basically are in line with my Italian one.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/U ... d-2-4.html

Admiral Cunningham instantly swung his ships 40 degrees to starboard ( from course 240° to course 280°) back into line ahead, bringing the enemy on to the port bow. The Formidable turned farther away to starboard, for a carrier has no place in the line at night when battle is joined. The Warspite's guns steadied on the second 8-inch cruiser and opened fire.3 Almost simultaneously with the Warspite's first broadside the destroyer Greyhound, ahead of the battleships, switched a searchlight on to the enemy, which greatly helped the Valiant and Barham to select their targets. (See Photo. 4.) In the beam of the Warspite's own searchlights five of the six 15-inch shells of her first broadside were seen to hit. The three battleships poured broadside after broadside into the unfortunate Italian cruisers which had been caught quite unprepared and which had, indeed, no arrangements for using their heavier guns at night. 'One saw whole turrets and masses of other heavy debris whirling through the air and splashing into the sea and in a short time the ships themselves were nothing but glowing torches and on fire from stem to stern.'4 Three Italian destroyers turned towards the British battleships and one was seen to fire torpedoes. To avoid them, Admiral Cunningham swung his ships away 90 degrees to starboard (from course 280° to course 10°). Just 4½ minutes had elapsed since the Warspite's opening broadside. Leaving the four destroyers who were with the fleet to finish off the enemy cruisers, Admiral Cunningham, collecting the Formidable on the way, withdrew northward at 10.40 clear of the battle area.


So if the above account is precise we are talking about 4 minutes and 30 seconds while on course 280 degrees ... with the enemy on bearing 230 degrees, ... so 50° on the port side ... ahead of the beam.

HMS_Barham_open_fire_Cape_Matapan.jpg
HMS_Barham_open_fire_Cape_Matapan.jpg (20.33 KiB) Viewed 664 times


This should be close to the reality of the HMS Barham at open fire ... and in this situation the searchlights have been damaged by her own main guns blast ?

Lets see how far where them from the main guns ... from the aft main turrets ... I suppose ...

http://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=381127

Barham_aft_guns_searchlights.jpg
Barham_aft_guns_searchlights.jpg (126.17 KiB) Viewed 664 times


... well, they seems to me pretty far away to be damaged by her own blast ... :think:

Lets investigate further more here in ...

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: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby dunmunro » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:44 pm

Barham was not modernized to nearly the same extent as Warspite and Valiant. It is quite probable that her searchlights were older and less blast resistant. Additionally, the searchlights on Warspite and Valiant were remotely controlled and automatically followed the director via remote power control and it is unlikely that Barham's SLs were so equipped. Barham's SLs were positioned further aft than on Warspite and Valiant making their crews and the lights more susceptible to blast, from the aft 15in turrets, and the blinding effects of their own gun flashes.

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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:57 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Dunmunro,

having made already an error, ... I like not to make another one.

Before stating anything more from my side about this engagement, ... now I like to have everything available, ... from both sides, ... and I do not care how long it will take.

Thanks for your information about the HMS Barham missed modernization status, ... I knew already she was not yet like Warspite and Valiant.

I see what you mean, ... but now we need to find more information about this engagement and the Barham performances on it.

It is clear to me at this point that it is not yet precisely defined when she opened fire and against which enemy warship, ... how many shells she fired and if she changed target and why ... and for a 4 and a half minute engagement involving 3 battleships against 2 heavy cruisers being their target, ... it seems to me that it should have been all clear and with no doubts at all since 74 years.

What is the official version of this engagement ?

Is it available online ?

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: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:35 am

Hello everybody,

OK, I got the official Adm Cunningham dispatches version here in :

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/l ... zette.html

It is the document number 38031 issued by the London Gazette on July 29th, 1947.

•No. 38031 Mediterranean : despatch on the Battle of Matapan 1941 Mar. 27-30, by Admiral Sir Andrew B. Cunningham, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Station.

You can download it for free and read it thru.

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: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:53 am

Hello everybody,

a good battle account from the Italian destroyer Alfieri.

http://conlapelleappesaaunchiodo.blogsp ... fieri.html

Here in, we can read some more details about the 3 battleship firing at the Italian warships, ... and at the British destroyer Havock too ... during those minutes.

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: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby wadinga » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:25 pm

Hi Antonio,

If you think the details of the night action will allow
it seems to me that it should have been all clear and with no doubts at all since 74 years.


Think again, there will always be doubts :wink: inconsistencies do not equal cover up and hidden guilt.

British accounts eg S W C Pack think Alfieri was leading, followed by Zara and Fiume. Italian descriptions make it clear:- Daddy Duck and Mummy Duck, expecting no danger, were leading their four little ducklings into the meatgrinder. Cattaneo thought he was on a peaceful salvage mission and not expecting any interference from the RN. Iachino had "gallantly" (Alberto's description") sent them to "rescue" Pola only because he mistakenly thought the British were many many miles away. He also didn't trust the job to two destroyers, as a 1700 tonner trying to tow 10,000 tons wasn't really viable, and they might just take off the crew and scuttle Pola. Cattaneo was supposed to decide whether towing was feasible, and had the vessels to do it. In reality it was no more feasible than PG saving Bismarck whilst the circling Home Fleet blasted them both to oblivion, (although that thread continues to run :shock: ).

Descriptions in this excellent (if somewhat racist- remember diary was written in 1941) Australian navy site show the mayhem and confusion that night. I hope you have a thick skin. Derisive and insulting opinions expressed back then, do not justify "adjusting" the facts now.
http://www.gunplot.net/matapan/matapan.html

For instance I am not embarrassed to admit British resistance to Hitler's Blitzkrieg in France was disorganised and ineffectual, that is a fact. No-one here should be worried about admitting such things. That the Italian Navy in 1941 was poorly trained in having "not bothered" to develop adequate night-fighting capability is unanswerable. Cunningham turned away sharply because if British destroyers had found themselves inside 3,000yds of the enemy battle line (on their bows) at night, they would have had every fish in the water in seconds and he expected Italian destroyers to do the same. In reality Alfieri's division were as unready as the big ships.

Being efficient in warmaking is not a virtue, it is ultimately dehumanising, but it may unfortunately become a necessity.

Some books call Zara's Breda fire "aimless". These accounts suggest they were firing red, white and green tracer into the sky as a recognition signal.

Until you, Mr Cernuschi or any of us here have experienced the shockwave of a full 15" broadside, fired at low angle on extreme forward bearing, from the deck nearby I suggest we be guided by the official British account as to whether it broke Barham's searchlights or not, especially since people who were actually there have given us their opinion on the violent conditions prevailing. You know what Rodney's fire at short ranges did to that ship's own decks and structure. :think:

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:53 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga,

many thanks for the Stuart account ... :D

You know that I agree with you :

... there will always be doubts, ... :wink: ... inconsistencies do not equal cover up and hidden guilt.


Unless I find evidence of the opposite, ... of course, ... if that being the case I think it is fair and due to openly discuss and provide our personal opinions, ... always only from a military stand point, ... being this an historical naval forum about warships.

Back to this engagement analysis, ... I already read several inconsistencies among the various reports, ... and you know me, ... that is making me very curios now about it ... about the truth, ... despite the final result and for the pleasure of finding it.

So even if I am a lot busy with several other things, ... I like to read more and study this battle a bit better.

Doing a current recap from what I have read, ... summarizing I realized that :

1 ) We have 3 Royal Navy battleships ( Warspite, Valiant and Barham ) armed with 381 mm (15 inch) guns firing at 3 Italian warships being their targets (the heavy cruisers Fiume, Zara and the destroyer Alfieri ).
I do not care here about the secondary 152 mm fire to other targets including the Havock.

2) The whole main guns engagement lasted only few minutes, ... I assume so far 4 minutes and 30 seconds ... inside this timeslot ... from 22.28 when Greyhound illuminated the target ... until 22.33 when the Royal Navy battleships had already turned on course 10 degrees having already ceased fire with their main guns.
I have used Adm Cunningham Official dispatches timing here, since on the Italian side there are some timing mismatches.

3) It has been reported that the Warspite only fired her main guns to the Fiume.
It has been reported that only the Barham fired her main guns to the destroyer Alfieri.

Now we are left with some mismatches, ... the Valiant that has been reported having fired initially to the Fiume and only after having changed target to the Zara to finish her off.
On the Zara it seems that the first 15inch shells received were coming from the Barham having opened fire on her and only after having changed target to the destroyer Alfieri.

This is what we need to clear up ... and realize more precisely ... if possible with accounts from both sides.

It seems a " piece of cake " to me ... if all Official records are still available ... :think:

Any help is of course more than welcome ... :wink:

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 )

A Raven

Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby A Raven » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:03 pm

After the battle, when the British had withdrawn several miles from the scene to reform, they heard heavy gunfire and saw AA gunfire from enemy warships. This began about an hour after the British has ceased firing and continued for about an hour, from what I remember reading the official accounts.

What were the Italians firing at?

What do the Italian Official reports state on this matter?

This matter needs a full investigation; leave no stone unturned I say.

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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Postby paulcadogan » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:14 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:This should be close to the reality of the HMS Barham at open fire ... and in this situation the searchlights have been damaged by her own main guns blast ?

Lets see how far where them from the main guns ... from the aft main turrets ... I suppose ...


... well, they seems to me pretty far away to be damaged by her own blast ...

Lets investigate further more here in ...


Antonio,

You underestimate the effect of blast damage! Look at Renown engaging the Twins off Norway - she only had 2 guns firing from aft:

The after superstructure side, starboard, aft, was damaged; side lights and deadlights broken, rigols torn off, watertight doors blown off hinges, etc. Internally wooden doors were smashed and linings torn down.

Both hangar doors were wrecked – that to Port hangar although still hanging was out of its guides and badly distorted; that to Starboard hangar was lying on the deck, and broken in several pieces The upright supports to doors were completely wrecked.

Boats were damaged by blast.
http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/official/adm267/adm267-111.htm#renown

The Renown's hangar and boats were significantly further forward of her single aft twin turret than were Barham's searchlights from her TWO aft turrets, and look at the damage done!

Paul
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man


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