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

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:53 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga,

you are right this thread is about Matapan and you were talking about " professionally competent officer class ".

I just asked you to define the competences of the Officers who sent HMS Hood against the Bismarck knowing his protection weaknesses even against WW1 very old 15inch guns, ... since 1920 as Alberto showed you.

You raised this argument here in, ... so we now wait for your definition, ... please.

We have already recorded the one of the HMS Glorious ones ... :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 )

Francis Marliere
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Francis Marliere » Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:42 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote: In this sense I don't know what was the preparation of the "estimated" Italian navy opponent, the French Marine Nationale regarding night fighting. I know they had no radar and no carrier as well.....therefore I suspect that RM was just measuring herself against the French.....as they did for naval constructions specifications.
Alberto,

the French navy did have a carrier, the Bearn. It was a slow and inefficient ship with obsolete planes, but France did have a carrier and two more (Joffre and Painlevé) in construction.

Best,

Francis

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:33 am

@Francis Marlière:
merci Francis. I stand corrected. Due to her limited speed (21 knots), I think she could not be considered a true fleet carrier but you are correct ! The Joffre class would have been quite better. I know I must study in deep the French navy and I will for sure (my next model will be a Richelieu, after I will have finished with my Roma.... :wink: )

Do you know whether the Marine Nationale had developed by 1940 any night fighting capability for the main guns and in general which were the preparation conditions for night fighting engagement of the light ships (effective star shells, stabilized projectors, anti-flame ammunitions, training, etc.) ?

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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wadinga
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by wadinga » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:31 pm

Hello Antonio,

Yes I did confuse yourself and Alberto, but then you are obviously both of the same opinion. Namely installing searchlights on Italian major warships, but not developing any weapons systems which could operate at night at all, and doing nothing about it for two decades, an enormous organisational and systemic failure, is equivalent in your minds to senior officers taking a calculated, tactical, risk on an older ship being vunerable against modern opposition in an individual action. A strategic and design and training policy of having major warships with no fighting capability for half of the 24 hour day, and hoping that the opposition, French, British whoever, will agree to such a truce is unbelievably naive. So I don't agree at all.

Firstly, was it right to take the limited rebuild Barham to sea against the brand-new Littorio as Cunningham did?- undoubtedly yes. Therefore was it right to take the unrebuilt Hood to sea against Bismarck?- undoubtedly yes. The latter decision was discussed at length on the appropriate thread. The Game of War is "Risk".

If you want to wrangle about individual competence from this Health and Safety/ Quality Systems review point of view consider Cunningham deliberately taking a battle fleet including a carrier into enemy gun and torpedo range at night. If Alfieri and the other destroyers hadn't been sleepwalking into disaster, their lookouts ineffectual like those of the cruisers ahead, it could have been a Mediterranean Tassafaronga.

And we haven't even started talking about Pola.......................

Based on the quote I supplied for Matapan, are you prepared to accept that navigational impreciseness and the need to "marry up" subsequent track charts was endemic to 1941 navigation and is no indicator of "Shameful" skulduggery? :D

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

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:05 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga,

very briefly ... the navigational errors can be acceptable ...

...what is NOT acceptable is the modification of the Official reports and the intentional production of an incorrect ( intentionally false ) battle map to save somebody career ... and you know what I am talking about.

Not to list all the other " modifications / alterations " occurred ... according to Churchill guidelines to the Admiralty ...

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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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:32 pm

Wadinga wrote: ".....was it right to take the limited rebuild Barham to sea against the brand-new Littorio as Cunningham did?-...."
Hi Sean,
yes it was, if you have no better choice.
When I said RN did not learn from Jutland lesson, I was NOT referring to Adm.Tovey but to the Admiralty responsible officers who did not upgrade Hood armor being aware since 1920 of her flaws and still affected her to tasks for which she was not ready.

I agree with you that RM incompetence, not learning about the importance of night fighting, was criminal (even if I guess you were joking when speaking about searchlights, etc. as I know you are aware that they were used by the secondary armament of course.... :wink: ) and much worse than the incompetence of RN chiefs who decided to still consider Hood as a battleship. In one case, the cause was negligence, in the other budget restriction....
However in both cases a serious mistake was done both by RM and RN and the effects of these mistakes are known.

As Tovey decided to use Hood, also Iachino decided to send back Zara and Fiume, knowing they were at risk as any other big Italian ship, but as in Tovey case , IMHO, Iachino cannot be fully blamed for having answered to a message received from Pola ("I require assistance and towing") as he had no other choice wanting to rescue Pola.......

In the case of ABC sending Barham against Littorio, he was rewarded by "luck" for his strategic view and offensive attitude during the whole war, but in that specific case, the risk for Barham would have been the same as for Hood. Italians were just unable to seize the opportunity, Germans were.

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by pgollin » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:32 am

.

PLEASE try to get your facts right - the Hood ("Admiral") design was updated post-Jutland and she was armoured as for a battleship - your ignorance is embarrassing.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:12 pm

Your is astonishing as well as your insolence and rudeness when you are without arguments..... :lol:

After the post-Jutland modifications, she was armoured as for a battleship of WWI. Already in 1920, her protection was recognized as too weak to withstand 15" shells. Read ADM 1/9226..... and try to understand what it says, it should be written in your language....
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by pgollin » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:59 am

PLEASE read the DNC documents from the KGV ships cover in the late 1930s.

YOU are continually showing that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" - you express ignorant views in a simplistic manner.

Most (if not all) Sea Lords were never satisfied with the state of things, that was almost a requirement for their jobs. IF you cannot understand how Britons express themselves I really do suggest (for about the sixth or seventh time) to get a native speaker to help you - you just do not properly understand English.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:51 pm

You are right. My English is just a bit batter than your navale knowledge. :lol:
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

Francis Marliere
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Francis Marliere » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:54 am

Alberto, I don't know if French Navy was capable to fight by night.

Best,

Francis

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:05 am

Merci Francis,
I will hopefully be able to find something about French large guns night usability on the very good book by J.Jordan / R.Dumas on French Battleships (1922-1956), as soon as I will find the time to read it in detail....

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by wadinga » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:55 pm

Hello Alberto,

The only thing more ridiculous than providing searchlights to allow the secondary armament to fight at night, would be to withhold training and practice so that the main armament could not join in. As apparently happened. For two decades. :shock: What exactly is uniquely unusable on an Italian WWII fire control and weapon system when the sun drops below the horizon? Did they put padlocks on the turrets when it got dark? :D

Whether the French Navy was equally disorganised is utterly immaterial, but extremely unlikely.

It is also ridiculous, unreasonable and unconvincing to try and equate the inability to finance Hood's rebuild in the 20's and 30's in addition to that of all of the QE's (Warspite, Valiant and QE twice) and Renown, not to mention the carriers with this topdown decades-long institutional slackness exposed in the RN's opponent at Matapan. As you and Antonio are well aware, a plan for Hood's reconstruction existed, see ADM 229/20: DNC's Reports (1938-1939) on the Hood website, but as a fast, well armed and pretty well armoured unit she was perfectly suitable to go up against Bismarck at Denmark Straits. No lesser authority than Bill Jurens has given his opinion that Hood's protection was most unfortunate to be defeated.

Even to say that because your armour is inadequate, you should cower in harbour, bears no comparison with reality. Bismarck might only have shot at PoW. If Vittorio Veneto had been encountered at Matapan, Barham might not ever have been targetted.

You have said
As Tovey decided to use Hood, also Iachino decided to send back Zara and Fiume, knowing they were at risk as any other big Italian ship, but as in Tovey case , IMHO, Iachino cannot be fully blamed for having answered to a message received from Pola ("I require assistance and towing") as he had no other choice wanting to rescue Pola
There is no comparison. Iachino's decision making was "criminally" incompetent and muddled from the beginning. He had no idea where the enemy was, so he had no idea whether a "peacetime type" towing exercise was even feasible. Tovey knew Hood and PoW had a good chance of hurting or killing Bismarck and he needed two balanced forces with the ships he had.

Iachino knew his large cruisers were incapable of using their main armament even in defence and risking two more cruisers and their crews on a low chance of success salvage job in response to the helpless, pathetic bleating of Pola shows hopeless judgement. Cruel decisions must be taken. Sir John Cunningham in HMS Devonshire with 461 passengers onboard including the Norwegian King and government had to take a cruel decision to leave Glorious to her fate. That is bravery.

Cattaneo's original idea of sending a couple of expendable destroyers back to take off the crew and destroy the cripple at least made some sense. Instead he and his crews were pointlessly sent back into the mincing machine, with no offensive capability at all and no realistic chance of success in recovering Pola. Iachino wasted his men's lives.

Cattaneo's squadron formation almost guaranteed his destruction, and it is hard to believe that visibility was so variable that Cunningham's fire-control systems could track their targets when Cattaneo's lookouts could not even see 35,000 ton battleships. There is no comparison with Glorious' lack of vigilance believing they were leaving a war zone behind, with Cattano's wilful lack of preparation and vigilance knowing he was entering one.

These pathetic attempts to equate British and Italian naval command decisions at Matapan and Denmark Straits are depressingly revealing. :think:

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:07 pm

Hi Sean,
I see your points and I agree with you on the unbelievable error done by RM chiefs not training their ships for using main batteries at night. It can look ridiculous now, but it happened.

Re. Iachino decision, it was the wrong one, but (as for your Cattaneo's critics), you are wrong saying they were aware of the danger (you wrote: "knowing he was entering one"). They were NOT believing that the British battleships were at sea.
The only encounter they could fear of, was the one with cruisers or destroyers.

As I said, Cattaneo ships were vigilant and I have to point out to you that at the same time when the Italians were unable to see the British, Valiant radar got the Pola; however no visual sighting was made of the Pola from the British ships at that time, while Pola crew saw the British ships, thinking they were Cattaneo's ones (even if someone on board recognized the profile of QE class ships) and launched the red signal to attract their attention.
Therefore, in this case, I can reverse the question: were Cunningham ships lookouts doing their job ? Again, different visibility conditions are normal at night and apparently the visibility was better from East to West than viceversa......


You can consider the RN errors less severe than RM ones (and in the case of Hood usage against a modern battleship, I can partially agree, if no better choice was available, not at all in the case of Glorious....), but they were anyway avoidable errors that costed the life of several sailors. E.g. I always wondered why it was decided to modernize Renown and 3 of the QE's before the Hood when the QE's would have been all unable to intercept fast ships anyway......

Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Cape Matapan and Italian WWII fighting procedures

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:24 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga,

you wrote :
These pathetic attempts to equate British and Italian naval command decisions at Matapan and Denmark Straits are depressingly revealing.
Please no joking !

As far as I am concerned the idea to compare the Royal Navy Officer ( Wake-Walker, Leach and Ellis ) decisions/actions at Denmark Strait with any Officer of the Italian Navy in any action on WW2 is simply offensive to say the least.

So do not even try Sean to mix up that conduct with other Officers ... here in just talk about Cape Matapan.

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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