pgollin wrote:.I do not understand where this idea that the hit was not associated with the speed slowing. The RN report is that there was a hit observed abaft of the rear turret just before the slow-down. There seems to be some sort of policy to ignore the RN's report and somehow invent a long period between shell hit and slow-down. There may be time inconsistencies, but at least the DoY's report is consistent and objective.
But that is also inconsistent with other timeline events from the Duke of York accounts, such as Fraser sending an order to Burnett at 1840 hours; to break off the attack because he can see no hope of catching up to Scharnhorst. It may be reasonable to assume that the admiral was not yet aware that Scharnhorst had lost its speed, but from Howse we know that Fraser had previously left the bridge and climbed up to the type 273 radar office so he could view the PPI presentation directly and was not relying on the narrative of the radar personal to obtain his situational awareness . And then after the message was sent, was when the radar operators began to notice the speed drop. The timeline appears to be:
*1824 hours- Duke of York fires the last salvo of the chase segment
* 1840 hours- Fraser orders a break off of pursuit.
* After Fraser sends the meesage- The Scharnhorst is noticed losing speed.
Associating a hit abaft C Turret to a boiler room penetration makes little sense. The boiler rooms are about 100 meters farther forward of Abaft of C Turret. Furthermore, a shell which entered the ship abaft there would have burst after travelling only about 12 meters, unless it was dud. But we would hardly expect a dud hit to be noticed from 20km away. Actually, any shell bursting deep within the bowls of the ship would not be noticed at all by outside observers.
There is a report by a survivor of a hit well aft (compartment III), but his description of this event appears to be located on the battery deck among a place where potatoes had been stowed. His report is correlated with the last gasp Duke of York hit in many secondary accounts as collaboration. However, there seems to be some confusion about when this described hit happened, and if it was shell hit, or a torpedo hit in the period leading up to 1900 hours. Jacobsen for example, associates this same survivor's report with both a shell hit and a torpedo hit, at different times, at different places in his book. It appears that this hit most likely was the (confirmed by multiple reports from both sides) torpedo hit abaft C Turret which brought about an abrupt slowing of Scharnhorst. There are two slowings to account for: One that dropped speed down to 22 knots and allowed the destroyers to catch up and deliver torpedo attacks, and another later slowing to 7 knots caused by multiple torpedo hits, especially one mighty blow aft. This kind of confusion is of course typical of first hand accounts by men under the stress of combat.