Who really sank the Hood? Bismarck or Prinz Eugen?

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
Monitor
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Who really sank the Hood? Bismarck or Prinz Eugen?

Postby Monitor » Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:36 pm

Hello,

Who really sank the Hood? Bismarck or Prinz Eugen? Some accounts give credit to the Prinz Eugen for delivering the fatal hit which sank the Hood. Could this be possible?

M.

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Antonio Bonomi
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Destruction of HMS Hood

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:34 pm

Ciao Monitor and all,

for me the answer is the same of the Official HMS Hood board of inquiry and it is very well explained into Bill Jurens superb work here in :

http://www.warship.org/no21987.htm

I reccomend you to read carefully all 4 parts of this very good job.

Hope this helps you to create your own idea on the matter.

Obviously in there you will find the answers to your questions.

In my personal opinion it was the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen could not have done the job.

But again, instead of trusting someone else, read yourself and build up your own idea.

Ciao Antonio :D

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José M. Rico
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Postby José M. Rico » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:34 pm

Hello Monitor,

It has been sometimes suggested in naval forums that it was the Prinz Eugen the ship that actually scored the fatal hit on the Hood. However, the Prinz Eugen could not have been responsible for this hit because at the time the decisive hit occurred (0600 hours) the German cruiser was firing at Prince of Wales. PG had shifted fire to POW at about 0557 just after hitting Hood in the shelter deck. Moreover, although Hood's deficiencies in terms of protection are well known, it is theoretically impossible for a 20.3 cm projectile to penetrate Hood's armour and reach her magazines. Also keep in mind that PG was firing HE shells instead of APs. Prinz Eugen's shells were considerably smaller than those of Bismarck, weighting only 122 kg.

Psgr. L/4,4 (m.Hb), AP base fused, weight 122 kg, explosive charge 2.30 kg.
Spgr. L/4,7 Bdz (m.Hb), HE base fused, weight 122 kg, explosive charge 6.54 kg.
Spgr. L/4,7 Kz , HE nose fused, weight 122 kg, explosive charge 8.93 kg.

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Ulrich Rudofsky
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Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Mon Aug 29, 2005 3:18 pm

And Prinz Eugen's Commander, and First and Second Artillery Officers made no claim for any fatal hit; however, the PG hit started the fire.

See artillery reports in the war diary at http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/pg-ktb.zip
Ulrich

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Statistics Also!

Postby Artillerist » Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:13 pm

There is another way of examining the idea that Prinz Eugen delivered the fatal blow to HMS Hood: statistics. Given the nature of the ammunition fired by Prinz Eugen, its caliber and type, and given the fact that Prinz Eugen's shells approached Hood at LESS than what might be described as "plunging fire", and finally, given the fact that Hood's deck armor was better than the myth tells us, statistically, the odds against Prinz Eugen being the killer of Hood are so high, that informed people must dismiss the idea out of hand.
"Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong." Carl Sagan

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Ulrich Rudofsky
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Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:31 pm

I think your great slogan says it all. :clap: and, therefore, I would not dismiss the possibility that PG's hit could have evolved rapidly into a lethal explosion in the event that Bismarck had missed all of his.
Ulrich

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Postby Djoser » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:18 am

I have read two alternate explanations for the Hood's fatal explosion.

One of them concerned the experimental, but pretty much useless, anti-aircraft devices which Winston Churchill had insisted the Hood carry. These were small bombs with parachutes to be propelled into the path of aircraft. According to the author (I forget his name, but I'll find the book, I believe called "The Great Ships Pass"), there were enough of these bombs stored on the deck where the big fire caused by the Prinz Eugen's hit occured, to then set off the 4 inch magazines, in turn setting off the 15 inch magazines.

Well, maybe so...maybe not. the thing that always puzzled me about the fatal explosion was that it appeared to erupt from the center of the ship, and was relatively quiet for such a huge, catastrophic event.

The other explanation involved a shell passing right down the funnel and setting off the boilers.

But forgive me for posting this before reading the cited works, which sound fascinating, to say the least...

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foeth
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Postby foeth » Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:27 am

The other explanation involved a shell passing right down the funnel and setting off the boilers.


That can be dismissed easily as bullshit, there is no way a shell could have entered the funnel. (This is an old subject, so may trigger a hefy response ;)). That is, unless the Germans adopted a shell that can consiously decide to change course in midair (say, 70 degrees)

The rocket launcher is called a UP-launcher (Unrotated projectile). Note that each 4" gun had 5 ready to use ammo-lockers on deck, without any splinter protection. Between these lockers there were also a few (less) UP laucher lockers. So, chances of the 4"ammo going off are very high. The trouble is that those on-deck fires had to traverse to the magazines.

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Matthias
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Postby Matthias » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:50 am

foeth wrote:The trouble is that those on-deck fires had to traverse to the magazines.

Infact. I guess the most important trouble this fire gave to Hood crew was the heavy smoke it made, which disturbed a lot the fire control stations and the immediate use of the X and Y towers as soon as they reached the angle to open fire, after the portside turn to course 280° at 0554.And in effect it's easy to note how Hood's fire against Prinz Eugen had been imprecise during the whole battle.
"Wir kämpfen bis zur letzten Granate."

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Postby Djoser » Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:32 pm

Hey, no problem on the ready dismissal of the 'down the funnel' theory.

But why, I wonder, do most eyewitnesses describe the (seemingly) primary explosion as coming from so far forward of the rear turrets?

Also, I recently watched a documentary on television (surprisingly good for it, too, lol) on the wreck of the Hood--which indicated that the forward magazines exploded as well. This would seem to me to be unlikely, but who knows--possibly the force of the rear magazines exploding may have traveled more easily forward all that way within the hull than I might have suspected...

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Forward Magazine Explosion

Postby Bill Jurens » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:49 pm

The documentary suggesting the forward magazine explosion, which is not too bad otherwise, keeps coming up again and again. As a member of the Marine Forensics Committee of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and the author of "The Loss of HMS Hood -- A Re-examination" I was specifically tasked with the forensic investigation of the causes of Hood's loss on the 2001 documentary which you saw.

There was definitely no forward magazine explosion -- or at least no forward magazine explosion of consequence -- on Hood. The forward hull separated due to hydrostatic compression and structural overload. The documentary quite deliberately ignored and/or distorted my findings in this regard and substituted a forward magazine explosion theory which, to put it kindly, might be best described as 'goofy'. You will see me in the program, but most or all of my comments regarding the actual cause of the forward hull separation have been carefully edited out.

The detailed results of that investigation were published in a paper for the Marine Forensics Committee of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in 2002.

Bill Jurens

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Postby Djoser » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:57 pm

Thanks for the reply...and it is an honor to speak with you.

I am not surprised to hear of the distortion of the facts in the show--I so rarely trust even the better documentaries for reasons like this.

It really didn't seem possible, so I am glad you have cleared this up!

Oh, and I did read your excellent analysis, after my initial post here--and I'll be joining the Hood forum asap!

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RF
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Re: Forward Magazine Explosion

Postby RF » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:35 pm

Bill Jurens wrote:The documentary suggesting the forward magazine explosion, which is not too bad otherwise, keeps coming up again and again. As a member of the Marine Forensics Committee of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and the author of "The Loss of HMS Hood -- A Re-examination" I was specifically tasked with the forensic investigation of the causes of Hood's loss on the 2001 documentary which you saw.

There was definitely no forward magazine explosion -- or at least no forward magazine explosion of consequence -- on Hood. The forward hull separated due to hydrostatic compression and structural overload. The documentary quite deliberately ignored and/or distorted my findings in this regard and substituted a forward magazine explosion theory which, to put it kindly, might be best described as 'goofy'. You will see me in the program, but most or all of my comments regarding the actual cause of the forward hull separation have been carefully edited out.

The detailed results of that investigation were published in a paper for the Marine Forensics Committee of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in 2002.

I don't understand why such a programme would have you involved if they ignore your expert opinion - what would they have to gain?
Whether the forward magazine exploded or not is surely academic to the fact that Hood sank.
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RNfanDan
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Postby RNfanDan » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:07 pm

foeth wrote:
The other explanation involved a shell passing right down the funnel and setting off the boilers.

... there is no way a shell could have entered the funnel. (This is an old subject, so may trigger a hefy response ;)). That is, unless the Germans adopted a shell that can consiously decide to change course in midair (say, 70 degrees)

Quite obviously, Foeth, you aren't familiar with the secret "magic shell" employed by the Germans at DS! It was a well-kept secret at the time, delivered to Bismarck's magazines prior to Rheinübüng. Its success was beyond all expectation at DS and, as a result, led to the development of a much smaller version for use by infantry riflemen.

Although there were no further quantities of this shell supplied to Tirpitz, the principles were essentially identical. The development of the small-calibre version was initially intended as anti-landmine ordnance. However, its use was limited until 1943, when most of the production quantities were furnished to Italy.

Germany's field commanders quickly realized that the Italians were about to turn against them in favor of the Allies and, rather than having Italian troops use straight-shooting ammunition against the Wehrmacht, opted to furnish the Italians with bullets less likely to strike soldiers.

The Italians soon realized they had been duped, but by then, the British and Americans were already routing Germans from Italy, and the balance of power had shifted firmly in their favor. In any event, the remaining stocks of this special ammunition were squirrelled-away, not reappearing until after the war.

The majority of this ammunition was subsequently destroyed, but not before some had been developed for the old Mannlicher-Carcano carbines, which mysteriously disappeared until the early 1960's. The last
known instance of their use was at Dallas, TX in 1963, when one was randomly included in a pack of surplus cartridges purchased by Lee Harvey Oswald. It was, of course, famous as "The Magic Bullet"....

:whistle:
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Magazine explosion

Postby Bill Jurens » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:28 pm

RF wrote wrote:I don't understand why such a programme would have you involved if they ignore your expert opinion - what would they have to gain?
Whether the forward magazine exploded or not is surely academic to the fact that Hood sank."

Well, frankly that somwhat baffles me, too. I have expressed opinions on this particular issue in the past, and will not reopen old wounds by repeating them here. The British (but no one else I know) seem to be somewhat obsessed with the idea that propellant explosions can propagate significant distances via (rather ill-defined) mechanisms such as 'flash' etc. One sees a lot of similar material written about the battlecruiser explosions at Jutland, primarily (but not exclusively) by authors who have relatively little knowledge about how propellant actually behaves when ignited.

Bill Jurens


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