Byron Angel wrote:
..... False echoes are not unknown.
Yes, and they indicate either a problem with the set or another problem which rendered the radar data useless. Padon's claim that there was a ~28 knot supply ship with the KM force should be enough to convince most readers that he can't be trusted as a source on this topic.
Not perhaps, for certain.
Type 281 was a metric radar with poor bearing accuracy. It could use beam switching to improve bearing resolution but at a cost in maximum range, and at DS Bismarck would have been at the very limit of type 281's maximum range upon opening fire and thus beam switching would not have been an option. Paddon actually states "...a certain amount of interference occurred.
..... Type 281 was an air search radar with surface search ability. Paddon was using it in its surface search capacity. It was not a FC radar system and would never have been expected to deliver the sort of bearing accuracy necessary for directing of gunfire. Bearing data would have been provided by the director. A quick review of web available data on PoW turns up the comment of PoW's gunnery officer to the effect that the range of the 281 had "more or less unlimited range" and that the T/S was ale to receive range data from the 281. Paddon indeed mentioned "a certain amount of interference", but NOT in the sense that it had any deleterious effect upon his target tracking.
Type 281 was a combined WA, WA and GA and GS set. It could range on surface targets on a 0- 28k yard scale with a 75 yds RMS accuracy via a precision ranging panel and could use beam switching to achieve 1/2 degree accuracy to allow it to discriminate between targets. It certainly didn't have unlimited range, but it might well have ranged to 26k yds (without beam switching). Again, Paddon's account was written 40 years after the fact and it simply doesn't pass even the most cursory checks for accuracy.
.....Possibly. As I mentioned: insufficient data to come to a firm conclusion.
The gunnery aspects report has to be considered definitive.
..... Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is quite possible that Paddon did not deem it necessary or desirable to include such nuts & bolts detail in a short article.
Sigh, so now you claim that the Gunnery Aspects Report, which was written when Paddon was on board and would have been based, in part, upon Paddon's own report, was falsified?
No, just an old man's failing memory.
..... I do not find the Gunnery Aspects Report conclusive as evidence contradicting. The only mention of radar issues is as follows -
"No results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 R.D.F.; it is understood that Signal School Officers are now of the opinion that Type 281 suffered interference and Type 284 was defective, although it appeared at the time that 284 was also suffering from interference." No context is provided. The interference assertion is offered up as essentially hearsay evidence with no confirmation that the author of the report understood anything at all about radar, whereas Paddon, the principal radar expert aboard, makes no mention of the interference causing any tracking problem.
No tracking problem? what about tracking a non-existent ship?
The report's "no radar ranges" assertion appears to be contradicted by McMullen's letter, which states -
"Once the range was down to about 20,000 yards the T. S. had a good Range Plot including radar ranges from the 14 inch Director Tower set ..."
The McMullen letter was also written years after the fact, and PoW did obtain radar ranges during a later engagement, as stated by the Gunnery Aspects Report, so Mcmullen may have been confused about the exact timing of events.
McMullen also mentions -
"Both radar sets had been switched off to maintain Radar Silence and were switched on at the order "enemy in sight. The main gunnery set due to its technical limitation was unable to pass ranges until the range was reduced to 24,000 yards. As far as I can remember the range on opening fire was about 26, 000 yards. No range was obtained before opening fire from the air warning radar set; I think (but am not certain} due to having been switched-off and slowness in becoming operational after being switched-on again."
Note the caveat: "no range was obtained before opening fire from the air warning radar set." McMullen's letter does not specifically speak to the period after opening of fire, probably because he was not located in the TC and was therefore unable to personally view the 281 counterdrum.
McMullen's letter places him aloft with the spotting and rate officers. The Gunnery Aspects Report provides no information as to whether the author was actually present in the TS during the battle. If no range data from the 281 was employed in the FC process, there is nothing within either of these documents that can satisfactorily explain why that might have occurred. Unless some more detailed evidence can be turned up, Paddon's claim that the 281 data had been overlooked in the TS remains a legitimate possibility.
Again, this was written years after the fact. We know that Hood's type 284 was able to range beyond 24K yds (and could plot the ranges on her Dreyer table) as was KGV's and KGV obtained useful ranges at just over 25k Yds on May 27, so McMullen is wrong about type 284 and so he is not a reliable source on this topic.
The Gunnery Aspects Report states that there was interference with type 281 - hence no ranges. Paddon's claim is not a legitimate possibility because it was formed 40 years after the fact, and even within this claim there is completely false claims of a 3rd KM ship - hence Paddon letter is useless.
The only way to dispute the Gunnery Aspects Report would be to find the reports submitted by Paddon after the action and investigative reports done by the ASE after the action.