8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

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lwd
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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by lwd » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:32 pm

From this article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cape_Spartivento
It looks like one of the Italian heavies may be in the running:
At 12:22, the lead groups of both cruiser forces came into range and Fiume opened fire at 23,500 metres. .... The British heavy cruiser Berwick was hit at 12:22 by a single 8" shell, knocking out her Y turret and killing seven men. A second hit at 12:35 did little damage.
Of course it's wiki so confirmation is needed.
Another case that may depend on what you call a hit. Also from wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Sirte
Iachino took in the Distant Covering Force and opened fire at about 32,000 metres from the British, well out of range of the British guns. Admiral Vian immediately laid smoke and moved to attack while Breconshire moved away, escorted by destroyers Decoy and Havock

Lacking radar, and mindful of the disastrous night action at Matapan, the Italians wished to avoid night combat. Expecting an attack, Iachino fired for only fifteen minutes before disengaging and returning westward to protect his convoy. Only two British destroyers suffered the effects of Italian gunfire. HMS Kipling was hit by a near-miss from a 8" round, presumably fired by the Italian cruiser Gorizia with the loss of one seaman.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:42 pm

Morison provides the ammunition expenditures for the Komadorski Islands battle.

IJN 8-inch expenditures were 1611 rounds for four confirmed hits.
USN 8-inch expenditures were 832 rounds for two confirmed hits.

The average battle range for the battle was 9 miles, although a few times it was as great as about 12 miles. Most the IJN shooting ocurred during the chase at nine miles range (16,470 meters). The first USN hit occured while SLC was firing from a range of over 20,000 yards but the hit was actually from a US DD that was much closer.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by winterfell » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:26 pm

I’ve never realized that there was so many battles during which 8-inch hits where obtained. However, the thing that really surprised me is precision of fire continuously presented by ‘Prinz Eugen’ and ‘Admiral Hipper’. Most probably some other heavy cruisers are winners of Jose’s competition, but their hits were achieved during long battles (Java Sea or Komadorski Islands) where it seems that statistics helped a bit or maybe it were just single luck hits (Italian cruisers).

But German heavy cruisers…

I’ve done a little bit of research and it seems that they were able to hit their opponents in every clash they take part in.

‘Hipper’ – ‘Glowworm’, ‘Berwick’ and British ships during attack on JW-51B.
‘Prinz Eugen’ - ‘Hood’, “Prince of Wales’ and British destroyers during the Channel Dash.

And on some of those occasions German cruisers achieved hits or straddles just moments after they commenced fire.

About two years ago I read an essay about ‘Lutzow’ (first of that name) and ‘Seydlitz’. Author, Andrei Platonov, is a Russian and the essay was focused on Soviet period in history of both ships. There was presented a thesis that one of Soviets’ reasons to buy ‘Lutzow’ was their assessment of fire control capabilities of German heavy cruisers. According to the author German heavy cruisers used were equipped with very advanced and capable fire control system (including state-of-art rangefinders and two-dimensional stabilization).

Main artillery could be controlled and feed with data from several locations in the ships (it might also use DP guns fire control systems). Additionally it seems that Germans equipped 8-inch turrets with three independent directing and loading mechanisms i.e. hydraulic (main one), electric (reserve one) and manual.

Dual purpose 105mm/4.1-inch guns also had sophisticated fire control system and supposedly possessed dedicated fire control system for firing illuminating projectiles.

The author was quite critical about results achieved by German i.e. heavy cruiser of 14,000-ton standard displacement/18,000 -ton full loaded displacement with only 8 main caliber guns and 80-90 mm main belt armor. According to him German cruisers’ artillery weighted much more than in case of its contemporaries.

German cruisers’ artillery equipment weighted more than 2,000 tons without ammunition and 2,540 tons with ammunition while their machinery equipment weighted only 2,230 tons. According to Platonov that’s an exceptional case. For comparison some data on artillery equipment of some other heavy cruisers (I don’t know whether it includes ammunition) – ‘Bolzano’ -1,450 tons, ‘Trento’ – 1,000 tons, ‘Maxim Gorky’ 1,246 tons. Sophisticated German fire control system was not only very heavy but also needed a lot of space. To sum it up Andrei Platonov believes that attention that Germans paid to effectiveness and reliability of cruiser fire control resulted in large ships with mediocre armor. For until now I’ve regarded his reasoning for a quite convincing.

I think that Germans’ decision about investing in their ships’ fire control capabilities paid off (I can imagine Java Sea or Komandorski Island with ‘Hipper’ firing like during Battle of Barents Sea or ‘Prinz Eugen’ during Denmark Strait).
Last edited by winterfell on Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by alecsandros » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:33 pm

Very interesting !
Do you know if the essay is available online?

thanks,

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by winterfell » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:39 pm

Unfortunately, I read only a translation in a Polish magazine.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:07 am

Essentially the same highly advanced fire control system was used by the battleships as well. Tommy will know more about the details and slight differences than I. The fire control systems were detailed by Schmalenbach in some of his writings. I have also seen the system and the C/38 computor detailed in some of the writings that Breyer did in collaboration with Koop in the 1991 50th aniversary publications on Bismarck and Prinz Eugen.

In my own research I have found that the system had radar fully intergrated into it surprizingly early.

Usually the German armaments weights included the armaments armor too. It was usually not classified among the hull armor weights. Other countries sometimes classified armour weights for turrets and barbets among armour weights and not among armaments weights.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by dunmunro » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:43 am

I'm not sure that PE's fire was exceptionally accurate at DS, as she fired a lot more rounds than either Bismarck or PoW. PE's fire control was very modern and might be better than the older RN CAs, but whether it would have been better than a modernized 8" CA like HMS London is debatable. If we exchange PE for Norfolk and give Norfolk the radar ranging, that PE probably was using, I doubt there would have been much difference in the number of 8" hits scored on the Hood and PoW.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by RF » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:55 am

dunmunro,

Noting your comments about expenditure use and relative number of hits by PE have you taken into account that PE was shooting at two different targets?

Bismarck was also shooting at two different targets, the only major differece between the two German ships was that one 15 inch blew Hood up.
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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by dunmunro » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:49 am

RF wrote:dunmunro,

Noting your comments about expenditure use and relative number of hits by PE have you taken into account that PE was shooting at two different targets?

Bismarck was also shooting at two different targets, the only major differece between the two German ships was that one 15 inch blew Hood up.
Considering that PE only had to change the range from Hood to PoW by 700 yds, this isn't really a factor. PE's accuracy was not very spectacular especially when you consider that for much of the action the range to PoW was under 20k yds, and when PoW turned away it was down to 14k yds, and during this time PE was not under fire.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:06 pm

I have been spending some time looking over Morison recently. His account of Java Sea has some interesting details. He gives the range that the IJN cruisers opening fire as perhaps 28k, but he also notes that this is really unknown. He notes that primary sources are widely inconsistent about the actual ranges. There is some agreement on the ranges and time of first contact which he used as basis for an estimate. On his chart he has the range a little over ten miles at 1616 hours when the Allies first replied. It settles into about 9 miles for most of the first hour of combat. The IJN reportly scored a dud hit on De Ruyter after 15-minutes. No hits were recorded by the Allied heavy cruisers. The next hit was scored about 50 minutes after the beginning of the battle and it was a devastating hit. It hit Exeter and burst in a munitions chamber after passing through the aircraft hanger. Exeter staggered and fell out of line throwing the Allied formation into complete disarray. The IJN then capatalized by attacking again with LL torpedoes, this time to devastating effect. Morison notes that IJN admiral was keeping the range long despite the ineffective fire, because this kept the Allied 6-inch guns beyond there effective range as a practical matter, effectively nuetralizing a good portion of Doormann's battle group.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by alecsandros » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:17 pm

Dave, do you have any figures on the ammo expenditure?

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:05 am

I don't. I'll see if I can find anything if I get the time.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by KevinD » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:39 am

According to Lacroix in Wells in their Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War book, Nachi and Haguro fired 1619 20cm/8” shells, 1271 of them prior to 1850 (IJN time) for only five hits, with at least four of them duds.

They also state the min and max distance for firing as 20000m (approx 21900yds) and 25000m (approx 27400yds).

And Dave, in your post above you say with regards a hit on Exeter “It hit Exeter and burst in a munitions chamber after passing through the aircraft hanger.” For the record I am afraid this is incorrect.

The shell passed though the starboard aft dual 4” mount, killing most of the crew and on into B boiler room, where it may or may not have actually detonated (but needless to say still doing very serious damage). Also, Exeter did not have an aircraft hanger, but when aboard – which none were at B of JS - she carried any aircraft on the catapult/s.

Its been a very long time since I have read any of Morrisons books, but if your Exeter detail came from Morrison I think you will find that some of what he has written about Java Sea has been 'superseded' shall we say with more accurate accounts in later years.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:25 pm

Good to know Kevin. Thanks for this improved information. In reading more from Morison I was somewhat puzzled by descriptions of Exeter making emergency repairs to a boiler room and eventually re-gaining a speed of 23 knots in time for the her final battle.

In this battle Morison describes Tagaki as adopting different tactics and closing range to 14,000 yards. Still Morison states that the Exeter was not seriously wounded until after an hours worth of battle. He also states that something was wrong with Exeter's firecontrol system and all of her Savoes fell off the mark.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: 8-inch Heavy cruiser Longest Gunfire Hit

Post by KevinD » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:31 am

Morrison is indeed correct re the main armament control being inoperative during Exeter’s last battle. She was thus reduced to using a Dumaresq for fire control with subsequent poor results. As matter fact in recent years I had the privilege of meeting one of the chaps that helped work firing solutions on the Dumaresq that day.

Lacroix and Wells on the other hand give the ranges for the IJN cruisers for that action as between 16,000m and 23,000m.

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