The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

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The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by costas » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:13 pm

BS had 4 Arado Ar196 on board. http://www.kbismarck.com/avioni.html

How easy (or difficult) it was to launch an Ar196 seaplane? How long would did it take to recover it ? (back on board)

Could these seaplanes be of any use to BS and PE on the 23 May?
ie. after the failed attempts to shake off Norfolk and Suffolk, could some of the Ar be used
to harass at least one the two pursuing ships and thus buying time for BS (at least) and (probably) for PE?

I don't mean the Ar196 to try to sink any of the pursuing ships or inflict any (in)significant damage to them
but as they had two bombs each at least the ship under attack should try to do evasive manoeuvres and thus
breaking the radar contact with BS+PE.

I understand that on that day Lütjens wasn't pressed for time and he had no
definite deadlines, so he could afford to delay his break out in the Atlantic for a few hours,
after all the "undetected" of the objectives was formally gone.

The seaplane in Prinz Eugen, was equipped with a torpedo?

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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by RF » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:08 pm

The use of Arado's on the 23rd was referred to in Kennedy's book concerning the discussions on Prinz Eugens' bridge. Apparently the poor visibility was not conducive to aircraft reconnaisance, together with the issue of aircraft recovery in the presence of shadowing ships. But Leiutenant Hane (one of Prinz Eugens' Arado pilots)was quoted as being optimistic on reconnaisance flights on the 24th as the weather was expected to improve. However the DS battle changed that prospect.
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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by RF » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:16 pm

costas wrote:BS had 4 Arado Ar196 on board. , could some of the Ar be used
to harass at least one the two pursuing ships and thus buying time for BS (at least) and (probably) for PE?

I don't mean the Ar196 to try to sink any of the pursuing ships or inflict any (in)significant damage to them
but as they had two bombs each at least the ship under attack should try to do evasive manoeuvres and thus
breaking the radar contact with BS+PE.
This is an interesting question. I think the answer is that a handful of planes, with no training in co-ordinated attack on a sizeable warship, are unlikely to achieve anything much and it is likely they would have to ditch in the sea as recovery would be difficult in the presence of British ships. Bismarck would have to use its 15 inch guns but the Germans didn't have proceedures for recovering seaplanes in the middle of a battle, for example consider the effect of blast every twenty odd seconds from Bismarck's guns.

This is why Graf Zeppelin would have made a big difference to Rheinubung - the carrier would have more planes and could recover them without having to stop or getting in the way of Bismarcks' firing arcs.
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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by RF » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:18 pm

costas wrote: The seaplane in Prinz Eugen, was equipped with a torpedo?
I don't think so.

Even if it were one plane, one torpedo cannot stop two heavy cruisers.

I'm not aware of any of the Arado's having capability as a torpedo bomber.
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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by tommy303 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:39 pm

To the best of my knowledge, no, no torpedo capability. The other major problem would be trying to land the planes in the ocean with the very choppy and at times heavy seas. This would make it very risky for both planes and crews and would likely result in the loss of the planes. As these aircraft would be needed for recon later (without the hindsight of Bismarck being damaged), early expenditure for only minimal results would not have been a good idea.

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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by costas » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:28 am

tommy303:
I refer to the evening of the 23 May 1941 only. Of course the weather imposes restrictions on the use of the Ar196.
I speculate the weather conditions in the evening of the 23rd of May were good enough for the Ar to fly and enable
the crews to collect them from the sea. The sea in the photos on the early hours of 24 May looks relatively calm,
but that was some 10h later. Perhaps someone could tell whether the Arados could fly (or couldn't) on that time and day.

I am not saying the seaplanes could do any significant damage to the Norfolk and Suffolk.
I do not imply that all the seaplanes should be sacrificed in the attempt to delay the N and S.
All the Ar could do was just to harass and keep busy at least one of them while the ship was going in and out of the
fog banks while trying to avoid BS fire. I think that forcing Norfolk (or Suffolk) to engage 3 of the Ar for 15min or less
would be enough for BS and/or PG to get out of radar range (even temporarily) and thus increasing their chances not to
be rediscovered later.

I feel that on the 23rd more should be done regarding the radar contact.
The Arados (provided they could fly at that time and day) may or may not could achieve something useful but
at least it would be another attempt to shake off the pursuers.

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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by RF » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:33 am

costas wrote:tommy303:
I refer to the evening of the 23 May 1941 only. Of course the weather imposes restrictions on the use of the Ar196.
I speculate the weather conditions in the evening of the 23rd of May were good enough for the Ar to fly and enable
the crews to collect them from the sea. The sea in the photos on the early hours of 24 May looks relatively calm,
but that was some 10h later. Perhaps someone could tell whether the Arados could fly (or couldn't) on that time and day.
I believe the main problem wouldn't be choppy seas but fog banks and general poor visibility. Bismarck had to train a searchlight astern for Prinz Eugen to follow prior to the cruiser sightings and afterwards the fog banks provided visual cover for Norfolk and Suffolk from Bismarck's guns firing at long range. I would think that scenario would make aircraft operations very difficult.
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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by Djoser » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:39 am

In hindsight...if it was me on that ship, knowing I was likely to be blown to h*ll in a few days, I'd have tried almost any ruse or trick to get out of it, including what you are suggesting.

But putting ourselves in their shoes, in the state of mind they were in on that day before the damage, not knowing what was in store for them? I suspect they would have rejected the idea as too desperate.

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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by RF » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:42 am

costas wrote:tommy303:

All the Ar could do was just to harass and keep busy at least one of them while the ship was going in and out of the
fog banks while trying to avoid BS fire. I think that forcing Norfolk (or Suffolk) to engage 3 of the Ar for 15min or less
would be enough for BS and/or PG to get out of radar range (even temporarily) and thus increasing their chances not to
be rediscovered later.

I feel that on the 23rd more should be done regarding the radar contact.
The Arados (provided they could fly at that time and day) may or may not could achieve something useful but
at least it would be another attempt to shake off the pursuers.
There are two related problems here.

Firstly it would require a serious attack to force Suffolk to manoeuvre sufficiently to shake off radar contact on Bismarck. Suffolk's AA is quite adequate to see off one or two seaplanes without the ship having to put the wheel over.
And if contact was lost that means Bismarck would be at least fifteen miles ahead - would the Arado's be able to find her on their return journey in the poor visibility?
And herein lies the second problem. If Suffolk can't track Bismarck, she can track the direction of the Arado's as they try to return to Bismarck. In so doing it undoes the work they have just done in breaking that contact, for if the Arado's do return to Bismarck their flight path points the way to Suffolk regaining contact.
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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by RF » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:48 am

Djoser wrote:In hindsight...if it was me on that ship, knowing I was likely to be blown to h*ll in a few days, I'd have tried almost any ruse or trick to get out of it, including what you are suggesting.
Lutjens wasn't expecting his ship to be blown up and was unaware of the approach of Holland. To him tNorfolk and Suffolk were just two patrolling cruisers he had blundered into in the porr visibility. His answer would be to just shake them off by course alterations and sudden increases in speed. No need in his mind to use Arado's.
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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by tommy303 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:46 pm

The following video link shows some of the problems an Ar 196 might have. The seas are probably better than they were in the DS on the 23rd in the first sequence, and much much better than in the DS in the second with the later mark of the 196:

http://www.patricksaviation.com/videos/Me262/3041/

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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by costas » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:15 pm

Interesting video, thank you. I thought that Arados had only 2 floats, there are versions.
Both seaplanes managed to 'land' safely, the first one gets destroyed in 00:34 at take off.
BS had a catapult for the take-off, no need to put the plane to the sea for that.
I don't doubt that an Ar could be destroyed while attempting to land, IMHO it would be worth trying to launch 3 Ar,
at *least* to assist in the spotting.
BS had plenty of time to do something about the cruisers.


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18:45 Edit_1: added 'versions'

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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by tommy303 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:00 pm

I've flown in float planes and sea planes, and believe me, they take a real beating both landing and taking off in anything but dead calm waters. If you do not land with a high angle of attack, you run the risk of burying your float in a wave, with serious consequences.

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Re: The 4 Arados of Bismarck, 23 May.

Post by Djoser » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:20 am

Djoser wrote:In hindsight...if it was me on that ship, knowing I was likely to be blown to h*ll in a few days, I'd have tried almost any ruse or trick to get out of it, including what you are suggesting.

But putting ourselves in their shoes, in the state of mind they were in on that day before the damage, not knowing what was in store for them? I suspect they would have rejected the idea as too desperate.

Lutjens wasn't expecting his ship to be blown up and was unaware of the approach of Holland. To him tNorfolk and Suffolk were just two patrolling cruisers he had blundered into in the porr visibility. His answer would be to just shake them off by course alterations and sudden increases in speed. No need in his mind to use Arado's.[/quote]

Which was the point I was trying to make--while recognizing that the benefit of hindsight (or maybe psychic knowledge of the future lol) would be the one and only way I would try such a desperate move, were I in Lutjens' shoes..

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