Richelieu and Jean Bart

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alecsandros
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by alecsandros » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:13 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:22 pm
you are right re. fuel, but here the extraordinary efficiency of the French evaporating system comes in play, while the Italian one was quite inefficient, giving a range of only 4000 miles @ 20 knots to the Littorio's, while AFAIK Richelieu was accredited of 7500 miles at the same speed.
... I seem to remember Richelieu's max fuel capacity was ~ 6000 tons, but wartime load was 4500 tons... Do we know if the 7500miles figure is given for 6000 tons or for 4500 tons of fuel load ? Because, if it's for 6000tons, the corresponding range at 4500 tons is about 5600miles.

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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:17 pm

Hi Alec,
according to Jordan-Dumas, Richelieu had a max fuel capacity of 5866 tons (peacetime cruising), reduced to 4500 tons in wartime in order to maximize the underwater protection effectiveness.
The range @ 20 knots was 8250 miles with her max fuel load. Therefore the range of 7500 miles looks a bit an average figure with a fuel load far exceeding the cautionary wartime one but still less than the max possible (a kind of operative "deep load").

However, also Littorio's had a max fuel capacity of 4100 tons (of which only 4000 were usable), for a range of 4100 miles, while the normal load was 3700 tons, and the wartime load (in 1941) was 3300 tons only, for a range of just 3380 miles @20 knots.


It's quite delicate to compare these data, but I think that the lower Littorio's capacity and their worse evaporating system efficiency is quite evident.
I would assume a fuel "deep load" in wartime of around 5000 tons for Richelieu and around 3800 tons for Littorio's, with a range of 7000 miles for Richelieu and 4000 miles for Littorio's.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by alecsandros » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:24 am

@Alberto,
I understand, thanks.

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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:52 pm

What about the the AAA and anti-destroyer capabilities of these battleships?
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:13 pm

Hi Dave,
if you compare Richelieu AAA with Littorio's as built, I would say both of them were not outstanding and had no radar.
Richelieu initial design was for a dual-purpose battery of 150mm, but the triple turrets proved to be too slow to follow an aircraft and the shell too heavy to be loaded at high angles.
Therefore 2 triple 150 turrets were removed from the design and the (quite good) 100 mm's were installed instead, thus reverting basically to a single-purpose concept.
Littorio's had a very sophisticated and modern 90 mm AA gun in single turrets, totally stabilized, but they were too complex and failed often, while the caliber was really a bit too small for high altitude bombers.

The light AA guns of both ships had problems and did not prove to be very good, especially the French 37 mm and 13,2 mm were obsolete. My preference is for the Littorio's, but Richelieu was not really completed and improvements may have come shortly after.

A completely different story if we consider Richelieu after the US and Britain refits, with the huge number of 40 mm Bofors installed and the radars. In this configuration, Richelieu was far better than Littorio's regarding AAA and possibly better than any non-US ship against low altitude planes.



I do consider Littorio's well equipped against destroyers: the 150mm was considered the best Italian gun of WWII in terms of dispersion (very limited) and power. I don't know much about Richelieu 150 mm but the fact that they were installed all aft, gives me the impression that the ships could have been "exposed" to an attack coming form the bow direction, due to a quite important blind angle fore.
Both ships had no radar to be used against destroyers, at least before Richelieu refit and Littorio's first radar in 1943.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by paul.mercer » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:39 pm

Gentlemen, you stated,
In 1948, when delay coils were installed, maximum dispersion at 25 km was reduced from 1710 meters (6.84%) to 577 meters (2.31%) - although I'm not sure if these numbers refer to a full turret salvo, a full eight-gun broadside, or something else.
Forgive my ignorance in this, but what is a delay coil and what does it do?

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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:08 am

Hi Paul,
the delay coils were devices used to delay the fire trigger impulse for some guns vs the others and thus to diminish the interference between too close guns when fired together during the same salvo.

I think to remember that on "Scharnhorst"'s triple turrets (whose guns were fired usually within the same salvo) the central gun fired first, followed (within 10 to 20 milliseconds delay) by the lateral ones. I don't know whether delay coils were implemented on Bismarck's too.

I don't know about Richelieu delay coils, I think they were applied only after the war (as GiZi said, in 1948), but I know neither what was the salvo firing methodology on Richelieu (one turret after the other or a half-turret per each turret, alternate guns within a half-turret being extremely improbable due to the guns sharing the same cradle) nor which gun was delayed (and by how much)...


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Francis Marliere » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:51 am

As far as I know, each quad turret on Richelieu and Jean Bart was in fact divided in two parts with 2 guns each. The guns of each 'half turret' were fired together in 4-guns salvoes (hence the dispersion problem).

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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:43 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:08 am

I think to remember that on "Scharnhorst"'s triple turrets (whose guns were fired usually within the same salvo) the central gun fired first, followed (within 10 to 20 milliseconds delay) by the lateral ones. I don't know whether delay coils were implemented on Bismarck's too.
Bye, Alberto
Delay coils were integral part of the Seitenvorzündwerk. But ist primary function is somwhat different from the "Delay coils" in foreign ships.

German turrets were automatically fired by the Seitenvorzündwerk during rotation of the turret on a predefinied position set by the firecontrol computer.
(the same firing procedure as used today by modern main battle tanks).

the timing of the "...vor"zündwerk could be set individually for each gun.
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:40 pm

@ Thorsten,
thanks Thorsten, clear as per "Seitenvorzündwerk" mechanism (that you had posted on this forum).

Do you consider that in case of stable platform, the delay coils were still firing the center gun before the others to avoid interference or do you consider that in this (ideal) case the guns were fired perfectly at the same time ?


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by GiZi » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:11 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:37 am
Hi GiZi,

It's correct, the excessive spread at Gaudo, from distances varying form 23000 to 25000 meters was of over 500 m, at least looking at this photo (first posted by Alec) of Perth (the straddled ship has 2 funnels and the camouflage identifies her as Perth, not Orion nor Gloucester, proving that also Perth was, at least shortly, fired at too). Just one minor precision: Vittorio Veneto at Gaudo fired 94 shells in 29 salvos (out of 105 ordered shots, due mainly to a problem in the left gun of turret 1, which lost 6 shots out of the 11). Visibility was very bad that day (misty) and VV had to change target several times due to smoke, this also explaining why no hit was scored at all, but dispersion was indeed a real problem anyway. (data from VV GAR).

Figura_3.jpg

Vittorio Veneto at Gaudo in 1941 was firing mainly one turret salvos (three guns), some 2 turrets salvos (6 guns) and possibly some broadsides too, therefore I'm not sure it's completely correct to compare with Richelieu semi-salvos fired with alternate 2 guns per turret (if I understand correctly the way the ship fired at Tricomalee in 1945).
However, the main dispersion problem for Littorio's was always linked to ammunition low quality, not to the guns being too close (this was the problem of the Italian 8" cruisers). The interference of the guns may have affected it in some way of course, but this was never identified as the main root cause.


After the battle of Gaudo, due to Adm.Iachino complaints about the dispersion, the controls over the ammunition were made more strict and I would agree with you that the dispersion reduced to the one in 1940 and the gunnery trials of both VV and Littorio up to the end of their career confirm that. Of course, being in wartime, we cannot know for sure whether these enhancements only impacted the "selected" tested ammunition or the whole provision for both ships.
Bootm Line, I would consider Littorio's guns (after reduction in muzzle velocity) less dispersive (and more powerful) than Richelieu's ones by design, once all ships were using good and uniform ammunition. Littorio's ships main shortcoming was their very limited range (not considered so important for their Mediterranean only usage).


I don't know whether delay coils were ever installed on Littorio's. I don't think so, as neither E.Bagnasco (Littorio Class Battlships) nor Iachino (in his several books on WWII and especially on Gaudo/Matapan) ever spoke about them. Iachino wrote at length about the "corrective" actions derived from Gaudo (and Matapan...) action.


Bye, Alberto
Hello Alberto,

Interesting, I had taken the figure of 91 shells fired from Bagnasco's The Littorio Class, for a total of 102 shells ordered to fire in 29 salvoes (Meanwhile, Vincent O'Hara in The Struggle for the Middle Sea, which describes 92 shells fired with 11 misfires, but this obviously incorrect).

The conditions at the battle were not the best for shooting, which I do agree hampered Vittorio Veneto's gunnery, but at the same I tend to not consider it to be a large part of why she failed to hit - the RM Type 4 was an excellent fire control system, and even if it was only relying on optical inputs it still proved very accurate in spite of this - four months before she had very accurately targeted the cruiser Manchester at very long range and although only firing 7 salvoes managed to straddle early on. Bagnasco gives the range as 28500 to 32500 meters, although O'Hara quotes Campioni as stating he opened fire at a range of 32,000 yards (29260 meters) and ceased fire at 40,000 yards (36576 meters).

In VV"s gunnery action of Operation Gaudo, she opened fire at Orion at a range of 23000 meters, and her first salvo was an over - Bagnasco describes it as a broadside (English-language text reads as: "By way of response, at 10.57 Vittorio Veneto opened fire on Orion which was the leading British ship, with all her main gun turrets, at a range estimated at 23,000 metres."), but O'Hara describes it as a 6-gun salvo. Despite this, she is described as quickly finding the range, and Orion received 10 accurate salvoes before VV ceased fire for 3 minutes (because of the misfires in turret No.1). Fire was resumed against the Gloucester, exposed by the smoke screen, who maneuvered violently as destroyers moved to covered her with smoke, and again VV frequently straddled her. However, with incoming aircraft, and being unable to accurately continue to spot the fall of her shot, VV was forced to cease fire at 25000 meters. By all accounts, it seems that in spite of the weather conditions, smokescreens, and maneuvers of the British cruisers, she was extremely accurate in her targeting of the cruisers - but what help her back from hitting was the dispersion of her shells.

As far as the ship in the picture - while I agree it is the Perth pictured, most likely the salvo was one of VV's overs, and not any targeting of the Australian ship. The shells all appear to be off her starboard side, rather than straddling her, and not only do most accounts of the action only describe Orion and Gloucester being targeted, but the image's caption also describes the salvo as being an over of Orion rather than being aimed at Perth

The Trincomalee firings that resulted in 450m dispersion were 'half-turret' salvoes - as each quadruple turret is arranged as two 'twin' turrets put together, fire control procedure treated each pair of guns in the turret halves as their own 'turrets'. A 'half turret' was essentially this;

Image

You're right in that it's not very comparable - whereas Richelieu's dispersion issues lie entirely in the fact that the barrels in each half-turret are too close, the problems affecting the Littorio-class had little to do with this, and while delay coils would've likely helped in combating dispersion, it would only be marginal - as you said, the issue had more to do with quality control. The exercises later in the war don't seem to show great dispersion being a problem again, nor does Littorio's guns in action (while Iachino had many complaints after 2nd Sirte, dispersion of the 381mm guns was not among them, at least as far as Bagnasco reports).

Overall, I do agree that the guns of the Littorio-class were overall more accurate and harder-hitting than those of Richelieu. The Littorio's as a whole I think were good ships, and although some shortcomings are certainly due to design (for example, diesel generators being outside of the citadel, and the considerably thinner deck armor over the machinery spaces), I think many of their biggest problems were things shared by the Regia Marina as a whole. Lack of range was common with many ships (because, as you said, Mediterranean usage), but also the lack of radar until so late in the war was of considerable disadvantage, and perhaps more than anything else the lack of cooperation between the Air Force and the Navy - time and time again the admirals at sea were let down by the inability of the Regia Aeronautica (or the Luftwaffe counterparts, especially in regards to their willingness to cooperate) to give effective reconnaissance, or effective air cover, to the fleet.

If Iachino never mentioned delay coils, I think that means its more likely than not they were never installed. I've never had a chance to read any of Iachino's books, so I'm curious - what did the corrective measures entail, at least in regards to dispersion of the guns? I know there was some re-shuffling of powder, and more strict quality control put in place, but any details on that, or other measures? And does he place the blame on quality of shells, or propellant charges?

alecsandros wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:00 pm


Emilio Bagnasco wrote in "Littorio class: Italy's last and largest battleships [...]" several commentaries concerning Littorio class dispersion issues. He also annexed a performance table for OTO and Ansaldo 381mm/L50 guns (which was first posted on Kbismarck by Alberto, using an article from Storia Militare, written in Italian , IIRC).

In short, during the firing trials of 1939-1940 and 1940-1941 (which were the last ones), dispersion of salvos was around 200meters to 250meters (for 3-gun salvos, all 3 guns from the same turret), for firings between 18 to 20km, and 350 to 500meters for firings between 20 to 22km (presumably for the same type of 3-gun salvo firing).

Comparing it to the firings described in Jordan/Dumas French battleships [...] for Richelieu in 1945 (270meters for 1-gun per turret for a total of 2 guns/ship and 450meters for 2-guns per turret, for a total of 4 guns/ship, range 16 to 25km) , we see that the size of the dispersion was comparable , between the 2 battleship classes*.

Italian doctrine of firing the main battleship guns, according to Bagnasco, was to fire 3 x individual turret salvos (3 salvos of 3 guns each, 1 salvo from each turret, with each turet firing on slighltly different coordinates then the other 2, in an attempt to obtain correct range and bearing of target), observe fall of shot of the 3 salvos, then adjust elevation and train, fire again in the same method , etc. After target had been correctly ranged, firing for effect was ordered, meaning firing with all guns at maximum rate of fire (allthough it is not clear if that implied 9-gun salvos or each turret of 3 guns firing by itself as soon as it was ready to fire).

* It is interesting to observe that both battleship main guns had their muzzle velocities reduced during active service , due to excessive barell wear and dispersion of shots. Littorio class was designed to fire a 870m/s shot, later reduced to 850m/s. Richelieu was designed to fire at 835m/s, later reduced to 785m/s, later slightly increased to 800m/s.

In any case, the 850m/s mv of the Littorio's was a far more powerfull weapon then the 800m/s of the Richelieu's, and , factoring in the armor layout, the Italian battleship appears as far more resilient to RIchelieu's armament then viceversa.
Indeed, that table is one of the references I've been using. Given the basis of Italian gunnery was on turret salvoes, I think it's safe to assume all recorded figures are for 3-gun turret salvoes. I do wish more information was provided in regards to number of rounds/salvoes fired, and what the conditions of the target was (as hit rates are listed). The pattern from the figures is somewhat difficult to use due to how wild Vittorio Veneto's figures are. Whereas Littorio's dispersion remains largely consistent, having seen 315m at 17.4 km, but about 360m at 18.8 to 22.5 km, VV's is all over the place - the longest-ranged figure (21 km) is the most accurate at 267m, but closer to Littorio's figures for another exercise (slightly greater dispersion at slightly greater range than her sister's 17.4 km shoot) - and then the 'median' range of VV's shoots, 20 km, sees a massive jump over any other figure. It should be noted that both battleships experience increased dispersion from previous years going into 1941, but VV's increase is a far more drastic doubling of the spread. Coupling this with her far greater dispersion in the Battle off Gavdos compared to Cape Spartivento, it seems she took on her infamous ammunition load in-between these points - as the values for the 1941 shoot, and Operation Gaudo, are all outliers compared to other figures (the only ones in excess of 2% of the range).

I think you may be confusing the numbers I described for Richelieu. The 270-meter figure was for a single gun, the same gun firing 8 rounds and then measuring the dispersion - not two guns from different turrets or half-turrets. The 450-meter figure is of a single half-turret, so only two guns firing, both being of the same half-turret (as shown in the image above). The use of a single gun was only for the purposes of a test, as standard firing procedure used half-turret salvoes. Re-reading some sections of the Jordan/Dumas book, it seems four-gun salvoes were not full turret salvoes, but rather the firing of two half-turrets from different turrets. So, with the exception of VV's poor shooting in early 1941, who's turret salvoes were worse than the dispersion experienced by the half-turret salvoes of the 380mm Mle 1935, in general the 3-gun salvoes of the 381/50 M1934 seems to have been the tighter spreads.

As far as your description of Italian Fire Control Procedure, that's the same as I understand. As far as I know there was never consideration for full broadsides, as fire was only done in 3-gun or 6-gun salvoes - most likely the fire-for-effect phase would've involved the British-style 'fire as soon as she loads' style.

The note that both ships had velocity reduced is an interesting one, but it should be noted they were for different reasons. The lower of velocity on Italian guns was directed towards reducing dispersion and barrel wear (which also reduces dispersion over time). For the French 380mm guns, this had more to do with shell design and availability of charges. The initial combination of OPfK Mle 1935 shells and SD21 charges resulted in the detonation of shells in the barrel because of the gas cavities in the back of the APC, so thus the SD19 shells of the Dunkerque-class's 330mm guns had to be used, which caused the drop in velocity (from 830mps to about 785 mps). When the United States made shells and charges for the French, these were loaded, and the new OPfK Mle 1943, when used with the American charges, had velocity of 800mps.

However, as it turned out, the American charges were not very compatible with the French replenishment system, which lead to bags being frequently breaking - which would shut down the turret for the half-hour required to sweep it clean. As a result, Richelieu continued to rely on the SD19 charges more often than not (three quarters of her charges were SD19), and in the event of combat against enemy ships, the crew kept an emergency stash of the original SD21 charges she was meant to operate with! Her muzzle velocity, ultimately, ended up being variable as a result of the three different charges kept on the ship.

In regards to armor protection - in my personal opinion I think that Littorio was the better protected of the two, especially against each other's guns, and I dislike the practice of putting so many eggs in the same basket (all main guns being in just two turrets) - but to give credit where it is very much due, the deck protection of the French battleship was very good. While Littorio's magazines were very well protected (effectively 42mm upper deck/70mm hull side to decap shells before hitting a laminated deck of 157mm effective thickness), the machinery spaces used a 100mm OD plate instead of 150mm as on the magazines, and I suspect would be quite vulnerable to the guns with heavier shells emphasizing deck penetration at long range - such as the American 16"/45 Mk.6. Richelieu has a 150mm deck over her machinery, and a 40mm splinter deck below that to defend against any resulting splinters, which is likely much more resistant (although still penetrated by the 16" Mk.6 in combat at Casablanca). That being said, against the modern 380/381mm guns of the European battleships, either battleship has plenty enough deck protection, as all of those guns tended to not perform particularly well against deck armor.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:16 am

Hi GiZi,

I agree on almost everything you have written above regarding Littorio's. A comment and an answer for you:
you wrote: "not only do most accounts of the action only describe Orion and Gloucester being targeted, but the image's caption also describes the salvo as being an over of Orion rather than being aimed at Perth"
I know that, but the British cruisers were (at that stage of the battle) on a front line (roughly) and Orion should have been on the starboard side of Perth (possibly the smoke we see on the extreme left side of the photo). Thus, if this picture shows a salvo aimed at Orion, it should have been a short and not an over.
The VV GAR doesn't specify which ship was targeted at what time, but it says that VV had to switch target several times (not only once) during the action, due to the maneuvers and the British smoke, thus it is IMHO more probable that the salvo is actually aimed at Perth, wrong for line (a bit too much on the right, as British ships were zig-zagging at each VV salvo) and good but dispersed for range. We will possibly never know, as British may not have registered it as aimed at Perth if VV, immediately after, changed her target to Gloucester.


you wrote: "the machinery spaces used a 100mm OD plate instead of 150mm as on the magazines"
You are right, but the scheme seems to be vulnerable to airplane bombs more than to ships plunging fire, as the "citadel" (corazza di murata) 70 mm armor grade would decap anyway the shell at medium range (thus having a "Bismarck" like protection of 70+100 mm, leaving only a (less probable) very long range shell to be able to penetrate it due to the thin 36 mm armor grade upper deck (36+100), being possibly unable to decap the shell (that had to pass anyway also through the ship superstructure above machinery, being possibly activated). Please see Bagnasco scheme for armor thickness:

Littorio_Scheme_1.jpg
Littorio_Scheme_1.jpg (54.75 KiB) Viewed 135 times


you wrote: " I've never had a chance to read any of Iachino's books, so I'm curious - what did the corrective measures entail, at least in regards to dispersion of the guns?"
I don't think any of Iachino's books have been translated in English, unfortunately as it was not also the "ultimate" Mattesini book ("L'operazione Gaudo e lo scontro notturno di Capo Matapan", USMM, Ufficio Storico Marina Militare, 740 pages covering all aspects and including several original documents) in which the VV GAR data have been used (included in the final fleet command operation report, mentioning the 94 shells in 29 salvos and speaking of a first opening salvo of the 2 fore turrets only) and the corrective actions have been mentioned as well.
Iachino mentions the corrective actions as a whole (not only dispersion) in two book: "Gaudo e Matapan", 1946 and in "Il punto su Matapan", 1969 (out of the three ddicated to Matapan and the preface to the Italian version of Pack's book).

The only corrective action he suggested by Iachino to Riccardi (Capo di Stato Maggiore = First Sea Lord) and Mussolini (the "Duce" wanted to meet him immediately after the disaster...) re.dispersion was the improvement of the quality controls vs. ammunition provider firms.

The other suggested improvements regarded other deficiencies emerged during the tragic operation:

"Short term" actions:
1) Improvements to lighting shells and guns (both were bad): partial success (and no projectors usage foreseen anyway for RM)
2) Reduced flash powder introduction for main guns (successful)
3) Night fighting training start on all large warships for main guns (not foreseen up to then) (partially successful as gap with British was big and anyway the secondary guns fire directors had to be used to provide data to fire control, as main directors had no suitable night optics installed).
4) Investigations over the possible treachery/espionage episode that had allowed British to be aware of the Italian operation precise date, being at sea with the whole battlefleet the same day (Italians could not imagine yet about Enigma decrypting...)

"Long" term actions:
1) Radar development and implementation (+ requests to Germans for help) (partially successful only few month before the armistice in 1943)
2) Carriers construction (unsuccessful, it was clearly too late to complet any before the armistice)

Contrarily to what is usually accounted, and despite reciprocal accusations between Rome and Berlin, the cooperation with the Regia Aeronautica (Air force) and German Luftwaffe was not so bad during the operation (see Mattesini book), but it was simply impossible to provide a constant air cover to the fleet so far from the airfields. What was very bad was the interpretation of Italians and Germans pilots sightings done by Supermarina (Admiralty) in Rome, that did not keep Iachino well/clearly informed of the proximity of the British battlefleet.

Mussolini approved all these above suggestions (including the quality control amelioration re. ammunition, of course, that was quite successful, at least looking at the results of following gunnery trials) but added a (very heavy) limitation for the RM: "Prohibition to plan any action at more than 100 miles from the Italian land airfields of Regia Aeronautica, waiting for the carriers to be ready". This order, issued officially on March 31 1941, and never officially removed, affected negatively the whole war for the RM, especially during Crete evacuation.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by alecsandros » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:28 pm

GiZi wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:11 am
Indeed, that table is one of the references I've been using. Given the basis of Italian gunnery was on turret salvoes, I think it's safe to assume all recorded figures are for 3-gun turret salvoes. I do wish more information was provided in regards to number of rounds/salvoes fired, and what the conditions of the target was (as hit rates are listed). The pattern from the figures is somewhat difficult to use due to how wild Vittorio Veneto's figures are.
Bagnasco comments, that "[gunnery practice results] suffered a rapid and progressive increase as the range to the target rose (for example: nearly 400meters at 22-24.000meters)".

But the table does not include gunnery results for firings over 22000meters - therefore the 22.000 to 24000 meters commentary must come from analysis of other data, not included in the table of Annex no 3.

We need to compare the available information at correct ranges.

Jordan/Dumas give results for Richelieu out to 25km. We do not have data for Littorio firing out to 25km - but presumably the dispersion was very large.

I should add to this that Littorio class dispersion problems mainly came from uneven powder cartridges used - the mass of the powder varying from charge to charge, because of issues in the manufacturing process. During some trials, the producer (manufacturer) reportedly prepared good batches of powder charge, in effect producing consistent patterns of salvos. In normal loading of the battleships however, there was no such strict quality control, and various qualities of powder arrived on board. This not only produced somewhat different "explosions" inside the guns, thus creating different muzzle velocities - and ranges per gun, but also caused different (uneven) erosion inside the gun barrels, thus causating prolonged troubles for future firings as well.
I think you may be confusing the numbers I described for Richelieu. The 270-meter figure was for a single gun, the same gun firing 8 rounds and then measuring the dispersion - not two guns from different turrets or half-turrets. The 450-meter figure is of a single half-turret, so only two guns firing, both being of the same half-turret (as shown in the image above).
I misread, sorry.
Those must be some sort of averages for different ranges. It's highly unlikely that dispersion remained the same for 16000 meters as for 25.000 meters firings.

PS: Jean Bart's 2 x 380mm gun salvos , fired on Nov 10th 1942 against CA USS Augusta from range ~ 18000meters certainly did not exhibit 450meters dispersions, as Augusta was nearly directly hit by the shells, and her decks were put awash. Out of 10 x 2 x 380mm shots salvos, the "last three" being "close straddles". (according to Morrison, operations in North African Waters, pg 163)

PS2: Interestingly enough, an online book depicting Jean Bart's sole turret firing against USS Augusta , shows guns being fired from odd and even barrels. I.e., gun1 with gun3 and gun2 with gun4. If this is a correct depiction of the actual firing being executed on NOv 10th, it may explain the better dispersion - then that exhibited by Richelieu , firing with gun1 and gun2 or gun3 with gun4 - as distancce between barrels was substantialy larger for the method employed on Jean Bart, and therefore shell interference was smaller. ("Operation Torch 1942: The Invasion of French North Africa", by Brian Lane Herder, pg 58)

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:32 am

Alecsandros wrote: "PS2: Interestingly enough, an online book depicting Jean Bart's sole turret firing against USS Augusta , shows guns being fired from odd and even barrels. I.e., gun1 with gun3 and gun2 with gun4. If this is a correct depiction of the actual firing being executed on NOv 10th, it may explain the better dispersion"
Hi Alec,
most intriguing, I was always thinking that the 2 guns sharing the same cradle in a half turret were always fired together on Richelieu's, due to the fact that the reloading of the fired gun would have prevented the other gun from firing anyway, thus halving the theoretical RoF.... :think:

Bye, Alberto
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alecsandros
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Re: Richelieu and Jean Bart

Post by alecsandros » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:28 pm

IMHO problems of rate of fire become manifest some time later in the shooting battle. For a few shots fired per gun, it is probable that the shells were already inside the turret, or stored immediately below it. Same for powder cartrdiges.
As Jean Bart fired a reported 10 double salvos, that means 20 shots. As she used 4 guns , that means 5 shells/gun...

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