Hit on Bismarck's turret

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paul.mercer
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Hit on Bismarck's turret

Post by paul.mercer » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:32 am

Gentlemen,
I believe that towards the end of the final battle a hit blew the back off 'B' turret (I think it was this one). Bearing in mind the thickness of battleship turrets I wonder how this could have happened unless a shell penetrated and exploded some cordite about to be loaded?

Bill Jurens
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Re: Hit on Bismarck's turret

Post by Bill Jurens » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:26 pm

My examinations of the wreckage, which included the turrets, and (as below) probably the backing plate as well, suggest that some sort of internal explosion must have occurred. It probably didn't 'blow the back off' -- the plates there were too heavy for that, but probably did vent through the relatively thin plating under the turret overhang near the loading mechanisms. This left the heavy backing plating unsupported from below, at which point it fell down vertically down onto the deck below. Later, as the ship capsized and sank, the plate further dislodged and ended up in the debris field. I can recall seeing it, or seeing something that certainly looked like a turret backing plate.

The precise mechanisms surrounding the likely internal explosion(s) remain, and probably always will remain, obscure...

Bill Jurens.

paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 717
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Hit on Bismarck's turret

Post by paul.mercer » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:33 am

Thanks Bill,
Would it have been possible for a 14" or 16" shell to penetrate the turret and cause that damage? Also, if it did would it be likely to set off any cordite that was waiting to be loaded - shades of Jutland perhaps ?

Bill Jurens
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Posts: 479
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:21 am
Location: USA

Re: Hit on Bismarck's turret

Post by Bill Jurens » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:35 am

I see no particular reason why penetration of the turret might have been impossible, particularly later in the action when the British were fully capable of attacking the sides and even the backs of turrets that were no longer capable of training towards the enemy. The ignition mechanism for a deflagration are really entirely speculative, but assuming a loading accident of some sort could be ruled out, it would seem likely that the burns that did occur were in some way initiated by British projectiles, perhaps in locations quite remote from the gunhouse itself.

Bill Jurens.

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