PoW damage at DS

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

Moderator: Bill Jurens

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3846
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

PoW damage at DS

Post by dunmunro » Mon May 06, 2019 12:59 am

This is the official damage summary:
PRINCE OF WALES was damaged in the same action as that in which HOOD was sunk.
A 15 inch shell struck the forward corner of the compass platform and then passed across
the compartment and overboard without detonating, The majority of bridge personnel
were killed or wounded,
A 15 inch shell struck the starboard aircraft crane and burst just abaft the after funnel,
The boat deck and after funnel were extensively damaged by splinters and the type 285
radar office was wrecked*
A 15 inch shell perforated the starboard bulge 28 feet below the waterline and came to
rests without detonating after striking the protective bulkhead Immediate flooding of.
bulge compartment resulted
An 8 inch shell perforated the boat deck, shelter deck and armoured casemate to P3 5.25
inch mounting, richochetted off the ring bulkhead and finally struck the side of the
casemate without detonating. P3 mounting was temporarily put out of action,
An 8 inch shell struck the starboard side below the waterline, just abaft the armour and
partially detonated about 11 feet inboard. Blast and splinters caused minor damage and
the lower deck was flooded for 60 feet.
An 8 inch shell burst on impact with the starboard side 5 feet below the waterline. The
sloping armour over the steering compartment was set down and the after end at lower
deck level was flooded for 80 feet.
An 8 inch shell (possibly 15 inch) struck the 4 inch HADT support and passed
overboard without detonating. The port HADT director was put out of action and the
starboard director temporarily out of action.

Fighting Efficiency - Seriously impaired (my emphasis)

Speed was reduced to a maximum of 26 knots due to flooding. Efficiency of secondary
armament was reduced due to damaged HA directors. Temporary disorganization of ship
control due to bridge casualties.

REMARKS
The following lessons were learned as a result of this incident.
1. The need for watertight doors to certain important compartments below the middle
(armour) deck to be blanked and trunked access provided in lieu.
2. Portable pumps should be splash proof and their overboard discharges modified,
3. The ventilation supply to action machinery and other important compartments was
inadequate to prevent excessive temperatures»
4. Boiler room intakes when situated near a damaged funnel are a serious danger to
boiler room personnel.
5. The number of electric supply plugs at the ends of the ship was inadequate to meet
emergency conditions,
6. A warning telephone system was required to transmit orders swiftly from the DC.HQ
to repair stations.
7. H.A. directors were extremely vulnerable to splinters.

C.B. 4273(52)
H.H. SHIPS DAMAGED 0R, SUNK BY ENEMY ACTION, P11.
Prior to this the radars failed and 14in output was poor and afterwards the 5.25in guns stopped firing completely. Leach was then fighting a close range action with two enemy ships, one of which was completely undamaged and was equipped with rapid fire 20.3cm guns and the other was apparently undamaged.

Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 960
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by Byron Angel » Mon May 06, 2019 2:20 am

LOL - I was just going to post the same entry, having been struck by the assessment of Fighting Efficiency as "seriously impaired" even before Y turret went from partial impairment to total disablement.

B

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3257
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon May 06, 2019 7:07 am

Hello everybody,
"Speed was reduced to a maximum of 26 knots due to flooding. Efficiency of secondary
armament was reduced due to damaged HA directors. Temporary disorganization of ship
control due to bridge casualties."
These are the only damages listed as "seriously impairing" PoW fighting efficiency.

If this was a serious impair of fighting efficiency, then Bismarck was already completely crippled.
Both ships received no serious damage, Bismarck ones were much more serious.


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)

Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 960
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by Byron Angel » Mon May 06, 2019 6:23 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:07 am
Hello everybody,
"Speed was reduced to a maximum of 26 knots due to flooding. Efficiency of secondary
armament was reduced due to damaged HA directors. Temporary disorganization of ship
control due to bridge casualties."
These are the only damages listed as "seriously impairing" PoW fighting efficiency.

If this was a serious impair of fighting efficiency, then Bismarck was already completely crippled.
Both ships received no serious damage, Bismarck ones were much more serious.

Bye, Alberto


Questions -
1 - Are you suggesting that the alleged court martial cover-up conspiracy extended to an Admiralty document printed in 1952?
2 - Are you suggesting that the authors of the document in question were incompetent to judge PoW's battle-worthiness?
It seems to me that it must be one or the other.

Re Bismarck's situation, It seems to me that such a description as "completely crippled" could realistically only be applied after the fateful torpedo damage to her steering. To suggest that it described Bismarck's condition at the conclusion of the Denmark Strait action strays (IMO) a bit far into the realm of the melodramatic. Lutjens at that point still held in his hand the easily achievable option of safely returning to Norway or the Baltic.

B

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3846
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by dunmunro » Mon May 06, 2019 6:35 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:07 am
Hello everybody,
"Speed was reduced to a maximum of 26 knots due to flooding. Efficiency of secondary
armament was reduced due to damaged HA directors. Temporary disorganization of ship
control due to bridge casualties."
These are the only damages listed as "seriously impairing" PoW fighting efficiency.

If this was a serious impair of fighting efficiency, then Bismarck was already completely crippled.
Both ships received no serious damage, Bismarck ones were much more serious.


Bye, Alberto
As we know now Bismarck was far more seriously damaged than PoW but Bismarck's damage did not immediately impair her C&C, FC and gunnery output and Bismarck had PE in company while PoW was alone.

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4296
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by alecsandros » Mon May 06, 2019 7:00 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:23 pm

Re Bismarck's situation, It seems to me that such a description as "completely crippled" could realistically only be applied after the fateful torpedo damage to her steering. To suggest that it described Bismarck's condition at the conclusion of the Denmark Strait action strays (IMO) a bit far into the realm of the melodramatic. Lutjens at that point still held in his hand the easily achievable option of safely returning to Norway or the Baltic.

B
Allow me to adress the issue. Alberto used a comparison - "If... then... "
Because if PoW was named "seriously impaired" after having the primary command position smashed and 400t of water in her hull, Bismarck should be named (by using the same measuring stick) "completely crippled", having 1000-2000 (?) of water in her hull, and propellers coming out of the water due to the trim forward. This is especially obvious in the tactical and operational context - a) PoW was 300nm away from nearest friendly harbour , whereas Bismarck was 1200-1300nm from nearest friendly harbour and b) Bismarck was accompanied by 1 heavy cruiser and did not have air or escort support, and did not have any reinforcements to assist. PoW was accompanied by 2 heavy cruisers, had ample air support from Coastal Command, and was waiting for heavy reinforcements during the same evening - in the form of Adm. Tovey's heavy squadron (1 carrier, 1 battleship, 1 battlecruiser, escorts).

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3846
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by dunmunro » Mon May 06, 2019 7:21 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:00 pm
Byron Angel wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:23 pm

Re Bismarck's situation, It seems to me that such a description as "completely crippled" could realistically only be applied after the fateful torpedo damage to her steering. To suggest that it described Bismarck's condition at the conclusion of the Denmark Strait action strays (IMO) a bit far into the realm of the melodramatic. Lutjens at that point still held in his hand the easily achievable option of safely returning to Norway or the Baltic.

B
Allow me to adress the issue. Alberto used a comparison - "If... then... "
Because if PoW was named "seriously impaired" after having the primary command position smashed and 400t of water in her hull, Bismarck should be named (by using the same measuring stick) "completely crippled", having 1000-2000 (?) of water in her hull, and propellers coming out of the water due to the trim forward. This is especially obvious in the tactical and operational context - a) PoW was 300nm away from nearest friendly harbour , whereas Bismarck was 1200-1300nm from nearest friendly harbour and b) Bismarck was accompanied by 1 heavy cruiser and did not have air or escort support, and did not have any reinforcements to assist. PoW was accompanied by 2 heavy cruisers, had ample air support from Coastal Command, and was waiting for heavy reinforcements during the same evening - in the form of Adm. Tovey's heavy squadron (1 carrier, 1 battleship, 1 battlecruiser, escorts).
You have named all the reasons for Leach deciding not to continue the action, but to fall back on Norfolk and allow W-W to form his cruisers and PoW into a tactical formation. The damage to Y turret prevented an immediate continuation of the action, but in no way was Lutjens suddenly let loose into the Atlantic as W-W continued to shadow while Tovey's battlegroup was closing rapidly. Lutjen's tactical freedom was severely inhibited by the continued presence of W-W's ships.

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4296
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by alecsandros » Mon May 06, 2019 7:36 pm

dunmunro wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:21 pm
You have named all the reasons for Leach deciding not to continue the action, but to fall back on Norfolk and allow W-W to form his cruisers and PoW into a tactical formation. The damage to Y turret prevented an immediate continuation of the action, but in no way was Lutjens suddenly let loose into the Atlantic as W-W continued to shadow while Tovey's battlegroup was closing rapidly. Lutjen's tactical freedom was severely inhibited by the continued presence of W-W's ships.
When Prince of Wales withdrew out to 40km or more from the Bismarck, there was no certainty that she coudl win back the distance lost towards the enemy. Practically it was only Wake Walker still pursuing the enemy. The later reformation of the group (of 3 ships), and steady monitoring of the enemy, as well as the actual closing of the range between Tovey and Luetjens were all caused by Bismarck's progressive loss of forward speed, culminating with her slowdown required for the emergency repairs to her damaged forecastle. None of that was known by Leach or Wake Walker at 6:03.

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3846
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by dunmunro » Mon May 06, 2019 7:51 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:36 pm
dunmunro wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:21 pm
You have named all the reasons for Leach deciding not to continue the action, but to fall back on Norfolk and allow W-W to form his cruisers and PoW into a tactical formation. The damage to Y turret prevented an immediate continuation of the action, but in no way was Lutjens suddenly let loose into the Atlantic as W-W continued to shadow while Tovey's battlegroup was closing rapidly. Lutjen's tactical freedom was severely inhibited by the continued presence of W-W's ships.
When Prince of Wales withdrew out to 40km or more from the Bismarck, there was no certainty that she coudl win back the distance lost towards the enemy. Practically it was only Wake Walker still pursuing the enemy. The later reformation of the group (of 3 ships), and steady monitoring of the enemy, as well as the actual closing of the range between Tovey and Luetjens were all caused by Bismarck's progressive loss of forward speed, culminating with her slowdown required for the emergency repairs to her damaged forecastle. None of that was known by Leach or Wake Walker at 6:03.
PoW maintained a tactical formation with Norfolk and from her log it appears that she was still capable of short term speeds in excess of 28 knots, but regardless, the likelihood of her doing further damage to Bismarck whilst engaging Lutjen's entire force single-handed, was remote.

Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 960
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by Byron Angel » Mon May 06, 2019 7:52 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:00 pm
Byron Angel wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:23 pm

Re Bismarck's situation, It seems to me that such a description as "completely crippled" could realistically only be applied after the fateful torpedo damage to her steering. To suggest that it described Bismarck's condition at the conclusion of the Denmark Strait action strays (IMO) a bit far into the realm of the melodramatic. Lutjens at that point still held in his hand the easily achievable option of safely returning to Norway or the Baltic.

B
Allow me to adress the issue. Alberto used a comparison - "If... then... "
Because if PoW was named "seriously impaired" after having the primary command position smashed and 400t of water in her hull, Bismarck should be named (by using the same measuring stick) "completely crippled", having 1000-2000 (?) of water in her hull, and propellers coming out of the water due to the trim forward. This is especially obvious in the tactical and operational context - a) PoW was 300nm away from nearest friendly harbour , whereas Bismarck was 1200-1300nm from nearest friendly harbour and b) Bismarck was accompanied by 1 heavy cruiser and did not have air or escort support, and did not have any reinforcements to assist. PoW was accompanied by 2 heavy cruisers, had ample air support from Coastal Command, and was waiting for heavy reinforcements during the same evening - in the form of Adm. Tovey's heavy squadron (1 carrier, 1 battleship, 1 battlecruiser, escorts).

Hi Alecs,
[ 1 ] With respect, none of the above is responsive to my questions.
[ 2 ] What Leach knew (and more importantly what he did not know) at the moment he recovered his senses after the hit and faced a potentially life-and-death snap tactical decision is being completely ignored here. Leach had no staff officer standing by with a comprehensive damage report waiting for him to regain consciousness and he did not possess the luxury of time to await the preparation of same. It is important to keep in mind that we are dealing with real people with real responsibilities in the real world here.
[ 3 ] Is it now being suggested that Admiral Lutjens, by insisting that Bismarck continue on the operation, was exhibiting irrational incompetence and/or overconfidence? If so, this represents a particularly big problem for me. The case currently before us simply does not hold together unless numerous individuals holding positions of great operational responsibility are guilty of various degrees of assorted incompetence, cowardice, malfeasance, duplicity and/or stupidity. While it is true that one or two such contestants may often be found in any situation, when the head count climbs this high, the plausibility of the argument IMO grows too weak to stand.

B

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4296
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: PoW damage at DS

Post by alecsandros » Tue May 07, 2019 5:23 am

Byron Angel wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:52 pm
[ 1 ] With respect, none of the above is responsive to my questions.
[ 2 ] What Leach knew (and more importantly what he did not know) at the moment he recovered his senses after the hit and faced a potentially life-and-death snap tactical decision is being completely ignored here. Leach had no staff officer standing by with a comprehensive damage report waiting for him to regain consciousness and he did not possess the luxury of time to await the preparation of same. It is important to keep in mind that we are dealing with real people with real responsibilities in the real world here.
[ 3 ] Is it now being suggested that Admiral Lutjens, by insisting that Bismarck continue on the operation, was exhibiting irrational incompetence and/or overconfidence? If so, this represents a particularly big problem for me. The case currently before us simply does not hold together unless numerous individuals holding positions of great operational responsibility are guilty of various degrees of assorted incompetence, cowardice, malfeasance, duplicity and/or stupidity. While it is true that one or two such contestants may often be found in any situation, when the head count climbs this high, the plausibility of the argument IMO grows too weak to stand.

B
Dear Byron,
I think you are reading Alberto's reply to harshly. He does not say completely crippled per se, but that if a ship is called "X" , then anoteher ship should be called "Y".

Leach was under the pressure and the shock of the moment. hence he withdrew and awaited a more favourable opportunity.

As for Luetjens's decision(s), according to Bismarck survivors , saved by British ships, there were serious arguments on board Bismarck after sinking the Hood, as to what course of action should be taken (i.e. backtrack to Norway or steam to France). Luetjens apparently favoured going to France, and that's what he ultimately decided.

Post Reply