Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

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Byron Angel
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by Byron Angel »

The most up to date information on Goeben’s speed came from on of the Kelly brothers whose cruiser had tracked GOEBEN during Souchon’s departure from Messina and feint toward the Otranto Strait; he signaled an estimate of her speed as 26 kts earlier in the same night that Troubridge was weighing the odds for his night action. Assuming that this signal was taken in by Troubridge, I don’t know how Milne and Troubridge were going to get any more reliable information than that. Souchon was not going to volunteer details.

Another factor (earlier mentioned) is that GOEBEN was quite probably the only ship in this scenario with its crew up to full war complement. This would have been important in terms of: (a) ability to maintain high speed; (b) ability to both maintain high speed AND serve the guns.

Final point - God only knows what the speeds of Troubridge’s cruisers were in the night in question. Miller mentions DoE’s best speed at 19.5 kts at the time and I would wager that none of the other cruisers were good for much better than 20 kts.

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Byron Angel
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by Byron Angel »

Following taken from Naval Staff Monographs, Volume 1, Monograph No. 4 -

When the GOEBEN’s alteration of course to the southward was reported at 11 p.m., the Rear-Admiral at first considered it a feint, as he was convinced they were going to the Adriatic and “could not conceive of any mission they could have in the Eastern Mediterranean.” At midnight, however, he realized that the original North-easterly course had been the false one, and altered to the Southward in the hope of cutting her off. Speed was increased to 21 knots by signal, but from the logged positions it does not appear that this was attained, and the Rear-Admiral in his subsequent report stated that the speed of his force as a squadron could only be considered as 18 knots.

Interesting, and very close to my "off-the-cuff" semi-informed guesstimate in an earlier post. This suggests that GOEBEN would have had at least a 4 knot speed advantage over Troubridge.

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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by Byron Angel »

Happy Easter
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wadinga
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by wadinga »

Hi All and Easter greetings,

Sorry to belabour the point, and Byron is perfectly correct that all Troubridge had to go on was Kelly's estimate but surely we must believe Souchon, who was actually aboard Goeben, rather than the shadower's report?

Miller repeats this information, although I cannot see where he references Souchon's memoir. In Chapter one where even after the work done in Pola in July, which was not completed, the ship was only capable of maintaining 18 knots. In Chapter 4 he notes that when escaping the British battlecruisers she made 22.5 knots with short bursts of 24 knots. Kennedy overestimated Goeben's speed as 26 to 27 knots. Miller notes this
as perpetuating the myth that she was 3 knots faster that any British vessel capable of successfully engaging her
and thus much faster than Troubridge's armoured cruisers.

Later he confirms this was Milne's understanding, and Chapter 5 is full of British overestimates of Goeben's speed. Chapter 6 footnotes say that Troubridge's squadron was making 19.6 knots during the night, as reported to the Court Martial.

By Chapter 7 Miller includes a signal from Milne at 02:30/7 indicating that
"careful plotting shews (sic) Goeben's speed 27 knots"
which is completely at odds with Souchon's account published after the War in French


But at the end of the previous chapter Milne had reproachfully signalled signalled Troubridge:
Why did you not continue to cut off Goeben, she was only going 17 knots, and so important to bring her to action?
As an aside many of the debates filling these threads are based IMHO on excessive trust in published speed performance (especially under artificial trials conditions) and do not take into account of the actual prevailing conditions: actual displacement, coal/fuel quality, crew exhaustion, machinery problems, hull fouling and sea conditions. Goeben was bedevilled by machinery/boiler problems during her Mediterranean deployment, spending August to October 1913 under repair at Pola. Only a few months later she can only reliably make 12-14 knots according to Miller, and needs a wholesale boiler tube replacement. The "full war complement" Goeben had, actually included all sorts of civilian Germans signed aboard in Messina. But then I guess wheelbarrowing coal doesn't take much skill/experience.

The only way of knowing whether you are faster or slower than an enemy is by trying to engage/escape; they/you either get away or they/you don't.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
Byron Angel
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by Byron Angel »

wadinga wrote: Mon Apr 18, 2022 1:46 pm Hi All and Easter greetings,

Sorry to belabour the point, and Byron is perfectly correct that all Troubridge had to go on was Kelly's estimate but surely we must believe Souchon, who was actually aboard Goeben, rather than the shadower's report?

>>>>> I, for one, am not doubting or ignoring Souchon.


Miller repeats this information, although I cannot see where he references Souchon's memoir.

>>>>> Miller cites Souchon in the "Sources" index of his book "Superior Force", i.e. - "Souchon, , Admiral Wilhelm, "The Breakthrough of the Goeben and Breslau from Messina to the Dardanelles", Naval Review, Vol. 10, (1922).


In Chapter one where even after the work done in Pola in July, which was not completed, the ship was only capable of maintaining 18 knots.

>>>>> According to Gary Staff, 9,940 replacement boiler tubes were railed to Pola; other sources (Campbell, IIRC) stipulate that only about one-half of those new boiler tubes had been fitted before Goeben's departure and fitting of the remainder was to be left to the crew of Goeben as and when time might permit - which was likely not very often over the ensuing two weeks. All that having been said, prior to her July 1914 Pola visit, Goeben was stated as having been limited to a cruising speed of only 12-14 knots. After her departure from Pola, she was credited with being able to maintain a cruising speed of 18 knots - a major improvement, even with three boilers permanently off-line during the period in question. There is a considerable difference between cruising speed and full speed or flank speed and it is fairly well established that Goeben was pressed to 22 knots for reasonable periods and as much as 24 knots "in short spurts". At the end of the day, Goeben was able to run both Indomitable and Indefatigable out of sight over the course of a day. This makes sense, based upon suggestions that the maximum speeds of the British BCs were in the 20-21 knot range. Kennedy came into close contact with Goeben around 10:30am and was within 6,500 yards of her at commencement of the chase. Goeben is said to have been lost to sight from Kennedy's BCs by 4:30pm - six hours later. If Goeben was but two knots faster than Kennedy's BCs, she would have gained 6 hrs x 2 kts x 2,000 yds = 24,000 yards on Kennedy. Add the original 6,500 yard starting interval and Goeben might well have been 30,000 yards ahead. We don't know is to what degree weather conditions might have played a role, as the presence of misty patches was commented upon. Yet, Dublin, having pressed on after Kennedy gave up the chase, reported that it was still daylight and she could still see Goeben's smoke ahead at 7:30pm. We do not know exactly what the true ultimate speed differential between the battlecruisers really was. Is it possible that Kennedy was relying upon periodic range-finder readings in an attempt gauge the rate at which the gap was growing? Is it possible that the range-finder readings grew more prone to exaggerate ranges as the interval between the ships increased (note the BCF's exaggerated range readings before opening of fire at Jutland)? We do not know.


In Chapter 4 he notes that when escaping the British battlecruisers she made 22.5 knots with short bursts of 24 knots. Kennedy overestimated Goeben's speed as 26 to 27 knots. Miller notes this
as perpetuating the myth that she was 3 knots faster that any British vessel capable of successfully engaging her
and thus much faster than Troubridge's armoured cruisers.

Later he confirms this was Milne's understanding, and Chapter 5 is full of British overestimates of Goeben's speed. Chapter 6 footnotes say that Troubridge's squadron was making 19.6 knots during the night, as reported to the Court Martial.

Troubridge's ships allegedly even touched 20 kts for an hour or so. But, according to the previously mentioned Naval Monograph excerpt, Troubridge was cited as saying that he commanded an 18 knot squadron. When going into action in close order, it was doctrine to keep two knots (i.e., about 10pct of maximum speed) in hand to maintain proper station-keeping (for example, Jellicoe's battle-line at Jutland never exceeded 19 knots). Although Troubridge's cruisers may still have been able to make 20 knots, the squadron in battle order would normally have limited its speed to 18 kts as a matter of doctrine.


By Chapter 7 Miller includes a signal from Milne at 02:30/7 indicating that
"careful plotting shews (sic) Goeben's speed 27 knots"
which is completely at odds with Souchon's account published after the War in French.

I suspect Milne's claims about "careful plotting" to have been a case of ex post facto political self-defense in anticipation of the inquiry that he was sure would come after Goeben's escape. How could he possibly have known how carefully any plotting was being carried out? He was never anywhere close to vicinity of any of the tactical action. He needed Goeben to be a fast ship to explain the failure of his command to bring her to action. Strictly my opinion, of course.


But at the end of the previous chapter Milne had reproachfully signalled Troubridge:
Why did you not continue to cut off Goeben, she was only going 17 knots, and so important to bring her to action?
More a@@-covering?


As an aside many of the debates filling these threads are based IMHO on excessive trust in published speed performance (especially under artificial trials conditions) and do not take into account of the actual prevailing conditions: actual displacement, coal/fuel quality, crew exhaustion, machinery problems, hull fouling and sea conditions. Goeben was bedevilled by machinery/boiler problems during her Mediterranean deployment, spending August to October 1913 under repair at Pola. Only a few months later she can only reliably make 12-14 knots according to Miller, and needs a wholesale boiler tube replacement.

No argument here.


The "full war complement" Goeben had, actually included all sorts of civilian Germans signed aboard in Messina. But then I guess wheelbarrowing coal doesn't take much skill/experience.

Don't under-estimate the number of naval reservists who serve in the maritime trade during time of peace. Apart from that, trimming coal bunkers, moving coal and stoking fire-boxes would not, I imagine, differ dramatically between the civilian merchant marine and the navy. Once again, strictly my opinion.


The only way of knowing whether you are faster or slower than an enemy is by trying to engage/escape; they/you either get away or they/you don't.

no dispute on this point
BuckBradley
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by BuckBradley »

Sorry if I missed this from earlier in the thread, but wasn't Tourbridge actually ready to go for it before allowing himself to be talked out of it by a subordinate who upbraided him (Tourbridge) for brining up his "pride" as a factor? Also I think it was Massie in Castles of Steel who points out that they didn't dare try to charge Toubridge with cowardice because he had earned a reputation for courage, but I don't think I've ever seen that remark explained. Does anyone know what it might have been been in T's past that had imbued him with a reputation for bravery?

Thanks in advance

BB
Byron Angel
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by Byron Angel »

Hi Buck,
Re Troubridge’s pride comment, he came from an old and well regarded upper class military family and the RN had a long reputation of not shying away from a fight, even when the odds might appear long. I’m guessing that might have been the motive behind his remark, but it is really just speculation on my part.

Byron
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Re: Adm Troubridge-right/wrong-in the GOEBEN AFFAIR

Post by Byron Angel »

LOL. In the course of cleaning out one of my pathetically disorganized files, I discovered that I had an English language translation of the official German Krieg zur See volume 1 covering the operations of the "Mediterranean Division" (i.e., Goeben and Breslau under Souchon) - everything from July 1914 through to the end of the war in Ottoman service.

One item of interest - As of August 1914, apart from her boiler tube issues, Goeben had not had her bottom cleaned in ten months.

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