Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

General naval discussions that don't fit within any specific time period or cover several issues.
Byron Angel
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by Byron Angel »

Byron Angel wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:27 pm
wmh829386 wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:19 am > There are two problems shown here, first, the FQ 2 range finder is inadequate, which is obvious, and second, officers are not using range rate.
It might seem sensible to not apply range rate when there is no range finder range, the reality is actually opposite: Range rate is less important when you have great ranges from range-finders/radar but essential when spotting is used to find range.
> The reason is that without range-finder range and no range rate, the clock range will keep drifting off the target.
> Let say there is a moderate closing rate of 200 yds/min (6kt of closing speed). If you got lucky and straddled then immediately fire with the same range. Assume a shell travel time of 30s, the next salvo will already be 100 yds long. Now what will happen if "down 100" is called and the next salvo is fired 10s later?
> The salvo will land 133 yds long. It's very difficult to maintain hitting with a wrong wrong range rate as it will be necessary to apply a correction even when hitting. This is also the reason why HMS Lion's opening salvos at Jutland continue land long after consecutive spotting down 800 yds.
Although the range rate must be an estimate without good ranges, one must remember that the range rate due to own ship is readily known and starting from estimated rate is far better than simply applying zero rate.
>>>>> Dogger Bank commentary in the Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Memoranda reads as follows -
"Dogger Bank (24th January, 1915)
> Little use could be made of the rangefinders as few cuts could be obtained, whilst the range was too great for accurate readings to be taken; time and range plotting was impracticable.
> A guessed rate was used as far as practicable, but it was almost impossible to verify by observation of fire owing to the difficulty of spotting, and several ships used “no rate” and worked entirely by spotting corrections. The gun was, in fact, mainly used as its own rangefinder and rate-keeper.
> SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Spotting and rate-keeping are extremely difficult under conditions of funnel smoke obscuring the target and enemy zig-zagging. Large spotting corrections must be used under these conditions and spotting must be the primary means of holding the target
."

Byron commentary - Maintenance of an accurate range rate requires a continuous stream of data inputs:
1 - Own ship course (measurable, but prone to minor but varying degrees of minor error - especially with early gyros)
2 - Own ship speed (measurable but subject to minor degrees of error)
3 - Target ship relative bearing from own ship (measurable)
4 - Target ship speed (able to be estimated, but subject to minor error)
5 - Target ship inclination relative to line of bearing ( extremely difficult to measure in this period, with a large inherent margin of error)
6 - Accurate range-finder data necessary to keep range-clock output "tuned" (apparently very difficult for the British to maintain)

I have a copy of the early Fire Control Instructions issued to the Home Fleet at the end of 1913; updates suggest that this document remained in use through at least early 1916. Instructions for opening fire were to set the clock with an "estimated" range rate value, which was to be tuned to be in accord with range-finder data. No time to transcribe verbatim right now, will try later.


- - - - -
http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/i ... of_Jutland
In particular, the gunnery records at the bottom of the page. The opening salvos are wrong for many reasons.
> First, the range was known to be closing, so why would the opening salvo has a range taken from 1.5 minutes ago?
> Second, from 3.42 to 3.46, the range closed from 20000 yds to 18500 yds. Hence the implied range rate is 375 yds/min, why would rate be further reduced to 150 yds/min when fire is open?
> Third, why the low rate was kept despite spotting down continuously?.
>>>>> There is so much to digest here. My gut instinct continues to tell me that Beatty (see below) very much wanted to close the range as much as possible and was willing to allow the Germans to help him do so; so he waited for the Germans to open fire first. One of Beatty's post-Dogger Bank complaints was that long-range gunnery was inherently inefficient and his ships did not carry sufficient ammunition to achieve decisive results at such "long bowls". Chatfield (Beatty's Flag Captain and Longhurst (Lion's Gunnery Officer), both being gunnery specialists, were almost certain to have been champing at the bit to open fire as soon as they were within any sort of reasonable gun range.
> Re the 3:46 Range-finding notation, it's possible that it was the most recently reported value that had made its way through the FC process and ws set upon the guns when Chatfield ordered fire to be opened; just speculation here.

An INTERESTING additional issue to consider is this: von Hase insisted in his book that, despite Derfflinger's initial range-finding faux pas, Hipper had ordered 1SG to open fire when range closed to 15,000 meters (~16,500 yds). So Lion's range-finding figure of 18,500 yds was dramatically over (as was that of Derfflinger's range-takers. I wonder if Lion's range-takers were perhaps as emotionally overawed by the event as were those of Derfflinger. Just speculation on my part.

- - - - -

It's hard to understand why Beatty would change his policy of opening fire at maximum range when hits were made in Dogger bank at long range. I am more inclined to theory that he wasn't aware of the rapid closing rate.


>>>>> A couple of comments -
> Lion did indeed hit Blucher once early in the battle at about 20.000 yds (with Bluecher incidentally returning the favor). After the battle, Beatty commented - "The Falkland Is. fight, and 24th January, have proved that hits can be made without difficulty [sic] at 19 or 20000 yards, ..."
This was IMO a bit disingenuous. In the approximately two hour long-range portion of the engagement between the battle-cruisers (up until the crippling of Blucher and Lion, Beatty's four battle-cruisers scored a total of nine hits -
Lion - 4 hits - 1 on Blucher (about 20k yds); 2 on Seydlitz (16-17k yds; 1 on Derfflinger
Tiger - 2 hits - 1 on Seydlitz; 1 on Derfflinger
Princess Royal - 3 hits - 2 on Blucher; 1 on Derfflinger
New Zealand - 0 hits
All these hits, with the exception of Lion's first hit upon Blucher (according to Campbell), were scored at ranges from 16 to 18,000 yards.
> Beatty then goes on in the next breath and the same sentence to say "... but this range is not decisive and the percentage of hits is too small."
and concludes his commentary by saying "...we must try and get in closer without delay. Probably 12,000 to 14,000 yards would suit us well, this being outside the effective range of enemy's torpedoes and 6" guns." I consider Beatty's mention of 12 to 14,000 yards to be rather telling in light of later gunnery experience at Jutland (strictly my opinion, of course).
> Lion scored 4 hits from 243 rounds fired (about 1.6 pct hits); it is not possible to determine the long-range hitting percentages of the other three British battle-cruisers because the ammunition expenditure numbers also included their close range engagement of the crippled Blucher.
> By comparison, Moltke, Derfflinger and the damaged Seydlitz combined to score 22 hits over the same period of time and ranges from an expenditure of 976 rounds combined for a hitting percentage of 2.25 pct. This was achieved despite Hipper occupying the inferior (from a gunnery point of view) windward position.
> The most remarkable performance of the Dogger Bank battle was delivered by Moltke, which appears to have scored about 3 pct hits (8-9 hits for 276 rounds expended) at 16-18,000 yards; in fairness, however, it must be pointed out that Moltke remained unfired upon throughout the battle as a result of a breakdown in British fire distribution arrangements


- - - - -

The performance in low light conditions can be improved by simply having a bigger aperture (field lens). I am not sure if there is anywhere such information can be found.


>>>>> I'm no optics expert and I've not run across anything on that particular topic, but I would agree with your assumption. IIRC, I seem to recall that at least one post-war B&S range-finder design did feature such a modification. But the question why such a step was not taken prior probably has many possible explanations:
> no perceived need based upon the performance parameters dictated by the client?
> inability to grind and polish lenses of such larger size?
> cost?
> considerations of size and weight of the resulting overall range-finder design?
> lack of awareness of the light/visibility conditions likely to prevail under service conditions?
Dunno.
wmh829386
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

A guessed rate was used as far as practicable, but it was almost impossible to verify by observation of fire owing to the difficulty of spotting, and several ships used “no rate” and worked entirely by spotting corrections. The gun was, in fact, mainly used as its own rangefinder and rate-keeper.
May I say that that doesn't make the slightest sense to me. I think abandoning the rate and apply large spotting correction only makes spotting even more difficult.
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

5 - Target ship inclination relative to line of bearing ( extremely difficult to measure in this period, with a large inherent margin of error)
I do agree, however I think it is fair to say the challenge is the same for both German gunnery officer and British gunnery officers. But it seems that German officers are proficient in making such estimate from perhaps from more realistic gunnery practice.

What I am getting at in Lion's gunnery record, is that the failing of its gunnery goes beyond the range takers and range-finders. The problem of the opening salvos is that: regardless of the small number of range cuts and difficulty in estimating inclination, there is still no reason to open fire at 18,500 yds with 150 yds/min closing rate.

Perhaps there is a delay in passing the information or Gunnery officer simply made a mistake, regardless it puts the state of the entire gunnery organisation on HMS Lion in question.

(I will not talk about HMS Tiger. I believe everyone knew they did not work up properly)
wmh829386
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

>>>>> I'm no optics expert and I've not run across anything on that particular topic, but I would agree with your assumption. IIRC, I seem to recall that at least one post-war B&S range-finder design did feature such a modification. But the question why such a step was not taken prior probably has many possible explanations:
> no perceived need based upon the performance parameters dictated by the client?
> inability to grind and polish lenses of such larger size?
> cost?
> considerations of size and weight of the resulting overall range-finder design?
> lack of awareness of the light/visibility conditions likely to prevail under service conditions?
Dunno.
Another origin of my suspicion is that base length have little to do with the clarity of the image, hence, it does not affect the number of cuts per minute. During the run to the south, not only did 5BS has more accurate ranges, crucially, it has much more number of cuts at longer ranges. This cannot be explained by base length. (One contributing factor is the oil burning QEs create far less smoke, but that does not affect the leading ship, while another factor is the rather poor arrangement of the spotting top in the BCF)

There must a general sentiment that F.Q. 2 was sufficient. Just like how they believe the shell design were sufficient.
It is another case of "Jellicoe requested something but nothing was done and he left his posting".
Byron Angel
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by Byron Angel »

wmh829386 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:22 am
5 - Target ship inclination relative to line of bearing ( extremely difficult to measure in this period, with a large inherent margin of error)
I do agree, however I think it is fair to say the challenge is the same for both German gunnery officer and British gunnery officers. But it seems that German officers are proficient in making such estimate from perhaps from more realistic gunnery practice.

What I am getting at in Lion's gunnery record, is that the failing of its gunnery goes beyond the range takers and range-finders. The problem of the opening salvos is that: regardless of the small number of range cuts and difficulty in estimating inclination, there is still no reason to open fire at 18,500 yds with 150 yds/min closing rate.

Perhaps there is a delay in passing the information or Gunnery officer simply made a mistake, regardless it puts the state of the entire gunnery organisation on HMS Lion in question.

Hi wm,
A couple of thoughts .....

I ran across a comment from John Brooks in his book "Dreadnought Gunnery at the Battle of Jutland" to the effect that there had been dissatisfaction within the navy over poor range-finding performance as early as 1910-1914 and that this had been put down to inadequate training even then. Much has been written about lack of proper long-range gunnery and range-finding training for the battle-cruisers after they were relocated to Rosyth. But perhaps the problem was more widespread than believed. The assumption is that the GF was materially superior in long range gunnery because they were afforded more opportunity for such practice. I wonder:

> A great deal is made of the fine shooting displayed by Hood's 3BCS at Jutland and it is normally attributed to their recent prior gunnery practice at Scapa. However, it must also be taken into account that 3BCS were shooting at quite short range (8-10,000 yards) and were under no opposing fire while they did so.

> 5BS shot extremely well during the closing stages of the Run to the South. Was it because they had benefitted from ample long-range gunnery practices? That may well have played a role. But there were arguably other contributing factors: (1) they themselves IIRC were not under fire; (2) they were the only squadron fully outfitted with the new 15-ft range-finders; (3) they had the best heavy caliber armament of any capital ships present at the battle.

> With respect to the shooting of the GF battle-line later in the day: (1) once again the ranges were short 10-13,000 yards; (2) they were under no effective return fire.

Once again, wheels within wheels.

- - -

On the subject of Lion's opening of fire commencing the Run to the South, let me offer a plausible explanation. For range to have fallen from 18,500 yards to 16,500 yards in 90 seconds would have required a closure rate of 40 knots - not realistically possible based upon the track charts I have examined. The most likely case IMO is that it was simply a bad range-taking over-estimate. The succession of range drops taken immediately thereafter suggests to me that no one was expecting a dramatic closing rate, hence the modest initial series nibbles at dropping the range.

- - -

One last tidbit I ran across when touring the Dreadnought Project Jutland reports (thanks for that BTW, I really need to follow that more closely). In the gunnery account of HMS Tiger, comment is made (IIRC) that at one point, having lost the range, a large range drop of 1,000 yards was ordered, followed by a succession of "up-200" salvoes which ultimately regained the target. This was pretty much exactly what Chatfield proposed to Beatty in their post-Dogger Bank correspondence as the only realistic approach to long-range shooting. Basically, the "scientific" approach was being discarded and a kind of "zone fire" adopted in its place. Even the use of double-salvoes parallels Chatfield's thinking in this regard. With a typical salvo-spread of 300 yards, a series of 200-up salvoes would basically carpet the ocean until it ran over the target.


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Byron Angel
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by Byron Angel »

wmh829386 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:58 am Another origin of my suspicion is that base length have little to do with the clarity of the image, hence, it does not affect the number of cuts per minute. During the run to the south, not only did 5BS has more accurate ranges, crucially, it has much more number of cuts at longer ranges. This cannot be explained by base length. (One contributing factor is the oil burning QEs create far less smoke, but that does not affect the leading ship, while another factor is the rather poor arrangement of the spotting top in the BCF)
>>>>> Agree. Base-length should have no influence upon clarity of image. It does have an enormous influence on the accuracy of the range-estimate, though. That having been said, it would not shock me to learn that the 15-ft FT24 had larger objective lenses (if that is the correct technical term). Re 5BS, as mentioned in my previous post, they were also under no effective counter-fire at that point it time. Further agree re the smoke advantage of oil-firing.
There must a general sentiment that F.Q. 2 was sufficient. Just like how they believe the shell design were sufficient.
It is another case of "Jellicoe requested something but nothing was done and he left his posting".
>>>>> I'm not sure about that. Jellicoe had been pushing Barr & Stroud for a 15-ft range-finder as early as 1913. Jellicoe had also raised the issue of poor AP projectile quality during his posting as Director of Naval Ordnance back around 1907, but nothing was done by his successors. My suspicion is that the lack of remedial action may have had a lot to do with the substantial political power of the munitions manufacturers (who were corporately joined at the hip).


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wmh829386
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

Byron Angel wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:36 pm > Re the 3:46 Range-finding notation, it's possible that it was the most recently reported value that had made its way through the FC process and ws set upon the guns when Chatfield ordered fire to be opened; just speculation here.
Just one more speculation: the BCF was using a different fire control method from the much of the grand fleet. When we look at the gunnery report from HMS Iron Duke for Jutland, rate was never noted, instead, the inclination is used. Seems like rate is either derived from range plot or speed estimate. (Bearing rate is unlikely to be useful)

On the other hand, on HMS Lion rate is noted instead of inclination. it seems like the gunnery officer has a much more direct control of the rate. Given that some in BCF doesn't even apply a rate, it seems like they are used to cutting the Dumerasq out of the fire control loop entirely.

http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/i ... of_Jutland

If we look at Inflexible's gunnery record, note that during action against light cruiser, large rates and rate correction was applied much more decisively.

There is no getting around the fact that the Grand fleet enjoy shorter ranges and 5BS is materially superior. However let us check how Lion did at the shorter ranges.

http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/i ... of_Jutland

From 6.16.5 to 6.18.5, there are 4 consecutive down spotting at a range of around 10,000 yds. Ironically, Inflexible claimed to have opened fire at a guess range of 8000 yds and got a first salvo hit.
Apparently the gunnery officer is still unaware that his range-finders is always giving him excessive ranges, and it is difficult to determine how to give an error of +2000yds at ~8000yds.
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

For range to have fallen from 18,500 yards to 16,500 yards in 90 seconds would have required a closure rate of 40 knots
Which part of the table are you referring to? I was referring to the opening salvo. With a closing rate in force, the gun range of the first salvo is almost in explicable.

3.46 18,500 (range finder)
3.47
3.47.5 F R 42 18,500 (gun sight)
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

Byron Angel wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 2:19 pm Chatfield proposed to Beatty in their post-Dogger Bank correspondence as the only realistic approach to long-range shooting. Basically, the "scientific" approach was being discarded and a kind of "zone fire" adopted in its place.
I think Chatfield is on to something here. It is the line of thinking that give rise to the spotting rules after Jutland. However, it seems like some officer use the method as a replacement of rate control rather then in conjunction with rate control, for those who apply zero range rate throughout.
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by Byron Angel »

wmh829386 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:14 pm Just one more speculation: the BCF was using a different fire control method from the much of the grand fleet. When we look at the gunnery report from HMS Iron Duke for Jutland, rate was never noted, instead, the inclination is used. Seems like rate is either derived from range plot or speed estimate. (Bearing rate is unlikely to be useful)
>>>>> I'm not 100pct sure we are on exactly the same page. AIUI, inclination is the heading of the target ship in relation to the line of sight from firing ship to target ship. As such, it is an important component in computation of range rate. Example: Firing ship A is sailing on a straight and steady compass course of 090deg (due East) at 20 knots. Relative bearing of target ship B from Firing ship A is Red 90 (directly on port beam of Firing ship A) at a range of 10,000 yds. But Target ship B is making 23 knots on compass course 060deg (i.e. giving an inclination of 60deg relative to ship-to-ship Line of Sight). What is the situation after three minutes? Relative bearing remains for all intents and purposes exactly the same, but ship-to-ship range is now 11,150 yds with an opening range-rate of approximately 383yd/min. This is an overtly simple example, but does illustrate the importance of measuring target ship inclination as accurately as possible. Anyways ..... if this is already familiar territory for you, my apologies for the needless pedantry.

- - -
On the other hand, on HMS Lion rate is noted instead of inclination. it seems like the gunnery officer has a much more direct control of the rate. Given that some in BCF doesn't even apply a rate, it seems like they are used to cutting the Dumaresq out of the fire control loop entirely.
>>>>> That Home Fleet fire control document I mentioned in a previous post basically stated that, when engaging a new target, the range clock would be set with a rate based upon the best estimate/guess of the Gunnery Officer in charge, then validated, adjusted or corrected per observation of a straddle, or fall of shot and/or a confident range-finder estimate. Sometimes, as in the extreme ranges encountered Dogger Bank, conditions were so uncertain that no ranges or rates of any real value could be established and shooting was entirely managed by visual spotting alone - essentially "eye-shooting".

- - -
There is no getting around the fact that the Grand fleet enjoyed shorter ranges and 5BS is materially superior. However let us check how Lion did at the shorter ranges.
http://www.dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/i ... of_Jutland
From 6.16.5 to 6.18.5, there are 4 consecutive down spotting at a range of around 10,000 yds. Ironically, Inflexible claimed to have opened fire at a guess range of 8000 yds and got a first salvo hit.
Apparently the gunnery officer is still unaware that his range-finders is always giving him excessive ranges, and it is difficult to determine how to give an error of +2000yds at ~8000yds.
By 6pm, visibility had become notably difficult and variable as a result of shifting banks of mist and accumulated gun and funnel smoke in the battle area. I suspect this had a great deal to do with the strange experiences of different ships. Hard to quantify "whens and wheres" exactly, but certain maps portray considerable areas of the battle space as under a perceptible pall of smoke - particularly late in the battle.

FWIW / Byron
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by Byron Angel »

wmh829386 wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:49 pm
For range to have fallen from 18,500 yards to 16,500 yards in 90 seconds would have required a closure rate of 40 knots
Which part of the table are you referring to? I was referring to the opening salvo. With a closing rate in force, the gun range of the first salvo is almost inexplicable.

3.46 18,500 (range finder)
3.47
3.47.5 F R 42 18,500 (gun sight)
>>>>> Go here - https://www.jutland1916.com/wp-content/uploads/04.jpg - for the best track chart (IMO) of the opening of fire between the opposing battle-cruiser forces as plotted by Otto Groos (note: German Time = GMT+1hr). As best I can make out with my protractor, Groos show Lutzow about 45-50deg off the port bow of Lion at the moment when fire was opened, while Lion was very slightly before the starboard beam of Lutzow. Groos estimated Lion as making 25 kts with Lutzow making about 20-22 kts (my best guess). A back of the envelope SWAG suggests that the range between Lion and Lutzow at 3:46/3:47 was closing at a rate close to 600 yds/min. Meanwhile, Groos' chart places the distance between Lion and Lutzow as approximately 16,000m at that moment ..... which is why I think that the 18,500 yd range-cut made @ 3:46 was a bad range-finder reading. But the story IMO gets more interesting from here. See next post.

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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by Byron Angel »

Chatfield’s account (“Navy and Defence”, pp 140-141)
“….. it was not until 3.30 that he (Admiral Sinclair aboard HMS Galatea) sighted more enemy ships with heavy smoke, which proved to be our old antagonists the First Scouting Group. They were still far away from us, but at the speed of modern sea warfare big distances are soon covered, so we rapidly closed each other.

We were now steaming at nineteen knots on a south-south-easterly course. The enemy battle-cruisers were rapidly closing us steering south-westerly. The range-receiver on the bridge showed 20,000 yards. I was on the compass platform with my navigator, Commander the Hon. Arthur Strutt, and my small staff. Beatty remained for a time on his own bridge, below me, with Commodore Bentinck, Seymour, Commander Bailey and Spickernell, his secretary. I wanted him to come on the compass platform and sent a message to Seymour, telling him to advise Beatty that the range was closing rapidly and that we ought almost at once to be opening fire. This was a duty that I actually handed over to the Chief of Staff. But I could get no reply, the Vice-Admiral was engaged in an important message to te Commander-in-Chief. 18,000 yards. I told Longhurst to be ready to open fire immediately. The turrets were already loaded and trained on the leading enemy ship, the “Lutzow” (Captain von Levetzow).

At 3.45 the range was 16,000 yards. I could wait no longer and told Longhurst to open fire. At the same moment, the enemy did so. Seymour hoisted the “5” flag (engage the enemy) and off went the double-salvoes. Beatty came on the compass platform. The firing of the ship’s main armament of eight 13.5-inch guns was by double-salvoes of four guns each, fired in rapid succession. The range and/or the deflection of the two initial salvoes might be spread, so as to have a greater chance of finding the range and to assist the control on spotting on to the target. It was impossible in action at modern ranges to when the salvoes struck the water, to estimate the distance they fell over or short of the enemy; all you could judge was whether they were short or over and adjust the sights accordingly.”

- - -

Beatty’s Account (“The Beatty Papers”, Volume 1 – 1902-1918, pg 326)
“At 3.30 p.m. I increased speed to 25 knots and formed line of battle, the Second Battle-Cruiser Squadron forming astern of the First Battle-Cruiser Squadron with destroyers of the 1th and 9th Flotillas taking station ahead. I turned to E.S.E. , slightly converging on the enemy, who were now at a range of 23,000 yards, and formed the ships on a line of bearing to clear the smoke. The 5th Battle Squadron, who had conformed to our movements, were now bearing N.N.W., 10,000 yards. The visibility at this time was good, the sun behind us, our situation was both tactically and strategically good.
At 3.48 p.m. the action commenced at a range of 18,500 yards, both forces opening fire practically simultaneously. “

- - -

”Jutland - The Naval Staff Appreciation”, edited by Schleihauf & McLaughlin. Pg 59
“When the action began the British Battle Cruiser Force was on a course ESE, going 25 to 26 knots in the process of forming a line of bearing NW. <snip> The opening range has been variously estimated, and was probably about 14,300 yards.

- - -

”Skaggerak – The Battle of Jutland through German Eyes”, Gary Staff. Pp 48-50
Korvettenkapitan Paschen, of Lutzow, recorded the opening of fire thus:
We had a good range on our rangefinders of 240 hectometers (hm) , and it seemed an eternity, but in reality only 20 minutes, before they reached our effective range of 190hm. Then we also had to wait for the range to reduce for Seydlitz. Five points = 57deg, that is where the enemy lay, moving into range. Estimated speed 26 knots, bearing 110deg. That gives a closure of 4hm per minute. At 167hm according to our measurement, at about 4.48 hours (German time = GMT+1hr), the first salvo crashed out from turrets A and B. (This book is very good account from the German side … much better than Tarrant IMO)

- - -

”Jutland – An Analysis of the Fighting”, John Campbell. Pg 38
Hipper was apprehensive lest the British opened fire outside trhe range of the German battlecruisers. Allowing for wear of the guns, this was about 19,000 to 21,000yds, except for the Von der Tann which could reach c22,400. Wear also affected the British guns, but the 13.5in battlecruisers could range to about 23,500yds at 20deg, and ‘super-elevation’ 6deg prisms added to the Director sights and to the centre position sights of the turrets, now permitted the full elevation of the mountings to be used, whereas the sights had only been graduated to 15deg 21’ at the Dogger Bank. The British 9ft range-finders were not satisfactory at such distances, and in addition the New Zealand and Indefatigable could not range much over 18,500yds at 13.5deg elevation. Beatty thus intended to close to within the latter distance, but the Lion’s range-finders over-estimated the range by over two thousand yards and it had sunk to about 16,000yds when the Germans opened fire at 1548.

- - -

”The Battle of Jutland”, John Brooks, Pg 184
As soon as the British battlecruisers turned E, Hipper responded to prevent Beatty cutting across his line of retreat. At 3.35, the ISG turned away 15 points in succession to SE, a move that, unknown to Beatty, would also draw him toward the advancing High Seas Fleet. AS the ISG was completing its turn, at 3.40 Hipper ordered an easy speed of 18 knots (which would allow his outlying light cruisers to close more easily) and a distribution of fire from the left that would have omitted Indefatigable. The range was now falling at a rate of about -550 yards/minute. At 3.45, Hipper ordered a turn together to SSE ‘to close the enemy more rapidly’ ; it would also have thrown out any rate previously obtained by the British ships. This turn together placed his battlecruisers on a line of bearing NW from Lutzow, that is, the line joining the ships was at an angle of two point to their course ESE. At 3.48, Lutzow opened fire, followed immediately by her consorts. These first salvoes were timed at 3.47 in the British flagship and both Lion and Princess Royal fired back, concentrating on Lutzow, within half a minute. Both Tiger and New Zealand opened fire at Moltke at 3.51, but Queen Mary did not commence until 3.53, at first only with her fore turrets. The ranges and targets of all the ships are tabulated below. Since both Lutzow and Derfflinger made several down corrections before straddling, Moltke’s range was probably the most accurate, though Princess Royal’s was almost as good.

RANGES (yards) and TARGETS - British
Indefatigable >>>>> (--???--) >>>>> Target Von der Tann
New Zealand >>>>> (18,100) >>>>> Target Moltke
Tiger >>>>>>>>>>> (18,500) >>>>> Target Moltke
Queen Mary >>>>> (17,000) >>>>> Target Seydlitz
Princess Royal >>>> (16,400) >>>>> Target Derfflinger
Princess Royal >>>> (16,000) >>>>> Target Lutzow
Lion >>>>>>>>>>>> (18,500) >>>>> Target Lutzow

RANGES (yards) and TARGETS – German
Von der Tann >>>>> (17,700) >>>>> Target Indefatigable
Moltke >>>>>>>>>> (15,500) >>>>> Target Tiger
Seydlitz >>>>>>>>> (16,400) >>>>> Target Queen Mary
Derfflinger >>>>>>> (16,400) >>>>> Target Princess Royal
Lutzow >>>>>>>>>> (16,800) >>>>> Target Lion

(Byron note – This book is IMO absolutely first-rate; it deserves to sit next to Campbell on any bookshelf.)

- - -

It seems difficult to say what exactly is the truth of the situation at 3:47/3:48.

Byron
wmh829386
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

>>>>> I'm not 100pct sure we are on exactly the same page. AIUI, inclination is the heading of the target ship in relation to the line of sight from firing ship to target ship. As such, it is an important component in computation of range rate. Example: Firing ship A is sailing on a straight and steady compass course of 090deg (due East) at 20 knots. Relative bearing of target ship B from Firing ship A is Red 90 (directly on port beam of Firing ship A) at a range of 10,000 yds. But Target ship B is making 23 knots on compass course 060deg (i.e. giving an inclination of 60deg relative to ship-to-ship Line of Sight). What is the situation after three minutes? Relative bearing remains for all intents and purposes exactly the same, but ship-to-ship range is now 11,150 yds with an opening range-rate of approximately 383yd/min. This is an overtly simple example, but does illustrate the importance of measuring target ship inclination as accurately as possible. Anyways ..... if this is already familiar territory for you, my apologies for the needless pedantry.
There is no need to apologize. All I am trying to point out is that from the record, there seems to be three ways to approach the gunnery problem.

HMS Iron duke was more focused on Inclination, perhaps because being directly under Dreyer, they are more comfortable with directly applying initial inclination and let the table produce the rates from either the range plot or speed estimate. Notes that during the strings of straddle on Konig, both the Iron duke and Konig made course changes. And the Dreyer Table Mk IV was useful for maintaining an approximate solution after own ship course change.

HMS Inflexible wad using the traditional rate control, where gunnery officer applies a constant range rate base on his estimate (which also uses a dumerasq) but the rate is constant unless change is ordered.

Some in the BCF are apparently using zero range rate and just apply spotting correction.

Such variation shows a lack of agreement on best practice and probably a wider training issue.
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by HMSVF »

Lion’s range-finders over-estimated the range by over two thousand yards and it had sunk to about 16,000yds when the Germans opened fire at 1548
.



I seem to remember a tale about Tovey telling his gunnery officer that he would have "more chance of hitting Bismarck if he threw his binoculars at it".


No whether its true or not, it always made me chuckle!
wmh829386
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Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Post by wmh829386 »

Byron Angel wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 1:43 am Chatfield’s account (“Navy and Defence”, pp 140-141)
“….. it was not until 3.30 that he (Admiral Sinclair aboard HMS Galatea) sighted more enemy ships with heavy smoke, which proved to be our old antagonists the First Scouting Group. They were still far away from us, but at the speed of modern sea warfare big distances are soon covered, so we rapidly closed each other.

We were now steaming at nineteen knots on a south-south-easterly course. The enemy battle-cruisers were rapidly closing us steering south-westerly. The range-receiver on the bridge showed 20,000 yards. I was on the compass platform with my navigator, Commander the Hon. Arthur Strutt, and my small staff. Beatty remained for a time on his own bridge, below me, with Commodore Bentinck, Seymour, Commander Bailey and Spickernell, his secretary. I wanted him to come on the compass platform and sent a message to Seymour, telling him to advise Beatty that the range was closing rapidly and that we ought almost at once to be opening fire. This was a duty that I actually handed over to the Chief of Staff. But I could get no reply, the Vice-Admiral was engaged in an important message to te Commander-in-Chief. 18,000 yards. I told Longhurst to be ready to open fire immediately. The turrets were already loaded and trained on the leading enemy ship, the “Lutzow” (Captain von Levetzow).

At 3.45 the range was 16,000 yards. I could wait no longer and told Longhurst to open fire. At the same moment, the enemy did so. Seymour hoisted the “5” flag (engage the enemy) and off went the double-salvoes. Beatty came on the compass platform. The firing of the ship’s main armament of eight 13.5-inch guns was by double-salvoes of four guns each, fired in rapid succession. The range and/or the deflection of the two initial salvoes might be spread, so as to have a greater chance of finding the range and to assist the control on spotting on to the target. It was impossible in action at modern ranges to when the salvoes struck the water, to estimate the distance they fell over or short of the enemy; all you could judge was whether they were short or over and adjust the sights accordingly.”
The discrepancy between Chatfield's account and the gunnery record (and Beatty’s comment) is very interesting. However it seems that the recorded range have fell to at least 18,500 before fire was open. It makes the initial sight range of 18,500 yards even more inexplicable.

Furthermore, where did Chatfield saw 16,000 yds? If it is from the range receiver, which from my understanding receives gun range, that would contradict the gunnery record. Or is it from his own estimates with the navigator who was plotting? Either way, it's probably impossible to verify.

*I don't think Chatfield saw gun range of 16000 yards here, IF the opening gun range is 16000 yards, the subsequent pair of 800 down spotting does not make sense.
- - -
Beatty’s Account (“The Beatty Papers”, Volume 1 – 1902-1918, pg 326)
“At 3.30 p.m. I increased speed to 25 knots and formed line of battle, the Second Battle-Cruiser Squadron forming astern of the First Battle-Cruiser Squadron with destroyers of the 1th and 9th Flotillas taking station ahead. I turned to E.S.E. , slightly converging on the enemy, who were now at a range of 23,000 yards, and formed the ships on a line of bearing to clear the smoke. The 5th Battle Squadron, who had conformed to our movements, were now bearing N.N.W., 10,000 yards. The visibility at this time was good, the sun behind us, our situation was both tactically and strategically good.
At 3.48 p.m. the action commenced at a range of 18,500 yards, both forces opening fire practically simultaneously. “
Bolded are the places why i have so little faith on Beatty's account.

- - -
”Jutland - The Naval Staff Appreciation”, edited by Schleihauf & McLaughlin. Pg 59
“When the action began the British Battle Cruiser Force was on a course ESE, going 25 to 26 knots in the process of forming a line of bearing NW. <snip> The opening range has been variously estimated, and was probably about 14,300 yards.
Incredibly low range mentioned here, must be talking about gun range. Given a shell travel time of about a minute or so will put the clock range >15,000 yards, which seems reasonable but still lowest in all sources and without specifying which ship is using it. It won't surprise me if it is 14,300 m instead.

- - -
”Skaggerak – The Battle of Jutland through German Eyes”, Gary Staff. Pp 48-50
Korvettenkapitan Paschen, of Lutzow, recorded the opening of fire thus:
We had a good range on our rangefinders of 240 hectometers (hm) , and it seemed an eternity, but in reality only 20 minutes, before they reached our effective range of 190hm. Then we also had to wait for the range to reduce for Seydlitz. Five points = 57deg, that is where the enemy lay, moving into range. Estimated speed 26 knots, bearing 110deg. That gives a closure of 4hm per minute. At 167hm according to our measurement, at about 4.48 hours (German time = GMT+1hr), the first salvo crashed out from turrets A and B. (This book is very good account from the German side … much better than Tarrant IMO)
Quick unit conversion gives:
Range rate ~437 yards per minute
(Clock/RF) Range ~18260 yards
If that's true, the range cut of Lion of 18,500 yards at 3.46 and the implied range rate isn't that far off

3.42 20,000 300 C
3.43 250 C
3.44 200 C
3.46 18,500
For reference at 3.46 GMT
implied range rate: 1500/4 = 375 yds/min (but 200 yds/min is used)

Of course, it is almost certain that Lutzow had a lower gun range by applying the rate on ballistic calculation.

- - -
”Jutland – An Analysis of the Fighting”, John Campbell. Pg 38
Hipper was apprehensive lest the British opened fire outside trhe range of the German battlecruisers. Allowing for wear of the guns, this was about 19,000 to 21,000yds, except for the Von der Tann which could reach c22,400. Wear also affected the British guns, but the 13.5in battlecruisers could range to about 23,500yds at 20deg, and ‘super-elevation’ 6deg prisms added to the Director sights and to the centre position sights of the turrets, now permitted the full elevation of the mountings to be used, whereas the sights had only been graduated to 15deg 21’ at the Dogger Bank. The British 9ft range-finders were not satisfactory at such distances, and in addition the New Zealand and Indefatigable could not range much over 18,500yds at 13.5deg elevation. Beatty thus intended to close to within the latter distance, but the Lion’s range-finders over-estimated the range by over two thousand yards and it had sunk to about 16,000yds when the Germans opened fire at 1548.

- - -

”The Battle of Jutland”, John Brooks, Pg 184
As soon as the British battlecruisers turned E, Hipper responded to prevent Beatty cutting across his line of retreat. At 3.35, the ISG turned away 15 points in succession to SE, a move that, unknown to Beatty, would also draw him toward the advancing High Seas Fleet. AS the ISG was completing its turn, at 3.40 Hipper ordered an easy speed of 18 knots (which would allow his outlying light cruisers to close more easily) and a distribution of fire from the left that would have omitted Indefatigable. The range was now falling at a rate of about -550 yards/minute. At 3.45, Hipper ordered a turn together to SSE ‘to close the enemy more rapidly’ ; it would also have thrown out any rate previously obtained by the British ships. This turn together placed his battlecruisers on a line of bearing NW from Lutzow, that is, the line joining the ships was at an angle of two point to their course ESE. At 3.48, Lutzow opened fire, followed immediately by her consorts. These first salvoes were timed at 3.47 in the British flagship and both Lion and Princess Royal fired back, concentrating on Lutzow, within half a minute. Both Tiger and New Zealand opened fire at Moltke at 3.51, but Queen Mary did not commence until 3.53, at first only with her fore turrets. The ranges and targets of all the ships are tabulated below. Since both Lutzow and Derfflinger made several down corrections before straddling, Moltke’s range was probably the most accurate, though Princess Royal’s was almost as good.

RANGES (yards) and TARGETS - British
Indefatigable >>>>> (--???--) >>>>> Target Von der Tann
New Zealand >>>>> (18,100) >>>>> Target Moltke
Tiger >>>>>>>>>>> (18,500) >>>>> Target Moltke
Queen Mary >>>>> (17,000) >>>>> Target Seydlitz
Princess Royal >>>> (16,400) >>>>> Target Derfflinger
Princess Royal >>>> (16,000) >>>>> Target Lutzow
Lion >>>>>>>>>>>> (18,500) >>>>> Target Lutzow

RANGES (yards) and TARGETS – German
Von der Tann >>>>> (17,700) >>>>> Target Indefatigable
Moltke >>>>>>>>>> (15,500) >>>>> Target Tiger
Seydlitz >>>>>>>>> (16,400) >>>>> Target Queen Mary
Derfflinger >>>>>>> (16,400) >>>>> Target Princess Royal
Lutzow >>>>>>>>>> (16,800) >>>>> Target Lion

(Byron note – This book is IMO absolutely first-rate; it deserves to sit next to Campbell on any bookshelf.)
I have both books and I agree with you about them. It seems that Brook's opening ranges are almost certainly gun ranges, which implies the clock range/range finder range will be in the region of 17000 yds when Lion opened fire.

All of the leading ships on both sides have overestimated the range, with Lion's gun range being inexplicably high even after taking account of her high range-finder range.
However After spotting down for the first two salvos, the Germans achieve straddles and soon after hits, while the BCF was unable to do so. Seems like different ships are having different difficulties.

Lion's rates are just flat out wrong. The gunnery officer did not recognize his mistake until 3.51 when rate is finally change to 500C.

Princess Royal got smoke interference with only three recorded salvos from 3.51.15 to 3.55.15, then not fired again until 4.06.20.

Queen Mary was able to shoot quite will in the period, after completing the turning again to open her aft turrets.

Tiger was no where near to correct range to start with partly due to smoke, then soon suffer hits the degraded her ability to indicate targets and salvo firing.

NZ seems to indicate they cannot find ranges due to vibration and frequent course changes, which lasted practically the entire battle, the same is probably true for Indefatigable.

It is fair to say the F.Q. 2 9ft range-finders and it's mounting are not particularly good, especially on the older 12" gun BCs, however Princess Royal and Queen Marry had some decent ranges, and Lion's excessive gun range probably is a combination of 1. High RF range, 2. Incorrect range rate, 3. Not using the Dreyer calculator.
My opinion is that for the case of Lion, the second mistake is by far the most important, mainly because error 1&3 can be corrected more easily by spotting corrections.

- - -
It seems difficult to say what exactly is the truth of the situation at 3:47/3:48.
Totally agree.
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