Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Bismarck

Discussion in 'Germany at Sea!' started by Ricardo War44, Feb 4, 2008.

Tags:
  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,546
    Likes Received:
    1,065
    Location:
    Michigan
    Rodney and KGV were getting low on fuel. On the other hand the last torpedo hit her as she rolled over so even if they had had to turn back to port Bismarck would have gone down before they reached it.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,146
    Likes Received:
    1,393
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    IIRC, the KGV and Rodney had already left the area due to lack of fuel - The U-Boat scare pertains to the ceasing of rescuing Bismarck sailors in the water. The Dorsetshire was not low on fuel, as she had not been part of the battle group chasing Bismarck, but had been escorting a convoy when her Captain left the convoy the help pursue Bismarck.

    Even if Dorsetshire had not put torpedoes into Bismarck, there was still a strike group of 12 Swordfish with torpedoes that had been circling the area since 1015, waiting for their chance to attack Bismarck. Misidentification had caused the British surface forces to fire upon them, so they wisely kept their distance, but were there if needed.

    No way were the British going to leave the Bismarck afloat before leaving.
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.
  3. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,803
    Likes Received:
    314
    Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    IIRC, I saw a documentary, (it might have been that “Battle of Hood and Bismarck”) where an interviewed swordfish pilot said they were fired upon as a warning to say away, that the Bismarck’s death was to be left for the Navy guns. He said he understood this, as this was revenge for the Hood.

    I always thought this sounded kind of fishy. Would the RN really risk the lives of pilots like that?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,546
    Likes Received:
    1,065
    Location:
    Michigan
    Well making a strike when you are crossing the path of artillery is not exactly a great idea. The warning, if it was intended as that, may have been "this is a free fire zone with lots of shells flying around advise you stay clear". Doesn't mean that the gun club didn't want the kill though.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,146
    Likes Received:
    1,393
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    I would think that shell splashes would be discernable to the pilots, and radio would be a much easier and safer way to convey the message. As such, I am inclined to believe that it was a case of friendly fire, and the rest is just putting the best face on it since no damage or injury was incurred.
     
  6. Fas

    Fas New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2018
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    1
    Men need to rest in an adult way,

    Therefore it is better to spend the night with the escort girls in Cracow.
     
  7. Half Track

    Half Track Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    EAB10734-4AE1-4C5D-86FE-13E5E8C44C02.jpeg
     
  8. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,089
    Likes Received:
    544
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    I have some long-standing questions about maritime gunnery. I understand typical battleships in WW2 had optical rangefinders, later range radar , shot "ladders trying to get a straddle, had observers in the crow's nest and lower as well as aircraft that could call shots and mechanical calculators. With ships moving at varying speeds, varying courses, some rolling from the horizon in rougher weather. and time in flight at considerable ranges it seems difficult to obtain hits.

    Was Bismark able to maintain a consistent line after her propeller hit? Did she have the means to compensate? Is a straight line for a given distant necessary to give accurate fire. Is she was in an arc would they have had to "time" their shots? Even battleships do roll some, as well as yaw, are shots timed to compensate? Were the mechanical computers used to allow for time of flight, how was mid trajectory windage calculated or was it ?. Was velocity adjusted by powder bags? Did not Bismark used brass shells, were they caps so bags could be added?

    My trying to understand accuracy is limited to handloading 22-250 cartridges with different powders and different projectile weights, shapes. off a bench rest out to 300 yards at a stable target taking my time and not being shot upon! Did use wind flags and a 12X scope but the variables of moving ship hitting a moving ship at 15,000-20,0000 yards are incomprehensible to me. I am sure a little luck was also involved !! The number of projectiles fired by the British and the number of hits received by the Germans even at very close range indicates the difficulty,...,.yes, smoke was a problem. I am impressed the Bismark was able to get a straddle on Rodney..

    To compensate for my verbosity is there a website that could explain how one ship plots to hit another? Sorry, but I cannot read normal book print size. Why monitors are so helpful and I just got a new 27"one. Takao probably has all this memorized !! LOL

    Any insights appreciated.

    Gaines
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    9,201
    Likes Received:
    1,297
    The guns were expected to stay on target while the ship avoided enemy salvos. They couldn't always do this, but they were supposed to try, including being ready when a window opened for a salvo. The USN BBs used analog computers, no microchips, just gears and electric motors, to calculate the deflection, elevation, etc. for the guns. We used the ship's band to run those computers, available manpower that was used to taking detailed orders (conductor and sheet music). Then you had to figure where the target would be when the shells landed, with pitch and roll of your ship considered as well as the current wind.

    BTW, it's myth that big shells stopped at the top of their trajectory, they just didn't go any higher. They were still traveling at quite a clip relative to the end of the gun muzzle.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,146
    Likes Received:
    1,393
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Here you go Gaines...Get a pot of tea or coffee going first.
    Reading material first:
    International Naval Research Organization Articles - Evolution of Battleship Gunnery in the U.S. Navy - NavWeaps
    FIRE CONTROL FUNDAMENTALS

    Some videos on the basics:
    Fire Control Analog Computer Videos 1953

    It is very difficult to get its at distance...That is why you see very low hit percentages at longer ranges. You can try and compensate, however you can only make an educated guess as to where you maneuvering target will be in 45 seconds to a minute or so.

    It was the rudder that was hit, damage to the props and shafts was not significant. Still, the Bismarck was unable to steer a straight course.

    Too an extent...By varying the revolutions on her port and starboard shafts, she could maintain a general heading, but wind and waves were still acting on her to push her of course.

    It helps...But, it also makes the enemy's fire control problem-solving easier too.

    They could, but, IIRC, her swing was not consistant, so doing so would be much harder.

    Yes, sometimes ships would time their firing with the roll of the ship to extend their gun range.

    The mechanical computers took into account something like 30+ variables...Windage was one, but as to mid-trajectory windage, I doubt it - simply because, given the technology of the time, they would have no way to accurately record such(given distance and altitude of the shell).

    For the USN, velocity was adjusted by powder type, of which there were two for the 16-inch/50s.

    The Germans used brass for their main charge, because they used a falling-block system to seal the breech, as opposed to the rest of the world that used the interrupted screw system to seal the breech. The falling block was not gas-tight, and required the use of a brass case to complete the seal. The interrupted screw was gas-tight and did not need brass.

    A secondary silk-bagged charge would be placed placed in front of the brass one.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,146
    Likes Received:
    1,393
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Continuing...

    Your going to need the entire extended family for this experiment...

    Get gun, ammo, rocking chair, sleep-mask, and walkie talkie...go out into the back yard and start rocking. Meanwhile, a cousin with a pickup truck and a big target on the back can be driving around. Have the wife take a cellphone and binoculars up to the second or third floor of your house(she can estimate target course and speed), give one of those golf laser rangefinders to a youngin and he can give you accurate range. Another youngin can be in the kitchen running a computer program that will bring all this together, plus info on your .22 & ammunition type. He will tell you at what angle you should be facing and what elevation you should hold the gun to hit the target

    It gets even better when the cousin starts driving an erratic course.
     
    lwd, USMCPrice and gtblackwell like this.
  12. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,089
    Likes Received:
    544
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    Just wonderful, I have a deadline on a job and now I have a great reason to put it off. This has made my day!!!! Back after dinner to add to my comments !!!!!!!!!! Love the the extended family analogy!! OP and Takao Many genuine thanks !!

    Gaines

    PS, am back. Takao, I really appreciated those personal replies and look forward to the links. My work is stressful for a 78-year-old and learning about battleship or cruiser fire control will be a terrific way to balance that. It will take some time which is perfect. I grew up shooting dove, duck, and quail with a 20 ga. double but I was roughly stable and it was a shotgun! I look forward to reading about 14-16" rifles !
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,546
    Likes Received:
    1,065
    Location:
    Michigan
    Iowa and New Jersey engaging Nowaki is an interesting read in that regard.
     
  14. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,089
    Likes Received:
    544
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    The KBismarck.org forum is most interesting as it covers naval warfare nicely........ Found while looking at the Nowaki incident. Now have more to read!

    Gaines
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,546
    Likes Received:
    1,065
    Location:
    Michigan
    For some reason I haven't been able to log in there in years. Keep meaning to ask an admin what's up but not getting around to it.
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,146
    Likes Received:
    1,393
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    I like the Missouri vs. Island...

    IIRC, this is in Paul Stillwell's Missouri book.

    One day the Mighty Mo was conducting target practice against some island in the Pacific, and the objective was to hit the island right at the shoreline, so that the shell splash threw up both sand and water. Fire control does it's thing, the big guns rise up tracking the target, and BOOM, one gun lets loose a shell. Everyone is looking intently at the shoreline waiting to see the shell splash...Then way off in distance, well beyond the island, they all see the shell splash. Needless to say, there was much consternation aboard, that resulted in the gunnery officer having to write a 500 word essay on how to completely miss a stationary island.

    After a little bit of investigation, it was found that one of the switches had been improperly set, and this caused the range-to-target to remain a constant, rather than decreasing as normally should.
     
    Half Track likes this.
  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    9,201
    Likes Received:
    1,297
    And, of course, geometry is the important part.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,139
    Likes Received:
    309
    Baron von Mullenheim-Rechberg, Bismarck's senior surviving officer, says in his book Battleship Bismarck that she was swinging up to 40 degrees either side of her intended course. He was the 4th Gunnery Officer and was stationed in the after gunnery control position.

    The ship's course, speed, and roll were inputted to the fire control computer either manually or automatically (in US ships a gyroscope called a "stable element" measured the ship's deviation from a level plain, and I would expect the Germans to have something similar). In theory this would compensate for ship's motion, but in practice a straight course was easiest to deal with.

    Although the torpedo hit disabling Bismarck's steering is best known, her troubles also stemmed from Prince of Wales' shell hit forward. It went through the bow without exploding but eventually caused some 3000 tons of water to enter the ship (and fuel oil to leak out), so that she was considerably down by the bow; this shows up in the last German photograph of Bismarck, taken from Prinz Eugen shortly before they separated. This forced Bismarck to abandon her commerce raiding mission and head for France, but she was still manageable as long as she had steering control. When that was lost, the wind caused a weather-vane effect, blowing the stern downwind and forcing the ship to steam into the wind despite all efforts to steer with the propellors. Unfortunately the wind and seas were from the northwest, back towards her British pursuers. In normal trim, Bismarck would have been "forced" to move southeast, the direction she wanted to go anyway.
     
  19. Moscow

    Moscow Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    5
    1. Thank you for the laugh, a good way to start the day.
    2. Does a copy of this essay exist on-line?
     

Share This Page