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Bismarck

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

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  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think I read the same book by Baron von Mullenheim-Rechberg. According to him, the ship was sunk by the crew, not by the RN. The RN had used a huge number of ammunition and torpedoes, and yet the ship was not sinking. Due to German sub fear and low fuel the RN was deciding to leave the area, as Bismarck was practically destroyed, on the deck nothing was left in any working shape but shot to pieces. Well, this is one side of the story. But it seems the torpedos could not sink the Bismarck with the hull made of "special" thick steel?? I know there are several views of what happened and how the Bismarck sunk but I think the Baron said they sunk the ship themselves in the end. Also with the first Allied shots the fire command post was destroyed so the Bismarck was not capable to direct its shooting. Also one or two gun turrets were hit as well, as far as I remember.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It's called "Salvo Chasing.", steering where the enemy's last salvo landed - The idea being that the enemy would correct his fall of shot, and that by turning towards the last salvo, his next salvo should miss you. Of course, this worked best at extended ranges, when shells had long flight times.

    However, on the Bismarck, it was different. With the rudder damage, the Bismarck's course was constantly changing, forcing the Bismarck to maneuver with her engines alone(by varying propeller RPMs. Continuously changing course is called "constant helming," while this is good for throwing off a submarine torpedo shot, it does put a little crimp in gunfire accuracy.

    IIRC, to an extent - AA guns would be a different matter though.

    Sorry, but no. Bismarck achieved early straddles in the night destroyer attack, and later the next morning achieved early straddles on Rodney.

    The Bismarck opened fire at 0850, straddling Rodney with the second salvo. However, at 0902, the Bismarck's main battery director is hit and disabled, so fire control is shifted to the aft director. The aft control fired three or four salvoes before, at 0913, it too was put out of action. forcing the remaining guns to fire in local control.

    23 minutes into the action, and the Bismarck has lost all main battery fire control...This is the only reason for the Bismarck's poor gunnery that day.

    Two turrets were disabled at 0902, along with her main battery control. But the German's initially could only fire 4 guns of 8 anyway, while the Rodney could fire all 9, and the KGV 6 of 10.
     
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  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Sauce for the Goose...The Germans certainly did not blow up a perfectly good battleship. The Bismarck was sinking slowly, but there was a distinct chance, the British could have captured her, kept pumps going, and towed her to safety. Germany could not take that chance.

    As little as 4 and as many as 11. 4 hits would not sink the Bismarck, especially if they were not all on the same side.

    Given that the Bismarck's belt armor did not perform that well against British AP shells, I just don't think Bis was hit by that many torpedoes.

    The Germans could not wait the hours it would take Bis to sink, so the decided to hurry it up. The Germans made a butch of the job, so the Dorsetshire had to hurry up the Germans hurry up.

    Just downright silly...I'm not going to wait for you to kill me, so I'm gonna commit suicide...Logic fail.
     
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  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Liike said, so many different stories of how the Bismarck went down. After Hood it was practically a must to get Bismarck, and without Luthjens' long radio message they could have escaped the R'N.
     
  5. Brutal Truth

    Brutal Truth Member

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    Well, I didn't say that exhaustion was the only cause, but it was likely a contributing factor. In those 23 minutes the Bismarck didn't achieve a single hit, it seems a significantly worse performance compared to the Denmark Strait. Stereoscopic rangefinders were tiring for the operators, who had to use their binocular vision. Compounded to preexisting tiredness and stress from the dire situation it seems reasonable that performance was affected to a certain extent.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think that RN was also lucky that the U-boat back up did not get there in time. Bismarck would be lost anyway but what about the RN and the subs. 1-2 hrs more and I recall they would have been in the area to attack.
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Zigzagging made it harder for the enemy to hit but also detracted from one's own accuracy, so it was often used by the smaller or weaker ship.

    Since you mention Jutland, there was an interesting incident with the German battle cruiser von der Tann. Her gunnery early on was quite accurate, blowing up HMS Indefatigable in the first few minutes, so I would guess she was steering a steady course. Later two of her four turrets were knocked out, and the other two were disabled by mechanical problems for a time. Her captain wanted to stay in line rather than let the British concentrate on the other German ships, so he started zigzagging until some of his own guns were back in action.

    Bismarck - own ship's course and speed were input to the fire control computer, but that was an analog mechanical/electrical device, high tech for the time but primitive by our standards, so there was always a bit of lag. As mentioned earlier, Bismarck was not deliberately zigzagging, just couldn't steer a straight course due to the rudder damage and the sea state.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Scuttling one's own ship is the clearest possible acknowledgement of defeat, comparable to striking the colors in sailing-ship days.

    Fun fact, in my Navy days, maybe still today, there was a signal in the code book for "Scuttle/destroy your own ship or unit indicated".
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Still there as of 2016 in NATO...TA48.
     
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