How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

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

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RF
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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by RF » Mon May 19, 2008 8:23 am

An interesting article on Eastwind.

I notice that the top speed given was 13.4 knots with notation for 1967 - presumably they were a bit faster in WW2, as that speed would not be any good for chasing anything?

With regard to the German weather stations, given their importance I am surprised that they were not a more substantial and heavily armed force, but I suppose the Germans would not have the logistics for a bigger operation.
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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by lwd » Mon May 19, 2008 10:55 am

They didn't have any trouble catching the freighter they captured. :)
Dad said that they had a fair amount of what he considered heavy ordinance but hadn't set it up yet it the camp they captured. Probably mortars, heavy machine guns, and perhaps light artillery. However he also said that they weren't real interested in fighting. The Captain of his ship sounded like quite an interesting individual. I'll see if I can find a pointer to his bio. Here's a reference (or 2) with more info on the Greenland patrol. I haven't read this one closely so won't vouch for all the details.
http://books.google.com/books?id=T5A9LC ... n#PPA99,M1
Here's a time line for Greenland related info. More activity in the area than one might think.
http://worldatwar.net/nations/greenland/timeline.html

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by RF » Mon May 19, 2008 12:46 pm

Interesting article on Greenland. As an apendage and update Greenland is now independent and is the only territory to successfully leave the European Union - something I hope Britain will achieve in the near future.

Two observations - firstly the Modoc was not actually fired on by the British ships chasing Bismarck, the POW did train its 14 inch guns on her but mercifally didn't let off a salvo. I find it rather difficult to see how a US Coastguard cutter could be mistaken for Bismarck!
Secondly the German ship seized by Eastwind was not the only German surface ship captured by the US Navy in WW2 - a blockade runner was seized in the Atlantic a few weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack, which because it was disguised as a US ship was seized under US law which stated that such vessels falsely representing themselves to be US ships were forfeit as property of the US Government.
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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by lwd » Mon May 19, 2008 1:23 pm

I hope others don't mind that we're wondering off topic although you did bring Bismark back into it.
RF wrote:Interesting article on Greenland. ...
Two observations - firstly the Modoc was not actually fired on by the British ships chasing Bismarck, the POW did train its 14 inch guns on her but mercifally didn't let off a salvo. I find it rather difficult to see how a US Coastguard cutter could be mistaken for Bismarck!
I ran into a very good article on the Greenland Patrol some time ago and was looking for it when I ran across that one. A quick skim raised some questions but I thought it worth posting anyway. Mistakng Modoc for Bismark would require a considerable ... I can't think of the right word it so .... I guess it could happen on radar but ..
Secondly the German ship seized by Eastwind was not the only German surface ship captured by the US Navy in WW2 - a blockade runner was seized in the Atlantic a few weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack, which because it was disguised as a US ship was seized under US law which stated that such vessels falsely representing themselves to be US ships were forfeit as property of the US Government.
I would guess the US position on this is that we weren't in the war when the above seizure was made. The arguement could be made that it was indeed a seizure in the civil sence where as the frieghter the Eastwind captured was a military event. Note that the Coast Guard used to normally be part of the Department of Transportation and thus not a military surevice but during WWII was moved under the Department of the Navy.

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by dunmunro » Mon May 19, 2008 6:58 pm

The fact that Modoc could be mistaken for Bismarck/PE gives you an idea of the weather and poor visibility which was often present in the North Atlantic.

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by Bgile » Mon May 19, 2008 10:20 pm

dunmunro wrote:The fact that Modoc could be mistaken for Bismarck/PE gives you an idea of the weather and poor visibility which was often present in the North Atlantic.
I suppose it also helps explain why Norfolk would quit firing when a faulty radar range caused her first salvo to fall short, even though Bismarck was within range of her guns. It's possible her optical range finder wasn't usable under prevailing conditions.

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by RF » Tue May 20, 2008 8:07 am

lwd,

Acknowledging that I'm wandering off my own thread, the blockade runner was seized I believe by USS Savannah by armed force, occuring after one US destroyer had already been torpedoed by a U-boat, so I suppose that war, although not yet declared, had already broken out between the Germans and Americans. Apparently the German ship was seized under a law directed against piracy and its cargo of rubber auctioned off by the US Government?

Coming back to Modoc, its presence had been notified to Lutjens and Lindemann by B-Dienst, and was sighted by the Bismarck's lookouts. It is surprising that given the closer relationship between Britain and the US that Wake-Walker had not been informed.

Coming back to my original thread, I do remember the Modoc being mentioned when I originally read about the Swordfish attacks on Bismarck, but this was such a long time ago that I can't recall the context.
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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by lwd » Tue May 20, 2008 11:07 am

Your interpretation of the seizure is probably the most reasonable one. On the other hand especially if seized under piracy law the governments position is probably a law enforcement ie civil issue and not a military one and since the US wasn't in the war yet not part of the war. Reasonable and government don't always go hand in hand.

As for WW not being informed about Madoc the rational could be similar. It was a Coast Guard cutter and thus not a "military vessel".... Logic like that can lead to tragedy but again we're talking about governments here.

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by RF » Tue May 20, 2008 12:37 pm

I have checked this incident and the following link details the story:

<www.acepilots.com/ships/somers.html>

The seizure was of the Odenwald on 6 November 1941 by the US destroyers Somers and Omaha, and not the cruiser Savannah as I first thought.

As you say it was all political, saying to the Germans ''if you disguise your ships as American then they are ours.''
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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by Bgile » Tue May 20, 2008 3:12 pm

RF wrote:I have checked this incident and the following link details the story:

<www.acepilots.com/ships/somers.html>

The seizure was of the Odenwald on 6 November 1941 by the US destroyers Somers and Omaha, and not the cruiser Savannah as I first thought.

As you say it was all political, saying to the Germans ''if you disguise your ships as American then they are ours.''
The only Omaha I'm aware of was a light cruiser. Name ship of a class.

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by Tiornu » Tue May 20, 2008 9:13 pm

Yes, this was the light cruiser Omahahaha. This was one of the rare instances that people point out in hopes of arguing the class had a respectable war record.

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by Bgile » Tue May 20, 2008 9:53 pm

Tiornu wrote:Yes, this was the light cruiser Omahahaha. This was one of the rare instances that people point out in hopes of arguing the class had a respectable war record.
I don't know about "respectable", but I hate those ships. A real embarrassment to the USN as far as I'm concerned. It's hard to imagine them being a very useful employment of a crew, but I suppose the USN had lots of volunteers ...

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by lwd » Wed May 21, 2008 2:48 am

They and the Fuso's appear to be in almost a dead heat for Tiornu's favorites. :)

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by Tiornu » Wed May 21, 2008 3:29 am

The Lexington-class battlecruisers were part of the same initiative as the Omahas but were an even worse design.

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Re: How did you come to be interested in Bismarck?

Post by Bgile » Wed May 21, 2008 4:12 am

I was wondering today whether the Omahas could have been modified into a CLAA ship. Remove everything above the main deck and put in modern FC, bridge, etc and 5"/38 twins. I wonder if that would have been worthwhile. Maybe it was considered and decided they weren't worth it.

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