Bismarck bow anchors

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

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tommy303
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Bismarck bow anchors

Post by tommy303 » Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:37 pm

Ulrich Rudofsky wrote:If you are building a model with yellow turrets, the bow anchors and chains should be gone too by that time; they were slipped on 25.5.41 to help raise the bow.
Ulrich,

If I understand correctly, the centre sheet anchor was landed prior to the mission, while the two regular bow anchors remained on board almost up to the end. A suggestion to jettison them to lighten the bow and help reduce forward trim was rejected by ship's command, and the presence of a length of anchor chain on the wreck, starboard side of forecastle deck disappearing into a shell hole, seems to indicate that this was so.

thomas

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Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:51 pm

José M. Rico wrote:Thomas is correct, only the centre anchor was removed (before Rheinübung). The other two were present to the end.

Excerpt from Müllenheim-Rechberg's book:

"Marinebaurat Heinrich Schlüter suggested that we jettison the forward anchors and anchor chains. His idea was to lighten the forward section so as to adjust the forward trim that we had had since the flooding that began during the battle off Iceland. The ship's command rejected the suggestion, presumably because it foresaw that the anchors would be essential for mooring in St. Nazaire."
Page 30: Kr 15543 May 1941 [It looks like this British Admiralty copy is probably a 1942 revision of the draft].

Draft : „Atlantik-Unternehmung der Kampfgruppe Bismarck-Prinz Eugen“ OKM. It states:

"25.5. Zur besseren Trimmlage wird Öl von vorn nach achtern gepumpt, zur Erleichterung des Vorschiffs werden ausserdem beide Buganker geschlippt.
25 May. In order to improve the trim attitude, oil was pumped from forward aft, to ease the weight in the bow sections, both bow anchors were slipped [that means chains and all to me. UR]. .

Müllenheim-Rechberg: "The ship's command rejected the suggestion, presumably because it foresaw that the anchors would be essential for mooring in St. Nazaire." That is simply von Rechberg's opinion, not a factual statement. Easing the bow was of crucial importance after the second flooding.

It seems that it would have been a very poor decision to keep the anchors. At that point even beaching the Bismarck anywhere on the coast of France would have been better than nothing. Müllenheim-Rechberg had access only to documents the British would let him see and whatever he and his friends had. The Bundesarchiv was not in full operation then. He did not have full knowledge of the ship or what was going on. None of the survivors did or would be expected to. For example, it is said that he did not know about the various 10.5 cm armaments onboard.

I should have the entire 100+ pages of KR 15543 translated in a few weeks.
Ulrich

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Bow Anchors

Post by George Roumbos » Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:12 pm

Hello all,
I agree with Ulrich on this one.
I was at Friedrichruh for the 64th aniversary of Bismarck's sinking. After the lunch we had with the survivors, we had the opportunity to talk with them and one of them specifically told me that they got rid of the anchors and chains after the Denmark Strait battle in order to loose weight on the bow and help with the trimming of the ship. The piece of chain on Bismarck's fore deck could be just a small lenght of one of the chains.
Rgds, George
"Ich lasse mir doch mein Schiff nicht unter dem Arsch wegschiessen. Feuererlaubnis !"

George "tango-echo" Roumbos, Hellas

www.emioannina.gr

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Post by José M. Rico » Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:56 pm

Ulrich,

I wasn't aware of that report. I have checked this out and noticed that Müllenheim-Rechberg actually lists the document you mention in the bibliography used for his book, which is one of the best documented and researched of all. It is listed as:

Naval High Command (Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine), "Die Atlantikunternehmung der Kampfgruppe Bismarck-Prinz Eugen, Mai 1941," Berlin: Marine-Dienst-Vorschrift Nr. 601, October 1942.

However, he doesn't mention anything about the bow anchors being slipped. This is very curious to say the least.

José

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Post by tommy303 » Tue Jun 07, 2005 6:08 pm

It is curious, particularly since video of the wreck show one length of anchor chain running from the capstan and chain pipe into a long shell hole in the forecastle deck. This seems to indicate that at least one of the bow anchors was retained up to final battle at which point it was apparently lost when the chain was severed by a hit. Perhaps only one was slipped as a compromise?

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What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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Post by tommy303 » Tue Jun 07, 2005 6:14 pm

George R,

Ahhhhhhhhhh, so they did jettison them afterall. That is good to know. This is the wonderful thing about these discussion forums--all the minutae which tends to come into the light for all to see instead of remaining lost in the dark. Knowledge shared is knowledge that will not be lost with time.

thomas

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Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:00 pm

Lütjens knew that the St. Nazaire and Brest harbor anchorages had large mooring buoys and improved Flak protection. So a concern about needing anchors was minor compared to the leakage control.

I actually have been wondering about the word "geankert" [anchored or at anchor or moored] in translating the KTB's. Moored is generally "festgemacht" to buoy or dock, but the 1943 Blue Jacket's Manual e.g., observes that "mooring a ship" often does not specify how. I am beginning to think that when the Bismarck was on the Baltic shakedown reference to "geankert" may also mean moored or anchored to a permanently anchored buoy. The handbook for "Seemannschaft" 1943 mentions the phrase "an der Ankerboie geankert", i.e., anchored to the anchorage buoy. Dropping and weighing a 20,000 lbs. anchor and its chain every night and morning is a time-consuming, extremely dangerous and dirty job.

Does anybody know how many men and hours it took to raise and stow a battleship anchor?
Ulrich

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Post by tommy303 » Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:03 pm

Mooring generally means either tied up to a dock, secured fore and aft to a paired set of concrete anchor bouys, or anchored with both bow anchors or one bow anchor and one stern anchor set at wide angles apart to prevent the ship from swinging at anchor. The amount of swing is controlled by the taughtness of the anchor chains

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Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:07 pm

So, would you think that Bismarck dropped two anchors at night after shakedowns and weighed them in the morning? That would mean that the engines had to be at full power and tested prior to the maneuver. It would take me 15-30 minutes to weigh anchor and stow all gear on a 48 ft. sailboat! What about the time it would have taken Bismarck?

The USN manual says that mooring can be interpreted as hooking on to an anchorage buoy on a short cable to reduce swing.
Ulrich

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Post by tommy303 » Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:38 am

The Blue Jackets Manual, 1918 edition, page 312:

"A ship is moored when she has two anchors down at a considerable distance apart with such a scope of chain on each that she is held with her bow practically in one place between the anchors, regardless of the tide. When a ship is moored, she will swing practically about her own bow at a pivot; the extent of her swinging will depend on the tautness with which she is moored. Mooring is resorted to when there is a limited amount of room for a ship to swing."

How many anchors were dropped when Bismarck was in harbour, assuming she did not tie up to a mooring bouy, would depend largely on the amount of tide or stream if the harbour were at the mouth of a river. If there was room she could be left to swing freely at anchor and only one might be used. Whatever the method it could take 30 minutes to weigh anchor and get under way again. Probably long if moored with two anchors. One would have to play out cable on one anchor while winching in on the other until it was hove short and could be broken free of the bottom. As it was hoisted aboard, the cable would be hosed off and cleaned and tiered in the cable locker. Then one would have to do the same with the other anchor and cable. Mooring to a bouy in harbour tended to be a bit less of a chore and would be somewhat quicker.

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Bismarck Anchors

Post by mac.one » Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:11 pm

Hi
Was reading Destruction of Bismarck by Bercuson Holger and Herwig last night and this topic sprang to mind.
Chapter 5 page 163 1st para. Says only port anchor was slipped book gives the source as
"Bundesarchiv-Militararchiv (hereafter BA-MA), Frieberg R.M. 20/880 generalkommandos 25th May 1938"
Date on the above seems a little strange. Hope this helps in some way.
Cheers Julian.

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Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:42 pm

@mac.one

The date is wrong and "generalkommandos" actually is "Gkdos" = Geheime Kommandosache" = Secret. The date is obviously also wrong.

As to the anchor chain piece left on the wreck of the Bismarck: it should be remembered that there is a slip stopper chain on deck that is the same size as the anchor chain. I think it may have a sort of pelikan shackle and when that is popped open (perhaps by a mallet. Stand back!) because then the chain runs free. So possibly two such chains should be left on deck the wreck. This arrangement is quite similar to USN ships like the BB USS Massachusetts. From Seemanschaft, Gladisch & Schulze-Hinrichs, 1943 http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b138/ ... /anker.jpg
Ulrich

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Bismarck anchors

Post by mac.one » Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:09 am

Hi all
Just a follow up to my previous posting on this topic. Re Destruction of the Bismarck Bercuson Holger and Herwig, later on in the book (Chapter 8, The Kill, page 296 2nd para). basically says Bismarcks anchors broke away when she turned turtle.
The book contradicts itself. :?: :?: :?:
Regards Julian.

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Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:40 am

How could that event have been observed by anyone?
Ulrich

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Post by Pax Melmacia » Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:59 am

Where can I find a picture (a drawing will be fine) of the Bismarck's anchor(s)? The one on the Tamiya model doesn't look right, and is clearly different from the ones shown in Luis Gonzales's drawings.

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