Bismarck's fate.

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

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RF
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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by RF » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:23 pm

This question of Bismarck going full astern has been raised in other threads. The view quoted was that the rough seas forced the bow position with the jammed rudder to point north-west. Would therefore in going full astern the same effect happens here, in that the stern is forced to face north-west?
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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:04 am

That was indeed the Baron's opinion:
In backing she had a strong tendency, as do most ships, to turn her stern into the wind.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by paul.mercer » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:00 pm

Gentlemen,
I beleive that blowing off the rudders was discussed as was using a heavy door as a side rudder, if the sea had been calmer were these viable options?

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by delcyros » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:01 pm

If one of the rudders was working, steering astern by the Hessen system where two screws going astern and one screw ahead in order to neutralize the rudder effect may be a viable option. Not sure about the weather involved and resulting speed would be very low.

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by tommy303 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:26 am

Blowing off the rudders, even if accomplished without further damage to the ship, would probably have not made much difference at all. Bismarck had remarkably little deadwood which would have helped stabilize her course (no fixed rudder fairings and comparatively little in the way of fairings around the propeller shafts that might have acted like vertical stabilizers. If one reads the narrative of torpedo damage to the rudder of USS Intrepid, one sees something similar. With a jammed rudder, the crew was able to rig jury sails to help overcome the rudder action and were able to navigate to Pearl Harbour. Once the rudder and its fairing were removed at Pearl Harbour and the ship departed for the West Coast, it was found that she became completely unmanageable and could not be steered or held on any kind of course by means of propellers alone.
The decision was made by technical personnel at Pearl to remove the damaged rudder and send the vessel to a West Coast yard for permanent repairs. The vessel sortied from Pearl in this condition and was found to be completely unmanageable. Vessels of the CV-9 class have an unusually small tactical diameter. To accomplish this the hull was designed with practically no dead wood. The designed rudder acts as a fin to provide directional stability for the hull. With the rudder completely removed it was found the hull had no directional stability, whatsoever. It could be compared to an arrow without a feather or an airplane without a vertical stabilizer. The heading of the ship had no direct relation to the direction of motion of the hull. It was found that it was impossible to steady the ship on my course. At times the ship would swing uncontrollably through 360°.
http://www.researcheratlarge.com/Ships/ ... ering.html

It is probable that Bismarck might have found herself in a similar situation. Without a fleet to protect her while damage was addressed and with the weather being so unfavorable for working over the side, there was little her crew could do in practical terms to get her back on a course towards safety. Had it been possible to attach the main hanger door to the side aft where it might have acted as a stabilizer, they might have had some hope, but conditions and circumstances prohibited such an engineering feat.

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by frontkampfer » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:35 am

Tommy,

Do you think if Bismarck had four screws instead of three they would have had a better chance of steering with engine combinations? I've often wondered if that might have made a difference!
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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by tommy303 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:21 pm

Without her rudders or some stabilizing means, no, four screws would not have helped, as shown by the example of the four-screwed USS Intrepid. In overcoming a jammed rudder, perhaps if some other means were also at hand (such as the jury rigged sail used by Intrepid's crew) to help keep her on a favorable course. On the other hand,Bismarck's twin rudders were jammed over at a more extreme angle than had been Intrepid's, so it might have made little difference.

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by RF » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:25 pm

Would using one of the bow anchors have helped to stabilise the course?

Back in the 1970's the engineering officer survivor Gerhard Junack did make a comment that he was surprised that the senior command on Bismarck hadn't tried to do this.
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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by tommy303 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:26 pm

dragging an anchor from the stern might have been a reasonable means, although I do not know how well that would have worked. It might have been a akin to deploying a drogue or sea anchor and might have helped steady the ship.

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by RF » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:03 am

I think the suggestion was using an anchor at the bow in conjunction with alternating the speed of the propellers, the anchor being used to stabilise to the desired course overriding the angle of rudder.
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Re: Could seamanship have saved Bismarck

Post by raymaciain@yahoo.com » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:25 pm

Thorsten Wahl's post points out the best approach. Increase the drag on one side of the ship.
How to do this?
The answer is to lower the anchors on one side and then winch the cables back down approximately one third of the length of the hull where they could be passed around a strong support like one of the secondary gun turrets.
The lateral drag on the hull could be varied by raising or lowering the anchors.
The anchors on the other side of the hull might have been pulled over to increase the drag effect.
The ship could then be powered by the opposite side propeller and the central propeller to provide about 20 knots.

The Bismarck was designed so that the propeller shafts converged at the stern.
The thrust from the propellers was thus concentrated directly past the twin rudders, with the rudders located between the propeller thrust streams.
This greatly increased the effectiveness of the rudders to produce a small turning circle.
This was why Bismarck could not be steered by the propellers during her Baltic sea trials, even without rudder damage.

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by wadinga » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:38 am

Hello All,

Same idea (2012, 2014), same originator, same response

Is there is no end to the bizarre ingenuity Bismarck's admirers will envisage to imagine how the "Death Star" could be saved from her/his/its inevitable fate? Why can't they just accept that there was nothing to be done beyond what her crew tried? On another thread it has been suggested she/he/it could have raced around in high speed circles, being such a difficult target that the exasperated Tommies would have fired off all their ammunition, allowing unarmed tugs to tow her home without interference from the RN.

This dangling anchor suggestion might work fine in the bath, but the following details of the REAL WORLD from the excellent information on this very site shows what a waste of time such speculation by those with far less sea-time than those who tried and tried and tried and finally gave up, really is.



Anchor weight (including the shackle ring): 9,500 kg.
Weight of 25 meter chain length: 2,806 kg.
Chain thickness (diameter): 72 mm.
Permitted load strain on the chains: 99,751 kg


So who is going to haul two times 12,306 kg back to midships and up over a turret just to try this daft idea out? On a rolling ship in a North Atlantic seaway? :lol:

(Yes alright they are lighter underwater, but let's stay in the real world.)

The thrust of the props over the jammed rudder would far outweigh any other balancing force that could be applied. Only external assistance via a tow in the calmest weather could stand the slightest possible chance of success, and I don't think Admiral Tovey would stand for that.

Nothing short of blasting away the rudder area completely offered any hope at all, and that might destroy the props as well or possibly sink the ship instead and save Tovey the trouble.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by alecsandros » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:59 am

@Sean

IMHO, it's all about sea control.
Bismarck was not hopelessly lost on May 26th, just as HMS Illustrious wasn't lost on Jan 10th 1941.

If Bismarck were a British ship exercising sea control , she would have good chances of survival.

In the way that she was historically - a lonely ship in a lonely ocean - she did not have chances of survival, and even without the faithfull torpeod hit on the evening of 26th, repeated follow up strikes would have been exercised on May 27th. Distance between Ark Royal and Bismarck was 120km, and Bismarck would have been substantialy slowed down with or without a rudder hit (presuming 3 torp hits + 2 underwater or waterline hits)

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:34 pm

alecsandros wrote:@Sean

IMHO, it's all about sea control.
Bismarck was not hopelessly lost on May 26th, just as HMS Illustrious wasn't lost on Jan 10th 1941.

If Bismarck were a British ship exercising sea control , she would have good chances of survival.

In the way that she was historically - a lonely ship in a lonely ocean - she did not have chances of survival, and even without the faithfull torpeod hit on the evening of 26th, repeated follow up strikes would have been exercised on May 27th. Distance between Ark Royal and Bismarck was 120km, and Bismarck would have been substantialy slowed down with or without a rudder hit (presuming 3 torp hits + 2 underwater or waterline hits)
Gentlemen,
I agree with Alecsandros, once her speed was reduced there really was no hope, even poor old Rodney could catch her, let alone all the other ships that the RN was bringing up. She fought well to the last against impossible odds and went down with her flag flying.

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Re: Bismarck's fate.

Post by RF » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:05 am

wadinga wrote: Is there is no end to the bizarre ingenuity Bismarck's admirers will envisage to imagine how the "Death Star" could be saved from her/his/its inevitable fate? Why can't they just accept that there was nothing to be done beyond what her crew tried?
I don't necessarily think its fate was inevitable, whatever that inevitability was.

Every ships captain has a duty to safeguard his command. That is his responsibility, that is why he is there. Similary those senior officers above him also have responsibility for safeguarding the ship within the context of prosecuting a war. Nazi Germany went beyond these simple issues in the way the regime conducted itself generally and in the way its Fuhrer conducted his war.

In these circumstances I think that the question of whether everything that could have been done was actually considered or attempted is a reasonable one. However the motivation for saying that is not engendered from any blind adulation of the Bismarck or any of its senior officers. It is simply a straightforward question of fact.
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