Bismarck firing procedures at DS

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:06 pm

"Bismarck's" firing continued to be accurate and salvos fell just short and just over "

That doesn't anything about number of salvos fired.

----

"PoW fired 9 salvos between 5:55 and 6:00, same battle geometry, why should have Bismarck fired so slowly ? "

It is irrelevant, that is another discussion (in that regard - take a look at how many salvos Hood fired between 5:55 and 6:00).

What is relevant is all British testimonies are of Hood hit on salvo 3 (which was a semi-salvo, just like salvo 1 and 2). What is to be discussed is how many shots were fired in salvos 4 , 5 and possibly 6. Those could have been full-salvos, fired with 4+4 guns each, in rapid succession. Maximum number of shots as they appear from British testimonies appears to be 36 (if salvo 6 was actualy unleashed on Hood. If not, 28).

So the overall idea is: 5 salvos (or 6 salvos) to destroy Hood. First salvo - short, second long, third hit. 4th - over, 5th - hit with explosion and sinking. Composition: salvo 1 to 3 =4 guns, salvos 4 to 5 (or 6) = 4 to 8 guns.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:50 pm

Alecsandros wrote: ""Bismarck's" firing continued to be accurate and salvos fell just short and just over "
That doesn't anything about number of salvos fired."
Hi Alec,
sorry, but It does mean that after the first 3 salvos (landed let's say from 5:56 till 5:57), there were other salvos (more than one) just short and (more than one) just over (in order to give the impression to Rowell that Schneider was using a zig-zag ladder method: also not 8 guns broadsides for a "standard" ladder.... These salvos landed between 5:57 and 6:00), before the final one (landed at 6:00:10), thus at least 3 + 4 (minimum, I would say 6 due to time available) + the final one (+ possibly a last one fired at Hood already exploding)....... For sure not 5 or 6....... This is simply logical, because any "gap" between the first 3 ranging salvos and the final one would have made no sense at all for a ship fighting to death against 2 opponents.

No doubt Bismarck was firing 4 guns salvos as per Leach testimony.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

All that is only hypothetical thinking. It sounds like 'what Bismarck SHOULD have done to confront 2 enemy capital ships".
It is NOT based on any material proof.

I considered the matter for some time, and so far haven't seen ANY proof of Bismarck rapid fire versus HMS Hood.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:11 pm

Hi Alec,
correct, but I have not seen any proof of a deliberate "slow" firing either. The "average" (not really "rapid", I agree) Bismarck RoF perfectly matches Baron and Lutjens figures (the only evidences we have) and it match British testimony of both Leach and Rowell.....

As I see it, we are reasonably sure that fire was open at 5:55 by Bismarck, that Hood was hit at the third semi-salvo at 5:57 (the time for the third salvo to land), that Hood was finished at 6:00 and few seconds (by a 4 gun salvo). We have therefore almost 3 minutes in which a Bismarck firing only 1 or 2 semi-salvos (to get to 5 or 6) would have been noticed by the British witnesses and by PG as well.

Rowell explicitly says that ""Bismarck's" firing continued to be accurate" and mentions a kind of zig-zag ladder method, so several (semi-)salvos. I don't see why Schneider should have fired in a different way in that geometry. McMullen was doing the same at the same time. The real doubt is about Hood possibly poor RoF and gunnery..... :think:


Bye; Alberto
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:09 pm

As I said,
first 3 "salvos" were semi-salvos, not full salvos. Hood was first hit on "salvo" 3, so after 12 shots were fired, in the timeframe of about 2 minutes (120 seconds).
The rate of fire was completely different in the battle with Hood and in the battle with Prince of Wales (in the Prinz Eugen movie we see at least 20 shots fired in 55 seconds, or 2.7 shots per minute per gun, as compared to the Baron's "40 shots in 5 or 6 minutes", or 1 shot per minute per gun at best).

I think it is the only logical way of facts*. Hood was approaching at 1.1 - 1.2km/minute, at an accute (oblique) angle. Bismarck was probably doing course alterations herself to confuse PRince of Wales gunnery, and required more time to adjust artillery to continously bear on the target (Hood).
Range was continously decreasing, BUT could not decrease to zero. At some point, Hood was expected to turn, either to assume a paralel course , OR to increase range a little bit. So, while expecting a fast enemy to change course, it was illogical to open rapid fire, as the ammo consumed had a good chance of simply landing in water, in a diffrent position than that in which Hood would have been in reality. Schneider was carefully waiting for Hood to turn. Then and only then would it have been logical to open rapid fire, as the whole 260meters length of Hood would have been targetable, instead of the narrow 32meters beam available for targeting given the historical battle geometry.
I think Schneider did that as Hood started her final turn - and this is why I think it is conceivable that Bismarck fired the 6th salvo (practically useless) against Hood.

---

the only document mentioning rapid fire being opened early is the Baron's book. He says in one place Schneider ordered rapid fire immediately after "salvo" 3. In another place, he says Schneider observed the enemy was burning, and immediately ordered rapid fire. Those events were not simultaneos. And regardless, either time position given by the Baron for rapid fire doesn't hold water, as rapid fire implied continous firing without waiting for fall of shot (it is what we see during the Prinz Eugen movie). That would imply about 2.4-2.5 salvos/minute fired by Bismarck at such range, starting at 5:56 or 5:57 (depending on which moment in time from the Baron's book we refer to - Hood was burning at aroudn 5:56, while Bismarck straddled probably in the 5:57 minute or so). That would necessarily bring salvo 4 , 5 and 6 fired in a total time of maybe 90 seconds (1,5 minutes), bringing Hood's demise no later then 5:58 or 5:59.

No, I do not think the Baron's time moments are correct. They are contradicting each other, and neither of them is supported by the capabilities of Bismarck's artillery. My impression is that he mis-remembered... :?


---
* It does remain unclear how and why would Bismarck afford to risk being crippled in battle, by not effectively engaging the enemy with her maximum possible output. Those initial 3 minutes of silence have never been fully explained... Later on, it is possible that the 3 straddles obtained by Prince of Wales had some impact on Bismarck's gunnery (the columns of water errupting around the ship, water deluging over the decks, could have momentarily blocked the view of the gunnery officers and possibly bring small pauses in firings. Also, the existence of the repeated straddles may have forced the battleship onto a sinusoidal course, that would impose a different - slower - firing methodology, for reasons tied to gunnery allignement over the target).

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:54 pm

HI Alec,
I do see your points and agree on the fact that the Baron book is not always very precise in the minor details. However he is very reliable in all the key aspects and still today his account is far better than the other books in my hands.....

In the absence of any solid proof, I don't see why we should doubt of the figure of 40 shots, reported when the action memory was still fresh, or of the account of Rowell and of the other witnesses, who confirmed Bismarck was continuously firing without any appreciable rate differences during the different battle phases. :think:

More, if Bismarck was not firing in rapid mode during the battle with Hood, when she straddled almost immediately, despite the range changing quickly, I honestly don't see any reason why she should have fired rapid after 6:02:30 when she was never getting a correct range anymore, PoW was running away under smoke opening range in a much quicker way and Bismarck was hardly maneuvering herself (the small sinusoidal avoidance maneuvers are just an hypothesis).....
The film is the problem and my personal opinion is that it is a propaganda cut and paste, with times and speed of the camera artificially accelerated to make it more interesting and motivating for the German public. I would not measure the RoF of Bismarck based on a manual assembly film..... For sure it make no sense for Bismarck to fire rapid at that time (after 6:03).

IMHO, Bismarck always fired at the same pace during the battle (possibly slowing down a bit at the end due to her own turns): 1 shell per minute per gun, almost the same identical RoF as PoW that fired very regularly as well, as it was logical for both ships......


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:49 am

@Alberto
Words can be misleading. For example "Bismarck straddled Hood immediately". What that does mean ?
It means Bismarck straddled Hood from the beginning of the battle, but remember the straddle probably occured at around 5:57 , so 2 minutes after Bismarck opened fire. Remember also that the German BB was firing 4-gun salvos at that time segment, with the 3rd 4-gun salvo causing a straddle with hit.

So 2 minutes to fire 12 shots. What to say of that rate of fire ?

--
The Baron: he says Schneider ordered rapid fire immediately after salvo 3, and immediately after seeing HOod on fire. But Hood was on fire already at 5:56, and salvo 3 landed at around 5:57. If rapid fire was ordered at either of those 2 moments, Bismarck would consume ~ 20 shots/minute, so 50-60 shots until 6:00.

The film may be somewhat accelerated (by some percentages), but the key for it's continuity is the smoke. If you watch the smoke clouds you will see that they are watchable/observable in a continous film length throughout the movie. If they were cut and paste, the puffs of smoke wouldn't have been continous. I am no expert, but from the documents I read, wind during battle for Denmark Strait was blowing at 10m/s (36km/h). The evolution of smoke on the film appears consistent with a light wind blowing the smoke away from the battleship. [the movement of water around the battleship can also be analysed, but it's more difficult]

The film doesn't show the battle from 6:03 onwards, but some salvos fired between 6:01:40 and 6:02:50 or so, before PRince of WAles made smoke to retreat.

Overall, I think the film is accurate , allthough some alteration may have been produced on transferring analog to digital footage (maybe an acceleration of up to 10%). So 2.7 rpmpg rate of fire versus Prince of WAles, at least that's what the film shows.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:52 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote: In the absence of any solid proof, I don't see why we should doubt of the figure of 40 shots, reported when the action memory was still fresh, or of the account of Rowell and of the other witnesses, who confirmed Bismarck was continuously firing without any appreciable rate differences during the different battle phases. :think:
What solid proof of what ?
A 4th artillery officer which did not take part in the gun battle, remembering something somebody else told him, after 3 days and nights of terror and surviving a horrible barrage of thousands of shells and torpedoes in a storm ? That's solid proof ?

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Steve Crandell » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:14 am

alecsandros wrote:
Alberto Virtuani wrote: In the absence of any solid proof, I don't see why we should doubt of the figure of 40 shots, reported when the action memory was still fresh, or of the account of Rowell and of the other witnesses, who confirmed Bismarck was continuously firing without any appreciable rate differences during the different battle phases. :think:
What solid proof of what ?
A 4th artillery officer which did not take part in the gun battle, remembering something somebody else told him, after 3 days and nights of terror and surviving a horrible barrage of thousands of shells and torpedoes in a storm ? That's solid proof ?
Why do you think he was not hearing all the salvo orders and correction orders through the gunnery circuit? He might easily have had someone writing them down, as well.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Steve Crandell » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:15 am

Steve Crandell wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
Alberto Virtuani wrote: In the absence of any solid proof, I don't see why we should doubt of the figure of 40 shots, reported when the action memory was still fresh, or of the account of Rowell and of the other witnesses, who confirmed Bismarck was continuously firing without any appreciable rate differences during the different battle phases. :think:
What solid proof of what ?
A 4th artillery officer which did not take part in the gun battle, remembering something somebody else told him, after 3 days and nights of terror and surviving a horrible barrage of thousands of shells and torpedoes in a storm ? That's solid proof ?
Why do you think he was not hearing all the salvo orders and correction orders through the gunnery circuit? He might easily have had someone writing them down, as well. Also, if it was like a USN wardroom they would have had an after action critique with all of the gunnery officers present.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:19 am

Steve Crandell wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
Alberto Virtuani wrote: In the absence of any solid proof, I don't see why we should doubt of the figure of 40 shots, reported when the action memory was still fresh, or of the account of Rowell and of the other witnesses, who confirmed Bismarck was continuously firing without any appreciable rate differences during the different battle phases. :think:
What solid proof of what ?
A 4th artillery officer which did not take part in the gun battle, remembering something somebody else told him, after 3 days and nights of terror and surviving a horrible barrage of thousands of shells and torpedoes in a storm ? That's solid proof ?
Why do you think he was not hearing all the salvo orders and correction orders through the gunnery circuit? He might easily have had someone writing them down, as well.
...He contradicted himself, so he did not have accurate knowledge of the battle.

That doesn't necessarily mean he was wrong with the 40 shots figure.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:37 am

Alecsandros wrote: "So 2 minutes to fire 12 shots. "
Hi Alec,
Bismarck opened fire at minute 5:55, we don't know whether it was at 5:55 or 5:55:50 seconds...... I would assume 5:55:30 and, adding the flight time, the landing of the 3rd salvo at 5:57 doesn't look a slow firing rate at all.

you wrote: "If rapid fire was ordered at either of those 2 moments, Bismarck would consume ~ 20 shots/minute,"
I think we already discussed. This is just the theoretical RoF, never achieved practically in battle by any ship. I agree with you however, rapid fire was possibly never ordered on board. Probably Schnieder fired semi-salvos spotting the fall of shells before firing the next one.

you wrote: "...the key for it's continuity is the smoke....."
I agree, but in manual assembly you can easily accelerate the film and even cut some single frame without noticeable effect and giving a false impression of continuity. The increase in velocity can be much more than 10%, not reversing the film in digital but directly accelerating the analog frames sequence (I had a 8mm camera when I was a boy and I liked very much to change the velocity of the camera and/or of the projector...... :D )

you wrote: "The film doesn't show the battle from 6:03 onwards, but some salvos fired between 6:01:40 and 6:02:50 or so, before Prince of Wales made smoke to retreat."
Here I'm afraid I totally disagree. :negative:
Bismarck turrets are clearly trained aft in the film, therefore her turn to starboard to avoid "torpedoes" has already happened (at 6:03). PoW was retreating under smoke since 6:01:30 (see PoW gunnery report). The film sequence is showing a time interval after 6:03:30, when the range was opening very very quickly (the 2 ships were on almost 120° divergent courses.....).
Please, please, do you agree on this key point ?

you wrote: "What solid proof of what ?"
The Baron, like the other witnesses (please read carefully Rowell again) was there, part of the gunnery dept of Bismarck and even after many years his account is by far the best one, not perfect but good.
Nobody ever mentioned Bismarck to fire slowly at any stage of the battle. Perhaps the Baron(+Rowell) proof is not 100% solid, but it's the only one we have. What proof do you have that Bismarck fired only 2 semi-salvos only at Hood from 5:57 till 6:00, almost giving the impression to be "out of action" to anyone looking at her ?


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:25 am

you wrote: "If rapid fire was ordered at either of those 2 moments, Bismarck would consume ~ 20 shots/minute,"
I think we already discussed. This is just the theoretical RoF, never achieved practically in battle by any ship. I agree with you however, rapid fire was possibly never ordered on board. Probably Schnieder fired semi-salvos spotting the fall of shells before firing the next one.

I agree, but in manual assembly you can easily accelerate the film and even cut some single frame without noticeable effect and giving a false impression of continuity. The increase in velocity can be much more than 10%, not reversing the film in digital but directly accelerating the analog frames sequence (I had a 8mm camera when I was a boy and I liked very much to change the velocity of the camera and/or of the projector...... :D )
Can you provide examples of more acceleration ? How much ? The film appears to be continously shot.

Also, the 150mm battery fire sequence, and the rise and fall of enemy water columns around Bismarck appears normal, and even somewhat decelerated from real time.

Please, please, do you agree on this key point ?
Of course not.


The Baron, like the other witnesses (please read carefully Rowell again) was there, part of the gunnery dept of Bismarck and even after many years his account is by far the best one, not perfect but good.
What other eye-witnesses ? Why do you cite Rowell again when he doesn't quantify the number of shots ?
What proof do you have that Bismarck fired only 2 semi-salvos only at Hood from 5:57 till 6:00, almost giving the impression to be "out of action" to anyone looking at her ?
I did not say that.
I said that according to British reports (all of them that quantify the salvos), Bismarck is reported as having fired 5 or 6 salvos against Hood. They also reported Hood was straddled on salvo 3, which we know was a semi-salvo. So, according to British accounts, salvo 4 , 5 and possibly 6 could possibly be full salvos (as salvo 1 , 2 and 3 were semi-salvos). They were reporting fall of shot as they saw it, not German firing methodology with vollsalve and gabelgruppen, etc.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:03 am

Alecsandros wrote: "I said that according to British reports (all of them that quantify the salvos), Bismarck is reported as having fired 5 or 6 salvos against Hood. "
Hi Alec, yes but they don't specify if they were full or semi-salvos and I see some ambiguity in the usage of the term "salvo" in English.
Can you post the reference to your source ?
IMHO Rowell testimony is 100% clear (I cite him because he is the only one that describes the salvos of Bismarck). He speaks about salvos using zig-zag ladder method , after the 3 initial salvos (even if not specifying the exact number of salvos).
Leach is 100% clear as well with a 4 gun salvo being the fatal one. I have posted their testimony. Where is it said something different ?

you wrote: "Of course not. "
sorry but before we continue this interesting discussion, I would kindly ask you to please support your above statement, as this is a key point in the whole reconstruction of the battle, much more than the number of salvos fired to sink Hood.
I have substantiated the fact that the film is turned after 6:03, as Bismarck turrets are trained aft when the ship was sailing on 270° course, after the "torpedo" alarm.

Why it was not in your own opinion ?

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:22 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote: and I see some ambiguity in the usage of the term "salvo" in English.
Exactly. It is ambigous.
What is not ambigous is that Schneider fired 3 semi-salvos, the 3rd of which was straddling Hood, and hit her in the tower.
The British reported it having been hit on "salvo 3", out of 5 or 6 salvos fired.
So it is clear Hood was hit from the 3rd semi-salvo, and 2 or perhaps 3 more "salvos" followed, that are not quantified (4 or 8 shots per salvo).

you wrote: "Of course not. "
sorry but before we continue this interesting discussion, I would kindly ask you to please support your above statement, as this is a key point in the whole reconstruction of the battle,
... If you watch the movie, you will see that Bismarck doesn't have the same course for the 1,5 minutes of battle that we see on film. Towards the end of the film, the Bismarck is indeed turning , and firing from her C+D turrets only, as A+B are probably not training on target anymore. But in the start of the film, Bismarck is on another course, and fires from A+B then C+D several times, so all turrets are trainable on target (Prince of Wales).

If the film that we see would be post-torpedo alarm, then Bismarck would be firing from C+D only during the film.

My opinion is that we see about 70 seconds of firing against Prince of Wales on roughly paralel courses, followed by some 20 seconds of separation phase (the time when torpedo alarm was started + time when PRince of Wales retreated under smoke).

This is further confirmed by the columns of water errupting near Bismarck. Those are 14" shells fired from PRince of Wales. As reported by the British, the 14" salvos fired after the smoke started were fired on local control, from the Y turret. They all fell short. The last salvos that are reported to have fallen more nearer to Bismarck were salvos 16, 17, and 18, all fired around 6:01 - 6:02.

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