Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

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

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:38 am

Hello everybody,

I mean those tracks charts !

So everybody having doubts about the correct timing, or still with the intention to enlarge the events timing for any reason I have difficulties to understand, will find the demonstration that it cannot be done.

The timing is a known parameter well proven by written evidences and maps signed by the Officers that were there, including Capt. Leach himself as you have read above.
PoW_maps_comparison_01.jpg
PoW_maps_comparison_01.jpg (128.79 KiB) Viewed 996 times
I hope that with this brief summary from my side, everything will be clear also for the last of you that had some difficulties to read, analyze and mostly accept the official available evidences.

Now you have all the correct references, explanations and event timing with associated maps.

I am sure you have noticed that I have used all Official evidences from Royal Navy, Admiralty and PoW Official documents.
So, in case you are still in disagreement, please attach to your theory at least similar evidences in support.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:45 pm

..... The Rowell map makes best sense from a time versus motion perspective. If the avoidance turn to starboard was minor in nature and performed under easy helm (15deg rudder), then the time progression of the following turn to port (change of heading versus elapsed time) fits. The only comment to be offered is that, on the basis of the governing clock time assumed in these original reports, the rudder was perhaps put over for the port turn closer to 6:00:30 than to 6:01:00. I do not think it is possible to verify that theory based upon the available data; these reports were written as an account of a battle, not as an analysis of the turn characteristics of PoW. As such, the cited times, while sufficiently accurate for the intended purpose, were quite probably not absolutely precise. I have seen the same phenomenon in recorded salvo times of WW1 ship gunnery logs.

I know you must feel beset all around by wolves (critics) sometimes. Speaking for myself, your analysis of the physical features of the engagement continues to be impressive.

B

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:19 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Byron Angel,


you wrote :
I know you must feel beset all around by wolves (critics) sometimes. Speaking for myself, your analysis of the physical features of the engagement continues to be impressive.
While I like your analysis, ... I would like to thank you for your nice above words.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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RNfanDan
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RNfanDan » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:52 am

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,

The timing is a known parameter well proven by written evidences and maps signed by the Officers that were there, including Capt. Leach himself as you have read above.
I don't consider myself a "wolf", but I have seen so much SIGNED, WRITTEN evidence and statements from SPOKEN testimony during this marathon thread, it is impossible to understand the judgment process required to separate the truthful signed, written stuff from that of the false stuff which was signed, written, etc.

If the acid-test of truth is based on written, signed records, then what arbitrates the veracity of true vs. false?
Variances between what is and is not correct, seem to exist in abundance from ALL records. Some of the material presented here, by all sides involved, seems to be an attempt to "prove a negative", which cannot be done. Sometimes the exact truth can never be proven fully, one way or the other and I'm willing to leave it at that because, by now, there is far too much time that has passed and too little incontrovertible evidence left. 70/30 works most of the time, but 100/0 is simply unattainable.

Antonio has done some very hard work and thorough research, to be sure. Others have raised valid points, but no matter what, there seems no way to ever reach consensus, on any side, of this discussion.

I just wanted to thank you all for a VERY entertaining, if sometimes contentious, thread.

I'm out....!
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:39 am

RNfanDan wrote:



I don't consider myself a "wolf", but I have seen so much SIGNED, WRITTEN evidence and statements from SPOKEN testimony during this marathon thread, it is impossible to understand the judgment process required to separate the truthful signed, written stuff from that of the false stuff which was signed, written, etc.
... Thankfully, Antonio has already cross-checked the available hard evidence, coming from both German and British sources (maps, declarations, artillery performance, etc), with the famous photographs of the battle and with the damage suffered and ispected on the Prince of Wales.
He's done alot of very hard work, and I think he has the most complete timeline about this battle ever to be constructed.

Thus I am looking forward for his revised "Battle of Denmark Strait article" (currently hosted on HMS Hood.org) , as this is history at it's best.

I would also like to thank all of our colleagues here, and I hope no hard feelings remain, as this 111 pg thread gave us a better understanding of the things we are so passionate about...

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:07 pm

alecsandros wrote:
RF wrote: Perhaps the best way to proceed from here is for alecsandros or Alberto or Antonio to directly answer the arguments put forward for a scenario where POW is crippled or lost and Bismarck is loose in the open Atlantic without any shadowers. In other words if POW continues, what is your Plan B?
No, this has been debated much earlier in the thread.
You mean dismissed without any quantification
In short, for my part at least, I do not expect the Bismarck to escape without further damage sufferd. And given the range (13km), and perforating power of 14"/L45 at that range, every portion of Bismarck from the waterline upwards was completely vulnerable .
No deviation from the tunnel argument, this exemplifies what I mean.

So what happens if and when the continuing battle does not conform to your expectation? The actual final battle on 27 May shows that a considerable amount of time has to elapse before that vulnerability was exploited, against a near stationery target by a KGV not even under serious fire. You assign a hitting power to POW that wasn't much in evidence for the short time of the actual DS action, certainly compared with Bismarck's shooting.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:31 pm

RF wrote:

No deviation from the tunnel argument, this exemplifies what I mean.

So what happens if and when the continuing battle does not conform to your expectation? The actual final battle on 27 May shows that a considerable amount of time has to elapse before that vulnerability was exploited, against a near stationery target by a KGV not even under serious fire. You assign a hitting power to POW that wasn't much in evidence for the short time of the actual DS action, certainly compared with Bismarck's shooting.
No, RF,

At 6:00, Prince of WAles had 9 operational guns, and Bismarck's volume above the waterline was completely vulnerable to hits.
Prince of Wales already managed 3 hits in 6 minutes, at far larger ranges than the ones in existence at 6:00.
Moreover, at about the same time Prince of Wales turned under smoke, Bismarck also turned to avoid "torpedoes". That caused both Bismarck and PRinz Eugen to lose their FC solutions, as the rate of approach had suddenly changed.

With the Prince of Wales mantaining a steady course (and not turning away), she would have the nice opportunity of striking the Bismarck without suffering return damage , or only suffering marginal damage, if any (Bismarck did not hit the Prince of Wales while she was avoiding the "torpedoes")

Your comparison with KGV's performance on May 27th is not valid, as the sea state was very bad for KGV (and very good for PRince of Wales). Moreover, KGV probably scored hits at 15km, and certainly at 12km (repeated hits, inclujding the one that put out the Baron's secondary control tower), so actualy at the ranges involved at 6:00 in the Denmark Strait, the 14"/L45 gun could easily score damaging hits on the Bismarck.

===

In a realistic engagement, I would expect Prince of Wales to hit Bismarck 5-6 times in 3 minutes, at 13-15km range, causing further speed degradation, down to possibly 20-22kts for the moment. Bismarck's return fire (after clearing the "torpedoes") would cause more damage to the Prince of Wales, possibly damage to her machinery and weapon systems, and speed degradation.
However, Bismarck would be in no position to finish off the PoW, and she would try to break off.
That woudl not turn out good, as the 6 destroyers dettached by Holland for a northward sweep would arive at Hood's sinking at about 8:00AM, and would start a high speed chase, directed by the ever-present Suffolk and Norfolk (which would be mantaing contact on the slow moving Bismarck).
At about 14:00, low on fuel, the destroyers and the 2 heavy cruisers would engage the Germans, and possibly score 1 torpedo hit or 2.

Even if they would not succeed, they would have the Bismarck pined down under torpedo threat. KGV and Repulse+ Victorious would engage in the morning of the 25th of May (Bismarck could not escape due to her speed loss), and a devastating final battle would ensue, in which both German ships would be lost.

Heavy damage would be suffered by KGV and Repulse also.

===

As you can see, it would all depend on Prince of Wales further speed-reducing damage delivered to Bismarck. Why ?
Because all capital ship engagements that I know about, which were fought at medium-to-short range caused rapid speed loss.

Dunkerque and Kirishima are the first that come to mind, but there are plenty of examples coming from the Battle of Jutland.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Steve Crandell » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:57 pm

alecsandros wrote: Dunkerque and Kirishima are the first that come to mind, but there are plenty of examples coming from the Battle of Jutland.
If you are including Kirishima as one of your examples you should also include South Dakota, which was hit 26 times in the same engagement at the same range without suffering any speed loss. Are you assuming Bismarck is unlucky?

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:49 pm

Steve Crandell wrote: If you are including Kirishima as one of your examples you should also include South Dakota, which was hit 26 times in the same engagement at the same range without suffering any speed loss.
Kirishima fought the battle with wrong ammunition
Despite the fact that japanese forces identified 2 american ships as battleships at around 0050 Kirishima starts firing at around 0100 but mostly did not use armor piercing shells. K. obtained one hit with a 14" shell (according Buships WAR DAMAGE REPORT NO. 57.) Most other hits were considered as hits of cruiser caliber weapons/secondaries, wich were by no means adequate to endanger a modern battleship at the distance in question.

For comparision Washington expended 75 16" armor piercing shells between 0100 and 0107 and obtained approximately 20 hits with the main caliber and left Kirishima as burning and defenseless wreck.
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:28 pm

Gentlemen,
The argument over who was right or wrong could be continued for ever. I would think that to Court Martial an admiral and a senior captain with another admiral
who had been in command of the operation to sink the Bismarck standing in as a 'prisoners friend' (Tovey) in the middle of a war was politically unacceptable, particularly as the facts of the case were bound to leak out to the press and that both Churchill and Pound realised this and dropped the accusations.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:58 pm

@ Paul Mercer: I fully agree with you and I do think Churchill & Paound were right as there was a war to fight for Britain.

However, 72+ years later we have understood , thanks to Antonio's researches, what happened and how everyone acted from a military viewpoint.

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by wadinga » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:40 am

Hi All,
Despite premature attempts to put this thread to bed, I repeat the question I asked a week ago,

Hello Antonio,

During your Kew studies have you turned up any evidence, at all, that the Admiralty had any plans, at all, to Court Martial anybody about anything?

Does it all depend on something Tovey thought he remembered 20 years afterward?

All the best

To have a Court Martial, you have to assemble evidence. As late as the eve of the Second Enquiry there was not even an attempt at the "Plot" .

All the best

wadinga
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RF
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:38 am

alecsandros wrote: At 6:00, Prince of WAles had 9 operational guns, and Bismarck's volume above the waterline was completely vulnerable to hits.
Prince of Wales already managed 3 hits in 6 minutes, at far larger ranges than the ones in existence at 6:00.
None of this information was known to Leach and the executive officer at that time, they can only take decisions on what they know whether right or wrong. It has taken over sixty years to reach your hindsight position
Moreover, at about the same time Prince of Wales turned under smoke, Bismarck also turned to avoid "torpedoes". That caused both Bismarck and PRinz Eugen to lose their FC solutions, as the rate of approach had suddenly changed.

With the Prince of Wales mantaining a steady course (and not turning away), she would have the nice opportunity of striking the Bismarck without suffering return damage , or only suffering marginal damage, if any (Bismarck did not hit the Prince of Wales while she was avoiding the "torpedoes")
Again a hindsight position. Leach could not possibly know about Bismarck turning at a point immediately prior to that turn. Yes the opportunity would be there if an accurate firing solution is maintained and the 9 guns remain fully in action, we know that now and even then we cannot be certain how much advantage POW could gain.
In a realistic engagement, I would expect Prince of Wales to hit Bismarck 5-6 times in 3 minutes, at 13-15km range, causing further speed degradation, down to possibly 20-22kts for the moment. Bismarck's return fire (after clearing the "torpedoes") would cause more damage to the Prince of Wales, possibly damage to her machinery and weapon systems, and speed degradation.
However, Bismarck would be in no position to finish off the PoW, and she would try to break off.
That woudl not turn out good, as the 6 destroyers dettached by Holland for a northward sweep would arive at Hood's sinking at about 8:00AM, and would start a high speed chase, directed by the ever-present Suffolk and Norfolk (which would be mantaing contact on the slow moving Bismarck).
At about 14:00, low on fuel, the destroyers and the 2 heavy cruisers would engage the Germans, and possibly score 1 torpedo hit or 2.
Even if they would not succeed, they would have the Bismarck pined down under torpedo threat. KGV and Repulse+ Victorious would engage in the morning of the 25th of May (Bismarck could not escape due to her speed loss), and a devastating final battle would ensue, in which both German ships would be lost.
I think that this outcome is certainly possible but it does depend on POW shooting far better than my impression of the ships performance suggests and Bismarck failing to shoot well at all. My money would be on Bismarck rather than POW. With respect to speed impairment, yes that would be a problem for Bismarck if the ship continues to be shadowed. But if as I would expect Bismarck comes out the winner there is far less chance of succesful shadowing.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:46 am

RF wrote: At 6:00, Prince of WAles had 9 operational guns, and Bismarck's volume above the waterline was completely vulnerable to hits.
Prince of Wales already managed 3 hits in 6 minutes, at far larger ranges than the ones in existence at 6:00.
They knew 1 gun was out of action, so 9 operational. The ship fully functional....
I think that this outcome is certainly possible but it does depend on POW shooting far better than my impression of the ships performance suggests and Bismarck failing to shoot well at all. My money would be on Bismarck rather than POW. With respect to speed impairment, yes that would be a problem for Bismarck if the ship continues to be shadowed. But if as I would expect Bismarck comes out the winner there is far less chance of succesful shadowing.
Bismarck would probably hit more and with serious results. But Prince of Wales would also hit a few times, and given the range, I would expect further speed drop to the Bismarck. The tactical "winner" would probably be the Bismarck, but in the longer run, the destroyers, Norfolk, Suffolk, KGV, Repulse, Victorious, would corner her.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:47 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:..... I do think Churchill & Paound were right as there was a war to fight for Britain.

However, 72+ years later we have understood , thanks to Antonio's researches, what happened and how everyone acted from a military viewpoint.
Yes we may now know fully what happened..... however that does not necessarily give people the right to judge the officers involved for a dereliction of duty - unless of course they believe they are better. The problem with that is that those who judge were not the ones actually under fire or in a position to carry out the hindsight actions.

A world without mistakes does not guarantee a utopia.
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