Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

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RF
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:55 am

alecsandros wrote: [
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.
That would be contingent on effective shadowing. All it takes for Bismarck to ''disappear'' is to break contact and sit it out in mid-Atlantic (and not attempt to make it to France) for a few days while the pursuers also run low on fuel and have to return to port. Remember Bismarck has the option if contact is lost of re-fuelling in mid-Atlantic, as Prinz Eugen did in reality.

How slow would you expect Bismarck's speed to be reduced to? I would think that even a speed down to 15 knots would be sufficient for Bismarck to escape if contact is completely lost.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:00 am

RF wrote:
How slow would you expect Bismarck's speed to be reduced to? I would think that even a speed down to 15 knots would be sufficient for Bismarck to escape if contact is completely lost.
... Well, I would expect somewhere to 20kts. But at least some of the damage would start to be repaired, and probably by mid-day May 25th, the ship would get back to ~ 24-25kts.

But I doubt she would get that far, as Suffolk and Norfolk would have an easy time keeping contact, with Bismarck (and her consort PRinz Eugen) moving at 20kts. The destroyers would attempt an attack, and then in the morning of the 25th of May, KGV + Repulse would make their interception.

They successfully shadowed the 28kts Bismarck throughout the day of May 24th, so...

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:13 am

Hello everybody,
just to be 100% clear: I'm not so presumptuous to say that I would have been better than anybody on May 24. I personally just DO HOPE that I would have acted better as an officer.
In any case, we are just evaluating the military behaviour of these officers based on the RN disciplinary rules and traditions, not judging them from a personal viewpoint.

Bye, Alberto :D
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:25 pm

Hello everybody,

while I thank Dan and Alecsandros and everybody else for their nice words, I think from my side it is due to underline in few words what I have realized from all this time spent on all this documents.

@ Wadinga,

I did NOT research in KEW for the documents and communications about the potential inquiry and court martial request ( Churchill, Pound, Tovey ) for Capt J.C. Leach and RearAdm W.F. Wake-Walker. They could have been there or still secreted as I imagine, that is not important to me.

I assumed that what Adm Tovey told McMullen on Adm Blake home and what was written by several authors about the court martial request Pound discussed with him on May 1941 based on Churchill request was true and not invented.
What I wanted to demonstrate, and I did it, is that what Adm Tovey wrote into his dispatches on point 17 and 19 on July 1941 did NOT correspond to the reality and was incorrect.

Since I assume that on July 1941 Adm Tovey did NOT suffer 10 times more for that "dementia" you are using to justify his words to McMullen 20 years after, there must have been a reason why he changed completely the data and statements from the received documents on June 1941 and released his dispatches incorrectly on July 1941.

I assume, after all the documents analysis, that the reason Adm Tovey had in mind when he wrote his dispatches on July 1941 was the avoidance of an inquiry call ( with consequent Court Martial ) for the above 2 Officers and the base definition for the awards recognition, namely 2 medals, for their conduct into the hunting and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck that occurred on October 1941.

In detail :

As said, I went in Kew to find the truth about the material regarding the battle itself, the original maps and radio communication logs, the warship diaries and so on.
What I realized anyhow by analyzing those documents regarding this thread is at follows.

For 72 years, on the many books written about this battle, when it was the moment to analyze 2 key occurrences, namely the missing participation of the 2 British heavy cruisers HMS Norfolk and HMS Suffolk and the disengagement of HMS Prince of Wales, we have mainly and obviously read statements that were directly related to the Adm Tovey dispatches of July 5th, 1941 printed on the London Gazette on Thursday October 16th, 1947, referencing the points 17 and 19.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/L ... /38098.pdf

It is now clear in my mind that the way those 2 points have been declared and than taken by the book writers after, have developed a series of theories about what happened that are NOT supported by the evidences lately de-secreted ( 1972 ) and currently available into the Public Record Office in Kew- London.

Usually those theories based on Adm Tovey declarations explain that the 2 heavy cruisers had never been in position to engage because they were late on closing the distances and distant more than 15 sea miles ( so out of gunnery range ) at the moment the battle started, referencing point 17.
Similarly, the book authors explain that PoW retreated after some minutes engagement ( at 06.13 ) and after having received serious damaged on board ( 7 hits ), with few guns still working ( down to 3 still available out of 10 is the most used number ) and with a quadruple turret ( the Y aft ) jammed and unusable, referencing point 19.

The available data into the official records, ironically all contained into the same available document, demonstrate that Adm Tovey made incorrect statements on his dispatches on points 17 and 19 ( July 5th, 1941 ). Those errors were based both on RearAdm Wake-Walker own incorrect summary ( June 5th, 1941 ) of documents received from Capt Ellis and Phillips that do have different distances reported together with maps available attached, as well as on an incorrect interpretation of Capt Leach narrative ( June 4th, 1941 ) about the PoW disengagement event, timing and reasons once correlated with RearAdm Wake-Walker PoW disengagement event timing incorrectly declared into his summary at 06.13, since Capt. Leach did not provide any timing in writing for that event and referred only to his own attached maps for the timing and his warship manoeuvers, and the timing he refers to do NOT correspond with the timing used by Adm Tovey ( 06.03 vs 06.13 disengagement ). More, Adm Tovey changed completely the PoW disengagement reasons wrote to him by Capt Leach and by doing so in conjunction with the timing change basically provided a completely different event scenario, so it cannot be considered anymore being a typo. It was done intentionally.

Summarizing :

It was thru Adm Tovey July 1941 incorrect dispatches that the evidences about an inquiry to be called against those 2 Officers was put “ to bed “ just to use your wording.

He did it using RearAdm Wake-Walker incorrect summary of June 1941, despite Capt. Ellis, Phillips and even Capt Leach own correct and different declarations in writings attached to it.

Adm Tovey disregarded what the Captain wrote, and it was going to be his duty to read it thru, he blessed Wake-Walker summary despite it was incorrect, and more, on doing his summary he also changed completely the meaning, timing and intention of the actions written by the warship single Captain, especially about the HMS Prince of Wales retreat event.

It is a fact and everybody can read his points 17 and 19 and compare those statements to what Capt. Ellis, Phillips and Leach wrote and declared on their own Official reports submitted about those events.

The Plot is a real shame used on August 1941 to remove and change RearAdm Wake-Walker previous declaration to HMS Hood First Board of Inquiry that was in conflict with July 1941 Adm Tovey declaration ( 10 sea miles vs 15 sea miles).

So, no “ dementia “ by anybody here, but some clear actions and data alteration, done intentionally and using a person directly involved into the scrutiny ( RearAdm W.F. Wake-Walker ) in order to enable what they wanted to do on October 1941.

No Court Martial, and a celebration with awards, and this is what they did.

Very simple, and well proven in writing on Official Royal Navy documents still available for everybody to be read into the Public Record Office, in Kew-London.

Of course for the one that after 72 years want to know the truth, ... the others can still believe to Adm Tovey points 17 and 19 on his dispatches ... and keep on writing that PoW retreated after 21 minutes in action at 06.13, ... while Norfolk and Suffolk were struggling at more than 15 sea miles behind the enemy and were never in condition to join the battle that morning ... while we all know it is INCORRECT !

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 Herr Nilsson » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:31 pm

So which plan is absolutely right?
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:49 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Herr Nilsson,

can you explain a bit better your request Marc ?

The Plot is an INCORRECT document, that is for sure and I have demonstrated it well enough I believe.

We do have many other CORRECT battle maps, from were we can take a lot of data that have never been intentionally altered and/or wrongly plotted in order to change a single warship distance ( the HMS Norfolk ) from the enemy, the Bismarck.

Was this your question ?

If you need a simple evidence about it, it is enough to realize that " The Plot " does not even correspond to Norfolk own gunnery partial distance declarations :shock: ( 06.06 until 06.22).

The ADM 116/4351 Diagram B of HMS Hood First Board of Inquiry is a CORRECT document showing CORRECT distances at 06.00 among Hood, Norfolk and Bismarck.

As a direct consequence Adm Tovey dispatches on point 17 is INCORRECT as stated above.

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 Herr Nilsson » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:01 pm

Antonio, we have a lot of battle maps, but all are different. Which is the correct one?
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:08 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Herr Nilsoon,

very simple answer, so far the closest to reality is surely my one of December 2005 attached to the Storia Militare article.

Here :

http://hmshood.com/history/denmarkstrai ... trait2.htm

Still needs some minor adjustments that I will do shortly probably for my next article version, with more details in writings and a new battle map.

What I can anticipate you and everybody for sure is that it will be enlarged starting from 05.00 and will include both Norfolk and Suffolk all the way thru.

HMS Norfolk at 06.00 will be exactly on the position ADM 116/4351 Diagram B placed it.

It fully support since 2005 the fact that points 17 and 19 of Adm Tovey dispatches were simply INCORRECT !

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 Herr Nilsson » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:42 pm

That means all maps ploted in 1941 are more or less inconsistent?
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Steve Crandell » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:59 pm

alecsandros wrote:
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.
What hit can PoW obtain on Bismarck that will materially affect her speed, other than the below the belt "golden beebee" that she got in the real event? Just curious, because I thought her citadel was invulnerable at short range.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by wadinga » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:05 pm

All,

Antonio, is it fair to say, although your study was directly in support of this thread, whose objective has been from the beginning to judge the actions of first Leach, and later Wake-Walker and Ellis in the context of their adherence to the RN Articles of War, you have not discovered any indication of any preparations within the Admiralty for Courts Martial of these officers at all? Can you honestly say
They could have been there or still secreted as I imagine, that is not important to me.
Not important to you? :shock: The suggestion that such records are still on a Secret File still not authorised for release 72 years later is just not acceptable.

Colin McMullen's recollection, Kennedy's footnote and other authors parroting the same "juicy" information all stem from Tovey's anecdote alone. There is no supporting evidence whatsoever, is there?

This what I said before.
There was no suggestion McMullen was suffering from dementia. There is little evidence Tovey was suffering from a severe clinical condition, maybe just misremembering things a little. We here may be utterly obssessed with all this, but to Tovey, remembering a conversation with Pound with apparently no contemporary written record at all, and which took place 20-30 years previously, the exact detail might not be so important. Did Pound merely say Winston was so angry over the weekend 24th-25th May he was thinking of court martialling Leach and WW? Was this court martial really on Pound's list of "things to do" when Bismarck was sunk, or had Winston forgotten about it as soon as that ship was sunk, and the disastrous retreat from Crete had finished ?

Sailors are intensely practical, and there is no point crying over spilt milk. Tovey obviously trusted both officers and recommended decorations for their part. Even if Pound was seriously considering Court Martial, all it took was Tovey's verbal observation, again unrecorded at the time, and the threat was instantly gone. Not only gone but the delinquents rewarded with gongs and further career opportunities. If it was seriously contemplated, there must have been some contemporary documentary evidence. If there was actually study of the submitted plans and maps, leading to a continued impulse to pursue them weeks after successful completion of the operation, there must be reports , letters and submissions. Not a shred has ever surfaced for previous scholars to detect, and all we have is Tovey's recollection, 20 years after.

Churchill's career, life and letters have been the object of intense study ever since his death, both by those who wish to praise, and revisionists wanting to uncover his glaring faults, and if an "Action this Day" memo insisting Leach and Wake-Walker were to be court martialled had ever existed, surely it have come to light by now?
Can I ask again that you will reproduce the two plans showing Norfolk and Suffolk relative to PoW which were obviously redrawn aboard PoW, as the chart notations on them give important information you must consider before "declaring" Plan 4 " or
The ADM 116/4351 Diagram B of HMS Hood First Board of Inquiry is a CORRECT document showing CORRECT distances at 06.00 among Hood, Norfolk and Bismarck.
correct"?

Also on the recent track of PoW, to which you added timing marks, onto what course does the ship turn after 06:15?

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:11 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:
What hit can PoW obtain on Bismarck that will materially affect her speed, other than the below the belt "golden beebee" that she got in the real event? Just curious, because I thought her citadel was invulnerable at short range.
... she got 2 hits that impaired Bismarck's speed: 1 in the forecastle that flooded the forward part, leting maybe 1000-1500 tons of water; teh 2nd below the waterline, causing slow flooding of a boiler room. Bismarck was down 3* by the bow and 9* to port.

All areas outside the citadel were susceptive to flooding damage.
Additionaly, hits around the funnel and funnel uptakes would cause rapid speed reduction due to the difficult exhaust problem.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:42 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Herr Nilsson,

you wrote :
Herr Nilsson wrote:That means all maps ploted in 1941 are more or less inconsistent?
the majority of the maps plotted on 1941 were correct.

" The Plot " is surely INCORRECT and not based on the other available CORRECT maps.

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 Herr Nilsson » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:00 pm

"The plot" is simply a plot. It's just as inconsistent as other plots. I have no problem, if you call it incorrect. You're probably right. But which plans are correct?
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:16 pm

RF wrote:
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

Indeed. There might have been 9 guns operational but not all at the same time. Grenfell points out that some guns were missing salvos here and there all along and that by the time of Hood’s demise; POW was only firing, on average, 3 gun salvos-not 5 gun salvos. This soon dropped to ones and twos. Leach stated that he had expected POWs gunnery to fall off. This was indeed happening at ~0601 hours or so it seemed. Also I recall a thread examining the POW’s salvo plot some years ago and it can not be said that POW was maintaining consistently accurate firing solutions. I see no reason why POW would be able to deliver damaging blows to Bismarck from that point on at all.

On the other hand Leach did know that he was, or was about to get his ship shot out from under his you know what –and at lethal battle range. The Germans would score 7 times on POW in just a few minutes, and there was no reason why the Germans would not continue to do so.
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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