Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

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alecsandros
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:46 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:
More, I do not consider 06.03 being correct because it was 06.01 and 30 seconds the retreat exact moment with the 160 degrees turn away to port.
... As a personal note, my opinion is that the decision to disengage came immediately after Hood blew up, at 6:00:30 or so.
Prince of Wales was to navigate around the remains of the Hood and then disengage alltogether. The fact that the Prince got plastered while disengaging (suffering 7 direct hits in 2 minutes) was incidental - Leach wanted to break off anyway.
Re-reading his report included in Tovey's dispactch we can see he made no reference to his own battle damage. This makes be think about him deciding to break off with or without damage, which is actualy aggravating.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Steve Crandell » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:00 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Antonio Bonomi wrote:
More, I do not consider 06.03 being correct because it was 06.01 and 30 seconds the retreat exact moment with the 160 degrees turn away to port.
... As a personal note, my opinion is that the decision to disengage came immediately after Hood blew up, at 6:00:30 or so.
Prince of Wales was to navigate around the remains of the Hood and then disengage alltogether. The fact that the Prince got plastered while disengaging (suffering 7 direct hits in 2 minutes) was incidental - Leach wanted to break off anyway.
Re-reading his report included in Tovey's dispactch we can see he made no reference to his own battle damage. This makes be think about him deciding to break off with or without damage, which is actualy aggravating.
... and that doesn't bother me at all.

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:33 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Steve Crandell,

you asked :
Does the angle of the bridge hit correspond to the direction PoW was facing prior to the radical turn to port?
YES, it does precisely ! ... and it can be ONLY at that point, ... but also here I suppose few will agree on this well known fact.

All those info's have been submitted several times on this thread already.

Since I have understood you have been on the Navy for quite some time it should be easy for you to realize the received first hit on the compass platform came from an angle that was possible only before 06.01, and in fact was received at 06.00 and 50 seconds, just before the PoW salvo 16th that we can see on the PG Rheinubung film.

All this was already well discussed and covered and we have to thank again Thorsten Wahl for this discovery.

Here a chart with the PoW detail and the received hit, precisely positioned on the only point were the hit could have ben received.
PoW_disengagement_1077.jpg
PoW_disengagement_1077.jpg (73.85 KiB) Viewed 513 times
I disagree about your this statement you wrote :
I don't believe it's possible for Capt Leach to react that fast. The report claims that one minute after the bridge was hit he decided to withdraw temporarily from the battle. I'd be somewhat surprised if he even knew where he was one minute after the bridge was hit.
He had been quite fast, and had to move only few meters, just some steps to go down to the Admiral bridge one floor below ( just look at PoW drawings for reference ).

Here from his biography what happened, but please consider the hit on compass platform at 06.00 and 50 seconds and the order to port 160° given at 06.01 and 30 seconds :
Leach_book_09.jpg
Leach_book_09.jpg (99.98 KiB) Viewed 513 times
Now I like your opinion on my question : 06.03 being correct ( at least close since the Admiralty used PoW ceasing fire as reference ) or 06.13 ?

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 wadinga » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:47 pm

Hello All,

Since I am being badgered in the Witness Box (where's Kevin Bacon to shout "The witness has rights!" I am prepared to say I think statement 2 is probably closer to what happened. I believe it is very likely that the range was closing right up until that time, when the turn onto a roughly parallel course was achieved. Of course it takes two to truly disengage and since the german vessels were turning away at the same time, the range would inevitably increase whatever PoW did.

Steve, you must realize Capt Leach's recuperative powers were even greater than you imagine in Antonio's scenario, just 40 seconds after the hit, he is down one deck below ordering the turn to stop closing quite so fast.

Antonio, since I have answered your question will you reciprocate for me? What device aboard the British ships could deliniate between 34,000 and 38,000yds ranges, and is it the same one that could range on Suffolk at ..........52,000yds.

All the best

wadinga
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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:00 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga,

thanks Sean, I know you are a fair guy :clap: ... and you are able to think " SUPER PARTES ".

Lets see how many will still remain hidden in the dark side of the fairness.


Of course I will reciprocate you,... it will be my pleasure, ... but first I have to understand your question.

Can you be a little bit more precise about this ?
What device aboard the British ships could delineate between 34,000 and 38,000yds ranges, and is it the same one that could range on Suffolk at ..... 52,000yds.

You know that I am using bearings since the time you correctly underlined to me that distances were less reliable of bearings at that time and in those situations especially at great distance.

I tell you a secret I have learned in Kew, ... on the Admiralty on 1941 they were using bearings as well ... so your suggestion was wise and right ! :wink:

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 dunmunro » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:26 pm

Admiral Tovey did not witness the action in the DS. He only read about it via radio messages and official reports. The timings recorded in the various ship's war diaries seem to indicate that Tovey decided that 0613 was the approximate end of the battle. I don't think anyone disputes that this was an error, if we accept 0600 as the timing for Hood's loss. Constantly rehashing this is pointless; what is relevant is whether or not Tovey wrote 0613 in a classified despatch (only to be released post war) as part of a criminal conspiracy between Tovey, W-W, Norfolk's command team, Suffolk and Leach?

We know that Leach's account of the battle is incomplete as he does not account for all of PoW's manoeuvres from ~0601-0605. The task of any historian writing a minute by minute account of the battle is to explain why PoW took the course shown in her track chart and why if Leach decided to turn away at ~0601 under her own smokescreen did PoW turn back onto a course of ~0220 at ~0603, thereby exposing herself to further fire? What role did the loss of Y turret at ~0603 have on Leach's decision make another turn away at 0605? Why did PoW make more two turns, thus bleeding valuable speed, after 0601:30 when supposedly Leach only wanted to break off the action and open the range as fast as possible?

Finally, if Lutjens had ordered Bismarck to engage PoW instead of Hood would Leach have abandoned Hood and broken off the action anyway since, as implied here, he was obviously a criminal coward?
Last edited by dunmunro on Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by paulcadogan » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:41 pm

Antonio & all,

I don't think there is anyone here who objects to the conclusion (fact) that 0613 is incorrect, or to the scrutiny of the maps to determine the ranges for the cruisers. IMHO, what is causing the strident objections is the conclusion being drawn that the 3 RN officers, whether separately or in collusion, decided to deliberately falsify records to satisfy ulterior motives - i.e. to avoid court martial and be awarded medals.

That conclusion (opinion) is nothing more that a "possibility" which - even though the Admiralty made the correction to the time in 1948 - has no direct evidence to support it. We cannot know what was going through WWs mind at the second inquiry. We cannot know what was in Tovey's mind as he wrote his dispatch. We cannot know what was in Leach's mind as he wrote his narrative. We can say yes there are inconsistencies but the reasons behind them remain speculative.

There are many other historical inaccuracies/controversies that have been propagated over time in this battle as well as others.

Why is is consistently stated in the British official documentation of the DS battle that Bismarck replied immediately to Hood's opening salvo and before PoW fired her first? Why is it consistently recorded that the fire on Hood's deck erupted after Bismarck's third salvo? We know the Germans held fire for almost 3 minutes. We accept the deck hit as being from Prinz Eugen.

Yet several historical accounts have carried these errors (even the Airfix 1/600 Hood model instructions do!) - so was there an ulterior motive behind them or were they just another part of the "big "innocent" collection of errors and misinterpretations caused by the "fog of war"? :think:

Paul
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:52 pm

Alecsandros wrote: "... As a personal note, my opinion is that the decision to disengage came immediately after Hood blew up, at 6:00:30 or so.
Prince of Wales was to navigate around the remains of the Hood and then disengage alltogether. The fact that the Prince got plastered while disengaging (suffering 7 direct hits in 2 minutes) was incidental - Leach wanted to break off anyway.
Re-reading his report included in Tovey's dispactch we can see he made no reference to his own battle damage. This makes be think about him deciding to break off with or without damage, which is actualy aggravating."
I fully agree with you, especially with your last sentence. Also IMHO the decision to break off the engagement developed in Capt.Leach mind before the hit in compass platform, for the reasons Leach himself listed and you have posted above. The hit "just" obliged Capt..Leach to go down to the Admiral bridge (as Antonio correctly says it's NOT a long way for someone who is "unhurt" for his own admission) and to order at 6:01:30 the turn away.
Steve Crandell wrote: "... and that doesn't bother me at all."
It doesn't bother me as well, I guarantee. It's just what happened. However, it is not something for which a RN Captain should be normally awarded a medal...... :negative:
Wordy wrote: "Also I didn't realise there was a requirement for Royal Navy officers to die in a certain way."
Dunmunro wrote: "The suggestion that RN officers must, in effect, commit suicide to prove their bravery is offensive, at say the least.
I never said that. Please read before posting....... I''m referring to the book on the life of Capt.Leach and I'm just saying that when making the choice of the "finest hour" for an officer, it's normal to evaluate better the brave way he acted in front of death than his decision to run away after receiving the first salvo (or as Alecsandros correctly suggested) even after Hood blew up, giving up his clear mission orders.

The fact that the decision to run away was chosen as "finest hour", is just "Excusatio non petita, accusatio manifestat". (for whom is not familiar with latin, "something said to justify ,not being requested, demonstrates the prosecution"

Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:16 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote: "Please tell me and yourself between those 2 statements which one is correct and which one is incorrect :
1 ) PoW continued the action and a hit was seen on her and at 06.13 she turned away and made smoke. The enemy continued firing and salvoes were seen to fall very close to Prince of Wales on her wake for some time while she was on her retiring course.
Written by RearAdmiral W.F. Wake-Walker on June 5th, 1941, accepted and used by Adm J.Tovey on his July 1941 dispatches.
2 ) It was decided temporarily to discontinue the action and at 06.03 PoW turned away to 160 degrees behind a smoke screen."
None of them is correct. The first one is just ridiculous as on that course PoW would have almost rammed Bismarck by 6:13 (and Tovey everybody in the Admiralty should have understood that, I suppose.....)

6:01:30 is the correct timing for the start of the disengagement.
6:03 is just the end of the disengagement manoeuvre.

I would add that timing would have been probably even before 6:01:30 if the hit in compass would not have obliged Capt. Leach to descend to the Admiral bridge to give the order, let's say around 6:00:30 / 6:01.

Bye, Alberto
"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 wadinga » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:56 pm

Hi Alberto,

You have said
6:01:30 is the correct timing for the start of the disengagement.
6:03 is just the end of the disengagement manoeuvre.
Well no actually, because PoW was still charging towards the enemy, dropping gun range by a thousand yards a time. To disengage you have to be opening the range. :D

Antonio, indeed but the bearing and the range are tied together they come, whatever their origin, from the same place. With the same limitations. Would you post your map fragments again as an aide memoire?

Captain Leach unhurt, only in comparison with being pulped like the two midshipmen or having his leg virtually severed like another crewman. Try haiving smack you in the belly with a baseball bat to simulate a heavy artillery shell passing within 2 metres of you and then try the obstacle course. :cool:

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wadinga
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:02 am

wadinga wrote: Well no actually, because PoW was still charging towards the enemy, dropping gun range by a thousand yards a time. To disengage you have to be opening the range. :D
That is because they haven't invented the ship that can turn 180* instantenously. Manouvreing takes time, but the decision was taken nevertheless.

It would have been realy comical for PoW to have a much larger turning radius :)

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:35 am

Antonio Bonomi wrote:
@ RF,
please, if you want to enlarge the discussion on what Adm Lutjens should have done, just open a dedicated thread about it, even if I think it has been widely discussed before.
Indeed it has - it was not my intention to re-focus the thread but a BTW comment.
You may think that RearAdm W.F. Wake-Walker did well during the Bismarck operation and his recognition was deserved. I am of a different opinion
I think that Wake-Walker did the job he was given, to track Bismarck and deliver the ship to the Home Fleet - a difficult and dangerous job. Beyond that I don't have any great regard or disregard for this officer.
What I do have a concern about is wilful criticism and character assassination of someone who is dead and therefore cannot defend himself.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:41 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:@Wordy: and why have you ignored all the facts presented by Antonio and why do you continue to believe a version of facts that is simply not credible anymore ? :negative:
Pot? Kettle? Black?
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:43 am

dunmunro wrote: I think we all applaud Antonio's desire and efforts to write a better history of the battle - but we are all very concerned about his crusade to pin the labels of cowards and criminal conspirators onto senior RN officers.

...... Leach had valid reasons for withdrawing at DS, and although I dispute the timing of events that led to that withdrawal I don't dispute that it was the right thing to do, and that it directly contributed to the eventual loss of the Bismarck. The suggestion that RN officers must, in effect, commit suicide to prove their bravery is offensive, at say the least.
I agree absolutely with these comments.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:57 am

Antonio Bonomi wrote: very good, ... so far I assume that Alecsandros, Marc (Herr Nilsson), Thorsten Wahl and Dave Saxton agreed with me on the fact that 06.03 is the right PoW disengagement time and 06.13 is NOT correct.
I have no problem in accepting that either, as an amended account of the battle. That does not alter or impact on the reasons for breaking off the action. Indeed it could make the argument more cogent, as in the Tovey account POW took seven hits in 12 to 13 minutes whereas now these seven hits were compressed into a much smaller time scale, consistent with the accuracy and rate of fire of the two German ships. Had POW continued to 6.13 just how many more hits would the ship have taken? And would by then POW be able to disengage?
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