Lutjens' Intentions

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

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Vic Dale
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:55 am

I have been able to make fairly good use of the Grid Map Calculator provided by Tommy and have produced some new information regarding Bismarck's track after contact with her was lost. I have used the positions contained in Bismarck's survivor's diaries and they do match up and have produced a track which is a surprise, but which follows a logical path. It also marks out the times during which the ship made her repairs and the speeds at which she proceeded. I believe that as the times are not always on the hour that they mark significant events such as course changes or changes in speed. It is very clear that the intended destination was not France, but Lisbon in Portugal up to 0400 on the 26th. Salazar was a Fascist dictator and an ally of Franco in Spain and both were very friendly with Hitler. Though ostensibly neutral they would happily give aid to German warships. Since St Nazaire would require some preparation before Bismarck could repair there. Lisbon makes sense, for a lying up period.

Firstly we must deal with the fact that ships clocks in Bismarck were set one hour behind those in the British ships, so the time of 0306 when contact was lost as recorded by Wake-Walker's squadron, becomes 0206 in Bismarck. Lutjens needed to get to the east, so as the draw the British away from Prinz Eugen, though without engaging PoW to the northeast of him. He waited until Sufolk turned to her outward leg of the zig zag then turned onto a reciprocal course to the northwest, opening the gap to beyond the estimated range of Suffolk's radar in a few minutes at a combined speed of almost 60 knots. Having achieved his objective he turned southeast and made off at 28 knots. This course he maintained until 1920 that evening. It is doubtful that the move was intended so much to shake the British off the scent as to give PG the chance to oil in peace. Shaking off the enemy was an unexpected extra. Though it may well be that he had hoped to draw Wake-Walker after him.

At 0700 that morning, Bismarck crossed into AK55 and for that she has to have steamed the 140 miles since 0206 at her then best speed of 28knots heading 120 degrees. It appears that Lutjens then reduced speed to 27 knots until 1300 when the ship entered AK67,

After 1300 speed was reduced to 24knots, presumably to effect repairs to the shell holes in the bow. At 1620, it appears the ship went onto 30 knots, possibly to see how she handled with the hole in her port side.

At 1920 Bismarck appears to have turned sharply northeast heading 330 degrees maintaining high speed. It is possible that she sighted Rodney who passed ahead of her at around that time. With her telescopic masts lowered, Bismarck would have spotted Rodney's masthead long before Rodney could spot her. If this is the case then well done to the lookouts.

At 2000 Bismarck turned back to her original heading and made off at 29 knots and this course and speed she maintained until 0400, when it seems she turned north until 0600 when she turned to 150 degrees, maintaining this heading until she was spotted at 1030 (0930 in Bismarck). I think the turn to the north at 0400 was to avoid Force H, which was moving north across Bismarck's path at about that time. Possibly an outlying destroyer escort was spotted. The ship's head was now turned in the direction of Agadir in North Africa. At no time since loss of contact at 0206 did Bismarck shape course as if to make her way into the Biscay and she did not do so prior to loss of contact. With permanent repairs to the bow now complete, as recorded in one of her survivors diaries, the ship was restored to full operational and fighting efficiency and judging by the heading of 150 degrees adopted at 0600, Lutjens was intent on remaining at sea and completing the operation. Defects in PG's engines did not reveal themselves until the 29th, so to all intents and purposes, both ships were now operational and the game was back on.

It is significant that Bismarck opened fire on the shadowing aircraft at about the time she made a heading toward Ferrol (1100), as if advertising that fact. It is almost certain that an aircraft suffering heavy flak would report the position, course and speed of a now clearly identified enemy warship.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by RNfanDan » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:25 am

Publish, man---PUBLISH!

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Vic Dale
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:53 am

This and the next post are linked, so please take account of both.

I hesitate to publish my findings here, because anything which conflicts with what the history books have said seems to garner hostility. However I will present my work, but ask everyone to be aware from the start that it is not perfect, is not the definitive article and that some adjustments have had to be made to get things to fit. Some positions given in the diaries are very broad giving simple lat' and Long' with no minutes and one or two are wildly inaccurate, being either written down incorrectly or interpreted from the diary incorrectly and possibly some errors in dead reckoning have found their way in, so an element of logic has had to be introduced. It may be that some will disagree with my findings and my interpretations, but I urge everyone to keep their feet on the ground and make their points sensibly, then perhaps we may all benefit from further detailed discussion.

I will not engage with anyone who is abusive or flip, but I will happily engage with anyone who has serious questions or doubts and wishes to participate on a friendly and equal footing, or at least make any disagreements known in a gentlemanly way. In short I have taken all the crap I am going to take, so be warned.

At 0306 (0206 in Bismarck) the ship was in position 56* 20' N by 37* 40' W, at the top center of Grid Square AK42.

Note; further references to Grid Squares will consist only of the AK or BL/BF numbers.

As can be seen the position as plotted in Bismarck for 0206 (see green track) is in error. The green track as taken directly from the positions given and plotted on the Grid map show the ship moving directly east. On this heading she would not have made AK55 by 0700. Using the the true position as given in British tracking reports it can be seen that she passes through the center of the left edge of AK55 at 0700.

At 1300 the ship's track cuts through the bottom edge of AK67 and it is here that the error between what was shown in the ship and the track from the correct position at 0206 meet.

At 1620 the track cuts through the center of the top edge of AK95 and at 1920 it cuts through the bottom edge of AK96. 2000 sees the ship about center of AK96 having turned northwest, presumably to avoid Rodney. Between 2000 and 0400 the ship passes through a number of grid squares finally reaching the upper right quadrant of BE15. Where she turns NNE, again presumably, this time to avoid Force H. She cuts into the right section of BE12 and at 0600 she is close to the center right of that square, whereupon she resumes her original heading, steering 150 degrees, heading in the direction of Agadir, then after being spotted she alters her heading to 150 degrees and is heading for Lisbon. Then after 30 minutes she alters again to 120 degrees heading for Ferrol and fires on the shadowing aircraft.

I present below the screen shots of the work I have done using Google Earth and I must stress again that it is not exact and some guesses and giggling have been necessary to make any sense of it all.
0206 to 1300 25th.jpg
0206 to 1300 25th.jpg (89.14 KiB) Viewed 1285 times
1300 to 2000 - 25th.jpg
1300 to 2000 - 25th.jpg (79.69 KiB) Viewed 1285 times
2000 25th to relocation.jpg
2000 25th to relocation.jpg (88.61 KiB) Viewed 1285 times
/more to follow..........

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RNfanDan
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by RNfanDan » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:37 am

Well, since I happen to be perusing the forum coincidentally Vic, let me first express that I have no major disagreement with your theory as presented here, that Bismarck tracked a bit to the north/northeast after turning the large starboard circle, crossing her wake.

However, with respect to the known position of Bismarck's "rediscovery" by the Catalina aircraft and the approximate time and position of Suffolk's last prior contact, there is a clear void to be filled. You are not revising this specific period of the existing record, because there is nothing to BE revised---i.e., no proof to the contrary. I commend you on taking apparent care to fill that void with reasoned, if ultimately speculative, material.

You certainly seem to have enough idea about the ship's maneuver and the period immediately following Prinz Eugen's departure, to submit at least an article-length manuscript for publication, even if not enough to complete a larger effort capable of convincing others of Lütjens' greater, overall intentions.

One need not prepare a banquet to satisfy a snack hunger.

I say, GO FOR IT!
Last edited by RNfanDan on Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:40 am

I present below the full track chart as calculated on Google Earth and here are the times, speeds and distances steamed;

0306 (0206 in Bismarck) 56*20' N by 37*40' W - AK42

0206 - 0700 5 hours 140nm 28kts
0700 - 1300 6 hours 154nm 27kts
1300 - 1620 3hrs 20m 80nm 24kts
1620 - 1920 3hrs 40m 94nm 30kts
1920 - 2000 0hrs 40m 20nm 30kts
2000 - 0400 8hrs 00m 230nm 29kts
0400 - 0600 2hrs 00m 40nm 20kts
0600 - 0930 3hrs 30m 72nm 20kts

NB. This last entry is the time of relocation which was recorded in the Home Fleet as 1030.
Main Track 0206 25th to 1630 26th.jpg
Main Track 0206 25th to 1630 26th.jpg (100 KiB) Viewed 1280 times
The next screen shot shows the various headings between 0206 on the 25th and 1630 on the 26th and it is clear that only after 1630 does Lutjens head the ship towards Ferrol, for possible entry into the Biscay. Times and headings are as follows;

0206 - 1920 120 degrees - direct for Lisbon.
2000 - 0400 125 degrees - direct to Praia da Barra.
0600 - 1000 150 degrees - direct to Agadir
1630 - 2130 120 degrees - direct for Ferrol
Headings 0206, 2000, 0400, 0600,1630.jpg
Headings 0206, 2000, 0400, 0600,1630.jpg (148.45 KiB) Viewed 1280 times

Thorsten Wahl
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:00 pm

exakt course prediction requires orthomorphic representation. The map doesnt look Mercator style
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: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:40 pm

To Thorsten Wahl.

I have converted chart positions taken from the Mercator's Atlantic chart which would have been used in Bismarck, in order to get a clearer more accurate idea of what the ship did on the actual globe, so the projections I have presented here are definitely not Mercator's. The problem with the Mercator's projection is that it is a cylindrical representation of the globe. It is accurate at the equator but hopeless as it nears the poles. That is fine when drawing up charts of small areas, but when it comes to trying to represent the whole of the Atlantic in one go, it falls woefully short. A track chart giving degrees of heading and which point to an objective on a Mercator's chart point to quite another place on the physical globe.

Naval charts represent small areas and when plotting the track chart. After an operation it is necessary to fit the charts together using the continuing track and the charts themselves have to be angled towards or away from each other, according to the area they represent. The photo below may help in illustrating how individual navigation charts are angled in relation to each other. Trying to show that on a single chart would be extremely difficult and could only produce the loosest of approximations. The positions used in the diaries will have been taken from the large chart on the ship's notice boards and would not be from the charts used for navigation.
North-Atlantic.gif
North-Atlantic.gif (182.43 KiB) Viewed 1262 times
Stop Press!
I have just spotted an error in the position I plotted for 0400 on the track chart.

The position I have used is; 50*16' N - 23*16 W, which means the vessel steamed 194nm at 24 knots until 0400. The turn at this time will have been to 62 degrees until 0600 and maintaining 24knots. This could indicate that if the turn was made in order to avoid Force H, that the British force was permitted to pass astern, instead of ahead as the original track suggests.
Corrected Track 0400 to 0600.jpg
Corrected Track 0400 to 0600.jpg (115.06 KiB) Viewed 1262 times
2000 to 0930.jpg
2000 to 0930.jpg (70.38 KiB) Viewed 1262 times

paul.mercer
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by paul.mercer » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:24 pm

Vic, if Bismarck had gone to Lisbon or a Spanish port would she not be interned under international law?

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by wadinga » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:27 pm

All,

This latest mapping exercise is entertaining but starts (as so much Vic tries to spin) with an error. As was established some years ago the British and Germans are using the same time. This is why the Baron's diagram (which his shade will pleased to hear Vic now apparently endorses) of the breakaway starts at 03:00, and the loss of contact is 03:06. The British survivor report document (30/05/41)of which Vic has become such a fan says contact was lost shortly after 03:00.

PoW's second firefight with Bismarck later on the 24th took place "a little after 19:00" according to the Baron and is reported by Lutjens with a time stamp (Uhrzeitgruppe) 19:14 in the BS-KTB and is reported by Leach as starting at 18:46 and comprising 12 salvoes.

Victorious' aircraft attack is reported by Lutjens in timestamp 23:38 and in Tovey's despatch as shortly after 23:00 and the Baron explains the time zone in use in his book, start of Chapter 18.

The 02:06 origin of the mapping exercise is wrong. The whole thing needs re-doing.

When you add to this the fundamental misunderstanding of the prime virtue of Mercator charts in that a course plotted does actually go to the landfall indicated (but is not necessarily the shortest distance), and this is a result of not doing the most basic research before pontificating about map projections, the only response can be *sigh* :stubborn:

Why the positions recorded by a machine minder in the aft turbine room should be regarded as gospel and reason to think Bismarck made radical course changes away from heading for France to avoid both Force H and Rodney (neither event recorded by the Baron) I cannot imagine. Would dodging the Rodney not generate a "buzz" around the ship?- pure unadulterated made-up fantasy :lol:

Lutjens steered to the south of his objective to maintain distance from Tovey and Coastal Command. He kept turning to port to minimise his distance to run to France. He was always going to France because he was low on fuel and the bow damage was never repaired.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:40 pm

Well errors and errors......

Contact was not lost by Suffolk at 0306. That was her last sighting of Bismarck. It was only after Suffolk turned onto the inward leg of the zig zag that she found Bismarck to be missing - at 0400. So that could not possibly have occurred at 0306 (British time). In Bismarck broken contact could not have been established until sometime after Lutjens' maneuver had completed. For this Bismarck would need to be at least 15km distant from Suffolk and astern of her. Turning northwest, then east would pass the ship under the stern of the shadowing squadron and at the time for Suffolk to begin the inward leg, 0330, Bismarck could shape course to the southeast. As Pow was far out to port of Suffolk and Norfolk, Lutjens may have been able to judge that she was well outside visual range. That could be about 0300 in Bismarck, 0400 in Suffolk.

The start of the torpedo Bomber strike from Victorious was timed in Suffolk by the flashes from Bismarck's flak at 0007 on the 25th. In Bismarck the air attack was reported in a signal sent at 2338 - 25 minutes before Suffolk's log entry. Now add the duration of the strike and the need to allow time for the heat to die down before sending and there is about an hour difference between Suffolk time and Bismarck time.

Immediately announcing an enemy strike by WT would give away the ship's frequencies in an instant and it would also give Bletchley Park a free crib for cracking Enigma. A cooling down period is essential when reporting an attack for WT and Cypher security purposes. That signal was sent a considerable time after the strike had ended. So, as the time of the strike as recorded in Bismarck by the timing of the signal is about 30 to 40 minutes behind the time given in Suffolk's log it is reasonable to conclude that time in Bismarck was one hour behind that set on the British clocks.

0306 British time becomes 0206 in Bismarck once more, after our latest little trip into fantasy land.

Please note;
It might be an idea to give us the name of the survivor who said contact had been broken shortly after 0300, because as far as I was aware there had been no such announcement given to the ship's company. If this announcement was made, then it throws out utterly any idea of Lutjens betraying his position by WT transmission, unless by tactical intent. It also makes abundantly clear that the signal sent at 0700 on the 25th did not say the British maintain contact.

As for position and heading on a Mercator chart. It is all very well plotting on a small scale chart, but if a ship's course is to be plotted over most of the north Atlantic, those charts have to be matched by rotating them clockwise and counter clockwise in conformity with the narrowing at the poles. Presenting that picture on a single chart is going to produce enormous inaccuracies and at best only a vague illustration of what happened.

I shall present figures for Bismarck's fuel consumption up to 2130 on the 26th at some later time.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Herr Nilsson » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:51 am

Maybe I've missed somthing, but where are all these positions between 07:00 on May 25th and 10:30 May 26th coming from?
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Marc

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by wadinga » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:08 am

Vic and all,

Witnesses for 03:06

The Baron in his book.

B-dienst intercept of Suffolk's signal
0505/25.5. Von k3g = Suffolk an 5dl = auf Norfolk.
Lost touch of enemy 0306.
Enough said?

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:30 am

In his book the Baron makes it abundantly clear that the ships clocks in Bismarck were set one hour behind those in the British ships at 1300 on the 23rd.
Bismarck's Clocks.jpg
Bismarck's Clocks.jpg (14.78 KiB) Viewed 1201 times
He chose to synchronize all times given in his book, with those in the British ships, which were set to Double British Summer Time - equal to German Summertime, one hour ahead of Central European time. He did this in the hope of providing more clarity of understanding among readers. For the good he did he may as well have not bothered, as some seem to have completely missed, or ignored his point. Had Bismarck's clocks been set to the same time as that in the British ships, there would have been no need to make this announcement, or any adjustment for that matter.

In case anyone is still not convinced or think the Germans forgot to do it, because they were feeding the cat, there is a reminder to put the clocks back in PG's War Diary in the entry for 1215 on the 22nd;
"4. Tomorrow at 1300 the clock will be set back 1 hour." Page 16.

At 1300 on 23rd;
"According to Fleet order; set back ship's clocks on central European time by 1 hour." page 17.

Bismarck's clocks were therefore, indisputably, patently, one hour behind those in the British ships.

Let me know if there are any further questions on this detail.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by wadinga » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:55 am

Vic,

The bs-ktb said Bismarck destroyed Hood at 06:01 and British accounts say the same thing-they were on the same time.

What the "domestic time" in Bismarck was I have no idea, but I expect Oscar wanted to know when his mealtimes were. I believe in your naval career you will have experienced both "Zulu time and an adjusted local clock for the sailor's convenience especially in foreign climes.

All the best

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:34 am

Bismarck's War Diary (KTB) went down with the ship. The KTB which we work from today was reconstructed by Group West, which was using Central European Time (CET). When preparing documents at Group West there would be no value in adjusting times back to ship's clocks in Bismarck. So it is all going to be on CET. Possibly the KTB we have for PG is also reconstructed so as to conform with times shown at Group West. What cannot be altered is the times at which signals went out from Bismarck, or the times at which events were recorded and reported by the ship.

A quick look at the original charts from PG show times one hour prior to the actual events recorded on the charts.

The signal telling about the TB attack, which was recorded in Suffolk as starting at 0007, was sent at 2338, half an hour before it began! How would that be possible? The signals sent by Bismarck clearly mark out times behind CET and they can only be one hour behind.

The ships clocks were set back and that is how they remained for the duration of the operation.
What the "domestic time" in Bismarck was I have no idea, but I expect Oscar wanted to know when his mealtimes were. I believe in your naval career you will have experienced both "Zulu time and an adjusted local clock for the sailor's convenience especially in foreign climes.
Here you have demonstrated that you have missed the point completely. Domestic time? The ship's clocks were set to a standard for the whole ship, so that logs in all departments would match events. Action logs, engine room logs, wheelhouse logs, navigation logs and charts all have to be synchronised, otherwise a warship simply would not be able to function as a fighting unit. Having one time for the sailors and a different time operating elsewhere in the ship would cause chaos of biblical proportions.

At the end of an operation, all logs and charts are, where necessary, centralised so that a clear overall picture can be gained for the wash-up and it is then that times are synchronised to a common time-set. After the loss of Bismarck the logs and charts would be synchronised to times used at Group West, so as to form an overall picture, which brought the surface fleet and U-boats together in a unified strategic plan.

In the hunt for Bismarck, Tovey established that all ships would operate on the same time setting, so as to be able to quickly understand and make their tactical responses to orders and signaled positions at given times. Lutjens likewise established that all ships clocks in his squadron would be set one hour back on CET. That is the time used in all the survivors diaries and is the time set for all signals from Lutjens, including the one which spoke of the ship being in AK55 at 0700.

So 0306 in Suffolk becomes 0206 in Bismarck.

Since I have generally used only the times given in diaries and signals from Lutjens and adjusted one hour back against British times where used, the timeline and the track chart are correct.
Last edited by Vic Dale on Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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