Prinz Eugen's Performance at DS Battle

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

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nwhdarkwolf
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Post by nwhdarkwolf » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:05 pm

No, the PoW was not that badly damaged. However, there were technical problems galore on PoW. She was missing a few barrells, due to technical issues. Ouch....That could be a game stopper.

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Post by Hartmann10 » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:32 pm

hello to all¡¡
:D
No, the PoW was not that badly damaged. However, there were technical problems galore on PoW. She was missing a few barrells, due to technical issues. Ouch....That could be a game stopper.
As Bgile said, the PoW was very lucky with the underwater shell. It could have produced the loss of a pair of knots (in some cases, it is said that the effects of this explosion if the shell would have worked properly as it did the 14 Inch shell of PoW in Bismarck, could have damaged the adjacent 14 Inches magazine also, and blow all the ship) and only with a single hit.
Best regards :wink:

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Post by ufo » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:34 pm

Hartmann10 wrote:
...
As Bgile said, the PoW was very lucky with the underwater shell. It could have produced the loss of a pair of knots (in some cases, it is said that the effects of this explosion if the shell would have worked properly as it did the 14 Inch shell of PoW in Bismarck, could have damaged the adjacent 14 Inches magazine also, and blow all the ship) and only with a single hit.
Best regards :wink:
If I remember correctly there has been a thorough analysis of what this shell could have done or not done involving the path the shell must have taken under water and the time it must have taken for that.

That left two possible alternatives:
Either the fuse fails (as it happened in real). Then the shell punches a hole in HMS Prince of Wales.

Or the fuse works as designed. Then the shell explodes before it reaches the ship. That would have caused shock- and splinterdamage but nothing more.

I know that this very shell has become an object of worship to the what-if-only-Bismarck-lover-community but as far as I know it could never have made it into the belly of HMS Prince of Wales with a functional fuse.
It would have blown up earlier rather than reaching this deep and far under water.

Ciao,
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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:03 pm

:evil:
an object of worship to the what-if-only-Bismarck-lover-community
:evil:

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nwhdarkwolf
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Post by nwhdarkwolf » Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:32 pm

Well, you can call that fuse whatever you want. They weren't entirely accurate, to begin with. As referenced by the fact that one was a dud.

That stated, if it had exploded before impacting the ship, it would have done more damage that it did to the ship.

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Post by Gary » Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:29 pm

Hi Bgile.

Yes I'm sorry :oops:

Thanks for the correction.
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Post by Hartmann10 » Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:55 pm

I know that this very shell has become an object of worship to the what-if-only-Bismarck-lover-community but as far as I know it could never have made it into the belly of HMS Prince of Wales with a functional fuse.
It would have blown up earlier rather than reaching this deep and far under water.
Well, I would start to analize the underwater travel distance of both shells (of Bismarck and PoW) before conclude that It would have detonated before reach the ship if the fuse would have worked properly, because both shells had a delay time in their fuse quite similar if I remember. The shell of PoW should have detonated before reach the bulkhead if we generalize so It has to be studied much more accurately than say something like that It could have never reached the belly of PoW. The engineering works for all in the same way. Even with this, the Bismarck shell suffered a extreme over stress because it was found with the ogive pointing 180º the reverse trayectory.
And If we compare the fuse failiures, the PoW made 3 impacts, of which only this impact properly detonated, the other 2 failed and the shells didn´t detonated (it makes an average of 66,6% of failiures). So this could be considered as troubles with the fuse.
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Post by tommy303 » Thu Jun 08, 2006 9:31 pm

I think it is a little premature to absolutely say the shell would have exploded before it reached the PoW's torpedo bulkhead had the fuze worked properly, since one would have to know how far it travelled underwater. However, it is true that if it hit far enough away the fuze might have detonated the shell before it reached the hull.

As to the shell itself, the crescent shaped impact mark on the torpedo bulkhead did seem to correspond to the shells base rather than the ring and knob piercing cap, so it is possible the shell may have tumbled before stabilizing base first during its underwater trajectory. The fuze was found to have initiated, ie the inertial slug had impacted the detonator which in turn had exploded and started the pyrotechnic delay. However, at some point, the burning delay went out and failed to burn through and ignite the fuze magazine, resulting in a dud. This might have been due to the shell flipping over following entry into the water or it might have been a flaw in manufacturing--a drop of machine oil or shellac contaminating the powder train, etc.

The main problem with German AP shells appears not to have been with the fuze itself, but with the very small gaines the Germans prefered. This tended to cause a fairly substantial number of low order detonations.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:26 pm

Was this a problem of a specific shell or in all the German naval shells? How about land artillery?
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Post by ufo » Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:19 pm

Hartmann10 wrote: ...

Well, I would start to analize the underwater travel distance of both shells (of Bismarck and PoW) before conclude that It would have detonated before reach the ship if the fuse would have worked properly, because both shells had a delay time in their fuse quite similar if I remember. The shell of PoW should have detonated before reach the bulkhead if we generalize so It has to be studied much more accurately than say something like that It could have never reached the belly of PoW. The engineering works for all in the same way. Even with this, the Bismarck shell suffered a extreme over stress because it was found with the ogive pointing 180º the reverse trayectory.
And If we compare the fuse failiures, the PoW made 3 impacts, of which only this impact properly detonated, the other 2 failed and the shells didn´t detonated (it makes an average of 66,6% of failiures). So this could be considered as troubles with the fuse.
Best regards :wink:
If I remember correctly Bismarck was hit just below the main belt. That must be about 4 metres below waterline.
The hit on HMS Prince of Wales in turn landed staggering 8.5 metres deep! So you can be sure that the path of the two shells as well as their respective performance upon impact can not :!: be compared.

Bismarck’s shells tend to be quoted as carrying a high dud rate. For the deep down hit she landed one has to say it is amazing that the shell made it there in one piece in the first place. That the fuse failed during the eventful travel of that particular shell is hardly surprising and does not allow judging on the quality control of German main artillery shells. :negative:
(As does the hit Bismarck scored on the compass platform, which simply found nothing substantial to ignite on. If an armour piercing shell flies through standard grade steel without exploding it should not be regarded a dud. Same it true for HMS Prince of Wales’ hit in Bismarck’s forecastle. There was not enough resistance to slow the shell down enough to ignite in time. Well and fore the hit on the boatsdeck ...
In summary I can not see a malfunctioning heavy shell on either Bismarck's or HMS Prince of Wales' side. They performed as they were designed to perform.)

For reference Bill Jurens’ article on the loss of HMS Hood with its rich details is quite enlightening:
http://www.warship.org/loss_of_hms_hood__part_3.htm
Part three starts with an analysis on underwater trajectories of heavy shells.

Ciao,
Ufo

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Post by Hartmann10 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:37 pm

Hello to all ¡¡.
For reference Bill Jurens’ article on the loss of HMS Hood with its rich details is quite enlightening:
http://www.warship.org/loss_of_hms_hood__part_3.htm
Part three starts with an analysis on underwater trajectories of heavy shells.
I have been reading the article and it concludes this:
The hit, caused by a 380mm projectile from Bismarck, first contacted Prince of Wales about 8.5 meters below the waterline. After piercing the skin, it penetrated four additional internal light bulkheads before ending up nose forward just outboard of the ship's main torpedo bulkhead alongside the main engineering spaces. This hit certainly had the potential to destroy the ship had it exploded, and had it struck adjacent to the magazines. .
The same author says that It may have destroyed the ship if the shell and fuse had detonated, so I don´t see contradiction. Evidently, the shell may have run a longer underwater trajectory, but I can´t calculate if more than the delay in the fuse, so It is almost imposible determine that the shell detonate ever before reaching the PoW with only these data, as Tommy said previously.
Best regards to all :wink:

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Post by ufo » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:09 pm

Well spotted! :D

But as it is an article and not a pick and mix :wink: - you also have to take into account the bit where the author calculates the ignition depth of Bismarck’s shells to be less than 3.5 metres at the distance where HMS Hood was hit. Now for the hit on HMS Prince of Wales the distance was slightly shorter; the angle of fall slightly lower. But however you turn it, you do not end up at a detonation depth of 8.5 metres for the flatter angle.

But – yes – the quote is correct. Hat the shell been taken out from where it was and instead at the same depth packed next to a magazine and had then someone (may be a shipyard worker?) ignited the shell. It would have destroyed the ship. Certainly :!:

In the context of HMS Hoods loss the statement goes that it is possible for a shell to end up close enough to a magazine by passing below (!) the belt. But the next three paragraphs deal amongst other things with the facts why a shell does not make it 8.5 metres deep and blow up a battleship.

Ciao,
Ufo

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Post by Hartmann10 » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:23 pm

Hello to all¡¡
I think that I see your point Ufo (It is extremely difficult to take all the parametres and to take a final conclussion :oops: ). Maybe you are right. It would be interesting if this topic is much more analized.
PD: I apologize for my english :oops:
Best regards :wink:

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Post by Bgile » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:11 pm

Here is my take on the discussion about that particular shell:

1. The fuse failed to activate on contact with the water. It exhibited a defect in not doing so.

2. If the fuse had activated, the shell would have exploded before it got to the PoW's torpedo bulkhead.

3. Having failed to activate it's fuse, it continued on to lodge next to PoW's torpedo bulkhead.

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Armour Design

Post by phil gollin » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:50 am

If anyone has Raven and Roberts book on British Battleship Of World War Two, please turn to 154 and 155 which summarises the debate the RN had regarding side protection and the 1928 battleship design studies. (Which formed the beginings of the KGV designs).

These looked at both side armour and side protection against torpedoes/mines.

As far as armour was concerned the choice was (simplistically) between a modified Nelson type extended extremely thinned to the bottom (i.e. like the South Dakota system) and a deep external system (i.e. the KGV system). Both were examined based on the trajectories of various shell, one of which was a diving underwater short which penetrated towards the bottom of the ship having passed through 30 - 45 feet of water. The deep outer belt system was designed such that it would (in "fighting condition" be deep enough to intercept an shell in a still working fused condition. Shell which would strike under this belt would (normally) have to be only with non-working fuzes. It was noted that there was always a chance that the shell could hit whilst the ship was rolling away from the enemy and into a trough and MAYBE get to the unarmoured ships side in an operable condition, but even then it would only expolode on or just inside the torpedo defences.

So the POW side defence system worked as advertised and speculation on what might-have-beens is in the realm of vague possibilities.

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