What if Hood hadn't blown up?

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

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Tiornu
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Post by Tiornu » Fri Sep 22, 2006 9:54 pm

I said that Bismarck would not likely overcome 2-to-1 odds. You took that to mean I considered her a floating piece of junk. You should use that in assessing your own thought on the subject, not mine.

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:15 pm

Hi Karl.

Yes I have seen "Kill Bill".

Whilst it contains the usual Tarantino stuff, Uma Thurman does play a good part.


Hmmmm......................Uma Thurman Image

:D
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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RNfanDan
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Post by RNfanDan » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:43 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
About RNfanDan post I find something very curious:
Holland was defeated by a combination of fate and incompetence, alone.
Never I had found that Holland commit a "blunder" in the strict meaning of the word: how could he had known that PE was leading the German formation? How would he had known that PoW´s artillery would became so handicapped? How could he had forecast that Bismarck´s artillery would straddle his vessel at the very beggining of the combat whilst his own would be unable to hit any of both enemy ships with so many salvoes fired? He was inside what Clausewitz called "the misdt of war", or General Lee "in God´s hands". He approached the German formation the best way he could, trying to avoid the deadly plungging fire of his adversaries and, in the process, falling victim of it.

Best regards.
Thanks, Karl.

Holland's interception was plotted and navigated superbly, although this may be more attributable to Hood's experienced crew, than to Holland himself. I don't regard Holland's approach as faulty. In fact, I think he developed what was in essence, a superb tactical plan in the beginning--for his heavy ships. Fate alone, is to blame for the shadowing cruisers losing contact with the German vessels, which turned out to be the biggest factor in wrecking Holland's planned final approach.

Rather, the incompetence I refer to, was Holland's failure to order the shadowing cruisers Norfolk and Suffolk to engage from their northerly position in the battle. This seems an unforgivable waste of resources, not to do so. Everyone on the British side in a position to know, were absolutely certain that Bismarck was accompanied by a cruiser, including Admiral Holland. It should have been a no-brainer to order the cruisers to engage, even if only to do so, once the big guns had commenced firing.

There is no down-side to ordering their participation. No matter what Holland's plan of battle, the two cruisers' shellfire might force the Germans to divide their own---either by Prinz Eugen or by Bismarck, or both. Having them in the fight, would at least provide additional incoming steel. This is not based on hindsight, but on information that was known absolutely and definitely, hours before the battle.

Such an order is self-supporting and justifiable, regardless of the variable (fate) factors that eventually came into play---PE leading, the accuracy of German gunnery, PoW's malfunctioning guns, or any of the other unforeseeable developments. It's the one thing I just cannot get past, even if all other British actions at DS are explainable. It's even more puzzling to me, when viewed against the backdrop of such actions as the Graf Spee affair and the battles in the Mediterranean.
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Antonio Bonomi
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Tactics

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:24 pm

Ciao all,

you may want to read this for addittional evaluations :

http://www.readybb.com/hmshood/viewtopi ... =1505#1505

my 2 points about Adm Holland orders and decisions can be surely debatable, but I am pretty sure nobody can state that they were a '' perfect '' move.

Despite her own gun ( KG V class quadruple turret design failure ) problems PoW got addittional undesired initial troubles and lost a lot of fire power (the Y quadruple turret ) till her 9th salvo at 05.57.

Whit some additional angle of approach advantage ( a better '' T '' position if the speed and course was altered earlier ) and a stable 280 degree course approach ( or even a 270 degrees at that point ) surely things were going to be much better, and maybe the Germans forced to use only the forward guns.
Surely PoW was going to be able to use all guns like Hood and not to scramble gunnery 2 times.

Opinions .....

Ciao Antonio :D

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wadinga
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Blunder and Incompetance- Not!

Post by wadinga » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:15 pm

All,
I believe the reference to the article on the Hood website, refers to mine, so I just want to make it absolutely clear that the only reason the words blunder and incompetence appear in it, is because I say they do NOT apply to VADM Holland's actions. (Just as in the definition of black might be - not in the least bit white at all).

The article is at http://www.hmshood.com/history/denmarks ... olland.htm

After Hood sank, Norfolk fired at Bismarck, her shells (with a maximum range of 30,000 yds) fell short. Since her gunners were trying their damnedest to hit her/him, that means Norfolk was still over 30,000 yds away. Since the Counties maybe had a 2-4 knot speed advantage over Lutjens, Holland would have had to have broken radio silence hours before, to tell them to close in. Norfolk and Suffolk weren't at the Battle of the Denmark Straits, and couldn't be, because warning them would have meant warning Lutjens he was about to be intercepted.

As I point out in my article, Lutjens had made a high speed tactical withdrawal (aka run away, very fast) every single time he had encountered a White Ensign previously, (Narvik, several times in Operation Berlin etc) and Holland must have expected him to do likewise this time. There were many good reasons for running away - but like it or not, Bismarck fans, it remains a fact, Lutjens was supposed to run away. He was under orders to avoid a fight with an equal or superior opponent. In Nazi Germany disobeying orders tended to result in a meeting with a wooden stake, a last cigarette and a proffered blindfold. Holland had to charge in at full tilt, so as maximise his engagement time before Lutjens "legged it" at full speed. Any turning to unmask his after turrets with either or both ships or any other "mucking about" would have meant being several thousand yards further away, when Lutjens inevitably turned and ran.

If Hood hadn't blown up, what would would have happened? Hard to say. Would PG's GHG operator have still heard imaginary torpedoes and caused his captain to zigzag wildly about in front of the flagship forcing her/him to zigzag too to avoid collision? Would Bismarck have fouled PG's range causing her to cease fire, and maybe collect some overs fired at the flagship? Would Lutjens have complied with his orders, swung away to starboard, made smoke and headed back for the Straits running into first the cruisers and then also the destroyers, with Holland snapping at his heels all the way. Who can say?

All the Best
wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Karl Heidenreich
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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:30 pm

RnfanDan, Antonio Bonomi and Sean Waddingham,

Very interesting and clearing views. As I said before, I have never believed that VAD Holland commited a "blunder" in the strict sense and, instead, he was in the middle of the deadly "misdt of war". Call it Fate if you want to, a series of decisions and events accumulated one after the other in order to have such an outcome.

Yesterday I received my copy of the book "Battlecruiser HMS Hood, and illustrated biography of the ship" by Bruce Taylor and expect to draw new conclusions from there.

Best regards to you all.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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miro777
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...

Post by miro777 » Sat Sep 30, 2006 7:37 am

hey...
i haven't read all the posts before, so i will just shortly state my opinion to the initial question.

I think that if the Hood wouldn't have blown up so quickly, the Germans would have still won.

You see, Hood was firing at PE, and there was no reason to believe that Holland would change that.
Hood didn't hit the PE once...
PoW was having problems with her guns, although she made some hits on BS.

Anyhow, my point is that, even if Hood wouldn't have blown up so quickly, she might have scored some hits on PE after some time, but the time she would need to do that, the Bismarck would have concentrated her own fire on Hood, and there would be hits on Hood everywhere...and eventually, Hood would blow up, or would have to withdraw.
PoW alone would have no chance.

Adios
miro
Die See ruft....

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RF
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Post by RF » Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:29 am

RNfanDan wrote:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:
About RNfanDan post I find something very curious:
Holland was defeated by a combination of fate and incompetence, alone.
Never I had found that Holland commit a "blunder" in the strict meaning of the word: how could he had known that PE was leading the German formation? How would he had known that PoW´s artillery would became so handicapped? How could he had forecast that Bismarck´s artillery would straddle his vessel at the very beggining of the combat whilst his own would be unable to hit any of both enemy ships with so many salvoes fired? He was inside what Clausewitz called "the misdt of war", or General Lee "in God´s hands". He approached the German formation the best way he could, trying to avoid the deadly plungging fire of his adversaries and, in the process, falling victim of it.

Best regards.
Thanks, Karl.

Holland's interception was plotted and navigated superbly, although this may be more attributable to Hood's experienced crew, than to Holland himself. I don't regard Holland's approach as faulty. In fact, I think he developed what was in essence, a superb tactical plan in the beginning--for his heavy ships. Fate alone, is to blame for the shadowing cruisers losing contact with the German vessels, which turned out to be the biggest factor in wrecking Holland's planned final approach.

Rather, the incompetence I refer to, was Holland's failure to order the shadowing cruisers Norfolk and Suffolk to engage from their northerly position in the battle. This seems an unforgivable waste of resources, not to do so. Everyone on the British side in a position to know, were absolutely certain that Bismarck was accompanied by a cruiser, including Admiral Holland. It should have been a no-brainer to order the cruisers to engage, even if only to do so, once the big guns had commenced firing.

There is no down-side to ordering their participation. No matter what Holland's plan of battle, the two cruisers' shellfire might force the Germans to divide their own---either by Prinz Eugen or by Bismarck, or both. Having them in the fight, would at least provide additional incoming steel. This is not based on hindsight, but on information that was known absolutely and definitely, hours before the battle.

Such an order is self-supporting and justifiable, regardless of the variable (fate) factors that eventually came into play---PE leading, the accuracy of German gunnery, PoW's malfunctioning guns, or any of the other unforeseeable developments. It's the one thing I just cannot get past, even if all other British actions at DS are explainable. It's even more puzzling to me, when viewed against the backdrop of such actions as the Graf Spee affair and the battles in the Mediterranean.
In my view Holland only made one mistake - having Hood as leading ship.
I think that was the crucial factor. If POW had drawn the Germans fire I think Hood would ultimately been able to fire on the right ship undisturbed, find the range....

The key point with alternative courses of the DS battle is what happens when Bismarck starts taking heavy hits. Lutjens options for breaking off the action are difficult - Greenland icefield to starboard, battleships to port with supporting torpedo carrying destroyers, torpedo carrying cruisers astern, plus Prinz Eugen to protect. This is when Holland should have got the upper hand....

Not having Norfolk/Suffolk immediately in the battle wouldn't be that crucial. If Bismarck slows in a prolonged action, they close on Bismarck anyway....

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miro777
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Post by miro777 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:49 pm

hey...
yes i agree that Holland should have used the PoW as the leading ship...

but yet,
who would use the PoW, with all her unfinished work, her not properly working turrents...

u can't blame Hood for choosing Hood instead...

miro
Die See ruft....

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Post by Tiornu » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:58 pm

Hood led because she was the flagship. If Holland had flown his flag from PoW, then PoW would have led. Unfortunately, there aren't to many unfinished flagships running around.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:19 pm

If the PoW´s engineers reported the problems in the quadruple mounts then that was another reason for Holland to leave her on tail.
But here is a question: it´s very likely that the British knew that the PoW was going to give some problems, but, in such a scale? :think:
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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RF
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Post by RF » Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:36 am

miro777 wrote:hey...
yes i agree that Holland should have used the PoW as the leading ship...

but yet,
who would use the PoW, with all her unfinished work, her not properly working turrents...



miro
Tovey did - he ordered it. In fact he had expected Holland to use POW as the leading ship to draw German fire to specifically protect Hood, only he didn't order Holland to do that because he believed Holland was sufficient a senior officer to do that anyway, and therefore not break radio silence for what he thought was an order to do the obvious.

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RF
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Post by RF » Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:43 am

Tiornu wrote:Hood led because she was the flagship. If Holland had flown his flag from PoW, then PoW would have led. Unfortunately, there aren't to many unfinished flagships running around.
Using the leading ship is of course the naval tradition.

Interesting that the German leading ship wasn't flagship and moreover was not pulled out of line either, as German Feet regulations required. Even more interesting - this was the only instance Lutjens didn't rigidly conform to the letter of his orders.

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miro777
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Post by miro777 » Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:59 pm

RF wrote:
Tiornu wrote:Hood led because she was the flagship. If Holland had flown his flag from PoW, then PoW would have led. Unfortunately, there aren't to many unfinished flagships running around.
Using the leading ship is of course the naval tradition.

Interesting that the German leading ship wasn't flagship and moreover was not pulled out of line either, as German Feet regulations required. Even more interesting - this was the only instance Lutjens didn't rigidly conform to the letter of his orders.
hey...
wat do u mean by 'pulled out of line'

adios
Die See ruft....

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RF
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Post by RF » Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:07 am

miro777 wrote: hey...
wat do u mean by 'pulled out of line'
The Prinz Eugen was allowed to take full part in the engagement, instead of ''pulling out of line'' ie. breaking off by either putting Bismarck between herself and the British ships, or by diverging from Bismarck by turning to starboard and away from the battle, in either case effectively withdrawing from the battle.

The ''line'' is the column of warships as they engage the enemy line, be it Jutland or Trafalgar.

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