What if Hood hadn't blown up?

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lwd
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by lwd » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:59 pm

There are more British ships on the way than just DDs. In the event of a long action and additional damage to the German ships they may not be able to avoid at the very least air strikes. The damage Bismarck recieved historically was enough to terminate the cruise. If she recieves additional damage then things are going to be even worse. As for Eugen Spee comparison Spee took considerable damage even from the 6" shells. Indeed she wasn't capable of making it back to Germany even if the British hadn't been waiting for her. There is no reason to suspect Eugen would show up better when matched vs 2 heavy cruisers. If the latter tries a torpedo run she may end up on the wrong end of a few battleship main gun rounds which will drastically effect her life expectancy as well.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:05 pm

Seems to me the ideas here are heavily skewed in favour of the Germans - as if only they can score damaging hits!

If PoW had not been forced to swing out to starboard to avoid Hood, chances are she would have put a few more shells into Bismarck - remember she straddled and hit with her 13th salvo as Hood was blowing up. She had the range.

If Hood had continued to fire at Prinz Eugen, though this is doubtful, there was the potential for a single crippling hit which might leave the cruiser a sitting duck for Suffolk & Norfolk and I don't think she was immune to serious damage from them or being sunk.

If Hood solved her gunnery problems and got on to Bismarck, with or without her spotting top radar, I don't think Lutjens would have stuck around much longer under the combined fire of the two British ships, and the mounting damage. There would have been a course reversal, shooting their way past Suffolk and Norfolk and a pursuit back through the DS, plus possible interception by Holland's destroyers.

Then there's the range finder issue, stereoscopic vs. coincidence with the claim that with the former, accuracy diminished over time because of operator fatigue, while that latter improved. (This has been another debated issue!). Would the German accuracy have waned and the British got better?

Could the Prinz's fuel have gotten her back to Norway?

Of course....these hypotheticals are based on a series of probabilities making anyone's scenario possible.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Bgile » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:15 pm

It is surprising to me how many "lucky" hits there were in some of these battles:

The hit on Hood's primary FC position.

Bismarck's bow.

Below Bismarck's belt amidships.

Torpedo hit to Bismarck's rudder.

PoW's compass platform.

PoW's amidships secondary directors.

Gneisenau's Primary FC position vs Renown.

A. Graf Spee's Main FC Position.

Scharnhorst's Main FC position (radar) at North Cape.

Bismarck's Main FC position in last battle.

Hiei's Rudder compartment at 1st Guadalcanal melee.

Just one after another, and seemingly fairly small targets compared to the size of the target ship.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by paulcadogan » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:11 am

Bgile my friend....you left out the biggest one of all (obviously)... Hood's magazines :!:

And small nit pik...it was Hood's spotting top, not her primary FC position which was on the conning tower forward of the bridge (hence Hood did NOT lose central FC at any time - only her best positioned spotters and her gunnry radar IF the hit really took place. Unfortunately the spotting top is buried upside down in the mud with its starfish base and tripod sticking up.)

But yu're right...that's quite a list of lucky hits.

Add Duke of York's possible hit (engine room or boilers?) on Scharnhorst that sealed her fate..

And Hood's first salvo hit on Bretagne's magazine at Mers-El-Kebir - not widely discussed because of the emotive nature of that action - but could it be the only instance in which one ship's first salvo fired in anger sank another?

but we're going off topic.... :silenced:
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by RF » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:29 am

Bgile wrote:It is surprising to me how many "lucky" hits there were in some of these battles:
Which shows how vulnerable these ships are, regardless of how well protected and armoured they are only as strong as their weakest link.
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Kyler » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:42 pm

RF wrote:
Bgile wrote:It is surprising to me how many "lucky" hits there were in some of these battles:
Which shows how vulnerable these ships are, regardless of how well protected and armoured they are only as strong as their weakest link.
I think that sums it up very nicely :clap:
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Wrong f@%king ship!" Commander Stewart-Moore (HMS Ark Royal)

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Bgile » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:47 pm

I've been especially surprised at how often the Main Director postion way up high in the ship gets hit. It almost has to be an "over" salvo because it's on the order of 150 feet or so above the waterline, and there is very little for that salvo to hit except that one relatively small target, and yet it does seem to get hit fairly often.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by RF » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:42 am

Usually by splinters and shrapnel, and related blast rather than a heavy shell hitting and exploding.

Although high up, hits at a lower level can cause flame and ejecta to hit the exposed positions, sever connecting cables, ladders etc. So it isn't just ''overs'' that do the damage.

Am I right in thinking that Achilles bridge and fire director took casualties from an AGS shell exploding on the sea just short of its target?
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by paulcadogan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:58 am

RF wrote:Am I right in thinking that Achilles bridge and fire director took casualties from an AGS shell exploding on the sea just short of its target?
Right you are....
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Bgile » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:52 pm

Achilles didn't have any armor in those areas. Battleships typically have splinter protection on fire control directors, and there are armored tubes connecting them with the ship's fire control center. I really think historically they have taken direct hits. Of course, it could be a direct hit from almost anything ...

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by RF » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:52 am

lwd wrote: As for Eugen Spee comparison Spee took considerable damage even from the 6" shells. Indeed she wasn't capable of making it back to Germany even if the British hadn't been waiting for her.
As an aside this was the view of Langsdorf, due to North Atlantic sea conditions, but the Uruguayan technical commission and some of the other German officers thought that was overstating it.
In comparing DS with RP bear in mind AGS was under fire from 16 six inch guns; Eugen would be under fire from 8 5.25 inch guns and I think the weight and effect of the POW secondary battery would be substantially less than Ajax and Achilles.
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by lwd » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:05 pm

RF wrote:
lwd wrote: As for Eugen Spee comparison Spee took considerable damage even from the 6" shells. Indeed she wasn't capable of making it back to Germany even if the British hadn't been waiting for her.
As an aside this was the view of Langsdorf, due to North Atlantic sea conditions, but the Uruguayan technical commission and some of the other German officers thought that was overstating it.
In comparing DS with RP bear in mind AGS was under fire from 16 six inch guns; Eugen would be under fire from 8 5.25 inch guns and I think the weight and effect of the POW secondary battery would be substantially less than Ajax and Achilles.
This line supposed that the British cruisers closed and engaged Eugen so it's not just or even POW's secondary. As for Spee making it home from what I remember it wasn't so much a matter of North Atlantic sea conditions but lack of fresh water storage and generation capacity, having lost her generation capability to damage and it being unreparable before she had to leave. I think there were other factors as well but could be wrong there.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by RF » Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:20 am

lwd, with regards to Eugen coming under fire from Norfolk and Suffolk I would repeat the point made in my posts above, namely that I am not clear as to how this is to happen when Bismarck is between them. While Eugen is in front of Bismarck and only under fire from the POW secondary battery how can the cruisers touch Brinkmann's command? As I commented above, it is likely that Wake-Walker would concentrate on Bismarck anyway to relieve some pressure from Hood.

Regarding AGS, the Uruguayans thought the German claims of damage to the water distillation and food storage facilities were exagerated for propaganda purposes and believed it was repairable using the facilities in Montivideo in three days. As they were genuinely neutral I am naturally constrained to accept Guarani's view.
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Djoser » Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:15 pm

paulcadogan wrote:Bgile my friend....you left out the biggest one of all (obviously)... Hood's magazines :!:

And small nit pik...it was Hood's spotting top, not her primary FC position which was on the conning tower forward of the bridge (hence Hood did NOT lose central FC at any time - only her best positioned spotters and her gunnry radar IF the hit really took place. Unfortunately the spotting top is buried upside down in the mud with its starfish base and tripod sticking up.)

But yu're right...that's quite a list of lucky hits.

Add Duke of York's possible hit (engine room or boilers?) on Scharnhorst that sealed her fate..

And Hood's first salvo hit on Bretagne's magazine at Mers-El-Kebir - not widely discussed because of the emotive nature of that action - but could it be the only instance in which one ship's first salvo fired in anger sank another?

but we're going off topic.... :silenced:
Wow, I didn't know that, thanks for the correction!

I do think we can assume a hit took place, with some certainty, if body parts were flying around from up there though! Where else would they have come from?

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by paulcadogan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:17 pm

Djoser wrote:Wow, I didn't know that, thanks for the correction!

I do think we can assume a hit took place, with some certainty, if body parts were flying around from up there though! Where else would they have come from?
When you really examine the evidence, there remains some uncertainty.

At the Boards of Enquiry, Ted Briggs stated that Bill Dundas had told him that he thought a salvo had gone through the spotting top because "bits" started falling from it. In his book "Flagship Hood" those "bits" were described instead as "bodies". Briggs himself did not see this and there was no direct recorded testimony from Dundas. There is also Briggs testimony that Captain Kerr tried to contact the spotting top and got no response.

Then there also seems to be a correlation between the timing of those events and some degradation of the accuracy of Hood's gunnery together with the failure to shift target effectively.

Bob Tilburns testimony of bodies falling on him seems more associated with events surrounding the final explosion.

On the matter of primary FC, there was quite a debate a few years back in the old HMS Hood forum over where her Chief Gunnery Officer would have been located during the battle - in the main armoured FC position on the conning tower or in the spotting top director (this had no optical range finder - it was removed when the type 284 gunnery radar was installed on the director in March 1941) where he would have the clearest view. If he was up there and was killed or his communications cut off by a hit, there might have been a temporary interruption of command until it was realized and control shifted to a junior GO in the conning tower position. Radar ranging would also have been lost. (I believe radar played a big part in Hood's pretty accurate early salvoes against the Prinz - she had the range very quickly and needed only to adjust for line). The result......a temporary cessation of fire, prompting PoW to note on its gunnery plot "Hood out of Action" at about 5:57.

Also, Hood is estimated to have fired only 10 salvoes in the time in which PoW fired 13. They were supposed to be alternating in slots.

Unfortunately, as I said before, the real evidence is buried upside down in the mud at the bottom of the DS...

Paul
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