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 26, 2010 3:52 pm

RF wrote: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?
No argument from me on that score. My point was that even if it came about assumeing that Eugen had a cake walk was a bit presumptive.
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.
Ah, I wasn't aware of that. So they would have needed at least three more days though? or at least that's a reasonable estimate. Of course if they were sure that there would be no problems with the RN even if the water distillation equipment was damaged there would be a number of things they could do that would give them a decent chance of getting back to Germany.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Djoser » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:45 am

paulcadogan wrote:
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
Thanks for a great post. I thought I remembered one of the survivors, Briggs I believe, saying on a video I was watching that body parts were falling down past him [on the compass platform?]. But I could be wrong about that.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Bgile » Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:09 pm

Hood's chief gunnery officer wouldn't have to have been located in the spotting top for there to be a significant disruption in Hood's fire. The officer in the main top was directing Hood's fire, no matter who it actually was. If his position was disabled, it would have caused at least a momentary disruption and possibly worse if spray was interfering with the view from the cupula much lower in the ship. At the very least, it would have been harder to see the target and spot splashes from there due to the difference in elevation.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by RF » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:28 am

I am wondering from seeing the above post whetherthis might be the reason for Holland's decision to turn to port at that moment, to reduce the volume of spray restricting vision? Obviously things were happening very fast and the order to turn may have been coincidental, made before the foretop gunnery impairment was recognised.
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by paulcadogan » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:01 am

Djoser wrote:I thought I remembered one of the survivors, Briggs I believe, saying on a video I was watching that body parts were falling down past him [on the compass platform?]. But I could be wrong about that.
Yes, Briggs did describe bodies in his interviews, including an officer whose face and hands had been blown off, but I think this was coming from what Tilburn told him and not what he saw himself. Remember, as the ship sank, he left the compass platform, climbed down a ladder and was swallowed up by the sea in seconds. He exited on the starboard side, was sucked down, whirled around under the ship and was shot to the surface on her port side where he saw her bows sticking vertically out of the sea. It was Tilburn on the boat deck who saw the horrific scenes of dismembered bodies.

Here's what Briggs told the Inquiry:
What did you say the Admiral said about not putting the fire out?

He said to the S.G.O. "leave it until the ammunition had gone". I think they were his exact words. The next thing (sic) that I know about the Captain picked up the telephone to ring the Spotting Top and he could not get through. A midshipman told me afterwards that he had seen bits falling from the Spotting Top but I did not see it.
http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... 1_Hood.htm

In his book he quotes Dundas as saying: "The fourth salvo seemed to go through the spotting top without exploding although bodies began to fall from it." (Flagship Hood P. 220)

So "bits" became "bodies".
Bgile wrote:Hood's chief gunnery officer wouldn't have to have been located in the spotting top for there to be a significant disruption in Hood's fire. The officer in the main top was directing Hood's fire, no matter who it actually was. If his position was disabled, it would have caused at least a momentary disruption and possibly worse if spray was interfering with the view from the cupula much lower in the ship. At the very least, it would have been harder to see the target and spot splashes from there due to the difference in elevation.
That's very true....but Wadinga's argument was that as the CGO, he would want to be in the best position to see what was happening for directing the ship's gunnery - which would be the vibrating, wind-swept spotting top. Would he have left that to a subordinate?
RF wrote:I am wondering from seeing the above post whetherthis might be the reason for Holland's decision to turn to port at that moment, to reduce the volume of spray restricting vision? Obviously things were happening very fast and the order to turn may have been coincidental, made before the foretop gunnery impairment was recognised.
I don't think so...I think that was a tactical move to try to keep slightly ahead of the enemy and enable both ships after turrets to fire at a safer angle. We had a good discussion on the blind angle factor for Hood & PoW over on the Hood site. Blast from PoW's after turret, which joined in after 5:57 had affected her aft directors. I suspect Hood's after turrets, which could physically bear 15 degrees further forward than PoW's, remained silent because of the boat deck fire and its associated damage. Blast may have made a bad situation worse. Hood's Y-turret is reported to have fired for the first time just before she blew up - X did not (maybe still too close to the aft superstructure as the ship turned).

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

Post by Bgile » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:20 pm

paulcadogan wrote: That's very true....but Wadinga's argument was that as the CGO, he would want to be in the best position to see what was happening for directing the ship's gunnery - which would be the vibrating, wind-swept spotting top. Would he have left that to a subordinate?
Paul
That depends on how the ship's gunnery dept is organized. I believe that on US battleships the CGO is responsible for allocating the various batteries to targets, as in the main battery firing at one target, secondary battery firing at another, and so on. The person in Spot One is not the CGO; it's the Main Battery Assistant.

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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by paulcadogan » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:56 am

Bgile wrote:That depends on how the ship's gunnery dept is organized. I believe that on US battleships the CGO is responsible for allocating the various batteries to targets, as in the main battery firing at one target, secondary battery firing at another, and so on. The person in Spot One is not the CGO; it's the Main Battery Assistant.
Interesting. So where would the CGO have been located in order for him to be able to select the target(s) and make the right decisions?

On PoW, CGO McMullen was in the DCT atop the bridge. Hood's CGO Moultrie should therefore have been in one of the directors (technically Hood did not have a DCT) - either the main one low on the conning tower or the other atop the spotting top. Bruce Taylor's book, in the section on gunnery, puts the CGO in the conning tower location since it was the main FC position, but this was disputed in that old Hood forum thread.

Add to that Squadron GO "Tiny" Gregson who was on the bridge with Admiral Holland and Captain Kerr. He was the one who reported the hit on the boat deck. I wonder how he fit into the scheme of things...
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Re: What if Hood hadn't blown up?

Post by Bgile » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:45 pm

paulcadogan wrote:
Bgile wrote:That depends on how the ship's gunnery dept is organized. I believe that on US battleships the CGO is responsible for allocating the various batteries to targets, as in the main battery firing at one target, secondary battery firing at another, and so on. The person in Spot One is not the CGO; it's the Main Battery Assistant.
Interesting. So where would the CGO have been located in order for him to be able to select the target(s) and make the right decisions?
I only know for sure about North Carolina, where the CGO had the upper level of the armored conning tower. There was a FC computer there and periscopes. There was also a FC radar on top. Further reading indicates the GCO sometimes delegated battery control. For example, the officer who controlled AA fire was located on a gallery up on the superstructure far above the bridge. He was delegated authority to open fire with the ship's AA weapons without permission from the captain or anyone else due to the very low response time required.

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