The D/F Controversy

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

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pgollin
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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by pgollin » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:00 pm

.

This is a reply posted by Alan Raven ;

Dear Phil,

Thank you for posting my notes on the other place.

A few more notes if I may, and I ask that Mr Wadinga (if he wishes to, with any questions) post them here on Steel Navy. This will save your time and trouble.

Wadinga says he is 'perplexed', 'Standard practice at the time ...'

One of the official histories states that it was the standard practice at this period to supply bearings, with the officer afloat calculating the fixes himself.

Tovey's navigating officer had what he believed was the complete and current list of H/F D/F stations in the UK. This list was intact
[in fact] out of date; instead of there being five stations as he believed from his list there were in fact seven. OIC was unaware of the officer not having the full list, and this was the cause of the error in plotting the fixes and hence Tovey going off chasing shadows.

It should be noted that Tovey had to keep his mouth shut and not be Dfd on by the enemy. Later, OIC sent a second set of bearings based on further transmissions from Bismarck. This second set, also included the OICs plotting room fixes. This put things right for Tovey, who then deployed his forces accordingly.

As to whether Tovey's navigating officer had a set of Great Circle maps, IO don't know, but he would have had a set of Admiralty Pilot Charts. Even I have a set of these for the North Atlantic.

Beesly notes on page 81; that the two destroyers, Ghurka and Lance that were fitted with type FH 3 H/F D/F, and that Tovey gave this as one of the reasons why he wanted bearings only from OIC, because the intercepts from these two vessels would give him 'first class cuts'. The problem was, that the Ghurka had machinery defects and Lance had to leave to fuel. however to be of actual use in Dfing they would have had to have been within twenty miles of Bismarck. Beyond that, the FH 3 would not be able to intercept transmissions.. Several ships involved in the search were fitted with H.F D/F sets, but these are type FH 2, which was nowhere near as good as FH3. .

The story of wartime 'Y' and associated Dfing has yet to be fully told and I see it as part of the overall intelligence story. will write more a little later
"


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IF, Wadinga (or anyone else wants to contact Alan Raven, he posts as "WR" on the SteelNavy.com message board ;

http://members.boardhost.com/Warship/in ... 1533311646

He sometimes doesn't sign in every day, but he does interact there.

.

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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by wadinga » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:07 pm

Hello All,

Following the very useful information from Alan Raven:
It should be noted that Tovey had to keep his mouth shut and not be Dfd on by the enemy. Later, OIC sent a second set of bearings based on further transmissions from Bismarck. This second set, also included the OICs plotting room fixes. This put things right for Tovey, who then deployed his forces accordingly.
Tovey transmitted Lloyd's incorrect estimate at 10:47 for all ships in the chase, breaking radio silence with this vital information and committing his forces to the Iceland-Faroes option.

According to Beesly writing in "Very Special Intelligence" this second set of bearings with plotting room fixes was not received in the flagship until 14:00. He says Tovey took a further one and a quarter hours (15:15) before he turned on to a SE heading. Further he points out that after intercepting Admiralty instructions to Rodney to steer as if Bismarck was heading for the Iceland-Faroes passage, Tovey was "baffled", altered to a compromise course and broke radio silence at 16:30 to ask for the Admiralty's latest conclusion. This took some time to arrive and apparently confirmed France.

Looking at the tidied up overall map in the Kew file does not support this. It shows KG V steaming NE from 10:47 until 15:38, then turning to E until 16:12 and then steadying on about ENE until 18:10 when she eventually turned to the SE. It would appear it was quite a bit later that Tovey actually committed to the chase to the SE having lost an awful lot of distance in the meantime.

Kennedy says it was only an hour after this that Tovey received assurance that the Admiralty appreciation was France, based on the German Air Force decrypt (Jeschonnek). This would be about 19:00 and it was just after 20:00 that Rodney turned SE also.


Grenfell says that at about 10:00 when OIC was saying France based on the D/F results and the uncorrected bearings were being sent to Tovey, Captain C S Daniel, the Director of Plans and Captain R A B Edwards Director of Operations were summoned (Pound/Phillips presumably) and told to make their seperate appreciations. It is not clear whether they were given the OIC information. Grenfell speaking to Daniels six years later, says that the audience for his appraisal included Alexander, Pound and Phillips plus some other officers. His choice of France based on damage repair facilities plus a wide Atlantic margin for evading interception was not well received, the senior staff preferring the northern return route. Captain Edwards told Grenfell that his appreciation was also France but his impression of his audience response was positive.


Tovey's 10:47 transmission of his incorrect Iceland-Faroes conclusion had apparently caused no disquiet at the Admiralty at all. Grenfell reports that Sir Bruce Fraser, Third Sea Lord told him both Phillips and the Assistant Chief (Home) were convinced of a French destination as were both Daniels and Edwards. Sir Frederick Bowhill and Coastal Command were designing searches on this same assumption based on their independent analysis.

As we know OIC had their original bearings plus later ones and the switch to Group West traffic from Group North all telling the same story.

Grenfell summarizes "How was it that in spite of these highly suggestive pointers towards the South-East the fleet continued, with the full knowledge of the Naval Staff of the Admiralty, to steer North-East for another four to five hours? The author does not know."

Here is the real conundrum of the Bismarck Chase and one where the procedural and reactive mistakes were indeed covered up. Captain Lloyd, Tovey's senior navigator, has unfairly been scapegoated for a mistake he could probably not avoid making, apparently as a result of his C-in-C not understanding the technical issues, and the whole problem then vastly magnified by those in possesion of superior information doing nothing.


It is fair that having been left out of the awards scheme, Frank Lloyd received a belated award in January 1942 and a command later in the war. It would seem somebody, somewhere knew where the blame lay, such as it was.

All the best

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

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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by Algonquin-R17 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:15 am

Thanks for your very succinct explanation of that period of confusion.

Here is the real conundrum of the Bismarck Chase and one where the procedural and reactive mistakes were indeed covered up. Captain Lloyd, Tovey's senior navigator, has unfairly been scapegoated for a mistake he could probably not avoid making, apparently as a result of his C-in-C not understanding the technical issues, and the whole problem then vastly magnified by those in possesion of superior information doing nothing.


The underlined text is very well worded.

Bob

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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by wadinga » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:02 pm

Fellow Contributors,

Earlier I wrote:
Grenfell says that at about 10:00 when OIC was saying France based on the D/F results and the uncorrected bearings were being sent to Tovey, Captain C S Daniel, the Director of Plans and Captain R A B Edwards Director of Operations were summoned (Pound/Phillips presumably) and told to make their seperate appreciations. It is not clear whether they were given the OIC information. Grenfell speaking to Daniels six years later, says that the audience for his appraisal included Alexander, Pound and Phillips plus some other officers. His choice of France based on damage repair facilities plus a wide Atlantic margin for evading interception was not well received, the senior staff preferring the northern return route. Captain Edwards told Grenfell that his appreciation was also France but his impression of his audience response was positive.
Jose's collated signals and situation listing includes:
08:29 From A.C.N.S.H. to 1st Cruiser Squadron, SUFFOLK, PRINCE OF WALES
F.O. 2nd Cruiser Squadron 0159B/25. Have you any evidence to confirm that T/B attack was successful.
Tom Phillips' assistant is asking whether Bismarck's actions (course/speed) indicate damage and a change of plan. Since Suffolk had been reporting loss of contact since early morning the addressees have little to contribute. Without waiting for the response. the First Sea Lord intervenes...…...
08:55 From 1st S.L. to C. in C. Home Fleet
During the period from shortly after the time of the T.B. attack until 0258B/25 BISMARCK made a series of signals some very long, and a fair inference is that owing to damage received enemy has recast his plan.
shows that at this time, when OIC were already telling Pound that their early results were showing a more south-easterly movement, Pound told Tovey Lutjens was changing plans. That is, not staying at sea for a raiding mission but heading for France. Since Bletchley could not tell him the content of the Long Signals, at that time, he assumed this was as a result of Victorious' attack, instead of, as we know, the damage inflicted by PoW at Denmark Straits.

At 09:19 VCNS Tom Phillips had sent a situation report headed:
1. A.M. 2023B/24. Situation at 0600B/25.
1. 1st C.S. lost touch with enemy at 0306 in 56º 23' N., 36º 05' W.
The first item merely references the last situation report issued the previous evening. The heading Situation at 0600B/25. is clear but does not explain why it is sent out with Time Of Origin over 3 hours later. The previous sitrep was TOO 2 hours after the time to which it applied. There is no information in the 09:19 report highlighting Lutjens' long transmission or any assumptions or appreciations the Admiralty might have made. There is no mention of Victorious' attack, successful or otherwise.
10:23 From 1st S.L. to S.O. Force H.
Proceed on assumption that enemy turned towards Brest at 0300B/25.
Pound tells Somerville to act on "assumption". This signal is almost as bad as the PQ 17 debacle or Beatty's flag captain sending the remaining battle cruisers after the wrong enemy at Dogger Bank. He cites no evidence, he does not say anything about the D/F results and an assumption can mean a pure guess. But it isn't. He has D/F intelligence and he has Edwards' and Daniels' conclusions. He has deduced Bismarck made a radical change of course to avoid Suffolk's shadowing at 03:00 and that her destination is Brest. Yet this conclusion is not sent addressed to Tovey, and all the Admiralty players ignore Tovey's transmission at 10:47 of the erroneous position and the inevitable conclusion that Bismarck is heading for Norway.
11:58From V.C.N.S. to RODNEY
Your 0900B/25. Act on assumption that enemy is proceeding towards a Bay of Biscay port.
Phillips repeats Pound's terse uninformative instruction format to Rodney, an hour after Tovey has sent his erroneous position.

One can only echo, yet again, the excellent Grenfell's observation:
Grenfell summarizes "How was it that in spite of these highly suggestive pointers towards the South-East the fleet continued, with the full knowledge of the Naval Staff of the Admiralty, to steer North-East for another four to five hours? The author does not know."
There is only one explanation. The simultaneous handling of the Crete debacle was overloading the Admiralty command structure. Players were intervening in the Bismarck Chase without being aware of what their peers, superiors or supporting personnel knew, and thus countermanding and contradicting each other. Tovey's laudable maintenance of radio silence meant he could not demand a clear, up to date sitrep based on all the information the Admiralty as a whole had at its disposal. Bismarck nearly escaped as a result. This is the hidden secret of the Bismarck Chase.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by Bill Jurens » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:47 pm

For what is is worth, and speaking only as 'a guy', i.e. not the moderator, I think Wadinga has more or less hit the nail on the head.

For some reason, the Admiralty -- perhaps due to the sudden loss of Hood, which tended to drag in those with more political perspectives -- led to a situation where for a while nobody could really decide who was really running the show, those 'on site' at sea, those at the Admiralty, or the politicians in Whitehall. Even worse, the situation was such that essentially nobody held entire picture. The result was a situation, happily (at least from the British side) fairly temporary in nature, with too many people all shouting at once. When in worry or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout...

This primarily reflects, of course, a failure in organization and communications. It happens all the time, in all larger organizations faced with threatening and unfamiliar situations. It shouldn't, but it does...


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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by Herr Nilsson » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:56 am

1428B/25 From C.N.S. to RODNEY
My 1158B/25. Comply with C. in C. Home Fleet 1047/25 acting on the assumption that enemy is proceeding to Norway via passage between Scotland and Iceland.
...
1621/25 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
My position 054º 50' N., 033º 20' W., at 1600B, course 80º, speed 25 knots. Your 1428, do you consider enemy making for Faeroes.
...
1805B/25 From V.C.N.S. to RODNEY
Cancel my 1428B/25. Proceed on the assumption that destination of the enemy is a French port.
...
1824B/25 From V.C.N.S.
Admiralty appreciation is that BISMARCK is making for West coast of France.
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by wadinga » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:54 pm

Fellow Contributors,

It has been said:
which tended to drag in those with more political perspectives
As was established in the Long Court Martial Thread, Churchill, weekending in Chequers (40 miles WNW of London), was somewhat exercised on the Saturday after Hood had been sunk, but the War Diary does not mention when some luckless person (Pound?) had the unenviable task of phoning Chequers on the Sunday 25th morning and telling the PM Bismarck had apparently escaped some hours previously. The intemperate outburst recorded by Colville, (use his name as a search term in the 151 page thread) was made on Sunday morning over a day after PoW disengaged. It was the loss of contact and apparent escape which so infuriated the PM, trapped in a country house with limited access to the full flow of information regarding search measures being taken and the situation maps covering both the Bismarck and Crete actions.

Churchill writes that he questioned the "Duty Captain" about times and distances, presumably by phone, since he did not return to London until halfway through Monday 26th, and found his reports "reassuring". This is Churchill's version of history, written in rosy retrospective by him, and we may be sure he was burning the phone lines to the Admiralty constantly throughout Sunday and the following day before appearing at the Admiralty in the evening of the 26th. In fact at no time does he mention talking to senior personnel like Pound or Phillips, and only to Bruce Fraser during his period in the Admiralty on Monday night when the Bismarck had been crippled.

It is difficult to assess what the PM may have influenced on the Sunday when the decision-makers seem to have been in such a turmoil. Until Tovey decided to break radio silence, he could not as C-in-C command the situation since he was rendered effectively dumb. The "entire picture" should have been collated by Director of Operations, Captain Edwards, and all assumptions, appreciations etc should have passed through him and been disseminated to the ships at sea, until Tovey got within striking range, and could reveal his presence and take charge. It is still impossible to understand why once Tovey had broken radio silence the Admiralty did not query the location he gave for Bismarck, which differed so drastically, based on the same raw data, from their own calculated solution.

There was no Ultra information involved here, only good old fashioned D/F that had been used in World War One and thus no reason not to disseminate estimated position information based on it. "Assumptions" referencing it would be far more reliable guides to the ships at sea than plain assumptions (or guesses).

The scale and complexity of operations and technical innovations was moving things towards remote control from shore. Interestingly, "up and at'em" Cunningham realised his best chance of controlling things in the Crete campaign was to stay ashore to access intelligence to help direct those at sea. It had been suggested as Fleet Chief Lutjens' place was directing operations from onshore, not aboard Bismarck. His long-winded report which provided the D/F intelligence was essentially pointless and unnecessary, and the technical transmission and coding problems requiring it to be retransmitted should have given the British an early interception, but for fumbling and disorganisation in the Admiralty on Sunday 25th.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by HMSVF » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:47 pm

wadinga wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:54 pm
Fellow Contributors,

It has been said:
which tended to drag in those with more political perspectives
As was established in the Long Court Martial Thread, Churchill, weekending in Chequers (40 miles WNW of London), was somewhat exercised on the Saturday after Hood had been sunk, but the War Diary does not mention when some luckless person (Pound?) had the unenviable task of phoning Chequers on the Sunday 25th morning and telling the PM Bismarck had apparently escaped some hours previously. The intemperate outburst recorded by Colville, (use his name as a search term in the 151 page thread) was made on Sunday morning over a day after PoW disengaged. It was the loss of contact and apparent escape which so infuriated the PM, trapped in a country house with limited access to the full flow of information regarding search measures being taken and the situation maps covering both the Bismarck and Crete actions.

Churchill writes that he questioned the "Duty Captain" about times and distances, presumably by phone, since he did not return to London until halfway through Monday 26th, and found his reports "reassuring". This is Churchill's version of history, written in rosy retrospective by him, and we may be sure he was burning the phone lines to the Admiralty constantly throughout Sunday and the following day before appearing at the Admiralty in the evening of the 26th. In fact at no time does he mention talking to senior personnel like Pound or Phillips, and only to Bruce Fraser during his period in the Admiralty on Monday night when the Bismarck had been crippled.

It is difficult to assess what the PM may have influenced on the Sunday when the decision-makers seem to have been in such a turmoil. Until Tovey decided to break radio silence, he could not as C-in-C command the situation since he was rendered effectively dumb. The "entire picture" should have been collated by Director of Operations, Captain Edwards, and all assumptions, appreciations etc should have passed through him and been disseminated to the ships at sea, until Tovey got within striking range, and could reveal his presence and take charge. It is still impossible to understand why once Tovey had broken radio silence the Admiralty did not query the location he gave for Bismarck, which differed so drastically, based on the same raw data, from their own calculated solution.

There was no Ultra information involved here, only good old fashioned D/F that had been used in World War One and thus no reason not to disseminate estimated position information based on it. "Assumptions" referencing it would be far more reliable guides to the ships at sea than plain assumptions (or guesses).

The scale and complexity of operations and technical innovations was moving things towards remote control from shore. Interestingly, "up and at'em" Cunningham realised his best chance of controlling things in the Crete campaign was to stay ashore to access intelligence to help direct those at sea. It had been suggested as Fleet Chief Lutjens' place was directing operations from onshore, not aboard Bismarck. His long-winded report which provided the D/F intelligence was essentially pointless and unnecessary, and the technical transmission and coding problems requiring it to be retransmitted should have given the British an early interception, but for fumbling and disorganisation in the Admiralty on Sunday 25th.

All the best

wadinga

To be honest the more I have read about Churchill the more he loses his veneer. His greatest moment was the summer of 1940, absolutely no question.His stand meant that we have the Western Europe of today rather than a communist version (where the soviets make it all the way to the channel).

However.

When it comes to naval matters he was a disaster zone. If it wasn't mad cap ideas like "Operation Catherine" it was actual deployments like Force Z that lead to disaster. For this reason I always treat Churchill's works with a degree of suspicion. The man was a self publicist and more dangerously a "arm chair" admiral.

He appears to have had run ins with pretty much every high ranking admiral in the Royal Navy. Even "ABC" Cunningham felt his wraith when he didn't "Oran" the French ships at Alexandra and played it the way he thought he should (being the man on the spot) ,as opposed to what Churchill wanted. The man seems to have a real grudge against the officers for some reason. Whether it was as a result of his sacking as a result of the Dardenelles fiasco, whether it was because of he felt that Fisher had thrown him to the wolves during the same crisis I don't know.

His relationship with Pound seems to have been relatively stable because he felt Pound was malleable .Pound for his part had the nous to fritter away at the edges of Churchills grand schemes rather than take him on head on.As dull and uninspiring Pound wash was no fool (until his health dramatically deteriorated and you end up with the fiasco of PQ-17). Pretty much every other high ranking admiral, was threatened or questioned by WSC. Tom Phillips, had he survived, would have almost certainly been castigated for the loss of Force Z even though it was Churchills folly.

How Churchill survived the Narvik debacle is to me a mystery. It had Churchills paw prints all of it with predictable results. It was poorly planned, took no account of modern warfare and its targets where ambiguous and confused (a bit like Gallipoli).

So in regards to the Bismarck episode I would treat the old goats accounts with a very healthy pinch of salt. I can well imagine him throwing his dolls out of the pram and making crazy suggestions. I would treat his versions of events though with caution.


Best wishes to all.


HMSVF

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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by wadinga » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:31 pm

Fellow Contributors,

There is a danger here of getting side tracked into discussing the Magnificent Monster's many misdemeanours. As far as the D/F controversy is concerned, HMSVF's point about the Admiralty trying to handle the far larger and more significant problem, Crete, simultaneously with the Bismarck Chase is, as I have always believed, much more significant. Not to mention the whole rest of the naval war. Pound and Phillips were busy second guessing and arguing with Cunningham and this meant insufficient oversight and co-ordination of the Bismarck Chase.

If things at the Admiralty had been as crisp, controlled and organised as depicted in "Sink the Bismarck" somebody (with an emotionless, giant brain) would have noticed and reacted when Tovey's broadcast estimate of Bismarck's position was so different to their own. The reality was surely
When in worry or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout...

Despite WSC's belief he could handle navies better than Admirals, armies better than Generals and Air Forces better than Air Marshals, the PM had a whole country (and war) to run and parliamentary business as revealed by Hansard on 27th May shows many other items for him to consider beyond these two naval matters. If he was as obsessed with Bismarck as suggested he would surely have returned to London immediately to badger Pound not dallied in the country. Buttering up his American guest to save Lease-Lend was far more important so his contribution to the confusion and disorganisation in the Admiralty may have been minimal.

Despite WSC's many shortcomings I believe the whole world owes a massive debt of gratitude to him for shouldering a burden most would shirk, in the hour of greatest need, and also for "buggering on" (his words) throughout the war to a successful conclusion. More reasonable men would surely have fallen short. We needed a monster to fight a monster, and luckily we had one.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by HMSVF » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:38 pm

wadinga wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:31 pm
Fellow Contributors,

There is a danger here of getting side tracked into discussing the Magnificent Monster's many misdemeanours. As far as the D/F controversy is concerned, HMSVF's point about the Admiralty trying to handle the far larger and more significant problem, Crete, simultaneously with the Bismarck Chase is, as I have always believed, much more significant. Not to mention the whole rest of the naval war. Pound and Phillips were busy second guessing and arguing with Cunningham and this meant insufficient oversight and co-ordination of the Bismarck Chase.

If things at the Admiralty had been as crisp, controlled and organised as depicted in "Sink the Bismarck" somebody (with an emotionless, giant brain) would have noticed and reacted when Tovey's broadcast estimate of Bismarck's position was so different to their own. The reality was surely
When in worry or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout...

Despite WSC's belief he could handle navies better than Admirals, armies better than Generals and Air Forces better than Air Marshals, the PM had a whole country (and war) to run and parliamentary business as revealed by Hansard on 27th May shows many other items for him to consider beyond these two naval matters. If he was as obsessed with Bismarck as suggested he would surely have returned to London immediately to badger Pound not dallied in the country. Buttering up his American guest to save Lease-Lend was far more important so his contribution to the confusion and disorganisation in the Admiralty may have been minimal.

Despite WSC's many shortcomings I believe the whole world owes a massive debt of gratitude to him for shouldering a burden most would shirk, in the hour of greatest need, and also for "buggering on" (his words) throughout the war to a successful conclusion. More reasonable men would surely have fallen short. We needed a monster to fight a monster, and luckily we had one.

All the best

wadinga

Apologies Wadinga that was not my intention.

I was trying to give a little context to the debate in regards to Churchill. I agree fully with your last paragraph. My comment was more to do with his track record in naval matters and his reliability as a source - which IMHO he should used be carefully as he was in many cases the root cause problem, but you wouldn't necessarily know that if you read his texts. A great man definitely, but certainly not flawless. Certainly in regard to naval matters.

Apologies again.



BW


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Re: The D/F Controversy

Post by wadinga » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:51 pm

Fellow Contributors,

No apology necessary HMSVF, Grenfell, who had retired immediately prior to WWII to become an author on naval matters, and knew well the protagonists, was no Churchill fan, and having listed all those who favoured France as a destination (basically everybody) suggests darkly:
But in view of all the evidence in support of a French port and of the widespread opinion known to be prevailing amongst members of the Naval Staff of the Admiralty, that that was where the Bismarck was going, he [ie Grenfell as author] feels it to be a fair inference that there must have been some powerful influence at work, for a reason that is so far obscure, to keep the fleet steaming towards the North Sea for so long.
The "powerful Influence" he must believe was WSC, although how the PM could possibly have made them all ignore the evidence and fail to correct Tovey's error, when the Magnificent Monster was doing it by phone and in spite of that evidence is not explained. Or in my mind credible. IMHO either they failed to notice Tovey's conclusion was different to their own, highly unlikely, or for some bizarre reason they concluded Tovey, magically, had better information that their own.

The two men Sir Arthur John Power as ACNS (Home) and Captain Edwards as Director of Operations (Home) were not involved in the Cretan debacle and should have monitored everything pertaining to Bismarck very closely. The former sent
From A.C.N.S. H.
1057B/25 Radio finger prints indicate that the ship which transmitted at 0854B/25 in a position to the Eastward of the last known position of BISMARCK is the same ship that transmitted a number of messages after the T/B attack last night.
This again is a useless signal, given the impreciseness of the D/F geometry, discussed above. It is not the easterlyness which is important because that is the least reliable element, it is the southerlyness which says the Bismarck, likely damaged is still heading south, ie for succour somewhere, at this stage still possibly Spain, Italy(?) or most likely France where there is only one drydock that can accommodate her.

Both Dalrymple-Hamilton and Somerville make textbook reports of their position, but Tovey omits this absolutely vital information, and only four hours later does Phillips step in and delicately suggest it should be supplied. What are Powers and Edwards doing? How can they monitor and influence the chase when they have only ancient estimates of the C-in-C's position?

There is nothing but muddle and confusion here.

All the best

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

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