Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

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

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wadinga
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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by wadinga » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:43 pm

Hello Marc,

Chapeau à vous :clap: Just found a picture of 380 cm "dustbins" all over Tirpitz' upperdeck after bombarding Spitzbergen, and there are even higher tubular rail fences to stop them rolling overboard and polluting the 'oggin. [political commentary redacted. WJJ]
All the best

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by dunmunro » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:07 pm

Hi all. I rescaled by 4X the image of the supposed first salvo:

Image


http://www.sfu.ca/~dmunro/images/Salvo1a?.jpg


and circled the shadows. The thing is that the sun would be low in the upper right hand corner of the image, assuming a course of 220d at ~0553 24 May 1941, and so the shadow should fall about 90d to the left of where it seems to be.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:50 am

Hello everybody,

[Personal commentary redacted. WJJ]

If the red circled dark areas are shadows (???), what is the yellow circled dark area much more evidently showing that the starboard side of PG superstructure is not receiving enough light, thus that it is "shadowed" ?
Looking at this area, the light is clearly coming from the port side of PG, perfectly matching a 220° course vs sun position at 05:55 on May 24...

Salvo1.jpg
Salvo1.jpg (64.91 KiB) Viewed 1428 times

The fact is that we have a low quality image from which nothing can be said about exposure, light conditions etc. Sun was not shining that day and the so-called "shadows" are not evident at all in this picture.

The only evident thing we can say for sure is that PG has already opened fire at the time the photo was taken, as per initial crystal clear question.


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by paul.mercer » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:01 am

dunmunro wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:29 am
paul.mercer wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:04 am
Gentlemen,
Re the 'shell casings, were 8" shells complete with brass cases (like a bullet) or were they a shell plus cordite bags? If they are the latter, would the 'casings' be what I believe were sometimes referred to as 'Clarkson cases'?
The KM used a brass case for the main propellant charge but the shell and propellant cartridge were separate, rather like the RN 5.25in or the USN 6in/47. The propellant was loaded in two charges but I'm not sure if the fore charge was in a brass case.

Clarkson cases were a true case, intended only to protect the bagged cordite whereas the main charge for the 20.3cm gun was an actual brass cartridge that was rammed into the breech.
Thanks dunmunro,
I presume that for the 15" conventional bagged cordite charges were used as very large brass cases rolling around could be a hazard - or were they brass cases as well?l

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by northcape » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:10 am

dunmunro wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:07 pm
Hi all. I rescaled by 4X the image of the supposed first salvo:

Image


http://www.sfu.ca/~dmunro/images/Salvo1a?.jpg


and circled the shadows. The thing is that the sun would be low in the upper right hand corner of the image, assuming a course of 220d at ~0553 24 May 1941, and so the shadow should fall about 90d to the left of where it seems to be.
I doubt very much that one can clearly see a shadow here. In my view, that interpretation is very ambiguous to say at least. That visual effect might be caused by different degrees of wetness on the deck. It would require a very clear sky / bright sun to throw such a pronounced shadow. Also, the assumed shadow of the second small object in the front is interpreted to fall in a different direction.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Bill Jurens » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:06 pm

The image is of very poor quality, probably originates from a screened original, and has certainly been adapted again for screen presentation on the internet, and for various and sundry reasons quite possibly retouched as well, rendering its utility as an analytical source -- at least in the absence of additional information -- highly problematic. When I taught air photo interpretation, I learned how easy it is to see what one wants to see, and know how much the brain tends to work towards superimposing patterns on images which may in fact be essentially random. I would include in this the identification of various items as shell casings. We are, at best, dealing with probabilities and interpretations here.

I would say that there is a reasonable probability that the items noted are indeed shell casings. I would also say that there is a reasonable probability that the apparent salvo from Bismarck (if that is indeed the ship in the picture) may have been artificially added afterwards. These photos must be viewed and interpreted with caution, somewhat intermediate in utility between purely artistic representations, e.g. paintings and sketches, and purely objective photographic imagery.

Bill Jurens.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by José M. Rico » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:10 pm

Dunmunro, I think you see too much.

Anyway, let's move to question #3.
Do you agree that the film sequence of Bismarck firing included in the PG battle film was taken at a later period of time than the photo shown in question #2 ?

YES
NO

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:17 pm

northcape wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:10 am
dunmunro wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:07 pm
Hi all. I rescaled by 4X the image of the supposed first salvo:




and circled the shadows. The thing is that the sun would be low in the upper right hand corner of the image, assuming a course of 220d at ~0553 24 May 1941, and so the shadow should fall about 90d to the left of where it seems to be.
I doubt very much that one can clearly see a shadow here. In my view, that interpretation is very ambiguous to say at least. That visual effect might be caused by different degrees of wetness on the deck. It would require a very clear sky / bright sun to throw such a pronounced shadow. Also, the assumed shadow of the second small object in the front is interpreted to fall in a different direction.
The photo (and negative) is available in the German Archives:

http://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/archive ... focus]=465

and I fully admit that working with such poor source material is problematic.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:39 pm

José M. Rico wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:10 pm
Dunmunro, I think you see too much.

Anyway, let's move to question #3.
Do you agree that the film sequence of Bismarck firing included in the PG battle film was taken at a later period of time than the photo shown in question #2 ?

YES
NO
I have to say no, I cannot agree, because we have no reliable method of time stamping the images.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by José M. Rico » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:58 pm

dunmunro wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:39 pm
I have to say no, I cannot agree, because we have no reliable method of time stamping the images.
Would you say then that the battle film scenes are from an EARLIER period of time than the photo in Question #2 ?
I'm really interested in your opinion.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by northcape » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:24 pm

dunmunro wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:39 pm
José M. Rico wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:10 pm
Dunmunro, I think you see too much.

Anyway, let's move to question #3.
Do you agree that the film sequence of Bismarck firing included in the PG battle film was taken at a later period of time than the photo shown in question #2 ?

YES
NO
I have to say no, I cannot agree, because we have no reliable method of time stamping the images.
If you can't timestamp reliably (and I don't think it can be done), then you can't either agree or not agree with that question. You simply cannot answer that question.

BTW, hats off to Mr. Rico. That question game is a very nice and useful format.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:45 pm

Hello everybody,
Mr.Rico wrote: "Do you agree that the film sequence of Bismarck firing included in the PG battle film was taken at a later period of time than the photo shown in question #2 "?
My answer is yes.
Because the German ships are not anymore in "keel line" (as in question #2 photo) and they are both on course (around) 270° after the torpedo alarm of PG raised at 6:03 /(see BS guns bearing: download/file.php?id=3251). Timing the film is relatively easy after Antonio Bonomi has done his great work analysing the film sequence (please see here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8491&p=82759&hilit=railings#p82759).


Bye, Alberto


P.s. I agree with northcape that the "question game is a very nice and useful format", that force "indeterminateness fans" to provide their view in a clear and open way... Let's see how they can time the film sequence earlier than the question #2 photo...
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:39 pm

northcape wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:24 pm
dunmunro wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:39 pm
José M. Rico wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:10 pm
Dunmunro, I think you see too much.

Anyway, let's move to question #3.
Do you agree that the film sequence of Bismarck firing included in the PG battle film was taken at a later period of time than the photo shown in question #2 ?

YES
NO
I have to say no, I cannot agree, because we have no reliable method of time stamping the images.
If you can't timestamp reliably (and I don't think it can be done), then you can't either agree or not agree with that question. You simply cannot answer that question.

BTW, hats off to Mr. Rico. That question game is a very nice and useful format.


We were shown two photos with Bismark directly astern of Prinz Eugen. One photo shows 3 cartridge casings on deck and it purports to show the first salvo from Bismarck (yet Brinkman states that Bismarck fired first...).

The 2nd photo we were shown shows a ~dozen casings on deck and it purports to show a time ~15 or more minutes after the first photo yet the relative positions and distances between Bismarck and PE have hardly changed, although Bismarck is closer. We could conclude that the photo showing 4 casings was taken only a few minutes prior to the photo showing a ~dozen casings, hence my attempt to use the shadow positions to try to differentiate the timing.

The photo with 3 shell casing may be showing us the near end of the action and Bismarck's last salvo.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Bill Jurens » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:21 pm

Judging by what we do know with reasonable certainty regarding the timing and geometry of the action, I would say that it appears likely that the still photo precedes most or all of the film sequences. Provided that the photo can be relied upon, i.e. excluding retouching. For example, it would be easy to insert, for visual effect, the firing smoke cloud from Bismarck, as the photo would otherwise show just two ships steaming in-line. The negatives may not be of much help, even if they do exist, unless it can be proven that they are actual camera negatives rather than so-called 'copy-negatives', which were commonly made from photographic prints in order to allow duplication. So the negative may not be a picture of the ships themselves, but a picture of a picture of the ships...

The quality of the imagery, the ambiguity of the track charts to begin with, and the possibility of modifications to the images for publication purposes, renders it difficult to do more than assign a probability.

Bill Jurens

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:23 am

Hello everybody
Bill Jurens wrote: "Judging by what we do know with reasonable certainty regarding the timing and geometry of the action, I would say that it appears likely that the still photo precedes most or all of the film sequences. ...The quality of the imagery, the ambiguity of the track charts to begin with, and the possibility of modifications to the images for publication purposes, renders it difficult to do more than assign a probability."
Respectfully, I disagree with the last sentence: a probability (different than "zero") means there is an alternative to the above cited geometry of the action, giving a possibility of a different time sequence: there is not (except the already discussed wrong 1943 map of Schmalenbach).
In case no alternative can be provided about the battle reconstruction, there is no way to say that the photo (as we can see it, with gun smoke and 3 cartridges) was taken "near end of the action" or that it shows "Bismarck's last salvo" (?), because BS was in keel line with PG during the initial and key stages of the battle, while never in the same position later (except after 06:20).

The "probability" that the photo was taken before the film sequence is = 1 and a probability 1 means certainty and not probability, of course disregarding the remote (and totally unsupported) hypothesis that the photo was in any way intentionally manipulated.


Bye, Alberto


P.S. I do invite the remaining (usually very open and talkative) "fellow contributors" to answer this question with a clear "yes" or "no", to allow this "useful question game" to go on...
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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