German rangefinders WWI

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garder
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German rangefinders WWI

Post by garder » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:07 pm

Hi

I have been doing some research on german naval artillery and fire control from 1906-1918. Since this is a subject with very little english littearture, I hope you would like to discuss some dissimilarities I have found with me, concerning german rangefinders, there size (base-length) and numbers on board ships.

Firstly Paul Schmalenbach in Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie says on page 71-72 that: Die 28-cm-Türme konnten Geräte (rangefinders) von 6 m Basis... aufnehmen The Nassau and Helgoland class both had 28 cm guns. But in Von der Nassau zur Köning-klasse G Koop and K. P. Schmolke states that the Nassau/Helgoland class had rangefinders with 3 m-base (page. 25 and 56). If one looks at the photografic evidense it is clar that the rangefinders dosen´t have a 6 m base but much closer to a 3 m base. Also it appears that the SMS Ostfriesland during the war recieved larger rangerfinders in here gun turrets. Se the pictures belowe:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/19 ... nder1.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/38 ... der2a.jpg/

So is Paul Schmalenbach wrong, or is there something I have misunderstood.

I can´t find any sources confirming the size of the rangefinders onboard the dreadnoughts. Can anyone help me, or share there thoughts?

Byron Angel
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:26 am

I believe the explanation is that the IGN progressively retro-fitted larger base-length rangefinders to its capital ships after Jutland.


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delcyros
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by delcyros » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:23 pm

Sure that SCHMALENBACH is really mentioning ww1 28cm turrets and not those of the later Panzerschiffe? I aske specifically, because his work is sometimes not that clearly cut between pre-ww1, ww1 and post ww1 in questions of fire controll.

Turret RF of 28cm turrets in ww1 were typically 3m devices (possible exceptions are the battlecruisers), the GCT devices were 3m for these ships until after Jutland the fore and aft sets were generally replaced by 4m devices, including those on the foretops.

Additional 1.5m or 2m baselength rangefinders appear in some photos in crowns nests on ships which were not refitted either with the tubular conning tower or a heavy tripod after Jutland. Coupled with the Control position, with which many of the same ships had been fitted, those units could have had the facilities and capability to direct the main armament in conditions such as had occurred at Jutland late in the day. There is some speculation that those units with the full FC suite mounted aloft most certainly could have or not.

garder
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by garder » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:58 pm

Thanks for answering Buron Angel.

I agree that at least the Helgoland class the recieved larger rangefinders during the war. But from the photos I would say that even the new ones wouldn´t have a base-length of more than 4 m.

Do you know of any sources that list which ships recieved longer rangefinders and when? A bit of a long shot I know :D

In general I think very difficult to establish what length of rangefinders were carried onboard individual ships. For instance in Von der Nassau zur Köning-klasse p. 120 it states that the Köning class carried 1 8-m-base rangefinder, 5 5-m-base and 2 3-m.base rangefinders. But no 8 m rangefinder is visible in any pictures and I don´t think the turret rangefinders have a 5-m base (see picture below). What is more in Reports on Interned German Vessels: Gunnery Materials, ADM 186/243 at the british National Archives, it states that during inspektion after the war no conning tower or observation post had rangefinders with base-lenghts longer than 3 meters.


http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/18 ... urret.jpg/

I think that the information in Von der Nassau zur Köning-klasse can not be trusted, and that the answer to my qustion is to studie all the periode pictures of ships and gun turrets that I can get my hand onto.

I have another qustion regarding rangefinders. In Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie page 72 it says: das die Messbasis (rangefinder base) auf der Turmdecke aufgestellt wurde i.e. the rangerfinder-base was on top of the turret. But in Reports on Interned German Vessels: Gunnery Materials it says that this tube on top of the roof was a tube that: accomedates an adjuster beam of light that passed from one eyepiece, through the rangefinder to one periscobe end. Then through the tube above the roof and down to the other eyepiece. This was used to adjust the rangefinder, which was done very often, sometimes between every range-reading.

Can someone who is familiar with stereoscobic rangefinders tell me if this procedure makes any sense? If this is true it shows me that you can´t trust everything you read in Deutschen Schiffsartillere even though it is considered a very importent work on german WWI naval artilleri (Also the only one that coveres this topic in any detail, I haven´t read Friedmanns new book)

garder
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by garder » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:13 pm

Hi Delcyros

Thanks for your answer. I had not thought of that. I am danish and my german could be better so it is possible that I have misunderstod something.
Turret RF of 28cm turrets in ww1 were typically 3m devices (possible exceptions are the battlecruisers), the GCT devices were 3m for these ships until after Jutland the fore and aft sets were generally replaced by 4m devices, including those on the foretops.
I would love it if you had any sort of reference for that. That is exactly what I am looking for. As I wrote in the post above this one, in Reports on Interned German Vessels: Gunnery Materials, ADM 186/243 it states that no conningtower or observation post rangefinder exceeded 3 meters. So I would really like to compare the sources. I have a feeling that Reports on Interned German Vessels isn´t always accurate.

Byron Angel
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by Byron Angel » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:11 am

garder wrote: Do you know of any sources that list which ships recieved longer rangefinders and when? A bit of a long shot I know :D
..... CB1516 - "Reports on Interned German Vessels - Gunnery Information, February 1919" mentions evidence of BAYERN carrying turret rangefinders of an estimated 25-30 ft (8m?) in baselength installed well forward in the turrets, very close behind the turret face plates. IIRC, there is also mention of evidence of the installation of an estimated 8m rangefinder aboard KOENIG. One of the problems with these British inspection reports, however, is that almost all the really sensitive ans interesting FC equipment of the German ships had been removed before they went into internment.

A logical <<<guesstimate>>> is that the 12in and 15in ships probably received rangefinder upgrades after Jutland, but there is a lot more research that needs to be done on this subject.

garder wrote: In general I think very difficult to establish what length of rangefinders were carried onboard individual ships. For instance in Von der Nassau zur Köning-klasse p. 120 it states that the Köning class carried 1 8-m-base rangefinder, 5 5-m-base and 2 3-m.base rangefinders. But no 8 m rangefinder is visible in any pictures and I don´t think the turret rangefinders have a 5-m base (see picture below). What is more in Reports on Interned German Vessels: Gunnery Materials, ADM 186/243 at the british National Archives, it states that during inspektion after the war no conning tower or observation post had rangefinders with base-lenghts longer than 3 meters.
..... A friend of mine sent me some time ago some research details on German post-Jutland rangefinder outfits, but I have to track it down in my somewhat disorganized files.


garder wrote: I have another qustion regarding rangefinders. In Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie page 72 it says: das die Messbasis (rangefinder base) auf der Turmdecke aufgestellt wurde i.e. the rangerfinder-base was on top of the turret. But in Reports on Interned German Vessels: Gunnery Materials it says that this tube on top of the roof was a tube that: accomedates an adjuster beam of light that passed from one eyepiece, through the rangefinder to one periscobe end. Then through the tube above the roof and down to the other eyepiece. This was used to adjust the rangefinder, which was done very often, sometimes between every range-reading.

Can someone who is familiar with stereoscobic rangefinders tell me if this procedure makes any sense? If this is true it shows me that you can´t trust everything you read in Deutschen Schiffsartillere even though it is considered a very importent work on german WWI naval artilleri (Also the only one that coveres this topic in any detail, I haven´t read Friedmanns new book)
..... Yes, this makes some sense, insofar as I understand the operation of the Zeiss stereoscopic rangefinder system. AS with any fine measuring instrument, it was necessary from time to time to calibrate/adjust the rangefinder in order to assure performance with proper accuracy.

BTW, IMHO don't put too much hope into finding much of value regarding WW1 German fire control systems in either of Freidman's recent books ("Naval Firepower" and "Naval Weapons of WW1"). I find him rather thin on the topic and rather suspect him of a certain degree of teutophobia as well.


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Herr Nilsson
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by Herr Nilsson » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:02 am

Goodall mentions a 26.9 ft rangefinder in Bayern's turrets.
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Marc

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Thorsten Wahl
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:02 pm

ADM 186/259 Progress in Gunnery 1922/1923
mentions a
25-6 ft - 7.8m Zeiss stereoskopic rangefinder from Hindenburg

http://www.admirals.org.uk/records/adm/ ... 86-259.pdf
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garder
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Re: German rangefinders WWI

Post by garder » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:54 pm

Thanks Nillson and Wahl, very helpful references.

Generally I think it is less complicated to establish the number and type of rangefinders on the later ships (Bayern class, Hindenburg) than the earlier classes, because they didn´t change so much doing the war.

In the coming week I will order some good sources for pictures of the varius german dreadnought classes from the local libary. Hopefully the can answer some qustions.

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