Smoke screen

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Francis Marliere
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Smoke screen

Post by Francis Marliere » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:55 am


do you know if / how far smoke screen were visible by night ?

Thanks for any help,

Francis Marliere

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Re: Smoke screen

Post by RF » Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:35 pm

Not clear on what is being asked here, as presumably available light has to be taken into consideration - Moonlight/starlight, man made light (fires, searchlights, street and house lights etc) - and type of smoke?
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Francis Marliere
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Re: Smoke screen

Post by Francis Marliere » Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:21 pm

I'm talking about chemical smoke during a 'typical' night, without illumination.

Byron Angel
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Re: Smoke screen

Post by Byron Angel » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:05 am

During the Solomons campaign, IJN ships commonly employed aggressive course reversals behind hasty smoke screens when evading out from under gunfire. I cannot recall ever having read any USN AAR or gunnery report mentioning enemy use/presence of screening smoke - only that the target had been lost to view (too often inferred as target sunk).

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Re: Smoke screen

Post by Serg » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:02 pm

I have read Royal Navy and the capital ship in the interwar period by Moretz. What i find is intersting:
"smoke shells would be fired on a portion of the enemy battlefleet to hinder enemy ranging and engagement and to allow the British battlefleet to achieve a local superiority in fire distribution." (ADM 1/8658/69, ‘Tactics’)
"smoke shell for screening an amphibious assault or a flotilla attack against enemy fleet was developed, while, for safety reasons, not embarked during peace time" (ADM 186/244, C.B. 1561)

Now i wonder why the smoke shell seems unpopular in the fleet. It might have some advantage over smoke generators etc. Is it technical problem with safety or something else?

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Re: Smoke screen

Post by HvKleist » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:40 pm


At the Battle of Badoeng Strait (Feb 1942), the Dutch DD Piet Hein mysteriously laid a smokescreen before she engaged the IJN destroyers Oshio and Asashio...This made her visible to the enemy as well as to the two US Asiatic Fleet tincans trailing her (John D. Ford & Pope). IJN records called it 'a very dark night' and show that the 2 Japanese DDs spotted Doorman's cruisers--De Ruyter & Java, which led the attack--at approximately 6km distance. After the two Dutch cruisers sped through without engaging the enemy ships, Piet Hein was then seen approaching (with her smokescreen), also at roughly 6,000 meters.

The US tincans were initially following at about 2,000 yds, but quickly closed the distance to Piet Hein as she began maneuvering to avoid the IJN ships. Unfortunately she blundered to within 1500m & a perfectly positioned Asashio launched 24" torpedoes, one of which struck the Dutch destroyer fair & square within a minute of launch & ended her (very brief) fighting career.
All of this was witnessed by the US fourpipers approaching from the rear...

At Sunda Strait the various IJN destroyers attacking Perth and Houston made their torpedo launchings (not closer than ~3500m & usually farther) followed by smokescreens as they withdrew. These were certainly observed on Houston. That night there was a near-full moon with excellent visibility--probably 12,000--14,000m or so.

So, visible at 6,000m on a dark night...and I would think perhaps twice that under conditions of better nighttime visibility.

I hope this is helpful.

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