Scharnhorst vs a KGV

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paul.mercer
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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:35 pm

Gentlemen, Please!
This interesting thread is becoming increasingly confrontational which is not pleasent reading, particularly when it comes from people whose knowledge I greatly respect.
I don't think that much can be proved either way in a one on one situation, except that the odds must be in favour of the larger ship which had more and bigger guns.
Now, had Scharnhorst had her 15" guns fitted the battle would perhaps be more evenly balanced although it would still have been 6 x15" against 10 x 14" and I would still bet on a KGv.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:14 am

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen, Please!

I don't think that much can be proved either way in a one on one situation, except that the odds must be in favour of the larger ship which had more and bigger guns.
.
... Probably so,
Yet Scharnhorst was not the defenseless and defective warship many people say she was.

The biggest problem in a real 1vs1 engagement would be that Scharnhorst needs to hit KGV 3 times as often as it would be hit herself, as the 11" shells were light and could not cause much damage by comparison to the 14" shells...

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Ersatz Yorck
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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by Ersatz Yorck » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:57 am

I wish people could stop referring just to "GKDOS". GKDOS is a security classification and means "Geheime Kommandosache". Stating that GKDOS says this or that is like saying in english that TOP SECRET says this or that.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by José M. Rico » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:28 pm

Ersatz Yorck wrote:I wish people could stop referring just to "GKDOS". GKDOS is a security classification and means "Geheime Kommandosache". Stating that GKDOS says this or that is like saying in english that TOP SECRET says this or that.
LOL.
The actual document is:
"Awa A IA 100/40 g.Kdos Unterlagen und Richtlinien zur Bestimmung der Hauptkampfentfernung und der Geschosswahl."
(Documentation and Guidelines for the Determination of the Main Battle Distances and the Choice of Projectiles)

How many of you would be interested in having this translated in English here on the website?

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:54 pm

José M. Rico wrote: How many of you would be interested in having this translated in English here on the website?
I certainly would

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by Vic Dale » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:55 pm

Me too.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by Vic Dale » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:26 pm

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen, Please!
This interesting thread is becoming increasingly confrontational which is not pleasent reading, particularly when it comes from people whose knowledge I greatly respect.
I would second that and say that the same should be true of all discussions on this site. We do not need to stoop to the gutter to make our point, however passionately we may feel about it. If we have something to say, it should be done calmly and clearly - and if at all possible in a friendly manner. We do have a common interest.

I would agree that a 14 inch battleship should come out on top in a 1on1 fight, as long as the ships are on a level playing field and on a calm sea. Put just one variable into that mix and all sorts of things can happen. A slab of deck armour which the text books show is impenetrable by a certain type of shell at a given range, is suddenly cut like butter, when the ship is heeled or has rolled towards the incoming fire.

The scenario I painted deliberately put KGV at a tactical disadvantage, in order to show that a battle does not necessarily hang on the thickness of the armour or weight of shell, but on the number of hits which can be registered in a given time. It was Napoleon who said, "Battles are won or lost in twenty minutes." Proof of that could come from a situation in which a KGV could not hit back effectively and a Scharnhorst managed to strike unhindered for 20 minutes. A list could see KGVs armoured decks melt away like ice on summer's day in the face of Scharnhorst's high velocity shells.

The penetrations in Bismarck's main belt were on the starboard side. With the ship listing to port it is likely that the armour was offered to the incoming shot at the perfect angle for penetration. They may not even have been close range shots. I believe it to be the case that shells fired at very close range would likely break up on impact, before they could pentrate.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by alecsandros » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:04 am

Vic Dale wrote: The penetrations in Bismarck's main belt were on the starboard side. With the ship listing to port it is likely that the armour was offered to the incoming shot at the perfect angle for penetration. They may not even have been close range shots. I believe it to be the case that shells fired at very close range would likely break up on impact, before they could pentrate.
Is it certain that those were complete penetrations ?

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:36 pm

The penetrations were apparently complete through the main side belt, but not necessarily through the angled turtle deck behind it. In fact it is almost certain that those shells did not penetrate through to compartments below the turtle deck, having been completely decapped and with their energy largely spent passing through the main belt. They were probably deflected upwards on contact with the armoured deck, behind the belt.

It seems that Bismarck's armour did precisely what it was designed to do, though there do appear to be some exceptions.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by northcape » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:09 pm

Vic,

your words are "apparently", "almost certain", "probably", and "it seems". Can you clarify if these words express your belief based on intuition, or are they a conclusion based on other observations? If the latter, can you state these observation?

Thanks.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by Vic Dale » Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:02 pm

My conclusions fall into the "apparently" category, because no one has been into the wreck to see if the penetrations carried through the turtle deck. As I have said, I am sure they did not get through this second barrier due to the shells being more or less spent for energy and structurally damaged on getting through the main belt. Passing through this thick armour would tend to straighten the path of the shell toward 90 degrees from the surface of the armour, making it almost certain that the round would strike the turtle deck at 60 degrees from normal.

The soft cap on armour piercing projectiles is intended to pre-stress the armour so the harder point of the round can penetrate. With no cap, depleted energy and the armour lying just 30 degrees from the likely path of the shell after passing through the belt, it would give the turtle deck a penetration resistance equivalent to 13.75 inches of solid armour. The shell would most likely be deflected upwards.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by slaterat » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:17 pm

Why pick a KGV for this scenario? As originally described the conditions for victory for the Scharnhorst involve causing enough off center flooding to cause a list severe enough to expose the armoured deck. The KGV is probably the least likely ship for this to happen too. It has a very deep and thick external main belt and the Scharnhorst's main gun is only 11 inch's and carries a small bursting charge, around 15 lbs. For this scenario a more likely candidate would be a battleship with an internal sloped belt, as the sacrificial space could be much more easily damaged to cause the desired off center flooding.
IMO the KGV is a much better battleship than the Scharnhorst, the protected volume is much greater and the advantage in fire power easily lays with the 14 inch. It has better penetration and carries three times the bursting charge.

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Re: Scharnhorst Vs a KGV

Post by RF » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:43 pm

alecsandros wrote:
he biggest problem in a real 1vs1 engagement would be that Scharnhorst needs to hit KGV 3 times as often as it would be hit herself, as the 11" shells were light and could not cause much damage by comparison to the 14" shells...
This is the essence of the scenario. It is very similar to the WW1 Battle of the Falklands. The problem for the Germans is the rate of fire, I recall that some time ago the Design 1047 was discussed (the proposed Dutch battlecruiser sketched out by the KM for the Dutch Navy) in which a modified version of the 28 cm gun was proposed which would have a substantially faster rate of fire. Such a vessel might be more appropriate in this confrontation.

Leaving the Dutch design aside what I think would be more of an even contest would be the twins together against a KGV.....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Scharnhorst vs a KGV

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:01 pm

Hence the intention to upgrade to 38cm. One 38cm hit is so much more. It's the hits that count and their penetrative power (when firing against armoured targets). It's not the total number of shells fired. This is why judging firepower by weight of broadside is folley.

There's a few ways of looking at this. A 35cm/54 gun was available but the political leadership didn't want to antagonize Britain at that time, so the 28cm gun was used.

Used as raiders or against cruisers as envisioned 28cm was fine. Used thusly, it's really just as good as having an Iowa class battleship: 9 long range guns and a sophisticated fire control system, more than adequate protection, high speed, long range.

One on one against enemy battleships was not the best way for Germany to employ battleships given their numbers, so why design the Scharnhorsts for that role?
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Scharnhorst vs a KGV

Post by northcape » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:42 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Hence the intention to upgrade to 38cm. One 38cm hit is so much more. It's the hits that count and their penetrative power (when firing against armoured targets). It's not the total number of shells fired. This is why judging firepower by weight of broadside is folley.
That is why the "Gesamtgeschossgewicht" (Total weight of all shells = number of barrels x weight of a single shell) is a more useful way to compare broadsides. Of course, there is some limit - even 10 or more 8inch cruisers will not stand against a single Yamato.

Gesamtgeschossgewicht KGV: 7780 kg
Gesamtgeschossgewicht Scharnhorst: 3570 kg

(In both cases heavy + mid. guns)

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