Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

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RF
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by RF » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:07 am

alecsandros wrote: I know of 2 x 11" hits on Ajax, are you sure about 105mm gun hits ? And what was their consequence ?
I am aware one direct hit from 11 inch on Ajax which knocked out two turrets. There were several near miss bursts which caused shrapnel damage and casualties and later examination of the damage found that two of the bursts were inboard from 4.1 inch shells.

Achilles also suffered significant damage from shrapnel and crew casualties from it included senior officers on the bridge and gunnery control. All these are believed to be from 11 inch.

From the German side Rasenack records that AGS opened 4.1 inch fire on Ajax and the two hits were reported by the German gunnery observers, though there was a caveat in that the volume of large and small calibre shell splashes around the two cruisers made observation difficult.
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by alecsandros » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:13 am

RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote: I know of 2 x 11" hits on Ajax, are you sure about 105mm gun hits ? And what was their consequence ?
I am aware one direct hit from 11 inch on Ajax which knocked out two turrets. There were several near miss bursts which caused shrapnel damage and casualties and later examination of the damage found that two of the bursts were inboard from 4.1 inch shells.

Achilles also suffered significant damage from shrapnel and crew casualties from it included senior officers on the bridge and gunnery control. All these are believed to be from 11 inch.

From the German side Rasenack records that AGS opened 4.1 inch fire on Ajax and the two hits were reported by the German gunnery observers, though there was a caveat in that the volume of large and small calibre shell splashes around the two cruisers made observation difficult.
... There was a second 11" hit on Ajax, which went through the main mast without exploding but causing casualties from splinters.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by RF » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:15 am

alecsandros wrote:
... The report also doesn't mention British DP 102mm guns mounted on Exeter, Ajax and Achilles (about 24 guns total), which were also equaly ineffective.
That is true. However these are not considered primary weapons against ship targets, whereas the Panzerschiffe 5.9 inch guns were specifically intended for use against destroyer and cruiser targets. On paper they were capable of significant fire that should be a material factor in a battle such as at the River Plate.
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by alecsandros » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:36 am

RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
... The report also doesn't mention British DP 102mm guns mounted on Exeter, Ajax and Achilles (about 24 guns total), which were also equaly ineffective.
That is true. However these are not considered primary weapons against ship targets, whereas the Panzerschiffe 5.9 inch guns were specifically intended for use against destroyer and cruiser targets. On paper they were capable of significant fire that should be a material factor in a battle such as at the River Plate.
... In theory perhaps,

In reality 4 guns per side is not enough to accurately estimate fall of shot beyond 10km, and the battle of River Plate was fought mostly > 10km, against 30kts+ targets shrouded in smoke and doing heavy manouvreing. Also, they were not using the same director equipment as the main guns, but less sophisticated and less capable ones, were not similarly stabilised and were given a secondary importance throughout the battle.

(Bismarck obtained 0 hits with her 150mm guns, and experience of all major navies during the war showed secondary armament to be ineffective at ranges >10km.)

British 102mm DP guns were secondary guns, in the same way German 150mm were secondary guns. 102mm guns had maximum range of 15km, so, in theory they could hit the Graf Spee. In reality they did not...

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by alecsandros » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:34 am

Doing further research, this appears to be the ammo consumption and hit rate at River Plate:

KGM Graf Spee: 414 x 11" fired, 9 direct hits, 4 damaging near misses. Hit rate: 2.17 - 3.14%
HMS Exeter: 177 x 8" fired, 2 direct hits. Hit rate: 1.12%
HMS Ajax: 853 x 6" fired
HMS Achilles: 1224 x 6" fired
17 direct hits from 6" guns. Hit rate (combined): 0.81%

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by RF » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:26 am

alecsandros wrote: ... In theory perhaps,

In reality 4 guns per side is not enough to accurately estimate fall of shot beyond 10km, and the battle of River Plate was fought mostly > 10km, against 30kts+ targets shrouded in smoke and doing heavy manouvreing. Also, they were not using the same director equipment as the main guns, but less sophisticated and less capable ones, were not similarly stabilised and were given a secondary importance throughout the battle.
Rasenack had a number of critical comments on the performance of the 5.9 inch guns, specifically identifying the director as being at fault. He was of the view they should have performed much better.
With its tall control tower and foretop the AGS should have been in a better position to have directed its 5.9 inch than Ajax/Achilles would have with their six inch.

I agree with your comment that only four guns is inadequate a broadside on its own against two light cruisers, but in a long battle they should still be able to accumulate hits in support of the main 11 inch guns. On a pro rata basis at least five hits should be expected, particulary if the 4.1 inch can get two hits within a much shorter time period of firing.
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by alecsandros » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:39 am

RF wrote: ,
Rasenack had a number of critical comments on the performance of the 5.9 inch guns, specifically identifying the director as being at fault. He was of the view they should have performed much better.
With its tall control tower and foretop the AGS should have been in a better position to have directed its 5.9 inch than Ajax/Achilles would have with their six inch.
... Indeed,
however not much should be expected from secondary guns firing at 10-12km (which was the average range of battle). Remember Ajax+Achilles expended > 2000 rounds for 17 hits, against a rather large opponent (and hence a large target). Graf Spee expended about 400 rounds of 150mm ammo, fired in 4, later 3 and later 2-gun salvos. Ajax and Achilles were firing in 8-gun, later 4-gun salvos.
I agree with your comment that only four guns is inadequate a broadside on its own against two light cruisers, but in a long battle they should still be able to accumulate hits in support of the main 11 inch guns. On a pro rata basis at least five hits should be expected, particulary if the 4.1 inch can get two hits within a much shorter time period of firing.
It's true, and it is peculiar...
One explanation, albeit not entirely satisfactory, would come from the systems serving the 105mm mounts vs 150mm moutns: the 105mm gun directors were tri-axialy stabilized, and , AFAIK, so were the 6 guns. The 150mm guns did not have a dedicated director (they were using one of the main guns directors) and were not stabilized in any way.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by RF » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:10 am

alecsandros wrote: (Bismarck obtained 0 hits with her 150mm guns, and experience of all major navies during the war showed secondary armament to be ineffective at ranges >10km.)
.
Some people have claimed a 5.9 inch hit by Bismarck against one of the 16 inch turrets on Rodney. If so it made no impact on the armour plating. Also in that battle it has been claimed that the Rodney 6 inchers did get quite a few hits on Bismarck, which they should at close range to a large, almost stationary target.

Apart from that battle Bismarck's 5.9 inch had little opportunity to fire at targets at their optimal range - and in that battle all the 5.9 inch turrets received direct hits from heavy calibre shells, which obviously is a mitigating factor.
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by alecsandros » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:55 am

RF wrote:
Some people have claimed a 5.9 inch hit by Bismarck against one of the 16 inch turrets on Rodney. If so it made no impact on the armour plating. Also in that battle it has been claimed that the Rodney 6 inchers did get quite a few hits on Bismarck, which they should at close range to a large, almost stationary target.
There was no confirmed 150mm hit on Rodney. There were shrapnel hits from a 380mm near-miss. Some secondary sources list one of the shrapnel fragments as being 150mm, hence the confusion.
Apart from that battle Bismarck's 5.9 inch had little opportunity to fire at targets at their optimal range - and in that battle all the 5.9 inch turrets received direct hits from heavy calibre shells, which obviously is a mitigating factor.
... Bismarck fired with 150mm guns against Prince of Wales, for 0 effect.

Scharnhorst and Gneisenau managed hits with 150mm guns vs Acasta and Ardent, at ranges said to be between 8 and 13km. They expended ~ 1150 rounds of 150mm shells and 36 rounds of 105mm shells, for several hits. Both destroyers were sunk exclusively through 150mm and 105mm gunfire.

This is the only account that I know of when BB/BC secondary artillery manage to hit targets beyond 10km. However, according to the German sources, the vast majority of hits were recorded between 8 and 10km.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:01 pm

alecsandros wrote:Scharnhorst and Gneisenau managed hits with 150mm guns vs Acasta and Ardent, at ranges said to be between 8 and 13km. .
The first salvo was 15km and it produced a direct hit.
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: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by Steve Crandell » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:41 am

alecsandros wrote:One explanation, albeit not entirely satisfactory, would come from the systems serving the 105mm mounts vs 150mm moutns: the 105mm gun directors were tri-axialy stabilized, and , AFAIK, so were the 6 guns. The 150mm guns did not have a dedicated director (they were using one of the main guns directors) and were not stabilized in any way.
The 11" guns and their directors were not stabilized and they seem to have done better than the 4.1".

The 5.9" guns would not have been directed from the fore top. That is the position from which the main battery would be directed, and it would only be used for the secondary battery if the main battery was not firing.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by alecsandros » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:00 am

Steve Crandell wrote:
The 11" guns and their directors were not stabilized and they seem to have done better than the 4.1".
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28 cm/52 (11") SK C/28
Updated 02 April 2011.
This weapon was used on the famous Panzerschiffes or "Pocket Battleships" Lützow (ex-Deutschland), Admiral Scheer and Admiral Graf Spee. The turrets were fitted with RPC only for elevation. "

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:02 pm

There were three directors at the foretop.
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: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:52 pm

The turrets were fitted with RPC only for elevation. "
supplement
ther is a special feature of all german turrets of 203 mm and above.
even they had RPC only for elevation. The firing using the Seitenvorzündwerk is equivalent to an RPC for training.

During the firing the turret is driven from a waiting position through the calculated fire solution and fires automatically.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Post by alecsandros » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:30 pm

Thorsten Wahl wrote:
ther is a special feature of all german turrets of 203 mm and above.
even they had RPC only for elevation. The firing using the Seitenvorzündwerk is equivalent to an RPC for training.
... Hi Thorsten,
The 283mm turrets of the Graf Spee were of an older design and production than the other capital ships, including Hipper and Scharnhorst class.

Could it be that they fitted a complete Seitenvorzundwerk on them so early ? (1933/4)

Also, we know there were practical issues with the RPC for elevation in March 1941, and it did not function as it should.

Could the Graf Spee use an older generation of systems, perhaps more primitive, less precise, but perhaps more reliable ?

[just a hypothesis...]

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