Hood v Vittorio Veneto

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paulcadogan
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paulcadogan » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:15 pm

alecsandros wrote:Many thanks for the info on Hood's crew !

I did not know how concerned the men on board were of Hood's decks...
You're welcome!
alecsandros wrote:As for Hood's combat merits - she shot well and Mers-el-Kebir, apparently hiting Bretagne (which blew up) on salvo nr 3, from 17000 meters.

Dunkerque received at least 2, if not 3 direct hits from HMS Hood, which crippled her (she settled on the bottom)

Strasbourg was apparently near-missed several times by Hood's artillery during her escape out of the harbor.
Well...actually....Bretagne was apparently hit by her FIRST salvo! Resolution fired first, followed by Valiant and then Hood. Capt. Holland in Foxhound just outside the harbour noted that the first British salvo (Resolution's) landed short, the second (Valiant's) hit the breakwater sending up an explosion of concrete splinters, while the third (Hood's) straddled the Bretagne resulting in the fire, then explosion. I suspect Hood was targeting Dunkerque so it was actually a fortuitous "over"! The Mers-el-Kebir video actually supports this....

Dunkerque then took 4 hits from Hood as she got underway, crippling her. I recall reading of a salvo from Hood falling into Strasbourg's vacated berth as she pulled away (I'm sure that could equally have been from Valiant or Resolution) , but I don't think any salvos followed her as she steamed out of the harbour - she was not visible to the British who didn't know of her escape until after the cease fire, and the report was discounted by Somerville initially, allowing her valuable minutes to gain a good head start.

Hood also engaged the land forts, delivering a "withering fire" according to Bruce Taylor.

And...her GO was none other than Colin McMullen!
RF wrote:That poses an interesting proposition - what if Tovey and Holland had swopped commands, with Tovey on Hood at DS and Holland held back at Scapa Flow with KGV....
Given the tactical situation at 5.40 AM 24 May I wonder what tactical decisions Tovey would have made....
Well we do have an idea.....Tovey said it himself in his thoughts of signalling Holland, and in the aftermath. PoW in the van, and an even more direct approach - almost end-on (Tovey wished Holland had been "steering-in more still") before turning to bring broadsides to bear.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:42 pm

First salvo from Hood blew up Bretagne ! :shock:

Kind of completely the opposite kind of shooting as the one exhibited one year later... :think:

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:19 am

Different target, different setting....

HMAS Sydney sank Italian cruisers in the Med..... and then got sunk by an armed merchant ship off its own doorstep a year later.

That doesn't detract from Hood and Sydney being fine ships with a good record. At least Hood fell victim to a ship it wasn't really designed to take on, while the Aussie's even to this day have not got over the way Sydney was lost.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:27 am

RF wrote:Different target, different setting....

HMAS Sydney sank Italian cruisers in the Med..... and then got sunk by an armed merchant ship off its own doorstep a year later.

That doesn't detract from Hood and Sydney being fine ships with a good record. At least Hood fell victim to a ship it wasn't really designed to take on, while the Aussie's even to this day have not got over the way Sydney was lost.
... That's true...
Still, Hood hit only water with 48 rounds at Denmark Strait... Maybe the trouble was with her range keeping table ? I read it was marked to be replaced by a new Admiralty FC Table, but they didn't have the time to make the replacement...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:44 pm

I think that correct target identification would come before that.

Bismarck being a bigger sized target Hood might actually have landed a blow instead of the near miss... and if Hood had clobbered Bismarck's conning tower and gunnery control at the outset who knows how the battle could have turned out!
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:23 pm

True..

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paulcadogan » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:42 am

alecsandros wrote:Still, Hood hit only water with 48 rounds at Denmark Strait... Maybe the trouble was with her range keeping table ? I read it was marked to be replaced by a new Admiralty FC Table, but they didn't have the time to make the replacement...
48 rounds?? I don't think so... I don't think Hood even got off half that as a matter of fact. If she fired 10 salvos (2-gun semi-salvos) as counted by Schmalenbach, and she fired only one salvo from her aft turrets before she blew up - and that was only X-turret according to the general conclusion, she only therefore got off 21 shells. (#1 - #9, 2 shells each, #10, 3 shells)

And...halfway through that she started taking hits from the Germans - spotting top (and radar) out of action, spray misted optical RF's, no wonder she lost her target after crossing it with her 3rd and 4th salvos.

If that's the case, then Hood's output was 21/22 or 95% - the best of all the ships! (Though to be fair, she fired the least by far...)

Back to the Bretagne though, there are several accounts that attribute the hit on her to the third British salvo which there is no doubt, based on the order of the ships opening fire, came from Hood. There is even a timeline account in the Appendix of Hood;s report on the battle:
17:55 Open fire (RESOLUTION and VALIANT opened fire about thirty seconds earlier)
17:56 First salvos arrive on shore. One distinct hit observed.
17:56 1/2 We fire again
17:57 Fire opened on us by enemy
17:58 A large explosion observed on shore with a column of white smoke extending hundreds of feet in the air
http://www.hmshood.com/history/forceh/oran.htm

Remember Bretagne's explosion was not immediate, she was hit, was set on fire and the massive explosion followed later. The film of the battle, though obviously edited, seems to preserve the sequence. There are 4 shells exploding short of the breakwater (Wow! the spread is close!!), then you see the smoke from the hits on the breakwater. Then comes a salvo with a shell exploding just short of Strasbourg's stern (maybe this is the source of her avoiding the salvo from Hood), with the Bretagne behind straddled and she erupts. (That would have been visible to the British). Later Bretagne erupts again in a much bigger explosion. The battle starts at about 1:43.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlqsdz3b02s

Some photos:

http://www.merselkebir.org/photosjuillet40.htm
http://www.merselkebir.org/juillet1940.htm#Photos40

And back to the topic at hand....

How good was VV's armour scheme vs. the British 15-inch, 42 at various ranges?
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:24 pm

@Paul

Dear Paul,
As I understand it, Hood always fired 4-gun salvos, at Mers el Kebyr and during firing exercises...

Schlamembach account refers to the first and second salvos fired by HMS Hood... which he noted produced 2 columns of water each...

But I don't think that's the way it worked (not until 6:00, but maybe first salvos only.. )... The gunners required more than 2 columns per salvo to adress range of enemy...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:49 pm

paulcadogan wrote:
How good was VV's armour scheme vs. the British 15-inch, 42 at various ranges?
The Italian belt system consisted of a de-capping array. There was a 70mm de-capping plate in front the 280mm main belt. The compact interspace was filled with concrete to prevent the spread of flooding of the interspace. The system was intended to destroy incoming armoured piercing projectiles by removing the amoured piercing cap before it struck the face hardened main plate. If the projectile struck the main plate with out a cap, and going beyond a critical velocity, it would shatter upon impact. Italian tests indicated that it worked as designed at the range it was tested at: 18,000 meters- against the Italian 15"/50.

The deck system consisted of two armoured decks. The upper deck was 35mm and the lower (two levels down) was 150mm to 100mm.

We know from post war testing that no British battleship gun could defeat more than 5"-6" of deck at battle ranges of less than 32,000 yards.

V V probably had a vitals immunity out to 32,000 yards vs the 15"/42 depending on what the effective thickness of the deck protection system really was.

We also know from the tests that the Italian 15" shell would likely scoop when striking decks as well.
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: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:20 pm

... While Veneto's citadel was very strong, we must keep in mind that it was one of the smallest citadels of any battleship of the war. The belt was 4 meters high, and extended about 2 meters deep at standard load. This made underwater hits possible, and there was no further protection in the way of the main magazines, except several torpedo bulkheads.

Con tower and main turret face armor was 350mm thick, safe from perforation outside 20km, but vulnerable to shock damage at any likely range.

Maximum combat speed at combat displacement (around 44.000 tons) was "28-29kts".

---

In return, HMS Hood did not have any real immunity zone against 380/L50 guns. However, the performance of those guns in real combat lacked to be desired...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:55 am

alecsandros wrote:As I understand it, Hood always fired 4-gun salvos, at Mers el Kebyr and during firing exercises...

Schlamembach account refers to the first and second salvos fired by HMS Hood... which he noted produced 2 columns of water each...

But I don't think that's the way it worked (not until 6:00, but maybe first salvos only.. )... The gunners required more than 2 columns per salvo to adress range of enemy...
Firing alternately right and left guns of each turret during daytime was standard British practice. Full broadsides were used at night.

(In the case of quads, #1 and #3 fired together, then #2 and #4. With triple turrets (e.g. Nelsons) it would be #1 and #3 of A and Q, #2 of B followed by #2 of A and Q with #1 and #3 of B - 5 shells then 4 shells.)

In the DS, the consensus drawn from the various accounts is that Hood fired for the first time with her aft guns just before she received the fatal hit. It may not make complete sense given that theoretically she should have been able to fire them from the outset.

One factor that I don't think has ever been considered here, is that Hood had problems with Y-turret and seawater corrosion. There was a point (can't recall exactly when and I'm away from home - in Trinidad actually!) when it was seized up and could not train. Though that was supposed to have been remedied, it is conceivable that some sort of training issue remained or recurred. There was a witness who described it training back aft then swinging back towards the Germans some moments before the final explosion. X turret may simply have been trained too close to the aft superstructure for safety - especially with the fire raging and ammo exploding. Hence, not until the A-arcs were well opened did the aft turrets fire.

As for the fwd guns, it would have been 2-gun salvos as witnessed (and photographed) by the Germans, maintaining the RoF in GIC tandem with PoW as pre-ordered by Holland (at least until the spotting top hit which may have slowed things down a bit...maybe). Firing 4-gun salvos from the fwd turrets would have significantly slowed the RoF, though it may have improved the chances of an early hit on PG.

To both you and Dave;

Thanks...I thought as much from what I had read. But regarding underwater hits, don't we have a similar situation to the PoW and that unexploded shell from Bismarck? For a shell to hit water, then the hull and reach a magazine, it would have to be a dud, otherwise it should have detonated before reaching the vitals, if not the hull??
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by kevin32422 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:09 am

The British seemed to be better trained than the Italians they used their ships more effectively in the Med. sea the Italians had some beautiful ships just didn't seem to know how to use them, they should have had joint missions with the Luftwaffe or the Italian airforce so I would give the edge to the Hood

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:22 am

paulcadogan wrote: But regarding underwater hits, don't we have a similar situation to the PoW and that unexploded shell from Bismarck? For a shell to hit water, then the hull and reach a magazine, it would have to be a dud, otherwise it should have detonated before reaching the vitals, if not the hull??
Even at 500 meters/second most shells can only go about 17 meters after the fuse is activated. The shell's velocity is greatly retarded as soon as it enters the water.

Nonetheless, a potential problem looked into by the Italians during the designing of the Littorio Class was the uncovering of some areas of the belt by the wave forms troughs when battleships were steaming at high speeds. They did wave tank studies of various hull forms and found it to be a likely problem when battleships reached a speed of about 29 knots or more in combination with certain sea conditions. Denmark St. on may 24th 1941 appears to have meant these speeds and conditions.
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: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paul.mercer » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:48 pm

Gentlemen,
it would seem that Hood would have the 'moral ascendency' of the RN over the Italian navy, but I wonder what would happen if V V met up with Warspite in a one to one battle, my money would be on Warspite due to her superior gunnery. What do you think?

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:41 am

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
it would seem that Hood would have the 'moral ascendency' of the RN over the Italian navy, but I wonder what would happen if V V met up with Warspite in a one to one battle, my money would be on Warspite due to her superior gunnery. What do you think?
The same thing... Moreover, Warspite was a very lucky ship, while Veneto was not.

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