Hood v Vittorio Veneto

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paul.mercer
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:14 am

Gentlemen,
Thank you for your replies, I supposed I'm a bit biased towards the QE's as my father served on Q E and Valiant as midshipman and then Lieutenant on both between the wars. I do take your points about the protection of the Italian ships and that they would have been formidable opponents if properly handled, although I do wonder if trying to close the range quickly under fast and accurate fire from 15" shells is such a good idea, after all it only takes a couple of shells to hit the turrets, range finders or another vital part to put a more powerful ship at a disadvantage even though it is not enough to sink them.
Now, how about the suggestion made in another post, the three Italian ships v three KGv's (once the KG's have got their guns sorted out!)

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:40 am

@Alberto
Agreed the geoemtry at Punto Stilio favored hits over Spartivento.

But there are other engagements in which the 381mm Italian guns were used, with no hits at long ranges (Cape Teleuda, First Sirte, Gavdos). Total shots fired by Littorio and Veneto at long range (beyond 22km) was around 200 shots for zero hits.

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Attempting a "charge" towards the British QE's may work bad, as the 381mm/L42 guns would fire continously (24 guns) on the Italian ships, which could use their forward guns (18 guns).

Italian armor scheme on Littorio was very strong, but it protected a relatively small volume of the ship (the main armor belt was 4 meters high and 130 meters long, and was probably un-breakable by 15" guns).

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:12 am

@Paul Mercer
Hi Paul,
I agree that there were risks in closing range under the fire of the QE's, my one is just a personal evaluation of the odds on the table.....

Re. 3 Littorio vs 3 KGV, I said a fair confrontation could be done with the respective gun, turrets, "dispertion" and ammunition quality problems still present..... If we fix all problems, then it would be a different story.



@Alecsandros:
Hi Alec,
Teulada is just anothe name for Spartivento battle, only 19 rounds fired and one near miss on Manchester at extreme range. All the duels were not against batleships running on the same course but against cruisers obviously maneuvering to avoid hits. At Sirte distance was 29 km and at Gaudo it was more than 23 km, when splinter damages were achieved..... I think too long ranges anyway to expect a hit against fast maneuvering "light" ships.

Re. the way to close range for the 3 Littorio against th 3 QE's, please keep in mind hat the rear turret of the Littorio's (due to the superstructure design and their elevated position over the deck) could still bear if the enemy is 20° far from the beam.... so not easy to wood them.
The Littorio's could easily close range firing with 9 guns each against the slower QE's, while the QE's could possibly only fire in retreat with 4 guns.......

Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:57 am

... But they would not retreat... They would attempt to cross the T. It would be inappropriate to retreat, as it was a generalyt known fact that the Littorio's were "fast battleships", capable of well over 28kts. The QE's sometimes did 22-23kts, and not over 24kts AFAIK (and they would have to be running all 3 at same speed anyway).

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:00 pm

Hi Alec,
.....if they try to cross the T, then the time to get very close (and out of a possible more precise long range British fire) is further reduced to few minutes to the advantage of the Littorio's......

Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:09 pm

... About 10 minutes to get from 25km to 17km. That's alot of time to be under 24 x 15" gunfire. Practical output at that range, without rapid fire, woudl be around 240 x 15" shells fired in the given time frame. At 1% hit rate, it gives 2,4 hits. At 2% hit rate ( a more reasonable hit rate IMHO), it gives 4,8 hits.

It means, probably, that one of the Littorios would be damaged pretty badly. Then it woudl be 3 British BBs vs 2 Italian BBs.



Max Rate of fire favors the BRitish ships again - 2 rpmpg vs 1rpmpg.

Maximum output = 24 x 2 = 48 rpm for British force; 27 x 1 = 27 rpm for Italian force.

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Damage potential - each 15" could knock out 1 turret even without penetrating it. This goes for the British shells and Italian shells.

Magazines are very low in the QE's to be reached by 15" shells, unless some underwater travel develops. Magazines are to well protected in the Littorio to be directly reached by 15" shells.

Machinery can be destroyed in QE by Italian 15" shells.

Stearing gear can be destroyed in all ships at any practical range.

COn towers can be destoryed or taken out of the battle at any practical range (by shock damage)

Flotability - the LIttorio's are better subdivided and should be able to remain afloat longer then the QEs (the Littorios are also about 20% heavier)

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:41 pm

@Alecsandros:
Hi Alec,
I don't think that, at such an extreme range and with high range change rate, any battleship can get so many hits, but even assuming that a 2% hit rate is achievable, so 5 hits on a Littorio, we have to take into account at least 2 to 3 on a QE during the approach phase (taking also into account the less precise Italian fire at extreme distances).
As per your own analysis, the damage effect for a QE could have been much worse .

Also, once at short range, as you assumed the theoretical RoF for the QE's of 2 rpmg, the theoretical rpm of the Italian division would be 27 * 1,5 = 40,5 against 48 for the British..... I doubt such a delta could compensate for their weaker design and softer punch. Anyway the theoretical RoF is not very realistic and a lower rate should be taken into account for both sides.


Thanks for the analysis of the potential damage. :clap: One question: why do you say that the magazines are low enough not to be hit by flat trajectory shells in the QE's ?
I'm not an expert of the QE's (I will check in my books this evening) but I understand that they had the same turrets and magazines / shell room layout as the Hood one (whose magazines proved not to be low enough to resist a quite flat shell trajectory....).
Only with the new battleships, like in the KGV class ones, RN switched the position of the magazines putting them below the shell rooms to improve protection. I don't think that during the modernization the magazines were moved down as I guess that this would have implied a complete turret redesign, but I'm not sure.....For sure, the modernization did add some horizontal protection compared to Hood.

Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:06 pm

... During approach phase, IF the British would cross the T, the Littorio's could fire from their 6 forward guns.
This means 18 guns available to fire (6 guns x 3 ships), maybe 1 shell/minute (but I doubt it very much - Veneto fired 94 rounds in 1 hour at Gavdos/Matapan). This gives 180 shells fired in 10 minutes. The hit rate would NOT be 1% or 2%, but 0% to 0.5%. The spreads were to large to expect anything different (and in their entire careers they did NOT score any hits at all at long range). So MAYBE 1 hit on a QE while receiving 2 to 5 hits in return.

With all 9 guns available to fire for the Italian ships, it gives 270 shells in 10 minutes and between 0 to 2 hits.

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From https://sklep.kagero.pl/en/the-british- ... spite.html

If the schematics are correct , the cartridge magazines for HMS Warspite appear to be positioned on the very bottom of the ship.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:08 pm

I am no expert either,
But my opinion is the British worked up the QEs as much as they could, while the Italians were seriously lagging behind with their much newer battleships.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:19 pm

Hi Alec,
crossing the T at exactly the beam is almost impossible as the Littorio's could have chosen an approach to guarantee that the aft turrets were always bearing.

The hit rate cannot be extrapolated from Gaudo (or any other similar confrontation) when Vittorio Veneto was shooting to cruisers that avoided hits with maneuvers..... Would the QE's maneuver to avoid shells, they would not hit the target themselves.

Littorio class ships were never given the opportunity to shoot at another battleship on a stable course.....

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:57 pm

Agreed, no battleship on stable course.

However, you can try making an exercise and use Littorio gun-salvos in various historical engagements. Example putting 6 x 15" guns on Prince of Wales during battle of Denmark Strait.
The spreads of the British 14"/L45 gun (the historical ones) were large, but nothing compared to the 15"/L50... I remember Veneto produced 300 to 500 meter long patterns for 3-gun salvos in 1941 trials. Range was given as 20km IIRC. I'll try finding the document to post it here.
[in other words, I do not think the 15" guns instead of the historical 14" guns woudl have hit Bismarck at all, because of the large spreads produced.]

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:04 pm


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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:32 pm

HI Alec,
Erminio Bagnasco (Appendix 3 to his book on Littorio class battleships, pag.105 in my Italian edition....) reports the same data (I just found them as well). First charge is "Prima carica" , so it' s the interesting value as in battle you use the First Charge, of course......

Vittorio Veneto (OTO guns) during her 1939/40 trials (before the firing charges were reduced to further diminish the spread) fired from 21 km with hit rate of 7% (on a simulated target.....) with spread measured in 267 meters from the most over and the most short shell of the salvo and an average longitudinal spread of 145 meters. The 290 meters column D is the average spread multiplied by 2.
Worse was Littorio (Ansaldo guns) and in this case the "bad" ammunition tolerances were discovered as a cause.

These values are not excellent but not at all bad as most of the books suggest.
After the reduction of the charge (and a consequent slight reduction of the muzzle velocity from 870 m/sec (!!!) to 850 m/sec, the "problem" was considered solved for all the ships of the class.


Re. QE's magazines, I just found confirmation on Tarrant book "battleship Warspite" (pag 73/74) that the layout was still the traditional one (as built) with magazine over shell rooms. The additional horizontal protection was not added to the main deck over magazines but to the middle deck, thus not improving the protection (in combination with her slope and belt), so I think there was only a very limited immunity for QE's against the Italian 15" during the war.

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:51 pm

@Alberto
Thanks for the clarification concerning QE magazines. However, wouldn't they be protected by 13" belt + the thickness of the barbette armor from underneath the upper deck downwards ?

Concerning Veneto firing, at Matapan (28 Mar 1941) we have photos with her 3-gun salvos falling around HMAS Perth. Perth was a 170meters long cruiser. Those shells are at least 400meters apart.

So I do not see the problem "solved" in any way...
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:21 pm

@Alecsandros:
Hi Alec,
re. QE's magazine protection, I think (but I'm not an expert) that they were protected in the same way as in HMS Hood (except that Hood had an inclined 12" belt while QE's had a 13" vertical one, with a slight advantage for Hood). So please see scheme below:
no21987-Midship.jpg
(100.66 KiB) Not downloaded yet
Therefore magazines were protected, AFAIK, by a 13" vertical belt + slope or main deck as per Bismarck scheme but with slope and deck much thinner than in the German ship (I don't have the Hood exact figures, I remember something like 2" "mild" steel for the slope.....).
I think barbettes were only playing a role when the hit was coming directly from ahead or behind the ship. The modernization did not affect the main belt nor the main deck / slope but, according to Tarrant, only the middle deck for improving protection against plunging fire and bombs. Again, I can be wrong here.



Re, Littorio class battleships spread, thanks for posting this interesting photo !
We don't know, however, at which range this salvo was fired (minimum distance was slightly over 23 km but it increased during the vain attempt of VV to close the gap). A spread of 400 meters at ,let's say, 25 or 27 km would not be a surprise.

The reduction of the firing charge (E.Bagnasco "Littorio class battleships" chapter 3 "technical description" pag.74 of Italian edition) was done in 1941 after Matapan and only tested in trials in 1942 (same book, chapter 5 "Operations", pag.208). In parallel the RM improved the controls over tolerances in ammunition and by 1942 considered the problem fixed (E.Bagnasco, same book, chapter 6 "Comparisons and Conclusions" pag 257).

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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