Hood v Vittorio Veneto

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:40 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
no21987-Midship.jpg
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.....).
The application of a sloped deck here does not compare with the modern German scarp triangle arrangement. The geometry of the German scarp presents a very different striking angle to any projectile passing through the main belt. And your correct about the thickness and the material differences. The arrangement of the cross section attached really amounts to very little additional armour protection.

12", 13", 15" belts are not that much, even sloped, when confronted with a modern 15" gun like the Italian 381. The Italian 381 can defeat a 13" belt of WW2 British cemented armour all the way out to 32,000 yards. :shock: The British warships here might as well be Renown and Repulse.

Meanwhile the British 15" probably can not defeat the modern Italian battleship's protection (both belts and decks) at any battle range inside of 32,000 yards.
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.

Such adding of plates to a deck of older battleships was almost futile in any case. The marginal improvement in effective thickness was hardly worth the weight, or the work, involved.

Really WWI era warships, even modernized, had no business engaging in battle with more modern capital ships. Consider the fate of the Hood and the Kirishima.
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 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:59 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
Really WWI era warships, even modernized, had no business engaging in battle with more modern capital ships. Consider the fate of the Hood and the Kirishima.
... The QEs were battleships, not battlecruisers.

WW2 battleships, when lacking preparation in both crew and materials, and onboard systems, were realy not better then fully worked up and modernized WW1 battleships. Look at Richelieu.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:01 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote: A spread of 400 meters at ,let's say, 25 or 27 km would not be a surprise.
Maximum firing range by Veneto at Matapan was 26km, IIRC. I seem to remember a comment somewhere that Perth was under fire at 25.000yards (23.5km), but I am not sure of it.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:41 am

Concerning Queen Elizabeth class armor protection, I found this:

http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/Janes_1919/ ... 48_49.html

"Vertical Armour (K.C.): 13" Belt ; 6" - 4" Upper Belt; 6" - 4" Belt (ends) ; 6", 4" Bulkheads (f. & a.) ; 6" Battery ; 10" - 7" Barbettes ; 11" Gunhouses ; 1½" Funnel uptakes ; 6" - 3" C.T. Base ; 11" C.T. (6" - 2" Hood) ; 4" Fore Com. Tube ; 6" Torp. C.T. ; 4" Tube (T.C. Tower)

Armour Notes: Belt is 13" at w.l. only, 6" on upper edge, 8" on lower and applied in vertical strakes. Barbettes, 6" and 4" within belt. 1.5" traverses to battery, but no rear screens-only dwarf walls to retain and drain away water admitted to battery. Rear bulkhead to battery is 6" diagonal and 4" where it crosses centre line. Internal protection of these ships is very fine."

Can we know more about the protection these ships had ?

PS: Given the flat trajectory of the Italian 15" gun, I would not expect horizontal perforations. But Vertical perforations - yes...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:47 am

@Dave Saxton:
Hi Dave,
thanks, I fully agree with your technical analysis and in principle with your conclusions regarding the modernized battleships.

@Alecsandros:
Hi Alec,
thanks for the technical data as well. I also agree with your conclusions: I don't exclude that, without preparation and training, even a modern WWII battleship can loose a confrontation with a modernized WWI, but IMHO the odds are favorable to the WWII battleship when in a pure gun confrontation at short ranges.
I'm maybe biased about the RM crews training level, but there are examples of a very good preparation, both technical and crew related ones, even if we miss a clear gunnery performance against another battleship.
E.g. look at the exceptional technical performance and damage control put in place on board Vittorio Veneto after the torpedo at Matapan (Gaudo): with a torpedo striking 2 propeller shafts and the rudder area (similar to the hit that doomed PoW in the Far East ), VV was able to make 20+ knots with only 2 propellers (2 were out of action), to sail constantly on 120% of her full power on the starboard engines for 24 hours, to maneuver using the remaining rudders only (as one was jammed), to keep her full electrical power and to limit the water flood to "just" 4000+ tons (see photo below of the ship after the torpedo), thanks to a good design and to her damage control crew preparation.
Veneto_sailing_out_of_the_battle_area.jpg
Veneto_sailing_out_of_the_battle_area.jpg (48.59 KiB) Viewed 906 times


@all: I have in Tarrant book ("Warspite") the armor scheme of the QE's as built, showing the same principle as Hood: belt + deck slope or deck (depending on the striking angle and striking height over waterline.....).
Unfortunately, I still have doubts about the post-modernization of the QE's as I was unable to find a reliable armor scheme after modifications to understand whether it was just an addition of steel (which type???) over the existing HT steel of the middle deck or whether it i implied a radical change of the armor scheme and functioning against shells.......

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:51 am

Hi Alberto,
There were occasions and occasions. However, all in all, the Littorio class lacked much to be desired, and did not prove themselves in combat. It's true they never fired a shot at an enemy battleship... But they fired plenty of shots at DDs and CAs and CLs, and... we know the results.

Veneto torp hit at Matapan was a nasty one. The ship remained dead in the water for 1 hour, took 4000tons of seawater, and took about 6 hours to work up to 19kts. She was lucky to be with a heavy escort (cruisers and destroyers) and very close to port (about 300km).

The comparison with Bismarck on May 26th is justified, and Veneto clearly behaved better, thanks to her 4-shaft, 4 rudder arrangement, and certainly efforts of her crew. [however , without her powefull escort and smoke screens, she would have probably been hit later on by torpedoes as well. Because of the AA fire and smoke screens, the British Swordfish and Albacores torpedoed cruiser Pola instead]
Last edited by alecsandros on Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:52 am

... My impression is that Queen Elizabeth's had a further 50 mm (25+25) armored bulkheads around the main magazines, in addition to the 330mm belt and 50mm slope.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:28 am

Alecsandros wrote: "But they fired plenty of shots at DDs and CAs and CLs, and... we know the results.
"
Hi Alec,
I agree, but (not being an expert here) how many other battleships hit at extreme ranges any fast sailing cruiser that was maneuvering to avoid the hits ? :think:
you wrote:"My impression is that Queen Elizabeth's had a further 50 mm (25+25) armored bulkheads around the main magazines, in addition to the 330mm belt and 50mm slope."
Not before their reconstruction (at least from the scheme in Tarrant book that is similar to the one for Hood I posted above). Tarrant doesn't mention any additional protection for magazines except the middle deck addition of plates.

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:49 am

... USS Massachussets possibly hit VF Primaguet from >20km during battle of Casablanca. KGM Scheer hit Jervis Bay (a slow auxiliary cruiser) from >20km during the attack on convoy HX-41 (range confrimed by Scheer's radar); there may be other examples as well.

The trouble was with the salvo spreads. If you look at the photo of HMAS Perth straddled by Veneto at Matapan, and compare it with photographs of American or German or British 2, 3 or 4 gun salvo spreads at long range, you will see a big difference.

Target ship Hessen, Oct 1941. 2-gun salvo from Tirpitz, range 25km. Hessen size: 22m wide, 130m long.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:04 am

It's true there are photos of Littorio during gun trials , that show a very small spread of 3-gun salvos. But those results were not replicated in real battle (whereas German spreads were consistent from trials to battles AFAIK).

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:10 pm

Hi Alec,
are the Littorio's photos you refer to before or after 1941 ? I don't have any..... :oops:
Having the complete chronology off the trials, it could be possible to understand under which conditions (first charge or not and range) they refer to.

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

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:20 pm

In 1940, IIRC. I'll look at home.

The spreads are remarkably small, maybe all 3 shots within 100 meters.

On other discussions on this forum and others, it was pointed out that the 381mm shells used during firing trials were carefully selected to have very close characteristics from each other, and thus the salvos behaved good. The full war-load was comprised of less carefully selected shells, and large variations between shots occured. This was , from what I remember, a problem in the manufacturing of the shells and in the quality control of the shells.

This was further exacerbated by the lack of delay coils mounted in the main turrets, and by the frequent break-downs of the RPC installed on all the ships.

With further work on the turrets, and with properly manufactured shells, and with a good radar, the Littorios would have been killer ships IMHO....

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:10 pm

HI Alec,
yes thanks, I will do some homework too, looking at the type of trials performed in 1940 by Littorio to see if we come out with a range and type of charge to be associated with that trial.

The problem with the ammunition quality is well described by E.Bagnasco book where it is stated that after discovering (in combat, unfortunately) that the "standard" ammunition was not at the level of the "trials" one, the RM strictly overlooked at the further shells/charges supplies inspecting the firms more severely.
By 1942, when Adm.Iachino requested new trials at first charge to test the new supplies, the problem was considered as solved by RM and Adm.Iachino was quite satisfied with the result of the trials, unfortunately I don't have any data.....and we don't have any real engagement to support this statement, as by 1942 the Italian battlefleet was mostly kept safe in harbor.....

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 Dave Saxton » Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:03 pm

alecsandros wrote: ... The QEs were battleships, not battlecruisers.
But their protection was weaker than the Hood's. The distinction between a battle cruiser and a battleship does not mean that much here, when they had WWI era deck protection schemes, and even a 13" belt is so completely over matched by their opponent's more modern 15" gun.

PS: Given the flat trajectory of the Italian 15" gun, I would not expect horizontal perforations. But Vertical perforations - yes...
The Italian 381mm can still penetrate at least 2.8" of modern WW2 British deck armour beyond 22,000 yards. The deck protection of the QE's was originally 50mm to 75mm total of mild steel and layered HT protective plating. Adding 500 tons of NCA plates over the magazines on the mid deck is not going to provide 5" effective of modern deck protection. The QEs are very vulnerable to deck penetrations by Italian 15" in this scenario.
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 RF » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:22 pm

In response to the above pot I would comment that on 10 June 1940 the entire Italian battle fleet should have sailed to Malta escorting a full scale invasion force..... to invade and speedily occupy Malta and destroy the British Mediterranean Fleet.

Such an event would have made Operation Sea Lion far more likely to succeed.

Fortunately despotic dictatorships are not that well prepared for war or blessed with strategic insight.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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