Updating the KGV class

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
dunmunro
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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:11 am

This is from RA Burt:
On her preliminary trials (2 December 1940), Constructor H. S. Pengelly said of her general seaworthiness:
During full power trials (at 28 knots*) the ship was dry except for broken water over the bow
which was well cleared by the breakwaters. The fairing at the fore end of the
side armour and the streamlined refuse chute were effective in reducing spray.
The flying-off space and quarterdeck were dry, the latter even when going astern
at 10 knots.
The movement of the ship was generally easy, periods measured on many
occasions being about 7½ seconds’ pitch and 14 seconds’ roll. The ship was
remarkably free of vibration at all speeds and I was informed that the
rangefinders could be used without difficulty. The Captain and officers have all
expressed themselves as being pleased with the ship and her performance.
(* my comment)

Burt notes that PoW was wet forward during operations against Bismarck but we have to remember that she was steaming at 28-29 knots, through rough seas, prior to intercepting Bismarck and any battleship would be wet forward under those conditions. Bismarck, for example, had Anton turret's RF removed because it was generally unusable at sea. While Scharnhorst and her sister were notoriously, cripplingly wet ships. In 1943 Massachusetts ran into moderately bad weather and this was the result:
Subject: Heavy Weather Damage, report of.

Enclosure: (A) Report of damage and recommendations under the cognizance of the Bureau of Ordnance.
(B) Report of damage and recommendations under the cognizance of the Bureau of Ships (Engineering).
(C) Report of damage and recommendations under the cognizance of the Bureau of Ships (Hull).
(D) Extracts from log of February 7, and 8, 1943.

1. During the morning watch of February 7 1943 while making passage off Cape Hatteras this vessel on course 196° true, speed 18.5 knots, encountered a moderate sea which did considerable damage to this vessel during the next twenty-four hours. This damage and recommendations are listed in enclosures (A), (B) and (C). The maximum force of the wind was 6, sea 4 which varied slightly on either side of the starboard beam.

2. The seas were only moderate with an occasional heavy wave. At 1614 on February 7, 1943 as the heavy weather was increasing slowed to 15 knots with no reduction in the water coming on board. At about 2030 a particularly heavy sea came on board which threatened to flood the engine rooms thru the ventilation intake ducts and short out the main switchboards. Speed was slowed to 12 knots with little reduction in the amount of water coming on board. As turret one was being flooded due to the bloomers carrying away it was impractical to head into the sea and to place the sea on or abaft the quarter would have cleared the stern of aircraft.

3. At 0707 on February 8, 1943 the seas having moderated went ahead at 15 knots and at 0225 resumed 18.5 knots.

4. Turret #1 was flooded because of the failure of the bloomers. The turret was trained to port in order to reduce the amount of water entering the gun ports but it was found that too much water was coming thru the after hatch and ventilation ducts. As at this time it was thought that no serious damage was being done to the turret the turret was trained on the port bow. After pumping the water down it was found that water had entered the center column. This in itself did no serious damage but this water flowing thru the conduit tubes to the main power connection boxes soaked the main power cables necessitating their renewal and placing the turret out of commission for ten days.

5. During this storm the maximum roll was 13 degrees and the maximum pitch as read from the trim indicator dampened

to give an average was 3 feet. This vessel is extremely wet. Even on a calm day with very little wind the weather decks are wet with spray. On this particular day no automatic weapons on the main deck could have been manned and only those on the lee side of the superstructure could have been manned. In fact, it would have been impossible to fight the ship to windward with anything except perhaps turret 2 and upper 5" mounts.
http://www.researcheratlarge.com/Ships/ ... amage.html
(my bolding)
En-route to Casablanca Massachusetts had her aircraft badly damaged during a storm despite reducing speed to a crawl. KGV, PoW and DoY pushed through heavier seas and/or fought lengthy actions in rougher weather. DoY, notably, pushed through extremely heavy weather at 24 knots to intercept Scharnhorst and then increased speed to 28 knots during the action.

It is a myth that the KGV class were unduly wet forward, or had inadequate freeboard forward. Any increase in freeboard forward, would have had to have been paid for by weight reductions elsewhere and the Admiralty requirements for low angle fire forward also meant considerable weight savings. However, KGV actually had more freeboard forward than the North Carolina class, or the Littorio class, and their hull design allowed for more flotation forward, so the bow had less tendency to bury itself in heavy seas. The NC and South Dakota class had short beamy hulls and consequently very fine bows, with little flotation and thus tended to bury the bow, so that water would overwhelm the breakwater. Bismarck also had a very fine bow, but her greater length helped mitigate the effects, but Scharnhorst was not so fortunate.

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:58 am

Given DK Brown's qualifications and long professional service as a Naval Constructor in service to the RN, I have a problem believing that his description of the KGV class as "wet ships" can be considered to represent "a myth".

Just saying.

Byron

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:53 am

Byron Angel wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:58 am
Given DK Brown's qualifications and long professional service as a Naval Constructor in service to the RN, I have a problem believing that his description of the KGV class as "wet ships" can be considered to represent "a myth".

Just saying.

Byron
In his Design and Construction of British Warships from 1939-45, Major surface vessels, Brown stated:
To meet the weight limitations imposed by Treaty,
it was necessary to design the ships with the mini-
mum depth practicable and, in order to fire 'A'
turret at small angles of elevation on forward bear-
ings, the sheer of the deck forward was kept to a
minimum. The growth of weight during building
still further reduced the freeboard and the class
was criticised as being 'wet ships'.
However, it is extremely problematic to take the above without doing a comparative analysis to see if the criticism was warranted, and IMHO, it is not warranted at all. KGV was clearly the very best of the prewar designs, in terms of seakeeping, and the proven ability to steam and fight at high speed in poor weather.

Brown stated in Nelson to Vanguard that in his opinion KGV would have been better with 2in thinner side belts and 1/2in thinner decks and 3 x quad 14in turrets and no secondary armament. I don't agree at all with Brown's opinion.

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:32 am

Hi Dunmunro,
In your last post you stated:' Brown stated in Nelson to Vanguard that in his opinion KGV would have been better with 2in thinner side belts and 1/2in thinner decks and 3 x quad 14in turrets and no secondary armament. I don't agree at all with Brown's opinion.'
While i am sure you are correct, i wonder if so much secondary armament was necessary on the RN battleships, which were designed primarily to fight other battleships whereas the German ships were mainly built for raiding which required sinking of merchant ships in a convoy and would not necessarily require the use of their heavy weapons to sink them,As i understand it secondary faster firing weapons were really there for seeing of enemy destroyers or MTB's and as the war progressed it became obvious that AA protection was needed more than a possible attack from smaller ships..

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wadinga
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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by wadinga » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:45 am

Fellow Contributors,

Like Byron, I consider the opinion based on all the wartime experience garnered over time regarding all the ships of the class by D K Brown to be more valuable than the single trials experience of Constructor Pengelly. I also point again to the marked changes incorporated in Vanguard's bow over the earlier design. The Royal Navy Constructor Corps does not react to "myths". The near straight prow of the KG Vs looks very like the original bow of various German vessels before the so-called Atlantic Bow was fitted. It would have been interesting if such an correcting retro-fit had been applied to KG V after her bow was destroyed in accidentally ramming HMS Punjabi.

However I hope we can all agree than saddling the ships with an extra 770 tons of forward weight with an extra quad 14" in B position would not have improved things, and the same can safely be said for two triple 16" turrets. Compared to their American contemporaries which did have 16" guns and also attempted to honour the Treaty displacement, the KG Vs were massively armoured with thicker, deeper belts, which in the limited number of gun actions they were involved in, actually did them no good at all.

Having met David K Brown back in the 1970s at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, when he was still in post at the RCNC, I recall a somewhat mischievous sense of humour, and floating the idea that the KG Vs should have entered the dangerous airspace of the 1940s with no D/P secondary armament at all is probably a flippant expression of this.

All the best in troubled times

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:40 pm

wadinga wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:45 am
Fellow Contributors,

Like Byron, I consider the opinion based on all the wartime experience garnered over time regarding all the ships of the class by D K Brown to be more valuable than the single trials experience of Constructor Pengelly. I also point again to the marked changes incorporated in Vanguard's bow over the earlier design. The Royal Navy Constructor Corps does not react to "myths". The near straight prow of the KG Vs looks very like the original bow of various German vessels before the so-called Atlantic Bow was fitted. It would have been interesting if such an correcting retro-fit had been applied to KG V after her bow was destroyed in accidentally ramming HMS Punjabi.

However I hope we can all agree than saddling the ships with an extra 770 tons of forward weight with an extra quad 14" in B position would not have improved things, and the same can safely be said for two triple 16" turrets. Compared to their American contemporaries which did have 16" guns and also attempted to honour the Treaty displacement, the KG Vs were massively armoured with thicker, deeper belts, which in the limited number of gun actions they were involved in, actually did them no good at all.

Having met David K Brown back in the 1970s at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, when he was still in post at the RCNC, I recall a somewhat mischievous sense of humour, and floating the idea that the KG Vs should have entered the dangerous airspace of the 1940s with no D/P secondary armament at all is probably a flippant expression of this.

All the best in troubled times

wadinga
Brown is welcome to his opinion but really what is he saying? If KGV is a wet ship but was able to steam and fight in heavy weather, when others of the same design era couldn't, what does that mean?

Look at PoW and Hood at Denmark straits; given Hood's fate how can we possibly criticize the priority given to armour protection on PoW? Despite her massive increase in displacement what could Vanguard do at DS that PoW couldn't? PoW is even better protected than Vanguard and the RN 14in gun had superior armour penetration over the 15in guns, especially with the shells in service in 1941. The fact is that PoW was better protected and had more firepower on ~12k tons less displacement.

There are really important design differences between KGV's bow design and the KM ships, which had very fine bows with little flotation. The KM tried fitting a 'vanguard style' Atlantic bow on the Twins but this was unsuccessful, because the basic problem of too fine lines forward, with insufficient flotation remained. Raising the freeboard forward on KGV would have added considerable weight right at the bow, and consequently would have secured little improvement unless the bow could also be lengthened, but when did the KGV class ever fail to carry out a combat mission due to sea conditions? The original design of the Lion class, based on KGV, would have greatly improved the firepower and due to the extra length and beam, would have been dryer forward despite the same basic bow design. The subsequent revisions of the Lion class design were a step backwards, IMHO, as they added weight for no increase in combat power.

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by Byron Angel » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:57 am

According to Prinz Eugen's KTB, the Denmark Strait action was fought in Beaufort Force 4 wind conditions (Moderate Breeze - 11-16 knots out of the NW), reducing to Beaufort Force 3 ( Gentle Breeze - 7-10 knots out of the E) sometime around 0600 hours. The principal sea state feature was a residual swell from the previous day's heavier weather. This does not constitute any sort of gale. Prince of Wales problems (A & B turret range-finders washed out) were due to sailing into the wind at high speed and taking spray over the bow, which, in my strictly non-professional opinion, was due to insufficient forward sheer and inadequate bow flare - sacrificed as a weight-saving measure in a very tightly constrained design.

After their 1944 re-fits, the standard displacements of the surviving KGV's grew from approx 35,500 tons to 39,500-40,000 tons. As a result, the ships operating with the British Pacific Fleet displayed very wet behavior compared to US battleships (Iowas, IIRC) sailing in company. I'm still hunting for the original reference in my somewhat chaotic files and will post same when located (too late to do so tonight).

It would be interesting to compare the freeboard of the KGV with that of Vanguard, which by reputation had superlative sea-keeping qualities.

Byron

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:36 am

Byron Angel wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:57 am
According to Prinz Eugen's KTB, the Denmark Strait action was fought in Beaufort Force 4 wind conditions (Moderate Breeze - 11-16 knots out of the NW), reducing to Beaufort Force 3 ( Gentle Breeze - 7-10 knots out of the E) sometime around 0600 hours. The principal sea state feature was a residual swell from the previous day's heavier weather. This does not constitute any sort of gale. Prince of Wales problems (A & B turret range-finders washed out) were due to sailing into the wind at high speed and taking spray over the bow, which, in my strictly non-professional opinion, was due to insufficient forward sheer and inadequate bow flare - sacrificed as a weight-saving measure in a very tightly constrained design.

After their 1944 re-fits, the standard displacements of the surviving KGV's grew from approx 35,500 tons to 39,500-40,000 tons. As a result, the ships operating with the British Pacific Fleet displayed very wet behavior compared to US battleships (Iowas, IIRC) sailing in company. I'm still hunting for the original reference in my somewhat chaotic files and will post same when located (too late to do so tonight).

It would be interesting to compare the freeboard of the KGV with that of Vanguard, which by reputation had superlative sea-keeping qualities.

Byron
BC1 had steamed at high speed through rough seas prior to meeting Bismarck, and Holland feared that his destroyers would not be able to keep up:
The first indication that the situation was developing was at 1939, when B.C.1 ordered steam for full speed. "Prince of Wales" reported ready for 29 knots at 1948. Course was then altered in succession to 295 degs., R.D/F policy J ordered, and "Prince of Wales" put on a bearing of 100 degs. From B.C.1. The reason for this became clear when at 2004 the first enemy report from "Bismarck was received, T.O.O.1922, one battleship and one cruiser approx. true course 240 degs. Position put enemy about 300 miles 005 degs from battlecruiser force. At 2040 and enemy report was also received from "Norfolk". Speed was increased to 26 knots at 2045 and 27 knots at 2054. At 2055 B.C.1 signalled to destroyers; "If you are unable to maintain this speed I will have to go on without you. You should follow at your best speed".

At this time "Prince of Wales" was going nearly full speed to maintain station. Destroyers kept up well and at 2120 B.C.1 signalled his intention to spread them at 2300 on a bearing of 070 degs. 7 miles or visibility distance if less, to act as a reconnaissance screen. This was not done and at 2305 signal was received that destroyers would not be spread until later.

2311.

Course altered by blue pendant to 285 degs.

2315

"Prince of Wales" stationed on a bearing 090 degs. From "Hood".

In reply to signals "Prince of Wales" informed B.C.1 that no more speed was possible without taking risks and that maximum gun range of "Prince of Wales" was 36,000 yards. At 2318 destroyers were ordered to form screen No.4 and at 2334 "Prince of Wales" was signalled to report bearing of "Suffolk" by D/F on 138Kc/s. The first bearing 000 degs., was reported at 2347. B.C.1 left it to "Prince of Wales" discretion whether to fly off aircraft before contact with the enemy was made.

Saturday, 24th May

Weather at 0001: Wind North, force 4/5, visibility - moderate, Sea and swell 34. At this time reports put the enemy 120 miles 010 degs., from battlecruiser force, approx. true course 200 degs. Speed was reduced to 25 knots at 0008 and course altered by blue pendant to 340 degs. At 0012 and 000 degs. At 0017. At 0015 ships assumed first degree of readiness, final preparations for action were made, and battle ensign hoisted. It was expected that contact with the enemy would be made at any time after 0140. Cruisers at this time had lost touch with the enemy in low visibility and snow storms. B.C.1 signalled his intentions as follows:-
(my bolding)
Wind and sea scales: http://dragdevicedb.com/appendix-viii-b ... sea-scales

PoW's A and B turret RF's remained operational despite the spray and the water which had entered A turret and the spray and water which continued to enter A turret, but at 28 knots this would be expected on any contemporary ship and even Vanguard would have considerable spray over the bow.
PoW's action report states:
3. The rangefinders failed to develop a satisfactory range plot before opening fire; the fore D.C.T. 15-ft rangefinder was the only rangefinder which had a reasonable chance; the closing rate was very high and "A" and "B" rangefinders were able to see the enemy's superstructure for a short time only before "table turning." Conditions for ranging on the enemy's masts were not easy. As a result it required two down ladders to find the target.
So nothing about the RFs rendered unusable by spray. A turret's low height above the water gave it a very restricted horizon.

KGV fought Bismarck with wind 6/7 (26.7 knots) and sea 46 but her action report doesn't mention spray or water as an issue, doubtless because she was steaming at 19 knots during the action until 0951 when she reduced to 14 knots to better match Bismarck's speed. Still, we know that other contemporary battleships would have had a very severe time fighting in similar conditions, even at less than 19 knots.

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:12 am

Byron Angel wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:57 am


After their 1944 re-fits, the standard displacements of the surviving KGV's grew from approx 35,500 tons to 39,500-40,000 tons. As a result, the ships operating with the British Pacific Fleet displayed very wet behavior compared to US battleships (Iowas, IIRC) sailing in company. I'm still hunting for the original reference in my somewhat chaotic files and will post same when located (too late to do so tonight).

It would be interesting to compare the freeboard of the KGV with that of Vanguard, which by reputation had superlative sea-keeping qualities.

Byron
The KGV class displacement did grow by 1945 but so did that of all USN battleships. In Nelson to Vanguard, Brown favourably compared Vanguard's seakeeping to KGV and also to Iowa.

Vanguard did prove to be an excellent seaboat. At deep load Vanguard had a freeboard at the bow of 31.5 ft versus ~25ft for KGV as built, and ~23.5ft in 1945. Average action load would add about 18in to KGV's freeboard at the bow, but of course, freeboard alone is deceptive, as we see below:
After taking her place as Home Fleet flagship in the line at Spithead on 15th June, the
September 1953 NATO exercise ‘Mariner’ was the largest to date and covered the
entire Atlantic and Channel areas from Norway to Gibraltar. Convoys were formed and
escorted against aircraft and submarine attack whilst the Striking fleet moved north
towards Denmark Strait in the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap. This comprised USS IOWA,
three American cruisers, two ‘Essex’ Class carriers, HMCS Quebec and seventeen
destroyers, (including trios of ‘Daring’s’, ‘Weapons’ and ‘Battles’), whilst the Heavy
Squadron, comprising HMS Vanguard, Eagle, and Sheffield (replacing Theseus on ‘Flail’
duties), joined from Invergorden. The whole exercise took place in atrocious weather
conditions which not only hindered but curtailed many intended operations and
ultimately led to abandonment after the collision between HMS Diamond and Swiftsure.
However the ‘star’ of the show was HMS Vanguard alone able to steam at 26 knots with
no more than a 12 degree roll. “With hardly a movement on her and the spray
flying out from either bow . . . directly into the gale . . . a magnificent sight that few
of us will ever forget”. Interestingly, USS Iowa did not perform nearly so well,
frequently rolling to 26 degrees with her bridge hidden in spray.
Eagle also
appeared drier than the larger American carriers. HMS Vanguard was later directed
towards an enemy raider (HMS Swiftsure) and being judged undamaged from a
bomb attack by US Skyraider aircraft in error, she proceeded to engage and
‘sink’ the cruiser
A short history of Britain’s last battleship by Roger Fry
(my bolding)

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by paul.mercer » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:14 am

Gentlemen,
Thanks for your replies re the KG's being (or not being 'wet') ships forward, the RN must have had some experience of mounting multi-gunned turrets at the front pf a ship with the 'Nelsons' whilst keeping them within the ''Treaty' limit, were they considered to be 'wet' due to all the weight being up front?
I'm sorry that I do not quite understand the technical bits of the KG construction, but, In his post Wadinga said the following:
"Brown notes that the revolving weight of a quadruple 14" gun turret was 1500/1550 tons, whereas the twin was only 825 tons and based on a 26ft roller path. These are the weights of the revolving structure only, the barbette armour adding a great deal more.
I can't find a revolving weight for the proposed new 16" triple for the Lions but Campbell says there were two sketches with roller paths of 34ft and 39ft. Maybe the latter meant somebody decided squeezing the mechanism too much was a bad idea. The weight of the triple 16" mounted in the Nelsons was 1600 tons".
If this is correct, then the triple turrets on the 'Nelsons' were actually heavier than the quad 14" but they still kept within the 'Treaty' limits, so surely it would have been possible to mount 3 quad turrets on the KG's with two forward and one aft and give them the same protection, I believe that the 'nelsons' were actually fairly well armoured for their size.

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by wadinga » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:43 am

Fellow Contributors,

With regard to spray over the bow at Denmark Straits, McMullen has this to say:
The story as far as I can remember is as follows.

Y Turret was "wooded" as "A " arcs were not open. A rough sea and strong wind on the starboard bow together with our high speed resulted in a continuos stream of spray and water over A and B Turrets, and inspite of their window washing gear neither obtained any ranges before opening fire.
and
This procedure although independant, laid down that gun ranges be interchanged between ships before opening fire but we received no gun ranges from Hood and I was unable to pass any to her, so I expect she suffered the same trouble, being also a "wet" ship with her main optical range finders low down on the back of the Turrets.
and
It is of interest that having the "windward berth" was even in comparatively modern days an advantage where spray was concerned.
So McMullen supports Brown, not Pengelly.

Sumrall says the North Carolinas had a bow freeboard at deep load of 29ft ie better than KG V under any conditions. Whereas I see little significant difference in the "fine-ness" (and hence buoyancy) of the KG V and Bismarck waterplanes, the Iowas did indeed have a long fine entry, perhaps necessary in order to achieve their high speed in combination with their immense power plant. This fine entry meant less increase in buoyancy as the bow dug in at high speed, when there was a sea running. The design delivers high speed when nice "Pacific" conditions prevail, but is more challenged when things get lively.

The longer the distance between the prow and the forward turrets, the less flooding and spray will be a problem. The North Carolinas were approx the same length as the KG Vs, the South Dakotas 40ft shorter.

"Nelsol" and "Rodol" as they were dismissively nicknamed (because they looked like tankers from a distance) had high freeboard throughout including the bow. They achieved Treaty compliance by having, frankly, inadequate power plants, taking up minimal space requiring a smaller area of weighty armour and providing insufficient thrust to achieve speeds where bow burying and spray would be much of a problem. Since the engineering spaces were squeezed in aft, the weighty turrets at 1600 tons each were not really very far forwards.

The Vanguard was so good as a seaboat because dimensions could rise limited only by docking constraints and the main armament weight was that suited to much smaller hulls like the QEs or R Class. 20 years of engineering development gave speed like Hood's, from a more compact power plant requiring less weighty armour coverage. And, of course, the adoption of bow freeboard, deck sheer and hull flare because the silly staff requirement for low elevation over-the-bow shooting had gone.

Interestingly the some of the pre-KG V design options were vaguely considered "battle-cruisers" on the grounds that battleships travelled at fleet speeds of 22-24 knots whereas 28-30 knot speed conferred fast wing status

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:24 am

wadinga wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:43 am
Fellow Contributors,

With regard to spray over the bow at Denmark Straits, McMullen has this to say:
The story as far as I can remember is as follows.

Y Turret was "wooded" as "A " arcs were not open. A rough sea and strong wind on the starboard bow together with our high speed resulted in a continuos stream of spray and water over A and B Turrets, and inspite of their window washing gear neither obtained any ranges before opening fire.
and
This procedure although independant, laid down that gun ranges be interchanged between ships before opening fire but we received no gun ranges from Hood and I was unable to pass any to her, so I expect she suffered the same trouble, being also a "wet" ship with her main optical range finders low down on the back of the Turrets.
and
It is of interest that having the "windward berth" was even in comparatively modern days an advantage where spray was concerned.
So McMullen supports Brown, not Pengelly.

Sumrall says the North Carolinas had a bow freeboard at deep load of 29ft ie better than KG V under any conditions. Whereas I see little significant difference in the "fine-ness" (and hence buoyancy) of the KG V and Bismarck waterplanes, the Iowas did indeed have a long fine entry, perhaps necessary in order to achieve their high speed in combination with their immense power plant. This fine entry meant less increase in buoyancy as the bow dug in at high speed, when there was a sea running. The design delivers high speed when nice "Pacific" conditions prevail, but is more challenged when things get lively.

The longer the distance between the prow and the forward turrets, the less flooding and spray will be a problem. The North Carolinas were approx the same length as the KG Vs, the South Dakotas 40ft shorter.

"Nelsol" and "Rodol" as they were dismissively nicknamed (because they looked like tankers from a distance) had high freeboard throughout including the bow. They achieved Treaty compliance by having, frankly, inadequate power plants, taking up minimal space requiring a smaller area of weighty armour and providing insufficient thrust to achieve speeds where bow burying and spray would be much of a problem. Since the engineering spaces were squeezed in aft, the weighty turrets at 1600 tons each were not really very far forwards.

The Vanguard was so good as a seaboat because dimensions could rise limited only by docking constraints and the main armament weight was that suited to much smaller hulls like the QEs or R Class. 20 years of engineering development gave speed like Hood's, from a more compact power plant requiring less weighty armour coverage. And, of course, the adoption of bow freeboard, deck sheer and hull flare because the silly staff requirement for low elevation over-the-bow shooting had gone.

Interestingly the some of the pre-KG V design options were vaguely considered "battle-cruisers" on the grounds that battleships travelled at fleet speeds of 22-24 knots whereas 28-30 knot speed conferred fast wing status

All the best

wadinga
We've discussed the accuracy of Mcmullen's memory before. These are comments made 30 years after the fact, and when they depart from Pengelly or the GAR, both of which were written at the time the events transpire, we must hold them suspect. PoW's DCT RF didn't suffer from spray and it didn't obtain any ranges either.

Sumrall is wrong. He's stating freeboard at their designed action load (42300 tons), not their actual full load, which even in 1942 was 46800 tons, which increased draft by ~3ft. In 1944-45 mean displacement was 45700 tons and full load over 47000 tons. Washington fought 2nd Guadalcanal at 44500 tons, fortunately, in dead calm conditions, in relatively shelter waters.

Washington had an overall length of 728ft, 714ft (WL) and and UW beam of 108ft vs 745ft overall, 740ft(WL) x 103ft for KGV, and thus of necessity her bow is much finer than KGV's. The distance from KGV's A turret 14in muzzles to the bow is ~164ft versus ~131ft in Washington. Consequently she had undesirable seakeeping characteristics:
Superheated steam at 850 degrees powered turbines
at 6,000 rpm to produce 121,000 horsepower
which drove the four propellers that propelled the
Washington. With such power, even under light
breeze conditions in the placid Pacific, she sometimes
plowed into the sea with immense bow disturbance.
This unusual phenomenon occurs when
the frequency of encounter with long ocean swells
matches the natural pitching frequency of the
ship, causing a harmonic amplification of the
ship's pitching motion...
...Even in a moderate sea, high speed operations
meant a wet forecastle. Here the Washington
shows a long wake as she keeps company with
the carrier Hancock (CVl 9j during flight
operations.
(G&D, captions from photos, the first showing an immense wall of water sweeping over Washington's bow)
On 4 Nov 1942, Massachusetts, rolled through 22 degrees whilst proceeding at ~10 knots (from her war diary and action reports), and the weather and sea conditions were not very severe. She had an aircraft wrecked and nearly torn off the stern. Commenting on the South Dakota class Friedman states:
With their low freeboards reduced further by over-loading, all of these ships were quite wet...
which merely confirms what we already know.

About the Iowa class he quotes a USN report:
...They have a good freeboard but are wetter, from
Turret Two aft, than seems proper for ships of their
size. This wetness seems due to the sudden and ex-
treme widening of the hull lines just forward of Tur-
ret One. . . . The wetness of the present ships has been
of no concern in the normally smooth South and
Central Pacific but would be a decidedly undesirable
feature if they were to be employed in other waters
such as the North Atlantic. ...
In fact from wartime and post war reports, it seems that even the Iowa class would have been hard pressed to have undertaken DoY's combat mission against Scharnhorst.

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wadinga
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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by wadinga » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:11 pm

Fellow Contributors,

As I recall assertions that McMullen's memories were at fault mainly revolved around things he remembered when speaking to Tovey about things the Admiral might or might not remember correctly. I do not think anyone has seriously questioned or identified major faults in his account of things he personally experienced.
and when they depart from Pengelly or the GAR, both of which were written at the time the events transpire,
Pengelly wasn't on board at the Denmark Straits AFAIK, and just because the GAR doesn't specify spray as the problem stopping A and B rangefinders getting worthwhile values it doesn't devalue McMullen's account. As we know the DCT rangefinder was only 15ft baseline compared with 42ft on A turret and was bound to struggle at longer distances..

But if we are going to quote the GAR:
While steaming at high speed, large quantities of sea water entered "A" turret round the gun ports and through the joints of the gunhouse roof. It became necessary to rig canvas screens in the transverser space and bale the compartment.
Throughout the engagement the conditions in "A" shell handling room were very bad; water was pouring down from the upper part of the mounting. Only one drain is fitted and became choked; with the result that water accumulated and washed from side to side as the ship rolled. The streams above and floods below drenched the machinery and caused discomfort to the personnel. More drains should be fitted in the shell handling room and consideration given to a system of water catchment combined with improved drainage in the upper parts of the revolving structure. Every effort is being made to improve the pressure systems and further attempts will be made as soon as opportunity occurs to improve the mantlet weathering, but a certain amount of leaking is inevitable.
With pressure being kept on shell room machinery for a long period, much water has accumulated in the shell rooms and bins. Suctions are fitted from 350-tomnm pumps only and these are not satisfactory for dealing with relatively small quantities of water. Drains are urgently required. It is suggested that a drain be fitted at each end of each shell room and larger drain holes be made in the bins; present drain holes being quite inadequate and easily choked.

The drains should be led to the inner bottom under the cordite handling room. Non-return valves and flash-seals could be fitted if considered necessary.
The last part is the most intriguing as it seems more to be about leaks from the machinery using water as hydraulic fluid, but the "large quantities of seawater" ie not just spray, entering the turret must be draining down to the lowest point.

Can we not just agree to differ whether the KG Vs were "wet" by some absolute standard or "wetter/less wet" than others and agree that re-equipping with heavier weapons as suggested by the thread starter would have delayed construction and overloaded the ships even before all the other wartime add-ons got started?

Your quote about Washington at high speed p 58 shows we are both using the same source Dulin, Gaske and Sumrall. Battleships :D

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

dunmunro
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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:07 pm

wadinga wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:11 pm
Fellow Contributors,

As I recall assertions that McMullen's memories were at fault mainly revolved around things he remembered when speaking to Tovey about things the Admiral might or might not remember correctly. I do not think anyone has seriously questioned or identified major faults in his account of things he personally experienced.
and when they depart from Pengelly or the GAR, both of which were written at the time the events transpire,
Pengelly wasn't on board at the Denmark Straits AFAIK, and just because the GAR doesn't specify spray as the problem stopping A and B rangefinders getting worthwhile values it doesn't devalue McMullen's account. As we know the DCT rangefinder was only 15ft baseline compared with 42ft on A turret and was bound to struggle at longer distances..

But if we are going to quote the GAR:
While steaming at high speed, large quantities of sea water entered "A" turret round the gun ports and through the joints of the gunhouse roof. It became necessary to rig canvas screens in the transverser space and bale the compartment.
Throughout the engagement the conditions in "A" shell handling room were very bad; water was pouring down from the upper part of the mounting. Only one drain is fitted and became choked; with the result that water accumulated and washed from side to side as the ship rolled. The streams above and floods below drenched the machinery and caused discomfort to the personnel. More drains should be fitted in the shell handling room and consideration given to a system of water catchment combined with improved drainage in the upper parts of the revolving structure. Every effort is being made to improve the pressure systems and further attempts will be made as soon as opportunity occurs to improve the mantlet weathering, but a certain amount of leaking is inevitable.
With pressure being kept on shell room machinery for a long period, much water has accumulated in the shell rooms and bins. Suctions are fitted from 350-tomnm pumps only and these are not satisfactory for dealing with relatively small quantities of water. Drains are urgently required. It is suggested that a drain be fitted at each end of each shell room and larger drain holes be made in the bins; present drain holes being quite inadequate and easily choked.

The drains should be led to the inner bottom under the cordite handling room. Non-return valves and flash-seals could be fitted if considered necessary.


Your quote about Washington at high speed p 58 shows we are both using the same source Dulin, Gaske and Sumrall. Battleships :D

All the best

wadinga
Mcmullen states that radar ranges were obtained during the first action when the GAR (and Roskill who was personally involved) states otherwise. During the 2nd action the 15ft DCT RF obtained ranges out to 33000 yds:
C - Events during Second Action

24th May. - Fire was opened at Bismarck at 1846 at a range of 30,300 yards. The table was tuned to ranges obtained from the fore D.C.T. rangefinder and "fine inclination spotting rules" were adopted, each double salvo being spread one unit apart. Salvoes 1 and 2 both fell right; salvoes 3 and 4 were fired as a further line bracket and both fell in line and short. UP 800 was ordered and salvoes 5 and 6 were fired spread one unit apart. Both these appeared in line and over; the range was then 33,000 yards and check fire was ordered. Prince of Wales then turned towards and opened fire again at 1853.5, with salvoes 7 and 8 fired as a deflection double with the table re-tuned to the fire D.C.T. rangefinder. "Y" turret was not bearing after salvo 6. Again, both these appeared right, and salvoes 9 and 10 were fired as a further line bracket. Both appeared in line and short; UP 800 was ordered and salvoes 11 and 12 were fired spread one unit apart; 11 was observed right and 12 over. Fire was then ordered to be checked by C.S.1 as the enemy turned away and there was a danger of forcing him westward.

It is understood that one of these salvoes was observed to "straddle" by Norfolk.
During the first action the atmospheric conditions simply didn't allow for optical ranging.

Again, A turret got wet, but remained fully functional. The main problem being the lack of drains and low capacity pumps. Any battleship, fighting in the same conditions and speed, would experience water ingress to a greater or lesser degree in A turret. Comparing PoW to Vanguard is hardly a fair comparison because Vanguard might have been the best battleship ever built in that regard:
In rough weather, the ships were usually
quite steady. One of the COs of the New Jersey
remembered her bow quivering as the ship
drove into very heavy waves, and he wondered
if she might lose her fore section as the heavy
cruiser Pittsburgh had done. In certain seas
though, the battleships would roll. During a
NATO operation in the North Atlantic in
September 1953, the Iowa registered a 26° roll
each way (at the same time, HMS Vanguard
experienced a 15° roll). The 'Iowas' have
always been wet ships. The Missouri reported
in August 1950 after she passed close to the eye
of a hurricane, 'with normal loading and even
moderate seas, Missouri takes considerable
water across the fantail'. The vessels also
especially shipped water where the hull nar-
rowed forward of No. 1 turret.
Muir, Iowa Class Battleships
but compared to her true contemporaries KGV was the best there was.
The last part is the most intriguing as it seems more to be about leaks from the machinery using water as hydraulic fluid, but the "large quantities of seawater" ie not just spray, entering the turret must be draining down to the lowest point.

Can we not just agree to differ whether the KG Vs were "wet" by some absolute standard or "wetter/less wet" than others and agree that re-equipping with heavier weapons as suggested by the thread starter would have delayed construction and overloaded the ships even before all the other wartime add-ons got started?
I think they are addressing the issue of watertightness if using the inner bottom as a bilge, the non-return valves being a precaution against flooding if the inner bottom was opened to the sea.

I agree that being labelled as 'wet ships' has to be qualified because it can be taken to imply a greater impairment in fighting power than for a potential opponent, which was not true for the KGV class. I stated earlier that substantial reductions in armour would have been required to compensate for any increase in armament, and that the hull dimensions would have had to be increased. Compared to Rodney, KGV has thicker deck armour and her main belt has twice the height, and so KGV carried substantially more amour than Nelson

dunmunro
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Re: Updating the KGV class

Post by dunmunro » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:07 pm

More ships at sea in dirty weather:

RN carrier task force including a KGV class:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwjrf0gZjIE
watch the carrier taking it 'green'.

USN during a 1945 Typhoon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTV0qIoJgYA

USS Missouri in the 1980s:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n_as89ESuw


I had the good (or mis as my wife states) fortune to experience hurricane force winds at sea. In late Dec 2012 my wife and I were on board the Norwegian Jade (100k tons ~1000ft length) after she departed from Istanbul bound for Naples, and ran into a severe storm. I did a lot of sailing in my younger days, and I automatically awoke in the wee hours of the morning, because the ship was rolling and pitching, when normally the stabilizers would dampen almost all motion. I turned on the TV in our cabin, and to my amazement the weather/position channel which monitored the ship's position and weather was showing winds over 70 knots and reached over 80 knots:

http://www.sfu.ca/~dmunro/images/hurricane.jpg

I went onto our cabin balconey and the wind was howling with tremendous seas that I couldn't photograph properly in the darkness.

The ship briefly slowed to 6 knots. That morning about 1/2 the passengers were seasick, (including my wife) and the cafeteria was nearly deserted. I had a great time wandering around the ship and watched in amusement as the water sloshed out of the ship's swimming pool. Most of the upper exposed areas of the ship were closed off.

As it brightened into morning, the seas were truly nasty and I'm sure my 26ft sailboat would have been overwhelmed even though the weather had moderated to gale force. I felt fortunate, though, to have seen the Med in similar conditions to those experienced at 2nd Sirte, albeit in considerably more comfort!

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