Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
User avatar
Gary
Senior Member
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:37 pm
Location: Northumberland

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Gary » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:24 pm

Hi yellowtail

The top image would be USS Pittsburgh after a typhoon storm

Whats the bottom one please?
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

yellowtail3
Senior Member
Posts: 408
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:50 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by yellowtail3 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:46 pm

Gary wrote:Hi yellowtail

The top image would be USS Pittsburgh after a typhoon storm
No, it is Minneapolis after being torpedoed at Tassafaronga; in the photo she has just pulled into Tulagi, a few hours later. Pittsburg was of a later class of ship, much different looking.
Gary wrote:Whats the bottom one please?
that is New Orleans, after the same battle. She was torpedoed, and her forward magazine detonated. That photo was taken a few days later, after they cut loose all the wreckage/plating still attached. Here's one from the morning after the fight:
Attachments
NewOrleansenteringTulagi (Medium).jpg
New Orleans arriving at Tulagi the Morning After...
NewOrleansenteringTulagi (Medium).jpg (104.39 KiB) Viewed 1275 times
Shift Colors... underway.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:11 am

hammy wrote:
Sydney's captains big mistake was to get into close range , where the German gunners could hardly miss , even with a popgun like the ex-army 37mm .
Court martial , had he lived .
Agreed. But Captain Burnett was not alone in approaching enemy ships injudiciously close, he was the only one, along with his ship and crew, to pay the price in WW2. and don't forget where the modern Q-ship concept came from - the ships in WW1 that lured many a U-boat into close range and destruction. Ruckteschell was attacked by a Q-ship in WW1 but he got his U-boat out of it, but that incident it has been suggested was one reason why the hilfskreuzer under his command in WW2 shelled merchant ships so heavily at close range - for fear they may be British Q-ships.

If Burnett survived and was court martialled, would he be convicted if he had cogent reasons for approaching the Kormoran so closely - for example the theory that Burnett thought that it was the Kulmerland, an unarmed German blockade runner, and he wanted to seize her intact?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:15 am

hammy wrote:
As regards Zara or New Orleans , as Heavy cruisers , armoured accordingly , then they would prove far harder to destroy , but you could do damage to a battleship if she is silly enough to come close to you and lay there gawping and not fully prepared for a fight .
You could sink a battleship with torpedoes at point blank range - it nearly happened when Nelson passed Atlantis at close range at night, the British failed to spot the German ship and Rogge held his fire.....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
Gary
Senior Member
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:37 pm
Location: Northumberland

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Gary » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:09 pm

Captain Burnett was ordered to keep his distance from probable enemy ships yet at the same time the Admiralty wanted enemy ships captured if Possible :think:

One contradicts the other :stubborn:

It seemed he couldnt do right for doing wrong
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:47 am

It is a situation which calls for the Captains own judgement, as senior officer on the spot. Captain Burnett simply called it wrong.

I think that one answer would be, knowing with hindsight how Q-ships work, is the close approach but with the crew at full action stations and guns trained so that they can still get the first shots in as soon as the enemy starts to drop its disguise - those vital seconds in firing first should be decisive. There is still the risk of torpedo damage, but hilfskreuzer torpedo attack on surface targets even at point blank range doesn't show a particulary good record. The two fish attack on Sydney was almost a failure, considering one missed the target completely.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

tnemelckram
Member
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:45 am

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by tnemelckram » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:08 am

Hi All!

I read the 2009 RAN Inquiry report and one thing is clear. Detmers was brilliant and probably played the greatest poker hand in naval history. That said, I think he played it for every atom it was worth and don't think there was room for any more good luck. If it's an 8 inch gun cruiser, Detmers loses.

Someone asked whether Capt. Burnett would have been court martialed. The recent Inquiry saw fit to appoint independent counsel for Burnett to represent his posthumous interests and reputation. SO I think the answer is yes, he would have been court martialed.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:56 am

The Counsel representing Burnett, unlike the position in a normal court hearing, doesn't have the evidence of his client as to his version of what happened. So naturally in representing those interests Counsel will be as much in the dark as the Commission and can only place subjective interpretation most favouring his client on the evidence that can be given.

An 8 inch gun cruiser - Detmers loses? Well if it was HMS Australia with Burnett in command, identical scenario, what do you think? Bigger target = better chance of both of Kormoran's torpedoes hitting......
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:15 am

Had Burnett survived a court martial would have been the proper course of action. But it does not automatically mean he would be found guilty of whatever he is charged with, particulary if he had cogent reasons for his actions. The problem for the commission is that nobody knows why, nobody was available to give eyewitness account from the Sydney itself. All we do have for the reasons Burnett did what he did was the evidence of the Germans, in particular the chronology and content of the signals from Sydney to Kormoran. It is that piece of evidence that leads me to suspect that Burnett thought he was dealing with the real Straat Malakka and only became suspicious when it was too late, when he was too close to Kormoran - and the NNJ challenge at that point forced Detmers' hand and he opened fire.
If Burnett had thought that he was dealing with the blockade runner Kulmerland and he approached closely in order to try to capture the ship before the Germans could scuttle, why alarm the Germans at that point with an NNJ challenge? It would have set off the scuttling process before the Sydneys' boarding party was even in Sydneys' boats in preparation to go across.
If Burnett or the officer of the watch had been suspicious from the start, why delay the NNJ challenge? Checkmate could then have been used to call Detmers' bluff at a safe distance.
What I am not clear on is why these two particular considerations were not considered by the Enquiry, and why the Counsel representing Burnett didn't raise these possible scenarios.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
Gary
Senior Member
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:37 pm
Location: Northumberland

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Gary » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:46 pm

If it's an 8 inch gun cruiser, Detmers loses.

Hi Tnemelckram

I assume you mean one of the 8 inch cruisers I mentioned in the opening post?
As RF points out, no 8 incher on the RAN or RN roster would have fared any better in Sydneys place
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

yellowtail3
Senior Member
Posts: 408
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:50 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by yellowtail3 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:43 am

RF wrote: An 8 inch gun cruiser - Detmers loses? Well if it was HMS Australia with Burnett in command, identical scenario, what do you think? Bigger target = better chance of both of Kormoran's torpedoes hitting......
Hey, that's why we need to substitute a New Orleans - sheds its bow like a lizard shedding its tail, with plenty of firepower (and boyancy!) leftover.
Shift Colors... underway.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:05 pm

Provided it doesn't get torpedoed mid ships.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by hammy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:13 pm

RF wrote:
An 8 inch gun cruiser - Detmers loses? Well if it was HMS Australia with Burnett in command, identical scenario, what do you think? Bigger target = better chance of both of Kormoran's torpedoes hitting......
The waterline length isn't all that much different actually - 562 feet in Sydney , 630 feet for the 8inch Counties , just 68 feet longer overall . Not a lot of extra angle at that range . External torpedo bulges too , so better protected there than the smaller cruiser . Higher hull though , so more target area for the Raiders guns to go at , and a slower firing response from the 8 inch guns , and they're in the same thin gunhouses .
I still cant see any rational reason to come in close and unprepared unless you had absolutely verified that the ship was an innocent one .
It couldn't have been contempt for the adversary for at this time , 1941 , all sorts of silly newspaper reports and intelligence assessments were still going around crediting these Raiders with oversize 8inch guns , 20 knots speed , etc .

The point about the lesser accuracy of German raiders torpedoes is explained by the control being done locally through the limited solution finder gear by the mount , whereas most warships had moved on to a remotely located dedicated torpedo director control unit to compute the firing solution . I dont think the raiders got even the U-boats or S-boats sighting system .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:03 am

Well, lets see. If the stem is longer possibly the torpedo that struck abaft turret A would strike slighly further forward, say turret B, with the torpedo that passed ahead also now hitting, say at the point of turret A. With the same close range scenario, same result......

The whole issue of why Sydney approached so close will never be resolved for certain, I have my own view on that, as posted above. It is a matter of record that German ships disguised as Allied merchantman were approached injudiciosly close on several occasions during WW2, indeed closer than Sydney did to Kormoran before Detmers opened fire.

Another aspect is that if Kormorans torpedoes had been better directed and both struck Sydney midships the action would have been cleaner in the sense Sydney would have sank quickly and there should have been a substantial number of survivors from that ship.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7605
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:15 am

hammy wrote:
The point about the lesser accuracy of German raiders torpedoes is explained by the control being done locally through the limited solution finder gear by the mount , whereas most warships had moved on to a remotely located dedicated torpedo director control unit to compute the firing solution . I dont think the raiders got even the U-boats or S-boats sighting system .
Presumably another relic from the time of SMS Wolf; and again an example of the lack of foresight and proper planning on the part of the KM in making full use of the hilfsfkreuzer as a naval weapon.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Post Reply