Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

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RF
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:53 am

Bgile wrote:There were no "anti-tank guns" on Kormoran, and as far as I know, the only AP shells were a limited few for the 5.9" guns.
Detmers himself recorded that Kormoran was armed with two Heer 3.7cm anti-tank cannon with several thousand AP rounds, the standard KM 3.7cm anti-aircraft guns he wanted were not available when Kormoran was fitted out. The AP rounds and other ammo for the guns had to be obtained from the Heer because KM 3.7cm rounds could not be fired from these guns.

I am not aware of the 5.9 inch guns having any AP ammo, this is confirmed by other forum members in prior posts.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:08 am

Bgile wrote: but as far as I know, there were no AP rounds for the 3.7 cm/L83 SK C/30 used in German naval vessels. In any case, they wouldn't have done much against the armored portions of even Sydney. My readings of the battle make no mention of such ammunition, unless I've missed something you can point out to me. I'd be happy to be corrected, but I don't see what effect it would have had. Quite the contrary, since it's less effective against most anything except tanks at a few hundred meters.
The Heer guns were targeted, again per Detmers account, on Sydneys bridge and gunnery control positions initially, once these were knocked out they were used to interdict the decks of Sydney along with the 2cm and machine guns to prevent the Sydneys lighter guns and torpedo battery from returning fire. It has been mentioned by other forum members that the the effect of that fire would be to cause substantial damage to any equipment, pipes, cabling that was not protected by the main armour belt. I concur with the view that Sydneys' main armour was not penetrated by shell or cannon fire - Sydney took about 150 direct hits from 5.9 inch shells out of some 550 fired, yet did not sink for several hours, and only then when the bow section broke off, a result of torpedo strike.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:18 am

[quote="tnemelckram"

1.
"What you have to look at are the effects not just of a first salvo, but the effect of sustained rapid fire from a variety of guns . . . ."
RF, I'm not sure I agree. I think the 2009 report expressly finds that the first salvo hit the two level bridge, instantly incapacitating the entire command staff, destroying all CCC there, including the gun director on top, taking with it the ability to steer and maneuver the ship, the ability for the ship to fight effectively at all, and to coordinate or even undertake damage control. That report also says that one of the defects previously noted in Sydney was that without director control, the alternatives of group or local main battery control were meaningless and ineffective and in fact practically never used. The secondaries and torpedoes would also be beyond effective control and probably effective use at that point. If it does not say so expressly, this is the entire thrust of the report - the first salvo decided Sydney's fate; Sydney's subsequent hits on Komoran were lucky and made despite these overwhelming problems with the weapons used.

[/quote]

You have quoted me out of context.
The sentence you mention was being applied to the main thrust of this thread, namely that instead of Sydney it is the USS New Orleans that Kormoran is shooting at, and was made as a point to ask whether a heavy cruiser as opposed to a light cruiser could stand up to a sustained assault, where the first Kormoran salvo may be insufficient to cause the disablement you detail on Sydney to New Orleans.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:33 am

tnemelckram wrote:
I think the Report also shares with you and I a reluctance to reach a conclusion that calls Burnett's competence into question when the most viable explanation at hand unfortunately requires just that. All I'm trying to do is propose something that although less likely, would also be plausible and not so damning to Burnett. Just to make us all feel a little better if nothing else!
I think that Burnett made an understandable and basic human error at the very end of a long spell of duty on the other side of the world from home. He found a merchant ship and failed to apply Checkmate. Captain Oliver in HMS Devonshire did apply Checkmate three days later when he found Atlantis and kept to a ten mile range - but he had been ordered to intercept and was expecting an enemy ship. The issue for him was to make sure he hadn't inadvertantly found a friendly ship prior to the vessel he was to destroy.
Was Burnett incompetant? His prior record says not. Was Admiral Holland incompetent in approaching Bismarck at the angle he did? A different scenario yes, but the unexpected happened, the situation went pear shaped, but no one has criticised him to the extent Burnett was.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:45 am

lwd wrote:http://www.bismarck-class.dk/hilfskreuzer/kormoran.html
lists
1 x 75mm (Removed) 1 x Twin 37mm Flak, 2 x 37mm Army Anti-Tank guns, 5 x 20mm Flak
This isn't quite right.

Detmers says no naval twin 37mm flak, only the Heer 37mm; 4 2cm cannon and five ''heavy machine guns.'' And the 75mm was not removed, Detmers specifically says because of the time wasting bureacracy involved in trying to do so, it was as he says, his affair whether he used the weapon or not. He didn't, not even against Sydney.

This source quoted already has numerous errors relating to the Michel, to which John Assmusson has not responded to my messages and not corrected.
Last edited by RF on Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:56 am

lwd wrote: lists
1 x 75mm (Removed) 1 x Twin 37mm Flak, 2 x 37mm Army Anti-Tank guns, 5 x 20mm Flak
OH, MY! I plead ignorance![/quote]
to be fair other sites give other armament. This is the most detailed I've found so I tend to favor it but wouldn't be too surprised if it were not correct.[/quote]

Detmers lists the full armament in his book ''The Raider Kormoran'' of which I have a copy. He should know, he commanded.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by tnemelckram » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:13 pm

Hi RF and everyone else!

These threads to tend to meander a bit off topic. Sometimes the expansions are within the fair scope of the original and sometimes not. The original topic was substitute New Orleans or Zara Class for Sydney; I think it's reasonable to expand that to other classes of heavy and light cruisers. But I plead guilty to being clearly off topic by asking whether some mechanical failure would be an alternative explanation that goes easier on Burnett. As to the latter, I'm going to research and refine that hypo and open a new thread shortly and hope every one joins me in kicking that ball around! So with this in mind RF Posted:
You have quoted me out of context. The sentence you mention was being applied to the main thrust of this thread, namely that instead of Sydney it is the USS New Orleans that Kormoran is shooting at, and was made as a point to ask whether a heavy cruiser as opposed to a light cruiser could stand up to a sustained assault, where the first Kormoran salvo may be insufficient to cause the disablement you detail on Sydney to New Orleans.
Sorry about the out of context. The thread meandering noted above tends to lend itself to that! But I'll address the OP and then do a little "natural expansion" to some other classes of cruisers - the most pertinent such expansion I think is the County Class. RF, you seem to agree that concentrating on the first salvo and topside exposure of CCC gets to the hard point fast so that theme is my thrust.

1. New Orleans - Bigger ship, more than three times the bridge armor and probably other topside protection, and lots more space - much more has to be destroyed to mission kill in one blow.
I think the same is true for the whole lot of the prewar US heavy cruisers starting with Pensacola. We have actual combat results to look at because they bore the brunt of the early Pacific fight. Five or more were sunk so we know what it takes to sink them. The pictures on the first page of the thread show what they could take and survive. One of your countrymen summed it up about them on another Board - "Say what you want, those Yanks knew how to build a cruiser!"

2. Zara - From what I can see these were tough and capable ships with capable crews - the problem was how senior leadership used them. I say same as 1. Plus see 6 below.

3. County Class and other Empire Heavy Cruisers - The focus has to be on comparing bridge and CCC protection to Sydney and its ability to withstand the first salvo. I haven't been able to find a lot of data other than the fact that the Counties had more expansive bridges and about twice the thickness of topside armor. While it cannot be said to be proof against Komoran's 6 inch guns, these have to be meaningful differences.

4. Other British Empire light cruisers - We have very detailed relevant information from the Sydney Report. I think that in all these important respects they were all the same and all would have fared the same as Sydney.

5. Brooklyns - I haven't researched it but I think the analysis would be almost the same as in 1. Plus the Captain would probably be much more aware of and predisposed to take full advantage of 15! rapid fire 6 inch guns - a man would not likely forget because he probably also felt hose guns between his legs!.

6. Any Existing Axis Heavy Or Light Cruiser Including Zara, Mogami, Atagos, Kakos, Hippers, K Class, Katoris, Italian lights - Detmer's log records that Komoran was a reasonably happy ship and the probable reason why - there was plenty of booze aboard. I say any of these Axis ships ties up along side and they have a party, provided the Japanese bring saki or the Italians wine! Note that this would increase Sydney's chances of bagging them both.

7. Baltimores, Clevelands, And Any Other Not Yet Existing Cruiser On Either Side - Impermissible expansion of Topic.

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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Bgile » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:25 pm

I think Brooklyn would be the worst possible cruiser opponent Detmers would have to deal with in a close range slugfest.

US CAs prior to New Orleans had thin turret armor just like the Sydney. I think turret armor is very important in this kind of knife fight because Detmers has a good chance to disable the fire control directors and local control of weapons will be paramount.

You left out USS Wichita, and she would definitely be too hard to handle. A CA with a Brooklyn class hull layout; precursor to the Baltimore class CAs. Commissioned in Feb of 1939.

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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:14 pm

tnemelckram wrote:
Detmer's log records that Komoran was a reasonably happy ship and the probable reason why - there was plenty of booze aboard. I say any of these Axis ships ties up along side and they have a party, provided the Japanese bring saki or the Italians wine! Note that this would increase Sydney's chances of bagging them both.
As an aside I would mention that Detmers had strong views on alcoholic drink, courtesy of his religion. On at least one occasion he stopped the supply of such drink to Kormoran crew members on account of them getting too rowdy, including at a ''party'' held in honour of his birthday!
Lutjens and Rogge amongst other KM commanding officers also had strong views on alcohol and sailors, the latter threatening to court martial petty officers for allowing their men to drink warm beer while he had been served ice cold beer, and then banned himself and his officers from drinking until the men had beer served at the appropriate temparature.

Drunkeness at sea was not common as far as I am aware on German ships, that of course excludes drunkeness of sailors in port/on leave - especially U-boat crews.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:16 pm

Another consideration here would be the Cornwall/Pinguin battle. If Kruder had had the guile of Detmers and lured the Cornwall in close before opening fire.....
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Bgile » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:49 pm

RF wrote:Another consideration here would be the Cornwall/Pinguin battle. If Kruder had had the guile of Detmers and lured the Cornwall in close before opening fire.....
Isn't it possible he tried, and the CO of Cornwall just wasn't buying that? And didn't the latter get criticized for wasting ammunition? Good grief.

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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by hammy » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:08 pm

The deck plan I have for Kormoran
( From "German Raiders of WW2" by Karl August Muggenthaler ISBN 0 330 26204 1 - Pan Books paperback edtn of 1980 )
shows the deck features and armament layout as follows ;

A short raised forecastle has a single 20mm on the centreline just aft of the hawsepipes , aft of that and below the Fcsle deck are single 5.9 inch guns on each beam behind the usual "rising door" arrangements .
Aft of the break of the fcsle comes the hatch to no1 hold , then the foremast .
Aft again is the hatch to no2 hold , the raised structure conceals a third 5.9 inch gun .
Aft again is the hatch to no3 hold which conceals two 20mm guns , one to Port , one to Stbd.
In the hold beneath , at tweendeck level , behind lifting flaps , were two twin torpedo tubes mounts , one on each beam , while the bottom of the hold was made into an extra electrical power generating room .

Somewhere near here were two further single torpedo tubes of the underwater type , one to each beam . I dont know if these were the end loading type as in subs , or side loading . Detmers says in his book that these had no extension sleeves outside the hull , and could therefore only be used at low ship speeds . He says torpedo controls were of the simplest " crank them round to the bearing then squint along the sight on the tube " ( which has a simple offset for target heading/speed )

Between no3 hatch and the Bridge structure are large samson posts (crane masts for derrick booms )one port , one stbd .
The Bridge is two decks above the weather deck and has an extended "monkey island" constructed above which carries the usual magnetic compass , fresh water header tank , and other merchant ship paraphernalia , but in this case also conceals a rising 3m base rangefinder and the main battery control crew position .
Aft of the Bridge wings , either disguised as lifeboats on "Wellin quadrant" davits , or just forward of them are single 37mm Heer pattern flak guns , and a 0.75meter base rangefinder is for their use .

( I guess that would be the standard Heer portable type that you often see on photos of crews working 88mm German army flak guns - a thing that in army service you hang on the operators shoulders with a bar across his chest - possibly here put onto a simple pedestal mount for action . We have a "Liberated" one in my city in the Regimental museum , and in working order , and I once had the (illicit)opportunity to have surrepticious look through it from the vantage point of our castle keep , high above the city , and it beats looking through binoculars by a considerable margin , once you get used to the stereoscopic controls and focus the image )

Aft of the Bridge at bridge deck level are the normal lifeboats , with two boats in line P+S either side of a big funnel .
Down again one deck above the weather deck where the hatch to no4 hold is located with a fourth 5.9inch gun concealed in the hatch structure .
Down again to weather deck level , heading aft still , there are two more samson posts P+S , then the hatch to no5 hold .
aft again is the mainmast , then the hatch to no6 hold .
Holds 5+6 held two Arado floatplanes ( craned in and out of the water , no catapult was fitted ) , and a fast MTB type armed motorboat .
There appears to be no raised poop , and so the final pair of 5.9inch guns were fitted to P+S below the weather deck at that point .
Above and right aft on the weather deck are concealed two more single 20mm flak cannons .

The elusive 75mm was to have be mounted right forward through a hatch in the bows in pursuance of an early notion to use it as a sort of "bowchaser" for firing warning "shots across the bows" at target enemy ships you wanted to stop , but most of the raider captains seem to have agreed that on thinking the matter through you might as well bang off a first warning 5.9 round rather than mess about with a further calibre , especially as the projectile was only a 12 pounder , short ranged , very restricted angle of fire either side of dead ahead , and in a position difficult to hide and keep watertight when the concealment was shut -- you are chopping a hole through the stem , you see .
(In my edition of Detmers book "The Raider Kormoran" the calibre is given as 6cm for some reason - got to be a mistake . )

In regard to the 37mm Heer guns , these are the long barrelled Anti-aircraft 20 round clip side fed things that look like a bofors 40mm , NOT the little short Anti tank gun on the two wheel carriage .
Did the flak gun have an AP round ? I mean even the AA contact fused round -- about 0.75 kg -- is going to break through light steel structure , and the HE explosive content is quite high .
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Nearchus » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:06 am

tnemelckram wrote:4. Other British Empire light cruisers - We have very detailed relevant information from the Sydney Report. I think that in all these important respects they were all the same and all would have fared the same as Sydney.

Apart, that is, from the LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER, BELFAST and EDINBURGH with their better armour and redundancies in fire control and greater size.

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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Gary » Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:54 am

I really like HMS Belfast but was her hull as vulnerable just forward of A turret as Sydneys was?
From what I've heard, the torpedo that struck Sydney couldnt have hit in much of a worse place :(
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Bgile » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:48 pm

Gary wrote:I really like HMS Belfast but was her hull as vulnerable just forward of A turret as Sydneys was?
From what I've heard, the torpedo that struck Sydney couldnt have hit in much of a worse place :(
These seem to be good ships, but they displaced over 13,000 tons.

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