Capt Kennedy of Rawalpindi

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

Capt Kennedy of Rawalpindi

Post by Gary » Thu May 04, 2006 6:26 pm

Hi guys.

Its me again, this forum is great - thanks for the replies in the other subjects.

When The Rawalpindi was sunk at the hands of the Scharnhorst, Captain Kennedy (the Skipper of Rawalpindi) did not recieve a posthumous VC as some believed.

I think that it was the correct decision NOT to decorate Kennedy.

He was a brave man of duty, no-one can question that but he was also foolish.
For an AMC to take on 2 battleships at a range of about 4 miles was just plain stupid in my opinion.
Rawalpindi was not fighting the twins to protect a fleeing passenger liner or a merchant ship and all Kennedy achieved was the loss of more than 3 quarters of his crew.
He had no chance of inflicting serious damage on either German ship :stubborn:

What do you guys think?
Am I being an arrogant young upstart who is being an "armchair admiral" and who has never served in the navy much less never been underfire?

Or is my judgement of Kennedy unkind but fair?
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Post by Bgile » Thu May 04, 2006 6:45 pm

Did he have any serious alternatives? I'm not aware of any. If he had surrendered, it would have been the first British warship to do so in a very long time.

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

Post by Gary » Thu May 04, 2006 6:48 pm

Do you think he should have been decorated though?
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Post by Bgile » Thu May 04, 2006 6:56 pm

I'm not familiar with British standards for awards, but I'd think he deserved something for conspicuous gallantry in the face of overwhelming odds. I think the VC is reserved for something more than that, though. But certainly something. In the US Navy he might have gotten the Silver Star.

George Gerolimatos
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 5:23 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

VC

Post by George Gerolimatos » Thu May 04, 2006 7:20 pm

An interesting discussion. I'm not sure of the requirements for the VC, but it seems that we could compare the action between the AMC and the German BBs and the fight between the Admiral Scheer and another AMC (I've forgotten the name). In the latter case, the time it took for the German pocket-battleship to sink the escort allowed many of the merchantmen to get away. I'm nto sure if the British commander was decorated for this action, but I think it would have made more sense for him to be decorated than the captain of Rawalpindi. The captain in the latter action certainly acted bravely, and his ship was too slow to run away, so he probably had no other option but to fight (surrendering would have gone against RN tradition). However, unlike the Admiral Scheer episode, he wasn't protecting others in the performance of his duty.
George G.

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

Post by Gary » Thu May 04, 2006 10:55 pm

Hi George.

The Jervis bay was sunk by the Admiral Scheer whilst buying time for some merchant vessels to escape that is why her Captain was decorated.

The Rawalpindi was not protecting a convoy - she was a lone vessel.
I am well aware of the RN tradition of not surrendering a ship but could the crew have scuttled her?

Captain Hoffmann (Skipper of the Scharnhorst) was shocked to the core when not only did Rawalpindi ignore her calls to surrender, she also sent a volley of 6 inch shells towards the German battleship.
Hoffmann was forced to respond in kind with the Scharnhorst's 11 inch cannons.
Caught in the combined fire of Scharnhorst and Gneisnau, Rawalpindi had no chance.
Finally, one of Scharnhorsts shells caused an ammuntion storage to explode and Rawalpindi blew up.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Post by Bgile » Thu May 04, 2006 11:01 pm

Keep in mind Scharnhorst wasn't invulnerable. If the hanger had been hit several planes could have been destroyed and a severe fire started. Also, The Fire Control positions could have been destroyed. The lightly armored bow area could have been hit, flooding compartments and reducing speed ala Bismarck at DS. They were well within the effective range of Rawalpindi's guns, and the latter was capable of doing damage that would force Scharnhorst to return to Germany for repairs.

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

Post by Gary » Thu May 04, 2006 11:20 pm

8 old 6 inch guns are no match for 2 armoured battleships mounting 18 (between them) new 11 inch monsters.
If I think about it - Rawalpindi could probably only fire 4 at a time (broadside)

As you pointed out, the twins were not invunrable - hell even Iowa wasnt completely immune to 6 inch gunfire :shock:

But Scharnhorst was safe from serious injury due to her armour
She certainly wasnt gonna have a magazine explosion because of a 6" shell hit :negative: .

Rawalpindi didnt have any armour which means that the German 11 inch shells would tear through the AMC like a hot knife through butter.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

User avatar
Ulrich Rudofsky
Contributor & Translator
Posts: 844
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:16 pm
Location: State of New York

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Fri May 05, 2006 2:29 pm

Rawalpindi didnt have any armour which means that the German 11 inch shells would tear through the AMC like a hot knife through butter.
The 15 cm or even 10.5 cm appropriate for that. 28 cm's would be a poor choice.
Ulrich

User avatar
RNfanDan
Supporter
Posts: 424
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:06 pm
Location: USA

Post by RNfanDan » Fri May 05, 2006 3:48 pm

It may be of use to point out here, that Kennedy initially believed he was encountering Admiral Scheer, not S&G. Even when the second twin came into view, there was confusion and apparently, no immediate realization that it was S&G. Rawalpindi's enemy contact report bears this out.

In any case, Kennedy evidently did make an effort to escape, but the Germans responded, preventing the ship from getting away. It would be difficult to find a Royal Navy officer, thus disposed, that would surrender at sea. It just wasn't the RN way.

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

Post by Gary » Fri May 05, 2006 5:09 pm

The 15 cm or even 10.5 cm appropriate for that. 28 cm's would be a poor choice.
28cm nose fused HE should do fine
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Post by Bgile » Fri May 05, 2006 5:23 pm

In fact, one of the merchant raiders fired many, many rounds of 150mm into a British merchant cruiser without sinking it, and in fact it made port. 28cm was definitely appropriate under the circumstances.

User avatar
Ulrich Rudofsky
Contributor & Translator
Posts: 844
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:16 pm
Location: State of New York

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Fri May 05, 2006 5:38 pm

I think one idea was to blow away or scare as many crew as possible and sail the ship with a prize crew to a German port with the ship and cargo intact whenever possible, based on one of those Marine Dienstvorschriften, I don't remember which it was. This particular MDv also requested to save the torpedoes for the cruise home and not to waste them on merchants, and not to waste heavy artillery against civilian ship, when a smaller projectile would do the job effectively.
Ulrich

Monitor
Member
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:46 am
Location: US

Post by Monitor » Fri May 05, 2006 5:56 pm

Was the Bismarck supposed to fire 15-inch shells against merchant ships? :think:

User avatar
Ulrich Rudofsky
Contributor & Translator
Posts: 844
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:16 pm
Location: State of New York

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Fri May 05, 2006 6:30 pm

Yes, I think the 15 cm was designed against merchants and torpedo defense (AVKS report, this site, para 36, I think). Firing 38 cm shells into a lightly armed small merchant would have been purely a waste of good ammo, and I seem to remember that there are specific Kriegsmarine MDv instructions for how to sink or mame merchants.
Ulrich

Post Reply