Best rebuilt battleship?

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Post by MVictorP » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:01 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Hi Dan,

But the devil is in the details. It was not a stern chase at that phase of the encounter. Luetjens did not turn away until after the 15" hit through Gneisenau's foretop knocked out his radar. ( Luetjen's thought he was engaging the main Home Fleet battle squadron, and that Renown was Nelson. He did not know it was only Renown and nine destroyers at that time).

Renown was unable to keep up a high speed chase. Renown was forced to reduce speed to 20 knots because of the sea state. After it appeared that the Germans were starting to pull away, Renown attempted to increase speed, but it became impossible to work the forward turrets, so speed had to be reduced once again. Nonetheless, Renown was able to keep Scharnhorst in range for some time, because Scharnhorst suffered a loss of speed due to machinery problems very much like it would at North Cape. Gneisenau was soon out of sight having opened up the range to 25km. After awhile, Scharnhorst was able to increase speed to 26 knots, but this was followed by another break down which reduced its speed to 15 knots. After about 15 minutes Scharnhorst was able to build back up to 25 knots. During the next hour, Renown chased Scharnhorst eventually working up to 29 knots, by the virtue of turning its forward turrets backs to its bow. But even after working up to 29 knots, Scharnhorst still eventually pulled away.

Of course West Virginia could not chase Scharnhorst for hours, but it was a pretty stable gun platform and may have performed well during the initial phase.
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:56 pm

( Luetjen's thought he was engaging the main Home Fleet battle squadron, and that Renown was Nelson. He did not know it was only Renown and nine destroyers at that time).
the german ships made contact with radar at about 25 km; visibility was considerable lesser. At a certain time ther were 2 large pips on the ranging scope, wich both could be battleships. A large shadow was visible for a short time. But culd not identified. Than they made visual contact to Renown. Wich opened fir shortly thereafter. No other BB has been identified visually.

So they were unsure about a second BB present, additionally there were machinery problems with Scharnhorst.
Gneisenau received the early damaging hit at the foretop literally with the opening salvo.
Both ships partly lost forward guns due to swell.

As Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were the only BBs available for the German Navy at the time, they did not take unnecessary risks.
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Post by wadinga » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:06 pm

Hi All,

Renown, because of her speed, was indeed was one of the "best" rebuilds, able to deploy a powerful main armament and useful heavy AA to protect RN carriers. She was still a tinclad however, and even better would have been a rebuilt Hood. :D

According to the Fleet commander's war diary, quoted in Koop & Schmolke, the first radar detection of Renown was at 04:49 hrs at 20.2 km bearing 295T. Having visually sighted in poor visibility what was thought to be an oil tanker, this was later revised to "HMS Rodney (nicknamed by RN sailors Rodol because she did look a bit like an oil tanker at a distance and RN tankers' names finished in -ol.) This incorrect identification immediately caused Lutjens to commence "running away" at 05:07 hrs when he turned to starboard to 350T having decided his armour was not strong enough to fight a battleship. Renown's first hit was at 05:25 or 05:17 ie long after Lutjens' started evading.
Only after 16 broadsides at less than 16,000 yards. I would expect an old USN BB to shoot at least that good.
Really David......... :shock: Forgetting to mention how bad the weather was- gale force wind and sea with Renown punching into it. I don't believe any US battleship has ever even engaged an enemy under such conditions, let alone scored a hit.

Lutjens admits he only turned back 20 degrees to port at 05:14 because his inadequately forward-buoyant ships were "bows under" heading directly into the weather and their A turrets were flooded and useless, he also wanted to steer NE, because Renown could only get her forward turrets to bear- that is the same as running away. During a lull in the shooting at 06:07 he asked Scharnhorst how many enemies there were. "So far only one, she replied" at 06:38. Lutjens wished to report that he was engaged by both Rodney and Renown, but his aerials had been shot away.

With both ships' A turrets U/S, Gneisenau's foretop gunnery control gone and Scharnhorst's engineering plant hopelessly unreliable, Lutjens headed off on a long tour via Jan Mayen Island and Iceland and abandoned Commodore Bonte and his destroyers, bottled up in Narvik to face the music alone.

Lest anyone should think that the old rebuild had outperformed two new ships by too great a degree, one should realise a large forward section of Renown's port torpedo blister had come adrift and the hydrodynamic drag was slowing the old warrior down. This was repaired in Rosyth drydock.

The rebuilt US battleships had effectively been downgraded to monitors for shore bombardment, a bit like the expendable Pre-Dreadnoughts deployed for the same job at Gallipoli. They undoubtedly put up a great show at Surigao Strait, but how would they have fared in a daylight fight against Kurita's Main Force off Samar? What a 1940 West Virginia, not hiding in the darkness, and not equipped with centimetric radar, would have done against the elusive sisters off Stromvaer, who knows?

Footnote: Mississippi and Idaho expended 514 main battery shells against presumed Japanese ships on the 27th July 1943 in the so-called Battle of the Pips, but there was nothing actually there. I am sure Dave can provide more detail :D

Finally, astonishingly, I really must agree with Alberto. (It had to happen eventually.... :cool: ) Britain and Italy rebuilt ships because pacifist sentiment, respect for treaties, and lack of budget precluded new construction.

All the best

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Post by paul.mercer » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:25 pm

In one of my many naval books is one specifically on 'Renown' and it states that in the pursuit of the twins her torpedo bulge came adrift and was sticking out 'almost at right angles', so it is not surprising that she had to eventually give up the chase, however, she still remained the fastest capital ship in the RN after her repairs. I believe that she had at the time a very experienced crew made up of 'regulars' which would explain her capability of scoring hits even in that bad weather and it would have been interesting to see how the battle would have developed had she been able to keep up, although I think that I read somewhere that Rodney and her escort were also out not too far away which would really have swung the result!
Re the best rebuilt battleships, for me it has to be Warspite, her war record in both wars was impeccable.

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