Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

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RF
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by RF » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:53 pm

dunmunro wrote: 5) But he did re-engage whether you want to accept that or not. Again Bismarck was sunk! W-W's strategy was ultimately successful and he was present from first sighting and at the end of the Bismarck. Nelson would have approved.
Absolutely right.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by wadinga » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:47 pm

All,

One of this debate's problems is the attitude that all discrepancies or shortcomings in the minutae of logging events is regarded by some as evidence of deliberate efforts to misrepresent. Now Reimann is doing it well! :D. (At least it's not just the "Perfidious Albions"). The idea he redrew the map in PG to get an extra 1000m to exonerate himself is ridiculous. A 6 torpedo attack at 14,000m on a 28 knot target is as pointless as one at 20,000m, especially when it is obvious one or both parties will shortly make a radical course change to reduce the ludricrously-high closing rate, and will be nowhere near the targetted zone when slow running torpedoes arrive. (Brinkmann, of course, had his own very good reasons for over-exagerrating the possibilities of torpedoes at Denmark Straits :cool: )

No. that's just how life was in 1941. These events were not time-stamped - there was no blackbox recording each incident to the nearest tenth. The plot on PoW bridge was destroyed and a reconstruction made subsequently. The salvo map shows no turn towards the enemy to avoid Hood, whereas the german witnesses saw a hard turn towards. Rowell,in his testimony, says the times he has recorded could be out by 2 minutes. The copperplate PoW log summarises the action and reports items occuring at various times against one time. Probably because the action log on the Compass Platform was destroyed.

Antonio, you showed scraps of maps which apparently pre-date the Plan 4 and which show the Norfolk and Suffolk bearing range pairs. Do they have a date on them? The paper looks pristine. Are you sure they were not created at the enquiry in August when the Plot was thrown together to provide slightly less misleading information than the ludicrous Triangle of Doom, based on one guessed range and two angles.

There are many interesting aspects of the salvo plot, the nearest thing we have to Black Box output. McMullen says salvoes 15 and 16 were fired at the straddling salvo 13 range 16,450 yds, although they are actually fired at 15,000 and 15,100! If you have actually straddled you would try again at the same range reduced for closure rate. 1400 yards in a minute is quite a rate. Just over a minute later the next two salvoes are at 14,100. Another 1000 yds down. Why keep dropping the range by so much when the salvoes are falling so short? Perhaps because the unrecorded turn towards the enemy has increased the closure rate?

Reimann apparently records the shortest range not at 06:02 but at 06:03, does he not?

Paul C -you aren't really beginning to believe this old Malarkey are you? :D

All the best
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:04 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Dunmunro,

you wrote. " So what went wrong " :
W-W lost touch with Bismarck in the early hours of May 24.


No Duncan, Suffolk lost touch !
Wake-Walker on Norfolk did not have any touch with the enemy since late evening on May 23, so nothing to loose until 05.41 on May 24.
You do not have to assume that Suffolk and Norfolk were one synchronized unit shadowing that night, Suffolk was alone on doing it.
W-W was just sailing east of a supposed enemy position based on a wrong enemy position issued by Suffolk wrong by more than 20 sea miles.
His responsibility on this phase was that he never felt his duty to check out the overall situation at least once in a while leaving in this way the same wrong believe about the enemy real position and course on Holland, sharing in this way with Suffolk the responsibility for the missed enemy interception by BC1 at 02.00 that night.
Holland detached his destroyers


Holland wanted a night battle and was trying to search with his own forces the enemy, because of a very poor shadowing work done by only one of the 2 CS1 cruisers until that moment.
PoW's radars systems failed; symptomatic of a brand new ship with only a partially worked up crew


PoW was better worked up than KGV on May 1941, that is surely one credit for Capt. J.C. Leach.
On the opposite, the responsibility given to the crew/gunners partial work up being one of the main reasons for PoW retreat is a shame.
An elderly unmodernized battlecruiser blew up with a magazine hit.


If the Hood was going to face Bismarck on a night battle from a much closer distance, probably things could have gone differently; that was the original plan.

W-W's cruisers were positioned to shadow Bismarck and didn't have time to join the battle.


This is an incorrect statement since you should have realized well at this point were they were positioned 20 minutes before the battle started.
Than they either sailed away backwards, the Suffolk, or kept a safe distance, the Norfolk.
Right or wrong, surely they intentionally avoided to join the battle at first.
None of these things were court-martial offences.


You better read the Articles of War 10, 11 and 12.
Wake-Walker delayed intentionally his joining the battle at first and mostly retreated as soon as Hood blew up abandoning PoW under enemy fire, without opening fire in support of a friend warship under enemy fire and under his direct orders at that point.
Leach abandoned the battle after Hood blew up and withdrew leaving the battlefield.

You might think that Tovey tried to cover something up, but the reality is that he could only work with the reports submitted to him, and those reports were contradictory. To prove a case against Tovey you would need to go through his personal files and/or those of his subordinates and superiors and find a "smoking gun" that confirms that he falsified his reports.


In case of a contradictory report, it should have been Tovey duty to double check the truth instead of signing a decoration request.
I do not need to go any deeper that I have already done. The evidences are all in my hands already.
It is enough to have the full copy of a couple of PRO documents to read the shame of what has been done.
Mostly one must have the patience to read it through and the capability to understand, together with a no preconceived view of the events and nothing to defend or accuse.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:37 pm

Hello everybody,

@ RF,

please, if you want to enlarge the discussion on what Adm Lutjens should have done, just open a dedicated thread about it, even if I think it has been widely discussed before.

This thread is about how the Articles of War was related to the conduct during and after the Denmark Strait battle for the Royal Navy officers involved.

You may think that RearAdm W.F. Wake-Walker did well during the Bismarck operation and his recognition was deserved.

I am of a different opinion being widely reinforced after my trip to the PRO in Kew- London and the main reasons are written above on my reply to Duncan ( Dunmunro ).

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by dunmunro » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:48 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,

No Duncan, Suffolk lost touch !
Wake-Walker on Norfolk did not have any touch with the enemy since late evening on May 23, so nothing to loose until 05.41 on May 24.
You do not have to assume that Suffolk and Norfolk were one synchronized unit shadowing that night, Suffolk was alone on doing it.
W-W was just sailing east of a supposed enemy position based on a wrong enemy position issued by Suffolk wrong by more than 20 sea miles.
His responsibility on this phase was that he never felt his duty to check out the overall situation at least once in a while leaving in this way the same wrong believe about the enemy real position and course on Holland, sharing in this way with Suffolk the responsibility for the missed enemy interception by BC1 at 02.00 that night.
W-W commanded both cruisers and he was receiving regular position reports from Suffolk. Norfolk's radar was much less efficient than Suffolk's so W-W's actions were justified.
Holland wanted a night battle and was trying to search with his own forces the enemy, because of a very poor shadowing work done by only one of the 2 CS1 cruisers until that moment.
Tracking two enemy ships including a batteship with two elderly cruisers was no easy feat and it is absurd and anti-historical to state that it was "very poor shadowing work"! . I'm still waiting for an example of what you would call "very good shadowing work"?


PoW was better worked up than KGV on May 1941, that is surely one credit for Capt. J.C. Leach.
On the opposite, the responsibility given to the crew/gunners partial work up being one of the main reasons for PoW retreat is a shame.
Explain how PoW was better worked up than KGV? KGV's radar systems functioned during her engagement whereas PoW's did not and it was the lack of radar ranging that crippled PoW's gunnery, leading to only 3 hits on Bismarck.



If the Hood was going to face Bismarck on a night battle from a much closer distance, probably things could have gone differently; that was the original plan.

Yes, but very few plans ever survive intact.
This is an incorrect statement since you should have realized well at this point were they were positioned 20 minutes before the battle started.
Than they either sailed away backwards, the Suffolk, or kept a safe distance, the Norfolk.
Right or wrong, surely they intentionally avoided to join the battle at first.
The cruisers positioned themselves to avoid premature contact with the enemy and to avoid being overwhelmed if Lutjens decided to double back on them. The only persons in command who were effected and could have complained, Holland (no signals to W-W), Tovey and Leach, expressed no criticism of W-W's cruisers.


You better read the Articles of War 10, 11 and 12.
Wake-Walker delayed intentionally his joining the battle at first and mostly retreated as soon as Hood blew up abandoning PoW under enemy fire, without opening fire in support of a friend warship under enemy fire and under his direct orders at that point.
Leach abandoned the battle after Hood blew up and withdrew leaving the battlefield.
W-W did no such thing and his tactical dispositions were dictated by his mission and enemy movements. Do you have a single shred of evidence that states that anyone on Norfolk made a request to open fire and/or was in a position to add effective fire to the action? If can't provide such direct evidence then you should drop these outrageous charges of cowardice and/or dereliction of duty against W-W.

Leach withdrew from the battle due to the very unfavourable tactical situation left to him by Holland, after Hood blew up. I think the time line of events shows that Leach withdrew after Y turret jammed, but in any event W-W decided that due to battle damage and the loss of Y turret that PoW was not in a position to immediately re-engage and then opted not to try and force an action later on, and in this he was supported by Tovey.
You might think that Tovey tried to cover something up, but the reality is that he could only work with the reports submitted to him, and those reports were contradictory. To prove a case against Tovey you would need to go through his personal files and/or those of his subordinates and superiors and find a "smoking gun" that confirms that he falsified his reports.

In case of a contradictory report, it should have been Tovey duty to double check the truth instead of signing a decoration request.
I do not need to go any deeper that I have already done. The evidences are all in my hands already.
It is enough to have the full copy of a couple of PRO documents to read the shame of what has been done.
Mostly one must have the patience to read it through and the capability to understand, together with a no preconceived view of the events and nothing to defend or accuse.
How exactly was Tovey going to "double check" anything? RN reports are written with the best knowledge available at the time and having reports that contradict one another were simply a fact of life in that era. Tovey was in the business of fighting a war with little time or inclination to hold exhaustive inquiries about past events. If an officer exhibited cowardice in the face of the enemy Tovey and the Admiralty would expect to hear about it from other officers or men in the chain of command of the ship involved and no one made any accusations against W-W nor was any suggestion ever made by his subordinates that any of W-W's orders were done for any reason other than military necessity.

One can make assumptions based upon circumstantial and indirect evidence but to level charges of cowardice and falsifying reports against anyone requires direct evidence and you haven't produced any.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by northcape » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:32 pm

dunmunro wrote: Tovey was in the business of fighting a war with little time or inclination to hold exhaustive inquiries about past events.
Exactly.

I don't see the point in accusing Tovey or anybody else "to cover something up", given that it was 1941, the RN was fighting with its last means and out of breath, and the simple fact that the Bismarck was sunk after all. No offence, but I think it is a hilarious thought to hold exhaustive inquiries about past and irrelevant events, when you need all your energy (and the support of your officers) in the present.. Please remember, this was May 1941, Britain was fighting alone and with very limited means for its sheer survival. It was not the neat and cosy atmosphere of internet forum exchange in the year 2014.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:38 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga,

Sean, you may find strange that also on the German side the actions during the naval main operations has been accurately scrutinized, but that was the reality for everybody on 1941.

As you may have realized now, both Brinkman and Reimann had to respond in writings to the points moved by Vize-Adm Schmundt responsible for the German cruisers, exactly like happened on the British side; this is called military procedure and discipline.

No surprise that Brinkmann deployed the answer to Reimann that had to respond to him and to Schmundt, with maps and written explanations of the error occurred. Than Adm Schniewind and Carls joined in and resolved the matter with recommendations and actions to be taken, like a 3 meter rangefinder for every warship having torpedo tubes from that moment onward.

You are right, no black boxes on 1941, but a strong discipline and lot of written reports with maps and explanations to be submitted, with your signature on it, as an Officer.
I am sure you know that in war the discipline code is stronger than during peace time, so you better be careful on what you were writing to your superiors.

On this regard, I still like to know your opinion about RearAdm W.F. Wake-Walker writing both correct and incorrect statements about the same event on a single document delivered to Adm Tovey on June 5, 1941.

How come WW can write PoW disengaging at 06.13 and continuing the battle with the Germans while retreating for some more minutes after receiving more hits, … and on another phrase just a page after on the same document write PoW disengaged 10 minutes after the battle started ( so 05.53 + 10 min = 06.03 ). On another document he wrote that he saw PoW disengaging 2 minutes after Hood blew up.
I am sure you know that Norfolk turned away at 06.00, and sent a radio message at 06.15 telling Scapa Flow were Hood was sunk.
It is just like what he did with the Diagram B and his sketches, his First Board declarations and signing of 10 sea miles from Hood at 06.00, … and few days after write he was 15 sea miles from Hood … than go to the Second Board of Inquiry with “ The Plot “ that is sure incorrect document as you surely have realized at this point … and call his previous deposition back.

What do you think about this way to act for a RN Flag Officer ?

The PoW map details you saw were the warship originals.
All the maps in original are like that for every warship, even of May 27th 1941, the material is NOT paper, it is waterproof and they used special ink.

When I am telling you that in the RN Admiralty they knew everything in full details, I mean also that every map was taken on the format you saw, plotted on the warship on that material, very raw and poorly done and redone in a better format on new paper, like you saw for the PoW Gunnery map for example, putting a scale and even some more details, with a legenda.

This is a very interesting area, because I can guarantee you that it is a lot different working on the original maps compared to the Admiralty redone copy.

I am sure no one has done like I did the full research about it, the complete mapping of the overall material and the final comparison. It as been an enormous job, it took me some full working days in 2 persons, .. and at full speed all day, ... just to do part of it.

The PoW gunnery plot, the Rowell map ADM 116/4352 Exhibit B at 06.00, and the PoW plan 4 are the closest info to a black box type info we have on RN side.
On the German side we have PG battle map and Reimann plot, and once you have realized that they are very good as far as Prinz Eugen track and the enemy bearing angle, but not so much for the distances, … Reimann wrong intentionally for the known justification reasons, … than you trust Jasper distances only and by matching PoW and PG data you have the solid base I have used to build the DS battle map. Hood and Bismarck you can apply later on as I did on 2005. Now it is the turn to Norfolk and Suffolk more precise tracks as you well know.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:22 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Dunmunro,

That is what I meant, being the CS1 RearAdm in command, Wake-Walker was fully responsible for both units, his one the Norfolk doing almost nothing, and the Suffolk making important mistakes that night that caused serious troubles to Vice-Adm Holland. Norfolk could have avoided Suffolk failing reports for all night long, but he did not, since he never got close to Suffolk or the enemy. He did it after the battle at 08.00, but too late for Holland and the Hood crew. A very poorly done shadowing job that night.

A better shadowing job was to stay in touch with the enemy also with the Norfolk, as best as they could. Double check the Suffolk radio messages confirming them from your side too every time providing a possibility to double check them either on Scapa Flow as well as by Holland that was keeping radio silence. Norfolk radio messages that night were just a couple and useless. Norfolk should have kept on sending their own radio position as well all night long together with the enemy and the Suffolk one, both relative to her and the absolute geographical one.

PoW, I mean McMullen and his gunners, hit the Bismarck 3 times on 6 minutes, firing 14 semi-salvoes while changing course and having the enemy sailing at 30 knots. This was possible only because of the very good efficiency reached thanking 7 weeks intensive training that is in my opinion to be given as full credit to Captain J.C. Leach.

If no one could have complained about what they did before the battle and after, please explain to me why Adm Tovey had to write on his dispatches an incorrect statement as far as describing their positioning ( never in condition to join the battle ) as well as distances with around 15 sea miles while he knew they were closer. The 15 sea miles distance incorrect declaration was also removing criticism and additional scrutiny on Wake-Walker for being at 11 sea miles from the enemy at 06.00 and NOT opening fire in support to PoW under enemy fire and in clear difficulties.

Hood First Board of Inquiry declarations and sketches were enough to heavily charge WW on an inquiry if called. Same for Leach using PoW maps and relative retreat timings, Adm Tovey received them all on his office.
Wake-Walker summary on June 5h, 1941, with 06.13 and 15 sea miles, once signed and accepted by Adm J. Tovey removed all the potential charges and additional scrutiny needs on WW and Leach. This is how Royal Navy procedures worked on 1941.
It is all documented and you can verify yourself in the Public Record office in Kew.

If I have not produced any evidence, than you can keep on believing that PoW retreated at 06.13 and kept on firing for few minutes after, while receiving hits from Bismarck having ceased fire at 06.09, … and that Suffolk and Norfolk were always struggling to follow the enemy at around 15 sea miles behind her and never in condition to join the battle, … you can trust “ The Plot “ of course it was done exactly for this purpose ... even if Ellis was at 14 sea miles and turned back and Norfolk was at 11 sea miles from Bismarck at 06.00.
This is what Wake-Walker declared and Adm Tovey signed for, this is what removed the potential charges and enabled the recognitions for them.
You do believe this ?

Bye Antonio :D
Last edited by Antonio Bonomi on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:26 pm

Hello everybody,
paulcadogan wrote:
Tom17 wrote:In your reply you posted:
...So, it follows that salvo 19 was fired using guns 1 and 4, salvo 20 was a reload of either 1 or 4. Salvo 21 was from gun 3 - the problem being a shell having been hoisted without cordite charges to fire it...
Could salvo 20 be from (a cleared) gun 3 and salvo 21 from either gun 1 or 4? Otherwise the 14"/45 MkVII would have a ROF of 3 rounds per minute.
Tom
Problem is McMullen says the No. 3 gun missed salvos 15 to 20, suggesting it was the one that fired the single shell salvo 21. We don't know the time gap between salvos 19 and 20. We do know that the turret officer made a huge correction to bring the fall of shot from the terribly distant splashes seen in photo NH69731, to the first splash seen between Bismarck and PG in the PG film and the stills posted above by Antonio.

In the PG film, 18 seconds elapse between the fall of salvo 20 and 21. It is quite likely that the gap between 19 and 20 was longer, allowing for significant range correction and giving time for reloading of one of the functional guns.
Antonio Bonomi wrote:Duncan, let me try to explain you what I think happened in summary and with the military, political and propaganda logic of July 1941.

There was a defeat in Denmark Strait with Hood loss, but at the end Bismarck was sunk, so a Royal Navy success story to be written.
During the defeat in DS something went wrong but it was NOT the case to proceed with an inquiry and an eventual court martial.
It was decided NOT to proceed in that direction and differently to include the ships and officers involved into the celebration and rewarding.
Into the Admiralty in London everything was clearly understood and properly evaluated, official documents were secreted following procedures.
All official reports mandatorily to be submitted from every ship Captain to unit Commander, C in C Home Fleet, First Sea Lord, Prime Minister and than above for the recognitions mandatorily had to reflect a very clean story.
That is the reason why starting from the Flag Officer commanding the First Cruiser Squadron, so RearAdm W.F. Wake-Walker, the summary was removing all critical data and providing only data that can be used to sustain a clean and very positive story all the way thru.
Adm Tovey had the data on a silver plate served by Wake-Walker, and it was easy for him to submit above him very clean documents that enabled the recognitions to be delivered for all Officers involved.
The dispatches were published after war, but the documents were mandatorily required to submit the recognitions request for October 1941 and must have been signed by all the superiors of the Officers involved.
This is the reason why everything was aligned according to those official needs and signed during July-August 1941 timeframe.

That is how it went, for propaganda and war needs, fully respecting the military Royal Navy procedures.

In the other hand you can imagine in Berlin what Goebbels could have done if in London Leach and Wake-Walker were going to a Court Martial.
Churchill decided wisely, Pound agreed, Tovey was satisfied and Wake-Walker had to write the report accordingly, even providing a time (06.13) for PoW since Leach probably refused to change his written reports.
Than Wake-Walker had to go to the second board of Inquiry with "The Plot" and correct a critical input previously provided : the Diagram B !
Well Antonio, I must say that your scenario is not impossible, moreso since learning what I have learned about what happened after Jutland with the battlecruiser disasters, terrible shooting on the part of Beatty's BC's, as opposed to the 5th BS and Hood's ships, and the revelation that specifically instructed cordite handling practices played a major role in the disasters. The need to portray the battle as a unequivocal British victory - especially with the Germans also claiming victory as well - made it necessary for that information to be suppressed, so First Sea Lord Jellicoe nixed the report, and Beatty, instead of being censured for his poor handling of his ships and, as a result, losing his command, rose to C-in-C of the Grand Fleet.

Food for thought! :think:
I think I agree with you, ... I think it has been a comparable way to act, ... I saw the same way to act also on the HMS Glorious sinking event.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by wadinga » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:21 pm

Hello Antonio,

During your Kew studies have you turned up any evidence, at all, that the Admiralty had any planss , at all, to Court Martial anybody about anything?

Does it all depend on something Tovey thought he remembered 20 years afterward?

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by dunmunro » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:38 am

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,

@ Dunmunro,

That is what I meant, being the CS1 RearAdm in command, Wake-Walker was fully responsible for both units, his one the Norfolk doing almost nothing, and the Suffolk making important mistakes that night that caused serious troubles to Vice-Adm Holland. Norfolk could have avoided Suffolk failing reports for all night long, but he did not, since he never got close to Suffolk or the enemy. He did it after the battle at 08.00, but too late for Holland and the Hood crew. A very poorly done shadowing job that night.
W-W didn't want to get close to Suffolk because Lutjens might slip between the two ships, but Norfolk wasn't doing nothing, she was covering her assigned areas but with a less than adequate radar system.
A better shadowing job was to stay in touch with the enemy also with the Norfolk, as best as they could. Double check the Suffolk radio messages confirming them from your side too every time providing a possibility to double check them either on Scapa Flow as well as by Holland that was keeping radio silence. Norfolk radio messages that night were just a couple and useless. Norfolk should have kept on sending their own radio position as well all night long together with the enemy and the Suffolk one, both relative to her and the absolute geographical one.
Norfolk had good reason to maintain radio silence since each transmission also alerted the enemy to her position via RDF.
PoW, I mean McMullen and his gunners, hit the Bismarck 3 times on 6 minutes, firing 14 semi-salvoes while changing course and having the enemy sailing at 30 knots. This was possible only because of the very good efficiency reached thanking 7 weeks intensive training that is in my opinion to be given as full credit to Captain J.C. Leach.
Radar equipped ships had a huge advantage over non-equipped ships. With radar PoW could have expected to straddle on her 2nd salvo and straddle nearly continuously from then on. PoW could have expected 6 or more hits by the time Hood was lost, and this might have saved Hood.
If no one could have complained about what they did before the battle and after, please explain to me why Adm Tovey had to write on his dispatches an incorrect statement as far as describing their positioning ( never in condition to join the battle ) as well as distances with around 15 sea miles while he knew they were closer. The 15 sea miles distance incorrect declaration was also removing criticism and additional scrutiny on Wake-Walker for being at 11 sea miles from the enemy at 06.00 and NOT opening fire in support to PoW under enemy fire and in clear difficulties.
Does anyone here know the exact postions of W-W's cruisers? Did W-W? We have been discussing a mass of conflicting data with no clear consensus but even if it was 11nm, the odds of Norfolk being able to contribute useful fire (rather then confusing PoW's gunners) at that range, without radar, is pretty low. Suffolk only opened fire when the range was apparently 19k yds, and Suffolk had type 284 radar. Again were are the reports from Norfolk's GCO giving a range and/or requesting to open fire?
Hood First Board of Inquiry declarations and sketches were enough to heavily charge WW on an inquiry if called. Same for Leach using PoW maps and relative retreat timings, Adm Tovey received them all on his office.
Wake-Walker summary on June 5h, 1941, with 06.13 and 15 sea miles, once signed and accepted by Adm J. Tovey removed all the potential charges and additional scrutiny needs on WW and Leach. This is how Royal Navy procedures worked on 1941.
It is all documented and you can verify yourself in the Public Record office in Kew.
The Hood inquires were to determine the cause of Hood's loss - not to cross examine anyone on their conduct during the battle. What would be Tovey's motivation not to court martial W-W or Leach, if Tovey thought them to be negligent cowards? Why would Tovey save cowards and or fools? If the purpose was to preserve UK moral then it would be Churchill and Pound intervening to save W-W and Leach from Tovey!
WHY WOULD TOVEY, AN ADMIRAL, CARE MORE ABOUT NATIONAL MORAL THAN CHURCHILL, AN ELECTED LEADER WHO REPRESENTED THE UK TO THE WORLD (ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS - NOT FOR SHOUTING)?
If I have not produced any evidence, than you can keep on believing that PoW retreated at 06.13 and kept on firing for few minutes after, while receiving hits from Bismarck having ceased fire at 06.09, … and that Suffolk and Norfolk were always struggling to follow the enemy at around 15 sea miles behind her and never in condition to join the battle, … you can trust “ The Plot “ of course it was done exactly for this purpose ... even if Ellis was at 14 sea miles and turned back and Norfolk was at 11 sea miles from Bismarck at 06.00.
This is what Wake-Walker declared and Adm Tovey signed for, this is what removed the potential charges and enabled the recognitions for them.
You do believe this ?

Bye Antonio :D
Antonio, I thank you for your efforts at doing the research at the archives, but I already knew, from PoW's gunnery report and from the Battle Summary, that the 6:13 timing was incorrect (at least relative to PoW's gunnery report and the accepted timing for Hood's loss). What I didn't know (but suspected that I knew) was why Tovey used that time in his despatch; I think I now have a better understanding of why he used 0613, but I have seen nothing to convince me that Tovey falsified his report or that Tovey would even attempt such an illegal act as falsifying an official report. We are still arguing over exact ranges, even with all the available data and (relatively) unlimited time to reach conclusions so it is not surprising if mistakes on ranges were made in 1941 during the Hood inquiries, but I still see no evidence of criminal misconduct.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:02 am

Wadinga asked if I have "started to believe this 'malarkey'"...

Well I didn't quite say that did I? I said it was "not impossible" since there was precedent.. Just because they were RN Officers doesn't mean they were above reproach, even if many of us, myself included, would like to believe they were - same might apply to any other military service of any of the warring nations.

Anyway - to me, the bottom line of this record-setting thread (confirmed by Jose' BTW!) is that a circumstantial case has been presented - clear evidence of inconsistency in testimony between the two Boards and reports that did not quite match with what was the reality:

First Board
Evidence from Norfolk

Norfolk was not in action. Although Hood was at a range of 20,000 yards, she was clearly visible. Being the leading ship, Hood was in no way obscured by smoke or firing from Prince of Wales. Hood, being the Senior Officer's ship, was closely watched; in fact, two signal ratings had their telescopes on her all the time. From a long distance point of view, the evidence is considered reliable and this is borne out by the reasonably consistent statements of the majority of the witnesses.
Second Board R-Adm Wake-Walker
3. Will you please tell us what the range and inclination was?

I have the track charts with me; the range was about 30,000 yards.

7. At what deck level was this fire?

I think you will find that from 30,000 yards the only thing you can see of the "HOOD" is probably the top of her superstructure and her funnels and bridge,...
The track chart in question I think is now affectionately :wink: called "The Plot". The differences in testimony are not in dispute.

Admiral Tovey's Dispatch:
17. It was the intention of the Vice-Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron, that the Hood and Prince of Wales should engage the Bismarck, leaving the Prinz Eugen to the cruisers, but the Rear-Admiral Commanding, First Cruiser Squadron, was not aware that the battlecruiser force was so near; the Norfolk and Suffolk, therefore, shadowing from the eastward and northward respectively at a range of about 15 miles, were not in a position to engage the Prinz Eugen who was now stationed ahead of the Bismarck on a course of 240°.

19. ............ The Commanding Officer considered it expedient temporarily to break off the action and, at 0613, turned away under smoke. The range on ceasing fire was 14,600 yards.
Note Tovey says the cruisers were not in a position to engage Prinz Eugen which was true regardless of whether they were 15 miles or 11 miles! Suffolk was reportedly at 14 miles and Norfolk reported 16 miles at 0541. Average = 15. Still we have the first Board's Diagram B which suggests Norfolk at least was closer than that to reach 10-11 miles by 0600.

It cannot be disputed that Prince of Wales DID NOT turn away at 0613, which was four minutes after the Germans ceased fire. Whether you consider it 0601:30 or 0605 for the real turn away, we all can agree that 0613 is wrong.

Now if one considers all this, along with the other details available, and you accept Admiral Tovey's anecdote of his conversation with Admiral Pound, you COULD, as the "Prosecution" :wink: has done, theorize that there may have been some collusion to present the engagement in a particular light. That is not an impossibility...similar things had happened before.

HOWEVER: what is lacking in this discussion, and what the "Defence" :wink: could use to sew the seeds of "reasonable doubt" among the "Jury", is any direct evidence of the collusion - for example, some document showing that there were concerns about the conduct of Leach and Wake-Walker at the Admiralty, some evidence that Wake-Walker and Tovey met or wrote each other and discussed the "changes", and so on. Antonio says the Admiralty knew everything but he has not shown us any document to say what its opinion was of that "everything". All we have is a statement from Tovey made at a time when the clarity of his mind was suspect.

In other words, intent has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, and unless some documentation surfaces (and since all those who would have known are no longer with us), it probably will never be.

It all might have been a big "innocent" collection of errors and misinterpretations due to the "fog of war". That's not impossible either.
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:38 am

dunmunro wrote:Radar equipped ships had a huge advantage over non-equipped ships. With radar PoW could have expected to straddle on her 2nd salvo and straddle nearly continuously from then on. PoW could have expected 6 or more hits by the time Hood was lost, and this might have saved Hood.
But according to McMullen, radar ranges WERE obtained, albeit later when the rage went below 20,000 yards:
Once the range was down to about 20,000 yards the T. S. had a good Range Plot including radar ranges from the 14 inch Director Tower set and continual optical range finder ranges, certainly from "B" Turret.
http://www.hmshood.com/history/denmarks ... letter.htm

...although that doesn't detract from your point. Prinz Eugen was very fortunate Hood's opening 2 salvos were out for line. Had the first been in line and only 50 m or so short for range.....might not have been pretty for the Prinz....
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by dunmunro » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:51 am

paulcadogan wrote:
dunmunro wrote:Radar equipped ships had a huge advantage over non-equipped ships. With radar PoW could have expected to straddle on her 2nd salvo and straddle nearly continuously from then on. PoW could have expected 6 or more hits by the time Hood was lost, and this might have saved Hood.
But according to McMullen, radar ranges WERE obtained, albeit later when the rage went below 20,000 yards:
Once the range was down to about 20,000 yards the T. S. had a good Range Plot including radar ranges from the 14 inch Director Tower set and continual optical range finder ranges, certainly from "B" Turret.
http://www.hmshood.com/history/denmarks ... letter.htm

...although that doesn't detract from your point. Prinz Eugen was very fortunate Hood's opening 2 salvos were out for line. Had the first been in line and only 50 m or so short for range.....might not have been pretty for the Prinz....
That was from the Mcmullen letter written some 30 odd years after the fact. PoW's Gunnery Aspect Report states that no radar ranges were obtained:
B - Events during First Action

4. No results were obtained from either Type 281 or 284 R.D.F.; it is understood that Signal School Officers are now of the opinion that Type 281 suffered interference and Type 284 was defective, although it appeared at the time that 284 was also suffering from interference.
IMHO McMullen got the first action confused with the 2nd or 3rd actions.

Yes PE was very fortunate and a hit on her that struck below the waterline or in her machinery spaces spells doom for her. Hood's gunnery on her opening salvos was much more accurate for range than PoW's despite Hood's obsolete FC systems. Ditto for Bismarck.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:26 am

dunmunro wrote:That was from the Mcmullen letter written some 30 odd years after the fact. PoW's Gunnery Aspect Report states that no radar ranges were obtained:
Fair enough. It is true, he said he could not remember all the details. I doubt it was confusion with the second (30,000 yards) or third (2 semi-salvos) actions though!

Of course I'd read the G.A.R as well, but I thought it was referring just to the "open fire" stage.
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