Hood v Vittorio Veneto

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paul.mercer
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paul.mercer » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:08 am

Gentlemen,
Just a thought on a slightly different scenario, what would happen if the Veneto came up against a really good shooting ship like Warspite or Valiant?

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RF
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:03 pm

I don't think the omens would be good for the Italians.

I could well imagine Warspite crippling the VV without sustaining any hits in return. VV would then be sunk with torpedoes from destroyers accompanying Warspite.
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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:50 am

Hello everybody,

while it is out of discussion that the Italian Navy ( Regia Marina ) has been very poorly managed during WW2, here we are talking an hypothetical naval scenario never happened in reality.

Well, my personal opinion is just the opposite of what I am reading here above.

It ha been a very lucky situation for the QE's and Hood/Renown etc etc ... that the Italian best battleships of the Littorio class has never been forced to accept a battle against them in a one on one fight.

Given the superior speed, armour/protection and guns ... it was going to be a very difficult situation for the RN Mediterranean Fleet battleships, ... unless, ... as usual, ... they were hoping to damage her before with an air strike, ... torpedoing them.

It was going to be a very interesting naval battle to have the 3 of them, ... the Littorio, Vittorio Veneto and Roma, ... facing the Warspite, Valiant and Queen Elizabeth, ... in a gun confrontation in September 1943 ... instead of surrending or being sunk by the Germans, ... with no honor.

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: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by 1T6VDTYX » Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:56 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,

while it is out of discussion that the Italian Navy ( Regia Marina ) has been very poorly managed during WW2, here we are talking an hypothetical naval scenario never happened in reality.

Well, my personal opinion is just the opposite of what I am reading here above.

It ha been a very lucky situation for the QE's and Hood/Renown etc etc ... that the Italian best battleships of the Littorio class has never been forced to accept a battle against them in a one on one fight.

Given the superior speed, armour/protection and guns ... it was going to be a very difficult situation for the RN Mediterranean Fleet battleships, ... unless, ... as usual, ... they were hoping to damage her before with an air strike, ... torpedoing them.

It was going to be a very interesting naval battle to have the 3 of them, ... the Littorio, Vittorio Veneto and Roma, ... facing the Warspite, Valiant and Queen Elizabeth, ... in a gun confrontation in September 1943 ... instead of surrending or being sunk by the Germans, ... with no honor.

Bye Antonio :D
Gentlemen,
Antonio is quite right, it would have been an interesting battle, but I think that it the Italians took a few early hits they would use their superior speed to break off the fight.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:45 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,

while it is out of discussion that the Italian Navy ( Regia Marina ) has been very poorly managed during WW2, here we are talking an hypothetical naval scenario never happened in reality.

Well, my personal opinion is just the opposite of what I am reading here above.

It ha been a very lucky situation for the QE's and Hood/Renown etc etc ... that the Italian best battleships of the Littorio class has never been forced to accept a battle against them in a one on one fight.

Given the superior speed, armour/protection and guns ... it was going to be a very difficult situation for the RN Mediterranean Fleet battleships, ... unless, ... as usual, ... they were hoping to damage her before with an air strike, ... torpedoing them.

It was going to be a very interesting naval battle to have the 3 of them, ... the Littorio, Vittorio Veneto and Roma, ... facing the Warspite, Valiant and Queen Elizabeth, ... in a gun confrontation in September 1943 ... instead of surrending or being sunk by the Germans, ... with no honor.

Bye Antonio :D
Thanks for that analysis Antonio,
It would certainly have been an interesting battle, I suppose like any battle it depends who starts hitting first and keeps on hitting.
From the various posts on the Italian ships it seem that they suffered from severe dispersion of their shells whereas the three QE's mentioned were I understand, known to be fast and accurate in their shooting, probably because the practised more often.
Because of this I suspect that the Italians would take a number of early hits and use their superior speed to disengage

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:43 am

Hello everybody,

I see your point Paul, ... it could have been the result ... as often happened ... in case of no need to fight until the end, ... with determination.

But in case of no Aircraft carriers and air superiority and a real naval battle, ... with the clear intention to sink the enemy warships, ... I think that the superior speed would have been used to get closer faster and give no eascape to the enemy, ... and at that point the accuracy on early salvos is not so important since you are going for the kill ... and your superior armour/protection ... together with your superior gun efficiency on a weaker protected enemy ... would have determined an easy game for the 3 Italian battleships, ... resulting for the 3 QE's to be sunk.

Bottom line the 3 Littorio's were much better battleships if compared to the 3 QE's, ... and the difference has been made only by their very poor utilizaion in war, ... and the RN air superiority at sea.

Well utilized it would have been a no game battle, ... hands down.

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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RF
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:41 am

Antonio Bonomi wrote: Bottom line the 3 Littorio's were much better battleships if compared to the 3 QE's, ... and the difference has been made only by their very poor utilizaion in war, ... and the RN air superiority at sea.
Well utilized it would have been a no game battle, ... hands down. Bye Antonio :D
I am reminded here of Captain Patrick Dove's comment to Captain Langsdorf on board the AGS when the latter argued his gunnery could defeat any cruiser... ''on paper''
Captain Dove was proved right, perhaps sooner than he expected...
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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:08 pm

Hello everybody,

@ RF,

I agree with you, ... in reality everything could have happened ... like Rodney to be able to close in and gunfire the Bismarck ... that " on paper " no one would have never took in any consideration on April 1941.

But this is an Hypothetical naval scenario, ... so I based my personal evaluations on available parameters ... so " on paper " ... and based on that ... the 3 Littorio' s would have most likely defeated the 3 QE's in a pure gun confrontation.

But we know that in reality the RN air force support provided by the carriers, the radar and the enigma decoding activities support ... moved the strategic situation in favor to the RN Mediterranean Fleet ... consequently Cunningham using the QE's was not so afraid to take the sea to look for a chance to engage one of the Littorio's under probable very favourable circumstances ... he knew he was playing with lots of advantages upfront.

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: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Matrose71 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:48 pm

RF wrote:
Antonio Bonomi wrote: Bottom line the 3 Littorio's were much better battleships if compared to the 3 QE's, ... and the difference has been made only by their very poor utilizaion in war, ... and the RN air superiority at sea.
Well utilized it would have been a no game battle, ... hands down. Bye Antonio :D
I am reminded here of Captain Patrick Dove's comment to Captain Langsdorf on board the AGS when the latter argued his gunnery could defeat any cruiser... ''on paper''
Captain Dove was proved right, perhaps sooner than he expected...
And when was he right?
The three british cruiser were heavily defeated by AGS, one was totaly crippled.
If River Plate has happened at Norway, AGS would be the shining winner.
She was scutted by her crew and not by english shells. It is alway crazy to read that AGS was defeated by the english cruiser, what is to me revanchist and wrong history writing.

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RF
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:54 pm

Antonio, this is indeed a hypothetical scenario - can I pose a question here, and in doing so I am not casting any dispersion on the courage, integrity and general competence of Italian sailors, but would most people feel that if the Italian battleships were manned by properly trained German or Japanese crews they probably would have overwhelmed the 3 QE's whereas under Italian crews/leadership they would have failed?
There are numerous instances of Italian Navy encounters with Allied ships where a winning position for the Italians ends in defeat and fiasco..... which I very largely put down to the political leadership of fascist Italy and its baleful influence on naval matters.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:13 pm

And when was he right?
At the battle of the River Plate.
The three british cruiser were heavily defeated by AGS, one was totaly crippled.
They were badly battered but none of them sank. The light cruisers disengaged and adopted a shadowing role. The AGS fled to a hostile neutral port as a result of battle damage, to effect repairs. The Germans considered that the water distillation equipment was inoperable and that a large shell hole rendered the ship insufficiently seaworthy to pass the North Atlantic in order to get home.
She was scutted by her crew and not by english shells. It is alway crazy to read that AGS was defeated by the english cruiser, what is to me revanchist and wrong history writing.
The AGS was scuttled because the Uruguayans turfed the ship out (allowing three days for essential repairs, not the two weeks the Germans demanded) and the unrepaired battle damage rendered the ship incapable of winning another round against Ajax, Achilles and Cumberland plus whatever other forces would be encountered on the way home.

You have your opinion, Raeder, Hitler and Langsdorf had a different view - minor battle damage led to the loss of the AGS because the ship could not escape its pursuers. So indirectly English - and New Zealand - shells did do for the AGS.
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:00 pm

@RF:
Hi, I was reluctant to join this discussion as neither I like too much hypothetical scenarios, nor I want to look as a "fanatic"RM and Littorio class battleship defendant, that I am not. Regarding this last point, I have however to admit that, having been myself for a short period an officer in the Marina Militare and having been my father an officer for 12 years, first in the Regia Marina and then in the Marina Militare, it's quite difficult for me not to be a bit partisan in this discussion. :oops:

The leadership of the admirals (and of the generals) of Italy during WWII was in average poor, I'm the first one to say that. The training of the crews was not so bad, but for sure it was not at the level of the the RN and the KM, mostly due to an old vision of the war that prevented the RM from developing (and training) modern battle concepts and situations (just one example: the night combat....).

However, to reduce the poor performance of the RM to admirals leadership and crew training only is too simplistic. The causes of the Italian RM weakness are several starting from no development of new weapons and instruments like the radar the sonar, the carriers and air fleet army, the guided bombs or even of a good (ground based) torpedo bombing methodology...... just a concept of the war at sea as per WWI (at best).
The main reason here is also linked to the very limited industrial and technological potential of the country at that time, worsened by the fascist autarchic politics. Let's add another heavy handicap: when the war started, the RM had reserves of fuel for 8 months (Mussolini was saying the war would have lasted 3 months only....) in a country with no oil (and no coal btw)......This limited the training of the fleet to a level that was absolutely not sufficient.

Last, but not least, Enigma decoding affected almost all the big defeats of the RM at sea while the excellent strike of A.B.Cunningham at Taranto in the beginning of the war obliged the RM to a defensive attitude for the rest of the war.

So said, coming back to the topic, my 2 cents opinion here is that the hypothetical situation with the 3 Littorio against the 3 modernized QE's, without Supermarina imposing not to risk the ships, without air support on both sides and in a pure gun confrontation, would have been an easy Italian victory, with Italian crews and even with an Italian "poor" admiral on board, due to far superior protection, superior guns and 7 knots speed advantage, overwhelming also possible early hits favorable to the British at long range (always very unlikely in any case). Had the orders been to engage at any cost and fight decisively, the Littorio could quickly have closed range. QE's had a very limited immunity against the Italian 15" , while the Littorio were very well protected from flat shells. Shells dispersion (if any, as this is another controversial and debatable point for the Italian 15" gun) and gunnery precision would have been quite irrelevant when firing at almost point blank range....

Of course, we will never know the real outcome and I admit there are several "lucky" events that can happen in a battle overturning the odds.

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:15 am

... Using Bagnasco's excellent "Littorio class - Italy's last and largest battleships", I numbered the 381mm rounds fired by Littorio and Vittorio Veneto during the Mediteranean battles (Roma did not see action, AFAIK). I ended up at 393 rounds fired. Not much, it's true.

Most shooting was done beyond 22km, occasionaly out to 27km. THe only time when range was below 22km was at 2nd Battle at Sirte, in the middle of a storm, when Littorio fired salvos as close as 5000meters against British destroyers attempting torpedo attacks.

Overall, the impression that I got was that of poor effectiveness of main battery. I don;t know how much was due to insufficient testing, training, of the crew, or to inefficient design of the turrets and the stabilization mechanisms, etc. But they all played a part. What I know is that all in all from 393 shells fired, only 1 hit the target (HMS Kingston, range 5500m), and 5 or 6 others produced damaging near misses.
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Comparing British main battery firings in similar conditions, my opinion is that British effectiveness of main batteries was substantialy better. [take Warspite hitting Cavour after 8 minutes of firing from 24,5km and take Veneto not hitting anything in 14 minutes at 23-25km during battle of Cape Spartivento].
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There is no doubt that the Littorios coudl have been excellent fighting ships, but in reality, with the work done on them, they were far, far short of contemporary battleships...

My opinion....

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:53 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote: The main reason here is also linked to the very limited industrial and technological potential of the country at that time, worsened by the fascist autarchic politics. Let's add another heavy handicap: when the war started, the RM had reserves of fuel for 8 months (Mussolini was saying the war would have lasted 3 months only....) in a country with no oil (and no coal btw)......This limited the training of the fleet to a level that was absolutely not sufficient.
Bye, Alberto
I agree entirely with your analysis.

I would make two observations, which I will keep brief as this is going off topic.

Firstly whilst there was a limited industrial/technological base, there was room and time for fascist Italy to develop it - having pioneered the development of autostrada motorway roads it could have been done.

Secondly, the shortage of oil. There was plenty of oil in Libya - had the Italians bothered to discover it, there were plenty of clues, including water wells being constantly polluted with petroleum substances. There is irony here - the Duce complaining in 1936 that he was a collector of deserts and not worthwhile productive colonies, while sitting on huge undiscovered oilfields in the desert he started off with.
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:10 am

@Alecsandros:
Hi Alec,
your analysis is correct, however at Punta Stilo HMS Warspite could hit Giulio Cesare at an extreme range (around 27000 yards) when on an almost parallel course (traditional broadsides duel with more easy firing solution due to the limited range change rate). Giulio Cesare was able to register a "near miss" on Warpite just before receiving the hit (and the 320mm gun was prone to a much worse dispersion than the 381mm)
Vittorio Veneto at Spartivento was able to fire just 19 rounds in total, opening fire from almost 30000 yards (27 km) while on a directly converging course (very fast range change rate) but her shells exploded anyway so close to HMS Manchester to cause splinter damages and to force the British cruisers to turn back.

Erminio Bagnasco (I agree it's the best reference for these ships) conclusion regarding Littorio class gunnery is that it was in line with the other navies, except the absence of radar of course..... :( and dispersion (especially after the first firing charge and initial velocity was reduced in 1941) was more than average as well.

The British gunnery could have been a bit better at extreme range (to be demonstrated anyway as, apart from the hit on Giulio Cesare, there are no other examples and there were no direct prolonged confrontation between the British and the Italian battleships mostly due to the Italian attitude), but, once at short range, the power of the Italian 381 mm modern gun together with the superior armor protection and the far superior speed would have made a tremendous difference compared with (modernized) WWI battleships.

More interesting would have been IMHO a gun duel between 3 Littorio's and 3 KGV, each of them with their design and gunnery limitations.......while I would not bet a single penny on Littorio's against Bismarck's in a gun duel...... :wink:

Just my opinion of course......


@RF: I do agree with your observations ! :ok:
I just don't know (not being an expert of oil research) whether the limited Italian technology was able to reach the "deep" Lyian petroleum in the years just before and during the war..... :think:


Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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