Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

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Byron Angel
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Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Byron Angel » Thu May 09, 2019 3:14 am

No idea if this has appeared on this forum already, but, if not ..... some interesting material IMO.

B

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RN NAVAL MESSAGES RECEIVED IN HMS RODNEY 24 MAY 1941

From / To / Time Sent

CS1 > Admiralty @ 0615/24
HOOD blown up in position 63deg 20min N, 31deg 50min W.

CS1 > DDs in company @ 0637/24
HOOD sunk in position 63deg 21min N, 31deg 47min W. – Proceed and search for survivors.

CS1 > Scapa Radio @ 0720/24
At 0712 my position 63deg 08min N, 32deg 12min W – PRINCE OF WALES in company.
PRINCE OF WALES has bridge out of action and “Y” turret temporarily out of action.
SUFFOLK trailing from astern. Enemy bears 286deg distance 81 miles from me.
His course 205deg, speed 28.

CS1 > Admiralty @ 0725/24
Information from PRINCE OF WALES states “A” and “B” turrets in commission, two guns
In “Y” turret in commission. About 400 tons of water abaft armoured bulkhead. Compartments
Above steering gear compartment flooded but steering gear working, best speed of PRINCE of WALES
27 knots. Above information received from PRINCE of WALES at 0720/24.

NORFOLK > Scapa Radio @ 0745/24
My 0541 – BB course and speed 210deg 26 knots. BB bears 290deg 17 miles from me. Cruiser appears to be opening and tostarboard. My position 62deg 56min N, 32deg 28 min W.

SUFFOLK > Scapa Radio @ 0757/24
Enemy BB has reduced speed. Appears to be damaged, on fire. My position 63deg 10min N, 32deg 34min W.

PRINCE OF WALES > CinC HF Admiralty @ about 0800/24
At 0553-30 PRINCE of WALES opened fire, range 23,000. BISMARCK opened fire immediately on HOOD. HOOD opened fire just before PRINCE of WALES. PRINZ EUGEN engaged PRINCE of WALES. BISMARCK fire extremely accurate – straddling HOOD on second or third salvo. Fire immediately broke out in HOOD near after port 4” AA twin mount, spreading rapidly to mainmast. At 0600 an explosion occurred between the after funnel and the mainmast in HOOD and she sank within 3 to 4 minutes. HOOD had fired 3 to 4 salvoes prior to being sunk. Destroyer picked up only 3 survivors from HOOD, a midshipman, a signalman and a seaman. PRINCE of WALES straddled on 6th. PRINCE of WALES was astern of HOOD and had to maneuver to avoid parts of HOOD. BISMARCK immediately shifter fire to PRINCE of WALES and almost immediately a violent explosion was heard in PRINCE of WALES. At 0602-30 the bridge of the PRINCE of WALES was hit, casualties heavy, Captain unhurt. Same salvo placed both forward antiaircraft directors out of action. At this time only three of the ten 14” guns of the PRINCE of WALES were in action. “Y” turret would not bear. I decided to break off action and consolidate position and ship. I therefore turned away firing “X” (sic) turret in local control on the turn and making smoke – BISMARCK also turned to follow but immediately thereafter broke off the action. PRINCE OF WALES fired a total of eighteen 14” gun salvos and three secondary battery salvos. PRINCE of WALES then took station astern of trailing cruisers.

NORFOLK > Scapa Radio @ 0900/24
My 0745 – Enemy making large change of course.

PRINCE of WALES > CinC HF @ 1007/24
Main battery control, secondary battery control and all secondary battery guns in commission. Nine 14” guns in commission. Bridge badly damaged. The two forward AA directors out of commission. About 600 ton water in ship due to two or more hits at waterline aft. My estimated maximum speed 26. Have available 1600 tons of oil.

NORFOLK > Scapa Radio @ 1057/24
Enemy BB and cruiser bear 273deg 18 miles. Enemy zigzagging – mean course 220deg speed 24. My position 62deg 02min N, 25deg 21min W.

NORFOLK > Scapa Radio @ 1210/24
Visibility decreasing.

CS1 > SUFFOLK @ 1216/24
If visibility decreases endeavor to maintain RD/F touch and inform me of enemy movements.

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by dunmunro » Thu May 09, 2019 5:24 am

IIRC, we did see this. Is it from Wellings?

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu May 09, 2019 6:20 am

Hello everybody,

we have 3 quite different reports from Captain Leach:

1) the message at about 8:00 on May 24th (very curiously, only picked up by Wellings on Rodney and not registered in the Admiralty files...), kindly posted again here by Byron (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8552&p=83419#p83417). Guns in action at retreat time are 3 (but some confusion is done about Y turret not bearing...).

2) the report sent on May 27th (see here below), where the guns in action become 7 (3+4).

3) the final narrative on June 4th attached to Tovey despatches (that we know very well already) where the guns become 9 (5+4), please see below.

Here the comparison between the last two posted by Antonio Bonomi some time ago re guns in action on board PoW.

Leach_May27_June4.jpg
Leach_May27_June4.jpg (65.34 KiB) Viewed 906 times

I don't add any personal interpretation about these messages: anyone can reach his own conclusions keeping them for himself.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by dunmunro » Thu May 09, 2019 8:18 am

Bismarck had great difficulty in transmitting legible radio signals to KM shore stations.

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Byron Angel » Thu May 09, 2019 1:09 pm

dunmunro wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:24 am
IIRC, we did see this. Is it from Wellings?
Yes. 'twas from Wellings. Clearly, not much gets by this group.

What interested me was the sense of calm and controlled chaos as everyone worked to come to grips with the sudden loss of Hood and the damage to PoW. No one lost his head and everyone seemed to keep their eyes on the ball.

B

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by wadinga » Thu May 09, 2019 3:17 pm

Hello Byron,

Yes this simulated 08:00 radio message has already been debunked on page 10 of "Cover Up Synopsis" in 2016.
There is no corroboration of its existence, even from German interception records. It has no actual Time Of Origin. It describes irrelevant details about survivors, that nobody can possibly know about in PoW at 08:00, and it is wordy and grammatical in a way that no tersely worded naval message is. It refers in the third person to "the Captain" being unhurt, and a couple of sentences later says "I decided to break off action......."

This is something Wellings has cobbled together from heresay, weeks maybe months later.
Some bits are accurate, some seem to be complete invention to help the narrative. Leach supposedly doesn't even know what his after turret is called. X or Y? Obviously filled-in by Wellings, an American with little knowledge of PoW's nomenclature.

Since this was discussed in 2016, we now know B turret was having problems due to lack of hydraulics (courtesy of Alberto and those excerpts of Barben's report he released in 2017) and missed three salvoes so there was indeed a time with A1 down permanently, Y turret not bearing and B turret non operational, when PoW had only A2, A3 and A4 in action. Three guns operational- exactly as has been mentioned, but claimed as evidence of Leach's misrepresentation back in 2016.

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu May 09, 2019 3:55 pm

Hello everybody,
"...there was indeed a time with A1 down permanently, Y turret not bearing and B turret non operational..."
...and Leach used this (1 minute) "negative peak" of 3 guns in action (happened when Hood was afloat and no heavy gun was firing at PoW yet) in his first report, in the "urgency" to justify his decision... the "sugar-coating" of the story had already (grossly) started.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by wadinga » Thu May 09, 2019 4:57 pm

Fellow Contributors,

It is disappointing that this information is only considered by some to be of value in terms of defaming Captain Leach's reputation, and not in terms of trying to delineate which salvoes B turret missed and build a more accurate picture of PoW's gunnery.

If these were indeed early salvoes, it may be that B turret only fired two rounds on the first two salvoes, before the shutdown hydraulics failed to provide further reloads for the guns, because the shell ring would not rotate, It would mean B turret failed to fire from Salvo 2 approx. 05:53:40 until salvo 6 at 05:55:55, just over two minutes. Since A1 had packed up after salvo 1 and B turret was missing salvoes 3, 4 and 5 this would have been quite disturbing for Leach in the Conning Tower. Only three main armament guns were operating, and this may have been logged somewhere. He would be concerned about maintaining output with three out of six guns failed within the first three minutes of action, whether or not anyone was firing at him.

We now know from recently released details in Barben's material, Y turret used the "workaround" of rotating the turret to points where shells were available when the shell ring was stalled and effectively locked to the ship, but there is no mention of this procedure for B turret.

The previous study of Wellings' material delineated both accurate and imaginative content.

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu May 09, 2019 5:52 pm

Hello everybody,
"Since A1 had packed up after salvo 1 and B turret was missing salvoes 3, 4 and 5 this would have been quite disturbing for Leach in the Conning Tower."
Possibly, if he was counting shots and not steering his ship looking at Hood.... If this is the case (and I don't think so...), from salvo 6 on, he would have seen B turret failing no shot anymore, thus guns being ok.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by dunmunro » Thu May 09, 2019 6:44 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:52 pm
Hello everybody,
"Since A1 had packed up after salvo 1 and B turret was missing salvoes 3, 4 and 5 this would have been quite disturbing for Leach in the Conning Tower."
Possibly, if he was counting shots and not steering his ship looking at Hood.... If this is the case (and I don't think so...), from salvo 6 on, he would have seen B turret failing no shot anymore, thus guns being ok.


Bye, Alberto
Leach's subordinates were tasked with steering the ship, leaving the captain free to concentrate his attention on any matter he deemed vital, and B turret failing to fire would have caught the captain's attention as would firing one gun salvos via A turret alone. Certainly, if true it would seem that the guns "were not OK".

However, as I've stated in the past, I don't think that Barben was correct about B turret missing three salvos because it would have been obvious to all concerned but was never mentioned in the GAR, or by Leach or others such as Rowell or Brooke

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu May 09, 2019 7:52 pm

Hello everybody,

therefore we can conclude that either 1) Leach was counting the shots (that I don't think...) and he could see that after salvo 6 everything was ok with guns or 2) he was not counting shots (he was looking at Hood as per his witness at the Board, at least until the boat deck fire started at around 5:57:30 http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... .htm#Leach) and he decided to retreat based on what he stated in his report (his fears, not the actual gunnery performances).
Your choice.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by dunmunro » Thu May 09, 2019 8:29 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 7:52 pm
Hello everybody,

therefore we can conclude that either 1) Leach was counting the shots (that I don't think...) and he could see that after salvo 6 everything was ok with guns or 2) he was not counting shots (he was looking at Hood as per his witness at the Board, at least until the boat deck fire started at around 5:57:30 http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... .htm#Leach) and he decided to retreat based on what he stated in his report (his fears, not the actual gunnery performances).
Your choice.


Bye, Alberto
I think a captain would be vitally interested in the effectiveness of his gunfire.

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by wadinga » Thu May 09, 2019 9:08 pm

Fellow Contributors,

I would think the lengthy periods of quiet, with not much happening with the turrets immediately in front of him would be a matter of some concern. One wouldn't have to count shots, just noticing the lack of noise or brown smoke would be a bit of a giveaway.
quite disturbing for Leach in the Conning Tower.
Oops, my bad, Leach wasn't in the Conning Tower until after the Compass Platform was blown up. That's why Brooke found him in the so-called Conning Tower/Admiral's Bridge. (Not a Conning Tower in the Dreadnought sense.) That's why McMullen's boy couldn't find him on the Compass Platform. He wasn't there because communications were out, which is why the boy was there. Because communications were out.
However, as I've stated in the past, I don't think that Barben was correct about B turret missing three salvos because it would have been obvious to all concerned but was never mentioned in the GAR, or by Leach or others such as Rowell or Brooke
To disagree with Dunmunro it is hard to imagine Barben could have created such a detailed faux pas. It seems perfectly likely to blame ship's , as opposed to Gunnery staff for shutting off vital hydraulics because they were unaware of their significance. Brooke and other spotters were unlikely to be aware of which guns and how many shots were fired. McMullen was concerned in the GAR with problems which were "his people's fault" or poor installation/design. Provision of hydraulic services would be Ship's Engineering, theoretically not McMullen's problem. Always nice to shift the blame elsewhere.

Leach's temporary retreat was based on woeful actual gunnery performance, coming and going without rhyme or reason, and since neither he nor anyone else in PoW knew they had actually hit and hurt Bismarck,

Anyhow this thread is about establishing that some of Wellings' messages are fabricated, which was done some time ago.

All the best
wadinga
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by dunmunro » Thu May 09, 2019 9:40 pm

wadinga wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 9:08 pm
couldn't find him on the Compass Platform. He wasn't there because communications were out, which is why the boy was there. Because communications were out.
However, as I've stated in the past, I don't think that Barben was correct about B turret missing three salvos because it would have been obvious to all concerned but was never mentioned in the GAR, or by Leach or others such as Rowell or Brooke
To disagree with Dunmunro it is hard to imagine Barben could have created such a detailed faux pas. It seems perfectly likely to blame ship's , as opposed to Gunnery staff for shutting off vital hydraulics because they were unaware of their significance. Brooke and other spotters were unlikely to be aware of which guns and how many shots were fired. McMullen was concerned in the GAR with problems which were "his people's fault" or poor installation/design. Provision of hydraulic services would be Ship's Engineering, theoretically not McMullen's problem. Always nice to shift the blame elsewhere.

Leach's temporary retreat was based on woeful actual gunnery performance, coming and going without rhyme or reason, and since neither he nor anyone else in PoW knew they had actually hit and hurt Bismarck,

Anyhow this thread is about establishing that some of Wellings' messages are fabricated, which was done some time ago.

All the best
wadinga
I agree that if Barben was correct, shutting off the power to the turret loading system would be a gross error, symptomatic of a ship that required further work-up, and was not ready to stand alone against Lutjen's entire force. Also if one believes Barben then your contentions immediately follow from that, namely that the "guns were not OK" and that Leach had very visible proof of the "...practical certainty that owing to mechanical "teething troubles" a full output from the main armament was not to be expected..." Thus Barben actually weakens the case for Leach as coward.

However, I can only base my statements on the portion of the GAR shown on the HMS Hood website. It is possible that parts of the report have been omitted, and the entire report might provide clues that Barben was correct. I have a hard time believing that McMullen would omit the fact that B turret missed three entire successive salvos from his report.

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu May 09, 2019 9:51 pm

Hello everybody,
"He wasn't there because communications were out, which is why the boy was there. Because communications were out."
To repeat a wrong statement doen't make it more correct in any way: McMullen was not "furious" (his words) just because "communications were out"... He was clearly furious because of Leach decision to disengage.

"...it is hard to imagine Barben could have created such a detailed faux pas...Always nice to shift the blame elsewhere"
I agree. Barben was physically present in B turret, therefore he should have been well aware of the problem.
I have always said that McMullen tried to highlight mechanical problems while Barben pointed to human errors. Truth is possibly in between, but in this specific case I tend to trust Barben while I understand why McMullen "ignored" the failure, that would have resulted into a severe criticism against the engineers that switched off the ring main (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6834&p=76840&hilit=barben#p76849).


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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

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