More on KGV Class main armament problems

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Byron Angel
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More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by Byron Angel » Sun May 12, 2019 6:01 pm

Following excerpted from D K Brown's "Nelson to Vanguard" (p.31) -

"The reason for the selection of 14in guns and the reduction to ten guns has been explained and seems inevitable in the circumstances. <snip> The problem lay in the mounting which was unreliable. Problems in the Prince of Wales against Bismarck could be excused since she was barely complete but King George V only got off 339 rounds against Bismarck compared with 380 from Rodney with a slower-firing gun. Even at the end of 1943 Duke of York only got off 68 percent of possible rounds at North Cape.
Part of the problem lay in the requirement to pass ammunition into the turret at any angle of training. This involved a transfer ring, moving independently between ship (magazine) and turret. The designer of the ring did not allow enough for the flexibility of a ship and its bending due to heating of the upper deck in sunshine and the action of waves. Either could bend the ship several inches."


B

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by dunmunro » Sun May 12, 2019 6:51 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:01 pm
Following excerpted from D K Brown's "Nelson to Vanguard" (p.31) -

"The reason for the selection of 14in guns and the reduction to ten guns has been explained and seems inevitable in the circumstances. <snip> The problem lay in the mounting which was unreliable. Problems in the Prince of Wales against Bismarck could be excused since she was barely complete but King George V only got off 339 rounds against Bismarck compared with 380 from Rodney with a slower-firing gun. Even at the end of 1943 Duke of York only got off 68 percent of possible rounds at North Cape.
Part of the problem lay in the requirement to pass ammunition into the turret at any angle of training. This involved a transfer ring, moving independently between ship (magazine) and turret. The designer of the ring did not allow enough for the flexibility of a ship and its bending due to heating of the upper deck in sunshine and the action of waves. Either could bend the ship several inches."


B
DoY didn't have any problems with the transfer ring jamming and in the main, the problems were caused by relatively minor issues related to the safety interlocks:
14 inch Breakdowns.

12. - Loss of 14 inch output due to gun mounting failures is attributable
to three causes :-

(a) Failure of bridge tube flash doors in working chamber to close
completely.

(b) Collapse of shell arresters in the central ammunition hoist.

(c) Two small mishaps - (1) a pin falling out of control shafting,
(2) a split washer in pipeline from recoil
cylinder tanks

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by Byron Angel » Sun May 12, 2019 7:36 pm

Hi dunmunro,
Can you say with confidence that causes (a) and (b) were unrelated to transfer ring issues? Just asking.

B

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by dunmunro » Sun May 12, 2019 9:22 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 7:36 pm
Hi dunmunro,
Can you say with confidence that causes (a) and (b) were unrelated to transfer ring issues? Just asking.

B
The report goes into more detail about the lost output and the shell transfer ring clearance wasn't an issue. There was an issue with 14in shells surging while being rammed from Y turret shell ring, due to movement of the ship, but that was really a shell arrester issue and none of the turret rings jammed.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by wadinga » Fri May 24, 2019 5:19 pm

Fellow Contributors,

To mark the anniversary of the sinking of Hood here are some more items of original documentation. All are Crown Copyright. The first confirms that the gun trials carried out shortly before her first mission, gave the Admiralty representatives who were aboard the "impression" things were far from "OK" which was confirmed in the action.

Image

The second shows the award recommendation for the Chief Ordnance Artificer in charge of the mechanical working of PoW's guns. Again it is clear failures of the main armament "since they were taken over" ie accepted on 27th April from Vickers, meant only strenuous and continual intervention meant they fired at all.

Image

The last contains conclusions which make it clear not only was PoW's loss of output excessive, but would have been even worse, but for the energetic efforts of Fred Haughton and team and the Vickers technicians still aboard.

Image

I hope this image posting technique does not cause any problems. Enjoy!

All the best

wadinga
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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by alecsandros » Fri May 24, 2019 5:31 pm

wadinga wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 5:19 pm

To mark the anniversary of the sinking of Hood here are some more items of original documentation. All are Crown Copyright. The first confirms that the gun trials carried out shortly before her first mission, gave the Admiralty representatives who were aboard the "impression" things were far from "OK" which was confirmed in the action.
No ship was "OK" during battle of DS.

Prince of Wales's gunnery output during 1st engagement was 75%, and during second engagement it was 85%.

Prinz Eugen's gunnery output during 1st engagement was 85%, and during second engagement unknown.

In short , the ship reported having "teething troubles" on her main armament, produced the same results as a ship deemed to be "at peak efficiency".

It shows once again that the conclusions that Capt. Leach has drawn in the aftermath of Hood's demise, and that determined him to disengage, were wrong. However, he probably acted in good spirit.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by dunmunro » Fri May 24, 2019 5:58 pm

wadinga wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 5:19 pm
Fellow Contributors,

To mark the anniversary of the sinking of Hood here are some more items of original documentation. All are Crown Copyright. The first confirms that the gun trials carried out shortly before her first mission, gave the Admiralty representatives who were aboard the "impression" things were far from "OK" which was confirmed in the action.



The second shows the award recommendation for the Chief Ordnance Artificer in charge of the mechanical working of PoW's guns. Again it is clear failures of the main armament "since they were taken over" ie accepted on 27th April from Vickers, meant only strenuous and continual intervention meant they fired at all.



The last contains conclusions which make it clear not only was PoW's loss of output excessive, but would have been even worse, but for the energetic efforts of Fred Haughton and team and the Vickers technicians still aboard.



I hope this image posting technique does not cause any problems. Enjoy!

All the best

wadinga
Thanks. Very interesting and it seems to confirm that PoW's B turret had the least problems. Also it seems that my analysis of KGV's output is correct.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by Bill Jurens » Fri May 24, 2019 6:58 pm

Thank you for this.

Most interesting.

There is not problem in posting images where the text is lengthy and the context of the source is potentially important, i.e. seeing if the original was in typescript, handwritten, or typeset. The problem lies in posting small snippets, heavily underlined and annotated from what are clearly secondary source publications, ie.g. a portion of paragraph of a book.

The absence of emphasis, etc., is appreciated, as I have often found that underlining, etc., instead of clarifying the document, often does more to obscure the thrust of the original item. Usually, if emphasis is required, it can work equally well by making associated commentary.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by HMSVF » Fri May 24, 2019 7:12 pm

wadinga wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 5:19 pm
Fellow Contributors,

To mark the anniversary of the sinking of Hood here are some more items of original documentation. All are Crown Copyright. The first confirms that the gun trials carried out shortly before her first mission, gave the Admiralty representatives who were aboard the "impression" things were far from "OK" which was confirmed in the action.

Image

The second shows the award recommendation for the Chief Ordnance Artificer in charge of the mechanical working of PoW's guns. Again it is clear failures of the main armament "since they were taken over" ie accepted on 27th April from Vickers, meant only strenuous and continual intervention meant they fired at all.

Image

The last contains conclusions which make it clear not only was PoW's loss of output excessive, but would have been even worse, but for the energetic efforts of Fred Haughton and team and the Vickers technicians still aboard.

Image

I hope this image posting technique does not cause any problems. Enjoy!

All the best

wadinga


Thanks Wadinga,

Really interesting stuff. I expect that it will be spun though.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by wadinga » Sat May 25, 2019 12:45 am

Fellow Contributors,

It has been said:
Prinz Eugen's gunnery output during 1st engagement was 85%, and during second engagement unknown.
Things only break down when you use them. The more you use them, the more they are likely to break down. If they break down a lot when you are barely using them at all, what does that indicate? How many shells did PG fire vs PoW?
In short , the ship reported having "teething troubles" on her main armament, produced the same results as a ship deemed to be "at peak efficiency".
PG's efficiency dropped off because of the wear and tear accumulated due to the large volume of shots she fired successfully, so there is no equivalency.

Langley's summation is clear, PoW's guns were faulty before DS and didn't get better through being used. Leach's decision is upheld as correct.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by dunmunro » Sat May 25, 2019 2:20 am

alecsandros wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 5:31 pm


Prinz Eugen's gunnery output during 1st engagement was 85%, and during second engagement unknown.
2nd engagement?

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by northcape » Sat May 25, 2019 3:19 am

alecsandros wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 5:31 pm

Prince of Wales's gunnery output during 1st engagement was 75%, and during second engagement it was 85%.

Prinz Eugen's gunnery output during 1st engagement was 85%, and during second engagement unknown.

In short , the ship reported having "teething troubles" on her main armament, produced the same results as a ship deemed to be "at peak efficiency".

It shows once again that the conclusions that Capt. Leach has drawn in the aftermath of Hood's demise, and that determined him to disengage, were wrong. However, he probably acted in good spirit.
If "2nd engagement" means the few salvos between PoW and BS later that day, then this statistical comparison to the DS battle is not valid (very different sample size).

PE gunnery output is not defined, as to my knowledge PE did not participate in the 2nd engangement

"It shows once again...". No it does not, as your statistical comparison is not valid. Even if it would be, this statement of yours would be wrong as the gunnery output was only one of the factors that determined the withdrawal by Cpt. Leach. Even if it would be the only factor, your statement would still be wrong (or just an opinion) - it is not to us to judge 75 years later on the basis of sparse and incomplete information.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by alecsandros » Sat May 25, 2019 6:18 am

dunmunro wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:20 am
2nd engagement?
Splitting of Prinz Eugen from Bismarck.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by alecsandros » Sat May 25, 2019 6:26 am

northcape wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 3:19 am

If "2nd engagement" means the few salvos between PoW and BS later that day, then this statistical comparison to the DS battle is not valid (very different sample size).
During 2nd engagement, Prince of Wales fired 41 shots under director control (out of 48 ordered), versus 55 fired during first engagement (out of 74 ordered).

It is an engagement with the same conditions present, and with the same crew, with no harbor modificatons and with no additional training available.
PE gunnery output is not defined, as to my knowledge PE did not participate in the 2nd engangement
HMS Suffolk dueled with Prinz Eugen, at long range, starting at 18:56. Only a few salvos were fired between them (I think , based on the 3 broadside salvos fired by Suffolk).

Prinz Eugen did not have a great firing efficiency during 1st engagement. Around 150 shots fired out of 180 ordered, or something like that.

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Re: More on KGV Class main armament problems

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat May 25, 2019 6:43 am

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "here are some more items of original documentation"
All of them were written after the events, when the British need to justify Leach and to state that PoW was not fully worked up was evident....
The fact that the British 14" mounting had inherent design problems is a fact, and PoW as well as KGV were experiencing them.

The outcome of the final gunnery acceptance trials sent to Admiralty, early in May 1941 (see Mr.Wilkinson in the "Vickers" report), was very, very different, reporting officially that gunnery trials were "satisfactory" after the 7 weeks "day and lately night" exercises (Brooke + Wilkinson). The results were confirmed by May 15 further "night and dawn sheet" (Barben), getting a perfect output.

After that, the ship had to be declared ready for service, having already had 2 months more than KGV to adjust gunnery equipment and train the gunnery crew compared to KGV (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8523&start=195#p83200).

Was PoW at the peak of her efficiency on May 24 ? Not at all.
Was she "thrown in action" unprepared ? Not more (even, less) than any other ship in wartime, and her actual performance fully demonstrated this.


Alecsandros wrote: "In short , the ship reported having "teething troubles" on her main armament, produced the same results as a ship deemed to be "at peak efficiency". It shows once again that the conclusions that Capt. Leach has drawn in the aftermath of Hood's demise, and that determined him to disengage, were wrong..."
well said !


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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