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smilingassassin
13 Dec 03,, 22:44
Suppose the germans waited 6 months untill Tirpitz was worked up and sent her out with Bismarck, Prinze Eugen and Hipper, simultaniously sent out Admiral Scheer for independant raider activity's and repaired the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau in brest and sent them out to link up with Bismarcks group? Reguardless of the hype of all the other german successes in may 1941 what would the result of the germans sending out a large taskforce peacemeal only to link up in the Atlantic and desimate convoys? Could they pull it off?

Ironduke
30 Dec 03,, 07:51
Heh, maybe. :)

In the end though, I seriously doubt it.

smilingassassin
30 Dec 03,, 10:21
Even just the Bizmarck, Tirpitz, Hipper and prinze Eugen would be a severe headache for the British.

TopHatter
31 Dec 03,, 00:16
Britain's Fleet Air Arm would have been the only threat to such a "dream-team" (and what a team it would have been!).
Unfortunately, the RAF had practically neglected naval aviation right into the ground, to the point that the RAF had Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters and the RN had Swordfish bi-planes....*Shudder*
Ironically, those same magnificent stringbag flying kites were responsible for Bismarck's ultimate fate.
Still and all, luck will only carry you so far and should never be counted on, only toasted afterwards.
Speaking of naval aviation and the Kriegsmarine, does anybody have any comments or commentary on the Kriegsmarines AA equipment, training, capabilities etc?

lurker
31 Dec 03,, 01:33
Imho, the mission was a suicude from the beginning, and AA equipment of the german capital ships was inadequate to the date.

Just compare the throw weight of the Bismarck/Tirpitz in 1941 with any of the surviving battleships, like Iowa.

Stinger
31 Dec 03,, 16:00
Originally posted by lurker
Just compare the throw weight of the Bismarck/Tirpitz in 1941 with any of the surviving battleships, like Iowa. you mean like the Nevada? Maryland? California? how about the Texas? Pennsylvania?

smilingassassin
31 Dec 03,, 20:09
The British had fits trying to find Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, emagine if Tirpitz and Hipper had have separated from the group and you had two fleets with Identical ships. This would have given the British problems as to figuring out what fleet was where. They would need the proper intelegence to tell them that they were in fact dealing with two fleets based around the Bismarck and her sister. Some may say with two fleets it would be twice as likely for one to get caught, but what about the other? Even if one fleet gets caught you have an identical situation as the original Bismack sortie, except for the fact that you have another fleet to chase and as such devide up your forces. Factor in the Fuel situation and only 2 carriers in the region things get even shadier for the Brits. The hit by the Ark's swordfish was equally as lucky as Bismarcks hit on the Hood. Could the fleet arm arm do in both BB's?

lurker
31 Dec 03,, 20:36
Originally posted by Stinger
you mean like the Nevada? Maryland? California? how about the Texas? Pennsylvania?

I was talking about the newly built ships in 1940-41, but even "the big five" AA equipment is looking already more massive in 1942 than Bismarck's.

It's enough to say that Bismarck's AA failed to drive off small attacking force of biplanes! And the result we all know.

Damage of any major system in a single ship (raider) in my opinion is fatal, if not to the ship itself, then to it's mission.
If it wasn't the rudder, it may also have been for example rangefinders (very vulnerable), gun directors, and so on and so on...

p.s. imho none of the capital ships in 1941 had enough AA firepower to stand against airborne attack sufficient to disable them.

smilingassassin
01 Jan 04,, 02:02
The Swordfish was ultimately the nemesis of the Bismarck. These canvas covered slow bi-planes could take an incredible ammount of AA fire and survive (if the pilot wasn't hit).
The problem is the hit that doomed the Bismarck could possibly doom another ship, the rudder is always a super sensative spot on a ship. With Bismarcks triple screw set up it was even worse.
A.A. on other ships of the time were not much better. The U.S. had the most but the 1.1" were prone to jamming due to overheating and were replaced with the Bofors. The British KGV class started out with 32 2 pdr pom pom's, but even these 8 barreled mounts were not as good as the Bofors.
The Japanese relied too heavily on the 25mm gun which later in the war should have been replaced by a larger caliber.

seekerof
01 Jan 04,, 06:45
Originally posted by smilingassassin
Suppose the germans waited 6 months untill Tirpitz was worked up and sent her out with Bismarck, Prinze Eugen and Hipper, simultaniously sent out Admiral Scheer for independant raider activity's and repaired the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau in brest and sent them out to link up with Bismarcks group? Reguardless of the hype of all the other german successes in may 1941 what would the result of the germans sending out a large taskforce peacemeal only to link up in the Atlantic and desimate convoys? Could they pull it off?


In your hypothetical scenerio, I tend to believe that the force of the Bismarck, Tirpitz, Prinze Eugen and the Hipper would have been detected or spotted making its way to open sea. The British would have done as they did, in respect to current history, but would have sent a much larger force. The Admiral Scheer would have been seen as a secondary concern.

In this scenerio, Hitler would have been better off combining the Admiral Scheer with the main German Task Force of Bismarck, Tirpitz, Prinze Eugen and the Hipper.....simultaneously, having the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau leave Brest a few days early, as compared to the departure time of the main German Task Force, and had them make all due haste to combine with the Bismarck/Tirpitz off of Iceland. ALSO....having and adding submarine assets within those areas combine with the surface German assets would have made the Atlantic a very rough situation for the British to counter or engage. This is again, all hypothetical and subject to many variables.

All speculation but combining all assets would have been the best opportunity for the Germans. Impressive as the Bismarck and Tirpitz were, they would have been no match for the combined British fleet, separately or for that matter....possibly together.



regards
seekerof

TopHatter
01 Jan 04,, 20:08
Regarding the worldwide AA situation in 41-early 42, I would say the USN had the advantage. Unfortunately, during the early carrier-strikes of the war, VADM Halsey remarked (in effect) "Our AA guns might as well have been water pistols" for the effect they had. This was due to lack of experience I'm sure, but the .50 caliber and 1.1" AA guns just were not up to the job. The .50 was too small and the 1.1 was an overly-complex POS that was prone to breakdown.
As has been pointed out, the Japanese relied far too long on their 25mm, which was slow firing and lacked real hitting power.

Regarding the Bismarck and Tirpitz, I think they would have had a murderous effect on the RN. They were fast, very well armed (except their AA suite) and had superb fire-control systems. Operating together, in concert with the other heavy units of the Kriegsmarine, they would have dominated the sealanes, drawing off dozens of heavy units of the RN that were critically needed elsewhere.
For example (i think something like this was already proposed earlier in this thread). Let's say a heavy German task force starts to rip through the Atlantic. The heavy units of the RN respond and are drawn away from other convoys, perhaps, or away from Britain itself. This is not the Pacific War of 1945 where there are dozens of carriers and thousands of tactical aircraft waiting to jump on battleship battle groups. This is the Atlantic of 41-42 and America has not (or just barely) entered the war.
This would be a great scenario to wargame out....

smilingassassin
02 Jan 04,, 06:20
Put it this way, if Bismarck, Tirpitz, Hipper and Prinz Eugen all sortied through the denmark straights Hood and POW would not cut it for a blocking force even with the shadowing cruisers joining the fray. The RN would have to consintrate more ships to engage them. You can see the problem developing? In the Bismarck hunt the RN was lucky to catch the Bismarck not once but twice with capital units after guarding every possible escape route into the Atlantic.
With double the German forces do they use this same tactic or do they consintrate on one of these routes? They would have to pool nearly all their forces to do both as doing one or the other leaves them a problem. Without useing hindsite the British would never even think that POW and Hood could not dispatch both German BB's but looking at the battle that developed as per history its a much worse situation than the actual battle.

2DREZQ
14 Jan 04,, 17:40
If the Bismarck had sailed much later (1942) in company with the Tirpitz, they might have run up against the USS Washington, which was as fast, and more heavily armed.

Wasn't one of the Iowa's stationed in the Atlantic on "Tripitz watch" for a while?

smilingassassin
01 Mar 04,, 18:55
Iowa was stationed in Argentia Bay, Newfoundland on the 27th of August, 1943 on "tirpitz watch", and by the end of the year was in the Med with the President on board for the Ciaro and Tehran conferences.
In reguards to the Bismarck facing either of these ships, she stands a better chance against the Washington, which was esentially a 14" gunned ship upgunned to 16". Her armor remained the same except for her turrets. Essentially both ships were reasonable armored but Washingtons upgunning was to her advantage, giving her more hitting power than her potential rivals, neither ship could take too much damage from 16" guns. In reguards to turrets Bismarcks would be vulnerable at any range to washington's while Washingtons provided an imunity Zone, which exact figure escapes me now, but sufice it to say that having an imunity zone against your opponent while he lacks one is a significant advantage if both ships are hitting accurately.

lurker
01 Mar 04,, 19:30
Originally posted by smilingassassin
... Essentially both ships were reasonable armored ...

Just wanted to add to that some passages from my recent private correspondence with with Mr. Nathan Okun. Who is to my knowledge is an unchallenged expert in ships armouring:


"... Since then, I have learned more about various armors and
projectiles, as can be seen in the latest versions of my programs at www.warships1.com or www.combinedfleet.com. These results have forced me to downgrade BISMARCK's armor significantly -- the belt plus sloped deck at the waterline turns out to be much less protective than I originally thought since I now have the re-evaluated the effectiveness of German WWII naval Wh homogeneous armor and have discovered that the brittleness of this material (as indicated by a Percent Elongation before it snaps in two in tests of
only 18-20% (18% is the Krupp spec) compared to the better homogenous British NCA and U.S. STS/Class "B" armors at 25% or more) makes it significantly inferior against large-size projectiles, though against projectile 8" (203mm) and less, there is no penalty, to my knowledge. This
is reflected in the German Navy's "G.Kdos. 100" armor penetration tables developed by Krupp in 1940, not just by my own evaluations, which confirm them."

"... As I said above, I have learned more and some of
the things I said are no longer correct, but in almost all cases this makes BISMARCK worse and worse as a warship by WWII standards -- I rate it as a battle-cruiser, not a true battleship, by the criteria of having ranges where it would be at least partially invulnerable to enemy fire being the mark of a battleship and very little of BISMARCK can resist any enemy battleship fire of any WWII warship at any range. Use the German G.Kdos. 100 penetration tables and try to find ranges where anything but that narrow waterline area is immune to its own guns (to say nothing of foreign guns); you will not find any areas of the ship that are protected at any useful range, much at no range zone whatsoever. Turrets, barbettes, upper hull, conning towers, whatever; all the armor on BISMARCK is essentially useless at any range against any enemy if they get direct hits on those parts of the ship.

Thus, aside from some details, the results of that article still stand.

Nathan Okun"

smilingassassin
01 Mar 04,, 23:18
The fact that in Bismarcks final battle the RN BB's closed the range to get more accurate shooting means that this idea that Bismacks armor wasn't as good as it was made out to be cannot be proved without a shadow of a doubt.
In James Camerons Bismarck expedition they found very few penetrating hits through Bismarcks main belt and her torpedo defence held up extremely well given the pounding she took from torpedo's. Had the british maintained a decent range they could have gotten the penetrating hits they needed to inflict critical damage. As it was they closed in and got more hits, but to the upperworks going for the "soft kill".
My own personal opinion on this one is that Tovey had a personal agenda with Lutjens after he got away in Scharnhorst earlier in the war and he surely knew that a man like Lutjens in germany's most powerfull battleship could surely do some dammage in the Atlantic. If he couldn't sink Bismarck he would damn well make sure Lutjens wouldn't be able to sail the seas again. A damaged Bismarck with her valuable command crew killed was the next best thing to a sunk BB.
Eventually after Bismarcks turrets were taken out rather quickly she suffered greatly from progressive flooding from the pounding that Rodney and KGV inflicted as well as the multipull torpedo strikes which despite their inability to penetrate the torpedo defence wreaked havoc on her seakeeping and shook free any dammage control efforts that were undertaken after her engagement with POW. given the appaling conditions Bismarck's progressive flooding would go on unchecked while the crew died or abandoned her to her fate.

2DREZQ
14 Mar 04,, 21:48
I can't remember now who was in charge of gunnery aboard the Washington when she was in the Atlantic. But, if her gunnery was up to the standard displayed later in the Pacific, I'm afraid the Bismarck would have been in grave difficulties.
The problem might have been in closing to do battle should the germans have chosen to run for it. The two ships were a match, speedwise.

So the Bismarck heads southwest (more or less) straight for open sea, with the Washington 25 nm behind in straight tail-chase. Is the American ship chasing us into a trap? Do allied capital ships or subs await us directly ahead? Why can't we outrun this b@atard? Would we be better off to turn and fight now? And What does the American capt. think? Is the Nazi warship leading straight to a waiting wolfpack? Why can't we catch this mother? His plan can't simply be to run away! The escorts are keeping pace with the Washington for the moment, (The Bismarcks companions cut and ran hours ago to save themselves) but they all lack the fuel capacity to keep this pace up much longer. 4 hours, maybe 5, and it will be just two steel giants in the biggest game of chicken ever played! Make a good movie, don't you think?


What did we have closer to the east coast that could have been vectored to intercept Bismarck? How far behind is the KGV? What if it was the Bismarck and Tirpitz, The Rodney, KGV & the Washington on their tail?

The Chap
03 Sep 04,, 22:50
You are all missing the most salient point:

God is an Englishman. :tongue:

The Chap
05 Sep 04,, 09:29
[QUOTE=smilingassassin]The fact that in Bismarcks final battle the RN BB's closed

Astute and erudite. :cool: Seemingly obvious insight isn't obvious to a generation seduced by specs. Human factor is still the most significant variable in any engagement. I would suggest. Cos yesterday was my birthday so you all have to be nice for as long as I can milk it :biggrin:

smilingassassin
11 Sep 04,, 07:57
Sadly the U.S. had the elderly battelships New York and Texas along with 6 destroyers (in battlegroups of 1 BB and 3 DD's) emediately in the vacinity of the Bismarck and only one of these BB's (Texas I beleive) was acctually on patrol that day and was very close to the Bismarck.

Given the orders Lutjens had in reguards to Americans ships, if encountered, Texas surely would have had a run in with Biz. While Texas has some nasty 14" guns her armor wouldn't fair well against Biz. She would still give Biz a mission kill if she hit her though. Now if Biz had Washington chasing her and she encountered the Texas and her escort things would shift in favour of the Americans. Being trapped between two BB's Biz would have to stand and fight.

Here she would face a delema, does she engage Texas first and hope for a lucky hit, or does she turn and fight Washington. Washingtons 16" guns fire slightly heavier shells than those of the Rodney and would do considerable damage.

"God is an Englishman!"

I seem to get the impression that if this where true, god would take the form of Winston Churchill!

Dreadnought
13 Jun 05,, 18:10
I would have liked to see the Biz and the Iowa have it out.
Since the Biz would have had the Prince and the Tirp with her I still think a few of the older battleships accompanied by Iowa would have walked away with the win. Look at Pennsylvania 's rate of fire with 14" guns almost three shells per minute per gun x 12 guns. So thats like 36 shells in a min 30 sec Thats alot of metal within 2 mins gentlemen even for a well amored ship like Biz or Tirp to withstand. Also even know they were removed (2 at time of construction and 2 at overhaul Pennsylvania and Arizona had 4 underwater torpedo tubes two fore and two aft. Even know she was in her thirties at the time thats still very impressive in anybodys battleship book. But alas she could never keep up with the newer age battleships like Iowa and Biz. But I do know one thing, according to her service and firing records she would be no push over and probably could have taken Tirp or Scheer or the Prince if encountered while Iowa concentrated on the Biz. Would have been a hell of a show im sure!

Parihaka
14 Jun 05,, 00:57
Suppose the germans waited 6 months untill Tirpitz was worked up and sent her out with Bismarck, Prinze Eugen and Hipper, simultaniously sent out Admiral Scheer for independant raider activity's and repaired the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau in brest and sent them out to link up with Bismarcks group? Reguardless of the hype of all the other german successes in may 1941 what would the result of the germans sending out a large taskforce peacemeal only to link up in the Atlantic and desimate convoys? Could they pull it off? okay, nice hypothetical. :cool:
Lets look at what the RN had arrayed against the Germans

BATTLESHIPS
1. Queen Elizabeth class
MALAYA, QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, WARSPITE, 4 ships - 31,000 tons, 24 knots, 8-15in, 1,120 crew, 1915-16

2. Royal Sovereign class
RAMILLIES, RESOLUTION, REVENGE, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, 4 ships - 29,000 tons, 21 knots, 8-15in, 1,150 crew, 1916-17. 'Royal Sovereign' loaned to Russia in 1944 as 'Arkangelsk

3. Nelson class
NELSON, RODNEY, 2 ships - 34,000 tons, 23 knots, 9-16in, 1,300 crew, 1927

4. King George V class
ANSON, DUKE OF YORK, HOWE, KING GEORGE V, 4 ships - 35,000 tons, 29 knots, 10-14in, 1,550 crew, 1940-42

5. Repulse class
RENOWN - 32,000 tons, 29 knots, 6-15in, 1,200 crew, 1916

6.Hood - 42,000 tons, 31 knots, 8-15in, 1,350 crew, 1920


Personally I think the RN wouldn't have believed their good luck if the Germans had put all their eggs in one basket like this.

smilingassassin
14 Jun 05,, 06:11
okay, nice hypothetical. :cool:
Lets look at what the RN had arrayed against the Germans

BATTLESHIPS
1. Queen Elizabeth class
MALAYA, QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, WARSPITE, 4 ships - 31,000 tons, 24 knots, 8-15in, 1,120 crew, 1915-16

2. Royal Sovereign class
RAMILLIES, RESOLUTION, REVENGE, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, 4 ships - 29,000 tons, 21 knots, 8-15in, 1,150 crew, 1916-17. 'Royal Sovereign' loaned to Russia in 1944 as 'Arkangelsk

3. Nelson class
NELSON, RODNEY, 2 ships - 34,000 tons, 23 knots, 9-16in, 1,300 crew, 1927

4. King George V class
ANSON, DUKE OF YORK, HOWE, KING GEORGE V, 4 ships - 35,000 tons, 29 knots, 10-14in, 1,550 crew, 1940-42

5. Repulse class
RENOWN - 32,000 tons, 29 knots, 6-15in, 1,200 crew, 1916

6.Hood - 42,000 tons, 31 knots, 8-15in, 1,350 crew, 1920


Personally I think the RN wouldn't have believed their good luck if the Germans had put all their eggs in one basket like this.

True, however the fact remains that only the KGV class ships, Hood and Renown are able to catch the Bizmarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the British cannot consintrate their ships into one fleet, they have to find the Germans which means spliting up forces. Biz alone put up a good fight, togeather with the other BB's attacking her with swordfish is no easy task.

Hood and Renown are still at a slight disadvantage in reguards to armor allthough their 15"/42's are very potent and reliable weapons. I don't even need to comment on the Nelson class 16"/45's, not as good as American weapons but they did quite a number on the Biz in her final battle. The KGV's will still have teething problems with their guns but at least the KGV and DOY will have most of them worked out while Howe and Anson may have similar problems to KGV if not as hellish as the POW's woes depending on how much work up time they've recieved.

If I were the Brits I'd pair up the BB's as follows:

KGV/Renown
DOY/Hood
Howe/Nelson
Anson/Rodney
4xR class BB's as a mop up force

I don't think the QE class would be pulled from the Med because the Italians still pose a slight threat.