Dorsetshire firing 8" broadside... at IJN aircraft?

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Panzerspitze
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Dorsetshire firing 8" broadside... at IJN aircraft?

Post by Panzerspitze » 17 Jul 2021 04:53

Was the Dorsetshire or the County Class refitted with HA main armanent+ammo capable of AA duty (similar to what the Germans did with Tirpitz)?

http://www.world-war.co.uk/dorsetshire_story.php

"When the attack took place I was in the worse possible place in the boiler room yet I survived. Only two out of seven of us in the boiler room survived. Yet if I had been off watch at action stations I would have been outside the sick bay and would have been killed. That was one of my nine lives!

I went down on the afternoon watch at noon with the other six people noon 'til four. We had been forewarned that an attack was imminent, so we were obviously concerned because we were 3 decks down, well below the water line. The stoker on the starboard boiler behind me was called Wills; I remember that, he perished because he hadn't been given the order to abandon ship.

It was Tom Shirley, my stoker PO, who said to me later, "The ship suddenly shuddered and the water level gauges fractured hissing out water and steam, we were going at top speed, twenty-eight knots". After the shudder, Tom said, "They've started" (attacking us) and, "That's our eight inch forward guns firing a broadside". I had experienced target practice on the Dorsetshire and when you fire eight-inch twin guns close up that really shakes you, crockery would tumble off and break.

Tom, a very nice man, said, "Yes, that's what it is" but immediately a terrific shudder came and all the lights went out. Steam was hissing everywhere. There was no order to abandon ship, not even from the chief stoker George Whooley. It was Tom who said, "We've been hit - we've lost all our steam pressure, put all fires out" because all sprayers were on into the main furnace. We turned off all the sprayers and the oil supply and there was only the glow of the red-hot cones that the fires were fed with."

EwenS
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Location: Scotland

Re: Dorsetshire firing 8" broadside... at IJN aircraft?

Post by EwenS » 17 Jul 2021 08:29

The 8” guns in the County class were capable of 70 degree elevation but due to slow training and elevation rates they were little used in the AA role.Details of the guns and mounts here.
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_8-50_mk8.php

In terms of the action resulting in the loss of Cornwall and Dorsetshire, the best analysis is this article by Rob Stuart and related Appendices.
http://www.combinedfleet.com/CornwallDo ... -Adobe.pdf
http://www.combinedfleet.com/Appendex_1 ... -Adobe.pdf

Note Appendix 1 page 2 of the official report (p10 of the .pdf file) the 8” guns on Cornwall attempted to fire but power failed before they could.

Given that this was a dive bombing attack and Dorsetshire was sunk in 8 minutes I doubt her main armament would have had time to engage. I suspect that what was heard was the 10 bombs hitting the ship not her main armament returning fire.

Panzerspitze
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Posts: 244
Joined: 19 Aug 2009 23:53

Re: Dorsetshire firing 8" broadside... at IJN aircraft?

Post by Panzerspitze » 19 Jul 2021 15:01

EwenS wrote:
17 Jul 2021 08:29
The 8” guns in the County class were capable of 70 degree elevation but due to slow training and elevation rates they were little used in the AA role.Details of the guns and mounts here.
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_8-50_mk8.php

In terms of the action resulting in the loss of Cornwall and Dorsetshire, the best analysis is this article by Rob Stuart and related Appendices.
http://www.combinedfleet.com/CornwallDo ... -Adobe.pdf
http://www.combinedfleet.com/Appendex_1 ... -Adobe.pdf

Note Appendix 1 page 2 of the official report (p10 of the .pdf file) the 8” guns on Cornwall attempted to fire but power failed before they could.

Given that this was a dive bombing attack and Dorsetshire was sunk in 8 minutes I doubt her main armament would have had time to engage. I suspect that what was heard was the 10 bombs hitting the ship not her main armament returning fire.
Thanks for the info!

It's either on that same site or another where I read some other crew member recalling that Dorsetshire could not elevate her guns high (near vertical?) enough to engage the diving "Val" bombers, without specifying what type of guns. I assume it meant the 4" secondary armament because it'd be silly to try to use large-caliber 8" guns against dive-bombers already over your head.

It's surprising that even an engine room stoker could confuse the explosion of dive bombs with the firing of the ship's own big guns. I mean, unless the bombs happened to detonate in close unison, I would think falling bombs (from several aircraft) going off would sound quite different from firing a broadside.

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