Prinz Eugen on the coast of Finland

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KalaVelka
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Post by KalaVelka » 20 Nov 2004 11:19

Would Väinämöinen had any changes against Prinz Eugen? I know that Väinämöinen was smaller one, but it did have potential firepower (4*254mm, plus various smaller ones).

/Kasper

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Post by Mark V » 20 Nov 2004 17:13

Difficult comparison. For starters Prinz is 4 times larger vessel.

Prinz Eugen has huge speed advantage, better armour protection and higher rate of fire of main armament. Neither is well protected against adversarys fire. Secondary battery is near equivalent (better arcs of fire in Finnish vessel). On the other hand Väinämöinen has almost 3 metres less draught and that may be crucial in archipelago fighting. On open sea i say Prinz wins quite easily if it is carefull to keep enough distance and use its speed to advantage. Inside archipelago Väinämöinen has much better freedom of movement (not counting that Prinz crew did know nothing about dangers of archipelago). If Prinz ventured inside archipelago after Väinämöinen - i say Prinz end up to some rock, and is little by little reduced to hulk by Väinämöinen or elements of nature.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 20 Nov 2004 18:57

Germans could move in archipelago only with the help of Finnish pilots (not the flying ones... :) ) because most (all?) navigation aids were removed and lighthouses worked only when needed during the war. Any moving would have been very dangerous to Prinz Eugen.

Only Finns know the secret passages. Finns could have also used sea mines after which all moves of German vessels would have been even more dangerous. I think Finns could have gain the air superiority over the area also.

There were also Finnish coastal batteries which had mainly 75, 120, 152 or 155 mm guns. The last ones could have been deadly to Germans. At Orö was the biggest coastal battery with two 305 mm Obuhov guns in open position (protected by a shield). Coastal defence wasn't nearly as affective as in 1944 as it had been in 1941 because lots of guns had been moved to Lake Onega and Lake Ladoga.

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KalaVelka
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Post by KalaVelka » 21 Nov 2004 11:21

Väinämöinen had one advantage in archipelago, AFAIK it could raise its main armament very high and fire indirect over islands (pretty much like mortars).

/Kasper

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 21 Nov 2004 18:38

The maximum elevation of the 254 mm Bofors 254/45B2 guns of Väinämöinen was +45 degrees (minimum -10). Maximum range was about 36 kms. Guns could fire either Bofors (225 kg) naval and Durlacher coastal artillery shell. Rate of fire 2 to 3 shots / minute.

Yes, you are correct. Väinämöinen could fire indirect fire but I think so could Prinz Eugen. Germans had also radars in their ships which Finns didn't have. Finnish Naval Forces had three (IIRC) radar sets for supervising Gulf of Finland but I don't remember their locations. They were in fixed positions (not easy to move) east from Hanko Peninsula.

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KalaVelka
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Post by KalaVelka » 21 Nov 2004 18:48

Then i am wrong, because I have heard that Väinämöinen (and Ilmarinen, where my grandfather was artillery officer BTW) could raise its guns higher than normal ships and that was because the archipelago and the coastal vessels could hide behind islands and shell their opponents from cover.

/Kasper

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 21 Nov 2004 19:30

No, you were quite correct. I think too Väinämöinen had bigger elevation than most ships. I just tried to imagine the nature of Turku Archipelago and I think the islands are rather flat. Would they have prevented Prinz Eugen from shooting around? Prinz Eugen's maximum elevation was +37 degrees and maximum firing range was only about 33.5 km, so Väinämöinen was slightly better.

See details from here:
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_8-60_skc34.htm

As far as I know only Japanese had war ships (for example Kongo class battleships) with the maximum elevation of +43 degrees. Usually they were about from +25 to +40 degrees. Smaller guns (up to about 150 mm) had mostly bigger elevation because they were usually intended for AA fire as well.

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Post by KalaVelka » 21 Nov 2004 20:36

So Väinämöinen had bigger caliber guns? I have always thougth that Prinz Eugen would have atleast 300mm+ arsenal, but now when I think it again, it is perfectly clear that cruisers dont have that kind of firepower.

/Kasper

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 22 Nov 2004 00:05

In the 1930's heavy cruisers had usually guns with the calibre from about 150 mm (6") to about 205 mm (8"). New Soviet heavy cruisers had 180 mm guns (the same as in their railway guns Finns captured and used). American Alaska class heavy cruisers exceeded that well with 12" (305 mm) guns and they were actually like small battlecruisers.

The largest battleships could operate well in the Baltic Sea so their presence would have been very unlikely. British designed suitable ships for the Baltic Sea during the WW I. The largest of them were fast battlecruisers Repulse and Renown and the other experimental cruisers which were modified to aircraft carriers (for example Courageous and Glorious).

Väinämöinen class was designed to match all, even much bigger ships on Finnish waters. Their guns could fire longer than of most ships and its ammunition was deadly to all ships. Their fire control system was one of the most modern in the world before the war although sometimes tricky.

In the late 1920's the ships with the largest calibre guns in Baltic Sea had 305 mm guns. These were old Soviet battleships Gangut and Marat. These ships fought with Finnish 254 mm Durlacher coastal guns (Saarenpää) during the Winter War and stopped their attacks immediately after they were hit. I think there are no official Soviet "explanation" on the damages but they were probably significant and needed long repairs.

It is interesting to note that Väinämöinen class was very similar in design (economical and smooth diesel-electric drive) and construction (lightly armoured deck and side belt-armour, strong armoured "citadel" inside the ship) to German"pocket battleship" Deutschland (later Lützow) which was designed to outgun its faster oponents and being faster than its stronger opponents. Like Väinämöinen class Deutschland had very coarse calibre guns (280 mm, similar to battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau) compared to its size. Actually the same German bureau designed both ship types.

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Post by von Adler » 22 Nov 2004 00:23

I wonder if that "high elevation" might refer to the 10,5cm secondary artillery of the Väinämöinen? According to some accounts I have read, they were dual purpose guns, able to shoot at both ships and planes. To be useful for that, they would need to be able to fire in high elevations.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 22 Nov 2004 00:28

You may be right, but the fact is still that the main guns of Väinämöinen class had higher elevation than of most ships like I wrote earlier. :wink:

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Post by Mark V » 22 Nov 2004 21:40

Harri wrote:Väinämöinen class was designed to match all, even much bigger ships on Finnish waters. Their guns could fire longer than of most ships and its ammunition was deadly to all ships. Their fire control system was one of the most modern in the world before the war although sometimes tricky.


Väinämöinen class was really compact for armament they carried. To my understanding there was some excitement before first full broadside firings in early 30s. 3900tons and 4 * 254mm guns.

Diesel-electric drive was perfectly suited for operations in very confined waters where exact navigation was necessity.

BTW. Deutschland-class did not use electric drive.

Mark V

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 22 Nov 2004 22:49

Mark V wrote:Deutschland-class did not use electric drive.


Was it then directly Diesel-driven? :oops:

Anyway they were not steamships... Diesels gave them a huge range. For example Hipper class heavy cruisers like Prinz Eugen didn't have that advantage. Diesels needed much less room than steam boilers and engines and that room was used for extra armour, fuel and supplies. Also new German ships were elecrically welded which saved about 10 - 15% weight compared to riveted design.

Also Väinämöinen class vessels were test ships Germans designed in the 1920's and 1930's. I think Germans at least considered diesel-electric system for Deutschland but decided to use direct diesel drive before testing new system in Finnish ships. But did they adopted diesel-electric drive in any of their own vessels...?

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Re: Prinz Eugen on the coast of Finland

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 13 Jun 2019 07:07

So I take it that the Prinz Eugen didn't do anything at all during the "Lapland War". Not even used Ar-196 floatplanes that can be fitted with bombs.

Edward L. Hsiao

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Re: Prinz Eugen on the coast of Finland

Post by Ironmachine » 13 Jun 2019 13:17

Well, "anything at all" is too extreme. She did not take part in combat, but she was not avoding it either:
On 15 September 1944, the Kriegsmarine tried to land and seize the island of Suursaari in Operation Tanne Ost to secure shipping routes in the Gulf of Finland. The USSR sent aircraft to support the Finnish defenders and the Kriegsmarine failed to capture Suursaari.[29][30] After the landing attempt, a Finnish coastal artillery fort at Utö island prevented German net-laying ships from passing into the Baltic Sea on 15 September, as they had been ordered to intern the German forces. On 16 September, a German naval detachment consisting of the German cruiser Prinz Eugen escorted by five destroyers arrived at Utö. The German cruiser stayed out of range of the Finnish 152 mm (6.0 in) guns and threatened to open fire with its artillery. In order to avoid bloodshed, the Finns allowed the net-layers to pass.[31][32] In response to the German operations, Finland immediately removed its shipping from the joint evacuation operation, but the evacuation from Lapland to Norway progressed according to the secret agreement. The last German convoy departed from Kemi in northern Finland on 21 September 1944 and was escorted by submarines and, starting from south of Åland Islands, by German cruisers.[29]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapland_War

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