Plan Z

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Kriegsmarine except those dealing with the U-Boat forces.
Plain Old Dave
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Re: Plan Z

Postby Plain Old Dave » 15 May 2017 20:56

The takeaway here is that MASSACHUSETTS has well over a kilometer of effective range more than Tirpitz in optimal conditions. And given poor visual conditions, more than that; Tirpitz can't shoot what she can't see. Not an issue with radar fire control.

And American fire control radars were sensitive enough to detect splashes from misses for correction of fire.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Plan Z

Postby Terry Duncan » 15 May 2017 22:33

To be fair here, at Denmark Straits, Prince of Wales used her AA radar to plot the range and achieved hits with it, so any functioning radar will allow accurate gunnery of some degree or other. As already mentioned, the Nowaki engagement proved only that the best US radar was not good enough to hit a manoeuvring target, and the claims for 'splinter damage' seem to be little more than wishful thinking, as Nowaki was also engaged by fighter aircraft, and little to no details exist on the nature and timing of the splinter damage. I have asked for proof of splinter damage many times over several forums, so far with no luck whatsoever other than to say Nowaki had suffered minor damage at some point during the Truk Lagoon engagements. Missing a target is missing, even with splinter damage, this could still be a miss by well over 100 yards (depending on the shell involved, I believe splinter damage can take place at around 250 yards from the point of impact), well beyond the ability to claim a larger target than Nowaki would have been hit, as even the Bismarck and Yamato classes cannot quite manage 50 yards in beam.

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Plain Old Dave » 17 May 2017 02:23

A comment or 2 about naval gunfire support may be in order. If you're engaging targets at sea, you correct by the splash the round makes for major caliber (i.e. 8" or greater) fire. Splinter damage isn't really something that was accounted for, as it was assumed the enemy ships would be armored. This could be a problem in profoundly dissimilar combat, as in the Battle Off Samar; IJN capital ships vs. unarmored USN CVEs (Escort, "jeep", carriers) and DEs (Destroyer Escorts). Sailors who served onboard USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS have vivid recollections of holes well over a foot in diameter through their tiny "tin can" as the Japanese had limited HE shells and were following standard surface navy doctrine of engaging enemy ships initially with AP shells.

Back on topic here, Tirpitz had no major caliber fire control radar Massachusetts did.

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Terry Duncan » 17 May 2017 13:35

Plain Old Dave wrote:Back on topic here, Tirpitz had no major caliber fire control radar Massachusetts did.


Given both have radar they can use for ranging and course prediction for all ranges where an engagement is likely to take place, there is not going to be a major handicap for either side. Keep in mind that the allied radar of the last year or so of the war is very different to that Massachusetts was initially equipped with, and the difference between the two really comes down to no great significant factor for the majority of the war. The US ship has much more destructive shells, both are somewhat poorly armoured, Tirpitz can avoid an engagement with its superior speed.

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Plain Old Dave » 17 May 2017 16:18

"superior speed"

Massachusetts spent most of the war escorting carriers. "30 knots " was a standard rating, about like almost every top end American muscle car in the 60s had "425 horsepower."

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Polar bear » 17 May 2017 18:02

hi,

Plain Old Dave wrote:Massachusetts spent most of the war escorting carriers. "30 knots " was a standard rating

I have to express my doubts about that. All info I could find on Big Mamie in the net showed a max speed of 27 knots.

Thus, Tirpitz would have had a 2-3 kn higher max speed, indeed.

Following that, I did a re-check on effective firing distances, regrettably, as I have to admit, only in the net.

The data I got were those
- Scharnhorst made a hit on Glorious, moving (even zig-zagging ?) with 20+ kn, at approx. 26.000 yds
- Massachussets made more than one hit on Jean Bart, stationary, at approx. 22,000 yds

no further comment.

greetings, the pb
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Plan Z

Postby Terry Duncan » 17 May 2017 22:55

Plain Old Dave wrote:"superior speed"

Massachusetts spent most of the war escorting carriers. "30 knots " was a standard rating, about like almost every top end American muscle car in the 60s had "425 horsepower."


Seriously? The Washington and North Carolina were rated for 28kts when entering service but suffered such bad vibration problems when running at above 25kts that accurate gunnery was impossible, which was apparently due to problems with the propellers and propeller shafts. The South Dakota class were an improvement, with better protection at a cost of 1kts max speed, but never managed above 27kts in service. It needs to be remembered that just because a ship is rated at 30kts or even 33kts, they do not have to run at maximum speed, and indeed very seldom do so.

With regards to gunnery in service, as Polar bear has pointed out, Massachusetts is mostly known for managing to score hits on a stationary target and ranges similar to that HMS Tiger scored a hit at in WWI! From Wiki;
A total of nine full broadsides and thirty-eight volleys varying between three and six guns were fired, five rounds hit Jean Bart. One, at 08:06, disabled her operational turret, others struck docks and merchant ships, sinking two.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Massachusetts_(BB-59)

So a total of five hits from a total of at least 357 shells fired (9 x 9 + 38 x 3) which is about 1.5% hits max, comparable to the shooting at Jutland where an average of 3% hits was scored, and even Beatty's notoriously poor shooting ships managed @2.5% hits against moving targets! To be honest, this shooting performance is really rather poor, and any ship that needs to be remembered for hitting a stationary target is grasping at straws. In WWI HMS General Wolfe scored the longest ranged hit of any RN vessel ever when engaging a railway bridge, considerably smaller than a battleship and just as stationary, but without any radar aids and using only a single gun too! Again, from Wiki;

By dawn the monitors had arranged themselves in three divisions off the West Deep, where they could harass German lines of communication far inland. Wolfe was in Division III with the new-completed coast defence ship HMS Gorgon.[13] Wolfe was anchored parallel to the coastline, and at 0732 opened fire on the railway bridge at Snaeskerke (four miles south of Ostend) at a range of 36,000-yard (32,918 m) away. She therefore fired the heaviest shell from the largest gun at the longest range up to that time, and at the longest range any Royal Navy ship has fired in action. During the rest of the day Wolfe fired fifty-two 18-inch shells out of her supply of sixty at Snaeskerke, all landing close to the target


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_General_Wolfe_(1915)

Only one single direct hit is noted in sources I have seen, but three others landed so close as to cause significant structural damage. As an illustration, only this shows a hit from a fully functional WWII battleship with radar and aerial spotting against a stationary target at 22,000yards is hardly anything significant.

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Polar bear
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Re: Plan Z

Postby Polar bear » 18 May 2017 00:19

hi, Terry,

Terry Duncan wrote:.. shooting at Jutland where an average of 3% hits was scored, and even Beatty's notoriously poor shooting ships managed @2.5% hits against moving targets!

IIRC, most of Beatty's BCs performed worse, only Lion and, especially, Queen Mary - up to her loss - did better and "pushed up" the average.

Alas, they did not reach the performance of Hood's 3rd squadron which did, IIRC, nearly 4 % - although from a excellent firing position against Hipper.

greetings, the pb
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Plan Z

Postby Terry Duncan » 18 May 2017 01:19

Hi Polar bear,

I agree the average is inflated by the 'better than average' performance of a couple of ships in the BCF, but it serves as a good illustration that a group of ships that have become fairly notorious for their poor gunnery performance still achieved roughly double the hit percentage that Massachusetts managed against a stationary target with several modern aids to her gunnery. One other interesting factor in this sort of discussion is that when people talk about Bismarck against Hood or KGV etc, it is almost always upheld that Bismarck has great gunnery support from optics and technology that allows almost instant on target gunnery. When that discussion changes to Bismarck/Tirpitz against Massachusetts/Iowa etc, the German ships suddenly have little chance of hitting or even finding the range quickly. The truth is somewhere in between, with luck playing a part too of course. Often an engagement would most likely be settled by the first hit on a critical area, rather than both ships pounding themselves until one runs out of 'hit points' as in a game. In the Tirpitz vs Massachusetts scenario, I certainly wouldn't want to be on the US ship if the engagement took place at about 12,000 yards in the poor visibility the Bismarck class were designed around. At longer ranges it is a closer match, but the Tirpitz is a larger ship and has a greater redundancy in its main armament, which would confer some advantages. That said, the US ship is the better usage of tonnage, and probably the better all round ship for what naval war became in WWII.

At least this discussion doesn't involve anyone proposing sending a good portion of the German fleet to cruise the Atlantic like a fleet of latter day Flying Dutchmen.

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Polar bear
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Re: Plan Z

Postby Polar bear » 18 May 2017 15:16

Hi, Terry,

Terry Duncan wrote:.. with luck playing a part too of course. Often an engagement would most likely be settled by the first hit on a critical area ..

Luck is important (as Bonaparte knew, too). I would, however, voice the opinion that the gunnery officers of Scharnhorst hitting Glorious and of Warspite hitting Cesare one month later, both at 26,000 yds, knew and did their job well 8-)

greetings, the pb
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Plain Old Dave » 19 May 2017 05:31

Polar bear wrote:hi,

Plain Old Dave wrote:Massachusetts spent most of the war escorting carriers. "30 knots " was a standard rating

I have to express my doubts about that. All info I could find on Big Mamie in the net showed a max speed of 27 knots.


You can put whatever you want in print. I know enough WW2 Sailors to be able to authoritatively say the "published" top speeds for ships of the World's Greatest Navy were in general considerably underrated.

But top speed isn't really THAT important. Only when accompanying carriers. What's more important is ship handling, seaworthiness and seamanship. And I will put my money on the spiritual descendants of John Paul Jones, Preble's Boys, David Farragut and George Dewey over any other Navy in the world. Better Sailors, better shots in better ships.

When that discussion changes to Bismarck/Tirpitz against Massachusetts/Iowa etc, the German ships suddenly have little chance of hitting or even finding the range quickly.


We don't even have to get that far back in the weeds. Massachusetts has well over a mile more effective range with her 16"/45s, so even at flank speed Tirpitz is running a gauntlet of steel she has no ability to return fire from for 3-9 minutes. It is entirely possible Tirpitz could be terminally damaged before she closed enough range to even fire one effective shot from her main batteries. And the gauntlet gets even longer if you use the IOWA class and her 16"/50 caliber guns.

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Polar bear » 19 May 2017 07:02

hi,

Plain Old Dave wrote: I know enough WW2 Sailors to be able to authoritatively say the "published" top speeds for ships of the World's Greatest Navy were in general considerably underrated.

and what kind of authority is that ?

Plain Old Dave wrote: Better Sailors, better shots in better ships.

Yep.
Tell that to the survivors of Quincy and Vincennes swimming in the waters of "Ironbottom Sound" on the morning of August 10, 1942.
It will encourage them enormously.

RPT
Polar bear wrote: Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.


greetings, the pb


Terry, I feel somewhat reminded of a "discussion" with another person from across the Atlantic :lol:
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Terry Duncan » 20 May 2017 23:55

Polar bear wrote:Hi, Terry,

Terry Duncan wrote:.. with luck playing a part too of course. Often an engagement would most likely be settled by the first hit on a critical area ..

Luck is important (as Bonaparte knew, too). I would, however, voice the opinion that the gunnery officers of Scharnhorst hitting Glorious and of Warspite hitting Cesare one month later, both at 26,000 yds, knew and did their job well 8-)

greetings, the pb



The officers in question almost certainly knew what they were doing, but had little input over where the shell landed, it may have passed through the funnel or struck a gun mounting, they put it on target but the dispersion factor was beyond control, so a critical hit or one that did next to nothing are really in the lap of the gods.

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Terry Duncan » 21 May 2017 00:21

Plain Old Dave wrote:You can put whatever you want in print.


The US navy has done so and made the records public long ago now, so authors like Friedman know exactly what they are talking about when they publish figures now. Just after WWII much of the data was still secret and therefore subject to guesses and propaganda boosts.

Plain Old Dave wrote:I know enough WW2 Sailors to be able to authoritatively say the "published" top speeds for ships of the World's Greatest Navy were in general considerably underrated.


I knew a poster on several channels that was actually on the Massachusetts all through WWII and he found the idea of her exceeding 27kts laughable. Talk to a naval architect about the hull form of the South Dakota class, stubby and wide is a poor recipe for speed, and is why the Iowa class had the vbery long bow. Even then Friedman's comment is almost certainly correct, that all 10,000 tons extra gained was 6kts, and this was probably too high a price, and even then none of the Iowa's even made 33kts, 32.8kts is about the maximum achieved. The myths of 35kts comes from certain politicians who used the MPH figure but quoted it in Kts by mistake, with some going even further and using the already inflated figure and converting it into Kts yet again, which is where the fantasy figure of 50kts battleships came from.

Plain Old Dave wrote:But top speed isn't really THAT important.


I agree, sustained cruising speed and speed that can be

Plain Old Dave wrote:Only when accompanying carriers.


Not even then. Carriers seldom operated at full speed other than when launching aircraft, so it was only useful when wishing to maintain a formation whilst launching planes that it mattered at all.

Plain Old Dave wrote:What's more important is ship handling, seaworthiness and seamanship.


None of which change the physics of hull form, or the dispersion of gunnery.

Plain Old Dave wrote:And I will put my money on the spiritual descendants of John Paul Jones, Preble's Boys, David Farragut and George Dewey over any other Navy in the world.


You mean the navy that gave the world the following!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Point_disaster

I wish to make it clear that following the link posted here may be triggering and traumatic to some people, so viewer discretion is advised if a certain fantasy is to be maintained.

Plain Old Dave wrote:Better Sailors, better shots in better ships.


Not a single point of which can be supported by facts. In WWI when the first US battleships turned up to join the Grand Fleet it turned out that they had never practiced gunnery against moving targets, something that alarmed even Beatty who was somewhat a slouch when it came to gunnery himself!

Plain Old Dave wrote:We don't even have to get that far back in the weeds. Massachusetts has well over a mile more effective range with her 16"/45s, so even at flank speed Tirpitz is running a gauntlet of steel she has no ability to return fire from for 3-9 minutes. It is entirely possible Tirpitz could be terminally damaged before she closed enough range to even fire one effective shot from her main batteries.


Given Tirpitz outranges Massachusetts by approx 3,000yards, and has a greater rate of fire, it is quite likely she will be the one landing the first shells on target. Remember the actual best armoured parts of a ship are not high up on the superstructure where the gunnery radar and fire control equipment is mounted because of weight considerations. This leaves open a very real possibility of a so called 'soft kill'. Massachusetts could get the first critical hit in, but it is far from certain.

Plain Old Dave wrote:And the gauntlet gets even longer if you use the IOWA class and her 16"/50 caliber guns.


Curiously not. Because the Iowa can fire out further does not mean she enjoys that much of a better chance of scoring critical damage. Because the guns are longer and the velocity somewhat higher, the shells fall at a lower angle, making deck hits far more likely to simply bounce off harmlessly. The Massachusetts by contrast will see her shells falling far closer to the perpendicular against the deck, and thus have a better chance of penetration.
Last edited by Terry Duncan on 21 May 2017 12:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Plan Z

Postby Terry Duncan » 21 May 2017 00:25

Polar bear wrote:Terry, I feel somewhat reminded of a "discussion" with another person from across the Atlantic :lol:


Yes. I took a day to think about what to reply as a feeling of 'oh no, not again' took hold. If you get the reference I thought I may have been channelling a bowl of petunias from a well-known book! Navies seem to attract some odd myths.


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