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  • Sinking of the Bismarck

    Every account of the sinking mentions that the Rodney did most of damage. Was it because the Rodney had a better trained crew than the KGV? Did the 16in guns have that more destructive effect then 14in? I would think the KGV's fire control system would be more modern but I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make at the ranges involved.

  • #2
    Originally posted by johns624 View Post
    Every account of the sinking mentions that the Rodney did most of damage. Was it because the Rodney had a better trained crew than the KGV? Did the 16in guns have that more destructive effect then 14in? I would think the KGV's fire control system would be more modern but I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make at the ranges involved.
    If you read the account of the battle, after Bismark had been disarmed Rodney closed to 3000 yds and fired point blank into Bismark whereas KGV stayed at long range in the hope of scoring a deck penetration. Thus most of the hits are going to be from Rodney.

    It was however Rodney that did the critical damage at the outset by disabling Bismark's fire control.
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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    • #3
      If KGV would have stopped firing, Rodney could have closed and boarded.....3000yds...geez.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
        If KGV would have stopped firing, Rodney could have closed and boarded.....3000yds...geez.
        I doubt Rodney could even do such a feat, she had poor handling at low speeds.
        "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
        Ernest Hemingway.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post

          I doubt Rodney could even do such a feat, she had poor handling at low speeds.
          aRE THERE MODERN EXAMPLES OF A BATTLESHIP BEING CLOSED AND BOARDED IN ACTION?
          THE attempt would seem rather 'problematic'- how would one determine that the magazines were not ready to explode, and that a battery would not open up at point blank range?
          The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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          • #6
            I think Tac was making a joke...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Surrey View Post
              It was however Rodney that did the critical damage at the outset by disabling Bismark's fire control.
              Hi Surrey

              Rodney opened fire at 8.47am and disabled Bismarks FC between 9.30-9.35am and she left the battle at 10.16am.
              Source: HMS Rodney by Iain Ballantyne Pg140-143

              Regards

              Andy H

              "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

              "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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              • #8
                One thing to remember is that Rodney and KGV had turned Bismarck into nothing more than a floating Viking Funeral long before she actually sank. It was a case of the RN saying that 'overkill is underrated' and 'getting vengeance' one capital ship to another. The Swordfish were actually told off when they were going to do the coup de grace of a half-dozen torpedoes to one side of the ship. Overall, if the RN would have backed the BBs off and let the TBs just finish Bismarck sooner, there might have been more survivors. But after Hood, the RN's battle line was understandably not having any of that foolishness, they were going to boil the sea and make tea.
                Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                • #9
                  Hi

                  The Swordfish approached the Bismarck 6 minutes after Rodney & KGV had moved away.
                  The flight leader turned his planes away for fear of being hit by AA fire, which proved wise, as the KGV did open fire. The RN fearful it seems of LW assets which were reported (at the time) to be heading that way.

                  Regards

                  Andy H
                  "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                  "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                    Hi

                    The Swordfish approached the Bismarck 6 minutes after Rodney & KGV had moved away.
                    The flight leader turned his planes away for fear of being hit by AA fire, which proved wise, as the KGV did open fire. The RN fearful it seems of LW assets which were reported (at the time) to be heading that way.

                    Regards

                    Andy H
                    What long range biplanes was the LW using at this time? Seems they could have been used to sink more convoys.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post

                      What long range biplanes was the LW using at this time? Seems they could have been used to sink more convoys.
                      Hi

                      Given the circumstances at the time, in that the RN were expecting German intervention (from air and sea) and the fact that everyone was on a hairs trigger, such Blue on Blue were to be expected.
                      Obviously we know the LW had no long range biplanes but some gunner may not know that.

                      Regards

                      Andy H
                      "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                      "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post

                        What long range biplanes was the LW using at this time? Seems they could have been used to sink more convoys.
                        These ol' gals, Otto....
                        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by marktwain View Post

                          These ol' gals, Otto....
                          Good thing the British Secret Service was able to sabotage the Hindenburg otherwise you would have had zeppelins to deal with as well.

                          Hindenburg-sabotage-conspiracy-theory-FBI-Communists-Crash-Oh-the-Humanity-Anniversary-80-931726.jpg

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                          • #14
                            Why didn't the Bismarck shoot down any Swordfish?


                            From the comments section on the video
                            Duncan C
                            I was fortunate enough to talk to John Moffat (credited with being the pilot of the Swordfish whose torpedo struck the Bismarck’s rudder, although this has recently been questioned) at his home in Scotland a few years ago and I asked him to recount the story of the attack and how he survived it. He explained that when he was on Ark Royal in the Mediterranean some months earlier, as he was not flying at the time of an attack from Italian torpedo bombers he was given the task of manning a light machine gun mounted on the side of the ship. As they were being attacked by the planes, he found it very difficult to depress the machine gun to a low enough angle to target the low flying torpedo bombers. However, as they broke their attack run these planes had to bank their wings and in the process had to climb slightly to ensure their wing tips did not contact the sea, and it was at this point that they then were high enough for his and other guns to bear on them. He said this was a critical lesson for him that he used when attacking the Bismarck and other ships.

                            On the particular evening of the Bismarck attack he said there was a heavy sea running and they came in as low as 10 - 20ft above the swells which he estimated at 30ft, so they were rolling up and down following the contours of the waves. Most of the fire was above them because of their low level and at the end of their attack run, mindful of his experience when defending Ark Royal, he said he just used full rudder deflection to in effect side slip through his exit turn rather than using his ailerons as this would have meant he would have to have gained height exposing himself to the defending fire which could not deflect low enough to hit him.

                            Based on this explanation, your first reason was therefore the biggest factor, coupled with the ability of the Swordfish to skid in a turn if the rudder only was used with the ailerons being used to counter the aircraft’s roll thereby keeping a flatter flight path beneath the Bismarck’s defensive fire.
                            Fairey Swordfish flight deck operations
                            Last edited by OttoHarkaman; Yesterday, 08:58.

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                            • #15
                              Very interesting story and explanation. The rudder-only is an awful way of making a turn. The drag is huge and the rate of turn is terrible. I do it every now and then because it's fun to let an airplane do things it isn't meant to do; the added noise and rate of loss of altitude are remarkable.
                              "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return"

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