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RN uses safe ammunition handling procedures at Jutland

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  • #61
    A bbc documentary that you might find interesting.

    Credo quia absurdum.


    Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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    • #62
      I watched the BBC documentary. The presenters missed all of the important differences I pointed out as reasons to believe direct penetration of the magazines was to blame.

      Queen Mary had 6" of vertical and 1 or 2" of horizontal armor over her magazines forward. The barbettes were 3" below decks. This is roughly half the armor Seydlitz had in the same area. The magazine arrangement with the powder on top was also more vulnerable. It was also so inferior that an 11 or 12" shell would easily penetrate the armor to detonate in the magazine.
      It also ignores that only so much powder and so many shells could be on the hoists and in the turrets at a given time. There wasn't room for more than normal, so-to-speak. Even if the flash doors were jammed open wouldn't explain the cause.
      Both British and German ships had turret, and barbette, hits that penetrated in whole or part. None of the survivors suffered serious magazine fires. Those that did have the flash / fire carry to the magazine had time to start extinguishing sprinklers / flood the magazines.
      It all argues that the poor magazine arrangement with powder on top, coupled with weak armor protection led to the loss of the British battlecruisers.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        Like I said... It's only good for running away. Once you choose to engage the enemy, speed is irrelevant. If you're in range, so is he.
        Hi Terry

        As Fisher wrote to Lord Selborne in 1901, "It is clearly necessary to have superiority of speed in order to compel your opponent to accept battle, or enable you to avoid battle and lead him away from his goal till it suits to fight him"

        Speed is a crucial facet of naval warfare from the first instances men took to the water and fought. Given your argument, its a wonder modern naval ships bother with any magnitude of speed, given the age of the supersonic missile etc. Any naval Commander, past, present or future will always ask for the fastest naval vessel possible, because it gives them tactical options/advantages not open to the guy with a slower ship. There are numerous instances of vessels using their superior speed to gain a tactical advantage or even not having that speed to press home a tactical advantage and coming off worse.

        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

        Comment


        • #64
          I've spent quite a bit reading all sides of this.

          And I'm tending to agree somewhat with TAG.

          There may have been some 'systemic' issues at play with handling....we know that Beatty's squadron was particularly guilty of some of these to maximize ROF.

          However, there also seems to be quite a bit of evidence that there were engineering issues at play, namely built in flash tightness, magazine arrangements, and armor/locations.

          Here's a thought, one that might not be well liked by our UK members, but has some validity:

          After losing BCs so catastrophically, and having the public backlash such as it was (justified or not) concerning the overall outcome of the battle (that being a strategic and tactical victory that on its face appeared to be almost a draw), the government did not want to admit TWO engineering issues.

          That would be the issues with the shells (IIRC had been alleviated at this time)....AND inadequate protection of the powder in BCs.

          The thought I'm having is that by blaming it on bad practices and forcing 'best practices', the RN maintained a level of morale among the BC crews, and even the BB crews. After all it was arrogant officers that caused the sinkings.....not faults in the ships themselves.

          How bad would it have been for morale if the Admiralty had said that the powder magazines poor protection combined with their high position in the ships was to blame? They would have had to do expensive reconfigurations to all of their ships, and faced serious issues with the crews, possibly even borderline mutinies among sailors that did not want to go to sea in 'deathtraps'.

          It wouldn't be the first or last time that a design flaw was considered to be 'human error' instead to preclude expensive changes or keep a program running. One modern example was the V22, with early crashes blamed on the pilot in order to keep the program from being canceled while they tried to find an actual solution to real engineering problems.
          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Andy H View Post
            Hi Terry

            As Fisher wrote to Lord Selborne in 1901, "It is clearly necessary to have superiority of speed in order to compel your opponent to accept battle, or enable you to avoid battle and lead him away from his goal till it suits to fight him"

            Speed is a crucial facet of naval warfare from the first instances men took to the water and fought. Given your argument, its a wonder modern naval ships bother with any magnitude of speed, given the age of the supersonic missile etc. Any naval Commander, past, present or future will always ask for the fastest naval vessel possible, because it gives them tactical options/advantages not open to the guy with a slower ship. There are numerous instances of vessels using their superior speed to gain a tactical advantage or even not having that speed to press home a tactical advantage and coming off worse.

            Regards

            Andy H
            Modern ships aren't built for high speeds. Today warships still move at around 30 knots or so max. Yes, they can be pushed on occasion upwards to 40 knots or slightly more.

            In navies that put speed as a priority (the Italians in particular), their ships proved no less vulnerable or engagable than those of other navies. There is no tactical advantage to having a few more knots speed when the weapons you are employing can engage the enemy at many miles distance and in any direction.

            Cruising speed and range is far, far more important in modern naval warfare than top speed. The USN post WW 2 worked to raise amphibious shipping cruising speeds from 10 to 15, to 20 knots because of the shorter time of movement on a strategic scale.
            The amount of fuel a ship can carry is likewise important. Refuelling less often is important.

            But, once you get in range of the enemy to engage you are just as vulnerable to their weapons as they to yours. That's true in the age of sail as much as in the age of steam. A few knots extra speed buys you nothing if you intend to fight.

            Comment


            • #66
              Huh?

              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
              I watched the BBC documentary. The presenters missed all of the important differences I pointed out as reasons to believe direct penetration of the magazines was to blame.

              Queen Mary had 6" of vertical and 1 or 2" of horizontal armor over her magazines forward. The barbettes were 3" below decks. This is roughly half the armor Seydlitz had in the same area. The magazine arrangement with the powder on top was also more vulnerable. It was also so inferior that an 11 or 12" shell would easily penetrate the armor to detonate in the magazine.
              It also ignores that only so much powder and so many shells could be on the hoists and in the turrets at a given time. There wasn't room for more than normal, so-to-speak. Even if the flash doors were jammed open wouldn't explain the cause.
              Both British and German ships had turret, and barbette, hits that penetrated in whole or part. None of the survivors suffered serious magazine fires. Those that did have the flash / fire carry to the magazine had time to start extinguishing sprinklers / flood the magazines.
              It all argues that the poor magazine arrangement with powder on top, coupled with weak armor protection led to the loss of the British battlecruisers.
              Dunno what documentary you're referring to? Snow's "expert" counted interior bulkheads in Queen Mary vs. Seydlitz, then added water to models and determined that British Battlecruisers were not easier to sink than German Battlecruisers. It was truly pandering to those with no knowledge of Jutland in that regard. No mention was made of anything approaching interior catastrophic hull rending explosions, much less caused by direct penetration of the magazines or poor magazine arrangement.
              Last edited by Marmat; 20 Jun 16, 15:48.
              "I am Groot"
              - Groot

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by Marmat View Post
                Dunno what documentary you're referring to? Snow's "expert" counted interior bulkheads in Queen Mary vs. Seydlitz, then added water to models and determined that British Battlecruisers were not easier to sink than German Battlecruisers. It was truly pandering to those with no knowledge of Jutland in that regard. No mention was made of anything approaching interior catastrophic hull rending explosions, much less caused by direct penetration of the magazines or poor magazine arrangement.
                In that sense, the expert presented on the BBC program was correct. That has nothing to do with why British battlecruisers were more vulnerable in terms of magazine detonations.
                The same program showed one crude experiment set up by the show's presenters that did nothing to argue in a scientific way why a battlecruiser's magazine(s) might detonate.
                You can view that "experiment" late in the show where they made a steel box, randomly filled it with cordite and set off a flash in a simulated "turret" that carried down the trunk to the magazine. Look at the video starting at about 42 minutes.

                What they left off included:

                Showing what would happen if hatches and flash arrangements were closed using an accurate model. This would have demonstrated that the arrangements made a difference and lend weight to their argument that these arrangements were ignored.

                Showing the vulnerability of having the powder magazine on top of the shell rooms, the reverse of German or US practice. This would argue that British magazine arrangements were inferior from a design point of view and a big weakness in their ships.

                Having the powder properly arranged and in their storage cases. Again, bolsters the argument for or against depending on outcome.

                This would have almost certainly shown that getting a turret hit and subsequent flash to set off the magazine was much harder than having a large naval shell detonate in the magazine after penetration.

                Again, the argument that it was poor handling procedures and turret hits flies against facts that a number of both British and German ships had turret hits at Jutland (and elsewhere) and survived without having a magazine explosion. There are even several cases of a turret hit that subsequently caused a flash / fire to carry to the magazine that were put out by the crew flooding the magazine before it could explode.
                Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 21 Jun 16, 01:26.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Not so, ...

                  The US "44's" were large frigates and a surprise to the British. One on one with British frigates (usually 28 to 32 guns and those being smaller in size) the US frigates won.
                  Had they had to go against even second class ships of the line they'd have lost. The US 44's were the original battlecruisers.
                  ... RN officers had been wined and dined aboard US frigates in the Med., before 1812; the big frigates certainly weren’t any sort of surprise to the British. Also, I would suggest that in concept, design and employment, they were more akin to Panzerschiffe, than Battlecruisers.

                  Your reference to British frigates of 28 to 32 guns is off by about 10 years and doesn't apply to the War of 1812 period; frigates in the RN were already getting larger. Of the 130 or so frigates in the RN in 1814, about 90 were of the 36-38 gun class, and a dozen of the 40-44 class; the remainder were of 32 guns. Ten years earlier the 32’s outnumbered all other classes. The larger frigates had already been taking the place of the 2-decker 50’s and 64’s on foreign stations.

                  In British experience, what was different about the USN frigates vs. the French et. al., was the way they were fought. The USN frigates in this period carried a far greater number of dismantling projectiles than did a similar RN vessel. Tactically, rather than go hull to hull, they would fire at an opponent's masts and rigging to open an engagement, then stand off and repair after their opponent was immobilized, before boring in with a speed/maneuvering advantage to finish them off - it worked.

                  It impressed the British enough that they started building their own. The war of 1812 ended before any of these new, larger, British frigates saw action against a US one.
                  That's not really the case. Included in the 40-44 gun fifth-rates in 1805-1814 referred to above, are the razée 64's and the Pomones. In 1794 or so, 3 newish but obsolescent 2-decker 64's, were razéed to single deck 44-gun frigates; one of the three, HMS Indefatigable, would go on to have one of the most illustrious careers of any ship in RN history. The French 40 gun frigate Pomone was taken in 1794, served in the RN for a time (after which the name was carried on a Leda class frigate, then another French prize), and was "patterned" in HMS Endymion launched in 1797, one of the fastest and best sailing ships in the RN and the first of a class of 6 near sisters.

                  While none of the RN razée and USN 44's ever met, the 40-gun HMS Endymion and 44-gun USS President did; in January 1815. Henry Hope took a page out of the USN playbook, his Endymion "out American'd" i.e. out sailed, out maneuvered and out fought Stephen Decatur's President, which struck (then er didn't?).


                  Did the RN respond to the USN big frigates with some more of its own? Yes, essentially they built more of what they already had; in 1813, the RN began construction of 5 more Pomone/Endymions of "pitch-pine", and razéed 3 two-decker 74's. Of new design, construction was begun on 2 large “pitch-pine monster” 50-gun frigates, HMS Leander & Newcastle, but their draughts were dated 1810 i.e. before the War of 1812 and before the results of combat with the large USN frigates were known.
                  "I am Groot"
                  - Groot

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Well, ...

                    ... I think I can say that we’re in some sort of agreement; this installment of Dan Snow’s presentation of history is short on expertise and falls well off the mark. But I’m afraid that’s as far as it goes. From what you’ve posted here, and what I’ve gleaned from other posts along these threads, I can only conclude that you’ve based your conclusions on magazine penetration, magazine/shell room arrangement, etc., on selective info. and/or ignored established fact & expert opinion. I wish I had more time.


                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    In that sense, the expert presented on the BBC program was correct. That has nothing to do with why British battlecruisers were more vulnerable in terms of magazine detonations.
                    The same program showed one crude experiment set up by the show's presenters that did nothing to argue in a scientific way why a battlecruiser's magazine(s) might detonate.
                    You can view that "experiment" late in the show where they made a steel box, randomly filled it with cordite and set off a flash in a simulated "turret" that carried down the trunk to the magazine. Look at the video starting at about 42 minutes.

                    What they left off included:

                    Showing what would happen if hatches and flash arrangements were closed using an accurate model. This would have demonstrated that the arrangements made a difference and lend weight to their argument that these arrangements were ignored.

                    Showing the vulnerability of having the powder magazine on top of the shell rooms, the reverse of German or US practice. This would argue that British magazine arrangements were inferior from a design point of view and a big weakness in their ships.

                    Having the powder properly arranged and in their storage cases. Again, bolsters the argument for or against depending on outcome.

                    This would have almost certainly shown that getting a turret hit and subsequent flash to set off the magazine was much harder than having a large naval shell detonate in the magazine after penetration.

                    Again, the argument that it was poor handling procedures and turret hits flies against facts that a number of both British and German ships had turret hits at Jutland (and elsewhere) and survived without having a magazine explosion. There are even several cases of a turret hit that subsequently caused a flash / fire to carry to the magazine that were put out by the crew flooding the magazine before it could explode.
                    "I am Groot"
                    - Groot

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Marmat View Post
                      ... I think I can say that we’re in some sort of agreement; this installment of Dan Snow’s presentation of history is short on expertise and falls well off the mark. But I’m afraid that’s as far as it goes. From what you’ve posted here, and what I’ve gleaned from other posts along these threads, I can only conclude that you’ve based your conclusions on magazine penetration, magazine/shell room arrangement, etc., on selective info. and/or ignored established fact & expert opinion. I wish I had more time.
                      I suppose if I have time I could look up and document every case of a turret penetration of a capital ship, maybe even cruisers, from say, Tsushima to 1946 versus every penetration of magazines and the resulting damage.

                      I'm absolutely confident that the results would be overwhelmingly in favor of direct penetration destroying the ship while turret penetrations rarely if ever do.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                        The thought I'm having is that by blaming it on bad practices and forcing 'best practices', the RN maintained a level of morale among the BC crews, and even the BB crews. After all it was arrogant officers that caused the sinkings.....not faults in the ships themselves.

                        How bad would it have been for morale if the Admiralty had said that the powder magazines poor protection combined with their high position in the ships was to blame? They would have had to do expensive reconfigurations to all of their ships, and faced serious issues with the crews, possibly even borderline mutinies among sailors that did not want to go to sea in 'deathtraps'.

                        It wouldn't be the first or last time that a design flaw was considered to be 'human error' instead to preclude expensive changes or keep a program running. One modern example was the V22, with early crashes blamed on the pilot in order to keep the program from being canceled while they tried to find an actual solution to real engineering problems.
                        I think it's the opposite. The Admiralty preferred to lay blame on construction issues rather than on ammunition handling practices, which could have clouded the reputation of high-ranking RN officers, among them Beatty. Thus the results of the post-Jutland investigations, which point to handling malpractices, were quietly swept under the carpet. Nevertheless the RN implemented changes in ammunition handling and designed better flash-tight scuttles, because they realized it was the most likely cause of the losses. The Americans came to the same conclusion, which are reflected in the design of the light armored Lexington class. The investigations of the wrecks of the battle cruisers at Jutland point to ammunition handling practices rather than to insufficient armor. Even so, I think that by 1916 the Invincible and Indefatigable class were dangerously under-armored and their presence in a battle-line against heavy enemy ships would have been a great risk even with correct ammunition handling.
                        Last edited by Proconsul; 26 Apr 19, 13:36.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          In the case of Invincible, the hit that finished her was observed to hit near Q turret, either on or just below it. This was followed by an explosion that blew the roof off the turret, and seconds later the magazine exploded. It is pretty obvious this was a solid hit that penetrated the armor and detonated inside the turret structure, most likely below the turret itself.
                          The detonation of powder in train going to the turret is likely to be the cause of the roof being blown off, and the magazine detonating took a few seconds longer for the gases to build in the space.

                          Indefatigable took one or more hits aft near X turret and was observed to begin sinking by the stern followed by an explosion of the magazine. Within one or two more German salvos, the forward magazine was penetrated and smoke and flame was observed coming from the forward part of the ship as chunks of it flew high into the air above it.

                          In Queen Mary's case it was a direct penetration of the forward magazines.


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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            That's true in the age of sail as much as in the age of steam. A few knots extra speed buys you nothing if you intend to fight.
                            Hi Terry

                            This from a certain Capt John Paul Jones in 1778
                            "I wish to have no connection with any ship that doesn't sail fast, for I intend to go in harms 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

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                              In Queen Mary's case it was a direct penetration of the forward magazines.

                              Actually the examination of the wreck has suggested that the initial explosion was not in the magazine of 'A' or 'B' forward main turrets, but instead in the magazine of the forward 4-inch battery. It is thought the a shell hit one of the forward secondary guns (or near it), causing a flash fire that spread to the secondary magazine. The explosion of the secondary magazine in turn caused that of the main magazines, like in the Hood sinking. But in the case of the Queen Mary the German shell probably didn't directly penetrate the 4'' magazine, so adequate ammunition handling procedures may have avoided the disaster.

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