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Thread: The USN - optimistic modelling?

  1. #21
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    Here are some findings from the Hearings of the General Board of the Navy conducted in oct. 1918 about the US gunnery in british services after practicing nine months at Scapa:

    Complains about the poor accuracy of US BBīs are explained for with these points:

    [1] poor crew quality following the rapid expansion of the USN and drafting of many green and unseasoned crews, particularely an issue for USS TEXAS

    [2] there was no long range firing range in the US (to be constructed in 1918) and many of the ideas concerning long range firing couldnīt be tested for this reason

    [3] poor dispersion. British ships regularely had about 200 yard dispersion in range with five gun (half-) salvos while US full gun half salvos in the best case (USS FLORIDA) had 400 yard range dispersion and in the worst case (USS WYOMING, USS TEXAS) exceeded 1000 yard dispersion in range. Typical dispersion was 500 to 750 yard in range. Possible causes include:

    [a] guns from different manufacturer with different copper increasement in the bore
    [b] magazines not air conditioned as in british practices, causing different charge temperatures
    [c] more pointed, longer windscreens not adjusted for a higher spin rate and some in-flight-instabilities
    [d] twin gun mountings to close together
    [e] missing follow-the-pointer-gear for elevation
    [f] erratic heel in some ships (USS DELAWARE)

    [4] Insufficient integrated and complete firecontroll equipment. When the fleet arrived there was no follow-the-pointer-gear aviable and it was refitted for training early in 1918 but not for elevation. Additionally, there were problems to transmit the ranges, which took longer than in british practices. On the other hand, the Ford Mk I range predictor and the long baselength rangefinders gave a good account of themselves.

    [5] Exposure:
    "The present location of the rangefinders is a menace. We would loose them very early in a fight of any size."
    There was no splinterproof cover for either RF and spotting equipment or personal in US BBīs. Additionally, in weather conditions encountered typically in the North Sea, the only aviable turret-RF were mounted to low and became spray affected and awash in anything but calm Seas. While Readings could not be secured from RF positions, alternative aloft RF positions theoretically could have secured readings but the cage mast made this idea impractical.
    The spotting tops in the cage masts also missed weatherproof housings.

    [6] poorer Searchlight controlls in night conditions and fragile searchlight mountings

    [7] poorer practice in division firing simulating battle conditions


    The firing procedure called for the -by british practices abandoned- spot instead of ladder firing caused large time lags between each salvoīs and the larger dispersion made it impossible to determine whether or not the MPI was close to the target. The large dispersion meant that if the MPI wasnīt close to the target, there was still some likelyhood to straddle it but despite full gun salvoīs, the excessive dispersion meant that the probability to achive a hit from a straddle was lower, too.

    The USN was able to sort out most of these problems following a rapid progression in the decade after 1920 but by 1918, it was unlikely that they could approach a long range engagement with an efficiency approaching that recorded for british forces and they would be much more suspect to degraded firecontroll for reasons of weather and splinterdamage.

  2. #22
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    Quote Originally Posted by martin worsey View Post
    If we look at the data for gunnery accuracy presented by Campbell, this contrasts Battleship gunnery with that of Battlecruisers; why? As the two types of ship operate the same fire control systems and are equipped with the same guns, I would not expect there to be any difference in accuracy due to ship type; this is unless say increased funnel smoke was an issue and this would affect all Battlecruisers and presumably any ships firing at Battlecruisers. Thus it would only be an issue if a decision was taken to systematically crew one type of ship with better or worse quality crews.
    A number of factors are at work here, firstly and foremost you have Beatty whose handling of capital ships was not conducive to optimum gunnery. For instance Princess Royal's accurate gunnery solutions were repeatly thrown off by frequent changes of course at Jutland, the speed at which Beatty fought his actions also must be considered a factor.
    Then you have conditions which were unfavourable and as Clausewitz states no plan survives the first contact, poor fire distribution enabled accurate and unmolested counter fire. Early damage to the Tiger severely degraded her gunnery performance thus the hit percentage will go down.

    The Invincible shot as well if not better than any ship on either side at Jutland. The Queens 15 inch guns were the most accurate weapons afloat at Jutland a hit at 19,000 yards is better than a hit at 10,000 yards but hit is a hit is a hit in the percentages

    Campbell is a technician [sic] albiet one with a very narrow and gullible view point, not a historian and thankfully now in recent works his work gets treated accordingly.

    The clash of two personalties and cordite has taken obfuscation to new levels with Jutland leaving it the fertile breeding ground for the most unbalanced nonsense which is only matched by the same crack pot theories on internet forums on the second world war.
    Last edited by Coypus; 07 Aug 11 at 16:30.

  3. #23
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    Then you have conditions which were unfavourable and as Clausewitz states no plan survives the first contact, poor fire distribution enabled accurate and unmolested counter fire.
    Nonsense. The two german battleships to achieve the most accurate counterfire, measured by their respective hit ratioīs, which far exceeded other ships in the battle- from the run-to-the-south were SMS LÜTZOW and SMS MOLTKE- both beeing targeted by two british BC each in the run-to-the-south.
    I guess You took it from Brooks and while he made a great effort and contribution he is wrong in many points explaining the poor BCīs gunnery when checked by facts.

  4. #24
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    Quote Originally Posted by delcyros View Post
    I guess You took it from Brooks and while he made a great effort and contribution he is wrong in many points explaining the poor BCīs gunnery when checked by facts.
    Can you elaborate?
    "Fate is just a string of bets we place as we go" Madder Mortem

  5. #25
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    Referring to:

    J.Brooks, Dreadnought Gunnery at the Battle of Jutland: The Question of Fire Control (New York) 2005.

    One of the central thesises adopted by Brooks to explain the poor hit rate of british BC despite outnumbering Hippers force in the 66 minutes of the run to the south (11 hits versus 44) is the condition before firing and the initial firing condition which greatly (in his mind) favoured the german side and allowed unmolested counter fire to be effective.

    In detail he proposed:

    [1] Poor training/skill of the operators. Hardly really a problem, if anything the GOīs of the BCF had significantly more combat experience than those of the GF up to the point of Jutland (no combat experience in the GF to this time). Training results differed and poor RF abilities were outlined in a letter dating to 1915 but what are the long range GF combat capabilities at this time? There is a large degree of variability in practice records but HMS QUEEN MARY had a particularely good one and didnīt trained differently than, say HMS TIGER...

    [2] Poor visibility - a combination of light conditions, own ships and companion ship smoke and spray according to Brooks. This is a very weak point in his work. Basically everything is wrong. Comes the wind from the lee then smoke interferes with the optics, comes the wind from the luvside then spray interferes with the optics, too. There is no doubt that light was favourable for Hipper during the run to the south but it wasnīt strictly disfavourable for Beatty, either (nobody had the sun in his back).

    [3] Vibration - particularly those ships with the Argo rangefinder mounting in the foretop, as opposed to the top of the conning tower. A technical problem not shared with in german RF setups.

    [4] poor fire distribution - leaving two ships unmolested. But still, the other two ships (MOLTKE & LÜTZOW) to suffer double concentration achieved the most hits in this part of the engagement, rendering this argument a very weak one.

    [5] frequent course changes of Beatty -done by Hipper as well.

    Brooks completely explains the poor hit ratio by mistakes done by Beatty and suggests that without them, he would have changed anything. I doubt this. At first, the action does get high and lull a couple of times and seperates into multiple small opening stages not a single one. Then Spray, smoke and wind doesnīt only affect british ships. The reconsideration of Brooks in attributing a few hits to the 5th BS is in my mind very wrong. A simple look into his literatures and sources tells me that he only used english primary and secondary literature and didnīt spent a single day in german archives.
    Campbell did. He had access to primary sources from both sides, including valuable primary sources like "Panzertreffer" a record dealing with all impacts over 20mm in surviving german ships from the battle.
    Unlike Campbell, Brooks based his hit reconsideration on speculation instead of evidence. And I tend to be inclined to agree with Campbell -one who studied the sources in autopsie than one who missed them. There may be a number of aspects in Campbellīs work which require further work and may be interpreted differently and in some aspects I donīt agree either but thatīs fine for me.

  6. #26
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    Whilst Beatty can quite reasonably be blamed for poor command and control at both Dogger Bank and Jutland, there is something of a tendency to try to blame him for all faults and failings.

    One thing that is probably worth picking up on is the contrast between the Tiger and Derfllinger. Whilst both ships were still working up and somewhat below par in their shooting at Dogger Bank, the German ship had one of the best gunnery records at Jutland, Tiger’s shooting continued to be appallingly bad throughout. This is in spite of comment from senior personnel on the motley state of her crew and her Gunnery Officer being “villainously bad”. Similarly the New Zealand did not show any significant improvement, shooting consistently badly in both battles.

    An interesting point mentioned is the gunnery practice data; I have seen British data from 1911 and 1912 but this is rather out of date by WW1. Does anyone know of any available data published for later dates? Similarly, the German data would make fascinating reading if available.

  7. #27
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    Ah Delcyros protector of the High Seas Fleet, what speed does the Baden do now 30knts, 35knts? Dunno if you remember the Foxbat Mig 25 fearsome weapon until the west actually got their hands on one, you should think about that now and again. It is beyond arguement that the Grand Fleet believed the BCF were poor shots. There is no ifs nor buts here, this is fact. The 3rd BC were away sharpening up and after some practice the Invincible shot better that any ship at Jutland, the Grand Fleet gave an excellent display of gunnery at Jutland as did 5th battlesquadron so it is not beyond reason that Beatty should come in for scrutiny because his ships stand out as poor shots. Training has to be a factor before you look at any source which seem to support training was a factor. As for light and Beattys performance even Hipper, surely Hipper would not lie states

    "Possibly on account of of bad light conditions or perhaps forming the battle line too late delayed opening fire allowed us to hold our fire until the enemy was in effective gun range. The possibility of obtaining gunnery superiority is principally attributed to this factor"


    Just to remind you the British admiral is Beatty and Hipper thinks he messed up.

    Is our Von Hase lying

    "The British Battlecruisers had a decidedly unfavourable tactical position" "Visibility facing east was inferior to that facing west" "the westerly breeze"


    Hmmm, seems the Germans dont agree with you mate. So what midshipman was responsible for putting the BCF in a bad position? hmmmmm Nope it was Beatty. Now Brooks goes into detail about smoke interference and how it can be cured and how it was effected by Beatty's actions, it's clear its concise and he also gives a bullet list of mistakes which runs to several more than your 5. Ive read Brooks but common sense not any author points the finger at Beatty.

    Now if your ships are vibrating you not think you should slow down? That has bugger all to do with where the RF is. Invincible shot fine. We are not comparing the BCF with 1SG we are explaining why the BCF performed badly compared to every other British formation.

    I think it is beyond arguement that the BCF shot poor at this stage, I think it is beyond arguement that it is a distinct advantage not to be shot at (check out denmark strait) especially when you are shooting well. I believe the Germans only made one course change before opening fire.

    You start well Delcyros, you actually stay on topic for a while but then (as usual) you decend into the defend the HSF mode when the question is comparing the BCF to the British Battleships. Of course to your mind the 5 BS hitting anything is wrong but the fact remains they did and at extreme range which shows what the BCF with their superior artillery could have achieved if they had been properly trained and led. I'll give you a tip use the empirical evidence over any technician, technicians tend to try and crowbar the story to fit the facts and leave out more than they put in.
    Last edited by Coypus; 08 Oct 11 at 19:35.

  8. #28
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    Re: The USN - optimistic modelling?

    I made the excourse with reference to a question made by Tanyrhiew, but in the wider context it is related to the ******** post You made above. Your "explenations" of poor fire distributions for Beattys poor shooting are incorrect.

    You seem to have read Brooks but failed to understand him or selectively choosed points which agreed to Your case. I pointed to the problems in his work without necessarely saying that I do disagree with everything written there. His explenations, and particularely his hit revisions in absence of relevant primary source studies are aweful, however.

    INVINCIBLE was shooting from what range? 8,500 to 11,000yard. From what tactical position? Out of the mist with itīs targetīs lit up by the sun, unmolested by enemy fire until they found the range.
    If You have to cite this short term performance as a proof of the superior shooting of british battlecruisers during this engagement then Your case is lost.

    At this range, from a tactically favourable situation, every ship can fire effectively, even NEW ZEALAND or TIGER shouldnīt have been worse than that. This donīt prooves that the 3rd BCS was any better in shooting.
    The GF was also quite good under conditions when the range was below 12,000 yard (ROYAL OAK and REVENGE versus KÖNIG, f.e. -and those ships hadnīt even completed their main battery full calibre training yet) and when the enemy was hindered in effective reply by a tacticlly disadvantageous position (IRON DUKE multiple times). 10,000 to 12,000 yard is exactly what the GF AND BCF considered effective fighting distance. Beatty and Hipper, on the other hand were exchanging fire at ranges larger than 14,000 yard to beyond 20,000 yard, this is a great deal more difficult with period fire controll.
    Now that You say it. I use empirical evidence from Jutland. You think the 5th BS shooting was much better than that of the BCF, lead by Beatty?
    The 5th BS did, too but itīs empirical record hardly is impressive. They achieved no more than six hits during the run-to-the-south. Four 15in armed super-dreadnoughts firing 50 minutes of the run-to-the-south mostly unmolested to Hippers three 11in armed BCīs at ranges in between 15,000 yard and 19,000 yard, which in the same time were engaged by Beattyīs five remaining BCīs (note that QUEEN MARY blew up not before 20 minutes after BARHAM opened fire).
    Beattyīs record wasnīt good either, but the 11 hits from his four BCīs (LION, TIGER, QUEEN MARY, PRINCESS ROYAL) compare well with what the four QUEEN ELIZABETHīs achieved under similar conditions, factoring in that for quarter an hour, the QEīs rear guns were masked and that several of the turrets of his BCīs were rendered disabled through hits.

    -as another question: You consider Brooks and his book an empirist or a technician? Itīs a poor work by any standarts.

    I do not question that the general onditions favoured Hipper but not necessarely so. In the afternoon the sun sets in the west, not in the east but during the very date, the sun was high anyway though all of this actions period.


    what speed does the Baden do now 30knts, 35knts?
    Would You mind going into the trouble to explain what the speed of one ship has to do with the gunnery modelling discussed here in this thread? I know You are disappointed realising that the BADENīs are fast, but come on, thatīs life, no need for sarcasm here...
    Last edited by delcyros; 04 Nov 11 at 09:06.

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