Jump to content

The destruction of of HMS Barham.


uss frolick
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • 1 year later...
On 11/30/2017 at 4:11 PM, amateur said:

Reading about these things does not have the impact as seeing it happen.....

 

Jan

 

 

A similar parallel can be used for the term that of sacking a city. It does not convey an impressing image. But when you actually see the aftermath it does become sobering.  In my case viewing the destruction that the Burmese inflicted on the ancient Thai capital of Ayuthia, 60 miles north of Bangkok

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would seem that the British had extremely bad luck when it came to magazine detonations. 

 

HMS Bulwark, HMS Vanguard, HMS Queen Mary, HMS Indefatigable, HMS Invincible, HMS Hood, HMS Barham.

 

That’s a large number of capital ships. I’m not saying anything other than it was bad luck

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not bad luck: bad practice. The tradition of prioritising maximum rate of fire meant that procedures of shutting and opening hatches and lifts between turrets and magazines were over-ruled. Gunnery officers were ordered to keep the shells and charges coming and they could, IIRC, nearly treble the rate of fire if they took the gamble.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/25/2019 at 5:20 AM, Joe100 said:

It would seem that the British had extremely bad luck when it came to magazine detonations. 

 

HMS Bulwark, HMS Vanguard, HMS Queen Mary, HMS Indefatigable, HMS Invincible, HMS Hood, HMS Barham.

 

That’s a large number of capital ships. I’m not saying anything other than it was bad luck

 

 

HMS Audacious was lost to a mine, but suffered a magazine explosion as she sank as well. It is believed that one of her HE shells fell as she capsized and detonated the stored shells and powder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/25/2019 at 6:39 AM, bruce d said:

Not bad luck: bad practice.

What Bruce said. In my opinion it was criminally poor leadership by Beatty in striving for an absurdly optimistic idea of "overwhelming" an enemy with so many shot splashes that their spotting becomes useless. This prioritized shooting speed over all other considerations, including accuracy, and was responsible for both the first two magazine explosions at Jutland and the very poor shooting of Beatty's battlecruisers. Notably the 5th Battle Squadron that trained with the Grand Fleet and not Beatty were attached to Beatty's force at Jutland and shot much better than Beatty's ships.

 

Also the Germans always used an inherently safer cartridge, with their main charge in a brass case and only the fore charge was silk-bagged. And they very nearly lost Seydlitz at Dogger Bank to a turret hit, and were therefore lucky to be able to see exactly how close they had come to losing the ship. They modified their safety practices between that battle and Jutland and were operating with altogether much safer gun operation processes than the British were at Jutland.

 

Hood and Invincible weren't lost to terrible safety practices as much as to the weak armor favored by Jackie Fisher. With armor unable to stop the shot being fired at the range at which it was being fired, all it took was a lucky shot aimed at one of the magazines. No safety practice saves a dreadnought from a direct magazine hit.

 

This photo is another one that captures the ugly side of the peak of gunnery combat. Some 750+ of these guys didn't make it. It's Blucher capsizing at Dogger Bank in 1915.

1280px-Bluecher_sinkend.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The British battlecruisers were also lost ultimately to a poor understanding of their role and the doctrine governing their use. Hunting down German light cruisers in the South Atlantic was an ideal application for them: they could outfight anything they couldn't out run, by orders of magnitude. But going toe to toe with peers in a line of battle situation was absolutely the worst possible scenario for the battlecruiser as designed and built by the RN.

 

The other thing that is important to note about Jutland is that Beatty's squadron missed out on several gunnery practices that were held with a mind to improving gun-handling and accuracy in the year prior to Jutland. This lapse had a clear and deleterious impact on his squadron's performance during the battle, and also led to it allowing at least a couple of their counterparts in the German battlecruiser (well, grand cruiser if you use the KM's designation) squadron to remain uncovered during their gunnery duels and optimizing their chances of scoring hits (which they most certainly did).

 

In addition to this, the RN's AP shells were also criminally deficient. Post-war damage surveys showed that the standard of gunnery in the Grand Fleet itself was generally very good, but unless their shells struck perfectly perpendicular to the target's armour, the caps of the AP shells had a tendency to snap off and the shell would either bounce or detonate outside of the armour. I've seen estimates that indicate something like upwards of seven German battlecruisers and dreadnoughts very likely could have been lost to hits on their magazines and other vitals had British AP shells functioned properly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Tector said:

The other thing that is important to note about Jutland is that Beatty's squadron missed out on several gunnery practices...

It has been a while since I studied the battle, but I came to the conclusion Victorian-trained Beatty did not grasp the needs of modern gunnery. He ordered an alteration of course as the two fleets at Jutland approached while his gunnery officers were half-way through calculating their firing solutions: the need to recalculate delayed the British opening salvoes. Nobody at the time could chastise the victorious admiral but it damaged his perception among the more technically minded younger officers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beatty also failed to use his most powerful ships effectively.  The fast Battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron that had been substituted for several of Beatty’s battlecruisers were capable of engaging the German Fleet and had the armor to take its punishment.  Warspite was hit numerous times reversing course at “windy corner” yet survived.  Instead of deploying these powerful ships where they were most likely to meet the enemy they trailed the battle cruisers.

 

Roger

Edited by Roger Pellett
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Warspite landed some telling hits on Lutzow and possibly Derflinger as well. Her and her sisters could have made a far greater impact had Beatty bothered to communicate with that squadron properly (and had he bothered to communicate with Jellicoe properly as well-- though Jellicoe's own signal officer should have been shot for his nigh-treasonous performance).

 

My sense has always been that Jellicoe handled the Grand Fleet capably but was consistently let down by his signals officer and Beatty's gallant but incompetent performance. The latter's PR campaign in the months and years after the battle is especially heinous when one considers how poorly he led his squadrons, but it certainly matches his aggressive personality.

Edited by Tector
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was the modern Greek Cruise Liner Oceanos which sank off South Africa in the 1990s. Everyone got off safely, but the worthless captain was the first one to jump in a lifeboat. An old, rusted underwater hull plate failed in a storm, and the sea water flowed up through the sewage tank - who's back flow valve was missing - flooding the ship with sewage seawater through the sinks, toilets and showers, by-passing all the watertight doors.

 

 I suspect the sound effects were added:

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, uss frolick said:

 

 I suspect the sound effects were added:

You are probably right. Instead of the crashing and booming it was probably more of a flushing sound!

 

In the case of the the 5th battle squadron it is interesting to see the different inputs about their placement and effectiveness in the line of battle. One might also consider the state of the Queen Elizabeth class of battleships at the time of Jutland. They were a new ship in design with a new gun and system. (15"/42) Even though they were called "Fast Battleships" they were only faster by a couple of knots than the standard line Dreadnought, and still much slower than the Battlecruisers.

 

Even though their guns were the largest, and possibly the most accurate present at Jutland, as already stated the shells were brittle and tended to break up rather than explode when hitting armored targets. Not a good thing when using AP rounds. This deficiency was discovered at Jutland and corrected by 1918. At the same time they also were able to out range many of the German guns during much of the battle.

 

A wonderful book called "Naval Power In The War (1914-1917)" By Lieutenant Commander Charles Clifford Gill USN, was written in 1918 but according to the forward contains material that was published in 1917 and used in the US Naval Academy as early as 1915-16. I have no idea if this book can even be found, but I have found it to be an excellent assessment of the guns, tactics, and results of the British naval battles of WWI, written by someone who was there, but had little or no ax to grind in the political upheaval that followed, as he was not even British. Even though it was written from notes made at the time and was finished pretty much before the American entry into the war and therefore kind of hard to call a history it is a fantastic addition to books that came later and may have had the advantage of more hindsight but were further removed from the actual incidents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, lmagna said:

A wonderful book called "Naval Power In The War (1914-1917)" By Lieutenant Commander Charles Clifford Gill USN, was written in 1918 but according to the forward contains material that was published in 1917 and used in the US Naval Academy as early as 1915-16. I have no idea if this book can even be found

Found. And 99 cents for the Kindle version!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WOW, that was fast. I think I will get a Kindle copy. Not only do I find electronic books easier to read sometimes these days, but my 1918 print is getting a little brittle and I am a little afraid to use it to refresh my memory. Much of my WWI reading dates back over 30 years ago and I tend to forget some details, without some memory refreshment. 

 

Thanks for the link.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...