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The Mighty Hood?


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fdsdh1 #1 Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:33 AM

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Even when Hood was first launched she was obselete, the concept of the battlecruiser was a dead end as Jutland had showed, yet how did this ship end up being populary described as the pride of the Royal Navy or its 'most powerful ship' even during WW2. Hoods deck armour was completely inadequate, even for WW1 standards, and the admiralty knew it, plans had already been drawn up for a 1941 refit but unfortunatly this never came to pass thanks to Admiralty incompetance and complacency, with a little help from the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen.
First it would probably be a good idea to compare Hood to her contemporaries in the Royal Navy (1941)

all figures quoted are as they would have been at the time of the Battle of the Denmark strait
why deck armour? as shells are fired gravity causes them to drop, to counter this guns were fired at higher elavations for longer range, this means that shells would come down almost vertically, hitting the ships decks square on


Posted Image
HMS HOOD
Displacement (metric ton): 47,430
Length (m): 262
Speed (knots): 28
Arnament: 8 15 inch guns mounted in 4 x2 gun turrets
Deck Armour at thickest point (mm): 76mm
in some places the Hoods deck armour was only 19mm, totally inadequate, some sources state that an explosion from one of Hoods own Pom Pom batteries could have penetrated the deck armour

Posted Image
HMS KING GEORGE V
Displacement (metric ton): 42,200
Length (m): 227
Speed (knots): 28
Arnament: 10x 14 inch guns mounted in 2 x4 gun & 1x2 gun turrets
Deck Armour at thickest point (mm): 136

Posted Image
HMS NELSON
Displacement (metric ton): 41,910
Length (m): 220
Speed (knots): 24
Arnament: 9x 16 inch guns mounted in 3 x3 gun turrets
Deck Armour at thickest point (mm): 171

It is quite clear that by 1940 the Hood did not really excell in any field, and infact had many weaknesses, she was not particularly fast, she was not the most well armed and crucially she had very thin decks


Posted Image
Earlier I mentioned admiralty mismangement and complacency, some of you may disagree but there is one piece of evidence you should all look at
HMS Hood was sent with HMS Prince of Wales (KGV class) to hunt the Bismarck, on paper thats quite a combination they would have been able to hold their own agaisnt the Bismarck and Eugen, the RN force was also accompanied by 2 cruisers. Unfortunatly the admiralty in their blood lust had forgotten that the PoW was not yet fully complete and there were still civilian technicians aboard, and the Hood was also struggling herself being unable to reach her top speed which was one of her strengths. To make matters worse there was a serious design flaw in the KGV class, the quadruple 14 inch turrets. (see below)
The PoW encountered heavy seas and the forward quadruple turret of the PoW flooded/jammed (sources vary) for a time, leaving only the rear quadruple turret and the forward 2 gun turret operational, this limited the PoW's firepower rendering it almost useless (only two guns on the forward operational), she was a new ship and there were still some mechanical glitches leading to even more trouble with her guns, the high seas splashed over her decks and obscured the range finders on her forward 4 gun turret making aiming difficult.
The placing of so many guns in one turret meant that any malfunction in the turret would lead to the ship losing a significant amount of its firepower

About 10 minutes into the batlle the Hood was hit and sunk by a single shell which went through the thin deck and hit her magazine causing a large explosion ripping her in two. The Hood took less 3 minutes to sink and only 3 of her crewmen survived. The Hood had preformed sub par, especially for a ship of her size, but in reality its all that could have been expected, she was basically just a giant cruiser not a battleship, there was nothing the crew could have done which would have changed the outcome, unless the PoW had hadall her guns fully functioning, and there had not been an error in target identification as to which ship was the Bismarck. The Hood was designed to operate within a fleet, not within a small taskforce.
The loss of the Hood was a tragic and preventable loss of life, however there were some successes for the RN that day, shots from the PoW damaged the Bismarcks fuel tanks causing her to call off commerce raiding and try and head for home, the Bismarck was no longer a threat to the Atlantic convoys. Shortly aftert this one PoW's 4 gun turrets jammed so she had to disengage, she also suffered problems with her rangefinders due to the sea spray obscuring them.
Despite the well known weaknesses in both ships (one not actually being fully completed, and the other due for a refit) the admiralty decided to club them both together to fight to very well prepared German vessels, I think Churchill's gung-ho attitude may have influenced the Admiralty's decision as it had, and would do on many other occassions, often with a high loss of life.

The admiralty had their hands tied, they had to act, but they did not have to engage the Bismarck and Eugen, they could have shadowed it until force H arrived, which is what happened anyway.
The original battle plan would have worked, it accomodated the Hoods weakness by having her move up at night unoticed closer to the Bismarck where plunging shells would not be a problem, but poor weather meant that Bismarcks position was lost for a time and threw the battle plan in dissarray.

Why was HMS Hood ever the 'pride of the Royal Navy' in the first place?
looks and her size, to put it simply, the Hood looked pretty and in peacetime thats all that mattered
her guns were ok, and so to was armour (in everywhere but the decks)
The Hood was well suited for destroying smaller ships so would have made a good convoy escort
Hood like the empire that built her was built on bluff
the loss of the Hood is one of a number of occasions where the British fell victim to their own propaganda (attitudes to the Japanese being another)
I would write more, and do some references by the English Channel stands between me and my books!

here is part 2 of the map shown above for any of you who do not know about what happened after the Hood sank
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Edited by fdsdh1, 14 December 2012 - 05:34 AM.

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fdsdh1 #2 Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:52 AM

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hello, does anyone know where I could find out which ships were in British Home Waters or the North Atlantic at the time the Hood and PoW set sail from Scapa Flow?

Edited by fdsdh1, 14 December 2012 - 05:34 AM.

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NelsonXes #3 Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:23 AM

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Very few ships where in port/scarpa flow at the time of bismark heading into the atlantic, alot of captial ships where at sea already protecting convoys or holding important areas of ocean,

Nelson, assigned to convoy duty,
Rodney assigned to a convoy whilst on route to USA for refit
Repulse and King George V cant rember sorry think was assingned to force H and where with Victorious at start

Renown and Ark Royal with Force H where drawn into atlantic from the med aproches as Bismark broke out.

The reason for all these ships being with convoys was due to the previous attacks by the pocket battle ships and german battle cruisers, stick a british battle ship with convoy and you got a very effective deterant! also stopped U boat serface attacks.

At the End of the day the RN knew they had to protect the convoys with everything they had as the damage the Bismark could have done on a unescorted convoy would have been total. destroy 1-2 convoys and England would have been on its knees with in a month. it was that close!

Steffenkbh #4 Posted 14 December 2012 - 01:09 PM

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She was mighty,,,,, at least in size.
The more I read about Hood, the more I get the fealing that this ship in reality (by 1941) was 50% bluff and 50% self-deception. In wartime self-deception is rely not a thing you want, so what went wrong?

As I see it, just my opinion.
The first problem is the she was a very good ship when build, maby even the best in service. And it is difficult to kill ones own heroes, no matter how old and tired they get.
2nd problem, the interwar period saw the possibility to improve/refit her every 5 year or so along with the development in technology, but the ££££ was not.

Adding to the conception that she was the 'pride of the Royal Navy' probably allso had something to do with her representing UK and the RN on her cruise to Scandanavia, Gibraltar and Spain, Brazil, West Indies, Denmark and Norway (again) and an eleven-month cruise around the World, all in the first 5 years of service.
My point is, she was a big and beautiful diplomat, representing all the things the empire wanted to be but could rely not be. In other word she was a national symbol and again, it is difficult to kill ones own heroes, no matter how old and tired they get.

Sydd #5 Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:41 PM

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honestly, the hood seemed a wee bit out dated, had it been modernized a bit it could have probably hammered down my favorite ship, the bismarck
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PanzerGert #6 Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:01 PM

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With a complete refit the HOOD might have had a chance to fight the BISMARK, but it still would have been lucky. Replacing the HOOD with the KINFG GEORGE V for this engagement would have been a different story, as it was one of the newest BBs around in the Royal Navy, and atleast equal to the BISMARK, opposite to the HOOD.

The quick sinking of the HOOD was not expected at all by the Germans, they were surprised on their own. However, I guess the Capt'n of the HOOD probably was not, if he had time to be surprised in the first place.

SkyHearts #7 Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:21 PM

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For the record the Hood was a BC and the Nelson and King George were BBs, so not exactly comparable. BCs were built for speed as im sure you know so the lack of armour isn't that big of a suprise since it simply added too much weight, although i will say the main reason im posting here is because im wondering if they'll have two options for the Hood, one being without the armour it was scheduled to be fitted with and the other with the armour, of course with the armour it will be more durable but much slower. Maybe some kind of upgrade slot for it. I do hope there is the option.

Falathi #8 Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:28 AM

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Actually adm Holland seemed not to be that surprised, according to one of the survivors who actually saw him shortly before the bow of the ship plunged.

HMS Hood was a mighty ship at the time of her launch - she was the world`s largest warship by displacement at the time but it does not mean, unfortunately, that her protection was good enough.
According to what I`ve read about results of the Admiralty inquiry concerning her loss a single hit turned out to be fatal - one of the AP shells from Bismarck penetrated the secondary battery magazines and caused explosion that devastated much of the ship as well as ignited the 15'' guns magazines.

PS You can read a bit about the loss of British battlecruisers at Jutland here, in this very forum: http://forum.worldof...attle-cruisers/
It looks thin armor was not the only reason of the loss.

Karadryann #9 Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:07 PM

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The Hood, Prince of wales and king george the v class will all be welcome additions to my collection.

Axel252525 #10 Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

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The Mighty Hood was only named so for her size. Nothing more. That they decided to fight with her against the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen was maybe just arrogance.

And by the way, you can't compare Bismarck and KGV, the Bismarck was no Washington BB, it was the most time planned as 40.000ts-Ship, see the books of Breyer for more information.

KGV was designed as 35.000ts-ship.

Falathi #11 Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:29 PM

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Axel252525 actually you can compare these two ships. Interestingly the result won`t be strongly in Bismarck`s favour. The limitations placed upon designers of KGV meant they needed to do quite some work to come with optimal solution. These ships were quite capable for their size.
Bismarck was a good design, but not really superb - limited experience with building capital ships did not help much.

Entombet #12 Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

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Well as much i like Bismarck he too was not a technological marvel, more or less he was bigger version of bayern class bb from ww1, their machinery, magazine, armor and main armament layout were almost identical.

Edited by Entombet, 06 January 2013 - 06:00 PM.

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Axel252525 #13 Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

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€: Just read the english-Wikitext about the Bismarck-class:

One thing, the main armament had only the same cailber as the Bayern-Class ones, the turrets were much more modern. See Garzke and Dublin for example,or the Breyer-books with original-inforamtion out of german navy-archives. The armor-arrangement was not the same, not similar, it was a modernized version of it.


Falathi,the German Navy did a great job building ships in WWI and all (!) authors of books about battleships are saying, that Bismarck was the ebst ship at her time (1940/41).

Her machinery was a much better version of steam-machines (Heißdampf, sry, no idea what it means in English), her Turrets we're modernized and the precision of german artillery was not reached by any Navy till the end of the war.
Because the Kriegsmarine did know, that hey have only 4 BBs (Scharnhorst was classified as BB in germany,a ctual, it looks more like a german-BC).

Its armor was Wotanhart/Wotanweich and german armor-steel for ships always one of the best in the world.

Bismarck was the superlative, when you see, when it was build. Till Iowa was build.

Can be read by all in Siegfried Breyer: Schlachtschiffe und Schlachtkreuzer 1921-1997.

German Ships, also Bayern-class, had their second-armery (the 15cm-turrets for the Bismarck) not on deck, it was below it.


I think both ships are not easy to compare: Bismarck was designed to fight french BBs, not british, it was designed from 1934 to 1938, always designed as 42.000ts-ship, while KGV was designed as 35.000ts-ship, both were designed well to do the best with their deplacement and both we're excellent ships.

@Entombet: The Bismarck-Design was a classical german-warship-design, that worked since ww1 fine, ab as you said: Her deck-armor against bombs was much too weak. In 1934 we germans obviously didn't thought about someone would throw boms on ships. Ironically while we build a Air Force.

So, over all, i'll not agree, that you can compare them (Bismarck and KGV) fairly for both sides, KGV had a much better radar, wasd esigned for Atlantic war and designed much more modern, while Bismarck had the bigger guns, the better optical shooting, more deplacement and a bit better armor (when i also include internal armor and sink-safety).

Can we meet here?

But one additional point: A 1-on-1-fight of a KGV and Bismarck would have been no nice fight for both sides. The one, whou would survive, would be a swimming wreck.

€: Puuh, I had to add one thing: Ships can't be compared only by armor-millimeters or something like, they must be comapred by their practical things. And there's the big problem: Ther we're only a few BB againsgt BB-fights in WWII, one was Bismarck vs Hood.

But I would say know, that the most comparable ships in WWII are KGV and Bismarck, because they had a neraly fair fight against each other and we're build/constructed nearly at the same time.

But we can't really say, which one was really better over all. My point. Each had better things than the other.


€2 (1536): At bismarcks last fight, none of the british torpedos penetrated the internal second topredo armor of Bismrack, Prince of Wales sunk after torpedo hits.

Quote

The 2002 documentary Expedition: Bismarck, directed by James Cameron and filmed in May–June 2002 using smaller and more agile MIR submersibles, reconstructed the events leading to the sinking. These provided the first interior shots. His findings were that there was not enough damage below the waterline to confirm that she was sunk rather than scuttled. Close inspection of the wreckage confirmed that none of the torpedoes or shells penetrated the second layer of the inner hull. Using small ROVs to examine the interior, Cameron discovered that the torpedo blasts had failed to shatter the torpedo bulkheads.[141]
english-Wiki-text about Bismarck.

Edited by Axel252525, 07 January 2013 - 02:40 PM.


Entombet #14 Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

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I dont argue with that, Bismarck was good ship but his design was 20 years old. In my humble opinion best designed bb before the Iowa were french Richelieu and Jean Bart.

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Axel252525 #15 Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:56 PM

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:D. Ok, sorry, my english is not the best, but i wanted to say, that bismrack was a good design, the ebst at her time. Remeber that the Richeleu was an answer on Scharnhorst and Bismarck.

And Richelieu was never able to show her abilities in a ship-vs-ship-fight with another BB.

In my oppinion the only real fail-design was the scharnhorst-class, but also these ships did their job great.

And btw, you're right, many constructional-ideas we're from bayern-class, but it based origionally more on the xperiences the RM and KM made with the Deutschland-class and Scharnhorst-class and also what other navies wanted to build.
This was 1935/1936.

Don't knwo why there is still the myth, that bismarck is WW1-construction. Obviously bad researched.

Stick #16 Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:33 AM

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As far as I know, a refit of the Hood was planned since the early 30s, which included the crucial deck armor upgrade. However, the Hood was the only battleship which was constantly on active duty for the RN since it has been launched, and it never had the time to be refitted. A refit on this scale would mean that the ship would be out of active duty for 6 to 12 months.
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Axel252525 #17 Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:04 PM

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Yepp. I think it was planned to do this refit a few weeks after she was sunk by the bismarck.

One wuestion: SHould we open a Bismarck-thread?

Falathi #18 Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:22 PM

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Well, I do not say Bismarck was a bad ship - I mean it could be designed better in regards of few issues as it was more modern version that based on late WWI design. One of the flaws that could be corrected was the construction of the stern, which turned out to be a weakspot on several German capital ships.
I`d say that Richelieu, North Carolina and KGV classes that were designed around that time were at least comparable to the German design.

Axel252525 #19 Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:33 PM

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Ah, ok, sry, missunderstood you :D

Querulous #20 Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

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Hopefully the game will reflect the very varied design decisions of these ships and reflect strengths in different sorts of engagements, ranges etc.
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