Packal

Loss of the British Battle Cruisers

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Wow, great and very interesting article!

 

 

While the loss of HMS Hood is clear in regards of the fact the shell either penetrated the magazines of secondary armament ( or made its way close enough to cause ignition of the propellant ) it was always interesting for me to see what happened during the battle of Jutland. Even more so, as none of the mentioned losses to the battlecruiser squadron seemed to result from penetration of the magazines - but from penetrating the turrets, thus suggesting that the problem was not inadequate armor protection of the magazines but rather either the propellant which was not the most stable, or separation between the propellant storage and the turrets.

 

Actually this article also explains why such fierce rain of fire had so little actual effect on German ships. Well done mate!


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Very interesting to read, and quite well put forward. It leaves little doubt as for the causes of the explosions of the RN ships at Jutland.

Thx for putting this up!


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http://ukcmilhist.fr...-hood-t822.html

 

Hood and other battlecruisers were designed to operate within a fleet, the regular battleships would provide cover as the faster battlecruisers move towards the main enemy fleet at close range (still a couple of miles), Hood had good armour for her superstructure but the decks were sub standard.

 

Battlecruisers traded armour for speed

 

What happened to the Hood was she was an old ship and refits increasing armour made her lose her speed advantage, a KGV class battleship could travel same speed/ faster and was more heavily armoured.

 

Denmark Strait, the plan

Bismarck and Prinx Eugen were being shadowed by cruisers, the Hood and Prince of Wales (KGV class) would approach the Bismarck at dawn from the west (so they were not silloueted agaisnt the sun, this would enable Hood to get close enough without being at risk of plunging shells, and the Bismarck and Prinze Eugen would probably be have been sunk.

 

the reality

the weather, the cruisers lost sight of Bismarck and Prinze Eugen in heavy fog where visibility was reduced to 3 miles.

The Hood and Prince of Wales began their own search and found Bismarck and Prinz Eugen

The Hood and PoW engaged the Bismarck, but the distance was great enoguh that Hood was vulnerable to plunging shells as her decks were thin (she was sunk at a distance of 9 miles, at this distance shells would fall almost vertically onto the deck)

 

 

Hood recieved two damaging hits which penetrated the deck armour, the first hit a smaller magazine to the rear of the ship, another hit a forward magazine for the 15inch guns and the explosion ripped the ship in two (although nobody is certain if this is exactly what happened). Hood sank in less than 3 minutes with only 3 of her crew surviving.

 

 

 

The Prince of Wales's gun turrets were suffering technical problems (she was a very new ship and still had civilians working aboard her) so she had to withdraw from the battle, but not before recieving one hit and minor flooding and penetrating the Bismarcks armour and contaminating her fuel, this meant the Bismarck had to plot a course back home instead of beginning commerce raiding. This meant the RN was able to hunt her down and she was sunk as well, but thats a different battle.

 

Battlecruisers could only really be used in fleet vs fleet engagements as they were vulnerable agaisnt battleships if not supported, the original plan would have worked as Hood would have been close enough not to have been vulnerable to plunging shells


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Many of the french cruisers suffered from the same issue, speed over armour and, as a result, floating tin cans.

Those choices made by french and british navies were the result of Lord Fischer's influence and of the french school ideas, forgetting Emile Bertin's doctrine.


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Recent review of the wreck does seem to indicate primary not secondary magazine explosion.


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Well Battlecruisers were called "Splendid Cats", Winston Churchill First Lord of Admirality at those times commented this "Our cats have thin skins"

Edited by Entombet

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I'm not sure you could catergories Jutland as a disaster for the RN, more like a draw.  The High Seas Fleet never set sail again and the RNs domination of the North Atlantic was intact.  There where lessons learned (my Great Uncle was killed on HMS Lion when a shell flashed off the cordite stored in Q turret) which still apply today.

 

I have Beatty's writting & signature of my Great Grandfathers RN service record as a 21/2 ringer while Beatty commanded the assault of the Taku forts during the Boxer rebellion.  My Great Granddad was a Master at Arms and lost two fingers during the assault.

Edited by jeffw

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Technically, Jutland was a defeat in tactical terms as British losses were much higher given the disproportion in size of both navies. However, it hardly matters as it was strategic victory - the British fleet maintained the blockade of Germany and the German Fleet failed to change the strategic situation even a bit. In this regard it can be compared to Pearl Harbor, which was huge tactical success of the Japanese, but strategic failure in the same time.

In both cases the strategic outcome was more important than inflicted losses.


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It took me a while to read this novel , but I'm becoming smarter with each day I spend on these forums


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imho, i wouldnt compare a naval battle in declared war to what happend in pearl harbour..

 

you might compare jutland/skagerrak to naval battels like trafalgar, lepanto, or in modern ages tsushima, cape spartivento, matapan, a.s.o..

i'm also not sure if you can define jutland a "tactical defeat", and consider only the disproportion of the navies, in relation to the losses..

i'd rather focus on the fact that the germans had tecnically (partly) the "better" battleships (newer, better armoured, better penetration for the heavy artillery= might be"better" battleships), and by far the (partly) "better" battlecruisers (newer, better armoured, better penetration for the heavy artillery)..

not to speak about the mere numbers..

knowing all that, and given the fact that the germans were retreating from the royal navy's main forces, i'd rather call it a draw, than a tactical victory..

 

cheers ;-)


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knowing all that, and given the fact that the germans were retreating from the royal navy's main forces, i'd rather call it a draw, than a tactical victory..

cheers ;-)

 

It was a tactical victory for the Germans, inflict more damage agents a superior force, but a strategic failure, was not close to brake the English blockade.


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I'm not sure you could catergories Jutland as a disaster for the RN, more like a draw. The High Seas Fleet never set sail again and the RNs domination of the North Atlantic was intact. There where lessons learned (my Great Uncle was killed on HMS Lion when a shell flashed off the cordite stored in Q turret) which still apply today.

I have Beatty's writting & signature of my Great Grandfathers RN service record as a 21/2 ringer while Beatty commanded the assault of the Taku forts during the Boxer rebellion. My Great Granddad was a Master at Arms and lost two fingers during the assault.

 

You have really interesting family history, don't you?


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Nice article!

There's a ship docked in Belfast called HMS Caroline and she is the only cruiser and maybe the onlymJutland ship still in existence. She's going to be refurbished and turned into a museum ship in time for the Jutland centenary in 2016. At least, that's the plan.


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