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  #26  
Old 05-04-2012, 22:30
Werlin Werlin is offline
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

As others and I have said, I still stand by what I have read that Renowns speed made her too important to risk in Narvik.

My last question was mostly hypothetical, but I stand corrected, you are right about that.
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  #27  
Old 06-04-2012, 01:46
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Quote:
Werlin wrote: As others and I have said, I still stand by what I have read that Renowns speed made her too important to risk in Narvik.
Please don't misunderstand...I agree with that too - as I said in my last post - as a factor, but others must be her hull damage and her HUGE expenditure of 4.5-inch ammo during the engagement with the Twins. I've found a detailed document that puts it at over 1000 rounds! (not 800). C-In-C Admiral Forbes was not amused (see below). The 4.5's would have been very valuable in a close range engagemnt with destroyers.

Whatever the reasons or combination of reasons, I think we all agree that the right choice was made.

But back to the topic at hand. I've found a detailed document on the action that is too long to post here. It's the War Diary of the Battle Cruiser Squadron for March to April 1940:

http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWD-HF1940BCS1.htm

It's chock full of info on Renown's performance - gunnery, spotting, range-finding etc., Admiral Whitworth's report (already posted here) and Admiral Forbes comments which I quote below.

I find his comments very interesting indeed!


Quote:
H.M.S. RENOWN – REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS AND ACTION



(1). Vice Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron’s No 41/4A of 29th April 1940 (with enclosures)



(2). RENOWN’s No. 2022/061 of 22nd April 1940



(3). RENOWN’s No. 2056/65 of 23rd April 1940



The Secretary of the Admiralty

(Copy to: The Vice Admiral Commanding, Battle Cruiser Squadron)

Forwarded for information



2. It was satisfactory that the RENOWN opened fire 3 minutes before the enemy and was able to obtain hits on each of the enemy ships in very difficult conditions.



3. The large expenditure of 4.5 inch ammunition was not justified and in the circumstances was a waste of valuable ammunition.



4. The action confirms the experience of that off the River Plate, namely, that the enemy has little liking for close action and his morale deteriorates rapidly if the ship is hit.



5. Other points of general interest that arise from the action are:



(a). The great difficulty in distinguishing between the different classes of German ships is once more shown. This must always be borne in mind when the enemy reports are received.



(b). The ships appear to be capable of high speed in bad weather, though there is no evidence of course to show that they did not in fact damaged themselves thereby.



(c). The shell that hit the RENOWN aft did not detonate or even explode.



6.

(a). It is apparent that we have no ships that can catch the SCHARNHORST or GNEISENAU, which is not to wondered at as our battlecruisers are 20 to 24 years old and 3,000 to 5,000 tons above the displacement for which they were designed.



(b). This action also shows clearly that the freeboard of our battlecruisers is too small to fight efficiently in a head sea.



(c). For both the above reasons drastic steps should be taken to get rid of every ton of unnecessary weight in all three ships, starting with the sheet anchor and cable, catapult, hanger and aircraft, stern anchor were fitted, etc, etc.



7. The dispositions that led to this action will be dealt with in my despatch covering the operations on which the fleet was engaged at the time.



(sgd) C. M. Forbes

H.M.S. RODNEY, Admiral of the Fleet




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  #28  
Old 10-04-2012, 11:29
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Guys,
Don't hate me, But the Twins got Lucky Against Renown !
Nikki
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  #29  
Old 10-04-2012, 20:12
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

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Originally Posted by NASAAN101 View Post
Guys,
Don't hate me, But the Twins got Lucky Against Renown !
Nikki
Why should be hate you Nikki?? I agree with you - they were very lucky to escape crippling damage, and also were helped by the conditions that made spotting virtually impossible for Renown.

Renown's main armament output was excellent despite the conditions and, according to the report I posted the link to, she suffered only one failure in one gun during the entire chase! Compare that to the Twins' problems.

The 15-inch twin mount has to have marked the pinnacle of British turret and gun development. Their later 16-inch and 14-inch paled in comparison.
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  #30  
Old 11-04-2012, 11:52
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C. View Post
To TCC:
Gneisenau would have opened fire with AP because they give a better splash for spotting in order to find the target. She hit Renown with her first ranging series - incredible gunnery under those conditions, although it was radar-assisted.
.
I was thinking about this and while AP may 'give a better splash' on water, RN experience in WW1 was that hits from these shells were hidden from view.

Take the hit on Renowns stern, I'll bet that wasn't visible to the Germans!

Not saying it is wrong, just noting the difference.
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  #31  
Old 12-04-2012, 03:11
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Quote:
TCC wrote: I was thinking about this and while AP may 'give a better splash' on water, RN experience in WW1 was that hits from these shells were hidden from view.

Take the hit on Renowns stern, I'll bet that wasn't visible to the Germans!
It certainly was not seen, neither was the one on the mast, though Scharnhorst did claim to see a puff of smoke from aft of Renown's bridge.

Actually in another discussion it was initially suggested that since the shells passed through without exploding - suggestive of AP - it was more likely they were from Scharnhorst which fired AP the whole time while Gneisenau fired HE. However the timing was such that this was impossible since they occured before Scharnhorst opened fire. That's when it came out that Gneisenau's ranging salvoes - three shells each from A, B and C turret in succession were AP.

Renown was very lucky, as a base fused HE shell would have exploded and may have affected her steering....
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  #32  
Old 12-04-2012, 13:02
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

At 0620, firing began again, with Renown once again targeting Gneisenau. Scharnhorst's radar malfunctioned, so her fire was completely ineffective, but within 5 minutes Gneisenau had scored two hits on Renown. One 11.1-inch shell passed through the main leg of Renown's foremast without exploding, while the second struck aft of 'Y' turret. This shell hit the starboard side hull plating between the upper and main decks, and passed through the ship above the steering gear and out the other side, also without exploding-this would suggest that Gneisenau was firing AP not HE (Ref,bobhenneman,info.)

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  #33  
Old 12-04-2012, 14:24
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Jim,

Bob Henneman's article has the timing all wrong. All the hits were scored in the first phase of the action - Renown was hit within a minute of Gneisenau opening fire and Gneisenau took all hers before she turned away and was shielded by Scharnhorst.

In the second phase, conditions made accurate shooting all but impossible, plus both sides took evasive action (Renown reported that Scharnhorst would change course every time Renown fired a salvo).

According to German sources, Gneisenau fired 10 AP and 44 nose-fused HE shells. She switched to HE after her first ranging salvoes because she thought she was facing the heavily armoured Nelson whose vitals would be invulnerable to her 11-inch AP. HE would be expected to cause topside damage, maybe knock out gunnery control installations etc.

Scharnhorst, recognizing Renown, used all AP which could conceivably penetrate Renown's armour.

Also, the recording of the times may cause confusion - German reports record the times as 1 hour later than the British. The times I used in my first post are British.
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  #34  
Old 12-04-2012, 14:55
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Previously Paul you wrote this:-
"There was a discussion as to whether it was Gneisenau or Scharnhorst that hit Renown given that the shells that hit were AP and Gneisenau is recorded as firing HE. But the hits occured before Scharnhorst opened fire and it turns out the Gneisenau would have opened fire with AP because they give a better splash for spotting in order to find the target. She hit Renown with her first ranging series - incredible gunnery under those conditions, although it was radar-assisted".

I agree that Henneman's report gives times that are about two hours adrift; but his report of Gneisenau's hits on Renown "seem to square"with your own assessment-shown above.To that end I am convinced that Gneisenau's two hits on Renown were with 11"AP shells.

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  #35  
Old 12-04-2012, 16:40
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

IIRC, the Henneman report also credits Renown with gunnery radar.

This topic has been discussed on numerous occasions and on various boards over the years. Somehow most paricipants seem to have formulated the opinion that Renown was lucky to survive the encounter. Perhaps Henneman's dubious report is responsible for this popular misconception.

Of course we all know that Renown was not fitted with any sort of radar until her Autumn, 1941 refit. Try as I may to point this out, I have gotten no where.

While I dare not speculate on the actual outcome otherwise, I'd have to think that the German warships were merely beneficaries of Renown's lack of radar.

As it was, Renown did win the day and I find it rather appalling that Admiral Forbes would even question the expenditure of 4.5" ammo. One against two - you use everything you have - what did he expect? That could only have left a sour taste in the mouths of the Renowns.

Funny thing too, how Renown received criticism for going it alone against two German battlecruisers (expenditure of secondary ammo) and later and even more severely when taking on two Italian BBs off Spartivento (premature disengament of the enemy - lack of aggression), yet she was ordered out of the Bismarck kill. ????

The very thing Somerville was court-martialled for at Spartivento, he was ordered not to do against Bismarck. The only conclusion I can come to is, after the loss of Hood, the Admiralty totally lost trust in it's most ardent seaborne commanders. Did they think that professionals like Tovey and Somerville were to become so "heavily engaged" with Bismarck and so incompetent and inept as to lose Renown in that comparatively highly favourable 3 on 1 scenario?

Monty
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Battlecruiser Renown in 1936 - looking as splendid as ever.
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  #36  
Old 12-04-2012, 17:09
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Quote:
Originally Posted by jainso31 View Post
Previously Paul you wrote this:-

I agree that Henneman's report gives times that are about two hours adrift; but his report of Gneisenau's hits on Renown "seem to square"with your own assessment-shown above.To that end I am convinced that Gneisenau's two hits on Renown were with 11"AP shells.

jainso31
That means we agree Jim! That's what I was saying from the start. Here's what I said in post 1:

Quote:
As Renown’s opening salvo ploughed into the sea 300+ m short, the Gneisenau’s 11-inch guns thundered out her response. Three ranging salvoes were fired in quick succession from turrets Anton, Bruno and Caesar respectively, each consisting of three armour piercing shells. The salvoes were frighteningly accurate with two shells from the third striking home on the British battlecruiser.
It was after this that Gneisenau switched to HE and never got near Renown again until she was shut down by Renown's 15-inch hit.

And Monty:

I agree with you all the way. I wonder what Adm. Forbes would have said had he known that a 4.5-inch knocked out Gneisenau's A-turret!

As for Bismarck, I like to think that Renown was kept close to the Ark Royal as a necessity given the unknown whereabouts of Prinz Eugen. Not sure if Sheffield had rejoined at that point, but still - better 6 x 15-inch than 12 x 6-inch to keep an enemy heavy cruiser at bay and with luck, sink her!
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  #37  
Old 12-04-2012, 17:59
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Re.Renown's Radar

While the exact dates are not known, the ship received a variety of radars in 1941, possibly during the June refit. These included Type 284 radar for surface gunnery control, Type 285 anti-aircraft gunnery radar, Type 281 air warning radar and a Type 271 surface search radar.

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  #38  
Old 12-04-2012, 22:00
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Quote:
Originally Posted by BCRenown View Post
Funny thing too, how Renown received criticism for going it alone against two German battlecruisers (expenditure of secondary ammo) and later and even more severely when taking on two Italian BBs off Spartivento (premature disengament of the enemy - lack of aggression), yet she was ordered out of the Bismarck kill. ????

The very thing Somerville was court-martialled for at Spartivento, he was ordered not to do against Bismarck. The only conclusion I can come to is, after the loss of Hood, the Admiralty totally lost trust in it's most ardent seaborne commanders. Did they think that professionals like Tovey and Somerville were to become so "heavily engaged" with Bismarck and so incompetent and inept as to lose Renown in that comparatively highly favourable 3 on 1 scenario?

Monty


I don't know about the Admiralty but both Tovey and Somerville were of the opinion that RENOWN should remain with ARK ROYAL rather than leave the carrier without adequate escort. I imagine that both the weather conditions and the expectation of German air attack played a part in this.
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  #39  
Old 13-04-2012, 08:36
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Member Vince O'Hara in his book "The German Fleet at War 1939-1945"said and I quote-"the top heavy Renown laboured harder in the heavier weather than modern battleships.The Germans mounted eighteen heavy guns to Renown's six and enjoyed vastly superior armour.Whitworth was lucky that Lutjens chose to run rather than fight. It is questionable Renown would have otherwise survived"
I would go along with that had the Germans chose to fight tactically.

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  #40  
Old 13-04-2012, 10:44
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Sorry if I misunderstood you Paul. I'll blame the fact that I'm not a native speaker of English, and hope you forgive me.

After reading the battle reports I get an impression that Renown stood up to the fight quite well.
And claiming 18 heavy guns to 6 doesn't take into account the difference in Gun size and capacity.

In this thread I have previously argued that Renowns protection was much poorer than Warspite. Am I correct in thinking that the twins guns would under normal circumstances manage to penetrate Warspites citadel and vitals?
Then, what about Renown? Would her belt, almost half the thikness of Warspites, had any chance of protecting her?

As for Bismarck, she was in another league than Renown, and I think Hood convinced the admiralty (rightly) that she should not try her luck against Bismarck one on one. Remember, while they ordered Renown to keep station on RA - its a good point that that might have been because of PE, one of the revenge class - Ramillies I think - to leave her convoy and seek out Bismarck on her own.

Paul: I agree, and purely from memory I don't think Sheffield had rejoined, but I'm not sure.
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  #41  
Old 13-04-2012, 11:32
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Quote:
Member Vince O'Hara in his book "The German Fleet at War 1939-1945"said and I quote-"the top heavy Renown laboured harder in the heavier weather than modern battleships.
I wonder what led him to come to that conclusion? Renown gained weight later in the war but in 1940 her displacement was nearly 2,000 tons less than it had been in 1936. Jim, I have not read Mr. O'Hara's book and, after reading that statement, I don't think I am ever going to.

Werlin, Admiral Somerville and Captain McGrigor did develop a plan to engage Bismarck if ordered but, I don't think anyone expected Renown to stand up to Bismarck on her own. They were to position Renown to the north and west of Bismarck and open fire at lang range, hoping to draw the German ship toward the approaching battleships of the Home Fleet. It was with considerable relief to all that this plan was not required.

Yet, I wonder, with the dwindling fuel supply aboard KG5 and Rodney becoming critical, why Renown wasn't used in the final battle to hasten Bismarck's demise? Protecting Ark Royal should not have been anymore of a problem than it had been off Spartivento. As much as I doubt it, perhaps the cartoonist of Force H were correct after all - in thinking the Home Fleet wanted the glory of the kill for themselves.

Monty
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Battlecruiser Renown in 1936 - looking as splendid as ever.
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  #42  
Old 13-04-2012, 12:19
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Monty
After looking at the side elevations of both Renown and The Sisters-I would say that Renown's top hamper was somewhat more pronounced than either Scharnhorst or Gneisenau.
As to his description of the encounter-I found his standard of research to be impecable-it is a book that bI have recommended to other members; and it makes perfect sense that if S and G had fought a tactical battle with Renown-the eighteen 11" guns should have been too much for Renown's six 15" guns.
The foregoing does not,in any way,mean to detract from the splendid performance put up by Renown on the day.

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Old 13-04-2012, 12:46
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Quote:
Originally Posted by BCRenown View Post
Protecting Ark Royal should not have been anymore of a problem than it had been off Spartivento. As much as I doubt it, perhaps the cartoonist of Force H were correct after all - in thinking the Home Fleet wanted the glory of the kill for themselves.

Monty


The battle off Cape Spartivento was conducted in excellent Mediterranean weather conditions. These did not pertain on that day in the North Atlantic. The weather was bad with, importantly, poor visibility.

"After sighting MAORI (0810) I considered detaching ARK ROYAL to the southward to range the striking force, keeping RENOWN in the vicinity of MAORI ready to support KING GEORGE V and RODNEY if required. I decided however that the appearance of RENOWN on the scene before KING GEORGE V established contact was undesirable in view of the low visibility and furthermore it was imperative to afford ARK ROYAL the maximum degree of protection should KING GEORGE V fail to establish contact and thus leave the third striking force as the only means of dealing with BISMARCK."

RENOWN remained with ARK ROYAL until SHEFFIELD rejoined (0940?). Somerville then turned RENOWN towards the battle scene, ordering the carrier to fly off a spotter aircraft, but then intercepted Tovey's signal that he was returning to harbour, CS1's order to DORSETSHIRE to torpedo the BISMARCK at close range and a signal from the Admiralty that heavy air attacks were to be expected. He therefore returned to cover the ARK ROYAL and afford her A/A protection.
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Old 13-04-2012, 12:49
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Quote:
Jainso31 wrote: Member Vince O'Hara in his book "The German Fleet at War 1939-1945"said and I quote-"the top heavy Renown laboured harder in the heavier weather than modern battleships.The Germans mounted eighteen heavy guns to Renown's six and enjoyed vastly superior armour.Whitworth was lucky that Lutjens chose to run rather than fight. It is questionable Renown would have otherwise survived"
I would go along with that had the Germans chose to fight tactically.
I wonder how a "top heavy" ship gained the nickname "the largest destroyer in the fleet"?

From the testinomy of both sides it is clear that any ship would have had a hard time under those conditions, but it is also clear that Renown out-performed the two German ships throughout.

The Scharnhorsts were terribly wet ships and lost the function of their forward turrets. Renown had problems firing her forward guns at speeds over 24 knots, but they did not go out of action. With her six guns she fired about as many rounds as the two German ships combined with their 18.

At no time during the chase did the Germans achieve a speed that Renown could not match - but matching it would result in mounting damage which made no sense. The Germans on the other hand accepted this as their priotity was extricating themselves at all costs.

Yes, they had much better armour and many more guns, but under those conditions and with their main armament failures as a result of their poor seakeeping characteristics, the Twins lost their advantage. Had it been a clear day with smooth sailing, it might have been much more dangerous for Renown. But the reality is that the Twins would have retreated anyway.

Quote:
Werlin wrote: In this thread I have previously argued that Renowns protection was much poorer than Warspite. Am I correct in thinking that the twins guns would under normal circumstances manage to penetrate Warspites citadel and vitals?
Then, what about Renown? Would her belt, almost half the thikness of Warspites, had any chance of protecting her?
Oh there's no question that Warspite had significantly better armour protection and would have been much less vulnerable to 11-inch shells than Renown. But for the Narvik operation, I don't think their underwater protection was that significantly different (though I stand to be corrected!).

And BTW - no worries about any misunderstanding...happens to us all!
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Old 13-04-2012, 13:17
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Quote:
After looking at the side elevations of both Renown and The Sisters-I would say that Renown's top hamper was somewhat more pronounced than either Scharnhorst or Gneisenau.
As to his description of the encounter-I found his standard of research to be impecable-it is a book that bI have recommended to other members; and it makes perfect sense that if S and G had fought a tactical battle with Renown-the eighteen 11" guns should have been too much for Renown's six 15" guns.
The foregoing does not,in any way,mean to detract from the splendid performance put up by Renown on the day.
Jim, seems you posted this while I was writing my reply. I appreciate your comment.

And Patroclus - Thanks for that information!
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  #46  
Old 13-04-2012, 13:51
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

Hi Paul
Renown was known as "the largest destroyer in the fleet" because she was as fast as a destroyer in normal conditions.

As to her never being outmatched for speed by the Twins,again I quote O'Hara"At 0541 Renown ceased fire and briefly came to twenty nine knots at 0544,with her forward guns away from the sea,but the range continued to open and additional squalls of rain and sleet periodically hiding the Germans from view.Her last sighting came at 0615;the German battleships were far ahead and out of range.Renown plunged ahead for another hour and forty five minutes and finally broke off the pursuit"

Coming to the business of assessing the effectiveness of the gunnery :-
Renown fired 230 15" rounds,mostly from A and B turrets,and 1065 4.5" rounds.Severe blast blast damage allowed sea water to flood her A and Y shell rooms.
Scharnhorst fired 195 11" rounds (145 from Caesar and 91 5.9" shells.
Gneisenau fired only 54 main battery rounds and nothing from her secondary batteries.
German 11" shells struck Renown twice for a hit rate of 0.8%.Renown landed one 15" shell,a hit rate of 0.4%

"But the reality is that the Twins would have retreated anyway".That is quite an assumption Paul.
However a British force had asserted the moral supremacy born of centuries, in attacking without hesitation a more powerful enemy force.


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Last edited by jainso31 : 13-04-2012 at 15:04.
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Old 13-04-2012, 22:54
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

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Originally Posted by jainso31 View Post
Coming to the business of assessing the effectiveness of the gunnery :-
Renown fired 230 15" rounds,mostly from A and B turrets,and 1065 4.5" rounds.Severe blast blast damage allowed sea water to flood her A and Y shell rooms.
Scharnhorst fired 195 11" rounds (145 from Caesar and 91 5.9" shells.
Gneisenau fired only 54 main battery rounds and nothing from her secondary batteries.
German 11" shells struck Renown twice for a hit rate of 0.8%.Renown landed one 15" shell,a hit rate of 0.4%

jainso31



RENOWN probably obtained three 15" hits on GNEISENAU. You seem to be accepting the suggestion that two of these were from the 4.5" secondary armament but this is very doubtful given the ranges at which this action was fought.
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Old 13-04-2012, 23:11
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

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Member Vince O'Hara in his book "The German Fleet at War 1939-1945"said and I quote-"the top heavy Renown laboured harder in the heavier weather than modern battleships.The Germans mounted eighteen heavy guns to Renown's six and enjoyed vastly superior armour.Whitworth was lucky that Lutjens chose to run rather than fight. It is questionable Renown would have otherwise survived"
I would go along with that had the Germans chose to fight tactically.

jainso31


I think the description of RENOWN as top-heavy is inaccurate - it might more correctly have been applied to her after her 1943 refit!

However, I have no quarrel with the view that in a stand-up fight with S & G, the RENOWN could be in difficulties. Among other things, the German ships could outrange her and her armour scheme had a few soft spots.
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Old 14-04-2012, 02:33
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

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Jainso31 wrote: Renown was known as "the largest destroyer in the fleet" because she was as fast as a destroyer in normal conditions.
It was a bit more than that Jim...it was her handling characteristics as well. In the words of Vice-Admiral B.C.B. Brooke "In my experience this great ship never failed to answer the slightest touch of wheel or engines, nor did her armament ever fail when needed."

She shared with Hood and Repulse that "dash and sweetness of handling" that one might expect of smaller cruisers or destroyers. That responsiveness and seaworthiness is what made Repulse (even in her overweight state) a vexing target for the Japanese bombers - avoiding 19 torpedoes until she was simply overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

Quote:
Patroclus wrote: RENOWN probably obtained three 15" hits on GNEISENAU. You seem to be accepting the suggestion that two of these were from the 4.5" secondary armament but this is very doubtful given the ranges at which this action was fought.
This information comes from Wolfgang Kahler who was 2nd Gunnery Officer aboard Gneisenau at the time (and I believe, but I'm not sure, from the ship's war diary). The hit on turret Anton was very minor - on the "ear", but the resulting damage admitted a flood of seawater which put the turret out of action. The hit near the port #3 4.1-inch twin mount was also minor - a 15-inch shell should have done considerable damage - penetrating the deck into the compartments below before exploding and wreaking havoc. I had always wondered how come the damage was so slight. The 4.5-inch explanation makes sense of it.

The 4.5-inch DP gun had a maximun surface range of 20,750 yards so it was quite capable of reaching Gneisenau at 18,000 or less.
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Old 14-04-2012, 04:28
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Default Re: "Duel off Stromvaer" - Renown vs. Gneisenau & Scharnhorst

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This information comes from Wolfgang Kahler who was 2nd Gunnery Officer aboard Gneisenau at the time (and I believe, but I'm not sure, from the ship's war diary). The hit on turret Anton was very minor - on the "ear", but the resulting damage admitted a flood of seawater which put the turret out of action. The hit near the port #3 4.1-inch twin mount was also minor - a 15-inch shell should have done considerable damage - penetrating the deck into the compartments below before exploding and wreaking havoc. I had always wondered how come the damage was so slight. The 4.5-inch explanation makes sense of it.

The 4.5-inch DP gun had a maximun surface range of 20,750 yards so it was quite capable of reaching Gneisenau at 18,000 or less.



I cannot share your certainty about what a shell should or should not do. It was often very difficult to determine the size of a shell responsible for a hit, particularly if it did not explode or completely explode or if the contact was a glancing one.

The 4.5" were firing at ranges approaching their effective maximum in poor weather conditions "with a heavy swell and a great sea". I am not saying that hits were impossible but they were certainly improbable! On this occasion, most of the 4.5" firing was at SCHARNHORST, which they failed to hit.
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