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German fire control systems

 
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Iain



Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 149

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: German fire control systems Reply with quote

There seems to be plenty of information available on British director systems, but what about the Germans? According to Stevens and West in A History of Sea Power, the Germans had superior fire control. True? Meat for discussion?
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Jim Broshot



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
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Location: St. James, Missouri, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I read the chapter on the German Navy's methods in Friedman's Naval Firepower Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era, it may have been simpler (and cruder) and was easier to use.

And the Germans, as we know, used stereoscopic rangefinders. And Friedman notes they used an AC synchro to transmit gunnery data, which the USN independently discovered after WWI and used in its fire control system.

You can download a book by Derfflinger's gunnery officer from Internet Archive that may help explain the German system

http://www.archive.org/details/kieljutland00haseuoft
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Iain



Joined: 26 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks much for the link; I shall read up on the subject.
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Jim Broshot



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are welcome.

Several books about Jutland can be found at Internet Archive. Use "Jutland" as a search term.

And there's Volume I of the King's Regulations (1913 edition):

http://www.archive.org/details/kingsregulations01greaiala
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tone
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Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 478
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The answer is thorny. As I see it, the Germans may have had:

1. better practices and procedures (less based on plotting data that would in actuality arrive in terribly quantity and quality)
2. better drill intensity and freshness in their scouting group than the RN had in its BCF
3. better search lights (and control methods and equipment for them)

The Brits had:

1. better director system (elevation and training)
2. a fantastic plot organization and kit, but the need for such was a folly at the outset
3. (probably) a better data network for continuously updating sights and angles in a semi-automated manner.

I'm not sure who had the better ancillary systems such as target indication system (British used Evershed... a nice idea but neither ubiquitous or accurate in resolution enough to insure it met needs). I'm not sure who had the better rangefinders, but I have to believe it was the Germans (at least when combined with skill of use).

One thing, I feel, is abundantly clear: had rangefinders worked with the errors claimed for them, the British would have placed salvoes all over the Germans. The Dreyer tables (particularly if the Mark I tables are set aside from the appraisal) were very nice instruments when equipped with frequent ranges with manageably small errors clustered about the actual range, as they could generate a continuous range and deflection signal that the Germans could only produce fitfully.

tone
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hmsvanguard



Joined: 17 Dec 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Chertsey, Surrey

PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Tone. My research showed that most of the experts in WW1 naval fire control (Brooks, Sumida and Friedman included) rated British Fire Control Equipment as far in advance of their German counterparts in all but rangefinders but that British ranging fire was much slower at bracketing the target than was the German method and getting a target bracketted would then reduce the targets own fire accuracy.

Two books I read summerize the above aptly and are wirth a gerneal read to bring all up to speed. Tennants 'Jutland - the German Perspective' and Campbells 'Jutland - An Analysis of the Fighting'. The number of hits and the percentage hit rate for both sides at Jutland is given and the overall British figure for number if hits and accuracy of shells was lowered by the woeful performance of the Battle Cruiser force (which had older fire control, smaller base rangfinders and lacked director systems) whilst the Germans noted the excellent shooting of the Valiant (the British 15' Queen Elizabeth class battleship) at Jutland with its close grouped shells and accurate bracketing proved just how far in advance of their own that the British fire control system was.

Additionally at Jutland, the weather conditions, wind direction and setting sun all conspired to reduce the effectiveness of the British fire and in the periods when the Germans suffered from similar restrictions on their own fire, their accuracy fell off sharply.
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NewGolconda



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:38 pm    Post subject: Disagree somewhat to the last post. Reply with quote

"older fire control, smaller base rangefinders and lacked director systems"

I am not sure I can agree to that characterisation of the BCF and I tend to put the failure of that force in the run to the south down to poor training and tactics and despite superior materiel.

On "fire control" - you would have to class Tiger as having a better Dryer installation than any ship in the British fleet bar the QE's, the other 13.5in ships being pretty much in line with the 13.5in battleships and the 12in battle cruisers being equally primitive to the other 12in ships in the fleet. And of course, in terms of central plotting and compilation of data all of these ships are ahead of the German systems though that might have been a theoretical advantage at best because as Tone says, they were starved of accurate input data in the run to the south.

On “smaller base rangefinders” – and limiting discussion to the main elevated rangefinder while excluding turret rangefinders. All of the German ships and almost all of the British used 3m or 9ft instruments. The German instruments might have been incrementally better than their British counterparts, particularly in low light conditions. The British 15ft co-incidents were probably the best main rangefinders around on the day of the battle and also did well in post war trials against the German instruments. (These trials are available on line, progress in gunnery materiel 192something – 192something on the Royal Navy Flag Officers site.)There is a materiel difference in the location of the rangefinders, the 12in ships using the smoke and vibration prone foretop, the 13.5in and 15in ships using a more stable, but lower, conning tower mounting.

“Lacked director systems” seems to contradict all of my (admittedly secondary) sources Brooks, etc. It was my understanding that all the British capital ships at Jutland had received main armament directors by the time of Jutland, and the British efforts for 1916 onwards revolved around light cruiser main armament and battleship secondary control.
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tone
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tiger certainly had good equipment. The extent to which the crew was accomplished in its utilization is key, as are the conditions under which it was employed and the degree to which the enemy was amenable to being hit (a reluctant enemy can defy even god-like fire control if the range is sufficient... see the Iowas vs that Japanese destroyer).

I have been immersed recently in some of this stuff, but frankly I could not say offhand what differentiated the Tiger's Mark IV Dreyer from the IV*s of the QE class. Not much, really. If you're keen and don't have this, I can throw it out for you.

tone
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NewGolconda



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: Adealide Aus

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"One thing, I feel, is abundantly clear: had rangefinders worked with the errors claimed for them, the British would have placed salvoes all over the Germans."

Absolutely, I have a good number of interwar British practice reports, and some wartime battle reports, and it is abundantly clear that realworld rangefinder performance significantly lagged theoretical performance. Even the large scale, post WWI trials off land mountings gave considerably better reults than you see recorded at sea.

I will happily snap up everything you might have, I am a data hoarder.
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Diederick44



Joined: 19 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject: shell problems Reply with quote

sorry for just mixing in here but both england and germany had ups and downs with mathematical range table problems but my question remains both sides boasted long range guns and yet they never fired them at a long range battles took place at medium range , if range was a factor i would put my money down on germany
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