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Dreyer Fire Control Table - Wikipedia

 
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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
Posts: 131
Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 5:23 am    Post subject: Dreyer Fire Control Table - Wikipedia Reply with quote

I've been expanding the Wikipedia article on Admiral Dreyer, and for some reason the FCT, instead of having its own page, is dumped entirely on the Dreyer page in this form. Methinks it deserves a good purge. Any comments?

Cheers, Simon

Quote:
Dreyer Fire Control Table
The introduction of centralized fire control for warships gave a significant improvement to the accuracy of gunnery. The increasing range of naval guns led by several years the necessary advances to control their fire. Over a ten-year period techniques such as centralised spotting of fall of shot, mechanical computation of rate of change of range (rate), mechanical clocks to calculate range over time for any given "rate" and long baselength optical rangefinders were introduced. In order to make sense of such data, manual plotting of rangefinder ranges, from single or multiple rangefinders as well as other data began to find favour. The Royal Navy sponsored research into these techniques, and two groups emerged, a commercial group lead by Arthur Hungerford Pollen, and a Naval group lead by Dreyer. Both camps aimed to produced a combined mechanical computers and automatic plot of ranges and rates for use in centralised fire control. Both systems were ordered for new and existing ships of the Royal Navy, although the Dreyer Table, as the Dreyer system was called eventually found most favour with the Navy in its definitive Mark IV* form. Advances in electronic transmission of range to the guns added further value to the centralised fire control systems.

The addition of director control facilitiated a full, practicable fire control system for World War I ships, and most RN capital ships were so fitted by mid 1916. The director was high up over the ship where operators had a superior view over any gunlayer in the turrets. It was also able to co-ordinate the fire of the turrets so that their combined fire worked together. This improved aiming and larger optical rangefinders improved the estimate of the enemy's position at the time of firing. But with the longer practical ranges came the increased time of flight. The Fire Control System now had to account for more variations and more complicated corrections than was originally planned. The Dreyer Table had some mechanical flaws, particularly when additional loads were introduced but on the whole performed in a satisfactory manner. The system was eventually replaced by the improved "Admiralty Fire Control Table" for new build ships after 1927, although Dreyer Tables went to war a second time in World War II, notably amongst Britain's unmodernised battleships and battlecruisers.

The choice between the Dreyer and Pollen systems was controversial at the time. The Royal Navy had repeatedly tested Pollen's designs and had given him very preferential terms for them. Pollen in 1925 won an award for 30,000 from the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors for elements of his Argo Clock that had been used without his permission. At the same time Dreyer applied for a similar grant but due to the fact that in 1915 he had been awarded 5,000 for his services to fire control his request was denied [1].

While Dreyer's table certainly owes some of its features to Arthur Pollen, it was still his creation and for all the claims of the navy protecting its own, Pollen's inventions received a fair trial at the Admiralty - a fact which he himself admitted. Pollen was never able to sell his fire control to any other navy, while Dreyer's table and its successor equipped dozens of major warships.
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jwduquette1



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a proof reading comment:


Both camps aimed to produced a combined mechanical computers and automatic plot of ranges and rates for use in centralised fire control.

I'd use produce -- and computer
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tone
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Joined: 29 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few more points:

"led by Dreyer" is the proper spelling (unless this is a UK/US thing, which I don't suppose it is)

Also, "facilitated" is misspelled there.

I'd avoid mention of IV* as the "definitive" Dreyer in the context you're using it, as the decision to start using significant deployments of Dreyer gear in favor to Argo gear seemed to have predated its readiness (though a plan for its capabilities might have been part of the selling points -- I have no idea).

I wonder if the Pollen/Dreyer controversy might not merely be mentioned, and then a footnote drawing people to Sumida and Brooks for more on it. It is simply outside the scope of the article, I'd think. Also, words like "very preferential" are loaded (for an encyclopedia article).

If you'd like, email me a re-edit of this, and invite me to do as little or as much in addition as you'd like.

tone
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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
Posts: 131
Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should emphasise, I didn't write the above section, but don't consider myself quite competent to judge on its merits viz content.

Wherever either Brooks' or Sumida's work is cited I have tried to make sure the other is cited. However lately some people have tried either to label Sumida's IDNS as "defintive" or have listed his review in JMH of Brooks as "the final word". I'm trying to stamp it on it, and some other people are as well.

Until a Dreyer FCT article is created (or until someone creates a Pollen article) the debate will probably have to be listed on Dreyer's page. Lord how I hate Wikipedia sometimes!!

Tone, if you could hack something correct and unbiased out of that above, it would be greatly appreciated.

Simon
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tone
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to. I am relatively uninformed as to the entire Pollen "vision" for how his plotter would ever add anything to a fire control effort, but I can certainly concentrate on an article that avoids needless focus on the comparisons (Argo never fought anywhere... discussions featuring it are, in my view, substantially moot when "real history" is concerned).

tone
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tone
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok -- I tried my hand at a quick edit. Let me know what you think. Did I leave the original author his just take, softening only those parts that merited it?

The most vital changes I made were

a. emphasising whose opinion it was that Pollen had been given "preferential terms". Surely, different players would have chosen different terms!

b. Not assigning the AFCT to a description of being derived more from Dreyer than Pollen kit. It would simply excite argument!

c. Removed reference to range transmission "adding" to the value of centrailised FC. Such means were in high readiness from the get-go of these tables, and the text implied its introduction was a subsequent refinement.

tone
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NewGolconda



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well - I am not the original author but I did write most of the version quated above. The previous version was very Sumida/Pollen?We was robbed ish...
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the current one is not bad at all. If you fixed earlier biases, I'd say the present one is quite good at allowing those holding any partisan view to see a few uncontested facts and learn where to go to learn more.

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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just need to now go to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and demand that they remove every instance where they say "the Dreyer system was adopted instead of the Pollen system, which proved to be a mistake". Comments like that pop up EVERYWHERE. Jellicoe's time as DNO is marred by it, Fisher is criticised for it, as is Jackson, Bridgeman and so on...
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it's unavoidable, really. The British were outshot, and the Pollen advocates were already in place at the very time of the battle. Sumida really only highlighted the agenda while indicating his own strong subscription to it.

I think the worst part, of course, is that with a pre-packaged conclusion on the shelf for the taking, so few take the time to explore the differences in visibility and proficiency that underlaid the uneven hour of shooting between the two forces during the Run to the South.

Only time and some slow uptake on John Brooks's book offer much chance that views will soften and become more of an active discussion of the variety of views that have now been expressed. Of course, that's hardly a sure process at all.

tone
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