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Dreadnought Project Simulations
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jwduquette1



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:47 pm    Post subject: Dreadnought Project Simulations Reply with quote

While reading: "Dreadnought Gunnery And The Battle Of Jutland: The Question Of Fire Control" by Andrew Lambert, I began combing the internet for additional information on the Dumaresq and the Dreyer Firing table. This invariably brought me here to "The Dreadnought Project". All I can say is: WOW! The recreation of both of these tools as well as the discussion and demonstarion of their employment is truly amazing. An excellent marriage of computer animation and naval history.

I have a question:

How did the Germans develop firing solutions during this same period? Can anyone suggest a good English reference on the subject (unfortunately I dont read German).

Depending upon what authors one reads, German Naval Gunnery is often portrayed as being superior to RN gunnery -- or at least it is represented as being more accurate than the RN gunnery. Yet RN investigations into these sorts of things following the war suggest that German fire control methods were relatively primitive when compared to those being employed by the Royal Navy during WWI.

Quote:
“After Jutland, in May 1916, director control came under close examination. It was now fully realized that this was one of the most important departments of the fighting ship, and certain aspects of the systems then in use failed during the battle – the Barr and Stroud rangefinders had not given the required results because of poor lighting conditions during the action. It was generally known that the Germans had Zeiss stereoscopic rangefinders, and a different method of fire control; the former was slightly superior to that used on British ships, but the latter, according to intelligence reports, was inferior to British Equipment, and not up to the requirements laid down by the Admiralty. This was borne out in 1919 after tests had been carried out in the captured battleship Baden: although much of the equipment was sabotaged by the Germans, the fire control gear was examined and found to be relatively primitive.”

(From: British Battleships of World War One)

Thank You
Jeff Duquette
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tone
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Jeff. The excellent work you cite is by John Brooks, not Andrew Lambert.

Thanks for the kudos, by the way!

My level of understanding of German methods is not nearly up to the same standards as my grasp of RN methods, not least owing to language barriers and the fact the Germans were less than fully forthcoming after losing WW-I without having truly been defeated at sea -- and this latter silence was deepened when the Soviets marched off with materials after WW-II.

However, I think it safe to say that the quote you provide matches nicely with what I know of German methods, with the following differences.

The German RFs were supposedly better for several reasons, though opinions later differed on some of these alleged advantages. One agreed upon difference that gave the Germans an edge was better light-collecting properties owing to use of prisms vs mirrors (or vice versa?). One disputed difference is a fundamental difference of the stereo methods affording a means of ranging on indistinct objects such as puffs of smoke, and trade-offs regarding fatigue of the operator's eyes.

One thing to note is that the British felt that the Germans after the war felt they'd made the wrong choice of coincidence vs stereoscopic methods after the war, but it bears mention that this opinion was communicated by an intelligence person whose day job was as a director of the Barr and Stroud company.

When seen as a whole, the German system was rather quaint by RN standards: their plotting and data synthesis methods resembled 1908 processes in the Royal Navy. They attempted a mechanical meaning of ranges from a variety of rangefinders by a process not well understood, and I am unable to readily imagine how any machine could easily manage the process of rejecting outlier range cuts as well as a human could when examining a range trend on a visual graph as the Dreyer table centered its design on providing him.

Lastly, the British directors were "fully baked", providing range and training angles to all guns, whereas the Germans had a training-only solution whose design would have caused more divergence in range and provided some slop in how coherently a salvo left (they were individually triggered at each mount on a firing gong).

My own sense is that the RN system was better overall, but was not always supported by adequate degrees of recent training and drill, particularly in the Battlecruiser Fleet. One thing is clear: disparate visibility conditions always granted a huge benefit to those with the most accommodating conditions, and spotting was key to hitting.

On average, both systems were subject to common faults in the frequency and quality of rangetaking and spotting, and these, too, placed a bonus on good visibility.

tone
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Adrian Dobb



Joined: 13 Nov 2005
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Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This kinda continues the discussion under USN gun control which gravitated towards the German system - but thats no bad thing. Somewhere I have come across a reference which described the Germans as manually averaging the bearings and ranges taken from the range finders though keeping no plot. I can't track it down now. One possible advantage may have been that any improbable readings could easily be excluded by an experienced team.

From another source I have this -

'Germany used Richtungsweiser, a part director control system in which the guns were trained by director, but laid by individual turret crews. The Entfernungs Unterschieds - less sophisticated than a Dreyer table - was used for range predictions.'

Now I have to say that this is from a set of wargames rules - General Quarters Part 2 by L.L Gill first published in 1977 - which is not really a proper source. However the remainder of Gill's summary of FWW technology is pretty good and according to internet translation Richtungsweiser is Direction and Entfernungs Unterschieds is Distance Difference which sounds along the right lines if not quite a perfect translation.

Adrian
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jwduquette1



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies Tony & Adrian.

Regards
JD
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tone
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have to check my few sources, and I always confuse the various long German words, but the latter device you mention might be the one I have seen (and hope to eventually simulate) which is functionally quite similar to the dumaresq but of a dissimilar mechanical design. That is to say, it related relative motion of the target to a range rate and a speed-across (aka deflection).

The French also had their own dumaresq equivalent... everyone came up with their own way of making the same computation though I feel the British one is the most directly reflective of the relationship it analogizes (but this may simply be the greater familiarity I have with it).

I'll try to scan the single coarse drawing I have of the German device soon.

tone
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jwduquette1



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tone wrote:
Hi, Jeff. The excellent work you cite is by John Brooks, not Andrew Lambert...


Yes -- sorry. Andrew Lambert wrote the Forward to "Dreadnought Gunnery & the Battle of Jutland". John Brooks is actually the author of the book. It is apparently based upon Brooks' university thesis work.

I don’t know the author of the quote regarding the primitive German fire control system in the Baden. It is from material I photocopied from the public library. I forgot to note who the author was on my copies.

Brooks does actually delve a bit into German fire control techniques of the period. However there is nothing as in-depth as his coverage of RN fire control methodologies.

An aside – and this may be a silly question -- but I am curious if Dreyer Table range plots from Jutland still exist, and if they do can anything of use be derived from studying the plots? Are the plots meaningless outside the context of what is occurring on the range table at the time of plotting? Or can actual ranges and range estimates and rates of range change that were being developed during the battle be determined from studying such a plot?

Regards
Jeff
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

An aside – and this may be a silly question -- but I am curious if Dreyer Table range plots from Jutland still exist, and if they do can anything of use be derived from studying the plots? Are the plots meaningless outside the context of what is occurring on the range table at the time of plotting? Or can actual ranges and range estimates and rates of range change that were being developed during the battle be determined from studying such a plot?


As far as I know, these paper plots do not exist any longer. Captains were asked to submit them shortly after the battle when making their reports (as excerpted in the Jutland Despatches), but few were handed over and those that were handed over were seemingly lost soon after and did not themselves make an appearance in the Despatches.

Several ships reported that "no usable plot was made" or even "no useful ranges were taken", which fuels speculation that the "Pollen v Dreyer" argument was largely mooted by utter want of data.

tone
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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What was the track record of the French Navy on rangefinding and gunnery? Seeing as they only built around a dozen dreadnoughts, you'd imagine that they would have invested quite a lot of effort into their systems, although from what I dimly recall the actions fought by the French fleet were very few (to mind, the Dardanelles bombardment mostly by Pre-Dreadnoughts, and more ignomoniously the bombardment of Mers-el-Kebir). I assume that the Richelieu and the Jean Bart would have been completed with American and British radar installations or the French equivalents.
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rubberboot



Joined: 06 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Richelieu was modernized/completed in a US dockyard during WW2. I think I've seen a picture of her in New York circa 1943/44. She had the 2 quad 16in turrets fwd of the control tower, right? She escaped before france fell in '40. I would assume she used US fire control sets after she was returned to action in free French service. I'm going from my memory though, so I could have the wrong ship. I think the sistership was not complete and was captured by the Germans.

Glenn
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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I knew for a fact that Richelieu was completed in the U.S. after getting the **** knocked out of her after the Fall of France. I also knew that she had a bizaare shell calibre (14.96") and the only way her main armament could be completed was by pillaging guns off Jean-Bart and by having a factory in New Jersey custom make the shells. I couldn't find out whether she had radar fire control fitted though during the war, although having just won the definative French book on her, I'll soon find out :).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One ship at least, was scuttled by the French before the Germans could sieze it in the south of France (Toulouse?). This may have been Bretagne, and some time after the Morroco encounters?

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Adrian Dobb



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:37 pm    Post subject: Jean Bart Reply with quote

The Jean Bart is interesting as she escaped in very incomplete state from St Nazaire in June 1940 and made her way to Casablanca. I don't know about her having given up guns for Richelieu but she certainly only had the four guns in A turret mounted. In November 1942 with only those four guns operational she exchanged fire with the USS Massachusetts during the Torch operation. Five 16" hits were scored on her, one or more aft and at least one forward which jammed A turret and ended the exchange. It doesn't seem as if the Massachusetts was damaged at all, but after all given Jean Bart's still incomplete condition the odds were heavily against her. What FC she was using I have no idea but I'd expect it was extemporised.

Her main armament of 14.96" calibre isn't metrically bizarre as its 380mm - I believe Bismarck's were also in reality 14.96" but like the French guns are usually quoted as 15". Depending on how you look at it perhaps its those anglo-saxon imperial scale users building bizarre 381mm guns who are out of step! :-)

Bretagne Blew up Oran in July 1940 under British shell fire with heavy loss of life. I think the event is visible on some of the footage of the bombardment which often turns up in WWII TV documentaries. I don't know about any scuttling at sea but those elements of the still powerful Vichy French fleet at Toulon were scuttled in 1942 when the Germans occupied Vichy in response to Torch.
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Harley



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jean Bart gave some of her guns (the number escapes me) to arm the Richelieu after Operation Torch and the Vichy Capitulation.
When completed, Jean Bart was armed with the armament originally intended for sister-ship Clemenceau, which ended up as an incomplete hulk sunk by the Germans as a blockship.
The two other second-generation French battleships, Strasbourg and Dunkerque were scuttled at Toulon after recieving superficial damage from German SS troops.
Anyone know of any written materiel on French gunnery?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strasbourg at Toulon is what I was trying to allude to. Thanks!
I have a friend who is a student of French FC, but I'm having trouble raising him to get him to chime in here.

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JspencerCE



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:18 am    Post subject: Here I am - just!! Reply with quote

Firstly, a belated apology for not having chimed in sooner. I was offline for a few weeks and will humbly admit to not having as much time as I would like to constantly visit all the various boards (I have at this time a very busy life outside warships and French FC).

Moving on, I have a fair distance to go before I can consider myself a first grade student of French FC. This is a technical subject, very analytical in its structure and leeves more questions than answers. However I will reply were I can.

There is a fair amount of material in French on French FC. These works were written by scientists for students of war and are extremely hard to find. They are also open to a little bias (the guy that designed the system may have wrote about it!) sometimes basic (we can across this problem and simply did something like that) but do give an insight into what they thought (which helps us to avoid guessing at what they thought).

I am going to do most replies off the top of my head so here goes:
Will need to look up which ship gave what guns to Richelieu (note some guns were shipped to Norway, one was sunk, and others may have escaped too).

French 380mm guns could easily fire German 380mm shells (drive bands may have been modified - will need to check).

Off the top of my head I think JB was hit 7 times at Casablanca.

Bretagne blew up at Mers el Kebir while under fire from British ships. There is strong evidence to suggest 2 rounds hit the vitals aft at the same time.

Richelieu was fitted with US surface and air search radars and older (types 284, 285 etc) British gunnery radars. The USN did not want to share the newer gunnery radars possibly for political reasons or possibly because there were not enough to go around. I also know that some ships of the Marine National recived the MK14 Gyro sights but cannot say which ships.
With Radar Richelieu would still have used her original firecontrol apparatus (off the top of head, model 1936, details of which I not sure. For at this stage most French surface FC tables included an AA extension, this is certainly true for 150mm guns as fitted in the their cruisers but would be very surprised if they retained it for 380mm!).

Most French dreadnoughts carried the 1926 model FC table (some may have been refitted with a 1929 model which includes a couple of odd features that I do not fully understand). I believe the 2 oldest dreadnoughts retained their ealier 1916 FC tables, which are not too different to Dreyer tables in principles (however no bearing plot) with numerous refinements (ranges were plotted taking into consideration the time it took for info to from aloft to the room. The range was tilted or sloped making it easier to read etc....).

As for their gunnery, I believe a Fantasque class destroyer scored hits on Barham at 20000 metres (almost the max range she could fire) which must be considered pretty good and am unaware of other cases for a DD. On the other side there was no Tachymetric AA fire in French service until postwar.

John S
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