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Capt_Ahab1776

Sinking the Bismarck, what if roles was reversed

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In the hunt for the Bismarck. The RN was out for revenge after the shocking defeat of the Hood. The Bismarck had taken a shell from the Prince of Wales and suffered some flooding. Later after being shadowed by cruisers, then attacked by torpedo planes she suffered the fatal blow of a torpedo jamming her rudder sealing her fate. Soon she was engaged by the battleships King George V and Rodney. As well as the cruisers Dorsetshire, Norfolk, and Sheffield then accompanying six destroyers.

 

 

The Bismarck was a new battleship and the lead ship of her class. What if the KGV which was a new battleship for the RN had suffered a torpedo hit jamming her rudder forcing her into a turn she couldn't correct. Was faced with the battleships Bismarck and Gneisenau. The cruisers Graf Spee, Hipper, and Prinz Eugen with six destoyers focus firing on her. She surely wouldn't survive but would the KGV last as long, tanking as many shots as the Bismarck did?

 

 

Edited by Capt_Ahab1776

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Given the scenario you describe, I assume PoW managed to disengage from the battle of Denmark Strait and got caught later. But I have multiple issues with your 'what if'.

So the first question is: where did this torpedo that jammed PoW's rudder come from? A German aircraft carrier with torp bombers that couldn't be shot down lol? That's the first problem.

Second of all, how has the Kriegsmarine found PoW? It was hard enough for the RN to find Bismarck despite overwhelming numerical superiority and carrier spotting support. Bismarck almost got away. 

Thirdly, why has the RN not reinforced PoW after they would certainly have been informed of the jammed rudder? Bismarck couldn't be reinforced since the KM had limited ships that could do it, and couldn't risk a confrontation with the RN. The RN should have no such issue.

Fourthly, why is the KM sending out practically their entire surface fleet to sink one ship with a jammed rudder? They have no revenge motive, and their purpose was convoy raiding whilst avoiding the RN. Risking a fleet battle with PoW and further possible RN reinforcements is an unwise decision. How have the KM high command come to this irrational move?

Fifthly, where are these 6 destroyers in your last paragraph coming from? Bismarck and Eugen were un-escorted by DDs in the first place because German DDs simply weren't very good and didn't have the range or seaworthiness to accompany them on long range convoy raiding missions in the Atlantic.

Sixth, Graf Spee was scuttles in 1939, 2 years before the battle of Denmark Strait. Did it rise from the dead in your scenario?

Seventh, Admiral Hipper was undergoing a major overhaul at Deutsche Werke, Kiel between April-october 1941.

 

Basically, it is highly improbable for the roles to be reversed. The KM's circumstances were simply different from the RN, and would preclude such an event.

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Tbh a KGV will struggle more if put into Bisky's situation.

an Iowa put into the same situation in the Atlantic would probably not happen because AA strength against torp bombers and speed advantage to get away.

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1 minute ago, Rolkatsuki said:

Tbh a KGV will struggle more if put into Bisky's situation.

an Iowa put into the same situation in the Atlantic would probably not happen because AA strength against torp bombers and speed advantage to get away.

A totally unfair comparison putting a late war battleship in a early war situation.

Iowa was first commissioned in 1943, 2 years after the battle of Denmark Strait, Pearl Harbour, and the sinking of PoW when everyone and their pet hamster knew that air power was extremely dangerous. Early war, nobody had good AA since the power of the CV had not yet been realised. At the time of her sinking PoW in 1941 was regarded as having the best AA of any BB in the world, and the sinking was a shock.

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45 minutes ago, Super_Dreadnought said:

Given the scenario you describe, I assume PoW managed to disengage from the battle of Denmark Strait and got caught later. But I have multiple issues with your 'what if'.

So the first question is: where did this torpedo that jammed PoW's rudder come from? A German aircraft carrier with torp bombers that couldn't be shot down lol? That's the first problem.

Second of all, how has the Kriegsmarine found PoW? It was hard enough for the RN to find Bismarck despite overwhelming numerical superiority and carrier spotting support. Bismarck almost got away. 

Thirdly, why has the RN not reinforced PoW after they would certainly have been informed of the jammed rudder? Bismarck couldn't be reinforced since the KM had limited ships that could do it, and couldn't risk a confrontation with the RN. The RN should have no such issue.

Fourthly, why is the KM sending out practically their entire surface fleet to sink one ship with a jammed rudder? They have no revenge motive, and their purpose was convoy raiding whilst avoiding the RN. Risking a fleet battle with PoW and further possible RN reinforcements is an unwise decision. How have the KM high command come to this irrational move?

Fifthly, where are these 6 destroyers in your last paragraph coming from? Bismarck and Eugen were un-escorted by DDs in the first place because German DDs simply weren't very good and didn't have the range or seaworthiness to accompany them on long range convoy raiding missions in the Atlantic.

Sixth, Graf Spee was scuttles in 1939, 2 years before the battle of Denmark Strait. Did it rise from the dead in your scenario?

Seventh, Admiral Hipper was undergoing a major overhaul at Deutsche Werke, Kiel between April-october 1941.

 

Basically, it is highly improbable for the roles to be reversed. The KM's circumstances were simply different from the RN, and would preclude such an event.

Wow lots of good questions. I kind of had this thought/question pop up in my mind and posted it on the fly.

The torpedo question did make me think when I was posting it originally. I was thinking probably a U-boat happened to spot the KGV and took a opportunity and got a hit on the rudder while she was trying to evade and jammed it.

The second question I was thinking maybe the KM used radar to shadow the KGV. Not to confront, because of a one on one encounter for a lesser ship would mean certain doom.

The third question would just be part of the roles reversed. Due to maybe fuel issues, just circumstance of any nature that forced the KGV to be having to sail alone.

Forth, say if the KGV was involved in a action with another RN ship where it got the better of a meeting with the KM. Sinking in devastating fashion one of the KM's pride. (Except the Bismarck because she is involved in the final battle) Maybe the Tirpitz? Not 100% sure if the timeline would work out.

 

However just a hypothetical situation for what ever reason the KGV found herself on the other side of the situation.  How would she fare under focused fire by superior forces like the Bismarck did.

Edited by Capt_Ahab1776

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Taking out Super_Dreadnoughts points because even if they sent no ships initially they could have sent air support via a CV unlike the Germans.

RN vs Bismarck -

9 406 mm guns 10 356 mm guns, 24 203 mm  guns, number of 120 mm guns.

KM vs KGV

4 380 mm guns, 15 283 mm guns, 16 203 mm guns, and a number of either 127 mm guns or 150 mm guns depending on which DD's showed up. 

Without knowing which DD's show up with which armaments when you look at the heavier ships likely to do real damage with guns, UK brought sheer volume (44 guns) while Germany brings fewer (35 guns) but several are bigger than what UK is bringing on the same types. More if the DD's are the 15 cm equipped ones cause now your talking light cruiser firepower, not DD firepower. 

At closing ranges - Bismarcks guns were shown able to punch through a KGV class ship (round went into PoW but failed to detonate) whereas the main armour of Bismarck had been bouncing KGV's shells off, other than superstructure and maybe deck hits. Rodney would likely have been dealing the real damage. and even then, were she not scuttled, it'd have taken so long to sink the British could have boarded the ship. And if Denmark straight is any indicator, the Germans were firing more accurately when the ship wasn't steaming in a circle uncontrolled. I don't think in a reversed scenario a KGV lasts as long. 

  • Cool 2

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