Jump to content
You need to play a total of 20 battles to post in this section.
Bill_Halsey

Loss of HMS Hood -the how

25 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

1,973
Alpha Tester
6,535 posts
3,314 battles

You'd think that taking a 15 inch shell to the powder magazine would be an open-and-shut case as to why a ship blew up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,281
[CVA16]
Members
5,916 posts
18,166 battles

WHY? Obviously its because the Royal Navy hadn't thought it worth mounting an anti-detonation flag!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
786
[TOG]
Members
4,213 posts
25,146 battles
1 hour ago, 1Sherman said:

You'd think that taking a 15 inch shell to the powder magazine would be an open-and-shut case as to why a ship blew up.

The mystery was how? The most common theory was that plunging fire caused the magazine explosion, but the sequence of events didn't match that theory. The bow wave through was something I've never heard of. That the Admiralty knew of it , but the last photo of Hood at full speed showed that it might be a bigger problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,281
[CVA16]
Members
5,916 posts
18,166 battles
11 minutes ago, Bill_Halsey said:

The mystery was how? The most common theory was that plunging fire caused the magazine explosion, but the sequence of events didn't match that theory. The bow wave through was something I've never heard of. That the Admiralty knew of it , but the last photo of Hood at full speed showed that it might be a bigger problem.

I wonder if any armor scheme ever even considered that trough. Most seem to be based on a ship sitting still on a pond. It may also not have been such an issue for ships with expected battle speeds of 20kts.   As a corollary, would the forward magazines have been even more difficult to hit with the water being a bit higher there. 

Obviously this has no bearing in the WOWS game world where all battles are on flat calm seas and there is very little bow wave or wake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,973
Alpha Tester
6,535 posts
3,314 battles
11 hours ago, Bill_Halsey said:

The mystery was how? The most common theory was that plunging fire caused the magazine explosion, but the sequence of events didn't match that theory. The bow wave through was something I've never heard of. That the Admiralty knew of it , but the last photo of Hood at full speed showed that it might be a bigger problem.

Still, if three battlecruisers can all get reduced to splinters the size of my index finger via single salvos of BB fire at Jutland, then so can the Hood, regardless of plunging fire or bow waves or anything else. From what I've seen/read for myself, it all comes down to the simple fact that battlecruisers were never meant to take on BBs. Jackie Fisher's intention was for them to be like that of the USS Constitution back in the War of 1812: To outgun anything lighter than it and outrun anything bigger. The British Admiralty just didn't seem to be able to get that notion through their heads and they paid the price for their stubbornness in steel and blood.

  • Boring 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,281
[CVA16]
Members
5,916 posts
18,166 battles
8 hours ago, 1Sherman said:

Still, if three battlecruisers can all get reduced to splinters the size of my index finger via single salvos of BB fire at Jutland, then so can the Hood,

The Jutland fiasco was largely due to the RN wanting to get the maximum rate of fire possible. To do this they ignored various safety protocols to keep the shells flowing faster. They stored extra shells in the turrets, left the blast doors to the magazines open, etc. Therefore the chance of a catastrophic hit went from unlikely to very likely.

The RN learned from Jutland for Hood. They made the armor better, safety protocols were improved further and made sacrosanct.  A 15" shell should not have been able to pen the magazine at that angle. They have been trying since the sinking to explain how it happened. The bow-wave theory is a theory but is also a reasonable explanation that fits the known facts and allows for the magazine explosion. No way to ever know absolutely.

 

Just wondering, has any modern era ship ever survived a magazine explosion? At least where it didn't sink within minutes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
896
[REVY]
Members
2,580 posts
13,901 battles
On 12/17/2020 at 11:17 AM, Sabot_100 said:

Just wondering, has any modern era ship ever survived a magazine explosion? At least where it didn't sink within minutes. 

I don't think there has been any major surface action where the magazine factored in with the ships loss.

The closest a ship has been to detonation would likely be USS Iowa during the turret 2 explosion.

 

Kursk maybe?

Edited by Lord_Slayer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,281
[CVA16]
Members
5,916 posts
18,166 battles
2 hours ago, Lord_Slayer said:

The closest a ship has been to detonation would likely be USS Iowa during the turret 2 explosion.

By "Modern Era" I was thinking of post sailing ship (though a magazine detonation was probably pretty fatal to them too).

Any ship ever have a magazine explosion and make it back to port? (even being towed)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
896
[REVY]
Members
2,580 posts
13,901 battles
17 minutes ago, Sabot_100 said:

By "Modern Era" I was thinking of post sailing ship (though a magazine detonation was probably pretty fatal to them too).

Any ship ever have a magazine explosion and make it back to port? (even being towed)

I believe that USS South Dakota nearly detonated in 1945. Five propellant tanks exploded while the ship was replenishing ammo. The resulting fire was serious enough that they flooded Turret Two magazine.

USS Mississippi experienced two separate incidents involving her turret two that killed the entire turret crew. The incidents occurred about 20 years apart though.

USS Shaw had her bow blown off at Pearl Harbor, but she was already in a floating drydock and was recovered.

As for ships at sea, I did a quick google and found this: USS Boise and USS New Orleans

https://www.quora.com/Were-magazine-detonations-on-ships-always-fatal-Was-there-any-cases-where-a-ship-suffered-a-magazine-detonation-and-was-able-to-return-to-port

 

 

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,973
Alpha Tester
6,535 posts
3,314 battles
On 12/17/2020 at 11:17 AM, Sabot_100 said:

The Jutland fiasco was largely due to the RN wanting to get the maximum rate of fire possible. To do this they ignored various safety protocols to keep the shells flowing faster. They stored extra shells in the turrets, left the blast doors to the magazines open, etc. Therefore the chance of a catastrophic hit went from unlikely to very likely.

Did they ignore the same protocols on the Warspite? She got pounded at Jutland but still survived. If the protocols were ignored on her too, I'd argue that her survival could be attributed to the fact that she was built to take hits from ships with guns the size of her own, unlike battlecruisers.

On 12/17/2020 at 11:17 AM, Sabot_100 said:

The RN learned from Jutland for Hood. They made the armor better, safety protocols were improved further and made sacrosanct.  A 15" shell should not have been able to pen the magazine at that angle. 

You'd think that 15 inch guns on a BB from 1941 would have better performance characteristics, e.g. shell penetration, than 15 inch guns on a BB from 1916. No ship is invulnerable, after all, especially one that was intended to run away from opponent with guns as large as its own in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,281
[CVA16]
Members
5,916 posts
18,166 battles
1 hour ago, 1Sherman said:

You'd think that 15 inch guns on a BB from 1941 would have better performance characteristics, e.g. shell penetration, than 15 inch guns on a BB from 1916. No ship is invulnerable, after all, especially one that was intended to run away from opponent with guns as large as its own in the first place.

My comment was based on the standard penetration tables for the Bismarcks guns. They certainly could have penetrated at other ranges and angles but for where the Hood was, they should not have been able to penetrate. It should not have happened...but it did.  "Experts" have been trying to explain how for decades.  Hood was too close for plunging fire. Blowing up the 4" ready ammo should not have affected the main magazine. However, the bow wave phenomena where the shell hits the 4" main magazine, which blows thru to the main magazine, fits all the known facts. And there are pictures of the Hood at speed showing the low wake at this point on the hull. This allows a  very lucky shell to go under the main belt.

Is it possible something else caused it? Some random spark/dropped shell in the magazine? Sure. We will never actually know. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,973
Alpha Tester
6,535 posts
3,314 battles
9 hours ago, Lord_Slayer said:

I believe that USS South Dakota nearly detonated in 1945. Five propellant tanks exploded while the ship was replenishing ammo. The resulting fire was serious enough that they flooded Turret Two magazine.

USS Mississippi experienced two separate incidents involving her turret two that killed the entire turret crew. The incidents occurred about 20 years apart though.

USS Shaw had her bow blown off at Pearl Harbor, but she was already in a floating drydock and was recovered.

As for ships at sea, I did a quick google and found this: USS Boise and USS New Orleans

https://www.quora.com/Were-magazine-detonations-on-ships-always-fatal-Was-there-any-cases-where-a-ship-suffered-a-magazine-detonation-and-was-able-to-return-to-port

Don't forget HMS Lion at Jutland. Had the Victoria Cross-winning actions of the Royal Marine Major Francis Harvey not led to the flooding of her magazine, she would have been reduced to splinters by a propellant fire set by 15 inch shells from Lützow.

2 hours ago, Sabot_100 said:

My comment was based on the standard penetration tables for the Bismarcks guns. They certainly could have penetrated at other ranges and angles but for where the Hood was, they should not have been able to penetrate. It should not have happened...but it did.  "Experts" have been trying to explain how for decades.  Hood was too close for plunging fire. Blowing up the 4" ready ammo should not have affected the main magazine. However, the bow wave phenomena where the shell hits the 4" main magazine, which blows thru to the main magazine, fits all the known facts. And there are pictures of the Hood at speed showing the low wake at this point on the hull. This allows a  very lucky shell to go under the main belt.

Is it possible something else caused it? Some random spark/dropped shell in the magazine? Sure. We will never actually know. 

Sure, but you didn't address my first point regarding how Warspite, a ship purpose-built to fight other ships with guns her size, survived getting hit while the battlecruisers didn't. Magazine protection or not, the simple truth of the matter is that a battlecruiser never had any place trading shots and standing ground with an actual BB proper. The Hood was outmatched, the Admiralty outside of Jackie Fisher didn't realize that, and she paid the price for it. There's a reason beyond just the rise of naval air power that the Hood was the last battlecruiser ever built.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
896
[REVY]
Members
2,580 posts
13,901 battles
4 minutes ago, 1Sherman said:

 Magazine protection or not, the simple truth of the matter is that a battlecruiser never had any place trading shots and standing ground with an actual BB proper. The Hood was outmatched, the Admiralty outside of Jackie Fisher didn't realize that, and she paid the price for it. There's a reason beyond just the rise of naval air power that the Hood was the last battlecruiser ever built.

This exactly.

 

The Battlecruisers were designed to be lightly armored (compared to a full Dreadnought) and fast to be, essentially, cruiser killers. They were never intended to fight in the battleline with dreadnoughts, nor were they intended to fight dreadnoughts.

When used for their original purpose (IE Battle of the Falklands) they worked very well.

But against true Dreadnoughts/Battleships they faired very poorly.

In WW1 at Jutland the Royal Navy lost 3 BCs to Germany's 1. It was almost 4, but for heroic action by the Marine on HMS Lion.

In WW2, Hood was sunk by Bismarck, Hiei was taken out by cruiser guns, and Kirishima fought a modern US BB and lost.

  • Boring 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,281
[CVA16]
Members
5,916 posts
18,166 battles
28 minutes ago, 1Sherman said:

Sure, but you didn't address my first point regarding how Warspite, a ship purpose-built to fight other ships with guns her size, survived getting hit while the battlecruisers didn't. Magazine protection or not, the simple truth of the matter is that a battlecruiser never had any place trading shots and standing ground with an actual BB proper.

Battlecruisers weren't supposed to but that is a problem when you build ships for a certain niche and then find you need to use them outside that niche. Kitakami is the poster child for this.

Couple of points though. The Jutland battlecruiser did exceptionally poorly because they didn't have enough armor but also because somebody decided they could shoot much faster if they ignored and overrode certain pesky safety protocols about closing magazine doors and storing extra shells in the turrets.

Second, Hood actually incorporated some lessons learned from Jutland. Nobody violated the improved safety measures and protocols. Her armor was upgraded making her somewhat heavier. Her decks got wetter. She should have been able to take the hits from Bismarck at the range she was at. Further out and she was vulnerable to plunging fire. Too close and the shells would rip through her belt. At the range (and angle) where she took the fatal hit, her magazines at least SHOULD have been protected. The question has always been why wasn't she. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,769
[SYN]
[SYN]
Members
8,824 posts
15,425 battles
1 hour ago, 1Sherman said:

 

Sure, but you didn't address my first point regarding how Warspite, a ship purpose-built to fight other ships with guns her size, survived getting hit while the battlecruisers didn't. Magazine protection or not, the simple truth of the matter is that a battlecruiser never had any place trading shots and standing ground with an actual BB proper. The Hood was outmatched, the Admiralty outside of Jackie Fisher didn't realize that, and she paid the price for it. There's a reason beyond just the rise of naval air power that the Hood was the last battlecruiser ever built.

Warspite didn't explode most likely because she wasn't seriously hit in a gun turret or barbette. That's overall fairly similar to the battlecruiser Tiger which took a large number of hits, but not in particularly dangerous places with the exception of a partial penetration on the roof of one turret. 

The first generation of British battlecruisers were certainly very different to the second and later ones, and could be criticized for the armor, but the Princess Royal and onward had reasonable armor and big, long ranged guns. At reasonable range (and all else being equal in shell design) the thinner British armor would probably do as well against smaller German shells, as the thicker German armor would do against heavier British shells. 

The WWI impact of cordite and handling it does seem pretty big, hence for instance the loss of the Queen Mary, Indefatigable and Invincible at Jutland handling and cordite can ve significantly blamed. If armor was the decisive factor then you'd expect Derfflinger - which had both her aft turrets gutted by 15in hits from Revenge, or the Seydlitz which lost both aft turrets burned out to a single hit from Lion at Dogger Bank, and then another at Jutland to have exploded. The thicker armor didn't work but the results were quite different. 

Hood was potentially outmatched, though the lesson might be 'dont send a 20 year old ship's rather than 'dont send a nominal battlecruiser'. In theory Hood and Prince of Wales had a major advantage in fighting power, and the value of Prinz Eugen in a battleship fight is pretty low (perhaps she should not have been there?). The British also had less than perfect knowledge of Bismarck as assuming she was Treaty compliant she would have been less of a handful. 

On the day, a large number of tactical and decision factors made the biggest difference in my view, and to blame Fisher (who was kicked out in 1915, a year before Jutland and the laying down of Hood) for events 25 years later puts blame a little unfairly there when there's plenty to go around for Admiral Holland, Tovey, the British Naval Intelligence service, British interwar politics, industry and elsewhere. 

1 hour ago, Lord_Slayer said:

This exactly.

 

The Battlecruisers were designed to be lightly armored (compared to a full Dreadnought) and fast to be, essentially, cruiser killers. They were never intended to fight in the battleline with dreadnoughts, nor were they intended to fight dreadnoughts.

When used for their original purpose (IE Battle of the Falklands) they worked very well.

In WW1 at Jutland the Royal Navy lost 3 BCs to Germany's 1. It was almost 4, but for heroic action by the Marine on HMS Lion.

In WW2, Hood was sunk by Bismarck, Hiei was taken out by cruiser guns, and Kirishima fought a modern US BB and lost.

Not really a fair estimation. 

All three British battlecruisers lost at Jutland were sunk by German battlecruisers, and in fact they were barely fired at, let alone hit by the German battleships. It was the British battlecruisers that sank the German loss in turn too. It was also very nearly 2 more German losses with Seydlitz touching bottom on the way home she was so badly flooded and Derfflinger having 'deserved' to explode. 

In WWI the British battlecruisers pretty consistently avoided battleships, with the German ones taking lots of battleship fire at Jutland. Using battlecruisers as a heavy scouting force was a pretty sensible move, and without them or with them neutralized you had major issues, the British battlecruisers by locating and luring the German high seas fleet into the grand fleet were doing the right thing. 

No one after Midway when the Japanese lost 3 carriers and the Americans 1, all to other carriers says 'my word these useless carriers!'. Similarly no one claims heavy cruisers are worthless despite Japanese ones sinking 2 American and an Australian without loss at Savo Island. For some reason only battlecruisers are so derided for being lethal to one another. 

The other conclusion you could take from Hiei, Kirishima and Hood is that old WWI era ships shouldn't fight much larger, more modern (or both) examples. The Japanese battlecruisers may have had those two losses, but overall the Kongos were vastly more useful than the rest of the Japanese battleships, carrying out bombardments in the Solomon's, bashing ships in the night combats while taking bigger beatings and overall looking vastly more productive than the Fuso's, Ise's, Nagato's, and Yamato's in particular. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,475
[REVY]
Members
8,169 posts
6,118 battles
On 12/21/2020 at 7:44 AM, Sabot_100 said:

By "Modern Era" I was thinking of post sailing ship (though a magazine detonation was probably pretty fatal to them too).

Any ship ever have a magazine explosion and make it back to port? (even being towed)

Of course.  USS New Orleans magazine was detonated by a long lance torpedo, resulting in the forward turret blowing away, smashing backwards into the hull like the iceberg in the Titanic's hull before smashing into one of the propellers, badly damaging it.  She sailed backwards back to Sydney, Australia for repairs.

Damaged_USS_New_Orleans_(CA-32)_reaching

On 12/21/2020 at 6:18 PM, Lord_Slayer said:

But against true Dreadnoughts/Battleships they faired very poorly.

Except none of the British Battlecruisers were destroyed by Dreadnoughts or Battleships.  They were destroyed by other Battlecruisers.  Beatty's flagship fired over 3x the shells as opposed to Jellicoe's flagship because the Battlecruisers did all of the heavy fighting at Jutland.  And keep in mind Beatty lost a turret right at the start of the battle.

Edited by Sventex
  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
181
[WOLFO]
Members
594 posts
5,502 battles
7 hours ago, Sventex said:

Of course.  USS New Orleans magazine was detonated by a long lance torpedo, resulting in the forward turret blowing away, smashing backwards into the hull like the iceberg in the Titanic's hull before knocking one of the engine props off.  She sailed backwards back to Sydney, Australia for repairs.

Damaged_USS_New_Orleans_(CA-32)_reaching

Except none of the British Battlecruisers were destroyed by Dreadnoughts or Battleships.  They were destroyed by other Battlecruisers.  Beatty's flagship fired over 3x the shells as opposed to Jellicoe's flagship because the Battlecruisers did all of the heavy fighting at Jutland.  And keep in mind Beatty lost a turret right at the start of the battle.

this one is pretty amazing... ty! sailed backwards, sheesh... :) what a hairy situation.

We fight on such still water, I feel like Hood may have been pitching in the water,  just at unfortunate angle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
356 posts
On 12/21/2020 at 8:26 AM, Lord_Slayer said:

I don't think there has been any major surface action where the magazine factored in with the ships loss.

The closest a ship has been to detonation would likely be USS Iowa during the turret 2 explosion.

 

Kursk maybe?

SMS Pommern

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
356 posts
15 hours ago, Sabot_100 said:

My comment was based on the standard penetration tables for the Bismarcks guns. They certainly could have penetrated at other ranges and angles but for where the Hood was, they should not have been able to penetrate. It should not have happened...but it did.  "Experts" have been trying to explain how for decades.  Hood was too close for plunging fire. Blowing up the 4" ready ammo should not have affected the main magazine. However, the bow wave phenomena where the shell hits the 4" main magazine, which blows thru to the main magazine, fits all the known facts. And there are pictures of the Hood at speed showing the low wake at this point on the hull. This allows a  very lucky shell to go under the main belt.

 Is it possible something else caused it? Some random spark/dropped shell in the magazine? Sure. We will never actually know. 

 

Occam's Razor applies here.   
A 15" shell simply penetrated to a magazine and detonated it.  Nothing else could produce that kind of explosion.

And it was a lucky hit. 

Remember, Kirishima's armor was far more outclassed by Washington's guns, and took 20+ hits and didn't explode.  
Reason was simply that none of the shells happened to penetrate the powder magazines.  They could have, easily....just none of them hit in those locations.  You still have to be lucky.   Hood was not. 

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
896
[REVY]
Members
2,580 posts
13,901 battles
56 minutes ago, JuiceEFruit said:

SMS Pommern

in the context of my original quote, I answered a comment referring to the 'Modern Era', which I consider to be Post-WW2.

When the commenter replied with 'Modern Era' being post sailing era, then yes, Pommern would be included. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,769
[SYN]
[SYN]
Members
8,824 posts
15,425 battles

There aren't that many examples of warship combat post WWII, but HMS Antelope had her magazine explode at the Falklands:

image.thumb.png.5928f489a74ca05db245c28db5999ead.png

image.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
896
[REVY]
Members
2,580 posts
13,901 battles
On 12/22/2020 at 12:00 PM, mofton said:

There aren't that many examples of warship combat post WWII, but HMS Antelope had her magazine explode at the Falklands:

image.thumb.png.5928f489a74ca05db245c28db5999ead.png

image.png

technically, yes, her magazine did explode.

But the true damage was done when they were trying to defuse/remove the two bombs that hit her and did not explode.

From what I have read, in the attempt of disposal, the bomb exploded and pretty much wrecked the ship, and set it ablaze. With the water main shattered, there was no way to fight the fires and the Captain ordered the ship abandoned. It was only after the ship had been abandoned that the magazine exploded from the uncontrollable fires and explosions continued throughout the night.

So I'm not really sure you could say she was lost to a magazine explosion the same way Hood was. She was already given up as lost and abandoned before she exploded, much like the Yamato. We can say that Yamato was sunk by aircraft of the US Navy, that her magazine exploding after she capsized as she sank was a secondary affect.

Which then brings up an interesting question: Do the Argentine pilots get credit for sinking Antelope or was it self-inflicted by the Bomb Disposal team?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
356 posts
On 12/21/2020 at 8:26 AM, Lord_Slayer said:

I don't think there has been any major surface action where the magazine factored in with the ships loss.

The closest a ship has been to detonation would likely be USS Iowa during the turret 2 explosion.

 

Kursk maybe?

USS Savannah was hit by a Fritz X guided bomb, penetrated the turret all the way down to the lower ammunition handling area and detonated.   Blew a hole in the keel and out the side. 

Survived. 

Not a surface action, though.

When Halsey finally decided to detach TF34 and come after Kurita, he then detached Iowa and New Jersey with a group of cruisers to forge ahead of the slower BB's.    They caught the tail end of Kurita's force and violently exploded a Japanese ship with gunfire, so there's one magazine that cooked off due to gunfire. 

From Halsey:

 

Quote

The Central Force was in full retreat by late afternoon, and by 2200 it was reentering San Bernardino, with my force still two hours away. However, shortly after midnight one of my van destroyers made contact with a straggler. I was able to watch the action from the New Jersey's bridge — the first and only surface action I saw during my entire career. The cruisers poured in their 6‑inch shells, then a destroyer delivered the knockout with torpedoes. They must have touched off her magazines, because I felt the explosion distinctly, 15 miles away.


 

The Central Force was in full retreat by late afternoon, and by 2200 it was reentering San Bernardino, with my force still two hours away. However, shortly after midnight one of my van destroyers made contact with a straggler. I was able to watch the action from the New Jersey's bridge — the first and only surface action I saw during my entire career. The cruisers poured in their 6‑inch shells, then a destroyer delivered the knockout with torpedoes. They must have touched off her magazines, because I felt the explosion distinctly, 15 miles away.

Edited by JuiceEFruit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,717
[ARS]
Beta Testers
5,331 posts
5,811 battles
On 12/21/2020 at 9:44 AM, Sabot_100 said:

By "Modern Era" I was thinking of post sailing ship (though a magazine detonation was probably pretty fatal to them too).

Any ship ever have a magazine explosion and make it back to port? (even being towed)

The L'Orient exploding at the Battle of the Nile in 1798:

The_Battle_of_the_Nile.thumb.jpg.0e28789c985bb1d945d25407e335b778.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×