Purpose of this blog

Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Who Rules the Waves?

This week I asked How much did Nicholas Straussler get paid for inventing the DD tank. Answer after the article.

As you may be aware the World of  Warships has finally released the Royal Navy into the game in the form of HMS Warspite. Upon hearing the news of the arrival of the largest, most important and powerful navy in the world during the scope of the game I figured I'd share some test data I found at an archive.
HMS Warspite
HMS Warspite's first taste of action was on the 31st of May 1916. When probing through the murky afternoon in the North Sea with several other British ships she ran into a German fleet. This was of course the battle of Jutland. Early on in the battle she appeared to be heading on a collision course for HMS Malaya.  Her captain ordered her 20 degrees to port, but about this time she took a hit to the steering gear, which jammed it in the port position.
This turn narrowly caused her to miss ramming into HMS Valiant, passing close to her stern. The crew were wrestling with her trying to get her under control, and this left them heading towards the enemy fleet, and slowing at the same time. Seeing the threat HMS Warspite's captain ordered full speed. This meant that she sailed in a giant circle and at the closest point to the enemy fleet she was just 12000 yards (about 10Km) away from the German line. Then as she extended away, the crew were unable to regain control, and she made another circuit past the German line. During these circles she took a massive battering, with about 150 hits, although she survived. After the second circuit she managed to withdraw.
During the Second World War HMS Warspite returned to the North Sea, and during operations there a Swordfish plane launched from her bombed a U-boat, which was the first sinking of a U-boat by a aeroplane.
Wreck of HMS Warspite, when she broke free while being towed to the breakers yard after the war

 If you'd like to know more about HMS Warspite, both in World of Warships and in history, see The Mighty Jingles Youtube video here.

In the North Sea there lay another giant battleship, the German Tirpitz. She was larger than HMS Warspite, faster and had a larger crew compliment. She was also much more modern. But in respects to the armour and the guns she was roughly the same.
Tirpitz however didn't have anywhere near the list of battle honours that HMS Warspite had managed to achieve. She spent most of her war protected in a fjord being attacked by the RAF. To counter the aircraft smoke pots were emplaced that could lay a blanket of obscuring smoke over the area. These managed to shroud her several times as the super accurate 617 Squadron tried to attack her with Tallboy bombs. Each time the smoke foiled them, and the bomb aimers were ordered not to waste the valuable Tallboys by area bombing due to their cost and the slow speed of production. However on one occasion, one of the eagle eyed bomb aimers managed to plant one into her deck towards the front of the ship. Another near miss damaged her steering gear.
Later she was moved to Tromsø, and again 617 Squadron attacked. This time the Germans hadn't had time to install the smoke pots, and the battleship lay naked beneath the RAF's bombers. The resulting damage caused a massive explosion and the ship to capsize.
Tirpitz being salvaged
The above is nothing new to those of you who know your naval history. However here's the interesting bits. Immediately after the war armour plate was salvaged from the the Tirpitz's hulk. It was compared to British standard plate in firing trials. The guns used were 15" weapons firing APC MK XVIII shells. The plate was angled to 30 degrees. Although both types of plate were of cemented armour manufacture, and about the same metallurgical quality the British plate was found to be superior by a significant margin. This is likely due to the depth of hardness facing, the British depth being nearly twice that of the Germans (6 inches against 3.5 inches). This amounted to needing a difference of about 50 feet per second to achieve the same results. The trials were repeated against thicker plate armour recovered from the Meppen proving ground, although the difference in that plate amounted to 100fps. This confirmed the results.
Note: the Tirpitz plates were only used for a single impact trial, while the British plate was used for multiple shots.
Tirpitz plate after getting hit by a 15" shell
So if the two mighty ships had met would the British would have walked away unscathed? Maybe, the German guns were of a more modern design and had a higher muzzle velocity, well within the margin needed to achieve the same results. However the closer range may have meant the rounds would bounce. Either way this is only the belt armour. The rest of the ships armour, excluding the gun turrets was much thinner.

Results of the tests

Answer to the Question:
Nicholas Straussler's company was paid £2,792 0s 0d. The vast majority of that was wages. In todays money that's about £598,500. Not a bad investment considering that for that the Government got a Fully converted DD Tetrarch light tank.
Image credits:
www.helstonhistory.co.uk, www.maritimequest.com, www.jamesgdorrian.com and www.historyofwar.org