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  #1  
Unread 04-10-2013, 02:36 PM
highlander53 highlander53 is offline
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Default WI: HMS Hood survived?

In May 1941, a British task force led by the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, was pursuing the German battleship Bismarck, and was sunk by the Bismarck. The Bismarck's gun crew, who'd been training to fight the Hood, was taken by surprise
when she sank. There were only three crewmen survived when HMS Hood sank.
What if HMS Hood survived her encounter with the Bismarck?
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Unread 04-10-2013, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by highlander53 View Post
In May 1941, a British task force led by the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, was pursuing the German battleship Bismarck, and was sunk by the Bismarck. The Bismarck's gun crew, who'd been training to fight the Hood, was taken by surprise
when she sank. There were only three crewmen survived when HMS Hood sank.
What if HMS Hood survived her encounter with the Bismarck?
If Hood had survived, the short-term result is that she and PoW would have outgunned Bismarck, and Bismarck would probably have been defeated in that initial fight.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 03:24 PM
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If Hood had survived, the short-term result is that she and PoW would have outgunned Bismarck, and Bismarck would probably have been defeated in that initial fight.
Hood was done in by weak deck armor. She'd been in service so long that they'd
skipped routine maintenance.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 03:29 PM
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Hood was done in by weak deck armor. She'd been in service so long that they'd
skipped routine maintenance.
She had been let down both by her initial design and the fact that Britain lacked the money to re-armour her in the '30s. Her final problem was that the Germans scored a lucky shot on her. I understand that the current theory is that a fire in her secondary shell locker spread to her primary shell locker, leading to a disastrous explosion. Damnable shame, though.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 03:43 PM
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Sink the Bismark is gonna be a different song, that's for sure.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MacCaulay View Post
Sink the Bismark is gonna be a different song, that's for sure.
Yes, it would. So, too, would the movie of the same name.
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Unread 04-11-2013, 08:00 AM
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What if HMS Hood survived her encounter with the Bismarck?
Depends on how it happens. If the Bismarck is able to batter Hood without taking much in the way of damage itself but not having the opportunity to stay around and finish the job then I could see her continuing on with her mission whilst Hood limps away and things go pretty much as in our timeline. It's a major kick in the teeth for the Royal Navy but not such an absolute massive blow, the order to 'Sink the Bismarck!' will still go out though to try and balance accounts. If Bismarck takes some knocks then they may decide to head back to port, IIRC on a number of occassions German surface ships retreated to avoid taking damage due to operating orders. That might actually be worse for the British as they had the numbers to trade a battlecruiser for a battleship, with Bismarck back in port they still need to keep a large number of ships on hand to guard for if and when she comes back out again.


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She had been let down both by her initial design and the fact that Britain lacked the money to re-armour her in the '30s.
From what I've heard it was also that she was used on a lot of show the flag duties, partly because she was the Hood and partly because they didn't have enough ships. Ideally they should of just bitten the bullet and said sod it, showing the flag isn't as important as decent protection and taken her in for a year or two for a refit.
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Unread 04-11-2013, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MrP View Post
She had been let down both by her initial design and the fact that Britain lacked the money to re-armour her in the '30s. Her final problem was that the Germans scored a lucky shot on her. I understand that the current theory is that a fire in her secondary shell locker spread to her primary shell locker, leading to a disastrous explosion. Damnable shame, though.
Yes, she was. That much I remember hearing on a Discovery Channel special about
HMS Hood and the Bismarck. Edwin P. Hoyt had written a book about her.
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Unread 04-11-2013, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Simon View Post

From what I've heard it was also that she was used on a lot of show the flag duties, partly because she was the Hood and partly because they didn't have enough ships. Ideally they should of just bitten the bullet and said sod it, showing the flag isn't as important as decent protection and taken her in for a year or two for a refit.
I think there was also the aspect of the RN having a schedule of refits in order to keep a minimum number, so the older vessels like the QE's got the refits.
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Unread 04-11-2013, 09:43 AM
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I think there was also the aspect of the RN having a schedule of refits in order to keep a minimum number, so the older vessels like the QE's got the refits.
That sounds about right.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 10:12 AM
Ancientgeezer Ancientgeezer is offline
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Had the Hood survived the exchange with the Bismark, I suspect she would have gone down in the South China Sea off the coast of Malaya on 10 December 1941.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 12:38 PM
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Had the Hood survived the exchange with the Bismark, I suspect she would have gone down in the South China Sea off the coast of Malaya on 10 December 1941.
Quite probably! However, what if Force Z had been commanded by Holland rather than Phillips? If we assume that Holland had followed Phillips route all the way to Kuantan, he might still have broken radio silence to call for fighters to be over Kuantan that morning. That might require that he understood that the RAF had told him that they could not give him cover over Singora rather than that they could not give him cover anywhere. The probability of him using his radio would have been increased because he would not have had the recent example of Lutjens giving away his position by signalling. Additionally, Phillips seems to have mishandled his ships and not opposed the initial Japanese attack with the maximum possible anti-aircraft fire (if we want to make the AA fire more effective, we might even ask Holland to demand better maintenance of his radar equipment).

ps. Actually the different movements of ships after May should butterfly the weather so that 9th December may not have such poor visibility or 10th December might be as murky as the day before.

Last edited by Mostlyharmless; 04-15-2013 at 12:47 PM.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mostlyharmless View Post
Quite probably! However, what if Force Z had been commanded by Holland rather than Phillips? If we assume that Holland had followed Phillips route all the way to Kuantan, he might still have broken radio silence to call for fighters to be over Kuantan that morning. That might require that he understood that the RAF had told him that they could not give him cover over Singora rather than that they could not give him cover anywhere. The probability of him using his radio would have been increased because he would not have had the recent example of Lutjens giving away his position by signalling. Additionally, Phillips seems to have mishandled his ships and not opposed the initial Japanese attack with the maximum possible anti-aircraft fire (if we want to make the AA fire more effective, we might even ask Holland to demand better maintenance of his radar equipment).

ps. Actually the different movements of ships after May should butterfly the weather so that 9th December may not have such poor visibility or 10th December might be as murky as the day before.
If I remember correctly, Force Z was supposed to be escorted by a carrier but the carrier assigned to Force Z was under repair at the time.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 04:35 PM
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If I remember correctly, Force Z was supposed to be escorted by a carrier but the carrier assigned to Force Z was under repair at the time.
highlander53

One of the new armoured carriers was due to join the fleet. However I don't think it would have got there before war broke out even if it hadn't damaged itself in an accidental grounding while working up in the Caribbean.

Steve
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Unread 04-15-2013, 04:42 PM
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If I remember correctly, Force Z was supposed to be escorted by a carrier but the carrier assigned to Force Z was under repair at the time.
HMS Indomitable had run aground in Jamaica. It is doubtful she would even had made it in time to rendezvous and provide air cover even had that not happened.

As for Hood. Well, she suffered what we over at warships1 years ago called a "Golden Twinkee", normally a pretty rare event in general terms, but rather depressingly not so with British battlecruisers. Holland was well aware of her weaknesses and was endeavouring to close the range with Hood's immune zone in mind. Had he managed to do so, it is possible Bismarck could have received a much more bloody nose than OTL.

Given Prince of Wales, even with all her turret issues, managed to land a damaging hit necessitating Bismarck breaking off her mission, two ships in the fight could well do more. The thing is, Bismarck was a tough ship to sink, but a relatively easy one to mission kill. Lütjens is going to back off and use his superior speed and the bad weather to escape if he can as his orders were to do what damage he could but not to risk Bismarck getting beaten up too much.

The end result is quite possibly a sunk Bismarck with possibly two damaged ships or even a sunk ship on the British side, or perhaps a moderately to heavily damaged Hood and damaged Prince of Wales on the British side as well as a knocked about and probably mission killed Bismarck which leads to Bismarck escaping in the murk (assuming she's left with the speed to do so). 15" hits on Hood are going to hurt even if she's not killed by them. Much depends upon how long the German accuracy can keep up for Bismarck. Remember that the optics on Bismarck are very good, but very labour intensive and have a tendency to result in a degradation of performance due to crew fatigue over a relatively short time.


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Unread 04-15-2013, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by stevep View Post
highlander53

One of the new armoured carriers was due to join the fleet. However I don't think it would have got there before war broke out even if it hadn't damaged itself in an accidental grounding while working up in the Caribbean.

Steve
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Unread 04-17-2013, 05:56 AM
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HMS Indomitable had run aground in Jamaica. It is doubtful she would even had made it in time to rendezvous and provide air cover even had that not happened.

As for Hood. Well, she suffered what we over at warships1 years ago called a "Golden Twinkee", normally a pretty rare event in general terms, but rather depressingly not so with British battlecruisers. Holland was well aware of her weaknesses and was endeavouring to close the range with Hood's immune zone in mind. Had he managed to do so, it is possible Bismarck could have received a much more bloody nose than OTL.

Given Prince of Wales, even with all her turret issues, managed to land a damaging hit necessitating Bismarck breaking off her mission, two ships in the fight could well do more. The thing is, Bismarck was a tough ship to sink, but a relatively easy one to mission kill. Lütjens is going to back off and use his superior speed and the bad weather to escape if he can as his orders were to do what damage he could but not to risk Bismarck getting beaten up too much.

The end result is quite possibly a sunk Bismarck with possibly two damaged ships or even a sunk ship on the British side, or perhaps a moderately to heavily damaged Hood and damaged Prince of Wales on the British side as well as a knocked about and probably mission killed Bismarck which leads to Bismarck escaping in the murk (assuming she's left with the speed to do so). 15" hits on Hood are going to hurt even if she's not killed by them. Much depends upon how long the German accuracy can keep up for Bismarck. Remember that the optics on Bismarck are very good, but very labour intensive and have a tendency to result in a degradation of performance due to crew fatigue over a relatively short time.


Sargon
HMS Hood, by May 1941, had been in duty so long that she skipped routine maintenance. Also, the battlecruiser, was a hybrid design. It had the speed of a
battleship with armor, and armament, of a cruiser.
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Unread 04-17-2013, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by highlander53 View Post
HMS Hood, by May 1941, had been in duty so long that she skipped routine maintenance. Also, the battlecruiser, was a hybrid design. It had the speed of a
battleship with armor, and armament, of a cruiser.
highlander53

The original BCs were. By Hood's time [~1919] it was more of a fast battleship. For instance the main belt was 12" and slopped, which made it pretty much a match for that on the Bismarck's 12.6". The problem was that the design was elderly with a number of flaws, chiefly on the lack of deck armour.

Steve
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Unread 04-17-2013, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by highlander53 View Post
HMS Hood, by May 1941, had been in duty so long that she skipped routine maintenance. Also, the battlecruiser, was a hybrid design. It had the speed of a
battleship with armor, and armament, of a cruiser.
You are right about maintenance and the age of the ship catching up with her. Her speed was not what it used to be for one thing.

Regarding your other points, I'm not entirely sure what you are getting at here old chap. A battlecruiser had the speed of a cruiser, not a battleship, the theory being to make it faster than a battleship. "Speed is armour" as Fisher said and all that. Additionally it carried the armament of a battleship not a cruiser. Fast enough to get away from a battleship and heavy gunned enough to take down cruisers (amoured cruisers specifically).

HMS Hood was scheduled for a reconstruction, akin to that done to HMS Renown, however, because of the show-the-flag business she never managed to receive it. She would have had an increase in deck armour for one thing had that happened. As stevep correctly points out, she had a decent thickness of belt which was a vast improvement over previous battlecruisers and could be described as a fast battleship. The Royal Navy however assigned her to battlecruiser squadrons most of the time, so make of that what you will.

Her inadequate deck armour was one of the main flaws as well as the arrangement of her belt which would allow for penetration into vital areas in certain circumstances. Her immune zone was compromised by these weaknesses.


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Unread 04-17-2013, 12:31 PM
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There is an old but very good article by Bill Jurens on the loss of HMS Hood available in four parts at http://www.navweaps.com/index_inro/index_inro.htm. Essentially Hood could have been lost as a result of a shell passing over, through or under its 480 lb. (11.8 inch) main belt. Hood was in fact better armoured than the earlier battleships of the Queen Elizabeth class before the modernization of Warspite, Valiant and Queen Elizabeth but unfortunately shell design had improved and it was very difficult to armour a battleship to resist the shells of 1941. Even Prince of Wales thicker, deeper and newer belt might have been penetrated by a shell arriving from abeam http://warships1discussionboards.yuk...Damage?page=28 but would probably have been able to avoid such a disaster by steering towards Bismarck at an angle which would just allow the use of all its guns.

Thus Prince of Wales should have led Hood towards Bismarck. Unfortunately, Holland was aboard Hood and the Royal Navy has tended not to approve of the Duke of Plaza Toro method http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHnmWgv55ZU. Knowing all of that, Tovey should have sent an explicit order to Holland.
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Unread 04-17-2013, 02:10 PM
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Question, somewhat related: if you could do one thing to Hood, in 1940, which would you choose: 1) Uparmor her, especially her deck, or, 2) Give her superheavy shells like the US guns fired, or, 3) give her the best radar fire control system available.
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Unread 04-17-2013, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
highlander53

The original BCs were. By Hood's time [~1919] it was more of a fast battleship. For instance the main belt was 12" and slopped, which made it pretty much a match for that on the Bismarck's 12.6". The problem was that the design was elderly with a number of flaws, chiefly on the lack of deck armour.

Steve
Steve, that's about right. Had the G3 battlecruisers been built, they would have been a new design. In World War II, we had the Alaska Class large cruisers―the
USN's designation for them was CB. Only two of the Alaskas were built. USS Alaska, (CB-1), and USS Guam, (CB-2). The other ships in the class, Hawaii, (CB-3), Philippines, (CB-4), Puerto Rico, (CB-5), and Samoa, (CB-6), were cancelled.
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Unread 04-17-2013, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by American God View Post
Question, somewhat related: if you could do one thing to Hood, in 1940, which would you choose: 1) Uparmor her, especially her deck, or, 2) Give her superheavy shells like the US guns fired, or, 3) give her the best radar fire control system available.
American God

Definitely up-armour her. The super-heavy shells or better fire control radar would have made her more lethal but that's little good if the ship blows up before she can apply that lethality. The naval staff at least knew she was vulnerable - there had even been suggestions she be scrapped on the stock ~1918 to make way for better designs and things had moved on from them. This was especially the case since in WWII Britain was desperately short of ships compared to in WWI.

Steve
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Unread 04-17-2013, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by American God View Post
Question, somewhat related: if you could do one thing to Hood, in 1940, which would you choose: 1) Uparmor her, especially her deck, or, 2) Give her superheavy shells like the US guns fired, or, 3) give her the best radar fire control system available.
Add the armour. Assuming the battle plays out the same, her existing shells can hurt Bismarck well enough if they hit without needing to be superheavy, and the best radar fire control available to the RN at the time may not have made the difference in time given Hood was destroyed quite soon into the battle. Besides, merely by adding the armour, that would probably drop her speed a little more and who knows if that butterflies away the hit as she won't be turning or in quite the same place at the same time as she was OTL. With her still in the battle along with Prince of Wales, then Bismarck could be in for some real heat.

She's going to be thrown at the Bismarck, so the armour is the best way to increase her chances of avoiding an appointment with ol' Davy and his locker.


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Unread 04-17-2013, 03:36 PM
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You are right about maintenance and the age of the ship catching up with her. Her speed was not what it used to be for one thing.

Regarding your other points, I'm not entirely sure what you are getting at here old chap. A battlecruiser had the speed of a cruiser, not a battleship, the theory being to make it faster than a battleship. "Speed is armour" as Fisher said and all that. Additionally it carried the armament of a battleship not a cruiser. Fast enough to get away from a battleship and heavy gunned enough to take down cruisers (amoured cruisers specifically).

HMS Hood was scheduled for a reconstruction, akin to that done to HMS Renown, however, because of the show-the-flag business she never managed to receive it. She would have had an increase in deck armour for one thing had that happened. As stevep correctly points out, she had a decent thickness of belt which was a vast improvement over previous battlecruisers and could be described as a fast battleship. The Royal Navy however assigned her to battlecruiser squadrons most of the time, so make of that what you will.

Her inadequate deck armour was one of the main flaws as well as the arrangement of her belt which would allow for penetration into vital areas in certain circumstances. Her immune zone was compromised by these weaknesses.


Sargon
I see. Still, the battlecruiser, was a hybrid. The USN, in World War II, didn't use
battlecruisers for reconnaissance. The USN used battleships. Hood could have been converted into an aircraft carrier like Kaga.
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