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Mar 30 17 4:58 AM
Mar 30 17 7:56 PM
Dark Commander (ret.)
Do you have any information on directing fire behind smoke?
I've been looking for procedures and equipment that might make it possible historically. So far what I've come up with is really poor. To the point that I suspect while it might have been desirable, it was unworkable.
For the USN the basic procedure seems to have the aircraft fly on a bearing from the ship over the target. Then have the ship direct fire to the bearing of the aircraft at the range requested by the aircraft. Then spotting accomplished by the aircraft.
I would love more information if the Germans had something actually workable.
Mar 30 17 8:33 PM
Mar 31 17 9:22 PM
Cody2 wrote:How weak would "weak AA" be?
The float plane in question would have to fly directly over the target BB in a straight and level fashion repeatedly. The altitude of the float plane would need to be relatively low to accomplish the task. Even "weak" AA would be a problem for the floatplanes doing repeated low level straight and level passes.
The one thing that I noticed with the USN procedure was the amount of time required to make it happen. It seemed like a rather slow process. Forcing the Germans into a slow over the smoke process would be acceptable in a "play for time" strategy. That all said, I would think it's perfectly in character for a BB commander to go for a throat shot against the Bismarck. If it works, that would be the end of the North Atlantic threats from Germany. And it might just work. Especially for a commander and a navy known for it's aggression.
Mar 31 17 11:48 PM
Apr 1 17 5:57 PM
Cody2 wrote:So my understanding of the "fire over smoke" procedure the higher the aircraft, the more errors where introduced, and the less the odds of hitting.
IIRC, the pre war testing was well under 10,000 ft for the USN. I can't remember where I was seeing that. I'm working off my memory here as to the US procedure.
The director would be pointed at the floatplane and the range finders would range the float plane, while the observer was in radio communication with the gunnery department. The float plane would fly from the ship over the target. While doing so the spotter would call out the targets course and speed. That would be put into the fire control system. The observer would use the bomb sight to call out when the float plane was exactly over the target. That slant range would be used to come up with a range to the target.
Using the range, bearing from the director on the aircraft, and the target course and speed estimated by the observer, a gunnery solution would be obtained, and the the guns fired.
In the mean time the aircraft would reverse course to do it again, but on a recriprical course. The spotting results from the previous salvo would be reported, along with the new target course and speed. When the bomb sight showed the aircraft was over the target, another solution would be obtained, and the guns fired again.
In the mean time the ships are moving, the target is dodging, and things are challenging. The range finders on the ship couldn't deliver continuous ranges, but only every 15 seconds or so, so getting the range of the aircraft moving at ~100 kts when it was over the target was challenging. The aircraft couldn't go much faster because the faster it moved the harder to the the position accuretly measured. Getting accurate target courses and speeds depended greatly on the observers on the aircraft. And going from a manual solution to the guns firing added a bit of delay to the process.
In the same time the bomb sights of the era typically had an error of at least 1% of altitude. They also required the aircraft to fly straight and level. The aircraft has to make a turn and come back over the target for every salvo, so it's not a fast process.
If the target was immobile, or willing to stand on a steady course and not shoot at the floatplane, maybe it's possible, even probable to obtain at hit at around 20,000 yards. But I can't see the target ship not chasing salvos. Also the single float plane making an over head pass for each salvo, aslow, low, straight and level pass it's got to be an heavy AA gunners dream target. Even four 3" guns with a fairly basic FC system should be able to heavily damage the float plane. At the same time, the radio operators on the target would be doing their best to find the float planes frequincy, and jam it.
Now this is all assuming fairly basic visual pre-war equipment. Late war bomb sights were more accurate. Radio or radar based range finders would help greatly. And using radar through the smoke screen would also help greatly. Not sure what equipment the Bismarck had historically, nor what they have in HW.
Then again, I'm working with what I remember from articles that I can't even remember the title of now, so it's entirely possible I'm remembering something off.
Apr 4 17 2:42 AM
Apr 4 17 3:18 AM
I'm a bit confused. The Navweaps page for the US 3"/50 gun says up to 85 degrees, and and AA ceiling of 30,000 ft. The only 3" AA weapons I could find with 75 degrees, and ~18,000 feet was the WWI weapon that the British sold to the Japanese, and converted to a AA mount in ~1916. The guns were suppose to have a rate of fire between 15-20 rpm, so 4 guns could deliver up to 80 rpm if they could all be aimed at the target in question.
According to the AAA summery, the number of 3" shells changed with the "era" and the target. Early war was somewhere around 185 rounds, while 1943 was around 1200 rounds per kill. My understanding on the effectiveness of heavy anti-aircraft artillery was that it was rapidly reduced with aircraft armor. Early war Japanese aircraft where very vulnerable to that. Not sure what the Arandanos would have.
If the Bismarck's radar is unable to preform blind fire operation, then the float plane would have to make multiple straight and level passes right over the target ship to provide the Bismarck with bearing information. This would make it fairly easy destroy the float plane. On the other hand, if the Bismarck is capable of blind fire, then the float plan doesn't have to get close to the target at all. Just has to make sure that the Bismarck is shooting at the appropriate target, and a good observer could do that from outside of AAA range.
Of course using radar for blind fire results in another "War of the Wizards". Does the KNE equip it's ships with an electronic warfare suit? Can it jam the Bismarcks' radar? Or throw out chaff? Or for that matter play "who's the target" shell games with other ships or other ship electronic warfare suites?
Apr 4 17 4:04 AM
wb wrote:Did I say 3"/50?
Apr 10 17 2:21 AM
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