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Something for the experts - the shock of firing main guns

 
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Something for the experts - the shock of firing main guns - 11/30/2012 8:26:31 PM   
Hotschi

 

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Reading Ronald H. Spector's Eagle Against The Sun, Vintage Press, I came across something which I have never heard of before;

On page 261 of the paperback edition, he writes:

quote:

Hills flagship, the battleship Maryland, had its communications center located on the flag bridge almost at the same level as the sixteen-inch guns. As a result, the shock of firing could knock out the delicate electronic gear and render the admiral temporarily unable to communicate with his commanders.

Copyright 1985 by Ronald H. Spector


and later that this, during the bombardement of Tarawa, at 04:40 actually happened.

Why this? I am no engineer, and I have always thought the recoil of the guns absorbs all the shock and everything is fine and dandy. How come that firing 16" guns had this effect? Is it because of the proximity of the guns and the electronics, as Spector writes? Would a different place for the installation of the "electronic gear" farther away from the guns, have made any difference? What was "at fault" here, the WW II era gun technology, the electronic technology, or simple physics and you can't change anything?

Next thought - the Iowas were loaded with tons of electronics after WW II, and still had their 16" guns. I reckon they didn't just retain them just for show or because they look cool, but used them every once in a while. Was there any similar effect after the war?

I am trying to imagine being on the Maryland, its guns blazing, and the whole ship trembles in shock. Was it really like this? Coffee cups flying around?

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 11/30/2012 9:42:46 PM   
dr.hal


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On a related note, I remember reading about HMS Agincourt, a ship that had the most centerline big gun turrets (7) of any dreadnaught. Prior to the battle of Jutland, the 14 guns were never all fired at once for fear that the ship might roll over, NO JOKE! When they were fired in a single salvo, every piece of china in the wardroom was broken as well as all the toilets in the ship!

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 11/30/2012 9:53:31 PM   
JeffK


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1943 electronics were very fragile when compared to their 1945-46 versions.
I believe the RN & USN had struck this problem in the ETO around the same time. (Maybe at Dieppe Aug 42??)

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 11/30/2012 9:56:48 PM   
AW1Steve


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Vacum tube based tech. Tubes are thin glass, they break , or the tube unseats. Today we mostly use solid state.

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 11/30/2012 10:07:09 PM   
Hotschi

 

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Vacum tubes, that explains a lot. And no one thought of placing these things in cases which absorbs shocks - something with "rubber foots" or whatever?

Yes you are right, I am no electronic expert either - I know no nothing about these things.

Thanks for the explanations, JeffK and Steve, now I have a clue.

_____________________________

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- Air Marshal Arthur Harris to Adm Tom Phillips

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 11/30/2012 11:15:18 PM   
JeffK


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2 British examples of HQ Ships were HMS's Largs & Hilary.

http://freespace.virgin.net/mike.mackenzie2/HMSLARGS.htm
http://bob.plord.net/Ships/Period3/GreatBritain/Amphibious/Hilary.html

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 11/30/2012 11:19:28 PM   
JeffK


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A bit more of an explanation, ETO only

http://www.combinedops.com/HEADQUARTERS%20SHIPS.htm

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 11/30/2012 11:43:23 PM   
btbw

 

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Shock from gas pressure. Too close fragile equipment can be destroyed by it - even boat/planes.
Shock from gun moving during shoot which might roll over ship it MYTH.
1. Main guns NEVER shoot once.
2. First shock get gun axis, then mount which NOT FIXED to ship.
3. Own moment of inertia of battleship much more then firing shells.
4. If shock from gun shoot dont compensated (and receiving by whole ship as punch) it destroy mount too fast. Even wooden ship era cannons had demphers or cannons will destroy fragile ship (and crew) better then enemy.
Video how much gas produce main guns.
http://youtu.be/mkx68UdcPA0

P.S. And old joke too (video mismatch but still funny) http://youtu.be/rZD62OhaDTI
P.P.S. And last one - how equipment on ship going to survive after hitting (and exploding) by enemy shell if own guns can destroy it? Very easy in really - fragile equipment hide after armor in isolated rooms and stay on springs. If room not isolated from gas pressure then admiral kicked out from action.

< Message edited by btbw -- 12/1/2012 12:36:32 AM >

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 2:24:09 AM   
JeffK


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Plus trying to squeeze enough HQ types on a ship trying to double as a cambat ship doesnt help.

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 7:08:06 AM   
Chris H

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hotschi

Vacum tubes, that explains a lot. And no one thought of placing these things in cases which absorbs shocks - something with "rubber foots" or whatever?

Yes you are right, I am no electronic expert either - I know no nothing about these things.

Thanks for the explanations, JeffK and Steve, now I have a clue.



By the end of the war they certainly did, called vibration mounts but they were only effective up to a point. On a ship you can feel mechanical movement throughout the ship, which includes the recoil of any gun fired particularly if the recoil mechanisism of the gun does not fully counteract the discharge of the gun, and most didn't/couldn't, using the ship to absorb the rest. This is felt more on the same deck as the gun firing. Even today firing a gun or missile will make a ship roll. Early electronics were delicate, it's not just the glass valves/tubes but soldered joints that could be broken. The other thing that should be not was ships also had voice tubes so complete communications would not have been lost.

I've been on more than one ship were all power has been temporarily lost and it's eerily quite and, if it happens while asleep the whole ship wakes, quite often with just a hint of panic.

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 9:03:33 AM   
btbw

 

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Again electronic equipment protected from stress of recoil and even hitting (except direct). But small size of Maryland and easy way to pressure can hurt equipment and admiral stuff.
If you think ship rotated from firing guns then all main guns must have a miss to target by all rounds except first in salvo.


< Message edited by btbw -- 12/1/2012 9:14:40 AM >

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 10:56:30 AM   
tigercub


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fire control and radar ,radio on many ships during ww2 was common place to have problems when the big ships were firing, also the first hit on a most warships often made many problems to any of the fire control and radar or radio!

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 7:28:43 PM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hotschi

Reading Ronald H. Spector's Eagle Against The Sun, Vintage Press, I came across something which I have never heard of before;

On page 261 of the paperback edition, he writes:

quote:

Hills flagship, the battleship Maryland, had its communications center located on the flag bridge almost at the same level as the sixteen-inch guns. As a result, the shock of firing could knock out the delicate electronic gear and render the admiral temporarily unable to communicate with his commanders.

Copyright 1985 by Ronald H. Spector


and later that this, during the bombardement of Tarawa, at 04:40 actually happened.

Why this? I am no engineer, and I have always thought the recoil of the guns absorbs all the shock and everything is fine and dandy. How come that firing 16" guns had this effect? Is it because of the proximity of the guns and the electronics, as Spector writes? Would a different place for the installation of the "electronic gear" farther away from the guns, have made any difference? What was "at fault" here, the WW II era gun technology, the electronic technology, or simple physics and you can't change anything?

Next thought - the Iowas were loaded with tons of electronics after WW II, and still had their 16" guns. I reckon they didn't just retain them just for show or because they look cool, but used them every once in a while. Was there any similar effect after the war?

I am trying to imagine being on the Maryland, its guns blazing, and the whole ship trembles in shock. Was it really like this? Coffee cups flying around?


After fighting the Bismark the HMS Rodney was in such pitiful shape from the effects of her own guns that she had to go to the US for a major refit. If I recall she sprung some plates along with other damaged caused by the concussions of the 340 16 inch rounds she fired.

I read a great account of the Houston shredding one of her float planes with by the shock of her 8 inch guns.


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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 10:15:13 PM   
geofflambert


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I believe I once heard that when Yamato first fired those 18" guns, the shock crumpled the armored turrets of the secondary guns and knocked some off their tracks.

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 11:16:41 PM   
btbw

 

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Changing plates after 340 rounds fired it some different from version of knocked out equip and admiral by gun recoil. And reason is - plate accumulate deformations around gun turret with each salvo. Equip and admiral - not, cuz they dont PLATE and dont stay FIXED as ship corpse.
And plane was shooted by GAS PRESSURE (like many other planes/boats and everything which close and OPEN to gas pressure). Maryland had CIC placed on flagbridge on SAME LEVEL and dimensions of Maryland lesser then Iowa with 16inches (so lesser range from gun to CIC).

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/1/2012 11:42:15 PM   
msieving1


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quote:

After fighting the Bismark the HMS Rodney was in such pitiful shape from the effects of her own guns that she had to go to the US for a major refit.


Rodney was on her way to the US for a major refit when she joined the chase for Bismark.

She did suffer damage from her own guns, even though she generally limited firing to 4 or 5 gun salvos.

According to http://www.naval-history.net

"The blast effects from RODNEY’s main armament caused the Douglas fir decking on the upper deck to be ripped up. Also the adoption of aluminium alloys for most of the minor ships fittings, such as kit lockers, mess racks, store cupboards and wash facilities caused all these fittings to be shaken up and some dislodged when the main armament was fired. Cast iron water mains were ruptured and in many instances broke, flooding compartments."

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/2/2012 12:33:16 AM   
lb4269


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(from the 50 second point)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okKQeQZeJts

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/2/2012 7:53:03 AM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

The Bismarck knocked its own radar off with the shock of firing the main battery as well...


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/2/2012 6:40:44 PM   
Hotschi

 

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Thanks for all the links, something more to digest

Really, I wasn't aware of these things. I read a lot of books about WW II (primarily PTO) but didn't dig deep enough into the technical aspects of any equipment yet. There's so much available but just not enough time to read it all at once.

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"One day, Tom, you'll be standing on a box on your bridge, and your ship will be smashed to pieces by bombers and torpedo aircraft; as she sinks, your last words will be "That was a f**ing great mine!""
- Air Marshal Arthur Harris to Adm Tom Phillips

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/2/2012 9:51:27 PM   
borner


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Good point on the old electronice, and as Apollo mentioned, Bismark damaged her own radar. Also Yamato supposedly had big issues with shock from her main battery. It probably would have causes serious issues if she was in more than a short term gun duel with an allies fleet.

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/3/2012 2:47:18 PM   
LargeSlowTarget


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Allegedly, the blast of South Dakota main battery once ripped away the pants of Captain Gatch...

< Message edited by LargeSlowTarget -- 12/3/2012 2:54:05 PM >


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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/3/2012 5:56:40 PM   
HansBolter


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Lots of good answers.

As you have probably surmised by now "shock" didn't mean recaoil in this case it meant "concussion".

The concussive effect of large caliber rifles is stupendous.

I used to get a very, very small taste of this at the local shooting range when I went there with a buddy who shot a .357 magnum.

Shooting from the booth next to him I could always tell when he switched from his 9mm to his .357.

The concussive blast from the .357 would literally smack me in the face, even in the adjacent booth.

I could always tell when he had pulled out the "cannon"!

I can also recall reading many accounts of soldiers killed in action from the concussive blast of a large artillery shell without ever being touched by an ounce of shrapnel.

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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/3/2012 7:35:36 PM   
ilovestrategy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HansBolter

Lots of good answers.

As you have probably surmised by now "shock" didn't mean recaoil in this case it meant "concussion".

The concussive effect of large caliber rifles is stupendous.

I used to get a very, very small taste of this at the local shooting range when I went there with a buddy who shot a .357 magnum.

Shooting from the booth next to him I could always tell when he switched from his 9mm to his .357.

The concussive blast from the .357 would literally smack me in the face, even in the adjacent booth.

I could always tell when he had pulled out the "cannon"!

I can also recall reading many accounts of soldiers killed in action from the concussive blast of a large artillery shell without ever being touched by an ounce of shrapnel.


I spent 3 1/2 years in a tank battalion in the Marine Corps in the 80s. If you were behind a tank when it fired the concussion could knock the hat off of your head.


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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/3/2012 7:58:33 PM   
Panther Bait


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A lot of the electronics on the battleships were also add-on equipment added after the fact as part of re-fits.  Probably made it much harder to design appropriate mounts and vibration isolation than fitting the equipment as part of the original design.  Not to mention that the original electronic equipment was very bulky and from what I've read was located more "wherever it would fit" rather than in a carefully maintained/crafted/protected location.

Protection from gun concussion (as well as damage from incoming fire) was probably a reason why CIC's eventually moved deeper into the ship as they started to get included in original designs.

Mike


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RE: Something for the experts - the shock of firing mai... - 12/4/2012 5:47:44 AM   
Dili

 

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From the Italian side the shock from main gun of Littorio prevented people being below the captain bridge. The rear main guns once made the floatplane catch fire.

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