four gun broadsides

Discussion in 'History' started by general_jumbo., Jun 13, 2007.

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  1. can anyone tell me how this used to work in the old days, if you study old photos or artwork of battleships they usually show all the main guns elavated together, but some show guns in the same turret as one up and one down. When I researched this i gathered that the r.n. had a policy of alternating " 4 gun broadsides " during daylight, therefore raining a continuous fall of shot on the enemy ( which must have looked pretty impresive ) but used an 8 gun broadside at night .

    thanks General J
  2. Until the range was 'found' there was little point in firing a full salvo, and by firing alternating part salvos a faster rate of fire could be obtained if required. Ranging salvos could only be fired at intervals just greater than the time of flight of the shells as they needed to 'see' the fall of shot to correct the next salvo. Once the range was 'found' then one changed to full salvos because that got the greatest weight of shell on the target fastest as one hoped to get several hits with the first full salvo.

    Also remeber your 4 and 8 gun scenario only applied to ships with 8 guns.
  3. Little picture to go with your explanation Maxi......

  4. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Some random jottings (consult old manuals in a library for more detail):

    Firing a broadside means firing together all the guns that will bear.

    Salvo firing means firing one gun of each turret at a time.

    Broadside fire has a built-in inefficiency in that there is a minute difference in time between actual detonations and so the turret is slightly off aim for the second and later rounds. If the guns are all fired together it increases the strain on both turret and ship.

    With a QF gun firing salvoes (such as the old 4.5 in its twin turret) the time taken for the turret to stabilise after each round means that in salvo fire a maximum of 16 rpgpm is advisable (with the old BL guns that took time to reload ((six-inch could safely deliver approx 6 rounds per gun per minute)) to allow the turret to settle between rounds (a really fit 4.5" loader could hit 22rpgpm - for a short while - the round weighed 56lbs).

    In 1960s RN practice the rule in surface fire was to open fire in Rapid Spreadlines at maximum effective range (defined as the range yielding a 2% chance of a hit) with 5% of the outfit (approx 30 rounds per turret), switching to rapid salvoes when one has found for range and line. This assumes radar ranging which will be reasonably accurate (in the 1950s with the old 6" turret one would open fire in rapid broadsides). The trick is to give the target a good drenching the first chance you get, not peck away trying to be perfect.

    However in shore bombardment the first ranging rounds from a destroyer or frigate were fired as a broadside to give the spotter (ashore or airborne) the best chance of picking up the fall of shot.

    The last firing of an RN BL gun in anger was in November 1956.

    The last RN ship to have more than one turret was the 1963 HMS London who fired the last RN 4-gun broadside just before her final return home in the 1980s.

    Nowadays the folks have only got one gun anyway soall this is rather academic.

    However Lord Fisher's advice still holds: Hit first, hit hard, and keep on hitting.
  5. Sorry I have to disagree with your definition of salvo, a salvo is a multiple barrel discharge. It may or may not be all of the guns at once, but it certainly was two or more if you had them. Many moons ago I was mounting Officer on a 4inch QF twin, during sighting each barrel was fired alternately, until Guns ordered "Salvoes" which meant you changed from alternate barrels to both together.

    The typical Battleship sighting salvo was a half broadside, that gave a reasonable sample of the range and if right one obtained a straddle where some shell were over and som under, you then changed to full broadsides, but both involved firing in salvos. In salvo fire their should not be a significant difference in the firing time if director control is used as the fire signal goes at the speed of light to each gun
  6. thats great , thanks everyone, if, like me all you see is what hollywood shows you , you can't appreciate the complexities of naval gunfire. although I have seen my daughters ship fire , but a 30 mm main gun hardly counts as a broadside does it !.
    thanks again dave
  7. I think the gun barrel position on the turret pictures not all being in the same elevation was because with the old BL breeech loading guns with separate charge and shell loading had to be done at a set loading position for the rammers to operate.
    The 4" had fixed [ie shell and charge was like a big rifle round] ammo
    and the 4.5 " was separate [ie shell and case separate but rammed together ] they had QF breech closing .
    However with the 6" and 8" or bigger the shell was rammed and the charge was in canvas bags placed into the chamber rammed in afterwards. Charge could be varied depending on required range. The breech was a swinging door that locked with interupted threads .

    History----- :nemo: :nemo:
  8. Certainly the Battleship Guns needed to be horizontal when loading, whether this applied to the cruiser guns I am not so sure and I do have a suspicion that certainly the later 6 inch on the Cat class cruisers could be loaded at any elevation. The 4.5 guns certainly could be loaded at any elevation, is is a bit of a b*gger to have to return an AA gan to the horizontal between shots, and I can remember being taught how to load a 4 inch at high elevation, that was not easy punching home the fixed ammunition and remembering to make sure the sliding breach did not remove the odd finger as well.
  9. Each gun a a main barbet could be evevated as a single unit, one gun ranging and another firing for effect.
  10. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Which is why, Maxi, I hope you were made to punch the round home with the back of your clenched fist.
  11. Oh yes and us young chaps were very careful to do what we were told, a GI who could make the half tot sign without folding his fingers was good enough encouragement.
  12. I appreciate there is some contenon regarding the last Broadside.
    Seaweed, you said: The last RN ship to have more than one turret was the 1963 HMS London who fired the last RN 4-gun broadside just before her final return home in the 1980s. According to a letter in this month Navys Lie, the last broadship was fired by one the tribals, I believe HMS TARTAR.
  13. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Ah, but Tartar only had two guns, and they were in single open mountings, not turrets.
  14. Thanks Seaweed, I might of got the name wrong, but there is letter in this months Navy Lies. You learn a new thing every day...
  15. Was always led to believe that Salvos were individual guns OR mountings fireing independantly and broad side guns or mountings fireing at once.

    So a leander's salvo had the same weight of shot as a tribal's.

    So perhaps you are both right.

    (I was have only been Guns of mcmvs but we did get to play in the 4.5 mountings at Cambridge on my short course. Of course we did get lots of dits on the matter of real gunnery but were never requiered to know any of it.)
  16. Talking about salvo,s, I used to sit on top of H.M.S.Norfolks "x" turret,manning a twenty m/m oerlikon machine gun, when they were firing salvo,s in 1943. What did he say? I did,nt here a word he said, ETHEL, wheres my bloody hearing aid.
  17. :toilet: I was never a Gunner but was always impressed with the 4.5" guns on Amazon & Achilles especially on Amazon as the Comms Mess was not too far to the rear of the Gun mounting, there was a fair amount of concussion in the Mess which would then fill with the lovely smell of cordite ......... marvellous. :tp:
  18. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    1. Picking something out of Lt Gen Sir Philip Christison's papers in the IWM, quoted by Maj Gen Julian Thompson in his IWM book 'The War in Burma':

    21.1.1945, Queen Elizabeth fired her 15" in support of landings on Ramree Island in Burma. Some shells fell on a marsh beyond the Jap defences .. a number of duck sprang up.

    Christison (typical pongo, wishes he had his 12-bore with him): "Duck!"

    Admiral standing beside him (totally misses the point):"The Royal Navy never ducks."

    2. The last British battleship to fire her guns in anger was probably KGV which, right at the end of the war, was given a Jap factory to shoot up as a cure for boredom. I was told all about it by a fellow I knew in the afterlife who had been on her bridge. American BBs went on to serve in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon and the Gulf.

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