Author Topic: Hypothetical: Sunset SSW of Brindisi August 7, 1914  (Read 677 times)

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Offline MengJiao

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Hypothetical: Sunset SSW of Brindisi August 7, 1914
« on: April 02, 2020, 05:58:18 PM »
Rear-Admiral E. C. T. Troubridge, on the morning of August 8, 1914, failed to engage the battlecruiser SMS Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau.  His basic scheme for engaging when the battlecruiser would have been silhouetted at twilight was probably workable, but engaging with the battlecruiser to the east would have been pointless; the battlecruiser would simply have continued east.  On the other hand, Goeben was not going very fast and her course into the Aegean was direct and well-defined and shadowed by HMS Gloucester.  SMS Goeben had serious boiler problems and could not shake HMS Gloucester, a light cruiser.  Troubridge had destroyers with him at the southern end of the Adriatic, but they were low on coal.  With some fiddling with the facts, it is possible to come up with a worthwhile engagement:
1)   Reinforce Troubridge’s 4 armored cruisers (at 23 kts top speed about 1 kt slower than Goeben) with 3 light cruisers ( 4 torpedoes each and not in need of coal and at 28 kts definitely fast enough) and drop the destroyers
2)   Instead of coming south to attack from the west at dawn, head southwest to attack from the east at sunset with the battlecruiser against the brighter western sky on August 7.  Once the light fades and the battlecruiser is spotted, the waning gibbous moon would give light for closing in with the 20 torpedoes of his force and plenty of guns – 9.2-inch guns on HMS Defense and 7.5-inch guns on the other armored cruisers – and that might cripple the battlecruiser or delay it long enough for the RN battlecruisers to return from the west.
3)   Troubridge has to start earlier and be pretty lucky, but it’s not an impossible scenario, just a very unlikely one given that nobody but Souchon (even the German High Command) had any idea he was heading for Constantinople.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2020, 06:08:30 PM by MengJiao »

Offline MengJiao

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Re: Hypothetical: Sunset SSW of Brindisi August 7, 1914
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2020, 07:11:44 PM »

2)   Instead of coming south to attack from the west at dawn, head southwest to attack from the east at sunset with the battlecruiser against the brighter western sky on August 7.  Once the light fades and the battlecruiser is spotted, the waning gibbous moon would give light for closing in with the 20 torpedoes of his force and plenty of guns – 9.2-inch guns on HMS Defense and 7.5-inch guns on the other armored cruisers – and that might cripple the battlecruiser or delay it long enough for the RN battlecruisers to return from the west.
3)   Troubridge has to start earlier and be pretty lucky, but it’s not an impossible scenario, just a very unlikely one given that nobody but Souchon (even the German High Command) had any idea he was heading for Constantinople.

  So..Goeben and company enter from the west at one of the three arrows (random) and Troubridge's squadrons are there to the east.  They are under silhouettes to indicate that even if they are spotted, there may not be fully targetable due to the uncertain and changing visibility:

Offline MengJiao

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Re: Hypothetical: Sunset SSW of Brindisi August 7, 1914
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2020, 08:39:48 PM »

2)   Instead of coming south to attack from the west at dawn, head southwest to attack from the east at sunset with the battlecruiser against the brighter western sky on August 7.  Once the light fades and the battlecruiser is spotted, the waning gibbous moon would give light for closing in with the 20 torpedoes of his force and plenty of guns – 9.2-inch guns on HMS Defense and 7.5-inch guns on the other armored cruisers – and that might cripple the battlecruiser or delay it long enough for the RN battlecruisers to return from the west.
3)   Troubridge has to start earlier and be pretty lucky, but it’s not an impossible scenario, just a very unlikely one given that nobody but Souchon (even the German High Command) had any idea he was heading for Constantinople.

   I guess Troubridge's low light scenario did have a chance.  Twelve minutes into the action, Goeben sank HMS Aurora.  Aurora sent torpedoes at the BC but they missed.  Twelve minutes later, Goeben tries to pull away, leaving Troubridge's flagship, HMS Defense, burning, flooding and losing steam and Goeben almost makes a clean get-away, but the total of one torpedo hit from HMS Warrior and a lot of 7.5-inch hits (damaging if not penetrating), slows Goeben to 19 knots even as HMS Warrior circles out of control and losing steam.  In the context of early August 1914 that's a costly, minor tactical victory for the Royal Navy, but not one that would have stopped Souchon from reaching Constantinople with this ships, probably.