Presentation on theme: "Gunnery Control Computing at the Battle of Jutland, 1916 Derek J"— Presentation transcript:
1 Gunnery Control Computing at the Battle of Jutland, 1916 Derek J Gunnery Control Computing at the Battle of Jutland, Derek J. SMITH, C.Eng., C.I.T.P. High Tower Consultants Limited International Software Products, Toronto Cardiff Metropolitan University (Retired)
2 A PowerPoint Documentary for the South Wales Branch of the British Computer Society Swansea University Tuesday 12th April 2016
3 ABOUT THE AUTHORDuring the 1980s Derek Smith worked for British Telecom, Cardiff, where he specialised in the design and operation of very large CA-IDMS "semantic network" databases.Between 1991 and 2010 he taught psycholinguistics and neuropsychology to the Speech and Language Therapy students at Cardiff Metropolitan University.One of his retirement projects is “Project Aneurin”, a research encyclopaedia of war and peace, from which this presentation has been extracted.
4 WHY ARE WE HERE TODAY? BECAUSE WE STILL USE A LOT OF UNGUIDED MISSILES WHOSE ACCURACY DEPENDS UPON RAPID COMPUTATION
5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe first large real-time computing systems ever constructed were those installed on the capital ships of the Royal and Imperial German Navies in the run-up to the First World War.At the centre of the respective systems were highly secret Fire Control Computers, or "clocks".This talk will look (a) at the development of these systems prior to the Battle of Jutland, 31st May 1916, and (b) at their performance on the day.
6 PART 1 THE SHIPS AND THE SYSTEMS THE EVOLUTION OF THE WW1 BATTLEFLEETS:DESIGN CONCEPTS AND TECHNICAL BREAKTHROUGHS
7 BALLISTIC SCIENCE, PREHISTORIC VERTICALCOMPONENT(v. sin Θ)MUZZLEVELOCITY(v)Ballistic skills are as old as humankind itself.ΘHORIZONTALCOMPONENT(v. cos Θ)TARGETRANGEDEFLECTION(degrees of azimuth)LINE OF SIGHT
8 BALLISTIC SCIENCE, MEDIAEVAL It takes a lot of mathematics to hit a castle (big though they are). Here is the controlling equation in its simplest form ...range = v2/g.sin (2Θ)Mechanical aids and ready reckoners soon became commonplace …Gunners’ “Quadrants”Gunners’ “Quadrants”
9 THE PROBLEM OF MANOEUVRE BALLISTIC SCIENCE, ca. 1805THE PROBLEM OF MANOEUVREOf course you have to get your guns into position to start with, which is no mean feat in itself, especially at sea.Good gunnery therefore usually requires good captaincy beforehand!
10 THE PROBLEM OF COMMAND AND CONTROL BALLISTIC SCIENCE, ca. 1805THE PROBLEM OF COMMAND AND CONTROLJust as importantly, everyone needs to know what’s expected of them.Word of mouth - megaphones, drums, whistles, messengers, etc.
11 JOHANN HERMANN’S PLANIMETER, 1814 ANALOG COMPUTINGJOHANN HERMANN’S PLANIMETER, 1814The Bavarian surveyor Johann M. Hermann devises a cone-and-wedge device to help him compute the area within an irregular boundary contour.Barbara Haeberlin (2013) animation on YouTube.Hermann names his invention the "planimeter" and planimeters are noteworthy in the present context because they are an early instance of an "analog computing" device.
12 BALLISTIC SCIENCE, 1850 ELLIOTT BROTHERS In 1850 William Elliott and his sons Frederick and Charles set up in business as scientific instrument makers on the Strand, London.When the father dies in 1853 the sons trade on as Elliott Brothers, selling barometers, telescopes, etc.Nowadays one can learn a lot about 19th century technology by browsing the specialist antiques and auctions websites.
13 THE “RIFLED BREECH-LOADER” (RBL) THE ARMSTRONG GUN,THE “RIFLED BREECH-LOADER” (RBL)Composite “hooped”constructionSliding breech-blockScrew-in breech
14 THE DIRECTOR FIRING CONCEPT, 185? EARLY MOVES“A Captain W. Moorsom, RN, had introduced a ‘director, in the early 1850s” (Crawford and Mitiukov, 2013, pp36-37).
15 THE “IRONCLAD” CONCEPT HMS WARRIOR (1862)HMS Warrior is launched as an “Ironclad” (iron armour over wood), and her conventionally arranged broadside includes 14 RBL Armstrong Guns. Her first Gunnery Lieutenant is a young “Jacky” Fisher.
16 THE ORDNANCE SELECT COMMITTEE, 1864 RBL VERSUS RMLIn 1864 the government decide that the costs of RBL do not outweigh its benefits, and decide to stick with the muzzle-loading concept. Rifled muzzle-loaders (RMLs) – a.k.a. “Woolwich Guns” - thereby become the Admiralty’s design preference for the next 20 years.
17 IMPORTANT TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT BASHFORTH’S CHRONOGRAPH, 1864-1873 Based at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, the applied mathematician Francis Bashforth devises a chronograph sensitive enough to detect small variations in ballistic trajectory.He uses the resulting data to analyse the effects of air resistance and atmospheric conditions upon trajectories, and spends the next 20 years preparing comprehensive ready reckoner tables for Royal Navy gunnery officers [see 1886].
18 THE REVOLVING TURRET THE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS OF RELOADING Muzzle-loaders need access at the front, breech-loaders at the rear.Traditional MLRML (on a gundeck)Later RML (in a barbette)This is one of HMS Temeraire’s (1876) “disappearing guns”RML (in a turret)This is one of HMS Inflexible’s (1881) turrets. The problem is that the turret needs to traverse off target to a fixed loading position, and then back again.
19 THE REVOLVING TURRET HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN, 1864 Having been 15 years in the construction due to constant specification changes, HMS Royal Sovereign is completed as an experimental turret ship, fitted with five 10.5" RML cannon in one twin and three single turrets.
20 ARMOUR-PIERCING SHOT, 1867-1885 The British lawyer, politician, part-time artilleryman, and patent-holding inventor [Sir]1873 William Palliser suddenly finds a good market for near-solid cast iron armour-piercing projectiles for use in RMLs.Of course, being heavier than hollow shells of the same calibre, this ammunition requires its own set of ranging tables.
21 Masthead (ranging and correction) later enclosed THE REVOLVING TURRETHMS MONARCH (1869)HMS Monarch enters service as the first operational turreted warship in history. She is powered by both steam and sail, and armed with four 12" RML guns in two twin turrets situated amidships on the midline fore and aft of the funnel (from where, of course, they can not fire directly forwards or backwards).Bridge later raisedShe is also experimentally equipped with voice pipe communication between masthead and bridge, and bridge and turrets.Masthead (ranging and correction) later enclosed
22 THE IRON-STEAM CONCEPT HMS THUNDERER AND DEVASTATION (1869) The most significant design feature of this two-ship class is that their four 12" RML guns are set in twin turrets fore and aft, and have an excellent 280-degree field of fire.They are built entirely of iron (hence no longer "ironclads" in the strict sense of the word) and are powered by steam alone.Although now power-assisted it still takes more than a minute to rotate a turret. Indeed it is often easier simply to turn the ship!
23 THE “CHADBURN” TELEGRAPHS, 1870 The Liverpool (father and son) engineers Charles H. and William Chadburn are awarded a patent on an engine-order telegraph (EOT) system, that is to say, a two-way mechanical (i.e., cable-and-pulley) communication system between a ship's bridge and its engine-room.
24 JAMES THOMSON’S INTEGRATOR, 1872 ANALOG COMPUTINGJAMES THOMSON’S INTEGRATOR, 1872Inspired by planimeter technology, the British engineer James Thomson experiments with a rudimentary mechanical calculating machine which uses the movements of a roller-driven sphere against a circular flat surface to perform the mathematical procedure known as "integration".Continues …
25 JAMES THOMSON’S INTEGRATOR, 1872 ANALOG COMPUTINGJAMES THOMSON’S INTEGRATOR, 1872Integration is the summing together of a series of cognate elements to give a mathematically meaningful whole (e.g., all the infinitely thin laminae making up an irregular solid shape). The device achieves this by analoguing the magnitude of each element onto the radial distance of the ball from the centre of the disk and letting the number of turns of the sphere accumulate the integral.Driven output diskRotating roller drive
26 SIR WILLIAM THOMSON’S TIDE PREDICTOR, 1872 ANALOG COMPUTINGSIR WILLIAM THOMSON’S TIDE PREDICTOR, 1872James Thomson’s younger brother Sir William Thomson [later Lord Kelvin], assembles a hand-cranked tide-predicting machine out of suitably arranged gears and pulleys, each representing – that is to say, analoguing - one step towards the final solution.Thanks to his subsequent advisory involvement with Arthur Pollen [see 1899] it has recently been suggested that Kelvin be recognised as the "father of fire-control computing“ (Gallagher, 2014).
27 CAREER MOVES,Whale Island nowadaysIn 1872 “Jacky” Fisher takes command of the Royal Navy’s gunnery school at the HMS Excellent Shore Establishment, Portsmouth.In 1874 the 20-year-old Prince Louis of Battenberg (later to marry Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter Alice, thereby becoming great-grandfather of the present Prince of Wales) takes his sub-lieutenant's examinations at HMS Excellent and gets an A-plus at gunnery.
28 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1875-1885 Admiral [Sir]1877 George Augustus Elliot initiates a move within the Admiralty toward separate Director and Conning Towers, with all gunnery circuits – voice, mechanical, and electrical – concentrated in the former.The resulting “Elliot System’ is retro-fitted onto HMS Monarch and designed into new-builds such as HMS Orion, Carysfort, and Temeraire.A full-text facsimile of Elliot’s (1885) “A Treatise on Future Naval Battles and How to Fight Them” is available online.
29 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1882 THE ELLIOT DIRECTOR“The Elliot Director system was built around a telescope fitted with cross hairs. […] The general procedure would be: 1) The Gunnery Officer decides the bearing in train to lay the guns, which was then passed to the guns via voice tube; 2) The range for firing was selected and passed to the guns; 3) The speed across correction is made and the sight set slightly in advance of the gun bearing; 4) The ‘dip’ correction – an allowance for the greater height of the Director above the guns, larger for close range or smaller for longer ranges – is identified from the appropriate Table and the telescope is depressed from the horizontal accordingly, and then locked in place; 5) When the telescopic sight moved onto the target, the Gunnery Officer depressed the firing key which fired the guns electrically. If the target should be at a slightly different range than anticipated, the system was sufficiently flexible to quickly compensate” (Crawford and Mitiukov, 2013, p48).
30 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1877 HMS SHAH VERSUS THE PERUVIAN PIRATES In fact Huascar will have the last laugh because she is nowadays a Chilean Navy museum shipDuring the Peruvian Civil War, HMS Shah engages the (Birkenhead-built) Peruvian Rebel ship Huascar off the coast of Peru, eventually driving her back to port. Not much damage is done despite both traditional and new gunnery techniques being employed …“Fire control was extremely primitive. Ranges were estimated by officer’s eye, shouted at the gunners through the noise of battle, sights set accordingly, and guns mostly laid and fired individually. However the Shah also fired several broadsides from her 7” guns, including three by electric firing, mostly aimed by the director sight …” (contemporary report, quoted in Crawford and Mitiukov, 2013).
31 TORPEDO WARFARE AND DEFLECTION SHOOTING During the battle HMS Shah also fires one of the new Whitehead Torpedoes at Huascar, but it misses.Note that in 1877 the relative times in flight meant that the problem for gunnery officers was to get the ranging (elevation) right, whilst the problem for torpedo officers was to get the deflection (bearing) right.
32 CAREER MOVES,In 1879 Reinhard Scheer joins the Imperial German Navy as a cadet.In 1881 a Royal Navy gunnery lieutenant named Percy Scott devises an electrical indicator system to communicate target ranges from the masthead lookout platform to the director station.
33 THE STEEL CITADEL CONCEPT HMS INFLEXIBLE (1881) “Jacky” Fisher takes command of the newly commissioned class-of-one experimental battleship HMS Inflexible. The ship is built around an armoured steel citadel, within which are mounted four 81-ton 16" RML guns (the largest yet mounted on a Royal Navy ship) in two twin turrets set en echelon.Armoured box conning tower.Other innovations include horizontal armour as well as vertical (because the increasing range of artillery has made it necessary to protect against plunging long-distance shot), a box conning tower, and complex hull compartmentalisation.
34 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1882 THE NAVY AT ALEXANDRIAHMS Monarch is in the fleet sent during the Anglo-Egyptian War to bombard Alexandria. Her gunnery – even against a fixed target – leaves a lot to be desired …“[The Elliot director gear] proved so untrustworthy that the turrets were fired independently. The voice pipes to the turrets proved useless in the din of action, and orders had to be passed verbally by specially stationed officers …” (contemporary report, quoted in Crawford and Mitiukov, 2013, p39).“Jacky” Fisher‘s HMS Inflexible uses her secondary armament to establish the range prior to firing her main battery.NB: Royle’s (1886) meticulous shot-by-shot analysis of the bombardment at Alexandria is available online.
35 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1882 HMS ORION AND CARYSFORT AT PORT SAID A few days later the Elliot Director system finally delivers on it promise (albeit again with a static target) …“I draw particular attention to the effective fire maintained by the Orion and Carysfort on a position which could only be seen from the masthead of the latter vessel at over 4000 yards” (contemporary report, quoted in Crawford and Mitiukov, 2013, p39).
36 CAREER MOVES,In 1882 Franz von Hipper joins the Imperial German Navy as a cadet.WINNER OF BATTLESYET UNFOUGHTIn 1883 John Jellicoe qualifies as a gunnery officer.WINNER OF BATTLESYET UNFOUGHT
37 MULTIPLE INPUT PARAMETERS ANALOG COMPUTING, 1882MULTIPLE INPUT PARAMETERSSir William Thomson [later Lord Kelvin] publishes a paper entitled "The Tides” in which he includes a diagram of a "compounded analog computer", that is to say, one in which a number of separate ball-and-disc integrators cooperate by onward driving in solving a "harmonic analysis" problem [the reverse engineering of measurements into their underlying equation].Thomson used eleven such integrators, one for each of the eleven known influences on tidal height at any given point on the planet >>>>>>>>>
38 MULTIPLE INPUT PARAMETERS ANALOG COMPUTING, 1882MULTIPLE INPUT PARAMETERSOnce each integrator has been initially positioned, then the device as a whole summates their outputs in the form of linear movements of a pen-tracking arm, thus enabling effectively instantaneous tidal predictions for the future to be traced onto a moving paper roll.In Kelvin's own words, analog computation "substitutes brass for brains“.
39 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1883-1893 range = (sin α.sin β) / sin (α+β) U.S. NAVY DEVELOPMENTSThe US Navy’s Bradley Fiske makes a succession of technical developments in naval fire control, including electrically ignited propellant charges, a telescopic sight with focal plane cross-hairs, electrically powered turret servomechanisms and ammunition hoists, and a mercury switch (spirit level) to automatically fire the guns in mid-roll. He will be particularly well-remembered for his work with two-station sighting ...αβrange = (sin α.sin β) / sin (α+β)
40 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1883-1893 U.S. NAVY DEVELOPMENTSThe clever thing about Fiske’s two-sighting system is that the equipment did all the necessary mathematics for you, in real-time (that is to say, during the sighting process itself, not after it), thus …“A wire was attached to each telescope. As the telescopes were moved onto the target the wires moved […] and a galvanometer dial, using the same principles as the Wheatstone Bridge, then pointed an arrow along a scale calibrated in yards to indicate the range to the target” (Crawford and Mitiukov, 2013, p41).“… If the telescope L be then moved back to the position A C, the galvanometer will be deflected and will measure the resistance of the are E C, from which, in the manner already described In my said prior patents, the distance of the object can be deduced, or, intact, actually shown on a suitably-graduated galvanometer or other indicating-instrument” (Fiske; U.S. Patent 483,999, 1892).
41 THE (BL) ELSWICK GUN, 1884 ONWARDS Armstrong, Mitchell, and Company build a works at Elswick, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to apply their highly successful “quick-fire” breech-loading field-gun technology to larger calibre naval guns.Swinging interrupted screw
42 ANALOG COMPUTING VERSUS DIGITAL, 1885 THOMSON VERSUS BABBAGE The British academic Henry S. Hele-Shaw presents a paper to the Physical Society, London, in which he notes the fundamental difference between "continuous computing" (like Sir William Thomson’s Tide Predictor) and "discontinuous computing" (of the sort already established by Charles Babbage 50 years previously).The developments of greatest historical note in these two competing disciplines will shortly be naval fire control systems on the one hand, and Hollerith’s punched-card U.S. Census number crunching on the other.
43 THE EARLY DEVELOPMENTS THE ARMOUR RACE,THE EARLY DEVELOPMENTSAround 1886 William Holzer and (his nephew) Thomas Edison Jnr develop the Holzer-Frith Process of “annealing under pressure”, making steel hard without at the same time making it brittle.In 1887, having already cornered the market for architectural steel girders, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Pennsylvania, wins valuable contracts to supply guns and armour plate to the expanding U.S. Navy.In 1888 Vickers, Sons, and Company adds armour plate to its product portfolio.
44 CAREER MOVES,In 1886 “Jacky” Fisher becomes Director of Naval Ordnance, and sets about upgrading naval gunnery (i.e., equipment, tactics, training, etc.) to increase its effective range. Around the same time Francis Bashforth publishes his latest tables of corrections for temperature and barometric pressure.In 1890 Scott is promoted to head the HMS Excellent Gunnery School at Portsmouth, and Reinhard Scheer is appointed instructor at the Torpedo School at Kiel. Among his students will be Franz von Hipper.
45 THE BARR AND STROUD, 1888 "COINCIDENCE" RANGE-FINDER The Barr and Stroud design requires two objective lens systems to be converged until their images coincide. The range is then computed from the degree of convergence.The greater the distance between the two lenses the better (in due course 9 feet, and later 15 feet, for British battleships).
46 NITRATED PROPELLANTS, 1889 CORDITE PATENTED The chemists Sir Frederick Abel, (Royal Military Academy, Woolwich) and James Dewar (University of Cambridge) jointly patent a lost-acetone solvent process for mixing nitroglycerine (57%) , nitrocellulose (37%), and lubricant jelly (5%) into a paste and then extruding same into spaghetti-like cords for drying. The end result – “Cordite” - is a high-powered and relatively smokeless replacement for gunpowder.
47 HARVEY “CEMENTED” ARMOUR THE ARMOUR RACE, 1890HARVEY “CEMENTED” ARMOURThe American engineer Hayward A. Harvey invents "Harvey Armour", a hardened-layer nickel steel plate for sheathing vulnerable areas in warships. The manufacturing process requires that the steel should be “cemented” - hardened - by keeping it at around 1200 degrees Celsius for many days under a layer of charcoal, and by then cooling it rapidly.
48 TRIPLE-EXPANSION STEAM HMS VICTORIA (1890)HMS Victoria has the thickest armour and heaviest guns - two Elswick BL 16.25" - of any vessel afloat. She is also the first capital ship to be fitted with the new triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines, giving her a speed of 16 kn (17.3 kn using forced draught).Unfortunately, her size and speed will soon be her undoing [see 1893].
49 (ENEMY SAME SPEED, PARALLEL COURSE, NOT UNDER HELM, AND NOT OBSCURED) "DEFLECTION SHOOTING“, 1890(ENEMY SAME SPEED, PARALLEL COURSE, NOT UNDER HELM, AND NOT OBSCURED)Now that ships are faster and guns are firing further, the age-old problem of deflection shooting (hitherto a problem only for hunters, field artillery, and torpedo officers) becomes a major problem for naval ordnance as well. This is because the increased ranges mean increased times of flight.RANGEKNOWNRANGENOT KNOWN“RANGERATE”BOTHCOMPONENTSPRESENTLY ZERO“SPEEDACROSS”
50 THE “PRE-DREADNOUGHT” EVOLUTION HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN (1891)HMS Royal Sovereign is the lead ship in an eight-ship class of 14,000 ton battleships, armed with four 13.5“ Elswick BL guns in two twin barbettes and capable of 17.5 knots. The combination of firepower, operational range, defensive armour, and speed classifies the class and its subsequent copy-cats as "Pre-Dreadnoughts“.
51 THE ARMOUR RACE,KRUPPIn 1892 the Krupp Company develops chromium steel plate - popularly known as "Krupp Armour" - whose resistance to penetration is as good as that of Harvey Armour some 20% thicker.In 1894 they go one better by adding small percentages of manganese and other additives to their chromium steel. Overall it is no more resistant to penetration than the original Krupp armour but it retains its structural integrity longer when hit repeatedly. They market this new product as "Krupp Cemented Armour" [often just "KCA" in the literature].Guns now have to get bigger and armour-piercing rounds heavier if they are to inflict more than superficial damage.
52 THE BATTENBERG COURSE INDICATOR, 1892 Prince Louis of Battenberg designs the Battenberg Mark I Course Indicator, an analog computational device for ready-reckoning the course to be steered to close with a chosen vessel, given your own speed and the course and speed of the chosen vessel. Elliott Brothers produce the prototypes. The device consists of two position bars for setting the initial and final stations, a speed bar, on which the speed of the ship (relative to the flagship) was set, and which was clamped at one end into the diameter grove by the speed ratio clamp; A guide bar; A circular disc.
53 THE BATTENBERG COURSE INDICATOR, 1892 To use the instrument, the course of the flagship was first set on the guide bar.When the initial and final stations had been set using the position bars, the speed ratio clamp was set to show the ratio of own ship speed to the speed of the flagship (if the flagship was doing 10 knots, and the manoeuvring ship had 15 knots available, the clamp would be set to "1.5").Ensuring that the pin beneath the speed ratio clamp was set within the diameter grove, the course required to take station could then be read off the circular disc.
54 THE PROBLEM OF MANOEUVRE AGAIN, 1893 HMS VICTORIA SUNK BY COLLISION On 22nd June 1893, while practising battle manoeuvres at speed, HMS Victoria is sunk in a collision with another battleship, with the loss of half of her crew. There follows an extensive re-evaluation of how best to manage these new fast iron ships, in terms (a) of what manoeuvres are to be allowed, (b) how are they to be initiated by unmistakeable signals, (c) the circumstances in which individual captains should be allowed to override those signals with their own judgement, and (d) how - jointly or severally - to shoot straight at the same time!!In peacetime in the Mediterraneanit had been too hot to shutall the watertight doors.
55 CAREER MOVES, 1893Following the accidental sinking of HMS Victoria it falls to Neath-born Hugh Evan-Thomas – recently promoted flag-lieutenant in the Mediterranean Fleet – to help coordinate the modernisation of the Royal Navy’s Fighting Instructions and the accompanying Signal Book. He will use the experience gained to play a decisive part in the Battle of Jutland.Evan Thomas’ birthplace, Neath’s Gnoll Estate, today
56 MORE CAREER MOVES, 1893Following the take-over of his electrical engineering business by Elliott Brothers, George Elphinstone gets a seat on Elliott’s Board of Directors. He quickly makes the place his own, and increasingly specialises in Admiralty contracts. The following year he publishes a paper entitled “Electric Signals for Warships”.Around the same time Scott is appointed to the Naval Ordnance Committee and his ship, the cruiser HMS Scylla, develops a reputation for gunnery excellence (with a hitherto unheard of 80% hit rate on one trial).
57 THE SCOTT SYSTEM, 1898 I – THE PROBLEM Scott now takes command of the armoured cruiser HMS Terrible. He will later recall …“I found the ship’s company […] lamentably ignorant as regards gunnery, but very keen on learning[…] The guns themselves were very good, and the authorities seemed to think that the matter ended there, and thatthe gun sight, which is the all-importantelement in hitting, was of no consequence [… I] found that the gun sights of the 9.2- [… and] 6-inch guns were unserviceable. […] These defects applied […] to every ship” (Scott’s Memoirs, Chapter VI).
58 THE SCOTT SYSTEM, 1898 II – THE SOLUTION Scott continues …“… the only thing to do was to alter these ridiculous contrivances supplied by the Admiralty as best we could. The low-power telescopes we replaced by others of high power, and we made the cross-wires by making free with the head of a midshipman who had marvellously fine hair. In order to be able to set the sight accurately for the range, I put on a long pointer which gave a very open reading, and made a new deflection arrangement so that it could be adjusted by a sight-setter. A very good sight was the result and many ships copied it” (ibid.).Thanks to Scott’s improvements Terrible will win the navy’s 1901 prize firing competition.
59 NEW TECHNOLOGY, 1898-1899 WIRELESS In May 1898 Guglielmo Marconi demonstrates a successful 14-mile wireless transmission from the Isle of Wight to Bournemouth to a team of Admiralty observers, including the aforementioned Evan-Thomas.In November Evan-Thomas is put in charge of the Portsmouth Signal. At much the same time the navy’s new Signal Book (which he had played so great a part in prototyping) is published.In 1899 experimental wireless rooms are installed on HMS Europa and Juno.
60 THE NAVAL RACE IS ON, 1898Championed by Kaiser Wilhelm II and his Navy Secretary Alfred von Tirpitz, the German Reichstag finally passes the first of five Flottengesetze [= "Fleet Laws"], setting out the country's plans for strengthening its capital ship resources over the next six years.It approves an establishment (some of which have already been built or planned anyway) of 19 battleships (two squadrons of eight, plus a flagship and two reserves), eight coastal defence ships, and over 30 cruisers, roughly a third of which are long range.
61 NEW TECHNOLOGY, 1899 THE STEAM TURBINE Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Tyneside, launches its first Viper-class torpedo boat destroyer of 350 tons.The ships are noteworthy in the present context for being the first to benefit from steam turbine propulsion, thereby pushing their maximum speed up to 36.5 knots.
62 THE GERMAN SYSTEMS, 1900 SIEMENSSTADT, BERLIN In 1900 the German telecommunications manufacturer Siemens & Halske opens new premises in the western suburbs of Berlin. The company is already adept at follow-the-pointer technology, having introduced it into the telegraph industry back in 1847!The physicist August Raps is Technical Director between 1900 and 1919.
63 CAREER MOVES, 1901Having discussed the problems of naval fire control with the physicist Lord Kelvin, the British engineer Arthur H. Pollen begins work on a computer system to do the job. Pollen is CEO of the London-branch of the American Linotype Company, light engineers, and is assisted with the technicalities by the mechanical engineer Harold Isherwood.That same year, a Royal Navy lieutenant named Frederic C. Dreyer passes out top of class in his advanced gunnery and torpedo warfare course at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
64 CAREER MOVES, 1902Prince Louis of Battenberg is promoted to Director of Naval Intelligence and “Jacky" Fisher is appointed Second Sea Lord, and Scott is posted back to HMS Excellent to standardise gunnery equipment and training.The Australian-born John Dumaresq starts a technical collaboration with Elliott Brothers to incorporate the hand-held Battenberg Course Indicator into a larger fire-control workstation.
65 THE TRANSMITTING STATION CONCEPT, 1902 Recent improvements in telecommunications technology have made it possible to move the majority of fire control staff down from the fire control position to a Transmitting Station much deeper in the ship. Here up to two dozen skilled operatives monitor key metrics and are in constant two-way communication with both the control position and the guns themselves.This is how it all then came together over the coming years …“In the transmitting stations of the first dreadnoughts, a clock operator would ‘call the 25s […]’, while the transmitter men (one per turret) would rotate the transmitter handles at each 25-yard step. At the guns, the sight-setters then had to read the ranges and deflections off the receivers and set the sights accordingly …” (Brooks, 2005, p47).
66 TWO-DIAL FOLLOW-THE-POINTER SYSTEMS NEW TECHNOLOGY,TWO-DIAL FOLLOW-THE-POINTER SYSTEMSElevating guns and training turrets has been comparatively simple ever since power-assisted servomechanisms were invented in the 1870s - the hard part is actually getting timely instructions down to the gun-crews involved. In the early 1900s Vickers came up with their “follow-the-pointer" system, whereby …Elevation man #1 in the Transmitting Station sets the desired elevation on his FTP sender. This setting is repeated to the destination turret, where it is displayed as “elevation desired” on an FTP receiver. Elevation man #2 in the turret now operates the power-assisted elevation system, the effects of which are displayed as “elevation actual”. He continues until the two dials read the same, whereupon “elevation on” is called. At more or less the same time two other operators are doing the same for bearing.
67 THE VICKERS RANGE CLOCK NEW TECHNOLOGY,THE VICKERS RANGE CLOCKScott collaborates with Vickers to construct a clockwork-driven range-rate ready-reckoner. Given an estimated initial range (set as the starting position of the main pointer against a calibrated dial) and an estimated range-rate (set using the small handle far right of image), the clock simply counts down accordingly. Spotting corrections to range can be instantly applied by rotating the dial beneath the pointer, and changes to the range-rate dialled in using the handle. (Remember that pointer-dial data displays are by definition analog devices, no matter how trivial the “computation” involved.)Henceforth, the centrepiece of any fire-control system will come to be loosely referred to as “the clock”.Note the driving disk and the variable radius driven pick-up wheel
68 THE CLOCK RACE, 1904 THE MARK I DUMARESQ After two years of work the Elliott-Dumaresq collaboration results in a much larger table-mounted Battenberg Course Indicator known formally as the "Elliott Brothers Mark 1 Dumaresq“, which (like its predecessor) when set with the estimated course and speed of a target ship and the known course and speed of your own ship indicates a pre-calculated range rate and speed across.The hand-held Battenbergs now become obsolete (although they will remain in production into the 1950s as portable systems of last resort).Here’s a recent auction piece …
69 THE CLOCK RACE, 1904 THE MARK I DUMARESQ Here is the instrument …360 degree compass scales360 degree compass scaleThe enemy carriage slides along the fore-and-aft bar according to own speedRange Rate – scaled across the base grid from y.p.m. (top left) to y.p.m. (bottom right)The arrow painted onto the inner disc shows line of sight to the enemyThe deflection scale is hinged so as to resolve the four main input parametersThe enemy bar slides in and out of the carriage according to enemy speed, and swivels according to enemy bearingImage from the Dreadnought Project website
70 THE CLOCK RACE, 1904 THE MARK I DUMARESQ The fore-and-aft bar is set to own course… and here is how it is used2The enemy carriage is positioned on the fore-and-aft bar according to its speed (initially a guesstimate)5Range Rate is read from the dial grid at this intersect3The enemy bar is rotated under the carriage to enemy course (also initially a guesstimate)4Deflection is read from the pointer on the deflection scale
71 THE PLOTTING TABLE CONCEPT THE CLOCK RACE, 1905THE PLOTTING TABLE CONCEPTAnother important Admiralty requirement is for hard copy output, that is to say, for a paper log of the progress of a battle. This is needed not just as part of the “Captain’s log” after the event but also as a source of insight during it.Dumaresqs will henceforth be mounted on a plotting table in the Transmitting Station, and as more and more devices are added during the coming decade such plotting tables gradually evolve into “computers” worthy of the name .The DumaresqNo 1905 image available. This is how things were arranged in the Dreyer systems of 1912
72 THE CLOCK RACE, 1905 COURSE PLOTTING (1 of 2) True Course Plotting: This is the “common-sense” plotting format, whereby the movement of one’s own ship is plotted from propellor shaft R.P.M. and compass heading and the movement of the target is plotted by linking up (x,Ɵ) coordinates derived from regular Range and Bearing observations. True Course Plots are easy to interpret because they show every turn of own ship and target but are difficult to produce automatically.True CourseBrooks (2005, p31)They also show considerably more than the Gunnery Officer really needs, meaning that two secondary displays are needed.
73 (inaccurate during and after own turn) (inaccurate during own turn) THE CLOCK RACE, 1905COURSE PLOTTING (2 of 2)Initial Course(inaccurate during and after own turn)Straight Course Plotting: Here the movement of one’s own ship is plotted as a straight line representing EITHER initial OR present course, and the movement of the target is plotted as above. These plots are easier to automate because own ship’s movement is always linear.Present Course(inaccurate during own turn)Brooks (2005, p31)
74 THE CLOCK RACE, 1905 RATE PLOTTING A useful adjunct to course plotting is rate plotting, that is to say, the graphical display of present and historic range and bearing. The two key gunnery parameters - range rate and speed across - are represented by the slope of the respective plot at the time in question.Both plots are easy to automate using roll-fed linear pen-plotters. Dreyer will soon [see 1907] be working on this sort of output, and will eventually build both sorts of plot into his 1910 Dreyer Table [see 1910].Example diagram follows …
75 THE CLOCK RACE, 1905 RANGE RATE PLOTTING Here is a range-against- time 2D flatbed plot. Note that at present the range is NEITHER stored NOR displayed digitally, and so has to be resolved by eye from a contiguous physical scale (as with the pen here and the pointer on the Dumaresq). Therefore the only way to cope with higher maximum ranges is to have a wider platen or lose precious resolution.World record (shared) is 26,000 yards, set by Jutland veteran HMS Warspite in 1940Linear paper travel, analoguing Distance against TimeLinear pen travel, analoguing Distance against Distance16,000 yardsMax25,000 yardsMax
76 THE PLOTTING TABLE DEBATE THE CLOCK RACE, 1905THE PLOTTING TABLE DEBATEDespite the fact that together the two rate plots tell the Gunnery Officer what he immediately needs to know (the present tangential values) rate plotters are only really re-displaying output from the Dumaresq.Pollen was therefore, from the outset, an advocate of True Course Plotting, because this plot alone contains sufficient information to predict values into the future (which would be invaluable should the target be momentarily obscured by smoke or mist, say).Specifically, Pollen had been convinced by his earlier conversations with business colleague Lord Kelvin that the necessary calculation could be carried out mechanically by some tide-predictor-like assembly of analog integrators.
77 THE BATTLECRUISER EVOLUTION, 1905-1906 HMS INVINCIBLE, ETC."Jacky" Fisher decides to experiment with a new generation of large fast capital ships, more heavily gunned than existing armoured cruisers but faster (and therefore less well armoured) than an equivalent cost battleship. The concept is put to the test in 1906 in the design of HMS Invincible, and eventually the Royal Navy will have nine such ships present at the Battle of Jutland, where – as we shall be seeing – three of them will be sunk.
78 THE ANSCHÜTZ GYROCOMPASS NEW TECHNOLOGY, 1906THE ANSCHÜTZ GYROCOMPASSThe German engineer Hermann Anschütz-Kaempfe devises a gyroscope-based naval compass in which a gimbal-mounted gyroscope can be calibrated to a known meridian, and will hold strongly (but in practice not strongly enough for gunnery) to that meridian regardless of movements of the mounting platform.The company’s products are promoted under licence in Britain by Elliott Brothers, and start to appear in fire control equipment in 1910 [see later slide].
79 THE DREADNOUGHT EVOLUTION, 1906 HMS DREADNOUGHTMounts ten 12”/L45 guns in five twin “gunhouses” ...Q-Turret(port side, not visible)P-TurretA-TurretX-Turret(not superfiring)Bagged cordite isvulnerable to flash-ignitionBagged cordite is veryvulnerable to flash-ignitionY-Turret
80 THE DREADNOUGHT EVOLUTION, 1906 HMS DREADNOUGHT… and has a complex fire control organisation to match.“Fore Top” Range FinderSignal TowerConning TowerLower Conning Tower(Transmitting Station #1)Lower Signal Tower(Transmitting Station #2)Roberts (1992, p75).
81 THE DREADNOUGHT EVOLUTION, 1906 HMS DREADNOUGHTWhen first commissioned …“Dreadnought’s main control positions were the fore top and a platform on the roof of the signal tower. Either of these could be connected to the main TS (Transmitting Station) in the lower conning tower or the secondary TS in the lower signal tower. Each turret could be connected to either of the TSs. […] Vickers’ fire control instruments were provided for transmitting ranges and deflection corrections […]. Each control position was fitted with a 9 foot Barr and Stroud rangefinder” (Roberts, 1992, p30).The arrangement would evolve significantly in , , and , and then again for Director Firing in 1915.
82 THE 9-FOOT BARR AND STROUD NEW TECHNOLOGY, 1906THE 9-FOOT BARR AND STROUDHere’s one …Roberts (1992, p72).In practice it is easy for the rangefinder #1 operator to lose the target as the ship yaws, and so a #2 operator has to maintain the bearing while #1 reads the range.One person cannot pre-sight and sight at the same time.
83 THE ISHERWOOD RANGEFINDER MOUNTING NEW TECHNOLOGY, 1906THE ISHERWOOD RANGEFINDER MOUNTINGDrawing on gyroscope technology already well-established within the torpedo industry, Pollen and Isherwood develop a gyro-stabilised mounting for the Admiralty’s Barr and Stroud rangefinders. This makes it far harder to lose the target during yawing, and thus frees up the #2 operator for other duties.Between 1909 and 1912 “these two instruments, the Barr & Stroud 9’ rangefinder and the Pollen gyro mounting, were virtually standard equipment for all new capital ships” (Pollen, 1980, p198).
84 THE FAST BATTLESHIP EVOLUTION, 1907 "Jacky" Fisher argues next for a new class of battleships – eventually the five-ship Queen Elizabeth Class - capable of 25 knots, giving them a valuable tactical advantage over the 20 knot vessels of the day. They are to be armed with 15” guns rather than 13.5”, and equipped with 15 foot rangefinders rather than 9 foot. To achieve their higher speed the class will have to be oil-fired, and this in turn means that there has to be geopolitical security of oil supply.Work will not begin on the class until 1912, and four out of the five ships will be present as the 5th Battle Squadron at the Battle of Jutland, under the command of Evan-Thomas.In the meantime, Dreyer is assigned to HMS Dreadnought on "special service" to develop her fire-control systems, thereby creating rival systems to those already being worked on by Pollen.
85 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1907 THE HMS AFRICA TRIALSNewly appointed as Director of Naval Ordnance , [Sir]1916 Reginald Bacon authorises Director Firing trials aboard the battleship HMS Africa. It proves difficult bringing all firing parameters into the right place at the right time. Here is an indication of the complexity of the problem …“Vickers’ follow-the-pointer technology […]enabled the aim of the guns to be controlled from a master gun-sight positioned aloft. This Director-sight - which itself incorporated follow-the-pointer receivers for gun-range and deflection from the [Transmitting Station] – transmitted its elevation and training angles to the guns“ (Brooks, 2005, p48).This assembled technology needs to be as high up the ship’s superstructure as the weight of its armour will permit.
86 CAREER MOVES, 1907Von Hipper wins the 1907 Kaiser’s Prize for Gunnery in SMS Friedrich Carl, an achievement which singles him out for promotion to capital ship command.
87 THE NAVAL RACE, 1908In service as a Training Ship the armoured cruiser HMS Cornwall takes a class of cadets on a goodwill tour of German ports.At Kiel her captain, one William “Blinker” Hall, engages in some surreptitious intelligence gathering concerning dockyard facilities and the like.His aptitude for this sort of thing will get him appointed Director of Naval Intelligence in 1914.
88 Greek = “helmsman/pilot”. The root of the modern word “Cybernetics” CAREER MOVES, 1909This year Jellicoe is replaced as Director of Naval Ordnance by [Sir]1914 Archibald Moore.Also this year, Pollen sets up the Company, with the “one-stop-shop” corporate vision of no longer merely supplying the Admiralty with separate components, but of providing instead “integral parts of a fighting ship’s equipment” (quoted in Brooks, 2005, p111).Argo** Argo as in Jason and the Argonauts. Tiphys, the Argo’s κυβερνήτης, was reportedly guided not by a compass but by the stars.Greek = “helmsman/pilot”. The root of the modern word “Cybernetics”
89 THE EARLY HMS NATAL TRIALS THE CLOCK RACE, 1909THE EARLY HMS NATAL TRIALSUnder the watchful eyes of her captain Frederick Ogilvie and gunnery officer [Sir]1936 William “Bubbles” James, the Admiralty conducts trials of the latest Argo and Dreyer systems aboard the armoured cruiser HMS Natal.This competition between the two manufacturers reflects the Admiralty’s judgement that “A.C.”, i.e., “Aim Correction”, is “The most important project now proceeding anywhere in the world” (Prince Louis of Battenberg, quoted in Pollen, 1980, p97).The Argo’s course plotter is not yet robust enough for operational usage but nevertheless shows distinct promise. The ship’s officers particularly stress the importance of continuing the plot under helm.
90 THE 1909 ADMIRALTY CONTRACTS THE CLOCK RACE, 1909THE 1909 ADMIRALTY CONTRACTSIn December 1909 the Admiralty ask Pollen to quote for 75 Argo Rangefinder Mountings and 50 Plotters.To help service the possible contract Pollen acquires a controlling interest in the technical optics firm of Cooke and Son, York,
91 THE SUPER-DREADNOUGHT EVOLUTION, 1909 THE ORION CLASSExperience with the dreadnoughts of influences the design of the four-ship Orion Class. Begun in 1909 and commissioned in 1912, these new “Super-Dreadnoughts” will be armed with ten midline 13.5”/45 guns, doubling the weight of their broadside compared to the earlier 12” guns, and pushing the theoretical range out beyond 20,000 yards.By way of comparison, HMS Belfast’s front turrets are aimed (so it is said) at Scratchwood Services on the M1, 20,000 yards away.’
92 CAREER MOVES, 1910In January “Jacky” Fisher retires and is replaced as First Sea Lord by Sir Arthur Wilson.“Blinker” Hall takes over command of HMS Natal following the untimely death of Frederick Ogilvie from food-poisoning.
93 THE LATER HMS NATAL TRIALS THE CLOCK RACE, 1910THE LATER HMS NATAL TRIALS“Blinker” Hall tests the latest Argo System aboard HMS Natal.The tests of the gyro plotter are promising but by now the rival (non-gyro) Dreyer Table – effectively the “Navy’s own” product, remember – is ready to be rolled out [see next slide].It will later emerge that one of Sir Arthur Wilson’s first decisions as First Sea Lord is to run with the in-house Dreyer System, content to let the Argo Company compete from a distance, each company thereby keeping the other on its toes. The resulting back-biting, political lobbying, and side-taking is still being researched.
94 THE LATER HMS NATAL TRIALS THE CLOCK RACE, 1910THE LATER HMS NATAL TRIALSOne of Natal’s officers, [Sir]1934 Reginald Plunkett [-Ernle-Erle-Drax]1916 , takes it upon himself to experiment with the installed systems, liaising with their designers over how best to transmit mechanically analogued variables between the Dumaresq and other modules. These experiments and discussions will influence both the Argo Company and Elliott Brothers, as we shall shortly be seeing.Plunkett will be in the thick of the battlecruiser engagement at Jutland aboard HMS Lion.
95 THE ARGO COMPANY EXPANDS THE CLOCK RACE, 1910THE ARGO COMPANY EXPANDSPollen’s York-based subsidiary now devises a method of increasing the light-gathering capacity of rangefinders. Pollen resolves accordingly to compete with Barr and Stroud. The operational benefit of this improvement is that ranging now becomes possible for an extra hour at both ends of the day.With production concentrated at Cooke and Son, York, the device becomes known as the Cooke-Pollen Rangefinder. The upgraded optics are, however, appreciably more expensive and no major Admiralty order is forthcoming.
96 THE SPERRY GYROCOMPASS THE CLOCK RACE, 1910THE SPERRY GYROCOMPASSThe American engineer Elmer A. Sperry forms the Sperry Gyroscope Company to market his own-brand gyroscopic compasses.The Admiralty will replace its early Anschütz purchases with Sperry kit during WW1.Sperry’s Chief Engineer at this time is Hannibal C. Ford.
97 THE CLOCK RACE, 1910-1911 THE DREYER TABLE The latest Dreyer-Elphinstone plotting table looks like this. Note the main components, mostly now driven by electric motors. Dreyer submits same for patent protection on 23rd September 1910.Gyro-set DumaresqDreyer and Elphinstone meanwhile are considering how best to incorporate an Anschütz gyro-compass into the Barr and Strud rangefinder, so that the range and bearing can be simultaneously acquired. This development work was carried out and tested aboard HMS Prince of Wales during 1911.Range Rate PlotterSpeed Across Rate Plotter
98 CAREER MOVES, 1911Winston Churchill becomes First Lord of the Admiralty.Jellicoe is presently C-in-C Atlantic Fleet.Prince Louis of Battenberg becomes 2nd Sea Lord.Note that the First Lord of the Admiralty – unlike the (three) Sea Lords – doesn’t have to be a sailor (a fact not lost on W. S. Gilbert)He thought so little, they rewarded he By making him the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!Note that the First Lord of the Admiralty is a politician, whilst the (three) Sea Lords are sailors.
99 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1911 THE HMS NEPTUNE TRIALSScott creates a prototyping installation of the latest Director Firing equipment aboard HMS Neptune and the resulting system goes out for trials in March It is successful enough for HMS Thunderer to be similarly upgraded later in the year.Behind the scenes, however, foul play is afoot …“In May 1911 I informed the Admiralty that I was beginning the construction of […] the Argo Clock Mark IV, I told [Third Sea Lord [Sir]1914 Archibald Moore], the Director of Naval Ordnance, how its functions would differ from those of my first clock […]. Admiral Moore at once asked me for the confidential loan of my drawings for his personal perusal and I lent them to him without hesitation. […] It appears that Admiral Moore promptly handed over my drawings to Elphinstone and Dreyer” (Pollen, 1980, p84).
100 THE NAVAL RACE, 1911 THE GERMAN 305mm SK L/50 GUN The Germans standardise on a “long” (50 calibre) 12” gun to compete with the Royal Navy’s latest (45 calibre) 13.5” gun. The extra barrel length gives a higher muzzle velocity and the Germans are gambling that the weapon’s greater accuracy at long range will compensate for its lighter payload. (The wisdom of this decision is still being debated.)The 305mm is duly fitted to the latest Helgoland-, Kaiser-, and König-Class battleships and the Derfflinger-Class battlecruisers.The earlier German battleships and battlecruisers have either the L/40 or l/45 version of the 283mm SK (nominal 11”).
101 CAREER MOVES, 1912-1913 PLAYERS TAKE POSITION In 1912 Prince Louis of Battenberg is promoted First Sea Lord with Jellicoe as Second Sea Lord.In 1913 [Sir]1912 David Beatty is put in charge of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron. He has front-line experience in both the Sudanese and Chinese Wars, , but has something of a reputation for flamboyance and social climbing (one of his early commands, indeed, had been of HMS Arrogant).At much the same time von Hipper takes command of the High Seas Fleet’s 1st Scouting Group, the German Navy’s battlecruiser force.
102 THE EARLY HMS ORION TRIALS THE CLOCK RACE, 1912THE EARLY HMS ORION TRIALSA Mark IV Argo Clock is tested aboard HMS Orion, one of the Royal Navy's latest "Super-Dreadnoughts". Its gyroscopic pick-ups work perfectly as Pollen’s son-biographer will later explain …"We were given the range of a fixed mark, whose distance from the ships had been exactly ascertained. Our clock was set to its bearing and range and to our own course and speed. [Orion] then described a quadrilateral figure, whose sides measured between eight and nine miles, and the three turns executed in describing it were made under full helm, and aggregated more than three full right angles. [...] The task was to keep the range of the fixed mark and its line of aim throughout the run, without having transmitted to us any range or bearing corrections of any kind whatever. At the end of the run, it was found that we had the range within twenty-five yards, and the bearing within half a degree" (Pollen [Senior], correspondence with the Admiralty, cited in Pollen, 1980, p92).
103 THE LATER HMS ORION TRIALS “Either a lie or a miracle” (Percy Scott) THE CLOCK RACE, 1912THE LATER HMS ORION TRIALS“Either a lie or a miracle” (Percy Scott)A month later the Mark IV Argo is trialled again, this time with live firing. Again the system delivers fully upon its promise …"... 'with no other gear have firing tests ever been carried out in such difficult conditions or with more novel and startling results. Never, until the A.C. Clock was tried in the Orion, had firing at high speed during a six-point turn been attempted. By hitting a fast and distant target continuously at a high rate of change with the firing ship under full helm the Orion has achieved what all gunnery experts would, a few weeks ago, have said was impossible'" (ibid.).It uses a two-pen arrangement to plot range and bearing side by side on the same roll of paper, and the main data display has also been ergonomically tidied up.
104 THE CLOCK RACE, 1912 THE LATER HMS ORION TRIALS “Another mechanical tour de force by Isherwood” (Brooks, 2005, p99)Here is the closest we have been able to get to the internal arrangement …“Internally, the Mark IV […] was based on four ‘slipless’ variable-speed drives. Drive I was the ‘range clock’; its rate was set directly from the dumaresq, and one of its rollers was coupled to the Range Finder hand. […] The rate of Drive II was set by the dumaresq’s speed-across and the distance of the ball of Drive III from the centre of the disc was proportional to clock-range. The result was that the rotation of III’s disc was in proportion to the change-of-bearing, thus it was connected to the bearing-dial. […] Drive IV was set for [range-]rate from the dumaresq, but indirectly through a centrally pivoted lever and spiral arm […]” (Brooks, 2015, p98).
105 THE ARGO MARK IV CLOCK (MAIN DISPLAY) THE CLOCK RACE, 1912THE ARGO MARK IV CLOCK (MAIN DISPLAY)Spiral dial gives better angular resolutionSpeed acrossTarget CourseOwn CourseDUMARESQImage from the Dreadnought Project websiteCLICK FORTUTORIALPresent Range(11,025 yd)Predicted Range(11,400 yd)Operating mode switch(own ship “Steady” or “Turning”)Range Rate(-675 yd/min)Own/EnemySpeedOwn/EnemySpeed
106 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1912 THE HMS THUNDERER TRIALS In February 1912 Elliott Brothers gets a contract to provide five best-available systems (eventually badged as the Dreyer Mark III Clock) for continuous prototyping.One system is installed on the HMS Thunderer and tested alongside its equally experimental Vickers “Tripod Director”. The Director works sufficiently well to persuade Winston Churchill finally to approve both concept and equipment for service use.Remember that Director Firing means extensive design changes, the installation of follow-the-pointer data communication channels, and the training of personnel. Moreover every single system component must degrade as smoothly as possible as battle damage starts to accumulate (gyros, integrators, clocks, and paper drives being all highly susceptible to slippage under impact vibration).
107 DIRECTOR FIRING SYSTEMS, 1913 THE TRIPOD DIRECTOR SIGHT Here is the “Tripod Director” approved in the HMS Thunderer trials.Orders for 29 complete systems are placed with Vickers later in the year.VariousRangefinder systemsVariousRangefinder systemsElevation Man (see big wheel)“Guns Ready” Telephone Man (see display board 18)Training Man (see big wheel)Firing Angle repeaters from the Transmitter StationFiring Angle repeaters from the Transmitting StationSight Setting Man (see Training Repeater 15)VariousFire Control systemsVariousFire Control systemsRoberts (1992, p241).
108 THE ARGO MARK V CLOCK (MAIN DISPLAY) THE CLOCK RACE, 1913THE ARGO MARK V CLOCK (MAIN DISPLAY)The Argo Mark V Clock incorporates the final set of improvements to the Argo Project. The machine is visually almost identical to the Mark IV but now incorporates a new analog mechanism to compute Enemy Heading during changes of Own Heading, thus allowing the entire Dumaresq assembly to operate blind for several minutes.To summarise – Whereas the Argo Mark IV Clock allows the range of an invisible ship to be maintained, the Mark V does likewise while own ship is turning.However as we shall be seeing the need for line-of-battle discipline during fleet actions renders this functionality almost unusable.
109 THE CLOCK RACE, 1913 THE MOORE REPORT Looking for technical advice Third Sea Lord [Sir]1914 Archibald Moore call in the physicist Sir Charles Boys, whose opinion of the Mark IV Argo is glowing. The system is, he reports, “as near perfection as any mechanism which I have ever examined” (quoted in Pollen, 1980, p94).Nevertheless around this time it is beginning to become apparent that no matter how good the Argo is, the rival Dreyer Mark III Fire Control Table will be the one selected for standard issue.By February 1913 the five Dreyer Mark III Clocks have been installed for Customer Acceptance Testing in the battleships HMS Monarch, Thunderer, and King George V, and the battlecruisers HMS Lion and Princess Royal.
110 THE DREYER MARK III CLOCK THE CLOCK RACE, 1913THE DREYER MARK III CLOCKAnschütz GyrocompassrepeaterForbes Speed LogrepeaterTHEELLIOTTCOMPUTERTHATHISTORYOFTENFORGETSBrooks (2005, p160).
111 ELLIOTT’S ADMIRALTY CONTRACT THE CLOCK RACE, 1913ELLIOTT’S ADMIRALTY CONTRACT“… Elphinstone had rearranged the main components of the table; the modified Dumaresq Mark IV, with the variable-speed drives of the range and bearing clocks beneath it, was now placed between the two plots. As in the original Table, the dial-plate of the Dumaresq was fixed, with a slot cut along the length of the arrow representing the direction of the target; the pointer in this slot showed the rate set on the range clock. A compass ring […] rotated around the dial-plate. An outer ring, which supported the fore-and-aft bar, was carried by the compass-ring but could also rotate upon it. On the compass-ring, the target arrow indicated enemy compass-bearing, while a pointer at the bow end of the fore-and-aft bar indicated own compass course. An Anschütz gyrocompass receiver was mounted on the panel above the Dumaresq; the panel also carried the Forbes log indicating own ship’s speed. A ‘relay device’ on the back of the panel controlled an electric motor which, through a flexible drive-shaft, rotated the fore-and-aft bar relative to the compass-ring by an amount equal to the change in own ship’s course. The bearing clock was set to run [… and its] output shaft was coupled to the compass-ring of the Dumaresq. […] Thus the joint actions of the gyrocompass relay and the bearing clock maintained […] the enemy-bearing and own-course indicated on the compass-ring” (Brooks, 2005, p161).
112 ARGO’S FOREIGN CONTRACTS, 1913 Having lost the race for the main Admiralty contract, Pollen now turns his sales efforts towards foreign powers such as Turkey, USA, France, and Russia. His only real success it to sell five complete systems to the Russian Navy, who will use them at ranges out to 25,000 yards in the Black Sea in 1916 (Pollen, 1980).Pollen made no major sales in the U.S. despite spending time in Washington in 1914 and The Americans will, however, later admit to “having learned much” from him (Pollen, 1980). Indeed their own fire control expert, Hannibal Ford, now of the Ford Instrument Company, will purchase several Argo patents when developing the U.S. Navy’s Ford Range Keeper in 1917 (Clymer, 1993).
113 THE TRAINING ISSUE, 1914Between 1910 and 1914 there had been complaints of poor performance by rangetakers, thus …“Rangefinders could give accurate ranges only if worked by trained and experienced rangetakers. In early 1910, the Inspector of Target Practice […] insisted on the need for proper training and regular courses of instruction. […] The Board gave its approval [after four years pressure] on 19 July Thus as the war began, it is doubtful whether, for rangefinding, the Royal Navy was as well trained – or, indeed, as well equipped – as it could have been” (Brooks, 2005, p52).
114 THE LISTENING STATIONS, 1914 Concerned at difficulties decoding the increasing number of wireless intercepts, the present Director of Naval Intelligence [Sir]1928 Henry F. Oliver obtains around this time the services of …WINNER OF BATTLESYET UNFOUGHTWINNER OF BATTLESYET UNFOUGHT… the physicist Sir James A. Ewing. Ewing is installed in Room 40 at the Admiralty (although he will spend much of his time at British Museum Library learning all about cryptanalysis).
115 THE LISTENING STATIONS, 1914 At the beginning of the war the Royal Navy have only one listening post, hidden away at the (then-)remote Boldon House, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham. However Sir James Ewing is soon approached by the barrister-radio buff Edward Clarke and the wireless engineer Richard Hippisley, both of whom have been using amateur wireless equipment to eavesdrop on German naval signals from across the North Sea.Ewing is so impressed by the quality of their reporting that he duly appoints them "VIs" [= voluntary interceptors] and deploys them to Hunstanton, Norfolk, in order to set up both a listening post and a direction finding station there. It will subsequently become standard practice to refer to listening stations as "Y-Stations" and direction finding stations as "Z-Stations".Stockton and Hunstanton face the German ports of Wilhelmshaven, Bremerhaven, and Cuxhaven, and the wireless transmitting station at Norddeich, across some 300 miles of the North Sea.
116 CAREER MOVES, 1914In October 1914, having been assessed as no longer fit for service at sea, “Blinker” Hall replaces Oliver as Director of Naval Intelligence, thereby inheriting the Room 40 network. He will remain in post for the remainder of the war.As we shall be seeing, Room 40 will have won the Battle of Jutland before the Germans have even lit their boilers!
117 THE CLOCK RACE, 1914-1916 FINAL IMPLEMENTATION Following the recommendations of the Moore Report the Argo Company is contracted in February 1913 to provide five Argo Mark V installations. These end up on HMS Orion, the three ships of the newer King George V class, and the class-of-one HMS Erin. The battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary takes over the trials Argo Mark IV.Elliott Brothers’ 1914 offering – the Dreyer Mark IV Clock – is calibrated out to 17,000 yards range and fitted to HMS Iron Duke and two of her sisters, and the latest battlecruiser HMS Tiger. All will take their systems to Jutland.Elliott’s system – the Dreyer Mark IV* Clock – is calibrated out to 20,000 yards and fitted to HMS Warspite and her sisters, Barham, Valiant, and Malaya. These will be in the thick of the battlecruiser engagement at Jutland.
118 UNSOLVED PROBLEMS ON THE EVE OF BATTLE PART 1 (CLOSING)UNSOLVED PROBLEMS ON THE EVE OF BATTLE
119 THE “UNDER HELM” PROBLEM FULL SYSTEM (Rangefinder, Plotter, and Mark V Clock): Only HMS Orion, King George V, Ajax, Centurion, and Erin will be able to fire on the turn or with temporarily obscured target. However there will be little opportunity to fire on the turn while constrained by line-of-battle rules to keep station with other ships unable to do so!!SHORT SYSTEM (Rangefinder and Mark IV Clock): The battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary is able to continue shooting against a temporarily obscured target, but not on the turn.WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT: Since high-speed manoeuvre was part of the original battlecruiser concept, it might have made more sense to fit the Argos to these ships.
120 THE PROBLEM OF VISIBILITY INTO DAWN ORSUNSETINTO NIGHT, HAZE,OR GUNSMOKE
121 THE PROBLEM OF CORRECTIONS (1 OF 4) TARGET BEARING HAS TO BE RIGHT FIRSTUP
122 THE PROBLEM OF CORRECTIONS (2 OF 4) LONGS NO GOOD WHEN STRADDLING Important vertical distance
123 THE PROBLEM OF CORRECTIONS (3 OF 4) DIVIDED FIREDown 400!Up 400!
124 THE PROBLEM OF CORRECTIONS (4 OF 4) SIMULTANEOUS FIRESo who fired it??
125 THE GERMAN SYSTEMS RANGEFINDING In the German Navy …“The rangetakers were carefully selected for good three-dimensional vision and, paradoxically, the very difficulty of using the instruments demanded that they were rigorously trained […]. Thus it appears that, in service, their [3-metre Zeiss stereoscopics] were, at 20,000 yards, as accurate as the Barr & Stroud 9-foot coincidence rangefinders at 15,000 yards” (Brooks, 2005, p222).“Between [January 1915] and Jutland, the Germans introduced an instrument which calculated the mean of the range received from up to eight rangefinders. The officer in charge could switch out any rangefinders giving abnormal results; he also reported ‘the change of range per minute calculated from the difference of the rangefinder readings’” (Brooks, 2005, p223).
126 THE GERMAN SYSTEMS RANGE RATE “From 1908, range-rate only was obtained from the EU-Anzeiger, while a similar but separate instrument indicated deflection; both worked on the same principles as the Dumaresq, though neither had any special features to assist in keeping the rates during a turn by own ship. From 1912, range-rate was set on a range-clock [the RW-Geber C12] which converted clock-range into elevation, the latter then being transmitted directly to follow-the-pointer gunsights” (Brooks, 2005, p222).
127 BEARING AND SPEED ACROSS THE GERMAN SYSTEMSBEARING AND SPEED ACROSS“All the German battlecruisers at Jutland were fitted with a training director, which transmitted target bearing from a periscopic sight in the control position to follow-the-pointer receivers in the turrets” (Brooks, 2005, p222).
128 THE GERMAN SYSTEMS SALVO FIRE “Unlike training, gun laying remained the responsibility of the individual layers, who were accustomed to lay continuously and preferred to fire their own pieces once the fire gong had sounded; thus, at Jutland, several British observers described the German salvoes as ‘rapid ripples’. The Germans used a rather different (and potentially more rapid) method of bracketing from that used by the Royal Navy. […] When straddling, 25 per cent of shots were kept falling short. Spotting was assisted by electric ‘hit-indicators’, which sounded buzzers in the top, control, and TS when the salvo was due to fall; however, these seem to have been far from reliable. German sources all indicate that, to find the target, they fired single salvoes, spotting each before firing the next. […] But once the target had been straddled consistently they fired a burst of rapid [*] unspotted salvoes before, inevitably, the rate was lost” (Brooks, 2005, p222).*As fast as 20-seconds apart, compared to seconds while spotting.
129 “RATHER SIMPLER AND BETTER INTEGRATED” (Brooks, 2005, p224) THE GERMAN SYSTEMSACADEMIC COMPARISON“RATHER SIMPLER AND BETTER INTEGRATED” (Brooks, 2005, p224)“Unlike British fire control instruments, which had many origins, the instruments of the German system were mostly developed by the firm of Siemens & Halske, under the direction of the physicist August Raps. As a system, it was rather simpler and better integrated, but the completed British system had greater redundancy and, therefore, resilience to damage. It also provided greater functionality, notably a director that could be mounted aloft and that controlled elevation as well as training. Both systems used similar devices for rate-keeping. However only the British system had rate plots for both bearings and ranges” (Brooks, 2005, p224).
130 STRESS TESTING THE SYSTEMS PART 2INTO BATTLE30th MAY – 1st JUNE1916STRESS TESTING THE SYSTEMS
131 THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, 31st MAY 1916 THE PRINCIPAL PLAYERS – BRITISH (Argo model) (Dreyer Model) [Default is Dreyer Mk III])MAIN BATTLE FLEET (24 BATTLESHIPS AND 3 OLDER BATTLECRUISERS)The battleships are organised into six four-ship “divisions”, thus (in line-of-battle sequence) …1st Division – King George V (Mk V), Centurion (Mk V), Ajax (Mk V), and Erin (Mk V)2nd Division - Orion (Mk V), Thunderer, plus two othersJellicoe in Iron Duke (Mk IV) plus 3rd Division - three ships4th Division - Benbow (Mk IV) plus three others5th, and 6th Divisions - four ships each3BCS - Invincible plus two other ageing battlecruisers scouting close ahead.BATTLECRUISER FLEET (6 NEWER BATTLECRUISERS AND 4 FAST BATTLESHIPS)Beatty in Lion1BCS - Princess Royal, Queen Mary (Mk IV), Tiger (Mk IV)2BCS - New Zealand, Indefatigable5BS - Evan-Thompson in Barham (Mk IV*), plus Valiant (Mk IV*), Warspite (Mk IV*), and Malaya (Mk IV*)
132 THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, 31ST MAY 1916 THE PRINCIPAL PLAYERS - GERMAN MAIN BATTLEFLEET (16 MODERN AND 6 OLDER BATTLESHIPS)16 battleships organised into four four-ship “divisions”, thus (in line-of-battle sequence) …5th Division - König plus three othersScheer in Friedrich der Grosse plus 6th Division - Kaiser plus two others1st Division - Ostfriesland plus three others2nd Division - Posen plus three others6 Pre-Dreadnoughts (inconveniently slow) organised into two three-ship divisions3rd Division - Deutschland plus 2; 4th Division - Hannover plus 2BATTLECRUISER FLEET (2 MODERN AND 3 OLDER BATTLECRUISERS)1st SCOUTING GROUP - Von Hipper in Lützow plus Derfflinger, Seydlitz, Moltke, and Von der TannSee YouTube Fleet Review
133 THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, 31ST MAY 1916 SYSTEMS AS DETERMINANTS OF TACTICSBoth capital ship fleets are escorted by a great confusion of armoured cruisers, light cruisers, torpedo boats, torpedo boat destroyers, and submarines.The battle is primarily one of manoeuvring for advantage; of wily seamanship prior to well-practised gunnery. Altogether some 64 capital ships are involved, with some 90,000 crew, of whom 55,000 are gunners of some sort or other, of whom 3,500 are "computer" operators of some sort or other.There are two running firefights, the first between the opposing fast fleets, and the second between the full fleets.In the event, neither side will attempt to fire on the turn because of the overriding need to remain in disciplined line-of-battle formations.
134 THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, 30th MAY 1916 THE APPROACH PHASEBattleships(Jellicoe)from Scapa Flowand Moray FirthBattlecruisers(von Hipper)from WilhelmshavenBattleships(Jellicoe)Battleships(Scheer)from Wilhelmshavenand CuxhavenBattlecruisers(Beatty)from RosythListening Stations(Ewing)Listening Stations(Ewing)Oliver’s Room 40(Hall)NorddeichWireless Station
135 THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, 31st MAY 1916 THE INITIAL BATTLECRUISER ACTION 1415 Beatty abandons search and turns north; 1432 "Enemy in Sight" so search resumed to SSE, but 5BS slow to respondTHERUNTONORTH1759 Scheer emergesfrom haze to sightJellicoe at only16,000 yards1545 1/2 BCS opens fire at "16,000"1646 Beatty's battlecruisers still under fire but slowly drawing ahead; BS tag on as rearguardAFTERNOONSUN1600 Lion disabled; 1602 Indefatigable blows upTHERUNTOSOUTH1626 Queen Mary blows upSEA HAZE ANDBATTLE SMOKE1638 High Seas Fleet in sight to SE. Beatty orders turn N in succession, making 5BS the rearguard
136 THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, 31st MAY 1916 THE BATTLESHIP ACTION1815 Jellicoe forms a 24-ship line-of-battle, steering ENE, crossing Scheer's T. It is mainly the rear divisions which engage1821 3BCS slots in ahead of Beatty1834 3BCS's Invincible blows up1836 Scheer orders "battle about-turn" to starboard. Jellicoe responds at 1844 by turning ESE in succession1815 Beatty’s battlecruisersneatly slot in at thefront of Jellicoe’s line; 5BSjoins at the rearLATEAFTERNOONSUN1855 Jellicoe turns S in "divisions abeam"; Scheer counters with a second about turn1759 Scheer turns ENESEA HAZE ANDBATTLE SMOKE"THE CAULDRON"
137 THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND, 31st MAY 1916 THE BATTLESHIP ACTION1913 Realising the danger of being "kettled" Scheer orders a third about-turn, covered by a "death-ride" by Hipper's !SG.1920 Hipper withdraws after 7 minutes, covered by a mass destroyer attack. Jellicoe turns away for safety.1940 Jellicoe turns S by divisions, to reform line-of-battle, thereby cutting the Germans off from their basesGATHERINGDARKNESSoccasional localised engagements continue into the nightSome time after 0200 Scheer crosses Jellicoe's wake and escapes to safety
138 SO WHO WON, AND WHY?The British, because - by the conventional criterion - they drove the enemy from the field, regardless of cost.Thanks – causa causans - to the tactical advantage given to Jellicoe by the better prior positioning allowed by Room 40’s superior SIGINT and code breaking skills.Thanks then to Jellicoe’s near-perfect crossing of Scheer’s “T”.Thanks also to Jellicoe’s near-perfect cutting of Scheer’s line of retreat (silhouetting his ships, moreover, against the fading light).The German superiority in gunnery [see next slide] merely sweetened their defeat.
139 WHO WON THE FIRE CONTROL BATTLE? The Germans. Not because they had better “clocks”, but rather because their “job procedures” ensured that the equipment they did have was worked to its strengths and avoided its weaknesses.British battlecruisers were markedly inferior, initially shooting over by several thousand yards. (This initial over-estimation of distance might well also have delayed the order to open fire, thus squandering the range advantage of the British 13.5” guns over the German 11” and 12”.) With the Argo-equipped Queen Mary …“Queen Mary’s shooting was no better than would be expected from the Battlecruiser Fleet’s crack gunnery ship. [Nor did she] obtain much advantage from the fully automatic operation of the Argo clock” (Brooks, 2005, pp ).(In other words, Queen Mary's superiority might just have been down to familiarity with the task, rather than the equipment per se.)
140 WHO WON THE RANGEFINDER BATTLE? The Germans. Note only did the Zeiss marginally outperform the Barr and Strouds but the day was also unnecessarily foreshortened for want of the half-light capabilities of the more expensive Cooke-Pollen systems. Had these been available German losses might conceivably have been considerably higher …“The Jutland Despatch told us that the German fleet escaped comparatively unpunished […] partly because our rangefinders could not deal with the bad light and the low visibility” (Pollen [Senior], quoted in Pollen [Junior], 1980, p201).
141 EPILOGUEElliott Brothers went digital in 1946 with anti-aircraft predictors, became a GP computer developer 1950, was renamed Elliott Automation in It was then absorbed into GEC and as a few strands of corporate DNA is nowadays part of BAE Systems (as, too, is Vickers). After WW1 the Sperry Gyroscope Company used its war profits to expand by acquisition, acquiring the Ford Instrument Company in 1933 to form the Sperry Corporation. It will make another fortune in WW2 and end up as part of Unisys. The Siemens, Barr and Stroud, and Zeiss brands still exist as such.It will still be another 20 years before Vannevar Bush’s Differential Analyser enters the standard computing histories. However, Pollen's son predicted in 1980: “Meanwhile to those interested in the history of computers the Argo Clock will no doubt now assume a new importance as being by many years the first electrically driven analog computer ever employed or designed” (pp94-95),
142 The 1987 Lockheed-Martin Aegis CIC Raytheon’s 2013 DDG-1000 THE MODERN EQUIVALENTSThe 1987 Lockheed-Martin Aegis CIC Raytheon’s 2013 DDG-1000
143 REFERENCESBrooks, J. (2005). Dreadnought Gunnery and the Battle of Jutland. Abingdon: Routledge. Clymer, A. B. (1993). The mechanical analog computers of Hannibal Ford and William Newell. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 15(2): Pollen, A. (1980). The Great Gunnery Scandal: The Mystery of Jutland. London: Collins. Roberts, J. (1992). The Battleship Dreadnought. London: Conway Maritime.
144 FURTHER READINGCovering many of the complexities of ballistics … Evans (2014 online) “British Artillery Fire Control Ballistics and Data” For just about everything … The Dreadnought Project For a German Gunnery Officer’s perspective … Von Hase, G. (1921). Kiel and Jutland. London: Skeffington. [Full text online] For the post-war Inquiry … Harper, J. E. T. (1927). The Truth about Jutland. London: Murray.