Germany capture French and Italian fleets intact

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davethelight
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Germany capture French and Italian fleets intact

Postby davethelight » 13 Jan 2003 11:26

What if the French fleet had sailed straight for Hamburg or Wilhelmsaven or some other Axis port when the French surrendered in 1940?
And then to make matters worse, what if the Germans had been able to take over the Italian fleet and staff it with German personnel?

Would the Royal Navy be scrood?

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Tim Smith
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Postby Tim Smith » 13 Jan 2003 12:07

If the French fleet had tried to sail to a German port, the British Home Fleet would have intercepted it before it got there, and sunk most of it. The French battleships, except for the uncompleted Richelieu, were inferior in firepower to their British counterparts, and would have been outnumbered into the bargain.

By the time Italy surrendered in September 1943, the Allies had air superiority over the Mediterranean, so the Germans couldn't have done much with the Italian fleet. The British Air Force would have concentrated on bombing the ships until they were sunk or unseaworthy. There isn't enough searoom in the Mediterranean for the Axis ships to evade being tracked by aircraft from Sicily, Malta and North Africa.

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davethelight
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Postby davethelight » 13 Jan 2003 15:13

Ow. Righto!

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Andy H
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Postby Andy H » 13 Jan 2003 18:36

One of the main factors effecting the value of the Italian was the lack of range of many of the naval vessels, since naturally they only planned for a naval war in the Med, and also some of the sea keeping abilities of the escorts etc was awful, much the same as the French escorts. So when people think about the Italian navy operating in say the Atlantic they always concentrate (naturally) on guns,weight etc) but never on the above.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Andy H
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Postby Andy H » 13 Jan 2003 18:38

Forgot to add that both navies would have to pass Gib, which would be no mean feat, and why would the French Fleet head for Germany where it is more likely to be blockaded?

:D Andy from the Shire

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davethelight
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Postby davethelight » 14 Jan 2003 12:55

Could the French Navy have taken refuge in a French port, like Brest?
Then they could at least get some protection from the Luftwaffe so the RN couldln't pick on them.

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Sam H.
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Postby Sam H. » 14 Jan 2003 18:42

It might be easier for the French fleet in the Med. to head for Italy. The ones in the Atlantic can make for Brest or some other deap water port.

Can't see the ships sailing for Hamburg. The Royal Navy and RAF would have them for lunch.

Lord Styphon
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Postby Lord Styphon » 15 Jan 2003 05:56

Yeah, but then the RAF would have its chance to pick on them. Like it did to Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

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Galahad
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Postby Galahad » 23 Jan 2003 18:12

One of the biggest limitations on the operations of the Italian battle fleet was fuel. Italy's reserves were very limited, and replacement of used reserves was dependent on the amount Germany would supply--which wasn't large. So the battle fleet tended to stay in port so there would be fuel for escorts and merchant ships on the supply run to Africa.

If Germany HAD managed to get the entire fleet--and that of France--it would have had to supply the fuel for operations, and it was short on fuel as it was. Logistics is the underlying basis for any operations a fleet undertakes; without proper logistical support, the fleet's operations are hamstrung.

This, by the way, is one factor few take into account when discussing Raeder's Z Plan. The fleet he contemplated would take an enormous amount of fuel if it undertook full fleet operations--considerably more than it would have needed to supply operations by the Italian and French fleets combined. Yet without a war to get more oil, Germany's supplies in 1946 would have been pretty much the same as in 1939--small.

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Sam H.
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Postby Sam H. » 24 Jan 2003 21:06

Even if all these vessels came into German hands, how would the Germans be able to man the vessels? It would certainly take months, if not years to recruit, assign and train the tens of thousands of sailors that would be required.


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