What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
pugsville
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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by pugsville » 06 Nov 2019 21:53

glenn239 wrote:
06 Nov 2019 18:38
pugsville wrote:
06 Nov 2019 06:39
Paul Lakowski wrote:
05 Nov 2019 20:23

From Hitler's FOUR YEAR PLAN, on , treaties were meaningless, just obstacle's to be side stepped.
But if the Germans actually started building 4 carriers the British would notice and consider their options.

They were not building 4 carriers historically. If they started a large carriers program the British would look at it and it's pretty certain they would have had a reaction.
Discounting the British 21kt battleships as next to useless in an Atlantic war, the balance of power at the start of the war was, (British vs. German-Italian)

CV - 7 to 0
BB - 3 to 8
PB - 0 to 3
C - 64 to 27
DD - 192 to 81
DE - 73 to 87
SS - 62 to 178

Given the scale of the theatre and the vulnerability of the British maritime position from Sealion to Singapore, to call the Axis situation "hopeless" is like calling a Superbowl at halftime when the score is 20-10. (Add in the USA for the UK and its another story).
The British Slow Battleships were not useless. They protected convoys which effectively metered German attacks on convoys. Convoy protection is not glamorous but it is essential.

The British were also building a lot of ships at the start of the war, their capacity to do so was quite large unlike the Germans.Who had quite limited ship building capacity.

The bases and topography made the Axis Navies quite weak, while the British had a large area of commitment there was no real prospect of much combined action by the Axis, and all their ships could only reach the Atlantic in dibs and drabs through choke points.

I pretty sure all the Italian destroyers were pretty short range and useless in An Atlantic war.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 07 Nov 2019 15:32

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
06 Nov 2019 18:50
And how well did all these Italian ships do in actual combat?
With Germany invading Russia? As well as could be expected when tied up in port for lack of oil.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by ljadw » 07 Nov 2019 16:33

There were no Italian destroyers in the Atlantic .
And the Italian ships in the Mediterranean were not tied up in port for lack of oil . They did a very good job .They supplied the Italian and German forces in NA and the Italian forces in the Balkans and France .
. They also supplied Sardinia and Sicily .
The Italians were able to transport 1.24 million men and 4,2 million tons of supplies to the Balkans and North Africa .

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 07 Nov 2019 18:26

ljadw wrote:
07 Nov 2019 16:33
There were no Italian destroyers in the Atlantic .
Stating a historical fact in a 'what if' thread is kind of missing the point of the thread. With the exception of subs, Italian fleet units were not in the Atlantic historically. But 'what if' the Axis had taken Iberia, then Italian fleet units could have entered the Atlantic. (Don't tell me the Axis couldn't take Iberia after defeating France. Yes, they could have.)
And the Italian ships in the Mediterranean were not tied up in port for lack of oil . They did a very good job .They supplied the Italian and German forces in NA and the Italian forces in the Balkans and France .
The Italian fleet in WW2 was starved for oil because of the war in Russia.
The Italians were able to transport 1.24 million men and 4,2 million tons of supplies to the Balkans and North Africa .
Right, so 'what if' Egypt falls just imagine what the Italian merchant fleet could have done using the deepwater ports in Egypt to project Axis power into the Middle East and even down towards the Red Sea.
Last edited by glenn239 on 07 Nov 2019 19:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 07 Nov 2019 19:02

pugsville wrote:
06 Nov 2019 21:53
The British Slow Battleships were not useless. They protected convoys which effectively metered German attacks on convoys. Convoy protection is not glamorous but it is essential.
Yes, the old battleships were useful in this role against solo raiders. The key being 'solo'. With PQ-17, disaster happened because the Admiralty thought the convoy would be hit by a powerful German task force. Get the Italian fleet into the Atlantic and concentrate the German battleships with them, and there's potential PQ-17's everywhere, aren't there?
The British were also building a lot of ships at the start of the war, their capacity to do so was quite large unlike the Germans.Who had quite limited ship building capacity.
I'm assuming that if Germany and Italy went all in on a sea war instead of invading Russia that they'll do better with producing material suitable to a sea war. The point that the US entering the war quickly turns a sea war against the Axis is valid, but until the US actually enters the war, the British are going to be in deep and deeper trouble.
The bases and topography made the Axis Navies quite weak, while the British had a large area of commitment there was no real prospect of much combined action by the Axis, and all their ships could only reach the Atlantic in dibs and drabs through choke points.
Sure, assuming that Germany somehow doesn't improve on the historical situation even if not invading Russia. But if Germany takes Iberia and Egypt? Different story.
I pretty sure all the Italian destroyers were pretty short range and useless in An Atlantic war.
Depends on the mission. Destroyers would be useful for ASW escort of heavier ships and submarines to and from port, and for attacking shipping nearby to their bases as well as making possible invasions from Iberia to, say, the Azores, or hopping down the African coast. Italian and German warships in Iberia would also be able to suddenly transfer to France in order to join Sealion '41 massing in the Channel. Sealion '41 is, of course, that thing that never happened where Germany built thousands of cheap and quickly produced Siebel ferries and MFP's after June 1940 with all that steel they weren't wasting in Russia, and since these were 8kt-10kt craft capable of over the beach unloading, the prospects of invasion get much more dangerous, pinning large numbers of British destroyers, cruisers and divisions to the UK when they're needed elsewhere.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by ljadw » 07 Nov 2019 19:45

glenn239 wrote:
07 Nov 2019 18:26
ljadw wrote:
07 Nov 2019 16:33
There were no Italian destroyers in the Atlantic .
Stating a historical fact in a 'what if' thread is kind of missing the point of the thread. With the exception of subs, Italian fleet units were not in the Atlantic historically. But 'what if' the Axis had taken Iberia, then Italian fleet units could have entered the Atlantic. (Don't tell me the Axis couldn't take Iberia after defeating France. Yes, they could have.)
And the Italian ships in the Mediterranean were not tied up in port for lack of oil . They did a very good job .They supplied the Italian and German forces in NA and the Italian forces in the Balkans and France .
The Italian fleet in WW2 was starved for oil because of the war in Russia.
The Italians were able to transport 1.24 million men and 4,2 million tons of supplies to the Balkans and North Africa .
Right, so 'what if' Egypt falls just imagine what the Italian merchant fleet could have done using the deepwater ports in Egypt to project Axis power into the Middle East and even down towards the Red Sea.
1 Taking Iberia after defeating France means : no Barbarossa .
2 I doubt that the Italian fleet was fit for the Atlantic .
3 There is no correlation between Barbarossa and the amount of oil for the Regia Marina .
4 The fall of Egypt would not result into projecting the Axis power in the ME .The reason is that the Axis had not the manpower/supplies to conquer the ME and if it had them, they could not operate in the ME . Besides, there was no reason to conquer the ME : it would only be a wast of time and means ,and the conquest and occupation of the ME would make Barbarossa impossible .
5 The fall of Egypt does not mean that the Axis could cross the Suez Canal and the crossing of the Suez Canal does not mean that the Axis could cross the Sinai desert .

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Paul Lakowski » 08 Nov 2019 05:22

Most RN warships were dedicated to convoy escorts or plugging up the GIUK gap in 1940, coastal protection was not considered a priority because no one expected the rapid collapse of the WALLIE forces in 1940. First SEA LORD told Churchill -after the fall of France- the KM could mount an NORWAY type 'port to port invasion' and get up to 200,000 troops on British coast and they could not stop the attack.

True the WALLIES could cut such forces off after they land, but that force could include supplies for weeks. Historically the KM/LW were able to keep forces supplied in Norway during this period and for much of the war.

BTW Italian escort warships did very well in the first half of the war. The saying was - the quality of an ITALIAN skipper was inversely proportional to the displacement of his warship. The KM did better during this period inflicting twice as much damage on WALLIE warships as they suffered them selves- through the first couple of years of the war.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Terry Duncan » 08 Nov 2019 12:37

glenn239 wrote:
07 Nov 2019 18:26
Right, so 'what if' Egypt falls just imagine what the Italian merchant fleet could have done using the deepwater ports in Egypt to project Axis power into the Middle East and even down towards the Red Sea.
In the event of Egypt falling there was already the intent to block the canal by sinking ships in it rather as it was blocked ina later conflict, so nobody would be able to project power through it to the Indian Ocean.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Terry Duncan » 08 Nov 2019 13:00

glenn239 wrote:
07 Nov 2019 19:02
Yes, the old battleships were useful in this role against solo raiders. The key being 'solo'. With PQ-17, disaster happened because the Admiralty thought the convoy would be hit by a powerful German task force. Get the Italian fleet into the Atlantic and concentrate the German battleships with them, and there's potential PQ-17's everywhere, aren't there?
Your list discounts the five 21kts battleships of the Royal Sovereign class as being too slow, but also misses out the five Queen Elizabeth class and the two ships of the Nelson class. Even by mid-1941 the Axis has no seven ships that will want to encounter those.

As to PQ-17, well, given the decision to 'scatter' the convoy was taken by a man with a terminal brain tumour, who seldom slept properly in a bed due to severe arthritis - though his ability to sleep in Admiralty meetings and drool down his pipe was well known - a simple 'sorry, you are unfit to command in such a demanding situation' would have cured that problem. Even then, the problem really was everyone talking up the abilities of the Tirpitz, when in reality the class was not that good and the escort to PQ-17 could probably have dealt with her ok.
glenn239 wrote:
07 Nov 2019 19:02
Sure, assuming that Germany somehow doesn't improve on the historical situation even if not invading Russia. But if Germany takes Iberia and Egypt? Different story.
Egypt and Iberia have very little oil as of WWII, so unless the Axis find some way of getting to Abadan there is not too much about to change with their oil situation.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Terry Duncan » 08 Nov 2019 13:12

Paul Lakowski wrote:
08 Nov 2019 05:22
Most RN warships were dedicated to convoy escorts or plugging up the GIUK gap in 1940, coastal protection was not considered a priority because no one expected the rapid collapse of the WALLIE forces in 1940. First SEA LORD told Churchill -after the fall of France- the KM could mount an NORWAY type 'port to port invasion' and get up to 200,000 troops on British coast and they could not stop the attack.

True the WALLIES could cut such forces off after they land, but that force could include supplies for weeks. Historically the KM/LW were able to keep forces supplied in Norway during this period and for much of the war.
Churchill was very fond of hyperbolic statements, the ports on the SE coast were all covered by light craft like destroyers that also served to provide the escort to the Pool of London and the Germans quickly abandoned their idea of landing 200,000 men as being unsupportable, and even 70,000 was deemed impossible to support for more than two weeks, leaving them unable to take London even if they did land. As for port to port, Dover is hardly idea, Folkestone is rather small, Ramsgate rather difficult to enter and not offering great access to Kent for armoured forces as much of the land is covered in small streams and irrigation ditches on what were former marshes and can be flooded by sea gates even today. Poole, Plymouth, Dartmouth, and Portsmouth are also hardly ideal invasion ports unless you have total suprise or a specialised force to conduct the assault.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by JAG13 » 09 Nov 2019 08:40

pugsville wrote:
31 Oct 2019 07:31
JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 07:35

In almost nothing, part of the 1935 AGNA and subsequent treaties established the obligations to provide a building plan, and within the 35% of RN tonnage the KM was allowed 3x15.000t carriers were contemplated and notified to the UK, that was, of course, before the RN started to build more carriers which would make more tonnage available for the KM.

Let me repeat foe the people that were contesting your point, ALL THE RN DID IRL WAS BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THE KM WOULD BE BUILDING THREE CARRIERS! Up to that, there is no reason for the RN to change anything.

So, with some cheating the KM could have 3x20.000t (Yorktown size) CVs ready by 1939 with at least one more in the pipeline.
NO, it was not, The KM was not building 3*20,000. If it did the RN would take into account. Being allowed by treaty and actually building are two different things.
The point of the treaty was to avoid surprises and publish building plans so the other navies could plan accordingly and avoid a new naval race.

In that context the KM notified it would build 3x15.000t carriers and the RN took that into account, and it did too when the KM modified its plans and went for 2x19.500t carriers, eventhough it later deferred laying down the last carrier until 1938.

The RN wasnt in the dark nor surprised, so unless the RN was utterly incompetent KM building was taken into account into their own building plans from the start and this scenario would imply laying down JUST ONE CV more than IRL, so I wouldnt expect the RN to react strongly if at all.

https://naval-arms-control-archive.site ... =12&page=3

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 09 Nov 2019 17:42

Terry Duncan wrote:
08 Nov 2019 13:00

Your list discounts the five 21kts battleships of the Royal Sovereign class as being too slow, but also misses out the five Queen Elizabeth class and the two ships of the Nelson class. Even by mid-1941 the Axis has no seven ships that will want to encounter those.
Right, provided those seven ships are in groups of 2 or 3. So, if half are in port at any one moment, that means in the 15 million square miles of the major combat theatre, there is one pin marked on the map signifying one "no go" area for an Axis fleet in the form of a couple Nelsons and QE's, or whatever. the Axis fleet is faster, unless a carrier or submarine slows and Axis ship down, these 7 will never do or catch anything. The KGV's and BC's are faster and therefore much more useful for Atlantic defenses.
17, well, given the decision to 'scatter' the convoy was taken by a man with a terminal brain tumour, who seldom slept properly in a bed due to severe arthritis - though his ability to sleep in Admiralty meetings and drool down his pipe was well known - a simple 'sorry, you are unfit to command in such a demanding situation' would have cured that problem. Even then, the problem really was everyone talking up the abilities of the Tirpitz, when in reality the class was not that good and the escort to PQ-17 could probably have dealt with her ok.
PQ-17 wasn't the only Allied convoy in WW2 ordered to scatter, but the others at least had raiders in contact.
d Iberia have very little oil as of WWII, so unless the Axis find some way of getting to Abadan there is not too much about to change with their oil situation.
Step 1: Don't invade Russia.
Step 2: Use crude oil historically needed to make gas for 700,000 vehicles in Russia for fleet operations instead.
Step 3: Up imports of Russian crude oil from 150,000 tons per month (1940) to 400,000 tons per month (target date for 1944).

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 09 Nov 2019 17:46

Terry Duncan wrote:
08 Nov 2019 12:37
In the event of Egypt falling there was already the intent to block the canal by sinking ships in it rather as it was blocked in a later conflict, so nobody would be able to project power through it to the Indian Ocean.
Figured there must have been some sort of plan like that.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 09 Nov 2019 17:53

Terry Duncan wrote:
08 Nov 2019 13:12
Churchill was very fond of hyperbolic statements, the ports on the SE coast were all covered by light craft like destroyers that also served to provide the escort to the Pool of London and the Germans quickly abandoned their idea of landing 200,000 men as being unsupportable, and even 70,000 was deemed impossible to support for more than two weeks, leaving them unable to take London even if they did land. As for port to port, Dover is hardly idea, Folkestone is rather small, Ramsgate rather difficult to enter and not offering great access to Kent for armoured forces as much of the land is covered in small streams and irrigation ditches on what were former marshes and can be flooded by sea gates even today. Poole, Plymouth, Dartmouth, and Portsmouth are also hardly ideal invasion ports unless you have total suprise or a specialised force to conduct the assault.
Provided 80 or so RN destroyers and cruisers are in rapid reaction distance of the Channel and the Axis fleet cannot intervene in strength, and the invasion fleet is Rhine barges. Change those three by sending the RN elsewhere, moving the Italian navy closer, and building thousands of Siebel Ferries and MFP's, and the situation would require large levels of British land, air and sea defenses needed elsewhere. The Germans don't even need to launch Sealion. It ties the British down just by the threat existing.

To me the situation in 1940 was as follows; if the war expands the British will win it, if it does not expand the British would certainly lose it.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by ljadw » 10 Nov 2019 07:13

You ''forget '' two things = that there were only 3/4 months that Sealion was possible : may/june/july/august .And that it would take at least ONE year to build Siebel Ferries/MFP's and to have the crew for them.And how would these Siebel Ferries/MFP's go to the Channel ports ?

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