Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2020 22:40

T.A. Gardner wrote:While the paper Results of the German and American Submarine Campaigns of World War II by Michel T. Poirier, CDR, USN, dated 20 Oct 1999 appears to no longer be available on-line I did find his conclusions used here:
Ugh I already linked that study upthread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=250425&p=2286372&h ... e#p2286372

You're either misunderstanding the conclusion of the study or think that a 10:1 disparity in resource expenditure is a good trade for W.Allies:
Conclusion: The Allies total investment was $26.4 billion compared to the German investment of $2.76 billion. The Allies spent at least 9.6 times the German investment.
the Germans still chose a relatively "efficient" cost imposing strategy against the Allies. In other words, the Germans forced the Allies to dispense disproportionate costs in order to maintain control of the sea- resources that the Allies could have used in other ways to better effect.

The disproportionate costs and logistical constraints imposed on the Allies leads one to question the verdict of history that the campaign was a "failure" for Germany. While ultimately, German submariners did not win a decisive victory in the Atlantic, these iron warriors clearly gained time for the German war machine- an extraordinary feat considering that Germany started the war with just 57 submarines and eventually fought the world's two biggest navies combined. The German clearly waged an effective guerre de course.
Of course you've said elsewhere that W.Allied resources were basically limitless so maybe you think 10:1 is actually fine.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6515
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Michael Kenny » 24 Aug 2020 23:12

Given it was the RN that prevented the invasion of the UK then the Allies spent their money wisely.

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2214
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by T. A. Gardner » 25 Aug 2020 04:03

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Aug 2020 22:40
T.A. Gardner wrote:While the paper Results of the German and American Submarine Campaigns of World War II by Michel T. Poirier, CDR, USN, dated 20 Oct 1999 appears to no longer be available on-line I did find his conclusions used here:
Ugh I already linked that study upthread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=250425&p=2286372&h ... e#p2286372

You're either misunderstanding the conclusion of the study or think that a 10:1 disparity in resource expenditure is a good trade for W.Allies:

Conclusion: The Allies total investment was $26.4 billion compared to the German investment of $2.76 billion. The Allies spent at least 9.6 times the German investment.
It was a good investment. They beat the snot out of the U-boat fleet then Germany herself. They won and Germany lost. So the investment was well worth it.
the Germans still chose a relatively "efficient" cost imposing strategy against the Allies. In other words, the Germans forced the Allies to dispense disproportionate costs in order to maintain control of the sea- resources that the Allies could have used in other ways to better effect.

The disproportionate costs and logistical constraints imposed on the Allies leads one to question the verdict of history that the campaign was a "failure" for Germany. While ultimately, German submariners did not win a decisive victory in the Atlantic, these iron warriors clearly gained time for the German war machine- an extraordinary feat considering that Germany started the war with just 57 submarines and eventually fought the world's two biggest navies combined. The German clearly waged an effective guerre de course.

Of course you've said elsewhere that W.Allied resources were basically limitless so maybe you think 10:1 is actually fine.
That the Allies paid disproportionately to win the Battle of the Atlantic, that's not unusual for a guerre de course. Look at WW 1. The British, and their allies, paid a high price fighting U-boats. The Union in the Civil War paid a high price stopping Confederate raiders. That's normal. The US in particular could and did afford it. The Type XXI would meet the same fate because Germany couldn't afford to produce more than a navy for commerce raiding and that, by itself, was doomed to failure.

The Red Army / Russians ? Soviets thought the same thing. They took massive casualties many times that of Germany-- But they WON. Winning in a war is everything.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Aug 2020 05:14

T.A. Gardner wrote:It was a good investment
1,000x the investment would have been good too had it beat the Nazis.

But "how much was beating the Nazis worth?" is not remotely relevant.

The complete lack of even pretending to do relevant analysis gives away your game. I'm not here to engage with people who just want to sing their national anthem.

User avatar
Terry Duncan
Forum Staff
Posts: 5821
Joined: 13 Jun 2008 22:54
Location: Kent

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Terry Duncan » 26 Aug 2020 11:54

TheMarcksPlan,

As you seem to hold so many other members here is such open low regard it is something of a mystery as to why you bother to post in the first place, especially as it would seem nobody else 'pretends to do relevant analysis' to meet your exacting standards? A famous quote from a military man comes to mind in these circumstances "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" as it is good advice that can help a person from time to time.

If you insist on showing such contempt for other forum members this is only going to end one way, and that is with you ceasing to be a forum member, an ex-member, a member no-more, bereft of membership, a membership gone to join the choir invisible. You will be consigned to sophomore pottery classes for eternity with Fawn Leibowitz.


Also, contrary to what you may wish to believe, I do not wish to silence or ban anyone, if anything I tend to always argue for not banning people and for resolving matters quietly with the minimum fuss where possible. That said, the forum has rules that must be followed, and in general, civility is expected from all members (I will accept we all step over the line sometimes, and I allow for that somewhat leniently) as a basic condition, so please do try to show some respect to others.

Terry Duncan

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Aug 2020 20:21

Terry Duncan wrote:TheMarcksPlan
Point taken.
T.A. Gardner wrote:But they WON. Winning in a war is everything.
If everything the Allies did in the war was good because they won, then it was good to trade France and the Low Countries for 50,000 German dead.

Obviously that was not a good trade.

Similar logic applies to the Battle of the Atlantic: it destroyed/diverted Allied resources at comparatively small cost to German resources. The $27.4bn spent on BoA approaches the $33bn spent by U.S. on all Army air and ground forces in 1943. How many years of total production could the Allies devote to BoA before even their resources run out?

As with BoFrance, the Allies could survive this disproportionate resource loss but it certainly lengthened the war: absent BoA the war is shorter (as with BoFrance).

But it's crucial to recognize that magnitude matters as well as ratio: for example, some firefight in which America lost ten men and Germany one was obviously less damaging to the Allied cause than was BoA. 

Were T21 merely as efficient as T7/9 in '42-43, the magnitude of BoA would increase, forcing the Allies to trade more resources at the unfavorable attrition ratio.

Had Germany devoted 20% of its production to T21, in time to deploy them, OTL resource ratio would have required two "Germany's" of production in response. As W.allied production ~3x Germany's OTL, the non-BoA resource balance would be basically equal in that ATL.

And that ratio far understates the real resource attrition/diversion ratio up to '43: German sub production peaked at exactly the worst times - in latter 42/43 when new T7/9's were of little value and late in the war when Germany lacked time to use the T21. The ratio up to 43 was probably on the order of 20:1. 

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2155
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 27 Aug 2020 19:42

Hi,

Worth noting the significant hyperbole in this statement that TMP has quoted:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Aug 2020 22:40

"The disproportionate costs and logistical constraints imposed on the Allies leads one to question the verdict of history that the campaign was a "failure" for Germany. While ultimately, German submariners did not win a decisive victory in the Atlantic, these iron warriors clearly gained time for the German war machine- an extraordinary feat considering that Germany started the war with just 57 submarines and eventually fought the world's two biggest navies combined. The German clearly waged an effective guerre de course."

TMP commentary: Of course you've said elsewhere that W.Allied resources were basically limitless so maybe you think 10:1 is actually fine.
Firstly, apologies that the "system" appears to have smashed together the words that you quoted and then your commentary - not sure I can fix that so did want to mention it.

Of course, the U-boats never "the world's two biggest navies combined" ALONE!!!!! The analysis is meaningless unless it successfully extracts what costs and resources were solely dedicated to the Battle of the Atlantic. Is that actually possible though?

BTW I'm not denying that the U-boat campaign was effective in comparative terms (undoubtedly the Allies used more resources than the Germans in the campaign) - I'm just doubtful over the usefulness of simplifying such a complex subject into a single figure.

I'm still hoping that the second torpedo diagram will appear with a scale on it :D

Regards

Tom

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Aug 2020 20:22

Tom from Cornwall wrote:The analysis is meaningless unless it successfully extracts what costs and resources were solely dedicated to the Battle of the Atlantic. Is that actually possible though?
Did you read the study? At least the concluding cost approximation sections? It's pretty scrupulous in using only BoA costs. No CV, BB, or DD costs, just DDE's and CVE's. Just the cost of lost shipping, which is underestimate because W.Allies overbuilt shipping in anticipation of greater losses. He excluded the cost of the hundreds of DDE's cancelled when almost complete (expenditure on these was caused by U-boat successes before defeat of U-boats).

The author makes a move that I frequently employ and against which I can see no good argument: When attempting to quantify a complex thing, use an intentional and obvious under-estimate as your summary conclusion. Unless the analyst has missed something obvious running against his argument (if he forgot to add U-boat crew's diamond necklaces to the cost balance, for instance), a reader can rest on the underestimate for analytical purposes.
I'm still hoping that the second torpedo diagram will appear with a scale on it
Did you look at the link T.A. Gardner gave? It contains a convoy diagram with separation distances from which you can give scale to the torpedo path.
Of course, the U-boats never "the world's two biggest navies combined" ALONE!!!!!
Of course not. I tend to gloss over rhetorical statements like this and skip to the analytical. Again, the author excludes fleet units from his analysis so this rhetorical hyperbole isn't relevant to the conclusion.

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2155
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 28 Aug 2020 18:37

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Aug 2020 20:22
Did you read the study?
Yes - as long as you mean this one? RESULTS OF THE GERMAN AND AMERICAN SUBMARINE CAMPAIGNS OF WORLD WAR II, Michel Thomas Poirier, Commander, USN, 20 Oct 1999.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Aug 2020 20:22
It's pretty scrupulous in using only BoA costs.
Really? I didn't think so [edit to add: at least not for the British data which is what I've thought about], or at least it wasn't immediately apparent from his wording - for example:
The English employed about 302 fleet destroyers during the war.(109) I've estimated that only 50% of their missions were related to ASW and that they cost the equivalent of an U.S. destroyer (a probable underestimation).(110)
The British (and I wonder whether he is including references to the Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, et al...) may have "employed" 302 fleet destroyers during the war but how is that a scrupulous extraction of only BoA costs? What about the world-wide nature of RN (and Commonwealth) operations - what about the losses during the Crete evacuation (or indeed at Dunkirk), or in running convoys into Malta for example. What about losses sustained interdicting Italian convoys or against the German invasion of Norway? No mention, or just not taken into account? How can we tell?

We could also talk about escort carriers and how they were critical to the provision of air cover for the Salerno invasion - does that reduce the amount that can be chalked up for them in the "v the U boats" ledger?

Finally, what about the "Lion" Class battleships? Firstly delayed and then scrapped in the shipyards - a "cost" of the BoA or available finance and shipbuilding resources more appropriately used given the British Empires strategic needs at the time?
the author excludes fleet units from his analysis so this rhetorical hyperbole isn't relevant to the conclusion.
The RN's pre-war plans (I am not well-read on USN plans) were never aimed solely at war with Germany. Prior to 1935, British naval rearmament was concentrated on the threat in the Far East.

Regards

Tom

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Aug 2020 22:59

Tom from Cornwall wrote:The British (and I wonder whether he is including references to the Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, et al...) may have "employed" 302 fleet destroyers during the war but how is that a scrupulous extraction of only BoA costs? What about the world-wide nature of RN (and Commonwealth) operations
The estimate seems reasonable to me. 150 DD's in the East and Med? I'd bet $20 the British never reached that level until 1945, if at all. Seems an understatement, actually.

If you want to critique his analysis, I'd suggest providing some of your own. How many DD's did the Eastern/Med fleets have?
Tom from Cornwall wrote:The RN's pre-war plans (I am not well-read on USN plans) were never aimed solely at war with Germany. Prior to 1935, British naval rearmament was concentrated on the threat in the Far East.
Yes that's why large fleet units don't enter the calculus at all.
Finally, what about the "Lion" Class battleships? Firstly delayed and then scrapped in the shipyards - a "cost" of the BoA or available finance and shipbuilding resources more appropriately used given the British Empires strategic needs at the time?
What are you getting at? Again, large fleet units (>DD unless CVE) aren't part of the analysis.

Re the use of CVE's at Salerno, sure, they had some other utility but it was a side-effect. Consider this countervailing side-effect not included in the analysis:
The cost of major warships sank by submarines was not used in the estimate.
So Royal Oak, a fleet carrier, and a bunch of cruisers aren't included in the cost ledger.

My impression is you that the trees are blocking your view of the forest. The majority of BoA costs are shipping losses and shipping inefficiencies (due to convoying) - $14.65bn. The DDE's, FF's, corvettes, and other escorts are nearly $5bn - and that's ignoring expenditure on later-cancelled escorts, which would add another couple billion most likely.

For the remaining $7bn of BoA costs, a 20% error in the analysis ($1.4bn) would only change the ratio by 0.5 (i.e. it would be half of Germany's BoA cost).

There are things I would have done differently had I the time and source access. I would have compared personnel resource ratio, for example. A Liberty ship had a crew of 60-100, up to twice a U-boat's. DDE's had ~200 aboard, Flower-class corvettes had 85.

If we assume 5,000 Liberty-ship equivalents (=35mil tons GRT), 500 DDE's, and 500 Flower-class equivalents, that's on the order of 700k crewman - almost certainly an underestimate as I'm ignoring DD's, CVE's, sloops, etc. Bogue-class CVE probably needed close to 1,000 men aboard (646 excluding the air group). As shore-based crew (maintenance, longshoremen, command) typically exceeds seagoing crew for modern navies, there could have been 2mil men committed to the BoA on the W.Allies side (USN was 4mil IIRC). What was the U-boat Waffe? 50-100k? [Before you attack the foregoing analysis, note it's a 5min effort so will of course be off. I'm not interested in being right other than the general outline of the differences. That said, feel free to put more resolution on it.]

On the broader historical question of BoA economic cost ratio, I'm not primarily interested in whether the OTL cost ratio was 10:1, 8:1, or 12:1. Whatever that ratio, there's no decent argument that the ratio wasn't extremely favorable to Germany.

And the OTL ratio includes German costs - most of them - that are irrelevant to the ATL: most of German spending on subs (after mid-'42 or so) was nearly useless. As I said, the cost ratio prior to Allied domination of T7/9 was probably at least 20:1.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

That pre-'43 cost ratio is the relevant picture for this ATL, as it involves - at a minimum - the T21's indefinite extension of the extremely unfavorable pre-'43 ratio. As I think T21 would have produced even better cost ratios for Germany, the evaluation is even worse.

Just look at the DDE vs. T21 ratio: A T21 firing 18 torpedoes at escorts could expect 2 hits at the OTL 11% success ratio. A DDE cost ~2x a T21, 2 DDE's sunk has 4x the value one T21. How often does the DDE sink a T21? Say it's one in five encounters (an extremely high success rate given RN's evaluation) - that's a 20:1 resource expenditure. And that assumes the T21 doesn't sink any merchant ships with its remaining 5 torpedoes.

In truth 10:1 DDE-T21 exchange is more likely plus several merchant ships. It's not hard to foresee 50:1 attrition ratios being feasible.

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2155
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 29 Aug 2020 09:45

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2020 22:59
If you want to critique his analysis, I'd suggest providing some of your own. How many DD's did the Eastern/Med fleets have?
Which completely contradicts you're earlier statement that:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Aug 2020 20:22
Did you read the study? At least the concluding cost approximation sections? It's pretty scrupulous in using only BoA costs.
So what did Cdr Poirier mean when he wrote:
The English employed about 302 fleet destroyers during the war.
Did he mean the RN employed a total of 302 fleet destroyers across all operations and all theatres and during the whole war, or did he mean the RN employed a maximum of 302 fleet destroyers exclusively on one particular day in the BoA?

He references this source: Roskill, op. cit.[The War at Sea, 1939 - 1945], Vol. IIIb, pp. 436-450. Does anyone have that?

Can we at least agree that it is not obvious how scrupulous the analysis was in separating out costs for BoA as against the rest of the RN's world-wide commitments throughout the war.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2020 22:59
150 DD's in the East and Med?
Across the whole war? Or are you now changing the goal posts and arguing for a specific period of the war?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2020 22:59
That pre-'43 cost ratio is the relevant picture for this ATL
So, is this the period that your cost-balance analysis would ideally consider? Second half of 1942, entire period from Sep 1939 - Dec 1942, 8 November 1942?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2020 22:59
there's no decent argument that the ratio wasn't extremely favorable to Germany.
I agree entirely, but that doesn't mean that vague and wishy washy analysis should be allowed to pass without challenge, even if you've described it as scrupulous!
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2020 22:59
Just look at the DDE vs. T21 ratio
This is totally meaningless in the context of the BoA though isn't it. It would be like me basing an argument on the effectiveness of the Type 21 on it's attrition ratio with Allied ASW aircraft. What would be the ratio between a B24 (a Sunderland or a PBY Catalina) and a Type 21? Could the successful B24 then go on to sink another submarine?

My point re "Lion" Class battleships was that in hindsight their cancellation due to the desire to increase production of ships that could be produced quickly moved finance and resource from 4 large BB's that would have had only marginal utility once delivered to a large number of smaller vessels that could be delivered quickly enough to have a real impact and that had great utility in the situation the UK found itself as they began to enter service. Those resources, though, had already been allocated to the maritime element of the UK's armed forces so weren't diverted in the same way as resources diverted from merchant ship building, for example. All I'm saying is that it is a complicated analysis to conduct and that too much simplification is a bad thing in analysis. :D

Regards

Tom

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2155
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 29 Aug 2020 10:04

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
29 Aug 2020 09:45
He references this source: Roskill, op. cit.[The War at Sea, 1939 - 1945], Vol. IIIb, pp. 436-450. Does anyone have that?
My Internet-search skills have improved since last night! :thumbsup:
It looks like the Commander has taken his numbers from the appendices (S & T). Not sure about his maths though!
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
29 Aug 2020 09:45
So what did Cdr Poirier mean when he wrote:
The English employed about 302 fleet destroyers during the war.
Did he mean the RN employed a total of 302 fleet destroyers across all operations and all theatres and during the whole war, or did he mean the RN employed a maximum of 302 fleet destroyers exclusively on one particular day in the BoA?
Appendix S - Strength of the navies of the British Commonwealth on 8 May, 1945. (Fleet Destroyers = 108; Escort destroyers = 83; Hunt Class destroyers = 66)

Appendix T - Table III - Summary of British Commonwealth major warship losses 3 Sep 39 - 5 Sep 45. (Destroyers - 154)

So, not a very scrupulous analysis that separates the allotment of British Commonwealth Fleet Destroyers (in terms of planning, construction, operation or losses) to the BoA as opposed to other RN commitments. In fact, not an analysis at all!

Regards

Tom
Last edited by Tom from Cornwall on 29 Aug 2020 18:16, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2214
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 Aug 2020 17:01

On destroyers... Both the USN and RN separated destroyers in service between those used for convoy and ASW work and those used with their fleets. Most of the ones for convoy and ASW were older, less capable (in terms of fighting a fleet action) destroyers that were converted specifically to engage U-boats. This usually involved removing most of the torpedo tubes, sometimes removing one or more main guns, greatly increasing the number of depth charges carried, fitting ahead thrown weapons like hedgehog, the latest sonar, and a surface search radar but not always an air search set. They usually had fewer AA weapons fitted too.
While fleet destroyers could do ASW work, that wasn't their focus and ASW was mostly performed when screening other larger combatant ships.

For example, Admiral King refused to use fleet destroyers for ASW work off the US coast during the early days after Germany and the US were at war. ASW was left mostly to the Coast Guard and a polyglot of smaller vessels many of which were converted auxiliaries. This almost certainly led to higher losses but wasn't by any means the primary cause of those losses.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 5532
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by wm » 29 Aug 2020 19:40

Karl Dönitz
August, 1946
Ever since the Armistice the Russians have been trying by all possible means to get those technicians and experts on the X U-boat. And do you know why? Because it has a cruising range all around the world without surfacing for recharging of the batteries, and it is foolproof against any weapon—even the atomic bomb.
He drew a sketch of the U-boat, showing how it could recharge its batteries by merely rising to 20 M. below the surface, ending up a tube to the surface to get oxygen for the diesels which recharged the batteries. Its fishlike shape gave it a speed of X m.p.h., faster than any U-boat speed even at the surface.

And if Stalin is generous, as I believe he is in these matters, it will be a simple matter for him to build a few thousand of these U-boats, and then he will control the seas of the world. And what will you be able to do against a submarine that never has to surface?
Even your atomic bomb won't help you.
Nuremberg Diary by G. M. Gilbert

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Aug 2020 19:52

Tom from Cornwall wrote:My point re "Lion" Class battleships ... resources, though, had already been allocated to the maritime element of the UK's armed forces so weren't diverted in the same way as resources diverted from merchant ship building, for example. All I'm saying is that it is a complicated analysis to conduct and that too much simplification is a bad thing in analysis.
I still don't apprehend the relevance of Lion class to ASW analysis. They were never intended to fight Uboats, never did obviously. You appear to be arguing that Britain was smart to cancel the Lions which, agreed.

I'll just note that there is no such thing as a bucket for "the marine element" and for other elements. Steel is entirely fungible, labor is fungible with some delay and friction costs.

Return to “What if”