Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
User avatar
Takao
Member
Posts: 3776
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 19:27
Location: Reading, Pa

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Takao » 13 Dec 2022 02:21

glenn239 wrote:
12 Dec 2022 18:16
danebrog wrote:
12 Dec 2022 15:35
And so it came to pass that instead of awe-inspiring battleships and mighty aircraft carriers, the Kriegsmarine was eventually forced to use tiny submarines, converted passenger planes and auxiliary cruisers to get the job done....
Yes, diving into unwinnable wars across the vast steppes of Russia can do that to the resources base.
Had nothing to do with Russia...There was something BIG that happened late in 1939. I just can't remember what it was.

Any who. Don't start a war in 1939, when your navy is telling you they will not be ready until the mid-40s at the earliest. Life lesson learned.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10027
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Dec 2022 02:44

Takao wrote:
13 Dec 2022 02:21
... Any who. Don't start a war in 1939, when your navy is telling you they will not be ready until the mid-40s at the earliest. Life lesson learned.
Isn't the mid 1940s when war with that Naval Power would occur? Everything was on schedule, right?

User avatar
Takao
Member
Posts: 3776
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 19:27
Location: Reading, Pa

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Takao » 13 Dec 2022 12:30

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Dec 2022 02:44
Takao wrote:
13 Dec 2022 02:21
... Any who. Don't start a war in 1939, when your navy is telling you they will not be ready until the mid-40s at the earliest. Life lesson learned.
Isn't the mid 1940s when war with that Naval Power would occur? Everything was on schedule, right?
Right up until it got derailed in the tail end of 1939.

There has always been debate on if Germany could have finished it's ambitious naval building program...Building a big army, navy, and air force is incredibly expensive.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10027
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Dec 2022 19:09

Im trying to recall any of the several threads its been debated in on AHF. Its certainly not one to hijack this thread with.

Pertinant to this thread Im recalling a couple of the battle of the Atlantic or war at sea games I've looked at. The designers clearly had to 'adjust' large aspects the historical side of the games to make them balanced or enjoyable. ie: in one the USN is near invisible in 1942. How deep the research on those ran when designed 40 years ago I can say. What I did take away from those is a aggressive strategy by the Axis player works when the British player can be intimidated. Where he didn't understand the risks the Axis player was taking & how to turn those into a favorable attritional outcome.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 2369
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Europe

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 13 Dec 2022 19:32

Stoat Coat wrote:
12 Dec 2022 21:02
Peter89 wrote:
12 Dec 2022 12:18
Stoat Coat wrote:
12 Dec 2022 03:19
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 22:08
glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 21:09


The Bismarck was the only German heavy surface raider in WW2 to go down outside the home area with heavy casualties. And even with it, the casualties would have been far lighter if the British had stuck around to rescue more survivors.
Yes, but the casualties would have been far lighter if Lütjens gave the order to abandon ship and scuttled it like Langsdorff did. There was no real chance to cause damage to the British.
I’m sorry, but given that Bismarck straddled Rodney repeatedly during its final battle, a shell exploding so close it sealed off some torpedo launchers and sent splinters thru the ship, that’s a ridiculous statement.
That's why I wrote no real chance. The chance for practically anything in a battle is above 0. When you have guns shooting at an enemy, you can get lucky despite the odds. Firing from a ship unable to steer, outrun or outgun the opponent, however, you do not have a real chance. Scoring a few hits on a sturdy battleship like the Rodney is meaningless as well. Saving 2000 sailors from certain death for no results isn't. So I can't really call it a heroic last stand.
Except you said Bismarck wouldn’t have even had a real chance to damage her attackers, which is obviously false. Unlikely to sink one of her attackers? Sure.
Again, there was no real chance for the Bismarck to do damage to Rodney or KG V. The near misses were rather fortunate and the British were actually surprised that the Germans came close to hit them. You can call it extraordinary skill, too, but it wouldn't matter: luck and extraordinary skill are not reliable, and do not provide a real chance to do damage.

I'd really like to unsubscribe from the POV that the Germans' ability to score near misses was sheer skill which could easily be better (rough seas, bad visibility, gale force winds, uncontrolled steering), but the British inability to hit the Bismarck at the beginning of the clash was a natural phenomenon which could be relied on under any circumstances. This is very ashistorical. As far as Lütjens knew, he could expect the British to score hits with their large caliber guns outside from his effective firing range, patiently crippling his ship before they moved in to finish him off.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

Peter89
Member
Posts: 2369
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Europe

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 13 Dec 2022 19:35

Takao wrote:
13 Dec 2022 02:21
glenn239 wrote:
12 Dec 2022 18:16
danebrog wrote:
12 Dec 2022 15:35
And so it came to pass that instead of awe-inspiring battleships and mighty aircraft carriers, the Kriegsmarine was eventually forced to use tiny submarines, converted passenger planes and auxiliary cruisers to get the job done....
Yes, diving into unwinnable wars across the vast steppes of Russia can do that to the resources base.
Had nothing to do with Russia...There was something BIG that happened late in 1939. I just can't remember what it was.

Any who. Don't start a war in 1939, when your navy is telling you they will not be ready until the mid-40s at the earliest. Life lesson learned.
Hitler knew he couldn't finance the navy's ambitious building programme, and his enemies were rearming faster than Germany ever could. Germany had to attack or disarm. Germany attacked, but it shouldn't. That was the life lesson learned :)
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5840
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 14 Dec 2022 00:17

Takao wrote:
13 Dec 2022 02:21
Any who. Don't start a war in 1939, when your navy is telling you they will not be ready until the mid-40s at the earliest. Life lesson learned.
Ludendorff listened to the same tune pre-1914 and summed it up with, 'the navy will never be ready'.

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5840
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 14 Dec 2022 00:21

Peter89 wrote:
13 Dec 2022 19:35
Hitler knew he couldn't finance the navy's ambitious building programme, and his enemies were rearming faster than Germany ever could. Germany had to attack or disarm. Germany attacked, but it shouldn't. That was the life lesson learned :)
The political elements German naval strategy was straightforward. Don't invade the USSR, keep the US neutral, and get the Spanish and Japanese in against the British.

Easy to type. Maybe not quite so much easy to pull off....

Peter89
Member
Posts: 2369
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Europe

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 14 Dec 2022 07:19

glenn239 wrote:
14 Dec 2022 00:21
Peter89 wrote:
13 Dec 2022 19:35
Hitler knew he couldn't finance the navy's ambitious building programme, and his enemies were rearming faster than Germany ever could. Germany had to attack or disarm. Germany attacked, but it shouldn't. That was the life lesson learned :)
The political elements German naval strategy was straightforward. Don't invade the USSR, keep the US neutral, and get the Spanish and Japanese in against the British.

Easy to type. Maybe not quite so much easy to pull off....
Well,

the Japanese alliance was a very bad idea under the "don't invade the USSR" strategy. I'm also not sure it appeared before the February 1942 paper. Germany was very much interested in overland trade with Eurasia, most notably with China (also with Iran and Afghanistan). The Sino-German relations flourished before 1941, and for example the majority of the German wolfram imports came from China. China was also interested in trading with the Germans. The Japanese never could or would substitute the Chinese trade relations.

Spain lost the best part of her fleet, and what remained was a little more than a coastal guard. The country's economy was in shambles and in no state to fight yet another war. They also had the exact same raw material shortages as Germany (food, POL). The real value of Spain would be Gibraltar and the Canaries (with the large merchant fleet stuck there), so the Germans could join their fleet with the Italians and bring the battle to the South Atlantic, providing the Kriegsmarine with RAF-free ports.

I don't know if you ever had a chance to take a look at Raeder's "naval strategy", or at least what we call that these days. It was (they were, because the SKL formulated at least 3 different strategies during the war) not as much detailed as some of our comments here. Let's not forget that just as the Heer and the Luftwaffe had little experience with naval warfare, the SKL had little experience with amphibious warfare and aerial warfare. For example, even in mid-1941 when the situation in Iraq-Levant escalated, they still thought the best way to deploy troops on a distant shore was to borrow a battalion-sized unit from the Heer, put it on a (few) warship(s) and carry it on a distant shore's port. In the meanwhile, the Heer tried to secure an overland railway connection via Turkey and the Luftwaffe assembled an air transport unit - all that without the slightest bit of coordination between the three. When we try to assess the German naval strategy on exotic lands, we should keep in mind that it didn't quite work in mainland Europe either. The recon informations from maritime patrols took about a day to pass from the KG 40 to the U-boat command, and we are talking about France.

I simply say I didn't want to serve on the ships which were realizing Raeder's naval strategy :milsmile:
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5840
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 14 Dec 2022 19:24

Peter89 wrote:
14 Dec 2022 07:19
The real value of Spain would be Gibraltar and the Canaries (with the large merchant fleet stuck there), so the Germans could join their fleet with the Italians and bring the battle to the South Atlantic, providing the Kriegsmarine with RAF-free ports.
I'm assuming the Italians had some drydocks that could accommodate the Bismarck?

I simply say I didn't want to serve on the ships which were realizing Raeder's naval strategy :milsmile:
Between that and Russia I don't think I'd pick Russia.

paulrward
Member
Posts: 665
Joined: 10 Dec 2008 20:14

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by paulrward » 14 Dec 2022 20:05

Hello All ;

Mr. Glenn239 posted ;
I'm assuming the Italians had some drydocks that could
accommodate the Bismarck?
The French had two, one on the Atlantic, one in the Med.

If the Spanish had joined the Axis in the Summer of 1940, it would have allowed the Germans
to combined a few Luftwaffe units with the Spanish, and take Gibralter. Then, the Germans
simply allow the Spanish to keep Gibralter and the Canaries, and return for their help, the
Spanish give the Germans and Italians basing rights in both sets of ports. The Germans
run the Scharnhorst, Gneisnau, the Pocket Battleships, the CAs and a few CLs, and these,
combined with the Italian Fleet, push the British out of the Med, ( Which means NO TARANTO
in 1940 ! ) and the Mediterranean becomes ' Mare Nostrum ' for Mussolini. At the same
time, the U Boats move to the Med, and sortie out of Gibralter, well out of range of
RAF bombers and Coastal Command. Add in a few Italian Subs, and the U Boat war in
the second half of 1940 and all of 1941 becomes MUCH more effective. And, in the
winter of 1940-41, without the RN in Gibralter, or any RN in the Med, Surface raiding
from Gibralter into the Atlantic becomes a more viable option. Add in a few raiding task
forces made up of Italian fast CAs and CLs ( the 35 knot Condotieri's ) and the British would
be hard pressed to keep up.

We games this back in the late 70s and early 80s on several wargame platforms. If Spain
had joined the Axis in 1940, it would have been a game changer in 1941 for Britain, and NOT
in a good way......


Respectfully

Paul R. Ward
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices that are banned, are voices who cannot share information....
Discussions that are silenced, are discussions that will occur elsewhere !

pugsville
Member
Posts: 1014
Joined: 17 Aug 2011 04:40

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by pugsville » 14 Dec 2022 20:46

paulrward wrote:
14 Dec 2022 20:05
Hello All ;

Mr. Glenn239 posted ;
I'm assuming the Italians had some drydocks that could
accommodate the Bismarck?
The French had two, one on the Atlantic, one in the Med.

If the Spanish had joined the Axis in the Summer of 1940, it would have allowed the Germans
to combined a few Luftwaffe units with the Spanish, and take Gibralter. Then, the Germans
simply allow the Spanish to keep Gibralter and the Canaries, and return for their help, the
Spanish give the Germans and Italians basing rights in both sets of ports. The Germans
run the Scharnhorst, Gneisnau, the Pocket Battleships, the CAs and a few CLs, and these,
combined with the Italian Fleet, push the British out of the Med, ( Which means NO TARANTO
in 1940 ! ) and the Mediterranean becomes ' Mare Nostrum ' for Mussolini. At the same
time, the U Boats move to the Med, and sortie out of Gibralter, well out of range of
RAF bombers and Coastal Command. Add in a few Italian Subs, and the U Boat war in
the second half of 1940 and all of 1941 becomes MUCH more effective. And, in the
winter of 1940-41, without the RN in Gibralter, or any RN in the Med, Surface raiding
from Gibralter into the Atlantic becomes a more viable option. Add in a few raiding task
forces made up of Italian fast CAs and CLs ( the 35 knot Condotieri's ) and the British would
be hard pressed to keep up.

We games this back in the late 70s and early 80s on several wargame platforms. If Spain
had joined the Axis in 1940, it would have been a game changer in 1941 for Britain, and NOT
in a good way......


Respectfully

Paul R. Ward
Well for starters the Spanish were unwilling to just join the war without getting their requirements ( a lot of stuff in advance) Spain was in not state to join the war, complete economic collapse was a a serious option. They wanted a lot of stuff the Germans wereshort on themselves/ Spain would not be rushing into teh war and was insistently on getting the stuff first. Ind even if they did they were totally against jetting the Germans into Spain in numbers, and viewed Gibraltar as solely a Spanish operation Franco was adamant teh Spanish would do this thing) . Even if Spain joins the war it;s not gong yo be doing exactly what the German want.

And were not Italian ships quite short ranged. They were built for the Mediterranean not running around the Atlantic,

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 6201
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Dec 2022 21:22

The Italians had the Edgardo Ferrati dry-dock at Taranto, which was 244 meters long, too short for the overall length of the Bismarck and Tirpitz. La Spezia had six dry-docks and there were others at Venice, Genoa, and Palermo, but IIRC all were much shorter.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

Peter89
Member
Posts: 2369
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Europe

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 15 Dec 2022 09:44

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Dec 2022 21:22
The Italians had the Edgardo Ferrati dry-dock at Taranto, which was 244 meters long, too short for the overall length of the Bismarck and Tirpitz. La Spezia had six dry-docks and there were others at Venice, Genoa, and Palermo, but IIRC all were much shorter.
glenn239 wrote:
14 Dec 2022 19:24
Peter89 wrote:
14 Dec 2022 07:19
The real value of Spain would be Gibraltar and the Canaries (with the large merchant fleet stuck there), so the Germans could join their fleet with the Italians and bring the battle to the South Atlantic, providing the Kriegsmarine with RAF-free ports.
I'm assuming the Italians had some drydocks that could accommodate the Bismarck?

I simply say I didn't want to serve on the ships which were realizing Raeder's naval strategy :milsmile:
Between that and Russia I don't think I'd pick Russia.
What about the French ports, such as Toulon?
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

Peter89
Member
Posts: 2369
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Europe

Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 15 Dec 2022 12:02

paulrward wrote:
14 Dec 2022 20:05
Hello All ;
If the Spanish had joined the Axis in the Summer of 1940, it would have allowed the Germans
to combined a few Luftwaffe units with the Spanish, and take Gibralter.
No sooner than January 1941.

Also if the Germans took Gibraltar, they couldn't use Spanish airfields to attack British shipping lanes, because there wouldn't be any British shipping lanes.
paulrward wrote:
14 Dec 2022 20:05
Then, the Germans
simply allow the Spanish to keep Gibralter and the Canaries, and return for their help, the
Spanish give the Germans and Italians basing rights in both sets of ports.
In the unlikely event Spain joined the Axis by herself and not by German military invasion, the British would immediately seize the Canaries and if Portugal gets attacked, or the Germans make any threatening move towards the Atlantic, the whole Macaronesia. They didn't give a crap about Iceland's neutrality when it threatened their interests, did they?

No; if the Germans take Gibraltar, it means an almost irreversible choice for a Mediterranean strategy and not an Atlantic strategy.
paulrward wrote:
14 Dec 2022 20:05
The Germans
run the Scharnhorst, Gneisnau, the Pocket Battleships, the CAs and a few CLs, and these,
combined with the Italian Fleet, push the British out of the Med, ( Which means NO TARANTO
in 1940 ! ) and the Mediterranean becomes ' Mare Nostrum ' for Mussolini.
I'd like to see the faces in an SKL meeting when you present this idea for them. Practically you talk about the whole German fleet fighting for Italian interests. Under whose command would they be? How would the LW and the RA coordinate their efforts with these navies? They couldn't coordinate their efforts with their own navies! On 19 February 1940 the Germans successfully attacked and sank their own destroyers, also on 9 July 1940 the RA attacked their own ships. What kind of cooperation can we expect from them?

Also, the Suez could not be taken from the sea alone. If the British evacuated all their ships via the Suez Canal, Alexandria would still not fall.
paulrward wrote:
14 Dec 2022 20:05
At the same
time, the U Boats move to the Med, and sortie out of Gibralter, well out of range of
RAF bombers and Coastal Command. Add in a few Italian Subs, and the U Boat war in
the second half of 1940 and all of 1941 becomes MUCH more effective.
They didn't have enough U-boats, that's the problem.
paulrward wrote:
14 Dec 2022 20:05
And, in the
winter of 1940-41, without the RN in Gibralter, or any RN in the Med, Surface raiding
from Gibralter into the Atlantic becomes a more viable option. Add in a few raiding task
forces made up of Italian fast CAs and CLs ( the 35 knot Condotieri's ) and the British would
be hard pressed to keep up.
I'm not quite convinced that it is a realistic option. For starters, the British presence from the MTO can not be eradicated before the end of 1941. The timeline you provide is completely off, the Balkans was in British hands, they defeated the Italians in Africa, etc. No sooner than late 1941 could the Axis push out the British from the MTO.

Also if Gibraltar fell, the British would simply retreat to Macaronesia and patrol the seas from there. If they don't have to supply their exposed outposts in the MTO and exercise control over those waters, their relative strength would not be lower but higher: those ships and aircrafts from the MTO would not disappear: they would reappear in the Battle of Atlantic. The same is true for the ground forces: if the Suez and the Mediterranean outposts fell in 1941, it would mean that the British Home Isles can not be attacked, Malaya probably doesn't fall and it is questionable whether the British can be pushed out of Africa or Arabia. Most likely not.
paulrward wrote:
14 Dec 2022 20:05
We games this back in the late 70s and early 80s on several wargame platforms. If Spain
had joined the Axis in 1940, it would have been a game changer in 1941 for Britain, and NOT
in a good way......
Respectfully

Paul R. Ward
I very seriously doubt that. If Spain joins the Axis either way, they will be a burden on the Axis' already overburdened economy. If Germany fully commits to a Mediterranean strategy, that would be the only way to offset the burden of Iberia. We talked about the bases already, their usefulness was limited in the war against the British Atlantic shipping lanes. Not even a joined Italian-German-Spanish navy (if such thing was possible) could stand up against the British Royal Navy in a vis-á-vis fight. The British home territories still could not be taken. The British Empire still controlled some 90% of its prewar economy and nearly 100% of its manpower. Not to mention the US, which started to deliver for a deferred payment and trade destroyers for outposts. The British still couldn't land on the mainland Europe alone, and Germany still might be able to pull off these operations without Spain's consent. So how exactly do you think it would be a game changer?
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

Return to “What if”