Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

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

Post by Stoat Coat » 15 Dec 2022 18:43

Peter89 wrote:
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


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.
Or just really good optical range finders on the Bismarck

Peter89
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 15 Dec 2022 19:07

Stoat Coat wrote:
15 Dec 2022 18:43
Peter89 wrote:
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

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.
Or just really good optical range finders on the Bismarck
What makes you think so? Do you believe that German rangefinder equipment was sufficiently superior to the British ones?
"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
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 15 Dec 2022 19:07

Peter89 wrote:
15 Dec 2022 12:02
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?
I can see the rationale for the Axis occupation of Spain, not so much the occupation of Portugal while the US was neutral.
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?
I doubt the German fleet would prove decisive in the Mediterranean. The other factor is the French fleet. Specifically, without Barbarossa the British Syrian campaign against the Vichy might be a gamble. Yet, no campaign in Syria might also be a risk.
Also if Gibraltar fell, the British would simply retreat to Macaronesia and patrol the seas from there.
From where? The Canaries? The Canaries were in fighter escorted air range of Morocco, and Morocco was an Axis playground if the Axis hold Gibraltar. Madiera and Porto Santo hardly look like the material for a serious Giblratar-like outpost, and the Azores are remote. I don't think these islands were suitable to the task you imagine, and I don't think the British had the resources or the time to improve them.

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.
There was no point for Germany to occupy Spain until they were going for a naval strategy, and your argument that Spain would be of limited usefulness to an Axis Atlantic naval strategy, (no Barbarossa) is simply not correct. If you're saying that the Americans would tip the scales, no argument there for 1942 and beyond.
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.
These two sentences are mutually exclusive. In the first, you say that the Royal Navy could patrol in the Atlantic with powerful squadrons to deter Axis raids on convoys. In the second, you say that the Royal Navy must retain powerful squadrons in the UK to deter Sealion 1941, which would be cocked and ready to go by May or June 1941 regardless of any Atlantic strategy. If so, no powerful squadrons in the Atlantic or even the Western Approaches.
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?
Paul explained carefully why it would be a game changer. The Axis could unify their fleets in a centralized position, which is a classic element of military strategy. This fleet could operate in Med, in the Atlantic, or in support of Sealion. I would add that the French fleet will be better supplied by the Germans and take more active measures in all directions to the detriment of the British, including French escorted convoys in the Atlantic. The base network you propose splayed across a series of islands of indifferent infrastructure would be no substitute for the loss of Gibraltar, even in the cases where the British could hold them, (Azores).

Now, if you're arguing that the Americans come in and save the British from defeat in detail, that makes some sense.

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

Post by Peter89 » 15 Dec 2022 19:46

glenn239 wrote:
15 Dec 2022 19:07
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?
I doubt the German fleet would prove decisive in the Mediterranean. The other factor is the French fleet. Specifically, without Barbarossa the British Syrian campaign against the Vichy might be a gamble. Yet, no campaign in Syria might also be a risk.
The French fleet's reaction is unpredictable in case of a German Mediterranean victory. The Alexandria squadron's fate is also questionable.

This is of course related to the ground operations in the Levant. We'll never know what would have happened if there was no Barbarossa in 1941. 1941 April-August was strange indeed. French fueled German aircraft, Germans provided the French with food, and the French were fighting against the British. A low level German-French cooperation was by far the most threatening thing to Britain and Churchill knew this.
glenn239 wrote:
15 Dec 2022 19:07
Also if Gibraltar fell, the British would simply retreat to Macaronesia and patrol the seas from there.
From where? The Canaries? The Canaries were in fighter escorted air range of Morocco, and Morocco was an Axis playground if the Axis hold Gibraltar. Madiera and Porto Santo hardly look like the material for a serious Giblratar-like outpost, and the Azores are remote. I don't think these islands were suitable to the task you imagine, and I don't think the British had the resources or the time to improve them.
We are talking about a scenario in which the British don't have to help Greece, supply Malta or battle the Axis in NA. The Gibraltar squadron could also leave. All the infrastructure work they've done in the MTO can be done in either the Canaries, Madeira or in the Azores. And I am also not sure that the Moroccan airfields were ready for a serious aerial campaign against the Canaries. Cap Verde islands is somewhat unknown to me, but if the British can seize it in time, I am not sure about Dakar's worth.
glenn239 wrote:
15 Dec 2022 19:07
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.
There was no point for Germany to occupy Spain until they were going for a naval strategy, and your argument that Spain would be of limited usefulness to an Axis Atlantic naval strategy, (no Barbarossa) is simply not correct. If you're saying that the Americans would tip the scales, no argument there for 1942 and beyond.
Spain had of course some value, but it was not a game changer on its own.
glenn239 wrote:
15 Dec 2022 19:07
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.
These two sentences are mutually exclusive. In the first, you say that the Royal Navy could patrol in the Atlantic with powerful squadrons to deter Axis raids on convoys. In the second, you say that the Royal Navy must retain powerful squadrons in the UK to deter Sealion 1941, which would be cocked and ready to go by May or June 1941 regardless of any Atlantic strategy. If so, no powerful squadrons in the Atlantic or even the Western Approaches.
When I wrote the British home territories still could not be taken, I meant that because all the supplies and ground forces could be deployed to defend the isles. The German amphibious forces were simply too weak to attack Britain directly. So we're back at the indirect strategy.
glenn239 wrote:
15 Dec 2022 19:07
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?
Paul explained carefully why it would be a game changer. The Axis could unify their fleets in a centralized position, which is a classic element of military strategy. This fleet could operate in Med, in the Atlantic, or in support of Sealion. I would add that the French fleet will be better supplied by the Germans and take more active measures in all directions to the detriment of the British, including French escorted convoys in the Atlantic. The base network you propose splayed across a series of islands of indifferent infrastructure would be no substitute for the loss of Gibraltar, even in the cases where the British could hold them, (Azores).

Now, if you're arguing that the Americans come in and save the British from defeat in detail, that makes some sense.
Paul did, but I respectfully don't agree with him. Yes, the Axis could join their fleets, and that's great for them. If the Germans embarked on a Mediterranean strategy for 1941, they might probably pull it off. But Spain was the less important part of the story. Turkey was way more useful before Iraq and the Levant fell. I also do not see French escorted convoys in the Atlantic. But I agree that such a situation would require the redifinition of the Vichy-German relations.
"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
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 18 Dec 2022 21:21

Peter89 wrote:
15 Dec 2022 19:46
The French fleet's reaction is unpredictable in case of a German Mediterranean victory. The Alexandria squadron's fate is also questionable.

This is of course related to the ground operations in the Levant. We'll never know what would have happened if there was no Barbarossa in 1941. 1941 April-August was strange indeed. French fueled German aircraft, Germans provided the French with food, and the French were fighting against the British. A low level German-French cooperation was by far the most threatening thing to Britain and Churchill knew this.
In particular Vichy Syria and trade in the Atlantic are potential flashpoints between the French and British.

We are talking about a scenario in which the British don't have to help Greece, supply Malta or battle the Axis in NA. The Gibraltar squadron could also leave. All the infrastructure work they've done in the MTO can be done in either the Canaries, Madeira or in the Azores. And I am also not sure that the Moroccan airfields were ready for a serious aerial campaign against the Canaries. Cap Verde islands is somewhat unknown to me, but if the British can seize it in time, I am not sure about Dakar's worth.
The Azores are Portugese, and if the Axis were in possession of Spain one of the demands the Germans could make in Lisbon would be for Portugal to seriously reinforce its forces there and to make the necessary military provisions that if the British did attempt to invade, that Portugal would immediately seek Axis assistance. To that end, the Portugese military could be supplied with all sorts of Axis equipment. I do not see a British invasion there as necessarily feasible even in the Greek alt-scenario you outline. The Canaries are even less feasible. If, however, the Americans come into the war, then the situation is immediately different and an Anglo-American invasion of the Azores might well be the first joint offensive operation undertaken by the new alliance.
Spain had of course some value, but it was not a game changer on its own.
Spain allows the unification of the Axis fleets astride the British sea lines of communication. The Germans would have naval bases that were too far from the UK for Bomber Command to harrass their warships. Occupation of Gibraltar opens the Atlantic to French trade, in which the French fleet could protect against the British. Occupying Spain had the additional advantage of it makes it easier for Germany to negotiate with the French. Occupying Spain also secures Italy from its seaward flank, even with the US in the war, into at least 1945.
When I wrote the British home territories still could not be taken, I meant that because all the supplies and ground forces could be deployed to defend the isles. The German amphibious forces were simply too weak to attack Britain directly. So we're back at the indirect strategy.
Without Barbarossa the German amphibious forces for 1941 would have been much stronger for Sealion than in 1940. All the original equipment, plus hundreds of purpose build MFP's and Siebel Ferries. The German fleet was in considerably better shape in 1941, and the occupation of Spain would allow Italian, even French, warships to go to the Channel to participate. If anything the British will have to maintain stronger naval forces in home waters in 1941 than in 1940.
Paul did, but I respectfully don't agree with him. Yes, the Axis could join their fleets, and that's great for them. If the Germans embarked on a Mediterranean strategy for 1941, they might probably pull it off. But Spain was the less important part of the story. Turkey was way more useful before Iraq and the Levant fell. I also do not see French escorted convoys in the Atlantic. But I agree that such a situation would require the redifinition of the Vichy-German relations.
Within the larger context an Axis naval strategy is not a 1941 sort of thing, it's a 1941-1950 sort of thing. The political preconditions for it are that the USSR and USA remain out of the war. As such, WRT to Turkey, that country's fate is already sealed - the Soviet army will occupy the Straights and the country would be partitioned. Iran will suffer a similar fate.

Peter89
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 19 Dec 2022 11:42

glenn239 wrote:
18 Dec 2022 21:21

In particular Vichy Syria and trade in the Atlantic are potential flashpoints between the French and British.
Spain had of course some value, but it was not a game changer on its own.
Spain allows the unification of the Axis fleets astride the British sea lines of communication. The Germans would have naval bases that were too far from the UK for Bomber Command to harrass their warships. Occupation of Gibraltar opens the Atlantic to French trade, in which the French fleet could protect against the British. Occupying Spain had the additional advantage of it makes it easier for Germany to negotiate with the French. Occupying Spain also secures Italy from its seaward flank, even with the US in the war, into at least 1945.
The French trade would be subjected to the same navicert system as everyone else on mainland Europe.

I agree with your assessment: occupying Spain would be a defensive measure and not an offensive measure. The capture of the Mediterranean sea would effectively break the continental blockade and supply the Axis with sufficient quantities of raw materials. That's its real value, and not the breaking of the British resistance.
glenn239 wrote:
18 Dec 2022 21:21
When I wrote the British home territories still could not be taken, I meant that because all the supplies and ground forces could be deployed to defend the isles. The German amphibious forces were simply too weak to attack Britain directly. So we're back at the indirect strategy.
Without Barbarossa the German amphibious forces for 1941 would have been much stronger for Sealion than in 1940. All the original equipment, plus hundreds of purpose build MFP's and Siebel Ferries. The German fleet was in considerably better shape in 1941, and the occupation of Spain would allow Italian, even French, warships to go to the Channel to participate. If anything the British will have to maintain stronger naval forces in home waters in 1941 than in 1940.
I don't see the French fleet assisting Hitler's Germany to capture London. The Vichy were pragmatists who wanted the best for themselves; if the Germans won, they could still strike a bargain with their fleet and with their colonies; if the Germans lost, they'd change sides in no time (as it happened with most of the colonies and fleet parts). What bargain could they strike if even Britain is defeated, their fleet is under German control, the US is an ocean away and the Soviets don't have a fleet to threaten German interests?

Also Britain could improve her ground defenses much faster than the Axis could increase its amphibious capabilities.

A direct attack on the British Home Islands is an entirely different strategy than the Atlantic or the Mediterranean campaign.
glenn239 wrote:
18 Dec 2022 21:21
Paul did, but I respectfully don't agree with him. Yes, the Axis could join their fleets, and that's great for them. If the Germans embarked on a Mediterranean strategy for 1941, they might probably pull it off. But Spain was the less important part of the story. Turkey was way more useful before Iraq and the Levant fell. I also do not see French escorted convoys in the Atlantic. But I agree that such a situation would require the redifinition of the Vichy-German relations.
Within the larger context an Axis naval strategy is not a 1941 sort of thing, it's a 1941-1950 sort of thing. The political preconditions for it are that the USSR and USA remain out of the war. As such, WRT to Turkey, that country's fate is already sealed - the Soviet army will occupy the Straights and the country would be partitioned. Iran will suffer a similar fate.
I don't think that Stalin could be appeased, he was much like Hitler in this regard. He respected brutality and strength, so I could see the Germans taking Turkey without Stalin's consent. After all, the Germans controlled the straits already (Greece) and in this scenario, all Soviet trade would be depending on German consent (Gibraltar, Suez). Thus going to war over Turkey would not make sense from Stalin's perspective. At the same time, the more I think and read about it, no Mediterranean strategy can work without Turkey. It can be an occupation or a solid cooperation, but it's the same.

If the Germans hand over the straits to the Soviets, they could forget about the Middle East, because the railways that connected Europe, the Persian Gulf and the Suez ran through these territories. Also without the Turkish and Persian food, it was impossible to feed Europe and the newly acquired lands.
"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
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 20 Dec 2022 02:09

Peter89 wrote:
19 Dec 2022 11:42
The French trade would be subjected to the same navicert system as everyone else on mainland Europe.
Assuming the loss of Gibraltar, the British will experience some loss of ability to enforce a blockade on both the Axis Powers as well as France.
I don't see the French fleet assisting Hitler's Germany to capture London.
Setting that aside, you do agree that if the French did decide to throw their fleet onto the scales, that with the US neutral the British would be hard pressed?
Also Britain could improve her ground defenses much faster than the Axis could increase its amphibious capabilities.
The drain on British resources defending against the potential threat would outstrip the resources spent by the Axis in making it.
A direct attack on the British Home Islands is an entirely different strategy than the Atlantic or the Mediterranean campaign.
Sealion would be an integral and cohesive element of any Axis strategy in which Barbarossa was not in play. Not until the Americans entered the war could that change, and with each passing year, the threat of Sealion would become stronger. The fall of Gibraltar, and the theoretical possibility of the union of the German, Italian, and French fleets in the Channel is on top of that.

I don't think that Stalin could be appeased.
Without Barbarossa I think the Soviets would concentrate on Finland, Turkey, and Iran. The Red Army was strong enough to conquer all three simultaneously. So yes, I agree with you, the British could not appease Stalin.
If the Germans hand over the straits to the Soviets, they could forget about the Middle East, because the railways that connected Europe, the Persian Gulf and the Suez ran through these territories. Also without the Turkish and Persian food, it was impossible to feed Europe and the newly acquired lands.
Assuming Barbarossa is off, then it's an alliance with the Soviets. For the Soviets, that means the Straights, Iran, and control of the Persian Gulf. For the Germans, that would mean grain and oil from the Soviet Union as the quid pro quo.

Peter89
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 20 Dec 2022 08:49

glenn239 wrote:
20 Dec 2022 02:09
Peter89 wrote:
19 Dec 2022 11:42
The French trade would be subjected to the same navicert system as everyone else on mainland Europe.
Assuming the loss of Gibraltar, the British will experience some loss of ability to enforce a blockade on both the Axis Powers as well as France.
What abilities would be lost? West French Africa's trade?

The rest of the world would be just as much blockaded as before.

But, it is important to note that the blockade runners could finally use a relatively safe route. Not a regular trade per se, but it is something.
glenn239 wrote:
20 Dec 2022 02:09
I don't see the French fleet assisting Hitler's Germany to capture London.
Setting that aside, you do agree that if the French did decide to throw their fleet onto the scales, that with the US neutral the British would be hard pressed?
Of course. Churchill agreed, too. The French fleet did quite well and fought valiantly against the British. By the way the Vichy French asked the Germans to allow them to send a larger force of smaller warships to the Levant to fight the British, but the Germans declined. If the Germans agreed, we'd probably talk about a British defeat at the Battle off Sidon (9 June 1941).
glenn239 wrote:
20 Dec 2022 02:09
Also Britain could improve her ground defenses much faster than the Axis could increase its amphibious capabilities.
The drain on British resources defending against the potential threat would outstrip the resources spent by the Axis in making it.
I don't agree. The coastal defence position, the factory-to-front supply lines and the moral boost of defending the homeland are all defensive multiplicators. The Germans could hardly outproduce the British with a ratio that negated these advantages, so we're back to the indirect strategy. And as Jodl phrased it, the landing in Britain would only be a Todesstoss.
glenn239 wrote:
20 Dec 2022 02:09
A direct attack on the British Home Islands is an entirely different strategy than the Atlantic or the Mediterranean campaign.
Sealion would be an integral and cohesive element of any Axis strategy in which Barbarossa was not in play. Not until the Americans entered the war could that change, and with each passing year, the threat of Sealion would become stronger. The fall of Gibraltar, and the theoretical possibility of the union of the German, Italian, and French fleets in the Channel is on top of that.
Glenn, if the Germans embark on the rational strategy you described, they would still not inflict decisive damage on the British. The Luftwaffe would still be defeated. The production of amphibious capabilities, the cooperation with the Italians/French would not meet the minimum standards before late 1942. Until then - what? The Luftwaffe only began to catch up with the RAF in 1943. How long would it take to crack the British defenses? 1944? 1945? And that is still questionable, because the British could shift production from bombers to fighters, and they could always retreat to the safety of the northern part of their country.
glenn239 wrote:
20 Dec 2022 02:09
I don't think that Stalin could be appeased.
Without Barbarossa I think the Soviets would concentrate on Finland, Turkey, and Iran. The Red Army was strong enough to conquer all three simultaneously. So yes, I agree with you, the British could not appease Stalin.
No one quite could. Stalin was sensible enough not to provoke a war with Germany unless Germany was worn down by the Western Allies. But he was also keen to disregard the agreements with the Germans in Eastern Europe, and I think that marks a general attitude towards papers with ink. And again, Turkey was close to useless for Stalin. The Molotov visit in Berlin happened in November 1940, when the Germans warned the Italians not to interfere in the Balkans. Hungary and Romania joined the Axis in late 1940, but Bulgaria only in March 1941, and the attack on Greece commenced in April 1941. From this moment on, the Soviet control of the Bosporus would only be formal.

Also do not forget that despite these turn of events (the Germans effectively ruined Soviet demands) the Soviet not decreased but increased the deliveries to Germany. In my estimation, if the Germans take Gibraltar as per Felix' plans (Jan-Feb 1941), attack the Balkans and interfere in the Middle East (April 1941-July 1941), the Soviets would be intimidated by the German victories as before, and would seek cooperation with the Germans.
glenn239 wrote:
20 Dec 2022 02:09
If the Germans hand over the straits to the Soviets, they could forget about the Middle East, because the railways that connected Europe, the Persian Gulf and the Suez ran through these territories. Also without the Turkish and Persian food, it was impossible to feed Europe and the newly acquired lands.
Assuming Barbarossa is off, then it's an alliance with the Soviets. For the Soviets, that means the Straights, Iran, and control of the Persian Gulf. For the Germans, that would mean grain and oil from the Soviet Union as the quid pro quo.
It was never an alliance and it could hardly be one. It was a cooperation rather. Besides, if the Soviets truly joined the Axis, they would lead it, not the Germans.
"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."

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Dec 2022 16:05

glenn239 wrote:
18 Dec 2022 21:21
The Azores are Portugese, and if the Axis were in possession of Spain one of the demands the Germans could make in Lisbon would be for Portugal to seriously reinforce its forces there and to make the necessary military provisions that if the British did attempt to invade, that Portugal would immediately seek Axis assistance. To that end, the Portugese military could be supplied with all sorts of Axis equipment. I do not see a British invasion there as necessarily feasible even in the Greek alt-scenario you outline. The Canaries are even less feasible. If, however, the Americans come into the war, then the situation is immediately different and an Anglo-American invasion of the Azores might well be the first joint offensive operation undertaken by the new alliance.eant that because all the supplies and ground forces could be deployed to defend the isles.

My understanding is the Portuguese government had already made their decision for reaction to Axis or Spanish pressure. The plan was to move the government to the Azores. To that end the islands were already being reinforced & there were secret talks between the Portuguese & Britian for allowing British forces into the Islands should the Axis or Spain enter active hostilities with Portugal. The wealthy and powerful of Portugal felt it was better to lose their European territories to the Axis than lose the colonies to the British.

'Lisbon. War in the Shadows City of Light' Neil Lochery describes Portugals attitudes and plans during WWII. Salazar & his power base had little use for nazi, Italian, or Spanish ambitions, which informed their neutrality policies and which direction they intended to go were the decision forced on them. Remarks by the Portuguese foreign ministry and Salazar about the continuing validity of the long running treaty between Portugal and Britain were a example of the attitude. Favoring the Brits in intel operations in Portugal and Iberia was another.

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

Post by Lethl215 » 22 Dec 2022 22:39

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
04 Dec 2022 22:07
Peter89 wrote:
04 Dec 2022 09:12
The SKL's original line of thought was exactly that - to use Vichy West Africa as a base of operations for the Atlantic, spread British resources thin and to transfer the raiders southwards, outside the British aircrafts' range.
US plans & intent for the Atlantic are understudied. I recall how the French responded to a German inquiry about basing VLR reconissance aircraft in Morocco. The simple version is 'No', tho they were a bit dissembling about saying so.

The fragments I have on the USNs plans for the Atlantic & east Atlantic littorals would be: First was updating WP GRAY to extend to the Azores. After that came up grading the Marine Expeditionary Brigade on the east coast from a planned division air ground team to a a corps size ground force and a designated fleet group together into what eventually was designated Amphibious Forces Atlantic Fleet in 1942. In the earlier iterations of 1941 the Army 1st Division was paired off with the Marines & continued the amphib training the Army revived at the end of 1939. By 1942 the plans were more ambitious & included more ambitious plans like RUBBER and corps size exercises. Other Army formations were attached to Amphib Forces Atlantic Fleet including the 9th Infantry Division. There was a similar effort on the west coast that included expanding the Marine brigade there to a full division and a air wing with support regiment or group. The Army 3rd Division started its first Divisionn sized Amphib exercise at the end of 1939. The 2d MarDiv contributed a combined arms brigade to the Iceland occupation in mid 1941 & the 3rd ID was moved to the Atlantic US coast to reinforce. The 5th Inf Div replaced the the Marines on Iceland a little later in 1941.

Anyway the Army & Navy were spinning up two amphibious groups to deploy corps size ground forces from early 1940. Unfortunately I lack detail on the complete array of fleet, air, and ground units involved. The mobilization as executed 1940-1942 had some sort of allowance for expeditionary forces, but again the details escape me.

At the start of 1942 the Allies had something of a exaggerated view of German intent & capabilities. Plan RUBBER was developed from a fear the Axis were intending to land airborne forces in Brazil and establish airbases along the northern littoral. The addition of US participation in Op. GYMNAST or GYMNAST II at the ARCADIA conference was connected to imperfect bits about Axis intent for using Morroco for military ops.
Fleet forces in the Atlantic on the US side expanded from a training detachment of obsolescent ships in 1938 to a fleet larger in total ships than that in the Pacific on 7 Dec 41. The near constant political and military changes that occurred within that time frame are reflected in war planning and strategic priority - from a British lake which could be disregarded to the primary theater against Germany. ABC-1 and WPL-46 determined the organization, tasks, composition and dispositions of the Atlantic Fleet and all interim war plans, courses of action and contingency ops were built within this framework. After Pearl Harbor, the determinations made at ARCADIA still officially confirmed "Germany first" but one would be hard pressed to believe it from the naval side considering how the Atlantic Fleet was gutted over six months and the embarrassing successes of U-boats off the East Coast and within the Gulf of Mexico. The tasks of escorting troop convoys and the buildup in Britain and other hemispheric outposts was quite successfully accomplished as was TORCH in 1942, but it took about everything we had remaining in the Atlantic until war production results were fully realized the following year. The lack of widely available documents for the Atlantic in 1940-41 online is, regrettably, discouraging.

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Dec 2022 00:07

Lethl215 wrote:
22 Dec 2022 22:39
Fleet forces in the Atlantic on the US side expanded from a training detachment of obsolescent ships in 1938 to a fleet larger in total ships than that in the Pacific on 7 Dec 41. The near constant political and military changes that occurred within that time frame are reflected in war planning and strategic priority - from a British lake which could be disregarded to the primary theater against Germany. ABC-1 and WPL-46 determined the organization, tasks, composition and dispositions of the Atlantic Fleet and all interim war plans, courses of action and contingency ops were built within this framework. After Pearl Harbor, the determinations made at ARCADIA still officially confirmed "Germany first" but one would be hard pressed to believe it from the naval side considering how the Atlantic Fleet was gutted over six months and the embarrassing successes of U-boats off the East Coast and within the Gulf of Mexico.

I sense a lot of strategic confusion among the Allies after ARCADIA, far beyond events in the Atlantic Fleet.
The tasks of escorting troop convoys and the buildup in Britain and other hemispheric outposts was quite successfully accomplished as was TORCH in 1942, but it took about everything we had remaining in the Atlantic until war production results were fully realized the following year. The lack of widely available documents for the Atlantic in 1940-41 online is, regrettably, discouraging.
Most of what I know comes from the books, & that from indirect sources. ie: the information about the US Army 3rd Division amphibious exercise comes from a bio of Mark Clark. He was the Operations officer of the 3rd 1939-1940. The navy Blue Books I've not examined in depth, but the parts I did were disappointing. Histories of the US preparation for war, like 'Roosevelts Secret War, or 'The Borrowed Years', and A Call to Arms, have a lot of scattered bits. Even the biography of the code expert Elizabeth Friedman had some fragments in it.

glenn239
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 23 Dec 2022 23:38

Peter89 wrote:
20 Dec 2022 08:49
What abilities would be lost? West French Africa's trade?

The rest of the world would be just as much blockaded as before.
With the loss of Gibraltar and an Axis position in Spain, the British would be unable to prevent trade between the Axis and South America, the Axis and the Far East. If properly provisioned by the Axis the French navy could restore regular communications with the empire using their fleet. British communications with India, the Persian Gulf, and Egypt would also be made more difficult.
Glenn, if the Germans embark on the rational strategy you described, they would still not inflict decisive damage on the British. The Luftwaffe would still be defeated. The production of amphibious capabilities, the cooperation with the Italians/French would not meet the minimum standards before late 1942.
Fall of 1942 being when the Axis would be in position to invade Great Britain seems a bit on the late side to me, but I notice we are in agreement that with the fall of Spain and US/USSR neutrality, that we are in agreement that this point would be reached.

Also do not forget that despite these turn of events (the Germans effectively ruined Soviet demands) the Soviet not decreased but increased the deliveries to Germany. In my estimation, if the Germans take Gibraltar as per Felix' plans (Jan-Feb 1941), attack the Balkans and interfere in the Middle East (April 1941-July 1941), the Soviets would be intimidated by the German victories as before, and would seek cooperation with the Germans.
The core premise of an Axis naval strategy was an alliance with the Soviet Union. This means the occupation by the Soviet Union of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and the oil producing regions of the Persian Gulf. The oil produced there would go into the Soviet economy, and the Soviets would ship oil from their own production to the Axis Powers. If the Red Army required force to eject the British from Iraq and Iran, so much the better for the Axis. So if, as you say, that Stalin would be intimidated into cooperation with Germany, then in a naval strategy, that cooperation will be demanded for the Soviets to eject the British from the Middle East, and then India.
It was never an alliance and it could hardly be one. It was a cooperation rather. Besides, if the Soviets truly joined the Axis, they would lead it, not the Germans.
The Soviets would never join the Axis as a core member for the same reason that Russia has never been elemental to Western Europe. The alternative for Germany to Britain as an ally was France and the USSR as allies. France an ally like after the war and the European Union, the Soviets as an ally resembling more the coexistence of the Cold War and respect of spheres of interest.

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

Post by glenn239 » 23 Dec 2022 23:49

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Dec 2022 16:05
Salazar & his power base had little use for nazi, Italian, or Spanish ambitions, which informed their neutrality policies and which direction they intended to go were the decision forced on them. .
Sounds like in the inevitable showdown that the British would have the advantage of influence in Lisbon. For the purposes of the discussion I would be fine with just assuming the British are successful in occupying the Azores, the Axis the Canary Islands.

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

Post by Peter89 » 24 Dec 2022 08:50

glenn239 wrote:
23 Dec 2022 23:49
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Dec 2022 16:05
Salazar & his power base had little use for nazi, Italian, or Spanish ambitions, which informed their neutrality policies and which direction they intended to go were the decision forced on them. .
Sounds like in the inevitable showdown that the British would have the advantage of influence in Lisbon. For the purposes of the discussion I would be fine with just assuming the British are successful in occupying the Azores, the Axis the Canary Islands.
Who gets Madeira? And more importantly, the Cape Verde islands?
"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
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 24 Dec 2022 17:32

Peter89 wrote:
24 Dec 2022 08:50
Who gets Madeira? And more importantly, the Cape Verde islands?
Seems like a minor point in comparison to the broad strokes of the Axis strategy we are discussing.

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