Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 02 Dec 2022 03:49

As I've wrote many times before; I'd have got good use out it combined with the German Air Force and other ships along the Arctic littoral or in the North Sea. Not a big game changer, but better than a gamble in the Atlantic.

To digress: The destruction of the Graff Spee did not deter multiple sorties of the the Scheer, Hipper, Ugly sisters, Bismarck, ect... If the Brits had also been able nail the Hipper & or Scheer in their early sorties, would Hitler have approved any other Atlantic raids by the big ships?

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

Post by glenn239 » 02 Dec 2022 18:01

Kingfish wrote:
02 Dec 2022 02:54
Apples and Oranges.
Bismark could have gone toe to toe with anything in the RN OOB and in all conditions. Throw in a rain squall or heavy seas - both common in the North Atlantic - and the carrier is as impotent as the Altmark.
One assumes the carrier would operate with a battleship and cruiser to afford mutual protection. But even so, there was little to no room in the scheme for destroyer escort, so conversations to that effect seem disconnected with the actual German 1940/1941 Atlantic raiding strategy.

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

Post by Takao » 02 Dec 2022 19:09

Can't say I see a cruiser or battleship being tasked with picking up downed air crews or acting as a plane guard during takeoffs and landings.

And it should go without saying that a German carrier is quite disconnected with the actual German 1940/1941 Atlantic raiding strategy. However, that never stops it from being brought up.

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

Post by Peter89 » 02 Dec 2022 19:39

What Germany really lacked was an international network of safe ports with fuel (either coal or oil) stored in them, and aircrafts near them providing an umbrella over the approaches. There are tons of reasons why it never happened and could not really happen. Both the auxiliary cruisers and the surface fleet raiders could achieve some success only because the British were spread too thin at the beginning of the war. The success of the Luftwaffe in early war is more of a result of unnecessary British mistakes than an organized effort of the Germans. The special conjunctions where the Heer could open new possibilities for the KM and the LW were rarely utilized by either of the services and ignored by the strategic decision makers of Germany.
"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 glenn239 » 03 Dec 2022 16:15

Takao wrote:
02 Dec 2022 19:09
Can't say I see a cruiser or battleship being tasked with picking up downed air crews or acting as a plane guard during takeoffs and landings.
I don't think destroyers are going into the Atlantic just to play plane guard, so yes, cruisers or battleships would have to take on that role.
And it should go without saying that a German carrier is quite disconnected with the actual German 1940/1941 Atlantic raiding strategy. However, that never stops it from being brought up.
Before his death, I seem to recall Lutjens mentioned that the only real danger to the Bismarck was a lucky carrier aircraft torpedo hit. So, far from being disconnected from the strategy, GZ would have enhanced it by accomplishing four important tasks -

1. Better scouting resources to find and destroy enemy targets. Allows for combined warfare against convoy targets, (air, surface, subsurface attack).
2. Ability to neutralize RN carriers threatening German forces.
3. Ability to provide CAP against RN torpedo bomber strikes, the most serious threat to the German heavy raiders' mobility.
4. Would prevent the RN tactic of shadowing German battleships via cruisers following at a distance using radar.
Last edited by glenn239 on 03 Dec 2022 16:25, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by glenn239 » 03 Dec 2022 16:23

Peter89 wrote:
02 Dec 2022 19:39
What Germany really lacked was an international network of safe ports with fuel (either coal or oil) stored in them, and aircrafts near them providing an umbrella over the approaches.
I see little basis for an Axis Atlantic surface war after Barbarossa and the US entry with its large Atlantic Fleet in December 1941.

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

Post by thaddeus_c » 04 Dec 2022 02:46

glenn239 wrote:
03 Dec 2022 16:15
Takao wrote:
02 Dec 2022 19:09
And it should go without saying that a German carrier is quite disconnected with the actual German 1940/1941 Atlantic raiding strategy. However, that never stops it from being brought up.
...far from being disconnected from the strategy, GZ would have enhanced it by accomplishing four important tasks -

1. Better scouting resources to find and destroy enemy targets. Allows for combined warfare against convoy targets, (air, surface, subsurface attack).
2. Ability to neutralize RN carriers threatening German forces.
3. Ability to provide CAP against RN torpedo bomber strikes, the most serious threat to the German heavy raiders' mobility.
4. Would prevent the RN tactic of shadowing German battleships via cruisers following at a distance using radar.
I'll count myself as agnostic on the (proper) aircraft carriers, I would say for certain if they had a functioning aircraft carrier (and held the Bismarck in Norway alongside her sister ship) the forces GB would have to hold in home waters would be almost intolerable.

I just wonder if developing or modifying a float plane or flying boat design, and adding handling capacity to the Dithmarschen-class to accomplish some if not all of the above tasks would be more feasible? (counting the fact the BBs and CAs also could launch such aircraft)

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

Post by Peter89 » 04 Dec 2022 09:01

thaddeus_c wrote:
04 Dec 2022 02:46
glenn239 wrote:
03 Dec 2022 16:15
Takao wrote:
02 Dec 2022 19:09
And it should go without saying that a German carrier is quite disconnected with the actual German 1940/1941 Atlantic raiding strategy. However, that never stops it from being brought up.
...far from being disconnected from the strategy, GZ would have enhanced it by accomplishing four important tasks -

1. Better scouting resources to find and destroy enemy targets. Allows for combined warfare against convoy targets, (air, surface, subsurface attack).
2. Ability to neutralize RN carriers threatening German forces.
3. Ability to provide CAP against RN torpedo bomber strikes, the most serious threat to the German heavy raiders' mobility.
4. Would prevent the RN tactic of shadowing German battleships via cruisers following at a distance using radar.
I'll count myself as agnostic on the (proper) aircraft carriers, I would say for certain if they had a functioning aircraft carrier (and held the Bismarck in Norway alongside her sister ship) the forces GB would have to hold in home waters would be almost intolerable.

I just wonder if developing or modifying a float plane or flying boat design, and adding handling capacity to the Dithmarschen-class to accomplish some if not all of the above tasks would be more feasible? (counting the fact the BBs and CAs also could launch such aircraft)
I very seriously doubt that any decision could offset the years of neglect and the inherent problems of German naval aviation. The three key factors in German failure were the lack of cooperation between the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine, the lack of navigation training over vast swathes of ocean and the lack of suitable equipment, ie. a working torpedo and proper aircrafts.

The SKL knew that if a German raider is discovered, its only chance is to disappear using its speed or bad weather. Otherwise the British will triangulate it with their forces and push it towards a coastline thus forcing it to fight under very unfavourable conditions. Using a few fighter-floatplanes could not change this general situation.

We tend to overestimate the value of British aircraft carriers, mostly because of the Bismarck sortie. But in fact it was an extremely lucky hit and didn't change much in reality - under normal circumstances, the Bismarck should have reached France and spent the rest of the war just as useless as the other raiders, being sunk in 1944 or 1945. What the British were actually afraid of was not the Bismarck, the Graf Zeppelin or anything, but German bases that could carry the naval war into the South Atlantic and God forbid to the Indian Ocean. And that's exactly what Raeder & co intended to do. Britain did not have the resources to properly patrol all these waters, and the supply of the Suez base largely depended on these sea lanes.
"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 Peter89 » 04 Dec 2022 09:12

glenn239 wrote:
03 Dec 2022 16:23
Peter89 wrote:
02 Dec 2022 19:39
What Germany really lacked was an international network of safe ports with fuel (either coal or oil) stored in them, and aircrafts near them providing an umbrella over the approaches.
I see little basis for an Axis Atlantic surface war after Barbarossa and the US entry with its large Atlantic Fleet in December 1941.
I definately agree with the Barbarossa part, but the rest was depending on the MTO and the PTO. The Americans could not really put their superior resources on the field before late 1942 (early 1943 rather) and even then only because the Soviets wore down the Wehrmacht and the British cleared Africa and the Middle East of Axis bases, except a few Vichy strongholds. No matter how powerful the USN was, it could not project power from New York to Gibraltar directly. 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. Also the sizeable merchant fleet stuck in the Canaries could safely return either to France or to Casablanca.
"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 » 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.

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

Post by Gooner1 » 05 Dec 2022 13:23

glenn239 wrote:
03 Dec 2022 16:15

1. Better scouting resources to find and destroy enemy targets. Allows for combined warfare against convoy targets, (air, surface, subsurface attack).
2. Ability to neutralize RN carriers threatening German forces.
3. Ability to provide CAP against RN torpedo bomber strikes, the most serious threat to the German heavy raiders' mobility.
4. Would prevent the RN tactic of shadowing German battleships via cruisers following at a distance using radar.
"HMS Ark Royal was steaming northwards with Force H in storm tossed seas with waves reaching more than 50 feet, to intercept Bismarck heading south and get within striking distance before nightfall.

Victorious’ Swordfish had slowed the enemy down, but it was to be Ark Royal’s Swordfish Squadrons, that at the eleventh hour would move the drama decisively towards its denouement.

Determined to prevent Bismarck from making for the security of Brest, during the afternoon on 26 May, in conditions that bordered on the horrific, HMS Ark Royal launched a fifteen strong second Swordfish strike.

The flying conditions were atrocious, low rain cloud, gale force winds, stormy seas and fading daylight.
<>
The Swordfish returned to HMS Ark Royal and rearmed for a second attack in the teeth of the storm, this time with torpedoes fitted with older reliable contact pistols. The conditions had become even worse with the flight deck rising and falling 50 feet, angry seas, cloud at 600 feet and driving rain which at times blotted out visibility completely. The leader of the striking force this time was Lieutenant Commander Tim Coode, Commanding Officer 818 Naval Air Squadron. He and his 43 fellow pilots, observers and air gunners were under no illusions about what lay ahead.

Hopes of getting the second strike away from Ark Royal by 6.30pm were too optimistic. The bows and stern of the ship were being flung from side to side by the following sea, so at times the ship seemed almost out of control. Ironically, the legendary Fairey Swordfish – tough, manoeuvrable, and able to carry a huge torpedo with real punch was the only aircraft able to operate in such conditions.

The tenacity and courage of the aircrews, who when one attack had failed, carried on with the job and re-launched on an almost suicidal second mission was also a hallmark of the Fleet Air Arm. They were operating at the very edge of what was humanly possible both in terms of deck operations and flying.

At 7.10pm the fifteen Swordfish from 810, 818 and 820 Squadrons were ranged on the flight deck, engines roaring and one by one they took off into the stormy sky.

When they arrived over Bismarck she was sailing under a front, a wall of cloud reaching up beyond 10,000 feet and extending down to almost sea-level. The Swordfish screamed down through the murk descending like gnats upon Germany’s fire-spitting dragon pressing home their attack from all quarters in driving rain, low cloud and winds gusting up to 50 mph.

Most of the striking force became split up in the thick blanket of cloud. Co-ordinating their attacks as best they could, in pairs, threes, fours and even alone, they came in simultaneously and from different angles, forcing Bismarck to divide her fire and making it harder for her to evade torpedoes."

https://navywings.org.uk/portfolio/hms- ... al-attack/

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

Post by Peter89 » 05 Dec 2022 18:58

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.
Well the answer was rather a "Yes", clearly stated in the Paris Protocols, but the Germans had to provide the supplies for it - which they couldn't. The Vichy simply denied the Germans to use their meager resources with no hope of resupply. And unlike in the Levant, the Germans could not offer food for weapons and could not pretend as if these were temporary needs. This is the same problem as Dakar's and Casablanca's ports: the Germans could not steam there because they could not protect it from an Allied counterattack, and the Vichy French could not resupply the port.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
04 Dec 2022 22:07
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.
In any case, the Americans had to have a springboard, a base of operations. A port/network that could handle cca. 5-10,000 t / day of cargo. The Azores were very risky because Portugal's neutrality kept Iberia from the Axis side. If they'd take the Azores, mainland Portugal would be overrun by Germany - plans for that existed well into 1943. If Portugal would be German, Spain would be forced to follow suit, and that would mean the fall of Gibraltar and possibly that of Morocco as well - and this could be very dangerous for the British effort in the Mediterranean. It is essentially the mirror problem of what the Germans faced: if they'd take mainland Portugal / Spain, the Canaries, Madeira and the Azores would fall into Allied hands, negating the offensive benefits of the new bases (and zeroing the chances of the return of the sizeable German merchant fleet that fled there).
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
04 Dec 2022 22:07
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.
I agree on this part. The Allies were really scared of the spread of the war into Latin America, mostly without any foundation.
"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 » 06 Dec 2022 14:33

Peter89 wrote:
05 Dec 2022 18:58
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
04 Dec 2022 22:07
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.
In any case, the Americans had to have a springboard, a base of operations. A port/network that could handle cca. 5-10,000 t / day of cargo.

What base of operations were planned & used for the GYMNAST and TORCH operations? Those had extended distances to the objective from ports of embarkation and subsequent LoC
The Azores were very risky because Portugal's neutrality kept Iberia from the Axis side. If they'd take the Azores, mainland Portugal would be overrun by Germany - plans for that existed well into 1943. If Portugal would be German, Spain would be forced to follow suit, and that would mean the fall of Gibraltar and possibly that of Morocco as well - and this could be very dangerous for the British effort in the Mediterranean. It is essentially the mirror problem of what the Germans faced: if they'd take mainland Portugal / Spain, the Canaries, Madeira and the Azores would fall into Allied hands, negating the offensive benefits of the new bases (and zeroing the chances of the return of the sizeable German merchant fleet that fled there).


Forgoing a necessary offensive op to preserve Portuguese neutrality kind of misses the point. The Allied plans for seizing the Azores were contingent on the Axis establishing naval or airbases in Spain or Morroco, invading Portugal, shipping armies off to NW Africa, landing paratroops in Brazil. If the Axis are taking those actions there's a lot less reason to consider Portuguese neutrality.

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 06 Dec 2022 14:39

Gooner1 wrote:
05 Dec 2022 13:23

"HMS Ark Royal was steaming northwards with Force H in storm tossed seas with waves reaching more than 50 feet, to intercept Bismarck heading south and get within striking distance before nightfall.

Victorious’ Swordfish had slowed the enemy down, but it was to be Ark Royal’s Swordfish Squadrons, that at the eleventh hour would move the drama decisively towards its denouement.

Determined to prevent Bismarck from making for the security of Brest, during the afternoon on 26 May, in conditions that bordered on the horrific, HMS Ark Royal launched a fifteen strong second Swordfish strike.

The flying conditions were atrocious, low rain cloud, gale force winds, stormy seas and fading daylight.
<>
The Swordfish returned to HMS Ark Royal and rearmed for a second attack in the teeth of the storm, this time with torpedoes fitted with older reliable contact pistols. The conditions had become even worse with the flight deck rising and falling 50 feet, angry seas, cloud at 600 feet and driving rain which at times blotted out visibility completely. The leader of the striking force this time was Lieutenant Commander Tim Coode, Commanding Officer 818 Naval Air Squadron. He and his 43 fellow pilots, observers and air gunners were under no illusions about what lay ahead.

Hopes of getting the second strike away from Ark Royal by 6.30pm were too optimistic. The bows and stern of the ship were being flung from side to side by the following sea, so at times the ship seemed almost out of control. Ironically, the legendary Fairey Swordfish – tough, manoeuvrable, and able to carry a huge torpedo with real punch was the only aircraft able to operate in such conditions.

The tenacity and courage of the aircrews, who when one attack had failed, carried on with the job and re-launched on an almost suicidal second mission was also a hallmark of the Fleet Air Arm. They were operating at the very edge of what was humanly possible both in terms of deck operations and flying.

At 7.10pm the fifteen Swordfish from 810, 818 and 820 Squadrons were ranged on the flight deck, engines roaring and one by one they took off into the stormy sky.

When they arrived over Bismarck she was sailing under a front, a wall of cloud reaching up beyond 10,000 feet and extending down to almost sea-level. The Swordfish screamed down through the murk descending like gnats upon Germany’s fire-spitting dragon pressing home their attack from all quarters in driving rain, low cloud and winds gusting up to 50 mph.

Most of the striking force became split up in the thick blanket of cloud. Co-ordinating their attacks as best they could, in pairs, threes, fours and even alone, they came in simultaneously and from different angles, forcing Bismarck to divide her fire and making it harder for her to evade torpedoes."

https://navywings.org.uk/portfolio/hms- ... al-attack/

That sounds similar to the previous attack by the Victorious, which also gained a torpedo hit.

Im searching around for a complete description of the air searches & attacks on the Bismarck, specifically the carrier launched actions. Any recommendations for best sources?

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

Post by Peter89 » 06 Dec 2022 16:15

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
06 Dec 2022 14:33
Peter89 wrote:
05 Dec 2022 18:58
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
04 Dec 2022 22:07
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.
In any case, the Americans had to have a springboard, a base of operations. A port/network that could handle cca. 5-10,000 t / day of cargo.

What base of operations were planned & used for the GYMNAST and TORCH operations? Those had extended distances to the objective from ports of embarkation and subsequent LoC
Torch relied heavily on Gibraltar and the weakness of the Vichy forces. It was a first step of a learning curve, the Torch landings occured mostly without organized resistance. If they'd attack into NW Europe as per Marshall's wish, they'd probably be defeated.
"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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