Causes and effects of U Boat war

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the submarine forces of the Kriegsmarine.
ljadw
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Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by ljadw » 12 Feb 2011 18:39

Split from 'Could Germany win WW2?'
hagen wrote:(i) Why is two years too long for Germany? They have signed a 10-year peace treaty with the Soviet Union (with what value is a moot point) so why not take a few years to grind down the British. When you want war with the Soviets you will not face a two-front war. Stalin was waiting for the other powers to exhaust each other first.
(ii) The British are going to put everything into winning the war at sea but the Germans are going to start putting a lot in too. Air and sea war is all about capital equipment and there is no reason to suppose that the British are going to stay ahead technological as well as beat the Germans in building rates.
(iii) Submarine warfare might bring the Americans into the war but it is not clear that it will. Sinking rates may have been poor but then we are going to concentrate resources so as to improve that.
(iv) Logistically the Germans had real problems in the vastness of the Soviet Union. However, the population was only about twice that of Germany. I am doubtful that taking the Moscow region would have won the war. It might be the capital, an industrial region and communications centre but there was a reserve capital and the Soviets would have fought on. Then there are all those troops in the Ukraine. However, the generals seem to think it was the right move
(v) The racialist policies of the Nazis makes it difficult to see what deal they might make but I should have thought they might have acted in the east as they did in the west until the war was won and then the screws can be tightened.
doogal wrote:Its quite simple really-

a) Germany alone - with minor allies had the fighting power(within its armed forces) to force a decision against one country at a time: possibly two-
b) The Soviet union was not one country but a communist empire made up of several:
c) Germanys allies had not the infrastructure to support or supply mass field armies- and Germany itself did not have the economic stability to maintain attrition (we all know this)
d)How could anyone ask if Germany could of won WW2 ? There would of had to be some pretty crazy changes in direction structure AND policies of not only Nazi Germany but the Soviet Union Britain and the USA.
For all the prowess of the Heer on the battlefield, the navy was gone as a force before it started and the BoBritain tore the heart out of the Luftwaffe. This is before we even enter the Yugoslavis Greece USSR Africa etc.
As a premise it does not get off the ground:

Wars between countrys may be geopolitical in dimensions, but the reality is mass death through battles-with-men-machines and logistics being the final word in gaining victory. War is destroying the others Armies-pulverising industry- breaking the will of a people- The main allies were never any where near having this happen to them. Britain and the Soviet union up till 1942 only suffered one or two of this triumvirate never all three. The world would have had to stand on its head for Germany to be victorious.

Doogal
Well the leaders in Britain and the Soviet Union were clearly worried men.
(a) Agreed
(b) Which made it politically vulnerable
(c) Only because it faced enemies who were bigger. Britain survived because of lend-lease and maybe the Soviet Union too; France did not survive at all.
(d) History had an outcome but I suggest if different choices were made there might have been significant differences in the outcome. Is all deterministic? Was it all inevitable? Churchill only slept soundly once the US was in the war so he was of a view that the outcome was undecided until that moment.
In 1917,submarine warfare was bringing the US in the WAR.
Already before Pearl Harbour,Germany was loosing the submarine war :in 1941,the UBoats sank less tonnes of shipping than in 1940.

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hagen
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by hagen » 17 Feb 2011 13:26

ljadw wrote:In 1917,submarine warfare was bringing the US in the WAR.
Already before Pearl Harbour,Germany was loosing the submarine war :in 1941,the UBoats sank less tonnes of shipping than in 1940.
Certainly it could be that the U-boat war might bring the USA into the war but the Germans need to do something to win the war and my suggestion is a viable alternative to invading the SU. With due respect I feel you are being disingenuous; I am sure you are aware that the crisis in the U-boat war was 1943.

ljadw
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 17 Feb 2011 19:25

Your suggestion is an alternative ,but,not a viable one .
You are free,..to deny the facts,but the facts are,unless you can prove the opposite,at NO moment,between september 1939 and somewhere in the summer of 1943,the UBoats did constitute a mortal danger for the allies :at no moment,the UBoats could force Britain to give up .

berrek
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by berrek » 18 Feb 2011 13:11

hagen wrote:
ljadw wrote:In 1917,submarine warfare was bringing the US in the WAR.
Already before Pearl Harbour,Germany was loosing the submarine war :in 1941,the UBoats sank less tonnes of shipping than in 1940.
Certainly it could be that the U-boat war might bring the USA into the war but the Germans need to do something to win the war and my suggestion is a viable alternative to invading the SU. With due respect I feel you are being disingenuous; I am sure you are aware that the crisis in the U-boat war was 1943.
True, ljadw maKes a statement which is contrary to the known facts about the U boat war in which the turnaround came in 1943 as you correctly mention. :)

ljadw
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 18 Feb 2011 15:37

the turnaround,or crisis,from may 1943,is a postwar invention,because,after Pearl Harbour,the Germans lost the UBoat war :there was no chance for the Germans to sink more tons than the allied could build .
And,before PH:on 6 december 1941,Britain was still fighting:thus:the UBoats had failed .
It's that simple .
The UBoat war was essentially a defensive war .

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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by Jon G. » 18 Feb 2011 16:17

ljadw wrote:the turnaround,or crisis,from may 1943,is a postwar invention,because,after Pearl Harbour,the Germans lost the UBoat war :there was no chance for the Germans to sink more tons than the allied could build .
And,before PH:on 6 december 1941,Britain was still fighting:thus:the UBoats had failed .
It's that simple .
The UBoat war was essentially a defensive war .
That is too simplistic a view. If we take the extreme version of your view, the Allies could then have stopped building convoy escorts, and stopped sailing ships in convoy altogether, after the USA entered the war fully. They didn't (save for the eastern US seaboard, for a while), and 1942 was the U-Boats' biggest year in terms of tonnage sunk.

The Germans couldn't win the tonnage war either prior to, or after Dec. 1941, but they could (and did) force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity to building convoy escorts, and also pay constant attention to shipping capacity and availaibility in their strategy.

RichTO90
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by RichTO90 » 18 Feb 2011 16:21

berrek wrote:True, ljadw maKes a statement which is contrary to the known facts about the U boat war in which the turnaround came in 1943 as you correctly mention. :)
Nevermind. As usual, there just is no good way to show data here.
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

berrek
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by berrek » 18 Feb 2011 20:22

Jon G. wrote:
ljadw wrote:the turnaround,or crisis,from may 1943,is a postwar invention,because,after Pearl Harbour,the Germans lost the UBoat war :there was no chance for the Germans to sink more tons than the allied could build .
And,before PH:on 6 december 1941,Britain was still fighting:thus:the UBoats had failed .
It's that simple .
The UBoat war was essentially a defensive war .
That is too simplistic a view. If we take the extreme version of your view, the Allies could then have stopped building convoy escorts, and stopped sailing ships in convoy altogether, after the USA entered the war fully. They didn't (save for the eastern US seaboard, for a while), and 1942 was the U-Boats' biggest year in terms of tonnage sunk.

The Germans couldn't win the tonnage war either prior to, or after Dec. 1941, but they could (and did) force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity to building convoy escorts, and also pay constant attention to shipping capacity and availaibility in their strategy.
Very true. Ljadw plays fast and loose with historical facts.

ljadw
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 18 Feb 2011 20:30

Jon G. wrote:
ljadw wrote:the turnaround,or crisis,from may 1943,is a postwar invention,because,after Pearl Harbour,the Germans lost the UBoat war :there was no chance for the Germans to sink more tons than the allied could build .
And,before PH:on 6 december 1941,Britain was still fighting:thus:the UBoats had failed .
It's that simple .
The UBoat war was essentially a defensive war .
That is too simplistic a view. If we take the extreme version of your view, the Allies could then have stopped building convoy escorts, and stopped sailing ships in convoy altogether, after the USA entered the war fully. They didn't (save for the eastern US seaboard, for a while), and 1942 was the U-Boats' biggest year in terms of tonnage sunk.

The Germans couldn't win the tonnage war either prior to, or after Dec. 1941, but they could (and did) force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity to building convoy escorts, and also pay constant attention to shipping capacity and availaibility in their strategy.
Is the translation of your last sentence(that the Germans did force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity ..etc) not that the Germans were fighting a defensive war?
About the figures ,I will risk giving some (from one of the countless sources:Merchant ship losses :1939-1943)
the losses are from all causes,till november 1943 ,only tons
1939:Britain :498000,Allies 90000,Neutrals:347000
1940:Britain :2725000,Allies:1822000,Neutrals:1002000
1941:Britain:3047000,Allies:1299000,Neutrals:347000
1942:Britain:3695000,Allies:4394000,Neutrals:249000
1943:Britain:1648000,Allies:1886000,Neutrals:82000
BUT,considering only these loss figures,to claim that in may 1943,the UBoat danger vanished,is IMHO,wrong and dangerous,because,it is ignoring the BritisAllied and Neutral shipping capacity .And,it is my conviction that these were during WWII always bigger than the losses due to the UBoats .
The UBoat war was a hopeless fight,the only thing the Germans could do was to force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity ...etc

ljadw
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 18 Feb 2011 20:48

Production figures are not that easy to find ,but a few one
Canada :354 cargo ships of 10000 tons
USA:in 1943:11448360 tons
USA :from 1939-1945:33993230 tons
I think that these figures are proving that the German attempt (if there was one) to force Britain to submission,had no chance to succeed .

ljadw
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 18 Feb 2011 21:07

berrek wrote:
Jon G. wrote:
ljadw wrote:the turnaround,or crisis,from may 1943,is a postwar invention,because,after Pearl Harbour,the Germans lost the UBoat war :there was no chance for the Germans to sink more tons than the allied could build .
And,before PH:on 6 december 1941,Britain was still fighting:thus:the UBoats had failed .
It's that simple .
The UBoat war was essentially a defensive war .
That is too simplistic a view. If we take the extreme version of your view, the Allies could then have stopped building convoy escorts, and stopped sailing ships in convoy altogether, after the USA entered the war fully. They didn't (save for the eastern US seaboard, for a while), and 1942 was the U-Boats' biggest year in terms of tonnage sunk.

The Germans couldn't win the tonnage war either prior to, or after Dec. 1941, but they could (and did) force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity to building convoy escorts, and also pay constant attention to shipping capacity and availaibility in their strategy.
Very true. Ljadw plays fast and loose with historical facts.
Reality is always hurting some one who believes that the Germans were invincible . :lol: :wink:

RichTO90
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by RichTO90 » 18 Feb 2011 21:17

ljadw wrote:Production figures are not that easy to find ,but a few one
Canada :354 cargo ships of 10000 tons
USA:in 1943:11448360 tons
USA :from 1939-1945:33993230 tons
I think that these figures are proving that the German attempt (if there was one) to force Britain to submission,had no chance to succeed .
US/Canada/UK in GRT

1939 (Sep-Dec)117,533//0//c. 200,000
1940 476,200//0//810,000
1941 804,000//1,000//1,156,000
1942 5,338,000//834,000//1,301,000
1943 12,053,000//1,473,000//1,199,000
1944 10,133,000//1,086,000//1,013,000

The kicker though is the starting point. On 1 September 1939 the U.S. Merchant Marine was 8,924,000. The Canadian was virtually nonexistant. The British was 17,684,000. Now add in the confiscations of German and Italian shipping, the evacuation of most of the Norwegian Merchant Navy to British hands in April 1940, the same for a large chunk of the French Merchant Navy in May-June 1940, and the same for a large part of the Greek Merchant Navy in 1941.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

Jon G.
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by Jon G. » 18 Feb 2011 21:48

ljadw wrote: Is the translation of your last sentence(that the Germans did force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity ..etc) not that the Germans were fighting a defensive war?
I guess that depends on what you mean by 'defensive war' If you mean that the U-Boat campaign never stood a realistic chance of winning the war for Germany on its own, then I can agree to the definition. I suppose the same definition could be applied to the Allied strategic bombing campaign against Germany, but would you call that a 'defensive war'?
About the figures ,I will risk giving some (from one of the countless sources:Merchant ship losses :1939-1943)
the losses are from all causes,till november 1943 ,only tons (snip figures)
Right, and AFAIK the German never achieved their monthly target for tonnage sunk per month until 1942.
BUT,considering only these loss figures,to claim that in may 1943,the UBoat danger vanished,is IMHO,wrong and dangerous,because,it is ignoring the BritisAllied and Neutral shipping capacity .And,it is my conviction that these were during WWII always bigger than the losses due to the UBoats .
But it's not that simple. It's not just a question of churning out hundreds and hundreds of Liberty ships, but also of deciding whether to build more destroyer escorts and corvettes (a defensive choice, I'd call it), or to build landing ships and landing craft (an offensive choice) based on how much of a threat the U-Boats were considered to be.

Shipping was a limited resource which had to be managed with extreme care, with priorities constantly being weighed up against one another - for example, the cut-back in British civilian rations so as to not delay the BOLERO build-up of American forces in Britain in 1942, or the suspension of Arctic convoys in 1942 in part due to the loss of PQ-17, but in part also in order to find the ships for sailing supplies to Allied forces in French North Africa in 1942/1943.

The U-Boats had an effect on Allied planning. Given unlimited shipping and no threats against it, the Allies could well have decided not to bother with the Mediterranean at all, for example.
The UBoat war was a hopeless fight,the only thing the Germans could do was to force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity ...etc
But, at least in theory, that could have staved off Allied offensives against occupied Europe long enough for the Germans to win against the Soviets, and then devote most of their efforts to the west again.

ljadw
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 18 Feb 2011 22:37

Jon G. wrote:
ljadw wrote: Is the translation of your last sentence(that the Germans did force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity ..etc) not that the Germans were fighting a defensive war?
I guess that depends on what you mean by 'defensive war' If you mean that the U-Boat campaign never stood a realistic chance of winning the war for Germany on its own, then I can agree to the definition. I suppose the same definition could be applied to the Allied strategic bombing campaign against Germany, but would you call that a 'defensive war'?
About the figures ,I will risk giving some (from one of the countless sources:Merchant ship losses :1939-1943)
the losses are from all causes,till november 1943 ,only tons (snip figures)
Right, and AFAIK the German never achieved their monthly target for tonnage sunk per month until 1942.
BUT,considering only these loss figures,to claim that in may 1943,the UBoat danger vanished,is IMHO,wrong and dangerous,because,it is ignoring the BritisAllied and Neutral shipping capacity .And,it is my conviction that these were during WWII always bigger than the losses due to the UBoats .
But it's not that simple. It's not just a question of churning out hundreds and hundreds of Liberty ships, but also of deciding whether to build more destroyer escorts and corvettes (a defensive choice, I'd call it), or to build landing ships and landing craft (an offensive choice) based on how much of a threat the U-Boats were considered to be.

Shipping was a limited resource which had to be managed with extreme care, with priorities constantly being weighed up against one another - for example, the cut-back in British civilian rations so as to not delay the BOLERO build-up of American forces in Britain in 1942, or the suspension of Arctic convoys in 1942 in part due to the loss of PQ-17, but in part also in order to find the ships for sailing supplies to Allied forces in French North Africa in 1942/1943.

The U-Boats had an effect on Allied planning. Given unlimited shipping and no threats against it, the Allies could well have decided not to bother with the Mediterranean at all, for example.
The UBoat war was a hopeless fight,the only thing the Germans could do was to force the Allies to devote disproportionate amounts of their capacity ...etc
But, at least in theory, that could have staved off Allied offensives against occupied Europe long enough for the Germans to win against the Soviets, and then devote most of their efforts to the west again.
good points :I agree that the only effect the UBoat war could have ,was to delay an Allied build-up.But the build-up was not only dependent from the dislodging of the UBoats,but also from the amount of US forces that were operational .Even,if in june 1942 the battle of the Atlantic had ended as in june 1943,an allied attack on occupied Europe would be very risky,because the Allies did not have the necessary forces .

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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 18 Feb 2011 22:48

If the figures of Wiki are reliable (and,that's always a problem),the Norwegian merchant fleet was worth 4 million of tons in 1940.

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