Causes and effects of U Boat war

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the submarine forces of the Kriegsmarine.
berrek
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by berrek » 20 Feb 2011 09:15

ljadw wrote:I am not sure that I understand your post;the aim of the UBoat War was to eliminate Britain,and thus finish the war,as such,it failed .
Evasion. You intentionally ignore that the U boats caused enough losses to seriously effect the british war effort and could have done more. The U boat campaign certainly was no wasted effort.
Last edited by berrek on 20 Feb 2011 13:53, edited 1 time in total.

ljadw
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Re: Could Germany win WW2?

Post by ljadw » 20 Feb 2011 11:50

berrek wrote:
ljadw wrote:I am not sure that I understand your post;the aim of the UBoat War was to eliminate Britain,and thus finish the war,as such,it failed .
Evasion. You intentionally ignore that the U boats caused enough losses to seriously effect the british war effort and could have done more. The U boat campaign ceertainly was no wasted effort.
A specialist in strawmanthings :P
Where did I write that the UBoat campaign was a wasted effort ? Maybe in your imagination ?
And, your (goose-stepping) imagination is leading you to write follies as :the UBoats could have done more :P
1) Where are you proofs that the UBoats could have done more ?
2)The UBoats did NOT do more .

berrek
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by berrek » 20 Feb 2011 13:56

If you focus more on fighting Brittain which means producing more U boats, they will obtain more results

ljadw
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by ljadw » 20 Feb 2011 15:05

that's a wrong statement,and a generalization :as I already :wink: explained :more UBoats will not automaticaly result in more GRT losses for the enemy .
One exemple :the Germans had more UBoats in 1943 than in 1942(january 1942:249,march 1943:400)and,they sank less GRT in 1943 than in 1942.

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hagen
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by hagen » 20 Feb 2011 18:24

mescal wrote:Hagen,
This table is the total of overall allied merchant losses, and includes all sources of damages (including marine casualties).
The U-boat force accounts for around 55% of this total.

Here are the figures for U-boats :
year --- #ships --- Tonnage (x1000 GRT)
1939 --- 114 --- 421
1940 --- 471 --- 2186
1941 --- 432 --- 2171
1942 --- 1160 --- 6266
1943 --- 463 --- 2586
1944 --- 132 --- 773
1945 --- 56 --- 281
Total --- 2828 --- 14687

Source : La bataille de l'Atlantique, Guy Malbosc.
Fine. But I am planning to increase maritime AND AERIAL resources used to attack the convoys, so more than just the U-boat campaign. The critical issue is can Britain be cut-off from the outside world for long enough to force a surrender and allow a German takeover? We will never know but I suggest there is good evidence that a different set of choices would have improved the German chances of winning the war. However, Hitler was the man he was so it would have required a different mindset at the centre than the one that was there.

ljadw
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by ljadw » 20 Feb 2011 19:05

hagen wrote:
mescal wrote:Hagen,
This table is the total of overall allied merchant losses, and includes all sources of damages (including marine casualties).
The U-boat force accounts for around 55% of this total.

Here are the figures for U-boats :
year --- #ships --- Tonnage (x1000 GRT)
1939 --- 114 --- 421
1940 --- 471 --- 2186
1941 --- 432 --- 2171
1942 --- 1160 --- 6266
1943 --- 463 --- 2586
1944 --- 132 --- 773
1945 --- 56 --- 281
Total --- 2828 --- 14687

Source : La bataille de l'Atlantique, Guy Malbosc.
Fine. But I am planning to increase maritime AND AERIAL resources used to attack the convoys, so more than just the U-boat campaign. The critical issue is can Britain be cut-off from the outside world for long enough to force a surrender and allow a German takeover? We will never know but I suggest there is good evidence that a different set of choices would have improved the German chances of winning the war. However, Hitler was the man he was so it would have required a different mindset at the centre than the one that was there.
2 :wink: objections
1) to increase maritime and aerial resources to cut-off Britain from the outside world,would take a lot of time,and Germany did not have this time .Meanwhile,Britain would increase its ASW potential.Germany would lose the competition .
2)if you are giving the LW and the KM more resources,the result is :less resources for the army,no Barbarossa,less resources for home defense .

berrek
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by berrek » 20 Feb 2011 21:40

hagen wrote:
mescal wrote:Hagen,
This table is the total of overall allied merchant losses, and includes all sources of damages (including marine casualties).
The U-boat force accounts for around 55% of this total.

Here are the figures for U-boats :
year --- #ships --- Tonnage (x1000 GRT)
1939 --- 114 --- 421
1940 --- 471 --- 2186
1941 --- 432 --- 2171
1942 --- 1160 --- 6266
1943 --- 463 --- 2586
1944 --- 132 --- 773
1945 --- 56 --- 281
Total --- 2828 --- 14687

Source : La bataille de l'Atlantique, Guy Malbosc.
Fine. But I am planning to increase maritime AND AERIAL resources used to attack the convoys, so more than just the U-boat campaign. The critical issue is can Britain be cut-off from the outside world for long enough to force a surrender and allow a German takeover? We will never know but I suggest there is good evidence that a different set of choices would have improved the German chances of winning the war. However, Hitler was the man he was so it would have required a different mindset at the centre than the one that was there.
Yes and Barbarossa did not need to be done so concentrating on defeating britain was a valid option.

Clio13
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by Clio13 » 21 Feb 2011 16:32

I wonder what would have happened had the Elektroboote been available in say, 1941-1942. A case can be made for asserting that the Typ XXI could have had a decisive impact on transatlantic convoys had it entered service in these key years.
On the other hand it is clear from Donitz' numerous post war interviews that the U-bootwaffe was never going to get the kind of resources it needed 1934-1939. Donitz ideally wanted 300 U-boote before the Battle of the Atlantic should even commence. He didn't get them by 1940 How long did it take to develop the elektroboot ? Had resources been switched from Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe into naval research in 1937-38 it could well have brought forward elektroboot production.
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RichTO90
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by RichTO90 » 21 Feb 2011 17:42

hagen wrote:Fine. But I am planning to increase maritime AND AERIAL resources used to attack the convoys, so more than just the U-boat campaign.
That's nice, but in case you haven't noticed, this isn't a "what if" section of the forum.
The critical issue is can Britain be cut-off from the outside world for long enough to force a surrender and allow a German takeover? We will never know but I suggest there is good evidence that a different set of choices would have improved the German chances of winning the war. However, Hitler was the man he was so it would have required a different mindset at the centre than the one that was there.
Yes. So what constitutes "cut off"? Do you have any idea? Do you known what shippng was reduced to before the U-Boot campaign had inflicted any appreciable attrition on the merchant shipping the British had access to? For 1939 the monthly average arrival of foreign trade into the UK was 8,742,000 tons. But, curiously enough, for the first eight months of 1939, before war broke out, the average was 10,257,000 tons per month, while in September it was 5,904,000 tons while in October-December it averaged 5,648,000 tons. So it nearly halved before any significant attrition occurred. It did fall then to a low of 2,254,000 tons per month in the 1st quarter of 1942. However, it only rose to a high of 7,323,000 tons per month in the 3rd quarter of 1944 and never exceeded an average of 4,096,000 tons per month from the 3rd quarter of 1943 through the end of the 2nd quarter of 1945. And, in July and August 1945, after the end of the war in Europe and two years after the supposed "crisis" and defeat of the U-Boot, only an average of 4,850,000 tons per month arrived.

The reality is that you would likely need to double the U-Boot effectiveness, along with the doubling the effect of the other causes of loss, to acheive the extreme of shipping limitations equivalent to "cutting off" the UK. However, to do so you need to increase allocations to military spending pre-war that already were having an excessive effect on the German economy. As it was, in 1942-1943, when the U-Boot building programs were running at full speed, about 9.7% of the German munitions expenditure was going to them and 39.7% to aircraft. So where does the excess expenditure required to at least double the U-Boot and martime strike force come from? What do you not build pre-war?

So if you want to move this to a what if, where it is appropriate, I would be delighted to see you present the "good evidence" that you have that such a course was practicable.

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

Clio13
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by Clio13 » 21 Feb 2011 22:05

Forgive me for intruding into what may well be a private discussion, but as a well-meaning academic/author I can only suggest that if you seek to ground your arguments in material fact, you both make an effort understand the extent to which the strategies of the First World War moulded and structured the mindsets of Donitz and Admiralty alike. You will never understand what transpired in World War Two without first obtaining a grasp of events during the first Handelskrieg mit U-booten (ie the Blum Report and subsequent reactions).

It is a theme essential to this discourse - but one so far absent from this thread.
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RichTO90
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by RichTO90 » 21 Feb 2011 22:39

Clio13 wrote:Forgive me for intruding into what may well be a private discussion, but as a well-meaning academic/author I can only suggest that if you seek to ground your arguments in material fact, you both make an effort understand the extent to which the strategies of the First World War moulded and structured the mindsets of Donitz and Admiralty alike. You will never understand what transpired in World War Two without first obtaining a grasp of events during the first Handelskrieg mit U-booten (ie the Blum Report and subsequent reactions).
Thanks for clearing up which "you" you meant before you posted this edit. I was very confused trying to figure out who "you" was. :lol: Given that this is a public forum I wonder that you think it a private discussion, so this well-meaning analyst/author can only welcome you to the fray. :lol:

So what do you actually mean? How was Korvettenkapitän Ulrich-Eberhard Blum's prewar memorandum (I have never seen it referred to as a "report") that was rejected by his commanding officer in the Submarine Inspectorate so important to events - or non-events - in World War II? Was it because Dönitz and the others in the revived Kriegsmarine discussed it after the incident was mentioned in Spindler's Der Krieg zur See 1914–1918 when the first volume was published in 1932? Certainly that influenced Dönitz's strategic thinking in the runup to war, but thinking and production of the additional 250-odd Type VII U-Boot needed prior to the outbreak of war - or even soon thereafter - are two different things. Where, pre wartime mobilization, does that come from? The Luftwaffe? It was barely ready for war either and only managed to sustain operations in 1940 by raiding its pilot training establishment, which had dire consequences eventually. The Heer? Even worse, it was short equipment and trained manpower, especially when it came to officers and NCO.

The key of course would have been to convince Hitler, Raeder, and the rest of the "black shoe" Kriegsmarine that all the big shiny and impressive battleships, cruisers, and destroyers (not that there were so many of those either) were so much wasted tin. Tough sell I suspect.
It is a theme essential to this discourse - but one so far absent from this thread.
So correct the absence then. :D

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

Clio13
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by Clio13 » 22 Feb 2011 18:50

The fact remains that Blum rightly pointed out that Britain was acutely vulnerable to commercial attrition and that there would inevitably come a tipping point. And yes, it was a report and it is incorrectly described as a 'memorandum' (either that or it is likely a problem of translation. The fact that Blum's superiors rejected it, reflects badly against them rather than Blum) Blum knew that a war of attrition would in turn directly impact upon the British civilian front. In 1917 Britain came very close to losing the war because there was significant unrest at home caused basically by food shortages as a direct result of the Handelskrieg.

Donitz and Godt sought to emulate these conditions in WW2 with a view to creating a set of circumstances in which the British people would lose their enthusiasm for prosecuting the war against Germany and replace pro-war politicians with the anti-war branch of the Conservative party (Chamberlain, Londonderry, Rothermere et al). Please be aware that there was a significant anti-war bloc in British politics. By 1941 this tipping point was close at hand. Sufficient to observe that Churchill was consistently being booed when he visited British cities beyond London in 1941 - though this was never reported by the press, I assure you it is a material fact.

The point I make is quite simple and straightforward. Had they been available by the end of 1941 I have not the slightest doubt that the Electroboote would have won the war for Germany. Take it or leave it but it is my considered opinion. Just imagine the consequences had the transatlantic (and PQ convoys) been erased. The British would have rapidly found some form of accommodation with Hitler. 'Tommy Atkins' does not fight well when 'Mary Anne in the kitchen' is starving.

The key of course would have been to convince Hitler, Raeder, and the rest of the "black shoe" Kriegsmarine that all the big shiny and impressive battleships, cruisers, and destroyers (not that there were so many of those either) were so much wasted tin. Tough sell I suspect.

I couldn't agree more with you and I suspect we are really advancing the same argument.

I agree with you that too much capacity was utterly wasted in building surface ship gun fodder in the critical years.

It is so refreshing to find a forum where people actually know what they are talking about. Thanks.
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ljadw
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by ljadw » 22 Feb 2011 19:14

But,there are still some questions remaining
1)was it possible in the little time between 1935-1939 to create a Submarine fleet that could force Britain to submission,and this in the few years (1939-1941),before the British ASW would be to strong
2)If it was possible,would this not result in a lasting damage for the army and navy ? Put more bluntly :more UBoats would result in less tanks and aircraft(among others)
3)(I don't think this has already been mentioned):WHY would Hitler create a big UBoatfleet ?We know that he was pursuing a collaboration with Britain,IMHO,not because he loved Britain,but because he knew that without Britain as opponentGermany could have won WWI.
4)If Germany was creating ,before WWII,a big UBoatfleet,I think the reaction of Britain would be to increase its ASW means and remedies,and,I doubt that Germany could win this armaments race.

Clio13
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by Clio13 » 22 Feb 2011 19:52

1) probably not - without basing strategy upon the lessons of WW1 ie that Britain was acutely vulnerable to Handelskrieg mit U-booten. Hitler had to balance a series of competing claims for investment from Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht. The Germans would by necessity have had to pour all resources into U-boote development. This would have been very difficult as there were comparatively few NAZIs within the U-bootwaffe.

On the other hand the British over-estimated the power of ASDIC in the pre-war years. Only in 1944 was ASDIC refined sufficiently to prove an effective weapon against Typ VII schnorchel-equipped U-boote.
2) Yes, I agree. And powerful voices (notably Göring and Heydrich) would not have accepted this.
3) I absolutely agree with you
4) Yes but ASDIC was not fully developed by 1939. It was a flawed piece of equipment. Let us be aware of two factors in this argument
a) ASDIC had been starved of development money 1929-34. The average set available in 1939 could not detect the range, bearing and movement of a U-boat relative to an ASDIC equipped vessel. This flaw was exploited by Bold and the Pillenwerfer and was not addressed by the British until August 1944 with the introduction of 144-5Q and 14B ASDIC sets. In other words there was a window open for exploitation. Here I return to my original assertion, namely that had the Typ XXI been available at this stage (1939-44) it could have humiliated the Royal Navy.
b) there had been considerable social unrest in Britain 1926-34. Funds were switched into social provision instead of armaments (until the belligerence of the Nazis forced a re-assessment c 1934)
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RichTO90
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Re: Causes and effects of U Boat war

Post by RichTO90 » 22 Feb 2011 19:56

Clio13 wrote:The fact remains that Blum rightly pointed out that Britain was acutely vulnerable to commercial attrition and that there would inevitably come a tipping point. And yes, it was a report and it is incorrectly described as a 'memorandum' (either that or it is likely a problem of translation. The fact that Blum's superiors rejected it, reflects badly against them rather than Blum) Blum knew that a war of attrition would in turn directly impact upon the British civilian front. In 1917 Britain came very close to losing the war because there was significant unrest at home caused basically by food shortages as a direct result of the Handelskrieg.
Fair that, but then I only stated that I had ever heard of it called a memoranda or a study, not a report. Of course, we know now that his superiors rejecting it reflects badly upon them, because we now know that was likely it's best chance of success. However, given that there was zero experience in submarine warfare, but much speculation, in May 1914, the fact they made such a decision does not reflect badly upon them at all then.
Donitz and Godt sought to emulate these conditions in WW2 with a view to creating a set of circumstances in which the British people would lose their enthusiasm for prosecuting the war against Germany and replace pro-war politicians with the anti-war branch of the Conservative party (Chamberlain, Londonderry, Rothermere et al).
Yep, and aeriel bombing, gas, and so forth was also supposed to create a "set of circumstances". It didn't. Neither did the more complete submarine strangulation of Japan, although it seems likely in 1946 there would have been widespread famine there. Nor di bombing have that effect against England, Germany, or Vietnam.
Please be aware that there was a significant anti-war bloc in British politics. By 1941 this tipping point was close at hand. Sufficient to observe that Churchill was consistently being booed when he visited British cities beyond London in 1941 - though this was never reported by the press, I assure you it is a material fact.
oh, I'm aware of it...the rapidity with which Churchill was ushered out of office is a bit of evidence too of the complexity of feelings regarding him. Much the same was felt by many in the US WRT to Roosevelt...as I was repeatedly told by my stanchly Republican grandfather. :lol:

But booing does not a tipping point make. In this case, shipping loses do and "by 1941" just under 3-million GRT had been lost to the U-Boot (and total losses of about 4.75-million), against construction of about 1-million tons. On the other hand a considerable amount of other shipping had fallen into British hands and the American merchant marine was essentially unscathed.
The point I make is quite simple and straightforward. Had they been available by the end of 1941 I have not the slightest doubt that the Electroboote would have won the war for Germany. Take it or leave it but it is my considered opinion. Just imagine the consequences had the transatlantic (and PQ convoys) been erased. The British would have rapidly found some form of accommodation with Hitler. 'Tommy Atkins' does not fight well when 'Mary Anne in the kitchen' is starving.
Um, given the time to get the actual Elektroboote from development to operational (concept January 1943, preliminary design June 1943, first complete June 1944, first operational ~ March 1945) the problem remains how does that happen prewar? Which is a question that ignores a multitude of experiential, capability, and funding issues.

Even getting the required 222 postulated by Blum is problematic. Starting from 1935 it took German until June-July 1942 to reach that point. And from February to June 1943 they acheived that level operationally available and acheived nothing.
I couldn't agree more with you and I suspect we are really advancing the same argument.
Possibly, but I just don't see how you make the waht if postulate work either except by waving a magic wand. :D
I agree with you that too much capacity was utterly wasted in building surface ship gun fodder in the critical years.

It is so refreshing to find a forum where people actually know what they are talking about. Thanks.
You might be surprised at the depth of knowledge here. I've been interested in the subject for about 45 years and seriously studied it for about 25...and it is more a matter of interest than in depth knowledge for me. :D

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

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