Did the British ever consider bombarding U-Boat pens with naval gun fire?

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Damper
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Did the British ever consider bombarding U-Boat pens with naval gun fire?

Post by Damper » 06 Oct 2019 16:24

Obviously early in the war moving capital ships within a few miles of the coast would have ended badly. However I'm curious as to whether the British in particular ever considered using battles ships to bombard U-Boat pens.

I'm asking the question without knowing the potential effect of 15 inch Naval shell on a typical U-Boat pen.

csasch
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Re: Did the British ever consider bombarding U-Boat pens with naval gun fire?

Post by csasch » 13 Oct 2019 12:53

First to answer your question I will state I have no real knowledge if it was ever considered. But I can say this. The risk far outweighed any possible gain. The U Boat pens were literally constructed of feet of concrete and rebar. There would have been little to no affect to them had they done so. Which is why they used "Tall Boy's" to do this. These were 12,000 bombs. And they were the only thing to have penetrated a U Boat pen to my knowledge. Second even though by the time this would have happened I promise the Luftwaffe would have sent aircraft up to defend them. Last but not least, the subs themselves would have been of great concern. If anyone else has something to add please do so. But as Iv'e stated I don't think this would have been a logical plan. Thank you. :)

OpanaPointer
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Re: Did the British ever consider bombarding U-Boat pens with naval gun fire?

Post by OpanaPointer » 13 Oct 2019 13:20

IIRC the armor piercing shells were set to explode after (theoretically) penetrating one or two layers of armor. As csach noted, the roof of the average submarine pen. According to references in wiki 2000 lb bombs didn't penetrate the roof at Bordeaux (11 Aug 44).


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Sheldrake
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Re: Did the British ever consider bombarding U-Boat pens with naval gun fire?

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Oct 2019 14:10

Interesting question. The time to have destroyed the pens was while they were under construction.

Its about 250 nautical miles from Plymouth to Lorient. A fleet at 20 knots is going to take 12 hours to get there - a round trip of 24 hours. That might be a bit risking in 1941 with a good chance of bumping into the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

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