Paul Lakowski wrote:
Hitler was against rebuilding a large “Tirpitz Navy”, since it represented a large investment for a country that was primarily a continental power and this was seen as one of the mistakes of WW-I. Hitler only wanted a coastal defense fleet, however in the Hitler years before WW-II, the German navy laid down 21 large naval vessels [average 29,000 tons each] plus 99 smaller naval vessels [average 1,900 tons each;] and another 152 ‘coastal craft’, [not including U-boats] The total tonnage involved in this building would have required an average of 800,000 tons of construction to complete, but at most 500,000 tons had been invested up to the end of 1939, plus another 160,000 tons warship tonnage was invested through 1940-41.
A dozen of these large naval vessels were laid down in 1934/36 and should have been completed by the late 1930s. Another 5 were laid down in 1938/39 and could not have been completed before 1942. The rest were laid down in between these extremes and ought to be commissioned in 1939/1940-time period. Had all these large warships been Panzerschiff [Armored ship] type warships, while the bulk of the smaller warships built as destroyers, then the potential DID exist to build a sizable fleet, able to challenge the Royal Navy, under the right circumstances.
The end of 1939 only 8 Large ships were completed and ½ of those were fleet auxiliary oil tankers. By the end of 1941 another 4 were completed, of which ½ were Capital ships. That’s 12 out of 21, of which only 4 were battleships and no aircraft carriers were completed despite the fact two were laid down in the 1930s.
Using the displacement tonnage as a yardstick, ¾ of the large & small naval vessels should have been completed by the end of 1941 and yet by that date the only German warships completed were 4 battleships; 3 cruisers; 22 destroyers and 21 T-boats.
German naval planning included a mobilization plan with the following annual builds to be completed two years after the war begins. Every year after this point the following warships were to be completed.
24 destroyers [average 3,000 tons each]
48 T-boats [average 1,000-2,000 tons each]
135 M-boats [average 800 tons each]
105 U-boats [25 coastal, 55 Atlantic & 25 long range] [average 760 tons each]
On average this represents about 333,000 million tons warship construction per year. While many may believe this to be impossible based on historical patterns, in fact it was less tonnage than what was actually built.
The historical tonnage of naval/warship displacement built up to the end of 1939 was approximately…502,861 tons of warship displacement and 5,216 tons composite plus 18,192 tons built to general ship standards. The break down of historical shipbuilding was as follows:
75,231 tons = 22 destroyers & 12 T-boats
104,550 tons = 6 Auxiliary tankers [built to warship standards]
44,972 tons = 10 F-Boats, 55 M-Boats & 5 Tenders [26,780 tons to warship standards]
296,300 tons = 4 battleships, 5 heavy cruisers and 2 aircraft carriers [including 82,900 tons armored steel]
5,216 tons = 72 R-Boats & 70 S-Boats [Steel frame & wooden construction]
31,791 tons = 32 coastal, 20 Atlantic & 11 Large U-Boats [121,190 hp Diesel & 37,500 hp Generator]
The 1940-41 breakdown of historical shipbuilding was as follows:
51,672 STS = 8 destroyers & 17 T-Boats [1,200,000 hp Turbine]
32,800 STS & 34,810 tons = 36 M-Boats & 44 G-boats [182,145 hp VTE]
28,000 STS = 2 battleships, 1 heavy cruiser & 6 other incomplete ships [including 9,126 tons armored steel]
13,241 tons Composite = 50 R-Boats & 47 S-Boats [356,784 hp Diesel]
219,830 STS = 18 coastal, 169 Atlantic & 63 large U-boats [193,000 hp Generator & 828,768 hp Diesel]
53,890 tons Composite = 375/600 Landing Craft [93,400 hp Diesel & 36,325 hp Petrol]
17,000 STS & 24,975 tons = 12 Auxiliary tankers & 5 Tenders [44,180 hp Diesel]
Already in this transitional phase, the annual warship tonnage is already around 250,000 tons each year.
The 1942-43 breakdown of historical shipbuilding was as follows:
62,773 STS = 17 destroyers & 17 T-Boats [1,230,000 hp Turbine]
463,040 STS = 2 coastal, 396 Atlantic & 125 large U-boats [421,500 hp Generator & 1,826,360 hp Diesel]
84,259 tons, 4,200 tons NC & 48,003 tons Composite = 117 M-Boats + 45 G-boats [391,010 hp VTE]
60,572 tons Composite = 170 R/S-Boats & 286 KFK [681,203 hp Diesel]
226,000 tons Composite = 583/100 Landing Craft [350,840 hp Diesel & 159,000 hp Petrol]
17,000 STS & 24,975 tons = 1 Auxiliary tanker, 1 seaplane tender & 1 incomplete ship [44,180 hp Diesel]
35,700 STS = misc. battleships, heavy cruisers & carriers work [including 9,838 tons armored steel]
That’s nearly 500,000 tons warship construction in each year 1942 & 1943. However a good deal of this was composite construction for coastal craft. If only the steel construction is used the figure is still 346,000 tons each year.
The 1944 breakdown of historical shipbuilding was as follows:
71,676 STS = 27 destroyers & 28 T-Boats [1,200,000 hp Turbine]
352,359 STS = 2,079 mini, 68 coastal, 115 Atlantic & 143 large U-boats [773,545 hp Generator & 1,026,501 hp Diesel]
34,259 tons, 5,000 tons NC & 27,247 tons Composite = 47 M-Boats & 23 G-boats [170,805 hp VTE]
74,324 tons Composite = 147 R/S-Boats & 327 KFK [691,803 hp Diesel]
163,790 tons Composite = 736 Landing Craft [384,690 hp Diesel & 117,320 hp Petrol]
10,000 STS & 4,838 tons armored steel = misc. work
STS = STS naval warship steel tonnage
NC = No cemented naval steel tonnage
This is almost 500,000 tons steel construction plus 250,000 tons composite construction. The figures for 1944 include the spring of 1945, since not much shipbuilding happened in 1945 due to the collapsing German war economy. Notational figures for 1945 & 1946 with out allies over running Europe, should be roughly the same as the 1944 figures.
The Maximum displacement for 1934-1944 is over 1,800,000 tons.
All figures are “maximum displacement” from Gröner’s “German Warships 1815-1945” and the following sites
http://www.warshipsww2.eu/typy.php?lang ... =&stat=GER
Rossler "The U-Boat"