Plan Z

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Kriegsmarine except those dealing with the U-Boat forces.
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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 31 Jan 2008 12:10

Tim Smith wrote:The Z-plan was a stupid idea. I think one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, Hitler and Raeder wanted a big surface fleet was for prestige reasons! Germany had suffered the humiliation of scuttling their fine WWI battle fleet in Scapa Flow in 1919, now Hitler wanted to replace it to show the world that Germany was a Great Power again.

The Z-Plan would have been the most expensive propaganda exercise in world history!


Ironic really.

That's the main reason the Kaiser's High Seas Fleet was built too! Kaiser Wilhelm II was a huge admirer of the Royal Navy and wanted a huge fleet so he could feel more equal to his British cousin King George V.

The Kaiser's fondest dream was not a German Trafalgar, but the greatest Spithead Review in all history, with the German Navy having as many ships as the Royal Navy, and the Kaiser standing proudly on the bridge of his flagship with his chest covered in medals! A very childish dream really.

Hitler should have known better than to repeat the Kaiser's mistake.

Kurfürst
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Post by Kurfürst » 01 Feb 2008 20:05

I`d say the big fleet programmes had rather more to do with the fact that during the late 19th century, Germany become the World`s second largest industrial power after the USA, and a major player in trade. Any serious trade requires a trade fleet, and a trade fleet a navy to protect it.

Add to that the geopolitic ambitions of what both Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf Hitler had for Germany, ie. 'a place under the sun' and raising it to a global player, for which they`ll eventually need a competitive fleet. It makes a lot more sense than the typical dismissive, arrogant Anglo-Saxon attitude about that poor doo-doo 'Kaiser Billy' wanting to pose on a Big Ship`s bridge...

Dave Bender
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Any serious trade requires a trade fleet

Post by Dave Bender » 02 Feb 2008 18:48

In August 1914 the Kaiserliche Marine was not configured for trade protection. The only overseas German naval base was located at Tsingtao. And that base had only token land defenses consisting of a single reinforced marine battalion (III. Seebataillon). Hence the HSF was limited to operating from Wilhelmshaven. A combination of geography (i.e. Britain astride the Baltic approaches) and the low endurance of the German ships made it impossible to provide trade protection during WWI. Anyone who could read a map would have known this before the war started. The HSF was designed for coast defense. And like so many government programs, it just kept getting bigger without providing additional benefits.

The Z plan is proof that Admiral Raeder did not learn much from WWI. Otherwise he would have constructed long range submarines and maritime interdiction aircraft rather then large surface warships.

JohnWinston
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Z-Plan

Post by JohnWinston » 12 Feb 2008 22:37

Good afternoon: Here is my first draft of the shipbuilding capabilities of each shipyard. I started with Blohm and Voss, each other shipyard to follow. I am hoping that everyone will look it over for mistakes and comments. Then as each shipyard is posted and corrected I will post the final one. The goal is to see if the Z-Plan would have worked out with the shipyard capacities. I thank you all for your help.

Hamburg (Blohm and Voss)

Slip # Dimensions in Feet Ship Laid Down Launched Completed
Slip 2 470 x 65
Slip 3 470 x 65
Slip 4 470 x 65

Slip 6 600 x 75
Slip 7 690 x 90
Slip 8 770 x 85
Slip 9 900 x 120 Hipper July 06, 1935 February 06, 1937 April 29, 1939
Slip 10 250 x 130

Slip # Dimensions in Feet Ship Laid Down Launched Completed
Slip 2 470 x 65
Slip 3 470 x 65
Slip 4 470 x 65

Slip 6 600 x 75
Slip 7 690 x 90
Slip 8 770 x 85
Slip 9 900 x 120 Bismarck July 01, 1936 February 14, 1939 August 24, 1940
Slip 10 250 x 130

Slip # Dimensions in Feet Ship Laid Down Launched Completed
Slip 2 470 x 65
Slip 3 470 x 65
Slip 4 470 x 65

Slip 6 600 x 75
Slip 7 690 x 90
Slip 8 770 x 85 SS Vaterland October 29, 1938 August, 24, 1940 ?
Slip 9 900 x 120 BB "H" September 01, 1939 July 15, 1941 December 01, 1942
Slip 10 250 x 130

Dry Dock "Elbe 17" 1150 x 130 BB "M" October 01, 1940 October 01, 1942 April 01, 1944

Slip # Dimensions in Feet Ship Laid Down Launched Completed
Slip 2 470 x 65
Slip 3 470 x 65
Slip 4 470 x 65

Slip 6 600 x 75
Slip 7 690 x 90 PS-2 May 01, 1940 May 01, 1942 October 01, 1943
Slip 8 770 x 85 PS-5 May 01, 1942 May 01, 1944 October 01, 1945
Slip 9 900 x 120
Slip 10 250 x 130

Slip # Dimensions in Feet Ship Laid Down Launched Completed
Slip 2 470 x 65
Slip 3 470 x 65
Slip 4 470 x 65

Slip 6 600 x 75
Slip 7 690 x 90
Slip 8 770 x 85 PS-11 June 01, 1944 May 01, 1946 October 01, 1947
Slip 9 900 x 120
Slip 10 250 x 130

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LWD
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Post by LWD » 13 Feb 2008 14:04

Interesting. As a bases for comparison the Iowa class would fit in the largest slips but the Montanas wouldn't in either dimension.

Tiornu
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Re: Z-Plan

Post by Tiornu » 14 Feb 2008 01:52

But weren't there infrastructure upgrades to take place simultaneously with ship construction?

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Alaric
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Re: Any serious trade requires a trade fleet

Post by Alaric » 28 Mar 2008 23:57

Dave Bender wrote:In August 1914 the Kaiserliche Marine was not configured for trade protection. The only overseas German naval base was located at Tsingtao. And that base had only token land defenses consisting of a single reinforced marine battalion (III. Seebataillon). Hence the HSF was limited to operating from Wilhelmshaven. A combination of geography (i.e. Britain astride the Baltic approaches) and the low endurance of the German ships made it impossible to provide trade protection during WWI. Anyone who could read a map would have known this before the war started. The HSF was designed for coast defense. And like so many government programs, it just kept getting bigger without providing additional benefits.

The Z plan is proof that Admiral Raeder did not learn much from WWI. Otherwise he would have constructed long range submarines and maritime interdiction aircraft rather then large surface warships.


Dave, interesting that you mention how Germany should have constructed more submarines and maritime interdiction aircraft. I found at least one author who agrees with you (I'm just kidding about one, I think most historians say the same thing and I certainly agree). I have a copy of "What If? Strategic Alternatives of World War II" published by Emporer's Press (Chicago) 1997. On pages 233-234 author Robert W. Love Jr has a section titled "What if the Germans had adopted a naval building policy and strategy before and during World War II more consistent with their resources and political objectives?" I'll quote a little from it:

"What was also unsound was to deny the German Navy any control over the design, production, or operation of most land-based maritime patrol bombers. Equally mistaken was German failure to provide for a truly unified anti-shipping command with naval officers exercising control of anti-shipping aircraft and coastal defense operations."

He then goes on to state that the Z plan was even more self-defeating, and that the German Navy (high command) failed to appreciate the naval lessons from the first war. He states that the material that went to build the battleships and heavy cruisers would have built 200-300 more submarines, and Germany would have had far more than the 60 or less that she had in September 1939.

"The active presence of very large numbers of fast torpedo boats on the French coast in 1944, supporrted by night-fighters and maritime partrol bombers and backed up by a large fleet of minelayers, would not only have menaced the establishment of an allied lodgment on the Contentin Peninsula but also would have diverted Allied resources that were devoted to transatlantic and cross-channel shipping into costly escort and minesweeping duties. If the German Navy had adopted a prewar and wartime building policy that eschewed battleships and heavy cruisers and instead stressed U-boats, submarine tankers, E-boats, coastal minelayers, shore-to-shore landing ships, and maritime patrol bombers armed with the modern air-launched anti-ship bombs and torpedoes, Britain might truly have been endangered. Once France capitulated and Britain rejected Hitler's peace terms, the war at sea was clearly to be won or lost within the war zone in the English Channel, around the British Isles and along the coast of occupied Europe."

von Rundstedt
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Re:

Post by von Rundstedt » 29 Mar 2008 00:30

Tim Smith wrote:The Z-plan was a stupid idea. I think one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, Hitler and Raeder wanted a big surface fleet was for prestige reasons! Germany had suffered the humiliation of scuttling their fine WWI battle fleet in Scapa Flow in 1919, now Hitler wanted to replace it to show the world that Germany was a Great Power again.

The Z-Plan would have been the most expensive propaganda exercise in world history!


In theory Plan Z sounds like a good plan but i do agree with you in so far as that one thing that goes against the grain and that is Hitlers insistance of avoiding confrontations, Hitler had no appreciation on Naval warfare, for navies to dominate they had to confront each other, this Hitler would never allow, so it does not matter how big the German Navy is, it would never be deployed against the Royal Navy period.

But had they have done so i think the Germans might have given the Royal Navy a nasty shock.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Plan Z

Post by phylo_roadking » 29 Mar 2008 18:19

The problem with wondering how the KM would THEN have performed against the RN is simply - a monster shipbuilding programme is almost impossible to hide from ALL types of intellgence gathering. The British would simply have continued their full shipbuilding programme or expanded it...and felt safe doing so for they'd have known the Germans could ONLY spend the money required by skimping elsewhere :wink: Ship construction is simply TOO big a chunk of a defence budget to be funded without not spending somewhere else. So what if you spend on the RN instead of the RAF...equally Hitler would have been spending on Plan Z instead of something else...like the LW...

Swings and roundabouts.

A further complicating factor is - the Army's intended reliance on the LW's ground attack/bombing capacity as "aerial artillery", far more than other nations' armed forces at the time. It meant that the Heer's growth and the LW's went hand-in-hand, were mutually interdependent more than the armies and air forces of other nations. Hitler simply COULDN'T select to spend on a fleet and, say, not on the LW - for THAT would create a major weakness in the Heer's doctrine at the same time. And vice versa - you couldn't stop spending on the Heer without it impacting therefore on the plans for growing the LW.

Going for cheaper naval spending gave him the armed forces to dominate mainland Europe.

von Rundstedt
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Re: Plan Z

Post by von Rundstedt » 04 Apr 2008 07:11

An interseting design for the German Navy was the H.44 Schwerschalchtschiff

It would dwarf even the Yamato as it was projected to be

141,500 tonnes and carry 8 x 50.8cm guns

in modern terms she would be bigger that the US Nuclear Aircraft Carrier John C Stennis.

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Andy H
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Andy H » 04 Apr 2008 11:38

von Rundstedt wrote:An interseting design for the German Navy was the H.44 Schwerschalchtschiff

It would dwarf even the Yamato as it was projected to be

141,500 tonnes and carry 8 x 50.8cm guns

in modern terms she would be bigger that the US Nuclear Aircraft Carrier John C Stennis.


Size isn't everything

Regards

Andy H

varjag
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Re: Plan Z

Post by varjag » 04 Apr 2008 12:29

When Hitler attained power in 1933 - he found himself saddled already, with Admiral Raeder as CIC of he Navy. As he understood little of naval matters he took his advice about his (Raeder's!) ideas about a balanced navy....Raeder was a crusty old 'battleship-man' of the Kaisers vein. His only positive contribution to Hitler's war was his insistence that they had to occupy Norway - for which he served time in Spandau.....By the time he replaced Raeder with Dönitz - it was too late. The 'Z-Plan' would only have led to the same 'battleship-race' as before 1914. A race Germany was (again) bound to loose.
Varjag

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LWD
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Re: Plan Z

Post by LWD » 04 Apr 2008 14:52

von Rundstedt wrote:An interseting design for the German Navy was the H.44 Schwerschalchtschiff
It would dwarf even the Yamato as it was projected to be
141,500 tonnes and carry 8 x 50.8cm guns....

From what I've heard this was more of a paper study than a plan. Also there's some question as to whether or not if she had been built she could have exited the port she was built at or entered any other German port without extensive dredging.

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sallyg
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Re: Plan Z

Post by sallyg » 04 Apr 2008 15:53

Andy H wrote:
von Rundstedt wrote:An interseting design for the German Navy was the H.44 Schwerschalchtschiff

It would dwarf even the Yamato as it was projected to be

141,500 tonnes and carry 8 x 50.8cm guns

in modern terms she would be bigger that the US Nuclear Aircraft Carrier John C Stennis.


Size isn't everything

Regards

Andy H

http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ ... h/h44.html

The H44 design was the final result of the designs for a battleship which started with the H39. Again enlarged in size and armor protection, the armament and engines did not change compared with the previous design, the H43, reducing the maximum speed to 30 kn. It was never intended to build a ship like the H44, it was a design study to see how a battleship had to be designed to be protected against all known threats.


It ain't the size of the canoe, it's the motion in the ocean.

:P

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bf109 emil
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Re: Plan Z

Post by bf109 emil » 05 Apr 2008 01:09

Plan Z...History shows us, that whom ever controls the seas, controls trade, commerce, establishing colonies, etc. Majority of nations around the globe, are derived from an English,Dutch,Spanish, Portugese,French culture and heritage...yes numerous nations gained these from conquering armies, but more so from Naval excursions...after Nelson sunk majority of Napoleans fleet in the Nile...later majority of French/Spanish...helped secure the sea's for Britian to rule (more or less) for a hundred years...establishing ports, trade, commerce...the Commonwealth's strength, from the financial chaos, etc. from WW2 has resulted in Naval supremacy to pass to the USA, and with it...The Torch...how it will be carried, or the legacy created with it, is one, without Plan Z would never be, or become Germany"s. Raeder saw and knew this...but little could be done to convince a land-based warrior/fueher, as Hitler was...

bf109 Emil

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