Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

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PunctuationHorror
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by PunctuationHorror » 10 Dec 2022 01:28

Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 09:53
Carrier or not, the fundamental German problems were to be the same. If they couldn't refuel, their range was simply not enough, and they had to return to bases on shipping lanes controlled by the Royal Navy and moor in ports which were attacked by the Royal Navy.
This. Exactly this.

----

Let's assume that it is spring 1941 and all four German battleships (SH, GN, BM, TP) and one carrier (GZ which is in this waht if at least on par with its counterparts of the Royal Navy) have formed a battlegroup and are already in the North Atlantic looking for convoys.

The Royal Navy has four options:

A. Seek and defeat the German battlegroup in the Atlantic. This would require to establish their own battlegroup(s) that can outfight the German ships, combined with many screens and aircraft. One battlegroup would contain at least two carriers and six battleships to ensure superiority.

B. Defeat the German battlegroup on its way home to port. Either they go for Brest or they return to the North Sea. Pick one. RAF support is possible in both cases, Brest is more convenient.

C. Wait until the German battlegroup has returned to port and damage/sink it there. If they would be foolish enough to go to Brest (or any other port on côte atlantique), the RAF would be glad to make the port #1 priority and the RN would send carriers to strike. The mooring German battlegroup would be a sitting duck for aircraft, even more so after the ships got damaged in a previous attack.

D. Once in Brest, they could prevent the German battlegroup from leaving the port. Mined exits, Royal Navy waiting in the Bay of Biscay or close to it, and RAF on alert.

Why would the Royal Navy pick option A. or B. and risk her ships in open battle if they could wait until the German battlegroup returns to port and bomb it there? The German ships would savage one or two convoys - let's say they sink 50 merchants - before they would have to return home. Supply ships and refueling en route would not change that.

How would the Germans counter option C? Would they build giant bunkers for their battleships and their carrier? Those bunkers would be huge and would dwarf the already sizeable sub pens. However, those bunkers would prolong the lifetime of the German ships until they get damaged and sunk one after the other in the Atlantic or until the US joins in with strength. So, maybe battleship raids until 1943? Maybe two raids a year? If they are lucky.

Still not worth the effort. Uboats would still be much cheaper. The whole German battleship and carrier surface raider armament is waste of ressources.

Why not occupy and establish Iceland as a sort of unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine base in 1940? Send oilers and transports with troops, flak, aircraft, building equipment, ammunition and supplies. Build airfields.
Later in war, oil, avgas and supplies could be brought in continuously by milk cow submarines. Aircraft would prevent the presence of the Royal Navy, long range air attacks from the British islands would not be likely before 1943, submarines could refuel there and German aircraft could screen the seas or hunt down Allied aircraft. Maybe Bismarck could have saved herself to Island?

Peter89
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 10 Dec 2022 09:07

PunctuationHorror wrote:
10 Dec 2022 01:28
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 09:53
Carrier or not, the fundamental German problems were to be the same. If they couldn't refuel, their range was simply not enough, and they had to return to bases on shipping lanes controlled by the Royal Navy and moor in ports which were attacked by the Royal Navy.
This. Exactly this.

----

Let's assume that it is spring 1941 and all four German battleships (SH, GN, BM, TP) and one carrier (GZ which is in this waht if at least on par with its counterparts of the Royal Navy) have formed a battlegroup and are already in the North Atlantic looking for convoys.

The Royal Navy has four options:

A. Seek and defeat the German battlegroup in the Atlantic. This would require to establish their own battlegroup(s) that can outfight the German ships, combined with many screens and aircraft. One battlegroup would contain at least two carriers and six battleships to ensure superiority.

B. Defeat the German battlegroup on its way home to port. Either they go for Brest or they return to the North Sea. Pick one. RAF support is possible in both cases, Brest is more convenient.

C. Wait until the German battlegroup has returned to port and damage/sink it there. If they would be foolish enough to go to Brest (or any other port on côte atlantique), the RAF would be glad to make the port #1 priority and the RN would send carriers to strike. The mooring German battlegroup would be a sitting duck for aircraft, even more so after the ships got damaged in a previous attack.

D. Once in Brest, they could prevent the German battlegroup from leaving the port. Mined exits, Royal Navy waiting in the Bay of Biscay or close to it, and RAF on alert.

Why would the Royal Navy pick option A. or B. and risk her ships in open battle if they could wait until the German battlegroup returns to port and bomb it there? The German ships would savage one or two convoys - let's say they sink 50 merchants - before they would have to return home. Supply ships and refueling en route would not change that.

How would the Germans counter option C? Would they build giant bunkers for their battleships and their carrier? Those bunkers would be huge and would dwarf the already sizeable sub pens. However, those bunkers would prolong the lifetime of the German ships until they get damaged and sunk one after the other in the Atlantic or until the US joins in with strength. So, maybe battleship raids until 1943? Maybe two raids a year? If they are lucky.

Still not worth the effort. Uboats would still be much cheaper. The whole German battleship and carrier surface raider armament is waste of ressources.

Why not occupy and establish Iceland as a sort of unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine base in 1940? Send oilers and transports with troops, flak, aircraft, building equipment, ammunition and supplies. Build airfields.
Later in war, oil, avgas and supplies could be brought in continuously by milk cow submarines. Aircraft would prevent the presence of the Royal Navy, long range air attacks from the British islands would not be likely before 1943, submarines could refuel there and German aircraft could screen the seas or hunt down Allied aircraft. Maybe Bismarck could have saved herself to Island?
It was impossible to blockade ports with surface ships because of mines and torpedoes. It was already so in WW1.

The RN could also not go closer to the German airfields thus it had to keep some hundred kms of distance.

Also aircrafts on Iceland were useless in much of the year because of the weather and the dark: if the Germans take it, they'll lose it. Also it was impossible to get there with merchant ships: they were too slow and the RN would intercept them.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 10 Dec 2022 21:35

PunctuationHorror wrote:
10 Dec 2022 01:28
A. Seek and defeat the German battlegroup in the Atlantic. This would require to establish their own battlegroup(s) that can outfight the German ships, combined with many screens and aircraft. One battlegroup would contain at least two carriers and six battleships to ensure superiority.
Britain did not have too many carriers to spare for long, and there weren't six battleships in the entire RN in 1941 that were fast enough to engage German raiders.
B. Defeat the German battlegroup on its way home to port. Either they go for Brest or they return to the North Sea. Pick one. RAF support is possible in both cases, Brest is more convenient.
No German raider was successfully intercepted returning to Germany, so this seems a poor option.
C. Wait until the German battlegroup has returned to port and damage/sink it there. If they would be foolish enough to go to Brest (or any other port on côte atlantique), the RAF would be glad to make the port #1 priority and the RN would send carriers to strike. The mooring German battlegroup would be a sitting duck for aircraft, even more so after the ships got damaged in a previous attack.
This worked in France historically, so seems a good bet.

Why would the Royal Navy pick option A. or B. and risk her ships in open battle if they could wait until the German battlegroup returns to port and bomb it there? The German ships would savage one or two convoys - let's say they sink 50 merchants - before they would have to return home. Supply ships and refueling en route would not change that.
Because there was no assurance that air attacks would knock out ships in port.
How would the Germans counter option C?
Under the historical conditions, there appears not to be an effective counter to constant bombing. OTOH, if the RAF is throwing thousands of sorties at German warships in France, that in and of itself is useful to Germany, because those bombers are not bombing Germany.
Still not worth the effort. Uboats would still be much cheaper. The whole German battleship and carrier surface raider armament is waste of ressources.
Perhaps, but it was already built, so it may as well be used for something rather than sitting around looking pretty.
Why not occupy and establish Iceland as a sort of unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine base in 1940? Send oilers and transports with troops, flak, aircraft, building equipment, ammunition and supplies. Build airfields.
I agree with what Peter said on that one.
Later in war, oil, avgas and supplies could be brought in continuously by milk cow submarines. Aircraft would prevent the presence of the Royal Navy, long range air attacks from the British islands would not be likely before 1943, submarines could refuel there and German aircraft could screen the seas or hunt down Allied aircraft. Maybe Bismarck could have saved herself to Island?
I'm pessimistic of German raiders chances in operating in the Atlantic too long after the US has entered the war.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 11 Dec 2022 09:30

Long story short, the Germans could do 2 things to improve their surface raiding performance compared to OTL:
1.) establish a network of neutral ports with fuel (coal & oil)
2.) build a few merchant ship classes identical to British merchant ships that could be quickly converted to Hilfskreuzers in case of war
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

glenn239
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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 11 Dec 2022 15:54

Peter89 wrote:
11 Dec 2022 09:30
Long story short, the Germans could do 2 things to improve their surface raiding performance compared to OTL:
1.) establish a network of neutral ports with fuel (coal & oil)
2.) build a few merchant ship classes identical to British merchant ships that could be quickly converted to escort carriers in case of war
3.) do not invade the USSR, and use the strategic freedom to bring Spain into the Axis (one way or another) and effect the union of the Axis fleets.
4. develop better coordination (combined arms doctrine) and equipment (communications, sensors, weapons) between air, surface, subsurface forces both in the German, Italian fleets both independently and working in mixed formations.
Your list with #2 altered and #3,4 added.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 11 Dec 2022 18:21

glenn239 wrote:
11 Dec 2022 15:54
Peter89 wrote:
11 Dec 2022 09:30
Long story short, the Germans could do 2 things to improve their surface raiding performance compared to OTL:
1.) establish a network of neutral ports with fuel (coal & oil)
2.) build a few merchant ship classes identical to British merchant ships that could be quickly converted to escort carriers in case of war
3.) do not invade the USSR, and use the strategic freedom to bring Spain into the Axis (one way or another) and effect the union of the Axis fleets.
4. develop better coordination (combined arms doctrine) and equipment (communications, sensors, weapons) between air, surface, subsurface forces both in the German, Italian fleets both independently and working in mixed formations.
Your list with #2 altered and #3,4 added.
Escort carriers - lacking speed, armor and whatnot - would be hunted down in no time. Their distinct features and low speed are not good predictors of their survival. Also the flight control, bombs, torpedoes, the crew training, etc. would require a disproportionate amount of resources. Sad but true, what the Germans really needed was a few good old guns and a pair of torpedo tubes :milsmile:

I strongly agree with the #3 but it was extremely unlikely because of Hitler.

Although it sounds good, #4 is not realistic.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Stoat Coat » 12 Dec 2022 03:19

Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 22:08
glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 21:09
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 19:35
I would say the same about all the anti-shipping units. Yet, what happened in reality was that the Germans were all too keen to send half-trained boys to their doom.
The Bismarck was the only German heavy surface raider in WW2 to go down outside the home area with heavy casualties. And even with it, the casualties would have been far lighter if the British had stuck around to rescue more survivors.
Yes, but the casualties would have been far lighter if Lütjens gave the order to abandon ship and scuttled it like Langsdorff did. There was no real chance to cause damage to the British.
I’m sorry, but given that Bismarck straddled Rodney repeatedly during its final battle, a shell exploding so close it sealed off some torpedo launchers and sent splinters thru the ship, that’s a ridiculous statement.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Peter89 » 12 Dec 2022 12:18

Stoat Coat wrote:
12 Dec 2022 03:19
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 22:08
glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 21:09
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 19:35
I would say the same about all the anti-shipping units. Yet, what happened in reality was that the Germans were all too keen to send half-trained boys to their doom.
The Bismarck was the only German heavy surface raider in WW2 to go down outside the home area with heavy casualties. And even with it, the casualties would have been far lighter if the British had stuck around to rescue more survivors.
Yes, but the casualties would have been far lighter if Lütjens gave the order to abandon ship and scuttled it like Langsdorff did. There was no real chance to cause damage to the British.
I’m sorry, but given that Bismarck straddled Rodney repeatedly during its final battle, a shell exploding so close it sealed off some torpedo launchers and sent splinters thru the ship, that’s a ridiculous statement.
That's why I wrote no real chance. The chance for practically anything in a battle is above 0. When you have guns shooting at an enemy, you can get lucky despite the odds. Firing from a ship unable to steer, outrun or outgun the opponent, however, you do not have a real chance. Scoring a few hits on a sturdy battleship like the Rodney is meaningless as well. Saving 2000 sailors from certain death for no results isn't. So I can't really call it a heroic last stand.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Takao » 12 Dec 2022 13:48

Stoat Coat wrote:
12 Dec 2022 03:19
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 22:08
glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 21:09
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 19:35
I would say the same about all the anti-shipping units. Yet, what happened in reality was that the Germans were all too keen to send half-trained boys to their doom.
The Bismarck was the only German heavy surface raider in WW2 to go down outside the home area with heavy casualties. And even with it, the casualties would have been far lighter if the British had stuck around to rescue more survivors.
Yes, but the casualties would have been far lighter if Lütjens gave the order to abandon ship and scuttled it like Langsdorff did. There was no real chance to cause damage to the British.
I’m sorry, but given that Bismarck straddled Rodney repeatedly during its final battle, a shell exploding so close it sealed off some torpedo launchers and sent splinters thru the ship, that’s a ridiculous statement.
No, it is not....Unless you make several PoDs to change the outcome.

The Bismarck began the final battle firing ranging salves of nose-fused HE shells. These were over, straddle, and short. Barring a lucky hit on Rodney's fire control gear, they will accomplish very little hitting Rodney. Shortly thereafter, the Bismarck's main fire control station was knocked out. Resulting in the switch to the aft secondary fire control station. Also around this time the two forward main turrets were put out of action. Finally, after roughly 15 minutes from the start, the aft fire control station was knocked out, forcing the remaining two main turrets to shift into Local control.

Thus, the window of opportunity for Bismarck to inflict crippling damage on Rodney is very short, as the outcome was not in much doubt after the first 20 minutes or so.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by danebrog » 12 Dec 2022 15:35

The problem in all naval planning prior to 1939 was Germany's strategic position:
For a naval war in the open Atlantic - according to the planning at that time against France - one would first have to pass through the GIUK-gap. That alone, even without a British blockade. requires an enormous range, for which only the Deutschland-class was really suitable.
For this, six follow-on ships were planned as a complement. But with the appearance of the French "Dunkerque," the first two construction projects were scrapped after three months in 1934, and Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were started instead to counter the "Dunkerque.".....

For an Atlantic naval war with GB - which had only been considered hypothetically before 1939 - bases in Norway were considered essential. These were available a year later, but only one heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, four destroyers and two antique pre-dreadnaughts left operational at short notice.
(While the few submarines had quite considerable problems with unsuitable torpedoes).

So even the Biscayan ports, which were available from 1941, were of little use. When "Bismarck" was sunk during the first operation, the option of surface warfare was practically finished: It was realized that the remaining units were far to few, but new ones would only be available in years.
In addition, now extremely long coastlines had to be protected, for which there also was a lack of almost everything.

And so it came to pass that instead of awe-inspiring battleships and mighty aircraft carriers, the Kriegsmarine was eventually forced to use tiny submarines, converted passenger planes and auxiliary cruisers to get the job done....

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by glenn239 » 12 Dec 2022 18:16

danebrog wrote:
12 Dec 2022 15:35
So even the Biscayan ports, which were available from 1941, were of little use. When "Bismarck" was sunk during the first operation, the option of surface warfare was practically finished: It was realized that the remaining units were far to few, but new ones would only be available in years.
In addition, now extremely long coastlines had to be protected, for which there also was a lack of almost everything.
Second battleship operation, not the 1st, (Operation Berlin).
And so it came to pass that instead of awe-inspiring battleships and mighty aircraft carriers, the Kriegsmarine was eventually forced to use tiny submarines, converted passenger planes and auxiliary cruisers to get the job done....
Yes, diving into unwinnable wars across the vast steppes of Russia can do that to the resources base.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by danebrog » 12 Dec 2022 18:55

Yes, diving into unwinnable wars across the vast steppes of Russia can do that to the resources base.
A factor that the Reich Chancellery obviously did not have in its calculations. Who could have expected such a thing? ?
Well, "clever" is rightly a term that is rarely associated with Nazis.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Stoat Coat » 12 Dec 2022 21:02

Peter89 wrote:
12 Dec 2022 12:18
Stoat Coat wrote:
12 Dec 2022 03:19
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 22:08
glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 21:09
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 19:35
I would say the same about all the anti-shipping units. Yet, what happened in reality was that the Germans were all too keen to send half-trained boys to their doom.
The Bismarck was the only German heavy surface raider in WW2 to go down outside the home area with heavy casualties. And even with it, the casualties would have been far lighter if the British had stuck around to rescue more survivors.
Yes, but the casualties would have been far lighter if Lütjens gave the order to abandon ship and scuttled it like Langsdorff did. There was no real chance to cause damage to the British.
I’m sorry, but given that Bismarck straddled Rodney repeatedly during its final battle, a shell exploding so close it sealed off some torpedo launchers and sent splinters thru the ship, that’s a ridiculous statement.
That's why I wrote no real chance. The chance for practically anything in a battle is above 0. When you have guns shooting at an enemy, you can get lucky despite the odds. Firing from a ship unable to steer, outrun or outgun the opponent, however, you do not have a real chance. Scoring a few hits on a sturdy battleship like the Rodney is meaningless as well. Saving 2000 sailors from certain death for no results isn't. So I can't really call it a heroic last stand.
Except you said Bismarck wouldn’t have even had a real chance to damage her attackers, which is obviously false. Unlikely to sink one of her attackers? Sure.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Stoat Coat » 12 Dec 2022 21:04

Takao wrote:
12 Dec 2022 13:48
Stoat Coat wrote:
12 Dec 2022 03:19
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 22:08
glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 21:09
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2022 19:35
I would say the same about all the anti-shipping units. Yet, what happened in reality was that the Germans were all too keen to send half-trained boys to their doom.
The Bismarck was the only German heavy surface raider in WW2 to go down outside the home area with heavy casualties. And even with it, the casualties would have been far lighter if the British had stuck around to rescue more survivors.
Yes, but the casualties would have been far lighter if Lütjens gave the order to abandon ship and scuttled it like Langsdorff did. There was no real chance to cause damage to the British.
I’m sorry, but given that Bismarck straddled Rodney repeatedly during its final battle, a shell exploding so close it sealed off some torpedo launchers and sent splinters thru the ship, that’s a ridiculous statement.
No, it is not....Unless you make several PoDs to change the outcome.

The Bismarck began the final battle firing ranging salves of nose-fused HE shells. These were over, straddle, and short. Barring a lucky hit on Rodney's fire control gear, they will accomplish very little hitting Rodney. Shortly thereafter, the Bismarck's main fire control station was knocked out. Resulting in the switch to the aft secondary fire control station. Also around this time the two forward main turrets were put out of action. Finally, after roughly 15 minutes from the start, the aft fire control station was knocked out, forcing the remaining two main turrets to shift into Local control.

Thus, the window of opportunity for Bismarck to inflict crippling damage on Rodney is very short, as the outcome was not in much doubt after the first 20 minutes or so.
Again, he said inflicting “damage” period. I think you’re confused about the nose-fused HE shells. My understanding that the HE shells fired you are talking about weren’t fired at the Rodney, but at the Norfolk which sailing ahead of Rodney and KGV encountered Bismarck earlier that morning on accident. I’m 99% sure all the shells fired at Rodney were AP.

Certainly the last stand was a waste of life and Bismarck was doomed no matter what, but in pure military terms it was viable to try and inflict some wounds on the British the moment that the British decided to finish off Bismarck with gunfire rather than with more air strikes from Ark Royal. I suspect the scuttling of the Graf Spee influenced Lütjens decision.

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Re: Kriegsmarine surface ships are more aggressive in the Atlantic.

Post by Takao » 12 Dec 2022 22:01

Nose-fused HE generates a larger splash, making fall of shell easier to spot at range.

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