What were the Successes of German coastal defences?

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daveh
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What were the Successes of German coastal defences?

Post by daveh » 03 Apr 2004 14:59

Having read with great interest the many posts concerning the German defensive installations, I found myself wondering:

What successes did these defences achieve against naval vessels?

I am particularly interested in any sinkings or damage done to merchant vessels and larger naval vessels. However information on successes against landing vessels would also be interesting.

Thanks in avance.

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 03 Apr 2004 15:44

Without looking I would say the Dieppe raid would supply some instances.
I'm sure Erik will be able to point to various actions involving actions in Norwegian waters

Andy H

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Madsen
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Post by Madsen » 02 Jun 2004 21:53

If we can count mine fields in they at least sunk a norwegian sub up here were i live. KNM UREDD was lost in 43- and only found again in 83.
And the small norwegian naval unit nicknamed Shetlandsgjengen (The Shetlands Gang ) lost several small vessels, some could be to german defences.
And Royal Navy lost some ships i belive in Narvik but not sure if that was to defending german positions or to german destroyers.

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 02 Jun 2004 22:57

There was a discussion a while ago "started" by Galahad at:
viewtopic.php?t=1981&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=&start=75

Regards, Juha

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 08 Jun 2004 15:19

Not many batteries in Norway were engaged in duels with the enemy.
The most famous were the raid at Måløy, when a British force raided the city. The battery at Nordfjordeid scored some hits on the HMS Kenya, but their 13cm guns were too small to cause any serious damage on the cruiser. Seen from the other side, the German defence proved to be a total failure, and lead to huge changes in the commandlines along the coast.

In the north, a few batteries fired at convoys, but I have only heard about "possible hits", no sinkings. Some of these batteries were even involved in ground fighting during the Russian attack towards Kirkenes.
In the former Finnish territories, 4 batteries were in allmost daily duels with Russian batteries around Petsamo. The location of the MKB2/517 made the Russian airfield at Pumanki useless for months becouse of its range.

Another battle can be found here:
http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=4843

The only sinking I know of, is a Norwegian coastal steamer which forgot to identify itself before it entered a fjord.

None of the heavy batteries (Fernkampf batterien) in Norway were ever used in combat. Most likely, the Royal navy knew their positions, and stayed out of range. Norway btw, had the highest consentration of such batteries throughout the entire Atlantikwall.

Like Madsen mention, "Both the Shetlandsgjengen" aswell as British and Norwegian MTB`s were engagded with German coastal defence units.

Since there were no large scale allied landing attempts in Norway, only sporadic battles like these can be found. The Norwegian coastal artillery in April 1940 damaged or sunk a lot of German ships. The Germans built some 200 new batteries in addition to the 20 Norwegian ones, so a allied attack would probably look even worse than the 1940 numbers.

However, the value of most coastal artillery batteries are close to 0 during any large scale invasions. The real threat is the strongpoints defending the beaches. Some of these bunkers are allomst impossible to see, and if they even are surrounded by minefields and barbedwire fences, the attacker will soon get in serious trouble. Most of them can not be destroyed by any handweapons. Most allied soldiers which fell during the D-day were killed during attacks on strongpoints and Wn`s, not by coastal artillery.

EE

dragos03
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Post by dragos03 » 08 Jun 2004 20:11

Another possible succes is the sinking of Soviet destroyer Moskva, off the Romanian port of Constanta. A direct hit by German coastal battery "Tirpitz" (280mm) is one of the possible causes (although, the best assumption is that Moskva hit a mine from the Romanian minefield).

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Madsen
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Post by Madsen » 08 Jun 2004 20:32

I think the coastal defence had one great advantage. You cant ignore them. there was no way for the Royal Navy to sail into Narvik and just ignore the german coastal defence there. and that would set up 2 options.
1: destroy all german defence in that area. would take time and probebly cost some lifes and surely give the germans a hint of whats coming.
2: avoid that area. and then the defence would in som sort forfilled its object.
Think of Oscarsborg where Blücher ended. without that fortress the norwegian gov and the royal family could have been captured.

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 08 Jun 2004 23:18

The coastal defence of Norway differs a lot compared to other western european countries. Landingcrafts could only be used at a few places throughout the whole country. Large scale frontal attacks as seen in France could only happen 2-3 places in Norway, the rest is, as you know, cliffs and mountains.

An attacker would surely be in need of airfields and harbours, which the Germans knew perfectly well. Most larger harbours are located whitin fjords, and ofcourse batteries were built on both sides, as well as torpedobatteries. These factors made the coastal artillery more valuable in Norway compared to other occupied countries.
Narvik as you mention, were protected by 8 x 40,6 cm guns along with a load of smaller batteries and torpedo batteries. A naval attack at Narvik after 1943-44 would most likely end up in disaster. Same story goes for Trondheim, Bergen and Kristiansand which all were equipped with the largest available naval turrets of the Kriegsmarine.

EE

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Post by Tony Williams » 09 Jun 2004 04:53

As Madsen suggested, the key point of coast batteries is not how many ships they sank, but how successful they were in deterring the enemy from approaching. A battery may never fire a shot in anger, but if its presence has kept the enemy away from the place it is defending, then that counts as 100% success!

The strength of the German defences in the Pas-de-Calais area - including their coast batteries - was one factor in persuading the Allies to launch their D-day invasion on the more lightly defended Normandy coast.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum

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Madsen
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Post by Madsen » 09 Jun 2004 21:13

Down in France there was huge fortifications and several big coastal batterys but as you say Erik, the most damage was done by strongpoints defending the beach. from there they directed mortair/artillery fire down on the landing troops. the coastal artillery had a very wide area to cover and was therfor not that good there. it like a MG covering a small mountain pass (norwegian fjord) compared to a open field( beaches of normandy) the wider area the less effect you have on art support.

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Re: What were the Successes of German coastal defences?

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 13 Jun 2019 06:57

Well the German coastal defense at Normandy destroyed plenty of landing ships that were on Omaha Beach during D-day on June 6,1944.

Edward L. Hsiao

Sid Guttridge
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Re: What were the Successes of German coastal defences?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Jun 2019 10:22

Hi Edward,

Omaha is a mixed picture.

Certainly the US lost a lot of tanks to the sea and heavy casualties on landing, but what proportion were down to coastal defences?

It is also worth pointing out that it was the landing, not the coastal defences, at Omaha that succeeded.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Polar bear
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Re: What were the Successes of German coastal defences?

Post by Polar bear » 13 Jun 2019 20:06

hi,

by far the most Allied shipping losses incurred during "Overlord" were mine victims.

Coastal artillery achieved severe damage on HMS Glasgow, incapacitating the cruiser for 10 months (see http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono ... lasgow.htm) and on FFF Mistral (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_destroyer_Mistral)

greetings, the pb
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

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Sheldrake
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Re: What were the Successes of German coastal defences?

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Jun 2019 23:39

The Coastal Batteries at Westkapelle extracted a heavy toll on the naval support force at Walcheren Island Op Infatuate 1 Nov 1944.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: What were the Successes of German coastal defences?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Jun 2019 11:57

Hi Sheldrake,

....but like Omaha, at Walcheren it was the assault that succeeded, not the coastal defences.

Cheers,

Sid.

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