German Battleships and convoy hunting.

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by carpenoctem1689, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. carpenoctem1689

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    It is my belief that if the germans had waited sending the bismarck and prince eugen out, and waited for tirpitz to be complete, they could have sent those three along with all other battle cruisers available (scharnhorst, Admiral scheer, lutzow, Gneasau and some others) and sent them out to break into the atlantic with escorting cruisers and destroyers and convoy hunt like mad. They could direct U-boats, work to fire on convoys from a distance with the battle ships and cruisers using scout sea-planes from the bigger ships, and use the destroyers and lighter cruisers to move in, in conjunction with U-boats to decimate a convoy. If escort ships showed, lead them to half the battleships, having the other half move fifty miles paralell, thereby leading the pursuers into a crossfire, with the bismarck and tirpitz split between the two groups, so as to rain big shells from a distance and move in the smaller vessels to launch torpedoe attacks and use theyre smaller guns ( 11inch on the battle cruisers and under, down to the 5inch on the destroyers).
    Now i know everyone says "what about carrier escorts" and thats a valid thing, because by then they were there, but my answer would be to have U-boat screens and air patorls, doing theyre best to avoid the carriers. The german surface fleet was pitifully equipped for anti-aircraft defense, as was displayed when swordfish from british carriers launched torpedoe attacks without loss. Beef up the AA with a few 20mm and 3.7mm flak, and you could have your answer to some better AA defense.

    My other thought would have been to persuade the italians in around 1941/42 to use theyre battleships and heavy cruisers for a break out, in conjucntion with the breakout of the german surface vessels (available battleships, battlecruisers and heavy cruisers, few light cruisers and destoroyers and the u-boats already out there) for one hell of atlantic convoy blocker. Granted the italian navy was not the best, but they had some damn good battleships, with good guns, speed and torpedoe protection, and could have been very valuable in convoy hunting, and in conjucntion with german vessels, been able to defend itself against anything the royal navy would throw at it.

    I would have loved to see the results of either of these breakouts, and the ensuing slaughter of ships, just to see how well they could have been used. Please feel free to post what you think about my thoughts, or what you would do.
     
  2. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Kriegsmarine didn't have the numbers to perform such a task, nor did it have the technology. The U-Boats were the best option for the Kriegsmarine, their surface vessels were open to the Royal Navy and it's massive size.

    If the Kriegsmarine had gone out in full force, the Royal Navy would be looking to drag it into a descisive battle. With what you're saying, the Royal Navy would succeed in doing so and when it did the entire Kriegsmarine surface fleet would have gone to the bottom. The only reason the Royal Navy were struggling during World War II during some periods of the war was because the three Axis naval forces had stretched her out. The Kriegsmarine probably best so by using the U-Boats all over the place.

    Surface raiders are much easier to defend against and destroy than the U-Boats. And a U-Boat screen for the surface raiders would have left them open to any hunting DDs of a Royal Navy fleet that would be hunting them. This wouldn't be raider vs. escort, this would be Royal Navy battle fleets hunting the raiders.
     
  3. hartmann

    hartmann Member

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    The Regia Marina couldn´t have passed trough the Gibraltar Strait because they would have been facing the Mediterranean Fleet, so this point is not possible if Gibraltar doesn´t fall. In the other part, basically the stated by Plan_D is accurate (I disagree with the lack of technology, the Germans had ships betwen the best in world), but they would have some problems if faced all the Kriegsmarine with the Home fleet in 1941, because the number of two "Bismarcks" is equivallent to 5 old Bttleships, or 3 "KGV" (I exclude of this the "Rodney" couple, which had a lot of punch, but too slow, in this point I don´t know how they compare).
    Best regards
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Also if they had kept the Bismark in port waiting on the Tirpitz, they just would have been bombed and sunk there at there moors....
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I admit that I have always wondered why the Germans never took Gibralter. I am sure that with a bit of effort Hitler could have leant on Spain, after all they owed him more than one or two favours. Then the Germans automatically have control of the Med and the oilfields for next to no cost.
    Take it a stage further and you have the German fleet and the Italian fleet combining and suddenly the RN has a job on its hands.

    It wouldn't have been as easy as that but when you balance the possible benefits compared to the likely cost, I would have given it a go. Its a damn sight less risky than taking on Russia.
     
  6. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I should have been more specific, by refering to the lack of German naval techology I was solely refering to their lack of aircraft carriers and nothing else. The BB was no longer the Queen of the Sea but the Kriegsmarine hadn't yet seen that.

    Spain would have taken more than a bit of leaning. Franco had declared himself seperate in every way of the Axis. He did not want to be part of an alliance with such "unpredictable members" such as Mussolini. It was Italy's attempts on Greece that caused this sudden change of thought by Franco. Yet, Spain was still indebted to Germany and Italy for their aid in the Spanish Civil War - but that would not have been enough for Germany to persuade Spain. After all, the cost for the Germans crossing the border into Spain would have been very high. It would have opened another front on the continent and another enemy against his nation.
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Germany also did not have the timet o develop there Navy like the British did. True they did not see the value of the Aircraft Carrier until too late however the treaties after WW1 left them not much time to develop what they had and build what they needed.
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    personally and although the S-boot cost a bundle to produce the Waffen should of been built in three times the numbers and then let them go to attack ports of interest. Too few a number. The Battleship/convoy killers again built in too few a number and wasted away with the wrong tactics, also with Hitler in charge whom knew about Zilch of naval tactics and doctrine
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Remember that the building and operating of, a battleship consumes a lot of resources. Germany far better served by U-Boats and not capital ships.

    Also remember that up unto Pearl Harbor and the sinking of the Repulse/Prince of Wales, saying the aircraft carrier was the "queen of the sea's" was not a universally held thought. The "gun club" in all of the combatants were alive and well and still a powerfull influence.
     
  10. hartmann

    hartmann Member

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    Quote: Remember that the building and operating of, a battleship consumes a lot of resources. Germany far better served by U-Boats and not capital ships.

    Yes, completely true. It was far more useful to Germany to build submarines and light surface units as the S-booten and torpedobooten, which were used for the war against trade. And the bombings over the docks started from 1942 would have precluded the build of big ships if Germany would have started them in 1943 to 1945 (a lot of German light ships were destroyed while lying in the slips, or shortly after being launched).
    Best regards to all ;) .
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Im with Erich and syscom on this. S-Boots (or E-Boots whichever you wish to call them) in large eneogh numbers could have done a lot of damage. They would have been too fast for the larger ships to target them and they could get the BB's and CV's with there torpedos. Also the U-Boots should have been exploited in larger numbers earlier.
     
  12. hartmann

    hartmann Member

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    Yes I agree with Erich and Syscom completely, so I don´t see problem. The Germans would have make more making more units of them. In the U boot numbers, It was not a priority build more of them until Raeder fell in the rage of Hitler (1942 more or less I think) and Dönitz was more free to see Hitler and tell him his need of more Ubooten.
     
  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    There was never a problem.
     
  14. hartmann

    hartmann Member

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    Quote: There was never a problem.
    Really sorry abut this. :oops: .
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    No need to be sorry....
     
  16. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    You must remember that the Royal Navy wouldn't lie idle with these developments. While the best approach for Germany was more U-boats, and S-boats, the Royal Navy would be able to counter with an increase in DDs and MGBs. In my opinion, I think the Kriegsmarine had little chance of complete success over the Royal Navy.

    Remember that the vast majority of ships destroyed in World War II were actually merchant vessels rather than military ships. The Kriegsmarine suffered heavily at the hands of the Royal Navy - and it really isn't surprising given the scope and the size of the Royal Navy in the 30s and 40s. The Royal Navy actually surpassed the IJN in CV numbers during the 30s but they were all spread out across the oceans. Imagine the what would have happened had the Kriegsmarine faced the full force of the Royal Navy!
     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I think they should have developed these U-Boots and S-Boots before the war. Yes they were limited by a treaty however they did everything else secretly so why not.
     
  18. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Remember that Britain, Germany, U.S.A and Japan were all limited by the naval treaty on tonnage of their navy.
     
  19. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Yes and that is why they needed to build S-Boots and U-Boots before the war started in large numbers.
     
  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Sending out a convoy of a battleship and several escorts would require tens of thousands of fuel oil. Considering how short the Germans were of that commodity, I dont think they could have sent the fleet to sea for more than a few times before the Luftwaffe and Panzer forces would screech to a halt because of no fuel.
     
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