Largest Kriegsmarine squadron assembled in one task force?

German Kriegsmarine 1935-1945.

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Largest Kriegsmarine squadron assembled in one task force?

Postby sid guttridge » Mon Jun 16, 2003 6:29 am

What was the single largest Kriegsmarine task force assembled in WWII covering major surface vessels ranging in size from torpedo boats up to battleships?

During the Channel Dash/Operation Cerberus of 12 February 1942 the Germans assembled two battleships, a heavy cruiser, six destroyers and 14 torpedo boats.

The Norwegian expedition of April 1940 was bigger over all but, as it was broken up into at least 11 separate groups, no individual task force was anywhere near as large as that used in Cerberus.

Can anyone think of a bigger concentration of German surface warships than was assembled for the Channel Dash/Operation Cerberus?

Many thanks,

Sid.
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Postby Enrico Cernuschi » Mon Jun 16, 2003 9:08 am

21 Nov. 1939 h 14.00 - 22 Nov. 1939: Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Leipzig, Koln, Von Arnim, Giese and Galster

Since 22 Nov. evening the cruisers and the destroyers went to the Skagerrak while the battleships continued alone. Bye EC
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Postby sid guttridge » Tue Jun 17, 2003 5:30 am

Hi Enrico,

So that is two battleships, two light cruisers and three destroyers.

I would count that as weaker than two battleships, a heavy cruiser, six destroyers and 14 torpedo boats.

Any other takers?

Cheers,

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Postby OHARA » Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:15 pm

Sid, How about the fleet assembled in the Baltic to guard against a Soviet naval sortie? By September 1941 this included Tirpitz, Scheer, Koln, Nurnberg, Emden, Leipzig, Z25, Z26, Z27, T2, T5, T7 and T8.
This depends how you feel Tirpitz measures up against the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and assumes Scheer is superior to Prinz Eugen. That leaves 4 light cruisers, 3 large destroyers and 4 torpedo boats verses 4 destroyers, 2 large destroyers and 14 torpedo boats.
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task force

Postby Tiornu » Tue Jun 17, 2003 9:28 pm

"How about the fleet assembled in the Baltic to guard against a Soviet naval sortie? By September 1941 this included Tirpitz, Scheer, Koln, Nurnberg, Emden, Leipzig, Z25, Z26, Z27, T2, T5, T7 and T8."
Did this force ever sail together?
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Postby sid guttridge » Wed Jun 18, 2003 2:56 am

Hi Ohara and Tiornu,

A good thought, Ohara. A good question, Tiornu. I have done some checking.

According to "The Chronology of the War at Sea" the German Baltic Fleet did make a sortie over 23-29 September into the Aaland Sea in case the Red Fleet attempted a break-out from Leningrad, which was in danger of falling to German ground forces.

However, it apparently sailed in two groups:

Northern Group: 1 battleship (Tirpitz) , 1 pocket-battleship (Admiral Scheer), 2 light cruisers (Koln, Nurnberg), 3 destroyers (Z25, Z26, Z27) and five torpedo boats (T2, T5, T7, T8 and T11).

Southern Group: 2 light cruisers (Emden, Leipzig)

They sailed on 23 September, but Tirpitz, Scheer and two torpedo boats were recalled the next day.

Thus the maximum number in a single task force was one battleship, one pocket battleship, two light cruisers, three destroyers and five torpedo boats.

I would still say that this is weaker than two battleships, a heavy cruiser, six destroyers and 14 torpedo boats.

Any other suggestions?

Cheers,

Sid.
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Postby Enrico Cernuschi » Wed Jun 18, 2003 10:22 am

I think it's a matter of method.
If you are looking for the tons it's clear thaw a mass of DD and DE may be important.
If the criteria is the single ship's fighting value it's all an other situation.
Among a well balanced fleet two cruisers may be much more important than a flotilla of destroyers (the Sirte episode is an interesting one, of course, also if it's necessary not to forget that the time spent fighting the Italian ships was at the origin of the next day convoy disaster by Air Force - but with good weather Adm. Vian's fleet sailed from Alexandria had to retreat in front of the Italian one on 15 June 1942. The strengths were:
2 BB
4 C
13 DD (one German)

against

8 C
26 DD and DE
4 corv
2 Minesweepers (escort)

the true, strategic item of the British operation were, anyway, the freighers (11) and the three auxilary ships (not to mention 4 MTB which had to come back).

It's clear that in these naval circumstances the main stategic and tactical assets were the BB on one side and the merchant ships on the other. The double of cruisers and destroyers had no value. The fact that no freighter from East arrived at Malta was the real prize.

Bye EC
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Postby sid guttridge » Thu Jun 19, 2003 2:58 am

Hi Enrico,

I am not after anything sophisticated, just the largest number of warships above the size of torpedo boat brought together by the Germans in a single task force.

I am asking because I had a suspicion that the second largest German surface naval task force may not have been despatched during the war, but in March 1939 for the occupation of Memel.

Cheers,

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Postby Simon Orchard » Sun Jun 29, 2003 2:46 am

An honourable mention must be given to Operation 'sizilian' 6-9th Sept. '43. The attack on Spitsbergen. Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Z27,Z29,Z31,Z33,Steinbrinck,Galster,Riedel and Lody plus a battalion from IR 349.





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Postby sid guttridge » Mon Jun 30, 2003 3:42 am

Hi Simon,

Thanks. Your proposal is definitely superior in tonnage to the Memel expedition, but inferior in the number of vessels used.

Cheers,

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Re: Largest Kriegsmarine squadron assembled in one task force?

Postby nebelwerferXXX » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:32 pm

Invasion of Norway 1940: German naval groups
Group 1...Scharnhorst, Gneisenau & 10 destroyers
Group 2...Hipper & 4 destroyers
Group 3...Koln, Konigsberg & Bremse
Group 4...Karlruhe, Tsingtau
Group 5...Blucher, Lutzow
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