No Bismarck or Tirpitz

German Kriegsmarine 1935-1945.

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No Bismarck or Tirpitz

Postby Sam H. » Sat Aug 30, 2003 7:03 pm

Would Germany had been better served by not building these two mamoth ships and concentrating its time and resources into building and designing more powerful U-Boats?

How many U-Boats could be built for a comparable amount of costs of one of the Bismarck battleships?

Could the extra U-Boats have turned the tide of the Battle of the Atlantic before the US entered the war?
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German capital ships`

Postby Pat D » Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:05 pm

Based on what I have read, yes I believe that Germany would have been better off by skipping the battleships and concentrating on u-boats. Not just more u-boats though but more advanced ones that could run faster underwater etc. etc. Most historians agree that the early successes of the u-boats in 1940 and 41 substantially interrupted the flow of supplies to Brittain and to some extent, russia. The two things that changed this were the USA's increasing output of new cargo ships (building them faster than the German's could sink them) and the allies technological revolution in u-boat detection. With more advanced subs available in 1942, the high sink-rate might have continued or even incresed in 1942 and 1943 and quite possibly could have made the allied invasion of France impossible in 1944.
As for Germany's fleet of battleships, the German fleet never even came close to equalling the Royal navy in numbers meaning that any time one German battleship made a run, they were pounced on by 3 or 4 royal navy ships and Hitler did realize this so he mostly kept the remaining big ships in harbor later in the war. Thats also probably the reason they never launched any aircraft carriers.
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Z Plan.

Postby behblc » Sun Aug 31, 2003 5:33 pm

The battleship building plans of Raedar / Hitler were rendered still born when WW2 started.
Hitler being Hitler would have still have built them even if all around him pressed fro U-Boats.....national pride and his own ego.

More U-Boats would have been better , surface fleet served only to pin down Allied Forces but provided little by way of returns.
Risks of loosing a capital ship almost tied Fleet Commanders and Captains hands and spiked their guns.
Cerberus marked the end of surface fleet options.
" Life , to be sure is nothing much to loose ; But young men think it is , and we were young . "
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Pro patria mori. " Wilfred Owen (M.C.).
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Re: No Bismarck or Tirpitz

Postby Tiornu » Mon Sep 01, 2003 6:56 pm

I'll preface my remarks by pointing out that it's only with hindsight that we can definitively point out how superfluous the Bismarcks were. They were powerful enough to dominate any fleet action against a Baltic foe, and even against a French fleet, they could have a reasonable chance of success.
In a strategic sense, I don't think any German battleship could achieve anything against the British that a humbler cruiser-killer could not also have managed. With that in mind, a ship like the original Ship D might have been worthwhile. She was laid down as an enlarged pocket battleship before someone decided a more legitimate battleship was preferable. She was then relaid and completed as the Scharnhorst.
Clay Blair has argued from hindsight that the U-boats never posed a threat to Britain, regardless of how the situation seemed at the time. Chances are that he overstates his case, but I do tend to think the sheer number of U-boat successes created a false impression, overshadowing the issues of new construction etc. My personal opinion is that Germany could not have succeeded in its submarine campaign even with a larger undersea fleet. Keep in mind that a greater German concentration on submarines would prompt a greater concentration on ASW by the RN.
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U-Boat threat.

Postby behblc » Mon Sep 01, 2003 7:58 pm

The no threat is I agree a product of hindsight , if more ocean going U-boats had been ready for service in 1940-41 with experienced crews the Atlantic convoy system would have been in great difficulty if not destroyed.
Had Germany more U-boats than the british had anti-submarine resources and that status quo were to have existed for several months a slim hope of total disruption might have been on the table.
The natural limitations of Submarine design left Germany out on a limb as the war progressed , scientific progress only compounded this further.
Hindsight again..........only chance of a submarine victory would have been more subs with experienced crews at sea in 1940 -early 41 in numbers which would have made a significant difference , in the face of a weak Royal Navy escort and RAF Coastal capability.
All in the what if realm.
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Postby Sam H. » Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:12 pm

Don't forget that the U-Boats sufferred from a sever disadvantage early int he war in that the torpedoes were deficiant and often failed to detonate on impact. At least one British capital ship benefited from this deficency (I believe the Nelson was hit by a couple of torpedoes early in the war - all of which just thuded against the hull) ... one could conclude that a greater emphasis on submarine war fare would have spotted and corrected this deficiency earlier. Not to mention the fact that the Navy fought the war with very inefficient help from the Luftwaffe. Another possiblity of added emphasis on the U-Boat campaign may be added cooperation with the Luftwaffe.

If you double the number of U-Boats early in the war, could you double the tonnage sunk (keeping in mind that added attention to U-boat warfare should also increase the availability of new U-Boats)?

If so, by early 1942 the West is in a severe crisis. Torch probaly is not possible until the U-Boat problem is solved. Roundup is definetly out, everything concerning the western war effort may be pushed back by six months to a year. The added threat fromt the U-Boats would require more resources from the allies beind diverted from other areas. Lend Lease to Russia would certainly suffer. The Murmansk run may be out of the question until late in 1943.

Can this extra time allow the newer u-boats time to enter service?

There are many variables to this scenario.
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New U-Boats.

Postby behblc » Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:57 pm

Several capital ships had lucky escapes I think Warspite, Ark Royal spring to mind as could have beens.
If the U-boats had have been present in numbers and sinkings were occurring its quite likely that development of new designs would have been given a lower priority....sinking ship s no problem no need for newer boats.
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Re: U-Boat threat.

Postby Tiornu » Mon Sep 01, 2003 9:48 pm

"The no threat is I agree a product of hindsight , if more ocean going U-boats had been ready for service in 1940-41 with experienced crews the Atlantic convoy system would have been in great difficulty if not destroyed." Doesn't this line of reasoning depend on the British sitting around and doing nothing while watching the German threat growing?
[Hmm, why those Germans over there are rebuilding their submarine fleet, the weapon they used to try to starve us in the last war. What should we do? Let's watch and see what happens.]
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See your point.

Postby behblc » Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:34 am

Tiornu...see your point I don't think that the RN would allow things to get too far advanced , any chance of Germany having any advantage would depend on having a lead to begin with and in naval terms they were always playing catch up with the UK.
Even as it was in 39 anti-submarine work was well neglected even to deal with the small number of submarines which Germany had.
I would agree that had Germany been producing a markedly higher number of subs. the UK would have been looking at greater number of anti- submarine vessels.
40-41 with a higher number of U-Boats might have made a difference...but I agree that the UK would have ...unless they did nothing or policy took them in a different direction responded accordingly.
In reality Germanys ability to build up so quickly in terms of ships or crews was lacking...it was beyond them.
Germanys industrial pie as only so large....Donitz got it difficult enough to get what he wanted as it was.
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" The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori. " Wilfred Owen (M.C.).
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Postby KampfgruppeMeyer » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:36 pm

to me, these ships would have been more of a benefit if hitler delayed the war until he could build an adequate navy. the problem with the question is that who is to say that the fuhrer would have used the saved resourcese to build more subs?

in all likelyhood, he would have used he money for other projects like the V-2 and Jet aircraft development
Meine Ehre Heisst Treue...
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Postby behblc » Tue Sep 02, 2003 6:17 pm

When /if it ever got into its swing its hard to see where the resources would come from and as Tiornu has pointed out earlier it would be highly unlikely that GB. would not have rearmed to match what was coming out of German shipyards.
" Life , to be sure is nothing much to loose ; But young men think it is , and we were young . "
A.E. Housman.

" The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori. " Wilfred Owen (M.C.).
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Postby Sam H. » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:26 pm

How did the British react to the building of the Bismark and Tirpitz? What ships were specifically built or planned to counter the threat, real or imagined, from the prospects of German capital ships?
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response

Postby Tiornu » Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:44 am

I don't know how to tie the British BB program specifically to the German threat, but one thing is certain--British designs would have benefited if more attention had been given to it. The official policy was to seek security, not by deploying the most powerful battleships possible, but by demonstrating restraint. This was a truly hopeless effort. It left the British with 14in guns aboard KGV and with a limited tonnage for Lion.
There are a couple things I can point out. The 14in gun resulted from a desire to hurry the new ships into production, when a 14in/16in option like North Carolina's would have been possible had more time been allowed. Also, the outbreak of war prompted an attempt to streamline the KGV construction schedule. Battleships have a long lead-in time--initial work on KGV started in 1933, before the Germans were allowed any BBs at all--but if specific causes are hard to point out, we can at least see that the KGVs were the most numerous of the modern battleship classes.
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Postby Sam H. » Wed Sep 03, 2003 6:39 am

What I was looking for was based on the idea that if the premise is that the British would respond to an increase Germany U-Boat program - the Germans divert the resources used to construct the Bismarck and Tirpitz to producing U-Boats and developing better technology for them - what would the corresponding British reaction be?

Would the KGV BB be cancelled in favor of a program to produce destroyers and ASW aircraft?

How effective would the British reaction be in negating the hypothetical German advantage? Does Germany gain in the short term but lose out in the long term?

I would suspect that it would require a higher investment in time and resources by the British to negate a similar investment by the Germans.
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Postby Groscurth » Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:03 am

For all your answers on u-boat questions: Uboat.net
Since 5 years specialised in this.

The Kriegsmarine needed also big battleships as was it only to hold the Navy back from their own merchand shipping lines and as a thread to Navy and merchanships.
Because off there simply existence you to deal with here...

The only u boats thatcould change something where the so called electro boats, type XXI and the larger XXIII (still one in Bremerhaven as a museum "Wilhelm Baur") wich could stay under like a moderen submarine and not anymore a simple submershable like the other types.
But those boats came to late.
At the last day pff the war, a XXI type could sunk the last 2 Navy ships in the war. An other electro-boat had the possibility to sink a cruiser those last days but just looked at him without firing.

All those storys are mentioned at Uboat.net , thoasands off pages with info, stories, photo's and diagrams off types and their capacities.

Regards,

Groscurth
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