The Surface Raiders

German Kriegsmarine 1935-1945.
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The Surface Raiders

Post by Freiritter » Wed May 12, 2004 10:27 am

I've been doing some reading online and it inspires a question. Was the KM surface raiding really that effective? I remember that German surface ships didn't spend a lot of time on station and didn't really sink that much tonnage, when compared to Dönitz' wolfpacks. Especially in light of Allied air superiority over much of the Atlantic.

Although, it seems that the surface raiders, operating under friendly air cover and assistance from Norway, did better against the Murmansk convoys. At least, up to 1943, when Scharnhorst was sunk that December by HMS Duke of York. Also it seems to me that if Göring had cooperated with the KM in carrier development, the Graf Zeppelin might have helped with the commerce war by providing air cover and reconnaissance. But, the Graf Zeppelin would've in all likeliness had some teething problems to be overcome.

Was Raeder actually working to build the KM into a balanced fleet, or was he looking to build a beefy commerce raider fleet? What was Dönitz' view on the naval buildup? I think I remember reading that Dönitz wanted to build a 300 U-boat fleet for his North Atlantic operations. Did the KM lobby for their own organic air arm?

What was Raeder's and Dönitz's views as to naval air?


Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics.

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Post by Visje » Sun May 16, 2004 1:47 am

Hi Freiritter,

surface raiding is more than just sinking tonnage, even though that was an important part of it. I'll give you a few exapmples.

When Bismarck was on her cruise, many ships and convoys were kept in port or rerouted because of this threat. Shipping tonnage lying idle effectively means a smaller total transport capacity.

Also, another example are the German disguised raiders. They often operated in oceans far from their homeland Germany. Britain had to dispatch warships to these parts of the world to find and sink these ships. These warships can't be used anywhere else --> strategic diversion. Also, successes by the German disguised raiders influenced local morale. When the Atlantis sank the Kemmendine, the loss of this ship left quite an impression in Burma and India, because this ship was so well-known there.


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Post by awaygood » Sun May 23, 2004 5:50 am

The German capital ships were sufficiently dangerous that, even when in harbour, they tied-up a large number of Royal Navy warships just to make sure that they stayed there! These RN ships could have been usefully employed elsewhere but, instead, had to guard against the German ships coming out and causing chaos amongst the convoys, etc. An example was the Bismark, which tied-up a great many RN capital ships in (a) trying to stop her from leaving and, once she had left, (b) hunting her down before she could do any serious damage.

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Post by Black Baron » Fri Oct 15, 2004 2:33 am

The disguised Raiders also did some good intel work. The Kormoran stopped a US red cross ship en route to North Africa via Suez, & found it loaded with spare aircraft parts & other war material. I believe it was Kormoran. And Atlantis recovered British ciphers,(codes?) & plans & layout of military forces in SE asia which were turned over to Japanese. These ships also supplied torpedoes to U-boats operating in Indian ocean.

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Post by Ian Earl » Fri Oct 15, 2004 12:07 pm

They also laid mines
Somewhere far far away doing secret things to nasty people in hot climates. Sssshhhh dont tell the wife, she thinks I play a piano in a whore house!

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Re: The Surface Raiders

Post by tigre » Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:58 am

Hello to all :D; a complement.....................................

KORMORAN Schiff 41 - HSK 8.

March 16, 1941 Meeting with Admiral Scheer and U 124 under Kplt. Schulz.
Later delivery of 6 torpedoes, diesel oil refueling, fresh water and special submarine provisions completed on March 19, 1941.
Kormoran got 350 kg of different types of war material from U 124. Scheer receives DT (Dezimeter-Telegraphie) Gerät from the auxiliary cruiser for homeward journey.

Source: ... reuzer.pdf ... 0037.m2107 ... 0009.m1982

Cheers.Raúl M 8).
U 124 seen from Admiral Scheer, March 16, 1941.................................
image029.jpg (27.77 KiB) Viewed 170 times
Meeting of the «Kormoran» with the U 124.................................
image031.jpg (28.39 KiB) Viewed 170 times
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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