How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
lwd
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Mon May 16, 2011 3:51 pm

However if they do that they will either need a different naval limitation treaty with Great Britain or they will need to break the one they have. In either case one would expect the British to up the number of ASW ships and aircraft prior to the war as well. It's not clear that this is a net gain for the Germans especially when one considers the classes of uboats that would be built in this period.

I think it's already been stated in this thread but the German planning created a KM that was ill equiped for the war it had to fight. The solution seems to me better planning and political positions that recognize the limitation of the KM during this period. I.e. the KM was actually pretty well equiped to hold it's own vs France and/or the USSR. Hitler was right to not want a war with Britain but he should have taken more care to insure that. Given the fiscal and resource constraints of Germany in the 30's I just don't see any way they can be well equiped for a naval campaign vs Britain much less vs Britain and the US.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 16, 2011 4:29 pm

lwd,

Maybe it was easier than what you are saying. Remember that by 1937-8 on the British were trying to "appeace" Hitler. Tha could have been used to increase the size of the U boat arm, which wasn't a priority danger at the Admiralty's eyes at could have been a bigger surface fleet.

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An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Mon May 16, 2011 5:00 pm

Well at that point you already have the twins. If you expect to fight France you may still need the Bismarcks and they were laid down in 36 in any case. If the Germans don't build the Bismarcks does the RN need as many KGV's as soon? Or do they also reallcoate to ASW? After their WWI experiance I would also expect the Admiralty to take Uboats seriously. How many subs of what classes can the Germans expect to build during this period.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Bgile » Mon May 16, 2011 6:43 pm

The British might not "need" as many KGVs as soon, but they would have built them anyway. They wanted parity with the signatories of the relevant treaties.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Mon May 16, 2011 8:56 pm

Bgile wrote:The British might not "need" as many KGVs as soon, but they would have built them anyway. They wanted parity with the signatories of the relevant treaties.
However they might not build them as fast, especially if the sub threat seemed more severe. Delay the start of say the Duke of York and Howe a year each and use the money for escorts and ASW planes and you can build a substantial number. There is also the suspicion (at least in the US and I don't think it would be there only) that there might be a brake out from the treaties in which case a bigger better battleships can be built.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Tue May 17, 2011 8:00 am

The problem with building such a vast submarine force is that it would be visible and break the Anglo-German naval agreement.

The KM needs a variety of weapons, working together, to effectively attack the seaways. That includes exposing convoys to battleship attack.

Looking at U-boats, you can get around the numbers problem by developing a true submersible that can go fast underwater - far more effective and doesn't require a huge number.

The argument on battleships works two ways. If Germany builds Bismarck, then how many KGV's etc does the RN have to have instead of spending the money on a vast fleet of destroyers and convoy escorts?
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu May 19, 2011 12:46 pm

There are always counter arguments for each argument. If we came with the reverse situation (the KM having built a considerable U Boat arm and discussing what if they come with a Bismarck and Tirpitz battleships "Plan") then I imagine lwd would have something to say against such a plan. That means that in this forum for some the thing is to argument for the sake of it instead of really believing there is actual need to refute something previously posted. But it's a forum and we cannot condemn such a partisan attitude. But at least that the arguments are not done in order just to refute and fullfill somekind of empty self respect or alike, let them be done on a true belief basis.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Fri May 20, 2011 7:01 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:There are always counter arguments for each argument. If we came with the reverse situation (the KM having built a considerable U Boat arm and discussing what if they come with a Bismarck and Tirpitz battleships "Plan") then I imagine lwd would have something to say against such a plan. ....
There are really two points here.
1) Is the plan feasable.
2) Will it work.

In regards to 1. The problem with "just build more U-boats" plans is when do they start? If you want to do it instead of building the twins for instance you need to start in 33 at the earliest. That's a bit early for them to be breaking out of Versaille I would think. If you want to build them instead of the Bismarck's then you are looking at 34 instead or perhaps early 35. Note that the Germans and British conclude a naval agreeement in 35. This may well complicate things. So when do you make this decision and how do you do it? It doesn't look to me like you can achieve any signficant savings unless you start no later than early 35 but there are various treaty problems with that. Furthermore that leaves Germany's opponents a fair amount of time to react. It's also clearly aimed at Britain while historically Hitler didn't want to and didn't think he would have to fight the British. So let's see a well developed plan that takes all this into account. Also consdier what happens if the Germans end up fighting France and not Britain. Historically the KM was in good shape to do this or to handle the Soviets in the Baltic. The abscence of the battleships may be felt if they don't go to war with Britain. On the otherhand building a lot of subs pretty much guarantees the British are at least nervous.

In regards to 2 how much difference does it make? Note how well the German merchant raiders did historically. One of the reasons was undoubtedly that the British had to be concerned about the Germans surface warships. Take away that threat especially the battleships and it frees up more British cruisers to hunt such vessels, to say nothing of more resources to build ASW capacity. Perhaps there is a window where say not building the Graf Zepplin will free enough resource to build a few more subs and position them a little better. I just don't see the timing working so that it gives the Germans the decisive advantage that they need.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 23, 2011 12:55 am

According to the military priorities established by the Casablanca directives of January 23rd 1943 for the strategic bombing raids:

1. Submarine construction facilities
2. Aircraft industry
3. Comunication
4. Oil deposits
5. Other war facilities

So, for the allies the submarine threat was the No. 1 danger and they directed, against it, all available resources. Obviously at hind sight (as with all these hypothetical scenarios) this is evidence that if some branch could have defeated the allies it was the submarine one. Again: the difference of 40-50 or 100 more submarines in the Atlantic at any given time in 1940-41 could have bring the balance of the war against the British and, thus, to the Allied cause.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Mon May 23, 2011 8:15 am

Karl, I think that the prioritisation listed in the Casablance Declaration had D-Day in mind rather than simply the potential of the U-boats to defeat Britain. At that stage they could defeat Britain but certainly not the USA.

The priority was to get US forces into Britain for the 1944 landings. The U-boats were the first obstacle to that buid up going to schedule.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Mon May 23, 2011 12:39 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:... Again: the difference of 40-50 or 100 more submarines in the Atlantic at any given time in 1940-41 could have bring the balance of the war against the British and, thus, to the Allied cause.
Possibly especially if Britain didn't react to the increase in German submarines. However if you want to go from 50 submarines at sea to say 100 you'll need to build an additional 150 subs at least. Doing that would be rather noticable and likely to stimulate a rather vigorus counter reaction by Britain and potentially by France and the US as well. Then there's the question of where the resources come from and when you start the program and how it progresses.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 23, 2011 1:43 pm

lwd:
Doing that would be rather noticable and likely to stimulate a rather vigorus counter reaction by Britain and potentially by France and the US as well. Then there's the question of where the resources come from and when you start the program and how it progresses.
Is likley that the British would have not reacted or reacted in time. Again: Chamberlain and the "apeacers". France, what could have France do? Their naval role in WWII was neglible and the German offensive was on land. The US, I don't know. The US would have seen the small "punny" U boats and would have seen the Kido Butai on the other Ocean and woudl have prepared to meet the biggest threat according to their mentality (the same that condemned Billy Mitchell).
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by alecsandros » Mon May 23, 2011 1:49 pm

Given Chamberlain attitude regarding German expansion in 1938-39, I don't think any "vigorous reaction" was to be expected from GB. And the other major powers weren't realy in the position to "do" anything about it.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Mon May 23, 2011 3:28 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd:
Doing that would be rather noticable and likely to stimulate a rather vigorus counter reaction by Britain and potentially by France and the US as well. Then there's the question of where the resources come from and when you start the program and how it progresses.
Is likley that the British would have not reacted or reacted in time. Again: Chamberlain and the "apeacers".
Is it?
Certainly it's not what this implies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rearmament_(UK,_1930s)
This also implies a fair amount of conern over German naval rearmament: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/ge ... mament.htm
And this one specifically addresses submarine construction: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jso ... ament.html
alecsandros wrote:Given Chamberlain attitude regarding German expansion in 1938-39, I don't think any "vigorous reaction" was to be expected from GB. ]
And as to Chaimberlain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasemen ... E2.80.9339 states
Chamberlain pursued a policy of appeasement and rearmament.
Depending on when this starts there's even a question of whether Chamberlain becomes PM.
France, what could have France do? Their naval role in WWII was neglible and the German offensive was on land.
They also could have built additional ASW assets, there's also the possiblity that they would have seen the building of a much larger submarine force as evidence of the offensive plans of Germany and changed thier defensive posture in other ways.
The US, I don't know. The US would have seen the small "punny" U boats and would have seen the Kido Butai on the other Ocean and woudl have prepared to meet the biggest threat according to their mentality (the same that condemned Billy Mitchell).
Or not. Certainly FDR regarded Germany as the main threat and not Japan. If the US starts work on CVE's a year or two earlier this could have a profound effect as could building me ASW ships.

The problem is agian we are talking way to much in generalities. When does this program start? Indeed when can it start and still produce the results you want. If we have that then we can at least talk intelligently about allied responses.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Mon May 23, 2011 5:49 pm

alecsandros wrote:Given Chamberlain attitude regarding German expansion in 1938-39, I don't think any "vigorous reaction" was to be expected from GB. And the other major powers weren't realy in the position to "do" anything about it.
As Baron von Mullenheim-Rechberg reported to Berlin at the time of his ''diplomatic stint'' in Britain, British re-armament at that time had become deadly serious, including the introduction of conscription. Any increase in U-boat construction by Spring 1939 would have brought a sharp re-action by the RN.
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