How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by guesser » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:56 am

Fun thread; I'll drag it out of hibernation. :D
The first thing I'd do to imprive the KM would be to stick to the timetable Hitler promised Reader of no war until early/mid 40s, this would have allowed them to feild a far stronger force Of BBs, BCs and carriers, which would have allowed the KM to have a much bigger impact even if used in raiding actions as the lesser force was. The improved fleet of more modern ships than Britan had would have made the cross channel invasion slightly more possible. I think the KM would never have been able to compete with the British fleet as the Brits would have been more aggressive in building competitive ships. As many have stated the KM needed to realise as the other major combatants did as the war progressed that more and better AA was required if there ships were to servive.

Using the KM as raiders had the massive flaws of the Germans having few freindly foriegn bases for re-supply and the giant British fleet hunting not only them, but their slow, vulnerable support ships; it was disruptive and distracted rescourses which could have been used ellsware but wasn't a servivable tactic.

I have thought for a long time that the greatest impact that the KM could possibly have had, weather it was the historical fleet or the one that would have been feilded had Hitler kept his promise to Reader, would have been to send every heavy unit thay had with maybe 15 destroyers and 40 U bouats to the Med prior to attacking Poland and combine them with the Italian fleet to deny the Brits access to North Africa, India and their main supply of oil. That fleet would have had 11 fast battleships, 20 CAs (including the Duetchlands) all the Itallian CLs, 15 German and all the Italian DDs and a combined 140 subs to mine and patrol the Straights of Gibralter and Suez after clearing out the 3 old Brit Dreadnoughts and lighter ships. Some British subs would have hung in for a while but once Malta and Alexadria fell they would have had short limited lives. The combined axis fleet having claimed ownership of the Med could have threatened the Southern limits of the Sovied Union and made maintaining the British Indian colony far more difficult, helping the Japanese in their theater, greatly lengthening the War and even putting the outcome in doubt.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:52 pm

guesser wrote:Fun thread; I'll drag it out of hibernation. :D
The first thing I'd do to imprive the KM would be to stick to the timetable Hitler promised Reader of no war until early/mid 40s, this would have allowed them to feild a far stronger force Of BBs, BCs and carriers, which would have allowed the KM to have a much bigger impact even if used in raiding actions as the lesser force was.
This does ignore British re-armament and full mobilisation. It would have cancelled a lot of the extra advantage the Germans would have had here. Particulary with British advances in radar systems.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:55 pm

guesser wrote:
Using the KM as raiders had the massive flaws of the Germans having few freindly foriegn bases for re-supply and the giant British fleet hunting not only them, but their slow, vulnerable support ships;
But foreign bases, such as Vigo in Spain are visible and can be watched, no matter how friendly they are. The German raiders need invisibility to their pursuers.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:06 pm

guesser wrote:
I have thought for a long time that the greatest impact that the KM could possibly have had, weather it was the historical fleet or the one that would have been feilded had Hitler kept his promise to Reader, would have been to send every heavy unit thay had with maybe 15 destroyers and 40 U bouats to the Med prior to attacking Poland and combine them with the Italian fleet to deny the Brits access to North Africa, India and their main supply of oil. That fleet would have had 11 fast battleships, 20 CAs (including the Duetchlands) all the Itallian CLs, 15 German and all the Italian DDs and a combined 140 subs to mine and patrol the Straights of Gibralter and Suez after clearing out the 3 old Brit Dreadnoughts and lighter ships.
Hitler attacked Poland in the belief and desire that Britain would remain neutral.

Sending large naval forces to the Med in peacetime, where Germany had no direct interest, would have drawn a sharp reaction from Britain and even more so the French. The Allies would have reinforced their position and any attempt to blockade/mine Gibraltar and Suez would meet much more substantial opposition than just 3 old British Dreadnoughts and ''lighter ships.'' Malta, Algeria/Tunisia and Eygpt gives the Allies a dominant position in the central Med. Italy was totally unprepared for war and Mussolini pre-war was opposed to Germany having involvement in the Med. No this idea won't work.....
And if France is galvanised into offensive action in the Med then their posture in the Maginot Line might also be more aggressive, while the panzers and stukas were away battering Poland.....
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Guesser » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:45 am

The Germans weren't at war with Britan or France at the time, so there would have been nothing legal for anyone to do about the KM visiting the region unless they were to decare war; and history shows that Britan and France weren't prepaired to do so. Besides what could the French navy have done before the invasion of Poland without any modern battleships or aircraft carriers and only 2 modern battlecruisers, against a nation they weren't yet at war with,who was visiting the bases of another nation the French and British weren't at war with "Italy". By the time the Western allies realised what was happening they would have had to push through mine feilds and 140 subs just for the chance to fight a fleet that was more modern and faster, while all this was happening the British in North Africa would have withered on the vine while the German and Italian supplies would have flowed freely. The Brits didn't have enough heavy units in the Med to put up much of a fight against the combined axis fleet, and no doubt they would have had even less after running the gauntlet into the Med.
And would the Japanese have been willing to move into the Indian ocean once they found out what the other Axis powers were up to?

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:13 pm

guesser wrote:Fun thread; I'll drag it out of hibernation. :D
The first thing I'd do to imprive the KM would be to stick to the timetable Hitler promised Reader of no war until early/mid 40s, this would have allowed them to feild a far stronger force Of BBs, BCs and carriers, which would have allowed the KM to have a much bigger impact even if used in raiding actions as the lesser force was. The improved fleet of more modern ships than Britan had would have made the cross channel invasion slightly more possible. I think the KM would never have been able to compete with the British fleet as the Brits would have been more aggressive in building competitive ships. As many have stated the KM needed to realise as the other major combatants did as the war progressed that more and better AA was required if there ships were to servive.

Using the KM as raiders had the massive flaws of the Germans having few freindly foriegn bases for re-supply and the giant British fleet hunting not only them, but their slow, vulnerable support ships; it was disruptive and distracted rescourses which could have been used ellsware but wasn't a servivable tactic.

I have thought for a long time that the greatest impact that the KM could possibly have had, weather it was the historical fleet or the one that would have been feilded had Hitler kept his promise to Reader, would have been to send every heavy unit thay had with maybe 15 destroyers and 40 U bouats to the Med prior to attacking Poland and combine them with the Italian fleet to deny the Brits access to North Africa, India and their main supply of oil. That fleet would have had 11 fast battleships, 20 CAs (including the Duetchlands) all the Itallian CLs, 15 German and all the Italian DDs and a combined 140 subs to mine and patrol the Straights of Gibralter and Suez after clearing out the 3 old Brit Dreadnoughts and lighter ships. Some British subs would have hung in for a while but once Malta and Alexadria fell they would have had short limited lives. The combined axis fleet having claimed ownership of the Med could have threatened the Southern limits of the Sovied Union and made maintaining the British Indian colony far more difficult, helping the Japanese in their theater, greatly lengthening the War and even putting the outcome in doubt.
This would have been a real help to the RN, allowing it to concentrate on the Med, since there would be no possibility of an attack on Norway. Britain could have pressured Norway to cut iron ore supplies to Germany as well. UK shipping losses would fall dramatically as well, and the RN would have preserved its CVs as well. The Allied counter would have been to commit more troops into Eqypt and to send the entire RN battlefleet and carriers into the Med, and even during the BofB the UK could send more troops to Egypt because the invasion threat is now non-existant. The allies would field a fleet of 20 BBs and at least 4 CVs into the med plus an over whelming number of lighter ships.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:06 pm

Guesser wrote:The Germans weren't at war with Britan or France at the time, so there would have been nothing legal for anyone to do about the KM visiting the region unless they were to decare war;
There is plenty the British and French would have done in response to a KM build up in the Med without declaring war, such as building up their own forces.
Dunmunro has answered this point in his post above so I won't repeat what he says.

The problem with this schematic is that it is one sided and assumes Britain is omnipitant and France is ignored. British re-armament started before WW2 commenced, these German moves would have accelerated it.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:10 pm

Guesser wrote: And would the Japanese have been willing to move into the Indian ocean once they found out what the other Axis powers were up to?
Japan wasn't part of the Axis at this time. It was signatory to the Anti-Comintern Pact, but that was aimed at Russia.

Given its commitments in China at that time, it is unlikely that the IJN would move in strength into the Indian Ocean, certainly without any harbours or any bases in that region. Also such a build up would not go unnoticed by the British, French, Dutch and Americans.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by steffen19k » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:44 pm

Some things I would do...

Lay down and complete Bismarck and Tirpitz as Scharnhorst class vessels.

Pass on the light cruisers in favor of more rapid completion of more Admiral Hipper class ship.

complete the Graf Zeppelin.

Forego the Type 2 uboats in favor of a 100% Type 7 submarine force.

And thats my start on just the shipbuilding side of the problem.

Obviously this is a very complex problem upon which myriad other considerations must be factored.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:42 am

steffen19k wrote:Some things I would do...

Lay down and complete Bismarck and Tirpitz as Scharnhorst class vessels.
The Scharnhorst class vessels have been heavily criticised on this website for:

1) being undergunned as battleships
2) Engineering deficiencies
3) Problems with seaworthiness including shipping water in rough seas
4) Having no clearly defined role or purpose, as outlined by Admiral Weber
5) Taking resources away from other and better warship designs - an opportunity cost drain on materials, labour and shipyard capacity
Pass on the light cruisers in favor of more rapid completion of more Admiral Hipper class ship.
Again we have the engineering deficiencies argument, heavy fuel consumption and short operational ranges. Again an opportunity cost in the diversion of resources. Building more panzerschiffe would have been a better option. Pus the reconnaisance cruisers. Plus some specially built hilfskreuzer, with better armament and endurance.
complete the Graf Zeppelin.
Agreed. But one carrier isn't enough. A second fleet carrier, flugzeugtrager B plus the four auxiliary carriers would be needed. Plus a large independent naval air arm.
Forego the Type 2 uboats in favor of a 100% Type 7 submarine force.

Yes, but this will take time.
Obviously this is a very complex problem upon which myriad other considerations must be factored.
Agreed
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:50 pm

RF wrote:The Scharnhorst class vessels have been heavily criticised on this website for:

1) being undergunned as battleships
2) Engineering deficiencies
3) Problems with seaworthiness including shipping water in rough seas
4) Having no clearly defined role or purpose, as outlined by Admiral Weber
5) Taking resources away from other and better warship designs - an opportunity cost drain on materials, labour and shipyard capacity
Yeah build 4 Bismarcks or 4 H classes instead, if any battleships.
Building more panzerschiffe would have been a better option.
Agree, but the panzerschiff as built is still not an ideal cruiser option. 26 knots is too slow and their AA was pitiful. Maybe a 12x 8" gun panzerschiff (or 6x28cm with a strong 12.8cm DP) with combination diesel and turbine power and 30knots?

..Plus a large independent naval air arm.
That's a game changer. Plus I think they needed the Walter boat concept developed quicker and sooner.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:57 pm

Dave Saxton wrote: Agree, but the panzerschiff as built is still not an ideal cruiser option. 26 knots is too slow and their AA was pitiful. Maybe a 12x 8" gun panzerschiff (or 6x28cm with a strong 12.8cm DP) with combination diesel and turbine power and 30knots?
The ''Deutschland'' class was a late 1920's concept, upon which three ships were constructed up to 1934. The Hipper class cruisers came immediately after, and in the mid to late 1930's the KM could and should have upgraded the panzerschiff design instead - better engines, for greater speed without reducing cruising endurance, better 11 inch guns and improved fire control and rate of fire, and as you say increased AA armament, which hadn't been seen as a major requirement back in 1929.
Improvements in diesel technology should have been the key, with a view to replacing turbine power on all ships, including destroyers.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Ersatz Yorck » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:54 am

Interesting discussion!

The Panzerschiffe were very advanced for their time. However, they were a typical case of fighting the last war in a better way. In WW1 the Germans suffered from a lack of long range ships suitable for raiding, despite having a large navy, much larger in comparison to the RN than they were ever close to having in WW2. The answer was the Panzerschiff, which would certainly have been extremely useful in WW1.

An improved Panzerschiff class built in the late 30's would have been interesting, but still only of limited usefulness up to about 1941, when long range air and radar made breakouts of heavy surface units impractical. Of course, you cannot really expect anyone to predict that in the 30's.

Anyway, better panzerschiffe and more emphasis on submarines would definitely have been a better investment that the worthless Hipper class cruisers (short ranged and extremely mechanically unreliable, and not much fighting power on the displacement) or prestige battleships, whether they were of the Scharnhorst, Bismarck or H classes IMHO.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:43 pm

Ersatz Yorck wrote:
The Panzerschiffe were very advanced for their time.
If you mean 1929 to 1934, I agree.

However from 1935 onwards there was no upgrade in design, where really it was needed, as identified in the abortive Y Plan. The only upgrade was the design of the Scharnhorsts, done in a hurry without proper strategic planning.
However, they were a typical case of fighting the last war in a better way. In WW1 the Germans suffered from a lack of long range ships suitable for raiding, despite having a large navy, much larger in comparison to the RN than they were ever close to having in WW2. The answer was the Panzerschiff, which would certainly have been extremely useful in WW1.
An improved Panzerschiff class built in the late 30's would have been interesting, but still only of limited usefulness up to about 1941, when long range air and radar made breakouts of heavy surface units impractical. Of course, you cannot really expect anyone to predict that in the 30's.
Actually if five improved panzerschiffe had been built instead of the five Hippers I think that they could make a heck of a difference - especially if they had worked in pairs, like the twins.....
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by ede144 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:59 pm

All posts are dreams with out link to the political realities. Regards
Ede

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