How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
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Terje Langoy
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Post by Terje Langoy » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:53 pm

G´day all
Tiornu wrote: Maybe it's best to articulate what the navy's role is before we start building ships for the sake of building ships.
I´m fairly sure one of the paragraphs of the Anglo-German naval treaty served to steer the German reconstruction programme in a given direction. The agreed relation 35:100 was not just a general ratio set, it also had fixed subdivisions i.e. ship categories thus the actual ratio would in fact not be 35 pr. cent of the fleet but 35 pr cent within each ship category of the fleet. So to say the 35 pr cent tonnage from the battleship category can not be distributed into an armada of destroyers, Germany must herself distribute them as battleship tons.

It is hard to build for a specific purpose when you are forced to operate with a given tonnage in a given ship category, leaving you with a choice to either build a certain type of ship or "lose the tonnage".

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Post by Tiornu » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:55 am

The British had an unlimited tonnage allotment of "sloops" (max 2000 tons and 20 knots, no torpedoes, up to four 6.1in guns). I'd love to crank out these things as training ships/minesweepers/escorts/patrol gunboats etc. The most important thing is to facilitate training. You're basically creating a large navy out of thin air, but trained crews have to come from somewhere. Likewise, there are a lot of things you can do with a 600-ton "torpedo boat" design that can be built in unlimited numbers.
The clause forbidding ships between 10,000 and 17,000 tons did not exist in 1935, so the Germans can build a whole bunch of super-cruisers without using any of their cruiser tonnage.
I think the most interesting consideration for the Germans may be the defense of their North Sea coastline where they might face French battleships.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:13 pm

lwd wrote:
That doesn't mean that hunting warships is an efficient use of such ships. Indeed it's likely to mean they are sunk much faster and don't have as much of an impact on merchant vessels.
These hilfskreuzer that I proposed are expendible and replaceable. Ambushing warships is merely an extension to their existing role. Their more dangerous capabilities certainly would impact on merchant ships, particulary if an escorting cruiser (and no other escort) were sunk.
Losses have to be expected, and replacements available. That is the purpose of building more of them.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:16 pm

The PAK 128 MM was a gun designed for the Russian front and therefore in the ambit of the Heer, not Kriegsmarine which used different weapons. That is not of course any reason for a naval version to be developed; in which case the larger 15 cm calibre version might be developed....
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:22 pm

Tiornu wrote:The rapid-fire 15cm gun is a dead-end. Let's say it's feasible--so what? It won't make one bit of difference in the war.
As for the merits of the idea, look at the guns that actually served in WWII. Wouldn't someone have built the gun if it was possible? It's not like people weren't looking for rapid fire in their 6in guns. It's just that "rapid" turned out to be a sustainable 10 rpm. Postwar, the Worcester class mega-CLs managed 12 rpm with guns intended for AA fire.
If it won't make any difference to the war, then why discuss it?

Wouldn't someone have built the gun if it were possible? Rationally yes. But here we are talking Third Reich and internal nazi politics. Organising German industry and promoting individual initiative was not one of its strongpoints. I would have thought that technically such a weapon could be developed - if engineers had been briefed for the purpose and allowed to get on with the job without being mucked about by gauleiters and petty party chiefs.
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Re:

Post by RF » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:26 pm

Terje Langoy wrote: It is hard to build for a specific purpose when you are forced to operate with a given tonnage in a given ship category, leaving you with a choice to either build a certain type of ship or "lose the tonnage".

Best regards
Not sure that I agree with this one, as the ships in each category can to some extent be adapted for the required strategic purpose.
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Re: Re:

Post by RF » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:28 pm

Tiornu wrote: The clause forbidding ships between 10,000 and 17,000 tons did not exist in 1935, so the Germans can build a whole bunch of super-cruisers without using any of their cruiser tonnage.
In other words super Panzerschiffe, which would be ideal commerce raiders.
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Re: Re:

Post by RF » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:32 pm

Tiornu wrote: I think the most interesting consideration for the Germans may be the defense of their North Sea coastline where they might face French battleships.
This seems to be a thinking harking back to the Prusso-Danish War of 1864. Surely a more enterprising and attacking role for the German Navy could be found.

In any case any war just between France and Germany would be almost exclusively land based, I can't see any scope for the French Navy other than possible distant blockade. I certainly don't recall any naval activity in the Franco-Prussian War.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Tiornu » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:45 pm

If it won't make any difference to the war, then why discuss it?
Exactly. I don't know why it was brought up.
Wouldn't someone have built the gun if it were possible? Rationally yes. But here we are talking Third Reich and internal nazi politics.
We're also talking the United States and Great Britain and France and Japan etc. No one built such a gun.
I certainly don't recall any naval activity in the Franco-Prussian War.
On the German side, it consisted of skulking about, trying to avoid the French, who would have crushed them.
On the French side, with nothing else to do, it consisted of performing as infantry and earning high grades for their conduct.
In other words super Panzerschiffe, which would be ideal commerce raiders.
That is EXACTLY why the British wanted them outlawed.
Surely a more enterprising and attacking role for the German Navy could be found.
The planned strategy was probably the best practical option--commerce warfare.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:09 pm

RF wrote:
lwd wrote: That doesn't mean that hunting warships is an efficient use of such ships. Indeed it's likely to mean they are sunk much faster and don't have as much of an impact on merchant vessels.
These hilfskreuzer that I proposed are expendible and replaceable.
The same can be said of almost if not all naval vessels. A signficant problem with these is that it will be hard to get them to sea and after a few attempted ambush the allies will be pretty alert. They may be expendable but if most of them are expended just trying to break into the atlantic it's hardly a useful way to expend resources.
Ambushing warships is merely an extension to their existing role.
It's an extension that will radically increase the risk while likely returning little especially after the first few encounters.
Losses have to be expected, and replacements available. That is the purpose of building more of them.
The more that are operational the more alert the allies will be. A point of diminishing returns is hit fairly early on. Even an encounter with an armed merchant or a DE can leave them with enough damage that their survival is very questionable. Don't forget that none of the sailors are likely to return on any of these vessels that are caught and where are you stockpiling the replacments and the crews to man them?

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Djoser » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:09 am

RF wrote: If it won't make any difference to the war, then why discuss it?
Good point.

But I don't think there were too many things Germany could have done differently on land, air, or sea to win the war, even without Hitler screwing so many things up.

It's not so bad to wonder what changes might have enabled the KMS to perform more effectively, though. I think it is a useful mental exercise. And also it is quite entertaining as well, since we are no longer at war here, but amongst friends. :D

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:05 am

Imagine how much more effective the KM would have been and how much more difficult to counter, particularly the Wolf Packs, with secure cyphers?
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Tiornu » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:44 am

Good point. Better security, along with less micro-management = bigger RN headaches.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:46 pm

My impression is that what hurt the wolf packs wasn't so much Ultra as their tendency to transmit too often and/or too long. That does still come under the heading of security. More efficient coms and ew analysis especially in the distribution end would also seem to be a factor from other threads on this forum.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:07 pm

Tiornu wrote:Good point. Better security, along with less micro-management = bigger RN headaches.
The bigger headaches would have been translated into alternative countermeasures - particulary I suspect in the use of aircraft and the interdiction of submarines in the Bay of Biscay.
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