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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RF
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:05 pm

lwd wrote: Or not. The Germans had little experiance with carrier aviation and the CV they had under construction showed it. Having one carrier that was roughly the equivalant of a US CVL wouldn't have helped them much and would likely have been lost early in the game if they tried to use it aggressivly.
This is certainly a vilid argument. But things might have been different if the KM had started on carrier and naval air branches earlier, and then put more resources into them with a greater productivity in shipyard production.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by delcyros » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:30 pm

I don't see a coherent line of argument here. If a task force as outlined is merely a candidate to be despatched by a concentration of RN forces, how come that one raider on its own can achieve dispertion as opposed to its easy destruction?
A task force centered around a carrier represents a concentration of forces. Thus, they are superior as a fighting unit strategically, if You are the superior force in achieveing sea controll. The KM, however, never is the superior force in the Atlantic theatre. Thus any concentration of surface forces needs to be avoided. As the RN player, I would pinpoint the task force, track it and after rerouting convois I may even try to trap it with superior forces to be commited for this purpose. The RN has the naval assets to respond against a task force. It, however, does not have the naval assets to controll all ocean from Plymouth to New York. Thus, single, dispersed units will more easily achieve local superiority in the way outlined by Kenneth´s article referenced above. This is pretty much what happened historically. The RN was trying really hard to respond to the raiding cruise of a single raider, KM SCHEER but couldn´t controll all sealanes and provide escorts for all important convois AND provide a sufficiant number of ships for hunting down KM SCHEER. In the end, SCHEER´s cruise became the longest lasting and longest distance war cruise in hostile waters of ww2 and this cruise was more successful in destroying enemy shipping and disrupting trade routes than any other event since. Single raiders work.

A task force centered around a carrier would be a waste of ressources. Only the carrier planes would be able to commit action, the battleships would in fact be reduced to mere escorts. Such a fighting unit would require tremendious ressources of fuel, ammunition and replacement planes, which needed to be shipped by support ships to regularely sheduled meeting points and back to Germany. In case of a direct engagement like Denmark street or North Cape, how are You going to protect the KM carrier against heavy naval surface forces?
How are you going to protect the support ships in case of a direct engagement with some patrolling DD´s or CL´s far away from the task force?

The idea to create task forces is subtle and nice but really doesn´t help You much unless You have a possibility to challange the seapower in controll of the waters or in fact in case You are the dominant force exploiting the sea controll with carrier task forces. It´s not the option for the KM.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:30 pm

delcyros wrote: Single raiders work.
Only in sinking single unescorted merchant ships.

Scheers' convoy attack only sank five ships - because the prey scattered in all directions. Hippers' convoy attack failed against cruiser escorts.

A task force operating out of Biscay could overwhelm a convoy and its escorts, particulary if backed up by FW 200's and U-boats. And escape any concerntration of RN ships. And sink shadowers...
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by delcyros » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:21 pm

That´s not for certain. A task force will be subject to concentrated efforts of the allies. I have no doubt that the RN with it´s naval assets, great deal of experience and quantitatively-qualitatively superior instruments of Sea Controll will defeat such a concentration of KM forces and what´s then? No more KM left...

Rather contrary, while You´s perception considers SCHEER´s attack not very successful it indeed was. Forcing a convoi to scatter is by it´s own a great achievement in that it creates more favourable engagement conditions against lone merchants scattered around for submarines, long range maritime bombers or other raiders. In addition to the losses inflicted by SCHEER´s nearly 3 month cruise, the admiralty was forced to delay and reroute all atlantic convois for the next 12 days. The whole system was disorganized until HX89 from Nov.17th, reestablished the cycle. This was another strategic achievement not in direct relationship to a single, 13,000ts raider.
Loosing a single raider doesn´t necessarely endanger the whole conductment of KM surface operation (compare ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE but against this see BISMARCK or SCHARNHORST if You factor in political reasons). Remember, the OKM has to reckon with the eventual loss of raiders send out in this mission. And as the inferior player, the KM has to reckon with the loss of it´s single task force as well. It doesn´t justify the risk to operate a task force unless You are challanging Sea Controll.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:41 pm

RF wrote:
lwd wrote: Or not. The Germans had little experiance with carrier aviation and the CV they had under construction showed it. Having one carrier that was roughly the equivalant of a US CVL wouldn't have helped them much and would likely have been lost early in the game if they tried to use it aggressivly.
This is certainly a vilid argument. But things might have been different if the KM had started on carrier and naval air branches earlier, and then put more resources into them with a greater productivity in shipyard production.
The question is how much earlier could they have started things and what resources do they have? The Graf Zeplin was ordered in 35 I don't see them ordering it any earlier than 34. No incentive. Since it wasn't completed historically this doesn't allow them to get much more than a years experience with her at most. That also suggest than any others ordered druing this time period will likely have the same flaws. In this case they complete one or possibly two carriers and realize they are badly flawed and need fixing before or shotly after the war starts. Doesn't help them a lot that I can see.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:35 am

delcyros wrote: Rather contrary, while You´s perception considers SCHEER´s attack not very successful it indeed was. Forcing a convoi to scatter is by it´s own a great achievement in that it creates more favourable engagement conditions against lone merchants scattered around for submarines, long range maritime bombers or other raiders. In addition to the losses inflicted by SCHEER´s nearly 3 month cruise, the admiralty was forced to delay and reroute all atlantic convois for the next 12 days. The whole system was disorganized until HX89 from Nov.17th, reestablished the cycle. This was another strategic achievement not in direct relationship to a single, 13,000ts raider.
This is correct, although note that U-boats and Condors were unable to take advantage and sink the scattered merchant ships.

The lone raider has the objective of disrupting shipping cycles. Krancke achieved excellent results in that respect.

The combined task force has a different objective - that is tonnage destruction by annihilating entire convoys, rather than simply scattering them.

What Krancke achieved with Scheer greatly helped Lutjens on Operation Berlin, because convoys had to have battleship escorts to protect them - which means fewer battleships able to concentrate on locating and attacking the task force. In that instance a task force can hide and strike from the middle of the ocean, and in so doing holds the initiative. It has local superiority and for as long as local superiority is retained the strategy should work.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by delcyros » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:38 pm

One more merchant was sunk by Condors and three more returned to Canada out of the scattered convoi. But this is of little consequence.

The way You describe the employment of a Task force is entirely correct. But I do hold the opinion that local superiority is difficult to mainten for a german task force when concentration of forces by the british is factored in.
We perhaps have to agree to disagree on this, I don´t think our positions are very different but I tend to be more sceptical with regards to support operations of the KM for large naval forces committed to a task force and in the same time more enthusiastic about the RN´s ability to trap such a concentration by commanding superior unit concentrations in response to the challange.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:30 pm

The point of the task force is that the pursuers don't know where it is - until it strikes - and by the time the pursuers organise and concentrate in that area the raiders are long gone. And any shadower is immediately destroyed. This is the essence of guerilla warfare. The concentrations needed for such a task force were never attempted by the KM, as they had neither the ships nor the co-ordination or Luftwaffe support to effect it. .

Yes the task force can get caught, or a key ship sufficiently damaged it can't get home and has to be sacrificed. But it is unlikely to be wholesale destroyed in one action, quite apart from the fact that successor forces are being assembled to strike, which themselves serve as a distraction to be watched.

There is also the point that all of Germany's surface raiders, up to Rheinubung. were actually safer out in a hostile ocean than in home waters, where they could be bombed or closely watched.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:06 pm

RF wrote:The point of the task force is that the pursuers don't know where it is - ...
But it can be much harder to hide a task force than a single ship. If the task force has a carrier then you are almost required to have radio comunications between the carrier and the planes. Furthemore the presence of relativly short ranged planes is something of a tip off in and of itself. If it doesn't have a carreir then it can't do much about scouting by the other sides aircraft.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:18 am

Interesting points. But I notice that the Japanese strike force for the attack on Pearl Harbor (which included six carriers) managed perfectly well with radio silence at a time when Japanese radio traffic was being monitored and decoded by the Americans.

With respect to the Atlantic, it is still a large place, and a German task force will not have as many ships as Yammamoto and Nagumo had. The Germans would also have supply ships and ship launched Arado seaplanes to scout for them, additional to carrier planes - indeed this may well be the tactic used, in order to concentrate the carrier airstrength in one location or mission.
With respect to radio - where U-boats operate in liason, it would be possible to use a U-boat to send any important radio traffic home, without it being identified to a surface ship which of course was on different cyphers. And with respect to the security of U-boat cyphers they could be made more secure by adding rotor wheels.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:02 pm

RF wrote:Interesting points. But I notice that the Japanese strike force for the attack on Pearl Harbor (which included six carriers) managed perfectly well with radio silence at a time when Japanese radio traffic was being monitored and decoded by the Americans.
However they were in a rather untraveled area, in a time of peace, and weren't conducting air operations. I doubt they could have accomplished this during war time, near shipping lanes, and where they were being activly hunted.
With respect to the Atlantic, it is still a large place, and a German task force will not have as many ships as Yammamoto and Nagumo had. The Germans would also have supply ships and ship launched Arado seaplanes to scout for them, additional to carrier planes - indeed this may well be the tactic used, in order to concentrate the carrier airstrength in one location or mission.
With respect to radio - where U-boats operate in liason, it would be possible to use a U-boat to send any important radio traffic home, without it being identified to a surface ship which of course was on different cyphers. And with respect to the security of U-boat cyphers they could be made more secure by adding rotor wheels.
Look what happened to the supply ships involved in the Bismarck episode or for that matter what Huff Duff did to the U-boats. Also while the Atlantic is large patrolling aircraft can cover considerable parts of it and the task force can't be just anywhere either.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:02 pm

This was when Allied strength was increasing, with more wide ship use of radar. Operation Berlin was carried out immediately prior to Rheinubung without the mishaps you mention, even the sighting by Naiad failed to abort the mission but merely delayed it.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:13 pm

If the KM can put a task force to see including carriers and a significant escort I suspect that the RN would also be stronger and better prepaired for it.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:00 am

Yes, quite possibly. But having agreed by treaty to allow the Germans to build to 35% of the strength of the RN probably not to a great extent - until war is declared.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun May 15, 2011 11:30 pm

This is an interestint thread. I have made my case on this several times: a way in which the Kriegmarine would have been more efficent (without any fantasy of an aircraft carrier force of such) was simply to avoid the construction of the Bismarck Class battleships, even the Twins and dedicate all those resources to build a huge U Boat Arm.
Each Bismarck displacement around 45,000 tons x 2 = 90,000 tons plus 4000 sailors and officers. There was enough to build 128 Type VII U Boats and manned them.

If Great Britain could hardly manage the small U Boat fleet in 1940-41, we could add a third of those 128 subs at any time (43 units more) at the Atlantic and Churchill will have shot his bolt on that one.
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