Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

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RF
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:05 pm

delcyros wrote:
You hold the opinion that by late 1941 the RN assets have improved to a point which makes raiders ineffective? Would You mind to provide more details for this idea, particularely in light of the losses suffered by the RN in 1941 (East Asia, mediterranean and Atlantic)?
Well, lets see. Firstly the losses incurred by the RN in East Asia, the Med and Atlantic were not caused by surface commerce raiders and some not even by the Germans!

In late 1941 Atlantis was despatched as a result of enigma decripts and other U-boat supply vessels were also interdicted at around that time. Yes, Kormoran ambushed Sydney but didn't survive that encounter.
No other raiders were at large on the high seas until late spring 1942 when the Thor was intercepted by a cruiser and an AMC off South Africa but managed to fool those ships which didn't use the Checkmate system to catch Gumprich out.
Michel came close to encountering the AMC Alcantara and also a British aircraft carrier that picked up survivors from Lylepark.

Two Japanese merchant ship raiders came unstuck in the Indian Ocean when they attacked a Dutch tanker escorted by an Indian minesweeper, one of the Jap ships being sunk while the tanker and miesweeper survived.
After that, raider warfare petered out as Stier was sunk by a merchantmen and Michel was finally sunk by a US sub who thought their target was Japanese.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:10 pm

delcyros wrote:Langsdorff violated standing orders. He attacked what he believed was a cruiser and two destroyers at first. No merchants were ID´d.
According to Rasenack it was believed that the large ship Highland Monarch was off the River Plate and possibly under escort. Langsdorf sighted the three British warships and attacked thinking they were escorting merchants including the Highland Monarch.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:20 pm

delcyros,

If I read you right your idea is that GZ can work as a raider because it is faster and can outrun all gun carrying warships and outsail all small vessels.

Its speed is certainly a big asset - but speed, as ascribed in the debate about battle cruisers, isn't everything. Bismarck in May 1941 was probably the fastest battleship afloat. Yet it was followed by Suffolk and intercepted by Hood. It was later found by a Catalina aircraft, after it had to reduce speed to save fuel because of slight battle damage.

The longer the cruise goes on, the further the distance from German held ports, the more the odds slowly stack up.

And merchant supply ships can keep GZ supplied - but of course become targets in their own right, as I would imagine Dithmarschen being ordered to supply U-boats as well as GZ - and U-boats contained their own contagion of disaster which found Atlantis out.

No, the GZ role is as part of a task force, as envisaged under the Z Plan, not as a sole raider.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by lwd » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:15 pm

delcyros wrote:
If it can conduct air ops the planes will give info about the carrier as well as info to the carrier.
That´s true. But I don´t see a problem with that. It only announced that an unidentified aircraft was operating there and circumstantial evidence would attribute this to GZ operating somewhere in within the range of the recon plane.
Altough the UK knew about the existence of the Fi-167 (compare Flight magazine, vol. 37, 1940), no details about it´s range were known and that doesn´t help. The Fi-167A has a range of 1000mls in recon configuration, that´s a huge area on the ocean.
It gives a bit more information than that especially if there are multiple sightings. As for range is that the combat radius or the ferry range or something in between?
Faced with a carrier the RN doesn't need to maintian only 2 groups.
The homefleet has problems in this timeframe: RENOWN just comes back from the dockyard in nov. and DoY hasn´t fully worked up, yet. HMS VICTORIOUS is the only remaining fleet carrier int he home fleet. They are short in naval ressources.
But they don't need to pair up to have a good chance of defeating GZ. So their resources go further.
But can she disenage by getting past Rodney and into the North Atlantic or can the RN force (which may include cruisers as well0 cut her off and force her back North.
Which cruisers? She slipped past one or two a DS and whether or not HMS RODNEY is accompanying another one, I don´t know. Anyhow, these cruisers are not fast enough, they need to be placed in their way, something Holland wasn´t able to do at DS, and BISMARCK is 5 to 6kts slower than GZ.
They are plenty fast enough to cut her off if they are in front of her as you suggest Rodney was. Of course if this is occuring instead of the Bismarck sortie you forgot to mention Hood and POW.
Historically when Bismarck sortied transmissions and/or Ultra intercepts gave away the location of her support ships and they were all rounded up.
This is wrong. PE refueled, didn´t it? And SACHSENWALD took up a few survivors from the final action, didn´t it? The most important supply ships, former ALTMARK (renamed UCKERMARK) and DITHMARSCHEN returned to France after PE, unmolested by the RN.
OK they didn't get them all but one of those that refuled PE Esso Hamburg was caught along with the as the other tankers Belchen, Gedania, Egerland, Freidrich Breme, and Lotharingen along with the supply ships Gonzenheim 7 out of 9 according to wiki at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rhein%C3%BCbung
while : http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/bismarck.htm states all but 1. So the survival of the Atlmark and Dithmarschen hardly represents much of a success.
Indeed http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ ... tions.html has DithMarschen under repairs from January through October of 41 due to a grounding and only further operations noted are supplying German ships in Norway.
Similarly http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ ... tions.html doesn't list Altmark/Uchermark as participatiang in the Bismarck episode.

And Sachsenwald was a weathership not a supply ship and not part of Rheinbung from what I can tell. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_wea ... achsenwald
She didn't rescue any survivors either.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Paul L » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:29 pm

delcyros wrote:
If it can conduct air ops the planes will give info about the carrier as well as info to the carrier.
That´s true. But I don´t see a problem with that. It only announced that an unidentified aircraft was operating there and circumstantial evidence would attribute this to GZ operating somewhere in within the range of the recon plane.
Altough the UK knew about the existence of the Fi-167 (compare Flight magazine, vol. 37, 1940), no details about it´s range were known and that doesn´t help. The Fi-167A has a range of 1000mls in recon configuration, that´s a huge area on the ocean.
Faced with a carrier the RN doesn't need to maintian only 2 groups.
The homefleet has problems in this timeframe: RENOWN just comes back from the dockyard in nov. and DoY hasn´t fully worked up, yet. HMS VICTORIOUS is the only remaining fleet carrier int he home fleet. They are short in naval ressources.
But can she disenage by getting past Rodney and into the North Atlantic or can the RN force (which may include cruisers as well0 cut her off and force her back North.
Which cruisers? She slipped past one or two a DS and whether or not HMS RODNEY is accompanying another one, I don´t know. Anyhow, these cruisers are not fast enough, they need to be placed in their way, something Holland wasn´t able to do at DS, and BISMARCK is 5 to 6kts slower than GZ.

Historically when Bismarck sortied transmissions and/or Ultra intercepts gave away the location of her support ships and they were all rounded up.
This is wrong. PE refueled, didn´t it? And SACHSENWALD took up a few survivors from the final action, didn´t it? The most important supply ships, former ALTMARK (renamed UCKERMARK) and DITHMARSCHEN returned to France after PE, unmolested by the RN.

Yes as I recall it was the capture of U-100 or 101 or something like this that gave the RN the current patrols of about 1/2 dozen tankers and another dozen supply ships. However the number of supply ships in the KM remained relatively unchanged in 1941/42 at about 79-73 ships so the sink of these supply ships is not the answer especially since a similiar supply network functioned out of the Indian Ocean until early 1944. Whats most likely is that Hitlers increasing restrictions on Capital ships deployment reduced the need to keep these supply ships on station.

RF wrote:delcyros,

If I read you right your idea is that GZ can work as a raider because it is faster and can outrun all gun carrying warships and outsail all small vessels.

Its speed is certainly a big asset - but speed, as ascribed in the debate about battle cruisers, isn't everything. Bismarck in May 1941 was probably the fastest battleship afloat. Yet it was followed by Suffolk and intercepted by Hood. It was later found by a Catalina aircraft, after it had to reduce speed to save fuel because of slight battle damage.
.

I have a problem with this , since Bismarck and PE also gave the RN cruisers the slip by using their GHG sonar to detect the Cruiser path and out maneuver them in bad weather. This was followed by 30 hour period where the RN had no idea where the german ships were and their fuel was running low. Had the Germans gone south to the Atlantic or north around Iceland and back to Norway [as Lindmann requested] , they would have escaped and avoid further British naval attacks.

Ultra Naval decrpyts at this time were painfuly slow and it was only the detection of the shift in German reciever location that allowed the British to deduce that the Bismarck was heading for Brest.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:59 pm

Gentlemen,
This is a very interesting thread and I have read all the comments with great interest.
I still maintain that his theoetical 35 knots would have been attained under test conditions and may not have been always achievable under North Atlantic conditions given the size and windage area of such a ship, wereas a KGV or Renown could probably maintain enough speed to catch and sink her because of their much heavier construction. Of course such a ship getting out into the Atlantic would cause the RN a lot of problems, but it has to be remembered that by the time she was to have sortied the US were also in the war and would have provided some cover to the convoys, even if it was only to track Graf Zeppelins movements.
Another point is the aircraft themselves, Ark Royal was able to launch her Swordfish under pretty harsh conditions because of the slow speed and easy lift off of the Swordfish from her deck, I'm not sure if the Germans, who were very modernised would have even dreamt of having such antiquated (in their view) aircraft.
I'm sorry to disagree with some of you, but I feel that a lone carrier without escort would have been found and sunk fairly quickly.
One final point that I made on the twins, I did say reletivly ineffective, this is not to disparage what they did achieve but they were hampered by Hitlers order not to engage when a heavy battleship was escorting a convoy and perhaps with a little bolder outlook could have achieved a lot more. (my humble opinion again!).

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Paul L » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:03 pm

If Scharnhorst could run away from DoY in North Cape 1943, then I would suggest a 33,000 ton carrier could atleast match or out match any KGV class under the same conditions. Further standard German fleet speed was 19 knots while RN fleet speed was 15 knots so even in cruise conditions the Germans could out run the British. The only way they caught them was lucky shots [Bismarck and Scharnhorst] or poor command [AGS].

Additionally, the German Fi 165 was a STOL torpedo bomber able to do over 200 mph . Much better than any 'stringbags'.


LWD this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rhein%C3%BCbung has only one German source and 1/2 dozen anglo american sources. I would question its accuracy just on that alone.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:48 am

Paul L wrote:If Scharnhorst could run away from DoY in North Cape 1943,
It didn't. It was caught and sunk. Speed isn't everything.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:52 am

Paul L wrote: I have a problem with this , since Bismarck and PE also gave the RN cruisers the slip by using their GHG sonar to detect the Cruiser path and out maneuver them in bad weather. This was followed by 30 hour period where the RN had no idea where the german ships were and their fuel was running low. Had the Germans gone south to the Atlantic or north around Iceland and back to Norway [as Lindmann requested] , they would have escaped and avoid further British naval attacks.
As I said, it was found by a Catalina flying boat as part of the air search instituted for Bismarck.

It was of course entirely possible for Bismarck to escape back to port. But that wouldn't end British attacks on it, especially if it was in a French port.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:55 am

paul.mercer wrote: I'm sorry to disagree with some of you, but I feel that a lone carrier without escort would have been found and sunk fairly quickly.
I think this is the most likely scenario. My only minor quibble is that it might take a bit of time to do it.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:07 am

paul.mercer wrote: One final point that I made on the twins, I did say reletivly ineffective, this is not to disparage what they did achieve but they were hampered by Hitlers order not to engage when a heavy battleship was escorting a convoy and perhaps with a little bolder outlook could have achieved a lot more. (my humble opinion again!).
I think they were relatively ineffective insofar that they were unable to execute convoy attacks, because of battleship escorted convoys. The ability to destroy convoys as opposed to single unescorted merchant ships is what distinguishes the twins mission from the hilfskreuzer. Atlantis, Pinguin and Thor all sank more merchant ship tonnage than the twins....

The ineffectiveness is relative and not an absolute. The hilfskreuzer were far more economic than the twins - the twins posed far greater threat and thus caused more disruption but overall on an average cost basis they were not as ''productive'' as the hilfskreuzer.

Of course, if GZ had accompanied the twins, and used its planes on a concentrated attack on the escorting battleship, then things could have been very different. A task force is needed for convoy destruction, not a lone raider. Scheer did attack a convoy - the convoy scattered but only five merchantmen were sunk. A task force has the net to achieve a convoy annihilation, rather than simply a convoy dispersal.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by lwd » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:37 pm

Paul L wrote:... The only way they caught them was lucky shots [Bismarck and Scharnhorst] or poor command [AGS].
Again not quite right is it. Bismarck was caught at Denmarck straits before any shots were exchanged a lucky shot did let her escape destruction there though. AGS was caught before any "poor comamand" decisions were made and it's unlikely she could have broken off that contact without a battle.
Additionally, the German Fi 165 was a STOL torpedo bomber able to do over 200 mph . Much better than any 'stringbags'.
Well not when said "stringbags" had functional torpedoes.
LWD this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rhein%C3%BCbung has only one German source and 1/2 dozen anglo american sources. I would question its accuracy just on that alone.
If you question the accuracy find a better source. Note that the other source I mentioned suggested that only 1 of the supply ships envolved survived rather than the two wiki stated (wiki may have included the weather ship). In any case the source that refuted your claims as to two of the ships was not wiki it was www.german-=navy.de a site that i'd suggest rates well above wiki. Of course wiki rates well above no source which is what you have provided.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by paul.mercer » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:31 pm

Paul L wrote:If Scharnhorst could run away from DoY in North Cape 1943, then I would suggest a 33,000 ton carrier could atleast match or out match any KGV class under the same conditions. Further standard German fleet speed was 19 knots while RN fleet speed was 15 knots so even in cruise conditions the Germans could out run the British. The only way they caught them was lucky shots [Bismarck and Scharnhorst] or poor command [AGS].

Additionally, the German Fi 165 was a STOL torpedo bomber able to do over 200 mph . Much better than any 'stringbags'.

A very good point Paul, but could the Graf Zeppelin have launched her aircraft in those conditions and would the Fi 165 been able to take off under the same conditions as a Swordfish? Also, to achieve 35 knots in the average conditions found in the North Atlantic would have used up an awful amount of fuel. I also agree that the torpedo which crippled Bismarck was perhaps 'lucky' as was the shell that sank Hood, however Scharnhorst caught in a trap and hit by several 14" and 8" shells, none of which I would call 'lucky', basically she came up against a bigger, more powerful ship and her escorts, the end was not much in doubt.
LWD this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Rhein%C3%BCbung has only one German source and 1/2 dozen anglo american sources. I would question its accuracy just on that alone.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by delcyros » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:55 pm

The problem is not whether or not the Fi-167A could take off in these conditions (we don´t know), the question is why do You consider the SWORDFISH beeing better suited?
You mentioned:
Ark Royal was able to launch her Swordfish under pretty harsh conditions because of the slow speed and easy lift off of the Swordfish from her deck, I'm not sure if the Germans, who were very modernised would have even dreamt of having such antiquated (in their view) aircraft.
But as mentioned above, the Fi-167 is STOL (=short-take-off-landing) and requires much less speed to take off in any given load condition than the Swordfish (or any other carrier airplane of ww2). At the carriers max. speed these planes can virtually lift off vertically. In addition to that, the Fi-167 had better power-on controll characteristics in the difficult approach regime.
That beeing said, the conditions for take off from ARK ROYAL in the decisive attack were very difficult, almost to difficult for carrier operations:
'I was on HMS Ark Royal and the captain didn't want us to go, but in the end he turned into the wind and dropped the speed to five knots.
'The ship was pitching 60 feet, water was running over the decks and the wind was blowing at 70 or 80mph.
Thus, Ark Royal was taking a high risk to launch these planes in these conditions, it was way distant from something which may be claimed regular "flight operations".
Then, You mention that:
I still maintain that his theoetical 35 knots would have been attained under test conditions and may not have been always achievable under North Atlantic conditions given the size and windage area of such a ship, wereas a KGV or Renown could probably maintain enough speed to catch and sink her because of their much heavier construction.
I don´t think Your explenation matches the findings of the germans, who conducted exhaustive windtunnel studies with the ships in question:

Image

According to their findings, windage effects are less pronounced in GZ than in cruisers of the HIPPER class due to their many portrudes (turrets, superstructures) and they really invested a lot of effort in figuring out the best concepts at different conditions. You seem to propose that a 50 kts wind reduced GZ speed by 10 kts while that of a RENOWN or KGV is not or only slightly impaired, allowing them to catch GZ. I have to respond that no- this is not the case.

--------
RF,

You mentioned that raiders were not primarely responsible for inflicting losses of RN warships, and to that I agree. That´s not their purpose. In defense for the RN home fleet You mentioend that losses were occurring not only in the Atlantic. That´s true, too. But it´s a war of attrition in a sense and in the period in question, the RN is overstretched over the different theatres and doesn´t have enough naval assets to deal with everything:

[+]escorting priority convois with battleships and DD
[+]escorting convois with DD for ASW
[+]providing an answer for the Fw-200 long range bomber meanace
[+]providing presence in the indian ocean
[+]providing presence in the menditerranean
[+]patrolling DS, faroer strait and other areas
[+]protect the shores and channel from E-boats, raids and submarines
[+]have enough residual units remaining to serve as home fleet backup
[+]provide taks forces to hunt down auxilary cruisers and raiders
[+]provide task forces for coastal bombardement / defense

Whether or not losses occur in the med, the far east or the North Atlantic is insignificant. You can´t magically create units already in use elsewhere and You have to compensate for losses or face degradation of power in these theatres. A raid in the North Atlantic in this period would very significantly impact force balance in the mediterranean, f.e. After the loss of ARK ROYAL, you need Malta been resupplied with aircrafts, or do You use the carrier instead to help VICTORIOUS hunting GZ in the north Atlantic as AR helped VICTORIOUS against BISMARCK? The answers to these questions bear consequences...

You also mentioned speed as an questionable asset. But the comparison You drew between SUFFOLK and BISMARCK is misleading. First of all, SUFFOLK was nominally faster than BISMARCK and not slower (design speed advantage of 2.5 kts, in action bismarck was faster and Suffolk slower, resulting in negliable speed differences compared to all other navigational factors) and second SUFFOLK indeed lost contact twice to BISMARCK. Once after sighting temporarely for some hours (the principal reason for Holland beeing misplaced in the morning of the battle) and then after breaking with PE.

Here You compare a cruiser which is nominally slower than GZ. Unlike BISMARCK, GZ is indeed able to break contact by throtteling up to top speed. GZ by measure of it´s design speed is 6 kn faster than the BISMARCK-class and 3kts faster than the SCHARNHORST-class. It´s natural speed is higher, too as is it´s cruise speed.
Thus I feel confident to hold my opinion that it won´t be possible for aviable RN units to track her. Some may make contact (sighting or radar contact reports) but to track her as has been seen during operation Rheinübung by Suffolk and Norfolk is virtually impossible, You need to slow her down appreciably before achieving this. But when You can´t track her, how are You going to fix GZ future positions for airstrikes supposed to hit her?

--------------


lwd,
They are plenty fast enough to cut her off if they are in front of her as you suggest Rodney was. Of course if this is occuring instead of the Bismarck sortie you forgot to mention Hood and POW.
In this situation, after running 32 kts instead of 28 in the previous night, and without SUFFOLK and NORFOLK been able to track, this engagement doesn´t take place, GZ stands 50nm further to the southwest than BISMARCK at dawn -HOOD and PoW (or KGV and RENOWN for that matter) are unable to make contact. Distance would be 70nm between the forces and increasing. It´s very unlikely that the RN have a fix on GZ´s position this time and likely that they direct their forces to less optimal search areas. There would also be a lot of wrong sighting reports from ships referring to single engined biplane carrier planes, which may refer either to the Swordfishs operating from VICTORIOUS or to Fi-167 operating from GZ (the latter also is a biplane, unfortunately, making ID kind of tricky).

Sachsenwald rescued two survivors according to her report. That´s also what Your reference gives. There are a number of ships send out durign operation Rheinübung conducting supply and beeing lost but again, that didn´t destroyed the logistic ring or impaired the operational logistic base to conduct later operations, such as the planned outbreak of mid 1941 with TIRPITZ and SCHEER or that with TIRPITZ and HIPPER had Hitler agreed upon this. There are plenty of supply ships aviable to support GZ in the North, Mid- and South Atlantic in late 1941.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by 19kilo » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:47 am

I believe GZ would need escorts (light cruisers perferably) if for nothing else than to act as plane guards.

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