3 German battleships in May 1941.

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:38 pm

alecsandros wrote:Hi Francis,
I read once about the composition of operational LW forces in France summer 1940. They had a very good number of dive bombers (~ 1000 IIRC), which proved quite effective at Dunkirk (allthough not deployed in large numbers) and then harrassing traffic in the Channell.
Acutally the LW didn't prove itself very effective at Dunkirk or Norway or even Crete vs warships at speed with a decent supply of AA ammo and the ability to maneuver at will. Most of the hits on those three occaisons came from warships that were stopped or moving slowly, or had very limited AA ammo, or were overcrowded with evacuees.
The total force of LW in summer 1940 was actualy larger than that, as a good deal of warplanes were located in Norway (Luftflotte 5) and Germany (squadrons in recuperation).
So how long does it take to get them and their associated support facilities and personel to France and set up in airfields there.
The period of 2 weeks during Battle of Britain in which LW directly attacked the RAF pretty much showed that the British were losing the battle rapidly, and if it werent't for Goring's genius move to stop bombing the airfields and targeting London instead, the battle may have taken a dramatic turn.
Acutally the opposite is true. The Germans started the battle with a substantial edge in fighters by the end of the first week or two it had evaporated to the point where they were on a par with or even had fewer fighters than the RAF. The RAF thought they were loosing because they significantly overestimated the LW fighter and pilot production. The LW thought they were winning because they significantly underestimated the RAF fighter and pilot production.
The evacuation of Crete in spring 1941 showed what massed air attacks could do against warships... [and those attacks, again, didn't come close to the total force available by LW in summer 1940]
And it certainly shouldn't have been reassuring to the LW. Nor were they able to stop the destruction of the amphibious portion of the invasion of Crete or the withdrawl of singificant numbers of British troops from the island.
alecsandros wrote:
...Indeed, a night attack on the sea would be quite unpleasant for the Germans, but summer nights are short, thus leaving only a small window for warships to intervene without the risk of getting caught in the open and bombed and sunk.
Even if such an attempt woudl be done (and almost certainly would be done), the warships would be intercepted while en-route to the Channel...
Based on the events of Dunkirk and Norway the risk is a lot lower than you seem mto think. The long hours of daylight can be a problem in and of themselves to the LW.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:52 pm

RF wrote:... The weaknesses of the Germans were largely of their own creation, from lack of proper forward planning beyond that for the invasion of France.
In part but they were a bit surprised by the success of the invasion were they not? And even with planning some things just take time. Time the Germans didn't really have if they wanted to invade in June or even July. Then there's the cost of some of the plans if and when they implement them.
RF wrote: ... How big was the sample?
I've seen the numbers and they were reasonable. Wiki makes a point of the Gallup polls being pretty scientific. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_poll
This document states the sample size was usually between 3,000 and 5,000 and goes into some details on the polls:
http://politics.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/4740/berinsky.pdf
And how come that reliance should be placed on don't know?
Probably about as much as on either of the other answers.
Were these questions asked before the fall of France?
The dates are on the page referenced and the second one I listed has the dates the questions were asked quoted, which was from 27 June to 2 July.
Just how representative was this sample?
Not perfect but good enough to get a feel for the public opinion in the US.
Joseph Kennedy, the US ambassador in London, who should have been in a position to know, didn't rate Britains' chances too highly.
But we weren't talking about his opinion. Kennedy was also somewhat biased I believe nor am I sure he was that good a judge of the military situation.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:58 pm

RF wrote:... The quoted production of rifles is a fantasy. If that were true there would have been enough rifles to fully arm the Home Guard instead of them having to parade in some cases with broomsticks.
What quoted production? I was talking about:
http://www.strategypage.com/cic/docs/cic393b.asp

British Equipment Losses and American Resupply, 1940
Lost * Shipped in June
Tanks 615 --
Rifles 90,000 500,000
Machine Guns -?- 87,000
Motor Vehicles 38,000 --
Artillery Pieces 1,347 900
i.e. equipment sent in June that arrived around the middle of the month I beleive and was fully distributed by some time in July. It came with a bunch of ammo by the way. British production of course was in addition to this.
RF wrote:
lwd wrote: ]Which they simply couldn't obtain. The RAF was going to pull back so they could contest the invasion if it looked like the Germans would gain Air supremacy and you can't hold air superioirty without having a fighter ration on the order of 3:1.
That is what the RAF should have done. But Park and Dowding would not have pulled the RAF back.
From what I've read Dowding planned on it. Of course the whole RAF wasn't even subject to LW attacks only 11 group for the most part, which means that 12 Group and 13 Group are pretty much untouched if I remember correctly.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:22 pm

Looking back through the thread I found this.
Dave Saxton wrote: .. In 1940 British light forces were virtually useless under cover of darkness, because they had no radar.
By the same logic Japanese light forces in 1942 should be considered "virtually useless" correct?
German destroyers (zerstroyers and TBs) on the other hand had radar, and they and lighter forces also by Sept 1940 had effective shore based radar command and control while operating in the Channel and the Western Approaches.
The problem of course is that there just aren't very many of them at this point are there? Radar control isn't going to be all that useful in an invasion anyway given the number of ships and other vessels at sea is it? Especially once things get mixed up a bit.
Indeed until Nov 1943 the Germans held sea superiority through the channel at night. Furthermore, during these time frames the Luftwaffe while operating in defense, without stretching the range of their fighters, held air superiority during day light hours over the Channel.
You exagerage a bit there though don't you? Certainly during this period the RN and RAF compledted a number of missions in these areas during the times you claim German superiority.
Even following the introduction of Type 271 radar in late 1941, and ASV radar on patrol aircraft as well, the Germans still ruled the night in these restricted waters until late 1943.
Unless of course the British chose to contest it.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:24 pm

Just to make sure I looked back through this thread and found that:
RF wrote:
lwd wrote: And what did the Germans have to contest it? Furhtermore what did they have to move troops across the channel?
The destruction of the RAF should have been straight forward because the Germans should have concentrated on the Fighter Command airfields and radar stations.
In the period where they did this historically they lost ground against the RAF.
... As fortheinvasion itself - the required shipping was there if it had been properly prepared and organised.
It was? Where? It took them what 2 months to gather enough barges and I'm not sure I'd consdier that adequate shipping.
Not that too much shipping would have been needed, the invasion forces required to land in a semi-armed England would not be large, especially with total air superiority.
These points are already dealt with under previous posts in this thread. ....
If they have been dealt with it has only been through hand waving.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:42 pm

If they have been dealt with it has only been through hand waving.
:stop:
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:42 am

lwd wrote:

Acutally the LW didn't prove itself very effective at Dunkirk or Norway or even Crete vs warships at speed with a decent supply of AA ammo and the ability to maneuver at will. Most of the hits on those three occaisons came from warships that were stopped or moving slowly, or had very limited AA ammo, or were overcrowded with evacuees.
Actually the Royal Navy suffered heavy losses both at Dunkirk and Crete
So how long does it take to get them and their associated support facilities and personel to France and set up in airfields there.
I don't know.
Acutally the opposite is true. The Germans started the battle with a substantial edge in fighters by the end of the first week or two it had evaporated to the point where they were on a par with or even had fewer fighters than the RAF. The RAF thought they were loosing because they significantly overestimated the LW fighter and pilot production. The LW thought they were winning because they significantly underestimated the RAF fighter and pilot production.
Figures vary widely. But, as you should remember, we discussed this before, in another tread, and we found an interesting memo from a 1995 RAF Reunion dedicated to the battle of Britain. And as you probably remember, there were many aspects to this matter, with some speakers mentioning Aug-Sep as the most difficult and alarming part of the battle, as dead and injured pilots were more numerous than reinforcements.
And it certainly shouldn't have been reassuring to the LW. Nor were they able to stop the destruction of the amphibious portion of the invasion of Crete or the withdrawl of singificant numbers of British troops from the island.
There were much fewer warplanes there than there would have been massed in France.
lwd wrote:
Based on the events of Dunkirk and Norway the risk is a lot lower than you seem mto think. The long hours of daylight can be a problem in and of themselves to the LW.
I won't comment anymore... What's the point ? If you start comparing the attacks at Dunkirk and Norway with a real, total concentration of all 5 Luftflotten... than... discussion is pointless...

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:43 am

lwd wrote:
If they have been dealt with it has only been through hand waving.
:whistle:

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7593
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by RF » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:59 am

Francis Marliere wrote: . Please note that if the window for an invasion is in summer, then the LW has no time to defeat the RAF. Hence, many of LW dive bombers will be shot down by Hurricanes and Spitfires and lots of barges will be sunk by the RAF.
Francis
I disagree - if the timescale had been followed with the diligence and urgency required then the RAF could have been destroyed within a week in July 1940.
In reality the Battle of Britain only started more than two months after the completion of the Dunkirk evacuations. In that intervening ten weeks period the RAF gained more strength proportionately than the Luftwaffe, not just in terms of the number of Spitfires and Hurricanes, but more significantly in terms of pilot training, especially of the overseas pilots - the Poles, Czechs, Candians etc

An air campaign based on joint inter-service military command - in which for example the KM expertise in identifying the Chain Home stations could be fully used - in which airfields were simultaneously attacked by Heinkels and the radar stations by stukas, all under heavy fighter escort, starting around July 20th, would have had a devasting impact on the British within days. Once the radar plots have dried up then Parks' air group can largely be caught on the ground at their most vulnerable - at the point of taxing for take off. The collateral damage would be cumulative - and effective air opposition over the Channel and the south coast eliminated before the end of July.

That is under a properly professional military command of the sort that the Allies deployed for D-Day.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7593
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by RF » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:14 am

alecsandros wrote:

b]Actually[/b] the Royal Navy suffered heavy losses both at Dunkirk and Crete
Yes - but this needs to be put into context.
At Dunkirk the losses were proportionally heavy to the forces deployed - but not disastrously so. The evacuation remained a complete success. The main problem for the ships was limited RAF cover.

At Crete there was no RAF fighter cover at all, allowing the Germans to bomb almost at will. However had the ground forces held the Crete airfields the paratroop assault would have failed and no amount of Luftwaffe support could have overcome that failure.

Sea Lion, with a proper deployment of shipping and with complete Luftwaffe control over the Channel, would have had a chance of success - depending on how effective the RN interdiction was.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7593
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by RF » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:22 am

alecsandros wrote: So how long does it take to get them and their associated support facilities and personel to France and set up in airfields there.
I don't know.
[/quote]

Properly organised, as the German staffs were fully capable of, it should take two weeks, three weeks maximum. That includes use of airfields as far west as Brittany.
Forward movement of air support infrastructure was demonsrated during Barbarossa - in far more trying conditions - where the scale of rapid advance had to be covered quickly. And the imperative of time was demonstated by the panzer and motorised units constantly outrunning the range of air support and the Luftwaffe desparatly trying to keep up. But ultimately the distance was managed and even Moscow brought under prompt bombing attack.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7593
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by RF » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:23 am

Might I suggest that this thread has meandered way off the original title and perhaps needs its own thread.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:36 am

RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote:

b]Actually[/b] the Royal Navy suffered heavy losses both at Dunkirk and Crete
Yes - but this needs to be put into context.
At Dunkirk the losses were proportionally heavy to the forces deployed - but not disastrously so. The evacuation remained a complete success. The main problem for the ships was limited RAF cover.

At Crete there was no RAF fighter cover at all, allowing the Germans to bomb almost at will. However had the ground forces held the Crete airfields the paratroop assault would have failed and no amount of Luftwaffe support could have overcome that failure.

Sea Lion, with a proper deployment of shipping and with complete Luftwaffe control over the Channel, would have had a chance of success - depending on how effective the RN interdiction was.
Completely agree, and this is why I like this forum :ok:

Francis Marliere
Senior Member
Posts: 269
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by Francis Marliere » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:47 pm

RF wrote: I disagree - if the timescale had been followed with the diligence and urgency required then the RAF could have been destroyed within a week in July 1940.
In reality the Battle of Britain only started more than two months after the completion of the Dunkirk evacuations. In that intervening ten weeks period the RAF gained more strength proportionately than the Luftwaffe, not just in terms of the number of Spitfires and Hurricanes, but more significantly in terms of pilot training, especially of the overseas pilots - the Poles, Czechs, Candians etc

An air campaign based on joint inter-service military command - in which for example the KM expertise in identifying the Chain Home stations could be fully used - in which airfields were simultaneously attacked by Heinkels and the radar stations by stukas, all under heavy fighter escort, starting around July 20th, would have had a devasting impact on the British within days. Once the radar plots have dried up then Parks' air group can largely be caught on the ground at their most vulnerable - at the point of taxing for take off. The collateral damage would be cumulative - and effective air opposition over the Channel and the south coast eliminated before the end of July.

That is under a properly professional military command of the sort that the Allies deployed for D-Day.
Even if the German were smarter than they hitoricaly were (ie attacking radar network, airfields, ... rather than towns) I don't see how the RAF could be beaten to the point that she could no longer attacking a convoy of barges in the Channel. If LW manages to bomb out airfields in south England, then RAF will keep the remaining planes out of range of ennemy bombers, and strike when the convoy will be at sea.
Nevertheless, whatever the success or failure of LW, I don't know how the army could land several divisions without landing crafts, naval support, amphibious doctrine and adequate training. I neither know how could this troops could be supplied after the landing.
I am also inclined to think that gathering troops, barges, towing vessels, logistics, etc. (I don't even think about the makig of the battle plan) would take some time. I can't imagine that the German would be ready "before the end of July".

Regards,

Francis Marliere

User avatar
Dave Saxton
Supporter
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains USA

Re: 3 German battleships in May 1941.

Post by Dave Saxton » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:24 pm

The Germans were certainly smart enough to make the crossing under cover of darkness. Some small losses will likely occur but I can't think of a way that the RN or the RAF in 1940 could have stopped them from crossing during the night hours, and once it's done-it's done. The simple historical fact was that Hitler didn't want to do it and the GAF not gaining air superoirity just made it easier to walk away from it.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

Post Reply