A 15" gunned Scharnhorst at North Cape

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
User avatar
Terje Langoy
Posts: 435
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:15 pm
Location: Bergen, Norway

15" gunned Scharnhorst at North Cape

Post by Terje Langoy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:34 pm

G'day, all

Paul, I'm not advocating improvements to the Kriegsmarine; merely proposing a change of course. And in this regard your thoughts concerning the submarine fleet may well be profitable as I'm sure none would object to the position of the submerged arm of the German Navy being the most potent weapon in their arsenal. To that end I have but emphasized the restoration of a submarine fleet being a non-issue while under the Treaty of Versailles. Seems to me the options would be (1) start with A.G.N.A. and pan out from there, (2) re-negotiate the terms for a "legally built" submerged fleet, (3) risk violation of said treaty terms and so forth add potential intervention before 1939, (4) ramp up German submarine production after August 1939, possibly at the expense of scrapping the unfinished Bismarck-class and various other projects. Doenitz wanted more submarines, Goering wanted more planes, Raeder wanted more ships. This is quite a natural position for all of them but certainly not indicative of any given one being correct until after the arsenal runs on dry. A hindsight position

"Aliquid et Omnibus, Nihil in Toto – Something in Everything, Nothing as a Whole" - I'm out of my depths here but still under the impression that the sum of tools could have been used more effectively. Note though that I'm not speaking of the submarine fleet which was put to use quite decently but rather the withdrawal of capital ships from the Atlantic theatre thus leaving the wolves to fend for themselves. Battleships and cruisers at large in the "Vast Blue" would be a considerable threat to Allied convoys. Sub and ship, sum over part

Measuring and/or altering any singular battle is not neccessarily a frame for improvement but rather knowledge gained and conclusions extracted. And some battles are of course regarded being of a higher significance than others pending what happens after said mission. Like Exercise Rhein and subsequently Cerberus. My position would be that of Admiral Raeder; the Twins on shortroute back out into the Atlantic, maintain the initiative. Chances are they will be chased down and sunk but then again, have a look at history. Withdrawal in early 42, neutralized by late 43 with the Scharnhorst at North Cape. In the meantime, little to no results. Should have let Raeder do his job, I say. Yet here we are, talking gun calibre at a time when capital ships were treated like some rare and fragile commodity hidden away in fear of losing it. Doenitz wanted to keep 'em but it seems he didn't quite know what to do with them. Must have been a sad spectacle, captaining a German battleship in 1943. This long rant has very little to do with the technical specs or tactical dispositions of the Scharnhorst in late 43, I have hijacked and digressed for too long already so I think the proverbial "line in the sand" ought to be drawn sooner than later. Carry on, chaps

Ending my post here, seeing microsoft computahs apparently are stuck in this endless cycle of updating. Damn you, Bill Gates! Time to fetch the dull knife from the drawer and self-mutilate till the red mist dissolves

“Gneisenau has given way, and we are to march at once to your chief.”

User avatar
Dave Saxton
Posts: 3103
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains USA

Re: A 15" gunned Scharnhorst at North Cape

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:58 pm

My position on more U-boats available early war, is that the technology was not there yet, early enough, for more U-boats to be as effective as is assumed. I'm using hindsight, but could greater numbers of boats early war, force Britain out of the war before the avalanche of counter measures began to take effect? I remain skeptical.

One problem was that German torpedoes usually didn't work during that period. On the other hand during the early war period, the most effective use of U-boats was on the surface at night using the deck gun. The British lacked the technology to locate them on the surface at night. Once the British obtained the necessary locating technologies, however, then a submersible became the hunted instead of the hunter. A marginal improvement in underwater speed and diving depth over WWI submarines was not enough. Only a revolutionary submarine technology upgrade, such as the Type XXI, could stop the inevitable. The U-boat was already defeated by mid 1943.
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