Blucher in Dogger Bank

From the birth of the Dreadnought to the period immediately after the end of World War I.
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marcelo_malara
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Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by marcelo_malara » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:31 pm

Hi guys. In this battle Blucher was abandoned by the rest of the German ships, that could (orders notwithstanding) have stood by her. Was there any other case of a fellow ship left alone like this (in any war in the steam era)?

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BobDonnald
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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by BobDonnald » Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:50 am

Perhaps USS Juneau during the withdrawal from the Friday the Thirteenth sea battle.

BD

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RF
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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by RF » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:46 pm

Bismarck ???
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marcelo_malara
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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by marcelo_malara » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:41 pm

Robert! Good to see you, so much time!

I was reviewing the case of Juneu, quiet different, it was more a case of wrecked sailors abandoned instead of a fighting ship. In the case of Bismarck, are you Robert referring to the possibility of PE standing by her? In Dogger Bank numbers were quiet even, 5 British BC against 3 German ones plus Blucher, the balance would surely be made good by the better protection in the German ships.

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RF
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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by RF » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:20 am

Not so much PE, as an 8 inch cruiser wouldn't have been much use against KGV or Rodney, but the failure to use the stranded Bismarck as bait to attack Tovey's forces. I am thinking here of the Luftwaffe principally but also other surface forces that could have been sent out with air escort to attack RN forces approaching Bismarck.
Obviously weather conditions for air activity were not ideal, but a more sea power minded leadership could have done more than simply abandon Bismarck to its fate.
Then of course there was the prospect of U-boat support as well......
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Steve Crandell
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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by Steve Crandell » Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:20 pm

I believe the Germans did try to provide U-boat support, but they are too slow and there wasn't enough time. IIRC the Arc Royal passed within easy torpedo range of a U-boat which was returning home after expending all of it's torpedoes on patrol.

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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by RF » Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:36 pm

The main priority for the U-boats was to retrieve Bismarck's war diary rather than attack the RN battleships. Deonitz did suggest suspending the U-boat commerce war to concentrate on supporting Bismarck, but Raeder did not endorse this.

Had the Fuhrer ordered Raeder and Goering to give utmost combined support for Bismarck, combining aircraft, surface ships including tugs and U-boats then I think something could have been achieved.
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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by RF » Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:36 pm

Duplicate post
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Re: Blucher in Dogger Bank

Post by wadinga » Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:45 pm

Fellow Contributors,

Scheer and the High Seas fleet left the crippled battlecruisers Lutzow and Seydlitz behind as he ran for harbour at utmost speed after his "victory" at the Skagerrak. Seydlitz staggered in under her own power, but Lutzow was deliberately sunk with trapped survivors still aboard in order to deny Jellicoe a prize vessel.

At Coronel HMS Glasgow was faced by insurmountable odds and left the crippled Monmouth to her fate.

At the Falkland Islands Von Spee ordered his light cruisers to leave Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to their almost inevitable fate. When Scharnhorst herself was disabled, Gneisenau kept going until she too succumbed.

Naval officers sometimes have to make hard decisions.

The old "Bismarck could have been saved" shibboleth surfaces again. The Luftwaffe made an extreme effort at maximum range. They attacked various ships but only sank HMS Mashona. There were virtually no operational Kriegsmarine surface warships in Western France. Slow moving tugs would have taken days to arrive in the prevailing weather and could have done nothing anyway in these conditions. Raeder and Doenitz did pull all available U-boats off convoy attack to go to Bismarck's aid. By sinking British ships that is, although picking up the War Diary was of interest, as a secondary task. Since Wohlfarth had no torpedoes left (and little fuel) he was ordered to do that and Kentrat would have loved to torpedo any British ship, but weather conditions were too bad to operate at periscope depth.

Raeder's official report to Hitler, available on this very website (thanks Mr Rico) at http://www.kbismarck.com/raeder-berghof-report.html makes it absolutely clear all possible resources were made available. Nothing more could have been done.

All the best

wadinga
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