Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

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hammy
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by hammy » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:22 pm

RF wrote:
hammy wrote: In Germany Admiral Raeder was considering a Hipper development armed with four triple 5.9s ( and on a 14000 ton displacement that should have been a formidable opponent ) at one stage .
A Hipper with triple 5.9's instead of 8 inch? I'm not really convinced that it would be that formidable, its like Bismarck being armed with four triple 11 inch turrets - and then what would have happened at the DS battle?
OK , assuming there aren't any but some detail changes , except for the Main Armament swap from 4 x 2 - 8 inch to 4 x 3 - 5.9 inch , that the turrets are now armoured to a similar WEIGHT ( which might come out a little thinner than the 8 inch ones ), and that the Kriegsmarine's enginners have done something to improve the P E / Hipper pattern engines .

Lets call her Kms "Bratwurst" and send her out of Norway in October 1941 under the ( Vigourous and competent ) command of Herr Kapitan-zur-Zee Bernd von Bonensalat , to break through the patrol line between Faroes/Iceland in dirty "breakout" weather that prevents any flying .
The gale will moderate to a strong breeze after 24 hours but Autumnal Grey wet and windy weather is set to last for the next week or so , quite a swell at sea and bad flying weather in the whole North Atlantic and Northwest European areas .

On the way through she has an encounter with an Armed Merchant cruiser at 8.00 am ( 8 x 6 inch guns , 5 on a broadside ) who wireless reports her as a big German cruiser , which brings a "County" class cruiser rushing down across "Bratwursts" track at 3.00 pm and sighting her at 6 miles away in the murk .
If "Bratwurst" can get away , there is a convoy heading generally east towards the Clyde , about 18 hours away approximately to the west , escort one "Town" class cruiser (with 12 x 6 inch) and the convoy commodore in another AMC , all being trailed by a U-boat , which is out of torps but has plenty to say on the radio by way of constant updates on the convoys current position ............. .

Run the likely scenario(s) then for what happens at 8.00 am , at 3.00 pm , and possibly at noon the day after .

Oh and the the Home fleet's Battlewagons , Carriers and escorts happen to be all in Scapa for a variety of reasons , and the first Group cant get out of the Flow for 8 hours after the first sighting report is received and digested , and the Admiral is accordingly very cross .
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:12 am

October 1941???

The convoy escort and blockade line sounds more like October 1940. In which case our cruiser can take the place of Admiral Scheer...

If this is October 1941 then we have radar equipped cruisers and more destroyer escorts available. The 15 cm guns can deal with the destroyers, frigates, corvettes, but lack the weight of fire that a salvo of 8 inch can land on an AMC or the Town class cruiser, to sink it quickly. In that scenario a Prinz Eugen is preferable, better still the Scheer. In fact the best ship in terms of firepower in this situation would be Scharnhorst, it would annihilate your convoy and its escorts.....
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:45 am

If I was von Bonensalat, I would prefer one of my specially built Hilfskreuzer as previously outlined.

Disguised as a neutral Swede the hilfskreuzer asks the intercepting AMC if she has a doctor on board. The AMC isn't suspicious of this vessel and closes to less than 1,000 yards to send an inspection party and doctor over to the merchantmen, despite the rough seas. As soon as this boat is halfway down decklevel the raider drops disguise and uses its moden artillery and flak guns to disable the AMC. Defenceless, the AMC is quickly pounded into a wreck with a combination of AP and HE shells, and its magazine eventuall blows up.
With no raider warning, the convoy reports are picked up from the U-boat. Von Bonensalat decides on a night attack from astern, supported by a pair of U-boats in company running on the surface. One of the U-boats is ordered to sink the escort cruiser. The key decision on the part of von Bonensalat is that there are no escorting destroyers, just the AMC. The U-boat torpedoes the cruiser, a second attack on the surface sinks it. The AMC comes round and tries to ram the U-boat. Suddenly all hell breaks loose as a straggler ship at the back of the convoy suddenly transforms itself into a deadly warship and opens fire on an entire line of merchant ships with guns and torpedoes. Another U-boat appears which fires torpedoes at ships in the adjacent column. In the confusion the merchantmen return fire with their stern guns and end up shooting at each other in the darkness and blinding flashes and smoke. Ships try to scatter and avoid torpedoes, causing further chaos and collisions in the darknes.
Three hours later von Bonensalat has sunk twenty merchant ships, the AMC fell victim to the same U-boat that sank the cruiser, and the two subs between them have sunk eight more merchantships. The airwaves are deafening with RRR and SSS reports. Total chaos reigns, convoy cycles are stopped as the raider, in the darkness, could not even be identified - some ships reported a pocket battleship, one ship said it was attacked by Scharnhorst. The entire Home Fleet is mobilised in pursuit of a surface enemy that is actually a disguised light cruiser.....
Raeder and Doenitz are jubilant, even Hitler chimes in by ordering more super HK's to be built. Raeder plans more surface ship/U-boat combined night convoy attacks.....
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by Bgile » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:23 pm

Noone is ever going to confuse a ship with a cruiser hull for a merchant. Also, they will be obvious when being built, and will add to the total tonnage of cruisers. Finally, cruisers look like they do for a reason. You can't build a ship with anywhere near equivalent firepower and still hide the guns.

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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:06 pm

Bgile,
Atlantis, Pinguin et al all had cruiser shaped hull and sterns.

Most of the HK construction could have been achieved with the same secrecy and subterfuge as the specially built armed tanker supply ships such as Altmark and Nordmark. The British did not even know about those ships until the prisoners on Graf Spee released in Montevideo disclosed the existence of Altmark - which had already fooled pilots from Ark Royal into believing she was the US ship Delmar.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:15 pm

Bgile wrote: You can't build a ship with anywhere near equivalent firepower and still hide the guns.
If you can pack an armament of five 5.9 inch guns onto a 3,600 ton Narvik class destroyer, a 6,500 ton standard outline small cargo liner or something like a US Liberty ship as later built should not present too much difficulty to ship designers conversant with false decks and dummy superstructure.

In the words of Arthur Harris, the critics can decry this because it hasn't been tried properly. Such ships are expendable, the Germans wouldn't be any the worse off if some of them failed; if succesful they would be a very dangerous weapon.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by tommy303 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:11 pm

However attractive the idea of a purpose built auxiliary cruiser or disguised regular cruiser might be, it rather flies in the face of the purpose of the merchant conversions as actually used--i.e., to give the navy a set of raiders quickly with minimal drain on military assets and personnel. The converted ships had much longer ranges and cruising times at sea than was possible on a regular warship, and the loss of one or more would be much easier to replace than a purpose built ship.

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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:23 am

tommy, I don't think you have quite grasped the essence of my argument. Yes, a raider ship expressly designed as such, but once the planning and design stages have been passed I wouldn't expect the actual construction to be that much more difficult or demanding in resources than the construction of a merchant ship or other small naval vessel such as a Narvik. We are not building a Scharnhorst or a Bismarck here.
The problem the Germans had were twofold; the chronic inefficiency of the German shipyard construction, particulary with even small warship construction, coupled with the inefficient usage of the resources of labour and materials they had. The KM never had somebody like Henry Kaiser to get things properly organised and moving, and the way things were done were typical of the nature of the government system in the Third Reich.
The fact that the armed naval supply ships were specially designed and constructed, ironically they were actually better in terms of performance, speed and capacity to what the Germans actually needed, showed it could be done, and done economically.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by hammy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:31 pm

The supply ships were however simply a big ( for the time ) fast tanker with some of the centreline tanks spaces constructed as stores , supplies , magazines and prisoner/accomodation space , so that looking at one from close range you would see nothing odd except for the extra cargo handling gear and the big Motorboats , bigger than usual shelterdeck areas and some funny pipework layouts on the weatherdecks beneath .

Building a dedicated warship that looks like a ordinary merchantman is much harder . For a start you have to get more power in for more speed , and the long , narrow gutted hull is going to look suspicious in a ship which normally uses hold capacity to achieve commercial economy in operation . The narrowest fast type in normal service was the fruit carrier , but you are talking of something slimmer again .
Secondly , 6 inch guns need a fair old supporting structure , you cant just bolt them down with a couple of 4 inch steel beams tacked on up under the deck .
Many British Passenger liners DID have this reinforcing built in during their construction , receiving a government subsidy for so doing , which is why in both wars the Armed Merchant Cruisers appear so fast on the scene , for in these ships you COULD just bolt the guns in place , the structure , plan and stability margins had all been provided years before , you just drove into the nominated dockyard and threw the dusty envelope of specifications and schedules at the mateys .
But if you were to try to do that in a disguised way , the support structures would be visible as soon as you took off the cargo hatches , let alone concealing opening flap doors on the hull .
You couldn't go abroad for in every Port you would be subject to Customs rummagers and Sanitary Inspectors and they would spot your ship for what she was straight away , and I wouldn't want to be the German consul trying to talk my way out of that one .
The ships would have to stay at home , without an apparent plausible civilian role , which is precisely the sort of anomalous thing that Naval Attaches are there to sniff out , so I cant see they wouldnt be rumbled .I suppose you would want at least twelve , to give you three in dock , three in transit and six actually deployed at any time . Hard to hide .
You would actually do better to call and ostensibly use them as "fast naval Storeship auxiliaries" or something , along the lines of Japan with those "shadow carriers" that began life as submarine or seaplane depot ships , only to sprout flight decks shortly after the start of the Pacific War .

The "cruiser" hulls you refer to for some of the Hilfskruezers are actually contemporary ship styling references to the profile and angle of rake of the bow , and the curve of the stern , not the cross section or beam-to-length ratio . Queen Mary ( the passenger liner ) is described the same - Cruiser bow , cruiser stern .
It distinguishes them from the older "straight up and down stemmed ", and "counter stern" ships ( like Titanic )
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by hammy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:50 pm

RF wrote:................. a 3,600 ton Narvik class destroyer, a 6,500 ton standard outline small cargo liner or something like a US Liberty ship .................
Just a quick point for those of us without webbed feet :wink:

Tons in Warships are tons in weight ( albeit sometimes strangely defined )

whereas Tons in cargo carriers are (usually) measurements of cubic volume ( to compare shipping ability and for the levying of tolls and charges )

In both cases the people providing the tonnage figure are usually trying to fool others to gain a financial or superiority edge .
In both cases the figures usually differ wildly from displacement tons , which is actually what the things weigh , and ( oddly ) is usually irrelevant .
Confusing one sort of tonnage with another sort leads to all kinds of misunderstanding . :?
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by hammy » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:40 pm

RF wrote:If I was von Bonensalat, I would prefer one of my specially built Hilfskreuzer as previously outlined.

Disguised as a neutral Swede the hilfskreuzer asks the intercepting AMC if she has a doctor on board. The AMC isn't suspicious of this vessel and closes to less than 1,000 yards to send an inspection party and doctor over to the merchantmen, despite the rough seas. As soon as this boat is halfway down decklevel the raider drops disguise and uses its moden artillery and flak guns to disable the AMC. Defenceless, the AMC is quickly pounded into a wreck with a combination of AP and HE shells, and its magazine eventuall blows up.
With no raider warning, the convoy reports are picked up from the U-boat. Von Bonensalat decides on a night attack from astern, supported by a pair of U-boats in company running on the surface. One of the U-boats is ordered to sink the escort cruiser. The key decision on the part of von Bonensalat is that there are no escorting destroyers, just the AMC. The U-boat torpedoes the cruiser, a second attack on the surface sinks it. The AMC comes round and tries to ram the U-boat. Suddenly all hell breaks loose as a straggler ship at the back of the convoy suddenly transforms itself into a deadly warship and opens fire on an entire line of merchant ships with guns and torpedoes. Another U-boat appears which fires torpedoes at ships in the adjacent column. In the confusion the merchantmen return fire with their stern guns and end up shooting at each other in the darkness and blinding flashes and smoke. Ships try to scatter and avoid torpedoes, causing further chaos and collisions in the darknes.
Three hours later von Bonensalat has sunk twenty merchant ships, the AMC fell victim to the same U-boat that sank the cruiser, and the two subs between them have sunk eight more merchantships. The airwaves are deafening with RRR and SSS reports. Total chaos reigns, convoy cycles are stopped as the raider, in the darkness, could not even be identified - some ships reported a pocket battleship, one ship said it was attacked by Scharnhorst. The entire Home Fleet is mobilised in pursuit of a surface enemy that is actually a disguised light cruiser.....
Raeder and Doenitz are jubilant, even Hitler chimes in by ordering more super HK's to be built. Raeder plans more surface ship/U-boat combined night convoy attacks.....
Dream on old lovey :think:

Firstly we said this was dirty "breakout weather" so you couldn't use seaboats

Secondly use of a false " I require assistance -- have you a doctor on board ? " signal may not actually be strictly against the "Cruiser warfare rules" or the Geneva conventions regarding misuse of the Red Cross , but you are getting fairly close to it , and I question whether that is a realistic tactic to be adopted by a German Kapitan-zur-Zee circa late 1941 .

Thirdly we said one Uboat not three , and that one with no Torps left .

Fourthly If the attacking Raider can sink/disable one ship every 5 minutes , ( which is going it a bit ) von Bonensalat would get a maximum of twelve in an hour , by which time the remainder would be ( at 6 knots even ) out of range ( and out of sight too in the murk ) , and scattering out radially all the time . The raider might run down another three before dark , but the rest by then will be over the horizon and far away , thats what happened with the Scheer/Jervis Bay situation .

Now , if you're not going to play properly , Im going home ! :dance:
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:10 am

hammy wrote:The supply ships were however simply a big ( for the time ) fast tanker with some of the centreline tanks spaces constructed as stores , supplies , magazines and prisoner/accomodation space , so that looking at one from close range you would see nothing odd except for the extra cargo handling gear and the big Motorboats , bigger than usual shelterdeck areas and some funny pipework layouts on the weatherdecks beneath .
Research on the German Navy website shows that these vessels were constructed to carry three concealed 5.9 inch guns, and Nordmark for one was so armed, and I believe Uckermarck was also so armed, but not as Altmark, that ships original identity. The original plan of the KM was to use these vessels as armed raiders themselves, but this was changed at the start of WW2 as it was felt that their large size and large stores of fuel and ammuntion made them too vulnerable for the job, and too valuable to be risked.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:26 am

hammy wrote:
Secondly use of a false " I require assistance -- have you a doctor on board ? " signal may not actually be strictly against the "Cruiser warfare rules" or the Geneva conventions regarding misuse of the Red Cross , but you are getting fairly close to it , and I question whether that is a realistic tactic to be adopted by a German Kapitan-zur-Zee circa late 1941 .
The whole aspect of using disguised raiders is controversial, as the Ruckteschell case demonstrated. My idea here actually was not original. Dougleas Reeman used this ploy in his book ''The Last Raider'' where his character von Steiger used it as a means to lure a gunboat to destruction.
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:31 am

hammy wrote: The "cruiser" hulls you refer to for some of the Hilfskruezers are actually contemporary ship styling references to the profile and angle of rake of the bow , and the curve of the stern , not the cross section or beam-to-length ratio . Queen Mary ( the passenger liner ) is described the same - Cruiser bow , cruiser stern .
It distinguishes them from the older "straight up and down stemmed ", and "counter stern" ships ( like Titanic )
I note your comments about tonnage. The specially designed hulls I was refering to was on these lines, and not narrow beamed ships such as destroyers; a speed of twenty knots should be sufficient for the job and the outward appearance I wouldn't envisage being any different from say the Stier.
And such vessels would of course not be used in peacetime as ordinary merchants, indeed I wouldn't let them near any foreign port.....
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Re: Swap Sydney with Zara or New Orleans

Post by RF » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:46 am

hammy wrote:
Now , if you're not going to play properly , Im going home ! :dance:
With respect, the only detail I altered was to add in two U-boats, for joint surface attack.

This is not the attack made by Scheer on convoy HX84. there the convoy was attacked head on by Scheer, who was spotted, challenged and held up by HMS Jervis Bay while the convoy scattered to order.

In my scenario the raider approached the convoy from astern, appearing as a straggler. The attack was launched as a complete surprise at almost point blank range, using wolf pack tactics of attacking inside the convoy. In the resulting panic and confusion there is no order to scatter, ships are blinded as to their adversary and so end up shooting at each other, and as they try to avoid enemy fire there are collisions. This collateral damage aids the raider: in one hour say twelve ships go down at your quoted rate of one every five minutes, including losses due from tanker and ammuntion ship explosions, in each of the following two hours four more ships go down, which is how I arrived at my tally of twenty in three hours.

You say dream on. Well, it could have happened......couldn't it?
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