Although the RAF resented any diversion from its attacks on German soil, since the Butt report showed how ineffective those attacks were, the raids which kept all three ships immobilised and ineffective in Brest for nearly a year, were probably a far more efficient use of available RAF strength than killing cows in the fields of Germany.
From the report:
As Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everett in The Bomber Command Diaries put it "Sir Richard Peirse was not happy to be taken off the strategic bombing of Germany". Under a directive of 9th March 1941 the main effort was actually against U-boat bases, but "Salmon and Gluckstein" got their share of attention as well. Bomber Harris, as Peirse's deputy, was already formulating his plans for area bombing and "dehousing" (encoffining) of the German civilian population, when he would take over.Any examination of night photographs taken during night bombing in June and July points to the following conclusions:
Of those aircraft recorded as attacking their target, only one in three got within 5 mi (8.0 km).
Over the French ports, the proportion was two in three; over Germany as a whole, the proportion was one in four; over the Ruhr it was only one in ten.
The RAF would simply have had another big fat target to immobilise. None of the other ships ever got out of harbour to make an attack, as soon as Scharnhorst even went out on trials she was crippled and sent back into drydock.Had Bismarck been there, no doubt the above three convoys would have been attacked and destroyed
Instead of going to Russia I suppose? As RF sagely pointed out the same planes can't be in two places at once, but they can bomb Kiel one night and Brest the next. German defenders can't do that.With Bismarck in Brest, I would expect a much enhanced flak and interceptor protection provided to defend the symbol of the German victory over RN
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sunk and captured all together 22 merchant vessels totalling 113.690 gross registered tons in Operation Berlin taking 60 days to do it and "wearing out" both ships so they needed extensive refits.during the Berlin Operation, Lutjens was forced to withdraw when he was in sight of 3 large convoys, due to the escort of an old, slow battleship. Despite this, the operation was a success.
If Lutjens hadn't been so timid, there were more than 22 ships in those convoys.
The "success", if there was one, was not being caught, and was negated by being stuck in the rat-trap of Brest for the next year, and to be used by the RAF as a training bombing run.
As one A Hitler said of the trapped ships' predicament:
He had wanted the ships' guns removed for use elsewhere if the ships could not escape, and if Bismarck had been there, maybe she too would have been demilitarised and left to rust. Hence the gamble which was Operation Cerberus, a tactical success yet a strategic withdrawal.`a patient with cancer who is doomed unless he submits to an operation. An operation, on the other hand, even though it may have to be drastic, will at least offer some hope that the patient's life may yet be saved. The passage of our ships is such an operation. It must be attempted.'
All the best