If Bismarck had made it to France

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Carpathia
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If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Carpathia » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:27 am

Hypothetically, what would have happened had Bismarck made it to France as it was going to? Would the British have tried to get the Bismarck while undergoing repairs or wait for it to come out again. If the British decided to wait the Bismarck out, would Bismarck have just sat in France not doing anything or try to make another break for the Atlantic?

How would that have affected WW2 in the long run?

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Byron Angel » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:32 am

[ 1 ] Bismarck goes right into dry-dock for repairs - she is the most important German warship in port.
[ 2 ] British Bomber Command spends a year trying to destroy her through repeated air raids.

The open question is whether the RN seeks to blockade these four German ships in Brest harbor - mines, submarines, relocation of some number of capital ships + CVs + supporting lighter forces. Can Great Britain afford to commit the necessary force in 1941/1942?

B

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by kevin32422 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:07 am

I see the Royal Air force giving it plenty of attention, if it can survive that and be in good condition I also see it sitting in there until the Channel dash in which I think it will make it to Germany will maybe some damage due to mines or maybe a torpedo

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:28 am

Hello everybody,

a very interesting discussion, possibly more belonging to the "Hypothetical Scenarios".

IMO it's not just a matter of air strikes in France: please keep in mind that the twins survived all the air strikes (despite heavy damages) and the British lost 53 planes and used more than 4100 tons bombs in the vain attempt to sink them... Had Bismarck made for France, her repairs could have been made quite quickly and Germans would have used everything (deployment of Luftwaffe squadrons + enhanced flak defenses) to try to protect her, especially for the propaganda effect of the ship that was able to rule the British fleet.
We have to keep in mind however that, had Bismarck repairs lasted just a while, the German Atlantic network of tankers and support ship would have been anyway destroyed, thus preventing any further attempt to carry a serious merchant war in the Ocean and making unavoidable the "Channel Dash" at the end.


Of course the effect of a powerful "fleet in being" during 1941 in France would have posed huge problems to British traffic, as a single battleship could in no way guarantee anymore the safety of a convoy against BS, SH, GU and PG together. However, the survival of Bismarck wouldn't have changed (nor even heavily influenced) the final outcome of the war, especially after the June invasion of Russia (that "de facto" prevented the Tirpitz from being sent as well in Atlantic) and the US "intervention" at the end of the year.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by frontkampfer » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:13 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:32 am
[ 1 ] Bismarck goes right into dry-dock for repairs - she is the most important German warship in port.
[ 2 ] British Bomber Command spends a year trying to destroy her through repeated air raids.

The open question is whether the RN seeks to blockade these four German ships in Brest harbor - mines, submarines, relocation of some number of capital ships + CVs + supporting lighter forces. Can Great Britain afford to commit the necessary force in 1941/1942?

B
If Bismarck had made it to France it would have been the biggest propaganda victory of the war despite what would have happened afterward. Sinking Hood, damaging PoW & evading the RN would have been a major coup!
"I will not have my ship shot out from under my ass!"

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by RF » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:15 am

Had Bismarck made it to France Churchill would have made it the number one target for Bomber Command. As Alberto has commented the chain of Atlantic supply ships would be destroyed and the fuel priorities for the Russian Front would make another sortie unlikely.

What I would imagine is that the US entry into the war might encourage Churchill into a big gamble - a massive seaborne attack with airborne forces and commandoes on the port and dock holding Bismarck, similar to the St Nazaire raid but on a very much bigger scale. Bismarck would have completely eclipsed Singapore from the mind of Churchill, Repulse and POW would never have been sent to the Far East.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by ede144 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:56 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:28 am
.
We have to keep in mind however that, had Bismarck repairs lasted just a while, the German Atlantic network of tankers and support ship would have been anyway destroyed, thus preventing any further attempt to carry a serious merchant war in the Ocean and making unavoidable the "Channel Dash" at the end.
If BS would have made it to France, it would be most likely that Hitler would have supported some more raids. The tanker network was destroyed, because they were used to support the U-Boot war and changed to their Enigma key's. The key's used by the surface fleet was more secure and less used and never realy broken.

The Tanker and support ships would have last longer.

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RF
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by RF » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:13 pm

ede144 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:56 pm

The Tanker and support ships would have last longer.
Not necessarily. You don't need radio intercepts to find out where they are likely to be, just a knowledge of the sea and the places most conducive to refuelling and resupply operations. Many supply ships were lost without radio intercepts.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:47 pm

ede144 wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:56 pm
Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:28 am
.
We have to keep in mind however that, had Bismarck repairs lasted just a while, the German Atlantic network of tankers and support ship would have been anyway destroyed, thus preventing any further attempt to carry a serious merchant war in the Ocean and making unavoidable the "Channel Dash" at the end.
If BS would have made it to France, it would be most likely that Hitler would have supported some more raids. The tanker network was destroyed, because they were used to support the U-Boot war and changed to their Enigma key's. The key's used by the surface fleet was more secure and less used and never realy broken.

The Tanker and support ships would have last longer.
An important point about the surface forces Enigma. Many histories do not clarify this. For example, most modern histories of the PQ17 disaster mention that the Admiralty became alarmed that Tirpitz would sail based on Enigma decrypts. However, as you point out, the surface forces Enigma was not really broken. Moreover, this was during the period of time after the U-boat Enigma had switched to the four rotor version and it could not be decrypted for the remainder of 1942. Ultra was instead reading unsecure dock yard codes combined with old fashioned traffic analysis. An order was transmitted in an unsecure code to top off Tirpitz' fuel tanks. There is also the question of the Luftwaffe Enigma insecurity and poor radio discipline typically practiced during Luftwaffe operational communications.
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.

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