If Bismarck had made it to France

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

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Byron Angel
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:45 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:27 am
Regarding my "agenda" (funny to hear such a guy speaking of "agenda" when he has an evident one), I have none, except to admire courage and smartness on both sides, vs the RN fans who believe that all Axis officers are timid, cruel and stupid and all RN officers are courageous, generous and clever. The Denmark Strait demonstrated dumbness, falsity and timidity were well present also in the British side.

No agenda. Thrilled to hear it.

B

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:09 pm

Be thrilled, if you like so. It was not me speaking of "agenda" first (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8469&start=45#p82044) or clearly provoking/insulting when without any data to present (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8477&start=30#p81984), without having been stopped.

I have to defend no sacred cow..... , differently from many other people here.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by wadinga » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:54 pm

Hello Alberto,

You really don't get it do you? Half-time score doesn't count, only the Final Whistle matters. :D
after having inflicted the most humiliating defeat at sea to the RN since centuries
Since centuries?

What about Coronel? - Von Spee well ahead at half time, but in the second half...………..

What about Emden? a spectacular career in the First Half but then Australian Rules Football by the Final Whistle.

What about Konigsberg? Forced an RN cruiser to surrender (well she was being refitted) in the first 45 minutes, but turned to scrap up the Rufigi.

What about Skagerrak? More British ships sunk and men killed. Celebrated as a special day for years afterward. However the German side never really came out for the Second Half, and ended up fighting with each other in the Dressing Room.

As for Lutjens his "unconventional tactics" consisted of stolidly obeying orders even those who gave them (SKL) subsequently considered stupid, turning away from Ramillies and Malaya and failing to chase PoW and later running away from her. Lutjens did not score at Denmark Straits, he didn't even get off his bench, and contributed nothing, it was all down to Schneider and his gunnery team.
all Axis officers are timid, cruel and stupid

all RN officers are courageous, generous and clever
No-one has accused Marschall or Ciliax of any of these characteristics, whereas most people, including myself, consider Beatty at least stupid and probably cruel in trying to blame Jellicoe for his own failures. You effected outrage when I observed Arbuthnot was stupid at Jutland. Jacky Fisher was brilliant, stupid and cruel by turns. When Pound's shortcomings are highlighted you spring to his defence, misrepresenting these observations as unwarranted diagnoses of senility.

There is no reason to imagine Lutjens would have showed any more ability if he had made it to Brest, and besides, based on successful bombing of the other ships, Bismarck would probably have been immobilised for most of 1941, just like the others. Now if the Vichy French had let them use Dakar, well out of bomber range and there had been facilities and equally important, fuel, to support them there. :think:

Based on his track record Gloomy Gunther should have gone back to his desk in the Personnel Department, and left sea command to those with the talent and initiative for it.

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:25 pm

Hello everybody,

Coronel ? German ships were superior in number and quality.
Emden? Which superior ship was sunk by her in a duel ?
Konigsberg? Forced an RN cruiser to surrender BUT she was being refitted.
Skagerrak? Not a clear defeat: despite heavier losses, British held the battlefield and forced Germans to retreat.

Denmark Strait? 2 battleships against 1 and 2 cruisers against 1. It was a total defeat, with the humiliation of the retreat of PoW and of the "passive" attitude of CS1 ships: no surprise there is not much "enthusiasm" in reconstructing the battle viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8335&start=360#p81976 .


However, I agree with Mr.Wadinga that what counts is the final result, and Lutjens was finally defeated by overwhelming forces: I doubt however that even Nelson could have saved Bismarck under those circumstances.


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by pgollin » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:06 pm

.

- Why is this thread not about "If Bismarck had made it to France" ?

- Re. keeping quiet meaning anything in the various threads, my take is that I keep quiet when the arguments (particularly re. the Denmark Straits battle map) descend to arguing over the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin. The idea that the logs of 4 (or 6) ships will all be totally accurate to the nearest 30 seconds in a WW2 battle is ridiculous, as is the idea that all reported bearings will be accurate to I-degree. It is as if many of the people have never been in a ship at sea with WW2 type equipment. All sense has left the room. So my "keeping quiet" is a sign that I think that many of the claims (particularly of accuracy) are bunkum. I am in the "indeterminate" group, because I find the claims to be made for accuracy to be laughable.

- Re. A and A's claims in this thread (particularly Alberto) - I'm afraid he seems to be being rather blinkered in his approach to history, and indeed embarrassing himself.

.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:45 pm

Hello everybody,
"Why is this thread not about "If Bismarck had made it to France" ?"
Because someone though it was more smart to throw mud at Lutjens instead....viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8469&start=15#p81944. However I already pointed out that this is not the "hypothetical naval scenario" session of the forum, therefore this thread is not in the right place anyway.

Why is this provoker speaking of reconstructing the battle here, instead of going to the right thread (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8335&start=360#p81976) and trying to counter Antonio's data ? :lol: Is he too shy to face Antonio, who can once again ridicule his "observations" ?
His "keeping quiet" had been much appreciated by everybody here, as apparently he has nothing to add to any discussion.

Unfortunately for the ones like him, who love a "comfortable indeterminateness" (instead of facing the poorness of the battle fought on May 24 or proposing any different decent reconstruction), "fog of war" (in reality their own "smoke screen") has been dissipated since 2005 by Antonio's reconstruction (still waiting for a better one to be proposed).


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Bill Jurens » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:20 pm

I'm detecting a drift towards 'ad hominem' arguments again. There is little enough actual factual information at hand to discuss, even less regarding the personalities, motives, and abilities of those engaged in 1941, and in most cases even less regarding the personalities, motives, and abilities of current participants in this forum. So we should try to refrain from the latter, until the previous two categories -- particularly the first -- have been exhausted.

The thread on "Bismarck's Second Turn" seems to have petered-out. I suspect that this was because most participants felt that no real progress was being made to resolve the issues at hand. I'm no judge of the validity of that -- participation in these discussions is purely voluntary on both sides, and no one has any moral or legal authority to force a definitive conclusion. Threads, like dinner-time conversations, sometimes wander a bit, and this is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes purely innocuous. One jumps into the conversation at hand.

Again, before this begins to turn ugly again, I'd ask participants to refrain from personal attacks on other correspondents. A constructive amount of 'back-and-forth' is both healthy and necessary to keep the conversations going, assuming that progress -- no matter how slow -- is still being made, but we do want to try to prevent a return to personal shouting matches if possible.

Bill Jurens

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:46 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Bill Jurens,

you wrote :
The thread on "Bismarck's Second Turn" seems to have petered-out.
Yes Bill, that was the destiny of that thread, ... exactly like many others before, ... and surely many similar in the future on this forum.

This happens and happened every time one side of the discussion is cornered by the evidence and nothing else can be done but write a very simple and fair : I agree.

There is group of person in this forum that are here in only to counter everything possible in any possible way when the argument is going to change what has been incorrectly written on the last 77 years, ... and it is not my intuition, ... it was their own written admission.

Everything for them is better than the truth.

Apparently you are just realizing it now on your new position being the forum moderator.

We tried to involve them once again, ... with fairness, ... unsuccessfully.

But as said, ... it is not a problem, ... because the new documents have become available and there is much more than this forum in this world to publish the historical events and their related data in the correct way.

Surely after your new incoming book, ... many others will follow, ... as the Bismarck and Denmark Strait arguments are a very hot topic still.

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by RF » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:08 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:07 pm

Had Bismarck made it to France against all the above, Lutjens should have had his own "Trafalgar Square column" in Berlin (instead of the insinuations of "propagandists"). It's a (sad but logical) fact that history is always written by the winners and very few recognition go to the losers, even when deserved.
Note that the post war West German navy did name a destroyer after Lutjens, giving him a recognition that it is unlikely the Nazis would have done considering that he was critical of the anti-Semitic pogroms they carried out.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:13 pm

Hi RF,
you are absolutely right, I was not considering the "political" implications...

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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by wadinga » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:45 pm

Hello All,

None of here have yet considered that due to her damage from Victorious' Swordfish torpedo strike, Bismarck would have had to go to St Nazaire first and into the "Normandie" dry dock, later disabled by HMS Campbeltown. The dry docks at Brest were too small for her. A completely different rat-trap to Brest, and one which would have spread Luftwaffe defence efforts even thinner.

Interestingly, St Nazaire was little bothered by the RAF in 1941, allowing the construction of the massive U-boat pens to proceed unhindered. Assuming the Germans managed to repair her at all, she could then have gone on to join the others in the Brest "cancer ward" to take her chances under aerial onslaught.

Doenitz, in his memoirs, p 306 covers his own identical protest as Officer Commanding Submarines, over the "excesses perpetrated against the Jews, which culminated in Krystallnacht." He asked his senior Admiral Boehm to pass his observation to Raeder that "excesses of this nature must be repudiated by any decent corps of officers." He was sure Raeder would make a similar protest, and Doenitz confirms Lutjens' "identical protest" as Officer Commanding Destroyers.

Readers can consider for themselves whether this was a heartfelt protest against institutional racism enshrined in the Nuremberg Laws and the Nazi party or distaste at overt government support for thugs beating up and killing German civilians in the street. Doenitz' complaint certainly did not affect his career or stop him replacing Raeder and finally becoming Fuehrer! I really can't see the strategically insignificant sinking of Hood would get Lutjens anything more than a bunch of flowers, a pat on the back and a nice medal ( Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) like Prien. And he had already got one of them for his less than stellar efforts in Norway. Schneider got the medal for sinking Hood, not Lutjens.

All the best

wadinga
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:53 am

Hello everybody,

once agreed (thanks to Mr.Wadinga for the info) that the Kriegsmarine was probably the "less nazi" service of the German Army (as Regia Marina was surely the "less fascist" in Italy, as the facts after September 8th, 1943 clearly demonstrated), I think the "strategically insignificant" sinking of Hood + the sudden turn away of the most modern British battleship + the following loss of contact of the "shadowing only" WW + the final escape to France (fighting again the RN or not), would have hypothetically represented the most significant tactical victory at sea for Germany and the most humiliating defeat for the RN since centuries.

Bismarck in France would have built around herself, the twins and PG a powerful "fleet in being" that would have obliged the RAF to even more continuous (costly) attacks and the RN to a strict (potentially costly) blockade and heavy (surely wearing) escort of any convoy. June and July would have been the most dangerous months in France for BS: after July 1941 only very minor damages were inflicted to the twins by the repeated attacks of the RAF over Brest, demonstrating that the harbor had been made enough safe by Germans, after the very bad initial part of 1941.


Luckily, the Admiralty (Tom Phillips) coordinated the whole power of the RN to support the HF in the hunt to Bismarck, including the decisive Force H, adding the heavy (and reliable...) punch of Rodney to KGV, and finally succeeded, where Tovey alone would have most probably failed. In the hypothetical scenario of Bismarck successfully making it to France, I don't see how Lutjens could have been less than brought in triumph in Germany, even if (I repeat) IMHO the final outcome of the war in Atlantic would not have radically changed with Bismarck in Brest.

Of course this whole discussion is a matter of personal opinions...


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by paul.mercer » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:21 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:47 pm
Hello everybody,
"Lutjens' consistently-lacklustre performance compared with officers with initiative has been highlighted often enough in this forum. "
If this was the case, it was simply an error and it was not the opinion of the German High Command.

Lutjens was commanding officer of the fleet during 3 notable missions in which losses were always inflicted to the RN:
1) Weserubung (HMS Glowworm sunk)
2) Berlin (22 merchant ships sunk or taken)
3) Rheinubung (HMS Hood sunk)
He was always very careful not to risk his ships (too precious due to the numerical preponderance of the RN at sea) and always got approval from Raeder, despite Mr.Wadinga judgement, having followed his orders. The judgement upon Berlin results was so positive that he was immediately given command of Rheinubung, were he was finally allowed to engage battleships if needed to sink convoys.

Holland was so good to force him to an undesired fight against battleships, that he was reluctant to enter until unavoidable. However in it he got the most important (and quite humiliating) German naval victory over the RN during the whole WWII, annoying as it can be for Mr.Wadinga.


Bye, Alberto
Gentlemen,
As always I enjoy reading the comments and arguments put forward in this forum but if I may add a couple of points regarding some of the posts
1) Yes HMS Glowworm was sunk, but not after ramming and severely damaging Hipper
2) Re failing to engage, was there not an occasion when one of the Twins prepared to engage an old Battleship (not sure if it was an 'R' or Malaya and her captain was admonished by the Admiral in charge for disobeying Hitlers orders?
(3 The twins also refused to engage Rodney - although this was probably a wise decision
So I do not think that Lutyens should be criticized in any way, he was forced into a fight with Hood and PoW
Finally, I'll bet the Captain of Atlantis said his prayers when he saw HMS Nelson coming over the horizon!

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by wadinga » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:17 pm

Hello Alberto,
Coronel ? German ships were superior in number and quality

represented the most significant tactical victory at sea for Germany and the most humiliating defeat for the RN since centuries.
From Wikipedia:
On 1 November 1914, the ships destroyed a British force at the Battle of Coronel and inflicted upon the Royal Navy its first defeat since the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814.
Von Spee's ships were only a few years newer than Cradock's, Bismarck was 20 years newer than the unrebuilt Hood and Prince of Wales still had workmen onboard trying to make the guns work.

Plattsburgh to Coronel is actually a century. Prien's sinking of Royal Oak in Scapa Flow was fairly humiliating, so was Courageous (the Hunter became the Prey), and the sinking of Glorious, Ardent and Acasta even more so, these were all single ship losses just like Hood, and occurred just a few months previously.


Scharnhorst got four months of incapacitating damage in July, so was non-operational until November 1941, matching the four months of repairs to her unreliable power plant after actually using it in Operation Berlin. Gneisenau's April 7th damage (torpedo) and 10th (bombs)was estimated to require six months' work and she was damaged again on the 6th January 1942. Prinz Eugen sustained three months incapacitating damage on July 1st. The presence of the immobilised ships at Brest, not much "chained dogs" as helpless "cancer patients" on drip feeds, was dangerous for the French population of the city, many of whom were sadly killed or injured in raids, but also unpopular with Doenitz, for taking 800 German dockyard workers away from servicing his U-Boat war. He complains bitterly about this diversion of his resources in his memoirs and wrote impassioned requests to Raeder emphasising that the capital ships were incapable of producing results, and his U-Boat campaign was being hamstrung by their presence. There is nothing to suggest Bismarck would have been anything other than an additional drain.

The German officer corps were horrified at the thought of the Nazi-inspired civil unrest re-emerging on the streets as represented by the Kristallnacht "excesses". They had forced Hitler to suppress Roehm and the Nazi private army the SA in 1934. They liked Law and Order and this was too much like the riots of 1918 and the High Seas Fleet mutinies and the Freikorps and Stahlhelm. They thought the "strong government" they had allowed to emerge, represented by Hitler, should have no need of uncontrollable paramilitaries, killing civilians and burning German property. Anti-Jewish actions and legal suppression had started as soon as Hitler gained power, and these protests by Doenitz and Lutjens only occurred after November 1938. The important word is "excesses". More excessive than what had being going on for five years.


The RAF expended as little effort on the Twins as they could get away with. They wanted to kill Germans and blow things up in Germany. The ships were kept disabled until late autumn 1941. The British were kept informed by Philippon, who gambled his life returning to work in the dockyard after his radio operator Bernard Anquetil was taken and tortured by the Gestapo, but died without giving away his colleagues.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Paul L » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:53 pm

wadinga wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:45 pm
Hello Paul L,

Peddle what stuff? That real human beings are killed and maimed in naval battles and that they are real events that happened, and that we are not talking about "annihilating" sprites in video games or playing with toys in the bath? :D

As for emphasising the bravery and sacrifice of men who sailed voyage after voyage in virtually unarmed merchant ships menaced by the Third Reich's selection of weapons, and whose massive contribution to Allied victory did make our comfortable 21st century lifestyle possible, I will make no apology. 36,749 seamen and women were lost by enemy action according to the Wikipedia entry. This includes Indians, Australians and Canadians and probably Chinese but not Americans, Norwegians, Greeks, Swedes or other nationalities. Maybe you should view Wikipedia British merchant seamen of World War II or better still the entry for Canadian Pacific SS Beaverford.

Propaganda? Would you like to live in a world where the Third Reich had won, I suspect not. They were not strong on democracy, freedom and free speech. Their marine personnel exhibited bravery and sacrifice too, and we acknowledge that here, but they were not fighting for freedom or democracy. This site is commendably apolitical but not amoral.

Actually it might be a better world today- 3/4 century after the war -if Germany won.

As for democracy, no leadership at the time wanted the fiasco that was democracy , and despite what you might think , we all knew we were fighting to save the empire and the wealth which would help us. Chants of fighting for FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY were salve for the masses to help them deal with the terror that was war.

As to the original post , The raider doctrine that was being formed emphasised attacking convoys to enhance U-Boat attacks, by eliminating escorts and scattering convoy, but running away from superior threats!!!! Key was to operate in bad weather to minimize Wallie detection of these raiders, giving their B-Dienst teams time to detect convoy passage.

AGS revealed these guideline may not be enough and maybe only engaging inferior convoy escort forces could be acceptable. Raeder blurred this whole distinction by building a small fleet of battleships instead of more raiders and encouraging battleship clashes.

By late 1941 B-Dienst , had uncovered the Wallie convoy system and perfected merchant code cracking of convoys so they could be reliably detected and wolf pacts vectored to attack such convoys. But there were never enough wolf pacts around. As it was- raiders were demonstrating that they too could duplicate Wolf Pact successes, and approached the tantalizing possibility of a combined Wolf Pact -Raider - LW Patrol Bomber attacks on such convoys.
"Eine mal is kein mal"

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