Lutjens' Intentions

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
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RNfanDan
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by RNfanDan » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:01 pm

http://prorev.com/wannsee.htm

The mechanism for dissolving the ghettoes was put into place formally, as early as January 20, 1942. It did not take until 1944 to get them to the camps.
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Vic Dale
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:59 pm

The big numbers did not get there until August 44.

However the point is the the Military chiefs were well up on what was going on nationally and internationally. Such information is essential if a military plan is to be drawn up for possible invasion, alliance, or just to arrange trade and the protection of it. Logistics in one theatre requires understanding of a whole host of political developments elsewhere which could upset things.

At 1144 on the 26th, Group west transmitted a briefing as to the role of France in the "New Order" after German French negotiations. The implications drew in Mediterranean North Africa, West Africa, Syria and Iraq. There was a suggestion even that De Gaul who now controlled the colonies might initiate armed action against Britain. It's worth reading and demonstrates just how politically aware the Military Chiefs of the Third Reich actually were.

Lutjens had a squadron at sea and also could call on the support of Doenitz's U-Boats. He could also call on any surface vessels to act in support of any of his decisions. He was the man on the spot and there was not even a hint of discontent with his conduct of the operation from Group West. No one intervened to override and instruct him in what he should do next. At the wash up the senior officers were very ready to point the finger and criticise the failure to get PG into the lee of fire and for her failure to develop a torpedo attack on PoW. They also criticised the poorly constructed battle charts from PG, so they did go into detail. They never found fault with anything Lutjens did, in stark contrast to the attitude of the survivors who landed in Britain.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by RF » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:08 pm

Vic Dale wrote: The best example would be the attack on Poland - right out of the blue and with no warning. The military tops knew about it and all of the naval officers at command level were aware, so they could respond if they were needed.
Yes. They were all told that Britain and France wouldn't interfere. Hitler got that one wrong. Unfortunately the French Army sat in the Maginot Line while the panzers and stukas were in Poland. Had the French the balls to attack they would have swept across western Germany with no serious opposition and Hitler would have been toppled.
The same was true when the Japanese went for Pearl Harbour..
But the Germans had no incling of Japanese intentions. Indeed Hitler signed up to the Tripartite Pact precisely to use Japan as a deterrent to the USA declaring war on Gertmany. Japan signed the Pact for the exact opposite reason - to get Germany as an ally when they attacked the US to make the Americans more likely to sue for peace if they faced a two ocean war. The Japanese very cunningly got their objective on 11 December 1941.... but still couldn't win.
Yammamoto understood that Japan couldn't win. But Tojo had other views on that subject and impressed them on Hirohito.
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by RF » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:15 pm

Vic Dale wrote: In July 1944, Army officers tried to kill Hitler and would have taken over the country. They would need to know a good deal more than the daily guff which was churned out for the masses.


I doubt whether they would have succeeded even if Hitler was killed. Why? Because of the astonishing incompetence and lack of urgency on the part of the conspirators. The Waffen SS generals would have taken charge pretty quickly. The likes of Major Remer would have had the War Ministry under Geobbels control even without hearing the voice of the Fuhrer.

But this is really getting off topic.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:06 pm

Well I have no time for dictators or generals and their squabbles.

Lutjens will have been aware of the world situation and would have been well aware of the political impact his operation would make on the rest of the world. Had he been able to secure a success he could have paralysed transatlantic commerce and that would have altered Britain's position in the world. He would have been adding to Germany's fortunes which until then had hardly put a foot wrong.

Peace had reigned in Europe for almost a year and was only spoiled by that spiteful little island which would not lie down. The continuing war was causing mayhem to traders, which wished to send their goods to Europe by sea, the cheapest way. The feeling might well have been "Finish the bloody job and let's get back to business!"

A great deal could be hanging on what Lutjens chose to do at any given time and he will have been weighing his options very carefully. It went above and beyond the salvation or loss of a great ship. Hood had gone and nothing could be done about it. If Bismarck found herself able to slip away and remain at large, then that in itself would have been a major coup. There might have been some alterations at the Admiralty, a new C-in-C perhaps and think about the disruption that would cause. Churchill's position was far from secure at that time and did not become secure until the victory at El Allamein. The situation was precarious. British assets were disappearing in the Mediterranean and in North Africa and a good decision from Lutjens could bring the whole house of cards down. A new government might well sue for peace.

These were all latent possibilities and the outcome could simply hang on the fortunes of war. That is why everything was risked to get at Bismarck. That is what Lutjens was warning about when he addressed the crew.

Bismarck in the Atlantic was worth three of her in France. Ok Lutjens and the crew would be feted no doubt about that, but this was war and warships must fight. For Bismarck, the best way to fight was to remain at sea and continue to disrupt trade and she was already doing that without having to fire a shot. She certainly had the British Admiralty rattled.

If Bismarck and PG could remain at sea the toll in British merchant shipping would be great and no doubt the U-Boat arm would see a surge in it's fortunes too. More boats would be sent to sea, to capitalise on what had already been achieved.

Possibly the British would have had to empty the Mediterranean of warships in order to hunt them down.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by RNfanDan » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:10 pm

Vic Dale wrote:After 1300 speed was reduced to 24knots, presumably to effect repairs to the shell holes in the bow. At 1620, it appears the ship went onto 30 knots, possibly to see how she handled with the hole in her port side.
Müllenheim-Rechberg wrote¹: "In the afternoon we reduced speed to 12 knots to facilitate the repair work still being done in the forecastle. With much difficulty, men in diving gear climbed into the completely flooded forward compartments and opened the oil-tank valves, which gave us a few more hundred tons of fuel."

This statement seems to indicate that perhaps the work to begin repairing the holes was finally reaching a point where enough materials and equipment may have been accumulated forward to commence efforts to deal with the damage more permanently. The compartments, being fully flooded as described, establishes that the valves and oil they freed for use were the top priority (otherwise, why not just wait until the repairs were completed and THEN open them?).

It also establishes that the ship was still experiencing higher than normal draught. If this is accurate --and I have no reason to assume otherwise-- when combined with Vic's statement above it took, at a minimum, three hours (or four, if there is a one-hour time zone offset to be applied) to prepare for the 18-knot advance in speed.

The Baron's information was what I was after, but took me until today to access from moving-in storage. So we have 12 knots from a reliable source, as well as con formation of both the degree of flooding still to be dealt with on the 25th, and an idea of what fuel stores were available from the valves having been opened.

Dan

¹Battleship Bismarck [Naval Institute Press], ©1980, pp.155 & 156.
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by wadinga » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:05 pm

Hello RNfan Dan,

(Thank God we are back on the subject and not ploughing through a lot of rehashed self-improvement twaddle "Anybody can do anything if they just believe") :wink: Or worse still, whose fault was WWII? Discuss :shock:

If only your quote had followed
"In the afternoon we reduced speed to 12 knots to facilitate the repair work still being done in the forecastle. With much difficulty, men in diving gear climbed into the completely flooded forward compartments and opened the oil-tank valves, which gave us a few more hundred tons of fuel."
With The bit about the recommendation of the Naval Constructor? One would be missing the significance if one got hung up about whether the anchors and chains were actually jettisoned, because it really doesn't matter. Unlike "Never say Die" Vic Dale with his imaginaty easy textbook repair (and his magical "Star Trek" steel one tenth the weight of real steel :lol: )and his crew of doughty damage control experts, Herr Heinrich Schluter actually knew where the damage was, how bad it actually was, whether it was flooded and the resources available to fix it in the prevailing conditions. I have no doubt that for every minute of the 36 hours between PoW's hit and the afternoon of the 25th, Viktor Von Dalemann and his doughty Teutonic damage control crew struggled to seal the leak permanently and failed so dismally that the expert shipwright ( undoubtedly vastly more skilled and knowledgeable than our own Resident Shellback) said "The only hope is Cut the B*****y Anchors off!

It doesn't matter whether the Command accepted this suggestion, it is enough that this last resort of last resorts was suggested as the only solution after 36 hours of trying.

Lutjen's intentions had to be moulded by his available options. Limited fuel and a damaged bow, go to drydock and get it fixed.

It has been said
Until 1100 on the morning of the 26th, Bismarck's heading had beens 150 degrees and her bow was pointing towards Lisbon, but at about that time she turned 20 degrees to port and fired on a recon aircraft, thus clearly announcing her position. I believe this was a deliberate act, designed to identify the ship.
Lutjens had been steering to keep as far as far ahead of Tovey and as far away from Coastal Command as possible. Landfall on the north coast of Spain and then a run due east inside Spanish territorial waters would force British attackers to contravene Spanish neutrality. Group West had suggested going to Spain. There was no Vichy involvement on the west coast of France, it was all German controlled.

When Coastal Command found him he knew there was not enough time for this gimmick and turned straight for France at the best speed he could make 22 to 25 knots as confirmed by the decoded British reports course 110 degrees after discovery.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:21 am

There is no way the attempts to seal the holes in the bow could fail. It is simple damage control. Such a failing would have been recorded and note would have been taken for further operations.

Here is a sequence of photos showing how the men of Graf Spee fixed a hole in the bow of their ship using their own resources. We can see in the first shot that the shell plate has been torn and petaled over a large area. We can see also the vertical frame in the middle. The next shot shows that the petaling has been cut away and the heavy frame has also been cut out, so that a fresh panel of shell plate can be welded into place, from within the hull.

I would not have expected Bismarck's crew to go to quite these lengths to get the job done, but it does show that there was all the resource in these ships, in the form of skilled men and ready use materials. Funny how the Kriegsmarine forgot how to do this by the time Bismarck went to sea.
Montage.JPG
Montage.JPG (74.91 KiB) Viewed 1402 times


The personal attacks have been noted and that is all this individual is good for. Unlike him we actually lived the life and we knew what could and could not be done.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by RNfanDan » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:54 am

What we see is a damaged ship with the luxury of being sheltered, albeit temporarily, from exposure to Royal Navy guns.

What we see is a ship at rest, with no continual flooding from its bow wave or active seas.

What we see is a ship without bow trim or counterflooding to maintain a level platform.

<><><><>

Now, for what I have seen:

I was unaware until this very day, of the "40-plus" pages debacle at another web forum, dating back more than ten years (February 2003). Now I have seen it, as well as the "parallel thread" affair associated with that campaign. I have learned MANY things in the past couple hours. I believe I have a better understanding of the undercurrents and patterns associated with the topics which suddenly flooded THIS forum in May of this year.

In short, I've seen this movie before. I'm onto the plot now, and I know how this "movie" ends. I thought I was onto the plot as measured from my own experiences in 2008-2010 threads at yet another forum, one which finally ended when a certain highly respected expert became a moderator. But I was unaware of an even earlier version of the movie. Not anymore.

I don't plan to waste my time and effort on this and certain other threads, from this point onward.

Respectfully,

Dan

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:39 am

I have not said that the repair to Bismarck's bow would be easy. I have not suggested cutting out and making a butt joint as can be seen in the photos of AGS. I have suggested cutting away the petalling and forcing a plate against the hole so that the edges can be welded with a lap joint. It doesn't need to look good, it just needs to be water tight. I used the example of AGS to show that such skills and the materials did exist aboard KM ships.

It can be done and proof of that is the prepared sheets of steel to make the repair, plus testimony from two survivors that it was done.

We have had a torrent of nonsense about letting go the anchors to lighten the bow by 2000 tons, which was suggested by a naval constructor, but was rejected by Lindemann - and for very good reasons.

The water was got out of the ship and the holes were sealed. Lutjens' options for action were now fully open.

I have suggested, people here should think more about what they would have done under the circumstances had they been in Lutjens' place. Should he just accept failure to seal the holes and make for France? Or would he insist that the work was completed so his Flagship could continue to the fight. The enemy was in considerable disarray by this time with his convoys stripped of their heavy escorts and he had shaken off the cruisers which a few hours ago he had thought impossible.

It should be remembered that it was his inability to fuel at sea which determined that he should make for France. Now that he could bunker, he might well have different ideas. In battle the ground shifts continually and it is up to the tactician make good use of the enemy's mistakes and inadequacies. So fixed and rigid notions are of no use and Lutjens would not have been picked for Fleet Commander had he not shown those capabilities. We only have to look at how he took Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to sea just a couple of months earlier and harnessed all the resources in the Atlantic to lead the British a merry dance and sink considerable tonnage. Does anyone think he could have forgotten how to do that?

Group West suggested an extended stay in a remote area after Lutjens had reported his damage and inability to fuel, so it seems that there was some understanding between him and Group West. His headings do not suggest France, but a more southerly destination, even whilst the ship was still relatively water logged. With her pumped out and able to steam, what would he do?

We now know that Bismarck carried the materials to make a permanent repair.

We also know that she had personnel with the necessary skills to effect a permanent repair.

We have testimony from two survivors that the repair was completed.

The attempt to side track this discussion has failed.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:00 am

"The attempt to side track this discussion has failed."

You are absolutely correct. Nothing will stop this foolishness from continuing its spiral into the intellectual toilet - where it richly deserves to end up.

Have a nice day, week, month, year, remainder of your lifetime.

B

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by wadinga » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:17 pm

Byron and Dan,

I too find contradicting the ludicrous theories constantly presented as fact and supported with made-up evidence and a healthy dollop of ignorance, tedious in the extreme. Especially when it engenders the "well I used to wear bell-bottoms, so everything I say is right" despite being shown huge volumes of valid evidence showing he isn't. However, the alternative is to let it stand and let inaccurate information pollute the web. (What- parts of the web are WRONG???? :shock: )

For instance
We have testimony from two survivors that the repair was completed.
No we don't. We know a patch was welded to one out of two holes. We know mobile salvage pumps were moved forward. There is no information as to whether these actions were successful. We have another survivor account that says two repairs were failures. We have the Naval Constructor suggesting the solution is cut the anchors off.

This matter is properly discussed on another thread where we have further new information..

This thread is about trying to guess Lutjens’ intentions in 2013, but back in 1941 Group West was trying to guess them too as the Admiral was telling them nothing. They were trying to co-ordinate destroyer escorts , Luftwaffe patrols and the dockyards in France.
At 18:30 25th May Group West sent “If enemy maintains surveillance, an appropriate report of position and maximum speed is requested.” Lutjens’ uncorrected report from Uhrzetgruppe 07:27 was still convincing them that the shadowers were in contact, even though B-Dienst was not picking up contact reports any more.

12 hours passed without so much as a peep out of the flagship. Surely a Kurtsignale of position and “no shadowers” would have been possible? At 13:28 on 26th May Group West was still trying to find out whether Lutjens was maintaining the plan to go straight to France. Instead of asking the straightforward question “Where are you and where are you going?” they sent Uhrzeitgruppe 09:37 “Radio telegram 23:44 from 25th May naturally does not imply operational linkage.”

They had sent Uhrzeitgruppe 23:44 (of 25th) at 02:05 the same morning “Assume continuation of direct cruise to western French harbour, even if enemy surveillance has ceased”.
They were making clear that they were not trying to influence Lutjens by linking losing the shadowers with going to France or not. As Fleet Commander he had freedom of action (but why wouldn’t he confirm what he was doing to them?)

Bizarrely, despite the fact that Bismarck was under surveillance by Catalina, later Swordfish/Fulmar and finally HMS Sheffield starting 10:30 26th onwards, Lutjens had continued to stolidly maintain the radio silence he had established the previous day after Group West had first told him of his blunder in transmitting the Long Signal. Group West still wanted to know whether he was still going to France but had to rely on intercepted British reports until two short signals timed at 11:54 & 11:55 from Bismarck saying “Hostile carrier aircraft maintains surveillance square BE 27.” At least they had Lutjens’ confirmation of where he was.

Through the afternoon and evening of the 26th they kept sending useful information about the arrangements for arrival in France, still without Lutjens confirming it, but based on what they could gather of his position, still based on intercepted British reports. They even resorted to sending Lutjens verbatim British shadowing reports thus once again demonstrating their unshakable faith in the security of Enigma, by disclosing they were reading British codes!

Then at 19:03 the famous Kurtsignale about fuel. Nothing useful like a position, or forecast of arrival time at the French coast, just an announcement of a hitherto unsuspected “Urgent” fuel situation and a demand for a tanker. To be sent where? To refuel whilst under British surveillance? No wonder Group West were confused. The signal content was completely useless and there was no need for anything so short and uninformative since Bismarck had been shadowed for the last nine hours.

No wonder Lutjens' intentions are a mystery.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by tommy303 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:40 am

I seem to recall, and I could be mistaken on this point, but did not Bismarck experience some problems in receiving messages from Groups North and later West. If I recall correctly, Prinz Eugen when she was still in company, had to relay some messages she received which the flagship apparently did not. Reception appears to have been poor, though her ability to transmit seems to have been alright for the most part. It is possible that there may have been a number of missed messages after Prinz Eugen and Bismarck parted company adding somewhat to the 'fog of war' at both Group West and aboard Bismarck.
There was also a concern at the time, that the enemy might be able to home in on heterodyne emmissions given off by the types of radios which formed the Kriegsmarine's main long range radio sets regardless of whether or not the set was actively transmitting or simply turned on. When Luetjens went to radio silence after being told by Group West that the enemy was no longer in contact, the main radios may have been switched off on the recommendation of the staff communication officer or the head of the communication department on the Bismarck and only turned on at times when important messages were normally expected and this might have contributed to missed messages. Once the enemy was back in contact, though, the heterodyne issue does not explain Luetjens' hesitation in sending Group West adequate information on his intentions.

It is possible, I suppose, that there may have been difficulties in transmitting as well as reception, but since Luetjens' and Bismarck's logs were lost with the ship, we will likely never know the whole story.

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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by wadinga » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:48 pm

Hi Tommy,

Ah back to reality :D

You are certainly correct about Bismarck's radio problems highlighted by Hans Henning von Schultze in the reconstructed KTB but they seem to be mostly restricted to the forenoon of the 24th. Messages with Uhrzeitgruppe 05:52 and short signal 07:05 seem never to have been received by Group North. He says Uhrzeitgruppe 06:32 and 08:01 did not get received (presumably acknowledged) until 13:26 -13:40 hrs and were sent several times before this.

Since HHvS identifies the missing messages, presumably he correlated the afternoon messages from Bismarck with Group North reception.

Then later Bismarck signals by semaphore for a repeat of the U boat distribution from Group North Uhrzeitgruppe 15:52 but later in the evening radio traffic seems fine. Uhrzeitgruppe 20:56 from Bismarck is recorded at 21:40 and states Lutjens'intention to head for St Nazaire.

Then late on the 24th what is apparently the first version of the four segment Long Signal with Uhrzeitgruppe 23:02 is generated but received in mutilated form. It is mixed in with successfully received reports of Victorious' Swordfish attack. Group West tells Lutjens with two messages Uhrzetgruppes 01:01 and 02:34 that the Long Message segments are mutilated.

Further radio traffic like Uhrzeitgruppe 01:56 transmiited received 02:48 confirming still St Nazaire as destination seems just fine.

Strangely the KTB records work on the dummy funnel on the afternoon of the 25th proceeded slowly because of alarms caused by aircraft surveillance, whereas from the British side there was no aircraft in contact until the morning of the 26th.

I think the radio problems were just after the Denmark Strait action and Bismarck's radios seemed to work fine subsequently. The coding problem seems to only affect the long unwieldy segments of the Long Message.

I think Group West were frustrated that Lutjens maintained radio silenece for an unnecessary time period and would not tell them what his intentions were. Right up until his freedom of manouevre was taken away by Ark Royal's Swordfish he refused to tell those ashore what his plan and Time of Arrival in France was. I do not think radio failure was a factor.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Lutjens' Intentions

Post by tommy303 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:32 am

The reason I brought up the radio problems was it seems, from Luetjens' message “Hostile carrier aircraft maintains surveillance square BE 27,” sounds almost like an update to an earlier sent, but not received report presumably reporting the changed situation and that the enemy knew where Bismarck was. I know if I was Luetjens and my flagship had been rediscovered by the enemy, I would want to tell someone about it. Of course, if one is exhausted, and there is little reason to suppose Luetjens was any different from other men on board, one might not be thinking as clearly as one should.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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