Marschall instead of Lutjens

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RF
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Marschall instead of Lutjens

Post by RF » Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:05 am

Do you think that if the German Fleet Commander had been Admiral Wilhelm Marschall instead of Admiral Gunther Lutjens, that the conduct of the German breakout would have been different (more aggressive)? Consider:

1) Would Marschall have been content to be shadowed by Suffolk - at the initial encounter would he have done what Lutjens should have done, namely go for the Suffolk until she was sunk?

2) At the Denmark Strait battle would he have gone after POW after she disengaged?


In reality Marschall had been sacked by Raeder ten months earlier for excercising his own initiative as the commander 'in the field'. In retrospect, would you agree that he would have been a better choice as Fleet Commander than Lutjens?

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:54 pm

I like commanders that use their initiative and that like to fight: like Nelson or Nimitz. So, in this issue Marschall would have been a much better commander:
1. He would have tried to shake the pair of cruisers instead of sinking them. But after DS he would have no other choice.
2. Yeah: the Hood blows.
3. Yeah: the PoW sinks so that matter would have been historical fact and not a hypothetical scenario under discussion in this forum.
4. Bismarck gets out of DS a little more battered than historical so Marschall would have to go to Norway via DS again, and in the process sinking one of the two cruisers.
5. After a victorious welcome with a lot of propaganda and Hitler giving medals even to the ship´s cat the Bismarck stays alongside the Tirpitz in a Norwegian fiord until it is blown by the RAF sometime in late 1944.
6. By 2006 a lot of people would discuss how Lutjens would look like the German commander in DS and that the sinking of the two British capital ships by a lone german raider was just luck.

Best regards.
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Antonio Bonomi
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Adm Lutjens

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:03 pm

Ciao all,

In my personal opinion Adm W. Marschall was not going to be better than Adm G. Lutjens for Operation Rheinubung.

Do not forget the many errors Adm W. Marschall did during Operation Juno.

I think that nobody better than Adm E. Raeder knew his own admirals and having changed at that point means a lot, at least to me.

Denmark Strait battle victory ( the most evident KM victory during WW 2 ) is a lot to be given to Adm G. Lutjens own orders and decisions, even if caught by surprise against far superior forces.

Do you really think Adm W. Marschall was going to be able to do the same ?

Ciao Antonio :D

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Marschall much more aggressive than Lutjens

Post by wadinga » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:08 pm

Antonio,

I'm confused, Marschall sank a CV, two destroyers, a troopship, an oiler and a trawler for damage to Scharnhorst on Operation Juno. His only mistake was to change ridiculous orders to search an empty fjord into a sweep against evacuating forces.

Lutjens sank a BC but lost his own ship on his operation. At the end of DS Marschall is ahead by two DD etc. Lutjens' only tactical contribution at Denmark Straits was to delay opening fire long enough to frustrate his Captain into apparent insubordination. He lost control of his two ship squadron so badly that his flagship fouled the range of his only other ship. He was in such a disorganised shambles that he let the damaged P o W get away instead of delivering a truly outstanding Nazi naval victory. He continued out into the Atlantic blindly obeying irrelevant orders, still under surveillance by the shadowing cruisers, and despite shaking them off for a while, his raiding mission was doomed as was he and most of his crew.

Gunnery officer Schneider won the Battle of the Denmark Straits despite Lutjens. Marschall would have been more aggressive, but might not have been luckier than Lutjens. More damage sustained might have meant Tovey got him before he got back to Norway. Luckily for the forces of Freedom Marschall was sidelined for using his initiative.

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:44 pm

Wadinga:
Antonio,

I'm confused, Marschall sank a CV, two destroyers, a troopship, an oiler and a trawler for damage to Scharnhorst on Operation Juno. His only mistake was to change ridiculous orders to search an empty fjord into a sweep against evacuating forces.

Lutjens sank a BC but lost his own ship on his operation. At the end of DS Marschall is ahead by two DD etc. Lutjens' only tactical contribution at Denmark Straits was to delay opening fire long enough to frustrate his Captain into apparent insubordination. He lost control of his two ship squadron so badly that his flagship fouled the range of his only other ship. He was in such a disorganised shambles that he let the damaged P o W get away instead of delivering a truly outstanding Nazi naval victory. He continued out into the Atlantic blindly obeying irrelevant orders, still under surveillance by the shadowing cruisers, and despite shaking them off for a while, his raiding mission was doomed as was he and most of his crew.

Gunnery officer Schneider won the Battle of the Denmark Straits despite Lutjens. Marschall would have been more aggressive, but might not have been luckier than Lutjens. More damage sustained might have meant Tovey got him before he got back to Norway. Luckily for the forces of Freedom Marschall was sidelined for using his initiative.

All the Best
wadinga
I agree 1,000% with you, in special with your point about the possibility of Bismarck giving hunt and sinking the PoW.
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Admirals

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:24 am

Ciao Wadinga, Karl and all,

of course I fully respect your opinions, but I think I have a different one and comparing them I think will be very positive so everybody can make their own ideas of the whole matter, so lets do it :D .

I am not saying that Adm Lutjens did not made any error during Op. Rheinubung, he did and we can cover those ( I think you are one of the most expert about this especially regarding superficial use of radio transmissions ).

I do not think he ' lost ' control of his 2 ships during the battle on the Denmark Strait , his orders to Prinz Eugen are clear and well documented and provide him full recognition about the victory obtained.

He decided to use Prinz Eugen in line of battle, and he was not supposed to do it given the engagement rules for German Heavy Cruisers, it was only his initiative. I am sure Kpt Brinkmann did not like it and VizeAdm Schmundt did not agree as well about it after.

Adm Lutjens decided to concentrate the fire on Hood for both German ships, and it was at the end the winning factor.
Again it was not the usual engagement rule in line of battle anyway. He changed at 05.59 target for Prinz Eugen from Hood to PoW ( documented on PG battle map ) so he was in full control on what was going on apparently.

Do not forget Adm Lutjens clear order to Baron Von Mullenheim-Rechberg abour Norfolk and Suffolk control. This addittionally demonstrate he was in full control of the battle from his side, on all enemy ships.

So the above are the most evident credits Adm Lutjens have on the Denmarck Strait battle, and are not small ones, all well documented.

Of course others, like Jasper and Schneider do have other major credits I fully recognize, I am with you on this one.

Lindemann ' insubordination' at opening fire : I think Adm Lutjens liked it very much ! :D
That was on his favour given the orders he had on his hands and the radio message he just sent to Berlin telling them he was engaged by heavy units, meaning he cannot avoid the engagement as he was supposed to do.
So Kpt Lindemann made the situation more clear and easier to be managed by Adm Lutjens.
That his why the flag JD ( permission to open fire when ready ) was seen by Brinkmann on Prinz Eugen soon after, and that was Adm Lutjens order to open fire for both ships.
Remember Bismarck opened fire only after Prinz Eugen, so both waited for Adm Lutjens order to open fire anyway.

The real problem is that during the action the ship is on the hand of his commander ( Lindemann and Brinkmann ) and we know who did ( Brinkmann ) the most evident mistake causing the other ( Lindemann ) to react turning Bismarck out immediately, with no real reason to do it.

Now we should really divide Adm Lutjens responsibility from the initiative Kpt Brinkmann and Kpt Lindemann took by their own, been ship commander in action, without even asking Adm Lutjens I suppose.
When Kpt Lindemann wanted to pursue PoW Adm Lutjens followed his orders and said NO !
Been just caught by surprise and with a lucky escape, I think I was going to do the same Adm Lutjens did, he did not know what was coming on the horizon as we do today, so it was a wise decision.

Question : If this was going to be done by an Allied Admiral what was going to be the final judgement ?
Look at what is the image currently showed by the media of Adm Gunther Lutjens.

I think it is really unfair, ... but again, .... it is my opinion only.

Adm Marschall differently was not caught by surprise by anybody.
Just the opposite as he caught by surprise the enemy unprepared.
He was not facing far superior forces.
It is not a small difference.

He was in superior situation in fact ( thanking Glourios unpreparedness and commander D'Oyly-Hughes ) and immediately with an overwhelming very favourable situation established on the battlefield, after Scharnhorst lucky long range hit on Glorious bridge.

At that point, with the airplanes factor eliminated, it was only the matter to finish off the enemy with minimum or no damages, the only risk were the 2 destroyers torpedoes for his 2 fast and powerful battlecruisers.

Despite this very favourable situation he was still able to waste an enourmous amount of ammunitions ( Kpt Hoffmann responsibility on SH in this case ) and to loose control of a destroyer :shock: , the HMS Acasta, the only ship that could really cause any danger as she did in fact.

While Gneisenau was finishing off Glorious ( excellent performance of Kpt Harald Netzbandt died on board Bismarck as Adm Lutjens staff member by the way ) nobody really controlled what Acasta was doing and that caused Scharnhorst to be torpedoed and almost lost in action.

Who Adm Marschall ordered to control what the Acasta was doing ?
I am not aware of any charge given to Kpt Hoffmann ( SH ) or Kpt Netzbandt ( GU ) about this failure after both got promoted.
He payed personally after the action, so I think back in Germany KM gave the charge to him personally.

He was on board Gneisenau finishing off Glorious and not taking care of Acasta on that moment even if Gneisenau was the closest to the British destroyer on that moment, and with all the starboard side secondary guns available to manage the Acasta.
Gneisenau was shooting to port to Glorious with main and secondary port side guns.

Scharnhorst was not taking a good care of Acasta either as Adm Marschall was keep on telling Kpt Hoffmann not to consume ammunitions and stop firing ?

The torpedo was probably fired by Acasta to Gneisenau, but Scharnhorst was coming slowly from behind and got it unexpectedly.

You would agree given the situation of 2 fast powerful battlecruisers against 1 damaged CV and 1 destroyer left ( at that point Ardent was already sunk ) I do not think this was a real fantastic performance at sea.

Lucky him there were not Royal Navy heavy ships at sea on the area, otherwise with a Renown for example around, it was going to be the end of Scharnhorst for sure.

The other ships sunk by Adm Hipper ( Orama, Oil Pioneer etc etc ) are not a real comparison factor.

Adm Marschall was supposed to engage the main British escorted convoy with troopships going back to England from Norway and he failed the main mission he was out for.
In addittion to the above reason the damages suffered by Scharnhorst and after also Gneisenau ( both seriously torpedoed and out of action for months) I think were the real reasons for his substituition.

Lets compare our view's, 'apple with apple' and I think readers will like it and I invite cooperation and other opinions of course.

Ciao Antonio :D

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Re: Admirals

Post by RF » Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:25 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Ciao Wadinga, Karl and all,

Adm Marschall was supposed to engage the main British escorted convoy with troopships going back to England from Norway and he failed the main mission he was out for.
In addittion to the above reason the damages suffered by Scharnhorst and after also Gneisenau ( both seriously torpedoed and out of action for months) I think were the real reasons for his substituition.

Ciao Antonio :D

I'm not sure that this is right. As per Richard Garrett in his book 'Scharnhorst and Gneisenau' the torpedo hit on Scharnhorst was due to an error of judgement by Hoffman in turning away from combing tracks too quickly. You can't blame Marschall for that, he wasn't even on board!

Marschall was ordered to clear a Norwegian fjord of Allied shipping. This order was rendered obsolete by events which Marschall grasped, using his own experience and intelligence, so he attacked his intended targets in open sea. It is this use of initiative and Marshalls' conviction that the commander 'in the field' is in the best position to judge (a conviction recognised explicitly by Reader) which in my opinion would have made Marschall a better Fleet Commander than Lutjens or indeed Ciliax.

My impression is that Reader sacked Marschall because of a personality clash arising out of a difference of opinion. Marschall I think was too much of a 'loose cannon' for Nazi court politics, particulary in Raeders' relationship with Hitler.

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Admirals

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:28 pm

Ciao RF and all,

I see your opinion and that can be.

But do you agree that 2 fast battlecruisers so powerfully armed should not allow a destroyer to come within torpedo launching range without been heavily punished.

Who was supposed to order which ship was going to take which ?
I suppose Adm Marschall; why he did not clearly ordered the new target selection to both German ships especially after Ardent was sunk by Scharnhorst as well ordered initially by himself too I suppose.
Why Scharnhosrt was keep on shooting at Glorious ( like Gneisenau ) from very far away and only thing he was able to say to Kpt Hoffmann was to stop firing and wasting ammunitions :shock: .
Why Gneisenau was not engaging Acasta as well been so close to the destroyer.
Why only few minutes before been torpedoed he allowed Scharnhorst to re-open fire only with the secondary to Acasta, while Gneisenau was much closer and with all the starboard secondary able to shoot at Acasta from a much closer distance.

Somebody lost control of the whole action going on, underestimated the danger and the result was a big mistake.

By the way you probably know that Adm Lutjens had jewish origin so that was not surely a good relation move for Raeder versus Hitler.

Hitler asked on 1934 Lutjens been removed and Raeder saved him.
So surely a very high risk move for Adm Raeder that selection.
But he trusted Lutjens and at the end Raeder personally payed that choiche.


Ciao Antonio :D

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Re: Admirals

Post by RNfanDan » Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:20 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:He decided to use Prinz Eugen in line of battle, and he was not supposed to do it given the engagement rules for German Heavy Cruisers, it was only his initiative.
Small but important point of note here, in partial defense of Lütjens:

When Hood and PoW first appeared on their horizon, most German ranking officers had no idea what they were facing (capital ships) until the British actually opened fire. According to at least one published account, there was initial belief by most that the ships were cruisers. At that point, there was no reason for Lütjens to order Prinz away from harm. It may even be speculated that he did not expect a battle at that moment at all, but the two ships kept closing and it was the British who initiated the shooting.

It was not a decision by Lütjens to place Prinz Eugen in a "battle line", this notion is preposterous! Remember instead, that the cruiser was ordered long before the battle, to take station ahead of Bismarck not for combat purposes, but because Lütjens' own flagship was radar "blind" ahead. Bismarck's forward radar was disabled by its own gun blast while firing at Norfolk, and the cruiser had the only workable set looking forward. By the time everyone realized they were up against heavy units, it was arguably too late to take the cruiser out of the fight, and Brinkmann's ship had already begun ranging on what he felt were merely cruisers or destroyers.

I believe that, had Lutjens known for sure and in a timely manner what he was dealing with, he may have taken a different course of action with regard to keeping Brinkmann's ship (and possibly his own) in attendance.
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Pring Eugen in line of battle

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:12 pm

Ciao Dan and all,

this is not only my opinion, but Vize Adm Schmundt put it on writing after Prinz Eugen reached Brest and having heard Kpt Brinkmann report.

So you better read in here :

http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/pg003.html

especially this statement :
I do not know the thought processes of the Chief of Fleet ( Adm Lutjens ) here either for holding the cruiser in the line of battle, not only to engage "Hood" but also against the "Prince of Wales".
Remember that before opening fire Adm Lutjens transmitted a radio signal to SKL at Berlin telling them : '' I am engaged by battleships ''.
This is clearly written on Prinz Eugen battle map too.

Than he made a signal to Prinz Eugen giving them the target, which of course is a confirmation to maintain their in line of battle positioning ahead.

He first signalled to fire to PoW ( Von Flottenchef : at the enemy to the far left ) to change immediately ( to the right enemy ) so Hood, and this was the winning order !

Everything is written ( in German) on Prinz Eugen official battle map here in :

http://hmshood.com/history/denmarkstrai ... tlemap.htm

I do not think anybody can tell me that he did not know what was going on and was not making decisions and providing orders.

This is well proven by evidences.

Ciao Antonio :D

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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:42 pm

About Lutjens blindly obeying his orders along the Rheinubung:
There is a saying that all military plans work OK until the first shot if fired, then it´s bedlam. That´s why military officers are so carefully trained at Military Academies, War Colleges and gather experience in combat in order to get higher commands. So: they are supposed to THINK and act accordingly from once in a while (Well, there are plenty examples of officers not doing so).
Bismarck and PE were supposed to reach the North Atlantic unnoticed, by surprise and engage convoys. No surprise, no operation. At DS all those orders were obsolete in the moment not only were they located but intercepted by enemy BC + BB + 2 cruisers. In that moment Lutjens might had deduced that:
1. They will never reach North Atlantic "unnoticed".
2. That their Rheinubung Raid against convoys was over the same second Suffolk and Norfolk detect them: Alles Kaput!
3. That the British will never allow him to have a pleasure tour around the seas sinking ships and that his discovery was a death sentence to his Squadron.
4. That the same thing happened to him before that same year and he turned away to re-engage later with success.

The "just following orders" argument don´t seem to aply here because he was expected to use his criteria. If he didn´t turn away when discovered by Suffolk+Norfolk (and shadowed by radar to make things worse) and wait a better moment (maybe Schanhorst, Gniesenau or even Tirpitz ready to go with her) to re-engage then we was asking for fireworks in a huge scale. To continue his same bearing he was just doing that: putting himself in harm´s way.
Then, if he (Lutjens) was decided to go whatever happens he must be decided also to fight as a tiger. His orders were just words on a paper. If Raeder later dismiss him at least he would be alive (and his ships and crews safe) instead of being dead meat.
When he found (surprise, surprise) that not only two cruisers but a BC + a BB were intercepting him (not just shadowing) and he didn´t turned away, then, it was for a fight.
Was he so irresponsible to wait for Lindemann to yell at him that he was not going to wait to see his ship blown? The firing order for the Squadron has always been the Commanding Admiral prerrogative, not of the captain of one of his ships.
The answer is simple: the man was losing his nerve. Lindemann didn´t: he was ready to fight and kick butts.
When the Hood blew the Bismarck had in her sights, almost inmediatly, the PoW. Was something else coming in their way? Maybe yes or maybe not. But if the British put 2 cruisers + 2 capital ships in their paths it was a safe reasoning that it was it: the Brits were giving all they had in the zone, if not they would had waited until a much superior force would be assembled against Bismarck. So there was a window to continue the fight, sink PoW, had an spectacular victory that would ensure to Lutjens that even Hitler himself wouldn´t dare to touch him because of that splendorous revenge of Scapa Flow , and then turn away as fast as he can, aborting an already aborted operation (and wait for Tirpitz and the twins). Was he up to a fight or not? In the first minutes of DS it seems not, because he is not willing to order his ships to open fire; later it seems that, yes, they are up for the brawl; then he turns cautious again...
I remember this from Nimitz at Midway: after his CVs had destroyed three of the four Japanese CVs one officer told him that it was time to withdraw, that they had achieved a great victory already. Nimitz answered that he (the officer) was right, but that the problem was that HE wanted the fourth Japanese carrier. And so, the Battle of Midway ended far more decisive than it was already. Did Nimitz knew if new carriers were on their way? Or mighty Yamato with Musashi? No. He was taking the risk as a bold and inteligent commander (as was Nelson with his gambles).
Lutjens was up to sink two British capital ships, sustain damage and turn away with an outstanding victory at hand. Rheinubung was over by six hours before DS happened.

My thoughts...
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Hear,hear

Post by wadinga » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:45 pm

Karl,
I am in 1000% agreement with you too.

Today, on the anniversary of the birth of the greatest ever Admiral, Horatio Nelson (29 September 1758) we should quote him. "Our country will, I believe, sooner forgive an officer for attacking an enemy than for letting it alone. "

This idea that some Rule Book saying a 17,000 ton 8" cruiser should have no part in fighting battleships is ludicrous. You have to fight with what you have got. Ignoring such a daft Rule is hardly the "Nelson Touch".

Antonio, as I understand it the masterful distribution of fire signal was initially: PG shoot at P o W, no-change of mind, shoot at Hood, Ouch! Hit by P o W, completely undisturbed as nobody shooting at her, err, OK PG switch to P o W. Only after this, as a result of Bismarck's fire only, did Hood blow up. Far from concentration of fire being a winning factor, leaving P o W undisturbed made the bow hit which finally doomed his mission and ship more likely.

Antonio:I cannot understand you saying he still retained control of his squadron, when they were zigzagging around dodging imaginary torpedoes and each other, and letting P o W get away. I feel sure the tone of criticism of Lutjens which undelies the Baron's book stems from the Gunnery branches' feeling they were robbed of a greater victory by not sticking to their straight course and blowing P o W to bits. Lutjens should have overidden his captains and told both ships to maintain a straight course. The threat of torpedoes at 16,000 yards would have been discounted by a more experienced Admiral.

Of course an unlucky Marschall might have been closing in for the kill when, out of the smoke comes Electra and her flotilla mates, who slam a lucky torpedo into Bismarck's stern, jamming her rudders at 12 degrees. Forced to circle, he/she can only await the doom as Tovey brings up KGV, Repulse and even the battered P o W to pound her/him to bits. Renown and Ark Royal's crews go to the pub in Gib, and hear about it on the radio. PG is chased around the Atlantic by Norfolk and Suffolk until she runs out of fuel, is captured and used as a test target in Scapa Flow for the Tallboy bomb, and capsizing before the Tirpitz raid. Funny how history turns out.

All the Best
wadinga
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Admirals

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Sep 30, 2006 11:14 am

Ciao Sean,

good to know yesterday was the Nelson anniversary, of course he is one of my favourite Admirals, probably the best I think, you will be surprised to know that I have a big superb wood model of HMS Victory handmade in my house :wink: .

YES, I understand that the idea of assuming blindly that a 17.000 tons Heavy Cruiser ( the Prinz Eugen ) armed with 203 mm guns ( 8 inches ) been by default to be considered out an action is not acceptable, but those were the procedures and orders on the hands of Adm Lutjens and Kpt Brinkmann, in fact as you can read VizeAdm Schmundt ( KM heavy cruisers responsible ) wanted clear explanations by Brinkmann about not having followed the procedures.

You know this is the German way usually to do things, following the procedures, despite the fact that the best General they had, Erwin Rommel, was known to be one guy not following them at all as it should be.

But Adm Lutjens was neither Nelson nor Rommel, just himself, and did what it thought was needed on that moment.

My analysis as said is just for the moment focused on Denmark Strait, not on the overall Rheinubung operation, maybe another Admiral would have done differently compared with what Adm Lutjens did with different results.
Given what he did on Op. Juno I doubt Adm Marschall would have done better, but I agree it was going to be most likely very different.

But on DS battle Adm Lutjens was surely in total control of the situation, at least initially till the torpedo warning issued by Brinkmann and the scramble of German gunnery.
Than he surely was in good control after as Lindemann could not do what he wanted following PoW.
Now I think your point is about the torpedo evasive manoeuvres done by Prinz Eugen and Lindemann ( 06.04 till 06.07).

Now please remember and refer to what Kpt Topp answered to Adm Ciliax on board Tirpitz during the Albacore attack on Op. Sportpalast, when the Admiral wanted to reverse a Kpt direction to the sailor responsible to turn the ship.
Kpt Topp said to Adm Ciliax : ‘’ Herr Admiral, while in action this is my ship and I own the responsibility, sailor do what I ordered at ignore the Admiral correction’’. Adm Ciliax was silenced and could not reply, because those were the procedures.
While in action the ship is on the hands of the ship commander, not of the Admiral about tactical manoeuvres needed.
Now just think about Brinkmann and Lindemann on same situation versus Lutjens when GHG gave the torpedo warning and Brinkmann passed to Lindemann the torpedo alarm, and make your own thought.
Do not forget what happened on 1940 and 1941 to KM warships about torpedoes, basically every ship was torpedoed and an Admiral just removed because of that : Adm Marschall :shock: !

I see you do not think that concentrating fire of 2 ships on Hood was the battle of Denmark Strait winning factor, to me it was, and on that moment it was Adm Lutjens first priority, escape the trap and sail away, which he did successfully with his 2 ships against 4 enemy ones.
Now your points about Bismarck been hit by PoW firing with no disturb and on the long run been decisive I think do not apply on that precise moment when they fought to survive.

At DS till the moment Hood blew up at 06.00:

Bismarck fired 40 shells all to Hood making 2 hits, received 55 from PoW with 3 hits suffered
Prinz Eugen fired 48 shells to Hood making 2 hits, 16 to PoW with no hits, received probably 40 from Hood no damages
PoW fired 55 shells to Bismark scoring 3 hits, received 16 from Prinz Eugen with no damages
Hood fired probably 40 shells to Prinz Eugen with no hits, received 48 from Prinz Eugen with 2 hits and 40 from Bismarck with 2 hits.

It is very evident that the ‘winning ‘ factor was to concentrate fire on a single ship that received the most shells (40+48=88) and obviously the most hits (4), including the fatal one.

A naval battle among battleships is a naval artillery comparison, hit fast hit soon, as more and precise you shoot as more you have chances to win.

What happened after Hood blew up is not decisive as the battle was strategically won when Hood disappeared.

I assume that this was originally the battle plan of the Holland squadron concentrating fire with all main guns to Bismarck just to try to do basically the same using artillery superiority in terms of number of guns and calibre.

I see your point as well about German Gunnery Officers feeling (and Kpt Lindemann too) that wanted to have a more clear local victory sinking PoW as well, but here I try to imagine what Adm Lutjens was thinking about Bismarck possibility on the Atlantic against merchant convoys.

His boss Adm Raeder (that was his tutor, protector and sponsor as well) was in deep trouble with Hitler.
U-Boots were doing their duty on the Atlantic and KM warships were not on the eyes of Hitler, Adm Raeder was in a very difficult moment and I suppose (my opinion) that Adm Lutjens fist priority was to help as much as he could Adm Raeder and KM Warships.

It was Adm Raeder itself to write: ‘After the loss of Bismarck my relations with Hitler were never going to be as good as before’.
If you think that were not that good before, you can imagine.

I think Adm Lutjens was well aware about this critical risk.

YES, I agree that a guy like Adm Marschall would have more likely acted differently than Adm Lutjens ( not necessarily better and with more results ) but this is never going to be proven and I think your possible scenario could have been really one of the many that could have materialized.

Many times things just go for the luck, a strange unexpected occurrence, …here on the story of Bismarck and Hood is full of those events …… Suffolk unlucky snow storm and radar lost,…. Hood not firing at BS immediately, .. Bismarck lucky hit to Hood, …PoW lucky hit on BS,… GHG torpedo by PG,… Swordfish lucky hit on BS,….etc etc etc..


I like to close again with Horatio Nelson :

While at sea, only the Admiral should be in command and owning all risk and responsibilities.

Than he can win or loose, but if you are confident about his commander capabilities, give him the ships and the command and hope for the best, do not put pressure and control on him.

I totally agree with him 1000 %

Ciao Antonio :D

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José M. Rico
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Re: Admirals

Post by José M. Rico » Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:02 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:You know this is the German way usually to do things, following the procedures, despite the fact that the best General they had, Erwin Rommel, was known to be one guy not following them at all as it should be.

But Adm Lutjens was neither Nelson nor Rommel, just himself, and did what it thought was needed on that moment.
In the field of battle winning is everything. Therefore...

…a commander that follows the "Rule Book" and comes out victorious is a good commander since he does exactly what he is supposed to do = win.

…a commander that follows the "Rule Book" but is defeated is a bad commander for not achieving his goal = win.

…a commander that doesn't follow the "Rule Book" and is victorious becomes a hero for achieving his goal = win via an unexpected procedure (ex. Rommel, Nelson, etc). Some call this gambling but there is actually a difference between a gamble and a calculated risk.

…a commander that doesn't follow the "Rule Book" and is defeated falls into disgrace for both not achieving his goal = win, and not following the "Rule Book".

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RF
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Post by RF » Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:59 am

Did Nimitz knew if new carriers were on their way? Or mighty Yamato with Musashi? No. He was taking the risk as a bold and inteligent commander (as was Nelson with his gambles).

Nimitz knew the dispositions of the Jap fleet approx. from Purple decodes. Not the same risk.

Lutjens was up to sink two British capital ships, sustain damage and turn away with an outstanding victory at hand. Rheinubung was over by six hours before DS happened.



Rheinubung was more than simply getting into the Atlantic undetected, it was a 3 months cruising operation in execution of commerce war.
Shadowers could and should have been destroyed.
The previous raid by Admiral Scheer demonstrated than large warship raiders cause far more damage in the Allies knowledge that they are at large than in attacking merchant ships. It was the U-Boats, using the Donitz concept of tonnage war that would always sink the bulk of the merchant ships - the raiders role is disruption and cause the maximum Allied response to deal with the threat over as great a period of time as possible, a sort of maritme version of guerilla warfare.

Turning to the DS battle itself, two other points are relevant. Principally Lutjens at that time didn't have complete freedom of manouvre to turn away to starboard because of the Greenland icefield in close proximity, otherwise Lutjens would have turned sharply to starboard at 30 knots when Holland opened fire and he realised he was facing capital ships not cruisers. This I think explains his initial indecisiveness and delay in ordering return fire, it was the realisation that he was 'boxed in' and had to fight.
The other point is that Lutjens as well as Holland made an identification error. He thought POW was KGV, therefore he was being attacked by the Home Fleet flagship. Without the sort of intelligence available to Nimitz, he was right to consider what else was lurking over the horizon, not to mention Hollands escorting destroyers and Norfolk/Suffolk with the attendent torpedo threat.

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