alecsandros wrote:jabeque wrote:The mistake is to think that Hitler and Raeder knew (or should know) what would be the (naval) war.
Raeder made long-term plans. If they had guessed what the (naval) war would be, they would not have started it.
Lack of experience aside,
it was painfully clear that the Kriegsmarine could only wage a hit-and-run type of war, with commerce raiding (with surface ships) and Uboat war at it's core.
In that regard, the employment of long range heavily armed pocket battleships, equipped with reconnaissance planes and surface-search radars, was ideal , and could cause considerable disruption among enemy sea routes. The exploits of Admiral Scheer show quite explicitly how usefull such a ship was in the war.
The existence of Dunkerque didn't change much, as Dunkerque was a short range ship, and there were only 2 built. 2 units was hopelessly insufficient to cope with Atlantic warfare.
In the wake of NAZI power grab in the early 1930s, existing programs remained in effect, but were re-examined. The only thing all the factions could agree on was the war would be on the backs of the U-Boat fleet/ campaign. All efforts production efforts should be to maximise U-BOAT production. I recall Rossler reported plans to build 90 U-Boats plus another 90 once the war began, but Kaptain Doenitz demanded 300 U-Boat fleet!
Kaptain Heye suggested building a dozen big Panzerschiffe to run interference on enemy convoy escorts, to make it easier for U-Boats wolf pack to attack. Admiral Carls took it one step further arguing the U-BOAT fleet with Heye Panzerschiffe should be part of battle groups centered on an aircraft carriers and flotillas of Zerstroers to orchestrate these U-Boat wolf packs.
No where is there any mention of battle ships until Admiral Raeder steps in insisting on balanced "Tirpitz" fleet. It would appear Hitler stepped in at that point putting an end by demanding the KM be nothing more than a coastal defence fleet able to control the Baltic and sortie into the North Sea. In a desperate attempt to salvage "Reichsmarine Umbauplan 1932", he persuaded Hitler a small anti French fleet could be useful at that time.