Ideal Rheinubung

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
lwd
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Post by lwd » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:47 am

Ramius wrote:So, what is your all's opinion after our debating about what Ideal Rhine would be? Lets say we start tampering at the Battle of Denmark Strait, Hood has just been blown out of the water, and Tirpiz and Hipper are inserted wherever you decide.
Well if Tirpitz and Hipper sortie just after Denmark straits it may get real interesting for the British if they make it out. Even if they don't it may reduce the heat some on Bismark.

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Post by lwd » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:58 am

Bgile wrote:....
Your Wasp example was amusing, where you say that because after she was abandoned by her crew and she was finised off by a destroyer, that means that the Japanese didn't sink her.
No it means she wasn't sunk entirely by submarine. Note also that if she had been finished as a BC instead of a CV she might well have survived. Hornet also took an awful lot of damage including quite a few torpedoes some of them Japanese long lances before she went down. Neither of these ships would be as tough as a modern BB.

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Post by RF » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:29 pm

Ramius wrote:Does anyone know what happened to Marschall after "his incident" with the Gniesenau :think: Was he even available for Ideal Rhine or was he like executed or exiled or something?
Marschall was given a shore job as an inspector general for officer training. He had no more operational ship involement.
He was also promoted twice, ending the war as Generaladmiral and was taken prisoner by the Americans.
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Post by Ramius » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:57 pm

OK, nice to have a clear picture of the chess pieces. So other possible commanders were...

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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by RF » Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:12 am

Ignore the difference in rank, lets promote Helmuth von Ruckteschell to Admiral and make him Fleet Commander for Rheinubung......
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Re:

Post by RF » Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:21 am

Terje Langoy wrote:Rather than deploying all the ships mentioned above, the Tirpitz and the Twins, along with the original force, I think the ideal Rheinubung could have occured just as it did when it did but with the addition of a single ship: the Graf Zeppelin.
Consider the possibility of turning the clock back to 1938 and starting the Z Plan 12 months earlier.

By May 1941 not only Graf Zeppelin but also ''Flugzeugtrager B'', the aircraft carrier with no name, should also be ready for service.
Rheinubung could then be initiated with Bismarck, Prinz Eugen and Graf Zeppelin as one attack force, then Tirpitz, Lutzow and the other carrier as a second force. Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Hipper would be available as a strategic reserve.
At the same time as Rheinubung is started, the Luftwaffe redirects its airborne assault on Crete on to Malta instead, with the Italian battle fleet also putting to sea.
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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by Ramius » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:18 pm

:think: Turn the clock 12 months for the two carriers and no disputes on the readiness of Tirpitz... That is very interesting (or was that sarcasm on your part?)
So Bismarck, Tirpitz, Graf Zepplin, Peter Strasser, Lutzow, Prinz Eugen trying to break into the Atlantic and Scharnhorst, Gniesanau, and Hipper are already in Brest (Hipper was in Brest already, right?)

:think: So Group Bismarck (Bismarck, Graf Zepplin, Prinz Eugen) goes through the Denmark Strait, Group Tirpitz (Tirpitz, Peter Strasser, Lutzow) go through the Faroes Gap, and the Twins and Hipper either sortie and raid while waiting to help escourt the ships or distract the British with a head on approach. This would allow backup for either Group Bismarck or Group Tirpitz from Group Twins. Also the two entering groups could have backup from one another because of their general proximity :think:

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Re: Re:

Post by lwd » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:01 pm

RF wrote:.. By May 1941 not only Graf Zeppelin but also ''Flugzeugtrager B'', the aircraft carrier with no name, should also be ready for service.
....
1) That seams a bit of a stretch. Just because the carrirer is complete doesn't mean that it's ready for service. Indeed there are indications that had the Germans complted GZ it would have taken a considerable length of time for her to be combat ready.

2) How would the British have reacted to this accelerated schedule?

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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:04 pm

I don´t like any scenario that considers a german CV. As WWII testifyies the use of the CV (the effective use of one, at least) was not an easy task, it´s not a matter only of having a CV vessel and some planes: it takes doctrine, it takes training, it takes a realiable "know how" and, as I always point, it needs the proper agressive will (something that the German surface fleet didn´t had) to use them as offensive weapons. Can you imagine Lutjens trying to coordinate an aerial seaborne strike from Bismarck´s battlegroup using a CV? I can´t.

I always ponder about where an hypotethical scenario can go, and for me an Ideal Rheinubung can have more surface units (because they were, basically, available. At least Tirpitz could be in the way PoW was) but no CVs. We can theorize about a U-Boat trap, also.

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Re:

Post by Ramius » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:17 am

:think: Fine, no carriers. The Kriegsmarine was never destined to have an operable and organized carrier(s) due to the tension between the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe :think:

But yes, I think a U-Boat trap is a very good idea if the ships wanted to do the most damage to the Royal Navy with the least damage to their own fleet...
tommy303 wrote:Luetjens' orders from SKL, if I recall, gave him tactical control over U-boats for joint operations during this mission and he had a liason officer from BdU on board for that purpose. After Denmark Straits, a line of U-boats was ordered to be established to the south, should Bismarck not shake off her shadowers, with the plan for Bismarck to decoy Wake-Walker's cruisers and Prince of Wales into a trap. In the event, Bismarck was able to break contact head towards the Bay of Biscay before that became necessary.
If I recall (or recall somebody elses recollection) there should have already been some U-Boats down there. Why not just keep contact with the following British until they run straight into the waiting U-Boats, that both decreases the number of Royan Navy ships, but also... NOBODY FOLLOWING BISMARCK ANYMORE ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ?

Alright, so scratch the two carriers (unless you want to include #5 of the following)

So right now we have...

1. Bismarck + Prinz Eugen steam from Gotenhafen, via Great Belt, to Norway. Marschall commands the Bismarck. The Squadron is sighted by the Swedish and norwegian resistance. They alert the British. Norfolk and Suffolk go to patrol at the Straits, Hood + PoW steam to Iceland, the KGV + Repulse stay at Scapa FLow.

2. In full coordination the Tirpitz + Lutzow, commanded by Lutjens, cross the Kiel Canal and steam at dusk the same evening the Bismarck and PE are at the Norwegian Fiord.

3. The British air raid find the fjord empty the following morning. Home Fleet begins to deploy to northern Atlantic.

4. Tirpitz + Lutzow follow Bismarck + PE some ten to twenty miles behind. Norfolk and Suffolk find and follow Bismark and the Prinz while Tirpiz and Lutzow slide into the two cruiser's blind spot (that Bismarck actually took advantage while eluding the two cruisers after the Battle of the Denmarck Strait). Bismarck turns around to port and the Prinz to starboard, and Tirpiz turns to starboard and Lutzow to port, the cruisers would U-turn trying to escape the attack and run into the Lonely Queen and Lutzow who were in their blind spot. By the time the Norfolk and Suffolk would realize what is happening, the Tirpiz would be coming from the North-West, Lutzow coming from the North-East, Bismarck coming from the South-East, and Prinz Eugen coming from the South-West. The Norfolk and Suffolk are caught in a crossfire and have only a few minutes to decide which direction to run for it, before the Germans got in range. Germans then sink them without the Admiralty knowing what happened and that the Tirpiz group is there.

5. At dawn the following day the Graf Zepplin and Peter Strasser (complete or not) do a reverse Channel Dash and sail through the Channel to France (to get aircraft and construction and training complete) while the entire Royal Navy has gone ape beacuse both Bismark and Tirpitz (and Lutzow and Prinz Eugen) are on the loose.

6. At dawn the same day Hood + PoW intercept. As in History: Hood is blown sky high. PoW is alone now and is fighting Bismarck and Prinz when Tirpiz comes full speed from behind Bismarck and helps pummel the PoW into a floating pile of scrap metal.

7. The two Groups run south together

8. The four commerce raiders sprint south with the rest of the Royal Navy on their tail into the U-Boat trap ordered by Marschall when they were discovered.

9. U-Boats sink three fourths of the ships following the two groups and scare off the rest, the four are then escourted to Brest.

10. The Bismarck, Tirpiz, Lutzow, Prinz Eugen, and the Graf Zepplin are suddenly in France resupplying, refueling, and repairing for the next sortie.

Any suggestions?

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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by Terje Langoy » Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:54 am

You are aware that the Lützow (I presume your reference here is the former Deutschland) can only make 24-25 knots while the rest of the group is capable of almost 30 knots. Admiral Lütjens did not appreciate the addition of the Lützow to his fleet prior to the launch of Weserübung, due to the reason as stated above.

Thiele: - Sir, what if we encounter heavy enemy forces on the way?

Lütjens: - Then I will signal the fleet to increase speed to 30 knots...

Lützow was the poor lamb that would have to be sacrificed in face of a Force Majure. If you think about joining the fast Tirpitz with the slower Lützow, I can imagine Lütjens would suffer a sudden illness or experience other health issues such as he could not sail. Given that this group would stick together, they will eventually be overrun by the RN. Even the Nelsons should be able to match the speed of the Lützow. For sure, Wake-Walkers County-class cruisers will both outgun and outrun her. Another detail that is often ignored is that the Prinz Eugen actually developed machinery trouble in the true scenario. So forth, the group could soon have been reduced to the Bismarck-class only. Convoys would be rerouted or possibly held back, US battleships might arrive at the scene ...

The greatest advantage of a German aircraft carrier would be that the planes aboard can be used for reconnaisance. The search area would then be much greater. Strayers could be dealt with by lonely planes, convoys could be detected and shadowed at much lesser risk than a uboat running the same errand. This could have been hard to deal with. But as with any given scenario, Ramius, you adapt to the circumstances.

Btw, what do you mean by Swedish resistance..?
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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by tommy303 » Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:25 am

If I recall (or recall somebody elses recollection) there should have already been some U-Boats down there. Why not just keep contact with the following British until they run straight into the waiting U-Boats, that both decreases the number of Royan Navy ships, but also... NOBODY FOLLOWING BISMARCK ANYMORE ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ?
There were U-boote stationed to the south of Greenland and available to form a line at the Chief of Fleet's descretion. It is of course tempting to wonder exactly what might have happened had Bismarck been able to lure her shadowers into an ambush, but there were no guarantees that it would be successful. By mid morning Lütjens was aware of the damage to his flagship and the implications on Bismarck's fuel situation; he was also cognizent of the fuel state on Prinz Eugen. In the latter's case, it was imperative that she detach as soon as possible and seek a rendezvous with a tanker. In point of fact, Prinzen barely made it to her refueling rendezvous.

On Bismarck, calculations indicated that if she turned towards the Bay of Biscay soon, she would have enough fuel to make it at around 20 to 22 knots if she could shake off the enemy. If contact could not be broken then drawing Prince of Wales and Wake-Walker`s cruisers across a line of U-Boote was the back up plan. The primary course of action, approved of by Group West, was heading directly to Brest if contact was severed.

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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by Ramius » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:24 pm

1. Terje,
:think: OK, scratch Lutzow. Any other 30kn raiders in Germany at the time? Hipper was in Brest at the time, right?

:wink: That is exactly why I have been trying to get Graf Zepplin (and maybe Peter Strasser) into the Atlantic along with the other raiders :wink:

2. Tom,
I am assuming that if they did this and were going to run out of fuel, they would have ordered tankers to come to their aid :think:

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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:12 pm

In my original post I consider Hipper, not a raider as Lutzow (formerly Deutchland). A reason was to use a warship intended to travel fast.
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Re: Ideal Rheinubung

Post by Ramius » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:35 pm

:stubborn: I know, but I just realized Hipper was in Brest at the time and Lutzow was too slow. Any other possible 30kn raiders at the time?

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