Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst in North Cape

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richtea
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Re: Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst in North Cape

Post by richtea » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:20 pm

In any scenario at the battle of the North Cape, no matter what combination of surface ships the Kriegsmarine had out there they still
practiced radar silence.
In December in the Arctic this means that they were in almost total 24 hour darkness in a force 10 storm, trying to find a convoy that might be at any position, any distance around them.
The only thing they were using to search with was the Mk 1 eyeball.
So no matter what hypothetical combination of ships you put out there,
unless you completely change the way that the Kriegsmarine operated radar then you will only get one outcome.
A nasty surprise and some damage to your fleet.
So what do you do then,put yourselves in Admiral Bey's position,
you have lost tactical advantage, one of your ships is damaged, do you keep the fleet together and risk losing all your ships or do you make a run for it with your undamaged ships to fight another day ?
You also have to factor in the political situation in 1943, another debacle for the Kriegsmarine and Hitler would certainly turn all the ships into scrap steel for tank manufacture.
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Re: Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst in North Cape

Post by tommy303 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:20 am

One has to weigh in the factor of what would have happened with the second engagement against the cruiser screen had their been Scharnhorst and Tirpitz. Would Bey have stuck it out and fought Burnett's ships, or would he have disengaged and headed for home. With his force discovered he might have chosen to keep his radars on--after all, there would no longer have been a reason to practice radar silence. Between the two of them, they should have been able to keep all sectors reasonably well covered, even if Scharnhorst had her foretop radar knocked out. Under the circumstances, Bey might have been able to out-manouvre the DoY battle group.

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst in North Cape

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:46 pm

richtea wrote:In any scenario at the battle of the North Cape, no matter what combination of surface ships the Kriegsmarine had out there they still
practiced radar silence.
In December in the Arctic this means that they were in almost total 24 hour darkness in a force 10 storm, trying to find a convoy that might be at any position, any distance around them.
The only thing they were using to search with was the Mk 1 eyeball.
So no matter what hypothetical combination of ships you put out there,
unless you completely change the way that the Kriegsmarine operated radar then you will only get one outcome.
.
It is a common mispreception that radar silence was KM doctrine. It is not correct. There was no set doctrine concerning radar silence, and in fact not even any guidelines concerning this issue until after Scharnhorst was lost. It was up to the on scene commander-case by case. In the case of North Cape as an anti- commerce mission, Bey's order to practice radar silence was the correct course to take prior to his radar detectors indicating the presence of Burnett's cruisers at about 0800 hours. Bey's error was not switching on his active radars in time. This was simply a mistake by the commander on the scene at one point in time. This should not be projected as KM practice or doctrine in general. It was a mistake Bey did not make again, however. He used the remaining aft radar set from that point on. As Tommy points out had the SH not been alone even with its own forward radars out of action the forward sectors could have been covered by a consort.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

richtea
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Re: Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst in North Cape

Post by richtea » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:52 pm

My point is that in the Arctic winter not using your radar meant that you were blundering around like a blind man who has lost his cane.
So no matter what ships you have got you are at a tactical disadvantage.
For all the technological might of the Third Reich they under estimated the advantage that radar gave the Allies.
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Re: Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst in North Cape

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:13 pm

Announcing your position through the transmission of radar pulses could also place the KM warships (or the British warships) at a tactical disadvantage. Radar silence need not create a tactical disadvantage through the skilled use of passive radar detectors in conjuction with the judicious use of active radar. Active radar will give its self away well before its gets close enough to register the echo returns. For example, Burnett through his active radars had already given away his presence and approximate postion to the Scharnhorst at least forty minutes prior to the time and 30km prior to the point his active radars detected the Scharnhorst. The Scharnhorst had radar detection gear capable of detecting all British radars. Had Bey played his cards right, he could of had held a tactical advantage over Burnett by virtue of this fact. The fact that the Germans used passive radar detection equipment indicates that they knew of the advantages and disadvantages of British radar.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Tirpitz instead of Scharnhorst in North Cape

Post by RF » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:57 pm

Dave Saxton wrote: Their mission is against convoys not to fight naval battles if they can help it.
It is quite clear from Donitz's assurances to Hitler that he wanted a spectacular success against this convoy in order to impress the Fuhrer and gain a more favourable light for the KM in the competition for resources and in boosting German morale. If the convoy itself can't be destroyed then a victory over a battleship covering force is a second best objective that comes close to achieving Donitz's purpose. It would certainly have been better than the Barents Sea fiasco.
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