How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
ede144
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by ede144 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:14 pm

Hello

I would propose following improvements of the KM, however they are in the earlier years, eg late in the 20s. During this time the first plans of the Panzerschiffe were discussed and several other plans, like building merchant ships which will have some specialities included to allow later an easy conversation into a HSK. Even a 128mm DP gun was discussed.
How would it go if the RM/KM would have build the Deutschland and the following Panzerschiffe 2 years earlier?
And aditionally 4-6 ships with 21-22 knots max speed as secret HSK's?

regards
ede

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by lwd » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:36 pm

MVictorP wrote: ...First, my fleet requires no additional ressources: Tonnage is under what the realworld DKM actually launched. ...
Tonnage alone is not a particularly good measure of resources required.

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:31 pm

ede144 wrote: How would it go if the RM/KM would have build the Deutschland and the following Panzerschiffe 2 years earlier?
Then they would be an earlter design and two years older for the conflict they became involved in. In other words their performance would not be as good. For example by 1944 the Scheers' main 28 cm guns were worn out - and not replaced. I can't see them being replaced in 1942 either.

Put the designs back two years instead of forward - and then build an extra three in place of the first three Hipper class cruisers - then you could have better results than historical.
Another ad vantage of putting the designs back two years is that the Twins might also have been better designed, such as along the lines of Design 1047 used for the proposed Dutch battle cruisers.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:42 pm

ede144 wrote:
And aditionally 4-6 ships with 21-22 knots max speed as secret HSK's?
Merchant ships with that sort of speed were almost non-existent in the 1920's, unless we are talking of passenger liners. And WW1 demonstrated that passenger liners are not really very good as commerce raiders.

Speed is not the be all and end all of HSK's. They could never outrun a cruiser or destroyer so a fast speed is not necessary. The speed requirement is to be fast enough to intercept the fastest freighter and cargo liners from an astern position. For WW2 an optimum speed would be about 20 knots.

What is the critical factor is disguise and endurance. It is from this angle that the KM needed a design for an HSK. What they actually used were the plans for SMS Wolf, when they were 25 years out of date.

I might mention that the proposed Y Plan in 1938 did indicate that new HSK designs would be done. However this never got beyond vague discussion, as the Y Plan was quickly ditched in favour of the Z Plan and its superbattleships.
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ede144
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by ede144 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:48 pm

RF wrote: Then they would be an earlter design and two years older for the conflict they became involved in. In other words their performance would not be as good. For example by 1944 the Scheers' main 28 cm guns were worn out - and not replaced. I can't see them being replaced in 1942 either.

Put the designs back two years instead of forward - and then build an extra three in place of the first three Hipper class cruisers - then you could have better results than historical.
Another ad vantage of putting the designs back two years is that the Twins might also have been better designed, such as along the lines of Design 1047 used for the proposed Dutch battle cruisers.
Yes the design would be 2 years older, however the experience the KM got with the diesel engines would settle the discussions about steam turbines vs diesel engines and the development of bigger more powerfull engines would have started earlier and they would probably available for project D, E, F and G.

In addition Germany would have build D as originally planned as an additional Panzerschiff. The haste in designing of SH and GU was such high, because the KM switched from already laid down Panzerschiffe to the larger Twins. Thus the problems with the machinery, which was changed from the originally planned diesel to steam turbines.

The Scheer main guns have not been replaced because the big ships had no priority at this time.

Regards
ede

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by HMS26 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:36 pm

I would strongly detach myself from the idea of Germany investing in aircraft-carriers. The reason is that it matters not that you have them if your tradition/experience in using them isn’t there.
How would I have improved the Kriegsmarine?

First: the U-Boat arm has to be at least as numerous and effective as it basically was. Hurry up the commissioning of the later more capable designs.

Second: I would have waited until Bismarck and Tirpitz were completed and along with all the other surface ships, I would have organized them in an actual Fleet instead of single, commerce raiding, show-off exhibits.
The whole idea wouldn’t be of a Fleet to challenge both US and UK’s Fleets on the high seas. No.The idea would be of a coherent, unified and well employed Fleet with the ultimate purpose of hindering as much as possible RN Home Fleet’s surface assets in protecting the vital convoys. The bulk of US Fleet had its hands busy enough in the Pacific. The Royal Navy was forced to split its resources in three theaters of operations: Atlantic/North Sea, Mediterranean and SE Asia in order to safeguard its domains. That left “my” Kriegsmarine to mainly confront the Home Fleet and whatever units US could spare as convoy escorts.

Third: instead of using efforts in building CVs, I would devote considerable efforts in building, training and employing a strong and dedicated land-based naval aviation arm. Imagine what such units could’ve done in close cooperation with both the U-Boat arm and surface units once massively deployed in the myriads of Norwegian fjords, coastal France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark! And in that way I would have had Luftwaffe concentrating exclusively on the land campaign.

Something like that. :wink:

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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by MVictorP » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:48 am

HMS26, this has the merit of being a very restrained, plausible plan. I agree with the oblectives, as well as the means to get to them, but I don't agree that Germany had no experience in naval aviation.

Peter Strasser has been a pioneer. The Fiesler biplane was a very good starting machine, and as the art was still very young, the most advanced nations merely had about a 12 years advance. A nation as obsessed with aerial superiority as Germany was would somehow have catched up rather quickly, I would bet, if the political will ever shifted that way. An effective ship-based aviations would have worked wonders on commerce warfare, complementing subs and the few heavy surface units at a great bang for the buck.

IMO, Germany noy being able to put a carrier to sea weights heavily in its lack of cohesive naval actions in WWII. If at least they had taken your decision earlier, it would have saved them a lot of ressources, but the way they did it really was a worst-case scenario coming true, the carrier being launched and like 80% complete. The Brit secret services couldn't have done a better job if they ever tried.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:06 am

HMS26 wrote:
How would I have improved the Kriegsmarine?

First: the U-Boat arm has to be at least as numerous and effective as it basically was. Hurry up the commissioning of the later more capable designs.

Second: I would have waited until Bismarck and Tirpitz were completed and along with all the other surface ships, I would have organized them in an actual Fleet instead of single, commerce raiding, show-off exhibits.
Third: instead of using efforts in building CVs, I would devote considerable efforts in building, training and employing a strong and dedicated land-based naval aviation arm. Imagine what such units could’ve done in close cooperation with both the U-Boat arm and surface units once massively deployed in the myriads of Norwegian fjords, coastal France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark! And in that way I would have had Luftwaffe concentrating exclusively on the land campaign.

Something like that. :wink:
Basically what you are offering is a more sensible, watered down version of the Z Plan. What needs to be clear is that the critical zone of action is in the North Atlantic rather than the North Sea. Such a fleet has to be planned and built up pre-war, which means that without the hindsight you have to deal with the WW1 prospect of the fleet tied to North Sea bases. You cannot take the victory over France and the acquisition of the Norwegian and French bases for granted.

In reality your plan is feasible given the land victories of 1940. But the RN would see the build up and react to it. Germany then has a strategic choice - to forget Russia until Britain is out of the war. And unfortunately for the KM the Fuhrer isn't up to the job of making proper strategic decisions.....
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:11 am

HMS26 wrote: Third: instead of using efforts in building CVs, I would devote considerable efforts in building, training and employing a strong and dedicated land-based naval aviation arm. Imagine what such units could’ve done in close cooperation with both the U-Boat arm and surface units once massively deployed in the myriads of Norwegian fjords, coastal France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark! And in that way I would have had Luftwaffe concentrating exclusively on the land campaign.
How would you deal with the friction of time and distance between these land airfields and the places where the action is? Its no good a U-boat skipper calling for air support now when the planes could be two, three or four hours away......

A carrier does offer the prospect of a faster response.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by MVictorP » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:41 pm

RF wrote:Basically what you are offering is a more sensible, watered down version of the Z Plan.
With all due respects, I think that, to the contrary, HMS26's plan is solidly anchored in reality, while most of the Z-plan was fantasy of the sort we see here, by guys like me!
What needs to be clear is that the critical zone of action is in the North Atlantic rather than the North Sea. Such a fleet has to be planned and built up pre-war, which means that without the hindsight you have to deal with the WW1 prospect of the fleet tied to North Sea bases. You cannot take the victory over France and the acquisition of the Norwegian and French bases for granted.

In reality your plan is feasible given the land victories of 1940. But the RN would see the build up and react to it. Germany then has a strategic choice - to forget Russia until Britain is out of the war. And unfortunately for the KM the Fuhrer isn't up to the job of making proper strategic decisions.....
That's an excellent argument, but the KGM had no uses being a simple Baltic coastal defense force. If they contended themselves with that objective, I'd agree that any buck spend in naval forces is worth half of it, and it would be better to invest in land forces and aeronautics instead.

But as soon as the Deutschland was launched, it was clear that Germany - even pre-Nazi Germany - still clinged to the idea of a blue water naval force. So they developped, more than any other nations at that time, the means for easy refitting at sea, including supply ships and subs, using neutral ports (they didn't knew this was going to be such a world war), and diesel engineering, allowing easy refueling from merchant ships.

The haste with with the Scharnhorst caused that these enlarged ship were turbines-equipped, which was IMO a mistake, if they were intended as raiders. The Z-Plan included more diesel ships like the neo-panzerschiff and the O-class battlecruiser.

However I share your assessment of naval aviation, ship-based versus shore-based. Shore-based aviation was of little relative value, being limited to scouting and mass bombings. They had no defensive, nor opportunistic composant that would have make them as useful as if they were on a bona fide carrier, at sea.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:25 pm

MVictorP wrote:
RF wrote:Basically what you are offering is a more sensible, watered down version of the Z Plan.
With all due respects, I think that, to the contrary, HMS26's plan is solidly anchored in reality, while most of the Z-plan was fantasy of the sort we see here, by guys like me!
I wasn't denigrating HMS26's plan at all, I agree it is certainly anchored in reality. My point was that the British Isles got in the way of campaigning with the fleet in the North Atlantic and that the acquisition of French and Norwegian bases (as in reality) couldn't be assumed in advance. Without such bases ''breaking the British blockade'' does become a hindrance, particulary for ships on the return journey, which may also be damaged or short of fuel.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:36 pm

MVictorP wrote:
But as soon as the Deutschland was launched, it was clear that Germany - even pre-Nazi Germany - still clinged to the idea of a blue water naval force. So they developped, more than any other nations at that time, the means for easy refitting at sea, including supply ships and subs, using neutral ports (they didn't knew this was going to be such a world war), and diesel engineering, allowing easy refueling from merchant ships.
The raider concept was well established in the Reichsmarine, certainly from the day that Raeder was appointed its Chief.

However I do think that the development of the Panzerschiffe does represent two other specific factors. One was control of the Baltic, to prevent the French fleet from joining forces with the small, but to the Germans significantly sized Polish Navy.
The other I think was more political - a prestige ship to symbolise the re-emergence of Germany as a European power after WW1 and the abdication of the Kaiser.

But given the position of 1933 - how could a Panzerschiffe on its own be a significant threat to other naval powers, especially France (or even Belguim or Poland), when the German Army is limited to 100,000 men and no tanks, heavy artillery or aircraft? And no submarines? It can't present a credible threat.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:45 pm

MVictorP wrote: The haste with with the Scharnhorst caused that these enlarged ship were turbines-equipped, which was IMO a mistake, if they were intended as raiders. The Z-Plan included more diesel ships like the neo-panzerschiff and the O-class battlecruiser.
What do you think of the Design 1047 as a revised version of Scharnhorst?

The point of a battlecruiser with 11 inchers is that it can attack convoys escorted by the odd cruiser/destroyers/AMC's. A pair of them could annihilate weakly escorted convoys.

And a carrier in company could be used for extensive scouting and also attacking/taking out any escorting battleship. Operation Berlin on that basis in early 1941 would have caused real havoc if the convoy escorts were overcome.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:53 pm

MVictorP wrote: ... I share your assessment of naval aviation, ship-based versus shore-based. Shore-based aviation was of little relative value, being limited to scouting and mass bombings. They had no defensive, nor opportunistic composant that would have make them as useful as if they were on a bona fide carrier, at sea.
I think there would be a role for a land based naval air arm, but it would have to be complementary to the use of carriers.

Essentially land based naval air forces would operate rather like the RAF Coastal Command. A KM fleet air arm would operate in British (and also Meditteranean) coastal waters, attacking coastal shipping, giving air support to the S-boats and also attacking Allied ports, dockyards and other coastal land targets, including hit and run raids on coastal radar installations.
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Re: How would you improve the Kriegsmarine

Post by srgt rock » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:18 pm

I am in complete agreement with MVictorP when he stated his view of the importance of a German carrier force.

Were I Raeder, I would have started making changes in April 39 when Hitler announced plans to attack Poland. That would have signaled the likeliness of war sooner than planned.

I would have laid claim to the catapult ship Friesenland to convert into a flush deck training carrier. It could have been available by Nov 39.

I would have delayed the start of construction of battleships H & J by 60 days and told Hitler the naval construction yards needed that much time to catch up.

I would have tried to gain political advantage by doubling the size of the bombardment and landing force committed to the Polish attack. I would have followed up by supplying Guderian in the gulf of Danzig.

Cancel construction of the type 37 torpedo boats. I would build more M-boats, R-boats, s-boats and U-boats.

I would have completed Trosschiff Franken as a carrier. I would have claimed the Hamburg- America line ship Vaterland and completed her as a carrier. I would have claimed the Hansa line ship Moltkefels and completed her as a HK.

All DDs would be equipped with only 128mm guns and increased the number of shells per gun they carried.

I would have used Emden operationally as Admiral Carls called for. Emden would have been the Narvik invasion force and limited the number of destroyers involved and refueled the remaining destroyers with at least enough fuel to get as far a Trondheim.

I would have shortened the training periods and make limited operational use of the newly commissioned ships. An example would be: When the Luftwaffe refused to use as many paratroopers, I would have used T1, T2,T7 & T8 to land troops on 9 Apr at Larvik and to transport reinforcements from Denmark. Another would be to give air cover over the Kattegat by Friesenland.

I would have used Seydlitz as a training ship to replace Emden.

I would have planned a WW2 version of the invasion of the Baltic islands as Germany did with Operation Albion in 1917.

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