Tirpitz shelling New York

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Saltheart
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Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Saltheart » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:26 am

Not trying to offend any Americans! Just saying in Feb of 1942 Tirpitz heads out on an Atlantic mission and everyone thinks it's after convoys. But the Captain has sealed orders on board only to be opened if he breaks out succesfully. These orders tell him to carry out a bombardment operation against shipping and facilities at New York.
Would he have any chance of making it if he stuck to remote areas for his passage across and timed to arrive at the port one fine dawn.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by paulcadogan » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:55 am

This is assuming she can MAKE IT out into the Atlantic without running into a mountain of trouble. The British were on high alert and had some amount of information on German ship movements thanks to Enigma and Bletchley Park.

In February 1942, King George V and Victorious plus cruisers and destroyers were sitting at Hvalfiord, Iceland on watch, with Duke of York working up at Scapa and Renown somewhere in the mix. There was great concern that Tirpitz might try to break out and join up with the Twins and the Prinz from France (the Channel Dash soon put the fears to rest).

So..IF Tirpitz had tried to break out, the British would probably have known in advance - Duke of York and Renown would have sailed to join KGV and Victorious (as they did in March to escort PQ-12) and a trap would have been laid - maybe the Second Battle of the Denmark Strait or a Battle of the Iceland-Faeroes Channel might have been the result...

And, even if she did evade the British net and make it into the Atlantic, she would also have had to evade USS Washington and North Carolina - deployed in the Atlantic at that time because of the threat posed by her. But of course they would have to find her...

Overall a very high risk operation though....
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Saltheart » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:10 am

Yes I agree, she would have had a lot to evade. I knew about the 3 British fast capital ships but that's two less than the Royal Navy had when Bismarck sailed. I didn't know both US fast battleships were in the Atlantic, I thought only one of them. Oh well so that does put the odds back to 5 - 1. But if the twins and Prinz Eugen had sailed first it could have pulled some of that strength south and Tirpitz might have been able to slip through.
If she had reached New York, or Boston or Baltimore I wonder what the port defences would have been like. I don't think the US had any dive or topedoe bomber squadrons based at those ports so the only resistance would have been cruisers and destroyers. I wonder if Tirpitz might have sunk some of them and shot up harbour facilities.
It's the trip home that's tough, they'd need to refuel and maybe link with the twins and Prinz Eugen for the battle back to France.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by lwd » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:24 pm

Well a fair number of patrols were being flown on the east coast and if she actually makes it to New York there are the defences there. Fort Wadsworth for instance had a pair of 16" guns and perhaps as many as 8 12"guns and possibly a pair of 10". See:
http://fortwiki.com/Fort_Wadsworth_(1)
Fort Tilden had another pair of 16" guns, Fort Hamilton probably still had a healthy mix of 10" and 12" guns, Fort Hancock had a bunch of 10" and 12" guns, and there was another pair of 16" guns that may or may not have been in place. Many of the 10 and 12" guns went out of service in 42 but likely were still there in February. See:
http://www.cdsg.org/matlan.htm

Combined with the air power that could be massed and the number of heavy guns and such a raid looks very problematic. Certainly making it home would be remarkable.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Gerard Heimann » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:05 pm

On the surface of it, the harbor defenses appear formidable but a close review seems to indicate that the old vintage of many of the guns would not have the range against a Tirpitz laying far ashore. And if the initial poor defensive performance of the US against the u-boat operations was any indication, I suspect that the gunnery at these forts would have been subpar at best at this stage of the war.

So, if Tirpitz could evade the arrayed forces on the outbound voyage, I would expect it to deliver significant morale damage along with reasonable actual damage. I would expect the success to be short-lived with Tirpitz suffering Bismarck's fate on the return voyage.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Tiornu » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:46 pm

The Germans had learned in mid-1941 that it was no longer possible to send turbine warships into the open Atlantic. Sending Tirpitz all the way to New York would simply be Germany's way of making life easier for the Allies.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:40 pm

Gerard Heimann wrote:On the surface of it, the harbor defenses appear formidable but a close review seems to indicate that the old vintage of many of the guns would not have the range against a Tirpitz laying far ashore. And if the initial poor defensive performance of the US against the u-boat operations was any indication, I suspect that the gunnery at these forts would have been subpar at best at this stage of the war. ...
The problem is that Tirpitz isn't likely to hit much if she engages in a long range bombardment either. Gun positions are non trivial to hit and the 16" guns were fairly new so likely wouldn't likely be outranged by Tirpitz. Furthermore the long baselines of the fircontrol systems of shore batteries usually result in very good fire control solutions.
Looking at http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_10-30_mk1.htm
it gives a range of 20,000 yards for the 10" guns at 15 degree elevation. Shore batteries usually could elevate more than that from what I've read so likely they had a greater range. These 10" guns had a bit better range: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_10-40_mk3.htm
As for 12" guns these: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_12-35_mk1.htm had about the same (actually a bit shorter range at identical elevations) and these: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_12-40_mk3.htm almost identical to the 12" guns above. While these: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_12-45_mk5.htm are noted as being used as coastal artillery and able to range out to 30,000 yards. Given that Tirpitz will need to close to something less than that unless she just wants to lob random shells into New York I'd say she needs to worry about all the guns. The 10" and 12" guns won't be much of a threat to anything covered by her belt but they are still capable of inflicting signficant damage. As I mentioned there's also a fair amount of air power available as well and elements of the USN.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Tiornu » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:16 pm

Given that Tirpitz will need to close to something less than that unless she just wants to lob random shells into New York
This is a nuisance raid, so random shells would be sufficient.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:51 pm

The original post stated:
Saltheart wrote:... These orders tell him to carry out a bombardment operation against shipping and facilities at New York. ...
To have a decent chance of hitting shipping or naval facilities I suspect Tirpitz needs to come within range of the 10" and 12" guns. Given the low probability of making it home you would think they would at least want to do some signifcant damage.
Indeed looking a the map at: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=40 ... 4&t=h&z=12
It looks like the upper bay was where the shipping and facilities were located and you don't get a good line of sight to them without passing with in 10,000 m or Fort Hancock or Fort Tilden.
Fort Wadsworth is where the I278 bridge crosses the bay.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Tiornu » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:50 pm

Tirpitz will not be entering New York Harbor unless the orders specify littering the harbor bottom with 40,000 tons of German steel. There's nothing worth shooting at on Staten Island (although I'd really enjoy inserting a punchline here), so there's not much in line-of-sight. Maybe Elco in Bayonne, but then Tirpitz might end up grounded, and well in range of shore batteries. That leaves the option of indirect fire, perhaps overshooting Brooklyn, which means you'll be in easy reach of Ft Tilden. Battleships, of course, are perfectly capable of shooting it out with shore batteries. They're not necessarily as good at shooting it out with swarms of aircraft.
The 12in gun range was 30,100 yards. The 16in gun range was 45,100 yards or more, depending on which model. I have only partial and confused info on the batteries around NYC. (Does anyone think Tirpitz would even get that far?) Looks like Tilden had two 16in weapons of some sort and four 12in. Hamilton (Brooklyn) had at least two 12in. Wadsworth (Staten Is) has perhaps four to six 12in and two 16in. Hancock had at least ten 12in. There were also 16in batteries at Navesink and where JFK Airport is now. This list may include mortars, howitzers, whatever. If someone has more reliable info, feel free to share.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by RF » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:54 am

The problem with all of this is even more stark than Rheinubung - a one ship attack on a fairly remote target. Its not just breaking out against even stronger odds - the chance of getting back must be close to zero, especially when you consider the fuel position and the lack of supply ships for Tirpitz.

For an attack on New York I think alternative weapons are needed. Like the idea the Italians had for using midget submarines to attack ships in New York harbour.... or Hitlers' idea for the Amerika bomber.

If Tirpitz is to be used, it needs effective support. The first requirement is for a much larger German surface fleet. And strong air support. And having the USSR neutral. Thus matters become truly hypothetical.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Tiornu » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:30 pm

When was Iceland occupied?

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:37 pm

May 10th 1940
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Tiornu » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:44 pm

I'm wondering what air assets were there in May 1941 and then in Feb 1942.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by lwd » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:14 pm

Here's a link to some info on Iceland in 1942
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/ ... s/ch20.htm
It does mention speaking of 1942
During the six months it had been in use nearly nine hundred planes had taken the route.
That's ferrying from the US to Britain via Iceland.
This page mentions Wasp delivering planes in 41
http://www.battlesforguadalcanal.com/sh ... /wasp.html
http://www.naval-history.net/WW2Campaig ... ticDev.htm
lists US Army and Navy planes flying patrols from Iceland in Oct of 41. I think elsewhere I saw mention that the RAF didn't evacuate Iceland when the British ground forces did.
For the RAF this site http://www.oca.269squadron.btinternet.c ... y/1942.htm lists
The following flying units were based in Iceland:
No 269 Squadron, Hudson aircraft at Kaldaðarnes
No 330 Squadron, Northrop N3P-B Floatplanes at Rekjavik
No 612 Squadron, Whitley aircraft at Reykjavik
No 1407 (Met) Flight, Hudson aircraft at Reykjavik
VP-73 (USN), Catalina PBY-5 flying boats t Reykjavik
That's for Feb 42
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/Bui ... es-19.html
states
Atlantic Fleet, on September 12, pointed out the necessity for aerial patrol activities, and on September 25, 1941, the Chief of Naval Operations directed that a base be constructed for the operation of one squadron of patrol planes near Reykjavik. This base was to consist of housing and administration facilities, repair facilities, and seaplane ramps, and was to be designated as a fleet air base. ...
In spite of the many difficulties encountered, the base was placed in operation at this time, and on January 21, 1942, the fleet air base was commissioned.
...
On February 13, 1942, the Chief of Naval Operations directed that the fleet air base be constructed for two squadrons of planes.
...
On May 8, 1942, there arrived 25 of the contractor's men to begin work at the Army airfield.On May 20, a second contingent of 165 workmen arrived, and on May 25, the first of the contractor's heavy-equipment operators and earth-moving men went to work on the first airstrip, called Patterson Field, which was to be a fighter field. Meanwhile, construction had proceeded so well at the naval operating base, that on May 16, 1942, it was formally commissioned as Camp Knox.
No clear reference to when the planes arrived however. Also of note is the following with respect to Greenland:
The facility at Nararssuak was used as a command center and an operating point for naval patrol planes. It was located on part of the Army air base at Nararssuak. This facility's installation consisted of ... facilities for the operation and maintenance of seven PBY's ...
No date on it however. This page indicates the first plane landed at Bluie 1 in January of 42 however: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narsarsuaq_Army_Airfield
Here's some of what was in Iceland in January 43 but I can't find similiar pages for 42:
http://www.vpnavy.com/misc_13/vphistory ... Page_6.gif
Looks like 11 PV-3s from VP-82 and 1 from PBY 5A from VP-93 (with 2 more in Greenland).
This site http://www.vpnavy.com/vp93_history.html
mentions:
NEW YORK to ICELAND, 26,500 troops, 73 aircraft. First
contingent-10,500 troops embark on 24M. Second contingent-
16,000 troops embark on 57M.
And appears in a document dated May of 41

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