Tirpitz shelling New York

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Rick Rather
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:23 am

RF wrote:An alternative scenario which would involve shelling shore targets would be a ''drumbeat'' type operation in conjunction with U-boats against coastal shipping and ports.
Yup. Stay tuned...
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by alecsandros » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:26 am

RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote: With the US at war with Germany, no Latin American state is going to openly assist the Germans, certainly not Uruguay.
I'll risk a speculation: maybe if the ship's captain would declare damage and demand a few days of R&R in Montevideo... ?

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:09 pm

RF wrote:The background hypothesis are realistic however I do think Sea Lion, with proper planning and execution was feasible...
Possible, but irrelevant. For the purposes of this scenario, it is essential that England has not fallen. If it had, then there would be no North Atlantic convoys. Without the convoys, the escorts (including the battleships) would be in US & Canadian home waters. This would mean:

A.) The East Coast would be much better defended, making the risk unacceptable, and

B.) There would be no need for a surface raid to draw American BBs back to the Western Atlantic.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
-- R. Rather

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:43 pm

Continued from previous post...

Now let's look at the operation:

Objective
Operation Loge (big Wagner-fan, here) is primarily a terror attack to induce the US to redeploy units closer to the American coast.

Targets
Targets are strategic and morale targets in and around New York City.
- Wall Street (morale)
- Statue of Liberty (morale)
- Brooklyn Naval Shipyard (strategic)
- Piers at Bayonne, New Jersey (strategic)

Notes:
- Accuracy is a secondary priority to target engagement. As such, "ranging shots" are un-necessary. Tirpitz will fire at maximum ROF.
- Tirpitz may (weather permitting) use scout planes to spot fall-of-shot. Aircraft crews will be recovered by a U-Boat standing-by at a pre-arranged rendezvous point.
- Coastal defense installations are not primary targets. Since Tirpitz will inevitably withdraw, any duel between the battleship and coastal forts can be claimed as a "victory" by the US ("chasing away the raider"), even if the coastal batteries are destroyed. Thus, priority must be given to the designated targets, and returning fire on coastal batteries only to minimize damage to Tirpitz.

(In other words, if Tirpitz starts the action by firing on the forts, but fails to take all of them out before they can man-up and return fire, then it will wind-up in a duel and may have to disengage without engaging the primary targets, thus giving the US the "cheap win" and failing in her mission. On the other hand, She can probably get several minutes of max-ROF shooting (possibly splitting targets between her fore and aft batteries) at the primaries before she has to fight her way out through the defensive fire.)

Environment
The OP specified February, 1942. He literally could not have picked a better time. The action would be in the middle of the night to allow approach & withdrawl under the cover of darkness. The weather for New York in mid-Feb gives ~60% chance of either fog or precipitation (rain or snow). Zero-visibility would be fine for the Germans, since they can navigate inshore by radar and engage the primary targets with map-fire (accuracy is not mandatory). The night of February 14/15 is dark-of-the-moon. Even in the absence of cover, the night will be dark. Also, there will be a good high-tide around midnight to make navigation easier. February 14th is a Saturday, and St. Valentine's Day to boot; so it is possible that the Americans will be in a *ahem* lower-than-normal state of readiness.

To be continued in ~14 hours, when I discuss defenses and refueling...
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by RF » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:25 pm

alecsandros wrote:
RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote: With the US at war with Germany, no Latin American state is going to openly assist the Germans, certainly not Uruguay.
I'll risk a speculation: maybe if the ship's captain would declare damage and demand a few days of R&R in Montevideo... ?
Well. AGS got only three days instead of the two weeks Langsdorf demanded, and that was from British pressure.....

US influence on a Latin American state makes it far more dangerous to be seen helping an enemy of the US. Remember the Monroe Doctrine and the degree of hegemony it accords to the US, remember the blowing up of the USS Maine in Havanna harbour. A hostile act against American interests is likely to be terminal to the government that allows it.
Imagine what would happen if a Latin American government openly supported Al Qaeda......
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by RF » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:29 pm

Rick Rather wrote:
RF wrote:The background hypothesis are realistic however I do think Sea Lion, with proper planning and execution was feasible...
Possible, but irrelevant. For the purposes of this scenario, it is essential that England has not fallen. If it had, then there would be no North Atlantic convoys. Without the convoys, the escorts (including the battleships) would be in US & Canadian home waters. This would mean:

A.) The East Coast would be much better defended, making the risk unacceptable, and

B.) There would be no need for a surface raid to draw American BBs back to the Western Atlantic.
I don't think it is entirely irrelevant, particulary if the USSR is still at war with Germany and American convoys are going from the east coast to Soviet Arctic ports without going anywhere near a German occupied Britain. Such operations would be feasible in the summer months if Iceland and perhaps even the Faroes/Spitzbergen are under US occupation.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:38 am

RF wrote:I don't think it is entirely irrelevant, particulary if the USSR is still at war with Germany and American convoys are going from the east coast to Soviet Arctic ports without going anywhere near a German occupied Britain. Such operations would be feasible in the summer months if Iceland and perhaps even the Faroes/Spitzbergen are under US occupation.
No. As I already established in this post:
Rick Rather wrote:- If Tirpitz is in the Atlantic, then she is not needed in Norway. That indicates there are no Murmansk convoys. Either Operation Barbarosa was successful and the Soviet Union has fallen, or Barbarosa was not launched (yet) and the USSR is still a de-facto ally with Germany.
(emphasis added)

(edited to add) Of course this whole back-story is just window-dressing. The scenario is "Tirpitz Shelling New York". If we ask, "How could this come to pass?" the short answer would be, "The Kriegsmarine is having a really good war." Any speculation beyond that is debate-fodder. :) :cool:
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by RF » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:01 am

I'm not sure that your condition of no war in Europe actually suits the scenario. If Germany is only at war with the US with Europe under total German domination then the US east coast would become front line with US naval and air strength concentrated there.
Convoy routes eastward would dissipate a concentration of strength and the Tirpitz would not necessarily be Norway based in such a scenario, in fact if there is other considerable KM strength in Norway I would be minded to base it at Vigo or Cadiz, with Narvik class destroyers - much easier actually to hit the US east coast from there and causes the Americans to have to guard on another flank to the northern Atlantic entrances. Luftwaffe airfields in the Azores and Canaries would provide additional cover to the Germans in the eastern Atlantic.
There is also one further advantage. If Tirpitz operates from the Spanish Atlantic coast, then Italian battleships such as Vittorio Veneto could accompany Tirpitz on a foray to the US east coast.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:49 am

RF wrote:I'm not sure that your condition of no war in Europe actually suits the scenario...
That is NOT my condition, and I cannot imagine where you would get such an idea. I specifically wrote:
Rick Rather wrote:For the purposes of this scenario, it is essential that England has not fallen. If it had, then there would be no North Atlantic convoys. Without the convoys, the escorts (including the battleships) would be in US & Canadian home waters. This would mean:

A.) The East Coast would be much better defended, making the risk unacceptable, and

B.) There would be no need for a surface raid to draw American BBs back to the Western Atlantic.
(emphasis in the original)

This is the second time you have argued a point with which I had already explicitly dealt.

(edited to add) I do agree that the Azores are essential to this operation. If Tirpitz refuels there, then a round-trip from there to New York (even allowing for indirect approach) and back to St. Nazaire would be less than 5,700nm. That leaves a good margin for high-speed ops.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:03 pm

Coastal Defenses - Guns

Much information about US coastal fortifications can be found through the Coast Defense Study Group, referenced earlier in this thread. Wikipedia has a good historical summary here In this section, I just want to summarize the types and deployment of weapons defending New York in 1942.

At the turn of the century, three major fortresses guarded New York Harbor: Forts Hamilton and Wadsworth guarded the east and west sides (respectively) of the Tacoma Narrows. Fort Hancock, out on Sandy Hook, New Jersey, defended the approaches to the outer harbor channel.

Starting in 1899, the US Army equipped these forts with a total of 18 12" guns and 6-7 10" guns. These guns were mostly grouped in 2-gun batteries. All of these guns were on disappearing carriages. Although this type of mount had good defensive advantages, their range was restricted to ~14 to 18kyds. Also, their flat trajectories did not allow good deck penetration. To compensate for the latter, the Army installed 12" mortars to provide plunging-fire out to ~14kyds. A battery of 8 of these mortars were installed at Fort Hamilton. At all three forts, the big guns were supplemented with 3" & 6" guns, most of them on pedestal mounts.

In 1917, the Army mounted two pairs of 6" guns on Rockaway Point, across from Sandy Hook. This became Fort Tilden.

Image

In the 1920s, faced with the increasing range of battleship guns, the Army supplemented the existing guns with batteries mounted in open barbettes. These could elevate and provide greater range and plunging fire. Fort Hancock received two pairs of 12" guns (designated Battery Richmond and Battery Mills) with ranges of ~30kyds. Fort Tilden installed a pair of 16" guns (Battery Harris) that could elevate to 65 degrees, with a range of ~49kyds.

Here is a film of disappearing guns and barbettes in action:
Seacoast Artillery In Action - Part 1

Here is Part 2, which shows 12" mortars firing:
Seacoast Artillery In Action - Part 2

An Army document I found gives a nominal cycle time for the 10" & 12" guns as 40-45 seconds, though as you can see, a well-drilled crew can do better (even allowing for the under-cranked camera). The 16" are listed as a bit slower, with a nominal ROF of ~2/3 rounds/minute (90 seconds).

Although their rate-of-fire was slower than most warships, they did have some advantages. For starters, they were mounted on an exceptionally stable firing platform. :D Also, unlike warships, one gun firing before another would not shake the platform, so coastal batteries tended to have tighter patterns as compared to ships. Defensively, shore batteries were usually smaller targets and could be camouflaged. Significantly, radar fire control was useless against shore batteries unless they were right on the water (which the New York batteries were not). However, radar navigation would help a map-fire mission.

On the other hand, fixed shore batteries were notoriously bad at "salvo-chasing". :wink: Also, as you may have noticed, both the disappearing mounts and the barbettes have no overhead protection. They would be vulnerable to long-range fire - even from Tirpitz's 5.9" secondaries.

It may be a few days before I can post again. When I do, I'll discuss coastal gun fire control.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by RF » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:14 am

Rick Rather wrote:
RF wrote:I'm not sure that your condition of no war in Europe actually suits the scenario...
That is NOT my condition, and I cannot imagine where you would get such an idea. I specifically wrote:
Rick Rather wrote:For the purposes of this scenario, it is essential that England has not fallen. If it had, then there would be no North Atlantic convoys. Without the convoys, the escorts (including the battleships) would be in US & Canadian home waters. This would mean:

A.) The East Coast would be much better defended, making the risk unacceptable, and

B.) There would be no need for a surface raid to draw American BBs back to the Western Atlantic.
(emphasis in the original)

This is the second time you have argued a point with which I had already explicitly dealt.
I think there is a problem of English comprehension here. If there are no Murmansk convoys, but there are North Atlantic convoys with Britain still in the war,then the RN is in the war and the operation is no longer simply USA versus Germany. Before Tirpitz goes shelling the USA Britain has to be knocked out.
There has to be external conflict to the USA for the operation to be feasible, with North Atlantic convoys but not to Britain - the only destination has to be the Soviet Union. The greater length of the convoy routes from the US to Archangel poses much greater demands on US logistics (without British help) whilst giving the Germans much greater scope for attack.
That is the scenario I thought we were discussing. It is in that context that the use of Tirpitz to shell New York would be on the KM agenda as a feasible, relatively low risk operation. However you have argued for the USSR not to be at war with Germany, ie no war in Europe involving the great bulk of Germanys' armed forces. That was the point I was responding to.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

batterymills
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by batterymills » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:18 pm

Hello All,
I just came across this topic and I can supply a lot of info regarding the Harbor Defenses of New York during WWII if anyone is interested.
Here is a link to an organization that I belong to that is involved with restoring one of the gun batteries (and other structures) at Fort Hancock, NJ. Please take a look if you have the time.

www.armygroundforces.org

Mike

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by paul.mercer » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:06 am

Gentlemen,
Just picked up on this thread while idly browsing through the forum.
At the beginning some posts mention the New Mexico class ships that have 12x14" 50 guns and the possibility of it shooting holes in Tirpitz if she dared to come over the US shores. Elsewhere in the Forum there are numerous discussions about a KGV ship with 10x14" taking on either Bismarck or Tirpitz on a one to one basis with not too good results for the KGV - would the two extra 14" guns on a New mexico really have made that much difference?

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