May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3985
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:56 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:

As he was not yet aware of the severity of the damage already sustained at 6:03 and his division gunnery had been disrupted by the torpedo alert and turns, I think he was right continuing his mission without loosing time behind a retreating enemy under smoke.

Well he was not aware at 6:00, but at 6:30... He probably knew.
And he still ventured into the Atlantic, for a 4 days journey to Brest (thus aborting the mission for BS anyway - but dettaching Prinz Eugen).

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1634
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:09 pm

Alecsandros wrote: "And he still ventured into the Atlantic, for a 4 days journey to Brest (thus aborting the mission for BS anyway - but dettaching Prinz Eugen)."

Hi Alec,
you're right. But heading to Brest meant to "suspend" the mission for the time needed for repairs. Atlantic was already reached (damages were not servere) and a powerful German fleet would have been already available in France (as per Rheinubung scope) for convoy attacks.

Heading for Norway meant to give up for a while (even longer days with good visibility during summer) and to be obliged to force again the British surveillance...


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3985
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:39 pm

True ,
But Scharnhorst was bombed and heavily damaged in BRest in April 1941 - out of action for 7 months. So... Brest was no safe haven. Luetjens visited BRest in mid-April, so must have known very well the situation...

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1634
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:57 pm

True,
however we can expect that the Luftwaffe would have been more attentive to protect such a ship concentration.....who knows?....

In any case, the final objective of Rheinubung was to start a concentration of surface raiders in Atlantic, with the capability (provided by Bismarck) to attack even heavily escorted convoys.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3985
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:10 pm

Clearly so,
But, again, actualy doing that concentration required:
a) traversing the entire width of the Atlantic ocean , which was completely secured by Home Fleet.
b) keeping the heavy ships protected and functioning at Brest, despite enemy air bases at only 250km range.
c) executing breakouts in the Bay of Biscay and beyond, with the heavy ships, defying enemy bombers, heavy ships and the new (and incorrect) info available to Luetjens of British naval radar having range in excess of 35km (ship to ship).

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1634
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:53 pm

Hi Alec,
correct.
However, I would expect Raeder (not Lutjens) to take such a decision, modifying mission orders. Your points a), b) and c) were known to Raeder as well by the time he received the message from Lutjens that he was engaged by heavy forces......

IMO, Lutjens could not afford to take his own initiative, changing strategical (albeit possibly wrong) decisions...


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3985
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:26 pm

But did Raeder transmit any message at all ?
I know it was Luetjens who said "intent to put to Saint Nazaire"...

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1634
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:15 pm

Alecsandros wrote: "But did Raeder transmit any message at all ? "

Hi Alec,
no, he did not, thus Lutjens was not in the position to change the strategical decision behind Rheinubung and he was "forced" to continue the mission or to take a decision that could have been interpreted as "scarce willingness" to accomplish it.

The message you refer to was sent at 8 AM, Raeder (and the KM command) was still in time to "suggest" him to abort Rheinubung but he did not (despite all your valid points a), b) and c) were known to the KM high command)....


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3985
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby alecsandros » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:06 pm

... Luetjens did resend the message several times, finally succeeding somewhere in the morning of May 25th. Could it be that Raeder thought it was to late to change his destination ? :think:

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1634
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:48 pm

Hi Alec,
the KM command transferred the operative control of Rheinübung from Group North to Group West at noon on May 24.

Therefore. I would assume that the message had already been received, or at least that the KM command was aware BS was still steering into the Atlantic and they did nothing to prevent this or at least to give "full freedom" to Lutjens to decide what was better being on the spot.....


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

User avatar
Herr Nilsson
Senior Member
Posts: 1011
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Germany

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Herr Nilsson » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:01 am

Even if it's quite amusing to read your ...speculations, I suggest to read the operation orders of Gruppe Nord and the fleet command and the operational instruction of Gruppe West.
Regards

Marc

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1634
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:23 am

Hi Marc,
very happy to amuse you !

Please, help both us and this discussion, posting the relevant sentences you refer too. :wink:


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

User avatar
Herr Nilsson
Senior Member
Posts: 1011
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Germany

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Herr Nilsson » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:36 pm

You overestimate the exertion of influence of the SKL (or even Hitler).
Once the decision to plan Rheinübung was made the SKL did just play a part when the theater of operation was modified before the start of the operation and when the code names were determined.
Group Nord was responsible for arranging the break out and Group West for the commerce war. According to his instructions Lütjens had all freedoms and didn't need to ask for permission for anything. Group Nord and West were independent from SKL as well. The transfer of command was determined by the operation order (Bismarck and Prinz Eugen crossing the line southern tip of Greenland - and northern tip of the Hebrides). The SKL had no need to do anything.

For Hitler Rheinübung was not very important at that time. I've read the minutes from May 22nd when Raeder reported that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were heading for the Atlantic and there was he made no comment on this agenda item.
Regards

Marc

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3985
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:53 pm

... Herr Nilson,
If Raeder would be in the place of Luetjens, what do you think he would have decided for Bismarck's course ?

User avatar
Herr Nilsson
Senior Member
Posts: 1011
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Germany

Re: May 24 1941 - Tirpitz v Prince of Wales

Postby Herr Nilsson » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:20 pm

Well, Raeder (and Group West) favored Lütjens decision not to return to Norway.
Last edited by Herr Nilsson on Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Regards

Marc


Return to “Hypothetical Naval Scenarios”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest