Plan Z

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
kevin32422
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Plan Z

Post by kevin32422 » Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:16 pm

knowing everything about what the Royal navy came out with during WWII ship wise and had during the war, If the Germans had completed their plan Z how much of a difference would it have made during the war?

Maciej
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Maciej » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:56 am

Apart from building couple of ships, there is some need of supply of fuel, building infrastructure, supply ships, maintenance and so one.
In case of fuel.
There were simply no “hard money” for purchasing oil for Kriegsmarine. Raider had “plan” of “organizing” and “keeping somewhere” as large oil as year usage of whole Germany.
There were no storage for such a numbers of oil, no source of money for oil, no plan how to organize whole thing.
So if whole fleet could be built they will be simply big
fleet in being” due to short of fuel.

Building aspect was similar.
There were “plan” of building 12 ships of “NeuePanzershiffe” class. Improved Deutschland with 30-34 knots speed ( depends on version ), and better armour.
There were capacity of building only 4 of them the same time, so it was plan to start next 4 after previous were launched. Any delay of first wave automatically delays rest. But still all 12 were planed to be finished in 1946.
Soon it was clear that it is impossible, so last 4 were cut.
Than was problem of production of heavy guns and mountings. Krupp was unable to produce the same time 15” for Bismarck, 16” for H39 and 11” for new P class.
But was able to produce 15 and 16 inchers the same time.
So another conception. Rearm Scharnhorsts to 15” guns, and available turrets from them will be used for first 3 of NeuePanzershiffe.
Soon it was clear that any rearmament will be impossible, as all shipyards were to be busy in new construction. No way of replacing turrets and rebuilding forward part of the ship to add buoyancy forward. So no 11” turrets available, so no artillery for 3 new ships, but still plan ( better to say “plan” ) of starting soon them. So source of next conception with 15” guns, with result of Ohne Panzer Quatsh ( “no armour nosense” ).
Soon in “plan” there could be seen both – 3 of OPQ, and 12 NeuePanzershiffe. Both of them were included.
Why? And what source of industrial power to produce them?
Something similar happen to H39. Next of class in place of launched first of them. Any delay – next delayed.
Problem of production of heavy guns and mountings + armour with the same time building of tanks and heavy guns for land forces.
Any problem was “omitted” by chief in sentence something like “if I was able to rebuild Germany for 5 years, industry should be able to rebuild Kriegsmarine for 5 years”. End of story.
How Germany was “rebuild” we know. For robbery and credit everyone can build autobahn and something like that. But for longer time it does not work.
But as “chief” stated “we must” so “we must”. For some time in “plan” was 6 H39 class battleships, 3 O class battlecruisers, 12 P class panzershiffe + 20+ light cruisers ~80 destroyers, 100+ submarines and so on.
How realistic it was – we know.
At best it was expected that H39 could be build for 50 months from laid down to start of sea trials.

Let’s say Raider gets all he wants ( say land forces are cut, Luftwaffe are cut and so on ), and all planed ships are build and had capability of being on sea ( planed about 7 oilers are too low for such a fleet ).
We forget fantasies, so no 6x H39 + 12x P class + 3x O class available in 1946.
Say with all possible involvement in 1946 Germans could have:
3x Deutschland
2x Scharnhorts
2x Bismarck
6x H39
3x O
+ smaller vessels.

So 10 battleships, but 8 really dangerous.

Plan was to make task forces of 2-3 H39 with company of lighter forces. H39 to destroy escort, rest destroy merchants.
If such a force could break into Atlantic it will be problematic for sure. At last for short time, until fuel is depleted, as oilers are not available. Those available (+ planed) were good for single, say twin ships raids, not such a large forces!

Compare it to British plans.
Program year ……….. class ………… numbers
1936 ……….. KGV …………… 2
1937 ……….. KGV …………… 3
1938 ……….. Lion .…………… 2
1939 ……….. Lion ……….…… 2
1940 ……….. Lion ……….…… 2 + 1 Vanguard
1941 ………… 16” gunned …….2-3 + 1? Vanguard
1942 ………… 16” gunned …….2-4

+ of course numerous carriers, cruisers and about 8 to 16 destroyers per year
Delivery time of Lion class 42 months between sighting contract and ship delivered for Royal Navy.
How realistic?
KGV started 2 January 1937 delivered December 1940. 4 years including delay due to war start.
Bismarck started in middle of 1936, delivered in August 1940, with no some of fire control elements installed on ship. And construction of ship was accelerated after outbreak of war in cost of delaying other ships.

In Brtiain
Available sleeps for building battleships were numerous ( about 10, have to check ).
Limiting factor of building battleships were production of heavy mountings. In 1938 it was 7 turrets per year. Next was armour production.
Needs of building more battleships were clear. So in 1939 it was accepted to expand production of heavy turrets to allow start of 3 battleships per years since 1940 or 1941 program ( 7, 8 and 9 ship of Lion/Mod Lion class ). Just before outbreak of war, even to 4 battleships per year. There were money for that.
As temporary measure it was decided to reopen ex Coventy Ordnance Works in Beardmore to allow modernisation of old 15” turrets. Vanguard was accepted before the war and 3 ship of 1940 program ( to be build the same time as 5 and 6 ship of Lion class ). It was expected that those Lions could be finished in early 1945, but Vanguard year before.
Next Vanguard could be started in 1942 program. Decision if that ship will be started was to be made later. In 1939 it was too early

So in 1946 available ships for British
Hood – heavy modernized.
Renown – heavy modernized.
Repulse – partially modernized ( possibly on disposal list – depends on situation )
Nelsons – 2 – partially/heavy modernized ( or in the shipyard during modernization )
Queen Elizabeths – 3 heavy modernized.
Queen Elizabeths – 2 medium modernized ( on disposal list, depends on situation if sold for scrap or at reserve )
KGV – 5 ships
Lion – 6 ships ( with 3-4 more as asdvanced as KGV and PoW historically in 1939, + some, no less than 6-8 in state as DoY, Anson, Hove historically )
Vanguard – 1 ready + possible 1 on building stage ( if 1 on building, that 1 Lion less )

So 12 – 14 new battleships + 3 rebuild battlecruisers ( to take care with Scharnhorsts )
and 5 – 7 older, slower rebuild. Not good enough to stay in fight against modern battleships, but with armament had to be counted.
All available at start of the war, with no fuel problems.
And with some ships so advanced that could be finished in 1-3 years of war.
Against 8 modern strong new + 2 Scharnhorts + 3 O + Deutschlands in 1945 clearly not strongest ships in they class.
No any plan of such ships in Germany, and even if planed, how to build them?

Clearly better proportion than historically, but still with British superiority.
Many depends on Germans movement.

See WWI. At the begin of War German fleet was less powerful than British, but not so much. Later month after month British supremacy was larger, and Germans waited for what? To be outnumbered?
In WWII no plan to use fleet. OK, to make raids, but no fuel, no oilers, no bases.
What what to do?
Stay and wait for what? To be outnumbered?

kevin32422
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Re: Plan Z

Post by kevin32422 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:28 pm

I see your point with supply ships and oil issues for Germany, something you didn't mention was the aircraft carriers that Germany was to build say they had enough oil and supply ships for 2 separate task forces consisting of 1 carrier, 1 Bismarck class ship, 1 Hipper class cruiser, 1 Scharnhorst class battleship and a complement of destroyers for each group, would along with the Luftwaffe and the U boat threat been a serious threat to the British and their shipping providing all the armed forces of Germany can get coordinated and remain supplied.

Maciej
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Maciej » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:40 pm

Forget about German carriers
First 2 were to be Graff Zeppelin class, next 3 smaller one, on pair with Ryuho in size.

Graff Zeppelin – full combination of lack of experience, idiocy and mistakes.
Some points about idiocy/lack of experience ( there were more )
Preparing planes to take off – warm engines inside hangar. Hanger is closed ( good for Atlantic ), so smoke generated by planes were to be removed by large blowers and system of pipes. How it will work in practice on waves, with spray and frost.
Possibly brilliant idea, but British with 20+ years experience never tried such a thing. They had some “strange ideas”, but never such a thing. OK, I know, British were simply unable to do anything right. They were too stupid to do anything correct, by definition. So we have navy which made everything right by definition, and with 20+ experience in carrier aviation in late 30-thies. I don’t remember such an idea in US navy. If warming engines inside hangar was needed – they just build open hangars.

Next – starting planes from catapults only. No normal take off. Planes moved on trolley on rails on similar way as in battleships. After every start trolley is thrown overboard. How those trolleys will work in practice? Again – no such idea in any navy with any experience.
Start from catapults? Fine, now it is the way of starting planes. But on Graff Zeppelin it was to be done by compressed air. Air enough to start 18 planes. Than had to wait 45+ minutes to work compressor to compress air. No operation possible that time.
Any practical view how to use it?
Again – no such a thing in any navy with any experience.

In case of mistakes.
8x15 cm guns were included in first specification. Not so bad idea, as Germans expected to be outnumbered by enemy. But they were placed low in the ship in casamettes. How to use them in seaway? OK there were casamates in WWI era, but Germans had different strategic situation that time. That time Germans had opportunity, they had time to choose when engagement will happen, so could choose weather condition ( with bad weather they simply will be at harbour ). Graff had different situation, so some 15 cm were good, but in low positioned casamates not. But it is not the case. There were need of weight savings. So proposals were done to make double casamates in place of singles for weight savings. Conception was to keep the same numbers of guns but in less numbers of casamattes.
But somebody misunderstand conception and keep the same numbers of casamattes but double in place of single, so numbers of 15 cm guns doubled. That was “weight savings made in Germany”. And later no one was “brave enough” to simply cut numbers of those guns!

Add to it machinery build on more or less the same principles as destroyers and Hippers, so with proverbial (un)reliability, and see how it could work.

Add to it no any carrier based plane ( yes I know, BF 190 and Fi something and Stukas ), no conception how to use it, no idea how to operate, navigate and so on, and see whole picture.

Take me right – ship had some potential. But Germans simply had no experience with operation with such a ship.
Every single thing could be working, but it is quite good chance ( I thing 100% ) that all as a whole will be something like Panther tank near Kursk battle. Unable to even go to the battlefield due to various failures.

Second carrier was to be the same as Graff Zeppelin.
Rest smaller, but build in such a short time, that I don’t expect much experience from first pair to be included in next, much smaller.

alecsandros
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Re: Plan Z

Post by alecsandros » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:44 pm

... Another direction to consider was building 12 Panzerschiffes by Sept 1939 (9 extra along with the historical 3), instead of the historical Hippers, Scharnhorsts , Bismarcks and (attempted) carriers and super-battleships.

With 12 Panzerchiffes operational in Sept 1939 (say keeping 4 at sea at any given time), and working in pairs, it woudl be very hard for the Atlantic Allies to intercept and destroy enough of them fast enough to protect the convoy routes.

Paul L
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Paul L » Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:27 pm

Z Plan was never realizable in any context of WW-II history . It seems like it was Raeder's 'shot across the bow' to Hitler going to war in 1939/40.... when the KM time target for war was 1947/49. So war could not start until then. Hitler already rejected this when he established the "4 year plan" to be ready for war by 1940.

A different approach would have to be made, not just for the KM but also the other services as well.

Reportedly in 1957 a German engineering journal article by EX KM naval designers showed how else these resources/funding/labour & yard space that were invested in building the 4 battleships [Bis/ Tirp/ Sch/Gnie] & 5 heavy cruisers [PEugen/Hip/Blu/Sey/ Lut], could have been invested. The options they came up with was to build EITHER 375 Type VII U-Boats or 21 Deutschland PBS.

They further estimated that either program could have been completed before the war began.
"Eine mal is kein mal"

Maciej
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Maciej » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:22 pm

I’m curious how they get into conclusion of finishing 12 Deutschlands before the war.
It is not so simple, You cut battleship and have 3 or 4 cruisers in place of it.
In case ton per ton possibly yes, but in reality there is need to have place to build them, armament to put on it and so one.
For example – 2 Bismarcks is ~83 000 tons == ~7 Deutschlands. But 2 Bismarcks mean 8 heavy turrets, 12 x 15 cm turrets and 16 x 105 turrets.
7 Deutschlands mean 14 heavy turrets, 56 x 15 cm turrets ( 56 guns, in Bismarcks 24 guns ), and 21 x 105 mm turrets. Clearyl Krupp will have more work to do – can do that?
In case of slips things are similar. In place of Scharnchorst You can put 2 Deutschlands side by side. But 3?

For simplification, lets say Deutschland is 12 000 tons, Hipper 14 000 tons, Scharnhorst 30 000 tons, Bismarck 40 000 tons, Graff Zeppelin 18 000 tons ( all light ship )

So in September 1939 Germans had:
3 x Deutschlands ( historical )
1 x Hipper + 4 on building stage, 1 nearly Finishes, 1 medium finished, 2 far from finished.
2 x Scharnhorst
1 x Graff Zeppelin ( medium from finished )
2 x Bismarcks ( 1 medium finished, 1 far from finished ).

For simplification, and giving Germans some chance, lets say:
Blucher == 12 000 tons == 1 Deutschland
Rest of Hippers == 1 Detutschland + 4 on various building stage.
Scharnchorts = 5 Deutschlands (in reality less, but I favorite Germans )

Graff and Bismarcks? How much? They were not finished in 1939. Lest say 4 new extra ( I have doubts, but who cares? ), so say 3

Now count:
3 Deutschlands historical + 1 (in place of Hipper) + 5 (in place of Scharnchorsts ) + 3 ( in place of Bismarcks )
So total 12

Is my calculation right?

And we of course forget about any treaty ( Anglo-German for example )

If Somebody thinks about improved Deutschland say 18 00 tons ( like original Scharnhorst ) no way to have 12 of them in 1939

Submarines are similar, but it is good to remember that submarines are more costly than battleships ( per ton ), due to raw materials needed for making them. So again no 375, or we have simple “wishful thinking” in calculation “ton per ton”

And last, not least – what about crew for all those ships? Larger are less crew demanded ( per ton, per commander and so one )
And if Germans started 12 Deutschlands or 375 submarines, does anybody believe that British will build they fleet exactly like historical?

alecsandros
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Re: Plan Z

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:36 am

... 12 Panzerchiffs might be feasible if planning for them would be seriously started in the early 1930s (say around 1931-1932). That way, they could have enough man power and dockyard space to build and assemble them , and enough man power to man the ships (crews).

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Re: Plan Z

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:02 am

Possible response by British is hard to ascertain. Historically they knew very well about the 3 PBBs and did nothing (no special new builds). They expected 2 x 8" cruisers to be enough to stop 1 ship.

If they would see 12 PBBs in the building, and zero battleships, they might cancel 2 or 3 KGVs and build 10-12 extra 8" cruisers, IMHO (which along with the historical 25 or so could be expected to be sufficient to deter and to destroy, if needed, a PBB raiding force). All this is pre-planning strategy of course, and it would be hard if not impossible to quantify what would actualy happen in a battle between 4 Counties and 2 PBBs.

Maciej
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Maciej » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:00 pm

First 3 Deutschlands were not a problem for British
They had more than enough 8” cruisers to take care of them.
And if really needed they had 3 ships stronger in every possible aspect.
OK, say Repair and Refit, when not rebuild, had shorted max main artillery range, but who cares? They had ~21,5 km range, with new shells ~24 km, so how many hits were obtained in that range?
Deutschland will fire whole magazine before inflict serious damage to British battlecruiser.

But 12 such a ships will make a problem.
Hard to say what will be response. With second London Treaty not many possible movements. 8” cruisers banned. Any new 8 000 tons max
Anything between 8 and 15 00 tons banned ( if I remember correctly higher value ) and guns between 6 and 10” banned.
So response could be very numerous Fijis, of realy large cruisers with 10+ “ guns.
KGV are quite good, enough speed and power, but only 5 of them. Next class clearly much later.
But 8” cruisers available, as Hippers were gone. Germans light cruisers not a problem.

Yes – such a program could be problematic.

My expectation – such a German program to have any chance to be finished in 30-thies, had to be started much before start of second London treaty
With knowledge about such a program in Germany, I seriously doubt if British could accept/force treaty in such a shape as historical.
But who knows?

EDIT:
One thing.
All is about building 12 repeat Deitschlands/Graff Spees.
If improved, larger ships with more armour/speed, they become larger. Larger - means less numerour. No miracles sorry.

Paul L
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Paul L » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:45 am

if the KM ex naval engineers say they could build 21 PBBs instead of the bism/tirp/sch/gne/hipp/Blu/PE/Sey & Lut B4 the war began, then I would suggest 12 Panzerschiffe should be childs play.

for starters KM actually laid down 21 large warships in the 1930s and the total production tonnage was more than enough for each of these to be large fast Panzerschiffe , but the armor could only be about 5000 tons .A propulsion system -maybe 2500t each-would work if it was advanced diesel instead of high temp/pressure steam system. however this would not be ready before the late 1930s ; so the first dozen PBC would needed to be evolutions of AGS with transom stern etc to allow 30 knots top speed.

the main guns would need to be 11"C28 guns design, since no other gun designs would be ready for production until the late 1930s or the second batch. Secondary guns could be 6" singles and/or twin 4" flak. With economy of scale 108 guns could be built by 1939. If the Deutschland PBBs guns are also used each of the 21 Panzerschiffe could have 6 mounted. If the Army heavy guns are built instead as C28 guns; the total could reach 160 guns or 12 PBC with 6 guns and 8 PBC with 9 guns.

In fact 5 of the 21 heavy warships would only be laid down at the end of the decade so alternatively 16 PBC could be completed with 9 guns and the last 5 equipped in 1940 & 1941..
"Eine mal is kein mal"

alecsandros
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Re: Plan Z

Post by alecsandros » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:32 am

... 21 PBBs would be a very ambitious project. If that could be obtained, and if those ships could be adequately supplied and mantained (which I doubt), the war of the Atlantic could have been very ddiferent :think:

Maciej
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Re: Plan Z

Post by Maciej » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:24 pm

Big question - when those 21 ships were to be ready.
If in 1939 - yes "battle of the Atlantic" could be different.
But in 1945?
Who cares.
British will have that time ~20 fast battleships ( new + 3 modernized battlecruisers ) + heavy cruisers and so on.
And France will have "some" forces too.
At last 2 Dunekrues + 4 Richelieus/Gascognes + 2 or more on building stage.
Yes Dunkerques and Richelieus in practice were worse than "on paper", but wer egood enough against Deutschland.

And US will have some forces too. If will be as "neutral" as historical, hard time for Deutschlands

alecsandros
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Re: Plan Z

Post by alecsandros » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:49 pm

By 1939. That would be realy interesting.
Alot of targets for RAF to bomb in harbor.
Alot of possible sorties to be blocked by British/French combined navies.
Alot of possible convoys cancelled , for lack of suitable (and numerous) escorts...
Who knows ?

But IMHO, even 12 PBBs would be hard to build...

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Re: Plan Z

Post by Paul L » Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:56 am

From a doctrine POV neither plan of 375 type-VII U-Boats or 21 PBC would have been attempted - but a hybrid blend of the two was doable. In the early 30s naval discussions for any future war - focused mainly on rapid U-Boat expansion. Rossler notes suggested a prewar build of < 90 U-Boats plus as many built in each of the following war years.

But such a war time plan also envisaged -annual production of 1-2 dozen Zerstroers & several dozen GTB plus over hundred Mineboot each year....as well as > 100 U-Boat production. The 1939 historical crash expansion plan from 100 to 200 U-Boats per year was achieved by building U-Boats instead of the planned 48 GTB 24 Zerstroers & 130 Mineboot. To reach Hitler's demands of more production to over 22-27 U-Boat/month required further cuts including halting completion of 'the big five'.
"Eine mal is kein mal"

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