Terje Langoy wrote:G
Indeed, the Dunkerque class had the Germans veering back towards traditional designs, succumbing to what Richard Worth would refer to as a Mahanian sort of mindset. Me thinks rather than looking at what the Deutchland class may accomplish in the war years, let's keep in mind what will be risked by continue building them. They were after all the reason A.G.N.A.came into being in the first place
I hold the belief that rather than changing the appearance of the Kriegsmarine, which seems to me evolving on a very natural and adequate, robust path, that one may achieve more by changing strategies and dispositions. Call me fanboy of Raeders thoughts. Cruiser warfare on the high seas until utterly defeated. Cerberus was a big mistake
If we look critically at the alternatives often proposed, a more traditional navy built around battleships looks like the only viable option.
Many of the alternatives we find today benefit from hindsight, but hindsight also reveals flaws to those proposals.
It is often proposed that the Germans should have built hundreds more U-boats instead of surface ships, particularly the four battleships. However, submarine technology wasn't really there yet. They really needed the Type XXI in 1940.
What about several more panzerschiffs? Again with the benefit of hindsight, we see that greater numbers of lesser ships effectively countered the pocket battleship concept. The panzerschiffs were too slow and too vulnerable to damage, and their AA assets were pitiful. Once air power at sea became established during 1941, they were hopelessly obsolete.
Should the Germans have built aircraft carrier task forces? This is problematic as well. Aircraft carrier task forces require massive investments in naval aviation technology and a marshalling of resources beyond the scope of a re-arming Germany of the late 1930s. They require a large balanced fleet of ocean going destroyers and cruisers, and possibly including battleships, anyway. Not to mention the logistical requirements. The German Navy did need its own air force, independent or semi-independent of the Luftwaffe, though, even if it was mostly shore based.
Getting back to Paul's comment that the best escort for a panzerschiff/battleship was another panzerschiff/battleship, maybe the Germans should just have built several 9x35cm gun Scharnhorsts, or maybe H39s (or diesel powered 15" or 16" gun BBs)?