The Kaisers dreadnoughts

From the birth of the Dreadnought to the period immediately after the end of World War I.
Captain Morgan
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Postby Captain Morgan » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:56 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
If they are ordered to fight they´ll go, end of the discussion, as any soldier has done in their country´s interest in History.
You just can´t make any comparison between them and those sailors who DID THEIR DUTY in the Hood, the Bismarck, the Arizona, the Schanhorst, the Royal Oak, the Yamato, etc. etc. etc. etc. and can claim their site of honor among those brave enough to distinguished that the interests of the many precedes those of the few or the one. Why they didn´t protest for playing bridge or dice on the BBs and BCs decks for five years while millions were fighting like tigers and dying horrible deaths in the battlefields? When the day came for them to do their part then it´s time to be "socially perceptive"? Give me a break! That was a stab in the back of the army, an army that wasn´t beaten once in the fields, and still occupying enemy territory when these spoiled children began to run amuk.


Actually your statement here is quite scary since it seems to be what came out of Nazi Germany. It was the excuse of the murderers who killed innocent people because they were ordered to! Sorry this type of fanaticism doesn't exist in England or Norway, so what is your real heritage?
Have you ever had a good friend killed in combat? I have.
Have you ever had someone die while you were performing first aid trying to keep them alive? I have.
Have you ever woke up in your cabin because in your dream you heard "Man Battle Stations Missile for Strategic Launch" Knowing you were able to send 16 missiles with 10 MIRV warheads a piece to end the world as you know it? I have.

Life is precious. I have been raised to be an officer in a military family. I have been taught to win. I have always excelled at that, in work, war-games and sports. But in my life I have also seen the birth of a son to go with the death of my best friend. The birth is glorious, the death is disheartening.

Oh you do have Hitlers little lie that the German Army wasn't defeated in battle to fall back on as you quoted. But get the facts right "They were defeated in battle." All the battles in the last months of WWI went against the German Army. I guess it would have been much better had the Allied Generals been heeded to, Their view was that we needed to crush the German Army to make them understand they are defeated. By not doing that the MYTH of the Politicians selling the German Army out on the brink of them winning the war was born and Hitler used this and the hatred of the Jews as a rallying cry to kill the second most number of people in the 20th century behind Stalin.
There are 2 types of vessels out there. One type is called a target. If it isn't capable of silently doing 30+ knots at 2000 ft depth its always considered a target. The vessel that can silently go fast and deep is the one the targets are afraid of.

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Postby Tiornu » Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:20 am

"Why were the German sailors so upset about going out and fighting the British again?"
Jutland left no doubt that the HSF could not defeat the Grand Fleet. It's easy to look at a battle as though it were a scorecard and say, "The British suffered greater losses, so the Germans must be their near-equals if not superior." But that's not how wars take place. After Jutland, the HSF effectively went into hiding for the same reason that they fled the Battle of Juttland so desperately. The leaders knew they could not challenge in Mahanian combat. The truth was obvious to the sailors as well. "If the admirals know we can't win...." With that understanding, an order to sortie could have only one purpose--for them to die as an expression of their leaders' pride. They were not cowards, and they were every bit as willing to fight as the men in the trenches, but not if there was nothing good to be accomplished. It's unfortunate for the Japanese that so many of their young men were not equipped with this understanding; for the young men in that culture, death was its own reward, really not that different from the Valhalla image mentioned previously. So hundreds of kamikaze pilots gave their lives for no military purpose, merely underscoring how foolish their leadership was.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:21 pm

Captain Morgan:
Actually your statement here is quite scary since it seems to be what came out of Nazi Germany. It was the excuse of the murderers who killed innocent people because they were ordered to! Sorry this type of fanaticism doesn't exist in England or Norway, so what is your real heritage?
Have you ever had a good friend killed in combat? I have.
Have you ever had someone die while you were performing first aid trying to keep them alive? I have.
Have you ever woke up in your cabin because in your dream you heard "Man Battle Stations Missile for Strategic Launch" Knowing you were able to send 16 missiles with 10 MIRV warheads a piece to end the world as you know it? I have.

Life is precious. I have been raised to be an officer in a military family. I have been taught to win. I have always excelled at that, in work, war-games and sports. But in my life I have also seen the birth of a son to go with the death of my best friend. The birth is glorious, the death is disheartening.

Oh you do have Hitlers little lie that the German Army wasn't defeated in battle to fall back on as you quoted. But get the facts right "They were defeated in battle." All the battles in the last months of WWI went against the German Army. I guess it would have been much better had the Allied Generals been heeded to, Their view was that we needed to crush the German Army to make them understand they are defeated. By not doing that the MYTH of the Politicians selling the German Army out on the brink of them winning the war was born and Hitler used this and the hatred of the Jews as a rallying cry to kill the second most number of people in the 20th century behind Stalin.



Between 1982 thru 1987 my country lived the everyday possibility of being invaded by the communists (known as Sandinistas) from Nicaragua. Many combats were recorded over the frontier. By that time I volunteer to be in our National Reserve. I don´t know you, but when you approach the fighting the sounds of the mortars and the machine guns make you want to shit your pants, pal. Our group commander was shot dead. Others were killed and wounded too. I know what´s Duty as my dad who served in the Norwegian Air Force by 1953 when Uncle Joe Stalin threaten the Free World, and as my grandfather who served as artillery officer for the Norwegian Army, and all the bloodline that goes, somehow, back to Austria.
I now have two beautiful sons: male and female and I want them to live in peace and freedom, to know no war. Today I not even have a gun to protect my house against the burglars. But I´m not blind: if you want peace prepare for war.
And, another thing: Hitler was a liar, he was insane, he was plain evil, but in WWI the German Army was occupying enemy territory when the Armistice broke. The only enemy that really broke the German frontline was the US Army under Pershing while the other allies where trying to figure out how to put a a 2,5 mph and 20 ton tank across a 10 meter depth trench. The Germans were defeated by an internal insurrection, by the discontent of the people, by the attrition of fighting five years without any hope of winning, by the fact that their summer offensive (that accomplished more captured ground that all the allies had done in the previous four years with less casualties) did not disrupt the frontline, by the fact that the Kaiser let Hindenburg and Ludendorf run the country for the war and by the war. But make not mistake, the British and the French didn´t beat the Germans in the battlefield, nope, never. The Americans did breakthru the front, locally, the Germans went ape to close the gaps, the other allies had their time to claim some territory.
Again, for more information please read John Mosier´s: "The Myth of Great War." It´s a good book that complement other good information.
And my statement of shooting traitors didn´t come from Nazi Germany, it came from common sense, if you let your men decide what´s best to do then you´ll end surrendering quite soon. The US Army had shot many traitors in it´s History, like John Paul Jones did from time to time.
Before, when I was writing about this same matter I quote American commanders, not Mein Kampf. So don´t go calling nazi everyone that came with a different idea because, then, you´re the fascist, not me.
And returning to the thread, and leaving this dangerous political incorrect discussion: The HSF would have launched an all out attack in order to help it´s country to win the war because:
"War is the continuation of politics by other means".
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Gary
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Postby Gary » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:52 pm

I, for one, do not particularly appreciate posters promoting and advocating other sites, as if each is somehow "competing" against the other. I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is not the first time I've encountered similar "Post there, not here" entries. It's inevitable that there will be some crossover and duplicated topics, I understand very well, but please---let's not denigrate threads by encouraging members to take their contributions elsewhere. I'm sure both sites can engage independently in subject material and discussions.

Hi RNFanDan

I actively post on both message boards as well as the Hood website (although less often) as do a number of other posters.
I wasnt asking Karl to leave this forum but rather inviting him to also post on the Bismarck/Tirpitz site.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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Postby Rafael » Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:43 pm

I do believe that the idea of the HSF as a "luxury fleet" is accepted too easily (yes, I read Holger Herwig's book but found it lacking of hard evidence and weak on many areas. A much better book is Rolf Hobson's "Imperialism at Sea").

Most of the arguments used for this can be applied to the US Navy indeed.

The fact that Imperial Germany WAS defeated (or at least it was a major contributor) by the British blockade shows how dependant she was of foreign imports. Is this not a very good reason for having a strong fleet?

The real folly was to bet everything on a submarine war that brought the USA into the war.

That the HSF was the main factor of the British-German antagony is quite questionable. It can be argued that even without the HSF Britain and Germany would have been in opposite sides in WWI.

I would not say Tirpitz "Risk Theory" was right, but the fact that his strategical and political ideas were wrong does not mean that Imperial Germany did not need a strong high seas fleet.

Finally, it is also possible to argue that the HSF HAD a chance of success in the period 1914-1916, when numerical superiority of the RN was not so acute and the Germans still enjoyed a substantial qualitative advantadge in critical areas (protection, projectiles, propellants, fire control).

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Postby Tiornu » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:20 pm

A really poor weapon that you cannot use is no worse than a really good weapon that you cannot use. Germany's vulnerability to blockade does not justify investing in a fleet that could not reduce her vulnerability. In fact, to a large extent, it was the German fleet that was partly responsible for creating the vulnerability since it antagonized the British who were the only ones capable of a really smothering blockade.
As Wegener pointed out, the fact of Germany vulnerability did not imply that any solution existed, at least not without a fundamental change in venue. Britain had the geographical upper hand and would continue to do so until Germany gained control of Norway and/or France--as if such a thing could ever happen. (Hee!)
I have addressed only the period specified above, that is, the mutinous period near war's end. I don't know enough about the early-war status to say anything very useful. However, I'll point out that parity in numbers could not offset Britain's advantages in geography, shipyard capacity, and trained personnel resources. It might be interesting to speculate on the effects of a Jutland-type German tactical victory if set early in the war.
I don't follow the tie-in with the USN. Can you explain?

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:22 am

Gary:
Hi RNFanDan

I actively post on both message boards as well as the Hood website (although less often) as do a number of other posters.
I wasnt asking Karl to leave this forum but rather inviting him to also post on the Bismarck/Tirpitz site.


I have been a member of this forum and the HMS Hood Asociation Forum since January, and I post in both of them (and in the History Net also) and don´t see anything bad in doing so. I appreciate Gary´s invitation.

About luxury fleets we can call that the US Navy Aircraft Carrier Fleet, because the russians (and in less than a decade now the Chinese Navy) had enough subs, frigates, land and seaborne based fighter-bombers, conventional shipwreck missiles and if neccesary tactical nuclear devices that can knock those big and not armoured targets out of water in a coordinated sneak attack. It almost work 60 years ago in a place called Pearl Harbor.
There is no such thing as luxury weapondry or defense systems: they are all meant to fight and win. The no-winning-siganling-only-theory is U.S. ex-Defense Secretary (and war criminal) Robert McNamara and his Harvard junk thinkers teams (RAND Co.etc. etc) brainless by-product: it cost 59K lethal US casualties (plus 1.5M vietnamese), 10 years of conflict, lost the damm war anyway and almost put the US in the Kaiser´s shoes in 1969. :wink:
I think I´m going to drink a cup of tea, good evening, best regards

Douglas McArthur:
"In war there is no substitute for Victory."
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Postby Tiornu » Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:25 am

"About luxury fleets we can call that the US Navy Aircraft Carrier Fleet"
How long was the US coastline? How long is Germany's? I don't believe you understand what Churchill meant when he called the Kaiser's fleet a luxury.

"because the russians (and in less than a decade now the Chinese Navy) had enough subs, frigates, land and seaborne based fighter-bombers, conventional shipwreck missiles and if neccesary tactical nuclear devices that can knock those big and not armoured targets out of water in a coordinated sneak attack"
Forgetting the dubious nature of the assertion, are you saying that any force capable of being defeated is a luxury?

"It almost work 60 years ago in a place called Pearl Harbor."
Uh...no.

"There is no such thing as luxury weapondry or defense systems: they are all meant to fight and win."
You just said we could call the USN a luxury. I do not understand.

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Gary
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Postby Gary » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:25 am

Hi all.

Britain in the years leading up to and including WW1 had a VAST empire to run.
Having a large navy was essential, even more when you consider the fact that Britain is an island.

Germany had, up until Kaiser Wilhelm, primarily been a land power.
I believe they had at the outbreak of WW1 one of if not the largest armies in Europe.
I believe one old German general even joked "If the Tommies land on our shores, we'll send the police to arrest them" :lol:

Germany did not need a large navy like the HSF.
Tiornu is correct in that all it really did was annoy the British.
The Kaisers own mother even labelled him a war mongerer :evil:
I bet more than a few eye brows were raised in Britain when Old Wilhelm had the Kiel canal enlarged so that his dreadnoughts could pass down it to enter the North Sea.
This was practically his way of standing toe to toe with the British fleet.

I'm no histrocial expert but I dont think Germany possesed many over sea's colonies (Namibia springs to mind as one :think: )
Creating the High sea's fleet was possibly one of the largest waste of resources in history.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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Postby Rafael » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:40 pm

It is certain that the fact that a problem exists does not imply that a feasible solution can be found.

However, what I do believe matters in this case is not the length of coast but the economy. Germany was at the end of the XIX and beginning of XX centuries a rapidly expandig economy (with a growth rate only surpassed by the USA) and a big part of this expansion was due to overseas trade (including a mercantile fleet second only to GB). In this sense, the reasoning for a strong US Navy applies equally to Imperial Germany, including the "land power" argument (is it not the US Army the most powerful also since 1945?).

Geography will always play on the favor of GB, but this was pretty much the case also in the struggle between Britain and France in the XVII and XVIII centuries, and I have not seen anybody arguing about the right or the soundness of Louis XIV etc to develop a Navy (BTW, the "Roi Soleil" had the strongest Army by far also).

The Spaniards possessed also the biggest Navy and the most formidable armies in the XVL Century. True, they have the need to protect a huge empire, but at the end of the XIX Century Empire and foreign trade were pretty equivalent in terms of requirements oif protection. This is why the insignificance of the German colonies does not matter much (in my view).

The fact that the HSF failed has partly only to do with its soundness, as it could have worked well! (What I mean is that what failed was the implementation).

There are authors that believe that there is a paralelism between the development of the USN and the HSF in the 1890s and 1900s, but that the real reason why the USN succeeded where the HSF failed (to challenge the RN but avoiding Britain to go to war) was that the USA could poise a real threat to British interests (invading Canada) where Germany could not. (S R Rock "Risk theory reconsidered: American success and German failure in the coercion of Britain, 1890-1914").

I guess my point here is that any country that wants to become a true major Superpower need both a strong Army AND a strong Navy (with the only PARTIAL exception of Britain, mainly due to Geography). Imperial Germany had the same right as anyone else to do so in the 1890s (yes, I do know there can be a moral and political argument on this), as Spain, Holland, France, Great Britain and the USA had done before or did after WWI.

Regards

Rafael

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Postby Gary » Sat Sep 16, 2006 5:03 pm

(is it not the US Army the most powerful also since 1945?).


Hi Rafael.

The US army is without a doubt the most powerful army in the world today but at the height of the cold war (1960's-1970's) The Soviet army was larger.
Larger doesnt always mean more powerful though.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:16 pm

Tiornu:
"There is no such thing as luxury weapondry or defense systems: they are all meant to fight and win."
You just said we could call the USN a luxury. I do not understand.


What I was trying to say is that call the HSF a luxury is like to call the US Navy´s Aircraft Carriers a luxury too.

:?
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Postby Tiornu » Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:14 am

An interesting post, Rafael. In pointing out the coastline issue, I was referencing the ability of the two countries to make use of a fleet. France does not have the length of coastline that America does, but she does have enough room to maneuver; she is more like the US than Germany in this case.
What the German navy accomplished was to force the British into a distant blockade rather than a close blockade. This was accomplished not by the battle fleet but by torpedo craft, minelayers, and such. The benefit to Germany was the connection it allowed to Sweden. Well, there were other benefits, but that's the one I'm focusing on here. Any naval building beyond that jeune ecole fleet was largely a waste as pertains to war with Britain or with any power outside the Baltic. If Germany had focused its fleet programs for Mahanian command of the Baltic, I think she's in a win-win situation. She doesn't antagonize Britain, and she has a truly useful tool for an eastward war.
Neither France nor Spain is comparable, in my opinion. Assuming Britain's inability to impose a close blockade, then Spain and France are both able to dispatch fleet units into the open Atlantic, to say nothing of the Mediterranean. In the context of the Great War era, France also has some ability to service warships outside the Metropole. Germany didn't have that.
There was a limited ability for the German's to wage a commerce-raiding campaign with surface ships, and that's the sort of near-suicidal effort that could accomplish something militarily. As I see it, the Germans had the option for Mahanian war in the Baltic, and little capacity for such a campaign elsewhere. In a war against France, naval matters were all but irrelevant, as the Franco-Prussian war indicated. I think the Franco-Prussian War must have been a significant factor in convincing the Germans to pursue a Big Fleet policy, not because the French forces afloat accomplished anything, but because the German navy was embarrassed by its need to skulk away from any encounter with France's stronger navy.
A war against France and Britain is a serious problem for the Germans, and I see little option but to accept their Mahanian inferiority.
So the HSF really was a luxury. Overkill for a Baltic war, irrelevant to a French war, and inadequate for a British war--it's hard to identify any military purpose but only the international concerns of prestige and antagonism.
You can probably anticipate why I think the US-German parallel is not very strong. Britain is not capable of imposing even a distant blockade on the United States. The USN has ready access to two whole oceans. It could protect traffic along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. It could do likewise across large stretches of the Pacific, and the logistical potential was immediate. In fact, I think we can see the successful use of America's local naval superiority in the Venezuelan crisis.
If we allow that the HSF failed only in the implementation, and I think that may not be a realistic view, then the point of implementation I would cite would be the failure to establish overseas bases capable of handling large portions of the fleet. How's this sound? If the Germans invest less in the battle fleet and more in some harbor far away, then they could sortie in strength, not to defeat the Grand Fleet, but simply to fight their way through en route to the overseas station. Heck, send the fleet there before war starts. Now, THAT might offer some promise for a useful fleet. What do you think?
Well, there's certainly no question that each nation has a right to aspire to superpower via a build-up of both army and navy. But that does not mean the build-up has realistic expectations of success.

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Postby Tiornu » Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:18 am

"What I was trying to say is that call the HSF a luxury is like to call the US Navy´s Aircraft Carriers a luxury too."
I understand the point you're trying to make, Karl, but it is incorrect. As I've mentioned above, the HSF was irrelevant and inadequate, and the best that can be said for it is that it was overkill for a Baltic campaign. There really was no mission for such a fleet.
America's carriers are about as opposite to this as is possible. American carriers have an on-going record of supporting American policy in just the sort of missions anticipated for them, time after time, over the course of several decades.

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Postby Tiornu » Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:24 am

Rafael, I meant to ask if you've read GERMAN NAVAL STRATEGY, 1856-1888: FORERUNNERS TO TIRPITZ by David H. Olivier. If so, what's your opinion? I have a copy of Olivier's doctoral thesis, but I haven't yet looked into it.
I'm currently reading YESTERDAY’S DETERRENT: TIRPITZ AND THE BIRTH OF THE GERMAN BATTLE FLEET by Jonathan Steinberg. Are you familiar with it?
There's one other title, much older--I'm hesitant to buy it as I think it may be outdated: GERMAN SEA POWER: ITS RISE, PROGRESS AND ECONOMIC BASIS by Archibald Hurd and Henry Castle.


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