Zerstorers

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
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_Derfflinger_
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Zerstorers

Postby _Derfflinger_ » Mon Jul 09, 2007 2:49 am

The Kriegsmarine destroyer fleet had only limited success in WW-2. They suffered from lack of numbers, bad seakeeping qualities, unreliable machinery, and poor leadership at times.

On paper, though, they were impressive ships. Anybody have any opinions about how successful they might have been had they been able to better handle a rough sea, and if their engineering plants could have been counted on when needed?

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Bgile
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Postby Bgile » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:10 pm

I think it's generally accepted that the 5.9" guns were too heavy for a ship of that size, which contributed greatly to the poor seakeeping. So it's hard to hypothesize how it would be possible to have the same armament with good seakeeping.

If you take away the 5.9" guns, then it's probably similar to other destroyers and might be expected to do as well.

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Postby Paul L » Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:53 am

Bgile wrote:I think it's generally accepted that the 5.9" guns were too heavy for a ship of that size, which contributed greatly to the poor seakeeping. So it's hard to hypothesize how it would be possible to have the same armament with good seakeeping.

If you take away the 5.9" guns, then it's probably similar to other destroyers and might be expected to do as well.


I was told by Vincent OHara that the 5.9" guns on these destroyers only could manage about 5 rounds per minute on these destroyers while the same guns mounted on the Light cruisers got 6-8 RPM and the more advanced 6" guns mounts got 10-12 RPM.

One gets the impression that the same tonnage of Zerstorers could have produced 1/2 as many SPAH/CL type warships with much better sea keeping and gunnery capability, while also tripling the range/endurance. Baring that , the same naval tonnage should have instead gone into producing twice as many Torpedoboot 1939, which had similar range and a better battle record . Although I don't think they had as good a rough sea capability.

Success or failure of naval warships on case by case basis, is more determined by flotilla commanders and boat skippers than ship qualities. So if all you seek is coastal defense then the TB 1939 would have been a better approach. Escorts for the surface raider needed something with range of 6000-7000 miles at fleet speeds which demands some kind of light cruiser size warship.

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RF
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Postby RF » Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:56 pm

I think Paul is right in his last paragraph - it comes back to how the ships are used and handled.

In another thread I suggested some time ago a hypothetical action between one of these destroyers and HMS Cossack, on the assumption of a flat sea and clear visibility.

The general consensus favoured Cossack.

Alternatively, another way of looking at it - how would the British or say the Japanese have used these ships if they had them.
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Re: Zerstorers

Postby culverin » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:10 pm

As with all destroyers built in the 1930's, larger calibre guns did not guarantee any positive results in action.
Unlike their larger cruiser brethren, the effort in manpower involved simply getting the shell from shell room / magazine to the breach was strenuous, even with fit men in a well drilled gun crew, who only manned the gun. It fell to other branches of the ships company to maintain a ready supply to the gun crew.
In adverse weather, at night, having enemy return fire and the general uncertainty of who is friend or foe, action damage and casualties, the rate of fire will rapidly decline, only aggravated with open mounts, which the majority of destroyers had from this era. All destroyers were lively, especially when driven hard, by, admittedly, hard men.
We must not forget the raison d'etre for the fleet destroyer, it revolved more around her torpedoes, an active attack weapon, for use in fleet actions. Germany had no fleet, per se.
Narvik 1940. Say no more and by mid 1942 the German Zerstorer was history.
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Re: Zerstorers

Postby MVictorP » Sun May 28, 2017 8:41 pm

I agree with Paul L; Having no colonies nor large marine lines, Germany didn't need bona fide Destroyers - nor did it needed cruisers, IMO. It was essentially a light coastal force with bigger raiding elements. 1200t Sloops/Escort Destroyers and their excellent S-Boot, small fleet stuff, would have been sufficient. These large DD had neither the range nor the ammo capacity for long-range.

I don't know how I would have used them myself without heavily modifying them. Maybe as small flotilla tenders and fast minelayers. Such a shame for such a big ship, the poorest of WWII's large destroyers.
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