Admiral Luetjens

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
User avatar
miro777
Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Admiral Luetjens

Post by miro777 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:33 pm

hey

in another poll many of the voters said that
Admiral Luetjens was 'An intelligent and capable Admiral'.
I strongly disagree with that.
It might be that he was pretty capable before the 'Rheinuebung', but at the Rheinuebung he made all the mistakes, in my eyes.

I would be happy if you could explain your point, if you disagree with mine.
thanx

miro

User avatar
Matthias
Member
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:59 pm
Location: Mailand

Post by Matthias » Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:54 pm

I don't know how much you know about Lütjens behaviour during the mission, but concerning my opinion I think that he made all the possible for the good achieving of what he was doing.

Let me ask you, what kind of mistakes do you think he did during "Rheinübung" due to is uncapability?
"Wir kämpfen bis zur letzten Granate."

Günther Lütjens

User avatar
miro777
Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post by miro777 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:13 pm

well
first of all he and Lindemann had a argument about following the HMS Prince of Wales or not. While Lindemann was for the chase, Luetjens DECIDED not to and run away.
Second he did not understand or falsely interpreted the situation at the point where the British foreces had lost all contact with the Bismarck
He then also decided NOT to let volenteers try to repair the rudder, although there were several volunteers, which were willing to risk their life for the ship's sake.

In my opinion these are some mistakes, whihc make Luetjens a not ver competent Admiral. By reading several books of personal accounts i also got a feeling of that Luetjens was not a very nice to be human.

BUt as mentioned before, that's all MY interpretation.

User avatar
pdfox99
Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:51 am
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Post by pdfox99 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:25 pm

From what I have heard, Luetjens was very tough. A person who rarely smiled, was very stern and gave orders that he expected to be carried out whithout argument. The ship's crew were afraid of him. He and Lindeman had squared off a few times during the operation. The crew, from what I had taken from Cameron's documentary of some of the survivors was that they had wished Luetjens were not on board. They had more respect for Lindeman.
Paul D. Fox

User avatar
miro777
Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post by miro777 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:33 pm

i totally agree with u

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:46 pm

Lutjens?
Well, Let´s see.
It´s not fair to judge some commander´s actions while one is sitting comfortably at home as an armchair strategist. They are under great stress, with a great sense of duty, problems of all kinds and origins and probably pain. In Lutjens´ case even his life was at stake. But I do believe he doesn´t really concern with his life but those under his command.
One can say that Robert E. Lee commit a serious tactical mistake sending Pickett´s, Pettigrew´s and Trimble´s to their infamous charge but, what was he thinking at moment? What were the political and military pressures over him? The same can be said of Lutjens. Bismarck was the only completly operational (and "real") Battleship Germany had; his mission was to inderdict the commercial and convoy routes; his "fleet" consists only of two ships, the PZ with only 8" main armament. He wasn´t very confident about Mr. Hitler and his nazis. I say his wasn´t an ideal situation.
But, undoubtly, there were flaws in his commanding, probably due to all those factors:
1. He didn´t press his superiors for a night pass thru the Great Belt.
2. The refuelling at Norway. He was in capacity to refuel Bismarck.
3. The PoW was a sitting duck after Hood blowed. A little more pressure and sending the very fast PZ to blocked her way and the KM would have had a double play that morning. Later the PoW, surviving, was one of the vessels that shadowed Bismarck the following hours.
4. Never reversing his situation with Norfolk and Suffolk, turning and, seriously, making a pursuit.
5. With the damage sustained at Iceland he didn´t return via the North but doing so by the most dangerous and long route to France.
6. Breaking the radio silence and giving up his position.
7. NOW we know that the rudder damage was imposible to fix, but then it wasn´t. The risk to send crewmen to check and try to repair was worth the risk of losing the ship and all the crew.
But again, were there things that he knew then that now we don´t. The ghost of Langsdorf was fresh in everybody´s minds. And Hitler wasn´t the commander in chief you wanted judging your combat decisions. Remember Guderian and Rundsted?
It´s all now in the fog of mystery.

User avatar
Antonio Bonomi
Senior Member
Posts: 3800
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Vimercate ( Milano ) - Italy

Admiral Guntehr Lutjens

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:48 pm

Ciao all,

of course I never met Admiral Gunther Lutjens personally so I cannot judge him as a human been.

To do that one should read evaluations of his crew when he was in command of Torpedo boats ( WW1 ) and light Cruiser Kalsruhe ( between the 2 wars ).

Mostly one should evaluate judgements of his family and his friends.

But I think that been an Officer myself I can share some guess about a Senior Officer.

It is usually very, very different the perception of soldiers and sailors of their directly connected Officers ( Lieutenant and Captains ) compared with Senior Officers coming on board.

That is why Bismarck crew members ( and Prinz Eugen ones too ) loved more their officers than the Admiral Staff ones and especially the Flottenchef ( Admiral Lutjens ).

All the above is common among all fleets, all flags , all ships.

Just make same guess about British, American, Italian and Japanese Admirals and ship commanders and you will see same results.

The film showing Admiral Lutjens inspecting Prinz Eugen shows a very athletic person that do not demonstrate his age, looking straight in the eyes of the sailors and shacking hands, a perfect Senior Officer conduct.

Not many Admirals ( and fleet commanders ) do that with ship's crew.

Admiral Reader that was known to be a very human person selected and protected Admiral Lutjens.
There must have been a good reason for that.

Now we move into the orders for Operation Rheinubung and how it has been executed.

Orders were NOT to engage battleships unless escorting convoys.
Perfectly followed even if he allowed the Denmark Strait engagement and perfectly directed both ships to win the battle.
Do not forget he won that battle, with several clear and perfect orders and NOT following German standard enegagement procedures for Prinz Eugen ( Nelson doing that at Trafalgar became an hero ).

Than Kpt H. Brinkmann ( loved by his crew and called '' Papa' '' Brinkmann ) screwed up a perfect victory by an ALARM for NOT existing torpedoes and with his collegue Kpt Lindemann turned away from Prince of Wales under a thunderstorm of shells on that moment.
Were is Admiral Lutjens failure here ??
He did not ordered to turn, Lindemann and Brinkmann did it, and there was nothing he can do there, as the ships were under their own commanders orders while in action, so not under his full control.

Than Kpt Lindemann wanted to come back pursuing the PoW, and there Admiral Lutjens authority came back.
But he cannot disregard his orders, as simple as that.
No engagements with battleships unless to sink convoys or to fight for your life ( like before and he made it clear to Berlin before allowing the engagement by Germans ), and that was not anymore the situation under his evaluation.
A perfect conduct according to me.

Lost of contact by the British.
Do not forget Bismarck had B-Dienst ( radar experts ) on board, and most likely they were the ones that did not understand Bismarck was not anymore under radar coverage.
Probably they were still receiving radar emissions from the British ( probably the signal was not able to come back to British ships ) and that was enough not to allow them to understand and communicate to Admiral Lutjens that he was not anymore under British radar control.
Very simple reason, you fail because your decisions do depends on others technical evaluations.

Unblock the rudder.
Bismarck had an Enginneering team on board to evaluate damages and repair them.
They were the ones that told Admiral Lutjens that the ship cannot be repaired.
Did you ever saw were the damage occurred ??
Did you evaluate the real damages on Bismarck ??
Have you ever seen the damages on the recent photos / films ??
Same as above, it is not your call, you must trust the real experts.

Now you can evaluate a bit more fairly Admiral Lutjens conduct.

Surely on documentaries they showed a persons that does not even come close to Admiral Lutjens, but we do know why they wanted to sell that pre-conceived image of him.

Hope your evaluations do not depend on those unfair scenes and you are able to judge yourself from the facts.

Ciao Antonio :D

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:38 pm

I agree with Antonio.
We cannot take very seriosly what documentaries tell. If you watch Cameron´s then the image of Lutjens is that of Darth Vader :evil: And, as Antonio points, it´s not the thruth.
I repeat: he (as all other commanders under combat circumtances) are under great pressure, superior orders, technical problems, tactical problems, logistical problems, strategic considerations, political stress, etc. Lutjens was not only responsible for the lives of his crew but for the safety of his ships... and was outnumbered!
And we have to consider, as Antonio says, the information and/or intelligence at his dispossal. I bet that not a lot of other commanders, under the same circumstances, would have performed better.
As a matter of fact let´s name Admiral Nagumo at Pearl Harbor: he really run away when he was in debt of a couple more attacks. Why? The intelligence at his dispossal: the american aircraft carriers were not at bay. He couldn´t risk his task force to be attacked.
Other commanders under similar circunstances: Spruance in a lot of other engagements, General Lee at Gettysburg, Eisenhower at Falaise Gap, Horrocks one mile off Arnhem, Model at Citadel, MacArthur when the chinese attack him at Korea, etc. etc. etc. etc.
I believe only one commander can be completly blamed as reckless and/or plain stupid: French Admiral Villaneuve at Trafalgar. His is the master defeat.
Best regards.

User avatar
Matthias
Member
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:59 pm
Location: Mailand

Post by Matthias » Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:31 pm

Antonio said it all, nothing more to add about Günther Lütjens. ;)
"Wir kämpfen bis zur letzten Granate."

Günther Lütjens

User avatar
miro777
Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post by miro777 » Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:28 pm

HEY

antonio thanx for ur really long and very helpful response
i based my opinion on several biased documentaries and some books where Admiral Luetjens was described as a 'cold' person and incompetent admiral.
I therefore apologize and must say that u have changed my mind and that i agree with all of ur points.

hehe i am just a young on going naval offiver in the german navy
and am not toooo expireienced with the stress a commander has to accomplish....

thanx
miro

User avatar
Antonio Bonomi
Senior Member
Posts: 3800
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Vimercate ( Milano ) - Italy

Admiral Gunther Lutjens

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:38 am

Ciao Miro and all,

do not worry, no need to apologize from your side, it is not your fault :D .

This is a direct responsibility of the guys that made those 'unfair' movie and documentaries ( evel lately :shock: ).

They have depicted an imaginary ' Nazi Criminal' because that was good for the selling of their products, because it covered well pre-conceived view of a 'standard' German enemy perception by the most.

They wanted to increase this perception in any way they can, it was needed also from a political stand point.

They did not care about the real aspects of Admiral Lutjens personality, about his life, his story and his feelings, they just did not had any respect for that.

But only David Mearns on his recent documentary showed and explained something correct about Admiral Lutjens ( bravo :clap: ) and the fact that he was receiving Hitler on board Tirpitz giving him only his military salute ( and it took lot of courage to do that, surely he was not a convinced ''Nazi '' as they want to show :negative: ).

They cannot build a winning story because of his conduct on Denmark Strait, as well as they just cannot recognize his honorable defeat and death.

Probably they also did not spend too much time on real researches, assuming they did had the competences to do that which is not guaranteed as well.

So if we were able now to have you opening your eyes, learn and understand more using your brain and your evaluations, than we are all happy about it.

Here you can find some other infos; but if you want to learn more you will find around many, many post that you can use to evaluate Admiral Lutjens deeper :

http://battleshipbismarck.hypermart.net ... utjens.htm

and remember that for a good Officer, your orders and your duty comes first, than there are the flag, the honor, the crew and your weapons to be taken care of.

In case of Admiral Lutjens ( and Adm Reader too ) you are evaluating 2 Officers that were started on Kaiserliche Marine, on WW 1, that lived the defeat of WW 1 and the dis-honor of Scapa Flow for their fleet.

On WW 2 that was surely a factor to be considered, and as far as I can see Admiral Lutjens did recover a good part of that dis-honor with the Bismarck mission, but as I said nobody wanted to recognize him this achievement, it was not politically desired at that time.

But there must be a reason why the German did name a destroyer Lutjens after WW 2, on the 60's.

They launched 3 new destroyers named with WW 2 German armed forces heroes.

For the Army : Rommel
For the Navy : Lutjens
For the Luftwaffe : Moeller

I do not know well enough Moeller, but I can guarantee you that both Erwin Rommel and Gunther Lutjens did not dis-honor their country/flag and died with honor.

Rommel is very famous and recognized, why Lutjens is not :?:

Ciao Antonio :D

User avatar
Matthias
Member
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:59 pm
Location: Mailand

Re: Admiral Gunther Lutjens

Post by Matthias » Fri Feb 10, 2006 1:33 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:I do not know well enough Moeller, but I can guarantee you that both Erwin Rommel and Gunther Lutjens did not dis-honor their country/flag and died with honor.
You mean Werner Mölders?He was a Luftwaffe Ace, he died in 1941 during an accident in which his Heinkel 111 got crashed while he was travelling back to Germany to attend Marschall Udet funerals...;)

http://www.koolpages.com/aerodrome/molders.html

;)
"Wir kämpfen bis zur letzten Granate."

Günther Lütjens

User avatar
Antonio Bonomi
Senior Member
Posts: 3800
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Vimercate ( Milano ) - Italy

YES you are right

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:28 pm

Ciao Matthias and all,

my fault :oops: .. you are right I just recalled wrongly his name.

Molders and not Moelller, .. but I told you I did not know much about that Luftwaffe ace, .. I only knew he was a fighter pilot and I imagine that was surely a particular person.

Now that I read his story and associate it with Erwin Rommel one, it becomes even more evident the selection criteria used by the German for those names given to the new destroyers on the 60's.

Again,..why there are still so many 'unfair' film and documentaries about Adm Lutjens.

He fully deserves the truth and the correct recognition by the posterity, because he paid with his life for that, and did it with great honor.

At least his country did it, and I think that is what counted the most for him.

Ciao Antonio :D

User avatar
miro777
Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:13 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post by miro777 » Fri Feb 10, 2006 3:05 pm

hey

first of all antonio! really thanx

lol u r really smart and open my eyes...

i agree with u in everything lol
especially that he did not greet Hitler with the Heil ruf totally convinced me

u see we germans do not like Hitler
we think that he has brought shame over our country...
(if that's expressed properly)
it's just the sadest thing that all the brave german sailors (and soldiers) had to die for a cause, which is so stupid and seneseless!!!!

to the point that the Deutsche Marine (haha my employer)
named a destroyer after Luetjens
that's true
if i am not mistaken they even called a WHOLE class of destroyers after him
if i am not mistaken that ship only got demissioned like 3 or 4 years ago...
i saw a documnetary bout it
and i was really surprised why the DEutsche Marine would call a destroyer (the biggest ship of the navy) after him....
NOW i know...

thanx
miro

User avatar
Antonio Bonomi
Senior Member
Posts: 3800
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Vimercate ( Milano ) - Italy

Adm Lutjens

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:01 pm

Ciao Miro and all,

I am glad I was able to have you making up your own mind about a soldier ( an Admiral ) that honored his country and his uniform.

We do not want here in to go on and analyze political stuffs and the whole WW 2, it is not the right place and history has already condamned who did criminal stuffs.

But I do think it is our duty to explain the truth about Officers that fought their war with honor and never committed criminal stuffs.

Admiral Lutjens was among this category and the current films, documentary and perception simply does not recognize it, not only it drives on the opposite direction and this is absolutely historically false and unfair.

I am glad that with Matthias help :clap: we were able to explain the destroyers class names story, that of course do have a lot of importance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%BCtje ... _destroyer

http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/01028.htm

http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/01029.htm

http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/01030.htm

YES, I that destroyer class was named Lutjens.

.. do not worry, I have many German friends,... and we Italian had our troubles too,.. like everybody in the world sooner or later, ..... we new generation do have to learn from history and do not confuse the good ones with the bad ones of the past, .. that is why I wanted the light to be shining on Adm Lutjens name, .. because I think he deserves it.

My personal opinion of course based on the above considerations, .. but it seems I am not alone.

Ciao Antonio :D

Post Reply