What if Hitler understood naval power?

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
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tameraire01
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What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by tameraire01 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:09 pm

Would we see the Nazis using an aircraft carrier or two a in the Atlantic? Would we see Bismark and Tirpitz armed with triple turrets? Would we see a Decisive battle like midway in the Atlantic.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. Joseph Stalin

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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by northcape » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:50 pm

He would not have started a war in 1939.
He would have had an able commander of the Luftwaffe who would cooperate with the Kriegsmarine.

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Rick Rather
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by Rick Rather » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:40 am

A story about this was published in the alternative history anthology Third Reich Victorious: Alternate Decisions of World War II. The story ("The Little Admiral, 1939: Hitler and the German Navy" by Wade Dudley) has young Hitler joining the navy instead of the army. Among the changes this works on him is that his antisemitism is supplanted and replaced by rabid anglophobia. As Führer, he builds a carrier fleet that, though small, is tactically proficient. He pulls a Pearl Harbor on Scapa Flow and cripples the Home Fleet sufficiently to make Sea Lion successful.

It's a bit far-fetched, but so is any AH story that wonders "What if Hitler was competent about X?" :wink: Still, It's a fun read.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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tameraire01
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by tameraire01 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:24 pm

I got the book it is abit farfetched but the defeat of the bomber offensive does make it a good read.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. Joseph Stalin

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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by RF » Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:41 pm

tameraire01 wrote:Would we see the Nazis using an aircraft carrier or two a in the Atlantic? Would we see Bismark and Tirpitz armed with triple turrets? Would we see a Decisive battle like midway in the Atlantic.
Go back to 1934 when the Anglo-German Naval Agreement was signed. That gave the Germans British agreement to the KM building to 35% of the RN strength.

A savvy Fuhrer would have ordered Reader as soon as Ribbentrop had signed this agreement to plan for an expansion of the KM up to the agreed strength in a time period of not more than eight years, to agreed strength by 1942.
This would mean no war in 1939 but an alternative Z Plan formulating without substantive response by the RN - after all they had agreed to the German construction.

In 1942 - the KM would have battleships and carriers, alliances with Italy and Japan to ensure local parity in the North Sea, so who knows?

One aspect not mentioned is that a naval savvy Fuhrer would also have ordered the formation of a division or two of naval assault marines, a naval equivalent of the Waffen SS or the Luftwaffe Field Division, together with fast assault landing craft for raids on the British coastline. Such a force could have transformed the prospects for Operation Sea Lion.....
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by Mostlyharmless » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:18 pm

One interesting possibility would have been if Hitler had been greatly impressed by Operation Albion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Albion, either because he had taken part or because Magnus von Levetzow http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_von_Levetzow had been more prominent in the NSDAP. “Operation Albion: The German Conquest of the Baltic Islands” by Michael B. Barrett http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=JLw5 ... 22&f=false gives some details. Barrett points out that, if one only counts the number of ships involved, this was the greatest naval operation of WW1.

Had German rearmament explicitly planned for similar operations, Germany would have been much better prepared for Sealion.

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RF
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by RF » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:38 pm

Mostlyharmless wrote:
Had German rearmament explicitly planned for similar operations, Germany would have been much better prepared for Sealion.
Yes - and it would require a joint services general staff as well, which would have been the first hurdle to clear.

They would also have been better prepared for the invasion of Norway - with the opportunity of turning the second battle of Narvik into a German victory, which could have been achieved by a vessel putting two or more torpedoes into Warspite at the start of its attack.....
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by tameraire01 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:23 pm

Jutland with more modern weapons. Aircraft carriers armed with fighters armed with four twenty mike mike cannon, dive bombers and torpedo bombers along with fairey swordfish thrown in for good measure.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. Joseph Stalin

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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by LeopardTooth » Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:46 am

I think that the smartest move that the Nazis could have done, naval-wise, is to have never built any surface ships lager than destroyers and E-boats, and had 500 or 700 Type VII and Type IX U-boats on hand in September 1939, with technology for the Type XXI well into development. Not very sexy as Plan Z, but considerably more effective.

As for the war at large, one way Hitler could have had a better outcome would have been to enter protracted negotiations with the Western Democracies to try to regain the German populated areas of Poland appropriated by Versailles without actually invading. But that would have meant him being a more patient, less bellicose, and generally less insane man than he was. Another might have been to send envoys and communications to members of the British Government, working around Churchill, in July or August 1940, offering unconditional withdrawal from France, the Low Countries, Denmark, and Norway, in exchange of a cessation of hostilities and non-interference in Operation Barbarossa.
He would not have started a war in 1939.
The Germans didn't start the war, at least not with the British Empire and France. They started a war against a nation with a defense treaty with them.
His antisemitism is supplanted and replaced by rabid anglophobia.
Antisemitism/Antibolshevikism saturated post-WW1 Germany, among the Freikorps and other such right wing groups, in reaction to the Spartacist Uprising and the Russian Revolution (and in the context of the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression). I think that the counter-historical-factuals to make the real-world Anglophilic Hitler and Nazi leadership Jewish/Soviet-friendly and Anglo-hating seem to me to be stretched to the point of breaking.

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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by RF » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:47 am

LeopardTooth wrote:I think that the smartest move that the Nazis could have done, naval-wise, is to have never built any surface ships lager than destroyers and E-boats, and had 500 or 700 Type VII and Type IX U-boats on hand in September 1939, with technology for the Type XXI well into development. Not very sexy as Plan Z, but considerably more effective.
This presumably means no 1934 Anglo-German Naval Agreement, or if there was then an outright violation of its provisions regarding submarine development.

This wouldn't be a smart move, for two reasons. One, the British would be aware of the German U-boat build-up and would react to it by earlier and more determined rearmament, and by a harder line foreign policy which would mean an earlier end to appeasement. It is likely war would have happened in 1938 in place of the Munich settlement, with quick German defeat before these U-boats could have any effect.

Secondly the absence of large KM ship construction means that the RN heavy ships can be redeployed against Hitler's naval allies, the Italians and the Japanese, including a British Pacific Fleet.
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by RF » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:55 am

LeopardTooth wrote:.

As for the war at large, one way Hitler could have had a better outcome would have been to enter protracted negotiations with the Western Democracies to try to regain the German populated areas of Poland appropriated by Versailles without actually invading.a defense treaty with them.
There is no chance Britain agreeing to that if hundreds of U-boats are being built. The Poles certainly would not have agreed to hand over any territory to the Germans, especially as they amounted to the most valuable economic parts of Poland.
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by RF » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:04 am

LeopardTooth wrote: But that would have meant him being a more patient, less bellicose, and generally less insane man than he was.
.
Not necessarily.

Hitler's mistake in targeting Poland was his open breach of the Munich agreement within six months of it being signed, by invading the remainder of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939. If he hadn't done that, if he had been more subtle in his dealings with the Poles, then there would have been no end to appeasement, no British/French guarantee to defend Poland and Poland having to stand on its own. Hitler could even have used the SS stunt on the German radio station to make it look to the world that Poland attacked Germany.
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by RF » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:10 am

LeopardTooth wrote: The Germans didn't start the war, at least not with the British Empire and France. They started a war against a nation with a defense treaty with them.
That's not true. Hitler was given an opportunity to state that he was prepared to withdraw his troops from Poland, failing which there would be war with Britain. The French did the same.
Hitler chose to ignore the ultimatum, by so doing choosing a wider war instead of containing it.
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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by ede144 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:26 pm

RF wrote:
LeopardTooth wrote:.

As for the war at large, one way Hitler could have had a better outcome would have been to enter protracted negotiations with the Western Democracies to try to regain the German populated areas of Poland appropriated by Versailles without actually invading.a defense treaty with them.
There is no chance Britain agreeing to that if hundreds of U-boats are being built. The Poles certainly would not have agreed to hand over any territory to the Germans, especially as they amounted to the most valuable economic parts of Poland.
It memory serves, Great Britain agreed in AGT with 35% of everything except U-boots where 100% was allowed

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Re: What if Hitler understood naval power?

Post by RF » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:19 am

ede144 wrote:
It memory serves, Great Britain agreed in AGT with 35% of everything except U-boots where 100% was allowed
That is as per the later revision. It would have allowed the KM parity with the number of British submarines, probably around fifty.

Attempting to build 600 to 700 U-boats as suggested is a wholly different scenario that the British would have reacted against.
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