Bismarck and Prinz Eugen are joined by Tirpitz

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
Bgile
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Post by Bgile »

I agree completely.
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Post by Ramius »

I have just read this scenario and many things come to mind. The first is how this thing sounds at certain points, most of the time it sounds like a giant sexy cheerleader (cheerleader twins :dance: ) chick fight. The Bismarck twins and their little sister Prinz Eugen beating the shit out of the KGV twins and their cousin Hood. :o
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Post by dougieo »

Hi

out of interest what was the POW`s gunnery like when she was fully worked up?

As she managed to hit BS in the historicall battle wouldnt it be fair to assume that she would be able to range/hit the enemy faster in these scenarios,as TR is fully worked up so should POW be.

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RF
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Post by RF »

This is an interesting question.

Given POW's short life span Ipresume the DS battle was the only time the guns were fired in anger?
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dougieo
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Post by dougieo »

I have no idea, Im sure someone on here will tho
Ramius
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Post by Ramius »

No, the Prince of Wales did not fire her guns after the Battle of Denmark Strait. She did however, fire her AA guns in the Mediteranean and in the south Pacific when she was being sunk by the Japanese aircraft, although at the latter occasion her guns were silenced quickly and unintentionally.
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Post by dunmunro »

Ramius wrote:No, the Prince of Wales did not fire her guns after the Battle of Denmark Strait. She did however, fire her AA guns in the Mediteranean and in the south Pacific when she was being sunk by the Japanese aircraft, although at the latter occasion her guns were silenced quickly and unintentionally.
PoW and a force of CLs and DDs, followed by Rodney came to within 30 - 50nm of intercepting an RM battlegroup consisting of Littorio and VV, and 5 cruisers and about 14 DDs during Operation Halberd, on Sept 27 1941between 15:00 and 17:00. If the RN had been able to locate the RM force, they might have also been able to intercept that night, if a day intercept failed.
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Post by hellomartin »

If Tirpitz to had joined operation Rheinuberg it could have resulted in one the greatest combined air, sea (and land) battles of Europe, and have quite possibly won WWII for Germany. Here is why.....

I think we could assume the following:

1) a successful breakout into the Atlantic by the enlarged squadron relatively unscathed, (whether any further British battleships got sunk along the way is not especially relevant). With Tirpiz around there would be no decision to split up with Prinz Eugen.

2) considering the panic that Bismarck caused on the loose just by itself, the British would throw everything they had at trying to attack the enlarged squadron once it was operating in the Atlantic. Force H, and Ark Royal in particular, would have been vital in harrying the German squadron.

3) that the squadron would remain together as an effective fighting unit in the Atlantic for several weeks, and with their speed and fire-power would not have been destroyed by the British.

Thus Operation Rheinuberg would have probably succeeded in its stated objectives:

a) to destroy as much allied shipping as possible and/or force the British to suspend convoys, compensating for the relatively weak U-Boat presence in the Atlantic at the time.

b) divert British naval forces from the Mediterranean to reduce the risks of the planned german attack on Crete, and allow Rommel's forces to cross to Libya.

However...

4) I think you can also assume there would have been significant teething problems on Tirpiz (as occurred on Prinz Eugen, which suffered serious mechanical problems with its gunnery), and probably some battle damage on the one or more ships during their extended tour. In particular, the British would have learnt the value of from multiple Swordfish attacks, especially in heavy seas when German AA was less effective .

5) I think you can also assume the British would have done as much as possible to blockade of the Norther passages back to Scandinavia. With no element of surprise, trying to dash back Northwards would not have been an attractive option for the squadron.

Logically the squadron would have made for the repair and supply facilities at St Nazaire, (as did Bismarck) to use it as a base for further operations. Given the size of the force and better lead time, it would also have received proper air cover from the Luftwaffe and submarine escort (unlike Bismarck) and so made it successfully to the base.

What would have happend then?

With, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were just along the coast in Brest at the time, there would have the simply appalling notion of Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Printz Eugen all setting out together, or operating in pincer groups - which would quite possibly give the Germans full control of the Atlantic and choke off Britain's supply.

Churchill would have made the neutralisation of the enlarged squadron at St Nazaire the absolute military priority of the time. Given the success of the mission, Hitler would finally start to give the Kriegsmarine some latitude and proper support from the Luftwaffe. The race would be on for the Germans to get as many capital ships repaired and supplied as possible, and quickly back out into the Atlantic.

St Nazaire also contained a major U-Boat facility and so would suddenly have become an almost obsessive focus for Churchill in his effort to control the Atlantic. German air and U-Boat cover would make an effective close British Battleship blockade of the port untenable. The British solution would had to have been a huge diversion of its air power to massive bombing of the German squadron and dry dock at St Nazaire. The Germans would have relished the opportunity at that time to draw large elements of the Royal Air Force and Bomber Command into open battle. There would have been some epic air battles over the vicinity.

The British would also have most probably tried daring raids to land troops at the port, as evidenced by the military thinking behind the later raid on Dieppe, and the famous commando attack on the dry dock at St Nazaire. All manner of creative solutions would have been dreamt up, such as night raids by torpedo boats, paratroop landings, synchronised British submarine attacks (possibly resulting in submarine battles with U-Boats). The "Battle of St Nazaire" would have become one of the great battles of WWII, involving combined air, surface, submarine and land forces.

My guess is that the British would have ultimately succeeded in neutralising the German surface fleet at St Nazaire, simply because they had to. Also, German navel power would have been concentrated in one spot, making the strategic decision to concentrate forces simple. In addition, there would have been a huge focus on destroying the network of German supply ships in the Atlantic to reduce the squadron's operating range. There may have been an occassional break-out of one or two German capital ships from their bases, but ultimately they would have been unable to stay out of base for long, and bombed out of action in port. Another side effect would probably also have been the neutralisation of the U-boat base at St Nazaire, which would have been significant.

Overall, my guess is that there would have been a positive impact on the War in the Atlantic. The convenient concentration of German navel assets, surface and submarine, in one place would have allowed the British to similarly focus their efforts (rather than the drawn out campaigns that eventuated against Tirpitz, Sharnhorst and Gneisenau). And the U-boat menace would have been more effectively dealt with by destroying one of its main bases on the Atlantic coast.

However, the greatest negative impact on the British would have been the often over-looked objective of Rheinuberg, the drawing away of British resources in the Mediterranean. Rommel came extremely close to breaking the British lines in North Africa during his initial charge. Ark Royal played a pivotal role in breaking up his convoy supply chain to North Africa. If Force H and other surface ships had been delayed just a six weeks in the Atlantic chasing Bismarck and Tirpiz, I think it is really like likely that Rommel would have broken through Egypt, to his primary objective, the oil fields of the middle east. By securing these, the Germans would quite probably not have invaded Russia. (It is no accident that the pivotal battle of WWII, Stalingrad, was fought on the door-step of Russia's oil fields).

Had an enlarged Operation Rheinuberg allowed Rommell to succeed in securing Germany's oil supply, and made attacking Russia less necessary, it is difficult to see how German would have lost WWII.
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Post by dougieo »

If it was likely the enlarged squadron was going to make a break out could the RN have sent a carrier along with the intecept squadron?
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Post by lwd »

hellomartin wrote:...

1) a successful breakout into the Atlantic by the enlarged squadron relatively unscathed, (whether any further British battleships got sunk along the way is not especially relevant). With Tirpiz around there would be no decision to split up with Prinz Eugen.
No. If Tirptiz is ready for sea then the Britts are going to be watching closer. More ships means a greater chance of detection. Even if only POW and Hood interecept the fight is likely to be much different and may result in both German BBs being damaged enough to abort.
...
3) that the squadron would remain together as an effective fighting unit in the Atlantic for several weeks, and with their speed and fire-power would not have been destroyed by the British.
No. Any of a number of things could have happened. For instance damage during the breakout as I suggest above. A night attack by DDs torpedos one or more of the ships. Carrier or land based planes damage one or more of the ships.... etc.
...
However, the greatest negative impact on the British would have been the often over-looked objective of Rheinuberg, the drawing away of British resources in the Mediterranean. Rommel came extremely close to breaking the British lines in North Africa during his initial charge. Ark Royal played a pivotal role in breaking up his convoy supply chain to North Africa. If Force H and other surface ships had been delayed just a six weeks in the Atlantic chasing Bismarck and Tirpiz, I think it is really like likely that Rommel would have broken through Egypt, to his primary objective, the oil fields of the middle east....
Rommel's supply problems came as much from the lack of land transport as losses at sea. There is no way he had enough resources to come any where near the MidEast oil which was not his primary objective in any case. Oh and oil wasn't the primary reason the Germans invaded the Soviet Union.
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Post by RF »

hellomartin,

With such a lot of high fuel consumption warships involved, a large number of tankers and supply ships would be needed.

Having broken part of the enigma codes this supply line would be very vulnerable to RN interdiction.

Rheinubung could be defeated by the British finding out the location of as many German supply ships as possible, especially the tankers, wait for all German capital ships to be at sea, and then use cruiser forces to intercept these supply ships simultaneously and sink/capture the lot.

Result: a lot of German warships heading for Atlantic ports at reduced speed to save on fuel. Take your choice as to which one of these vessels you pick off, and have plenty of submarines off the Atlantic ports to launch torpedo attacks. They might even catch some U-boats on the surface.
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Post by RF »

Actually, looking at it from the German angle hellomartin, why use French Biscay bases at all?
With diplomatic pressure Spanish and Vichy French bases such as Dakar could have been used, much more difficult for RAF heavy attack, and if the Spanish could be induced to attack Gibraltar then Italian Fleet units could reinforce the Germans in the Atlantic.

Another point - apart from Prien in 1939 sinking the Royal Oak, the Germans never attacked Scapa Flow. The Luftwaffe could have bombed it, the Germans could even have used Italian frogmen and midget subs in the way the Italians did at Alexandria. In fact unknown to the Germans the RM did draft a plan for a frogmen attack on ships in New York harbour, it never came to fruition because of no available subs and they didn't want the Germans involved to claim the credit.....
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Post by lwd »

RF wrote:...apart from Prien in 1939 sinking the Royal Oak, the Germans never attacked Scapa Flow. ... the Germans could even have used Italian frogmen and midget subs in the way the Italians did at Alexandria. .....
Given the dive suits of the time could divers have survived long enough to do much at Scapa Flow? I don't know what the average temperatures are but I suspect a lot colder than Alexandria.
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Post by iankw »

Once again we have an AH scenario that stacks all the cards in one direction and again it is Germany. Once again we have conveniently forgotten that the British would have several additional units ready because of the delay waiting for Tirpitz to be completed and readied to sail. So, for instance, by the time Tirpitz was ready there would be no German supply ships left as the RN had already cleared them up.

Similarly with Spain and Gibraltar - people who know a lot more about the politics of Spain have repeatedly said, on this forum, that this was never going to happen, and proposed a British response if it did - invasion of the Canary Isles IIRC.

I realise AH scenarios use a lot of imagination, and that is fine, but to stack the deck against one side, and ignore other factors in the timeline is, to my mind, beyond the pale. The only thing missing from this one is the Graf Zeppelin chestnut reappearing.

Maybe I just shouldn't read AH scenarios?

regards
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Post by Ramius »

OK? Do you have something to contribute to the discussion, or are you going to crab on and not fix the problem you have brought up :think:
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