How should Germany have fought the Battle of the Atlantic from 1940 on?

How should have Germany fought the Battle of the Atlantic after France’s surrender in 1940?

What changes should they have made to the Kriegsmarine?

What could they plausibly have done to improve their performance and how would this affect the war?
 
More uboats and if they can get the type xxI into service by 43 the momentum swings back to the germans until the allies use shear weight of numbers to overwhelm them until next generation asw assets come online.
 

Ian_W

Banned
How should have Germany fought the Battle of the Atlantic after France’s surrender in 1940?

What changes should they have made to the Kriegsmarine?

What could they plausibly have done to improve their performance and how would this affect the war?
Depends.

Is their objective to close Britain's sea lines of communication, or to avoid another Lusitania incident and thus slow the USA coming into the war ?

Is Sealion a thing ? What cooperation is allowed between the Luftwaffe and the Kreigsmarine. Is "We cannot beat Britain at see. Give all our steel, and three quarters of our sailors to the Heer to bear Russia with" acceptable ?
 
working torpedoes https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1599&context=etd

just IMO, but it seems that having to grapple with that eclipsed any research for a critical time period? do not know if their acoustic torpedoes would have appeared earlier, but their torpedo crisis certainly monopolized their attention.

my speculation is always for more FW-200 Condors, especially as they needed long range transports, and add HE-111 Zwilling twin fuselage bomber to that also (sure there are better designs but just working within the universe of what they had available historically)

the surface ships, commerce raiders, would have benefited from carrying the small helicopters, using floatplanes sometimes tipped their targets they were near, and were cumbersome to launch. (just having the helicopters fly straight up above the ships for longer horizon would have aided them)
 
I'm pretty sure some of the Merchant Raiders fitting out was delayed due to the preparations for Sea lion so probably more Merchant Raiders earlier .

Also maybe fake who was doing attacks to confuse Royal Navy so have Raiders fake their attacks being by Uboats and vice versa
 
Instead of building Bismarck and Tirpitz, build a bunch of vessels suitable for use as AMCs instead (ostensibly for civilian purposes so as not to turn Britain against the reich too soon, as earlier mass u-boat construction would've). Also, change the mission of Luftwaffe bombers from attacking cities to attacking ships at sea, and if navigation over water was a problem for some pilots, ships in port. The Luftwaffe chapter in Why Air Forces Fail gives some idea of what might've been achieved.
 
The utter best way? Steam the entire Kriegsmarine to Scapa with the White Ensign flying above German colours and all senior Nazi party members hanging from the yardarms or suitable substitutes (periscopes etc.)...
:openedeyewink:

Probably not what you're after and not very plausible...
 
How should have Germany fought the Battle of the Atlantic after France’s surrender in 1940?

What changes should they have made to the Kriegsmarine?

What could they plausibly have done to improve their performance and how would this affect the war?

(EDIT: I have no idea what they could do better for the reason below)

As with any such BotA POD it is generally far easier for Britain to react to changes than Germany as it has both the advantage of Geography and ship building industry not to mention a very rapidly expanding 2 and 4 engine bomber construction industry (which was virtually untapped OTL)

On top of that it has effective direct access to the USA - the other very large producer of ships and 2 and 4 Engine bombers.

Whatever it does it has to implement it quickly and without telegraphing its intentions to the UK / Rest of world and building up a large Jeule Ecole fleet pretty much does this as it only has the one target - the UK
It also impact the AGNA - and this was important to Germany as it was effectively tacit agreement from Britain to rearm and build a 'balanced fleet' 30% that of the UK with an initial 40% ratio of U-boats to British Submarines (about 40 odd British ones) and later on a 100% - so in 1939 they had about 50 odd

The rule of thumb is to have a U boat in the Atlantic you had to have another working up to a patrol and another in refit / training

So in order to have sufficient numbers of U boats required to successfully blockade the UK they need hundreds of them in 1939/40

But the problem with that is it would take Germany some years to build up the infrastructure, industry and train the crews for such a fleet which would be noticed.

This would result in no AGNA and no UK thinking Hitler was someone with whom they could deal with during the late 30s resulting in a harder line from Britain and a much earlier proper rearmament

That little bit of White paper Chamberlain was waving at the airport would be him telling the People "I told Hitler to go $%^& himself"

chamberlain-declares-peace-for-our-time-75-years-agos-featured-photo.jpg
 
not exactly the BoA but they could have built out their fleet of S-Boats without breaching the AGNA, only had dozen-odd initially, have seen speculation that five or six times that number could have been readied (within diesel engine production)

since they did not construct purpose built minelayers my speculation is always for a larger S-Boat design such as immediate post-war model, while no leap of technology it could carry 20 mines vs. wartime design's 6.
 
Had the Nazis decided that they should put off the attack on Stalin and used the resources to build more subs and some other stuff Britain would have been in difficulty possibly
 
It also impact the AGNA - and this was important to Germany as it was effectively tacit agreement from Britain to rearm and build a 'balanced fleet' 30% that of the UK with an initial 40% ratio of U-boats to British Submarines (about 40 odd British ones) and later on a 100% - so in 1939 they had about 50 odd

The rule of thumb is to have a U boat in the Atlantic you had to have another working up to a patrol and another in refit / training

So in order to have sufficient numbers of U boats required to successfully blockade the UK they need hundreds of them in 1939/40

But the problem with that is it would take Germany some years to build up the infrastructure, industry and train the crews for such a fleet which would be noticed.

This would result in no AGNA and no UK thinking Hitler was someone with whom they could deal with during the late 30s resulting in a harder line from Britain and a much earlier proper rearmament
Right, this is the point I made above. But what if the reich in the 1930s built (instead of Bismarck and Tirpitz or many u-boats) a big fleet of merchant vessels suitable to become armed merchant cruisers? Surely they'd have had a better chance at acquiring the means to strangle UK shipping without turning Britain against them too soon.
 
Right, this is the point I made above. But what if the reich in the 1930s built (instead of Bismarck and Tirpitz or many u-boats) a big fleet of merchant vessels suitable to become armed merchant cruisers? Surely they'd have had a better chance at acquiring the means to strangle UK shipping without turning Britain against them too soon.
Raiders are very handy for making a bloody nuisance of themselves in secondary theaters where allied forces were spread thin; most merchant traffic was independent sailings and there was the sea space to hide.

But cutting the main US-UK convoy routes? Too much traffic to easily hide, and even if you do come across a convoy you'll be hard pressed to run it down (typical Raider top speed was 16-18 knots vs 10 knots for a slow convoy and 15-18 knots for a fast convoy) particularly if the convoy scatters, and unless you manage a short ranged ambush (ala Sydney-Kormaran) even a Sloop/Aviso or DD can do significant damage.

Without Capital Ships to hold down allied attention? Now you've got a CA or old BB regularly riding shotgun on the convoys. Your surface raider now doesn't stand a chance.
 
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Right, this is the point I made above. But what if the reich in the 1930s built (instead of Bismarck and Tirpitz or many u-boats) a big fleet of merchant vessels suitable to become armed merchant cruisers? Surely they'd have had a better chance at acquiring the means to strangle UK shipping without turning Britain against them too soon.
There are 100+ Crusiers of the British and French Navy's running around looking for surface raiders in the first 8 months of WW2 - not to mention all of the armed merchant Crusiers they were also running around with.

They did quite well considering - but there were never more than 3 at sea at any given time - more of them and you have a greater number of needles in the haystack and the chances of one being found increases exponentially.

Germany struggled to arm and crew the ones they had (granted maybe easier if not building (B and T + U-boats) and again its almost impossible for such a move to not be discovered - that is building lots of fast Merchantmen capable of being armed etc.

That being said it is a sensible move to look at trying to go the Jeule Ecole route without triggering a response from the UK and others if it can be pulled off and surge as many raiders (Conventional, U-boat and Merchant) as possible in the first 18 months of the war.

And longer than that if not won already - I don't think they can.
 
Here's the thing to create a U-Boat fleet that can cut the British off from their global trade and American aid in 1940 you have to build a large number of new slips to construct them, divert shortage materials like Copper and Rubber to build them. Find suitable crews, train them up, create a logistics train that can keep enough of them at sea for it to matter and when you have done that you are looking at a long slow war of attrition between the U-Boats and the sheer amount of shipping the UK has at its disposal. Then while the U-Boat fleet is hammering away at Atlantic shipping you have to avoid giving the USA a Casus Belli while Roosevelt does everything he can to provoke one. You have to come up with counters to the fact that British will have no choice but to commit more resources to the BotA, especially long range aircraft and of course for some reason the Nazi's have to realize that Enigma is being read and act accordingly. Achieve all of that then in a year to eighteen months you might bring the UK to the brink of starvation. Meanwhile Stalin is in danger of dying from laughing as Nazi Germany lets him finish his build up and choose the appropriate moment to cut the supply of critical raw materials and stick the knife in.

Sure you can turn back the clock and have the Germans focus on U-Boats, but you still have to build all those slips you can't hide and since there can only be one target for such a force the British are likely to be far less accommodating in the face of a direct Nazi threat to Britain's maritime trade.
 
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Ian_W

Banned
The only thing I can think of is to use the Luftwaffe bomber squadrons against British ports and shipping to a much greater extent.
The tactical problem with this is twofold.

First, you either need much longer ranged fighters, or these bombers will be doing unescorted attacks against Liverpool and the other ports in north-west England. Yes, you can probably close London this way, but you can't force Britain to fight a Kanalkampf.

Second, the British started building Trade Protection Carriers in 1935. The emergency Hurricat Escort Carrier also works against unescorted long range bombers, even if you lose every obsolescent fighter you launch.

The strategic problem is that building naval aviation - training bombers against ships, mine-dropping by air and air torpedoes - will set off the RN's warning sirens, as they know they can beat Germany with battleships, but arent quite sure about battleships versus bombs. Again, "battleships versus bombs" was noted in Cabinet in 1935 ...
 
Allied convoys escorts were overstretched for much of the early war.
A convoy of 20-30 ships only had 2-3 escort that followed them the whole way.
had the Germans more U-boats or auxiliary cruisers, many more cargo ships would have been sunk
info on all Allied convoys in WW2
https://warsailors.com/convoys/index.html
Maybe for U-Boats but as I said before... Merchant Cruisers in the North Atlantic?!

You catch a convoy, maybe brush off an escort without taking any damage if you're lucky (and if any of the escorts are Destroyers you've got very good odds of eating two or three torps before you can actually close on the convoy) then manage to send one or two merchantmen down before the rest of the convoy has outrun you.

Meanwhile the poms have been on the radio and there's a cruiser or three on the way...

Hell! Given the fates of Stier and Hokoku Maru I'd be leary about a Merchant Cruiser taking on a Sloop without having suprize in it's favour.

Merchant cruisers are useful for raiding ships sailing independently in secondary theaters, NOT for attacking the main convoy lanes.
 
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