Garrison

Donor
Also, while Panzer I and II weren't good front line tanks at that time, if you view them as mobile armoured machine guns, they can be very useful against most unarmoured (and some lightly armoured) targets.
Available (and expendable) and good enough makes them a credible and sensible choice.
And it would have helped in Crete, but Goering was so determined to have his big win that he ignored the basic lesson that airborne troops have to be either withdrawn after achieving a limited objective or rapidly reinforced.
 
Goering when an airborne assault without aerial and naval superiority fails horribly: 😯😯😯

And the idiot still wants to use paratroopers for this kind of operation after it ended badly two times! Nazi moment.
 
Allegedly it was personal, dating from bad experiences with RN officers in WW1 and later. Exacerbated by feeling looked down by some upper class Brits.

Though his daughter (I think) said he actually didn't dislike Brits more than anyone else but they riled him into showing it more. This might be wrong, happy to be corrected.

Finally, he didn't trust Britain and the RN to deliver on promises. And wasn't impressed with the RN after Force Z, the Indian Ocean raid and the ABDA debacles. Had a point but it's a pity he ignored the one area where its expertise was definitely greater than his own. Convoys and ASW.
Also agree with King being shat on during WW I, by brits
 
Finally, he didn't trust Britain and the RN to deliver on promises. And wasn't impressed with the RN after Force Z, the Indian Ocean raid and the ABDA debacles. Had a point but it's a pity he ignored the one area where its expertise was definitely greater than his own. Convoys and ASW.

All true.

Of course a lot of this aspect of the conflict was shaped by clashing priorities. The British placed the Pacific/Indian Ocean theaters lowest on their pecking order. King appreciated this and resented it, because it rubbed cross-grain with his own innate preference to place the Pacific as the most important priority (notwithstanding Roosevelt's official Germany First strategic policy); any British proposal that looked like less than the most direct and maximally potent use of forces to defeat Germany as quickly as possible was one he would resent even more, which is how you got episodes like his near punching match with Alan Brooke at Casablanca.

But it also exacerbated all those RN setbacks against the IJN. RN forces (like the other British branches) deployed to the Far East were all junior varsity, or (in the case of Force Z) varsity sent in too little quantity and with too little preparation. Whereas the Royal Navy had been largely successful just about everywhere else (and not just in convoys and ASW). But what King cared about was the Japanese, and not so much Atlantic SLOCs or whatever they were up to in the Med or the North Sea.
 
I always wondered what would have happened if the Truman committee would have had someone like King look into the torpedos and find out what really was happening like they did with some of the other things.
 
I always wondered what would have happened if the Truman committee would have had someone like King look into the torpedos and find out what really was happening like they did with some of the other things.
As the service head of the USN shouldn't he already have been looking into the reports of faulty torpedoes?
 
As the service head of the USN shouldn't he already have been looking into the reports of faulty torpedoes?

In the end, he did. The hard part with any Mark 14 alt-timeline is how you get it brought to King's attention sooner (if indeed you don't cut the whole thing off at the pass by somehow funding an adequate testing regime at the start).
 
The British placed the Pacific/Indian Ocean theaters lowest on their pecking order. King appreciated this and resented it, because it rubbed cross-grain with his own innate preference to place the Pacific as the most important priority (notwithstanding Roosevelt's official Germany First strategic policy); any British proposal that looked like less than the most direct and maximally potent use of forces to defeat Germany as quickly as possible was one he would resent even more, which is how you got episodes like his near punching match with Alan Brooke at Casablanca.
This is not quite right. Apparently, King did agree with the Germany First policy, he just felt that considering the British were resisting U.S. Army proposals to land in France as soon as possible, more resources should be shifted in the interim to the Pacific to take advantage of the stunning U.S. victory at Midway. King's view, in a nutshell, was that the Pacific should be getting 30 percent of available resources instead of the 15 percent he claimed it was getting.
From
Admiral Ernest J. King—Chief of Naval Operations, 1942
 

Garrison

Donor
This is not quite right. Apparently, King did agree with the Germany First policy, he just felt that considering the British were resisting U.S. Army proposals to land in France as soon as possible, more resources should be shifted in the interim to the Pacific to take advantage of the stunning U.S. victory at Midway. King's view, in a nutshell, was that the Pacific should be getting 30 percent of available resources instead of the 15 percent he claimed it was getting.
From
Admiral Ernest J. King—Chief of Naval Operations, 1942
Honestly that sounds like an excuse, a landing in France in 1942 was never going to happen barring a complete disaster for the Soviets.
 
Honestly that sounds like an excuse, a landing in France in 1942 was never going to happen barring a complete disaster for the Soviets.
That's kinda the point. Since there's no way they were going to invade Europe any time soon why not divert some more resources towards the Pacific? Look at it from the USN's point of view. For the past half-century they've been preparing for a war with Japan, When the war finally arrives, with a dastardly sneak attack no less, they're told they have to concentrate against Germany instead.
 
This is not quite right. Apparently, King did agree with the Germany First policy, he just felt that considering the British were resisting U.S. Army proposals to land in France as soon as possible, more resources should be shifted in the interim to the Pacific to take advantage of the stunning U.S. victory at Midway. King's view, in a nutshell, was that the Pacific should be getting 30 percent of available resources instead of the 15 percent he claimed it was getting.
From
Admiral Ernest J. King—Chief of Naval Operations, 1942

To be clear: U.S. policy was "Germany First," and being a good officer, he was obedient to that policy (how much he personally agreed with it remains the subject of discussion). But that did not mean he did not fight for every bit of resources he could send to the Pacific; and it wasn't perhaps entirely unreasonable for him to resent that he was not (as he understood it) getting the Pacific's 30% whenever he sensed dilatory tactics being deployed by the Brits.

Relationships improved somewhat (somewhat, I say), though, when Cunningham replaced Pound, and Churchill figured out how much more agreeable the Yanks found Field Marshal Dill.
 
King gets a lot of flack but aside from his convoy blunder, and there's no denying it was a massive blunder, he pretty much got the entire naval war right. I'm not sure if another CNO could have been as successful in getting the Pacific Theater the resources it required.
 
Honestly that sounds like an excuse, a landing in France in 1942 was never going to happen barring a complete disaster for the Soviets.
I know the avowed plan was to land in France in 1942 in the event that either the Germans or the Soviets collapsed suddenly, but I have trouble imagining this actually happening in the latter case. I could be missing something but it seems quite obvious that if the Germans are scoring a massive victory in the east, they would get together enough reinforcements to hold a British landing in place and then come back and throw it back into the sea with relative ease. Surely this would have been as obvious to London: if you don't have the strength to take on the Wehrmacht when it's tied up in the East, how would you be able to do it when it has won there?
 

Garrison

Donor
I know the avowed plan was to land in France in 1942 in the event that either the Germans or the Soviets collapsed suddenly, but I have trouble imagining this actually happening in the latter case. I could be missing something but it seems quite obvious that if the Germans are scoring a massive victory in the east, they would get together enough reinforcements to hold a British landing in place and then come back and throw it back into the sea with relative ease. Surely this would have been as obvious to London: if you don't have the strength to take on the Wehrmacht when it's tied up in the East, how would you be able to do it when it has won there?
I suspect that was just a sop to the Americans, not totally ruling out a landing while knowing full well it wasn't going to happen either way.
 
1st June – 31st August 1942 – The Atlantic – Doenitz’s Dilemma New

Garrison

Donor
1st June – 31st August 1942 – The Atlantic – Doenitz’s Dilemma

Replacing Raeder as head of the Kriegsmarine should have been a moment of triumph for Doenitz, and it certainly must have been a relief to him to finally put an end to the internal debates over the priority of the U-Boats. The problem was that Doenitz had inherited the position largely because Hitler’s faith in the Kriegsmarine was at an all-time low. The happy time off the US coast might temporarily have bolstered Doenitz’s standing and won promises of more resources for construction of more U-Boats and the development of new models, but by the summer those promises were being watered down and the victories of the spring seemed a distant memory, and Doenitz had now found himself having to deal with the other side of the argument about the fate of the remaining surface warships [1].

By March of 1942 Admiral King had been under considerable pressure to reduce losses among US shipping, especially as many in Washington were still hoping for a landing in Northwest Europe in the summer or autumn of that year. Once King embraced the adoption of convoys for coastal shipping, he approached it with is characteristic zeal, and he was positively enthusiastic about the idea of hunting groups that would seek out and destroy the U-Boats rather than simply covering the convoys and handing the initiative to the Kriegsmarine [2].

This meant that by the summer Doenitz was facing the same set of problems as he had prior to December 7th, more air cover, more escorts, and new technology that helped those escorts find and destroy his U-Boats, all magnified by the resources of the United States Navy. Perhaps the most significant development of the period was the introduction of high frequency direction finding, colloquially known as huff-duff, to escort warships. This had previously been limited to shore installations, but greater availability of cathode ray tubes and other refinements meant the systems could now be deployed at sea. Huff-duff allowed for the triangulation of the radio signals sent by the U-Boats, signals that were essential to receiving orders and co-ordinating attacks. This technology was particularly valuable for the hunting groups and in combination with sonar and radar, including airborne radar, it brought about a steady increase in U-Boat kills.

Huff-Duff was not where the U-Boat crews placed the blame however, they continued to point the finger at the snorkel system. They were no longer blaming technical failures, primarily because Doenitz had made it clear that such complaints would not be tolerated but focusing on the idea that the Allies could spot the snorkel, probably via radar. This was theoretically possible, but the amount of scatter the ocean surface created meant it took a skilled crew to pick one out. Regardless of the reality it provided an excuse for crews to stay on the surface where they might spot an aircraft, rather than depend on the snorkel and risk the first warning being a string of depth charges [3].

The issues with the U-Boat crews ran deeper than simple recalcitrance over using the snorkel, many of them were lacking in experience and tactical knowhow, because the veterans who should have passed on their knowledge to the new recruits had been lost in combat. The Kriegsmarine didn’t have the luxury of rotating officers out of combat to act as trainers, which suited the more experienced officers who wanted to be in combat not acting as schoolteachers. On the other side British, Canadian and American officers were refining tactics and their knowledge was being shared with others, ensuring that the ever-expanding effort to secure the Atlantic supply lines was being fought by men who had a solid grounding in both convoy defence and U-Boat hunting, which further exacerbated the problems Doenitz faced [4].

In the summer of 1942 Doenitz was not even able to give his full attention to trying to reinvigorate the U-Boat campaign as he found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to defend the continued existence of the surface fleet that he had inherited from Raeder. Hitler was once again putting forward the idea that the guns of the remaining ships would be better deployed in shore batteries and the steel of their hulls cut up for scrap and used to produce equipment that could contribute to the war effort. As far as Hitler was concerned the surface ships were nothing but a source of embarrassment, providing a series of propaganda victories for Churchill and the Royal Navy. To some degree Doenitz may have sympathized with this viewpoint, he certainly felt the resources spent on what were little more than symbols of German military might, that couldn’t possibly hope to engage the Royal Navy on anything approaching even terms, could have been better used to build more U-Boats.

The ships did however exist, and Doenitz had no reason to believe that any resources freed up by scrapping them would benefit the Kriegsmarine, and the fleet in being concept that Raeder had pushed was valid, however many doubts Doenitz may have expressed prior to taking command of the Kriegsmarine. If the ships were scrapped that would mean yet more Royal navy ships released for escort duties. The implicit threat of Tirpitz greatly exercised the British and did keep several warships held in readiness in case she sortied. The threat of it leaving its Norwegian Fjord base and attacking convoys heading for Britain or the USSR led to multiple attempts to destroy Tirpitz by the RAF and FAA, though by the summer of 1942 there was something of a hiatus in operations and Tirpitz remained at least theoretically operational. Doenitz thus had no choice but to defend the existence of Tirpitz and the other ships, while at the same time pressing for a higher priority for both the production of existing U-Boats, particularly the Type IX, and the development of the new Type XXI, increasingly seen as the answer to all the Kriegsmarine’s problems, if it could ever be produced in numbers, which seemed a distant prospect [5].

In his arguments for the importance of the U-Boat force Doenitz pointed out that the Atlantic was the only theatre of operations where the Wehrmacht could simultaneously fight the USA, Britain, and the USSR, with an increasing part of the Lend-Lease supplies provided by the Americans ultimately bound for Murmansk and the Red Army. The Soviets may have been perfectly capable of producing their own highly effective tanks and aircraft, but they still needed every single one they could press into service in 1942, however disdainful they might have been about the quality of some of the hardware they received. When it came to trucks there was no such argument, a large part of the logistics for the Red Army during the war would be delivered in General Motors CCKW Trucks [6].

Doenitz argued, quite reasonably, that so long as the Atlantic supply line remained intact the British would never sue for peace, and it might persuade the USSR to continue resisting even in the face of Case Blue being the triumph it inevitably would be. Whatever Doenitz’s true opinion of the likelihood of Case Blue achieving its objectives he knew better than to dare suggest it might fall short of Hitler’s goals, trying instead to turn it into a reason to increase the funding of the Kriegsmarine alongside those planned for the Heer and the Luftwaffe. His efforts seemed to succeed as by the middle of July Doenitz finally obtained at least some increase in support for the Kriegsmarine, even if it fell short of what Doenitz felt he really needed. Unfortunately for the Grand Admiral all his painfully won concessions were erased by developments in Italy [7] and Hitler’s burgeoning obsession with wonder weapons. Far from seeing an increase in investment in the U-Boat force Doenitz faced a battle to stave off cuts in their resource allocation in the face of Hitler’s latest obsession. The U-Boat wolfpacks face the Autumn of 1942 under increasing pressure to do more damage even as its losses steadily mounted, leaving Doenitz increasingly angry and frustrated, with considerable justification as he was correct in his assessment that the Battle of the Atlantic was increasingly vital to the outcome of the war. However, what he was unaware of was the fact that for the Western Allies it was no longer simply a lifeline to keep Britain and the USSR in the war, it was a highway for the build-up of men and materials necessary for opening a second front and liberating Europe. As the U-Boats faltered the plans for that liberation came into ever sharper focus [8].

[1] Doenitz is experiencing the meaning of ‘careful what you wish for’.

[2] So more bad news for the U-Boats

[3] The U-Boat crews are developing a distrust of the snorkel bordering on the pathological.

[4] The escorts are also getting more experienced as losses are eroding the institutional knowledge of the U-Boat crews.

[5] Without Speer’s interference the Type XXI is being developed in a more traditional manner, meaning they will work when they appear, but that isn’t going to be for quite some time.

[6] Carefully airbrushed out of history by the USSR after the war.

[7] What is going in Italy you may well ask? Well, that will be answered soon.

[8] It’s still going to be a long hard road to Normandy.
 
As it comes to the ussr, obviously the artic convoys were vital, but I feel in need to point at the Pacific route as I think it too often tends to be overshadowed by the battle of the Atlantic.
I believe, from what I remember of my own search on the topic, more or less half Lend-Lease help to the Soviets went through Vladivostok, odd as it may be while the Pacific war is unfolding. But till the last moment, the Japanese respected their non agression pact with Stalin and let Soviet merchant marine ships go all the way to the West Coast to pick up their cargo and back without bothering them. Right?
 

Garrison

Donor
As it comes to the ussr, obviously the artic convoys were vital, but I feel in need to point at the Pacific route as I think it too often tends to be overshadowed by the battle of the Atlantic.
I believe, from what I remember of my own search on the topic, more or less half Lend-Lease help to the Soviets went through Vladivostok, odd as it may be while the Pacific war is unfolding. But till the last moment, the Japanese respected their non agression pact with Stalin and let Soviet merchant marine ships go all the way to the West Coast to pick up their cargo and back without bothering them. Right?
Indeed, despite much pressure from the Allies and the Germans both sides stuck to the pact until the USSR invaded Manchuria in 1945. Basically neither side needed the hassle of opening up another front in the war and neither saw much to gain from their allies in doing so.
 
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