The betrayal of the Kaiserliche Marine and the resurrection of the Reichsmarine

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Gudestein, May 12, 2019.

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  1. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Many americans will have family who dont return from the war. Most of these would have died of influenza ITTL and IOTL. There is little difference here. I do think the style of the German fighting would not serve them ill in public perception.
    Having said that: The reason why they got a fleet IOTL was that the allies wanted them to be able to patrol their home waters. That is really not changed.
     
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 23: Interim thoughts on shipbuilding and shipbuilding technology development

    Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Chapter 23: Interim thoughts on shipbuilding and shipbuilding technology development

    The year following the signing of the ToV had seen intense activity, but Scheer once again felt that morale was high. The nadir had been during the Kapp-Putsch were German naval officers commanded militias of sailors had stood up againist the republic and the reichsmarine. Scheer had negotiated behind the doors to ensure support for his leadership before public denouncing the coup makers and stripping them of their officers rank. This, and the lack of support from other branches of the military had doomed the coup and great served to diminsh the influence of the rogue militias around Germany at this crucial time. Orders had been distributed among different German shipyards for 6 small Destroyers, in German termed motortorpedoboote, designed to worked with 5’ guns but tentatively to be equipped with 4’ guns. The Interallied Military Commission of control were causing serious trouble and were insisting on a restrictive interpretation of the ToV terms. The lessons of this had been incorporated into the provisional design of the first new cruiser of the Reichsmarine to be named Karlsruhe. It was designed for a definition of displacement which was without fuel and which cheated a little bit on the weight, nevertheless. The design was not for the present, but entirely for tomorrow. In order not to draw animosity, it was equipped with 4 single 150 mm guns, but these guns were places in wide barbettes, and order had been given to design a double 128mm and a double 150mm turret to fill them. The long-term perspective was that a naval gun of such a calibers could fulfill the dual role of naval artillery and heavy-anti-aircraft artillery. Amidships, space had been carved out for torpedo launchers and a catapult launched aircraft (which was of course not installed, rather some liaison vessels took up the space). Each of these could be removed which facilitated access to the diesel engines. The wide access would allow for eventual replacement and space had been reserved for possible use for turbochargers or exhaust driven turbines.

    The whole hull of the ship had been envisioned for upgrade. The freeboard was a full 5 feet higher than what was to expected when heavier turrets and armor was added (officially, it needed to show the German flag across the world), and in its original version, it only had a lower armor belt of 50 mm above the magazine. The ship was however balanced for later addition of side armor and an additional 30 mm belt, but that would take the weight of the ship way beyond what the Inter-Allied Commission of Control would accept.

    The design was also extremely innovative in its weight saving efforts. Extensively relying on welding and with many innovative solutions for weight saving. In addition to welding, these solutions also included use of structural high-tensile steel that would double as both armor and load bearing. These techniques were being practiced in various forms on the first generation of motortorpedoboote and the drawings for Karlsruhe would not be finalized before the first experiences had been obtained on those designs.

    The drawing of her initial configuration showed a light cruiser which was hopelessly undergunned, but in her final configuration, she was a beauty. A powerful oceangoing design, well armored design, for which the German naval designers could be proud.

    Edit in bold.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  3. NoMommsen Donor

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    With the "6 small Destroyers" you probably mean some ships comparable to the Type 23 Torpedo boats. Well, if you envisage them to be laid down already in 1920 then they will look even more somewhat like these. About their weaponry ... the 5'' guns were even in 1925/6, when the first bored out version of the 4,1'' gun were tested by the Reichsmarine some completly new and to the germans rather unknown calibre, when designed/thought of IOTL a reasction to the Washington treaty.

    Much more sense would make it, if these new /destroyers" might be build with 4,1' guns but planned for to be equipped with these 5,9'' guns which weighted almost the same as the 4,1 guns of the T 23 boats of OTL, somewhat lesser range but quite heavier a punch. If 'upgrade' to the weight of OTL german 5'' installation with perhaps a wee bit higher elevation mount and/or a couple of more calibre lenght the range can even be improved.

    Though I render your assumption of Scheer and consorts thinking of double purpose guns already in 1920 (IOTL they were first conceived by the japanese in 1926 only as 5" guns, prior to midth to 2nd half of the 20ies heavy AA wasn't really a too important topic) ... somewhat bold, these 5,9'' guns would have made a great base for a double purpose gun. IOTL the german 5,9'' AA guns developed as such were not truly worth the effort compared to the german 5'' AA guns with its almost identical performance regarding reachable ceiling. ... but here we are looking for a true and full power Double Purpose gun and as such the 5,9'' would have the punch of such a gun against other ships AND an AA performance similar to the IOTL best german heavy AA gun of 5''.
    IMHO worth a thought ... especially if your development cycle for a proper mounting starts as early as ITTL.

    Your assumed 'cheating' with weights ... why not also excluding not only reserve boiler feed water (as of the later Washington Treaty) but all boiler feed water ? ... if we are already at cheating (the common german practice still executed IOTL with the Emden calculated 'construction weight' which includen all boiler feed water as well as about 1/2 to 2/3 of ammo and fuel).

    Also have a wee problem with your freeboard 5 feet higher then what to expect. Man that's almost a complete additional deck ! ... and we don't wanna have the NIACC commissioners have to drink lead paint, do we ?
    With this a proper placing of the belt armor is practically impossible. it is either waaay down the waterline looking false for an external observer or waaay above the waterline looking as false. However IMO two ways to go around it :
    • don't make a belt-protection but 'simply' an internal box protection around the magazines
    and/or
    • plan an armor scheme right as with the former 'protected cruisers' the left small cruisers were built with.
    You still plan to upgrade them later intheir history and it might let look you 'better' with the NIACC in that you trule 'only' replace the ancient small cruisers ;).
     
  4. NoMommsen Donor

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    And as we are in 1920 ... what about the Kapp-Putsch ?

    In its run-up the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt was essential.

    Would it exist ITTL as well ? ... and if so (rather probable being formed as well asi.e. the Marine Brigade Loewnefeldt ... to keep law and order within the coastal cities and places) would it also be the 'freelancing mercenary' troop it was IOTL (rather improbable given the much firmer grip on moral and discipline by Scheer et al.) ?
    Without it the Kapp-Putsch itselfat all would be rather improbable and without the Kapp-Putsch the ... 'misbehavior' (in republican terms) of the Navy leadership - IOTL von Trotha might possibly not happen.
    And without it there won't be a 'second' organisational crisis as IOTL leading to the final structure of the Marineleitung as well as the organisation of the fleet.
    And without it as well the parliamentary and public standing, which had recovered so well during the time of mine-sweeping and thereby restarting oversea-trade, won't be grounded again.
    And without as well that a certain Frigate Captain won't be demoted to the navys archives (becomming the 'little doctor' he was as well as reading enough stuff to develop whatever doctrine he favored/pursuited IOTL as Grand Admiral).

    And without Erhardt and his men being what they were IOTL
    • no organisation Consul and its subsequent assasinations (Rathenau) and several assasination attempts
      • no murder of Rathenau ... oh a whole invasion of butterflys possible
        • no or very different running inflation-crisis, questionable if still Rheinland-occupation would happen
        • no Rheinland occupation very differentapproach of the Reichsmarine to 'Kleinkampfmittel' as the later S.Boats and further stuff
        • would Lohmann still buy the Casper airplane factory
        • or found the Hansa Yachting-club (secret training facility of the S-Boats)
    • no Erhardt me supporting/nursing the embryonal SA
    • etc
    • etc
     
  5. NoMommsen Donor

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    As I am already in 'niggling' mood ...

    In 1920 - and well into 1923 . almost every topbrass of the Reichsmarine firmly believed, that the time/era of humiliation (ToV restrictions) would be ended rather shortly - in our hindsight-trained perception - in 5, 7 or as the utmost 10 years time.
    Therefore serious consideration and planning work for the type of shipd actually allowed commenced very late, the early stuidies about the 10.000 ts ship being more an exercise in showing how impossible and useless the construction of such a ship might be.
    In 1922 some navalists were keenly awaiting the invitation to the Washington-Treaty negotiations. Similar hopes popped up in 1930 again for leading to further 'modell planning' at the K-Office in its categories instead of further developing what actually had bee achieved until then (i.e. mixed propulsion, Diesel main propulsion, novel S-Boats).
    With the cruiser question the most reasonably to be solved - compared to the entente fleets - in 1919/1920 the then Marineleitung with von Trotha at the forefront were sporting ideas like finishing the alreayd launched or still sitting on the slips ships of the Cöln II class (Wiesbaden II, Magdeburg II, Leipzig II, Rostock II, Frauenlob II, Ersatz Cöln, Ersatz Emden, Ersatz Karlsruhe (A)) or later rebuying the seurrendered cruiser from Italy or even from France.
    That it wouldn't be long before 'true' shipconstruction could be recommenced was one of the reasons the construction of the Emden was rushed foreward, again not contemplating, that the NIACC might wanna have a say in it (as it then did in i.e. forbidding the already in contruction being double-mounts for the 15cm guns).

    I know of only two topbrass navalists of that time who did not sport such misperception of the ToV and it regulations.
    • Paul Behnke, as he concentrated on what he rendered a much more important task that he cared for already before the war ended : internal discipline and true personnel leadership (what he rendered IOTL his main task that he passed on to Zenker and that in the end caused the VERY tight relations the Kriegsmarine developed between its personnel with familiarity and especially respect from down to top but much more important from top to down. Respect and an understanding of what the simple seaman or maschinist was doing was utterly trainind into the next generation of naval officers.)
    • and btw I like his personel coat of arms Behncke_.jpg

    • William Michaelis, as he was almost the first to learn about the attitude of the NIASCC as he had to negotiate the strange ideas of von Trotha, negotiate about the double-mounts, negotiate about the possible salvaging of instruments, compasses, speaking tubes, sanitary installations from the existing and to scrap ships ... which were all refused. He knew pretty early, that this state (ToV) would last along time being as harsh as one can think.
    He was also one lesser for spending not only money but also replacement 'space' for later, when it begins to count, than (almost) wasting this in rushed new contructions. He was the head behind the refurbishing of Amazone and Berlin as well as the begining of the overhaul of the Braunschweigs.
     
  6. NoMommsen Donor

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    Sooo as the Marineleitung ITTL seems to much better informed of what the future will bring (at least no change of ToV conditions within the next 5-10 years) ... why not placing all the testing goodies on some overhauled, with new bow and stern fitted small cruisers ? ... OFC the changes to the hullform ONLY nproving seaworthiness for not risking the poor sailors lifes :biggrin::angel: ... thereby increasing displacement 'just slightly' ... to somewhat about maybe 3700 ts std displacement ... ofc the almost broken down triple-expansion machine should also be replaced ... just for safety.

    EDIT :
    Pls don't forget all the stuff including the turbomachinery of maybe a dozen, possibly more unfinished Big Torpedoboats of the classes of 1916, 1916Mob and 1918Mob and the unfinished cruisers we were able to salvage ITTL (Chaper 19 C) ;).
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  7. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Regarding DP guns. The Germans are thinking ahead ITTL knowing their ships are for the future. The 5' or 6'' DP gun is an obvious choice, although they need to see if they can make it work. Hence the parallel development. They feel the 5'' should work. 4'' is not an option as they need to outrank the numerically superior foes.

    Regarding the 6'' AA gun, they did make it work as an AA gun and it was a good AA gun, perhaps a wee bit better than the 5'', but not worth the extra cost when you could just build more 5'' or 88's. Not so at sea and the 6'' punch in surface combat really means that the DP concept can be implemented without trade-off's

    Regarding the armor of the new cruiser: I am thinking a box around the magazine and an early attempt into structural steel as an inner splinter belt (placed at the sensble post-upgrade hight). No room for armor under the horrible ToV terms.

    I am trying to get an overview over how much they could reasonably salvage and sell or re-use.
    Teting new weaponry on existing ships is naturally a possibility.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 24: Economic hardship, racketeering and hope.

    Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Chapter 24: Economic hardship, racketeering and hope.

    The Conference of the ambassadors in Paris had provided the first chink in the armor from the The Interallied Military Commission of control. Germany were required to keep some reserve ships. The Reichsmarine now had the unofficial, but internally expressed goal of reaching the ToV limits in approximately 10 years time with a modern navy designed for upgrades, a shipbuilding industry ready for expansion and cutting edge technologies. The opportunity now emerged to even go beyond the ToV terms, but it would seem the economy were in such shambles that it would not be possible to even reach the ToV limits. In this chaos, the Reichsmarine focused its attention on funding the motortorpedoboote already building, technology development and on its own racketeering business with regards to rules and taxes. The Diesel prototypes coming out of Man needed testing on ships and the Marine saw no choice but to test them in commercially viable designs. Hence, the German navy, through a series of shadow companies became exporters of merchant ships and liners. To further increase profits, the German navy finished and sold ships that were on the slipways and used its access to trained personnel to provide training of foreign navy personnel and to sell them ships. In late 1921, 5 fruit transports and 3 diesel driven tankers were on the slipways to be driven by Diesel engines, three of those ships for Maersk and NDL which were designed with hard-points and could later be recovered. Unfortunately, while profits allowed research to continue and would now include a small water tank for testing of new ship hulls that could be constructed for an affiliate of NDL outside of the reach of the Interaalied Military Comission of Control, it was not enough to build large warships and the navy had to make do with the first series of 6 motortorpedoboote. The design of the follow-ons would be put in production in 1924 when real life at sea experience had been obtained with the first 6 ships of the class. Among the more radical concepts were almost exclusively welded hulls and use of high tensile structural steel in the majority of the upper hull. It would increase cost so trouble would surely present itself again.

    It was then that the rumors of an international conference on arms limitations spread like a wild-fire. Scheer could not believe their luck. If the rest of the world tied themselves to outdated slow hulls and glass-jawed Lexingtons, he knew exactly what they were up against. Maybe there really was a chance.

    Edit in black
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  9. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    The main mental difference here is that they are searching for round 2. When the restrictions are lifted, they need to be at the limit, designes and technology ready and the shipbuilding companies ready for expansion. Otherwise they have wasted time. Here they are seriously planning how to cheat without getting caught as soon as they can get the ressources.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 25: Washington Naval Agreement.

    Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Chapter 25: Washington Naval Agreement.

    Although many had hoped to see an invitation for a German delegation, it never materialized and the German admiralty had to await the conclusions. When they arrived, Scheer was ecstatic. 35000 tons limit, almost no tonnage left for Britain and new that orders had been cancelled at British shipyards. It was not to say what route the British would take for the remaining two ships they could build, but that aside, the Hood’s and the Lexington’s would be the most modern ships the new Reichsmarine would have to contend with. Here rumors had it that 2 of them would be completed as carriers so only four Lexingtons would be build. In fast capital ships the anglo-americans combined would have the 4 Hood’s, the 4 Lexington’s, Repulse and Renown. The new German capital ships needed to be able to beat these with impunity. That was off course easier said than done, but the sketches for a 42 cm, L55 gun he was looking at was designed specifically to beat the armor of the Hoods. The caliber had gone up to allow a fast ejection of heavier shells. With the new artillery shells, Hood (and for that matter most of the vintage WW1 battleships) would always be within either belt or deck penetration range. Leaving aside that Germany had not been a signatory to the Washington Naval Treaty, and hence were limited to 10000 tons, the technical problems now was that fitting a normal number of guns into a battleship of 35000 tons would take incredible progress in fuel storage, weight savings, engine power/weight output, fuel efficiency, and armor layout. The even bigger problem now was that the German economy was in shambles with inflation starting to run out of control. Soon, the largest German dry-docks wouldn't be able to hold the cash needed to pay for the ships inside them.

    When considering these obstacles tears came to the eyes of admiral Scheer. He dried them off and focused on the task at hand. Germany was getting a naval aviation shadow facility in Odessa. Work was indeed to be done and there was no sense in weeping about the obstacles years ahead.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  11. Eternity Well-Known Member

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    I think you meant "It never materialized"??
     
  12. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Yes, thank you, it has been corrected
     
  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 26: The Dawes plan implemented. Expansion begins.

    Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Chapter 26: The Dawes plan implemented. Expansion begins.

    When the Dawes plan was agreed and a loan of 200 million USD transferred to the German government, it was a boon to the German industry, and the struggling Reichsmarine. Nobody doubts that the conservative and center delivering on their promises to bring back control of the economy helped, but it was also believed that the social democrats speaking out against military expenditures cost them votes. Indeed, no sooner had the election results come in before Wilhelm Marx approved of the plan to lay down 2 light cruisers at 6000 tons and 4x1 150 mm guns. The cruisers would be laid down in 1925 and it was part of a wider expansion plan to further include auxiliary ships and minesweepers in 1926 and 1927, further light cruisers in 1927, and to commence with the construction of 10000 tons heavy cruisers in 1928.

    Ideally, this would allow the new Reichsmarine to achieve its full-allowed strength in the early thirties.

    The cruiser design had incorporated experiences from fast diesel powered merchant ships, and yards had retained experience from building the first of the motortorpedoboote. It would feature an internal splinter belt of structural steel of only 20 mm, and a lower armored deck of 50 mm. As it would be launched it weighed 6200 tons in dry weight (official calculations showed 6000), but it was designed and fitted to later installment of additional diesel engines, turbochargers on the diesel engines, an armored belt of no less than 150 mm and the installation of 4x2 150 mm turrets. In essence, in its final design, it was designed for reasonable long distance cruising, armed like a light cruiser and armored like a heavy cruiser. The final design would weigh in at 8676 tons standard and 12197 fully loaded. A real trouble maker. As it was, it was rated at 29 knots, but the planned turbocharged engines would take it to 33-34 knots if the design specifications were met. The beauty of the design was that with heavier engines, and turrets, plus only remitting armored belt along the waterline, the ship would be adequately balanced with and without the upgrades. In essence, the full complement of upgrades would be If not for the Interallied Military Comission of Control looking over their shoulders, the design would have been even more radical with a higher freeboard allowing a further 1000 tons of armor and arms to be added.

    It was sure to raise suspicion with the Interallied Military Commission of control, as they would no doubt suspect that the wide barbettes and absence of a belt armor allowed future updates, but on the pother hand, as uilt in its first version, it was not a particularly dangerous design. And the use of clumsy first generation diesels were justified to support the local shipbuilding industry. It did live up to any requirements, and even if imagined with a belt armor and 4x2 150 mm, the allies would hardly feel threatened. Further, the timing was right, the Dawes plan signalled a new phase of optimism, and the Interallied Military Commission of control would not be allowed to sour it without a formal breech.

    Edit in black
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  14. NoMommsen Donor

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    Very easy : simply forbade it.

    Until 1927 the NIACC had every right as well as the support of the Conference of the ambassadors in Paris to do exactly this as well as forbading to produce even parts for it.
     
  15. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Indeed, but they are only making single turrets, and they are not armoring the cruisers to go overweight.
    They could try (eg. Double turrets) as they did with Emden iotl and the consequence was single turrets.
     
  16. NoMommsen Donor

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    This sophistic pennypinching arguing you are depicting would simply not work.
    Pls read again what you have written :
    That was actually enough for them as well as the IACC to forbid whatever they wanted to forbid. ... as they did in numerous cases, but many of these things - from army side - were ... outsourced to i.e. Sweden [Heinkel and other planes ] or Russia [tanks and planes] or better hidden.

    But that you can't do with ships you wanna/have to officially operate. Ships are rather large thingies to 'hide'.
     
  17. NoMommsen Donor

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    Not really adressing my concerns, tbh. Craving for 'revanche' and returning to at least qualittive equality ASAP was post-war common mental property of essentially every naval officer starting at the Seekadetten-level (Sea-kadets, entrance rank).
    There's no difference between TTL and OTL here.
    And that led to the already desribed scenario : asking the Entente to
    • finishing shipd still on the slips
      • brusquely rejected by the Entente
    • rebuying surrendered cruisers from Italy and even France
      • almost brusquier rejected
    • and lastly the precipitate constructing of the Emden
    The rest of your explanation is pure hindsight, righteous hindsight, reasonable and sensible but hindsight ... and you deliver no reason at all why and how at least superhero-Scheer or lesser-superhero-Hipper shall come to these conclusions postwar ITTL.
     
  18. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    As I understand it the entire admiralty IOTL thought it a grave mistake to battle the Royal Navy In WW1, a mistake not to repeat. They wanted to fight France and Poland next time.
    ITTL they think they should have won, and the RN is the strategic adversary next time. That is quite a profound difference.
     
  19. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

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    Yes, but it’s hard to say that a 4x1 150 mm armed cruiser is to powerful. The fact is, still ittl it’s a puny navy, seemingly well within manageable constraints.
     
  20. NoMommsen Donor

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    The IACC under mainly french influence even forbade the use and production of gas masks.

    If they smell some fish - even if its only the cooked snails or frogs just eaten by themself - it's all they need to act against germans.

    They did not looked for sensible reasoning ... simply suppressing whatever whereever there is something german. Unfortunatly they weren't allowed to forbade bread knifes and potato forks ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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