WI Better Kriegsmarine in WW2

Doenitz maintained after the war that if the resources used to build the Bismark and other capital ships had been invested instead in U boats, that he would have been able to bring Britain to its knees in 1940. He reckoned that he needed 200. If the Germans had focussed exclusively on U boats then maybe they could have achieved this target without affecting their production quotas for the Kriegsmarine and the Heer.
I believe there was a thread on this topic not too long ago. One big obstacle is that the UK would certainly notice Germany building hundreds of U boats and modified their naval development to counter. A bigger obstacle is the fact that Germany just did not have the resources to build that many submarines in the first place.
 

Garrison

Donor
Doenitz maintained after the war that if the resources used to build the Bismark and other capital ships had been invested instead in U boats, that he would have been able to bring Britain to its knees in 1940. He reckoned that he needed 200. If the Germans had focussed exclusively on U boats then maybe they could have achieved this target without affecting their production quotas for the Kriegsmarine and the Heer.
Except Doenitz stated that even with 300 U-Boats it would take 18 months to cut off British maritime trade and another 6 to starve them out. Not to mention he is ignoring the fact that it takes more than just the steel from those warships to build U-Boats. And if you don't have those surface ships as a fleet in being the Royal Navy can direct more resources to convoy escorts. Doentiz's plan is just another example of German officers claiming after the war that if only they had been in charge they would definitely have won. And also if there's no surface ships they aren't taking Norway, which means their steel situation gets a lot worse.
 
Plus Dönitz was unable until way into 40 to deal with the torpedo crisis. 200 subs do not help you if the torp does not make boom hitting a ship but klank.
 
I visited the US sub in Philadelphia docked next to the OLYMPIA. She's fairly empty (not loaded up for a patrol), tied up, there's two guides (one at each end) and just myself and my ship's First Mate on board (I served on a small EPA ship back in the mid 80's). And I got bad claustrophobia, if the sub had attempted to dive I would be out of there faster than you could have snapped your fingers...
 
The problem will always be Geographic in that Germany has 3 routes to reach the Atlantic

The Channel - that's a no no as it is too easily covered by Light forces in the UK and France - unless France was not in the war or something unlikely?
There was at least 300 armed vessels of the Coastal forces in the Channel region - possibly more (the force had 900 vessels at this time)

It was not just a few dozen MTBs - it was also mine sweepers, HMTs (His Majesties Trawlers), armed vessels of all types - and this littoral force alone would likely overwhelm the landing force and its limited escorts.

JFYI
Was exploring that quote of 300, wanting a breakdown of vessels, type and armament, found this....


RUSI
COMMENTARY
The Battle of Britain: The Naval Perspective
20 October 2006
The Whale and the Elephant
by Andrew Gordon

.....But in case – as was likely – the Germans waited until after dark before commencing their 12-hour[2] toil across to England, the Royal Navy had a pool of 700 armed patrol craft (requisitioned motor yachts and trawlers) of whom around 200 were on picket duty “off the north coast of France”[3] every night. So, owing to either the air.....

[3] WORDS OF THE GERMAN NAVY WAR DIARY (FUEHRER CONFERENCES ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, 1939-45 (NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS, 1990) P.139).

Strange, use enemy intelligence estimate for a RN historian, instead of reliable primary source.
Anyway, I looked it up..
Not a word about 200 patrol craft, only "stationing of his patrol vessels off the north coast of France". 30 odd destroyers, but nothing about true number.
Maybe page number wrong.
No nothing in chapter, and next chapter

And found similar for other quotes.

20211010_224130.jpg
 
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The Admiralty had ordered the assembly of a vast number of minor patrol craft to supplement the regular naval forces on anti-invasion watch. Like the ramshackle but keen amateur Home Guard units ashore, the net was spread far and wide and, in many cases, the ships selected for active service were considered by those who had to use them to be more of a menace to themselves and everyone else who had the misfortune to come into contact with them, than to the enemy! Typical of this type of well-meaning but useless endeavour was a collection of twelve small motor yachts destined for inshore anti-invasion patrol, which sailed from Newhaven, five bound for Dover and seven for Ramsgate, on 19 June.

As the official account dryly reported:

The expedition was not a very great success, as one boat caught fire and sank before reaching Beachy Head, two others then returning to Newhaven with her crew. The remainder also turned back for Newhaven not long after passing Beachy Head owing to stress of weather and engine troubles.

Little wonder then, that the Admiralty preferred to put their trust in the regular warships built for the job. But the watch on the E-boats based at Boulogne failed to prevent them scoring several small victories in the period.

Excerpt From: "Naval Warfare in the English Channel, 1939–1945" by Peter C. Smith. Scribd.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Read this book on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/445185021
 
JFYI
Was exploring that quote of 300, wanting a breakdown of vessels, type and armament, found this....


RUSI
COMMENTARY
The Battle of Britain: The Naval Perspective
20 October 2006
The Whale and the Elephant
by Andrew Gordon

.....But in case – as was likely – the Germans waited until after dark before commencing their 12-hour[2] toil across to England, the Royal Navy had a pool of 700 armed patrol craft (requisitioned motor yachts and trawlers) of whom around 200 were on picket duty “off the north coast of France”[3] every night. So, owing to either the air.....

[3] WORDS OF THE GERMAN NAVY WAR DIARY (FUEHRER CONFERENCES ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, 1939-45 (NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS, 1990) P.139).

Strange, use enemy intelligence estimate for a RN historian, instead of reliable primary source.
Anyway, I looked it up..
Not a word about 200 patrol craft, only "stationing of his patrol vessels off the north coast of France". 30 odd destroyers, but nothing about true number.
Maybe page number wrong.
No nothing in chapter, and next chapter

And found similar for other quotes.

View attachment 686304

Easy to check. British sources.

I do not agree with Andrew Gordon's central thesis, that the Germans were stopped solely or mainly by the Royal Navy. What the enemy believes is what drives his decision making. Beaten in the air is what made the Germans (Hitler) quit during the Battle of Britian.
 
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Doenitz maintained after the war that if the resources used to build the Bismark and other capital ships had been invested instead in U boats, that he would have been able to bring Britain to its knees in 1940. He reckoned that he needed 200. If the Germans had focussed exclusively on U boats then maybe they could have achieved this target without affecting their production quotas for the Kriegsmarine and the Heer.
With no surface Navy, the Nazis don't gain Norway as a base, guaranteed. With building nothing but U-Boats, relations are far worse with the UK, leading to
a larger BEF, that means less chance of France Falling the way that did, so no Atlantic bases, either.
 
Relying on the interwebs for data on Coastal forces is difficult but there is an actual list that exists

ADM208/3-The Red List (Minor War Vessels in Home Waters as of 4pm 15/09/1940)

I don't have it but Andy H on the Axis History Forum made a few lists up based on it

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=116006

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=115758

Which is far more relevant to the discussion than a single example of a failed op in very bad weather 2 odd months before the period where an invasion could realistically go ahead (Sept).
 
I would add that a Coastal Forces Museum has recently opened in Gosport which I will try to visit soon

That might have more knowledge of the use of coastal forces during this time.

But if any nation was going to place and capable of placing 100s of armed auxiliary vessels into its coastal waters and manning them with sailors who knew how to operate them very quickly it would be the UK!

Nothing they were doing during this period was any different to what they were doing during the Napoleonic wars with the exception that the tech had changed.
 
Relying on the interwebs for data on Coastal forces is difficult but there is an actual list that exists

ADM208/3-The Red List (Minor War Vessels in Home Waters as of 4pm 15/09/1940)

I don't have it but Andy H on the Axis History Forum made a few lists up based on it

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=116006

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=115758

Which is far more relevant to the discussion than a single example of a failed op in very bad weather 2 odd months before the period where an invasion could realistically go ahead (Sept).
Thanks. Very helpful 👍

Just for context...?

Noted under the RN history a while ago (site posted by McPherson), under mine operations, that only destroyers and fast minelayers used near France. Slower mine trawlers were keep closer to home.

The long list includes a lot of vessels that would not leave harbours? (Boom vessel. Balloon drifter, tug, echo sounder, etc. And includes many MT that were very busy sweeping.

Eg. Just picked first MT on list
HMT Stella Orion (Skr. W.J. Barlow, RNR) was mined and sunk in the Thames estuary on 11 November 1940.

Really wander how many were out and how far?



1940
Dover Barrage - The minefield west of Folkestone was completed but further work was delayed when HAMPTON refitted in February and the proposed minefield extending to Vame Ridge was cancelled after the German attack on France and the Low Countries. HAMPTON was transferred for War Office service in July but the availability of a French and a Dutch minelayer allowed the swept channel available for Belgian and Dutch shipping to be mined after the Dunkirk evacuation. Anti-invasion fields in Dover Straits were laid by destroyers as their higher speed and better AA armament made them more suitable. When work finished on the Dover Barrage 9897 mines had been laid.



Heligoland Bight
- Only three more fields were completed in the Ems estuary due to weather and defects and in March the destroyers were redeployed on other duties. The occupation of western Europe made necessary the provision of defensive fields (CBX Series) to protect naval forces operating off the Dutch, Belgian and French coasts, and as an anti- invasion measure. Following reports of German surface ships being deployed in the North Sea in May, further minelaying was carried out by destroyers. The first of these operations was successful but the next carried out in August was a total disaster. The ships engaged ran into an enemy minefield and ESK and IVANHOE were sunk with EXPRESS sustaining major damage.
.
 
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With no surface Navy, the Nazis don't gain Norway as a base, guaranteed. With building nothing but U-Boats, relations are far worse with the UK, leading to
a larger BEF, that means less chance of France Falling the way that did, so no Atlantic bases, either.
University of Montana
ScholarWorks at University of Montana
Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, &
Professional Papers Graduate School 1967

Naval planning for the German invasion planning for the German invasion of Norway
Henry Oldenburg



Consequently, possession of Norway's 1,700 mile long coastline^ by the Third Reich would outflank British maritime defenses, parry the establishment of minefields and a blockade line from the Shetland Islands to Bergen, and free German naval forces and merchant marine from the danger of containment in a "land-locked" North Sea. Contrarily, a German occupation of Norway would produce a strong British counteraction and necessitate the defense of the long Norwegian coastline against superior British naval power. The maintenance of strict neutrality by Norway, however, would provide the surest protection for German shipping threading its way through Norwegian territorial waters of the Indreled. An Allied occupation of Norway, on the other hand, could not be countenanced because it would disrupt German naval warfare, influence Sweden and thus endanger the German position in the Baltic Sea, and lead to the interdiction of Swedish iron ore shipments from the Norwegian port of Narvik.

The nexus of German interest in Norway, in point of fact, was this transshipment of high-grade, low phosphoric iron ore from the mines at Kiruna and Gflllivare in the Swedish province of Norbotten by rail to the ice-free port of Narvik and thence south by ship down the "Iron Road" through the Inner Leads to the Skagerrak and Germany. As early as 1934 Adolf Hitler acknowledged the significance of the ore shipments. In a conversation with
the Commander in Chief of the German Navy Erich Raeder and Reich Marshal Hemann Goering, when the Grand Admiral was seeking additional funds for naval construction. Hitler said that "he considered it vital that the Navy be increased as planned, as no war could be carried on if the Navy was not able to safeguard the ore imports from Scandinavia."
 
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