WI: The Wegener thesis became the basis of the Kriegsmarine strategy in WW2?

There is another issue with the ‘small school’ approach. And that is Geography. Germany has great difficulty in getting to and from the Atlantic. It’s all very well for France with its Atlantic, Med main bases as well as basing in most Ocean's but Germany does not have this in 1933. For the most part they would have to plan to send this fleet through the GIUK gap just to get to the Atlantic. In OTL even with French ports giving them direct access to the Atlantic surface vessels and for much of the War Uboat’s could only raid. And then for every vessel on station, there would be another transiting to / or from and a 3rd training/refitting. The geography challenges of the Battle of the Atlantic as far as the Germans are concerned are massive. As it turned out, insurmountable. Particularly if a given vessel is damaged or experiences a mechanical issue. It’s a very long way home. And the chances of remaining undetected rapidly decrease as Allied AirPower improves and the useful application of radar and decryption techniques/technology improve (although those last 2 probably would be a consideration in 1933).
 
Ok, thank you everyone for all the information.
It is apparent that i did not consider many factors when I developed the MKG.
Its a real riddle in the sands

In order to win WW2 Germany among other things has to win the Battle of the Atlantic (and keep it won)

However the changes that were needed to accomplish this have to be done at a time that massively telegraphs Germany's intentions (and arguably at a time OTL when it wasn't actually an intention of Germany's - they actually would have preferred the UK to stay out of it for their long term aims) to fight and blockade the UK.
 
Its a real riddle in the sands

In order to win WW2 Germany among other things has to win the Battle of the Atlantic (and keep it won)

However the changes that were needed to accomplish this have to be done at a time that massively telegraphs Germany's intentions (and arguably at a time OTL when it wasn't actually an intention of Germany's - they actually would have preferred the UK to stay out of it for their long term aims) to fight and blockade the UK.
About winning that battle of the Atlantic...

1. Hovercraft. Difficult but can be done and are a cure for torpedoes.
2. Fast freighters are difficult but can be done. Also can be cure for torpedoes.
3. Conventional convoy. Just get smarter and faster earlier and Germany gets stomped as OTL just it starts from the very start of hostilities. This is an admiralty problem but OBVIOUSLY fixable as a policy issue. I mean the RN was slow off the mark on that one in 1939, it really was as bad as the USN during DRUMBEAT. Same reasons, escort shortage, lack of true planning, staff confusion, organizational chaos, and an admiralty overconfident in its estimate of the situation.

Inevitably the Germans lose as submarine tech is not there and the counters of air power will close the raider era quickly.
 
About winning that battle of the Atlantic...

1. Hovercraft. Difficult but can be done and are a cure for torpedoes.
2. Fast freighters are difficult but can be done. Also can be cure for torpedoes.
3. Conventional convoy. Just get smarter and faster earlier and Germany gets stomped as OTL just it starts from the very start of hostilities. This is an admiralty problem but OBVIOUSLY fixable as a policy issue. I mean the RN was slow off the mark on that one in 1939, it really was as bad as the USN during DRUMBEAT. Same reasons, escort shortage, lack of true planning, staff confusion, organizational chaos, and an admiralty overconfident in its estimate of the situation.

Inevitably the Germans lose as submarine tech is not there and the counters of air power will close the raider era quickly.
Hovercraft can't really cope with the winter Atlantic, and none has ever been built with the range to cross it, so that's a solution that can be crossed off your list. Fast freighters are fine, but needs a long lead time to have enough available in 1939 (and they're really not as economic as a slower freighter in peacetime, so that's unlikely).

As far as convoys go, it's hard to say that the RN was slow off the mark. The first convoy (albeit not an official one) sailed on the 2nd September, and the convoy system was implemented as a whole on the 7th, four days after the sinking of the Athenia, which the RN took as the start of unrestricted commerce warfare. Hunting groups were common, during the first two months of the war, but this wasn't because the RN viewed it as the best way to kill subs; instead it was to cover the ships that had been at sea when the convoy system was implemented, and thus were sailing independently. Once this had passed, hunting groups dispersed. The main problem with the British convoy system was not that it was slow to implement, it was that the RN had failed to predict that France (and, to a lesser extent, Norway) would fall. British planning focused on protection of coastal convoys, which would face the majority of the threat in a U-boat war when France was still allied - hence short-ranged escorts like the 'Flower's and 'Hunt's. This, combined with the need to retain destroyers on anti-invasion duties, meant that the RN had a dearth of long-range open-ocean escorts when France fell.
 
About winning that battle of the Atlantic...
I agree with 2 & 3 not sure what you want to do with 1......?

Not sure its really slow off the mark more just the FoF Oooo F**** moment when it all goes wrong and you cant use Geography to win for you.

The missing things I would add are more secure codes and more aircraft (anything but full fleet CVs please....)
 
Hovercraft can't really cope with the winter Atlantic, and none has ever been built with the range to cross it, so that's a solution that can be crossed off your list. Fast freighters are fine, but needs a long lead time to have enough available in 1939 (and they're really not as economic as a slower freighter in peacetime, so that's unlikely).

As far as convoys go, it's hard to say that the RN was slow off the mark. The first convoy (albeit not an official one) sailed on the 2nd September, and the convoy system was implemented as a whole on the 7th, four days after the sinking of the Athenia, which the RN took as the start of unrestricted commerce warfare. Hunting groups were common, during the first two months of the war, but this wasn't because the RN viewed it as the best way to kill subs; instead it was to cover the ships that had been at sea when the convoy system was implemented, and thus were sailing independently. Once this had passed, hunting groups dispersed. The main problem with the British convoy system was not that it was slow to implement, it was that the RN had failed to predict that France (and, to a lesser extent, Norway) would fall. British planning focused on protection of coastal convoys, which would face the majority of the threat in a U-boat war when France was still allied - hence short-ranged escorts like the 'Flower's and 'Hunt's. This, combined with the need to retain destroyers on anti-invasion duties, meant that the RN had a dearth of long-range open-ocean escorts when France fell.
1. I think the use of hover craft would be seen in the intercoastal traffic. That would be critical for the Americans, since MOST of the casualties (as opposed to British accounts which gets DRUMBEAT wrong.) is American shipping traffic from South America and American intercoastal traffic, NOT trans-atlantic routed stuff. The Americans really need that coastal kind of transport and it is less an effective British option for their own coastwise operations where air power negates it.
2. The RN got these things wrong.
a. Hunter Killer groups.;
b. Convoy control and traffic management. Absolute chaos for the first year at least resulting in unbelievable port jam ups, delayed shippings and incompetent cargo flow management.
c. Communications. This was such a crypto catastrophe, that it alone in my personal opinion accounts for 60% of Doenitz's early success.
d. Misunderstanding convoy mathematics. That is the most damning thing of 1939-1941.

3. As for the hunter killer group arguments? Later the USN tried this nonsense when there was enough air cover and escorts to go around, it turned out that it was more efficient to use convoys as "bait" to bring enemy subs to battle than to go roving for them. The RN admiralty, who had WW I experience to show this exact same thing happened TO THEM in 1917 before the USN discovered it in late 1943 should be triply damned for
e. not protecting what convoys they could by close escort with what they had.
f. risking their few fleet carriers as targets without understanding 2 at all.
g. not paying attention to in war immediate lessons learned when what they did at the start resulted in unexpected U-boat successes and RN disasters when e. and f. yielded numbers of merchantmen and flattops going down beyond what mathematical predictions showed should be the game theory loss results.
 
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1. I think the use of hover craft would be seen in the intercoastal traffic. That would be critical for the Americans, since MOST of the casualties (as opposed to British accounts which gets DRUMBEAT wrong.) is American shipping traffic from South America and American intercoastal traffic, NOT trans-atlantic routed stuff. The Americans really need that coastal kind of transport and it is less an effective British option for their own coastwise operations where air power negates it.
Hovercraft are no good for this either. Most coastal shipping is, and was, heavy, bulky goods that were not time-sensitive - coal and oil in particular. Hovercraft, which burn a lot more fuel and carry a lot less cargo, but carry it much faster, are hugely inefficient for carrying those sorts of goods. The correct solution was to establish convoys along the intercoastal routes. Even poorly (or even unescorted) convoys were much less likely to encounter a hunting U-boat than a constant stream of independent sailers.

2. The RN got these things wrong.
a. Hunter Killer groups.;
b. Convoy control and traffic management. Absolute chaos for the first year at least resulting in unbelievable port jam ups, delayed shippings and incompetent cargo flow management.
c. Communications. This was such a crypto catastrophe, that it alone in my personal opinion accounts for 60% of Doenitz's early success.
d. Misunderstanding convoy mathematics. That is the most damning thing of 1939-1941.
Going through your points step-by-step:

a) There were two distinct phases to the British use of hunter-killer groups. The first, and the most often criticised, were the use of offensive patrols in the first few months of the war. This was always intended as a temporary measure, to cover the arrivals of independents that had departed before the establishment of the convoy system. Once the first two months of the war were over, the hunting groups were mostly disbanded. During these months, they sank three U-boats (one of which was in the defence of Ark Royal). Meanwhile, there were only five losses to ships in convoy. Most of the losses suffered in this period were suffered by independents, and there was no easy way to protect them bar hunting. The second phase of hunting was in 1943 and later. This involved the use of hunting groups, supported by escort carriers and keyed in by Ultra decrypts, on offensive patrols against U-tankers and U-boats in transit in the Bay of Biscay. Support groups, meanwhile, were used on distant offensive patrols in the Mid-Atlantic, and could be detached to add to the escorts of beleagured convoys. Attacks around convoys may have killed more total U-boats, but the hunting groups were instrumental in breaking the U-boat force as a whole.

b) This was mostly the fault of German action, rather than RN incompetence. The German mine offensive in 1939 led to major delays and jams in British harbours, until countermeasures could be put into place. Similarly, in 1940, the Fall of France (and Norway), made moving trans-Atlantic shipping through the Channel and down Britain's east coast much more dangerous, due to the risk of air attack. This essentially closed London and Southampton to overseas shipping, and made it more challenging to use less threatened ports like Leith and Hull. By doing so, it ruined the RN's careful planning. Redoing everything from railway schedules to the allocations of longshoremen and stevedores led to the confusion. There's certainly an argument that the RN should have forseen the German use of mines, but the Fall of France was fundamentally unforseeable.

c) The RN should absolutely be criticised for the failures of its coding systems. The choice to use the less-secure book codes made sense; Britain could not produce enough Typex machines, nor enough trained Typex operators, to equip the vast numbers of British merchants. Even so, they should have been changed more often. That said, codebreaking was more important in 1942-3 than in 1939-40, as the Germans could not read Naval Cipher 1 messages in real-time, while they saw much more success with Naval Cipher 3.

d) There was no misunderstanding of convoy mathematics. The typical British convoy in 1918 had 30-40 merchants protected by 1-2 escorts. The typical convoy in 1939 looked much the same. While Rollo Appleyard did, in 1918, produce a mathematical argument for larger convoys, this was far from conclusive, and relied on a number of assumptions. Blackett's argument, which put the topic to sleep, was based on statistical analysis of convoy actions in 1942, and was much more conclusive.

3. As for the hunter killer group arguments? Later the USN tried this nonsense when there was enough air cover and escorts to go around, it turned out that it was more efficient to use convoys as "bait" to bring enemy subs to battle than to go roving for them. The RN admiralty, who had WW I experience to show this exact same thing happened TO THEM in 1917 before the USN discovered it in late 1943 should be triply damned for
e. not protecting what convoys they could by close escort with what they had.
f. risking their few fleet carriers as targets without understanding 2 at all.
g. not paying attention to in war immediate lessons learned when what they did at the start resulted in unexpected U-boat successes and RN disasters when e. and f. yielded numbers of merchantmen and flattops going down beyond what mathematical predictions showed should be the game theory loss results.
The hunting groups in 1943 were more effective than you suggest. In June-August 1943, the USN's hunter-killer CVE groups sank 15 U-boats. RN hunter groups in the Bay of Biscay, meanwhile, added three more, plus one shared with RAF aircraft. The RN's tally represented ~20% of the total sunk by surface ships in the period, while the USN's tally was a little under a quarter of those scored by aircraft. The Black Swan class sloops, typically deployed on hunting operations, scored a total of 28 kills, more than any single class of ship bar the 'Flower's, impressive considering there were only 37 Black Swans (six of which served mainly in the Indian Ocean), compared to 294 'Flower's.

e) As noted above, the initial hunting groups were only set up as a temporary measure, to cover the transit of independent sailers which could not be protected any other way. They were only intended to be in place for the first two months of the war. No ships were sunk in convoy in September 1939, and only five in October 1939. Meanwhile, 44 independent sailers were sunk by U-boat torpedoes in September 1939, and 22 in October. Adding more escorts to the convoys would have prevented none of these sinkings. In this time-frame, ships on hunting patrols sank three U-boats, plus a fourth while covering a straggler from a convoy. Even after the end of the hunting groups, the main source of losses in the early period were still independent sailers, with only 9 ships being sunk in convoys between the start of October 1939 and the Fall of France.

f) The RN was well aware that these operations was a risk, but judged it one that it was willing to take. It was well aware that aircraft greatly extended the reach and effectiveness of anti-submarine operations. The independent sailers had to be covered until convoys could be formed, and hunting groups were the only way to do this. Putting carriers into the hunting groups would make them much more effective. Unfortunately, the RN did not have effective air ASW weaponry (and to a lesser extent, sensors) at the time. This meant that destroyers had to be detached from the carrier screen to hunt down submarine contacts. This left Courageous vulnerable. Ark Royal was similarly vulnerable because her destroyer screen was similarly too weak to be effective. Strengthening the hunting groups in the period when convoy was being set up might well have been more effective.

g) There were no immediate, unexpected successes, barring the loss of Royal Oak. It wasn't until June-July 1940, after the Fall of France, that the mid-Atlantic convoys started to take heavy casualties. Courageous' loss was understood as being the result of taking a necessary risk, while losses in 1939 and the first half of 1940 were manageable.
 
How do you think formations like this will impact the Kriegsmarine's performance during WW2?
Badly. The KM cannot, under any circumstances, challenge the RN on anything even approaching surface engagements. They might manage small successes, but will be doomed to be hunted down and annihilated.

Now you might argue that happened with the sub fleet anyway. And you’d be right. But here it would happen faster and require more resources to get working. That means less tanks, planes, artillery, and whatever else can be used on land forces. Which means the Fall of France might not happen, it wasn’t a sure thing by any stretch. And if France doesn’t fall its all moot anyway.
 
Not denying that, but I feel like if the Kriegsmarine decided to get them they would become what the Me 163 was to the Luftwaffe.
A massive white elephant.
Well in this scenario it would be the US acquiring them. While mistyping I suddenly had a vision of hundreds of these contraptions being build as a work-project, helping get the US out of the depression. Hoovercraft: floating the nation towards prosperity!
 
Badly. The KM cannot, under any circumstances, challenge the RN on anything even approaching surface engagements. They might manage small successes, but will be doomed to be hunted down and annihilated.

Now you might argue that happened with the sub fleet anyway. And you’d be right. But here it would happen faster and require more resources to get working. That means less tanks, planes, artillery, and whatever else can be used on land forces. Which means the Fall of France might not happen, it wasn’t a sure thing by any stretch. And if France doesn’t fall its all moot anyway.
The battle between the 3 RN cruisers and the Graf Spee only ended in a UK victory because the Ar 196 on the Graf Spee was broken and Langedorff didn't know what he was facing.
Had he known what he was up against, he would have used the Graf Spee's gun range and destroyed at least 1 cruiser.
OTL, German optical sights were really good.
And there's the OTL Battle of Sept-Iles in 1943. Complete Kriegsmarine victory.
 
Well in this scenario it would be the US acquiring them. While mistyping I suddenly had a vision of hundreds of these contraptions being build as a work-project, helping get the US out of the depression. Hoovercraft: floating the nation towards prosperity!
Sounds interesting.
 
The battle between the 3 RN cruisers and the Graf Spee only ended in a UK victory because the Ar 196 on the Graf Spee was broken and Langedorff didn't know what he was facing.
Had he known what he was up against, he would have used the Graf Spee's gun range and destroyed at least 1 cruiser.
OTL, German optical sights were really good.
That choice would be Harwoods to make not Langsdorff

Graf Spee was 4-6 knots slower than the British Crusiers

The British only have to mission kill him even at the loss of all 3 cruisers - that's their job - the whole reason they exist

And there's the OTL Battle of Sept-Iles in 1943. Complete Kriegsmarine victory.
One Swallow doesn't make a summer - and the British stopped Münsterland from achieving its mission - so a tactical Victory but they failed what they set out to do!

And the next day the RAF kicked the shit out of her and the other ships in the port in a very hairy Zero Feet attack by Whirlwinds and Tiffys (which probably explains why she didn't make another attempt until late Jan 1944.

Münsterland would later make another attempt and be crippled by the Guns at Dover and forced to run aground and was destroyed.

Its that Geography thing again.
 
The battle between the 3 RN cruisers and the Graf Spee only ended in a UK victory because the Ar 196 on the Graf Spee was broken and Langedorff didn't know what he was facing.
Had he known what he was up against, he would have used the Graf Spee's gun range and destroyed at least 1 cruiser.
OTL, German optical sights were really good.
And there's the OTL Battle of Sept-Iles in 1943. Complete Kriegsmarine victory.
Yes I allowed for small engagements ending in victory for the Germans. But skirmishes don’t win wars like WWII. Attrition means the British can take higher losses in an individual battle and still come out ahead.

And as the war goes on this shifts against the Germans ever more decisively.

Add in the US Navy and this disparity grows to even more massive highs.
 
The battle between the 3 RN cruisers and the Graf Spee only ended in a UK victory because the Ar 196 on the Graf Spee was broken and Langedorff didn't know what he was facing.
Had he known what he was up against, he would have used the Graf Spee's gun range and destroyed at least 1 cruiser.
We are still talking about a single 14kt 11" ship v a 8.5kt (the weakest 8" RN cruiser built) and 2x 7.2kt ships 6" (14 v 22.9) losing a RN ship would not be terible for then so long as GS cant lose the pursuit untill a larger hunting group arrives, or she takes damage that stops her getting home from even a few hits. Long range fire will use up her shells fast with no ability to resupply as well and the RN cruisers could just lay smoke and zigzag if out of range to make hits unlikely.
 
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Disrupting the flow of supplies into England was the objective. Just enough that the population would reject the governments call to war and allow Germany free rein on the continent. That was Germany's objective, not defeating GB.

There were many 'weapons available to do this, and the Germans used them, but I contend not in a proper way. If they had used Raiders, U-boats, mines and aircraft all at once they might have achieved the necessary disruption over the two or three month period it would have taken to bring England to it's knees. The problem was they kind of piece-mealed them which allowed GB to react and parry each threat individually. Here's how I would have done it;
  1. Developed a raider squadron (like you suggest) but one pocket battle ship and 1 or 2 light cruisers to function as a raider group.
    • all units have 30kt top speed with an 16-18kt cruising speed
    • all units have a 10,000 NM range
    • group has minimum 10 float planes for scouting (This is key as it gives the group an extended range. they would be able to maintain 2 or 3 plane patrol)
    • had at least 3 of these groups ready
  2. had at least 60 operational ocean going u-boats ready
  3. had at least 6 merchant raiders ready
  4. Not deployed any assets until May 1940
The worlds merchant fleet had contracted in 1939 significantly from 1918, so the effects of sinking a ship in 1940 were more impactful then in 1918. That said the flow of freight into GB was at a higher volume in 1939 then in 1918. So the thought was that if you cut the flow by 40% for 3 to 4 months you would effectively starve GB into surrender. A key point is that you don't necessarily have to sink a ship to reduce that flow. By going to the convoy system the effect was about a 15% cut in flow. This was due to ships having to wait for convoys to form up and then waiting to unload at the other end. Many things I've read say this basically cut about 2 months out of a ships sailing time which reduce the yearly number of trips from 6 to 5. That means the KM only had to achieve about a 25% blockage for 3 to 4 months.

Other then the Atomic bomb I think the magnetic mine was probably the most effective secrete weapon used in WWII. Had Reader used all his assets starting at one point in time I think he would have been able to overwhelm GB for just enough to bring them to the peace table.
 
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