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

first they need working torpedoes! https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1599&context=etd
Disrupting the flow of supplies into England was the objective.

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.

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
would add to the weapons above a guided bomb and the butterfly bombs, mines in a harbor and butterfly bombs on the docks would have really stalled their shipping? my speculation is always for a larger S-boat that could deploy mines, historically they could only carry about 6, the immediate post-war version could carry 20.

not laying out a fleet except to say they should have limited themselves to 11" guns, and mean for ships, rail guns, and coastal batteries
 
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.
The fact that 3 small Treaty Cruisers were able to successfully engage the Graf Spee is proof that she was an overrated ship. Pocket Battleship? Any capital unit of any of the major navies were far superior. Later in the war the Germans rerated them as Heavy Cruisers. Even a Treaty American Heavy Cruiser like the Northampton would have a fair, to good chance of defeating Graf Spee in a single ship action. Extra Heavy 8" Shells would penetrate the thickest armor on Graf Spee. A Brooklyn Class CL would have a good chance of crippling her, with a hailstorm of 6" Shells. The Deutschland Class had hard hitting 11" guns, but with a low rate of fire, and her armor protection was inadequate vs. 6"AP shells.

Your point about the spotter plane is well taken. She would have tried to avoid the British Warships. She tried, but failed to destroy Exeter. The CL's drew her off, and inflicted damage on Graf Spee. Their superior speed enabled the cruisers to disengage, and shadow Graf Spee. Once they made contact it would have been hard to shake them. Eventually more RN Ships will join the cruisers, and finish her off. Her only chance would be to try to brake contact at night. Having to enter a port for repairs doomed her.
 
It seems like yet another futile reach for a war-winning strategy for the Axis. OTL the Allies were indeed caught nearly flat-footed (except for the fact that Britain and USA both stuck to maintaining gigantic navies in the interwar years, Depression be damned--the navies went on short rations early in the '30s, but they were not pared back; Britain absolutely leaned on having the greatest navy in the world for her identity, and the USA had long desired to match it and could afford to. But across the board, as a general thing, the Western powers responded to the Depression, and the European Entente powers before that to the general debt and devastation of the Great War, with very desultory military development. As I understand it, official British policy was "no major war for the next ten years" and they kept moving the base date for that decade countdown forward all through the '20s and into the '30s.

It has been argued by others here that if the Germans will not play along and placate the British by adopting the treaty that as noted diverts German naval efforts in the direction the RN thinks it can win against, the Admiralty will be scared and lean on the Government to do whatever it takes to authorize a buildup. You say, nah, they don't have the money and the Dominions want out. Well, gosh, the worst case is that the Government says no to the Admiralty and leaves RAF and Army on short rations too--just as OTL.

And then Hitler starts his war, after the British and French buy themselves a year of frantic preparations in the wake of the Czechoslovakia crisis--and the Rhineland crisis was hardly the last moment that British factions who were complacent OTL could tip the balance for effective action against the Reich; I do think as late as 1938, the "Entente" of Britain and France could break Hitler. Not easily, perhaps. But Czech forces alone would be a major road block for the still fledgling and green Wehrmacht, whose equipment was far more primitive in summer '38 than it was a year later, whose trained recruits were far fewer, which had only the war experience, in recent years, of the Spanish Civil War which I would have to look up, but was I think still ongoing during the Czech crisis (though I suppose by then the Republicans were on the ropes). OTL the Germans sent over to aid Franco had plenty of time to return home and assist in training up new recruits, with a war over Czechoslovakia instead, they haven't had this time. Meanwhile the French and British forces include men who have had recent fighting experience, not just in the SCW (French, not so many British) but mainly in their colonies, suppressing this that and the other rebellion. As for the Czechs, they are fighting for their lives, with a considerable munitions industry and quite a substantial trained force with pretty modern kit. This is without bringing the USSR into it, which is admittedly very hard to do anyway--the Soviets could at least make a token attempt to challenge the Kriegsmarine on the Baltic; fighting alone they cannot hope for much glory that way, but the RN can pin down the Germans on the North Sea and perhaps come in through the Danish/Swedish straits; I believe that the Danes allowing this is not even a violation of their neutrality, since Denmark had been strongarmed ages before into saying the straits were international waters in fact.

I wouldn't look to the Soviets actually being able to do anything nor to a Baltic campaign actually. It isn't necessary either. France had a huge military machine. In 1938, it would have taken time to get it mobilized, and they might have been much discomfited at how effective German weaponry and doctrine, considerably modernized, might have been against their more backward forces--but those forces were massive, and in their numbers they could hold long enough to do some modernization of their own on the fly.

You think these German naval raider groups could win the Battle of the Atlantic? I can't comment on that, much, except to say that if you could make the case for 2 or three hundred of these raider groups, or even two or three dozen, I might have my doubts about the RN managing alone against them...but you say "2 or 3!" With numbers like that--perhaps if these groups are even feasible, they can do some damage to British commerce, but they cannot stop it, and the RN is focusing all its force on sweeping them from the seas. France has not fallen, German access to the open sea is very limited, to stop the RN from coming into the Baltic Hitler must divert force to conquering Denmark--if Germans control the shores they can interdict the RN from coming in, but they have to either get Denmark to join them as allies, or conquer the place. No doubt even in 1938 the Reich can conquer Denmark...

But you mentioned part of Wegener's "thesis" was that Norway was key to success too. But what the heck does that mean? Did Wegener think Norway, as a nation, would voluntarily ally with Germany under any rule whatsoever, or is he merely saying that Germany should conquer Norway and as OTL, use it as a base to strike at British shipping from?

If the Norwegians could be imagined by anyone smoking enough dope to consider allying with Germany freely--why? For Teh Evul Lulz?--a German invasion of Denmark would be precisely the thing to put the kibosh on that and turn Norway to British alliance immediately.

If no one messes with Danish appearance of neutrality and sends no ships through the Danish straits, all German ability to project your sea task forces against the RN funnel through German North Sea ports and the Kiel Canal. The RN just sits, cat to German mouse, in concentrated force there and mauls these units as they try to sally out, then converges to tightly blockade the German accesses to the Atlantic. Meanwhile French and British expeditionary forces muster on the Franco-German border and after a half year or full year of dithering, invade.

Have the Germans conquered Czechoslovakia in the meantime? Probably, if the Czechs can get no relief from either the Soviets or the Entente, I suppose after such a long siege they will have fallen, and Germany gets the benefit of Czech assets--sort of. Unlike OTL, where they captured the lot of them wholesale and had a year to integrate them into their forces and incorporate Czech arms works into the Reich's plans, here, they'd be fighting their way in against considerable resistance that will use up all the Czech assets and wreck the factories, and they won't be in working order for months or longer, while the Entente forces finally muster up to invade in the west at long last.

And then it is game over for the Reich.

Now all that is perhaps wishful thinking, that the Allies would go to the mat for Czechoslovakia when there is no way to actually save that nation from being crushed--eventually. But they did for Poland OTL a year later.

If the Entente had moved on Hitler back during the Rhineland crisis, it would be even easier. You say "the Commonwealth won't help," and maybe not, though OTL the entire Commonwealth did rally to Britain in 1939. But during the Rhineland crisis, the Germans have essentially nothing. France alone can manage quite handily to defeat the pathetic German forces.

The problem for the Entente then would be like the real problem with invading Iraq for Bush Jr in 2003; it is easy to defeat the ostensible army of the state foe and put up a big Mission Accomplished banner. What is hard is then ruling the conquered territory! Germany fell to Hitler because Germany's ruling classes did not see any other way to keep order that would seem safe for them. Defeating the ostensible army does little to change the basic dilemmas of German governance. Now it should have been possible for an invading French force to call upon the League of Nations to legitimize the invasion as a vital police action, with Germany in blatant violation of treaty rules and the League's principles as well. And indeed among the Germans, it should be possible to find lots of people who can be associated with post-Nazi rule, starting with freeing a bunch of people from concentration camps. (Hitler might order them all killed perhaps. But that would further enrage their friends, kin and political comrades, so that might backfire even worse on the Nazis).

So indeed there were reasons the French, and British, quailed at stopping Hitler when it was relatively doable, in the earlier '30s.

But you are dismissing the idea that an Admiralty that fears German naval plans can persuade a mid-30s British government to back and encourage the French to invade, and take on the task of ousting the Nazis and putting in a German government that will back off from threatening the European order. The thing is, in the mid '30s they don't need all the assets you are saying they will not have, to defeat the fledgeling German forces in detail.

But say you are right, and the Admiralty is ignored on the grounds of austerity and lack of will.

That's OTL!

And the Allies won anyway. The Big Three that dominated the war's end, USA, USSR, and UK, all had strategic depth and logistic deep pockets.

You aren't going to enable Hitler to win with some wunderwaffen, or a clever plan to sink more commerce ships. UK, USSR and USA, once brought into the war, are in it for the long haul, and they can endure longer and build to counter any deficiencies in their arsenal coming into the war, and win it in the long run.
 
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.
And that is the mistake all the fascist powers made in this war. They assumed that the liberal democracies, and the Soviet Union, were politically fragile. This was their cynical ideology of force prevailing blinding themselves.

If indeed it is possible to literally starve Britain, that is defeating Great Britain. But would Britain literally starve?

I think not; I think it was demonstrated OTL that between rationing and growing more food in Britain itself, body and soul could be kept together even with considerably greater shipping losses than OTL.

Would Britain have been unable to continue industrial production and thus, faced with inevitably dwindling stocks of munitions for her ships and planes, forced to surrender that way?

I don't think you can show that any possible configuration of land and sea forces the Reich could muster could accomplish that either.

No, your thesis seems to be "the Nazis running the Reich think that the British have no fighting souls and are governed by mobs concerned with their comfort and immediate safety, and therefore will cave in to gross inconvenience." They did not do so OTL, they got angry and dug in. That surprised the Nazis, and it surprised the Japanese militarists too.

And to be fair, everyone who supported the idea of strategic bombing, be they Italian, French, British or American, all argued similarly that civilians under terror bombing would be so deranged and demoralized they would "demand surrender." This never happened! Everyone was willing to believe the other guy would cave in but when confronted with terror bombing themselves, grimly dug in and hung on.

One just cannot surrender to bombs, and unless you can show that German blockade of British commerce would be so effective as to amount to literal starvation and literal stopping of their factories, which is literal defeat, the argument the British would surrender because they were inconvenienced is not convincing at all.
 
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.
Obviously I mean this:

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Most US WW II intercoastal traffic is port to port about 1,000 nm or less. You pack the stuff in trucks, drive on and drive off. The Caribbean tanker and banana boat routes are where the bulk liquid and dry cargo tramp freighting is. The cross Atlantic traffic was not that much Drumbeat impaired.

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.
Different interpretation of that history.

The late 1943 and 1944 HK groups were mainly USN. British decrypts of KM Enigma were not very reliable and actionable until around March 1943. Prior to that it was RDF and radio traffic analysis.

I'm not going to quibble about independents being slaughtered; except to say NOBODY and I mean NOBODY handled that right in 1939. Lesson learned was to get everyone into port and holed up until escort could be arranged. Post-war this is a NATO lesson learned. Airpower was the key to Bay of Biscay and RAF Coastal Command screwed that one up until 1943. HK groups properly employed in the mid-Atlantic gap as distant cover to pace convoys and provide aircover and where Wallie shore based air was weak was never properly applied until 1944. This is one of my heartburns with King and the USN. Until the Kaiser flattops show up and Ingersoll kriegspiels it the USN was stuck on stupid about roving cover and why airpower was the cure for even the German snort boats, as in keeping them down, and SLOWER than the convoys they tried to intercept. The RN never got that one right and never even realized WHY that was the way to use flattop centered ASW groups.

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.
THAT is direct RN incompetence. Traffic flow analysis of shipping routes from WWI experience should have warned the British that east coast traffic was a non starter once WW II started. What do you think all that WWI small craft fighting off Belgium was? And in the North Sea? Furthermore...



Mine warfare was to be expected and it should have been planned to deal with it. So the RN does not get a pass.

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.
Don't think the British were alone. The Americans throughout the entire war did not guard their merchant codes well enough, nor was their radio discipline what it ought to have been. it was a Miracle the Torch convoys were not RDFed and intercepted.

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.
Appleyard's work was not ignored by PACFLT. So somebody paid attention. Pearl Harbor recovery was based in part on the IJN picket subs finding the convoys making the SanFran to Honolulu run too tough. They pulled back like fish subjected to scalding water. Just saying... The 8-12 escorts that could cover a convoy box of 40 could cover a convoy box of 80, and Appleyard figured that area rule out.

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.
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AIRPOWER.

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.
By ~24 U-boats deployed on the trade lanes. By the way, sailing in Convoy actually makes my argument for me. Better to have traffic managed better on Day 1 of the war, maybe?

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.
Same again. One cannot deny that losing all those hulls hurt. The lessons learned were already there from WWI and were not applied at all in pre-war planning. That is all I maintain. That and it took over a YEAR to put the lessons relearned into place.

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.
Your own data is 2x what game theory indicates should have happened. Average U-boat kill/loss ratios per patrol were about 1.1. when attacking convoys.

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.
Siege means starvation of the means to wage war. Since Doenitz used a tonnage strategy instead of a flow strategy, how was he supposed to attain starvation?

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.
To take a parallel example executed by a much BETTER navy, the USN estimated they had to kill 3/4 of Japans bottom's and blockade a year to bring the Japanese to surrender in Plan ORANGE. As it turns out, they were right. I grade Doenitz and the KM an F as to naval warfare in general, in the op-art, in understanding economics and naval geography.

The German naval staff did not even execute a proper mining offensive or naval air campaign. If they HAD executed one, it would take 2 years and cost the UK half of her merchant bottoms. They were not even and never were close.
 
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Good analysis, but to keep it simple.

a. Bribe Poland to help Czechoslovakia in 1938 (There's East Prussia, go munch on that.). See how the Germans handle a new 4 front war in 1938?
b. Nothing says you get to rust in port like a mining campaign on the German North Sea ports. Hey RAF, drop these instead of leaflets.
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c. Nothing says, the German army takes the hint and shoots the Berlin Maniac like a French occupation of the Ruhr, 2.0.
 
It seems like yet another futile reach for a war-winning strategy for the Axis. OTL the Allies were indeed caught nearly flat-footed (except for the fact that Britain and USA both stuck to maintaining gigantic navies in the interwar years, Depression be damned--the navies went on short rations early in the '30s, but they were not pared back; Britain absolutely leaned on having the greatest navy in the world for her identity, and the USA had long desired to match it and could afford to. But across the board, as a general thing, the Western powers responded to the Depression, and the European Entente powers before that to the general debt and devastation of the Great War, with very desultory military development. As I understand it, official British policy was "no major war for the next ten years" and they kept moving the base date for that decade countdown forward all through the '20s and into the '30s.

It has been argued by others here that if the Germans will not play along and placate the British by adopting the treaty that as noted diverts German naval efforts in the direction the RN thinks it can win against, the Admiralty will be scared and lean on the Government to do whatever it takes to authorize a buildup. You say, nah, they don't have the money and the Dominions want out. Well, gosh, the worst case is that the Government says no to the Admiralty and leaves RAF and Army on short rations too--just as OTL.

And then Hitler starts his war, after the British and French buy themselves a year of frantic preparations in the wake of the Czechoslovakia crisis--and the Rhineland crisis was hardly the last moment that British factions who were complacent OTL could tip the balance for effective action against the Reich; I do think as late as 1938, the "Entente" of Britain and France could break Hitler. Not easily, perhaps. But Czech forces alone would be a major road block for the still fledgling and green Wehrmacht, whose equipment was far more primitive in summer '38 than it was a year later, whose trained recruits were far fewer, which had only the war experience, in recent years, of the Spanish Civil War which I would have to look up, but was I think still ongoing during the Czech crisis (though I suppose by then the Republicans were on the ropes). OTL the Germans sent over to aid Franco had plenty of time to return home and assist in training up new recruits, with a war over Czechoslovakia instead, they haven't had this time. Meanwhile the French and British forces include men who have had recent fighting experience, not just in the SCW (French, not so many British) but mainly in their colonies, suppressing this that and the other rebellion. As for the Czechs, they are fighting for their lives, with a considerable munitions industry and quite a substantial trained force with pretty modern kit. This is without bringing the USSR into it, which is admittedly very hard to do anyway--the Soviets could at least make a token attempt to challenge the Kriegsmarine on the Baltic; fighting alone they cannot hope for much glory that way, but the RN can pin down the Germans on the North Sea and perhaps come in through the Danish/Swedish straits; I believe that the Danes allowing this is not even a violation of their neutrality, since Denmark had been strongarmed ages before into saying the straits were international waters in fact.

I wouldn't look to the Soviets actually being able to do anything nor to a Baltic campaign actually. It isn't necessary either. France had a huge military machine. In 1938, it would have taken time to get it mobilized, and they might have been much discomfited at how effective German weaponry and doctrine, considerably modernized, might have been against their more backward forces--but those forces were massive, and in their numbers they could hold long enough to do some modernization of their own on the fly.

You think these German naval raider groups could win the Battle of the Atlantic? I can't comment on that, much, except to say that if you could make the case for 2 or three hundred of these raider groups, or even two or three dozen, I might have my doubts about the RN managing alone against them...but you say "2 or 3!" With numbers like that--perhaps if these groups are even feasible, they can do some damage to British commerce, but they cannot stop it, and the RN is focusing all its force on sweeping them from the seas. France has not fallen, German access to the open sea is very limited, to stop the RN from coming into the Baltic Hitler must divert force to conquering Denmark--if Germans control the shores they can interdict the RN from coming in, but they have to either get Denmark to join them as allies, or conquer the place. No doubt even in 1938 the Reich can conquer Denmark...

But you mentioned part of Wegener's "thesis" was that Norway was key to success too. But what the heck does that mean? Did Wegener think Norway, as a nation, would voluntarily ally with Germany under any rule whatsoever, or is he merely saying that Germany should conquer Norway and as OTL, use it as a base to strike at British shipping from?

If the Norwegians could be imagined by anyone smoking enough dope to consider allying with Germany freely--why? For Teh Evul Lulz?--a German invasion of Denmark would be precisely the thing to put the kibosh on that and turn Norway to British alliance immediately.

If no one messes with Danish appearance of neutrality and sends no ships through the Danish straits, all German ability to project your sea task forces against the RN funnel through German North Sea ports and the Kiel Canal. The RN just sits, cat to German mouse, in concentrated force there and mauls these units as they try to sally out, then converges to tightly blockade the German accesses to the Atlantic. Meanwhile French and British expeditionary forces muster on the Franco-German border and after a half year or full year of dithering, invade.

Have the Germans conquered Czechoslovakia in the meantime? Probably, if the Czechs can get no relief from either the Soviets or the Entente, I suppose after such a long siege they will have fallen, and Germany gets the benefit of Czech assets--sort of. Unlike OTL, where they captured the lot of them wholesale and had a year to integrate them into their forces and incorporate Czech arms works into the Reich's plans, here, they'd be fighting their way in against considerable resistance that will use up all the Czech assets and wreck the factories, and they won't be in working order for months or longer, while the Entente forces finally muster up to invade in the west at long last.

And then it is game over for the Reich.

Now all that is perhaps wishful thinking, that the Allies would go to the mat for Czechoslovakia when there is no way to actually save that nation from being crushed--eventually. But they did for Poland OTL a year later.

If the Entente had moved on Hitler back during the Rhineland crisis, it would be even easier. You say "the Commonwealth won't help," and maybe not, though OTL the entire Commonwealth did rally to Britain in 1939. But during the Rhineland crisis, the Germans have essentially nothing. France alone can manage quite handily to defeat the pathetic German forces.

The problem for the Entente then would be like the real problem with invading Iraq for Bush Jr in 2003; it is easy to defeat the ostensible army of the state foe and put up a big Mission Accomplished banner. What is hard is then ruling the conquered territory! Germany fell to Hitler because Germany's ruling classes did not see any other way to keep order that would seem safe for them. Defeating the ostensible army does little to change the basic dilemmas of German governance. Now it should have been possible for an invading French force to call upon the League of Nations to legitimize the invasion as a vital police action, with Germany in blatant violation of treaty rules and the League's principles as well. And indeed among the Germans, it should be possible to find lots of people who can be associated with post-Nazi rule, starting with freeing a bunch of people from concentration camps. (Hitler might order them all killed perhaps. But that would further enrage their friends, kin and political comrades, so that might backfire even worse on the Nazis).

So indeed there were reasons the French, and British, quailed at stopping Hitler when it was relatively doable, in the earlier '30s.

But you are dismissing the idea that an Admiralty that fears German naval plans can persuade a mid-30s British government to back and encourage the French to invade, and take on the task of ousting the Nazis and putting in a German government that will back off from threatening the European order. The thing is, in the mid '30s they don't need all the assets you are saying they will not have, to defeat the fledgeling German forces in detail.

But say you are right, and the Admiralty is ignored on the grounds of austerity and lack of will.

That's OTL!

And the Allies won anyway. The Big Three that dominated the war's end, USA, USSR, and UK, all had strategic depth and logistic deep pockets.

You aren't going to enable Hitler to win with some wunderwaffen, or a clever plan to sink more commerce ships. UK, USSR and USA, once brought into the war, are in it for the long haul, and they can endure longer and build to counter any deficiencies in their arsenal coming into the war, and win it in the long run.
What you are stating is obvious and I assume everyone knows it.
The plan I outline was tailored to defeat the UK alone.
Germany can only deal with one threat at a time.
 
Good analysis, but to keep it simple.

a. Bribe Poland to help Czechoslovakia in 1938 (There's East Prussia, go munch on that.). See how the Germans handle a new 4 front war in 1938?
b. Nothing says you get to rust in port like a mining campaign on the German North Sea ports. Hey RAF, drop these instead of leaflets.
View attachment 526347

c. Nothing says, the German army takes the hint and shoots the Berlin Maniac like a French occupation of the Ruhr, 2.0.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minesweeper_flotilla_(Kriegsmarine)
Minesweepers anyone?
 
first they need working torpedoes! https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1599&context=etd

my speculation is always for a larger S-boat that could deploy mines, historically they could only carry about 6, the immediate post-war version could carry 20.
if their torpedoes were working properly at the onset of war they could have concentrated on advancements instead of emergency measures, periodic suspension of operations, etc.

the other thing would have been a guided bomb or glide bomb, an early Fritz-X or BV-246 along with more Condor aircraft, then the fragile aircraft would not have had to go thru maneuvers it was unsuited for.
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
The plan I outline was tailored to defeat the UK alone.
Germany can only deal with one threat at a time.
Which is why it will lose the War. Germany needs to defeat France and Russia as well as Britain. This ‘plan’ means it has a better chance of defeating Britain but no chance of defeating Russia.
 
What you are stating is obvious and I assume everyone knows it.
The plan I outline was tailored to defeat the UK alone.
Germany can only deal with one threat at a time.
And it your war gaming is silly on the face of it, yet here you are asking us to play it.

If Germany can only deal with one threat at a time, they have no business going to war in the first place; war is not in fact a board game. It is preposterous to suppose the Germans can attack just Britain, and the rival powers involved just stand around sucking their thumbs while the worst existential threat they face is putting itself on the ropes vying for victory on the RN's chosen battlefield. Or as you try to stack the deck further, HMG sucking its thumb while Hitler is clearly preparing to try to win just that war.

It's silliness on the same scale as say Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, indulgent war gaming for the flashy fireworks, to hell with the vital political dimension of any war. And since politics is inseparable, the political implications are quite unfortunate, you as mastermind doubling down the fascist thesis that the liberal great powers were imbecile, incompetent, corrupt and cowardly because they were not "realistic" about war and violence in general being the final arbiter of everything. Now I suppose you do not come here to apologize for the fascist mindset, but take a lesson from its ultimate failure--at the end of the day, after a string of victories that did reward this bullying mentality, they went down finally and completely. Because at the end of the day, they were wrong, however clever their engineers and tacticians might be and however impressive their military discipline.

I leave the wargaming of your made up set-piece battle to others, except to doubt very much it was in Germany's reach, even if they could double down with every asset they had to defeating Britain alone on the high seas, to win that way. What Hitler actually did was, I like to think anyway, doomed to ultimate failure because of the fundamental wrongness of the Nazi mentality--but it was in fact the best way for such minds to pursue their goal of world rule. Conquer to play to Germany's strengths, use that to build the material base the Reich lacked to someday fight Britannia on her own chosen battlefield--better yet, use their land force augmented by continental scale conquest to make inroads into the Empire by that route. They were wrong to think they could destroy the Soviet Union IMHO, but it was a lot more plausible they could win that way than Germany alone, even Germany overgrown with swallowing up Austria and Czechoslovakia (well, Czechia alone, but Slovakia was a puppet state) could beat Britain on the seas without first absorbing all continental Europe.

In fact, OTL, after the fall of France and before Hitler attacked the Soviets, your dream scenario was in fact the case--the UK alone, aided only in token by various governments in exile and the sympathy (with strings attached, and not entirely in the gift of even the President) of the USA, stood against the Reich. You got it, OTL.

Germany lost. Not by accident. No brilliant reorganization of tactics is going to change the basic logistical equation, granted that liberal democracies turn out to actually have a kind of deep buried steel such minds as Hitler's could not recognize or fathom. (That's why the Commonwealth dominions did in fact stand by the UK, despite your arguments they would not. They actually did though).
 
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.
And what point is that? Because by mid to late 1940 Britain has actually seen it's merchant tonnage improve to the tune of several million tons not by new construction but by the Merchant marines of the government in exile being added to the UK's own.
 
The only way Germany can win the Battle of the Atlantic is to not fight it.

Cap U-boat production at about fifty active at any one time, and use them purely to make the North Sea dangerous to RN ships. Build the Tirptiz and Bismark and turn the Twins into Triplets, and use them purely as a screening force for taking Norway (something Germany's going to have to do out of pure strategic necessity), and to operate as a decent surface-fighting fleet for limited engagements in the North Sea and to clear out the Baltic. Once Barbarossa starts, the only U-boat campaign should focus entirely on convoys to the Soviet Union, which has an actual military value that actually serves Germany strategic purposes. Combined with heavy use of patrol bombers out of Norway, if Germany had limited themselves to just this area, they might've had a chance to do real damage, rather than diffusing their efforts over half the world.

The entire Atlantic U-boat campaign was a waste of steel, oil, men, and time. It couldn't work, so just don't do it.
 
The only way Germany can win the Battle of the Atlantic is to not fight it.

Cap U-boat production at about fifty active at any one time, and use them purely to make the North Sea dangerous to RN ships. Build the Tirptiz and Bismark and turn the Twins into Triplets, and use them purely as a screening force for taking Norway (something Germany's going to have to do out of pure strategic necessity), and to operate as a decent surface-fighting fleet for limited engagements in the North Sea and to clear out the Baltic. Once Barbarossa starts, the only U-boat campaign should focus entirely on convoys to the Soviet Union, which has an actual military value that actually serves Germany strategic purposes. Combined with heavy use of patrol bombers out of Norway, if Germany had limited themselves to just this area, they might've had a chance to do real damage, rather than diffusing their efforts over half the world.

The entire Atlantic U-boat campaign was a waste of steel, oil, men, and time. It couldn't work, so just don't do it.
The faster the Allies win the Battle for the Atlantic the faster they win everything else

No mass losses in the NA then we might see a much earlier return to the continent
 
The only way Germany can win the Battle of the Atlantic is to not fight it.

Cap U-boat production at about fifty active at any one time, and use them purely to make the North Sea dangerous to RN ships. Build the Tirptiz and Bismark and turn the Twins into Triplets, and use them purely as a screening force for taking Norway (something Germany's going to have to do out of pure strategic necessity), and to operate as a decent surface-fighting fleet for limited engagements in the North Sea and to clear out the Baltic. Once Barbarossa starts, the only U-boat campaign should focus entirely on convoys to the Soviet Union, which has an actual military value that actually serves Germany strategic purposes. Combined with heavy use of patrol bombers out of Norway, if Germany had limited themselves to just this area, they might've had a chance to do real damage, rather than diffusing their efforts over half the world.
The only way the Germans successfully fight the Battle of the Atlantic (BoA) is to not fight it stupidly:

1. Since the theater is predominated by attrition units fighting an attrition war, treat the operation as a military exercise in attrition warfare tactics, logistics and logic.
a. USN war-games quickly established that it took a deployed force of 2x-3x escorts to neutralize 1x U-boats. In the macro sense; for every 40 U-boats prowling the ocean one needed at least 80-120 escorts to neutralize aforesaid force available. In the specific, if one had a convoy of 80 dumb freighters moving in the convoy box, one still needed 8-12 escorts to form the close escort (the C cover) to mitigate a U-boat attack, whether the attack was 1 boat or 12.
b. Work the math at the point of contact... average 800-1200 escorters in 8-12 hulls to stop 240-480 U-boaters in 6-12 subs.
c. Add the air cover requirement cuts the hulls to 1 escort=1-1.5 u-boats. Now that looks much better but 1 flattop with 30 planes (drives down U-boats within a radius of 100 nm, so provides a moving air cover circle area of ~ 32,000 square miles of ocean umbrella for the convoy to sail under), but note that the flattop =1000 men, 30 extremely well trained pilots and scarce aircraft that could be off sinking the !@# !@#$ IJN. Plus the flattop now needs 4-6 escorts of its own and has to watch out for LRMPs (hence the fighters.). This translates into a 1 flattop per convoy by the way and if it is a busy crossing schedule with convoys going to and fro and with the flattop needing underway replenishment and replacements for planes and aircrew lost to accidents (roughly 10% accident rate.) well that ADDS UP. You have ~2000-2400 (30 aircraft of which you will lose 3 inevitably) escorters aboard 1 flattop and 8-16 hulls trying to neutralize 1-12 U-boats for 1 convoy transit. On the other side? 40-480 u-boaters in 1-12 subs and 8-40 aircrew in 1-5 LRMPs.
2. The numbers certainly suggest that the longer a U-boat stays alive and the better the merchies to U-boat ratio sunk is, the more the defense has to strain. IOW if the Kriegsmarine can get 4 freighters to 1 U-boat sunk ratios instead of the roughly 2 freighters -1 sub they managed, then the Wallies are not putting 400 escorts, 40 flattops and 600-800 LRMPs (250,000+ men including the support infrastructure) into the fight to neutralize 100 subs at sea and 40 LRMPS the Germans used at their peak *(about 125,000 men including shore establishment.) Do twice as well as was done RTL and the defense has to put 2x the resources to mitigate. That is 800 escorts, 80 flattops and 1200-1600 LRMPs (500,000+ men including the support infrastructure) Show me an attack strategy, that properly applied (Germans were incompetent.) that sinks 1 out of every 10 Sherman tanks crossing the Atlantic, forces an enemy to build 16 million tonnes of cargo capacity instead of 8 million tonnes cargo capacity new hulls as in OTL, and tie up an entire air farce (1600 equivalent heavy bomber instead of 800.)that could be bombing me? Can't win unless you happen to be the Americans who figure out the Achilles heel is oil tankers and assign that type ship as numero uno in a sub campaign based on resource flow analysis, but if you are a Berlin Maniac Toady (Doenitz) who runs that criminal's naval war, even stupidly as was done, the baseline attrition math says "Still fight that war." especially if you are an incompetent idiot who micro-manages everything into follydumb, ignores tech, and his op-art analysis boys, and ruins his staff initiative with: "Do it my way or it is a court martial!"; when the facts are against him, cannot battle manage a dinghy, cannot run a master plot or even stay off the !@# !@#$ radio and tell his captains to do the same.

The entire Atlantic U-boat campaign was a waste of steel, oil, men, and time. It couldn't work, so just don't do it.
I think I demonstrated the opposite is true.

The faster the Allies win the Battle for the Atlantic the faster they win everything else
Absolutely, Get sonobuoy fences working and air cover deployed (Even CAM tankers) and sound chaser torpedoes out there in 1942 and Doenitz's force is neutralized at least a year earlier. Pre-war, this means FIDO, conversion of USN bathythermograph drones (weather buoys.) into active/passive pingers/listeners for localization of that VERY NOISY Type VII and oil tankers with flight decks (At least 20 with ye old fat obsolescent slow TBD diverted to something useful.) and watch them, the U-boats all die as they, the KM. try to stalk convoys. Murder year 1942-1943 instead of 1943-1944.

No mass losses in the NA then we might see a much earlier return to the continent
Maybe not. it takes time to build all those aircraft, train those pilots and raise competent Joe Infantry and his buddies, Arthur Arty and George Calvary in the 100 divisions worth numbers, both British and American. Not to mention Rupert Flyguy and an added whole air farce. But one thing is for sure... 100 divisions beats 80, 130 air wings beats 90 and that 20 division and 2500 planes difference across France 1944 sustained (That's how much the U-boats cost the Allies.) = Victory in December 1944. That is 6 months less murder, 6 months less war-crimes, 6 months less absolute horror and no Russians in Berlin or even to the German frontier. I'll TAKE that outcome with joy. THAT is what a proper Battle of the Atlantic actually means in applied seapower. God damn ADM William D. Leahy and his even more incompetent imbecilic successor, Harold R. Stark.

Now you really know why I have heartburn about those two utter incompetent bastards. They watched the crisis for five years and did nothing. Left it to King to clean up their mess. It took him a YEAR to even figure out how and another year to apply it. I have heartburn with King, too, but I can cut him some slack since he started from 30% instead of 100% as should have been the case in March 1942.
 
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Absolutely, Get sonobuoy fences working and air cover deployed (Even CAM tankers) and sound chaser torpedoes out there in 1942 and Doenitz's force is neutralized at least a year earlier. Pre-war, this means FIDO, conversion of USN bathythermograph drones (weather buoys.) into active/passive pingers/listeners for localization of that VERY NOISY Type VII and oil tankers with flight decks (At least 20 with ye old fat obsolescent slow TBD diverted to something useful.) and watch them, the U-boats all die as they, the KM. try to stalk convoys. Murder year 1942-1943 instead of 1943-1944.



Maybe not. it takes time to build all those aircraft, train those pilots and raise competent Joe Infantry and his buddies, Arthur Arty and George Calvary in the 100 divisions worth numbers, both British and American. Not to mention Rupert Flyguy and an added whole air farce. But one thing is for sure... 100 divisions beats 80, 130 air wings beats 90 and that 20 division and 2500 planes difference across France 1944 sustained (That's how much the U-boats cost the Allies.) = Victory in December 1944. That is 6 months less murder, 6 months less war-crimes, 6 months less absolute horror and no Russians in Berlin or even to the German frontier. I'll TAKE that outcome with joy. THAT is what a proper Battle of the Atlantic actually means in applied seapower. God damn ADM William D. Leahy and his even more incompetent imbecilic successor, Harold R. Stark.

Now you really know why I have heartburn about those two utter incompetent bastards. They watched the crisis for five years and did nothing. Left it to King to clean up their mess. It took him a YEAR to even figure out how and another year to apply it. I have heartburn with King, too, but I can cut him some slack since he started from 30% instead of 100% as should have been the case in March 1942.
Well the suggestion was from kmmontandon for the Germans not to fight it at all so an incredibly cheap victory!

War ending 6 months earlier?

30000 people dying on average every day using napkin math - the majority of those footing that bill being Chinese and Eastern Europeans (and mainly civvies at that)

30000 x 182 days is about 5.5 million less dead folks
 
Both admirals faced the biggest problem of the KM, how to break out of the North Sea.
Wegener emphasised acquiring bases, Raeder, long range, at the cost of design compromises.
Once Germany had bases in France and Norway, it had a Wegener situation with Reader ships.
The main advantage of a Wegener based ATL is that it allows the KM to build, based on what seemed at the time unrealistic assumptions, ships suited to the exact situation it faced OTL.
 
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