WI Tirpitz sortied with Bismarck 1941?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by starman, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. starman Well-Known Member

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    Prior to the fatal mission of Bismarck, Adolf came aboard Tirpitz. While he was there, Captain Topp begged for permission for his ship to participate in the mission. Permission was refused. But what if it had been granted? How might things have turned out if Tirpitz joined Bismarck and Prinz Eugen on the mission of May 1941?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
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  2. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

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    The Home Fleet sails to intercept as a single unit. This of course helps the Germans evading interception. Now they will have to play cat and mouse with the RN and the Coastal Command but this time not heading back to harbour but trying to intercept convoys
     
  3. sparky42 CMII

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    Was she worked up and ready at this stage? If they both came out Then the qiestion is which would be the better option? Stay concentrated which would be a major challenge for the RN to concentrate against but not good for killing merchants. Or split up?
     
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  4. weasel_airlift Well-Known Member

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    It is my understanding that she was not fully worked up at that time. Could make an interesting TL if you butterflied that somehow.
     
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  5. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Tirpitz was not ready for sea in May 1941 - she would have been in a worse material condition than HMS Prince Of Wales was at the time - Tirpitz was commissiond on 25th Feb and started trials etc following that was in shakedown and training till Sept (including a stint as guard ship in the Baltic in case the Russians got adventurous and attempted to break out or conduct some mischief)

    She would have been a liability rather than a boon. Her crew untrained and her systems untested.
     
  6. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. How would Hitler/Germany react if both were sunk due to the British going all out against them?
     
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  7. starman Well-Known Member

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    Then why did Topp beg to go? As captain, wasn't he in the best position to know the state of readiness of his ship?
     
  8. Kalga Yell's Shipyard

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    Hitler would react by demanding that all German capital ships be scrapped for being a waste of resources and Raeder would resign. Basically what happened after Operation Rainbow except happening in 1941 instead of 1943.
     
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  9. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Why do wounded soldiers try to leave the hospital to get back to their units? They don't want to be left behind.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Tirpitz#Construction_and_characteristics
    Part of the issue it seems were delays imposed by British bombing and the need to keep her in the Baltic to counter the Soviet fleet during the June invasion.
     
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  10. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know - maybe he lied or was misquoted - perhaps he was just being an eagre beaver 'send me coach' or maybe it never happened

    Does anyone know where the original source of Topps comment comes from?
     
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  11. wiking Well-Known Member

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    So the question is then whether he actually carries out the scrapping demand, what the Brits do with the freed up resources, and whether Raeder being out earlier let's Doenitz be more effective in the Uboat war.
     
  12. Kalga Yell's Shipyard

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    Doenitz would still argue for the retaining of capital vessels as he knew the fleet-in-being/distraction value of them and they're not gonna get scrapped regardless, again, much like OTL except happening earlier.
     
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  13. starman Well-Known Member

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    Some time ago, I read that becoming head of the KM made him less effective as a u-boat leader, because he could no longer focus on just the u-boat battles. He now had the whole KM to look after.
     
  14. starman Well-Known Member

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    Dunno the original source but I saw an old post--"leviathan unleashed" that stated Hitler visited Tirpitz around May 5, 1941 and captain Karl Topp asked for permission to participate in the mission with Bismarck. By then, Tirpitz "was completing gunnery training....had completed trials and was available for operations." Not knowing much about naval matters, Adolf left the decision to his admirals who didn't allow it.
     
  15. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    I am quite sure that had she been available she would have gone

    The KM are no mugs - they know their stuff - if they did not think her ready then she was not ready

    Perhaps a better POD is delaying Operation Rheinübung

    But this op had come hot on the heels of Operation Berlin where in several cases the twins had been forced not to attack a given convoy due to the precence of a R class BB or QE class BB as it was feared that the 11" gun armed twins would risk crippling damage from such a 15" armed adversary.

    Despite not being able to attack the protected convoys they had sunk or captured 22 ships in 30 days and 'put the cat among the pidgeons' so to speak

    So Bismarck and PE conducting the same op would very likely prove to be more sucessful - after all Bismarck was a far greater match to an R class than the twins and would be better placed to attack a convoy protected by one of the old Rs

    Also delaying to late summer sees the British with more ships - possibly 2 or more KGVs working up (we know they were delayed due to competing needs etc - but the Germans did not) as well as more carriers and better weather resulting in longer hours - particularly at that lattitude and far more likely to be discovered by aircraft.

    And lastly once the Bismarck had broken out into the Atlantic she was free to summer on the French West Coast and with the Twins and PE become a serious force multiplier and even larger threat to the Atlantic convoys

    So without hindsight I do not think that delaying is a option either.


     
  16. Tonrich Well-Known Member

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    But to speculate on the OP's original question "Let's supposed Tirpiz WAS available and went out with Bismark and PE". If the force was spotted as it was IRL what would the British have done? In the actual battle they sent the 'Prince of Wales' which was in about the same place operationally that many of the above posters claim Tirpiz was because they didn't have anything else. If they were faced with 2 Bismarks plus the PE what would they have done?
     
  17. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    It was always British practice to try and 'not fight fair' and always tried to place 2 units vs 1 or better when possible - so I suspect that in the example where B and T sortied together the Fast BBs and BCs of the home fleet would have been concentrated at a position East South East of Iceland and would have tried to intercept as a squadron further East than OTL (relying on Cruisers and Aircraft to confirm location and shadow the German ships etc) - I suspect that once the sortie was known about Rodney would be returned to the fleet right away and Force H would start North earlier than OTL.
     
  18. Jellico Well-Known Member

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    PoW vs Tirpitz. I can think of a word but it is probably too politically incorrect.
     
  19. Grand Archduke of Austria Well-Known Member

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    The aim of operation Rheinübung was to have a German surface fleet, not Bismark, Prinz Eugen and Tirpitz in this case sail to Brest. I have conducted an in-depth analysis of how this would take place, got a word document with 9000 words in it. (I got to develop my thought on that one.) Overall the Nazi's had their ass stuck up their own backside regarding 'everything'. Pre-logistical preparation, preventing the bombing of German ports and what operation Rheinübung's overall aim. One battleship stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is one way to get a target destroyed, battleships were not used this way anymore because U-boats, aeroplanes and aircraft carriers had advanced so much since WW1. The only real nation who used their fleet correctly in WW2 were the Americans.

    However even though they used their fleet disgracefully, I glad they did because a German surface fleet in the Atlantic, if used correctly, would have won Hitler the war.
     
  20. Pauh the federalist Well-Known Member

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    could you please explain what the Germans using their fleet correctly to win the war looks like?