WI Tirpitz sortied with Bismarck 1941?

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

  1. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Looking the broad array of surface raiders sortied by the Germans the capitol ship raids made some sense. At least from the PoV of Adm Raeder. Judging from the submarine campaigns of the Great War that fleet could not be expected to win a guerre de course on its own.

    The most effective surface raiders seem to have been the armed & disguised merchant ships. These were fairly efficient in hunting down individual cargo ships. ton for ton they had a good return n investment. However they were useless against convoys.

    Surface ship raids capable of tackling lightly escorted convoys 1940-41 were:

    Adm Hipper. Aborted sortie September 1940. Engine room caught fire. Sortied end of November 1940. Intercepted convoy that was part of Op EXCESS (to Malta) west of Ireland. Damaged two cargo ships and badly damage the escorting cruiser Berwick. Hipper was lightly damaged. Sank a cargo ship enroute to Brest. 1 Feb Hipper sortied again, & intercepted convoy SLS64, sinking seven & damaging two cargo ships by Brit records. Another lone cargo ship was also claimed. After this the Hipper refueled in Brest, then returned to Kiel without detection by the Brits.

    Adm Scheer. Sortied into the Atlantic October 1940. Intercepted Convoy HX84, sank the escort Jervis Bay a Armed Merchant cruiser, and five cargo ships. Later in Dec sank one isolated cargo ship. In January in the S Atlantic captured three cargo ships. Diverted to the Indian Ocean & redevoused with the AMC Atlantis and supply ship Tannenfels. Then sank four more cargo ships in the IO. Returned to Germany 1 April, credited post war with 17 cargo ships captured/sunk. In the spring of 1941 the Scheer & Lutzow were prepared to sortie together shortly following the Bismarck & Prinz Eugen.

    Scharnhorst & Geiseiau sortied January 1941 in Op BERLIN. The operation described in the previous posts. They ended this mission in Brest, where they remained until the channel Dash in January 1942.

    All these overlapping raids, looked as if they were overwhelming the British response & together with the submarines might throw the British cargo shipping in the Atlantic into chaos. With the Ugly Sisters ready in Brest, adding the Bismarck/Pinz Eugen & then the Scheer Lutzow combinations in rapid succession seemed like a great idea. The three battleships and three cruisers all raiding over the summer, plus submarines might really cripple the Brits in Raeders PoV.
     
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  2. Tjyorksgeezer Well-Known Member

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    One problem with delaying the sortie is the improving weather and longer daylight hours. This would allow greater effectiveness for the UK'S aircraft to locate and track the force. Convoys will be diverted away from harm, Tovey will then gather whatever BBs, CVs, cruisers and destroyers he can.
    Airstrikes will go in first, if just one ship is slowed down what does the force commander do?
    Stick together? Try to fight their way to Norway or France with the entire RN gathering around them determined to wipe them out.
    Leave the cripple behind? Sail off over the horizon leaving a thousand or more of your comrades to their doom? Nothing to prevent the next airstrike crippling another ship, whittling the force down one by one.
    No good answer either way.
     
  3. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    The only problem really is that the British have a long tradition of blockading Brest.
     
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  4. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Another issue with pushing a major sortie into the summer (granted the Germans could not know this) is an increasingly active US Navy. I know the shoot on sight order was not issued until 11 September but at some point during the summer (need to see if I can find the exact date), Admiral King told his skippers that if they encountered a German ship or submarine, they were to take whatever action they deemed prudent and they would be backed up by their chain of command.

    A group of four or five German ships in the Atlantic in July or August 1941 probably provokes some sort of response from the US, especially since this is going on while the US is in the process of occupying Iceland and standing up its presence there.
     
  5. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    A couple years ago I started a discussion of how effective The CV Ranger would be vs the Bismarck. That summer it was not carrying torpedo bombers
     
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  6. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Tirpitz was 'Ready for combat operations' on 10th Jan 1942 after which she was sent to Norway

    IMO she would be a liability to any fleet deployment in the summer of 1941 - her systems not worked up and her crew untrained

    Had Bismarck survived then I would imagine that her crew could have been used to 'bootstrap' the Tirpitz crews training and to help more rapidly overcome many of the teething problems that such a machine as complex as a Modern Fast super Dreadnought suffers.

    But that was not to be the case and they were not sortieing against some rank amateurs in the art of naval warfare.

    Its the Royal Navy's home fleet and this is their lake.
     
  7. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC it was the case that she was built without the facilities to store Torpedoes, maintain them and had not the weapon elevators to move them to the hangar and Flight deck?
     
  8. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    In simple terms yes. Later she was reworked to carry torpedos.
     
  9. 1Big Rich Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, Carl. Armed Merchant Raiders have large hull, plenty of space for the ammunition, stores and provision necessary for a long raiding cruiser. They can ply their trade away from the heavily escorted areas where submarines excel and apply real pressure to the supply lines.

    Operating well out to sea, they don't have to worry about destroyers very much, but cruisers are their natural predators, a type the RN felt they were chronically short of. Cruisers are the vital currency for the navy on the strategic defensive in a guerre de course, and they can put pressure on the armed merchant raiders.

    Surface warship raiders are the release valve for that pressure. A warship by its very nature is more of a threat than an armed merchant, it is faster, better armed, armored, and it can threaten convoys. The cruisers have to face the more serious threat. Surface warship raiders in conjunction with armed merchant raiders can cause a lot of disruption and sunk tonnage.

    My thoughts,
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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  10. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Like Carl said, at the time yes. Her dive bomber squadrons would also have been Vindicators, those were not swapped out until September 1942. Ranger did have the capacity to store torpedoes added later because for OPERATION LEADER in the fall of 1943 she 18 Avengers as part of her air group.
     
  11. 1Big Rich Well-Known Member

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    An aside on Ranger; In Warship International (Vol. 54, Number 1) there was an answer to a question in a previous issue on Ranger. A Carl Truebe provided some information, and mentioned something I've never read before: Ranger could not make her maximum speed with funnels in horizontal position for flight operations. He mentioned that she might not be able to make 24 knots with her funnels 'down', and that full-speed required her funnels to be in the vertical position.

    If true it could explain way Wasp went west so early but Ranger spent most of her war in the Atlantic.

    Regards,
     
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  12. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Ranger also had a glass jaw. She was something of an experimental carrier design (like many carriers in those days) and was essentially a ship that was inexpensive, easy to build, but could carry a lot of aircraft (72 in total). That meant she had very little in the way of protection against anything and the US Navy gave up on the design after just one ship and fortunately Congress did not force more of them on the fleet as a cost saving measure.
     
  13. PSL Information not passed on is lost.

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    Friedman has an excellent book on the evolving shape of naval strategy through the 20th century NETWORK CENTRIC WARFARE. Until I read this I didn't fully understand Admiral Fishers obsession with the BATTLECRUISER and why that worked in the context of WW-I strategy. It all had to do with the establishment of an ocean wide surveillance system combining radio telegraph communications to rapidly convert "flaming dictums" into way points on a Admiralty plotting table to hunt down enemy commerce raiding squadrons and later merchant raiders. That allowed the short legged battle fleet to remain in home waters to contain the Hochseeflotte, thus supressing the entire German naval effort.

    Germans learned in the inter war years- that a single ship was as hard to hunt down as a squadron of warships. However they also learned that lone raiders were only really useful engaging independent shipping , since the risk of detection as much for single /vs groups of warships. Their measure of success could be determined by the expected WALLIE response. The 'cost-benefit' balance controlled their employment. Raeder reduced this to a operational level by arguing "Graff Spee" cruiser squadron of 1914 created the exact conditions that a fast battle cruiser squadron like Scheer's battle cruiser raid of 1918, could exploit in home water as hit and run attacks against an out numbered British battle cruisers squadron [most already decoyed to southern hemisphere] and then hit and run attacks on any slow battleships that venture out. Raeder reasoned that only a convoy target could create the prior conditions to succeed.

    The counter argument had long been that only U-Boat fleets could be built in sufficient numbers during wartime to have any success against convoys to cut/threaten the transatlantic life line, long thought of the main reason for loss in WW-I . It followed that the only warships worth building would be those that could support such a war against convoy routes or those smaller ships that filled the coastal defence/convoy duties. Anything bigger than GTB was a luxury that Germany simply could not afford since it reduced the number of U-Boats that could be built serviced and manned .

    In the early 1930s some captains argued a raider like the AGS could make a massive impact in the convoy war by attacking convoys and scattering them and their escorts ,so lurking U-Boats could have maximum effectiveness. The AGS type raider could become a force multiplier in the whole U-Boat campaign/war. But to do that they needed to be built in numbers, so that pairs of raiders could be dispatched on a routine enough basis to effect as many convoys as possible.

    Historically nearly 2 dozen large German hulled warships were laid down through the 1930s Hitler years that could have fulfilled at least the beginning's of this strategy. Adjunct to this would be the rise of maritime bombers as surrogate raiders , but more importantly it enhanced ocean surveillance success. By 1941/42 B-Dienst effort's were starting to pay dividend's though traffic pattern analysis, mapping out the main transatlantic routes and maintaining merchant code cracking efforts. As a result 1/2 of all convoys of interest- from late 1941 through early 1944-were being detected with 50% chance of wolf pack attack success . On going Ultra efforts -frustrated by changes in enigma rotors & misc changes meant that this avenue was not shut down until 1943/44.

    In-fact its likely that not replacing CONDOR maritime patrol with the better radar equipped He-177 fleet or a more appropriate platforms, prevented the extension of an effective U-Boat war until D-Day and beyond.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  14. 1Big Rich Well-Known Member

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    She did have a glass jaw, but that's to be expected less than 15,000 ton carrier; the same could be said of the CVEs as a type. Ranger is an interesting comparison to Soryu. Events just over took her; she was designed to maximize numbers under the remaining treaty tonnage, hence the small displacement, but by the time she was completed, Lexington and Saratoga had shown larger carriers were the better option. She did provide some important lessons, and I don't think she can be called a failure. Bigger, faster elevators are better, for example. She wasn't perfect but neither were the Yorktowns (nine boilers in three adjacent boiler rooms made it easy to deprive them of power). She was a lesson learned, and when Wasp was laid down to use the remaining treaty tonnage, she was a better carrier because of the experience with Ranger.

    My additional thoughts,
     
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  15. Grand Archduke of Austria Well-Known Member

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    I can definitely say I got the correct chain reaction by buying those books, which is what I wanted. Sadly I can see this stage of the process coming to end, which is not good for me. I enjoy thinking about it in my head and what I am going to going to write. There are two more clearly defined sections I have to write at the very end. Otherwise, the main body of the text is finished. It was magnificent writing it but extremely hard. I have to say I am feeling the fatigue but I think I will just keep thinking about writing those military operations.

    Pic1.png
     
  16. Dalriadan Archangel 21 Well-Known Member

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    Are we going to get to see it?
     
  17. Grand Archduke of Austria Well-Known Member

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    The problem is if I release it now, I will not write about the military operations for a long time. I am ready to forget about it, I've put so much effort into it. That's what happens when you write a masters dissertation, which it basically is. It's wave after wave of micro-analysis and micro-synthesis, which I have begun to perfect in my own mind with constant practice in writing this. There is so much attention to detail it'll blow your mind. I've been thinking about it constantly for every hour of every day for the last month. I even think about it when going to bed.

    I will set up a new forum post for it, this one is dead.
     
  18. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    & pursuing the enemy into the French ports. The planners of the air attacks on the ported German ships & the St Nazaire raid were simply channeling Hawke @ Quiberon Bay.
     
  19. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

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    If not fully worked up , then Tripitz has similar problems to the PoW. Turret jams, gun elevation problems, turbine issues, and the proverbial German problem of knocking out their own radar fire control when firing abaft broadside! That makes for an imo interesting situation for the Germans.
     
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  20. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

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    By delaying past Jun, the U.S. takes over occupation of Iceland with 2 Patrol Squadrons of PBYs and PBMs, as well as a Squadron pf P-40s. This as well as regular USN convoys to Iceland (including the carrier Ranger) means potential of the German force being spotted by American Forces.