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.