Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Soviet Navy in pre-emptive attack, 1941

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Soviet Navy in pre-emptive attack, 1941

    This is an outgrowth of the thread on RKKA capabilities and what might have happened in the event of a Soviet first-strike in 1941.

    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...97#post2217597

    Now, something overlooked was the Navy side of things.

    The German fleet wasn't in such great shape, Bismarck was sunk in May and both Battle-Cruisers and a Heavy Cruiser were stuck in France. That leaves a couple of pocket Battleships and maybe one Heavy Cruiser in fighting trim, a couple of light cruisers and about a dozen Destroyers plus about twice as many Frigates or Corvettes (called Torpedo Boats).

    The Red Fleet in the Baltic is lead by a pair of Battleships with very healthy escorts and about 70 subs... and that's not counting the Arctic Fleet.

    There would be no blockade of the gulf of Finland if Russia struck first, Finland even being involved looks doubtful in this scenario.

    What could stop them from cutting off the iron-ore traffic from Sweden in this scenario?
    Could they make amphibious landings?
    Aside from the Luftwaffe (day only) what would they have to worry about?
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

  • #2
    Hmmm the battleship Tirpitz (sister ship of Bismarck) was commisioned February 1941 and had been undergoing training and shakedown cruises in the Baltic. From wiki (a well referenced article btw).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...ervice_history

    After sea trials, Tirpitz was stationed in Kiel and performed intensive training in the Baltic. While the ship was in Kiel, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. A temporary Baltic Fleet was created to prevent the possible break-out of the Soviet fleet based in Leningrad. Tirpitz was briefly made the flagship of the squadron, which consisted of the heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer, the light cruisers Köln, Nürnberg, Leipzig, and Emden, several destroyers, and two flotillas of minesweepers.[6] The Baltic Fleet, under the command of Admiral Otto Ciliax,[5] patrolled off the Aaland Islands from 23 to 26 September 1941, after which the unit disbanded and Tirpitz resumed training.[11] During the training period, Tirpitz tested her primary and secondary guns on the old pre-dreadnought battleship Hessen,[12] which had been converted into a radio-controlled target ship.[13] The British Royal Air Force (RAF) continued to launch unsuccessful bombing raids on Tirpitz while she was stationed in Kiel.[14]
    This squadron on paper was more powerful than most of the Soviet fleet, they had two Marat class battleships were of pre-WWI vintage (albeit partially modernised) and a modern cruiser, the Kirov, but in general the Germans were stronger. Soviet destroyers seemd pretty good though. The main worries would be mines, Soviet airpower and subs. Due to events in the ground war, I imagine the VVS was not a big threat, the subs ended up getting blocked in port with the surface fleet-they became active later on. The Baltic was not really a place for heavy units.

    The other issue for the Soviets is the near impossiblity of transferring units from the Baltic to the Arctic once war broke out.

    Comment


    • #3
      Their main concern is the very modern German ships versus the very old Rec Fleet. With the exception of a couple or three new heavy cruisers most of the Soviet fleet is of WW1 vintage, or even earlier. Worse still is that some of the better units are in the Black Sea. The BBs in the Baltic had weak armour (by 1941 standards) and only old 12" guns. Tirpitz,a pair of PBBs and a cruiser w/ escorts would probable clean Baltic in short order. The Soviet subs are handicapped by the nature of the Baltic and their relaive low submerged speed and old tech. Subs can be sunk easily in shallow waters.

      A Soviet attempt to raid the Swedish pipeline would be met by air attacks, minefields and German surface units. Attacking Swedish shipping would also likely involve the Swedes in a shooting war and this would likely also bring in the Finns. The fleet at sea could very quickly find its route back to port heavily interdicted from all sides and the course to Leningrad choked with as many mines as are available.
      The Purist

      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
        What could stop them from cutting off the iron-ore traffic from Sweden in this scenario?
        Narvik? I've seen a statement by Asbjorn Jaklin (2007) that in 1939, about half the ore, some 3 million tons, was shipped from Narvik. If correct, the Baltic Fleet could reduce the traffic but not nearly cut it off, assuming it stays in the Baltic.

        Is the Arctic Fleet strong enough to handle Narvik? Maybe together with Royal Navy?

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes, those two old BBs had 12" guns and would have fared poorly vs Tirpitz, but as stated the German BB was not ready... I remember the fate of the Prince of Wales after being rushed into service like that; she never did very well and was regarded as something of a Jonah of the fleet until being sunk by Japan after less than a year in service.

          And those 12" guns come a dozen to a ship, ideal for shore-bombardment.

          A year earlier, exactly half of Germany's DDs were sunk in Norway, leaving them with just ten. Some new ones had been built, but the Red Fleet in just the Baltic must have had a big advantage in that category.
          Transfer of light ships from the Artic to the Baltic was possible in wartime thanks to the canal system... and item that keeps getting over-looked in these discussions, both in the north and in the central and trans-Caucasus areas.
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

          Comment


          • #6
            The PBBs would have cut the old BBs to pieces with their 11" rifles and the German 5.9s on the CLs and heavy DDs outclassed the few Red Fleet light cruisers and destroyers. The tech difference is pronounced,... very pronounced.
            The Purist

            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tuomas_ View Post
              Is the Arctic Fleet strong enough to handle Narvik? Maybe together with Royal Navy?
              That's a whole 'nother can of worms... would the USSR have allied itself with the UK in a war like the one we are talking about?

              BTW, my source is not giving me a TO&E for the Baltic Fleet (does not differentiate between the various fleets), does anyone have a list for the Baltic?
              "Why is the Rum gone?"

              -Captain Jack

              Comment


              • #8
                Wiki has 2 BBs, 1 CA and about 16 DDs (two additional BBs are mentioned but I think were never completed). Most of the DDs were old as were the BBs (1911 tech). Not much for the KM and LW to chew on really.
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I dare say the most valuable service rendered by the Soviet fleet in the Baltic was in the defence of Leningrad itself. Mainly in supporting the army with sailors fighting on the ground and the ships providing fire support. Even old 12'' guns were pretty darned effective. Hell the Marat, blown up and sunk after a hit by a stuka bomb allegedly dropped by Rudel still had a couple of turrets operational that could fire.

                  Th sub fleet managed modest succes under difficult conditions as others ahve said-but what is fogotten is the large contribution by Soviet naval aviation. In reality, a great proportion of land-based airpower including dive and torpedo bombers were under operational control of the navy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow, there was a lot of action there;

                    Soviet naval losses for all of 1941 were devestating. They lost one battleship (the 22 September 1941 loss of the Marat to Rudel’s Ju-87 attack), one cruiser (the Petropavlovks), 17 out of 24 destroyers, 26 out of 65 submarines, two gunboats, 35 tugboats, six coastal patrol boats, 14 torpedo boats, 24 submarine chasers and 10 other minor ships. In addition, the Soviets also lost 91 of their own merchantmen, mostly to German and Finnish mines. Combined, the Baltic States lost nearly 100 merchantmen during the same time period; nearly all of these were flagged as Soviet ships. Taken as individual nations, the following totals would apply for Baltic Sea combat related naval and maritime losses in 1941:

                    Soviet Union lost 217 ships (126 military and 89 civilian ships)
                    Estonia lost 71 ships (2 military and 69 civilian ships)
                    Germany lost 52 ships (35 military and 17 civilian ships)
                    Latvia lost 32 ships (4 military and 28 civilian ships)
                    Sweden lost 4 ships
                    Finland lost 3 ships (3 military ships)
                    Lithuania lost 3 ships (1 military ship and 2 civilian ships)
                    http://www.feldgrau.com/baltsea.html

                    I would have thought they would have had more DDs than just two dozen.
                    "Why is the Rum gone?"

                    -Captain Jack

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, there is at least clarity. I had a book once, a Ballentine paperback on Soviet subs that I lent that I lent someone and was never returned. (Bad habit, sigh.)

                      So, there is an answer. It seems the Baltic is a pretty small place. The fact that Leningrad was bottled up as effectively as it was with a few mines is proof of that. It also puts a different light on Stalin's demand for the use of Hanko as a forward base for the navy, the sticking point that led to the Winter War. He should have offered cash instead of being such a bully.

                      The question of halting Swedish ore shipments remains. From what I gather, Sweden's iron ore was vital to the German war machine, without it there were no more tanks. If that had been better appreciated at the time, effecting that may have been an easy way to stop Hitler in his (tank) tracks.

                      Regards
                      Scott Fraser
                      Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                      A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                        The question of halting Swedish ore shipments remains. From what I gather, Sweden's iron ore was vital to the German war machine, without it there were no more tanks. If that had been better appreciated at the time, effecting that may have been an easy way to stop Hitler in his (tank) tracks.
                        And Narvik is a LOT closer to Murmansk than the UK, so both outlets are in trouble.

                        And I know that Marat and it's sister BB are old and not terribly well armored, but their armor is much better than what the Pocket Battleships had and they have twice as many guns. That has to count for something.
                        "Why is the Rum gone?"

                        -Captain Jack

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                          And I know that Marat and it's sister BB are old and not terribly well armored, but their armor is much better than what the Pocket Battleships had and they have twice as many guns. That has to count for something.
                          Well, it may be that it only counted for one torpedo. In truth, the day of the battleship ended with the rise of naval aviation, which in this case would include would include the elite VVS-KBF torpedo-bomber squadrons and the Luftwaffe squadrons that slaughtered PQ-17. Submarines might survive, but a capital ship in the Baltic would not last long.

                          All in all, the naval war in the Baltic is another unexplored area of the war.

                          Regards
                          Scott Fraser
                          Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                          A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                            So, there is an answer. It seems the Baltic is a pretty small place. The fact that Leningrad was bottled up as effectively as it was with a few mines is proof of that.
                            I've seen a figure of 50,000 mines in the Gulf of Finland altogether. Must be more than a few in the passage leading to Kronstadt and Leningrad. (Augmenting your point, rather. Yup, agreed, small place.)

                            The question of halting Swedish ore shipments remains. From what I gather, Sweden's iron ore was vital to the German war machine, without it there were no more tanks. If that had been better appreciated at the time, effecting that may have been an easy way to stop Hitler in his (tank) tracks.
                            What was the chance of just outbidding the Germans for the iron? Sweden too wary of German retaliation to accept Allied offers?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                              And Narvik is a LOT closer to Murmansk than the UK, so both outlets are in trouble.
                              Murmansk an outlet? Nickel and molybdenum?

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X