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  • Augmented Operation Rheinübung

    The original plan for Operation Rheinubung was to have Bismark and Tirpitz together raid into the Atlantic while Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sortied from Brest. In reality Tirpitz wasn't completed in time; Gneisenau was damaged by a torpedo and bombs while in port and Scharnhorst's boiler needed an overhaul. Leaving Bismark as the only capital ship available.Lutjens wanted to delay the mission until either Tirpitz or Scharnhorst was available.
    In this scenario the Germans wait until autumn 1941 so that both Tirpitz and Bismark can sail together. No other changes on the German side to real life.so Prinz Eugene still goes.

    On the British side the delay allows the PoW to be a bit more ready but the next KGV wasn't commissioned until November 1941 so still wouldn't be available.

    How would the British have countered two Bismark class battleships? The only RN battleships that could stand on a 1 to 1 basis against the Bismarks were the Nelson and Rodney and they were too slow to catch an undamaged Bismark. The only battleships that could catch a Bismark in 1941 were PoW, KGV and Hood and as everyone knows Hood was too fragile to last long. Thus there was a fair chance that Bismark, Tirpitz and PE could beat Hood, KGV and PoW.


    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

  • #2
    There likely would be no Operation Rheinubung in late 1941, i.e. AFTER the launch of Barbarossa. Bismarck and Tirpitz would both be alternatively deployed on the Norwegian coast, to threaten the Arctic Convoys, and in the Baltic, preventing the Soviet Baltic Fleet from either interdicting, or escaping to Sweden. Such is how Hitler's brain works.
    "I am Groot"
    - Groot

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    • #3
      Hi

      Well firstly naval warfare isn't a game of Top Trumps.

      Whilst its easy to concentrate on the BB's (guns and armour) I'd imagine that the Royal Navy would resort to sheer numbers to try and defeat the enemy, just as it did in reality with the Bismarck.

      In addition to the BB's & BC's the RN would know doubt deploy whatever AC's were available plus maybe a few Cruiser Sqns (Heavy and Light) Whilst neither of the Cruisers could sink a BB, the could cause havoc on their superstructure, maybe knocking out key gunnery aids etc or sinking the PE.

      Whatever realistic scenario is imagined, it'll be a crap shoot, literally, and whose side lady luck is on.

      Regards

      Andy H
      "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

      "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Andy H View Post
        Hi

        Well firstly naval warfare isn't a game of Top Trumps.

        Whilst its easy to concentrate on the BB's (guns and armour) I'd imagine that the Royal Navy would resort to sheer numbers to try and defeat the enemy, just as it did in reality with the Bismarck.

        In addition to the BB's & BC's the RN would know doubt deploy whatever AC's were available plus maybe a few Cruiser Sqns (Heavy and Light) Whilst neither of the Cruisers could sink a BB, the could cause havoc on their superstructure, maybe knocking out key gunnery aids etc or sinking the PE.

        Whatever realistic scenario is imagined, it'll be a crap shoot, literally, and whose side lady luck is on.

        Regards

        Andy H
        Taking mid September, 1941, as a possible date, the RN's resources in heavy ships were rather better than they had been in May. Four battleships (KGV, POW, Rodney, & Nelson) were available, and a fifth, Duke of York, was working up. I have not included the Queen Elizabeths, the obsolete 'R's, or the two battlecruisers, here, of course.

        Three fast fleet carriers, Victorious, Ark Royal, & Furious, were operational, whilst a fourth, Indomitable, was working up in the West Indies, and the older, slower (24 knot) Eagle could also have been called upon.

        Historically, other than the KGVs and Victorious, most of these were at Gibraltar or Freetown, but had there been a possibility of a sortie by Bismarck & Tirpitz together, I think it is more than probable that these dispositions would have been rather different.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post

          Taking mid September, 1941, as a possible date, the RN's resources in heavy ships were rather better than they had been in May. Four battleships (KGV, POW, Rodney, & Nelson) were available, and a fifth, Duke of York, was working up. I have not included the Queen Elizabeths, the obsolete 'R's, or the two battlecruisers, here, of course.

          Three fast fleet carriers, Victorious, Ark Royal, & Furious, were operational, whilst a fourth, Indomitable, was working up in the West Indies, and the older, slower (24 knot) Eagle could also have been called upon.

          Historically, other than the KGVs and Victorious, most of these were at Gibraltar or Freetown, but had there been a possibility of a sortie by Bismarck & Tirpitz together, I think it is more than probable that these dispositions would have been rather different.
          Hi DS

          At least we have a possible 'the other side of the hill' POV now, to counter the initial proposal.

          There are obviously to many variables to come to any concrete decision, other than both sides would suffer losses and that one of those sides had a greater margin to absorb losses going forward, than the other.

          Regards

          Andy H
          "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

          "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post

            Taking mid September, 1941, as a possible date, the RN's resources in heavy ships were rather better than they had been in May. Four battleships (KGV, POW, Rodney, & Nelson) were available, and a fifth, Duke of York, was working up. I have not included the Queen Elizabeths, the obsolete 'R's, or the two battlecruisers, here, of course.

            Three fast fleet carriers, Victorious, Ark Royal, & Furious, were operational, whilst a fourth, Indomitable, was working up in the West Indies, and the older, slower (24 knot) Eagle could also have been called upon.

            Historically, other than the KGVs and Victorious, most of these were at Gibraltar or Freetown, but had there been a possibility of a sortie by Bismarck & Tirpitz together, I think it is more than probable that these dispositions would have been rather different.
            I'VE ALWAYS found the cruise a rather odd undertaking...'any departure of the German fleet' was bound to get back to the British Navy, given the huge numbers of 'unfriendly eyes' that the \
            German Heavy Queens would have to sail past. since the invasion of Russia was one month away, staging the forces in the North of Norway, with a possible invasion of Spitzbergen, would have prepared for the inevitable convoys- while saving precious fuel....
            The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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            • #7
              Originally posted by marktwain View Post

              I'VE ALWAYS found the cruise a rather odd undertaking...'any departure of the German fleet' was bound to get back to the British Navy, given the huge numbers of 'unfriendly eyes' that the \
              German Heavy Queens would have to sail past. since the invasion of Russia was one month away, staging the forces in the North of Norway, with a possible invasion of Spitzbergen, would have prepared for the inevitable convoys- while saving precious fuel....
              I believe that Hitler was confident that the Russian campaign would be over comparatively quickly. Didn't he say something along the lines of “We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.”

              I suppose that Raeder despatched Bismarck & Prinz Eugen because the previous Operation Berlin, carried out by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, had been a success. The same commander, Lutjens, took his ships through the Denmark Strait, whilst Tovey, with a force of three battleships, eight cruisers, and eleven destroyers, expected him to use the Iceland Faroes gap. Presumably, Tovey learned from his previous mistake, whilst Lutjens assumed (hoped?) that he wouldn't?

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              • #8
                Wasn't the German Navy playing a Guerrilla War at Sea, more or less?

                I think that putting all your best hitters in the game at once would be the best way to give the Limeys their best shot at getting them all in one shot.
                You can do that when you have ten battleships and they other guys only have two, and you have 15 Heavy Cruisers and the Germans have about three.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Phaing View Post
                  Wasn't the German Navy playing a Guerrilla War at Sea, more or less?

                  I think that putting all your best hitters in the game at once would be the best way to give the Limeys their best shot at getting them all in one shot.
                  You can do that when you have ten battleships and they other guys only have two, and you have 15 Heavy Cruisers and the Germans have about three.
                  Great point- and welcome to the forums

                  the Kriegsmarine took some rather questionable risks early in the war. Graf Spree's diesels were in need of overhaul, and by the time of the Battle of the Platte she was heading home at a max of 24 knots- and dropping.
                  Yet Langsdorf got into an avoidable battle...
                  The heavy cruiser Blucher was sunk by Norwegian fortress guns - trying to bluff her way past, rather than having a landing force take the fortress...

                  Perhaps having the greatest Admiral the Backwoods of Austria ever spawned looking over his shoulder jinxed Raeder...
                  The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by marktwain View Post

                    Great point- and welcome to the forums

                    the Kriegsmarine took some rather questionable risks early in the war. Graf Spree's diesels were in need of overhaul, and by the time of the Battle of the Platte she was heading home at a max of 24 knots- and dropping.
                    Yet Langsdorf got into an avoidable battle...
                    The heavy cruiser Blucher was sunk by Norwegian fortress guns - trying to bluff her way past, rather than having a landing force take the fortress...

                    Perhaps having the greatest Admiral the Backwoods of Austria ever spawned looking over his shoulder jinxed Raeder...
                    Raeder was naturally reckless one only has to look at some of the Mediterranean strategies he was urging on Hitler
                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                    • #11
                      The Kriegsmarine had to keep proving their worth to justify their place in the budget. A lot of high rank Germans wanted to demobilize the surface ships and send the men elsewhere.

                      Pruitt
                      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by marktwain View Post

                        Great point- and welcome to the forums.
                        Thanks!

                        Originally posted by marktwain View Post
                        Yet Langsdorf got into an avoidable battle...
                        The heavy cruiser Blucher was sunk by Norwegian fortress guns -.
                        Its almost as if the Germans were being arrogant, or something like that.

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                        • #13
                          It would make little difference. A Guerre de Course of commerce raiding is not a winning naval strategy. It's a spoiler, usually done by the weaker side in a naval war. It is intended to tie up the naval forces of the stronger side in an expensive game of hide and seek while whittling away at their merchant fleet.
                          No matter how successful your commerce raiding is, it won't win a naval war.

                          The US use of commerce raiding in the Pacific was ultimately successful because it was part of a larger naval strategy. Alone, it too was not going to win the Pacific War.

                          As for this:

                          Yet Langsdorf got into an avoidable battle...
                          The heavy cruiser Blucher was sunk by Norwegian fortress guns - trying to bluff her way past, rather than having a landing force take the fortress..
                          Blücher's action was intended as a coup de main. That is, the Germans were trying for a surprise landing of infantry being carried by the cruiser. That the Norwegians were alert and sank the cruiser is simply a failure of a risky plan that was part of a much larger, risky, operation. Had the British and French not been so incompetent, they could have beaten the Germans in Norway and held the country.
                          As it was, neither Britain or France was willing to risk anything substantial on the Norwegian campaign and that allowed Germany, who made a serious and concerted effort to take the country, to win. Put another way, the Norwegian campaign wasn't so much won by Germany as it was lost by the British and French.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            It would make little difference. A Guerre de Course of commerce raiding is not a winning naval strategy. It's a spoiler, usually done by the weaker side in a naval war. It is intended to tie up the naval forces of the stronger side in an expensive game of hide and seek while whittling away at their merchant fleet.
                            No matter how successful your commerce raiding is, it won't win a naval war.

                            The US use of commerce raiding in the Pacific was ultimately successful because it was part of a larger naval strategy. Alone, it too was not going to win the Pacific War.

                            As for this:



                            Blücher's action was intended as a coup de main. That is, the Germans were trying for a surprise landing of infantry being carried by the cruiser. That the Norwegians were alert and sank the cruiser is simply a failure of a risky plan that was part of a much larger, risky, operation. Had the British and French not been so incompetent, they could have beaten the Germans in Norway and held the country.
                            As it was, neither Britain or France was willing to risk anything substantial on the Norwegian campaign and that allowed Germany, who made a serious and concerted effort to take the country, to win. Put another way, the Norwegian campaign wasn't so much won by Germany as it was lost by the British and French.
                            I'll certain ly agree on the 'risky' point. I wonder if the Kreigsmarine ever considered having the Blucher and its convoy stand off and cover the landing with gunfire - while sending in a landing on the old pre dreadnought coal fired ships?

                            Where's senor Draco when we really need him?
                            Last edited by marktwain; 12 Sep 19, 20:33.
                            The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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                            • #15
                              The 18" Coastal Gun had not been fired for years and had no range finder. They literally opened the breech and looked down it! The German ships were all carrying troops and supplies, so I don't see Blucher standing off. They should have landed the troops elsewheres and taken the Fort by land, which they gad to do anyway.

                              Pruitt
                              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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