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  • Bismarck Makes It To Brest

    If the Bismarck had made it to Brest, would it have made any difference? I'm sure the RAF would have put on a few massive bombing raids to destroy her. The loss of the Hood would've had to be avenged as soon as possible, for national and naval pride.

  • #2
    Hi

    One of the unexpected aspects (to consider) would have been the necessity to home some RN heavy units in the south of the UK, to cover any breakout attempt, be it another 'Channel Dash' escapade or another foray into the Atlantic shipping lanes before heading north and home. Obviously this would put them in the same predicament as the bottled up KM units in Breast, both would become prime bombing targets etc.

    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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    • #3
      Just a minor point. Bismarck was actually making for St. Nazaire, where the Normandie dry dock would have been available to her.

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      • #4
        Would have made no difference in the big scheme. Germany did not have enough surface ships to be a real threat

        “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -- Albert Einstein

        The US Constitution doesn't need to be rewritten it needs to be reread

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
          Just a minor point. Bismarck was actually making for St. Nazaire, where the Normandie dry dock would have been available to her.
          And when sister ship Tirpitz came on line, made this even more important;
          EXCERPT:
          The St Nazaire Raid or Operation Chariot was a British amphibious attack on the heavily defended Normandie dry dock at St Nazaire in German-occupied France during the Second World War. The operation was undertaken by the Royal Navy and British Commandos under the auspices of Combined Operations Headquarters on 28 March 1942. St Nazaire was targeted because the loss of its dry dock would force any large German warship in need of repairs, such as Tirpitz, sister ship of Bismarck, to return to home waters by running the gauntlet of the Home Fleet of the Royal Navy and other British forces, via the English Channel or the GIUK gap.
          ...
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Nazaire_Raid

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...eship_Bismarck

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Tirpitz
          TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
          “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
          Present Current Events are the Future's History

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          • #6
            Originally posted by slick24 View Post
            Would have made no difference in the big scheme. Germany did not have enough surface ships to be a real threat
            Might depend on how you define "real threat".

            A BB with CA and a couple DDs (for ASW screen) could do some damage to a convoy.

            A couple such task forces could be larger threat(s).
            TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
            “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
            Present Current Events are the Future's History

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            • #7
              For reference and context;
              ...
              The Channel Dash or Unternehmen Zerberus (Operation Cerberus) was a German naval operation during the Second World War.[a] A Kriegsmarine (German navy) squadron comprising the two Scharnhorst-class battleships, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and their escorts ran a British blockade from Brest in Brittany to German ports. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had arrived in Brest on 22 March 1941 after the success of Operation Berlin in the Atlantic. More raids were planned and the ships were refitted at Brest. The ships were threat to Allied trans-Atlantic convoys and RAF Bomber Command attacked them from 30 March 1941. Gneisenau was hit on 6 April 1941 and Scharnhorst on 24 July 1941, after dispersal to La Pallice. In late 1941, Adolf Hitler ordered the Oberkommando der Marine (OKM German Navy high-command) to plan an operation to return the ships to German bases against a British invasion of Norway. The short route up the English Channel was preferred to a detour around the British Isles for surprise and air cover by the Luftwaffe and on 12 January 1942, Hitler gave orders for the operation.[1]

              The British exploited decrypts of German radio messages coded with the Enigma machine, air reconnaissance by the RAF Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) and agents in France to watch the ships and report the damage caused by the bombing. Operation Fuller, a joint Royal Navy-RAF contingency plan, was devised to counter a sortie by the German ships against Atlantic convoys, a return to German ports by circumnavigating the British Isles, or a dash up the English Channel. The Royal Navy had to keep ships at Scapa Flow in Scotland, in case of a sortie by the German battleship Tirpitz from Norway. The RAF had sent squadrons from Bomber and Coastal commands overseas and kept torpedo-bombers in Scotland ready for Tirpitz, which limited the number of aircraft available against a dash up the Channel, as did the winter weather which reduced visibility and blocked airfields with snow.

              On 11 February 1942, the ships left Brest at 9:14 p.m. and escaped detection for more than twelve hours, approaching the Strait of Dover without discovery. The Luftwaffe Unternehmen Donnerkeil (Operation Thunderbolt) provided air cover and as the ships neared Dover, the British belatedly responded; operations by the RAF, Fleet Air Arm, Navy and coastal artillery were costly failures but Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were damaged by mines in the North Sea (Scharnhorst was out of action for a year). By 13 February, the ships had reached German ports, Winston Churchill had ordered an inquiry into the debacle and The Times had denounced the British fiasco. The Kriegsmarine judged the operation a tactical success and a strategic failure; the threat to Atlantic convoys had been sacrificed for a hypothetical threat to Norway. On 23 February, Prinz Eugen was torpedoed off Norway; after being repaired, it spent the rest of the war in the Baltic. Gneisenau went into drydock and was bombed on the night of 26/27 February, never to sail again; Scharnhorst was sunk at the Battle of the North Cape on 26 December 1943.
              ...
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_Dash
              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
              “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
              Present Current Events are the Future's History

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              • #8
                Originally posted by G David Bock View Post

                Might depend on how you define "real threat".

                A BB with CA and a couple DDs (for ASW screen) could do some damage to a convoy.

                A couple such task forces could be larger threat(s).
                Yes, they could have harassed the Royal Navy until the RN ran them down and destroyed them, but their navy could not hold up to the power and numbers of the US Atlantic fleet and RN.

                “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -- Albert Einstein

                The US Constitution doesn't need to be rewritten it needs to be reread

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by slick24 View Post

                  Yes, they could have harassed the Royal Navy until the RN ran them down and destroyed them, but their navy could not hold up to the power and numbers of the US Atlantic fleet and RN.
                  If the USN brought too many BBs into the Atlantic, that would hurt the Pacific fleet. It was a balancing act and one or two German BBs could disrupt it. There is also the carryover effect. If the British had to pull some BBs out of the Med, the Italians may have decided to actually do something with their fleet.

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                  • #10
                    Real threat is one thing. Real game(war) changer another.
                    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                    “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
                    Present Current Events are the Future's History

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                    • #11
                      I don't think it would make any difference : there were German ships who made it to Brest...and a few months later they were forced to leave Brest and to fled to Germany .
                      The German surface fleet was to weak to constitute a danger to the convoys .The convoys could always chose an other course, more to the north where the Bismarck could not pursue them .

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                        I don't think it would make any difference : there were German ships who made it to Brest...and a few months later they were forced to leave Brest and to fled to Germany .
                        The German surface fleet was to weak to constitute a danger to the convoys .The convoys could always chose an other course, more to the north where the Bismarck could not pursue them .
                        She would have been bombed in Brest like Scharnhorst was. Ultimately she would have made the Channel dash back to Germany and either been sunk while in port by bombers like Tirpitz and Gneisenau or sunk in an attempted attack on the Arctic convoys like Scharnhorst.
                        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                        • #13
                          She would've served her purpose...tying up an exponentially bigger portion of the British battleships.

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                          • #14
                            Why ?
                            The chance that the Bismarck could sail to the convoy routes was almost non existent ,and the chance that the Bismarck could find a convoy was also almost non existent .If the Bismarck could find a convoy,the convoy would disperse and the Bismarck would have no other choice than to return to Brest .
                            In most cases the convoys remained undetected by the U Boats who patrolled near the convoy lines,thus why could the Bismarck find a convoy,especially as the Bismarck could not remain at the convoy routes,but had to return to Brest as soon and as fast as possible .
                            And the war ships that were in the French ports could not remain there because of the air attacks .
                            Cerberus mobilized a big part of the LW,a sortie from the Bismarck also would need the intervention of the LW.
                            In operation Cerberus, the KM replaced one prison for another .

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                            • #15
                              Consider that from the German perspective, one is looking at a matrix of resources to apply, with regard to convoy interception and attack, at least in the early years of the war;

                              1) A line of zones/patrol areas for U-boats to station~patrol; say from Greenland southward to Azores or more, backed up by a second and/or third line of patrol zones - such that if not "wolf-packing"; at least one or more subs will have the convoy passing through their patrol zone/region...

                              2) Better co-operation and assist from the Luftwaffe in providing long-range patrol and attack aircraft resources in forms of mostly He-111 and Fw-200 roaming out into Eastern to Mid-Atlantic regions to find and/or attack convoys.

                              3) Sorties of Task Forces composed of 1(+) BB (Bismark/Tirpitz), 1(+)BC (Scharnhorst/Gneisenau)(pocket "BBs"), 1+ CAs, plus 2-6 DD's, would result in either;
                              A) Convoy remains together and it's escort of BBs/BCs/CAs/Etc, engage or ...
                              B) Convoy disperses improving odds for U-boats to attack/pack against it.

                              4) Combination of one to all three of the above ...

                              Net result is:
                              ... that German surface naval resources either get a shot(s) at the convoy or make it a better target for the U-Boats/subs (and/or aircraft); hence either way provide a viable threat until the German Capital Vessels ~ enough BBs/BCs are neutralized (sunk/severely damaged) such that effectiveness of U-Boats and long range attack aircraft is reduced.
                              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                              “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
                              Present Current Events are the Future's History

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