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  • #46
    Originally posted by ljadw View Post
    About Dönitz : he said that with more U Boats the KM could have won WWI ,(The Hunters P 37 ) and he said that he could do it in WWII with 300 U Boats (same source ) . He was wrong ,two times .
    Winning the war on the cheap was out of the question .The KM could not win the war on its own.
    He was even wrong in his calculations, a cadet would have done better : 300 U Boats do not result in 100 patrolling U Boats .In March 1943 he had 400 U Boats of which 182 were stationed in the Atlantic of which 70 were on combat patrol .
    And his blahblah about Wolf packs was also wrong ;there were no coordinated,simultaneous U Boat attacks : a Wolf pack of 20 U Boats did not mean that 20 U Boats attacked a convoy at the same time,but that a maximum of 20 U Boats could attack during a certain period an enemy convoy .Wolf packs were improvised, mostly isolated attacks .
    What Doenitz actually did say, to Hitler, on 1 September, 1939, was : " The focal point [center of gravity] of warfare against England, and the one and only possibility of bringing England to her knees with the forces of our Navy, was all out attack on merchant shipping, with the U-boat as the primary weapon." This is a credible assessment of the limited capabilities of the Kriegsmarine in 1939, rather than the more bombastic claim you attribute to him. It presents a strategy to be pursued by the navy in support of the overall German war effort, not a claim that the U-boat arm could win the war unaided.

    Based on analysis and exercises conducted in 1938 and 1939, Admiral Doenitz had concluded that Germany would require at least 300 U-boats--100 of which in the actual area of operations at any one time--to have a chance of succeeding in a battle waged against escorted convoys of Britain. This is, I suggest, rather different from your claim that 'he said that he could do it in WWII with 300 U Boats.'

    You should read ' Operational Analysis of the Culminating Phase of the Battle of the Atlantic: A German fait accompli ' ( NAVAL WAR COLLEGE Newport, R.I. ) by Jeffrey D. Gordon Commander, U.S. Navy, for greater enlightenment.

    Incidentally, The purpose of the Wolf Pack was to enable a number of boats from a patrol line, once a convoy had been located, to concentrate on it in order to permit contact to be maintained,and to carry out a series of attacks which would overwhelm the resources of the Escorts. HX229, HX229A, & SC122 were the most obvious example of this. Doenitz did not anticipate that a group of boats would all attack at precisely the same time, because of the obvious confusion and risk of friendly fire incidents that might result. I suggest that you are maligning him.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post

      I wasn't going to bother, but a brief comment only. You still haven't explained what the U-Boat fleet would have been used for if it didn't carry out a tonnage war, and how anyone at the time could possibly have known what form D-Day, if it took place at all, would actually take. If there was no commerce war, then there was no point in constructing the size of U-boat fleet the Germans did. Ergo, when/if D-Day came, there would not be a large German U-boat fleet to oppose it, surely?
      Sigh
      The Germans knew that there would be an Allied landing in France in 1944,and if the landing was a success,the result would be very bad .
      The logical conclusion was that when the landing would happen(after April 1944 ) it would be the mission of the KM to help the army to make a failure of the landing .It was the same for the LW ( but the LW was unable to intervene ) .
      Thus at D Day,the KM should have been able to intervene with a big number of U Boats,something the KM did not, because it preferred to fight its own war ,still being influenced by the illusion that in the Summer of 1944 it was still possible to win the war by waging an independent tonnage war ,and it preferred to sail the seven seas searching for M V.
      After almost 5 years of war, Dönitz still refused to face and accept reality ,because he could not accept that he could be wrong ,reality being that an independent tonnage war had failed . Totally .And that it now was the time, more than the time,that the KM should accept to have a subordinate role which was "to HELP the army and to accept the orders of the army .

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post

        What Doenitz actually did say, to Hitler, on 1 September, 1939, was : " The focal point [center of gravity] of warfare against England, and the one and only possibility of bringing England to her knees with the forces of our Navy, was all out attack on merchant shipping, with the U-boat as the primary weapon." This is a credible assessment of the limited capabilities of the Kriegsmarine in 1939, rather than the more bombastic claim you attribute to him. It presents a strategy to be pursued by the navy in support of the overall German war effort, not a claim that the U-boat arm could win the war unaided.

        Based on analysis and exercises conducted in 1938 and 1939, Admiral Doenitz had concluded that Germany would require at least 300 U-boats--100 of which in the actual area of operations at any one time--to have a chance of succeeding in a battle waged against escorted convoys of Britain. This is, I suggest, rather different from your claim that 'he said that he could do it in WWII with 300 U Boats.'

        You should read ' Operational Analysis of the Culminating Phase of the Battle of the Atlantic: A German fait accompli ' ( NAVAL WAR COLLEGE Newport, R.I. ) by Jeffrey D. Gordon Commander, U.S. Navy, for greater enlightenment.

        Incidentally, The purpose of the Wolf Pack was to enable a number of boats from a patrol line, once a convoy had been located, to concentrate on it in order to permit contact to be maintained,and to carry out a series of attacks which would overwhelm the resources of the Escorts. HX229, HX229A, & SC122 were the most obvious example of this. Doenitz did not anticipate that a group of boats would all attack at precisely the same time, because of the obvious confusion and risk of friendly fire incidents that might result. I suggest that you are maligning him.
        1 The KM could not bring Britain on her knees (it tried to do this in WWI and failed ) ,this FACT invalidates the claim of Dönitz that he could bring Britain on her knees with 300 U Boats .
        His argument that Britain had a merchant fleet of 18 million GRT and that with 300 U Boats,he could sink monthly 1 million ton ,thus after a year 2/3 of the British merchant fleet ,would give a cadet an F at the naval academy .
        Did Dönitz not know that Britain could build M V during the war and that the attacks on Norway,Greece etc ..were increasing the British merchant fleet because the merchant fleets of these countries were joining Britain ? In WWI Britain build M V and had almost continously new allies who had a merchant fleet .
        The FACT is that at the end of 1941 the M V losses caused by U Boats were more than replaced by new production and by new allies and that everything Dönitz had done was fruitless.
        2 There was no culminating phase of the Battle of the Atlantic .

        3 Wolves attack in group .
        U Boats did not attack in group,there were no coordinated U Boat attacks . There was no Führer der Wolf pack . Besides, most Wolf packs failed and their results were very low .
        The argument of confusion/friendly fire is not valid : the U Boats did not attack in group because
        a no one could coordinate the attack .
        b every U Boat was arriving at a different moment, because they came all from a different distance with different speed .

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        • #49
          As fascinating as it is to read about the U-boat war what does it have to do with the what if that is the subject?
          Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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          • #50
            The OP was : what would happen if the Bismarck made it to Brest ?
            The logical answer was : nothing ,because more surface ships in Brest would not be a bigger threat to British convoys/imports ,because the importance of convoys for British imports is very exaggerated,as is the importance of imports for British survival .
            And if these surface ships would leave Brest for the Atlantic, this also would have no big results,as they would not detect the convoys and if they did ,the losses they would cause would not have a big importance for the imports and for the survival of the UK .
            It is not so that the chance for 5 war ships to leave Brest and to return was greater than for 3 war ships and the commitment of more war ships does not mean more M V losses .
            All this applies also to U Boats who were ,as the Bismarck, surface ships, but who could dive, what the Bismarck could not .
            The chance for the Bismarck (and U Boats ) to sink M V was depending on the possibility to detect a convoy .And the amount of M V that could be sunk by the Bismarck (and U Boats ) was limited/determined by the amount of British imports,and this was decided/determined ,NOT by the KM, but by Britain/US/Canada, etc..
            It were the allies who determined the dance, not the KM .
            The opposite did happen in the Mediterranean , and ,maybe ( I am careful ) also in the Pacific .

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Tsar View Post
              As fascinating as it is to read about the U-boat war what does it have to do with the what if that is the subject?
              Sorry. I apologise. Initially, I replied to this individual in response to a fairly innocuous question (or so I thought!) he posted on 16 September, at 1203. Since then he has been posting a whole series of irrelevant comments and wildly inaccurate statements, and I have been drawn in to responding. Quite why, I really don't know, as he doesn't seem to have been reading anything I have written.

              I confess, responding to such people has always been a weakness of mine. I recall a certain 'Draco' some years ago!

              You are right, however. I accept the admonition, and won't be drawn in again. Sorry.

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