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  • #16
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    How many submarines and S boats, or long range torpedo bombers could have been built and properly supported with the funds & labor that went into the GZ? the Axis did a lot of damage to Alled fleets with light torpedo armed craft. More would have been usefull.
    Realistically the Kriegsmarine as a whole was a waste of resources (maybe with the exception of the u-boat fleet) because Germany could only triumph by way of land and air. There are arguments that Germany came close to knocking out the USSR, close enough that maybe a few extra tanks or tactical bombers might have been enough (not that I agree with it but that's not the issue). Had that been the case then the remaining Allies would have struggled to establish a presence on the Continent whilst the Reich could have assembled whatever order of battle it chose to almost at its leisure.

    It was argued above that the GZ might have been useful to tie down RN assets that were deployed elsewhere but given the strength of the RN and the weakness of the Italian Fleet (the only other naval threat in European waters) I don't see how it would make much difference. After all, what else would those assets have been doing?
    Signing out.

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    • #17
      I remember a nice little Beer & Pretzels board game callled "Victory at sea".

      Simplistic, yes, but also good fun. The reason I rmember it now is because the Graf was included. WIth that one ship included, the game was balanced, and the Geramns had a chance to win.

      Meaning; WIth that ship invloved, the Axis had a chance to cause enought havoc to ruin Britan's war effort with thier sea-power. Without it, they do not have a chance to win the game.

      Also, the bulk of the RN was not released for action in the Pacific until after the Tirpitz, an almost usless cripple by that time, was destroyed in November of 1944. How much would a fixation with another solitary ship have cost them?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post

        Also, the bulk of the RN was not released for action in the Pacific until after the Tirpitz, an almost usless cripple by that time, was destroyed in November of 1944. How much would a fixation with another solitary ship have cost them?
        The RN move into the Pacific had to do with logistics. Until then supporting fleet operations east of the Indian Ocean was costly, and depended on US cooperation. The latter was given up grudgingly by King, who disliked the British.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
          The RN move into the Pacific had to do with logistics. Until then supporting fleet operations east of the Indian Ocean was costly, and depended on US cooperation. The latter was given up grudgingly by King, who disliked the British.
          Yep. Sadly British sea power was not significant in the war against Japan. Even the offered loan of a British carrier to the US Pacific Fleet was declined, despite the losses the Americans had taken at the time. Had the GZ been operational that offer would probably not have been made.
          Signing out.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
            Yep. Sadly British sea power was not significant in the war against Japan. Even the offered loan of a British carrier to the US Pacific Fleet was declined, despite the losses the Americans had taken at the time. Had the GZ been operational that offer would probably not have been made.
            With all the real fear surrounding the Bismarck, its hard to imagine the British treating the threat of the Bismarck and the Graf Zepplin as anything but a national priority, so I bet your right about the RN retaining naval assets to deal with the threat.

            Thats where I imagine the GZ would be at its most influential: in tying down British assets from other theatres.

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            • #21
              One overlooked possibility is that Germany might have learned some very valuable technical lessons from GZ had she become operational.

              GZ might also have served quite well as a mobile reconaissance base for convoy spotting, enabling the wolf packs to do a better job.

              Since Hitler knew next to nothing about the projection of naval power, it is unfortunately one of those moot points. Would have been nice to see the finished vessel, though.

              Comment


              • #22
                I think most of us are agreed that even if the GZ were completed by mid-1941, its effect on the wider war would have been minor unless it were coupled with other changes during the war.

                So, because I always like to change things up a bit, how about this scenario concerning the Kriegsmarine "Plan Z" and a few other changes. Complete with Banner and everything!


                The Germans are at war with the Allies in 1939, and Nazi leadership decides that they still need to persue a modified "Plan Z", realizing that without being able to contest the High Seas with the British Royal Navy they will never be able to truly threaten the island nation enough to force a surrender.

                Hitler (maybe being a little less crazy ) decides to postpone the invasion of the Soviet Union until Britain has been dealt with, fearing a war on two fronts (hey, he feared gas attacks right? So maybe he fears something else from WW1 ). Thus the German government decides to go into full War Economy-mode, while the Luftwaffe tests the RAF over the channel but not engaging in a full out Battle of Britain-esque campaign.

                This would have two effects (which I alluded to in the Seelöwe thread): without calling up many more men for service in the Army, the Germany economy is able to expand (using raw resources from the trade with the Soviet Union), and the actuall shift into a War Economy a few years before Germany did historically would help facilitate this growth as well.

                The lack of a need to increase the size of land forces before Barbarossa would see the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe projects getting priority, and thus they wouldn't be plagued with the same delays and whatnot due to resource competition that the Kriegsmarine had to deal with historically.

                From Wikipedia about Plan Z:
                The plan called for a Kriegsmarine of 10 battleships, 4 aircraft carriers, 3 battle cruisers, 44 light cruisers, 8 heavy cruisers, 68 destroyers and 249 U-boats by 1944 that was meant to challenge the naval power of Great Britain.
                and:

                • Four aircraft carriers, (two of the Graf Zeppelin-class, plus two others)
                • Six H Class battleships
                • Three "O Class" battlecruisers
                • Twelve "Kreuzer P Class" Panzerschiffe
                • Two Hipper Class heavy cruisers (Seydlitz, and Lützow)
                • Four "M Class" light cruisers
                • Two "Improved M Class" light cruisers
                • Six " Spähkreuzer Class" large destroyers
                So Germany overuns Belgium, the Netherlands, and France in 1940, but due to German errors the British evacuate Dunkirk with a large portion of their forces. This only gives the German leadership more reason to believe that any defeat of Great Britain would only come from being able to contest the RN on the high seas while striking at GB's weak link: the convoys with the supplies and resources to keep it running.

                German industry expands at a nice rate, but the facilities for the building of these new ships would take time to expand. Germany produces large numbers of U-Boats to attack British shipping in the meantime while working on improved Naval bombers, capable of threatening the RN when close to land.

                The fact that the Luftwaffe didn't sacrifice itself in the skies above England mean that many of the veteran pilots are still around, fighting the odd battle with the RAF over the channel or when protecting German naval yards from RAF attack. The British dominance in Radar allows them an advantage in any fight close to home, but the Germans are able to prevent any serious damage being dealt to their shipyards and the ships under construction by keeping many fighter units stationed near the major ports along the North Sea and Baltic regions.

                Germany also utilized industry from the occupied territories to help produce goods for this expansion, but is quick to discover that due to the efforts of resistance groups and lack of support from the laborers there mean that only non-essential items are produced there to keep delays and deliberate sabotage to a minimum.

                Many ships are launched between 1939 and 1941, including the Bismarck, Tirpitz, and the Graf Zeppelin, but the expansion of German industry slows, Germany’s reliance on resources from the Soviet Union and independent nations in SE Europe increasing. Originally Germany had been very unreliable on its deliveries of goods and technology to the Soviet Union in exchange for its resources, but Stalin soon realizes that Germany is very dependent on the Soviet Union and is able to twist Germany’s arm into delivering more of what they promised. The Nazi leadership grumbles but gives in, and their shipments become more reliable. During this period, the Luftwaffe is angered when control over the aircraft on the German CV’s are placed under the control of the Navy, but the Kriegsmarine and government recognize that it is a necessary step.

                When Japan declares war on the United States Germany offers a message of sympathy for the US, hoping to keep the US out of the war while they deal with England. Roosevelt is able to convince Congress to send more aid to the UK, but the American people are focusing their hatred and anger on Imperial Japan (lacking a German declaration of war on the US).

                So, what do you think: could an expanded German navy, no war in the East, better economic and military policies (no BoB), and no German declaration of war on the US have helped the Germans to defeat the UK?

                For me its hard to imagine the British holding out for years against the Germans if the Germans were sinking German convoys and expanding their navy/air force, all without the need to fight in the Soviet Union in the east or the US sending large numbers of men to help the British fight.

                While the RN too would be expanding to meet a growing Kriegsmarine, it just strikes me as leading to an eventual situation where the Kriegsmarine doesn't have the overall strength of the RN, but because they can focus on utilizing all their force in the North Sea they could be a serious enough threat to the British that a negotiated peace might be arranged, especially when the war enters its 4th or 5th year with no end in sight (Britain can't take the continent back by itself).

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by MountainMan View Post
                  Since Hitler knew next to nothing about the projection of naval power, it is unfortunately one of those moot points. Would have been nice to see the finished vessel, though.
                  That it would have.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                    How much would a fixation with another solitary ship have cost them?
                    The British really and truly did fear the Bismarck and Tirpitz: with those ships backed up by the GZ, the British would make it one of their top priorities to sink said ships.

                    Especially if the Germans were expanding the surface fleet and the GZ's sister ship were almost finished.

                    Enough to destroy the RN? No. But imagine how the Allies would have treated D-Day if all the said ships were alive in '44?

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                    • #25
                      DoD, before the 'ultra-realists' (you know who I mean) come down here and rain all over your parade, you do realise your scenario is a little, er, 'overoptimistic' don't you. I've got no objection to 'shooting the breeze' and debating all sorts of 'interesting' schemes as long we accept we're in fantasy land. The German war economy was at full stretch in 1940 and 1941 to produce what it did so if we're being realistic, what gets cut? And that's a lot that needs to get cut too. If we're not being realistic then let's have some fun.

                      Just want to get that cleared up first.
                      Signing out.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                        DoD, before the 'ultra-realists' (you know who I mean) come down here and rain all over your parade, you do realise your scenario is a little, er, 'overoptimistic' don't you. I've got no objection to 'shooting the breeze' and debating all sorts of 'interesting' schemes as long we accept we're in fantasy land.
                        Its a sort of 'best case' scenario for the Kriegsmarine. Thats why it sounds so 'optimistic'. Is it likely to happen historically? Not at all. Thats why I had to change so much and stipulate things like 'No invasion of the USSR'.

                        But is it plausible when considered from an Alternate History POW like Hitler not wanting to invade the USSR so soon and wanting to instead deal with Britain first? I believe so.

                        But like I said: its a plausible AltHistory scenario when you change a number of things first. Hitler was determined to invade the USSR historically, so this entire exercise would depend on him actually having a little common sense for instance.

                        The German war economy was at full stretch in 1940 and 1941 to produce what it did so if we're being realistic, what gets cut? And that's a lot that needs to get cut too.
                        I disagree. One area would be in growing/rearming the Heer in favor of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine.

                        Secondly, the German economy was not running full tilt in 1940/41. The German could have grown their industrial production, especially without pulling hundreds of thousands of men into the Army for the invasion of Russia.

                        Could Germany have increased their economic output? Yes, certainly. As long as you have the labour and resources, you can build more factories. But I recognize that such growth would a) take time to pay off (you don't build a shipyard in 2 weeks ) and b) would be limited by Germany's ability to get raw resources.

                        Thats why I brought in the Soviet Union, who did supply Germany with large amounts of resources essential to its industry before the war. Stalin wanted to be on Hitler's good side before the invasion, and his shipments were always orderly and on time. Hitlers, by comparison, were very haphassard and often didn't get sent. So without a German invasion of the USSR, I offered a scenario where Stalin recognizes a way to force the Germans to depend on the Soviet Unions resources and actually pay the Russians the technical know-how they wanted (advanced machinery, etc.).

                        With the Luftwaffe and (especially) the Kriegsmarine recieving priority, it is not unfeasable to imagine a Plan Z going into effect (although I imagine it would be a bit smaller in scale and in goals).

                        If we're not being realistic then let's have some fun.
                        Why not both?

                        Its not "realistic" for Hitler to be a bit saner and more willing to listen to his generals. Thats the "Alternate History" part, and I'll be the first to admit that Germany's chances in the war were slim to none with him in charge.

                        But if he were different, if the German government did enact the decisions I stated, would the scenario I filled out be realistic (if optimistic)?

                        I always like to debate what-ifs regardless, and fun is always preferable to absolute realism.

                        Just want to get that cleared up first.
                        Thanks for that. Some people look at Alternate History ideas and they automatically refuse to consider anything that requires a change to history.

                        Makes me wonder why they even come to the Alternate History forum.

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                        • #27
                          As a design, GZ was a step backwards in carrier evolution and her air group was a joke.
                          hmmm . . . I wonder what THIS button does . . . uh oh

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                            Secondly, the German economy was not running full tilt in 1940/41. The German could have grown their industrial production, especially without pulling hundreds of thousands of men into the Army for the invasion of Russia.
                            The German economy was running flat out at that time. The problem wasn't labour, it was a shortage of raw materiels and factory space. As I, and several others, have asked you on several occasions, where do you get this idea from?

                            But if he were different, if the German government did enact the decisions I stated, would the scenario I filled out be realistic (if optimistic)?
                            No, at least not in its current format.
                            Thanks for that. Some people look at Alternate History ideas and they automatically refuse to consider anything that requires a change to history.

                            Makes me wonder why they even come to the Alternate History forum.
                            I don't think that's true. What they look for is viable alternatives. The German economy and potential war production being a case in point. There are those who think that Germany could just build more submarines in 1940 but don't consider the problems of re-tooling factories, shifting the finished subs to docks, retraining the factory workers and recruiting and training the crews. Then there's the issue of the strategic situation - with the USSR making threatening noises regarding the Balkans the Germans can't sit back too much. From my pov, as long as we acknowledge the realities we can discuss all sorts of 'what if's?'
                            Signing out.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                              The German economy was running flat out at that time. The problem wasn't labour, it was a shortage of raw materiels and factory space. As I, and several others, have asked you on several occasions, where do you get this idea from?
                              Thats why I spoke about Germany increasing the flow of resources from the Soviet Union (which had plenty, hey?).

                              No Germany would not be able to, say, double the number of factories running. But there was still room for growth. German industry/economy was not at some absolute maximum level in 1939/40. Growth could still be achieved, and effeciency could be improved.

                              I have yet to see anyone show any evidence for Germany being unable to create, I dunno, more steel in 1941 than it was in 1939.

                              There are those who think that Germany could just build more submarines in 1940 but don't consider the problems of re-tooling factories, shifting the finished subs to docks, retraining the factory workers and recruiting and training the crews.
                              But many of those problems are one time costs: once the factory is retooled, it can keep on producing subs, chamber pots, etc. Likewise, training workers would only matter in the short term; once the large group of original workers are all trained up, new workers would learn the job normally without slowing production.

                              In fact, most of these "problems" would only result in short delays (a few months, tops).

                              Germany would have the labour pool to man as many factories as it wanted, and it had the industrial capacity to produce new machinery to fill said factories. The only weakness for an expanded German economy in WW2 is what you have been saying: resources. Thats the serious bottleneck.

                              But are we seriously considering that Germany would not be able to either produce and/or import more raw materials, especially with access to said resources not interdicted by war on all fronts?

                              Then there's the issue of the strategic situation - with the USSR making threatening noises regarding the Balkans the Germans can't sit back too much.
                              I agree. The Heer would need to relocate substantial elements to Poland, but would take up strong defensive positions to repel any Soviet invasion.

                              Which despite some authors claims, were not an imminent threat to Germany.

                              That being said, Stalin's actions and conduct in the many months prior to the Great Patriotic War showed that he was quite happy (eager, even) to strike a working relationship with Hitler. I believe even resources from Japan were allowed to travel over Soviet railines to Germany. And the USSR provided huge amounts of raw resources to Germany in exchange for technical help, etc.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post

                                No Germany would not be able to, say, double the number of factories running. But there was still room for growth. German industry/economy was not at some absolute maximum level in 1939/40. Growth could still be achieved, and effeciency could be improved.
                                Oh but it was at a maximum and that's clear by the way armaments production decreased between its first peak in July 1940 and February 1941. It was August 1941 before it matched the first peak. The only way that the first peak was reached was by, as Tooze puts it, ".... the ruthless mobilisation of resources, without regard either for the needs of the civilian population or the future prospects of the war economy. In economic, as well as military, terms Nazi Germany was going for broke" ('Wages of Destruction' - p.347).

                                I have yet to see anyone show any evidence for Germany being unable to create, I dunno, more steel in 1941 than it was in 1939.
                                What you have to factor in is capital investment. An economy can be producing at its maximum one year and then produce more the next. That's because more capital goods are available to increase production. So even if steel production was higher in 1941 it doesn't necessarily point to 'slack' being taken up.

                                But many of those problems are one time costs: once the factory is retooled, it can keep on producing subs, chamber pots, etc. Likewise, training workers would only matter in the short term; once the large group of original workers are all trained up, new workers would learn the job normally without slowing production.
                                Where would these 'new workers' come from? Population growth is not enough.

                                In fact, most of these "problems" would only result in short delays (a few months, tops).

                                Germany would have the labour pool to man as many factories as it wanted, and it had the industrial capacity to produce new machinery to fill said factories. The only weakness for an expanded German economy in WW2 is what you have been saying: resources. Thats the serious bottleneck.
                                I think you're in danger of falling into a trap of your own making. You're suggesting Germany can do everything at the same time. It can't (see below).

                                But are we seriously considering that Germany would not be able to either produce and/or import more raw materials, especially with access to said resources not interdicted by war on all fronts?
                                Yes we are. Their foreign exchange reserves were so small that they relied on the pillaged wealth from the areas they conquered to sustain what they actually did. Increased imports, even if allowed, was not an option.

                                Stalin's actions and conduct in the many months prior to the Great Patriotic War showed that he was quite happy (eager, even) to strike a working relationship with Hitler. I believe even resources from Japan were allowed to travel over Soviet railines to Germany. And the USSR provided huge amounts of raw resources to Germany in exchange for technical help, etc.
                                Hmmmm, I have doubts. Molotov made some major demands during his visit to Berlin in late 1940, 'turning the screw' on the Germans because the Soviets knew they were dealing from a position of strength. Had the Germans wanted to increase their imports from the USSR they would have paid a very heavy price.
                                Signing out.

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