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The Soviet navy 1939-41

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Andrey
    The German "blockade-wreckers" could come in Atlantic through Allied barriers because they did it rarely and in different places so the Allies didn't know where and when to concentrate ships for preventing such breakthrows. Also the German "blockade-wreckers" often were camouflaged as "neutral ships", they even had the papers like "neutral ships" so it was not easy to determine a German "blockade-wrecker" in the innocent neutral ship.
    The blockade-runners were posing as different ships. True. But the allied patrol ships had orders to examine the papers to verify each ship cargo. This meant that when a blockade-runner was discovered it usually tried to send it's wrong name but if the patrol ship still wanted to inspect the ship it tried to run away. Usually hopeless situation and normally the ships were sunk by their own crews.
    It was impossible to use such a tactics in the case of the columns of ships with supply to the troops in Iceland.

    Such columns had to go regularly, theitr path was approximately known, they were not able to camouflage.
    Admiral Raeder knew this and told Hitler so when Hitler wanted to invade Iceland. Supply would have to be brought to the German forces by blockade runners. But actually if you look at a map of the N-Atlantic you'll notice that it's far easier to sail unnoticed between Iceland and Norway than to get through the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland or between the Faroes islands and Iceland. The blockade runners had to go through those relatively narrow points when trying to get to Germany from the S-Atlantic and it was there the RN stopped them.
    And you only send supply columns regularly when you have control of the sea lanes.
    The Britishes operating from Malta could effectively sink Axis supply ships and without Enigma.
    They could sink them yes. But in order to find them and know in advance where to locate them the Ultra information derived from Enigma was indeed helpful.
    And remember that Malta was small island with restricted amount of ships, planes, supply, which was under Axis Air attacks.
    Hence the good use of Ultra.
    In the Northern britain could operate main forces of RN, practically unrestricted amount of planes and submarines, Northern Britain had unrestriced amount of supply, Northern Britain was FREE from the German Air Strikes.

    If to know approximately the path of German transport convoys it was possible to build powerful barrier against those convoys.[/
    In addition to that the N-Atlantic was practically controlled by the RN and RAF. But still the ocean is vast and blockade runners can get through. Especially during long nights during autumn, winter and partly the spring. If the RN stations patrol ships in a long chain to completly block German ships then those patrol ships can be attacked by U-boats or German battle-cruisers that rush suddenly out of Norwegian ports. Thus the RN needs to group their ships together so that destroyers can defend the heavier warships and keep those fleets constantly moving. Also have constant patrol from air. The British noted that it was very difficult and costly in supply and fuel in having to keep their fleet constanly outside the Norwegian coastline during the fighting that took place there in april-june 1940. Tying up large forces for constant blockade protection would have been very difficult and more so if Raeder would concentrate on attacking shipping lanes like he did in the beginning of the war. This is what is interesting to speculate in. What would be the strategic consequences of a German short term occupation of Iceland be.
    Also when you remove most of the destroyers from convoy duty around the British islands then "die Glückliche Zeit" the U-boats experienced for 5 months time during the winter 1940/41 would possibly have been prolonged in either direction. That is if they would have been ordered to attack the convoys instead of heavily guarded RN-ships.

    One of the really inportant things would be intelligence. Can the British get information from the Norwegian underground to report of German ships? It took several months to activate the Underground movement. At that time the German Naval Enigma code was closed for the British but the Germans read the main British cypher at that time. This was to change drastically later on.


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