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The Luftwaffe and the War At Sea 1939-1945, Edit by David Isby

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by harolds, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    With regards to utilizing industry. I seem to recall there were some issues with adopting British designs for US production. I'm not an expert by any means but my understanding is that it was far from trivial to move the design of a complex item from the factory in one country to one in another during that period. I think the Germans and Italians had some issues in that regard.
     
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Well Rich, you got me on one point: I DID mean the Fall of 1940! My Goof!

    So, two years, at most, before the window of opportunity closes for good. If Hitler had decided to postpone his Russian adventure then much of the bomber force could have been used to bomb and mine harbors, attack ships fairly close to the British Ilse or coming up from the S. Atlantic. ME 110s could have protected their subs in the Bay of Biscay, saving the U-boat force quite a few sunk and heavily damaged boats. When we think of the Battle of the Atlantic most people think of the waters between N. American and Britain but this campaign was waged also (as I'm sure you know) well south of there as well. This stretched the British forces all the more. All this in addition to what I've written above. Of course, there was "the American Shooting Season" (if Hitler decided to war against the USA) and Hitler could have as easily decided to risk leaving Norway unprotected and put those Type IX boats onto the American coast. Add to that the "Milk Cows" that were force multipliers in their own right, and you have a situation that could go either way. Certainly, by the time 1942 came to an end the tech and production battle would have been turning decisively against Germany. Britain would have to hold out until then when the number of escorts, including escort carriers and long-range bombers, would have tipped the balance. As in all battles, luck and mistakes (or lack of them) could make all the difference in the outcome. I do realize that ULTRA intelligence might have made all the difference for Britain but we know that in '42 the Germans changed their naval cryptography machines, blinding ULTRA for a while. If Donitz had kept listening to his "gut" about that situation the Allies could have been blinded for a lot longer. Who knows?

    You mentioned "microwave radar". Didn't that really come in after 1942? I thought before that the escorts had an earlier form of radar.
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    If Germany passed on Operation Barbarossa she would have had any number of options, but would not have been like going to a steakhouse and only ordering a salad? The core goal was living room in the East and that meant Russia.
     
    green slime and RichTO90 like this.
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It happens. :p

    Uh, the German "window of opportunity" pretty much closed for good on 1 September 1939. :D

    Aside from it being his primary goal, "postpon[ing] his Russian adventure" would mean that the Soviets get to complete the reorganization of their armed forces. It would be interesting to see the Germans initiating Barbarossa say in June 1942, against a Soviet Army including 30 complete Mechanized Corps with T34 and Kv1. Given their problems they likely still get hammered, but not nearly as badly, given they would be facing Panzer III (l) and Panzer IV (k)...assuming the diversions to the KM don't degrade the Panzerwaffe. :D

    Anyway, so now the German "bomber force" is going to perform so much better than they did in the BoB? The July-August campaign in the Channel does not bode well for German success bombing and mining harbors...especially given the limited production of aerial mines.

    Um, it was late 1941 before Coastal Command could actively prosecute operations in the Bay of Biscay and June 1942 before they became effective.

    ULTRA helped, but HUFF-DUFF was possibly more critical to operations.

    Sorry, but you brought up the necessity for Dönitz to get his head out of his ass over Allied radar capability, but until the Allies developed microwave radar the two were well matched. So his head-out-of-assing could only be critical after mid-1942 when the Mark III went into service.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Re. Russia: No doubt Hitler wanted to move east. In fact, that was his major goal. If he'd stuck to his pre-war idea that a two-front war would end in Germany's defeat (See! He could be right sometimes.) then leaving a very hostile enemy in his rear wouldn't be too smart-especially if Churchill would have been able to suck the USA into it. If he were able to compel Britain to sue for peace, it may be that had he gone into the USSR then, he indeed might have gotten into trouble sooner. Which would have been better in a way because then his supply lines wouldn't have been so long. OR...he could have reluctantly abandoned the idea and had to be satisfied with being the largest, most dominant power in Europe. If that admittedly unlikely scenario played out then Germany could have kept some sort of Nazi government to the present day. (More likely a long-term Nazi government would have imploded after Hitler died.)

    The production of sea mines was a problem but with no USSR war there would be enough explosives and steel, plus, priorities could be switched to produce those mines.

    My comment about Donitz came from the idea that sooner or later radar would be placed on escorts, severely limiting what U--Boats could do at night. That should have been foreseen. Centimetric radar wouldn't have been easy to predict. In March of '41, U-Boat aces Kretchmer and Schepke were sunk by Vanoc and Walker because Vanoc had an early form of radar. Donitz should have seen this coming and started research and development earlier.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The problem for Hitler was that by October 1940 it was obvious that SEALION would have to be delayed until the spring of 1941 and the prospects for its success remained dim, especially given the Luftwaffe was obviously only capable of parity with the RAF over Britain. The simple fact that it was also going to be sometime in 1941 before U-Boote numbers would approach sufficient numbers to strangle Britain meant that was a non-starter of a strategy as well. That left the consummate opportunist, Hitler, with few opportunities. The one he seized upon was crippling the USSR before it became too powerful, stripping its resources and then turning the might of the Reich back onto Britain, fueled by Soviet oil. The opportunity to take out a Soviet Union "proved weak" by the Finnish War, was too good an opportunity for him to allow strategic good sense to interfere.

    Addled strategy, but it made sense to Hitler and no one was going to gainsay him.

    Yes, but lead times typically were up to six months for retooling from one to another type of munition.

    Yes, Vanoc used a Type 286M Radar to spot U100 and U99, but only after they had been forced to surface due to damage caused by repeated depth charging by Vanoc and Walker based upon ASDIC contacts. The Type 286M could give range and bearing on a surface contact, but only of a fairly large object. What made the centimetric Mark III sets like Type 272 so important was its ability to detect very small objects...like the periscopes of submerged subs. The problem was the Germans believed such a set was technically impractical until the salvaged the H2S set in 1943. Given that Hollmann had basically written the book on centimeter-wave technology in 1935, it is a bit inexplicable that he wasn't able to develop such a set earlier, but it seems unfair to blame Dönitz for that failure?
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    If my memory serves me well, the smaller the wave length, the shorter the range. The lower range Type 286M radar might only be able to see a conning tower and larger but it could pick up a return signal from a longer distance. From what I've read, the Germans had some very good radars going down to low frequencies, but of course not VLF until much later.

    Question for Naval experts here: The Germans used VLFs to communicate with U-Boats in the Sothern Hemisphere. Did U.S. subs have similar capabilities?
     

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