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Bismarck cost vs U-boats?

Discussion in 'Germany at Sea!' started by Todd W Secrest, Feb 11, 2021.

  1. Todd W Secrest

    Todd W Secrest New Member

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    If the money used to build the Bismarck was instead used to build U-boats, how many U-boats would WW2 Germany have built?
     
  2. Todd W Secrest

    Todd W Secrest New Member

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    Ok, cost of Bismarck, about 200 million, cost of a U-boats, about roughly 5 million.
    So Germany could have had another 40 U-boats, instead of the Bismarck.
    I would easy have taken the 40 U-boats, over the Bismarck
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hitler was not a Kriegsmarine fan if I recall correctĺy. Dönitz wanted subs but Hitler was not a fan and wanted other things. That is why Hitler wanted at one point to scrap the whole of Kriegsmarine.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Hitler wanted international prestige, and submarines don't get international prestige, battleships do. Further, there was a gross over-estimation, amongst all navies, as to SONAR/ASDIC and it's effectiveness.

    Hitler wanted to scrap the battle fleet in 1943, after it had suffered a string of defeats and humiliations. Many of which were because of his own refusal to let the navy fight unless it was almost certain to win. The Kriegsmarine admirals & ship captains had become overly timid, and their ship crews were out of practice.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Succinctly said Takao. Hitler said it best "On land I am a hero but on the sea I am a coward!" -or words to that effect.
     
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  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    And
    Basically, you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    With no surface threat from Germany, and only a subsurface one, allows Britain to focus almost entirely on her ASW escorts and ASW technologies. Thus, Germany is no better off, because Britain is now better prepared to defend against Germany's U-Boats. The much maligned(underserved in my opinion) Admial Raeder had long reached the conclusion that Germany needed surface ships AND U-Boats, not just one or the other. Which is why the Z-Plan included a sizable increase in the U-Boat arm, not just surface ships(which few tend to realize). And, this would form the cornerstone of his "twin pole" (surface fleet & anti-commerce raiders) strategy. Hitler's 1939 rush to war, however, nipped this strategy in the bud.
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Sergei Gorshkov was the architect and commander of the Cold War Soviet navy, which gave a prominent role to submarines. In his book Sea Power of the State, he criticized the WWII Germans for not supporting their subs with adequate surface and long-range air forces.
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Most elements of German rearmament - the growing army, the panzer force, the air force, a balanced fleet comparable to other Continental powers - could be passed off as post-Versailles Germany resuming her normal place among nations. A large U-boat force could have only one purpose. It would make clear to anyone in doubt that Germany was preparing for war with Britain, and, as @Takao mentioned, start the British thinking about specific countermeasures.
     
  9. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    I am reading a book on the sinking of the Prince of Whales and Repulse in the Pacific. From what I can gather, the big ships like Bismarck, (and more so with Tirpitz,) were good at just sitting up in a fjord or wherever and tying up valuable capital ships like the King George V class to keep close in case they broke out. Because of this, the Admiralty fought Churchill when he wanted to dispatch POW to the Pacific. If anything that helped the Kriegsmarine at least at little at first.
     
  10. Todd W Secrest

    Todd W Secrest New Member

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    One would be hopeful that Hitler would spread the rumor that Nazi Germany has plans to build 15 battleships, but keep submarine building out of the news.
    German start WW2 with about 65(?) submarines, but could have built another 80 for what is cost to built the Bismarck and Tirpitz. I doubt Great Britain would have built enough anti-submarine forces, before the war started, to over come 140 U-boats.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Ahhh...To be in a perfect world.

    Unfortunately, in a perfect world, just like this one, there were these pesky individuals known as naval attaches(naval spies). Who had ways of ferreting out facts from rumors. One industrious British naval attache went around to the less "glamorous" industries, to strike up small talk. These neglected industrialists were quite glad to brag about the orders they were receiving from the Kriegsmarine for submarine construction.

    Also note, it is far easier to conceal one large slip building a battleship as opposed to 20-some slips building submarines. Not to mention concealing the fitting out piers & docks.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You also forget...Submarines, like battleships, can only be built in a few select yards capable of building such specialized craft...Escorts can be built nearabout anywhere.
     
  13. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Also, please remember that a country has to man these ships. A BB of the period often had a crew of around 2000 men (and they added more as the AA armament increased) and that doesn't count all the support personnel, both on shore and on support ships. . The USA downsized the planned size of its army so that they could have a giant navy and air force. Germany did the opposite. The first thing Germany did when war broke out was to scuttle Plan-Z.
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I always thought it was Raeder who wanted ships while Dönitz was ready for U-boat offensive in numbers?
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    There were 249 submarines in the final Z-Plan. 60 coastal, 100 type VII, 62 long range, and 27 extra large submarines.
     
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  16. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Raeder, like his counterparts in every major navy, favored a balanced fleet, centered on capital ships but with appropriate proportions of cruisers, destroyers, aircraft carriers, submarines, etc. Donitz naturally stressed submarines - that was his job for most of the war - but he was also the one who argued Hitler out of scrapping the battle fleet, saying that it would hand the Allies a tremendous victory at no cost. He appreciated that the combination of ships, subs, and aircraft was far more difficult for the enemy to deal with than a one-dimensional threat.

    Donitz also constantly sought - without great success - to get more long-range aircraft assigned to support the U-boats with reconnaissance, attack, and countering Allied aircraft.
     
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  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Speaking of crews, submarines require more extensive training than surface ships. Getting 2000 men ready to man and fight a battleship is a lot easier than preparing forty 50-man U-boat crews. Competent captains, officers, chief engineers, etc. especially can't just be wished into readiness.
     
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  18. Todd W Secrest

    Todd W Secrest New Member

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    Cru
    Cruisers, battle cruisers & battleships are useless against the U-boats and they make a fat target for a torpedo.
    So they can't really protect a convoy.
    But I do agree the U-boats could have used a lot more aircraft reconnaissance, for spotting convoys.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The large warships were not meant to defend convoys...The large German warships were to create openings for German anti-commerce raiders & U-Boats by drawing away escorts & larger British surface types. Thus, allowing the raiders & submarines easier access to the open seas and/or convoys. Also, if the chance presented itself, the larger German ships were to also attack commerce.
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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