Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The KGM Bismarck

Discussion in 'Surface and Air Forces' started by Flying Tiger, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. Barrybarfly

    Barrybarfly Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thats my mistake. I watched Scharnhorst part 1 (of a 2 dvd set) and the dvd Battleships around the same time. Obviously, my memory decided to overlap the information and file that particular tidbit in the wrong place!!
     
  2. Flag Des Div 98

    Flag Des Div 98 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    KM's planning of the Bismarck/Prince Eugen sortie could have been better in
    hindsight.

    Calculating that the RN would be obsessed with their destruction,...and especially after HMS Hood was lost,
    had Germany 2-3 of their other heavy hitters [this includes Cruisers]
    ready to sortie ....allong with U Boats allready at sea,

    They might have been able to break up the RN's ability to focus just on Bismarck/PE....and possibly catch some RN units in transit,...in search.

    Had Bismarck being able to escape to France,
    had the KM sunk or damaged other RN surface combatants in this smack down at sea
    It could have altered the war,.....and possibly given Germany some respect at sea in regards to projection and will to win.

    I understand that Hitler was not very good at naval planning,
    but maybe the other senior command of KM were limited thinkers too : )
     
  3. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
    The KM was in a dilemma concerning the use of the Bismarck. Initially, it wanted to send the Bismarck to sea as part of a small battle squadron, but the truth was that Germany just did not have enough heavy surface units to make that a practical plan. The KM's large surface units kept suffering mechanical breakdowns and/or battle damage which forced the KM operational staff to choose between letting the Bismarck lie idle for several months while repairs to other ships were accomplished, or sending her to sea with only the Prinz Eugen as an escort.

    It wasn't so much limited thinking as limited resources that bedeviled the KM during WW II. The Bismarck wouldn't have accomplished much by escaping to France except to make itself an easier target for the RAF. And it wasn't about to "alter the war" except in a negative sense for Germany.

    The KM had hoped that the Bismarck would be able to operate as a commerce raider in the "air gap" south/southwest of Iceland, and possibly move to the South Atlantic if, and when, that Icelandic "air gap" became too hot. But this plan would have run afoul of the US "neutrality patrols" and probably would have proved a disaster for Germany. The US neutrality patrols officially began in September, 1939, and gradually extended from the Caribbean to the South Atlantic, and, with the US occupation of Iceland in July, 1941, the North Atlantic south and west of Iceland. The US would never have tolerated a German commerce raider that close to a US protectorate (Iceland).

    Thus, the KM would have been faced with patrols by neutral warships which could shadow German commerce raiders, and broadcast their locations with impunity. It is no coincidence that on the day that Bismarck was finally destroyed by the RN, Roosevelt gave a nationally broadcast speech in which he announced a state of national emergency throughout the US, and cited Germany's Atlantic commerce raiders as one of the threats that required a state of national emergency. The Bismarck being loose in the Atlantic could easily have triggered US entry into WW II five months early, or at the very least, a situation where the US was doing some very un-neutral things to thwart Germany.
     
  4. Heidi

    Heidi Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    24
    right! the sword fish can not sink bismarck on it;s own but it sured did make it easier for the royal navey to smash her (bismarck) to piecses.
     
  5. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    928
    Likes Received:
    21
    British doctrine cast the fleet's air arm in precisely this role, damaging enemy ships so the surface fleet could catch them.
     
  6. Bob Guercio

    Bob Guercio Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    11
    This is why MacArthur chose to conduct the Japanese surrender ceremonies on board the Missouri. It was a tremendous symbolic demonstration of the might of the United States at the end of the war.

    Bob Guercio
     
  7. Bob Guercio

    Bob Guercio Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    11

    Which is why Churchil declared that it had to be avenged at all costs. And it was!!
     
  8. Bob Guercio

    Bob Guercio Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    11
    I didn't think that the United States was involved at all in the chase!

    I do think that too many authors take too many liberties with their interpretation of the actual facts in order to push their own agendas!

    Bob Guercio
     
  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,654
    Likes Received:
    2,202
    Location:
    Alabama
    Well, technically no, the US was not involved in the chase. But to really stretch it a bit, the Catalina (US-made, lend lease) that found the Bismarck on the morning was crewed by an American in the RAF Coastal Command.:eek::D
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,238
    Location:
    Michigan
    It was but only on the margins. Basically sightings by US ships and planes got reported to the British. There was a US CG vessel that was in the vacinity of Denmark straits as well (came close to getting fired on by one or both sides from what I remember) and the PBY that spotted Bismarck afterwards had a US pilot.
     
  11. Kruska

    Kruska Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    190

    hmmm.... well finally I might have found a reason as to why Hitler declared war on the USA.:eek:, those treacherous Amerikaner :D.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  12. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    17
    In my personal opinion, the Germans would've been better off with making the Tirpitz and Bismarck aircraft carriers than making them under-armed and overweight battleships.

    Germany only had one aircraft carrier during the entire war, the Graf Zeppelin (almost said Graf Spee :D). It didn't do much during the war, mostly considering Germany's navy sucked and that it didn't have a sister ship(s). If Graf Zeppelin was lost Germany would definitely loose the war against the Allies [quicker than they really did].

    Three aircraft carriers loaded with some seaborne-version of the Ju-87 along with a torpedo bomber and possibly a seaborne Bf-109 would easily take on a small British task force of '39-'42. After that Germany would definitely have to update the ships with new weapons, such as better AA armaments and bigger decks for more planes.

    A single main armament of under-powered and out-numbered 8 15" guns were slightly outgunned by, say the US Colorado-class Battleship's 8 16" main armament. The Bismarck would have only been successful in it's alternate war career if under heavy escort, upgraded with a more powerful armament, increased speed and ammo capacity, including thicker armor. But I truthfully think Germany could've used two more aircraft carriers.
     
  13. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,352
    Likes Received:
    209
    :liar: That is quite a nonsense statement considering that the Graf Zeppelin was launched but never saw completion and never became operational.

    I.E. it had absolutely no direct impact on the war...
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Germany may have had more use for aircraft carriers but, the Graf Zeppelin design was horrifically bad. While this has been discussed here before, it is worth repeating. The Graf Zeppelin used a complex system of trollies and catapults to launch aircraft. The system had each airplane to be launched being mounted on a trolly in the hanger bay. The plane- trolly combo was then brought to the flight deck where it was moved along a set of rails set into the flight deck to one of the two catapults.
    There it was loaded onto the catapult and launched. The trolly was to break free at the end of the run and be unloaded by a crew on the forecastle and returned to the hanger for re-use. The catapults were pneumatic in design and sufficent air was supplied for 9 launches so the biggest strike the Graf Zeppelin could possibly launch was a mere 18 planes.
    Back to the trollies: These were supplied to match the capacity of the catapults (18) plus a few spares. If the trollies became damaged they reduced the number of launches by their numbers lost. Rolling take offs using the plane's own power were not possible due to the rail system and catapults on the flight deck. The catapults stuck up out of the flight deck while the rail system represented a potential trap to an aircraft's wheels that could have forced the plane to follow the track with its wheel(s) stuck in it.
    Like the early US and Japanese carrriers the Graf Zeppelin had a heavy 6" armament. The Germans fully expected that at some point the carrier would have to defend itself against surface attack.
    Given the small strike package size, the slow launch time of a strike (18 planes would have taken about 18 minutes to get in the air with a trained deck crew), the inability to perform rolling take offs, and the just overall inefficency of the design there is little wonder that the Germans abandoned their carrier when the war started.
    Now, they might have rebuilt the Graf Zeppelin to allow for more common style carrier operations but, without any experiance in operating a carrier and the war going on it wasn't worth the effort to do.
     
  15. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    17
    But what if it was a different class? Like say in 1935 some German engineers came up with the design of a much more modern, efficient class like the English Illustrious-class and the American Essex. Then they begin construction in '36-'37, and are both finished by about late 1940 or early 1941. A long construction time, but at least they could field seaborne planes as a mobile airbase. Had Germany had more resources at the time, they could've produced a decent number of Zerstorer 1938A escort destroyers, along with maybe a cruiser more or two. That would, coupled with a U-boat wolf pack, definitely deal a blow to early-war British and French fleets.

    EDIT: I really need this http://www.kbismarck.com/models/model55.html
     
  16. Mitridate

    Mitridate Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    ok, please list the reasons why this ship was overrated. It took the Bismark just a few shots to wipe out the Hood and the Brits had to use almost their complete fleet to sink Bismark, doesn't sound to bad for an "overrated" ship, doesn't it?
     
  17. Mitridate

    Mitridate Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    the Graf Zeppelin was never commissioned and subsequently never got involved in any naval activities.
    And the US battleships you've mentioned would never have been a match for the Bismark. Luckily for the US Navy they never met.......
     
  18. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,185
    Likes Received:
    406
    And your proof of this is................?
     
  19. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
    Several bad assumptions here;

    Even if the Germans had managed to produce a number of fairly workable carriers and had somehow learned how to use them effectively (no mean feat in itself), they were not geographically positioned to use them to any great advantage. Just getting out into the Atlantic would mean fighting a major battle with British naval units and land based aircraft. This would deplete their resources and reduce their effectiveness before they could reach their operational area. Moreover, carriers have to be replenished every ten to fourteen days to remain combat ready; this would require a large fleet of naval auxiliaries to provide fuel, avgas, ordnance, spare parts and aircraft, and provisions. This fleet would be highly vulnerable to enemy naval action and would have to be very heavily screened. Germany just didn't have the resources (or interest) required to build and maintain such a fleet.

    BTW, the Zerstorer 1938A was a horrible design, certainly not suited to open sea operations and very unreliable in the bargain. U-boat wolfpacks were useless against naval warships and could never have operated successfully with a German surface fleet, a lesson both Japan and the US learned the hard way in WW II.

    Coupled with the fact that there was no conceivable mission for a German carrier that could have significantly contributed to a German victory in the war (for example, against the Soviet Union), German aircraft carriers make no strategic sense.

    Whether or not the Bismarck was overrated depends on who is doing the rating. The myth of Bismarck's overwhelming superiority, generally believed by the ill-informed public, certainly overrates the Bismarck. Most naval experts rate the Bismarck as a fairly decent, if somewhat old-fashioned, battleship design with some really good features and some very poor features. It's generally conceded that the Bismarck was very lucky to be able to take advantage of some mistakes the Hood and PoW made during their encounter with Bismarck. The hit on Hood's magazine was also very fortunate and does not really reflect on Bismarck's design. And it's certainly not true that the "whole British fleet" was required to sink the Bismarck; the Bismarck proved only too vulnerable to well coordinated attacks by the RN.

    Actually, it's probably the other way around. Bismarck likely would have fared poorly against the modern US battleships designed and laid down in the late 1930's, and might even have been outclassed by some of the older US battleships which were much better balanced designs than the Bismarck.

    You might want to check out this site for the details; Battleship Comparison
     
  20. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    134
    I agree. The Bismarck would have been shot to pieces by a comparable US Battleship, especially of the North Carolina class which existed then. Consider what would have happened in a night engagement.
     

Share This Page