Discussion in 'Surface and Air Forces' started by C.Evans, Mar 25, 2003.
I thought Irving said that it was Max Headroom that was impersonating Churchill???
Quickly perusing all the posts, I don't think that anyone mentioned the problems the German u-boats had with their torpedoes and magnetic pistols. Had these problems not occurred then the losses wouldn't have been so one-sided.
Had Forbes not gone swanning out west in a heavy sea on Churchill's orders looking for the German Navy, Hitler's fleet, including those ships landing troops and material in the Fjords, would have been annihilated. Alas the First Lord of the Admiralty was sleeping it off and couldn't be woken up.
The German U boats weren't that effective because the Royal Navy had air cover. Swordfish from HMS Furious and Skua dive bombers from the Orkneys. Had they not been so hasty sailing they could have had carrier born fighter air superiority in the south too and dealt with the Junkers 52s and 87s. The ME109s were out of range and the ME110s were mincemeat.
According to Irving the Admiralty staff said to a man that a great opportunity was missed and that they said Churchill was a bloody menace.
Churchill's War - David Irving
Namsos was unsuitable for landing troops.
Churchill was a bloody menace In fact more than a menace a criminal
No leader is perfect. They all have human frailities, weaknesses and can be frustatingly obstinate, and obtuse. Drunkards, and substance abusers.
Admiral Roger Keyes did not criticise Churchill during the Norway debates in Parlement. Why not?
Perhaps the Commonwealth would have fared better if a military coup had taken place? Or would you have prefered Lord Eden? Lord Halifax? So we could have peace with Germany after the fall of France?
It is very easy to critisize a leader. It is not easy to lead. Many are not really willing to do so. Churchill did. When Chamberlain lost faith in himself, Lord Eden was unable to, and Halifax unwilling... The choice was correct when Churchill stood firm: "that nations which went down fighting rose again, but those which surrendered tamely were finished" . Those other alternative honourable leaders, those outstanding men, were discussing peace.
But yes, Churchill was a bitter medicine.
Several U-boat commanders reported having good shots at major British warships and transports-including Gunther Prien. Torpedoes either detonated prematurely or didn't detonate at all. These commanders, on their return to port, screamed to Donitz. He, unlike his American counterpart in the Pacific somewhat later, convened an immediate investigation. It turned out that the magnetic detonators on the torpedoes wouldn't work in those waters, plus the running depth mechanism was faulty. Officers responsible were court-martialed and the problems corrected. However, a valuable opportunity for the Germans was lost.
They were not one sided, a quick search reveals the folowing losses fot the campaign:
a carrier Glorious
2 cruisers Curlew, Effingham
and half a dozen destroyers Glowworm, Gukha, Hardy, Hunter, Afridi, Ardent, Acasta plus the French Bison
3 cruiser Blucher, Koenigsberg, Karlsruhe
10 Destroyers Willhem Heikamp, Anton Schmidt, Berndt Von Armin, Erich Giese, Erich Koellner, Georg Thiele, Hermann Kuhne, Diether von Roeder, Hans Ludemann, Max Schutz
2 Submarines U 64, U 49
Think I got all the major warships and the total is not that much different ..... though the Germans could afford the losses less than the RN.
Note that if you count Blucher and Koenigsberg you would really need to add Norge, Edsvold, Froya and the other Norwegian ships to the allied losses. Many allied sources fail to mention the first battle of Narvik where the German flotilla expended precious ammo against the Norwegian coast defence vessels, one reason the 3rd battle of Narvik was such a one sided affair was not that the German torpedoes failed but that most German destroyers had none left.
Actually they were one-sided if you: a)consider the difference in potential for replacements of lost ships between Germany and Britain-as you pointed out. 2) The German losses were a much higher percentage of their total fleet. 3) You factor in the losses of the German transport ships. 4) The damage to three major German fleet units that put them out of action for some time for which there were no replacements.
However, my original thesis was that the Allied (British) losses would have been much more serious had the German sub torpedoes worked as advertised. Donitz, in his autobiography, goes into this episode in some depth.
If you include losses of Norwegian vessels should you not also include the British gaining Norwegian vessels? My understanding is that the British gained a huge cargo capacity bump due to the Norwegian campaign.
What I listed was warships, and I included them because Blucher was sunk by Norwegian coastal batteries, with no RN contribution, Koenigsberg was heavily damaged by coastal batteries and so was left behind in Bergen harbour where it was sunk by FAA Skuas, and the destroyers at Narvik were short of ammo partly due to the fight wirh Norge and Edsvold.
Just reading a bit more on this I just found that two Messerschmitt 110s two Heinkel 111s and one fully-laden Junkers 52 were shot down by
For the loss of one.
They did a little more than that. Although this list only shows one Me-110 destroyed & another damaged.
Takao's link presents a very credible service record for the Gladiator in Norway, but of course these are claims rather than postwar confirmed kills which could be considerably lower. Still none too shabby in my humble opinion.
Nor is it all that surprising in my opinion. The Gladiator was a fighter after all introduced in 1937 (fairly contemporary to all of its claims/kills), and though by 1940 standards, slow, it was a fair match for a bomb laden schnellbomber flying in formation and a overmatch for a Stuka or Ju-52. The two Me 110's are not too far out of the realm of probability either when you consider the agility presented by a bi-plane design against the 110's noted poor dogfighting skills, its need to provide cover for bombers/transports and the notorious poor visibility endured by both sides in Norway.
For a brief shining moment, the odds were even and the Gladiator had its day, but it was only a day (metaphorically) in a long war.
The ME 110, the fighter that needed fighter escort.
Half of a destroyer force that had not been large enough in the first place. It hardly gets more crippling than that.
The Beaufighter was not different in that regard. The only twin engine fighter that eventually worked as intended was the P-38.
Wasn't this also the reason the German destroyers got mauled. I read somewhere that they were trying to ambush British ships when the Brits attacked and they were relying on their torpedoes. They did get off alot of torpedo launches but they had complete failure of the the magnetic pistols. If these torpedos worked the result would have been the opposite of what happened. Pretty bad when you are shooting blanks in a real fight. The KM really took alot of losses they could not afford due to this problem similar to what the Americans went through in the Pacific. I think John Wayne eventually solved their problem. I saw that in a doc called Operation Pacific.
Even the P38 was inadequate against the 109 and 190. From wiki:
After some disastrous raids in 1944 with B-17s escorted by P-38s and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, Jimmy Doolittle, then head of the U.S. Eighth Air Force, went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), Farnborough, asking for an evaluation of the various American fighters. Fleet Air Arm Captain and test pilot Eric Brown recalled:
"We had found out that the Bf 109 and the Fw 190 could fight up to a Mach of 0.75, three-quarters the speed of sound. We checked the Lightning and it couldn't fly in combat faster than 0.68. So it was useless. We told Doolittle that all it was good for was photo-reconnaissance and had to be withdrawn from escort duties. And the funny thing is that the Americans had great difficulty understanding this because the Lightning had the two top aces in the Far East."
After evaluation tests at Farnborough, the P-38 was kept in fighting service in Europe for a while longer. However, even if many of the aircraft's problems were fixed with the introduction of the P-38J, by September 1944, all but one of the Lightning groups in the Eighth Air Force had converted to the P-51 Mustang. The Eighth Air Force continued to conduct reconnaissance missions using the F-5 variant.
General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland was unimpressed with the P-38, declaring, "it had similar shortcomings in combat to our Bf 110, our fighters were clearly superior to it."
And so on.
The P-38 still had a kill ratio in Europe that was greater than 1. It also had a significant range advantage early in the war over just about every other fighter. What really killed it was as the single engine fighters caught up to it in range was the price difference. A P-38 coast about twice as much as a P-51 and half again as much as a P-47. It did work well in ground attack roles due to having two engines and a very distinctive profile (few blue on blue engagements).
By 1944 the vast majority of pilots the Luftwaffe were putting in the air would not have been acceptable by any of the allies. Between that and the delta of sorties flown, any decent aircraft would have a kill ratio above 1.