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German Warships

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Boba Nette, Oct 8, 2004.

  1. Boba Nette

    Boba Nette New Member

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    We're all familiar with German battleships,U-boats,and raiders disguised as freighters.Not to mention the pocket battleships.I'd like to know more about smaller ships such as destroyers.How and where were they utilized?How successful were they?Any info would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    SturmTiger
     
  2. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

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    Quite a lot of German destroyers were sent to Norway. Unfortunatelly battle of Narvik was quite one-sided.
    German destroyers were quite big, around 2500 tons and around 120 meters long. They were also faster than their british counterparts but like many german warships, their engines were a bit unreliable.
    Other than supporting landings in Norway, german destroyers were used as BB escorts, mining and various coastal duties.
     
  3. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Narvik was interesting - I've always wondered how we managed to so effectively defeat the German destroyer force...
     
  4. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

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    According to my very limited knowledge, that was so called "pants down"-situation for Germans. And althought RN destroyers were smaller than germans, they were backed by HMS Warspite...
     
  5. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    I might have some of my ship numbers wrong here but that's the gist of it.

    German destroyers had fought and beaten a force of four British destroyers, eliminating two and forcing two to retreat, in the first battle of Narvik. Unfortunately for the Germans the retreating RN destroyers passed the Germans support ship and blew it away as they headed for open water. Thus the Germans were robbed of a chance to resupply.

    The next day the RN came back with six to eight (can't quite remember) destroyers and HMS Warspite. The Germans tried to make a fight of it but Warspite launched her Swordfish spotter plane which sank one of two U-boats in the area and spotted German attempts to ambush the British. The remaining German destroyers were hunted down a sunk. The second U-Boat was potentially in a good position to have a pop at Warspite but having virtually no water under his keel choose discretion over valor.
     
  6. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    The Germans did not beat the British at First Narvik. The British made their attack with five destroyers against a German force of ten destroyers with five U-boats in support, defending transports etc. On each side, two destroyers were sunk and two damaged. The British also sank several transports. These were 1400-ton British destroyers versus German destroyers of 2200-2400 tons.
    Second Narvik, three days later, accounted for the eight surviving German DDs, plus a U-boat. Considering Warspite's presence, the lopsided victory is no surprise.
    Why were the Germans defeated even when they had, on paper, the stronger force? Part of it may have been planning; the Germans let the British surprise them. However, I haven't looked closely enough at the battle to make a credible comment.
    One factor I can address is that of equipment. The Germans were still struggling with their torpedo problems at this point, and it cost them.
    It's probable that German crew performance was inferior. The ballooning of KM forces afloat forced the Germans to accept inferior training standards, which also contributed to cruiser losses.
    Despite their impressive statistics, German ships were not as combat ready as the practical British designs. The German ships went into action short on range, magazine stowage, and reliability.
    And then there's Lady Luck.
    To address the more general question of German destroyers in the war, they failed to be much of a factor. By the time the Norway Campaign ended, the Germans had lost HALF their destroyer force. From that point on, there was little hope that they would ever be able to assert their strength anywhere. The torpedo and training problems were dealt with, and a couple clashes with British forces met with success, but these were mere pinpricks for the RN.
    Most of the subsequent failures of the German DD force may be attributed to general failures in German naval command; Barents Sea was not a failure of German DD design. However, Scharnhorst might have fared better if her escorts had stayed with her at North Cape. And if you're bored some day, look for a list of Allied submarines destroyed by German destroyers. I don't think you'll find more than one or two.
     
  7. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    All very true. The reason the surviving German DDs didn't leave Narvik after the first battle is that they were low on fuel. IIRC, the Brit destroyers managed to nail their oiler during the battle, so they were out of luck. There is a book about the Kriegsmarine's destroyers in my local library; I'll look it up and post the title and author. And I own a book titled "Hitler's Naval War" by Edwin P. Hoyt (I need to check to make sure he wrote it) which I highly recommend.
     
  8. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Whitley has a very good book on German destroyers. The first edition was called Destroyer! but later editions calmed down enough to be titled German Destroyers of World War Two.
     
  9. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    Try this link: http://www.world-war.co.uk/index.php3 and look at the warship losses section under "Activities".

    Looks like at least two (maybe three) of the German destroyers at Narvik II were scuttled due to no fuel or ammo.
     
  10. Boba Nette

    Boba Nette New Member

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    I guess if I were the Captain of one of these ships,these circumstances would definately be on my'Top Ten List of Things That Suck'!
     
  11. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    I think that that is the one my library has (I haven't had a chance to check yet... :oops: ).
     
  12. Wspauldo12

    Wspauldo12 New Member

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    German destoryers were bigger, faster, and BETTER armed than british ones. just reenforcing the point.
     
  13. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Well, yes, they were bigger, at least.
     
  14. Wspauldo12

    Wspauldo12 New Member

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    German destroyers also had bigger guns(maybe even more) with better range than the british destroyers. I am pretty sure they were also faster at flank speed, but I could be wronge.
     
  15. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

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    Usually, German DD's had five 5" or five 5.9" guns. Pre-WW2 british destroyers generally had four 4.7" guns. Tribals had 8 of those 4.7" guns. Wartime RN destroyers had 4-6 of those 4.7" guns (some had 4.5").

    Basically, on paper, german destroyers look superior to british destroyers. But those german destroyers tended to have short legs, poor seakeeping, poor reliability and not so much ammunition stowage. And all this when displacing only 50-100% more than equivalent british destroyers.
     
  16. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    The Kriegsmarine DDs also tended to be overgunned, which didn't help their stability problems.
     
  17. Wspauldo12

    Wspauldo12 New Member

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    good points. They sure did hell to the Thames estuary though. Those mines really got the british goat.
     
  18. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Yes, for awhile. Greater German emphasis on mine warfare might have done the British a lot more damage than what actually was done.
     

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