Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, May 26, 2008.
I'm curious; what, in your opinion, was the correct way to use the Kriegsmarine during World War II?
Scrap it for metal and use it to build some trucks to ferry more troops to the front
If it were possible for Germany to convert it's ships to scrap metal and then use the scrap to produce trucks, I agree that would be an excellent way to utilize the material that was otherwise wasted on a navy. But I was hoping Firefoxy had some thoughts on how Germany's navy might have been put to productive use, as a navy. I admit I can think of no real use Germany might have had for a blue-water navy.
The problem here isn't so much lack of resources to make trucks as it is the lack of production facilities to put them together. When you think about it, Opel (GM Germany) followed by Ford are the two largest truck makers in Germany in 1939. Their facilities and capitalization are frozen essentially once the war starts.
This leaves only all the small fry German concerns to take up the slack.
Well i have thought that the way to use the Kriegsmarine during the Sealion invasion would be that i would
1, withdraw all U-Boats and use them as an outer curtain of anti-invasion fleet interdiction.
2, press every available destroyer i had that can act as escort to escort the invasion fleet.
3, scour every port under German occupation and confiscate any vessel capable of a channel crossing and turn them into mini troop carriers, this would also be offset by the gathering of such vessels withn Germany and the Baltic regions, this should ammount to at least several thousand.
4, continue to gather river barges as the carriers of troops and heavier equipment.
5, press the carrier Graf Zeppelin into the role of a dedicated panzer carrier (yes i can see the trouble of it's size and vulnerability, but this alone would see it in action but not as an aircraft carrier).
6, press the capital ships into fleet protection, shore bombardment and medium artillery defense.
This is on the assumption that the Luftwaffe can keep the RAF at bey and act as long range artillery against the Royal Navy.
And in General
As on an overall operation i would use a styleized blitzkrieg attack, i would with the Luftwaffe begin to attack the Radar stations and forward airfields (excluding Lympne, Hawkinge and Manston they would be targets for the three fallschirmjager regiment of the 7th Flieger Division) followed by glider assault and commando landings of the Gross Deutcshland Regiment on the Langdon and Citidel Batteries and interuption of British Army's rear area communications and secure the port of Dover.
With the Luftwaffe i would attack RAF Fighter Command airfields within the invasion area with repeated attacks (not what actually happened with the express order from Goering forbidding followup attacks on airfields two days straight) in this at least each airfield in the fowrd areas are to be attacked three to four times in the one day, inflicting more damage and with repeated straphing runs more and more British aircraft are rendered ecconomic write-offs, this also take a toll on ground crews who struggle to keep airfields operational but also either killing or wounding those on the ground, target assets like firefighting and refueling pumps and the like.
On the eve of the second day of the Luftwaffe attack commit the invasion forces, while the RAF is struggling to cope with the Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine launches Seelowe, the main idea is to land as many troops, tanks and supplies, this of course would be precipitated with a preemptive airbourne assault. Hopefully before the RN can be sent at least 20,000 to 45,000 troops can be landed as well as 100 panzers, mobility won't be an issue as many trucks, cars and other vehicles would be pressed into service of the Heer.
Even if the RN does cut supply for a short time German troops are trained to live off the land, RAF airfields of Lympne, Hawkinge and Manston are by the second day recieve their first Luftwaffe units of mostly transports and fighters (extending the range of escorts and airtime over British soil) and the 22nd Luftlande Division begins to prepare other landing fields (when they are complete they take the transports while bombers begin to take up the ex-RAF bases).
Tatically i would ensue that fighter units are not to be used to rack up scores for the aces but that everyone that flies has a duty to engage enemy aircraft, meaning that more fighter pilots contribute to the fight inflicting heavier toll of British aircraft and pilots. Also to attack known locations of British Army positions especially artillery emplacements and supply dumps and barracks.
Strategically i would have a core group of bombers and fighter bombers to target power stations, telecommunication hubs, bridges, roads, rail, ports, mine inland canals and river systems (disrupting British inland water traffic)
This would be hopefully a well coordinated assault by the three branches of the OKW, this as i say be a massive strike on all levels at the same time, this does not give the British the Luxury of having to contend with a protracted long war to recover losses (especially after Dunkerque) and to gain any advantage of any lend lease treaties with America (destroyers for bases), it means that the British army having to conted with the German Army almost immidiately after the French debarcle.
It has it's faults, now i look forward to the usual crowd of habitual debunkers to have a go at my two cents worth.
Yippee! Major point. Great Britain was not alone in her fight against Germany. Most of the Commonwealth declared war with or within a day of Britain on September 3, 1939. Canada declared war on September 10, 1939. The declaration of war on those dates does not preclude that GB and the Commonwealth had not already begun certain preparations for war.
Re the logistics - as noted by others logistics and economics are a factor and the Commonwealth supplied both raw, finished, and human resources that were the difference in Great Britain remaining undefeated and not invaded by the Germans prior to the German invasion of Russia in 1941 or up to the formal entry of the United States in the War in Dec 1941.
Also, re the Dunkirk concept - please also recall that there were British divisions and a Canadian division (sorry I don't have stats re other Commonwealth) in GR Britain in June 1940 that were prepared to defend the south coast of England. The Royal Canadian Navy, and the RCAF were fully engaged in Britain and the North Atlantic.
Back to the Commonwealth factor, just a few web sites and other points to add for your consideration in this thread: (I do apologize for the windiness/length of this post - although I had dozens more points that I just can't take the time or space to add!)
Link to book “The British Empire & The Second World War” by Ashley Jackson – see for a start pp 22 to 24
Canada’s Industrial War Production:
Note re Canada’s status:
Now you may have noticed in this CIA description of Canada - and possibly disregarded - that one of the natural resources listed was molybdnenum. See this site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molybdenum for more information. Some extracts:
“The world's largest producers of molybdenum materials are the United States, Canada, Chile, Russia, and China.
Though molybdenum is found in such minerals as wulfenite (PbMoO4) and powellite (CaMoO4), the main commercial source of molybdenum is molybdenite (MoS2). Molybdenum is mined as a principal ore, and is also recovered as a byproduct of copper and tungsten mining. Large mines in Colorado (Climax) and in British Columbia yield molybdenite, while many porphyry copper deposits such as the Chuquicamata mine in northern Chile produce molybdenum as a byproduct of copper mining. The Knaben mine in southern Norway was opened in 1885, making it the first molybdenum mine. It remained open until 1973.
The world's largest producers of molybdenum materials are the United States, Canada, Chile, Russia, and China.
Though molybdenum is found in such minerals as wulfenite (PbMoO4) and powellite (CaMoO4), the main commercial source of molybdenum is molybdenite (MoS2). Molybdenum is mined as a principal ore, and is also recovered as a byproduct of copper and tungsten mining. Large mines in Colorado (Climax) and in British Columbia yield molybdenite, while many porphyry copper deposits such as the Chuquicamata mine in northern Chile produce molybdenum as a byproduct of copper mining. The Knaben mine in southern Norway was opened in 1885, making it the first molybdenum mine. It remained open until 1973.”
And the application of molybdenum is “The ability of molybdenum to withstand extreme temperatures without significantly expanding or softening makes it useful in applications that involve intense heat, including the manufacture of aircraft parts, electrical contacts, industrial motors, and filaments. Molybdenum is also used in alloys for its high corrosion resistance and weldability. Most high-strength steel alloys are .25% to 8% molybdenum. Despite being used in such small portions, more than 43 million kg of molybdenum is used as an alloying agent each year in stainless steels, tool steels, cast irons, and high-temperature superalloys.
Because of its lower density and more stable price, molybdenum is implemented in the place of tungsten. Molybdenum can be implemented both as an alloying agent and as a flame-resistant coating for other metals. Although its melting point is 2,623 °C (4,753 °F), molybdenum rapidly oxidizes at temperatures above 760 °C (1,400 °F), making it better-suited for use in vacuum environments.
For a long time there was no industrial use for molybdenum. The French Schneider Electrics company produced the first steel molybdenum alloy armor plates in 1894. Until World War I most other armor factories also used molybdenum alloys. In World War I, some British tanks were protected by 75 mm (3.0 in) manganese plating, but this proved to be ineffective. The manganese plates were then replaced with 25 mm (0.98 in) molybdenum plating. These allowed for higher speed, greater maneuverability, and, despite being thinner, better protection. The high demand for molybdenum in World War I and World War II and the steep decrease after the wars had a great influence on prices and production of molybdenum.”
Now look again at the names of the places who were/are the largest producers of molybdenum.
The Allies had the natural resources on their own to continue manufacturing the steel armour plate. Germany was limited on its access to molybdenum and would have been stopped from being able to produce armor plating. So, molybdenum was another factor (in addition to other natural resources such as the Romanian oil fields) as to why the Allies could not allow Russia to fall and the US would not allow Britain to fall, as it had no desire to fight Germany once it had access to Russia’s natural resources.
Also, from a purely economic perspective, I believe Devil’s Advocate is correct in addressing the issue of the death camps and forced labour camps. In Germany, many of those persecuted had in fact been loyal Germans who had fought in WWI on Germany’s side. In many cases they were important human resources of knowledge and skill that Germany squandered, when they may have made a difference to Germany’s ability to wage “intelligently directed” war, as well as to the types and numbers of weapons produced.
But since we are scrapping the Kriegsmarine, there is no need to keep all of those navy factories going, or even the training ground and bases for the crew and support crews for the naval operations. They could turn them into factories.
Ahhh, more targets
A further addition to my previous comments and that i would as Adolf Hitler would persuade Il Duce not to go onto the offensive against the British and Empire forces until i am able to send troops to help, this is vitally important, this deviates Britains war effort, Britain is forced to fight on what is basically a two front war.
I would send at least 3 panzer, 3 motorized and 12 infantry divisions and small force of Luftwaffe (that can be diverted) to North Africa in Italian Libya and mass them on the Libyan/Egyptian border and with the Italians launch one major blitzkrieg using a pincir movement with the Italians, this means that the Italians don't traditionally lose the Italian 5th and 10th Armies which were destroyed.
Also the Italian Royal Navy goes onto the offensive once the height of the Germans land and secure supply lines into Metropolitan Britian, The British Royal Navy would have no choice but withdraw as many vessels as possible to protect home waters, thus leaving a skeleton force to deal with the Italians, once achieved then the Italian Royal Navy then goes onto the offensive. This would include using their heavy units to shore bombard British ports in Egypt/Malta. And they continue their offensive even if losses do rack up, for the Axis this is all or nothing for the Middle-East and it's oilfields are the prize (at this point in time the oilfield output are tiny compared by todays standards but are still vital).
Macrusk points out the contribution of Commonwealth nation in supplying Britain such as Canada, but his argument is welcomed but i ask Macrusk could Canada replace all the war materiel lost by Britain after the Norwegian and French debarcles with my timeframe of 4 weeks from Dunkerque to Seelowe, this would include 67,000 vehicles, hundreds of tanks and other other armoured vehicles, thousands of weapon, and the estimated 750,000 tonnes of supplied such as food, medical supplies, fuels and the thousands of horses that were sent, not only that but to replace all those ships and vessels, aircraft and other stuff to numerable to mention.
Also another clarrification Operations such as the French and British invasions were began with Hitler ordering their plans to be begun as early as mid 1938, Hitler knew war would come and decided early on that Britain and France would be dealt and with his stoic stance that the two nations would be defeated and so these plans were stepped up once thet declared war and by early 1940 Germany goes onto a total war footing that has been planned for over 18 months.
Finally how would the US Government react to having the British Monarch and Government sitting in power across the border, then comes the issue of the diverting of Royal Naval assets to evacuate not only the British Government and vital Government assets but also the Royal Family and Royal assets, then all the exiled governments and their assets, that is a lot of ships even other Empire forces would struggle in this.
Ran across an interesting amplification of this over on the strategy page (See: StrategyPage.com - Combat Information Center analysis, facts and figures about military conflicts and leaders - Military History)
if i was in hitlers shoes this is what i would do
send panzers on lcts across the channel with extra ammunition
secondly i would send luftwaffe squadrons to take over raf airfields
finally i would send the fallshimjagers to attack from the air and destroy the home guard units near the airbases