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Kreigsmarine Z-Plan

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by Gromit801, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Here is what Raeder envisioned as the German fleet, if he had his way, and the economy allowed.

    Would have been something serious. Of course we all know it would have been impossible unless you scrapped the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht to make room for funding.

    http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/zplan/index.html
     
  2. Jan7

    Jan7 Member

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  3. USMC

    USMC Member

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    The Kriegsmarine did not have much of a surface fleet nor the industry to keep up with demand for vessels
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    not true USMC

    after Narvik the Zerstörer fleet was pretty much null and void which was a major loss to the KM, before Narvik and what could of been.........well let's just not go there with a what-if
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It's impressive, but we should keep in mind the other side of the coin. By 1944, without any additions in response to the Z-Plan, the Royal Navy would have ten new battleships, six new carriers, and other types in proportion. Many of their older or modernized ships would still be useful, including Hood, whose planned reconstruction would eliminate all the deficiencies identified as possible causes of her loss.

    It seems safe to assume that the British would accellerate their own construction programs, with the advantage of not having to simultaneously support a continental scale army. It would be a replay of the dreadnought race leading up to WWI, and we know how well that worked out for Germany.

    While the British would probably just build more of their current designs, or incremental improvements, my pet hypothetical is a class of sisters to Vanguard, using reconditioned turrets from the R class ships. Although not as powerful as say a second quartet of Lion class ships, they would be faster, more seaworthy, and could be produced sooner at less cost. The choice might be something like four 28-knot ships mounting a total of 36 16" guns vs. five 30-knot ships with 40 15". With the original Vanguard and the modernized Hood, there would be a formidable fast wing to the British fleet. Even thought up names for them, traditional battleship names: Conqueror, Thunderer, Superb, Tiger, and Dreadnought.
     
  6. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    I remember getting into a debate with a person who was gung ho about some of the same views that Pat Buchanan had on the war - Britain should have let Germany and Russia duke it out and kept out, and that America should not have fought and mantained a defensive role (a total isolationist view).

    His view was that the idea that Germany wanting to invade the United States and take over the world was ludicrous, and that Roosevelt helping with lend lease was disaterous, yada yada yada.

    While agreeing that Germany probably could not conquor the entire planet, I made the point to him that if Germany did not have asperations beyond eastern Europe, and did not want confrontation with Great Britain, they did not need something like plan Z.

    Why do you need such a huge navy on the scale, for land conquest that does not have a vast ocean to control? Seems like a little overkill for the Baltic or North Sea? Or, why would you need it if you were not planning to fight the Royal Navy someday?
     
  7. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    Britain and Germany were in an arms race from about 1937 onwards, and I very much doubt that Germany could have changed the 'balance of power' all that much over even 10 years.

    For every BB the Km put in the water the RN would do at least the same and probably more.



    John.
     
  8. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    Sorry Carronade, I have made the same point as you.



    John.
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    IMO the intetesting thing about the Z-Plan is it's enphasis on battleships, had the Germans gone along with it, and they probably could have without hugely impacting other production except the U-Boats, it would have been the perfect case of "building for the last war instead of for the next".
    While the Atlantic weather is less favorable to carrier ops than the South Pacific a battleship fleet would still end having no better role than the Japanese BBs if that as the Germans lacked a good base on the Atlantic and a North Sea based fleet is strategically powerless like the Hochseeflotte was in WW1.
    Weserübung or Seelowe would benefit from a stronger surface fleet but they managed to pull off the former without it and the later remains a very iffy proposition anyway.

    EDIT: Now immagine (no way they could have done them unless they had a massive input of Japanese technology and gotten rid of Goering but just for fun) four Brest based 20.000t fast carriers each with an airgroup of 24 Me109 and 36 Ju 87, that's really scary.
     
  10. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

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    The thing is that as soon as the Allies got wind of such groups sitting in Brest they would of subjected them to major bombing attacks (or even being built there, as I doubt that they would of been able to negotiate the North Sea & the Denmark Strait without being spotted and consequently engaged. Carriers need escorts and more ships means more chances of the group being spotted.) You only have to look at the effort that was put in to sinking the Tirpitz when history has shown us that she was long past being a threat to convoys on the Russian run.
    When it comes to the Z-Plan you have to bear in mind the war on other fronts for Germany. Considering how the war was going and the advanced numbers & tactics of Allied bomber commands compared to 1939/40/41 they would of ended up as just scrap metal on the building slips as the Germans would not of been in a position to defend these ships from the air armada's ranging over Germany day & night, or built them in time before the dockyards would of been over-run by the Soviet & British/Commonwealth forces.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Was this:
    In reference to this:
    If so what were you disagreeing with? Certainly the first part is correct. Germany never had more than 3 battleships (discounting coastal ones) operational at any one point and two of them were small. No CV's. A handfull of cruisers and destroyers. Sounds like not "much of a surface fleet" to me. As for the industrial part well they never did replace a lot of thier losses but I'm not sure if you want to ascribe that to resources, industry, or politics.
     
  12. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Kriegamarine Planners should have taken the lessons of the Great War at sea to heart, and listened to Karl Doenitz.

    Imagine what would have been acomplished in 1939 with 300 ocean going submarines, instead of the paltry amount they began the war with....

    It would have been far cheaper to replace this fleet as losses became higher during wartime. I'm not sure why the Kriegsmarine didn't go for the submarine to the exclusion of all else. Maybe their admirals and planners were "Big ship men" like the Japanese. "Z" plan certainly bears this assumption out. Of the three services, the Kriegsmarine was probably the least prepared for a major war. What is astounding is the short-sightedness, considering the uselessness that major surface units were shown to be in 14-18, and that this conflict was in living memory of every major office holder of the Kriegsmarine. "Z" Plan shows not only how out of touch they were with modern naval warfare, but how little they had learnt from the last war as well.

    Kreigsmarine planners deserve a major share of the responsibility for these deficiencies.

    You might well say that Erich Raeder was the most disasterous naval office holder of the modern period.
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Overspecialized navies are horribly vulnerable to technological change and/or innovatve tactics, no sane admiral would concentrate on a single warship type in peacetime. IIRC all navies had more battleship than carrier tonnage building in 1939, the shift to carriers happened later (around 1941/42) but the KM was out of the "big ship" business by then.
     
  14. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    As to Tirpitz being no threat:

    The only reason she wasn't a threat is that the USN and RN kept BBs on hand to counter her. By sinking her they freed up those resources for use in the Pacific where they were much more useful. Scratch one fleet in being for the Germans.
     
  15. marc780

    marc780 Member

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    I think the proposed fleet was certainly designed to take on both the French and the royal navy. Surely the Royal naval was the most important naval power among Germany's enemies.
    The Germans did plan for 4 carriers, you have to wonder where they were planning to use them? Perhaps the Mediteranean if not, then you have to consider that the Kriegsmarine would be planning to knock out the Royal Navy with the rest of its fleet- those carriers would have been sitting ducks for the royal Navy and even the French, if deployed anywhere near the English channel.

    In hindsight its easy to see the mistakes that were made in WW2, but its easy to forget that a lot of militaries especially the German and Japanese, were using new ships and weapons that had never been tried out in combat before. So the German plan for a mixed fleet instead of one that was U-boat heavy (which would probably have been far more useful to the Germans when war finally came) was a sensible one because naval ships and armament had changed greatly in the years since WW1 - and there were a lot of untried concepts that could only be worked out in actual combat.

    For example not many naval experts ever predicted that the aircraft carrier would reign supreme over the mighty battleship in WW2, (which of course is exactly what happened). And no one really knew what a carrier vs carrier battle would be like until Coral Sea and Midway, (the American victory at Midway in 1942 was by the narrowest margin imaginable, and due almost entirely to luck, the raw courage of the US Navy pilots, and good fortune rather then skill and planning.)

    Anyway you also have to wonder what WW2 would have been like if the German Z-plan had come to fruition and the German navy had managed to wrest control of the North Sea, the North Atlantic and the English channel from Britain (which in reality, the U-boats almost succeeded in doing in 1940-1943 all by themselves).
     
  16. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    In the North Atlantic there was nothing new about submarines. And they were as vulnerable to technological obsolesence as anything else fielded during the war, whether big ships are in service or not. Battleships were seen to be useless in 14-18, so why plan to use them again. Cruisers had brief periods in the limelight, but in the Great War as in WW2, surface vessels were responsible for sinking a fraction of the tonnage of submarine.

    It's difficult to see how you can suggest that submarines were anything new, or that German admirals had no experience with them.

    The plain fact of the matter is that German Admirals and planners for the Reich Fleet were fighting a re-run of the last war. Insufficient strategic materials should have sealed their production planning in the direction of the best bang per buck...submarines....rather than listening to Adolf bleating on about the 'propaganda value' of a big surface fleet.

    This is another example of political meddling that cost the Reich the war in earnest. They won the propaganda war before the shooting started, but found their plans for a 'guerre de'course' were outdated, ill-concieved, and had not taken into account their own experiences.

    Raeder was as big a boob as Hitler.
     
  17. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Even with a large surface fleet, Germany was handicapped by geography. Their plans should have reflected this reality, rather than daydreaming fantasy scenarios.

    This mistake is all the more unforgivable because it was made twice over. Experience in the Great War should have been the wake up call. But policy revolved around the Navy as a 'prestige' vehicle, in the same way that the High Seas Fleet was created 'merely because'.

    The failure of the Germans to see the fundamental worthlessness of battleships is inexplicaple, except to be able to say that Adolf understood next to nothing about warfare at sea. Again, political meddling is the cause for the Kreigsmarine's woeful preparation for the 'next big thing'. Appointment of surface oriented commanders is NOT something that could only be seen in hindsight. They already had the template campaign of 14-18 to adjust their policy, but failed to do it for reasons best known to themselves, or to Hitler.

    The facts of the matter were there for all to sea....(intended pun)
     

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