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What happens to the RN if the UK falls to the Germans?

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by OpanaPointer, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Trans-Atlantic passenger flight was in its infancy. It was considered a bit of an adventure a couple of years later when Churchill took a Pan Am Clipper to one of his conferences with Roosevelt; IIRC that was the occasion when he suggested to the King whom to appoint as his successor should he not make it.

    Fast warships were relatively safe, especially if escorted, and the big liners like Queen Mary made numerous trips without incident. Most U-boat sinkings were of unescorted merchant ships.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The big liners, Blue Ribbon candidates, were too fast for anything but a lucky setup for a submarine.
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

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    But wouldn't the Germans expect such a move and put patrol lines of U-Boats around English ports? We're talking a scenario here where Britain is defeated and the RN out of the picture. This would mean that some or most of the island is occupied and German air superiority has been achieved. Bombers and the afore-mentioned P-A Clipper could sneak important people out at night with less chance of detection.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Once it was looking like Brition would fall I would expect the evacuations to be a go. If they wait until occupation it's too late. Some sort of armistice/truce plan could also be in place and affect things. Details would be important.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    They couldn't cover all the western ports effectively.

    However, a simple stratagem would be to secretly move the Royals to Ireland and sortie from there.
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    And why not? All it would take is a couple of subs per port. Even if they didn't put a torpedo into the ship, they could radio their HQ and the Luftwaffe could come in on it! Airplanes are harder to detect and intercept, especially at night. They wouldn't even have to go all the way across the pond. They could land Iceland and then transfer to a U.S. or Canadian ship.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The subs have to undetected, and they had to know which ship(s) to attack if they wanted to stop the Royals' departure.

    And, of course, it wouldn't do to put the entire family on one ship.

    They could have also departed on submarines and met up in Iceland.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, the Clippers would be very time dependent. The BAOC did not get their three B-314As until May, 1941. Before then, it would likely be a Short flying boat that would be their transportation.
     
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  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Duhh..."The Coats Mission."

    Google it, the Royals were to be transported to Liverpool, and from there be transported by sea to Canada. Hatley Castle in Victoria, BC, was to be used as their Canadian residence.

    Covered in "The King's Private Army: Protecting the British Royal Family During the Second World War" by Andrew Stewart.
    The King's Private Army
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks, and with that we go back to the question in the OP.
     
  11. EKB

    EKB Member

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    I found something that might be of interest.

    According to one of Churchill’s biographers, if England was defeated by Nazi invasion the evacuation of the British naval fleet to the USA, Canada and other safe bases was a pre-condition for increased support from President Roosevelt …


    Lamb, Richard. Churchill As War Leader: Right or Wrong? (Kindle Locations 1890-1940). Endeavour Media. Kindle Edition.
     
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  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Ah, bread crumbs. I'm getting a surprise gift of the entire WSC-FDR correspondence for my birthday, I'll peruse that area closely.
     
  13. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    A little more on the destroyers for bases deal:

    Churchill repeatedly asked Roosevelt for thirty, or forty, or fifty, or sixty of our old destroyers, even before he became Prime Minister. He thought they could be put into service almost immediately upon arrival; the only modification he referred to was installing Asdic. In fact it took months for busy British shipyards to ready the old ships for operations, and they were not well-liked by the RN.

    The deal originally involved six bases around the Caribbean, an area of particular interest to the Americans. This relieved the British of the need to protect and patrol that area, although there was not much Axis activity at the time. The British added Bermuda and points in Newfoundland, which were closer to the North Atlantic convoy routes.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The US didn't send DDs that were active in the fleet, but the ones they did send weren't that long out of commission. I've read that we rotated the ships, one year active, two years inactive. This meant that a ship was brought into service and any deficiencies addressed, then they were retired for two years before starting the cycle again.

    If the above is correct then the delay in getting them into service would have been due to shipyard availability, not serious problems with the DDs taken from inactive status.

    AND I recently counted the four-stackers available in 1939. There were 166 of all classes that had not been decommissioned.
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Looking at commission & decommission dates don't appear to support this. Most of the Shaw & Wickes classes fell into two main categories - Those that were decommissioned and recommissioned served about 7-8 years in service before being again decommissioned - usually decommissioned in 1922, recommissioned in 1930, and again decommissioned in 1937-39, and others that were decommissioned around 1922, and remained decommissioned until or shortly before being transferred to Great Britain. Those that had only been decommissioned a few years or less did not need much yard work. However, those that had been decommissioned since 1922 needed much more work.
    You can cross-reference this list: History and Technology - A Survey of US Ships Transferred to Britain in Exchange for Western Hemisphere Basing Rights - NavWeaps
    With commissioning and decommissioning dates for the various destroyers here: NavSource Online: Destroyer Photo Archive

    Of the Clemsons passed to Britain, the vast majority had been decommissioned in 1922, and recently recommissioned into the USN in December, 1939 - Before being handed over to Britain in September - November, 1940.


    Well, 116 were in commission in December, 1941. However, of those, about 40 had been repurposed as APDs, AVDs, AVPs, DMs, DMSs, etc. Many more would be so converted as the war went on.
    Mescal's DD list over on AHF: https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=161584
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I only looked at the ones that were in service in 1939. But if you subtract 50 from 166...
     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Friedman cites 169 flush-deckers, of which 48 had been repurposed:
    18 DMS minesweepers
    8 DM minelayers
    14 AVD seaplane tenders
    6 APD fast transports
    2 experimental ships

    Leaving 121 as destroyers, 50 of which were transferred to Britain.

    Of the remaining 71:
    13 Asiatic Fleet
    21 Pacific, 37 Atlantic, mostly assigned by divisions or squadrons to naval districts.

    Also Allen (DD-66), the last "thousand-tonner" characterized by a raised forecastle, was assigned to the 14th Naval District in Hawaii.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Getting back to our original topic, the flush-deckers were transferred from September-December 1940, so depending when Britain fell, the deal might be off.

    The RN arriving in Canada/the Americas would be in considerable disarray; absorbing a bunch of unfamiliar, obsolescent warships might not be feasible or a priority.

    Would they still want the US to take over defense of the Caribbean bases? It would make sense in practical terms, but it would also demonstrate that Britain could no longer secure portions of her dominions.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The addition of the USN units to the local security apparatus wouldn't have upset them too much.

    Has anyone noticed a tendency for lazy people to think the US got the entire islands where the Bases-for-Destroyer leases were to be?
     

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