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What if German Uboats had bombarded the Eastern Coast of the US?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by John Dudek, Jan 9, 2006.

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  1. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    What if German U-Boats armed with deck-launched, rockets had made raids along the American coast, bombarding the coastal cities and towns of the U.S. with dozens of low to medium-range, HE rockets, as was envisioned by the Kriegsmarine and shown to be practical, possible and an easy, but effective expediant. What would the effect have been?

    Given the earlier Japanese reaction to the "Dolittle Raid", the U.S. might have kept dozens of interceptor and light bomber squadrons based along the East Coast, to combat the U-Boats, rather than send them to England and the Mediteraenean Theatres.

    What say you guys?
     
  2. Il Duce

    Il Duce Member

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    Well i think at the point that we attacked along the coast of france, the germans werent prepared to do a full scale attack on America. I honestly believe that the japanese did us a favor by bombing pearl harbor. Without that we may have sat back for too long and the germans would have gotten to a point of no return, concured basically all of europe and we'd all be speaking German right now
     
  3. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    True to a point, but the Germans had already worked out all of the wherewithal to launch medium-ranged, rockets from racks carried on the deck of their U-Boats.

    Imagine the effect of having a dozen Nebelwerfer rockets landing on Wall Street during a trading session.
     
  4. Il Duce

    Il Duce Member

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    Yes they did have it figured out, however i believe that hitler wanted to concure europe before he made his way to America. Obviously what killed his plan was the fact that America started moving in from the west. HE was obvisouly planned on taking over russia anyways, but japan kind of screwed Germany over. I just dont think that Hitler would have moved in on America so quickly, Russia seemed to be oddly important for him. Probably the land mass to expand his arian race
     
  5. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    I suspect that it would just have got the USA even more annoyed, and possibly resulted in some deflection of resources (B-29s?) from the Pacific.

    Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum
     
  6. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Most Nebelwerfer had a range of less than 10,000 yards. This has several really BIG disadvantages:

    First, you have to surface to fire. This means you give away your location and an intense search for your whereabouts is very likely to follow.

    Second, this puts little of any real military or economic value within range of your fire.

    Third, depending on where you surface to fire you are likely to encounter coastal defenses which have fire control radar. If these defenses are manned as they should be you are quickly brought under fire due to your close proximity to the guns.

    On a technical note: To carry the rockets on deck would have requried some sort of watertight housing that was also pressure tight. This would have added weight and volume to the sub making it less capable in other ways. I suspect few U-boat skippers would have been enthuastic about this little venture on this alone.
    German rockets of the 'nebelwerfer' variety are not waterproof. Particularly their fuel of di- or tri- ethylene glycol. This is water soluable. This means left out in seawater the rockets will not function later.
    As far as keeping forces in the US, the US military kept two entire air forces in the continental US. These were the operational squadrons from which pilots for overseas duty were drawn. In addition, the US Navy had dozens of squadrons stationed in the US for coastal patrol and defense etc.
    It is absolutely ludicrious to think that the Germans could have ever invaded the North American continent during the WW 2 period. You do realize that the US potential to raise military units was on par with that of the Soviet Union in terms of quantity. The US didn't only because they had to ship every unit somewhere else in the world to fight.
    Lifted of that restriction at home the US army would have expanded to 300 divisions to repel an invasion. If the Germans could not successfully cross the English Channel what possible hope did they have of mounting an invasion across the Atlantic?!!
    Another note: Firing on "Wall Street" is not possible. The Nebelwerfer 15cm rocket only has a 7000 yard range. Look at a map. In order to do this you either have to sail up the Hudson river or into Long Island Sound nearly to Rikers Island.
    You might also note that this puts the U-boat in range of alot of coastal batteries.....
     
  7. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    I'd think TA is pretty much right on the money. And I'd emphasise (as I'm wont to do) the logistical aspect. Realistically, the only thing the germans would have accomplished would have been to maybe put a bit of a scare into the US, but also to motivate the US to defend against any such attack.
    And this would be at the expense of a pretty significant effort on the part of the germans. The launchers would have to be engineered as TA notes, the subs doing the firing would have given away their positions and opened themselves up to attack, and to commit to anything more than the occasional attack would have used more fuel, subs, and crews- something the Germans rarely had tons of to spare.

    This does remind me though of another german technological oddity- which I can only vaguely recollect. Didn't the germans have a heavy bomber which could have made it to the coastal US and attacked some american cities? I seem to remember reading about one of these aerial beasts, but it would fall to one of the resident Luftwaffe experten to fill out the details of this vague recollection.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Military wise - not good at all and not worth it

    Propaganda wise-great stuff. Think what Mr Göbbels would have made of it if only one rocket ever had been launched and even that blew up the U-boat itself....
     
  9. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    I agree with you to a point, T.A. The tests were actually successfully carried out from a submerged U-Boat. The 21 and 30 cm. rockets in question were able to be fired from a depth of 15 metres and this actually resulted in a greater velocity being given to the rockets flight after they broke the surface.

    True. They may not have hit anything of military value, but the propaganda value of them striking anything in the Continental United States would be seen as priceless back in Germany.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Yep. Rockets or the Bomber mission would have been a huge propaganda boost for Göbbels. Whether they hit something or not....

    They did have some rather interesting ideas for the Amerika Bomber mission...hope I find it here in the forums...

    In the net:

    http://www.luft46.com/misc/sanger.html
     
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