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The Kriegsmarine in WW2.


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#1 John Dudek

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 06:13 AM

Hi Guys. This topic has always troubled me and I have never been able to find a satisfying answer. Why didn't the Germans correctly utilize the many ships and shipyards that they captured? Just from surfing the net, I've learned of a dozen or more heavy and light cruisers, a few aircraft carriers and even a battleship or two that were either building in yards or were scuttled in shallow water and thus easily recoverable. Why didn't some Rommel-like, naval genius emerge and try and use what was given to the Germans on a silver platter. They missed out on a golden opportunity to quickly re-build a real oceanic threat, navy. Best wishes, John. :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

#2 talleyrand

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 09:33 AM

The Germans captured no aircraft carriers. The French carrier Bearn was in the Med or Atlantic when France fell, and escaped capture. She was later refitted in the States. Bearn went on to serve the French Navy into the '60's. France had another under construction but I believe the keel had only been laid in June of '40, far from completion anyways. The Germans completed a single aircraft carrier of her own the Graf Zeppelin, Zeppelin's sister ship the Peter Strasser was never completed.
So no carriers. The Norwegian navy mostly escaped, the Danes didnt have much, and what the French had left they were either allowed to keep(Vichy), or the British destroyed. The Graf Zeppelin never saw combat and was accidently sunk by the Russians in 1946.
1) Germany had no indigenous oil reserves. This meant that they had to make most of their petroleum products by converting coal to petroleum. There are two types of crude oil, heavy and light. Heavy crude is used to make diesel and fuel oil, light crude for gasoline. Most of the oil that Germany could make was light oil, which meant that heavy fuel oil to power ships boilers was in short supply. Diesel was desperately needed for better things. Hence, the Italian navy destroyed at anchor.
2) The Germans made a conscious decision in 1936 not to build a large surface fleet. A four year production plan was instituted in 1936 to make Germany ready for war by 1940. Hitler was advised that Germany did not have production output and raw materials to build all the aircraft, tanks, and ships Hitler wanted, Goring was Hitlers top advisor on this and between them they chose to neglect the Kreigsmarine in favor the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht. Germany could have finished two carriers, several battleships and many smaller fighting vessels, but at the direct cost of Panzer divisions and fighter wings.
3) The lack of ships and fuel meant that Germany’s enemy’s always had her far outnumbered on the seas. Germany couldn’t keep ships from being quickly sunk, let alone threaten to dominate the Atlantic. So they gave it up. Remember that the U-boats only managed to sink 1% of the Allies Atlantic cargo, and the majority of U-boats were destroyed without ever getting a kill. So Germany relegated the naval conflict to low priority early in the war. Off of Norway and in the Baltic is the only place you will find German surface ships doing any real harm to the Allies. The Bismarck, Graf Spee and the rest were quickly sent to Davy Jones locker after causing minimal harm.
4) Would a few more boats really done any good?
5) Its late, I may have missed something, and the grammer is probably bad, please forgive J
It's a sick, sick world. I'm a happy man.

#3 Lord Lovat

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 09:30 PM

the germans did have a plan to build a large surface fleet which when finished would have left them with 10 battleships(stll not many in comparison to others) this was plan was plan x i thing, wasnt due for completion till 1945 a bit too late well all agree

#4 C.Evans

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 01:01 AM

Give me a few days to get back to a computer and I will see what I can tell you for lack of time today.
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
:snoopy: :ww1ace:
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#5 talleyrand

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 07:41 AM

The Kreigsmarine build program that was to supply a formidable surface force by '45 was just smoke and mirrors to make the Km feel less leftout. Hitler had no plans to ever follow through as his plans for war in 1940 would make this plan impossible.
It's a sick, sick world. I'm a happy man.

#6 Andreas Seidel

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 08:39 AM

Actually, the Germans made the conscious decision to build a large surface fleet in 1936. From what I have read in a multitude of books ranging from Conway's to Military Shipbuilders of the World, they all state that Hitler wanted a new German battlefleet, if only to use as a chess piece in the game of geostrategic politics.

If you want proof?
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau laid down and completed.
Bismarck and Tirpitz laid down and completed.
Graf Zeppelin and Peter Strasser laid down.
Two H-class battleships laid down, four more ordered.
Contracts for 3 P-class battlecruisers given.
Three of six M-class cruisers laid down.

So it's all just rubbish is it? I don't really think so! :)

The Z-Plan (started out as the X-Plan, became the Y-Plan after modifications, and then the Z-Plan) was to build a large and powerful mixed (but with a large surface component) fleet:

4 aircraft carriers
8 battelships
5 battlecruisers
8 heavy cruisers
13 light cruisers
22 scouts
68 destroyers
90 torpedo boats
249 submarines
302 small fighting vessels
10 minelayers
909 auxiliaries

That's according to Conway's anyway. The majority of those ships were building or completed in 1939.

As for foreign yards, and ships in various stages of completion: of course the Germans used this potential.

A Greek, a Dutch and French destroyer were completed by the Germans, as well as a host of torpedo boats and submarines. The few cruiser hulls that were captured were (in one case in Holland) either completed to clear the slipway, or it was considered to rebuild them as an aircraft carrier in one case in France, but as soon as the war began, the focus of the KM drifted away from Hitler's large surface fleet towards a large submarine fleet.

The foreign yards were used to make a large number of amphibious vessels (the so called Artilleriefähren), M-boats, R-boats, KFK. and KUJs.

[ 04 November 2001: Message edited by: Andreas Seidel ]
„Solange man nicht mit dem Kopf unterm Arm rumläuft geht es doch noch!" Erwin Rommel

#7 talleyrand

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 08:02 PM

The Z plan was rubbish. The plan was only pursued half-heartedly then abandoned as soon as the war kicked off. Actually sooner, in July construction on most large vessells was curtailed to free up strategic metal reserves. The vessells would have been completed earlier if the '36 plan had not pointed out the cost of a navy to Hitler.
Z PLAN Actually Completed

4 aircraft carriers 1
8 battelships 2
5 battlecruisers 4
8 heavy cruisers 4
13 light cruisers 6
22 scouts
68 destroyers 24
90 torpedo boats 37
249 submarines
302 small fighting vessels
10 minelayers
909 auxiliaries

The Germans laid down many boats in the 30's. Most were constructed at a very slow pace, and only completed after the war started, many were never completed.

[ 04 November 2001: Message edited by: talleyrand ]
It's a sick, sick world. I'm a happy man.

#8 John Dudek

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Posted 05 November 2001 - 01:28 AM

Hi Guys. Granted, I know about the Z Plan and its ideas of an evenly built, German, ocean-going fleet by the late 40's. My question is, what of the aircraft carriers the Italians had planned to convert from ocean liners like the "Roma", plus the French ones too? Most of the scuttled and sunk French battleships were in shallow water and thus, easily recoverable. Why wasn't a concerted effort made to recover and recondition them in friendly shipyards and add them to the Kriegsmarine? The same could be said about the Dutch and Belgian shipyards. A massive, unfinished,Russian battleship was captured intact at Sevastapol. Why wasn't it towed further west to be finished and added to Germany's fleet. It seems as if Germany's navy was allowed to wither on the vine, rather than be actively cultivated and pursued. Best Wishes, John. :confused: :confused:

#9 talleyrand

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Posted 05 November 2001 - 06:09 AM

Because, as I said in my earlier post, the ships werent worth the effort. They would just be sunk if they went to sea, so they would sit in port, as the rest of the German fleet did.
No large battlewagon is easily recoverable, even with todays tools, more so then. Under fire its impossible, so those ships nearest to England were out of reach due to the RAF. The French vessells not near England were in the Med, still owned by the Vichy French. These were not in Germany's hands until they had already lost the war.
Italy's planned carriers were a joke.
It's a sick, sick world. I'm a happy man.

#10 C.Evans

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Posted 06 November 2001 - 06:56 PM

Well said guys. Andreas thanks for that info-I was going to post something similar to what you did but dont have to know.
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
:snoopy: :ww1ace:
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