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Old August 28th, 2017, 08:18 PM   #21
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This would mean that the Germans would be SHORT of major warships to commit, but this more due to Germany's own strategic decisions than to its limitations.
These is just wrong. The germans were massively short of Major warships. I Battle cruisers and 2 cruisers, outnumbered by the Royal navy 30 -1.Short just does not convoy the crippling inadequacy of the German navy compared to the British. And it's not do too german strategic decisions, it's a fact often balance of forces, the German Navy was minuscule compared to the Royal navy.

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In this, the German plan would ultimately commit 100 surface vessels of varying types. And while all of these were light vessels, they were nothing to sneer at.
Spread out amongst the entire invasion force it is a very very small escort forces, massively outnumbered by the Royal Navy available forces, and in any real encounter would be outnumbered 10 -1.
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Old August 28th, 2017, 09:13 PM   #22

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The British don't need to sink all the German invasion fleet.

There would be what at least 10 invasion convoys, the German escorts would be extremely small 1 destroyer and 2-3 minesweepers/aux craft against a British attack force of say 10 destroyers, the German escorts would be hopelessly outnumbered, and the convoys where much more vulnerable than an ordinary convoy, if say 30 barges are lost (out say a 100) the convoy scattered it's enough , and 3-4 convoys are so mauled thats to serious undermine the German invasion right form the start.

The alleged quality of the German destroyers simply does not matter at odds of 10 to 1. And if they are kept together as a flotilla then the convoys are basically unprotected. They my defend one as group, but the others would be even more exposed. If scattered to give some protection to all convoys they simply are not enough to provide a real fight against a British attack force.

The Germans could not find enough crews with any maritime experience to man the barges, untrained raw crews, troops who had not trained on the barges , panic and just evasive action could sink barges. Remember 2/3 are unpowered and under tow. Any real substantive attack and there is real chance of panic. The very limited exercises revealed real problems with evasion and panic. And the crews would be improvised and the troops would almost all be loaded on a barge for the first time.

Motor torpedo and Guns boats would also be a serious threat. Submarines, mines. Even the armed trawlers and patrol boats some 400 mostly in the channel area would be a significant threat A broths destroyer flotilla and 30 odd armed trawlers who could go after the barges while the destroyers eliminated the few escorts.

There is plenty of potential for the Invasion fleet to be seriously depleted which is all the British need to do.
But not in the first wave, which is Forczyk's main point and not easily. Simply for the fact that in nearly every other case where a British naval unit comes across a slow plodding convoy with minimal escort... the convoy got away with only minimal losses... and usually the ships at the rear being the ones hit...

And that even assumes the British would have an outstanding record of accuracy. Which Forczyk pointed out with regard to the actions at Dakar being far from the case. They failed to inflict major damage on a stationary target despite firing over 400 shells at the Richelieu. And while one could argue that the Richelieu as a newer battleship had better armor than what the Barham or Resolution could penetrate... as a stationary target, one would think that they would have at least done major damage to the French battleship's unarmored areas that would have forced major repairs... or that after 400+ shots that one would penetrate the French ship's armor, which was not done...

So either at Dakar, the British had the only gun crews in their entire navy that were poor shots... or British accuracy was NOT as great as it is assumed to be...

In addition, with the much of the first wave moving at night so as to give that five knot pace time to cross the channel, any interception by the British with the destroyers and any other auxiliaries would be difficult. Most of the destroyers in the Channel were older and DIDN'T have radar and it'd be doubtful that auxiliary ships would, either... and if the darkness affects the German ability to navigate... it would also affect any British destroyer or warship NOT equipped with radar.

It's why Forczyk makes the argument that the first wave would likely be successful. It's with both the following waves and supply where the Germans would have their greatest difficulty... as British numbers ultimately do have some effect... But it still wouldn't be easy and during the day, they'd still be facing air attacks that could throw off their aim or their own course, even the Luftwaffe fails to hit them.

He isn't arguing that the Germans would just stomp the British. More that a lot of the earlier literature on the campaign has reached a point where it's assumed that the British would either win simply because they're British or that the whole campaign was a bluff and a joke...
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Old August 28th, 2017, 09:26 PM   #23
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But not in the first wave, which is Forczyk's main point and not easily. Simply for the fact that in nearly every other case where a British naval unit comes across a slow plodding convoy with minimal escort... the convoy got away with only minimal losses... and usually the ships at the rear being the ones hit...
.
have you dates or any sources of these encounters. Looked up on google preview have dates, some details 4 instances.not a lot one occasion driven off by aircraft, another by costal defences, another sinking 8 out of 21 ships.

but we are talking barges which would a new level of vulnerability and speed.

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And that even assumes the British would have an outstanding record of accuracy. Which Forczyk pointed out with regard to the actions at Dakar being far from the case. They failed to inflict major damage on a stationary target despite firing over 400 shells at the Richelieu. And while one could argue that the Richelieu as a newer battleship had better armor than what the Barham or Resolution could penetrate... as a stationary target, one would think that they would have at least done major damage to the French battleship's unarmored areas that would have forced major repairs... or that after 400+ shots that one would penetrate the French ship's armor, which was not done...

So either at Dakar, the British had the only gun crews in their entire navy that were poor shots... or British accuracy was NOT as great as it is assumed to be...
.
simply not similar enough to apply as relevant,

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Old August 28th, 2017, 09:40 PM   #24

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These is just wrong. The germans were massively short of Major warships. I Battle cruisers and 2 cruisers, outnumbered by the Royal navy 30 -1.Short just does not convoy the crippling inadequacy of the German navy compared to the British. And it's not do too german strategic decisions, it's a fact often balance of forces, the German Navy was minuscule compared to the Royal navy.
Short, yes... but the strategic factor came from the fact that Raeder wasn't going to allow the Scharnhorst, Gneisneau or any other heavy ship the Germans might have gotten repaired or launched to take part in Sea Lion... So it'd be 30-0 because Raeder wasn't going to risk his ships to a major battle... and even in the end, the British only had one heavy ship in the Channel, the Revenge. Most of the rest of British battleships/battlecruisers were at Scapa Flow and other northern bases defending against a possible attack on the north east coast, near where the Germans raided Britain in WWI, and Britain's commander of the Home Fleet was pretty much just as hesitant as Raeder was with regard to risking his ships to where they could be bombed. So... within the specific area of operation, Germany WASN'T that deficient in terms of heavy ships. Sure the British had one and they didn't... but one WWI era battleship does not a 30 to 1 odds make...

And Forczyk also offers some comparison... in that in 1939-1940 Germany had no active modern battleship, though Bismarck and Tirpitz were both under construction and would be launched by that timeframe. At the same time the British only had the Nelson and Rodney as active modern battleships, but the King George V class, like the Bismarck and Tirpitz was being built at the time... The difference that Forczyk points to is that by the end of 1940, the first King George V class battleships were in active service with the Royal Navy. Both Bismarck and Tirpitz were still either under construction or undergoing trials and wouldn't be ready until 1941 at the absolute earliest.

In this, Forczyk argues that the British had a better training and construction program that gave them certain advantages. In that, so long as the Germans don't reach any major harbors that Britain had for its battleships, which Forczyk in his assessment didn't think that they would... that if the battle went on long enough, not only would the first KGV class ships become available but the Barham and Resolution would be repaired from the fight at Dakar.

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Spread out amongst the entire invasion force it is a very very small escort forces, massively outnumbered by the Royal Navy available forces, and in any real encounter would be outnumbered 10 -1.
In terms of total numbers, sure... but being able to put those numbers to use would depend on knowing WHERE the Germans intended to land. But Forczyk argues that they didn't know where Hitler intended to land any more than the Germans anticipated where Overlord would take place four years later.
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Old August 28th, 2017, 09:58 PM   #25
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Short, yes... but the strategic factor came from the fact that Raeder wasn't going to allow the Scharnhorst, Gneisneau or any other heavy ship the Germans might have gotten repaired or launched to take part in Sea Lion... So it'd be 30-0 because Raeder wasn't going to risk his ships to a major battle... and even in the end, the British only had one heavy ship in the Channel, the Revenge. Most of the rest of British battleships/battlecruisers were at Scapa Flow and other northern bases defending against a possible attack on the north east coast, near where the Germans raided Britain in WWI, and Britain's commander of the Home Fleet was pretty much just as hesitant as Raeder was with regard to risking his ships to where they could be bombed. So... within the specific area of operation, Germany WASN'T that deficient in terms of heavy ships. Sure the British had one and they didn't... but one WWI era battleship does not a 30 to 1 odds make...
30-1 was overall force. 60 cruisers v 2 cruisers. Not about those available in operational area.

Short. is an under statement. Short and given the reason as German dispositions, is such an understatement as to be dishonest. And not dictated by German force allocations. The Royal Naval had a massive superiority in major warships.

I find the statement that Germany WASNT deficient in terms of heavy ships inexplicable considering the facts. Germany had the Hipper and a couple of cruisers. Thats a major deficiency in heavy ships, verging on a total lack thereof. If terms of protecting the invasion fleet total inadequate and just not a significant factor.


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In terms of total numbers, sure... but being able to put those numbers to use would depend on knowing WHERE the Germans intended to land. But Forczyk argues that they didn't know where Hitler intended to land any more than the Germans anticipated where Overlord would take place four years later.
But the Germans are escorting they don't know where the British will attack, this their escorts are spread across all the invasion force, while the British force will be concentrated in the few actual attacks. This the British advantage in numbers in an engagement will likely be more than that in the overall balance of forces.
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Old August 28th, 2017, 10:27 PM   #26
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Let's not make comparisons between Operation Neptune/Overlord and Operation Seelowe shall we ? In 1944 Allies were developing the concept of landing plans and invasion for two years , made a gigantic build up in British isles , gathered every piece of intelligence about beaches and shores of Normandy they were going to land , curtailed German air and naval recon to minimum except the sorties they "allowed" over Pas de Calais , created a very effective deception plan (Operation Fortitude) , kept track off weather , tide , current , moon conditions constantly , made every attempt to slow down German reinforcements and cut their communications , kept track of enemy movements , took every precaution to stop any German attempt to intercept Allied suppy and reinforcements after landings , created a very effective inter service cooperation between various services (land , sea , air) of TWO nations , made repreated exercises off British shores to iron out details , built a vast number vessels of amphibious landing craft and artificial harbours to sustain supply and reinforcements after landings.

Seelowe compared to Overlord was hastily prepared and full of assumptions on critical details and down right mistakes. Germans did not have enough shipping to transfer more than two or three divisions in first wave and not in one landing wave. (anyone studies Gallipoli , Anzio , Market Garden that if you do not deploy your full force in initial wave suprise advantage was lost and you are asking for trouble) , British were actually tracking enemy movemrnts not just by ULTRA (several Luftwaffe , Wehrmacht and Abwehr cyphers were broken by August 1940) but by constant recon. German made no planning or studies about shores they would land , depth , tides , weather conditions. Neither they made proper amphibious exercises. German Navy did not have enough experienced seamanship to transport a vast force like that off Channel or formation holding. If they sailed out and by chance reached SE England , it is highly dubious they would reach right shores they intended to land. Once chaos and disorganization sets in like that especially in amphibious operations...I do not know. I mean Germans seemed like supersoldiers back then but they could drown just like everybody else and EVEN IF THEY LANDED without a proper organization and supply echalons , even a medium sized British counter attack (by September they more or less re armed a significant portion of their army) would drive them back to sea. For example Germans had 88 mm artilley best anti tank flak gun but they needed transportation along with ammunition. Without ammunition (British severing Seelowe supply route or weather conditions in coming waves) and 88 mm gun would be a scrap of metal in SE England. Even without a counter attack how much the initial wave of ubermench could sustain on a narrow beachead without supplies and reinforcements ?

That kind of defeat , loss of face for German military might , morale and international prestige would be incalculable (which Hitler feared to lose most in 1940 , he already was overconfident that he won the war , just not know how to end it)

And last of all author relying too much of failed Dakar invasion (by the way Richelieu was crippled previously during Operation Catapult in July 1940 but still was an armored battleship which Kriegsmarine did not have any operational one in 1940 and once initial landing attempt failed British did not force the issue over there) but conviniently ignores actions of Force K (two light cruisers and ten-fourteen destroyers) based in Malta during 1941-42. With help of RAF and RN submarines based on Malta they destroyed every Axis convoy they came upon (though they did not always sortie conceal source of ULTRA) Check out Battles of Tarigo Convoy , Duisburg Convoy , Cape Bon and Skerki Bank in 1941-42. When pressed upon British surface units fought to last to destroy the enemy they came upon. (and with Seelowe their back would be at wall)

Come think of it according to Peter Fleming writer of Sealion 1940" Royal Navy destroyers and light units even raided and bombarded several shore installitions in occupied western European harbors during September 1940. Germans lacked means and methods to protect even harbours Sealion supposed to be launched from. How sucessful they would be escorting the convoys in open sea in first place ?

Last edited by merdiolu; August 28th, 2017 at 10:57 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2017, 10:29 PM   #27

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have you dates or any sources of these encounters.

but we are talking barges which would a new level of vulnerability and speed.
"On the night of 10/11 September 1940, the British destroyers HMS Malcolm, Veteran, and Wild Swan intercepted a German coastal convoy off Ostend; they succeeded in sinking one VP boat and two trawlers towing a barge, but the rest escaped."

-Robert Forczyk We March Against England British Anti-Invasion Capabilities, 1940-41 pg 214

"On the night of 13/14 October 1940, Captain Philip Vian - certainly one of the Royal Navy's most aggressive front-line commanders - led four British Tribal class destroyers to raid enemy shipping off the Norwegian coast. Vian encountered a German convoy consisting of four small freighters, escorted by three auxiliary minesweepers. HMS Cossack torpedoed and sank one freighter, while HMS Ashanti and Maori damaged another freighter and an escort with gunfire. Yet despite the disparity in firepower and speed, most of the convoy escaped Vian's destroyers."

-Robert Forczyk We March Against England British Anti-Invasion Capabilities, 1940-41 pg 214-215

"On the night of 21/22 May 1941, Force D ( three light cruisers and four destroyers) interceptedthe German 1st Motor Sailing Flotilla (21 small steamers, trawlers, and fishing boats) off Cape Spatha on the north-west tip of Crete. The convoy was crawling at a speed of just 2-3 knots, was carrying 2,331 troops from the 5. Gebirgs Division and its only escort was the Italian torpedo boat Lupo (armed with three 100mm guns). Due to low clouds and limited illumination from the moon, visibility was limited to 2-4,000 yards. At 2229 hours, a British destroyer spotted the Lupo and its convoy; a brisk action ensued and the Lupo was hit 18 times, but only three shells exploded. The Lupo managed to rake the cruiser HMS Dido with 20mm fire at close range, inflicting 11 casualties. Despite suffering 28 casulaties, the Lupo succeeded in breaking away at high speed. Force D then proceeded to sail into the midst of the convoy and spent two hours shooting it up. Yet even against now undefended and slow-moving convoy these seven British warships were only able to sink eight of 21 vessels before retiring."

-Robert Forczyk We March Against England British Anti-Invasion Capabilities, 1940-41 pg 215

"Just six hours after the action, the Royal Navy's Force C (four light cruisers and three destroyers) intercepted the German 2nd Motor Sailing Flotilla (30 small steamers and trawlers), which was carrying 4,000 troops, north of Crete. The convoy was escorted by the Italian torpedo boat Sagittario, which moved to delay the approaching British flotilla. Despite the lop-sided odds, Sagittario laid a smokescreen which concealed the convoy and boldly attacked the closest British destroyer, HMS Kingston. The Kingston was hit twice but British gunnery was poor and both Sagittario and the convoy escaped northward. Force C contented itself with sinking two stragglers then retired due to threat of enemy air attack. These surface actions off Ostend and Crete do not reveal any ability by British cruiser-destroyer surface action groups to inflict massive casualties on enemy coastal shipping, even when the odds were dramatically in their favor."

-Robert Forczyk We March Against England British Anti-Invasion Capabilities, 1940-41 pg 215-216

Forczyk puts that information in his book... and the book's review is the purpose of the thread. When I'm putting in the chapter reviews, I put down what I felt to be both the general gist of what the argument is along with the most interesting points in that chapter. I'm not copying the book down... as that would defeat the purpose of buying the book.

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simply not similar enough to apply as relevant
I think what Forczyk was getting at regarding the action at Dakar was accuracy. Many of the men in the Royal Navy in 1940 surely had training in naval gunnery...

You wish to make the claim that small barges moving at a five knot pace are vulnerable. In pure theory, sure. But a big stationary battleship is an even BETTER target. It's bigger and it isn't moving, thus easier to hit. Yet at Dakar, the British fired over 400 shots and failed to do serious damage to the Richelieu...

This means they either had perfect hits, but failed to penetrate the Richelieu's armor... which is possible, but unlikely given the volume of shells fired... or a large number of shots failed to hit the Richelieu and thus lowered the odds of the hits that they did score doing major damage, given that the Richelieu was intended to fight the Bismarck or the newer Italian battleships, while Barham and Resolution were both WWI battleships and wouldn't have the 16 in radar assisted guns that the USS Massachusetts would use to render the Jean Bart a smoking hulk in Casablanca...
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Old August 28th, 2017, 10:44 PM   #28

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30-1 was overall force. 60 cruisers v 2 cruisers. Not about those available in operational area.

Short. is an under statement. Short and given the reason as German dispositions, is such an understatement as to be dishonest. And not dictated by German force allocations. The Royal Naval had a massive superiority in major warships.

I find the statement that Germany WASNT deficient in terms of heavy ships inexplicable considering the facts. Germany had the Hipper and a couple of cruisers. Thats a major deficiency in heavy ships, verging on a total lack thereof. If terms of protecting the invasion fleet total inadequate and just not a significant factor.
If one wishes to go solely by total numbers... fine the British had a massive numerical advantage... but they didn't have their entire navy in the Channel, they didn't have all their cruisers in the Channel. Within the channel, the numbers were not deficient and would give the German first wave a good chance of successfully crossing.

It's with the following waves that Forczyk argues where British numbers would begin to be more important.

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But the Germans are escorting they don't know where the British will attack, this their escorts are spread across all the invasion force, while the British force will be concentrated in the few actual attacks. This the British advantage in numbers in an engagement will likely be more than that in the overall balance of forces.
More than likely the escorts would try to stay reasonably close to the specific convoys their escorting. About the only ones that would likely stray far would be minesweepers either trying to clear mines as the convoy moves or laying additional mines to prevent any attack through an area. Any response to the British would likely be more reactive than anything else. They wouldn't be "spread thin" looking for the British...
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Old August 28th, 2017, 11:11 PM   #29

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Let's not make comparisons between Operation Neptune/Overlord and Operation Seelowe shall we ? In 1944 Allies were developing the concept of landing plans and invasion for two years , made a gigantic build up in British isles , gathered every piece of intelligence about beaches and shores of Normandy they were going to land , curtailed German air and naval recon to minimum except the sorties they "allowed" over Pas de Calais , created a very effective deception plan (Operation Fortitude) , kept track off weather , tide , current , moon conditions constantly , made every attempt to slow down German reinforcements and cut their communications , kept track of enemy movements , took every precaution to stop any German attempt to intercept Allied suppy and reinforcements after landings , created a very effective inter service cooperation between various services (land , sea , air) of TWO nations , made repreated exercises off British shores to iron out details , built a vast number vessels of amphibious landing craft and artificial harbours to sustain supply and reinforcements after landings.

Seelowe compared to Overlord was hastily prepared and full of assumptions on critical details and down right mistakes. Germans did not have enough shipping to transfer more than two or three divisions in first wave and not in one landing wave. (anyone studies Gallipoli , Anzio , Market Garden that if you do not deploy your full force in initial wave suprise advantage was lost and you are asking for trouble) , British were actually tracking enemy movemrnts not just by ULTRA (several Luftwaffe , Wehrmacht and Abwehr cyphers were broken by August 1940) but by constant recon. German made no planning or studies about shores they would land , depth , tides , weather conditions. Neither they made proper amphibious exercises. German Navy did not have enough experienced seamanship to transport a vast force like that off Channel or formation holding. If they sailed out and by chance reached SE England , it is highly dubious they would reach right shores they intended to land. Once chaos and disorganization sets in like that especially in amphibious operations...I do not know. I mean Germans seemed like supersoldiers back then but they could drown just like everybody else and EVEN IF THEY LANDED without a proper organization and supply echalons , even a medium sized British counter attack (by September they more or less re armed a significant portion of their army) would drive them back to sea. For example Germans had 88 mm artilley best anti tank flak gun but they needed transportation along with ammunition. Without ammunition (British severing Seelowe supply route or weather conditions in coming waves) and 88 mm gun would be a scrap of metal in SE England. Even without a counter attack how much the initial wave of ubermench could sustain on a narrow beachead without supplies and reinforcements ?

That kind of defeat , loss of face for German military might , morale and international prestige would be incalculable (which Hitler feared to lose most in 1940 , he already was overconfident that he won the war , just not know how to end it)
The point of comparison between Sea Lion and Overlord is not so much about the viability of the plan. If asked, I'm sure he'd argue that given the effort and experience... Overlord was the better plan. But that ISN'T the point. The point in the comparison was on what either expected. And in this, both really didn't know...

The Germans didn't know where Overlord would take place, and in many ways, the wrong guess on the Pas Du Calais probably had as much to do with how the Germans would have conducted Overlord had they been in Eisenhower's place than anything that the Allied deception plans did. A biography on Rommel that I have makes that exact case that he figured it'd be Calais because that was where HE would attack. In this the Allied deception plans only reinforced what the Germans themselves were predisposed to believe... which means they didn't have any real clue on where the Allies would land...

And the British were much the same position with regard to predicting where the Germans would land in 1940...

That's about as far as the comparison goes.

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And last of all author relying too much of failed Dakar invasion (by the way Richelieu was crippled previously during Operation Catapult in July 1940 but still was an armored battleship which Kriegsmarine did not have any operational one in 1940 and once initial landing attempt failed British did not force the issue over there) but conviniently ignores actions of Force K (two light cruisers and ten-fourteen destroyers) based in Malta during 1941-42. With help of RAF and RN submarines based on Malta they destroyed every Axis convoy they came upon (though they did not always sortie conceal source of ULTRA) Check out Battles of Tarigo Convoy , Duisburg Convoy , Cape Bon and Skerki Bank in 1941-42. When pressed upon British surface units fought to last to destroy the enemy they came upon. (and with Seelowe their back would be at wall)
The point on Dakar is more on the issue of accuracy. In theory the Richelieu should have been a very easy target to hit, as it WAS stationary... And while it was a modern battleship, it's not going to bounce 400+ 12in battleship rounds. If the British are able to hit with every shot... 400+ hits on a stationary target is going to do MAJOR damage. But the Richelieu suffered no significant damage at Dakar, which would mean that Barham and Resolution did not have a 100% ratio of hits to shots fired against a ship that if it was still under repair from Mers-el-Kebir, should have been a sitting duck.
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Old September 10th, 2017, 03:59 PM   #30

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The review continues with chapter nine...

Chapter Nine: Siege Operations against Great Britain, October 1940-May 1941

The defeat in the "Battle of Britain" and the postponement of Sea Lion in September 1940, that didn't mean that the conflict between Germany and Britain ceased. The Luftwaffe wasn't destroyed in the "Battle of Britain" and the German Navy still had options and tactics with which keep putting pressure on Britain...

And Forczyk opens with the continued bombing of British cities, and that while the "Battle of Britain" had served to stop the daylight raids over Britain, Germany was still able to attack during the night with a total of 23 major raids flown in November-December 1940, though poor weather and visibility hurt the Luftwaffe's effectiveness in the first two months of 1941. He then goes on to mark the comparison between the Luftwaffe's raids on British cities versus the retaliatory raids the British launched on Germany and he provides tables on pages 276 and 277 to show both the size of the raids, the losses, and the damage inflicted. By comparison, the night raids over Britain were at a much more sustainable rate of loss for the Germans and did greater damage to Britain than the rate of loss in bomber crews for the British and the damage done to Germany by comparison...

However, the main point of the chapter focuses on the siege efforts in the winter of 1940-1941 relates to the war against British trade, which included German efforts to cut Britain's trade and Britain's efforts to defend itself. And in many ways, Forczyk describes BOTH having successes in specific areas...

The starting point was with the U-boats and once the first of the French bases at Lorient became operational, which allowed Donitz to fully employ his wolf pack tactics against British convoys and more alarmingly send U-boats longer range patrols, which included raids off of West Africa against largely unescorted warships. Both of which proved tactically successful for Donitz with over one million tons sunk from September to December 1940 in the Western Approaches for the loss of four U-boats and the raids off of Africa served to spread the Royal Navy thin in efforts to stop them, with the battleship HMS Malaya torpedoed escorting Convoy SL 68.

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(HMS Malaya, an escort for Convoy SL 68 and torpedoed on March 1941 and would be in repairs for five months)

In the Channel, Bey's destroyers and Germany's torpedo boats continued to run successful raids against British trade in the use of rapid raids and the deployment of the new acoustic mine. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_mine for more information. The mines were deployed in the Thames River, the torpedo boats raided along the channel, and Bey's destroyers raided into the Western Approaches as well. The results lead to around 100 ships sunk due to mines, including two destroyers and two submarines. While Forczyk doesn't note Bey having that great of success in sinking large numbers of ships, he does note that the German destroyer group commander was able to make use of his greater speed of his destroyers to escape interception for little to no loss. The most successful of this being a brazen raid on Plymouth in late November 1940.

However, Forczyk also makes the point that many of these success were only tactical and weren't achieving any great strategic successes. Even Fuhrer Directive Number 23 issued on February 6, 1941 to encourage greater coordination between the Luftwaffe and the navy, which is attributed to Britain's efforts at convoy defenses. This included the improvement of the radars used by British destroyers, which by March 1941 would see Gunther Prien's U-47 going missing on March 7 and Germany's top aces, Kretschmer and Schepke, also being defeated. Schepke was killed and Kretschmer was captured. And while the use of the Rudeltaktik by Donitz's U-boats would remain a threat, the loss of three U-boat aces would serve to make a hero of Captain Donald Macintyre and would serve to demonstrate the factors that made the Royal Navy successful in World War II on the whole.

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(Donald Macintyre (Royal Navy officer), Commander of the British 5th Escort Group in early 1941)

As the Royal Navy improved its defenses against the U-boat threat in early 1941, Coastal Command would improve its own defenses against German attacks with the introduction of a new flying boat, the Sutherland. These successes helped serve to weaken German activity close to Britain's shores and protect against attacks. But as the German war effort went from potential invasion in September 1940 to a siege strategy in October 1940 onward, there would also see the great battles over convoys and the last "threat" posed by the German surface fleet in Operation Rheinubung. The raid was stated to be after the HX convoy routes, but while Bismarck did sink the Hood, it was ultimately sunk without ever sighting a British convoy. Which when added to the new warships that the British brought in to help protect their convoys, the escort carrier HMS Audacity, the Martlet fighter (British name for the Grumman Wildcat), and catapult launched Hurricanes shows what Forczyk identifies as the problems in Germany's siege efforts...

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(HMS Audacity, Britain's first escort carrier, commissioned in June 1941 and sent to escort British convoys and protect them from Condor attacks)

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(Grumman F4 Wildcat, called the Martlet in the UK)

And those flaws still relate to inter-service rivalries and the flaws in Raeder's own siege strategy. In that, while Raeder was unwilling to risk what warships he had for a landing in Britain and potentially ending the war, he WAS willing to risk them alone and in small groups where they could be overwhelmed by the Royal Navy. Add in the successes of Britain's intelligence efforts allowing them further take advantage of Raeder's moves, which ultimately saw the German surface fleet reduced to raid convoys off Norway and not any more. About the only efforts of the German siege that remained was in the air, where the Luftwaffe resumed bombing British cities and in the converted merchant raiders...

In this, Forczyk shows many of the efforts made to try and besiege Britain and makes some case that Britain's overall situation in the siege wasn't one that would indicate a British victory in the war... and he ends the chapter that this only changed with the decision to go east and deal with Stalin.

CHAPTER STRENGTHS:
1) Forczyk does provide a detailed explanation of many events that relate to the attempts to strangle Britain and in a way shows the successes of both sides. This includes both the increases in convoy defense and the increases in ships sunk. It provides a fairly balanced look at the ebb and flow of the conflict in general. This includes two tables to provide comparative information over the air raids on German and British cities by both sides.

2) There is a decent balance between British and German points of view that do demonstrate that both sides were "busy" and in a sense responded to each other...

CHAPTER WEAKNESSES:
1) Again... the chapter length is an issue. While Forczyk does provide a lot of detail in the space provided, he's essentially cramming a lot of time into about ten pages. This doesn't really balance well with many of the other chapters that are longer and ultimately compounds other problems...

2) His "compartmentalizing" in this chapter is also rushed and disorganized. While on some level, the fact that he started the book with the intent of a "complete" history of the Anglo German conflict from 1940 to 1941 made this a possibility from the beginning, Forczyk has generally done a good job of breaking up and organizing his information to let it flow naturally from point to point. In this chapter, however, he really DOESN'T do that. What he provides is great information, but it sort of rambles from point to point... from the air raids, to U-boats, to destroyer raiders, to submarine defense, to surface raiders, to air raids on convoys, and back to other points... In this, if one isn't paying close attention... things could be missed.

3) A case of Jekyll and Hyde... While Forczyk does demonstrate how both sides tried to respond to the other, his judgments on these efforts seem to go up and down with them. While he is highly critical of Raeder's overall raiding strategy and does point to many of Britain's efforts to defend their convoys showing some signs of success... the way the chapter ends, one would think that the British didn't have ANY successes. In this, he fails to explain why what successes the British had weren't critical or as important as some may think they are... It's in this where the first weakness really comes into play, because by keeping the chapter short, Forczyk has created a sort of Jekyll and Hyde sort of chapter with regard to his judgement.

CHAPTER THOUGHTS... In many ways, certain elements of this chapter would have been better served put in with the previous chapter. In that the concluding comments on the decision to invade the Soviet Union instead could have been used to explain why the raid mentioned in the previous chapter was never tried and provided some of what was mentioned in that chapter as a build into the siege strategy that the Germans shifted to as another explanation for that decision... And while he does provide good information that relates to the war between Germany and Britain...that if things come off as rushed, which on its own presents its own potential problem...
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