During WWII, did the Kriegsmarine have a surface fleet formidable as the UK and US

Jun 2015
32
City
In terms of having large quantities of sophisticated ships and amphibious warfare capabilities.

Like the Japanese, did Germany have the ability to take over territory by sea while facing powerful naval adversaries like the Royal Navy and US Navy?
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,855
At present SD, USA
No.

The German surface fleet was pitifully small when the war began and in terms of overall size was too weak to seriously challenge the French or Italian navies let alone the US, UK, or Japanese in a conventional surface battle. Its best ships were new, but there were too few of them, and in the case of ships like Bismarck, their armor configuration was years out of date, and Bismarck would not fully enter service until 1941. Prior to that, the only major naval action of the German surface fleet was in the Norwegian invasion in 1940, in which the Kriegesmarine was so badly mauled by the Royal Navy that it could not seriously support any amphibious operation against Britain after the Allies evacuated Narvik in Norway and Franc fell to the Germans...

To make the naval situation worse for Germany is that when the war began, despite all the stories of how dangerous the U-boats were, Germany did not have enough submarines to pose a truly serious strategic threat to Britain's trade arteries...
 

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
The German `pocket battleships` were deficient in armour protection and built to outrun anything they could not outgun. Hardly a philosophy for major fleet actions against the powerful navies of Great Britain and the U.S.A.
 

OpanaPointer

Ad Honoris
Dec 2010
11,643
Near St. Louis.
Germany was committed to Handelskrieg (commerce warfare, guerre de course in the French), or commerce warfare. A. T. Mahan didn't think much of this "warfare on the cheap", primarily I think because it didn't provide for a "showdown fleet" for the big decisive battle that would settle everything. I suspect that without US help the British would have been hard pressed to continue the war, so in that respect commerce warfare was shown to be a possible war winner.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_raiding
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,864
Cornwall
In terms of having large quantities of sophisticated ships and amphibious warfare capabilities.

Like the Japanese, did Germany have the ability to take over territory by sea while facing powerful naval adversaries like the Royal Navy and US Navy?
No offence fella but that is a really basic question which nearly everyone with any general knowledge will know. Have a good read of a book or two

Or am I getting old?
 

starman

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
4,133
Connecticut
To make the naval situation worse for Germany is that when the war began, despite all the stories of how dangerous the U-boats were, Germany did not have enough submarines to pose a truly serious strategic threat to Britain's trade arteries...
They shouldn't have wasted so much steel and labor building the Bismarck and Tirpitz. Had they invested all that in Type IX construction they could've had 80 or so extra long-range boats to massacre US shipping early in '42. That might've affected the course of the war drastically.
 

OpanaPointer

Ad Honoris
Dec 2010
11,643
Near St. Louis.
No offence fella but that is a really basic question which nearly everyone with any general knowledge will know. Have a good read of a book or two

Or am I getting old?
If you're like me and about to enter your second half century of study on this matter it can seem like every topic has been done to the death already. But I still remember seeing William Shirer's book and wondering what the symbol in the middle of the cover meant. That helps me be more patient. :)
 

OpanaPointer

Ad Honoris
Dec 2010
11,643
Near St. Louis.
They shouldn't have wasted so much steel and labor building the Bismarck and Tirpitz. Had they invested all that in Type IX construction they could've had 80 or so extra long-range boats to massacre US shipping early in '42. That might've affected the course of the war drastically.
"Great nations have battlefleets." I suspect that was the rationale for building the big boats.
 

starman

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
4,133
Connecticut
"Great nations have battlefleets." I suspect that was the rationale for building the big boats.
Yeah. But the Nazis broke with the past in various other ways like blitzkrieg warfare. Blowing scare resources on battleships instead of emphasizing u-boats was ludicrous in light of the experience of WWI.
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,698
Georgia, USA
In terms of having large quantities of sophisticated ships and amphibious warfare capabilities.

Like the Japanese, did Germany have the ability to take over territory by sea while facing powerful naval adversaries like the Royal Navy and US Navy?
No

Germany had 2 battleships, 2 (weak) battle cruisers and three "pocket battleships" a few cruisers and destroyers

No naval aviation

In WWII the German surace fleet was virtually wiped out