What if the German Navy concentrated on U Boats?

Jan 2015
Rupert's Land ;)
Perhaps the Germans could have adopted the Long Lance torpedo from their allies the Japanese.
The Japanese were not very cooperative in ww2, the Uboats could have been far more effective in Drumbeat if they'd had advance notice of Japanese intentions.
Germany didnt have a truly effective torpedo bomber.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
U Boots were effectively surface ships with an underwater capability. Underwater, they ran on battery power and speed and range was severely limited. They were countered by destroyers which were much faster and more agile. It was only towards the end of the war that new U Boots were built which operated more like modern submarines with the ability to stay underwater for long periods of time. Moreover, U Boots needed to be supplied, which required ports supply ships. They would have had little chance if there were no surface warships to provide some degree of protection. Germany was very good at using a small number of capital ships to create a credible threat to the Royal Navy who in turn had to concentrate on those. That diverted a good portion of the Royal Navy. Had Germany had only U Boots, the entire resources of the royal navy could have been directed to stopping their production and supply whilst destroyers could be deployed to sink them with impunity. As it was, destroyers had to contend with mines, E boats and other torpedo boats, german destroyers and ships like the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Admiral Hipper as well as aircraft. The RN lost 132 destroyers, 153 including commonwealth and dominion countries. All warfare is about threat and counterthreat and it is not feasible to have just one type of weapons system. The enemy always find effective counter measures and tactics and weapons systems are constantly evolving.
Oct 2016
how many U-boats would have been needed to change the course of the war?
could they have effectively isolated the British Isles?
could they have cut off Caribbean oil? US Lend-lease?

once again the impact of Pearl Harbor is seen. US entrance hugely added to ship capacity, merchant and escort. as many have pointed out, US involvement might have tipped the scales irreversibly. so U-boat action in 1939 through most of 1941 would have had the most effect.
Apr 2018
So Courageous and Royal Oak were torpedoed. There was no restriction. Why wasn't Hood torpedoed? Because of escorts and the dangerous existence of U Boats as well as their limited range early on.

'Unrestricted submarine warfare' is about sinking neutral ships so they can't supply Britain. Unfortunately in both wars the plan made our US friends unhappy!
I wasn't very serious while writing that. However my speculation was based on three things - 1) Substantial number of assets (TypeVII) already available, 2) Wolfpack strategy adopted right away and 3) I kept the French out of the scenario (which would never have benn the case in reality). That said, capital units were (and often claimed) extremely juicy prizes for subs. Take Kongo, Shinano, USS Indianapolis, HMS Barham, Ark Royal and a dud attack on Nelson for examples.

Courageous was fished in spite of being with escorts.
Jan 2019
I think that the increase of the number and overal the quality of the U-boats has could can change the issue of the war .

At the begining of the war, the U-boats were few and not built for an Oceanic War .

The Class 2 was clearly a costal submarine and the Class 7 was a short range maritime submarine .

The needs of the moment have change the Class 7 into an oceanic submarine,but it was not .It needed for the refuelling and the reloading to have the help of a Class 14 or 9 the whole in sea ... during the night ...
With the Class 21 at the begining of the war , Great Britain would have lost the war ; the supplies of America couldn’t arrive.

Similar History Discussions