What if the German Navy concentrated on U Boats?

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,756
San Antonio, Tx
This is a very what-if-ish question, but imagine if the Germans had collaborated with the Japanese and convinced them to put their excellent submarine fleet to use against the Allied merchant fleets as soon as the war started in 1941: the double impact on the Allies would have been tremendous, especially in the Indian Ocean.
Except, of course, that in general Japanese Sub Captains scorned attacking Allied transport ships. Supposedly, they considered that to be a dishonorable activity and a waste of time. How wrong they were.
 

janusdviveidis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
2,009
Lithuania
If Germany violated 1935 Anglo-German Naval Treaty and built more U-boats (as Hitler said "I will built more more and more U-BOATS in 1941) British goverment instantly would begin a massive escort ship construction programme , expand RAF Coastal Command and start coordinated air/naval cooperation excercises a lot earlier and equip all anti submarine forces a lot better. They remembered what U-Boat ware cost them between 1914-1918
This was stated many times in this discussion, that if Germany would increase number of submarines Britain would respond immediately. This is far from guaranteed. There is good chance that Britain would respond too late or not respond to German build up at all. For example German heavy tanks were almost invulnerable to British tank cannons, but they responded way to late tho this development. Upgunned tanks appeared only late in the war and in very low numbers. This didn't change result of the war, but gives an example, that governments are way less efficient in decision making than we would want them to be.
 
Apr 2014
411
Istanbul Turkey
This was stated many times in this discussion, that if Germany would increase number of submarines Britain would respond immediately. This is far from guaranteed. There is good chance that Britain would respond too late or not respond to German build up at all. For example German heavy tanks were almost invulnerable to British tank cannons, but they responded way to late tho this development. Upgunned tanks appeared only late in the war and in very low numbers. This didn't change result of the war, but gives an example, that governments are way less efficient in decision making than we would want them to be.
During World War I British Admiralty and goverment suffered first hand from U-Boat menece and construction of a vast U-Boat programme would be an indicator of German hostile intentions in 1930'ies. No sane British statesman would risk it again in 1930'ies since Britain is an island complately depenent on naval transportation and trade , British Empire is complately sea trade dependent and they were painfully aware of that. (no one wished to live 1917 when U-Boats sunk 700.000 tons of unescorted merchants) Churchill was constantly badgering his own goverment and Conservative Party led by Stanley Baldwin and Chamberlain due to lack of re armament compared to Germans and goverments reply had been "we are still superior at sea and Germans do not build any more ships and small number of U-Boats according to their treaty obligations and we are trying to keep at same level with air parity with Germans"-that air parity was disturbed in favour of Germans in 1936 which Churchill scored against Baldwin goverment , then RAF Bomber Command began to expand. Consider that British goverments that excuse was gone...Do you really think they would stand idle and watch while Germans were developing BOTH their naval and air arms both designed to reach and isolate British isles ?

On top of that where would the funds would come for that last U-Boat construction and crew training programme ? Even German navy facilities mostly cornered in Baltic Sea were not enough. Expansion of Luftwaffe and German Army was top priorty according to Hitler and German Army strategy since all of their strategic objectives for expension were on Europe/Asian continent not overseas and Nazi re armament programme already began to overheat and digest German economy during 1930'ies. German Navy would draw short stick no matter what.

You example of heavy German tanks is not a proper allegory. Heavy German armor was developed against Russians medium and heavy tanks Germans encountered (to their bitter suprise) on Eastern Front during 1941-1942. During this period except North Africa (where both British and Germans kept light and medium tanks due to naval tranportation limitations) there was no land warfare contact between British and Germans. Not in scale of Eastern Front of 1941-1943. Their major front was at sea and on sea (even before war decleration in 1939) once one side distrubs status quo , other side especially its national existence at stake , would increase its efforts and potential to fight back. Check out pre World War I dreaghnaught arms race between Germany and Britain. Once Imperial Germany started expanding High Seas Fleet on a vast scale (and Germany lacked huge overseas colonies to defend like British Empire had , translation : Germans wanted to threaten British naval transport and trade) at the beginning of 20th Century , British goverment increased size of Royal Navy on a few times larger scale for deterrence. Finally Germsn goverment agreed for a naval construction holiday proposal from British on 1913 just before Great War because they realised they could not compate with British in battleship construction. That would be a proper allegory.

For British , sea transportation links and trade is vital for national existence. For Germans it was not unless they were viewing British with hostile intentions. That was true between 1891-1914 and 1933-1939
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,784
This was stated many times in this discussion, that if Germany would increase number of submarines Britain would respond immediately. This is far from guaranteed. There is good chance that Britain would respond too late or not respond to German build up at all. For example German heavy tanks were almost invulnerable to British tank cannons, but they responded way to late tho this development. Upgunned tanks appeared only late in the war and in very low numbers. This didn't change result of the war, but gives an example, that governments are way less efficient in decision making than we would want them to be.
But none of that is really true.
Germans tanks were not 'almost invulnerable'.
British response like the firefly was produced and in service relatively quickly and produced in similar numbers to German heavy tanks.

The British were hypersensitive about naval matters.
Look at the British response to possible German control of French ships leading to the attack on Mers-el-Kébir.

Germna constuctire on large numbers of U boats woudl not happen overnight. But over 5 years or something like that. Germans naval constcutrion yards were quite limited.
British naval construction capaicty was huge and teh more work and construction easily accommodated. And Construction of more escorts, destroyers and the like very much known technology.
The response would not be waiting for some design and development process. How many more destroyers and escorts was as simple as just funding it.
 

janusdviveidis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
2,009
Lithuania
But none of that is really true.
Germans tanks were not 'almost invulnerable'.
British response like the firefly was produced and in service relatively quickly and produced in similar numbers to German heavy tanks.

The British were hypersensitive about naval matters.
Look at the British response to possible German control of French ships leading to the attack on Mers-el-Kébir.

Germna constuctire on large numbers of U boats woudl not happen overnight. But over 5 years or something like that. Germans naval constcutrion yards were quite limited.
British naval construction capaicty was huge and teh more work and construction easily accommodated. And Construction of more escorts, destroyers and the like very much known technology.
The response would not be waiting for some design and development process. How many more destroyers and escorts was as simple as just funding it.
This is matter of difference in opinions. "Production of the Firefly started in January 1944 and, by 31 May, some 342 Sherman Fireflies had been delivered to Montgomery's 21st Army Group for the D-Day landings.[7] As a result, British tank troops were composed of three regular Shermans and one Firefly. You think that 342 tanks by 1944 May is quickly and enough. I think it is late and not enough.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,784
This is matter of difference in opinions. "Production of the Firefly started in January 1944 and, by 31 May, some 342 Sherman Fireflies had been delivered to Montgomery's 21st Army Group for the D-Day landings.[7] As a result, British tank troops were composed of three regular Shermans and one Firefly. You think that 342 tanks by 1944 May is quickly and enough. I think it is late and not enough.
For a tank design that is relatively quick. How ling did it take the Germans to develop their heavy tanks in response to Soviet heavy tanks?

There were also M-10 with 3inch (845 in Nritish service 1943) , !7pde Archer and Achilles bothin service in Normady.

and how many tigers were deployed to Normandy by the Germans? I'd wager the British had more fireflies, M-10s, Archer, Achilles in Normday by significant number

Only what 1,300 Tiger I tanks produced in all, 2000 fireflies, 1,100 Achllies, 6,000 M-10s, 655 Archers.