RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (Full Version)

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operating -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 2:46:03 PM)

Warspite

I hope you do some "off the beaten track" stories that are seldom heard or known about, as well as what you stated above.

Thanks, (for a good read) Bob[;)]




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 2:49:21 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: operating

Warspite

I hope you do some "off the beaten track" stories that are seldom heard or known about, as well as what you stated above.

Thanks, (for a good read) Bob[;)]
warspite1

I'll do my best! [:)]




Aurelian -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 3:02:37 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: operating

Warspite

I hope you do some "off the beaten track" stories that are seldom heard or known about, as well as what you stated above.

Thanks, (for a good read) Bob[;)]
warspite1

I'll do my best! [:)]



Good reading :) Hope that site I sent to you is some help.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 3:06:10 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurelian


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: operating

Warspite

I hope you do some "off the beaten track" stories that are seldom heard or known about, as well as what you stated above.

Thanks, (for a good read) Bob[;)]
warspite1

I'll do my best! [:)]



Good reading :) Hope that site I sent to you is some help.
warspite1

Yes indeedy - I need all the help I can get! [:)]




DammitCarl -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 4:18:27 PM)

De-lurking (or unlurking perhaps) to say "thanks," for a thread like this; quality posts are few and far between in the big, ol' internet wasteland and should be encouraged and admired when found.




Gilmer -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 6:56:16 PM)

3 cheers for Poland!!!




Frido1207 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 11:07:33 PM)

Subscribed. What an enormous and ambitious task. I will learn a lot, as I know next to nothing about the naval war.
Thank you, warspite.




Gilmer -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/19/2015 11:50:02 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: th1207

Subscribed. What an enormous and ambitious task. I will learn a lot, as I know next to nothing about the naval war.
Thank you, warspite.


I know a wee bit, but I'm sure this will be an educational experience for me. Looking forward to it.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/20/2015 9:28:42 AM)

September 1939 (The Royal Navy)

The Royal Navy was, on paper, still the largest navy in the world in September 1939. However, scratch the surface and it was clear – and certainly with hindsight – that there were serious shortcomings in many areas. These problems were caused by a mixture of a lack of money and some poor decision making. This resulted in:

- The size of the fleet was too small given all its objectives and the mix of enemies that were soon to be arrayed against it.
- The composition of the fleet (far too many elderly warships for which there was not the money or resources to update) and a lack of specialist escort vessels to protect the vital sea lanes.
- The RAF being given control of the naval air forces between the wars which meant that development of carrier-borne aircraft was given very low priority.
- Too much faith placed in the ASW measures and the ability of ASDIC to defeat the U-boat.

That said, the RN did still have a large, well trained navy, an extensive base network, some excellent commanders in the finest Nelsonian tradition, some very good equipment and not least, its proud history (which meant that its enemies sometimes paid it a respect sometimes unwarranted by the hardware it had available).

We shall look more closely at the various ship classes as the thread develops, but have in mind that many of the ships were little changed from WWI (for example (but not limited to) the R-class battleships, most of the C,D and E-class cruisers) and that when describing four of the seven aircraft carriers as CV and not CVL, that is pushing the definition somewhat….

The fact is the officers and men of the Royal Navy often achieved what they did in WWII in spite of their equipment – not always because of it!

Royal Navy in September 1939

First Lord – Winston Churchill (Civilian appointment)
First Sea Lord – Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound (The Chief of Naval Staff*)
*Note that the Admiralty, unlike the War office (Army) and Air Ministry (Royal Air Force) was an operational command. Thus Pound had the same “advisor” role as the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff, but was also responsible for maritime Operations around the world. Tough assignment!

The Royal Navy operated a number of fleets and commands in September 1939 – and there were some amendments made to these during the war (key ones noted below):

- The Home Fleet

The Home Fleet was naturally the largest and most important of the commands, although there were also a number of sub commands in the UK:

- Humber Force: Based in the Humber (East Coast of England)
- Channel Force: Based in Portland (South Coast of England)
- Reserve Fleet: Based in Portsmouth

In addition there were the following naval shore commands:

- Rosyth (HQ Rosyth)
- Western Approaches (HQ Plymouth – later moved to Liverpool)
- Portsmouth (HQ Portsmouth)
- The Nore (HQ Chatham)

Note: additional commands Orkneys and Shetland (HQ Kirkwall) and Dover (HQ Dover) were added shortly after the outbreak of war
These commands were provided with the light forces necessary for defence, ASW and minesweeping duties required as and when necessary.

The overseas fleets and commands:

- The Mediterranean Fleet (HQ at Malta)
- The North Atlantic (HQ at Gibraltar)
- The South Atlantic (HQ Freetown – Sierra Leone)
- The China Station (HQ Hong Kong)
- The East Indies Station (HQ at Trincomalee)
- The America and West Indies Station (HQ Bermuda)
- Australia (Sydney)
- New Zealand (Auckland)

So where were the ships at the outbreak of war?
Note:
BB - Battleship
BC - Battlecruiser
CV - Fleet Carrier
CVL - Light Carrier
CVE - Escort Carrier
CA - Heavy Cruiser
CL - Light Cruiser
CLAA - Anti-aircraft Cruiser
DD - Destroyer
DE - Destroyer Escort
SS - Submarine

The Home Fleet (Admiral of the Fleet Charles Forbes)

5 x BB: Nelson, Rodney, Royal Oak, Royal Sovereign and Ramillies
2 x BC: Hood and Repulse
2 x CV: Ark Royal and Furious
1 x CA: Effingham*
13 x CL: Aurora, Belfast, Caledon*, Calypso*, Cardiff*, Delhi**, Diomede*, Dragon*, Dunedin*, Edinburgh, Emerald*, Enterprise** and Sheffield
1 x CLAA: Calcutta
17 x DD of the 6th and 8th Destroyer Flotillas
16 x SS of the 2nd and 6th Submarine Flotillas
7 x Minesweepers of the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla
Netlayer: Guardian
Monitor: Erebus
*These cruisers, of the 7th and 12th Cruiser Squadrons, were allocated to the Northern Patrol (see post 45).
**Delhi and Effingham are mentioned in some sources as part of the Northern Patrol but not in others. Both appear to have patrolled during September.

Humber Force (Admiral Frederick Edwards-Collins)

2 x CL: Southampton and Glasgow
9 x DD of the 7th Destroyer Flotilla
2 x Minesweepers

Channel Force (Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland)

2 x BB: Resolution and Revenge
2 x CV: Courageous and Hermes
1 x CLAA: Cairo
2 x CL: Caradoc and Ceres
5 x DD of the 18th Destroyer Flotilla

Nore Command (Admiral Henry Brownrigg)

9 x DD of the 19th Destroyer Flotilla
6 x Minesweepers
9 x Minesweeping Trawlers

Portsmouth (Admiral William James)

8 x DD of the 16th Destroyer Flotilla
4 x DD unattached
4 x Minesweepers
4 x Minesweeping Trawlers
5 x ASW Trawlers

Western Approaches (Admiral Martin Dunbar-Naismith)

32 x DD of the 3rd, 11th, 12th and 17th Destroyer Flotillas
3 x Minesweeping Trawlers
3 x ASW Trawlers
6 x Escort Vessels

Rosyth (Admiral Charles Ramsey)

8 x DD of the 15th Destroyer Flotilla
8 x Escort Vessels

Mediterranean Fleet (Admiral Andrew Cunningham)

3 x BB: Warspite, Barham and Malaya
1 x CV: Glorious
3 x CA: Devonshire, Shropshire and Sussex
3 x CL: Arethusa, Galatea and Penelope
1 x CLAA: Coventry
9 x DD of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla
9 x DD of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla
8 x DD of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla
5 x DD Part of the 21st Destroyer Flotilla
4 x Escort Vessels
Submarine Depot Ship: Maidstone
10 x SS of the 1st Submarine Flotilla
Netlayer: Protector
Minelayer: Medusa
5 x Minesweepers of the 3rd Minesweeping Flotilla
Repair Ship: Resource
12 x MTB of the 1st MTB Flotilla
Depot Ship: Vulcan

North Atlantic Command (Rear-Admiral Norman Wodehouse)

2 x CL: Colombo and Capetown
9 x DD of the 13th Destroyer Flotilla
2 x SS
2 x Minesweepers

China Station (Admiral Percy Noble)

1 x CV: Eagle
3 x CA: Cornwall, Dorsetshire and Kent
1 x CL: Birmingham
4 x DD Part of the 21st Destroyer Flotilla
6 x DD unattached
5 x Escort Vessels
Submarine Depot Ship: Medway
15 x SS
Minelayer: Redstart
Monitor: Terror
6 x MTB of the 2nd MTB Flotilla
20 x River gunboats

America and West Indies Station (Vice-Admiral Sydney Meyrick)

1 x CA: Berwick
3 x CL: Orion, York and Perth (RAN)
2 x Escort Vessels

East Indies Station (Rear Admiral Ralph Leatham)

3 x CL: Gloucester, Liverpool and Manchester
7 x Escort Vessels (5 of which were Royal Indian Navy)

South Atlantic Command (Vice-Admiral George d’Oyly Lyon)

2 x CA: Cumberland* and Exeter*
6 x CL: Ajax*, Danae, Dauntless, Despatch, Durban and Neptune
4 x DD Part of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla
2 x SS
Escort Vessels: 4
Seaplane Carrier: Albatross
Note: The South American Division came within this command – initially made up of those marked with an *.

Royal Australian Navy

2 x CA: Australia and Canberra
3 x CL: Adelaide, Hobart and Sydney
5 x DD
2 x Escort Vessels

Royal Canadian Navy

6 x DD

New Zealand Division of the RN

2 x CL: Achilles and Leander
2 x Escort Vessels

Reserve Fleet (Vice Admiral Max Horton)

2 x CA: Hawkins and Frobisher
1 x CV: Argus
Minelaying cruiser: Adventure
5 x DD
10 x Minesweepers
Seaplane Carrier: Pegasus

Other (Not sure where based)

Cadet Training Cruiser: Vindictive
Depot Ship: Alecto
8 x SS of the 5th Submarine Flotilla (training)
8 x Survey Ships
5 x Motor A/S boats of the 1st Flotilla

Ships undergoing refits and repairs

2 x BB: Queen Elizabeth and Valiant
1 x BC: Renown
3 x CA: London, Norfolk and Suffolk
1 x CL: Newcastle
3 x CLAA: Carlisle, Curlew and Curacoa

Ships under construction in September 1939*

5 x BB: King George V, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Anson and Howe
6 x CV: Illustrious, Victorious, Formidable, Indomitable, Implacable and Indefatigable
9 x CL: Ceylon, Fiji, Gambia, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Trinidad and Uganda (Note: Bermuda and Newfoundland were laid down in November)
10 x CLAA: Bonaventure, Charybdis, Cleopatra, Dido, Euryalus, Hermione, Naiad, Phoebe, Scylla and Sirius. (Note: Argonaut was laid down in November)
32 x DD
11 x SS
56 x Escort Vessels
20 x DE
4 x Cruiser Minelayers
20 x Minesweepers
20 x Minesweeping Trawlers
*This does not include additional vessels ordered under the 1st Emergency War Programme during September.

Sources:
On Seas Contested (O’Hara/Dickson/Worth)
The War at Sea 1939-45 (Roskill)
www.naval-history.net
Conways All The World’s Fighting Ships 1922-1946

Note that given the sources above you would expect the above to be definitive. However, whilst the capital ships are easily cross referenced, getting a consensus on many of the smaller vessels is almost impossible. The official history for example had no mention of the monitor Erebus or the light cruiser Newcastle?? Using Naval History as a further tool I have been able to fill in some of the blanks and as far as I can tell I have all the named ships - and in the right places. There are 4 submarines and 22 destroyers unaccounted for. I suspect that many of these were in refit/repair in September 1939.





JamesM -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/20/2015 10:20:01 AM)

Interesting list, a couple of questions:

Apart from the obvious what was the role of the netlayer ship? Placing nets are anchorages, placing nets around ships at anchor?

How many of the admirals listed were in a command position at the end of the war? I know that Andrew Cunningham replaced Pound as First sea lord when he passed away. Ramsey made his name during the Dunkirk evacuation. I forgot that Max Horton Commanded Western Approaches.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/20/2015 10:55:13 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: jamesm

Interesting list, a couple of questions:

Apart from the obvious what was the role of the netlayer ship? Placing nets are anchorages, placing nets around ships at anchor?

warspite1

That is my understanding. There was function was to lay (and maintain) Anti-submarine nets in harbours and anchorages - fjords etc.






warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/20/2015 11:24:25 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jamesm

How many of the admirals listed were in a command position at the end of the war? I know that Andrew Cunningham replaced Pound as First sea lord when he passed away. Ramsey made his name during the Dunkirk evacuation. I forgot that Max Horton Commanded Western Approaches.
warspite1

Max Horton took over as CinC Western Approaches command in 11/1942 and retired at the end of the war.

George d'Oyly Lyon took over as CinC of The Nore Command in 1941 and retired in 1943.

Ralph Leatham after various Mediterranean commands he was CinC Plymouth from 1943 and retired at the end of the war.

Sydney Meyrick retired in 1940.

Percy Noble became the Head of the British Naval Delegation in Washington DC when he was removed from Western Approaches command in 1942. He retired after the war.

Norman Wodehouse died on active duty in July 1941 in the South Atlantic on convoy duty.

Andrew Cunningham became First Sea Lord, replacing Pound in 1943, and retired after the war

Martin Dunbar-Naismith served as Flag Officer, London from 1942 until retirement after the war.

Charles Ramsey remained in his role until retirement in 1942. You are thinking of Bertram Ramsay.

William James retired from the navy in 1944 and became an MP

Henry Brownrigg died on active duty in January 1943 as Commodore of an Atlantic convoy and whose ship was sunk with all hands.

Lancelot Holland moved to command the 7th Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean before becoming CinC of the Battlecruiser Squadron. He died on active duty on board HMS Hood in May 1941

Frederick Edward-Collins became second in command of the Home Fleet in 1940, before moving to Gibraltar as Governor and CinC of the Rock. Retired in 1944

Charles Forbes was replaced as CinC Home Fleet in 1942 and became CinC Plymouth before retiring the following year.










warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/20/2015 4:27:04 PM)

I am really struggling with understanding the French organisation [&:] So rather than hold things up I will move onto the Poles and then the Germans after. I will get back to the French if I ever understand what the hell I am writing about [:(]




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/20/2015 5:24:51 PM)

September 1939 (The Polish Navy)

After World War I the new, independent Poland, complete with an outlet to the Baltic, required a naval force that would protect the coastline and interests of this fledgling state.

Plans were put in place for a small fleet consisting of 2 cruisers, 6 destroyers. 12 torpedo boats and 12 submarines. Like most countries during the inter-war years, the effects of the Great Depression saw these plans heavily scaled back.

A naval base was constructed at Gdynia and ship building yards sprang up, capable of building small vessels. The larger ships had to be built abroad and the Poles turned to France for its first two destroyers, three submarines and a minelayer. The French shipbuilding industry had problems of its own at this time and the two destroyers were so late in being delivered that Poland turned to the UK for its next two destroyers. The Poles turned to the Dutch for the building of two additional submarines. Meanwhile Polish yards completed six minesweepers and two river monitors.

By the mid-thirties war was looking increasingly likely and plans were made to increase the size of the navy once more, but these plans had nought borne fruit by the time of the German invasion.

Commander-in-Chief: Vice-Admiral Josef Unrug

Under the plan: Exercise Peking, the following three destroyers sailed for the UK ahead of the German attack. All three reached Britain and would serve alongside the Royal Navy.

Operation Peking (Komandor Roman Stankiewicz)
3 x DD: Blyskawica, Burza and Grom

Forces based at Gdynia:

1 x DD: Wicher
5 x SS: Orzel, Rys, Sep, Wilk and Zbik
Minelayer: Gryf
Torpedo Boat: Mazur
2 x Gunboats: General Haller, Komendant Pilsudski
6 x Minesweepers: Czajka, Czapla, Jaskolka, Mewa, Rybitwa, Zuraw

Under RN control the Polish Navy in exile grew and both the British and the French provided the Poles with ships to be manned by Polish crews. They gave valuable service to the Allied cause as we shall see in due course.

Sources:
www.naval-history.net
Conways All the World’s Fighting Ships 1922-1946




cantona2 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/21/2015 8:44:22 AM)

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warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/21/2015 4:30:01 PM)

September 1939 (Kriegsmarine)

The Kriegsmarine was totally unprepared for the war it was to fight in 1939 and beyond. Adolf Hitler had told Admiral Raeder to expect a war with Britain no earlier than 1944, by which time plans for a massive expansion of the navy would be well under way. This plan – Plan Z – was quickly shelved once the Western Allies called Hitler’s bluff and declared war as a result of the German invasion of Poland.

The meagre surface forces that were available (and building) could not hope to compete with the Royal Navy in terms of size, and it would be the U-boat that would mainly take the war to Britain whilst Hitler looked East.

Unfortunately, the size of the U-boat fleet was limited (thanks to the Anglo-German Naval Agreement) by the signing of which, Hitler had hoped to keep the British quiet and allow him to seek Lebensraum without interference. Fortunately for Germany, U-boats took a fraction of the time to build when compared with large surface ships, and the Kriegsmarine were able to churn out large numbers of U-boats as the war progressed – sadly for Admiral Donitz (the Commander in Chief of the U-boat arm), supply was never anywhere near sufficient.

The small German surface fleet was, unlike much of the Royal Navy, a relatively modern force, but its lack of numbers – a situation made even worse following losses incurred during the invasion of Norway – meant that the better quality (in areas where this existed) could never overcome this gulf. Grand-Admiral Raeder’s words, on hearing of the declaration of war by Britain and France, are probably best placed to sum up the position of the German Navy: “The best the men of the Kriegsmarine could do was to go down fighting and show that they know how to die gallantly”.

Commander-in-Chief OKM (Grand Admiral Erich Raeder)
Chief of Naval Staff (Admiral Otto Schniewind). The Naval Staff function was known as the Seekriegsleitung.

The Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine (OKM) was the navy equivalent of the OKH (Army) and OKL (Air Force) and each reported directly to Adolf Hitler via the OKW. At the outset of World War II there were two Marine Group Commands (MGC), East and West, and these were added to as the war progressed and developments dictated e.g. as war, and the Kriegsmarine’s duties, expanded into Norway, the Black Sea or the Mediterranean etc.

Typically operations at sea would have the local commanders reporting into the appropriate MGC. Certain elements were outside of this structure and reported directly to the Seekriegsleitung e.g. the U-boat fleet and most commerce raiding warfare. For example, we shall shortly be returning to the stories of the Deutschland and the Graf Spee – the raiding operations for these two were carried out under the control of the Seekriegsleitung.

Marine Group Command East (Admiral Conrad Albrecht – replaced by Admiral Rolf Carls in October 1939)
Swinemunde

Marine Group Command West (Admiral Alfred Saalwachter)
Wilhemshaven (later moved to Paris)

Where were the Kriegsmarine units on the 1st September 1939?
Note:
BB - Battleship
OBB – Pre-Dreadnought Battleship
BC - Battlecruiser
CV - Fleet Carrier
PB – Panzerschiffe or Pocket Battleship
CA - Heavy Cruiser
CL - Light Cruiser
DD - Destroyer
SS - Submarine

At Sea (the subs were in the eastern Atlantic – see post 34. Deutschland was in the North Atlantic and Graf Spee was heading for the South Atlantic).

2 x PB: Deutschland and Graf Spee
2 x Trosschiffe: Altmark and Westerwald
16 x SS:
Flotilla 2 - U.27, U.28, U.29, U.30, U.33 and U.34
Flotilla 6 - U.37, U.38, U.39, U.40, U.41
Flotilla 7 - U.45, U.46, U.47, U.48, U.52
Note: The submarines mentioned below would have been a mixture of those in port and those sailing to patrol lines – either in the Atlantic, the North Sea or the Baltic.
3 x DD of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla

At Danzig

OBB: Schleswig-Holstein
2 x DD of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla

Wilhelmshaven

1 x PB: Admiral Scheer
4 x CL: Emden, Konigsberg, Leipzig and Nurnberg
3 x DD of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla
1 x DD of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla
3 x DD of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla
Fleet Tender: Jagd
6 x TB of the 6th Torpedo Boat Flotilla
4 x SS of the 2nd Submarine Flotilla
2 x SS of the 6th Submarine Flotilla

Brunnsbutel

2 x BC: Gneisenau and Scharnhorst

Kiel

1 x OBB: Schlesien
1 x CL: Koln
2 x DD of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla
6 x TB of the 5th Torpedo Boat Flotilla
Depot Ship: Tsingtau
10 x TB of the 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla
9 x Escort Vessels of the Escort Flotilla
7 x SS of the 1st Submarine Flotilla
7 x SS of the 3rd Submarine Flotilla
6 x SS of the 5th Submarine Flotilla
1 x Minesweeping Tender: Nettelbeck
8 x Minesweepers of the 1st Motor Minesweeper Flotilla
1 x Minesweeping Tender: Van Der Groeben
3 x Minesweepers of the 3rd Motor Minesweeping Flotilla
1 x Minesweeping Tender: T.196
8 x Minesweepers of the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla
Training Ship: Bremse
5 x Experimental Ships: Arkona, Nautilus, Otto Braun, Pelikan and Sundewall
4 x Minesweepers of the Minesweeping School

Hamburg

1 x DD of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Depot Ship: Tanga
8 x TB of the 2nd Torpedo Boat Flotilla

Neustad

12 x SS of the U-boat Training Flotilla

Cuxhaven

2 x Tender for Minesweepers: Konigin Luise and Brommy
6 x Minesweepers of the 2nd Minesweeper Flotilla
8 x Motor Minesweepers of the 2nd Motor Minesweeper Flotilla

Swinemunde

1 x DD of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla
2 x DD of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla
Artillery Training Ship: Brummer

Pillau

2 x DD of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla
1 X DD of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla

Flensburg

4 x Torpedo Boat Training Ships

Other (Not sure of the location)

4 x Minelayers: Cobra, Preussen, Roland and Tannenberg
3 x Mine Transport Ship: Irben, Otter and Rhein
1 x Netlayer: Valencia

Ships undergoing refits and repairs

1 x CA: Admiral Hipper
1 x CL: Karlsruhe

Ships under Construction in September 1939*

2 x BB: Bismarck and Tirpitz
1 x CV: Graf Zeppelin
4 x CA: Blucher, Lutzow, Prinz Eugen and Seydlitz
2 x DD
29 x SS
12 x TB

*The following ships that were planned as part of Plan Z are not included here. Plan Z was formally cancelled within days of the war starting and production of submarines immediately stepped up.
Very few of the ships had even been laid down at the time:

6 x BB: H-class
3 x BC: P-class
1 x CV: Graf Zeppelin-class
6 x CL: M-class

Cross referencing material has been difficult to impossible to come by. I appear to be missing 3 U-boats and 4 Destroyers, however without a trawl though each and every one I would not be able to determine which is missing – and necessarily where they were if identified. It would not be unreasonable for this number of subs and destroyers to be re-fitting at this time.

Sources:
On Seas Contested (O’Hara/Dickson/Worth)
www.naval-history.net
Conways All The World’s Fighting Ships 1922-1946




Capt. Harlock -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/21/2015 7:20:07 PM)

Much applause for the review of the RN: an impressive collection of data. (I would only add that, in addition, Britain had lost the use of ports in Ireland. This made ASW operations significantly more difficult.)




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/21/2015 7:34:32 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

Much applause for the review of the RN: an impressive collection of data. (I would only add that, in addition, Britain had lost the use of ports in Ireland. This made ASW operations significantly more difficult.)
warspite1

Fair point.

a) it didn't help!
b) it would have been helpful to extend air patrols from the south and west coasts, although I believe that was not an option as only the naval ports were possibilities as being available to the British after the emergence of a separate Ireland
c) there were useful ports (particularly in the south) that would have been ideal for basing escort groups further west.





warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/22/2015 1:00:26 PM)

September 1939 (Marine Nationale)

From having been the world’s second largest navy for much of the 19th century, by its close the French Navy has fallen to 4th position and was falling. This sad state of affairs was to have been arrested by the naval programme of 1912. Unfortunately the First World War got in the way with little having been achieved, then thanks to the need to recover from the war, the navy got little attention until the mid to late 20’s when construction of new ships began.

A programme of building cruisers, large destroyers and submarines was begun, while the existing battleships would be updated as much as possible. The policy was altered only when the Germans announced their “Panzerschiffe” in the late 20’s and France responded with the Dunkerque-class of fast battleships. The threat from a resurgent Germany and a potentially hostile Italy saw the need for an expansion of the navy in the 30’s, and four battleships and two carriers were either laid down or had been authorised by September 1939. Only one of the battleships was near completion at the outbreak of war.

The French never got a chance to show what the Marine Nationale could really do before France was swept aside in May 1940 and effectively removed from the war.

Commander in Chief of the French Navy Admiral of the Fleet (JLX (Francois) Darlan)
Chief of the Naval Staff (Vice-Admiral Francois Michelier)

At the outbreak of war there five Maritime Regions – administrative centres - in France and North Africa. Maritime Regions:

1st HQ Dunkerque
2nd HQ Brest
3rd HQ Toulon
4th HQ Bizerte
5th HQ L’Orient

Each region was commanded by an admiral who was responsible for the defence of his region, and was provided resources as circumstances dictated. With the outbreak of war so these commands were rationalised into three shore-based theatre commands, and two additional commands were added. Theatre commands:

North (North Sea and the English Channel) – Vice Admiral Raoul Castex (Incorporating the 1st Maritime Region)
West (North Atlantic) – Vice Admiral Jean Labourde (The 2nd and 5th Maritime Regions were merged)
South (Mediterranean) – Vice-Admiral Jean-Pierre Esteva (The 3rd and 4th Maritime Regions were merged)
New:
South Atlantic - Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ollive (based in Casablanca)
Western Atlantic – Vice Admiral Georges Robert (based in Martinique)

Apologies but for the other overseas commands I cannot seem to get any positive confirmation for what I am about to write. If anyone knows better please let me know! However, my best guess is that the following overseas commands located in the colonies were directly under the control of the Commander in Chief’s office and included:

Force navales d’extreme-Orient
Division navales du Levant
Station navales de l’Ocean Indien
Station navales du Pacifique

So where were the ships of the Marine Nationale in September 1939?
Note:
BB - Battleship
CV - Fleet Carrier
CA - Heavy Cruiser
CL - Light Cruiser
DL – Large Destroyer
DD - Destroyer
SS - Submarine

Brest

Force de Raid (Vice-Admiral Marcel Gensoul)
2 x BB: Dunkerque and Strasbourg
3 x CL: Georges Leygues, Montcalm and Gloire
8 x DL of the 3rd Light Squadron

Also at Brest as part of Command West

2 x BB: Courbet and Paris
1 x CV: Bearn
3 x DL of the 2nd Large Destroyer Squadron
12 x DD of the 2nd Destroyer Squadron
12 x SS of the 4th Submarine Squadron
6 x Sloops of the 2nd Sloop Squadron

L’Orient

3 x DD of the 14th Destroyer Division
6 x Sloops of the 5th Sloop Squadron

Oran

3 x BB: Bretagne, Lorraine and Provence
9 x DD of the 1st Destroyer Squadron
3 x DD of the 8th Destroyer Division
Seaplane Tender: Commandant Teste
Submarine Tender: Jules Verne
12 x SS of the 2nd Submarine Flotilla

Toulon

6 x CA: Algerie, Colbert, Dupleix, Duquesne, Foch and Tourville
9 x DL: Albatros, Cassard, Gerfaut, Kersaint, Le Chevalier Paul, Maile Breze, Tartu, Vauquelin and Vautour

Also at Toulon as part of Command South

3 x DL of the 4th Large Destroyer Division
3 x DD of the 13th Destroyer Division
11 x SS of the 3rd Submarine Squadron
8 x SS of the 5th Submarine Squadron
8 x SS of the Toulon Submarine Centre
4 x Sloops of the 3rd Sloop Squadron

Dunkirk and Cherbourg

3 x DD of the 11th Destroyer Division
6 x Sloops of the 1st Sloop Squadron
4 x SS of the 16th Submarine Division
Minelayer: Pollux

Bizerte

4 x CL: Emile Bertin, Jean de Vienne, La Galisonniere and Marseillaise
3 x DL of the 1st Large Destroyer Division
3 x DL of the 3rd Large Destroyer Division
2 x DL of the 11th Large Destroyer Division
3 x DD of the 12th Destroyer Division
3 x Sloops of the 4th Sloop Squadron
Depot Ship: Castor
17 x SS of the 6th Submarine Squadron

Beirut

Sloop: D’Iberville
3 x SS of the 11th Submarine Division

Casablanca

2 x DD of the 9th Destroyer Division
4 x SS of the 4th Submarine Division

Dakar

3 x CL: Duguay-Trouin, Primaguet, Jeanne d’Arc
Minelaying Cruiser: Pluton
1 x SS: Surcouf

Saigon

CA: Suffren
CL: Lamotte Picquet
2 x Sloops
2 x Gunboats
1 x SS
7 x Gunboats and 4 x Sloops based in China.

Station navale de l’ocean Indien[?]

Escort Vessel: Bougainville

Station navale du Pacifique [New Caledonia?]

Escort Vessel: Dumont d’Urville

Ships under Construction in September 1939

3 x BB: Clemenceau, Jean Bart and Richelieu
1 x CV: Joffre
1 x CL: De Grasse
8 x DD

I am one submarine and three destroyers “missing” so am more than happy with that!

Sources:
On Seas Contested (O’Hara/Dickson/Worth)
www.naval-history.net
Conways All The World’s Fighting Ships 1922-1946
French Cruisers 1922-1956 (Jordan and Moulin)




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/22/2015 2:31:45 PM)

20th September 1939 (North Sea and North Atlantic)

RAF Coastal Command was able to replace their short range Anson aircraft with Hudsons. The extra range allowed the RAF to patrol up to the Norwegian coast, thus meaning the RN could withdraw submarines from the Obrestad Line where HMS Oxley was lost a few days previously.

Coastal Command was part of the Royal Air Force – and like the Fleet Air Arm (which was controlled by the RAF for a time) the “Cinderella Service” suffered accordingly, being low down the pecking order when it came to equipment.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/877F664FC9A547A5A56439775597ADDA.jpg[/image]

The RN’s second U-boat kill was made on this day. U-27, commanded by Johannes Franz, was travelling back to Germany having suffered from a number of torpedo failures during the patrol. As a result, the U-boat had sunk just two small trawlers. While off north western Ireland, Franz came across a flotilla of ships that he believed to be cruisers. He fired three torpedoes but all three either malfunctioned or missed. They were not cruisers however and seven destroyers, alerted by the premature explosions, set about U-27. Two of them, HMS Forester and HMS Fortune, were to share the kill.

The attack took place over almost 4 hours and the many depth charges fired at U-27 over this period caused damage to the boat. Franz decided his only hope of escape was to surface in the dark and run for it. To his horror, when surfacing, the destroyers were waiting for him. The German commander attempted to flee but further punishment was meted out by the destroyers guns and Fortune positioned to ram.

By now though the crew of the U-boat had had enough and, after setting scuttling charges, the crew all managed to escape the boat. Fortune’s captain, Commander Edward Gibbs, sent over a boarding party but it was too late and the U-boat quickly sank. All submariners were picked up.

The F-class, consisting of the usual nine destroyers (including a flotilla leader) were built between 1933 and 1935. Both Forester and Fortune (Pictured) were to survive the war, the latter serving as HMCS Saskatchewan after being transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1943.


[image]local://upfiles/28156/936FA196FDD34FC6974905C5DEEEA6BA.jpg[/image]




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/22/2015 3:14:57 PM)

21st September 1939 (Germany)

Seemingly encouraged by the early U-boat successes, Hitler gave the go ahead to ramp up U-boat production. The faintly ridiculous Plan Z was cancelled and sixteen shipyards were ordered to tool up for U-boat construction. Orders were placed for over 120 U-boats over the course of the next month.

However, the U-boat service still had to compete not only with the other two services, but also the rest of the Kriegsmarine – for which two battleships, an aircraft carrier and three heavy cruisers were still being built.

Amazingly, having started the war with just 57 boats, in the first six months of the war, just SIX ocean-going U-boats were commissioned. It would be a long time before Donitz could field anything like the number of U-boats he wanted – and needed – if he was to defeat the British and starve the UK into submission.

Source:
Hitler’s U-boat War Volume I (Clay Blair)
Chronology of the War At Sea 1939-45 (Jurgen Rohwer)




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/28/2015 9:38:57 PM)

20th-26th September 1939 (North Sea)

The RN put large numbers of submarines into the North Sea – boats from three flotillas patrolled off Norway and the Skaggerak to try and disrupt enemy shipping. Not only did the patrols prove unsuccessful but on the 25th HMS Spearfish was damaged as a result of an attack by enemy ships.

Ships of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron and the accompanying destroyers were called upon to bring her safely back to the UK. This force was covered by ships of the Home Fleet. The Luftwaffe attacked the Home Fleet and the battlecruiser HMS Hood was hit by a bomb and the carrier Ark Royal, in action once again, was near missed. The AA fire proved ineffective and rules of engagement were changed as a result; in future gunners were not to wait for the order to open fire.

HMS Spearfish was escorted safely back to the UK.


The S-class would be the largest single class of submarine ever built for the RN, numbering 62 in all. HMS Spearfish was one of the 12 submarines of the class in service at the outset of the war. Three of these would survive the war – HMS Spearfish, sunk in July 1940, was not one of them. Pictured is a later boat from the class - HMS Stonehenge.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/21B25B466DD04F7881DA96E9AB63B803.jpg[/image]

The carrier Ark Royal was claimed to have been sunk by the Luftwaffe during this episode. This was not the last time the Germans would make this claim!
[image]local://upfiles/28156/19C8275E42E148E58AB81E8040AC8FB8.jpg[/image]

The dangers of aircraft to capital ships was not yet appreciated fully. HMS Hood survived being hit by a 500kg bomb launched from a Ju-88 - but not without damage. The bomb landed a few feet short of the boatdeck, ripped open the top of the anti-torpedo bulge and the port lower boom was shredded with splinters. Pipes were fractured and electrical power to the pom-poms was cut. In addition the great ship suffered condenser damage, and this damage was to severely limit the Hood's performance over the winter months such that in March 1940, with Italy showing signs of sabre-rattling, Hood was taken into dock for a desperately overdue refit. During this dockyard visit her last ten 5.5-inch guns were removed and replaced with three dual-purpose 4-inch mounts and five unrifled projector launchers.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/4E544BC9EE6444668621A361F859D201.jpg[/image]

Source: End of Glory (Bruce Taylor)




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/29/2015 8:59:00 AM)

My thanks to Aurelian [&o]

I have taken the above episode from two sources - Naval-History.net and the Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-45. These I have found pretty reliable sources.

What I have not done is to cross reference every ship history (I don't have them for a start!) to verify the outcome. Aurelian has pointed out that the damage to Hood was greater than reported in either of the sources named above. I checked this with my copy of "The End of Glory - War and Peace in HMS Hood 1916-1941" and sure enough the bomb did not simply bounce off the deck or cause negligible damage.

I will re-word the above post. Thanks once again Aurelian. This job is going to be more difficult than I thought...




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/29/2015 12:50:06 PM)

25th September 1939 (The English Channel)

The Royal Navy begin the laying of anti-U-boat mine barrages in the Eastern Channel. These fields would pay dividends over the course of the next month (more to follow on this)…..


23rd – 30th September 1939 (The Atlantic)

So we know what the U-boats were doing during this first month of the war, their successes and their losses (see posts 34 (Atlantic) and 41 (North Sea)). What about the two raiders that the Germans had sent out during August to wage war in the Allied sea lanes? At this stage, almost three weeks into the war, Hitler had still not authorised the two Panzerschiffe to commence attacks against Allied merchant vessels. The ships were just consuming supplies to no good purpose and the morale of the crews was suffering.

On the 23rd September Admiral Raeder visited Hitler to spell this out and to try and persuade him to change his mind. Raeder obviously made his case, for three days later the order went out to Captains Wenneker and Langsdorff, aboard Deutschland and Graf Spee respectively, to commence hostilities (although the restrictions mentioned previously concerning the French, and which hampered the U-boat arm, were to remain in place). Similarly there was great care to be taken to not antagonise the US and so no action could be initiated within President Roosevelt’s Pan-American neutrality zone which spread 600 miles into the Atlantic.

The first vessel to claim a victim was the Graf See. Langsdorff had been given an operational area on the South America-Cape Verdes-Biscay trade route. A secondary area was outlined as the South and Central Atlantic, the Cape Town-Cape Verdes route and the Southern Indian Ocean. However, Graf Spee’s captain was the ultimate arbiter of where he took his ship in order to best carry out his commerce raiding activity and to avoid fights with enemy naval vessels.

Having taken up station, Graf Spee managed to remain undetected by enemy forces. He had some idea where the Royal Navy units were – although information on the capital ships was far from clear. He decided to begin operations off the Brazilian coast and then to move east to attack the Cape route. At noon on the 30th September, Graf Spee came across the 5,500 ton Booth Line steamer SS Clement (Captain Harris). Langsdorff ordered the British captain to stop his ship, which he did, but not before Harris had ensured that all important papers were destroyed and the distress signal had been sent out. For good measure her engines were wrecked to ensure she could not be taken as a prize. Langsdorff took the captain and Chief Engineer aboard Graf Spee and told the sailors in the lifeboats which way to head. He then contacted the local radio station to alert them to the lifeboats. The message was signed Admiral Scheer in order to create confusion amongst the British. After expending no less than two torpedoes (which missed), twenty-five 5.9-inch and five 11-inch shells, the Clement was finally despatched to the bottom of the ocean and Graf Spee sailed east for the Cape route……..

As we shall see, Deutschland and Graf Spee were to have very different experiences over the coming months and were to meet with very different ends.

Faster than any more powerful vessel, more powerful than any faster vessel – or so the original design philosophy went. Even at the time of Graf Spee’s construction the Royal Navy had three battlecruisers that defeated that objective – and the French were soon to lay down two faster, and better armed and armoured ships of the Dunkerque-class. No further Panzerschiffe would be ordered after the original three ships. The 28-knot Panzerschiffe had six 11-inch guns mounted in two turrets – and with armour no greater than that of contemporary cruisers.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/1CC10EB620114289899B2B98B10BCD01.jpg[/image]

SS Clement was the first of Graf Spee’s nine victims.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/00B2A726E1AD4BCDAC1CFAFDCCCBDB5F.jpg[/image]

Sources:
Purnell’s History of the Second World War
The Gathering Storm (Geirr H Haarr)
The Price of Disobedience (Eric Grove)
The Real Cruel Sea (Richard Woodman)




Capt. Harlock -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/29/2015 4:14:59 PM)

quote:

Faster than any more powerful vessel, more powerful than any faster vessel – or so the original design philosophy went. Even at the time of Graf Spee’s construction the Royal Navy had three battlecruisers that defeated that objective – and the French were soon to lay down two faster, and better armed and armoured ships of the Dunkerque-class. No further Panzerschiffe would be ordered after the original three ships. The 28-knot Panzerschiffe had six 11-inch guns mounted in two turrets


The "pocket battleships" were indeed an interesting design. (Columnist George Will made a gaffe a few years back claiming that they were the result of the 35,000-ton Washington Treaty limit on battleships, and that therefore the treaty had been ineffective.) The fact that they had diesel propulsion was also a departure from standard naval practice, and may well have contributed to the end of Graf Spee. But yes, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Welcome back. I was worried that this excellent thread might have gone on hiatus.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/29/2015 4:22:52 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

quote:

Faster than any more powerful vessel, more powerful than any faster vessel – or so the original design philosophy went. Even at the time of Graf Spee’s construction the Royal Navy had three battlecruisers that defeated that objective – and the French were soon to lay down two faster, and better armed and armoured ships of the Dunkerque-class. No further Panzerschiffe would be ordered after the original three ships. The 28-knot Panzerschiffe had six 11-inch guns mounted in two turrets


The "pocket battleships" were indeed an interesting design. (Columnist George Will made a gaffe a few years back claiming that they were the result of the 35,000-ton Washington Treaty limit on battleships, and that therefore the treaty had been ineffective.) The fact that they had diesel propulsion was also a departure from standard naval practice, and may well have contributed to the end of Graf Spee. But yes, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Welcome back. I was worried that this excellent thread might have gone on hiatus.
warspite1

Well I don't know who George Will is but with a comment like that I hope he is not a naval historian!! [X(]

EDIT: This is not the first time I have seen comment on Graf Spee (and the Germans in general) being subject to the Washington Treaty. As battles and campaigns come up I will do a brief synopsis of the ships involved I think, starting with the Panzerschiffe....




Aurelian -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/29/2015 4:34:43 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

quote:

Faster than any more powerful vessel, more powerful than any faster vessel – or so the original design philosophy went. Even at the time of Graf Spee’s construction the Royal Navy had three battlecruisers that defeated that objective – and the French were soon to lay down two faster, and better armed and armoured ships of the Dunkerque-class. No further Panzerschiffe would be ordered after the original three ships. The 28-knot Panzerschiffe had six 11-inch guns mounted in two turrets


The "pocket battleships" were indeed an interesting design. (Columnist George Will made a gaffe a few years back claiming that they were the result of the 35,000-ton Washington Treaty limit on battleships, and that therefore the treaty had been ineffective.) The fact that they had diesel propulsion was also a departure from standard naval practice, and may well have contributed to the end of Graf Spee. But yes, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Welcome back. I was worried that this excellent thread might have gone on hiatus.
warspite1

Well I don't know who George Will is but with a comment like that I hope he is not a naval historian!! [X(]



He isn't. He's a political columnist.

BTW, thanks for the above. Turns out "End of Glory.." and the one I have are written by the same guy.






warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/29/2015 9:17:25 PM)

Kriegsmarine. Deutschland-class panzerschiffe

Deutschland - Commissioned April 1933
Admiral Scheer - Commissioned November 1934
Admiral Graf Spee - Commissioned January 1936

Following the end of the First World War the German Navy (the Reichsmarine) was restricted to eight pre-dreadnought battleships (of which at least two were to be in reserve at any one time), six light cruisers, twelve destroyers and twelve torpedo boats.

The pre-dreadnoughts could only be replaced once they were at least 20 years old and furthermore, a restriction of 10,000 tons was placed on any replacement vessel. This ensured, or so it was thought, that the Germans could only ever build coastal battleship-type vessels. The Reichmarine was essentially to be restricted to coastal defence, fishery protection and border patrol type duties.

Germany was not invited to join the Washington Naval Limitation Conference – there was simply no need given that the Reichmarine’s make-up had effectively been laid out. Due to their age, Germany could, in theory, have begun the process of replacing her pre-dreadnoughts pretty much straightaway, but thanks to the Great Depression, there was no money available to build new ships. Only at the end of the twenties did the first of the three initial replacement vessels get laid down.

So what type of warship did the Germans decide upon? The navy was not interested in coastal defence battleships. The design actually agreed upon was, at the time, considered revolutionary. These were the Deutschland-class Panzerschiffe. Note: all three ships were finished to slightly different specifications and trying to get two sources to agree on many of the details is almost impossible. Whether it be the number of aircraft carried, the number and type of light AA, the size of torpedoes or even the belt thickness! – there are always variances. The below should be read with that in mind.

The ships were designed for commerce raiding and so it was important that they be either able to out fight or out run potential adversaries. To that end their main armament (11-inch) was heavier than a treaty cruiser (8-inch) and they were capable of 28 knots (faster than all existing capital ships except the three Royal Navy battlecruisers Hood, Renown and Repulse). Their diesel engines gave them a superb range of 16,000 nautical miles at 18 knots and (importantly given their role) smoke emissions were less visible than the norm, although reliability proved to be an issue. Unsurprisingly this hitting power combined with this speed came at a price and these ships, which comfortably exceeded the 10,000 ton maximum weight as it was, sacrificed armour to compensate.

The secondary armament consisted of eight 5.9-inch guns in single mounts with only splinter shield protection. In the absence of a dual-purpose gun, a separate anti-aircraft defence was provided by three twin 3.5-inch mounts (replaced with 4.1-inch guns on Graf Spee before the war) backed up by four twin 37mm and a variable number of 20mm guns. They had a catapult fitted to operate a reconnaissance aircraft. Their defensive armour was similar to contemporary light cruisers, although turrets and barbettes were more strongly protected.

Seakeeping was not great due to the design being overloaded and the ships were not great gun platforms. In addition, the fact that their main armament was housed in just two turrets meant that taking on more than two adversaries was impossible and even if just one, this was sub-optimal for her gunnery control equipment. They were designed to fight one enemy using all six main guns (while their secondary battery could fire at a separate target (if applicable)). Graf Spee was fitted with Seetakt - the world's first naval radar. Designed for use in rangefinding, it did not have the required bearing accuracy for such and was used instead for surveillance of the sea area and was thus best employed in poor weather or at night.

Later in the war the two surviving ships - Deutschland (now re-named Lutzow) and Admiral Scheer - were re-designated heavy cruisers. The Admiral Scheer was to prove the most successful of all the Kriegsmarine surface raiders - although in terms of overall tonnage sunk, the contribution of the surface fleet was negligible.



The three sisters were to have been a class of eight, but the emergence of the French Dunkerque-class ended that idea….

[image]local://upfiles/28156/B61054BA52A744BAA9AA4B676E057546.jpg[/image]

Sources:
German Capital Ships of the Second World War (Siegfried Breyer and Miroslaw Skwiot)
The Price of Disobedience (Eric Grove)




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/30/2015 3:56:29 PM)

4th October – 3rd November 1939 (The U-boat war – The English Channel, North Sea and the Atlantic)

One kill missing from post 41 (missed the cut-off date by one day) was that of Otto Kretschmer in U-23, who sank a small British merchant of less than 1,000 tons and so is included in the numbers here.

The mine barrage laid in the English Channel (see Post 84) began to pay dividends for the British when U-12 (Kapt. Dietrich von der Ropp) blew up trying to traverse the Channel on the 8th October. There were no survivors. Donitz did not believe the sinking due to mines and was to pay the price later in the month.

With no reinforcements likely for some time, Donitz deployed his U-boats as best he could to try and achieve maximum effect. By now the British had their convoy system properly up and running and Donitz plan was to counter these convoys with “wolfpacks”.

Donitz had the advantage of knowing a good deal about British maritime traffic thanks to the B-dienst code-breaking unit having broken both the Royal Navy’s operational codes and that of the merchant marine.

For various reasons, Donitz had only six ocean-going boats available to form the first wolfpack. This consisted of three type VIIB’s (U-45, U-46 and U-48) and three type IX’s (U-37, U-40 and U-42) commanded at sea by Werner Hartmann (U-37). Five of these boats sailed for the Atlantic around the north of the British Isles, but U-40 (Kapt. Wolfgang Barten) sailed for the Channel…. and, on the 13th October, went straight into the mine barrage that had claimed U-12. Three sailors were rescued by British destroyers.

On the same day the U-42 (Kapt. Rolf Dau) on the boat’s first patrol was also sunk. Dau attacked the 5,000 ton freighter Stonepool on the surface and managed to lightly damage her, but the merchant ship had fired back and given time for two destroyers HMS Imogen and HMS Ilex to arrive on the scene. The two RN vessels undertook a determined depth charge attack, bringing U-42 to the surface. The U-boat was badly damaged and she began to sink almost immediately. Seventeen men, including Dau, were rescued.


I-class destroyer HMS Imogen claimed two U-boats in her brief life. She was lost in a collision with the Town-class cruiser Glasgow in July 1940 in thick fog.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/EAC7076F48A94C3FB442DE883DCE1AE6.jpg[/image]

Meanwhile B-dienst had alerted Donitz to convoy KJF3 sailing from Kingston, Jamaica. There was no chance of a proper wolfpack attack – two boats were already lost and others were too far away. However two boats – U-45 and U-48 – did locate the convoy independently and went onto the attack. U-45 (Kapt. Alexander Gelhaar) sunk two vessels, one of which was a 10,000 ton French passenger liner, the Bretagne. She was sailing blacked out but under the latest rules of engagement, Gelhaar should not have attacked her. However for Gelhaar and his crew there was to be no awkward explanations to Donitz. U-45 was set upon by four RN destroyers, Icarus, Inglefield, Intrepid and Ivanhoe. U-45 disappeared without trace shortly after. U-48 (Kapt. Herbert Schultze) meanwhile was having more success, despatching four ships – two French and two British. At this time Hitler ordered a change of rules: all French and British ships (except passenger liners) were no longer bound by the Submarine Protocol and the safety of merchant mariners was no longer the U-boats responsibility.

Donitz then ordered his boats south to attack convoy HG3 sailing from Gibraltar to the UK. U-45 added a further vessel to her tally, and U-46 (Kapt. Herbert Sohler) claimed her first kill of the patrol. Hartmann in U-37, which had sunk three ships so far, claimed another. Donitz recalled his boats and on the return journey Hartmann increased his scorecard to eight ships.


Werner Hartmann. Awareded the Knights Cross on 9th May 1940. His final “score” was 26 ships sunk with a tonnage of 115,337 GRT. He survived the war.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/69886AFF16FB44F3875D6BEAE0A773B5.jpg[/image]

Four other boats were tasked with operations in the Atlantic during October. Only the U-34 (Kapt. Wilhelm Rollman) was to achieve any success, sinking four ships during the month.

Minefields were laid by four boats in October with mixed results. Those that were successful were not to be realised until later – and this included one prize Royal Navy scalp that will be revealed shortly. One boat was lost, that of U16 (Kapt. Horst Wellner) with all hands, while laying mines in the English Channel. Her field sunk a small French vessel in return. U-16 was the third U-boat lost to the mine barrage laid the previous month (although one source has this boat falling victim to an ASW attack).

The Duck U-59 (Kapt. Harald Jurst) sunk three small British vessels whilst returning from patrol at the end of the month. U-boat.net records her fellow Duck, U-13 (Kapt. Karl Daublebsky von Eichhain) as sinking a 4,600 ton British vessel also at the end of the month but I cannot get a second confirmation of that. This "kill" is included in the records below.

Once again Donitz was dismayed to receive regular reports from his U-boats commanders of torpedoes prematurely exploding or other malfunctions. If Donitz was dismayed, one can only wonder what the poor submariners felt……

Summary for the period (not including mines laid the previous month).
U-boat, type, ships sunk

U-13 (Type IIB) – (1) Cairnmona (30th)
U-16 (Type IIB) – (1) Ste Claire (fell victim in November to a mine laid by U-16)
U-23 (Type IIB) – (1) Glen Farg (4th)
U-34 (Type VII) – (4) Gustaf Adolf, Sea Venture (20th) Bronte (27th) Malabar (29th)
U-37 (Type IX) – (8) Vistula (8th), Aris (12th) Vermont (15th) Yorkshire (17th) Menin Ridge, Ledbury, Tafna (24th) Thrasyvoulos (30th)
U-45 (Type VIIB) – (2) Lochavon, Bretagne (14th)
U-46 (Type VIIB) – (1) City of Mandalay (17th)
U-48 (Type VIIB) – (5) Emile Miguet (12th) Heronspool, Louisiane (13th) Sneaton (14th) Clan Chisholm (17th)
U-59 (Type IIC) – (3) St Nidan, Lynx II (28th) HMS Northern Rover (30th)

Total – 26 ships with a tonnage of 122,414

The above was achieved at a cost of four boats sunk:

U-16
U-40
U-42
U-45

There is one U-boat kill missing from this list and the story is coming up next….

Source:
Hitler’s U-boat War Volume I (Clay Blair)
Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-45 (Jurgen Rohwer)
www.uboat.net




wings7 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (5/30/2015 4:59:19 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Now that Capt Harlock's brilliant Civil War thread has come to an end, is there any enthusiasm for a day by day on another topic?

I would be happy to do such for the naval war 1939-45 if there is interest?


Robert, I really like your "Naval War Day-by-Day", you are doing a fantastic job! [&o] What source(s) are you using? You don't have to give it all away, just in general...thanks!

Patrick




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