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

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warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/1/2015 8:48:44 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: CarnageINC

Its nice to see the timeline build up to the development for the key engagement at the River Plate in a few months. The Brits sure did do the right thing with Graf Spee but they also got lucky her captain was not a fighter, Her Majesties forces could of been hurt worse then they were.
warspite1

Interesting viewpoint. I will be taking a different stance (but will wait until the time comes to set out what that is).




Jagdtiger14 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/2/2015 9:37:59 AM)

I kinda agree with Warspite here...Force G would have dispatched the Graf Spee...question is, what would it take with it. Force F and H were not enough, and I think the Graf Spee would have come out ahead if faced with either of those two forces. I think the Germans would have done better to perhaps sell the ship to the Argentinians at that point rather than scuttle him. Sad story for a good captain and a good ship.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/2/2015 6:07:00 PM)

October 1939 (North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Sea and the Baltic)

The Allied and German navies continued their thankless, day to day, patrolling in all weathers. On the 9th the new Town-class cruiser HMS Belfast achieved notable success with the capture of the 13,615 ton German liner Cap Norte off Iceland. The ship was in Brazil at the start of the war, and was trying to reach Germany disguised as the Swedish Ancona, when she was intercepted and captured before she could be scuttled.


Following her capture, Cap Norte was put in the charge of the Ministry of War Transport (MOWT), re-named Empire Trooper and put into service as a troopship. She survived the war.
[image]local://upfiles/28156/320F2E2D9088424F911841EDF45FE49A.jpg[/image]


HMS Belfast was responsible for the capture of Cap Norte – the largest German ship captured by the Northern Patrol in the Second World War. In a great many cases the German crews successfully scuttled their ships when intercepted. In November 1939 the cruiser was to be removed from the Royal Navy order of battle until 1942 after she struck a mine and broke her back. The mine had been laid in October by U-21.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/0DB920457F0E4C29BCCCD7F7B33981F7.jpg[/image]

On the 16th Belfast’s sisters Edinburgh and Southampton, along with the destroyer Mohawk, came under attack from German bombers while in the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh suffered light damage from near misses but Southampton was hit by a bomb that penetrated three decks before exploding upon exit. Mohawk was damaged by splinters that killed her commanding officer and 14 others.

Armed Merchant Cruisers – converted merchant vessels - were by now making their way to the front line and supplementing the Royal Navy’s patrol capability. Three such vessels, HM Ships Rawalpindi, Scotstoun and Transylvania all achieved successes during October – either capturing or forcing to scuttle three enemy ships. None of these ships would survive for long – and we shall hear more from HMS Rawalpindi very shortly.

Further south the French were deploying submarines and surface ships for the same purpose – also to good effect.

The Kriegsmarine were also deploying destroyers and other vessels in anti-shipping operations in the North Sea and the Baltic at this time. These patrols resulted in many neutral merchant vessels bound for the UK being intercepted and diverted to Germany.

Sources:
The War at Sea 1939-45 (Stephen Roskill)
Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945 (Jurgen Rohwer)
www.naval_history.net




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 4:54:22 PM)

October 1939 (General)

At the end of the month the Soviets and Germans hold talks in furtherance of the Nazi-Soviet pact. The Soviets, looking to expand their naval arm significantly, sought to purchase ships under construction and equipment (mainly naval guns that were previously set aside for ships to be built under Plan Z). The Soviets were keen to purchase the three Hipper-class heavy cruisers in varying stage of construction:

Prinz Eugen: The Germans refused this request, and she would go on to be commissioned in the Kriegsmarine. Prinz Eugen survived the war after an undistinguished war career.

Seydlitz: This request was refused too. She was about 90% complete when, in the summer of 1942, it was decided to complete her as a light carrier. The conversion was never finished as the following year Hitler ordered construction to cease.

Lutzow: Lutzow was the only ship the Germans agreed to transfer to the Soviets. After being towed to Leningrad she was renamed Petropavlovsk but construction work was slow and she was incomplete when the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa. Ironically she was used as a floating battery against the Germans during the siege of Leningrad. Note: the name Lutzow was used by the Kriegsmarine when the Panzerschiff Deutschland was renamed after her return to Germany in November 1939.


Seydlitz was launched as a Hipper-class heavy cruiser in January 1939. In aircraft carrier configuration she was expected to operate 10 fighters and 8 bombers.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/4C714DA5FC2645BAB3FEC438CC9D006D.jpg[/image]




Jagdtiger14 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 5:41:53 PM)

Never knew this info, thanks warspite! The Germans should have sold all three (without 20/20 hindsight).




Capt. Harlock -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 7:21:05 PM)

quote:

Prinz Eugen survived the war after an undistinguished war career.


Oh, I wouldn't say that -- she featured in a notable encounter in the Denmark Straight.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 7:26:13 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

quote:

Prinz Eugen survived the war after an undistinguished war career.


Oh, I wouldn't say that -- she featured in a notable encounter in the Denmark Straight.
warspite1

Well I can only speak for me and for me personally, one sortie into the Atlantic - a sortie that was called off almost immediately because of the class's notorious engine problems is not - to my mind - a distinguished war career.

You could add Cerberus to the list - but on the basis that that was a strategic retreat I am not sure I would change my view because of that.

Edit: Nice to see some debate in evidence [:)]




Aurelian -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 7:58:16 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

quote:

Prinz Eugen survived the war after an undistinguished war career.


Oh, I wouldn't say that -- she featured in a notable encounter in the Denmark Straight.


let's not forget this notable achievement....

[image]local://upfiles/24234/D223EC503B6641C5AC274150EA8C076D.jpg[/image]

[image]local://upfiles/24234/86E1A7EDD1B742B4AFBF834360010609.jpg[/image]

She rammed the Leipzig Oct 15 1943. Heavy fog.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 8:17:13 PM)

Plus the fact that she failed to get to Norway (iirc - at all) - she was torpedoed and bombed and I don't think she made it and never left the Baltic after that....




Zorch -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 8:54:32 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Plus the fact that she failed to get to Norway (iirc - at all) - she was torpedoed and bombed and I don't think she made it and never left the Baltic after that....

This has probably been said already...in hindsight the Kriegsmarine did not get their money's worth from their CAs. Their unreliable engines and short range made them ill-suited to commerce raiding.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 8:59:47 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Plus the fact that she failed to get to Norway (iirc - at all) - she was torpedoed and bombed and I don't think she made it and never left the Baltic after that....

This has probably been said already...in hindsight the Kriegsmarine did not get their money's worth from their CAs. Their unreliable engines and short range made them ill-suited to commerce raiding.
warspite1

No not covered yet - we are still on the Panzerschiffe and the voyages of the Graf Spee / Deutschland. We can look more closely into the Admiral Hipper class when we come to her breakout.




Zorch -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/3/2015 9:59:48 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Plus the fact that she failed to get to Norway (iirc - at all) - she was torpedoed and bombed and I don't think she made it and never left the Baltic after that....

This has probably been said already...in hindsight the Kriegsmarine did not get their money's worth from their CAs. Their unreliable engines and short range made them ill-suited to commerce raiding.
warspite1

No not covered yet - we are still on the Panzerschiffe and the voyages of the Graf Spee / Deutschland. We can look more closely into the Admiral Hipper class when we come to her breakout.


Sorry about that, chief (redacts prior post).




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/4/2015 7:38:16 PM)

October 1939 (Baltic Sea)

The Soviet infiltration of the Baltic States continued (see Post 59). Following the signing of mutual assistance treaties on the 28th September (Estonia) Latvia (5th October) and Lithuania (10th October) and the establishment of military bases in each country, during the latter half of October the Soviets moved troops, aircraft and naval units to those bases. The cruiser Kirov was sent to Latvia and the destroyer leader Minsk, with seven submarines, was sent to Estonia.

At this time we should say something about the Soviet Navy in the Baltic. Josef Stalin had plans to greatly expand the Soviet Navy centred around the 16-inch gunned Sovyetskiy Soyuz-class battleships and the 12-inch gunned Kronshtadt-class battlecruisers. One of each class were earmarked for the Baltic Fleet and had been laid down before the war together with numerous cruisers, destroyers and submarines. Neither of the large ships were even launched by the time of the German invasion in June 1941 but a few of the smaller vessels were completed.

Pending these new vessels becoming available the Soviet Navy was reliant upon largely obsolete ships – in some cases pre WWI vintage.

In September 1939 the Soviet Baltic Fleet, commanded by Vice-Admiral Vladimir Tributz, consisted of the following ships, largely based in Kronshtadt (Leningrad).
Note:
OBB – Old Battleship
CA - Heavy Cruiser
DL – Destroyer (Flotilla Leader)
DD - Destroyer
SS - Submarine

Kronshtadt (nr Leningrad)
2 x OBB: Marat and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya
2 x DL: Leningrad and Minsk
13 x DD: Destroyers of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Destroyer Flotillas and the Guards Division
69 x SS: Submarines of the 1st and 2nd submarine brigade.

Ust-Dvinsk (Riga)
Detachment of Light Forces (OLS)
1 x CA: Kirov
9 x DD: [1st and 2nd Divisions?]

Note: I am certain of the above names and numbers except the DD and SS. Many sources give the number of CA at two – but the Maxim Gorkiy was completed between 1939 and the German invasion in June 1941. More complete data can be obtained for the Baltic Fleet (and the rest of the Soviet Navy) in June 1941 and this information will be presented at that time.


Marat. This old battleship – the Russians first dreadnought – was launched in 1911. In her 1939 guise she featured twelve 12-inch guns but was hopelessly outclassed by the newer ships of the Kriegsmarine in all respects.
[image]local://upfiles/28156/6B0B1102E74E46188F155C50F9009463.jpg[/image]

The Kirov was completed in 1938 and joined the Baltic Fleet (her sister Voroshilov was completed two years later and served with the Black Sea Fleet). These handsome ships betray their Italian design – although their final hull configuration was amended as it was felt the Italian ships were insufficiently robust. Like all ships of the Baltic Fleet, Marat and Kirov took part in the defence of Leningrad.
[image]local://upfiles/28156/7BF5F087CA7949CC8FEB860BE48D4DA0.jpg[/image]




Orm -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/4/2015 7:40:14 PM)

quote:

The two navies worked together and formed Hunting Groups to try and find and then destroy the raiders. Note: The make-up of the groups vary from source to source (quelle surprise) and no doubt is in part due to the make-up changing over time. I have used the following which seems to be pretty accurate as far as I can tell (with the exception of a Force Y which appears in some sources).

Do the sources mention what ships that the mysterious Force Y might have contained?




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/4/2015 7:48:20 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm

quote:

The two navies worked together and formed Hunting Groups to try and find and then destroy the raiders. Note: The make-up of the groups vary from source to source (quelle surprise) and no doubt is in part due to the make-up changing over time. I have used the following which seems to be pretty accurate as far as I can tell (with the exception of a Force Y which appears in some sources).

Do the sources mention what ships that the mysterious Force Y might have contained?
warspite1

It's difficult to find two sources the same. An example is:

Purnells History of the Second World War. Force Y (operating off Brazil) Strasbourg and HMS Neptune.

French Cruisers 1922-1956. Force Y first mentioned in November 1939 and consists of Strasbourg, Algerie and three DCT which returned to France from Dakar!




Aurelian -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/4/2015 8:10:04 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

October 1939 (Baltic Sea)

The Soviet infiltration of the Baltic States continued (see Post 59). Following the signing of mutual assistance treaties on the 28th September (Estonia) Latvia (5th October) and Lithuania (10th October) and the establishment of military bases in each country, during the latter half of October the Soviets moved troops, aircraft and naval units to those bases. The cruiser Kirov was sent to Latvia and the destroyer leader Minsk, with seven submarines, was sent to Estonia.

At this time we should say something about the Soviet Navy in the Baltic. Josef Stalin had plans to greatly expand the Soviet Navy centred around the 16-inch gunned Sovyetskiy Soyuz-class battleships and the 12-inch gunned Kronshtadt-class battlecruisers. One of each class were earmarked for the Baltic Fleet and had been laid down before the war together with numerous cruisers, destroyers and submarines. Neither of the large ships were even launched by the time of the German invasion in June 1941 but a few of the smaller vessels were completed.

Pending these new vessels becoming available the Soviet Navy was reliant upon largely obsolete ships – in some cases pre WWI vintage.

In September 1939 the Soviet Baltic Fleet, commanded by Vice-Admiral Vladimir Tributz, consisted of the following ships, largely based in Kronshtadt (Leningrad).
Note:
OBB – Old Battleship
CA - Heavy Cruiser
DL – Destroyer (Flotilla Leader)
DD - Destroyer
SS - Submarine

Kronshtadt
2 x OBB: Marat and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya
1 x CA: Kirov
2 x DL: Leningrad and Minsk
21 x DD: Destroyers of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Destroyer Flotillas and the Guards Division
69 x SS: Submarines of the 1st and 2nd submarine brigade.

Note: I am certain of the above names and numbers except the DD and SS. Many sources give the number of CA at two – but the Maxim Gorkiy was completed between 1939 and the German invasion in June 1941. More complete data can be obtained for the Baltic Fleet (and the rest of the Soviet Navy) in June 1941 and this information will be presented at that time.

Marat. This old battleship – the Russians first dreadnought – was launched in 1911. In her 1939 guise she featured twelve 12-inch guns but was hopelessly outclassed by the newer ships of the Kriegsmarine in all respects.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/6B0B1102E74E46188F155C50F9009463.jpg[/image]

The Kirov was completed in 1938 and joined the Baltic Fleet (her sister Voroshilov was completed two years later and served with the Black Sea Fleet). These handsome ships betray their Italian design – although their final hull configuration was amended as it was felt the Italian ships were insufficiently robust. Like all ships of the Baltic Fleet, Marat and Kirov took part in the defence of Leningrad.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/7BF5F087CA7949CC8FEB860BE48D4DA0.jpg[/image]


Nice color shot!!!




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/5/2015 3:07:06 PM)

November 1939 (North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Indian Ocean- the surface raiders)

Kapitan Wenneker, having finally been given the order for Deutschland to return home (see Post 115) by Admiral Raeder, headed for Germany. She slipped through the Denmark Strait and arrived at Gotenhafen (Gdynia) on the 15th November. Her patrol had not been a successful one.

Having sailed in August just before the outbreak of war, she was forbidden to commence attacks until the 26th of September. Even then she was hampered by the limitations that Adolf Hitler had imposed on his ships, and the fact that the North Atlantic convoys were protected by major British and French surface units. Deutschland sunk just two ships totalling just over 7,000 tons and caused a diplomatic furore with the capture of the 5,000 ton US merchant City of Flint.


Deutschland was re-classified as a heavy cruiser in February 1940 along with her surviving sister, Admiral Scheer. By that time she had been re-named Lutzow too. Her next major operation would not be until Weserubung – the German invasion of Norway and Denmark – the following April; that was not to end happily for Lutzow either…. Below is a close up of her “Anton” triple 11-inch turret.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/CD858F7E80E24C2C975C8A6AE309A226.jpg[/image]

Meanwhile further south we left her sister heading for the Indian Ocean. Graf Spee struggled in the treacherous waters of the Cape of Good Hope and the crew were no doubt relieved to reach the calmer waters south of Mozambique by the first week of November. However, any such relief would have been tempered by the fact that the ocean there was seemingly empty.

Kapitan Langsdorff ordered Graf Spee northwest into the Mozambique Channel, but prey was almost as elusive here too. She managed to intercept and sink one empty coastal tanker, the 706 ton Africa Shell (Captain Dove). Langsdorff, realising that he would need to head for home early in the New Year, decided to head back into the South Atlantic. Toward the end of the month, emergency repairs and maintenance was carried out in preparation for the journey home. It had been an incredibly frustrating month for the Graf Spee’s officers and crew. Little did they realise that the Panzerschiff had less than a month to live….

An example of the Arado 196, the floatplane carried by Graf Spee. The aircraft saw plenty of use in the wide expanse of ocean sailed by the Panzershiff, but by the start of November her Arado had lost one engine and the spare was in poor shape, limiting the flying hours available.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/EE7E4993D3F64D99850426F57AEDD07C.jpg[/image]

Source:
The Price of Disobedience (Eric J Grove)




Jagdtiger14 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/6/2015 2:52:48 AM)

The Arado 196 was a good plane. Is there any report of them sinking anything?




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/6/2015 4:37:08 AM)

The Arado 196 was considered a good plane for spotting and general reconnaissance duties (they continued in this role even after the surface fleet was pretty much destroyed).

The only success I can see recorded for one though is the capture of the submarine HMS Seal.




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/6/2015 10:13:08 AM)

Right lots of stuff starting to happen in November - some of which is inter-linked, so I need to find the best way to present this. May be a slight delay while I work that out.

In the meantime I will do an overview of the Ugly Sisters, the Town-class cruisers and the AMC's (all of which will be featuring soon).




Orm -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/6/2015 6:59:55 PM)

quote:

so I need to find the best way to present this

One day at a time in order to better understand what their different options were?




Orm -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/6/2015 7:01:15 PM)

quote:

overview of the Ugly Sisters

I find it fun that those ships look very pleasing to my eyes. [:D]




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/8/2015 10:06:16 PM)

With the war only two months old we have already come across two of the Town-class cruisers of the Royal Navy: Southampton was hit by a bomb (which failed to explode until it had exited the ship), while the newest vessel of the class, HMS Belfast, captured what proved to be the largest German blockade-runner of the war. During November she hit a magnetic mine laid by U-21 and the resulting blast broke the cruiser’s back, resulting in repair work that lasted into 1942. We shall be hearing more from these ships regularly as the war progresses so here is a closer look at the ten ships of the class.

Royal Navy. The Town-class cruisers

Type I (Southampton-class)

Birmingham – Completed November 1937
Glasgow - Completed September 1937
Newcastle – Completed March 1937
Sheffield - Completed August 1937
Southampton – Completed March 1937

Type II (Gloucester-class)

Gloucester – Completed January 1939
Liverpool - Completed November 1938
Manchester – Completed August 1938

Type III (Edinburgh-class)

Belfast - Completed August 1939
Edinburgh - Completed July 1939

The Town-class consisted of ten ships that were built in three batches between 1934 and 1939. The first batch – the Southampton-class – represented a significant departure in cruiser design for the Royal Navy.

The need to save money in the post WWI-era had resulted in the series of naval arms limitation agreements that began with the 1922 Washington Treaty. This first treaty largely dealt with capital ship limitations and overall fleet sizes for the five nations that signed up to it (UK, USA, Japan, France and Italy). Subsequent treaties and revisions had imposed further restrictions upon warship construction and limitations on tonnage and armament. Whilst the UK’s financial position made such treaties desirable, they also created considerable headaches. One of the problems that needed solving was how to provide the Royal Navy with the number of cruisers it needed to safeguard the Empire, but at the same time, that would keep within the overall tonnage restrictions imposed. The answer was to build smaller than allowable ships; the British quickly ceased the building of large 8-inch gunned cruisers in favour of smaller 6-inch gunned vessels – thus more ships could be built for a set amount of tonnage.

There were two problems with the approach. Firstly not every navy subject to the treaty was always meticulous about actual tonnage vs stated tonnage and, secondly, potential enemies of Britain did not have the same need for numbers – and so could build larger, more powerful ships.

By 1934 the British felt they had to act – and it was the appearance of the Japanese Mogami-class cruisers that made the British conclude that they had no choice and would have to build some larger ships.

The Southamptons main armament was twelve 6-inch guns mounted in four triple turrets. It was felt that the more rapid firing 6-inch gun would be sufficient compensation against the slower firing 8-inch gunned ships that they may face.

Defensive armour was designed to stop 6-inch shells. Belt armour was a maximum of 4.5-inches with 2-inch maximum box protection around the machinery spaces and magazines. Deck armour was a maximum of 1.25-inches. Turret armour was 1-inch.

Secondary armament came in the form of four twin 4-inch quick firing guns. Two quadruple pompoms were provided together with two 0.5-inch machine guns. Two triple torpedo tubes were fitted and a catapult and hangar space for 2 aircraft (3 could be carried).

Top speed was a highly respectable 32 knots.

Differences between Types:

Type II – slightly more powerful machinery 82,500 vs 75,000 resulting in 0.5 knot additional top speed. Deck armour increased by 0.5-inches. Turret armour increased to a maximum 4-inches.

Type III – 80,000 SHP with top speed slightly slower than Type II ships. Two additional twin 4-inch turrets and octuple pompoms rather than quadruple. Box protection for the machinery spaces was removed and replaced with an extended belt and 3-inch protection over the magazines and 2-inches over the machinery spaces. Turret armour increased to a maximum 4-inches. Revision of the boiler, machinery and magazines resulted in possibly the ugliest British cruiser ever due to the funnels being set back!

The ships were originally to have been named after creatures from Greek and Roman mythology but the town (effectively important city) names that had been used - and proved popular - in WWI were adopted instead. Obvious missing names were Cardiff (existing C-class cruiser) and London (existing County-class).

Six of the ten ships were to survive the war. The four ships lost were: Edinburgh (Arctic), Gloucester, Manchester and Southampton (all Mediterranean).


HMS Sheffield. The Town-class cruisers – or at least Types I and II - were fine looking ships. The class gave excellent service to the Royal Navy during the Second World War and beyond.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/5CB50491D7784F81B624A8F2CCB42477.jpg[/image]


HMS Belfast. Thanks to the positioning of the two funnels, the two Type III ships appeared to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down….

[image]local://upfiles/28156/9563E8350CA7495A88BA8C4219BBDB67.jpg[/image]


HMS Belfast survives to this day and is now a museum ship berthed on the River Thames, near Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/4AFC309DC54347F9805E6227351F0FF1.jpg[/image]

Sources:
Conways: All the World’s Fighting Ships 1922-1946
British Cruisers (Norman Friedman)




JamesM -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/9/2015 7:35:15 AM)

quote:

HMS Belfast. Thanks to the positioning of the two funnels, the two Type III ships appeared to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down….


You liked that line from "Saving Private Ryan"?




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/9/2015 8:14:41 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: jamesm

quote:

HMS Belfast. Thanks to the positioning of the two funnels, the two Type III ships appeared to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down….


You liked that line from "Saving Private Ryan"?
warspite1

Is that where that came from? I didn't realise - but its a good saying [:)]




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/9/2015 11:33:30 AM)

November 1939 (The U-boat War).

One of the battles that Donitz faced constantly with Hitler, and even the OKM, was that concerning the best employment of U-boats for maximum effect. Donitz was unequivocal in his belief that his U-boats should be in the Atlantic attacking convoys; it was the strangulation of trade that would hurt the British and, hopefully, take them out of the war.

However, on many occasions his U-boat force was tasked with support operations and special missions that took the boats away from the convoys. November 1939 saw this happening on a large scale. There were three reasons for this: 1. a number of boats were engaged in mining operations (more than usual as the OKM wanted ports mined as part of the planned German offensive against France), 2. the return to Germany of the Deutschland (see Post 137) and 3. The OKM were planning a breakout into the Atlantic by the Battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (see later).

In the case of the latter two operations, OKM wanted a U-boat force to assist both the return of the Panzerschiff and the breakout by the capital ships.

This meant that Donitz had just three boats available for duty in the North Atlantic – U-41 (Kapt. Gustav-Adolf Mugler), U-43 (Kapt. Wilhem Ambrosius) and U-49 (Kapt. Curt von Gossler). Note: by this time the restriction on French and British passenger ships had been removed as had a restriction pertaining to neutral tankers (except the US) which were thought to be UK bound.

On the 12th November, U-41 sunk a small British trawler and an 11,000 ton Norwegian tanker before Donitz ordered the boats south to the Bay of Biscay due to the atrocious weather conditions. Whilst there, U-41 accounted for a small British freighter and a French trawler, while U-43* accounted for three ships totalling almost 12,000 tons. Although U-49* only achieved one sinking, and was herself badly damaged and almost sunk, she did provide Donitz with a valuable piece of information. In evading a depth charge attack by HM destroyers Echo and Wanderer she dived to over 550 feet – way more than was believed possible – and importantly, deeper than the 500 feet maximum depth for British depth charges. U-43 was also damaged and forced to abort during this patrol. U-53, which we had last heard about in September (see Post 56), was ordered to the Mediterranean in October but had not been able to negotiate the Straits. She too was in the Bay of Biscay at this time but was unable to claim any enemy ships and returned home - whereupon Kapt. Ernst Gunter Heinicke was relieved of command.
*Note some sources claim 4 sinkings for U-43 and none for U-49.

To support the surface ships four boats were ordered to the Shetlands/Orkney area – U31 (Kapt. Johannes Habekost), U-35 (Kapt. Werner Lott), U-47 (Prien) and U-48 (Schultze). On the 28th Prien fired a torpedo at the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk. Although convinced that he had damaged the cruiser, the cruiser was in fact unharmed by the torpedo that detonated astern. Prien recorded no sinkings in November. A day later U-35, was sunk by three British destroyers – Icarus, Kashmir and Kingston – after a depth charge attack. All members of the crew were picked up by the destroyers. U-48 sank a 4,800 ton British Merchant, while U-31 claimed two vessels totalling 3,300 tons.

The mines planted by two of the Ducks the previous month were making themselves known; U-21 (Kapt. Fritz Frauenheim) severely damaged the new Town-class cruiser HMS Belfast – damage that would keep her out of the war until 1942. At the beginning of December U-21 sank a Finnish freighter through more conventional means and would add further to her tally later in the month. U-24 (Kapt. Harald Jeppener-Haltenhoff) also recorded a single success with the sinking of a small freighter.

Further mining operations were carried out in November against the East Coast ports in preparation for the planned (but ultimately postponed) invasion of France. U-15’s (Kapt. Heinz Buchholz) minefield would prove disappointing. A mine laid by U-19 (Kapt. Wilhelm Muller Arnecke) sank a Yugolav merchant (note this was in addition to three ships sunk to her mines the previous month, but not reported in the October figures. A mine from U-20 (Kapt. Karl-Heinz Moehle) also sank one ship at the end of the month.

Also operating on the East coast were U-18 (Kapt. Max-Hermann Bauer) that sank a 500 ton merchant ship, U-20 (Kapt. Karl-Heinrich Jenisch) that despatched a 345 ton trawler, and U-57 (Kapt. Claus Korth) that sank two freighters totalling almost 3,000 tons. Further north U-13 (Kapt. Heinz Scheringer) sank a small 800 ton freighter. U-56 (Kapt. Wilhelm Zahn) sank a Swedish freighter for 2,119 tons.

Elsewhere, U-33 (Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky) was patrolling west of the UK and off the coast of Ireland she came across five small trawlers and sunk all of them. On the 23rd she intercepted the Borkum – a German ship that the British had captured and taken as a prize. U-33 sunk her, killing four Germans in the process. U-28 (Kapt. Gunter Kuhnke) was also off the coast of southern Ireland on her way to lay mines when she came upon two ships – one of which was a Dutch tanker – and she claimed them both netting over 10,000 tons.

Note, Clay Blair suggests that the U-26 (Kapt Klaus Ewerth) mission to the Mediterranean was a failure and she never got past Gibraltar. Other sources suggest that she did make it there and in a patrol that lasted a few days she sank the French merchant Loire (4,300 tons). I have included this “kill” in the numbers below.

Once again, Donitz’s boats were plagued with magnetic pistol failures and torpedo malfunctions…

Summary for the period
U-boat, type, ships sunk

U-13 (IIB) - (1) Bowling (19th)
U-18 (IIB) - (1) Parkhill (18th)
U-19 (IIB) - (1) Carica Millica (18th)
U-20 (IIB) - (1) Ionian (29th)
U-21 (IIB) - (1) Mercator (1st Dec)
U-22 (IIB) – (1) Wigmore (18th)
U-24 (IIB) – (1) Carmarthen Coast (9th)
U-26 (I) - (2) Loire (13th) Elena R (22nd)
U-28 (VII) - (2) Sliedrecht (17th) Royston Grange (25th)
U-31 (VII) - (3) Arcturus (1st Dec) Ove Toft (3rd Dec)
U-33 (VII) - (6) Thomas Hankins, Delphine and Sea Sweeper (20th) Sulby and William Humphries (21st) Borkum (23rd)
U-41 (IX) - (4) Creswell and Arne Kjode (12th) Darino (19th) Les Barges II (21st)
U-43 (IX) - (3) Arlington Court (16th) Arijon (22nd) Uskmouth (25th)
U-48 (VIIB) - (1) Gustaf E Reuter (27th)
U-49 (VIIB) - (1) Pensilva (19th)
U-56 (IIC) - (1) Rudolf (3rd Dec)
U-57 (IIC) - (2) Kaunas (17th) Stanbrook (19th)

Total - 31 ships with a tonnage of 84,357

The above came at a cost of just one U-boat – U-35.

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




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/11/2015 2:37:02 PM)

8th and 12th – 13th November 1939 (North Sea Minelaying Operations)

Following on from the first minelaying operation the previous month (see Post 119) the German destroyer forces, now under the command of FdZ Kapitan Friedrich Bonte, prepared to carry out another such operation on the 8th November. This operation was aborted however due to problems en route with one of the destroyers.

Five nights later a further attempt was made, and although three of the destroyers had to return prematurely to port, Bonte ordered the four remaining destroyers – Wilhelm Heidkamp, Hans Ludemann, Hermann Kunne and Karl Galster - to continue on to their target – the Thames Estuary. In thick Fog, almost 300 mines (including some magnetic) were laid. The destroyers made a swift exit and were met by the light cruisers and torpedo boats of Vice-Admiral Gunther Lutjens Reconnaissance force.

In the early hours of the 13th, two Royal Navy destroyers – HMS Basilisk and HMS Blanche were escorting the minelaying cruiser Adventure to Portsmouth when the cruiser struck one of Bonte’s mines. Correctly surmising that Adventure had struck a mine (rather than a torpedo hit) Basilisk was ordered alongside to remove the wounded while damage control teams set to work to keep the cruiser afloat. Meanwhile HMS Blanche undertook an ASW sweep just in case.

Adventure was able to make the port of Sheerness under her own steam but she would be out of the war for almost a year. HMS Blanche was not so lucky. She had returned to assist the painfully slow progress of the cruiser when she too struck a mine. Like Adventure, the destroyer was able to make good the worst of the damage (although she was without power) and, with the assistance of a tug, she began a race against time to get to the safety of harbour. It was to prove a battle she would ultimately lose and the little destroyer eventually rolled over and sank. By this time there were a number of support vessels to hand thus ensuring that loss of life was minimal.

HMS Basilisk sailed for Chatham to unload Adventure’s wounded. Numbers vary according to different sources, but the number killed was 23 or 24 on Adventure and 1 or 2 on Blanche.

In the coming days, thirteen more ships were sunk as a result of the mines laid on the night of the 12th November.


HMS Blanche. One of the B-class destroyers built between 1929 and 1931. As was standard at that time the class consisted of eight ships plus a slightly larger flotilla leader. Main armament was provided by four single 4.7-inch quick firing guns. Anti-aircraft defence consisted of two 2-pdr pompoms. Two quadruple 21-inch torpedo tubes were also fitted. Top speed was 35 knots.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/0FECEF56B0A04BD9ACC02077415952DC.jpg[/image]

Wilhelm Heidkamp or Z.21.This ship was one of a class of six from the 1936 type. German pre-war destroyer design all stemmed from the 1934-type - which proved poor seaboats. The problems with the initial two classes - 1934 and 1934A – had not been noticed when the plans for the 1936 type were drawn up - but, luckily for the Kriegsmarine, the changes made to the newer ships, improved handling and structural integrity. Engine problems encountered with the earlier ships were also largely overcome. The 1936 type featured no less than five 5-inch guns, four 37mm and seven 20mm guns. They were also fitted with two quadruple torpedo tubes They were capable of 40 knots.

[image]local://upfiles/28156/2F1D797E51B048ECA4B72F6425DFFEFB.jpg[/image]

Sources:
Naval Warfare in the English Channel 1939-45 (Peter C Smith)
Conways All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946




Frido1207 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/11/2015 10:37:28 PM)

Enjoyed reading your post about the town-class cruisers. [8D]




warspite1 -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/12/2015 6:52:55 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: th1207

Enjoyed reading your post about the town-class cruisers. [8D]
warspite1

Thank-you. Anything about that post in particular or was it the subject matter?




Orm -> RE: Naval War Day-by-Day (6/12/2015 9:35:26 AM)

quote:

The first operation took place on the 12th. Four destroyers – Karl Galster, Wilhelm Heidkamp, Hermann Kunne and Hans Ludemann – commanded by the Officer Commanding Destroyers Kapt. Friedrich Bonte - made good use of thick fog to lay a minefield of almost 300 magnetic mines in the Thames Estuary. The ships were undetected and returned to Germany under the protection of Vice-Admiral’s Densch’s force of light cruisers and torpedo boats.

What were the British defence against this? Did they have radar coverage over the estuary? Did they have ships patrolling and if they did were they patrolling during the fog when the Germans lay their mines?

Did the British make any changes in order to prevent this from happening again? Any investigation why this had not been stopped or even detected?




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