2011/02/07

Historical crappy ideas. Today: Battleship "D"

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Scharnhorst was ordered as Ersatz Elsass as a replacement for the old pre-dreadnought Elsass, under the contract name "D". The Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven was awarded the contract, where the keel was laid on 16 July 1935. The ship was launched on 3 October 1936 (...)

Battleship Scharnhorst, Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), DVM 10 Bild-23-63-46

The intent of the Kriegsmarine's leadership was to reach parity with the battlefleet of France.

The very idea was childish.

Germany had barely left the great economic crisis behind and government insiders had the certainty that huge fiscal problems laid ahead because of the army re-armament and expansion. The construction of two expensive capital ships (Scharnhorst and Gneisenau) was only justifiable with an actual military purpose, not with a mere childish pissing contest.

The concept development for these ships during the early 30's included many interim ideas and was very  arbitrary. It's now wonder that I'll soon have an easy target for deconstruction. 18,000 mt,  26,000 mt and 35,000 metric ton designs with 28 or 30.5 cm guns (11" or 12") were considered.


Now let's finally look at possible military purposes. These ships were incredibly expensive (more about that later), so they should really have been able to make a difference!

 
Baltic Sea; the only real potential opponent there was the Soviet Baltic Fleet, which was in shambles. Stalin could have concentrated the Baltic, Arctic and Pacific fleets there, but the fleet was simply outdated. Four obsolete dreadnoughts of the Gangut class were in the Soviet navy's inventory. Their effectiveness was very much in doubt in the Baltic Sea due to neglect, old age and the rather confined nature of the Baltic Sea. Littoral navy assets such as offensive and defensive minelayers and motor torpedo boats were available as very cost-efficient counters to the Soviet Baltic Fleet. The neutralisation of the Austrian-Hungarian fleet in the similarly confined Adriatic Sea in 1915-1918 was available as blueprint. The 1930's situation even added the possibility of engaging capital ships with bombers.


France was another potential opponent. The Kriegsmarine stared at the new French Dunkerque class, two ships which were developed to overpower the new German ships of the Deutschland class.
This was, as I wrote previously, a pissing contest attitude. Navy officers were paid for professional work, not for schoolboy attitudes. A professional work would first and foremost have led to the question what the Kriegsmarine could contribute for an acceptable conclusion of a war with France - or to a deterrence of France.
The answer to that question was simple and short: Nothing of relevance.

The offensive potential of the Kriegsmarine against France had no chance of becoming decisive, no matter how large the Kriegsmarine would be. France would always have been able to maintain its international trade via rail and vie the English Channel and the Mediterranean. Even the idea that the Kriegsmarine could have had a reasonable impact on French Atlantic shipping was quite utopian.

French battleship Dunkerque

Likewise, the French navy hadn't really the strength to maintain a fully effective blockade of German trade (as done by the Royal Navy in 1914-1918) in the 1930's. Again, littoral units and possibly bombers could have kept the French Navy away from the German bight. Blockade runners would have had a pretty good chance during winter months against the French Navy. A mere two battleships armed with 28 cm guns would not have changed the situation much, for the French had five old super dreadnoughts and the two fast and small Dunkerque battleships.The best opportunity for breaking a French blockade would have been to avoid the five old super dreadnoughts in any case, for the repair of damaged German battleships could take months.
One might disagree here and think that two battleships would have helped much to break a blockade, but even that is far from "parity". Germany needed at most 2/3 as much naval power as France for maintaining its overseas trade.
All this was quite moot, though; Germany was able to trade with many, many countries via rail or quasi-immune coastal shipping in a war with France. And then lets not forget that the Nazi grand strategy included a strive for economic autarky and securing continental resources for Germany.

The third possible opponent was the United Kingdom. The Kriegsmarine had only one promising option in such a scenario; protect the coast, seal the Baltic Sea against the Royal navy with littoral forces. Raiding British shipping with cruisers had zero chance of strategic success.


There was thus no real promise of (advantageous) strategic decisiveness for a German battleship fleet in the 1930's. It was risky politically (British antipathy was for sure), it was extremely expensive (again, more on that later) and it was risky tactically (even a damaged battleship could be put out of action for months, and a single lucky hit could destroy even a robust German battleship).


Now let's look at the costs.

Scharnhorst did cost 143.5 and the sister ship Gneisenau did cost 146 million Reichsmark (Bismarck and Tirpitz later about 200 each). These roughly RM 290 million plus operating costs for several years plus costs of investment in infrastructure don't really tell us much, do they? How much money were RM 290 million? RM 290 million were actually not terribly much in military budget terms - procurement was even during the 30's the smaller part of the navy's budget.

I prefer to look at alternative uses for the money, for this shows us the opportunity costs as well. Obviously, it would have been nice to cut taxation by RM 290 million or to invest the money for civilian purposes. Yet, even military alternatives looked enticing in comparison to the construction of two battleships.
The Imperial navy's huge budget had crowded out money from the army budget in the years 1898-1916, and this had certainly a gigantic impact on the course of the First World War. History repeated itself, nothing was learnt.

RM 290 million were actually the procurement cost of about 7,000 15 cm howitzers for the army (each 38,500 to 40,400 Reichsmark). Even the procurement of suitable tractor motor vehicles for these howitzers wouldn't have decreased this quantity much below 5,000.
That would have been about the Heer's less field artillery firepower of Autumn 1939 (despite absorbing Austrian and Czech field artillery). The Heer had about 4,900 10.5 cm howitzers , 400 10.5 cm cannons and 2,400 15 cm howitzers at that time.
What else could have been bought for RM 290 million by 1939? About 2,800 StuG III assault guns, for example. Or 12,600 SdKfz 251 armoured personnel carriers; a revolution for army mechanisation and reputed to have cut the losses of infantry in armour divisions by half, while allowing for much quicker offensive actions. That would have pushed the Soviet Union off the cliff in 1941.

A SdKfz 251. Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive), Bild 101I-801-0664-37

RM 290 million would also have sufficed for the purchase of 2,900 Bf 109 E fighters. There would not have been a Battle of Britain against such a fighter force.

This was just the beginning. Two bigger battleships, together  the fiscal equivalent of  10,000 15 cm howitzers, were ordered in the late 30's as well; Bismarck and Tirpitz. Eventually, the only beneficiary of these four battleships was Imperial Japan, which had to face a few Allied battleships and aircraft carriers less because the Kriegsmarine kept them busy in the Atlantic.


The two battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were in my opinion produced at great cost, based on immature and unprofessional reasoning and in defiance of a fresh historical lesson. This failure was probably a good thing in the long run, but at least we should do better, understand and remember this historical lesson. Military procurement is not for pissing contests or prestige. It should make a difference for the good of the nation.


S O
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31 comments:

  1. I certainly agree there were better uses, but I think you under estimate just how deadly the battleships could have been.
    Bismark ran the gauntlet of the entire home fleet, sinking several ships along the way, had it broken out into the atlantic, the losses to merchant shipping could have been catastrophic.

    Equaly, if the others had been used agressivly in the North, they could easily have severed the Russian supply lines.

    History however repeated itself, and the surface fleet was built, and mothballed, at great cost and for little result.
    In both wars, it would have been far better to risk an all out naval battle, because such a battle could do little harm to Germany in any outcome, but a victory, slight chanced as it was, would have knocked the UK out of the war.

    I do however agree with your diagnoses, the war was won or lost on the time taken to collapse the Russian defence, and nothing unrelated that task could possibly of been worthy of any priority.

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  2. You may cry out loudly, but I think, as nice as these examples are, it would also be beneficial to study what the yards would have been able to produce instead. Its more conventional thinking, I guess, but it would make more sense insofar, as the existence of the yards had to be preserved, something needs to be produced and the Navy certainly had a purpose.

    So going with that, I would say, take away 30 % of the costs for big ships and give it to Air Force and Army, keep about 60% and spend it on submarines (both littoral and desings suitable for blue-water operations), minelayers, destroyers and torpedo boats.

    As far as pissing contests go, I think, its sort of a moot point. I mean, those were the times, when EVERYBODY build ships for pissing contests, not serious operational doctrine (somewhat less so for the RN). The Japanese, the Americans, the French...its all pretty much the same story - look what somewhat else builds, then go from there. The only useful assets produced - carriers - essentially happened by accident via the Washington Treaty. Sure, what everybody does, should not by itself be a reason to do the same and the history lesson of WW1 was not understood to any meaningful extent, but then again we are arguably in very similar cirumstances today - not trying to adapt and change, but keep going building the same stuff, until we hid a very hard wall (ie new war).

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  3. The lethality was irrelevant for the outcome of the war and thus quite useless.

    There as furthermore never a chance to knock the UK out of any war by the means of a naval victory.

    Para; there were reasons for why the submarine fleet wasn't bigger in '39:
    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2009/06/german-submarine-force-size-of-1939.html
    Destroyers were amazingly expensive as well. The eight destroyers lost at Narvik came at the price of about RM 12.5 million each - more than a wing of fighters!
    The German shipyards had to increase their capacity during the 30's to meet military demand; we could as well have added capacity to truck production or gun production.

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  4. "The lethality was irrelevant for the outcome of the war and thus quite useless.
    There as furthermore never a chance to knock the UK out of any war by the means of a naval victory."

    In the first world war there certainly was!!!
    The Germans gained nothing by "saving" the fleet, and equaly would have lost nothing if it was destroyed entirely.
    The British would have lost their ability to interdict German shipping and protect their own without the RN.

    The second time around the chances of German victory were smaller still, but little was gained by using the fleet conservativly, much was for the taking if you didnt care it survived or not.

    Not building the fleets in the first place was the best option, but building them and not using them was the worst.

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  5. No, there wasn't. The supposed threat of "strangling" the UK with subs was also a chimera.

    The UK was able to sustain its trade no matter what Germany did, and thus was able to sustain its minority contribution at the Western Front as well as its offensives in the Mediterranean region.

    The huge quantity of British cruisers allowed for an interruption of German overseas trade (down to few blockade runners) even if the whole battlefleet was scuttled. The German high seas fleet did neither have the coal nor the bases nor the range for actually protecting large-scale high seas trade.

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  6. Sven
    Sorry thats not what I meant.
    Had Jutland gone the other way, and the Grand Fleet been destroyed as planned, with the High Seas Fleet only superficialy damaged, the logical follow on would be for German Ships to mount a close Blockade of British Ports.
    Submarines in the Atlantic couldnt strangle UK shipping, but a Battleship just outside the range of the ports defensive artilery would be a different matter all together.

    "The German high seas fleet did neither have the coal nor the bases nor the range for actually protecting large-scale high seas trade."
    But If the RN was crushed, what would it need to protect them from?
    Even if it couldnt protect its own shipping, it could almost certainly shut out British shipping as well.

    If the Royal Navys beaten, sail up the Thames and bombard London.

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  7. Such a close blockade was impossible. The coal consumption would have been prohibitive and sealing off the southern approach into the Irish Sea was totally out of range. London and Edinburgh would have been the only affected harbours.
    A blockade close to ports would also have been prohibitively dangerous in face of british submarines and MTBs.

    The destruction of the Royal Navy's cruiser fleet in major battles was never up for debate. The British simply didn't commit their cruiser fleet to the point that they could have lost it.
    Besides; it was the German battlefleet that barely escaped destruction in 1916. The eight British 15"-armed super dreadnoughts were overpowering by 1916 and the U.S. battlefleet was added by 1917. Germany had not even attempted to keep the pace with super dreadnoughts.
    The RN lost some ill-protected battlecruisers at Jutland, while the German battlefleet barely escaped from the threat of being cut off from its ports and destroyed.

    Finally, I think you underestimate the littoral fighting power of the RN during the World Wars. There were minefields, MTBs and submarines - good enough to enforce careful actions by the Germans.

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  8. If there was something the money could have been better spent on it was long range aviation = bombers. Reminds me of the discussions in the U.S. before the war and again in the 1950's ...

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  9. Jutland was a complete disaster for the Germans, but they could (and I argue should) have tried it again and again until either the RN was beaten or the High Seas fleet was destroyed. If the HSF was sank in battle, the worst outcome was, it no longer drained more resources.
    The best, well, perhaps I have underestimated the UK's litoral defences, but if the Grand fleet was knocked out and The HSF set about bombarding ports and the like, the cruiser fleets would have to be sent into battle.

    The most likely outcome is, as you say, the High Seas Fleet (or WW2 equivilant) is destroyed en masse, but since its of little use anyway, wheres the harm.

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  10. The lives of the seamen had some value. Besides, there was a high seas fleet mutiny in 1918 when the navy intended to seek another useless battle.

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  11. not from a military perspective, unless your going to retrain them as infantrymen.
    True they mutinied in 1918, the war was lost and nothing they could do would change that. It was a suicide mission launched for vanity.

    In 1916, that wasnt the case, a determined naval push with current resources could have won the war, or at least a better peace.

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  12. Hardly. The mood in ruling/rich circles of 1916 was rather tilting towards becoming greedy (adding demands, such as the annexation of a East French iron ore mining region).

    And again, even a destruction of the Royal Navy's battlefleet (which was clearly not in the realm of the possible) would not have kicked the British Empire out of the war.

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  13. Fascinating discussion!

    My two cents is that using the RM 290Mil for more artillery or APCs or submarines would also have been a waste.

    But 2900 additional fighters (long range) would have been a damned fine investment. Perhaps the Kriegsmarine could have gotten a small portion of those aircraft to establish their own air arm instead of depending on the Luftwaffe.

    Another good investment might have been a lot more additional R&D in electronics such as in radar, ECM, counter-ECM, passive sonar, and in other arts such as cryptology.

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  14. Didn't most Kriegsmarine battleship sailors end up as coast artillerymen on the Atlantic Wall??

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  15. Sven
    "Hardly. The mood in ruling/rich circles of 1916 was rather tilting towards becoming greedy (adding demands, such as the annexation of a East French iron ore mining region)."

    Thats my point, in 1916, Germany could make a believable claim to be winning the war.
    By 1918 it was clearly lost.
    Agressive and risky actions by the High Seas Fleet in 1916 can make a claim to being a daring push to deliver a knock out blow to British Morale.
    The same is simply not true by 1918, even if the fleet had sailed and scored a stunning victory, Germany would have still collapsed a few months later and if anything, it would have just made the peace much harsher.

    "And again, even a destruction of the Royal Navy's battlefleet (which was clearly not in the realm of the possible) would not have kicked the British Empire out of the war."
    On Manpower, Tonnage and virtualy any other measure you'd like to quote, Germany won Jutland.
    The British victory was that the High Seas Fleet gave up.

    In many ways, the Royal Navy IS the British Empire.
    To be the best of my knowledge, the Royal Navy has never lost a fleet engagement. A lt of ship duels went badly during an American war, but I cant think of a single time the British Fleet has formed up, taken battle to an enemy, been thrown back in defeat and pursued to port.
    The effect on British Morale would have been quite extreme I think.

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  16. It clearly lost the Battle of Coronel.

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  17. Not really a fleet action though, but the worst defeat for a century none the less.
    If the same situation had been repeated at Jutland, The Grand Fleet destroyed and the HSF escaping without loss, its possible the British Public could have simply become ever more commited to the war, but I believe it far more likely they would have jumped out.

    In any event, trying and losing would be no worse than not trying and losing

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  18. I forgot the battle of Java Sea, although that was a joint fleet.

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  19. @ Raging Tory "[...]I cant think of a single time the British Fleet has formed up, taken battle to an enemy, been thrown back in defeat and pursued to port[...]"

    Force Z

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  20. Flo
    Two Cruisers is not a fleet...

    Die Alte
    The Chesapeake (and indeed, the entire US Navy) won quite a lot of single ship engagements, but no fleet battles.

    I was careful with the words I used...

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  21. Tory,
    I was referring to the Battle of Chesapeake, 1781, as it happens.

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  22. That would qualify, ok, so we have one example in history of the Royal Navy being beaten in a fleet engagement.
    This defeat was pretty much the nail in the coffin of the US colonies.

    So, given my original point was, a severe beating given to the Royal Navy would almost certainly shatter UK morale, whereas a severe German Navy loss changed little, I dont think I was far wrong....

    Die Alt
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Chesapeake_(1799)
    I though you were refering to the ship named for the battle.
    The United States Navy gave the Royal Navy a run for its money in single ship actions during the war of 181.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812#Single-ship_actions

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  23. @ The Raging Tory

    "Two Cruisers is not a fleet..."

    How about a battleship, a battlecruiser and four destroyers? The majority of firepower of the Eastern Fleet.

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  24. Flo
    Yes, the majority of an administrative unit called a "fleet", stripped bare for war in other quarters was destroyed.
    The universes little joke there being Bismark also sank, a battle cruiser and a battleship.

    My point remains.
    Had the German Fleet have massed (in either war) and taken on the Royal Navy, also massed, there is a chance, that better crews and equipment could have won the day for the Germans.
    Obviously, odds were better the first time round, but if Bismark had waiting until Tirpitz was ready, and went with the remainder of the pocket battleships and the battlecruisers, theres at least a reasonable chance they would have taken the Revenge, Nelson and Battlecruiser fleets with them, who knows what effect that could have had on the wider war.
    Had they sank the home fleet and made it back to port, I dread to think.

    In either war, the German Navy had a chance to sink 75% of the Royal Navies Capital Ships and half its tonnage.

    Thats an entirely different proposition to sinking 5% of its capital ships, or forcing a dozen capital ships to retreat from rescueing a beleaguered ground force.
    (Rough guess on numbers).]

    Its equaly possible the outnumbered Germans would have been wiped out, but preserving the High Seas Fleet accomplished nothing, and the Kreigsmarine was destroyed in port

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  25. I think winning the last war was one of the reasons for this naval build-up. During the Weimar Republic an interesting concept for warships had developed, outrunning anything heavier armed and outgunning anything faster.
    If hypothetically such a fleet of medium sized ships had been combined with aircraft carriers and submarines it could have posed a credible interdiction threat because it would have been able to spot RN ships and slow their advance as well as disarm some of their turrets. A slowed advance also means less defense against gunnery. A thoroughly prepared fleet of surface ships could be gunned down by lighter vessels (the Bismarck is a good example). So a medium sized vessel surface fleet with carriers could have probed attacks on the RN and in case of success against their maneuverability and guns allowed it's own surface component to close in for the kill (a risky, but not suicidal mission after good preparation).
    Futhermore aerial reconnaisance and fighter wings in case one of the carrier groups broke through would have amplified submarine capabilities by spotting convois and coordinating attacks between submarine and air forces.
    Fortunately this didn't happen and even the Z-plan didn't develop this idea, but rather a fleet with fuel requirements Germany couldn't meet. This has probably to do with the mindset that came along with the Nazis who wanted to create something solid and magnificant for their 1000 years Reich and not a naval force reminiscent of Mongol tactics. That they did turn to a large submarine fleet has to do with the failure of the surface fleet to achieve the promises they could never keep. Dönitz was the odd one out among the admirals to whom Hitler turned after the naval establishment seemed to have failed big time. And well, Dönitz was a specialist who didn't turn to experiments or utilizing allied Japanese knowledge (there were significant problems of cooperation).

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    1. These carriers would have required fighter-bombers for air defense & precision bombing(with airbrakes?) and long range observers that could double as torpedo and large guided missile delivery crafts. This is a concept not pursued for the Zeppelin carrier with the increasing torpedo bomber and diminishing fighter component.

      The problem with this plan was quite large and called Göring, plus the remnant of the old guard Hochseeflotte that wanted to be a little bit proud again. After still reading Mahan they were convinced that only big guns could settle issues at sea.

      The problem of all German naval forces was breaking out to threaten enemy SLoC. In a war against France this was a given. SLoC attacks would do the French the greatest possible harm the navy was capable of. Support by surface combat vessels with an airwing would further limit their ability to defend against these submarines by threatening the usual cheap ASW escort tin cans.

      Re-running the zeppelins in the navy, but this time for different purposes, would have amplified capabilities early on.

      One use would have been long range deployment of observation posts on Greenland and Spitzbergen because the air route couldn't be blocked by sea. Zeppelins were never of much use in battlespace, but they had long range and endurance while being able to transport a small group with supplies and equipment.

      Another use could have been trying to set up a mobile torpedo supply service in case a sub ran out of amunition sooner than fuel or targets. Such a supply could have included other critical components and exchanging the crew to better relieve them from stress.

      Zeppelin design could have been much improved, even back then, by looking at them as very slow speed flying wing with low density (not as high as for gliders or even fixed wing aircrafts), but not lighter than air (airships already had much dynamic lift).

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    2. The tough nut would have been the RN. Best choice would have been not to fight them, second best wage to a cruiser war against them. This in order to create small force concentrations that allow for a number of limited surface engagements. In case of denial the RN would be forced to diminish their naval supply by increased convoi size with more protection. An extreme case would have been creating British vulnerability for German raids or an invasion.
      Problems was that the RN knew that and would do all to prevent an escape and supply in the North Atlantic while the North Sea presence was of limited to no value for a German naval force not capable of raids or an invasion of the British Islands.
      Several coclusions could be drawn from this, keep the navy small, we won't fight the RN, just annoy the French an block the Russians.
      To go for the RN would require a strong emphasis on logistics of surface fleets in the North Atlantic. The breakthrough could be achieved by small surface combatant groups around a carrier capable of enduring a high cruise speed while denying localization through superior aerial surveillance en route.
      The vulnerable section remains with the logistics. Doing the same run with supply ships doesn't work and the first carrier centered group out won't lower RN blockade before running out of supplies. The only chance for supply are false flag convois to occupied harbours in remote unsettled areas, Greenland and Spitzbergen or technology for complete resupply and repairs at sea.
      The only other option would have been to rely on the "neutrality" of the Soviet Union for running supplies. That did work, despite running counter to proclaimed ideology(although the "ideology" was in a flux because the NSDAP was a movement, not a party with a program) and later war plans. During the early stages before the invasion the cooperation with the Soviets worked fine in ruining any British blockade despite Soviet "neutrality". After the overwhelming victory in France the idea of fighting a SLoC denial with combined subsurface, surface and airborne platforms was in the realm of the possible, but the money had been sunk elsewhere, into what was considered a safe investment in communis opinio worldwide. You were a lunatic if you proposed something like the above.

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    3. To elaborate my point about "battlefleet" capabilities, aircraft carriers offered the option for re-running Skagerrak in an even more asymmetric setting setting that was winable without investing as much as the RN.

      The new thing were the aircrafts that could operate from carriers.
      Preparing this plan could be done by constructing dual use ships that could be wartime converted into planned designs of mid-sized carrier-escort warships and fleet aircraft carriers, both with high cruise speed (to avoid being caught), while armour and resilence measures would have been less and simplified in comparison to normal warship design. Torpedoes and dive-bombers would have been the primary threats, with guns taking a very secondary threat role. The emphasis would have been on speed to avoid surface battles and dictate aerial combat. The use of compareably heavy guns on the escorts would have been for kill-runs against enemy ships prepared by the aircrafts. The Allies had this with tin-can warships and escort-carriers at the famous battle of Leyte Gulf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Leyte_Gulf.
      You didn't have to be a genius to figure out that seaborne aircrafts enabled to fight battles of choice and conduct most efficient sea-mining campaigns. The question was whether aircrafts could destroy ships with their air defences. As long as this was unanswered, you needed other methods for destruction like guns and torpedoes, but dive bombers were absolutely certain to disable much of enemy armament (their job description anyway).
      This dual use design of ships to be transformed into rather ill-protected warships, by naval gunnery standards could have provided a lot more force for the money. The tactical idea of using sea-mines delivered over short distances to the British harbours and attacks on Britain from more unknown angles would have negated the RAF defensive advantages of enemy predictability as well as reduced submarine requirements for a blockade.
      I know, Sven is a naval warfare sceptic, but with the British Isles free every occupier of Europe faced the same problem of excellent supplies for the resistance.

      So while the RN could be bled by re-running Skagerrak in small doses or by sea-born naval mining, additional to the land based mining effort (suggested by Sven), the sea-basing would allow less predictable vectors of attack (more surprise) on located enemy airfields and fighters (on the ground) from the sea over much shorter distances (better for fighters).

      Against the French Navy, a surface backed blockade with good intelligence would have been more effective, but not terribly crippling as Sven correctly pointed out. The real advantage would lie in improving the sea side flank of all German army battle plans against France by providing a very forward deployed and well-suppplied number of airbases to support the operations on land.
      The Channel would likely be blocked by naval mines, limiting the speed of further advance. If the Channel could be occupied by any chance, aircraft carriers would be the tool to totally negate France the ability to bring their reserves into the fight on land in time.

      That's my point that aircraft carriers unlike battleships were a game changer that created totally new capabilities, but the structure of the German gouvernment and armed fores was not able digest these changes.

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    4. Actually, 1,000 km fast bomber mission radius with 1 ton bomb load has been feasible during the 1930's and guided munitions have been under development as early as 1917.

      There was no need for ships in order to exploit the potential of air power for German military purposes.


      To break a blockade between Scotland and Norway regularly was impossible against the British anyway (they could have blocked the region with subs and bombers even if they had no surface warships left) and the French weren't able to maintain a tight blockade there anyway.

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  26. Its fine to say so much equipment could have been bought for the cost of the heavy surface ships, but there would still be the problem of industrial capacity to produce the equipment for the land forces.

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