1. Get Gear'd Up! Enter to WIN $1000 in gear!

    Please Click Here for full details and to enter. You will need to be registered and logged in to view the details and to participate.

    Thanks and good luck to everyone

The Atlantic War, 1939-1945

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Pistolenschutze, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. I haven't had a nice intellectual argument with Polish and X recently, so how about this . . .

    Be it resolved that . . .

    The only significant naval engagement of World War II in the Atlantic was the U-boat war; all the rest--battleships, cruisers, and all other sea fights--were nothing but a sideshow. If the Germans had possessed even 150 U-boats at the beginning of the war, instead of the roughly 52 they actually had, Germany would have controlled all of Europe, including Great Britain, by mid-1941, and the United States would have concentrated its efforts on Japan after Pearl Harbor, not on Europe.

    OK, I've packed in plenty of ammo and reenforced my bunker, so fire when ready, Polish! :D
  2. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,081
    Location:
    Indiana
    Well, I will grant you that Germany would have been better off with more Uboats, instead of wasting so much time and treasure on the "conventional" fleet, much LESS all that "German stuff is Best" crap so putting all that effort into the "best battleships in the world," but only laying down TWO of them, even though they were already obsolete at the start of the war....

    But that would also have taken a "Naval Minded" leader, and Hitler was AFRAID of the water...


    But your premise that the US would have NOT fought is a little far-fetched,,,we were well into "Germany First" consultations with the British General Staff, LONG before we were in the war, and were already "technically" at war with Germany in 1940, already escorting British Convoys to the momp, and troops and patrol planes in iceland, and we were actually in a SHOOTING war by the summer of '41....at least the US Navy...

    For the sake of argument :)p ), I think your premise is a little off, because it ALSO assumes we would not have accelerated development of the CVEs and Destroyer Escort program...keep in mind we had NO formal class of ships smaller than a DD in active service before the war , on the assumption that we could quickly build A/S ships, so all our construction was centered on Cruisers and above to face JAPAN....

    SOoooo....I think if the war is looking bad for Britain in '39, we see LESS capital shipbuilding, MORE DDs, DEs, PCs, SCs, and Yippys quickly...along with Kaiser building his Liberty and Victory ships EARLIER, and more conversions of CVEs earlier...plus the diversion of ALL heavy bomber production into A/S and patrol.


    We would have STILL won the battle of the Atlantic, but no doubt it would have been BLOODIER, with MORE sinkings....but Ultra was too big an advantage to cover with mere NUMBERS...it quite possibly might have meant just more TARGETS for allied A/S warfare....


    On the contrary, I believe it MAY have affected our response in the PACIFIC more, having to strip all those DDs, CLs, and patrol Planes, and probably putting at least the Essex and Iowa classes on hold to divert the building effort to A/S craft....plus with ALL the B-17s and 24s going into A/S, you might NOT have seen an 8th AF....or maybe even ANY "strategic bombing" doctrine...


    But spot the Krauts that many subs in '39, AND take away our advantage with Ultra, and you might be right, at least on them taking, or at least neutralizing England into submission....
  3. We are, of course, in very speculative ground in any scenerio such as this Polish. There are indeed a great many "what ifs" involved. However, the Kriegsmarine very nearly closed the Atlantic to Allied traffic between 1939 and mid-1943 using only the U-boats it had available at the beginning and those it built after the war's outbreak. My premise is simply that if three times as many U-boats had been available at the outset, especially from September 1939 until December 1941--the period before the U.S. entered the war--the Germans would likely have starved out Britain and forced its surrender, despite U.S "short of war" assistance. Remember, Britain was hanging on by only a thread during that period. Had Britain fallen, all of Western Europe would have been under German control, and Hitler would likely have turned his full attention--and the full force of the Wehrmacht's power--toward Russia, and probably would have been successful within a year at most. Given that, when the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, American sentiment would have been overwhelmingly bent toward fighting them, not Germany. Rembember too, that without a European base from which to fight Germany, how could we have done anything significant to defeat them? D-day could not have even been planned, much less executed, across 3,000 miles of ocean, blockaded by U-boats. I have no doubt that eventually we would have found ourselves at war with Germany, but that war would have been far more difficult and its outcome far from certain.

    Another factor to consider is U-boat development. You suggest that our anti-U-boat weapons systems would have improved. That is likely true, but so would the German U-boats themselves. With time, and freedom from air bombardment, the Germans would almost certainly have speeded up their development of th Type XXI U-boat to replace the aging Type VII and Type IX designs. The design for the XXI was already in prototype. Thus most of our counter-U-boat efforts would have been essentially negated, even the escort carriers.

    No, I still say the Battle of the Atlantic was the essential key to the whole affair. Hitler's failure to recognize that fact early enough led directly to his defeat. As you point out, he spent most of his prewar naval budget building useless show-piece battleships and cruisers, instead of concentrating on the weapons that would have won him the war he knew was coming.
  4. ShadowHunt

    ShadowHunt New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    136
    We know that Germany would have been better off with more UBoats in WWII, but in WWI if they had had half as good of a Navy as Great Britain they could have done an immense amount of damage. We all know that in WWI that Germany had the Supreme Army and that G.B. had the supreme navy, in theory if Germany would have been able to gain half the Navy of G.B then G.B. would have been crushed due to the landings with which only a few landings would be needed to secure a few hundred thousand troops in enemy territory. With their far more superior troops in Germany G.B. wouldn't have ever had a chance and the world would be an entirely different frontier as opposed today.
  5. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    987
    Location:
    Naples, Florida


    On balance, I can't disagree with your assessment. However, I believe that the search for, dramatic multiple engagement of, and ultimately the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck qualifies as a significant Atlantic naval battle.

    Pat Hurley
  6. Light Coat

    Light Coat New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    466
    Location:
    Middle of Nowhere, KS
    With that large of a sub fleet prowling; we would have lost all ability to save Brittain. The Soviets would have also been in a pinch due to the massive increase in manpower available to roll them over. In all likelihood the US would have avoided the war in Europe to undercut Japan and come back around the back to aid the Soviets; if in fact, they any longer existed. The stall caused by the Atlantic blackade would have likey given the Germans the time to perfect and test their nuclear devices; which they had in experimentation. There's a lot of (if) there; but, it's the logical if for the situation. One must also remember that Hitler would have not lived past about 1948 with his medical conditions.
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,081
    Location:
    Indiana
    PS, you make the mistake of giving all those Uboats, and thus their anticipated successes to Germany, but then assuming that the US would have entered the war in December '41, like nothing was different!


    No WAY FDR would have let Britain fall! All that would have meant would be that the US and Germany would have been at war no later than mid- 1940, not a year and a half LATER.


    The FIRST time it looks like Britain is starving, and Germany is about to win, FDR would have galvanized the US population into action, and you would have seen a massive ALL AMERICAN convoy escorted WHOLLY by the USN forcing it's way through to Britain, even if JUST fuel and food for the propaganda value...and Hitler would be forced to ATTACK it, and it would have been all out war, NOT in December 1941, but PROBABLY December 1939, or January 1940...

    THAT is what I mean when I say the calculated decision by the USN in the late 30's to spend ALL it's budget on laying down CAPITAL ships (check out how many great ships of 43 and 44 were layed down in 1940 and 1941) knowing FULL well they were deficient in DDs and smaller ships, only BECAUSE they had a good idea at the size and scope of the German Fleet, Uboats and ALL, in the 1930s! It would have been a relatively SIMPLE thing to STOP all that construction, and start turning out Destroyers and PCS and SCs, as WELL as Kaiser built Liberty ships, and CVEs!


    And DON'T forget the mothballed 4-pipers! It was a relatively QUICK thing to get the 50 we transferred to Britain up and battleworthy as escorts, and we had HUNDREDS more of them...so many not ALL of them got used in WWII as it was, although MANY did, and NOT as escorts or DDs!

    They would NOT have been converted to APDs, DMLs and DMSs, Seaplane tenders, Sub Tenders, Hydrographic Survey ships, or ANY of the other conversions we ulitmately put them through, they ALL would have been at sea, with crews and trained officers originally earmarked for all those now cancelled capital ships, in 30 to 60 days! It would have been a HECKUVA lot easier to fit them out for what they were BUILT for, escorting convoys and hunting and killing Uboats! We WOULD have had numbers on our side too, pretty quickly...

    You WOULD have seen the Royal navy learning to refuel at see faster, so the escorts in use would have stayed at sea LONGER...you WOULD have seen more Blimps, more use of B-17s and B-24s on PATROL.


    No, it WOULD have been bloodier, but we still would have won the Battle of the Atlantic, and the war in Europe would have gone about the same way...


    But the BIGGEST impact it would have had would have been in the PACIFIC...everything from those 36 B-17s which we considered our main "deterrent" to the Japs would have NOT been at Clark, but would have been hunting uboats in the Atlantic, to all the Capital SHips of 43 and 44 would still be on the ways in 1945!


    I think the JAPANESE would have gained more if Hitler had all those Uboats, not GERMANY....

    And you STILL haven't addressed Ultra....Hitler could have had 500 Uboats and still not offset the advantage the Allies had with us READING his Uboat radio transmissions before Doenitz did.....


    I believe just MAYBE the Ultra Secret was more critical and important to Germany than all those hypothetical Uboats would have been....


    I HATE to think what would have happened if it had happened the SAME way if not for Ultra....
  8. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2001
    Messages:
    848
    Location:
    North bank of the mighty Ohio River
    The German's went to war with two main types of
    u-boats the type VII and type IX. These were little changed from the World War I types. They played havoc on Allied convoys until mid 1943.

    By mid 1943 the Western Allies had vastly improved their anti-sub technology and tactics. Dedicated sub hunter teams made life very dangerous for German sub crews. By mid 1943 the Western Allies were decisivly winning the battle of the Atlantic, due to superior weapons, technology, tactics, equipment, and numbers.

    The type XXI, which the Germans placed so much hope on saw virtualy no action. The type XXI was a true submarine, able to spend much longer time submerged, due to it's snorkel. Even if the Germans had gotten this sub into action in large numbers the allies would have sought to counter act it by improving sonar technology.
  9. Polish, I am not nearly so sanguine about that proposition as you seem to be. Yes, I do agree, Roosevelt was cogent enough to see that war with Germany was inevitable, and it was better if it happpened sooner rather than later, but the American people of that time, the vast majority of them, did not see it that way, nor did their representatives in Congress. You must remember that the bitter experience of World War I--only 20 odd years in the past--was still fresh in the minds of middle age and older Americans, and there was also a deep-seated mistrust for Britain in the minds of many. Couple that with concern over the depression at home, and you have very little inclination for a war in Europe. To the majority of Americans, the war in Europe was purely a European squabble and there was no reason the U.S. should become involved. They were wrong, of course, but that does not change the prevailing mood. The biggest favor Hitler ever did for the U.S., and quite possibly his most enormous blunder, was to declare war on against the U.S. on December 11, 1941. Roosevelt did everything in his power to fight Germany, short of an actual declaration of war, but unless Hitler attacked us, as the Japanese did, I don't see it likely at all that we would have gone to war with him until considerably later--perhaps too much later.
  10. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2001
    Messages:
    848
    Location:
    North bank of the mighty Ohio River
    I have always wondered, if Hitler had not declared war on the U.S. when if ever the U.S. would have became involved in that part of the war? On December 8th war with Japan was an easy sell. They had killed thousands of U.S. service men, and sunk several ships and destroyed perhaps 100 U.S. aircraft. But war against Germany? What would have been our reason for declairing war on Germany?

    And now it's time to play our favorite games ...............










    Ify history, and going off on a tangent!

    Tangent / ify history topic.

    Hitler does NOT declare war on the U.S.:

    1. The U.S. concentrates all its resources on destroying Japan. Now the resources that would have gone to Europe are going to fight Japan, added to the effort that was already being made against them. By early 1944 Japan has been stripped of her out lying island possessions after a bloody series of battles. Japan's Navy is practicly non existant. Her airforces are a shell, with fighters that are easily outclassed, and pilots that are poorly trained. The Japanese merchant marine has been annilated. Japan has little fuel for the use of her Navy or Airservices. Her troops in China are cut off. Yet she fights on. B-17 and B-24 bombers of the 8th Airforce are systematically burning Japan's cities to the ground. The new B-29 is coming on line, and starting to get into action. The B-29 is having some teething problems, but as the problems are worked out it is becoming an increadable powerful weapon. There is a rumor of some kind of super bomb being developed.
    Now the question comes up, should we invade the Japanese home islands, or negotiate a peace? The fight to wrestle Japans island fortresses from her was increadable bloody. The Japanese have been using suicide aircraft and ships. Military intelligence reports the Japanese are massing suicide aircraft, and traing women and children to fight to the last in defense of the homeland.

    2. Britan is too weak to launch an offensive on mainland Europe, but barely holds on in the Middle East. Britan conducts commando raids against German held areas. Britan's Navy makes it impossible for Germany to cross the English Channel. She has a small stand by offensive force (several divisions) in case Germany collapses in the east, fighting the Soviets.

    3. Russia and Germany fight a titanic seesaw war. We know how part of that story goes. The Soviets hold on by the skin of their teeth in the winter of 1941-42. In 1941 and 42 it looked like Germany was clearly beating the Soviets. But in early 1943 the Soviets win a huge victory at Stalingrad, destroying the German 6th Army. But even with this huge loss, Germany was back on the offensive in mid 1943.
    Russia has huge manpower reserves, and plentiful natural resources. Her manufacturing is crude, but churns out huge amounts of simple but solidly built weapons and equipment.
    Germany has perhaps the best army man for man in the world. But it is a much smaller army than the Soviet Army. She has a solid ally in Finland, but they do not want to advance much past their border of 1939. She has several allies that are sending troops into the U.S.S.R., Italy, Hungary etc. Even Spain has sent two divisions of "volunteers". But most of these troops are poorly equiped, and of questionable value. Poorly equiped Romanian troops guarding the German flanks at Stalingrad were quickly brushed aside. Besides her own manufacturing base, Germany can draw on the manufacturing base of all Europe. Checkslovokia, Belgium, Austria, and France all had advanced weapons industries.
    The best out come would be for the Nazis, and Communists to destroy each other, and the Brits to sweep in and push the remnants of German forces out of Europe.
  11. dahermit

    dahermit Former Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Messages:
    27
    Regards
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007
  12. SF Mike

    SF Mike New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Messages:
    70
    I think we would have simply upped our technology evolution and eventually sunk every one of them. Including the XXIs
    They would still have been unable to coordinate their efforts and development through their childish bickering and political maneuvering.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
General Military Arms & History Forum "Ivan's War, 1939-1945" Apr 19, 2006

Share This Page