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U-Boats Were the Key

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Pistolenschutze, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. We haven't had a good military history topic for a while, so how about this one . . .

    I believe it may be logically argued that Germany could have won at least a limited victory in World War II had she concentrated more heavily on the design and production of her U-boat arm. Germany began the war with only about 50 U-boats, some of which were useful only for coastal patrols. Had she started the war with twice that number of Type VII and Type IX U-boats, she could have succeeded in effectively closing the Atlantic to American resupply of Britian. This would, I think, have resulted in a surrender of Great Britain by early 1941. Without a base from which to operate in Europe, the United States would have been unable to launch any sustained attack on mainland Europe, and Hitler would have succeeded in his bid to control all of Western Europe and its resources. Without the necessity of maintaining large forces in the West, Operation Barbarossa against the Russians in the East would likely have succeeded.
  2. Pat Hurley

    Pat Hurley Former Guest

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    I agree. And it also proves what I have long believed, and that is that Hitler was largely inept at naval military strategy. The dumb ass was even reluctant to send the Bismarck and the Terpitz out to sea for fear they would be sunk (what the hell is the use of having them if you ain't gonna use them?!).
  3. kfb2b

    kfb2b New Member

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    I disagree----partly. A bigger problem than the U-boats were the SUPPLIERS of U-baots, of which it is doubtful that they would have had more, had they concentrated on the U-baots - and then there is that whole pesky control of the skies thing, wherein the boat can't be supplier if aircraft are sinking the supply boats, and Germany NEVER had control of the air at any time, so while it would have been great to have more, it is really doubtful that it would have made any real difference in the outcome, especially once the Allies came up with the newer methods of hunting down the subs.
  4. kfb2b

    kfb2b New Member

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    OOPS! Meant to say SONAR as opposed to ASPICS> The Germans never developed any real deterrent for SONAR
  5. Rommelvon

    Rommelvon New Member

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    U-Boats could have changed the tide of the war I think, if they were more numerous, the caused havoc across the sea and could have, if placed as a protective barrier, stopped or slowed the D-day invasion...there is a U-boat U-352, the German U-boat that was torpedoed in 1942, it's right off the shore from where I live. you can dive on this boat as it is in shallow water...when they first went in to this U-boat, they found local news papers, American bread wrappers and other goodies the Kriegsmarine has gotten when they came into wilmington during the night((sorry for the history rant) just thought you may find it interesting
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2007
  6. obxned

    obxned New Member

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    They nearly beat the Brits with what they had - at one point England had only a couple of weeks worth of food and fuel.
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    I don't think the outcome would have been any different if the Nazi's had 2 or 3 times as many boats, even the Type XXIs, with Donetz still micromanaging, and Ultra.

    However, I shudder to think what might have been done with what they had if we didn't have Ultra.

    The two things that defeated the Uboats was Ultra and Radar, with Ultra being decisive.

    Knowing not only WHERE the boat was exactly, but also exactly what they were SAYING every night on their mandatory "daily check-in" before Donetz even knew it was the death knell of the Uboat.

    It is really amazing that it was even THAT close with that handicap, along with the fact a secret like that could have stayed secret from the Germans the entire war...thank GOD for German stupidity and arrogance, but then again, that is why they always lose all their wars, so I guess it ISN'T shocking after all....
  8. Well, Polish, I see your long vacation hasn't changed your opinion of the Germans. ;) I still say, though, that many more U-boats, early in the war, would very likely have changed the outcome in the North Atlantic war. Radar, on ships at sea, did not come into its own until much later in the war, and in the beginning the Brits simply did not have the escort ships available to use it effectively even if it had. Couple that with lack of effective U-boat hunting techniques early in the war, and there would have been a total debacle for the Brits in the Atlantic from, say, September 1939 until at least early 1943. Imagine the effect of 100 Type IX U-boats, instead of the dozen or so they actually had, off the eastern coast of the U.S. during Operation Paukenschlag (Drumbeat) in 1942. During the entire so-called "happy time" (January to August, 1942), with the relative few U-boats employed, the Germans sank 609 U.S. merchant ships comprising 3.1 million tons.
  9. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Actually, PS, I did a lot of reading while I was away, and one of the great books I read is titled 'Why the Germans Lose at War," by Macksey.

    After a buddy of mine finishes it I will lend it to you....;)


    The true mark of an intelligent man is how much he agrees with you, right?;) :p


    Actually, while I love these arguments, the are all along the lines of "If we had some bacon we could have bacon and eggs if we had some eggs."

    We could LIST the number of things the Germans needed when they went to war but either didn't have, or didn't understand, or didn't comprehend, which led to their defeat, and it would be a LONG one....BESIDES the lack of Uboats...

    How about no heavy bombers, or ANY concept of "strategic Bombing." And not only didn't they understand or see the need, they assumed since it wasn't worth it for THEM it wasn't worth it for anybody else to use it against THEM either. And also no NAVAL air arm worth a darn, even for patrol....

    How about not enough tanks, the captured Czech 35 and 38 being their MAIN tanks even until the invasion of Russia in 1941....

    How about not having enough trucks, much less even a basic CONCEPT of logistics, not the least having to decide whether fuel or FODDER (yes, he had to feed all those HORSES too or his army couldn't move....)was more important on the few Railroads he had in Russia....

    How about planning only for SHORT wars, not even starting "full war production" until 1943?

    How about a shortage of REAL Generals, only syncophants and Nazi Lovers rising to the highest levels....and we could go on and on....


    Hitler was a wild opportunist, and surrounded himself with very flawed yes men at the highest levels of command...you CANNOT discuss anything like "Could the Germans have won" without considering him and his commanders.


    The answer is, WITH Hitler, there is NO WAY the Germans could have won, they could only have made the war bloodier or last longer, and...

    WITHOUT Hitler, there probably would NOT have been a war!
  10. Sheesh, Polish, you take all the fun out of arguing. :D OK, OK, I agree, Hitler was a dunce and his highest ranking political stooges (and even some of his military toadies like Raeder) were yes men. My only point here is that the Germans COULD EASILY have built U-boats instead of those useless battlewagons and battlecruisers during the 1930s, and with even twice the number they had (around 52 at the beginning of the war) the Atlantic would have been closed tight to reenforcement of England from North America. Game, set, and match to Germany. At the very least, the war would have been much, much longer, and possibly even ended with some sort of negotiated settlement leaving Germany in control of Europe.
  11. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    You still aren't giving enough credit to Ultra, THAT is what beat the Uboats.

    Couple that with the fact that we did NOT have enough Destroyer escorts, PCs, or subchasers until 1942-43 because, and this is important, priority was given to LANDING CRAFT for the proposed cross channel invasion in 1942 and 1943....and by late 42 a lot of DDs were diverted for Torch...

    You like to argue in a vacuum, PS, I like letting the air in....:p

    First, we were ALREADY at war with Germany in the fall of 1940 in the Atlantic for all intents and purposes, so you CAN'T think of Dec 1941 as the beginning of "our" war.

    Take AWAY any delusions about a cross channel invasion, put Torch away, throw in England's imminent demise, (which WOULD have got us "officially" in the war sooner, if it was ever that close)and we would have had shipyards HUMMING in 40 and 41 churning out the plywood SCs and the steel PCs, Canadian style Corvettes, and the DEs and converting ALL the mothballed 4-stackers, not just the 50 or so we gave to the Royal Navy, along with arming and converting ALL the yachts, fishing boats and small craft all along the coast....the Uboat war with more Uboats would be bloodier and costlier on BOTH sides, but WOULD have turned out the SAME way....
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2007
  12. Ultra had an enormous effect, Polish. There is simply no doubt about that, yet alone it would not have been enough to stop a hundred or more U-boats in the N. Atlantic had the Germans been able to deploy that many. The main use of Ultra was to allow convoys to avoid known concentrations of U-boats. With sufficient numbers, the convoys would have been found, Ultra or no Ultra. And if found, those convoys would have been decimated.
  13. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

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    Doenitz was horrified at the timing for the start of the war. He was supposed to have another 5 years to ready the U-Boat arm, instead he was tasked with isolating Britian's SLOCs with less than fifty boats - most of them short-ranged.

    While the Seven-Cs were excellent handling boats with astonishing capabilities, they didn't have the legs and the tools the job needed. These limited operational capabilities were the seeds for their demise as effective deployment meant strict operational control, which meant a lot of radio traffic.

    The Type-21, even without the intended Walther engine, was a deadly boat with advanced sensor and attack capabilities. Fifty of these boats -even early production types with limited sensor development - could have sealed Britian's fate. Neither Britian nor the U.S. had effective anti-submarine weapons early in the war.

    Thanks to an ingenious bunch of "boffins" ensconsed over Admirality Arch and led by a Canadian, a bevy of highly effective ASW devices and techniques were developed. Perhaps the most famous, the Hedgehog, was used by both navies to good effect. The corvette USS England sank six I-Boats in the PTO with it in one mission ! Another product, the AS spear, essentially a rocket with a cast iron head, was developed, produced, deployed and sank a submarine in less than three months as I recall. The inventor, Nevil Schute, is perhaps better known for his other talents......

    Fortunately for Britian and the U.S. Adolph Hitler was a self-professed "land animal". Considering his role in most of Germany's greatest debacles, he was perhaps our best ally. >MW
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