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Author Topic: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]  (Read 50830 times)

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Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Tod im Maschinenzeitalter
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
That -3 crew quality on the Howe. The old guard might be a bit too old, maybe.

You'd think that, but not necessarily.

A mothballed ship (or a ship that hasn't finished her shakedown cruise) enters battle with a -2 crew penalty. But it is, in my experience, impossible for a ship to enter combat with a -3 modifier.

On the other hand, the game applies negative modifiers to ships that get beaten black and blue during a fight, simulating the death of crewmen. Not always, and it depends on the nature of the damage, I think. For instance:



Goeben in Bornholm, 1910. Note the Crew Quality 1 modifier.



Goeben in Bergen, 1917. Note the Crew Quality 0 modifier, after losing two turrets.

The Howe lost every single one of her turrets, to penetrating hits, before sinking. She may have started out with a -1, if she was called out of the reserve fleet, but her crew was brought down to -3 at the end of the fight because, by the end of the fight, she barely had any crew left alive.

Quote
After this slaughter, how many capitals do the brits still have?

Let me check, I didn't screenshot the Almanac until the end of the war, I'll need to go through all the fights and count the dead-

-OK, after this fight, Great Britain has 15 Dreadnoughts and 15 Battlecruisers, to the German 7 Schlachtschiffe and (12-4 mothballed Valkyries=)8 Schlachtkreuzer. In number of hulls (not tonnage), the German Hochseeflotte is litterally half the size of the Grand Fleet.

Of course, we're not counting subs.  :drevil:

Tod im Maschinenzeitalter

"Death in the age of the machine?"  :confused:
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 08:46:37 am by Enioch »
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Offline Spoon

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
While that explaination makes perfect sense, I think it's funnier to imagine a battleship crewed by a bunch of 70-80 year olds, walking with canes, shuffling over the deck to arm the guns.
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Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
"Death in the Machine Age" was the chapter in Neptune's Inferno dealing with the Friday the 13th battle during Guadacanal.
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Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
While that explaination makes perfect sense, I think it's funnier to imagine a battleship crewed by a bunch of 70-80 year olds, walking with canes, shuffling over the deck to arm the guns.



"Dunno 'bout yasself, Danny, but me lumbango is kill'n me on the ammo hoists..."

"Death in the Machine Age" was the chapter in Neptune's Inferno dealing with the Friday the 13th battle during Guadacanal.

Well, now I have to go read that. Thanks SS.
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

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Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
James D. Hornfischer's Neptune's Inferno and Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors are both really good reads dealing with Guadacanal and Samar respectively.
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Offline Enioch

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"He who in his heart purposes to raise a mutiny and thereby breaks loyalty, breaks faith, breaks sacred pledges, he can expect nothing else than that he himself will be the first sacrifice. I have no intention to have the little culprits shot and to spare the great criminals. It is not my duty to inquire whether it was too hard a lot that was inflicted on these conspirators, these agitators and destroyers, these poisoners of the wellsprings of British public opinion and in a wider sense of world opinion: it is not mine to consider which of them suffered too severely: I have only to see to it that Germany's lot should not be intolerable."

-O. Mosley, 10 July 1929.


March comes in and the Admiralität engages their strategic plans for the near future. The ships that were damaged in the battle are shuttled into the massive drydocks of the Baltic German harbours; and the German U-Boote are let loose against the British merchant traffic. Mosley's Brits have insituted a long-range blockade, taking advantage of the temporary unavailability of the German battle-line; but Germany has sufficient provisions to see her through at least six months of such a blockade. By the time their stockpiles run dry, the Germans are confident they will have caused a dent to the Grand Fleet sufficient to break the net.









Meanwhile, the Germans have their own ways to wring the Brits dry. The U-167 and U-229 probe the Commonwealth coastal defenses near the Isles and near New Zealand, respectively; they both manage to isolate and sink (with gunfire, no less!) British coastal patrol craft.

Their reports on British convoys and ship movements help the rest of the German boats organise their own offensives. By the time the U-bootkommando has finished assigning them their hunting grounds, mid-March has come and gone; however, the German submariners still score 17 confirmed kills within fifteen days. That's nearly 150ktons in merchant tonnage. Their own casualties are relatively severe, however, with more than seven boats lost. Maintenance problems are brought to the fore and doctrine shifts, to better match British ASW tactics.



In return, the Brits enjoy very limited success. German merchant traffic is nigh-nonexistant, due to the blockade; the British only score three kills, and lose two of their subs in the process.



To add insult to injury, the Americans begin jockeying in preparation of an invasion of Canada. It would be folly attempting it before at least April, but the USN begins to test the waters of the Canadian west coast, to the south-east of Alaska. In one of these forays, the heavy cruiser USS St Louis engages the RCN Comus and sinks her after a 45-minute gunnery duel.





April; and the U-Bootkommando now has the measure of the British. Unrestricted undersea warfare is ordered; the German subs now have carte blanche to engage any legal targets without warning. Only three boats are lost this month, and all to clear mistakes by their skippers; in return, the German submariners claim a minesweeper and 35 merchantmen.



Thirty Five. More than a quarter-million tons of shipping. The blow to the British merchant marine is staggering. Not since the Andglo-German war, a generation ago, did the German Kaleuns feast in such a fashion.

The British response is anemic by comparison.



The Lützow is torpedoed on patrol, by an opportunistic British sub. Damage to the old Wittelsbach-class is extensive, but the Admiralität accepts it gracefully. It was a good effort by the Brit; and the ship was an obsolete third-rate ship of the line, anyway.



Once again, the British subs only claim three kills, and pay for them dearly.



And then, this happens.

The Admiralität considers the old Molkte to be relatively exposed in her permanent moorings in Emden harbour. The old Valkyrie, in her retirement, is a symbol of victory; and if she should be lost to a raid, the blow to morale would be significant. It is decided to sail her to the Baltic and moor her in Danzig: her old engines are deemed to be up to the task.

Unfortunately, during her dash to the safe waters of the Baltic, on the night of the 23rd of April, she strikes a drifting mine. Her old bulkheads hold, barely; and her skeleton crew manages to reach Danzig. Dockyard crews deem her mauled; as a gesture of respect to her seniority, she is immediately given space in a drydock, and repair  crews desacend on her with steel and welding torches.



By the end of the month, the Brits are starving...



...but, perhaps more importantly, the German capitals have completed their repairs. Scheer instructs Hipper to assemble a task force and seek out an engagement with part of the Grand Fleet.

The Jagdhund is all too happy to oblige. In the morning of the 14th of April, the two fleets are to meet again, off the Dutch island of Texel.





Hipper has brought his darlings back, fresh out of the yards. The German battlefleet consists of two divisions: the Wörth, Hannover, Schwaben and Wettin in one, and the Elsass and Brandenburg in the other. They are escorted by twelve (!) heavy Zerstörer, in what is probably (and ironically) the heaviest light ship screen ever assigned to a capital ship formation.



Michaelis is scouting ahead, with a heavy Schlachtkreuzer force. The Zähringen triplets form one division; the older Hindenburg guards their flank, more as a support vessel than a battle-line combatant. Five V9s are screening.



The German battlefleet has orders to either poke the Channel defenses or, if challenged, to engage and destroy any element of the British Grand Fleet that comes out to meet them. Submarines are patrolling the British shoreline, keeping an eye for British forces. However, they will fail in their task. Somehow, masked by the early dawning light and homing in on the lax radio discipline of the Zähringens, the British task force led by Vice-Admiral Orwell manages to creep up to the German fleet unannounced.



At 04:31 in the morning, the Zerstörer screen of the Zähringens picks up the smoke of the inbound British ships, less than 10k yards away from their wards. Michaelis immediately orders 'rudder hard to port', and brings his ships around. He has no idea what he's facing and, until he does, he wants to keep the enemy at mid- to long-range.



His flagship, the Graf Spee opens fire first, and scores two hits on what his lookouts tentatively identify as a light cruiser.



The enemy ship immediately reverses course and disappears in the twilight gloom; another target opens fire at the Zähringen from further to the south. A shell hits the Schlachtkreuzer but bounces off her belt.



It takes the lookouts some time to identify her, but they eventually succeed. She's a Carysfort-class: a light destroyer-hunter and fleet scout. She has no business operating alone. Michaelis contacts Hipper: SIGHTED ENEMY SCOUTING ELEMENTS. ENGAGING AT LONG RANGE. COURSE 170.



His estimate proves correct when the dark shapes of British capitals emerge from the western horizon. They are already within range of the old Zähringen 12-inchers - which means that Michaelis' force is already within their range. The German ships do not hesitate; they immediately switch fire to the enemy behemoths.



And score their first hits! At this range, the 12-inch shells are plunging onto the British turret tops and decks; the Zähringen and the Mackensen straddle their targets with their first salvos to good effect.



Return fire is sporadic and inaccurate. Once more, the German insistance on well-trained, professional gunnery crews proves superior to the British reservist forces. Within the space of 2 minutes, Michaelis' Schlachtkreuzer score twelve 12-inch hits on their opponents; the British only score one hit, that ricochets off the Graf's main belt.



And then, disaster almost strikes for Michaelis. A second heavy British shell misses the Graf by mere meters and detonates underwater, just aft of her. The blast locks the flagship's rudder, on a tight turn to starboard, and the Graf leaves the formation, circling helplessly. The maneuver is sufficient to throw off British aim, but for how long?



Three minutes. That's how long it takes for the Graf's veteran damcon crews to repair the rudder. It's been a harrowing three minutes, during which the Graf has found herself the sole focus of the enemy force;  but these three minutes have also allowed her to identify her foes.



It's a battlecruiser scouting force, all right. From within the cluster of wildly maneuvering enemy ships, the Graf's lookout make out the now-familiar cross-deck-firing silhouette of an Australia-class battlecruiser; and, just in front of her, they also identify an Argonaut-class ship.

The Argonauts are budget versions of the Spartiates. Their deck is slightly thinner, but their batteries are equally powerful, and their speed is unmatched - no German capital could hope to catch up to them.





And this captain (Commodore Sir Leslie Connely, it was later determined) knows how to use his ship. Instead of closing in, to brave the Zähringen shotguns at point-blank range, he dances in and out of maximum spotting distance, making the most out of his heavy shells and utilising his speed advantage to the maximum.

Worst of all, he knows how to shoot. One of his 16-inch shells hits the Graf amidships, penetrating her thin deck and nailing the boiler feed tanks. The German flagship's deck and belt are compromised; and salt water floods the engineering spaces. It's a critical hit, that shaves off nearly half the speed of the German Schlachtkreuzer. Her insides burn with flaming oil and steam. She breaks away and steams east, barely making fifteen knots. Command passes to Kapitän zur See Franz Horst, of the Mackensen.



With the Graf falling behind, Horst decides to do a scouting push. He will brave the British fire once again, trusting in his ships' durability to get them through; he will identify targets and determine the enemy's force composition; and then he will fall back, behind Hipper's Schlachtschiffe, that are already charging in.

He executes his plan.



He does not emerge unscathed. His ships are focused by British gunnery; and Hindenburg pays for it with one of her turrets. But he manages to idenfity at least eight enemy capitals, both dreadnoughts and battlecruisers. A signal is sent to Hipper: ENEMY MAIN FORCE DETECTED. CURRENTLY FORMING BATTLE-LINE TO MY SOUTH-WEST. SEVEN+ CAPITALS. ADVISE.



Hipper's response is immediate. As the main Schlachtschiffdivision passes by Horst, closing with the enemy, he signals: FORM UP ON MY WAKE. ENGAGE TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY.

Then, a message to his own division: SCHLACHTSCHIFFE RAN AN DEN FEIND.





And what a Feind it is.

The Brits have brought everything but the kitchen sink. German lookouts on the Wörth identify: a Royal Sovereign-class, two Europas, three (!) Camperdowns, a Rodney, a Revenge, two Albions and a Goliath. The weight of fire the Brits have brought to bear is beyond everything they have amassed in previous clashes.



One of the Albions has overextended, pushing just far ahead of the British formation that she has made herself a target. She takes concentrated fire, losing two of her turrets...



...but then the two fleet formations engage in a mid-range brawl and all semblance of order falls apart.



The German Schlachtschiff division gets mauled, in short order. The Hannover and Schwaben are pummelled by several shells over a period of ten minutes; but it is Wörth that takes the brunt of the fire. The volume of incoming fire from the Brits jams turrets, penetrates fore compartments and smashes her superstructure to bits.





But the Germans strike back, with accurate fire. Gouts of fire explode from the British line, wherever German shells penetrate turrets and secondary batteries. The German gunners particularly focus on the Europas, knocking out several turrets.



At this point, the Germans have to run. The British have proven to be uncharacteristically capable opponents, having battered the Wörth's superstructure to pieces. Hipper is not eager to pursue a battle against such overwhelming numbers and potentially lose one of his modern capitals; he pulls out, seeking refuge in German home waters.



The Admiralität is quick to claim the battle of Texel as a German victory, given the eventual loss of the Albion-class HMS Glory and the old light cruiser HMS Tribune. However, archive research has led current scholarship to revising that estimate. As first posited by Ian McDonough in his recent (2013) work Politics and Strategic Thought: The Royal Navy during Mosley's Folly, this was, in fact, the first strategic victory of the Royal Navy in the 1929 war. On the other hand, the aftermath of this battle would have disastrous consequences for the British Fleet and Britain's odds of success in the war.

Let us go into a bit more detail:

Currently, the German Admiralität is run by two metaphorical colossi, whose feet seem surprisingly fragile:



First, Grossadmiral Reinhardt Scheer. At the age of 66, he has been groomed to be Galster's successor. Sadly, his health is failing. His body is giving out on him, and the added stress of managing a wartime navy is not helping. Thankfully, his mind is still sharp and up to the task of handling the strategic oversight of Germany's Hochseeflotte



Second, Admiral Franz von Hipper. He is younger than his superior, but his own health is problematic. He is a cripple, having lost his left eye, left hand and left leg below the knee in an earlier surface action, when the conning tower of his flagship was penetrated by enemy fire; and his wartime wounds are a constant near-torture to him. But he is, hands down, the best tactical officer the German navy has.

The problem with these two officers is that they still operate with the mindset of the Schlachtkreuzer commanders of old. They are looking for opportunistic fights, against enemy forces equal or lesser to them in numbers - fights that they can win thanks to their ships' inherent qualitative superiority. But Germany's fleet is becoming increasingly focused around her Schlachtschiffe: a force that the British ships can engage at will, given the Germans' insistence on a 25 knot speed for their behemoths. However, given past experiences, the Germans are not expecting the entirety of the Grand Fleet to come down their throats - they have never experienced a battle such as this. For them, it is an out-of-context problem.

The German Schlachtschiffe have been designed to stand up to the fire of one or 1.5 enemy dreadnoughts each, based on the experiences of the German Schlachtkreuzer in previous wars. But what happens if your opponent realises that the tenets of the previous wars no longer apply?

Enter the genius of Admiral Hubert Brand, Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet.



Brand was an officer of the Old School, a veteran of the Anglo-German war, and a man with little patience for Mosley's policies. He had foreseen the war and had taken the necessary measures to counter what he thought was the core of the German fleet.

He had served as a Naval Secretary, during the rise of Mosley and his calls for a strengthening of the British coastal patrol fleet had fallen to deaf ears. He had been, eventually, side-moted into his command of the Antlantic Fleet, to keep him out of the Naval Bureau's politics. In response, he had proceeded to reorganise the old ships of his command into a massed fighting force, abandoning several patrol areas considered 'key' to gather a sufficiently large fleet-in-readiness.

"We have no response to the German submarines," he writes in an internal service memo. "We have done our utter worst, to ensure that. It is now too late to even try. No last-minute half-measures will save us. We must seek victory elsewhere."

His answer to the problem? Destroy the other effective half of the German fleet: her capital forces. Push hard into German waters with a task force large enough to overwhelm the few super-ships that the Germans can bring to bear.

This is what leads to the Battle of Texel. It is Brand himself, from the conning tower of HMS Goliath who guides his forces against Hipper.



Against the six Schlachtschiffe and the four elderly Schlachtkreuzer of Hipper, Brand arrays thirteen dreadnoughts and three modern battlecruisers. And, despite the loss of the Glory and the Tribune (both relic ships), Brand succeds in achieving something that no British admiral of the 20th century has ever accomplished.

He sends Hipper running.



Unfortunately for Brand, being successful as an outspoken (past and current) critic of the regime was not conducive to one's good health in Mosley's Britain.


« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 07:13:33 am by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

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Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
ALIVE.

BUSY.

Hello everybody.
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Yay! New stuffs.

Is Brand the Belisarius of Olde Albion?
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
ALIVE.

BUSY.

Hello everybody.

Hi

Man, the brits brought a lot of boats to that fight. That would usually be the point where I'd tell my destroyers to Sasageyo and get those torpedoes into the enemy battleships, at any cost. But Admiral Enioch is a more gentle ruler, who seems to care about his little Zerstörer's.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
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Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Yay! New stuffs.

Is Brand the Belisarius of Olde Albion?

 :yes:

ALIVE.

BUSY.

Hello everybody.

Hi

Man, the brits brought a lot of boats to that fight. That would usually be the point where I'd tell my destroyers to Sasageyo and get those torpedoes into the enemy battleships, at any cost. But Admiral Enioch is a more gentle ruler, who seems to care about his little Zerstörer's.

Why would I waste the lives of underage boats, I don't even....

I just built them. Let them gather a few battle-stars before being told to charge down the enemy battle-line. Hell, the more experience their crews earn, the more accurate their torps will be.

Also, how can you send these darlings to their deaths,you monster!?



'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Death Rides are the sole province of the Schlachtkreuzer.  :p
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Offline Spoon

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I don't consider it a waste if they bring down a few capitalships down with them, then the war is won right there and then, blockade broken, and you can start thinking about invading those delicious colonies  ;7
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
I don't consider it a waste if they bring down a few capitalships down with them, then the war is won right there and then, blockade broken, and you can start thinking about invading those delicious colonies  ;7

You know, it's funny you should say that...  :drevil:
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Unapologetic double post: Table of Contents and Thradmarks updated
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Spoon

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Unapologetic double post: Table of Contents and Thradmarks updated
Reported, called the ΕΛ.ΑΣ. You're not going to get away with double posting like that.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Enioch

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It's a good think I'm currently in Brussels, then :-P
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So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Spoon

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It's a good think I'm currently in Brussels, then :-P
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Enioch

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Sir Hubert Brand's genius in matters of naval stratey - his ability and willingness to discard failing tactics and pursue the overall strategic victory - is unquestioned among all but the most biased modern historians. In comparison, the German Admiralität would respond with a much more conservative approach. Had Brand been free to wage war as he saw fit, the 1929 war might have had a different outcome.

However, two factors contributed to rein in the execution of Brand's plan. First was the failings of his own political leadership. It is not without reason that the 1929 war is known colloquially as 'Mosley's Folly'. Oswald Mosley's unwillingness to suffer the activities of successful subordinates, especially if, like Brand, they were outspoken critics of the Mosley regime, would inevitably lead to the July purges, of which Brand was a victim.

Another factor that would seriously impact the operations of the Grand Fleet as envisioned by Brand was the opening of the Far Eastern Front by the German Empire and the impressive flexibility displayed by the German
Heeresleitung. The Singapore campaign drew important Grand Fleet assets away from the European theatre; as a result, the overwhelming task forces that Brand had tried to assemble were disbanded before the inevitable rematch with the Hochseeflotte.

And then, of course, came the Night of the Long Knives.

-August St-Laurain, A modern history of Singapore, Singapore 2013.



On the morning of the 10th of April, 1929, two massive, skulking shadows enter the German harbour in Truk, their speed low and their lights blacked out. In the previous weeks, they have navigated the safe waters of the Mediterranean; crossed the German-held Suez, snuck past the British-infested waters of the Indian ocean, tip-toed their way past the garrisons at Hong Kong. They are the venerable Schlachtkreuzer Wittelsbach and Derfflinger. They are escorted by a squadron of sleek, predatory Zerstörer and they are on a mission.

They are manoeuvered into their waiting berths, and dockyard hands swarm them for the maintenance that is necessary, after their perilous journey. Their own crews crowd the decks, staring at the awe-inspiring sight of the German colonial base on a war footing.

The Truk harbour is awash with landing craft, patrol boats, coalers and tankers. The organised chaos is very much like an anthill - a hive of activity and purpose. Operation Blücher is in effect; T-Tag minus eight and counting.

The secret arrival of the two German Schlachtkreuzer has completely upset the balance of power in the Far East. Obsolescent as they are, the two German capitals are still leagues above anything the British can field in the theatre. They are more than enough to pin the British cruiser forces into their harbours; their guns, with their refitted high-elevation mounts, are formidable shore bombardment batteries; and they can all but guarantee the safety of the German landing craft for what is to be a concentrated, joint push, alongside the American forces in the Philippines, against the two greatest British colonial jewels in the region:



Singapore...



...and Hong Kong.

The Operation Blücher plans are the brainchild of the German Oberste Heeresleitung (specifically generals Friedrich von Arnstadt and Ludwig Bärmann), in collaboration with the US Pacific Command (specifically Admirals Ernest King and three-star General Francis Davies). The purpose of the operation is to take advantage of the concentration of British power in the Atlantic, to open up a new front in a comparatively lightly-defended theatre.



The operation is put in motion on the morning of the 18th of April. British garrisons are hit by a two-and-a-half-hour barrage of 12-inch fire from the German capitals, backed by the smaller 6-inchers of the near-suicidal Zerstörer, who close to point-blank range against British coastal fortifications.



After that, German troops land on Singapore, ferried over by a fleet of towed and self-propelled invasion barges. Fighting is fierce, and casualties are heavy on both sides, especially after the large 15-inch guns of the British coastal fortifications come into play, pounding German positions with HE bombardments. The Germans manage to establish beachheads deep into British-held territory, but their advance is eventually halted by the local garrison.





On the sea, the Germans enjoy a more successful month. The U-Boote are as effective as ever, scoring more than thirty confirmed kills on Brit merchantmen.







The British submarine fleet only sinks three German freighters, losing two subs in the attempt. As a result, wartime rationing is now heavily felt across the British population. The spectre of wartime famine once more looms over Britain.



Meanwhile, Italy sorties her fleet in the Red Sea, hitting British positions in eastern Africa. No major assaults take place, but it's one more front that the British will need to find a response to.



Then, on the 28th of May, German Naval Intelligence reports the sighting of a British supply convoy approaching Singapore. It is escorted by a single light cruiser and two destroyers, and is ferrying valuable ammunition, medicinal supplies, and foodstuffs for the British garrison.



Upon receiving word of this, the German commander on-station, Vize-Admiral Viktor Märzhof dispatches his 2nd Zerstörerdivision to intercept. This force consists of only three V9-class Zerstörer: the V24, the V26 and the V28.



The German ships time their interception well, hitting the convoy shortly after dawn, around 6:30 in the morning. They approach from the east, hidden in the glare of the rising sun, and they identify the British light cruiser long before she spots them. She's an Intrepid-class: a capable little cruiser, with a six-gun broadside.

Sadly for her, each of the German ships is her equal - in firepower, if not armour.



The V24 locks onto her, and engages in a high-speed duel, using her torpedoes as a threat-in-being to drive her away from the convoy she is supposed to protect. V26 challenges the two British destroyers in a short-range gun brawl, using her superior displacement and her large six-inchers to blow the lighter British ships out of the water. And the V28 wades into the convoy, her guns and torpedoes spelling out fire and death for the defenseless freighters.



Less than three hours after first contact, the Intrepid has been driven away, both British destroyers are smoking wrecks, and of the convoy only one medical ship has been allowed to reach Singapore.



The German Zerstörer have suffered greatly as well, but they are unquestionably victorious. It is this "Battle off Singapore" that firmly establishes the complete superiority of the V9-class ships over any and all destroyers in operation with foreign navies, as well as against the lighter variants of escort and scout cruisers.





As the fighting continues in Singapore, von Arnstadt requests heavier navy support. The Admiralität is all too happy to oblige: large ammunition convoys depart the Mediterranean, under Italian and German escort, to enable more extensive naval bombardment of British-held positions. Germany will not spare resources, if she can thus maintain the lives of her soldiers and take those of her enemies.





June is both a bad and a good month for the U-Bootkommando. On the one hand, the U-227 torpedoes and heavily damages the HMS Empress of India, sending her to the drydocks for forty days.



In addition, the U-183 sinks the HMS Suntrap, putting further strain on Britain's coastal patrol fleet.



And the month's freighter haul is as rich as ever.



However, the U-151 misidentifies the Japanese liner Hie Maru for a British troopship off Formosa, with predictable results. The civilian death toll is ruinous, and the Japanese strongly protest the sinking. The Germans have no excuse; the commander of U-151 was clearly at fault.



This is scant comfort for the British. Five months into this war, the U-Boot blocakde is as terrible as ever, and British stockpiles are running out. The German stockpiles, on the other hand, are holding strong, despite the blockade; the fact that the Suez remains uncontested is a massive asset for the Reich.



The Regia Marina remains a valuable supporting ally, keeping the British forces pinned in Eritrea and blockading Malta and Cyprus.





Meanwhile, the US Navy follows their first army forays into Canada with coastal probing runs. In one of these engagements with the RCN, a scouting US destroyer division crests the LaHave islands only to find themselves within two thousand yards of the HMS Camperdown. The British dreadnought opens fire first, blowing the USS Chauncey out of the water with her 'shotgun' broadside of 15-inchers, but the Chauncey's packmate, USS Hoel, proceeds to drill four torpedoes into the Camperdown's belt. Two are duds; the other two are enough to cause uncontrolled flooding in the dreadnought's engineering spaces. She goes down with no loss of life, on the 10th of June.



This is enough for Admiral Brand and those Old Guard Brits who have a grasp of the situation. For them, the war, this Folly of Mosley's, is already lost. Brand is willing to try one more big hurrah against the German Hochseeflotte, but he asks his political contacts to approach Stresemann secretly and probe for a possible peace. What he will try to provide, is a stronger negotiating position, by perhaps taking as big a bite as possible out of the German Fleet - the negotiators will need to get an honourable peace treaty out of this fiasco, and see if they can bump off Mosley on the way. Brand himself begins his preparations for what he calls 'Operation Elephant' in mid-June: a final massed push against the German Hochseeflotte.



Stresemann is well-aware that this is an excellent opportunity for peace, despite the hawkish advice of Hipper, who pushes for a harsh stance.

Sadly, Brand's plan does not pan out.



News of the planned coup reach Mosley. His response is swift and brutal. Twenty-four conspirators and many more members of their families are killed in a single night, with no due process and no official arrest. Brand, his wife and his seven-year-old daughter are amongst them.


« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 07:17:39 am by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Singapore is a fine city. Very German, really.

Things are less hectic, now. I still have lots of work to do, but things are winding down.
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)