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  #41  
Old 16th January 2014, 10:46
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Rainer Rainer is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Tony, listened to whom? Do you mean Fürbringer? He had nothing to do with U-boat development and as I wrote earlier the idea for the Elektroboote didn't exist until January 1943. The only decision the SKL made in 1940 was to continue to built the conventional submersibles and not divert too much resources to the experimental boats designed by Walter - a correct one in view of an expected short war and the justified reservations about the practical useage of the Walter propulsion.

It is true that Allied incompetence was the reason why the conventional boats lasted longer than expected, but the lack of support of the RAF in maritime matters was only one of the factors. The U-boats had already practically lost the convoy battles in late 1941, but then the US entered the war and their ignorance presented the U-boats a lot of easy targets off the US East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean for the first half of 1942. The introduction of the M4 enigma in February 1942 left Bletchley Park blind for the rest of the year and this led to some renewed successes against North Atlantic convoys in late 1942, but even then the most of the sinkings happened in distant and less defended areas like off South Africa. This is why I wrote that more available VLR aircraft over the North Atlantic in 1942 would not have made much difference, the most successes were achieved elsewhere.

Dönitz explicit mentions the use of radar, long-range aircraft AND escort carriers as main reasons for the crisis in May 1943 after the failed convoy battles against HX-238 (escorted by HMS Fencer), SC-130 (strong VLR presence), ON-184 (escorted by USS Bogue) and HX-239 (escorted by HMS Archer).

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It is rather too easy to blame bombing when Doenitz turned U-boat manufacturing upside down in 1943, and surely it is not surprising that in the end he got next to nothing as a result.
According to the K-Amt, a conventional building program for the type XXI would have completed the first U-boat not earlier than November 1944 and these were expected to reach operational status in late 1945 or early 1946. Dönitz knew that he could not wait so long and made the right decision to switch the manufacturing method that managed to built 120 type XXI U-boats before the war ended - keep in mind that the production figure would have been at least a third higher without the Allied bombing. The conventional building program would have completed no more than 30 type XXI U-boats until May 1945 if everything went as planned...
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  #42  
Old 16th January 2014, 13:03
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

To emphasize Rainer's point for 1942

  #43  
Old 21st January 2014, 23:22
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

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Originally Posted by RodM View Post

I have no pretence in understanding how these quoted reports affected production of the Elektroboote, and due to my limited knowledge on the subject of Elektroboote production have only included info on the prime shipbuilders and not sub-contracted component manufacturers. Compilations of similar sourced and translated German reports for bombing in the years 1943 and 1944 are available as AHB translations from TNA, Kew. These translations are limited to major raids only (i.e. were the number of participating aircraft and/or bomb load carried was significant enough for inclusion in the compilations).

regards

Rod
Rod, The USSBS Report No. 92 on the German Submarine Industry provides the answer to your question. The bombing raids you list completely shut down Type XXI production by April 1945, but the Speer/Merker system had failed already by June 1944.

USSBS No. 92 German Submarine Industry Report.


16. The first raid against the submarine industry was carried out by the RAF on 18 May 1940 with an attack on Hamburg. When the US 8th AF began operations on 17 August, 1942, submarine facilities of all types were rated as top priority. Early attacks were made chiefly against operational bases, but in January 1943 the emphasis was shifted to shipbuilding yards, as experience indicated that attacks on the former targets were not achieving the desired end. As a result of the Allied victory at sea in the battle of the Atlantic in mid-1943, submarine activities were reduced in attack priority and did not again become a primary target until November 1944, when an effort was made to disrupt the Type XXI construction program.


17. Great destruction of the facilities of the submarine producing yards took place during the last three months of the war, as a result of both RAF and 8th AF attacks. Blohm and Voss and Howaldswerke at Hamburg ceased operations after the raid of 8 April 1945. Deutsche Werke and Kripp Germaniawerft at Kiel closed down as a result of the raid of April 9, 1945. Deschimag at Bremen maintained only a token activity after the raid of 11 March 1945. Thus production in the industry practically ceased.


18. The cumulative effects of attacks on steel, transportation in general, and the canal and waterway system in particular, became so serious that it now appears that production after April 1945 would have been seriously reduced, if not entirely stopped, by these factors alone, and quite apart from the effects of yard attacks.


19. The studies of submarine production indicated that attacks upon submarines on the building slipways caused relatively more damage than those upon machine shops and component plants.


20. Bombing destroyed 18 Type XXI boats at Deschimag and 11 at Blohm and Voss. This amounted to 2.6% of the submarines constructed from September 1939 to March 1945. A review of conditions that existed throughout the the Type XXI program revealed that bombing in late 1944 and 1945 in general so disturbed the intended production scheme that finally it fell short of its goal. Of the 119 boats (Type XXI - Tony) delivered to the naval authorities in June 1944 only one was used operationally. This amazing fact must be attributed to the gamble which the Speer Ministry consciously took in the large-scale production of submarines of new and untried design, and the use of revolutionary methods of construction, which were a failure.


21. Bombing attacks directed at the submarine industry before 1945 failed to obtain results comparable with the efforts made. The bombing of the transportation system and steel industry in the last part of 1944 and the first part of 1945 impaired the production of submarines as well as the production of other munitions. There was naturally a time lag between the the attacks on transportation and steel and the actual decline in submarine production. The attack on submarine production in the last days of the war was sufficiently heavy to reduce output, even if indirect effects had not reduced production.

Tony
  #44  
Old 21st January 2014, 23:48
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

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Originally Posted by Rainer View Post

According to the K-Amt, a conventional building program for the type XXI would have completed the first U-boat not earlier than November 1944 and these were expected to reach operational status in late 1945 or early 1946. Dönitz knew that he could not wait so long and made the right decision to switch the manufacturing method that managed to built 120 type XXI U-boats before the war ended - keep in mind that the production figure would have been at least a third higher without the Allied bombing. The conventional building program would have completed no more than 30 type XXI U-boats until May 1945 if everything went as planned...
Rainer. I cannot question your conclusion, but I would point out that it differs markedly from the source I was using, which was Peter Lienau: http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-050.htm

Lienau states that OKM removed their business from the K-Amt because their projected production rate of 20/month was too low, and not because 20/month was too late, which is the reason you give. Doenitz's decision to go for large numbers required a revolutionary production method that failed. None of the 119 Type XXIs produced in June 1944 put to sea operationally (except for one) - see the quotation from the USSBS Report Number 92 quoted in my reply to Rod.

Lienau also states that the proposal to design the Type XXI was made in 1941, but not acted on until 1943, presumably because of complacency. I think you deny this, and I do not say you are wrong, but only that you and my source, Lienau, differ and I cannot judge which of you is right. In fact you seem to agree with this by writing that "The U-boats had already practically lost the convoy battles in late 1941", and yet Doenitz did not see the danger signal.

Tony
  #45  
Old 23rd January 2014, 06:29
SimonE SimonE is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

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Originally Posted by tcolvin View Post
Thanks all. The usual prickly responses galvanised me to get the answer, which seems to be as summarised below in seven points. I look forward to having holes picked in it, but please be specific and leave out unhelpful words like 'rubbish'. However, I cannot respond for the next eight days as I shall be hors de combat in the Perche district Normandy.

1. According to Air Marshal John Slessor, when he became AOC Coastal Command on February 5, 1943, a maximum of 100 B24 Liberators were needed to close the Air Gap - source Edward Offley: 'Turning the Tide'; page 47.

2. But although by this time 3,500 B24s had been built, Slessor could not get his required number released even though the Casablanca Directive of January 1943 gave absolute top priority to victory over the U-boats. Harris would not make available his B24s, and Churchill supported Harris whilst also signing the Casablanca Directive. As Americans say - Go figure.
Apologies for coming to the party a little late, but the figure of 3,500 B-24s built by "early 1943" in 'Turning the Tide' (p. 48) can't possibly be correct.

The USAAF Statistical Digest gives a grand total of 3,349 heavy bombers, that is, B-17s and B-24s, delivered by the end of January 1943.

According to Lilley, et al in 'Problems of Accelerating Aircraft Production During World War II', B-24 production had reached only 1340 aircraft by the end of 1942. B-17 production had reached 1609 by the same point.
  #46  
Old 23rd January 2014, 10:06
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Tony,

in February 1943, what Liberators was Harris not making available?

Cheers

Rod
  #47  
Old 23rd January 2014, 10:07
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Thank you, Simon. You must be right. Tony
  #48  
Old 23rd January 2014, 14:47
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Rainer Rainer is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Tony, the developement of the type XXI is explained in detail in a book written by the renowned author Eberhard Rössler but as far as I know it was only published in German. I don't know which sources Lienau used for his article, but it is simply not possible that the idea for the type XXI existed in 1941 because it was based on the type XVIII which was designed by Walter in mid 1942.

The projected production by the K-Amt calculated with 18 months to built a type XXI while Speer/Merker promised to shorten that time to 6 months. So guess what was more important for Dönitz after the submersibles were defeated in May 1943 - to get the new design operational as fast as possible or to get as many as possible?

Is the last sentence under point 20 in your post about the USSBS report from you or is that stated in the report itself? Because it is misleading... the first type XXI was commissioned in June 1944 and 119 were delivered until March/April 1945 when the production practically ceased due to air attacks mentioned under point 17 of the USSBS report. To call the Speer/Merker method a failure does not take in account that the conventional U-boat building method would have produced less than 20 type XXI U-boats until March/April 1945.

The first type XXI became operational in April 1945 about 11 months after the first U-boat of this type was delivered to the Kriegsmarine. There were different reasons for this, a logical one is that every new design has teething troubles. A major one was that the training of a type XXI crew took twice as long as the training of a type VII crew (6 to 7 months compared to 3 to 4 months) due to the many new technolgies introduced with the type XXI and the complexity compared to the type VII. Another problem was that the training area in the Baltic Sea was heavily mined by the Bomber Command and eventually lost when the Red Army reached East Prussia in January 1945.

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In fact you seem to agree with this by writing that "The U-boats had already practically lost the convoy battles in late 1941", and yet Doenitz did not see the danger signal.
Dönitz was well aware of the problems after the desastrous battle against convoy HG-76 in December 1941. This convoy was escorted by HMS Audacity, one of the first escort carriers and its aircraft showed how the the wolfpack tactics employed by the submersibles could be beaten. Thats why he held a meeting with Walter in January 1942 to plan the construction of the first operational U-boats with Walter propulsion - the types XVIIA & XVIIB.
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  #49  
Old 23rd January 2014, 15:46
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

guys, this thread seems to have gone in a totally different direction with U-boat stats, ideas, etc., instead of B-24s.

Do you want me to cut these posts and create a new thread in WWII?
  #50  
Old 23rd January 2014, 18:07
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

You can shut her down as far as I'm concerned, John. I got the information and views that only this site provides, and am well satisfied.
Tony
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