"... a small number of modern and greatly superior German capital ships...."
Posted by George Elder on 1/8/2018, 5:19 am, in reply to "Astonishing..."
German warships had ample warts, and it is hard to claim their ships were greatly superior to extant British ships. They had no naval air power doctrine, let alone suitable ships to carry planes. Their light cruisers were structurally weak and their DDs overly complex and unreliable. The panzerschiffes were fine conceptually, but far too few to easily avoid aggregates of smaller ships or single heavy ships that could see them off or even defeat them. The UK navy was superior to the Germans by magnitudes in most areas, though the German U boats could have been a game changer. As for the French not cooperating... their treaty with the Germans was one that could and should have allayed British concerns about their fleet. And in the end, the French acted exactly as they said they would within the terms of the treaty. Historical hindsight is indeed 20/20, but one can easily maintain many fears felt during a conflict are not the stuff of rationality or reality. War is often a time of ill conceived reactions, which is the nature of the beast. I think attacking the French fleet was very much in the category of things that did not have to be done. We can agree to disagree.
: ...... that here of all places there seems an
: inability to understand the threat the Royal
: Navy faced in 1940.
: The large but mostly WW1-built RN
: battlefleet faced a small number of modern
: and greatly superior German capital ships.
: As the Bismarck action showed, it would
: require a whole fleet of older RN capital
: ships to take out each modern German
: battleship. The RN numbers were just
: sufficient to do that, but only if great
: care were taken. The loss of the Hood was a
: savage reminder how costly any misjudgement
: of relative vulnerability would be when
: sending naval units after the German
: Now the RN faced the possibilty, no matter
: how remote, units of the French Navy could
: be used against them and destroy that
: delicate balance. In that situation no one
: can afford the luxuries of trust or pieces
: of paper. The matter had to be put beyond
: The French refused to co-operate. In my view
: Churchill had no choice. This was a
: War-Losing issue. Most commanders in this
: situation would have done the same.
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