Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Why were the German capital ships so ineffectual during WWII?

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: October 23, 2010 
Print Friendly
9 comments FONT +  FONT -

Why were the German capital ships so ineffectual during WWII?


9 Responses to “Why were the German capital ships so ineffectual during WWII?”


  1. 1
    Patrick McManus says:

    Because the German Navy was designed for commerce raiding and therefore sortied individualy and were always outnumbered. Plus the narrow exit from German ports allowed the British to keep an eye on them.

  2. 2
    Mike H. says:

    In Addition to Patrick's well-made points, Capitol Ships (Battleships, Cruisers, etc.) were already obsolete by the onset of WWII as the Aircraft Carrier was making it's presence well-known. BTW welcome back to the HistoryNet Daily Qestion. We missed you!

  3. 3
    Bob Simpson says:

    There was no Germany Navy.Only a group of inexperienced sailors. When Hitler took power, he wanted a powerful german fleet and it's building was in the works. Only the first two ships, Bismarck and Tirpitz, were ever finished. Insisting on results, the german navy sent out 1-2 ships at a time. However the commanders of the ships were ordered not to risk their ships at any time. Graf Spee fought three cruisers crippling two of them. Then another cruiser showed up. End game. Bismarck sortied with a heavy cruiser. Sank 10 ships and ended up being sunk because of a lucky hit on its rudder by a 1925 airplane.
    By 1942 Hitler was determined to change to Uboats and the surface fleet was scrapped.
    Another example of the inexperience of the german navy was their operations in Norway. Putting heavy and light cruisers and destroyers in narrow fjords less than 1000 meters away from land based torpedoes and coastal artillery left 50% of the german surface fleet sunk or heavily damaged. Somthing the british would never do.
    On the plus side, the Uboats sank 2500 ships and 500,000 tons of warships. Not too shabby. Never forget the Uboats were part of the german navy.

  4. 4
    Chuck says:

    I don't believe that the commanders of these ships could do any thinking on their own. All had to be cleared through Hitler.

  5. 5
    daniel rugeroni says:

    First of all, the Germans had an experienced navy and sailors. Unluckily the strategical mind of the leaders was oriented towards a land battle, as they were a Central Power. Also der Fuehrer gave Admiral Raeder and the KriegMarine Staff 1944 as the first date of hostilities. The planning was set on this date. Even Adm. Doenitz had pnly a small fraction of the Uboat he needed. I reckon that he had about 25 operational when hostilities broke, and his planning for a major submarine campaign was around 200. The big boys were sent to Norway after the Bismarck was sunk. By the way, Bismarck did not sunk a single merchant ship. His partner/escort Prinz Eugen, did after they separated. Hitler did not understand sea warfare, and did not allowed any major sortie by all the heavy ships, only sending piecemeal. As the KriegsMarine lacked own air cover (carriers) , they had to use

  6. 6
    daniel rugeroni says:

    First of all, the Germans had an experienced navy and sailors. Unluckily the strategical mind of the leaders was oriented towards a land battle, as they were a Central Power. Also der Fuehrer gave Admiral Raeder and the KriegMarine Staff 1944 as the first date of hostilities. The planning was set on this date. Even Adm. Doenitz had pnly a small fraction of the Uboat he needed. I reckon that he had about 25 operational when hostilities broke, and his planning for a major submarine campaign was around 200. The big boys were sent to Norway after the Bismarck was sunk. By the way, Bismarck did not sunk a single merchant ship. His partner/escort Prinz Eugen, did after they separated. Hitler did not understand sea warfare, and did not allowed any major sortie by all the heavy ships, only sending piecemeal. As the KriegsMarine lacked own air cover (carriers) , they had to use Lufwaffe recce sqdrs. with the results known.

  7. 7
    Clyde Howard says:

    I remember reading an article a few years ago, That might be pertainent.
    It seems Krupp big bore cannons had a tendency to blow out their breeches. This made the crews reluctant to fire them. It almost cost Krupp his life,but he was to valuable to the war effort. The kicker is I can't remember if it was WW1 or WW2. Anyone have more information?

  8. 8
    Dr N Webber says:

    Dear Bob.
    Please dont forget it was 14,000,000 tons of shipping sunk by u boats in total.
    Also what 10 ships did the Bismark sink?
    1 Hood
    2 EH
    3 EH
    4EH
    And so on ,in its short life how ten is your figure you tell me?

    • 8.1
      T.L.Rouhier says:

      A photo of the shell that sank the hood shows that it was a plunging projo. The Bismark was to far away to have plunging fire. Hence it was Eugen's shell that sank Hood. This is from a 80's mag that I read back thene.



Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Weider History, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 Weider History. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy