<more to follow>
Comparative Naval Strength Sep 16/17
-99% of the naval info on DDs and TBs courtesy of Doveton Sturdee
RN DESTROYER DISPOSITIONS, 16/17 SEPTEMBER, 1940.
On 16 September, 1940, the Admiralty had operational control of 182 destroyers. Of these, 5 were Royal Australian Navy vessels, 7 Royal Canadian vessels, 8 were Free French, and 3 were Polish.
These vessels were disposed as follows:-
East Indies : 3
China Station: 5
Mediterranean Fleet: 22 ( including 5 RAN)
Freetown: 11 ( for Operation ‘Menace’)
Portsmouth/Southampton: 20 (including 5 French)
Plymouth: 12 (including 3 French & 3 Polish)
The Humber: 7
Scapa Flow: 7
Firth of Clyde: 8
Royal Canadian Navy: 7 ( 2 at Rosyth, 2 at Halifax, & 3 in the Firth of Clyde)
Convoy Escort Duty: 8
Repairs & Refits: 17
Thus, there were 49 boats on overseas stations, 29 either on convoy escort duty or operating out of convoy escort ports ( including the RCN vessels ), 23 operating with the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow and Rosyth, and 17 repairing or refitting.
- not counting MTB, armed MS, SS
This leaves 64 destroyer available for anti-invasion duties not counting convoy escorts or transfers from the Home Fleet.
In addition Geoff Hewitt notes there were 8 light cruisers spread between the Nore Command and Western Approach Command.
DD/DE = 64
DD/DE (Western Approaches and Home Fleet) = 30
CL = 8
Kriegsmarine Naval Dispositions, Mid-September, 1940.
DF5: Karl Galster, Friedrich Eckholdt, Friedrich Ihn. - Cherbourg.
Erich Steinbrinck – refitting in Wilhelmshaven, sailed for Brest on 22/3.09.40.
Richard Beitzen – refitting in Wilhelmshaven, sailed for Brest on 22.10.40.
DF6: Hans Lody, Theodor Riedel. – Cherbourg.
Paul Jacobi – transferred from Wilhelmshaven to Brest on 22/3.09.40.
Hermann Schoemann – refitting in Wilhelmshaven until 15.10.40.
Bruno Heinemann – refitting in Wesermunde until 4.10.40.
- with a bit of a push to get the 2 DDs in Germany to Belgian ports for the 25th the Germans have 7 available DD
Wolf/Mowe Class pre-war Torpedo Boats
TBF 5: Falke, Kondor, Grief. – Den Helder.
Mowe – Laid up until Spring 1941, following major hull damage,
TBF 6: Seeadler – Cherbourg.
Wolf – Le Havre.
Jaguar, Iltis. – Den Helder.
- 7 W or M Class Torpedo Boats
T Class Torpedo Boats:
TBF1: T1, T2, T3 – Den Helder ( T3 sunk, 19.09.40.)
T4 – Working up ( 1st operation 6/7.11. 1940.)
T9 – Working up ( 1st operation 6/7. 11.1940.)
T10 - Working up ( Commissioned 05.08.40.)
TBF 2: T5, T6, T7, T8, T11 – Cherbourg. ( T11 serious bomb damage on 18.09.40.)
T12 – Working up – (Commissioned 03.07.40., 1st operation 03.11.40.)
- 6 T Class torpedo boats
SCHNELLBOOTE, Early September, 1940.
The following is a list of every S-Boat built between 1930 and the end of August, 1940, together with status in mid-September, 1940:-
S1 Sold to Spain in 1936
S2 – S5 Sold to Spain in 1936
S7 ‘Unavailable for Operations’ – Presumably beyond economical repair.
S8 – S9 Converted to Fast Anti-Submarine Vessels. (S7 –S9 had MAN diesels, which had proved unreliable, hence the conversion to A/S vessels of these two).
S10 Collided with barge entering Vlissingen on 8.9.40., still undergoing repairs in mid Sept.
S11 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S12 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S13 Operational in Mid-Sept.
(n.b., S10 –S13 had the more reliable Daimler-Benz engines, hence their retention in front-line service.)
S14 – S16 Converted to Fast Anti-Submarine Vessels ( MAN Diesels).
S17 Scrapped following storm damage in Spt. 1939.
S18 – S20 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S21 Sunk off Boulogne 21.06.40., subsequently salvaged in 1941.
S22 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S23 Mined & sunk 12.07.40.
S24 Damaged by sabotage (explosion) at Ostend on 15.08.40. Undergoing repairs at Wilhelmshaven until 23 Sept.
S25 Operational in Mid-September, 1940.
S26 Undergoing collision repairs at Schiedam. Repairs were in progress on 1 Sept., and had still not been completed by 28 Oct., when she was due to join her flotilla in Norway.
S27 Operational in Mid-September.
S28 Commissioned 1 Sept. Still working up and not yet allocated to a flotilla.
S30 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S31 Sabotaged at Ostend (see S24). Under repair at Wilhelmshaven until Dec. 1940.
S32 Mined & sunk, 22 June.
S33 Repairing collision damage to hull in Wilhelmshaven, completing mid-Sept.
S34 operational in Mid-Sept.
S35 Sabotaged at Ostend (see S24). Under repair at Wilhelmshaven until mid-Dec.
S36 Serious air raid damage on 8 Sept.
S37 Operational in Mid-Sept.
S54 Operational in mid-Sept.
S55 Commissioned 23 Aug. Working up and not allocated to a flotilla.
S1 – A boat under construction for the Bulgarian navy, similar to the German 1931 series, but with a Daimler-Benz engine (the 1931 series had petrol engines). On 8 Sept., she was allocated to the 3rd flotilla at Vlissingen, but collided with S13 entering harbour. She came off worse, and was still undergoing repairs in mid- September.
I make this 13 operational boats, by the way.
Incidentally, the ex-Bulgarian S1 should not be confused with the prototype S1, and for reasons completely beyond me, there never was an S6.
19 M-1935 MS
The U-Boat Arm
Up to the end of September, 1940, 90 U-Boats had been commissioned, including one oddity, a boat being built for Turkey in a German yard, and requisitioned in September, 1939.
During the same period, 30 boats were lost, leaving a total of 60 for which to account.
31 were the small Type II ‘canoes’ suited for coastal rather than deep water operations. Of these, 5 were Type IIAs, 15 Type IIBs, 6 Type IICs, and 5 Type IIDs.
8 of these 31 were already classified by Doenitz as ‘unfit for front line service.’ These were U2, U3, U4, U5, & U6 (all IIAs) U17, U19, & U24 ( IIBs ).
A further 13 were described as ‘training boats,’ these being U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U14, U18, U20, U21, U23, U120, U121, (Type IIBs ) and U139 (Type IID). Incidentally, I suspect that U139 has been wrongly classified here; she was only commissioned in July 1940, and I wonder if she was actually a boat working up, rather than simply a training boat.
3 new Type IIDs, ( U140, U141, & U142 ) were August 1940 commissions, and listed as boats working up. ( Hence my earlier comment about U139 ). All these, including U139, undertook their first war patrols in mid November, 1940.
This leaves 7 operational ‘frontboote’ these being U56, U58, U59, U60, U61, & U137 (Type IICs), and U138 (Type IID).
18 were the larger Type VIIs, suitable for Atlantic operations.
1 of these, U30 ( Type VIIA) was a training boat.
4 boats (U94, U95, U96, U97, all August & September commissioned Type VIICs) were working up. All undertook their first war patrols in late November, 1940.
This leaves 13 operational ‘frontboote’ these being U28, U29, U31, U32, U34 (Type VIIAs), U46, U47, U48, U52, U93, U99, U100, U101 (Type VIIBs).
10 were the long range Type IXs.
3 were August & September commissions working up (U104, U105, U106, all Type IXBs). All undertook their first war patrols in late November, 1940
This leaves 7 operational ‘frontboote’ U37, U38, U43 (Type IXA), U65, U103, U123, U124 (Type IXB).
Finally, the ex-Turkish boat (UA) was undergoing extended refit.
Thus, in late September, there were 20 operational Type IIs & Type VIIs, plus a further 7 working up. In the event of ‘Sealion’ taking place, the Type IXs would have been allocated to long range weather reporting duties, as they were totally unsuited to inshore operations.
There were, of course, a further 14 training boats, but I leave it to others to judge whether, in the real world, deploying obsolete boats with half-trained crews, or even new boats in the throes of working-up, against experienced fleet destroyers would have been a wise decision.
Summary of U-Boat Availability
Up to Sep 90 boats had been commisioned of which there were 30 lost. Removing boats newly commisioned in August and Sept as well as the training boats and obsolete craft the Germans have:
7 Type IIC and D (coastal submarines)
13 Type VIIA and B
(7 Type IXA and B)
The larger Type IX were unsuited to the shallow waters of the channel and arguably could be deployed out in the Atlantic to try and tie down some escorts and to report on weather systems impacting the operation.
Total of KM warships
(not counting S-Boats and armed MS, which will be added later) =
13 Torpedo Boats.
19 M-1935 MS
- Converted fishing trawler, harbour craft, etc. Armed with an 3.5" gun and light AA and a speed of 12 kn. Used for light escort duties and considered a challenge for MTB and MGB class craft. To be used guarding the eastern Channel convoys and with convoys bound for beaches D and E
Available Sep 40 - 23 and 70 = 93
- a small minesweeper that also escorted coastal shipping and carried light AA and depth charges with a speed of 19-20 kn. To be used guarding the eastern Channel convoys and with convoys bound for beaches D and E
Available Sep 40 - 24 and 16 = 40
- Subtracting losses, the German army could count on the following shipping to carry the troops as of Sep 17 :
11 Herbert ferries
12 Seibel ferries
1100 motor boats
68 command boats.
5 Artillery ships (6" guns)
Total KM naval vessels:
13 Torpedo Boats.
19 M-1935 MS
93 Vorposten Boats aux.
40 Raum Boats (MS) aux.
(courtesy of Doveton Sturdee)
( Literally ‘Autumn Journey’ )
This was a diversionary operation intended to draw the British Home Fleet away from the Channel by simulating a landing on the British East Coast somewhere between Newcastle-upon-Tyne & Aberdeen. Four dummy invasion convoys were assembled, involving eleven vessels of some 2000 GRT each, together with four large liners.
: The steamships Stettiner Greif, Dr. Heinrich Wiegand, & Pommern, escorted by 2 anti-submarine vessels. 2 minesweepers, and 2 armed merchantmen.
: Steamships Steinburg, Bugsee, Ilse LM Russ, & Flottbeck, escorted by 2 a/s vessels, 2 m/s vessels, 2 patrol boats, and 2 captured Norwegian torpedo boats.
: Steamships Iller, Sabine, Howaldt, & Lumme, escorted by 2 a/s vessels and 4 old pre-WW1 torpedo boats. Fifteen such vessels, from the 1906 & 1911 series of torpedo boats, had been retained by the German Navy after WW1, and by 1939 were long past operational use, being employed as tenders and training vessels. They would have been hurredly re-armed with two 105mm guns and two torpedo tubes.
: The liners Europa, Potsdam, Gneisenau & Bremen, escorted by the old cruiser Emden and 5 old pre-WW1 torpedo boats.
The first three convoys, on D-Day minus 3, would load troops of the 69th, 24th, & 214th Infantry Divisions from Norwegian ports (Bergen, Stavanger, & Arendal respectively) in daylight. They would then sail, before unloading the troops again (at Bekkervig, Haugesund, and Kristiansand) in darkness.
The fourth convoy would operate from Germany, where Europa & Potsdam would simulate loading troops from Bremerhaven, whilst Potsdam & Gneisenau would actually load troops from Hamburg, but would then disembark them, in darkness, at Cuxhaven.
In addition, the convoys would be screened by a cruiser squadron consisting of the light cruisers Nurnberg & Koln, the gunnery training ship Bremse (a destroyer sized vessel armed with four 127cm guns), 3 F Boats (fleet escorts, of a class of 10 vessels, which entered service from 1936 onwards, but which were so unreliable that they had all, by 1939, been converted to second-line duties such as tenders and training vessels), and 2 captured Norwegian torpedo boats. The cruiser squadron, incidentally, was under orders to attack inferior British forces should they be encountered, but to avoid action with a superior force, even if this resulted in the abandonment of the ‘invasion’ convoys.
Finally, the Panzership Admiral Scheer and the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper were to sortie into the Atlantic, but in the event Scheer did not complete her refit until 1941, and Hipper had major engine defects, severely restricting her operational radius.
Ironically, ‘Herbstreise’ was an operation intended to protect ‘Sealion’ from a non-existent threat. Whilst the German naval high command assumed that the British Home Fleet would immediately sail for the Channel in the event of an invasion, the Admiralty intended it to remain at Rosyth & Scapa Flow against the threat of a sortie by German heavy ships, reasoning that the resources allocated to the Channel area were more than adequate for the task. In short, ‘Herbstreise’ could have resulted in the loss of the few remaining German cruisers, together with several prestigious liners and large merchantmen, without contributing anything to ‘Sealion’ at all.