German Navy and France



  • Once again I was bored and asking myself questions.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    It depends on how and where the transfer takes place. If in Dakar, the Germans cant protect it and its sunk before it reaches port. If somehow it is entirely in Brest or St. Nazaire perhaps it could make a dash for Kiel canal during the confusion of french defeat. Then it may be used for Sealion. The only way Germany could make use of it would be to get it back to Germany. They did have a carrier if im not mistaken ‘Bearn’  But it didnt matter because fat Herman would not let his retrofitted stukas go to Reader due to inter service rivalry.

    “what flies belongs to me” was his classic response. Sorry no book recommendation.


  • 2007 AAR League

    capital ships would have helped greatly in the med. sea

    it could have given them a lake so to speak.  most capital ships in WW2 did a great deal of good avoiding each other, and scaring other lesser ships away.

    maybe the allies use planes to attack.



  • The French Navy of 1940 was mostly obsolete, most ships were lightly armoured and not as well armed when compared to other navies.

    The newer designs were the Richelieu Class which were modern but were also incomplete when the war began. The Dunkerque class were really just light weight battle cruisers.

    And the  the Aircraft Carrier Bearn was old and slow and was never really anything more than an aircraft transport. Even before the war France had no real naval aviation. Germany probably could have made no more use of her than the Free French Navy did…which was nothing but as an aircraft transport. She was also at sea at the time of the armistice with Germany and retreated to Martinique.

    At best the French Navy could have added some strength to the Italian Navy but would have added ships no better and perhaps even worse than they already had. They certainly would not have been used any less unsuccessfully then the Italian Navy was already employed.

    In German waters the French fleet would have been an added fuel drain on a already streched thin German fleet. German navy sorties were restricted by the lack of fuel far more than a lack of guts or the Royal Navy. And the Navy would have had to train more sailors to man these ships, placing a strain on the Reich’s manpower situation, which was also an issue. You simply can’t underman a ship so it seems unlikely the French Navy in German hands could have contributed much to any attempted Operation Sealion.

    As successive German Navy bootcamps turned out sailors every 6 months or so, maybe the French fleet could have come on line and begun commerce raiding or added to a larger German presence in Norway or the Atlantic, but without real airpower the result could only be the same.

    Big capital ships look pretty and look strong but with out fuel and a well trained crew they are just that.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Yea that’s it.

    Besides the question:

    “why does the french navy have glass bottom boats”

    So the french can see the french Navy…is pretty much true.

    That rickety rack, rag tag fleet was a mothball waiting to happen anyway.

    The last decent french navy was sunk in 1805, and they had to be propped up by Spain got fill in the numbers and still lost.


  • 2007 AAR League

    the french fleet was good enough that it scarred the shit out of the enlgish that the germans may get it.

    thats why the english attacked the french fleet twice.



  • The English were being pragmatic when they attacked elements of the French fleet, they did not want the ships to fall into the AXIS control, however, it is unlikely that the French ships would have made any real difference but better sunk then even a remote threat.

    Attacking the French fleet is the type of typical British military response and it is why they don’t lose wars very often. You do what it takes to win.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Yea the British did attack them, but it was not much of an effort either. Churchill wasn’t exactly doing a #2 in his pants thinking about it. It was more like “get me another cigar, and while your at it bomb the frenchies before my afternoon tea appointment with lord Halifax”. the adjutant would say “yes very good sir” and the bulldog Winston would slouch in his green leather chair by the fireplace.



  • I believe there is little chance that any large French Warships could reach German coastal water with skeleton crews operating. Italian ports seem the best option.

    If Germany could get these vessels into the open oceans the french lack of heavy armor would had little effect concerning the war effort. The German were in the business of commerce raiding- the best way to ‘bring England to it’s knees’. Even with the full weight of the French fleet at Germany’s control; Germany was in no postion take the Royal Navy on directly.

    I think the French Battleships( Battle-Cruisers) would make great commerce raiders.

    Under Italian contol the French ships would only be targets for Malta based subs and aircraft.



  • Possibly the Italians could have used the French ships to help keep Rommel better supplied. Had those convoys had better protection who knows what might have happened. This would have been a short term fix because the Brits would have filled the Mediteranean floor with those ships in due time.

    Still maybe that fleet helps Rommel get more tanks, he reachs Alexandria, makes a German presence in a supportive Jewish loathing Middle East,  then moves to make contact with supportive Iraqi forces. Now established in Iraq the Germans and Mid Eastern allies push east and invade India. This coincides with a Japanese attack on the other side of India. Now linked the Axis powers surge northward capturing all of Europe and Asia. Russia is removed.

    As Japan builds forces and focuses solely on the US, Germany finally launches Operation Sealion. Facing Hitler without the help of Europian allies Britain falls. Japan hits Alaska with a diversionary force then over runs Central America. At the same time Germany invades eastern Canada. Facing a two front assault America falls. The Axis claims victory on G34.



  • Fueling additional new ships would raise issues. The Italian Fleet was already near the bottom of the oil priorities list.

    Still that leaves Malta to be dealt with in the Mediteranean.



  • I think the Axis able to finish the battles of Mediterranean would have longer war.



  • And while any longer war might have had a different outcome, after all who knows?  More likely than not it would have simply led to the eventual Atomic bombing of Germany. As long as the US was still on course to develop the A-Bomb by August of 1945 any delay in the war would have had profound implications for Germany and Europe.

    Delay was not what Germany needed it was victory no later than 1943.



  • ok two things that could have turned the war into an Axis victory….

    The big one was never built…

    and if Rommel had taken the North Afrikan oil fields.

    nuf said. 😛



  • The french navy would have tipped the scales in axis favor.
    You dont really need carries in the med as landbased fighters and bombers can be used.

    Control of the med would given the afrika corps decent supplies and would have made it verry hard for the UK to keep malta and alexandria. With the middle east controlled and the oil problem solved for germany their war machine would have been a lot more powerfull. Also bases in algeria would be able to interdict supplies to gibraltar and the south atlantic making UK homelands supply situation even worst. And with decent commerce raiding abilities to their disposal the allies would have to dedicate most of their fleet to just convoy duty spreading it thin and making it possible for a combined fleet of germany to take it out 1 piece at the time without UK being able to do anything against it.

    They cant keep their fleet together or the convoys get it.
    They cant abbandon convoys as then the lone transports get nuked by subs and raiders.
    They cant protect the convoys in fear of losing their fleet slowly due to strong convoy raiding parties.



  • The real prize was the fleet at Toulon under Admiral Jean de Laborde. Even with Darlan’s ceding of his fleet to the Allies, Toulon had 77 available french ships.  Darlan tried to barter with his old rival to throw his lot in with his, but laborde remained silent over the topic  In occupying Vichy France after the African landings, the Germans stopped short of Toulon  demanding the surrender of the fleet.  Soon the German’s grew tired of waiting for a reply and moved in to take the fleet by force.  Quoted as “one of the greatest acts of self immolation in military history”, Laborde scuttled his fleet and sabatoged it before it could get into German hands. In all 3 battleships, seven cruisers, and thirty-two destroyers were lost amongst the fleet.  Eisenhower had mixed feelings, he was dismayed that the fleet was gone, but relieved the prize was not in German hands.


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