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By Gerhard Koop

ISBN-10: 1848321937

ISBN-13: 9781848321939

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Entitled ‘Die Seekriegführung gegen England und die sich daraus ergebenden Forderungen fiir die strategische Zielsetzung und den Aufbau der Kriegsmarine’, it was a decisive and important historical document which, read with the battle instructions of May 1939, set out naval policy in the event of war. The memorandum recognized that a ‘balanced’ Fleet was required, since, if Britain were the enemy, the German Navy would concentrate the weight of its offensive on the trade routes, thus attracting the might of the Royal Navy away from an expected blockade of Germany as had been imposed so effectively in the Great War.

This referred to the high susceptibility to breakdown of the new hot-steam engine plant, which, by reason of its complicated design and inaccessibility, required a long period in dock for even the minor types of repair. The memorandum also complained about limited range and poor sea-keeping, which brought into question whether the vessels were actually battleworthy; for future new con structionit was necessary to lay down clearly that the steam pressure and temperature had to be reduced. In general it was a strident criticism of the ships and their machinery.

The system was deal for a warship, but the weakness lay in the ability to manoeuvre—which led later to the addition of a steam collector. To resolve the boiler problem it was decided to test out the three newer types—the Velox on a minesweeper and the similar La Mont system aboard the old battleship Hessen, while Blohm & Voss would report on the Benson. The difficulties the early destroyers had experienced with the Wagner were documented for comparison. Their future wartime use was questionable, but at the time nobody was thinking of war.

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German Destroyers of World War II by Gerhard Koop

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