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HITLERS U-BOATS: Global Asymmetric Warfare


Def Assym warfare U boats did X damage Lessons to be learned intel successes failures Intel-enabled strategy to defeat to counter asymmetric adversary How apply to todays asymm threat Ocean/sea landmass topography, hidden among pop same challenge

HX: Turtle WWI Pre-WWII training, build up last attack

TX: Intel/commo D and D OODA loop Lessonlearned prog? Allied effective tx: convoy, a/c, blimps

Factors loeading to defeat: Allied tx Loss oof op basses Allied bombing of docks


Tech txfr to Japs? Any specops? Swimmers? Japs at Pearl US ops

PICS: Personalities Phases of Ops AOs Battles/ops Task org: like asymm? ETA PIRA FARC

HOW REPLICATE ASYMM THREAT OF TODAY: How allies/germans saw it Striking at civ and mil targets, symbolic targets? legitimate Asymm bc

weaker than ger navy?

U-Boats under the Swastika

P10 The Birth of the U-boat Arm Germany became a republic in 1918 after the abdication of the Kaiser. (Emperor) and the termination of World War I. The Weimar Republic, as it was called, was governed along lines set out in the Treaty of Versailles, which imposed difficult financial restrictions on Ger-many. This treaty was not negotiated, but dictated by the victors of the war, who also placed numerous limitations on the armed forces. For example, in many cases the total strength of units was laid down ; Germany was not permitted to station troops west of the river Rhine; neither was she allowed to build or own heavy artillery, tanks, military aircraft, aircraft carriers or submarines. All the weapons in these categories were scrapped by order of the Allies after World War I. This made a great contribution towards Hitler's armed forces because it took away most of the old weapons and he started with a clean sheet to build new and modern equipment. Thus, at the beginning of World War II, Germany was not in the same predicament as the British Royal Navy of having 'heaps of obsolete junk floating about'. Ever since its foundation Hitler's Party, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (..NSDAPNational Socialists German Workers' Party : Socialists at this time were nicknamed `Sozis', thus the NSDAP became 'Nazis') had advocated the abolition of the Versailles Treaty. Shortly after being made Chancellor, on January 30th, 1933, Hitler called together the important military leaders to outline to them, in secret, what he had in mind for the armed forces of the future and what role he expected these to play in the new Germany. Hitler informed the leaders that the armed forces would soon be allowed to develop beyond the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles, and he asked them to plan for this increase in strength. 10 Trade unions were abolished in the summer of 1933 and replaced by a single union called the Deutsche Arbeitsfront. Every person who worked, whether small employee or mighty employer had to be a member and paid at least a few mark subscription each week, thus giving the NSDA a large, regular income. Some of this money w given to the Kriegsmarine, making it possible t expand the force by several thousand men, with out anyone, except the Admiralty, being awar of this increase. In addition the navy had also built up, over the years, a secret fund, which had been obtained by overcharging on norrna bills and filtering off the excess cash. When Hitler had been Chancellor for just over two years the Versailles Treaty was officially repudiated with great publicity and ceremony, but to many people's astonishment large parts of the previously prohibited forces were already in existence. The Luftwaffe (Air Force) had been functioning as a civil flying club ; officers had been trained in groups that posed as sport clubs; barracks had been built in previous years under the disguise of factories. This repudiation also triggered off a new era of submarine construction in Germany, but it was by no means the beginning of the story because submarine develop ment has been in progress secretly since 192 some ten years before Hitler came to power. At that time, in 1922, the German Admiralty had encouraged the formation of a `Submarine Development Bureau' in Holland by financing a great part of the concern and

by putting naval facilities at its disposal. This Bureau, employing the best German submarine designers, was based in Den Haag, where it posed as a normal Dutch ship-building firm under the name of Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw'. Its task was to keep up-to-date with submarine develop-1 1 ' ment and possibly even to build boats for other countries. Fregattenkapitan, later Admiral, Wilhelm Canaris had personal connections with the King of Spain, King Alfonso, and he managed to arrange for the Submarine Development Bureau to build a submarine in Cadiz for the Spanish Navy. However, these plans were interrupted by Spanish Civil War, although the Bureau did supervise the building of a seagoing submarine at Cadiz, which was later sold to Turkey and became known as Giir. In addition to this, Crichton-Vulcan, a firm in Finland under German influence, had constructed two sub-marines in Turku, using German plans and help from the Development Bureau, and two further boats were developed in Holland. The men of Germany's new U-boat flotilla were too young to have fought during World War I and they had no experience of fighting in submarines. This gap was also filled by the Development Bureau as all these submarines were taken for e5aremely long tests by specially selected personnel, some of whom later helped to form the new U-boat flotilla. The individual parts needed to assemble about ten submarines had been built in Spain, Holland and Finland, and were stored in Kiel by the autumn of 1934; some five months before the 'official' repudiation of the Versailles Treaty. Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, Chief of the German Admiralty, asked Hitler in November of that year whether it might be possible to assemble a few of these hulls, but Hitler did not permit this as he did not wish to provoke foreign powers. However, submarines were constructed at an exceptionally fast rate after the repudiation. Three different types, totalling well over twenty boats, had been laid down by the end of 1935. The plans for the construction of these craft were a direct product of the work carried out by the Submarine Development Bureau. The first Type II boats, for example, were identical to the Finnish Vesikko; only the conning towers differed and the new German boats were welded instead of being riveted to save weight. Type I boats were based on the Turkish Giir, which had been built in Spain. This was a poor design, and only two of these, U 25 and U 26, were ' ver constructed. The third U-boat type was i eveloped from a successful World War I Sub11 marine and a prototype had been made in Finland. Some of these new submarines were formed into a training group and attached to the sub-marine school and the others became Germany's k first new operational flotilla, known as the Weddigen Flotilla, after Otto Wecidigen, a World War I submarine hero. At this time it was Hitler's aim to join Britain in some type of European defence league and because of these political ambitions the Anglo-German Naval Agreement was signed during June 1935. With this agreement Hitler hoped to show that he seriously wished Britain to be an ally. This is why Germany volunteered to restrict her navy to about one-third of the total strength of the British Navy. (This strength was measured in displacement tonnage.) She wanted to build up her U-boat strength to just under half that of the Royal Navy. Possibly later, after mutual agreement, Germany would wish to increase this to 100 per cent, but would then sacrifice tonnage on the other categories. Today it may appear strange that the Admiralty in London agreed to this, but several points must be remembered. First, the British submarine fleet consisted of only about fifty boats at that time. Secondly, for numerous reasons the British Admiralty saw only a limited future in submarines: years of tradition and experience had gone into the evolution of the Royal Navy, whose main task had been to protect the trade routes. So the ships that had been developed were powerful, im-pressive battleships, backed up by squadrons of fast, well-armed cruisers. Submarines were regarded as having no great future because it was thought difficult to defend anything with them; they were primarily attacking weapons. Britain had also experimented with several unsuccessful ideas, such as mounting battleship-sized guns on submarines or fitting them with hangers to carry aeroplanes; and in addition there had been a whole series of disasters

with the 'K.' Class vessels, making submarines less desirable in the eyes of officialdom.' At the same time Britain had been developing new under-water detection devices and was becoming more (See The K-Boats by Don Everitt, published by ./ George Harrap, London 1963). 7