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It's important to note that most of the advanced technology that Germany gets credit for in WWII was designed, built and destroyed all in a matter of a decade or two.

The Bismarck is another good example. It was the largest, heaviest, strongest, most advanced battleship of it's time. There was no single allied ship that could match it's performance or firepower or withstand combat against it for very long.

And the Bismarck was sunk 9 months after she was commissioned. Not by a toilet, not by inexperience; but because the entire British navy identified the gargantuan risk and superflous symbology of destroying the pinnacle of German tech. That, and it sunk the symbolic HMS Hood (arguably second best warship at the time) battleship in an almost comedic display that lasted mere minutes. The Titanic took hours to sink but the Hood, a ship of similar size and weight, was gone in mere seconds after being hit by the Bismarck's deck guns. After that the Bismarck was the only thing Britain cared about.

The reason German tech didn't last wasn't because the tech was inferior. It was because for every one unit Germany built, there were 5 allied units with crosshairs trained on it. The hunting was simply better for the allies than it was for Germany towards the end of the war, after Germany had been crippled by allied carpet bombing.


”The Titanic took hours to sink but the Hood, a ship of similar size and weight, was gone in mere seconds after being hit by the Bismarck's deck guns.”

Unfair comparison. The Titanic wasn’t shot at, and it didn’t carry tons of high explosives.

Also as far as the Bismarck goes, it really was the end of single battleships (or even a group) operating alone effectively, with the exception of maybe some open ocean raiding here or there.

With carriers and planes... just a matter of time until a battleship is found and not much a battleship can do alone at that point. Thus the effectiveness of subs (and in particular at that time the wolf pack system).

Yup. Air superiority changed naval warfare forever. It was the radar technology given to the American's by the British that closed the blindspot in the center of the Atlantic which the Germans used to hide U-Boats. Once radar was able to shrink the mid-atlantic gap Germany became unable to disrupt allied merchant shipping. The lack of places to hide meant German U-Boat flotilla's were fish in a barrel for allied planes.

>There was no single allied ship that could match it's performance or firepower or withstand combat against it for very long.

This is something of a myth. The Bismarck was roughly comparable to contemporary British battleships (e.g. the KGV class) in terms of protection and firepower. The Hood was a much older design, and the Bismarck got a lucky hit.

In case anyone is wondering about the KGV class:


And the Hood was a Battle Cruiser

Kind of. It's arguably more accurate to call it a fast battleship, as its armor protection was equivalent to that of a post-Jutland British battleship. At the time it was built, the Hood was both fast and heavily armored. Its armor protection scheme was somewhat dated by the 1940s.

With light deck armor, larger plunging shells would drop down from the top rather than piercing through the side (like hood was designed to withstand). Had the fatal shot been lower and closer she might have taken the blow, but alas, they fell right into her magazines.

Also I'm not a history major or anything so there will be inaccuracies in my posts. I'm just the son of a WW2 buff who himself is a WW2 buff, repeating most of this from memory. It's been a fun conversation so far though!

The Hood's deck armor was dated, but the range was too close for that scenario when the fatal shot was fired. The shot must have pierced Hood's main belt (or somehow snuck around it).

Well, going by superiority in tech is putting it very simply. The different sides had very different logistical/tactical concerns. For example, the SCR-536, which was a man portable radio was a bigger technical feat than any tank or battleship.

You don't think that the US, the leading industrial power at the time, couldn't build better tanks. The Sherman got the job done that they needed it to do.

Oh no, I absolutely agree that Americans could build good tanks. But good and better are subjective terms. Best-in-class is something that can be quantified. And quantifiably Germany had, in a one-on-one comparison, the best performing tanks. However, benchmarks aren't the real world. The best tank in the hands of an army with no fuel will always fall to a crappy tank at the hands of an army with plenty of fuel. Attrition, cost, complexity, necessity, resource consumption are all factors in the real world. Russia arguably had one of the shittiest tanks, but they were so crude and cheap that they were able to produce an insurmountable number of them. Hitler even raged about this in a rare recorded conversation towards the end of the war when Germany was bleeding out in Russia. Germany got so stuck on quality in the beginning of the war that the allies, with their massive combined industrial might, were able to simply scale their less expensive forces above anything Germany could counter.

Could you explain in what quantifiable quality German tanks were the best-in-class. You mention performance but German tanks were not the best for mileage, ease of repair or survivability, which make up the holy trinity of tanks: firepower, protection and mobility.

Firepower is also arguable, plenty of Allied tanks could engage German tanks at comparable ranges. For example, after the war, the Soviets tested their tank guns against German ones and concluded that they had similar performance and penetration. Also, in the beginning of the war, the Soviet T-34 and Kv-1 outclassed all German tanks of the early war.

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