I'm about to re-start my campaign. After playing as germans for 5+months and not achieving too much, I just discovered I was playing with realistic settings off (meaning, british had good shells and weren't prone to magazine explosions). Now I understand why none of them BCs blew up in the only running engagement I got between hipper's squadron and beatty's
With a little bit of experience from the previous one, I've decided to do the following operations. And I want your opinion/ideas/suggestions.
I'll detach frauenlob from the HSF, give her squadron three DDs and move her to heligoland. The TB flotilla in Heligoland will move to Zeebrugge (the TBs based there are hopeless).
I'll detach all fast (27+ knot) CLs from the Scout Squadron and HSF, and use it as an independent command for fast minelaying in the areas east from Dover.
I'll detach both PD battle squadrons into separate task forces and give them two TB half flotillas each. These will sweep the channel off enemy forces up to southampton (don't scream yet, just keep on reading )
The 5BS, König class BBs, with their 23 knot speed, will be moved to Hipper's squadron. The idea is as follows: the BC squadron can't cope with the full british BCF. Ten to four odds are simply too much to stand, but adding the 5 battle squadron will increase odds to 8 to 10. With realistic settings on, that's a killer if beatty dares to engage it so that the squadron won't be able to run from the BCF is not an issue. And with 23 knots, the formation will easily outrun the Grand Fleet's heavy units.
The rest of the HSF will act as a fleet in being, idea being that it should -never- engage british forces. If they do, they probably will be in serious trouble (I simply don't trust the nassaus and Helgolands, too slow...and the Kaisers and rest of ships can act as backup for possible ships lost/damaged in the scouting squadron).
Opening moves will be rebasing the Frauenlob and dds to helgoland, the helgoland DDs to Zeebrugge, and doing a fast minelaying south of Harwich with the CLs which will be led by the Battlecruisers (the konigs will stay at home for that one, speed is key as I'm sure I'll find the harwich force somewhere in the north sea).
Then what I plan to do is to sail one of the PD squadrons and direct it towards the channel. Some hours later the scout squadron (plus Konigs) will set sail to do fast hit and run bombings on Lowestoff or Great Yarmouth, and finally the CL squadron (the faster one) will set sail for a futher minelaying operation between Dover and Oostende (trap for the british monitor squadron). The HSF will sail but stay at the southern channel of the minefield.
Zeppelins and U-boats will be sent to the SE approaches of rosyth and Scapa, to cover for the times when the GF and BCF sails.
The channel U-boats will patrol around Dover, and the minelayers will deploy mines near each important port of the zone.
The operational idea is that when the main operation is called, Room 40 will hear from a sortie by Hipper and Scheer's forces and warn the Royal Navy. The BCF and GF will go like mad for the scouting forces which will distract them using superior fighting against the BCF, and using superior speed against the GF, luring them away from the channel and into the North sea in the meantime.
The PDs and CLs will have a free hand, then, to fullfit their respective missions, receiving help from the destroyer flotilla now based in zeebrugge. With a bit of luck we will catch some of the transports running up and down the channel.
Upon returning to Wilhemshaven, the forces will be kept in reserve, repairing any damage, with the HSF ready for action (just in case someone shows up to hunt the patrols around the minefield channels). As soon as the forces are repaired and ready to go, rinse and repeat.