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Bomber Offensive

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by GunSlinger86, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    We all know the story of how the bombing offensive lacked the fighter escort until longer range P-51s, P-47s, P-38s were available, and that the bombers and crews took a beating with no escorts and that the efficacy was questionable even until the end of the war due to the fact that Albert Speer kept production up.

    If fighter escorts were available from the beginning and the bombers could have been protected to and from the target, could it have achieved the success it was intended? After the Mustang hit the scene, bomber casualties dropped 75%, so if they had that rate of protection from the very beginning, could they have hurt Germany more, sooner?
     
  2. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    I keep hearing that the bomber offensive was a poor use of resources due to the lack of apparent impact on German industry.
    Does anyone know how much German industry could have grown without the bombing?
    Or was the German industrial effort stymied by lack of raw materials entirely?

    As to the question posed the sooner escorts were available the sooner the Luftwaffe would be drained of experienced pilots. The major problem was still accuracy more than anything. So it's hard to say.
     
  3. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I've been reading posts on other WW2 sites and they suggest that the murder of civilians was just as bad as a war crime as any committed by the Germans "large-scale slaughter of civilians that cost the allies the moral high ground of a just war and was one of the worst war crimes of the century" and "this long distance genocidal act was covered up" are quotes from another site. Along with that line of thought, some other thoughts were that the Bombers could have been better used in a tactical role, they missed many of their targets, ruined the landscape of Europe, the accuracy, the actual achievements of it, etc. Of course, these thoughts could be coming from a biased pro-German POV.
     
  4. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I believe it was as much of a success as it could have been. It totally disrupted fuel production for aircraft and tanks which stalled German action, disrupted transportation, logistics, and infrastructure. It also forced the Germans to commit more troops, materiel, and planes defending the homeland, and more troops guarding the air POWs that parachuted over Germany and were held captive. Over a million German soldiers were involved in POW/internal security.
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Even P-51s, P-47s etc weren't much use at night......the Allied Bomber Offensive wasn't exclusively a daytime affair.
     
  6. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I know. I asked this in previous topic, but I guess I'm still trying to understand... Why was German night-time ground AA defense so much better and so much more effective than British ground AA defense during the Blitz? Was it just technology and tactics improved much over that 2-3 year period between the Blitz and the combined bomber offensive?
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I think one has to think of the daylight air war in two phases. In 1942 through June 1944 it influenced the war by making the Germans bring back much of their fighter force into Germany. This meant that air superiority over the battlefields was ceded to Germany's enemies. It also meant that there were some temporary shortages of certain materials and weapons but overall German production of war materials increased.

    The second phase came after Big Week and D-Day when American bombers concentrated on fuel and transportation. Also, around then the P-51s became numerous enough to protect almost all the bombers from attack. It also didn't help Germany that the loss of France and Belgium denied them much of their early warning capability. From that time on Germany's war effort became a total mess. It didn't matter what they produced, they had a hard time getting it to the front and then often couldn't move it due to lack of fuel.
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Because the British defenses were immature. In the first four months of the Blitz, the Luftwaffe lost some 75 aircraft, most to Ack-ack. Then in January 1942 they lost 28 and in May 1942 124.

    It was also a give and take with regards to technology and tactics. In the last six months of 1942, flak accounted for the loss of 193 British aircraft, so less than 33 per month. Then from April-June 1943 they lost 225; about 78 per month. However, October-November 1943 they only lost only 94; just over 31 per month. Then in the first three months of 1944 they lost 179; nearly 60 per month.

    The difference in scale was also enormous. In early 1944, the 14. Flak Division, guarding the Leuna oil production complex, had some 62,000 personnel, about the same as the eight AA divisions in Britain had in later 1940.
     
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  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Not exactly. Internal uniformed security in the Reich was done primarily by the 675-odd Landesschützen-Bataillonen formed by the various Wehrkreis on mobilization. Most were elderly reservists unfit for field service, as well younger men medically unfit for the field. They were augmented in and outside the Reich by some 150-odd Sicherungs-Bataillonen, which drew from the fitter Landesschützen personnel and from convalescent field soldiers. All told, they probably approached nearly a million troops, but it was throughout the Grossreich and occupied territories. Only about 49 of the Landesschützen-Bataillonen served as POW camp guards, so likely fewer than 50,000 men. In any case, few of them were able for frontline service or factory work, so they were not really a drain on German manpower.

    In the same way, the consumption of resources by Luftwaffe Flak can be overstated. While by autumn 1944, Flak personnel totaled 1,110,970, 40 percent were not Luftwaffe personnel. Instead, 220,000 were drawn from the Landesschützen, RAD, and male high school auxiliaries, 128,000 were female auxiliaries, and 98,000 were foreign volunteers and POW. They manned 2,655 heavy, 1,612 light, and 470 searchlight Flak batteries. It was calculated that only 10 percent of the Flak personnel in the Reich were fully qualified regualr military personnel.
     
  10. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    German nightfighters were plentiful and extracted a huge toll on RAF Bomber Command.

    US escort fighters really didn't come into their own until Doolittle took over and allowed them to free lance out ahead of the bombers, catching the Luftwaffe while they were still forming up for attacks, and allowing for strafing airfields on the way home.
     
  11. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    And this is certainly one of those easy questions - difficult answers situations. A key factor in the night airwar was the German development os the Lichtenstein series of radar ; from the FuG202 being introduced in 1942, followed by the much-improved FuG212 which was largely defeated by 'Window' in mid-'43 and then the vastly-improved FuG 220 SN-2 which led to the Nachtjagd's 'happy time' throughout the Winter of '43/'44.

    Several very good books have been written on this subject, one of the best being Peter Hinchliffe's 'The Other Battle'.
     
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  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    "Schräge Musik" was simple and devastating. You can find the discussion of this cannon by the Search function I trust.
     
  13. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Again though, once the Germans were pushed back to almost their own borders their ability to intercept RAF bombers was severely compromised.
     
  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    IMO the bomber offensive was a lot less effective than anticipated and morally questionable. As far as the RAF was concerned strategic bombing was "the war winning strategy", and they never went back on that idea even when it became obvious they were not getting the desired results, more attention to army cooperation could have avoided a lot of the early disasters, but it was simply not part of the RAF doctrine.

    In the end the attrition worked, when you outproduce your opponent 5:1 you will eventually win ulness you do everything wrong (and the allies did get a lot of things right) and your opponent does everything right, and the Germans don't even come close to having done that, with someone better than the Goering / Udet pair the LW may have lasted longer, but it could never win an attrition war.
     
  15. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    non-nuclear "Strategic bombing" is not supposed to bring about immediate results. in 1944, the Germans launched more new tanks, aircraft and u-boats than in any year of the war. the 1944 bombing would have been noticeably felt beginning 1945, with no more seasoned pilots, sorry arms production, and a thoroughly demoralized civilian population.
     
  16. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Actually, I believe that once the USAAF started hitting the petroleum production facilities on a very religious basis the results were dramatic within a month or two. Before this, the daylight bombing would hit one type of target one day, another type of target on the next mission and a third type of target on the mission after that. This gave the Germans time to repair the damage, find ways to improvise to make up for shortfalls (1st Schweinfurt being a good example) and dispersing their production facilities. Another reason German production soared was that the Germans were given a fairly long reprieve when Eisenhower diverted the heavy bombers to help with the D-Day preparation.
     
  17. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Once the USAAF started hitting the synthetic fuel production, you're right, the affects were felt immediately.
     
  18. harolds

    harolds Member

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    So, GunSlinger86, I think the answer to your question is: It depends on how they went about it.
     
  19. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Yup. And it also comes down to personal opinion. It was successful in some aspects, and costly and noneffective in other aspects. Either way, it was an important front that drained more resources out of Germany than the Allies, and affected certain areas of production that were important to materiel use.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Don´t forget the neutral countries. After Schweinfurt, the Germans bought the same amount of lost material from Sweden.

    ------------------

    From the book by Allders and Wiebes on covering financial actions:

    After the Schweinfurt bombings the SKF ( Swedish ball bearings factory ) tripled its deal with Germany ( 1943 ).

    General Arnold was mad with the US foreign politics not able to stop the Swedish trade with nazi Germany:

    " If you guys had even one tenth of the guts of the guys who were shot over Schweinfurt you would tell the Swedes that we will boycott them now and after the war if they send even one piece of ball bearings to Germany!"
     

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