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Germany develops in-flight refueling.

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by BEARPAW, Mar 23, 2009.

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  1. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Some thing that all seem to be ignoring as they each champion and attempt to defend their own position is this. Each "threat", or actual development seems to always be countered as soon as it is encountered.

    As early as 1923 the Royal Navy had seen the "need" to have merchant ships which could be both small aircraft carriers and merchant ships as well. They were called MAC’s, and during the war years the Castle Line built at least four of the dual purpose ships; the Winchester Castle, Warwick Castle, Dunvegan Castle, and the Dunnotor Castle. These were NOT developed until the war had actually begun, but if the need had appeared the plans for making them already existed.

    If the Luftwaffe had actually begun to threaten the convoys by air, the concept and reality of the captured and converted German merchantman Hannover, which became the actual HMS Audacity might simply have been implemented earlier than it was in July of 1941. Even HMS Audacity’s 8 Grumman Wildcats (Martlets), and ships like it, might have been a nasty surprise to any Luftwaffe long-range aircraft.

    Then one also has to factor in the ego of Goering when anything that "flew" gets discussed. The fact is that he only released ONE Condor for command by the Kriegsmarine in the early years. All the rest remained under his control, not Raeder's or later Donitz's. If the Luftwaffe continues control, the idea of a co-ordinated convoy interception action is less than likely.
     
  2. Shadow Master

    Shadow Master Member

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    FYI:

    The Fw 200 was the first airplane to fly nonstop between Berlin and New York City, making the journey on August 10, 1938 in 24 hours and 56 minutes. The return trip on August 13 1938 took 19 hours and 47 minutes. These flights are commemorated with a plaque in the Böttcherstraße street of Bremen.

    It would have been nice if they had bothered to give at least the cruising speed of the aircraft, but we can get an idea. 24.56-19.47= 5.09 difference, divide this by two, and we get the winds effect (if not it's speed) of slowing the eastbound flight by 2.345 hours, and speeding the west bound flight by 2.345 hours, meaning that the total one way flight time (without any wind) would be 22.215 hours. If anyone cares to finish this by supplying the distance between Berlin and New York, we can then find the average speed it flew.

    At any rate, while the east bound flight would take longer, the return flight would be shorter, and it wouldn't be impossible for a FW 200 to make this same flight in the war, but the matter of refueling and payload would still be a consideration.

    Of course, it will get shot down before it makes it to bomb release, but hey. :D
     
  3. Shadow Master

    Shadow Master Member

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    Hey! You made that post, and it keep showing you were the last one to post in the thread, but it wasn't till I replied to your first post that I was able to see this one! Anyone else having this trouble?

    Any way, I was researching different aircraft and came across one that was rather interesting, but the article about it leads me to the conclusion that much of the range info I have been reading up on on various sites may not be the loaded range for a bomber, but the unloaded range.:eek::mad::eek::mad::eek::mad:

    I was about halfway ready to open the new thread, and now I'll have to change most of the ranges.
     
  4. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I think you have the wind direction confused; The EASTBOUND flight would be faster than the WESTBOUND flight (Berlin to New York is WESTBOUND. New York to Berlin is EASTBOUND). Long distance WESTBOUND flights are, even today, always longer than long distance EASTBOUND flights.

    The FW 200 that flew to New York wasn't carrying any bombs or defensive armament. A bomber with armament and full equipment would have much less range.

    World War II aircraft ranges are notoriously difficult to pin down. Weight, flight profile (speed and altitude), weather, condition of the engines, and pilot skill can all have a significant effect. Most aircraft could also carry axillary fuel tanks which would also extend the normal range. It's a given that Condors could operate to the west of the British islands because, historically, they actually did. But to operate to the west of a line drawn south from Greenland was pretty much beyond their historical capability.
     
  5. Shadow Master

    Shadow Master Member

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    OMG, I actually did that didn't I, lol. You just reminded me of my math professor, when I did something like that on a quiz, he used a red pen to point out that I had the directions reversed.:D By the time he finished with that problem, the was more red ink than black.:eek:

    Well crude, I thought I had good info, but now realise that only the ONE site gave me the 'loaded with max bomb-load' ranges. I don't have the time to go and do an exhaustive study of each and every aircraft type to try to figure out the range it actually would have. I'll just have to try to estimate the ranges w/payload I guess. What do you all think of an arbitrary 1/3 off max listed range for all bombers, would that be close? Or to long still? What if we just make that a flat 1/3 across the board, as fighters are going to have to have fuel for air-to-air combat.
     
  6. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Ok for really simple projections, but I know a little reading should turn up enough examples of actual operational ranges for these aircraft. That is the ranges & time in the air for actual missions. ie: a recent book about the USN Torpedo Squadron Eight identifies how long the Hornets F4F fighter squadron was in the air before running out of gas and ditching. The map in the book is good enough to estimate the distances flown by the fighters. Franks book 'Guadacannal' has detailed descriptions of the various carrier battles including some info on the actual range limits of the F4F models of 1942. Sort thru those and some of the other books onthe F4F actions of 1942 and you should have a reasonable approximation of the effective range of the Martlet. ditto for the Condor. On by desk is Bekker's 'Luftwaffe War Diarys' For what it is worth the effective range of the German air reconissance/attack over the Atlantic is given as:

    From Brest 1940 to early 1941

    He111/Ju88 560 miles

    FW200 1095 miles. 1375 miles maximum reconissance

    Later the BV222 is credited with 1500 miles

    The map accompanying this info shows the 1095 miles of the FW200 as just to the edge of Iceland from either Brest France or Trondheim Norway, and falling a bit over 100 miles short of the Azores. Bekkers map also shows the primary northern convoy routes to Britian. Confirming them fom other miscl souurces I see that the most common approach led south of Iceland to the northern entry of the Irish Sea. That minimized the exposure to the German air reconissance for that approach at least.

    Bekker provides a few other bits as well. He identifies the average number of air reconissance sorties per day as "one", despite the presence of three recon squadrons of FW200 & He111, and three attack squadrons of Ju88. The reason given is abysmal maintinace completion. From elsewhere I recall these squadrons were allocated wholly inadaquate parts supply for sustained operations. He also notes that despite the low sortie rate British records show 63,175 tons sunk in January 1941 and 84,515 tons sunk in Febuary 1941 & credited to German aircraft. German claims were nearly double that. One other interesting point Bekker makes, is that the German pilots were frequently forced to abandon tracking convoys to refuel, and do so long before submarines could intercept, or before other reconisance aircraft could pick up the mission.

    Hope some of this is helpfull.
     
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  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    From what I read elsewhere (axis history forum I think) Lufthansa was denied a transatlantic contract after this flight because the Fw-200 didn't and apparently couldn't carry enough of a payload on such flights to make it commercially viable. I think on the flight above it carried something like 3 passengers and a few bags of mail.
     
  8. seeker

    seeker Member

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    The HE-115 had two BMW engines and thus exchanging two He-115 means 4 BMW engines are available for FW-200 production, so it is 2:1 exchange. However the more you focus on one model as opposed to two , the more efficent the industry gets in man hours and reduction in resource wastage..etc etc. IE it may be closer to combining the industry invovled produced the same number of larger planes. BTW Germany never had a probem with machine tools, they produced almost as much as UK/USA combined. They however only had two workers per machine tool while both UK & USA had about 4 :1.
     
  9. seeker

    seeker Member

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    HMS Audacity’s was sunk a few months after it was sent into operations by a Uboat Dec 1941. So much for that theory....The first CVE Uboat kill didn't even occur until the end of 1942 . Then in one month two CVE groups sunk 8 Uboats. However by then, airborne radar was in play and alot of radar equipped long range and VLR patrol bombers were assiting in narrowing down UBoat locations to say nothing of the creeping impact of Ultra decrypts. They had years of diddling around with the best method to drop bombs and best effect on Uboats. Years of scientific war research into best search patterns based on status of Uboat diving etc etc.

    But lets reverse this logic and apply a similar German event and generalise it to the force at large. In Feb 1941 , one Uboat plus 6 Condors and the Hipper attacked a couple of convoy's, sinking 15 merchant vessels for the cost of one of the bombers...off the coast of Portugal.

    I've been reading up on the UBoat war and it seems there is alot of miss information going on around here.

    Uboat numbers at sea were only 6-9 in the first 9 months of war, by late 1940 the figures are increasing from 12-16 and by 1941 they were up to 18 and then 36 by late 1941. Through out 1942 the Uboats at sea rose steadily past 50 to 80 and reached 100-120 in 1943.

    So in the period of interest they were expanding from 12-36 Uboats at sea.

    Further more the available world wide shipping fell from 40 million tons in 1939 to 38 million in 1940. By Spring 1941 these figures had dropped to 35 million tons available shipping and to 33 million tons by the end of 1941.Buy the end of 1942 the figure was still falling to 31.6 million tons world wide shipping. Britain alone needed > 30 million tons per year just to stay afloat let alone build up to European invasion which would double this requirment.
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    It is, as I explained, an expotential. As a generalized example, a single seat fighter has say, 1000 subassemblies and 10,000 parts. A twin engined plane (like the He 115) would have say 5000 subassemblies and 30,000 parts. A large four engined plane might have 10,000 subassemblies and 80,000 parts. Complexity goes up as a square not linearly. It isn't simply swapping two twin engined planes for one four engined one.
    This is why Messerschmitt for example built a single Me 264 bomber taking almost two years to do so. Junkers Dessau, Germany's largest aircraft plant, managed about a Ju 290 a week at best and more normally about one a month. In the US Consolidated couldn't manage to get their B 32 Dominator into more than very limited production even though they had lots of experiance with earlier four engined aircraft while Boeing had to literally develop a whole new field of industrial engineering in project management to get their B 29 into production.
     
  11. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Surely you aren't suggesting trhat generalizing from a single incident is appropriate?


    This issue has already been thrashed out. If you grant the Germans technology they never even developed, then you have to grant the Allies the ability to respond by an earlier deployment of vessels they not only did deploy historically, but, in fact, had already designed. Let's hear no more about the historical date of the deployment of CVE's.

    In actual fact, the British had developed an Air/Surface vessel (ASV) radar in 1936 and deployed it operationally in 1939 (see;History of radar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) And so British aircraft were able to "see" U-boats at sea from the very beginning of the war. The technology to actually kill them had more to do with Torpex warheads and shallow set aerial depthcharges. Again this was a timing issue which would have come about earlier if U-boats had represented that much of a threat to Allied comvoys.

    This was Convoy Home Gibraltar 53 which consisted of 21 ships escorted by a single destroyer and a single sloop. It was first sighted by U-37 which attacked and sank two ships. U-37 then shadowed the convoy and broadcast a homing beacon. Gruppe 40 was ordered to launch as many Condors as possible to attack the convoy; all available Condors (five) were launched. The Condors attacked the practically defenseless convoy and sank five ships; one Condor was lost, but the crew returned.

    Three days later, after an unescorted convoy from Sierra Leone had joined Home Gibraltar 53, the Hipper, guided to the convoy by U-37's beacon, attacked the merged convoys and sank eight ships. shortly after the initial attack on the convoy, Hipper experienced engine problems and was compelled to retire to Brest. These were fortuitous circumstances for the Germans, not the least because a total of 40 Allied ships in convoy were almost totally undefended. These conditions were seldom realized and this was the last successful cooperation between German surface, air, and submarine units against an unescorted Allied convoy. (Source; Blair "Hitler's U-boat War", Vol.1, pages 234-35)

    It's really very nice that you've seen fit to do some research finally. But it would be nice if you could note the sources and cite them so the rest of us can also see the information.

    My understanding is the proposed time frame is June, 1940 (the Fall of France which made possible German use of airbases in France), to June 1941 (the onset of Operation Barbarossa which claimed most of the German air assets). That means we are talking a maximum of about 12-18 oceangoing U-boats being at sea at any given time. And this includes boats sailing to and from assigned patrol areas.

    Please quote your sources for this information.

    I have already posted a source that shows British-controlled merchant shipping actually INCREASED by 617 ships (almost 3,000,000 tons) between September, 1939, and December, 1941.
     
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