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How accurate was an allied bomber during WW2?

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Christian123, May 6, 2014.

  1. mconrad

    mconrad New Member

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    Berlin might be an anomalous target because: extra heavy air-defense (both fighters and flak), and/or the Berlin metropolis was an extra-big target, and/or Berlin was somewhat further away than most other German city targets. Just my guesses.
     
  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    From your link:

    And of course a counter-attack did take place on August 7th, at Mortain, and the 2nd SS Panzer was a large part of that.

    The purpose of a switching yard or a marshalling yard (or whatever they might be called in Europe) as pictured above in those aerial photos is simply to sort rail cars to move on to different destinations. It's a luxury that was worked around by the Germans late in the war. I can't speak to what was happening in France in June of 44, but I have looked rather hard at what was going on in November in the build-up for the Ardennes. Trains moved by night and they moved east or west during designated times. There was little in the way of sorting (as would be done at a receiving switching yard near the front), instead, trains were made up entirely for one Division, or perhaps several divisions fighting in the same area. A train might be entirely for the 1st SS Panzer, another might carry nothing but horses and fodder for some transportation or artillery unit. These trains would come in like a convoy one behind the other, offload, then back into a siding and be camouflaged until darkness and the next 4 or 6 hour east running time where they would head back again for another load.

    Rail movement was degraded, but continued to work until nearly the end. I'm sure you're right that it was much less effective in France and other occupied countries after the landings, because various partisan groups were knocking out isolated sections at random in addition to the bombings. But as the fight moved to the German border it's apparent that the Reich still had a formidable rail network and were able to move massive amounts of troops and supplies.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My impression (and it's just that) is that far more important than the resistance groups hitting the rails was tactical aircraft targeting bridges and the trains themselves. Not only did these hurt the transportation net but they made the Germans reluctant to send out the trains during daylight hours. Once the tactical airforces shifted thier targeting from France to Germany again my impression is that the German rail net degraded fairly quickly, of course the heavies started concentrating on the rail net in this same time frame I believe and the Germans were rounding up everyone they could to serve on the front lines which likely included a fair percentage of their railway service crews. The same thing seems have happened with coal miners early in the war.
     
  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The story of DR being delayed by air attacks/partisans but arriving atschedule,is an old myth from the HCH epoch .
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I'll point again to the Ardennes. The Germans were able to concentrate more artillery and armor on that narrow front than on the entire eastern front - and all of that was moved from the east in a fairly short period. This was in December of 44, when the allies had been on and across the German border since September and all the strategic and tactical bombing was taking place beyond the German border. Every bullet, bean and boot had to cross Germany by rail. The only thing in short supply was fuel and that was more due to raids on synthetic fuel plants than rail yards.
    Of course, a lot of that is simply because the distances were shrinking as the allies moved in from east and west. An artillery unit pulled from the Russian front had only to move perhaps 400 miles. Even if they could only move 4 or 6 hours per night, they could still be offloading opposite the Ardennes in a few days time.
    I don't think transportation became truly critical to the German war effort until some time after January/February, 45.
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Christian, Not trying to be picky, but during the war it was USAAF ,not USAF . USAF was used shortly after the war.
     
  7. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    This is all well and good until you find out only the leader of a B-17 or B-24 formation in the Eighth air Force actually aimed their bombs, the rest of the formation merely dropped their bombs on seeing the bombs fall out of the lead plane.
    This was because of the need of the group to keep a strict defensive formation, you simply couldn't afford to have individual aircraft wandering around the sky aiming their bombs, it would have caused chaos, and left the group totally exposed to fighters.
     
  8. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner) Patron  

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    The leader of the formation that was aiming the bombs was squadron based, not the entire force.
     
  9. alan jones

    alan jones New Member

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    Hello , I watched a documentary last night called The Bombing Of Germany and in it it showed the American crews being shown a target map of Berlin . I wondered if anyone has one of these or knows where to find one online please ?
    Regards
    Alan
     
  10. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    A: Precise enough to hit the target.

    @Alan: try this:

    [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clbFMklzrzA[/media]
     
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    I've just noticed that I forgot to comment on this way back when.

    It was surprisingly difficult to actually HIT ships...especially when a bomber would be passing over a target like a single ship at three-figure speeds, and could pass over even the largest of surface vessels in one or two seconds. Pinpoint accuracy was thus almost impossible for level bombing...apart from a very few legendary examples...and divebombers stood a better chance...

    BUT - its worth remembering that the level, medium/low-altitude bombing by the FW200 Condor took a remarkable toll of British and Allied merchant tonnage until the arrival of the first CAM ships and escort carriers. So how did they do that???

    Simple. The Condor passed over the target merchant vessel at an oblique angle - it minimised the amount of AA that could be brought to bear - and dropped a stick of three bombs to straddle the target. They didn't actually need to hit the target - by that tactic one of the stick was bound to drop close enough to the target to spring the single hull layer made up of cast iron plates, and eventually, sooner or later, the merchant vessel would sink.

    To use the example of Brest again in late '41, in three months+ of attacks, and hundreds of tons and probably thousands of individual pieces of ordnance dropped, the RAF only managed to hit the three moored-up KM capital ships twice, one of those bombs damaging two at the same time....but they managed to make a HELL of a mess of Brest's port facilities and the town!
     
  12. a.g.relf

    a.g.relf WWII Veteran

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    I saw the damaged to Cologne in 1945, rubble as far as the eye could see,
    carpet bombing did the trick.
    I was pleased, pay back for when the Bastards boomed my house twice
     
    Tamino likes this.
  13. DaveOB

    DaveOB Member

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    "They could drop a bomb in a pickle barrel from 30k feet."-History Channel
     
  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I was at the book launch of a book about bomber command a few years ago. The veterans talked about re were a couple of variables.

    One of 617 Squadron's veterans talked about the day they bombed the Tirpitz using the SABS bomb sight, similar to the Norden. Everything went right and they had good visibility for the ten mile run into the target. They hit it.

    Another had been a gunner in the raid on Dresden. he remarked that there was no fighter opposition that night. Being shot at spoints the aim.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed the Norden performed really well ... in the American South West.

    *** edit for ***
    Occasionally the board seams to be shrinking my text to almost unreadable. Resized during edit....
     
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    A big point nobody is apparently mentioning is training, what an elite unit like 617 squadron can achieve is quire different from what hundreds of "average" crews can do. If you read the history of 617 they were often tasked with attacking targets that had already survived massive raids by more "run of the mill" units. Also the tallboy was a lot less subject to the vagaries more conventional bombs intrinsically suffered from, when you drop 12 x 1000lb or worse 48 x 250lb bombs you will inevitably get more scatter than with a with a single 12000lb carefully aimed bomb, probably the greater mass and more sofisticated shape of Willi's creation also helped reduce cross wind effects,

    What a Norden sight (or any other equipment) can do in the hands of a "factory demo crew" has little relation to what it will do in actual combat.

    If you look at the Italian campaign after 1943 there was little or no Luftwaffe opposition, but the Germans sill managed to move more than enough supplies to slow the Allied advance to a crawl.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Just highlight the text you want returned to normal and click on the "eraser"(it will say "Remove Format" if you hover the mouse over it).
     
  18. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I hope you don't take the History Channel seriously.
     
  19. DaveOB

    DaveOB Member

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    It was a joke didn't you laugh lol?
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    [SIZE=10.5pt]" Lacking any sophisticated form of bomb-sight, the [/SIZE][SIZE=10.5pt]Condor[/SIZE] [SIZE=10.5pt]crews attacked their targets visually from abeam at low level, diving down to masthead height, where the guns of escort vessels were powerless to interfere. " You could hardly miss" says ( Edgar ) Petersen. " Even without a bomb-sight at least one of the bombs would find the ship provided you kept low enough". Some pilots, learning from experience that what little armament the merchant ships themselves carried was invariably mounted astern, directed their bombing runs along the length of vessels from the bow, pulling up steeply after they had dropped their bombs to avoid collision with masts. [/SIZE]


    [SIZE=10.5pt]From Hurricats by Ralph Barker[/SIZE]
     

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