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The Amerika Bomber

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by harolds, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. harolds

    harolds Member

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    This could be a "what if..." thread but it's not really. As most of you aviation enthusiasts know, the German LW put out some specs for an Amerika Bomber. I know Focke-Wulf and Junkers made a stab at developing one but nothing really came of those efforts. However, assuming that Germany developed such a aircraft that could reach our coast from New England to New York and that plane could carry a decent bomb load and they could get 30-50 planes over here at once...could they have done any significant damage to America's war effort? Put another way, what targets could they have hit in the 3-5 missions they might get in before our counter measures became effective, that could be materially damaging to our war effort? Would it even be worth the effort?
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    It would have been a bad idea psychologically. Actually attacking CONUS would have PO'd the US public just a smidgen.
     
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Talked about before...resources may have been put into defence...also imagine carpet bombing New York from angels 15? The outcry!

    But a better ' what if ' to my mind would be submarines built to launch small V2 missiles capable of 150 to 200 clicks at most, low tragectory? Launched from the sail of the sub...the missiles stored without a weapon head...this could be attached once moved to the sail...one could wait till dark, quickly surface, launch, and be back below the surface moving with speed and depth to the next launch location...lurking 50 - 150km from the coast it could rain regular terror (each sub only launching two times a night) on cities like New York.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    They couldn't have handed the OWI a better gift.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    You've missed my point. Obviously, the US public would have been outraged-but it wouldn't have been like Pearl Harbor which was seen as a sneak attack. After all, we were already at war with Germany. What I was asking: Were there enough strategic targets in the New York/New England area to justify the expenditure of fuel and resources?
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    Certainly there was, especially if you added eastern Canada into the target area, but the issue is moot. Consider the resources sunk into the V-1 and V-2 (as well as the never deployed V-3) and then consider the target selection for them. Granted they were not very accurate at the best of times, and yes a enemy capitol was a very legitimate target, but would have been better employed disrupting the obvious invasion preparations. Coastal ports are just as good as London and offered at least some chance of impeding an attack on the Atlantic Wall.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I didn't miss your point.
     
  8. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Yes belaser, we could indeed add eastern Canada! The trouble with hitting the invasion ports and disrupting the invasion is the fact that these ports were guarded by two very large air forces backed by arguably the best air defense network in the world at that time. The north east USA+Canada would be child's play to penetrate compared to SE England. The V-weapons would have almost been a total waste since hitting anything of value would have been equivalent to winning the lottery. Now as far as I know, we have several weapons manufacturers in New England, plus the naval yards at Boston and Brooklyn, the Port of New York not to mention the Republic Aviation Corp. on Long Island making the P-47. I am ignorant of what targets would have been available in Canada. I'm also not sure if the Republic factory was camouflaged like Boeing plant in Seattle. So, I'm still not sure that even if these targets were hit hard it would have put a significant dent in the American juggernaut.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I doubt that they would have even gotten in that many missions. The actual damage wouldn't have had much impact IMO but the reaction might have. The US kept quite a few AA guns in the states until well into the war. A raid or two might have kept the guns and the people manning them from eventually going over seas. Likewise some fighter units may have been kept in the US as well. Of course when the raids happen would be a factor. If it's after June of 44 not much impact at all.
     
  10. harolds

    harolds Member

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    "I doubt that they would have even gotten in that many missions." Which runs us into the question of just what AA defenses we had in the area to begin with and what could we have come up with real fast? I know we had an observer corps at the start of the war but I've never heard or read much about them after 1942. Otherwise, your speculation is valid but if they hit the Republic factory or Remington and Winchester, would it have made a difference?
     
  11. mcoffee

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

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    Where are the Germans going to build up a force of 30-50 giant aircraft undetected and thus un-attacked? If they managed to do so undetected and stage a first raid, the home base would no longer be unknown. Such a force once found by the Allies would instantly become a high priority target.

    The Great Circle Route from any conceivable launching point would go close enough to Nova Scotia and Cape Cod to allow radar detection well away from New York. If a successful first raid was made, there would be no further 'opana point' failures of command and control. I would also expect the Navy to put a radar picket line well offshore.

    From mid-1942 onward, the US never had less than 2,000 fighters in the continental US, and by 1944 it was over 5,000. It wouldn't take long to put together a substantial interception force. There were always fighter groups training stateside. There were large numbers of experienced combat veterans acting as instructors who could be made available.

    Attrition would likely be huge as even moderately damaged bombers would have a difficult task completing a trans-Atlantic flight home.

    I share lwd's skepticism that 3-5 missions were possible.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My impression is that most of the manufacturing wasn't in New York and they didn't do a very good job of hitting such facilities in Britain with a lot more planes and bombs.

    There's some info at:
    HyperWar: The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II: Defense of the Americas
    including
    There's also some info here including some reactions to intel suggesting the Germans might try an attack.
    Chapter IV: The Continental Defense Commands After Pearl Harbor
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed now that I think about it if the target was New York City they would be lucky to actually put bombs into the state of New York. Navigation wasn't a trivial process in those days. If they got up too high they'd also likely encounter the "jet wind" which might mean that they couldn't even make it to the Americas.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    You can avoid the jet stream by changing altitude.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If you know it's there and realize you are in it. Not all that obvious flying over open ocean during WWII especially if there is cloud cover.
     
  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    While I share the skepticism regarding the non-existent threat from a non-existent aircraft, the U.S. is a big place, so number of fighters total in CONUS is deceptive. Yes, as of 31 May 1944 there were 5,795 fighter aircraft in CONUS, but only 729 were with First Air Force, which was the main air component of Eastern Defense Command. There was also a chain of 30 radar stations along the east coast, but in April 1944 JCS inactivated the system due to the lack of a credible threat. Also, by May most of the CONUS-based AA Command was transferred to the Replacement and Schools system or was inactivated and re-organized as other units, principally field artillery. A total of 550 mobile 120mm M1 AA Guns had been completed March 1943-April 1944, but it was May 1944 before the first unit training at Fort Bliss began and most were not deployed until late 1944 and early 1945.
     
  17. mcoffee

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

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    The point being that adequate fighters and personnel were available to be mobilized rather quickly against the threat should it appear. A first mission might meet some success, but I wouldn't want to be part of a second mission.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Okay, how did the -29s figure it out?
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    When I researched it a bit ago from what I found it wasn't a well known phoneme back then. The Japanese were possibly the leading researchers on it prewar. I also seam to recall that it caused some significant accuracy issues for the B-29 when they tried bombing form that height. Having a radar that could determine ground speed helped a lot.

    Here's a somewhat breathless account of it focused on the balloon bombs:
    First use of newly discovered jet stream carried bombs from Japan during WWII
    Page 7 of this article also goes into it:
    http://library.uoregon.edu/ec/e-asia/read/balloon.pdf
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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    First of all, bombing accuracy IS a factor. Therefore, bombing would have to be at a fairly low altitude-say 5-6 thousand feet in order to be effective. That may not be as suicidal as it sounds.

    Secondly: air defense organizations need more than radar sets and aircraft. One also needs the equivalent of sector stations, filter rooms, etc. as well as radar sites in depth in order to direct their fighters onto the bombers that would likely make course changes to avoid interception. Both Britain and Germany developed sophisticated air defense networks covering much smaller fronts, yet both could be and were, from time to time, spoofed. Then you'd have to figure out where to base the fighters in order to get the maximum coverage. All sorts of variables here.

    Third: AA guns. Given all the possible targets in the region we're talking about, which targets would get the available guns and to what proportion?

    Fourth: Navigation. If the Hindenburg could find New York why couldn't a bomber?

    However: The above is all about the "what if..." part. Personally, I think it could have been done but (big word that) it would have probably taken an effort by Germany equivalent in proportion to the Manhattan Project. So if they were to sink that amount of resources into a project they'd want to assess if significant results were attainable. Assuming that they could get 3-5 successful raids in by 30-50 bombers what possibly could they achieve?
     

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