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The Luftwaffe and "four engined" bombers

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by T. A. Gardner, Nov 9, 2007.

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  1. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    Oil production in Germany was on the rise until refineries became the target of Strat Bombing. I will get you the numbers.

    The general problem with bombing factories is that you have to hit tools with a bomb. If you just hit the building the tools might get some damage but can easily be fixed. This translates not into hitting a factory but hitting a tool, some thing that might present anywhere from 5-300sq ft target. Luck would be the only reason for a hit in these cases as the US could only get 5-10% of thier bombs close to the target. Oil however is a much easier target becasue it is in the buildings and likes to burn and blow up. hit a tank and the whole factory is down for the count.
     
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  2. Avatar47

    Avatar47 Member

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    I don't doubt the Allied bombing campaign against oil fields were a bad idea, or effective, but their real effect came only relatively late in the war, when the game was already over for Hitler. Germany actually did a relatively good job at rationing its oil supply from the start. They knew they'd be in trouble even during the early war phases. As the war dragged on, reserves became tight, but they only started getting to very critical levels in late 44, and the Battle of the Bulge consumed a great amount of what was left.

    A strategic bombing campaign is a long campaign, period. Germany, as we all know, didn't think in the long term, with Hitler thinking only in terms of quick after quick victory. He gambled at the beginning and won at dice with the fall of France and co. The step into Russia ended that illusion, and by then, it was too late to think about a strategic bombing campaign. The Allies, as we all know, thought the exact opposite.
     
  3. eeek

    eeek Member

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    Found this interesting 1983 study of Luftwaffe attacks in support of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia on another board. The article is written in the context of the on going NATO WARPAC cold war in Europe. It does show the power of the tactical airforce the Germans had developed up to 1941.

    A Lesson Of History the Luftwaffe and Bararossa

    Follow up to earlier post. Galand claims that such bombing could bring Britian to knees in 6 weeks, but Churchill claims it would Germany would have to cut British ship delivers in half for 6 months to bring UK to her knees.

    Oxford companion on WW-II reports 11.4 million tons petroleum imported in 1940 and If 10.2 million tons imported in 1941 .If only 4.5 million are needed for year, where did the other 5.7 million surplus go each year. If the imports increased to 20 million by 1944, thats about 45 million imported over 3 years, when consumption was running at ~ 6 million per year? Britain must have had 20-30 million tons stockpiled if they were only using ~ 5 million per year? Where did they store it all? Germany started the war with ~ 2-3 million tons bunkerage and expanded that to 6 million tons by 1944.

    On a seperate note the Oxford Companion to WWII reports that the Uboat campaign of 1940/41 brought the british annual importage from 42 million tons down to 28 million tons by the spring of 1941...but the dry cargo merchant tonnage remained un changed through out this period at 21-23 million tons in 1940 and ~ 21 million tons in 1941.....why is this so? Does the total tonnage figures include ships that were not sunk but out of operation due to crippling damage? Now that I think about this its a 14 million ton drop in capacity when the total tonnage reported sunk was only < 6 million tons sunk since the start of the war....unless each ship is expected to sail atleast twice a year?
     
  4. eeek

    eeek Member

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  5. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    The fact is that the German Strategic Bomber programme never recovered after the death of Generalleutnant Watler Wever in 1936, it is remarkable that the Fw-200 first flew as a bomber in 1937, the Heinkel He-177 flew in December 1939, and that the Messerschmitt Me-264 Amerika Bomber had flown as a prototype in 1942, and that the Junkers Ju-290 by 1941 but none were ever taken seriously.

    It became a cancer within the RLM that they persisted with obsolete models throughout the war, the only two aircraft that were spurned was the fantastic Ju-88 and the Do-217.
     
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  6. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    I think wolfheart is right.

    If Germans managed to build up a significant heavy bomber force, and to use and maintain it properly for a significant amount of time, it would have had as much effect as the allied strategic bombing....moderate at best.

    And in the same time, they probably would have had to cut some other programs, maybe in the tactical bomber domain, which had on many occasion been decisive or very often bought them vital time on the eastern front.

    Overall : Germans could not build such a force, and supposing they had, it would have been just another waste of ressources.
     
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  7. Hop

    Hop Member

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    I'm sure more than 4.5 million tons was needed per year. The point I was making is that with consumption probably running about 8 million tons or so, a bit of conservation (necessary if oil imports were cut off) would see 4.5 million tons last a year.

    As the war progressed, consumption went up hugely. Just in aircraft, for example, Bomber Command dispatched 32,000 sorties in 1941, nearly 167,000 in 1944. The USAAF flew no bombers sorties from Britain in 1941, 210,000 in 1944.

    In the summer of 1941, when stocks went down to 4.5 million tons ("danger level", according to the official history), the plan was to increase the stockpile to 7 million tons by the end of 1941, which would have filled the storage capacity at the time.

    The convoy system had a major effect. In peacetime sailings were staggered so that ships would arrive every day. They would leave as soon as they were ready. In wartime, dozens of ships would arrive at once, which slowed down unloading. They could not leave until the next convoy was ready. The result was much more time spent in port.

    There was also the diversion of shipping to support North Africa and India. 1 round trip to either destination took the same time as 3 Atlantic crossings, so the entry of Japan in to the war, and the build up in North Africa, had a major effect on imports.
     
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  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There may have been no plan for fighter protection of the US however there was fighter protection for a number of bases and cities in the US. Then there are the training bases scattererd all over the US. So for instance a raid on Chicago might see the naval training units scrambling to intercept. Since the planes would almost assuredly be spotted long before they reached cities like Chicago or Detroit there would be a very good chance of them being jumped along the way.

    As for night raids the allies had navigation problems at night and in inclimate weather when launching from Britain vs Germany with a number of navigational aids. You are proposing flights that are an order of magnitude greater with a significant portion over a featureless ocean.

    As for carriers launching fighters to intecept in mid ocean. US carriers anyway usually had a CAP up. If a German bomber came anywhere near it would likely attract their attention. Furthermore if a long range bomber were detected heading any where near their postion they could move and launch to engage it. Note that the Dauntelss was often used as a CAP plane as well and while not all that fast had a considerable radius of action when not carrying bombs.
     
  9. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    How were these Bomber Raids going to be detected?

    The US observed no black out regulations, making navigation simple. Follow the lights.

    So if there are bombers flying at 30,000 ft the Dauntless cant even get with in 5000 ft of them. Now if they had wildacts on the deck they would need 15 minutes to get up that high, then attack then get back to the carrier. This of course assumes that in the vast ocean the carriers found the bombers in favorable weather and suffcient time.

    Now we return ot the value of the 4 engined bomber to Germany. It was limited at best. It could have been used for random stikes against the US to force men and equipment to stay there protecting from these raids. There were several targets of interest like the Russian oil production. Mining operations could also have been possible. The biggest help would have been in coordinated effort with the U-Boats, which did happen. Germany would not have wanted more than a 1000 a year and a number close to 500 is more likely. Germany could have done it. Other work would have suffered, but how much depends on how the production was planed.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Radar and visual. Nothing particuarly hard about that.

     
  11. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Which means that you have to leave Norway around dawn to hit the US during prior to black out.
    Yes but given poor weather data, lack of info concerning the jet stream and the sheer length of the flight and it becomes problematic.
    Bombing Powdunk Maine is hardly likely to have much impact.
    But it was a one way crossing, a non combat mission, and it wasn't as far. If you postulate a night attack they don't even have a reference for turning. The US also had weather info from both ends as well as bases at both ends. My uncle was a navigator on a B-24 that made the trip. The plane right behind him was lost.
    Well if it's not clear at altitude you just lost most of your ability to navigate at all. You are going to have no wind reference and no stars to shoot.
    Large overestimation. They don't want to pass over Britain and probably not over Iceland. This leaves a great circle route from Norway to the US. There are also airbases in Greenland and Canada which need to be overflown.
    Depends on when it's spotted. If an allied ship spots it around Norway there's plenty of time to set up an intercept. Early in the war it's unlikely I'll admit but by late in the war there are quite a few CVE's wandering around the Atlantic. If they have warning that one is coming or even are watching their radar closely they have a decent chance to intercept. Note that the US and Canada set up a fair number of air defense radars at in 41 and 42. Most of these were moved in 43 and 44 but in the face of a real threat either would have remained operational or been reestablished. Especially since a lot were moved to the West coast which was considered more vulnerable.
     
  13. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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  14. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    As promised oil production data.

    Average of tons per month of transportation fuels produced for Germany.
    1940 200,000
    1941 250,000
    1942 310,000
    1943 350,000
    1944 1st quarter 400,000 rest of the year 120,000
    1945 1st quarter 90,000.

    The summer of 44 saw the shift to oil production and it shows.
     
  15. Herr Oberst

    Herr Oberst Member

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    Agreed,

    it was relatively easy to find America, as the Uboats did, bright lighted cities early in the war. Other than for propaganda reasons, logistically it would make no sense to bomb America. Now if the Luftwaffe had concentrated on the English Airfields right after Dunkirk and had four engine types like the Ju-89/90 to follow up on those fields further North it may have made a considerable dent into Fighter Command and possibly hitting ships in Scapa Flow but fighter supression or ground destruction would be necessary for successful ops. Not just for bombing could these be used but for Airborne operations as well, dropping Fallschirmjäger, towing gliders, carrying Gebirgsjaeger or other specialists to secured enemy fields.

    Developed early on and used correctly, Four engine types could have a significant effect as did the Condor, but they would have had to have been developed and ready by 38.
     
  16. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    The fundamental failing of the Luftwaffe was not having a seperate Strategic and Tatical Luftkommand.
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The biggest mistake was having Göring as boss....

    ;)
     
  18. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    I fully agree with that.
    For my two cents' worth, the fundamental flaw in Nazi Germany was that Hitler didn't really plan for a long war. I read somewhere that he didn't put German industry on a real war footing. This ties in with the partial demobilization of the German Army after the fall of France.

    Had the Germans made the same economic effort they did in the latter part of the war, I would certainly consider that it's possible for Germany to maintain a large four-engined bomber force. As to how effective these bombers would be, it would depend on the Allied reaction.
    Certainly, Germany having a four-engined bomber force would send shivers down the Allied and Russian generals' spines.
     
  19. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    I would have done several thngs

    Have Heinkel cancel the He-111 series, plus allow Heinkel to redesign the He-177 into a four engined nascelled strategic heavy bomber.

    Have Focke-Wulf continue with developing the Fw-200 Condor as a four engined strategic bomber.

    Have Junkers continue with developing the Ju-290 as a strategic bomber

    then supplement these heavies with the best tatical bombers such as the Junkers Ju-88 family and the Dornier Do-215/217 family.

    Cancel the Me-264 project.
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    exactly !! ............ ~ the JU 290 or even the almost secret Ju 390
     
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