Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by Captain_Ordo, Jun 7, 2009.
What is your source for StG44 performance?
Sure, if the Germans had better technology earlier it would not consist of any advantage sine we know that technology is not very important in war....
If the Germans had jet fighters in 1940, the allies would develop an effective countermeasure... sure they would...
Well you could have your 50 super-dooper 500 ton invulnerable tanks ready and finely honed in 1946.....or 45,000 cheap T-34's during the war itself.
Well they got their jets into Squadron use BEFORE the Me 262.
You forget this is a what-if. I could just as easily say what if the Bomb was ready in 1941.
The Uber-Weapon fan boys forget that a war lasting just a few months longer would have seen Berlin as possibly the first target. And that is a 95% certainty rather than a 100-1 outsider like German jets in 1943!
ok look i dont mean to offfend anyone by this, but it seems that all the americans on here cant except that someone made something better then them??? It happens just because america had the industrial strenght doesnt mean they could devolope superior weapons quickly. If germany would have developed and tested these weapons in the late 1930s and used them early in the war, america would have been so far behind technologicaly that germany would have europe taken over before they knew it. The americans wernt developing weapons early because they had no reason to.
But i just see it all over no one could possibly beat the americans, it happens and back then germany would have had the upper hand being able to delpoy there Me-262's from france once taken over, towards brittan. And someone said something about the Bomb? as in a nuclear bomb? didnt the americans on ly have it at the end of tha war? by then it would have been to late. The only thing that probly helped is the fact that japan bombed pearl harbor the states started producing like mad, but if that wouldnt have happended they had no reason to make better guns. When Germany was planning a war, already had good weapons. thats just my opinion dont take offence to it.
I don't see that sort of insinuation, it's just an honest comparison. I'm trying to keep this civil here, but don't you think we Americans get tired of being accused of tooting our horn? Sure, some Americans have blind and misplaced arrogance, but that doesn't mean everything good we say about America is just bragging.
And really, Germany was just going in all the wrong places at the end of the war. The British, American, and even the Soviets were just as innovative as the Germans. Germany's advanced technology?? Besides the StG44, they copied the G43 mechanism from Tokarev's SVT-40. The Mauser kar98 was a great weapon, but so was the M1 Garand, and the Lee Enfield. The MG42 had its faults as well, although it too was a solid weapon. But the British Bren was also a spectacular piece of equipment. The excellent Panther? Many of its innovations came from the Russian T-34, which still bested it in the end! The Me262 was developed in parallel with the British Gloster Meteor, which was not as good, but a jet aircraft nonetheless. It is incorrect to say that the Germans were extremely far ahead in the jet aircraft field. German pilots were ordered to avoid the Yak-9, because an even dogfight with a Yak-9 usually spelled death for the Germans. The Stuka was outdated by 1941. Any pilot would choose a P-51 over a Fw190 anyday. The Germans never were too great at making carriers, the only planned ones were tiny in comparison to the Essex and Illustrious class carriers of the Allies. The Allies wanted to win the war. If they had focused on heavy tanks, no doubt they would've produced a workable one during the war. As it was, they just figured that if they pumped out enough Shermans, those Tigers wouldn't matter. They were right.
The V-2 rockets and the other pointless technological dabbles were unnecessary, and diverted resources away from the more important aspects of war. For God's sakes, there were plans to put naval heavy guns on a tank!! Such an expensive venture, yet so easily dealt with by a few fighter bombers.
The nuclear bomb was an amazing feat of technology, that anyone could have pulled ahead so quickly, in such a short time. The Americans assembled a team of some of the brightest minds known to mankind, including many driven away by the Nazis. The Americans were many, many years ahead of the German research.
Even the bomber that delivered the nuclear bomb was a great piece of work. With both a massive load and massive range, the B-29 outdid any German bomber, although understandably the Germans weren't really concentrating on bombers.
Allied code-breaking and computing technology was decades ahead of the Germans. They were ahead where it counted. The U-boats were crushed. The results of the World War II leap in this area greatly expediated the development of computers, and such software technology after the war.
Basically, when all that was left was the shouting, the list of innovations and pioneering technologies looked pretty much the same across the board.
And, the Americans have as much a right to be proud about it as anyone else. I'm good at math. Is that an arrogant statement?
I for one am not American. The other side of this coin is the slavering hordes who live in what-if land where flying saucers with swastikas bomb Washington in 1946.
Why not conjure up a death ray in 1940? Thinking up scenarios (with no basis in reality) that give a huge advantage to the black-clad hordes is bound to result in them winning.
Not so. I gave Britain a thermo-nuclear bomb in 1941-you are out what-iffed!
.and yet they lost?
In the end technology alone would not have allowed Germany to win WW2 in the way that I think has been implied..ie defeating the allies and the Soviets. Not unless we are talking about a very real generational leap in technology accompianied by equally advanced tactical usage and support. Like an F22 vs Harrier. etc.
I think the Germans could have done very well out of WW2 and been in a great position to negotiate a peace, with extensive new borders. They SHOULD have owned the Soviet Union but unfortunately the instrument of delivering their impressive war machine (Hitler) was incompetent at weilding it. Russia would have been a done deal. Idiot Russians helped rid the world of one mad man only to lift one just as bad onto their shoulders.
Probably would have hinged a lot on whether or not to give back France at the table. But sure why not. Just strengthen Spain and Italy so the French are penned in, they'll want to behave. Strip it and keep a couple of provinces first.
As for the Bomb. Well yes the Americans had it first but the very use of it would have been inspiring. And just as a back up, renew research into other WMD's, just in case. Fright and might can travel both ways.
That's the problem and enjoyment with "what ifs", they just go on and on. But I think an enormous percentage of the German what ifs hinge entirely on Barbarossa. Saying it was unwinnable is like saying that the Vietnam war was unwinnable. They were wars that were lost, pointedly enough, not by the soldiers.
Germany could have seen an end to the war (an intermission at least) as a colossus. They probably could not have achieved the win Herr Hitler imagined however. The American's were not even at stretch with their industrial capacity and they still dwafted everyone else. In terms of abundance, a 1940's european visiting the USA could be forgiven for thinking that the war 2000 miles away was just a bad dream. Even today, almost any nation you care to name would be flat out trying to maintain just one US SuperCarrier fleet. The US fields what, 7 or 8?
I agree with the sentiment but you could have picked better examples.
The Bren was a .303 adaptation of a czech weapon.
Why ? (and BTW it needed a British engine to be really good)
The Manhattan project was full of non US birth scientists, had Italy and Germany kept theirs they would probably have gotten the bomb first.
I do agree on the B29 though
One could also probably add several things that the US managed to move from proto-type use to mass production/assembly line type production.
The B-29 was the most expensive project in the American war budget, and like it or not the leading scientists/phycists were of UK and USA birth. Those from Germany and Italy weren't dominant, but necessary none the less. The Axis keeping them might not have altered the outcome in the least.
To appreciate the complexity of the production methods for the two styles of atom bombs used (gun-type/uranium, implosion-type/plutonium), use this site. Even I could follow about 75% of the plutonium production sequence, the U-235 production was much easier to comprehend.
Alsos: The Atomic Age: Scientific Overview
The Germans had NO chance of developing a controlled nuclear reactor, let alone an explosive device. They were going down the wrong road for developing one, and add to that the economics alone of developing a bomb would have kept them out of the race, the allies just didn't know it at the time and engaged in the production in fear of the German "lead" in the field. The Nazis spent nearly the equivalent of the Manhattan Project money on the V-2 rocket, and the Manhattan project was the SECOND most expensive project during WW2. That honor goes to the B-29, and NOT counting the Silverplate modifications to the bomber for the atomic bomb delivery. That cost is included in (I believe) the MED funding. The Manhattan Project, from start to finish in 1945 dollars was ONLY 1.8 billion. But the B-29 program cost 3 billion 1940’s dollars. Oddly enough the 29 was not designed to drop "atomics", it just turned out it was the only USAAF craft capable of carrying the monsters. The Superfortress was the second largest "industrial program" (in people used and facilities built) of WW2, but the most expensive in dollars spent.
When the first test XB-29 flew in late 1942, that plane alone had cost more than the entire Atlantic Fleet we had at the moment! And it was only one plane, with all of its "bugs" yet undetected. Now I do not know exactly where to put the cost of "Operation Silverplate", this was the expense of converting a number (30?) of B-29s to carry the atomics, and train the crews. Does that 76 million belong on the "Manhattan Project" bill, or the Superfort? I think it belongs to the atomic project, since it was an adaptation to carry their weapon, and NOT in the original design of the Boeing group. But still, the delivery system outstrips the weapon by at least a billion in expense.
So in money spent, the B-29 cost more to design and build than the atomics, by a factor of about a third. Weird huh? As to German scientists/physicists, here is a list (not a complete list, off the top of my head) of the most prominent physicists/leaders who worked on the MED and their nation of birth:
Robert Oppenheimer (America), Edward Teller (Hungary), Otto Frisch (Austria), Felix Bloch (Switzerland), Enrico Fermi (Italy), David Bohm (America) , James Chadwick (UK), Rudolf Peierls (Germany) James Franck (Germany), Emilio Segre (Italy), Niels Bohr (Denmark), Eugene Wigner (Hungary), E.O. Lawrence (America), Johann von Neumann (Hungary), Glenn Seaborg (America), Richard Feyman (America).
The bulk of the major scientists who actually developed the bomb were almost all American and UK citizens with the exception of Neils Bohr who was Danish (not German) and Enrico Fermi who was Italian. Einstein was a consultant and helped convince Roosevelt to get the ball rolling but did not play an active role in the development of the bombs.
Arguably the most significant individuals (their staffs were instrumental as well); in terms of the science itself were:
Seaborg was never officially involved in the program, but his discoveries led to the plutonium importance in the project. Seaborg was a chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He, along with graduate student Arthur C. Whal and fellow chemistry instructor Joseph W. Kennedy, discovered the element plutonium. They discovered the isotope Plutonium-238 (P-238), but they later produced the isotope Plutonium-239 (P-239), which was fissionable and a likely atomic bomb material. Seaborg also developed a process for separating weapons-grade plutonium from uranium in nuclear reactors.
Feyman, born in New York, was a brilliant physicist and mathematician. He excelled in differential and integral calculus. He attended MIT to pursue physics, and later, went to Princeton for Graduate School. It was during his graduate studies, at the age of 24, that he was asked to join the Manhattan Project. He teamed up with Hans Bethe, his mentor, to figure out key mathematical equations such as the amount of fissionable material needed to achieve an explosion. One of his talents was the ability to solve equations quickly in his head. Together, Feyman and Bethe discovered a shortcut to solving third order equations.
Fermi began his career with the study of physics in Italy. He decided to switch his area of research to nuclear physics because he believed the next important advances would be made by studying the nucleus. He decided to leave Italy in 1938, after winning the Nobel Prize, because of increasing tension with Germany. Fermi moved to New York where Bohr began to update him on the progress of fission. Fermi immediately began to research fission because he saw the possibility of the emission of neutrons as the start of a chain reaction. On December 2, 1942, at the University of Chicago, he produced the first controllable chain reaction which was the foundation of the atomic bomb. He then moved to New Mexico where he worked on the Manhattan Project.
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Born in New York. Oppenheimer graduate summa cum laude from Harvard with a degree in chemistry. He completed this four year degree program in only three years. He pursued a graduate studies program at Cambridge University, Cavendish Laboratory, but quit soon after because he experienced a nervous break down. Oppenheimer received his Ph.D. in 1927 from German Gottigen University in theoretical physics. He moved back to the United States to convey his new discoveries of physics. After hearing about Bohr's discoveries and fission, he began to think of use for the energy released during this reaction. In the summer of 1942, Oppenhemier organized a conference in Berkeley, California where top physicist discussed the possibility of an atomic bomb. In 1943, he became the scientific director for the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer was involved with every step of the project.
Bohr was one of the most important figures in nuclear theory. He was the first person to say that the nucleus of an atom is 1/10,000 the size that it was suspected to be. It was his "droplet model" theory that paved the way for fission. Basically, this theory stated that if a neutron hit the heavy nucleus of an atom, a fission reaction might be initiated. In 1943 Bohr fled from Jewish persecution in German occupied Denmark. Once in the United States, Bohr completely outline the require process of neutron emission. One of his most famous discoveries was that the rare isotope Uranium-235 (U-235) was fissionable and that the common isotope Uranium-238 (U-238) was not. This discovery led to the Manhattan Project's breakthrough that the tiny fragments from the result of fission could release neutrons. During a fission chain reaction, it was formulated that a large amount of energy could be released.
What I always found most interesting about the B-29 was first, the project engineering that went into it and, second the defense system of the plane.
In project engineering the B-29 took the aerospace industry to a whole new level. The sheer amount of parts that went into a B-29 was expotentially more than any mass produced plane to that point in time. Its complexity dwarfed Ford's efforts in mass producing the B-24 at Willow Run. It paved the way for many very complex massive post war projects as well.
Then there is the gun defense system. Many nations tried remotely controlled defensive gun systems. These had an obvious alure in that they would greatly reduce drag, reduced weight and, could be put places manned gun turrets and mounts could never go. The problem was alwasys getting the guns and sighting systems to work together properly.
Boeing and Hughes took a page from the US Navy and basically designed a system much like that used on capital ships for an airplane. The turrets and gun sights / directors were tied through a fire control electro-analog computer. The whole system then worked just like the main battery on a battleship or cruiser. A gunner could select the turret(s) to be controlled and then aim at a target with the sighting system. This computed lead, own aircraft course and speed, paralax errors in position... basically everything to bring the guns onto the target accurately.
No other nation got such a system to work. Many other US manufacturers tried too and failed. The Germans gave up on such complex systems. The Australians tried it in the Woomera but it didn't work. The Japanese gave it a go in the J1N Gekko but failed. Even the rival Consolidated B-32 ended up back with manned gun systems because of the complexity. Yet, the B-29 succeeded where others failed.
The Superfort was a quantum leap in bomber development and production. People sometimes tend to forget the complexity of the entire system, and the added "computer defense" which was which you were pointing out.
If I'm not mis-remembering this only the tail gunner was "independent" of the computer control, and in case of his death or incapaciation that set of weapons could also be "transferred" to the other system.
The whole project was without doubt the most advanced, most unique bomber of the war and it soldiered on well into the "jet" age.
I think that you are exaggerating. Better technology earlier would mean that the german forces would have been more powerful in the 1939-1942 period. This period had decisive importance for the subsequent periods.
For example, if they had better tanks, Barbarossa would still fail, but the Russians would suffer more severe casualties, so in 1942 they would be weaker. Maybe Operation Blue works and then, inexorably, the allies lose the war*.
Sure, if the US made the bomb in 1943 instead of 1945, the germans would have responded in kind in short order.
The war was quite close until 1944.
A panther costed 117.000 reichmarks, a panzer IV, 100.000. The panther was a much more efficient tank. If the germans had panthers in 1940 they would have a larger advantage earlier in the war.
In march 1945 the allies dropped 140.000 tons of bombs in germany. The bomb dropped in hiroshima had the destructive power of 18.000 tons of TNT. Germany was bombarded with 2.7 million tons of conventional bombs, the equivalent of 150 atom bombs. Overall, for its cost the atom bomb wasn't more powerfull than conventional bombing.
IMO there are 3 weapons that, if available earlier, could have made a strategic difference.
Had the Germans had a state of the art AT gun (read Pak 40) in mass deployment for Barbarossa it may have made a difference, they had big problems dealing with the soviet "heavvies" , when they were competently used, in 1941. Take away the tactical successes achieved in 1941 by the T34 an KV units thanks in part to technical superiority and the Red Army may well collapse.
The type XXI sub in 1943 would be a big headache for the allies and could possibly delay the buildup for overlord by making the Atlantic too dangerous for troop ships. I base this estimate on post war NATO evaluations of the difficulty of countering, even with 1950 technology, the soviet Whiskey subs that were based on the XXI.
The R4M air rocket would probably make unescorted daylight raids a suicide, so if available before the long range fighters it could have stopped the daylight bomber offensive for months or even discredited the whole idea of strategic bombing.
IMO the other "wonder weapons", including the tanks, the V1-V2 and the jet fighters, had only a tactical significance and would not have had a big effect.
BTW Fermi leaving Italy had a lot more to do with him having a jewish wife and Mussolini's racial laws than with "tensions with Germany".
yes more or less
COMMENT: Less powerful till you figure in what it costs to build all those 4 engined bombers to drop those 2.7 million tons of conventional bombs then figure in what one aircraft was able to do at Hiroshima & Nagasaki..
A better question for this whole thread might be how the Allies may better allocate resources to beat these better weapons. One that I can think of off hand ,one which may nullify the Type XXI sub would be if the Allies would have to abandon the strategic bombing camapaign then all those 4 eingined bombers could be used to cover the convoys.
The problem here is that the two technologies the Germans needed most they were the shortest on and were doing the least about. Those would have been logistics and civil engineering. Better tactical equipment would have made nearly ZERO difference in Russia in 1941-42. What was debilitating the Germans most was lack of supplies and lack of ability to improve infrastructure to deliver supplies.
The Germans by mid 1942 were operating roughly one ninth of the necessary rail lines needed to support their army. AGS at Stalingrad was relying on trucks and air lifts to deliver 100% of their supplies before the Soviet counter offensive began. In fact, the Germans had to strip most of their divisions of their trucks in AGS just to support the supply effort.
Why? Because the German rail head ended at Stalino almost 300 miles to the rear of Stalingrad and AGS's railway engineers (too few in number and ill-equipped) were busy trying to just maintain the existing rail lines forward. There were none available to repair or build new tracks forward to support the troops at Stalingrad.
In civil engineering the same is true. The German army was virtually unmechanized when it came to construction machinery. Their construction engineers had little more than hand tools to work with. There was no way the troops they had could build or maintain roads over long distances. Building something like the ALCAN highway or Ledo Road were impossibilities for the Germans.
So, the Germans went into Russia ill-prepared for the conditions they met. They took weeks or or months to bridge rivers properly that the US or British would have bridged in a day or two. They couldn't maintain the rail system properly. They couldn't build roads. The result was their troops suffered continiously from supply and material shortages.
Winter clothing? It was in Germany and there was plenty of it. Problem was in the winter of 1941 -42 that the rail system into Russia was so overloaded the Germans had a choice of sending food, fuel and, ammunition or, clothing and other non-combat supplies but not both. So, they sent what food and ammunition they could. It also meant that when the Russians attacked that German reinforcements arrived peicemeal, often had to march on foot long distances to get to their positions.
None of this would have been made better by a "better tank" or a "better" machinegun.
The difference here is that Germany was not even in the same race when it came to nuclear weapons. They didn't even have a working reactor, the first step in unravelling the nuclear puzzle. The one design they were working on using 1 kg blocks of un-enriched uranium with heavy water would not have worked had they completed the design (based on postwar examination of it). So, they would have been forced back to the drawing board to try again.
Once they did have a reactor they would have quickly realized that enrichment is necessary or they might have discovered plutonium too just as the US did. Either way would then require a massive investment in money and materials to produce enough weapons grade fissionable material to build a bomb.
So, if the US had a bomb in 1943 and used it on Germany it would have been literally years before the Germans could have responded in kind even knowing that such a weapon was possible. That is how far behind they were in that race.
Not really. After the fall of France there is only one incident where a German infantry division managed to defeat a British or US division of any kind on the offensive. That is the 18th VG against the 106th US ID in the Ardennes. Outside of that one case, 80%+ of the German army was essentially worthless as offensive troops.
Even in Russia German infantry divisions rarely proved capable of successful offensive action on their own. After Kursk, the Germans were basicly in the same position in Russia that they were in the West: 80% or more of their army was worthless for offensive combat.
Once again, a minor... or even major... tweak of tactical equipment would have made nearly ZERO difference. Germany was already defeated. It was a powerful zombie army that could no longer win but was very hard to kill.
That's the reality here.
Hitler essentially bankrupted Germany developing the armed forces he did. Now it's proposed they develop a much more expensive force?
And nobody is watching while they do this?
It's not at all clear to me by the way that Me-262s would have allowed the Germans to win the BOB. I've seen it calculated that they would have had a difficult time keeping a force of even 100 of them flying for any length of time and operational losses over Britain would not have been insignificant not to mention losses from British fighters catching them limping home on one engine.