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B-29's over Berlin

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Class of '42, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    What if B-29's were assigned to the Eighth Air Force as additional firepower over the Third Reich say in '44..would of this made a huge difference???..always wondered.

    B-29's bombing mission.jpg
     
  2. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    I doubt it. Besides, that was meant for the longer haul in the Pacific.
     
  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The first B-29 group was deployed to China, via India, in April 1944 (a misuse of assets and logistics IMO), so they presumably could have been active in Britain at that time or shortly earlier (not much earlier, the B-29 had considerable teething troubles). In particular, supply ships could make several trips to Britain in the time it took to steam to India and back.

    The 8th Air Force, Bomber Command, and the tactical and fighter forces were reaching peak strength at that time, so we might consider how feasible it would be to construct additional airfields and operate any significant increase in aircraft.

    German industrial production actually peaked in summer 1944, largely due to their own efforts, but also due to the assignment of heavy bombers to preparation for Overlord and support of the ground campaign. If the USAAF could deploy significantly more bombers, they might have kept the pressure up on German industry.

    Of course, if the Allies were willing to devote more logistic effort to building up forces in Britain, that could just as easily have been additional ground troops or tactical air.

    While the B-29 deployment to China (Operation Matterhorn) could have been foregone with little loss to the Allied war effort, their main role was the bombing of Japan from the Marianas. This was something only the B-29 could do, and this is what have been curtailed by a large-scale deployment to Europe. Bottom line, you never get something for nothing. Every B-29 over Berlin is one less over Tokyo.
     
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  4. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    My German is a little rusty these days but this is page one of a four-page propaganda leaflet dropped by the 8th Air Force in early 1944...basically says American B-29's are coming for you.

    Der Sternenbanner_1 (Photo 1)
     
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  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Interesting, I always thought of propaganda leaflets as being short and to the point, but this is like a little newspaper. Message - if you think the Flying Fortresses are bad, wait till you see their big brother!
     
  6. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...the big question:
    ....was there room for them? do you have to build new airfields/barracks/storage tanks/etc? how much time would it have taken to build all of that and bring in everything related?
    ..when did the Allies get air superiority?
    ....I thought I did read where Speer said if six more [ something like that ] cities were destroyed like Hamburg or Dresden [ I forget which one ] , the Germans were '''through''.....
    ..who knows, really, what would've happened?
    ....could England's ports/etc handle all of that plus the build up for DDay? plus post DDay?
     
  7. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    Considering they had a longer range than the B-17 and B-24, I suppose you can have them flying out of the Middle East instead??..I read once that Egypt was once considered, or even Iran I guess. Even perhaps Foggia Airfield in Italy by then but the need for longer runways would be required plus emergency landing strips for damaged aircraft also be required. But considering they carried twice the payload with those remote firing guns..they might of made a difference over the European skies...something to consider.
     
  8. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....Japan didn't stop fighting and the B29s destroyed most of their major cities..and the subs cut Japan off
     
  9. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    Considering most of Japans housing was made of wood and paper..it wasn't much defense against incendiaries but the debate of bombing cities will continue...as Dresden always comes to mind.
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    That would only seem to be of value if there were targets that couldn't be reached any other way, or if they literally could not be accommodated in Britain or Italy. The laws of physics still apply to B-29s; the closer they can be based to their targets, the more bombs they can carry.

    The laws of logistics apply also. B-29s in Europe would be in lieu of something else, starting with the bombing campaign against Japan. I've made one suggestion, the excessively large shipping and air transport effort necessary to base one B-29 group in China (eventually relocated to the Marianas when bases there became available), but that alone would not compensate for a major B-29 force in Europe. There were also other priorities if more shipping did become available; about 1/4 of the American army divisions which served in the ETO did not arrive until 1945, and there was a chronic shortage of infantry. We might consider what Eisenhower would have asked for if he had the option.
     
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  11. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    I had a chance meeting with General Curtis LeMay while stationed at March AFB back around '74. By this this time he been retired close to ten years now but he was still considered the Godfather of SAC and someone asked him about the use of B-29's over Japan. He said something to the effect, they were more effective at lower altitudes and most likely shorten the war but it's the politicians I couldn't stand...everybody laughed.
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I don't think the American generals wanted to risk the B-29s over a country that had jet aircraft and air to air rockets. there was a big difference between losing a B-17 and losing a B-29. There was a lot more cost and man-hours put into a '29.
     
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  13. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I have no love for LeMay. He damn near got us into a nuke war with the USSR-on purpose.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....they still didn't want to surrender after the A bombs....just like Germany, they weren't surrendering until they were occupied like Berlin was, or whole cities were destroyed with 1 bomb ..they were even more fanatical than the Germans ....I don't see the B29s affecting the length of the war significantly
    ...he sounds like Harris, etc = air power will win the war/etc ......air power will bring Germany to it's knees/etc
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  15. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    Cuban Missile Crisis 1962.jpg
     
  16. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    None really. Germany was assailed from East and West as well as the skies above.
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The european campaign was to bomb the cities to kingdom come. The means they had did that. Do not see any better results by b-29s. Harris was even angry to use bombers for D-Day targets as he wanted to bomb cities as he promised in 1940.
     
  18. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think the Red Army was so close and ready to Make their final attack that dropping an A bomb was not at least in 1945 necessary.
     
  20. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    Trinity Test was July--so no way
    ...like Kai P stated--the Russians were there long before Trinity Test
     

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