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Bombers, speed over defensive armament, why were lessons ignored ?

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Justin Smith, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    Remember a mosquito only used half the number of Merlins as a Lancaster !
     
  2. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    I have been tapping away on my calculator using the monthly stats for sorties and missing and crashed from Hastings book.
    These are for night ops only.
    It should be born in mind that long distance ops over Germany were far more dangerous than shorter trips over (Western) occupied Europe.

    1939 = 170 sorties at 5.8% loss rate
    1940 = 17,493 sorties at 2.8% loss rate
    1941 = 27,101 sorties at 3.8% loss rate
    1942 = 32,737 sorties at 4.9% loss rate
    1943 = 62,736 sorties at 4.1% loss rate
    1944 = 113,352 sorties at 2.5% loss rate (first 6 months 54,390 at 3.2% loss rate)
    1945 = 44,074 sorties at 1.7% loss rate

    Note how the high numbers of sorties in 1944/45 at a lower (that`s lower, not low.....) loss rate skew the overall figures a bit.
    If you were a member of a heavy bomber aircrew anytime up to the second half of 1944 your prospects were not bright, particularly for ops over Germany, and especially flying to Berlin.
    If you wanted to live, you`d want to be in a Mosquito.......
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    unless you were being followed by an Me 262

    why do you think the 1944-45 overall losses rate were lower ? several reasons, and it's in the affirmative the LW Nachtjagd force was being thrown in the trash can ; loss of bases, compression of the Reich overall, equipment at a premium, still plenty of crews and ammo, the big one, loss of necessary fuel to fly ............ and of course the good ol me against thee when it came to new radar systems with the Allies having the upper hand in AI research and operational useage.
     
  4. Colonel FOG

    Colonel FOG Member

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    You guys are chocked full of good info!

    As an engineering type, I will have to agree with mcoffee that Hastings was an imbecile (ok, too harsh; let's go with "misinformed ignoramous") in regards to the Mossie carrying 4,000lbs of ordinance all the way to Berlin AND returning home afterwards...

    What about in-flight refueling developments?? Anyone?? Has this been discussed previously?
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Crikey Heir Colonel, thats a thought! Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..................................ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................thinking here...one could argue that the area one would be refueling would be too hot for a slow, steady re-fuel...Id have to say the answer to that is again based around the tactic of area bombing requiring the max amount of bombers at any time...to "support" such a fleet with re-fuelling would be impossible given the numbers...refuelling is good for a couple of aircraft (which can go on missions by themselves these days) but 50plus? How about refuelling the mozzies then and get your 4000lbs to berlin...i say its an idea...but again, where would one like to refuel without the good chance of being bounced? All of occupied Europe had fighter cover (patchy in areas at times) I think its possible if one is willing to approach Germany from the Sea...refuel well out to sea, then head in...Of course refuelling is a very technical thing for a pilot, they are seriously trained these days (and still need refuelling training) so its also a matter of even more training for a command that needed pilots and crews ASAP...slightly weak answers here Heir Colonel...but i would be interested in what McCoffee has to say on the matter...
     
  6. Colonel FOG

    Colonel FOG Member

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    CAC - Thanks for thinking so hard; don't hurt your self!

    I have never heard of any attempts to develop in-flight refueling during WW2. I thought maybe some expert here had knowledge of it.

    It seems to me that it is well-known that much of an aircraft's fuel is spent getting a bomb load to altitude and congregating into formations. Couldn't they have developed refueling over England as a means to extend the range of bomber streams comprised of faster and lighter bombers? Something like a "KB-17" putting out two wing tip drogues for a pair of Mossies to probe??

    "Top off the tank, Mate. Now, don't forget to wipe the windows and check the air in the tires!"
    Ho-hum... It's just a thought...
     
  7. Colonel FOG

    Colonel FOG Member

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    Hmmm.... found something on it:
    "By 1934, Alan Cobham of Britain had established the firm Flight Refueling Limited (FRL) to develop the small but important fittings and hose connections that enabled aerial refueling to be performed routinely. Cobham thought that aerial refueling would have great advantages for commercial aviation. He was wrong though, for commercial aircraft never did use his techniques, but he was later knighted for his contributions to this field.

    World War II brought about a hiatus in aerial refueling technology development as combatants sought to develop extremely long-range aircraft with large internal fuel capacity. In 1942, representatives of FRL visited the United States to fit their equipment to a B-24 Liberator tanker and a B-17 Flying Fortress receiver. The Army Air Forces planned to develop fleets of tanker and receiver aircraft. However, aircraft with large internal fuel capacity, such as the B-29 Superfortress, alleviated the need for aerial refueling."

    Aerial Refueling
     
  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    But remember how many British aircraft types were using them ;)

    There's a thread on AHF on tank design I conributed to that I'll have to chgeck; IIRC there was a wrinkle that Rolls Royce production was already so stretched that when they designed and tested the Meteor tank engine they couldn't build it, leading to further delays in arrival in service while someone else was sourced to actually make t'bugger!

    And of course - hence the value of the Packard Merlin!

    I don't think inflight refuelling would have been the answer once the Allies moved to massed attacks and area bombing; the sheer logistical weight of maintaining and flying a fleet of tanker aircraft would have greatly impinged on their ability to fly so many combat aircraft in the massed raids of the second half of the war....let alone the issues with managing massed refuellings in the air. There's just so much airspace over the UK!

    It might have assisted the British IF they'd gone ahead with the Victory concept....or made the mistake of staying with small, "precision" raids... allowing them to get a huge aircraft off the ground and spiral to altitude over the UK...THEN refuel for a faster, more fuel-hungry dash over to Europe at altitude than otherwise planned.

    But right at the heart of the issue....in the WWII era, could inflight refuelling be made to work....at night?
     
  9. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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  10. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Thanks for the refence.

    I didn't have time to complete what I was saying earlier, unfortunately; as well as the traffic management issues of SO many aircraft in the air over the UK if this had been attempted....

    One unsung aspect of the Battle of Britain was that both sides monitored the others' R/T traffic ...and gained a lot of SIGINT from the process. Inflight refuelling is a quite R/T- heavy procedure even today...

    Can you imagine what would happen once the Luftwaffe became aware of what was going on in the air over the UK at night immediately before raids? Orbiting tankers, orbiting bombers....LW intruding nightfighters would have a field day.
     
  11. Colonel FOG

    Colonel FOG Member

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    I'm still not convinced that in-flight refueling shouldn't have been considered, even if only on a limited basis. I think there might have been some tactical uses for such. Perhaps in smaller formations, sent in advance of heavy bombers, to draw the German fighters up from their bases and expend their fuel.

    Furthermore: How would the Luftwaffe nightfighters get across the channel without being detected and shot down on their way to attack the tankers?
    Heck, even if they tried, the Brits could send up dummy formations to draw them over...
    Who could tell the difference between a mass of tankers and a mass of bombers on German radar? Did the Germans send mass fighter attacks over Britain while the bombers were forming up?
    Didn't the Brits have radar and nightfighters, too?
    How many mass attacks of fighters did Germany throw at Britain in, say, 1943-44?

    I'm just thinking it could have been a viable adjunct to the tactics, by throwing another source of confusion at the enemy.

    "Achtung! Here come the bombers, get set to scramble the fighters!" All the sudden, as it approaches, the bomber formation is no longer traveling at 220; it's now doing 350!
    "Vas ist los? Our timing is off!"
    And, once the Mossies drop some bombs, they become fighters... hmmm???
     
  12. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Col Fog

    yes the LW sent over Me 410 intruders and shot down BC bombers on their return flights, this also happened during 1945 by Ju 88G-6's with some success, the biggest problem for the LW was the largest over the channel flight in March 1945 when a huge weather front played havoc with the returning LW NF's and many ran out of fuel and crashed or the crews had to bail out over uncertain areas. what is of interest in the 1945 raids was the Briotish home defense Mossie NF's having some confusion in the process and I have not been able to determine why since very very few Ju's were shot down over England in this time period, the Mossies of course having the latest AI radar sets installed.

    there are several good texts of Mossie intruders ~ meaning the fighter bomber versions providing severe nuisance radis over LW A/F's during 44. My cousin actually shot down a FB version in his ancient Do 217N-1 over the coast off of Sylt in 1943. The Mossie crew just hanging out a tad too long over the western shores looking for targets.
     
  13. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    ....and in 1943 (unsuccessfully) infiltrated lampblacked Fw-190s into the returning bomber stream at night - unsuccessful in that night navigation doesn't seem to have been the pilots' strong point!

    Feldgrau.net • View topic - Strange stories of Luftwaffe


    Would the actual identity of the aircraft matter? What would matter is them orbiting for their turn at the spout OR for bombers to appear, then flying level and steady and slow for some considerable distance....

    How many times could the expensively-constructed and trained tanker force survive interdiction before it's numbers reduced to the point where it was useless anyway? And remember - every tanker built and crewed is one less bomber anyway...

    Yes there were British nightfighters and radar - but it too can be distracted; a few intruder bombers or minelayers and they're otherwise occupied....

    How would the Germans get there? Same as they did historically; there were quite large numbers of night intruder sorties flown by the LW in 1940-43 for various reasons.
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    not wishing to get OT but there were not that many LW intruder raids over England during the war. Principly it was NJG 2 with it's Ju 88C-4 and C-6's that made the most lasting impression and in trails against this I feel the home defense English based Beaufighters NF's were developed as it appeared the downings of the LW radiers was by Flak. during 1941 this was a tedious mess for the British until under the short Austrians orders all of NJG 2 was pulled to the Med to make Muss a happy little camper.................what a total waste.
    In April 1941 II./KG 51 with grey/black Me 410's flew as intruders to tail the BC 4 engines back to their bases, the response was to shoot down as many bombers as possible as a scare tactic if you will and keep BC off guard. when the CO of the intruder unit was KIA the intruder raids by Me 410's mysteriously ended.
    not until 1945 did the Lw NF's hierarchy intend or I should say deliver more raids over England with forewarad bases near the coastline for Ju 88G-1/G-6's to follow BC back to their airfields bombing and shooting up targets of opportunity, and not just British A/C. Home based English Mosquito units had scant success..........
     
  15. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Hi Erich...

    ...I didn't mean just nightfighter intruders, but bombers, minelayers etc. also. The RAF didn't care what their particular mission profile was
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    friend then you are not actually talking about true intrduer missions but aerial bombing by T/E and S/E -associated LW bomber units as well as T/E Aerial mine-laying off the coast.
     
  17. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    I appreciate the organisational distinction...tho' as I said, this wrinkle was hardly of interest to the British as much as defending against them ;) Discovering what could be determined of their mission was one for Air Intelligence...from the wreckage/survivors.
     
  18. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    had the continued NJG Intruder missions been furtherd in greater numbers BC and the US bomber bases most likely would not have occurred, and yes I know about the debate we have had on this what-if in the past. NJG 2 was menacing the English and they did not have a solid response to these incursions of 1941 ............... yet.

    off to physical therapy
     
  19. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    Len Deighton (on Max Hasting`s Bomber Command) :
    Brilliantly researched......an important contribution to our understanding of the Second World War.

    Whatever the exact bombload a Mosquito could take to Berlin, it could take a load to Berlin, and, most importantly, stand a far higher chance of getting back again.
    I don`t think Max Hastings is the only one saying that a Mosquto was very difficult to shoot down, most significantly Adolf Galland thought so too.
    Interestingly Galland commented in his autobiography that the Mosquito`s wooden construction made it harder to pick up on radar. How true is that ?
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    actually the Mossie was easy to spot just like other T/E and 4/engines but catching it at the right moment, and you had to jump on it from above was critical. as you mention Addi often do you know if he had first hand experience engaging the Mossie by day as he knew nothing of it by night except what he was told as Inspect. of fighters ?
     

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