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Germany develops in-flight refueling.

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by BEARPAW, Mar 23, 2009.

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  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    The distance from the East coast of the US to Europe is about 3600 miles one way. Make it 7000 both ways. The Gulf of Mexico even longer.The average range of a JU-88 is 1696 miles. How many times would they have to be refueled? How much fuel will be needed and used up before even being able to attack?
     
  2. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I would agree with this analysis. The problem for Germany was that Britain sat like a cork in a bottle for both air and surface naval sorties from Europe.

    The Germans were able to get FW 200 aircraft out over the Atlantic on occasion and they did sight convoys once in a while. Usually when that happened, the sighting reports that were sent back contained erroneous position references and it was not possible for U-boats to find the convoys (Blair, "Hitler's U-boat War" Vol. 1).

    But trying to fly around British air coverage is going to add hundreds of miles on both the outbound and inbound legs and will negate the advantage of airborne refueling. Also, the refueling rendevouz point, if it became know to the enemy would become a pont of extreme vulnerability and there is ample reason to believe the Allies would have means of discovering these rendevouz points.

    The other question I have about this concept is, how many recon aircraft would be required to adequately cover the North Atlantic? Seems to me the number would be in the hundreds and that implies huge numbers of tanker aircraft and fighter escorts. The airbases for these aircraft would, of necessity, be in western France offering prime targets for RAF bombers.

    Then, too, as I've mentioned before, weather in the North Atlantic is not conducive to the success of air patrols. And no one has been willing to discuss this factor.
     
  3. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I would agree with this analysis. The problem for Germany was that Britain sat like a cork in a bottle for both air and surface naval sorties from Europe.

    The Germans were able to get FW 200 aircraft out over the Atlantic on occasion and they did sight convoys once in a while. Usually when that happened, the sighting reports that were sent back contained erroneous position references and it was not possible for U-boats to find the convoys (Blair, "Hitler's U-boat War" Vol. 1).

    But trying to fly around British air coverage is going to add hundreds of miles on both the outbound and inbound legs and will negate the advantage of airborne refueling. Also, the refueling rendevouz point, if it became know to the enemy would become a pont of extreme vulnerability and there is ample reason to believe the Allies would have means of discovering these rendevouz points.

    The other question I have about this concept is, how many recon aircraft would be required to adequately cover the North Atlantic? Seems to me the number would be in the hundreds and that implies huge numbers of tanker aircraft and fighter escorts. The airbases for these aircraft would, of necessity, be in western France offering prime targets for RAF bombers.

    Then, too, as I've mentioned before, weather in the North Atlantic is not conducive to the success of air patrols. And no one has been willing to discuss this factor.
     
  4. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I would agree with this analysis. The problem for Germany was that Britain sat like a cork in a bottle for both air and surface naval sorties from Europe.

    The Germans were able to get FW 200 aircraft out over the Atlantic on occasion and they did sight convoys once in a while. Usually when that happened, the sighting reports that were sent back contained erroneous position references and it was not possible for U-boats to find the convoys (Blair, "Hitler's U-boat War" Vol. 1).

    But trying to fly around British air coverage is going to add hundreds of miles on both the outbound and inbound legs and will negate the advantage of airborne refueling. Also, the refueling rendevouz point, if it became know to the enemy would become a pont of extreme vulnerability and there is ample reason to believe the Allies would have means of discovering these rendevouz points.

    The other question I have about this concept is, how many recon aircraft would be required to adequately cover the North Atlantic? Seems to me the number would be in the hundreds and that implies huge numbers of tanker aircraft and fighter escorts. The airbases for these aircraft would, of necessity, be in western France offering prime targets for RAF bombers.

    Then, too, as I've mentioned before, weather in the North Atlantic is not conducive to the success of air patrols. And no one has been willing to discuss this factor.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    In regegards to weather some people forget that back then navigation was an art and not anywhere near as easy as in this day of GPS. Especially on a long flight over water it was easy to be off by significant distances and not realize it until you came in sight of land or didn't.
     
  6. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Exactly and unlike bombing a ground target where there would be a map and at least some landmarks a convoy is constantly moving. Fuel would be used up in the initial search and approach for the convoy.
     
  7. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    Anouther problem I would see would be the use of aviation fuel as opposed to jet fuel.
    At disconnect some spray occurs. Assuming the refueling probe is in the center of the Ju-88 then at disconnet raw gas could hit the hot engines. With jet engines the jet fuel spray just gets sucked into the engines and burned.

    For a science project go out and start your lawnmower and then take a windex bottle full of gasoline and spray the exhaust and see what happens. Should you survive, write back and tell us about it.
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    As a kid with me airfix models, I used to sneak my mums bellair hair laquer out...spray on hh/oo soldiers...light match...and would it suprise you to know the allies always won...

    Cpl singed fingers was my name....flame throwers was my game....

    Now dont be trying this at home kiddies....its meant for old war nuts with no common sense only....
     
  9. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    Model airplanes have gotton too expensive to do that anymore, at least in this country. But since you are part of the Royal Family I guess you can still get away with it. ( you are Royal are you not ? )
     
  10. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    As a youth I found out using a similar method that my GI Joe in his military firefighter outfit wasn't fireproof LOL.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Thank you very much for outing me TA...now its autographs and tired hand shaking for months....Dont on any account let me see anyone eating me swans.
     
  12. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    ww2 forum buffs.....equals ww2 loons...
     
  13. fast1

    fast1 Member

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    LOL! how much? same "@JCFalkenbergIII, I think this is similar also in" GI Joe :D


    [​IMG]
     
  14. neverseperat

    neverseperat Member

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    Then Germany would take england then to Greenland, then to Canada and then try to take US, or they would end up fairing better in their bombing runs.
     
  15. Shadow Master

    Shadow Master Member

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    This isn't so much a reply with all that great of content, but it's to make it possible to visualize what kind of scale the north Atlantic is (I needed this to fix things firmly in mind, lol), but the side effect is that everyone that wants can copy this image and then edit it when/if they make a post where this would be pertinent. If the site already has a library of such maps, I apologise for not knowing this, and if not, perhaps some members could post some stock images for everyone's use.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    Wouldn't both planes be sitting ducks when in the process of re-fueling?


    John
     
  17. Shadow Master

    Shadow Master Member

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    Ok, TA Gardner asked some basic questions, and I feel that I needed this map to serve as a starting point. I want to set some thoughts out:

    1) We know that the Germans historically choose not to develop the technologies of mid-air refueling and drop tanks for the Luftwaffe. If we want to explore the potential these techs might have had for the Germans, let us assume the following things.

    A-The Germans decide that war with Briton is inevitable, back in the 1920's, and the most effective way to defeat them is by sinking their merchantmen.

    B-The Germans stumble across the idea of trying to reach the British merchantmen with long range land based aircraft, in addition to their submarines.

    C-The Germans decide to make this an all out priority, and thus construct the entire Luftwaffe to have somewhat greater range than historically, and to be able to make use of drop tanks and mid-air refueling.

    2) If the Germans choose to do the above (a best case scenario), lets set the time frame for the possibility to be potentially effective from the time of the fall of France, to the time of operation Barbarossa. Basically, if they fail to finish off the Brits before they attack the USSR, they loose no matter what.

    With these factors in consideration, lets start using the first map in our posts to make things clear. That said, here is a pic showing some info:

    [​IMG]

    Ok, if we assume that the Germans are never going to match (or exceed) the range of the P51 with any single engine fighters, that red line is going to represent a capability the Germans cannot exceed. A twin engined fighter like the bf 110C-4 had a range listed as 1,500 miles, a 35,000 ft ceiling, and a top speed of just under 350 MPH. So if the 110 had DT and MAR capabilities, I think its safe to say that they could have easily been capable of venturing far out over the Atlantic. What good they would have done against carrier based fighters is problematic at best, except in the area of range.

    So far, the only twin engined, single seat fighter I have found reference to is the Dornier Do 335, and this wasn't till later in the war IIRC.

    The idea for the red and orange circles was to show what kind of coverage they might be able to offer, and also how far away they could be detected from their radar emissions. When I put them on the map thought, I placed them to far apart, lol. Anyway, now we should have a starting point for showing on the map the areas that the tanker operations would likely take place, and how far out the aircraft might have gone.
     
  18. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The bigger problem is simply the concept itself with the aircraft available.

    A Ju 290 can haul about 5 to 7 tons of fuel other than its own. A Bv 222 might manage 20 to 22 tons max. A single He 177 or Fw 190 will require between 5 and 7 tons of fuel for a full load.
    This means a Ju 290 tanker might supply 2, maybe 3 aircraft of the size listed max. A Bv 222 could manage something in the 5 to 9 range maximum.
    What I'm getting at here is that even with tankers the Germans simply could never manage to get much of a sizable strike off using them. Aircraft of the period were simply too limited on their carrying ability to make tankers truly useful in most cases.
     
  19. seeker

    seeker Member

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    Adam Claasen's "Hitlers Norther War, the Luftwaffas ill-fated campaign , 1940-1945" reports that the Condors flew from Bordeaux in France to Sola Norway roughly 3300km trip . At which point they had the option of just flying back to Germany or to route back the way the came on the next flight. When this was first tried in 1940 it worked reasonably well, but with only a handful of the Condors put at the disposal of the KM for a short period of time, they didn' t have a whole lot of sucesses. However given how much time the Uboats wasted groping around blind for Convoys, anything would have improvement. Now the Condors range was only about 3300km , so I gather that they rode the 'jet stream' to artifically boost their 'econo cruise speed' to cover the 3300km or so plus reserve fuel.




    Looking at the Ju-88 to get it to duplicate this range....

    http://www.beim-zeugmeister.de/zeugmeister/index.php?id=50&L=1

    with 2900l fuel and 4 x 250kg bombs external the Ju-88 at 4km altitude consumes about 380l/hour fuel at cruise speed of 330kph. So this works out to 7.6 hours endurance @ 203mph or a range of 1550 miles. That’s 2511km range. But riding the winds 20-30knts @ 18,000 feet should add ~ 250 miles range or over 400km .[238mph@ 7.6 hours] . With drop tanks that’s 9.2 hours @ 238mph or 2192 miles range, or 3551km. Which is the rough distance from Bordeaux in France to Sola Norway, that the condors took plus a small reserve. So any inflight refueling would only have to operate out of Norway or France a few hundred km to meet up with these recon/attack planes. These could be heavily escorted by land based LW.



    The germans don't have to intercept every convoy bound for England. If they did that the allies would have quickly given up any hope of every invading Europe. They just have to intercept enough to slow the build up.


    To bomb the USA you need to have buddy system with pairs of bombers. Some carrying internal and external tanks while others carry bombs or V-1s etc. Then take off in pairs and fly part way across the Atlantic . At that point the fuel bomber transfers its load to the armed bomber and returns to base. This way the range of the armed bomber can be extended by 1/2 again.Also all this talk of Escort carriers...they didn't even materialise until 1943. This air born refueling campaign would have be ongoing since 1940.

    By riding the jet stream and alternating return leg & altitude, they can ride the stream both ways extending the range even further and make enemy interception on the return leg alot more difficult. If the allies want to station CVEs off the coast of America or France to attempt to intercept these etc , then that will also tell the Uboats were to patrol for best results.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The Jet Stream doesn't run North South. They may have gotten some helpful winds but that's another matter.
    The Jet stream winds typically have velocities much higher than 20-30 knots. If you work out the math if you fly both ways winds will hurt more than they will help. Note that the above seams to depend on known helpful winds. I'm also not sure what the point is France to Norway doesn't seam to be of much utility to the Germans.

    Looks like a one way trip to me at least for the bomber. Then there is the question of whether or not they encounter the jet stream which usually has a major west to east component. Then there are the navigational problems. Even a light northerly or southerly wind and you come out somewhere different than expected and don't make landfall when you expect if you make it at all.
    This is dependent on the Germans knowing a lot more about the jet stream than they do. Even today commercial airliners only are able to make use of it because they have up to date weather forecast (ie hourly). Even the altitudes the jet stream is at vary considerably. Then there's the problem that there isn't normally an east to west component.
     
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