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The Germans bomb the US a workable scenario

Discussion in 'Alternate History' started by T. A. Gardner, Oct 10, 2023.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    It's often been speculated how the Germans might successfully attack the mainland US, but most of the scenarios are highly speculative or unworkable. This one would have worked had the German military thought of it and proceeded with making it happen.

    Towards the end of 1941, October - December, some Luftwaffe officer gets the ear of Göring and presents a plan to bomb the US. His plan is thus:

    The existing BV 222 flying boats, V-1 to 3, along with V4 - 6 in production, are to be fitted for the flight to and from the US. They are given extra fuel tanks to extend their range to about 4,500 miles (an extra 700 or so over their 3,800 mile range as is.) In addition, they get several MG 15 for self-defense and ETC racks to carry a total of 8 250 kg bombs.

    Six crews are selected and trained on the existing machines for the operation. By April 1942 all 6 aircraft are to be available.

    U-460 is chosen (or U-459 or 461), a Type XIV supply U-boat, along with one Type IX as an escort. U-460 is fitted with Luftwaffe radios and a radio direction homing set for aircraft navigation. Ammunition and other stores and parts for the aircraft are collected and loaded aboard the submarines for this mission. Mechanics and other Luftwaffe personnel are assigned to ride on U-460 for the mission to conduct any servicing and repairs the planes might need.

    With the 6 BV 222 ready to fly in April, the mission is set for May or June while the aircraft undergo some additional flight time.

    The two U-boats leave Germany or Norway and head to Greenland where they anchor in a suitable bay for seaplane operations about a week ahead of the mission. One of their assignments there is to conduct weather forecasts so the planes will be flying in during a good period of summer weather. An additional U-boat is sent to the area between Greenland and Canada to do weather forecasts as well.

    The planes are specially prepped to ensure they're as ready to fly without problems as possible. They fly to Norway where they refuel before continuing on to Greenland. They use the U-boat's navigation aids to find the rendezvous site where they land, refuel, and are serviced.

    Once refueled, they take off timing their take off to put them over their targets shortly after sunrise with the return flight made in daylight to make landing at the U-boat site easier to accomplish.

    For targets, three are to go to Detroit and bomb automotive factories known to exist prior to the war. Three more are to fly to the Chicago area and bomb the city. US defense measures are unknown but expected to be near nonexistent and surprise will aid the plane's escape.

    The planes fly from Greenland to their targets drop their bombs and head back to Greenland. The US and Canada would doubtless try to do something to intercept them, but I'm not sure what measures they could take that would be effective as most of the flight is over wilderness.

    The planes arrive back at the U-boats where they again refuel before heading back to Norway and then Germany.

    The fuel required would be somewhere around 120 to 150 metric tons and a Type XIV has about 600 aboard for use in refueling. As the planes are diesel engined, they have the advantage of not requiring special aviation fuel but can use the same fuel as the U-boats.

    The raid is little more than a pinprick on the US, but the propaganda value is tremendous.
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    The raid is little more than a pinprick on the US, but the propaganda value is tremendous. - A German Doolittlle raid - Pun intended,
    I have submitted two of my own scenerios to successfully bomb the US on this site. - One included the Amerika bomber - The other a specifically designed V-2 Submarine.
    The problem with any aircraft scenerio is that it only works well the first time - After, diminishing returns as the US prepares itself. It more than any country can afford aircraft patrolling the coast 24/7. The location of the re-fuel subs can be calculated and the US Navy waiting for them...

    The submarine scenerio works well again and again...They can pop up ANYWHERE along the coast, fire and submerge before the Navy or Air Force can reach them. My design for the sub was far superior to the one the Germans came up with (My design would be a cut down V-2 - Less fuel smaller size and weight. To be assembled on board prior to firing through/behind the conning tower) - Less sophisticated would be assembly on the deck of the submarine using a crane, a hydraulic arm lifting the rocket in to position and firing. The first option has far more advantages.

    Darwin used to have Japanese bombers make raids and flying boats coming in afterward to photograph the damage. The Australian knew this and would know that a flying boat was coming, so the tactic would be to take to the air a half an hour before the flying boat was expected and hang out in the clouds waiting for it to arrive. Then send it down.

    To me the flying boat has a huge fuel situational advantage over land bombers - But thats where the advantage ends. Land bombers would be faster - The flying boats would ALL be caught. The Land bombers could take the fuel, the bomb load and protect itself with heavy guns.

    I've mentioned before a fictional book i read about dropping the BIG ONE on the US. Only half way through the book do you realise that the Germans are planning to Nuke the US. Their plan was to train a German crew in all the functions of the B-17. Place the bomb inside a captured (and modified) B-17 and the crew would fly it hopefully unmolested to their target.
    The B-17 would obviously have US markings...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2023
  3. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The V-2 - submarine scenario will not work. The V-2 uses LOX and alcohol as fuel. LOX would have to be made and stored just before the launch. A LOX plant on a submarine isn't happening. Switching to storable propellants like RFNA (Red Fuming Nitric Acid) that is highly reactive, furfuryl alcohol (a serious poison and neurotoxin), aniline, Tonka 250, are all OMG serious accidents just waiting to happen on a sub. The Soviets lost at least two early SSB's (non-nuclear) using this stuff on their SLBM's. Liquid rocket fuels are dangerous as hell. Trying to load a ballistic missile at sea would be insanely dangerous.

    The fueling and then launch operation would take hours on the surface for the sub. That's just asking for some ASW asset to show up and sink the whole thing. By late 1944, there were regular patrols by lots of aircraft and ships along the East Coast. Subs rarely survived going there as it was.

    Since the Germans never even came close to making a nuke--they were years from one--that's out of the question.

    The scenario I proposed happens in the summer of 1942 when the US really doesn't have much of an air defense in place at home, and the attack comes from an unexpected direction: Greenland over Hudson Bay into the Great Lakes region. At that point there's really nothing there to stop the Germans or try to intercept them after they bomb their targets. Best, unlike the East Coast at the time, the Great Lakes region would not be blacked out so towns and cities are fully lit making the approach in morning twilight easier.

    Six available, long-range, flying boats in mid-1942 stand a far better chance against the much weaker Allied ASW forces than some just before the end of the war scenario ever does. The only aircraft that could mess with the plan are USAAF fighters in Iceland and in mid- 1942 these are mostly a motely collection of early P-40's, P-39's and a few P-38's. Radar coverage was extremely limited at the time.

    An additional advantage is the Germans still have automated and manned weather stations on Greenland and even in Canada at the time. These are a big help to making sure the raid takes place in good weather.
     
  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Hmmm…my scenario has a large, purpose built submarine (purpose built is important and something the Germans excelled in). My idea has the rocket mostly intact, stored in 2 or 3 pieces that only need wiring connections and to be bolted together. They all sit in a cradle (and any other necessities - which could be numerous - planned for sorted for a one way voyage).
    The submarine, by the nature of its mission would spend the majority of its time underwater firstly to avoid detection and secondly to ensure a smooth ride. (These missions would be long).
    I understand the volatility problem, that could be reduced…it really could. Plus so much was done that was dangerous in WW2 and in war in general, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. The Kursk or even the Doolittle raid itself was in many ways a suicide mission but was done anyway…So I don’t accept that as a negating factor.
    The time I allowed my imaginary crew to surface - fire -submerge was 30 minutes. This done at 4ish in the morning 10-50 miles out from the coast (depending on the range of the target). Their position should only be given away after launch so most of the ‘packing up’ is done prior to launch…I anticipate 5-10 minutes to submerge after launch…Giving the Navy and Airforce no time to zero in and be where the submarine is…The sub will be miles away (in any direction) moving to its new launch position, which I’ve decided would be 24 hours later at 3-5 in the morning.
    I produced a couple of designs that would carry these rockets- One that had the missile parts elevated horizontally, they would be connected there laying down and a boom arm would then lift it to firing position somewhere aft or forward (probably forward) of the conning tower…this designed negated the worry of thrust exhaust.
    The second was more adventurous and resembled more a missile sub of today…well sort of (I couldn’t use any tech that wasn’t available or possible back then obviously). Again stored in racks in a cradle the missiles in this design were assembled ‘inside the sub’ quite possible while submerged (remember I said these were smaller V2s…Same design, less fuel and probably a smaller warhead.) they are moved via a track to the back of the conning tower which is in fact a launching tube where the war head is fitted as the last step. The sub surfaces and final ‘aiming’ preparations are done (My idea involves hitting large cities like New York) it doesn’t involve accurate targeting. Much like the real V2. The rocket is fired with the exhaust funnelled upward at the side (like an ICBM) - The firing tube hatch is secured and the submarine slips under the sea in the blackness of night, to its next launch point tomorrow night.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2023
  5. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Assuming that the uboats, the cut-down V2, and all thd associated gubbins can be produced and usable by 1942 (I'm not convinced), accuracy would still be a huge issue. The aiming of a V2 depended on knowing your starting point and working from there, and even then hitting London (not a small target) was not guaranteed. Launching from sea, where your position is hard to pin down precisely would simply enlarge the error. All you could be sure of hitting was North America
     
  6. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Assuming that the uboats, the cut-down V2, and all thd associated gubbins can be produced and usable by 1942 (I'm not convinced), accuracy would still be a huge issue. The aiming of a V2 depended on knowing your starting point and working from there, and even then hitting London (not a small target) was not guaranteed. Launching from sea, where your position is hard to pin down precisely would simply enlarge the error. All you could be sure of hitting was North America
     
  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    You could be right…but this would be over shorter distances - Plus a gyro launch platform…Germans developed something similar for their anti air guns mounted on water craft.
    And my designs were not based on 42…To be honest I hadn’t chosen a year for them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2023
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Did not know that, thanks!
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    A "small V-2" might be a Wasserfall SAM. The Wasserfall was designed using the same body profile as the A-4 / V-2 just cut down in size. It was 25 feet long and weighed about 4.5 tons empty, and about double that loaded with fuel. It has a 500 lbs. warhead and a range, ballistically of about 25 miles. It uses RFNA and Tonka 250 (aka Visol). RFNA is reactive with just about any hydrocarbon and is very nasty stuff. Tonka 250 is toxic. They are storable as rocket propellants. That is, the rocket can be fueled ahead of time. They are also hypergolic. That is they combust violently on mixing without any need for a flame. Even the smoke from the missile can be toxic.

    A LOX plant on a sub isn't happening. It takes up too much space, but even if you had the smallest one you could and somehow crammed it into a sub, it would take hours upon hours to make enough LOX to fuel a missile, and the boat would have to be surfaced to do it.

    Given actual results with the Wasserfall in firing tests, I'd say that there is about a one in five chance on any launch the missile explodes instead resulting in either serious damage to the sub or even its potential sinking. There would also be a very large trailing brownish smoke cloud from the point of launch extending several miles into the sky that gives away the sub's position to any observer seeing it.

    I'd think the failure rate would be pretty high as these missiles--any of them--are not particularly well suited to damp, humid environments and rough handling. It doesn't take much for one component to fail and the missile to go astray, explode, or just not work in general. Fuel leaks, even a tiny one, would be disastrous. A I-400 sized submarine might carry say, 3 to 5 Wasserfall-sized missiles aboard. Setting one up for firing and then launching would take about an hour-ish on the surface. Doing that in anything other than calm seas would be a terrifying exercise at best, a disaster at worst.

    Being that close to a major US port or city would mean--by 1944--surfacing that close is an instant risk of being detected by aerial patrol planes, various naval ships, or even a merchant ship. The sub, depending on exact location, could even find itself within range of US coast defense artillery.

    A V-1 launching sub is more workable. You'd need something about I-400 sized with a catapult aboard to get the V-1 in the air (the engine doesn't provide enough thrust for a self-launch). Again, from surfacing to firing the time would be about an hour. Some assembly would be required, and the missile removed from the hanger, positioned on the catapult, checked out to make sure everything is working, then fired.
     
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  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The big problem I see with the initial plan is the British are using radio detection equipment to locate subs. Transmitting for long enough for the planes to home in on the subs is going to be located pretty well and reacted to.

    Also not sure about US AA defenses early on there were some in the Detroit area by mid to late war I'm pretty sure they were relocated but by then there are a lot of ships in the Atlantic with radar and a lot of planes available.

    Interestingly enough the Sault St Marie canal was considered a potential target and pretty well defended early on. See:
    Chapter IV: The Continental Defense Commands After Pearl Harbor

    There were also US bases in Greenland see:
    Chapter XVII: Greenland: Arctic Outpost

    Also there were fighters based at Selfridge just north of Detroit. See:
    Selfridge Air National Guard Base - Wikipedia
     
  12. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    To my mind the seaplane option is definitely more feasible than missile-launching U-boats.

    However. Given the distances, the dubious navigation of the time, etc etc it feels a lot like the first Black Buck mission - lots of things can go wrong (and it very nearly did!) with catastrophic results. Even if everything lines up nicely, and they manage to bomb something, next time there will be defences. Though, in fairness, the mission will probably run smoother the second time because they will have met and overcome the main problems
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I suspect the entire effort wouldn't be able to take out that fabled aircraft factory that was disguised by putting a fake suburb on the roof.
     
  14. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    My own idea would be to build an aircraft carrier, load it up with medium range bombers and point them West.

    I'M GOING TO MY ROOM NOW.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Don't be a Silly Billy.
     
  16. harolds

    harolds Member

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    How come nobody thinks of In-air refueling? A lot easier than coming up with cut down V2s and purpose-built subs or aircraft carriers. The Germans did some experiments. with this earlier in the war!
     
  17. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Now that's an interesting idea. I suppose it is usually ignored because the concept wasn't really used at all in WW2. IIRC the only proposed use was for Tiger Force in 1945.
    But British flying boats made multiple Atlantic crossings in the 1930s using aerial refueling.

    I suppose the biggest issue is that if you're starting with 6 flying boats, you'll need 3 or 4 of those as tankers. That small bomb load just got even smaller, and with only 2 aircraft dropping that chances of hits on decent targets also drops
     
  18. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Why would they have to be flying boats?
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Because air-to-air refueling was not used in this context - Thousands of miles out at sea. Air refueling was done over land, so the Tanker could transfer the most fuel.

    The British did use it a few times with mail-carrying flying boats. But, it's use was not to extend the range by meeting midocean. Rather, it was to top off the flying boats tanks to make the flight to it's stop in Newfoundland. The flight would then continue to Montreal, Canada.

    The tankers were Handley Page HP.54 biplane bombers carrying 6,840 pounds of fuel for off load. The flying boats were Short S.30 flying boats that had been gutted and reinforced for a takeoff weight of 53,000 pounds, of which, the cargo was only a few hundred pounds of mail.
     
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  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Maybe because that facet hasn't come up yet. B/Z
     

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