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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. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Prequel to "The Man In The High Castle: The Movie"?
     
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  2. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Why does it have to take place "Thousands of miles out to sea." Much of a bomber's fuel is expended taking off, climbing to altitude, and forming up. The tankers could follow the bombers for a while after all that, then top off their tanks. Perhaps a meeting over the ocean coming back would be necessary. By WW2 the technology was good enough to improve on your example, but the concept would be the same.
     
  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    On the outbound leg, they could fly a loose formation so as not to burn gas keeping station. Looking at the range and carrying capacity of 1942 German aircraft, multiple refueling operations would be necessary, many of tankers refueling other tankers. A fueling rendezvous would definitely be needed on the way home.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2023
  4. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    I've been thinking around this a little. I'm happy to accept that the premise is possible - a clutch of flying boats refueling from a sub and managing to reach the USA, drop a few bombs, and return.

    We've explored the risks involved, and how the mechanics of the mission would improve if they repeated it but so would the defences.

    My next thought was 'why'?

    1942 seems to be the year focused on, being within the window of the USA being in the war but the Allies not having a good grip on the Atlantic.
    However, within 1942 how much effect had the USA had upon the war? Yes they were sending supplies, but that had always been true. Bombing raids started from mid-1942, with small numbers and mixed results. American troops were not deployed until September 1942 and didn't meet German troops until later, whereupon they suffered a nasty reverse. I have a British magazine from the time that describes US troops as being 'the British Italians"

    I'm going to break here and point out that I'm not denigrating American Armed Forces at all, I'm simply pointing out the realities and opinions of the time.

    The point that I am making is that the German leadership were unlikely to be concerned enough about American involvement during 1941-2 to sanction crazy-sounding pin-prick raids on the USA itself

    But then, this is a what-if... maybe I over-thought this...
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I agree completely. Why would they…They didn’t want the US in the war (even though it was Hitler who declared war on the US) And bombing would have just pissed the US and it’s people off…If they were going to bomb the US it would have been with the big one…Conceivable that a German spy could have infiltrated the Manhattan project…or scientist having his/her German family threatened (a bit like China does today with OS citizens) - To learn what the Germans still needed to know…Interesting to me is that Germany had so many ‘wonder weapons’ yet sunk so little into the nuclear bomb…America puts all its eggs into one wonder weapon and it alone proves a game changer…
    Imagine Germany destroying greater NY…and then maybe Miami, Philadelphia or Washington to prove the weapon is real (as in Japan)…The US would have little choice but to surrender…Might take a few more cities, but who knows.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Russians got people into the Project, so the Germans might have gotten lucky and their agent just faded when the war turned bad.
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Valid points but one might just as well ask what was the value of the Doolittle Raid? It did little actual damage and risked two of our most important capital ships (as opposed to a sub and a handful of planes), but it was considered worthwhile for the morale value to our people and hopefully some impact on the Japanese.

    There had long been an exaggerated belief in the potential impact of air attack on cities and industries, although the Battle of Britain and the RAF's early bombing efforts were beginning to change this. As noted earlier, a successful German attack on the US would have diverted some American/Allied effort to defensive measures. We might recall that the first combat by our most advanced fighter, the P-38, in the European theater, was from Iceland against a German long-range bomber, an FW-200. In the first half of the war, the Axis powers accomplished a number of things that had not been thought possible.

    There had been interest in Amerikabombers since the late 1930s although, like many German projects, actual progress was slow and spotty. A quick-and-easy way to bomb the US might have been appealing. I could envision some junior officer(s) dreaming up a scheme which comes to the attention of the leadership. Goring for one would love the idea of a spectacular coup, although he might gag a bit at having to depend on the navy.
     
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  8. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    The Doolittle Raid was necessary to show that America could hit back. By that point in the war every action against the Japanese had ended badly and a victory - any victory - was badly needed.
    A convenient comparison is Britain building up its bomber offensive after being thrown off the continent and pushed back into Egypt. When all is darkness, a candle is needed.

    Germany in mid-1942 was at its conquering peak, only the Battle of Britain had gone against them and Britain was relatively insignificant compared to the USSR and in no shape to actually defeat Germany as yet. America was slowly coming online but its forces were making (if anything) less of an impact than Britain's. The net result of war with the USA from a German viewpoint was a massive increase in U-boat successes, which already gave them their morale coup vs America - which was a drop in the ocean compared to the advances out East. When you have a searchlight, a candle is irrelevant.

    Rationally you'd hope that the lesson of the Battle of Britain (where the entire Luftwaffe apparently couldn't stop Britain producing fighters) and even Bomber Command's raids (I aimed for a factory in Hamburg and hit a suburb in Dusseldorf) would convince the Germans that sprinkling a handful of small bombs into Continental USA was never going to achieve any material gain in terms of destruction. But as you say people did cling on to this belief. Yes it would tie up resources defensively but then at this stage there were very few American resources deployed in Europe so Germany was unlikely to feel the need to do this.

    I feel like you've discovered the big flaw in this proposal. Forget the difficulties inherant in mid-mission refulling, the dubious weather, the possibility of enemy action, what would really scupper it is the Luftwaffe having to cooperate with the Kriegsmarine!
    Can you imagine the conversation -
    I need a submarine to refuel my aircraft
    Only if you give me more Condors
    No
    Then no
    (long circular argument)
    :D
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Didn't the Doolittle Raid cause the attempted reduction of Midway? That would have to be deemed a hell of a return on an investment for the US.
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It may have helped clinch the decision, but Yamamoto and naval planners knew they needed to finish off the Pacific Fleet and particularly its aircraft carriers, which had been appearing unhelpfully at places like the Marshalls and New Guinea.
     
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