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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > History Library > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The great "what if's" of military history.

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  #31  
Old 09 Jan 13, 07:11
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Originally Posted by Marmat View Post
... while the Whittle's burned kerosene types, the Me-262 Jumos ran on "J-2", also referred to as "DK-1" or "aviation diesel" a very low grade diesel produced synthetically, the least restricted German fuel product. In a non-combat pinch the Jumo 004 would use "B-4 Blue" 87/91 octane Bomber grade avgas, and in theory could burn almost anything, BUT the problem was getting the engine to start!

Apparently the AR-234 used plain old low grade autopetrol, dunno the rationale.
It was serious enough that the RLM issued an edict that jets would be towed to and from the runway rather than taxi out under their own power because of the excessive fuel usage they had....
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  #32  
Old 09 Jan 13, 07:17
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Originally Posted by Frtigern View Post
Was the allied attempts at bombing German aeroplane factories ineffective too?
Focke Wulf's Marienburg plant was flattened the day before it was scheduled to open for production in early 1944 by just shy of 100 B-17 in perfect weather. They totally demolished the plant. That is one clear case where the Allies succeeded in bombing a German aircraft factory. It never produced a single plane.
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  #33  
Old 09 Jan 13, 07:56
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Focke Wulf's Marienburg plant was flattened the day before it was scheduled to open for production in early 1944 by just shy of 100 B-17 in perfect weather. They totally demolished the plant. That is one clear case where the Allies succeeded in bombing a German aircraft factory. It never produced a single plane.
Quote:
REPRESENTATIVE MISSIONS: MARIENBURG

Similarly, in our attack on the Focke-Wulf Assembly Plant at Marienburg in East Prussia (October 9, 1943), only 2 out of 100 B-17's were lost. The concentration of bomb bursts on this target was so great that there is sound reason to evaluate this as one of the finest examples of precision bombing to date. The attack was made in daylight from altitudes between 11,000 and 13,500 feet. Several hundred 500 lb. general purpose bombs and 1300 x 100 lb. incendiaries were dropped. Study of reconnaissance photographs has convinced photo interpreters in the United Kingdom that every factory building and all the hangars had been damaged. And this plant had been turning out about one-half (110 per month) of all of Germany's FW-190 fighters.

This report was prepared by the Army Air Forces and is dated Jan. 4, 1944.
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/fac...et.asp?id=1713
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  #34  
Old 09 Jan 13, 08:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

Actually, the Luftwaffe was fairly ill-prepared for tactical aerial support until about mid war and even then was pretty sloppy at it. In the early stages of the war only Richtofen's VIII fliegerkorps had any real ground support capacity and training. The in place means for calling for air support was to send the request up the chain to Army level then they would pass it to the Luftwaffe side of the house where the request would be considered and if approved air support missions would be planned and the details passed back to the Heer side of things. This required about 24 to 36 hours to occur.
Flivos (Luftwaffe liason officers) rarely existed below corps level. They were the ones that would pass the requests off to the Luftwaffe as the official liasion officer in the formal chain of command.
Quote:
Originally Posted by At ease View Post

What you are saying, in effect, is that in times of rapid advance, the Luftwaffe would be placing bombs on or strafing territory now captured by the army.

I don't think so.

Unlike the Kriegsmarine, with which the Luftwaffe had a disjointed relationship, cooperation with the army was good, considering that many members of the Luftwaffe higher command had been drawn from the army in its formative stages.
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

Not at all. Instead, the ground forces got no direct air support. In France the one time the Luftwaffe really put in useful ground support was at the Meuse River where the panzer divisions were held up by more than a day. Even then the response by the Luftwaffe was underwhelming...


But, in the first half of the war the Luftwaffe still retained complete control of its aircraft and the only way the Heer could get air support was moving a request up the chain of command to a flivo (Luftwaffe liasion officer) and then getting the Luftwaffe's approval and the strikes planned from their side based on the request.
By anyone's definition, "mid war" would certainly include the opening engagements of Operation Barbarossa.

According to Williamson Murray's portion in pp 98 of:

Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support
Edited by Benjamin Franklin Cooling
Office of Air Force History
USAF
Washington 1990

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/fac...et.asp?id=1713

I believe that you may be incorrect.

Quote:
.....
The result was a considerable increase in the Luftwaffe's ability to coordinate air strikes with the Army in a mobile environment. Provided that the Signals detachments and Flivos were up front, the Luftwaffe could now talk to the lead elements of the Army's advance on the ground.
.....
(PDF document which seems to be resistant to cut&paste of text, so I took a "screenshot" with my camera - see attachment below)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Picture 003.jpg (155.7 KB, 3 views)
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Last edited by At ease; 09 Jan 13 at 08:36..
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  #35  
Old 09 Jan 13, 09:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by At ease View Post
By anyone's definition, "mid war" would certainly include the opening engagements of Operation Barbarossa.

According to Williamson Murray's portion in pp 98 of:

Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support
Edited by Benjamin Franklin Cooling
Office of Air Force History
USAF
Washington 1990

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/fac...et.asp?id=1713

I believe that you may be incorrect.



(PDF document which seems to be resistant to cut&paste of text, so I took a "screenshot" with my camera - see attachment below)
To add further to this, T.A. might be well advised to read Joel Hayward's "Stopped at Stalingrad". The author gives a rather contradictory view to the opinion that Mr. Gardner has stated in this thread, (vis-a-vis co-ordination of tactical airpower).

Hayward looks at the period from late 1941 to the end of 1942, in what is likely the best (as yet published) study of this matter. Years of primary archival research are presented in Hayward's book.

Cheers, Ron
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  #36  
Old 09 Jan 13, 21:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
You wouldn't need to ram things down anybody's throat, if you were able to support your ideas with facts.

That said, I gather you have no evidence of German visits to Castle Bromwich; and I take note that you don't address the impossibility of putting the RAF air base system, as a whole, out of service; and I remind you that when the Germans went bombers unescorted in daylight in 1940, they were slaughtered. Heck, if you do not want to consider the German failures in doing what you muse about, consider the British failures in attempting just that kind of thing. Bomber sorties in full daylight in 1939-1940 against German ships in harbor? Unsustainable losses. Attempts at turning, in your poetic words, the German aeronautics industries into "twisted steel" at night in 1940-41? Inaccurate bombing and complete failure.

Consider the facts.
Yeah, like the facts that the Luftwaffe did not give bombing the British aircraft and aero engine factories high priority, and i have told you that Goering forbade any follow up attacks on RAF airfields two days in a row, not only that, but even when it was discovered that the so called radio towers were indeed Radar Towers Goering didn't give a damn.

You don't need to destroy all the airbases, just concentrate on the forward bases, and vital targets in the south, that's where the RAF has to keep the largest portion of its forces, not withstanding of any threat posed to London (you that little town on the River Thames), but you keep up with the attacks, and subsequently launch surprise missions on the Aircraft factories, also you don't need to utterly destroy them, just enough damage to knock them out of operations for 1 to 2 weeks, i bet a 500 bomber raid over Castle Bromwich would cause some damage, or better yet carpet bomb the surrounding houses killing the workers.

The RAF can be defeated, the way is to create a situation where losses outstrip replacements.

Oh i hafta ask. Why do passionately hate Germans so much?
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  #37  
Old 09 Jan 13, 22:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iron View Post
To add further to this, T.A. might be well advised to read Joel Hayward's "Stopped at Stalingrad". The author gives a rather contradictory view to the opinion that Mr. Gardner has stated in this thread, (vis-a-vis co-ordination of tactical airpower).

Hayward looks at the period from late 1941 to the end of 1942, in what is likely the best (as yet published) study of this matter. Years of primary archival research are presented in Hayward's book.

Cheers, Ron
I have alot of Murray's works. I was discussing this in terms of 1939 -40. The Germans did get better but they never got close to where the US and Britain were by late 1943. The problems found in Poland and then France led to changes just as they did for other nations and using air power.
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Old 10 Jan 13, 03:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roddoss72 View Post
Yeah, like the facts that the Luftwaffe did not give bombing the British aircraft and aero engine factories high priority, and i have told you that Goering forbade any follow up attacks on RAF airfields two days in a row, not only that, but even when it was discovered that the so called radio towers were indeed Radar Towers Goering didn't give a damn.

You don't need to destroy all the airbases, just concentrate on the forward bases, and vital targets in the south, that's where the RAF has to keep the largest portion of its forces, not withstanding of any threat posed to London (you that little town on the River Thames), but you keep up with the attacks, and subsequently launch surprise missions on the Aircraft factories, also you don't need to utterly destroy them, just enough damage to knock them out of operations for 1 to 2 weeks, i bet a 500 bomber raid over Castle Bromwich would cause some damage, or better yet carpet bomb the surrounding houses killing the workers.

The RAF can be defeated, the way is to create a situation where losses outstrip replacements.

Oh i hafta ask. Why do passionately hate Germans so much?
Sigh. Where to start.
Well, maybe by asking you "why do passionately hate British so much". It's just as justified as your question to me, above.

The RAF can be defeated by causing more losses than replacements? Not necessarily, if in order to reach that result the same happens to the Luftwaffe - which is more than likely, considering the respective production rates, the effectiveness of the respective flight school systems, and the actual - factual! - losses in the air battle (the Germans were losing 1.8 aircraft of their own for every 1 fighter they downed).
Given the above, and assuming the British aircraft production can be reduced below the number of losses, the most the Luftwaffe can achieve is a draw, with both air forces rendered useless.

But even if we should deem that that result is a German "victory", it doesn't matter, because it remains so unlikely as to be reasonably considered impossible.

First thing, we know the outcome of the actual battle, in particular the outcome of the last-gasp German attempts - a resounding defeat. It doesn't matter if the September 15 massed attack takes place over London or over the Supermarine production hub. Fighter Command is still able to inflict the whopping 2-to-1 casualties.
Sure, the Germans in those two raids managed to hit London - i.e. a big target. And several of the bombing units, beset by swarms of fighters, just dropped where they could over the Greater London area. KG2 canceled the bombing run and unloaded the ordnance over Kent just to run away.
Hitting several small factories with accuracy? No. Not with that sort of situation.

So let's go a step back. You'll say that the British will not be able to inflict such a debacle on the Germans if their air bases have been destroyed first. There are too many air bases. Sure, most of them were not bombed more than twice. But many others were. Yet, apart from Lympne (declared early on too far forward to serve as anything but an emergency landing pad), the one air base that was non-operational for several days was Manston.
So, you say, why not replicate the same pattern elsewhere? Well, the Germans tried, in the same sector. Biggin Hill was attacked a lot of times. Never remained non-operational for more than half a day. The Germans failed there, with the tactics you muse would be successful.
Let's suppose the Germans succeeded both at Manston and Biggin Hill. So? The British Sector system was redundant and resilient. In that area there were the satellite airfields of Hawkinge and Gravesend.
The Germans hit all of those and keep coming back? Fighter Command can deploy fighters at other airfields in the area, i.e. West Malling, Detling, Eastchurch.
There are too many.

And even if Goering had said "keep hitting the fighter bases", this would only raise the issue of the poor Luftwaffe intelligence. They kept hitting bases of Bomber Command, Coastal CXommand, Training Command, the FAA, and out-of-service old strips.

Hitting the Sector Stations? Yeah, a vulnerable and critical link. Biggin Hill's was indeed damaged. And - they simply set up an auxiliary unit in a nearby village. The Germans had no means to know that they would have to hit a grocery store in a British country village to really put that command link out of the network.

And if they succeeded? The Sector system was able to handle, with the nearby Stations, the temporary loss of one of them.

Hitting the radar stations? With what? Level bombers are basically usless because you need accurate hitting of pinpoint targets. Stukas can hit them with accuracy, and indeed they did - but the Germans themselves acknowledged the Stukas could not survive in British skies. Fighter bombers also can hit, and are more survivable - but their loadout is too small to have good chances of downing a tower or destroying a building, and anyway the Germans have too few fighter-bomber units.

Suppose the Germans managed anyway? In actual history they did at times, mostly by chance, not by razing the radar stations but by cutting their power supply. The British reacted by repairing the lines, providing generators, and deploying mobile radars. All of that did downgrade the early-warning network temporarily and the Germans managed to cause more damage at those times, yes. But had this developed into a seriously sustained pattern, the British would only have needed to use more mobile stations and be more timely with their repairs.
And, get this, the radar network was redundant, too. Killing one station means that the two stations on its sides take up the slack. Killing two stations of the CH means the British still have the CHL.

A massive raid over Castle Bromwich? You don't know how many Spitfires were produced there in the critical stage, evidently.
But apart from that, a massive raid in nighttime misses the factory; a massive raid in daylight may hit it, but it means something like 30% losses on the attacking bomber force. A price the Luftwaffe can't afford to pay.

A massive raid at night that kills the workforce? No. That's the province of 500 heavy bombers, and even then, a firestorm would probably be needed. It's something the British can do, on lucky nights, in 1943-45. It's not something the medium German bombers can do in 1940-41. The Coventry bombing, considered as devastating at the time, and an exceptional German success, killed a paltry 560 persons - about one per each German bomber sortie. And most production in the destroyed factories had already been "shadowed" outside the city, and most of the damage was light enough to quickly reestablish production. By the way, that raid featured little more than 500 German bombers - but in order to reach that number some of the German bombers had to carry out two sorties. That tells you the serious limitations of the Luftwaffe.

If you set out to kill an elephant with a sling, you can use stupid tactics or brilliant tactics. Even the brilliant tactics won't turn the sling into a heavy hunting rifle, though.
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Old 10 Jan 13, 22:45
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Old 10 Jan 13, 22:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Sigh. Where to start.
Well, maybe by asking you "why do passionately hate British so much". It's just as justified as your question to me, above.

The RAF can be defeated by causing more losses than replacements? Not necessarily, if in order to reach that result the same happens to the Luftwaffe - which is more than likely, considering the respective production rates, the effectiveness of the respective flight school systems, and the actual - factual! - losses in the air battle (the Germans were losing 1.8 aircraft of their own for every 1 fighter they downed).
Given the above, and assuming the British aircraft production can be reduced below the number of losses, the most the Luftwaffe can achieve is a draw, with both air forces rendered useless.

But even if we should deem that that result is a German "victory", it doesn't matter, because it remains so unlikely as to be reasonably considered impossible.

First thing, we know the outcome of the actual battle, in particular the outcome of the last-gasp German attempts - a resounding defeat. It doesn't matter if the September 15 massed attack takes place over London or over the Supermarine production hub. Fighter Command is still able to inflict the whopping 2-to-1 casualties.
Sure, the Germans in those two raids managed to hit London - i.e. a big target. And several of the bombing units, beset by swarms of fighters, just dropped where they could over the Greater London area. KG2 canceled the bombing run and unloaded the ordnance over Kent just to run away.
Hitting several small factories with accuracy? No. Not with that sort of situation.

So let's go a step back. You'll say that the British will not be able to inflict such a debacle on the Germans if their air bases have been destroyed first. There are too many air bases. Sure, most of them were not bombed more than twice. But many others were. Yet, apart from Lympne (declared early on too far forward to serve as anything but an emergency landing pad), the one air base that was non-operational for several days was Manston.
So, you say, why not replicate the same pattern elsewhere? Well, the Germans tried, in the same sector. Biggin Hill was attacked a lot of times. Never remained non-operational for more than half a day. The Germans failed there, with the tactics you muse would be successful.
Let's suppose the Germans succeeded both at Manston and Biggin Hill. So? The British Sector system was redundant and resilient. In that area there were the satellite airfields of Hawkinge and Gravesend.
The Germans hit all of those and keep coming back? Fighter Command can deploy fighters at other airfields in the area, i.e. West Malling, Detling, Eastchurch.
There are too many.

And even if Goering had said "keep hitting the fighter bases", this would only raise the issue of the poor Luftwaffe intelligence. They kept hitting bases of Bomber Command, Coastal CXommand, Training Command, the FAA, and out-of-service old strips.

Hitting the Sector Stations? Yeah, a vulnerable and critical link. Biggin Hill's was indeed damaged. And - they simply set up an auxiliary unit in a nearby village. The Germans had no means to know that they would have to hit a grocery store in a British country village to really put that command link out of the network.

And if they succeeded? The Sector system was able to handle, with the nearby Stations, the temporary loss of one of them.

Hitting the radar stations? With what? Level bombers are basically usless because you need accurate hitting of pinpoint targets. Stukas can hit them with accuracy, and indeed they did - but the Germans themselves acknowledged the Stukas could not survive in British skies. Fighter bombers also can hit, and are more survivable - but their loadout is too small to have good chances of downing a tower or destroying a building, and anyway the Germans have too few fighter-bomber units.

Suppose the Germans managed anyway? In actual history they did at times, mostly by chance, not by razing the radar stations but by cutting their power supply. The British reacted by repairing the lines, providing generators, and deploying mobile radars. All of that did downgrade the early-warning network temporarily and the Germans managed to cause more damage at those times, yes. But had this developed into a seriously sustained pattern, the British would only have needed to use more mobile stations and be more timely with their repairs.
And, get this, the radar network was redundant, too. Killing one station means that the two stations on its sides take up the slack. Killing two stations of the CH means the British still have the CHL.

A massive raid over Castle Bromwich? You don't know how many Spitfires were produced there in the critical stage, evidently.
But apart from that, a massive raid in nighttime misses the factory; a massive raid in daylight may hit it, but it means something like 30% losses on the attacking bomber force. A price the Luftwaffe can't afford to pay.

A massive raid at night that kills the workforce? No. That's the province of 500 heavy bombers, and even then, a firestorm would probably be needed. It's something the British can do, on lucky nights, in 1943-45. It's not something the medium German bombers can do in 1940-41. The Coventry bombing, considered as devastating at the time, and an exceptional German success, killed a paltry 560 persons - about one per each German bomber sortie. And most production in the destroyed factories had already been "shadowed" outside the city, and most of the damage was light enough to quickly reestablish production. By the way, that raid featured little more than 500 German bombers - but in order to reach that number some of the German bombers had to carry out two sorties. That tells you the serious limitations of the Luftwaffe.

If you set out to kill an elephant with a sling, you can use stupid tactics or brilliant tactics. Even the brilliant tactics won't turn the sling into a heavy hunting rifle, though.
As long as the RAF keeps getting all those Spitfires and Hurricane fighters from the twilight zone, the Luftwaffe is doomed i tell you, DOOMED.
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Old 10 Jan 13, 23:03
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The problem with an air offensive is that the defender only has to commit single seat fighters / interceptors against the attacking force. So long as the defender can detect the incoming raid(s) early enough the attacker has a dual problem:

1. Assuming escorting fighers have the range they lack a similar means of finding and making early attacks on the enemy interceptors (this is before there were things like AEW aircraft etc.) so they are stuck escorting the bombers to the target and intercepting any defenders close to the bombers.

2. The bombers are harder to replace both in terms of material (they are more expensive and difficult to build) and manpower (larger crews).

So, the smart defender tries to surprise the attacker using his superior information from his early warning system and then concentrates on the bombers. When losses climb above about 5% to 8% per raid the attacker loses the air war simply because losses cannot be replaced and the air offensive cannot be sustained.

That was the same problem the Allies faced. They overcame it in several ways:

The RAF went to night bombing and heavy use of electronic countermeasures to mask their aircraft and prevent interception. They had reasonable success with this.

The USAAF tried to make the bombers tough enough targets that they could defend themselves, then gave them heavy escorts that between the two could make up for the lack of time and distance in stopping the interceptors. Then the USAAF added in allowing their fighters, as they grew in number, to roam off on their own to a degree allowing them to effectively act in the same manner as the defending aircraft. Between the two systems they decimated the Luftwaffe.

For Germany the US option is not on the table. The Germans simply cannot out produce the British (backed by the US and their own Commonwealth). So, their only real option is to do what the RAF did. That would mean a big shift in thinking within the RLM and Luftwaffe's higher command structure. Goring, for example, was not hot on electronics seeing them as almost irrelevant... That is until he realized the RAF was creaming the Luftwaffe and German cities using electronics that beat what the Germans had.

So, if the Germans go to night bombing they are not going to be able to attack pinpoint targets like a factory. They will have to resort to area bombing and build a large enough force as the RAF did to flatten a whole city with the factory in it.

If they persist in daytime attacks they are doomed to lose simply because the British will have lots of time to work over each raid almost at their leasure and bomber losses will mount. Once they exceed replacement rates (which they quickly did in the original BoB) the Germans are finished and lose.
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Old 11 Jan 13, 03:33
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
So, if the Germans go to night bombing they are not going to be able to attack pinpoint targets like a factory. They will have to resort to area bombing and build a large enough force as the RAF did to flatten a whole city with the factory in it.

If they persist in daytime attacks they are doomed to lose simply because the British will have lots of time to work over each raid almost at their leasure and bomber losses will mount. Once they exceed replacement rates (which they quickly did in the original BoB) the Germans are finished and lose.
Thank you. Obvious, of course, but apparently not to everyone.

One nitpick. The Germans did try to use free-roaming - Freijagd - missions by fighters to help their bombing missions. These were an utter failure for several reasons.

1. The British could tell, by the speed of the radar signature, that these were fighter-only raids, and could ignore them. On top of that, the Germans could only hope to guess where the enemy fighters would come from. These two factors together meant that it was possible for a Freijagd mission, be it sent alone or in advance of a bombing raid, never to engage the enemy.

2. The Bf 109s had too short a range. It's not as if they were Mustangs.

3. Most importantly, the Germans had chosen early on to have a threatening, offensive air force. that meant more bombers than fighters, the defensive part of it. Over Britain, they discovered that bombers also are a potential target, just like Prague or Warsaw or Rotterdam or London. And they learned they did not have enough fighters. The number of Bf 109s is the bottleneck they couldn't work around. By the BoB Day (September 15), they were sending out 3.5 fighters for every bomber, and yet they were taking twice the casualties they inflicted. So setting aside 1 of those 3.5 fighters for a Freijagd that might even never engage the enemy was not such a good idea. Meanwhile that 1 bomber, protected only by 2.5 fighters (and the 0.5 would be half a Bf 110), would probably be hit.

Unless something substantial (as opposed to inane attempts at humor) is posted countering the facts above, I'll rest my case.
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Old 11 Jan 13, 06:51
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Couldn't the Luftwaffe simply adapted tactics that made use of the Me 110's strengths, since it could escort the bombers to the ranges that were needed? I'm talking about having them escort from above then dive upon RAF fighters and using their higher speed to keep running while the Hurricanes and Spitfires wasted fuel trying to catch them. Or you could fly feints of them, to make it look like they were bombers (since they were so big) so the fighters would go after them instead of the bombers.
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Old 11 Jan 13, 09:28
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Originally Posted by Frtigern View Post
Couldn't the Luftwaffe simply adapted tactics that made use of the Me 110's strengths, since it could escort the bombers to the ranges that were needed? I'm talking about having them escort from above then dive upon RAF fighters and using their higher speed to keep running while the Hurricanes and Spitfires wasted fuel trying to catch them. Or you could fly feints of them, to make it look like they were bombers (since they were so big) so the fighters would go after them instead of the bombers.
Yes, the Germans could admit the Bf 110s weren't that good in their intended role and use them otherwise.

Your first suggestion isn't much good in a bomber escort role, after the initial pass. If the Bf 110s are lucky and see the enemy fighters coming (remember, the British are the ones that have radars vectoring their fighters against the raid) and have that first pass, you suggest they keep going... where? They can disengage, of course - which will leave the bombers unescorted. They can climb again - which will eat their speed advantage away. They can engage the enemy fighters in a furball - which again will make them vulnerable.
All of that, without considering that oftentimes, the Hurricane Squadrons were explicitly ordered to ignore enemy fighters and only hunt the bombers - risking casualties of their own if need be.

Note that the British fighters might, occasionally, engage at a disadvantage in height - if they had not had enough time to climb. Now, your suggestion makes sense if the Germans are trying to enlarge the area within their effective range, hitting outside the range of the Bf 109. If so, by definition they are having longer flight times before they need to be engaged (i.e., before the bombers reach their target). Which in turn makes it unlikely that the British fighters attack with a disadvantage in height.

So the ideal - which doesn't mean that it wasn't often achieved - solution that Park would employ in this case would be to deploy Squadrons in pairs, one of Hurricanes and the other of Spitfires, both attacking from above or if that was impossible, at least from the same height of the escorting Bf 110s. The Hurricanes would ignore the enemy fighters and dive on the bombers. The Spitfires would attack the Bf 110s.

---

Trying to deceive the British could work - a few times. I used this in my own timeline about the battle. But once it has worked once or twice, the British will have learned the trick.

All of that, without considering that anyway, the Germans did not have such a big number of Bf 110s. We're talking 190 operational Zerstörern on August 13. If you give three such escort to each bomber, you have a middling raid of 63 bombers. If you give them two, you have a hefty raid with 95 bombers, but the losses will skyrocket.
No, that's actually less, because the 190 include some 30 that are out of range with LF5 at Stavanger, but I'm too lazy to correct.
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Old 11 Jan 13, 10:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frtigern View Post
Couldn't the Luftwaffe simply adapted tactics that made use of the Me 110's strengths, since it could escort the bombers to the ranges that were needed? I'm talking about having them escort from above then dive upon RAF fighters and using their higher speed to keep running while the Hurricanes and Spitfires wasted fuel trying to catch them. Or you could fly feints of them, to make it look like they were bombers (since they were so big) so the fighters would go after them instead of the bombers.
Here the problem is if you mount a high escort to do that you are too far from the bombers if the enemy decides to make a single high speed pass through the formation taking down one or two bombers (or shooting them up badly) as they pass through and then dive away and escape.
With radar and GCI control the defender may have 30 minutes or more to work over a bomber formation. Let's say the defender has 30 minutes and can commit four squadrons of fighters.

The defender sends in one squadron every few minutes such that one is bouncing the bombers, one is escaping, and the other two are in the process of getting repositioned for another pass. This means the defending fighters are out of postion to intercept most of the defenders unless they greatly outnumber them and had a coherent game plan to intercept each group as they see it approach and then stay with that group while other fighters remain positioned to intercept the next wave of attackers.

This is what the USAAF did in the later part of the war. The Soviets adopted the same tactics in variation.

The USAAF also went for bombers that were damn hard to shoot down and would throw alot of defensive fire at attacking fighters. That meant making multiple passes on a bomber to shoot it down, taking alot of return fire, and having to evade any escort.

German bombers in 1940, by comparison, were poorly armed to defend themselves. They had a handful of 7.92mm machineguns that were manually operated. No power turrets, no heavier weapons, often one crew manning several guns, limited fields of fire, etc.
The British and Americans had quickly realized the value of power turrets and lots of guns or bigger guns for bomber defense. The Japanese too recognized that. The G4M Betty for all its weakness in armor and fuel protection had 20mm guns everywhere.
The Germans thought speed was a better protection but they were wrong on that. The closest anyone came to that ideal was Britain with the Mosquito.

One option the Germans might have gotten to was spreading the raid vectors out far more than they did. The Luftwaffe in the BoB opted for almost all raids to take pretty much the direct approach route from France to England. If they had longer legged bombers and fighters they could have sent raids out that turned in out of radar range of Southern England and approached from the South, raids sent from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway, or raids that approached from other directions. The US and Britain did this against Germany in their bomber campaign.
This would spread the defenders out far more diluting the defense. At least raids would have been met with less initial opposition and depending on the depth of penetration might have made their targets with less defending interceptions overall.

Basically, all of this is easily explained with mathematics. Methods of Operations Research by Kimball and Morse show this relationship in Example 5.2.9 of their book. Basically, as detection passes 50 miles out (for WW 2) you reach a point where interception of the raid is virtually 100% guarrenteed. The time the defenders have to work over the raid is the other variable. They show that if the defenders start on the raid just 35+ miles from the target the raid will likely be shot to pieces given sufficent defending fighters.

In the end Douhet and Mitchell were wrong. The bomber won't always get through unless the attacker can either overwhelm (saturate) the defense or can surprise or spoof it suffciently that the defending detection system cannot work effectively.
In the BoB the Germans could do neither. The RAF had sufficent fighters to counter the Luftwaffe so saturation wasn't going to happen on a sustained basis and the Germans never really put much effort into countering the British detection systems.
The later would mean more than attacking a few radar stations. It meant mounting an active countermeasures electronic war on not just radar, but GCI radio systems, and spoofing things like sound and visual detection systems too. The British went this route in the Bomber campaign. The US opted for the former and just saturated the defense with bombers and fighters that were in large enough numbers they shot down the defending interceptors.
The German counter to that was to shift defense to heavy flak guns.

Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 11 Jan 13 at 10:43..
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