B-29 capability to bomb Germany from North America

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #1 Jenisch, Jul 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
    Hello,

    According to this link: distance Berlin to newfoundland - Evi

    The distance between the island of Newfondland (Canada) and Berlin is 4720 km or approximately 2548 nm.

    According to Wikipedia article about the B-29: Boeing B-29 Superfortress - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The aircraft's combat range is as follows:

    Therefore approximately 300 nm more than the distance I provided of Newfondland to Berlin.

    I don't to discuss an alternative history scenario with all the subtopics related, just was wondering if the B-29 could really fly bombing missions with a decent payload (maybe a dubious claim, feel free to interpret) against Germany from Newfoundland.

    Thanks since now for the attention,

    Marcelo jenisch
     
  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The combat range is in one direction. For the B-29 to bomb Germany from North America would require a combat radius of that - ie double the range.

    Also, at that extreme range I would think that the bomb load is at the lower end of the scale - 5,000lbs as opposed to the 20,000lb maximum.

    For comparison, the distance from the Marianas Islands to Tokyo is about 1,500 miles.
     
  3. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Also compare the weather.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I think you need a manual or some other source with range/speed/payload and altitude listed/charted. Joe Baugher's web site gives a radius of 1600 miles at high altitude (ft not given) with a 5,000lb load with the speed not given AND the same 1600 mile radius carrying 12,000lbs at medium altitude. Actual altitude and speed/s not given.
     
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  5. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    That radius is still half of what was required to get to Berlin from Newfoundland, as suggested in the OP.

    It is even further to many of the targets the 8th AF hit during the war.
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I would think if the B-29 could have done this, the B-36 program would have been delayed.
     
  7. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #7 oldcrowcv63, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
    Assuming nearer bases are not available, I'd expect any B-29 offensive to be launched from Iceland rather than North America. Iceland was occupied first by the British in May, 1940, followed by the Canadians a few months later and then the Americans in July 1941 well before the country entered the war. If for example, Britain became isolated and Iceland was lost, (Perhaps Germany uses a hypothetical one-off nuke to render Iceland unserviceable as a forward base) I would expect accelerated development of air-to-air refueling. According to

    http://www.amc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-131018-046.pdf

    some early post Pearly Harbor-attack consideration was given to employing specially configured B-24's as tankers for B-17s in the PTO spurred by the long ranges characteristic of the PTO and an ill-considered notion to stage attacks on Tokyo from Midway Island. 1943 tests apparently increased the B-17's radius (carrying a 6,000 lb. bomb load) by 50% to about 1,500 miles. Japan seems a bit far even with air to air refueling although the B-17 without bombs could apparently just about fly the one-way distance.

    Calculations made in 1944 showed the B-24 tanked B-29 could extend the bomber's "range" (presumably radius and a full bomb load) by 830 miles for a total of about 2,330 miles with a full bomb load. I'd imagine that a somewhat smaller load out would allow an a2a refueled B-29 to reach Berlin. The USAAF also considered configuring B-29's as higher capacity tankers during the war while the RAF was considering developing a tanker version of the Lancaster to refuel Lincoln's based in the PTO.

    Aerial refueling might have made an offensive staged from North America possible before the advent of the initial production B-36s and before the first operational KB-29M tanker squadrons in 1948.
     
  8. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #8 oldcrowcv63, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
    Looks like without bombs the B-29 can almost reach Germany from St. Johns, Newfoundland, falling about 800 miles short of Berlin. Well at least the USAAF can Bomb London if the German invasion is successful. :(
     

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  9. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    By comparison, Lajes field in the Azores, available for allied basing by agreement with Portugal in 1943, was about 2,150 miles from Berlin, so would have required a2a-refueling to stage raids into Germany. Raid on targets in eastern Europe (such as the refineries and oil fields at Ploesti, ) would require a2a refueling of B-29s based at Keflavik, Iceland range ~2,275 miles.
     
  10. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    The B-29 should be able to bomb a return mission from New York area to Berlin and back. The solution is fairly simple. Restrict bomb load to 4000lbs, increase MTOW by 20,000lbs by adding 27,000lbs of fuel. The increase weight will required a longer, sealed runway. 10,000ft runway for safety should be enough. The extra tankage could be unprotected, there would be some restrictions in g limits until the extra fuel was burned of that would be of non consequence to the mission.

    It's mainly a matter of a long enough runway.

    The German effort in this area was the Me 264, with 4 x 2100hp DB603H engine (using C3 fuel) it was reckoned to be able to conduct a 15000km mission carrying a 2000kg/4400lb bomb load half way. The Me 264 flew in 1943 with 1400hp Jumo 211 engines and so the Germans had good aerodynamic data. With the 4 x 2100hp engines its take off field length was expected to be 2040 meters (about 1400m with RATO) which is about the same as an Me 262 Jet fully loaded. The DB603A was available in 1943 at 1750hp and by late 1944 2100hp was available from the Jumo 213A1 and 2260hp from the DB603LA (used on Fw 109D9 and TA152C respectively) so had the aircraft not been caught up in politics and priorities it could have attempted missions late 1944 or early 1945.

    The B-29 was a bit larger and less refined for the ultra longe range missions but had more powerful engines, at least earlier. DB603 roadmap would have had it matching R-3350 power some time in 1945.
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Sound like a lot of effort for a small payload. I dread to think what the losses would have been
     
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  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    From the chart in post #8 the B-29 had a radius of 2000NM ( 2300 statute miles) carrying about 5,000lb of bombs at 215 knts (247mph) at a take-off weight of 140,000lbs or 20,000lbs over the "normal" take-off figure. These appear to be post war data, but it sure looks like a New York base is out.

    St Johns Newfoundland to Berlin is 2840 miles and cuts over 1000 miles off the New York distance.
     
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  13. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Yikes, I misread the chart in my earlier post… It's in NM not statute miles. :oops: da*n!
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    So, still ~500 miles short of what is required to bomb Berlin?
     
  15. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Bombing at vlr without escort would have been suicide for these precious aircraft. .

    The contingency would have been to fortify Icleand, possible invasion of Azores (but the Spanish had well over 40000 troops there, and an invasion would entail a DOW on Spain....). in the absence of the Azorees, the US wouyld have moved to fortify and reinforce Gibraltor, and this would have required invasion of french North Africa, probably from the middle of 1942, or even earlier (assuming they would inevitably get involved earlier than December 1941). inevitably the sanctions that forced the Japanese to go war would have been relaxed, with no British partner in any condition to support them, that frees some naval assets and most of the combat ready troops for early operations on the periphery.The Commonwealth would have ramped up its war efforts, and easily have held North Africa against even the most determined assaults by the Axis, excepting Turkish acquiesence, but even there, unlikley that anything other than a bloddy stalemate in the mountains of the Anatolian plateau.

    Its not really feasible for B-29s to bomb from the US, but it is still a winnable war, albeit at much greater cost to the US. Would they be prepred to pay the price for that victory....casualties in the millions probably
     
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  16. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #16 oldcrowcv63, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

    Parsifal, AFAIK, Spanish troops were never based on the Portuguese Azores. Are you thinking of the Canary Islands which are Spanish? DOW?

    Oh! DOW = Declaration of War (with Spain… ) The Portuguese signed over the basing rights to the allies in '43 with little difficulty afaik.
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    oops yes i was.

    The Azores are an Atlantic archpelago of considerable importance. Britain and Portugal have a long history of commercial and military cooperation dating back well befoe the Napoleonic Wars. Portugal fought with the Allies in World War I. The Salazar dictatorship had some Fascist trappings. German Führer Adolf Hitler conceived of seizing the Azores an Canaries early in the war, but was disuaded from this adventure by his naval staff who realized that Germany did not have the naval strength that would be needed to supply the island and hold them. Portugal adhered to a strictly neutral stance. After the fall of France (June 1940), the danger arose of a German invasion. German Operation Felix conceived of a German offense through Spain to seize Gibraltar. Hitler hoped thast Franco would cooperate, but he refused. And after the NAZI invasion of the Soviet Union Hitler's focus was clearly turned east (June 1941). The Azores were lightly defended. The Portuguese Goverment began expanded the small runway and sent additional troops and equipment to Lajes including Gladiator aircraft the British had provided. The Portuguese declared the base capable of effective air defense (July 1941). The Portuguese began Gladiators missions providing air cover to allied convoys, reconnaissance missions and meteorological flights. The Portuguese also began JU52 a cargo transport missions using aircraft previously provided by the Germans (July 1942). When the United states entered the War, planners saw the importance of the Azores both for convoy air cover and for commnications to North Africa. The Portuguese government, however, remained neutral. The Allied Torch lamdings (November 1942) clearly signaled the decling Axis fortunes. Both Ameriuca and Britain pressed the Portuguese to provide access to the Azores. German reverses in the East and North Africa convinced Salazar that it was both safe and advisable to moce toward the Allies. The British used a 600-year-old treaty (1373 Treaty of Peace) to negotiate the use of the Azores (August 1943). Salaza agreed to the British request for basing rights "in the name of the alliance that had existed for over 600 years between Portugal and Great Britain." The British were given use of the Azorean ports of Horta, on the island of Faial, and Ponta Delgada, on the island of Sao Miguel, and the airfields of Lagens Field on Terceira Island and Santana Field on Sao Miguel Island. The British and Americans turned the Azoores into a key air base for operations against German U-boats.

    Salazar's decision to stick with the oldest alliance in the world, cemented by the Treaty of Windsor (1386) between Portugal and England, which is still in force today, meant that the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance allowed Madeira to help the allies and in July 1940 around 2,000 Gibraltarian Evacuees were shipped to Madeira, this was due to the high risk of Gibraltar being attacked by either Spain or Germany.

    The Gibraltarians are fondly remembered on the island where they were called Gibraltinos. Some Gibraltarians had married Madeirans during this time and stayed after the war was over.

    On November 12, 1940 Hitler issued Führer Directive No. 18 in which there was the possibility to invade Portugal and he also said "I also request that the problem of occupying Madeira and the Azores should be considered, together with the advantages and disadvantages which this would entail for our sea and air warfare. The results of these investigations are to be submitted to me as soon as possible. I believe at some point the Portuguese were made aware of these designs, which could only serve to drive them closer to the allied camp.

    On the 28 May 1944 the first repatriation party leaves Madeira for Gibraltar and by the end of 1944 only 520 non-priority evacuees remained on the island. There was never a real allied military presence on this island, but it is logical that in the event of a crisis such contingencies would have occurred. the allies certainly had plans to occupy the island in the event of an attack on gibraltar.


    With regard to the Canary Islands , were occupied by the Spanish in the years just before Columbus' voyage. The Ahnenerbe (a German scientific organizatrion patroned by himmler) funded Spanish excavations, provided photographic equipment, and lent aircraft to conduct aerial surveys of archaelogical sites. I have no doubt these served a more sinister purpose for the Germans as well

    Franco at first declared Spain a non-beligerant. German Führer Adolf Hitler conceived of seizing the Azores and Canaries (as well as the islands of cape verde and Madeira) early in the war, but was disuaded from this adventure by his naval staff who realized that Germany might be able to seize the islands, but did not have the naval strength that would be needed to supply the island and hold them. Spain began constructing large military complex at Las Palmas (1940). President Roosevelt saw it as a potential "German springboard" for "aggression upon the Western Hemisphere", and such fears would have magnified to the poiint of an early US entry if Britain had suffered a defeat in 1940-41 .

    Unlike the Portuguese controlled Azores, the Canaries did not play a major role in the War. The British were concerned at first because it was not clear if Franco would enter the War on the side of the Axis. In Axis hands, the Islands could have disrupted sea commerce with the Dominions and the US which provided critical supplies to the Britain. Even if the Germans did not seize the Canaries, allowing U-boats to refuel and resupply there would provide an important support for U-boat operations. The Canaries had, however, a serious weakness as a U-boat base. Fuel and equipment would have to be brought in by ship. And such shipping would be vulnerable to Royal Navy interdiction. Although there were a few incidences of U-Boats using Spanish ports for refuelling purposes, it was very small scale and strictly secret, for fear of allied sanctions. The British prepared Operation Puma to seize the Canary Islands (June 1941). This was one of several contingency plans prepared to deal with any German plans to move against Spain and Portugal. Of course the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the same month made this much less likely. Spanish authorities denied the Canary Islands to the Kriegsmarine for refueling and rearming U-boats from July 1941. The British were prepared to seize the Canaries if the Spanish attacked Gibraltar, and in 1940-41 the islands were only lightly defended. Denying U-boas access to the Canaries, however, went a long way toward ending British concern with the Canaries. Franco decided to change Spain's status from non-beligerancy to neutral. The Allies decided to treat Spain as a neutral nation from 1942, increasing her access to foreign supplies and finace.
     
  18. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i agree....why would you try to bomb from mainland us when you can have bases in iceland and greenland?? you may be impeded by weather at the base but when you are talking long range missions you have to take into effect weather for the mission area anyways....so it is 6 of one a half a dozen of another....and you are going to save tons of hours by being closer.
     
  19. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if something akin to the B-17's "Tokyo Tanks" would be a realistic possibility to install on the B-29 or was the space already taken to achieve the bomber's already long range with large payload? The Tokyo Tanks were reported to extend the B-17's range by about 40%. According to the following website:

    The 6th Bomb Group: B-29 Performance

    The B-29's maximum combat radius, with fuel bladder installed in the rear bomb bay, was about 1800 miles.

    However, this site

    315th Bomb Wing, Very Heavy, World War 2

    says the longest nonstop, un-staged bombing mission of the war was to a target: Tsuchizakiminato in Northwest Japan, ~1825 statute mles (~1600 nm) distant from Tinian B-29 base.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I dunno, but its missing the fundamental question. What the devil are these aircraft going to do when they get there, apart from get themselves shot down.

    Bases closer to the target arent a "nice to have". they are esential in the ETO. they absolutely needed bases within P-51 range in order for this to work. A B-29 is a better proposition to a B-17 in terms of defnces, but the Germans are not the same as the Japanese ...far more dangerous in the air i would suggest.
     
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