Bf110G still useful for ground attack on Eastern Front past 1943?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Was the Bf110G totally out of use by 1943 or could it have been useful as a strafer/gunship and ground attack aircraft from 1943-45 on the Eastern Front? I know it was supposed to be replaced by the Me410 in 1943 for all roles, but as I've read it wasn't really ever useful in any role. Supposing the Me410 program was scrapped, could the Bf110 still have had uses on the Eastern Front? It seems the He111 was still used on the East through 1945, so the faster Bf110 could still have had some uses to me, perhaps more than the Me410 given that it was a 'hot ship' and unsuited for the bomber destroyer role and not that useful as a light bomber, ground attack aircraft, or even intruder/night fighter.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #2 michaelmaltby, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
    As we've discussed in other threads on this forum ... unlike the western front, where air superiority was decided, MoL, by June 6 , 1944, in the East it was more a sector-by-sector affair. If you planned to attack or manoerver, you tried to gain local air superiority. With that in mind, I think the Bf 110 could have played a useful role in CAS, provided the 110 operations were covered from above by fighters - as the P-39's covered Sturmoviks for the Soviets. It could have lugged rockets or a big cannon - and had more range, speed and payload than the He-129. Plus a rear gunner.

    But, IMHO, the Bf110's were needed more in the air war against the RAF and USAAF in the west.

    MM
     
  3. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    By the end 1943 though they were getting slaughtered when going after US bombers; by 1944 they weren't useful at night or by day in the West, so why not use them in the East, given that the Me410 was simply not worth the effort?
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #4 GregP, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
    Good analysis Mike.

    I have always liked the Bf 110 and feel that if it were properly employed, it could have been useful all the way through the war, ay least in a limited capacity. The key would have been proper employment where the Bf 110's were escorted and had a specific mission in line with their armament and capabilities. If they had made a heavily-armed version with fixed 30 mm cannons as well as fixed MG's, it could have made a good ground attack plane with a lot of ammo plus a few anti-personnell small ordnance. This assumes a low level local Allied cover. We had a lot of planes in the air, but they also weren't everywhere all the time.

    I'd hate to try taking a city with 25+ Bf 110's swarming around that had a lot of guns and a slew of small frag bombs that could be dropped selectively. That assumes, of course, that the escorts could live with the possible Allied air cover. If not, then the Bf 110's should probably stay on the ground. So it might work a few times, but after they showed up once or twice, I think the Allies would have deployed air cover accordingly. That leaves something like roving attack planes, and they certainly weren't going to rove very far or very long if escorted by Bf 109's. We have discussed the short ramge of the 109 many times.

    But the Allies also didn't have air cover everywhere or all the time. I'm sure the Bf 110's so armed could have created havoc among armored columns or troop advances. Hindsight has pretty good vision and in hindsight, the Bf 110's might have done OK at low-level general harrassment, much as the P-47's and P-51's used to loook for targets of opportunity (Rhubarbs) on the way home from an attack or escort mission after their time to break off had come.

    The question in my mind is whether the Luftwaffe could escort them and whether they had the planes and crews to mount a sort of continuous harrassment force. If they had, then the response from the Allied side would also have to be taken into account. In the end, maybe it would not have done any good, but it probably would have been better, from the German standpoint, than what actually happened. The Bf 110's probably had the range to circle around and hit the Allied advance from the rear, but the escorts might not have had enough range to do that, making the venture a risky one for the Bf 110's.

    Perhaps the tactic would have been a very short-lived one anyway since 25 Bf 110's trying to get away from 100+ P-51's won't exactly help the life expectancy of the Bf 110's to be extended. If that turned out to be the case, then maybe the Bf 110 was better off retired. Of course by mid-1944, the Luftwaffe was having a hard time living in an Allied sky on almost all fronts.

    I can't help thinking that the Allies used the P-40 in the lower-priority theaters with effectiveness. Maybe the Bf 110 could have been used in the MTO, North Africa, and out over the Atlantic. It might have nade a decent radier against convoys and would probably have been useful on the Eastern front until the Soviets acquired a lot of Yak-3 / 9's and Lavochkin La-5's and later variants.

    That might have extended it's useful life into early 1944 or so, perhaps longer in the MTO, which never did seem to get top-quality front-line Allied aircraft in any major volume.

    In the end the Germns were rather heavily concerned with inventing new-technology prototypes and may in fact have been better served by ramping up production of existing aircraft and concentrating on pilot / ground crew training to get more planes in the air with crews that could make a difference. Think how many 109's, 110's, 190's, etc. could have been deployed if the Me 163, Me 262, He 162, BV 155, and all the other myriad prototypes had been foregone for production of useful airframes.

    Then there is the question of the real-world fuel shortages to consider. It's not an easy analysis by any means. In point of fact the Germans had a decent quantity of fuel. The problem was transporting it to a destination. Once the transport function was effectively halted, the war was pretty much over except for the formality of making the surrender happen.
     
  5. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    Probably would have worked maybe even through 1943. But the looming problem was the loss of pilots. More 110s would accelerate this problem.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Ju-87 and Ju-88 were outstanding CAS aircraft (by WWII standards) and they are already in mass production. So why piddle around trying to convert Me-110 fighter aircraft to the CAS role?

    If you want a CAS aircraft produced by Messerschmitt then follow through with historical plans for Henschel to mass produce the Me-210C or Me-410. It's much more suitable for the CAS mission then Me-110G.
     
  7. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    yep, it takes longer to train a pilot to fly a muliti engine plane than a single.
     
  8. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #8 wiking85, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
    The Ju88 was a failure as a CAS aircraft (the P series). It was a good light bomber however. The Ju87 was too short ranged and was very vulnerable to ground fire, which is why it was phased out in 1943 and only used as a night harassment bomber thereafter. The Bf110 was already a fighter-bomber and ground attack aircraft since 1940. The G-series needed no adaptation to be used as a fighter-bomber/ground attack/gunship. It was already in production and the crews, both air and ground, were familiar with it. The Me410 required a new engine, retraining, new production, a lapse in production time, and it was really not an effective aircraft in any role. It was not designed as a CAS aircraft once the dive bombing requirement was dropped, rather it was a light bomber and was already a worse one than the Ju88. Even the Ju88S was marginally faster than the Me410 and could have been better adapted to the intruder role and was a better night fighter (in the G series) than the Me410 ever proved to be. The Me410 was not a CAS aircraft.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Me_410
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_110
    And it was quite potent as an anti-tank weapon and train buster; in fact this was the preferred armament for train busting, which the range of the Bf110 made it well suited for, especially if used in that role from 1943 on.

    More than the Me410. It didn't need to be fast as a CAS and ground attack aircraft on the incoming part of its mission for accuracy, but it needed to be able to sprint out on the back end, which, once it deployed its bombs, it was very much able to do.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_110_operational_history#Eastern_Front
    They should have been returned to the Eastern Front for further Ground Attacks and CAS, as it was able to glide bomb pretty well too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnellkampfgeschwader_210
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    CAS is a primary mission for light bombers and Ju-88 had all the right characteristics for that job.
    - Predictable flight characteristics. This allows you to fly close to ground without fear of an unexpected stall.
    - Outstanding weapon delivery accuracy, to include dive bombing.
    - Carries enough fuel that it can loiter awhile over battlefield.
    - Crew protected against ground fire in an armored cocoon.
    - Can carry weapons up to 1,000kg in size. Hence aircraft was effective against both hard and soft targets.
    - Able to operate at night and (to some extent) during bad weather.
    - Ju-88 can operate from primitive airfields.
    - Rocket assisted take off option allows operation from short fields while heavily loaded.
    - Ju-88 was relatively inexpensive to mass produce. Hence you can afford to lose a few to ground fire.
    - No bomber can turn burn with fighter aircraft. However Ju-88 was fast and maneuverable enough to make it a difficult aerial target.
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Soooooooo if we changed Wikipedia it would also mean it's true?
     
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  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    At least wiking85 is giving some sort of source which may (or may not) link back or quote from other sources), some posters give little or nothing to back up their opinions.

    In the case of wiking85s last quote it is supposed to be from "Bergström, Christer. Barbarossa - The Air Battle: July–December 1941, London: Chervron/Ian Allen, 2007 . ISBN 978-1-85780-270-2."

    I don't own the book so I have no way to check if the wiki author quoted correctly. Nor do I know if the book is correct.

    An Me 110 had a 422 sq ft wing and weighed around 11200lbs empty, a Ju 88 (A-4 and later) had a 562 sq ft wing and weighed between 18,000 and 22,000lbs empty equipped depending on version( a bit heavier than 'just empty"). Now maybe Junkers did figure out how to make a larger, heavier airplane with less man hours than a smaller/lighter plane but the bigger plane certainly used more raw materials. Of course we will be told that Germany was "awash" in aluminium and so that doesn't count :)
     
  12. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #12 wiking85, Jan 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
    Issues you are overlooking here:
    The Bf110 was in production earlier, so by now was much easier and cheaper (in terms of man hours and raw materials) to produce; it required less crew, was significantly faster earlier, more maneuverable, and was a better strafer. The Ju88 was gradually de-cleared of dive bombing due to skin warping, which the Bf110 did not have a problem with. The 3.7cm cannon was cleared for the Bf110, but the Ju88 wasn't ever able to effectively use it in ground attacks. The Ju88 was also a much larger target than the Bf110, which made it much more vulnerable to ground fire. Much of what you write about the Ju88 is applicable to the Bf110; it was also able to carry heavier bombs, but for the light bomber/CAS/Ground Attack role this makes little difference, as it was more a medium bomber's job to take the 1000kg bombs (which the Ju88 was shoe horned into early on). The crew protection of the Ju88 was not better and probably a bit worse the Bf110 in terms of being a larger target and having a much larger glass cockpit, which makes a massive difference for ground attack and low level attacks where the concern is ground fire; the Ju88C was too big for ground level attacks, so was rarely used in that role, the P-series is the perfect case in point, as it was THE ground attack version, but quickly cancelled.

    Basically the Ju88 was a good fast and medium bomber for its time, which was passing by 1944, except on the Eastern Front. The Bf110 was a better light bomber, CAS aircraft, and ground attack aircraft as its war record demonstrated; the Ju88 generally failed in those roles, though as a light bomber or fast bomber is had its pluses. Ultimately though they filled two different roles and categories; trying to shoe horn the Ju88 into the Bf110's roles for ground attack and CAS failed historically.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_Ju_88#Variants
    Its pretty well regarded AFAIK.
    http://www.amazon.com/Barbarossa-The-Battle-July-December-1941/dp/1857802705
     
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  13. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    The C version of the 110 always seemed a useful one, I have wondered if the DB605 equipped early G models had any success in a similar role but have seen little on it, I suppose the night-fighting G's got all the attention?
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-110C is the wrong airframe for CAS.

    Me-110E (and probably later variants) had armor for protection against ground fire. It also had a strengthen airframe for carrying heavy ordnance. This stuff adds weight but it's essential for a light bomber.
     
  15. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    #15 Aozora, Jan 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
    Tell that to the crews of the Bristol Blenheims and Fairey Battles that tried undertaking CAS missions. Light bombers were normally used on targets well behind the enemies front lines, not around battlefields if they wanted to survive.

    So did the Fw 190F series, which was smaller, cheaper, faster, more manouverable etc.

    Evidence that the Ju 88 had inherently outstanding weapon delivery accuracy? Much of that was down to the crews. Purpose built CAS versions of the Ju 88, meaning the A-13, A-14 and P series, got rid of the dive brakes, so there is no evidence that their weapons delivery accuracy was anything special or out of the ordinary.

    The last thing to do is "loiter over battlefield" - in, attack, out as fast as possible and don't loiter anywhere near the battlefield. Find somewhere else to loiter. Few CAS aircraft of WW II required lots of fuel for long range/good endurance; all that meant was that the Ju 88 carried more fuel, making for a bigger, more vulnerable target.

    Which compromised performance; the purpose built A-13 and 14s, with all the extra armour, were slower and less manouverable than the contemporary A-4, while the P-series, with all the armour and the weapons gondolas, had very poor performance. As it is, the only aircraft in which the crews were truly in an armoured cocoon were the Hs 129 and the Il-2 otherwise the armour was an add-on.

    The Fw 190F and Gs could carry weapons up to 1,000 kg, plus it was smaller, faster, more manouverable and less vulnerable to ground fire and fighters.

    [​IMG]

    CAS requires that it is possible to operate close to your own troops, be able to operate against relatively small targets and have the flexibility to be on call to change to other targets relatively quickly. Just because an aircraft could operate at night or in bad weather doesn't mean that its going to be able to carry out effective CAS against targets it more than likely cannot see.

    So could the Fw 190F G series.

    How often did CAS Ju 88s use RATO?

    Only if the losses are outweighed by the results, otherwise all you're doing is losing aircraft and their crews.

    Not for long, and not when all the extra armour and armament was introduced; once the likes of the La-5s and Yak-9s etc got into service the Ju 88 CAS versions were almost as vulnerable as the Me 110.

    (Info from Squadron Signal Ju 88 in Actions parts 1 2 - my Classic Publications book on the Ju 88 is still en-route http://www.amazon.com/Junkers-Vol-Schnellbomber-Development-Production/dp/1906537429 ...it's hard to have to wait.)
     
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