Casualities in unescorted US heavy bombers by German fighter type

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Hello,

    Think I already read somewhere the doctrine of self defense of US bombers was not a bad idea at all, the bombers being able to proceed with acceptable casualities against single engine fighters. The problem was supposedly the twin engine fighters, with high caliber cannons, rockets, etc.

    Myth or truth?
     
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    myth, but it also depends on the time frame 43, 44 ? .......... when
     
  3. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Until the end of '43, when long range fighter escort was very short.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Jenisch

    S/E fighters with cannon and br 21 rocket launchers were active since April of 1943 only in August of 43 did the T/E were given the go ahead and only in small numbers of A/C to attack the bomber stream, then in December ZG 26, 76, 1 and 101 were given bomber interceptor tasks on a full scale basis when they could reach them
     
  5. iron man

    iron man Member

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    As I understand the evolution of German tactics vs. the USAAF, combat experience led to an increasing use of tactics involving firing passes from the front quadrant; this was (in large part) the reason for greater Jagdwaffe successes during the period you're asking after. As German pilots gained more experience in dealing with the harrowing closing speeds involved, their ability to target their gunfire accurately increased.

    A couple of 20mm Minengeschoss hits in the cockpit area of a viermot is virtually a guaranteed kill...at the least it is absolutely a mission kill.

    Use of this tactic required that the Jagdwaffe had the freedom to assemble groups of s/e fighters at the proper point (within the 3D environment) to achieve the maximum effect; this "freedom" was not denied until the advent of escorts, who could disrupt the process.

    IMO, too much is made of the many "expedients" which were tried. This, with regards to "big guns" (Bk50), air to air bombing, and the WGr.21. Employment of the t/e machines was not the "magic bullet"...moreover, it was just another sign of the increasing despiration prevalent in an increasingly chaotic war situation.

    In the hands of a pilot like JG 2's Egon Mayer (etal), the Fw 190A with 4x 20mm (internal) cannon was a "one pass/one kill" weapons system.

    They just ran out of "Mayer's"... and avgas.
     
  6. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    I understand. But if I'm not wrong, the Americans answered to the frontal attacks with the "cheek" turrent in the B-17G. That was still ineffective?
     
  7. TheMustangRider

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    To the best of my knowledge, USAAF aviators -with certainty of not having fighter escorts around- feared opposition from s/e LW fighters as much as twin-engined fighters.
    as the 8th AF grew in experience during the air war, so did the LW and their effectiveness is palpable on the 1942-1943 period.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    So was a Me-109G with 3 x MG151/20 cannon. No aircraft can shrug off multiple 20mm shell hits.
     
  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    THe cheek gun was there to put out some rounds to discourage them from the front attacks. But if the pilots attacking from ahead had a hard time hitting anything as big as a B-17 or B-24, what realistic chance did that cheek gun have of hitting anything as small as a fighter under the same conditions. All it could usually do is just mess up their concentration.
     
  10. iron man

    iron man Member

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    The B-17G specification incorporated the Bendix chin turret (which had been developed for the unsuccessful YB-40 project) and also retained the two .50 "cheek" guns from late production "F's", in slightly redesigned mounts. The first of these models began coming off the lines at the end of July, 1943. Sources I have to hand indicate that re-equipment with the type started producing operational B-17G units by the end of this same year. The turret mounted guns (with their computing gunsight) were far more effective than the hand held "ring and bead", pintle mounts used in the "F". Conversion to the "G" model occurred during the "operational pause" taken by VIII Bomber Command, following the heavy losses sufferred during the missions flown in the Autumn of 1943.

    This gave the B-17 a second pair of forward firing .50's, in a stabilized mount with a proper targeting system; a powerful deterrent indeed, at least against less experienced attackers. Operations remained largely peripheral during the period when the B-17G units were re-equipping. This was due to weather conditions over the continent but also due to the amount of "rebuilding" required among many of the units, after the brutal losses suffered the previous year.

    Of course, when the weather cleared over the continent in early 1944 and the re-building was complete, (allowing for the resumption of large scale operations) the USAAF had the penultimate solution to the "problems" of the previous year entering squadron service in ever increasing numbers...The P-51B/C.

    While the "chin" turret might make things a little "hotter" for the Jagdwaffe pilot in a head on attack, it's not that hard to hard to extrapolate as to what would have happened, had they tried large scale, deep penetrations over Germany without the long range escorts in the Spring of 1944. Fw 190A offered pretty good protection to the pilot from the frontal aspect. If the plane was lost? No big deal...as long as the pilot got out unharmed.

    Minengescho├č was a very, very nasty bit of business. Defensive HMG fire will not stop a determined, experienced pilot from delivering the very few hits required to turn the flight deck of a bomber into a horror show.

    Hitting him while he's at a disadvantage, climbing to altitude, assembling his formation...this is what was required to stop the Jagdwaffe.
     
  11. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Yeah, that's what I was also thinking. The Fw 190 A had versions with extra frontal armor and one pair of its 20mm cannons substituted for 30mm's. It was usually capable to absorve some hits for a "higher cause". The LW also used a box style formation if I'm not wrong, that concentrated several aircraft to attack together. With experience pilots, that would bring devastating results to the bomber force.
     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Iron man correct but cheek guns were more for morale than effectiveness. Bombadier had all the useful space for forward firing and visibilty with the chinn turret
     
  13. iron man

    iron man Member

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    I believe that (in my round about way) this was exactly the point I was trying to make. Pintle mounted .50's (with ring and bead sights) were next to useless when trying to engage attacking aircraft...even moreso from the frontal aspect, when closing speeds played heavily in the favor of an experienced Luftwaffe pilot. The computing gunsight fitted to the Bendix turret gave a little bit back to the ability to actually hit an oncoming attacker, but really? Frontally, you're not stopping an Fw 190 (or a 109G) with defensive fire...and they can hurt you.

    And very, very badly.

    The only thing that stopped the carnage was the advent of the "forward sweep", where the P-51's engaged the Jagdwaffe while they were still trying to gain altitude.
    In my opinion? Chin guns alone would not have changed matters one bit.

    You can't stop that stuff once the "bad guy" has got you in the bead and the cannon rounds are on their way "downrange". If you've got the "fix" (as with regards to the basic azimuth of the shot)? Kick rudder left, then kick it right with the "taps wide open"...something will hit.

    And it will kill.

    Herrausschuss, Abschuss? At this point in time? They weren't too concerned...as long as they were hitting the "Ami's" as hard as they could.

    Would have been an utter bloodbath, (without the interdiction efforts of the P-51) in February of 1944...chin turrets or not.
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    20mm Minengeschoss rounds were devestating to the poor bastards on the receiving end, but the 30mm minengeschoss rounds were downright horriffic...
     
  15. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    IMHO hits on viermot anywhere was a mission kill. From pilot accounts I read, attacked bombers SOP was to jettison bombs immidiately.
     
  16. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    That was for German bombers.
     
  17. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    US/UK bombers too..
     
  18. iron man

    iron man Member

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    Point taken, but as I understand it? During the period the OP has specified the 30mm M-shell was very much a "new kid on the block", whereas the 20mm variant was in widespread service. If I'm understanding it correctly (and please "straighten me out" me if I'm off base here), the /U4 mod for the 109G-6 was only just entering service and Bf 110G-2/U9's were (likewise), only starting to reach frontline units for operational testing (ZG76) in the Autumn of 1943?

    Fully agreed on the "horror show" factor of one vs. the other. The 2cm was bad enough...the 3cm round was absolutely brutal.

    Nothing succeeds like excess.
     
  19. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the 2cm M round was used in abundance in June of 44 till wars end and many successful variants in fact the 3cm M was also used though in fall winter of 43/44 and in June the variants of this round also branched out into a more destructive
    species. lets just say thanks to the 9th AF 354th fg and to the 8th AF for providing cover with their Jugs in late 43 early 44.
     
  20. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    #20 Siegfried, Apr 30, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
    mk108blenheim.jpg

    This is a picture of the effects of a single 30mm Mk 108 mine shell tested against a Blenheim. There are videos of this as well. This weapon didn't often give second chances.
     
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