Could the B-36 been ready by 1945?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Golladay, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Golladay

    Golladay New Member

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    I have recently finish Stuart Slade's "The Big One," in which 3,000 B-36s destroy Nazi Germany under a hail of over 200 nuclear bombs.

    Now I'll admit the design specs were issued in 1941. But I am not so certain the delays in testing the air frame were the real cause for it not getting a prototype flying by 1943 as Mr. Slade claims and more to do with the fact the Pratt Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial piston engines were a pain in the arse to get working properly.

    IIRC the engines to be used with the B-36 suffered from oil leakage, overheating, and catastrophic fires. These problems weren't fixed till after the war.

    So is it even remotely possible by throwing resources at the problem, to get the B-36 operational by 1945.

    Even without nukes, a B-36 dropping 72,000 to 80,000 pounds of bombs is not something to laugh at.
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    3000 B-36s dropping over 200 nuclear bombs? That is really far fetched for me. I highly doubt that the B-36 could have been ready before the war's end due to the teething problems. Even if they had resolved them, I don't think they could have churned out 3,000 of them. 200 nuclear bombs would have not been possible at the time either. The Manhattan project was about as accelerated as it could be just to get the first two over Japan when they did.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    There were a lot of other internal systems that had to go through a maturing synthesis for the size of the aircraft, and experience gained during WW2 was part of that. Hydraulic systems, brakes, defensive armament, pressurization systems, and as stated, propulsion had to all come together to make this design successful and even with trial and error experience gained during WW2. The technology was there in the mid 40s, it needed to be fined tuned. I doubt we would could of seen the B-36 in its combat ready form any earlier.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I will agree with Evans.

    Producing that many nukes in such a short time was "impossible".

    Now its possible (very, very remotely) a few hundred B36's could have been produced by the end of 1945, but that would have been at the cost of producing the B29.
     
  5. fly boy

    fly boy Member

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    that would destory the whole area 200 nukes set off around germany the rads from all of that would have killed a lot of us too
     
  6. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Probably not. The prevaling winds go east, towards the Soviet Union. Not good news for them. On top of that, the downwind contamination wasn't as great on the early nukes, dirty though they were, as on the later, thermonukes.

    Especially if they were air bursts, which Hiroshima and Nagasaki were.
     
  7. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    IMHO, it would've meant diverting all of the resources that were being used to construct the B-29 instead to build the B-36; I doubt the B-36 would've been done by the end of the War. In fact, it's entirely possible that by NOT building the B-29, and building the B-36 instead, that we would not have had the capability of dropping an A-bomb on Japan until 1946, thereby lengthening the War and, possibly, having to undertake a costly invasion of the Japanese home islands in late '45. I think we chose the correct course of action by going ahead with the B-29, and putting the B-36 on the "back burner" until the late '40's.
     
  8. Golladay

    Golladay New Member

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    The B-36 I can not really comment on as I can not find a full technical and development history for the the Pratt Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial piston engines.

    The Bomb production, however, according the Stuart the U.S. was just starting to ramp up to building 10 bombs a month when the war ended and thus decided to shut the production down and redo the entire line, thus resuming in 1947.

    In the "Big One" the U.S. doesn't shut down the line, so that by 1947 it has over 200 nuclear bombs to drop on Germany.

    Not really knowing about Oak Ridges production stats I can not determine whether he was telling the truth.
     
  9. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I think that, with top priority given in 1941, it would have been available for WWII. Priority was significantly reduced when it was switched to the B-32 with the capture of the Marianas in the Pacific. The question is how much more effective it would have been in Europe. Probably not much since the B-29 was never scheduled for Europe. Also, it presences might have spurred Germany to accerate the fighter version of the Me-262, which would have been a major threat to the B-36. However, the Me-262 would be flying at close to their ceiling, whereas defensive fighters, the P-47M/Ns, would have altitude advantage to use in defense. The Ta-152 would also have been a threat, but much less so since, although they would have the high ground, would have to fight off a beehive of faster P-47M/Ns at this altitude.

    I doubt if an earlier introduction of the B-36 would have had any significant impact on WWII.
     
  10. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It's hard to imagine the war in Europe dragging out 2 more years than it did.
     
  11. Golladay

    Golladay New Member

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    A myth that refuses to die.

    There would have been no invasion of Japan. It is an Island nation that has to import all its raw materials and most of its food.

    By 1944 with the seizure of the Marianna Islands we had won. Submarines could now stop all oil shipments to the Home Islands and mine the harbors, as well as prevent any meaningful resupply or recovery of IJA forces in China.

    There was no need to send bombers over Japan or take Iwo Jima, the Philippines, Okinawa, or even Ie Shima. Naval power could have and did roam at will around the Home Islands blasting the crap out of the main Japanese population areas.

    Japan either would have starved to death or surrender. The Bomber Barons wanted their air campaign to validate their ideals of war so that continued and they needed the Marines to seize Iwo Jima.

    MacArthur wanted the Philippines and wanted more glory so he pushed for an invasion of Japan. The Navy was pretty much winning the argument against invasion when the A-Bomb showed up and clinched it.
     
  12. Golladay

    Golladay New Member

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    Well according to the book Halifax seized power and allowed the Germans to put bases on Britain and didn't notice the Germans were placing Tanks on said bases :rolleyes:

    In 1942 the Germans take over Britain, the Royal Navy sails to Canada, Hitler declares war on the U.S. to get the Royal Navy back.

    America deploys an Army to the Soviet Union which is now under the rule of Zhukov and known as Russia.

    The fighting is inconclusive so the U.S. decides to sentence roughly 1.5 million American Servicemen to death in order to deceive the Germans into thinking the War is a low altitude war.

    In 1945 they launch a B-29 raid that is a disaster, but gets valuable radar pictures(?), and decides instead of using nukes as they roll off the assembly line or build lots of tactical airpower to simply overwhelm German Air Defenses, they are going to build large numbers of B-36Ds and Es, stockpile over 200 nukes and release them in a big blow.

    To help out the Illusion, they spam Essex Carriers and CVEs and raid Europe to keep the Germans concentrated on low altitude combat.

    When the B-36s finally arrive in 1947 with six turning and four burning, very few are intercepted and according to Mr. Slade even the Ta-152H proves unable to make the intercept of a B-36.

    The story is horribly written and you'll be doing this :rolleyes: most of the time, but unless you are into nuke porn it is pure trash.
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Interesting view of history you have there.

    Most of the mining of Japan was done by B29's. And it was B29's that burned the urban core out of Japan.

    Untill Okinawa was taken, any naval attacks on Japan would have been infrequent, not sustained and small in tonnage delivered.

    Japan was not going to be knocked out of the war by blockading, but by invasion or the transportation bombing campaign planned for Sept 1945.

    In the end victory was achieved by the navy stopping the flow of war material to Japan and the B29's shattering its infrastructure.
     
  15. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Golladay, while I agree the Japanese had essentially lost the war after the taking of the Marianas, it does not mean the actions of the Allied forces after that were based in self interest. The same arguement could've been made about Imperial Germany after the Von Schlieffen Plan failed in September of 1914. But the thing had to be played out. Same with the Japanese and the Pacific War.

    The US military fought the war based on War Plan Orange. The only two points to the plan that weren't at least considered were the Kamikaze and the Atom Bomb. Beyond that, the war went, more or less, to plan. The end game of that plan was the Invasion of Japan. For all concerned, it is a good thing that invasion never happened.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    There were elements of the Japanese war machine that could not be reached by naval power alone and the DUAL effort was a necessity. Despite the naval blockades the starvation of Japan would have taken at least another year and there was still leadership within the Japanese military who will not willing to surrender, no matter what - until they saw that mushroom cloud and their emperor told them to finally surrender.

    David Jablownski's book "Wings of Fire" documents the members of the Japanese military who wanted to continue to fight no matter what.
     
  17. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Other good books on the end of the Pacific War:
    "Retribution" by Max Hastings
    "Tenozan"
    "Downfall" by Richard B Franks

    Those are three of the best offhand. There are hundreds of books. Some good, some pretty bad. But the backround and details found in those books gives a very good idea of the end of the Pacific War. It is utterly amazing to me, after reading about it for 30 years, that is did not end in the same orgy of blood and fire that signified the end of the Third Riech.
     
  18. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    That's the overblown argument seen on web boards so often that refuses to die. :lol:

    1. One way or another Japan would have lost, that much is true. And starved within perhaps a year after the summer of '45.

    2. But here's where it gets overblown.
    a correct but didn't mean absolute defeat
    b wrong, subs didn't mine Japanese harbors, the massive mining campaign against Japan in 1945 was mainly by B-29's. Sub use of mines was always limited by the sub's own vulnerability to defensive mines in any water shallow enough for its own mines to be effective. US subs conducted a relative handful of minelaying patrols
    c. wrong for similar reason, the main sea link from Japan to Asian mainland (for coal and food imports, resupply of the Army in China) was via the Sea of Japan to Korean ports, behind defensive minefields mainly safe from US subs, with exceptions of a few high risk patrols in 1943, discontinued because of losses, and then again from June *45* when mine detecting sonars became available. The Sea of Japan links were only seriousl stressed by summer '45 mainly by B-29 mining plus direct aerial attack (USAAF/USN) by a/c based in Philippines and Okinawa.

    3. US carrier task forces didn't attack Japan directly until Feb '45, and carrier raids v Japan had limited impact. Subs had a much bigger impact, though they weren't what mainly cut off Japan from *food*.

    4. There was a legitimate moral obligation of the US as colonial power to free the Philippines ASAP, besides any personal reasons by MacArthur.

    The big factor left out, as often, is the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and Korea in August '45. That and the A-bombs were what made Japan's prospects hopeless enough for there to be a surrender (though as mentioned, there was a near coup to prevent it even then). Up to then they had a slim hope to somehow maintain sea links across the Sea of Japan to feed the country and hunker down until the Americans tired of the whole thing, though the hope was fading (again mainly from air attacks cutting off Korea from Japan). Those two events snuffed out that hope completely: the Americans might literally exterminate the country with the new weapon, and anyway with Manchuria/Korea in Soviet hands Japan was, for the first time, truly isolated and surely destined for large scale starvation. Those were new events in the summer of '45. The Mariana's defeat pointed in that direction, but the war would have gone on far longer if the US had stopped seizing actual territory after summer '44; quite possibly ending with the Soviets occupying Japan.

    Joe
     
  19. Golladay

    Golladay New Member

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    Perhaps, however, once the Navy Surface Fleet began raiding, there was nothing the Japanese could do to stop them as their surface fleet was sunk or out of fuel. The USN was more than capable of replenishing at sea, and had figured out how to combat the Kamikazes.
    They were already starving as we just about blew every rail junction and rolling stock to hell.

    Mainly because of that stupid unconditional surrender policy. The Japanese offered a few times, quite reasonable terms for their surrender. They should have been accepted and Japan anchored in the Kuriles could then be used as a buffer and Ally against Stalin.

    Hell if I had run the war these are the terms I would have given.

    1. All fighting to cease.

    2. Japanese forces to withdraw to Home Islands.

    3. Kingdom of Korea to be reestablished. (The Crown Prince of Korea was in Hiroshima, that is until we killed him.)

    4. Japan to renounce the claim on the mandates awarded by the League of Nations.

    5. The Generals are to atone for their failure(ie: commit suicide)

    6. The Emperor is to ascend to Heaven(ie: commit suicide, no sense letting him get away with his crimes.)

    7. The Crown Prince will ascend to the Throne under the Regency of General MacArthur.

    8. Resumption of trade.

    With these terms, I can mitigate quite a few damn problems, such as Korea, Soviet stepping stones into Japan, while giving the U.S. choke points against the Soviet Union.
     
  20. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    The Japanese offered the Allies terms in July of 1945 (I am not making this up) in response to their "Unconditional Surrender". Their terms were:

    1. Emperor stays on the thrown
    2. No occupation of the home islands
    3. Japanese troops come home from other lands in Japanese hulled ships (that is the one that amazes me because there weren't that many left)
    4. Japan has it's own war trials.

    The Allies refused these terms out of hand. They had seen Imperial Germany do the same thing in 1918 and were not about to have the war start again in 1965 due to a screwball peace treaty. They did counter with allowing the Emperor to stay on the throne. But the rest of it wasn't going to happen.

    Which brings up an interesting point about the Allies. I'm of the opinion that the Unconditional Surrender aspect was intentional to keep the coalition together. There can be no doubt the enemy has lost when he surrenders unconditionally. But when there is an Armistice (WW1, First Gulf War, Korea, ect) you get a situation where the war really doesn't end. And the coaltion that started out usually folds due to political pressures.

    It may've been that Roosevelt had that in his mind when he said that at Casablance. Probably spent a couple of days listening to political haggling, realized this could be a real threat to the success of the whole project and set the terms for the final success.
     
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