Dambusters raid did help to win the war

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by fastmongrel, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I know its fashionable to say that Britain did nothing to win the war and anything wearing an RAF roundel was rubbish flown by incompetent drunks but new research has shown how much damage was caused to Germany by Operation Chastise. So many workers and so much concrete, steel and guns were diverted from the Atlantik Wall that many thousands of British Canadian and US lives were not lost storming the beaches.

    Apart from the A bomb raids I dont think so much damage was caused by such a small force of men and machines, the title of the article is a bit Hyperbolic but it is the Daily Express who have never knowingly undersold a story with a restrained headline.

    Proof dambusters did win us the war and we can be proud of them again
     
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  2. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    not a bad article, as you said the title is a bit much, but their actions should never be downplayed in any way !
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The whole article is full of hyperbole. What new research? I don't see anything I don't already know and I also see some extrapolation of known facts to support an argument.
    I would never belittle the achievement or sacrifice of 'the dambusters' but realistic assessment is important. The raid did not win us the war and another raid risking such appalling casualties was not attempted.
    What won us the war was not one raid, one battle or one campaign, it was more than 5 years of attrition and consequent destruction of Germany's capacity to continue the conflict. You might as well say that the Russians won the war at Stalingrad which is equally untrue.
    I've not read Holland's dambuster book published in 2012 (maybe sales need a boost), I was seriously put off by his Maltese book, Fortress Malta or something like that. I suspect this article was written to boost sales.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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  4. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Purple headlines aside ... the economic analysis of the raid's effects is absolutely spot on .... and there is relatively 'new' research ... much of it in the field of economics ... such as Adam Tooze's. The raid absolutely dictated an agenda and priorities on Hitler and his planners ..... they had no choice but to repair the dams whatever the costs . Long Live the Dambusters.
     
  5. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    Its just nice to see something different to the usual Bomber Command war criminals rhetoric that is usually spouted !
     
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  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    This article relates to a book published in 2012 and the economic effect of the dams raid has been long known from German sources. All the article has done is rehash the figures already rehashed in the book. There's nothing wrong with that, it is aimed at a popular and perhaps less critical audience.

    The article also seems to have done the historian's pet hate, telescoped history. The dams raids occurred more than a year before the Normandy landings and about 8 months before Rommel finally gave a serious impetus making the 'Atlantic Wall' more of a reality than a propaganda tool.

    It was a fantastic feat of arms and will rightly be remembered for the ingenuity and bravery with which it was planned and carried out. It certainly was more than a minor inconvenience to the Germans and it did serve to divert men and materiel from other vital jobs, something that almost every bombing raid did to a greater or lesser extent. It did not alter the course of the war on iota, nor did it have a serious effect on German production, one of the hoped for objectives.

    8 of the 19 attacking aircraft had been lost and 53 out of 133 aircrew killed (40%), together with 3 captured. It was a demonstration that no matter how brave and determined the crews carrying out such a raid might be the cost was too high and unsustainable. No.617 Squadron's next operational flights were almost exactly 2 months later, after rebuilding, in mid July.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    BC contributed materially to the victory, but the cost was very heavy as we all know. Ive read estimates that the total effect of BC on the german economy, taking into account the damage it caused and the resources diverted to defend against it was about 17% of the total german production capability. To achieve that, Britain probably expended around 40% of its own resources delivering the packages to Germany. Could these resources have been better used in other ways? Maybe. But the bomber offensive gave the British some much neeed sense oif pushing on, at a time when they didnt have much to be cheery about. Im not saying it was solely or even mostly psychological, but we also need to face facts and admit that the bomber offensive was not an efficient use of resources. Neither was the US daylight offensive. in the end it did work but gee.......
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The reduction in German production may even have been less than that, but it is only one aspect of the bombing campaigns and none can be taken in isolation. Later and better targeted attacks on industries (aircraft, U-boat etc), transport and notably oil had far more profound effects. There is no doubt that Bomber Command's area attacks were overdone and continued for too long, but there are many reasons for this and here may not be the place for an in depth analysis :)

    The cost OF Bomber Command is consistently overstated. Best estimates are that an average of 7% of Britain's national war effort was used to build an run Bomber Command.
    The figures for the three Services for the division of 'direct war effort' are Army 50%, RAF 28%, Navy 19%. The RAF's Strategic bombing offensive over Europe cost about 25% of the total effort of the RAF.

    Even the man power drain is usually over estimated. In December 1939 the Army was 6 times the size of the RAF (1.131 million : 212 thousand) and in December 1944 still three times the size (2.787 million : 995 thousand). Far more of the national effort went into the Army.

    Direct war effort is defined as the man power applied to full time service in the armed forces and civil defence and to production in Group I industries (which includes all armaments and munitions).

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    When we recall how much Germans spent to thwart the Allied bomber offensive, and that was primarily the RAF thing in the 1st half of war, the British resources spent on it and men lost were negligible (no offense for the men died & wounded whie doing their duty).
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #10 stona, Feb 6, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
    I think that the higher figures often quoted are those for man power effort expended on the production of aircraft engines, air frames, ordnance stores, and electronics, everything from communications equipment radar etc.
    This equates to 7.8 million man years or 35% of the total. The figure is usually quoted out of context and does not reflect the overall percentage of the direct war effort which is a far better measure.

    It is also often stated that Bomber Command took precedence over all other services, particularly the Army. This is also not supported by the statistics. As of 1940/41 it became clear that the bombing offensive against Germany would form a central pillar of British strategy and there are many strongly worded minutes and memorandums which would give the impression that the development of a strategic bombing force should trump everything else. However it is also clear when the production figures are analysed that factors such as the needs of the home front and, in the words of the British Bombing Survey Unit (BBSU), 'the degree of mechanisation determined for our armies' considerably limited expansion of the air arm.
    If we look at the numbers of aircraft to be produced in the various production schemes from January 1939 through December 1945 we see that only in three months did the number of aircraft delivered meet or exceed the number planned. This was significantly in the period from April to June 1940. Otherwise production fell well short of numbers planned.

    Whichever way we look at it the strategic bombing offensive did require a considerable effort, even if not quite what is often quoted. Whether the return on that investment was worthwhile is something that has been, and will be, debated for years.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Im quite happy to concede the point regarding proportions and percentages. I hadnt even checked properly, just going purely on memory .
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #12 stona, Feb 6, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
    I think the 40% is a sort of significantly rounded up composite of various figures, or one measure taken out of context. I've never found it in an official source, but It is often quoted, so there's nothing wrong with your memory :)

    There are lots of different ways of measuring the effort of various programmes and all rely on statistical analysis. We all know how statistics can be used! By amalgamating all sorts of different measures it is still not possible to get to 40%, high single or low double figures is more realistic. This is still a considerable effort and still opens up the debate as to how good a return was achieved on the investment.

    The USSBS figure of 17% for lost German production is very much higher than British estimates. For total production (excluding mining) British estimates go from 3.5% (Jan-Jun '43) to 9.0% (Jul-Dec '44). For war production, same periods, the figures are 3.2% and 2.6%.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Full of hyperbole, but its the Daily Express so can't expect much less from them. Still an interesting read.
     
  14. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Year ago (maybe 20) I saw a documentary about the raid which played heavily on the psychological impact of it, I thought at the time they made too much of it. Then I saw a documentary fairly recently that said that after the Dambusters raid was done then the dams they used for practice were given protection against a similar reprisal raid. You can only speculate about how much effort in men and materials was spent trying to prevent things the Germans had against possible weapons they didnt know about.
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard it said that the British did nothing much to win the war. You guys were in it from the start and did a great job against some pretty decent odds against definite war veterans with good equipment. In the end, the RAF and the USAAF dropped nearly the same tonnage of bombs, but that has more to do with sheer numbers than any lack of effort. I'd say it was a great cooperative effort by the "Allies" from all countries that participated in combat operations.

    The dam buster raid was a well-planned, well-executed operation that did a lot of damage ... which is the intent during a war of national survival. I believe it is obvious that had the Nazis won, there would be no UK today.
     
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  16. Peter Gunn

    Peter Gunn Active Member

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    ^^^ What he said.
     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Hmmm

    Who and when was it ever said the Britidh did nothing to help win the war. Never heard that...
     
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  18. Peter Gunn

    Peter Gunn Active Member

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    Agreed, I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually say anything that stupid, it does seem though that I'll see someone defending against it, rather a straw man argument at best.
     
  19. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Come to the UK Adler, there is a growing body of opinion saying that the UK only ever ran slave ships. It would not surprise me if they didnt start a twitter campaign to find any living relatives of Hitler and Goering to apologise for being rude.


    The losses on the dambusters raid were high in numbers but also all crews were specially chosen like a squadron of the bomber equivalent of fighter aces.
     
  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Some crews came from No.106 Squadron and having served with Gibson were picked or at least invited by him to join the new squadron. Most volunteered in response to to a written invitation from No 5 Group Headquarters to all Squadrons in the Group calling for volunteers to form a Squadron for a special operation. A few were simply posted in.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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