Daylight V Night bombing....

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Well,

    Not exactly, just wondering how each of the bombers would have faired if the roles were switched, B17-B24 doing the night bombing and the Lancaster-Halifax-Stirling doing the daylight raids...
    Would the RAF have swapped the .303 for .50's etc., etc.
     
  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, I think we already know what the results would be. Lancasters, Halifaxes, Sterlings etc. would not do well in daylight against heavily defended targets - the daylight Lanc raids against Caen in 1944 were relatively short range and the target was not being defended from the air. 303's or 50's would make very little difference.

    B-17's and B-24's at night over typical BC targets wouldn't perform appreciably better than RAF machines. The extra turrets might make a tiny difference but were intended to function in "box" formations which USAAF could NOT have flown at night -- they would have forced to stream the way the RAF did. And the USAAF bombers would be carrying lighter bomb loads on the long missions than the RAF machines.

    My views at least ... :)

    MM
     
  3. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I believe two results both poor.

    The USAAF doctrine of attacking strategic targets would not have changed and it would take more sophisticated radar techniques at high altitude to be effective, more than available - the losses would have been higher than daylight (as it was in 1944-1945 for RAF) because there would be little effective escort capability for US bombers at night. I suspect there would have been a change to attempt low altitude (i.e Ploesti type raids) to offset the LW night fighter capability... but can only speculate on results. B-17 and B-24 would get rid of waist guns and nose guns/turrets.

    RAF flying in daylight requires the same long range escort capability and has to purchase a lot of Mustangs, etc to provide target support. I'm not sure about changes to Lanc armament but believe they definitely go to 50 cal.

    With escorts I believe the Lanc would generate better results due to the tonnage and the doctrine of bigger bombs than 8th AF 'standards' of 500 and 1000 pound HE.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Nobody had effective escort capability at night during WWII as the chance for fratracide between poorly trained bomber tail gunners and poorly trained night fighter pilots was too great. Only a few of the best RAF night fighter pilots like Bob Braham operated in the bomber stream. Most RAF night fighter pilots operated in the intruder role over German night fighter airfields where they didn't need to worry about exchanging fire with "friendly" bombers.
     
  5. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I'm sure this topic's come up before

    I would imagine some of the Lancaster's payload advantage would need to be traded in when it gunned up - I wouldn't be surprised to see the addition of waist and Sperry ventral positions. Trying to fend off Sturmbock assault waves with .303 would be interesting but not for the RAF, almost certain upgrade to .50cal; I'm not sure of the cost vs effectiveness of fitting out a bomber with 20mm stations.

    The B-17 going the other way would indeed probably lose the waist and chin positions though the Sperry just might provide some sort of counter to Schrage Musik - if the operator was on the ball.

    I still have my reservations of Lancaster durability for daylight ops vs the B-17 both structural and powerplant-wise.
     
  6. billswagger

    billswagger Member

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    This all falls on the premise that the British were capable of putting up the same amount of planes for a day time run as USAAF was.
    If that wasn't a factor, then i wouldn't think there would be much difference, they would just adapt day time procedure for night time procedure and vice versa
    You'd still need Mossies, or the equivalent to go in low and drop incendiary flares so the heavies could see the target area at night.




    Bill
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Think that B-17 might have been a good night bomber.
    With turboed engines some weight reduction (through MG posts removed) it was well suited to fly high fast, making an elusive target for NachtJagd.
    As for HMGs deleted, those would mean waist guns, top turret, front guns, while I'd replace Sperry turret with simple HMG 'porthole'. That way we also loose 3 crew members their gear, plus ammo for guns deleted.
     
  8. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Cheers fellas!
     
  9. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I don't doubt it

    but fast? It was the slowest of the three. Any weight reduction not immediately taken up with payload would be a bit strange
     
  10. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Except flying fast and high, at night, is a recipe to miss your target, even an area target.

    The British typically bombed at 14-18,000 feet during daylight, and 10-17,000 feet at night.

    The USAAF typically bombed at 22-28,000 feet during daylight.
     
  11. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Can we just define 'fast' here - I thought we were talking about the B-17 :)
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    You are assuming the RAF continue to use slow heavy bombers. They could go the Luftwaffe route and build fast bombers like the Do-217 and He-177. A 300 mph bomber (with bomb load) still requires a fighter escort but it's inheritly more survivable then a loaded B-17 or Lancaster cruising over enemy territory at 160 to 180 mph.
     
  13. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    My opinions on this issue are that the US undertook both daylight and night time bombing, whilst the RAF undertook Night bombing and later daylight bombing. Both forces encountered no real problems in the changeover.

    For the US, the best example I can think of is in the bombing of japan. The B-29 raids started as high level HE raids, carried out in daylight, and were not particulalry effective. Having witnessed the effectiveness of the RAF mass incendiary raids over germany, the US switched to low level (ie 20'K) incendiary bombing, that in the fuel rich cities of Japan was exceptionally effective.

    Conversely, the RAF, having been forced to use night bombing techniques witnessed the devatating effects the precision attacks of the USAAF on German industry, and increasingly switched their heavy bombers to daylight attacks as the war progressed.

    The secret to successful daylight attacks was the control of the skies, I would suggest, and not the bomber type flying them. US B-17s and B-24s had no more success in Daylight than any other type, whilst the LW was in control of the skies around them. Add a LR escort like a P-51 and the equation changes fundamentally, and more or less instantly. The RAF was abale to use its heavy bombers in daylight because the US had won air superiority by that stage.

    With regard to Night bombing, it was not necessary for the US to escort their B-29 raids at night, because the japanese lacked an effective Night Fighter force. For the RAF this was not the case....they were faced with a highly efficient enemy NF force. With respect to the comments being bandied about about the RAF not escorting their Night bombers, this is, with respect, bunkum. The RAF in fact employed over 140 Mosquitoes alon, on average, as Direct escort, and a furthe 14 squadrons (numbers unknown, but approximately 300) as Night intruders, that turned the German Night Fighters lives into a nightmare, to be brutal about it. So rattled were the NJGs by the end, that more were being lost in landing accidents than any the 600 or so that were lost to direct escort. Be all that as it may, the British managed to reduce their loes from an average of 7% to less than 2%...some of this was due to a shortage of fuel, but some was also due to the effects of the escorts being provided to the bomber forces, particulalry after June 1944. All this argument about only a few RAF pilots having the skill to escort at night is utter rubbish, to be brutal about it, though, like all airforces, 90% of the killing was done by 10% of the pilots. RAF training emphasized that all pilots were trained for the job at hand, and given the throrouhness of the electronic training and familiarization, it should come as no surpise that most of the Night Fighter aircrews were fully upto the task of direct escort.
     
  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Did the RAF night bombers have an IFF device that would identify them to the British night fighters?

    While this does nothing for the night fighter against a trigger happy tail gunner it does mean that the night fighter won't have to get near the bomber to give the tail gunner a shot.
     
  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I cannot find the thread but somewhere in this forum there was a posting which covered this. A member did a huge breakdown of the heavy bombers missions both by day and night from both the USAAF and the RAF and compared them to the losses.

    Going from memory the B17 had a better loss record but the Lancaster and B24 had almost exactly the same loss ratio by both day and night.

    If anyone can find this I would appreciate it.
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Yep, my bad saying 'fast' for B-17.
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I'm not saying they should've bombed from high altitude - it's easy for lightened B-17 to cruise at 25K, then make shallow dive towards target, and then climb back to 25K and head home.
     
  18. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    The Lancaster, B-17, and B-24 all seem to be similar in weight and power and wing area. The B-24 has the better wing and the B-17 had the better altitude performance. The biggest problem I perceive for the Lancaster in the daytime role is its limited service ceiling, around 10,000 ft lower than the other two. The lower the altitude, the better the flak coverage. Otherwise the basic airframes seem equally adaptable.
     
  19. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Glider have a look at this site, Lancaster Raids and Losses

    This is just for Lancasters though.

    There is also this site (RAF only), BC - Statistics

    This link has a XLS spreadsheet for the 8th AF,
    8th Air Force Combat Losses in World War II ETO Against the AXIS Powers
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I'm under the impression that WWII era IFF (both British and German) was designed to work with ground based radar. AI radar carried by WWII era aircraft was not sophisticated enough to interact with IFF.
     
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