Did anyone besides the USAAF use daytime bombing throughout the war?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Johnny .45, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Johnny .45

    Johnny .45 Member

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    Vermont. That's a state in the US, if you hadn't heard of it.
    I was wondering if anyone besides the US stuck with daylight bombing, or if the Germans, Russians and Japanese went primarily to night-bombing like British. I know He 177's often had black undersides, but I've never seen any other camo schemes like that on other aircraft (except the Brits, obviously). Did the Japanese send G4M's on daylight raids in 1944? Were Do 217's making daylight raids over Russian towns? I've never seen much mention of night bombing except for the Blitz and Bomber Command, but I've never seen anything specifically saying they DID bomb in daylight.
     
  2. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Bomber Command primarily bombed by day in the first few months of the war, and then gradually switched to night bombing over 1940. During 1940, BC conducted about 15% of its operations in daylight. In 1941, it was about 10%. By Jun 1943, it almost completely abandoned daylight bombing. BC resumed significant daylight bombing from June 1944, initially in support of D-Day. In the second half of 1944, BC flew about 40% of its ops in daylight. In the final year of the war, daylight bombing was just under 30% of ops.

    The Luftwaffe and Reggiana Aeronautica conducted plenty of daylight bombing in Nth Africa and the Mediterranean in 1940-1944 as well as in Russia. Malta and the Italian campaign in particular.

    Russian bombing was primarily night bombing. There were limited daylight missions against some German strategic targets early in the conflight, but the heavy losses suffered by the VVS in the initial German invasion meant that night bombing was the preferred option.

    Japanese bombing was a mix of day and night bombing. The Japanese weren't particularly well equipped or trained for night bombing initially, but increasing Allied daylight dominance saw them forced into night-time operations.
     
  3. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    According to the info I have, the only month in which there were zero RAF daylight bombing sorties was October 1939, a month in which there were only 32 night sorties. That said, most of the daylight bombing before June '44 was undertaken by the twins of 2 Group, and may not be what you're referring to.
     
  4. pattle

    pattle Member

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    Yes that's right people often forget about 2 Group and the 2nd Tactical Air Force, The RAF was carrying out a lot of daylight raids with first of all Blenheims and then Bostons followed later by Mosquitos, Venturas and Mitchells. Sometimes these raids involved three different types of aircraft in waves, the targets being mainly in France or the Netherlands and when airfields were established in France after D Day into Germany. The Boston was a big improvement on the Blenheim which was taking terrible losses, the Ventura though was found to be totally unsuited to these kind of raids and was soon withdrawn after a heavy losses.
     
  5. Johnny .45

    Johnny .45 Member

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    Vermont. That's a state in the US, if you hadn't heard of it.
    Thanks. That, however makes me wonder whether the US ever used night bombing at all (other than B-29's on firebombing raids, that is).
     
  6. pattle

    pattle Member

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    The RAF only bombed by night after finding that losses during day time were too high, and if it wasn't for the Mustang then it may have turned out that the USAAF would have been forced to do the same thing. A lot of people may well disagree but for me the bombing that the USAAF did over Germany was basically area bombing, again a lot of people may disagree but for me after the P51's arrived American daylight bombing raids became like huge RAF circus raids drawing the Luftwaffe into the air and destroying it there as well as at the same time making sure it's aircraft etc never passed the factory gates. I don't think the Luftwaffe would have been beaten in the air had the Americans been forced to switch to night bombing because the Luftwaffe fighters would not have been facing swarms of angry Mustangs.
    That is my over simplified opinion.
     
  7. Johnny .45

    Johnny .45 Member

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    Vermont. That's a state in the US, if you hadn't heard of it.
    Yes, but I just wanted to know whether the US engaged in any night bombing, "on the side", you know? There were medium bombers in theater as well as the heavies, and I was idly curious if they ever employed them at night. I've read all about the RAF and why it switched to night bombing, and the course of the USAAF campaign, I'm just always curious about the smaller operations that you never hear much about.
     
  8. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    I think the Luftwaffle bombed any time they wanted. Does that count?
     
  9. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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  10. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Found some more, some USAAF craft seem to have gone out at night from time to time. From the RAF Bomber Command War Diary:

    8/9 September 1943

    Boulogne gun positions: 257 aircraft - 119 Wellingtons, 112 Stirlings, 16 Mosquitos, 10 Halifaxes. OTU aircraft formed part of this force and 5 B-17s also flew the first American night-bombing sorties of the war with Bomber Command. Nos 4 and No 5 Groups did not take part in the raid. The target was the site of a German long-range gun battery and the marking was mainly provided by Oboe Mosquitos, some of whom were experimenting with a new technique. But the raid was not successful; the marking and the bombing were not accurate and the battery does not appear to have been damaged. No aircraft lost.
     
  11. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    #11 mhuxt, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
    Doesn't seem to have been a long-term experience, apart from the Carpetbaggers. The subsequent entries in the BC War Diary have this:

    15/16 September 1943

    Montluçon: 369 aircraft of Nos 3, 4, 6 and No 8 Groups - 209 Halifaxes, 120 Stirlings, 40 Lancasters. 5 American B-17s also took part. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling lost. This was a moonlit raid on the Dunlop rubber factory at Montluçon in Central France. The Pathfinders marked the target accurately and the Master Bomber, Wing Commander DFEC Deane, brought the Main Force in well to carry out some accurate bombing. Every building in the factory was hit and a large fire was started.

    16/17 September 1943

    340 aircraft of 3, 4, 6 and No 8 Groups - 170 Halifaxes, 127 Stirlings, 43 Lancasters - to attack the important railway yards at Modane on the main railway route from France to Italy. 5 American B-17s also took part. The marking of the target, situated in a steep valley, was not successful and the bombing was not accurate. No report is available from France. 2 Halifaxes and 1 Stirling lost.

    22/23 September 1943

    711 aircraft - 322 Lancasters, 226 Halifaxes, 137 Stirlings, 26 Wellingtons - on the first major raid to Hannover for 2 years; this was the first of a series of 4 heavy raids on this target. 5 American B-17s also took part in the raid, their first night raid on Germany. 26 aircraft - 12 Halifaxes, 7 Lancasters, 5 Stirlings, 2 Wellingtons - lost, 3.7 per cent of the force. Visibility in the target area was good but stronger winds than forecast caused the marking and the bombing to be concentrated between 2 and 5 miles south-south-east of the city centre.

    4/5 October 1943

    406 aircraft - 162 Lancasters, 170 Halifaxes, 70 Stirlings, 4 Mosquitos raided Frankfurt. 3 B-17s also took part. 10 aircraft - 5 Halifaxes, 3 Lancasters, 2 Stirlings - lost, 2.5 per cent of the force. 1 B-17 was also lost. This was the last RAF night-bombing raid in which American aircraft took part, but individual B-17s occasionally carried out bombing flights in following weeks Clear weather and good Pathfinder marking produced the first serious blow on Frankfurt so far in the war, with extensive destruction being caused in the eastern half of the city and in the inland docks on the River Main.

    There may also have been 5 B-17s on the 8/9 October or 18/19 October raid to Hannover:

    18/19 October 1943

    360 Lancasters ordered to attack Hannover. 18 Lancasters lost, 5.0 per cent of the force. The target area was covered by cloud and the Pathfinders were not successful in marking the position of Hannover. The raid was scattered, with most bombs falling in open country north and north-west of the city. This raid concluded the current series of raids on Hannover. Bomber Command had dispatched 2,253 sorties in 4 raids and 10 American B-17 sorties had also been flown. 1,976 aircraft claimed to have bombed in the target area. Only 1 raid had been completely successful but that had caused severe damage. 11O bombers were lost on the raids, 4.9 per cent of those dispatched.
     
  12. pattle

    pattle Member

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    When it says American B17s I think that means American built B17s operated by the RAF, not American operated B17's. The RAF operated B17s in a number of roles linked to night bombing such as electronic warfare, I believe also that Coastal Command B17s took part in a number of night raids.
    I am not aware of British based USAAF taking part in night bombing, maybe some B26 and A20 raids left British shores while dark to arrive on target at the crack of dawn but I say that would have been about it.
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    They didn't bomb London in daylight after early September 1940. The last significant raid on London, by day, was carried out on 18th September 1940 by 70 Luftwaffe bombers. The Luftwaffe lost 15 aircraft (and 50 aircrew killed and prisoner) during the various raids of the day.
    Future raids on London would be carried out by night, so no, the Luftwaffe didn't bomb any time they wanted.

    The next day also marked the order for the dispersal of the fleet assembled for 'Sea Lion', due to British bombing, something often overlooked during this period, along with constant Royal Naval harassment of the invasion ports.
    On the night of 18/19 September 174 British bombers attacked targets in occupied France, mostly the invasion ports.
    Within a week there was a 40% reduction in the number of vessels in the occupied Channel ports reported by British reconnaissance.

    There was an Anglo-American myth constructed about this period, at the time and shortly thereafter, which holds that the Germans more or less did what they wanted whereas the plucky Brits put up a spirited resistance. The ever cheerful cockneys would show that they could take whatever the Luftwaffe could deliver, singing 'Knees up Mother Brown' and 'Roll out the Barrel' whilst 'Doing the Lambeth Walk', having first been saved by 'The Few'. This extends to the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz and is engrained in both our cultures in slightly different ways. I find it very unhelpful :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  14. war eagle

    war eagle New Member

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    #14 war eagle, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
    The Luftwaffe suffered such grievous losses during daytime operations that daylight bombing was unsustainable likewise the USAF before the drop tanked P51's arrived were uncerimoniously savaged by the Luftwaffe who were a different proposition fighting over their own soil....... EVERYONE SOON REALISED THAT DAYLIGHT BOMBER RAIDS WERE NOT A GOOD IDEA HA HA HA.
     
  15. war eagle

    war eagle New Member

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    There was an Anglo-American myth constructed about this period, at the time and shortly thereafter, which holds that the Germans more or less did what they wanted whereas the plucky Brits put up a spirited resistance. The ever cheerful cockneys would show that they could take whatever the Luftwaffe could deliver, singing 'Knees up Mother Brown' and 'Roll out the Barrel' whilst 'Doing the Lambeth Walk', having first been saved by 'The Few'. This extends to the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz and is engrained in both our cultures in slightly different ways. I find it very unhelpful :)

    HA HA HA love that one Steve it annoys the crap outta me too.
     
  16. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Unescorted daylight raids.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The Battle of Britain became an Anglo-American media construct at the hands of men like Beaverbrook, Harmsworth, Bracken and of course Churchill himself. Across the pond men like Meyer, Lippman and Capra did their bit, not to mention US war correspondents in London, famously Edward Murrow and his boys, including a protégé from the isolationist Mid West, Eric Sevareid.

    In July 1940 Harmsworth, who was in the US trying to gain support, wrote to Beaverbrook that the British would only get 'really big assistance from them' once the Americans 'have appreciated what this war means for them and when they fully understand this I think you will get a move for closer cooperation."
    Don't imagine for a moment that the British government and media, along with their friends in the US government and media (who were fewer than some care to remember now) weren't prepared to spin the BoB and the Blitz anyway they could to achieve this end.

    Capra made a series of films designed for a British and US audience entitled "Why We Fight". He even got Churchill to do a short introduction. Watch any one of those to have the point illustrated perfectly.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    During WWI the bombing of London by Gothas and Zeppelins caused panic that threatened continued support for the war –though the damage was trivial compared to that of the trenches or the BoB. I suspect the BoB propaganda was intense both for internal and US consumption. That it was successful takes nothing away from the fortitude of those that endured it.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The point that is it was propagandised at the time and this has contributed to a myth that sometimes obscures the reality. The reality is far more interesting and challenging than the myth.

    The letter I quoted from was written after 10 months of war and at a time when Britain was becoming increasingly needy of greater assistance from the US. The attack on Pearl Harbour was still 16 months away.

    Gallup polls around this time illustrate the fine line Roosevelt was treading with US public opinion. There was a geographical divide between the US States but even the 'Southern States' which were most in favour of joining the war only had 17% of those polled in favour. In the 'West Central States' this figure was only 9%.
    81% of Americans were happy for their government to buy British and European possessions near the Panama Canal should Britain need more money to fight the war alone. Some British politicians felt that these Caribbean territories should be offered 'spontaneously' to the US.

    We could move on to the Act of Havana and much more, but then we really would be getting a long way from the original topic :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Sorry, can't agree. I believe it says American B-17s specifically to distinguish them from B-17s in RAF Bomber Ccommand squadrons. The RAF first used B-17s as early as 1941:

    RAF Bomber Command - Timeline of events

    and kept using them, with 100 Group, right to the end of the war:

    BC - Group Stats
     
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