Dive Bombing improves accuracy how much?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Ju-88 could dive bomb. The He-111 and Do-17 could not. Do we have historical data to compare bombing accuracy vs point targets like bunkers, bridges and artillery emplacements?
     
  2. Demetrious

    Demetrious Member

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    #2 Demetrious, Jan 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
    Just because it COULD dive-bomb doesn't mean it DID. Ju-88 dive-bombing wasn't very common, as far as I can recall. I've never heard any stories or anecdotes about such attacks, at any rate. The retention of dive-bombing ability in every heavy bomber of the Luftwaffe was the result of starry-eyed generals crooning over the success of dive-bombing with the Stuka.

    As for the accuracy of dive bombing vs. level bombing, that depends highly on the altitude. Level bombing with good bombsights (like the Norden,) could reasonably be expected to put a bomb within the "obliteration" range of a target from 10-12,000 feet, but against a target with any sort of significant AA coverage those altitudes were suicide for heavy, slow bombers. From higher altitudes, with multiple wind layers affecting the bombs free-fall, accuracy wasn't very good.

    Dive-bombing, on the other hand, usually involved a smaller aircraft (was limited to them, in fact,) and allowed you to actually "point" the bomb roughly where you wanted to go, and impart most of your planes velocity to the bomb, keeping it on course better then a free-fall would. (Remember, "velocity" is "speed in a given direction.") Their release altitudes were much lower. I think it's a no-brainier that dive-bombing was far more accurate. For exact numbers, though, I can't help you.
     
  3. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    In October 1937 Generalluftzeugmeister Ernst Udet had ordered the development of the Ju 88 as a heavy dive bomber. This decision was influenced by the success of the Ju 87 Stuka in this role. The Junkers development center at Dessau gave priority to the study of pull-out systems, and dive brakes. The first prototype to be tested as a dive bomber was the Ju 88V4 followed by the V5 and V6. These models became the planned prototype for the A-1 series. The V5 made its maiden flight on 13 April 1938, and the V6 on 28 June 1938. Both the V5 and V6 were fitted with four-blade propellers, an extra bomb bay and a central "control system". As a dive bomber, the Ju 88 was capable of pinpoint deliveries of heavy loads; however, despite all the modifications, dive bombing still proved too stressful for the airframe, and in 1943, tactics were changed so that bombs were delivered from a shallower, 45° diving angle. Aircraft and bomb sights were accordingly modified and dive brakes were removed. With an advanced Stuvi dive-bombsight, accuracy remained very good for its time. (from Wiki)
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    If true I think this would be a popular delivery method. So what if the airframe is only good for a few dozen missions? The target is destroyed and only a few bomber aircraft were required. Much less expensive in aircraft and aircrew then level bombing using hundreds of aircraft.
     
  5. Butters

    Butters Member

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    #5 Butters, Jan 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
    The very steep angle dive-bombing technique used by purpose-built dive bombers was very accurate, but it left the bomber extremely vulnerable to both AA and fighter attack.

    Which not only led to the demise of many dive-bombers, but also to the demise of the dive-bomber concept itself.

    JL
     
  6. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    The Avro Manchester was also required to be capable of dive bombing. Imagine having to dive that thing! Just having to fly it was bad enough.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    But you are only risking a single dive bomber squadron to take out a factory size target. As opposed to risking 500 or so heavy bombers to accomplish the same mission.
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Divebombing as a technique also proved very vulnerable to flak. Whereas the average ammunition expenditure to bring down a High Level Heavy Bomber in 1944 was around 16000 shells per kill, to bring down a Divebomber, the ammunition expenditure for the allies was somthing less than 1500 rounds per kill. Fighter Bombers were somewhat less prone to flak damage, at around 6000 rounds per kill.

    Why was divebombing so vulnerable? The path of attack was predictable, and the dive rate had to be relatively slow in order to achieve the high accuracy it boasted. I also think that the airframe was under such a heavy amount of stress that it only would take a few rounds hitting the aircraft to cause it to suffer catastrophic structural failures whilst in the manouvre

    As far as the Ju88 was concerned, in naval terms it was not considered as great a threat as Ju87s, and was about the same threat level as an Me 110 though it was successfull in the role, and its longer range made it a dangerous opponent to the Royal Navy. The situation changed after October 1941, when Ju88s began to be fitted with reliable torpedoes (of Italian origin I believe)
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I realize that. But look at the flip side of the coin - a single squadron of heavy dive bombers (i.e. Ju-88s) can destroy an enemy factory or bridge. From a military point of view losing all 12 Ju-88s to destroy such a high value target is much less expensive then sending hundreds of heavy bombers which are likely to miss the target completely.
     
  10. Demetrious

    Demetrious Member

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    You just explained why some bombers were used in the roles they were.

    As parsifal explained, heavy bombers required more flack to kill- because they were attacking from much higher altitudes. The inaccuracy of high-altitude bombing, however, becomes a moot point when you attack large, valuable targets like factory complexes. The Ford Motor Company transmission plant in Livonia, Michigan, where my father used to work is easily five hundred acres square, and I might be underestimating it badly. A single dive bomber squadron might be able to hit one or two buildings, but wouldn't be able to concentrate a devastating amount of ordinance on every part of the facility- the testing buildings, the office buildings, the factory buildings, the vehicle test track, etc. A heavy bomber formation from altitude could easily hit such a large target, and their heavy payload would be needed to properly saturate the target.

    However, if you're going after small, hard-to-hit, high value targets like bridges, the equation is reversed because the bombers will probably miss the target, exposing themselves for no gain. This is where the higher risk of dive bombers pays off- the accuracy allows you to strike small, high value targets.

    This is why they call it strategic bombing, as opposed to tactical.
     
  11. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Or you load up a few Lancasters with Grand Slam or Tallboy bombs and you wipe that bridge off the face of the earth:)


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Mm-zFW_nA
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Only if you hit it. Otherwise you just make a big splash in the water and kill a lot of fish.
     
  13. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    The idea behind the big earthquake bombs was that you didnt hit the target you aimed to miss. The bomb penetrated the ground or water then exploded. The explosion created a large cavity in the ground which collapsed bringing the structre down. The bomb didnt directly destroy the target the cavity formed by the expanding gas caused a crater this plus the blast effect was very impressive in destroying targets like U-Boat pens and the V3 launch sites.

    A similar theory was behind the magnetic torpedo exploder you set the depth of the torpedo so it ran underneath the ship (exploding amidships if the aim was right) causing a large gas bubble under the ship. A ship cant float on a gas bubble so the ends of the ship were supported but amidships wasnt so breaking its back.
     
  14. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    Tirpitz - The "Tall Boy" and "Grand Slam" Bombs


    Its amazing what the Allie's went through to sink the Tirpitz. This ship tied up numerous resources just from its mear presance. It cost many lives from both sides in the end.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  16. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    Some of the U-Boat Pens today are still around. A few are accessable, but some are not.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Let's attack this dive bomber accuracy discussion from another angle. Erprobungsgruppe 210 was formed during the summer of 1940, operating the Me-110C4/B.

    Me-110C4/B. Fighter-Bomber variant of Me-110C.
    WW2 Warbirds: the Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstrer - Frans Bonn
    .....Additional armor protection for the crew.
    .....2 x ETC-250 racks. Each rack can carry a 250kg bomb.
    .....1,270hp DB601N engines. A bit more power to counter the additional weight.

    How accurate were these Me-110s vs point targets compared to the dive bombing Ju-88s?
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    HyperWar: The Battle of Britain--A German Perspective

    Summary.
    An average Ju-87 dive bomber pilot had a 25% chance to hit within 30 yards of the aim point.

    Summary.
    A Ju-88 dive bomber had a 50% chance to hit within 50 meters of the aim point.

    Summary.
    German level bombers attacking from low altitude could place 20 to 25% of their bombs within 330 feet of the aim point.

    Summary.
    An average B-17 aircrew had a 20% chance to hit within 1,000 feet of the aim point.

    If this data is correct then the Ju-88A was an exceptionally accurate bomber. When used as a dive bomber accuracy approached that of the Ju-87. Which leads me to think the late 1930s German emphasis on dive bombing was a good thing.


     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Surely one of the best illustrations of just how accurate dive bombing could be was provided by the Americans at Midway. It took only minutes to destroy three carriers (Kaga,Akagi and Soryu) followed later by Hiryu.
    Anyone who was on Yorktown will tell you the Japanese could do it too,though of course she was finished by torpedoes.
    Steve
     
  20. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    Nice info dave.
     
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