German Airplanes in WW2

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GarudaMP, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. GarudaMP

    GarudaMP New Member

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    Hello everyone.

    First of all, forgive me if someone already made a similar thread - I'm pretty new here, and as far I can tell, there aren't any similar threads (yet).

    So I've been wondering, in the media - both fictional and historical documentaries - German war machines, notably aircrafts are often held in very high regards in terms of technological advances, innovation and engineering. Compared to allied aircrafts, in some of these medias I've seen, it was as if the Luftwaffe is supposed to curb-stomp the allied aircrafts of the time. For example, even without the Schwalbe and Komet, the BF-109 was a pretty impressive fighter of the time which remained competitive until the dawn of the jets. So how did the Germans, after the treaty of Versailles, managed to innovate such impressive breakthroughs and to keep doing them even when the tides of war turned? Also, what happened to most of the engineers after the war? Were they captured and executed or were they subsequently "hired" by the allies?
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    The Germans where inovative and technologically at the forefront of design.

    At the same time this was their downfall. Instead of concentrating on a handful of great designs that could be mass produced, they threw all their money in on "Wunder Waffen", that dispite ther technological superiority had many problems as all early technology does and will have. That is not how you win a war of attrition.

    As for the engineers. Many where brought back to the allied countries and used to help develop allied design. An example of this is Werner Von Braun. He was brought back to the US, and basically built NASA.

    Read up on Operation Paperclip.
    Operation Paperclip - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  3. GarudaMP

    GarudaMP New Member

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    I see. So essentially, instead of the mass production of field-proven great designs, Germany instead put their last ditch effort into the construction and innovation of various experimental superweapons. Wonder how the war would turn out had they focused on designing earlier and mass production later. Then again, resources are also a problem by the closing days of the war.

    Thank you very much for your answers. I actually only found out recently about Operation Paperclip and various other similar operations thanks to you!
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    The outcome of the war likely would not have changed. You are not going to defeat the combined massive Russian juggernaut and the massive Industrial Capacity of the United States.

    Germany quite frankly bit off more than it could chew.

    The war may have lasted longer though. Of course allied technology was getting more advanced too by then.
     
  5. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    That's a lot of ground covered in one request for info and I'd recommend doing some searching across the forum for further like posts, Garuda.

    I will add that there is always much debate about how much more in advance the Germans were over the Allies, but the reality is that the British, the Americans and the Russians were working on the same technologies and some of their paper projects were just as advanced in concept as the Germans; remember, both the British and the Americans had jet fighters at relatively the same time as the Me 262 and the Russians already had a jet engine, which was shelved once the Germans invaded in 1941. In fact, although the Germans had jets before the Allies in the He 280 and having flown the He 178 before the war, the Brits and Americans were able to build them to enter service at around the same time as the German jets, meaning that from design to production, the British and US jets were much quicker in development - the XP-80 taking 143 days from design to roll out, for example.

    The Allied approach to the war was for one of attrition and as much effort as possible was put toward production and supply, although with R + D being as involved and producing as advanced concepts, but to a more productive and reliable end, whereas the Germans put their concepts into production too soon, owing to the war not exactly going their way, which resulted in constant unreliability and teething troubles.

    Yes, the V 2 was a considerable leap in technology over what else was being fielded on the battle fronts, but, like a lot of German advanced technology thrown into battle prematurely, had its reliability issues. This is essentially the problem the Germans faced; these wonder weapons were essentially unreliable and unable to be mass produced in anywhere near the numbers required to be the war winners that the Fuhrer hoped they would be, not to mention constant bombing disrupting supplies of raw materials. By the time the V 2s were being fielded out in numbers however, the Allies were already on the European continent. The V 1 doesn't really count as 'advanced' since any competent aircraft manufacturer at the time could have built it - it was pretty low tech, just a good idea put into practice - everything about it could have been developed by any country with a reasonable aircraft industry, the Germans just built lots of them, although they were unpredictable once fired.

    As for aircraft like the Me 163 and the Bachem Natter, their advanced technology doesn't really offer any advantage, as the basic premise had serious flaws from the outset in the Natter and the Me 163 suffered issues with its fuel spontaneously combusting, although the concept was enough to set Allied air staff and aircraft designers into producing specs for rocket powered interceptors based on the Komet post-war.

    On the subject of designers, Alexander Lippisch, who came up with the Komet concept went to the USA and worked with Convair on delta winged aircraft, resulting in the F-102, F-106 and B-58. Both Reimar Horten and Kurt tank - and a lot of the Focke Wulf engineering staff went to Argentina, but the latter left with their tails between their legs when Juan Peron was overthrown in 1955, being labelled as 'Nazis' (Peron himself was exiled). Horten stayed behind, but Tank went to India and worked for Hindustan and designed the Marut supersonic fighter, which he was working on whilst with FMA in Argentina. Willi Messerschmitt designed aircraft post-war and Messerschmitt AG survived, Willi designing the Hispano HA-200 two seat jet trainer for the Spanish and also the Helwan HA-300 supersonic fighter for the Egyptians, but also providing facilities for the licence manufacture of Fiat G-91s and F-104s for the West German Luftwaffe. He remained the chairman of MBB until 1970 I think.

    Helmuth Walther's Walther Werke in Hamburg was of much curiosity to the British and engineers and motors went to Britain to aid in building chemical propellant rocket motors. Almost all the British rocket engines were subsequently based on Walther research. The Brits also built two submarines incorporating his closed cycle engines, although they were not successful. The Brits and the Russians used the same technology to build torpedoes powered by chemical propellant, although these resulted in the loss of submarines, HMS Sidon and the Kursk. The British Mk.12 'Fancy' torpedo was discontinued after the Sidon went down, not sure about the Russian torpedo.
     
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  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Having advanced aircraft is all well and good, but they are of no practical use if you lack fuel and pilots.

    Despite the disruption from bombing, the German aircraft industry was still pumping out aircraft at quite a fast rate late into the war. But the lack of fuel had reduced training of new pilots during the war and later in the war became so critical that operational flying was severely curtailed. And the battle of attrition with the USAAF left them with few experienced fighter pilots.

    As for other wonder weapons, it is instructive to see which technologies/projects they backed and how they were used.

    For example, a lot of time, effort and resources was spent developing the V-2 rockets. This weapon was terrifying for the UK population, as there was no defence from the rocket. But it did little to deter the war effort of the UK and its Allies.

    On the other hand, there were several anti-aircraft missiles, both guided and unguided, that did not get the same support. These, if deployed, had the potential to cause severe losses to the combined bomber offensive.

    The V-1 deployed differently could have caused a lot of consternation among the Allies. Had they been fired at the invasion armada or at the invasion beaches they may have extracted an even heavier price for the invasion.
     
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  7. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    And let's not forget that the most advanced weapon used in WW2 was the Atom Bomb and it wasn't the Germans who built it.

    There are several problems that the V 1 faced that would not have enabled this to have been successful. Firstly, the ramps were fixed and couldn't be moved, and their alignment was aimed toward the target area, which was massive; i.e. the greater London area. In earlier missiles, once they were launched their course couldn't be corrected, unlike the Hs 293 or Fritz air launched bombs, which were wire guided, although later V 1s had course correcting radio guidance, which still did not guarantee that the weapon would be over the target area at the right time when fuel cut off and dive brake deployment took place. This was done by a simple counter that counted down from launch; the Germans calculating how long it would take a V 1 to reach the target area beforehand at its cruise speed.

    The overall issue with such an idea though, was that the original planned date of the first operational V 1 launch was delayed somewhat owing to Allied attacks against the fixed sites before D-Day, which took out a large number of the ramps, preventing the numbers of V 1s launched from being as large as originally hoped. British intelligence identified these sites and they were deliberately targeted, although the sheer number of them meant that the weapon could still be brought into action after the invasion.

    The air launched missiles might have been effective at damaging vessels if enough could have been brought to bear, but again, without sufficient guidance, a manoeuvring ship could easily evade one whilst it was about to enter its terminal dive, but then, because of the nature of the fuel shut-off, being a timer, how do you calculate when this might be against a moving target? Lets also consider that there was fearsome air cover over the invasion fleet, which meant that He 111s hovering anywhere near the channel area would have been shot down. V 1 carrying He 111s couldn't do much manoeuvring and were sitting ducks in the air.

    All this also doesn't count for the fact that the Germans were successfully led to believe that Normandy was a feint and that Calais was the real invasion destination.
     
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  8. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    The Germans were ahead in some aspects of Jet technology. They did implement the swept wing first. I would still say the US and UK were equal or superior in all other areas of aircraft developments, and we had the Industrial resources to put them into production.
     
  9. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Where did the British get all their natural resources? I'm sure the US helped somewhat, but surely the British had their own mines and oil fields somewhere.
     
  10. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    From the Empire.

    Oil, for example, came from Iraq or the Caribbean.
     
  11. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Indeed they did, but not for the reasons you might be thinking; the Me 262's wing was swept owing to centre of gravity issues, not because of a desire for improved performance. There was certainly wind tunnel research available in Germany that proved that swept wings were the way ahead, but no one thought to read it and it was the Allies (Russians, Americans) who first put swept wings on a jet fighter after the war in order to improve its performance.

    Perhaps the big advance of the Me 262 was in its axial flow engines; although owing to lack of suitable materials the Jumo 004 engines were horrendously unreliable, the concept was a winner in high speed combat aircraft. Centrifugal compressors are used in modern helicopters' and turboprop engines, but if you want Powaaaar, you go for an axial flow engine.
     
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  12. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Smaller ones, and usually with the help of several axial stages too.

    Like the T-53 in the UH-1.

    [​IMG]

    And others, like the T64, are all axial.
    General Electric T64 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  13. BLine22

    BLine22 Member

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    The General Electric CT-7/T-700 used on several large helicopters and turboprop aircraft is rated at up to 3000shp. It incorporates a 5 stage axial 1 stage centrifugal compressor. The Garrett TFE-731 is turbofan engine used on several business jets also uses an axial/centrifugal compressor to produce up to 5500 lbs of thrust as does the PW PT-6.
     
  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #14 DerAdlerIstGelandet, Aug 9, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
    Great reliable engine. Powered my Blackhawk...
     
  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    As far as actual jets go, the technology was advancing rapidly during the war years.
    There were many "paper projects" as the war drew to a close and several prototypes in the works. However, this list covers the timeline for the military jets (by first flight) that were actually built and flown during the war:
    (Germany) He280 - 22 September 1940
    (Germany) Me262 - 18 July 1942 (under jet power, not piston)
    (U.S.) P-59 - 1 October 1942
    (Britain) Meteor - 5 March 1943
    (Britain) Vampire - 20 September 1943
    (U.S.) P-80 - 8 January 1944
    (Germany) He162 - 6 December 1944
    (U.S.) FH-1 - 26 January 1945
    (Germany) Ho.IX - 2 February 1945
    (Japan) Kikka - 7 August 1945

    This does not include bombers, mixed power types or half-built prototypes. But this illustrates just how far along several nations were in Jet technology and the direction where the air war *could* have gone had there been a little more time to develop that technology or had the jet programs been taken seriously by their respective governments at an earlier time.

    In regards to the Swept Wing, the Germans, Messerschmitt in particular, were aware of the compressability problems and were in the process of testing the next-generation Me262 (HG series) with a 45° swept wing.
    It's also reflected in German aircraft designs from 1944 onwards, like the MeP.1101 (40° sweep) and Ta187 (40° sweep) projects, for example.
     
  16. BLine22

    BLine22 Member

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    This timeline is a little deceiving in that would appear to indicate that the Americans were ahead of the British in jet engine technology. In fact the P-59 and the P-80 used engines(J-31/J-33) that were developed from British designs. The first American designed engine was the westinghouse J-30 on the McDonnell FH-1. The Gloster E.28/39 first flew in May '41 which was preceded by Heinkel's He 178 in August of '39.
     
  17. ww2restorer

    ww2restorer Active Member

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    Don't forget the Heinkel he178 that flew only 3 day before the start of WW2 in August 1939. The biggest problem that the Luftwaffe had with their jet technology was the people at the top, Hitler, Goring etc.
    A good read is Johannes (Mackie) Steinhoff's, 'The Last Chance'. He wrote very candidly about how the top Luftwaffe fighter pilots tried in vain to get the jets for combat, but Hitler and his idiot followers only wanted to use them for bombers and use the technology of Aeronautical Engineers that bowed to the Nazi doctrine. If the technology was put in place in 1939 the war would most definitely been extended and possibly some other results.
     
  18. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the time line of aircraft there, Dave; very useful to put the dates into perspective. Regarding swept wings, yes, I know that towards the end of the war the Germans were working on the issues, but I should have said that I meant when the Me 262 and He 280 were first built. Initial drawings of the aircraft that would become the '262, the P 65, or P 1065 had straight wings until February 1940, and in a caption in the book Me 262 Volume One by J Richard Smith and Eddie J Creek states that:

    "By February 1940, the design of the P 1065 had been modified to have the outer sections of its wings swept back some 18 degrees. Originally this was done to solve problems that heavier engine weight estimates were causing with the positioning of the aircraft's centre of gravity."

    This outboard wing sweep back and inner wing remaining straight remained the configuration of the aircraft until the reconfiguration of the prototype Me 262 V1 in July 1943, to a fully straight swept back wing leading edge, rather than the cranked wing with greater sweepback on the outer panels than the inboard ones.

    I can't remember the German scientist's name who wrote the paper about swept wings, but it was done so before the war I think. Kurt tank's Ta 183 was also on the drawing board and much was being done to begin building a prototype by the time the war ended, which had sharply swept wings. It was the aerodynamic model for the Argentinean Pulqui II, that Tank had built by FMA.

    Regarding turboprops, the PW-100 series in the ATRs and Dash 8s are an LP and HP centrifugal compressor with axial turbines; the PT-6, which is by far the most numerous turbo prop in use today has a three rotor axial LP compressor and a centrifugal HP compressor.

    What it does illustrate is how quickly jet designs were being developed in relation to one another, which is, I think, Dave's point. The XP-80 was in fact powered by a British engine, not just a development of one - the Halford H.1, which became the de Havilland Goblin in production.
     
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  19. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    In fact the first H-1 de Havilland gave them was destroyed in ground running, so de Havilland, graciously, sent them the flight engine for the de Havilland Vampire prototype.
     
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  20. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Not deceiving at all, I said "military jets" not "proof of concept" aircraft like the He178 and the Gloster...the aircraft I listed was a progression in the timeline of combat jet aircraft that were actually intended to be put into production.
    The list was put forth as an example of how the Jet age was germinating at a rapid pace, as Grant pointed out.
     
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