Greatest aviation related Blunders of WWII

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by oldcrowcv63, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    A discussion of the blunders/failures made during WW2 that involved aviation related strategy or technology development that had an adverse effect on the perpetrating side. Examples follow:
    - September 1939, Herr Hitler directing the Luftwaffe to neglect air defense infrastructure and related targets in favor of bombing population centers.
    - June 1942, USN BuAer orders essentially all future FM-1 production to revert to the F4F original 4-HMG gun armament but refuses to make the change for subsequent F4F-4 manufacture, retaining Grumman's production of the poor performing F4F-4.
    - Army chooses a 6-HMG gun configuration for its P-40 D E without an increase in engine power.
    - Me-262 deployment decision: fighter-bomber or fighter?
    - Ike chooses to leave his 300 USMC Standard armored Amphtracks in reserve instead of using them to transport troops assaulting the Omaha Beachhead

    Oh wait that last one isn’t about aviation…. ignore it.
    Pick one these or one of your own choosing…
     
  2. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    Mitsubishi's design team under Jiro Horikoshi considered the Mitsubishi KINSEI 4x series engine or the Nakajima SAKAE 12 to install into the A6M1 prototype. They chose the SAKAE series and the rest is history.
    Had they chose the KINSEI the aircraft would have upgraded to the KINSEI 54 about the same time they historically trialed the SAKAE 21 in the A6M3. With the excess power of the KINSEI over the SAKAE would the designers been tempted to install protection? The other logical progression of engine upgrades would have been to the KINSEI 62 in 1942 with the designation of A6M8 Model 62.
    As to fuel tank protection effectiveness, in Richard Dunn’s book, “Exploding Fuel Tanks”, one could summarize that self-sealing tanks were over rated. That said, a F4U could sure light up a Zero with no problem yet absorb the Zero’s attack with some success. However, this could be a difference in the armament between the two. What if a F4U was hosing down an opposing force F4U, would the results be similar to the Zero’s fate? Just food for thought.
     
  3. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting!
     
  4. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Mal,

    The LW decision to cease bombing the RAF stations and start area bombing of British cities must rank as one of the all time mistakes in WW2.
    British resolve was stiffened and hearts were hardened for the 'whirlwind' that Germany received from Bomber command and the USAAF.
    The concept of 'total war' was born with all that that entails.

    My second offering is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. What on earth were they thinking about? Talk about kicking the giant in the balls and then wonder why the A bomb was delivered as the final retribution.

    John
     
  5. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #5 DonL, Feb 10, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
    I agree.

    It is totaly equal if the germans had started area bombing of British cities or not.
    The absolutely same amount of bombs would be droped on german cities from 1941-1945!

    In consequence no war!
    If you want a war and fight the attack of Pearl Harbour was a brilliant plan, the japanese failed the carriers and a third wave.

    Edit:
    No drop tanks for the Me 109 at BoB
     
  6. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    what about Germany not mobilising the population for war production of arms until late in the war when it was to late ?

    or would that have just meant Germany would 've ran out of raw materials quicker, rather than having lots more Tanks, Aircraft and Guns etc
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The decision to keep the 6 gun armament should not have affected performance much. Something seems way out of kilter for early F4F performance. the difference in rounds per gun with a full load of ammo for the 4 gun and 6 gun installations means that the actual difference in armament weight is about 60lbs (not including gun mounts, heaters controls and ammo boxes). performance numbers are given for both the F4F-3 and the F4F-4 here:

    http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/f4f/f4f-3-detail-specification.pdf

    http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/f4f/f4f-4-detail-specification.pdf

    Numbers are given for 3 different loadings but they don't match up well at all. How many of the numbers are from calculations and how many are from flight testing I don't know but just from the weights the F4F-4 is only supposed to weigh 531 lbs more than an F4F-3 but what is really interesting is that an F4F-3 in overload condition weighs 6lbs more (actually no difference at all with weight variations of production aircraft) than an F4F-4 in 'standard" fighter condition yet climbs to 20,000ft in 8.4 minutes instead of the 12.7 minutes by the F4F-4.

    The wing of the F4F-4 is about 300lbs heavier than the wing of the F4F-3. How much is due to the provisions of the extra guns, how much is due to the wing folding (not power) and how much is due to plumbing and reinforcement for the drop tanks I don't know. But taking out 2 guns and associated equipment is not going to lighten up the wing structure by much.
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    One of USAAF blunders was the lack of (combat) external fuel tanks for P-47, severely cutting the planes usability prior 1944.
     
  9. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #9 oldcrowcv63, Feb 10, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
    Great summary Short! I've also noticed some inconsistencies in the published numbers. The problem created by the -4 replacement of the -3 is best illustrated by pondering the existence of an intermediate performing -5 with folding wings and 4 guns. I am thinking of a slight modified FM-1. Most simplistically, deletion of the two outboard guns (about 130 lbs) and reduction of the FM-1 ammo load to perhaps 250-300 rpg (total ammo from 1,440 to 1,000 - 1,200 rounds at about 33 lbs per 100 rounds I believe), would have cut its weight by about 200 - 275 pounds. That would have translated to an increased climb rate intermediate between the dog -4 and the more peppy -3. Why important? The F4F was primarlly an interceptor. It's ability to get to altitude was critical. Looking in detail at the last three carrier battles of 1942 and I come away with the strong impression that at Santa Cruz especially, the Hornet's CAP deployment suffered fatally due to its inability to reach altitude by a matter of mere seconds. While Red Hessel's and Rynd's two divisions did what amounted to a fleet average job against the incoming Vals (while absorbing their zero escorts). The two trailing divisions, totalling 7 F4F-4 aircraft missed the initial intercept because they barely missed getting to altitude to encounter the vals. When finally seen the Vals were directly below them and the best they could do was to play catch up ball in a tail chase back to the Hornet. Would it have saved the Hornet? Maybe, but probably not. Hard to say, but the ship would surely have been better defended.

    It wasn't the F4F's manueverability as a fighter that caused the difficulty. It was its anemic climb rate which would have been somewhat mitigated in my hypthetical 4-gun F4F-5. Also, the somewhat increased ammo, would still have slightly mitigated the problem encountered by CAP pilots who had run out of ammo in the battle's later stages.
     
  10. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    That's why the LW area bombing was a mistake Don,

    My point is that unless the LW carried the early WW2 attacks on Britain through to the bitter end it was a big mistake as eventually Britain ( and America) would gather themselves and deliver pulverising bomber attacks on the German heartland.Goaded on by the general public's desire from revenge.

    Now, had the LW just confined itself to attacking the RAF stations would the bomber command / USAAF area bombing campaign have happened?

    John
     
  11. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Can't beat this ,
    "Less helpful was the continuing disposition to find ways to continue day bombing when there was only one way that could make it effective - the introduction of a true long range fighter to protect the bombers . Churchill had already percieved this necessity but Portal firmly set his face against it . A long range fighter could never hold its own against a short range fighter , it was this attitude that Churchill said "closed many doors"
     
  12. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    @ Readie

    I have understood you!

    I'm convinced! That is what I wanted to say.

    Also if no single bomb from LW Bombers were droped to english cities, the absolutely same amound of bombs as happened would be droped to german cities.
    All other arguments are naive to my opinion. The Bomber campaign of the RAF and USAAF had nothing to do with revenge, only to win the war equal by which means!
     
  13. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Yes and No Don.
    The Bomber campaign was Britain her allies only way to hit back at Germany in the early - mid WW2 years as championed by Churchill and thoroughly supported by the British public.
    To win the war Yes.
    Revenge avenging Yes

    As a side note, the local newspaper in Plymouth mentions the Plymouth Blitz in every edition. It can be interesting reading to see the pre post war Plymouth pictures but, thats all.

    John
     
  14. jimh

    jimh Active Member

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    Ploesti...the first raid.
     
  15. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    #15 Gixxerman, Feb 10, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
    I wonder, I'd like to think that if nobody bombs civilian population centres then that part of the war doesn't happen....but I have a feeling with what went before (Spanish civil war for instance) that either in desperation to retaliate (and perhaps bring the message of what war meant to the civillian populace, over the heads of the political leadership, so to speak) would mean it inevitably occurs.
    Pin-point bombing being impossible with the tech of the time the ruin of the enemies means to produce for war being so important.

    I don't believe a switch of tactic won or lost the LW the BoB either.
    I do not believe they could have won it.
    Even with local air superiority over Kent the German forces have no means to guarantee to the degree necessary that the Royal Navy will not intervene disastrously for the German objectives.
    The two options that might (and I say might as an outside chance) have worked for them would be
    1) had the BEF been surrounded captured in France, thus forcing the British Gov to negotiate or
    2) if German plans had been devised to enable an attack on the UK without pause from the BoF, largely involving the attempt to capture 1 (or more if close enough) large enough airfields to enable the funnelling in of men supplies fast enough to overwhelm an already dazed Britain. Shock surprise here would be the main thing.

    As for the Me 262?
    I think it comes down to the fighter/fighter bomber argument being a side issue.
    Paramount is always engines that is what slowed everything to the point where it was always going to be too little too late.

    The biggest blunder Germany made in aviation otherwise was simply taking on too many wars at once.
    That above all guaranteed they could never win.

    This was massively compounded by throwing out the world's best nuclear scientists (and, the bit wihich I find beyond belief.....the wider scientific community in Germany must have known these people were gifted prominent in the field, regardless of that ridiculous racial/political mumbo-jumbo - letting them go over to the allied side!) and so, as events were to prove, ensuring they failed to get the bomb and the allies did.
    Thank God.
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Jim - are you referring to Halpro - as a 'wake up call"? - I agree

    Two of my other personal favorites include the IJN not launching the thrid strike at POL and Submarine base at Pearl as well as failing to go back to Scweinfurt until Ball Bearing production ceased... question of our resolve to incur the casualties but Speer says we 'shoulda taken the losses'
     
  17. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Not targeting the German power generating plants. There was only a handful that generated most of the power for Germany. Knocking these out would have brought Germany industry to an abrupt stop.
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The concept of self-defending bomber does seem like blunder.
     
  19. jimh

    jimh Active Member

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    Yes...it was a chain of mistakes that could have easily been averted. It was a well thought out, rehearsed, and planned mission that relied on too few people to execute properly. It was a target that was bombed multiple times during the war...just thought I'd be clear about being the 1st.

    jim

     
  20. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Gix, I tend to agree with you about the first point and for the reason you provide. Lack of bombing accuracy or some sort of navigational error in a high stress combat situation would inevitably result in a 'mistake:' "Gee it looked like a ball bearing factory! How was I to know it was a hospital?"

    On the other hand, while I do think the LW could not have won the BoB (mainly because of the redoubtable Hawker Hurricane), it might have extended it and prompted an RAF retreat to the midlands. If that had happened, it might have been harder to protect the RN in the channel. Some LW units were quite good at spoiling the day of an aerially unescorted RN flotilla. It's not a scenario I would have liked to see tested. Whatever the ultimate outcome, it could have been very bloody for both sides.
     
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