Greg of Auto and Airplanes has asked for a Debate

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I'd summarize the "debate" thusly (with profuse apologies to all concerned).

Greg: P-47s had the range to cover 1943 bombing missions, proven by the fact that they did similar missions later in the war.

Bill: In 1943, combat drop tanks weren't available, the racks hadn't been manufactured, the aircraft wasn't plumbed for it, and internal fuel was limited (critical because: no matter how far you go on drop tanks, you have to fight and return on internal fuel only). Later missions were in different conditions and prove little.

Greg: but they could've fixed all those problems except for the Bomber Mafia.

Rinse and repeat.

I'd say if Greg was trying to prove a conspiracy theory, it was a hard miss. But he does have a point, in that doctrinal belief in self-protecting bombers delayed recognition of the requirement of long-range escorts, and that it could've been fixed earlier with proper emphasis. But the idea they could fix it in '43 after earlier inaction ignores some fairly basic logistic realities. I learned a few things about development of drop tanks and accessories, but I wish the terms of the debate were better laid out to reduce the talking past each other. Technical issues exacerbated the problem.

The other thing that stood out was that Greg and Andrew had much more experience on the audiovisual side, and were much more focused on presentation . . . Bill was more focused on history.
 
I'd summarize the "debate" thusly (with profuse apologies to all concerned).

Greg: P-47s had the range to cover 1943 bombing missions, proven by the fact that they did similar missions later in the war.
If I may add my interpretation of Greg's argument:
-that a proven drop tank was available and being used in the Pacific and was not used by the 8th AF because the bomber mafia blocked it.
-the bomber mafia controlled the the AF but somehow didn't control the 5th AF under Kenney
-P-38s that could've flown escort in 1943 were sent to Africa

Me:
-Somehow the mafia hated Kenney so much he became the first head of SAC post war.
-The use of Trent Telenko from ChicagoBoyz as his inspiration for the original P-47 range/conspiracy video is a problem.
 
It is very clearly lopsided in the comment section on the video.
I get the impression that most of the detractors in the comments simply didn't understand drgondog drgondog 's counter points. I generally enjoy Greg's video's, but his fan base seems to be clouded with some sort of hero worship
They are absolutely convinced they've uncovered the last great WW2 conspiracy.

"Did the USAAF top brass deliberately deny long range fighter escort into Germany in 1943? Evidence?"
"Don't need evidence. I can feel it."
 
I'd summarize the "debate" thusly (with profuse apologies to all concerned).

Greg: P-47s had the range to cover 1943 bombing missions, proven by the fact that they did similar missions later in the war.

Bill: In 1943, combat drop tanks weren't available, the racks hadn't been manufactured, the aircraft wasn't plumbed for it, and internal fuel was limited (critical because: no matter how far you go on drop tanks, you have to fight and return on internal fuel only). Later missions were in different conditions and prove little.

Greg: but they could've fixed all those problems except for the Bomber Mafia.

Rinse and repeat.

I'd say if Greg was trying to prove a conspiracy theory, it was a hard miss. But he does have a point, in that doctrinal belief in self-protecting bombers delayed recognition of the requirement of long-range escorts, and that it could've been fixed earlier with proper emphasis. But the idea they could fix it in '43 after earlier inaction ignores some fairly basic logistic realities. I learned a few things about development of drop tanks and accessories, but I wish the terms of the debate were better laid out to reduce the talking past each other. Technical issues exacerbated the problem.

The other thing that stood out was that Greg and Andrew had much more experience on the audiovisual side, and were much more focused on presentation . . . Bill was more focused on history.
I actually don't think he has much of a point regarding doctrinal issues causing delay.

His point here exists in a vacuum where he doesn't take into account the prewar or early war situation at all. The Air Force didn't have enough bombers, much less fighters in the pre war period. The early war period is much the same as the United States is building out its military.

The United States in from 1939 to 1943 is trying to build up it's capacity and then fight a war in multiple theatres. Even if we confine the demands of industry to just the army Air force, there are many things that had to get done before drop tanks would even be useful. There were not enough bombers for major penetration raids and the depth of the raids was in many ways a function of the 8th getting bigger.


This is a big part of Greg's muddled narrative. In early 42 and most of 1943 the raids the 8th was doing were not major raids into Germany. Most of these missions were in fact escorted. Schweinfurt and Regensburg occured very shortly after the 8th had built up enough bombers to start attempting deeper raids. And what was the reaction? Almost immediate pausing of the campaign and revaluation of the situation.

Moreover, his point about P38s is the same kind of thing. P38s were pulled from the 8th to go to torch. The fact that they had to pulled from the 8th in the first place sort of puts the lie to the idea that the leadership was opposed to escorts. What this shows is that there were other priorities.

On top of that, what is it P38s were doing in Africa? Lots of bomber escort in fact, just of the local operations rather than into Germany.

And various fighters were used for escort obviously in England throughout 1942 and 43.


But Greg presumes that any shortfall was the result do nefarious buffoonery on the part of the leadership. Despite, as Bill pointed out, that all the specific evidence of leaderships decisions during the war is to the contrary.
 
I actually don't think he has much of a point regarding doctrinal issues causing delay.

His point here exists in a vacuum where he doesn't take into account the prewar or early war situation at all. The Air Force didn't have enough bombers, much less fighters in the pre war period. The early war period is much the same as the United States is building out its military.

The United States in from 1939 to 1943 is trying to build up it's capacity and then fight a war in multiple theatres. Even if we confine the demands of industry to just the army Air force, there are many things that had to get done before drop tanks would even be useful. There were not enough bombers for major penetration raids and the depth of the raids was in many ways a function of the 8th getting bigger.


This is a big part of Greg's muddled narrative. In early 42 and most of 1943 the raids the 8th was doing were not major raids into Germany. Most of these missions were in fact escorted. Schweinfurt and Regensburg occured very shortly after the 8th had built up enough bombers to start attempting deeper raids. And what was the reaction? Almost immediate pausing of the campaign and revaluation of the situation.

Moreover, his point about P38s is the same kind of thing. P38s were pulled from the 8th to go to torch. The fact that they had to pulled from the 8th in the first place sort of puts the lie to the idea that the leadership was opposed to escorts. What this shows is that there were other priorities.

On top of that, what is it P38s were doing in Africa? Lots of bomber escort in fact, just of the local operations rather than into Germany.

And various fighters were used for escort obviously in England throughout 1942 and 43.


But Greg presumes that any shortfall was the result do nefarious buffoonery on the part of the leadership. Despite, as Bill pointed out, that all the specific evidence of leaderships decisions during the war is to the contrary.
The emotional rush (for the Greg fans) of "uncovering" a new conspiracy and being a part of that uncovering is way too satisfying to accept anything less satisfying than that.
 
If I may add my interpretation of Greg's argument:
-that a proven drop tank was available and being used in the Pacific and was not used by the 8th AF because the bomber mafia blocked it.
-the bomber mafia controlled the the AF but somehow didn't control the 5th AF under Kenney
-P-38s that could've flown escort in 1943 were sent to Africa

Me:
-Somehow the mafia hated Kenney so much he became the first head of SAC post war.
-The use of Trent Telenko from ChicagoBoyz as his inspiration for the original P-47 range/conspiracy video is a problem.
Greg rather clearly has a (willful?) misunderstanding of drop tanks vs ferry tanks. Comparing modern jet airliners (with low volatility fuel internal tanks with boost pumps) to WWII drop tanks with high octane gasoline made me wonder if he were serious.

P-38s were tasked elsewhere, but were also unsuitable. The point of the exercise (though it was not so clear at the time) was not merely to escort, but to shoot down enemy fighters. The P-51 was superb at the task, the P-38 was mediocre.
The P-38 just wasn't suited for European conditions for the following reasons:
• The twin booms made it easily recognizable for enemy fighters.
• Cockpit heating was poor resulting in extremely cold cockpits.
• The aircraft was restricted in performing dives.
• Engine failures were common and fire prone.
• The roll rate was poor.
Due to the high rate of engine failures, Jimmy Doolittle, then commander of the 8th Air Force, decided to pull the P-38 out of Europe. After P-51 Mustangs replaced the Lightning, the kill ratio went from 1.5: 1 to 7:1.
 
This is a big part of Greg's muddled narrative. In early 42 and most of 1943 the raids the 8th was doing were not major raids into Germany. Most of these missions were in fact escorted. Schweinfurt and Regensburg occured very shortly after the 8th had built up enough bombers to start attempting deeper raids. And what was the reaction? Almost immediate pausing of the campaign and revaluation of the situation.
Yes. His argument is from a sky high overall view and doesn't break down what was going on with the 8th AF on say a month to month basis from Aug '42 to Aug '43.
What were the losses prior to the first Schweinfurt/Regeneburg raid?

Reminder that the inspiration for his video came from Telenko of the ChicagoBoyz. Conspiracy central.
 
The United States in from 1939 to 1943 is trying to build up it's capacity and then fight a war in multiple theatres. Even if we confine the demands of industry to just the army Air force, there are many things that had to get done before drop tanks would even be useful. There were not enough bombers for major penetration raids and the depth of the raids was in many ways a function of the 8th getting bigger.
That's all true, but Douhet was touting bombers on deep penetration raids in 1921 and there's no doubt his proponents were looking forward to something similar. Moreover, the bomber "combat box" formation predated the war and was a clear indication of the belief that unescorted bomber raids were feasible . . . until experience proved the were not. To what degree this failure of imagination delayed subsequent long range fighter development seems a reasonable argument.
 
combat box" formation predated the war and was a clear indication of the belief that unescorted bomber raids were feasible . . . until experience proved the were not. To what degree this failure of imagination delayed subsequent long range fighter development seems a reasonable argument.
I thought the combat box was developed during the war as opposed to bomber streams.🤔

If Greg was limiting the argument to the bomber centric focus (which the British and to an extent the Germans had as well) delaying long range fighters, that's one thing. But a big part of it is that there were available fighter escorts with sufficient range by early 1943 and were not used, deliberately.
 
That's all true, but Douhet was touting bombers on deep penetration raids in 1921 and there's no doubt his proponents were looking forward to something similar. Moreover, the bomber "combat box" formation predated the war and was a clear indication of the belief that unescorted bomber raids were feasible . . . until experience proved the were not. To what degree this failure of imagination delayed subsequent long range fighter development seems a reasonable argument.
I think strategic bombing and lack of escorts are separate things. Douhet and the USAAF are also different things.

Unescorted raids made alot of sense in the 1930s. Fighters could barely keep up and more importantly once a pass was made it was difficult to reattack, and you would be coming up behind the formation with a low rate of closure. Be that is it may, various concepts of the escort fighter were toyed with in the 1930s by the Army because the need for them was not entirely put aside. But during the 20s and 30s it was not seen yet how this could be technically feasible. Nobody was making fighters with anything like the same range as bombers in the pre war era until the P38. It was a gradual process.

Quite frankly I don't think the idea of the escorted raid was doctrinally that far fetched. The luftwaffe I don't think ever stopped a raid. It came down to attrition. This was itself not just about losses but about being able to expand the bomber force to an effective size in the face the losses being taken. While the losers the luftwaffe was taking were exaggerated, the actual losses were themselves hardly insignificant.

I 43 and 44 escorts were clearly necessary. But what if the so called bomber mafia had gotten what they dreamed of pre war and had showed up in 1942 with 1500 b17s with Tokyo tanks. Or even their dream b29. Does anyone really think that the luftwaffe could had defended successfully against a bomber mass that large if it had been available early on if the US military had not been on a shoestring pre war budget?

With the conditions changed just a bit, it clear unescorted raids could work. The Japanese fighters going up against the B29 didn't have a hope in hell of stopping those raids even if there had been no escorts. They simply lacked the speed up high. Once they made their first pass the game was up.
 
The emotional rush (for the Greg fans) of "uncovering" a new conspiracy and being a part of that uncovering is way too satisfying to accept anything less satisfying than that.
Yeah and you can also see the in Greg in how gleefully managed to ramrod the Operation Northwoods into this.

And there his obvious infatuation with the buffoonery of John Boyd and the reformers.
 
I thought the combat box was developed during the war as opposed to bomber streams.🤔
I was certain the concept and basic formation predated the war (or at least the US involvement), but am having a very difficult time substantiating it. It's remarkably difficult to find tactical manuals from the beginning of the war. Closest I can find is a rudimentary 4 plane box formation drawing from 1942 (which doesn't help all that much, and might not even be pre war):
View: https://twitter.com/planehistoria/status/1754233940997464275

But since I can't show otherwise, I'll have to concede the point.
 
Anyone else ever see any other images or info on this tank in the above image? I cannot find any info on this, despite Greg claiming he has 4 documents on this.

I personally think this tank doesn't exist or never made it through development. Even if it does exist, we have no evidence it was pressurized, or otherwise worked correctly. It hardly looks like it would jettison.

Personally I think this is a error in artistic rendition or something in this manual.
 

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That video was fascinating - props to Bill despite significant disadvantage from defective connection. Most interesting part was a view into how many humans are immune to detail and nuance if there's an emotional argument available that is repeated over and over.
 
Anyone else ever see any other images or info on this tank in the above image? I cannot find any info on this, despite Greg claiming he has 4 documents on this.

I personally think this tank doesn't exist or never made it through development. Even if it does exist, we have no evidence it was pressurized, or otherwise worked correctly. It hardly looks like it would jettison.

Personally I think this is a error in artistic rendition or something in this manual.

That's a snippet from the manual for the P-47C, D and G.
The belly tank artistic rendition in the 3-view is indeed faulty - the belly tank was sorta slipper tank as used on the Spitfires, if more complicated in making due to the all-curved sides.
 
That's a snippet from the manual for the P-47C, D and G.
The belly tank artistic rendition in the 3-view is indeed faulty - the belly tank was sorta slipper tank as used on the Spitfires, if more complicated in making due to the all-curved sides.
Well what I am trying to rule out is the existence of a second tank. I've only ever seen the ferry tank.

I've seen no evidence at all of anything other than the ferry tank and presumably this is just an artistic error. But I want to know if anyone else has ever seen any tank that looks like this banana thing
 

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