'Hajo' Herrmann's Craziest Idea

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Njaco, May 30, 2012.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I just read a passage in a book - Time/Life "The Air War in Europe" - that 'Hajo' Herrman, the innovator of the 'Wilde Sau' idea and 'Sonnderkommando Elbe' had also proposed using flying boats to fly across the Atlantic, meet with submarines to load fuel and bombs, and then attack targets in the United States. Has anybody else heard of this or have more information?
     
  2. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    Not answering your question, but there is a website devoted to Hajo Herrmann:
    Hajo Herrmann
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Nothing strange about that idea. That's how Lufthansa delivered mail to North and South America during the 1920s and 1930s. By the time WWII started German seaplane pilots had thousands of flight hours crossing the Atlantic.

    However it's going to be much less efficient if German seaplanes are forced to rely on submarines for mid ocean support rather then a purpose built seaplane tender complete with catapult.

    Deutche Lufthansa « trans atlantic mail by air 1928-1940
    makethumbdetails.jpg
     
  4. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    #4 Siegfried, May 30, 2012
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
    Blohm Voss's 4 engined 20 ton (44,000lb) BV-139 and the similarly large Dornier Do 26K could be launched by pneumatic catapult from a ship. They could be retrieved in mid ocean by dragging a mattress in the wake of the ship, the seaplane could then be drawn up onto the ship. These were used as mail plane operations.

    The Dornier Do 26, one of the most beautiful aircraft every designed, had a cruise range of 5600 miles with a small load (about 1 ton) so if the carrier ship could get within 2500 miles of the east coast harassment missions might be possible. This is about 40% of the way across the Atlantic from the Naval base at Brest.

    One would have to have a carrier capable of cruising the complete mission at over 30-32 knots and able to to sustain bursts of over 36 knots to outflank the vastly superior allied navies.

    In theory the Do 26K could have flown the mission direct from Brest and refueled on the return leg about 1000 miles of the US cost by u-boat at night if appropriate electronics was used. Of course the weather is a severe problem with both schemes.

    the only realistic scenario would be based on a single outward bound in flight refueling, an opportunity the Luftwaffe missed since its in flight refueling program seems to have been consistently successful. In flight refueling of Jets was seen as the final solution and aircraft such as the Horton Ho XVIII were ordered with flight refueling equipment. (which has been tested on Ju 290's)
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense to me. I'm surprised the RAF and/or Luftwaffe didn't utilize this 1930s technology for long range special operations missions.
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    There was a proposal put forth by the Italians to use the CANT Z.511 to bomb New York (possibly only with leaflets), with a stop for refuelling by a U-boat in the mid Atlantaic.
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    It a problem of a whole other magnitude to find a ship at sea under wartime conditions.
    In peace time you can use RDF or even lights at night to guide a aircraft on to a supply ship, sub or even for aerial refueling.
    But during WW2 there were allied ships all over the Atlantic, constantly monitoring every frequency,
    How would this flying boat and sub or whatever rendezvous, without allied interferance?
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The Germans, like the Allies, had the ability to rendevous on the high seas...

    The Kriegsmarine's "cows" used to successfully find and resupply other U-boats, as well as the flying boat supply details that serviced the U-boats.
     
  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    It's a great deal easier to accuratly navigate a ship or sub going 10-20 knots, than it is a aircraft going 10 times or more that speed.
    The sub could find the exact co-ordinates and just wait, the aircraft doesn't have that luxury.
     
  10. rank amateur

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    OK. So it is 'do-able' but it won't win you a war. What would be the use except another propaganda victory?
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    results would be similar to the Doolittle Raid. Not much actual damage but a Propaganda Victory. Not to mention the retention of hundreds of aircraft (in fighter squadrons) in the US for "home defense" that might be better employed overseas. Especially if the raid could be repeated.
     
  12. rank amateur

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    #12 rank amateur, May 31, 2012
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
    True but I remember reading (don't know where) that the USAAC kept a large part of it inventory at home so it might not have made such a difference. Furthermore you would need to succesfully take out a special target and get back to make it credible that a solitairy bomb attack of a single airplane was worth the effort. 500 lb of ordinance on residential area is not going to cut it ;)
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #13 Shortround6, May 31, 2012
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
    There is a difference between "inventory" and trained fighter groups or squadrons. The US much preferred to form combat squadrons in the US and have them train with combat type aircraft for a number of weeks before deploying overseas, often with new aircraft while the older ones were kept to train the next units on. This means that hundreds if not several thousand "combat" type aircraft could be being used as trainers at a given time.

    The East Coast of the US is also several thousand miles long and every hundred to 200 mile stretch is going to be clamoring for it's "own" interceptor squadron/s. Many of the training schools were either inland or on the west coast where the weather is better for year round flying. Some were on the east coast but not enough and using trainees as "interceptor" pilots may not have gone down well with the politicians on the east coast. Look at the movements of US squadrons right after Pearl Harbor when several squadrons ( and we didn't have that many to begin with) were sent cross country (2500-3000miles) to help guard against a Japanese Invasion ( or raids on California). When the Japanese (except for a few subs) hadn't gotten within 3000 miles of California.


    The Japanese tried this method of attack against Pearl Harbor. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_K

    A simultaneous attack on targets several hundred miles apart, say from Savannah Georgia to Hampton Virginia by even 6 planes might have meant a disruption in planned deployments of squadrons for weeks if not months. Not to mention the deployment of AA guns and radar units.
     
  14. rank amateur

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    But I don't actually know if the plan was for an attack of several planes. I reckon it would have been hard enough to tank up a single airplane in the middle of the atlantic let alone 5 or 6. Furthermore these seaplanes aren't to fast specially if they have to use cruisespeed. I'd guess there would have been a fair chance of interception. But I'll admit it would cause some disruption
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    If was a 1942 suggestion it might have been made to work. By 1944 it was a pipe dream. The Further into the war the more the allies controlled the Atlantic making both long range flights and supply sub operations more difficult if not impossible. The Americans also did keep a number of AA units at home to guard harbors and coastal areas.
     
  16. jim

    jim Banned

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    Atlantic ocean is huge . Certainly randevoys were possible. However the alleis had broken the german codes and all such randevous were intercepted 100% by late 43 . The milk cows resupply U boats were all lost because all their randevous messages were broken by Ultra.The amazing is that Donitz never admitted that fact which was more clear than the sun .Thus was guilty for the deaths of thousands german sailors.
    For the same reason an randevous sea planes / u boats had 0 chance of succes. Alleis would knew for the operation since the earlier stages of preparation.
    Now ,on theory, if secrecy was possiple, two BV 222 s with their diesel engines could certainly execute the mission and drop 4-6 tons of bombs penetrting the last kms at 0 m altitude to evade radars.
    It would be a great propaganda victory and if could hit some populated areas ( a market,a hospital, a university or a school ) would give the americans a taste of their own reciepe. However it would be a suicide mission because there ,certainly , would be a massive american reaction.
    No crewman could expect that would survive alive such a mission
    Hajo Herman had ideas, but,with the exception of Wilde Sau operations, never participated himself. If you ask 18 years old "pilots" to ram enemy bombers the very least that he should do was lead them
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Jim - with due respect, why do you think a LW crew in uniform would not survive capture? Do you truly believe that Americans would kill LW crew like German civilians murdered American crews in Germany? If so, distinguish why Americans in your opinion would treat downed LW crews any different from Brits? or why Americans were more like the Japanese in treatment of POWs?

    Have you even discussed with former LW or Wermacht POWs, housed in the South (US) during WWII, what they expected and ultimately how they were treated?
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Is he talking about POWs, or suggesting that the reaction from the USAAF and USN would be such that the German bombers would all be lost?
     
  19. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Good question Wuzak.

    Jim if I mis-intepreted your comment "americans a taste of their own reciepe. However it would be a suicide mission because there ,certainly , would be a massive american reaction." to mean you thoght Americans would take revenge on the German pilots, then I apologise.

    If not, what did you mean?
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Sending a German seaplane across the Atlantic would be useful only under special circumstances. Perhaps to drop off and retrieve intelligence agents.
     
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