How would the Allies have dealt with large numbers of ME 262s?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by CobberKane, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Pursuant to the ongoing discussion about the ME 262; it is often said that if the Luftwaffe's jet had been available in numbers and earlier it would have lengthened the war, but not won it. Assuming this is so, lets say the 262 did appear en masse just as the P-51 became available, and started knocking down USAAF bombers in something like the numbers it enthusiasts said it could have. What would the Allies as a whole have done to counter this new threat? I'm thinking of a tactical and strategic responses from both the USAAF and the RAF.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    U.S. 8th Air Force would switch to night bombing. There is no other realistic option.

    There won't be a Normandy invasion as long as Me-262s own the French sky during daytime. German jet production facilities and operating bases would move to top of U.S. 8th Air Force priority list. In fact they would probably be only thing on the list as long as Me-262s continue to operate in large numbers.
     
  3. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I agree with Dave.

    There is no cure against the Me 262. Only option is night bombing the Me 262 and Jumo 004 factories and of course attacking the chemical industry.

    Kris
     
  4. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    It's logic, but the Allied jet programs would have to be put in maximum priority (if they already not were historically).
     
  5. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Eventually, nuclear weapons.
     
  6. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Given that the Me-262 didn't appear until after the Western Allies had landed in Normandy, I'd say the UK and US have several options for dealing with the aircraft.

    The first is to divert some bomber resources away from the industrial/transport/oil/urban campaigns and towards bombing fighter bases. Day bombing by USAAF and night bombing by RAF would certainly have an impact on German fighter ops.

    Secondary to this would be a change in fighter basing tactics. I'd suggest that the USAAF would have accelerated the shift of fighter bases away from the UK and onto continental Europe. This way the fighters can hunt -262s on the ground in France and Germany. Rat catching on a grand scale.

    Another option would be to switch bombing to -262 production facilities, particularly engine plants.
     
  7. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    with all your logic and if the 262 is in numbers then you open up the LW Nf force using 262's, goodbye bombers at an alarming rate with no defense against them
     
  8. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    But would the 262 have been an effective night fighter? Even in broad daylight experienced pilots had problems compensating for the speed at which it closed on bombers - how much more difficult would it have been in darkness? Sure, the 262 could have slowed down, but if that was required, why fly a jet in any case? Something like the Uhu would have been plenty fast enough, have greater endurance, be much easier to produce and maintain and far easier to land and take off in darkness.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    assuming that the Luftwaffe ignored all other early jet opportunities and did focus on the Me262 early on, it would have made the skies over Europe dangerous, but not unbeatable. Bear in mind that the Allies had thier own jets in the works and it would have been just a matter of time before they met each other in a showdown...

    As far as night bombing goes, it would have been just as dangerous at night...the Me262B-1a/U1 trainer was retro-fitted with FuG 218 radar and did engage and destroy Mosquitos over Berlin in night action, for example.
     
  10. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Negative on the Allied jet fighters: no way would they get the range needed to escort bombers to Germany.
    There is a thread about that right now: the P-80 might have had decent range, it would be too fast to escort B-17s. Slowing down would have wasted too much fuel.

    The Me 262 as a night fighter? As Erich will tell you, the Me 262B-1a was not very suited as a NF, but the later Me 262B-2 (which in this case would also have appeared in 1944) was going to be an excellent night fighter. The notion that it is too fast, is just nonsense. All postwar night fighters were jets, just think of the Meteor NF or F-94, which were to intercept Tu-4s. The reason why their speed is important, is because it makes the interception much faster and allows them to move from one scene to another.

    Kris
     
  11. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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  12. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    Delay the war a few months, and it's time for the nukes. I also think it's difficult to argue with the statement that the US and UK would not have considered an aircraft engine with the absolutely crappy service life of the Me262 engines into service, which delayed the entry of the USAAF's and RAF's into service: it wasn't that the Germans were better with jet technology; it's that they were willing to accept engines that had idiotically short service lives.

    And if the USAAF or RAF decided it needed a jet bomber, do you really think they couldn't get one into service? Construction of the prototypes of the B-45 started in late 1944 after a development program that started earlier that year. P-80 development started in early 1943; a prototype was delivered later that year. If, in 1943, the USAAF felt the need for a jet bomber in Europe, they probably could have had one in squadron service by late 1944. The USAAF and RAF didn't get significant numbers of jets into service over Europe by the end of WW2 because they didn't need to, not because they were so technologically inferior they couldn't.
     
  13. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #13 Jenisch, Aug 4, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
    A good quantity of jets also would allow the Germans to strike the bomber bases in England. The question is how they would have stood against the Meteor and the P-80.
     
  14. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    If you are going to compare the meteor to the 262, you have to look at what they were flying against. As you said, in the case of the Meteor it would have been intercepting the likes of the Tu-4, which was effectively a B-29, flying much higher and faster than anything the Allies had in WWII Europe. For that kind of target a 262 night fighter would have made sense, certainly, just as it did against the swift and elusive Mosquito. But against and B-17 or Lancaster all that extra speed is unnecessary, particularly if it comes in an aircraft that is much more expensive than the excellent conventional designs available, and can stay in the air for far less time. I suspect the 262 night fighter may have been a response to the existing problem of the Mosquito and the imminent problem of the B-29 rather than a response to Lancasters.
    One other thing to consider: Mosquito intruders took a heavy toll on LW night fighters by loitering around airfields and nailing them as they took off and landed. How would the 262, which committed it's pilot to a take-off and landing run many miles long, have fared against this tactic?
     
  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    If the Me 262 had been available earlier, there is no reason to think the P-80, Meteor, and Vampire would not have been available as well.

    I say we'd send in the P-80's and the British would send in the Meteors and Vampires.

    Korean War in Europe 7 - 8 years early.
     
  16. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    And what about the "relay" system to keep the P-80s together with the bombers?
     
  17. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Maybe I should have specified that for the purposes of discussion, the 262 came on line earlier, but the allied jets did not. In any case, I can't see P-80s escorting B-17s. B-29s maybe, as Sabres did in Korea. maybe if the 262s had lengthened the war by 12 months that would have happened.
     
  18. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I never thought they ALlied jets would be escorts. I figured it would jet versus jet and let the P-51's do the escort thing. Meanwhile the jets would time it to show up about where the German jets were based when the bombers got there and have at it.

    Putting the Me 262 out that much earlier is dubious enough, but saying the allies wouldn't or couldn't respond in kind at some point soon thereafter isn't giving much credibility to the scenario.

    It is fortunate that didn't happen.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    About 130-150 jet powered Luftwaffe aircraft of all types were shot down during the war. The majority were Me 262s. Given the small number operating this makes them far from invulnerable. They were so vulnerable on take off and landing that they required protection from piston engine fighters. This vulnerability, particularly on take-off, extended for several kilometres from the airfield.
    Does anyone imagine that the allies would not have exploited this more fully had the Me 262 ever developed into a serious threat?

    As far as the effectiveness of the type as a night fighter, this has little to do with the aircraft and much to do with its electronic systems and radar which would be no better than any other contemporary Luftwaffe night fighter. A surfeit of speed, combined with a relatively low rate of fire from the main armament does not make an interception easy in day light, never mind at night. The most successful night fighter pilots were flying at the same speed as their targets when they engaged. To use "Schrage music" they effectively flew in formation with the target. Accelerating and decelerating the Me 262 was not one of its strong points.

    The idea that had in, some parallel universe, the Me 262 arrived in numbers sooner and that the allies would not have reacted with their own well financed and supplied jet programmes is not sensible. The Germans did not have the huge technological advantage that some seem to imagine.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I agree with Stona.
    The Allied fighters were aware of the weaknesses of the LW jet engines on take off and landing. Had the LW had more jets and or had them earlier, I believe the "rat catching" missions would have increased in number and importance. There would almost certainly been an increase in raids on these airfields by intruder type missions flown by Mossies?
     
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