Plan Me-410B.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    We've just discussed late war RAF air defenses and Me-410. IMO they should be discussed together as Me-410B is the only plausible way for Germany to conduct mass air raids during spring of 1944.

    Historical Me-410 almost production. Henschel.
    Henschel Ju-88 plant converted with intent of building 400 Me-410s per month. Concurrent with conversion and expansion of Ostmark engine plant to build 1,000 DB603 engines per month. Conversion of Ju-88 plant halted when about 80% complete. Ostmark engine plant construction had serious snags (aggravated by U.S. bombing) which kept engine production far below design goal.

    Building 400 Me-410s and 1,000 DB603 engines per month amounts to one of the largest German weapon programs. Many important people including Chancellor Hitler must have approved the program. After preparations were 80% complete someone changed their mind and Hitler concurred.

    Point of Departure.
    Hitler gives Me-410 program the highest priority and doesn't waiver. If necessary Type XXI submarine program will be scaled back (fewer boats built) to free up resources.

    There's some logic to this decision.
    Anglo-American invasion of France is expected during summer 1944.
    Type XXI submarines won't be ready in time to oppose the invasion.

    If given highest priority Me-410B should be in mass production by early 1944 at Henschel.
    Me-410 was an excellent weapon for attacking troop transports, seaports, supply depots etc. at night. These would be low level operations to avoid radar and improve bombing accuracy.
    Me-410 carries enough fuel to allow it to be based east of Venlo. So airfields will be shielded by German air defense system.
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The order to convert all Me 410 A-1s and B-1s to the Me 410 A-1/U2 zerstorer standard was issued in May 1944. This date coincides closely with the start of planned B-1 production. The problem with your timeline is that even had the change in plans not occurred you won't have the numbers hoped for by June/July 1944. As it is no B-1 appears in loss reports and it is unlikely that the Luftwaffe ever received any. You are left with the 135 Me 410 A-1s built as fast bombers.
    The planned engine was the DB 603 G which also failed to materialise.
    I can't support the idea that it was possible in 1944 to produce 400 Me 410s and relevant numbers of engines (even the DB 603 A, production of the E was also postponed) a month. The only word I can find to describe German aircraft production at this time is chaos. The Me 410 program was as much a victim of this as any other type.

    The production of the Me 410 was supposed to end in August 1945 and some at the RLM definitely had their eye on that date. This is hardly surprising bearing in mind the long running saga of its production.

    You also need to consider how effective "mass air raids" carried out by the Me 410 would be. Carrying a mere 1000Kg of bombs (for anything but the slim bodied armour piercing bombs this meant flying with the bomb bay doors slightly open, a 500Kg load was more usual) they hardly delivered a punch comparable with the thousands of US and British bombers.

    Pelz went on the record saying that he considered the range of the Me 410 extremely poor for attacks against England. He wanted more Ju 88s for this task and the reason that he couldn't have them was precisely because the RLM had arranged for Henschel Flugzeugwerk to switch production from Ju 88s to Me 410s.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  3. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    #3 l'Omnivore Sobriquet, Sep 10, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
    The Me-410 is a very exciting and capable weapon system that wasn't allowed its days of glory.
    Your credible scenario allows for a good fighting, certainly.
    I've been reading Stona's reply and feel happy about this forum just being here...

    You know, it might be shocking but I think that the proper preparation against the expected Us/Uk 'massive blow', some attack on Western Europe, with reasonable hopes for blocking it fast and clear, allowing time then for its inevitable 2nd attempt, would be : a swift attack from very surprising Me-262s carrying bombs upon the various 'hot' beaches that would show up. Just the firsts of them, up-scaled diversions or whatever.
    It wasn't an eery fancy by the end of summer of 1943 for those 'higher level' German decision makers, a quick conversion (guns against bombs) was shown easely doable when the matter got set on one table later on. Reading various threads here, I learn that some early production jumo-009A jets were possible, perhaps in time and number just enough.
    It's simply that Willy Messerschmidt among (many self satisfied) others just lost faith in anymore a radical AH decision or a vision, and this is quite logical.
    Whoever History finaly puts the blame on, for those decisive mistakes, it is a logical un-folding, a mechanical consequence of the nazy option. (most un-French let me tell you.)
    ('scuse my pedantish schoolish litterary English, we're doing what we can (as one John said), using what we can.)

    Big 'reasonnable' Me-410 waves weren't simply up the challenge, despite a good show probably. The challenge was, at the very most, to be able to kick a swift and nasty punch on the nose of the monster, so that it turns round and takes a little time before its second, slightly worried, obvious big go. That was the maximum 'hopable'. By the fall of 1941 Adolf Hitler knew he was done for, or at least in very serious troubles.

    But history and cruel hard-fact based decisions are one thing, easy and welcome liking of aviation in all that it showed, potent or mass deployed, a very different personal choice.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why not?

    This is about factory construction. Henschel aircraft plant and Ostmark engine plant must receive priority for machine tools and other equipment required by assembly lines. If given priority both plants should be fully operational by the end of 1943.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Because B-1 production wasn't scheduled to start until May 1944. No aircraft in any country ever entered production at the levels achieved once all facilities were up and running. There's no way 400 aircraft a month is a realistic target for the summer of 1944. Given the state of German aircraft production it's not a realistic target, period, whatever priority the Ministry of Production and Armaments Industry might assign to it.
    If you bring everything forward by a year you are operating in "what if" territory which is something else altogether.

    I'd still stick with Pelz. Whilst the plan is to bomb England and before the decision to devote everything to defence of the Reich, build Ju 88s. The RLM, largely for political reasons, never had the gumption to just cancel the Me 410 program. It would have liberated a lot of resources for other projects. It was, to a large extent, Milch of all people who kept this Messerschmitt project alive despite his well documented personal antipathy to Messerschmitt himself. He'd been dealing with fellow Nazis like Croneiss (until his death) then Seiler and Konrad after Messerschmitt got sidelined in any case. None other than Lucht was head of "business leadership" at Messeschmitt AG from May'43 to April '44. Cronyism was rampant in all Nazi organisations and the RLM was no exception. The Me 210/410 programme was ultimately an unmitigated disaster. Eventually the Me 410 was not a bad aeroplane but it never justified the investment made in it.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    #6 davebender, Sep 10, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
    I'll go for that. A Ju-88 powered by DB603 engines is more or less just as capable as Me-410 powered by similar engines. Larger airframe probably superior for carrying some weapons such as torpedoes, mines and Hs.293 wire guided weapons.

    Point of Departure. Early 1943.
    Henschel Ju-88 plant expanded with goal of producing 400 Ju-88 bombers per month by end of 1943. These bombers will be powered by either DB603 or Jumo 213 engines to increase range / payload.

    Expanding an existing production facility is inherently easier then switching to a new aircraft type. DB603 and/or Jumo 213 engine production must still be expanded to provide the necessary bomber engines.

    Remainder of plan is the same. These bombers go to Kampfgeschwader whose mission will be to disrupt Anglo-American preparations for the invasion of NW France.


    March 1944.
    Let the Luftwaffe night bomber offensive begin.
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I reckon they would have a better chance of causing some disruption. I don't think ultimately it would have made much difference and they would likely have suffered unsustainable losses. At least the Ju 88, even as a fast bomber carrying its load internally, could deliver a decent load. The Luftwaffe would probably have hung a load of bombs externally (racks were standard factory equipment) and slowed them down :)
    Historically Pelz was after the BMW 801 powered version of the Ju 88 S, but with no Me 410 I'd be happy to see the DB 603fitted. The Jumo 213 powered version was only slightly faster than the BMW powered version (but I can't find the figures!)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  8. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    l'Omnivore Sobriquet has a point in that Operation Overlord's success was a factor, not only of the actual invasion, but of being able to support it over the beaches.

    Had the Luftwaffe a credible attack force to hand, even with very high losses, it could have disrupted the initial days of support to the newly landed troops and thus given the land defence a better chance. Despite probable army calls for direct support the most useful target would have been the shipping and a 1,000kg bomb strike does not have to sink the vessel. If it can damage it enough, cause fires etc. then the mission kill is sufficient if the stores and additional troops cannot be landed.

    Had 'Corporal Carpet Chewer' released the reserves from north of the Seine straight away then Overlord could well have been a failure.

    However, a good Ju88 would be nearly as capable as an Me410 and can carry a greater warload.
     
  9. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Junkers Ju 88S
    Have a Ju88S instead of the Me410 project; cancel the Me210/410 in 1942 and focus on getting the Ju88S together as a fast night bomber fitted with the DB603 with GM-1 and/or MW50 boost. That only gives 900kg payload, but its better than the Me410. Sell off the extra incomplete airframes to the Hungarians to recoup the investment.

    Historically the Ju88S appeared at the same time as the Me410, so it could have been fitted with the DB603 if there is not Me410 project to soak them up. Late 1943 was when the DB603 was finally made reliable and the cooling problems resolved. Using them against the invasion ports in May 1944 in Southern England by night at low level to disrupt the invasion would be a good use. Otherwise if you wait until the invasion starts a series of small night raids at regular intervals (to minimize exposure; more aircraft over the heavily defended invasion beaches means more shot down) to disrupt operations, especially if they can lay some of their new pressure naval mines, would be very helpful.
     
  10. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    Me 410B was sheduled for March 44 (Dornier München) but they still had to deliver one A-1 in April while no B-1 was taken over in March. The A-1 built by DWM were probably directly modified into the U4 variant with 5cm cannon, that may have happened to their B-1 as well.
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    And none were completed before the May decision to convert all bomber versions to destroyers. There is not one B-1 recorded in loss lists. It is likely that none were ever received by the Luftwaffe.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    AP (Assault Transport), LST (Landing Ship Tank) and minesweepers would be primary targets. I'll hazard a guess any of those ship types would be scrap after getting hit with 1,000kg of ordnance.

    Hard part would be flying through Allied defenses to get at the vulnerable troop transports. They were probably stashed in well protected Scottish lochs until needed for an amphibious assault operation.
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe that it could have been done by day. The RAF would have plenty of warning and had literally hundreds of fighters to launch against them. At night what were they going to hit?

    The RAF repeatedly bombed the assembled barges for Sea Lion but most vessels were almost certainly sunk or damaged by Royal Navy raids on the ports. In August/September the British sank only 12.6% of the barges and 1.4% of tugs. The RAF actually touted reconnaissance photographs of Ostend to show what damage it had done, though Churchill thought that they showed better how much it hadn't done!

    I don't think the Luftwaffe would have made any meaningful difference. It might well have been a "Bodenplatte" for the bomber arm.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    By 1944 Allied day fighter aircraft were more numerous then stars in the sky. No one but a lunatic would attempt a day bombing offensive against England. A March 1944 German bomber offensive would be conducted at night and at low level. German ASV radar should make it possible to locate targets.

    Where were Allied amphibious ships and minesweepers located during the spring of 1944? How strong were port AA defenses of Plymouth, Portsmouth, etc.?
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    AA was probably pretty strong. ASV radar works a whole lot better in open water than trying to pick out ships in port. Trying to identify blips on a radar screen is not easy, espeicially if tied up to peirs or even rafted together.
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    An eye witness from May 1944 said that there were so many vessels at Portsmouth that it looked as if you could walk across their decks to the Isle of Wight. Almost all the ports in Southern England were similarly busy. 6,000 vessels of all shapes and sizes have to be assembled somewhere!
    AAA was very strong and supplemented by RN anti aircraft vessels. I have somewhere a list of Portsmouth's AA defences........I found Gough's "Watching the Skies" if I'm lucky I'll find that too.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's what aerial flares are for. Just like Britain used at Taranto and Germany used at Bari.
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Then why bother mentioning using ASV radar?

    The Germans don't have enough bombers to mount anything approuching a sustained campaign that amounts to anything. And even 300-400 bombers a month "starting" in the Spring of 1944 is too little too late. The German loss rate would be unsustainable.
    Figure about 50-70% of avialable planes actually being able to fly on any given night. Now figure that in 1944 there are very few trained, experienced bomber crews (pilots) left. Some ships will be hit but not enough to stop or postpone the invasion.
    And the resources used up in this fututile attempt will not be avaialbe for other things.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yes. It would mean more targets for the RAF and British AAA and far fewer fighters for the USAAF to shoot down.

    The crew problem would be crippling. This is a period when men trained to fly bombers were being transferred to fighters. Attacking by night would be an even bigger problem. The Luftwaffe's superb blind flying schools which produced the highly trained crews of the early war period were long gone and so were most of those crews along with the men who had trained them, frittered away in North Africa and the various air lifts of the Eastern Front.
    It's all very well producing 400 aircraft a month but you have also to produce a similar number of crews capable of flying and operating them by night. This requires a lot of training and all the resources required for that. This, as much as the decision to devote almost all the aircraft industries resources to producing fighter aircraft, is why the invasion fleets were virtually unmolested.

    There's a good deal of information about what the Germans did and didn't know here.

    G.A.F. [German Air force, Luftwaffe] and the Invasion of Normandy 1944

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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