Possibly the Worst Aviation "History" Video I've Encountered

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Yes i agree but 1600 plus? A month on the ground. And how was that varified? And the the ones that did come on line. Again seems a tad high considering what is known about production.
One of my favourite conspiracy theories is that a huge number of LW fighters never existed. Since there were no pilots or fuel or at the end even airfields for them and the makers almost certainly wouldnt get paid (at the end) why not invent a load of fighters that exist only on paper and are then destroyed on he ground or in transport, on paper?
 
An aircraft has many uses. Th Fairey Battle was undoubtedly crap as an operational bomber, but it did serve well in training many air and ground crews i the basics of what an air force does. Take the B-17 out of US aviation history from 1935 and what fills all the voids that are left?
 
My Editor Dan Sharp has released what is definitely the best Me262 book on development/politics
Interesting! Well, I was very impressed with David Baker's book on the Me-262, since it went off into many areas you do not hear about (e.g., the underground factory) and did not repeat the hoary old lies based on assumptions. But I think that the German leadership was worried about the Mossie rather more for what it represented rather than its actual threat. Goring said that it drove him nuts that the British had plenty of aluminum but built a wooden airplane superior to anything the Luftwaffe had. And of course there was the DH98's embarrassing tendency to show up over places like Gestapo headquarters and during Hitler's speeches; they no doubt considered it a threat to their own precious hides.
 
One of my favourite conspiracy theories is that a huge number of LW fighters never existed. Since there were no pilots or fuel or at the end even airfields for them and the makers almost certainly wouldnt get paid (at the end) why not invent a load of fighters that exist only on paper and are then destroyed on he ground or in transport, on paper?
That`s exactly what Speer did, its not a conspiracy theory at all. After adding up all the numbers, USAAF investigators after the war wrote:

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The USAAF investigators said their conclusions were that although Speer did make vast numbers of new planes, Speer ALSO fudged the figures (we can only surmise to look good to the Furhrer), by adding any aircraft undergoing repairs or even minor refits to the "new aircraft" data list. (see "some book or other" page 400). People I`ve spoken to who know
a lot about 109`s say there is no evidence of gaps or duplications in the airframe numbers, so probably the list of new aircraft shown to people like Hitler/Göring were just
list of "how many new planes there were this month" and not tables of airframe numbers (which, to be honest is what you`d expect anyway, why would anyone
at Cabinet level want to sit and read through lists of thousands of airframe numbers). Hence without sending in auditors to the plant it would never have been traced.

However its worth mentioning that (if you can believe it!) only 20% of the fighters manufactured (in for example July 1944) were actually allocated to Luftflotte Reich.
(see "some book or other" page 389)


So there was a fake number of planes made, but also most people imagine all these planes were sent up to intercept B-17`s, in mid 1944, 80% were not even allocated to that
duty (this percentage was increased as the war went on and the fronts shrank back nearer to Berlin of course).
 
That`s exactly what Speer did, its not a conspiracy theory at all. After adding up all the numbers, USAAF investigators after the war wrote:

View attachment 727457

The USAAF investigators said their conclusions were that although Speer did make vast numbers of new planes, Speer ALSO fudged the figures (we can only surmise to look good to the Furhrer), by adding any aircraft undergoing repairs or even minor refits to the "new aircraft" data list. (see "some book or other" page 400). People I`ve spoken to who know
a lot about 109`s say there is no evidence of gaps or duplications in the airframe numbers, so probably the list of new aircraft shown to people like Hitler/Göring were just
list of "how many new planes there were this month" and not tables of airframe numbers (which, to be honest is what you`d expect anyway, why would anyone
at Cabinet level want to sit and read through lists of thousands of airframe numbers). Hence without sending in auditors to the plant it would never have been traced.

However its worth mentioning that (if you can believe it!) only 20% of the fighters manufactured (in for example July 1944) were actually allocated to Luftflotte Reich.
(see "some book or other" page 389)


So there was a fake number of planes made, but also most people imagine all these planes were sent up to intercept B-17`s, in mid 1944, 80% were not even allocated to that
duty (this percentage was increased as the war went on and the fronts shrank back nearer to Berlin of course).
I think 8,000 is a minimum. If you look at how many planes with pilots that were available for Bodenplatte what happened to all the other thousands of planes supposedly made in the months before and after? Who flew them. As I see it they went from making planes that worked, to making planes that hardly worked at all, then just started making planes on paper and then not really doing that. Since they didnt have pilots or fuel and those at the top were hardly seen and didnt pay
 
Quite a few shot up, but not past the 60% threshold of damage, were dispatched to IRAN centers. Crash landed, but not technically past 60%, are but one example of gap between Claim and Award (air and ground) vs actually written off by LW.
 
Goring complained that one of his biggest problems was that pilots wanted to sleep in their own bed at night. They'd get hit over Occupied Europe and instead of landing at the first available airfield they'd just push it a bit more to try to get to their home field and .... BAM! During the BoB it seems that the RAF had no problem with setting down where ever in GB they had to. The population was relatively friendly and sometimes you could even catch a train to get back to base.
 
To hs credit he did not erase my comments:
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drgondog

3 days ago
A presentation that misses the supreme point of the B-17 as well as showers the viewers with a load of crap. First, we (USAAF) went to war with what we had and fought that war as best we knew how, and succeeded (Strategic Bombing) on critical German industrial targets. Like him or not Speer commented that the 8th AF (and later 15th AF) were a crucial factor in the destruction - or forced dispersal causing severe production shortages - of the German aircraft industry. You chose to cast aspersions on Spaatz, LeMay and Arnold from the comfort of your office chair - not giving even the slightest nod to the leadership demonstrated throughout the pre-Pearl Harbor existance of a fledling Air Force that grew from 10's of thousands of Regular Army in 1938 to 1.2M in 1945. You failed to note that the 8th AF led the way, and for certain understood the mantra of learn, adapt and improvise to solve the problem that RAF told them couldn't be done. You seemed to ignore Spaatz arguing against 'accepted wisdom of the Transportation Plan pre D-Day, including Harris and specifically Portal and Leigh Mallory - to go after the Oil/Synthetic Fuel industry. Speer noted that the day, May 12, 1944, marked the 'end of Germany as an industrialized nation'. Second, the German high command realized the threat and made destruction of daylight bombing their first priority, to the extreme - ordering their Fighter Command to 'ignore' escort fighters. Note that nearly 2x Bomber Comand casualties to German Night Fighters when the NJG were FAR fewer in number to German Day Fighter force and the (few) NJG units suffered far fewer losses to the Lancaster and Mosquitos. The NJG continued to inflict outrageous losses vs the Lancaster throughout the end of the war - not so for the B-17s and B-24s ofthe 8th and 15th AF. While not specifically significant factually, B-17s were slow compared to German fighters, the operational airspeed for formation flying at 25000 feet was 150mph IAS - about 215mph True Airspeed inbound to target. Slower than the Lanc at 15000 feet but far less vulnerable to flak. Additionally, at 25-28K the performance of the FW 190 and Bf109 fell off rapidly above 22000 feet, about full throttle height for bot fighter and FAR above optimal altitude for Me 110, Me 410, Ju 88 twin engine fighters - right in the strike zone of P-51s, P-38s and P-47s - particularly the P-51B with 1650-3 engine with FTH of second speed blower at 29,000 feet. Turn and climb are particulary sensitive to Excess Horsepower Available. Back to LeMay - he succeeded in strategic bombing campaign, at night. far better than Bomber Harris or RAF, because a.) he understood that much of Japan's indutrial foo chain were mbedded in shops and factories at the heart of the cities, b.) That Japan's night defense capability bot in fighters and AAA were pitiful in comparison to Germany and, c.) that the B-29 could successfully attack at low level, with less strain on engines, heavier bomb loads, and far fewer losses. One might argue that that campaign EXACTLY achieved what Bomber Harris attempted and failed to accomplish. Back to Arnold. He recognizd that during the Spanish Civil War, that pursuit would achieve lethality to the B-17 (and B-24) ind initiated the B-29 program in 1941 to replace both US 'Heavy Bombers' in case we needed to go to war. His was the hand that over rode AAF Materiel Command obstinance in refusing to 'buy' North American's P-51 in form of A-36, then again in supporting NAA's venture into Merlin powered Mustang XP-51B program. I was not particularly surprised at the attack on the conceptual 'Flying Fortress' given that it never lived up to capability of self defense, but candidly I was shocked that you stooped to ad hominem attacks on the AAF leadership. Summary, AAF went to war with what they had. They replaced 'what they had' when a better option presented itself (B-17 vs B-29, P-51B vs P-47D/P-38 ) and they successfuly executed their strategy globally. You wish to contrast that with RAF, LW, VVS, Japan?



View attachment 723527


[h3][/h3]HardThrasher
3 days ago
You make some very valid points about strategic bombing, but that was explicitly not what I was trying to address - do not confuse my anger at a shitty areoplane with a failure to recognise both the importance of US efforts vs Germany strategically or failures within the RAF to for example, drag Leigh Mallory out into the street by the hair and shoot him, which by 1944 was really a quite reasonable next step.


View attachment 723528


drgondog

3 days ago
@HardThrasher - why should you be angry at the B-17 and confuse it with a 'shitty airplane'? Name another bomber delivered in 1935 that delivers the same, or similar strategic accomplishments? You are correct if you wish to point out that the B-17 needed escort to survive air battles over Germany after mid 1943. You may, strangely, point out that the defensive firepower of the B-17 was inadquate to stop Bf 109s and Fw 190s in daylght strategic bombing, ditto for the B-24.
At that point you should pause and hold one, and only one, WWII design avilable in 1942 that 'might' have been a better solution for daylght strategic role - the Mosquito. That said, the Mossie, granted the wildest of probabilities of actually having the numbers and bomb aiming equipment to attack point targets without advantage of surprise - would also have different results in daytime ops against Bf 109s and FW 190s when forced to fly long distances with external tanks for the range while maintaining its only true advantage - speed. To even approach the 'at target' approach results require significant force/numbers to concentrate bomb loads on a large Industrial complex or refinery.

Plus, IIRC the '4000 pound' bomb load were Cookies, Not AP capable. Granted the next load out of 1x2000 pound GP or AP is useful, that is only 25% of the B-17 at say, Berlin or Posnan. If you propose low level single ship strikes I would love to see your Plan. Certainly NOTHING else in RAF inventory stood a chance of Better survival odds than the B-17 vs Day Fighters of Luftwaffe during daylight.

The Lancaster specifically, was not very survivable against single nightfighter attacks. Can you imagine the carnage if pressed into daylight operations unescorted, against Schweinfurt, Berlin? Could it even travel to Posnan or Prague - and if so at what altitude? Absent Merlin 61 series with 2S/2speed SC, it is worse off than Davis wing equipped B-24 if applied to US combat ops doctrine. Does it fly with same tactics as Night ops - no formation, but catch as catch can? How does that work out when German spotters on the coast mark and track and feed into central communications? It may be harder to concentrate large forces of Day fighters - but why bother? One FW 190A-8 is a nightmare in trail and virtually unstoppable in head on single attacks.

The B-24 while arguably a better bomber, all things considered, both faster and longer range - was arguably less able to defend itself. Before you hasten to point out lower loss rate per sortie, remember that it was not truly operational in Division level Strength until 1944 - when target escort was introduced. The Few B-24 BGs in 8th AF were clobbered because their high altitude restrictions due to Davis Wing had them flying Purple Heart corner, low and in trail until dispatched to 12 AF where the REALLY got clobbered at low altitude (Think twice about Mossie daylight ops against Ploesti!). Summary? The B-17 was as good as it had to be, suffered incredible loses in the most hostile attack/defense environment in WWII - and there was no single alternative to replace it in 1943/1944 for Strategic Daylight Bombing.

We'll see if he erases mine, which I just added:

The B-17 was not a "crap" airplane—not even a "bit crap"—either by specs for its class at the time of its development and sometime thereafter, nor by reputation.

Reputation first, actually. As part of my thirty years of research into this particular crew and their war (SW Pacific, 1942-43), I've talked to numerous veterans, both pilots and other crew, who piloted or flew on both B-17s and B-24s and the overwhelming majority preferred the Fortress for its flight capabilities and durability. The B-24 carried a larger payload and could fly farther, which is why the transition was made from the 17 to 24s beginning in early 1943. But it also scared the pants off a bunch of the men who had to fly on it, and literally every pilot I talked to preferred the 17. Not only could it take more damage, it could handle far more flight stresses, allowing far more extreme maneuverability than the 24. This wasn't new with the E/F/G models, either: one of the original YB-17s suffered little more than a few popped rivets after being flipped on its back in a violent storm on its way from Dayton to Langley. (Which is why static testing on the thirteenth YB-17 was cut short.)

So the men who actually flew, and flew on, the bomber certainly didn't believe it was crap.

But again, neither was it at the time of its development. You say the B-17 entered service in 1938, and compare it to a modified Me-109 that year. But the B-17 didn't "enter service" in any respect in 1938. It was designed and developed in 1935-36, with the first YB-17s delivered to the 2nd BG for testing in the first half of 1937. The equivalent Bf-109 (it was always officially "Bf") was the 109B-1 and B-2, with a max speed at altitude around 290 mph. In flight training exercises off the east coast in October 1937, the 2nd BG's YB-17s *cruised* at 200mph carrying a 4000+ lb. payload. So in fact at the time of development, even with a full bomb load, the B-17 matched quite well against Germany's top fighter at the time. That it fell behind quickly ignores the fact that you're comparing development of a heavy bomber designed and developed by the military of a highly isolationist country in the middle of the Great Depression, with the development of airpower in a country fully mobilizing at breakneck speed for war.

You also compare it negatively to the British Lancaster—a bomber whose first prototype flight wasn't until January 1941, a full five years later than the B-17, and didn't enter combat until March 1942. A few questions come to mind, in light of that:
  1. Do you think that if the B-17 had been developed in 1940 rather than 1936, its specifications might have been upgraded?
  2. What bomber should have begun being deployed in 1941, the B-17 or the original Manchester that the Lancaster was based on?
  3. Which aircraft, the Fortress or the Lancaster, was more available for mass production and deployment in 1941-42, and could be produced on the greatest scale as the war progressed?
This all strikes me as either poorly contextualized, or not at all. By the standards of the time of its development, the B-17 still stood out. The Army chose it—chose to pay almost twice as much for it as its nearest American competitor—for a reason. And it was what was available, and could be in numbers sufficient to the necessity, when Lend Lease began. I'm reminded of a quote by Teddy Roosevelt (AFAIK): "Do what you can with what you have where you are." That was the role the B-17 was asked to play, and to suggest it was crap because of that misplaces the blame. You say it "started out well" but "ended up being a disaster." More accurately, it became increasingly less suited for the task being asked of it. But that makes the changed circumstances crap, not the aircraft. I don't say my 2000 Honda Accord is "a bit crap" because we can't haul the RV we want with it.

All in all, it's a bad argument based on a faulty premise advertised with an insulting title. Yes, insulting—to the people who built it, to the people who flew it, and to the people faced with the charged decisions that made it the workhorse that it became.
 
No bomber in 1943 could sustain mass unescorted daylight missions without losses that were intolerable, over Germany. The Brits learnt this early, hence their shift to night bombing. The Americans tried and failed as well. It wasn't until long-range escorts were a thing that daylight bombing became doable, and even that required a change in tactics.

The B-17 was no different. That doesn't lay on the bomber as much as it does on the doctrine and available technology. The plane itself was as good as you could ask for in 1943. Yes, they got shot down in droves. But that's because the doctrine guiding their employment had yet to run into reality until then.
 
I guess the best one could do would be to fly higher than other bombers. Oh wait....
Yep, so let's see...which bomber had a service ceiling over 35,000 feet.
Lancaster? Nope.
Ju290? Nope.
B-24? Nope.
G8N? Nope.
B-29? Nope.

Huh...what could it possibly be, then?

OH, that's right, it was that crappy old B-17 that had a service ceiling that was nearly 36,000 feet...
 
I think the guy who did the B-17 video was a member here for awhile, but understandably, he didn't stick around. All those pesky "facts" being levelled in his direction were his undoing, I think.
 
I'm not particularly fond of (for lack of a better term) meme historians. Unfortunately, I just don't have the patience to get out there on YouTube and call these guys out but I still have some of my books from my childhood including a big one called The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Air Warfare.


I think these guys prefer to be contrarian rather than informative or acting in good faith when it comes to how they present their content as I said a while back. Or (if you're familiar with reddit) they're just your average r/noncredibledefense browser with a YouTube channel and a mic.
 
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