Resolved. German jets were a waste of time and effort

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by zoomar, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. zoomar

    zoomar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Debate topic. Resolved: All the Germans accomplished in developing the Me-262 and other jets was to divert effort and material from the gradual improvement of proven piston-engined types of far more value in stemming the Allies; that their actual performance advantage over allied types such as the P-51, P-47, Spit XIV, Tempest, etc was less than one would assume based on design specs and test performance; that even if everything went perfectly in their development and jets were introduced a year earlier in far greater numbers, this would not have changed the course of the war in any meaningful way; that Germany would have been far better off focusing efforts on gradual improvements and improved production numbers of planes like the Fw-190D.
     
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Messages:
    13,090
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Platonic Sphere
    this was debated back in the 1950's when I was a kid

    Blllllllllllllllllllltttttttttttttttt !
     
  3. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,162
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Communications
    Location:
    Long Island Native in Mississippi
    Home Page:
    Partially correct, partially bullsh!t... The Ta152H-1 was the apex of piston powered aircraft, there really wasnt much more anyone could do to improve performance... Jet engine were the next logical step....

    Now, if u want to get into a debate as to whether or not the 262 would have had an impact on the War if it was intoduced a year earlier and in greater numbers, Im pretty sure u'll get some decent arguments that disagree with ur opinion...

    A year earlier and the Mustang isnt a threat, ur dealing with -47's and -38's.... Piecemeal for 262 pilots...

    Especially if Hitler didnt stick his big nose into the project and make it a requirement that they be able to carry bombs...
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    That's fine with the benefit of hindsight. But you don't get that advantage in the real world.

    RLM awarded development contracts for jet aircraft during the summer of 1939. They had no idea if or when the technology would produce a usable combat aircraft. They didn't even know there would be a general European war beginning in September 1939. Nor did they know about the production fork in the road Germany would take during 1943, choosing to forego production of the Jumo004A engine in order to save chromium.

    Now if I get the benefit of hindsight....
    1936 to 1937. Fw-187 selected for production ILO the Me-110.

    1937. RLM continues development of the DB603 engine. Historically it was cancelled.

    1937. Development of Jumo222 and other such monster engines cancelled. Instead we will push rapid development of DB601, DB603, DB605 and Jumo213 to their full potential.

    1937. Ural Bomber cancelled (historical)

    1937. Bomber B (i.e. He-177) specification modified to use 4 engines ILO 2 paired engines.

    1937. RLM specification for a new piston engine fighter. It will be powered by the DB603 (ILO BMW801). This will produce the Fw-190.

    1937. Dornier patents technology for a tandem engine fighter (historical).
    1937. RLM funds Dornier to develop the Do-335 and tells them to get the lead out. This will be the new "zerstorer" ILO the historical Me-110. Eventually it will also become the standard night fighter.

    1939. RLM funds development of jet engines. (historical).

    1941. Fw-190 enters service powered by the DB603 engine.

    1941. Do-335 enters service powered by the DB603 engine.

    1943. RLM orders the Me-262 into production powered by the reliable Jumo004A engine. JG2 and JG26 will be completely equipped with the new aircraft by the end of 1943.
    - Type XXI submarine program cancelled to free up resources.
    - V2 rocket program cancelled to free up resources.
     
  5. barney

    barney Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Iin the spring of 1945, while Britain and the USA were bombing Germany to pieces, the fighting on the Western front was nothing like the fierce battles that went on in the East. And, as the end approach for the Third Reich, German military personal surrendered in masses in the West but often fought to the last man or at least the last round in the East. So, what it comes down to is that Germany saw Russia as a much greater threat than the armies of the West.

    With this in mind, I have to agree with the OP. The piston engined aircraft in Germany's arsenal were adequate in the East. If they wanted to win on the Eastern front they needed more of the aircraft they had, not jets.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    What happens when RAF Bomber Command bombs the hydrogenation plans (producing aviation gasoline) to scrap during the summer of 1944? It doesn't matter how many piston engine aircraft you have if they are grounded for lack of aviation gasoline.

    Jet engines run on a cheaper grade of fuel produced by conventional oil refineries. These were widely dispersed and therefore more resistant to bomb damage.
     
  7. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    181
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    i heard stories that they were experimenting with making fuel from potatoes. could just be a myth but they were sure hurting for fuel. they made a specific run for a fuel depot during the battle of the bulge and think they ran out before getting there.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    This has been debated many times in various other threads, but the misconception that the Me262 was the the first combat jet is not correct. The He280 was the first armed combat jet, ready for production in 1941. Plagued with delays due to jet engines and recieving a yawn from the RLM, it was relegated to the back burner even though it demonstrated that it could easily out perform the Fw190 during trials.

    The Me262 prototype was going through testing at that point in time and was still 2 years out as a production-ready machine.

    The Luftwaffe had plenty of opportunities to field combat jets by the first year or two of the 40's, but due to a large number of reasons, they dropped the ball until it was too late. As a result, the Allies were spared the potential of a seriously one-sided air-war.

    I don't think the debate will ever be "closed" as there's too many factors involved to make the jets of the Luftwaffe an open and closed case.
     
  9. freebird

    freebird Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,658
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    British Columbia
    The question is if this would have changed the outcome of the war - or just prolonged it.

    Historically the Axis LW strength nosedived in mid '43, so if the 262 became operational by then it could have balanced things up perhaps.
    However the Germans are still being squeezed by shortage of oil, resource manpower - so I don't see how they turn that around.

    It's also tough to judge how the Allies would have reacted. It seems air offensive against Germany didn't have a huge effect until 1944, so if the Allies had faced increasing bomber losses, they may have ramped up fighter production instead, and turned into an attrition war (hugely in favor of the Allies)
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    The -262's might have had a clear cut technological edge over the allies, but it sure didn't show up in their kill rates.

    A dozen -262's should have been shooting down a hundred bombers in a single mission, yet they didn't. Only a few at a time.

    Something else was going on. Maybe the vaunted Jumo engine wasn't as reliable as you make it out to be.
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    The Jumo was terribly unreliable and averaged about 12 - 15 hours of service life before needing overhaul, the BMW wasn't much better. And this stems back to the unwillingness of the RLM to fund jet engine development until it was too late.

    Looking at how few Me262s actually made it to battle, and being up against overwhelming opposition, it's surprising to see that they were able to achieve the kill ratio that they did.

    If the jet fighters had made it to the skies in the early 40's, when the Luftwaffe controlled thier airspace, I think it would have been a whole different scenario for the Allies with thier bombing strategy. This also would have forced the Allies to come up with a jet response sooner than later along the lines of the Meteor and the Shooting Star.

    But even if it did change the face of the war, the outcome would have been the same.
     
  12. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
    Japan
    Actually, what they needed was more pilots AND better aircraft.

    One is almost useless without the other.

    The Luftwaffe was never short of fighter aircraft, although from late 1943 they concentrated more and more on fighter and ground attack development, at the expense of level bomber and other aircraft.

    What it needed after the end of 1943 was larger numbers of well trained pilots, a situation that Britain found itself in in 1939/1940.

    On the hindsight point:

    If the Luftwaffe had been known to be quickly developing jet aircraft (and there was still a healthy aviation community in Germany, even in 1939, so information would of leaked out) there is little doubt in my mind that the knowledge would have spurred more interest in Frank Whittle's engine projects.

    When you look at the history of English engine development, particularly the Whittle centrifugal turbojet, its amazing that anything got produced at all before about 1938. English jet development could EASILY be accelerated by 24-36 months, if not by five or six years, if the Air Ministry had just agreed to funding. 2000 pounds (about 10% of the funds to develop the Spitfire prototype) in 1929 or 1930 could of seen a working WU developed by 1932/1933, instead of 1936/1937.
     
  13. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,676
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    Jb you hit the nail on the head, but with the added issues of having fuel, plus enough time to work the new designs up and iron out the kinks....
     
  14. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I find a lot of these threads are based on hindsight.

    The Germans didn't know the war will end in 1945 so the introduction of the jets was a logical thing to do.

    Had the war gone into 1947 then different ballgame.
     
  15. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,877
    Likes Received:
    577
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    ".... What it needed after the end of 1943 was larger numbers of well trained pilots"

    So true. Poorer and poorer pilots were being sent to fight in better and better aircraft.

    MM
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    That's true for the early model Jumo004B. It's not true for the Jumo004A, which was not mass produced due to a shortage of chromium.
     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,767
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    I think that sums it up. Hind sight is 20/20. The obvious next step was jet aircraft and the Germans took it.

    Of course in the end as others pointed out all those great aircraft (either Jet or Piston) are not going to do anything sitting on the ground with the lack of fuel and pilots.
     
  18. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,877
    Likes Received:
    577
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    "... The Germans didn't know the war will end in 1945 so the introduction of the jets was a logical thing to do. "

    What an interesting comment ... perhaps the Germans were too busy building jets to take stock of the larger military situation.
    If you had written "Hitler didn't believe HE would lose the war" I would agree with you. But I think the average German KNEW the war was lost by December '44 - latest. And THINKING Germans knew it was lost by July, 1944.

    Many (Germans) did hope that the Allies would come to their senses and negotiate for peace and support war against the USSR.

    As we know - those folks underestimated Churchill and the Allies.

    MM
     
  19. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Youre missing my point.

    In 1942 the Germans did not know the war would end in 1945.

    So research and development was worthwhile.
     
  20. zoomar

    zoomar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I have read many anecdotal reports regarding the supposed missed opportunity regarding the He-280 and its supposed victories over Fw190As in mock dogfights. However, I would like to see the actual data from these tests before I jump on the "He-280 should have been accelerated" bandwagon. As you note, the He-280 program was plagued with poor engine reliability. The Jumo 004 was the first (quasi) reliable jet engine and even then it was so slow in being (quasi) perfected (frozen for production is probably a more accurate description) that it delayed the Me-262 program in 1943-44. How could the He-280 be "ready for production" in 1941 with the unproven jet engines then available?

    My own suspicion is that if the Luftwaffe actually tried to field the He-280 in 1941-42 with the available jet engines, they would be wasting time with an unreliable airplane lacking a mission. The He-280 would have had insufficient range or reliability to be employed offensively on either front, and in 1941-42 it would have been unneeded as a short range interceptor since Bf-110's, Bf-109s, and Fw-190s were just fine at shooting down Wellingtons, Stirlings, and Manchesters flying over occupied Europe during the day. Maybe it might knock down a few Mosquitos when its engines were working.

    The bottom line: the Me-262 was a superior airframe that waited for an engine that at least delivered some degree of reliability. If He-280s had been in action in 1942 with the poor results I expect they wouild have had, given the reliability of jet engines available at the time, this could have soured the RLM on all jets and even further delayed the Me-262.
     
Loading...

Share This Page