Strategic bombing campaign in Europe: No long range escorts

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    #1 gjs238, Feb 9, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
    Could the Strategic bombing campaign and Combined Bomber Offensive have been successful w/o the P-51 and later longer-ranged P-47's?
    What could have been accomplished w/o those long range escorts?

    With existing shorter ranged escorts, could the Strategic bombing campaign and Combined Bomber Offensive have been a success?

    Were there enough targets within the range of shorter ranged escorts to keep the heavy bombers busy?
     
  2. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    I do not believe the bombing campaign would have been successful without escorts.
    German fighters and destroyers were taking a toll on the bombers.
    Strategic targets inside Germany were out of reach of the short range escorts.
     
  3. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    Depends on how “success” is defined. My view is that success was redefined towards the end of 1943 to gaining air superiority to enable the invasion of the continent. The bombers were used as bait to draw out the LW. Of course the P-51B came on the scene about the same time –and in part in response to Eisenhower’s input. Without the P-51 it’s an open question as to whether the LW would have bit on raids within the earlier P-47, or perhaps the updated P-48, escort range. However, at least localized air superiority over France and the western drawdown of the LW to the Soviet front might have been enough to allow for Overlord. With escort bases in France, reverting to more strategic, deeper escorted raids into Germany proper would be feasible.
    This scenario makes the P-51 look awfully good.
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    In my view, with hindsight, the same critical target selection may have been feasible with tactics built around the Mosquito as the prime bombing platform.

    Having said that, the prime directive "of destruction of Luftwaffe sufficient to acquire and hold air superiority over the Normandy beachhead' would not have been possible without the combination of the 8th AF bomber command (as bait) and the P-51B as the hunter/slayers.
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I don't believe it would have been possible in the context of the way the war was historically fought. Now I do agree with Bill above me, that a change in strategy could have made it possible. Tactics built around the Mosquito could have very well made it possible. Of course that is all hindsight, as the Germans very well could have changed their strategy as well.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Allied war effort managed without P-51s for 4 1/2 years. I'm confident we will muddle through the final 18 months also even if the Mustang program gets cancelled.
     
  7. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    You sure it would only be 18 months without long range escorts that hunted the Luftwaffe?

    Would D-Day have happened?
     
  8. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    #8 Aozora, Feb 9, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
    The USAAF strategic bombing program was only 18 months old by October 1943 and was in deep trouble, taking losses which it was impossible to sustain. There was no way that it could have lasted another eighteen weeks, let alone eighteen months. The Allies could have muddled through but at a far higher cost and with no guarantee that the war in Europe would end in May 1945.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Soviet Army will seize Berlin during 1945 without assistance from U.S. 8th Air Force just as happened historically.
     
  10. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    The man has a point.
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #11 tyrodtom, Feb 9, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
    Without the 8th Air Force bombing deep into Germany those last 18 months of the war, the Germans would not have had to have nearly as many fighter aircraft nor AA stationed in Germany proper, plus they'd have more fuel and even more arms production.
    More fighters availible, with more fuel, more arms of every sort, more men and a transportation network in good shape to move everything around. I doubt the 3rd Reich would let those sit around unused.
     
  12. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Possibly, but then how long could the Allies afford to just "muddle through" when there was no real way of attacking Germany's economic base? (Not forgetting that the British bomber offensive was also in trouble by the time it was halted in preparation for D-Day).

    There are also the very real possibilities that with the American strategic bombing halted, (no "Big Week") D-Day could have been be postponed indefinitely, while the Germans could then concentrate more of their forces on the Russian and Italian fronts.

    With D-Day postponed Stalin could easily decide that the British and Americans have baled out of their agreements with Russia and calls a halt to the Russian offensives once they have taken back all of the territories invaded by Germany, as well as taking Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Hungary. Stalin does not have to invade Germany because with Rumania taken, and the Baltic and Norway and Sweden cut off Germany loses the bulk of its oil supplies, as well as other strategic materials. All Russia has to do is push up to the borders of Germany and negotiate a truce. Both Stalin and Hitler were cynical, Machiavellian opportunists so there is no guarantee that this would not have happened.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    LW was drawing fighters from other theaters into the ETO meat grinder from late 1943 on. No long range escorts, no meat grinder, so LW can field more fighters vs. Soviets in 1944. Now how does the Op Bagration unfolds? Still a Soviet victory, but a more limited one? So Soviets took more time to reinforce, and Romania stays in Axis camp in whole 1944?
     
  14. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    just think of all the 88s and other guns and crews that could have been shifted east. with no bombing of the oil fields the fuel situation isnt near as desperate. so you will have better trained LW pilots, etc. in 44 the number of ac manufactured is almost twice what it was in 43...and that is WITH bombing. imagine how high those numbers would be without it. with the pressure off over central germany...resources devoted to air defense could be shifted to tanks, etc. i do not doubt the outcome would have been the same...but it would have been a longer more costly time until that end. I dont think the soviets get to berlin for probably another year or more.
     
  15. VinceReeves

    VinceReeves Member

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    Use the bombers as escorted tactical bombers to support Soviet + western allied armies on all fronts. Nothing behind Wehrmacht lines moves in daylight anywhere.

    If they object, tell the Russians they accept USAAF squadrons on their territory or they don't get no GMC's or radios.

    Think the war ends even quicker this way.
     
  16. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    they tried to get us airbases in russia...hoping to get them for the west to attack german targets and in the east to launch attacks to japan. after only several missions the soviets nixed the idea. churchill might have had a harder stance with stalin but fdr wouldnt have witheld anything. what ever troops were fighting the russians were not fighting the western allies.
     
  17. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Russia was never going to allow attacks against Japan from its soil during most of the war due to a non-aggression pact they had with the Japanese. US bombers and crew that were operating against Japan but forced down in Russia (due to aircraft issues) were interred.
     
  18. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that "no long range escorts" doesn't necessarily mean "no strategic bombing."

    Were there suitable targets within existing escort coverage?
    Perhaps those could have been saturated.

    Perhaps targets beyone the range of escorts would have to be bombed at night and/or with Mosquitos.

    Just a couple of alternatives to "no strategic bombing."
     
  19. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    as for the timeline i dont know but that was what the us was shooting for but it never materialised. they were hoping to get a foot hold of several bases in western russia and then develope them in the east. although those bases would have jeopardized the lend-lease and supply shipping lanes going to russia via vladivostok.
     
  20. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The RAF used, on occasion, bases in Russia for bombing distant targets in Germany, and northern Europe. I think one of the attacks on the Tirpitz was mounted from a Russian base.
     
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