Strategies for defense 1944-45

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by delcyros, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    Following the other thread about bomber killing weapons I would like to discuss it from another perspective.
    This thread is specififcally intended NOT to include advanced weapons (SAM, R4M) or fighters (jet and rocket interceptors) or "what if" designs (Fw-187).
    Assume that You are given responsibility to develop a defense strategy against the US 8th AAF offensive daylight bombing campaign, circling around the Bf-109G, Fw-190A, Me-410 and other planes historically aviable. With the technological and quantitative ressources aviable in the timeframe 1943 to 1945 You should inflict very heavy losses up to the point when daylight bombing must be reconsidered in the light of raising losses.
    Note that by 1944, the USAAF does field long range escort fighters and increasing sizes of bombing formations.

    How do You do?
    My personal opinion is that properly defended, the USAAF cannot win the war of attrition. But I might very well be wrong.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Luftwaffe should rush either the Fw-190C (DB603 engine) or Fw-190D9 (Jumo213 engine) into production as a high altitude bomber killer. Arm it with 2 x MG-151/20 cannons (1 in each wing root) plus a Mk108 30mm cannon in the prop shaft. Add R4/M rockets under each wing when they become available. Aerial performance is as good or better then the American escort fighters. You have enough firepower to hack down heavy bombers.

    The Me-210 / Me-410 design is skipped. This frees up DB603 engines and airframe production facilities, allowing our Fw-190C to enter service during January 1943. Right on time to blow the American B-17s and their P-47 escorts out of the sky.
     
  3. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Well, since both the time frame and equipment choices are pretty tight, here are my concepts:

    - implant the supercharger from DB-603 to the DB-605 to have a small 2000 HP engine available as early as late 1943 (so, one year before it was historically done). Now install the new engine in both 190 and 109.
    - forget about installation of the DB-603 in the planes that require 2 of those, so the Fw-190C could be fielded in time, with wings of slightly increased span
    - produce the Bf 109-H in quantity
    - copy the N-37 cannon and put it in the new Fw-190s as motor cannon
    - install the BMW-801 in Ju-88 or in Me-410 for night fighter role
    - perhaps some Fiat G.56 would come in handy?
    - the plain vanilla 109Gs and 190As remain in production, with a pressure to the BMW to install a decent supercharger in 801
    -design and produce a Do-335-style fighter, but with DB-605 engines
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Reinforce JG26 and JG2 early with JG3 and elements of JG27 and 11 as second ring.

    Deploy 109s first to attack escorts and persistently engage with them to reduce the range, stripping the bombers of P-47s by the time they penetrated to Belgium/Koln regions.

    Fw 190s provide first anti bomber engagement in the Ems River area with company front attacks head on. If no fighters present, repeated attacks.

    Second batch of 109s from JG3 perform top cover for fist batch of 109s from JG26 as they land and refuel to be ready for the outgoing bombers and Withdrawal support P-47s (and later 38s and 51s)

    Central ring is comprised on ZG/NG fighter rings operated from Hannover to Stuttgart - no 109 cover required until P-38s fully operational with early Js and Mustangs first come on scene.

    Eastern Germany -Berlin through Ruhland, Leipzig and Munich. ZG/NG units plus early Sturm units for target defense.


    Hitler forbade Luftwaffe from central defense strategy as well as enging fighters. This strategy would have been devastaing to daylight bombardment for several reasons.

    First the early engagement of fighter vs fighter forces drop tanks away and high fuel consumption - Spits and Jugs will not penetrate to German border very often. 38s not particularly effective really until the late J's in summer 1944 but forcing drop tanks early restricts them to perhaps Brunswick at the deepest. Ditto the 51s if they have to fight their way to R/V points for Target Escort. Losiing drop tanks over N. Sea puts them on internal wing tanks for rest of mission plus 240 gal/hr consumption rate in a fight.

    Second, the ring defense enables more forces to de deployed to bomber track as the bombers first penetrate un escorted. Increasing unit firepower is deployed via ZG/NJG units who are no longer hammered by long range fighter escort.

    Third, the losses increase even during the relatively short penetrations following Black Thursday on October 14 - putting enormous political strain on 8th BC to switch from daylight campaign.

    Last - independent of this strategy the Me 262 deployment is prioritized, as well as picking the best possible night fighter to concentrate on developing to oppose both the RAF and possible switch of 8th/15th AF to night raids.

    For daylight bombing to succeed p-38 units have to be stripped from MTO en Masse as well as PTO during the mid 1943 campaigns to replace P-47s sent to MTO. Spitfire, Tempest and P-38 penetration Support have to be sent out at same time as bombers to fly both high and low altitude sweeps over German airfields and assembly areas to blunt their effectiveness at engaging Penetration and Target Support escort. The first P-38J dive and manuevering flap kits are Not sunk at sea en route to England.

    It forces the 8th and 15th AF to double their FC sizes, impacting other Theatre deployments and affecting at least the USAAF campaigns in the Solomons and Phillipines - as well as Ploesti in MTO
     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Dragondog, removing the P38's from the PTO would have little impact in that theater. Luckily for the allies that the land based Corsairs in New Georgia could provide the fighter escort needs for the 5th and 13th AF's.
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Sys - technically I agree save one point. I don't believe there were enough Corsairs to backfill the P-38 contribution to the USAAF escort and air superiority Mission throughout 1943 and early 1944, and still have enough F4U-s for the Marine mission. The P-40 would have remained primary USAAF fighter and stay so until the Mustang could free up the 38's in the ETO.


    So, whether my strategy makes sense for Germany, and whether the ETO could command the priorities over MTO and PTO is purely speculative. I would just pose that USAAF in PTO less effective through mid 1944 but don't have a feeling one way or another whether the Japanese take longer to die or not. I do feel more losses occur in the PTO as a result of no P-38s.
     
  7. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    Assasinate Reichsmarshall Goerring! Seriously.
     
  8. HellToupee

    HellToupee Banned

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    Honstly, ignore the bombers, focus on diversifying industry moving it underground, send all fighters instead to the eastern front.
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    In the meantime what do you do about refineries and chemical plants, Hydroelectric facilities, rail transportation/Marshalling Yards, barge transportation, etc - how long do you think it would take to move the Ploesti/Misburg/Merseburg/Luna facilites underground?

    What about rail transport to Refineries from oil fields? Try to supply with Pipelines from Rumania?

    The key strategic target turned out to be the most vulnerable - the refineries - and the key to repelling the Normandy Invasion was a.) airpower in the west, not the east, b.) daylight road and rail net for men, material and POL, and c.) petroleum reserves for armor, pilot training and airpower.

    Producing lots of fighters didn't make sense when the pilots to fly them and the fuel to make them 'go' was restricted, chemicals for fertilizer to feed the people and make munitions was being hammered.

    If the heavy manufacturing was decentralized and underground as soon as practible but you couldn't protect the petrochemical facilites the war is lost just as fast... faster if you move fighters away from west and south.
     
  10. TheMustangRider

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    Drgondog has made a clear and very important point, allied bombing raids with heavy bombers properly protected by long-range fighters was hurting the German industry and was hurting it fast; one viable option that I find was to bring Focke-wulf to develope and mass produce the FW-190D as soon as possible and Messerschmitt to develope and mass produce the Me-262 (I know I'm stretching the rules a little bit but the Me-262 was fielded and combat proven) as soon as possible as well. By having these two fighters in numbers, it would had bought some time for Nazi Germany.
     
  11. HellToupee

    HellToupee Banned

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    Wouldn't do alot about those industries but they would be bombed ither way defended or not, trying to fight 3 airforces at once was just futile, throwing everything at the Russians instead just makes more sense. Sources of resources getting bombed wasn't as bad as having them overrun.
     
  12. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    HT, you seem to have entirely missed the point that moving industry underground is useless if the logistical infrastructure to move product and raw material is destroyed. You can't ignore 24 hour bombing, positive efforts need to be made to prevent it.

    My 0.02 on improving defences is this: build the 262 as a fighter! Hitler's insistence that the type was developed as a bomber was possibly one of the stupidest mistakes ever made. On a similar note, prioritise development of the Ar234 nightfighter over the strike variant. The Germans had little use for bombers by 1945, better IMHO to use the airframes to shoot down Allied bombers.
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Taking your thesis a little farther...

    Shift all fighters east. Permit RAF and USAAF unrestricted access to all surface industry including the critical energy and transport/logistic industries, opposed only by flak.

    Successfully decentralize and protect smaller footprint industries like airframe and ball bearings and engines and armor - underground... leading Allied planners to focus on the strategic surface (petrochemical, hydroelectric, etc)industries even faster - and focus all your strategic airpower on those.. unopposed.

    As you run out of targets, the German war machine is deprived of all POL, surface transport (river, road, rail) by unopposed marauding fighters and attack aircraft by day... no more training reserve or U-Boat fuel reserves or any airpower to oppose Invasion from West.

    Maybe this strategy works to slow the USSR down in the early stages, but it accelerates the end of resistance in the West and it accelerates the destruction of all critical surface industry throughout the Reich.

    You could build more a/c - but recognize Germany was successful at producing more fighters than it had pilots - but they ran out of fuel and the air forces reduced effectiveness to point of vanishing as the ETO war concluded in March-May 1945.
     
  14. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    My proposed ring defense would have made the daylight bombing campaign more costly - and reduced the rate of development of skilled fighter pilot reserves for 8th AF FC through December 1943 but the Mustangs would still be the paradigm.

    The benefit to successful and early interception would be to force more early returns for those Mustangs and Lightnings but the industrial strength and shifting of priorities from MTO to ETO continues increasing pressure of 8th FC, RAF and 9th AF TAC on the western ring.

    The US had a lot more pilots and aircraft on the way to not only replace attrition but expand - while the LW, successful at slowing the introduction of long range fighers over Berlin in adequate numbers, can not stop it (IMO) with the historically available fighters, pilots, supply chain of pilot replacements - they too would suffer much higher losses in the outer 'ring'..

    The Allies would counter the ring strategy eventually by flooding the Lowlands with fighter Sweeps in advance of the main strike force, as priorities were increased for ETO Fighter strength.

    The other strategy the LW failed to commit to was night intruder missions over East Anglia - truly the most target rich environment in the world. Destroying B-17s and B-24s and P-47s and Mustangs on the ground surely would have been worth the cost in Me 410, Ju 88, etc lost to RAF defenses.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The ability to carry a drop tank or 250kg bomb does not make the Me-262 into a bomber anymore then it makes the Spitfire and P-51 into a bomber.

    The real problem was production priorities. Germany could have mass produced the Jumo 004A engine and Me-262 during 1943. That requires the program to receive adequate quantities of nickel and chrome for the production of high temperature steel. Which means some other German production program gets short changed.
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    All true Dave, and Delcyros postulated from beginning - use what was historically available.. a strategy play with available assets, not a tecnology play to introduce new ones.
     
  17. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Is there no truth then, in the old story that the Me262 was delayed into service by Hitler's insistence that it was developed primarily for use as a strike aircraft?
     
  18. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    As soon as the eastern front began to collapse it marked the end for the Third Reich. After the losses in N. Africa and the Med the whole war effort was doomed. But Germany needed to expand to realize its leaderships ambitions. The economic realities of the era put the fast rising Germany right back into a depression if it did not go to war in 1940. That being said the whole war depended on the defeat of the Soviet Union before the Western allies could gain a foothold in France. If the soviets were defeated then I have no doubt in the outcome of the war. The added resources and manpower from russia would stalemate the war and put Great Britain in a "check" position.

    Since the war was already lost I think that an offensive minded military would be counter-productive. Most armor production should be halted in 1943 save for a few models of tank killers and flakpanzers. Much of the production in vehicles and tanks should be diverted to building artillery and anti-tank guns. And all the complex manufacturing should have went to the Fw 190 series and the Me-262. The war was already lost but a possible stalemate or "terms" could be reached by causing more casualties in the invasion and bombing forces. Panzer crews could be sent to flight school or artillery school. Much fuel could be saved by building anti-tank belts and focusing on defense.

    In the air the added pilots and fuel would be put to good use attacking not only bomber formations but also attacking escorts and fighters, putting a good dent in pilots capable of air to air combat.
     
  19. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Problem is, Nazi leadership was neither willing or able to think in terms of a war already lost. There is no chance of production priorities being reassigned the way you suggested while Hitler, Goering co were in charge of Germany.
     
  20. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    Quite right.
     
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