The Great P-47 Range Debate on you tube now.

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From what I have read, those who thought the attack possible, believed November 30th was the date, so heightened alerts were issued for the anticipated 30th problems. After it did not happen there was some slight relief. Many U.S. leaders thought it would be some sort of riot or ground invasion, uprising. Remember, the various sub sightings were disregarded even after the USS Ward sank one.
The key is the 1943 P-47D had 305 gallons of internal fuel, deduct combat and reserves amounts as given in previous messages then decide at what height and speed the P-47 will return and in what size formations, that determines the distance it can safely escort. Also the escort radius figures are based on a single P-47 flying at the given speed in a straight line, no allowance for staying with slower bombers.

When it comes to external fuel under the fuselage is a good idea for single engine types given the weight of the fuel provided there is the room, 75 US gallons of fuel plus tank leaves little change from 500 pounds, while look how strong the P-38 wing wing was between the nacelle and engine, Adding even that weight half way along the wing at the very least requires restricted flying and possible strengthening. The P-51 benefited by the requirement the A-36 carry 500 pound bombs on wing racks, plus the design did not allow under fuselage external loads anyway


Looking at the references they are mostly published works, not the original documents. It is a literature review. Much of the thesis is telling what happened.

"the daylight strategic bombing campaign was halted for over four months."
Richard Davis figures, 8th AF bombs on Germany, short tons, October 1943 to February 1944,
4,184.9, 5,383.5, 8,893.7, 8,287.8, 13,065.8 What were the non strategic targets being hit in Germany?

Williamson Murray notes monthly 8th AF bomber losses, even in July and August 1944 it was 13.3%, think about it, 15 mission days, 1% loss per day, 15% loss for month. Drop to 10 mission days, or partial forces and maybe 10% a month, and so on.

64 B-17 lost or written off on 17 August 1943, including 3 "Battle Damage", 3 Flak and fighter, 6 flak, 1 ran out of fuel, 1 mechanical failure, the Luftwaffe lost 24 single and 12 twin engined fighters, plus 10 single engine and 2 twin engined fighters written off, a clear win for the defences even before adding the allied fighters that were lost.

"The Regensburg-Schweinfurt raid cost Eighth Bomber Command 60 bombers and 605 crewmen (a majority as POWs)" Assuming there were 20 unscathed crew on board 2 write offs, 111 KIA, 380 PoW, 37 evaders, 20 interned, 93 returned to duty, total 641.

"It took nearly two months for the Eighth AAF to recover so it wasn't until the first week of October the Eighth AAF was ready to once again hit industrial targets inside Germany" Next mission to Germany was 6 September 1943.

69 B-17 lost or written off on 14 October 1943, including 3 "Battle Damage", 2 Flak and fighter, 5 flak, 1 ran out of fuel, 1 landing accident, 1 mechanical failure, the Luftwaffe 31 fighters lost, 12 written off.

The above 2 raids had 60 bombers MIA, another 60 were MIA on 11 January 1944, 64 MIA on both 11 and 29 April 1944 and 69 MIA on 6 March 1944. Also apparently the 5 November 1943 B-24 raid on Munster did not have escorts.

Due to Torch "The Eighth AAF was left with a skeletal force that was grounded much of the time due to the winter weather."
8th AF Raid days per month in 1942, 8 in Aug, 4 in Sep, 3 in Oct, 8 in Nov, 4 in Dec,
Raid days in 1943 were 4, 7, 10, 4, 9, 9, 10, 8, 12, 9, 17 and 18, remarkable what radar bombing does to available weather days.

"When weather cleared in July, the Eighth AAF began its "Blitz Week." In a series of daily missions, the Eighth Bomber Command unleashed raids aimed at aircraft assembly plants. Eaker hoped that multiple raids taking place at the same time would swamp the enemy defense network. The week ended with heavy loss: eighty-seven bombers with aircrew, or 6.4 percent of the total dispatched were lost and barely a scratch was made in German aircraft production" actually all up 104 B-17 MIA and write offs 25 to 30 July 1943. A total of 1,972.9 short tons of bombs dropped of which 629.9 tons were on Fw190 assembly plants, not surprising there was little effect on German aircraft production running at around 2,500 per month from multiple factories. None of the other targets were aircraft industry, 657.4 short tons on U-boat yards, 271.2 tons on tire factories.

"On the night of February 24th,1944, RAF Bomber Command targeted Schweinfurt. The next morning Eighth Bomber Command, this time escorted by long range fighters, followed up with a daylight raid. Again that night, RAF Bomber Command committed a consecutive night raid that added to a total of 3,000 tons of high explosives onto the Schweinfurt ball-bearing facilities" 8th AF 574.6 short tons 24 February 1944, then Bomber Command, 2,533.6 short tons 24/25 February 1944, 2.9 short tons 25/26 February (Mosquito). The day raid creates fires to help the night raid idea.

"Also, the USAAF's disinterest in the P-51 Mustang prevented the plane from being in action six months earlier and at a crucial time" P-51 did escort on 6 December 1943, so 6 months earlier is 6 June, there were 2 P-51B accepted by end May 1943, Packard was up to 25 2 speed 2 stage Merlins built. To get to 6 months earlier requires the majority of A-36 and all P-51A to become Merlin P-51. How did the disinterest in the US stop the RAF from flying its Merlin P-51 prototype for the first time in October 1942? Therefore way too late to influence US production until sometime in 1943?

"By June 1943, 145 P51Bs were shipped to England but served in a reconnaissance role. Sixteen days after the October Schweinfurt raid, Arnold ordered all P-51Bs in England to be withheld from the reconnaissance role, transfer to the fighter escort role" The short answer here is no, the first P-51B arrived in September 1943. It takes until sometime in August 1943 for 145 P-51B to be built. What a scandal, 145 P-51B, at least enough for 1 fighter group, longer range able to take external tanks and they do exactly what for around 6 months? Stick to reconnaissance as bombers are shot down in large numbers?

There are lots of little mistakes "It took a direct order from Air Marshall Sir Charles Porter, to RAF Chief of Staff Sir Arthur Harris" then big ones like "The CBO of 1943 did not work because one partner refused to participate while the other was temporarily stalled by the Luftwaffe" or rather in 1943 Arthur Harris had a much better understanding of the problems, as of April 1943 under 30% of night bombs aimed at cities in Germany (except Berlin) hit within 3 miles of the aiming point, up to 50% in June and hovered at 50 to 55% until April 1944 when it went to 60%. Pre war Schweinfurt had a population of around 36,000, hitting the town was precision at night in 1943. The CBO had no chance of working in 1943, lack of just about everything including knowing what actually worked. If you look at the CBO target list in 1943 Bomber Command was actually doing more than the 8th AF.

"When the Allies invaded France in the summer of 1944, they enjoyed unchallenged air superiority and a Wehrmacht crippled by fuel shortages" yes in the air but it was challenged, no on the ground, except where the air stopped tactical movement of fuel supplies.

"Axis anti-friction industry in Germany, Italy, France, and Austria was hit by more than forty CBO raids with 12,000 tons of bombs dropped – two-thirds or 8,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Schweinfurt alone" 8th AF short tons, Schweinfurt 3,442.4 (including 815.9 tons officially on the Industrial Area using H2X), Bomber Command 3,291.5 on the city. Target class bearings, 8th AF 5,478.3 short tons, 15th AF 1,930.4.

"CBO strategic bombing campaign which would of had the greatest effect on the German military would have targeted the German ammunition/explosives manufacturing industry; even with the heavy Allied bomber resources of 1943, this would have had a crippling effect." No reference is given for this and since the explosives industry was tied into the chemical industry which was tied into the synthetic oil industry the statement is simply wrong. Crippling the synthetic oil industry requires hitting places like Leuna around 500 miles from London, plus a number of other places even further. The thesis concludes bombing Schweinfurt "did not justify the enormous expenditure in man power and resources to neutralize a target. Overall, the bombing of Schweinfurt did not alter the course of the war." However picking a bigger target class some of which is as far as Schweinfurt, some closer, some further would be crippling.

The conclusion is the 1943 raids failed due to not enough escorts with range, whereas it really failed due to not enough escorts to the targets selected. In 1943 to gain more escorts for the 8th AF required taking them from active theatres, the better types, the P-38 and P-47 were being sent into combat as soon as numbers and training permitted. End June 1943 the USAAF Far East Air Forces had 144 P-38 and 59 P-47, rising to 279 and 308 end December, the Pacific Ocean areas had 83 P-47 end December, India had 42 P-38 end December, Alaska had 43 P-38 end June and 35 end December, the Mediterranean had 514 P-38 end June for its 3 fighter groups, down to 240 P-38 and 299 P-47 end December, in Britain end June it was 2 P-38 and 421 P-47, end December 380 P-38, 1,215 P-47, 266 P-51

I suppose there is always a risk that those who do not like the conclusions from this document may say that an officer like Greg Grabow has a horse in this race for some reason.
Setting up a reason to decide the critics have problems is not a good opening.
However, it's a thesis after all and if what is written here is not historically correct then there would not only be a problem of some isolated individuals attempting to rewrite history, but a huge academic problem.
Within limits, a thesis is a document written for a limited audience, hopefully knowledgable, reporting the results of your efforts. I have seen a thesis that in part required time travel to work but fundamentally required the US aircraft industry to deliver high quality aircraft as needed, such that an air striking force comparable to the US forces at Midway in quality and quantity could be assembled in Australia in February 1942 to defend Darwin, with relevant bases and supplies. This was considered obviously possible as in 1939 the US industry was running under capacity and eager for orders and could quickly deliver them, so the same applied to 1941.
Granted, I have not read the whole document page by page, but the pages I have read (I have filtered using "P-47") are well formulated and all important points backed up by references.
Look at the data presented in the messages here, they tend to come from primary documents, not secondary ones.
to me Greg Grabow makes a very strong case in his masters thesis that the P-47 was unable to provide long range escort at the time simply because a suitable drop tank was not available. And in my opinion, the onus lies on those who think this thesis is wrong (about the 200 gallon tank) to provide credible evidence to support that. Not the other way around.
As ultimately a 200 (actual 215) gallon under fuselage tank was created for the P-47 end 1944 it was possible to come up with the design in 1943 and modify the P-47. Easy once you know the answer in early 1942. Now convince the 8th AF to stay within that range and where the escorts are not badly outnumbered, the latter will need Luftwaffe help.

First barrier, the amount of room under a P-47, the 108 gallon tank had a 4 inch clearance. Second barrier Republic came up with its own attachment system instead of using the USAAF standard, good in that it enabled a lot of fuel useable at ferry altitude, bad for high altitude combat missions. It meant instead of the P-47C in November 1942 the USAAF had to wait for the P-47D-6 in July 1943 for factory fitted standard attachments. Third barrier, the P-47 was say around a year behind the P-38 and P-51, which were using largely proven engines during 1942/3. The P-47 was introducing the R-2800 to high altitude fighter operations over and above any airframe issues. The P-38 had a strong wing centre section to hang tanks from, the P-51 had the A-36 in October 1942 and needed wing racks anyway, the P-47D-15 with wing racks began production in October 1943. The P-38 had a void space in the wings once cooling was changed, the P-51 void space behind the pilot, the P-47 needed a forward fuselage then wing redesign to carry more internal fuel, it also faced the reality the R-2800 fuel consumption was higher than the Merlin or Allison.

A 1943 P-47 with 200 gallons of external fuel is not going to make it to Schweinfurt from Britain and return even flying direct. In 1943 the 8th AF fighters stayed with the bombers, weaving, cutting their effective range to under 80% of theoretical. In October 1943 261 escorts are not enough to protect over 300 bombers moving through around 600 miles of hostile airspace taking around 2.5 hours before adding the number of interception sorties outnumbered the escorts by over 2 to 1. Just giving the P-47 extra range is not going to cut bomber losses to acceptable levels.

To clarify, I am saying that the name "Brisbane tank" is a fiction, having never been used during the war years.
As the accompanying primary source documents reveal, US forces in the Pacific were far more interested in the 155-gallon belly tank (than the 200-gallon tank). Again, this probably will not sit well with those invested in sustaining the Brisbane tank myth.
Is it possible to give the full document references? The Australian Archives system is the series number is the archives reference, the control symbol the ID the original agency gave the document. Searching similar control symbols might turn up more details on the tanks.

From what I have read, those who thought the attack possible, believed November 30th was the date
Army intelligence in Washington read the things are automatically going to happen message to the Washington embassy plus decided Sunday was the most probable day of the week and came up with 30 November as start of war operations.
I was not planning to post anything more in this thread but since I keep getting cited in the context of Grabow's thesis I want to make the following clarifications:

I have not defended the details of Grabow's thesis, for example pertaining to the P-51 or P-38 etc. I plainly said when I first posted excerpts from it that I had filtered out and read the details pertaining to the P-47 only. But some people here seem to be unable to read what I actually wrote and keep building straw men.

What I did write was that it would be a huge academic problem if Grabow (and the peer review of his thesis) missed out on the point that escorts were able to use the 200 gallon drop tank as Greg suggest in his video but did not do so for ideological reasons. But I don't see any support for this in the thesis. And that was why I cited it and said that it would have been a serious omission not to have included such an important point (if it was true) and that that would have been a huge academic problem. So again, my point is that a peer reviewed and sanctioned thesis does not support Greg's theory and that if Greg was right about the 200 gallon tank then this would be a huge academic problem since the thesis says the exact opposite, as exemplified by the excerpts I posted earlier.

Some people then proceed to attack Grabow for being Army and not AF and that this was a master's and not doctoral thesis. In addition, then there was nitpicking about details in his thesis and a claim that it was "under researched". Frankly, I do not know who is right or wrong about those details, but even if he got some parts wrong (and which thesis does not contain minor issues?) I can't see that what has brought up as questionable in this thread so far disproves the broad picture he is painting and would disqualify his claim that escorting was provided within the range limits of the escorts and that the 200 gallon tank was simply unsuitable for escort duties.

A good rule in argumentation is not to try to strengthen your arguments by adding weaker elements to make a longer list when you have strong points, because the opposition will usually focus on your weaker points and try to shift the focus there. For example dates or if a particular drop tank was manufactured in the UK or the US etc. And IMHO there are two very strong points that sink Greg's theory about the "Bomber mafia" not wanting to escort bombers for ideological reasons:

1) Fighters did actually escort as long as they had the range. This is well documented and goes diametrically against Greg's "Bomber mafia" theory.

2) Nothing so far suggests that the 200 gallon drop tank was usable for much more than ferry missions or flying below 20,000-22,000 ft which is then far below typical B-17 raid heights.

And Grabow's thesis supports both these strong points. This was why I cited it and I said that the onus was on those who like Greg think otherwise to prove that. Not the other way around.

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