Top 3 mistakes per country, in field of military aviation

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    To divert from bashing onnly the UK military aviation for per-ww2 decisions, wonder what other countries have done wrong that much that competes for the 'podium places' of mistakes. Time scope - 1930s to end of ww2.
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The British are easy because they are well documented. Try finding Japanese or Italian archives of the times :)

    The 30s covers a wide arena and the British were not alone in turret (or at least flexible armament) and French exerted undue influence on many nations, The French having come out of WW I with something of a reputation as military experts.... go figure :)
    The French did progress 'as far as aviation goes' quite well during the 1920s. Unfortunately this wound up hindering them in the 30s.
    Many nations made what were quite rational decisions at the time they were made, but changing circumstances left them holding the bag.
    Some nations (the US) had several more years to learn and purge bad aircraft from the ranks before the shooting started but the US certainly had their fair share of the "Weird and Wonderful" if not down right "what were they thinking!!!!!"

    Most smaller nations underestimated the complexities on all metal, monoplane retracting gear aircraft and tried to keep up with larger countries despite shortages of engineering staff and facilities. This lead to protracted development times and designs that fell increasingly behind the leaders.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    One of the glaring mistakes the Japanese made, was resting on their laurels with the A6M. Especially when they saw that the P-40 and F4F were able to survive it's attacks AND the fact that it wasn't able to withstand a significant amount of damage. These results should have made them either come up with a solution in regards to it's survivability or move towards a successor much sooner than they did.

    The Germans...well, that could fill volumes, but I still feel that they (the RLM) did not recognize the Jet for what it was worth both when Heinkel demonstrated the He178 and again, when Heinkel demonstrated the He280. Had the RLM actually made the jet program a priority when it was first demonstrated (late 30's), then it wouldn't have been a mad dash to push the Me262 through while the bombers were darkening their skies.

    The other mistake the RLM made, was making nearly every multi-engine aircraft dive-bomb capable. Some airframes were ideal for this role and others simply were not. To expect a manufacturer to have to rework an airframe just in case dive-bombing was required of it, is wasteful.
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I'd add to the Japanese mistakes the construction and armament of their bombers which lacked self-sealing fuel tanks and were woefully under-gunned.

    For the Germans (and, to an extent, the Japanese too), I'd say keeping highly experienced pilots at the front line for too long was a major failing. Essentially it meant that the front line force progressively grew less experienced over time whereas the UK and US front line air forces became progressively more experienced.
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, I'd say that the biggest mistake Germany made, was starting a war...

    That could apply to Japan, too

    But that would tend to cut the conversation short, wouldn't it? :evil4:
     
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  6. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #6 buffnut453, Mar 1, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
    Being pedantic, that wouldn't fit the question in the OP which specified the mistakes had to be aviation related.

    But I agree...for some reason, I have Vizzini's quote going through my head, "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia"."

    [​IMG]

    INCONCEIVABLE! :)
     
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  7. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    For RAF - 1.) not recognizing the limitations of unescorted Bombers to prosecute long range daylight precision attacks on Strategic targets, 2.) failure to recognize the potential of jet engines, 3.) placing too much stock in Harris' thesis that he could win the war with Bomber Command bombing of German cities.

    For US - 1.) not recognizing the limitations of unescorted bombers to prosecute daylight precision attacks on Strategic targets, 2,) failure to emphasize Range combined with high performance in Requests for Proposals in 1940, 3.) Failure to develop two speed/two stage in-line engine as competition to Allison, either by license to Rolls or parallel development, as a necessary first step to build escort fighters to protect AAF high altitude bomber doctrine.

    For Germany - 1.) not recognizing the grave threats that both USSR and US natural resources and industrial capacity posed for Germany if drawn into war, 2.) not recognizing, and investing much more in jet engine technologies to anticipate the potential threat of long range, high altitude bomber aviation to attack and destroy critical industry, 3.) for not investing in untouchable capacity training program for pilot training.

    For Japan - 1.) not fully recognizing the industrial strength and ingenuity of US industry to not only recover from grave damage of Pearl Harbor attack, but the futility of Japan to trade losses with the US to hold onto strategic early wins, b.) not investing in on-going and intense pilot training to anticipate a long war of attrition, c.) not having core support capacity to consolidate gains in the PTO, ranging from maintenance and repair logistics to construction battalions to consolidate and build airfields rapidly.

    For USSR - 1,) The Stalin purge of his officer corps combined with his failure to comprehend the speed and ferocity of the combined air and ground forces of Germany to advance to point of defeat and control of Moscow in six months, 2.) not developing an equal or better fighter than the Bf 109 by 1941 despite the observed results of the Bf 109 in Spain, 3.) not developing a program to train skilled pilots in quantity when it was pretty clear during the Spanish Civil War that Germany posed a grave threat to the USSR, further emphasized by the demonstrated power of the LW during the invasion of Poland.

    For Italy - 1.) aligning with Germany. 2.) for not recognizing that neither the Italian army, air force or navy was on a par with either of Great Britain or France - the two defined European allies posing opposition to the Axis, and 3.) not entering negotiations with Britain and US during the North African campaign when it was clear that Italian forces were no match for Allies, that Germany could not prevail in the Med..
     
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  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe that the Japanese under estimated the industrial power of the U.S., but instead under estimated the will of the people to wage war.

    The Japanese leadership felt that a strong initial blow would demoralize the seemingly isolationist public and force the U.S. to terms. When that didn't work out, then they anticipated a "grand confrontation" that would break the back of the U.S. fleet and force the U.S. to terms before the USN could build up it's forces to challenge the IJA.

    Unfortunately for them, the USN was well aware of their intentions and this great showdown never materialized but instead, the Japanese were dismantled piecemeal.
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Dave - I disagree to a degree. For both Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. the prevailing leadership believed the US to weak and soft. Yamamoto was an exception and he was ignored. Speer was an exception and he was ignored.
     
  10. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Operationally, I think it would be the switch to city bombing in the BoB just when the RAF was really beginning to suffer from combat losses and base bombings.

    The abandonment of the Ural Bomber project seems like a bad idea to some, but if the Bomber A (He177) had been more sensibly designed, the cancellation of the Ural Bomber would have been a very good idea. The Luftwaffe would be going into 1940 with a new and modern heavy bomber coming into service instead of large numbers of expensive Do 19s or Ju 89s that would have been hopelessly obsolete.

    Apparently Messerschmitt was so esteemed that plans for a massive introduction (1000 were ordered) of the Me 210 were in place before the first prototype even flew. It took 16 prototypes and 94 pre-production examples to try to resolve the many problems. Actually the whole Zestorer concept come to think of it.

    Although not quite as bad as the Me 210 situation, the presumption that the Ju 288 would work as the next generation medium bomber, together with constant requirements for design changes, when the Ju 88B/Ju 188 would have been the ideal Ju 88 follow on.

    Failure to recognize the importance of transport aircraft. Sure the Ju 52 was a great plane....in 1937. No excuse for no German equivalents to C-47, C-46, C-54.

    The He 162? who thought that up? Also the Me 163. Ditto

    Regarding the Me 262: Since jets were inevitable (the He 178 flew in 1939), the Germans would have been foolish not to develop it as quickly as possible (they started in 1939), and it did make more sense as an interceptor than as a "fast bomber". However, given the stage of jet engine development (Goering cut funding in 1940) and the fact that the Germans were massively outnumbered by 1943-44 anyway, it really makes little difference whether 262's were bombers, fighters, or a mix. Should they have focused on the He 280 instead? Hell no. Just look at the thing. Two jets slung under an airframe that looks more suited to 1939 than 1944. The Me 262 clearly would have had greater potential for development

    Lack of official interest in the Fw 187 or He 100, either one of which might have been better suited as a long-range escort in the BoB than the Bf 109 and 110. But to be perfectly honest this is is only a hindsight observation. The 109 and 110 were excellent planes and the main reasons given for not placing the FockeWulf and Heinkel planes in mass production (insufficient DB engine production capacity for additional fighter designs) was very legitimate.
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Germany's aviation mistakes...

    1. Hitler
    2. Göring
    3. No long range fighter or heavy strategic bomber in serious numbers.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    In some cases the "mistakes" in equipment were the result of decisions made many years before. There is also the sheer matter of size. The US could afford to make mistakes. Countries the size of Italy and Japan could not.

    For example the Italians 'started' with engines in 30s that were no worse than anybody else's, unfortunately their aircraft engine industry was not only small in total but fragmented between 4 major companies, this meant development of new types (of which there were too many) took too long and were never fully sorted out. The Italians had some good designers/engineers, they were just playing in a world arena that was beyond their political masters comprehension. Four relatively small companies could not compete with major players in the world scene. Building high power engines became increasing difficult for all countries but some countries had advantages in raw materials and in more developed metallurgical industries that could develop new alloys or heat treatments or development new manufacturing techniques. to build difficult parts in large numbers.

    P & W had built 18,500 engines from 1925 until 1938(going to press date for Jane's All the Worlds Aircraft 1938 edition) while Wright had built 8,000 Cyclone 9s at that point ( add in a few thousand Whirlwind engines) making them major players on the world scene for modern engines. (modern being post WW I)

    The Italians had also "started" with a first class armament. The Breda-Safat 12.7 being little more than a modified Browning firing the 12.7 X 81 mm round. A pair of them, even synchronized was the equivalent of four/six 7.5-8mm machineguns which was certianly world class in the late 30s. Trouble is the rest of the world fitted heavier armament to higher powered planes very soon. Italians could NOT follow suit until they got higher powered engines (DB 601). Please note the Russians were often in the same situation. Their engines did not provide enough power to allow the weight of armament the Russians desired.

    Many countries/companies were trapped by legacy tooling. With small orders for engines during the early and mid 30s many companies provided small steps or incremental improvements in existing designs rather than throw everything out and start over.
    Some new engines showed up but France, Italy, Russia and others basically tried to struggle on with engines that were at the end of their development cycle.
     
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  13. BiffF15

    BiffF15 Well-Known Member

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    One of my all time favorites! Loaded with spectacular quotes!

    Cheers,
    Biff
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    for Italy and Japan, rampant conservatism that led to an overreliance on manoeuvre in the horizontal, unde-estimated the value of speed, climb dive and firepower and allowed these nations to delude themselves into thinking they didn't need to pursue the horsepower god

    For Australia, believing implicitly in the promises made to it prewar, and then pre-Japanese attack. in the prewar build up they believed british assurance t on access to british engines and were then shafted completely by the British department of supply(?) to the point that when we turned to the US for substitute the british, not for defence reasons, but purely for commercial interests took their bat and ball and stomped off .

    Then in the lead up to the outbreak of the war in the far east, we were again suckered by the brits and their empty promises about holding Singapore and that a/c like the buffalo were "good enough" and we didn't need to worry.

    The British weren't able to defend another front in 1941. but they didnt have to lie to us about it. in hindsight they should have said "we cant defend the empire properly, can you help"? There is every indication that Australia, with just a bit of assistance here and there could have had stepped in and helped fill that supply void that existed prior to December 1941.

    And then we have ourselves to blame. Having worked so hard to build an indigenous aero industry, we decided to squander it in late 44 because it was by then easier to buy US surplus production rather than keep our own industry together. it was a travesty that the worlds 5th largest air force should simply give away its R7D and production capabilities so easily
     
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  15. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    I would replace 3 with Udet. He wasn't the one to make strategic decisions about building te luftwaffe. His view was too narrow.

    Can I add my country here as that is the part I know best (and you don't, so you cannot critisize me :D ). 3 is not enough, I could make a list of 10 or more, but anyway, I will pick 3 and cheat a little.

    1. Instead of focussing on a few models and buy many of them, small numbers of many different types were bought.

    2. Only wanting the cheapest models (we're Dutch after all) and mostly preferring locally build aircraft over foreign aircraft while the local industry didn't have the capacity to deliver. This delayed orders abroad, so were not able to get enough numbers aircraft. In the en we started the war with about 45 moderately modern planes and a whole bunch of museum pieces against 1200 modern aircraft....

    3. The Fokker G-1. While arguably one of the better aircraft of it's time, the concept was flawed and the aircraft too complex and expensive for a small organisation. I think the airforce was better served with more D.XXI's and more robust bombers. A radio in every aircraft would have been nice, too.
     
  16. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    1. IJA and IJN hated to share technology like making DB601 copies respectively. That made effective development of better planes delayed.
    2. Failure of Nagumo's command in Midway. He should not waste time by changing bombs with torpedoes at least.
    3. 343-Ku did not intercept Enola Gay. A 343-ku pilot in the sky happened to witness the A-bomb explosion but he only reported it.
    Ironically Genda for PH committed above 2 and 3.
     
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  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    This is once again making Harris a scapegoat for British bombing policy.
    On 14th February 1942 BEFORE Harris even assumed command of Bomber Command a new Directive was issued to the Command which cancelled the Transportation Directive of 13th July 1941. This new Directive listed as 'first priority' targets the industrial cities of the Ruhr-Rhineland area. The operations were to be

    "focussed on the morale of the enemy civil population and, in particular, of the industrial workers."


    This was not Harris' thesis or even his idea. It was the UK governments official bombing policy. Harris, as an officer serving in the RAF, hardly had a choice whether he carried it out or not.
    The Cabinet had agreed with this new Directive and with the proposal that in implementing it Bomber Command could employ its effort without restriction. The gloves were off.
    Harris was a champion of the resultant area bombing and he did believe that Germany could be defeated by bombing alone. So did a lot of other people, forming opinions with the same faulty statistics. They were not in the high profile position occupied by Harris and did not have to endure the post war revisionism (the BBSU report being a key starting point) and generally disgraceful treatment of Harris and the men who served under him.
    Harris did need to be cajoled into attacking other targets under later Directives later in the war, but the statistics for both the Oil and Transport Plans show that he was nowhere near as recalcitrant as some would have us believe.

    If the new Directive and the resulting bombing of Germany's industrial cities was a mistake in 1942, what alternative did the policy makers have?
    In Harris they found a dominating personality and a dynamic and competent commander to carry out THEIR policy. Charles Carrington was the Army's liason officer at Bomber Command when Harris took over. He later wrote:

    "As a horse knows by instinct when his rider holds the reins with a firm hand, so Bomber Command knew it had a master. The whole machine tautened up, seemed to move into a higher gear, and this though he rarely visited squadrons and scorned to give pep talks."


    Cheers

    Steve
    .
     
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  18. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    One item each:

    Japan. Not swapping their aeroplanes from the correct initial lightweight long range assault on an unprepared enemy philosophy fast enough to a heavy fast shorter range defensive one fast enough when they should have realised that this was the inevitable follow up if the USA continued to prosecute the war.

    Italy. Too many types for a limited industrial base.

    Luftwaffe. Not prioritising pilot training in depth. 'Throw away' pilots are a bad investment. Well trained ones are force multipliers and reduce the demand for production.

    USA. Did you not read the Wilhelmshaven 1939 raid reports you were sent?

    RAF. See Luftwaffe but insert navigator for pilot. If a pathfinder can find the target to mark it why the hell can't the main force do so? Pathfinders were a good idea but a crutch to prop up the lamentable night navigation of the RAF.

    Soviet Union. Too much battlefield emphasis and not enough effective interdiction of the vulnerable German supply lines back in Poland etc. No railway, no German army.

    France. Politics.

    Finland
    . Not screwing every last Curtis and Fokker out of the Germans and getting the Germans to make France sell it's products cheap to Finland. Finnish D520s etc.

    Poland. Not beginning the updating process when it's fighter force was a world leader.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A more basic mistake was the total lack of co-operation between the Army and Navy when it came to weapons and aircraft types. Different 7.7mgs for observers, different 12.7 and 13.2mm machine guns, different 20mm cannon and each service went through 2-3 different types of 20mm each requiring it's own ammo.
    Better/quicker upgrades of existing types of aircraft might have done more than introducing brand new types.


    Did you not read the Wilhelmshaven 1939 raid reports you were sent? {/QUOTE]

    The British didn't have the..........drum roll...........50 cal machine gun!!!! (cue the cheering and applause) :)

    See points on Germany and RAF: poorly trained pilots and navigators have all they can do to find the front line and get back to home base. Russians have no escort fighters putting them in the same boat as unescorted RAF or Americna planes. Trying to do deep raids just runs up losses. BTW trying to cut railroad lines is almost an exercise in futility. Given enough work men it was possible to repair a broken track and crater from a 500-1000lb bomb in 24 hours or less. One reason that later allied raids targeted switching yards (switches have to be laid/aligned with more care) and a dozen or more parallel lines are much easier target than single or double track.
     
  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Harris wrote to the Air Ministry shortly after he took over command of Bomber Command raising his concerns about precisely this. He highlighted the problems he felt confounded effective navigation.

    a) The non-availability of certain navigating instruments essential to the proper prosecution of bomber operations.

    b) Poor service prospects of the air observer.

    c) The lack of Squadron Navigation Officers

    d) The lack of attention given to the navigational aspects of the tactical planning of air operations.

    e) The poor navigation training given to pilots.


    Some of these issues were fixed sooner than others.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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