Walter Wever, Luftwaffe strategic bombers...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Just a question about Oberst Walter Wever and his Luftwaffe.
    Being that Wever was a great advocate for the long range strategic bomber, I've wondered what kind of bombers Luftwaffe might have had if he hadn't been killed in a crash in '36. What kind designs did he want for the Luftwaffe, was there any that he wanted more work done to like Dornier Do 19 and Junkers Ju 89, what designs was there on on the table at the time of his death?
    Was he that kind of person that could open any doors to get his ideas on to the design table, to the prototype stage and maybe production?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The same aircraft that Germany produced historically.

    May 1934.
    RLM request for Uralbomber.
    Do-19 and Ju-89 were top contenders.

    17 April 1936.
    RLM request for Bomber A. More advanced then previous Ural bomber specification.
    .....Top speed of 335 mph
    .....Operational radius of 1,000 miles with 2,000kg payload.
    .....Capable of shallow angle bombing.
    .....This program eventually produced the He-177 and He-277.
    The Bomber A program more or less killed the Ural Bomber program. And the decision was made while General Weaver was stil alive. The almost ready Ju-89 Ural Bomber prototype was completed but it was dead on arrival. The Luftwaffe had decided to skip ahead to the more advanced Bomber A speciication.

    11 Apr 1937. Ju-89 prototype flying.

    29 Apr 1937. Ju-89 program cancelled by RLM . Junkers attempted to proceed with this aircraft as a civilian airliner. However without RLM funding R&D proceeded at a crawl.

    Feb 1938. RLM issues specification for Do-217 large medium bomber.
    The resulting aircraft was probably overall superior to many early model "heavy" bombers like the American B-17. Another nail in the coffin for the Ural Bomber program.

    July 1939. RLM issues the very advanced Bomber B specification.
    .....Speed of 600 kph
    .....Bomb load of 4,000kg.
    .....Pressurized cabin.
    .....Remote control defensive armament.

    September 1939. Start of WWII in Europe.
    This causes a huge Wehrmacht resource shift to the Heer. It costs a lot of money for ammunition and other consummables even for fighting a short war.

    19 Nov 1939. He-177 heavy bomber prototype first flight. Bomber A program.

    From this point onward all the pieces were in place for a German heavy bomber program (i.e. Ural Bomber, Bomber A, Bomber B programs). Plus the Do-217 large medium bomber. However fighting an increasingly larger war consumed German resources that otherwise would have produced heavy bombers. General Weaver's death made little difference.
     
  3. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    Had General Walther Wever released the control lock of his aircraft that June afternoon the Ural Bomber program would have proceeded as planned, engine development catching up with performance desires. One other consideration in the dearth of German strategic bombing capability was the placement of Goering in a position controlling the German economy through a four-year plan that was, as far as possible, to make Germany self sufficient as to raw materials. The difference in materials allotment between the medium and heavy bombers resulted in Goering's April 29, 1937 order to cease heavy bomber development, as well as the successful aerial bombing of Guernica, Spain three days prior.

    Jeschonnek and Udet's addition of the requirement that all Luftwaffe bombers had to have dive-bombing capability put a damper on development

    For some excellent insight into the political and construction intrigues of the Luftwaffe read:
    Heinkel, Ernst. Stormy Life: Memoirs of a Pioneer of the Air Age. New York: Dutton, 1956
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Like Rivet mentioned, I believe that Wever would have been a counter-point to the dive-bomber requirements that almost every bomber that Germany wanted to make.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That order halted the Ural Bomber program. It did not halt the more advanced Bomber A program.

    Perhaps if Gen. Weaver had lived the Bomber A program might have taken a different course. It's difficult to say as wartime production requirements changed a lot of pre-war plans. Perhaps we would see a reliable variant of the He-277 enter service during 1941 powered by 4 x 1,350 hp Jumo 211 engines. If so this eliminates the need for the Do-217 and that program gets cancelld before reaching production. Early introduction of the He-277 will also end the need for the He-111 level bomber.

    This leaves Germany with two level bombers.
    Ju-88A light bomber. 2 x Jumo 211 engines. Can also serve as a dive and torpedo bomber.
    He-277 heavy bomber. Powered by 4 x Jumo 211 engines. Later versions powered by the Jumo 213.
     
  6. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    Wever, through his Luftwaffe Regulation 16, set in print the course he believed was correct in conducting the air war that Germany was eventually to become embroiled in. The men Wever placed in the Technical Office of the Reichluftministrium would not have been shuffled off to other positions in the Luftwaffe. The Bomber A program was a post-Wever development and, in answering the question as posed by Lucky, I'm fairly confident that Goering would have been swayed. Wever's position was strong, politically.

    For a complete text of Wever's Luftwaffe Regulation 16 see James Corum's text on the Luftwaffe.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That isn't true. Gen. Wever released the Bomber A program specifications 6 weeks before his death.

    17 April 1936. RLM issues specifications for the Bomber A program.

    3 June 1936. Generalleutant Walther Wever dies in a plane crash.
     
  8. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    You misread my post, Dave. How many drawings could have been completed , how much metal cut in the scant time period between the determination of Bomber A and Wever's rush in the cockpit to attend the funeral of a friend? All was developed in the period following, by people who placed little regards in Regulation 16.

    It is a great piece of fortune for the Democratic West that Clairmont Egtvedt was witness to the 1923 bombing experiments off Virginia by Mitchell. This proof of the value of heavy bombing capability was the inspiration to what eventually became Boeing's Project 299, the B-17. The message appears to have been lost on the rest.
     
  9. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    #9 Rivet, Feb 28, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
    “The campaign against the sources of power normally requires more offensive strength, the greater the extent of the target and the distance of the target from one’s own base. With greater distance, the bomb load per aircraft is decreased, while the requirement to drop a heavy bomb tonnage on the target is increased.” Helmut Wilberg
     
  10. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    Though the following aircraft postdates Wever's departure from this planet by some years I include the Focke-Wulf 191C as still another long-range four engine aircraft that never made it beyond the design stage. Digging through Green's "Aircraft of the Third Reich" produced a few sentences of mention of it.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Fw-191C might be a better fit for 4 x Jumo211 engines rather then the larger He-177 / He-277 airframe.

    Wikipedia data. I assume it to be in the ballpark but it may not be exact.

    Fw-191.
    11,970 empty weight.
    19,575kg loaded weight.
    7,605kg payload (crew plus fuel plus bombs)
    V6 prototype powered by 2 x Jumo 222 engines. A 4 engine Fw-191C would not be identical.

    He-277.
    21,800kg empty weight.
    44,500kg max takeoff weight.
    Powered by 4 x BMW801 engines.
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    what about the me 264/364? or ju 290/390? although built after his death...would these have been what wever was after?
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Ju-290 is ultimately derived from the cancelled Ju-89 Ural Bomber program.

    Gen. Weaver would need to make a different decision during April 1936. Proceed with the Ural Bomber program and forget the more advanced Bomber A concept. Then the Ju-89 Ural Bomber continues to evolve with RLM funding. I would expect something in mass production prior to 1940.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    B-17E. Entered production September 1941.
    4 x 1,200 hp radial engines. 4,800 total hp.
    32,251 lbs Empty weight.
    53,000 lbs Max weight.
    20,749 lbs Payload.
    318 mph Max speed.
    ~180mph. Cruise speed with payload.
    Lots of defensive MG and aircrew result in a relatively small useful bomb load. All the gun turrets and waist gun openings are also bad for aerodynamic performance.

    Ju-89F (hypothetical)
    4 x 1,340hp Jumo211F engines. 5,360 total hp.
    37,480 lbs. Empty weight.
    61,160 lbs. Max weight.
    23,680 lbs. Payload (V2 prototype). However this will almost certainly be greater with more powerful engines.
    ?? Max speed. 241 mph with 3,000 total hp for the V2 prototype.
    ?? Cruise speed with payload.
    Crew of 5 is half that of a B-17. Should result in a greater bomb load at the expense of defensive firepower.

    A rough comparison only as the Ju-89 would change quite a bit with several years of additional development.
     
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