What If: Mosquitos vs Oil Targets

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    By my reckoning, using data from The de Havilland Mosquito Page, all Mosquito B.MkIV series ii had been manufactured by the end of March 1943. That means there were approximately 292 B.IVs floating around the UK somewhere (minus those already lost) by mid 1943.

    Is that a sufficient number to be able to mount effective raids against oil targets?

    The B.IX was in production from April 1943 until November 1943. The PR.IX, much the same as the B.IX were delivered from May 1943 until November 1943. There were 54 B.IXs and 90 PR.IXs built.

    The first Canadian built Mosquito, a B.VII was completed and test flown in October 1942. Some 25 B.VIIs were built before switching to B.XX production in mid 1943.

    So, if we say starting from June/July 1943 we would have approximately 200-250 bomber Mosquitos with a number in reserve coule we mount an effective campaign against German oil targets, the best part of a year before they historically happened?

    The B.IV and B.VII had the original, unstrengthened wing (the strengthened wing was introduced on the FB.VI and found its way onto the IX and XX) so could not carry external bombs or drop tanks. That limits their offensive load to 4 x 500lb bombs (maybe 2 x 1000lb bombs - but I am not sure of that) until the bulged bomb bay (late 1943) and the Avro bomb carrier for 6 x 500lb bombs (date unknown) are developed.

    mhuxt has posted a spreadsheet which sheds some light on Mosquito losses in daylight operations.

    As a side question, do you think bomber Mosquitos were underutilised by bomber command during the war, and particularly during late 1942/1943? There were certainly a lot more F.II/NF.IIs built than B.IVs. Could the production mix have been changed to make more bombers available sooner?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The most important German oil targets were in the Ruhr. That's a difficult place to bomb. Ploesti wasn't easy to bomb either.
     
  3. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Perhaps one reason for the Mosquito not be used for such attacks were unpredictable wartime situations. For example, the Allies planned to bomb the Soviet oilfields in the Caucasus in case the Germans captured them. The Mossie would be able to perform such a task?
     
  4. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    "Planned to"? Were those fields actually bombed?
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    RAF Bomber Command had first priority for Mosquitos. Most were employed as high altitude path finders and on decoy missions. That's not likely to change as Britain spent 12.19% of her total military budget on RAF Bomber Command. PM Churchill will not allow Lancaster bombers to sit idle for lack of path finders.
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    #6 wuzak, Apr 12, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
    Were they?

    What targets were there?

    Ploesti was beyond reach of Mosquitos, unless you were willing to launch a few off a carrier.
     
  7. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Not all pathfinders were Mosquitos. Some were Lancasters.

    Pathfinding existed before Mosquitos filled the role, and Lancasters had been bombing before Mosquito pathfinders started helping them.
     
  8. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    No. But the plan was do it in case they were captured.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Kurfürst - TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 145-45 MANUFACTURE OF AVIATION GASOLINE IN GERMANY.
    Sources and Supply of German Aviation.
    (All figures are barrels per day.)

    Company and Location
    Total Aviation Components
    Base Stocks Aromatics
    Synthetic Isoparaffins

    I.G. - Leuna
    6,900
    5,500
    1,400

    Brabag - Böhlen
    4,100
    4,100
    --

    Brabag - Magdeburg
    2,750
    2,750
    --

    Hibernia - Scholven Ruhr area.
    5,800
    4,400
    1,400

    Gelsenberg - Gelsenkirchen Ruhr area.
    8,000
    8,000
    --

    Pölitz A.G. - Pölitz Stettin area.
    13,900
    12,400
    1,500

    Rheinbraun - Wesseling Ruhr area.
    2,750
    2,750
    --

    Ruhröl - Welheim Ruhr area.
    1,100
    1,100
    --

    Sudetendeutsche - Brüx
    5,500
    5,500
    --

    I.G. - Oppau
    1,200
    1,100
    100

    I.G. - Heydebrek
    600
    300
    300

    I.G. - Moosbierbaum
    2,000
    2,000
    --

    I.G. - Hüls
    200
    200
    --

    I.G. - Schopau
    200
    200
    --


    Pölitz A.G. should be easy to hit if a Mosquito can carry a useful bomb load all the way to Stettin. Destroying that hydrogenation plant and keeping it destroyed would put a sizable dent in Luftwaffe fuel supplies.
     
  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    We could need some additional data 1st, before making the assesment.
    How many tons of bombs would render the 'oil target' inoperable? How big a percentage of the oil targets was in Mossie's range? Was it feasible to launch Mosquitos against Ploesti, once Sicily was taken?

    added: Seem like Dave answers my questions before I'm posting them :)
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I suspect a hundred 500lb bombs would do the trick. The catch is they've got to hit the target. Which means aircraft must bomb from low altitude, within range of light flak. Crack AA gunners like tomo pauk will be peppering your aircraft with 20mm and 37mm shells.

    How much protective armor was incorporated into the Mosquito light bomber?
     
  12. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Actually the 30mm is my pair of shoes, but anything goes :)
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Not much armour.

    100 500lb bombs requires but 25 Mosquitos given 100% accuracy. But, of course, asking for 100% accuracy is too much.

    At low level you could, probably, expect 50% or better. In one youtube clip about the 2TAF it was claimed that on the mission shown 28 bombs hit the target (a house) from 18 FB.VIs - which means 28/36 = 78%.

    So, then you have to allow for losses. Loss rates on low level raids were getting down to around 6% by mid 1943. Let's call it 10%. So, to get 100 bombs on target you need 25 Mossies to hit the target, with a 50% accuracy rate that means 50 Mossies have to bomb the target, with a loss rate of 10% you need to send 56 bombers.

    Throw in some F.IIs (plenty built, though many converted to NF.II configuration) for some degree of fighter protection, and to interfere with the flak guns (sorry Tomo!).
     
  15. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    It depends when Sicily was taken, and how far Ploesti was from there. Later Mosquitos could carry drop tanks under the wing, which the early ones couldn't.

    B.IVs could get to and from Berlin comfortably. The Ruhr targets were all well within range. Leuna was closer than Berlin, as was Magdeburg, Pölitz, Oppau and Hüls. Böhlen and Schopau are about the same, maybe a little further. Brüx looks to be further, perhaps close to the edge of the B.IV's range. Moosbierbaum looks to be too far, as does Heydebrek.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Bear in mind a hydrogenation plant isn't a police station.

    Hydrogenation plants have the best air defense systems money can buy and their gunners are the best in the Luftwaffe. Men like tomo pauk who can hit a flying gnat @ 2,000 meters with one shot. :)
     
  17. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    You know this how?

    What caliber were the guns?
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure that the targets attacked by Mosquitos at low level weren't exactly undefended.

    What was the range on the small guns? Were they continuously manned or just manned when an alert had been issued? Were they just on the perimeter of the plant, or scattered within? - bearing in mind that the hdrogenation plants were quite spread out.

    What was their success rate?
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Germany and the Second World War: The strategic air war in Europe and the ... - Horst Boog, Gerhard Krebs, Detlef Vogel - Google Books

    200 Politz (i.e. Stettin hydrogenation plant).
    200 Auschwitz.
    200 Hamburg.
    170 Brux.
    150 Wesseling.
    140 Gelsenkirchen.
    140 Scholven.
    130 Heydebreck.
    120 Leuna.
    100 Blechhammer.
    100 Moosbierbaum.
    70 Bohlen.

    Approximately 3/5th of flak batteries were heavy.

    20 June 1944.
    1,400 U.S. 8th Air Force heavy bombers attacked hydrogenation plants.
    50 bombers destroyed.
    850 bombers damaged.
    Damage was attributed primarily to flak.
     
  20. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    What about June 1943?

    If 3/5 of flak guns are "heavy" that means that there are 48 light flak guns at Leuna, for instance. The heavy guns would not be suitable for low level Mossquito raids.
     
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