What if the LW had adopted a different doctrine/strategy?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by bobbysocks, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    ok another one of those lovely "what if" threads. i did a quick search to see if it had been hashed over before and if so...must have been a long time. i do get a lot of good information from this forum as it has a fairly large number of very knowledgeable members...who can make logical and educated speculations. endulge me, i am curious what the thoughts would be to this subject.

    What if the Luftwaffe had adopted a completely different doctrine when they began structuring. If they had opted for long range, 4 engine, high altitude heavy bombers like the 17s, 24s, lancs, etc? and ofcourse then followed up designing a long range fighter escorts to cover them...in addition to shorter range fighters? basically, what if the allies had to face down the the airforce that germany did from the very beginning?
     
  2. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    #2 Gixxerman, Nov 17, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
    Unless the doctrine/tactics/training for their usage was very flexible (unusually and remarkably so, especially for the time) I can't see that a strategic bomber force enables the fast tactical early victories over Poland and France.
    The swift ruin of much of Russia's western forces in 1941 would be questionable too.

    I can see it leading to a more deadly dreadful mauling for the British fleet and forces in Norway and it would have enabled the LW to attack the Russian factories.
    Maybe the BoB would have led to the ruin of the UK's strategic industries forcing an armistice.....but I have doubts as British ingenuity coupled with a bl*ody-minded pugnaciousness is renowned
    Perhaps worst of all for the Russians it would have enabled an Operation Eisenhammer ('Iron Hammer', the destruction of Russian power stations amounting to approx 75% of Russia's power production).

    Having said that, with the USA and the British (plus Empire) involved I still cannot see any way it does much other than draw WW2 out even longer being even more destructive, damaging deadly but with Germany still losing
    (the only way I can see a German win is if Germany was to get the atomic bomb either before the allies or fast enough so as to threaten the allies with a credible retaliatory strike within months of the allies getting it - and before the allies get back onto continental Europe).
    Hitler was in some ways correct about the economic aspect of war, the thing I think he got very wrong was the time it took to turn territorial conquests into an economic asset for his war machine.
    France is an example of this, ofcourse it produced material wealth for the German war-machine but it did so at nothing like it's true capacity and with sabotage etc was done at great on-going cost.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A big problem is numbers.

    Even if we assume a single 4 engine bomber is equal to two 2 engine bombers it is going to take a major shift in German resources to come up with a really sizable 4 engine bomber force. 4-500 heavy bombers isn't going to cut it.

    And another question is when?

    A 1940 4 engine bomber is going to be rather different in capability compared to a a 1942 4 engine bomber. For instance a 1939-40 B-17B could carry only eight 600lb bombs and was defended by five .30cal MGs. The Germans were waiting on the 1340-1400hp Jumo 211s and were fitting 1200hp Jumo 211s in the summer of 1940 to some of their bombers.

    Unless you are considering the Germans to be several years ahead of everybody else in engine, supercharger and airframe development I don't think a German 4 engine bomber force is going to do much better against the British in 1940 than the force they used.
    The He 111 was arguably one of the better "strategic" bombers available in numbers in 1939.
    If the Germans had the equivalent of 1000 B-17Fs in the summer of 1940 it might be a different story but that doesn't require just a shift in policy/resource management but a shift in the development history of aircraft engines.
     
  4. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i can follow that. did german ac manufacturers build planes around the engines available ?? or did both powerplant and airframes evolve at the somewhat along same time?
     
  5. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Because I doubt it would have changed anything
    blitzkrieg was a spectacularly successful war model across uninterrupted expanses of land. It flattened a France that no-one in Germany, in their right mind, would have even considered invading in 1938.

    Longer-ranged bombers and fighters to escort them would have certainly helped in 1940 when attempting to defeat the RAF but the point has already been raised about the technology available at that time, the bar for powerplant design was around the 1000 - 1200hp mark and that doesn't translate into an impressive payload by the standards of the mid- to late-war 4-engined bombers. Endurance for the two best fighters in the world at the time were between 90 - 110 minutes.

    Even assuming that the Germans have crossed the 1600hp and 3 -4 hours endurance marks, they still have to deal with the Royal Navy whilst keeping the RAF at bay and until they've accomplished that they can forget about putting boots on UK soil. Unfortunately, they're now doing that in fighters big enough to carry enough internal fuel to call them viable escort fighters, against Spitfires that still don't need to be anything other than the smallest possible wrapper around the biggest possible powerplant; not quite the Bf110 situation, but not ideal.

    If you do get to the point where you can do that, you'll need something a little less laughable than a bunch of French ports full of barges. Study if you will the logistical gigantism of Overlord. The real re-think that the Germans needed to make is how they're going to get across the Channel and therein lies the problem, if no-one in Germany in 1938 envisaged attacking a major military power like France, they certainly hadn't given any consideration to attacking the UK; blitzkrieg wasn't modelled to overcome English Channels.

    Germany needed to finish with the Battle of the Atlantic what she started with the Battle of Britain, needless to say, she didn't. Attacking the Soviet Union with the UK question unresolved was a huge mistake.

    The question of whether longer-ranged bombers and viable escort fighters would have helped in the Soviet Union is, in my opinion, no more clear-cut than operations in the west; Germany was already having trouble servicing her extended logistics lines, how would servicing lines even longer have been easier? If they're not making good the territorial gains then we've jumped out of blitzkrieg and we're doing something else. If we're simply strategically bombing war production east of the Urals then the Soviets are going to move things even further east and you need an even more capable bomber or it's back to the consolidation of territorial gains to bring your existing bombers back in range, along with the attendant aches and pains of extended logistics lines. The Soviet Union can play the space for time game, it certainly could in WWII; you'd end up needing something alot better than an Amerika bomber and the big question is did the Germans have anything that capable in June 1941?
     
  6. tail end charlie

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    The LW should have appointed the grandfathers of the resident experts here to produce from a hat new planes pilots fuel spares and airfields as they do on this forum unfortuantely the same experts grandfathers will produce the USAAF to dash them from the skies at the last moment.
     
  7. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    you know, man. i havent seen anyone waving the stars and stripes saying" thanks for the help, guys..but we really didnt need it." in fact i have seen the comments slanted the other way. everyone did their respective parts in bringing down the reich...the LW and ground troops. this thread is me trying to get a little more insight and asking a simple question...not about bringing political rants from another thread. if you have an opinion on this subject feel free. if you just want to cut your teeth on someone because you have a grudge with them...do it in a PM. please.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    RAF Bomber Command cost something like 20% of the total British war effort. That's a lot of resources.

    What do you intend to cut from the historical Wehrmacht order of battle to pay for this heavy bomber force?
     
  9. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    what was the percentage of budget germany spent for the ac they had? i would imagine it was on par...at least in the beginning stages.
     
  10. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    If you have something on topic to say, then say it. Leave your political pettiness and snide comments off this forum.
     
  11. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    bobbysocks - the 'strategy' Germany pursued was made up on the run - opportunistic to the nth. That's what blitzkrieg was - a fast smashing blow (because Germany couldn't afford to fight a prolonged war). And the 'strategy' for bombers was sheer capitalistic cronyism - the Junker 88. The cronies 'decided' back in 1938 that Junkers was going to be the 'focus' of bombers and the 88 was the chosen 'platform' (Source Adam Tooze - "The Wages of Destruction", 2006)

    In THAT kind of an environment - questions like yours are too rational. :)

    MM
     
  12. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    In the beginning of the war, that strategy actually worked. Using the lightning war tactic, they took most of Europe rather quickly.
     
  13. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #13 bobbysocks, Nov 18, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
    i dont think their strategy was made up on the run. krauts dont do that $#!t. if anything they over think the process. I am of kraut blood. THINK OUT SIDE BOX, GUYS! i asked if they had ac like the 17s, etc......which means we are supposing they produced powerplants like the P&W...with the corresponding horsepower...blah, blah, blah. that was the demand from hitler...i dont want to hear jumo XXX were only available..if adolf asked for it...it F'n happened. these guys produced jet engines ( very early in the war). they would have produced high output 2 staged supercharged engines IF that pleased Der Fuhrer and was the requirement.....OR dear uncle Adolph would have delayed the war until such means were met. let me restate...if germany had been able to throw together a thousand 4 engine heavy bomber flight like the allies did... capable of the flight characteristics bomb loads similar to that of the B17s, B24s, Lancasters, etc....complete with long range escort with the characteristics of a p51 MERLIN....prior to the BoB....and like so many projects shared them with the japanese ...if the right minds lived in the wrong countries.... how much of a world of hurt would we have been in?? think role reversal...swapping shoes as you will.

    MM... too rational.. or too irrational??
     
  14. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    A tactical bomber force combined with long range fighters might've enabled Germany to wrestle air superiority over GB thus pretty much making it impossible to use the isles as a base for strategic bomber operations. If that goal was achieved it would certainly have a very beneficial impact on the German war economy and the logistics in the long run.

    The Allies in turn would need to focus more on defensive operations in GB to stem against that strategic bomber force. As a result you'd have a bomber-vs-bomber war of giant proportions. Arguably the Allies will always have more men and planes but will also have more dispersed targets to attack. I think a stalemate is most likely.

    However I think the resources required for this would make any war in the east impossible considering you will no longer have as large a tactical bomber force (if any at all) and the fuel consumption would be staggering. And if you postponed that war to the mid-to-late '40s... no chance vs the red army then.
     
  15. Hop

    Hop Member

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    Bomber Command made up about 7% of the British war effort according to the BBSU. There is a modern study that uses modern accounting techniques (eg counting the cost of lost farming production due to BC airfields etc) that puts the cost higher, at 12%.
     
  16. Hop

    Hop Member

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    I think that was way beyond their capability.

    For a start the long range escort would have had to do the job with a 1,000 hp engine, and I don't think that's possible.

    Secondly, the Germans didn't even manage 1,000 medium bomber raids. Their chances of putting that many heavy bombers in the air at once are even lower. During the BoB, flying night and day, the Luftwaffe managed about 2,000 bomber sorties a week, at peak periods.
     
  17. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I think its a bit demeaning to call the Blitzkrieg opportunistic, it was well planned and the troops showed not just strength but guile as well. Some of the tactics used were brand new and showed a lot of thought.

    However once the battle for France was over then I would agree things were made up as they went along. Should we attack Britain, or should we attack Russia. In the end it was almost, lets give it a go, whoops that didn't work lets try Russia. Wasting in almost equal importance, resources and time.

    Had they gone totaly defensive against the UK to concentrate on Russia the Luftwaffe would have been much stronger and they could have started a couple of months earlier, which might well have made all the difference.
     
  18. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Going back to the original question
    They would have been a huge asset in the war against Russia if available. The range, payload and lack of effective high altitude Russian Fighters would also have helped.
    Had they tried against the UK then I believe Germany would have come seriously unstuck. Against the unescorted bombers the RAF had a considerable number of aircraft which were heavily armed and able to do serious damage. Hurricane IIc, Beaufighters, Spitfires Vc with 4 x 20mm and early Typhoons all had the performance to do serious damage without loss of performance.
    Once escorted bombers arrive in 1943 then the RAF would be limited to SPit VII, VIII and IX all of which were at least as good as the fighters and capable of shooting the bombers down without modification.
     
  19. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #19 michaelmaltby, Nov 18, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
    "... In the beginning of the war, that strategy actually worked. Using the lightning war tactic, they took most of Europe rather quickly." True - but Europe had been sleeping and the 'Krauts' had been re-arming. And THAT was why Blitzkrieg worked.

    If you are a "Kraut" bobbysocks - you owe it to yourself to dig deeply into the history of the 1933-1945 period. Germany was making economic policy up 'on the run' - enacting measures that were often COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. Germany lunged in 1939 because it (literally) couldn't afford not to - it was bankrupt and needed plunder (and to remove pressure from the Home Front).

    "... too rational.. or too irrational??" Don't know. What I do know is that Germany is a contradiction. And by that what I am referring to is taking a "rational" position and then allowing that position to become irrational. I'm thinking of U-boat attacks on neutral shipping, and the invasion of Belgium in 1914. In both cases Germany took a clear stated "rational" position: "if you don't interfere with what we are going to do - we won't hurt you". Trouble with that position is that others don't agree, at which point Germany's response is over the top - out of proportion - and "irrational".

    So - I can be nice to you or I can be an absolute terror. (Psychopathic behavior).

    There are no large quantities of 4-engined German heavy bombers because Hitler didn't believe he would need them. He wouldn't have to bomb beyond the Urals because Russia was going to collapse upon itself. There were no winter uniforms in 1941 because Moscow was going to fall by September.

    Pure and simple.

    MM
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #20 Shortround6, Nov 18, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
    Too irrational.

    If you want to debate wither the Germans could/should have built a long range 4 engine bomber force in 1938-41 given the existing technology that is one thing.

    If you want to start by saying "dear uncle Adolph" could just wave his hand and any needed technology would appear when and where needed to make this scenario work, that is another thing.
     
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