What plane (if any) could have made a difference for Germany in the Battle of Britain

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by zoomar, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    In another thread regarding the He-100, I suggested that the real thing Germany lacked in the BoB was not a second plane similar (or even slightly superior) to the Bf-109, but effective long range escort fighters equal to the Spit and Hurri and a real long range strategic bomber. I threw out the Fw-187 and the A6M Zero (!) for the first need and one of the Ural Bomber designs (Ju-89 or Do-19) for the second.

    What other planes available in 1940 might have been available to the Luftwaffe to address these needs? You are free to consider any Axis plane (or Soviet - this was the time the USSR and Germany were still linked by the non-aggression pact). More critically, would any of these plane really make a difference given that the Germans probably lost the BoB as much a result of poor tactics and preparation rather than poor combat capability of their planes.
     
  2. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    With a large enough pilot base, the A6M2 could have gotten the job done. Luftwaffe needed a strategic long range fighter with staying power. No gurantee of success but it would have at least allowed the fighter pilots the time to try to attrit their opposite numbers and conduct longer ranged offensive sweeps.
     
  3. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    Regarding the A6M and pilots, one wonders if the Germans would not try to "improve" it by adding some pilot armor and self-sealing tanks at the cost of performance and range/endurance? Would this have eliminated its potential advantages?

    I'm more inclined to see the Fw-187 single seater as a better and more realistic bet. But German Zeros would be fascinating!
     
  4. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps German A6M improvements could have included a more powerful German engine.
    PS: But I guess the airframe will only take so much. For example, can't just bolt a R-2800 onto a Zero and expect success.
     
  5. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    The "more powerful German Engine" would have added more weight, which would have had an adverse effect on range/endurance, which was the one real advantage the Zero had.
     
  6. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    The Japanese themselves designed the A6M's successor, the A7M in 1940 (though delays resulted in it being tested in 1944 IIRC). It wasn't as fast as hoped for but overall it was a bigger badder "Zero" with a high HP engine.

    Improving an existing airframe is always tricky and i marvel at some of the detailed discussions that result on this board regarding the engineering of such a thing. Zero had limited growth potential while the Spitfire airframe had an impressive potential still being tapped by war's end. "As is" though, I think the plane could have done the job it did elsewhere.

    Bomber question is more tricky. The Luftwaffe bombers weren't all that bad in terms of payload and range...but were a bit weak in defensive armament. I'm not necessary sure a different bomber is needed at all. Of course a big 4E bomber would be nice.....but necessary? And the early B-17's themselves needed development to make them more defensible though their bombload remained modest for the life of the airframe.
     
  7. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Without too much doubt, yes
    The Type 52 (A6M5) and the Type 63 (A6M7) both sported 1,130hp for take-off from the Sakae 21 and 31a respectively. The A6M5 weighed in at 6,025lbs (2,733Kgs) and the A6M7 at 6,600lbs (3,000Kgs). The former had a top speed of 351mph and the latter 337mph.

    Add to the beefed-up skin of the A6M7 all the goodies that your average ETO pilot took for granted (self-sealing tanks, armour protection for pilot and critical systems) and the margin is only going to widen.

    Someone made the point in another, vaguely related thread, the Japanese didn't learn the lessons of armour and protected tanks because early in THEIR conflict, they didn't need to. Strapping all the essentials of an ETO fighter to any in the A6M series would have resulted in precisely what happened to the F4F when it was thus saddled.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The He 111 was a reasonable strategic bomber for the time. Compare it's bomb load and range to the Hampden, or the Whitley or Wellington.
    None of them were viable daylight bombers but neither was the B-17c or the the two German Ural bombers.
    200 hundred German Ural bombers means 400 fewer twin engine bombers and the Ural bomber, even with 6-8 rifle caliber MGs in hand held mounts could no more survive in the skies over England than the twin engine bombers could in daylight.
     
  9. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    One could try adding the P.108 to the mix and we'd have a true multi-Axis airforce. :D
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Zero did have more development potential than it was allowed.

    The decision to keep using the Sakae engine rather hamstrung the Zero as Sakae developments kept showing up behind schedule and lower on power than planned. Imagine trying to use a MK V Spit as an air superiority fighter in 1944-45.

    Wither switching to the Kinsei engine would have made a big difference I don't know, see A6M8.
    I don't know if earlier lower powered versions would have been able to overcome their slightly greater weight, drag and fuel consumption to give an earlier Zero better overall performance.
     
  11. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Get the FW-190 out 18 months earlier and have it as an escort/fighter bomber. Heavily armed and armored, good bird.

    Still have a problems of the same guys in charge. If you want the Germans to win the BOB, Keep Fat Herman in Prussia with his morphine and kimonos, promote Kesselring ( or maybe Sperrle) to take charge of the battle with the goal of destroying the RAF.
     
  12. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    #12 Kurfürst, Jul 23, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
    Most realistically - the Bf 109F with droptanks. The beauty of it that it was there, it entered production July 1940, and was in combat in small numbers by October. With the droptank and more streamlined lines it also had ample range and endurance for the task (about 2,5 times the Emil had w/o droptank).All it would need for this "what if" is a couple of months advance in production, and ironing out the bugs which propably held the a/c from operations late in 1940..

    Best choice would be of course the Zero, as it could circle around until all RAF fighters simply fall down when they run out of gas :D but I think it was not introduced yet...?
     
  13. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    The A6M2 was operational in July 1940.
     
  14. merlin

    merlin Member

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    I think the above part is the most important. The Germans had an image of teutonic professionalism, but it turned out it was the RAF who were the 'professionals' while the Germans were the amateurs. Their intelligence was based on wishful thinking, no one could agree on the target list - which wasn't linked to Sealion priorities, and it was all on the basis of last minute plannig. Whilst the RAF were all geared up to fight such a battle, they had radar, and the observer corps to track the enemy, the information could be co-ordinated via the plot tables, and Squadrons alerted scrambled when needed.
    The German advantages were cannon armament, battle experince, and unit tactics.

    Different aircraft for the LW: Do-19 instead of Do-17 - even if two for five basis; Me-110 as an attack/light-bomber, Fw-187 - longe range fighter, and maybe a mix of He-100D Me-109.

    Yet, with all the debate about a longer range single engined fighter, it won't make that much difference it it only has 60 rounds per cannon!
     
  15. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    But it didn't fly its first operation til Aug 19 1940. And, there was only 15 of them.

    Japan was too busy equiping it own air forces with the A6M, So where are the Germans to get their A6Ms from? The Japanese used different tactics which was counter to German tactics. The non- existant protection of the A6M would have made easy 'kills' for the British .303s.
     
  16. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I'd go with the Fw 190 idea timshatz had and continue to attach military targets instead of switching to civilian ones.

    An A6M built with German quality, that would have been interesting.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That would be nice but it's not necessary. The existing aircraft types will work if Germany has them in quantities similiar to what U.S. 8th Air Force had during February 1944. Plus all the supporting pieces 8th Air Force had like drop tanks, an adequate stockpile of ordnance, an unlimited supply of high octane aviation gasoline, an unlimited number of replacement aircraft and aircrew etc.
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The Germans needed a plan more than anything to win the battle, and needed to start preparations from before the war....much the same as the British were doing. They needed a far better organized procurement machine and depth in their pilot training programs, a true heavy bomber, long range escorts, better targetting procedures, to name but a few issues.

    There was scarcely a less well prepared force for a strategic campaign than the Luftwaffe in 1940. it had been built for a specific purpose, and it undertook that purpose with supreme efficiency. Once the mission parameters changed, it became a veritable fish out of water. Changing one or two things....tinkering at the edges of the organization, is not going to change the inherent weakneses of the force to this mission
     
  19. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    I wasn't preposing that there was any way, shape or form by which this hypothetical situation could come about. I was simply asserting that the A6M, the "plane" could have gotten the job done given that the Germans were most hamstrung (fighter wise), by the short legs of their most effective fighter (109) and that it was around (aka "operational") in 1940 just before the battle of Britian. I was admitedly puzzled that the plane was immediately "ruled out" at the beginning the thread.

    The lack of protection did not stop the plane from being an integral and indispensible part of the Japanese acheivement of air superiority during the First Operational phase nor did it prevent the plane from being in the thick of it during the air battles of 1942 (nor the Oscar in Burma all the way through 1945). Over the course of a bigger, broader conflict, yes it becomes a problem. For a 3 to 6 month campaign? Not so much.

    Its a similar argument to the various P47 vs P51 vs. P38 vs. Spitfire etc etc. All fine planes.....each with their strengths and weaknesses but ultimately the key factor for these plane's contribution to the Allied air offensive was that they were good designs, in sufficient number with sufficient range to escort the bombers and attrit the enemy force competatively. One can argue which was the best at this or that but ultimately in the greater scheme of things, it's irrelevent. The Germans lost the air war as soon as the Allies gained the ability to escort their bombers to and from their targets. It was an attrition war they couldn't win.
     
  20. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    ditto
     
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