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cueceleches
06-25-2004, 04:48 AM
Why didn´t Germany ever produce heavy bombers? Four engine type, like B17s or B24s...
I´ve read somewhere that Goering and Kesselring didn´t believe in strategic bombing. But, after the Battle of Britain debacle, and noticing that both He111s and Ju 88s were too vulnerable, couldn´t they have learnt something from the British heavy bombings, and after that the Americans? I mean, they could have produced a heavy bomber and wiped out London, as the Allies did with many German cities, whilst provoking mayhem in the country, affecting both morale and production capabilities.

What do you think?

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 04:48 AM
Why didn´t Germany ever produce heavy bombers? Four engine type, like B17s or B24s...
I´ve read somewhere that Goering and Kesselring didn´t believe in strategic bombing. But, after the Battle of Britain debacle, and noticing that both He111s and Ju 88s were too vulnerable, couldn´t they have learnt something from the British heavy bombings, and after that the Americans? I mean, they could have produced a heavy bomber and wiped out London, as the Allies did with many German cities, whilst provoking mayhem in the country, affecting both morale and production capabilities.

What do you think?

jurinko
06-25-2004, 04:55 AM
one thing is the stupidity of Luftwaffe HQ (but it was common in almost each air force)
another thing is heavy bombers are veeery demanding: you need 5 or 10 trained airmen for each, it sucks the gasoline like crazy, you need special airfields for it, you need 4 engines for each machine.
Even if Germany had had 4mots, they wouldn´t be able to produce them enough to deliver enough punch to UK or Russia. UK invested 50% of its wartime resources into heavy bombers itself, US put 66% of war investments into air force as such. Even in numbers which Germany would never been able to set up, they did not cause fatal wounds to German economy (the other effect was Germany had to spend huge resources to fight them. In the second half of war, Germany needed fighters not strategic bombers.

---------------------
Letka_13/Liptow @ HL

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 05:04 AM
Well, I´m actually reading a book "The most dangerous enemy" from Stephen Bungay, who states that Hitler never really intended to invade or even make war to the UK. it seems that Hitler hoped even, once almost the whole Europe was occupied, that Chrchill would sign a peace treaty with Germany. So, maybe Hitler never felt the need to feed the Luftwaffe with heavy bombers, even if Germany could have afforded them.

foxhound31
06-25-2004, 05:30 AM
Hi

In the book 'Luftwaffe: strategy for defeat' the idea is mooted that the germans considered war in terms of area on a rather old-style basis. That is, traditionally they'd fought fairly close to home and long range bombers were not going to be needed. If you did need to hit a long range target, then give it a bit of time and you'd have captured airstrips thta bit closer because of land forces advancing. In the case of the UK and US, well they saw lots of water on the map when planning foreign forays so immediately were thinking about greater distances. This, according to the book, fixation with war being something you did in Continental Europe (as western Europe) is why we do not have equivalents of the Stirling, Lanc, B17 / 24 ability etc in the Luftwaffe until it was too late to really do something.

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cueceleches
06-25-2004, 05:33 AM
Thanks for the explanation Foxhound

Slush69
06-25-2004, 05:57 AM
How would it have benefitted the German war effort to divert scarce resources from the production and development of tactical bombers and fighters to heavy "strategic" bombers?

I know that Germany's unwillingness to develop a heavy bomber is seen by many as a strategic failure, but I must admit that I don't agree.

cheers/slush

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cueceleches
06-25-2004, 06:04 AM
I guess that Germany believed in the Blitz type war, and not in the attrition type of war, which the WW2 became. So far, a blitzkrieg didn´t need heavy bombers, as the Luftwaffe was supposed to support the Wehrmacht and protect it. I tend to think that they considered light to medium bombers well enough to make this duty. IMHO, neglecting the effects of strategic bombing was a mistake, and even more after noticing those effects when the Legion Condor ruined Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

p1ngu666
06-25-2004, 06:51 AM
economics
b17 and b24 and lanc to a extent arent really that good.
mossie delivered same bomb load to berlin as a b17.

stuka was made cos dive bombing is cheap, u require WAY less bombs.

its not a mistake cos it couldnt be done properly by the germans

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Ruy Horta
06-25-2004, 06:53 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by cueceleches:
Why didn´t Germany ever produce heavy bombers? Four engine type, like B17s or B24s...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The answer is choice...

The Germans did not have the luxury to wage (and plan for) a long term strategic air war. They did not in pre-war and certainly not after '41.

The only period where could have opted for such a strategic shift would have been between the fall of France and the invasion of Russia.

In 1938-40 the difference between heavy and medium bombers was a mute point anyway. The British Bomber Command types were not "heavier" than their Lutfwaffe counterparts.

Important point to make is how strategic air war is waged, the built up etc.

If we look at Germany's primary adversary on the continent France it is logical that the focus would be on army and air force cooperation, supporting the main thrust, not waging a seperate war.

Against Britain its different, since here it was a matter of not being able to wage any other type of war but Strategic, however since the Germans opted for the invasion of Russia, it could not shift towards an airwar against Britain.

HOWEVER, that the Luftwaffe certainly had plans, and a strategic concept, to wage a Strategic air war.

Try and find:

Vom Luftkriege
Gedanken über führung und Einlaß moderner Luftwaffen
Herhudt von Rohden

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Ruy Horta

VW-IceFire
06-25-2004, 07:04 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by p1ngu666:
economics
b17 and b24 and lanc to a extent arent really that good.
mossie delivered same bomb load to berlin as a b17.

stuka was made cos dive bombing is cheap, u require WAY less bombs.

its not a mistake cos it couldnt be done properly by the germans

http://www.pingu666.modded.me.uk/mysig3.jpg
&lt;123_GWood_JG123&gt; NO SPAM!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
The Germans never produced a Mosquito type bomber to my knowledge either. The Mosquito was designed for efficiency and speed using the wood construction, putting two of the most powerful engines on it at the time, and loading it up with bombs and no real defensive armament worked wonders. You don't go walking into German airspace in a formation or a fleet...

So I'm not aware that the Germans ever went this route either.

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Slush69
06-25-2004, 07:06 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by cueceleches:
IMHO, neglecting the effects of strategic bombing was a mistake, and even more after noticing those effects when the Legion Condor ruined Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, they flattened Guernica (with light/medium bombers BTW). But did it make a significant contribution to their war effort? No. Maybe it even had the opposite effect.

cheers/slush

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tfu_iain1
06-25-2004, 07:29 AM
the intent behind strategic bombing was to force a surrender- Douhet and leMay both wrote about and advocated this approach. but the destruction wrought tended not to demoralise the enemy, rather to arouse him. the exception was the atom bomb - it is terrible enough to effect the morale shift necessary to end the war. of course, that is debatable in itself - japan may have surrendered for any number of reasons - loss of its fleet, complete naval isolation (which meant it was impossible for them to achieve their political goals for the war - therefore there is little point in continuing.) firebombing of cities, the fact that the russians were on the way. so i think it was sensible that the germans didnt bother building heavy bombers - they couldnt have fueled them anyway. the germans error was not completely reconfiguring their economy for war in 1939 or earlier so that they could have had enough materiel to defeat the soviet union in 1941. had the USSR been defeated, or a treaty made, the western allies wouldnt have been able to carry out d-day. plus the germans would have a lot more fuel and resources kicking about to start a strategic bombing campaign against the uk until she capitulated.

Chuck_Older
06-25-2004, 07:43 AM
I think something important is being overlooked here.

When we say "Strategic bomber" sometimes I think we forget what that means, myself included.

Allied Strategy called for interdiction of the German's ability to wage war. This was most effectively done by bombing en masse with large numbers of bombers of the Lancaster/B17/B24 type. I would argue that types like the Mosquito would not have been as effective in large scale operations as the heavy bomber types. In any case, the heavy bomber fulfilled a Strategic role because the way the German war machine got it's raw materials, and the way Allied command decided to disrupt that.

The Germans had a different problem. War material was coming from the US, and England was really the only thorn in their sides until the Second Front was established. But both England and the USSR got their war material from the same source- maritime convoys.

The Germans had an effective weapon capable of winning WWII had it been given enough resources- the U-boot arm. It is true that types like the Condor conducted effective anti-shipping missions with efficiency, but what is a 6 hour patrol time for an airplane compared to a 3 month patrol time for a U-boat, that can also capture ships, cargo, and sailors as well as sink, destroy, and kill them? No Condor crew had the chance to get military information from a ship they sunk.

Germany didn't develop a true strategic bomber because their strategy was fulfilled by other means. Doenitz came close to acheiving the goals he set that would have strangled Britain, with a fraction of the U-boats he beleived he needed.

*****************************
The hillsides ring with, "Free the People",
Or can I hear the echoes from the days of '39?
~ Clash

ImpStarDuece
06-25-2004, 08:04 AM
Just to blur the issue but the Germans did biuld several four engined bombers. The Condor and He 177 Grief instantly spring to mind and i'm sure there were several others.

The Grief was nicknamed the 'Flaming Coffin" by GERMAN crews its engine setup was chronically unreliable and had a distressing tendency to catch fire. It consisted of two inline engines, one inverted, coupled together driving a single shaft.

Will do some more digging in a sec, no resources handy at the moment, but i think that almost 800 117s were built.

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"There's no such thing as gravity, the earth sucks!"

"War is just an extension of politics carried out by other means" von Clauswitz.

Abbuzze
06-25-2004, 08:13 AM
Lot of good answers above!
Just a few pictures of German 4 engine bombers...

Me264 "New York Bomber"
http://www.luftarchiv.de/flugzeuge/messerschmitt/me264.jpg

or the Ju390 hmm not real a 4 engine bomber- the prototype made it close to New York and back...
http://www.luftarchiv.de/flugzeuge/junkers/ju_390.jpg

Dornier also build prototyps in the late 30´s but...

I./JG53 PikAs Abbuzze
http://www.jg53-pikas.de/

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LilHorse
06-25-2004, 08:29 AM
Much of it did have to do with Goering. The head of the Luftwaffe before him was a guy by the name of Werner. He did advocate the concept of long-range, 4 engine heavies. He died in a crash early on in the rebuilding of the LW. Goering took over and he had no concept of "strategic" bombing. He was philisophically bound to the idea of aircraft used in "tactical" and battlefield operational roles, ie. Blitzkrieg. So, naturally, he also felt it would be better to spread the available resourses in engines across a larger number of twin engine bombers.

It was fortunate that the events turned out as they did. Had Werner lived and implemented his ideas the Russians' strategy of pulling all their war making industries beyond the Urals would not have been successfull. They would have had to move much further and even still the Germans would have been in a better position to launch "strategic" campaigns and had the chance to wipe out the Russian heavy industry.

Just a note on the above. I put quotes around the terms strategic and tactical because these docrtines were more or less defined during WWII. Even though people like Douhet laid the foundational thought.

ImpStarDuece
06-25-2004, 08:40 AM
Ok, now ive done a quick spot of research i'm on a bit more solid ground. Heres what i dug up:

The HE 177 Greif was designed by Seigfried Gunter and first flew in late 1939 on two pairs of coupled Db 601s driving each propeller shaft with approx 2600 hp. Later it would be powered by two Db605s producing up to 3000hp each. This means that He-177 crews had 6000 hp at their disposal, more than any B-17 crew ever had but about 10% less than a Lancaster had and 2800hp less than a B-29.

The engine mounting was prone to easy and sudden overheating and as a result the Greif earned the nickname the "flaming coffin". Engines were known to spontaneously catch fire in flight and 6 of the first eight prototypes were lost to either fire or massive structural failure (which was later cured).

Despite having only two propellers and engine nacells the Greif had a wingspan of 103 ft, only 4ft shorter than the Fw 200 (condor), roughly similar to the B-17 and 2 feet longer than the Lancasters. The Grief had absolute range of about 5500km (3400 miles, better than early model B-17s and on par with mid war models) and often carried hs 123 missles on long range Atlantic strike missions.

The 177 was also used to bomb England in 1944-45. Flying at their maximum, ceiling of 8000m they would make shallow dives over the Channel picking up speed and then (inaccurately)dropping their bombs over inland targets.

About 1200 were manufactured but the type was never really a success and was predominatley used in the Med and the Western Front, few saw action against Soviet forces. there was also a fail attempt to produce the He 277, a four engined version of the Griffon.

other German 4 engined, strategic bombers included the FW 200 Condor, used for long range reconissance bombing and the little produced Ju-290 a four engined bomber/transport that was used primarily as a VIP transport and maritime aircraft.

The 290 had a 600 km range and an advanced version of it -the 390 with two 1,700hp BMW 801 radials and a massive 181 1/2 ft wingspan- successfully proved the "Amerika Bomber" concept. Taking off from a Bordeaux airfield it flew to within 12km of northern New York before making the return trip. This was done with a full crew and defensive armament but no bombload.

Flying Bullet Magnet... Catching Lead Since 2002

"There's no such thing as gravity, the earth sucks!"

"War is just an extension of politics carried out by other means" von Clauswitz.

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 08:40 AM
Well, that´s getting really interesting. I like to see those 4 engine prototypes. Did Germany at any time intend to even reach the USA? That´s almost sci-fi!

Slush69
06-25-2004, 08:50 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LilHorse:
It was fortunate that the events turned out as they did. Had Werner lived and implemented his ideas the Russians' strategy of pulling all their war making industries beyond the Urals would not have been successfull. They would have had to move much further and even still the Germans would have been in a better position to launch "strategic" campaigns and had the chance to wipe out the Russian heavy industry.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's one of the most common arguments in favour of German strategic bombing, but IMHO it is flawed.

Think about it: The Allies had to divert massive resources into their strategic bombing campaign, and even today the results were debatable.

Had the Germans tried something similar against the Soviet Union they would have needed 1) a massive bomber fleet and 2) large amounts of longrange fighters (which they didn't have). All that would have taken scarce resources from more vital areas.

cheers/slush

http://www.wilcks.dk/lort/Eurotrolls.gif

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 08:57 AM
The BIG mistake of Germany was to fight in 2 main fronts (Western Europe and URSS) and in one more, the Mediterranean, though this one was supposed to be up to the Italians.
This enormous extension spread too much German resources, not allowing to fight in full conditions almost anywhere.

What if Hitler had decided not to fight the UK, and instead concentrated all his resources in the Eastern Front? But he was too impatient, and Opertation Seawolf and its consequences were, from my point of view, one of the most important tactical and strategic errors.

georgeo76
06-25-2004, 09:07 AM
I agree w/ Slush. Large strategic bombers would have been ineffective ether on the eastern or western front.

The real question is why didn't Du invest more into transport AC? I know they had the behemoth gliders and iron Annie's. But in insufficient #s. Had the Du a fleet of Ju-52s to rival the Allies fleet of sky trains, I would expect that the war would have been much different in both N. Africa and Russia.

ImpStarDuece
06-25-2004, 09:10 AM
The reasons for the German lack of a true 'heavy' bomber are manifold.

Firstly, Prussian millitarism mean that it was the army which was given primacy in the mind of German generals and leaders. Germany, while it does have a large coastline, is essentially a continental nation and as such the army and the battles it fights on land were viewed as the key to victory or defeat for Germany. As a result the German mindset was that the airforce and the navy were there to act in support of the German army, not to be independent branches of millitary service with their own goals -though this isn't completely true, particularly for the Navy. Compare this to nations like Britain and the USA, which are predominatley maratime in national character. Each has large coastlines and associated trade routes which provided a great percentage of their national wealth. So you can see why they would view long range aircraft as a strategic necessity, while Germany (and to a lesser extent Russia) would not.

Secondly, because the Air Force was seen primarily as a support arm of the army, excessive range was not a priority for those responsible for type purchase for the Lufftwaffe. Short range tatical stirkes of less than 1000km would be sufficient for most major targets in the Low Countries, the Balkans, most of the Med (from Italian bases) and the majority of Western France, as well as Russian frontal aviation and army units. German designers worked on many, many 4 engine and/or long range bomber concepts both before and during the war but offical reluctance, short sightedness and lack of resources all combined to sink most of these designs.

Short termism was also a major factor in the decision to build a tactical instead of strategic bomber force. Quite righly, Hitler was only interested in weapons that could bring about swift and decisive victory and that could be ready almost immediately. Because of this short sighted vision projects that would take years to come to fruition - such as a large, complicated and expensive heavy bomber- fell rapidly out of favour with the Lufftwaffe high command. Look at the german nuclear weapon and jet propulsion programmes for other examples.

Combined with short termism was the lack of a grasp of the fundamentals of strategic air warfare by Lufftwaffe high command. Most Lufftwaffe generals were ex fighter pilots and as such were preinclined to favour fighter and dive bomber tactics. The role of the air force as they saw it was to sweep the enemy clear of the skies and then to act as a reconnicance and airborne artillery section for the army, using tactical concentrations of firepower to create decisive victory on the ground. Germany and her leaders before ww2 though of combat predominately in terms of ground combat - war with France or Russia would be decided on land, not at Sea or in the Air.

Lastly, as strategic weapons fell out of favour with German high command - ie Hitler- those companies attempting to gain funding for long term projects lost government contracts to companies that could create weapons in a shorter time span. The decision for them became to either concentrate on "results now" planes or fall by the wayside and missout on the rebuilding of German millitary might.


hope you all liked my stream of consciousness. Phew, i feel like ive just written an essay. This is all off the top of my head as its been a few years since i did anything like this at uni but i hope it helps in some way. Challenge me on anything you disagree with, i'm never quite sure that i'm right with regard to things like this.

Flying Bullet Magnet... Catching Lead Since 2002

"There's no such thing as gravity, the earth sucks!"

"War is just an extension of politics carried out by other means" von Clauswitz.

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 09:13 AM
In my opinion, strategic bombing is more a morale weapon than an asset destruction weapon. In that sense, it was successful.
If the war was to last a few more time, maybe "intelligent" weapons could have played a role in it. But they were just prototypes. Nevertheless, some guided bombs were used successfully in Asia. If those weapons had arrived on time, things could have changed a lot.

ImpStarDuece
06-25-2004, 09:17 AM
Guided bombs were used by both sides in both the ETO and the PTO. The Germand had notable, and well published, success with the Hs 123 missle and the FritzX glide bomb but it was the US who first developed and used radio controlled and guided bombs, even prior to WW2.

Think the US project was called the BAT.

Flying Bullet Magnet... Catching Lead Since 2002

"There's no such thing as gravity, the earth sucks!"

"War is just an extension of politics carried out by other means" von Clauswitz.

LilHorse
06-25-2004, 09:19 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Slush69:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LilHorse:
It was fortunate that the events turned out as they did. Had Werner lived and implemented his ideas the Russians' strategy of pulling all their war making industries beyond the Urals would not have been successfull. They would have had to move much further and even still the Germans would have been in a better position to launch "strategic" campaigns and had the chance to wipe out the Russian heavy industry.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's one of the most common arguments in favour of German strategic bombing, but IMHO it is flawed.

Think about it: The Allies had to divert massive resources into their strategic bombing campaign, and even today the results were debatable.

Had the Germans tried something similar against the Soviet Union they would have needed 1) a massive bomber fleet and 2) large amounts of longrange fighters (which they didn't have). All that would have taken scarce resources from more vital areas.

cheers/slush
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, there are certainly many factors to be concidered. Especially, when one is contemplating the "what if" scenarios. I think it involves a combination of your response and cueceleches post that followed. Given all the fronts that the Germans had moved into simultaniously, it's incredible that they had the successes they did. Imagine if they had focused their resourses on only one major front (the Eastern Front would probably have been the most important). It's often argued that, had the logistics tail been up to where the generals on the Eastern Front would have liked it, the Germans would have done even greater damage to the Soviet forces. The Germans might have successfully forced the Russian border to beyond the Urals and taken control of all the idustrial and agricultural resourses west of there. But something as simple as not having produced enough Ju-52s to resupply outlying frontier positions had terrible consequences for the Germans.

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 09:23 AM
I do totally agree with Lilhorse. Taking account that German resources were so spread across Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa, Greece, Italy, and other places, they got a surprisingly high number of successes. It must be admited that Germany was an incredible war machine, but lacked of logistics.

Turkey_Lurkey
06-25-2004, 09:47 AM
Hmmmm....

IIRC it was WALTER WEAVER? Who died in the aircrash.

WW read 'Mein Kamp' and deduced obviously that a war was coming with the USSR.

Correctly guessing that the Soviet command would fall back on the tactic that beat Napolean - scorched earth! He was a strong advocate for a 4 engined long ranged AC or 'Ural Bomber'

Weaver died in a crash and Fatty G took over.

The immediate empahsis was on the NUMBER of bombers as opposed to the type and to keep favour fatty plowed ahead with the 111 production to get the AC count up.

The concept of what we recognise as strategic bombing was very very new and still somewhat unproved.

As we all know the OKL was a tactical airforce designed for combined arms work in Blitzkrieg offensives working in close coop with the Panzers and based just behind the front.

WW saw the writing on the wall and knew that ultimatly the OKL desperatly needed long range heavy payload AC to win wars.

The bottom line was Hitler had promised that there would be no hostilities until '45 and subsequently all service brances were inadequtly equiped

owlwatcher
06-25-2004, 09:49 AM
The main problem would have been resouces gas raw materials etc. The Germans had neither the time or resouces to manage it.
The set backs as noted before poor engine design and Goring made the whole idea of heavy bombers out of there reach.

Had the war gone a different route. There would have been most likly seen different aircraft emerge. As the exsample of the alantic bombers Ju390.Same for the US which did not push because of no need of extra long range bombers.

The Mosquito bomber was a excellent plane to bomb a target. It only could accomplished
half the job that was asked for in a heavy bomber. That is to fight an air war an win it.
You must go in harms way and engage the interceptors.

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 09:51 AM
As for oil resources, Germany was already producing synthetic oil ,but it was expensive and delicate. That´s why they aimed to the Ploesti and Crimean oil producing facilities.

horseback
06-25-2004, 10:04 AM
I am coming to believe that Allied strategic bombing capability was a result of geography and coincidence rather than vision on the part of pre-war planners. Britain had a large Empire to control and protect, and America is a much larger country than most Europeans appreciate. Range was a prerequisite for most bombers they would use, simply because it was necessary to move most efficiently from base to base.

Long range means that you have to be able to carry sufficient fuel to reach your target and return. This implies greater size, and a "useful payload" (which, by the way, reached a progressively larger defined tonnage as the war progressed-hence the early-war designed Mosquito being capable of a bombload similar to the mid-30s designed B-17). This was a major factor in the design of all US military aircraft from the 1930s onwards, and goes a long way toward explaining the greater sizes of even their fighters.

Germany, on the other hand, was comparatively compact, and her potential enemies were close at hand. The political expedience of being able to fill the air with medium bombers (sheer numbers being more impressive than the greater military effectiveness of less than half the more expensive 'heavies') also weighed heavily with German leadership, who were not burdened by an excessive appreciation of the logistic requirements of their plans. They expected to be able to destroy their enemies' miltary resources at the front, for the most part.

Generally speaking, wars are largely fought with weapons developed over the long term before the war begins. WWII lasted long enough that a great deal of new designs were introduced during its' tenure, but most of the major weapons (particularly bombers) were based on pre war designs.

cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

LilHorse
06-25-2004, 10:05 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Turkey_Lurkey:
Hmmmm....

IIRC it was WALTER WEAVER? Who died in the aircrash.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, you are correct. My mistake.

CRSutton
06-25-2004, 10:25 AM
It really matters little about why the Germans turned away from large bombers in favor of tactical bombers. In reality only Britian and the US had the economic powere to mount an effort such as that. And Britian got a lot of material help from the US.

One word comes to mind. Impossible.

Chuck_Older
06-25-2004, 10:31 AM
Impossible to use them due to logistics, maybe, but to make them, very possible. Economically, the German experiments to split the atom and development of rockets and jet aircraft were possible, so what is the real show stopper for a four engined bomber (which they did actually make). The Dornier Arrow must have been expensive to develop, but they did it.

*****************************
The hillsides ring with, "Free the People",
Or can I hear the echoes from the days of '39?
~ Clash

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 10:33 AM
At least Britain already had a Bomber Command before the war, where the heavy strategic bomber was predominant, and despite the economic situation. Germany could have built a Bomber Command also, but they simply were not interested in that type of bombing.
Also, it must be said that Goering had kind of a romantic idea of aerial war, WW1 pilot as he was, were fighters were far more important. This idea was obviously polished and developped, but fighter pilots remained the heroes of the Reich. Just remember men like Galland, Marseille, and many others.

Chuck_Older
06-25-2004, 10:38 AM
I can agree with that, I think, for at least the beginning years of the war.


Another thing to consider is that heavy bombers need specific and re-inforced airstrips that are longer than the average grass feild that many LW planes could operate from. Making those strips in would not make sense in the light of blitzkreig tactics- those men building the feilds would be needed elsewhere until the campaign was done, and when it was done, why do you need the bases?

*****************************
The hillsides ring with, "Free the People",
Or can I hear the echoes from the days of '39?
~ Clash

cueceleches
06-25-2004, 10:47 AM
Yes, it´s implicit in the type of war the Germans fought: the blitz. I mean, they rushed into a foreign country, invaded it, and inmediately rushed for the next one, not allowing to establish permanent structures. This lasted until they invaded almost all continental Europe. But after that, once established, they could have built proper runways and the whole stuff, as they did build the equivalent of the Maginot line along the Atlantic coast.

Aaron_GT
06-25-2004, 11:38 AM
" it seems that Hitler hoped even, once almost the whole Europe was occupied, that Chrchill would sign a peace treaty with Germany"

He wasn't expecting Churchill to even be PM, let
alone hold out. Chamberlain being too ill was
not anticipated in 1939, and Halifax was seen as
the more natural choice for PM than Churchill. Churchill was a moderate surprise.

Quick summary...

The Germans did start development of heavy bombers (the bomber B stream) and deployed some bombers that could deliver as much payload as Allied heavy bombers, but did not produce them in numbers.

In the 1930s the world was divided into those who believed that the bomber would always get through and that strategic bombing would be devastating, somewhat against the reality of the capabilities of the bombers of the 1930s which were mediums at best, and those who believed in tactical bombing.

Early in the war strategic bombing, with light loads and inaccurate targeting, was pretty much a tactic of desperation for attacking areas that you could not attack directly or fly bombers in support of direct attacks. The Battle of Britain quickly showed that in daylight attacks the bomber would not always get through, and that night bombing was inaccurate. This remained true for both allied and axis until the end of 1942.

Meanwhile Germany was engaged in land wars for which there was a great need for tactical bombers. The Allies were not until the very end of 1942.

In the period to 1942 the Allies expended a lot of effort on creating bombers that could take the fight to Germany when they had no other large effective theatres of operation, and developments in aircraft, targeting, and navigation meant that it was an effective force by the start of 1943.

In the meantime the allies did use quite a number of tactical bombers as well, in support of ground troops in places like North Africa.

IKG26Redcoat
06-25-2004, 11:43 AM
As I think Lilhorse mentioned earlier, it basicly came down to the type of airforce would best achieve the aims of the military.You can either have a independant bomber force, conducting a campaign on its own, or as Germany chose in building a tatical airforce, for prewar political reasons as well as the desired application of force. Britain was in exactly the same quandary, but went the opposite way, beliving the prewar conception of a 'knockout blow' by a large stratigic bomber force. The Germans picked the correct option or rather the right option for their goals. A modern airforce has to support the army in Total War, bringing to bear every combination of millitary might in an overwhelming assault. It is interesting that the British learnt these lessons for themselves in Africa, and perfected them in Italy. The essential truth is that Germany never expected to fight Britain on the scale it did. It hoped to acheive a political settlement making the creation of a large bomber force unnecersary. It must have come as one hell of a shock to find that, even after the British Army escaped from Dunkirk back to England by the skin of its teeth, leaving all its heavy weapons and equipment behind, that we were still unprepared to accept a German settlement and to fight on. Which is where it started to come unstuck for the germans. As profesional amd skilled as the Luftwaffe was, it simply wasnt disigned to do the job of destroying an equal modern, (albeit smaller) well trained airforce.
im starting to ramble a bit here, but the gist is, it was either, or. Not both.

There are a lot of people, who say, that bombing can never win a war. Well, my answer to that, is that it has never been tried yet, and we shall see.
Sir Arthur Harris
CinC Bomber Command

Magister__Ludi
06-25-2004, 01:03 PM
Germany had one strategic bomber, the He-177. And despite the all badmouthing against it He-177 was a very advanced and capable bomber. Unfortunatelly LW could not make proper use of it, because LW lacked the infrastructure, resources and also the interest to launch a strategic bombing campaign. In long range role He-177 was used mainly as antishipping bomber in Atlantic and long range bomber in USSR.

There are a lot similarities between He-177 and B-29. I will name a few:

1)First the payload/range capabilities:

Normal payload was for B-29:
5000lb for 3200miles at 25000ft

Normal payload for He-177A-5 was
6000lb for 3100miles at 20000ft

Normal payload for B-17G was
4000lb for 1800miles at 25000ft

Normal payload for B-24J was
5000lb for 1700miles at 25000ft

As you see He-177 doubled the payload/range capability of B-17/B-24 and was similar with B-29 in this respect. What is amazing is that He-177 was comparable in weight with B-17/B-24, B-29 was twice as big! So you could have a bomber with similar capabilities with B-29 at half the price. LW, though much shorter on resources, had 1000 of He-177, USAAF had around 1500 B-29 in service when Japan capitulated.

2)Speed

Both were fast bombers, especially for their size, B-29 around 570km/h max speed, He-177 520km/h with DB610, 550km/h with DB613 (IIRC). Max speed for B-17G was 480km/h at 30000ft taking advantage of the turbosuperchargers, but this was unpractical because it dramatically reduced the range. Max speed at the altitude where B-17 actually flew was 400km/h (at around 6000m), He-177 being with over 100km/h faster than B-17 there. Speed is very important because it minimizes the threat of interception and of AA fire. Because B-17 was so slow it was very easy to intercept and had to fly in boxes in order to have a chance to survive. But boxes made them very vulnerable to AA fire. Both B-29 and He-177 flew in small formations, and made the bomb run individually.

3)Defense

Both B-29 and He-177 had 2 dorsal turrets plus a tail gunner. B-29 had in plus another 2 ventral turrets. He-177 had only 2 ventral defensive guns, one firing aft, the other firing forward. Both used remote controlled turrets, though B-29 had a more advanced fire system, all turrets being remote controlled and better integrated. It's hard to tell how well this worked because B-29 did not encounter serious fighter oposition. He-177 was only half way on fire control automation but this is understandable, remote controlled turrets were not considered the most reliable pieces of machinery and they usually decreased the accuracy to some degree.

4)Bombing accuracy

Both B-29 and He-177 had sometimes radar bombing equipment installed. Flown at night allowed bombing from low altitudes, making radar bombing relativelly accurate. In '44 He-177 could bomb at night chosen large buildings without carpet bombing. They accuratelly bombed governamental buildings in London during.

Accuracy is very important because it means less sorties to destroy an objective. Germans were obssessed with accurate bombing as Allies were with carpet bombing. This lead sometimes to bizarre requirements, like the one that requested He-177 to be capable of dive bombing (this requirement was cancelled though in the end the plane was certified for dive bombing despite some accidents in the early days caused by structural weaknesses).

Taking this quest for accurate bombing a step further, He-177 used with great success 2 guided bombs, one a guided rocket, the other a guided glide bomb. Their accuracy was comparable with that of Stuka (very good by ww2 standards) and though those weapons were sensitive to jamming, they were very effective against convoys (less so against escorting military vessels).

5)Complexity

Both were the most complex bombers at that time and had many infancy problems. Best known are the engine problems. Both planes had more losses from accidents than from enemy action. From 1500 B-29 that reached service 500 were lost mostly to engine malfunctions. In January '45 the mission abort rate was as high as 23%. He-177 had similar problems, unfortunatelly I do not know how many were lost, IMO around 200-300 from 1000, also most of them in accidents. Here there is an important mention to make. Many He-177 counted as losses were actually unserviceable bombers abandoned on the airfields during retreat from mid '44. Probably this counts as high as half of the losses. Engine troubles were basically solved from mid '43, He-177 had one year of service without major troubles, the accident rate being comparable with that of the rest of LW medium bombers.

Engines were not the only source for troubles unfortunatelly. Crew training and maintainance conditions seriously hampered the operations of both bombers. Though the B-29 crews had very good training, this was done at a very slow pace and imposed lengthy delays on B-29 operations. Also a machine as complex as B-29 required a higher level of crew bonding and cooperation, impossible to form in short time.

A report from '43 IIRC found that He-177 bomber crews and ground personnel training was unsatisfactory and most of the problems were caused by unproper operations. Also the raport details that LW lacked the infrastructure to operate the bomber in good conditions. Though much of the early problems could be attributted to Heinkel and DB, the later problems were caused by LW itself.

A small note about the engines. Though He-177 is labelled as a twin engine bomber, actually each DB610 powerplant is composed of 2 DB605 engines, each being started separately, with the possibility to be throttled individually. The pilot uses 4 throttle levers, not 2. In case one of the DB605 is damaged and has to be stopped it can be unclutched and turned off (there was no need to turned off both engines that composed DB610 if one of its DB605 got hit).

--

In conclusion He-177 was LW's strategic bomber, a very capable one despite early troubles. Its bad reputation dates from war days when high ranked RLM officials (notably Milch himself) were in open conflict with some of the most powerful German industrialists, among which Dr. Heinkel and important Daimler Benz representatives made the top of the list (along with Messerschmitt). Milch tried several times to shut down He-177's production line, which was an easy target because of its troubles. OKL however insisted that the type should stay in production, and remaind until late '44, when most bomber production lines were shut down because of worsening war situation.

[This message was edited by Magister__Ludi on Fri June 25 2004 at 02:38 PM.]

owlwatcher
06-25-2004, 01:08 PM
If you study the design and develoment of the B-17. You will find it was meant to defend the shores of the US against enemy fleets.
Which it turns out it was a complete failure at performing in this role.
With the bombing of city's in Europe excepted standard pratice before the US entry and the war time production figures put into action 100,000 planes.
The demand for quick 2nd front to take presure off of Russia.
The stategic bomber found a new and untested role just by consequnces of the times.

If you look at the oil output of Germany during the war she was using more then ever dreamed of and never even before the bombing of her oil started had enought fuel for her armed forces.
Hitler with his war politics never allowed the armed forces the time to prepare for for his wars.
By 1941 most of the major planes in luffwaffe service were obsolite for the demands of the times JU87,He-111,Do-17 and the next generation of planes plagued by problems. The war demands were just to fast for any kind of long term prewar planning.
Britain's Bomber Command would fail at what they thought would work (precision day light bombing).
So the eguipment and the war actions and demands would find it,s own path.

Chuck_Older
06-25-2004, 04:30 PM
Yes, that is the reason given in the History books. The AAF wanted to convince Congress to allow them to build large bombers, and the reason they cited was to defend the US coastline.

Let's look at this from another angle.

The reason thet US fighters were once called "Pursuit" planes was because a clever Army officer, whose name escapes me at the moment, fooled Congress into giving the US Army money to build basically a fighter plane, an offensive weapon, at a time when Isolationism was the company line so to speak in the US. By calling it a "Pursuit" Plane, he was able to convince Congress it was a DEfensive weapon, not an offensive one, and so, in case anyome wondered why, that's why we had the "P-40" and "P-47" and so on, "P" for Pursuit. Sounded more peaceable I guess, if it was just to defend ourselves.

Now, consider that the ARmy and Navy are both competeing for Congressional cash to allocate budget.

Would it be a valid tactic for the Army to try and develop a weapon it wants (a bomber like the B-17) by trying to give it a mission that could take responsibility for coastal defense from their Rival, the Navy? The Army's budget might go up, while the Navy's might go down? In-fighting and politicking exists now between the US Armed Forces, and one department regularly raids the other's coffers to fund projects. Fistfights between rival branch officers in hallways at the Pentagon have nearly occurred not too long ago.

It was undoubtably the same in the '30s.

In my opinion, the Army claimed it was supposed to be for coastal defense, but in reality used this story as an excuse to develop the long range bomber without their own precious budget taking too big a hit.

*****************************
The hillsides ring with, "Free the People",
Or can I hear the echoes from the days of '39?
~ Clash

FiPete
06-25-2004, 07:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by cueceleches:
Why didn´t Germany ever produce heavy bombers? Four engine type, like B17s or B24s...
I´ve read somewhere that Goering and Kesselring didn´t believe in strategic bombing. But, after the Battle of Britain debacle, and noticing that both He111s and Ju 88s were too vulnerable, couldn´t they have learnt something from the British heavy bombings, and after that the Americans? I mean, they could have produced a heavy bomber and wiped out London, as the Allies did with many German cities, whilst provoking mayhem in the country, affecting both morale and production capabilities.

What do you think?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

A simple answer is that the German bombers were meant to be used against military targets and to support the ground forces in their operations.

John_Stag
06-26-2004, 05:23 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by FiPete:


A simple answer is that the German bombers were meant to be used against military targets and to support the ground forces in their operations.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Really? http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/784.gif

The simple answer is that early German desgins were almost exclusively developed from "civilian" models to hide the fact that Germany was re-arming. The He117 was a pure bomber design, and not a bad concept, despite the early engine problems. It may have been in operation far earlier and in far greater quantities except for Hitler's insistance that it had the ability to dive-bomb.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>:Sergeant! Where are you taking those vultures?

Sergeant: Officers to the mess, NCO's to the Guardroom, Sir!

:Like hell you are, they're responsible for all this, get them to clean it up!

Sergeant: But what about the officers, Sir?

:Give 'em a bloody shovel.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

uberweng
06-26-2004, 05:51 AM
cueceleches,
Murray's book "Strategy for Defeat: The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945 answers this question pretty well and can be downloaded legally here:

http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/aul/aupress/catalog/books/Murray_B12.htm

Enjoy it, its a great read.

Uberweng

Aaron_GT
06-26-2004, 05:51 AM
"The reason thet US fighters were once called "Pursuit" planes was because a clever Army officer, whose name escapes me at the moment, fooled Congress into giving the US Army money to build basically a fighter plane, an offensive weapon, at a time when Isolationism was the company line so to speak in the US."

At which point in time are you positing this
event occured?

Aaron_GT
06-26-2004, 06:01 AM
"The simple answer is that early German desgins were almost exclusively developed from "civilian" models to hide the fact that Germany was re-arming. "

There is no reason why they couldn't have also developed 4 engined designs as part of this. In fact in the Ju90, they did (later developed as a recon/medium-altitude heavy bomber as the Ju290, and a long range bomber as the 390, but in limited numbers). It was underpowered, which was its main problem. The Ju90 first flew in
1937, but the Ju290 didn't get delivered until
late 1942. Maximum bomb load was up to 19,000 lb, and range with with minimal load up to 4000 miles. But the ceiling was a dismal 20,000 feet, probably why the A8 version had 10 20mm cannon...

Chuck_Older
06-26-2004, 08:00 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
"The reason thet US fighters were once called "Pursuit" planes was because a clever Army officer, whose name escapes me at the moment, fooled Congress into giving the US Army money to build basically a fighter plane, an offensive weapon, at a time when Isolationism was the company line so to speak in the US."

At which point in time are you positing this
event occured?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If I recall correctly, the earlt 1930's. If I could remember that Officer's name I could just look it up http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

*****************************
The hillsides ring with, "Free the People",
Or can I hear the echoes from the days of '39?
~ Clash

John_Stag
06-26-2004, 08:47 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
"The simple answer is that early German desgins were almost exclusively developed from "civilian" models to hide the fact that Germany was re-arming. "

There is no reason why they couldn't have also developed 4 engined designs as part of this. In fact in the Ju90, they did (later developed as a recon/medium-altitude heavy bomber as the Ju290, and a long range bomber as the 390, but in limited numbers). It was underpowered, which was its main problem. The Ju90 first flew in
1937, but the Ju290 didn't get delivered until
late 1942. Maximum bomb load was up to 19,000 lb, and range with with minimal load up to 4000 miles. But the ceiling was a dismal 20,000 feet, probably why the A8 version had 10 20mm cannon...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The FW200 was, but it didn't convert well to military use; it was a little on the fragile side.

As for others; in the build up of the new Lutwaffe, I believe, as somebody has already pointed out, that quantity was more important than "quality."

By the time they realised there was a real need, it was too late and they were in to deep.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>:Sergeant! Where are you taking those vultures?

Sergeant: Officers to the mess, NCO's to the Guardroom, Sir!

:Like hell you are, they're responsible for all this, get them to clean it up!

Sergeant: But what about the officers, Sir?

:Give 'em a bloody shovel.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Aaron_GT
06-26-2004, 08:56 AM
"If I recall correctly, the earlt 1930's. If I could remember that Officer's name I could just look it up"

I doubt that is why fighters got the P prefix, then (or at least not based on that timescale). Fighter squadrons were called Pursuit from WW1, so prefixing fighters with P, to go with the Pursuit squadrons that used them was simply a logical step.

Aaron_GT
06-26-2004, 08:58 AM
"As for others; in the build up of the new Lutwaffe, I believe, as somebody has already pointed out, that quantity was more important than "quality."
"

I'd agree with that. As I said in a previous post, it was also about a rift in doctrine - the controversial (and unlikely, in the early 1930s) concept of the strategic bomber that would always get through, and the more proven technique of the bomber as mobile artillery. In the end reality caught up with the Germans, and even more so with the Japanese when strategic bombing came to full fruition with long range aircraft carrying atomic weapons.

Ruy Horta
06-27-2004, 01:22 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by horseback:
I am coming to believe that Allied strategic bombing capability was a result of geography and coincidence rather than vision on the part of pre-war planners. Britain had a large Empire to control and protect, and America is a much larger country than most Europeans appreciate. Range was a prerequisite for most bombers they would use, simply because it was necessary to move most efficiently from base to base.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You've hit the button with this post.

Again, what few people realize is that Germany did have a plan to wage a strategic war against Britain, which would have kicked in around '42-43 if it had not been for Barbarossa.

The German economy being what it was - limited - could not fight a gargantuan battle on the Eastern Front, an economic war at sea AND a periphal battle in the Med, whilst also gearing up for a strategic air war against Britain.

The original plan however did envisage a moment where the economy had to switch from land war to a strategic air war against Britain.

For those that continue to see British bomber command as more "strategic" than the Luftwaffe, please compare the 1939-40 types of both arms in terms of a/c capability.

He 111P/H, Do 17Z/215 and Ju 88A

vs

Whitley, Hampton and Wellington

Also consider when the new four engine types really became an important part of Bomber Command. The Luftwaffe waging a strategic air war could have easily had a reliable heavy bomber in 42-43 priorities would have been different etc etc etc.

However the Luftwaffe was literally swamped in, mainly in Russia, being spread too thin to be effective anyware on the long run, helping the army instead of waging an air war - to the point of neglecting even the interdiction of enemy supply lines.

But if you concentrate all the German economy vs England...1941/43 would have been quite different, the US might not even have been able to build up a strong force in Britain if it had been under a strong air campaign.

http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/59.gif
Ruy Horta

Chuck_Older
06-27-2004, 08:08 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
"If I recall correctly, the earlt 1930's. If I could remember that Officer's name I could just look it up"

I doubt that is why fighters got the P prefix, then (or at least not based on that timescale). Fighter squadrons were called Pursuit from WW1, so prefixing fighters with P, to go with the Pursuit squadrons that used them was simply a logical step.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That may be so, and I may be recalling this story incorrectly, but I would like to point out that the "P-" designation was not used by the US in WWI, and that in WWI, these planes were called "Scouts", not "Pursuits".

*****************************
The hillsides ring with, "Free the People",
Or can I hear the echoes from the days of '39?
~ Clash