PDA

View Full Version : High altitude action on the eastern front



249th_Harrier
03-03-2006, 09:22 AM
Very recently I have started reading about the air war in the Solomons in 1942/43. The IJN would attack from 20k-30k altitude with enough accuracy to damage the airfield and port installations. Only the marine F4F had the altitude performance to intercept, the army p-40s and p-39s couldn't get high enough.

This led me to the question: why didn't the LW do the same thing in the eastern front? Other than the Mig and the Hurri, all VVS fighters were limited in altitude performance, so the LW should have been able to bomb airfields, ports, bridges, etc. and just thumbed their noses at the VVS. Why didn't this happen? Why did they choose to fly where the p-39 could intercept?

249th_Harrier
03-03-2006, 09:22 AM
Very recently I have started reading about the air war in the Solomons in 1942/43. The IJN would attack from 20k-30k altitude with enough accuracy to damage the airfield and port installations. Only the marine F4F had the altitude performance to intercept, the army p-40s and p-39s couldn't get high enough.

This led me to the question: why didn't the LW do the same thing in the eastern front? Other than the Mig and the Hurri, all VVS fighters were limited in altitude performance, so the LW should have been able to bomb airfields, ports, bridges, etc. and just thumbed their noses at the VVS. Why didn't this happen? Why did they choose to fly where the p-39 could intercept?

BSS_Goat
03-03-2006, 09:50 AM
I think the bombing on the Eastern Front was more close air support and less strategic.

KG26_Alpha
03-03-2006, 10:13 AM
The weather ? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

OldMan____
03-03-2006, 10:39 AM
Because strategic bombimg would be irrelevant there. It was in fact much less relevant in western front than most think. The damage is not that big, and in a disperse country like USSR you would be ridiculowsly innefective with this tatics.

Estern front is all about tanks rolling upon each other ans planes trying to estroy them or avoiding other planes to do the same.

jarink
03-03-2006, 01:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by 249th_Harrier:
Very recently I have started reading about the air war in the Solomons in 1942/43. The IJN would attack from 20k-30k altitude with enough accuracy to damage the airfield and port installations. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Where did you read this? From everything I've ever read about Japanese air operations, high altitude bombing (over 20,000 ft) would be the exception, not the rule. I don't care what kind of bobmsight you have, most "dumb bombs" are going to be fairly inaccurate from that altitude.

Also, one other reason why the LW didn't bomb from higher altitues was their planes generally weren't capable of flying that high efficiently. Do-217 and He-111 had service ceilings right around 20,000 ft, I think. The Ju-88 could fly higher, but I don't think it could reach 30,000, either. (Excepting certain specialized recon variants) http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

3.JG51_BigBear
03-03-2006, 01:44 PM
Most of the infor I've seen says the Japanese bombed from medium altitudes and were really inaccurate in the South Pacific. Early war fighters like the Wildcat and P-39 had a hell of a time reaching even the medium level bomb runs in time but with better warning and standing patrols, interceptions weren't that bad.

Japanese recon flights, on the other hand, operated at extremely high altitudes.

249th_Harrier
03-03-2006, 03:04 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by jarink:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by 249th_Harrier:
Very recently I have started reading about the air war in the Solomons in 1942/43. The IJN would attack from 20k-30k altitude with enough accuracy to damage the airfield and port installations. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Where did you read this? From everything I've ever read about Japanese air operations, high altitude bombing (over 20,000 ft) would be the exception, not the rule. I don't care what kind of bobmsight you have, most "dumb bombs" are going to be fairly inaccurate from that altitude.

Also, one other reason why the LW didn't bomb from higher altitues was their planes generally weren't capable of flying that high efficiently. Do-217 and He-111 had service ceilings right around 20,000 ft, I think. The Ju-88 could fly higher, but I don't think it could reach 30,000, either. (Excepting certain specialized recon variants) http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

My source is "Semper Fi in the Sky: Marine Aviators of WWII". It more about personal anecdotes then technical analysis, but it describes Betty bombers coming over Henderson Field at ~20-25k ft. Since there was a good system of coas****chers, the F4Fs could scramble in advance and wait for the bombers at ~30k ft. The army p-400s at Henderson Field had oxygen systems for British oxygen bottles (they didn't have any), so they were limited to very low altitudes. More advanced p-39s showed up later, but they were limited to about 15k ft for any real combat. The F4F-3 had a better turbosupercharging system than the p-39, and that made a big difference for interceptions over Henderson. The books said that most bombing attacks were ineffective, but the reason was the effective interceptions and the fact that Guadalcanal was so far from Rabaul that the Bettys could only carry a small bombload.

Treetop64
03-03-2006, 04:44 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by 3.JG51_BigBear:
Most of the infor I've seen says the Japanese bombed from medium altitudes and were really inaccurate in the South Pacific. Early war fighters like the Wildcat and P-39 had a hell of a time reaching even the medium level bomb runs in time but with better warning and standing patrols, interceptions weren't that bad.

Japanese recon flights, on the other hand, operated at extremely high altitudes. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Japanese level bombing in the Pacific in general was very poor.

The Japanese had some excellent recce aircraft, though, in the "Dinah" (fast as hell at high altitudes) and the late war naval recce craft - forget what it's called - but it was also extremely fast, and looked the part, too. If a pilot was flying for the Japanese, the safest place to be would have probably been either of those recon AC!

WTE_Ibis
03-03-2006, 04:53 PM
249th_Harrier-- You should say coas twitchers not coas tw@tchers http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

idahosniper
03-03-2006, 05:06 PM
I think the P-39/P-400 had a ceiling of about 23,000 feet, and it did terrible at that altitude. So coming overhead at something above that would keep the bombers safe from them, but maybe not the F4Fs.

jarink
03-03-2006, 05:31 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by 249th_Harrier:
My source is "Semper Fi in the Sky: Marine Aviators of WWII". It more about personal anecdotes then technical analysis, but it describes Betty bombers coming over Henderson Field at ~20-25k ft. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

OK, I might have to look for it. I like the personal anecdote style, such as found in Gerald Astor's books. Hope I didn't come across rude; I re-read my post and realized my question may be easily miscontrued. There's a pretty good difference between 25k and 30k feet. On the face of it, it's only another 5,000 feet, but it's also right about that altitude where many bombers' performance began to drop off markedly.

Other things to consider is that the US started the war with a 3" AA gun, the M3. It had an effective vertical range of only about 22-24,000 ft. Max vertical range was 30,000 ft, but this was actually not possible due in most cases due to fuse limitations. Theoretically, if you fired at a plane flying at 30,000ft, you could only fire one shot before it was out of range again. (AAA ranges are best represented with a mushroom shape.) Starting at Guadalcanal, the M1A1 90mm AA gun was used, with only slightly better range but greatly increased killing power.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Since there was a good system of coas****chers, </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It took me a minute to figure out why the filters ****ed this out. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

MercilessFatBoy
03-03-2006, 06:21 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by 249th_Harrier:
Very recently I have started reading about the air war in the Solomons in 1942/43. The IJN would attack from 20k-30k altitude with enough accuracy to damage the airfield and port installations. Only the marine F4F had the altitude performance to intercept, the army p-40s and p-39s couldn't get high enough.

This led me to the question: why didn't the LW do the same thing in the eastern front? Other than the Mig and the Hurri, all VVS fighters were limited in altitude performance, so the LW should have been able to bomb airfields, ports, bridges, etc. and just thumbed their noses at the VVS. Why didn't this happen? Why did they choose to fly where the p-39 could intercept? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The lufwaffe did inddeed take alt adventage over the russians in many cases.... but.... talking about fighters and bombers.. the stukas would come 3k 4k meters alt when coming in to atack level bombers would come high when doing area bombing.... but level bombers were used for pin point targets on the eastern front... so if you gona hit a tank... or a car colum.... u need to be very low....... and it became harder for bomber crews when russians used the tactict of keeping no mans land as thin as possible.... so level bombers droping from high altitud would have big chances of hitting their own troops.... on the fighter side... like a lufwafe fighter put it "we could not just ignore the ratas strafing our troops"