PDA

View Full Version : Combat Box



slipBall
05-20-2006, 04:39 PM
General Curtis E. LeMay of the 305th bombardment group. Is credited with the creation of this tactical formation, I was wondering if during BOB, did the German's make use of a simular defensive formation for the waves of light bombers heading over the channel.

civildog
05-20-2006, 06:55 PM
I doubt it. The combat box concept was developed during the development of the B-17's wartime design. The specs on the bombers' gunner placements was part of that overall concept because that before the US had the long range escorts to protect the bombers.

The Germans didn't use their bombers the same way and they always had the idea that they would have tactical fighters available to protect the bombers since they wouldn't be flying too far beyond the front lines. BoB proved the limitations on that concept, though. So the defensive positions on the bombers, along with the other guns in the formation, were not expected to be the sole means of protecting the bombers. Just to act as another layer of protection with the escorting fighters being the main defensive line. So the formations were not mutually supporting defensively, they were more spread out.

Unlike the B-17's which had a lot of thought go into the gunner positions relative to the placement within the formation so as to creat mutual support while in formation because there weren't likely to be any escort fighters.

slipBall
05-21-2006, 03:36 AM
That makes perfect sence http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif I quess with bob releasing shortly, I'm already designing in my mind my first mission

Kurfurst__
05-21-2006, 03:49 AM
Originally posted by CivilDog:

The Germans didn't use their bombers the same way and they always had the idea that they would have tactical fighters available to protect the bombers since they wouldn't be flying too far beyond the front lines. BoB proved the limitations on that concept, though. So the defensive positions on the bombers, along with the other guns in the formation, were not expected to be the sole means of protecting the bombers. Just to act as another layer of protection with the escorting fighters being the main defensive line. So the formations were not mutually supporting defensively, they were more spread out.

Unlike the B-17's which had a lot of thought go into the gunner positions relative to the placement within the formation so as to creat mutual support while in formation because there weren't likely to be any escort fighters.

This is quite incorrect. Germans, like all others before the war were thinking in the terms that the fast, monoplane 'bomber will always get through' the older, slower, biplane fighters. Fighter escorts were not considered, like other countries, the role of the fighter was to intercept enemy bombers and fighte enemy fighters, and not to escort the own bombers. During most of the time in the early campaigns German bombers operated unescorted, and relied - rather successfully - on speed. Defensive armament was relatively light. The RAF tried similiar tactics of unescorted bombers, and tried the light, fast bomber concept in the form of the Blenheim. It was not until the BoB the LW began to use heavy escorts of 109 for the bomber stream. The bombers themselves from photographs did flew in formation, altough it seems it was more like a bomber stream at 6000m, with the same Gruppe's Staffeln flying close to each other in five plane, V-shaped formations providing. Fighter escort was provided in the form of fighter sweeps (freie jagd) in front of the formation, top, and immidiate cover for the bombers, all at the same time, the latter being hated by the fighter pilots themselves as they were tied to the slow bombers. Hugely concentrated formations of bombers was also rare for a while until London was bombed, most of the time, smaller detachments of bombers attacked different targets.

slipBall
05-21-2006, 04:09 AM
That also makes sence, considering the 109's fuel limitations. Trying to stay with the bombers would have used up much of their airtime. In the up-coming bob, 109 pilots will be watching that fuel guage very closely

Kurfurst__
05-21-2006, 04:24 AM
Yes, staying with the bombers was difficult - either slow down and consume less, but make yourself vulnerable, or zigzag at high speed in their formation and run out of fuel soon.

The 109 fuel limitiation would be better be phrased as the fuel limitation of the defensive interceptors that characterised every European air force's fighters in the 1930s. If you look at the fighters of 1939, none of them are long ranged, the 109 is just one typical example, getting more 'fame' for short range because it was the first one of the 1930s interceptors that due to the changing circumstances of the air war were forced to duties it was originally not conceived for. What is more ironical, it was their own birth that created the situation; To intercept fast monoplane bombers (offensive weapons), fast, light (thus short ranged) interceptors (defensive weapons) were needed to counter them. But, after everyone had both, the vulnerable fast monoplane bomber needed something of a longer range fighter to defend it from the other guy's fast, light interceptors which were equally short ranged, but in their original defensive role they're used it was no problem. As for the 109 in particular, they didn't make too bad with it, considering how quickly the situation changed in the West in a few months; by the start of the BoB, the 109E-7 could carry a droptank which would give it sufficient range, and the first examples of the longer ranged 109F were just rolling off the production line; with the BoB lasting just a few months, these couldn't be put in service in numbers in time though.

Low_Flyer_MkVb
05-21-2006, 04:26 AM
Try and find a copy of Paul Ritchey's 'Fighter Pilot', apart from being a fine all-round account of the air war over France in 1940 from the perspective of a Hurricane pilot, it contains some interesting passages on mutual support by German bombers. Would type it up for you, but I have, with my usual amazing timing, lent out my copy.

ojcar1971
05-21-2006, 05:48 AM
Sorry, a silly question. If the germans didn't think about escorting bombers WTF is the Bf 110??