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View Full Version : Operation Steinbock...Was it a waste of Luftwaffe aircraft?



MB_Avro_UK
02-03-2008, 07:06 AM
Hi all,

I don't think that this topic has been discussed before.

In a nut shell,it was perhaps the last throw of the dice by Goering against Britain in 1944.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

HuninMunin
02-03-2008, 07:19 AM
It was indeed a waste of crews and resources.
It seems that all it was intended for was raising Goerings capsized ego.
But of course this is true for many operations that were prone to failure during the war.

It was more then just a waste of aircraft, it was in many ways the self inflicted, leathel blow for the Kampfgeschwader in the West.
( Self inflicted because it was just the one tactical missjudgement too far by High Command ).

csThor
02-03-2008, 07:35 AM
It was, in my opinion, the typical reaction of the increasingly powerless and desperate Hitler who was trying to solve military problems (which he had helped to create) by using pre-1933 street-war methods (based on false beliefs and ideological blindness). Steinbock was a failure from the moment it had been cooked up, even before the first character of the actual order was written. To send german bombers on retaliation raids against London in order to force the Allies to stop their own bombing campaign was a ludicrous idea to everyone who had preserved a clear outlook. The Luftwaffe didn't have the numbers, the aircraft (technology-wise) and not the fuel to fulfill Hitler's mad fantasies of a London in ruins.

Basically it was already a waste to even build the aircraft needed for Steinbock for in 1944 the time of the german bomber force had gone by roughly a year ago. Utilizing the raw materials and the fuel to bolster the Reich Defense fighter units with new planes and crews as well as the fuel the bombers burned would have made things a lot easier for the fighter units. However it would not have changed the course of war.

leitmotiv
02-03-2008, 05:18 PM
A quick perusal of the Steinbock chapter in Ken Wakefield's superb PFADFINDER about KG100 will show why the operation was hopeless. The ascendency of the RAF Mosquito night fighters was almost total, and the odds were so against the German bombers, the aircrew were dumping their loads all over the countryside rather than trying to reach the hornet's nest over London. It instantly degenerated into nuisance bombing with no decisive effect. The He 177s did give the British a hard time but there were too few to matter.

MB_Avro_UK
02-03-2008, 05:24 PM
Hi all,

The German night defence system at that time is regarded as superb.

Was the British night defence system better?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

leitmotiv
02-03-2008, 05:47 PM
That is a very good question. Partial answer (1) the British centimetric airborne radar was vastly better than German airborne radar, (2) the Mosquito was vastly better than all German night fighters (He 219 a close contender), (3) the British night fighters did not have to contend with German night fighters in the bomber stream (as the Germans were beginning to have to contend with British night fighters in the bomber stream), (4) the British defense scheme was not being tested by strong intruder attacks (as was the German), (5) the level of threat was minute compared to the nightly hammers delivered by Bomber Command. In truth, Steinbock was just a pathetic series of retaliatory raids ordered by Hitler so that he could assure the German populace the British were being hit as Bomber Command prosecuted the unsuccessful Battle of Berlin on Germany. If they had had 1000 He177s, they would have had a going concern, but to throw a few 177s, many junky old Ju 88As, some better Do 217s and Ju 188s, and a few red hot Ju 88S bombers at a hornet's nest like London was futile. Main effect: raising the misery level in a London sick to death of the war and of rationing. "Created" a few more parks in residential areas around London which are still around today.

MB_Avro_UK
02-03-2008, 06:01 PM
Hi all,

Are we saying that Steinbock was the same as the 'Battle of the Bulge' in concept?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

leitmotiv
02-03-2008, 06:08 PM
Not really because Steinbock could never have been decisive. If the Germans had sliced their way to Antwerp, and held off the Allies, they could have seriously derailed the Allied war effort (meaning Berlin would have been the first nuclear city).

leitmotiv
02-03-2008, 06:44 PM
Steinbock was just for newsprint, for home consumption. Hitler believed the Fieseler 103 and A4 would crush the UK later in 1944. He was certain he had the measure of the British.

luftluuver
02-03-2008, 09:37 PM
(2) the Mosquito was vastly better than all German night fighters (He 219 a close contender)
Where did you get that on the 219. Close that book and never open it again. Better yet, throw the book into the garbage.

Kurfurst__
02-04-2008, 02:51 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
That is a very good question. Partial answer (1) the British centimetric airborne radar was vastly better than German airborne radar, (2) the Mosquito was vastly better than all German night fighters (He 219 a close contender),

I`d like to see the details behind these statements. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I am particularly interested in British AI radar, was it any good? What was it`s maximum range, what bearing accuracy and detection angle it had? Did they have any passive detector sets available them capable of picking up Luftwaffe bombers at very long range, ie. up to 80 miles, like LW passive sets?


Originally posted by leitmotiv:
In truth, Steinbock was just a pathetic series of retaliatory raids ordered by Hitler so that he could assure the German populace the British were being hit as Bomber Command prosecuted the unsuccessful Battle of Berlin on Germany. If they had had 1000 He177s, they would have had a going concern, but to throw a few 177s, many junky old Ju 88As, some better Do 217s and Ju 188s, and a few red hot Ju 88S bombers at a hornet's nest like London was futile. Main effect: raising the misery level in a London sick to death of the war and of rationing. "Created" a few more parks in residential areas around London which are still around today.

It`s a pretty good summary. Steinbock was largely a propaganda operation, with far too small forces committed to it, and even then, only intermittently - ie. KGs were pulled off soon to assist against Allied landings in Italy etc. Small effort, small losses, small results.

Xiolablu3
02-04-2008, 03:06 AM
Question about German/British Nightfighter Radars..

WHy did the German planes like the Me110/Ju88 have large Aerials on the front, but the Mosquitos didnt?

Did the aerials improve the RADAR at the expense of speed?

mbfRoy
02-04-2008, 03:55 AM
AFAIK those are dipole antennas which generate a primary "lobe" in a certain angle, ie. the radiated power is distributed in a narrower beam (say 0º +/- X degrees, 0º being the front view of the aircraft obviously) -as opposed to isotropic antennas, for example- so that the radar has longer range

luftluuver
02-04-2008, 04:18 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
Question about German/British Nightfighter Radars..

WHy did the German planes like the Me110/Ju88 have large Aerials on the front, but the Mosquitos didnt?

Did the aerials improve the RADAR at the expense of speed?
Because Xio, the Germans used a lower frequency than the Allies. The higher the frequency, the more accurate the radar and the smaller the antennas.

Tux_UK
02-04-2008, 04:34 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
Did [the British] have any passive detector sets available them capable of picking up Luftwaffe bombers at very long range, ie. up to 80 miles, like LW passive sets?

I would be interested in this too. I don't think the RAF did mount any passive detectors on night fighters, because as far as I'm aware German bombers didn't emit any signals for a passive detector to detect. Am I forgetting something or would passive detectors only have been of use as tail warning devices against German nightfighters, as fitted to Bomber Command aircraft late in the war?

luftluuver
02-04-2008, 04:48 AM
Originally posted by Tux_UK:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
Did [the British] have any passive detector sets available them capable of picking up Luftwaffe bombers at very long range, ie. up to 80 miles, like LW passive sets?

I would be interested in this too. I don't think the RAF did mount any passive detectors on night fighters, because as far as I'm aware German bombers didn't emit any signals for a passive detector to detect. Am I forgetting something or would passive detectors only have been of use as tail warning devices against German nightfighters, as fitted to Bomber Command aircraft late in the war? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Serrate: British radar homing device, used by British night fighters to home on German night fighters through their Lichtenstein AI emissions.

leitmotiv
02-04-2008, 04:49 AM
British centimentric (the famed "cavity magnetron") radar was THE miracle radar weapon of WWII. It was so valuable the Americans demanded it before the war. The history of it is widely known, look it up. It was the dish radar the British used at sea to detect objects as small as U-boat periscopes, the dish radar of the famous British H2S ground tracking radar used by British heavies, and copied and used in all B-29s (as "H2X") and lead bomber B-17s, B-24s, P-38s, and Pathfinder Mosquitoes), and the dish radar mounted behind plastic domes in the noses of British night fighters from 1943-45. The outstanding advantage was that the display was on a circular screen---the familiar one we all associate with radar, rather than having to follow wavy lines for height and proximity with two screens. It shot a thinner, more accurate, more focused beam than German radar. The Germans were finally able to copy it in 1945 for their night fighters. It was known as "Berlin," but few ever carried it. Thus, the Germans were stuck with the clumsy antlers and inferior SN-2 radar from 1943-45. See the classic THE GERMAN NIGHT FIGHTER FORCE by Aders, the English translation of the standard German work on their night fighter arm from WWI to WWII.

The German Naxos homing device depended on the British bombers using their Monica tail-warning radar. Once the British realized Monica was getting airplanes destroyed, it was removed, and Naxos was de trop.

leitmotiv
02-04-2008, 05:09 AM
Originally posted by luftluuver:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">(2) the Mosquito was vastly better than all German night fighters (He 219 a close contender)
Where did you get that on the 219. Close that book and never open it again. Better yet, throw the book into the garbage. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Mosquito (1944, two-stage Merlins) was faster, more maneuverable, smaller, and carried four 20mm cannon quite capable of instantaneously vaporizing any German bomber.

The unique, devastating weapon the German night fighters had was the vertical attack cannon, Schrage Musik, which was unquestionably the most lethal night fighter weapon of WWII.

luftluuver
02-04-2008, 05:42 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by luftluuver:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">(2) the Mosquito was vastly better than all German night fighters (He 219 a close contender)
Where did you get that on the 219. Close that book and never open it again. Better yet, throw the book into the garbage. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Mosquito (1944, two-stage Merlins) was faster, more maneuverable, smaller, and carried four 20mm cannon quite capable of instantaneously vaporizing any German bomber.

The unique, devastating weapon the German night fighters had was the vertical attack cannon, Schrage Musik, which was unquestionably the most lethal night fighter weapon of WWII. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
After all that, where is your proof the He219 was the 2cd best NF produced in WW2?

leitmotiv
02-04-2008, 06:13 AM
Think of it this way, which would you rather be using: a small, lightweight beast with tons of excess power, or bigger aircraft? I understand the 219 was a bit of a bear on final approach due to power-to-weight "issues." The Shockwave 219 gave me the fear in night landings. A strong case could be made for the 219 based on its having Schrage Musik, and on its incredible record (six kills in one night). I'll take the Porsche, you can take the muscle car. Suit yourself.

luftluuver
02-06-2008, 01:12 PM
Agh? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif Since you have had a comprehension difficulty, I wasn't saying the 219 was better than the Mossie.

The Bf110 and Ju88 had Schrage Musik. The Ju88 being a much better NF than the He219.

So it had one each of a 5 and a 6 kill night. Being in the right place at the right time with the right pilot/RO combo doesn't make it uber German NF.

MB_Avro_UK
02-06-2008, 03:35 PM
Hi all,

So should Steinbock be regarded as 'nuisance raids' from the allies perspective at that that time?

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

leitmotiv
02-06-2008, 03:43 PM
Scoring opportunity for the RAF, misery index accelerator for the people of London, chance to get creamed for nothing for the German bomber crews.

mortoma
02-07-2008, 07:55 PM
WTF??? This thread is totally on topic but it is in this new off topic forum!! Can they even tell what is on topic or not??

Enforcer572005
02-07-2008, 10:19 PM
Wasn't the P-61 involved in this combat? I thought there were several squadrons assigned to England, or did the RAF assume all those duties?

berg417448
02-07-2008, 10:47 PM
Originally posted by mortoma:
WTF??? This thread is totally on topic but it is in this new off topic forum!! Can they even tell what is on topic or not??

I agree. I've noticed several threads moved here that I think should have been left in General Discussion.

leitmotiv
02-08-2008, 12:06 AM
Originally posted by Enforcer572005:
Wasn't the P-61 involved in this combat? I thought there were several squadrons assigned to England, or did the RAF assume all those duties?

AAF P-61s were never integrated into any of the RAF home defense Groups. They were part of the Tactical Air Forces for use on the continent. The RAF had such superiority over the Steinbock attackers more defenders were not needed. Was the P-61 even in service in January 1944?

luftluuver
02-08-2008, 03:23 AM
The 1st American NF squadron with P-61 was the 422 NFS. They were 'trained' by RAF 123 Squadron. The 1st P-61 arrived at 422 on May 23 1944. By mid June it had 12 a/c. In mid July, 422 began Anti-Diver patrols.

The 2cd squadron, the 425th NFS, began receiving P-61s in mid June. It took til the end of July to get up to full strength. The 425 also did Anti-Diver patrols.

The 422 was posted to a continental base on July 25 and the 425 followed on Aug 18.

The 422 and 425 were the only ETO based P-61 unts.

luftluuver
02-08-2008, 04:04 AM
Loss rate average for the Jan, Feb and March:

LW - 5.6% (134 lost, 2380 sorties)
BC - 4.07%(796 lost, 19572 sorties)

This is 'failed to return' and does not include a/c written off because of battle damage and crashed on return.

Note the LW flew ~12% of the number of RAF BC sorties. Yes Avro, would say nuisance raids. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif