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DONB3397
01-29-2004, 08:42 AM
From early 1944 until the end of the war, the principal goal of the LW in the West was to stop the allied bombing campaign. Fighter design, weapon selection, even pilot training was targeted at breaking the night and daytime bombing siege. If you read the history of the USAAF and RAF bomber commands, they nearly succeeded. Costs were so high, the 8th AF was close to giving up long range missions by the end of 1943, at least until escorts could be provided all the way to the target.

If bomber interception was the LW's primary mission in the West, then what were its most effective tactics? Did they change over the period? How did the introduction of new fighters, including the jets and rocket a/c, impact these tactics? What do you think?

Winning isn't everything;
It's the only thing!
http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/bc/3fe77b7e_1812a/bc/Images/Sig---1.jpg?BCtfrFABrTvGLZQo

DONB3397
01-29-2004, 08:42 AM
From early 1944 until the end of the war, the principal goal of the LW in the West was to stop the allied bombing campaign. Fighter design, weapon selection, even pilot training was targeted at breaking the night and daytime bombing siege. If you read the history of the USAAF and RAF bomber commands, they nearly succeeded. Costs were so high, the 8th AF was close to giving up long range missions by the end of 1943, at least until escorts could be provided all the way to the target.

If bomber interception was the LW's primary mission in the West, then what were its most effective tactics? Did they change over the period? How did the introduction of new fighters, including the jets and rocket a/c, impact these tactics? What do you think?

Winning isn't everything;
It's the only thing!
http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/bc/3fe77b7e_1812a/bc/Images/Sig---1.jpg?BCtfrFABrTvGLZQo

FW190fan
01-29-2004, 08:52 AM
Head-on attacks from TOCH by massed fighters.

http://people.aero.und.edu/~choma/lrg0645.jpg

BBB_Hyperion
01-29-2004, 09:34 AM
R4M on Dora, Me262, or A8 shooting outside of the Bombers defensive fire up to 1000 m with a Group of Planes using Sector like fire. Also WGR 28/32 Experimental Rocket launcher that was launched Backwards with a Special Aiming device. X4 Rocket may have been good too .

Regards,
Hyperion

DONB3397
01-29-2004, 12:29 PM
Rall wrote that head-on attacks with a snap roll down were standard until the B-17G installed the chin turret and the boxes got tighter. After that, TOCH attacks ending above (b&z).

Later in the war, I've heard that fragmentation bombs with high altitude fuses (AAA) were dropped from above.

Since certain Dora variants and the Ta's were designed specifically for this task (in relatively small numbers), I wonder if they had a plan other than fly high/shoot straight/and pick off the stragglers.

carguy_
01-29-2004, 12:46 PM
Yeah do a half second headon with single MG151.Good luck.

http://carguy.w.interia.pl/tracki/sig23d.jpg

Ankanor
01-29-2004, 01:05 PM
Carguy, The best Bulgarian ace shot down 2 Liberators during his first contact with them, using the head on. He was in a Me109G2 without the gunpods.

http://server4.uploadit.org/files2/101203-delphinche.jpg
Some things are worth fighting for.
And most of them wear miniskirts...

johann_thor
01-29-2004, 01:12 PM
i want to mention the most ineffective tactic ever deployed - sending heavy nightfighters and attack aircraft using nightfighter tactics to approach the bombers from below and rear.

what a waste of aircraft and experienced aircrew that was !

horseback
01-29-2004, 01:47 PM
Reich Defense tactics were dictated by the ways the bomber streams were detected and escorted , to a large degree. Prior to the advent of the longer-ranged escort fighters in numbers early in 1944, the use of twin engined zerstorer versions of Me-110s, Me-410s, and Ju-88s (often nightfighters) was common. Once the Mustang, Lightning, and Jugs with long range tanks arrived, these units were often decimated, and rarely showed up in numbers after mid spring '44.

Since the twin engined aircraft had relied in great part over standoff type weapons like the heavier cannon and tube-launched rockets, there were attempts to mount these on single engined fighters, but pod or under wing mounts took away the very agility that allowed the smaller fighters to operate in that environment.

Throughout this period, the headon attacks continued, but these required exceptional pilot skill and marksmanship to be successful, and the speed and altitude of the bombers' course (not to mention the gunners' efforts) limited the number of passes possible, particularly for the 109s. Additionally, there was the problem of attrition even among the most skilled experten attempting this maneuver.

As the spring of 44 wore into summer, there was an increased emphasis on massing aircraft in order to overwhelm the escort of one segment of the bomber stream, and this produced occasional good results.

However, by this point of the war, the problems of maintaining a coherent formation were about all the average pilots in the Jagdewaffe could handle, and the escorts found that an aggressive attack by as few as four experienced fighters could break up an assault by a much larger gaggle composed of rookies.

There were also staffels of high altitude specialized 109s painted overall light blue (one account recalls them as K-types, but photos of these aircraft show G-14s & G-10s as well as AS type cowlings on short tailed 109s in this paintscheme), whose job was to take on the escorts while the heavier type fighters (190s usually, but the twin engined types were also tried) engaged the bombers.

The 'Sturm' staffels were also organized and used during this time, but the numbers of trained pilots had been the the great bottleneck from mid 42 onwards, and combined with the lack of a competitive high altitude heavy fighter in the class of the American escort types until the FW-190D six months too late, and the effort to stop the bombing offensive was toast by no later than September, 1944.

To some degree, the problem of radar detection and effective ground control were never mastered in a way comparable to the British Chain Home system was during the BoB. By the time the Battle of Germany was in its critical stages, the Allies had an much better ground control and counter measures to the Germans' system. Considering the relatively short endurance of the German fighters, effective fighter direction was critical, and the Allies took full advantage of the faults in the German system. This factor is usually overlooked due to its lack of glamor, but it might have been as important as the long ranged escorts and the emphasis on destroying the Luftwaffe as a goal rather than destroying German industrial capacity.

In essence, once Jimmy Doolittle took over the 8th Air Force, the bombers were 'bait' as much as they were an offensive force. The main goal of the Allied airforces was to destroy the German air forces, and to do that, the fighter forces had to be taken out first.

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
01-29-2004, 02:31 PM
Excellent post, Horseback.

dizeee
01-29-2004, 03:16 PM
imho:
the LW should have formed special fighter on fighter groups, equipped with the latest g6as or g14, in late 43, to applie pressure on the fighter escorts. those units should have had the sole mission to cause as many us fighter losses as possible.
thirty 109´ers falling out of the sky, at a p47 group, and actually dogfighting them, would have been a major thread to the us airforce efforts.
a german LW officer once said: "the most secure place over europe is in the cockpit of a us fighter plane".

DONB3397
01-29-2004, 05:17 PM
Horseback, solid post. Thanks for the input.

horseback
01-29-2004, 07:27 PM
dizeee,

Many senior Jagdewaffe pilots held the same opinion you did, but the politicians who ran theings had made some serious threats to pilots attacking fighters instead of bombers. Given the literal mindedness of their military, in the absence of an overwhelming triumph, a Gruppe or Geschwader leader who disobeyed those orders would have been in deep kimchee (and even if successful, the Gestapo might have given him and his associates a closer look).

Also, the the AS engine didn't reach the combat units until early '44 at best, and I'm not convinced that the stock P-47C/Ds operating at the time weren't at least as fast and maneuverable at high alts, particularly once the "paddleblade" props started being retrofitted. The G-10s and -14s didn't arrive until the fall of '44, about the same time as the 190D-9.

Generally speaking, American fighters appear to have had better handling charactoristics compared to contemporary German aircraft the higher they both went. However, at that point before the advent of the Mustang groups, the numbers looked pretty good for the Germans.

As attackers of a relatively 'fixed' force, they would have held the initiative, and at the least, would have forced American units to ever higher altitudes and greater risk to the elements at the very least. But that would have required more effective ground control to exploit than the Germans possessed at the time, as I already mentioned.

I'm afraid the LW was screwed no matter what, in the absence of a high performance heavy fighter no later than January 1944.

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

owlwatcher
01-30-2004, 04:28 AM
LW came real close to stopping the day light bombing in 43. This 43 was the year the LW had the chance. 44 was to late to even try.
Missed by a ---- hair.
The fighter escorts (P-51) ended any chance the LW had.

Breakem up then shoot them up.
This reguires min. 20mm cannon Fw190 plus big cannon, rockets bombs.
Also the LW lacked the command & control that was needed to battle the bombers.

Boandlgramer
01-30-2004, 09:15 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dizeee:

a german LW officer once said: "the most secure place over europe is in the cockpit of a us fighter plane".<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

and his name ?
did you forget his name

Boandlgramer
Ein Stück vom Paradies ist Mein Bayern. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
http://images.google.de/images?q=tbn:10LP6FCHtuYJ:www.vhts.de/bilder/wappenbayern.jpg

horseback
01-30-2004, 09:40 AM
The ability of the LW to "stop" the daylight bombing campaign in late '43 was, I think, more a matter of perceptions than actual military capability. Full operations in strength had really only gotten under way that summer, and the 8th AF was still in the process of learning and growing. It's not as though the 8th AF descended on England in its full strength and experience in early 1942, arriving via 747s and C-17s at Heathrow.

While the political consideration of bomber crew casualties' effect on the American public was a big factor, the senior US commanders understood that part of the reason for the LWs ability to deal harshly with the bombing raids during that late fall/early winter was because the numbers of US bombers & trained crewmen available had not yet reached the desired levels, the 'paper' drop tanks and the Mustang hadn't reached operational status (it had started full production during the summer, and its development from November '42 had to be well known to Hap Arnold and George Marshall), and frankly, they were still developing doctrine and tactics that worked for them.

The US strategy from the beginning had been to 'force the pace,' that is, to push the LW to either match the aircraft and trained aircrew numbers at the cost of other pressing military needs or risk exhausting their existing aircrew and aircraft, and losing them that way. That required constant raids, and from October '43 through mid February '44, the weather was so bad over Europe that the Germans had plenty of time to rest up and repair between raids. The 8th AF had not been able to force the pace the way they had hoped, partially due to the weather and partially due to the Germans' capabilities.

Allied leadership knew that they couldn't do anything about the weather, but they did know that they could do something about the Germans; there were improvements to the existing escort fighter types, as well as promising newer types in the pipeline, and the results the few P-47s in theater had gotten when they were able to come to grips with the enemy were encouraging.

The learning curve had not yet been completely climbed, but there had been clear progress. The advent not only of the Mustang groups, the increased range via the cheap drop tanks and steady improvements in the Jug's performance, coupled with the development of good tactics for American pilots and a/c, gave the people at the top reason for optimism.

On the other side, the German leadership failed to appreciate the growing threat because they'd been able to handle it to that point without any major changes. They still believed that if they forced enough casualties to the Americans in one "big blow" (not unlike the Japanese admirals plans for a "decisive battle" in the Pacific), the US would come to the bargaining table, and join the Nazis in finishing off Communism. They never understood the level of the publics' commitment in the West.

It may well be that self deception kept them from pursuing truly effective weapons, deployments and tactics against the American bombers until it was too late.

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

owlwatcher
01-30-2004, 11:00 AM
horseback
Excellent responise
Must be noted that the Day light raids themselves were on the line. The Brits had tried & failed. The high casualties' on some of the 43 raids almost stopped the idea of bombers always getting though. There were many that disagree with the idea of a bombing campaign.
If the weather had been better in 43 maybe the LW might have won. We will never know.

horseback
01-30-2004, 12:57 PM
Owlwatcher-

The Douhet concept "that the bombers will always get through" WAS disproved by the end of October 1943. That was why the USAAF put such emphasis on the elimination of the Luftwaffe in 1944, and the development of Mustang and Lightning squadrons in the 8th AF.

Initially, I think that the British military, with the exception of Fighter Command, had been perceived by the US Army as having made a horrible botch of the war to that point. The idea had been that the Brits hadn't succeeded at daylight bombing because a) their bombers were junk, and b) their fighters were poorly suited to escort for any useful range. While both perceptions were generally correct, the third factor, determined fighter opposition, was ignored. Hap Arnold and Ira Eaker took a while to comprehend this, and it cost a lot of lives while they exhibited a bloody-mindedness that would have done Col. Blimp proud.

The bombers could only get through in the absence of determined fighter opposition. The escort fighters' increased numbers and capabilities were a direct response to the relative succes of the Jagdewaffe in 1943, and to our Commonwealth Allies' repeating "I told you so," way too many times.

Again, though, the belief was that there weren't enough bomber Groups to swamp the German defenses yet, and once the recognition that escort to and from the target was necessary, as America's industrial production got into top gear (and remember that since EVERYTHING had to come over by ship, there was a minimum two month lag between production and deployment to England) they had reason to believe that the bombers could be MADE to get through.

The Americans and British had the mindset that they were fighting for their lives and freedom, while the Axis powers apparently took the attitude that if the opposition took a bad enough thumping, they'd come to an accomodation with the Axis, and let them do what they wanted with the parts of Europe and the Far East they'd acquired.

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

DONB3397
01-30-2004, 05:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by horseback:
... the third factor, determined fighter opposition, was ignored. Hap Arnold and Ira Eaker took a while to comprehend this, and it cost a lot of lives while they exhibited a bloody-mindedness that would have done Col. Blimp proud.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think you're right. Eaker was the man on the ground, and frankly it doesn't appear that he had a grasp of the operational situation. In early '43, he wrote Arnold, saying he was convinced that 300 heavies could attack any target in Germany with less than 4 percent losses. Later, historians could find no stats, documents or analysis to support this figure. Eaker seems to have made a guess based on early reports from attacks across the Channel. He was also convinced that most LW interceptors were grouped along the coast and could be handled by short range escorts while the bombers went on to targets. He hung onto this belief long after it was clear that Germany had well-manned airfields all across Europe. And German radar, while not as good as they hoped, was able to pinpoint incoming groups and stagger interceptors along their route.

Incidentally, the 8th AF didn't have 300 mission-ready bombers until late fall, and then had to deal with the weather you mentioned.

Finally, he clearly didn't understand the role of fighters. He said their primary mission was to defend the bombers, to run interference while they did their job. As you said, Doolittle changed that when he took over. He said fighters were offensive weapons, there to destroy enemy a/c. Nothing else. Then the strategy you've outlined came into being, I think, that is to draw up the LW so they could engage. They even left the fighters and B-17s unpainted...to be sure the LW could see them in the sun (not that it was necessary with the contrails).

On a personal note, I can tell you that bomber aircrews weren't even sure who was winning, let alone what strategies were being employed. A couple of family members were bomber crewman, one with the 8th and the other with the 15th out of Italy. When I read Doolittle's bio several years ago, I mentioned this 'make-em-come-up-and-fight' strategy to my uncle, a former B-17 navigator. He snorted something unprintable and said, "I can tell you that's the last thing we wanted them to do. They were d----d good!"

Winning isn't everything;
It's the only thing!
http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/bc/3fe77b7e_1812a/bc/Images/Sig---1.jpg?BC8dpGABBEs3LZQo

tagert
01-30-2004, 05:09 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DONB3397:
If bomber interception was the LW's primary mission in the West, then what were its most effective tactics? Did they change over the period? How did the introduction of new fighters, including the jets and rocket a/c, impact these tactics? What do you think?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Most effective Lw tatic? Hmmm I would have to say when Germany surrendered to Allied forces.. That was the most effective tatic!

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DONB3397:
Winning isn't everything;
It's the only thing!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Agreed 100%

TAGERT

horseback
01-30-2004, 07:06 PM
DONB-

My thanks to your uncle - but I wonder what his attitude would have been about Doolittle's strategy if he had been in fighters?

However, Doolittle's attitude wasn't exactly to let the fighters just go hunting. Fighter groups were still assigned to defend a certain corridor in the sky for a specified period of time while the "big friends" made it through that portion of their transit. Then, within the constraints of fuel and gluteal fatigue, flights were freed to go looking for trouble.

The big change was the crediting of 'ground kills' on the basis that if the LW wouldn't come up and be destroyed, then the Allies would find and destroy them on the ground. While this led to some sniffing and sneering amongst the Knights of the Air crowd, it did cause all kinds of havoc for not only German air fields, but all kinds of ground transport. The military value was indisputable.

There was also the morale value for the captive peoples of Europe, seeing their Allies' aircraft ripping across the continent and hitting the Germans with relative impunity.

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

Korolov
01-30-2004, 08:03 PM
Excellent stuff gents! Keep it comin'! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

http://www.mechmodels.com/images/newsig1.jpg

DONB3397
01-30-2004, 08:41 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by horseback:
My thanks to your uncle - but I wonder what his attitude would have been about Doolittle's strategy if he had been in fighters?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Actually, he was less concerned with that decision than the Doolittle order that aircrew tours be extended to 30 missions.

The 'free-the-fighters' decision, as you probably know, was almost off-handed when he visited 8th AF fighter command with Kepner and heard a flight of dry P-47s give up a chance to get home by going back to drive the LW away from a group of bombers. He walked into Kepner's office and spotted the command's motto on the wall: "OUR MISSION IS TO BRING THE BOMBERS BACK."

"From now on," Doolittle said, "your mission is to destroy the German Air Force."

The flak was bad, but he had cover. He and Spaatz had received a simple directive from Arnold on New Year's day. It said that invasion of Europe wouldn't be possible unless the LW was destroyed.

"...my personal message to you -- this is a MUST -- is to destroy the enemy air force wherever you find them, in the air, on the ground and in the factories."

Crediting ground "kills" was the measurement/reward tactic used.

My uncle, btw, was shot down east of Berlin in late '44 and spent the rest of the war in a Stalag. To this day, he hates rutabagas, the principal food of the camp.

horseback
01-31-2004, 07:19 PM
Bummer about your uncle, but he must have been a tough coustomer. I couldn't eat a rutabaga, and I don't have the excuse of six months of 'em as a 'kriegie.'

I don't think Doolittle's decision was all that off-hand. From all I've read of him, he was pretty damned smart, and it sounds to me as though the idea had been percolating in his mind for a while. The decision may have crystallized as he listened to those young men sacrificing themselves for other young men they may not even have known.

In any case, the decision was a good one, even if it meant making your uncle and other bomber crewman a form of bait. He had to make the LW engage his fighters even when the situation was not ideal for his fighters. That meant taking away the option of waiting for the escort to go away.

One of the great failures of the Luftwaffe's fighter arm was the culture of the hunter taking precedence over the culture of the soldier. A hunter can afford to pass up prey that he deems too risky or small to take; a soldier sometimes has to pick a fight when it would be easier to avoid contact.

Remember the scene in "Saving Private Ryan" where the Captain Miller (Tom Hanks' character, for those who haven't got the DVD)decides to take out the machine gun nests at the radar site instead of going around them? Miller understood that the prey was risky, and not very important in the long run -- hey, somebody else would eventually take them out, and none of his guys had to die doing it, right?

But Miller's conscience won't allow for that. What if the wind is wrong, and the approaching Allied soldiers can't smell the dead paratroops and walk into those MGs? A lot more guys die than if they go in knowing those guns are there.

Miller has to go after those guns because he is a soldier, not a hunter. He knows how much writing the letters to the families of his casualties costs him, and he can't wish it on another officer whose troops might not be as good as his Rangers, and might not realize what's in front of them. So he goes in and the medic gets gut shot, and dies, knowing what is happening to him before everyone's eyes.

American fighter leaders like Blakeslee, Zemke, and John Meyer were soldiers first. They understood that achieving the mission goal was the score that won the game, not the kills scored by individual pilots. Blakeslee might bellow in the Officers' Club at Debden that taking on the Hun was "grand sport," but he loaded up his group's planes with bombs on D-Day and told his men that he was "prepared to lose the whole group" if that was what it took to win.

He had a soldier's conscience.

If you've checked out the interviews with N.G. Golodnikov, particularly in Part 4, where he describes the attitude of the captured German experte, Muller:"When we asked him about Hitler, (Muller) declared that politics did not motivate him; he did not have hatred toward Russians. He was a "sportsman," results were important to him and he wanted to shoot down more "than anyone in his group" engaged in combat and he, the "sportsman', struck or did not strike as he pleased." Golodnikov goes on to make some scathing comments about the "freedom' to run up a big score being a kind of loophole relieving the fighter pilot from military responsibilities to attack the enemy when & where it hurt the enemy the most...

While the command levels of the LW may have demanded that the fighters not waste time on the escorts and only attack the bombers, it is clear that the spirit of these instructions were often wilfully misapplied. Most of the generals running the LW were not old fighter or even bomber pilots; they were Army, and they wanted those Gruppe going straight at the bombers when they couldn't sneak up on 'em past the escorts.

The Jagdewaffe, on the other hand, saw themselves as a valuable and irreplaceable resource, not to be risked lightly for the sake of a few bombers that probably weren't going to hit anything anyway. They saw no sport in tangling with the American fighters, who had the disconcerting habit of chasing you even after you dived away -- didn't the clueless bastages know that that was the signal that the game was over, and you're not supposed to keep on playing?

Now the British, who couldn't dive after you, were sportsmen, and knew when to quit. (reminds me of the classic George Carlson bit, where the girl Marge calls the guy up out of the blue to remind him of the party where they met ...and he said she was a good sport, well now she's pregnant, and she's gonna jump out a window, and he says "Say, Marge, you ARE a good sport!")

I'm laying it on a little thick here, but there was clearly a strong element of this going on during the early and middle stages of the bombing offensive. Doolittle's mission goal was to eliminate the LW as an effective force by the time the Invasion of Europe began; the best way to do this was to force them to come up and fight by harrying everything that looked remotely German that could be seen from the air, and bombing the most important stationary targets, forcing the 'hunters' to come up and fight in the air, before their bosses made 'em take up rifles and fight in the infantry.

This has gotten to be a longer riff than I planned, and I still have make dinner for my kids. Hope my meaning is clear.

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

FW190fan
01-31-2004, 07:38 PM
Well, horseback - you had me until you digressed into the whole hunter/soldier thing.

What man agrees to have an extra 500lbs of armor welded to his aircraft so he can march straight through a wall of lead, line abrest in a cavalry charge on a combat box of B-17s, and then agree to ramming if necessary?

That is the essence of the soldier mentality.

http://people.aero.und.edu/~choma/lrg0645.jpg

Dav_1
01-31-2004, 08:04 PM
I'd like to do some more web research(/find photos) for this subject (luftwaffe vs. us bombing campaign),

what should I type in a search engine?


Also i recommend the book "Battles with the Luftwaffe," it's on this subject and has lots of pics and pilot accounts, excellant.

DONB3397
01-31-2004, 11:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by horseback:
The Americans and British had the mindset that they were fighting for their lives and freedom, while the Axis powers apparently took the attitude that if the opposition took a bad enough thumping, they'd come to an accomodation with the Axis, and let them do what they wanted with the parts of Europe and the Far East they'd acquired.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Horseback, fascinating stuff. I'm not sure I agree with the hunter/soldier cultural analysis, though I think your were spot on with above comment from a couple of posts back.

Hans Rudel, the Stuka experte, was clearly an ideologue in his dedication to country and fuhrer. Galland, on the other hand, seems to have been an unusual blend of pragmatist and risk-taker. Molders, of course, was a master tactician and said to be cautious. These guys may have been reared as hunters, but they were pure soldiers in the terms you outlined.

Hartmann and Barkhorn, Krupinski and Rall may have been the kind of "hunter/sportsmen" you've defined early on, but theirs was a special situation. All were JG 52 experten who flew together daily against an assortment of Russian a/c and groups. No question, they were competitive and aggressive...and all tended to pick their fights rather than sacrifice themselves or their people for "the cause." The culture of this JG seems to have been unique.

Later, when many of these same pilots returned to face the allies in the west, they were effective, but not suicidal. Most of them died in accidents rather than under the guns of allied bombers or fighters. The ones who survived, including Steinhoff and Rall, were wounded late in the war and may not have been engaged in the bloodbaths of the final months.

Toward the end of the war, when the outcome was apparent, I suspect the experienced LW pilots were fatalistic and, perhaps, only hoping for survival. It must have taken great discipline and courage just to get in the plane two or three times a day, let alone go up and face those odds.

Winning isn't everything;
It's the only thing!
http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/bc/3fe77b7e_1812a/bc/Images/Sig---1.jpg?BCIxFHAB8Od9LZQo

DONB3397
01-31-2004, 11:44 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dav_1:
I'd like to do some more web research(/find photos) for this subject (luftwaffe vs. us bombing campaign),

what should I type in a search engine?

Also i recommend the book "Battles with the Luftwaffe," it's on this subject and has lots of pics and pilot accounts, excellent.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Dav-1, there are a dozen good sites to try. Here are a few:

http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/
http://www.armyairforces.com/dbunitsearch.asp
http://www.100thbg.com/
http://www.461st.org/index.htm
http://www.elknet.pl/acestory/aces.htm

Also, you might look over these books: "The Mighty Eighth" by Gerald Astor; "The Incredible 305th" by W. H. Morrison; "Tumult in the Clouds" by James Goodson; and/or "Aces" by William Yenne.

Be warned, however; friends and family generally have a low tolerance for such subjects. If you want to share what you learn, come back to this forum. People here are usually more interested and sympathetic...and, on occasion, even polite.

Winning isn't everything;
It's the only thing!
http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/bc/3fe77b7e_1812a/bc/Images/Sig---1.jpg?BC1DKHABWmxpLZQo

Oso2323
02-01-2004, 12:30 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DONB3397:
The ones who survived, including Steinhoff and Rall, were wounded late in the war and may not have been engaged in the bloodbaths of the final months.

Toward the end of the war, when the outcome was apparent, I suspect the experienced LW pilots were fatalistic and, perhaps, only hoping for survival. It must have taken great discipline and courage just to get in the plane two or three times a day, let alone go up and face those odds.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It's interesting that you mention Steinhoff. He makes many of the same points, calling an attack on a B-17 formation "controlled suicide."

His take on the matter was that the Luftwaffe was technically ill-equipped to attack the Americans sucessfully, and that High Command (Goering in paaarticular) neither knew, nor cared about technical matters. Steinhoff calls the Goering a first world war relic who thought of aerial warfare in terms of jousting matches; thus the current breed of fighter pilots must have been lazy. At the time, I think that most of the units were equipped with the 109G6, which was steinhoff notes, was 40mph slower than most American fighters (I'm quoting by memory here).

Actually, Steinhoff details a major push to "reinvigorate the pilots' fighting spirit" towards the end of the war by adopting an even fanatical form of Nazism. By the sounds of it, of all the services, the fighter pilots were the least committed to the Nazi cause - which drove high command crazy. Interestingly, Steinhoff notes that the bomber pilots were quite fanatical. BTW, Steinhoff was wounded a month or so before the war ended - so he saw a lot of fighting.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the RAF's 1941-42 bombing raids (The beehives"). These were designed specifically to pressure the Luftwaffe. Single squadrons of bombers were escorted by as many as 6 wings of Spitfire II's and V's. The raids eventually had to be cancelled because of the marked superiority of the Fw-190.

And finally - the Germans lost the war because the Nazis were ideological wingnut meglomaniacs. Duh! Come to think of it, they started the war for the same reason.

owlwatcher
02-01-2004, 05:30 AM
The Day-light bombing Campaign of 43
Great post on this subject, greatly enjoy the insights.
There are still more factors that are being played out during this time period.
This was USAs second front that was to show Stalin that the USA was trying to get more involved in the war.
Since the USA did not want to play in the Med.since it was just by(US) considered a side show to the main attraction.
The buildup was finally just starting to arrive in numbers to prove or disaprove the pre-war theorys on air warfare.
The 4-engine bombers were in great demand not just for bombing but also antisub warfare.
One thing that is missed is the twin engine bombers are also in 43 finding there way into the battles over Europe. How they are to be used was also still up in the air.
.
The LW could have won by the politics & policys of the USAAF.
I would say Stalin kept them flying

As to LW responce to this.
All there poor planning would really start to show up.
The short range of there planes would hurt.
The Me-109 was not up to any of the jobs it was reguired to do. Being to fragle to take on the bombers.
The air defence as a whole needed to be up dated & fast but by 43 it was to late.
The Air war as a whole is a rich mans war, Requiring the best of everything,.Which in WW2 only the US could afford .

The B-17s with escorts (bait) attacking factorys etc, twins & singles attacking the air fields to clear a path seems to be the winning combination..

Been trying those headon attacks in game, It must be rememenbered using B17G not the F model. Makes the statement controled suicide so true.
The only way the LW had a chance was isolaling England and not allow the buildup to take place.
You win a war by attacking not defending.

Erbogast-v.K
02-01-2004, 06:44 AM
Désolé mais j'ai pas envie de me faire chier écrire en anglais, et puis un peu de francophonie dans les forums ne fera pas de mal! Je ne veux rien ajouter sur " Most Effective LW Tactic vs. Bombing Campaign", je crois que vous vous en sortez assez bien tout seul. Je voulais juste dire Ankanor qu'elle est tr¨s mignonne si c'est elle sur la photo!!! Bon vol tous. Avec tout mon respect (Erbogast, gentleman pilote)

horseback
02-01-2004, 03:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by FW190fan:
Well, horseback - you had me until you digressed into the whole hunter/soldier thing.

What man agrees to have an extra 500lbs of armor welded to his aircraft so he can march straight through a wall of lead, line abrest in a cavalry charge on a combat box of B-17s, and then agree to ramming if necessary?

That is the essence of the soldier mentality.

http://people.aero.und.edu/~choma/lrg0645.jpg <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
190fan-

When were these tactics adapted? I was discussing a specific time period--the building period of the 8th AF's ESCORTED bombing campaign, which began in early 1943, and essentially ended with the Big Week campaign of late February of 1944. This was the LW's sole opportunity to kill the baby Hercules in his crib.

Even if you throw in the early Doolittle command era (January '44 to D-Day), the Jagdewaffe's role as a serious player in the Air War, capable of making a difference in the outcome, ended well before 'Sturm' tactics were adapted. They were almost a year too late, in my opinion.

Had the Germans' complacency not led to the self-deception that the Americans would continue to build gradually, and that the LW would be able to keep pace due to technological or inherent racial superiority, their fighter leadership would have reacted more urgently.

Check your kill rates for other defensive campaigns, like those over Britain from June to October, 1940, Greece in '41 and Malta in '42, or the Americans over Guadalcanal and the US & Commonwealth units over New Guinea. Better yet, look to the Germans' Finnish allies, who fought a largely defensive air war for the duration of hostilities. In every case, the defenders scored heavily, and the 10% or so who were 'aces' ran up their scores rapidly.

Men like Malan, Tuck, Pattle and Foss ran up 20+ kills in eight weeks' combat or less in target-rich environments. Why didn't their German counterparts in the West achieve similar scoring rates during the April to December 1943 period?

Look at the Kanalfront experten. Their scoring rates in the presence of so many targets should have soared during 1943, but they didn't. They actually appear to have dropped off with the arrival of the P-47 and the first large scale American bombing raids, compared to the two previous years, when the RAF was 'leaning forward' into France.

Assuming that they had no worse than technical & numerical parity with the American fighter planes, considering that they enjoyed a HUGE experience and tactics advantage over the Americans, why didn't they shoot down more planes, particularly when there were so few escorts at any point in the bombers' vicinity?

I believe that the earlier 'soft' sporting period shooting down mostly overmatched Spitfire Mk Vs and Blenheims at will gave these guys a sense of entitlement. I exaggerated for the sake of emphasis (and to provoke debate), but the logic of the situation is such that the German small-scale hit and run tactics are hard to explain otherwise.

During the critical period, the Kanalfront geschwadern appear to have pecked way at the edges of the raids, and the bulk of damage to the bombers seems to have been done by the zerstorer types outside the escorts' range.

In retrospect, to anyone with a military background, the Germans' failure to decimate the American fighter groups in the summer of 1943, when it was logically in their power to do so, is a mystery. The Americans had less than 250 fighters (4 to 6 groups)in England that summer, and those pilots were the 'seed crop' for every group that came after, in the form of leadership, tactics, and doctrine. As it was, the 4th FG, originally composed of RAF-trained American pilots, was heavily raided for experienced squadron and flight leaders during that first year.

The decision to ignore the American fighters while they were easily dealt with, particularly while the bombers were so ineffective with or without them, is hard to justify for any reason except convenience.

Consider the timing, and reread what I said about the episode in 'Saving Private Ryan.'

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