How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by Michael Kenny » 29 Apr 2020 18:28

The problem with high-velocity guns is barrel wear. You have to factor in spare tubes .

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 Apr 2020 19:52

One other aspect overlooked here is that the Allies kept piling on new technologies themselves. The USAAF initially used just maneuvering and routing of the air strikes to try to avoid flak. It wasn't until late in 1943 that the USAAF started using jammers and chaff against German gun laying radar (eg., Wurtzburg).

In October 1943 the USAAF had 68 APT 1-5 (usually referred to in totality as "Carpet") and APQ-2 Rug jammers in service. By December 1944 that had risen to 3460 in use. Delco in Kokomo Indiana had a contract to eventually produce a total of 15,000 of these jammers. The International Paper Company started supplying the USAAF mass quantities of chaff using 531 machines producing 8,000 pieces a minute each.
Once the USAAF decided to adopt jamming as a strategy to lower casualties, they did it in the usual US method: Total overkill.

Some idea of the effect this had can be gained from a bombing raid on Hamburg on 25 October 1944 by 720 US bombers. There were 44 heavy flak batteries around the city, one of the heaviest concentrations in Germany. The Germans did try to compensate for the jamming by using multiple frequencies on their radar sets. The weather was overcast so radar had to be used to direct the guns, optical fire control wasn't possible.

The US bomber crews jammed every German radar frequency and followed the shifts German operators tried to use. Chaff was dropped in quantity.

The Germans resorted to a box barrage because they couldn't pick out individual planes or even the bomber boxes for sure. They fired a total of 24,416 rounds during this air raid. This resulted in the loss of exactly one (1) bomber.

More guns wouldn't have helped here because the fire, regardless of how many guns firing was unaimed. Doubling the number of guns even if it doubled the casualties would have resulted in 2 bombers lost for firing say 50,000 rounds of ammunition.

The Germans did try to compensate for this massive increase in daytime jamming by adding new frequencies, and trying out things like an early version of pulse doppler radar, fitting their Wurtzburg sets with "K-laus" or "Wurtz-laus". These attempted to overcome chaff. The problem was with extant vacuum tube technology pulse doppler sets simply couldn't be accurate enough to fully overcome the effects of chaff. It helped, but not enough to return the sets to full usefulness.

So, the Germans pretty much lost the electronics war by the beginning of 1944 and weren't going to get back in that race anytime soon. Without workable radar sets for blind fire control in overcast, their flak was seriously degraded and adding more of it, even doubling it, wasn't going to result in substantially higher casualties. Guns weren't the problem, crappy outdated electronics were.

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Apr 2020 20:18

glenn239 wrote:I'd always just assumed that the Allies would win the strategic bombing campaign by 1945 or 1946 - no matter what -due to US aircraft production. But the more I read here, the more seems clear that 4-engine piston driven bombers were themselves evolutionary dead ends, and that it could easily have been the case that heavy bomber losses would become unsustainable.
Kudos for being permeable to evidence and reason. Most folks have your initial assumption and maintain it no matter what - it's why I'm not responding to most replies anymore.

IMO the relative importance of Flak in Germany's aerial defense woud decline in this ATL. Germany arguably over-invested in Flak, as fighters were a far more efficient means of shooting down heavy bombers. An Me-109 cost ~80k RM, while just the shells used by Flak 41 or the 12.8cm Flak cost ~300k RM per kill. That's still cheaper than the cost of a heavy bomber (~600k RM) but by the time you account for the weapon and replacement barrels it gets pretty close to even on material cost.

The historical reason for greater relative Flak investment owes partially to lack of fuel for more fighters. That's a bit exaggerated, however, as a Germany more focused on Reich defense from earlier in the war could have moved fuel resources from bombers and aerial transports to more fighters.

For the purposes of this ATL, Germany has plenty of fuel for fighters given conquest of SU.

---------------------------------

Somebody made a point about the OTL aerial attrition ratios not translating into the "more fighters" case.

That's true but it works in Germany's favor: an outnumbered aerial force is at a serious tactical disadvantage, as a 2-on-1 dogfight favors the 2 and as with fewer attacking fighters all the machine guns of a bomber box are focused on fewer targets. Fighter attrition will be more even but against thousands of fighters - not all of which can be engaged/diverted by escorts - the bombers would be screwed.

If German fighters outnumber their opponents over the Reich during individual raids, the attrition ratio is going to be worse than the 1-1 ratio on which I've been basing my analysis so far.

It's not far-fetched to project every daylight bombing raid seeing losses and attrition on the scale of Operation Tidal Wave (first large Ploesti raid), with 1/3 of the force destroyed, 1/3 damaged, and attrition ratio being ~6-1 against the bombers.
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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Apr 2020 20:27

T.A. Gardner wrote:So, the Germans pretty much lost the electronics war by the beginning of 1944 and weren't going to get back in that race anytime soon.
This was a matter of degree, it wasn't as if this was the Vietnam or Iraq wars. Germany was developing advanced radar and gun-laying tech to catch up the Wallies. From Westermann's Flak, page 190:
the use of the experimental Kulmbach
radar in a gun-laying role drastically reduced the number of rounds expended per aircraft shot down to less
than 300.159 Although these results were impressive, the Luftwaffe had only two experimental Kulmbach
radar sets by the end of the war.
Re development/deployment of the Kulmbach radar (anyone have more details, btw?), we're talking about 1945 when the German economy was in collapse. In this ATL they have several times the resources versus OTL '45 (like 5x), more of which are devoted to aerial war.
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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 30 Apr 2020 00:00

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Apr 2020 20:27
T.A. Gardner wrote:So, the Germans pretty much lost the electronics war by the beginning of 1944 and weren't going to get back in that race anytime soon.
This was a matter of degree, it wasn't as if this was the Vietnam or Iraq wars. Germany was developing advanced radar and gun-laying tech to catch up the Wallies. From Westermann's Flak, page 190:
the use of the experimental Kulmbach
radar in a gun-laying role drastically reduced the number of rounds expended per aircraft shot down to less
than 300.159 Although these results were impressive, the Luftwaffe had only two experimental Kulmbach
radar sets by the end of the war.
Re development/deployment of the Kulmbach radar (anyone have more details, btw?), we're talking about 1945 when the German economy was in collapse. In this ATL they have several times the resources versus OTL '45 (like 5x), more of which are devoted to aerial war.
No, it's not. Germany was falling way behind.

"I expected the British and Americans to be advanced, but frankly I never thought they would get so far ahead. I did hope that even if we were behind we could at least be in the same race." -- Hermann Göring May 1943

"It is very humiliating to see how the enemy is leading us by the nose in air warfare. Every month he introduces some new method which it takes weeks and sometimes months for us to catch up with. Once handicapped by the enemy in any phase of warfare, it is exceedingly difficult to catch up with him. We have to pay very dearly for what we failed to do in air warfare hitherto. But that was to be expected. --Joseph Göbbel's war diary Nov 7th, 1943

The German leadership knew they were hit and falling badly behind. They knew they weren't catching up.

The Kulmbach radar, along with the Berlin and other millimeter sets depended in late 1944 when they were being developed on captured cavity magnetrons from shot down Allied bomber radar sets. Germany lacked the means to production manufacture the components, particularly the large natural magnets necessary to make these work. They weren't getting a mass produced millimeter wavelength radar in quantity any time soon. Maybe they should have asked Japan for help, as the Japanese were producing in small quantity such sets from late 1943 that worked on a different principle that didn't require large magnets...

All of the German millimeter radars were based on captured British technology reverse engineered by Telefunken. This included Forsthaus Z, Jagdschloss Z, Berlin, Kulmbach, Marbach,and Egerland. None really advanced beyond prototype testing before the war ended. All operated at 9 cm wavelengths and were planned for use with some of the first PPI screens for display.

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Apr 2020 00:08

In another thread I posted an estimate of Germany's domestic labor force after defeat of the SU; it's relevant here as well:

Germany's ATL 1944 seems a good place to start with a more-detailed economic analysis of this ATL.

First step is to discuss the field of comparison. I will be using Germany's OTL June '44 non-agricultural, non-military labor force as the baseline for establishing the magnitude of the ATL delta. In June 1944, Germany's total (foreign and domestic) non-ag, non-military labor force was 25mil.

Labor force delta attributable to demobilization from OTL level:

We're measuring a point in June '44 when there is no large-scale land combat in the ETO. Russia is supine; the Wallies can't dream of landing in Europe yet.

As a result, Germany will have a much-lower active Wehrmacht strength. As estimated upthread, the Heer would be reduced to ~130 divisions total.
Note, however, that Germany would maintain the ability rapidly to mobilize a far-larger army within weeks of an Allied landing in Europe. [Equipment depots in Western Europe within a quick march of any landings]

OTL Wehrmacht was ~9.5mil in mid-44.

ATL Wehrmacht will be 5.5mil in mid-44: ~3.5mi Heer/WSS, ~1.5mil LW, ~.5mil KM.

LABOR FORCE DELTA: 4mil


Labor force delta attributable to fewer permanent casualties:

Casualties during '41-'42:
For the OTL baseline of German casualties up to June 1944, there's obviously some dispute about the figures. Wiki has a decent summary of different views, with cites, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ca ... rld_War_II

Per the Staatliches Jahrbuch:
OTL German Casualties during June 41-42 were ~730,000 KIA and ~120,000 MIA/POW.

Per Overmans:
897,000 dead.

Casualties from '43 to June '44:

Per Jarhbuch:
OTL German permanent casualties during this period were ~1,150,000: 660,000 KIA and 480,000 POW.

Per Overmans:
1.45mil dead.


Overmans study seems statistically sound, but to be safe I'm going to go with a compromise for the baseline OTL calculation and say 750k KIA in '41-42 plus 120,000 MIA/POW. For '43 through June '44, I'll go with Overman's statistic for total dead (including POW who died in captivity).

That gives us 2.3mil German dead and captured/missing up to June '44.

-------------------------------

As described upthread, ATL casualties in SU are lower due to (1) greater encirclements, (2) a significantly weaker SU (numerically) by '42 at the latest, (3) a significant decline in Soviet combat effectiveness during '42, converging earlier to OTL '43 levels due to earlier destruction of pre-war cohort and worse training. And of course earlier end to the war.

ATL German MIA/POW for this calculation will be set at 10% of OTL '41-'42, as the first Russian winter offensive is stopped in its tracks, as Stalingrad never happens, and as prisoner exchange upon armistice is assumed (also assumes death in Russian POW camps - thus 10% of OTL not 0%).

ATL German KIA (and died of wounds) is set at 60% of OTL '41-42 level: 450,000 KIA.

Not all German casualties were on the Eastern Front during this period but for our purposes these rough figures are close enough, once we add back in some German casualties against the Wallies prior to June '44.

So we get out ATL casualty delta (pre-Wallies infliction during '43-'44) by backing out all of '43-June44 plus the '41-'42 delta:

TOTAL SAVED: 1.858mil.

Casualties against Wallies added back: Let's say 58,000 for now (Middle East and North Africa campaigns mostly). In terms of estimating a labor force 50k here or there isn't going to ruin the picture and using 58k gives us the round figure of 1.8mil fewer German KIA/POW/MIA so far.

Then there's the issue of Germans crippled in combat and not available to the economy or armed forces. OTL WIA was ~3x killed and ~2/3 of these returned to their units eventually. Presumably some portion of the remaining 1/3 of "permanently wounded" found employment and some were crippled. What was the fraction? Given that we're talking a number about as high as killed/died, the total delta would be similar: ~1.5mil.

Rather than spend more hours on this question, I'll be conservative and say the overwhelming majority found some employment in the economy and only 200k didn't. That gives as a nice round number:

TOTAL DELTA TO GERMAN WORKFORCE FROM FEWER CASUALTIES: 2 million.

Labor force delta attributable to greater foreign workers:

OTL Germany employed a maximum of ~7mil foreign workers in mid-'44. See my post here for further discussion: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557&start=45#p2216965

As discussed in that post and cited works, German recruitment of foreign labor didn't become systematic until after the appointment of Fritz Sauckel as labor plenipotentiary in early '42. By the time German recruitment efforts really stepped up, her war fortunes had turned and conditions in Germany were becoming truly unbearable.

By contrast, ATL Germany in mid-'44 will have largely stopped the Allied bomber offensive, will have revived agriculture across Europe, and will have a commanding position in the war (occupying all of Europe, most of North Africa and Middle East). Foreign labor recruitment and retention will, therefore, be easier than OTL (even if still requiring unconventional tactics).

In addition to better conditions in Germany, there will be a larger pool of labor to draw from than OTL: German conquest of European Russia and integration of Iberia and Turkey into the Axis sphere will basically double the occupied population.

Finally, ATL conditions envision at least 3mil additional Soviet POW's during '41-'42.

For these reasons, Germany should have been able to recruit and retain at least twice as many foreign laborers in ATL '44 as in OTL, with ~1/3 of these being additional Soviet POW.

LABOR DELTA ATTRIBUTABLE TO MORE FOREIGN LABOR: 7 million.


Total domestic labor force delta:

Demobilization: 4mil
Fewer casualties: 2mil
More foreign labor: 7mil

Total labor force delta: +13mil

Total German domestic non-agricultural labor force in '44 was ~25mil.

Accordingly, German productive capacity in ATL mid-'44 should be at least 50% greater than OTL.

Of course this assumes several non-labor production factors (capital, raw materials) that will be discussed in other posts.
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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by Paul Lakowski » 30 Apr 2020 04:42

T. A. Gardner wrote:
28 Apr 2020 20:02
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Apr 2020 18:33
Glenn239 wrote:The link said 16,000 rounds per heavy bomber shot down. The numbers add up to 4,189 bombers.
That was for the 88mm Flak 36/37, which could just barely reach the operating height of B-17/24.

For the Flak 41, it was 5,000 rounds per shoot down due to the newer gun's higher muzzle velocity and effective AAA ceiling.

Westerann's Flak mentions a 10x improvement (IIRC) with a new type of radar/layer combo towards the end. That's feasible IMO, as the Wallies saw stupendous results with computer-laying of the 3.7in guns used to shoot down 80% of V-1's by the end of the war.
But the Flak 41 was a more complex gun to produce and had considerable technical issues early on. It also cost more to produce than a Flak 36/37. Thus, by February 1944 there were just 279 in service, all in Germany and none at the fronts.
Yeah the FLAK-41 was generally considered a failure, which is why they should have concentrate all 128mm gun production on flak instead of wasting them on PAK fronts. Hell even long range artillery would have been more valuable.

I was just reading up on the BK-5 kannon and WIKI claims 53 ME-410 shot down 129 B-17 for the loss of 9 ME-410 .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rheinmetall_BK-5




You usually push SAM in this kind of discussion, surely with heavy USAAF jamming would make it a none starter?

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Apr 2020 05:47

...continuing from the last post...

Following defeat of the SU, German production would have increased in both its domestic component and its outsourced component.

Contrary to common AHF myth - enabled by some historians such as Tooze - Germany had significant successes in mobilizing its conquests, obtaining at least 25% of its war production from them. https://www.degruyter.com/view/book/978 ... 85-006.xml

Image

Rates of national income extraction in support of Germany reached as high as 44% of Western European economies:

Image

From Does Conquest Pay?: The Exploitation of Industrial Societies, Peter Liberman.

Occupied economies experienced overall economic decline during the war, but this was primarily due to lack of inputs such as food and fuel (coal mining in particular suffered from lack of food to maintain physically-exhausting mining labor). See Does Conquest Pay?, p. 36.

Conquest of the SU provides the means of redressing occupied Europe's economic shortfalls via greater food and fuel production, which Germany would exchange for greater war contributions (as it did OTL, only with fewer "carrots" available). Food production would increase from greater territorial acquisitions and stability within Ukraine and Southern Russia, plus the repurposing of nitrogen production from fertilizer to fuel. Germany could have repurposed at least 1mil tons of nitrogen production capacity from explosives and synthfuel to fertilizer, which alone would yield ~15mil tons of grain per German estimates. https://books.google.com/books?id=uPMsA ... er&f=false

At ~1,400 calories per pound of grain, 15mil tons is enough to increase the daily calories of 200mil people by >600 calories. So it's enough to provide significant work-incentive/sustenance to an enormous population. Crucially, it enables the feeding of as many miners as Germany wants employed throughout Europe.

-----------------------------

Shape of the European economy in ATL 1944

In the following discussion, 1938-44 GDP figures come from Harrison's "Economics of WW2": https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics ... ew1998.pdf.

For the purpose of this analysis, I'll posit that European economies would have had larger outputs during ATL 1944 than seen during 1938. This is for several reasons:
  • All economies showed greater economic output during WW2 than 1938, unless/until they were bombed/blockaded severely
  • As discussed above, research like Does Conquest Pay demonstrates an occupier's ability to compel productive activity on a scale similar to a free national watime economy.
  • 1938 was still a Depression year for a lot of Europe. In the case of France, its Popular Front government had instituted labor laws (e.g. 35-hour work week) that reduced economic output well below France's technological/demographic frontier.
How much larger? Given historical wartime GDP trends, 10% expansion seems conservative. America's economy increased by >80%, Britain's by ~16%. These expansions occurred despite the redirection of huge portions of the labor force to military service - a condition that wouldn't hold for occupied Europe. To allow for residual factors like labor shifts to Germany and resistance, let's be conservative and stay with 10%.

Measured against baseline OTL '44 GDP's, 10% expansion over 1938 is going to be massive. Harrison only provides data for France, whose '44 GDP was ~50% of '38's. Western Europe as a whole probably saw similar declines. As this ATL would be much easier to analyze if the production delta from OTL's occupied Europe equaled Germany's ATL production delta of 50% (see last post), let's posit a conservative -27% GDP delta for occupied OTL European economies. That enables our 10%-higher-than-1938 GDP's to be 50% higher than OTL GDP, matching Germany's ATL delta.

------------------------------------------

In addition to more productivity per occupied territory, Germany also expands its ATL occupied territories by conquering/coopting the SU, by retaining more of its non-SU conquests throughout '44, and by conquering/integrating additional territory (e.g. Iberia, Turkey). What's the magnitude of this effect?

First, let's look at the SU. During '44 Germany retained little of the 1938 SU and for only a fraction of the year. So all production from formerly-Soviet lands is nearly 100% extra in this ATL, as measured in our '44 analysis.

Compared to non-SU occupied Europe, the SU's 1938 economy was ~67% as big. This calculation underestimates things a bit, as the Soviet economy grew faster than Europe's in the following years, but let's remain conservative.

Given approximately equal exploitation rates between OTL occupied Europe and the SU, the ATL has a ~2/3 delta to the contribution of occupied territories to Gemany's war production. Note that I'm assuming that unoccupied portions of the SU (beyond the Urals, say), contribute to the German war effort via occupation costs agreed as part of an armistice.

The same analysis applies to Spain, Portugal, and Turkey, all of which would be likely to fall under German domination in one form or another in this ATL. Their combined 1938 GDP's were ~10% of OTL occupied Europe's.

Combined, the additional territories by - to use a conservative round figure - 75%. [ .67 + .096 = .766 ]

--------------------------------

The total effect of European economic revival under a greater German empire, plus the expansion of that empire, is to increase historical European contributions to Germany's war effort by a factor of ~2.6 [ 1.5 * 1.75 = 2.625 ]

If we use the most conservative estimate of OTL occupied Europe's contribution to the Wehrmacht - 25% - our calculated delta to German 1944 war production confers a 40% delta to OTL German war production. [.25 * 2.6 -.25 ]

...of course that ignores the impact of Allied bombing on European war production, a factor I'm about to discuss regarding Germany but will leave as a reserve "fudge factor" for these European calculations.

...the foregoing analysis also ignores the possibility of larger exploitation rates. As Liberman's study shows, higher average incomes make an occupier's extraction easier, implying that better European economic performance would imply higher German extraction rates. Let's leave that as another conservative "fudge factor" for now.
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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by ljadw » 30 Apr 2020 09:17

Flak ammunition is different from PAK ammunition.Thus,less PAK ammunition does not mean more Flak ammunition .It is the same as less surface ships does not mean more submarines .
And why would Britain prevent the USA from dropping A-bombs on Germany ( not on Europe ) ?

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by ljadw » 30 Apr 2020 09:38

Other point is that the different 8,8 cm Flak guns used all different ammunition which was produced with the help of different machine tools .Thus, an increase of this production would need a lot of time,and more ammunition does not mean more guns .The first few 1941 8,8 Flak guns became operational at the time of Stalingrad,the same for their ammunition,and victory in the east before October 1942 would not mean that the 1941 Flak would be operational before October 1942 .

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by EKB » 30 Apr 2020 10:47

glenn239 wrote:
29 Apr 2020 17:43
ljadw wrote:
29 Apr 2020 06:51
Less PAK ammunition does not mean more FLAK ammunition .
And anti-aircraft missiles would not stop US aircraft carrying nuclear bombs .
Yes, less ammunition needed in the east does mean more ammunition for AA later. German ammunition production from 1942 would move in the direction required by the war, and once the USSR falls even with North Africa, AA consumption is going to be the biggest user I think.

The Flak 88-mm gun was built at twice the labor cost of the army version. By January 1945, only 5% of German heavy flak guns were 128-mm tubes.

If you want to argue about fantasy time lines where Russia collapsed early, you overlook that Hitler and the Luftwaffe are just as likely to get victory disease (complacency) and decide that high-tech weapons are a waste of money. Therefore, a veto on buying big bore flak guns, jets, and Höhenjager with piston engines.

Even if Germany had those weapons in your ATL, they would have a limited effect on a fleet of high-flying B-29s with a better cruising speed than older bombers. Enola Gay released its most deadly cargo from a height of over 32,000 feet. German fighters would spend more fuel and more time getting to that altitude, which means they that would have less time to find and attack targets. As well, a lengthy climb to such lofty heights reduces engine life. That means increased maintenance and more engines needed by the defenders.

The main weakness of this what-if thread, is that it envisions a world where Nazis are not stupid like they were in real life. There is no such world, then or now.
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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by Gooner1 » 30 Apr 2020 11:25

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Apr 2020 00:08
We're measuring a point in June '44 when there is no large-scale land combat in the ETO. Russia is supine; the Wallies can't dream of landing in Europe yet.
The Western Allies would be fighting the Germans in the Caucasus. The Soviet Union and the West shared a border in Persia remember.
ATL Wehrmacht will be 5.5mil in mid-44: ~3.5mi Heer/WSS, ~1.5mil LW, ~.5mil KM.
So smaller than the force that were historically either tied down in occupation/defence duties or being defeated by the Western Allies in Italy, and France.

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by glenn239 » 30 Apr 2020 17:10

T. A. Gardner wrote:
29 Apr 2020 19:52
So, the Germans pretty much lost the electronics war by the beginning of 1944 and weren't going to get back in that race anytime soon. Without workable radar sets for blind fire control in overcast, their flak was seriously degraded and adding more of it, even doubling it, wasn't going to result in substantially higher casualties. Guns weren't the problem, crappy outdated electronics were.
The history of SEAD and ECCM in the Cold War suggests that it was flatly impossible that one side would "lose" such a contest. Rather, the advantage sways back and forth as new equipment is introduced. But, there is a more important difference than Germany vs. the USSR. There is the fact that the Allies were using 4-engine piston driven bombers for their offensive, and this type of aircraft was already obsolescent by 1944. The B-29 was a significant improvement, but not available in the numbers necessary, at least in 1945. And even then, the B-29 in Korea suggests that rocket armed ME-262's would be highly effective against this extremely expensive plane, while the Allies just didn't have jet fighter with the range to escort bombers from the UK to Germany.

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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by glenn239 » 30 Apr 2020 17:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Apr 2020 20:18
Kudos for being permeable to evidence and reason. Most folks have your initial assumption and maintain it no matter what - it's why I'm not responding to most replies anymore.
I've never looked into the topic before, so I'm delighted to be following along and learning. The way I look at it, a 4% loss rate was unsustainable for any bomber force. The German defenses from the googling I did a few days back were hovering around 1.8%, only about half the rate needed to defeat the Allied air offensive. Was it completely inconceivable that the new weapons under development could not double or triple the Allied loss rate? Hardly. Rather, after looking at the data in the past few days, it seems to me that B-17's and Lancasters were getting more and more vulnerable, and what concealed that trend was D-Day, the Soviet Army, and the Allied advance to the Rhine. Yes, the P-51 was a very nice fighter, but it was no match for the ME-262, and, AFAIK, the Allies just didn't have jets that could escort heavy bombers to Germany.
IMO the relative importance of Flak in Germany's aerial defense woud decline in this ATL. Germany arguably over-invested in Flak, as fighters were a far more efficient means of shooting down heavy bombers. An Me-109 cost ~80k RM, while just the shells used by Flak 41 or the 12.8cm Flak cost ~300k RM per kill. That's still cheaper than the cost of a heavy bomber (~600k RM) but by the time you account for the weapon and replacement barrels it gets pretty close to even on material cost.
I sort of agree and disagree a bit at the same time. The advantage of piston engine fighters is as you say. But, the advantage of flak was that, unlike the fighter, it was practically invulnerable to destruction. Whereas an ME-109 might fly 5 missions then get shot down, an 88mm battery that was set up in 1942 around Berlin would still be plugging away in 1945. By 1945 with advent of air to air and surface to air rockets, fighters and missiles would become increasingly more important than flak. I see an ME-262 could carry 24 R4M's, which gave a decent chance of approaching 1 kill per sortie. For a JU-88 in night ops, how many R4M's could they carry? 100? 200? Then, the introduction of ejection seats in 1944 would have carried through to standard equipment in 1945, and this invention was all Luftwaffe, because it would significantly improve survival rates from bail out.

I picture under the no-USSR scenario 1944 being the peak year of flak importance falling off to jets and rockets in 1945, but never doing worse than maybe a 1% attrition rate.
The historical reason for greater relative Flak investment owes partially to lack of fuel for more fighters. That's a bit exaggerated, however, as a Germany more focused on Reich defense from earlier in the war could have moved fuel resources from bombers and aerial transports to more fighters.
They could also motivate Soviet and other prisoners to man AA guns in a way that would not be the case for things like fighters, could they not?

It's not far-fetched to project every daylight bombing raid seeing losses and attrition on the scale of Operation Tidal Wave (first large Ploesti raid), with 1/3 of the force destroyed, 1/3 damaged, and attrition ratio being ~6-1 against the bombers.
Ploesti was a bit of an outlier in terms of altitude though. What I suspect is that improved flak, more flak, ME-262's, air to air rockets, better radar and fire control, and specialist weapons like BA-349 might have been too much for obsolescent aircraft such as the B-17. Because the German defenses are improving, but the B-17 is not. For example, with the BA-349 it was intended for surface launch and just missed the war. But I think they would have rapidly adapted it to bomber launch, such that bombers could lob dozens of the things into a bomber stream from 50 miles away. Could the Allies have kept losses to under 5% per raid in 1945? I'm not so sure.

glenn239
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Re: How bad would Allied casualties be if the Reich defeated the USSR?

Post by glenn239 » 30 Apr 2020 18:08

EKB wrote:
30 Apr 2020 10:47
Even if Germany had those weapons in your ATL, they would have a limited effect on a fleet of high-flying B-29s with a better cruising speed than older bombers. Enola Gay released its most deadly cargo from a height of over 32,000 feet.
Yes, the B-29 would certainly negate most of the German flak defenses. OTOH, you mention that only 5% of German flak guns were the 128mm variety. What percentage of Allied heavy bombers in 1945 were B-29's? I see total B-17/24, Lancaster, Halifax production by 1945 was about 45,000 while B-29 production by 1946 was 3,970. Would even 10% of the Allied bomber force be B-29's by mid-1945?

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