The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

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maltesefalcon
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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by maltesefalcon » 12 Dec 2019 23:57

Germany had the nucleus of a strategic bombing force early in the war. Unlike their Anglo American opponents they did not depend on long range 4-engine bombers to get the job done. The He-111 had the range and bombload to do significant damage to British cities if flown from bases in France. Conversely the Allies needed to fly all the way to Berlin in some cases.

The damage inflicted on Warsaw, Belgrade, Rotterdam, Stalingrad, Coventry and London showed that their bomber groups were a force to be reckoned with.

Failure to establish proper priorties, doctrine, tactics and a dedicated longer range escort fighter force combined to spike their strategic bombing capability in the long run.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Dec 2019 01:00

T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Dec 2019 21:44

The short answer is no. This alternative hurts Germany, and rather badly.

For example, in late 1940, the Germans started using the FW 200 Condor bomber for maritime patrols and attacks. These planes flew out of Southern France to Norway then made the return trip a few days later. At most, the Luftwaffe had a dozen (12!) planes of this type available for this mission. Most of the time they had less.

Yet, those planes in a matter of about six months (July 1940 to February 1941 roughly) sank almost 400,000 tons of shipping. Churchill called them "The Scourge of the Atlantic." This is a statement about less than a dozen planes operating on a mission the Luftwaffe reluctantly took on and gave relatively low priority to.

The British were forced to begin a emergency program to put AA guns on merchant ships and find ways, like the Catapult fighter (CAM Ship), to counter the German bombers.

Image

CAM ship.

All of that took time and money away from other urgent needs, all for the investment by the Germans of at most a couple dozen planes over the entirety of that period.

The problem with the Luftwaffe isn't the cost of production of bombers but rather the myopic, often insane, and poor strategic and tactical use of them along with poor design features.

For example, the Bomber B program to develop a replacement for the Ju 88, He 111, and Do 17 was horribly mismanaged. The RLM chose to push the envelope edges in their design requirements. The result was that all of the contending planes were abject failures and the one plane that did finally meet the requirements, the Hs 130C was built by Henschel, a company the Luftwaffe had initially rejected for consideration in the program at all!

Luftwaffe tactics during the BoB were simply bad and the Luftwaffe flailed around trying to improve them but failed. The RAF and then USAAF had such failures of tactics and strategy but they learned and adapted to changing conditions and enemy actions effectively. That's how they ended up bombing the snot out of Germany.

A pure fighter force means the Germans leave the aerial offensive completely up to their opponents. Other than some degree of tactical support using fighter-bombers, the Luftwaffe has no means to influence their enemies by offensive action.

Also, there won't be any great savings that can be easily and readily invested elsewhere. You suggest the Germans could switch production to say, locomotives (trains) and trucks. But, this would have required first building more factory space. Pre-war, the problem with trucks would be that the two largest producers in Germany, Opel (a GM subsidiary) and Ford, are foreign owned corporations and were therefore not used or considered by the military as sources of vehicles. By comparison, the rest of the manufacturers produced fewer vehicles as a combined total than Opel and Ford.
Locomotives are the same way. There are only so many manufacturers and they have only so much capacity. You'd have to invest in new factories over a number of years to increase production substantially.

As for the Luftwaffe, again, mismanagement is a bigger problem. Göring was allowed to do some pretty stupid empire building that he shouldn't have done. The Luftwaffe field divisions, HG Panzer Division, and the whole Luftwaffe ground army should have been nixed and the men and equipment put in the Heer as replacements.
Göring also went heavy on flak. Flak guns are relatively cheap compared to planes. They don't use scarce gasoline either. Also from Göring's point-of-view, having large numbers of flak crews in uniform gave the Luftwaffe a public presence on the streets of Germany. This was a political advantage for him.

The Luftwaffe, like to some extent the RAF and USAAF, wanted to be a truly separate service and pushed their strategic goals to that end. The RAF and USAAF however got to a point where they had sufficient surplus to manage to have both "strategic" and "tactical" air forces, something the Luftwaffe could never afford.

The bottom line here is: If you do away with everything but fighters for the Luftwaffe, you essentially hand the air war and victory to the Allies.
All of Germany's offensive efforts with its air force amounted to a hill of beans. The FW Condor sunk some merchant ships for a brief period in 1940-41. Big deal. Did this make any difference in the outcome of any land campaign in the war? The Battle of Britain was a disaster and the Blitz barely made a scratch in British war production.

Germany's bombers were at the end of the day useless other than for propaganda reels and generating discussion among history geeks.

As for alternative investments, Germany was spending a ton on bomber production long before the war even got started, so this money could have been used for anything else. Even leaving it unspent would have gone a long way toward helping Germany's overstrained economy in the 1930s, which in turn world have laid a better economic foundation for the war.

Even without alternative investments in factories prior to the war, the enormous LW labor force could have been used in more useful endeavors. Most armaments factories were running on a single shift early in the war. Taking LW workers and having them run second or third shifts in armaments factories would have enabled an increase in armaments production without additional capital investment. Likewise, the materials allocated to the LW (steel was huge) would have been available for the Heer.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by Yuri » 13 Dec 2019 21:54

maltesefalcon wrote:
12 Dec 2019 17:23
Also, spreading thousands of guns throughout the Reich, left most of them with nothing to do for days on end. Then, when a city was confronted with hundreds of enemy bombers, the ones deployed there simply could not cope. At one point, there were close to 1 million personnel manning the flak battalions. If even 1/2 of these guns and troops could have been sent east as anti-tank gunners, they would have had a bigger impact on the war.
Even if all German Lufwaffe anti-aircraft gunners were sent East, the war would not last more than ten days from the real one.
The number of personnel in the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft division 15-17 000 people.
In 1943 there were 24 the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft divisions (Lw.FlakDivs).
Nine of them (all motorized divisions) operated on the Soviet-European front. In addition, on Finland and Northern Norway had an German anti-aircraft brigade of 10,000+ men.
In addition, the Luftwaffe areas (Gau) Kharkov, Rostov (Kiev), Smolensk and Luga had their anti-aircraft Abteilungs and batteries, the total number of which was approximately equal to one the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft division.
In addition, the field airfields were defended by anti-aircraft gruppen (FlakAbwehrGruppe), the number of which by modest standards will be another Lw.FlakDiv.
In addition, at the disposal of the Chiefs of railway transport Sud-Russland and Nord-Russland there were railway anti-aircraft Abteilungs and batteries (to protect the railway echelons), a total one Lw.FlakDiv.
In total, the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft units were present in the Soviet-European theater of operations, with a combined strength of 12-13 Lw.FlakDivs (180-250,000 the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft gunners).
But this is only part of the anti-aircraft defense in "the East", and not the biggest part.
In "the East" were land anti-aircraft gunners (Heeres anti-aircraft gunners). Heeres was its own separate anti-aircraft Abteilungs (H.FlakAbt., anti-aircraft artillery and machine gun Battalions (Fla-Batl. and MG.Batl.). Their total strength is more than one Lw.FlakDiv, but we will take as one division.
In addition, IV./Art.Regiment in each infantry, motorized and tank division is anti-aircraft Abteilung. In total, 200 Heeres German divisions operated on the Soviet-European front, that is, 200 anti-aircraft Abteilungs. This is equivalent to 20 Lw.FlakDivs (assuming that each anti-aircraft division has 10 anti-aircraft Abteilungs). This is 315-357 000 Heeres anti-aircraft gunners. In total in "the East " there were 495-607 000 the German soldiers of antiaircraft artillery.

Now about those 15 Lw.FlakDivs, which operated in the expanded territory of the Third Reich. A typical personnel structure of Lw.FlakDiv is the 24.Lw.FlakDivision, which defended the Austrian capital Vienna:
«Das Personal bei der Flak bestand nur bei den leitenden Funktionen aus Soldaten. Andere Aufgaben wurden durch Behelfspersonal erledigt. Insgesamt waren bei der 24. Flakdivision bis zu rund 16.200 Personen eingesetzt.
Es waren dies:
- 4,000 Flaksoldaten
- 4,000 Luftwaffenhelfer (Oberschüler und Gymnasiasten der 6. und 7. Schulstufe sowie Lehrlinge - alles 16 bis 18 jährige)
- 1,800 Männer des RAD (Reichsarbeitsdienst)
- 2,000 Flakwaffenhelferinnen
- 1,500 RAD-Maiden (Frauen im Reichsarbeitsdienst)
- 1,500 Mann ausländisches Hilfspersonal (hauptsächlich Italiener und russische Hilfswillige)
- 800 Flakwehrmänner der Heimatflak (Betriebsangehörige von Großbetrieben sowie Landarbeiter)
- 600 Stabshelferinnen

Frauen kamen hauptsächlich im Stab, an den Scheinwerfern bzw. an den Nebelmaschinen zum Einsatz, wurden in geringerer Zahl aber auch bei den Mess- und Trossstaffeln, in Ausnahmefällen auch an den Geschützen - allerdings nicht als Geschützführer oder Munitionskanonier - eingesetzt».
So, in the Lw.FlakDivision on the territory of the Reich there were only 4,000 the German soldiers gunners (about 25% of the total number of personnel). 75% of the personnel in the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft division in the expanded territory of the Third Reich are boys and girls 15-17 years, women and prisoners of war. Thus, the expanded territory of the Third Reich had 60,000 the German Lw.Flak artillery soldiers.
Every month the German armed forces lost 250,000 men in "the East". The 60,000 German Luftwaffe antiaircraft artillery soldiers arriving from the expanded Third Reich territory in a maximum of ten days will either be killed or missing or will travel back to the expanded Third Reich territory in a sanitary echelon.
If “the East" with the expanded territory of the Third Reich will arrive only ½ the number of German Luftwaffe anti-aircraft gunners present in this territory, the agony of the Third Reich will last five days more from OTL.
But what would happen if 600,000 German anti-aircraft gunners with their anti-aircraft guns arrived from the "East" to the expanded territory of the Third Reich is already a scenario for the ATL.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by T. A. Gardner » 13 Dec 2019 23:12

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
13 Dec 2019 01:00
All of Germany's offensive efforts with its air force amounted to a hill of beans. The FW Condor sunk some merchant ships for a brief period in 1940-41. Big deal. Did this make any difference in the outcome of any land campaign in the war? The Battle of Britain was a disaster and the Blitz barely made a scratch in British war production.

Germany's bombers were at the end of the day useless other than for propaganda reels and generating discussion among history geeks.

As for alternative investments, Germany was spending a ton on bomber production long before the war even got started, so this money could have been used for anything else. Even leaving it unspent would have gone a long way toward helping Germany's overstrained economy in the 1930s, which in turn world have laid a better economic foundation for the war.

Even without alternative investments in factories prior to the war, the enormous LW labor force could have been used in more useful endeavors. Most armaments factories were running on a single shift early in the war. Taking LW workers and having them run second or third shifts in armaments factories would have enabled an increase in armaments production without additional capital investment. Likewise, the materials allocated to the LW (steel was huge) would have been available for the Heer.
The Luftwaffe off Crete for example, in attacks on the Royal Navy crippled an aircraft carrier, damaged 4 battleships, sank 3 cruisers and damaged 7 more, sank 8 destroyers and damaged another 12 along with sinking or heavily damaging a number of merchant ships.
The Malta convoys, same thing. Off Salerno and Anzio Italy the Luftwaffe was still causing heavy ship damage and losses, and that's late 1943.
In the Atlantic, the Luftwaffe using He 111, Ju 88, Ju 188, and He 177 bombers, among other types sank well over a million tons of merchant shipping. That's not insignificant, and such operations were being conducted into 1944.

Look at the list of ships sunk and damaged by the Hs 293 glide bomb the Luftwaffe used:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henschel_Hs_293

Where the Luftwaffe failed was trying to produce a "strategic" air force of the sort the US and Britain did. The alternative would have been to produce a more tactical air force of the sort the Soviets put together.

The problem with that however is one of politics. It's the same politics that drove the RAF and USAAF into "strategic" bombing. In all three cases, the air force leadership of each nation wanted their branch of service to have a separate and arguably decisive mission they could carry out on their own without help from the other branches of the military. This is about politics. If the air force's mission is nothing but one supporting the other services, it can't justify their being a separate service. That means a loss of political status and the monetary backing of their branch.

Thus, the Luftwaffe had to produce a "strategic" bomber force at least in theory. That's why they end up bombing cities and economic targets. The Luftwaffe has to justify it's role as a separate service, same as the RAF's Bomber Command, or the USAAF did. Any use of air force assets in lesser operations or in support of other branches, like ground attack, are political negatives for them as these reduce their branch to subservience of other branches.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 14 Dec 2019 00:25

I agree that the Luftewaffe was effective against enemy ships at sea. I just think investing in the Heer would have generated better returns. For Germany, WW2 was in essence a ground war. Its fate depended on victory on land - not in North Africa, but on mainland Europe.

Naval warfare was a useless side show that Germany could never win. For all the ships sunk by the LW and KM, Germany never came close to contesting any sea zone other than the Baltic, which was the only one strategically necessary. Maybe if bombers were needed to keep the Soviet Baltic fleet at bay I can see a case, but I don't think bombers were necessary for that purpose in the OTL.

I agree that it was about politics. Politics led to a horribly inefficient economy and Werhmacht that tried to do everything and ended up doing nothing well enough. Germany had extremely limited resources and needed to focus them on mass producing the most important equipment for the war: rifles, machine guns, artillery, mortars, ammunition, trucks, and trains.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by JAG13 » 14 Dec 2019 00:40

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
14 Dec 2019 00:25
I agree that the Luftewaffe was effective against enemy ships at sea. I just think investing in the Heer would have generated better returns. For Germany, WW2 was in essence a ground war. Its fate depended on victory on land - not in North Africa, but on mainland Europe.

Naval warfare was a useless side show that Germany could never win. For all the ships sunk by the LW and KM, Germany never came close to contesting any sea zone other than the Baltic, which was the only one strategically necessary. Maybe if bombers were needed to keep the Soviet Baltic fleet at bay I can see a case, but I don't think bombers were necessary for that purpose in the OTL.

I agree that it was about politics. Politics led to a horribly inefficient economy and Werhmacht that tried to do everything and ended up doing nothing well enough. Germany had extremely limited resources and needed to focus them on mass producing the most important equipment for the war: rifles, machine guns, artillery, mortars, ammunition, trucks, and trains.
The KM dis well considering:

1. It had no aerial recce for its ships and subs.
2. Its torps didnt work at first.
3. Had too few subs to really make an impact.
4. Used its new magnetic mines way before having a stock to make their introduction worthwhile.
5. Had no air arm.
6. Had no plan, intelligence on, or ships designed to fight the UK due to Hitler's meddling.

Change that and then tell me if they could have never won, you already know what a dozen improvised and flimsy Condors reluctantly did.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by maltesefalcon » 14 Dec 2019 01:50

Yuri wrote:
13 Dec 2019 21:54
maltesefalcon wrote:
12 Dec 2019 17:23
Also, spreading thousands of guns throughout the Reich, left most of them with nothing to do for days on end. Then, when a city was confronted with hundreds of enemy bombers, the ones deployed there simply could not cope. At one point, there were close to 1 million personnel manning the flak battalions. If even 1/2 of these guns and troops could have been sent east as anti-tank gunners, they would have had a bigger impact on the war.
Even if all German Lufwaffe anti-aircraft gunners were sent East, the war would not last more than ten days from the real one.
The number of personnel in the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft division 15-17 000 people.
In 1943 there were 24 the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft divisions (Lw.FlakDivs).
Nine of them (all motorized divisions) operated on the Soviet-European front. In addition, on Finland and Northern Norway had an German anti-aircraft brigade of 10,000+ men.
In addition, the Luftwaffe areas (Gau) Kharkov, Rostov (Kiev), Smolensk and Luga had their anti-aircraft Abteilungs and batteries, the total number of which was approximately equal to one the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft division.
In addition, the field airfields were defended by anti-aircraft gruppen (FlakAbwehrGruppe), the number of which by modest standards will be another Lw.FlakDiv.
In addition, at the disposal of the Chiefs of railway transport Sud-Russland and Nord-Russland there were railway anti-aircraft Abteilungs and batteries (to protect the railway echelons), a total one Lw.FlakDiv.
In total, the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft units were present in the Soviet-European theater of operations, with a combined strength of 12-13 Lw.FlakDivs (180-250,000 the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft gunners).
But this is only part of the anti-aircraft defense in "the East", and not the biggest part.
In "the East" were land anti-aircraft gunners (Heeres anti-aircraft gunners). Heeres was its own separate anti-aircraft Abteilungs (H.FlakAbt., anti-aircraft artillery and machine gun Battalions (Fla-Batl. and MG.Batl.). Their total strength is more than one Lw.FlakDiv, but we will take as one division.
In addition, IV./Art.Regiment in each infantry, motorized and tank division is anti-aircraft Abteilung. In total, 200 Heeres German divisions operated on the Soviet-European front, that is, 200 anti-aircraft Abteilungs. This is equivalent to 20 Lw.FlakDivs (assuming that each anti-aircraft division has 10 anti-aircraft Abteilungs). This is 315-357 000 Heeres anti-aircraft gunners. In total in "the East " there were 495-607 000 the German soldiers of antiaircraft artillery.

Now about those 15 Lw.FlakDivs, which operated in the expanded territory of the Third Reich. A typical personnel structure of Lw.FlakDiv is the 24.Lw.FlakDivision, which defended the Austrian capital Vienna:
«Das Personal bei der Flak bestand nur bei den leitenden Funktionen aus Soldaten. Andere Aufgaben wurden durch Behelfspersonal erledigt. Insgesamt waren bei der 24. Flakdivision bis zu rund 16.200 Personen eingesetzt.
Es waren dies:
- 4,000 Flaksoldaten
- 4,000 Luftwaffenhelfer (Oberschüler und Gymnasiasten der 6. und 7. Schulstufe sowie Lehrlinge - alles 16 bis 18 jährige)
- 1,800 Männer des RAD (Reichsarbeitsdienst)
- 2,000 Flakwaffenhelferinnen
- 1,500 RAD-Maiden (Frauen im Reichsarbeitsdienst)
- 1,500 Mann ausländisches Hilfspersonal (hauptsächlich Italiener und russische Hilfswillige)
- 800 Flakwehrmänner der Heimatflak (Betriebsangehörige von Großbetrieben sowie Landarbeiter)
- 600 Stabshelferinnen

Frauen kamen hauptsächlich im Stab, an den Scheinwerfern bzw. an den Nebelmaschinen zum Einsatz, wurden in geringerer Zahl aber auch bei den Mess- und Trossstaffeln, in Ausnahmefällen auch an den Geschützen - allerdings nicht als Geschützführer oder Munitionskanonier - eingesetzt».
So, in the Lw.FlakDivision on the territory of the Reich there were only 4,000 the German soldiers gunners (about 25% of the total number of personnel). 75% of the personnel in the Luftwaffe anti-aircraft division in the expanded territory of the Third Reich are boys and girls 15-17 years, women and prisoners of war. Thus, the expanded territory of the Third Reich had 60,000 the German Lw.Flak artillery soldiers.
Every month the German armed forces lost 250,000 men in "the East". The 60,000 German Luftwaffe antiaircraft artillery soldiers arriving from the expanded Third Reich territory in a maximum of ten days will either be killed or missing or will travel back to the expanded Third Reich territory in a sanitary echelon.
If “the East" with the expanded territory of the Third Reich will arrive only ½ the number of German Luftwaffe anti-aircraft gunners present in this territory, the agony of the Third Reich will last five days more from OTL.
But what would happen if 600,000 German anti-aircraft gunners with their anti-aircraft guns arrived from the "East" to the expanded territory of the Third Reich is already a scenario for the ATL.
I'm not sure of the time period of your analysis of personnel breakdown . Possibly the last 12 months of the war, based on your casualty figures? Obviously if it is very late in the war, then not much could be done in any case.

I'm thinking more of 1942/43. Also it's not just a matter of extra people. They would of course bring their weapons. I canmot see how adding half of the Reich's AA guns to an anti-tank role in the East would only extend the war 1 week.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 14 Dec 2019 02:41

JAG13 wrote:
14 Dec 2019 00:40
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
14 Dec 2019 00:25
I agree that the Luftewaffe was effective against enemy ships at sea. I just think investing in the Heer would have generated better returns. For Germany, WW2 was in essence a ground war. Its fate depended on victory on land - not in North Africa, but on mainland Europe.

Naval warfare was a useless side show that Germany could never win. For all the ships sunk by the LW and KM, Germany never came close to contesting any sea zone other than the Baltic, which was the only one strategically necessary. Maybe if bombers were needed to keep the Soviet Baltic fleet at bay I can see a case, but I don't think bombers were necessary for that purpose in the OTL.

I agree that it was about politics. Politics led to a horribly inefficient economy and Werhmacht that tried to do everything and ended up doing nothing well enough. Germany had extremely limited resources and needed to focus them on mass producing the most important equipment for the war: rifles, machine guns, artillery, mortars, ammunition, trucks, and trains.
The KM dis well considering:

1. It had no aerial recce for its ships and subs.
2. Its torps didnt work at first.
3. Had too few subs to really make an impact.
4. Used its new magnetic mines way before having a stock to make their introduction worthwhile.
5. Had no air arm.
6. Had no plan, intelligence on, or ships designed to fight the UK due to Hitler's meddling.

Change that and then tell me if they could have never won, you already know what a dozen improvised and flimsy Condors reluctantly did.
I know the KM did well, given its small size relative to the Allied navy. I'm just saying it didn't accomplish anything that actually helped Germany win the war. The war for Germany took place on land. The sinking of Allied ships only helped the land war to the extent it made it more difficult for the Allies to land their troops on continental Europe. I've debated this with TheMarcksPlan, but basically zero WW2 historians claim that the KM's efforts delayed the Allied invasion of Europe.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by Kingfish » 14 Dec 2019 03:48

maltesefalcon wrote:
12 Dec 2019 23:57
Germany had the nucleus of a strategic bombing force early in the war. Unlike their Anglo American opponents they did not depend on long range 4-engine bombers to get the job done.
What do you mean by "get the job done"?
The He-111 had the range and bombload to do significant damage to British cities if flown from bases in France. Conversely the Allies needed to fly all the way to Berlin in some cases.
The allies fielded comparable aircraft during the early part of WW2, and the Ruhr is only 300 air miles from London, well within the range of a Wellington.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by maltesefalcon » 14 Dec 2019 05:21

Kingfish wrote:
14 Dec 2019 03:48
maltesefalcon wrote:
12 Dec 2019 23:57
Germany had the nucleus of a strategic bombing force early in the war. Unlike their Anglo American opponents they did not depend on long range 4-engine bombers to get the job done.
What do you mean by "get the job done"?
The He-111 had the range and bombload to do significant damage to British cities if flown from bases in France. Conversely the Allies needed to fly all the way to Berlin in some cases.
The allies fielded comparable aircraft during the early part of WW2, and the Ruhr is only 300 air miles from London, well within the range of a Wellington.
Get the job done? Fly to the intended target, drop their bombload and fly home. Thats pretty well job 1 for a bomber fleet.

And yes I'm aware that 2-engine Wellies were used early in the war. And A-26, B-25 among others sometime later. But the Ruhr is not Berlin. My point is flying from Normandy to London and back is much less difficult than flying from London to Berlin and back. Different tasks different equipment.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Dec 2019 05:58

Reading this thread is odd for me.

On the one hand I think HG's proposal for *zero* bombers is bonkers as a matter of (1) historical feasibility and (2) good policy: Re (1) Bombers were too salient in contemporary military and popular/political imagination to even consider foregoing them absolutely. Re (2) having bombers is extremely resource-efficient in certain scenarios - some of them mentioned by posters in this thread - and even a small bomber force provokes massive and asymmetric resource expenditure in defense (e.g. heavy flak and all the less-sexy air defense infrastructure such as radar fixtures and communications/control networks).

OTOH, HG's proposal is an extension (way too far, IMO) of analytical insight that posters here either can't or refuse to confront: As HG states, bombers were tremendously expensive. Many of you are pointing to good stuff the LW bombers did but AFAICS none of you are analyzing whether the resources invested in the LW bomber fleet are worth that good stuff, and whether more good stuff would have come from investing those resources differently.

Take, for example:
T.A. Gardner wrote:The Luftwaffe off Crete for example, in attacks on the Royal Navy crippled an aircraft carrier, damaged 4 battleships, sank 3 cruisers and damaged 7 more, sank 8 destroyers and damaged another 12 along with sinking or heavily damaging a number of merchant ships.
This is no doubt good stuff that LW bombers did. But Wehrmacht bomber expenditure was >30% of the ENTIRE Wehrmacht production budget, 3-4x as much as spending on tanks, trucks, and half-tracks combined (cumulatively <10%. viewtopic.php?f=76&t=244917#p2228286). With the money spent on bombers, the Wehrmacht could have literally TRIPLED or QUADRUPLED its motorized and panzer divisions. I don't want to condescend to you all by describing the impact of those forces on Barbarossa or even France.

Okay one condescension: With 3-4 times the mobile divisions in France, the Manstein plan doesn't have to use the English Channel as "a second pincer;" it has enough for three or four Sedan-scale deep penetrations (and has the extra truck columns to support them). At the very least that means no evacuation from Dunkirk; it's more like Sedan/Metz 1870 with capture of whole shebang.

So even though I think *zero* bombers is bonkers, I'd take zero bombers over the OTL expenditure on bombers, which with hindsight was even more bonkers. I'd suggest a smaller bomber force (maybe 500 bombers in authorized strength) rather than zero especially for anti-shipping and amphibious missions, but zero is still much better than OTL.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 14 Dec 2019 06:37

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Dec 2019 05:58
Re (2) having bombers is extremely resource-efficient in certain scenarios - some of them mentioned by posters in this thread - and even a small bomber force provokes massive and asymmetric resource expenditure in defense (e.g. heavy flak and all the less-sexy air defense infrastructure such as radar fixtures and communications/control networks).
Just have Goebbels create some prop bombers that look real enough on film, feature them in every propaganda reel, and the Allies will build roughly the same amount of air defenses that they did in the OTL.

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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Dec 2019 06:41

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
14 Dec 2019 06:37
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Dec 2019 05:58
Re (2) having bombers is extremely resource-efficient in certain scenarios - some of them mentioned by posters in this thread - and even a small bomber force provokes massive and asymmetric resource expenditure in defense (e.g. heavy flak and all the less-sexy air defense infrastructure such as radar fixtures and communications/control networks).
Just have Goebbels create some prop bombers that look real enough on film, feature them in every propaganda reel, and the Allies will build roughly the same amount of air defenses that they did in the OTL.
Lol. Not when the head of the Abwehr is a double agent! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Canaris

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Yuri
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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by Yuri » 14 Dec 2019 11:26

maltesefalcon wrote:
14 Dec 2019 01:50
I'm not sure of the time period of your analysis of personnel breakdown . Possibly the last 12 months of the war, based on your casualty figures? Obviously if it is very late in the war, then not much could be done in any case.

I'm thinking more of 1942/43. Also it's not just a matter of extra people. They would of course bring their weapons. I canmot see how adding half of the Reich's AA guns to an anti-tank role in the East would only extend the war 1 week.
It's not my personnel breakdown and It's not my casualty figures. This data is OKB.
Breakdown of staff 24.Lw.Flak.Division - November 1943;
number of German divisions in the East - November 1943;
losses - for the second half of 1943.
The value is not in men or weapons, but in the armed men. At the same time, armed children, women and prisoners of war are of doubtful value for anti-tank defense. Only 60,000 Luftwaffe soldiers remain, allowing the formation of four full Lw.FlakDivisions (or approximately 40 Lw.Flak.Abteilungs), which can be added to nine Lw.FlakDivisions (or approximately 90 Lw.Flak.Abteilungs) already operating in "the East".
However, an increase of 50% in Lw.Flak.Divisions in "the East" will not increase by 50% the anti-tank defense of the German armed forces in "the East".
First, Heer has more than 200 FlakAbteilungs.
Secondly, the infantry, motorized and panzer division has Pz.Jg.Abteilung. Consequently, there are two hundred Pz.Jg.Abteilungs operating in "the East" (apart from this Heer had separate Pz.Jg.Abteilungs).
Third, it must be remembered that each infantry or motorized regiment has its own anti-tank guns and gunners.
Finally, fourth, the German tanks in "the East" is a powerful anti-tank weapon of the German armed forces in this very "East".
Thus, the appearance of an additional 40 Lw.Flak.Abteilungs will increase the anti-tank capabilities of the German armed forces in "the East" by no more than 5%.
In this case, the effect of such a 5% increase will be valid for no more than 10 days. In ten days they will be lost and if you do not send replacements for these losses, the situation will be the same as it was ten days ago.

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Kingfish
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Re: The Luftwaffe only makes fighters

Post by Kingfish » 14 Dec 2019 16:28

maltesefalcon wrote:
14 Dec 2019 05:21
Get the job done? Fly to the intended target, drop their bombload and fly home. Thats pretty well job 1 for a bomber fleet.
Well, there is a lot more to it than that, otherwise you can count the FW 200 Condor or the PBY Catalina as part of the strategic bomber fleet by virtue of being able to check off the three boxes you outlined above.
But the Ruhr is not Berlin.
Correct, and Berlin - like London - would not be considered a primary target in terms of each sides war effort. The Ruhr, on the other hand, is.
The primary mission of a strategic bomber fleet is to cripple an enemy's war effort.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

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