USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

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paulrward
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by paulrward » 11 Apr 2020 02:14

Hello All :


From https://www.456fis.org/P-38_HISTORY.htm


" Chronologically, the Lightning Mark I for the RAF was the next model produced. In France, as early as the spring of 1939, the Comite du Materiel and the Etat Major had been taking a look at the P-38 as a possible substitute for the Breguet 700, Potez 671, and Sud-Est S.E.100 twin-engine fighters then under development. In April 1940, the Anglo-French Purchasing Committee ordered 667 P-38 fighters. The two versions were the Model 322-61-03 (or 322-F) for France and 322-61-04 (or 322-B) for Britain.

Both the British and French delegations insisted that the Lockheed fighters be equipped with Allison engines without turbo-superchargers and with strictly right-handed rotation. This was because they wanted the engines to be interchangeable with those of the Curtiss H.81A Tomahawk which had been ordered by both Britain and France in great numbers. In addition, the Committee wanted to optimize the aircraft for medium-altitude combat as was currently the dominant mode of aerial warfare in Europe, rather than the high-altitude role for which the P-38 had originally been designed. The Anglo-French delegation was also aware of the problems currently being experienced by the War Department in the delivery of turbo-superchargers, and did not want to run the risk of costly, time-consuming delays since they wanted all the planes delivered in less than a year. It turned out that this decision was particularly unfortunate.

The British and French Model 322s were to be powered by Allison V-1710-C15 engines without turbo-superchargers that were rated at 1010 hp at 14,000 feet. These aircraft were to have both engines rotating in the right-handed sense. The French version of the fighter was to have French (i.e. metric-calibrated) instruments, French-built radios and French-supplied armament, and were to have throttles which operated in the "French fashion", ie. in the reverse direction from British/American throttles. With these engines, guaranteed maximum speed was 400 mph at 16,900 feet.

After the fall of France in June of 1940, the entire contract for the Model 322s was taken over by Britain. By July of 1941, the RAF recognized that there probably would be a need for high altitude capabilities, and the original contract was amended to provide for the delivery of 143 Lightning Is (British military serials AE978/999 and AF100/220) with the originally-specified V-1710-15 un-turbo-supercharged engines, with the remaining 524 aircraft (serials AF221/AF744) to be delivered as Lightning IIs (Model 322-60-04) with turbo-supercharged V-1710-F5L and -F5R engines with guaranteed top speeds of 415 mph at 20,000 feet.

Because of its non-turbo-supercharged right-handed Allison engines, the Lightning I for the RAF was christened the "castrated P-38" by the factory. It turned out that this nickname was apt.

The first three Lightnings arrived in the UK by sea transport in March of 1942. AF105 was sent to the Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft Limited at Swaythling, Southampton for examination and experiments. AF106 was sent to the A&AEE at Boscombe Down for flight evaluation. AF107 went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough for experiments and evaluation.

The performance of this hybrid was quite poor, and the RAF refused any further deliveries of the Lightning I after receiving and testing only three examples.

The remaining 140 Lightning Is of the British contract were completed by Lockheed and were taken over by the USA and designated P-322, P for pursuit and 322 for the Lockheed model designation. They were sent to a special modification center in Dallas, Texas where they were adapted for US service, most of them being used as trainers and for various experimental roles. They retained their original British serial numbers while in USAAF service. Twenty of the P-322s retained their V-1710-C15 engines (USAAF designation V-1710-33) with unhanded propellers They were assigned to operational use in the critical days following Pearl Harbor. The rest of the P-322s were fitted with handed engines (V-1710-27 and -29) but were not given turbo-superchargers. They were used as operational trainers with reduced armament (two 0.50-in and two 0.30-inch machine guns, no cannon).

Only one Lightning II (AF221) was completed. It was taken over by the USAAF as P-38F-13-10, painted with US national markings, but retained its British serial number. It was used by Lockheed for the testing of smoke- laying canisters on racks between the booms and the nacelle, and for the air-dropping of two torpedoes from the same racks. Twenty-eight other British-ordered aircraft were completed as P-38F-13-LO for the USAAF, 121 as P-38F-15-LO, 174 as P-38G-13-LO, and 200 as P-38G-15-LO.





As for the Boeing Fortress I's not having turbochargers, this information I got from a retired employee of Boeing,
who stated that Boeing knew that this would be a problem, but had no choice, there were NO turbochargers
available for export, and if the RAF wanted Fortresses, they had to take what they could get.

Later RAF B-17s WERE turbocharged, with the resulting improvement in performance. And, it
is possible that some of the early ones were given retrofit packages. This happened a lot during the war,
especially with the Flying Fortresses.



Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by paulrward » 11 Apr 2020 03:02

Hello All :

Mr. Takao stated
I can only wonder what Paul would say about relying on the judgement of non-impartial AUTHORS when evaluating data sources.
Well, here is a quote from the data source he gave : http://www.uboatarchive.net/ESF/ESFWarDiaryDec41CH2.htm
In the months between March and December, the outlines of the administrative machinery of the Frontier had been clearly drawn, measures to increase the cooperation between the Army and Navy had been taken, plans for operations in the event of enemy attack had been developed, material to insure the inner defense of the coast against attack had been accumulated as fast as the decisions of higher authority permitted. Yet the whole structure of defense that has been erected during these past months rests upon the forces that are available to act in case of enemy action and those forces consist, within the Frontier, of twenty small boats of varying capabilities and 103 planes, a large proportion of which have no place in modern war.

Now, we have seen how, in the first six months of the war, Adm. King did little or nothing to effectively fight
the U-boat attacks taking place on the Atlantic Coast of North America. And, it has been shown that he
resisted any attempt to transfer from the Pacific Fleet any modern USN DDs ( The only ones with modern sonar )
to the Atlantic. The question that must be asked is, Did Adm. King also impede the deployment of modern
patrol aircraft to the Atlantic Coast ?


In the first year of the war, while the U.S. was losing nearly 100 tankers, how many PBYs were diverted from
the Pacific to the Atlantic ? How many PB2Ys were used for Atlantic Coast ASW work ? Apparently, it was
deemed acceptable to use them for Cargo carrying, or VIP transport, and some were supplied lend-lease to
Britain, where they were also used for cargo work, but surely this large, capable four engined long range patrol
aircraft could have been used as an effective ASW platform. But, no, apparently Adm. King thought it was
more urgent to have Chester Nimitz use one as an executive transport....

While civilians were flying out over the Atlantic in Piper Cubs, armed only with a pair of binoculars, and
fisherman and yachtsmen were using their trawlers and unarmed sailing yachts to look for U-boats, what
was Wicked Uncle Ernie King doing to deal with this crisis ? Hmmmmmmmm.....


Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
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T. A. Gardner
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by T. A. Gardner » 11 Apr 2020 03:51

paulrward wrote:
11 Apr 2020 03:02
Hello All :

Mr. Takao stated
I can only wonder what Paul would say about relying on the judgement of non-impartial AUTHORS when evaluating data sources.
Well, here is a quote from the data source he gave : http://www.uboatarchive.net/ESF/ESFWarDiaryDec41CH2.htm
In the months between March and December, the outlines of the administrative machinery of the Frontier had been clearly drawn, measures to increase the cooperation between the Army and Navy had been taken, plans for operations in the event of enemy attack had been developed, material to insure the inner defense of the coast against attack had been accumulated as fast as the decisions of higher authority permitted. Yet the whole structure of defense that has been erected during these past months rests upon the forces that are available to act in case of enemy action and those forces consist, within the Frontier, of twenty small boats of varying capabilities and 103 planes, a large proportion of which have no place in modern war.

Now, we have seen how, in the first six months of the war, Adm. King did little or nothing to effectively fight
the U-boat attacks taking place on the Atlantic Coast of North America. And, it has been shown that he
resisted any attempt to transfer from the Pacific Fleet any modern USN DDs ( The only ones with modern sonar )
to the Atlantic. The question that must be asked is, Did Adm. King also impede the deployment of modern
patrol aircraft to the Atlantic Coast ?


In the first year of the war, while the U.S. was losing nearly 100 tankers, how many PBYs were diverted from
the Pacific to the Atlantic ? How many PB2Ys were used for Atlantic Coast ASW work ? Apparently, it was
deemed acceptable to use them for Cargo carrying, or VIP transport, and some were supplied lend-lease to
Britain, where they were also used for cargo work, but surely this large, capable four engined long range patrol
aircraft could have been used as an effective ASW platform. But, no, apparently Adm. King thought it was
more urgent to have Chester Nimitz use one as an executive transport....

While civilians were flying out over the Atlantic in Piper Cubs, armed only with a pair of binoculars, and
fisherman and yachtsmen were using their trawlers and unarmed sailing yachts to look for U-boats, what
was Wicked Uncle Ernie King doing to deal with this crisis ? Hmmmmmmmm.....


Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
The problem in the first few months of 1942 with aerial patrolling of the Atlantic coast wasn't so much a shortage of aircraft, yes there was some shortage, but this is secondary to the real problem of ineffective doctrine and equipment. The USN had put great faith in the use of MAD to detect submarines. Doctrine had this device as the primary means of detection of submerged U-boats. It turned out that it was almost totally ineffective unless you had a pretty good idea where the sub was and you were flying tens of feet above the ocean. This is much like the British faith in ASDIC at the beginning of the war.
The other problem was most of the aerial patrolling was done in daytime when the Germans were submerged and hiding for the most part. Thus, the aerial ASW effort was largely ineffective and wasteful of the equipment available. That took the USN some time to sort out.

The inshore patrol squadrons were mostly made up of aircraft that were poor ASW / maritime patrol types like the OS2U Kingfisher.

Image

An odd loadout for an OS2U in an inshore patrol squadron: One 330 lbs. depth bomb and 5 hedgehog or possibly mousetrap bombs. Two depth bombs was the common one.

It took the USN a bit to figure out that MAD was not going to find submarines and to start issuing the new AN/CRT-1 sonobuoy in starting in June 1942. Even then, the inshore squadrons couldn't use it as the planes couldn't fit the gear for the operator. Aircraft also started to sprout radar for surface search, something they started the war without.

You can see the exact disposition of USN aircraft during this period here:

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/h ... /1942.html

For example in early March 1942 there were 5 VP wings with 115 PBY and PBM on the East Coast and 5 inshore patrol squadrons with 51 OS2U and VOC. That doesn't include the USAAF contribution. So, the aircraft were there, just they were being used in ineffective ways that needed sorting out.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by EKB » 11 Apr 2020 04:29

paulrward wrote:
10 Apr 2020 19:36

According to the best histories I have read, like all German armoured units engaged in Normandy, Panzer Lehr suffered heavy losses in its transport from Allied air attacks, and, in addition, on July 25th, 1944, the Americans launched Operation Cobra, their breakout from the Normandy lodgment. At this point, Panzer Lehr had only 2,200 combat troops remaining, with 12 Panzer IVs and 16 Panthers fit for action and 30 tanks in various states of repair behind the lines. Operation Cobra was preceded by a massive aerial bombardment by over 1,500 allied bombers. Panzer Lehr was directly in the path of attack, and suffered about 1,000 casualties during the bombing. The division also lost at least 14 assault guns and 10 tanks. Two days later, on 27 July, the German defensive lines had been penetrated, and Bayerlein reported that Panzer Lehr was "finally annihilated."


It would appear from the above that, yes, indeed, Panzer Lehr was destroyed by Allied Tactical Air Power.

That was the orthodox view 40 years ago, largely based on memories of Fritz Bayerlein instead of official reporting. Recommend the book cited by Sheldrake; the Kindle version is most affordable. To that I will add:

" A Panther tank, captured intact in Normandy, was set up as a stationary target for two separate attacks each by four rocket-firing Typhoons. A total of 64 rockets were fired, the aircraft making steep dive attacks and releasing their rockets between 3,000 and 2,500 feet. On the first shoot of 32 rockets only one hit was obtained but this penetrated the tank's engine cover and exploded inside, igniting the remains of oil and petrol. On the second shoot two hits were obtained, one rocket stricking the side of the turret and exploding, while the other struck the tank's gun barrel. These hits showed that the rocket could penetrate all but the frontal armour of the Panther hull or turret, the thickness of which was 80-100 mm, but it was thought a hit on either of these points would render the tank inoperative by causing casualties to the crew, while a hit on the tracks would immobilise the tank. The rocket had no near-miss value, with blast and splinters of nearby ground strikes causing no damage.

The trial, with only three hits scored on a stationary and easily identifiable target, emphasised how difficult it must have been for Typhoon pilots to hit individual tanks on the battlefield which were camouflaged, often protected by flak, and whose crews would have been seeking to get their tank under cover as soon as the aircraft appeared. Concentrations of tanks offered better targets, and against these the Typhoon pilots usually made vertical dives, releasing their rockets in salvo to saturate the area; their 20 mm cannon ammunition was generally reserved for MT targets. When armoured columns were caught moving along a road, attempts were made to block the road and seal off any escape route by attacking the front and rear of the column, thereby trapping those vehicles in between. Given its inaccuracy, the 3 inch rocket appears to have been a totally inadequate weapon for engaging tanks."


Ref: Ian Gooderson. Air Power at the Battlefront, p.104-105.


Unguided weapons did not score many hits but a rocket was more accurate than a free-falling bomb. Saturation bombing might destroy several vehicles at once, but that was a very expensive option that could be defeated with greater dispersal.

The most reliable air weapon was guns, used to better effect against motor transport and railroad cars. The confusion that stemmed from overinflated counting of destroyed enemy equipment was made worse by multiple attacks against the same targets, by different squadrons. All of the warring nations had OR departments who sometimes sorted through battlefield rubbish to find facts, which they compared to reports from air crew, code breakers and witnesses on the ground where possible.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by paulrward » 11 Apr 2020 04:36

Hello Mr. Gardner ;

Excellent points. One that I have to add is that, during the Fleet Problems of the 1930s, the USN discovered
that you don't have to find and sink enemy subs to render them ineffective. All you have to do is force them
to submerge at long range from their targets, ie, the ships you are protecting, either as a convoy or a task
force. Then you just run away.

A surfaced U-boat travels at some 18 knots on the surfacek, and less than 8 knots submerged, and that
submerged speed is for a relatively brief period before the batteries start to go flat.

If you have a convoy with a single PBY orbiting overhead, with a visual range of some 15 miles in all directions,
or, if visibility is reduced, if the PBY is circling over the edges of the convoy, searching outward, you can then
simply head for the U-boat. The submarine will submerge, and go on batteries, and if your convoy can travel
at a speed in the range of 8-10 knots, you simply ' squat ' on the sub for a half hour or so, draining his batteries
and allowing the convoy to escape. This isn't sexy. There's no, " Sighted Sub Sank Same ". Nobody gets
a Navy Cross. But you do, eventually, win the war of attrition against the U-boat force.

The trouble was, Adm. King wasn't interested in protecting convoys, he wanted TO SINK U-BOATS ! This was
why, instead of escorting the convoys on the Atlantic coast, he would have his destroyers wait in port, all
fueled up and ready to go, and when a ship was attacked, the DDs would race to the burning tanker to hunt the
U-Boat. And find....... nothing...... In the hour or so it took the destroyers to get to the scene of the crime,
the U-boat has time to motor away on the surface, get a distance of about ten miles or so, and then simply
submerge and wait for the USN to get bored and go away.

If the sub can move ten miles from the site of the sinking in any direction, you are searching in a circle
that has an area of over 300 square miles. Needle, meet Haystack !

Then, after the USN DDs have gone away, for the U-boat captain it is simply a matter of ' Lather, Rinse, and
Repeat..... "

Once Adm. King was forced by Marshall and Roosevelt to accept the idea that he was NOT going to be able to
defeat the U-boats by sinking them, and that he would have to settle for just keeping them from being effective,
progress was finally made, and the baby-seal slaughter taking place among the U.S. flagged tanker fleet came
to an end. Convoys were organized, escorts were distributed, and the U-boats were forced to stay at arms
length during the day, and if the convoy went into shallow water at night to hide, the German Captain was
forced to ask himself, while considering a night attack, if he felt lucky that night.....

Remember, the guy who defeated Hannibal was nicknamed, ' Cunctator '. Which means ' Delayer '.

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Michael Kenny » 11 Apr 2020 05:03

EKB wrote:
11 Apr 2020 04:29
" A Panther tank, captured intact in Normandy, was set up as a stationary target for two separate attacks each by four rocket-firing Typhoons. ...............

Ref: Ian Gooderson. Air Power at the Battlefront, p.104-105.
Almost certainly an account of this display where more hits are shown than recorded in GOODERSON.


viewtopic.php?f=54&t=244306

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by paulrward » 11 Apr 2020 05:23

Hello Mr. EKB :

You make good points, but let us review the bidding on what happened to Panzer Lehr.

First, it wasn't their Panther Tanks that were hit with rockets and 20 mm fire from the Typhoons and P-47s,
it was their TRANSPORT ! Soft skinned vehicles, loaded with fuel, ammunition, spare parts, and men. In
the case of Panzer Lehr, a lot the motorized support was destroyed in June. This slowed down the division,
made them less mobile, and reduced their ammunition, fuel, and food supplies. Remember, a tank sitting
in the middle of a field with no fuel and limited ammo is nothing but a REALLY badly designed pillbox....

The came July 25th. First, 600 fighters came into the area and rocketed and strafed the division's
position, in order to get everyone's head down. Then, For the next hour, 1,800 heavy bombers of the U.S.
Eighth Air Force saturated a 6,000 yd × 2,200 yd (3.4 mi × 1.3 mi; 5.5 km × 2.0 km) area on the Saint-Lô–Periers
road, succeeded by a third and final wave of another 600 medium bombers.

Now, let's do a little math. You have 2400 bombers. Let us assume a load of 8 bombs per aircraft, or 19,200 bombs. If just 1/4 of one percent of those bombs ( 0.25 % ) hit a tank, then you just destroyed 48 tanks.
Which isn't far off from what Bayerlein reported. Along with 1000 casualties. Now, people are saying that a
large proportion of these were not KIA or WIA, but rather were just men who were so disoriented that they
gave up when the Allies advanced upon them. To which, I must respond, so what ? If Fritz is so shocked and
terrified by being on the receiving end of the Eight Air Force's B-17s for the first time in his life that he drops
his Mauser, puts his hands over his head, and yells, " Nicht schiessen !", then he has just ceased to be a combat
asset of the Third Reich and is now instead nothing but a logistical burden on the Allied Expeditionary Force....

The analysis of the accuracy of the 3" rocket is also very telling. OK, I admit, unguided rockets are not William
Tell's crossbow bolt. But, against a column of trucks on a road, if you have lined up on the road and hit them
with a salvo of rockets, followed by a quick spray of 20mm, you will certainly get their attention. And, one
20mm cannon shell through the engine block of an Opel truck brings it to a halt in a hurry, and blocks the
road. Truck drivers will tend to try to avoid this by hiding under cover, so that just a few marauding fighter-
bombers wandering around overhead can bring the tactical re supply of a division to a halt when you least
want this to happen.

And this brings us to an important point: When we say that Tactical Air Power destroyed the Panzer Lehr,
we are NOT saying that it destroyed the TANKS . What we are saying is that it wiped out so much of the logistical
support for the division and inflicted so many casualties at critical points in time as to render the division virtually
helpless in the face of an advancing Allied army. Remember, Bayerlein said the division was destroyed AFTER
it was over-run by the Allies. And he was right. But it was the bombing that made that possible, by rendering
the division immobile due to lost logistics, and then incapacitating large numbers of it's men, rendering them
incapable of fighting.

When you cain't fight, and cain't run, all you can do is give up, hide, or play dead......


Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by EKB » 11 Apr 2020 06:36

paulrward wrote:
11 Apr 2020 02:14
British and French Model 322s were to be powered by Allison V-1710-C15 engines without turbo-superchargers that were rated at 1010 hp at 14,000 feet.

Yet the RAF went to war with the same engine and better yet, did so with an outstanding rate of return on operations to Western Europe. Tomahawks from No. 26, 239, 268, and 400 Squadrons flew more than 300 sorties over France, Belgium and the Netherlands, incurring the loss of just four aircraft.

That compares favorably to some squadrons on Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mosquitoes.

paulrward wrote:
11 Apr 2020 02:14
But, that still meant a lot of lousy P-400s being shot down in New Guinea (the pilots said that a P-400 was a P-40 that came equipped with the Zero already on it's tail

The excellent time-to-climb performance of the P-39C was ruined by the RAF spec P-400, thanks to 1,200 lbs. of extra equipment. In some cases the heavy armor plate was removed at forward air strips.


paulrward wrote:
11 Apr 2020 02:14
First, the USN was out of the picture. " NAVY ? NO TURBO'S FOR YOU !!!!

Turbocharged engines were tested but some Navy officers raised objections to added weight, complexity and maintenance on a carrier deck showered with salt-water. The mechanical superchargers used in the Corsair, Hellcat, and Bearcat were deemed sufficient. The British Navy put little emphasis on high climbing. Nearly all Seafires used in battle had low-altitude rated Merlin 32 and Merlin 55M engines. Anti-ship fighting tended to develop at lower heights, whether by gun, bomb, torpedo or kamikaze. The island fighting gradually moved to lower altitudes as fighters were more often called on to attack ground targets.

The main advantage of turbos was better fuel economy over a gear-driven second stage.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by EKB » 11 Apr 2020 13:32

paulrward wrote:
11 Apr 2020 05:23
Remember, Bayerlein said the division was destroyed AFTER it was over-run by the Allies. And he was right. But it was the bombing that made that possible

I don’t know the precise German language translation for this, but to paraphrase Fritz Bayerlein, “history will be kind to me for I intend to write it”.

Retired generals wage wars of nostalgia. Some more than others. Regardless of how Bayerlein wanted this one to be remembered, there is no proof that Panzer Lehr Division was destroyed by carpet bombing. It’s not surprising that his forward troops were hit, dispersed by blast effect, or shell shocked. There was disruption and confusion to be sure, but catastrophic loss of motor transport in the rear areas would make it impossible to retreat with any semblence of order.

paulrward wrote:
11 Apr 2020 05:23
First, it wasn't their Panther Tanks that were hit with rockets and 20 mm fire from the Typhoons and P-47s, it was their TRANSPORT ! Soft skinned vehicles, loaded with fuel, ammunition, spare parts, and men. In the case of Panzer Lehr, a lot the motorized support was destroyed in June. This slowed down the division, made them less mobile, and reduced their ammunition, fuel, and food supplies.

The Panzer IV battalion and about 450 half-tracks (SPW) remained in the rear during the air raid where they were essentially unmolested by bombs. Does this give us reason to believe that supply trucks, further to the rear, were somehow annihilated by USAAF heavy bombers or Allied fighters?

paulrward wrote:
11 Apr 2020 05:23
rendering the division immobile due to lost logistics, and then incapacitating large numbers of it's men, rendering them incapable of fighting.

On 1st June 1944 the manpower strength of Panzer Lehr Division was 14,699 all ranks compared to 11,018 men on 1st August 1944. Bayerlein received some replacements, although the net loss of infantry was substantial. But the head count hardly describes a state of destruction.

Heavy losses of infantry put more pressure on panzer crews and artillery units, despite reported shortfalls of fuel and shells before the bombings of Operation COBRA. On 27th July a workshop at Cerisy-le-Selle, with thirty panzers under repair, was abandoned with some vehicles left behind. By 1st August the Panzer Lehr was down to 33 panzers battle worthy and 44 others in maintenance. Division artillery was reduced to nine howitzers operative, partly due to action against U.S. 3rd Armored Division near Marigny on 26th July. Big reductions since D-Day, but again the numbers do not suggest that a major disintegration of logistics took place due to saturation bombing. Most of the troop transport was still intact, with 391 SPW combat ready and 54 in short-term repair.
Last edited by EKB on 12 Apr 2020 06:27, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 11 Apr 2020 19:35

Gents,

Thanks for all the information re American patrol aircraft. It's really not an area I knew anything about before.

It would be really interesting to understand what the USN was planning to do with all those PBYs, PBMs and OS2Us, etc.

Was there a coherent aviation-based pre-war USN/USAAC ASW doctrine that lead to the production of these aircraft and did that lead to a coherent WW2 USN/USAAF ASW doctrine?

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by T. A. Gardner » 11 Apr 2020 21:50

The pre-war expectation of Navy patrol planes was they were for scouting and early warning against enemy fleets. Float planes like the OS2U were more akin to utility planes filling a variety of rolls mostly aboard ships as catapult aircraft. These could spot, perform anti-submarine patrol near the ship, fly a VIP off or to the ship, act as a mail carrier / messenger plane or the like.

ASW with patrol aircraft didn't really get a role until the war started and the USN saw that that these planes in British service were useful in that role. The USN began experimenting with fitting them with ASW sensors and weapons well before the US got into the war. They tried a variety of things, some that worked like sonobuoys and depth bombs, others that didn't like MAD and the Retrorocket (aka Retro-bomb).

https://www.navalhistory.org/2019/10/08/the-retro-bomb

The USN pre-war patrol doctrine was sound. When the proper weapons and sensors were added, these planes became a scourge to U-boats. They could find a surfaced boat, drive it down if not attack and sink it, and keep it down. They were what forced the Germans to adopt the snorkel. But, at first the USN and RAF had to sort out theory from practice and find what worked. That didn't happen overnight.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Apr 2020 02:23

EKB wrote:Regardless of how Bayerlein wanted this one to be remembered, there is no proof that Panzer Lehr Division was destroyed by carpet bombing.
Yeah Zetterling's evidence is extremely solid. O'Brien cites only to Bayerlein and to U.S. Army intelligence for the effects of bombing on Panzer Lehr.

The biggest flaw of the book is its cheerleading for air power. In that vein, it's unsurprising to me that O'Brien didn't seek out critiques of tactical power.

Likewise, the flaw that I'm pointing up is the flaw of all Wallied strategy during the war: by investing so much in air power - especially strategic air power - the Wallies made it more difficult to assemble the ground power that could have ended the war earlier.

O'Brien likes to catalog the impact of certain campaigns on the destruction and/or diversion of German/Japanese military production. His discussion of Operation Crossbow as one of the biggest, most consequential campaigns of the war, for example, is an example of this. That discussion is extremely insightful regarding the production chains involved and I'm convinced by his argument that Crossbow is one of the central war campaigns and is underestimated.

For all that economic sophistication, however, he misses the two campaigns that, until Allied victory, destroyed the most production of any campaigns in the war: The Battle of France and Barbarossa. By knocking France, Belgium, and the Netherlands out of the war, Germany destroyed half its enemies' industrial production AND expropriated a lot of that production for itself. By capturing ~half of the SU's pre-war industrial base by territory and ~1/3 by manpower, Barbarossa shifted the economic balance of the Eastern Front dramatically in Germany's favor. Of course Germany's planning for the war in the East was so bad that it was unable to exploit the opportunity it created via Barbarossa, but that doesn't change the underlying economics. Had Barbarossa been stopped at the Soviet border, for example, the Red Army could have been perhaps 50% stronger in 1942 than it was OTL.

O'Brien doesn't even mention the economic aspects of these conquests, which is a giant lacunae in his argument that modern air/sea power is the best way to destroy enemy production.

For the purposes of this ATL, a Wallied capture of the Ruhr in early '44 destroys a lot more German production than did the Combined Bomber Offensive.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Cult Icon » 12 Apr 2020 03:04

My old notes, speculation, and stats on Pz Lehr. Their SPW fleet was sent to the rear- that's why so few of them were knocked out. The unit, like the other german units, probably suffered most from the extremely potent artillery fire (eg. the response of US forces to their counterattack) rather than fighter-bombers or the COBRA bombing. :
On the Panzer Lehr Division stats in Normandy:

In the first five weeks, it took 3,407 casualties, 50 tank write offs, 82 SPW write offs, and over 200 vehicles in less than 3 weeks of combat against the CW. This represented 48% of combat strength.

Pulled out of the line in June 26th and placed in AGB reserve. received 1,633 replacements and 19 tanks, leaving it 1,362 men short. Sent against the Americans, against the US 9th and 30th Infantry divisions July 11-25. On the 26th the unit was famously struck by US 2nd Armored in Operation COBRA.

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More Pz Lehr stats against the CW

KStn Strength of its two inf regiments: 5,200 (combat strength 3,600) on 410 SPW

June 10 1,300 combat strength on 300 SPW
June 24 550 combat strength on 250 SPW

When Pz Lehr was shifted to the US sector, the SPW were removed and placed 40 KM in the rear due to the Bocage terrain.

On the 5 KM wide defense (roughly 10 inf battalions including a regiment of 5.FD and KG of 275.ID). Pz Lehr infantry strength should have been quite depleted from the get-go- maybe only around 1100 men :

"The main German combat line consisted of a row of strong points. Each strongpoint consisted of two or three Panzers or Panzerjägers. The Panzergrenadiers entrenched around them in order to survive the constant artillery and mortar fire. The well-camouflaged tanks could not move or even start their engines, otherwise they would have been discovered by the enemy. The Panzer crews were relieved every four days, and every relief would unleash a barrage that inflicted losses on the Panzergrenadiers ... Behind these strong points stood mobile reserves." (Ritgen 1995: 91)

Facing Pz Lehr was two US infantry divisions (9th and 30th) with 18 battalions of infantry-presumably individually larger than the German ones.

The attack of US VII Corps inflicted 2,000 casualties on the Lehr sector (including 1,200 on Lehr itself).

By July 24, Lehr had only around 450 combat strength in its two infantry regiments facing Operation COBRA. The attachments increased this by 1,550 men including 500 troops in FJR0 14, 450 men in KG Heintz, and 600 men of GR 985. So in total it held some 2,000 combat strength in infantry.

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On July 24th, Pz Lehr's sector was bombed, inflicting losses of another 350 men and 10 AFVs. On July 25th, the great air raid on Pz Lehr - with 4,700 tons of bombs- inflicted 1,000 casualties on the 3,600 German troops in the forward defense zone.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Apr 2020 16:45

From my manuscript.
Losses to Air Attack

With regards to German vehicle losses due to air attack it is interesting to note a comparison between the number of Allied (in this case U.S. Eighth and Ninth Air Force) attacks on road and vehicular targets and the number of vehicles reported lost by the Germans.

In June (31 May to 3 July) the U.S. air forces executed 4,808 sorties against roads and road bridges and 1,440 sorties against motorized and horse drawn transport. The Germans reported the loss of a total of 3,755 unarmored motorized vehicles of all types to all causes in June, including 129 trailers and 72 motorcycles and Kettenkrads. They also lost 470 armored vehicles of all types to all causes, including 252 tanks and assault guns (including command vehicles).

In July (4 to 31 July) the U.S. air forces executed 2,291 sorties against roads and road bridges and 560 sorties against motorized and horse drawn transport. The Germans reported the loss of a total of just 122 unarmored motorized vehicles of all types to all causes in July, including 23 trailers and 13 motorcycles. They also lost 506 armored vehicles of all types to all causes, including 359 tanks and assault guns.

In August (1 August to 4 September) the U.S. air forces executed 3,717 sorties against roads and road bridges and 6,566 sorties against motorized and horse drawn transport. The Germans reported the loss of a total of 27,870 unarmored motorized vehicles of all types to all causes in August, including 912 trailers and 7,739 motorcycles and Kettenkrads. They also lost 392 armored vehicles of all types to all causes, including 203 tanks and assault guns. This last is somewhat deceptive however, since most of the armor abandoned in Normandy was reported in September (over 3,969 armored vehicles were reported lost for the month, including 1,754 tanks and assault guns). This discrepancy does not appear in the case of the unarmored vehicles, since we have access to the reports correcting the earlier August figures, but no such corrections for armored vehicles appear to exist.

Overall it is difficult to draw conclusions on the efficacy of the Allied air power from these reports. However, it can be seen that the situation in July was much better from the German point of view than either June or August, which is also when the Allied attacks on roads and road transport were most intense (it is interesting to note that the German transport situation actually improved in July, since deliveries of new unarmored vehicles exceeded losses). But given the large numbers of vehicles found abandoned in the Falaise Pocket and along the Seine, it is difficult to say whether or not it was air attack or the simple lack of bridges that caused the abandonment.

A total of 227 German tanks (Panzer only, thus excluding StuG) were reported lost through 25 July, while it appears likely that the Allied sample in report No. 17 accounted for 110 of them, making it a very viable sample for that period. But even more interesting the total of motor vehicles counted (10,279) apparently included most of those lost in Normandy, even though the count only includes those examined in August. This can be confirmed from two independent sources, one Allied and one German. For the Allies from 6 June to 24 July, the US Eighth and Ninth Air Forces flew just 1,805 of 35,234 sorties (5.1%) against motor transport targets. For 25 July-28 August there were 5,924 of 17,566 sorties (33.7%) flown against motor transport targets. The Germans in turn reported the loss of 3,383 tons (probably around 1,500 trucks) of motor transport space from 6-28 June to all causes. However, for June and July it was reported that air attacks “included” 7 on transport columns and 1 attack on a “marching” (probably troop) column. But, this was obviously only a partial list of inclusions, since a total of 662 transportation targets of all types and 669 “military” targets were counted out of 1,411 attacks counted. Nevertheless it is difficult to see where significant losses of motor vehicles may be attributed against Allied air power in June and July.
Source for German vehicle losses is Übersicht über Kraftfahrzeuge (gepanzert), 1.8.1944, 1.10.1944, 1.12.1944 and Übersicht überKraftfahrzeuge (ungepanzert), 5.9.1944, 5.11.1944, 5.1.1945. NARA T78, R145, F5886~.

And.
Cause of loss for German tanks is given for a select set in O.R.S. 2 Report No. 17, Analysis of German Tank Casualties in France, 6th June 44 – 31st August 1944. In that report, for the period of 6 June-7 August a sample of 53 tanks resulted in 48% lost to ‘AP shot.’ For 8-31 August 1944 that dropped to just 11% due to the high number of abandoned tanks in that period. From that we may presume that the June-July total loss to ‘AP shot’ may have been about 246, while for August-September it may have been about 147, for a total of about 393.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 12 Apr 2020 20:37

Rich,

That's very interesting. Thanks, too, for the reference.

I've also read somewhere, can't for the life of me remember where though, that the German Navy had a large fleet of MT in France in 1944 and wouldn't share capacity with the ground forces. Does that ring a bell?

Regards

Tom

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