WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Mar 2021 22:12

Posted a thread germane to this discussion: viewtopic.php?f=54&t=256148

...showing that German-American aerial attrition ratios favored Germany - in economic terms - by a factor of 2.75-3.8 during 1943. Haven't run the numbers for 1944 to the same degree, still facing data problems there. Definitely gets worse for Germany though.

Re this thread, the interesting point is whether Germany could maintain its 1943 qualitative level had it captured Russian oil resources and, by virtue of ending the Eastern Front, redirected its synthgas production entirely to avgas.

It seems pretty clear the answer is yes, in which case at least the daylight air offensive against Germany is doomed.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Politician01 » 08 Mar 2021 13:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Mar 2021 22:12

the interesting point is whether Germany could maintain its 1943 qualitative level had it captured Russian oil resources and, by virtue of ending the Eastern Front, redirected its synthgas production entirely to avgas.

It seems pretty clear the answer is yes, in which case at least the daylight air offensive against Germany is doomed.
Forget the fighters. Absent an Eastern Front from early 1943 onwards (or greatly reduced) flak alone could probably have lead to a suspension of daylight bombing by late 1944/early 1945.

Historically until 1942 the flak needed only around 5000 shots of AA ammunition to down an Allied aircraft. This was because some 80-90% of all AA personell were trained professionals. Because of the requirements of the Eastern Front from late 42/early 43 onwards, these professionals were relocated and replaced by children/industrial workers/POW´s. Naturally this lead to a great decrease in AA quality and by 1944 the ammunition needed to down an Allied aircraft had skyrocketed to 16 000 shells for the 88 mm Flak and still some 6000 to 8000 shells for the newer 88mm and 105 mm flak. By 1944 only around 10% of AA personell were professionals, by 1945 only some 5%.

The Eastern Front also sucked up countless thousands of scientists and engineers which greatly hampered the development of AA rockets and especially important, the development of a time/impact fuse. This fuse wasnt ready until early 1945 and increased successful downing of Allied aircraft by 100% - despite the fact that most flak by this time was manned by amateurs.

So if the Eastern Front doesnt suck up most of German manpower, Allied (American) AA loses in the 43/44 period are probably double to triple what they were OTL. Depending on how much earlier the dual time/impact fuse is ready, losses in 1944 could have been 5x OTL losses.

Even if one assumes that German fighters dont improve to OTL, the increase in flak efficency alone would be devastating. At least for daytime bombing.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by thaddeus_c » 08 Mar 2021 19:11

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Dec 2020 20:18
The only real recourse the Germans had was to start by building all their synthetic plant underground and dispersed from the get go. That runs into problems with the greater cost of the project, which was already straining German capacity in the 1930s. It also requires an even greater tea leaf reading ability on the part of the Germans in the early 1930s and does not solve the rail transportation dependence problem.
the fuels issue was one area where they did perceive the problem(s)? my observation is always they DID build out a huge infrastructure, just in time to be bombed to tiny bits.

not impossible they could have pushed the completion of a more modest size synthetic plant but finished earlier, capacity to produce 20m barrels per year in 1938-1940 timeframe much more useful than 44m barrel capacity only finished in 1944.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 08 Mar 2021 19:32

thaddeus_c wrote:
08 Mar 2021 19:11
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Dec 2020 20:18
The only real recourse the Germans had was to start by building all their synthetic plant underground and dispersed from the get go. That runs into problems with the greater cost of the project, which was already straining German capacity in the 1930s. It also requires an even greater tea leaf reading ability on the part of the Germans in the early 1930s and does not solve the rail transportation dependence problem.
the fuels issue was one area where they did perceive the problem(s)? my observation is always they DID build out a huge infrastructure, just in time to be bombed to tiny bits.

not impossible they could have pushed the completion of a more modest size synthetic plant but finished earlier, capacity to produce 20m barrels per year in 1938-1940 timeframe much more useful than 44m barrel capacity only finished in 1944.
Can't tell whether you're making a point about total production capacity or, like Richard, about susceptibility to bombing.

If the latter it's a circular argument: the plants are susceptible to ruin only if Germany loses the air war dramatically; whether Germany loses the air war at all is the topic.

It would of course be possible to hit Leuna with occasional raids at a cost of 30% of the bomber fleet - just as Germany hit British targets in 43-44 at unacceptable cost. But of course it required sustained raids to meaningfully decrease production.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 08 Mar 2021 20:40

Politician01 wrote:
08 Mar 2021 13:34
The Eastern Front also sucked up countless thousands of scientists and engineers which greatly hampered the development of AA rockets and especially important, the development of a time/impact fuse.
That's not an argument I've seen before and, IIRC, O'Brien (How the War Was Won) suggests that the majority of the German scientific effort was given over to the Air-Sea war against the Western Allies. Do have any references to support this thesis?

Or are you talking about "countless thousands of scientists and engineers" being drafted into the fighting forces on the eastern front? Again, not something I've seen argued before.

Regards

Tom

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Peter89 » 08 Mar 2021 21:27

Why would the Wallies keep hitting German targets with unbearable losses?
It's simple; they wouldn't.

Why would the Germans keep making prudent and good decisions only instead of the historical ones?
It's simple; they wouldn't.

Why would the Germans lose less aircrafts and destroy more during their successful campaign in the SU?
It's simple; they wouldn't.

The Germans have lost 5011 aircrafts in the SU until 1942 August, and the Soviets were still not defeated. A further 4937 was lost between 1942 August and 1944 June.

If the Germans do much better in 1941 / 1942, they have to destroy the Soviet Air Force and its industrial production centres - thus inflicting more damage than they did OTL.

If we assume that, why is it plausible to believe that the Wallies will do the exact same damage and enter into the exact same unfavorable exchanges - or much worse, as it was surmised by some?
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 08 Mar 2021 22:00

Politician01 wrote:Forget the fighters. Absent an Eastern Front from early 1943 onwards (or greatly reduced) flak alone
Let's not forget either flak or fighters. But let's proceed by digestible analytical steps.
Politician01 wrote:Historically until 1942 the flak needed only around 5000 shots of AA ammunition to down an Allied aircraft. This was because some 80-90% of all AA personell were trained professionals.
I'd expect a delta to German flak kills in this ATL but haven't quantified it yet.

One data issue to resolve - how much of the 42-44 deterioration in flak performance was attributable to personnel and how much to more modern bombers flying faster at higher altitudes? I suspect target quality played a significant role; can't say quite how much.

Another large avenue of improved flak performance could be a shift Flak 36/37 to Flak 41. Hitler downgraded the Flak 41's production priority because of its relatively higher copper requirements. With SU defeated, German will have both more copper and reduced competing demands for copper (i.e. land arty/ammo). The Flak 41 performed at 5,000 shells/kill in 1944 per Westermann, so an ATL specifying more Flak 41's need not speculate as to the causes of flak performance decline.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by historygeek2021 » 08 Mar 2021 22:57

Did the Germans use mechanical computers for their land based anti-aircraft guns? They had mechanical computers to control their ships' AA fire, so why wouldn't they also use it for their ground based AA?

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Politician01 » 09 Mar 2021 11:33

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
08 Mar 2021 20:40
Politician01 wrote:
08 Mar 2021 13:34
The Eastern Front also sucked up countless thousands of scientists and engineers which greatly hampered the development of AA rockets and especially important, the development of a time/impact fuse.
That's not an argument I've seen before and, IIRC, O'Brien (How the War Was Won) suggests that the majority of the German scientific effort was given over to the Air-Sea war against the Western Allies. Do have any references to support this thesis?

Or are you talking about "countless thousands of scientists and engineers" being drafted into the fighting forces on the eastern front? Again, not something I've seen argued before.

Regards

Tom
The personell requirements of the Eastern Front were monstrous. By 1942 the Germans were pretty much drafting everyone who was not a category A. This included skilled workers, skilled flak personell, scientists, engineers, everyone. This hampered production and development of new weapons.

John Allies in Brute Force notes that in early 1941 some 25 000 skilled dockyard workers were drafted to serve in the upcoming Eastern Campagin. Since it was expected that the campaign would be over after a few months, the drafting was rationalised to be a temporary withdrawal . As it turned out, very few of these 25 000 skilled workers returned to the docks, leading to a decreased U Boat production not only in 1941 but for the entire war. OTL compared to ATL where these workers would have returned.

In the USSBS interviews, the armament industry complained regulary that many skilled workers were drafted and that this represented a great problem for production.

Flak General von Renz notes that in late 1942 the LW/Flak wanted to withdraw 600 specialists from the Eastern Front for the development of AA rockets, the time/impact fuse and flak projects in general, yet by March 1943 they had managed to free just 200 specialists and by autumn 1943 still only some 500. This slowed down many projects by several months or even years.

Without an Eastern Front/greatly reduced from early 1943 onwards, the Germans could have relocated hundreds of thousands of specialists of all kinds, leading to a massive boost in production and an acceleration of many projects by many months.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Politician01 » 09 Mar 2021 11:48

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Mar 2021 22:00
One data issue to resolve - how much of the 42-44 deterioration in flak performance was attributable to personnel and how much to more modern bombers flying faster at higher altitudes? I suspect target quality played a significant role; can't say quite how much.
Until 1942 the flak needed only 3500 rounds of heavy flak ammuntion to shoot down one single bomber.

By 1944 the numbers were

16 000 rounds for the 8.8 cm flak 36
8500 rounds for the 8.8 cm flak 41
6000 rounds for the 10.5 cm flak 39
3000 rounds for the 12.8 cm flak 40

Until late 1942 somewhere around 80 - 100% of all operators were trained personell, by 1944 only 10%. So I would say that pretty much all of this efficency decrease can be attributed to skilled personell beeing replaced by amateurs. This is supported by the few instances where flak crew was supplied with the time/impact fuse. The few flak units that received this ammunition in 1945 managed to decrease their ammunition consumption to:

5000 rounds of 8.8 cm flak 36
3000 rounds of 8.8 cm flak 41
2000 rounds of 10.5 cm flak 39

If the deterioration of the flak 36 was mainly because bombers were faster/flew higher, the introduction of the dual fuse would not have boosted flak 36 performance from 16 000 rounds to just 5000 rounds. It was the personell.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Mar 2021 22:00
Another large avenue of improved flak performance could be a shift Flak 36/37 to Flak 41. Hitler downgraded the Flak 41's production priority because of its relatively higher copper requirements. With SU defeated, German will have both more copper and reduced competing demands for copper (i.e. land arty/ammo).
The Eastern Front sucking up all the manpower and resources was a major reason why the flak got less and less efficent. As said before: If the Germans can pump much more resources/manpower into flak from earl 1943 onwards, daytime losses in 43/44 would be at least twice what they were OTL, depending on how much quicker the dual fuse/AA rockets are developed 5x.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by stg 44 » 09 Mar 2021 16:17

Politician01 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 11:48
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Mar 2021 22:00
One data issue to resolve - how much of the 42-44 deterioration in flak performance was attributable to personnel and how much to more modern bombers flying faster at higher altitudes? I suspect target quality played a significant role; can't say quite how much.
Until 1942 the flak needed only 3500 rounds of heavy flak ammuntion to shoot down one single bomber.

By 1944 the numbers were

16 000 rounds for the 8.8 cm flak 36
8500 rounds for the 8.8 cm flak 41
6000 rounds for the 10.5 cm flak 39
3000 rounds for the 12.8 cm flak 40

Until late 1942 somewhere around 80 - 100% of all operators were trained personell, by 1944 only 10%. So I would say that pretty much all of this efficency decrease can be attributed to skilled personell beeing replaced by amateurs. This is supported by the few instances where flak crew was supplied with the time/impact fuse. The few flak units that received this ammunition in 1945 managed to decrease their ammunition consumption to:

5000 rounds of 8.8 cm flak 36
3000 rounds of 8.8 cm flak 41
2000 rounds of 10.5 cm flak 39

If the deterioration of the flak 36 was mainly because bombers were faster/flew higher, the introduction of the dual fuse would not have boosted flak 36 performance from 16 000 rounds to just 5000 rounds. It was the personell.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Mar 2021 22:00
Another large avenue of improved flak performance could be a shift Flak 36/37 to Flak 41. Hitler downgraded the Flak 41's production priority because of its relatively higher copper requirements. With SU defeated, German will have both more copper and reduced competing demands for copper (i.e. land arty/ammo).
The Eastern Front sucking up all the manpower and resources was a major reason why the flak got less and less efficent. As said before: If the Germans can pump much more resources/manpower into flak from earl 1943 onwards, daytime losses in 43/44 would be at least twice what they were OTL, depending on how much quicker the dual fuse/AA rockets are developed 5x.
You're leaving out some important details. By 1944 barrel wear was a huge problem; too many guns were being used too much, so there simply wasn't the capacity to reline the barrels as often as needed so accuracy went down. Then there was the issue of radar jamming, which meant that expensive barrage fire methods had to be used to try and saturate a general area with fire if they couldn't be directly observed. Furthermore by 1944 bombers were flying quite a bit higher than in 1942, at the very edge if not beyond the effective range of the 88, which further degraded accuracy due to increased time to target. So it wasn't simply an issue of crew performance.

This book covers the topic very well:
https://www.amazon.com/Flak-German-Anti ... 0700614206

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Politician01 » 09 Mar 2021 19:29

stg 44 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 16:17
You're leaving out some important details. By 1944 barrel wear was a huge problem; too many guns were being used too much, so there simply wasn't the capacity to reline the barrels as often as needed so accuracy went down. Then there was the issue of radar jamming, which meant that expensive barrage fire methods had to be used to try and saturate a general area with fire if they couldn't be directly observed. Furthermore by 1944 bombers were flying quite a bit higher than in 1942, at the very edge if not beyond the effective range of the 88, which further degraded accuracy due to increased time to target. So it wasn't simply an issue of crew performance.
Barrel wear was a problem but far less than you make it out to be. Yes AA guns tend to wear out barrels faster than other artillery due to the number of rounds used. However, gun-barrel wear is generally more rapid near the chamber of the gun or the first part of the rifling. Replacing this section only means the whole barrel does not need replacing. The 8.8cm Flak 36/37’s barrel was made in three sections held together by an enveloping outer sleeve. When wear occurred in a particular barrel section, only that worn out section needed to be replaced instead of the whole barrel.

Also during WW1 Flak performance actually improved thorughout the entire war, despite the fact that the aircraft of 1914 were slower and flew much deeper than the aircraft of 1918. Despite an increase in performance, the number of ammunition used to shoot down an aircraft went down from 11 585 shells in 1914 to just 5040 shells in 1918. This was because a high percentage of personell remained professionals.

Barrel wear and better aircraft do not explain how flak went from 3500 heavy shells needed to down an aircraft in the 39-42 period to 4000 heavy shells needed in the November/December 1943 period to 16 000 shells needed by the autumn of 1944. The aircraft used in late 43 were the same as used in the autumn of 1944 and 9 additional months of barrel wear - which could easily be replaced - does not lead to a quadrupling of ammunition consumption. But a decrease in trained personell from some 80-100% in late 1942 to some 50-60% in late 1943 to some 10% in the autumn of 1944 does.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Mar 2021 19:40

stg44 wrote:This book covers the topic very well:
https://www.amazon.com/Flak-German-Anti ... 0700614206
I've been referencing Westermann throughout, pretty sure Politician as well but let's remember to at least mention our sources.

Your point about barrel wear is well taken though, definitely was another factor.

On training standards for the non-professional bulk of the flak arm, here's Westermann on the Home Guard flak units:
Without a doubt, the creation of the Home Guard flak batteries and the Emergency Flak Batteries
expanded the number of persons available for manning flak defenses throughout the Reich. However, the
main issue associated with the units was the level of effectiveness that could be expected from units
created from whole cloth with little specialized training and minimal experience in air defense operations.
These forces were in many respects the flak's equivalent of the German peoples' militia (Volkssturm)
organized at the end of the war. Clearly, factory workers and nonspecialist military and civilian personnel
could not be expected to perform at the level of specially trained and experienced flak gun crews. In fact,
the large influx of auxiliaries overloaded the Luftwaffe's training system and shifted much of the training
burden from the Luftwaffe schools to the units themselves.126 Furthermore, one must certainly question
the effect of flak duties on the effectiveness of factory workers who lost sleep and were deprived of rest
after a full day's labor.
As Westermann further discusses, these units lacked fire control directors and radars - were only capable of barrage fire. Westermann argues that the LW implicitly recognized they would not shoot down significant AC, rather they were intended to throw off bombing accuracy.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Mar 2021 19:44

Politician01 wrote:Barrel wear was a problem but far less than you make it out to be.
Not sure why you're resistant to this point. In this ATL, flak will be shooting fewer rounds per gun as W.Allied bombers will be making fewer sorties. Barrel wear is therefore lower. In addition, Ostsieg means more resources available for flak, including for replacement barrels.

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

A larger issue, IMO, is precisely that fewer W.Allied sorties will mean fewer opportunities for Flak firing: unlike with fighters, flak can't be concentrated quickly against a raiding force so their total kills have some proportionality to enemy forces. It's another reason I've concentrated first on fighter defenses in this analysis.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Politician01 » 09 Mar 2021 20:16

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Mar 2021 19:44
Politician01 wrote:Barrel wear was a problem but far less than you make it out to be.
Not sure why you're resistant to this point. In this ATL, flak will be shooting fewer rounds per gun as W.Allied bombers will be making fewer sorties. Barrel wear is therefore lower. In addition, Ostsieg means more resources available for flak, including for replacement barrels.
I am not resistant. I am just pointing out that while barrel wear OTL was a problem, it was less so than other factors. And of corse ATL the flak

- has more and better personell
- more flak guns because the Eastern Front needs less flak
- more resources/spare parts
- less barrel wear because flak numbers never hit 16 000 rounds/bomber but remain at perhaps 4000/5000 and 2000/3000 with the dual fuse
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Mar 2021 19:44
A larger issue, IMO, is precisely that fewer W.Allied sorties will mean fewer opportunities for Flak firing: unlike with fighters, flak can't be concentrated quickly against a raiding force so their total kills have some proportionality to enemy forces. It's another reason I've concentrated first on fighter defenses in this analysis.
I am not convinced that there would be fewer Wallied sorites - at least not in 1943. That most likely changes in 1944 when the American military would demand the relocation of more resources to the Pacific and the war in Europe would slowly shift towards Cold War, in 1943 however the Wallies would ramp up bombing to 110% of OTL in a last desperate attempt to defeat the Germans.

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