WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

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

Post by danebrog » 09 Mar 2021 21:46

At this point I would like to make a small statement about heavy flak:

The heavy anti-aircraft batteries mostly fired barrages, because individual target acquisition was an extremely complicated matter:
During the day, the target was visually detected and tracked on a 4 m basis by means of the Em4mR rangefinder. These values were automatically entered into the command computer ("Kommandogerät 41"). This calculated the lead values for the target point "T" for the measured point "M" of the targeted aircraft according to the "Flak Shooting Gauge" by means of integral equations and cams matching the ballistics of the gun. These values were transmitted electrically with a 108-core cable to a distribution box in the gun position. From there, the values were transmitted in a star configuration to the four guns of the anti-aircraft battery to the respective lateral aiming devices, elevation aiming devices and fuze setting devices. The gunners cranked the guns by hand until they were covered by the electric command transmitter. Four guns (or cascading 8, 12, 16) were always aimed synchronously at a single calibrated aircraft.

However, the command units were extremely expensive to develop and manufacture, and they were always available in far too small numbers.
The decisive factor in such "guided" batteries was not the quality of the gunners', but the specialists in target acquisition:
Simple barrage batteries were quite a waste of ammunition and had more moral value. Accurate target acquisition was hardly possible and was therefore not undertaken, instead firing into predetermined barrage zones. Here, the operating crews simply had to be drilled to reload quickly, which was practised extensively!

The heavy Flak was therefore more or less completely unprofitable with the available means:
It's share in the defence against enemy bombers was disproportionate to the costs. In 1943, the flak weapon achieved only 18.5% of the kills, but required huge quantities of aluminium to cover its ammunition needs. The shells fired during the war contained "enough aluminium for about (...) 36,928 fighters according to the material proportions of the end of 1941 and, extended back to the beginning of the war, even for about 40,000 fighters".
Boog, The German Air Force Command

Even attacks on targets with large concentrations of flak (targets with a high proportion of 10.5 and 12.8 guns) were hardly attacked with loss rates that were generally considered "critical".
Fact is (provable by many source materials): Heavy and for a longer period of time(!) unacceptable loss rates only occurred when Luftwaffe units (no matter if day or night fighter) were able to advance to the bomber units in as large numbers as possible.

A significant improvement in shooting down bombers was only achieved with the introduction of large batteries („Großbatterie“ of 16 guns) in combination with command devices and/or radar.
However, the lack of command devices and trained specialists also had an effect here.

The introduction of double fuzes (contact + burster) came too late to have any noticeable effect:
During combat trials in Munich on April 9, heavy flak batteries using these rounds brought down thirteen aircraft at the cost of a mere 370 rounds per shootdown, an extraordinary favourable ratio compared with the existing average of approximately 4,500 rounds."
Edward B. Westerman, "Flak. German anti-aircraft Defenses, 1914-1945“

Maybe this will help your discussion

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Mar 2021 22:05

danebrog wrote:Edward B. Westerman, "Flak. German anti-aircraft Defenses, 1914-1945“

Maybe this will help your discussion
Again I've been referencing Westerman throughout this discussion, maybe folks were thrown off by the extra "n" I used ("Westermann")?
danebrog wrote:Fact is (provable by many source materials): Heavy and for a longer period of time(!) unacceptable loss rates only occurred when Luftwaffe units (no matter if day or night fighter) were able to advance to the bomber units in as large numbers as possible.
Generally agree; nonetheless the Flak's contribution to aerial attrition was efficient when working to high standards, as proven by Westerman (see "Calculating the Cost of a Kill" on pages 196-7):

Image
Image

Fighters were more efficient until the late-war LW qualitative collapse.

My analysis is focusing on fighters first, then will move to Flak.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by danebrog » 09 Mar 2021 22:46

As already indicated, the combination of a few large batteries, combined with command devices, radar guidance and double fuzes could have proved to be a serious threat to Western Allied bomber units.
However, this was delayed by the III Reich's inherent competence disputes and technical ignorance until it was too late to have any tangible effect.
Typical was, for example, the refusal of many Gauleiters to hand over flak searchlights for the Kammhuber bar, because they wanted them for the moral reassurance of the city dwellers "so that people would see that we were doing something against the bombers".

The main problem of the flak was the significant commitment of personnel and war-critical resources, without which a proportionally truly effective air defence could be installed:
Even at the beginning of the war, the Flak's raw material requirements and demands for iron were about the same as those of the army, and for copper and aluminium they were much higher.
When they then began to install anti-aircraft guns in fixed positions, because they could save armament resources, this proved to be a boomerang: the actual material requirements were far higher than planned and placed an even greater burden on the already overstretched industry.
Moreover, the batteries could often be flown around once their position was known.
When more railway anti-aircraft batteries were introduced in 44/45, they had an immediately noticeable effect on air defence.

Interestingly, this ratio of expenditure to kill was not nearly as pronounced for light and medium flak.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Mar 2021 23:21

danebrog wrote:As already indicated, the combination of a few large batteries, combined with command devices, radar guidance and double fuzes could have proved to be a serious threat to Western Allied bomber units.
That's probably right but broad adoption of the double-fuze doesn't seem a foreseeable result of Germany defeating the SU. Rather, they'd have escalated production of aircraft and probably of flak as well, probably providing better personnel for the latter.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by stg 44 » 09 Mar 2021 23:43

Politician01 wrote:
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.
My point was that regardless they were going too long between replacements by 1944. That is detailed in the book. Any section wearing out degrades performance.
Politician01 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 19:29
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.
We're not talking about WW1, though in that case it was more an issue of better weapons becoming available (the first 88 was an AAA piece in WW1) and troops finally getting better doctrine/techniques and guidance equipment, so it wasn't simply a training issue and not comparable to WW2.
Politician01 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 19:29
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.
I already said it was a combination of factors including barrel wear, higher flying aircraft, and jamming of radar. The aircraft of 1944 used different techniques than those of 1943. IIRC it was much more than 4000 per bomber in late 1943. Just because you claim barrels could be easily replaced doesn't mean that was the case given the huge expansion of the FLAK arm, bombing damage of factories, and competing needs with artillery production. Remember the PAK43 was very important by 1944.

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Mar 2021 04:12

stg 44 wrote:
09 Mar 2021 23:43
I already said it was a combination of factors including barrel wear, higher flying aircraft, and jamming of radar. The aircraft of 1944 used different techniques than those of 1943. IIRC it was much more than 4000 per bomber in late 1943. Just because you claim barrels could be easily replaced doesn't mean that was the case given the huge expansion of the FLAK arm, bombing damage of factories, and competing needs with artillery production. Remember the PAK43 was very important by 1944.
Jamming became particularly effective by 1944 when even daylight bombing was often done through 10-10th's overcast. There are a number of documented cases from the mid to late 1944 period where German flak fired tens of thousands of rounds during an air raid to shoot down a mere handful of planes, if that because they couldn't use their optical sights and radar was jammed beyond use. The Germans in such cases resorted to box barrages that were just a waste of shells because that's all they had left.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Mar 2021 06:14

As I explain in the other data-focused thread, attrition ratio doesn't tell you much absent information regarding the magnitude of attrition. To wit: the AAF could afford terrible attrition rates if attrition magnitude was low, as the resultant damage to Germany's economy could still exceed (likely did exceed) the difference between each side's aerial losses (measured in economic terms). Even if damage didn't exceed that differential, America's massively greater resource base could be expended inefficiently and still result in victory. AAF could, for example, have used all of 15th Air Force to bomb the Sahara and still would have won.

Image

So the ATL question might be phrased as:
  • (1) could Germany sustain the OTL attrition ratio had it the resources to amplify aerial combat?
  • (2) what aerial combat magnitude could ATL Germany have supported?
  • (3) at what point would AAF have functionally abandoned its campaign?
  • (4) in the alternative to (2), what would AAF perseverance into higher attrition magnitudes have looked like?
(1) could Germany sustain the OTL attrition ratio had it the resources to amplify aerial combat?

This is basically a matter of whether German qualitative performance would have changed, had it increased ATL fighter production over OTL. It is, therefore, primarily a matter of training. The primary determinants of German output of trained pilots, and of the standard to which these were trained were (a) availability of trainers and (b) fuel supply.

The OTL baseline for training standards - roughly flight hours per pilot - is sketched by Murray:

Image

As shown, LW reduced its training hours in September '42, June '43, and July '44. The first two declines concern my current discussion of the '43 AAF bombing campaign.

The Sept. '42 training decline coincides with the time that I envision a feasible German Ostsieg ATL concluding. At that time, Ostheer's fuel consumption will have ended for all but occupation duties. Germany's hydrogenation plants, which were only half-devoted to aviation fuel, could be entirely converted, yielding a near-doubling of avgas production. Oil would already be flowing from Maikop (taken in an early '42 winter offensive), with the rest of Russian crude fields to follow early in '43. So fuel concerns would not force the 1942 reduction in training standards - these would remain at early-war levels until/unless quantity of trainees exceeded OTL levels by at least 100%.

Quantity of trainers will be greatly enhanced by avoidance of the Stalingrad airlift, for which training schools were raided to man transport flights. This also occurred for the Tunisian airlifts. In any ATL in which Germany beats SU in '42, its position in early '42 will be sufficiently favorable to allow for Mediterranean reinforcement - including Operation Herkules/C3 and reinforcement of Libya. The Tunisian airlifts are therefore either unnecessary or greatly curtailed. Additionally, we will see downpost that Germany will be under much less aerial pressure in ATL '43 than OTL. It therefore can afford to retain pilots for training rather than sending all - including many OTL trainees - immediately and continuously into combat.

LW could therefore maintain its 1942 training standards, depending on how many pilots it eventually wanted to train.

(2) what aerial combat magnitude could ATL Germany have supported?

Aside from the above-discussed fuel/training constraint, this is a matter of ATL aircraft production. In ATL 1943, Germany has greater overall productive resources due to demobilizing (and not losing) soldiers, greater success recruiting/retaining foreign labor, and increased output from occupied territories (including maturation of Ukrainian industrial investment made under the Iwan programs). Elsewhere I have discussed the magnitude of these implications on total German production. Rather than recapitulate everything here, I'll give an IMO conservative estimate and postulate ATL German aircraft production at 2x OTL for 1943 as a whole (less than that in January, more than that in December). I can further discuss if anyone is interested.

A preemptive note, based on responses I've got in the past:
-------------------------------------------------
This is not a sudden shift from army to LW immediately after fall of SU. Germany goes into Barbarossa with ~10% higher army production and maintains that level throughout 1942 - implying lower-than-ATL army production by the end of '42. German ordnance production more-than-doubled during 1942; in this ATL all of that delta goes to LW (and KM) rather than to the Ostheer. A radical shift to LW/KM production was planned by Gemany (see Fuehrer Directive 32b); this ATL allows its implementation regarding all deltas to German production from 1941 onwards.
-------------------------------------------------

The production delta is applied to OTL aircraft production by AC category - it's not a sudden shift to fighters. While that shift would have been wise, my ATL's don't credit Hitler/Goering with anything more than taking Barbarossa seriously. Germany will waste many more bombers attacking Britain than OTL - though some of the extra twin-engine AC will be used efficiently (as night fighters, recon, attacking Allied shipping), and German bombing won't be a complete waste (it'll divert effort into defenses, for example).

The 2x production delta alone means at least a doubling of AAF aerial losses, which means ~900 more heavies lost to Germany in 1943. As AAF began 1944 with 1,817 heavies in the ETO (+855 in MTO), that's the equivalent of 8th AF losing half its bombers on Jan. 1, 1944. That's probably sufficient to end AAF's campaign alone, but it's not all:

Between October '42 (SU exits war in my ATL) and December '43, LW lost 1,062-1,135 fighters in the East (Zamansky figures). Between January '42 and September '42, it lost 736 fighters. As the SU is 40% weaker in ATL '42, LW losses are 40% lower. Total foregone Eastern losses represent ~36% of 1943 German fighter losses, implying ~56% greater aerial attrition magnitude against AAF by redirecting these resources westwards.

In addition, the LW's conditions of combat are dramatically altered: In OTL 1943, LW lost at least 10% - probably 15% - of its AC on the ground to Allied attacks in the Med and abandoned in Tunisia. This happened OTL largely because LW was operating from poorly-supplied forward bases, under Allied air supremacy, and abandoned Tunisia. ATL conditions involve LW parity in '43 land theaters (Algeria and/or Middle East) and Tunisia is not abandoned (as mentioned, Malta is taken and North Africa reinforced during '42 - all things Hitler would have done but for the state of Ostheer). For attritional purposes, positing equal relative success at attacking each other's airfields seems reasonable under these ATL conditions. Therefore, we can eliminate LW ground losses (or amplify Allied), apportioning those losses to the aerial battles. That amplify Germany's 1943 aerial attrition magnitude by ~15%.

Combining 2x OTL production with the shifts from Eastern Front and ground losses, we get 3.62x the aerial attrition magnitude.

To avoid needless wrangling over small details and to be conservative, however, I will posit only:

3x the aerial attrition magnitude.

This would imply 1,818 more AAF heavy bombers lost in 1943 or the complete elimination of 8th AF's heavies as of Jan 1, 1944.


[note - as total LW production is doubled for all categories, nightfighter production also doubles... something to be addressed downthread or in another thread collecting TMP's thoughts on these matters]

(3) at what point would AAF have functionally abandoned its campaign?
(4) in the alternative to (2), what would AAF perseverance into higher attrition magnitudes have looked like?


The loss of a bomber force equivalent to all of 8th AF's complement in early 1944 would conceivably be enough to halt daylight bombing of Germany. Indeed this would be the wise decision by America. Further evidence that this would be necessary is the morale crisis of 8th AF bomber crews under much less taxing conditions - 79 heavies decided to intern themselves in Sweden and Switzerland in June/July 1944 alone (Spaatz book has good discussion).

I doubt, however, whether American leaders would have been convinced to abandon this campaign by 1944. From the Victory Program of 1941 to the "91-division gamble" later, America's war effort was always built on a cash-heavy, blood-light program with the bombing campaign as centerpiece. To abandon precision bombing would have been to either (1) admit that Germany could not be defeated or (2) resolve to build an army large enough to confront the Heer absent the bombing-induced weakening presupposed by all other plans. As (1) was the only option actually considered by American leaders (during strategic discussions surrounding a potential Soviet collapse in 1942), peace with Germany in 1944 seems more likely (and feasible) than calling up 300+ divisions.

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

This is getting into 1944, whereas I'm trying to move by analytical increments and have been focusing on 1943. Nonetheless, a sketch of the way forward:

Let's suppose America doesn't abandon the bomber offensive so early and fights on. What do they do?

First, they obviously want to dramatically accelerate their escort fighter production. They face a structural problem in that long-range escort fighters are more expensive than short-range interceptors. It's less unfavorable than trading a heavy bomber for two interceptors but still significant (~2x more expensive per plane depending on which model). America produced only 16,000 fighters of long-range escort type in 1944; they surely could have made more were that necessary.

There is going to be a timing constraint, however: a Germany in which Me-262 industrialization is unconstrained by bombing, labor shortages, emergency fighter programs, and rare alloys is producing at least 1,000 jets per month by 1945. A massive investment in P-51 lines will shortly be obsolescent.

AAF generals didn't acknowledge that their strategy faced a crisis - need for escorts - until October 1943. Even if we move that date forward a few months in ATL, the production horizon for a massive increase in fighter production stretches well into 1944. German production will be rising during that year as well.

So while it might be possible to envision an all-out American "Emergency Fighter" program that revives daylight bombing in latter ATL 1944, that revival will be short-lived against a horde of German jets. The resources marshalled by the American Jaegerstab will have come from somewhere - the most industrially similar source being bomber production. So even a revived ATL bombing campaign would likely be much smaller than OTL's and short-lived.

TMP bookmark: aerial attrition 1943
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 10 Mar 2021 06:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Mar 2021 06:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Mar 2021 06:14

To avoid needless wrangling over small details and to be conservative, however, I will posit only:

3x the aerial attrition magnitude.
There are other ways in which this estimate is extremely conservative.

The biggest is that it doesn't posit any qualitative increase in ATL German fighter performance. For several reasons, such an increase would be highly likely:
  • As discussed, Germany should be able to maintain higher training standards than OTL - probably at least the '39-'42 standard.
  • Higher training standards imply better attrition ratios in aerial combat.
  • It also would lead to fewer non-combat losses in training accidents - figure that accounted for ~half of German fighter losses in 1943.
  • German crews suffered from fatigue and demoralization in '43; ATL crews significantly less so.
  • Aerial combat probably has Lanchestrian characteristics: attrition ratios favor the side with numerical advantage, all else being equal. OTL LW was nearly always outnumbered and massively so; ATL LW can at least match fighter numbers over the Reich.
I don't know how to quantify these effects. I'd note that the RAF lost many more planes than LW during its 1941 Circus raids over occupied Europe against a better-trained, higher-morale LW.

Although American planes were generally better than German in 1943, long-range escorts faced a significant technical disadvantage on their outward legs in their large and heavy fuel tankage. This decreased their turning and climb performance. An LW with the thousands more fighters on strength could have afforded forward-based units (France and Low Countries) that would challenge American fighters while they were still heavily-laden. This was not possible to a great degree OTL; the LW had to move continually rearward.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by thaddeus_c » 12 Mar 2021 02:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
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.
the production capacity of 40m (+/-) barrels was only reached as the bomber offensive reached its zenith (i.e. they got little gain for their efforts, relatively speaking)

a more appropriate sized infrastructure, perhaps around 20m barrels, could have been producing for some number of years, the oil stockpiled, prior to the bombings even beginning.

they do not need necessarily a larger more expensive physical plant or bury it all (albeit that would have been a good idea), they needed to complete it earlier.

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

Post by KDF33 » 12 Mar 2021 07:06

Some data re: fuel:

Bf 109 at full internal load carried ~0.54 metric ton of fuel, whereas Fw 190 carried ~0.86 metric ton.

Average USAAF fighter sortie in the ETO 1942-45 used ~1.02 metric ton of fuel, against ~0.83 metric ton in the MTO. In 1943, both theaters combined flew a total of 139,453 fighter combat sorties. In 1944, the total grew to 548,812.

It would cost the Germans 75,000 - 120,000 tons of fuel to fly a comparable number of fighter combat sorties to the USAAF facing Germany in 1943, and 296,000 - 472,000 to equal its 1944 numbers. For reference sake, the Luftwaffe's overall avgas consumption in 1943 totaled 1,825,000 metric tons, whereas the USAAF's (including all theaters against Germany and Japan as well as CONUS) amounted to 5,528,455 metric tons in 1943, rising to 12,394,284 in 1944.

Note that USAAF heavy bombers expended ~6.77 metric tons of fuel per combat sortie in the ETO/MTO 1942-45. Fuel-wise, they were a very expensive proposition.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Mar 2021 07:41

KDF33 wrote:
12 Mar 2021 07:06

It would cost the Germans 75,000 - 120,000 tons of fuel to fly a comparable number of fighter combat sorties to the USAAF facing Germany in 1943, and 296,000 - 472,000 to equal its 1944 numbers. For reference sake, the Luftwaffe's overall avgas consumption in 1943 totaled 1,825,000 metric tons, whereas the USAAF's (including all theaters against Germany and Japan as well as CONUS) amounted to 5,528,455 metric tons in 1943, rising to 12,394,284 in 1944.
Thanks. Figures like this show the predominance of training over combat to WW2 air force fuel consumption. That's why my topline analysis of LW's ATL "attrition magnitude" only mentioned training. AAF burned only 3.1mil tons of fuel in ETO/MTO during 1944 [calculated using app.27/28 and 6.71lbs/gal], not all of which was in combat: ~25% of AAF's consumption.

Were I to do my counterfactual analysis down to a couple significant digits, I'd predict that LW combat sorties would exceed OTL by more than the 3x factor attrition, as the average lifespan - therefore sorties - of a given pilot/AC would likely increase. But it's only a few % difference.

One thing I haven't yet explored re the ATL post-SU air war is whether American fuel resources become a limit at some feasible point. They'd save fuel by having more planes shot down but the only feasible path to maintaining the air war would involve ramping up training programs, which would far outweigh the combat fuel savings. Even assuming a feasible path to significantly expanding American avgas output, there's a timing issue that might cause trouble in '44 as US experienced serious delays inaugurating new refineries.
KDF33 wrote:Note that USAAF heavy bombers expended ~6.77 metric tons of fuel per combat sortie in the ETO/MTO 1942-45. Fuel-wise, they were a very expensive proposition.
Right. ~13x more fuel than Me-109.

It's another data point in my global argument that the overwhelming resource disparity necessary to the qualified success of OTL W.Allied bombing offensives wouldn't have been present in a post-SU ATL. A necessary condition of the CBO in many respects was an absolutely crushing level of material and personnel superiority that disappears with the SU's fall.

I must emphasize the difference between my argument that the CBO would have been defeated and an argument that the LW would have won the war for Germany. That's also impossible even absent the SU. Neither side would have possessed a resource differential capable of deciding the war via (conventional) air power.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Mar 2021 09:03

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Mar 2021 06:47
  • Aerial combat probably has Lanchestrian characteristics: attrition ratios favor the side with numerical advantage, all else being equal. OTL LW was nearly always outnumbered and massively so; ATL LW can at least match fighter numbers over the Reich.
Another member argues that Lanchestrian modelling is "precisely wrong" in aerial combat.

While it's true that Lanchestrian models don't apply straightforwardly to aerial battles, my limited reading on the topic so far evinces at least some Lanchestrain characteristics at the campaign level (though not at battle levels), as discussed in my response to the linked post.

This topic is one on which I have more reading to do. For now, note that my "attrition magnitude" picture is not based on Lanchestrian thinking - it only notes that Lanchestrian factors militate in favor of CBO's defeat to a degree not quantified by TMP yet. LW need not improve on its 1943 attrition ratio to render the CBO untenable, though such improvement is foreseeable for non-Lanchestrian (i.e. training) reasons.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 12 Mar 2021 18:44

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
12 Mar 2021 07:41
I must emphasize the difference between my argument that the CBO would have been defeated and an argument that the LW would have won the war for Germany. That's also impossible even absent the SU. Neither side would have possessed a resource differential capable of deciding the war via (conventional) air power.
I was idling flicking through this thread and wondered if anyone had considered that the Germans might have put some of the resources freed up by not having an active eastern front into a greater output of bomber aircraft rather than just fighters for homeland defence? By mid-43 wouldn't the evident desire to retaliate by bombing British cities drive a desire to re-establish an offensive LW capability? Wasn't retaliation a key Hitlerian emotion?

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

Post by KDF33 » 12 Mar 2021 19:47

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
12 Mar 2021 18:44
I was idling flicking through this thread and wondered if anyone had considered that the Germans might have put some of the resources freed up by not having an active eastern front into a greater output of bomber aircraft rather than just fighters for homeland defence? By mid-43 wouldn't the evident desire to retaliate by bombing British cities drive a desire to re-establish an offensive LW capability? Wasn't retaliation a key Hitlerian emotion?
IMO, this is a likely scenario. It would also have been a severe German mistake. Given the disparity in resources, the Germans would have needed to go all-in with a defensive strategy to prevent the Allies from establishing air superiority over Europe.

Peter89
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Peter89 » 12 Mar 2021 19:50

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
12 Mar 2021 18:44
Wasn't retaliation a key Hitlerian emotion?

Regards

Tom
Hi Tom,

I think it was...

but not only for Hitler. there were a few very common misconceptions of the time, the devastating morale effects of the retilatory bombing was one.

By my grandparents' account, the shot down Allied pilots had to be taken into "protective custody", WW2 stlye, because they'd be clubbed and stabbed to death by the locals, somewhat understandable, but not acceptable.

So I guess it was a popular demand.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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