1944: Flak Alone Blasts the Allies out of the Sky

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
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Lars
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Post by Lars » 21 Apr 2005 15:18

It seems that Tony´s solution (dispensing of the time fuse all toghter) would be a bad solution. While it would save precious copper, it would also mean that 10,000s of 88 mm and 128 mm shells would come hammering down into the German cities from 11 km height, as the shells could only explode on impact.

Not good for morale..

BTW, good posts all around. Better German Flak IS an underdiscussed what-if.

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Post by Mark V » 21 Apr 2005 20:08

Lars wrote:It seems that Tony´s solution (dispensing of the time fuse all toghter) would be a bad solution. While it would save precious copper, it would also mean that 10,000s of 88 mm and 128 mm shells would come hammering down into the German cities from 11 km height, as the shells could only explode on impact.

Not good for morale..

BTW, good posts all around. Better German Flak IS an underdiscussed what-if.
If Germans had gone to contact-only fuzes the self-destruct would had been an easy to solve. To my understanding Germans used time-fuzes with mechanical clockwork, which were accurate enough to burst at desired flight time, so that limitation of accuracy was predominantly the fire-control, not the fuzes.

If the only purpose of time fuze is to serve as back-up (prevention of shells landing to friendly area), contact-fuze with simple and inexpensive powder-train self-destruct device functioning at max altitude (or even slightly beyond it) is enough. Very inaccurate, but that is non-issue here.


Regards, Mark V

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Post by Tony Williams » 22 Apr 2005 05:41

The simplest way of achieving self-destruct with a shell carrying a tracer (which is the case with the HEDS rounds in 'The Foresight War') is to arrange a connection between the tracer and HE compartments, so that the shell detonates on tracer burnout.

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 23 Apr 2005 10:41

Mark V wrote: If solely contact fuzes would had been used by German heavy FlaK:

- number of Allied aircrew KIA would propably stay around the same, or diminish a bit
- number of Allied aircrew WIA would diminish considerably
- number of Allied aircrew taken as POW would diminish considerably
- number of Allied aircraft damaged over the target (large part of them were damaged beyond repair, many crash landings with fatal consequences in Channel or British Isles) would diminish considerably
- number of damaged Allied aircraft shot down by (light and heavy) Flak on their way to home (low and slow flyers) would diminish considerably
- number of damaged Allied aircraft that would be left behind the bomber stream to struggle alone towards their base (as an easy prey for German fighters) would diminish considerably
- number of damaged Allied aircraft and aircrew lost as interned in neutral territory would diminish considerably
- resources needed to be devoted to the maintenance of damaged but repairable planes of 8th AF and Bomber Command, would diminish markedly, that would mean higher number of available bombers - and with saved human resources in aircrew - propably would result still heavier bomber attacks...
- the stress of Allied aircrew flying over enemy airspace would be lessened, and their bombing accuracy would propably be much better, without FlaK bursts

The other side of coin. For an (QUOTE) slight (and not adequately proven) increase of shot down bombers over target - not an good trade for defender.


Regards, Mark V
I´ve dug out some more information. Westerman quantifies some of the indirect effcts of flak. His argumentation goes like this: If just 5% of the returning Allied bombers which were seriously damaged by flak were written off completely, then the number of bombers destroyed by flak should go up by almost 50%.

Westerman (and I) thinks that a figure of 5% is pretty conservative, so I would say it´s pretty safe to assume that Flak destroyed 50% more bombers than it is normaly credited for.

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Post by Tony Williams » 24 Apr 2005 10:47

Lars wrote:Westerman (and I) thinks that a figure of 5% is pretty conservative, so I would say it´s pretty safe to assume that Flak destroyed 50% more bombers than it is normaly credited for.
I'm not so sure. The vast majority of flak damage was entirely superficial - just holes in the wing or fuselage. I don't have any data on how many of the 'returned damaged' planes were written off, but I think that cases of badly damaged ones just making it back were rare. After all, if the planes were able to fly 1,000+miles back to base then there couldn't be anything seriously wrong with them.

In any case, a plane written off after returning wasn't a big issue to the RAF - they had lots of planes. The important thing was to get the crew back.

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 29 Mar 2006 10:35

Tony Williams wrote: And as an extra touch, replace the morale effect of flak bursts with a very big tracer on the shells, so the bomber crews can see them streaking up towards them - should put any bomb-aimer off!

TW
Tracers on 88mm and 105 mm flak shells would surely surpress bomber morale and decrease bombing accuracy. But tracers would probably decrease flak accuracy and - perhaps - shell velocity as well.

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Post by lazybather » 29 Mar 2006 10:44

Its amazing how much damage an allied bomber can take, still complete its bombing run and return to britain........

And be back in service a few days later!

But what effect would the SAM missiles Germany was developing like the Enzion and wasserfall and especially the FW190 aircraft mounted X-4 Infra red guided version have had if they had entered service earlier and in greater numbers?

More accurate anti-aircraft weapons and the controller of the X-4 would be able to home in on the enemy bomber engines or bomb bays ensuring a greater success rate?


Lots to think about...........


stuart :)

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Post by Tony Williams » 29 Mar 2006 11:12

Lars wrote:
Tony Williams wrote: And as an extra touch, replace the morale effect of flak bursts with a very big tracer on the shells, so the bomber crews can see them streaking up towards them - should put any bomb-aimer off!

TW
Tracers on 88mm and 105 mm flak shells would surely surpress bomber morale and decrease bombing accuracy. But tracers would probably decrease flak accuracy and - perhaps - shell velocity as well.
Actually there's no reason why tracers should affect accuracy, and they would almost certainly increase the velocity because the fumes would fill the vacuum which normally exists behind the projectile, reducing base drag. The same principle is used in modern 'base-bleed' artillery ammunition, to gain a considerable increase in range.

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Post by Tony Williams » 29 Mar 2006 11:13

lazybather wrote:But what effect would the SAM missiles Germany was developing like the Enzion and wasserfall and especially the FW190 aircraft mounted X-4 Infra red guided version have had if they had entered service earlier and in greater numbers?
Potentially a considerable effect, but the guidance and fuzing systems were very much in their infancy and would have severely limited their effectiveness.

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Post by Lars » 29 Mar 2006 11:19

lazybather wrote:Its amazing how much damage an allied bomber can take, still complete its bombing run and return to britain........

And be back in service a few days later!

But what effect would the SAM missiles Germany was developing like the Enzion and wasserfall and especially the FW190 aircraft mounted X-4 Infra red guided version have had if they had entered service earlier and in greater numbers?

More accurate anti-aircraft weapons and the controller of the X-4 would be able to home in on the enemy bomber engines or bomb bays ensuring a greater success rate?


Lots to think about...........
stuart :)
Why bother with high tech solutions when a low tech solution was the answer? The real wunderwaffe of the German air war was the R4M air-to-air missile. Cheap, easy to manufacture, easy to use, easy to manufacture and devastating. If the Luftwaffe had deployed the R4M in say, April 1943 instead of April 1945, the Allied day bombing campaign would be in a severe crisis.

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Post by lazybather » 29 Mar 2006 13:55

Yeah, cheap and very nasty.........

we've made one at C-P for our AFV's and Neu-Heer Panzerjager, here's a pic I took today, (sorry its a bit badly lit).....


The Kramer X-4 missile cheaper than chips and bloody devestating.....and could be infra red guided to the target....like a 1970's atari game joystick!!

Two of these under an FW190's wings..............bit like flash gordon!!!

stuart 8-)
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Post by Virgil Hiltz » 29 Mar 2006 14:23

If the Luftwaffe had deployed the R4M in say, April 1943 instead of April 1945, the Allied day bombing campaign would be in a severe crisis.[/quote]

The age old answer "IF" ! If Germany hd waited til 1946 like planned, then what would the outcome have been ???

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Post by Kurt_Steiner » 29 Mar 2006 16:06

Lars wrote:Why bother with high tech solutions when a low tech solution was the answer? The real wunderwaffe of the German air war was the R4M air-to-air missile. Cheap, easy to manufacture, easy to use, easy to manufacture and devastating. If the Luftwaffe had deployed the R4M in say, April 1943 instead of April 1945, the Allied day bombing campaign would be in a severe crisis.
IIRC, the R4M was only used by the Me 262.

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 29 Mar 2006 16:40

A few FW 190 Doras and TA 152 deployed R4Ms as well:

http://www.stormbirds.net/experten/prod ... endum1.htm


The appealing fact of the R4M was its simplicty: No radar guidance, no infrared target seach system, no large Wasserfall-like ground-to-air rocket, no proximity fuse, just a plain old un-guided rocket which was fired in salvos a kilometer or so away from the B-17 box and almost guaranteed a shoot down.

The developer Fritz Heber had toyed with a R4M-like rocket in WWI in 1915 (!), so the R4M was clearly posible years before 1945:

http://www.luftarchiv.de/index.htm?http ... =clnk&cd=3

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Post by Kurt_Steiner » 29 Mar 2006 16:44

However, the Fw 190 D-9 wasn't introduced in use until 1944. I don't disagree about the simplicity of the R4M, I'm just wondering about the plane that could have used it.

The Fw190A, perhaps? or the Me 109?

Would it make any difference from the WfGr 210? I'm just asking, as I don't know it.

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