Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

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Juha
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 23 Mar 2019 21:57

A secret dispersal airfield didn't need much in those days, figters with strong undercarriages like Fokker D.XXI (it was designed for Dutch East India and the robushness of the undercarriage was one of the good points Finns saw in it) did not need so special surface to operate from. Hangars were not a must only nice to have. Of course one needed storages for fuel and ammo etc but those were easy to camo and of course communications but otherwise very basics could do.

I have Haarr's The German Invasion of Norway but have read only the beginning and naval parts of it but I have read other material on the Ivasion of Norway, e.g. Björn Hafsten et al: Flyalarm LUFTKRIGEN OVER NORGE 1939-1945.

50 km wasn't much for a bomber formation and during the last few days of the war frontline was only some 27 km away from my mother's home.

Ps. Forgot this "For the Finns the solution worked almost through the Winter War, only a couple days before the end of the Winter War fighters were withdrew to some 80 - 120 km (50 - 75 mls) behind the frontline." means after appr. 100 days of hard fighting.
Last edited by Juha on 23 Mar 2019 22:45, edited 1 time in total.

rcocean
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by rcocean » 23 Mar 2019 22:37

Fokker D.XXI - maximum speed 286 MPH

ME 109 - Maximum Speed 340 MPH and superior in rate of climb and firepower.

Juha
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 23 Mar 2019 23:01

In fact Fokker D.XXI had more or less the same firepower than 109E-1, a subtype which made up appr. 1/3 of the Bf 109E production, so in May 1940 probably more than 1/3 of 109Es were E-1s.

Air combats were not so one sided as one would think, even if faster 109s could maintain initiative D.XXIs were not hopelessly outclassed.

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jwsleser
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by jwsleser » 25 Mar 2019 04:06

Let the numbers talk.

Netherlands
28 Fokker G.1 - no replacements.
31 Fokker D.XXI - no replacements.
No safe air fields.

Gertmany
309 fighters - replacements available.
Safe air fields.
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 26 Mar 2019 17:59

Yes, Dutch were badly outnumbered but I doubt that German had replacements available. Probably, if the Dutch resistance had continued longer, Germans would have moved some fighters away to cover their main effort at Meuse and then west of Meuse. Even during the Dutch resistance some of the 309 fighters operated also over Belgium. Already on 11 May I./JG 26 lost 2 Bf 109Es over Belgium to French MS 406s and on 13 May III./JG 3 lost 2 109Es to RAF Hurricanes over Belgium.

When Winter War began, Finns had 36 Fokker D.XXI and 10 totally obsolate Bristol Bulldogs. Soviet Union had concentrated 1,044 fighters against them and they had plenty of replacements available, at the end of the Winter War number of fighters available had risen to 1719. Because the main task of the FiAF fighters was to protect supply lines of the field army most of them operated from fairly restrected area in SE Finland.
And AA defence had only 28 76,2 mm guns, 53 40 mm and 54 20 mm automatic guns plus 7,62 mm AA-mgs.

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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by rcocean » 27 Mar 2019 01:16

jwsleser wrote:
25 Mar 2019 04:06
Let the numbers talk.

Netherlands
28 Fokker G.1 - no replacements.
31 Fokker D.XXI - no replacements.
No safe air fields.

Gertmany
309 fighters - replacements available.
Safe air fields.
Exactly. Lets assume - AFTER THREE DAYS - despite having inferior fighters, unsafe airfields, and being outnumbered 5-1, the Dutch shoot down 59 ME-109s while losing 58 of theirs. A One-to-one exchange. At the End of three days, you'd have 1 - I repeat ONE - dutch fighters and 250 Me-109s.

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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by jwsleser » 27 Mar 2019 02:16

Juha
Yes, Dutch were badly outnumbered but I doubt that German had replacements available.
Nothing worth discussing at this point.

While I wish the Dutch had done better, I believe they did about as good as they could. When I consider what they could changed to improve the outcome, the results are in the margins. Once the Germans had decisively defeated the French, the Netherlands were doomed. The UK had already began to save their aircraft for the Battle of Britain. Only French success provided a chance.

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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 28 Mar 2019 13:37

Hello Jeff
are you really thinking that if Dutch resistance was continued up to near end of May, LW would have kept 300 109s operating against Dutch? I think that Germans were professionals and would have concentrated as much as possible of their resources on the area where the campaign was decided, namely to Northern France and Western Belgium. That after collapse of France Dutch position would have been hopeless is self-clear and I noted that in my message #26. In fact I think after it became clear that the troops evacuated from Dunkirk had only their personal weapons with them it would have been clear that Dutch position was hopeless.

I think that Dutch could have done more before May 1940 to improve their defence. But that they acted as they did is understandable because they had managed to stay out of the WWI so it is understandable that they thought when European political atmosphere worsened that they might well stay out also from the possible next one . Money put on defence preparations is away from something else.

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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 28 Mar 2019 13:43

rcocean wrote:
27 Mar 2019 01:16

Exactly. Lets assume - AFTER THREE DAYS - despite having inferior fighters, unsafe airfields, and being outnumbered 5-1, the Dutch shoot down 59 ME-109s while losing 58 of theirs. A One-to-one exchange. At the End of three days, you'd have 1 - I repeat ONE - dutch fighters and 250 Me-109s.
Now the main purpose of fighters was not duel with the fighters of the other side. In fact the fighters of the badly outnumbered side should try to avoid fighters vs fighters combat as much as possible and concentrate their main duties, protecting own side from enemy bombers and recce a/c and to make possible in the reasonable scale own bomber and recce sorties.

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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by jwsleser » 28 Mar 2019 19:20

are you really thinking that if Dutch resistance was continued up to near end of May, LW would have kept 300 109s operating against Dutch?
No, because at the end of five days there wasn't any Dutch air force left, or safe air fields to operate from. They wouldn't need to keep all those air craft against the Netherlands (as what historically happened).
I think that Dutch could have done more before May 1940 to improve their defence.
Yes, that is true of all the neutrals. The question is whether they could do enough. The open southern flank was still a weakness that couldn't be solved. The Belgians weren't going to change their plan to accommodate the Dutch. You still have the Dutch back at Fortress Holland in five days with all the issues they actually faced on 15 May. France still falls.

The operational situation just wasn't favorable for the Dutch and they knew that. The key is France and better Dutch preparations doesn't change that dynamic. The forces employed against the Netherlands didn't play any important role against France.
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by rcocean » 29 Mar 2019 01:07

Now the main purpose of fighters was not duel with the fighters of the other side. In fact the fighters of the badly outnumbered side should try to avoid fighters vs fighters combat as much as possible and concentrate their main duties, protecting own side from enemy bombers and recce a/c and to make possible in the reasonable scale own bomber and recce sorties.
Easier said, then Done. CF: Luftwaffe in 1944-1945 vs. 8th AF - RAF Fighter command during the Battle of Britain or US marine Fighters at Midway or Guadalcanal.

BTW, the "main job" of the Dutch fighters may have been to avoid dogfights and shoot down bombers, but the job of the Luftwaffe escort Fighters was to PROTECT their bombers and shoot down Dutch fighters. Every outnumbered fighter squadron (or larger organization) on the defensive in WW 2 loved to just shoot down bombers while avoiding enemy fighters. Too bad, the enemy always had other ideas.

And when the Luftwaffe fighters started shooting up Dutch Airfields, I suppose the Dutch fighter pilots were supposed to go for Coffee and Doughnuts while the AAA did all the work.

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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 29 Mar 2019 22:43

jwsleser wrote:
28 Mar 2019 19:20
are you really thinking that if Dutch resistance was continued up to near end of May, LW would have kept 300 109s operating against Dutch?
No, because at the end of five days there wasn't any Dutch air force left, or safe air fields to operate from. They wouldn't need to keep all those air craft against the Netherlands (as what historically happened).
Thats true because the Netherlands surrendered on May 14 but up to that there were still some Dutch planes operating. In the morning of that day 5 G.1s and 5 D.XXIs strafed German troops and lost one D.XXI to Dutch AA. Later there were also some sorties flown by army co-op/light bombers
jwsleser wrote:
28 Mar 2019 19:20
I think that Dutch could have done more before May 1940 to improve their defence.
Yes, that is true of all the neutrals. The question is whether they could do enough. The open southern flank was still a weakness that couldn't be solved. The Belgians weren't going to change their plan to accommodate the Dutch. You still have the Dutch back at Fortress Holland in five days with all the issues they actually faced on 15 May. France still falls.

The operational situation just wasn't favorable for the Dutch and they knew that. The key is France and better Dutch preparations doesn't change that dynamic. The forces employed against the Netherlands didn't play any important role against France.
Yes, the key was France but at least British did not expect the collapse of France and I doubt that Dutch did. For a small nation with (a) strong neighbour(s) the purposes of an adequate defence are 1) to make conquest look too expensive in relation to the benefits or 2) be able to keep on so long that the other great powers would be able to come to help or 3) that the continuation of the aggression seems to draw in other great powers into the conflict. In the Dutch case in 1940 Limburg "handle" was so important to Germans that the invasion was inevitable so point one was out. And because Germany was already at war with France and GB so was point 3. The German success in May 40 made also point 2 irrelevant but that was something that Dutch didn't know before mid/late 1940.
Last edited by Juha on 30 Mar 2019 02:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 30 Mar 2019 02:28

rcocean wrote:
29 Mar 2019 01:07
Now the main purpose of fighters was not duel with the fighters of the other side. In fact the fighters of the badly outnumbered side should try to avoid fighters vs fighters combat as much as possible and concentrate their main duties, protecting own side from enemy bombers and recce a/c and to make possible in the reasonable scale own bomber and recce sorties.
Easier said, then Done. CF: Luftwaffe in 1944-1945 vs. 8th AF - RAF Fighter command during the Battle of Britain or US marine Fighters at Midway or Guadalcanal.

BTW, the "main job" of the Dutch fighters may have been to avoid dogfights and shoot down bombers, but the job of the Luftwaffe escort Fighters was to PROTECT their bombers and shoot down Dutch fighters. Every outnumbered fighter squadron (or larger organization) on the defensive in WW 2 loved to just shoot down bombers while avoiding enemy fighters. Too bad, the enemy always had other ideas.

And when the Luftwaffe fighters started shooting up Dutch Airfields, I suppose the Dutch fighter pilots were supposed to go for Coffee and Doughnuts while the AAA did all the work.
Nobody said that it is easy but the underdog must try clever tricks to survive as long as possible. Probably Dutch calculated that they would get help at least from GB because it was in national interest of GB to keep at least western part of Netherlands out of German hands. They probably thought that a week/ a couple weeks was probably enough. The Finnish Air Force as well the Finnish Army managed to survive throughout the 105 days of the Winter War against overwhelming force and that was enough to activate the point 3 mentioned in my previous message. The NVAF also survived against overwhelming odds during the Vietnam War. It got a fair amount of help from Washington but USAF and USN had AEW&Cs and sophisticated intelligence cathering systems.

Maybe coffee and a biscuit or Appeltaart in a dugout would have been more proper and planes inside camouflaged blast pens. Taking off while under attack was not always a right option. We had a case of corporal Kirjonen who ended the war as a minor ace with 9 victories, he once near the beginning of the Continuation War (1941-44) took off while his a/f was under strafing attack of 11 Soviet fighters. He was just got airborne when he was attacked head-on by two fighters, he shot down both but the second Soviet fighter also hit effectively his plane and he was forced to bail out. His parachute had just time to deploy and it helped that he fell into a lake. Quite a deed but 2-to-1 exchange rate was not good enough for an outnumbered air force. And as Malta shows even heavily outnumbered fighter force can survive even when its base area is very small and rather barren and enemy bases are nearby. Of course it was costly and needed much resources but it was possible.
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by jwsleser » 30 Mar 2019 16:52

The Finnish Air Force as well the Finnish Army managed to survive throughout the 105 days of the Winter War against overwhelming force and that was enough to activate the point 3 mentioned in my previous message.
And they still lost the war.

From Wiki:
The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed in Moscow on 12 March 1940. A cease-fire took effect the next day at noon Leningrad time, 11 a.m. Helsinki time.[171] With it, Finland ceded a portion of Karelia, the entire Karelian Isthmus and land north of Lake Ladoga. The area included Finland's second-largest city of Vyborg, much of Finland's industrialised territory, and significant land still held by Finland's military—all in all, 11 percent of the territory and 30 percent of the economic assets of pre-war Finland.[47] Twelve percent of Finland's population, 422,000 Karelians, were evacuated and lost their homes.[172][173] Finland ceded a part of the region of Salla, Rybachy Peninsula in the Barents Sea, and four islands in the Gulf of Finland. The Hanko peninsula was leased to the Soviet Union as a military base for 30 years. The region of Petsamo, captured by the Red Army during the war, was returned to Finland according to the treaty.[174]

Finnish concessions and territorial losses exceeded Soviet pre-war demands. Before the war, the Soviet Union demanded that the frontier between the USSR and Finland on the Karelian Isthmus be moved westward to a point 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Vyborg to the line between Koivisto and Lipola, that existing fortifications on the Karelian Isthmus be demolished, and the islands of Suursaari, Tytärsaari, and Koivisto in the Gulf of Finland and Rybachy Peninsula be ceded. In exchange, the Soviet Union proposed ceding Repola and Porajärvi from Eastern Karelia, an area twice as large as the territories originally demanded from the Finns.
Note that 11% of 1940 Finland is the size of the Netherlands. Also note that The Netherlands was invaded to secure air fields at act against England, hence no option besides occupation. There wasn't any such strategic requirement for the USSR against Finland.

The USSR decided not to occupy Finland, the Finns had no say in that matter. They had lost.

Go ahead and continue to believe the Finnish example is somehow informative for the Dutch. Different terrain, different opponents, completely different strategic situation.

What is missing is how any of the changes you have mentioned changes the outcome. They don't.
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Re: Why did the Dutch perform so badly in 1940?

Post by Juha » 30 Mar 2019 17:51

Yes, Finland lost but survived as an independent state. That was a good result if one thinks the odds against which we fought. And you have forgot one important fact. On 1 December 1939 the Soviet Union formed a puppet government, called the Finnish Democratic Republic and headed by Otto Wille Kuusinen. Kuusinen's government was also referred to as the "Terijoki Government," after the village of Terijoki, the first settlement captured by the advancing Red Army. Kuusinen and other members of that government were communist in exile in Moscow. Soviet Union declared that this was the legitimate governement of Finland and the only governement of Finland with which it would negotiate. After the war, the puppet government was quietly disbanded. It is not so difficult to conclude what was the ultimate goal of the SU. The tenacious resistance of Finns and developments in GB and France forced Stalin to change his politics and forgot his puppet government and began peace negotiations with the legitimate Finnish government. The peace provisions were harsh but Finns chose them instead of the uncertain aid from Western Powers. But the possibility of intervention by the western powers must have had a big effect on the change of Stalin's mind.

From Baltic States SU only demanded military bases, they agreed and 11 months later they all were Soviet Republics.

Of course in a war between a small nation and a great power the only hope for the small nation in the long run is developments outside the conflict or inside the great power. In 1940 the collapse of France would have decided the destiny of Netherlands anyway but on May 9 1940 Dutch did not know that.

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