Early War Germany focused too much on medium bombers

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Re: Early War Germany focused too much on medium bombers

Post by Cult Icon » 16 Oct 2019 15:05

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
14 Oct 2019 05:32
Did the medium bombers contribute in a significant way to tactical ground operations? They were too inaccurate to bomb frontline targets, so it seems they were mainly used to bomb enemy rear areas.
Not correct.

page 1
Cult Icon wrote:
09 Oct 2019 14:00
The german luftwaffe's bombers were primary deployed as CAS (Close air support role). This was a major part of german offensive operations until late 1942, where up to 3,000 sorties a day were generated (maximum being at Stalingrad). The crimea campaign of 1942 was heavily reliant on air support at the 2,000 +/-/per day range.
The typical formula was to concentrate all air support in one small area (Fliegerkorps staff would observe and coordinate- there were also air liaison officers mounted in their own communications SPW and allocated to divisions) in order to facilitate an army, korps, or division sized attack.
A great first book on the subject is "Stopped at Stalingrad" by Hayward.
They were routinely used to bomb frontline targets to grease the wheels of breakthrough operations, like a Soviet Artillery Corps in the late war or the massed bombing prior to CW operations at Caen 1944. They were also used to disrupt or completely ruin soviet offensive concentrations. The main difference in 1941 and 1942 was that bombing sorties became heavily centralized in Luftflotte IV instead of spread out in Barbarossa . In 1941 there is evidence in divisional histories of them performing refueling-rearming operations for forward German panzer divisions by landing or airdropping canisters with supplies. The Demyansk pocket was supported by the Luftwaffe's re-supply operations (which lead to the even larger resupply operations at Stalingrad and late war operations eg. Korsun pocket). Medium bombers were converted into supply transport.

Of the victories I mentioned, the result for the Axis was heavily if not fully reliant on the german air superiority.

-encirclement of 2nd Shock Army
-2nd Battle of Kharkov (helping hard pressed german divisions survive and severely disrupting soviet armored and infantry echelons from breaking through, then performing massed airstrikes in the german counteroffensive.)
-Crimea campaign (Kerch, Sevastopol) (The Kerch operation was not possible without the massed aerial assault right before the breakthrough attacks. The 11th Army failed for months to break through and it took Manstein's office politics to move the rebuilt and rearmed "Case Blue" Luftwaffe down south to provide support. Then, it was allocated to support the reduction of the Sevastopol fortress)
-tactical successes in Blau I/II , Advance to Stalingrad (particularly battles around the Don Bend). Assault on Stalingrad to Nov 1942. (Massed airpower repeatedly used to secure breakthroughs or disrupt massed soviet counter-offensives with armored and/or infantry numerical superiority. In Stalingrad itself the northern front was held by two hard-pressed german korps and air support helped them hold out)

Sources:

"Death of a Leaping Horseman" and other books by Jason Mark have a very detailed tactical account of infantry, armored, and air support operations, "Confronting Case Blue", "Stalingrad Trilogy, Glantz", books on Kerch/Sevastopol like "Where Iron Crosses Grow", etc etc... "The Bloody Triangle" covered the Soviet POV of German airpower in the big armored battles in the Ukraine 1941.

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Re: Early War Germany focused too much on medium bombers

Post by Cult Icon » 16 Oct 2019 15:22

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2019 22:37
The battles you cite - Blau, Kerch, Kharkov - primarily featured daring thrusts by armored/mechanized forces. Absent the armored/mechanized combined-arms spearheads in those battles and in every great German victory of the war you'd have only infantry slogging matches amplified by air support.

It was the German ability to execute Bewegungskrieg that made the difference, the LW was just one aspect of it - an over- funded one at that.
That's a weird conclusion to arrive at. Have you studied these battles in detail?

I'm aware that you are primarily interested in "alternate history" and in particular a scenario where the Germans win the Eastern Front. However the bombing force played a unique niche in German operations that simply could not be filled by having more tanks and artillery. I am not an alternate history guy so I won't speculate any further.

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Re: Early War Germany focused too much on medium bombers

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 16 Oct 2019 16:45

Cult Icon wrote:
16 Oct 2019 15:05
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
14 Oct 2019 05:32
Did the medium bombers contribute in a significant way to tactical ground operations? They were too inaccurate to bomb frontline targets, so it seems they were mainly used to bomb enemy rear areas.
Not correct.

page 1
Cult Icon wrote:
09 Oct 2019 14:00
The german luftwaffe's bombers were primary deployed as CAS (Close air support role). This was a major part of german offensive operations until late 1942, where up to 3,000 sorties a day were generated (maximum being at Stalingrad). The crimea campaign of 1942 was heavily reliant on air support at the 2,000 +/-/per day range.
The typical formula was to concentrate all air support in one small area (Fliegerkorps staff would observe and coordinate- there were also air liaison officers mounted in their own communications SPW and allocated to divisions) in order to facilitate an army, korps, or division sized attack.
A great first book on the subject is "Stopped at Stalingrad" by Hayward.
They were routinely used to bomb frontline targets to grease the wheels of breakthrough operations, like a Soviet Artillery Corps in the late war or the massed bombing prior to CW operations at Caen 1944. They were also used to disrupt or completely ruin soviet offensive concentrations. The main difference in 1941 and 1942 was that bombing sorties became heavily centralized in Luftflotte IV instead of spread out in Barbarossa . In 1941 there is evidence in divisional histories of them performing refueling-rearming operations for forward German panzer divisions by landing or airdropping canisters with supplies. The Demyansk pocket was supported by the Luftwaffe's re-supply operations (which lead to the even larger resupply operations at Stalingrad and late war operations eg. Korsun pocket). Medium bombers were converted into supply transport.

Of the victories I mentioned, the result for the Axis was heavily if not fully reliant on the german air superiority.

-encirclement of 2nd Shock Army
-2nd Battle of Kharkov (helping hard pressed german divisions survive and severely disrupting soviet armored and infantry echelons from breaking through, then performing massed airstrikes in the german counteroffensive.)
-Crimea campaign (Kerch, Sevastopol) (The Kerch operation was not possible without the massed aerial assault right before the breakthrough attacks. The 11th Army failed for months to break through and it took Manstein's office politics to move the rebuilt and rearmed "Case Blue" Luftwaffe down south to provide support. Then, it was allocated to support the reduction of the Sevastopol fortress)
-tactical successes in Blau I/II , Advance to Stalingrad (particularly battles around the Don Bend). Assault on Stalingrad to Nov 1942. (Massed airpower repeatedly used to secure breakthroughs or disrupt massed soviet counter-offensives with armored and/or infantry numerical superiority. In Stalingrad itself the northern front was held by two hard-pressed german korps and air support helped them hold out)

Sources:

"Death of a Leaping Horseman" and other books by Jason Mark have a very detailed tactical account of infantry, armored, and air support operations, "Confronting Case Blue", "Stalingrad Trilogy, Glantz", books on Kerch/Sevastopol like "Where Iron Crosses Grow", etc etc... "The Bloody Triangle" covered the Soviet POV of German airpower in the big armored battles in the Ukraine 1941.
For everyone's benefit, can you quote a specific example of Do-17s, He-111s, or Ju-88s being used in a front-line role, and the results?

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Re: Early War Germany focused too much on medium bombers

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Oct 2019 09:29

Cult Icon wrote:
16 Oct 2019 15:22
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2019 22:37
The battles you cite - Blau, Kerch, Kharkov - primarily featured daring thrusts by armored/mechanized forces. Absent the armored/mechanized combined-arms spearheads in those battles and in every great German victory of the war you'd have only infantry slogging matches amplified by air support.

It was the German ability to execute Bewegungskrieg that made the difference, the LW was just one aspect of it - an over- funded one at that.
That's a weird conclusion to arrive at. Have you studied these battles in detail?

I'm aware that you are primarily interested in "alternate history" and in particular a scenario where the Germans win the Eastern Front. However the bombing force played a unique niche in German operations that simply could not be filled by having more tanks and artillery. I am not an alternate history guy so I won't speculate any further.
Feel free to make a substantive argument.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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