WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Nov 2020 03:18

Or, the US could use ports on the Atlantic and move the supplies by rail forward. Unlike Italian Libya, the French colonies had operable rail lines that US Railroad engineers and operating battalions improved from something like 300 to 600 tons a day to over 1000. If more capacity was needed, I'm sure it would have been added. That would render Gibraltar irrelevant in stopping the flow of supplies to Allied forces operating out of French territory.
Of course, once past Gibraltar, the Allies could always put some of those supplies back on ships to move along the coast instead of relying solely on the railroads as well.

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 Nov 2020 03:21

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Nov 2020 03:18
Or, the US could use ports on the Atlantic and move the supplies by rail forward. Unlike Italian Libya, the French colonies had operable rail lines that US...
Why, yes, as in "transshipped overland". Or did you think I was talking about long-haul trucking? :D
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Nov 2020 12:16

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Nov 2020 16:45
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Nov 2020 07:34
I used to have some notes that showed the Allied totals across the MTO for January, and again in April or May. I can't trust my memory but it seems at the latter date the Allied strength in the operating units, and replacement/reserves were about triple the number shown above. Which is about what John Ellis gave for the full operating strength of the German air forces in January 1943. IIRC total Allied operating strength in both the UK & MTO mid 1943 was a bit north of 10,000 aircraft. 11 or 12k?
I doubt if adding the British would triple that figure and "replacement/reserves" were aircraft, which are not much good without crews. As of 23 February 1943, the Northwest African Air Forces on hand aircraft strength, including USAAF and RAF units was (USAAF/RAF):

Northwest African Strategic AF - 410/16
Northwest African Tactical AF - 178/184
Western Desert AF - 258/98
Northwest African Coastal AF - 19/127
Total - 865/425
I was referring to May 1943 as the latter date. Reserves are important. What you have in the replacement stream is what you have to keep units at strength, or not. That also effects the build up of new operating units.

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Nov 2020 15:21

Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Nov 2020 03:21
T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Nov 2020 03:18
Or, the US could use ports on the Atlantic and move the supplies by rail forward. Unlike Italian Libya, the French colonies had operable rail lines that US...
Why, yes, as in "transshipped overland". Or did you think I was talking about long-haul trucking? :D
Well, the US did that too... Red Ball, Burma road, etc....

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Nov 2020 04:10

Richard Anderson wrote:Is the Tarifa weapons platform going to close the straits with a gate?
Little thing called artillery. It could throw chunks of steel - exploding chunks of steel! - at ranges over 9 miles. Puts holes in ships. Holes are bad for ships.
Richard Anderson wrote:Uh, yes somebody did mention U-boats, me.
E-boats and their Italian equivalents. Mines.
Richard Anderson wrote: I would swear you just said, you had "discussed at length elsewhere the logistical problems posed by having to sail around South Africa" and "that's a terrible logistical proposition - a 15,000 mile route",
As you know, the OTL Italian efforts were supported by convoys transiting the strait. As we're discussing the logistical impediment to invasions of Europe via the Med, everything else pre-July '43 is a red herring, such as this:
Richard Anderson wrote:The round Cape Horn route involved about 200 sailings from the US in the last four to five months of 1942, before rerouting via the longer Panama Canal and Pacific route of about 500 sailings...in round numbers about 700 sailings out of 47,997 or about 1.5%.
...not relevant to an ATL invasion of Italy where Gemany controls Tarifa.
BTW, was Brooke talking deadweight tons or measurement tons?
AFAICS measurement tons was solely a US thing? Seems like something cooked up a rough/ready approximation tool for volume-weight conversion. I.e. a measurement ton worked out to around a short ton for most U.S. army cargo, more or less. But you've piqued my curiosity, I'm going to poke around a bit.
Richard Anderson wrote:Brooke's numbers sounded menacing at Casablanca, but they only worked because FDR had insisted Marshall not bring a large support staff to the conference, which severely hampered the Americans in negotiations when Brooke et all starting waving unfounded numbers about like bloody great swords.
IIRC Brooke wasn't talking about American shipments around the Horn or the longer way via Panama - rather British. Most shipments to the MidEast were British, not American.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Nov 2020 09:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Nov 2020 04:10
Little thing called artillery. It could throw chunks of steel - exploding chunks of steel! - at ranges over 9 miles. Puts holes in ships. Holes are bad for ships.
Yes, I thought so. However, I suspect you don't know as much as you think you do about the Spanish coast artillery and its capability. At least you didn't say anything about the Dove guns firing chunks of steel 21.7 miles. :lol:
E-boats and their Italian equivalents. Mines.
Um, pray tell how you plan on planting mines in the Strait?
As you know, the OTL Italian efforts were supported by convoys transiting the strait.
Actually, I don't know anything of the sort. The invasion of Sicily staged out of North Africa. The invasion of Italy from North Africa and Sicily. The invasion of Southern France from Italy.
As we're discussing the logistical impediment to invasions of Europe via the Med, everything else pre-July '43 is a red herring, such as this:
We are? Here I thought we were discussing closing the Straits. Two-dozen odd scattered "modern" pieces in Spanish North Africa and the coast around Tarifa won't do it.
...not relevant to an ATL invasion of Italy where Gemany controls Tarifa.
I forgot about the magic that is Tarifa. :D
AFAICS measurement tons was solely a US thing?
Nope, it was a worldwide standard more or less by the early 20th century, set by the London Board of Trade IIRC?
Seems like something cooked up a rough/ready approximation tool for volume-weight conversion. I.e. a measurement ton worked out to around a short ton for most U.S. army cargo, more or less. But you've piqued my curiosity, I'm going to poke around a bit.
Enjoy. You may want to look into the Spanish coast artillery too.
IIRC Brooke wasn't talking about American shipments around the Horn or the longer way via Panama - rather British. Most shipments to the MidEast were British, not American.
No, he was talking Anglo-American bottoms and so was I.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 22 Nov 2020 10:49

Richard Anderson wrote:
22 Nov 2020 09:47
The invasion of Sicily staged out of North Africa.
Except for the Canadian Division as far as I know which deployed from the UK.

If the straits are closed in this fantasy, one would also need to consider the heavy naval covering forces which would have staged out of both the UK and Gibraltar (Force H).

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Tom

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

Post by maltesefalcon » 27 Nov 2020 17:31

Politician01 wrote:
14 Nov 2020 17:39
The costs of an 88 mm AA gun were around 15 000 Dollars, the average 3400 rounds of ammunition needed to down an Allied bomber cost another 107 000 Dollars = 120 000 Dollars. However a B17/24 cost 300 000 Dollars. In terms of costs the German Flak had a 2:1 or even 3:1 exchange ratio in its favor.
I am not questioning your cost statistics above, just the methodology. If you wanted a proper cost benefit analysis, you'd need to add in the factor of economic damage caused by the very same bombing raids. This would include physical damage and lost future output of dead or de-housed workers. That may not totally even the balance sheet, but it would tip it towards the allies a bit more.

In any case wars are not fought like that. How many shells were used per infantry casualty on the land front? Even today, US uses a multimillion dollar drone and Hellfire combination to take out two Taliban in a 4x4.

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

Post by Politician01 » 28 Nov 2020 10:12

maltesefalcon wrote:
27 Nov 2020 17:31
I am not questioning your cost statistics above, just the methodology. If you wanted a proper cost benefit analysis, you'd need to add in the factor of economic damage caused by the very same bombing raids. This would include physical damage and lost future output of dead or de-housed workers. That may not totally even the balance sheet, but it would tip it towards the allies a bit more.
Well if you count everything, you have to count the Allied bombers that were damaged and had to be repaired as well. This costs a lot of money. You have to count the fuel,bombs and ammunition that were necessary for each bombing raid, all the bombs/fuel/ammunition wasted because they failed to hit their target, the training costs for the bomber crew, the extra equipment and armour the bombers received after they came out of the factory ect ect This would tip the balance sheet towards the Germans a bit more.
maltesefalcon wrote:
27 Nov 2020 17:31
Even today, US uses a multimillion dollar drone and Hellfire combination to take out two Taliban in a 4x4.
The Soviets used multi million helicopters in the Afghan war that were shot down by missiles that cost less than 50 000 dollars fired from launchers that costs less than 20 000 Dollars. That was one of the major reasons why the Soviets were "defeated" in the Afghanistan conflict - the exchange ratio was just not economical.

As for the US today: Yes multi million Dollar drones are used - but how many are lost? If the Russians would have supplied the Taliban with sofisticated and cheap AA equipment, US losses would have been far larger than OTL and US troops would have withdrawn from Afghanistan a long time ago.

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

Post by History Learner » 21 Dec 2020 01:05

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Nov 2020 21:31
From memory the German AF started 1943 with approx half its strength in the east. About 2500 to 2700 operational combat aircraft, according to Ellis 'Brute Force'. During the year replacements to the east were reduced & in the autumn 600 too 800 interceptors were transferred from the east to German. Ellis places the operational number in the east at 1500 1 January 1944 IIRC. The various numbers folks have posted here & in other forms look to me like the loss rates per capita in the west were substantially higher that in the east. Hence that oft cited 68% of all GAF losses of 1943 were in the west. The conclusion I've taken away is shifting aircraft from the east to the west with its higher loss rate would over the year draw down GAF strength faster than OTL. Allied losses might be higher, but one result of that is production of aircraft is not rescheduled at a lower rate and the higher production number continues. Maybe Rich has some data of Allied pilot/aircrew training for 1943-44. I cant recall any.
Question: how exactly does shifting more German planes into the West result in the Luftwaffe being depleted earlier? Mathematically by running a Lanchester equation it doesn't equal that and I can't think of any strategic situations in WWII where adding more resources into a situation resulted in a worse outcome. Either the Allies would have to become even better or would, in turn, be forced to add more resources to achieve that end result.

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Dec 2020 06:05

Politician01 wrote:
28 Nov 2020 10:12
The Soviets used multi million helicopters in the Afghan war that were shot down by missiles that cost less than 50 000 dollars fired from launchers that costs less than 20 000 Dollars. That was one of the major reasons why the Soviets were "defeated" in the Afghanistan conflict - the exchange ratio was just not economical.

As for the US today: Yes multi million Dollar drones are used - but how many are lost? If the Russians would have supplied the Taliban with sofisticated and cheap AA equipment, US losses would have been far larger than OTL and US troops would have withdrawn from Afghanistan a long time ago.
The problem for Germany is that they are losing the technological battle as well as the physical one. The US and Britain have the advantage of the initiative to continue at the intensity they are, or to change their strategy and tactics. Germany needs more than a better defense to win here.

So, the question becomes how does Germany effectively go on the offensive and force a defeat on Britain and the US? Germany lacks a navy so invasion of Britain, etc., is pretty much out as a plan. Reducing the effectiveness of the bomber offensive only slows eventual defeat. Worse, the Germans are looking at being totally outmatched technologically within a few years with little hope of catching up.

The question we should be trying to answer is How can Germany effectively go on the offensive against Britain and the US once the Soviet Union is out of the war?

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Dec 2020 06:30

History Learner wrote:
21 Dec 2020 01:05
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Nov 2020 21:31
From memory the German AF started 1943 with approx half its strength in the east. About 2500 to 2700 operational combat aircraft, according to Ellis 'Brute Force'. During the year replacements to the east were reduced & in the autumn 600 too 800 interceptors were transferred from the east to German. Ellis places the operational number in the east at 1500 1 January 1944 IIRC. The various numbers folks have posted here & in other forms look to me like the loss rates per capita in the west were substantially higher that in the east. Hence that oft cited 68% of all GAF losses of 1943 were in the west. The conclusion I've taken away is shifting aircraft from the east to the west with its higher loss rate would over the year draw down GAF strength faster than OTL. Allied losses might be higher, but one result of that is production of aircraft is not rescheduled at a lower rate and the higher production number continues. Maybe Rich has some data of Allied pilot/aircrew training for 1943-44. I cant recall any.
Question: how exactly does shifting more German planes into the West result in the Luftwaffe being depleted earlier? Mathematically by running a Lanchester equation it doesn't equal that and I can't think of any strategic situations in WWII where adding more resources into a situation resulted in a worse outcome. Either the Allies would have to become even better or would, in turn, be forced to add more resources to achieve that end result.
Math doesn't matter; W.Allied resources are infinite and we're not allowed to imagine that the Good Guys could ever have lost.

Seriously though it's probably true that the absolute rate of LW losses would increase with a shift of assets westwards, but it's likewise true that W.Allied resources would increase. It's also a virtual certainty that Germany would be producing more planes were it not fighting the largest-ever land war.

So we have a math problem. Can W.Allies afford to trade heavy bombers against German fighters, when the former costs up to 10x the latter? The math obviously shows they can't if both sides are similarly committed to air warfare. It works if war against the W.Allies is sideshow to the main event, not if it's the main event.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by History Learner » 21 Dec 2020 08:13

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
21 Dec 2020 06:30
History Learner wrote:
21 Dec 2020 01:05
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Nov 2020 21:31
From memory the German AF started 1943 with approx half its strength in the east. About 2500 to 2700 operational combat aircraft, according to Ellis 'Brute Force'. During the year replacements to the east were reduced & in the autumn 600 too 800 interceptors were transferred from the east to German. Ellis places the operational number in the east at 1500 1 January 1944 IIRC. The various numbers folks have posted here & in other forms look to me like the loss rates per capita in the west were substantially higher that in the east. Hence that oft cited 68% of all GAF losses of 1943 were in the west. The conclusion I've taken away is shifting aircraft from the east to the west with its higher loss rate would over the year draw down GAF strength faster than OTL. Allied losses might be higher, but one result of that is production of aircraft is not rescheduled at a lower rate and the higher production number continues. Maybe Rich has some data of Allied pilot/aircrew training for 1943-44. I cant recall any.
Question: how exactly does shifting more German planes into the West result in the Luftwaffe being depleted earlier? Mathematically by running a Lanchester equation it doesn't equal that and I can't think of any strategic situations in WWII where adding more resources into a situation resulted in a worse outcome. Either the Allies would have to become even better or would, in turn, be forced to add more resources to achieve that end result.
Math doesn't matter; W.Allied resources are infinite and we're not allowed to imagine that the Good Guys could ever have lost.

Seriously though it's probably true that the absolute rate of LW losses would increase with a shift of assets westwards, but it's likewise true that W.Allied resources would increase. It's also a virtual certainty that Germany would be producing more planes were it not fighting the largest-ever land war.

So we have a math problem. Can W.Allies afford to trade heavy bombers against German fighters, when the former costs up to 10x the latter? The math obviously shows they can't if both sides are similarly committed to air warfare. It works if war against the W.Allies is sideshow to the main event, not if it's the main event.
All else being equal, I'm not even sure I can agree with the idea of absolute rate of losses being higher, at least in the given situation; USSR defeated by 1943, but Luftwaffe decimated six months early in the MTO. That can only occur via one of two methods:

A) Suddenly Anglo-American pilots become noticeably better than they performed historically, and I really don't see any reason for this. If they could make their pilots massively better, why didn't they do this historically?

B) Increase the amount of fighters/AA they have available to offset the increase in German numbers. Given the Army was already running on a 90 Division gamble and the needs for the Navy in the Pacific, where is the manpower for this to come? The planes are arguably there without Soviet Lend Lease, but all the machines in the world aren't helpful without the men to operate and maintain them.

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

Post by Peter89 » 21 Dec 2020 08:36

History Learner wrote:
21 Dec 2020 01:05

I can't think of any strategic situations in WWII where adding more resources into a situation resulted in a worse outcome. Either the Allies would have to become even better or would, in turn, be forced to add more resources to achieve that end result.
Quite the contrary, the air war was full of these situations.

In the night bombing campaign against Britain in 1940 / 1941. The airlift to Tunisia in 1942 / 1943.

In some cases, the deployment alone causes +10-20% non-combat losses.

If the Germans had twice more bombers in 1940, and they'd still deploy them as they did OTL, they might drop more bombs on Britain, but they would ultimately fail. In order to achieve sunstantially different results, the Germans needed like ten times the planes, and their additional crew, and the ground infrastructure, aviation fuel, spare part production, etc. Which is why it is a bit more complicated than a "more is better" approach.

To assume that "everything goes better for Germany" is simply not plausible. It would require a series of good calls instead of a series of wrong calls, each having a unique background why those calls were made.

The same goes for Tunisia; if the Germans had way more transport planes, they couldn't hope to sustain their forces in Africa via air.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by History Learner » 21 Dec 2020 08:49

Peter89 wrote:
21 Dec 2020 08:36
History Learner wrote:
21 Dec 2020 01:05

I can't think of any strategic situations in WWII where adding more resources into a situation resulted in a worse outcome. Either the Allies would have to become even better or would, in turn, be forced to add more resources to achieve that end result.
Quite the contrary, the air war was full of these situations.

In the night bombing campaign against Britain in 1940 / 1941. The airlift to Tunisia in 1942 / 1943.

In some cases, the deployment alone causes +10-20% non-combat losses.

If the Germans had twice more bombers in 1940, and they'd still deploy them as they did OTL, they might drop more bombs on Britain, but they would ultimately fail. In order to achieve sunstantially different results, the Germans needed like ten times the planes, and their additional crew, and the ground infrastructure, aviation fuel, spare part production, etc. Which is why it is a bit more complicated than a "more is better" approach.

To assume that "everything goes better for Germany" is simply not plausible. It would require a series of good calls instead of a series of wrong calls, each having a unique background why those calls were made.

The same goes for Tunisia; if the Germans had way more transport planes, they couldn't hope to sustain their forces in Africa via air.
These aren't exactly good comparisons though; whether or not more German bombers can successfully terror bomb Britain into surrender is rather different, in both tactical and strategic realities, than the Germans deploying more fighters to the Mediterranean in 1943 and somehow getting defeated even faster. To get an idea of what I mean:

Say the Allies are facing 1,000 German fighters and can shoot down 100 a day. You would thus assume, in 10 days, the Allies to eliminate their German opponents. Say the Germans reinforce that starting force with another 1,000 fighters, however, since the USSR has collapsed. Would the Allies still be able to defeat all 2,000 fighters in the original 10 days? No, because their capacity to inflict damage has not changed; it will now take them 20 days to eliminate all German fighters.

The only way to change this is by either increasing their ability to inflict damage with existing resources-which begs the question of how come they didn't do this historically-or they have to increase the amount of their own resources to compensate for the increase in German strength. Lastly, they can just accept the increase in German strength and struggle through attrition warfare, given with existing resources they can wear down this new German strength but it will take twice as long historically and that carries grave political consequences in both the United States and United Kingdom. TheMarcksPlan has, in other threads, shown that there was an understanding on the part of Anglo-American political leadership this was unfeasible, both politically and economically given what an Axis controlled Europe from Brittany to the Urals/A-A Line would mean.

Lastly, more German transports to North Africa can mean they can sustain them via air because you're increasing the influx of supplies. What happened historically was a shortage of sufficient transports and insufficient air cover to protect them; not an inability on the part of airpower to bring in needed supplies.

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