WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Mar 2021 00:52

Tom from Cornwall wrote:bomber aircraft rather than just fighters
Anticipating this response, I tried to be very clear that it's not just fighters:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Mar 2021 06:14
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).
...so in 1943 Germany produces 2x the fighters, 2x the bombers, 2x the transports, 2x the trainers, etc.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Mar 2021 01:07

KDF33" wrote:the Germans would have needed to go all-in with a defensive strategy to prevent the Allies from establishing air superiority over Europe.
Some statements are just self-evidently true and asking for quantitative analysis of them is just unreasonable: "Sweden didn't possess the resources to conquer America." The dominant historical narrative places German resources in that light but it can't withstand quantitative analysis, IMO, had Germany defeated the SU.

Even if the W.Allies retain a 50% total GDP advantage over a European Grossraum, that resource delta is far too small achieve anything resembling the OTL ratio necessary for the CBO's qualified success based on the aerial attrition ratios estimated upthread.

Even with a 50% GDP advantage, the W.Allies face demands that Germany doesn't - primarily merchant shipping, bluewater naval construction, and Japan. I lean towards viewing the the European resource picture being approximately even in 1944.

I concede upthread that W.Allies could perhaps have maintained aerial superiority over Europe via their own shift to fighters over bombers. But of course that shift implies the CBO's abandonment or dramatic weakening, which alone implies >50% higher German production in 1944 (sum of bomb damage, dispersal, late-war fortified factory construction, labor diversions to damage clearing and fire-fighting, lost productivity due increased bombing-related absenteeism). Air superiority alone has little use other than as the precondition for a follow-on strategic campaign of bombing or invasion. As a devastating bombing campaign was necessary to the only seriously-mooted plan for engaging a post-SU Germany, invasion is historically implausible (and probably militarily doomed).
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 13 Mar 2021 10:19

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Mar 2021 00:52
Anticipating this response, I tried to be very clear that it's not just fighters:
Good for you, :thumbsup:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Mar 2021 00:52
...so in 1943 Germany produces 2x the fighters, 2x the bombers, 2x the transports, 2x the trainers, etc.
Marvellous! Tactical medium bombers for army support or 4 engined strategic bombers to retaliate against Hamburg firestorm events?

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Mar 2021 11:17

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
13 Mar 2021 10:19

Good for you, :thumbsup:
Well I've learned in my couple years here that a long, detailed post is rarely read, and that responses will be based on pre-conceived notions of opposing arguments.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:Tactical medium bombers for army support or 4 engined strategic bombers to retaliate against Hamburg firestorm events?
Tom... make your argument. You're probably going to learn that I've already anticipated it. Again.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 13 Mar 2021 14:15

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Mar 2021 11:17
Tom... make your argument.
I haven't got one, just curious...
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Mar 2021 11:17
You're probably going to learn that I've already anticipated it. Again.
Probably.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Mar 2021 03:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Mar 2021 06:14
I'll give an IMO conservative estimate and postulate ATL German aircraft production at 2x OTL for 1943 as a whole
A bit more on this topic...

Greater LW (and KM) production results in 1943 (and '42) from a shift away from army production towards LW/KM from no later than January '42 - SU will be wobbly by then and the sufficiency of then-existing army production will be clear.

The dramatic LW/KM production deltas enabled by small increases to overall German weapons production, combined with emphasis shift, are best "explained" via math. So here's a spreadsheet:

Image

The baseline 1942 production figures in RM are from Eichholtz's work on the German war economy; the OTL total armaments index from USSBS.

The spreadsheet assumes that German army production is maintained at a level 20% higher than January 1942 (rows 12 and 24).

Total German armaments production, meanwhile, starts 10% higher than OTL (due to earlier foreign labor usage, mobilization, rationalization), moving to 58% higher at the end of 1943 (primarily even greater foreign labor than OTL, demobilization of Ostheer, natural resources acquired, and agricultural revival due to fertilizer/gunpowder shift).

IMO these are very conservative projections of what Germany could have been doing as 1942 opened and 1943 closed (in this ATL).

Despite the conservative projections, the impact on LW/KM production is dramatic. For December 1943, a 58% increase in total output, combined with Barbarossa-ish army output, means 2.66x the LW/KM output.

To "merely" double LW/KM output over ATL requires only 27% higher total armaments production in February 1943. That production delta could probably have been achieved solely through the smaller Heer.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 06:03

Politician01 wrote:
14 Nov 2020 17:39
Due to a combination of factors the Germans do a lot better in 1941/42 - by early 1943 the USSR is defeated/ a treaty is negotiated. Germany now turns its attention and industry towards the Allied bomber offensive. It has been argued by the Anglophiles on this forum that the Anglo powers would have avoided an invasion of the continent - Husky may or may not commence - and would have concentrated on bombing Germany into submission.

I would like to discuss the feasability of such an air war. Without the USSR in the game - or greatly reduced - the Germans can transfer substantial air and fighter forces towards Western and Southern Europe in 1943. Around 1/3 of all LW losses in this year were sustained in the East. Germany can concentrate on AA gun production and invest more funds and manpower into projects like the R4M and the dual time/impact fuse - both these projects were completed in early 1945 OTL.

Historically the flak was devastating for Wallied bombers, destroying at least 1350 Bomber command bombers and damaging an additonal 8500 in the 42-45 period. The Americans fared even worse with 5400 destroyed and 66 000 damaged aircraft from 42-45.

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.

In short, could a Germany that would have concentrated most of its resources, manpower and funds on the air war stalemated the Allied Bomber offensive by the summer of 1945? It would seem so.
This is one of those "that escalated quickly" what ifs that give alternative history a deservedly bad name...

Don't you:

a) have to explain what those "factors" are? and
b) acknowledge the Allied (US-UK) strategies are going to change to reflect whatever it is that changes to yield a)? and
c) acknowledge the possibility of separate peace by the USSR was why the Allies mounted the North Russia resupply convoys, as well as the Persian Corridor and North Pacific resupply operations, and
d) acknowledge the US and UK had multiple strategic options from 1941 onwards, all of which - all things being equal, of course - end up with an atomic bomb or two or three (at least, possibly more) targeted on Berlin sometime in 1945?

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Mar 2021 19:00

daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 06:03
... This is one of those "that escalated quickly" what ifs that give alternative history a deservedly bad name...

Don't you:

a) have to explain what those "factors" are? and
b) acknowledge the Allied (US-UK) strategies are going to change to reflect whatever it is that changes to yield a)? and
c) acknowledge the possibility of separate peace by the USSR was why the Allies mounted the North Russia resupply convoys, as well as the Persian Corridor and North Pacific resupply operations, and
d) acknowledge the US and UK had multiple strategic options from 1941 onwards, all of which - all things being equal, of course - end up with an atomic bomb or two or three (at least, possibly more) targeted on Berlin sometime in 1945?
Not so much on this web site. I could write several pages on this subject, but have other things on the to do list. The Alternative History site has a bit different & more demanding standard. Violators seem to be temp or permanently banned more often from that site. I've been told several people banned from that forum, & run off ConSimWorld remain active here. Never followed up on that so I cant say how accurate it is.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Mar 2021 23:04

daveshoup2MD wrote:Don't you:

a) have to explain what those "factors" are?
There are many versions of Germany beating SU, many of them feasible.

The virtue of this ATL setup is one needn't necessarily agree on the particular path.

The counterfactual bears tremendous historical value because during 1941 US planners expected Soviet defeat and continued to make planning contingencies for it in 1942, when not all expected it but most considered it a live strategic possibility. So the ATL squarely addresses something to which American political/military leaders devoted a lot of thought. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252647

We can, therefore, treat the ATL as evaluating American/Allied strategic planning as a matter of historical interest. WW2 Allied leaders had no more detailed plans for Germany would beat the SU than are presented in this thread, nonetheless considered contingency planning essential and included it in the agendas for inter-Allied strategic conference. To pretend that we're above discussing something that contemporary leaders thought essential is a bit foolish.

For the reasons I've been highlighting here, it's hard to avoid the conclusion reached by nearly every American who considered the issue in 1942: Germany could not realistically have been defeated had the SU collapsed in 1942.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 00:48

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Mar 2021 19:00
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 06:03
... This is one of those "that escalated quickly" what ifs that give alternative history a deservedly bad name...

Don't you:

a) have to explain what those "factors" are? and
b) acknowledge the Allied (US-UK) strategies are going to change to reflect whatever it is that changes to yield a)? and
c) acknowledge the possibility of separate peace by the USSR was why the Allies mounted the North Russia resupply convoys, as well as the Persian Corridor and North Pacific resupply operations, and
d) acknowledge the US and UK had multiple strategic options from 1941 onwards, all of which - all things being equal, of course - end up with an atomic bomb or two or three (at least, possibly more) targeted on Berlin sometime in 1945?
Not so much on this web site. I could write several pages on this subject, but have other things on the to do list. The Alternative History site has a bit different & more demanding standard. Violators seem to be temp or permanently banned more often from that site. I've been told several people banned from that forum, & run off ConSimWorld remain active here. Never followed up on that so I cant say how accurate it is.
Got it. Given the post below links to a nine-page thread, I see your point.

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

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 01:21

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Mar 2021 23:04
daveshoup2MD wrote:Don't you:

a) have to explain what those "factors" are?
There are many versions of Germany beating SU, many of them feasible.

The virtue of this ATL setup is one needn't necessarily agree on the particular path.

The counterfactual bears tremendous historical value because during 1941 US planners expected Soviet defeat and continued to make planning contingencies for it in 1942, when not all expected it but most considered it a live strategic possibility. So the ATL squarely addresses something to which American political/military leaders devoted a lot of thought. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252647

We can, therefore, treat the ATL as evaluating American/Allied strategic planning as a matter of historical interest. WW2 Allied leaders had no more detailed plans for Germany would beat the SU than are presented in this thread, nonetheless considered contingency planning essential and included it in the agendas for inter-Allied strategic conference. To pretend that we're above discussing something that contemporary leaders thought essential is a bit foolish.

For the reasons I've been highlighting here, it's hard to avoid the conclusion reached by nearly every American who considered the issue in 1942: Germany could not realistically have been defeated had the SU collapsed in 1942.
Fair enough. Simple answer - nobody knows, but the closest historical examples are interesting comparisons.

The collapse of the USSR is a large handwave, obviously; it had been tried before, after all, by leaders with far more strategic insight and grasp on reality than Hitler and his minions, and even then the historical record was, to be charitable, 1-1. It's also worth pointing out that even with the Russo-Central Powers armistice in 1917, it took until March of 1918 to get Brest-Litovsk signed, and yet the war was at an end on (more or less) Allied terms eight months later. Even if it hadn't ended in November, 1917-18, the prospects for 1919 were not favorable to the Central Powers; if anything, even with whatever could be squeezed out of the former Russian Empire, the correlation of forces would be even worse for Germany. Give the above model, the Germans still surrender to the Allies in 1945 - perhaps even in 1944. ;)

That being said, the Cold War plans (and, for that matter, the capabilities deployed) for a strategic air campaign against the USSR from bases around the European periphery before the B-52/KC-135 force was operational, much less the ICBM and SLBM forces were deployed, suggests the obvious locations for a counter-value air force to deploy to (and attack from) - Greenland, Iceland, the UK, the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, SW Asia, the Western Pacific, and Alaska.

Notably, most of these were already under Allied control in 1941, much less 1942 or afterwards, and the record of the Axis in expeditionary warfare in 1939-45, along with topography and the abilities of WW II-era armies to fight on the offensive in theaters defined by their terrain does not suggest that control was ever in any jeopardy

A stalemate where the Axis control the continent but the Allies control the periphery, requiring the Axis to try and develop an autarkic economy while still fighting a hot war, however limited in terms of force-on-force theater-level combat, is unlikely to succeed. The Soviets themselves couldn't manage it in (mostly) peacetime in 1945-90, after all.

Given the Allies willingness to use develop and use WMD in WW II, to the extent of two separate operational atomic weapon designs and multiple production lines for the delivery systems, and the follow-ups of both that were in the offing, to suggest Berlin or the Ruhr (or, given their importance and vulnerability to air attack, Ploesti and whatever the Germans planned to rename Baku, if they in fact could take it) would not have disappeared in a flash sometime in 1945 or thereabouts seems questionable.

The results of such strikes would seem to have been obvious, as they were for Japan in 1945, and by example, for the Cold War antagonists from large to small.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Mar 2021 01:45

daveshoup2MD wrote:The collapse of the USSR is a large handwave, obviously
In this thread, yes. I'm happy to discuss the substantive case with you in a more appropriate thread.
daveshoup2MD wrote:A stalemate where the Axis control the continent but the Allies control the periphery, requiring the Axis to try and develop an autarkic economy while still fighting a hot war, however limited in terms of force-on-force theater-level combat, is unlikely to succeed.
This is another large topic, one for which I started a thread that has since been locked. I'm cautious to undertake its discussion here, except insofar as it relates to the thread topic.

If you'd argue for a specific bottleneck whose insuperability would nullify German aerial defenses, post-SU, I'm happy to discuss that. There is much discussion of avgas production upthread, for example.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 01:57

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
16 Mar 2021 01:45
daveshoup2MD wrote:The collapse of the USSR is a large handwave, obviously
In this thread, yes. I'm happy to discuss the substantive case with you in a more appropriate thread.
daveshoup2MD wrote:A stalemate where the Axis control the continent but the Allies control the periphery, requiring the Axis to try and develop an autarkic economy while still fighting a hot war, however limited in terms of force-on-force theater-level combat, is unlikely to succeed.
This is another large topic, one for which I started a thread that has since been locked. I'm cautious to undertake its discussion here, except insofar as it relates to the thread topic.

If you'd argue for a specific bottleneck whose insuperability would nullify German aerial defenses, post-SU, I'm happy to discuss that. There is much discussion of avgas production upthread, for example.
Sorry, is this your thread or Politician's? The OP has yet to respond to the "factors" question, after all. I'd be interested in their take.

Having said that, given the Allied ability to use atomic weapons in surprise attacks in 1945 - perhaps even earlier, given the butterflies flying here - the list of potential Axis targets is large, from Berlin to the Ruhr to Ploesti. One each would be an interesting beginning, or three on Ploesti.

There's also the demonstrated ability of the Allies to use incendiaries; granted, Japanese cities and German cities were not built the same, but given the results in Hamburg as early as July, 1943, which could have been repeated elsewhere (as they were in Dresden and Tokyo in 1945); those seem like net negatives for the Axis.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Mar 2021 02:11

daveshoupMD2 wrote:Sorry, is this your thread or Politician's? The OP has yet to respond to the "factors" question, after all. I'd be interested in their take.
You responded to me; I responded to you.
davshoupMD2 wrote:given the results in Hamburg as early as July, 1943, which could have been repeated elsewhere (as they were in Dresden and Tokyo in 1945); those seem like net negatives for the Axis.
To make the case that more Hamburgs would occur, you need to have an argument that increased German aerial defenses wouldn't foreclose such offensives. I.e. you need to engage with OP's flak-based arguments and/or my fighter-based arguments.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 02:32

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
16 Mar 2021 02:11
daveshoupMD2 wrote:Sorry, is this your thread or Politician's? The OP has yet to respond to the "factors" question, after all. I'd be interested in their take.
You responded to me; I responded to you.
davshoupMD2 wrote:given the results in Hamburg as early as July, 1943, which could have been repeated elsewhere (as they were in Dresden and Tokyo in 1945); those seem like net negatives for the Axis.
To make the case that more Hamburgs would occur, you need to have an argument that increased German aerial defenses wouldn't foreclose such offensives. I.e. you need to engage with OP's flak-based arguments and/or my fighter-based arguments.
More Hamburgs did occur.

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