Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

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Yuri
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Yuri » 08 Sep 2021 17:05

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glenn239
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by glenn239 » 08 Sep 2021 17:28

Yuri wrote:
08 Sep 2021 16:55
Studying the history of the creation, development and use of 57 mm Soviet unguided missiles of the S-5 "Skvorets" family, you will actually know everything (or almost everything) about all the advantages and disadvantages of the R4/M rocket .
Primary advantage of the R4M was that it was a very cheap way to increase lethality per sortie against obsolescent 4-engine bomber types. Keep in mind that even a hit rate of 1 in 100 was absolutely devastating because it meant a 25% kill rate per sortie even before the 30mm cannons fired a shot.

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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 Sep 2021 19:10

If we assume 60-100 Me 262 were equipped with 12 R4M each.
If we assume each made one sortie and launched its R4M.
Then call it 80 sorties X 12 R4M = 960 directed against heavy bombers.

With one hit and destruction possibly confirmed.

I am unsure how that translates into a hit rate of 1% or how that was devastating, either absolutely or partially or how it means a 25% kill per sortie?

Meanwhile, from 16 March to 23 April 1945, when the Luftwaffe records end, they recorded engaging 18 Allied daylight raids with 865 of their own fighter sorties. The Luftwaffe fighters claimed 139 kills and 34 probables. During that time, the Eighth AF recorded the loss of 210 HB on 474 missions to all causes...on the mission of 4 April where Mains' B-24M was lost, supposedly to Rademacher's R4M, it was one of 3 lost out of 97 attacking Wenzendorf (not Wesendorf in Saxony), one of eleven missions with 957 HB that day directed at what the Germans described as "Kiel". In addition to Rademacher, the Luftwaffe flew another 48 fighter sorties that day, claiming 9 kills and 3 probables, plus 4 kills to Flak, while losing 7 confirmed, 5 missing, and 5 60% damaged themselves. In fact, 11 HB were lost that day, including Mains.

That is a per sortie kill rate of 24.4%...if we assume that none of the aircraft were lost to Flak, but not even the Germans believed that was so.
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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 08 Sep 2021 20:27

glenn239 wrote:
08 Sep 2021 17:28
Keep in mind that even a hit rate of 1 in 100 was absolutely devastating because it meant a 25% kill rate per sortie even before the 30mm cannons fired a shot.
Per sortie? Surely only per sortie that resulted in an aircraft reaching a good firing position? Not the ones in which the fighter crashed on take off, turned back though technical failure, didn’t intercept the bombers, was intercepted by Allied fighters or just put off by the threat of interception, suffered technical failure on attempted rocket launch. etc.

And we should keep in mind that we have no sound data on which to speculate whether the hit rate when fired from a good position was 1 in 10, in 100 or in 250, etc. We simply don’t know.

BTW are there any Luftwaffe records that match those Soviet claims?

Edited to add: were there catastrophic events suffered by US or British bombers before the R4M was first used?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 08 Sep 2021 23:14

On a semi-related note, I think the Germans would have been better off improving the Me 262 itself so it would last longer in service. As it was, the plane was really good for a few sorties between the abysmal engine lifespan, the weak nose gear, and assorted other issues with the plane's manufacture. It was almost self-defeating it was so unreliable.

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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Peter89 » 09 Sep 2021 07:01

T. A. Gardner wrote:
08 Sep 2021 23:14
On a semi-related note, I think the Germans would have been better off improving the Me 262 itself so it would last longer in service. As it was, the plane was really good for a few sorties between the abysmal engine lifespan, the weak nose gear, and assorted other issues with the plane's manufacture. It was almost self-defeating it was so unreliable.
I agree.
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by glenn239 » 09 Sep 2021 13:22

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
08 Sep 2021 20:27
Per sortie? Surely only per sortie that resulted in an aircraft reaching a good firing position? Not the ones in which the fighter crashed on take off, turned back though technical failure, didn’t intercept the bombers, was intercepted by Allied fighters or just put off by the threat of interception, suffered technical failure on attempted rocket launch. etc.
Sure, per sorties that wound up in firing passes.
And we should keep in mind that we have no sound data on which to speculate whether the hit rate when fired from a good position was 1 in 10, in 100 or in 250, etc. We simply don’t know.
What I said was that IF the hit rate was even as low as 1 in 100 that the overall effect would be a very significant increase in ME-262 kill rates because that translates into a 25% kill rate per sortie (assuming 24 per jet) without yet including the cannons. Nobody's talking about a different outcome to WW2 or any other such nonsense. Just that the R4M on jets was not a good thing for Allied heavy bombers. That's it.
Last edited by glenn239 on 09 Sep 2021 13:28, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by glenn239 » 09 Sep 2021 13:26

T. A. Gardner wrote:
08 Sep 2021 23:14
On a semi-related note, I think the Germans would have been better off improving the Me 262 itself so it would last longer in service. As it was, the plane was really good for a few sorties between the abysmal engine lifespan, the weak nose gear, and assorted other issues with the plane's manufacture. It was almost self-defeating it was so unreliable.
I think that for anti 4-engine work the Germans would want to improve the 262 and load it up with as many R4M's as possible; 48, 72, 108. Because green pilots could fire salvos in unison at the lead of elite pilots, these rockets represented a way to make inexperienced pilots deadly right from the get-go.

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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Sep 2021 15:12

glenn239 wrote:
09 Sep 2021 13:22
Nobody's talking about a different outcome to WW2 or any other such nonsense. Just that the R4M on jets was not a good thing for Allied heavy bombers. That's it.
Yeah I've sort of stopped following most replies because the mental gymnastics required to deny ANYTHING positive for the Axis are just absurd, annoying. Even basic arithmetic must be denied. It's why appreciate that, even though we disagree on whether Axis had any chance in WW2, you are capable of rational discussion.
glenn239 wrote:Because green pilots could fire salvos in unison at the lead of elite pilots, these rockets represented a way to make inexperienced pilots deadly right from the get-go.
This argument applies to Fw-190's equipped with R4M's by early 1944 as well. LW flew 182,004 sorties in the West during 1944. If ~25% those were Fw-190 sorties that could have carried R4M's, that's ~45k sorties. Adding a heavy bomber kill to 25% of those sorties would mean >10k HB's shot down.

That assumes 100% of R4M-carrying sorties actually close on the bombers, which wouldn't be true. Even if only 10% reach a firing position, that's still >1,000 HB's lost. Not a war winner but significant.

There would be non-linear knock-on effects as well:
  • Bomber boxes broken up or weakened by R4M attacks would be more vulnerable to conventional attack.
  • R4M's substituted on heavy groups for gun pods (less drag and weight) would decrease LW fighter losses and increase the likelihood of reaching a firing position.
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Michael Kenny » 09 Sep 2021 17:31

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Sep 2021 15:12
Even basic arithmetic must be denied.
It is not 'basic' arithmetic. It is a highly selective wunderwaffe wish-fulfilment fantasy created using on the most positive 'best possible performance' predictions about a system that appears to have very little evidence that it was even noticed by the intended targets.

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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 09 Sep 2021 18:01

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Sep 2021 15:12
This argument applies to Fw-190's equipped with R4M's by early 1944 as well. LW flew 182,004 sorties in the West during 1944. If ~25% those were Fw-190 sorties that could have carried R4M's, that's ~45k sorties. Adding a heavy bomber kill to 25% of those sorties would mean >10k HB's shot down.

That assumes 100% of R4M-carrying sorties actually close on the bombers, which wouldn't be true. Even if only 10% reach a firing position, that's still >1,000 HB's lost. Not a war winner but significant.

There would be non-linear knock-on effects as well:
  • Bomber boxes broken up or weakened by R4M attacks would be more vulnerable to conventional attack.
  • R4M's substituted on heavy groups for gun pods (less drag and weight) would decrease LW fighter losses and increase the likelihood of reaching a firing position.
The problem then becomes, How do the Allies respond? This change doesn't happen in a vacuum. The US would respond and change tactics, weapons, something or a lot of things to nullify the effect of this weapon as much as possible. So, what does the US do differently in response.

That is how these discussions usually go. Somebody suggests the Germans use some wunderwaffe or another earlier, more, whatever and say it would have devastating effects. Then comes objections that get brushed aside as the original person makes the assumption the Allies won't change a thing they're doing and just plow ahead in the face of mounting losses.

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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Peter89 » 09 Sep 2021 18:23

I don't know, guys; I read the manuals of the Me 262 and for me it seems that this plane was a big time trouble on its own. I would even risk the assessment that the whole design was not front-ripe.

The maintenance of the machine was a joke on its own. I mean, after the first flight, 6 different filters had to be cleaned (thus disassembled and re-assembled), every 1.5 hours (!!!) the lubricant filter had to be cleaned, every 3 hours four different maintenance jobs had to be done, every 6 hours they had to do an instrument-check (on top of other things), every 12.5 hours some kind of a partial overhaul had to be done with engine testing, and after 25 business hours, the engines had to be changed...

I mean, the whole manual is full of facepalming notions, like, before high altitude and measurement flights, the maintenance jobs had to be done on even shorter cycles and like do not fasten some screws too much because it is dangerous, and on and on and on.

I doubt that a weapon system, that was in an experimental phase on its own, combined with this highly unreliable and maintenance-sensitive aircraft would change anything perceptible in the air war over Germany. (Having said that, the employment of the Me 262 is highly dubious anywhere else than over Germany.)
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Sep 2021 18:26

Michael Kenny wrote:
09 Sep 2021 17:31
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Sep 2021 15:12
Even basic arithmetic must be denied.
It is not 'basic' arithmetic. It is a highly selective wunderwaffe wish-fulfilment fantasy created using on the most positive 'best possible performance' predictions about a system that appears to have very little evidence that it was even noticed by the intended targets.
Yes, start with an elaborate ad hominem and then proceed to alter facts as necessary.

The development of the R4M began in August 1944, It was finally fielded in late March and early April 1945. Eight months. To equip FW 190 with it in early 1944 requires the Germans to begin development of the R4M a year earlier, in August 1943. Why would they? That simple question has been asked a number of times, but never answered. Yet, over and over again, we are told that the CBO in August 1943, especially the USAAF, was impotent and the Luftwaffe reigned supreme...Schweinfurt, "bombing pause", and all that.

Okay, so the Luftwaffe flew 182,004 sorties of all combat types in the West in 1944. Excellent. They also lost 9,768 of those aircraft in the process, a loss per sortie rate of 5.37%. Using the same type WAG applied to assumed effectiveness of the R4M, I think 90% of that loss was caused by Allied fighters.

The USAAF flew 1,012,101 combat sorties against Germany in 1944. They lost 11,618 aircraft in the process, a loss rate of 1.15%. We may estimate that about 36% of that loss was caused by Luftwaffe aircraft.

548,542 of those USAAF sorties were flown by fighter aircraft. The addition of heavy armament was already degrading the ability of the FW 190 to engage Allied fighter aircraft on an even basis. The Luftwaffe pilot training program was a shambles. New pilots were arriving with fewer and fewer hours in the air and little or no chance at operational training. And yet, now despite the addition of a couple of hundred additional pounds of weight and added underwing drag, the FW 190 will fly "~45k" sorties without additional loss to the mass of Allied fighters, and will shoot down ">10k HB's". :roll:

The wish-fulfillment here is that by simply adding a weapons system that did not exist in 1944, in an aircraft that was rapidly obsolescing versus its Allied counterparts, flown by poorly-trained and inexperienced pilots, the Luftwaffe will quadruple the number of HB's shot down. Sure, no problem.
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Sep 2021 18:41

So let's take it a step further. Let's assume that 80% of the German sorties in the West in 1944 were by fighters. So 145,603 sorties resulted in around 4,182 USAAF HB losses. Or around 0.0287252323097738 HB losses per German fighter sortie. Meanwhile, using the same assumptions, the USAAF was inflicting around 0.01602648475413 Luftwaffe losses per fighter sortie. Terrible performance by the USAAF fighter jocks right?

To get and additional ">10k HB's", the Luftwaffe needs to either more than triple its number of sorties - while reducing its own loss per sortie - or increase its kills per sortie through the hocus-pocus of the R4M, while still reducing its own loss per sortie.
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Re: Impact of the R4M if it was ready earlier?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Sep 2021 18:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Sep 2021 15:12
Even basic arithmetic must be denied.
Basic arithmetic? Like using all LW sorties in the West to generate putative statistics for anti-heavy bomber operations. Wouldn’t any basic arithmetic need to start by reducing that total figure down to the number of anti-heavy bomber sorties only and then take into account the percentage of those sorties which failed to get into a favourable firing position? As Glenn329 agreed?

Regards

Tom

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