German strategic bombers

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Raf
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German strategic bombers

Post by Raf » 23 Oct 2002 10:07

[Moved from the Polls section]


Germany had no strategic bombers like the RAF or the USAF. What would be the effect when Germany had those types of bombers with a range to get to Great Britain (not to get to the USA, because the Allies had no bombers with a range like that either) in 1940 ? Let us suggest that resources were there in 1940 to build them.

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IIJG26
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Post by IIJG26 » 03 Nov 2002 20:57

Greetings:

The resources were there to build them, but no body thought they would be needed.
I didn't know England had strategic bombing of factories in mind, I thought that they just wanted to level cities, and if they get a factory it was a bonus.

Kurt

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Post by Erich » 05 Nov 2002 01:48

Remember Hitler and "Fatty's" idels, and that was to have a blitzkrieg war, so 4 enigne bombers were not even thought of until mid 1942 to get at the eastern Soviet factories.

E

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by Ovidius » 05 Nov 2002 08:42

Raf wrote:Germany had no strategic bombers like the RAF or the USAF.
Ju-88A-4 and He-111H bombers had enough cargo capacity and range to be used as strategic bombers, and they actually were - in Belgrade or Stalingrad.

~Ovidius

PS strategic bombing is an operational doctrine, planes are just its tool - and a tool can be built when needed.

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Post by Caldric » 05 Nov 2002 18:08

It would change nothing, Germany fought a Strategic Air War against Britian in 1940 and lost. As Ovidius stated they had strategic bombers.

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 05 Nov 2002 18:40

1, 3 and 4...

Christian

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Post by Andy H » 06 Nov 2002 18:40

I didn't know England had strategic bombing of factories in mind, I thought that they just wanted to level cities, and if they get a factory it was a bonus.
The Bomber force available to the RAF in 1940 was very limited and city raids were a long way off.

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by Cantankerous » 16 Dec 2022 03:13

Erich wrote:
05 Nov 2002 01:48
Remember Hitler and "Fatty's" idels, and that was to have a blitzkrieg war, so 4 enigne bombers were not even thought of until mid 1942 to get at the eastern Soviet factories.

E
This thread may be 20 years old, but I should mention that Focke-Wulf, Junkers, and Messerschmitt actually thought of gigantic four- or six-engine strategic bombers as early as 1940/1941, when the Luftwaffe was drawing up war plans for attacking the US Eastern Seaboard in the event that the US entered World War II, and that the Heinkel He 177 was meant to have dive-bombing capabilities when first conceived as a strategic bomber. That the He 177 was designed from the outset as a long-range Stuka was why the He 177B variant of the He 177 with four individual engines did not reach the hardware phase until 1943 despite lacking the engine troubles of the He 177A, four years after the He 177's first flight, because Göring almost waited until the last minute in September 1942 to repeal the requirement that the He 177 be used to conduct dive bombing. If Göring had known sooner that the He 177 was hamstrung by engine troubles and Milch had told him that a long-range dive bomber seemed operationally impractical, he might have let Heinkel revive development of its first unbuilt proposal for a four-engine He 177, the He 179. In this way, the He 179 would have given the Luftwaffe the capability to strike Soviet factories east of the Ural mountains and airbases in the UK beyond the range of the He 111, Ju 88, Do 17, and Do 217.

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by T. A. Gardner » 16 Dec 2022 05:51

Cantankerous wrote:
16 Dec 2022 03:13
Erich wrote:
05 Nov 2002 01:48
Remember Hitler and "Fatty's" idels, and that was to have a blitzkrieg war, so 4 enigne bombers were not even thought of until mid 1942 to get at the eastern Soviet factories.

E
This thread may be 20 years old, but I should mention that Focke-Wulf, Junkers, and Messerschmitt actually thought of gigantic four- or six-engine strategic bombers as early as 1940/1941, when the Luftwaffe was drawing up war plans for attacking the US Eastern Seaboard in the event that the US entered World War II, and that the Heinkel He 177 was meant to have dive-bombing capabilities when first conceived as a strategic bomber. That the He 177 was designed from the outset as a long-range Stuka was why the He 177B variant of the He 177 with four individual engines did not reach the hardware phase until 1943 despite lacking the engine troubles of the He 177A, four years after the He 177's first flight, because Göring almost waited until the last minute in September 1942 to repeal the requirement that the He 177 be used to conduct dive bombing. If Göring had known sooner that the He 177 was hamstrung by engine troubles and Milch had told him that a long-range dive bomber seemed operationally impractical, he might have let Heinkel revive development of its first unbuilt proposal for a four-engine He 177, the He 179. In this way, the He 179 would have given the Luftwaffe the capability to strike Soviet factories east of the Ural mountains and airbases in the UK beyond the range of the He 111, Ju 88, Do 17, and Do 217.
It makes little difference. The German aircraft industry--at least as it stood historically--was pretty much incapable of mass producing a 4 engine, large, "strategic" bomber. Sure, they could design one. They could build a few prototypes. But what they couldn't do is make enough in production to amount to anything.
Look at the He 177. Henkel (which some produced by Arado too) produced about 1200 He 177 over a period of about 30 months. That's about an average of one plane a day, give or take.
You can look at the various prototypes like the Me 264. These were pipedreams that were never going to enter production, and had they they'd be produced at a rate of less than one a day--far less.

Then there's the problem of where to get the fuel to fly these machines regularly. For a single sortie, a He 177 uses about 7 tons of fuel, or the equivalent of 14 Me 109 sorties. So, you have a large fuel guzzling bomber that is produced in small numbers and can make occasional mass missions. It's all largely a waste of time.

The Luftwaffe isn't going to be able to run the sort of large air strikes on a near daily basis the RAF and USAAF did. Instead, they save up their fuel, aircraft, and launch a mission say once a week or maybe every ten days against some target. Even then, the number of planes sent is in the tens, not hundreds, and certainly not in the thousands.

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Dec 2022 11:47

Given how long it too the RAF & AAF to get results it would be smarter for the German AF to concentrate on what it did well, tactical & operational support of ground forces.

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by pugsville » 16 Dec 2022 12:07

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Dec 2022 11:47
Given how long it too the RAF & AAF to get results it would be smarter for the German AF to concentrate on what it did well, tactical & operational support of ground forces.
If it came down to a war of attrition Germany was done. Strategic bombing campaign at best are pretty attritional in nature.

The UK was also a pretty small area to defend with by 1940 a pretty sophisticated air defense system. Even if the Germans moved to night time bombing in a long term campaign the British could have produced plenty of night fighters., THE UK really allowed a concentration of defense resources and radar networks.

The US and British threw in a vast amount of resources for pretty minimal gains for a long time before the strategic bombing became in any way really effective.

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 20 Dec 2022 20:01

Thinking of 'strategic air power' solely in terms of attacking industry or cities is one way of considering this. The war at sea was a strategic effort & providing the German Navy with a operational strength of 500+ VLR reconnaissance/bomber aircraft would be a strategic use of airpower. & a number in reach of the industrial capacity OTL. Of course that requires focus and setting realistic priorities, which is not what the nazi regime is known for. For the Allies a few hundred VLR aircraft were important in tipping the balance of the BOA in their favor and the slow provision of them dragged out the result into 1943. Perhaps 'strategic' results could have been had through this use of high capacity VLR aircraft?

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by Peter89 » 20 Dec 2022 21:01

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Dec 2022 20:01
Thinking of 'strategic air power' solely in terms of attacking industry or cities is one way of considering this. The war at sea was a strategic effort & providing the German Navy with a operational strength of 500+ VLR reconnaissance/bomber aircraft would be a strategic use of airpower. & a number in reach of the industrial capacity OTL. Of course that requires focus and setting realistic priorities, which is not what the nazi regime is known for. For the Allies a few hundred VLR aircraft were important in tipping the balance of the BOA in their favor and the slow provision of them dragged out the result into 1943. Perhaps 'strategic' results could have been had through this use of high capacity VLR aircraft?
The answer is a simple yes. But Germans did not neglect the naval aviation becuase they were nazis, but because they did not build up the Luftwaffe to be an effective instrument of war. It was built up as a deterrent force.

Early German naval aviators, military observers and long-range airliner pilots provided plenty of experiences and reports before the war. Decision makers didn't care, because it was not part of the German strategy.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by T. A. Gardner » 20 Dec 2022 21:13

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Dec 2022 20:01
Thinking of 'strategic air power' solely in terms of attacking industry or cities is one way of considering this. The war at sea was a strategic effort & providing the German Navy with a operational strength of 500+ VLR reconnaissance/bomber aircraft would be a strategic use of airpower. & a number in reach of the industrial capacity OTL. Of course that requires focus and setting realistic priorities, which is not what the nazi regime is known for. For the Allies a few hundred VLR aircraft were important in tipping the balance of the BOA in their favor and the slow provision of them dragged out the result into 1943. Perhaps 'strategic' results could have been had through this use of high capacity VLR aircraft?
The problem there is that the Luftwaffe was barely able to keep tens of long-range aircraft flying missions for maritime patrol well into 1941.

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Re: German strategic bombers

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 20 Dec 2022 21:21

T. A. Gardner wrote:
20 Dec 2022 21:13
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Dec 2022 20:01
Thinking of 'strategic air power' solely in terms of attacking industry or cities is one way of considering this. The war at sea was a strategic effort & providing the German Navy with a operational strength of 500+ VLR reconnaissance/bomber aircraft would be a strategic use of airpower. & a number in reach of the industrial capacity OTL. Of course that requires focus and setting realistic priorities, which is not what the nazi regime is known for. For the Allies a few hundred VLR aircraft were important in tipping the balance of the BOA in their favor and the slow provision of them dragged out the result into 1943. Perhaps 'strategic' results could have been had through this use of high capacity VLR aircraft?
The problem there is that the Luftwaffe was barely able to keep tens of long-range aircraft flying missions for maritime patrol well into 1941.
Yes its a tough problem. In the end the resources have to come from somewhere else.

A look at the maritime or littoral air campaign in the Mediterranean is worth a look too. They did get improving results until the Allied airpower matured in 1943.

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