Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

BATTLE OF BRITAIN: NO BLITZ?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Kai-Petri, Aug 21, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    I believe the second chart is pilot strengths.
     
  2. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    5
    Yeah sorry for that it is that i was reading it wrong, disregaurd the last post.
     
  3. Hop

    Hop Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2001
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    42
    That's pretty much the position the Germans found themselves in, which is why they started bombing more at night, which is why London kept getting hit again and again.

    ER Hooton in Eagle In Flames gives German fighter and bomber sortie totals. They are weekly figures, estimated from the monthly totals in the German records.

    The peak of daylight bomber sorties was 1,650 in the week 12 - 18 August. There were 500 night bomber sorties. By the last week of August, when the Luftwaffe was supposedly concentrating on the RAF airfields, there were 875 day bomber sorties, 1050 at night. That changed in the week of the attack on London, because the larger bomber formations meant less fighters were needed for escort.

    In July 25% of German bomber sorties were at night. In August 36%, in September 47%.
     
  4. barca

    barca recruit

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi All,
    Barca from Ireland here (new member)
    German bombing offensive of English cities continued until May 1941. (until squadrons were withdrawn to support Barbarossa.)
    This bombing, conducted mainly at night, was successful. with an attrition rate of less than 4% which was acceptable to the Luftwaffe.
    British night defences were at this stage quite primitive, both flak and radar guided nightfighters were largely ineffective.
    Had this offensive continued into 1942 who knows how Britain would have been affected in terms of damage to industry and civilian morale.

    Barca
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    Well if you consider dropping a few bombs anywhere in a large city successful perhaps. Militarily they were probably a waste. Moral wise may have been worth it.
     
  6. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    5
    lwd

    Glad to catch you, i have a stat you haven't shown and that is

    BoB from 10th July 1940 to 31st October 1940

    RAF Fighter Command losses 1,065 with a further 166 lost in accidents.

    Luftwaffe Combined single Bf-109 and twin Bf-110 losses 879 with a further 118 lost in accidents.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    So the Britts lost roughly 20% more fighters during that period. If you are looking at the total effect on the airforce though you have too look at the bomber losses and pilot losses. During that same period I think you will find that the British were building planes and training pilots faster than the Germans. Thus the charts show the RAF gaining strength in relationship to the Germans. Furthermore the Germans came into the BOB with a substantial edge in experience and superior tactics. That edge eroded significantly over the BOB.
     
  8. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    5
    Yes the RAF was most probably building plane and training pilots faster than the Luftwaffe, but in Germany the Luftwaffe could call on a National Reserve Pool of something like 10,000 pilots and crew both from Military and Civilian ranks, but did not have the aircraft to fly them, had the Germans had double or tripple the aircraft then "Kubyiashi Maru" Britain is gonskies.
     
  9. Hop

    Hop Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2001
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    42
    All countries had fairly large reserves of civilian pilots, the difficulty for both sides in 1940 was in the training of fighter pilots, not in basic flight training.

    The bottleneck for the RAF was in the operational training units, which took a pilot who had qualified on trainers and taught them to fly, and fight, in a Spitfire or Hurricane.

    The same was true for the Luftwaffe. Whilst the front line units didn't get many replacements (very, very few of those shot down and captured over Britain joined their units after the start of the battle), those they did get had inadequate operational training. Milch, in his inspection tour of late August, noted that pilots were being sent to the 109 units with less than 10 landings in 109s, and who had never fired a cannon.
     
  10. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,281
    Likes Received:
    85
    I think what you wrote is an essential factor in the Battle of Britain.
    The UK had a very good chance of recovering trained pilots who were shot down while the Germans had no chance. Thus, the UK had a very big, almost insurmountable advantage in the air war of attrition.
     
  11. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    The Germans brought this on themselves in large degree. They continually from the beginning of the war pulled instructors, crews, and even advanced students from their pilot training program to man additional aircraft; in particular Ju 52 transports. Many of these crews were lost on operations and of course, the pilot training programs were completely disrupted by this. By the BoB this shortsighted operational methodology had caught up with the Luftwaffe and they were now paying the piper dearly.
     
  12. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ok no Blitz, Luftwaffe continues to attack airfields, by mid September the RAF Fighter Command is running out of Fighter Pilots and begins to strip Bomber, Coastal Commands and the Fleet Air Arm for pilots that have fighter training, the RAF would lose as daily attritian rates can't be made up by the 6 pilots that come out of the OTU per day, eventually forward airfields like RAF Hawkinge, Lympne and Manston are wiped out, systemic attacks on Radar installation have them gone punching holes in the forward detections system allowing more and more bombers to get through, Fighter Command has to send more and more sorties per day, RAF pilots become more and more tired (Fatally so) as now some Luftwaffe missions begin to take place at night (Ineffective but it gives no chance of RAF Fighter Command to rest it's crews.) Finally the Luftwaffe begins concentating on the aircraft industries of production and maintenance resulting in critical loss of available aircraft.

    During this phase the Kusten and See Aufklarungsgruppe's become more and mow efficient in sinking Royal Naval ships, eventually leading to the Dover Straits becoming a no go zone for the Royal Navy. Now Hitler decides that is now or never and orders everything Germany and his Ally Italy to throw at Britain, the Regia Aeronautica begins sending hundreds of aircraft into France to work with the Luftwaffe, finally by early October the RAF is spent. Royal Navy is prevented freedom of movement in the Dover Staits, and so in mid October Operation Seelowe takes place, it is bloody but the Imperial Army cant hold out after three weeks and so in the first week in November 1940 Hitler is rewarded with a military parade in downtown London.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    The problem here is that you are ignoring what's happening to the LW. They are loosing the battle even before they switch to the Blitz. They are also required to fly even longer missions than the British and the return flight can be while injured or their plane is damaged so fatigue is going to hit them even worse. Given the improvements in relative tactical doctrines and experience the edge the LW had in these areas is also eroding. Remember also that if the LW presses the RAF too hard they simply pull back from the fields in the South of England. While the Germans can then hit fields in the South with greater safety they are no longer attriting the RAF at the rate they were and are still suffering significant attrition themselves. In any case they can't establish the air supremacy needed for Sea Lion by October which means as the winter weather sets in the RAF gets a chance to rest and recover over the winter. The LW then faces continuing a campaign they were loosing in the first place in the face of even stronger foe.
     
  14. Hop

    Hop Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2001
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    42
    Actually the pilot situation should have begun to improve, or at least decline more slowly. Dowding had decided to stop maintaining full strength squadrons outside the battle area. There were squadrons in Wales, the north of England and Scotland that were at full strength, despite only ever having to deal with lone recce aircraft.

    Dowding decided to classify squadrons as fully operational in or near the SE of England (A squadrons), fully operational elsewhere to be used as a reserve (B squadrons), and reduced strength C squadrons in the North and West.

    C squadrons were to have 5 or 6 experienced pilots (against the 20 or so of A and B squadrons), and to accept pilots with little or no experience in fighters. As they were outside the battle area, they weren't at risk of combat, but the experienced pilots could train the new recruits before they were posted on to A or B squadrons.

    In effect, Dowding created new Operational Training Units out of a few of his squadrons which weren't doing much anyway.

    6 is a bit low. As of 7th September, the OTUs were turning out 280 Spitfire and Hurricane pilots a month, which is 9 or so a day. As Evill pointed out to Dowding on the 7th September, in the previous month 348 Spitfire and Hurricane pilots had been lost or seriously injured, and that the OTUs were now capable of turning out 280 pilots a month.

    The problem for the Germans is that throughout August and the first week of September, they had only reduced pilot strength by 68, relative to current output. When you take in to account the influx of Polish, Czech, French etc pilots, the RAF had actually expanded in strength.

    Even if you assume they could inflict the same losses in the next month, and ignore the extra output from the C squadrons, that would mean FC having about 1,320 pilots at the start of October, compared to the 1,370 they had at the start of July.

    Not all these were Spitfire and Hurricane pilots, but the trend is clear. Counting only a few pilots coming from the C squadrons, FC would have begun October with the same strength they had at the beginning of July.

    And that assumes the Luftwaffe could keep up the same level of attacks. In fact, their own dwindling strength was one of the main reasons they turned on London.

    At the end of June 1940, the Luftwaffe had 1,126 Bf 109 pilots, and 906 of them fit for duty.
    At the end of Sept 1940, the Luftwaffe had 917 Bf 109 pilots, 676 of them were fit for duty.

    Now, the RAF figures are for all fighter pilots, including those flying Blenheims etc, and possibly even the second crewman from Blenheims and Defiants, so they cannot be directly compared.

    But the trends are clear. After 2 months of fighting, assuming the Luftwaffe hadn't turned on London, FC would have had approx the same number of pilots. After 2 months, including the turn on London, which reduced Luftwaffe losses, the Luftwaffe had 209 less single engined fighter pilots.

    If the fighting had carried on as it was, without the Luftwaffe switching to London, the Luftwaffe would still have declined faster than the RAF.

    Simply put, there is no way for the Luftwaffe to win the battle unless they can achieve a better victory:loss ratio against the RAF.

    The Luftwaffe just weren't capable of it. Knocking out an airfield, and keeping it non operational, requires multiple raids. The Luftwaffe were so constrained by the need for escorts they couldn't use many of their bombers, which meant they didn't have enough to suppress RAF airfields.

    From the 5th August to 1st September, the main phase of the Luftwaffe campaign, they managed only 3850 daylight bomber sorties. That's less than 150 a day. You can't keep many airfields suppressed with that many bombers, especially as they have relatively small bomb loads. (Even with so few bomber sorties, and 12,450 fighter sorties, the Luftwaffe still lost 303 bombers, a rate of 7.9%)

    As Dowding wrote to Park:

    The RAF has a huge advantage here. Their sorties were shorter, they gave leave to the men, they rotated them out of the front line. The Luftwaffe fighter pilots were flying longer sorties, and because there were so few of them, more per day. They also had to face the strain of 2 channel crossings a day, and they hated the channel.

    They were actually taking place at night right from the start of the battle. The Blenheims were more commonly used as night fighters, and kept out of the day battle. Whilst Spitfires and Hurricanes did occasionally operate at night, it was in very small numbers.

    We know the outcome of the historical battle. For the outcome to change, the course of the battle has to change. Keeping the diminishing Luftwaffe attacking airfields, when the tactic was failing historically, doesn't change the course of the battle.
     
    Slipdigit and Martin Bull like this.
  15. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,478
    Likes Received:
    1,385
    Location:
    London, England.
    In addition, a quantum improvement in German Intelligence would have been needed. They may indeed have gone on bombing airfields, but if they were airfields such as Abingdon, Ford, Detling etc, victory would have been a long time coming......
     
  16. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    139
    Tell me, how does the Luftwaffe make the Channel a no go zone at night ?


    ps, When I read Roddoss72's last post I thought I had gone to the beginning of the thread, because it seems he hasn't taken any notice of any of the previous posts which had explained in great detail how the German's were losing the BOB even before the switch to attacking London.
     
  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    Attacking the radar system is also going to be a high volume, low results operation for the Luftwaffe. To take out a Chain Home station you need to destroy at least 2 of the 3 transmission towers and take down 2 or 3 of the 4 receiving towers. The actual buildings on the ground are difficult targets being small and generally hardened to some degree.
    If a raid only succeeds in taking down the transmission towers a station can generally use signals from adjacent stations to make up much of the loss. The same is true for receiving towers, other stations can detect and use the still transmitting station lacking reception. Making things worse, repairs are fairly straight forward and easy to manage. And then, if the British thought the Germans were trying to systematically take out radar stations what happens when they (the British) start heavily defending them with antiaircraft guns and setting up diversionary targets?
    Compounding this is CHL and CD stations that can make up some of the gap. These are much smaller and harder to spot from aerial reconnissance just as the Allies had difficulty spotting Würtzburg Riese and Würtzburg stations in France until the Germans started putting wire around them for defensive reasons.
    Also, the British can move in mobile radar stations to make up for the loss. They could also move a ship into such a position and have it use Type 79 or 279 to cover the gap.
    Basically, as the Allies also found, destroying a radar system and keeping it down is a very sorte intensive operation. For Normandy it took literally thousands of individual sortes spread over about a year to take out and keep down much of the German radar system on the French coast. Even then, the Germans usually managed to have at least a minimal amount of radar coverage over virtually the entire coast anyway. And, yes, the Germans did mount alot of flak around their radar stations once they realised the Allies were targetting them. This made them very dangerous targets to attack and there were alot of Allied pilot losses in these raids.
    So, in a BoB scenario like this one, the problem is do the Germans concentrate on the radar system or do they go after the RAF itself? They do not have the resources to do both.
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.
  18. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    5
    I love fishing trips as everytime the usual suspects takes the bait, I reckon many of you should not get on Point of Divergeance (What if) threads because you have no imagination to run with the spirit of the threads. Many here are to entranched in as "Factophiles" you rigidly adhere to the "facts of the real world", and never take in account the "facts of an alternate world". I love my senario. Oh you state that the Luftwaffe would be streched, read my senario if you actually bothered to read it as i clearly state that the Italians (Regia Aeronautica) sends in hundreds of additional aircraft, also the abandoning of forward airfields that lwd said would play into the hands of the LW as it rids the RAF initial interception airfields.

    T.A. Gardner towers are useless if the data control units attached to the towers are wiped out, it takes at least 3 to 4 days to remove that damaged data control units, then to install another (install, connect, calibrate, and man etc....), you are thinking in the modern terms (where a flick of the switch you have a ready back-up) i am talking about 1940 sport, not so easy. Oh you state that they (Radar units) would become heavily protected, yes that may happen but if Goring allowed his Stuka's to attack the radar installations two days in a row, anti-aircraft batteries would never get started, as they needed to be dug in and then re-enforced, imagine their plight if they were being attacked say 3 or 4 times a day as they should have been and not once in 3 days and with what almost all anti-aircraft batteries were either surrounding airfields or London and had none to spare as almost all were lost in France. A ship on the coast filling the gap is the most stupid thing i have heard, one u-boat at night would put a torpedoe into it. And the Luftwaffe did have the resources to do both, main twin engined bombers go after airfields and aircraft industries, while Stuka's go after Radar units as it was planned.
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    As far as I'm concerned the whole point of a historical what if is to speculate about the effects of either a change or a small group of related changes on historical events. If you make to many changes or ones that would have been completely impossible what's the difference from saying say a Nazi Magician waved his hands and the RAF vanished?
     
    Slipdigit likes this.
  20. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    I suggest that you first read up a bit on CH radar, I have provided a link to a decent site on it:

    The Radar Pages - Chain Home

    Note in the picture that most of the actual transmitting and receiving equipment are clearly in bunkers and would be difficult targets. Note the wide spacing of the towers and that they are primarily wooden and easily repaired.
    You also might want to review the actual historical results of German attacks on the CH system. They were rather disappointing and at no time was their sufficent disruption of the system to cause any significant gaps in coverage. That is one reason the attacks on these units were called off.

    As for using ships, the British actually did do this in the Thames estuary area during the BoB. A ship in a harbor or shallow water is no target for a U-boat and the whole idea that one would even be used in such a specific role is absurd.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page