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Could the Luftwaffe win their air war?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Definitely. The SM 79 had serious deficencies in its defensive armament. It was particularly vulnerable to head on passes as the middle engine blocked forward fire for the most part. The other defensive guns were few, manually aimed, and usually 7.7mm in size.
    Combined with its partial fabric covered airframe the SM 79 is very vulnerable to small caliber gunfire. It would have been easily chewed up by defending British fighters.
     
  2. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Yes i agree but could the S.M-79 be deployed as Torpedo Bombers and used against the Royal Navy, i have read that as many as 150+ could have been deployed, whether this was factual i do not know. Also although vulnerable they still could have had an influence.

    v.R.
     
  3. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Yes, a number of SM-79 were employed as "Aerosiluranti" but in any case the Germans had access to other faster and more efficient torpedo planes, so why bother?
     
  4. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    The only operational German torpedo bomber in the Battle Of Britain period was the He 115 floatplane, the He 111 didn't become operational as a torpedo bomber until after the battle.
     
  5. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Exactly my point having an additional 150+ heavy torpedo bombers say operating in the southern approaches of the English Channel would make life difficult for the Royal Navy.

    The S.M-79 II carried two torpedoes each, that in one mass attack would deliver 300 torpedoes against any anti-invasion interdiction force.

    v.R
     
  6. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    The main effect of the obsolete Itallian equipment can be summed up in one of Murhys laws of combat:
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Were they capable of night attack?
    If the British are engaging primarily with DDs and lighter ships do the Germans really want the Italians putting that many torpedos in the water near the invasion fleet?
     
  8. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    150 aircraft would create a "Target rich enviroment" for the RAF.
     
  9. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    This is one of the usual answers i have come to expect, the RAF are a bunch of superhumans that can take on an inordinate amount of enemy aircraft, it doesn't matter if the Axis had 10,000 aircraft during the BoB, the tiny RAF would wipe all of them, my point is that throwing in an additional 150+ torpedo bombers and most likely say an additional 200 escort fighter that the RAF can accomidate the extra 350+ enemy aircraft.

    The aircraft mentioned in my opinion would have been better served in the war against the Royal Navy's Anti-Invasion Fleet most probably based in the Cherbourg area.

    v.R.
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    That is correct, glad you finally understood this basic fact.:hug1:
     
  11. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    First off. I never claimed that the RAF was "superhuman". Never have. Nor or would wipe them out. Thanks for assuming.MY POINT is that the large amount of slow torpedo carrying SM-79s would create a larger "Target Rich" environment. Just because there are more does not mean they would survive any better then the German bombers. As to the escort fighters I hope you aren't thinking of the Fiat CR-42s or G-50s the Italians were using with the Corpo at the time.
     
  12. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Please forgive me for my last post, i was in a bad mood and your response just got to me, i had no right to reply to your answer like that.

    It is just that i read too many times that no matter how many aircraft the German had and even with the intervention of several hundred more Italian aircraft that the normal assumption would always be total defeat to the Axis and that the RAF will always win the BoB no matter what the circumstances.

    And to finish off, in my senario the Italians would be retrained on the Dewoitine D.520, and before you say that does not mean much, they were better than some of the Italian aircraft at the time. The thing is that with Luftflotte 3 staying the same, and doing exactly what it did during the BoB, does the RAF Fighter Command's 10 Group have the resources to divert more fighters to cover the influx of Italian machines, at which point does the RAF become overstretched and to fight an airwar beyond it's capacity to cover all situations, yes i would say that the influx of the Italians may as you say "Target Rich" but it also may prove that tipping point that tips the battle towards the Axis.

    v.R
     
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  13. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    In compensation the RAF should have the possibility of replacing their Hurricanes with P-51Ds.

    Give Gen Pile's Anti-Aircraft Command a few Improved Hawk SAM batteries for good measure!

    It's a what-if, isn't it? Anything goes!
     
  14. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    No problem with that mate, unless we are talking about the time of the BoB and correct me if i am wrong, the P-51D's were in service in June-October 1940. Also correct me if i am wrong but the Hawk SAM were'nt around in WW2. But what the hell do i know! the Dewoitine D.520 was around at the time and the Vichy government had several hundred of them, So i give the several hundred Dewoitine D.520's. And cyberbullying is an ugly side to you.

    v.R
     
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    As I said, "It's a what-if, isn't it? Anything goes!"
     
  16. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    If you want to change the underlying facts of the BoB, you go back to 1936, and bring Walter Wever back to life, and change the decisions so that the LW builds an air force that has planes suited for roles other than close air support and short-range interception/escort. i.e. four-engine bombers and fighters with legs. Of course, to do that, you might have to ignore little things, like how much materiel it would take to build them, but, this is a what-if....

    Until you change that, the Luftwaffe is unsuited for the mission in BoB, and the British with their fighters are much more suited for their task of home defense, even if strained to the breaking point. The question remains, even if you gain temporary air superiority over that area of England, how long will it last with the rest of Britain's industry mostly out of reach of the bombers, other than night bombing, since the escorts had a very short range?
     
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  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Why would the Italians opt for using a mediocre French fighter instead of homegrown equipment? Just the logistics involved would make it worthless. Now, I could see the Italians grabbing up French aero engines for re-engining some of their aircraft. Or, the Italians using some aircraft in addition to their own but as replacements? No.
     
  18. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    T.A Gardner

    Very good point and i agree with you on this but, it comes down to timing, the Italians do have a leeway of a week to train on the Dewoitine D.520, not exactly the best but better than some Italian Fighters of the day, also it is meant to saturate South-Western Britain with aircraft to overextend RAF Fighter Command 10 Group. These are additional aircraft already assigned to Luftflotte 3. Also if needed they can have their own aircraft as reserve, just in case.

    v.R
     
  19. mikegb

    mikegb Member

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    The first real air defence system they ran into was the British air defence most of the defence budget had been spent on the air force and navy . This meant that a good pool of pilots and a good number of sqaudrons as well as technical developments such as integrated fighter control and radar.

    Another highly effective scheme was the shadow factory scheme whereby military aircraft factories were built next to peace time consumer goods factories and the staff of those factories paid to trained on the aircraft production against need. It was an idea pushed during the late 1930's by Chamberlain who had seen the weapons shortages suffered by the BEF in 1914-5. This and the fact that during the war lord beaver brooke was put in charge a man who was extremely able and very aggressive so few civil servants dared get in the way. It meant that Britain could out produce Germany in aircraft production that and the relatively well developed training program meant the Luftwaffe never had a real chance in overhwelmimg the RAF.

    The Germans lost a lot of planes attacking newcastle because they believed the North had been stripped to keep the RAF in play in the south the unescorted bombers ran into full strength sqaudrons leading to heavy losses. The north and even scotland retained a full roster of front line planes let alone the hundreds of kitty hawks they had in reserve.
     
  20. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Getting back to the original question, here is part of a post i wrote up for another thread. It compares German to British and Soviet aircraft production and losses for 1942, 43, 44 and shows how the German Air force was royally screwed when the USSR failed to fall apart on schedule. the US is not included as I was not able to identify the data I needed in the data tables this came from.



    The question of German aircraft strength realtive to Allied includes attrition & losses. In a attempt to present more braod views vs snapshots here are some very broad numbers. They are taken from Tables 41 & 42 of ‘Brute Force’. What the numbers presented below do is examine total losses for the USSR Britian and Germany as a percentage of aircraft available at the start of the year and built during the years. What this gives is a broad view of how the German Air Force went from parity in losses in 1942 to a unfavorable loss rate in aircraft during 1943.

    The loss aircraft number includes all aircraft no longer available at the end of the year. Accidental crashes and disposal due to unrepairble wear probablly exceeds direct combat losses. Since the noncombat losses relate to the overall sortie rate they can be expected to increase as combat operations increase. It is not clear in the text if the numbers Ellis gives as “available” include those only in the Mediterrainian & Europe, or include the British and Soviet aircraft sent to Asia. I suspect those only in Europe/Med.

    The large boost in German production in 1944 is due in a large part to the near cancellation of twin engine aircraft production. Conversely the British were increasing the numbers of four engine aircraft. Although it is not a exact direct relationship the production of finsihed aircraft revolves around engines. So, if the Germans had continued to build twin engine types the total built would be noticablly lower for 1944.

    A better illustration of the German vs Alied losses from air combat would be for pilots lost. Some adjustment would be necessary for bomber vs fighter losses, but which side was more effective and which suffered more as the war progressed would be clearer. Unfortunatly I dont have any data at hand. All the books I do have agree the quality of the German pilots declined as 1942 progressed and plummeted in the latter half of 1943. by mid 1942 the GAAF training system was no longer able to cope with providing the numbers or skills needed.

    PERCENTAGE LOSSES

    December 1941. Total GAF combat aircraft available 2,561

    Total German combat aircraft built during 1942 11,266

    December 1942. Total GAF combat aircraft available 3,440

    So we could conclude 10,387 German aircraft lost from all causes in 1942 or 75% of available/built, although a few hundred may have been sold to the minor allies like Hungary. (Would this include the aircraft Hess flew to Britian?)

    For 1943:Total German combat aircraft built 18,953

    December 1943. Total GAF combat aircraft available 4,667

    Now we see a loss of 17,726 aircraft or 79% of available/built 1943, including any sold to the Axis allies.

    For 1944:Total German combat aircraft built 33,804

    December 1944. Total GAF combat aircraft available 5,041

    For 1944 German aircraft lost 33,430 87% of available/built


    For the Allies

    December 1941. Total RAF combat aircraft available 4,287
    Total Soviet combat aircraft available 2,495

    For 1942:Total Brit combat aircraft built 16,102
    Total Soviet combat aircraft built 21,480

    December 1942. Total RAF combat aircraft available 5,257
    Total Soviet combat aircraft available 3,088

    For 1941 British aircraft lost 15,132 or 74% of available/built
    For 1941 Soviet aircraft lost 20,887 or 87% of avaialable/built

    For 1943:Total Brit combat aircraft built 18,445
    Total Soviet combat aircraft built 29,841

    December 1943. Total RAF combat aircraft available 6,646
    Total Soviet combat aircraft available 8,500

    For 1943 British aircraft lost 17,056 72% of available/built
    For 1943 Soviet aircraft lost 24,429 74% of available/built


    For 1944:Total Brit combat aircraft built 18,633
    Total Soviet combat aircraft built 33,209

    December 1944. Total RAF combat aircraft available 8,395
    Total Soviet combat aircraft available 14,500


    For 1944 British aircraft lost 16,884 67 % of available/built
    For 1944 Soviet aircraft lost 27,209 65 % of available/built

    I dont include USAAF or USN aircraft as the tables I am drawing from do not clearly show what was in Europe or the Med. They do show as “combat aircraft overseas” Draw your own conclusions.

    Dec 1941 957

    Dec 1942 4,695

    Dec 1943 11,917

    Dec 1944 19,892
     
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