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The Allies never get air superiority

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    This is a thought experiment so, please don't try and discuss in detail how production or pilot numbers or, something like that couldn't happen. In this What-if its PFM... Leave it at that....

    What if the Allies (including the Soviets) were never able to achieve air superiority over the Luftwaffe? What if the best they could manage was parity. That is, neither side had superiority and both were operating both defensively and offensively throughout the war? We can see some of what might have happened from the WW 1 experiance where this was very much the case up until very late in the war. Of course, aircraft then were much less sophisticated so the impact on the ground war was less.

    I would say that it wouldn't have made that much difference in the overall scheme of things. The Allies would still win albeit with somewhat heavier but not unbareable casualties. I actually think that tactically, air superiority wasn't that much of an advantage that it couldn't have been compensated for.
    This is one reason the Germans remained relatively effective in ground combat almost until the very end of the war.
     
  2. Threedog43

    Threedog43 recruit

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    A much more difficult Overlord. Coupled with much less damage on German industry could have had a major effect, but I don't see the eventual outcome changing.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'm not sure this fits the guidelines. If you can't describe how something occured how do you determine what would happen if it did?
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    With Germany's industry intact, Hitler would have been able to supply his army better. The Luftwaffe would not have been ground due to shortage of fuel. The battle of the bulge would have resulted in less equipment abandoned by the Germans due to running out of fuel. In the end, same outcome but perhaps much later and with more loss of life for the allies.
     
  5. blu3bottle

    blu3bottle recruit

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    Id say almost the same outcome.Bomber command only had air superiority in the last months of the war and as everyone knows were forced early in the war to a night offensive.Over a long campaign of targeting citys instead of oil production the conclusions would still be the same.German Aircraft production intead of being reduced was increaed by being spread to smaller factorys.The Allies finally working out oil was the achilles heel and no matter how many german aircraft numbers the allies had to fight they were all grounded due to lack of fuel.
     
  6. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    That is part of many thought experiments. But, this could have happened in a number of ways:

    1. Germany focuses more on synthetic oil production coupled with a much greater focus on making the most of their available oil. They do things like minimize its use in the civilian market right off. Electric trollies, no gas or oil heating of homes, that sort of thing. A greater focus on efficency of engines and such. So, they end up having sufficent oil available.

    2. The aircraft industry is rationalized to make production more efficent.

    3. The Luftwaffe institutes a pre-war program to ensure a sufficent supply of replacement pilots.

    4. Göring et. al. focus on aircraft as the reason for an air force. Flak is relegated to the army. This means Göring is trying to maintain his air force strength rather than building a semi-private ground army in parallel with the Heer and SS.

    Anyway, that is just a diversion from the question. I really don't see any land or amphibious battles that during WW 2 that would have been completely reversed simply because one side had air superiority or lacked it. In the strategic realm I think the Germans would definitely benefit with their cities and infrastructure taking far less of a beating. I don't think the US or UK could have afforded a strategic bomber campaign where casualties were over 5% continiously for every mission flown. If for every say, 1000 bomber mission flown casualties were 60 to 120 bombers with an equal amount suffering significant damage the Allied planners would have put the brakes on both Bomber Command and the USAAF in short order. They simply couldn't afford such losses.
    That is one area I see where this makes a big difference.
     
  7. efestos

    efestos Member

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    The Coastal Command would have suffer more looses in the Bay of Biscay. The U boats were lost a a little farther.

    Stalingrado. The nazis lost arround 1.600 planes there. I don't know if more planes would have been able to provide enough suplies to Von Paulus. Would the germans able to disrupt the Red rails?

    North African campaign: More suplies, the ships arrive, more or less , to harbour. It would have mean stronger fights.

    Husky, Overlord ... Is possible to launch amphibious operations without air supremacy? Dieppe was a disaster, but there weren't strong ship losses.

    The advance after the Cobra operation would have been made with more caution. So... NO Falaise Pocket ?

    And obviously, MORE OIL for the Germans.

    I guess the A-bomb over Berin.
     
  8. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    Very much agree T.A.

    In the end the result would eventually be the destruction one way or the other of Nazi Germany, but how much longer would it take in those circumstances?

    Glantz suggests that without Lend Lease, the Soviets would win but take up to 12 to 18 months longer.

    And without Allied air superiority the same may have happened.

    It took the Western Allies until May '44 to eventually decimate the Luftwaffe fighter arm & dominate the air over Western Europe [ & only then because of the eventual use of a superb long range fighter] & the consequences of that are obvious.

    Air superiority was vital for the Germans in France & Barbarossa & later for the Allies in Western & Eastern Europe, same in the Pacific.
     
  9. ickysdad

    ickysdad Member

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    Could no air superiority over Europe mean more of those 4 engined bombers covering convoys instead? In that case it may prove beneficial to the Allies and the Bay of Biscay may even be more trouble for German U-Boats since the Allies might be sending even more large bombers out there which is still beyond Luftwaffe fighter range.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It's not clear to me that any of the above or even a combination are sufficient. I believe Germany would have to make some pretty massive cuts somewhere else and that could be very important.

    As for battles that might have gone differently. D-Day would be a lot more problematic without air superiority. The arial campaign that led up to it for instance couldn't have been as through. The surprise may well have been compromised and that's not even getting into the impacts due to attacks on the ships.
     
  11. Long Bars

    Long Bars Member

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    I would say that the ultimate outcome would have been a longer, bloodier, and more difficult war for the Allies, but the final outcome would have been the same. Even if the Germans had complete air superiority, the numerical advantage the Allies had in both men and materials was so overwhelming that the ending would not have been any different-it just might have taken them a bit longer to defeat Germany.
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Without air superiority the war in the west would have been very different, I don't remenber any large successful anphibious invasion without it so a comeback to the continent would be very hard if at all possible. In the East airpower was not as often decisive, so possibly less would change.
    A lot depends on what we mean by air superiority, if the Germans concentrate on fighters early the allies may not get control of the air until very late in the war if at all, trading four engined bombers with large crews against single engined single seaters is an uphill battle. But a fighter centric Luftwaffe will not be as much help to the Army as the historical one was in 1941-42.
     
  13. Dorr

    Dorr Member

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    The answer to this is way too simple...It would have drawn the war out to the point that the first A-Bomb would have hit Germany somewhere rather than Hiroshima.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I would think a lack of air superiority would almost preclude the use of an A-Bomb.

    However, The only way this What-If survives is by PFM(Pure Friggin Magic)

    Germany's entire aircraft output(39-45) matches America's numbers for transports and trainers....

    About the only way Germany can achieve air superiority is to keep America out of the war, or at least keep America from using Lend-Lease with the British. Other than that, Germany would need to surround Great Britain with an impenetrable ring of U-Boats to sink the tankers coming in with av-gas & oil. That way GB does not become the "unsinkable aircraft carrier" that she was.

    Outside of that Germany is pretty much screwed. Even given more planes, pilots and fuel, she can't match America, let alone the all the Allies. Because, even if, the bombers take great losses early in the war and strategic bombing is stopped, would not the Allies utilize all those factories producing bombers to, oh, say, produce fighters.
     
  15. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    I can see a few somewhat likely scenarios.

    -Allies suffering very high causalities before Caen due to more German tanks and other vehicles arriving relatively unimpaired to the landing regions before the march inland was already partway executed.

    The German 7th army would have likely escaped the Falaise pocket intact without allied MR fighters grinding them to bits, Germans would have been bolstered for the Ardennes offensive with a stronger 7th Army.

    -The Normandy break out Generally being more hazardous with German defensive regions being more difficult to destroy without continuous close air support.

    German efficiency generally increased with replacements, fuel and munitions arriving to the front quicker without having to deal with destroyed train yards, damaged bridges and roads as much as they did.

    -More Panthers and Tigers showing up in the East, west and south as a result of unhampered production.


    My $0.02 anyway.
     
  16. Hetzer88

    Hetzer88 recruit

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    Given the state of affairs and the production capacities of both the USSR and the USA, the only way Germany would have achieved parity was jet development, period. Hitler, Goring, Udet, Milch lost the initiative when they didn't allow the HE 280 to be accepted as a Luftwaffe fighter, and then allowed it to go into production. That plane guaranteed parity right there. By 1942 the 280 is coming off the production lines, by the fall of '42, flown by the cream of the Luftwaffe pilots, it rules.

    Parity also means, Allied bombers are getting shot down in prohibitive numbers. That's not saying that the bombing campaign wouldn't have continued, but the cost in aircraft would have been far far higher. And if the cost to bomb Germany is so high, do you dare send a bomber loaded with an atomic bomb to Berlin?

    Parity might mean dropping the bomb on Japan first, and then showing Hitler. A peace treaty may have been brokered between the Allies, but Russia may have been left out of that one. A lot of variables, but fun to ponder nevertheless. And so it goes! ~~~Hetzer~~~
     
  17. USMC

    USMC Member

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    Well i don't see operation overlord being quite successful then. Stukas diving down on LST's and strafing men landing on the beachheads. Possible Luftwaffe Night Fighters shooting down C-47 transports before they reach their drop zones. A ghastly sight
     
  18. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    More US & British antiaircraft batteries formed up and sent to the combat zones?
     
  19. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    One I could see is that the US might have given the Nike SAM program alot higher priority. This was started just before D-Day. The US needing more AA capacity might have had a workable missile by mid 1945 at least in testing.
     
  20. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    More pertinant to 1944 would be the earlier release of the proximity fuze for wider use in the ETO. Accelerated development of radar control of the AA artillery could occur.

    The Germans did have something close to parity in several battles in 1943. Or at least the Allies did not have superiority. In the opening days of the Scillian campaign the Axis air forces were able to make repeated large scale air attacks on the Allied invasion fleet and landing force. Two months later at the Salerno beachhead the Allies certainly did not have air superiority for the critical week. In both cases the Allies won the ground battle anyway.
     

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