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The Amerika Bomber

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by harolds, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The Hindenburg could home on navigational beacons and travel low enough when over land to get pretty good navigational fixes. At sea they could exchange info with any ships sited.

    My uncle taught navigation for the USAAF for a while early in the war then flew his bomber over to Great Britain via the southern route. Going over to Africa he suspected an unforcassed head wind and had the pilot take them up high enough to get a star shot. Since you can't do this accurately through glass it's not exactly a comfortable operation. Of course not finding Africa (as one of planes in the stream with him didn't) wouldn't be comfortable either. The flying from Africa to Wales they spotted a lighthouse off the starboard side. There weren't suppose to be any so a bit of checking indicated it was in Portugal and they had encountered an unexpected cross wind. The navigational beacon they were suppose to be following got turned off for some reason. They did eventually make contact with a field in Wales (not the one they were suppose to land at which was just as well as it was fogged in) and managed to land safely. Note that planes bombed Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland accidentally as well.

    The AA guns were concentrated around the coast and coastal defenses from what I've read. Some may have been focused around some installations near the coast as well I'm not sure about factories but suspect not much. But then finding the factories would have been a bit of a chore as well.

    Also if you bomb from 5-6k feet it means dropping down and then going back up to a cruising altitude which burns more fuel.

    Again at what point in the war this would occur is critical. Very early there wouldn't be much opposition in terms of either fighters or AAA. Midterm it would be pretty difficult later it's harder to say. Many of the fixed defenses were gone or unmanned but the intell network was pretty good and the USN had a lot of ships with radar and a fair number of carriers in the Atlantic. Put a line of radar pickets backed up by 2 or 3 CVE's and the raid could be in serious trouble before it even reached the American coast.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Hindenburg found Lakehurst, New Jersey.
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

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    They also found NY, NY. I'm sure you've seen the pictures of it over Manhatten.
     
  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    If a bomber couldn't hit a target like New York city I would forget the whole bomber theory of existence. No need for strategic target BS...its the psychological effect of hitting such a city with indiscriminate bombing...you aim for the guts of the city (I don't know NY) but lets say you make the Empire State building or the Chrysler building your target...many bombs will fall short, still destroying and damaging many buildings...many bombs will overshoot, still destroying and damaging many buildings...this is a psychological bombing, if its strategic then the strategy is to keep weapons and troops in the US and to sway public opinion...ironically studies have shown that the opposite may well occur...further strengthening the US's resolve, possibly the BEST reason this did not happen. As for the bomber station? Bombers could use Greenland simply as a refuelling stage point...a submarine surfaces, gives fuel and the bombers carry on to Europe...(or even Ireland - did I go there!!?)
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    It was a joke, son, a joke!
     
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  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Of course, but the other point is that mobilization was probably not all that necessary. The 729 fighters of First Air Force were all deployed around the major cities, many of them based on the airfields associated with the various aircraft manufacturers, like Curtiss and Bell's Buffalo, NY plants, Grumman and Brewster's Long Island, NY plants, Chance Vought's Stratford, Conn. plant, Eastern Aircraft's, NJ plants, and Martin's Baltimore, MD plant. Others were on the large AAC fields taken over from major airports, like Washington's Reagan National, New York's La Guardia, and New Jersey's Newark. Many additional fighters from the Replacement and Schools system were also based there.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Was there a significant difference between the maximum operational altitudes of the fighters and the bombers?
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The loss of fuel efficiency might make that a problem, unless it is a one-way mission.

    Oh, that was all there, created in early 1942 post Pearl Harbor, as part of the Eastern chain of radar stations and was part of the integrated Eastern Defense Command. It was inactivated in April 1944 due to the lack of a threat, but it's physical presence remained in place. Given the porosity of Luftwaffe ENIGMA, it is unlikely the Germans could keep development of this nonexistent attack force a secret, which would easily allow mobilization of a greeting if the nonexistent attack materialized after April 1944.

    Then, of course, there was the active Atlantic radar systems, not inactivated in April 1944. The 18 USN and RN Hunter-Killer Groups, Escort Groups, and DESRONs assigned to the trans-Atlantic and Eastern Seaboard convoy escort system. They comprise about 100 very active radar systems very curious about aircraft flying in their area of operations, and are operating right in the path of any nonexistent German flight.

    The guns of concern would be those of the fixed harbor defenses. For New York, the extensive fortifications of Forts Tilden, Hamilton, Hancock, and Wadsworth.

    Except security for their MANHATTAN would be about as good as that of the real MANHATTAN's versus the Soviets - nonexistent. :)
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I agree. Security would be the biggest hang-up were it ever tried.

    I'm suspecting our current security vis a vis Russia is about the same as it was then.
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Manhattan Project wasn't exactly a sieve, folks.
     
  11. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    Americans had the same idea with the B-36. Now what if the Germans conquered Britain and had the atomic bomb? Goodbye New York.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    If we picked up an airplane coming from the EAST there would have been a swarm of fighter in the sky. By 1945 the radar picket ship plan was well worked out, so the plane would be picked up well out to sea. If, in this what-if scenario, the Japanese had surrendered the Pacific naval forces would have been moved to face the remaining enemy. We had >110 flight decks in the Pacific at the end of that phase of the war, so we could maintain "listening stations" well away from the coast.
     
  13. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Hmmm...what if the bomber had jets? It could not only fly higher, maybe higher than the fighters ceiling...then cruise down, bomb...and then use its superior speed to out run the fighters...
    Where there’s a will...
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    There were Soviet spies, mind you.

    Soviet atomic bomb project - Wikipedia

    Soviet atomic ring
    Main articles: Nuclear espionage and Atomic spies
    The atomic and industrial espionages in the United States by American sympathisers of communism who were controlled by their rezident Russian officials in North America greatly aided the speed of the Soviet atomic project from 1942–54.[30]:105–106[31]:287–305 The willingness in sharing classified information to the Soviet Union by recruited American communist sympathizers increased when the Soviet Union faced possible defeat during the German invasion in World War II.[31]:287–289 The Russian intelligence network in the United Kingdom also played a vital role in setting up the spy rings in the United States when the Russian State Defense Committee approved resolution 2352[clarification needed], in September 1942.[30]:105–106

    For this purpose, the spy Harry Gold, controlled by Semyon Semyonov, was used for a wide range of espionage that included industrial espionage in the American chemical industry and obtaining sensitive atomic information that was handed over to him by the British physicist Klaus Fuchs.[31]:289–290 Knowledge and further technical information that were passed by the American Theodore Hall, a theoretical physicist, and Klaus Fuchs had a significant impact on the direction of Russian development of nuclear weapons.[30]:105

    Leonid Kvasnikov, a Russian chemical engineer turned KGB officer, was assigned for this special purpose and moved to New York City to coordinate such activities.[32] Anatoli Yatzkov, another NKVD official in New York, was also involved in obtaining sensitive information gathered by Sergei Kournakov from Saville Sax.[32]

    The existence of Russian spies was exposed by the U.S. Army's secretive Venona project in 1943.[33]:54

    For example, Soviet work on methods of uranium isotope separation was altered when it was reported, to Kurchatov's surprise, that the Americans had opted for the Gaseous diffusion method. While research on other separation methods continued throughout the war years, the emphasis was placed on replicating U.S. success with gaseous diffusion. Another important breakthrough, attributed to intelligence, was the possibility of using plutonium instead of uranium in a fission weapon. Extraction of plutonium in the so-called "uranium pile" allowed bypassing of the difficult process of uranium separation altogether, something that Kurchatov had learned from intelligence from the Manhattan project.

    In 1945, the Soviet intelligence obtained rough blueprints of the first U.S. atomic device.[34][35] Alexei Kojevnikov has estimated, based on newly released Soviet documents, that the primary way in which the espionage may have sped up the Soviet project was that it allowed Khariton to avoid dangerous tests to determine the size of the critical mass: "tickling the dragon's tail," as it was called in the U.S., consumed a good deal of time and claimed at least two lives; see Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin.

    The published Smyth Report of 1945 on the Manhattan Project was translated into Russian, and the translators noted that a sentence on the effect of "poisoning" of Plutonium-239 in the first (lithograph) edition had been deleted from the next (Princeton) edition by Groves. This change was noted by the Russian translators, and alerted the Soviet Union to the problem (which had meant that reactor-bred plutonium could not be used in a simple gun-type bomb like the proposed Thin Man)
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project (Published 2019)

    Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

    The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the New Mexican desert — a result of a highly secretive effort code-named the Manhattan Project, whose nerve center lay nearby in Los Alamos. Just 49 months later, the Soviets detonated a nearly identical device in Central Asia, and Washington’s monopoly on nuclear arms abruptly ended.

    Now atomic sleuths have found a fourth. Oscar Seborer, like the other spies, worked at wartime Los Alamos, a remote site ringed by tall fences and armed guards. Mr. Seborer nonetheless managed to pass sensitive information about the design of the American weapon to Soviet agents.

    The spy fled to the Soviet Union some years later; the F.B.I. eventually learned of his defection and the espionage but kept the information secret.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Rosenbergs

    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - Wikipedia

    In February 1944, Rosenberg succeeded in recruiting a second source of Manhattan Project information, engineer Russell McNutt, who worked on designs for the plants at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. For this success, Rosenberg received a $100 bonus. McNutt's employment provided access to secrets about processes for manufacturing weapons-grade uranium.

    The West was shocked by the speed with which the Soviets were able to stage their first nuclear test, "Joe 1," on August 29, 1949
     
  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The word would be out and our fighters would have been upgraded on emergency status. The USAAF fighter jets would be equipment with missiles that could salvoed at the bombers. We also had the VT fuse for shells, which were supersonic on some model shells. So speed would not be an issue.
     
  18. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I suspect the bombers wouldn't enter U.S. airspace from the Atlantic. They'd probably leave from Norway and use the great circle routes, coming in over Canada.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Even better. Early NORAD facilities on land would be able to use larger radar dishes than aircraft or ships.
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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    There was active radar looking out into the Atlantic. I remember my mother who was a WAC radar operator there saying that she had first-hand knowledge of several planes being shot down off the coast. None of these were German but instead were our pilots who go off their flight plans. The interceptor's orders were to shoot them down no matter what they said over the radio. Apparently, the USAAF high command was more worried about the Germans somehow using captured U.S. planes to sneak into our airspace.
     

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