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The Luftwaffe goes defensive

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, Dec 3, 2007.

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  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Let's suppose that Hitler decides in late 1941 that the Luftwaffe can no longer sustain a large bomber or offensive force due to lack of crew, production, and fuel. He personally directs Göring to concentrate on figher and fighter-bomber type aircraft instead.
    Would this have had any significant positive or negative effect on Germany's air war?
     
  2. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    This is interesting...

    Why in 1941? Wasnt 41', 42' the Pinnacle of the Luftwaffe? Why change a good thing?
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Winter 40'/41' is when the Luftwaffe generals discovered their achiles heel. Lack of strategic aircraft. The writing was on the wall. Any production of long range bombers at this stage would have been a waste of resources. Had Germany forseen that a round the clock bombing campaign was about to be unleashed in the next year or two, I believe they could have been better prepared using aircraft already at hand proven for defense or speeding up production of newer designs specifically for the defense. I doubt this would have improved their fuel situation and would have in later years cut back operations anyway regardless of when they changed their tactics. If we look at the Russians, they did not seem to focus on long range bombing. Fighers and ground attack aircraft seemed to be the mainstay. Germany should have done the same with a higher ratio of figher production.
     
  4. solarfox

    solarfox Member

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    I agree. By the winter of 41, Germany should have pulled up on its offense, since the Battle of Britain was already a faliure, GErmany couldn't possibly push again. Not if they had to support Itlay and Africa. I do believe that if they had made smaller fighter intercept craft they could have more to show.

    Of course, was hitler rreally going to let them stand behind Fortress Europe all of the 40s.
     
  5. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    How do you go on a defensive with the war in the East brewing?
     
  6. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    As I stated, if they had changed their focus to the above, they would still have the offensive punch for ground operations support with maintaining air superiority.
     
  7. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    So looking at total German aircraft production, one would assume that in order to accomplish this task, one aircraft would be produced more then the other?

    Which aircraft should the Germans have not waisted their time with?
     
  8. Ironcross

    Ironcross Dishonorably Discharged

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    It would have certainly helped Germany to defend herself against strategic bombing with all the extra fighters. Stalingrad would have probably fallen if it wasn't bombed out to the point where it just became an impenetrable fortress.
     
  9. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I agree. It would not be a waste of time if the Germans stopped production on bombers like the He-111 or on fighters like the Me-162 Komet. Now that was a waste. Focus on FW-190's and higher altitude fighters and ground attack planes. That would not be a waste.
     
  10. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    All the way back to the 1960s I've been reading or hearing variations on the this theme. The most common choice of all those experts & non experts has been the same as PzJg. Focus on the Fw 190 and variants. Like the P47 or P51 the Fw 190 was a excellent fighter, and it had the power and airframe to carry a respectible payload for ground strikes. While some other aircraft types would still be necessary ie: the Ju88, Fw190 variants could cover a lot of mission profiles.
     
  11. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    The Me-210 was a fighter they wasted time and money on. Like the He-177 it was a danger to the crews and not the allies.

    In late 1941 how good was German radar ? It is not easy to find bombers at night or cloudy days or even in clear days if your timing is off.

    Anouther factor from anouther thread in the past is how many bombers were lost to flak crews vs fighters ? How much does it cost to produce a flak gun and crew vs a fighter and crew ? An example would be how well North Viet Nam did with their AA crews shooting down Americans.

    Anouther item to throw out is that the Germans did produce alot of fighters, I believe the Me-109 was the most produced fighter of the war by any country. In excess of 33,000 of all versions.
     
  12. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    I'd say a very negative effect on the eastern front.

    The Germans had to heavily rely on their attack planes (mostly stukas) and their tactical bombers, through 1941 and 1942 at least, during both offensive and defensives phases, especialy because they had air superiority most of the times.

    For example, who's gonna take care of the T-34 or KV-1 in fall 1941 if not the stukas ? Who's gonna repel the spring Soviet offensive in Crimea in 1942 if not the stukas ?



    Neither the Me-109, nor the LW fighter pilots, were very well suited for fighter-bomber missions, and at this time, and I don't see dedicated attack FW-190 hit the eastern front before end of 1943.

    And did the Luftwaffe really needed more fighter planes ? I think they needed more pilots and fuel.

    I agree German long range or heavy bombers projects were very often a total waste of time and ressource, but tactical bombers and attack planes realy saved the day very often on the eastern front.
     
  13. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I did mention ground attack aircraft. I just did not specify because I am no expert in that area. But the one aircraft that comes to mind is the tank busting version of the Stuka that Hans Rudel flew. The Ju-88 is another that I would recommend keeping. Outdated, perhaps but solid and still useful though.
     
  14. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    While I am far from an expert in this area, it would seem that perhaps a more of an investment in a more advanced radar and better or perhaps more AA guns might have had the intended effect?

    I also agree with you guys in a sense that Germany really did waist a lot of time and resources on these "all but usesless" aircraft, but then again were these not experiments done in later years?
     
  15. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Fact is that a tank busting version of the mighty Ju-88 was produced it had a 50mm PaK inserted into the solid nose, and another version i think had a 75mm PaK in a ventral gondola and both were exceptionally deadly, the method was to sight the PaK with a short burst of cannon fire and then shoot of a round at the armoured vehicle.

    The Ju-87 had two 37mm Pak under each wing and were used in good effect against armoured cars and trucks, locomotives and light tanks but not good against later Soviet models.

    But to answer this question by T. A. Gardner If i was in charge Germany i would decide to scrap all production of the He-111 and Do-17 family, i would continue production of the Ju-88 as night fighter and ground attack aircraft, i would continue with the Ju-87 as ground attack and anti-tank, then i would continue the production of the Me-109 and Fw-190 families as dedicated interceptors, fast track the Me-262 as a pure interceptor.

    If this could be achieved i would have at least tripple of the amount of fighters in service to intercept allied aircraft.
     
  16. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The only "tank busting" versions of the Ju 88 were the 'P' series. These had the weapon mounted in a gondolla below the fuselage. They proved slow, cumbersome, unmaneuverable and basically worthless in service. Few were produced and used.
    The Ju 87 outside Rudel's unit proved likewise vulnerable and largely worthless as an AT weapon. as did the Hs 129.
     
  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Here's my version of this:

    The RLM in a fit of precence has an ephihany of clarvoyance and chooses wisely.

    Messerschmitt is instructed to continue Me 109 production and improvement. They are to continue to develop the Me 210 but are not allowed to go into production until problems are resolved. The Me 110 is continued as a fighter bomber and attack aircraft. The nightfigher version is discontinued. Development of the Me 262 is continued. The rocket fighter is dropped.

    Focke Wulf is to continue development of the Fw 190 both as a fighter and fighter bomber. Its other projects are dropped including the Fw 200. Focke Wulf is instructed to begin research on an aircraft to rival the Me 262.

    Henkel is instructed to take the He 111 out of production. They are further instructed to make their He 280 developed to operational status on the BMW 003 engine that is in prototype status instead of the HeS 011 engine they can't resolve problems with. The He 177 is cancelled in its entirety.

    Dornier is to continue production of the Do 217 as a limited service heavy bomber.

    Henschel is to continue series producition of its He 126 and 123 aircraft for tactical support. Their surplus capacity is to tool up for Ju 88 and Fw 190 production. Henschel can also continue development and limited production of the Hs 130 as a long range high altitude reconnissance aircraft.

    Junkers is to continue Ju 88 production as a nightfighter only. They are also to contine development of the Ju 488 as a limited produciton reconnissance and maritime patrol aircraft.
     
  18. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    I don't think a dedicated tank buster with big guns, like the Ju-87 G, is THAT important. An attack plane with bomb or air to ground rockets (but Germans were really far behind Russians in this last domain) is just fine.

    Anyways, the Stukas with anti tank guns were only a small part of the overall stuka production during WWII, and, like the IL-2, was a very efficient attack plane, but a death trap to operate when the LW had no total aerial superiority (cf. Battle of Britain).

    That's the reason why it was planed that the stukas were to be replaced by dedicated ground attack FW 190.

    @ Ta :

    to sum it up, the LW uses, as attack planes : Bf-110, Hs-123 and the Stuka, until the Stuka is replaced by the FW-190 in the ground atack configuration.

    but what plane replaces both the He-111 and Ju-88 in the medium/tactical bomber role ? The Do-217 ?
     
  19. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    None technically. The medium bomber is basically phased out. The Me 110 and eventually the 210 / 410 can be substituted for most bombing needs. The concept I was first pushing is that the Luftwaffe cannot afford an offensive bomber componet of any substancial size because of limits on crews and fuel. A heavy fighter-bomber can substitute for many of these needs in any case.
    The Do 217 is continued mainly for specialist roles requiring use of the Fritz X and Hs 293 missiles, particularly in anti-shipping operations. But, this requires only a relative handful of aircraft.
     
  20. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    A TAF is a key element for success in either defense or attack.
    The ammunition these carry is also important, be that cluster bombs, napalm, WP, or rockets. Any one (or a mixture) would stop an attack/reinforcement for a defense.
    To my knowledge the Germans used "little" to none of these very effective weapons. Perhaps because of supply/manufacture/transport/delivery problems.
    Nevertheless had the very same heaped upon them.
    Rommel, complaining about the efforts to halt/repel the D-Day invasion....
    "...especially the lack of air support."
    Admiral Ruge (Naval Secretary), ....."utilization of the Anglo-American air force is the modern type of warfare, turning the flank not from the side, but from above."
     
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