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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. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    With (more or less) 25% to 50 % of the payload, half the range, a crew of 2 and no bombsight, I doubt it.
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The original thesis of this thread was that the Germans decide to phase out most, if not all, of their dedicated offensive bomber force on the grounds that it is ineffective and uneconomical. The intent of keeping some tactical and limited operational fighter bomber force is for support of ground operations not to perform "strategic" bombing missions of some sort. So, the loss of payload and accuracy really are not going to do anything negative to Luftwaffe operational capacity.
    With hindsight one can see very clearly that by 1941 the Luftwaffe really did not possess a useful bomber force that was "paying its way." Yes, the Luftwaffe did occasionally make a strike that had some very limited but signinficant impact with their bombers but, most of the time this force either sat unused for lack of crews and fuel or was frittered away on missions of tactical impact using small numbers of aircraft.
    By that standard the Luftwaffe's bomber force was a waste of material that was very uneconomical. Disbanding it does little to impact German operations but it does free up a very significant amount of capacity and material for other purposes.
     
  3. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Just one question which aircraft would be assigned as tank busters, my question is that the Allies would if we overlay this with actual war deployment, the allies would field vast numbers of tanks, tank destroyers and armoured cars and the like.

    Realistically the only two options i can see is the Ju-88 and the Ju-87. Which other aircraft could take up that role in significant numbers.
     
  4. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Somehow I tend to think that putting the Luftwaffe on a defensive footing would only accelerate the collapse of the Reich. Despite what I feel, I have to concede that there is a point in doing so in so far as consolidating the types of aircraft the Luftwaffe needs to prosecute the war.
    I have to disagree that the Me-110 could last long if it was one of the aircraft types retained. The twin-engined craft didn't have the speed nor the firepower to survive in the air if intercepted by Allied fighters.
    Going by the spirit of this thread, I'd say what the Germans needed was an aircraft similar to the P-47 Thunderbolt. It was a tank buster and a fighter.
    I still tend to think that what Germany needed was a heavy long range bomber capable of interdicting Allied and Russian supply lines but this has been discussed heavily in another thread.
     
  5. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    TA, I was referring to the in-between close air support and strategic bombing, like bombing bridges, bombing supply depots, bombing defensive positions, bombing railroads and railways stations, bombing arty concentration at the rear, bombing ships in the white or black sea, bombing enemy build up areas etc etc, and whenever possible from a "safe altitude", which means at an altitude where Soviet fighters will be at a disadvantage.

    On the eastern front, these missions were common, devoted to the KG groups using Ju88 and He-111, they had impact on the operations and not only "occasionaly", and it would have been a very different story if this job had been tasked to Me-110s.

    So, as a consequence of this what if, I see more problems for the Germans on the eastern front in 1942 up to mid 1943.

    I agree that the medium bombers did not turned the tide, and they were not the most important part of the LW.

    Now, with the saved ressources, the LW would have had more fighters to protect Germany from allied bombers (suposing that they had more trained fighter pilots available), but I don't buy that they could just swap the medium bombers with Bf-110s and the like on the eastern front with no tactical and operational consequences.

    On the western front, no impact.

    I think the best would have been to phase out the He-111 before bothering with updated versions (H6), and use the versatile and good performing Ju-88 only (or maybe the updated Ju-188), the Do217 was less versatile.

    In the same time, get rid of the "air chivalry counting kills" mentality of the fighter squads, so they AT LAST put some will and efficency in ground attack fighter-bomber missions, whenever they had to assist the dedicated ground attack forces in this domain.



    @Von Rundstedt : for tank busting purposes : Stukas (with or without anti tank guns, it doesn't matter much) then FW-190s
     
  6. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    I like your "air chivalry counting kills" notation, i recall a tv programme on the Luftwaffe during the BoB and it made it quite clear one major failing of the Luftwaffe Fighter Units and that was the glorification of it's aces, the leading ace was given all opportunity to gain impressive numbers at the expense of others in the unit, the unit became more or less beholdant to the ace. Their concentration was not focused in claiming vast number but to protect the main ace of the unit, where as on the RAF side of things it was mostly equal the Squadron leader was not always the leading scorer and is some cases the squadron leader flew cover for a subordinant if the circumstances arose, an uber ace was not the be all and end all of any squadron in the RAF like it was in the Luftwaffe and unfortunately this mentality lasted throughout the entire war.
     
  7. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    I don't know German air force policy during the early part of the war but perhaps fighter pilots were discouraged from attacking ground targets since their mission was to protect the Stukas and Bombers from fighter attack.


    Also Blitz tactics worked so well the first part of the war it would hard to change the air force leaders mind set to a new way of doing things until things started going bad for Germany. In the early Blitz the Stukas were to act as airborne artillery and the fighters were to protect them during the attacks on ground targets. If you were an underling on the air force staff in 1941 and told the higher ups to drop the Stuka for more fighters your career would be over. I know TA Gardner would have no fear telling people his opinion but then he plays with concrete blocks all day. :D :

    PS After re reading TAG's first post I see it was Hiltler who orders a change to fighter and fighter bomber prodution. That puts a damper on all the above except for Terry and his blocks !
     
  8. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    If I remember correctly, Hitler's decision for more fighter/bombers actually helped delay the deployment of the Me-262.
    Also, I disagree that the Stuka could fit the bill as a prime tank buster. Even if it's an accurate platform for bombing, the Stuka has a very low probability of being able to reach its target given heavy fighter opposition.
    I agree that for the Germans to perform better in defensive air operations, they would have entirely transform the thinking of their fighter pilots. This would be difficult given Goering's historical tendency to insist on having his own way.
     
  9. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    @ TA152 : of course I'm not saying that German fighter pilots would just bypass their mission orders to do something else, I'm saying they could have put more time, inspiration and enthusiasm when they were ordered missions that were not consisting on raking more airkills for the squadron leader, like temporary assist in close air support, or bomber escort.

    @ Falcon Jun : In my scenario (and TAGardner's one too I think) the Stukas are still replaced by FW-190 in ground attack squadrons, for survivability purposes ;)
     
  10. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Chocapic, I'm a whipped puppy wagging a tail. I stand corrected.
     
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