Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by EagleSquadron12, Jan 23, 2017.
I like Mosquito for its performance and Lancaster for its capability to lift bombs.
Europe was a land war/victory and planes and ships were just auxiliaries to winning it. So if there was a plane that helped seal the victory on land it would be fighters denying the enemy of any chance of bombing advancing ground troops (both fronts).
How about the bombers that denied critical supplies (including fuel) and maneuverability to the German forces?
How did the German Luftwaffe get destroyed so utterly? On which front did the majority of LW pilots meet their doom?
If you combine the West and the defense of the Reich I think the majority of pilots were killed there. On the other hand the majority of air crew was likely lost in the East. Could be wrong on either of those though.
The questions were rhetorical
The US Strategic Bombing Survey report states:
....the tempo of the air war, expressed in losses of German single-engine fighters, increased moderately through 1942, spurted ahead in 1943, and sky-rocketed in 1944. It is apparent also that the war on the Eastern Front involved a fairly steady attrition of the German single-engine fighter force which was never so excessive as to become a source of alarm to the German High Command. It is is revealed in German aircraft production plans for the years 1941 and 1942 (Figure 2) when fighter losses on the Eastern Front constituted a high percentage of the total German losses. These plans called for virtually no increase in production until the daylight strategic bomber threat began to be appreciated in the latter half of 1942. At this time, the German Air Ministry In a study dated 16 December 1942, called for a tripling of fighter production in 1943 (Figure 2). With mounting losses in the air and on the ground, successive studies demanded further increases in production. These were not accomplished in time to cope with the greater expansion of the Allied air forces.
The daylight bombing was a second front the Germans could not ignore, and siphoned off enormous resources and manpower that would've been put to better use elsewhere. Noticeable in the report is the arrival of the long range escorts: however, they were but one part of the whole. The escorts themselves could not have achieved the result.
A Lot of KC winners were Lost in 1944 when they were forced to join the day time bomber attacks i.e. incl night time aces. Very big aces were Lost in a short period.
The basic premise has been pretty well discredited already, but I will add my two cents (a nickel adjusted for inflation). It is really impossible to point to one aircraft type as the "One" that won the war, you could only point to the one you like/love the most. This is due to three factors. first is that too many types of aircraft were needed like fighters, bombers, CAS, recon, transports, trainers etc. Secondarily other similar types in service in proper numbers could have done the job s in example Hurricanes replacing all Spitfires, Hellcats replacing Corsair's. Mitchell's instead of Marauder's. Finally it comes down to the human factor, how you use the aircraft you have at the time.
We all have our favorites for one reason or another. A Spitfire or Mustang just looks gorgeous in the air. A B-17 is much more elegant than most other bombers. Being on the winning side has a cache all it's own, but I would argue a C-47, a 'Texan' or PBY did as much to win the war as the more 'sexy' war-birds did.
Timing is a key factor as the technology evolved greatly over some 6 years from the last gasp of bi-planes to jets. a earlier arrival of say a P-51 or Me-262 might have had profound implications on the course of the war. if deployed in serious numbers and with commensurate resources like fuel and trained pilots.
As for the demise of the Luftwaffe I can embrace the strategic bombing campaign only so far. The Luftwaffe succumbed to accumulation of attritional effects, Some due to Allied technology, policy and mistakes made by German leadership. The biggest being the disparity in pilot training policy between Germany and the Allies. Both the British Commonwealth and the US placed a premium on creating a large pool of competent aircrew, even going so far as to withdrawing veteran pilots to train and lead new personnel.
It is true and clear in the War in the East, prior to the arrival of significant US Air forces threatening Germany, that they suffered from trying to make up temporary operational shortfalls in the East by stripping instructors from the schools. As stated above, this never worried German High Command, as aircraft attrition remained relativelyt stable. This had much less of an impact than the strategic destruction of oil and other facilities in Germany; these threats to infrastructure and resources forced the LW to vastly increase fighter production. Lack of oil meant they couldn't give new pilots the training hours required. They could harbour LW resources on the Eastern front, selecting when to meet the Red Army Air Force; they couldn't do that on the home front.
As indicated in the US Bombing Survey Report:
The deterioration of pilot quality was first really apparent about March 1944. The cycle had undoubtedly been operating all through 1943, since the first large cut in total training hours of German pilots came late in 1942, followed by a similar cut in mid-1943, and much greater cut in mid-1944 (Figure 3). The last reduction in training hours of German pilots came at a time when oil targets in Germany were given first priority fop Allied strategic bombing. Then the inadequate allocations of fuel which the fighter schools had received could no longer be delivered. The early decision to skimp on gasoline allocations to training schools was turned painfully against the GAF planners who were now unable to ward off the attacks on oil. This was doubly painful because it occurred at a time when German fighter production was increasing.