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What if GB and the USA didn't bomb industry?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Hawkerace, May 17, 2007.

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  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Both Bomber Command and the 8th tried it - again and again - and took relatively heavy losses for no appreciable result. The U-Boat pens were totally impervious to conventional HE bombs until Barnes Wallis designed 'Tallboy' - and by then, the Battle of the Atlantic was over.
     
  2. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Well, im just going to put in my 2cents.

    The Battle of the Bulge was lost only becouse of lack of fuel, A few tanks were knocked out by Allied ground forces and Allied planes but most were abandoned due to lack of fuel.

    And as for Axis casualties, Could a large number of these casualties been avoided had they had the Tanks, Trucks, Jeeps etc to move there men around, Not to mention ammunition supplies wouldnt be affected.

    Oh and in the Battle of the Bulge the axis had plentty of planes sitting all over Germany, Just no pilots. Hitler stupidly sent the last of his highly skilled pilots into London where they were lost. From then on the Luftwaffa was never as effective as it was in 1939-40.
     
  3. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I just finished two books that are autobiographical. One was about one individual and the other was a collection of several individual accounts, all taking place on the Eastern Front and both were Heer. By 1944, abandoning tanks that had run out of fuel was not uncommon, at least in these books. One episode had the author spending an inordinate amount of time arranging for fuel, and usually it was only in small amounts.



    You are right, Chocapic.

    Aircraft production and trained, effective pilots are two different things. Germany made a fatal mistake by reducing pilot training in the wake in the 1939 and 1940 victories, trying to save fuel. By the time the mistake was realized, it was too late to catch up; they simply did not have adequate oil stocks to facilitate training. Up until June 1943, Germany devoted 220hrs of primary training and 55hrs of advanced training in combat aircraft, compared to 360/75 and 300/100 for the UK and US respectively. By July 1944, the hours were 125/35 to 360/75 and 400/200- (Germany-UK-US). This lack of training had double-edge effect on German strength. Inexperienced pilots got shot down quicker and crashed their aircraft more often, especially on the poor fields in the east and in the west, as result of dispersal. Accident rates were terrible on the German side. German non-combat losses of aircraft stayed in the 37-44% range from Jan 1941 until the end of the war. As many as 25% of all German aircraft total write-offs were the result accidents in combat units, which in theory were manned by trained pilots. In actuallity, by late 1943 new German pilots were recieving their advanced training at the business end of Allied guns. The inexperienced pilots made it worse on the old hands by requiring to fly more, meaning they stood a greater chance of getting shot down.

    Field Marshal Milch stated flatly that "The Luftwaffe training program, and with it the Luftwaffe itself, was throttled to death by the gasoline shortage." Brute Force, Ellis, pg 207.

    To give you an idea of the fuel inequality. Germany produced 45million metric tons throughout the war, 1939-1945. The US alone produced 833.2million metric tons. This is not counting UK production, which was twice Germany's and Russia's, which was 110.6 metric tons. Italy and Japan's contribution was less than 11 million metric tons combined.

    The Bomber Offensive against Industry was not as effective as originally envisioned and certainly did not provide the easy, casualty-free offensive proposed by the early air leaders. Casualty rates for Bomber Command were roughly comparable to Western Front losses in the Great War. Throughout the war, Bomber Command lost 47.5% KIA (59,423 of 125,000) and 54.3% with KIA and WIA combined. This is compared to the two battalions of Scot’s Guards who spent the entire war on the Western Front in the First War. Their total losses were 53.9% but KIA was only 24.8%. You had a better chance of dying over the skies of Germany in 1944 than on the Somme in 1916 or at Passchendaele in 1917.

    I may appear to be picking on Bomber Command, but the USAAF faired no better. The horrendous losses taken at Regensburg and Schweinfurt in 1943 (60 aircraft out of 376) continued to be endured up until Feb 1945. However, because of the larger number of aircraft committed to each mission in 1944-45 (1000 or better), the percentage of aircraft lost was an acceptable 5% or less, better than the 16% lost attacking the ball bearing plants.

    It was not until the USAAF and later Bomber Command began to systematically and continuously attack oil and transport targets was there a serious degradation in German arms production. Oil was their weak spot and had it been attacked as tenaciously as factories and homes were earlier in the war, I have no doubt that the war would have been shortened, but by how much is anyone’s guess.

    I'm rambling, so I'll quit for now.
     
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The problem for the Germans was worse than that in pilot training. Starting with their invasion of Norway and continuing thereafter, every time the Luftwaffe needed a surge in transport pilots (there were more aircraft than pilots even in 1939) the school commands were stripped of their instructors to provide them. So, the entire pipeline of new pilots was put in limbo while these operations proceeded. The loss of some of these pilot / instructors during operational use put a further crimp on the system.
    This is the major reason there was a severe pilot shortage during the BoB; it was simply a matter of no pilots in training for several months prior to that operation! This is very typical of the entire German military throughout WW 2.
    That is, the Germans inevidably chose the expedent improvisation to cure an immediate problem without much, if any, thought to the long term effects that decision would have. Time and again this cost them up front and then double down the road. It is just one more indicator of just how incompetent the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, etc., really was in the field of logistics.
     
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    That is correct. Multi-engine training was stopped to support the Demyansk resupply operation and was drawn down significantly to support the Crete operation. OKH (Hitler, in actuality) never seemed to understand that you can't rob Peter to pay Paul. You're eventually going to need Peter at some time.
     
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