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What If We Used Paratroops To Take Schweinfurt and Regensburg in '43?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Dook, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm darn.........I thought I remember seeing paratroopers waving a Red flag over the Recichstag in Berlin........Oh wait........wrong nation.
     
  2. Dook

    Dook Member

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    Paratroops should be relieved by reinforcements? Why? Why is it better to "waste" over a thousand airmen and hundreds of bombers but it's not okay to "waste" 600 paratroops?

    The roads in Germany are too narrow for any big plane to land on? Delivering the paratroops would not require any landings. They would jump.

    Any landing would have to take place on an improved road that is about 30 feet wide. The aircraft would not attempt to land in the city. Even now Schweinfurt has farmland right up to the city in some places so the main roads leaving the city could be runways.

    Delivering any increase in equipment would require a landing, for howitzers, and 3 inch guns, or British 6 pounders. Mortars, could probably be air dropped in cushioned containers and could be delivered the same night the paratroops jump with just one more C-54 or even one more C-47.
     
  3. Dook

    Dook Member

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    Normandy wasn't far fetched? The Manhattan Project wasn't far fetched? Midway wasn't far fetched? Fighting naval battles without battleships wasn't far fetched?

    Implausible is why you do it and it's why it would work. The German interior was designed to defend against bombers, not heavily armed ground troops.
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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    What's the point of discussing the scenario with the OP?

    None of the counter points have been accepted or acknowledged by the OP:
    1. Certain destruction of the paratroops means it really is a suicide mission, as acknowledged by every other poster.
    2. The limited numbers of prerequisite aircraft in Europe.
    3. The lack of any significant numbers of fighters capable of penetrating that far to support the airdrop.
    4. The presence of large numbers of German fighters, night-fighters, and radar controlled flak.
    5. The impossibility of dropping the paratroopers in a concentrated area at night time in the face of heavy flak as witnessed at Normandy.
    6. The difficulty of regaining unit cohesion after a drop; at Normandy this was alleviated by the previous bombing campaign preventing rapid response by the defenders from a wider area, and the sea-invasion.
    7. The presence of numerous ground forces and paramilitary forces in the immediate area (Schweinfurt/Regensburg), and across the region, at time when their communication network was still working well.
    8. The overwhelming advantages of the defenders in terms of supply, and communications.
    9. Equipment used in '44 did not exist in sufficient numbers for use in '43.
    10. Lessons learned from every mission involving paratroops; they are not a strategic force, they are utilised for tactical surprise. They need to be relieved quickly as they cannot survive in the face of organised determined defenders. There is no such thing as "heavily armed paratroopers." In contrast, the invasion of Crete saw 14,000 paratroops take extremely heavy casualties, and they were supported by nearby air forces and a seaborne invasion of 15,000 other troops.

    It's sort of like asking why Bush didn't just send 600 from the 101st airborne into Baghdad to kill Saddam, instead of sending 150,000+ ground forces to invade Iraq. It's a juvenile question. And to be direct; it wouldn't work. The soldiers would be dead, and the objective would not be attained.
     
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  5. green slime

    green slime Member

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    No. Not at all.

    Normandy was not in the least far-fetched. It was well planned, and overwhelmingly successful. Precisely because by that time, the USAAF, RAF, and Russians had fundamentally, for all practical purposes, utterly destroyed the Luftwaffe.

    The Manhattan Project was not in the least bit far-fetched. It was merely a very expensive laboratory exercise in physics. None of the physicists doubted it could be achieved.

    Midway was not far-fetched; they knew the intent of the Japanese, having broken their codes. Unless you mean that the Japanese plan was far-fetched...

    Fighting naval battles without battleships? When was this supposedly "far-fetched?"
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
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  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but no. The Eighth Air Force lost 60 B-17 in the four Regensburg-Schweinfurt missions of 17 August 1943. The problem with sending paratroopers to Regensburg to destroy a "bearing factory" is there wasn't one there. That mission, 126 aircraft, was directed at the Messerschmidt Bf 109 assembly plant at Ober-Traubling. It lost 24 aircraft.

    The Schweinfurt "raid" was actually three missions, one of 54 aircraft at the Kugelfischer plant, which was north of the city's main rail yard. It lost 9 aircraft. The second mission of 78 aircraft was directed at at Vereinigte Kugellagerfabriken (VKF) Werke I in the city center, which lost 4 aircraft and the third of 51 aircraft was directed at VKF II south of the rail yard. It lost 23 aircraft.

    Unfortunately, that left Fichtel u. Sachs and Deutsche Stern, both southwest of the rail yard, untouched.

    There were five ball bearing manufacturing plants in Schweinfurt.
     
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  7. Dook

    Dook Member

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    Certain destruction by who? The old men and women and children who don't have any weapons?

    Limited numbers of aircraft in Europe? Only need 40. Two waves of ten aircraft towards Regensburg and two waves of ten aircraft towards Schweinfurt. Twenty aircraft for each city. And they don't have to be C-54's, they can be a mix of C-54's and C-47's or even British transport aircraft.

    Lack of significant fighters to suppor the air drop? There wouldn't be any fighters to support the air drop. The air drop would happen at night.

    The presence of large numbers of German night fighters and radar controlled flak? Night fighters could be decoyed to other sectors by flying groups of Spitfires in neighboring sectors to overwhelm the night fighters. Also, night fighters can only shoot targets that are illuminated by search lights and the lights were mostly in the cities. The transports would not over fly any cities on the way to the target cities and they would drop their troops outside of Regensburgh and Schweinfurt.

    The impossibility of dropping paratroopers in a concentrated area at night in the face of heavy flak? If it was impossible then how come it worked at Normandy? You're over exaggerating. So what they would get spread out. That doesn't make the mission impossible. If it takes them two hours or even three hours to form up, so what. That's not mission failure, it's mission delay.

    The presence of numerous ground forces in the area? You mean the old men who were not good enough for the Eastern Front or Western Front? Those numerous ground forces? And their communication network wouldn't be working once the paratroopers reached a road with telephone poles, the lines would be cut.

    The overwhelming advantages of the defenders in terms of supply and communications? The mission is not to defeat the entire German army, it's to destroy the factory.

    Equipment used in '44 did not exist in sufficient numbers in '43? You're saying that rifles and grenades and bazooka's and PIAT's and mortars didn't exist in '43?

    Paratroops are not a strategic force, they are used for tactical suprise? Dropping paratroops onto Schweinfurt would be a surprise, a big one. They don't need to be relieved. They fight until they can no longer fight and they get resupplied by air drops at night.

    There is no such thing as a heavily armed paratrooper? Have you seen their equipment?

    The invasion of Crete saw paratroops take extremely heavy casualties? So paratroops taking heavy casualties is bad but aircrew taking extremely heavy casualties is acceptable?

    It would work, just not the way you expect it to. You think the paratroops all need to get home within a few days. They don't. Hundreds of the aircrewmen who bombed Schweinfurt didn't come home until the war was over.

    It's sort of like asking why Bush didn't send the 101st Airborne into Iraq? Except it's not Iraq, it's Germany in World War Two.
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    BTW, Ober-Traubling and its nearby sister airfield, Pruefening, were defended. Ober-Traubling had eight 2cm and 3.7cm Flak positions to the north, northeast, and north-northwest of the field, three placed on buildings. Pruefening had nine light flak positions around the field and there were five heavy flak (8.8cm) positions (three with 6 guns and two with 4 guns) within 3 kilometers of the field. Each field also had ten dispersal sites for the factory air defense squadron.
     
  9. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Fundamentally, it comes down to this: If you cannot discern a difference between asking 2,400 men to accept a mission with the risk that 25% of them not will not return (which, at that point of time was actually not the level of risk the planners were expecting for the raids on Schweinfurt), and a decent expectation of disrupting enemy production, versus asking 600 men to accept a mission with a 99.9% risk of them not returning from and with little hope of actually achieving anything substantial, then there really is not much to discuss at all.
     
  10. Dook

    Dook Member

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    Normandy was well planned and overwhelmingly successful? It was horribly planned and only successful because of the sheer numbers of men moved.

    The naval bombardment did almost nothing to destroy the thick cement bunkers.

    The Rangers attacked a target that did not have any guns.

    The landings should have taken place at high tide instead of low tide.

    Many of the landing craft landed at the wrong locations.

    Almost all of the amphibious tanks drowned.

    Gen. Bradley should have stopped the landings at Omaha Beach and moved them to other beach's that were completely open.

    The men who landed on open beaches should have attacked north or south beach bunkers to open the other beaches instead of moving inland.

    Some of the paratroopers lost 30% just in the jump alone because of the flooded fields, before seeing any enemy action.

    The Manhattan Project was not the least bit far fetched because none of the physicists doubted it could be achieved? Not before the war ended, they didn't.

    Midway was not far fetched? Using three carriers against four is a far fetched plan and we got lucky as hell that the zero's were down at sea level when the dive bombers came in.

    When was fighting naval battles without battleships far fetched? In World War 2. The doctrine of the day was that battleships would go out and win the battles. Carrier air power was not respected. The admirals didn't think you could sink a battleship with air power. General Billy Mitchell tried to tell the admirals that he could sink a battleship with his aircraft and told them that they needed to build carriers. They actually conducted a test and the admirals admitted that it was possible to sink a battleship but then they got angry and dismissed the whole thing.

    That's why the Japanese hit our battleships at Pearl Harbor. The only reason we fought with carriers was because that was all we had left in the Pacific, that and the submarines.
     
  11. Dook

    Dook Member

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    The 60 aircraft lost was the first Schweinfurt mission in August.

    The second Schweinfurt mission in October lost 77 more bombers.
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    No.

    Why do you have such a comprehension problem? I said the average loss in 1943 was about 5.1%. Average. In your time frame, a small British mission against Berlin on 19 August lost 1 of 7 aircraft - 14.3%. The Peenemunde operation the same night lost 40 of 571 - 7%.

    You compared the lunatic idea of sending 20-odd aircraft alone with 600 paratroopers to storm two German cities in August 1943...and then inferred it was the same as Normandy. They aren't remotely the same.

    I just told you how many were there. You either didn't read or didn't understand. Regensburg garrison was at least two battalions of infantry and pioneers with a battalion of artillery...probably on the order of 1,500-2,000 troops of whom at least half would have been well-trained and led by very experienced officers and NCOs. Schweinfurt's would have been smaller numerically, probably about 1,000-1,200, but with tanks, assault guns, and light armor.

    For sure, which is why the difference between August 1943 and June 1944 as well as between Normandy and the German heartland is important.
     
  13. Dook

    Dook Member

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    So you think that asking paratroops to go on an extremely dangerous mission that is deemed critical to shortening the war but also deemed to have a very small chance of returning home any time before the wars end would cause them to say "no"?

    You've never been in the military then, and I sure hope you never do get in because you just don't get it. Those men would literally jump at the chance to take on an incredible mission like that.

    I know you don't "get it".
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but no, the 2nd raid on 14 October consisted of three missions again. One, of 81 aircraft struck the Kugelfischer plant again and lost 10, the second hit VKF I with 61 aircraft and lost 35, the third hit VKF II with 86 aircraft and lost 15. 10+35+15 = 60.
     
  15. Dook

    Dook Member

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    So, to you, they fought the war the best way they could and could not have ever done anything differently or better?

    What about when the army air corp bombed our own troops in Normandy and killed about 200 of them? Was that well planned and an overwhelming success?

    Do I have a comprehension problem? Anyone who doesn't agree with you must. And any idea that is not yours must be some kind of comprehension problem because of all the inventions and discoveries and great philosophy that you've given humanity. You must be Donald Trump.

    You just told me how many were there? You said there were 2.3 million Ersatzheer. You didn't say were they all were located.

    Regensburg had an artillery? Cool, move the paratroops into the city and maybe the Germans would use artillery on their own city. Sounds like a successful mission to me.

    Schweinfurt would have tanks, assault guns, and light armor? Sounds like a chance to use the PIATS and bazookas. How well do tanks do in city fighting?

    If they are going to conduct a mission that uses C-54's they would ask for them and build them up before going. And they had C-47's as well, they don't have to be C-54's. And the British had transport aircraft. You got stuck on the C-54 as if it has to be C-54's and nothing but C-54's.
     
  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    There were elements of poor planning, but on the whole the planning was competent and followed accepted doctrine.

    Because it couldn't...which was more or less accepted. The guns that did the most damage to the landings were either in full defilade to the bombardment force or were in artificial defilade by virtue of the three to four meters of heavily reinforced concrete wing walls they presented to the sea.

    And ended up playing a vital role by diverting the last German reserves to them rather than to OMAHA.

    They couldn't without incurring unacceptable losses to the landing craft on the mined beach obstacles.

    Time and tide waits for no man. The majority landed at the right location...or close enough as to make no difference.

    No they didn't.

    Which beaches were those? None were undefended.

    Which men were those and on which beaches?

    No, something around 100 of the casualties in the 82d and 101st can be attributed to drowning...and that includes at least one aircraft crashing in the sea. Meanwhile, what nearly crewed the airborne assault was the problems associated with the night drop, which is why MARKET was a day drop.

    No, by as early as the Einstein-Szilard letter to Roosevelt in 1940.

    You need to read Shattered Sword...among other things.

    BTW, just when did we drop paratroopers into Berlin?
     
  17. Dook

    Dook Member

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    17 bombers made it home but had to be scrapped.
     
  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I did. This morning in post #3. If you neither understood or comprehended the reply you should have asked questions...instead you decided to attack the messenger rather than the message. You comprehend ad hominum?

    Meanwhile, you're tiresome and I'm tired. Good night. Have fun storming the castle with your GI Joe.
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member

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    40 aircraft would not make it to Germany. RAF was losing close on 8% losses at night time, and they were pioneering these diversion tactics. So using these diversions is a given, but you have to accept the losses; and they'd be higher, as they C-47's would have to fly lower, and fly deeper.

    Not all night fighters need searchlights, they had radar.

    The paradrops didn't work at Normandy, at least, not in any substantial, co-ordinated, strategic manner, which you want to apply them to. Units hampered German reinforcements in a very haphazard manner. And that is the best use of Allied paratroops to date. For a tactical advantage. Not for a strategic purpose. Paratroops are not a strategic weapon. Market Garden showed the huge risks when they tried for Operational advantage.

    Training battalions with armour and artillery are not unarmed old men and women...

    Seriously, "have you seen their equipment?" That is juvenile. Yes. Have you seen the effects of artillery, heavy mortars or tank shells on light infantry? The existence of these weapons is why paratroops will always be referred to as "light infantry." Even today, an airdropped battalion cannot compare to the weaponry a normal ground unit of equivalent size can bring to the battle. Their only advantage is surprise, and that wears off already after a few hours. Consider this: how many other targets of consideration exist in the area? Would there be any confusion at all as to what the goal of these scattered few paratroopers would be?

    Radio sets suitable for paratroops, not guns. Radio communication was key to regrouping disjuncted units dropped over wide areas (which would occur at night time). But I'm sure you knew that. Having 500 men trying to find themselves and each other in a scattered drop zone at night without comms while avoiding enemy counter measures is not a matter of a "few hours." Radio comms was a issue for the allied paradrops every time, even in '44. In '43, it was an even bigger issue.

    Because airdropping supplies into Warsaw was such a big success....not. 1) More aircraft get shot down. 2) all the supplies fall into enemy hands, because 300 paratroopers (those surviving the initial transport, drop and able to rejoin each other) cannot defend a large enough area as night time airdrops just aren't as accurate in 1943 as you seem to like to pretend.

    1) cutting a local phone line does nothing against the operational response; 2) almost all of the important phone lines in Germany were subterranean. Which was why telecommunications continued to function in Germany despite the bombing. 3) German army uses radio, but doesn't need to worry about the weight of the set, or the set breaking in the drop.

    No, it wouldn't work, they'd die or get captured, without having achieved anything substantial at all. The chances of enough survivors actually making it to the factory proper in order to make an impact similar to the bombing raid are nil. Which is why inanity of this kind was never attempted by either side. Ever. Not because they didn't imagine it, but because they quickly realised the stupidity.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  20. Dook

    Dook Member

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    The Normandy invasion plan followed acceptable doctrine? Acceptable to who? Not to the soldier who had to land at Omaha when the other beaches were completely open.

    Eisenhower was not a strategist or a tactician. He got the top job because he was not as aggressive as Patton and not as amicable as Bradley. He was somewhere in between and had to work with the British.

    The naval bombardment couldn't destroy the thick cement bunkers? They couldn't but the landings were not conducted at night because the navy wanted to see their targets in the morning and bombard them.

    The Rangers played a vital role in diverting the German reserves? That's not good mission planning, that's luck.

    The landings couldn't take place at high tide because of the mines? So it's better to have men walk farther across the beach than have a shorter run? It's a trade off.

    The majority of the landing craft landed close enough? For me the weather was too rough to go. They should have waited for calm seas. So what you wait another week or two.

    Almost all of the amphibious tanks didn't drown? I'm talking about the modified Sherman tanks that had the stupid canvas covering to make them amphibious. I think only about two of thirty did not sink.

    None of the beaches were undefended? None were undefended but the other US landing beaches and the British and Canadian beaches were over run quickly and were completely open while Bradley kept landing troops at Omaha.

    The British at Sword had light casualties. The Canadians at Juno were hit almost as hard as the US soldiers at Omaha. The British at Gold Beach had 400 casualties, which seems like a lot but is nothing compared to the 5,000 troops lost at Omaha. Utah casualties were light, only 197, partly because they landed at the wrong spot.

    I need to read Shattered Sword? Is it another book written by a skinny nerdy guy who has never done a pushup in their entire life and doesn't even know how to set up the sights on a scope and talks about real men doing things they could never do?

    When did we drop paratroops into Berlin? We didn't. I was wrong.
     

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