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Amerikabombers vs. Fu-Go balloons

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by me262 phpbb3, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    Split from "Allies vs. Russians"

    the germans had some planes capable of reaching american territory, : the Me 264 and the ju 290, but thanks to hitler and goering nothing else happened, :angry:
     
  2. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    The Me264 & the Ju290 could reach America, but only the Eastern Coast, and not with any worthwhile bombload.
    Plans were even made for the planes to have a full load of bombs, then ditch mid-Atlantic and the crew go home by U-boat! :eek:
    Plus, once America has been raided once, how quickly do you think they'd install radar and home defence fighters?

    Probably the most realistic solution the Germans found to bomb America was firing V2 rockets from U-boats.

    However, Germany really did not have the resources to mount an effectively-scaled bombardment of the USA.

    Greenland is a very good idea, the only problem being the weather - its effect on the planes & personnel, the high probability of missions being cancelled, and the difficulties of resupply.
     
  3. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Yeah well you can be happy about that ! ;)

    :D
     
  4. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    The Fu-Go balloons probably had a better chance of achieving something militarily worthwhile than the German Amerika Bombers.
     
  5. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Why is that ??
     
  6. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Because the Amerika bombers never had a realistic chance of reaching the US mainland and doing any serious damage to any worthwhile targets. Even if they had entered service and saw combat they wouldn't have achieved anything since their bombload at that range was basically insignificant and their chances of survival once the US established a few interception squadrons on the east coast would have been minimal. As Ricky pointed out the only way of getting an Me264 to the US with a decent bombload was to sacrifice the aircraft on the return in the hope that the crew would be picked up bu U-Boat and eventually returned to base.

    If the Fu-Go balloons had been launched in the dry season they migth have caused forest fires that could have cost the US a large diversion of effort.

    I never said that they would be war-winning, just that in terms of expenditure vs gain, they were a better prospect than the Amerika Bombers.
     
  7. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    but if you count how many ballons reache america and the damage they caused, if an america bomber reached ny it will do more damage that the ballons, don't you think so?
     
  8. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    but if you count how many ballons reache america and the damage they caused, if an america bomber reached ny it will do more damage that the ballons, don't you think so?

    All things considered if the Fu-Go balloons had been launched in the correct season the resulting forest fires could have been a major threat to civilian lives and possibly industry, and the resources required to deal with them would have also been a large drain on manpower time and effort (Not just firefighters, but also the need to evacuate civilians and industry), all for a couple of hundred unmanned balloons that even if only one in twenty got through could have caused an expenditure of effort far exceeding the effort required to produce them.

    Now consider the Amerika bombers. Huge six engined planes that could only carry a tiny bombload to the target and return (Going from memory but the bombload that they would be able to return with was something like 2 500kg/1,000lb bombs, or about the same bombload as an Me262 :D ) They could carry about 6,000lbs to the target and ditch on the return journey to be picked up (Hopefully, although I can't imagine this being a popular choice with aircrew!) by U-boat. (By comparison the B-17 would regularly carry 8,000lbs, the Lancaster 14,000lbs, and the B-29 20,000lbs)

    Now experience showed that unescorted bombers would get slaughtered by fighter interceptors, and by the time these aircraft came into service the US would had the P-51 and P-47 by day and the P-61 by night, so no time is going to be particularly safe. (Not counting what could be available off the coast from the USN's carriers).

    Also considering the wind patterns of the Atlantic which even for modern airliners dictate the routes they must take and the entry/exit points on each continent the range of targets available would be fairly easily anticipated and defended.

    Experience also showed that a bombload as small as the Amerika bomber's return load would cause pinprick damage at best, so to make an effective attack you have to sacrifice every (Big and expensive) six engine bomber and probably a large proportion of the crews since even those that escape to ditch are not all going to be rescued. And what are you likely to achieve with basically still a tactical bombload? Is this ever likely to be as great as the cost and drain of producing and loosing all these planes?

    Going back to Me262's original question; in terms of damage to the economy overall (Which is afterall the purpose of a strategic bomber) no I don't think they would cause more damage, their bombs might cause a slightly bigger bang, but in practical terms that would be pretty much it.

    Bear in mind that I do not claim that either would ever be war-winning, just that the Fu-Go balloons potentially represented a better investment of resources, and if used correctly potentially stood to cause more damage than the Amerika bombers.
     
  9. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Well a bomber could carry a A-Bomb to the U.S., a balloon couldnt ! ;)

    So i would say that the Me264 & Ju290 could prove to have been a war-winner !

    KBO
     
  10. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    :roll: No, it couldn't.

    The Little Boy weighed 10,000lbs, so that's beyond the capabilities of the Amerika Bombers to carry one to the continental USA and return far enough to be picked up by U-boat. It may well put it beyond the capabilities of one to carry it as far mainland US to begin with, but even accepting a Doolittle style one way trip you're not going to go too far inland, so that doesn't place every factory in the US within reach which would be what you'd need to turn the war around.

    Do you really think that with victory that close that a couple of bombs on the extremes of the coast would be enough to make the whole of the US just say "Oh, well, if it's going to be like that I suppose we'd better surrender then" ;)

    If you want to go down the route of including weapons that weren't available, then there's no reason why a Fu-Go couldn't have been scaled up to carry an A-bomb, you could even have included a volunteer suicide pilot to maximise the chances of success. As far as a terror weapon goes that's at least as workable as an Amerika-Bomber-Nuke.

    http://www.luft46.com/prototyp/me264.html

    A good link for the 4 engine Me264, which for those who don't have the time to read it includes the passage: "Since the rest of the plane would not be pressurized, remote controlled defensive armament would have to be installed. According to factory documents of July 9, 1943, this version was based on a 39000 kg (85979 lbs) takeoff weight, which included a 3000 kg (6614 lbs) bomb load, and was to utilize the jettisonable additional landing gear. The minimum penetration distance would have been 3500 km (2175 miles) at an altitude of 12000 meters (39370 feet), at a cruising speed of 640 km/h (398 mph)."

    If that's the penetration range (i.e. combat radius) with a 6,614lb bomload, it's not unfair to suggest that it would struggle to even reach the US coast with a 10,000lb nuke on board.

    As for the Ju290/390 family, another link I'm afraid; http://www.tgplanes.com/Public/snitz/to ... PIC_ID=447

    But again for those who don't have the time to read the whole thread, this by Romantic Technofreak really sums up the whole issue:

    "We Germans have the same tendency to boast like anybody else has. If an event like the "Ju 390-near-to-New York-flight" ever really took place, it would have a major position in the German WWII aircraft discussion.

    But nearly nobody mentions it.
    "

    By "nearly nobody" he's refering to German literature here.

    So, you have bombers that can only reach their targets at best with little or no bombs and a weapon that was not available to that airforce... I don't really see how that could be considered a war-winning combination.
     
  11. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Building a plane that could reach the U.S.A. without any extra weight is always the first step !
    However when that has been done it would be possible to calculate exactly what was needed to carry a nuclear bomb the Antlantic !

    An engine-bomber would have been far more succesful than a 'Balloon' ! ;)

    What was needed was a Long range/High altititude bomber, not a Balloon ! If it had been a balloon that was needed, then why isnt one used today ? ;)

    However the most probable war-winning weapon the Germans could have build, would have been a large scale V2 rocket wich could carry a Nuclear warhead to the States !. (Much more effective than any other weapon)

    KBO
     
  12. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    :roll:

    I never said either was going to be a war-winning weapon, in fact I think I went to considerable lengths to stress that.

    Neither were going to be war-winning because there was no way they could cross the atlantic penetrate deep into continental USA and return with a bombload. Simple as that. A Bomber that cannot carry a bomb is not a war winning weapon, it is a waste of time.

    You can say what you like about the Amerika Bombers KBO, the fact is they never even crossed into US airspace, whereas the Fu-Gos actually dropped bombs on America.

    To go back to what I said originally:

    The Fu-Go balloons probably had a better chance of achieving something militarily worthwhile than the German Amerika Bombers.

    I stick by that. I do not claim the Fu-Gos were a great success story, I do not claim they were a marvel of technical and engineering prowess, I do not claim that they were better, a vision of the future or the way forward. However the Amerika Bombers could never achieve anything more than a token gesture of retaliation, and for a token that could only be achieved at a huge cost financially and in terms of manpower.

    The Fu-Gos were simple, cheap and unmanned. If they been used when the forests were tinder-dry they could have caused massive fires. They weren't and the odd fire that was caused fizzled out by itself in the wet foliage.

    The Fu-Gos could have achieved something. The Germans were about ten years away from making an effective Amerika Bomber, and even then, what is a fleet of unescorted bombers going to achieve besides it's own demise?

    As for the V-2, how could it have launched a weapon that the Germans never possessed? For all the talk of Nuclear retaliation the Germans never completed a single atomic bomb, you may as well discuss the Lasers and Proton Torpedoes they might have equipped their X-Wing fighters with! They didn't have them, so they couldn't use them!
     
  13. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Wow ! Are we getting touchy Simon ? :eek:

    This conversation is all an "If" conversation, so why not bring up weapons that the German 'Could' have build ? The Germans were well on the way of discovering a Nuclear bomb, the only thing they lacked was the knowledge on how to split an atom.

    And about that bomber over the U.S., one did actually reach the U.S. coast.

    KBO
     
  14. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Sorry, shoulda put a smiley face at the end of that one, was meant to be tongue in cheek! :oops:

    The Germans were badly handicapped when it came to the A-bomb, because they could not politically follow any theories of "Jewish" Scientists, which put a huge amount of atomic physics beyond their reach, there was also a lack of material and not least of which time and resources to devote to the project.

    Because of that a working A-bomb was never a realistic likelihood for the Germans.

    Yes, I appreciate that this is a "What If...?" however I think that within the confines of these sort of scenarios you still need to be realistic about things. The Germans did build the Ju290, Ju390 and Me264. They did build the V-2 and it was discussed to adapt a Type XIX sub to carry one and launch it from below water, although the war ended before this could be taken any further. They did not develop a working A-bomb and were quite some way from doing so (Saying that they only had to work out how to split the atom is a bit like saying "We've developed plastic explosives! Now if only we could work out how to make it go "Bang!"..." :D )

    Yes they could have developed an A-bomb, they could have done an awful lot, but let's try to keep this to what was a realistic practical proposition.

    However I take issue with your statement: "i would say that the Me264 & Ju290 could prove to have been a war-winner !" I disagree with this and hope I have shown why I believe that this would be unlikely to be the case, even accepting an unlikely working German A-bomb (and let's face it even if one was available, even an Me264 wouldn't in all likelihood have been capable of carrying one to the US).

    I have also yet to hear how either could have proved a war-winner when all they were going to be capable of even with an atomic bomb was to vaporise a few thousand litres of Atlantic.

    "And about that bomber over the U.S., one did actually reach the U.S. coast"

    Please read the thread in the link I posted, especially the first post on the second page by Romantic Technofreak. The most often repeated accounts are that one flew to within 12 miles of the US coast, not that it reached it and certainly not that it was capable of carrying a bomb that far, this I have read in a number of my books however I am no longer convinced that this was actually the case, there is every reason to suggest that this is one of those myths that is presumed true by the virtue of the re-telling.

    As posted by R Leonard, a gentleman of considerable knowledge:

    I see all kinds of problems with this theory:

    According to Green, the usual source for the mission claim, it went thusly:
    "In January 1944, the Ju390 V2 was delivered to Fernaufklaerungs-Gruppe 5 (Long-Range Reconnaissance Group) at Mont de Marson south of Bordeaux, for operational evaluation. The Ju390 carried sufficient fuel for an endurance of 32 hours, and after a few short-distance flights, the aircraft flew from Mont de Marson to a point some 12 miles from the US coast, north of New York, returning successfully to its base."

    Okay, that is approximately 3960 miles one way, so figure 7900 miles, give or take, round trip. But according to the information I can find, the range of the Ju390 V-2 is given as being from 8000 km (4971 miles) up to 9700 km (6027 miles). My theory on the difference is based (1) on counting a safety factor in the lower number into the higher number, typically calculated as .20 x fuel for range plus fuel for 45 minutes, and (2) any additional auxiliary fuel tanks which could have been installed. In either case, the 6027 miles maximum is somewhat short of 7900 miles.

    So, that’s interesting. Now let’s see ... if the Ju390 could travel 7900 miles (about 12714 kilometers) and the rated cruise speed was 347 km/hr, that works out to about 36.6 hours at cruise which exceeds the 32 hours cited by Green. Further, that little calculation doesn’t begin to address fuel consumption, especially expended climbing to altitude. And don’t forget that the first half mission from the vicinity of Bordeaux to the vicinity of New York and return in the winter means bucking headwinds all the way … doesn’t do much for the fuel consumption, can rob you of an average 20 percent efficiency in the right conditions.

    The BMW 801 engine, at cruise, burned about 570 liters (150 gallons) of fuel per hour, or for the 6 engine Ju390, about 3,420 liters (900 gallons) an hour. For Green’s declared 32 hours of flight, not counting climb out consumption, headwinds, and other vagaries, that’s some 109,440 liters of fuel. And of course, 109,440 liters of fuel is in the neighborhood of 28,795 gallons (US), which would weigh about 200,000 pounds.

    But wait ... empty weight of the Ju-390 was 36,900 kilograms (81,350 pounds) and the fully loaded weight was 75,500 kilograms (166,448 pounds). And, of course, I didn’t even count the crew (10 - figure 75 kilograms each or 750, their gear another 25 kilograms each or 250 kilograms or 1000 kilograms altogether) or oil (probably in the neighborhood about 36 liters per engine or another 250 kilograms) factors of in the load out and I presume the 1800 kilograms bomb payload wasn’t loaded.

    So, figure:
    Crew and incidentals: 2205 pounds
    Oil: 480 pounds
    Fuel for mission based on 32 hours of flight: 200,000 pounds
    Total: 202685 pounds

    less

    Full Load weight: 166,448 pounds

    Equals: 36,237 pounds over weight.

    How do you suppose they got all that off the ground?


    If you can dispute any of these points by either Romantic Technofreak or R Leonard please feel free.
     
  15. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    All the information i have says the Me264 could travel 14900km ! So it could strike the U.S. ! And also with bombs, maby not much but still.

    Anyway all im saying is that the Me264 would have proved more succesful than a balloon ! And was closer to being a war-winning machine than a balloon would ever be.

    Another good site on the Me264 and others would be this one: http://www.airwar.ru/bw2e.html#p2

    KBO
     
  16. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    According to the Luft46 article which seems at least to be better researched the higher range figures (Up to 20,000km) were part of the earlier specifications. The Luft46 figures are more indicative of actual performance capabilities as assessed by the Messerschmitt factory themselves which are distinctly less impressive.

    I can only surmise from the disparity between the two that the airwar.ru site has transposed the range/ceiling figures especially since the ceiling of 8,000m is far below the proposed penetration altitude, however an 8,000km range is more like what is proposed in the Luft46 article.

    I'm not trying to say that those figures are certainly right and Airwar.ru's are certainly wrong though, and stand ready to be corrected if anyone knows better.

    Anyway to go back on what I have said, how can a Bomber for whom any bombing mission with a significant bombload would have a 100% loss rate of aircraft be considered effective? Under any other circumstances it would be considered futile, ludicrous, suicidal or all three!

    The Fu-Gos used correctly could have caused greater damage, at least in terms of US Dollars required to rectify than they cost to produce, they could therefore have been successful (Note here: I do not say war-winning). The Me264 (Assuming here that we rule out the Ju290/390 series on mathematical grounds), would be unlikely to cause more US Dollars worth of damage than Reichsmarks required to launch a mission. Just allowing the bombers over US territory would probably be more damaging to the German war economy than trying to prevent them flying! (Even here, they could not carry a Nuclear device to the US coast, so even if one was available it would not be a practical proposition, if not how's a few tonnes of HE over New York going to seriously affect the whole US war effort?).

    You clearly have your views KBO and you're entitled to them. In this instance at any rate I simply do not agree with them. All too often the phrase "Plane X could have won Germany the war" is bandied around, although the person concerned very rarely explains how.

    Finally I will pose one question for you: Even if the Me264 had this fantastic range how well do you think would an unescorted bomber force fare against the interceptors the US would base to defend against them?
     
  17. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    just one point:
    since all the fighting was on europe and the western pacific, do you thing the americans expected an attack of that class?
     
  18. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    The U.S. didnt have interceptors because they didnt know a damn thing about the Me264 ! ;)
    So 'If' the Me264 or any later variant would have succeeded in getting there with a good payload, then the U.S. wouldnt know it before they heard a big "BANG" coming from its bombs smashing their cities. (And by then it would be too late)

    Anyway "I am not saying the Me264 would have been a war-winner, but it was damn well alot closer to it than a balloon !".

    Just the fact that the Germans could build a bomber wich could reach the U.S., is enough proof to be able to say that they could have build one that could fly even further... Its just a matter of 'size'.

    Eventually Hitler decided it all, and had he fully supported the project along with the nuclear project, then im sure a good part of the world would be talking German today ! (But fortunatly that didnt happen !)

    Best regards, KBO.
     
  19. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Just the fact that the Germans could build a bomber wich could reach the U.S., is enough proof to be able to say that they could have build one that could fly even further... Its just a matter of 'size'.

    That's nonsense. The R&D behind building an effective bomber that could fly that far was beyond the Germans capabilities, it's not just a case of saying "Yeah, OK, just increase the dimensions 150%"! If it were that simple you'd have seen transatlantic bombers in WWI, and Star fighters by WWII, afterall once you build a pressurised aircraft, space is only a matter of altitude!

    Besides you still haven't answered the question of what you're going to escort it with?

    Me262, no the US probably wouldn't have been expecting such an attack but after the initial shock and a few hastily requisitioned radar stations they would be more than up to the task of detecting the raid. And what would the initial shock have achieved? Seriously it would have had to cripple the entire US industry outright to be enough.

    As for no interceptors, KBO what exactly makes you think that the P-38, P-40, P-47, P-51, P-61, Hellcat, Wildcat and Corsair (And this is just the strictly accepted wartime types, not including the likes of the Bearcat or P-80 here!) would have been incapable of intercepting a formation of Me264s? :roll: These were all available ready to use in continental USA, in some cases many months before they arrived in the ETO.

    So here you have a method of detection and capable interceptors against an unescorted bomber formation.....

    Eventually Hitler decided it all, and had he fully supported the project along with the nuclear project, then im sure a good part of the world would be talking German today ! (But fortunatly that didnt happen !)

    Actually it was Adolf Galland pushing for all production to be concentrated on fighters that caused the demise of all German bomber projects, not Hitler. Hitler may have agreed with it, buit the impetus behind the decision was Galland's.
     
  20. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    The Me264 was a 4 engined bomber, and the range depended on the engines and their capability to carry weight long distances ! Had the Germans built a 6 engined bomber with lower fuel consumption, they could have made it fly even longer yet.

    Nothing ! Because nothing could, atleast not at the time ! But 'if' it carried an A-bomb that wouldnt matter much, as then the Germans only needed one good strike on a Major U.S. city to make the Americans think twice about the war !

    Such an attack also has a 'major' propoganda value !!

    Were talking about one attack here, and the U.S. were 'not' expecting an attack on their country ! So the first attack would be possible without being intercepted !

    Eventually Hitler decided "It all" ! Galland may have come up with the idea, but Hitler had to approve it, and if he didnt then Galland could wave 'bye bye' to any idea he might come up with !

    Best regards, KBO.
     

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