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bomber or jets/rockets

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  • bomber or jets/rockets

    I was having a discussion with a co-worker today and he was of the opinion that one of the main reason that Germany lost the war was because they never developed a heavy 4 engine bomber of the b-17, b-24 class. I was more of the opinion that Germany let its rocket/jet research lay dormant until it was too late to use it successfully. Obviously there is more to this topic than just these two points. However, does anybody have any thoughts on what would have given Germany a bigger advantage - a large heavy bomber fleet or jet/rocket research and development? Just wondering. Thanks!

  • #2
    Probably the heavy bomber. The Battle of Britain was over October 1940, the first V-1 wasn't fired until 1944, well after Hitler's plans for invading England were shelved, and one week after the Allied landings on D-Day. The V-1's and (later) the V-2's caused damage in England and many casualties, but IMO it was more to spite England than anything else. Aside from a lucky hit on a munitions factory or something like that, the V-1's were more of a nuisance than anything else.

    If the German's had heavy bombers during the BoB, (the first B-17 flew in 1935, so it was possible to have a heavy bomber by 1940) than the damage caused to targeted areas would have been greater. If the Do-217 came out earlier, in early 1940 instead of late 1941-early 1942, well, who knows?

    The Germans had the Ju-87, Ju-88, Do-17, He-111 and the Me-110. Instead of so many medium bombers, dive bombers and fighter-bombers, more and earlier research on a heavy bomber might have been accelerated and brought up a viable answer in time for the BoB

    On The Other Hand...

    First of all, the heavier the bomber the easier it is to target. When you consider that Do-17's could (supposedly) outrun the fighters pursuing it, it becomes much harder to hit.

    In December 1944 US General Clayton Bissell wrote a paper in favor of V-1's as opposed to heavy bombers. Here's a table (off of Wikipedia) with the difference between the blitz and the V-1's

    Blitz (12 months) V-1 (2.75 months)
    1. Cost to Germany
    Sorties 90,000 8,025
    Weight of bombs tons 61,149 14,600
    Fuel consumed tons 71,700 4,681
    Aircraft lost 3,075 0
    Men lost 7,690 0
    2. Results
    Houses damaged/destroyed 1,150,000 1,127,000
    Casualties 92,566 22,892
    Rate casualties/bombs tons 1.6 1.6
    3. Allied air effort
    Sorties 86,800 44,770
    Planes lost 1,260 351
    Men lost 2,233 805

    As you can see from the bold parts, there was a definite advantage in less airframes lost and less trained pilots lost.

    If I had to guess, I'd still say the bombers.
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.


    • #3
      After December 11th, 1941, there realistically wasn't any way that Germany was going to win the war. I think it would probably be best to confine discussion to what was possible before that date.

      I think the biggest (plausible) change they could have made from historical, with regards to bombers, would be to remove the prewar OKL requirement that a number of entirely unsuitable aircraft be made capable of dive bombing. In hindsight, we can certainly say that was a mistake, and it was one that pushed their later bomber development onto some rather strange paths. What would the Ju 88, Do 17 and He 177 have looked like if they hadn't been saddled with the requirements for dive bombing in the design phase?
      "Nature abhors a moron." - H.L. Mencken


      • #4
        Indeed, Hitler was a bit of an idiot in declaring war on the US when they hadn't declared war on him.

        If we're confining our discussion to before 11/12/41, than V-1's almost completely out of the picture, since the engine was first tested in April '41, and the first powered trial was 10/12/42.

        If we're negating the V-1 from the picture, than we need to focus on the bombers. Once again, if the Luftwaffe and the Germans focused more on heavy bombers as opposed to having 5 main types of light/medium/fighter bombers, then they might have been able to do more damage during the BofB. In August and September '40 the situation was fairly dire for the RAF.
        Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

        Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.


        • #5
          The Luftwaffe was built and designed to support the tactical operations of Das Heer and was never intended to have a strategic bombing component. Whether they had 3, 4, 5, or 6 engine bombers is irrelevant. They never truly developed the doctrine or command structure. The French and many other European countries had the same mindset.

          The RAF carried on a strategic bombing campaign with 2 engine bombers at first. It had the doctrine and plans to do so.

          BTW, Mods, this should be in the WW 2 section.
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain


          • #6
            Germany did have a number of 4-engine heavy "long range" bombers. Some, such as the evil sounding "Condor" were converted passenger planes or troop transports.

            But the name "CONDOR" was really mean sounding and if such planes were modified to do Polar flights out of Norway they could hit Milwaukee or Chicago. Which is why we had black outs and air raid drills. My grandmother was the block warden and I would walk with her to peek into the basement windows to make sure the lights were out.

            Also, Germany was designing what is sometimes called the "New York" bomber that was essentially a flying wing.

            All of these over the pole flights and the drawings of the flying wings interested Hitler only to the point that he was somewhat of an artist and landscape painter. BUT, for the cost of one 4-engine bomber he could build at least four 2-engine medium bombers. He believed in numbers and mass attacks rather than "surgical" raids of infrequent schedules and all that avgas needed to drop a few 100 KG bombs on Allis Chalmers (less than one mile south of our house).
            Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.


            • #7
              Thread locked,

              The rest of the discussion can be followed here