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WWII German Heavy Bombers

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  • WWII German Heavy Bombers

    How big a mistake was it for Germany not to have a heavy bomber program?
    AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
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  • #2
    A lot depends on doctrine and tactics. The Germans also paired two engines together on one bomber which caught fire... The Luftwaffe general that was pushing for a Strategic Program (Milch) died early and most of the push died with him.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      The original German strategy was to have a number of short very intensive campaigns and knock out enemy countries one by one. The emphasis was on short. A strategic bombing campaign using heavy bombers is not short. The approach worked until winter 1941. A scheme was thought of to defeat the Soviets by bombing all the major power generating facilities effectively shutting Soviet industry down but the He 177 with its coupled engines wasn't up to this. It would have been possible to do a sort of Manchester to Lancaster job on the 177 and indeed a couple of prototypes were built and seemed to be a good design but for some reason Goring was against the idea and not only stopped the development but forbade even its discussion.
      Messerschmidt produced a four engined bomber design. This "America bomber" was intended to carry a nuclear weapon to New York. The single prototype bore a passing resemblance to the B29.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
        A lot depends on doctrine and tactics. The Germans also paired two engines together on one bomber which caught fire... The Luftwaffe general that was pushing for a Strategic Program (Milch) died early and most of the push died with him.

        Pruitt
        I do believe, Pruitt, that You mean \Walter Wever,whom \Erhardt Milch replaced after \
        Wever's death.






        milch
        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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        • #5
          No. Actually, it was a mistake for the Luftwaffe to even start the Bomber A (heavy bomber) program. Leave aside for a moment the fact that the He 177 was built to have just two engines (like the Avro Manchester), it really doesn't matter.

          The problem for the Germans was their aircraft industry just wasn't up to mass producing a large four-engine bomber. If you look at the production they did have, it was pathetically meager compared to Britain's and just worthless compared to what the US built.

          Germany tried to build a rough equivalent of the US B-29 in the Amerika Bomber program. Messerschmitt got as far as producing two prototypes and no further. Of course, this plane was a far simpler design than the B-29 with turbocharged engines, pressurized crew compartments, and a tour-de-force computerized remotely controlled turret defense system that was far beyond anything the Germans tried to produce in that respect.

          Ya think an Me 264 could do this...?



          The He 177 as the He 277 might have alleviated many of the former's shortcomings but was not allowed to happen by the Luftwaffe's top command. In any case the amount of fuel available even in 1942 - 43 was so tight a fleet of such planes couldn't have consistently operated. But, even if they did, it would have been less than 200 at the very most, and probably less than 100 most of the time.

          Junkers built the Ju 290 / 390 series at a rate of one or two a month. That is ridiculously low production.

          Basically, the Germans simply couldn't produce a large four engine aircraft in sufficient numbers even if they tried concentrating on doing so. They were better off with a fleet of medium twin engine planes they could produce.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Duncan View Post
            How big a mistake was it for Germany not to have a heavy bomber program?
            AS it turned out, a fatal one after the Soviets moved their production facilities Est of the Urals and out of range.
            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

              AS it turned out, a fatal one after the Soviets moved their production facilities E(a)st of the Urals and out of range.
              As Mueller in The German Air War in Russia points out obliquely, an He 177 takes about 6 to 7 metric tons of fuel per mission (a Ju 88 or He 111 took about half that load). To send just 50 would require 300 to 350 metric tons of fuel. By the beginning of 1944 the Luftwaffe in the East had on hand around 2000 tons for 90 days of operations. Just a few missions that size would have left the Luftwaffe grounded.

              This is the problem the Germans faced even in 1940: Big multi-engine bombers take a lot of fuel. If you don't have a lot of fuel, it doesn't matter if you have a lot of bombers.

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