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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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              • #8
                Genuine question this, would it have made any appreciable difference if they had been able to produce large numbers of heavies?

                My understanding is that the reality of strategic bombing in WW2 was basically a repudiation of the interwar theories of Douhet / Trenchard et al? "Pinpoint" daylight bombing from high altitude wasn't accurate enough to achieve aims of destroying arms production etc and interdiction and battlefield support was better suited to mediums?

                Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                AS it turned out, a fatal one after the Soviets moved their production facilities Est of the Urals and out of range.
                Was it though? The Ruhr was well within Bomber Commands range as well as USAAF heavies, didn't prove fatal to German production.

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                • #9
                  Something with long range over being able to carry a heavy load and the accelerated development of their radio guided bomb would be my choices, more pinpoint accuracy. But as pointed out once the war became a grind Germany just didn't have the production or the population.

                  I would put more into radar development and production than heavy bombers

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fodder76 View Post
                    Genuine question this, would it have made any appreciable difference if they had been able to produce large numbers of heavies?

                    My understanding is that the reality of strategic bombing in WW2 was basically a repudiation of the interwar theories of Douhet / Trenchard et al? "Pinpoint" daylight bombing from high altitude wasn't accurate enough to achieve aims of destroying arms production etc and interdiction and battlefield support was better suited to mediums?



                    Was it though? The Ruhr was well within Bomber Commands range as well as USAAF heavies, didn't prove fatal to German production.
                    German production in some areas continued, but with great difficulty due to the Allies attacking transport networks, factories andm ost importantly, oil resources and refineries.

                    Germany was, however, out-pr0duced in all areas and could not effectively attack the Russian factories, which would have at least siphoned off additional men, weapons and resources to defend them. Germany could not even successfully attack most targets in Britain.

                    But let's look at America, which ran its industries non-stop arming the Allies without any interference whatsoever.

                    Hitler wasted time and effort trying to build an Amerika Bomber, a ridiculous concept for Germany, but failed to produced reliable long-range bombers to carry the war to her enemies on the European continent. The Grief was a decent attempt to begin with, but pairing of two engines in each nacelle lead to fires and Germany ignored the fact that the Allies used four-engined bombers very effectively.

                    For the strategic goals imposed by Hitler, log-range bombers were a must.
                    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post
                      Something with long range over being able to carry a heavy load and the accelerated development of their radio guided bomb would be my choices, more pinpoint accuracy. But as pointed out once the war became a grind Germany just didn't have the production or the population.

                      I would put more into radar development and production than heavy bombers
                      The British solution was the best, although they were two short-sighted to properly use it. The Mosquito, thanks to its speed and range, could bomb targets all over Germany and carried the same bomb load that the B-17 did on long-range operations - ten tons - and it could attack in broad daylight, unlike the bomber force itself. Britain needed nothing more than the Mosquito and a handful of Lancasters later in the war to carry the super-heavy bombs that were developed. It should be noted at this point that Barnes'Wallis's bouncing bomb, use on the Ruhr dams and carried by Lancasters, was tested with Mosquitos.
                      Last edited by Mountain Man; 27 Nov 19, 23:59.
                      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                        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.
                        good point, TAG.
                        the third Reich ran on extended credit, and even with ASKI barter financing could not build up a stock of crude oil before the outbreak of war. \coal gas liquidation is an energy source,- but it takes a huge amount of coal for the oil output.
                        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          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.
                          The Germans used very sophisticated remote-controlled weapons systems on several different types of aircraft, including the Me410, and the He177 Greif. They also developed the first operational jet fighter, the first operation cruise missile, the first ballistic missile and the first radio controlled bombs such as the Fritz X. German technical sophistication was never the issue.

                          He410 - note remote weapons:
                          Last edited by Mountain Man; 28 Nov 19, 00:00.
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                          • #14
                            He177: note remote forward dorsal turret:

                            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                              He177: note remote forward dorsal turret:

                              The German systems were simplistic.






                              The B-29 system was a tour de force decades ahead of that...



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