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What is the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII?

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  • Originally posted by Von Richter View Post

    Is it Harris personally that's criticised, or the policy of area bombing, I'm not sure which?

    Both, Harris is seen as the foremost proponent of the policy, although he was by no means the only one he gets all the flak.
    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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    • Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
      [CENTER]..Is it Harris personally that's criticised, or the policy of area bombing, I'm not sure which?
      Harris was following Churchill's orders-

      "When I look round to see how we can win the war I see that there is only one sure path...and that is absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland"
      -Winston Churchill July 1940


      and with hindsight we can see that although massive area-bombing knocked down a lot of German houses over the next 4 years, it didn't put enough factories out of action, for example the Germans still produced almost 8000 tanks in 1944 alone, so in that respect area-bombing didn't have the effect that Churchill hoped for.
      Like Rutger said earlier in this thread, maybe a fleet of Mosquitos was needed. They could have hit specific factories and power plants etc with precision attacks.
      And maybe the Allies should have designed dive-bombers to also join in.


      Comment


      • Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
        Wot, even more than adolf?
        Is it Harris personally that's criticised, or the policy of area bombing, I'm not sure which?

        I should have been more specific. I meant the most criticised leader on "our side". "Butcher" Harris' name is so closely associated with the policy of area bombing that he has taken the credit-or blame-for the whole thing.
        "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
        Samuel Johnson.

        Comment


        • Meedical treatment

          Thread edited to remove typical off topic material. Next time the whole post goes.
          ACG Staff

          One underestimated aspect which always fascinated me was the effect on service personnel morale of medical services in Western allied armies.

          Knowing you would be treated fairly promptly and would probably get a ticket stateside (or Blighty One as the Brits called a wound requiring UK hospitalization) must have help keep morale up in both armies.
          Certainly compared to other armies. Japanese, Chinese, Soviets etc.

          Regards
          lodestar
          Last edited by CarpeDiem; 18 Feb 18, 08:38.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Rutger View Post
            Mosquito.

            - make three Mossies for the cost of one B-17 or Lanc.
            - crew three Mossies for one B-17 or Lanc.
            - Actually hit targets with a CEP of 50 meters instead of a CEP of 5 miles.
            - 100 feet altitude high speed ingress and egress rather than pottering along at 200 mph at 20000 feet and announcing your arrival an hour before you're actually over target.
            - 1/3 of the loss rate of the bombers.
            etc.

            Countered by:
            - Bomber Harris is not ever to be criticized.
            - There's not enough plywood.
            - We won anyway.
            - The Germans would have invented something to shoot down more Mossies.
            etc.

            Well, as you can see, I favour the Mossie over lingering along at vulnerable altitudes and bombing accuracy that defines a point of impact at a distance of three miles as a direct hit at the target.
            Your stats are questionable. Leading to me proffering questionable stats used to make decisions.
            The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Rutger View Post
              Mosquito.

              - make three Mossies for the cost of one B-17 or Lanc.
              - crew three Mossies for one B-17 or Lanc.
              - Actually hit targets with a CEP of 50 meters instead of a CEP of 5 miles.
              - 100 feet altitude high speed ingress and egress rather than pottering along at 200 mph at 20000 feet and announcing your arrival an hour before you're actually over target.
              - 1/3 of the loss rate of the bombers.
              etc.

              Countered by:
              - Bomber Harris is not ever to be criticized.
              - There's not enough plywood.
              - We won anyway.
              - The Germans would have invented something to shoot down more Mossies.
              etc.

              Well, as you can see, I favour the Mossie over lingering along at vulnerable altitudes and bombing accuracy that defines a point of impact at a distance of three miles as a direct hit at the target.
              A Lanc had one pilot and one navigator whereas your three Mosquitos requires three pilots and three navigators. The RAF was having problems training enough pilots and navigators for the heavy bombers, triple that requirement and it becomes impossible. Much the same would have applied to the USAAF. You are forgetting that the big bottleneck for the Allies was not aircraft production it was producing pilots and navigators.

              Read The Hardest Victory by Denis Richards
              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)

              Comment


              • "Typical off-topic material" Hee hee

                Thanks, Mark, I have been searching for something to refute the "Three Mossies for one Lanc" narrative.
                Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                And battles long ago:
                -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Rutger View Post
                  Mosquito.

                  - make three Mossies for the cost of one B-17 or Lanc.
                  - crew three Mossies for one B-17 or Lanc.
                  - Actually hit targets with a CEP of 50 meters instead of a CEP of 5 miles.
                  - 100 feet altitude high speed ingress and egress rather than pottering along at 200 mph at 20000 feet and announcing your arrival an hour before you're actually over target.
                  - 1/3 of the loss rate of the bombers.
                  etc.

                  Countered by:
                  - Bomber Harris is not ever to be criticized.
                  - There's not enough plywood.
                  - We won anyway.
                  - The Germans would have invented something to shoot down more Mossies.
                  etc.

                  Well, as you can see, I favour the Mossie over lingering along at vulnerable altitudes and bombing accuracy that defines a point of impact at a distance of three miles as a direct hit at the target.
                  Or by the logic of war which would dictate that the greater the threat, the greater the incentive the other side has to counter it. The Germans could make aircraft that could catch and shoot down a Mosquito. If it's the bomber of choice for the Allies, then the Germans make more fighters capable of catching and shooting it down.
                  Since they don't need lots of large caliber cannon to do that unlike shooting down a B-17, 24, or Lancaster, they choose lighter rapid fire armaments and planes that have the speed and altitude to catch a Mosquito.
                  Being unarmed is now a liability as it makes the Mosquito an easy target.

                  Losses mount, the Mosquito can no longer make penetrations unarmed or unescorted. Back to square one. As it was, the Mosquito was an annoyance compared to the hundreds or even thousand plus heavies dumping bombs all over Germany in massed raids, so it got less attention than it otherwise would have.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    This is part of it. Up to the beginning of 1944 when Speer released all the strategic reserves, many factories were limited by the raw materials they were receiving. In some cases, artificial scarcity existed due to things like monopolies or patents. For example, Krupp controlled all tungsten carbide production in Germany. They had a monopoly and refused to give it up. The government didn't intervene and break it up either. So, no company was going to design products that used tungsten carbide other than Krupp. They got used to not having TC machine tools, doing everything with high speed steel instead.
                    It wouldn't have mattered if Germany had more tungsten raw material either, as Krupp would have controlled the production and distribution to their advantage regardless.

                    Then you have the Meister system in place. Many German industries failed to move towards higher efficiency production means until well into to the war. Instead, there was lots of hand work and hand fitting of parts in virtually all parts of German industry.

                    The MG 42 and Sturmgewher are two examples of how Germany later tried to increase productivity by design. Both used more stamping parts than previous small arms. This meant a low skill worker using a die and hydraulic press could stamp out parts quickly and reliably without much training.

                    The Meister system of skilled journeyman workers doing hand work in the aircraft industry resulted in a German airplane consuming about double to triple the aluminum to be manufactured that one in the US did. Sure, most of that waste was scrap aluminum that was recycled, but recycling takes time and energy. Eliminating the waste would have meant more planes for a given amount of raw material.

                    So, you have some pretty gross and inefficient methods of manufacturing going on, and a shortage of raw materials both due to lack of supply and artificial bottlenecks created by German industry itself. They combined to reduce German production significantly.
                    Interesting info. What was your source?
                    "The good old hockey game is the best game you can name
                    and the best game you can name is the good old hockey game"

                    - Stompin' Tom Connors - The Hockey Song

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                    • Nowadays thanks to satellites, we can look right into the enemies back yard and make a note of where all his vital factories and power plants etc are, then surgically take them out with precision cruise missile and drone strikes, but in WW2 our intelligence services could only guess at their locations especially as the enemy dispersed his production facilities among many smaller and well-hidden factories, so even a Mosquito strike force wouldn't know where they were.
                      On paper, mass carpet-bombing attacks by heavy bombers was the only real option in the hope that by flattening entire cities, any factories in there would be flattened too.
                      With hindsight we know it only degraded his war production and never stopped it; for example the Germans were still able to build almost 8000 tanks in 1944.
                      The only solution I can think of would have been to concentrate raids more on the sources of raw materials, for example steel, fuel, explosive ingredients, rubber etc all have to come from somewhere so maybe we should have clobbered the sources such as mines and refineries etc.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by HMan View Post
                        Interesting info. What was your source?
                        The story on Hartzmetallzentrall, the Krupp subsidiary comes from Machinery's Handbook 24th Edition. p 703 - 713 The history of hard metal cutting tools, as well as ceramic cutting tools is covered.

                        You can get the rest from the more usual sources like Tooze, or Overy, among others.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                          Thread edited to remove typical off topic material. Next time the whole post goes.
                          ACG Staff

                          One underestimated aspect which always fascinated me was the effect on service personnel morale of medical services in Western allied armies.

                          Knowing you would be treated fairly promptly and would probably get a ticket stateside (or Blighty One as the Brits called a wound requiring UK hospitalization) must have help keep morale up in both armies.
                          Certainly compared to other armies. Japanese, Chinese, Soviets etc.

                          Regards
                          lodestar
                          Hi ls, this brings to mind my time in the closing stages of the war as a stretcher bearer come Medic come infantry man in the 33rd Batt: RMLI. part of my Medic equipment was a large bottle of liquid officially known as 'Aquaflavine'. Watered down iodine??? This was used for wounds and just about everything else you can think of. Not much help, but amusing. lcm1.......As an afterthought I must tell you about the battalion Doctor, he was a Polish Maniac that walked about with a revolver strapped to his leg swearing to kill any German that came near him. I don't know what they did with him when we bought in German wounded? it must have been interesting. lcm1
                          Last edited by lcm1; 20 Feb 18, 22:40.
                          'By Horse by Tram'.


                          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                          • Bombing 'right' too late but not too little

                            Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
                            With hindsight we know it only degraded his war production and never stopped it; for example the Germans were still able to build almost 8000 tanks in 1944.
                            The only solution I can think of would have been to concentrate raids more on the sources of raw materials, for example steel, fuel, explosive ingredients, rubber etc all have to come from somewhere so maybe we should have clobbered the sources such as mines and refineries etc.
                            The Western allies 'got it right' far too late to make a crucial difference early in the war.

                            They got right when (as I explained in my thread What is the most viable example in WWII of ‘Too little, Too late’?

                            ". eg. the allied bomber strategists coming to the decision very late to focus on oil and transport rather than area bombing of German cities (ie after the German army was essentially defeated anyway)."

                            The Bombing Campaign aficionados always underplay how long the Western allies had been bombing and how late in the day it finally did something important towards winning the war against Germany.
                            Note I say 'important' not 'critical'


                            Have done this post from local library due to recurrent problem with my nternet connecting to this site (only this site!)

                            Regards
                            lodestar

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                              They got right when (as I explained in my thread What is the most viable example in WWII of ‘Too little, Too late’?

                              ". eg. the allied bomber strategists coming to the decision very late to focus on oil and transport rather than area bombing of German cities (ie after the German army was essentially defeated anyway)."

                              The Bombing Campaign aficionados always underplay how long the Western allies had been bombing and how late in the day it finally did something important towards winning the war against Germany.
                              Note I say 'important' not 'critical'

                              Not true at all. The RAF had recognized the importance of oil as a target from the beginning of the war. Unfortunately they lacked the skill and resources to conduct a sustained campaign against specific oil targets. Any study of Bomber Command that goes beyond scratching the surface quickly illustrates how ill prepared the RAF was for conducting a strategic bombing campaign. Navigation, bomb aiming, aircraft types, crew training all went through an evolution that allowed them to eventually realize what they had planned all along.

                              Start here for a synopsis:
                              Oil campaign of World War II

                              The British had identified the importance of Germany's fuel supplies before the war in their "Western Air Plan 5(c)".[9] The focus of British bombing during 1940 changed repeatedly in response to directives from the Air Ministry. At the start of June, oil targets were made a priority of night bombing with attacks on other war industry to be made on dark nights (when the oil targets could not be located) but with the proviso that "indiscriminate action" should be avoided. On 20 June oil targets were made third priority below the German aircraft industry and lines of communication between Germany and the armies at the front. Following a brief period when German shipping was given priority, oil targets were made secondary priority in mid July under a policy of concentrated attack with five oil refineries listed for attention.[10] Sir Charles Portal was sceptical of the likelihood of success, saying that only a few targets could be located by average crews under moonlit conditions.

                              The RAF viewed Axis oil as a "vital centre",[11] and in February 1941, the British Air Staff expected that RAF Bomber Command would, by destruction of half of a list of 17 targets, reduce Axis oil production capacity by 80%.[12]
                              Although the Butt Report of August 1941 identified the poor accuracy and performance of RAF bombing,[13] Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris maintained at the subsequent Casablanca Conference the great importance of oil targets in Axis territory.[14]
                              The capability of the Allies to deliver the type of campaign you're calling for was not there at the beginning of the war, as the Butt report and a study of the actual results of the initial raiding efforts demonstrate.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by CarpeDiem View Post
                                Not true at all. The RAF had recognized the importance of oil as a target from the beginning of the war. Unfortunately they lacked the skill and resources to conduct a sustained campaign against specific oil targets. Any study of Bomber Command that goes beyond scratching the surface quickly illustrates how ill prepared the RAF was for conducting a strategic bombing campaign. Navigation, bomb aiming, aircraft types, crew training all went through an evolution that allowed them to eventually realize what they had planned all along.

                                Start here for a synopsis:
                                Oil campaign of World War II



                                The capability of the Allies to deliver the type of campaign you're calling for was not there at the beginning of the war, as the Butt report and a study of the actual results of the initial raiding efforts demonstrate.
                                It was also only the RAF doing it.
                                'By Horse by Tram'.


                                I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                                " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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