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  • Political fallout of no strategic bombing of Germany?

    In 1941 the RAF decides that area bombing will not work, and decide that only 100% military targets are considered. The USAF follows suit. Aprox 500,000 additional German civilians survive, mainly women, children, the infirm and elderly.

    As a result the war lasts a year longer. Soviet military losses amount to a million more deaths, and a further hundred thousand W Ally troops die. Further, concentration camp victims are around 2 million more. None of these figures are unreasonable imho.

    Germany is far less broken come the inevitable defeat. The Soviet army is weaker, but then so are the W Ally forces.

    Would East-West relations be ever more strained or less? How would the Germans feel about their lesser defeat? How would the West consider their moral victory of fighting fair? Could Israel come into being with fewer survivors? Would neo-fascists be even more vocal/powerful?

    I make no excuses for puting a relatively serious AH out there .
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  • #2
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    In 1941 the RAF decides that area bombing will not work, and decide that only 100% military targets are considered. The USAF follows suit. Aprox 500,000 additional German civilians survive, mainly women, children, the infirm and elderly.

    As a result the war lasts a year longer. Soviet military losses amount to a million more deaths, and a further hundred thousand W Ally troops die. Further, concentration camp victims are around 2 million more. None of these figures are unreasonable imho.

    Germany is far less broken come the inevitable defeat. The Soviet army is weaker, but then so are the W Ally forces.

    Would East-West relations be ever more strained or less? How would the Germans feel about their lesser defeat? How would the West consider their moral victory of fighting fair? Could Israel come into being with fewer survivors? Would neo-fascists be even more vocal/powerful?

    I make no excuses for puting a relatively serious AH out there .
    Holy cow. Just the impact of an additional 500k German civilians and thier off spring is enough make my head split. Who knows what they would or would not accomplish. I think a big question is what the German economy looks like after the war and how it effects post war economic development around the globe, given that it's infrastructure would not be as destroyed as it was with the actual bombing campaign.

    My guess is east west relations would not be all that much worse for wear, but that's an amaturish opinion at best

    The million more soviet and 100k allied sounds a little high, but who knows? With the forces of the 8th Air Force and Bomber Command hitting strictly military targets, perhaps in a more tactical role like Cobra, the war would take an interesting turn. Historically the heavies were even less effective at that than they were at city bombing.

    Anyhow, it's an interesting question and good topic for a thread.

    Comment


    • #3
      Effectively, even if Lend-Lease supplies are kept at historical levels, WW2 in Europe is conducted as two separate wars. No bombing campaign means Stalin's pleas for tangible assistance fall on deaf ears. Attempts at co-operation fail as Stalin's already suspicious nature feeds on the (perceived) unwillingness of the Western Allies to deal with Germany directly. So ...... no agreement on the eastern borders of Germany or the status of any Eastern European states. With no firm committments and no 'United Nations' combined with excessive losses in Europe the US retreats into isolationism. Eastern Germany is stripped bare of all assets and its inhabitants shipped off in droves to the USSR to 'help' rebuild the shattered infrastructure. Western Germany starves. Italy and Greece become Communist states. Britain is forced to renege on its debts leading the chaos in the Sterling Area. The nations that sign the 'Dunkirk Treaty' band together in a customs union. Come 1949 Germany is a wasteland, immigration into Western Europe is strictly controlled, Global economic activity is at a lower level than that of the mid 19th Century apart from in the USA where the substantial internal market keeps it at 1900 levels.
      Signing out.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
        In 1941 the RAF decides that area bombing will not work, and decide that only 100% military targets are considered. The USAF follows suit.
        Because the RAF refuses to re-start daylight operations for lack of a suitable escort fighter BC has to look for big targets where they wide dispersal won't matter as much and pinpoint specialist targets for a few elite squadrons like the Dambusters of 617.

        A committee formed to study this problem decides that power generation and fuel are the two targets to go after. As a result refineries in Germany become oft visited targets. At the same time number 617 sdrn begins training to assault the hydroelectric damns.

        The results are dramatic, the first big raid didn't achieve much damage but it alerted the Germans. A second and then a third raid on oil refineries with increasing successes as the British develop techniques. By the end of April 1942 BC efforts have reduced German oil stocks by just .2% but domestic oil refinement by 2.5%.

        The Germans rush fighters, radars and guns to the refineries and bomber losses skyrocket sometimes 8-9% of a raid might be lost but BC refuses to give up. By the beginning of fall of 1942 domestic oil refining has been reduced by a sixth. Herein lies the seed of Germany's collapse in 43.

        Speaking to an allied historical commission shortly before his hanging in March 44 Albert Speer told them, "I realized by June [42] that the bomber campaign would break us. I begged Herr Hitler to suspend civil engineering projects, our only hope was the drive on Maikop. I told him that we were going to need every gallon this fall to get the crops in. Hitler told me to go back to using horses. What horses? The army had them all! We took the farmers nags and gave them tractors and tractors need fuel. Yet if I had failed to get the crops in, he told me to use horses, not the ministers in charge of agriculture, it would have been my head. So I pinned my hopes on Maikop and the dammed Austrian corporal locked us into a city fight on the Volga! That is why I used Jews and Russian POW's to get the crops in. For the life of me, what else was I supposed to do?"

        Despite Speer getting the crop in and a steady stream of flaming British bombers crashing around the refineries [during all of 43, BC was never able to muster more than 400 bombers for a raid due to losses] the attacks continued. Then in May 617 squadron swept in to action and managed to breach two dams.

        Meanwhile the American's VIII Bomber command had been testing it self firs tin France but increasingly in and around Germany feeling out Germany defenses and gathering experience. Losses were heavy but they pressed on hitting power generation sites. In June in support of 617's Operation Point Blank a day/night attack against Germany's two largest synthetic oil refineries began in the Rhur using 350 bombers and a further attack against one of the power generation sites of a dam 617 had failed to breach.

        The result of the combined allied bomber offensive was devastating. 25% of domestic refining, 11% of domestic production and 10% of electrical power (35% in the Ruhr) generation was gone. Flooded roads, knocked out bridges and idled factories were seriously hampering the production of war material.
        Reluctantly Hitler cancelled Zitadelle and the German armored forces where hit as they tried to disperse. In what has been billed as the biggest tank battle of the war around 3000 AFV's fought for nearly 2 weeks as the Soviets tried to effect a penetration and destroy the panzer armees in one fell swoop. They failed, Vatutin managed to push back Mainstien, but Hoth smashed the armed controlled by Zhukov. But the message was clear, the initiative had swung against Germany.

        In support of the Soviet offensive the Allies launched Operation Salvo in July a follow up raid on the Ruhr dams, power plants and refineries totaling 815 heavy bombers. The Germans were ready and Black Thursday cost the American's 77 bombers and BC 35 bombers but the results were worth it. daylight bombing on one refinery drew in most of the defending fighters but allowed three smaller raids to hit power plants while at night 617 burst another dam and BC raids damaged a refinery.

        German electrical and oil production/refining was collapsing. With so many Ruhr factories idled again the losses suffered during July fending off the Soviets were not being made good. Then in August the American's launched Operation Tidal wave an attack on Poelsti. It was a disaster losing over 100 bombers. But no one in the German high command doubted they would be back. They knew defeat was on the way, a defeat that could not be blamed on the Army.

        This made Hitler increasingly paranoid and he decided to leave the Wolf's lair for Berlin at the end of October where he believed he had the support of the German people so he could begin a purge of the "defeatist" officers. Yet the feeling of impending defeat was not just confined to generals in the Army. Hitler had been for some time blaming the Luftwaffe fighter pilots for the damage. This a pair of patrolling Fw190's secretly alerted to his return bounced his Ju-52 and 4 escorting Me 109's. Hitlers charred corpse was recovered 3 miles east of Templehof. At the same time other members of the Luftwaffe in on the plot killed Goering.

        The Nazi regime was crippled as Bormann and Himmler each tried to seize the reigns but a coterie of Germany's best and brightest were able to sway Kietel and Jodl and the combined generals announced a care taker government with Beck as President, and Goerdeler as chancellor. Bormann vanish but Himmler tried to use the Gestapo and SS to press his claim touching of a brief civil war.

        Even as the SS fought an died Beck was reaching out to the allies. The US and Britain are amendable to a ceasefire and stop the bombing missions. This of course enrages Stalin who sees it as a separate peace. But after his defeat in the Summer with German forces still deep inside the Soviet Union he agrees in principle to a return antebellum status.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
          In 1941 the RAF decides that area bombing will not work, and decide that only 100% military targets are considered.
          What is a 100% military target? Are rail trains of ammunition and tanks only 80% or 70% a military target? Are Italian ships carrying ammo & tanks to Libya just 40% a miltiary target? Is a tank on a road not 100% military because the road is also for civilian use?

          Joking aside just what would a 100% military target be here?

          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
          The USAF follows suit. Aprox 500,000 additional German civilians survive, mainly women, children, the infirm and elderly.

          As a result the war lasts a year longer. Soviet military losses amount to a million more deaths, and a further hundred thousand W Ally troops die. Further, concentration camp victims are around 2 million more. None of these figures are unreasonable imho.
          My take is the war is shortened six months since all the air power used for stratigic bombing in OTL is in the ATL used more effciently to destroy the Axis front lie soldiers. The Italian & German armies are shredded faster by a Allied tactical AF that is more that double that of OTL. This can help the Red Army as more tactical bombers could be sent as LL.

          If interdiction of the German logistics lines is allowed under this WI, that is the destruction of the railroads and Italian cargo fleet then the Italian and German armies run out of ammo, tanks, men, medical supplies, ect 50% to 100% faster than ATL. It does not matter much what German industry can do if the weapons are stalled on the railroad tracks or ports & destroyed there.

          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
          Germany is far less broken come the inevitable defeat. The Soviet army is weaker, but then so are the W Ally forces.
          For the reasosn I've put above the W Allies are likely to be stronger, perhaps the Red Army as well.

          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
          Would East-West relations be ever more strained or less? How would the Germans feel about their lesser defeat?
          The Allies storming out from Rhine river bridgeheads & across the Oder in November 1944 seems to be to be a greater defeat for Germany, not lesser

          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
          How would the West consider their moral victory of fighting fair? Could Israel come into being with fewer survivors? Would neo-fascists be even more vocal/powerful?

          I make no excuses for puting a relatively serious AH out there .
          I see this as only serious in the sense that the effects of all sort of aircraft bombing, in all the wars, are poorly understood and largely judged in the context of myth, coffee table history books, and the History channel class of video documentaries
          Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 03 Jun 12, 20:24.

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          • #6
            The US would not have ended up following suit. The people most responsible (alotta Europeans in there, Szilard, being one of the earliest in pushing Fermi) for the US A Bomb program were intent upon building it to use on Germany. The only reason many bailed on the idear (in spirit, if not in fact) was Germany's surrender & their belief (in racist fashion of a sort) that using it on Japan was generally akin to using it on a lesser race with no chance of any thing of the sort in their future. Once the device was built & tested, it surely would have been used on Germany with even less objection than did exist for its use against Japan.

            JMO, nothin more.


            On the Plains of Hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest-and resting... died. Adlai E. Stevenson

            ACG History Today

            BoRG

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post

              My take is the war is shortened six months since all the air power used for stratigic bombing in OTL is in the ATL used more effciently to destroy the Axis front lie soldiers. The Italian & German armies are shredded faster by a Allied tactical AF that is more that double that of OTL. This can help the Red Army as more tactical bombers could be sent as LL.
              With no strategic bombing the Luftwaffe is free to divide between 2 not three areas so France and Russia remain contested air longer, Operation overlord gets pushed to 45. This means Germany can contnue to use the West to refit through 44 and this is bad news for Bagration.

              Besides significant armor reserves to shift east. It also mean Red Army offensives take more punishment from the Luftwaffe and high velocity 88mm guns that have a much higher density since they are not used to defend the skies of the Reich.

              German production not disrupted by bombing will be about 10% higher so the losses the Germans do take are more easily replaced.


              The Allies storming out from Rhine river bridgeheads & across the Oder in November 1944 seems to be to be a greater defeat for Germany, not lesser
              How did the Allies land in France since the destruction of the Luftwaffe in France was a requirement for Overlord?


              Strategic Bombing needs to be understood in how it impacted the other parts of the war. The bulk of the Luftwaffe and 88mm gun production was shifted to defend the skies of the Reich. A million Germans including a large number of men were used that could have been used in ground combat formations.

              You need to ask how Soviet operations in the East would have been affected by a German plan based on being able to rotate German units to the West to refit and the number of panzer divisions this would allow to be used to counter Bagration.

              How a Luftwaffe twice as strong in the East is able to influence the ground battle...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                What is a 100% military target? Are rail trains of ammunition and tanks only 80% or 70% a military target? Are Italian ships carrying ammo & tanks to Libya just 40% a miltiary target? Is a tank on a road not 100% military because the road is also for civilian use?

                Joking aside just what would a 100% military target be here?
                I was going to ask that myself. Good question.


                My take is the war is shortened six months since all the air power used for stratigic bombing in OTL is in the ATL used more effciently to destroy the Axis front lie soldiers. The Italian & German armies are shredded faster by a Allied tactical AF that is more that double that of OTL. This can help the Red Army as more tactical bombers could be sent as LL.

                If interdiction of the German logistics lines is allowed under this WI, that is the destruction of the railroads and Italian cargo fleet then the Italian and German armies run out of ammo, tanks, men, medical supplies, ect 50% to 100% faster than ATL. It does not matter much what German industry can do if the weapons are stalled on the railroad tracks or ports & destroyed there.
                OTOH the tactical presence of German fighters and AA guns and some more personnel might make this less of an advantage. The tactical Allied air forces will still defeat the Luftwaffe fighter force, of course, but it's not as fast as if those fighters didn't move from German bases to forward bases.

                I think it's only slightly faster than our timeline - provided that transportation targets can be hit. If so, however, the question is no longer "what if no strategic bombing", but rather only "what if no area bombing".
                Michele

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michele View Post

                  I think it's only slightly faster than our timeline - provided that transportation targets can be hit. If so, however, the question is no longer "what if no strategic bombing", but rather only "what if no area bombing".
                  With no strategic bombing, no need to develop long ranged escort fighters. The German rail net remains out of allied reach.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by zraver View Post
                    With no strategic bombing, no need to develop long ranged escort fighters. The German rail net remains out of allied reach.
                    1. Evidently you'd need first to answer the question of whether transportation targets are "military targets". If they are, then the Allies do build long-range escort fighters, and attack the rail network. This brings you to the alternative I proposed: "strategic bombing yes, area bombing no?" might be a better question. Read again the first post in the thread and you'll understand. German cities get still bombed and suffer heavy damage, but the targets are the marshalling yards, not the cities themselves.

                    2. That said, average-ranged fighters can still escort attack bombers severing the frontlines from supplies arriving from the rear areas.
                    This is not news; it actually worked quite well in 1944, and the victims weren't the German rail lines but the French and Italian ones. It did not work better because both strategic bombing of transportation targets in Germany, and area bombing in Germany, were going on, which brought resources away from the tactical air forces pounding the immediate rear areas.

                    3. Of course the overall gap remains more or less the same. The huge air battles that took place over Germany and that crushed the German daylight fighter force will take place from just behind the frontlines to some 300 kms into the German rear areas, and the outcome will be the same if not worse for the Germans, with the British building themselves many more fighters and attack bombers than 4-engined bombers mostly to be used at night.

                    4. If the Western Allies do go for the US approach and bomb military, industrial and transportation strategic targets in Germany, the effect on the Eastern Front (i.e., the actual frontline effect before the Allie sbegin their landings) will take place. The Germans are not able to spare the resources they spent on AA and on daylight fighters; but they can spare the resorces they spent on night radars and night fighters. That effect can largely be contained if the Western Allies provide the Soviets with more fighters and tactical bombers and high-octane fuel, which they might well do if they don't build the British fleet of night 4-engined bombers. Some of the additional fighters and attack bombers go to Lend-Lease, and some to Italy and later France.

                    Think of all the ramifications, not just a few of them.
                    Michele

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michele View Post
                      1. Evidently you'd need first to answer the question of whether transportation targets are "military targets". If they are, then the Allies do build long-range escort fighters, and attack the rail network. This brings you to the alternative I proposed: "strategic bombing yes, area bombing no?" might be a better question. Read again the first post in the thread and you'll understand. German cities get still bombed and suffer heavy damage, but the targets are the marshalling yards, not the cities themselves.
                      The chance of bombers hitting th marshalling yards at night is low, at least bombing cities killed workers. Plus you can't have it both ways, either the RAF is building 4 engined bombers or they are not.

                      2. That said, average-ranged fighters can still escort attack bombers severing the frontlines from supplies arriving from the rear areas.
                      This is not news; it actually worked quite well in 1944, and the victims weren't the German rail lines but the French and Italian ones.[/quote]

                      After the bulk of the Luftwaffe had been withdrawn to Germany.


                      It did not work better because both strategic bombing of transportation targets in Germany, and area bombing in Germany, were going on, which brought resources away from the tactical air forces pounding the immediate rear areas.
                      The bombing of Germany pulled assets out of France. Those assets could have had a huge impact in France. Light and medium bombers flew at altitudes that were more at risk to German AA fire.

                      3. Of course the overall gap remains more or less the same. The huge air battles that took place over Germany and that crushed the German daylight fighter force will take place from just behind the frontlines to some 300 kms into the German rear areas, and the outcome will be the same if not worse for the Germans, with the British building themselves many more fighters and attack bombers than 4-engined bombers mostly to be used at night.
                      Doubt it, the VVS was not able to crush the Luftwaffe which could refuse battle over a division. They could not refuse battle over the Reich. The strategic bombing campaign forced the Germans to fight.

                      4. If the Western Allies do go for the US approach and bomb military, industrial and transportation strategic targets in Germany, the effect on the Eastern Front (i.e., the actual frontline effect before the Allie sbegin their landings) will take place. The Germans are not able to spare the resources they spent on AA and on daylight fighters; but they can spare the resorces they spent on night radars and night fighters. That effect can largely be contained if the Western Allies provide the Soviets with more fighters and tactical bombers and high-octane fuel, which they might well do if they don't build the British fleet of night 4-engined bombers. Some of the additional fighters and attack bombers go to Lend-Lease, and some to Italy and later France.

                      Think of all the ramifications, not just a few of them.
                      LL routes spent much of the year maxed out. The only way to increase deliveries is by running arctic convoys during the long days of the arctic summer.

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                      • #12
                        To eliminate, or at least seriously reduce, the possibility of civilian casualties, the RAF would need to develop a dive bomber to achieve the level of precision necessary. This may limit the tonnage of bombs delivered, but the increase in accuracy would probably offset this by a very large extent.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by zraver View Post
                          The chance of bombers hitting th marshalling yards at night is low, at least bombing cities killed workers. Plus you can't have it both ways, either the RAF is building 4 engined bombers or they are not.
                          In fact I'm considering two alternatives in this reply:

                          1) No strategic bombing, or
                          2) Strategic bombing which is not area bombing.

                          Option 2), above, might well mean that Bomber Command, too, focuses on daylight bombing. This would require of course more longer-ranged escort fighters, but it's not undoable. It's going to cause unsustainable losses if it's attempted too early, that's true. But nobody says it cannot be switched to once it becomes feasible alongside the US operations. It would require extensive retraining, and that's one reason why it was not attempted in reality; but it's far from the only or the main reason.


                          After the bulk of the Luftwaffe had been withdrawn to Germany.

                          The bombing of Germany pulled assets out of France. Those assets could have had a huge impact in France. Light and medium bombers flew at altitudes that were more at risk to German AA fire.
                          In fact. The Luftwaffe's daylight fighter force was crushed over Germany. The USAAF, with its Mustangs, brought the battle to the enemy and defeated them on their own turf. What makes you think that if this war was fought over Italy and later France, the Germans would win it?

                          Of course, if there is no strategic bombing, German factories work undisturbed. The question is whether what they produce can arrive at the front lines or is destroyed in the last 300 kms of its journey.

                          Because, what happened over Germany was that the US fighters defeated the German fighters who had to take off to try and intercept the US bombers, which otherwise would have destroyed ground targets.
                          Exactly the same can happen over Italy, only the ground targets will be rail lines and supplies trying to reach the German frontline.



                          Doubt it, the VVS was not able to crush the Luftwaffe which could refuse battle over a division. They could not refuse battle over the Reich. The strategic bombing campaign forced the Germans to fight.
                          Sure the Luftwaffe could refuse air battle over Bagration. The outcome is... Bagration as we know it, of course, which is fine.

                          LL routes spent much of the year maxed out. The only way to increase deliveries is by running arctic convoys during the long days of the arctic summer.
                          Nobody mentioned increasing the quantity of Lend-Lease shipping. Many people, when talking about Lend-Lease, think that the kind of shipping is set in stone, as if the Soviets couldn't juggle their production somewhat.
                          For instance, some 10% of the aircraft and tanks that the Soviets used were Lend-Lease. Did the Soviets really need those tanks? Were tanks something that the Soviets could not produce? The answer is no. Cutting down on, say, trucks, in order to send more fighters, would have been a bad idea; but cutting down on tanks in order to do that would have been perfectly fine.
                          Michele

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                            To eliminate, or at least seriously reduce, the possibility of civilian casualties, the RAF would need to develop a dive bomber to achieve the level of precision necessary. This may limit the tonnage of bombs delivered, but the increase in accuracy would probably offset this by a very large extent.
                            Yes, well, dive bombers are quite more vulnerable than level bombers, as the Stuka evidenced.

                            I don't know that seriously reducing civilian casualties is truly a supportable proposal. OTOH not carrying out area bombing would be. This would indeed reduce civilian casualties, though it's debatable whether the reduction would be "serious". But at least the bombers would be aiming at marshalling yards and factories, not at city areas.
                            Michele

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Michele View Post
                              Yes, well, dive bombers are quite more vulnerable than level bombers, as the Stuka evidenced.
                              what reference are you using ?

                              The stukas were hampered by low initial strenght but their losses were on par
                              with level bombers rougly 30% each during the battle of france.
                              If we count those destroyed in combat it amounts 21% for stukas and 25 % for level bombers ( in sheer numbers that is 89 vs 438 respectivly).

                              The period between july and september 1940 is not as relevant since there were not used continuously , 13.7 % for stukas , 30.7 % for level bombers.
                              (sheer numbers 59 versus 424 ).

                              Even taking the month in which the stukas took the worst losses , august
                              the stukas lost 14.4 % of initial strenght versus 19.7% for level bombers.

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