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Political fallout of no strategic bombing of Germany?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by 1st cavalry View Post
    had to do with lower initial strenght, than overal numbers .
    lossing 100 out of 300 is more debilitating than lossing 333 out of 1000.

    dunkirk evacuation :
    the sortie numbers were 805 for ju87 lossing 10 aircraft.
    the sortie numbers were 1010 for level bombers lossing 45 aircraft .
    ...
    To digress a bit: Do you have any information on how many of those sorties were intended as anti ship attacks? I've done a bit of research on the effectivness of air strikes vs ships and pinning down the German intent for targets would be usefull. You can PM me with any answer

    Thanks

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      To digress a bit: Do you have any information on how many of those sorties were intended as anti ship attacks? I've done a bit of research on the effectivness of air strikes vs ships and pinning down the German intent for targets would be usefull. You can PM me with any answer

      Thanks
      no such detail I am afraid . Afaik they only gone after the ships in the last days
      of the evacuation but they did hit targets of oportunity before that.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
        By way of comparison, the Soviet Pe-2, a twin engined level and dive bomber, had a top speed of 580 kmh and a rate of climb of 430m/min.
        I was thinking of that one myself.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Michele View Post
          But the point is in policy and, as the title of the thread makes it clear, politics. In reality, the British decided that their policy would be bombing areas, built-up areas; in this alternate timeline proposal, they decide against it. In reality, the USAAF never made that policy and political decision.
          The difference was that the British were more honest about their policy, the USAAF knew that it was politically unacceptable to admit to area bombing, even though through circumstances that is effectively what they were forced to do.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by redcoat View Post
            The difference was that the British were more honest about their policy, the USAAF knew that it was politically unacceptable to admit to area bombing, even though through circumstances that is effectively what they were forced to do.
            And when forced by circumstances to switch to area bombing, the USAAF did exactly what I have been a strong advocate for on other threads here.

            They saturated the German railroad marshalling system with Medium Capacity HE, eventually bringing about the complete collapse of German rail traffic in western Germany. This is something that the RAF could have been doing by night (from the beginning of 1943 forward), once the requisite lift capacity started to come on stream.

            If 300 aircraft are each unloading 10 500lbMC over the general area and only 2% of these land within the boundaries of the yard, that's still 60 big craters to fill. And almost every single one of them will have to eventually be filled, before operations will return to the same efficiency level they were at prior to the attack. In addition, that's entirely disregarding potential for a half dozen (or so) direct "lucky" hits that may easily take out "soft elements" with just a single hit. Things like the yard's signaling tower, the dispatch office, divisional control center, the switching point for the telegraphy infrastructure, etc, etc.

            That's the beauty of a target like this when circumstances mandate the use of an "area bombing" approach. You don't need accuracy or concentration of effort to achieve tangible results.

            When the USAAF did hit these facilities with "concentrated" HE strikes (as little as 10% within the yard's boundaries), it caused such destruction so as to render the facility useless (in it's primary purposes), in some of the more severe cases for the remainder of the war. Even though the through traffic routing (mainlines) could be restored and operational in short order, the ability to build and break down trains was hopelessly impaired.

            Me and my "dead horse" (Mierzejewski) again...

            Hi Nick!

            You started this, knowing full well that I'd eventually take the bait...right?

            Cheers, Ron
            48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
            __________________________________________________ __________________

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            • #36
              Originally posted by iron View Post
              And when forced by circumstances to switch to area bombing, the USAAF did exactly what I have been a strong advocate for on other threads here.

              They saturated the German railroad marshalling system with Medium Capacity HE, eventually bringing about the complete collapse of German rail traffic in western Germany. This is something that the RAF could have been doing by night (from the beginning of 1943 forward), once the requisite lift capacity started to come on stream. ...
              I agree in principle, tho I'd recommend reading up on the bombing history of the US 9th AF vs the railroads in France and Germany & the USAAF vs the Italian railroads. My interest in this was originally piqued by remarks from my father who had been a 9th AF ordnance officer & dipping into the literature revealed a lot of detail that, as always, contradicts many of the popular assumptions or interpretations.

              One key point orignating from Dads remarks was that the 9th AF begain displacing its bomber wings forward to the newly captured French & Belgian airfields in September 1944. This was for the primary purpose of putting Germanys railroads in range of the 9ths medium bombers, so they could reproduce the same campaign as they had run against the Franco Belgian railroads earlier. This effort was just starting when weather and the Ardennes offensive caused postphonement. The campaign picked up again in January with actions like Operation Clarion against a portion of the Ruhr railroads.

              What portion of the 1945 railroad attacks were made by the US 8th AF, the US 9th AF, or by the 9ths British counterparts I have not yet discovered. What is clear is the 9th AF was using every bit of 18 months of accumulated experince at the task. One of the prefrences was to attack bridges rather than the marshalling yards or engine repair sheds. The bridges were far tougher targets, but when they went down they stayed down and firmly shut off traffic for weeks. Earlier in France and Italy the attacks on the easier targets proved disappointing and the German ability to repair or work around these damaged sites was better than anticipated.

              One little oddity I noticed: While the 8th AF generally bombed from high altitude, 20,000+ feet the mediums of the 9th stayed well below that. Bombing altitudes were usually below 15,000 feet, below 10,000 was not unusual, and one can find descriptions of missions where the commanders went below 5,000. Counterintuatively it appears the 9th had a smaller proportion of losses from AAA fires than the 8th AF. Another item I've not yet been able to pin down yet.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by 1st cavalry View Post
                no such detail I am afraid . Afaik they only gone after the ships in the last days
                of the evacuation but they did hit targets of oportunity before that.
                Darn. Comparing the number of Allied ships sunk @ Dunkirk against the total number of sorties you described (can you share the source?) looks a bit lame for the LW. But, I'd think it would look better were the actual number of anti shipping sorties known.
                If you have any recomendations for sources for this I'd appreciate it, & thanks.

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                • #38
                  Hooton, Phoenix Triumphant, P.260, Table 26 "Air Operations in the Dunkirk Pocket 27 May-2June 1940"

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Michele View Post
                    Yes, well, note how in the part you emphasized the low altitude at which a dive bomber had to end an accurate attack is considered as a liability.

                    The text quoted isn't entirely accurate, BTW, because fighters could protect bombers at low altitude - only, they'd become very vulnerable, themselves. That is what happened during that low-altitude pursuit over the Channel.
                    In other words, they had fighter cover. This is something I did mention as saving them.
                    Yes. In other words, being a dive bomber does mean being more vulnerable than a level bomber after the bombing run. You either climb again - slowly, and thus you are vulnerable - or you stay low - and are vulnerable for that very reason.
                    Not necessarily. Due to the nature of dive bombing, the bomber should be at maximal speed when it leaves the dive, thus allowing it to climb at a greater than normal rate, for the first few minutes at least, thereby allowing it to rapidly return to safer operational envelope. On the Eastern Front, the VVS often employed the Pe-2 as a dive bomber until quite late into the war. Losses of this aircraft, when dive bombing, were not worse than for Il-2, a dedicated ground attack aircraft.

                    The RAF, if it had eschewed nocturnal level bombing and instead gone with nocturnal dive bombing, would have met exactly the same amount of fighter interference. The biggest problem would have been from AA artillery. Part of the optimisation of survival for bomber crews was to fly at altitudes beyond the reach of most AA artillery, which reduced accuracy to a lottery. Even developing long range escort fighters does not eliminate this problem.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                      In other words, they had fighter cover. This is something I did mention as saving them.
                      Fighters always help bombers. The point I'm making is that everything else being equal - say 1 fighter escorting 1 bomber - if the bomber is a level bomber that carries out its standard mission profile, the fighter has a much easier task protecting it, than if the bomber is a dive bomber carrying out its standard mission profile.

                      Not necessarily. Due to the nature of dive bombing, the bomber should be at maximal speed when it leaves the dive,
                      It depends what you mean by "maximal" speed. If by that you mean the top speed that any aircraft can achieve during a prolonged dive, which is above its top speed on level flight, and is equal to terminal velocity (that having, in turn, nothing to do with the aricraft's engine, but everything to do with gravity and aerodynamics), then no. The Stuka was a good dive bomber exactly because it could dive slowly. It had dive brakes that prevented it from reaching terminal velocity (which isn't a good speed either for accurate dive bombing and for the aircraft's safety). It never exceeded 300 mph on the dive.
                      That is, however, higher than its top level-flight speed, yes.

                      The RAF, if it had eschewed nocturnal level bombing and instead gone with nocturnal dive bombing, would have met exactly the same amount of fighter interference. The biggest problem would have been from AA artillery.
                      Uh, accuracy is the point in selecting dive bombing over level bombing. Seeing the target helps accuracy. Of course night-time dive bombing could take place aiming at pathfinders' incendiaries or fires, but that helps only to the extent with which the pathfinders hit the right target in the first place. If the target is a city, that system may work. If it's a factory... it's quite harder.
                      In short, if dive bombers were consistently used at night, I suspect the very purpose of using them instead of level bombers (their higher accuracy) would largely be defeated.

                      Basically, I was worrying about enemy fighters because I took it for granted that if the RAF had gone for long-range strategic dive bombers, they would have insisted on trying to force their way in by day. Which didn't seem like a good idea anyway, regardless of the type of bomber.

                      That said, yes, dive bombers would be flying down into the dangerous range of medium-caliber AA, by day or by night.
                      Michele

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by 1st cavalry View Post
                        Hooton, Phoenix Triumphant, P.260, Table 26 "Air Operations in the Dunkirk Pocket 27 May-2June 1940"
                        Hooten again, his name comes up so often. Thanks much

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