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  • Luftwaffe destroy British and Soviet aircraft industries

    Excuse me for my lack of WW2 knowledge but I just had this thought that if Germany achieved air superiority and crippled their ability to produce aircraft across Great Britain and the Soviet Union by the end of 1941, how that would've possibly turned the tides of war. Some of what I state may already been happening or partially happening. The two aircraft I use are not set in stone. I was just looking for a Luftwaffe equivalent of the RAF DH Mosquito as a possibility for a multirole "precision" fighter-bomber, as for the bomber I felt the Fw 200 was already a good enough four engine bomber, with the range and speed to attack Britain and the Soviet Union, so why waste time and resources starting from scratch to make long range bomber prototypes that Germany could never have built in sufficient numbers anyway? Only a cooperation between all aircraft companies retooling to produce a standardized bomber on an already proven plane I thought would be their best bet.

    The scenario:

    Early 1940. Say the Luftwaffe were given top priority to destroy both the British and Soviet Union aircraft industries. All reconnaissance is conducted with the aim of finding and destroying both means of building aircraft. Also, priority is given to produce a fast lightweight, long range fighter-bomber for long range bomber patrol, interceptor and low altitude precision strike bomber. The Luftwaffe comes up with an earlier prototype of the Dornier Do 335, which is in production by 1941. Since alloys are in low quantities, they decide to use wood and composite materials where possible. This increases its speed and range. Instead of dreams of an unrealistic strategic bomber force, the Luftwaffe looks improving the Focke-Wulf Fw 200, which proved to be valuable at destroying Atlantic shipping. Instead of numbers, the Luftwaffe looks to quality bombers, with a focus on engines. They also perfect the use of night bombing with a large contingent of escorts. Their first targets will be existing airfields and hangars of fighters then fighter plane factories across Britain. This will be the same for the Soviet Union. Next will be the supply lines shipping the raw materials for building metal war materials, as well as the refineries that make specific alloys, especially for aircraft. Next on the list would be warships. Now that air superiority is achieved, less escorts are needed and the escorts can be split between regular bombing missions and precision strike raids on warships. This would be in tandem with U-boat operations in the North Sea and Atlantic.

    Other developments
    V missiles are not developed. Resources for invading Britain go towards defeating the Soviets and finishing off the British in North Africa and capturing vital oil resources. By late 1941, the US will be entering a war with a Britain and Soviet Union nearly surrendered because they have no air power or logistics to rebuild an effective air force, navy or army.
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  • #2
    I doubt that is possible. First, the Luftwaffe really lacks the bomber force to flatten factories on a sustained basis. That is, they may bomb one or two but they won't be back for months, if at all, and the factory will recover.
    Next, you have to have the reconnissance capacity to accurately target each facility another thing the Germans proved very variable on. Sometimes they had good information, other times their information was crap. They had no spy network in either nation to speak of and had little hard knowledge of wartime changes to production in either.
    The few times a factory was completely oblitherated happend rarely. A great example is the Focke Wulf plant at Marienburg. The day before Göring was to arrive and dedicate the plant open the USAAF arrived with about 100 B-17 and in perfect weather pummelled the plant into a crater.

    As to the above directly: The Do 335 wasn't going to change anything. As a strike aircraft its payload would have been too small for real value and its speed is illusitory at best. Building it from non-strategic materials, just as with other aircraft not designed from the get-go that way would result in a heavier, slower, and inferior product.

    The Fw 200 was an improvisation at best. It converted a transport plane into a maritime reconnissance bomber of dubious value. Yes, the Fw 200 scored a few early notable successes but on the whole was hardly worth the effort. It didn't coordinate with U-boats in patrols. It was vulnerable to both fighter aircraft and AA fire. It was structurially unsound and had both landing gear and fuselage failures frequently in landings and even take offs.

    The Luftwaffe did try to develop a "next generation" operational and strategic bomber. These were the Bomber B and A programs respectively.
    The bomber B program (Ju 288, Fw 191, Hs 130) was looking for an advanced, fast, and "all the bells and whistles" medium bomber. Remote controlled defensive armament, engines still on the drawing board, special features like all electric controls (Fw 191), pressurization, etc., were all demanded. The result was a total failure and none of these planes existed much beyond prototypes.
    The Bomber A program produced the equally technologically challenged He 177 that suffered a prolonged development period that stretched into 1944 when the program was cancelled due to the deteriorating war situation.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
      Excuse me for my lack of WW2 knowledge but I just had this thought that if Germany achieved air superiority and crippled their ability to produce aircraft across Great Britain and the Soviet Union by the end of 1941, how that would've possibly turned the tides of war.
      Setting aside the complete impossibility of the above (German bomber range and factory location) the allies still have the production from US, Canadian and Australian factories. US aircraft production was immense.

      IIRC most of the UK's aircraft production facilities were in Northern England and well outside the range of German bombers. I think there was one Spitfire plant on the South coast.

      IIRC the Soviet aircraft factories were beyond the Urals. The USA's B29s would have had the range but nothing the Axis had did.

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      • #4
        What if Hitler left Russia alone? Nope, same problem of intelligence. Can't hit what you can't tell where it is. If the Germans even seriously tried, GB would have moved the factories to Wales or someplace. The Luftwaffe had problems in the General Staff with choosing aircraft and their roles. Let's take the FW 200. Has the range, but lacking in armament. The whole Me-262 project and so on. They just couldn't wrap their heads around it. "They" were supposed to ge trained at the higher level military schools, but it doesn't show.
        In Vino Veritas

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        • #5
          Anyone have any detailed information on any German efforts at a 'transportation' bombing campaign? I know they attempted to interdict Allied shipping & ports in the Mediterranean in 1943, and failed despite some notable tactical victories.

          Were there any air campaigns aimed at the Soviet railroads? What I've found on the Allied anti rail or transportation efforts show they were fairly effective. How much damage could the GAF inflicted had it focused on the British railroads & bridge in August - September 1940?

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          • #6
            Reading the sad history of one of the aircraft mentioned reflected poorly on the Germans to continually stick with very bad aircraft design.

            The Fw-200 Kondor was a magnificant passenger aircraft almost without peer. Although the Fw-200 had a millitary capacity in mind when planned the effects of turning a very good passenger aircraft into what essentially is a four engined heavy Strategi/Tactical/Recon bomber would deliver one of the Luftwaffe's ultimate lemons, they had a history of engine fires/seizures, also a woeful history of undercarriage collapse, either taking off/landing or standing still.

            Further more the Fw-200 was prone to breaking her back even when empty and just sitting there doing nothing, many just folded when they were loaded with bombs/bullets/men and fuel.

            The Germans had a very good potential aircraft and that was the He-177, but had it been designed from the get go as a four engined heavy bomber it may have done some damage, but the RLM (especially Goering) insisted that the aircraft be a super twin engined (two engines mated together to produce one larger engine) all purpose bomber including the RLM/Goering/Hitler that the heavy aircraft have dive bombing capacity.

            The He-177 just like the Fw-200 had a sad history of reliability, engine fires/siezures, undercarriage collapse, woefully slow and very poor handling. Goering was pestered so much by the engineers of Heinkel to convert the He-177 into a Four Engined Strategic Bomber that he threatened to heve them arrested and put into prison. So Heinkel had to develop the He-177B or more precise the He-277, but by the time USAAF and RAF were bombing the heart out of Germany, Goering never forgave himself that Germany never developed a four engined heavy strategic bomber.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
              Reading the sad history of one of the aircraft mentioned reflected poorly on the Germans to continually stick with very bad aircraft design.

              The Fw-200 Kondor was a magnificant passenger aircraft almost without peer. Although the Fw-200 had a millitary capacity in mind when planned the effects of turning a very good passenger aircraft into what essentially is a four engined heavy Strategi/Tactical/Recon bomber would deliver one of the Luftwaffe's ultimate lemons, they had a history of engine fires/seizures, also a woeful history of undercarriage collapse, either taking off/landing or standing still.

              Further more the Fw-200 was prone to breaking her back even when empty and just sitting there doing nothing, many just folded when they were loaded with bombs/bullets/men and fuel.

              The Germans had a very good potential aircraft and that was the He-177, but had it been designed from the get go as a four engined heavy bomber it may have done some damage, but the RLM (especially Goering) insisted that the aircraft be a super twin engined (two engines mated together to produce one larger engine) all purpose bomber including the RLM/Goering/Hitler that the heavy aircraft have dive bombing capacity.

              The He-177 just like the Fw-200 had a sad history of reliability, engine fires/siezures, undercarriage collapse, woefully slow and very poor handling. Goering was pestered so much by the engineers of Heinkel to convert the He-177 into a Four Engined Strategic Bomber that he threatened to heve them arrested and put into prison. So Heinkel had to develop the He-177B or more precise the He-277, but by the time USAAF and RAF were bombing the heart out of Germany, Goering never forgave himself that Germany never developed a four engined heavy strategic bomber.
              Actually, of the group I named only the least known, the Hs 130C proved to be a winner. The problem was the Luftwaffe looked down its nose at Henschel "...a locomotive manufacturer..." The Hs 130 was originally not part of the Bomber B program but as the original participant's planes crashed and burned (literally) it was put in as a back up plan. By late 43 it was actually ready as a prototype for production. Problem was by then the state of the war prevented it from ever getting into produciton so it remained an obscure twin engined fairly advanced bomber that never got a chance to perform.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                Actually, of the group I named only the least known, the Hs 130C proved to be a winner. The problem was the Luftwaffe looked down its nose at Henschel "...a locomotive manufacturer..." The Hs 130 was originally not part of the Bomber B program but as the original participant's planes crashed and burned (literally) it was put in as a back up plan. By late 43 it was actually ready as a prototype for production. Problem was by then the state of the war prevented it from ever getting into produciton so it remained an obscure twin engined fairly advanced bomber that never got a chance to perform.
                That Hs-130 looks like an impressive machine, but again just having a scant reading of the history the RLM and Goering showed almost no interest in the aircraft, and considering it first flew on the 11th April 1939, had Goering insisted that Henschel make into a heavy four engined bomber by about mid 1940 it could have been in service with some experimental untis testing it out in battle then correct those faults and have it in larger numbers by mid 1941 to devestate the British aero industries.

                But also tactics in the Battle of Britian showed that even with the He-111, Ju-88 and Do-17 the Germans could carry out strategic bombing with it's tactical bombers, the main fault was Goering, he forbade any follow-up attacks on airfields two days in a row, not only that the Germans knew full well where all the British Aero factories were, their aero engine factories and major maintenance facillities, but this is the kicker they were not a priority for the Luftwaffe during the BoB until too late.

                Had the Luftwaffe from the get go attacked en masse day after day on the British Aero Production Facillities thus strangling the RAF of aircraft, no amount of pilots you have if you don't have aircraft, those pilots are grounded, then they become highly trained infantry.

                With absolute air supremacy the Germans would have been in a better to carry out that specific campaign that is related to a certain sea mammal.

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                • #9
                  So, if Goering and the Luftwaffe hadn't insisted on developing a new bomber, settled with improving existing bombers, carried out follow-up attacks on airfields and made attacking Britain's aero industry a priority, that they could've achieved Air Superiority? If so, what would be a logical time frame for that happening? Was German intelligence about where the factories were precise? Could the Luftwaffe fly to and bomb farther relocated factories? Wouldn't you have to destroy Britain's navy before you even attempted Operation Sea Lion? Or was Hitler counting on coastal batteries and the Kriegsmarine to intercept any war ships that interfered? Wouldn't just putting a naval blockade of the islands be good enough, or was Germany after it's resources?
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
                    So, if Goering and the Luftwaffe hadn't insisted on developing a new bomber, settled with improving existing bombers, carried out follow-up attacks on airfields and made attacking Britain's aero industry a priority, that they could've achieved Air Superiority? If so, what would be a logical time frame for that happening? Was German intelligence about where the factories were precise? Could the Luftwaffe fly to and bomb farther relocated factories? Wouldn't you have to destroy Britain's navy before you even attempted Operation Sea Lion? Or was Hitler counting on coastal batteries and the Kriegsmarine to intercept any war ships that interfered? Wouldn't just putting a naval blockade of the islands be good enough, or was Germany after it's resources?
                    Germany had a four engined heavy strategic bomber that first flew in October 1936 it was the Dornier Do-19 well befor the British also they had the Junkers Ju-89 which it flew on the 11th April 1937, these were new aircraft, but total disinterest by the Luftwaffe post General Walther Wever made his dream of a Luftwaffe destroying the factories and infrastructure to cripple the enemies capacity to wage war was switched to a Luftwaffe totally supporting the troops, in this it worked but when it came time for the Luftwaffe to wage essentially a Strategic Campaign it was left wanting.

                    Goering as it turned out was the best weapon the British had, an idiot that just had no idea on the fundamentals of modern warfare and more concerned about the systemic corruption and squeezing every single Reichmark out of the system for himself. The British should consider giving Goering a bloody Victoria Cross for the way he termited the Luftwaffe from the inside. Save Britian he did with his stupidity.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
                      So, if Goering and the Luftwaffe hadn't insisted on developing a new bomber, settled with improving existing bombers, carried out follow-up attacks on airfields and made attacking Britain's aero industry a priority, that they could've achieved Air Superiority? If so, what would be a logical time frame for that happening? Was German intelligence about where the factories were precise? Could the Luftwaffe fly to and bomb farther relocated factories? Wouldn't you have to destroy Britain's navy before you even attempted Operation Sea Lion? Or was Hitler counting on coastal batteries and the Kriegsmarine to intercept any war ships that interfered? Wouldn't just putting a naval blockade of the islands be good enough, or was Germany after it's resources?
                      It's not that simple. The Germans needed a new generation of bombers and fighters. They should have gone for less demanding requirements than they did. Instead of specifying engines, a remote controlled armament, cabin pressurization, etc., they should have simply said x kg of bombs at this speed to this range with "heavy" or "moderate" defensive armament of x guns and left it to the manufacturers to meet their initial broad requirements like the US, Britain, and even the Soviets and Japanese did.

                      They also shouldn't have played favorites or left out manufacturers from the process. As for general development, I'd say they should have started to replace Messerschmitt's 109 with the He 100D right after the fall of France. It was a simpler, better, and more developable plane. The 109 was getting obsolesent by comparison.
                      The Bomber A program could have developed something akin to the P 108 Italy had and gotten it into production by 1942 at the latest. The Bomber B program might have produced a B-26 or Mosquito-like bomber by the same timeframe.
                      Next, they needed to stabilize their pilot training program and rationalize it to produce a steady flow of competent pilots for replacements. This would have left them with a much better equipped airforce by 1942 than they had. As to destroying the British or Soviet aircraft industry I don't think they could. But with a better set of fighters (the He 100D+ and Fw 190 as single seats, the Fw 187 as a two seater) they could have held their own much longer. With better bombers they might have had more impact on Allied and Soviet operations than they did too.

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                      • #12
                        2 major problems:

                        1: Luftwaffe was unprepared.
                        2: Goering in command.

                        + Hitler who didnt know too much about planes...
                        "Give me 100 000 croatian soldiers and I will conqure all world" - Napoleon Bonaparte

                        Soldiers are coming and leaving while war will never end.

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                        • #13
                          The Germans also needed larger bombs to actually achieve the task of not only leveling a factory, but to destroy its machinery. During those rare times the Luftwaffe actually managed to successfully bomb a British aircraft factory, it was soon back in full service within days.
                          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hansika View Post
                            2 major problems:

                            1: Luftwaffe was unprepared.
                            I disagree to a point, the Luftwaffe was well prepared for Tactical Warfare that supported the troops as aerial artillery, but when it came to using the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britian the Luftwaffe was sadly well underprepared as it now took on a role it never trained for and that was totally a strategic role and in that it failed.
                            2: Goering in command.
                            I absolutely agree, his lack of interest in the development of good equipment and systemic corruption was legendary

                            + Hitler who didnt know too much about planes...
                            That is unfair, Hitler was only as knowledgable as what was being to fed him by Goering, he was told time and time again his Luftwaffe was superior to everything and until the Battle of Britian he was correct in thinking that his Luftwaffe was unbeatable. The mistake of Hitler was not to sack Goering after the Battle of Britian disaster.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                              2 major problems:

                              1: Luftwaffe was unprepared.
                              I disagree to a point, the Luftwaffe was well prepared for Tactical Warfare that supported the troops as aerial artillery, but when it came to using the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britian the Luftwaffe was sadly well underprepared as it now took on a role it never trained for and that was totally a strategic role and in that it failed.
                              2: Goering in command.
                              I absolutely agree, his lack of interest in the development of good equipment and systemic corruption was legendary

                              + Hitler who didnt know too much about planes...
                              Actually, the Luftwaffe was fairly ill-prepared for tactical aerial support until about mid war and even then was pretty sloppy at it. In the early stages of the war only Richtofen's VIII fliegerkorps had any real ground support capacity and training. The in place means for calling for air support was to send the request up the chain to Army level then they would pass it to the Luftwaffe side of the house where the request would be considered and if approved air support missions would be planned and the details passed back to the Heer side of things. This required about 24 to 36 hours to occur.
                              Flivos (Luftwaffe liason officers) rarely existed below corps level. They were the ones that would pass the requests off to the Luftwaffe as the official liasion officer in the formal chain of command.

                              The Luftwaffe in the BoB acted pretty much just like they did in France and Poland in terms of operations. The only add on was when night bombing started they set up the various beam guidance systems to direct their aircraft onto their targets.
                              The problem was that up to the BoB the Luftwaffe had rarely faced really determined and mass opposition to their bombing raids / strikes. Now they did and their escort methods proved incapable of handling that sort of enemy response. While the operational crews were learning the hard way what worked the losses mounted too quickly for them to sustain their effort.

                              Göring was only part of the problem. The whole RLM was staffed largely by officers who were combat trained rather than technical, engineering, and logistical experts first and foremost. They didn't understand procurement techniques, often simply wanted pet projects pushed forward regardless of how insane they were, and frequently made changes to specifications that kept manufacturers producing numerous prototypes to meet these demands.
                              You don't see the US, Britain, or Russia... or even Japan, manufacturing 10 to 20 prototype aircraft over a period of a year or more and then manufacturing another batch of similar size pre-production planes for operational testing at the front which is how the Germans did things. For example, the US usually ordered just two (2) prototypes for testing. These were frequently tested to destruction. If modifications were needed the two were the ones modified. No additional planes would be made until those two were at least reasonably viable as aircraft. Once proven reasonably useful the next stage was to produce the initial production batch which would then be issued to a squadron or even group for work up to operational readiness without being in combat. That gave time to work out any remaining problems. From there the unit entered combat and the plane entered full production from limited production.
                              Germany often had prototypes handed over to combat units for testing. Pre-production models might be given to a special squadron for operational use and additional testing but also for use in combat at the front. Any issues were worked out and additional prototypes back in Germany would be made and tested. Once a reasonably useful plane existed it might be actually ordered into production or a small (10 to 20 plane) batch of pre-production planes would be produced and sent to an operational unit ahead of full production.
                              It usually meant that the hot and dangerous new "wonder weapon" airplane the Germans had was encountered by the Allies is tiny numbers initially and they got the full measure of it along with having produced reasonable counters by the time the Germans had it in full production and being issued in numbers for combat. This usually negated the hoped for effect of the new plane on combat outcomes.

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