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  • Luftwaffe becomes Strategic rather than Tactical?

    So changes happen in the 1930s and the Luftwaffe adopts an acceptable long-ranged, high altitude four-engined heavy bomber arm as its primary bombing force. This is the German equivalent of American and British models.

    Thus, the 'Kampfgeschwader' becomes a less numerous force although bombing capacity has now greatly increased.

    They also remove the dive bomber arm completely. So no more 'Sturzkampfgeschwader'.

    The industrial and strategic resources devoted to the Luftwaffe stay roughly the same high level as historically.

    What happens to the structure of the Luftwaffe in WW2 and what happens come 1939-1945?
    Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
    Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
    Barbarossa Derailed I & II
    Battle of Kalinin October 1941

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
    So changes happen in the 1930s and the Luftwaffe adopts an acceptable long-ranged, high altitude four-engined heavy bomber arm as its primary bombing force. This is the German equivalent of American and British models.

    Thus, the 'Kampfgeschwader' becomes a less numerous force although bombing capacity has now greatly increased.

    They also remove the dive bomber arm completely. So no more 'Sturzkampfgeschwader'.

    The industrial and strategic resources devoted to the Luftwaffe stay roughly the same high level as historically.

    What happens to the structure of the Luftwaffe in WW2 and what happens come 1939-1945?
    This poser is worthy of a lot more thought.

    Firstly we must assume Fatty Goering dies in an air crash in the early twenties,he was always an advocate of "more = better" and therefore was committed to seeing 2-3 twin engine bombers rather than one 4 engine aircraft.
    His standing within the party depended largely on controlling vast amounts of aircraft,to build less but more effective types would diminish his influence (In his opinion).

    So Goering has to go!

    Two things spring to mind immediately:

    Blitzkrieg is not half as effective seeing as 1/3rd of the equation (close air support)has been removed.
    This will naturally affect the speed and even the ability of the Heer to conquer such large chunks of territory as it actually did.
    The Heer would have to rely entirely on its intrinsic heavy artillery for fire support which while excellent once in action, was largely horse drawn.

    And:

    The UK may have actually experienced a heavy bomber raid on 3rd September 40 and onwards as predicted.
    As this is expected and assuming that the RAF and other allied air forces know of the existence of hundreds of LW 4 engined bombers,can we also assume that their Lordships had seen fit to equip day fighters with at least two 20mm cannons?

    What of LW escorts,have they developed a viable alternative to the BF110?
    If not then I'm afraid they would be destined to learn the same bitter lessons the 8th Air Force did in 43.

    LW aircraft up until 42 had hand-held defensive 7.92mm MGs,they never really went in for power operated turrets.
    I imagine that a late 30s era LW 4 engine bomber may have 7 of them; Two dorsal behind the cockpit, one in the nose, two ventral and possibly one in each waist.
    They would soon learn the utter inadequacy of such an arrangement and scramble about to fit a rear turret or some such,this would take time.
    At the same time this is happening,the UK has introduced the devastatingly heavily armed Beaufighter which can travel far out over the North Sea and intercept an incoming raid almost at source.
    Initial interception would be aided by radar equipped picket destroyers with RAF technicians embarked giving a running commentary on the raids position.
    This of course would be a hazardous task but picket duty by its very nature can be nothing else.

    These two factors alone could lead to a lot of debate,I'm really looking forward to it!

    Great idea for a thread Cult Icon.

    Comment


    • #3
      I wonder what impact this will have on the Legion Condor? It was challenging enough to operate the aircraft they did from Spanish airfields. Could and would they operate this larger bomber? If so what would this mean to how the conflict was fought? What different experience would the Germans gain?

      Comment


      • #4
        US B-17's cost around $240,000, US B-25's cost around $110,000.

        So use this fantasy multiple of 2 X..

        Historical


        Battle of Britain LW:

        ~1482 medium bombers (both regular and 'fast' (DO-17)
        ~244 heavy fighters
        ~365 Stukas
        ~976 Fighters
        ~91 night fighters
        ~240 transporters

        LW June 1941:

        ~931 Medium Bombers
        ~105 Heavy fighters
        ~260 Stukas
        ~898 Fighters
        ~148 Night Fighters
        ~212 transporters


        Revised ooB, projected:

        Assumptions:

        -Luftwaffe shrinks in total aircraft and becomes more similar to the RAF.

        -With the Luftwaffe based around protecting and enhancing the heavy bombers, tactical air support and precision strikes for the German army is now emaciated with no Stuka arm. Heavy fighters and fighters are more focused on protecting bombers than acting as fighter-bombers or escorts for the Stukas. Ammunition stores, fuel, and other supplies shifts towards to the Bombing force as well.

        -Twin-engined heavy fighters and high altitude, long ranged fighters get vastly increased development and production attention as do a more viable fighter-bomber than the ME-109.

        -The German heavy bomber force is protected by a mixture of heavy fighters and long-ranged fighters equipped with drop tanks.

        -Transport capacity for the LW greatly increases with the heavy bomber force.

        BoB LW

        600 4-engined Bombers
        500 Heavy Fighters
        500 Fighters
        90 Night Fighters
        240 Transporters

        -----------------

        Assumptions:

        -The Wehrmacht still wins in the West, but at the additional cost to the ground force in terms of equipment and manpower losses. The strategic air force proves to be less useful in a short war, and the Allied Air forces take less casualties. The German Army complains about the lack of tactical air support. The Army is now a bit weaker with a six figure increase in casualties, but is still strong enough to be slated for Barbarossa.

        -The BOB becomes less of a disaster for the Luftwaffe and less of a victory for the RAF. The Luftwaffe can still perform strategic bombing on cities and industrial centers, but the cost of doing so is prohibitive as GB is not going to give in and the RAF is still defending the air space.

        -The greater investment in the 'Heavy fighter'- ME-110 proves to be a expensive dog (takes huge losses) and the Me-109's with drop tanks carry out the defense of the bomber force. Development of the German version of the P-51 accelerates. The FW-190 is already replacing the ME-109 in the Fighter Arm.

        -Restructuring.

        LW June 1941:

        ~400 Heavy bombers
        ~200 Heavy fighters
        ~500 Fighters
        ~150 Night Fighters
        ~210 transporters
        Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
        Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
        Barbarossa Derailed I & II
        Battle of Kalinin October 1941

        Comment


        • #5
          Was there the economic basis to create and then maintain such a force during an extended campaign? Especially to maintain one which would incur heavy losses against an enemy further afield than its immediate neighbours.

          Also what would other European countries do as Germany built up such a force in the prewar years?
          "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it"
          G.B Shaw

          "They promised us homes fit for heroes, they give us heroes fit for homes."
          Grandad, Only Fools and Horses

          Comment


          • #6
            Fantasy LW June 1941:

            ~400 Heavy bombers
            ~200 Heavy fighters
            ~500 Fighters
            ~150 Night Fighters
            ~210 transporters



            Assumptions:

            -The Axis invades the SU with a weaker ground force.

            -The LW sets it sights on potential things:
            1. Resupply operations
            2. The destruction of Moscow, Kharkov, and Leningrad.
            3. Strategic bombing and the Oil campaign against the SU
            4. Destruction of the Red air force.

            It focuses on 1 and 4 as priority for 1941. The LW also starts to pound Moscow with a strategic bombing campaign. The Soviet government evacuates Moscow and resettles outside of bombing range.

            -The Axis is now reliant on the ground forces alone to win. This is mitigated somewhat by the improved ability of the LW to conduct re-supply operations. The hard charging panzer troops now rarely have extended pauses for re-supply, but the trade off is zero stuka support and minimal fighter-bomber support. Casualties are considerably higher, and the speed of the Axis advance is slower. Soviet losses on the ground decrease.

            -The Red air force is shot up as historically, and Hitler's armies hit their culmination point two months earlier..... by October of 1941. There is no Operation Typhoon, as the ground force is too weak to continue.

            -Kharkov, Bryansk, Vyazama, Demanysk, and Rzhev remains in Soviet hands.
            -Leningrad is not in siege.
            -There is no 'Rzhev salient' pointing towards Moscow.
            -Industries of Kharkov and Leningrad continue to contribute to the war effort.
            -The Red Army's disasters of Bryansk and Vyazama do not occur. The Red Army is considerably stronger than it was historically with a million more men at the front during October 1941.

            -The Soviets, however, consider the LW a strategic threat, and now emphasize the rebuilding of their Air force more than historically. The rebuilding of their armored forces suffers.

            -The Soviets begin to lobby the W. Allies for Lend-lease aid (technology, equipment, expertise) against the LW heavy bomber threat.

            ---------------------

            Soviet Late Autumn-early Winter Counteroffensive. Sometime in October-November the Soviets launch an offensive that is one million men larger than the counteroffensive they executed after Typhoon.

            This attack is more successful than the previous one, with the Axis being pushed back to the Dneiper in the south. The Axis successfully withdraw from soviet encirclement and sieges thanks to the LW.

            They also lose:

            -Novogrod falls. AGN is now in present day Estonia.
            -Smolensk and Romny falls.
            - By December the front line looks like this: North to South: concentrations around Estonia, Latvia, Minsk, Kiev, Dneiper.
            -Both sides are now exhausted.
            -Moscow is becoming a dead city, although the Soviet counteroffensive dulled the bombing.
            Last edited by Cult Icon; 30 Dec 13, 13:05.
            Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
            Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
            Barbarossa Derailed I & II
            Battle of Kalinin October 1941

            Comment


            • #7
              Something worth considering is the type of field needed by large 30+ ton bombers,no longer will a flattish meadow suffice.
              I don't know how many hardened runways were available to the LW in Western Europe but I suspect not a great deal.
              It follows that these aircraft can only fly from bases in Germany and from a few in W Europe.
              If the allies had any sense these would have been ripped up as they retreated.
              Not sure if the French would have agreed of course but............

              Comment


              • #8
                The Heer starts 1942 with a prestige that is less impressive than historically. It had lost its offensive capability and yet is still over 600 km away from Moscow. This tempers their ambitions for their operations. Hitler is also aware of the oil problem, and maintains to the OKW that 'if the oilfields of Asia are not mine by the end of this year, then we will lose the war...'. However, with the Axis armies so far away, it is out of the question to launch a summer offensive into the Caucauses. The summer offensive will be focused on capturing the industrial center of Kharkov and destroying Red Army armies. The oilfields are still two offensives away.

                Then there is the question of strategic bombing. The cities and industrial centers or an aerial oil campaign against Maikop, Baku, etc. ?

                Internal debates. The silver lining is that Luftwaffe, in the eyes of the Nazi leadership and the German people becomes more prominent. Even if the Heer fails, at least 'the enemies' cities and industrial centers will be burnt to ashes..' says Goebbels.

                The successful carpet bombing and razing of Moscow becomes a rally cry for Goebbels and a propaganda coup. Hitler takes note of this and realizes that during the future summer offensive, he does not have to take cities to maintain political will. He only has to carpet bomb them with his luftwaffe weapon.

                The Soviet ground force start 1942 with a considerably stronger position than historically. While the misfortune of Moscow is noted, most of the Western USSR is in Soviet hands along with her population base and industrial centers. The Soviets have more resources.

                Kharkov is still producing T-34s and the Axis are occupying a considerably smaller portion of the soviet population. Soviet strength at the front is much higher than the Axis, and the strategic initiative is with the USSR with its large reserves.

                The USSR can now launch offensives again in Feb 1942.

                The Axis forces must wait until the summer to initiate any type of strategic offensive activity.

                As for dealing with the LW, the Soviets are working on a more potent anti-aircraft ground force all throughout 1941. They are also trying to develop, with the help of the W. Allies... fighters wings that can shoot down heavy bombers and their escorts.
                Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                Comment


                • #9
                  The first major problem I can see with this scenario is the utter lack of a suitable aero-engine with which to power such an aircraft. Look at the historical designs that emerged during the time period in which such a development would have to, were it to be present in the operational numbers you suggest by 1939. The Do 19 and the Ju 89 were the machines available and these were powered by the most suitable production power plants of the time. As tested, the Do 19 had abysmal all-round performance figures. Limited lift capability, low service ceiling, low economical cruise speed, limited range. The numbers for the Ju 89V1 look considerably better on the surface but: it was also powered by the DB600... and, as tested, it was not fitted out with any of the tons of gear that would be required of an operational bomber. Both of these designs were the result of a combination of poor aerodynamic design and underpowered engines.
                  German airframe manufacturers had little experience with the design of such a machine during the period...they had a lot to learn. Yes, the civil aviation industry (pre-Hitler) had done some "looking into the problem" (particularly Dornier) but building a long range flying boat to deliver a few tons of pax/mail is not the same as building a land based combat aircraft of similar size and capabilities. This is shown in Dornier's approach to the Do 19. There was a large learning curve here and this would take more time than was available in your scenario to solve it, test it, improve it, produce it in mass numbers, and fully train the ground/aircrews to operational levels. Look at the timeline on the B-17, as but one good example of this.

                  So we need (first and foremost) a more robust aero-engine to power the thing. What do we have as options here?

                  DB 600 series: Well, if you are going to build more Bf 110's, then there is no slack in production capacity to even consider using this one, even if you reduce the size of the Bf 109 procurement (as you suggest). Cancellation of the He 111A-E production frees up perhaps 1,000 or so motors but the required production availability is just not there. Remember that both the Bf 109 and the Bf 110 are being re-engined from the Jumo210 to the DB600/601 in the same timeframe. IMO? Non-starter.

                  Jumo 211 series. Here is the pick of the litter as far as power rating/available production capacity is concerned. Cancellation of the Ju 87 procurement will free up a small number of these units. Outright cancellation of He 111 procurement will free up considerably more units and we can assume that the Ju 88 will also be canned. Problem here is that the dramatic expansion of Jumo production was 100% tied to the Ju 88 so without this investment, there will be nowhere near enough units to keep a 4 engined bomber fleet of 500 operational units in the air. Is the Jumo 211 even the most suitable motor for such an aircraft?

                  The BMW/Bramo radials: As they existed at the time (proven in the Do 19), not fit for purpose. As they evolved over time (BMW 139/801)? Probably the BEST option to power the aircraft. Radials are much more capable of "taking a licking" than are liquid cooled inlines like the 601/211 and this has to be taken under strong consideration when the proposed mission for this fleet is to bomb Great Britain from the outset of hostilities; the odds of survival are going to be much better for radial powered machines. Power in the 1500+HP class is also a big improvement over the 1100-1200 of the most suitable inline at hand (211B)
                  So is there any way of pushing a properly functioning BMW 139 forward to meet the window required, so as to have our fleet operational on 1/9/1939? In my opinion? Not even if they had dumped ten times the historical effort into it. They might be able to get it to the same point as where it was historically with the service entry of the Fw 190A-1/2 by this date, but as far as having 3-4000 of these engines in service and operating reliably? I don't think so.
                  So what you are going to end up with (in a realistic scenario) is 2-300 operational machines (maybe) with a marginally better performance than the Historical Ju 89 prototypes, using early Jumo 211 powerplants (~1100HP). Presuming continued development of the airframe, one could expect this aircraft to be of comparable design/performance to the historical Ju 90V4. This machine actually flew with Jumo211F, which did not become available until 1941, whereas ours would have 211B's so a 10-15% reduction in available power is a given.

                  The real "thorny" problem here is the big question:"Where are we getting the avgas from?"

                  This was the "nail in the coffin" for the historical "Ural Bomber" concept.
                  You can't get around the fact that a force like this needs to fly training sorties constantly to develop into a cohesive fighting unit and operating a fleet of fuel hogs like this is going to have a dramatic impact on the historical stockpiling of avgas that occurred prior to the start of the war.

                  While this scenario may not increase the number of aero-engines operating each day (debatable), these motors are powering much more inefficient machines; they will burn through fuel like there's no tomorrow.

                  So producing the airframes? No problem.
                  Getting them flying with Jumo211B? Production capacity will limit the size of the fleet but 2 or 300 aircraft is realistic, IMO.
                  Finding the hundreds of thousands of TONS of fuel to provide initial/conversion and operational training? BIG PROBLEM.

                  All that "pooh-poohing" set aside? The impact of such a force raising h3ll on GB right from the "get go" would have political consequences that are hard to determine. I don't like the fleet's chances for survival in an ongoing campaign but the initial shock value would be considerable. Not to mention the fact that Fighter Command would have a "learning curve" of their own to deal with initially...
                  48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
                  __________________________________________________ __________________

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                  • #10
                    If we look briefly at actual German aircraft production building 4 engine bombers would be self defeating. Henkel, Junkers, and Dornier based on their actual production rates of twins and the few 4 engine types they did deliver would produce between them about 10 to 15 4 engine heavy bombers per day.
                    That means a loss rate exceeding that in both combat and operational aircraft would see their bomber force dwindle to nothing.

                    It would have been better for the Germans to build better twins. Instead of a schnell bomber like the Ju 88 or Do 17 they should have built a twin like the B-25 or 26, or even a better protected Mitsubishi G4M. That is, a slower bomber armed with a combination of power turrets and manual mounts that have 20mm cannon, 15mm, or 13mm machineguns.
                    With a bit more bomb load they would have been perfectly adequate for the Luftwaffe's needs in about 80% or more of their missions.
                    That would give them a bomber that could defend itself. Couple that to an Me 109 or better, He 100D with a drop tank and they have the rage too.
                    The Me 110 should have been a bit bigger and designed as their "attack" aircraft like it evolved into with the E series. That would give them a fast strike aircraft as well.
                    The concept that a "fast" bomber could avoid interception was a falsehood. Any bomber could be intercepted, even the successful Mosquito that was put in this role.

                    But, going with 4 engine heavies is self defeating simply because the German aircraft industry isn't going to be able to deliver quantity.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That is true, but the concept behind this thread is about the imaginary Nazi fairy who goes back into the early 1930s and changes aeronautical history completely.

                      The Germans do not build a large fleet of 2-engine bombers, but invest and innovate for the 4-engined type. There is no DO-17, He-111, JU-88........

                      The ME-110, ME-109, and FW-190's (or some new, P-51-like design) chief purpose is to escort their heavy bombers.

                      So their Air force in WW2 is essentially as I have shown it: A much smaller air force that concentrates against individual strategic targets.
                      Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                      Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                      Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                      Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                        That is true, but the concept behind this thread is about the imaginary Nazi fairy who goes back into the early 1930s and changes aeronautical history completely.

                        The Germans do not build a large fleet of 2-engine bombers, but invest and innovate for the 4-engined type. There is no DO-17, He-111, JU-88........

                        The ME-110, ME-109, and FW-190's (or some new, P-51-like design) chief purpose is to escort their heavy bombers.

                        So their Air force in WW2 is essentially as I have shown it: A much smaller air force that concentrates against individual strategic targets.
                        None of that changes my post. The German aircraft industry can't build large numbers of 4 engine bombers simply because they lack the ability to do that. It would have meant totally overhauling their production processes from largely hand work to some sort of assembly line.
                        That would have meant getting rid of the unions and the meister system of skilled craftsmen. That would have caused a nationwide strike across much of industry something the Nazis even realized. The system was just too entrenched.
                        They weren't going to match the British, let alone the US, in production. Their methods simply would not support it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          They got no fuel for that.

                          The Blitzkrieg thing required tactical air support. Without it that party is over even sooner than it did historically. For all we know they fail to knock France out and long-range combing continues for extended periods.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Redwolf View Post
                            They got no fuel for that.

                            The Blitzkrieg thing required tactical air support. Without it that party is over even sooner than it did historically. For all we know they fail to knock France out and long-range bombing continues for extended periods.
                            This. No stukas, no blitz...
                            Credo quia absurdum.


                            Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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                            • #15
                              The Germans were feeding off Romanian oilfields and their strategic oil reserve during 1941 and 1942. They looted Western europe (particularly France) of petroleum products just to pull off 1941-1942 offensives. The Luftwaffe in the East reached its peak in 1942 in terms of combat sorties and resupply operations. It was Germany's 'last gasp'.

                              The last big, highly concentrated showing of the Luftwaffe was in the summer of 1943. The rest is rapid decline.

                              As far as combat ops go with the Panzerwaffe, I see the Luftwaffe's air-ground precision support as 1/3rd. (stuka, destroyer, tank killer). The Panzerwaffe, artillery, and Infantry still does most of the work although the shock effect created by airstrikes could create immeasurable opportunities for exploitation. This was most obvious in the 1942 operations for the Crimeria.

                              The Panzerwaffe was highly potent on its own, and employed armor & combined arms groups more effectively than their enemies in 39-42.
                              Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                              Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                              Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                              Battle of Kalinin October 1941

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