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Evolution of warfare without airpower.

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Michele View Post
    Lighter, faster, smaller zeppelins - more akin to cruisers or destroyers of the air than to torpedo boats of the air - would carry, instead, a sizable complement of airship infantry, in a lightly armored gondola. They would try to close in and move above the bigger enemy zeppelins, and win the combat by boarding. Fancy that?...
    Air Marines! Or would they be 'Light Infantry'? Air Dragoons? One boarding tactic would be to overfly the target & drop by parachute onto the upper decks, or rappel off ropes.

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    • #32



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      • #33
        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
        Air Marines! Or would they be 'Light Infantry'? Air Dragoons? One boarding tactic would be to overfly the target & drop by parachute onto the upper decks, or rappel off ropes.
        Indeed, that's why I mentioned moving above the airship to be boarded.

        But now that I think about it, another idea that comes to mind is cannon-fired harpoons... if the cable is linked with a motor windlass...
        Michele

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Michele View Post
          I'm not sure either, but I tend to disagree with you, sorry.
          Eben-Emael? The Dutch bridges? The Dutch surrender out of fear of destructive air bombing of their cities? The decisive air support in the Sedan battle?
          Yes, the French doctrine is slower - which is less of a handicap if heavy artillery is more important.
          Perhaps but we cannot assume aircraft disappear but everything else remains the same. If the Germans belive they will need more firepower for the river crossing then they would undoubtedly organise their march columns accordingly. They may not even use the same plan, changing it to take advantage of better terrain, more fifth column, heavier use of assault commando units, subterfuge, etc. etc.

          The lack of aircraft effects the French less as their air support, tactical and otherwise , was far less developed.

          I don't see Eban Emael as being an unsurmountable obstacle as it is already in range of large guns inside Germany. Smoke, gas, brute force from very heavy artillery. You don't need aircraft ot overcome fixed defences.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
            Perhaps but we cannot assume aircraft disappear but everything else remains the same.
            Fair point.
            Michele

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            • #36
              Aircraft or gliders allowed to INFILTRATE Eben-Emael.
              That defeated the Forts. Not accurate stuka attacks.
              One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Michele View Post
                Sure. By the same token, an armored thrust can quickly catch up where a divisional command or a corps staging area are located, and those non-combat assets are no cheaper than siege guns.
                Also, in WWII tactical and CAS aircraft often was not hundred but tens of miles behind the front lines, and those airfields were routinely overrun by armored thrusts.
                The main difference is that non-combat assets can be dispersed even under attacked. Though a portion may be destroyed, not all will be. A siege gun caught is destroyed.

                In terms of airfields, the CAS aircraft can scramble before an enemy force overruns them. Siege guns can't.


                As you will have noticed, I propose using them against other, fixed targets, like fortifications, but that still are indispensable for the armored or mechanized divisions. Railheads, staging areas. You will find that even an armored division's tail elements - the ones that actually keep the tanks running - do not set up shop in the midst of nowhere, if only there is some already existing infrastructure (buildings, power and phone lines, roads, rail lines, etc.). Those are things that do not move around on the map.
                Sure, you can set up your armored division's fuel dump away from buildings and shelter (hard to do in Russian winter, BTW), and from roads, so that I won't know where it is - maybe. OTOH you will pay for that in less efficiency in resupplying your tanks once they run out of fuel.
                Without aerial surveillance, how will you know where the enemy puts their staging areas and tail elements? I will know where you siege guns are and the location you will most likely attack and not concentrate there. At most, I can move out of range, either laterally or away from the front lines.

                I beg to differ. You do not run the tanks for a hundred miles before committing them to battle. With WWII-era mechanical reliability, that amounts to losing some 20% of your vehicles to breakdowns even before the combat begins.
                I partially concede but, you will not know when i debark my tanks. Risk of attack are mitigated by not debarking an entire formation all out once.

                Make no mistake, these guns are imprecise, and firing mostly unobserved fire, all the more so.
                But then again, so were WWII-era bombers.
                WWII-era bombers were imprecise, CAS for tactical purposes were not. You are basically advocating using large seige guns as a substitute for CAS.

                Now that I think about it, there is one more thing: your bet is of the all-or-nothing sort. You count on breaking through the lines and reaching the deployment area of the rail guns. What if you fail? The Germans also relied on breaking through at El Alamein or Kursk. What if the lines are tougher than you expected? What if the weather turns bad? What if the night falls?
                Meanwhile, the superheavy artillery can fire on your rear areas regardless of what happens on the line; can fire in bad weather; and being rail-mounted, can travel at night when your tanks have to stop.
                You are over inflating the tactical and strategic value of inaccurate cannon fire from a known location.
                Last edited by IDonT4; 04 Apr 14, 16:39.

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                • #38
                  I agree that siege guns would be around, but would not be the battlefield answer. I'd suspect that just like the OTL, people'd find that anything bigger than 203mm is just too cumbersome for general use.

                  I'd suspect that for large area bombardment there'd be a push for rocketry from day one of it becoming useful on the modern battlefield. Rockets are inaccurate, but could be made with enough range.

                  Also note that Airships are not excluded...bombing by airship could potentially be very precise. And without planes, only AA in limited numbers and other airships, there's some crazy potential there for different sized airships performing roles from scouting, to fire direction, to strategic bombing, and even potentially CAS of a sort.
                  Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                    First biggest change is that France is not conquered in 1940.
                    Although before that Norway will not fall either.
                    I'm not so sure about that.

                    Many of the successful defenses against these amphibious invasions were dependent on aerial reconnaissance in order to have the opposing forces in the right place to repel them.
                    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                    George Mason
                    Co-author of the Second Amendment
                    during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by IDonT4 View Post
                      ....
                      Without aerial surveillance, how will you know where the enemy puts their staging areas and tail elements? ....
                      I'd bet radio signal intel will receive a lot more attention. So will spies and infiltration of deep penetration patrols, then there are tethered balloons. None a direct substitute, but these thing have their advantages.

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                      • #41
                        No aircraft means the German parachute forces would be available to grab the southern targets. This would have permitted the Norwegian to mobilise more of their army and perhaps, with French and British help, make a fight of it in the south and centre of the country. Without the LW harassing the sea lanes the ability of the allies to reinforce is increased. This means they are in a major fight in the north when the French campaign begins. The Germans could find themselves in a serous fight, and without command of the sea, they may even be cut off.

                        Even the Germans take the south (below Trondheim) the northern mountains could be held and Narvik/Trondheim denied the Germans. A blockade a la 1914-18 becomes more probable.
                        The Purist

                        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          I'd bet radio signal intel will receive a lot more attention. So will spies and infiltration of deep penetration patrols, then there are tethered balloons. None a direct substitute, but these thing have their advantages.
                          Yes... and I think I have already mentioned, in more than one message, espionage, infiltration and recon, and the like..
                          Michele

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                            I agree that siege guns would be around, but would not be the battlefield answer. I'd suspect that just like the OTL, people'd find that anything bigger than 203mm is just too cumbersome for general use.
                            Railways are there, however, and there's no aerial bombing of rail lines, marshalling yards, bridges and tunnels, and whatnot.
                            You can, of course, bombard the enemy's rail network targets, with your own rail-mounted super-heavy artillery - if you haven't forfeited that.

                            I'd suspect that for large area bombardment there'd be a push for rocketry from day one of it becoming useful on the modern battlefield. Rockets are inaccurate, but could be made with enough range.
                            Rockets are interesting, but I did not mention them because, in order to make them meaningful beyond the battlefield, I think you really need guidance for them. WWII seems to point at the fact that you can have them inaccurate and short-ranged - but making up for the inaccuracy with saturation fire (Katyushas, Nebelwerfer, Calliopes etc.) or long-ranged and somewhat accurate thanks to guidance, but no overkill firepower in that case (V-Waffen).

                            Also note that Airships are not excluded...bombing by airship could potentially be very precise. And without planes, only AA in limited numbers and other airships, there's some crazy potential there for different sized airships performing roles from scouting, to fire direction, to strategic bombing, and even potentially CAS of a sort.
                            Yes, as hinted at above, also by way of fascinating artwork...
                            Michele

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                              I'd bet radio signal intel will receive a lot more attention. So will spies and infiltration of deep penetration patrols, then there are tethered balloons. None a direct substitute, but these thing have their advantages.
                              They would not be as effective as an aerial recon though. Tethered balloons are highly vulnerable to 1940's era guns.

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                              • #45
                                My experience suggests otherwise, but what does the evidence show?

                                In another direction.
                                When I first read this proposal it was first intriguing in terms of naval development. Certainly some naval leaders would continue to try refining the captiol ship in the battleship and battle cruiser. Anyone see any naval development that might offset that to any significant degree.

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