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Evolution of warfare without airpower.

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  • marktwain
    replied
    Cats are, well, not a bird of prey sub...

    Originally posted by Tiberius Duval View Post
    I may be party spoiler here, but I think even without any birds, flying insects and so on (assuming that humans or other intelligent mammals could evolve without flowering plants...) powered flight would be found. Especially if said intelligent civilisation could make projectile weapons, and after all missiles and so on. And then what is missile but powered flying vessel, and especially missile with in-flight controll ability? So airpower would be organic part of any warfare made by any civilisation in same technological level as our 20th century.

    So I think idea of 20th century technological level in planet with Earth's kind of atmosphere and gravity without airpower is just in realms fantasy...
    Without flying animals , other battle animals rise to the fore...
    Attached Files
    Last edited by marktwain; 12 Apr 14, 07:04. Reason: Next to Imperial Eagles and Ravens

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  • Tiberius Duval
    replied
    I may be party spoiler here, but I think even without any birds, flying insects and so on (assuming that humans or other intelligent mammals could evolve without flowering plants...) powered flight would be found. Especially if said intelligent civilisation could make projectile weapons, and after all missiles and so on. And then what is missile but powered flying vessel, and especially missile with in-flight controll ability? So airpower would be organic part of any warfare made by any civilisation in same technological level as our 20th century.

    So I think idea of 20th century technological level in planet with Earth's kind of atmosphere and gravity without airpower is just in realms fantasy...

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Damm, missed the last couple posts here.

    I'm trying to remember the actual track record of submarines vs warships. I do remember that in 1942 Japans subs sank one US fleet carrier outright, finished off a damaged carrier, and sent the Saratoga to dry dock twice. One late model battleship was sent to the dockyard, and one (two?) cruisers were sunk. That actually compares favorablly with the results from the Japanese carriers other than at Pearl Harbor. In 1943 a submarine made the only sucessfull counter attack vs the US operation Galvanic when it sank the CVE Liscombe Bay, killing 800 crew. The planned surface & air counter attacks failed to even leave their bases.

    The Brits lost at least two battleships & a couple carriers to Axis submarines. How many were lost to air strikes or surface action?

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  • Michele
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    Anyone see any naval development that might offset that to any significant degree.
    Well, submarines. In actual history, aerial recon and later aerial ASW proved to be murderous for subs.
    The WWII experience confirmed that subs were good for hunting slow merchantmen and convoys, less so to hunt warships. However, part of that depended on the fact that the subs were, most of the time, very slow, and that largely depended on the fact that WWII-era subs were faster when surfaced and slow when submerged. They would be submerged when closing in against a battleship, sure. But the presence of enemy aircraft, eventually, forced them to stay submerged for a much longer proportion of their cruises than was expected before the beginning of the war, including during strategic movement. Note that the spreading of the snorkel was essentially caused by the fact that staying surfaced was becoming too risky.

    But in this scenario there are no aircraft patrolling the seas beyond the battleships' horizon, and subs can make use of their higher speed, surfaced, as long as they aren't too close to the battleships. Not just under cover of darkness, but in daylight too.

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  • IDonT4
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    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.

    In naval terms, torpedoes gets faster and longer range. I see that Japanese Long Lance torpedoes as a first generation of this type of weapon.

    Thus, with a longer range range torpedo, the battle line must move further away from each other. So I can see battleships firing large guns from over the horizon (not seeing each other), with target spotting done from destroyers/cruisers. The cruisers and destroyers would do battle to disrupt the other sides "eyes" or, if possible, do a torpedo attack on the battleline.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    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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  • IDonT4
    replied
    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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  • Michele
    replied
    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...

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  • Michele
    replied
    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..

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  • The Purist
    replied
    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.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cyberknight
    replied
    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.

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  • TacCovert4
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • IDonT4
    replied
    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, 17:39.

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  • Hanov
    replied
    Aircraft or gliders allowed to INFILTRATE Eben-Emael.
    That defeated the Forts. Not accurate stuka attacks.

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