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  • Which would have had more impact?

    Assume the Germans (and Japanese in the case of the sub) could have gotten either jet aircraft or a fast submarine (Type XXI / I 201 or equivalent) into general service by say the beginning of 1944. Which would have had more impact on the outcome of the war?

    I would say it was the fast submarine.

  • #2
    For Germany, if they could have been able to field suitable numbers of jet interceptors by January 1944 they could have driven 8th Air Force losses to the point where daylight missions would be halted.

    Assuming this allows more prop fighters to become night fighters, the night raid may well die out as well.

    That means tons of munitions and hundreds of excellent cannon can be freed up for AT work on the Eastern Front. Masses of construction material would no longer be needed at home repairing damage, so on D-day the Allies would face slightly more hardened positions, perhaps a battery of 88mm guns extra.

    The Soviets would have seen a dramatic rise in tank losses.

    But I think the biggest effect would be the cessation of 8th AF operations. That would be a setback that would adversely impact US morale.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #3
      After Speer's reforms the Luftwaffe's big problem was not numbers of front line aircraft available but a lack of suitably trained and experienced pilots to fly them. This showed in the horrific accident rate amongst Me 262 pilots (coming out of low cloud and flying into the ground being common). This was because most day fighter pilots had no training in instrument flying which proved essential for the new jets. There was a lack of suitable training aircraft, instructors and fuel available to provide this training and switching bomber pilots to 262s proved no solution as they didn't have the necessary fighter pilot skills (or temperament). Had the jets been available earlier this would have revealed the problem earlier but would not have provided a solution. See The Last Year of the Luftwaffe by Alfred Price which discuses this issue at length
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
        The Soviets would have seen a dramatic rise in tank losses.
        Very unlikely as the Germans wouldn't have enough trucks or fuel to move the guns around.

        All I see is a temporary 6 to 8 month improvement in the Luftwaffe's fortunes. If the Germans bring jets on line sooner, then the allies ramp up their jet programs. Most people forget that the British and Americans had better jet fighters than the Me262 available but didn't use them because they didn't have to.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
          Very unlikely as the Germans wouldn't have enough trucks or fuel to move the guns around.

          All I see is a temporary 6 to 8 month improvement in the Luftwaffe's fortunes. If the Germans bring jets on line sooner, then the allies ramp up their jet programs. Most people forget that the British and Americans had better jet fighters than the Me262 available but didn't use them because they didn't have to.
          In 1944? They only used trucks to move artillery tactically; it moved by train otherwise. They shifted far larger forces even later in the war. And without the fuel expended by emergency services and moving the guns (and especially the ammunition) around Germany, there would have been plenty of fuel.

          The Allies didn't use their jets because they didn't have them in service in time, and they were too short-legged to escort the heavies all the way to Germany. Bomber losses would have ended the LRB program long before the jets became operational.
          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
            Very unlikely as the Germans wouldn't have enough trucks or fuel to move the guns around.

            All I see is a temporary 6 to 8 month improvement in the Luftwaffe's fortunes. If the Germans bring jets on line sooner, then the allies ramp up their jet programs. Most people forget that the British and Americans had better jet fighters than the Me262 available but didn't use them because they didn't have to.
            They didn't use them because they didn't have adequate numbers (or in the the case of the USA virtually none) Only two YP80As reached Italy for evaluation shortly before the war ended in Europe. Whilst the Meteor 4 had better engines than the 262 the airframe wasn't as advanced. Meteor 4s were used in Europe but for ground attack only and restricted on where they flew as the Allies didn't want to give the Germans a present of the engine design. The Dh Vampire would probably have outflown the 262 it didn't reach squadron service until post VJ day
            Both the USA and Britain wouldn't have been able to deploy large numbers in a hurry for the same reason that the Germans had problems - flying jets required new approaches and techniques and this required pilot retaining and this takes time and the development of new training methods. Whilst the Allies wouldn't have had the same fuel problems developing and implementing a new training programme takes time.
            Last edited by MarkV; 23 Jun 16, 10:23.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
              For Germany, if they could have been able to field suitable numbers of jet interceptors by January 1944 they could have driven 8th Air Force losses to the point where daylight missions would be halted.

              ....
              Over Germany. They would have moved the 8th AF targets back to France & Low Countries where the mass of escorts could reach and the jet interceptor bases would be exposed.

              Through 1943 the majority of 8th AAF targets were in France & the LC. In preperation for Op Overlord their targets were moved back to France in 1944 for a month+.

              So, if the US AAF could not bomb Germany then more German targets in France would be attacked and more French civilians would die. If in the end it means that supply deliveries to the 7th Army & the Pz Group in Normandy are driveen down from 20% of requirements to 2% then maybe its a good thing. That is the German defense collapses sooner & the Allies start restoring the French railways & automotive bridges sooner, thus unscrewing their own supply problems sooner.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                They didn't use them because they didn't have adequate numbers (or in the the case of the USA virtually none) Only two YP80As reached Italy for evaluation shortly before the war ended in Europe. .
                Don't you think that if German jets show up and are threatening allied airforces, then the allied command would put higher priority into their own? Or do you think that the allied high command was stupid?

                Given superior allied strategic intelligence, the allies would have had time to ramp their jet programs. At best the Germans get a few months of resurgance in the air.

                Don't you think that German jet bases and factories would get special attention from the Allied airforces, much like historical?

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                • #9
                  I think that if the XXI could get deployed in somewhat decent quantity (20 or more) in early 44, it would have caused some serious issues for convoys bringing in the supplies and personnel for the Normandy Landings. I don't think it would have won the war, but it could have pushed the timetable back into July if convoy escorts used to the VIIIs abilities and issues suddenly ran into subs capable of sprinting underwater, able to operate more silently, and able to deploy more torpedoes and then actually escape rather than attempt to hide. Plus the aerial ASW operations wouldn't be as effective against the XXI class either.
                  Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                  • #10
                    The Type XXI renders most convoy escort tactics obsolete instantly. You can't concentrate the escort ahead of the convoy using searchlight type sonars to scan for a sub in the path of the convoy as with slow subs.
                    The Type XXI can attack a convoy submerged from any angle.
                    This means the convoy ship pattern has to change, the escort disposition has to change, and the sensors and weapons have to change too.
                    Escort ships would have to be refitted with scanning sonars of greater power. That way they can find a Type XXI before it closes to firing range.
                    Ships would need homing torpedoes like FIDO, better ahead thrown weapons too.
                    Helicopters might have assumed far more importance as well.
                    Aircraft would have to carry more sonobouys and their tactics would have to change too.

                    Even a few Type XXI could have sunk hundreds of thousands of tons of shipping when first applied within weeks of going on patrol. It would have taken months, possibly a year or more, for the Allies to put effective countermeasures in place.

                    Not so with jets. Even if the Me 262 was reliable, or the He 162 in service, knocking down a few more bombers would be a very temporary situation. The Allies had jet technology too. They had hotter conventional aircraft in development (like the Spiteful, MB-5, or P-72) that could nearly match, or match jets in combat. At best, early jet introduction gives the Germans a few weeks of very temporary breathing space.

                    The Type XXI would have required a massive effort to counter at great economic cost. One Type XXI, depending on what it sank, could have taken out the equivalent of a tank regiment or group of aircraft, destroyed the supplies for thousands of troops, or caused the loss of millions of gallons of fuel.
                    Compared to that, having jet fighters shoot down a few more bombers pales to nothing.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
                      Don't you think that if German jets show up and are threatening allied airforces, then the allied command would put higher priority into their own? Or do you think that the allied high command was stupid?

                      Given superior allied strategic intelligence, the allies would have had time to ramp their jet programs. At best the Germans get a few months of resurgance in the air.

                      Don't you think that German jet bases and factories would get special attention from the Allied airforces, much like historical?
                      Allocating higher priority doesn't magically eliminate all the restrictions on getting them into service - to think so is indeed stupid.
                      It takes time to retrain pilots for example and no increase in priority in the world will overcome that. Having worked at Rolls Royce I know that increased pressure to develop new technology doesn't automatically reduce development times (often the reverse) and as a professional project manager I know that here are some things that no amount of increased priority will hasten
                      Last edited by MarkV; 27 Jun 16, 18:11.
                      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think you are overstating the case for the type XXI.
                        It's sprint speed was 18 knots for 1.5 hours. A liberty ship (its most likely target) had a speed of 11 to 11.5 knots. It would have had more attack options and opportunities but not decisively so.

                        You are also discounting the UK's enigma advantage. They'd know where the type XXI's were and would route convoys away from them.

                        If the type XXI's had become a real problem, all their bases would get visited by lancasters with Grand Slams the same as their assembly facility did.

                        Both of these options have allied counters.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                          Allocating higher priority doesn't magically eliminate all the restrictions on getting them into service - to think so is indeed stupid.
                          It takes time to retrain pilots for example and no increase in priority in the world will overcome that.
                          Precisely. That's why I think it is a few months of difference and not weeks like TA Gardner. The allies were not as far behind as many think.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
                            I think you are overstating the case for the type XXI.
                            It's sprint speed was 18 knots for 1.5 hours. A liberty ship (its most likely target) had a speed of 11 to 11.5 knots. It would have had more attack options and opportunities but not decisively so.
                            Liberty and Victory ships generally cruise at 8 to 10 knots. In convoy that speed might well be slower depending on the other ships in it. Convoys move together and ships rarely move at their maximum speed. It is also fast enough under water that if pressed it can run an attack on most Allied escorts, with the slow ones being the most vulnerable to that.
                            It also renders slow escorts largely irrelevant as they can't even move fast enough to get into an attack position and run a pattern on a Type XXI.
                            The Flower class would be the most effected here. It can make 16 knots on fresh engines. For most, they would be lucky to even match a Type XXI's speed when it was evading an attack. That leaves them all but useless for ASW work.
                            The RN recognized this and quickly moved with the end of the war to build much faster ASW frigates that were more capable of dealing with fast submarines, like the Type 15.



                            The US did much the same thing with the Fletcher class initially, although they kept more armament than the British.

                            These were a bridge to new types like the Type 12 and 14.


                            The Type XXI is fast enough submerged to be able to close with a convoy from a flank unlike the previous Type VII or XI. These would have to be on the surface to do that. Their only recourse for a submerged attack was to position themselves ahead of the convoy and let it run them over.


                            You are also discounting the UK's enigma advantage. They'd know where the type XXI's were and would route convoys away from them.
                            That depends largely on the Germans continuing to use radio regularly. But, lets say they do. Between interception of a communication and arrival of some ASW asset(s) in the area, the higher speed of the Type XXI more than quadruples the search area it could be in. Since it also needs to snorkel less, that again increases the difficulty of detection.
                            HF/DF was generally more valuable than actually reading messages, most of which were routine reporting rather than valuable information.

                            If the type XXI's had become a real problem, all their bases would get visited by lancasters with Grand Slams the same as their assembly facility did.

                            Both of these options have allied counters.
                            But, the Type XXI is far harder to counter of the two.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                              The Type XXI renders most convoy escort tactics obsolete instantly. You can't concentrate the escort ahead of the convoy using searchlight type sonars to scan for a sub in the path of the convoy as with slow subs.
                              The Type XXI can attack a convoy submerged from any angle.
                              This means the convoy ship pattern has to change, the escort disposition has to change, and the sensors and weapons have to change too.
                              Escort ships would have to be refitted with scanning sonars of greater power. That way they can find a Type XXI before it closes to firing range.
                              Ships would need homing torpedoes like FIDO, better ahead thrown weapons too.
                              Helicopters might have assumed far more importance as well.
                              Aircraft would have to carry more sonobouys and their tactics would have to change too.

                              Even a few Type XXI could have sunk hundreds of thousands of tons of shipping when first applied within weeks of going on patrol. It would have taken months, possibly a year or more, for the Allies to put effective countermeasures in place.

                              Not so with jets. Even if the Me 262 was reliable, or the He 162 in service, knocking down a few more bombers would be a very temporary situation. The Allies had jet technology too. They had hotter conventional aircraft in development (like the Spiteful, MB-5, or P-72) that could nearly match, or match jets in combat. At best, early jet introduction gives the Germans a few weeks of very temporary breathing space.

                              The Type XXI would have required a massive effort to counter at great economic cost. One Type XXI, depending on what it sank, could have taken out the equivalent of a tank regiment or group of aircraft, destroyed the supplies for thousands of troops, or caused the loss of millions of gallons of fuel.
                              Compared to that, having jet fighters shoot down a few more bombers pales to nothing.
                              I agree. Jets, even versions without teething problems, could not have taken Air Superiority from the Allies. It could not stop the Red Army either.
                              Fast subs otoh would have turned the bulk of Allied escorts obsolete. And the XXI had an unprecedented firepower. Instead of 4-5 torpedoes in the first crucial 5-10 minutes of an attack, it was able to fire 12 torpedoes. Another 6 after 20min of the first salvoe.
                              That is apart from being able to put themselves into an attack Position in the first place.
                              Also no need for assembling boats for a Wulf pack style attack. Two XXI would have more effect than 5 type VII. And a decent chance to retreat after an attack.


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                              One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.

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