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WI...There was no Strategic Bombing CAmpaign during WWII

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  • WI...There was no Strategic Bombing CAmpaign during WWII

    This question was inspired the best bombing raid of ww2 by 17pounder thread. I propose that the POD (point of divergence) is that all interwar airforces, are formulated on tactical support strategy. This causes no thought being given to 4 engine bombers and the idea even if possible the costs in material and manpower would be too great to consider it viable. This would have all the players in WWII having fighters and a great deal of resources tied up in CAS and Precision Strike Aircraft. All would have operational radius's with Army or Navy missions in mind.
    Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

    History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
    Lazarus Long

    Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
    David Bowie

  • #2
    Might not change the early war much. The Brits & French had large 'Ground
    Cooperation' air units in addition to the heavy bomber units. But their methods were inferior to those of the Wehrmacht /Luftwaffe, so the hundreds of tactical bombers they had were much less effective.

    This is not to say that with your proposition of tactical airforces only they would definitly not have developed effective methods. Just that they didnt & thats one likely outcome. More tactical support aircraft, but the same poor methodology.

    Most air forces did learn effective CAS methods by 1943 & thats not likely to change. With larger tactical airforces antiair artillery in the ground battle zone will increase. I also expect the character of the ground battle will change. More night marches ect...

    Without the heavies aimed at urban centers a couple million civilians will be spared the great raids of 1943-45. Conversly amore civilians caught near the battle zone will be killed by mistaken CAS attacks.

    A Few Questions:

    How would naval airforces be influenced by this CAS pholosophy? I'd think very little.

    Where is the cut off for tactical air support? Would the USAF/RAF Transportation campaign of early 1944 count as TAC air support, or be considered as heavy stratigic air & not be included?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      Might not change the early war much. The Brits & French had large 'Ground
      Cooperation' air units in addition to the heavy bomber units. But their methods were inferior to those of the Wehrmacht /Luftwaffe, so the hundreds of tactical bombers they had were much less effective.

      This is not to say that with your proposition of tactical airforces only they would definitly not have developed effective methods. Just that they didnt & thats one likely outcome. More tactical support aircraft, but the same poor methodology.

      Most air forces did learn effective CAS methods by 1943 & thats not likely to change. With larger tactical airforces antiair artillery in the ground battle zone will increase. I also expect the character of the ground battle will change. More night marches ect...

      Without the heavies aimed at urban centers a couple million civilians will be spared the great raids of 1943-45. Conversly amore civilians caught near the battle zone will be killed by mistaken CAS attacks.
      Sounds reasonable.

      A Few Questions:

      How would naval airforces be influenced by this CAS pholosophy? I'd think very little.
      My own take would be very little as well, at least at first. As the war progresses their might be a move for NAVAIR to be thought of for a strategic role.
      Where is the cut off for tactical air support? Would the USAF/RAF Transportation campaign of early 1944 count as TAC air support, or be considered as heavy stratigic air & not be included?
      I don't think airlift capabilities would factor in to the "fear" of the strategic bomber idea. Mostly because this would be more of a logistics tool, than pointy end. Although there maybe some attempts or successes using some of these airframes for long range recce or maritime patrol.
      Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

      History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
      Lazarus Long

      Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
      David Bowie

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      • #4
        if there were no heavies, would the longe range escort versions of the p-51 and p-47 be built?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by galland View Post
          if there were no heavies, would the longer range escort versions of the p-51 and p-47 be built?
          I'd say yes, because the P-51 was destined to be a British Fighter and the P-47 concept I believe was for an interceptor.
          Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

          History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
          Lazarus Long

          Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
          David Bowie

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          • #6
            Originally posted by galland View Post
            if there were no heavies, would the longe range escort versions of the p-51 and p-47 be built?
            Long endurance is usefull for loiter time on defense patrols, or for tactical missions as well. Tho nine hour endurance is a bit much for either of those. I'd see single engine tactical aircraft with large fuel capcity being designed. I'd also see the Maritime powers still buying the same long range aircraft as their reconissance & transport requirements would not change. There might even be more such aircraft accquired for the battle of the Atlantic without the priority for bombing German cities.

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            • #7
              what about Japan? with no B-29's would it surrender? would the A-bomb be developed? woudl this mean that a proper invasion sometime in 1946 will have to be done? or would Japan surrender anyways at the loss of China and Manchuria?
              "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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              • #8
                Without the strategic bombing campaign the Luftwaffe would not have been shot to pieces by 1944. Thus the allies would not have had air supremacy over the beaches of Normandy. the invasion may have been harder or even delayed. Also, without the commitment to the defense of the Reich the Luftwaffe may have been able to maintain control of the air over the eastern front making it harder for Russia to advance also.
                Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tsar View Post
                  Without the strategic bombing campaign the Luftwaffe would not have been shot to pieces by 1944. Thus the allies would not have had air supremacy over the beaches of Normandy. the invasion may have been harder or even delayed. Also, without the commitment to the defense of the Reich the Luftwaffe may have been able to maintain control of the air over the eastern front making it harder for Russia to advance also.
                  Agreed. Additionally, the Germans would have been able to continue with production unhindered by allied bombing raids. Also, the number of Germans committed to air defence of the homeland would not have been 1 million as it was historically. The majority of those could have been used elsewhere.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tsar View Post
                    Without the strategic bombing campaign the Luftwaffe would not have been shot to pieces by 1944. Thus the allies would not have had air supremacy over the beaches of Normandy. the invasion may have been harder or even delayed. Also, without the commitment to the defense of the Reich the Luftwaffe may have been able to maintain control of the air over the eastern front making it harder for Russia to advance also.
                    The Luftwaffe was shot to pieces many times. Over Tunisia in the Spring of 1943 it was run out of the fight, and again over Sicilly & southern Italy later that year. In the USSR it was steadily ground away. If I am reading the numbers correctly over half the Luftwaffes total losses were on the eastern front in 1942-44. The final big air battle over Germany in the winter of 43-44 was just one of many that destroyed the German airforces.

                    Note that in all the other cases the air battles were less of a heavy bombers fight and mostly revolved around tactical air support & interdiction of specific battlefields. The character of these would probablly not change much were the heavy bombers & stratigic doctrine absent. Tho there would probablly be more tactical bombers available. I's suggest that absent a heavy bomber threat against Germany the fighters lost there would be lost elsewhere and perhaps earlier. In the worst case the 2000+ fighters that were saved back for the defense of the Reich are kept in reserve until the battle for France, then they surge forward and meet the 14,000+ fighters and tactical bombers the Allies deployed over France in June 1944.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by michammer View Post
                      Agreed. Additionally, the Germans would have been able to continue with production unhindered by allied bombing raids. Also, the number of Germans committed to air defence of the homeland would not have been 1 million as it was historically. The majority of those could have been used elsewhere.
                      The guns and ammunition would have been usefull, although there is the ongoing problem of providng the horses to mobilize them outside Germanys borders (forget trucks Germany was long ago short of those.) Still the resources committed to the AAA defense would have had some utility as howitzers & AT guns. The manpower does not translate in a direct 1-1 ratio either. Teenagers & the elderly made up the bulk of the FLAK manpower. along with some partially maimed. The numbers unfit for real field service were large. Probablly they would have been more usefull in industry, offsetting the inefficient slave laborers.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                        what about Japan? with no B-29's would it surrender? would the A-bomb be developed? woudl this mean that a proper invasion sometime in 1946 will have to be done? or would Japan surrender anyways at the loss of China and Manchuria?
                        Japan is a tougher prospect. Tactical raids from the US carriers damaged Japanese ports & naval installations, so that would change little. Probably the blockade could be made tighter to starve the population and industry faster. If the A bomb was developed a way to deliver it would be found. Tho the thinking about target would be different. Perhaps it could be dropped off by sub in a major harbor ?

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                        • #13
                          The US was determined to build long-range multi-engine bombers to keep the fight away from US shores. I don't see how they're development (at least for the US) can be avoided. Even totalling silencing Mitchell (let's even say the Ostfriedland event never happened) would have still led to their development, just not their effective use at any point before the late war period. For the continental powers, it's not hard to see them never being developed (like they really weren't), but Britain... they're not going to be content to just hit the other side of the Channel, but for arguements sake, let's say they stop at medium bombers.

                          You end up with a lot of pseudo-Luftwaffes, each good at the front, with lots of interceptors, dive bombers, and CAS aircraft, but nothing in the way of long range fighters. Certainly the Mustang and T-bolt COULD be developed, but (at least the Mustang) would never rise to the occassion (the T-bolt still would do it's Jabo-ing job wonderfully). Obviously this also affect the strat boming campaign to the point of it not happening until '44 or so, and likely, the Americans would be leading it since the Brits would be behind the curve (using our assumption above). It would almost take the US entry (and battlefield experience) to shape and develop a multi-engine heavy bomber to really get any strat-bombing campaign going. Of course seeing this (and knowing this once Germany starts remapping Europe), wouldn't the Brits have started working on overcoming this earlier?

                          In the end, I think the POD is too fanciful to entertain as a realitic 'What If', especially from the US point of view.
                          If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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