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  • #31
    The initial suggestion was that a Lanc with a max altitude of 20,000 feet and a max speed of about 200mph wouldn't be able to get clear of the blast. That seems likely... the B29's that bombed Japan turned and dived from much higher up and even then were badly buffeted.

    Regarding Coventry this whole story is based on one persons word 30-odd years after the event:

    Coventry and Ultra

    In his 1974 book The Ultra Secret, Group Captain F. W. Winterbotham asserted that the British government had advance warning of the attack from Ultra: intercepted German radio messages encrypted with the Enigma cipher machine and decoded by British cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park. He further claimed that Winston Churchill ordered that no defensive measures should be taken to protect Coventry, lest the Germans suspect that their cipher had been broken.[8] Winterbotham was a key figure for Ultra; he supervised the "Special Liaison Officers" who delivered Ultra material to field commanders.

    However, Winterbotham's claim has been rejected by other Ultra participants and historians who argue that while Churchill was indeed aware that a major bombing raid would take place, no one knew what the target would be.[9].

    Peter Calvocoressi was head of the Air Section at Bletchley Park, which translated and analysed all deciphered Luftwaffe messages. He wrote "Ultra never mentioned Coventry... Churchill, so far from pondering whether to save Coventry or or safeguard Ultra, was under the impression that the raid was to be on London."[10]

    Scientist R. V. Jones, who led the British side in the Battle of the Beams, wrote that "Enigma signals to the X-beam stations were not broken in time," and that he was unaware that Coventry was the intended target. Furthermore, he explained that a technical mistake caused jamming countermeasures to be ineffective.[11]

    Several other myths about Churchill persist including the one repeated by my relatives that he used cavalry to break up striking dockers on Tyneside during the General strike. This is utter crap, there's not one shred of evidence for it yet people like my grandad swear blind it happened. He's not a popular man in some places.

    Anyway we're going off at a tangent.... Churchill would PROBABLY have used an A bomb given the chance. Its worth remembering that we didn't use the gas or the anthrax we had weaponised though. The anthrax would have been very useful as we had penicillin and the Germans didn't.

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    • #32
      By May of 1945 very few German cities were undamaged, most near totally destroyed. Hard to make an impression when all the bomb does is rearrange the rubble and make it glow. Better to set back and let Soviet youths die.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by peter_sym View Post

        Anyway we're going off at a tangent.... Churchill would PROBABLY have used an A bomb given the chance. Its worth remembering that we didn't use the gas or the anthrax we had weaponised though. The anthrax would have been very useful as we had penicillin and the Germans didn't.
        Consider that when Churchill initiated atomic weapons research in late 1940, extablishing to Maude Committie, the Tube alloys project, and all that in 1941, Britiain was not at war with Japan. Really hard to argue that he did not intend to build a weapon for use vs Germany.

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        • #34
          If Berlin and surrounds were still unconquered by August '45, would a suitable
          target be "Zossen" the underground communications centre south of Berlin?
          It was purely military in nature. I believe it was covered by trees. Was it's location roughly known. How close would a 20kt bomb need to be dropped to have an effect on this target? Or alternatively what would other suitable targets have been.
          "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
          "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

          "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
          Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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          • #35
            The bombs used on Japan were designed for air bursts. As I understand from reading Rhoades 'Making of the A Bomb' the complex mechanism for shielding the Uranium/Plutonium and bringing that material together for the desired reaction would malfunction if it hit something.

            A low altitude air burst would destroy the surface administrative buildings of the Zossen HQ, and seal shut one or more of the entries with debris or jammed doors. Some communication would be disrupted. I would guess the telephone lines would be well buried and shielded so they might survive. anntenna towers for the radios would be ruined.

            As for other targets. That really depends on what remains in Germany in August 1945. If the Allies have not yet established airbases in eastern France & Belgium then the Transportation Campaign executed by the medium and light bombers in the winter/spring 1945 may not have been accomplished. so there would be several transportation hubs to attack.

            From reading eyewitness accounts of the nuclear attacks on Japan several thing jumped out at me. A. communications were affected across Japan. Its not clear exactly what these witnesses meant. Its just remarks like "..communication were knocked out." I've usually assumed this meant the telephone trunk lines and switch stations in or near the targets were destroyed, and the technicians/engineers had to sort out alternative routes for connections. There is also the possible EMP effect.

            B. The detonation was visible/felt for hundreds of kilometers. The cloud from the detonation was visible despite ordinary overcast. Witnesses describe the atmospheric effect as pecuilar or spectacular for several days after the two detonations.

            C. A massive number of refugees spread out from the target area. That crowd contained many injured. In the days following the attack tens of thousands of witnesses spread across central Japan and the hospitals filled with burn victims. That reinforced the early rumors and news that a enourmous attack had occured. Relief efforts also touched every Japanese military unit as the reaction to the destruction was organized.

            D. The witnesses describe the Japanese as "stunned", "in a frenzy", "depressed", "panicked" within a day or two of the first detonation.

            Detonating two or three such devices over Germany in the space of four weeks and the threat of four to six more before the end of the year would have some sort of effect on Germanys morale. I've no doubt that the fanatics would continue to be fanatics. But the use of a weapon that on a clear would be visible across a quarter of Germany would grab the attention of the entire population.
            Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 07 Jun 09, 07:40.

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            • #36
              I've got a sense of deja vu here...

              This thread is similar to one that was "at the top of the list", back when I first joined ACG in 2007. That thread's contention was the (equally implausible) idea that the Wallies had managed to push their research efforts ahead; the first bombs became available in the Spring of 1944, when Germany was still full of fight. What do you use them against?

              If Germany is still fighting in August 1945, then we must accept at least some of the following as inherently true statements:

              -The strategic bombing campaign has been an abysmal failure...
              -The Wallies have failed to establish (the historical) overwhelming air superiority in the tactical sense.
              -Germany still has access to "strategic materials" from the Balkans and Poland/Silesia, thus the Soviet's advance has not gone per historical either.
              -The air interdiction campaign ("Transportation plan") conducted primarily by the 9th AF/ 2 ATAF has not happened, or has also failed miserably.
              -The raids that comprised the "Oil plan" have not been flown, or have been decisively defeated.

              So there you have it...

              This means one thing...the Luftwaffe did a number of things far differently than in the historical timeline, if any of the above is to happen; but happen they must, or Germany is Kaput...follow my reasoning here?

              The one thing that historically broke the back of the German war machine was an almost unintentional off-shoot of the "Oil campaign", conducted primarily by the units of the USAAF 8th AF. As demonstrated by the fruitless efforts to interdict production at the Romanian fields in the Ploesti area, Allied mission planners far underestimated the value of the synthetics industry to the Nazi war effort. This would all become apparent post-war, when the BDA teams assigned to the USSBS started, digging through the rubble (and the mountains of captured documents) to see what had worked...and what hadn't. What they found was staggering:

              By 1944, Germany derived almost all of her motor fuels from synthetic sources; almost all of her nitric acids, methanol, tetraethyl lead and rubber were also produced in this manner...here's a link to a summarization of the "Oil Division: Final Report" from the USSBS.

              If it's August 1945 and Germany's still fighting, then Leuna Werke at Merseberg is still functioning at full capacity...

              ...it must be so...

              As was my contention in the previous thread (back in 2007) it's the same here; hit Leuna with your nuke...if you've got another one, then hit BASF at Ludwigshafen.

              Bingo!!!

              No process gas feedstock equals: no go-go juice, no nitrates, no rubber, no chemicals industry...

              War over...just like it happened in history.

              Cheers, Ron
              48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
              __________________________________________________ __________________

              Comment


              • #37
                If the Allied bomber gurus figure out the role of the synthetic oil production then that certainly is a no brainer. Tho I wonder that if the stratigic bombing campaign has failed as you propose then would the Allied air leaders be any better off in understanding where the oil is coming from?

                Allied target selection really depends on all the baggage that follows the WI of no victory in April 1945. Have they figured out the vulnerability of the transportation system? What parts of the stratigic bombing campaign have failed or suceeded? Was a stratigic bombing campaign even executed? Where are the Allied ground armys, in Poloand or further east, near the Rhine, or further west? What condition are Germanys armys and air forces in?

                Whatever target list is made I am sure the morale effect will be tremdous.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by iron View Post
                  This thread is similar to one that was "at the top of the list", back when I first joined ACG in 2007. That thread's contention was the (equally implausible) idea that the Wallies had managed to push their research efforts ahead; the first bombs became available in the Spring of 1944, when Germany was still full of fight. What do you use them against?

                  here's a link to a summarization of the "Oil Division: Final Report" from the USSBS.
                  This IS an alternative timelines thread. And 3 months grace(on top of 5.5 years) is not much of a stretch.

                  P.S. Thanks for the link.
                  "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                  "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                  "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                  Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by At ease View Post
                    This IS an alternative timelines thread. And 3 months grace(on top of 5.5 years) is not much of a stretch.

                    P.S. Thanks for the link.
                    At ease soldier...

                    Don't get me wrong; perhaps it is an "Alternate" reality in the proposal, but it still should be plausible...there's a certain burden of evidence required here at ACG (at least when certain "individuals", such as myself, decide to participate).

                    The last five months of the historical war (after the recovery from the shock of the Ardennes offensive) were little more than the denouement of the entire conflict. Not to say that there wasn't still some tough slogging ahead, but the fact is that Germany was spent, in total disarray, and it was all over but the crying.

                    In this "proposal" we see a hypothetical Germany in Aug. '45; but which one?

                    -Still offering strong resistance on all fronts, including in the air?
                    -Possessing offensive capabilities and launching "spoiling attacks" and "back-hand blows" on the ground?
                    -Devastated, prostrate and reeling (as per the historical timeline circa Feb. '45)?
                    -Or something else entirely?

                    To see a Germany still strongly resisting in Aug. '45 (the "eight month stretch") requires at least some of the "changes", as outlined in my previous post.

                    If we are dealing with a similar situation to that of the historical Feb.-Apr. '45 (the "three month stretch"), then in my opinion, there's not a chance in hell that the US will waste their atomic weapons on an already defeated Germany...particularly if the situation in the PTO is as per the OTL.

                    The major point in my previous post is that if the Germans can't keep the synthetic facilities on line (despite the efforts of the 8th AF), then Germany is done...

                    ...no POL
                    ...no munitions
                    ...no rubber
                    ...no industrial chemicals, solvents, adhesives, acetates, etc, etc...

                    exactly as it went in recorded history...

                    ...Period.

                    Hence my conclusion that the premise is unsupported and thus, implausible at best.

                    Cheers, Ron
                    48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
                    __________________________________________________ __________________

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                      The bombs used on Japan were designed for air bursts. As I understand from reading Rhoades 'Making of the A Bomb' the complex mechanism for shielding the Uranium/Plutonium and bringing that material together for the desired reaction would malfunction if it hit something.
                      The Hiroshima bomb was simple 'gun type' weapon. It was so reliable they didn't even bother testing it. Basically you fire a ball of uranium capped with lithium down a heigh tensile steel tube into a bigger ball of uranium with a polonium disc in the centre. Exact weight of uranium depends on purity but arbout 20 kilos should do. Its a very simple and strong design and should have survived ground burst, especially if fitted inside a british tall boy or grandslam style armoured bomb case.

                      The nagasaki bomb was more complicated... it achieve critical mass by using explosive lenses to compress the plutonium and start a chain reaction. That was probably more sensitive to impact but even then should have survived hitting the ground.

                      In any case a REALLY low airburst (~100 feet off the ground) would be almost as effective and a radar fuse capable of detonating the bomb a split second before it hit the ground should have been within our capabilities.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by peter_sym View Post
                        The Hiroshima bomb was simple 'gun type' weapon. It was so reliable they didn't even bother testing it. Basically you fire a ball of uranium capped with lithium down a heigh tensile steel tube into a bigger ball of uranium with a polonium disc in the centre. Exact weight of uranium depends on purity but arbout 20 kilos should do. Its a very simple and strong design and should have survived ground burst, especially if fitted inside a british tall boy or grandslam style armoured bomb case.

                        The nagasaki bomb was more complicated... it achieve critical mass by using explosive lenses to compress the plutonium and start a chain reaction. That was probably more sensitive to impact but even then should have survived hitting the ground.

                        In any case a REALLY low airburst (~100 feet off the ground) would be almost as effective and a radar fuse capable of detonating the bomb a split second before it hit the ground should have been within our capabilities.
                        Perhaps, but my take from Rhoades, & other, descriptions of the device and the mechanics of the final assembly and arming of the triggers sound like they were not building something that could be used for a contact or penetrating detonation. As you say a near surface action would be practical, tho that changes the general effect. The medium altitude detonations over Japan seem toi have done a fair job.

                        Was the Zossen site a critical command center in 1945?

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          Perhaps, but my take from Rhoades, & other, descriptions of the device and the mechanics of the final assembly and arming of the triggers sound like they were not building something that could be used for a contact or penetrating detonation. As you say a near surface action would be practical, tho that changes the general effect. The medium altitude detonations over Japan seem toi have done a fair job.

                          Was the Zossen site a critical command center in 1945?
                          Hi Carl,

                          I agree- the bombs weren't designed to hit the ground but it wouldn't have been rocket science to modify the design much. Its not beyond the bounds of physics to actually soft drop the thing with a few parachutes and have a timer running I suppose! (although if it didn't detonate it would have been a bit of a gift!).

                          I'm not sure how much Zossen would REALLY have mattered anyway- by 1945 German army formations seemed to have been functioning more or less without control anyway. Melting Hitler in his bunker may have allowed someone like Doenitz to take over and sue for surrender though so I still wouldn't be opposed to a groundburst on the Fuhrer bunker.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by peter_sym View Post

                            I agree- the bombs weren't designed to hit the ground but it wouldn't have been rocket science to modify the design much...
                            Well actually it was a step above rocket sience in 1945

                            I can visualize the German clean up crew and ordinance experts, plus sundry gawkers all suffering various degrees of radiation poisoning after picking over a wrecked Plutonium bomb

                            Originally posted by peter_sym View Post
                            I'm not sure how much Zossen would REALLY have mattered anyway- by 1945 German army formations seemed to have been functioning more or less without control anyway. Melting Hitler in his bunker may have allowed someone like Doenitz to take over and sue for surrender though so I still wouldn't be opposed to a groundburst on the Fuhrer bunker.
                            This is the problem with picking targets here. Theres no clear guide on the situation in this hypothetical 1945. One guesses the overall situation is still good enough for Germany using the devices seems justified to the leaders on the spot. But, as Iron points out the variables crawl all over the place.

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                            • #44
                              Hi Carl,

                              Actually making a bomb is far less difficult than rocket science. The V2 is a serious bit of technology, especially the gyroscopic guidance system. The only difficulty with the hiroshima bomb was purifying enough uranium 235 in the first place.. the actual design was so simple it didn't need testing. Openheimer KNEW it would work. Its what rather worries me about countries like Iran. The A bomb predates the microchip... the B29 that dropped the bombs needed far more tech than the actual bombs themselves.

                              Targets are a problem.... you don't get that large a circle of devestation with a 1945 bomb so there's little value using it as a tactical weapon on troops or against dispersed targets like oil. Hardened conventional targets like U boat pens don't seem worth it so its really either command centres or concentrated civillians.

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                              • #45
                                Rhoades rather contradicts that. His descriptions of the techincal problems and the engineering solutions for making up dropable devices are interesting, and not short. Oppenheimer had some optimism, tho that was after exhaustive crafting and testing of the components. There are good reasons these two devices took months to design assemble.

                                Judging from the effects on Hiroshima & Nagasaki I'm still thinking transportation hubs and possiblly synthetic oil manufactoring sites. Of course thats with the benefit of hind sight. Without some sort of idea of Germanys condition and the Allied armys requirements in this scenario we are just throwing darts in the dark to pick targets.

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