If the aircraft had never been invented...

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by neil hilton » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:18 am

The German 'Electro Boats' using the Walter hydrogen peroxide engine was never even tested fully, going off modern day variants that it probably would have taken the Germans many years to get it functional enough and stable enough for safe use. If they had pushed it into service quicker (which they probably would have like they did with the Panther tanks and the Me262s) I can see many boats going out to sea and never returning and not as a result of enemy action!

One point that hasn't been mentioned is that the development and production of aircraft is very expensive both in costs and materials and research know-how. If heavier than air flight is impossible then all that historical effort that went into aircraft would be used elsewhere. So you can expect larger and better armies and navies.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7519
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by RF » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:29 pm

I believe that the development of a ''true submersible'' had been on the agenda of the Reichsmarine prior to Hitler becoming Reichskanzler and that the costs and lead times in developing it were so great that it didn't progress very far past the wish list until well into WW2.

Give the Hitlerian principle of ruling by getting your subordinates to compete with each other, and the degree of competing and wasteful research efforts, I do get the impression that if these research projects were made inter-service, properly organised, controlled and prioritised for materials and skilled labour then a great deal more could have been achieved. A whole variety of weapons could have been developed to keep Germany in the war.

Without aircraft there would no doubt be quite a number of direct substitutes for aircraft developed. In particular rockets and ballistic missiles. Another aspect of ''no aircraft'' would be considerations of why not? If fixed wing aircraft were impossible, would that for example prevent the invention of the helicopter? Or the use of guided balloons as long range weapons?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
19kilo
Member
Posts: 143
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:46 am

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by 19kilo » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:31 am

Could the Type VII have been improved? Along the lines of more bat power, cleaned up hydodynamicaly......sort of like what the GUPPY program did postwar?

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7519
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by RF » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:18 am

If there was time available, by putting more resources into the project earlier, more efficient allocation of resources, better project management, higher labour productivity, who knows what could have been achieved.....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by neil hilton » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:37 am

Helicopters use the same principle of flight as fixed winged aircraft, lowered air pressure over the wing or rotor in motion to create lift, its just a different way of achieving lift. Cruise missiles also rely heavily on wings to provide lift so the V1 is out and those variants that were historically made just after the war, but true rockets should be possible.

The type VII uboat IMO wasn't any better than contemporary allied boats but did appear a little earlier than such examples as the Gato and the T and U classes. The type VII earned a reputation because of its use and from certain daring exploits such as U47 sinking HMS Royal Oak etc.
With no aircraft around then its entirely possible the Germans could have produced the type XXI earlier than historically (with the extra funding and research available due to no aircraft development). Every nation also could have produced late war models earlier (Daring class DDs for example).

Another point is that if there are no aircraft what happened in WW1! Aircraft were used for spotting on battlefields and had a large impact on the course of several major actions.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by lwd » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:22 pm

Aircraft were certainly fundamental to the way the war was conducted in the Pacific starting well before Dec 7th. On land can we assume that the German victories over Poland and France go as smothly without the LW? This is important as the question has been raised as to where the funds spent on aircraft go if aircraft aren't available.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7519
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by RF » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:35 pm

lwd wrote: On land can we assume that the German victories over Poland and France go as smothly without the LW?
Given the way the panxer divisions were handled by the likes of Guderian and Rommel I think they probably would. You could even argue that at Dunkirk with no LW or Goering ''sticking his oar in'' the Heer would have been forced into investing the Allied pocket and capturing a large part of the Allied forces before they could have been evacuated.
I don't think that in those campaigns that the LW was the decisive weapon - the stukas made a loud noise and were more visible than the damage they actually did, at least in open countryside. Obviously Warsaw would be an exception - but the result would have been the same.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
José M. Rico
Administrator
Posts: 836
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:23 am
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by José M. Rico » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:34 pm

A question comes to my mind: how long would it take Guderian to cross the Meuse river at Sedan without Luftwaffe support?
I don't think he can reach the Channel in time to trap the allies at Dunkirk without the Luftwaffe. Just to put an example.
France may have been eventually defeated, but in my opinion No Luftwaffe = no Blitzkrieg.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by lwd » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:09 pm

neil hilton wrote:... Another point is that if there are no aircraft what happened in WW1! Aircraft were used for spotting on battlefields and had a large impact on the course of several major actions.
This is a very important point I think. Without airplanes the lighter than air craft become much more viable. Light AA is almost useless but heavy AA becomes more significant. Cruisers and Battleships don't get float planes so they have some extra volume and or mass to devote to other uses or they can be made a bit smaller and cheaper. Obviously there's little spending on aircraft carriers althought there would probably be support ships for derrigables as even if they are more or less fixed over the fleet they extend the scouting range considerably and can be fairly effective ASW platforms as well.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7519
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by RF » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:19 am

José M. Rico wrote:A question comes to my mind: how long would it take Guderian to cross the Meuse river at Sedan without Luftwaffe support?
I don't think he can reach the Channel in time to trap the allies at Dunkirk without the Luftwaffe. Just to put an example.
France may have been eventually defeated, but in my opinion No Luftwaffe = no Blitzkrieg.
Well, the Ardennes was defended by Corap's French Ninth Army, about the least effective unit in the French Army, put there by Gamelin and Georges because they never expected a major German thrust there (in spite of being told by the Swiss military intelligence on 7 May 1940 to expect a German push in exactly that place). One of the crossings on the Meuse was left undefended by the French after an attempt to blow it up was only partially successful. So Rommel crossed there without Luftwaffe support or opposition from French defenders.
Evidence from Guderian himself in ''Panzer Leader'' suggests that the stukas were chiefly psychological in effect in the Ardennes, the sirens more effective than the bombs. The French defence put up heavy small arms fire on the German boats crossing the river, but once ashore the French defenders melted away as soon as the German infantry started to probe around their positions. According to Guderian, what held up the Germans the most was the lack of enthusiasm at Fuhrer HQ (and this is backed up by Warlimont in his book ''Inside Hitlers headquarters'') in authorising the panzer division advances and not French resistance or any need for Luftwaffe support - Guderian and Rommel went against orders and advanced so fast that they outran Luftwaffe support, indeed there were fears that they advanced so far so quickly that there was a risk that lead columns could have been attacked by their own planes, as had happened in Poland in September 1939.

The initial blitzkrieg up to Dunkirk happened because of the elan of the panzer units, airpower wasn't that critical.
Where airpower was critical was in the invasion of the Netherlands - the use of paratroops - and in the later German offensive across the Somme launched 5 June 1940, where stukas had to blast a path through French heavy artillery for the tanks. For once the French put up heavy resistance and it took four days for the Germans to break through.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7519
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by RF » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:26 am

lwd wrote:
neil hilton wrote:... Another point is that if there are no aircraft what happened in WW1! Aircraft were used for spotting on battlefields and had a large impact on the course of several major actions.
This is a very important point I think. Without airplanes the lighter than air craft become much more viable. .
Balloons and airships would have played a very much bigger role, especially in reconnaisance. We could even have ''battle balloons'' carrying sizeable weapons for the task of shooting down the other side's balloons where guns on the ground couldn't reach them. Just imagine aerial dogfights between huge airships!!!

Another aspect is at what point helium replaces hydrogen as the main gas used.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by neil hilton » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:35 pm

RF wrote:
Balloons and airships would have played a very much bigger role, especially in reconnaisance. We could even have ''battle balloons'' carrying sizeable weapons for the task of shooting down the other side's balloons where guns on the ground couldn't reach them. Just imagine aerial dogfights between huge airships!!!
Sounds comical even farcical!! Cool. :lol:
Last edited by neil hilton on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

User avatar
neil hilton
Senior Member
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by neil hilton » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:43 pm

José M. Rico wrote:No Luftwaffe = no Blitzkrieg.
I agree with this.
Before the development of self propelled artillery CAS aircraft enabled the blitzkrieg. Without aircraft the blitzkrieg would probably still be possible but would be much slower as regular towed artillery needs a lot of time to move and deploy. This obviously gives opposing forces more time to respond, less shock effect.
Veni, vidi, verrimus!
I came, I saw, I swept the floor!

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7519
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by RF » Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:19 pm

neil hilton wrote:
José M. Rico wrote:No Luftwaffe = no Blitzkrieg.
I agree with this.
.
See my post above.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Post by lwd » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:14 pm

Wasn't the main reason that German Doctrine stressed air support due to treaty limitations on artillery after WWI. Of course there were limitaitons on the LW as well from what I recall. On the otherhand could horse drawn artillery have kept up with the German advance in France? As for the impact being mostly or moral remember Napoleon's quote about that.

Post Reply