If the aircraft had never been invented...

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

Postby neil hilton » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:55 pm

The shock effect I was referring to isn't the shock of artillery but of tanks suddenly and quickly moving all around you and cutting you off etc, thats what blitzkrieg is, the sudden and overwhelming punch of armour moving at speed and encircling you and it was the flying artillery that allowed tanks to move so quickly against a defended area. Without some kind of artillery to prepare the way tanks can be fairly easily stopped by opposing tanks and anti-tank guns, even resolute infantry with sticky bombs or molotov cocktails.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby RF » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:45 pm

The Treaty of Versailles forbade both an air force or heavy artillery on the part of the Germans, as well as tanks. Artillery was not specifically needed in any great extent in crossing the Meuse, or the drive to Abbeville.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby RF » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:47 pm

neil hilton wrote:The shock effect I was referring to isn't the shock of artillery but of tanks suddenly and quickly moving all around you and cutting you off etc, thats what blitzkrieg is, the sudden and overwhelming punch of armour moving at speed and encircling you and it was the flying artillery that allowed tanks to move so quickly against a defended area. Without some kind of artillery to prepare the way tanks can be fairly easily stopped by opposing tanks and anti-tank guns, even resolute infantry with sticky bombs or molotov cocktails.


The first sentence is right. And the Germans had mobile 88mm guns which Rommel for one certainly used for good effect.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby neil hilton » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:58 pm

RF wrote:Artillery was not specifically needed in any great extent in crossing the Meuse, or the drive to Abbeville.


This was because they found a huge gap in the line, the Ardennes, which made the blitzkrieg much easier. The blitzkrieg through France was not a typical case.
Typically a blitzkrieg attack would go in in between two corps or army formations, naturally forcing the retreating forces to diverge as they fell back along their own specific line of supply, the tanks could then speed through almost unopposed but this leaves them vulnerable to flank attacks. Artillery support whether ground based or flying is used to keep the opposing forces busy and 'on the back foot' while the armour moves past. This is were towed artillery becomes less use because the tanks quickly speed beyond their range and thus flying artillery or self propelled is necessary.
Thus no aircraft = no blitzkrieg, at least until self propelled artillery is developed. Although with no aircraft development soaking up a nations funds self propelled artillery would probably have been developed earlier than historically.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby RF » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:53 pm

And also perhaps far earlier development of rockets and guided missiles
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby lwd » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:40 pm

I don't think so for the guided missiles. Most early variants came out of Air to surface weapons at least if you are talking guidance with any sort of precision.

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

Postby RF » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:39 am

I'm thinking that the time scale for rocket development would be brought forward from the actual by about twenty years, with perhaps the poineering development starting in the 1920's rather than in WW2.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby lwd » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:57 am

The main R&D for rockets in the 20s and 30s was by amateurs. I don't see why the military would be any more intersted than they were historically. Rockets didn't have a very good rep in the 19th Century for good reason.

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

Postby neil hilton » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:12 pm

Possibly one of the reasons why the military weren't initially interested in rockets in the '20s was because they already had a long range more accurate weapon ie aircraft (specifically bombers). Without aircraft the militaries of most first world countries could well be looking for something else to fill that role and thus show more interest in R&D.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby RF » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:48 am

I think that the military forces in all the major powers would have gone that way. Particulary if lighter than air flight can be developed to a much further scale than it has to even today. Remember that in WW2 the Japanese experimented with long range balloon bombs in China, and in 1944 launched a wave of such bombs against mainland USA.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby lwd » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:40 pm

neil hilton wrote:Possibly one of the reasons why the military weren't initially interested in rockets in the '20s was because they already had a long range more accurate weapon ie aircraft (specifically bombers). Without aircraft the militaries of most first world countries could well be looking for something else to fill that role and thus show more interest in R&D.

Remember that rockets had been used in the Napleonic wars. There accuracy and temperment resulted in considerable scepticism of their utility. The experiments of Goddard and company in the interwar period may have fortold a considerable increase in range which would have been a plus but nothing suggested that accuracy would be enough to make them viable long range weapons until after WWII. I simply don't see the pressure building on rocket or missile R&D in the 20's or 30's. Perhaps in Japan where they were looking for anything to give them a leg up vs the USN but without the accuracy that's problematic as well.

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

Postby RF » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:57 am

The other criteria with accuracy is of course the size of the target - the Japanese were targetting an entire continent.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby neil hilton » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:59 am

lwd wrote:
neil hilton wrote:Possibly one of the reasons why the military weren't initially interested in rockets in the '20s was because they already had a long range more accurate weapon ie aircraft (specifically bombers). Without aircraft the militaries of most first world countries could well be looking for something else to fill that role and thus show more interest in R&D.

Remember that rockets had been used in the Napleonic wars. There accuracy and temperment resulted in considerable scepticism of their utility. The experiments of Goddard and company in the interwar period may have fortold a considerable increase in range which would have been a plus but nothing suggested that accuracy would be enough to make them viable long range weapons until after WWII. I simply don't see the pressure building on rocket or missile R&D in the 20's or 30's. Perhaps in Japan where they were looking for anything to give them a leg up vs the USN but without the accuracy that's problematic as well.



1844 William Hale developed the first spin stabilized rocket which greatly improved accuracy. 1855, Boxer rockets were so accurate that they were used for sea rescue by firing a line to ships in gale force conditions.
Hale rockets were part of the British and US Army arsenal in the latter half of the 1800s. Question is why did they get rid of them? Was it because aircraft were invented?
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby RF » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:04 pm

In the latter half of the 1800's heavy artillery evolved, with ever bigger guns and longer ranges, so I suppose that may be the reason for rockets not really developing.
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Re: If the aircraft had never been invented...

Postby neil hilton » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:55 pm

Thats what I thought, but I don't know when rockets were actually deleted from the armys inventory.
Anyway as regular tube artillery became longer ranged and more accurate battlefields necessarily became deeper resulting in the battles of ww1 and its outsized railway artillery, at this point some smartypants decided to use aircraft on the battlefield first to scout then to bomb. If aircraft weren't possible what would they have tried? railway guns just aren't really practical. Balloons and dirigibles for spotting, maybe some development into solid fuel rockets (like an improvement on the Hale for example) could produce a long range practical bombardment weapon.
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