Strategic bombing during World War II

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
lwd
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby lwd » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:39 pm

Byron Angel wrote: ..... If one doesn't pay much attention to "the popular press", then the campaign to blacken Hersh's name would likewise have escaped notice. But I assure you that Hersh's name was well and truly and comprehensively blackened by the Kennedy clan and their supporters within said popular press. The attacks upon Irving reached the US like an avalanche via the very same popular press channels. It is the vehicle of convenience and choice for those properly connected.

That may be. On the otherhand it doesn't take a well fiananced or organized operation (i.e. a conspiracy) to achieve this result. If you take an unpopular position and are found to be the least bit sloppy the "press" will often respond like sharks in a feeding frenzy.
You and I will apparently have to agree to disagree on this issue, I think.

I'm not saying it didn't happen but I've seen little to indicate it did. Even the effects you list could as readily be explained by the way most of the modern press operates today. Indeed if you really wanted to target someone like the above there's little point in trying to organize it or support it fiananically. Just drop the right hints (chum the waters) and the press (sharks) will do the rest for you, probably even exceed what could reasonably be planned.

Of course in the case of Irving it was well deserved based on his Dresden numbers alone.

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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby paul.mercer » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:38 pm

Gentlemen,
Are some of you saying that if Hitler had heavy bombers like the Lanc and B17 that he would not have used them against London and other targets?
I think that is a ridiculous notion, how about he indiscriminate use of V1 & V2 weapons - are you going to say that these would not have been used earlier in the war had they been available?
War is a dreadful thing as everyone who contributes to this forum knows, but all out war is just that, all out. There are still a number of apologists for the atomic bomb, never considering the huge cost in allied lives if they had to invade Japan.
I sorry if you disagree with me gentlemen, the bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin and other cities was undoubtedly unpleasent, but so was the blitz on London and other cities. One goes to war to win and the country with the superior weaponry and resourses usually does but it is always the civilians that suffer most.

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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby RF » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:01 pm

paul.mercer wrote: There are still a number of apologists for the atomic bomb, never considering the huge cost in allied lives if they had to invade Japan.
I sorry if you disagree with me gentlemen, the bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin and other cities was undoubtedly unpleasent, but so was the blitz on London and other cities. One goes to war to win and the country with the superior weaponry and resourses usually does but it is always the civilians that suffer most.


Not forgetting Warsaw, Narvik and Rotterdam, or the accidental bombing of neutral Dublin, all by the Luftwaffe.

With respect to the atomic bomb, I am no apologist. Quite apart from Allied lives, the fate of POW's if it hadn't been used, consider also the millions of Japanese lives saved when Hirohito surrendered instead of fighting on to the last man in Japan.
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby Paul L » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:09 pm

According to the Butt Report
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butt_Report

The reason the RAF didn't inflict any damage on Germany up until 1942 was because of the terrible navigational errors in targeting by the RAF. Reportedly

"The report found that on average only one in three bombers dispatched claimed to have reached the target and of these only one in five bombed within 5 miles of it, a figure that fell to one in 15 on a moonless night".


http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showth ... eport-1941

I think I read somewhere that Bomber Commands CEP was on average 20 miles. Anyone know what the German CEP during the BoB was?

Of interest in that part of the topic
http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/Eh ... 1114180918


From what I've read of the LW, the Spanish civil war shocked the Germans out of trusting on level bombing and caused them to go head over heels for dive-bombing, which produce considerable accuracy and cost effectiveness. But even with this strategic bombing was always seen as a mainstay of the LW right from its inception, to the point that a 1937 LW secret study concluded that without long range strategic bombing, the LW could not defeat the RAF even if all the bombers were Ju-88s and the LW operated from northwestern Europe [Belgium Holland etc]. The main reason strategic bombing died was , its champion "Wever" died in the late 1930s at just about the same time Hitler had taken control of the armaments drive and demanded more, more and more of everything at the expense of all other considerations.

I suspect that the reason the RAF went to carpet-bombing cities is because they had no other choice. Surgical bombing was not realistic for WW-II strategic bombing as was it for the V-1 & V-2, which turn out to be more accurate than RAF bombing prior to 1942. This also explains why the Germans went for Guided missiles and why they were not seen as 'futuristic syfy weapons'. I gather that USAAF studied guided weapons as an alternative to strategic bombing in the late 1930s but concluded that since they had already invested so much in mass bombing, it would not make sence to switch at that time.

I ignore discussions on genocide. I work & spoke with American 'people of color' ; aboriginal Indians and Indie people from the 'sub continent' and they love to wax on about Anglo-American genocide against them. If their claims are accurate, Hitler looks like a rank amateur in comparison. The troubling thing is the claims of the victims are historically ignored but, usually turn out to under state the extent of the slaughter ,not over state. Most of what is written is attempts to exonerate one side or the other. Genocide seems to be the inevitable consequence of any power which seeks to establish an empire on the ashes of its conquest.
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby boredatwork » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:52 am

Paul L wrote:I think I read somewhere that Bomber Commands CEP was on average 20 miles. Anyone know what the German CEP during the BoB was?


I don't think the 2 would be directly comparable - the Luftwaffe had a comparatively short flight and easy navigation job as most of the targets were near the coast or a short way in from the coast along easily distinguishable rivers (The Thames with it's u-bend for example). I'm sure if you compared the RAF's strikes against the Baltic, North Sea, and Channel ports average accuracy would be comparable and considerably greater than that achieved against inland targets like the Ruhr and Berlin.

The main reason strategic bombing died was , its champion "Wever" died in the late 1930s at just about the same time Hitler had taken control of the armaments drive and demanded more, more and more of everything at the expense of all other considerations.


I don't think strategic bombing 'died' - rather the leadership that followed Wever had a more realistic sense of priorities. No one knew how long a strategic bombing campaign would take. Unlike Britain which was protected by the channel Germany relied on her army which at that time was still recovering from the shackles of Versailles. It would do no good to build a heavy strategic bomber force that could win the war in 6 months, a year - if the emancipated German army would crumble before then. The immediate focus then was getting some form of airforce operational that could help the army hold the line against a feared French/Polish preemptive attack. Twin engined bombers were much less of a strain on the industry, particularly the aero engine industry and thus received priority and they could be used against strategic targets of the 2 immediate threat countries (Poland/France). The eventual creation of a heavy strategic bomber force was still very much part of the plan - coincident with the cancellation of of the heavy bomber programs at the time of Wever's death was the issuing of a much more advanced bomber specification that eventually matured into the He-177 with a (wildly optimistic) target in service date of 1940.

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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby Paul L » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:13 am

Germany had a strategic bombing force already. It was established in 1935 when Lufthansa was converted into the core of the LW. Strategic bombing was seen as an alternative to naval spending not army spending. However all naval and LW spending was subordinated to Hitlers four year plan which wasted considerable sums of funding on WestWall fortifications and barricks for another million troops in the field army all in a span of a couple of years....just to add 20 more divisions to the field army. Even the Army had to give up its plans to motorize the existing army inorder to feed Hitlers mad ambitions in Europe.

I still need to know the CEP of LW attacks on UK. I gather that RAF attacks along the french coast had CEP of about 10km.
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby RF » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:56 am

Paul L wrote: But even with this strategic bombing was always seen as a mainstay of the LW right from its inception, to the point that a 1937 LW secret study concluded that without long range strategic bombing, the LW could not defeat the RAF even if all the bombers were Ju-88s and the LW operated from northwestern Europe [Belgium Holland etc]. The main reason strategic bombing died was , its champion "Wever" died in the late 1930s at just about the same time Hitler had taken control of the armaments drive and demanded more, more and more of everything at the expense of all other considerations.


I don't think this is right. I am not aware of the Luftwaffe ever being developed as an instrument of strategic bombing and was never equipped to properly do it.
Hitler and Goering specifically vetoed the development of heavy bombers on the grounds that with ''blitzkrieg'' they wouldn't be necessary. As for ''demanding more and more'' Germany didn't actually go over to a ''total war'' economy until September 1944! Emphasis was placed as much on cilvilian production as armaments, under the so-called doctrine of ''guns and butter.''
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby RF » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:00 am

Paul L wrote:Germany had a strategic bombing force already. It was established in 1935 when Lufthansa was converted into the core of the LW.


I have never heard or seen this claim before in over forty years of studying military history. Certainly in 1935 the Luftwaffe was largely a paper tiger at best - long range heavy bombing in 1935?? - that is fantasy and hyperbole.
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby RF » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:04 am

boredatwork wrote:
I don't think strategic bombing 'died' - rather the leadership that followed Wever had a more realistic sense of priorities.


I don't think that Nazi Germany ever had a realistic sense of priorities and this is the main reason Germany went down to defeat.
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby alecsandros » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:06 am

RF wrote:
boredatwork wrote:
I don't think strategic bombing 'died' - rather the leadership that followed Wever had a more realistic sense of priorities.


I don't think that Nazi Germany ever had a realistic sense of priorities and this is the main reason Germany went down to defeat.


Yes they did. We've been over this before. Without going to much into detail, it's common sense to presupose some kind of strategic skill set to a military and political force that conquered and held pretty much all of Europe for 6 years.

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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby RF » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:13 pm

alecsandros, your statement makes no sense to me at all. Nazi Germany had no proper strategic objectives beyond the fantasiies of its leader. The fact that skills used by its underlings to achieve a conquest of 'pretty much all of Europe for six years'' is no evidence of any strategic skill on the part of Hitler. Without Guderian there would have been no panzer divisions, no blitzkrieg, without Udet no stukas and without Donitz no U-boat wolf pack tactics. Replace Hitler with Saddam Hussein or Gadaffi, the results would have been the same.
And given Hitlers' prejudices against education, personified in the policies of Education Minister Rust, the next generations of Germans would have been deprived of the learning and expertise necessary to power a modern industrial economy. Give it thirty to forty years, Nazi Germany would have become like North Korea.
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby RF » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:40 pm

I would add that tactical success isn't the same as achieving strategic objectives.

Blitzkrieg was conceived as a means of quickly destroying an oppenents means of waging war, of quickly crushing resistance. Developed by the likes of Guderian, it was misused and misdirected by Hitler. The eye-witness accounts of the likes of Guderian himself, Warlimont and the US writer William Shirer attest to this. The masterstroke conceived by Manstein, carried out by Guderian and Rommel, achieved the conquest of France, one of the greatest military victories in military history. But it was all undone by the ignorance and ego of the Fuhrer, a similar failing also of the Kaiser. Tactical victory but strategic failure. The blitzkrieg failed to knockout Britain because Hitler's forces conquered France and stopped. The blitzkrieg failed to conquer Russia. The blitzkrieg could not even be applied against the USA, indeed the Germans had no means of bringing mainland USA under direct fire. Hitler's admission to Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Oshima in January 1942 that he had no idea about how to defeat the USA just about says it all.
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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby boredatwork » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:58 pm

RF wrote:
boredatwork wrote:
I don't think strategic bombing 'died' - rather the leadership that followed Wever had a more realistic sense of priorities.


I don't think that Nazi Germany ever had a realistic sense of priorities and this is the main reason Germany went down to defeat.


I was reffering to Kesselring who succeeded Wever as Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe, not Goering or Hitler. Given the state of the aero industry at that time the decision to build many twin engine bombers in the short term whose design and operation demanded fewer resources was undoubtably correct, with Britain not at that time seen as a threat and war with the soviet union not anticipated until the mid 40s. In the context of war with the two immediate adversaries - Poland & France as the light bombers used were adequate and roughly comparable to the "strategic bombers" the RAF employed at the time.

Hitler and Goering specifically vetoed the development of heavy bombers on the grounds that with ''blitzkrieg'' they wouldn't be necessary.


If they vetoed the development of heavy bombers why was the requirement for the mcuh more advanced Bomber A issued immediately following the cancelation of the Ural Bomber program? (and roughly coincident with the RAF issueing of specifications for what would eventually become the Halifax and Manchester/Lancaster) They went for light bombers first for exactly the same reason the Scharnhorst received 11" guns - to get any weapon fielded now in order to have some capacity for political purposes.

The idea that the Luftwaffe lost the Battle of Britain because they failed to develop a heavy strategic bomber and focussed on operational rather than strategic operations is IMO part a smokescreen encouraged by strategic bombing proponents to explain away the failure of bombing to deliver upon it's prewar promise. The RAF had a "strategic bomber" force from the start - how much had it achieved prior to 1943?

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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby alecsandros » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:06 pm

RF wrote:I would add that tactical success isn't the same as achieving strategic objectives.


I don't want this to go over the top...
But conquering France... the low countries... Norway... are strategic victories on their own. Think only of the industrial capacity of France... or the Atlantic position Denmark gave... Or the favorable position Norway gave for keeping an eye over the North Atlantic.

The blitzkrieg failed to knockout Britain because Hitler's forces conquered France and stopped. The blitzkrieg failed to conquer Russia. The blitzkrieg could not even be applied against the USA, indeed the Germans had no means of bringing mainland USA under direct fire. Hitler's admission to Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Oshima in January 1942 that he had no idea about how to defeat the USA just about says it all.


Yes, my friend. All of those facts are in the history books. They are very real. But let's remember that things could have gone very different, provided some key events woudl have happened. For instance Japan attacking Russian from the east in summer 1941. Or the Italians not sucking so much a** in North Africa. Or not going to NOrth Africa at all. Or Franco finaly deciding to go on the Axis side and blocading Gibraltar.

Any of those events were anticipated by the nazis in the early war. They HOPED for EITHER of those events to come to life.. But they didn't. And their "us against the world" gamble eventualy failed precisely because they were left alone, in real terms, for pretty much most of the war. Had they been supported properly... who knows... ?

Anyway, what I think I'm trying to say is that the failures of the german military were not strategic failures from a planing point of view... Or not most of them anyway. (They BECAME strategic when there was no turning back... such as Stalingrad). It's just to hard to cover so much ground in so little time with so few troops (as a ratio of the ground you're conquering) and without receiving the EXPECTED support. Don't you know Hitler expected the Japanese to invade Russia from the east ? From what I've read, he still held high hopes in summer 1942... But that did not happen, did it ?
Was the russian offensive eventualy a disaster for the germans ? Yes, it was. Was the disaster attributable to strategic mistakes ? No, it wasn't. They were focused on the industrial cities (for production facilities) and the oil from the Caucases mountains. Provided they would have been supported from the east, they might have had good chances of attaining all of their objectives.

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Re: Strategic bombing during World War II

Postby lwd » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:46 pm

Hitler's concept of keeping the British either neutral or as an ally was a very sound strategic one. Of course he then proceeded to provoke a war that violated his wise strategy.


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