Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby alecsandros » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:30 am

Dave Saxton wrote:The only fighters I know of which had the type of range required were the P-38, P-51, the recon Mossy, and the Zero.

I wasn't refering to escort duties from London to Berlin. I was thinking about range. Spitfire MkIX could fly ~ 2000km without refueling, while the ME-109G could fly ~ 1100km. [both with drop tanks]

But if the Kriegsmarine had need for a long range fighter who is to say that some company in Germany could not design one from a fresh sheet of paper?

Still, I don't know of any such attempt... I wonder why they didn't put any kind of emphasis on this aspect...

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby alecsandros » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:37 am

Dave Saxton wrote: The 190D lost some of the agility of the A models but it was faster. Trade offs....

Well, Pierre Closterman mentions that the "D" had more agility than the Tempest in climbing.. while the Tempest, being heavier, had the upper hand duiring diving... it probably had less turning ability than the British heavy fighter.
Armament was 1x30mm, 2x20mm and 2x15mm, comparable with the 4x20mm guns of the Tempest. Speed and range were also comparable...

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:34 pm

alecsandros wrote:I wasn't refering to escort duties from London to Berlin. I was thinking about range. Spitfire MkIX could fly ~ 2000km without refueling, while the ME-109G could fly ~ 1100km. [both with drop tanks]


I'm talking about range in the abstract as well. Range to cover over water distances and back. The Spitfire 9 had less range in practice than the P-47, and the P-47 was inferior to the P-38 and of course the P-51. German fighters were designed for air superority operations over land battle fields with close by front line airfields. The BF-109 was designed to operate from grass air strips converted from hay meadows.

Still, I don't know of any such attempt (to design a long range fighter)... I wonder why they didn't put any kind of emphasis on this aspect...


Because the Luftwaffe issued no requirements for such capability.
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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby alecsandros » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:27 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Because the Luftwaffe issued no requirements for such capability.

Exactly...
Isn't that a little bit odd ?

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby ede144 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:17 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
ede144 wrote:The Luftwaffe had plans for a strategic bomber like the Ju 89 as early as 1936. After Walter Wever died, plans were changed because one could build 2.5 medium bomber like the HE111 for one Ju89. In the 30s the HE 111 was faster than Allied fighters.The LLuftwaffe did count on it. And did not develop a long range fighter

Ede, do you have any info on the Ju-89?

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_Ju_89
Gives you some basic information.

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby alecsandros » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:21 pm

I was wondering the previous days,
Just how well prepared would the German aircraft and crews be ready to operate from a carrier ?
I'm thinking about the years of development British and US carriers required until all practical aspects were resolved...

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby tommy303 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:04 pm

Probably not very well at all. It would have been a very long learning curve to have to catch up on and not implentable until they actually had a carrier to work with.

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:28 am

I don't think the KM really absolutely needed aircraft carriers, but they did need an aviation arm under their own command. A naval airforce operating from ashore was politically impossible with Goering's attitude though. With carriers Goering had less sway on naval aviation matters once carriers had caught Hitler's imagination following Midway. Hitler had ordered the Graf Zeppelin project resumed and supported converting other ships to carriers. In the naval conferences he frequently wants to know why the carriers were not yet operational, as if it should only take a few months. Doenitz just paid lip service to this issue in reply because it became less practical with every passing day.
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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby frontkampfer » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:32 pm

Dave,

Have to agree agian. You can't have assets that serve two masters at the same tiew. The workup of air wings and carriers themselves takes time. Those that can't see that don't really appreciate the potential of naval air power. The KM was way behind the curve and while an operational carrier would have potential it would be tied to the same policy of not risking major assets while drawing the attention of the RAF.
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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby alecsandros » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:14 pm

... With the risk of re-inflaming old rivalries,
Does anyone else think the Luftwaffe could successfully cover a potential invasion fleet with the objective of conquering southern England ?

So, if they would have the potential to:
- keep out most of the BRitish air attacks
- keep out most if not all of British naval forces
- permanently ensuring protection of ships doing ferry missions/bombardments on the British islands.

Time - June 1940...

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:10 pm

alecsandros wrote:... With the risk of re-inflaming old rivalries,
Does anyone else think the Luftwaffe could successfully cover a potential invasion fleet with the objective of conquering southern England ?

So, if they would have the potential to:
- keep out most of the BRitish air attacks
- keep out most if not all of British naval forces
- permanently ensuring protection of ships doing ferry missions/bombardments on the British islands.

Time - June 1940...

Looking at each of your objectives individually

- keep out most of the BRitish air attacks


This places the Luftwaffe in the opposite role of the historical Battle of Britain. The RAF and the FAA were ill equipped to effectively attack shipping in 1940. The German fighters were well suited to the role of local defense. The Germans had air warning radar which was far superior the air warning radar used by the British so effectively in defense during the Battle of Britain. The Germans could get their fighters where they needed to be when they needed to be there.

-keep out most if not all of British naval forces


How well prepared was the RN to deal with determined air attack in 1940? The Germans had the tactical bombers to make things rather difficult for the RN. The German fighters in escort here would not be facing the prospect of flying all the way over Britain itself with their limited fuel capacity and having only a few minutes of combat time before needing to run for home as in the Battle of Britain. It would depend on whether the German fighters or the British fighters could establish air superioity over the sea lanes.

- permanently ensuring protection of ships doing ferry missions/bombardments on the British islands.


Once again it comes down to air superiority. If the Germans had already defeated Fighter Command in the two earlier roles then they would have established air superiority. This is why Goering's decision to stop bombing the air fields and to initiate the Blitz was such a blunder. They had Fighter Command on the ropes. One of the lessons of Deippe was that one must establish air superiority prior to an actual invasion. With out the collapse of the Luftwaffe in early 1944 due to the strategic bombing campaign by the Allies; the D-day Invasion would not have been possible.
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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:39 pm

The law of establishing control of the air first and foremost before landings or commitment of naval forces is well demonstrated by the war in the Pacific. The British had ceded control of the air to the Japanese prior to the Malaya Invasion by not upgrading their air defense forces there. The first moves by the Japanese were to nuetralize and/or take over the vital air fields up country in Malaya. This left Force Z hung out to dry. The reason why the Japanese were unable to force the US Marines back into the sea at Guadalcanal was because the Americans held Henderson Field; an unsinkable aircraft carrier. This also severely limited operations by the IJN. In each of the Pacific island landings the Americans first established control of the air.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby alecsandros » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:14 am

Well this brings us to one of the big questions of the battle of Britain: how many serviceable aircraft of each type did each country actualy have in June 1940 ?

The French and lower countries campaign were very costly for the Luftwaffe, that lost over 2000 planes in a few months. Many experienced pilots were lost or were on recuperation after those battles.

This reduced the strength of the attack over the British quite alot. Moreover, Luftflotten 1 and 4 were not committed to the Battle of Britain, while Luftflotte 5 was based in NOrway and only had ~ 150 bombers and fighters available. This left Luftflotten 2 and 3 to wage the war... Some squadrons from LW 1 and 4 had been reassigned to LW 2 and 3, but we do not know exactly how many units did either Luftflotte possess. What is known is that a good number of gruppen from LW 1, 4 and 5 were in recuperation in Germany, while others were tasked with local defence of the lower countries.
Most sources indicate about 20000 - 2200 planes were serviceable for LW 2 + 3, out of which about 800 Me-109, 200 Me-110, and maybe 1200 bombers of all types (Ju87, Ju88, He111, Do17, etc).

The same sources indicate that the total strength of the Luftwaffe in june 1940 was around 2800-3200 fighters and bombers. If this is so, this means that at least 600, if not 1000 warplanes were not used during the battle for Britain ...

The RAF on the other hand had problems of their own - the French campaign had robbed them of hundreds of planes and experienced pilots. Most sources tend to indicate that the total strength of the fighter force was about 700 units in June 1940, with about 550 Spitfires and Hurricanes.
After the battle for France, Bomber command fielded some 500 - 600 serviceable and relatively modern bombers (Blenheim, Wellington, Halifax, Hampden, etc)

Coastal Command woudl add over 300 serviceable bombers, but most were obsolete Fairey Battles and Avro Ansons, and floatplanes such as the Sunderland, the London, etc. They had some 50 Blenheims though, which could add their hitting power to that of Bomber Command.

And we should not forget about the carriers of the Royal Navy.
If Britain were in a real invasion threat, the fleet carriers would most likely be sent to intervene.
In june 1940, the Royal Navy fielded Argus, Glorious, Furious, Eagle, HErmes, Ark Royal. In Aug, Illustrious would be added to the fleet.
In total, the 6 carriers fielded about 200 warplanes, about 100 Fulmars and 100 Swordfish torpedo-bombers.

===

So woudl the Luftwaffe be able to establish and mantain air superiority over the Channell and over the beaches ?

And would something change if the entire force of the Luftwaffe would be committed to this battle ? [LW 1, 4]

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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:11 pm

We know from British sources that had Goering kept the pressure on Fighter Command awhile longer that Fighter Command would have collapsed. In that case the Germans could establish air superority in the event of their invasion.
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Re: Formula for defeat? The Luftwaffe

Postby alecsandros » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:22 pm

Perhaps,
but that "collapse" would mean 1-2 weeks of lack of activity , at the most.

There was a vas safe-haven for the RAF, anywhere were the Me-109s could not reach (meaing 90% of the country). There, the RAF could regroup and recupereate.

In the mean time, the British were continualy preparing pilots and the war industry was producing warplanes faster than the GErman war industry did at the time.
Moreover, pilots from various countries of the Commonwealth were starting to be enrolled in the RAF....

So it would have been a difficult case...


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