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German fighter development, how to shoot yourself in the foot


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I got to ride in one of IIRC only two airworthy Lancasters this year. Formation flights with a Mustang and a B-25 Mitchell, was really really awesome.

 

But I was shocked at how small and claustrophobic the RAF's heaviest bomber was. The C-130 Hercules feels roomy and comfortable and the C-17 Globemaster is absolutely cavernous by comparison. I could probably have gone for a quick jog in the back of the C-17.

 

Shows you how far we've come, I guess. I would not want to go to war in a Lancaster

 

 

Yeah, the Lanc had all the crew comforts of a Caterham :)  but when it came to versatility and bomb load, it was head and shoulders above the B 17.  Of course, the B 17 although very advanced when first conceived, was showing its age by '43 whereas the Avro Lanc was very much the Gen 2. strategic bomber at that time.

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Yes but, the plan wasn't about Western Europe was it.  The intention was to neutralize Western Europe, presumably reach an accommodation with the British, and then continue the expansion Eastwards at the expense of the Soviet Union.  With the Soviets destroyed  (and that was a closer run thing than people seem willing to acknowledge these days) , and the British out of the war, who the hell was going to "not settle" for it?  The US?  What exactly could they do about it without European bases or allies and an enlarged Germany with all of the resources available to it from both Western Europe and Soviet Russia?  

 

And I don't believe there was ever any seriously intention on Hitler's part to invade the British Isles, and certainly not in 1940.  How on earth would he have managed it?  A good proportion of his paratroop force had already been destroyed in the assault on the Low Countries and approximately a third of his air transport force had been wiped out in the process.  What's more, the Royal Navy was largely in tact so just how would you get a sufficiently strong invasion force across the Channel and once there, how would you re-supply it?  Do we imagine that Hitler of all people wouldn't have been aware of these difficulties?  I think the invasion was a big bluff.  Just another way of putting pressure on the British government in an effort to get it to accept the new reality on the Continent.  In the end the bluff didn't pay off but it was probably worth a try as was the BS propaganda about the 'stunning' German victory in Poland.  It wouldn't have made any difference which large European power attacked Poland at the time, the Poles simply didn't have a hope without immediate intervention from allies, something they expected (built into their national defence plans, but of course never received) and realistically were never going to; not in sufficient time at any rate.

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After many years thinking of how Germany could have done things (tactics, weapons, weapon systems etc), I recently came to the realization that winning by continued conquest was never going to work.

 

No matter what age or empire, everyone one of them that was a continued conquest had the original population resisting them which required additional resources to keep under control.

 

The goal of Germany should not have been empire building (those times were long gone), but rather elevating Germany from it's subdued position after WW1 to an equal, and forging trade and proper military ties.

 

Germany may have been able to have achieved this which would have given them a greater chance against Russia,

 

Without having the air war with England (including the Battle Of Britain), the amount of aircraft and aircrews available for the attack on Russia would have been dramatically increased,

 

The only "spanner in the works" for my idea, is if the Russians do a preemptive attack.

 

 

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After many years thinking of how Germany could have done things (tactics, weapons, weapon systems etc), I recently came to the realization that winning by continued conquest was never going to work.

 

No matter what age or empire, everyone one of them that was a continued conquest had the original population resisting them which required additional resources to keep under control.

 

The goal of Germany should not have been empire building (those times were long gone), but rather elevating Germany from it's subdued position after WW1 to an equal, and forging trade and proper military ties.

 

Germany may have been able to have achieved this which would have given them a greater chance against Russia,

 

Without having the air war with England (including the Battle Of Britain), the amount of aircraft and aircrews available for the attack on Russia would have been dramatically increased,

 

The only "spanner in the works" for my idea, is if the Russians do a preemptive attack.

 

 

 

I have always thought the same.  What if Germany in 1940 unilaterally declared peace, declared Versailles null and void, withdrew from France and kept Alsace and Lorraine.  Would the British continue to fight for Alsace and Lorraine?  Would America enter a war that had been declared over?  France is beaten, would they restart the war after a German withdrawal?  I think the answer to all of the above is no.

 

Pearl Harbor: Germany immediately cuts ties with Japan, telling the US that it was not involved in the attack and does not want war.  The war in Europe has been over for a year.   The US has been attacked by Japan, not Germany.  Would they really declare war on Germany?   I think not.

 

Russia:   It us said that Russia would have eventually attacked Germany.  Would they?  If yes, would they succeed?  I think it would have been 1917 all over again.  No allies, just Russia against Germany.  Instead of being motivated by a brutal invader, Soviet troops, many not Russian, are asking themselves what they are fighting for.  Russian doctrine still probably stinks, and Germany carves up the attacking Russians in counteroffensives that cause huge casualties.  The Russian troops are not motivated by saving their home.  I think the Germans win.  More likely I think it doesn't happen at all, and a cold war type scenario between Germany and Russia comes into play.

 

Disgusting as it sounds, Hitler could have gone down as one of the all time great leaders of Germany.  Especially if he put the brakes on the holocaust.  But a leopard can't change it's spots and he was who he was.  

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I have always thought the same.  What if Germany in 1940 unilaterally declared peace, declared Versailles null and void, withdrew from France and kept Alsace and Lorraine.  Would the British continue to fight for Alsace and Lorraine?  Would America enter a war that had been declared over?  France is beaten, would they restart the war after a German withdrawal?  I think the answer to all of the above is no.

 

That is an interesting thought. I think that Germany tried to negotiate peace with Britain, offering to withdraw from France and low countries, but Britain did not accept the offer. But "what if" Germany would have withdrawn anyway and made peace with (Vichy type of) France. Quite possible though, that Britain would have still stayed in war, just as they did not accept German offers for peace and withdrawing from France.

 

 

 

Pearl Harbor: Germany immediately cuts ties with Japan, telling the US that it was not involved in the attack and does not want war.  The war in Europe has been over for a year.   The US has been attacked by Japan, not Germany.  Would they really declare war on Germany?   I think not.

 

To be precise, Germany declared war on USA first. In reality, though, US destroyers had been already hunting German submarines, USA delivered war material to UK, including 50 destroyers (ships) and even to the communist Soviet Union to fight against Germany, so was already quite involved in it. But anyway, Hitler's decision to officially declare war on USA was probably the most suicidal step of all of the great blunders he made during WWII. 

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I have always thought the same.  What if Germany in 1940 unilaterally declared peace, declared Versailles null and void, withdrew from France and kept Alsace and Lorraine.  Would the British continue to fight for Alsace and Lorraine?  Would America enter a war that had been declared over?  France is beaten, would they restart the war after a German withdrawal?  I think the answer to all of the above is no.

 

 

 

Hitler did try to negotiate the peace with Britain and France after fall of Poland, and again with Britain after fall of France. They demanded him to withdraw from Poland first (which he was unwilling to), then stopped answering at all. 

 

People tend to forget today that French-German armistice of 1940 and occupation was a temporary solution, intended to last for few months until Britain and Germany declare peace. Both French and Germans believed that Britain will seek peace in 1940. That's why part of France was occupied at all, armistice assumed Germans will occupy north of France as long as needed to persecute war and secure peace with British. After German-British peace, the Germans were to withdraw from France and sign a proper peace treaty with French ("Vichy") goverment. In meantime, Germans were required to treat properly citizens of occupied part, and French to not use their navy and overseas troops to continue war - "Vichy" France was were able to continue war alongside England, but unable to protect their citizens in French mainland.

So, it was other way around than what Pat proposes - the British could make Germans leave the France anytime by signing the peace treaty, and they knew that. They never did that, instead determinined to fight the Germany to the end, investing in "free" French who chose to ignore the armistice and left the French civilians hanging. In time, French forces the "Vichy" goverment could use to threaten Germans were neutralised by Allies or defected to "free" French - doing exactly what French goverment promised not to - and peace with England became clear impossibility, Germans felt no longer bound by the armistice terms, and Petain no longer had colonial troops that made him credible to Germans, which made him lose (much slower than it's now believed) credibility with French civilians. This led to brutal German occupation and powerless "puppet" Vichy state we chose to remember. 

 

So, the answer is no - the British were willing to continue the war even when offered favourable peace. Most likely, they too knew that Hitler started the war few years before his industry was ready to support it, and knew that they won't have second such chance to defeat him.

Edited by Trupobaw
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Interesting conversation.  Totally useless, but interesting :).  So let's take this scenario.  Germany unilaterally withdraws and reverts to borders of German empire of WWI, which was the maximum historical extent of Germany.   This does include chunks of Poland and France.  

 

Britain continues the war.  Germany goes defensive.  It presses diplomatically to accept the pre-WWI borders.  The primary target of the diplomatic push is the US, which is already not inclined to enter the war.  By unilaterally declaring peace Roosevelt's lend lease becomes harder to justify.  Direct involvement is even more difficult since the intended enemy has declared peace and followed through.

 

France is in no condition to resume the fight.  Britain can continue but it has no hope of doing anything other than meaningless bombing raids and possibly a resumption of the blockade.   The latter is the most serious long term threat.   The blockade may be less effective than WWI because central Europe is loosely aligned with Germany and willing to supply oil and other materials.

 

Russia is out there but even with Britain in the mix IMHO the result is the same.  Instead of German armies working with horribly stretched logistics and a motivated enemy,  it would be the Russians.  The key to everything is keeping the US out of the war.

 

Britain ... if Germany went defensive and focused on the destruction of bomber command, could it have done so?  I think yes.  Even with resources stretched by an unwinnable two front war the Germans inflicted terrible casualties on British bombers.  If stopping them became a priority I think that a unilateral continuation of a night bombing campaign would have become untenable.  

 

Back to the sea blockade.  That is a harder nut to crack.  Air superiority would allow German ports to remain free.  Britain could not just camp 50-100 km off the shore.  However, Britain could extend its intercept points beyond the range of German air power.  Germany could focus submarine activities on military targets only.  Eliminating attacks on merchants would be critical to not antagonizing the US. Subs are much more effective at destroying merchants than warships.  Still, that focus would help.  

 

So if the diplomatic push to keep the US out of the war succeeded (IMHO very likely) Germany would be faced with the danger of ongoing British attacks and the possibility of a Russian assault.  I think that they have a good chance of handling it because the western front in this scenario is not a ground war.  Air and sea in the west, land and air in the east.  

 

Again, Hitler was who he was.  He was never going to quit.  it goes without saying that everything that I am proposing assumes a different Hitler (or maybe a different leader all together).

Edited by PatrickAWlson
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One thing about the East/West alliance - it was always tenuous and unnatural.  It was brought about only by the utter brutality and aggression of Nazi Germany.  If that German state is less brutal, does the alliance come into being?  Britain continues the fight to free Poland ... and allies with Russia that has taken the other half of Poland?  Is Britain going to expel Russia from the other half after dealing with Germany?

 

Would the US join?  it did not join in 39 when Germany attacked Poland.  It did not join in 40 when Germany occupied France.  It did not join in 41 when Germany attacked Russia.  it only joined after Pearl Harbor and Germany's unbelievably stupid declaration of war on it.  If Germany goes defensive in 40 I really don't think the US joins the war in Europe.

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US would probably stay away despite all FDR efforts. 

 

Britain would be in very awkward position. It has been under pressure of Polish government-in-exile which could play a puppet and be very servilist when it came to acting against Germany but at given time, policy against Soviet Union was quite simple - USSR was considered an enemy who carried an unprovoked offensive based on false claims of disintegration of Polish state. 

Question is how would Britain act if Soviet Union would not be invaded (which I assume is your point with less aggressive Germany). Britain needed and wanted a strong ally in the east, so German invasion was considered a miracle and best thing that could happen. Without German invasion it would be much harder to form alliance. And question is how Soviet Union would respond ? Stalin was quite reluctant, even warnings coming from the west about imminent invasion were dismissed. 

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I understand the whole 'what if' thing but when we push it to such an extent that we modify or just ignore some of the basic underlying realities it really does become a bit meaningless.  

 

The National Socialists were always going to attack the Soviets. That was always the plan, right from the very beginning. In part this was because they regarded Bolshevism as an 'internationalist' movement and therefore not only anathema but a direct threat to their own nationalist aspirations.  The Nat Socialists also viewed the Bolsheviks and the Jews as being inexorably linked, partly because the Jews were a loose stateless internationalist grouping but also because a surprising number of communist revolutionaries of the pre-war period were indeed, Jewish.  As far as the Nat. Socialists were concerned this unholy alliance (of Jews and communists) had deliberately stabbed the German Army in the back in 1918 and then, following the ensuing collapse, attempted to take full advantage of the disintegration in order to foment a full-on Marxist revolution.  But the focus on the Soviet Union went further than that.  German nationalists had long held the view that competing European states had effectively ring-fenced Germany in an effort to contain her while at the same time pursuing their own imperialist ambitions across the globe.  The Nat. Socialists believed that if Germany was to fulfill it's own destiny as a great power, it too required more territory, (an empire of sorts) into which it could expand, just like the British and French, although, in this instance, not by carving up Africa or occupying India (or NZ :)  ) but into Eastern Europe.  Eastern Europe was to be the focus not only because it was contiguous with Germany's boarders and in most respects controlled by Marxist internationalists who directly threatened the future existence of a German state, but because pretty much everything else had already been gobbled-up by rival states.  What's more, Germany's experience in WW 1 suggested the Soviet state was very much ripe for the picking.  

 

The significant difference between what Britian and France had already done and what the Nat Socialists wanted to do, concerned the treatment of 'subject peoples'.  The Nat Socialists wanted the new territories for Germans i.e., the existing inhabitants were for the most part to be forced out to make way for German settlement. There was no great desire on the part of the National socialists to rule subject peoples.   This in part explains the brutal methods employed by the Germans in the occupied territories as the War moved eastwards.  This behaviour was largely intended to terrorize the existing inhabitants to the extent that they would, for the most part, pack-up and move eastwards before the bow wave on the oncoming German juggernaut.    

 

Err, sorry, bit of a rant..........

Edited by Wulf
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Few tidbits...

I don't remember Nazis really willing to re-annect Alsace and Lorraine. The annection of 1870 was motivated by internal Imperial politics; the German Empire was confederation of kingdoms and princedoms with their own militaries, and borderlands between Rhein and France were part of realms other than Prussia. Rulers of these realms wanted to have Prussian soldiers defending the western reaches, but did not want them inside their own realms. So, buffor zone was taken from France and made a special Imperial Territory - part of neither realm in Germany - that could be fortified against future French invasion and manned by soldiers from all German realms, without Prussians violating authonomy of other realms. By 1914 the buffer zone lost much of its defensive value and there was just a diplomatic liabity.

 

 

Now, if UK and France allowed restoration of Germany in pre-war borders... I think Hitler would still try to bring war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. Like Pat said, Germans would be fighting without stretched logistics and Soviets without Lend-Leace. The other mid-European countries - Hungaria, Romania, Bulgaria etc would ave to pick sides, like they did. The England and France would have no reason to re-enter war between two dictatorships. Whichever dictatorship would win the Nazi-Soviet war, it would effectively dominate what historically became Soviet block, plus entire Germany. Communist of facist, we would have a "pseudo-Warsaw pact" without NATO, any unity in the West, shared victory in WW2 which made NATO and Warsaw Pact grudging former allies, or United Nations. The disjoint western democracies would be much easier to marginalise by victorious totalitarism, and by 2000s democracy might be a relic of XIX century. We were all lucky that England and France did enter on Polaish side and stuck to it, rather than let history pass them by.

 

One thing about the East/West alliance - it was always tenuous and unnatural.  It was brought about only by the utter brutality and aggression of Nazi Germany.  If that German state is less brutal, does the alliance come into being?  Britain continues the fight to free Poland ... and allies with Russia that has taken the other half of Poland?  Is Britain going to expel Russia from the other half after dealing with Germany?

 

Would the US join?  it did not join in 39 when Germany attacked Poland.  It did not join in 40 when Germany occupied France.  It did not join in 41 when Germany attacked Russia.  it only joined after Pearl Harbor and Germany's unbelievably stupid declaration of war on it.  If Germany goes defensive in 40 I really don't think the US joins the war in Europe.

 

I think it's opposite - East/West anti-German alliance was merely distrupted by Germans shipping Lenin to Russia in 1917, and was resumed in 1941 because politics finally overruled ideology. German attempt to distrupt Russian participation in Entente led to the whole 1918-1939 period, including the way it ended. If Russia stayed in WW1, Germany would be defeated much faster, and Russia would take huge parts of Germany, Austro-Hungary and Turkey (essentially, pseudo-Warsaw pact again) the Entente already promised to it. An victorious Entente Russia would be able to surpress any attempts to re-militarise the Germany, even without Britain and France. By eliminating Russia, Gremans deprived England and France of strong ally in the East that could stop them from remilitarisation, and created a fellow pariah state as interested in destabilising post-WW1 European order as Germans themselves. 

By attacking the Soviet Union, Hitler effectively brought Russians back into alliance they left in 1918. Everything that followed, including Warsaw Pact, was continuation of plans Entente had for Europe before bolshevik takeover. In a way, whole 1918-1941 period was a pause, abberation.

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I understand the whole 'what if' thing but when we push it to such an extent that we modify or just ignore some of the basic underlying realities it really does become a bit meaningless.  

 

The National Socialists were always going to attack the Soviets. That was always the plan, right from the very beginning. In part this was because they regarded Bolshevism as an 'internationalist' movement and therefore not only anathema but a direct threat to their own nationalist aspirations.  The Nat Socialists also viewed the Bolsheviks and the Jews as being inexorably linked, partly because the Jews were a loose stateless internationalist grouping but also because a surprising number of communist revolutionaries of the pre-war period were indeed, Jewish.  As far as the Nat. Socialists were concerned this unholy alliance (of Jews and communists) had deliberately stabbed the German Army in the back in 1918 and then, following the ensuing collapse, attempted to take full advantage of the disintegration in order to foment a full-on Marxist revolution.  But the focus on the Soviet Union went further than that.  German nationalists had long held the view that competing European states had effectively ring-fenced Germany in an effort to contain her while at the same time pursuing their own imperialist ambitions across the globe.  The Nat. Socialists believed that if Germany was to fulfill it's own destiny as a great power, it too required more territory, (an empire of sorts) into which it could expand, just like the British and French, although, in this instance, not by carving up Africa or occupying India (or NZ :)  ) but into Eastern Europe.  Eastern Europe was to be the focus not only because it was contiguous with Germany's boarders and in most respects controlled by Marxist internationalists who directly threatened the future existence of a German state, but because pretty much everything else had already been gobbled-up by rival states.  What's more, Germany's experience in WW 1 suggested the Soviet state was very much ripe for the picking.  

 

The significant difference between what Britian and France had already done and what the Nat Socialists wanted to do, concerned the treatment of 'subject peoples'.  The Nat Socialists wanted the new territories for Germans i.e., the existing inhabitants were for the most part to be forced out to make way for German settlement. There was no great desire on the part of the National socialists to rule subject peoples.   This in part explains the brutal methods employed by the Germans in the occupied territories as the War moved eastwards.  This behaviour was largely intended to terrorize the existing inhabitants to the extent that they would, for the most part, pack-up and move eastwards before the bow wave on the oncoming German juggernaut.    

 

Err, sorry, bit of a rant..........

 

No really a rant from mpov, and explains a bit as to why the discrimination of the Jews.

 

 

 

One thing about the East/West alliance - it was always tenuous and unnatural.  It was brought about only by the utter brutality and aggression of Nazi Germany.  If that German state is less brutal, does the alliance come into being?  Britain continues the fight to free Poland ... and allies with Russia that has taken the other half of Poland?  Is Britain going to expel Russia from the other half after dealing with Germany?

 

Would the US join?  it did not join in 39 when Germany attacked Poland.  It did not join in 40 when Germany occupied France.  It did not join in 41 when Germany attacked Russia.  it only joined after Pearl Harbor and Germany's unbelievably stupid declaration of war on it.  If Germany goes defensive in 40 I really don't think the US joins the war in Europe.

In my scenario the Jews/ minorities are not targeted, and the main focus to convince the German people is  how they were hard done by at the end of the first war.

 

Without the Jews being targeted the Americans would never get involved (apparently FDR has a soft spot for the Jews), German Jewish scientists would still be in Germany, as well as their theorems being allowed to be used.

 

After France falls, sign a new alliance and withdraw from France entirely (including freeing the pow's (don't bother talking to the British.. at least yet), withdraw German warships from the Atlantic,

 

whilst peace with the British govt would have been hard, convincing the British population that the war is not needed might be easier (drop propaganda pamphlets informing them that France is free, and that Germany is not acting hostile toward them etc).

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The significant difference between what Britian and France had already done and what the Nat Socialists wanted to do, concerned the treatment of 'subject peoples'.  The Nat Socialists wanted the new territories for Germans i.e., the existing inhabitants were for the most part to be forced out to make way for German settlement. There was no great desire on the part of the National socialists to rule subject peoples.   This in part explains the brutal methods employed by the Germans in the occupied territories as the War moved eastwards.  This behaviour was largely intended to terrorize the existing inhabitants to the extent that they would, for the most part, pack-up and move eastwards before the bow wave on the oncoming German juggernaut.    

 

Err, sorry, bit of a rant..........

Not really. The slavs were not meant to be exterminated but made slaves. There were simply too many of them to kill. They would have to exist under Nazi reign. The 3rd Reich policy on what to do with 'subject peoples' was very well visible in lands referred to as the General Governorate. Basicly, all of the slavs were planned to be denied education and serve the new German inhabitants. That was also largely meant for the Soviet Union but Germans were unable to establish anything lengthy since the situation on the Ostfront was relatively dynamic. That doesn`t mean that Germans didn`t establish a fair kind of administration on occupied lands.

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I think you misunderstand the National Socialist mindset.  But firstly what I said was, "for the most part", the existing population would be required to leave.  The Nat Socialists recognized that some of the existing inhabitants would be required as forced labour etc, but the bulk of the population was to be pushed further East.  Harsh treatment and starvation were the preferred methods to achieve this end.  We aren't talking here about a standard imperialist model where you occupy a territory and then integrate the subject society.  The Nat Socialists wanted new territories for ethnic Germans. They had no interest at all in maintaining large populations of non-Germanic peoples within their new extended boarders or worse still, assimilating non-Germans into German society.  That is the essence of Nat socialism.  It was all about the German people.  It has nothing at all to do with extending German culture to non-German people, subject or otherwise.  

Edited by Wulf
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Not entirely true. Rememebr that Hitler had forced shift from gothic font to normal font in German writing, to make German readable to foreigners. Some of them, of course.

Mac_Messer - the General Governorate was wartime endeavour; Nazis never had a chance to show us what would they do with slavic populations if they were not preoccupied by war. 

Most likely, like with most regimes, they had no long-lasting plans; each of Hitlers successors would likely have his own policies, representing view of fraction of Nazi party that brought him to power. 

 

Disgusting as it sounds, Hitler could have gone down as one of the all time great leaders of Germany.  Especially if he put the brakes on the holocaust.  But a leopard can't change it's spots and he was who he was.  

 

 

 

My impression is opposite; Germany as whole had a great chance and Hitler squandered it. Weakened or not, it was still one of largest populations in Europe, and with high number of specialist workers. The former Entente populations were just second-guessing their involvement in WW1 - French, shocked by casualties, gave up on cheauvinistic militarism they cultivated since napoleonic wars, Britons started discovering how much their goverment and propaganda lied to them, and Americans, disgusted by how they got into war by foreign machinations, retreated from international politics. This atmosphere made possible re-militarisation of Germany and unification with Austria (complicated matter I won't go into) - the West was ready to think of Germans as fellow victims of WW2, and finally give them right for self-determination. More importantly, generals on both sides were universally horrified by idea of another war. 

Also, Hitlers economic reforms were planned by politicians before him. Everyone knew what needed to be done, but no one could pull it off, as the plans required solidarity and compromise from all parts of German society. If a conservative leader tried the reforms Hitler applied, he'd be condemned by left wing for not securing workers rights; a left wing leader trying the same reforms would be blamed by industrialists. Hitlers greatest success in Germany was that, by presenting himself as man from outside the political establishment (sic!) he got green light from left and right for his reforms. 

In that atmosphere, any German leader charismatic enough to apply these reforms would able to remilitirise Germany, address the Austrian question, reconcile with the West, re-establish Germany as major European power and start building from there. It would not have to be Hitler. Hitler rode that wave to get him to place where he could start a war.

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Yeah, the Lanc had all the crew comforts of a Caterham :)  but when it came to versatility and bomb load, it was head and shoulders above the B 17.  Of course, the B 17 although very advanced when first conceived, was showing its age by '43 whereas the Avro Lanc was very much the Gen 2. strategic bomber at that time.

Where the Lanc excelled was its payload carrying near triple the payload to Berlin and and back home..

 

When the 109's were fighting in the Spanish civil war the U.S. had bi-planes as their main air force

so the Germans did not do that badly.

 

As for the 109 for a plane that fought from 1039 to 1945 and beyond if you consider the Israeli air force

 and the conflict in the middle east sort of ironic.

 

it did quite well with upgrades for years matching the Allies pound per pound.

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back to the original topic, I would not agree that German fighter development was on the wrong track.

 

The main types, me109 (39-43), fw190 (42-44), me262 (44-45) were generally better than comparable Allied fighters.

 

Yes, the Germans had many designs, prototypes that never led to viable designs, but so did the USA.

 

The biggest limiting factors were economic: oil shortages forced the general use of lower octane fuel which limited HP; shortages of rare metals affected technology, i.e issues with me 262 engines; shortages of raw materials/ manpower limited production; shortages of manpower/fuel limited the number of trained pilots.

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back to the original topic, I would not agree that German fighter development was on the wrong track.

 

The main types, me109 (39-43), fw190 (42-44), me262 (44-45) were generally better than comparable Allied fighters.

 

Yes, the Germans had many designs, prototypes that never led to viable designs, but so did the USA.

 

The biggest limiting factors were economic: oil shortages forced the general use of lower octane fuel which limited HP; shortages of rare metals affected technology, i.e issues with me 262 engines; shortages of raw materials/ manpower limited production; shortages of manpower/fuel limited the number of trained pilots.

 

Good post.  

 

Things swing back and forth.  I think that up until 1943 the Germans had the better fighters, but not by much.  In mid 43 and 44 I think the advantage had swung to the allies, but not by much.  By 45 it might have started to swing back to the Germans.  Problem is that by mid 44 most of the competent pilots were dead and their replacements were under trained and overwhelmed.  

 

Without enough trained personnel the technology becomes a moot point.

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Good post.  

 

Things swing back and forth.  I think that up until 1943 the Germans had the better fighters, but not by much.  In mid 43 and 44 I think the advantage had swung to the allies, but not by much.  By 45 it might have started to swing back to the Germans.  Problem is that by mid 44 most of the competent pilots were dead and their replacements were under trained and overwhelmed.  

 

Without enough trained personnel the technology becomes a moot point.

 

Agreed - provided the technology differences are fairly limited, which in this case they were.  Late in the war trained pilots were the scarce resource - but in the early years of the war it was not pilots but planes, engines and spares. 

 

So in addition to the training there is the whole organization of aeroplane development and production. The Germans were much less well organized than the British and Americans. The US had the benefits of experience with genuine mass production and a late start, so fewer legacy issues. The British did not, but they managed to get their industry, initially as fragmented and craft based as the German equivalent, well coordinated under central control.

 

The Germans did not do this - until it was far too late to make a difference.  Adolf's preference for divide and rule anarchy apparently being part of the reason, and perhaps some complacency as well after the early victories.

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My understanding of shortages (WWI and WWII) was that it was always more about engines than airframes.  

 

I believe so too, but whatever it was the Germans could not make enough of them. If they had been able to produce more engines earlier in the war, then the bottleneck would have been somewhere else. You have to rationalize every part of a supply chain to get maximum throughput, and for some combination of reasons this was not something they did well in this period.

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My understanding of shortages (WWI and WWII) was that it was always more about engines than airframes.  

There were thousands of unfinished Airframes by the End of the war. Most of them were Scrapped afterwards, some converted into Avia C.99s. and S.199s.

25 of the Hispano HA-1112s were converted G-2s.

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The traditional view has been that the German economy was in peacetime mode until 1942 and only switched to a "Total War economy" under Speer, but more recent studies, like Tooze's "Wages of Destruction", show that the situation was more complex.

 

Germany had already switched to a "Total War Economy" by 1940-41, domestic consumption was cut to the bone and 85% of German men in their 20s were serving in the Armed Forces.

 

The biggest limiting factor to production was lack of raw materials: coal, steel, oil, manpower. Various boards allocated resources based on priorities. The Army received the lion share and the Luftwaffe was usually second. There were political games and bureaucratic infighting, but it does not seem to have had as big an impact on production as is usually asumed.

 

The Luftwaffe did run into a production slowdown in 1940-41 when Udet decided to rush the Me210 and He177 into mass production without adequate testing instead of concentrating on existing models. This was based on the rationale that Germany could not win a production war with USA/UK and therefore should concentrate on higher performing ACs.

 

When Milch took over in 1941, he quickly took control of production, shutting down non productive lines and concentrating on a few existing designs. The major increase in production in 1942-44 came mainly from increased productivity, for example a 109E took 8,000 man hours to build in 1940 while a 109G in 1944 took 2,000 man hours. Extra manpower was supplied by "slave labour" and extra raw materials were reallocated from other military uses. It was not, as commonly assumed, due to a reallocation from the civilian sector.

 

With hindsight, you can probably find things the Germans could have done better to boost production, but you are probably talking about a 25-33% boost, not 100-200%. There is only so much you can do with limited resources.

Edited by Sgt_Joch
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Ta152 pretty much outclassed everything else in the sky aside from the Me262.

Like I said - top drawer.

Okay, the Ta-152, although with some great performance numbers on paper was a disaster and quite frankly, a piece of junk.

 

Quality control being a huge issue.  It's first recorded engagement was intercepting a Mosquito which it failed to do because of serious engine failure when given combat power.

 

It had so many issues that they were grounded more time than they were in the air.  I'd have to wholeheartedly disagree to say it outclassed anything being as it barely flew due to dooming performance issues.

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You'll have to argue with the German who flew it, not me - I was just forwarding along sentiments I'd read in a German account.

I can't remember which one at this point, might have been Liepfert's book, or Hartmanns?

Edited by Gambit21
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It still comes down to raw numbers. The Me-262, Ta152, and other excellent weapons (at least on paper) are useful but they don't represent enough of a leap that their advantages cannot be undercut by overwhelming numbers.

 

A great chart right here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_aircraft_production

 

If these numbers are accurate, then in the last full year of the war the US produced twice as many aircraft as Germany did. The USSR tied them and Britain produced about half as many. The combined total of all of the Allies versus Germany's production is overwhelming. That's 163,079 aircraft produced versus 40,593. A strategic situation like that is unwinnable even if you were able to have the best fighters, bombers, and pilots around. It's even worse when you look at tank and artillery production.

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Not only that but you can see that in 1940-41 the UK alone outproduced Germany by 50% starting from a lower base - Germany did not match the UK's production until 1944, way too late. 

 

I expect that the figures for US production here include US made aircraft sold to or lend leased to the UK, which would explain why the UK production topped out. It was simply cheaper and faster to top up RAF numbers with US produced aircraft.

 

If Germany was capable of producing 40,000 plus in 1944 then they should have been capable of doing it before when they might have made a difference, so I still suspect that organizational shortcomings are the key rather than shortages. 

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Ta152 pretty much outclassed everything else in the sky aside from the Me262.

Like I said - top drawer.

Generalizing statements like this are not really contributing to the debate much.

 

The Ta 152H at best was a promising design for a high-altitude interceptor and probably was one of the best performing piston engined fighters at high altitude late in the war - when all systems actually functioned as intented (which they seldom did).

 

However, the actual combat performance of the design was really not that impressive with 7 kills for 4 combat losses in a very target-rich environment. Part of the reason was, that it was often forced to fight at lower altitudes, where it most definately did not "outclass everything else in the sky".

 

As an example: The Yak-3 with the VK-107 clearly outclassed the Ta 152H in every parameter other than armament at sea level, being among other things nearly 40 km/h faster.

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Ta152 pretty much outclassed everything else in the sky aside from the Me262.

Like I said - top drawer.

The value of Ta 152 as a war tool is 0. It's an incremental upgrade of a 1939 airframe (still better than something like 109K-4, which is an incremental upgrade of 1935 aiframce). It does not provide anything revolutionary, it does not force enemy to adapt new tactics, it's not present in large numbers, it does not provide a meaningful performance gap over adversaries, and at that point piston engines were at the end of their life. If Ta 152s were introduced in early 1944 in large numbers then maybe, maybe things might have worked out differently. Maybe. But they didn't, and the only thing these powerful piston-engined planes proved that being slightly better in some things than your competitor doesn't matter when your competitors outnumbers you 100-1. There were 4 times as many Me 262 operational in spring 1945 than there were Ta 152s produced in total. To call a plane that on paper is somewhat better than something else at some specific altitude a "top drawer" is this close to Wunderwaffe delirium.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ElPerk
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There were thousands of unfinished Airframes by the End of the war. Most of them were Scrapped afterwards, some converted into Avia C.99s. and S.199s.

25 of the Hispano HA-1112s were converted G-2s.

A bit of correction

Avia S.99 (S for "stihaci" in czech "fighter") were standard G-10/14/K airframes with DB605 engines. 21pcs assembled.

Avia CS.99 (CS for "cvicny stihaci" in czech "training fighter") were G-12 two-seaters with DB605

Avia S.199 (450 assembled) and CS.199 were with Jumo 211F

 

The problem in Czechoslovakia after war was,that there were hundreds of airframes but DB605 were found dangerous to operate in peacetime conditions. Army test proved limited resurs of 25h and lots of quality related issues. Fire of the warehouse where engines were stored didnt help the situation either.

As a stop-gap solution it was decided to mount bomber engines Jumo 211 F with props into airframe which were readily available. This lead to creation of the worst performing messer "conversion" ever. Jumo engine with its large prop had different rotation then DB,huge torque and reaction moment,making each take-off a little adventure. Motor-canon could not be installed with Jumo,so there were 2 20mm cannons mounted in underwing gondolas. Jumo was also not set up for synchronisation fire,this had to be reengineered for MG131s. To some success but it was never reliable. Some Israeli pilots reported "shot off" of their props. Czechoslovakia smuggled 24 "Sachins" ("knife") into Israel (there was an embargo issued upon Israel). They did pretty well and got some air victories over spitfires of Egyptian airforces.

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The Yak-3 with the VK-107

 

There was no Yak3 with VK 107 in WW2. If the Germans would have kept developing new fighters - properly from 1944 onwards - they would have built completely different aircraft as well. There was no Russian fighter in WW2 to match the 109 K4 performancewise at low alt, or the Ta/Dora at high alt. It was pretty much the same story like in 1942. German aircraft faster and better climbing (well, the 109), Russian ones more nimble. Closest was the La7 with roughly the same top speed at sea level like the K4, but some 50kph slower at altitude.

Edited by II./JG77_Manu*
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There was no Yak3 with VK 107 in WW2 . If the Germans would have kept developing new fighters - properly from 1944 onwards - they would have built completely different aircraft as well. There was no Russian fighter in WW2 to match the 109 K4 performancewise at low alt, or the Ta/Dora at high alt. It was pretty much the same story like in 1942. German aircraft faster and better climbing (well, the 109), Russian ones more nimble. Closest was the La7 with roughly the same top speed at sea level like the K4, but some 50kph slower at altitude.

 

Tell that to Pavel Karavay Commander of 897 IAP who shot down two Bf 109 in Yak 3 VK 107 (23/3/45 and 22/4/45)

 

predecessor was Yak 1M first flown with VK 107 as prototype in 43

 

Yak 3 with VK107 was produced at  factory No.31 with 40 made in 45, the rest in 46 mainly at factory No.292 total 38

 

further development was switched to Yak-15 jet

 

Cheers Dakpilot

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Tell that to Pavel Karavay Commander of 897 IAP who shot down two Bf 109 in Yak 3 VK 107 (23/3/45 and 22/4/45)

 

predecessor was Yak 1M first flown with VK 107 as prototype in 43

 

Yak 3 with VK107 was produced at  factory No.31 with 40 made in 45, the rest in 46 mainly at factory No.292 total 38

 

further development was switched to Yak-15 jet

 

Cheers Dakpilot

I think WWII in the understanding of many, stops with the end of 1944, very early 1945. Everything after that is pretty much dismissed. When I read "1945" I tend to ignore it, since the Air War was over before that.

For Luftwaffles and Wehraboos the War goes from 1936 to December January 2nd 1945, the Day after Bodenplatte.

So when Manu talks about WWII, he most likely doesn't consider the last few days of the Reich.

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Tell that to Pavel Karavay Commander of 897 IAP who shot down two Bf 109 in Yak 3 VK 107 (23/3/45 and 22/4/45)

 

predecessor was Yak 1M first flown with VK 107 as prototype in 43

 

Yak 3 with VK107 was produced at  factory No.31 with 40 made in 45, the rest in 46 mainly at factory No.292 total 38

 

further development was switched to Yak-15 jet

 

Cheers Dakpilot

 

I wasn't talking about prototypes. It was during testing, at the same time the Germans tested aircraft like the Horton 229 or the Do 335. Are we calling those WW2 aircraft? According to this source VK-107 Yak went into state trials on 11 May 1945. That's after WW2, at least in the European theatre, which i am pretty sure you know i was talking about.

Now if every single prototyp that flew during the war counts now, the Germans came up with some other crazy stuff....then we surely don't have to keep talking about the minnows like the K4 or the Ta152

Edited by II./JG77_Manu*
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This subject came about as a side thought due to Ta 152, an aircraft of 1945 with 30 hrs of 'prototype' testing in late 44

 

Blanket statements as facts, such as  "There was no Yak 3 with VK 107 in WWII" are misleading at best, they were flying in prototype form from 1943

 

No one is trying to prove Yak 3 VK107 was frontline fighter, far from it, but using the Ta 152 as shining example of WWII Luftwaffe aircraft is a similar situation, with 7 combat victories it is about as relevant

 

A casual reader would assume that Yak 3 VK 107 was only developed post war, 

 

I would say that Ta 152 and Do 335 and Yak 3 VK 107 are all WWII aircraft, just developed too late to see significant service.

 

It is the 'absolute' statements that i find irritating

 

Cheers Dakpilot

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You'll have to argue with the German who flew it, not me - I was just forwarding along sentiments I'd read in a German account.

I can't remember which one at this point, might have been Liepfert's book, or Hartmanns?

And I've read books by British pilots calling the Griffon Spitfire the greatest aircraft ever. Books by American pilots calling the P-51 and P-47 the best aircraft of the war.

 

A couple anecdotal pilot accounts do not make it so. And there really is no "best fighter of the war" really. It's an irreverent way of looking at WW2 aircraft and extremely silly...at least to me.

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This subject came about as a side thought due to Ta 152, an aircraft of 1945 with 30 hrs of 'prototype' testing in late 44

 

Blanket statements as facts, such as  "There was no Yak 3 with VK 107 in WWII" are misleading at best, they were flying in prototype form from 1943

 

No one is trying to prove Yak 3 VK107 was frontline fighter, far from it, but using the Ta 152 as shining example of WWII Luftwaffe aircraft is a similar situation, with 7 combat victories it is about as relevant

 

A casual reader would assume that Yak 3 VK 107 was only developed post war, 

 

I would say that Ta 152 and Do 335 and Yak 3 VK 107 are all WWII aircraft, just developed too late to see significant service.

 

It is the 'absolute' statements that i find irritating

 

Cheers Dakpilot

 

Well it wasn't me arguing about the Ta. My examples were Kurfürst and Dora, who both were (for German proportions) mass produced frontline fighters. My statement was indeed unclear, and not very good phrased.

To be 100% clear this time: There was no VK-107 Yak3 in frontline duty in WW2. Ta152 was, even if not really significant, but it entered official service already in 1944, quite a difference. 

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