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Lemsip

Did the Luftwaffe use bombs during Operation Bodenplatte?

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I have been doing research for a new video and I am trying to confirm whether FW190's, BF109's or Me-262's employed bombs during this attack. Please provide details of squadrons if they did use bombs. Thankyou!

 

Lemsip

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The only aircraft to carry bombs on the day of Bodenplatte were the Me 262s of I./KG 51 and the Ar 234s of Einsatzstaffel III./KG 76.

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58 minutes ago, LukeFF said:

The only aircraft to carry bombs on the day of Bodenplatte were the Me 262s of I./KG 51 and the Ar 234s of Einsatzstaffel III./KG 76.

 

Thanks that clears it up.

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32 minutes ago, [DBS]Browning said:

This is surprising to me. Was this due to tactical reasons or perhaps a lack of bomb mounting racks? 

 

Racks were available, indeed they were used to mount the fuel tanks needed to fly all the way to target, especially for the 109s units

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All piston fighters were forced to carry additional fuel tanks at this operation.

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53 minutes ago, [DBS]Browning said:

This is surprising to me. Was this due to tactical reasons or perhaps a lack of bomb mounting racks? 

 

Radius of Operation of the 109s and 190s was roughly 250km. Distance to targets was in the 3-400km range or even more, so they had to carry droptanks to reach their target airfields. No possibility for the GAF fighters to carry bombs or bomblet-canisters.

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SG4 had 190-F8s, but they only carried rockets, no bombs.

 

I don't think fuel was the only issue, they could have moved to closer airfields. If you read Manrho's book "Bodenplatte", you see the entire operation was poorly planned. Many units were only told of the attack late on dec. 31st. Many pilots were only briefed early on jan. 1st and the ops plan were very sketchy. The whole thing smacks of desperation and last minute scrambling.

 

Just compare Bodenplatte with the night attack on Poltava just 6 months earlier. 

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This is bonkers to me! The LW's great masterstroke to even the balance of power in the west is based on... strafing runs?!

 

They bought a water pistol to an artillery duel.

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14 minutes ago, Diggun said:

This is bonkers to me! The LW's great masterstroke to even the balance of power in the west is based on... strafing runs?!

 

They bought a water pistol to an artillery duel.


Well its not like a single bomb off a fighter can destroy a lot.

The guns are enough to destroy planes which was the plan.

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13 minutes ago, Diggun said:

 

They bought a water pistol to an artillery duel.

 

In the end, this statement sums up the entire conflict for both the European Axis powers and the Japanese Empire.

They started something they, in reality, had no hope of finishing, and reaped the whirlwind.

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35 minutes ago, Diggun said:

This is bonkers to me! The LW's great masterstroke to even the balance of power in the west is based on... strafing runs?!

 

There was nothing about this operation that says "masterstroke". It was ill conceived, poorly planned and ineptly executed - in that sense it was emblematic for the Luftwaffe's performance throughout most of WW2. 

Edited by Finkeren
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Well I can certainly say in my Spit Mk IX Career in Bodenplatte I have yet to see an enemy AI bomber.

I miss those bomber intercept missions...

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despite the handicaps, "Bodenplatte" was still a tactical, if Pyrrhic, success. According to Manrho's book, the Germans lost around 270 planes, but destroyed or damaged close to 500 Allied planes. No one knows the exact Allied losses since there seems to have been a effort to cover up the real numbers, but the authors spend several pages on this and they made an effort to be objective so I tend to trust their calculations.

 

The difference, of course, is that the Allies made up for their losses in a matter of days, while the Luftwaffe never recovered from the loss of so many trained fighter pilots.

Edited by Sgt_Joch

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21 minutes ago, dburne said:

enemy AI bomber

Almost as rare as seeing an honest-to-goodness LW bomber online! I nearly lost my monocle last TAW when m'self and some comrades happened upon one of your actual, real, genuine, level bombing JU-88's 😄 

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7 minutes ago, Sgt_Joch said:

despite the handicaps, "Bodenplatte" was still a tactical, if Pyrrhic, success. According to Manrho's book, the Germans lost around 270 planes, but destroyed or damaged close to 500 Allied planes. No one knows the exact Allied losses since there seems to have been a effort to cover up the real numbers, but the authors spend several pages on this and they made an effort to be objective so I tend to trust their calculations.

 

The difference, of course, is that the Allies made up for their losses in a matter of days, while the Luftwaffe never recovered from the loss of so many trained fighter pilots.

 

A 'tactical success' that has no hope of achieving anything of long-term consequence and which leaves you depleted of unreplaceable resources is no sort of success at all. 

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53 minutes ago, dburne said:

Well I can certainly say in my Spit Mk IX Career in Bodenplatte I have yet to see an enemy AI bomber.

I miss those bomber intercept missions...

 

That's because there are no bombers to intercept.

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49 minutes ago, Sgt_Joch said:

despite the handicaps, "Bodenplatte" was still a tactical, if Pyrrhic, success. According to Manrho's book, the Germans lost around 270 planes, but destroyed or damaged close to 500 Allied planes. No one knows the exact Allied losses since there seems to have been a effort to cover up the real numbers, but the authors spend several pages on this and they made an effort to be objective so I tend to trust their calculations.

 

The difference, of course, is that the Allies made up for their losses in a matter of days, while the Luftwaffe never recovered from the loss of so many trained fighter pilots.

 

The biggest difference is that the Allies lost 500 planes.  The LW lost 250 planes and pilots.  Both sides could replace planes reasonably well (the allies much better than the LW).  The LW could not replace pilots.

19 minutes ago, LukeFF said:

 

That's because there are no bombers to intercept.

 

I thought some units were flying Ju88s almost to the end.  

 

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43 minutes ago, PatrickAWlson said:

The biggest difference is that the Allies lost 500 planes.  The LW lost 250 planes and pilots.  Both sides could replace planes reasonably well (the allies much better than the LW).  The LW could not replace pilots.

 

Not to mention that the Allies could replace pilot losses easier, but it probably didn't come to that since the LW's strikes caught mostly airplanes on the ground, uncrewed. I've never seen numbers on this but I am willing to guess that, for the LW, an airplane loss equaled a pilot loss more or less, whereas american/british pilot losses were very small. 

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9 minutes ago, danielprates said:

 

Not to mention that the Allies could replace pilot losses easier, but it probably didn't come to that since the LW's strikes caught mostly airplanes on the ground, uncrewed. I've never seen numbers on this but I am willing to guess that, for the LW, an airplane loss equaled a pilot loss more or less, whereas american/british pilot losses were very small. 

 

Based on production statistics and pilot accounts that I have seen I think the LW still had plenty of planes.  They did not have competent pilots and often did not have fuel. which effectively turned the plane into a lawn ornament.  

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1 hour ago, Sgt_Joch said:

despite the handicaps, "Bodenplatte" was still a tactical, if Pyrrhic, success. According to Manrho's book, the Germans lost around 270 planes, but destroyed or damaged close to 500 Allied planes. No one knows the exact Allied losses since there seems to have been a effort to cover up the real numbers, but the authors spend several pages on this and they made an effort to be objective so I tend to trust their calculations.

 

It was a failure by any measure.

The operation did not stop or even delay the Allied aerial devastation of German ground units. The Germans lost pilots that couldn’t afford to dispose of.

 

There is no twist that one can use to paint this operation as even a partial success.

Allied aircraft losses were a momentary annoyance at best.

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38 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

 

It was a failure by any measure.

The operation did not stop or even delay the Allied aerial devastation of German ground units. The Germans lost pilots that couldn’t afford to dispose of.

 

There is no twist that one can use to paint this operation as even a partial success.

Allied aircraft losses were a momentary annoyance at best.

 

wrong.

 

it meets the criteria for a tactical success, since the LW inflicted more losses than they received.

 

2 hours ago, AndyJWest said:

 

A 'tactical success' that has no hope of achieving anything of long-term consequence and which leaves you depleted of unreplaceable resources is no sort of success at all. 

 

you are just being overtly picky, it meets the definition of a tactical success since the LW inflicted more losses than they recived.

 

The fact that it failed to meet its strategic aims is irrelevant to the question of whether it was a tactical success on january 1st, 1945.

1 hour ago, PatrickAWlson said:

 

The biggest difference is that the Allies lost 500 planes.  The LW lost 250 planes and pilots.  Both sides could replace planes reasonably well (the allies much better than the LW).  The LW could not replace pilots.

 

 

I think you are just repeating what I posted.

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1 hour ago, Sgt_Joch said:

despite the handicaps, "Bodenplatte" was still a tactical, if Pyrrhic, success. According to Manrho's book, the Germans lost around 270 planes, but destroyed or damaged close to 500 Allied planes. No one knows the exact Allied losses since there seems to have been a effort to cover up the real numbers, but the authors spend several pages on this and they made an effort to be objective so I tend to trust their calculations.

 

The difference, of course, is that the Allies made up for their losses in a matter of days, while the Luftwaffe never recovered from the loss of so many trained fighter pilots.


Isn't that the story of the axis in WWII? Brief, tactical victories that look good on paper but just dig their own graves in the long run.

The Axis in WWII seemed to have a lot of misplaced confidence in their ability to force their enemies to surrender or concede via  decisive victories. It didn't really work out well for them in the end, and their early successes with the strategy really just lulled them deeper into delusion about their ability to win the wars they started. Superiority in equipment, training, and tactics paid dividends against unprepared enemies, but when they ran up against opponents with a bit of strategic depth, things went sideways.

In their defense, it has to be noted that the resources they had available to them limited their ability to pursue other strategies. Both Japan and Germany faced enemies with greater populations and industrial capacity. Any long-term conflict would benefit the power with the ability to absorb and replaced losses. So they had to rely on winning via local superiority of tactics, training and equipment and making gains quickly enough that the enemy would not have time to bring their bigger clout to bear.

Like a bantamweight boxer throwing impressive lightning jabs at a drunken grizzly. Everyone watching knows he can't win, but after a few solid connections with the crowd oohing and aahing he starts to think that maybe he CAN go toe to toe with a thousand pounds of alcohol-fueled Ursine belligerence. And by the time the bear really starts swinging, its too late to do anything but keep punching and hope you hit something vital. (spoiler alert, you can't). 

Operation Bodenplatte falls into the same category as the Ardennes offensive from around the same time. It arrives at a moment when defeat was already inevitable, expended large amounts of irreplaceable personnel to achieve a short-term tactical victory, and changed nothing of the strategic situation.

The Germans would have been better off spending those resources in defense on the Eastern front to hold back the Red Tide and leaving a skeleton garrison in western Germany. Since defeat was inevitable at that point, let the western allies roll you up and take Berlin, rather than the Soviets, and spare yourself the worst of the Russian vengeance. Instead, their offensive delayed the western invasion of Germany and all but guaranteed that the Soviets would take Berlin and the bulk of Germany. Their tactical success resulted in a worse outcome in the end than if they had never mounted the operations at all.
 

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1 minute ago, RedKestrel said:


Isn't that the story of the axis in WWII? Brief, tactical victories that look good on paper but just dig their own graves in the long run.
 

 

yes, pretty much.

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3 minutes ago, Sgt_Joch said:

 

wrong.

 

it meets the criteria for a tactical success, since the LW inflicted more losses than they received.

 

This kind of thinking is how you lose wars, by the way. Body counts and kill ratios mean nothing when your enemy achieves their strategic aims. Tactical victories must serve a strategic goal to mean anything. Tactical victories that leave you worse off strategically are not your win, they are your enemy's. 

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8 minutes ago, Sgt_Joch said:

 

wrong.

 

it meets the criteria for a tactical success, since the LW inflicted more losses than they received.

 

 

you are just being overtly picky, it meets the definition of a tactical success since the LW inflicted more losses than they recived.

 

The fact that it failed to meet its strategic aims is irrelevant to the question of whether it was a tactical success on january 1st, 1945.

 

I think you are just repeating what I posted.

 

No, the Luftwaffe did not 'inflict more losses than they received'. Not if you measure losses according to their value as a means to continue to fight. Both sides held aircraft in reserve. The Luftwaffe lost more pilots than the allies.

Edited by AndyJWest
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1 minute ago, Sgt_Joch said:

 

wrong.

 

it meets the criteria for a tactical success, since the LW inflicted more losses than they received.

 

It'd be interesting to hear anecdotes from LW officers from 2 Jan to see if they felt they'd achieved their aims. They'd probably have to window dress it a bit otherwise they'd piss off the bosses.

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25 minutes ago, Sgt_Joch said:

 

wrong.

 

it meets the criteria for a tactical success, since the LW inflicted more losses than they received

 

 

lol - what color is the sky in your world?

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Nevermind!

Edited by JG7_X-Man

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its so easy, wich airforce was in numbers in the air the next days/weeks , the allied or the german one ?

 

you know what german landsers said about the camouflage of aircraft in the air - US planes shine, UK are dark , german ones are invisible 🤣

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Not sure what the argument here is - this mission was the straw that broke the Luftwaffe's back.

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3 minutes ago, JG7_X-Man said:

 

Is you contention that  III./SG4 didn't carry bombs? Not sure how useful an Fw 190F-8 would be in any other capacity.

same amount of guns like a 190D ......

 

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1 minute ago, III/JG53Frankyboy said:

same amount of guns like a 190D ......

 

I pulled out a book and corrected myself.

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I would not even call it a tactical succes, simply because it did not even achieve it's relatively unambitious goal of temporarilly disrupting Allied air supremacy.

 

Even on the bare numbers it was a failure. Yes, the Luftwaffe might have destroyed double the number of Allied aircraft than they lost, but the German losses made up a far bigger percentage of the air force's total strength than the losses did for the Allies. Add to that the much higher number of largely irreplaceable pilots lost by the Luftwaffe, and this becomes a pretty substancial net loss for the Germans. 

Edited by Finkeren
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1 minute ago, Finkeren said:

I would not even call it a tactical succes, simply because it did not even achieve it's relatively unambitious goal of temporarilly disrupting Allied air supremacy.

 

Even on the bare numbers it was a failure. Yes, the Luftwaffe might have destroyed double the number of Allied aircraft than they lost, but the German losses made up a far bigger percentage of the air force's total strength than the losses did for the Allies. 

 

Exactly 

Any other conclusion means you’re buying into a delusion/revisionist history and you need different books.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, AndyJWest said:

 

A 'tactical success' that has no hope of achieving anything of long-term consequence and which leaves you depleted of unreplaceable resources is no sort of success at all. 

 

This is the perfect example of an argument I had with a guy here that used the term "strategic map" as the reason we didn't/should have the B-17 - my contention was there was no such thing as a strategic map - it's the desired outcome of the mission that deems a mission "strategic" versus "tactical".

 

I agree with Andy - this mission was a failure because the intent was to end the Allies air superiority over Europe by "destroying the Allied fighter force on the continent" - this was a strategic objective. The # of aircraft destroyed did not bring about the desired outcome - period. Thus, a colossal failure!

 

To add insult to injury - German AAA did almost as much damage to the Luftwaffe as the Allied airforce did. Looks like the Luftwaffe didn't get the reasoning behind the Operation Jubilee and Overlord stripes - Haha. 

 

I would bet my bottom dollar (last Euro/Pound) that Bletchley Park knew the attack was coming!

Edited by JG7_X-Man

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1 hour ago, JG7_X-Man said:

I would bet my bottom dollar (last Euro/Pound) that Bletchley Park knew the attack was coming!

 

They didn't.

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10 minutes ago, LukeFF said:

 

They didn't.

 

LOL - the correct response, they "probably" didn't

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2 minutes ago, LukeFF said:

 

They didn't.

IIRC, Allied intelligence had intercepted some transmissions and other intelligence indicating a build up of Luftwaffe forces but didn't think there was an attack coming.

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One of the primary reasons that Bodenplatte was only briefed to the pilots at the last minute and that the German AAA had no idea there would be large formations of friendly aircraft overhead was that the Germans had finally gotten a clue that their signals were compromised.

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