posted on Mar, 19 2006 @ 08:38 AM
Lets ask a much more interesting question. Prior to WW-II the germans were working on a whole string of weapons that became the bases of post war
armouries, like the Helicopter [Fl-282/Fa-223] Jet [Hs-178/Me-262] ASM/SAM/AAM/ATGM Guided missiles [HS-293/Hs-117 /Ru-344/ X-4 & X-7] Long rod
penetrator [Rochling] and ofcourse the Vunder Veapons. All these programs were in early development as the war began but where all canceled by Herman
Goering on Feb 1940, because he and Hitler believied the war was already won and they were not needed.
Cancelling weapons development programs on the eve or in the midst of a perceived _protracted_ conflict is also not uncommon.
Paladin died in the 1990s. Raptor is dying now.
It is often frankly better to fight with the best of what you have at the moment (in numbers with full quantities of spares) than to devote resources
to uncertain yield or inapplicable weapons systems that are not appropriate to the situation at hand.
In this, the early war German efforts look a lot like the later Allied (consolidated production and employment of just a few types) ones. And yet
nobody notices or comments on the effectiveness of OUR choices.
Some of these programs were revived and kept on the back burner like the V-1 /V-2 /Hs-293 & Me-262, but the accumulated delays mean't they were not
operational until the last year of the war. When it became clear that the war had turned against Hitler he authorised all the other Vunder Veapons
[and some more] to be built and every one was at least in low rate production or advanced prototyping when the war ended.
But when did it become clear and why?
You see, the key to victory is to prosecute it without mercy or letup /while you are winning/. From a strategic position irrespective of losses.
Don't beat Britain on the shores of Dunkirk?
Don't beat Britain over London?
_DO_ beat Britain in Africa?
_DO_ beat Britain in the early phases of the Night War?
You see how counter intuitive these indicators are? It makes no sense to feed failure. But rather a skilled military leadership uses it's assets to
map out the battlefield, defining strong points as a functon of working it's way around to other points of enemy vulnerability.
Yet _if it were me_.
I would have gassed the Brits in 40-41. Repeatedly. Because that was the time where even a tired Luftwaffe could still delivery terrible blows with
chemical agents like Phosgene and Mustard which either clog filters or attack skin. Irrespective of 'little case at your side' defenses.
I would have also burned her agro.
And life a living hell for her road and rail systems.
All things which /I can do/, not because my own forces are still stinging from their defeat en-masse. But because _their forces_ cannot yet summon
massed raids sufficient to overcome the Himmelbett/Kammhuber system of '1v.1' defensive intercept.
And of course I have all of France and the Low Countries betwixt me and the enemy. While the notion of an Anglandblitz offensive intruder campaign
had not yet been forbidden either.
Switcing to 'desperation tactics' is something you do when you are still wining. It's just that history books write these up as 'brilliant
strokes' (vice 'slugging matches') as some kind of foregone conclusion.
The programs that were continued [Hs-293] were in mass production by the end of 1942 and operational by 1943, which gives us an interesting time frame
for the whole family of modern technology weapons to arrive. Given that even the Hs-293 was itself delayed , its not unreasonable to see these weapons
in mass production at the begining of 1942 and operational by the end of 1942. Lets assume for a moment all these weapons are operational by the end
I believe testbombs were actually being dropped before the war. In any case the interesting element is the provision of wire and alternate radio
frequency communications for these weapons which were otherwise rendered vulnerable to terminal jamming. If the Luftwaffe fails to recognize added
peculiarities inherent to what was already a highly complex terminal flight path (target LOS rate and weapon flare tracking with the planar control
sytem of the Hs.293 was very hard to compensate for at the best of times), their enablers won't work regardless.
And if you DO recognize the problems. Or simply assume their presence and diversify your guidance methods preemptively, you must STILL have a
strategic plan to take advantage of the window of operational freedom that your (limited) smart weapons inventory provides.
So the Hs-117 SAM replaces the 88mm flak.
Large Caliber Flak is quite adequate as an AA tool against massed high altitude raids. Indeed the _majority of bombers lost_ went down to these tubed
fire, especially after June 1944.
What killed the Germans was darling little Goering's 'fear of little black boxes filled with widgets and wires'. Because they needed, more than
anything, a working proximity fuze. And ignoring the acoustic systems, they never really got one (Me-109's made routine high altitude flights over
the EC throughout 1943 until a flak battery sited on one of the English held islands used ONE ROUND to blow the wing off an aircraft moving at 300+mph
and 30,000ft. Thereafter, the 109's rarely came and when they did, they ducked and weaved all the time.)
Go with what ya gots. But make sure what ya gots _works_.
...on the production line while the Me-262 interceptor replaces the Me-109/110/210/410 on the production line and Ar234 jet bomber replaces the Ju-88
on the production line.
No. The time for the Jets to have a significant contribution (and for politics to yield to pragmatism) was 1942 and the He-280. You must put Little
Willy in his place. And you must proceed with an available platform to _prove the concept_ (better engine design, adequate airframe, virtually unused
production house) as early as possible.
If the He-280 had been productionized, we would have seen a 410-450mph airframe dealing with Mk.V and IX Spitfires like they were /nothing/.
THEN you get the impetus of success to make a Ta-183 as much as a 262 work.
The Arado is another matter but here the Big Deal is trimming the other idiotic efforts (He-219, Ta-154, Me-210/410, Do-335, He-111, Do-217) that were
soaking _engines_ as much as production line time.
The Luftwaffe needed two basic types: a medium bomber/destroyer/nightfighter aircraft. And a medium range fighter.
Those types could and should readily be the FW-190 and Ju-88.
WHILE THE JETS COME ONLINE.
More pressing issues, from the strategic standpoint, is the failure to see in Hamburg and streaming Raid system, both the increasing sortie effects on
the effectiveness of the intercept system. And the need to have all production _and associated labour_ moved into dispersal. Before U.S. daylight
efforts began in 1943.
Germany could hold the line against either one. But not both. And /certainly not/ while the operative psychology (on the part of the leadership) was
throwing everything available at every raid, no matter how tactically unwise the attrition effects were.
Mean while the Fl-282 and Fa-223 helicopters replace the Storch and Ju-52 on the production lines. The Panzercheck/Puchen program has its industry
diverted to produce the AAM/ATGM [Ru-344 ; X-4 & X-7 ] while the V-1 industry is diverted to Hs-293 ASM production.
Without significant enablers in the form of lightweight, high density, weapons and safe logistics, airmobile is no more useful than airborne ops.
And the Germans simply didn't have the fuel to use the helicopter as a utility transport.
Better, by far, to either put ONE MASSIVE air assault op deep into the 'factor districts', East of the Urals. Or to simply develop a bomber that
could reasonably hostage Soviet marshalling/assembly areas and airbases from beyond the nominal 100-150nm that Luftwaffe tactical efforts could
Lack of a proper OCA and Transport interdiction effort was the key failure of both sides in the Russian Campaign. And the failure by the OKW to
understand the need to rapidly stabilize their Eastern Front holdings (as they had done in WWI) was key to all subsequent efforts failure in the
Again, Germany, with the advantage of mass and distance could HOLD one and WIN the other. But not both. Not at once.
In this, the abandonment of bombers and zerstoren type fighters was not as wise as it seems. Something that the telling German efforts on the USAAF
relay missions is indicative of.
Given the german practice of trying all combinations of weapons and mounts. Its not long before all the Warships have Helos ,SAMs and ASM modified for
surface to surface launch throught the ship catapult.
The Kriegsmarine had about five useful functions:
5. The Black Sea.
In all three areas that service failed, miserably, to undertake what could reasonably be called decisive action.
A notable exception were the merchant surface raiders and here, aye, advanced AShM and Helicopters would do a lot. But not so much so that RN command
of the seas would ever truly be jeopardized.
The German hope for the future lay in her Underseewaffen and then mostly in the realization that submerged attacks with standoff weapons (a Long Lance
equivalent with Wire Guidance and Terminal Homing) off of acoustic targeting could allow largely conventional U-boats the edge needed to kill without
prolonged pursuit and terminal approach exposure.
Obviously a decent understanding of ComSec and again /preemptive paranoia/ relative to code systems was mandatory. Daily action reports were stupid
in the face of HuffDuff. Single-use keypad cryptography for contact reports would have been brilliant (even if compromised by capture, no individual
boat would ever be 'on the same cypher' with any other).
The Helos were already used in warships down to 1800 tons but helos were also planed for forward observer rolls to allow entire regiment of artillery
to fire to be directed through radio by the Fl-282 helicopter.
What the Germans needed, desparately, was an antitank capability that could be rapidly shifted between battles at more than the 20mph that only their
best averaged. Anti Tank Guns were fine but slow and required both time to site and transport to shift. Guns were fine but required closure to
ranges at which helos would be unable to survive as well as fixed wing aircraft with their superior armor and payload:weight fraction.
Until and unless you put Blitz or Schrecke type weapons /in numbers/ on a helicopter, it cannot replace tubed weapons as a force beyond the convenient
range of artillery and able to breakup an attack in road march as much as assault.
And Germany again failed utterly to see that a big HEAT head on a _stable and well aimed_ rocket beat HP guns with their requirement for quality steel
and tungsten penetrators all to pieces.
Until it was too late.
With the Russians HAVING that kind of steel (and untouched production output to manufacture multiple tubes from it), the only thing you can do at a
tactical level is sit there and take it as they use massed artillery to rototill your forces.
And then pray that a combination of depth and good tactical position plus a scratch team as much as kampfgruppe could handle any leakers.
In such a role, men in a _truck_ with Panzerfaust are as good if not better a weapon than any 'scouted' heavy platform fires.
The ASM were developed for use by bombers to hunt down shipping, but would quickly be adapted to attacking point targets like Airfields and bridges
etc. Its not inconcievable to see Stukas carrying these ASMs [their center line hard point was strong enough].
Depends on when you notice and what you do about it.
As early as 1942 the Allies had too many fields and too high a quality air defense to risk massed attack over Britain. At low level your ASM's are
iffy at best (see Anzion and later Normandy where flak ate the Germans out of Foggia to pieces).
If you make those bombs /count/ as a function of attacks on Malta then maybe things change. But here too, massing forces to make it all happen
matters more than smart bombs so long as you realize that your emphasis of attack is on occupation and victory by main force. Rather than simple
'starving them to death' desultory attrition as in fact occured.
The notion that a few well placed bombs can win wars without overt aggression to force the capitulation is a modern ideal. It hasn't worked well in
our time when PGMs actually have the seeker technology (SALH vs. MACLOS CG) and autopilot sophistication to compensate for guidance shortcomings (lags
in the control inputs etc.).
In fact 9/11 could largely be said to be a failure of policy based on the success of PGMs. And Arabs today are far less bloody minded than the Allies
were in the 40's.
In any case, it would be well not to fall too deeply in lust with the notion of widespread use of proto-smart weapons until you have a battleplan that
adequately addresses the logistics and employment doctrine of their use as a function of total-force synergies (How many Do-217 or He-177 do you have
that are capable for instance? How many fighters do you have that can compete with the enemy -at range- in escorting them?).
The AAMs were planned to mount on bombers as selfdefence and on fighters to act as interceptors.
The mistake here lies in the assumption that fighters will do any better with guided weapons than they will with cannon. The Ruhrstall was a simple
weapon, in principle not unlike Sagger. The problem being that while it did have a prox fuze; it still required undo closure to the bomber stream by
an aircraft rendered slow (300mph or so) by it's carriage.
In this you see the fallacy of facing bombers with fighters trying to blow through an escort cordon. You can armor them in the forward sector. Or
give them guns that will disable a bomber with 1-3 shells. Or install enough horsepower and booster to let them outrun the escorts. But not all
THE KEY then is to divide and conquer. Using the lowest common denominator theorem of 'equivalency' between aircraft of the time: the pilot.
This is actually rather simple, given that a 1,000 aircraft bomber raid is 70 miles long and the escorts are further divided between ingress, target
and recovery groups for which rendezvous is seldom certain.
You hit /the Allied fighters/ with a full Jagdgruppen or two and you will rapidly start to score decisive attrition based on the 1PHA (One Pass, Haul
Fundament) rule of diving away from threats and into predesignated flaklanes. Anybody that lives is captured or returned to service. Anybody who
dies is working against an 8-week replacement cycle.
And with the later radios, the Germans have the ability to mass locally by simply flying the equivalent of a TACAN radial from a marshall stack to
ensure that each Allied fighter group is hit with odds of 10:1 or more.
Once you begin 'thinning the herd' on competent escorts; the twins start to become more viable. Not simply with Pz.63 and WGr rockets (themselves
exceptionally draggy and more useful in scattering the boxes than anything). But you also can move to simpler 37 and 50mm Bordkannone as your
What this requires to work is relatively simple:
1. Coordinated IADS to included CONTROLLED fires and recognition
(Papagei Markings perhaps, also airborne radio coordinators).
2. Grouped Experten (ala Circus').
3. Long Range Fuel For Everyone.
4. Familiarity with Dispersal ops (whether by local nav training or fire beacons)
5. ACCEPTANCE of initial losses to industry and infrastructure.
You must augment Allied losses with S2A fires (something period German SAMs will be nearly useless for as an anti-fighter weapon) to speed the rates
of decisive attrition and prevent counter-bounce and free-sweep tactics from being employed. You must make sure everybody shoots and shoots /well
enough/ as small Rotte teams, to be viable as fighter vs. fighter combatants. You must ensure that airbase attacks are not effective for the period
in which they are not disrupted. And you must be able to put enough fighters from enough JG coverage zones TOGETHER so that attacks en-route are not
profitable and local odds around the bomber stream are severe. Something difficult to do with combat assets of only 60-90nm worth of radius.
Do these things and you can shoot up the autobus' by saddling up on their undefended six and blasting away from beyond their .50 defensive coverage
ability to stop you.
And you can do it with existing gun+rocket technology that exploits the native strengths of the platforms you have rather than relying on smart
weapons which do not really solve the principle problem of getting smaller aircraft close enough (past the escorts) to do viable attrition while also
taking it in the teeth from the bombers.
The alternative is to train cadres of Sturmbocke type forces and make ramjaeger attacks mandatory for every man who failed to get a gun kill on his
previous mission. "Lest we make you an infantryman and send you East..."
They were wire guided so they would need a second seater in the interceptor to make it effective. So that could lead to the mass production of the two
seat trainer version of their fighters like the Fw-190 and Me-262. Either that or the adaption of the AR-234 into a bomber destroyer. Since the early
development of the Helicopter envisaged armed versions, its not unreasonable to expect the Germans to try mounting small ATGM on these helicopters.
The greatest utility for AAM is most likely in the nocturnal campaigns. Here, the most dangerous part of the intercept was the closure from the radar
merge to visual breakout of the bomber threat against the clouds or sky. Particularly in a high speed platform like the Do-335 or Arado/262; their is
simply not going to be time to play throttle jockey; particularly if you are flinging yourself about from contact to contact and having to waste
valuable minutes of gas playing catchup games.
Schrage Musik is a fools game and steady state pursuit invites attack by Beau and Mossie yet you cannot /afford/ to miss and try again because the
various signature elements of attack will likely trigger Corkscrew type evasions with massive changes in altitude and heading.
The X-4 works here but the Hs.298, being radio guided and (potentially) having a primitive IR seeker, is probably the better choice.
So given the fascination with weaponary winning wars, how long before Germany wins the war?
Smart weapons work best with a smart strategy and a well versed employment doctrine. Their use in exclusion of rather than as enablers to a more
conventional attack is unwise given the technology of the day.
Contrary to popular belief, BOB was entirely winnable and Britain could have fallen did only SeaLion be replaced with foothold strategy and small OMG
type raiding forces for a prolonged winter campaign.
Yet short of winning BOB you cannot afford to pursue a 'war of grievances and petty attrition' with the UK for she will manipulate the U.S. into
joining and between them they present a nearly untouchable industrial base with which to stretch any interdiction/blockade efforts beyond the
Indeed, you might almost be better off treating the UK with gentle scorn and letting the pro-Nazi elements within her own populace and leadership stew
the nation into a defacto capitulation at the 'reputation untarnished' might of the Germans.
Similarly, you CANNOT accept that Stalin is going to stay on his side of a polite little line in Poland. Because there is reasonable evidence that he
was plotting his own little steamroller action and Germany is a helluva lot closer to a Russian frontier than vice versa.
What you MUST seek to achieve then is a campaign which decisively deals with each foe in detail and turn. For Russia that means securing a depth of
salient sufficient to starve them while maintaining your own lines of communication. Probably as a function of a SINGLE axis of attack.
It also means abandoning the Italians to their own stupidity in the Balkans and Africa until and unless you are able to deal with the Caucus and
Crimea by way of Turkey.
FAIL in this 'win fast or prolong loss' scenario, and Uber Weapons are less a functional superiority than a crapshoot on what will or will not work
/doctrinally/ (understanding the engineering well enough to integrate it with tactics and strategy) in the minds of a military heirarchy that still
thought in largely 19th century fashion and particularly along linear lines of conflict. Even the concept of Schwerpunkt was a frontal (linear)
approach to methodology. Not an ability to see the synergies of interaction by which an opfor functioned as a composite organization. So much as a
reduction of their main force ability fight by an awareness of physical geometries and geographies of fire and maneuver application.
Until and unless you deal with the cognitive theorems by which organizations react with strictly regular (normalizing) standard scenarios to highly
varied operational, political and technologic complexities that is war your warfighting choices will always remain as narrow as conflict itself is
broad. For the latter is a chaotic (fluid) state dictated by preconceived 'justifications' that are truly nothing more than projected objectivism
as tunnel vision.
As such, you cannot make Hitler win 'as Hiter', even on a discussion board.
Naziism and the cult of personality it built around 'one bold individual' (strategic moron with a messiah complex) being an ultimate indictment, not
of unmitigated nationalist militarism. But rather overt conventionality and ultimately insecurity at acting without the reinforcing template of
group-mind allegiance to conservative and staticist rationalism.
All-for-oneing failing to show the very diversity and delegation of authority which would OBSERVE individual casepoint scenarios. Before reporting
them up a chain of command able to deal with the raw empirical data in a way that synthesized an operational paradigm to lead as much as meet each
fluctuating change in the overall 'situational ethic' of the campaign as it progressed.