The heavy bombers were a massive investment - we don't usually think about how much. but Germany was short on all materials at eth time - steel,
aluminium, tungsten - all of it was in short supply.
Heavy bombers required more of all the rarer metals that their simple size suggested - they had more fittings that had to be higher strength, they
tended to need higher powered engines that needed more specialised alloys, things like defensive gun turrets and the like required moreresearch and
specialised manufacturing than the simpler defensive arrangements of medium bombers, their undercarriages had to be stronger to meet weight
requirements without being too heavy itself, the undercart fittings had to be stronger, and so also need more specialised alloys, and so on.
In 1936 Germany could build 2 good medium bombers for the cost/resource of building 1 mediocre heavy bomber. 2 medium bombers could fit into existing
military planning, allowed for training more aircrew and development of doctrine, and allowed for improving aviation manufacturing processes.
This paper (1mb pdf)
takes a rational look at the heavy bomber issue and cuts through many of the myths - among its conclusions are:
1/ the time a heavy bomber might have been useful was 1940 over England
2/ development of a heavy bomber should have been a matter that came from an increasingly mature aircraft construction industry - not somethign that
was pushed on it right at hte beginning
3/ heavy bombers use a lot of resource that were better utilised producing smaller aircraft that would not be obsolete so quickly, and that fitted the
doctrine of het armed forces
4/ with war not expected until 1942 (in 1936) there was time to develop the industry further and develop a useful heavy bomber on teh back of
increased capability (see point 2)
In the final analysis:
With all aspects considered, the German pursuit of a heavy bomber program was executed in a reasonably logical method. What could not be counted
on to yield results was not pursued, and only those airframes were exploited that could offer some return for what appeared to be short, intense,
localized conflicts. The sparing of Walther Wever’s life would probably have altered very little on this page of Luftwaffe history.
I think we tend to forget that he large allied bomber fleets weer only possible due to worldwide access to raw materials by teh allies, and the
industrial base of the USA which was not under the same war stresses as that of Germany.
edit on 6-3-2013 by Aloysius the Gaul because: (no