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ME109s during the Battle of Britian question

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posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 04:34 PM
reply to post by Phoenix

I'm not as sure as most that tactical bombers in lieu of strategic bombers were a mistake for the Luftwaffe. Everyone acknowledges the neglect of the fighter arm and the myopic obsession on the bomber fleet strength as one of the pitfalls of the OKL (rightfully). A similar (both correct and popular) argument can be made for the transport fleet largely left to atrophy after the heavy losses in the West and Norway.
In light of this, it seems hard to justify the expense and commitment to resources of mass-produced four-engine bombers. Would the ground campaigns in 39-40 have been as effective without the cloud of low- and medium-altitude bombers tasked to direct support? It seems difficult to believe the Wehrmacht would have had as easy a time of it with a relatively smaller fleet of Ju-89's or Do-19's, or that the campaigns would have been decisively impacted by their presence.
To be sure, the lack of a strategic force was a handicap in the Battle of Britain (and to a lesser extent later in the East), but given the limited resources available, I think the right decision was made. Germany was never going to be able to task 1,000 bomber raids over London even if they went all in on four-engine bombers. Compare this with the decisive edge given by the Luftwaffe in tactical support in the early campaigns in which they maintained air-superiority, and I tend to think the right decision was made, even in hind sight.

posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 04:47 PM
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 reason given)

posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 08:49 PM
[Will answer when ATS is more stable
edit on 6-3-2013 by Phoenix because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:27 AM

Originally posted by Phoenix
[Will answer when ATS is more stable
edit on 6-3-2013 by Phoenix because: (no reason given)

Stay well clear of the chemtrail forum then

posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 06:25 AM
Del and Aloysius have extremely good points, this lack of resources could also be a factor in why German aircraft production actually declined during the Battle while British production increased massively. I have read that by the end of the BoB it was the Luftwaffe that was seriously under strength, with raids being cobbled together from the remaining scraps of decimated squadrons. By contrast fighter command was getting larger, stronger and ever more competent as experience was growing, though there was concern about pilot shortages, it was about manning the growing force, not dwindling numbers as is the common perception.

posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 03:16 PM
reply to post by waynos

Many years ago I did a paper on the BoB - one of my favourite topics

Germany wasactually winding down from war production in 1940 -they had conquered Europe, the wasr with the USSR wasnt' planned yet, and Britain seems likely to fall.

In fact British fighter production during the BoB got as high as 450 single engined a/c per month - whereas German 109 and 110 production, combined was, IIRC, 220 per month.

Of course the Brits managed this by delaying ontroduction of new Spitfire and Hurricane models that were waiting in teh wings, which ost them in the last days of 1940 and early part of 1941 when they were still fighting with Spitfire Mk I & II's vs 109F's, but it was "needs must" at the time.

Again IIRC (I did the paper 17 or 18 years ago!!) British serviceable Spuitfire and Hurricane numbers never fell below 600, with at least another 100 in ready reserves at all times. But there were less than 200 serviceable 109's by the end of September (or thereabouts) - 183 rings a bell.

Also German pilot training was needlessly complicated, and the best pilots actually went to the Bomber formations as per pre-war doctrine. We all know about the British worrying that they only had 1.5 pilots per a/c - but the Germans never had more than 1.1 pilots per 109.

posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 06:41 PM
reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul

That's pretty well how I understand it, without checking actual numbers. You may well have read Narrow Margin already as it is considered one of the great BoB references, no less great in my opinion is Stephen Bungays more recent "The Most Dangerous Enemy" and for an alternative take that also makes a lot of sense there is "Invasion 1940", the author of which escapes me at the moment

posted on Mar, 12 2013 @ 10:50 PM
The biggest issues I have found in my many years of research indicate several reasons why the ME109's did not have external drop tanks are the fact that they have a negative effect on plane balance and there was also an issue with the quality of fuel available to the Luftwaffe during the time of the Battle of Britain.
Hitler was obsessed with using aircraft for more than one particular mission and was not very forgiving when a specific design was presented to him. He insisted that all aircraft be able to complete multiple mission profiles with just a few basic changes.
Allied bombing had focused on refineries and had substantially limited the German ability to produce acceptable fuel for high performance aircraft. This information came from my grandfather who took place in all of the major battles from Africa, to Italy, to France...and on into Germany. German aircraft could be identified by sound....a result of poor fuel. It was obvious to allied forces that fuel quality was an issue. Basically, Hitler was fighting a losing battle with aircraft that were designed to perform multiple roles and fueled by poor quality fuel that was becoming harder to get by the minute.

posted on Mar, 13 2013 @ 12:04 AM
reply to post by drock905

Sure they had drop tanks in WWII.
This would not solve the English Channel/bingo fuel problem for the smaller fighters such as the Bf109 and the FW190. This is an early Bf109 below with the balanced center tank pictured. Weight and balance as an afterthought, on an aircraft which was designed to perfection already, was probably a challenge. I bet the pilots hated doing anything with them on, except flying in a great circle to their drop waypoint.

Drop tanks were only, and still are for the most part, only used for the trip TO the engagement. Of course you drop tanks as you enter your Op Envelope, engagement zone, or at the first sign of a missile fire control radar parametric seeker beam. No Operational Scene Commander is going to plan to have his air assets conduct an engagement with drop tanks on, except in specific circumstances.

edit on 13-3-2013 by TheEthicalSkeptic because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 13 2013 @ 12:10 AM
reply to post by tonyb1968

The fuel bombing issue is real, but was irrelevant at the time of the BoB.

Before WW2 most aviation fuel was of similar octane/RoN to vehicle fuel - 87-90. The Germans used this throughout the war.

However western chemists had come up with 100 Octane by the time of the BoB, which allowed the Merlin engines to use +12 psi boost - giving them about a 24% power increase from 1030hp to 1300 hp.
Later in the war the allies used 100/130 and even 150 octane fuels to get massively more power from their engines than the Germans did.

The WW2 aircraft performance page has some great original documentation on performance.

Included there are this comparison of Spitfire I vs 109E, this report on using 100 Octane fuel from a Hurricane pilot during the Battle of France, and this article on 150 Octane petrol, which allowed boost to be increased to +25 PSI. Part of which reads:

Testing of a Spitfire IX by Rolls Royce, Hucknall in October 1943 determined:

" The increase of boost pressure to 25 lbs/sq.inch provides a considerable improvement in the low altitude performance of the Spitfire IX aircraft, the necessary modifications to achieve this being comparitively simple. 1"

The same aircraft was tested by the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment (A.& A.E.E.), Boscombe Down in November 1943, the conclusion being:

" An increase of about 950 ft/min in rate of climb and about 30 mph in all-out level speed is achieved by the increase of boost from +18 lb/ to +25 lb/ 2"

Edit: on reviewing the documents I see the boost pressures are in PSI, not inches mercury - my mistake sorry
edit on 13-3-2013 by Aloysius the Gaul because: (no reason given)

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