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B-36 Controversy (was Re: Why no B-36 in Korea)

RyanCrierie

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The reason the B-36 wasn't used in Korea, and the B-29 was instead; was because of the perception at the time, that Korea was just a backwater; a strategic diversion by the United Communist Conspiracy (TM).

This resulted in a policy that no really good equipment was sent to Korea.

E.G.:

B-29s that bombed Korea were WWII aircraft withdrawn from mothballs, instead of the B-29s which were upgraded post-war for USAF service.

The Midway CVBs were never sent to the Korean theater.

Etc.

It's also important to remember that at the time that the Norks invaded, there were about just 38 B-36s on active service; and they were the only aircraft really capable of hitting the soviet union reliably from high altitude at 45,000+ feet and with enough range so that the mission isn't a likely one way suicide trip.
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

RyanCrierie said:
The reason the B-36 wasn't used in Korea, and the B-29 was instead; was because of the perception at the time, that Korea was just a backwater; a strategic diversion by the United Communist Conspiracy (TM).

This resulted in a policy that no really good equipment was sent to Korea.

E.G.:

B-29s that bombed Korea were WWII aircraft withdrawn from mothballs, instead of the B-29s which were upgraded post-war for USAF service.

The Midway CVBs were never sent to the Korean theater.

Etc.

It's also important to remember that at the time that the Norks invaded, there were about just 38 B-36s on active service; and they were the only aircraft really capable of hitting the soviet union reliably from high altitude at 45,000+ feet and with enough range so that the mission isn't a likely one way suicide trip.


Why the B-36 wasn't used actually wasn't the issue. The fact that it wasn't was the relevant issue because USAF's contention that they used to lobby to kill the United States was that with the B-36 carriers wouldn't be needed, and that the B-36 would fly too high to be seriously threatened by fighters ("Pay no attention to that Banshee flying formation off your wing"). As we know, not long after that, the Korean War erupted and carriers were desperately needed. It was the Korean War that turned Congress/DoD around resulted in the supercarriers being ordered.

The three Midways never went to Korea because they were specifically tasked with nuclear attack missions against the Soviet Union, and when deployed had to be on station so that their targets were within range of their AJ Savages and other aircraft. Since the Navy had lots of Essexes at the time, it wasn't deemed necessary to pull those three off the nuclear mission.
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

F-14D said:
The fact that it wasn't was the relevant issue because USAF's contention that they used to lobby to kill the United States was that with the B-36 carriers wouldn't be needed, and that the B-36 would fly too high to be seriously threatened by fighters ("Pay no attention to that Banshee flying formation off your wing").

You mean those staged photographs at much lower altitudes than normal, with the B-36's 20mm turrets deployed and trained on the banshees?

Nevermind that in order to actually get a Banshee up to 45,000+ feet to "prove" the B-36 was interceptable; the navy had to strip it of everything, including guns.

And even if the fighter got up there, the B-36 could outmanouver it.
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

RyanCrierie said:
You mean those staged photographs at much lower altitudes than normal, with the B-36's 20mm turrets deployed and trained on the banshees?

Nevermind that in order to actually get a Banshee up to 45,000+ feet to "prove" the B-36 was interceptable; the navy had to strip it of everything, including guns.

And even if the fighter got up there, the B-36 could outmanouver it.

Fortunately for the Soviet Union the MiG-15 was no Banshee. At 45,000 feet life in the B-36 would not be very comfortable with a 37mm and 23mm cannon armed MiG-15 up your arse.
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

Abraham Gubler said:
Fortunately for the Soviet Union the MiG-15 was no Banshee. At 45,000 feet life in the B-36 would not be very comfortable with a 37mm and 23mm cannon armed MiG-15 up your arse.

That might be a problem....IF the MiG-15 can manouver to fire it's cannon.

I have a transcript on my hard drive of a speech titled "The Strategic Air Command" given by GEN LeMay on 28 Jan 1954 at the National War College, which contained the following data recited by GEN LeMay:

Radius of 360 degree turns and time to complete them:

MiG-15 at 30,000 feet: 4,800 ft radius and 42 seconds
MiG-15 at 50,000 feet: 30,000+ ft radius and 6 minutes

B-36 at 50,000 feet: 17,500 ft and 2 minutes and 54 seconds
B-52 at 50,000 feet: 23,00 ft and 3 minutes and 10 seconds

Additionally, while the MiG-15 can reach 38,000 feet in 6.75 minutes; it takes him 6.75 additional munutes to climb up the last 10,000~ feet to 50,000 feet. This greatly complicates intercepts.

What made the B-36 basically obsolete was the MiG-17PM/PFU which could carry 4 x AA-1 AKALI missiles; and an afterburner enabling it to kinda manouver up that high.

Problem was, by the time the B-36 was obsolete; the B-52 had come along.

By the time the Soviets had finally put together a plane which could reliably intercept the B-52 in the MiG-25, the US had moved along to the B-58 Hustler, which could sustain supersonic speeds long enough to easily outrun MiG-21s; and make MiG-25 intercepts dicey, due to the -25's limited fuel; and the US was working on the B-70, which would have attacked at Mach 3+ at 85,000 feet.

It's very important to get original source material -- for example, all the stuff like Wikipedia, etc stating the B-70s top speed and altitude is actually for it's cruise speed at minimal afterburner.

If you read the XB-70 CS, you'll note that it says:

"CRUISE at max speed 1,721 knots at 65,000-71,900 ft alt; min A/B."

That means the XB-70 cruises at Mach 3 with it's engines putting out about 126,000 lbf of thrust (assuming minimum afterburner is about 21,000 lbf). That leaves 42,000 lbf of thrust un-used; which makes the B-70A CS stating:

"MAX 1,735 knots at 86,300 ft alt, max power"

make sense.

Then we went and cancelled the B-70 and retired our B-58 fleet, along with hundreds of B-52s and B-47s. :mad:
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

RyanCrierie said:
F-14D said:
The fact that it wasn't was the relevant issue because USAF's contention that they used to lobby to kill the United States was that with the B-36 carriers wouldn't be needed, and that the B-36 would fly too high to be seriously threatened by fighters ("Pay no attention to that Banshee flying formation off your wing").

You mean those staged photographs at much lower altitudes than normal, with the B-36's 20mm turrets deployed and trained on the banshees?

Nevermind that in order to actually get a Banshee up to 45,000+ feet to "prove" the B-36 was interceptable; the navy had to strip it of everything, including guns.

And even if the fighter got up there, the B-36 could outmanouver it.

Might want to take a look at the SACs on your own site. At 45,000 feet and combat weight the F2H-2 looks to have a rate of climb of 1,000-1,600 feet per minute (depending on whether it has tip tanks) with a service ceiling around 51,000 feet. Rather doubt they had to strip it. And obviously they didn't have to strip it for when they took photos above fifty thousand feet.
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

Might want to take a look at the SACs on your own site. At 45,000 feet and combat weight the F2H-2 looks to have a rate of climb of 1,000-1,600 feet per minute (depending on whether it has tip tanks) with a service ceiling around 51,000 feet. Rather doubt they had to strip it. And obviously they didn't have to strip it for when they took photos above fifty thousand feet.

Ah, but here's the crucial question: How long did they take to get up that high to take those photos, and how long did they stay up taking those photos?

Remember that intercepting a bomber is heavily dependent on time as a function -- time to climb to altitude, time before fuel exhaustion, time you can attack it, time before the bomber reaches it's target, etc.

Problem 1. Getting up There

The F2H-2 has two J34-WE-34 turbojets, for a total of 6,500 lbs of thrust.

SFC for the J34 is about 1.05 to 1.08 lb/lbf/hr, or 0.0175 to 0.018 lb/lbf/min. So at full power (necessary for those high climb rates); the F2H-2 would be consuming 114 to 117 pounds of fuel.

With it's combat weight fuel load of 3,157 pounds of fuel, that works out to:

* 26-28 minutes of powered flight if you disobey all rules and keep flying until fuel exhaustion and glide back home.

*17-18 minutes of powered flight if you obey the rules stating you must have 1,200~ lbs of fuel in reserve upon landing (look at landing weights in the SAC).

So looking at the rate of climb chart in the SAC, it breaks down minutewise as:

Launch (L)

L+1 Minutes = 7,200 ft (7,200 FPM climb previous minute)
L+2 Minutes = 13,600 ft (6,400 FPM climb previous minute)
L+3 Minutes = 19,200 ft (5,600 FPM climb previous minute)
L+5 Minutes = 24,000 ft (4,800 FPM climb previous minute)
L+6 Minutes = 28,400 ft (4,400 FPM climb previous minute)
L+7 Minutes = 32,400 ft (4,000 FPM climb previous minute)
L+8 Minutes = 36,000 ft (3,600 FPM climb previous minute)
L+9 Minutes = 39,100 ft (3,100~ FPM climb previous minute)
L+10 Minutes = 41,500 ft (2,400~ FPM climb previous minute)
L+11 Minutes = 43,800 ft (2,300~ FPM climb previous minute)
L+12 Minutes = 45,400 ft (1,600~ FPM climb previous minute)
L+13 Minutes = 46,700 ft (1,300~ FPM climb previous minute)

L+14 Minutes = 47,900 ft (1,200 FPM climb previous minute) <---You are now really pushing your luck if you want a couple minutes to attack the bomber, and still maintain your proscribed fuel reserve upon landing.

L+15 Minutes = 48,700 ft (800 FPM climb previous minute)
L+17 Minutes = 49,400 ft (700~ FPM climb previous minute)
L+18 Minutes = 49,800 ft (about 400 FPM climb previous minute)
L+19 Minutes = 50,150 ft (about 350 FPM climb previous minute)
L+20 Minutes = 50,450 ft (about 300 FPM climb previous minute)
L+21 Minutes = 50,700 ft (about 250 FPM climb previous minute)
L+22 Minutes = 50,900 ft (about 200 FPM climb previous minute)
L+23 Minutes = 51,100 ft (about 200 FPM climb previous minute)
L+24 Minutes = 51,300 ft (about 200 FPM climb previous minute)
L+25 Minutes = 51,500 ft (about 200 FPM climb previous minute) <-- I think it's safe to say that we've got zero movement up past this point. And you're about to run out of gas anyway give or take a couple minutes.

Now, obviously, one way to increase your time up high is to add more fuel, so you can keep running your engine longer. But there comes the problem.

You cant push takeoff weight past 15,640 pounds. So some weight has to be lost somewhere.

One obvious way is reducing gun armament.

The F2H-2 has four 20mm M-3 Cannons and 600 rounds. Each gun weighs 100 lbs, and it's 150 rounds per gun weighs about 75 pounds. So that's about 700 pounds for the four gun setup. If you reduced it to just two guns, you'd gain 350 pounds and three extra minutes in the air. The problem reducing firepower is that in World War II; the Germans estimated it took 20 hits to down a B-17; and it weighed only 36,000 lbs empty; compared to the B-36's 170,000 lbs empty.

Another way is reducing the protection the aircraft has.

Eliminating the 779 lbs of armor plate the pilot has for protection (731 front, 48 back) would gain you 6-7 minutes more of flight time -- and the 600 lbs of self sealing fuel tanks, would gain 5-6 more minutes, but you'd be very vunerable to gunfire.

Problem 2. Fighting Up There

The problem is, once you've gotten up that high, and have sufficient fuel to fight the bomber; the bomber can outturn you. The MiG-15 fully loaded had less wing loading than our combat loaded F2H-2; yet at 50,000~ feet, the MiG-15 required six minutes and 30,000~ ft radius turn to do a 360. The B-36 on the other hand, only required 17,500 ft radius and three minutes to do the same 360.

Well, yes, you could try turning tighter, but then you'll stall out; and basically be out of the fight.

This is why air to air missiles replaced cannon as fast as possible despite their obvious flaws that early in their development, because you didn't have to have a perfect firing angle to hit the bomber.

Additionally, there's also the problem of running down the bomber, if you end up in a tail chase due to various reasons.

The F2H at 50,000 ft had a top speed of about 440 kts TAS. Comparing this against the various B-36 models:

B-36B: 314 kt top speed; closing speed of 110 kts, or 2.4 miles a minute
B-36D: 340 kt top speed; closing speed of 100 kts, or 1.9 miles a minute
B-36J(III): 360+ kt top speed; closing speed of 80 kts, or 1.5 miles a minute

You can see how even a relatively smallish tail chase of only five miles will take at best
two minutes to complete, which is a problem if you've spent your fuel getting up that high.

Sorry for getting a bit technical here.
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

The problem is you are using static sea level thrust and SFC, both of which are variable with altitude and engine power settings. Consider this problem with your scenario: You posit a maximum range of 18 minutes with combat fuel weight (60% of initial fuel load) with fuel reserve at landing. That would indicate a maximum range of 138 nautical miles at maximum combat speed, which isn't sufficient to bring the plane back from its combat radius of 295 nautical miles much less conduct 20 minutes of combat at 35,000 feet and then cruise back at 40,000 feet (the mission design). Since Banshee cruising altitude was 40,000 feet, I think its reasonable to assume it didn't take an extraordinary amount of fuel to reach that altitude.

I really don't see a problem with the Banshee being able to spend a significant amount of time at 45,000-50,000 feet if it is designed to travel nearly 300 nautical miles at 40,000 feet, dogfight for 20 minutes at 35,000 feet, and then come back at 40,000 feet.

I don't get why you're making a fuss about 50,000 feet when the B-36D tops out just under 45,000 feet on the SAC on your site. At that altitude its only making 300 knots at maximum power while the Banshee makes 440-450 knots, a 2.67 mile per minute take over.

But all of that is a distraction from the original point that your assertion that the Navy had to strip everything from the Banshee in order to take it up to 45,000 feet was wrong and that the Banshee was quite capable of reaching those altitudes in normal flight and configuration. As your own work has so nicely pointed out, 45,000 feet is just an extra three minutes climb from cruising altitude and the Banshee still has plenty of climb available at that altitude.

In Development of US Naval Air Superiority it's mentioned: "One of the demonstrations was an interception of incoming bombers - four VF-171 F2H-1s were launched in response to a mock attack and climbed to 40,000 feet in less than seven minutes" as well that two pictures were taken of Washington D.C., one at 48,846 feet (due to clouds, having reached 52,000 feet) and another at 51,089 feet (page 54), both with F2H-1s which had less powerful engines than the -2.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

RyanCrierie said:
Abraham Gubler said:
Fortunately for the Soviet Union the MiG-15 was no Banshee. At 45,000 feet life in the B-36 would not be very comfortable with a 37mm and 23mm cannon armed MiG-15 up your arse.

That might be a problem....IF the MiG-15 can manouver to fire it's cannon.

I have a transcript on my hard drive of a speech titled "The Strategic Air Command" given by GEN LeMay on 28 Jan 1954 at the National War College, which contained the following data recited by GEN LeMay:

Radius of 360 degree turns and time to complete them:

MiG-15 at 30,000 feet: 4,800 ft radius and 42 seconds
MiG-15 at 50,000 feet: 30,000+ ft radius and 6 minutes

B-36 at 50,000 feet: 17,500 ft and 2 minutes and 54 seconds
B-52 at 50,000 feet: 23,00 ft and 3 minutes and 10 seconds

Additionally, while the MiG-15 can reach 38,000 feet in 6.75 minutes; it takes him 6.75 additional munutes to climb up the last 10,000~ feet to 50,000 feet. This greatly complicates intercepts.

Climb to altitude, manoeuvre at altitude are all important variables for maintaining a barrier CAP against a fast penetrator but not a point CAP against a slow one. The 15 minutes to climb to 50,000 feet is well within the 20 minutes it takes a flat out B-36J (at ~35,000 feet) to cover the 120 NM from detection by a P-10 radar to it reaches the target (assuming no use of picket radars). Though in reality the B-36 cannot fly that fast at 50,000 feet and will be penetrating at only 200 knots and the Soviets will have radar pickets all for a lot more warning.

Since the B-36 has to drop its bomb on the target the ability to manoeuvre against a point CAP is limited. Also while the MiG-15 needs a wider turn radius it is at least twice as fast meaning it can quickly make up for the increased separation caused by its wider turn.

Slower more manoeuvrable targets can use their turning circle to escape engagement until the attacker decides to break off the attack (usually because of bingo fuel or loss of sight due to terrain at very low altitude or weather). In a high altitude bomb run scenario the use of manoeuvre takes the bomber away from the target. Presumably more interceptors are on hand and approaching meaning the bomber has little or no option but to break off turning to either run to the target or run for home. Either way it then becomes a gun fight to see if it can get through.

At the end of day despite all Le May’s prevarication the B-36 will relay on night, jamming and guns to get to the target.
 

Michel Van

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here is good impression of the B-36

From the Movie "Strategic Air Command"
[flash=200,200]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGjyH2ulsCk[/flash]

let face it,
the B-36 and the B-29 variants were a dying race of flying Battleships from WWII era
replace by B-47 and B-52 into a sinister era of Dr. Stangelove
 

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Re: Why no B-36 in Korea

RyanCrierie said:
F-14D said:
The fact that it wasn't was the relevant issue because USAF's contention that they used to lobby to kill the United States was that with the B-36 carriers wouldn't be needed, and that the B-36 would fly too high to be seriously threatened by fighters ("Pay no attention to that Banshee flying formation off your wing").

You mean those staged photographs at much lower altitudes than normal, with the B-36's 20mm turrets deployed and trained on the banshees?

Nevermind that in order to actually get a Banshee up to 45,000+ feet to "prove" the B-36 was interceptable; the navy had to strip it of everything, including guns.

And even if the fighter got up there, the B-36 could outmanouver it.

No, I'm referring to the finally published photos that the USAF requested be classified for over 30 years of Banshees flying off the wing of B-36s. If those were staged, USAF would have openly denounced them as "proof" of the Peacemaker's invulnerability. The pictures, BTW, were taken from within the B-36.

As far as credibility of F2H altitude performance, here's one of a number of examples. In an exercise (the precise date escapes me, however one of the aviation mags recently did a story on this), Banshees were launched from a carrier on a "nuclear strike" mission. This, of course part of the Navy's bid to demonstrate that the Navy could fly nuclear missions as well. Ironically, some of those missions would be to suppress defenses to help B-36s get through. In any case, the Banshees refuelled from AJ Savages near St. Augustine Florida and then proceeded at relatively low altitude to their "target" at Lake Erie. They were carrying representative nuclear "weapons". Although all of ADC knew they would be coming and what the target was, they were not detected until they had reached the destination and "bombed" it. At this point, the wrath of the defenders fell upon them, in the form of F-86s and F-89s. There is no way a Banshee is going to be able to tangle with a well-flown Sabre if it can close. What the Navy guys did was descend as fast as they could. Once the defenders got down to 5,000 feet or so but were not yet in gun range, the F2Hs climbed like skyrockets, leveled off at 50,000 feet+, and watched the Sabres and Scorpions spin out 10,000+ feet below them. They then flew a max range profile back, refueled again off the coast and then recovered to their carrier.

My point, especially about how the Banshees survived their return, is that USAF knew, despite their public pronouncements, that there were aircraft that could intercept the B-36. Maybe at the time they thought the MiG-15 was better than it was, maybe not, but at the time they didn't know. So, why risk the Crown Jewel over what was, as RyanCrierie succinctly put it, "...just a backwater"?

Again, this ties back to my original statement. Why the B-36 wasn't used is not important, just that it wasn't. The aircraft made no difference to the Korean War and other non nuclear deterrence situations, but carriers made a big difference. That's why the supercarriers were requested and authorized.
 

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Would the "nuclear alert" argument be a reason why B-36's weren't deployed to Korea? That was a reason given for keeping the B-52H and B-1B stateside during Operation Desert Storm (although the B-1's were beset with real issues regarding maintainability and avionics reliability, and only had an unguided strike capability at that point.)

A bigger blunder than holding the B-36 back was keeping the P-47 out of Korea. The Mustangs that the USAF used instead weren't as suited for surviving small arms fire. The problem was that the Mustangs were chosen over the Thunderbolts during the post-WWII planning because the USAF foresaw bomber escort as more likely than close air support during the cold war. The Jugs had a date with the scrapper when they should have been in Korea. At least the Navy had the good sense to keep its Corsairs for CAS during the same time period.
 

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100 Convair B-36 were ordered July,43 with range US-Berlin: non-cancellation the day after VJ-Day could be taken by revisionist Lefties as the outbreak of the Cold War. First B-36A Sqdn. was up (very modestly, we now know) 26/6/48, a day after the start of the Berlin Airlift. USSR doubtless knew how few B-29 Silver Plates had nuclear capability, and feared them not (see Tu-4 Bull). Deterrence after Joe One test, 29/8/49, rested on B-36B/D. They were not sent to Okinawa/Guam because: they could not be risked (a loss, with iron stores, to MiG-15 or AAA would have eroded Deterrence's credibility); crews had no training with iron; presence of the sole nuclear platform might have deterred USSR/China from assisting N.Korea, but would have scared the bejesus out of Japan, Oz, UK: as Macarthur rolled down to Pusan in December,1950 UK PM flew to DC immediately he sensed Truman might be contemplating nuclear escalation.
 

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With respect to the Banshee versus the B-36, one service reportedly issued a challenge to the other for a duel at 40,000 feet and it was accepted. Their seniors agreed that it wasn't a good idea because there was too much risk for both sides that unforeseen consequences of the rules of engagement might determine the outcome. I suspect that both sides also had their doubts as to whether their mouths had written checks that their butts could cash. There were, of course, informal interceptions made with no rules or conclusive outcomes. "Bang, you're dead! No, you missed."

There is no question that the Banshee could get up there in reasonably short order and stay there for a while. Ryan's time line is flawed because he started with the mid-mission combat weight, not a takeoff weight. The armed F2H-2 launch weight with tip tanks was 20,600 pounds. Total fuel was 7,662 pounds. According to the SAC, it could get to 40,000 feet in about 16 minutes, having burned about 2,000 pounds of fuel (Ryan's 115 pounds per minute plus some for start and taxi). At that point, it wouldn't even be down to combat weight.

The fundamental problem, which as noted generated the requirement for guided air-to-air missiles (and also the Vulcan cannon and supersonic fighters), was the geometry of the interception. A head-on pass provided almost no time to get bullets into the bomber and made a re-engagement of the same bomber unlikely. A deflection shot was also a fleeting opportunity and quickly degenerated into a stern attack into the teeth of bomber's tail guns. Even then, as noted, the vectoring of the fighter had to be precise or a lengthy tail chase would result.

I don't have any facts on maneuverability, other than a Korean War report that the Banshee pilots thought that they could easily out turn a MiG at high altitude. It would be surprising to me if a Banshee, with a combat ceiling well above that of the B-36, couldn't out turn it at 35 or 40,000 feet.
 

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CFE and alertken both have good thoughts, IMHO, and as always, Tailspin T. provides really excellent stuff. B-1B was kept out of Desert Storm because of mechanical issues, and also because at the time it was really only equipped for nukes (as equipped then, it took an unbelievably long time to load it with conventional dumb bombs).


The big controversy remained, though, that USAF said , there was no need to waste money on large or new aircraft carriers, since USAF with its long range bombers could do it all. USAF got its bombers, but Korea proved, "It ain't necessarily so".
 

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I haven't devoted a lot of time to this controversy, because I've been busy with other stuff lately; but I realized another reason that could be why the USAF and SAC weren't used to blow away the North Koreans.

At the time the Norks came storming down south; the US had between 170 and 299 nuclear devices available (DOE Document on US Nuclear Stockpile); and basically all of them were needed to carry out the various war plans to attack the Soviet Union strategically, along with SAC's strength.

By the time SAC and the Nuclear Stockpile were at acceptable levels to carry out a nuclear strategic offensive on both North Korea and Russia (possibly China too) simultaneously (remember, we thought it was all a unified grand communist conspiracy ::)), the Korean War was winding down into it's last stages, and Eisenhower was on the cusp of becoming president...
 

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Since there really isn't any place to throw it; I found a throw away line in Norm Friedman's US Carriers, an Illustrated Design History, stating the possibility of the last United States carrier, the FY52 ship -- being nuclear powered, though that was probably a result of the very overoptimistic thinking at the time regarding nuclear power.
 

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RyanCrierie said:
I haven't devoted a lot of time to this controversy, because I've been busy with other stuff lately; but I realized another reason that could be why the USAF and SAC weren't used to blow away the North Koreans.

At the time the Norks came storming down south; the US had between 170 and 299 nuclear devices available (DOE Document on US Nuclear Stockpile); and basically all of them were needed to carry out the various war plans to attack the Soviet Union strategically, along with SAC's strength.

By the time SAC and the Nuclear Stockpile were at acceptable levels to carry out a nuclear strategic offensive on both North Korea and Russia (possibly China too) simultaneously (remember, we thought it was all a unified grand communist conspiracy ::)), the Korean War was winding down into it's last stages, and Eisenhower was on the cusp of becoming president...

No one, especially the North Koreans and Chinese believed that Truman would use nuclear weapons on North Korea, and by the end of his term, the war had degenerated into a stalemate which the N. Koreans showed no signs of being interested in ending. According to some historians, after his election but before he has assumed office, Eisenhower sent signals through diplomatic channels that he did not necessarily share Truman's reluctance. Remember, in those days there was not the aversion to the use of nukes that developed later. In any case, the N. Koreans suddenly became very interested in a cease fire.

Who knows what might have happened if they hadn't? China was already heavily involved in the war, and who knows how the Soviets would have reacted to such a situation in Korea, a good case could be made that they didn't care what happened to their surrogates, that's what surrogates were for...Still it made no difference to the Korean War that the B-36 existed, while it made a big difference that carriers did.
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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IMHO, I think the real question is why USAF didn't show more interest in ballistic missiles, since so much effort had given to Operation Paperclip and similar tasks in order to get German technology and scientists. But that is moot I guess...
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
IMHO, I think the real question is why USAF didn't show more interest in ballistic missiles, since so much effort had given to Operation Paperclip and similar tasks in order to get German technology and scientists. But that is moot I guess...

Remember, you're talking 1950, here. It would be decades before ballistic missile technology would reach the point where they could be used in a tactical situation, and even then the payload is so small and the cost so much that they can't be more than an adjunct in large operations.
 

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F-14D said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
IMHO, I think the real question is why USAF didn't show more interest in ballistic missiles, since so much effort had given to Operation Paperclip and similar tasks in order to get German technology and scientists. But that is moot I guess...

Remember, you're talking 1950, here. It would be decades before ballistic missile technology would reach the point where they could be used in a tactical situation, and even then the payload is so small and the cost so much that they can't be more than an adjunct in large operations.
Oh, I wasn't thinking about tactical weapons ("smart weapons", cruise missiles etc), I wasthinking about strategic missiles. Why was USAF so happy with the B-36, which could be shot down with fast enough fighters, when you have this group of scientists and engineers who can make a weapon that "can't" be shot down? US military/intelligence had been able to get von Braun et al, but for years they didn't let him do anything for them since they captured him and his team. Meanwhile, USSR was attempting to make MRBM's almost right after the end of WWII!

But you're right, missiles do have their limitations, especially back then. It's just that I can get how one can be deluded enough to think "we don't need carriers, we have the a-bomb and a machine that can deliver it so no one will mess with us" before the Korean War. But I don't get why USAF wasn't more interested in the most efficient delivery system they could get in the foreseeable future.

Sure, I know some were disturbed over von Braun being a former Nazi party and SS member. But why not do like the Soviets did to their political prisoners who were engineers: let the ex-enemies work for Uncle Sam while they do their time in high security prison? Von Braun was happy to work for USA!
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
F-14D said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
IMHO, I think the real question is why USAF didn't show more interest in ballistic missiles, since so much effort had given to Operation Paperclip and similar tasks in order to get German technology and scientists. But that is moot I guess...

Remember, you're talking 1950, here. It would be decades before ballistic missile technology would reach the point where they could be used in a tactical situation, and even then the payload is so small and the cost so much that they can't be more than an adjunct in large operations.
Oh, I wasn't thinking about tactical weapons ("smart weapons", cruise missiles etc), I thinking about strategic missiles. Why was USAF so happy with the B-36, which can be shot down with fast enough fighters, when you have this group of scientists and engineers who can make a weapon that "can't" be shot down? US military/intelligence had been able to get von Braun et al, but for years they didn't let him do anything for them since they captured him and his team. Meanwhile, USSR was attempting to make MRBM's almost right after the end of WWII!

But you're right, missiles do have their limitations, especially back then. It's just that I can get how one can be deluded enough to think "we don't need carriers, we have the a-bomb and a machine that can deliver it so no one will mess with us" before the Korean War. But I don't get why USAF wasn't more interested in the most efficient delivery system they could get in the foreseeable future.

Sure, I know some were disturbed over von Braun being a former Nazi party and SS member. But why not do like the Soviets did to their political prisoners who were engineers: let the ex-enemies work for Uncle Sam while they do their time in high security prison? Von Braun was happy to work for USA!

Again, it's the early '50s. Nuclear weapons were so big and heavy, and the payload of an ICBM, if they could have built one, which they couldn't, was so small. Besides, they couldn't have had all those great shots of SAC bombers that they could use for those '50s and early '60s movies!
 

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F-14D said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
F-14D said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
IMHO, I think the real question is why USAF didn't show more interest in ballistic missiles, since so much effort had given to Operation Paperclip and similar tasks in order to get German technology and scientists. But that is moot I guess...

Remember, you're talking 1950, here. It would be decades before ballistic missile technology would reach the point where they could be used in a tactical situation, and even then the payload is so small and the cost so much that they can't be more than an adjunct in large operations.
Oh, I wasn't thinking about tactical weapons ("smart weapons", cruise missiles etc), I thinking about strategic missiles. Why was USAF so happy with the B-36, which can be shot down with fast enough fighters, when you have this group of scientists and engineers who can make a weapon that "can't" be shot down? US military/intelligence had been able to get von Braun et al, but for years they didn't let him do anything for them since they captured him and his team. Meanwhile, USSR was attempting to make MRBM's almost right after the end of WWII!

But you're right, missiles do have their limitations, especially back then. It's just that I can get how one can be deluded enough to think "we don't need carriers, we have the a-bomb and a machine that can deliver it so no one will mess with us" before the Korean War. But I don't get why USAF wasn't more interested in the most efficient delivery system they could get in the foreseeable future.

Sure, I know some were disturbed over von Braun being a former Nazi party and SS member. But why not do like the Soviets did to their political prisoners who were engineers: let the ex-enemies work for Uncle Sam while they do their time in high security prison? Von Braun was happy to work for USA!

Again, it's the early '50s. Nuclear weapons were so big and heavy, and the payload of an ICBM, if they could have built one, which they couldn't, was so small. Besides, they couldn't have had all those great shots of SAC bombers that they could use for those '50s and early '60s movies!
True enough! :)
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
Oh, I wasn't thinking about tactical weapons ("smart weapons", cruise missiles etc), I wasthinking about strategic missiles. Why was USAF so happy with the B-36, which could be shot down with fast enough fighters, when you have this group of scientists and engineers who can make a weapon that "can't" be shot down? US military/intelligence had been able to get von Braun et al, but for years they didn't let him do anything for them since they captured him and his team. Meanwhile, USSR was attempting to make MRBM's almost right after the end of WWII!
I would think it's because they probably figured out pretty fast that it's more difficult intercepting bombers compared to ballistic missiles which do not maneouver at all during their trajectory. In the early sixties IIRC, Nike Ajax (or if it was Zeus) had a quite good hit ratio in intercepts against ICBM targets.
 

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Evil Flower said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
Oh, I wasn't thinking about tactical weapons ("smart weapons", cruise missiles etc), I wasthinking about strategic missiles. Why was USAF so happy with the B-36, which could be shot down with fast enough fighters, when you have this group of scientists and engineers who can make a weapon that "can't" be shot down? US military/intelligence had been able to get von Braun et al, but for years they didn't let him do anything for them since they captured him and his team. Meanwhile, USSR was attempting to make MRBM's almost right after the end of WWII!
I would think it's because they probably figured out pretty fast that it's more difficult intercepting bombers compared to ballistic missiles which do not maneouver at all during their trajectory. In the early sixties IIRC, Nike Ajax (or if it was Zeus) had a quite good hit ratio in intercepts against ICBM targets.

Just a reminder: We're talking about the very early 1950s and a plane conceived of in WWII. No one knew how to build an ICBM then, let alone how to shoot one down, no one knew how to build a nuclear warhead small enough to fit in the ICBM they couldn't build anyway, let alone into the interceptor missile they couldn't build either.
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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F-14D said:
Evil Flower said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
Oh, I wasn't thinking about tactical weapons ("smart weapons", cruise missiles etc), I wasthinking about strategic missiles. Why was USAF so happy with the B-36, which could be shot down with fast enough fighters, when you have this group of scientists and engineers who can make a weapon that "can't" be shot down? US military/intelligence had been able to get von Braun et al, but for years they didn't let him do anything for them since they captured him and his team. Meanwhile, USSR was attempting to make MRBM's almost right after the end of WWII!
I would think it's because they probably figured out pretty fast that it's more difficult intercepting bombers compared to ballistic missiles which do not manoeuvre at all during their trajectory. In the early sixties IIRC, Nike Ajax (or if it was Zeus) had a quite good hit ratio in intercepts against ICBM targets.

Just a reminder: We're talking about the very early 1950s and a plane conceived of in WWII. No one knew how to build an ICBM then, let alone how to shoot one down, no one knew how to build a nuclear warhead small enough to fit in the ICBM they couldn't build anyway, let alone into the interceptor missile they couldn't build either.
Thanks.
 

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