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WW2 Luftwaffe - what if strategic vision had prevailed?

pathology_doc

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Bombers: Do 19? Junkers 90? Or just go straight for the four-engined variant of the Heinkel 177 that should have been built in the first place?

Clearly a medium bomber is a good thing to have. The Junkers 88 was a very good one, which proved to have immense development potential, and I think it would have been best for Junkers to continue with that rather than divert effort into a heavy bomber. Not sure whether to continue Dornier's efforts alongside it, or have them channel more of their efforts into the follow-on generation. Perhaps the Do17 family and the Ju88 family pick up the slack in terms of numbers once Heinkel drops the 111 for the 177?

Fighters: Galland wanted to ditch everything except the Fw190 and the Me262, and I can't help but think this should have been done a lot earlier. Any reason why it wouldn't have worked?

Maritime patrol - developed He177, or go with one of the Ju 90 outgrowths (290 or 390)?

When I was a kid I used to think "Germany had a four-engined heavy bomber (Fw200) with gun turrets all over the place! Why did they not build hordes of them to bomb London?" That was before I learned just what the limitations of the Condor really were, how much of a stop-gap it was, and how many of them broke in half on landing.
 

Kadija_Man

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The real problem facing adoption of the Me262 earlier was not just a lack of vision. It was a lack of metallurgy. The Jumo 004 was held up because of an inability forge turbine blades of sufficient quality and duration that a single flight could be easily conducted without an engine failure occurring. Once that was overcome, in early 1944 engines with more than tens of hours of MTBF were possible and so it was the Luftwaffe was then able to order the Me262 into full production. There was the excuse that the aircraft had to be adopted to be a fighter-bomber which was bollocks.

The Luftwaffe would have been much better off with the He100 back in 1940 and the Fw187. Both were superior to the Bf109 and the Bf110. This would have enabled them to contest the Battle of Britain on an even footing with the RAF.

The Luftwaffe always lacked a true strategic vision. What it needed was both strategic and tactical bombers. The Ju88 was an excellent aircraft but overcomcentration on the He111 and Do17 had meant that the Ju88 was lacking in 1940. Without an adequate strategic bomber they didn't have the range to strike the fUSSR's industries, particularly after they had moved to beyond the Urals, while without a strategic fighter, they could not escort their bombers to the north of England.
 

sienar

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A strategic bomber force runs into the same problems as they had without them; manpower manpower manpower. As it was the production side of things took far too long to switch over to assembly line techniques and low skilled labor. Starting the war focused on heavies will only mean production figures for bombers will be lower. That is a big issue as the He-111s, 88s and 217s couldn't be produced fast enough to make up for the attrition from poland and france. How do things fair when you are around half those figures?

There was also some issues with the Jumo at higher altitude. A lot is made of hitlers demands to produce the 262 as a bomber, but in actuality there was quite a bit of debate over that within the RLM. When you have an aircraft that can barely fight over 20k ft, using it as a low altitude bomber where its engine works makes a lot of sense.

Germany would have been better off focusing on one transport aircraft to replace the 52, ideally in production just at the start of the war. Something fairly cheap, using a minimum of aluminum and easy to service+operate in rough field conditions. Keep the design to as few variants as possible (a big ask for the germans, I know!) and just standardize the manufactiuring side of things with every subcontractor using the same tooling. This would make more difference than just about any other what-iff imho.
 

zen

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Frankly based on post war evidence and some from before 1939, strategic bombing was an enormously costly effort for not exactly sparkling results.
It all shifted with the arrival of atomic weapons.
But it has been argued that the UK could have better used those resources for the Army and tactical airpower.

They key weapon the Germans had against the UK was the U-Boat and so the key flaw beyond numbers from resources would be the maritime reconasense aircraft able to give target locations.

However for Russia the problems were exacerbated by the cost/complexity of German systems. The whole business of trying to take Moscow or Stalingrad was pointless. Ukraine and the Caucasian oil fields mattered most.
But their tanks became far too expensive for what you got out of them.

However all this avoids the deeper strategic vision and planning/debate they needed. Which would result in never trying to fight the UK and the USSR at the same time.
To quote a certain Cold War film "the only way to win is to not fight".

Sane German leadership would have sought friendship with the French and British and presented themselves as the bulwark of European defence against the Communist threat.
 

riggerrob

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Except for long range maritime patrol, 4-engined bombers would have been frivolous. They still need 4 engines to lift all that fuel and more crew equals more eyes for spotting ships.

Far wiser to focus on faster versions of Ju 88, minus guns … similar to DH Mosquito.

And yes, Luftwaffe Transport Command really needed a standard freighter more capable than Ju 52. Junkers pioneered rear cargo ramps before WW2, but ignored them until Gotha 242 assault glider. Rear ramps would have allowed them to dump cargo at Stalingrad and be gone before Russian artillery knew they had landed. Maybe a German parachute engineer (e.g. Theo Knacke) could have invented Low Altitude Parachute Extraction a few decades earlier.
 
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