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The Battle of Britian

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posts: 12
    (6/25/01 11:50:53 am)
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    The Battle of Britian
    One of the most interesting things about WWII is the way little things influenced the outcome. In the early going of the battle for air superiority over Britian, a german bomber got lost in poor weather. After wandering around a bit, the german plane jettisoned it's bombs (as was standard procedure) and headed home. Thing was, they happened to be over London at the time. Before this, the british and the germans had an unwritten agreement that London and Berlin were to be spared from bombings. Well, in response to those accidental bombs the british sent some bombs of their own to Berlin. Hitler was so mad he ordered London be the target of day and night bombardment. But, this also meant that other military targets, such as airfields, were less intensively bombed. There was a point during the battle of Britian that the RAF was down to less than two weeks worth of planes and spare parts; if Hitler had kept on bombing military targets, it is almost certain he would have won air supremacy over the british. And if he had won air supremacy, he would have proceeded to invade Britian instead of Russia. And Russia was his greatest mistake. So, because a bomber was lost, Hitler was also lost.
    Hunt. Kill. Repeat.

    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 889
    (6/25/01 10:13:09 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The Battle of Britian
    There's still some doubt as to whether Hitler would have invaded England even IF the Luftwaffe would have won, he was notoriously afraid and ignorant of naval warfare and was scared to death of the Royal Navy, he REALLY wanted to negotiate a peace before invading Russia which was his plan ever since Mein Kampf and before, he NEVER intended on NOT invading the USSR.

    The fault wasn't as much Hitler's as Goering's. Old Fatso the Lech never figured out WHAT the targets should be, they actually did pretty well against the Radar Sites, too, but broke off before much damage was done, because the RAF was doing alot of damage, and the Germans didn't grasp til much later what the radar actually DID.

    Not only was the RAF running short of planes, but pilots too...and the airfields were closer to the coast than the cities, so harder to defend.

    Yeah, the switch to the cities was a BIG mistake in hindsight, but keep in mind nobody had EVER conducted an air campaign of that size before, and most air "minds" between the wars like Douhet and Mitchell et al. preached just that...and Bomber Command and to a smaller extent the USAAF believed it too, even AFTER the BOB.

    Goering in the BOB was much like Lee at Gettysburg, "Well we tried the left, that didn't work, then the right, now we MUST try the center, what else is there to do?..." Not very imaginative...and all the while promising the world to Hitler.

    He had said "If Berlin is ever bombed my name is Meyer."

    What I like is an even MORE mundane reason contributing to the RAF win...shortly before the BOB a Tanker from the US arrived carrying 100 octane fuel...German 109 and 110 pilots thought the Brits were using new models of Spits and Hurrys in the battle, performance was improved that much...they used 87 octane for the entire war, while the USAAF/RAF used the high test from then on...

    Good Post, 44RF!

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 6/25/01 11:19:28 pm

    Posts: 14
    (6/26/01 3:29:27 am)
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    Re: The Battle of Britian
    OK, what if Hitler wouldn't have put a moratorium on R&D for a ?year? I think it was. The New little jet fighter would have come out and kicked the snot out of anything else in the air, the new sturmsomething "assualt rifle" would have been much more widespread (didn't someone sneak that one through without Hitler knowing about it?), think maybe he would have fought us to a standstill?
    I remeber something about how Hitler always wanted to invade Russia. There was something else, after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor Germany declared war on the US, in hopes of the Japanese declaring war on Russia and giving him a little relief on the eastern front. But the sneaky japanese never did.
    Radar development was intersting too. The germans knew it did something, they just weren't quite sure what. If they had started bombing radar towers, and leaving Britian more or less blind, Hmmmm....
    I could talk about this stuff all night.....
    Hunt. Kill. Repeat.

    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 902
    (6/26/01 8:53:14 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The Battle of Britian
    One of the littlest-known facts of the war, one of which Hitler didn't know about, is a series of "border wars" between Japan and the Soviets in Manchuria, in which a couple of Soviet Armored divisions kicked the crap out of three Jap divisions that had attacked across the border. The commander of the Soviets was Zhukov.

    Not only did this mean the Japs would NEVER attack the Russia again, it allowed Uncle Joe to strip COMBAT PROVEN Armored and Infantry veterans from that border and ship them west, and put them in action at Stalingrad.

    Dunno, 44, you can look at what resources and time was spent to field mere HUNDREDS of wierd heavy armored vehicles when tens of THOUSANDS of proven designs like the PzIV would have undoubtedly been the way to go....the debate is still open on the R&D question.

    But anyway, Germany could never have won a protracted war, ESPECIALLY against the west...just the mere size of the economies should have swayed him, much less the lack of oil...and a war in the East was foredoomed just because of the Russian expanses and all those reserves Stalin kept hidden, not only from his enemies, but his allies and GENERALS as well, heck, HISTORIANS are just figuring out about them now. Russia was NEVER on the "brink of defeat" as we learned about over the last 50 years. Hitler was all about "Liebensraum," which meant he HAD to attack east, and that was ALWAYS a loser....

    His only choice was to break up the alliance politically, and Hitler's politics was what kept it TOGETHER.

    As much as we should hate the guy, the truly despicable people of Germany were the German Generals, ALL of them.

    As long as Hitler was winning, they ALL backed him to the hilt and his schemes enthusiastically and loyally, and turned a blind eye to his atrocities. Then, when he starts losing, SOMETIMES because of their own arrogance and ineptitude, they try to distance themselves and succeed in making history look kindly on them, and even respect them, by playing off the west against the Soviets. They convinced the world they were right and Germany would have won if not for Adolf,and got everything bad blamed on the now-dead Hitler.

    Heck, American Military men, as well as most historians since the war have always deified Rommel, Guderian, VonRundstedt, et al, and it makes me sick.

    They ALL should have been shot....and we and the Soviets beat them EVERYWHERE at their own game, not just because of the numbers and fuel, either...

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 6/26/01 9:56:24 am

    Posts: 219
    (6/28/01 2:09:04 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del agreement with 44
    especially since his gun is US-made.

    I'm not sure, though, that the city bombings came about through an accident. It may be that the Luftwaffe thought this was the only way to bring the British fighters to fight was to lure them to where they could be destroyed. The results, of course, were disastrous: 60,000 Brit civilians killed, ten tmes that many German. But yes, I agree that concentration on pursuit airfields and radar sites would have made a difference.

    Although, originally, the idea of Sea Lion was to remove fighter protection from the British fleet and ultimately allow an invasion, I don't think any sensible German had this as a realistic goal. It would have been enough to render Britain helpless to air attack.

    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 951
    (6/28/01 2:22:38 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: agreement with 44
    Yeah, OB, I've never quite bought the story the bombing of London being an "accident" either.

    Hitler had already showed a penchant for bombin civilian population centers, ever since the Spanish Civil War, and Warsaw and some Belgian and Dutch towns could testify to it. Paris was declared "open" only to save it from the Luftwaffe.

    I think that was just Nazi Propaganda to show indignation at the Brits bombing Berlin, and to justify terror bombing.

    I think London WAS the target, early in the blitz, German numbers and planning was screwed up, coordination was spooty, I think maybe just one plane FOUND London in that weather, and didn't just "jettison" the load as popular accounts have it.

    Heck, there's a chance the British Bombing of Berlin wasn't "retaliation" either, just a BRITISH propaganda stunt...the RAF had been flying many missions over Germany before this, only dropping leaflets instead of bombs...this gave Bomber Command a reason to fight for real...

    God, I love conjecturin'....

    Posts: 222
    (6/28/01 8:41:05 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del "strategic" bombng
    Just a note British heavy bombers were developed for precisely that purpose, while Americans (B24,, B17) were developed to destroy an invading fleet. That our heavies were useless against ships and were used for other purposes doesn't negate that. It does give us a moral advantage we haven't had since 1953.

    Posts: 490
    (6/29/01 9:12:22 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: "strategic" bombng
    I disagree, OB. The 17 & 24 were designed from the "get-go" as long-range strategic bombers.....however, the groundpounder Army generals who controlled funding weren't interested in strategic bombing.

    Soooo......those sneaky AAC types told the groundpounders that these were long-range reconnaissance aircraft to warn of an enemy fleet approaching U.S. shores.

    In fact, the first funds appropriated for the design of the B-19 (a predecessor of the B-17), came from funds appropriated for the Coastal Artillery!

    Hey.......it worked!

    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 981
    (6/29/01 5:40:49 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: "strategic" bombng
    You guys are BOTH right...Billy Mitchell supposedly "proved" heavy bombers could sink battleships, so SOME people believed him.

    One's who knew better used those arguments to get the bombers, knowing full well money was so tight during the Depression that they would use ANY reason to get new planes, and the isolationist movement was strong in the US.

    There would be no support for "Strategic Bombers" when no one supported getting involved in "Foreign" wars, plus the concept of "Strategic Bombing" was still under debate. Some say Mitchell "rigged" his tests just to keep heavy bombers alive solely BECAUSE advocates of "Strategic Air" were losing the argument.

    They were an easier "sell" this way because bombers were cheaper than Battleships, and everyone knew the oceans were what kept us "isolated," so...

    The US is great for that stuff, many times we built gunboats and frigates when we needed BBs and Ships-of-the Line, convincing ourselves the cheap way was best.

    The problem is there were USAAC General's that BELIEVED that crap. and fought ANY expenditures for the Navy when "everybody knew" the B17A had made ships "obsolete."

    SOoo...yeah, the OFFICIAL reason for buying the 17 was anti-fleet, to protect the mainland...all the while they were built to specs SPECIFICALLY for strategic bombing.

    And by '40-'41, the 36 B-17s in the Phillipines were the cornerstone of our strategy against Japan, on the theory that Strategic Bombing against the "paper" cities of the Japanese mainland would deter any Japanese aggression. (Even if all we had were 36, and no one had yet figured out how they would get BACK, since the range was to far for a round trip...)

    This was the reason for the debacle in the Philippines right at the start of the war, we HAD planned on abandoning it, now we had to defend it, but that's ANOTHER story....

    Posts: 110
    (6/29/01 10:53:41 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: "strategic" bombng
    Oh, Oh !

    I feel another thread coming on!
    Keep below the ridgeline!
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