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Subject: Imagine German jet aviation and rocket technology rss

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Steve Pole

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had been a year or so in advance of what it was historically. So, for instance, the ME262 and V1 became operational in, say, the Summer of 1943 instead of 1944, and subsequent refinements/improvements to the technology were brought forward by a similar measure. Do you think this would have been sufficient to enable the Germans to stave off total defeat and reach a negotiated peace with the Allies?
 
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John Middleton
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Unless they could stop American and British heavy bombers from being built....both of these still wouldn't have mattered.
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Leo Zappa
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Nope. The V2's were a strategically irrelevant weapon system, because as the London Blitz demonstrated, as well as the bombing of German cities, attacking civilian population centers does not bring the enemy to their knees. By the same token, German jet fighters would have perhaps reduced the effectiveness of the Allied bombing campaign but then most people these days accept that this campaign was not a decisive factor in the war.

Bottom line - these changes would have had some impact on the western Allies, but virtually no impact on the Soviets. If anything, the earlier deployment of these technologies by the Germans would have only perhaps have changed the face of post-war Europe somewhat. By Fall 1943, nothing was stopping the Russians, not jet planes, not rockets.
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Paul C
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Earlier development of German jet technology would have prompted accelerated British jet development (e.g. the Gloster Meteor could have been operational earlier if deemed a priority).

Probably more significantly, Allied bombing could have just as effectively disrupted the production and operation of jet and rocket technology had they appeared a year or so earlier in the war.
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Paul C
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Perhaps the only technology that would have saved Germany was the A-bomb, but in retrospect it would be a fantasy scenario to imagine their developing it ahead of the Allies.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Would jets have kept the Soviets out of Berlin? I doubt it.
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Rich M
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You need to watch Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime:
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Steve Pole

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Guys,

I was thinking more about the affect upon the (Western) Allies' willingness to fight to the bitter end (rather than accepting a conditional surrender) if they were in danger of sustaining unacceptable losses.

For example, applying the advanced time-line, I guess the V2s (which, once launched, were unstoppable, of course) would have become operational in the Winter of 1943 and maybe these could have targeted the ports along southern England during the build up to D-Day.

Regards,
 
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Leo Zappa
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Rubenpup wrote:
Guys,

I was thinking more about the affect upon the (Western) Allies' willingness to fight to the bitter end (rather than accepting a conditional surrender) if they were in danger of sustaining unacceptable losses.

For example, applying the advanced time-line, I guess the V2s (which, once launched, were unstoppable, of course) would have become operational in the Winter of 1943 and maybe these could have targeted the ports along southern England during the build up to D-Day.

Regards,


Problem with the V-2's was that they were a decent terror weapon, but a lousy military weapon. They simply weren't accurate enough to target specific things like dock facilities and troop concentrations. They might have gotten lucky with a hit here or there, but I don't think a bunch of V-2's lobbed in the general vicinity of the invasion ports would have had any serious impact on the invasion itself. Just my opinion of course.
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Quantity was more of a problem I think. A massive increase in the numbers of available FW190s (or even ME109s) and the pilots, parts and fuel for them probably would have had a bigger impact than having a more advanced weapon system in insufficient numbers with barely the means to actually use it. Tigers didn't help much - same problem.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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They didn't have enough fuel to train the pilots they had, much less increase their air force with fuel-hungry jets.
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Barry Harvey
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The problem was that the 'cutting edge' technology that Germany worked on was also very resource-hungry at a time when Germany didn't really have the resources to spare. Even if they had been effective weapons, would Germany have been able to produce them in sufficient quantities to have any effect? What areas would Germany have to cut back on to allow this over-production?
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Darrell Hanning
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If the Luftwaffe (i.e, Goering) had fully backed the design, it actually could probably have been in production in the fall of 1942.

Probably the best gain to be achieved from its use, at that point, would have been in maintaining air superiority over the Eastern front, which might have made a difference, had Hitler not fixated on driving south.

Still, by late 1943 or early 1944, the Soviets would probably have had their own jet to throw in the air, if that had happened, so the superiority bought with the Schwalbe would likely have only been temporary.

What Germany really needed was to force the Soviets into capitulation in 1941. I think anything other than that would always end up with their defeat by the Allies.

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Jeff Saxton
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I'll just drop this edited entry from Wikipedia here:

"The Casablanca Conference in Casablanca, French Morocco was from January 14 to 24, 1943, to plan the Allied European strategy for the next phase of World War II.

The debate and negotiations produced what was known as the "Casablanca Declaration", and what is, perhaps, its most historically provocative statement of purpose, "unconditional surrender". The doctrine of "unconditional surrender" came to represent the unified voice of implacable Allied will—the determination that the Axis powers would be fought to their ultimate defeat."


The die was cast long before any German jets or rockets were operational.
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Runs with scissors
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Time for me to mention, "the Wages of Destruction: the Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy," by Adam Tooze, and probably time for me to go and reread it again.

The Germans were equipped for a 6 month war, and didn't have the resources for anything longer than that. It was just a question of how long it would take them to lose.

I think that the German wonder weapons weren't all that great and greater numbers wouldn't have had much of an effect. The British had managed to con the germans into thinking that the V1s (V2s?) were landing off target by the damage reports that they announced and so the Germans adjusted the internal guidance resulting in them landing where they would do less damage than in the heart of London.

Due to a lack of strategic metals and the use of lower quality steel the engines of the ME262 only had a service life of 10-25 hours before they would need to be rebuilt. One source says that most engines lasted about 12 hours. They required special fuel, longer runways so they couldn't use many airfields, and special pilot training. Due to their speed, their approach to bombers was so fast that they only had a couple of seconds of firing at the target before they would have to break off to avoid collision, and the plane only had enough fuel to stay airborne for 60-90 minutes.

I think that the U-boats probably were more effective at bringing the British closer to the negotiating table than anything else, but a negotiated settlement was the last thing that Churchill was thinking about. So maybe if you had a much larger U-boat buildup, Churchill removed from power, Roosevelt less aggressive in supporting Britain and Russia prior to the official US entry... But I think that you'd have to string a lot of counterfactual arguments together. Germany was basically toast when they couldn't get Russia to surrender in the fall of '41.
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"She comes out of the Sun in a silk dress runnin' like a watercolor in the rain."
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The ME-262 was an overall failure. It killed a lot of its own pilots and it was a maintenance disaster. Landing the craft scared the shit out of its pilots. Its impact in the war was minimal.

V-1 largely meant nothing, most V-2s were hit on the ground. The Germans were doing what all losing sides do -- pushing weapons into production too early.

What if the Allies had perfected the atomic bomb a year earlier?
 
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Adam D.
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They were toast, unless you bring the A-bomb in.

But I always thought something along the lines of their Wasserfall SAM research might have changed things up... until we dropped the A-bomb, or the Soviets did the steam roller thing.
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Sean Chatterton
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Rubenpup wrote:
Guys,

I was thinking more about the affect upon the (Western) Allies' willingness to fight to the bitter end (rather than accepting a conditional surrender) if they were in danger of sustaining unacceptable losses.

For example, applying the advanced time-line, I guess the V2s (which, once launched, were unstoppable, of course) would have become operational in the Winter of 1943 and maybe these could have targeted the ports along southern England during the build up to D-Day.

Regards,


IIRC the ME could have been operational a year earlier but was redesigned to be multi-role. Stopping the allied bombing offensive would have been a good thing for the allies IMHO. Aside from diverting some German resources to defend the Reich it achieved little but to stain the Allied cause and to cause wanton death and destruction.

If nothing else, ceasing the systematic destruction of German cities would have saved a lot of aircrew, and focussed Allied production on more useful pursuits.

The V2 was used as a tactical weapon once, IIRC it didn't come within miles of the target. The reason it would have been worthless against the DDay ports are 1) It wouldn't have been able to hit a target smaller than a major city with any accuracy, 2) the prohibitive cost of delivering about 1/5th the payload of a single Lancaster bomber, and not least 3) The Germans had no idea when or where DDay was being launched from


 
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Andy Daglish
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The Me-262 was delayed by a lack of manpower. It could have been supplied in 1943, but then something else more basic and critical would have suffered. The jet required skilled flying & gunnery versus B-17s, given the enormous closing speed in head-on attacks. Any hit from the front tended to eliminate the bomber. Attacks from the rear were much more dangerous; hits from this quadrant were slightly less lethal.

The V1 was a resounding success. The fear it evoked had to be addressed, but it couldn't be effectively neutralised. Combatting the weapon took a great deal of resource for not much result, because temporary mobile launchers were hard to destroy. They allowed London and overflown counties to be deluged. The cost of the whole V1 function was low in comparison to the high explosive it delivered, and far lower than the cost of resisting it. Everyone knew that some killed by the V1s would have seen their doom.




Quote:
Time for me to mention, "the Wages of Destruction: the Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy," by Adam Tooze, and probably time for me to go and reread it again.
He's an economics prof at Columbia, and not a military historian, and it shows.

The V2 arrived supersonically, without warning, so the warhead detonated underground. Casualties were caused by falling debris. They were expensive and ineffective, but their greater range allowed them to be used after the battlefront pushed the V1s out-of-range.

Quote:
The Germans were equipped for a 6 month war,

Hitler wasn't expecting Britain's aggressive declaration of war, which none of them ever seems to understand is the final & validating stage of an appeasement policy [because its embarrassing]. He might have felt anti-Semitic Poland was politically negligible compared to sunrise democracy Czechoslovakia.

Quote:
and didn't have the resources for anything longer than that. It was just a question of how long it would take them to lose.

Starting when? Confronted by the insuperable, invincible combined might of the entire British Empire, the United States and the Soviet Union, plus lots of hangers-on, and the French, and starting with not much worth mentioning, they gave them all a very hard stuffing over a six-year period. American military policy underwent radical changes as generally broken morale was found across all their armed services well before the war's end; the British Empire was permanently wrecked and rammed down a dark economic hole less than 30 years after being the richest country on earth [eagerly helped on its way by American interests], and the Soviets took so many casualties their birth rate dropped significantly even after seven years of peace! France is still today a country that lost a battle.

Quote:
but a negotiated settlement was the last thing that Churchill was thinking about.
and, with regard to the first half of 1941, when the U-boats were clearly winning by sea as the German army & airforce were by land, the academics still wonder why. A year later, with a major warship sinking every week for six weeks, Singapore having gone under due to neglect of its fighter defences, Churchill may have regretted, however briefly, his year-old decision to battle on.

The U-boats were like the Sherman tank in that they worked far better than their shortcomings might predict, when there was no opposition.

Had they all gone to Moscow; had they all gone to Stalingrad, and then turned down the river to cut off the Caucasus; had they won at Kursk by attacking the head of the salient. Victories are usually double losses as the enemy suffers disproportionately, so serious investment of Moscow would have caused exponentially greater damage to the Soviets in every significant respect from tank production to politics. They advanced every day until the end, and one can judge how much more time they required by how close they got, which was the distant suburb of Khimki. Just a very little more at any time during the war wouldn't have been immaterial to Stalin's latest peace-offering, as so clearly he preferred hedging to betting.

Meanwhile in France the German heavy armour couldn't be effectively fought, so airpower went after its soft support vehicles instead. More Panthers, Kingtigers and mobile light flak might have allowed Eberbach & von Geyr to oppress the Americans just enough and early enough to do the trick, but of course here the failed bombing campaign was a preventative factor.

What did victory in the war win? The history of the world since 1945 has been laughable, especially within continental Europe. Bulgarian commies electing a king is a case in point.
The countries that have done best seem to be the ones furthest from the silliness, or insulated from it: Australia, Singapore, Hong Hong -- and Chile, a country which has benefitted from the iron grip of a right-wing military dictator, to a degree that just isn't supposed to happen.

The latest Chemistry & Industry magazine says we are about to start mining near-earth asteroids, say in the next five to ten years, and this will be the '1829' moment that 22nd century historians will mark as the beginning of the paramount industrial revolution. In comparison the previous century might be seen to have featured a lot of aggressive simian screeching, and as such be safely disregarded.
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Brian Train
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aforandy wrote:
In comparison the previous century might be seen to have featured a lot of aggressive simian screeching, and as such be safely disregarded.


I hope you're right.
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