What if Germany continued the blitz?

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I dont know if you have armchair strategists on this board like we have on the modern military board who like to ponder historical scenarios. But lets say that Hitler did not not make this mistake of invading Russia in 1941 and continued to put all of Germany's efforts against Britain. Was it true that the RAF was at the breaking point? What was the RAF's realistic response against airfield attacks? Would the RAF need a fighter resupply from the US to survive? Could the british public withstood continued bombing? Would enough fighters have stopped the bombing? Lets leave the submarine campaign out of this discussion and concentrate on who would win the BoB if it had continued.

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Well for a start the Germans would have to have developed some strategic bombers far better than their three main stays during the BoB and the following Blitz. The He177 was a developmental nightmare although if they'd gone with the experimental versions in which the two coupled engines were replaced by four separate units that may have been a possibility. The Ju 89 had been scrapped so one would assume that any jigs etc. had long gone while the New York Bombers were still in design and couldn't have been introduced until much later. The Heinkel 111 and the Ju 88 would have had to carry the main weight of the attack and they weren't the best load carriers for a strategic operation and the Dornier 17, 215 and 217 family were getting obsolete. They could have continued a blitz but the RAF had sufficient fighters and night fighters in development and production to counter the threat posed by those relative light weights. I suspect the major issue would have been sufficient fighter pilots and also the RAF would be continuing their own bomber offensive with far better designs like the Wellington, Halifax, Stirling and Manchester/Lancaster. Which the Germans would have had to counter with fighter defenses. Sounds like a bit of a stalemate to me which the RAF heavies would have broken.

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Germany committed 4,300 combat aircraft to Barbarossa, I doubt the RAF could have withstood that onslaught given that they were on the ropes when the airfields were being bombed out of action in 1940. Despite the 'lightweight' Luftwaffe bombers, the shear number bombing day (with huge fighter escort) and night ( poor night fighter defence at that time) could well have put paid to any British aircraft production at the source, the US Lend Lease the only supply and itself vulnerable to U Boat and air attack.

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The above neglects the fact that this overwhelming strength of the Luftwaffe could only be brought to bear on the bottom right hand corner of the UK. Outside that sector there was no possibility of fighter escorts, and the middleweight bombers weren't remotely as able in defence as the B24 and B17 which themselves were slaughtered until long range support was available.

Centimetrc AI units and the growing availability of the Mosquito would also have made night bombing a costly business.

No attempt to bomb a country into defeat has ever succeeded and the key elements of the UK defence against seaborne invasion would have been impossible to destroy by air attack.

The stalemate would have continued until the Germans perfected their atom bomb. Britain would have surrendered as quickly as Japan did, then it would have been not too long until the USA saw the first nukes landing on New York.

Moggy

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Dave has it precisely IMHO. To slant the Q to: what if he had deferred the surge to the East until he had dealt with his Western flank...then sheer weight would have knocked us out. Even if the masses had not risen in revolt against their Leaders, closing the Port of London would have starved us.

So, by, say, May,1941 we would have been seeking terms. Presumably offered in the sense: Britannia on the waves, Germania on land. He could then have turned East, maybe much the same time as actual - 7/41. But with no threat in the West, he might well have made that last push to Moscow before General Winter descended. Bolshevism thus deleted...let your own political slant direct you...to fascist slavery or to civilised sunllt uplands.

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There is no way the RAF could leave the Sth East / London undefended, a war of attrition they would surely lose.
The Luftwaffe had a decent night fighter force by 1941, performance wise down on the Mossie, but number wise far superior.
It may have meant substantial initial losses, but the aircraft factories (including de Havilland) would be prime targets and soon disrupted /destroyed. Moving entire factories north would be the only option, and almost impossible whilst under constant aerial attack by Ju 87 / Ju 88 dive bombers with massive fighter cover.

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deHavilland in Hatfield were beyond the range of effective German fighter cover.

Moggy

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Hence the initial heavy losses, but in the scheme of things, acceptable to flatten Hatfield. Losses could also be kept down by mass diversionary raids.

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If the Mighty Eighth and RAF Bomber Command replete with effective fighter escort could barely dent German aircraft production in 1944, the chances of the Luftwaffe achieving something similar in 1941 are vanishingly small.

Pilots would indeed be a limiting factor but one can only believe that the 'Empire' would have provided even more handsomely than they did.

Moggy

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I think lack of food, oil, maybe civil unrest would have done more to settle the outcome than German hardware.

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The Germans were adept at dispersing aircraft production, and had the whole of Europe to do so, not so easy in a small island like the UK.

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These threads talking of massive German airpower in 1941 seem to be overlooking the fact that this very same massive airpower had been forced out of the day skies in 1940 into a long night campaign which had signally failed to deliver the desired effect. The RAF fighter force was much stronger in 1941, both in day fighters countering any re-establishment of the day campaign, and in night. The night defences had immensely improved in organisation since the start of the Blitz and with the increasing numbers of the Beaufighter - not the Mosquito, still a long time away - were getting stronger. The Luftwaffe had not improved to anything like the same extent, other than largely replacing the minority bomber Do17 by the Ju88. Though the Do 217 was still to come (far from being obsolete), this design would not make any great impression in defensive firepower, and was never (and could never be) available in large enough numbers. What had also been shown (and really should have been a signal to our own bomber enthusiasts) was the resilience of modern infrastructure and a nation's ability to repair and work around destruction of what was thought to have been key industrial and commercial centres.

As for closing the Port of London, this never looked like happening. It remained open to North Sea convoys bringing the vital coal, and export trade was coming in to Liverpool and Glasgow. There may have been more strictures to come, but food and oil shortages were not such as to bite in the short term. The submarine campaign was yet to have significant effect, and civil morale seems to have borne up well in other countries under much greater stress than the UK ever was. We were not such wimps - not would our government have hesitated to introduce measures of martial rule if they ever thought we were.

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And the question would be whether the Miles M20 could have reached operational status and would it have been any good.

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The main reason the Luftwaffe was 'forced out' is the cessation of bombing the airfields and turning on London, it could easily do both with the huge force slated for the East, joining those already operating in the West
The RAF might have been much stronger, but the Luftwaffe fighter force had definitely improved, moreso than the RAF I would say, with the 109F and the Fw 190 coming online, more than a match for the Spit V.

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There were plenty of airfields to the north and north east of London had the south-eastern ones been closed. The battle would have shifted from over the Channel to over Kent, which it did, then to overhead London, which though less desirable was still winnable.

Regarding pilots, we had already reached the stage of putting newly trained pilots straight into the thick of it with the consequent large rise in casualties. There was never a shortage of volunteers. So long as sufficient experienced pilots were held back as trainers, there were places to train and there were new aircraft to fly, we could have continued on that costly, in terms of human life, but sustainable path.

Regarding morale, Churchill was right: "We shall never surrender".
My mother, alone with her children, simply refused to move from Kent, directly under the BofB and in the direct path of the expected invasion, despite many pleas and offers of accommodation from relatives well away from danger. Her attitude, and she re-affirmed it all her long life was: Over my dead body.
That was the prevailing mood among those who watched the battle overhead and I think, in the country.

Wars are as much about a battle of spirit as a battle of weapons.

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Did the RAF do much (with their bombing force) to disrupt Luftwaffe bombers by attacking the fields they operated from?

Roger Smith.

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The Germans were adept at dispersing aircraft production, and had the whole of Europe to do so, not so easy in a small island like the UK.

So were the UK. By 1941 the Spitfire production in the south was wholly dispersed. The LW had no idea where they were being built- the new sites were not actively bombed, at least.

The largest Spitfire production was in Birmingham. Good luck reaching that with all those Stukas and escorting 109s.

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With all due respect to Fighter Command, what saved Britain was a 20 mile stretch of water.
If Hitler had kept the onslaught up at full force and had aircraft with greater range, eventually, the RAF would have been weakened beyond repair.

Again we're left to wonder if Hitler would of had the manpower to garrison the UK. Probably not if he wanted to win against the USSR.
But if an invasion were successful, would the UK civil population have fought to the last man?
Again with all due respect to the UK's vision of itself (then and now), would the civil population have acted any differently that the populations of other equally brave and nationalist countries overwhelmed by the Nazis?

If
Pilots would indeed be a limiting factor but one can only believe that the 'Empire' would have provided even more handsomely than they did.
Moggy

In addition, I'm sure Churchill would have worked out a deal with FDR to make it easier for Americans to fight, or at the very least expand training in the USA and/or build more aircraft for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan..Cornells, Yales/Harvards, Cranes and the like.


The stalemate would have continued until the Germans perfected their atom bomb. Britain would have surrendered as quickly as Japan did, then it would have been not too long until the USA saw the first nukes landing on New York.
Moggy

Again, that would be true only if America did nothing. If England fell, America would have gone on a wartime military footing (as indeed it was beginning in about 1940).
The idea that America was doing nothing until Pearl Harbour is nonsense.
Also, given Germany's aversion to long range bombers, the greatest threat to America would have been the V-2, and then not until the late 40s. Even if the Luftwaffe has UK bases..or Ireland or Iceland, a bombing mission of that range would be a difficult undertaking as the B-29 (the most advanced bomber of the war) units learned in the Pacific. Of course with a nuke, you only need one mission to make your point.

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Did the RAF do much (with their bombing force) to disrupt Luftwaffe bombers by attacking the fields they operated from?

Roger Smith.

Not a lot.

A target as small as an airfield was way beyond Bomber Command's abilities to hit at night. They had enough trouble planting bombs within the boundaries of major cities.

It was the advent of free-ranging night intruders that later were such a pain to the Luftwaffe nightfighters which would have been the effective countermeasure.

Moggy

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Nazi Germany may have committed 4300 aircraft to Barbarossa but how many of these aircraft were unsuitable for use against Britain in 1940-1941; the Stuka, Me110, Do17 having been effectively driven from British daylight skies in 1940 and the remainder seeking the safety of night. The Luftwaffe had singularly failed to disrupt aircraft production during the Battle-of-Britain and it is inconceivable that Britain would not have dispersed production (of fighters) effectively; even in a country as small as Britain a bomb must only miss a factory by a mile!

At the end of the Battle-of-Britain Fighter Command was stronger than the German fighter force (down to about 750 Me109 I think) and growing faster in both aircraft and pilots (and that was just Fighter Command not the whole RAF). Germany never out-produced Britain (just Britain) in aircraft during the war and despite massive technical investment didn't get a single decent design into large-scale production that hadn't been designed pre-war (well, maybe) except the Me262; in fact, apart from U-Boats and machine-guns Germany didn't out-produce Britain in anything (even with a slave labour force millions strong).

If the sea-lanes could have been kept open, and I believe they could if the resources of Bomber Command had been diverted to counter the U-Boats, then Britain would not have starved but would have gained strength through the Empire / Dominions.

With Britain and Germany engaged in a long stalemate and Germany, not Britain, facing starvation due to Royal Navy blockade and 'loss' of Ukrainian grain, how long before Stalinist Russia seized the opportunity to invade Germany from the rear?

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The Germans also had no proper invasion fleet/boats/vehicles anyway - so their chances of a successful invasion of britain was slim to none !
As others have said - they had no good heavy bombers (they could have sorted the He177 very quickly a la Manchester/Lancaster but instead chose to fiddle with it for the rest of the war) and we did have reserves in that if things had got stickier in the south east we would have merely called in the other groups (as the barron knights used to say) to help out 11 group.
Sensibly during the 30's - Shadow Factories had been built 'oop north' and in the midlands - therefore well out of range of escorting fighters ; )