The Battle of the Atlantic

JohnM

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I'm seeing an unbalanced view. Life magazine published a section sponsored by the Convair aircraft company during the war. Regarding the end of the war in Europe, it stated that we won "By the skin of our teeth." And the war in the Pacific was still on. Much still remains classified.
 

Robert Zwilling

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There were a lot of things in play that were governed by chance. The Russian winter took a big toll on the German army. If the weather had been mild, which can happen, it might have had a considerably different outcome. The allies were able to intercept and decode axis communications on a regular basis, that certainly helped. Not all the decisions the allies made were good decisions. I think it was the geographical isolation of the US that was it's strongest card. The assembly lines were never under threat and the US was prepared to end the war with nuclear bombs if it could not be done by conventional means. The Manhattan Project was not designed to build a few bombs, it was an assembly line to build 15 atom bombs.
 

JohnM

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In March 1945, there was no American atomic bomb. The supervisor of the project, James F. Byrnes, sent a letter to President Roosevelt. It stated, in part:

"I understand that the expenditures for the Manhattan project are approaching 2 billion dollars with no definite assurance yet of production.

"We have succeeded to date in obtaining the cooperation of Congressional Committees in secret hearings. Perhaps we can continue to do so while the war lasts.

"However, if the project proves a failure, it will then be subjected to relentless investigation and criticisn [sic]."

Source: FDR Library, Hyde Park, New York
 

Robert Zwilling

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The first test bomb was detonated in July 1945. So indeed, there was no bomb in March 1945, but once they had a working model, there was no looking back. 1 month later the bombs were dropped on Japan. Most of the money spent on the project during the duration of the war was used to produce bomb grade material, they all knew a runaway reaction would release a lot of energy. The first nuclear reactor which proved the bomb would work was built in 1942 under a university stadium with a minimal amount of shielding. The problem was building the trigger, not the theory or procuring the fuel. In conditions where they were never under threat of attack and with all the money and all the people working on the project it was only a matter of time before they succeeded. Any time the Germans built anything like jets, drones, or missiles, that could change the outcome of the war, the allies blew it up. The Germans had to go to great lengths to build underground factories that were never completely immune from being blown up. Cut off from oil early in the war, the Germans got their petroleum products from synthetic fuel plants. It wasn't until early 1945 after a lot of bombing raids that the synthetic fuel plant output was cut to a fraction of what it was during the bulk of the war. While science can't do everything, if given enough time, it does seem capable of moving mountains.
 

JohnM

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The first test bomb was detonated in July 1945. So indeed, there was no bomb in March 1945, but once they had a working model, there was no looking back. 1 month later the bombs were dropped on Japan. Most of the money spent on the project during the duration of the war was used to produce bomb grade material, they all knew a runaway reaction would release a lot of energy. The first nuclear reactor which proved the bomb would work was built in 1942 under a university stadium with a minimal amount of shielding. The problem was building the trigger, not the theory or procuring the fuel. In conditions where they were never under threat of attack and with all the money and all the people working on the project it was only a matter of time before they succeeded. Any time the Germans built anything like jets, drones, or missiles, that could change the outcome of the war, the allies blew it up. The Germans had to go to great lengths to build underground factories that were never completely immune from being blown up. Cut off from oil early in the war, the Germans got their petroleum products from synthetic fuel plants. It wasn't until early 1945 after a lot of bombing raids that the synthetic fuel plant output was cut to a fraction of what it was during the bulk of the war. While science can't do everything, if given enough time, it does seem capable of moving mountains.


This is highly incomplete. Shortly before the end of the war, the United States was already planning for the next one. German underground installations were bomb-proof. The U.S. had a great interest in duplicating these. The world's first jet fighter was produced in greater quantity than usually thought. The world's first jet bomber began with two engines and was later fielded with four. It could outrun any aircraft the Allies had. The German Jagdtiger was able to destroy an Allied tank at 4,000 meters. In a privately published book, an American G.I. recounts his encounters with these. The factory producing them had been bombed and listed as destroyed. This was not the case. A newspaper account published during the war quotes an American bomber crew encountering 'flak rockets' along with the usual antiaircraft artillery. This was not their first encounter.

Most people do not know the full extent of German synthetic oil and synthetic lubricant production during the war.
 

paranoid marvin

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The Germans had a couple of opportunities to win WW2. The first was to eliminate Britain from the war, by either winning the Battle of the Atlantic , thereby cutting them off from food and supplies, or to win the Battle of Britain, which would then lead to Sealion. With Britain out of the war, the US would find it virtually impossible to perform a land invasion of Europe or to carry out air attacks on Germany.

The alternative was a swift victory over Russia, and then they could reinforce Italy, North Africa and France to prevent an attack from those directions.

By early 1943, with the defeat at Stalingrad, and with the loss of enormous amounts of men and machinery, and with the breaking of the wolfpacks and the amount of men and munitions moving from overseas to Britain the writing was on the wall for Germany. The manufacturing power of the US and Russia, churning out tanks and planes in their thousands meant that regardless of the quality of German armaments, they couldn't be supplied in in enough numbers to make a difference. I think it was Stalin who said that quantity has a quality all of it's own; this was certainly true in WW2.

If the Germans had managed to create an atom bomb and a method of delivery, that would have changed the course of the war. But other than that, I think that from mid 1943 onwards, it was simply a case of when and not if, and also a question of how Europe would look after WW2 finished.
 

JohnM

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The planning for the end of World War II was going on at various conferences at Cairo and Tehran. There was also the little reported presence of Chiang Kai-shek and his wife. The U.S. had been supplying aircraft to the Nationalist Chinese for a long time.
 

Tirellan

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This is highly incomplete. Shortly before the end of the war, the United States was already planning for the next one. German underground installations were bomb-proof. The U.S. had a great interest in duplicating these. The world's first jet fighter was produced in greater quantity than usually thought. The world's first jet bomber began with two engines and was later fielded with four. It could outrun any aircraft the Allies had. The German Jagdtiger was able to destroy an Allied tank at 4,000 meters. In a privately published book, an American G.I. recounts his encounters with these. The factory producing them had been bombed and listed as destroyed. This was not the case. A newspaper account published during the war quotes an American bomber crew encountering 'flak rockets' along with the usual antiaircraft artillery. This was not their first encounter.

Most people do not know the full extent of German synthetic oil and synthetic lubricant production during the war.
The Gloster Meteor F3 was faster, though it is not recorded that they ever met in combat.
 

BAYLOR

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The Meteor was held back. Why?

It had some stability problems in the air .
The Gloster Meteor F3 was faster, though it is not recorded that they ever met in combat.

In the unlikely event that the war with Germany went past 1945. you might have the Meteor going up against the ME 262.
 

JohnM

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Well, since that did not happen... The Me 262 was fielded in greater number than most know. Meanwhile, a handful of P-80s (technically, YP-80A's), were deployed to Europe in 1945.
 

BAYLOR

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Well, since that did not happen... The Me 262 was fielded in greater number than most know. Meanwhile, a handful of P-80s (technically, YP-80A's), were deployed to Europe in 1945.

I think that in battle of Jets, The Meteor would have come out on top. Technical issues aside , it was better overall plane then the 262 .
 

BigBadBob141

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I think the only combat the Meteor saw in WW2 was shooting down V1 flying bombs.
The P80 was the Lockheed Shooting Star, nice looking plane, America's first jet fighter.
Sadly after surviving the war in the Pacific flying a P38 Lockheed Lightning, air ace Richard Bong, credited with 40 kills died test flying a P80, it crashed in North Hollywood when it's fuel pump failed on takeoff.
If anyone sees the old classic SF film "This Island Earth", available on You Tube, the jet plane the hero flys at the beginning is a P80!
P.S. I read somewhere that the engines of a Me 262 had to be changed after only twenty-five hours use, it might have had the better airframe but the Meteor's Rolls-Royce engines were definitely superior.
 

BAYLOR

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I think the only combat the Meteor saw in WW2 was shooting down V1 flying bombs.
The P80 was the Lockheed Shooting Star, nice looking plane, America's first jet fighter.
Sadly after surviving the war in the Pacific flying a P38 Lockheed Lightning, air ace Richard Bong, credited with 40 kills died test flying a P80, it crashed in North Hollywood when it's fuel pump failed on takeoff.
If anyone sees the old classic SF film "This Island Earth", available on You Tube, the jet plane the hero flys at the beginning is a P80!
P.S. I read somewhere that the engines of a Me 262 had to be changed after only twenty-five hours use, it might have had the better airframe but the Meteor's Rolls-Royce engines were definitely superior.

ME 262 Umo engines turbine blades didn't hold up and would melt because it could stand up to the heat generated by the engines.
 

paranoid marvin

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Quite a usual problem for Germany in WW2; great equipment, but which often couldn't stand up to the rigours of combat and/or was intricate or costly enough that it could only be made in small numbers.

If it was a choice of a squadron of Spitfires vs a pair of Me 262 , I know who I would be backing. I understand that with the German jet fighter the tactic was usually to shoot it down when it was taking off or landing; which is again down to numbers and air superiority.

I think a problem for the Germans was also how the Me 262 was to be used ; as a bomber, a fighter or an interceptor. Are you attacking your enemies ground forces, or defending your own skies against attack? With some many opponents in the air, such a large front to fight over and so few aircraft, they were never enough. In te end it appears that the Luftwaffe shared this view and choice to make more 'inferior' but more numerous and reliable aircraft.

Also, it isn't just the specifications of an aircraft but how well it handled and how many hours of training it took to make a competent pilot. Just how many hours practice did German pilots get in these aircraft before being sent into combat?
 

Foxbat

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BigBadBob141

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The late German tanks, Panther, Tiger, Tiger 2 aka Kingtiger, all great tanks, all heavily armoured, all armed with great tank killing guns, the last two with the very fearsome 88mm and all over engineered, breaking down every five minutes, and very hard to fix especially on the battlefield!
Russian T34, easy and cheap to make (compared to a Tiger), easy to fix, very hard to kill and built in very, very large numbers and later on fitted with an even bigger gun!
The Germans had a tendency to overdo, over engineer things, to over design, plus near the end of the war resources were hard to come by and all their big factories were being bombed to hell and back by the RAF and the USAAF!
P.S. One of the Tuskegee Airmen flying a North American P51C Mustang (not the better P51D) is also credited with taking down a Me262.
 
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Foxbat

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There was a series on TV a few years back about restoring WW2 tanks. One episode was on the Panther. It had a fabulous suspension system but it was also fabulously complicated and, therefore, difficult to manufacture.
 

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