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Honorverse ramblings and musings

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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by n7axw   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:38 pm

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Weird Harold wrote:
ldwechsler wrote:The Wildcat fought well ...


As Vince pointed out, I misspelled "Hellcat."

The F4F did, indeed fight well, but was no match for the Zero in the hands of comparable pilots.

The F6F was the backbone of USN air superiority, as attested to by Wikipedia and virtually every other source I know of.


My own reading here was that the issue for the Japanese was not the zero which remained competitive with, but not superior to allied aircraft throughout the wasr. But once they lost their elite pilots, they hadn't made adequate provision for the infrastructure needed to replace them.d Given Japan's ambitions, that seems strange.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:11 pm

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n7axw wrote:My own reading here was that the issue for the Japanese was not the zero which remained competitive with, but not superior to allied aircraft throughout the wasr. But once they lost their elite pilots, they hadn't made adequate provision for the infrastructure needed to replace them.d Given Japan's ambitions, that seems strange.
A little. However Japan had basically looked at the industrial potential of the US and decided that if they couldn't force the US to the table for a peace treaty fairly quickly (call it no more than 18 months) then they couldn't win anyway.

So they build up their naval aviation to be really the best in the world at what they did. But they economized massively on replacements (both pilot and aircraft) because they figured that by the time they could make a difference either they'd have won or the war would be unwinnable for them. Basically they optimized for the short term (where they had a hope for forcing an advantageous peace) against the long term (where they felt they would lose anyway)

(And economizing on mid-war replacement pilot training meant that flight training schools weren't sucking up so much av gas; a resource Japan was quite short on. Whereas the US was virtually swimming in the stuff)

The part they missed was that keeping their best pilots unceasingly on the front lines eventually led to burnout and less effectiveness than if they'd rotated them to other assignments and back - so having a larger pre-war pool of pilots to let you rotate squadrons off the front lines - whether to pilot training or even just less risky/stressful home islands defense duties - probably would have kept their carrier force more effective into '44.


Still, they were mostly right that if the US chose to keep fighting there was nothing Japan could do ultimately win. Better trained replacement pilots in the later years of the war might have drug it out a little longer though it's unlikely to have affected the timing of the atomic bombs or the US's ability to deliver them, so maybe it wouldn't have lengthened the war after all.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by saber964   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:22 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
n7axw wrote:My own reading here was that the issue for the Japanese was not the zero which remained competitive with, but not superior to allied aircraft throughout the wasr. But once they lost their elite pilots, they hadn't made adequate provision for the infrastructure needed to replace them.d Given Japan's ambitions, that seems strange.
A little. However Japan had basically looked at the industrial potential of the US and decided that if they couldn't force the US to the table for a peace treaty fairly quickly (call it no more than 18 months) then they couldn't win anyway.

So they build up their naval aviation to be really the best in the world at what they did. But they economized massively on replacements (both pilot and aircraft) because they figured that by the time they could make a difference either they'd have won or the war would be unwinnable for them. Basically they optimized for the short term (where they had a hope for forcing an advantageous peace) against the long term (where they felt they would lose anyway)

(And economizing on mid-war replacement pilot training meant that flight training schools weren't sucking up so much av gas; a resource Japan was quite short on. Whereas the US was virtually swimming in the stuff)

The part they missed was that keeping their best pilots unceasingly on the front lines eventually led to burnout and less effectiveness than if they'd rotated them to other assignments and back - so having a larger pre-war pool of pilots to let you rotate squadrons off the front lines - whether to pilot training or even just less risky/stressful home islands defense duties - probably would have kept their carrier force more effective into '44.


Still, they were mostly right that if the US chose to keep fighting there was nothing Japan could do ultimately win. Better trained replacement pilots in the later years of the war might have drug it out a little longer though it's unlikely to have affected the timing of the atomic bombs or the US's ability to deliver them, so maybe it wouldn't have lengthened the war after all.


The Japanese keeping their pilots on the front lines was mostly cultural. But if you've read Shattered Sword you will find that most of the Midway surviving personnel were sent to the Solomon's to cover up the IJN losses. IIRC the IJN never really admitted the losses of the carriers until mid to late 44 and even the only ambiguously.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by n7axw   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:27 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
n7axw wrote:My own reading here was that the issue for the Japanese was not the zero which remained competitive with, but not superior to allied aircraft throughout the wasr. But once they lost their elite pilots, they hadn't made adequate provision for the infrastructure needed to replace them.d Given Japan's ambitions, that seems strange.
A little. However Japan had basically looked at the industrial potential of the US and decided that if they couldn't force the US to the table for a peace treaty fairly quickly (call it no more than 18 months) then they couldn't win anyway.

So they build up their naval aviation to be really the best in the world at what they did. But they economized massively on replacements (both pilot and aircraft) because they figured that by the time they could make a difference either they'd have won or the war would be unwinnable for them. Basically they optimized for the short term (where they had a hope for forcing an advantageous peace) against the long term (where they felt they would lose anyway)

(And economizing on mid-war replacement pilot training meant that flight training schools weren't sucking up so much av gas; a resource Japan was quite short on. Whereas the US was virtually swimming in the stuff)

The part they missed was that keeping their best pilots unceasingly on the front lines eventually led to burnout and less effectiveness than if they'd rotated them to other assignments and back - so having a larger pre-war pool of pilots to let you rotate squadrons off the front lines - whether to pilot training or even just less risky/stressful home islands defense duties - probably would have kept their carrier force more effective into '44.


Still, they were mostly right that if the US chose to keep fighting there was nothing Japan could do ultimately win. Better trained replacement pilots in the later years of the war might have drug it out a little longer though it's unlikely to have affected the timing of the atomic bombs or the US's ability to deliver them, so maybe it wouldn't have lengthened the war after all.


Right. That is what I got out of it too. Not only were they too small for what they tried to do, esp. in China, they badly miscalculated how the rest of the world would respond, esp. when they started "liberating" Europe's colonial empires.

I've also wondered how it would have played out if Japan had decided to leave the USA out of it rather than staging Pearl Harbor.

Don

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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by kzt   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:36 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:So they build up their naval aviation to be really the best in the world at what they did. But they economized massively on replacements (both pilot and aircraft) because they figured that by the time they could make a difference either they'd have won or the war would be unwinnable for them. Basically they optimized for the short term (where they had a hope for forcing an advantageous peace) against the long term (where they felt they would lose anyway)

With both Germany and Japan it turned out that their ability to turn out effective aircraft was better than their ability to train aircrews.

Germany had pattern of grabbing all their instructor cadres for multi-engine aircraft and using them to fill gaps. For example, the attempt to air-supply 6th Army. Which caused massive problems later as you lost much of your instructor cadre as well as all the pilots they would have trained. I'm sure they had other poor planning issues, but I remember the multi-engine disasters.

Japan (AFAIK) didn't do that, but they had a training pipeline that was very focused on producing only the best pilots. Which, in a large scale war, is akin to making all your infantrymen got through SEAL training with the 90% washout rate after only 20% of the applicants qualify.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by lyonheart   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:45 pm

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Hi Brigade XO,

Shattered Sword was great!

Overturning the conventional interpretation of Midway was a fascinating experience, particularly blowing up the "five minutes from victory" that has been the bedrock of more than 60 years of western histories.

Do you have a reference or link for the Flying Tigers' extra kills?

Sounds very interesting because I thought most IJAAF planes were already based in China, west of the Formosa or north of the Hainan Island straits.

The LW had a far superior Air Sea Rescue organization during the Battle of Britain, which the RAF eventually copied, but the LW suffered at least a couple of mass ditching's in the channel [or 'the sewer' as the LW referred to it] by Me-109's that ran out of fuel, one of them on September 8th, that reduced LW operations for days until they could be replaced, most of the pilots surviving thanks to the LW's ASR organization.

Good to see your posts.

L


Brigade XO wrote:You want an interesting read, the "The Shattered Sword" about the Midway campaign and the things going on. There is another book I can't recall the name of at the moment that works through the campaignes through the Coral Sea and pre-Midway. One of those "minor" things that don't get talked about is the US was draining and then flushing the avgas lines with CO2 after fueling which reduced a lot of problems including haveing the fumes and liquid fuel involved in battle damage. Japan wasn't doing that and that contributed to the damage/destruction on their carriers at Midway.

The US, along with rotating pilots back home for training (and passing along survival skills in air combat) of new pilots, appears to be much better at retrieving airmen shot down at sea. Those "kill ratios" and "exchange rates" don't tell the whole story. Who was building more aircraft faster and training more pilots faster? The US. how many pilots (and other aircrew) were actualy killed in their aircraft vs pilots who lost their planes but were back flying within a month (just for a time frame) vs IJN pilots? No clear rational shows though for what I have seen on the IJN side but pilot rescues don't show up often. That just might be who or what I have read. The US did recover a number of pilots and aircrew after Midway, Japan not so much.
Reading about the RAF vs Luffwaffe in the time frame of the Battle of Britain you get a very clear picture of what happens depending on where you fight and what tactics do. Britain made a decision to stop sending fighters to France and pull the RAF back to England. I won't argue the reasons, that is what they did. They, faced with both invasion and air bombardment, concentrated on stopping Luffwaffe bombing raids and destroying fighters which were protecting the bombers. While a lot of pilots and crews were killed on both sides, those who got out of their plains (bailed or crash-landed) often survived. Since they were comming down in England, the RAF was able to get them back into service. Not so much ford the Luffwaffe. Putting a plane into the Channel was more likely to also kill the pilot (if not dead already) but the RN and the other operations did quite well at retrieving pilots (and other aircrew). Not clear how many of the Luffwaffe flyers made it home from loosing a plane over the Channel.

The Flying Tigers racked up impressive numbers against Japan in China. The numbers got even better well after the war, I think in the 1990s. Gen Chennault was a believer in damaging the enemy any way you could. One of the things he told his pilots to do was take any opportunity to get bullets into Japanese aircraft. Don't wait till your perfect, take a snap-shot if you can. If they try to break off, throw some steel at them anyway. In at least one area, the Japanese were comming into the engagement area across a large body of water from their basing. Under water mapping/bottom profiling in recent years turned up a lot more things than expected in the area between the Tigers and that Japanese held area. It seems there are a bunch of wrecked former Japanese aircraft down there that didn't make it home...the presumption now being that the pilots were wounded or the planes suffered mechanical difficulties and went down. Not the least of the possible mechanical problems would be the planes were not equiped with self-sealing gas tanks and it is quite likely that a few bullet holes in the wrong place is going to run them out of gas over open water with no way for the pilot to get home after the plane goes down.
Any snippet or post from RFC is good if not great!
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by ldwechsler   » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:02 pm

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lyonheart wrote:Hi Brigade XO,

Shattered Sword was great!

Overturning the conventional interpretation of Midway was a fascinating experience, particularly blowing up the "five minutes from victory" that has been the bedrock of more than 60 years of western histories.

Do you have a reference or link for the Flying Tigers' extra kills?

Sounds very interesting because I thought most IJAAF planes were already based in China, west of the Formosa or north of the Hainan Island straits.

The LW had a far superior Air Sea Rescue organization during the Battle of Britain, which the RAF eventually copied, but the LW suffered at least a couple of mass ditching's in the channel [or 'the sewer' as the LW referred to it] by Me-109's that ran out of fuel, one of them on September 8th, that reduced LW operations for days until they could be replaced, most of the pilots surviving thanks to the LW's ASR organization.

Good to see your posts.

L


Brigade XO wrote:You want an interesting read, the "The Shattered Sword" about the Midway campaign and the things going on. There is another book I can't recall the name of at the moment that works through the campaignes through the Coral Sea and pre-Midway. One of those "minor" things that don't get talked about is the US was draining and then flushing the avgas lines with CO2 after fueling which reduced a lot of problems including haveing the fumes and liquid fuel involved in battle damage. Japan wasn't doing that and that contributed to the damage/destruction on their carriers at Midway.

The US, along with rotating pilots back home for training (and passing along survival skills in air combat) of new pilots, appears to be much better at retrieving airmen shot down at sea. Those "kill ratios" and "exchange rates" don't tell the whole story. Who was building more aircraft faster and training more pilots faster? The US. how many pilots (and other aircrew) were actualy killed in their aircraft vs pilots who lost their planes but were back flying within a month (just for a time frame) vs IJN pilots? No clear rational shows though for what I have seen on the IJN side but pilot rescues don't show up often. That just might be who or what I have read. The US did recover a number of pilots and aircrew after Midway, Japan not so much.
Reading about the RAF vs Luffwaffe in the time frame of the Battle of Britain you get a very clear picture of what happens depending on where you fight and what tactics do. Britain made a decision to stop sending fighters to France and pull the RAF back to England. I won't argue the reasons, that is what they did. They, faced with both invasion and air bombardment, concentrated on stopping Luffwaffe bombing raids and destroying fighters which were protecting the bombers. While a lot of pilots and crews were killed on both sides, those who got out of their plains (bailed or crash-landed) often survived. Since they were comming down in England, the RAF was able to get them back into service. Not so much ford the Luffwaffe. Putting a plane into the Channel was more likely to also kill the pilot (if not dead already) but the RN and the other operations did quite well at retrieving pilots (and other aircrew). Not clear how many of the Luffwaffe flyers made it home from loosing a plane over the Channel.

The Flying Tigers racked up impressive numbers against Japan in China. The numbers got even better well after the war, I think in the 1990s. Gen Chennault was a believer in damaging the enemy any way you could. One of the things he told his pilots to do was take any opportunity to get bullets into Japanese aircraft. Don't wait till your perfect, take a snap-shot if you can. If they try to break off, throw some steel at them anyway. In at least one area, the Japanese were comming into the engagement area across a large body of water from their basing. Under water mapping/bottom profiling in recent years turned up a lot more things than expected in the area between the Tigers and that Japanese held area. It seems there are a bunch of wrecked former Japanese aircraft down there that didn't make it home...the presumption now being that the pilots were wounded or the planes suffered mechanical difficulties and went down. Not the least of the possible mechanical problems would be the planes were not equiped with self-sealing gas tanks and it is quite likely that a few bullet holes in the wrong place is going to run them out of gas over open water with no way for the pilot to get home after the plane goes down.


Another reason Midway was so valuable. The carrier pilot ranks were shattered there. The IJN had six big carriers. Two of them were being repaired and getting new pilots...they had been the ones hard hit at Coral Sea.

The other four went down at Midway and overwhelmingly the pilots were lost. There were no decks to land on. So the navy lost its best pilots and did not have them to train the next generations.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Brigade XO   » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:02 pm

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lyonheart wrote:Hi Brigade XO,

Shattered Sword was great!


I don't have the refernce for the overwater losses, just one more thing I read that caught my eye somewhere.

I picked up a used book in England in 2016 which I think is "Spitfire vs Messserschmitt" and it worked through the design and deployment, tactics of both before, during and after the war. Politics, design problems and solutions, development of various models, pilot training (problem etc). One intersting piece was the Swiss using Me 109s against German bombers that were cutting across Switzerland for bombing raids.
Part of what covered was that decision to bring the fighters home to England and then hammering away at the LW, mostly bombers, both inbound and on the way back out (and when to break off) to knock down as many as possible. Fuel range/ combat time and the potential loss of both planes and pilots taking the fight all the way over the channel ment that they were being kept close to home and would (when possible) do multiple sorties a day against bombers instead of longer range interception. That also had the advantage of putting the LW fighters at the long end of their effective range and limited their engagement time still to be faced with getting home over the channel.
Shoot them down (AA or fighter) or they run out of fuel because they stayed too long (or got holes in the fuel tanks etc), they still go down and hopefully take the pilots with them. The calculus of combat operations.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:40 pm

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Brigade XO wrote:I picked up a used book in England in 2016 which I think is "Spitfire vs Messserschmitt" and it worked through the design and deployment, tactics of both before, during and after the war. Politics, design problems and solutions, development of various models, pilot training (problem etc). One intersting piece was the Swiss using Me 109s against German bombers that were cutting across Switzerland for bombing raids.
Part of what covered was that decision to bring the fighters home to England and then hammering away at the LW, mostly bombers, both inbound and on the way back out (and when to break off) to knock down as many as possible. Fuel range/ combat time and the potential loss of both planes and pilots taking the fight all the way over the channel ment that they were being kept close to home and would (when possible) do multiple sorties a day against bombers instead of longer range interception. That also had the advantage of putting the LW fighters at the long end of their effective range and limited their engagement time still to be faced with getting home over the channel.
Shoot them down (AA or fighter) or they run out of fuel because they stayed too long (or got holes in the fuel tanks etc), they still go down and hopefully take the pilots with them. The calculus of combat operations.

Incidentally SW England being at the very edge of the Luftwaffe fighters' range was why German had no realistic hopes of winning the Battle of Britain and seizing control long enough to cover an invasion. The RAF could lose themselves the battle, but the Germans couldn't win unless the RAF cooperated. At the very worst, if fighter numbers got truly critical, the RAF would just have to temporarily pull back northward to hold a sufficient reserve to swarm south to contest any invasion attempt. Beyond the range of escorting German fighters the Luftwaffe bombers would have been torn to shreds if they'd pushed deeper into England in an attempt to bomb the RAF bases or factories.

And if an invasion didn't come then once sufficient new fighters and pilots reached operational status the RAF could resume operations over London and the SW.

London and other targets in the southwest would suffer without RAF cover, but maintaining forces to counter and invasion, in the cold calculus of war, would have been more important.


Fortunately the RAF was never pushed to the wall and forced to choose between temporarily pulling back and risking insufficient forces to contest and invasion attempt.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by lyonheart   » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:58 am

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Hi Jonathan_S, Brigade XO,

Good points all.

Dowding predicted London's proximity to France would be the LW's undoing, being a target too easy to miss, as opposed to Fighter Command's airfields and fighter factories etc.

According to RAF records, over 3000 pilots and aircrew [in Blenheim IV night fighter's] participated in the battle by borrowing pilots from Bomber Command, Coastal Command and the Fleet Air Arm NTM Polish, Czech and other occupied countries' pilots; as opposed to something over 900 Me-109 pilots known to have flown during the battle, so "the few" actually outnumbered the LW where it counted the most.

The RAF lost over 900 single engined fighters shooting over 1800 LW planes [roughly it's front line strength], while the LW lost over 600 Me-109's during the battle, but most of the RAF pilots were saved to fight another day; the Hurricanes bore the brunt of the fighting and shot down most of the LW planes while the sleek graceful Spitfires were the preferred emblem for Fighter Command and the public; though most of the Spitfires were probably lost in takeoff and landing accidents due to its narrow landing track, not in combat; which wasn't replaced until after the end of the war in the final Spitfire spin-offs.

The .303 Browning for all the hype wasn't a very good air to air weapon, even with 8 per RAF fighter, but finding a better weapon wasn't what the RAF officer was asked to do, one wonders how much .50 calibers or 20 mm might have improved the RAF's scores.

The Merlin engines float carburetor didn't help things either.

British fighter production still spinning up really didn't need Beaverbrook, though he usually gets the credit, averaged almost 3 times the Me-19's production rate [~150/mo that summer] because Hitler was trying to win on a 'peacetime' butter economy, and didn't begin to switch to a war economy until 1942 when he was trapped in the Soviet Union and the USA had also joined the allies; and Goering still didn't increase pilot training rates very much so those that survived in 1944 were swamped by the allies.

Operation Sea Lion was so full of so many compromises and wishful thinking that I suspect Admiral Raeder told Hitler it might work or he could drown 200-250,000 German boys overnight; and Hitler being very cautious to preserve his amazing winning streak, in effect folded rather than risk the Nazi's current internal popularity.

Given the converted river/canal invasion barges were intended to ground on the morning tide then be floated off 10 hours later by the afternoon to go back and bring the second wave ten days later, the LW didn't have near enough fighters to protect the barges for those ten hours, let alone the bombers intended to support the invasion, assuming they got past the 50 RN destroyers intent on sinking them the night before (there were only 1 light cruiser and 3 DD's to protect them), in particular the ~427 tugs that were to tow them across the channel, only ~80% of the tugs the plan had required, which included at least 10,000 horses for the artillery and general transport etc [the army had initially wanted 50,000 in the first wave], all aspects of the plan had to work almost miraculously in order to succeed when the British were doing all they could to make it fail.

Kesselring pointed out the RAF could always 'retreat' beyond London if the loss rate got too high, then come back for the invasion; the fact it never did combined with the LW's daily loss rate may have encouraged Hitler not to invade.

If Hitler had been willing to risk more, he might have won all he desired, which is why Kesselring told the Russians after the war the turning point was the BoB.

L


[quote="Jonathan_S"][quote="Brigade XO"]
I picked up a used book in England in 2016 which I think is "Spitfire vs Messserschmitt" and it worked through the design and deployment, tactics of both before, during and after the war. Politics, design problems and solutions, development of various models, pilot training (problem etc). One intersting piece was the Swiss using Me 109s against German bombers that were cutting across Switzerland for bombing raids.
Part of what covered was that decision to bring the fighters home to England and then hammering away at the LW, mostly bombers, both inbound and on the way back out (and when to break off) to knock down as many as possible. Fuel range/ combat time and the potential loss of both planes and pilots taking the fight all the way over the channel ment that they were being kept close to home and would (when possible) do multiple sorties a day against bombers instead of longer range interception. That also had the advantage of putting the LW fighters at the long end of their effective range and limited their engagement time still to be faced with getting home over the channel.
Shoot them down (AA or fighter) or they run out of fuel because they stayed too long (or got holes in the fuel tanks etc), they still go down and hopefully take the pilots with them. The calculus of combat operations.[/quote]
Incidentally SW England being at the very edge of the Luftwaffe fighters' range was why German had no realistic hopes of winning the Battle of Britain and seizing control long enough to cover an invasion. The RAF could lose themselves the battle, but the Germans couldn't win unless the RAF cooperated. At the very worst, if fighter numbers got truly critical, the RAF would just have to temporarily pull back northward to hold a sufficient reserve to swarm south to contest any invasion attempt. Beyond the range of escorting German fighters the Luftwaffe bombers would have been torn to shreds if they'd pushed deeper into England in an attempt to bomb the RAF bases or factories.

And if an invasion didn't come then once sufficient new fighters and pilots reached operational status the RAF could resume operations over London and the SW.

London and other targets in the southwest would suffer without RAF cover, but maintaining forces to counter and invasion, in the cold calculus of war, would have been more important.


Fortunately the RAF was never pushed to the wall and forced to choose between temporarily pulling back and risking insufficient forces to contest and invasion attempt.[/quote]
Any snippet or post from RFC is good if not great!
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