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Honorverse ramblings and musings

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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by ldwechsler   » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:23 am

ldwechsler
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lyonheart wrote: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


Jonathan_S 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.
[/quote]

There were other advantages to fighting over Britain itself. First, if a plane was shot down, the pilot could simply parachute out (if possible). That night he might be in the squadron's favorite pub having a beer. The German would have to fly back to its own territory.

Second, the Germans had to fight with fairly light tanks. They couldn't take a lot of time for dogfights or they could run out of gas.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:47 am

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lyonheart wrote: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.

And of course the RN's performance off Crete shows that they weren't afraid to risk and lose Destroyers and Cruisers against land based air if they felt compelling reason. Admiral Cunningham's famous "it takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition."

So even if the RAF had recklessly spent themselves to exhaustion and Hitler launched Sea Lion I've absolutely no doubt that the RN would have taken whatever losses were required to steam into the narrow seas of the Channel and fall upon the unwieldy tugs and river barges of the invasion forces.

(I also have a vague recollection that the RN had contingency plans, if Germany did somehow manage to seize a UK port, of grounding one of their old WWI battleships off the harbor mouth as an unsinkable citadel from which to interdict any resupply attempts; as well as shell the invaders)
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by lyonheart   » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:57 am

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Posts: 4811
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Hi Jonathan_S,

Because the Germans were so desperate to capture a port town, their garrisons had up to ten days of supplies, though it was expected or hoped that the rest of the army could relieve them in 3-4 days,

Churchill suggested that Admiral Cunningham scuttle the old battleship Barham in the mouth of Tripoli Harbor to prevent the axis from receiving and unloading more convoys there in the spring of 1941, but even an old battleship was more valuable than that, and Cunningham believed the odds of success were rather low.

I believe the RN DD's didn't need to shell or sink the barges, after eliminating the tugs, [possibly averaging around one per hour that night] or use their depth charges, because at speed their bow wave alone could swamp and sink the barges, though some had their bows reinforced if they had to ram, though that might have caused catastrophic damage to the DD, ie a 1000-1500 ton DD hitting a 250 ton river/canal barge is a little too big of a target.

Besides the 50 DD's, the RN had hundreds of lighter craft including MTB's, MGB's, converted mine-layers and sweepers etc [~700] that would have attacked anything that got past the DD's, while a BC and cruisers shelled some of the assembly ports.

L


Jonathan_S wrote:
lyonheart wrote: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.

And of course the RN's performance off Crete shows that they weren't afraid to risk and lose Destroyers and Cruisers against land based air if they felt compelling reason. Admiral Cunningham's famous "it takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition."

So even if the RAF had recklessly spent themselves to exhaustion and Hitler launched Sea Lion I've absolutely no doubt that the RN would have taken whatever losses were required to steam into the narrow seas of the Channel and fall upon the unwieldy tugs and river barges of the invasion forces.

(I also have a vague recollection that the RN had contingency plans, if Germany did somehow manage to seize a UK port, of grounding one of their old WWI battleships off the harbor mouth as an unsinkable citadel from which to interdict any resupply attempts; as well as shell the invaders)
Any snippet or post from RFC is good if not great!
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Bluesqueak   » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:52 am

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Posts: 295
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Jonathan_S wrote:And of course the RN's performance off Crete shows that they weren't afraid to risk and lose Destroyers and Cruisers against land based air if they felt compelling reason. Admiral Cunningham's famous "it takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition."

So even if the RAF had recklessly spent themselves to exhaustion and Hitler launched Sea Lion I've absolutely no doubt that the RN would have taken whatever losses were required to steam into the narrow seas of the Channel and fall upon the unwieldy tugs and river barges of the invasion forces.

(I also have a vague recollection that the RN had contingency plans, if Germany did somehow manage to seize a UK port, of grounding one of their old WWI battleships off the harbor mouth as an unsinkable citadel from which to interdict any resupply attempts; as well as shell the invaders)


Pretty much what I was taught - that Hitler's invasion might have gained a foothold on UK soil (probably Southern England), but it could never have succeeded in the long run.

The RN would have targeted the German supply chain in the Channel. The Germans could have landed, they could have made inroads - but in the end, the RN and the remaining RAF would have starved them of ammunition, petrol and other supplies.

Hence the famous 'Keep Calm and Carry On' posters, which were never actually used in the war itself. Civilians were to be told to keep calm, keep their heads down, and wait for the anti-invasion plan to work.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by cthia   » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:11 pm

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In the last King Kong movie, it was demonstrated that killing Kong was a bad idea, because he was at the top of the food chain on the island, and without him, some real nasty creatures surfaced that were much worse than Kong. Without their natural predator the 800# gorilla to keep them in check, will the criminal element let loose?

Pretty much what the MAlign is counting on. :idea:

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by saber964   » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:03 pm

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cthia wrote:In the last King Kong movie, it was demonstrated that killing Kong was a bad idea, because he was at the top of the food chain on the island, and without him, some real nasty creatures surfaced that were much worse than Kong. Without their natural predator the 800# gorilla to keep them in check, will the criminal element let loose?

Pretty much what the MAlign is counting on. :idea:



The SL was pretty much the criminal element let loose.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by kzt   » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:05 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:
Pretty much what I was taught - that Hitler's invasion might have gained a foothold on UK soil (probably Southern England), but it could never have succeeded in the long run.

The RN would have targeted the German supply chain in the Channel. The Germans could have landed, they could have made inroads - but in the end, the RN and the remaining RAF would have starved them of ammunition, petrol and other supplies.

Hence the famous 'Keep Calm and Carry On' posters, which were never actually used in the war itself. Civilians were to be told to keep calm, keep their heads down, and wait for the anti-invasion plan to work.

It’s really unclear. There just wasn’t a lotof ground combat power in England. It really depends on how much gets ashore where and what happens and how willing the people at the sharp end are to get killed.

If everyone in the UK did everything exactly right and the Germans made a lot of mistakes then yeah. But as the RN is the navy that had already, to pick one example, had an fleet aircraft carrier sunk in battle by battleship gunfire, so that seems like a big assumption.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by ldwechsler   » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:36 am

ldwechsler
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1153
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 11:15 am

kzt wrote:
Bluesqueak wrote:
Pretty much what I was taught - that Hitler's invasion might have gained a foothold on UK soil (probably Southern England), but it could never have succeeded in the long run.

The RN would have targeted the German supply chain in the Channel. The Germans could have landed, they could have made inroads - but in the end, the RN and the remaining RAF would have starved them of ammunition, petrol and other supplies.

Hence the famous 'Keep Calm and Carry On' posters, which were never actually used in the war itself. Civilians were to be told to keep calm, keep their heads down, and wait for the anti-invasion plan to work.

It’s really unclear. There just wasn’t a lotof ground combat power in England. It really depends on how much gets ashore where and what happens and how willing the people at the sharp end are to get killed.

If everyone in the UK did everything exactly right and the Germans made a lot of mistakes then yeah. But as the RN is the navy that had already, to pick one example, had an fleet aircraft carrier sunk in battle by battleship gunfire, so that seems like a big assumption.


The stupidity of those in command everywhere always remains a major battle element. Just about every nation in World War II had at least some morons making key decisions that cost a lot of lives.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Vince   » Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:25 am

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Posts: 1565
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:43 pm

ldwechsler wrote:The stupidity of those in command everywhere always remains a major battle element. Just about every nation in World War II had at least some morons making key decisions that cost a lot of lives.

World War Two had its share of morons making decisions (both key and minor) that cost a lot of lives in all the nations that participated in it.

But for the sheer magnitude (both in importance and in total number) of idiotic decisions made by morons (on all sides), World War One outstrips World War Two by astronomical lengths, starting with the anarchists, continuing through the politicians, and on down to at least the general officers.

The Great War
-------------------------------------------------------------
History does not repeat itself so much as it echoes.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Peter2   » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:11 am

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Posts: 334
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Brigade XO wrote:
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.


Early in the war, the RAF compared the performances of a Spitfire and a captured Messerschmitt 109 – it was reported in Larry Forester's book "Fly for your Life", which was the biography of Robert Stanford Tuck. Tuck, who was one of the pilots involved in testing the aircraft, was one of the RAF's top fighter pilots, with 29 kills to his credit when he was shot down by ack-ack fire on an intruder raid (over Belgium, IIRC) early in 1942. He survived the war, and died in 1987 at the age of 70 in Kent.
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