Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This is coolbert:

From a comment to the blog by Steiner:

"the Soviet willingness to accept astonishing combat losses, that would have halted a British or American campaign, such as after the Schweinfurt raids."

Steiner is speaking of the American long-raid B-17 bombing missions against the ball-bearing factories of the Third Reich concentrated near the city of Schweinfurt. Massed formations of unescorted B-17 Flying Fortress bomber aircraft reliant upon their own organic weaponry shot down in enormous numbers, almost catastrophic in nature, AFTER THE TWO RAIDS ON SCHWEINFURT THE AMERICAN ARMY AIR CORPS HEAVY BOMBER FORCE UNABLE TO TAKE TO THE SKIES IN SUCH NUMBERS FOR A PERIOD OF FIVE MONTHS!!

Those ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt felt to be a industrial key target the destruction of which would severely cripple German war munitions industry to such an extent that the Nazi adversary would be forced in short order to cry: "uncle" and surrender.

NO ball bearings, NO more war munitions, tanks, aircraft, any vehicle containing an internal combustion engine come to a stand-still. Such was the thought.

"1940s-era German machinery was believed to be more dependent on ball bearings than most. It was estimated, for example, that the German aviation industry consumed an average of 2.4 million bearings per month . . . Schweinfurt accounting for more than 40 percent of production, made . . . Schweinfurt in particular an obvious target."

Targets such as the ball-bearing factories dismissively described by the English commander Arthur Harris as "panacea targets"!

From the book by Andrew Roberts:

"The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War" - - By Andrew Roberts

"Harris tended to decry precision attacks on individual industries such as ball-bearing or synthetic-oil factories as favored by the Americans dismissing them as 'panacea targets'"

That two day-light missions to Schweinfurt as flown by the massed heavy bomber formations sustaining heavy losses, unacceptable casualties the losses not producing a result commensurate with the damage done!!

German defenses, in particular the air interceptors/fighters and other assorted aircraft frenetic and almost overwhelming in nature, THE GERMAN USING TECHNIQUES AND METHODS PREVIOUSLY NEVER ENCOUNTERED SUCH WAS THE INTENSITY OF THE AIR BATTLE!!

That intensity of the German to protect that vital target [the ball-bearing factories] without precedent. Almost fevered by comparison with any other air-to-air battle up unto that point!!

"the Luftwaffe began to ferociously attack the bombers. Single-engine Focke-Wulf 190s and Messerschmitt 109s came directly at the formations, firing their 20-millimeter cannons and machine guns and twin-engine Messerschmitt 110s and 210s would stay beyond the range of the bomber’s guns and shoot crude rockets into the formations. Also in the fight were Junkers 88s, primarily used as night fighters by the Germans, and Junkers 87s, which were fixed-landing gear dive bombers that would climb above the Allied formations and drop time-fused bombs down among the B-17s."

“We were briefed to be met by about five hundred enemy fighters of various sorts. It turned out to be about seven hundred . . . Fighters, usually twin-engine, lined up at beyond our gun range and began launching rockets that appeared to be like a telephone pole as they passed by us and exploded. Some enemy aircraft flew above us towing bombs on long cables hoping to entangle the cable on a Flying Fortress."

More than anything else, those "time-fused bombs" and towed bombs were intended to cause the aircraft of the B-17 combat box to break formation? Bombs at the end of cables resembling a flying barrage balloon?

From an authority whose expertise in such matters we can trust we have this comment:

"I've heard of the plane with a bomb on cable, but don't know how you'd get that off the ground. No cable would be long enough to protect the plane from getting hit with its own bomb blast though. As for the Stuka story, I can't say whether it is true or not, but I think its altitude restrictions, coupled with its very slow speed, would severely limit its usefulness in such a role."

Again, the purpose of these means and methods was more or less to cause panic among those pilots of a B-17 combat box and have them break formation, susceptibility to subsequent shoot-down by German interceptors that much greater then?

Those Flying Fortresses too were attacked en route to the target and during the return too. Losses versus gains was found to be unsustainable, American commanders having to re-think their tactics and doctrine, AND MOST OF ALL WAIT FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE LONG-RANGE ESCORT FIGHTER, THE P-51!


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