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Old February 13th, 2015, 02:23 PM   #1
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What if Walther Wever didn't die in 1936?


From Wikipedia:

"Walther Wever (11 November 1887 3 June 1936) was a pre-World War II Luftwaffe Commander. He was an early proponent of the theory of strategic bombing as a means to wage war, supporting the theories of Giulio Douhet. Wever was killed in an air crash in June of 1936, and the dream of a strategic bomber force died with him. His replacement, Albert Kesselring, saw no need for such a force, and was much more interested in building a larger number of smaller tactical aircraft instead. He canceled the program outright on April 29, 1937, and the prototypes of the Ju 89 and Do 19 were used for flight research and cargo duties."

What if he didn't die? What developments would the Luftwaffe have taken with his guidance? How would his ideas affect Germany's performance during the war?
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Old February 13th, 2015, 02:51 PM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmyers1980 View Post
From Wikipedia:

"Walther Wever (11 November 1887 – 3 June 1936) was a pre-World War II Luftwaffe Commander. He was an early proponent of the theory of strategic bombing as a means to wage war, supporting the theories of Giulio Douhet. Wever was killed in an air crash in June of 1936, and the dream of a strategic bomber force died with him. His replacement, Albert Kesselring, saw no need for such a force, and was much more interested in building a larger number of smaller tactical aircraft instead. He canceled the program outright on April 29, 1937, and the prototypes of the Ju 89 and Do 19 were used for flight research and cargo duties."

What if he didn't die? What developments would the Luftwaffe have taken with his guidance? How would his ideas affect Germany's performance during the war?
Germany would have had a far less effective bomber fleet in the early part of the war..
German industry could build a large number of medium bombers useful for tactical support, or it could build a smaller number of medium bombers for the tactical role and heavy bombers for strategic bombing, in which case the numbers would probably be not enough to adequately fulfil either role effectively.
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Old February 13th, 2015, 02:51 PM   #3

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Such programs are expensive and probably hurt Germans during the war similar to V2 and other programs. In 1940 it was British radar and fuel limits which hurt Luftwaffe most.
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Old February 15th, 2015, 12:39 PM   #4

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Aah yes, the German dream of a Ural bomber. As has been mentioned bigger bombers take longer to build and cost more. For a nation with concerns over shortages of fuel the notion of thousands of heavy bombers pounding Moscow and beyond was a pipe dream that the Luftwaffe were wise not to chase.

From the table below taken from Wiki
Quarterly production 1942-1944 of the smaller two engined He111


Year 1942 1943 1944
Quarter Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Produced 301 350 356 330 462 340 302 301 313 317 126


That is barely 3 planes a day for a twin engined bomber. Given these facts it does suggest that the production of sufficient heavy bombers would have been impossible in wartime Germany without compromising production of the ju 88

Last edited by funakison; February 15th, 2015 at 12:46 PM.
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Old February 16th, 2015, 01:03 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichon View Post
Such programs are expensive and probably hurt Germans during the war similar to V2 and other programs. In 1940 it was British radar and fuel limits which hurt Luftwaffe most.
British radar had a mixed effectiveness depending on whether the masts had been destroyed. For all the advance notice the Germans had about British radar (which the Germans found very amusing when they realised how crude it was compared to theirs), sometimes the masts were interpreted as civilian radio installations and ignored. It was therefore more to do with failures of military intelligence than actual radar returns. The Observor Corps were just as important.

It is true that Luftwaffe fighters had only around ten minutes combat time over London, but that was the latter half of the campaign when strategic objectives had become blurry. In the earlier part, the attacks on British airfields were designed to win air superiority over SE England, and thus shorter ranged attacks consequently did not suffer the same restrictions. It's also worth pointing out that British losses of aircrew in the latter part of the battle had begun to exceed those of the Germans as inexperienced aircrew were rushed in as replacements - for that reason, Goering always maintained that the Battle of Britain was a draw.
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Old February 16th, 2015, 03:14 AM   #6
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Germany never had the resources for a large 4 engined bomber fleet.

For example, aero engine production:

Year - UK - Germany
1940 - 24,000 - 16,000
1941 - 37,000 - 22,000
1942 - 54,000 - 37,000
1943 - 58,000 - 51,000
1944 - 57,000 - 55,000

Germany also had major constraints on its oil supply.
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Old February 16th, 2015, 04:31 AM   #7

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Germany did rely heavily on Romanian oil from Ploestti, but it also derived petrol supplies artificially by industrial process, and in fact, one 4 engine bomber design (Me264, designed to reach New York... Yeah... Okay) was adapted to run on coal derived fuel. This was why Germany wanted to reach the Caucasus so desperately, and why it played around in Iraq hoping to take advantage of a local rebellion against British imperial rule. However, the question of engine allocation is academic because it responds to policy. With the Luftwaffe geared toward army support, there was little room for strategic aeroplanes which were never properly supported in German thinking (Strictly speaking no-one thought seriously at that stage, and the British evolved heavy bombers out of necessity after 1940, with few such aeroplanes in the sky before 1942).
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