- Feb 2012
The obsession with dive bombing did lead to a measure of wasted effort as manufacturers struggled to add that capability to aircraft not designed nor suitable for it, but the idea was accurate bombing, which gets overlooked in the criticism. Dive bombing had proven itself prior to WW2 as very effective in hitting targets but the problem is that it caused huge strain on the airframe which most designs weren't sufficiently strong enough to withstand. In a sense, the idea persisted in a muted form as fighters on all sides were regularly used to carry bombs for small scale attacks. Hitler even ordered that all fighters should carry bombs - his idea was to improve the tactical usefulness of fighter squadrons in support of ground operations right to the end, a paradigm he had always promoted. I don't think dive bombing was the cause - it was the lack of insight that failed to see strategic bombing as a weapon of huge importance and the inability of the Third Reich to invest resources in their development. But then, they had not planned for a long term strategic war and began by quickening the pace of their speedy annexations and local invasions to acquire territory. The change came of course when Hitler fell to temptation and invaded Russia in 1941, then declaring war on the US in early 1942 which released them from any legal restraint on involvement of their forces and vast industrial base - which was beyond the range of Axis aircraft anyway and relied on submarine interdiction, which ironically was increasingly vulnerable to aircraft.