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World War II question, for other buffs?


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Paul

When B-17s, and other ships, were on bomb runs, would they attempt to bomb the anti-aircraft guns - which I assume, quite often to be German 88s, as well as the designated target? Or, would they mostly just fly through the flack to try to make it to the targeted areas?

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Thought any of you that had not seen this would appreciate it  

Thought some of you might like this a couple of minutes on what it was to look out a norden bomb sight  

I think they stuck to whatever the set target was.   

From what I understand is and correct me if I am wrong, but the ships usually went for the anti-aircraft guns if they were close enough to the coast to soften up the main targets and the bombers went for the actual target as the missions where dangerous enough without having to target the anti-aircraft guns which could also be replaced within a day where as the factories where more strategic as they took weeks and months to get back in working order.  

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colemanlee

From what I have been told, seen , read, the bombers stayed on a pretty straight course as they had to to have the bomb sights to work..this link will explain the bombsight and why they needed to stay at the same altitude, course etc...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norden_bombsight

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bkkmarlowe

I think they stuck to whatever the set target was.   

 

Yes, I would think so too. And dodging the flak and Luffwaffe fighter planes.

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lamoe

The 88 was too small a target and too mobile to have a priority 

 

88mm_ab.jpg

Edited by lamoe
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colemanlee

The 88 was too small a target and too mobile to have a priority 

 

88mm_ab.jpg

I watched something the other night that said what a great tank killer it was...seems that was one of Rommel ideas..

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I'm a member of a site that has all sorts of interesting comments about war history this is one about B 17's, the plane thought to be the most indestructable vehicle of war. 

 

This is a post by George Gonzalez

 

While they were called "Flying Fortresses", the first ones had guns in unhelpful places, and discovery of  "The Big Empty 3D Sky and The Tiny, Tiny Fast Moving Messerchmitt" hadn't been made yet.    The two side gunners were almost totally ineffective, bundled up so tightly in leather overalls.  The gunsights were really poor, with the gunner expected to be swiveling the gun with two hands  while maintaining a wingspan caliper dial across the wingspan of the fighter plane while estimating the plane's angle, while pressing the firing buttons, all at the same time, in a -40 degree hurricane.

The average lifetime of a B-17 bomber was around 50 hours, about 10 missions.

It may look good in the movies seeing all those bullets flying around, but the cold hard facts are that less than 1 in 1,000 bullets ever hit anything,  less than 1 in 10,000 ever hit an enemy plane.    And a typical shell load was 2,500 to 5,000 bullets so the average bomber during its ten missions only hit an enemy plane with 3 bullets.

The situation was soooo bad that eventually on the B-29's they replaced the guns with broomsticks and didn't load any heavy bullets at all.  The planes could then fly much, much higher and get hit far less.

With the B-36's, the guns were so bad, they eventually took them off completely, forgot about even brandishing broomsticks, faired over the openings,  and the planes could then fly almost 20,000 feet higher, way beyond the reach of flak or contemporary fighters.

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Paul

While I agree that B-17s were not long for this world due to the anti-aircraft guns and fighters going after them, they were not designed to be fighters. Their primary service was intended to be a long range bomber, no? Wasn't the primary reason guns were put on B-17s, because we did not have long enough range on fighters at that point in the war? 

 

Or, am I mistaken here?

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colemanlee

The only fighter capable of escorting the bombers all the way in WW2 was the Mustang when it came on line....Ive studied the fighters a fair amount and never could understand why not the P38 as it had a fairly long range also....it could be that the Brits, had a non supercharged version that really sucked, no altitude capability...but the American version would fly higher than the bombers...and as much as I have looked I cant find the answer, maybe somebody here will have that piece of knowledge....

But as it worked out, the P51 was the first fighter that could escort the Bombers all the way to Germany...

 

To answer your other question, when the B17 was introduced it was believed that the armament it carried would protect it from the fighters..that proved to be not true...hence the 8th Airforce changed its tactics and started the close formations we see in the movies..it was believed that by flying close formation the circle of fire would protect the formations...which worked better but still not enough...there is a huge amount of information on You Tube concerning the bombers, the tactics, and the fighters....giving both the good ideas and the mistakes made

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The casualties of those air crews was staggering. If memory is correct the losses were about 50% or more of the men that climbed into those aircraft were killed. Their casualty rate was one of the highest of the war. 

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colemanlee

Thought some of you might like this a couple of minutes on what it was to look out a norden bomb sight

 

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RogerDat

I saw a pice that said if US had bombed the power grid the factories would have shut down, and the war ended a year eailer.

I will try to find it.

Once the lead bomber turned on his sights for the run, they all were stuck in formation till the bombs were gone,then they could

evade / manover.

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Paul

 

 

I saw a pice that said if US had bombed the power grid the factories would have shut down, and the war ended a year eailer. I will try to find it.

 

I didn't intend for this to go into a debate about the war, etc. I was merely curious as why the bomb crews tolerated the 88s constantly beating the hell out of them as they flew on a path to the target, without the 88s becoming part of said target. I think that has pretty well been answered.

 

It was more of a curiosity to me, as I am finishing up a series from the '60s, called Twelve O-Clock High. A movie with the same title, I watched, which was a 1949 release, I believe, with Gregory Peck playing a major roll in the film. (He was a general heading up the 118th Bomb Group, although the story is a flash back by his adjutant, a Major who served during that time.)

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