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Bf 110 vs Lancaster 1942-45
JPTRR
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RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 05:02 PM UTC
Osprey Publishing book Duel * 51 compares the nocturnal nemeses over Occupied Europe between 1942-45: Bf 110 vs Lancaster.

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If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
Siderius
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Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 02:14 PM UTC
Looks very interesting. Amazing how the Lancaster wasn't as heavily armed as it could of been. The Flying Fortress getting it's name from the array of .50 caliber machine guns positioned around the aircraft. Russell
stooge
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Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 09:22 PM UTC
Sort of. It really was a numbers game. A lone B17 was very very likely to be shot down. A small group was very very likely to be attacked and lose members. The Lanc was heading out into Europe off the back of some very serious pasting by the Luftwaffe of small groups of RAF bombers and in smaller groups than the B17. The B17 and B24 groups were made large very quickly after early small groups were challenged.
FalkeEins
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Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 02:15 PM UTC
Yes Fred, you were right; this title did irk me for one...its all very well comparing the Lancaster versus the Bf 110 'dispassionately' and on the basis solely of the figures and stats; what Forzcyk does here is completely lose sight of the 'context', the background against which these two machines were deployed.

For one thing this approach means that the Lancaster and its crews get little credit here for the destruction wrought on German industrial centres and related infrastructure. The fact that German armament production increased during 1944 is explained, Mr Forczyk, by the FANTASTIC resources devoted by the Germans to bunker building, civil defence, production dispersal, underground factories, massive deployment of foreign and slave labour (more than 650,000 Frenchmen alone went 'voluntarily' to work in German factories between 1942-44) and many other factors - not least the relative ineffectiveness of the USAAF's daylight bombing offensive - and not to any failure of Bomber Command's night offensive. The author produces statistics on the cost to the UK of producing a strategic bombing force which make interesting reading - his aim though is to show that the British invested almost as much in the Lancaster "program" as the US did in the atomic bomb project and seemingly got far less in return for their investment. He ignores the evidence that roughly 50% of Germany's entire war effort was devoted to DEFENDING against the RAF's strategic bombing campaign while British expenditure on strategic bombing was 12% of the UK's total war outlay - a decent enough return I'd have thought. And US Lend-Lease "meant that the British didn't have to produce landing craft or machine guns.. ". Maybe not, but simply put, Mr Forczyk, RAF Bomber Command were the much vaunted Second Front in Europe; even early on in the war large numbers of Germans - not just women and children - were manning anti-aircraft guns in German cities and constructing huge bunkers for civil defence. A considerable number of these could perhaps have been fighting soldiers at the front against the British in North Africa or against Stalin's Russia in front of Moscow. By the time the RAF launched it's first 1,000 bomber raid (May 1942, not 'late 1942') the city of Cologne had devoted nearly one hundred million RM to civil defence including bunker building. This was just one German city. See Zaloga in 'Defence of the Third Reich' (an Osprey "Fortress" title) for some figures. Hitler of course had ordered the 'Sofortprogram' of huge civil defence projects from the first raids on Berlin that took place in mid-1940. Difficult to describe the bombing of Germany as " ineffectual " in the context of the overall picture of German home defence and the FANTASTIC resources it tied up. Of course the author quotes the RAF's own 1942 Butt report which highlighted the difficulties of hitting individual factory targets from 4 miles up. Hence the campaign against the Ruhr district. For the British, 'Terror bombing' was the only offensive weapon available to Bomber Command in mid-1940 when British backs were to the wall. As usual American writers/historians tend to forget this. Nor do they tend to point out that the USAAF were just as eager to bomb the big German cities and especially Berlin as the RAF were and the USAAF tried any number of times to do just this from March 1944 when they felt sufficiently strong enough. The USAAF hid (hides) behind the pretense that collateral casualties were avoidable but the vaunted Norden sight was just as ineffectual above cloud cover. Having already demonstrated that Kammhuber's Himmelbett and the limited 'box' system for the night defence of Germany could be easily overwhelmed, Bomber Command comprehensively defeated & blinded the Nachtjagd over Hamburg in July 1943 - Forcyzk almost says this; his emphasis though is on the "40,000 civilians " that died - just how many of these were involved in Hamburg's U-Boat construction yards then Mr Forcyzk? In the context of this defeat of the German night fighter force it is perhaps not surprising that 'Bomber' Harris thought his heavy bomber squadrons could go on and finish the job. Even the Nazi hierarchy (men like Speer) thought they could too - not that Forcyzk says this. Rather bizarrely Forczyck ends his text by declaring that the resources devoted to the Lancaster could have been far better spent on another great British aircraft, the de Havilland Mosquito. The bomber offensive might not make much sense to author Forcyzk 70 years after the event but with German bombers over the UK almost nightly during the early part of the war was it really practical not to retaliate in kind and could Churchill seriously have remained PM until 1945 had he done nothing to take the war to Hitler's Germany ?

JPTRR
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RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 01:41 PM UTC
Hi Neil,

Great rebuttal with good contrasting facts. I am dubious of some of the author's conclusions, especially his idea that Mossies would have been a better investment for attacking Berlin than Lancs. Certainly amusing to think of putting a Tall Boy under a de Havilland!

I don't think the author was discounting strategic bombing or RAF's only early option of night area bombing. He even prefaced the book that a Duel title of a heavy bomber verses a fighter is not a conventional competition between wing loadings and cockpit visibility. Rather, tactics, cost and purpose. In that regard I think he made a very strong point that a relatively few Nachtjagers almost defeated Bomber Command's premier offensive weapon system at night.

Does FW 190 Sturmböcke vs B-17 include statistics of how many B-17s were lost in combat verse total built? I recall approx. 50% were lost to all causes but I won't swear to it.

A fascinating book that the author sources is The Other Battle by Peter Hinchliffe. I read it years ago and was shocked at how bloody the night bomber offensive was.

Thanks for the post!