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Old 5th August 2009, 14:59
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: VIIIUSAAF and BC failures at the Wesel bridges.

Hi Tony,

interesting thread, but this ground has been trashed out before vis-a-vis Allied dive bombers over Western Europe. While the versatility of this platform cannot be denied, the question will always remain as to whether they were viable against defended targets in this theatre (in this regard, IMHO, usage and success in Burma just cannot be compared).

I don't know what Smith has to say about the question of venerability of dive bombers against German Flak over Western Europe, but I see no reason why they would not possibly have had a very high attrition rate against certain targets. Consider the attition rate of the Typhoons and Tempests against Light Flak in late 1944/1945, and these were, in relative terms, fast movers, as were the 2TAF Mosquitoes, which, for example, lost 20 to Flak during Operation Clarion on 22 Feb 1945. Now imagine a relatively stationary target such as a dive bomber before bomb release against a German-defended bridgehead...

I think that while there were advantages to the dive bombing option, there were also distinct disadvantages in this case, and there would be no guarrantee of universal success for this platform, especially to offset attrition (along with the loss of experienced crews). Also, as with all air operations, success mostly required eyes on target...and there was no guarrantee of this during the winter of 1944/45. At least heavy bombers could be switched to different regions as weather dictated.

The RAF had first hand experience of periods of unsustainable attrition between 1939-44, and I would not underestimate this in terms of the thinking leading up to D-Day and beyond.


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