What if the ME262 was Developed Earlier in the War?

#1
3 years ago

If this was true being the ME262 developed earlier in the war then I believe that Germany would have control of the skies for a longer period of time. Because of course one bad apple ruins the entire batch like when the "Zero" crashed landed in Alaska mostly intact the same thing could happen to the ME262 (unlikely because the speed would be huge when crashing.) So what do you think?

Comments

  • #2
    3 years ago

    As you can see I'm quite new to the forms however I do like WW2 history.

    The ME262 was amazing in the short period it was active, a allied air commander once noted that an entire bomber formation with fighter escorts was annihilated by a group of the 262's.

    If they were developed earlier it is highly likely that the air superiority of the allies gained after the battle of Britain would lost, however you have to remember that Hitler was hell bent on the bombing of Britain and so denied the 262's fighter development and forced it to go to a bomber role. The developer of the 262's ( Ludwig Bölkow I believe) developed a weak bomber version and that was the mostly developed version. Hitler only transferred it to a fighter role when Germany was being very heavily bombed late in the war.

    I doubt that Hitler would have made it into a fighter jet unless he had too, so I also doubt it would be anything more than a hard to hit jet bomber.

    I'm more of a tank person than a plane one, so I might of gotten some things wrong.

    -Top Hat

  • #3
    3 years ago
    ThatguyThatguy Posts: 41

    What if the ME262 and the V2 came into operation earlier? Would we see a sort of "V3" that made conventional bombers obsolete and freeing jet fighters to be jet FIGHTERS?

  • #4
    3 years ago
    SquishyMuffinSquishyMu… Posts: 434
    edited April 2017

    Alternate history is fun and very interesting but if any of it were to be true life on Earth would be very different indeed. Saying that, the jet is an awesome aircraft and no doubt would've made a difference. Same can be said for all the technological advancements they managed under war conditions - First cruise missiles (V-1) and rocket-powered ballistic missiles (V-2's) - something North Korea is still struggling with (lol), Assault rifles replacing Kar98's, Tiger 2's and Panthers, Horten Ho 229's (revolutionary design to this day bbc.com/future/story/20160201-the-wwii-flying-wing-decades-ahead-of-its-time).

    In regards to ME262 - when they did have a few of them around allied bombers and fighters were roaming the skies of German territories. Shooting them down in their take off and landing phases where they were super slow and vulnerable. They also lacked in having many skilled Pilots by then.

    There are plenty of Wunderwaffe to tickle ones interest. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wunderwaffe

    In-game OKW should get some sort of ME262 ability in a new commander or something. That'd be cool.

  • #5
    3 years ago
    comrade_daelincomrade_d… Posts: 2,948

    The technological advantages of Germany's armed forces actually illustrate how having better stuff doesn't mean an inherent advantage. The Germans developed some pretty innovative stuff, but logistics and economics severely hindered their effective use. They could have developed the Tiger in 1939 and it wouldn't change anything; if however Speer was minister of arms well before he did in real life, and implemented the things he did much earlier, you probably wouldn't even need something like the Tiger because you'd be making so many more things.

    The Me262 for all of it's advantages require several things to even begin to have effect: you needed pilots with the necessary skills, and you cannot just pluck any pilot from the Luftwaffe to do the job. In this case how earlier is important because by mid-war the Luftwaffe's pilot reserve was being sapped dry due to poor strategic decisions and attrition. The fact that they had planes on the ground with neither crews, pilots now fuel to be used demonstrates this above all else- it would not matter one bit, if they were all Me262s jets.
    While the Me262 seemed to have used common fuels consumed by other aircraft, the fact that fuel shortages by bombings and diversion to other needs (ie army needed fuel for their tanks too) means that Germany still didn't have enough to go around. Control of the skies requires you to have the economy to sustain them, and sustain them without hurting the capabilities of your other armed services; it means little if your strategic bombers can't do their jobs or the tanks can't move to fight.
    Maintenance of the Me262 was also more frequent compared to other aircraft, requiring service after around 30-50 hours of use, if I recall correctly. That's pretty bad mileage for something that's just a fighter or fighter-bomber. You'd need a huge amount of them to control the skies consistently (lots of fuel, lots of crews, lots of planes, lots of airfields and hangers).

    Development is also just one thing; producing them is another. Militaries often go for the cheap and robust because when war comes, as much of the industry can be diverted to war production as possible. You can't order every factory to start making jet engines when they have neither the tooling or even the conception of such machines to make. So on top of lots of people and fuel and places to use the Me262, you also need the factories to make them, as well as replace losses. The military leadership believed two things against the Me262: they weren't needed because regular piston aircraft were cheaper and can be produced in more places, and the war wouldn't last that long to require them. Given wartime constraints it's a surprise the concept wasn't scrapped altogether: Goering merely reduced development staff.
    This fighter jet may be fast but it was far from robust- accidents from training, losses from combat and sabotage and failed landings need to be considered when churning out these units. And again even so, losing pilots is much harder on an airforce than losing the plane.

    And lastly, it's a fighter jet. It was designed as a fighter, and as a jet it serves the fighter role well, but not so in something like a bomber role, which Hitler insisted well after development. You don't turn a fighter jet into a bomber by just putting on bombs under it's wing. Plus the Luftwaffe as a matter of strategy relies much more on tactical bombing than fighters. Fighter jets are there to destroy enemy fighters and the bombers they would be protecting- but you'd need more than jet fighters to control the skies. So by all means, even if you somehow managed good logistics, good training and even good strategy to come up with tons of jet fighters before the Me262 came around, you'd STILL need the bombers and their own logistics, manpower and strategy to win a war. A signficiant factor of Allies controlling European skies is because they had the bombers to make sure the Luftwaffe cannot fight back: over Britain the Germans failed to keep the RAF grounded because they were attacking the wrong targets, and weren't equipped with bombers with larger payloads to do the job even if they were.
    It's like eating at fancy restaurant in the toilet: your experience will be rubbish and it won't matter if you got the best meal or the best service in your life. What makes you control the skies is not merely shooting down enemy bombers (the Me262's forte), but having good bombers of your own (of which the Me262 was not designed for and which the Luftwaffe as a whole lacked enough of).

    If you want control of the skies, you go for strategic bombers as it makes sure the enemy has nothing to contest the skies with. However as much as the Allies bombed Europe with their flying fortresses, the casualties and the return benefits were actually pretty horrible- Germany's industry was doing really bad late in the war not so much because it was so effective but because the Allies were throwing thousands of lives into the meatgrinder- something that doomed the Germans when they tried it over Britain.

  • #6
    3 years ago
    SquishyMuffinSquishyMu… Posts: 434
    edited April 2017
    Well of course nothing helps if you're at war with most of the world. Their aircraft production increased every year (think the same can be said of the tanks) and didn't halt in '45. They produced the same amount in those 4 months before surrender as they did in the whole of '40. Including the jet aircraft, one of which was a jet bomber (Arado Ar 234). It was 'impossible' to intercept. Imagine if they'd been around earlier. Fuel was the biggest issue. They produced more 262's in '45 than whole '44 too.

    The battle for France, Poland etc gives credence to the fact that modern tactics, weaponry and machinery do give an advantage. Of course it does/would.
  • #7
    3 years ago
    comrade_daelincomrade_d… Posts: 2,948

    Production of the aircraft was just problem; the fact that only some of said production was allowed to be used as fighters was another. Hitler insisted that it had to have bomber capabilities...and had to be USED like one! So what you had was a bunch of jets brought off the assembly line, but only like one in a dozen were allotted to fighter squadrons.

    So the historical circumstances of both the jet and the Luftwaffe in general, the Me262 was a small factor in controlling the skies. Fighters are there to take down other fighters, and make sure they don't attack your bombers. But the Luftwaffe neither had the sort of bombers needed to control the skies, and didn't develop one that was effective with large payload.

    So in essence, OP is assuming a relationship between air supremacy and number of fighter aircraft. There isn't one. Battle of Britain wasn't lost because the Luftwaffe didn't have enough fighters; they didn't have enough bombers and the bombers weren't being used appropriately.

    EDIT: during early production, Hitler ordered that one in twenty of the jets were to be used as a fighter; later on, when the Arado's Ar-234 were designed, he allowed one Me262 to be used as a fighter for every Ar-234 produced.

    Modern tactics and weaponry mean nothing if you got neither the economy, industry nor manpower to put them to good use. Goering threw away his manpower over Britain, and Hitler lacked the forward thinking to utilize the potential of these technologies- got a jet fighter? Use it as a bomber instead!
    Against the French and Polish, the Germans won because they were concluded swiftly and without the danger of attrition sapping your strength. Your etc. won't include Russia because the opposite happened: the Russians pumped out the men and machines to take Berlin, even if they weren't entirely state of the art designs.

  • #8
    3 years ago
    SquishyMuffinSquishyMu… Posts: 434
    edited May 2017

    @comrade_daelin said:

    Against the French and Polish, the Germans won because they were concluded swiftly and without the danger of attrition sapping your strength. Your etc. won't include Russia because the opposite happened: the Russians pumped out the men and machines to take Berlin, even if they weren't entirely state of the art designs.

    No, they didn't win because they didn't pack any winter clothes. There are an unbelievably high amount of variables and 'what ifs' in regards to the Russian campaign. Being at war on two fronts, terrible strategic blunders ETC ETC. There is no denying the Russians had a vast reserve and could have kept retreating East. But losing territory that the Germans then gain only evens it out imo.

    Had the Italians none been total Kappa Hitler wouldn't have had to invade Greece too. Halting a crucial phase. It then had serious consequences for the Axis war effort in the North African theatre. It all adds up and has long term effects - the manpower, fuel, munitions - as you like to keep repeating.

    In regards to technology - again, yes it does influence outcomes. Germans encountered KV-1's and became a problem once the Soviets knew how to use them properly, slowing advances - albeit for a short period of time when the Germans then effectively countered them. The Soviets won WW2 at an incredibly, to put it crudely, low K/D rate.

    Reading up on V2's is very interesting. The potential was there but basic tactics such as the Allies actively fooling the Germans into thinking they are hitting their marks thwarted their effectiveness. If nuclear heads were fitted onto them it would've been GG. But obviously Axis nuclear programs never got beyond a certain stage before being put on hold for more pressing needs.

  • #9
    3 years ago
    comrade_daelincomrade_d… Posts: 2,948

    @SquishyMuffin said:

    No, they didn't win because they didn't pack any winter clothes. There are an unbelievably high amount of variables and 'what ifs' in regards to the Russian campaign. Being at war on two fronts, terrible strategic blunders ETC ETC. There is no denying the Russians had a vast reserve and could have kept retreating East. But losing territory that the Germans then gain only evens it out imo.

    All which hinge on force economy and force employment. Even if every German in Russia had adequate clothing, they'd have to content with the fact that the majority of their logistics trail consist of horse wagons. There's a reason why they lost at Russian but succeeded in Poland and France, and the different is more than simply the choice of clothes. There are a lot of factors to winning a war like WW2, but economy, logistics and manpower are the overarching themes. Your tactics mean nothing if you literally lacked entire divisions to pull them off or had no fuel to sustain the vehicles.

    @SquishyMuffin said:
    In regards to technology - again, yes it does influence outcomes. Germans encountered KV-1's and became a problem once the Soviets knew how to use them properly, slowing advances - albeit for a short period of time when the Germans then effectively countered them. The Soviets won WW2 at an incredibly, to put it crudely, low K/D rate.

    KV series of tanks is an example of technological advances employed poorly. Even the T-34 for all its glory wasn't used very well. The "shock" that every website will talk about was never lasting nor dramatic, because the Germans adapted quickly, if not easily. But the Soviets can churn out many more medium tanks than the Germans can, or were willing to. One of the biggest concerns for equipping armies was, well, equipping them. You can't do that if you make some advanced weapons but turns out you can only produce a fifth of the amount needed for your troops to use. And that's just guns, now talk about jet engine aircraft, designed for specific roles in mind.
    The "real shock" was that it prompted a technological arms race of not only upgunning tanks, but upgunning as many as you can.

    @SquishyMuffin said:
    Reading up on V2's is very interesting. The potential was there but basic tactics such as the Allies actively fooling the Germans into thinking they are hitting their marks thwarted their effectiveness. If nuclear heads were fitted onto them it would've been GG. But obviously Axis nuclear programs never got beyond a certain stage before being put on hold for more pressing needs.

    Because of economy and logistics. Even if Germany was to be geared up for total war, which they did too late under Speer, Hitler would have bungled the whole thing anyways. So not only did the Germans have significant economic and strategic disadvantages, they had an idiotic dictator that would render an economic and strategic advantage moot...which was demonstrated multiple times in any event.

  • #10
    3 years ago
    SquishyMuffinSquishyMu… Posts: 434
    edited May 2017

    @comrade_daelin Yep.

    Last interesting note in regards to manpower, equipment, fuel, munition superiority:

    "The Red Army in 1941 was the largest in the world. In tanks it outnumbered, in airplanes it equaled, the rest of worlds armies put together. - The World At War - my favourite piece of documentary..ever.

    In addition Operation Retribution also delayed Barbarossa by 5 crucial weeks.

    Yes Russians used same tactics as French the summer before - 6,000 Sov tanks were lost in just two engagements at Minsk, and Smolensk.

    Lack of preperation for general winter cannot be understated in the battle for Moscow.

  • #11
    3 years ago
    comrade_daelincomrade_d… Posts: 2,948
    edited May 2017

    On the issue of bombers, during the Battle of Britain the issue wasn't fighters but rather the bombers needing escorts: thus the biggest role of a fighter like the Me262 would be its ability to protect bombers from fighter attack.
    If your bombers are too slow, then the Me262's advantage of speed would be reduced because much of its time would be flying along bombers. Their best application would of course be warding off fighter attacks...except the Me262's speed would make this for an inefficient usage of jet fighters. The Luftwaffe did try the "pre-sweep" tactic where fighter squadrons would fly into British skies in order to provoke a response by the RAF, but the British kept to avoiding confrontations unless bombers were incoming, something they could discern through their use of radar.

    On the matter of production, development being earlier raises the question of whether that means the design has matured by the time production is ordered. The initial jet engines used strategic materials that would not have been available for mass production, so even if the design of the engine was finalized, they'd still have to make adjustments to meet wartime constraints. This is a very typical phase of technical design in things like rifles and vehicles- once prototypes are designed and deemed the best for service, you almost inevitably come across the question of what corners can be cut to meet production quotas. The Jumo 004 was a fine engine, but not when you have to effectively downgrade it's build quality in order to be able to produce enough to meet demand. Ironically, the engines themselves were relatively easy and cheap to produce.
    As a result, just from the perspective of the jet engines, you had unreliable engines produced in sufficient numbers, which also compromised the number of available Me262 for combat at any time, plus the logistical involved in overhauls and maintenance. And this is assuming you just stick to jet-engined fighters, and not also dramatically expand the demand for jet engine production to things like jet-powered bombers, which would probably give you an even greater edge in a war.

    So the dilemma would be two things: the dilemma of keeping small number of jet fighters or large number of conventional piston aircraft, and the dilemma of producing jet fighters versus jet bombers. A much better what if scenario would rather be something like outfitting large aircraft like the Heinkell 177 with jet engines to produce a very fast long range strategic bomber, basically a B-52 in the early 1940s. It would be like the Vietnam War, but the Viet Cong had sticks and stones and the US had modern drones.

  • #12
    3 years ago
    TheWiseTheWise Posts: 63
    edited May 2017

    There's no "if" in history .....
    Besides it - as it's already said - "better weaponry doesn't mean instant victory". Just for instance - in 1941 the Germans with tanks, which were severely inferior to T-34 and KV-1, came to the Moscow outskirts. In 1945 Soviets with tanks, which also were inferior to Koenigtigers, Tigers and Panthers - stormed and captured Berlin.
    I.e. - people, not weaponry, is the most valuable asset in each and every war.

  • #13
    2 years ago
    BaálthazorBaálthazor The shoreline by the river Styx.Posts: 1,092
    Well..,

    The main problem here is that Germany was not fighting in equal terms. They were(more or less) fighting the whole world, baring a few exceptions) AND they had the misfortune of being stradled with the "military genius" of Hitler..!
    They had very limited resources, was boxed in on a limited corner of the world AND and didn't have as capable allies as the... well.., allies..!

    In the end, it's hard to see how they coulda pulled through, planes, thanks, munitions whatever.., the advantages of their opponents was simply to great...

    It was Germany's lot in life(same as with the japs) to be surrounded by numerous enemies with a stronger economy, abundant natural resources and better access to either...

    The fact that Germany held out for as long as they did, is a testament to their resilience, tenacity and brutality of their regime...
    But thank the fuck Christ that they lost in the end..!

    PS;
    Oh, and btw, the Tiger I got off to a miserable start, getting stuck in the mud outside of Leningrad in Sep. 42. Out of 4 Tigers, only 1 were recovered thanks to Hitler's idiocy..!
  • #14
    1 year ago

    The end result is the same, the Luftwaffe just inflicts more losses on B-17 squadrons before being worn away through the constant attrition of fighting and impending defeat on the Eastern Front.

    Total victory of the kind Hitler envisioned was out of the question after Barbarossa failed. The best they could hope for and indeed went for was a stalemate and negotiated settlement if Case Blue was successful. The twin disasters of Stalingrad and El Alamein made total defeat likely, Kursk made escape from that completely impossible.

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