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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Stephen N Russell

WW2 stragetic bomber concepts

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What if the US did fund Long range bombers & we had these in WW2:


B30 Connie bomber



& YB49.

What would  outcome belike for Pacific area alone asideETO.

B17s would be be delegated to Lifeboat service to save crews & Maritime patrol  over convoys inbound to UK.

What If if funding & tech issues No problem.

Imagine 10 squadrons of B19s bombing Japan with its bomb load  alone.

Or B19s raiding Japan from Alaska vs Doolittle Raid by B25.

Ideas, comments.





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Consider the possibilities if the B29 would have been used in ETO.  Sure the PTO was longer range and that was important. But consider the addition of a squardron in europe . They could have flown over flak and had much longer range and time on target.

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As I see it the big problem with the USA bomber program in WW2 was the lack of ability to carry a decent sized bomb, coupled with accuracy problems in aiming the bombs.  The B-29 for instance could not carry the 22.000 lb "Grand Slam" internally, though able to be modified to carry two EXTERNALLY. (What the effects of two of these, mounted externally, on take-off performance would be I would rather not imagine, the B-29 was a bitch anyway on British_Grand_Slam_bomb.jpg.aa4f2ad732440a82fb28e39ab0607b53.jpg

take-off due to having a non-steerable nose wheel, causing its engines to overheat after being used to steer the aircraft.)  Accuracy is also something which needs to be taken into account, the idea of one aircraft aiming and the rest of the formation toggling when they see the lead ship unload would seem to be counter productive to accuracy.  I realise that the discussion includes the proviso " What If if funding & tech issues No problem."  However, as can be seen by looking at the engine reliability problems of the B-29 alone this is a very big "What if."

With further reference to the idea of introducing squadrons of B-29s to the ETO, I admit that the ability to cruise above the flak and fighters is a nice idea, but given that the European weather is frequently clouded over from that height, accuracy of bombing (already suspect) would be further compromised except on the clearest of days.  Even No 617 Squadron of the RAF, who had arguably the highest accuracy of any unit in the bomber offensive (No 9 Squadron bomb aimers would probably argue that one), had to bring their bomb back when they could not see the target, and this was from the much lower altitude of between sixteen and twenty thousand feet.  Europe does not have the "gin clear" skies of the PTO, and even there the B-29s were attacking at medium altitude due to accuracy problems and also at night to try to bring down losses, as RAF Bomber Command had done much earlier in the European theater before the Americans entered the war.

For further information see:

The Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany. 4 volumes. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1961. official British history and co-authored by Noble Frankland and Sir Charles Webster

Bomber Offensive: The Devastation of Europe by Noble Frankland (Ballantine's Illustrated History of World War II. Campaign Book no. 7, 1970)

Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945, by Barrett Tillman, Simon & Schuster UK

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 When you want to use the big bombs you have a time disconnect in Europe because the big bomb targets, Ruhr, Ploesti, Turpitz, and some others had already been hit and destroyed by greater effort before the big bombers were operational .  That in reality is why we never got around to using them. IIRC wasn't there an attempt to send the 29 to ETO, like the one Greenermyer dug out of the ice.

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Stephen, try researching Barnes Wallis and his "Victory Bomber". Barnes Wallis was the man who came up with the idea of the "Bouncing Bomb" used by the Dam Busters. He also designed the Tallboy and Grand Slam bombs. But his BIG idea, from early in the war had been for a few massive strategic bombers, able to cruise at very great heights and to carry just ONE big bomb each.The bomb, when dropped, would bury itself deep in the ground before exploding, and produce a result very like an earthquake, sending a massive shockwave through the ground. The result, in theory, would have been much like the Atomic bomb - "one bomb, one city" You can't fight a war if your major engineering capacity lies in ruins as the result of a "synthetic earthquake."



The British "Victory Bomber" was a Second World War design proposal by British inventor and aircraft designer Barnes Wallis while at Vickers-Armstrongs for a large strategic bomber. This aircraft was to have performed what Wallis referred to as "anti-civil engineering" bombing missions and was to have carried his projected 22,000 lb (10,000 kg) "earthquake bomb" to strategic targets in Germany. The Victory Bomber was considered to be extremely ambitious, the Royal Air Force (RAF) at that time not yet having introduced four-engine heavy bombers and to give the necessary performance, the Victory Bomber was to have six engines and was highly specialised to its role.

The project was studied in detail, the bomber proceeding to wind tunnel testing while the earthquake bomb to equip it was tested on representative models. The Air Ministry choose not proceed with development of the Victory Bomber, terminating it in May 1941. No prototypes were built but the Avro Lancaster utilized a similar role as well as being fitted with a similar armament array. The Lancaster used Wallis' Bouncing bomb during Operation Chastise to perform the famous "Dambusters" mission.



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On 25/03/2018 at 4:49 PM, Robert Follis said:

 When you want to use the big bombs you have a time disconnect in Europe because the big bomb targets, Ruhr, Ploesti, Turpitz, and some others had already been hit and destroyed by greater effort before the big bombers were operational .  That in reality is why we never got around to using them. IIRC wasn't there an attempt to send the 29 to ETO, like the one Greenermyer dug out of the ice.

If you research No 617 Squadron RAF (along with No 9 Squadron RAF) you will find that they destroyed the Tirpitz using the "smaller" big bomb Tallboy, which "weighed in" at 12,000 lbs.  The largest single bomb capable of being carried by the B-17 due to its small bomb bay was 1000 lbs in wieight.  (It should be remembered however that the US classified it's bombers not by weight carrying ability, but by size, armour protection and armament)


These bombs were also used against the V1, V2 and V3 concrete bunker launching sites in France with pretty impressive results.  The 22,000 lbs Grand Slam was first used in anger against the Bielefeld Viaduct only hours after the first bomb was tested in the New Forest in Southern England.  In all some 40+ Grand Slams were used by the Royal Air Force in the last two and a half months of the Second World War in Europe.  Targets included U-Boat pens in Hamburg as well as strategically important rail targets all over Germany.  Of course, none of this would have been possible without the fitting of the Avro Lancasters of 617 Squadron with the Stabilising Automatic Bomb Sight.  Some other Squadrons, most notably No 9 Squadron RAF, arguably, became as accurate with the Mk XIV bomb sight.  It should also be noted that the RAF equipped all their bombers such that each aircraft aimed it's own bomb, there was no "toggling" when the lead ship dropped its load, this leading to greater accruacy than could ever be achieved with the "area bombing" technique used by the 8th Air Force bombers.

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In the end of the day this has to do with timing, and technological ability, and maybe foresight?

The B19 came in 1946. The war was over.

Timing is everything. It was about B17, (and holy moly did young Americans crews die in them until the P51 could provide escort) and B25, mostly. Those were the ones the factories were spitting out at the time. The bombing of Germany in daytime is something I personally never understood, but of course placing your bombs exactly where you wanted them might have had something to do with that.

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If memory serves me correctly, the B-29 program was initiated in the [then] likelihood that Britain would fall, and the U.S. would have to mount trans-Atlantic bombing raids on our former ally

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How plausable was that? If England had fallen, mass starvation would have followed.  B-29 bombers against Britain in such a scenario? Hardly likely!

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