Discussion:
Mathematicians put famous Battle of Britain 'what if' scenarios to the test
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SolomonW
2020-01-11 11:38:44 UTC
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https://phys.org/news/2020-01-mathematicians-famous-britain-scenarios.html

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Mathematicians have used a statistical technique to interrogate some of the
big "what if" questions in the Second World War battle for Britain's skies.

What if the switch to bombing London had not occurred? What if a more eager
Hitler had pushed for an earlier beginning to the campaign? What if Goering
had focused on targeting British airfields throughout the entire period of
the Battle?

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I doubt the RAF would have been defeated, at worst it would have retreated
beyond the range Luftwaffe and regrouped.

The British planners were worried about an earlier attack and this analysis
does suggest that they were right and that the shift from the airfields was
wrong.
Jim Wilkins
2020-01-11 18:03:11 UTC
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Post by SolomonW
https://phys.org/news/2020-01-mathematicians-famous-britain-scenarios.html
What if the switch to bombing London had not occurred? What if a
more
eager Hitler had pushed for an earlier beginning to the campaign?
What if
Goering had focused on targeting British airfields throughout the
entire
period of the Battle?
From what I've learned about the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe,
despite
their high losses, had all but worn-out the RAF. Exhausted British
pilots
were getting so little sleep that they nodded off at the controls
and
shuffled around like zombies. By the time Der Fuhrer threw in the
towel, the
RAF hadn't so much "won" the Battle of Britain as the Luftwaffe LOST

To be realistic the simulation would have to change Leigh-Mallory's
stubborn support for the Big Wing approach and give 12 Group fighters
a better opportunity to engage earlier in the battles. Only the 11
Group's airfields near the Channel were seriously threatened, not 10,
12 and 13 Groups' to the west and north.
Geoffrey Sinclair
2020-01-12 13:42:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by SolomonW
https://phys.org/news/2020-01-mathematicians-famous-britain-scenarios.html
What if the switch to bombing London had not occurred? What if a more
eager Hitler had pushed for an earlier beginning to the campaign? What if
Goering had focused on targeting British airfields throughout the entire
period of the Battle?
From what I've learned about the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe, despite
their high losses, had all but worn-out the RAF. Exhausted British pilots
were getting so little sleep that they nodded off at the controls and
shuffled around like zombies. By the time Der Fuhrer threw in the towel,
the
http://youtu.be/uCu7IT81gh8
Except we know the RAF was rotating units out of the front
line in a way the Luftwaffe was not while receiving more
replacement fighter pilots and fighters. Both sides were
suffering major drops in the average quality of their fighter
pilots.

As far as I can see the paper takes the data from the real fighting,
then allows the computer to draw out days in any sequence,
including repeats. And then run this idea many times, including
time shifting days well before their actual dates.

They do not mention the weather related pauses, nor the
way France did not surrender until mid/late June, nor the
time taken to build and stock airfields within range of Britain,
nor the need for the Luftwaffe to replace Battle of France
losses, nor the need for the Luftwaffe to complete plans of
attack given it was not a situation they expected and so on.
Plus the big errors in the plans, including assumptions on
production and loss rates. A big one was over estimates
of average bomb damage, so the Luftwaffe could undertake
multiple objectives, Fighter Command, Bomber Command,
pre invasion strikes (say for example forcing the RN from
channel area ports) and so on, then came aircraft factories,
initially left alone as it was assumed the British economy was
being so disrupted it would cut such production, which was
of course already underestimated.

Then comes replacements and learning curves on both sides.

We know now an all out attack on the radar chain, bombing
them repeatedly, followed by bombing fighter airfields would
have made a big difference to Fighter Command's ability to
base in the South East, but that is different to defeating it,
let alone the RAF.

I note the article does not even mention radar or fighter control.

Essentially neither side could keep their aircrew quality up but the
RAF held or increased its available pilots and fighters, the Luftwaffe
decreased.

Also at phys.org.

https://phys.org/news/2019-10-plotting-air-raids-britain-devastating.html

Which leads to

http://www.warstateandsociety.com/Bombing-Britain

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
SolomonW
2020-01-13 08:48:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Geoffrey Sinclair
Also at phys.org.
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-plotting-air-raids-britain-devastating.html
Which leads to
http://www.warstateandsociety.com/Bombing-Britain
Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
Unfortunately when you go to the map you get

"Due to high demand, we are experiencing technical difficulties. We hope to
get the map back up and running as soon as possible. Apologies for any
inconvenience."
Geoffrey Sinclair
2020-01-13 14:47:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by SolomonW
Post by Geoffrey Sinclair
Also at phys.org.
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-plotting-air-raids-britain-devastating.html
Which leads to
http://www.warstateandsociety.com/Bombing-Britain
Unfortunately when you go to the map you get
"Due to high demand, we are experiencing technical difficulties. We hope to
get the map back up and running as soon as possible. Apologies for any
inconvenience."
Frustrating, only their publicity agent must be sort of happy.

The spreadsheet of their data is downloadable, it shows they are
interested in "where" and include things like sea mines and later
discoveries of unexploded bombs. If a report has multiple locations
but only a casualty grand total then each location has an entry that
includes the total, so summing them really overstates casualties. If
you remove the duplicates their number killed total comes to around
two thirds that in the UK official history Civil Defence.

Hopefully they will add more details on casualties.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
Keith Willshaw
2020-01-12 21:51:16 UTC
Permalink
On 11/01/2020 17:15, Byker wrote:
?
From what I've learned about the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe, despite
their high losses, had all but worn-out the RAF. Exhausted British pilots
were getting so little sleep that they nodded off at the controls and
shuffled around like zombies. By the time Der Fuhrer threw in the towel,
the
http://youtu.be/uCu7IT81gh8
Stephen Bungay is his book the 'The Most Dangerous Enemy' dug deep into
the records of both the Luftwaffe and RAF came to the opposite
conclusion. While the RAF had indeed taken heavier losses it was
replacing both aircraft and pilots lost and at the end of August 1940
had as many aircraft available as in May, indeed the obsolete types such
as the Blenheim 1F and Defiants had been replaced by Hurricanes and
Spitfires. The result was that on Sept 1 1940 the RAF was at full
strength with regard to aircraft (670) and had over 1100 pilots
available. At the same time Erhard Milch was reporting that most
Luftwaffe squadrons were seriously under strength particularly with
regard to pilots.

Essentially the RAF could sustain the loss rates while the Luftwaffe
could not. Had things not changed the Germans would have run out of
pilots by 1940. The difference was that Hugh Dowding considered that
there should be 2 pilots available for each aircraft. Not only could the
RAF rotate squadrons but RAF pilots were going on leave throughout the BOB.

In WW2 the Germans never really got the hang of logistics in the way the
RAF and USAAF did.
pyotr filipivich
2020-01-13 06:09:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith Willshaw
Stephen Bungay is his book the 'The Most Dangerous Enemy' dug deep into
the records of both the Luftwaffe and RAF came to the opposite
conclusion. While the RAF had indeed taken heavier losses it was
replacing both aircraft and pilots lost and at the end of August 1940
had as many aircraft available as in May, indeed the obsolete types such
as the Blenheim 1F and Defiants had been replaced by Hurricanes and
Spitfires. The result was that on Sept 1 1940 the RAF was at full
strength with regard to aircraft (670) and had over 1100 pilots
available. At the same time Erhard Milch was reporting that most
Luftwaffe squadrons were seriously under strength particularly with
regard to pilots.
As has been pointed out many times: RAF pilots shot down, were
shot down over their own country. If was possible for you to get shot
down in the morning and be back up in the afternoon. Possible, I
don't know if that happened.
OTOH, Luftwaffe pilots got shot down mostly over enemy territory.
Even if they made it to the channel, they weren't going to be getting
back to the mess anytime soon. On going problem.
--
pyotr filipivich
Next month's Panel: Graft - Boon or blessing?
Keith Willshaw
2020-01-18 19:46:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by pyotr filipivich
As has been pointed out many times: RAF pilots shot down, were
shot down over their own country. If was possible for you to get shot
down in the morning and be back up in the afternoon. Possible, I
don't know if that happened.
OTOH, Luftwaffe pilots got shot down mostly over enemy territory.
Even if they made it to the channel, they weren't going to be getting
back to the mess anytime soon. On going problem.
That was important but equally important in the long term was the
inception of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan at the beginning
of the war. By Sept 1940 the first batch of pilots being trained in
Australia, Canada and Rhodesia were graduating. One thing that is not
well known is that Fleet Air Arm and RAF pilots were being trained in
the still neutral USA. All of this was additional to the 7000 pilots
trained in the UK by the end of August 1940.

The Germans always had this idea that it was going to be a short
victorious war. The British like the Soviets and Americans were under no
such illusion. They geared up both pilot training and aircraft
production for a war of attrition.

Both the Luftwaffe and RAF developed organised systems for recovering
downed pilots from the channel and it was often a race to see which
service would pull pilots out of the water first but this was still not
fully in place in 1940.
Jim Wilkins
2020-01-18 22:06:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith Willshaw
21:51:16
As has been pointed out many times: RAF pilots shot down, were
shot down over their own country. If was possible for you to get shot
down in the morning and be back up in the afternoon. Possible, I
don't know if that happened.
OTOH, Luftwaffe pilots got shot down mostly over enemy territory.
Even if they made it to the channel, they weren't going to be
getting
back to the mess anytime soon. On going problem.
That was important but equally important in the long term was the
inception of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan at the
beginning of the war. By Sept 1940 the first batch of pilots being
trained in Australia, Canada and Rhodesia were graduating. One thing
that is not well known is that Fleet Air Arm and RAF pilots were
being trained in the still neutral USA. All of this was additional
to the 7000 pilots trained in the UK by the end of August 1940.
Thanks, I didn't know that.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Air_Forces_Contract_Flying_School_Airfields
Keith Willshaw
2020-01-19 13:21:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim Wilkins
Thanks, I didn't know that.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Air_Forces_Contract_Flying_School_Airfields
Norman Hanson who as a carrier pilot flew Corsairs off RN carriers in
the Pacific during the invasion of Okinawa was actually in training on
the Brewster Buffalo at Pensacola NAS on Dec 7 1941. After a period
flying Fairey Fulmars he was sent back to the USA in 1943 where he
learned to fly the Corsair at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

He was one of the first pilots to fly a Corsair off a carrier as the USN
only used them from land bases until much later.
https://www.tangmere-museum.org.uk/artefact-month/lieutenant-commander-norman-hanson


He was onboard HMS illustrious off Okinawa when she was hit by a
Kamikaze. While casualties were thankfully small in number and the
carrier was able to resume operations the damage proved to be more
severe when surveyed in port. as it occurred at almost the same point
that had been damaged when she was hit by 6 bombs off Malta at least 2
of which were 500kg SAP and the others 250kg. She was a tough old cookie
who had a long hard war and was hit harder than many ships that went to
the bottom.

http://www.armouredcarriers.com/hms-illustrious-kamikaze
http://www.armouredcarriers.com/adm26783/2014/10/16/illustrious-january-10-damage-report-bomb-shell

Norman had a long and interesting war. I heard him speak once and recall
him telling the group that such was the performance and firepower of the
Corair that when he shot down a Zero he felt like a murderer. The IJN
pilot never even saw him as he dived down out of the sun at almost 500
mph and when he opened fire a short burst turned the once dreaded zero
into a burning ball of confetti.

If you can find his book 'Carrier Pilot' give it a read. Amazon UK have
it available so its still in print and its one of the best books about
the air war off Okinawa you can get.
Stephen Harding
2020-01-19 14:10:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith Willshaw
He was one of the first pilots to fly a Corsair off a carrier as the USN
only used them from land bases until much later.
The USN VF-12 initially flew the Corsair off carriers for a brief time
before the Navy passed the aircraft over to the Marines.

My understanding is the RN was already using the curved carrier approach
technique for other aircraft (Swordfish?) and it wasn't something
developed specifically for the Corsair.


SMH
Ramsman
2020-01-19 14:54:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Harding
Post by Keith Willshaw
He was one of the first pilots to fly a Corsair off a carrier as the
USN only used them from land bases until much later.
The USN VF-12 initially flew the Corsair off carriers for a brief time
before the Navy passed the aircraft over to the Marines.
My understanding is the RN was already using the curved carrier approach
technique for other aircraft (Swordfish?) and it wasn't something
developed specifically for the Corsair.
SMH
It was used for the Seafire because of the limited visibility over the
nose, so it was nothing new for the FAA when it came to use the Corsair.
--
Peter
Keith Willshaw
2020-01-23 00:39:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Harding
Post by Keith Willshaw
He was one of the first pilots to fly a Corsair off a carrier as the
USN only used them from land bases until much later.
The USN VF-12 initially flew the Corsair off carriers for a brief time
before the Navy passed the aircraft over to the Marines.
My understanding is the RN was already using the curved carrier approach
technique for other aircraft (Swordfish?) and it wasn't something
developed specifically for the Corsair.
SMH
According to Norman Hanson the main problem with the Corsair was Oleo
Bounce which was fixed by mods to the oil valves which Vought then
included on the production line.
David Lesher
2020-02-03 22:41:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by pyotr filipivich
As has been pointed out many times: RAF pilots shot down, were
shot down over their own country. If was possible for you to get shot
down in the morning and be back up in the afternoon. Possible, I
don't know if that happened.
Not just pilots, but aircraft. The UK would actively salvage fighters
and haul them back to be rebuilt.

This actually caused a morale issue; the public would see many lorries
carrying RAF aircraft wrecks but none with German ones.
--
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