Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by IchBinDieKaiser, Sep 11, 2009.
Is there a way to have use of Helicopters in ww2? How might this aircraft effect the war?
Helicopters had been used in WWII in Burma. They would have been mightlity useful on Eastern Front too (courier duty and all sorts of insurgency/counterinsurgency operations in forests). Allied Navies could have used it for ASW. As far as Apache-type attack helicopter is concerned, the answer is "no".
There was a scene in some WW2 adventure film (possibly Where Eagles Dare) in which a Nazi officer arrived at a fortress in a helicopter.
How likely was that?
the germans DID use helicopters on the eastern front. they were mostly for pilot recovery. it was planned to rescue mussolini in 1943 in one but it broke down at the last minute
If memory serves, the Imperial Japanese Army deployed helicopters and/or autogyros in an anti-submarine role from escort carriers it built, manned, and operated.
If that isn't an indication of how screwed up the Japanese war effort was, nothing is.
P.S. The KM briefly experimented with an autogyro towed by U-boats as a convoy spotter.
If you mean that helo development in 44/45 was at OTL's Korean war level, then it probably would have been useful for medivac and recon; probably changing some tactical engagements a bit and saving more than a few lives that were otherwise lost in the final years of the war.
On the other hand, if you have helos of the caliber of the Sikorsky H-19, the Piasecki H-21s and H-25s and the OH-23, if their prosepective uses are recognized early enough and you get a few creative senior officers willing to try and adapt their strategies and tactics around the new technology, it could radically alter major operations like Overlord, Market Garden, not to mention the potential impact they could have in the Pacific during those two years.
Would they neccessarily shorten the war?
By a little bit, I would imagine, unless heliborne assault troops and air mobile infantry totally breaks the Germans in Market Garden, in which case the war in Europe, may come to a crashing halt as the collapse of the western front would force the elimination of Hitler and anyone else who may replace him who is unwilling to immediately sue for peace.
Butterfly off of that may end up a seperate peace with the west; 1944's an election year and if Hitler's dead, the Nazis are out and Germany's suing for peace, along with the pressure of the Pacific war, Roosevelt has to be flexible; unconditional surrender only works against a foe who won't give up. If the Germans have disposed of Hitler and the Nazis and are begging for peace, Roosevelt would be pushing for "unconditional surrender" at his own peril; people with sons, brothers and fathers in the field will find a president and congress that will end the war in Europe the fastest so as to turn the full war effort towards what's viewed, by and large by the people as "America's War" and end that as soon as possible as well.
The further butterflies off of that are possibly Hueys in Korea; (UH-1s and perhaps a more rudimentary version of the AH-1), CH-37s and H-34s. Basically, a number of Vietnam era helos in Korea. How those impact that conflict I can't say. The advance north of the UN forces could be so rapid that the North Koreans are encircled before they reach the Yalu and the Chinese never get the chance to enter the war. Or maybe the Chinese jump in sooner and things kinda spiral out of control from there; China in OTL at least had the pretext of a supposed UN invasion as an excuse to enter the war, if the North is nowhere near the Yalu and it's forces are collapsing/capitulating to UN forces and they still enter the war...things could get ugly.
To say the least, an acceleration of helo development could have a major impact on the second World War's conclusion and the course of the Korean War, not to mention the resultant changes each would have on the early Cold War geo-political dispositions of both east and west.
Helicopters were used as spotters, and I think the Japanese tried to use helicopters in an anti-submarine role.
The Japanese used autogyros, which were copies of American samples. The German convoy spotter was an unpowered autogyro. It was more like a kite.
Flettner KOLIBRI (Hummingbird)
Turbine engines are needed for serious, game-changing, helicopter use in WWII.
There's the rub--if such engines exist in that war then they're most likely being directed towards other aircraft production, not an untested technology like helicopters.
(Though I still like autogiros/gyroplanes for a non-hovering VTOL craft in WWII. They're easier to popularise in the interwar period, and the lack of strong engines isn't such a safety issue with an aircraft that auto-rotates.)
Let me strongly ditto that.
While having a gyroplane developed in the interwar period for the ground support role would be a great stretch, I can easily see the same technology being developed and used afloat.
Unlike seaplanes, gyros wouldn't require a catapult for launch or a crane for recovery. They may not have the speed or range of a seaplane, but their maneuverability and other attributes would make them excellent for scouting, ASW work, and gunnery direction. More ships could carry them too.
With gyros available, the Hurricane-carrying MACs of north Atlantic convoy fame would have been more capable and less of a waste.
What? Mi-4 Hound, Sikorsky S-56 were all "game changing" helicopters with WWII radial engines.
H-34 helos didn't have turbines either. And they were very reliable - the Marines early in Vietnam preferred them to the Huey.
Focke Achgelis Fa 223
Focke Achgelis Fa 223 was used in WW 2 about 20 were made. First used in 1940. Could carry a payload of 1000kg. Allied air raids kept the production levels low. But if built in large numbers would probably have made a difference.
You Tube Link
The Germans type certified the Fa 61 helicopter in 1936 and could have used them from the start of the war. This helicopter was just a Fw-44 trainer plane with the wings removed and steel structure supporting a transmittions and 3 x 7m long copter blades. It could do over 100kph with 2 personnel for observing and dropping ordnance. Mass production was possible from the late 1930s on. In the late 1930s a contract was tendered with a European company for 40 x Cierva C30 autogyros but no one in the Wehrmacht had a role for them, so they were left to rought and none were operational by war time , although 20-25 were captured from the French. I suspect that had they known they would be in a shooting war by 1940 they might have paid them more than a passing interest. In any event the Storch was just as good in short take off and landing with much better endurance and speed. Mind you the fiancing applied to purchasing the C-30 could have instead funded converting Fw-44 into Fa-61 , and could have netted them couple hundred for naval usage by war time. Since the navy was abismally short of scout aircraft, they could have filled this need and since they were about the same size as the Fl-282 , they could likely operate from the same platforms.
Admiral Raeder asked for contract tenders for an ASW/Scout Helicopter for the KM in 1938, that lead to the Fl-265 in 1940/41 and it was trialed on navy Kreuzer in 1941/42. This then led to the improved Fl-282 in 1942 , which was trialed in 1943. Steven Coates [Helicopters of the Third Reich] reports that 24 were built and operated in the Baltic & Med on convoy escort role . It was used in rough weather off a converted tender ship with a winch to launch and recover in rough seas and was operated off a V Boot. Its been reported that Uboats could be detected to a depth of 150 feet in clear weather conditions. The Americans tested this model after the war and found that it could be operated for over a hundred hours, without maintenance.Reportedly after the Scheer first sortie showed it only used its seaplane 28 days out of 150, it was suggested that Helicopters be operated instead. A study of the hanger space showed that 10 Fl-282 could be packed away in each hanger in place of each sea plane.
A decision was made to mass produce 1000 of these Fl-282 helicopter but the factory was bombed by the RAF in 1942 and when it was rebuilt , the priority was to build more Me-109 , so the Helicopter was passed over. Finally in the dieing months of the war the Fa 223 was put into mass production with ~ 50 built in 1945 and work began on another 40 when the war ended and the company was gearing up for production order of 300. There is a report some were that a Fa-223 was operated for a month flying about 90 missions supporting a mountain infantry division, transporting mountain guns crew and ammo up mountains.
There was a tiny autogyro Fa-330 built for Uboat usage to extend searching capability. A design was perfected using a teather from a fast moving surfaced Uboat mid war , and couple hundred were built in 1943/44. However since the U boat war had turned against the fleet by that time, they were rearly ever used. At the end of the war it was proposed to mount a small 60 hp motor on this autogyro, turning it into a ultra light helicopter that could be mounted on just about any warship.
Well, the Mojave was overshadowed by the Hueys etc of the Vietnam War era, and the Hound is basically Korean War tech.
I don't think Korea was radically changed by helicopter use.
Mi-4 was not in service in Korea. Huey wasn't around in the 50s. The helicopter DID revolutionize warfare in the 50s, long before turboshafts were the norm.
This really depends on the definition of 'military revolution'.
The first helicopter assault is Suez, and yes, is in piston-engined Bristol Sycamores. Turbine-engined helicopters in Vietnam were the basis of most of the MACV strategy. Vietnam is more significant than Suez is for warfare.
Helicopters in Korea are a supporting vehicle, not one used for tactical assaults or major transport duties. The helicopters are piston-engined. Korean warfare is not dominated by these aircraft.
ATL WWII warfare being driven by helicopters of equivalent tech to OTL Korea? I don't know.
I'm just repeating a commonly held belief that turbine engines greatly assisted in the creation of airmobile warfare.
They could be game changers dispite not shooting at people or landed huge amounts of troops. The moral boost delivered by the chance of a decent chance of getting to an hospital, quiclky, is big.
Mi-4 and S-56 were both able to transport jeeps internally carrying tank killing recoilless rifles. By the second half of the 50s when enough were built they had changed military doctrine forever. Turboshafts were more efficient and eventually replaced piston engines, but helicopters did not require them to be viable. Just because there was no glamous big war in the late 50s with movies made about the use of helicopters didn't mean they weren't important.
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