Germany uses the He 277 agianst Rusia as strategic bomber

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Parma, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Parma Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    The Heinkel He 177 was the only longrange heavy bomber in use by the Germans but suffered numerous problems. Many caused by the extreme specifications. A solution was the location of the engines, in stead of tandem in seperate place on the wing.
    After a conversation between Heinkel and Hitler, ordered Hitler the production of the He277 . This order was short after countered by Goering who forbid production and further development. What if Hitler was a bit more intersted in this plane and kept a little more attention of the progress of production and deployment of these planes?
    Suppose the Germans had managed to put sufficient numbers of the Heinkel He 277 into action in mid 1943 and used them for longrange strategic mission on the Eastern front. Suppose this He 277 turned in to a succes just as the Manchester did when re-designed in to the Lancaster.
    Would the Germans take the Me 264 in production too. Would there be any significant changes in the course of events if major rail juctions, factories etc. in Rusia were damaged or even destroyed by German long range bombing raids done by He277 and even Me264's

  2. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Dec 15, 2008
    The vast cubicle steppes of Delmarvastan
    By '43 it'd take alot more than strategic bombing to save the Reich. At best it delays the inevitable by slowing some supplies. IIRC much of the industry was already moving beyond the Urals anyway, but this isn't my area of expertise.

    That's of course assuming He277 production manages to actually create a significant fleet...very difficult considering allied bombing was drastically amping up and since there were so many competing needs for those resources (metal, fuel, and personnel) on other, more practical vehicles (tanks, fighters, transport).

    At best (if all goes right) the Reich falls slightly later instead...just as likely, or perhaps more likely, the Rich falls earlier since much-needed war material was being wasted on bombers when they really needed tanks and fighters.
  3. deejay27 Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2008

    I wouldn't have much appreciable effect. You still have Goering in charge of the Luftwaffa(sp) and Hitler in charge of the Reich. There were too many issues with their air force as it was.

    They have done ATL where the Luftwaffa was under more competent leadership, but still suffers from Hitler's grand strategy. There was one story in the Tsouras collection "Hitler Triumphant" where it stays an active fighting force until D day, but it ultimately fails to save Germany as the US decides to use nukes to force Germany to surrender rather than try to risk the losses needed to grind through to Berlin.
  4. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

    Oct 4, 2005
    I would imagine that the 8th Air Force would have send Christmas cards to Heinkel if they had pushed for construction and actually gotten a number built. Every bomber would be at least 10 fighters that aren't in the sky against the bomber boxes, meaning that the if the Germans only build a small number of aircraft, say 200, they effectively halve the fighter strength available to the Luftwaffe over Germany. If they build enough to actually be an effective force (500? 1000?), by June of 1944 the Reich has no fighter cover left at all. Unlike fighters, which scramble when the allied bomber formations show up, these monsters are stuck on the ground or are trying to get away from the bomber streams flying right into P-51 formations with little to do with the general lack of opposing fighters.

    The Americans also, finally, have a mission for the P-38 (not to mention the P-61). The Lightning would be a perfect aircraft to rip the unescorted German bomber formations a fresh one, while the RAF has a natural interceptor in the Tempest, not to mention the Meteor which would have been in service right around the first likely operational date for the He-277. The Soviets have the LaGG-3 and La-5 as bomber interceptors.

    The He-277 is another of the many WW II German napkin-ware designs. The paper capacities are terrific, but real life was much less impressive. A good rule of thumb for the German designs (actually, just a good rule of thumb for any design) is to reduce the projected performance by a third. This leaves you with a bomber with performance similar to the He-177 (of which the Germans DID build 1,100) but a much higher cost per unit.
  5. Brasidas Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    You don't have much room by 43 for the PoD to make waves. Maybe a 1936 PoD involving Wever?
  6. Hunter Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    How would it be that actually He 277 is replacing the unfortunate He 177?
    And in year 1940, when there's Hurricanes and Spitfires (early models)
    against those? The germans are able to bombing WHOLE England, not just
    southern parts. There you got some headache to brits.

    This is one detail from my alternate history, where Operation Seelöwe is just to be happening at the same time when german army have finished the blockade of Dunkirk. I'm not sure if He 274 would enter at time, but if so, then the British have no chance.
    If He 277 comes operational use instead of He 177, without those problems He 177 had with it's engines (Btw, VERY bright idea to use as
    dive-bomber a plane this size), there's no reason why the Germans wouldn't have this plane as many as 500 at least in year 1943.
    The Allies would have some major problems to bomb german facilities and
    also Soviets were to busy to retreat after losing Ukraine and Belorussia
    in 1941-42.
  7. Michele Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2007
    I really doubt that. Either the long-range German bomber is going in at night, in which case it will find it difficult to hit any target smaller than a big city (which means the RAF can still deploy in safety in the Midlands), or it is going in in daylight - beyond the range of the Bf 109. Which means the Spitfires are enough to slaughter the bomber.
  8. eltf177 Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2007
    And another problem is that these aircraft use a _lot_ of gasoline Germany doesn't have. Cladus Bekker mentions in his book THE LUFTWAFFE DIARIES that the He-177's were grounded as much for lack of fuel as the engine problems.
  9. MUC Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    It's too late to stop the Russians in 1943.

    There are a number of ATLs written, were Germany pushes for a long range strategic-bomber option (by not building so many medium range bombers) in the late 30s and actually has a number of those operational when the war starts.
    They could have made a difference back then against Britain, by bombing plane factories, but the RAF would manage to shoot them down in the long run at an alarming rate (since they would't have any decent fighter escort). Thus they would then be deployed against the Russians. Here they could have made a difference, but not in 1943. Rather in 1941 and 1942. Disrupting tank production, destroying railways, disrupting staging areas would work miracles for the Germans in 1941. Perhaps the Russians would not manage to pull together enough troops to defend Moscow and the Germans might be able to take it in late 1941. And in 1942, the Germans could stop the redeployment of Russian troops to the Ukraine, ultimately haveing a chance to influence the whole course of the campaign.
    In the end the Germans still lose, but the Americans and British manage to capture more ground, due to a slower and more later advance of the Russian troops.

    But in order for all that to happen you need to let the Germans reallocate sources and priorities in the mid-late 30s, not in 1943.
  10. merlin Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    I don't see that any great shift in resources was required, in OTL the He 177 was built.
    There are two questions here then IMO;

    1 - WI the He277 is built earlier, as per the post, and put into service, to replace the '177s' already in service.
    Result - not a great deal of difference (too late for that), Greim might have a better aircraft for his limited bomber offensives in the East, and in the West the aircraft would have been a more effective anti-shipping aircraft.

    2 - WI the He177 is built but looks like the '277'. That is it has four engines, not two coupled, and it is only stressed for medium angle dives rather than the 60 degree dives that RLM later required.
    With fewer problems, due to the coupled engines and the increase in weight due to strengthening, pre-production prototypes would soon iron out any minor problems.
    If then perhaps as a result of the lessons of the BoB, and the coming campaign in the East production was changed from the He111 to the He177 (with four engines). Then the Luftwaffe would have a bomber that could have done some damage to the Russian factory re-location programme. While over Britain at night it would have been a more challenging target to the RAF's night-fighters - with its high ceiling, and if by day the 0.303" machine guns of the Spitfires & Hurricanes are likely to prove ineffective.
  11. Michele Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2007
    So this aircraft is deployed after the Battle of Britain.
    _During_ the Battle of Britain itself, the first Spitfires armed with 20mm cannons were field-tested. By mid-1941, the Hurricane Mk IIC carried four such cannons.
  12. Peisander Banned

    Jun 20, 2010
    Though RLM in reality opposed production development began on the He-177H (He-274) in October 1942 at Toulouse, France.

    Development of the He-177 A-8 which in fact became the He-277 B-5 was not commenced until a conference with Hitler on 23 May 1943.

    The He-277 B-5 was chosen over the He-274 because it was easier to mass produce, having more in common with the He-177 A-5 in production. The B-5 with DB-603G engines had a range of 4,200 miles with 6 tons of bombs. The B-29 could only manage 4,000m with 2 tons (eg Ceylon to Palembang raid August 1944)

    The He-277 B-6, one example built from converting the He-177 A-6/R2 prototype had Jumo 213F engines and a formidable 8,000km range with 2 tons of bombs.

    This image is altered from an He-274 to give an idea of what the He-277 B-5 looked like.

    The dive bomber requirement which hindered the He-177 A-0 was already dropped in late 1942. The He-277 design was never required to act as a dive bomber. It's sole function as Hitler put it to Heinkel on 23 May 1943 was to bomb England "day and night."

    The highest any Allied fighter could reach by the end of WW2 was the Spitfire Mark XIV at 44,500ft (estimated - never tested).

    He-277 raids over Britain could have been commenced in mid 1944.

    Incidentally it was no napkinwipe bomber. It made the B-29 look pedestrian.
  13. Peisander Banned

    Jun 20, 2010
    It flew so high that it only needed defensive armament whilst climbing. The Me-210 was intended to be the long range fighter escort after BoB, but it was a disasterous aircraft and lacked the altitude performance.

    The high altitude Focke Wulf Ta-152 Dora in reality would have escorted the He-277 on it's climb from take off. The Ta-152 with a Jumo 213E engine was test flown above 48,000ft to the edge of space.
  14. fastmongrel Well-Known Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Lancashire UK
    Then you have the problem of hitting anything from 48,000 feet. Plus production model photo recconaisance PR19 Spitfires were flying up to 51,000 feet and operating at 49,000 feet. If you can get a bomber up there then you can get an interceptor up there. A pressurised bomber with a 20mm cannon hole in it at 48,000 is in big trouble
  15. Paul MacQ Lurker

    Mar 30, 2004
    Antipodes of the North Sea
    Against the West these might have been wasted, I do not think they are a possible War winner.

    Russia slightly different story.

    Russian industry was not dispersed at all but massive (very Massive) Factories rather Vulnerable. A few Factories and you take out the 12 Cylinder Diesel engines that power all the Russian T34s and KV’s/IS1,II

    Vulnerable point that comes to mind are these Bombers capable of Reaching the Russian Oil fields Hit those in the Winter 43/44 then they might have been worth effort.
  16. Peisander Banned

    Jun 20, 2010
    Whilst I disagree that they would have been effective against England in 1944 bombing the invasion ports and major British cities, you have grasped that they could also cut Soviet logistics too.

    Yup they could fly to the Caspian Sea and back unmolested late in the war.
  17. Just Leo Contrarian with a heart of gold

    Aug 19, 2009
    The MiG I-222, ceiling 47,550 ft, max. speed 429 mph., not put into production because it wasn't needed, nor was the Westland Welkin. The MiG is easier to build than the Heinkel, and uses less gas.

  18. Peisander Banned

    Jun 20, 2010
    Nope no Spitfire reached 51,000 feet. That arose from a false claim by a pilot of a stripped down Mark VC Spitfire with a Merlin 46 engine over Egypt.

    The highest ever official flight ceiling for a PR Spitfire was 46,500 feet in a pressurised PR.X with a Methanol Water modified Merlin 77 ("Late Marque Spitfire," by Dr Alfred Price).

    The Brits falsely claimed interception of two Ju-86P reconnaisance bombers over Egypt. F/O Reynolds claimed he downed a Ju-86P at 49,100 feet 22 November 1942. This claim itself was impossible however as the Ju-86P was limited to a 43,000 ft service ceiling. Reynolds who got the DFC for this bogus interception wore no pressure suit and had no pressure cabin. he was quite delerious when he landed and Luftwaffe records do not corroborate the claim.

    Other pilots belonging to 103 MU Abokir also made false claims of high altitude interceptions over Egypt.

    P/O Georges Genders claimed another high altitude Ju-86P interception off Alexandra on 29 August 1942. The German aircraft werke nmr 5144 belonging to 2F/123 suffered an engine failure at 37,000 feet and was gradually losing height. It's crew Haupt Helmut Rammig and Observer Lt Kolw reported sighting Genders climb up beneath them, but 1000-2000 metres below. They said he never fired. Genders ditched his Spitfire from fuel exhaustion. They eventually ditched in the Mediterranean and were returned to Crete by Dornier flying boat.

    Georges when recovered claimed he hit the Ju-86P at 40,000 feet when the German crew say they were much lower and were never hit.

    In fact not one claimed high altitude intercept over Egypt was ever verified, though 2 kills were claimed and three damges were claimed, Luftwaffe records refute all these claims.

    Over the UK on 12 Sept 1942 Galitzine claimed he attacked a Ju-86R over Southhampton at 43,000ft (highest recorded combat of WW2). One of his cannons froze solid so that when he went to fire the imbalance was so great it caused the aircraft to stall and spin. The German aircraft escaped unharmed and it's pilot disclosed the encounter happened around 41,000ft, yet it is still falsely recorded as 43,000ft.

    Another notable high altitude claim was over Scapa Flow by two Spit Mark VII aircraft on 21 Feb 1944. Pierre Cloisterman and Ian Blair intercepted a BF-109G at 43,000 ft from above. The Messerscmitt was at 42,000ft and dived away from them. The kill by Blair was however below 40,000ft.

    The Gloster Meteor jet had a service ceiling much lower around 36,000ft IIRC.
  19. I Blame Communism Banned

    Nov 12, 2008
    Operating by night, the Germans were able to bomb dear Auld Reekie, where I'm from, and even Belfast (they did). The range of bombers wasn't the issue, it was the range of the escorts.
  20. Peisander Banned

    Jun 20, 2010
    And the Soviets had diddly squat radar network. That still leaves the Russians 1,660 feet short, in an aircraft with limited range to stooge around at that altitude. Even when you do have radar guidance closing in both altitude and distance is incredibly hard.

    As for striking the target, that's why the allies adopted carpet bombing. Also one should recall the other purpose for this aircraft was to carry the SB6000, a 6,000kg hollow cavity bomb.