The strategical problem of the Luftwaffe
In the Clausewitz famous "Vom Kriege" book, the word strategic signify all the means needed to achieve the victory during a war.
Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, very clearly, that his main political achievement was the conquest of all the Slavish territories - so, mainly Russian - to give "a sufficient vital space to the German people".
- The German soldiers did not have extra cold weather suits very frequent in the Russian Winter.
- The German Pz II and IV tanks had narrow tracks not suited to allow displacements especially during the rasputiza episods.
- The German aircrafts were not fitted for the very thin dust in Summer or the extra cold conditions in Winter.
- Moreover, Hitler attacked a huge country without any very long range bombers!
However, the general Walter Wever, first Luftwaffe chief of staff, had perfectly understood the strategic consequence of such a long term aim of war.
He defined very early the Ural Bomber as an aircraft able to fly beyond the Ural mountains in order to destroy the war plants.
Two bombers were designed to achieve such a difficult task: These aircrafts were very interesting when compared to their contemporaries long range bombers.
You may found in the literature that these bombers were too slow, too short in range and that their bombing capabilities were insufficient.
Knowing that, his military staff might have understood how the materials of the Wehrmacht was unsuited for such a gigantic task.
The Dornier 19
The Dornier had made her maiden flight the October 28, 1936, 6 months before her direct son challenger.
She was a very large four engined aircraft for its times, 25 m long with a span of 35 m, with a crew of 9, mainly for gunners.
The wing area was 162 m².
Her empty weight was 11,850 kg and the take off weight was slightly inferior to 18,500 kg (useful weight: 6,650 kg).
So, the wing loading was 114 kg/m².
She might use of 3,500 liters of fuel to deliver a bomb charge of 1,600 kg at a distance not exceeding 1,600 km and to fly back home.
|Dornier 19 in flight on this site|
Using of 4 radial 9 cylinders air-cooled engines Bramo 322 delivering 715 ho each (De Wikipedia) or 650 hp for the French review Les Ailes, the April 4, 1940.
She was clearly under-powered by comparison with the French similar strategic bombers Farman 2233/4 or Bloch MB 162.
Nevertheless, she was rather similarly powered to the Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley.
The performances recently given are a top speed of 315 kph at sea level (Wikipedia Deutsch).
That means a top seed at altitude of ~360 kph.
Nevertheless, Les Ailes, previously cited, published an analysis of this bomber, certainly after publication of some German propaganda.
The performances published there were:
- Sea level top speed 320 kph,
- Altitude top speed 380 kph.
The comment associated was also rather elogious: "This all metal monoplane, with her wings span of 35 m, is very well designed. At the times of her appearance, she was very ahead before the actual operational bombers."
Other much more powerful engines, which were to enter service only 2 years later, could have been used, as the DB 601, allowing considerable performance improvements.
The Junkers contender
The other bomber, the Junkers 89 made her first flight the April 11, 1937.
Her fuselage was 26.49 long and her wings had a span of 35.25 m.
The wing area was 184 m².
The empty weight was 16,980 kg, the maximal take off weight was 27,800 kg ( maximum useful weight of 10,820 kg).
The wing loading was 151 kg/m².
With 4 Daimler-Benz DB 600 C engines delivering 910 hp at take off and 860 hp at 4,000 m, her top speed was 386 kph in altitude.
|Junkers 89 on this site - The Doppelflügel device is well displayed.|
Fitted with the much less powerful engines of the Dornier 19, her speed at altitude will drop significantly (between 350 kph and 360 kph).
Nevertheless, her efficient doppelflügel flap system could allow her to land or take off from
very short airfields.
These two bombers were innovative and were well designed.
If compared with the Whitley British long range bomber, they could have better perspectives.
Both were faster than the actual Farman 222-2, with a lighter bomb load. Two years later, the Farman 2233 was faster (400 kph) with a 4,500 kg bomb load.
General Walter Wever disappeared in the crash of his He 70 in June 1936.
Göring, Milch, Udet and Kesselring, obsessed by a total victory against France, apparently forgotten the "real" campaign against the USSR which was the necessary consequence of the fall of France.
For their first purpose, the chosen aircrafts, bomber or fighters, were efficient, but the Junkers 88.
From Juillet 1940, they became "impacted" by the reality of Strategy.
They chose immediate results, but neglected the unavoidable evolution of the war toward even more distant targets.
As early as the second half of 1940, the Luftwaffe was unable to disable the Great Britain's harbors.
At the end of 1941, it was also impossible for the Luftwaffe to disable the soviet weapon plants
When the concept of Amerika Bomber appeared, it was really too late, the deciders dreamt to bombers with a range of 20,000 km and a cruising speed of 500 kph!
They refused prototype bombers able of 10,000 km and 400 kph. Phew!
P.S. : You might also take into your mind that strategical bombers are tools implying very long range fighters, which became, this way, really strategical fighters.
The only authentic one - during the WW II - being the North-American P 51 D Mustang.