Most overrated WWII weapon



  • What is the most overrated WWII weapon system?



  • You could make a case for the strategic bomber-

    Germany’s production actually increased from 1942-1944 despite heavy allied bombings.

    Or you could say the Battleship- as it was quickly surpassed by the aircraft carrier as the primary capital ship.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @BJCard:

    You could make a case for the strategic bomber-

    Germany’s production actually increased from 1942-1944 despite heavy allied bombings.

    Or you could say the Battleship- as it was quickly surpassed by the aircraft carrier as the primary capital ship.

    Not the bomber - no way.
    Delivered the A-bombs, for starters (actually, for enders)
    This saved untold amounts of men and resources for the USA and Japan especially.  It also hastened the post-war rebuilding process because the war was over much sooner.

    Bombings had a terrible effect on morale, infrastructure, supplies, trains, etc
    And I’m understating their effect because I don’t know about their full effect

    It wasn’t just production, though - you’re thinking from an A&A perspective!  🙂

    Bombers had the highest altitudes and longest ranges.  They were absolutely DEVASTATING throughout the war.
    Did Dewey’s bombers count as “strategic bombers”?  No early attack on Tokyo without them.  Again, you shouldn’t measure attack success merely by material destroyed.  The amount of confidence/morale destroyed is sometimes much more important.

    Better stick with battleships


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    I don’t know if this counts, but I bring up the German weapons that never quite materialized or didn’t reach the potential envisioned.

    V-2 rockets
    Blimps
    Jets


  • 2017 '16 '13 '12

    The tiger tank. Great weapon, but insufficient numbers.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I’ll interpret “overrated” to mean “delivering the least usefulness relative to the amount of resources poured into building it”, and on that basis I’ll pick static frontier fortifications: the Maginot Line, Fort Eben-Emael, the Atlantic Wall and the Siegfried Line.  They cost a fortune to build (especially the Maginot Line and the Atlantic Wall), and they failed miserably at preventing the enemy from entering the territory they defended.

    I omit from this list the very successful Soviet defensive lines at Kursk.  They were static, but they weren’t defending a frontier and they weren’t concrete-based fortifications; rather, they were a succession of defensive anti-tank belts designed to wear down any armoured forces which tried to penetrate them.  Indeed, the Soviets hoped that the Germans would attack the Kursk position (into whose preparation the Russians poured a lot of time and effort) so that a lot of German tanks would get demolished in the process (which in fact is exactly what happened, so the Kursk belts delivered excellent value for money).



  • I wouldn’t be so quick to discount the role of the Battleship in WW2. Sure there was no Jutland type battle in this war. But the Battleship role changed in this war. The Battleship support role was major. Supporting the lighter armored carriers which were  loaded with bomb and fuel with AA fire was crucial.


  • 2017

    I think Gamerman hit the nail on the head.

    V2 rockets cost far too much relative to their usefulness in the war.

    Killing thousands of civilians (in an era of total war where casualties are measured in millions) didn’t justify the R&D, materials, and labor cost.



  • Well, I suppose the morale effect really help strategic bombers here, but I was thinking in terms of investment vs. usefulness.  Bomber squadrons had to be expensive- and really only came into their own when the Axis could no longer effectively defend their airspace.  Also counting the A-bomb as a separate weapon, but if you include it as part of the strategic bomber, then ok, my argument stops there.

    Battleships were useful, no doubt, but they were incredibly expensive when a smaller squadron of ships may have done the trick- plus losing a few destroyers isn’t as bad as losing one battleship.

    Static defenses don’t feel like a weapon to me, but I guess that works too.

    German ‘V’ weapons could be termed overrated, but many of them have come into their own since then, so how can they be overrated?

    What about flamethrowers?  How useful were they really when considering how dangerous they were to the user as well?

    Perhaps an overrated weapon would be the torpedo- not only did the American ones not work the first couple of years but many submarine kills were with the deck gun.

    It is tough to come up with many truly overrated weapons- for they would have become obsolete quickly during WWII.  Many times it would just be the early model everything- tanks, planes, guns, etc because they were designed to fight WWI not WWII.



  • Ok wow to anyone thinking bombers were overrated

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II

    “In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The resulting firestorm destroyed fifteen square miles (39 square kilometres) of the city centre. Between 22,000 and 25,000 people were killed.”
    -And this using convention ordinance.

    Osaka (March-August 1945) – 10,000 killed

    Kassel (February 1942-March 1945) – 10,000 killed

    Darmstadt (September 1943-February 1944) – 12,300 killed

    Pforzheim (April 1944-March 1945) – 21,200 killed

    Swinoujscie (12 March 1945) – 23,000 killed

    London (September 1940-May 1941) – 20,000 people killed

    Berlin (1940-1945) – 50,000 killed

    Dresden (October 1944-April 1945) – 25,000 killed

    Hamburg (September 1939-April 1945) – 42,600 killed

    Tokyo (November 1944-August 1945) – 100,000-plus killed

    – “Of all the sorties over Tokyo, the raid of 9-10 March 1945, codenamed Operation Meetinghouse, was the most significant, and indeed is considered the single most destructive bombing ever. Around 1,700 tons of bombs fell on the city, destroying an estimated 286,358 buildings – made largely of wood and paper – and killing an estimated 100,000 citizens or more in the resulting firestorms. When the 1,000,000 injured and made homeless respectively are added to this figure, one begins to get a small sense of the sheer scale of destruction witnessed on those terrible nights of 1945.”

    I would argue that the strategic bomber (esp the b-29) was the single most destructive weapons system in the war (BY FAR)



  • "The purpose of the area bombardment of cities was laid out in a British Air Staff paper, dated 23 September 1941:



  • Ok, calm down dude- I was talking earlier in the war, not in 1945 when it was lambs to the slaughter.  Of course it is destructive when there is nothing fighting back.  But when there are lots of AA and enemy 109s attacking you (and you have no long range air support)…

    You cannot bomb your way to victory in any way (save nuclear bombs); you still need boots on the ground.  I’m not saying they weren’t incredibly useful!

    Was just trying to stimulate some conversation… sheesh!

    Additionally, the Soviets were what defeated Germany… the Allies only hastened the end, and preserved democracy in some of Europe.



  • The ultimate aim of an attack on a town area is to break the morale of the population which occupies it. To ensure this, we must achieve two things: first, we must make the town physically uninhabitable and, secondly, we must make the people conscious of constant personal danger. The immediate aim, is therefore, twofold, namely, to produce (i) destruction and (ii) fear of death."[129]"

    “On 30 May 1942, between 0047 and 0225 hours, in Operation Millennium 1,046 bombers dropped over 2,000 tons of high explosive and incendiaries on the medieval town of Cologne, and the resulting fires burned it from end to end. The damage inflicted was extensive. The fires could be seen 600 miles away at an altitude of 20,000 feet. Some 3,300 houses were destroyed, and 10,000 were damaged. 12,000 separate fires raged destroying 36 factories, damaging 270 more, and leaving 45,000 people with nowhere to live or to work. Only 384 civilians and 85 soldiers were killed, but thousands evacuated the city. Bomber Command lost 40 bombers.”

    The effects of the massive raids using a combination of blockbuster bombs (to blow off roofs) and incendiaries (to start fires in the exposed buildings) created firestorms in some cities. The most extreme examples of which were caused by Operation Gomorrah, the attack on Hamburg, (45,000 dead), attack on Kassel (10,000 dead), the attack on Darmstadt (12,500 dead), the attack on Pforzheim (21,200 dead), the attack on Swinemuende (23,000 dead) and the attack on Dresden (35,000 dead).

    One could go on and on about the awe-inspiring destruction of strategic bombing raids in WWII
    But i think you get my point 😉

    :evil:



  • @Uncrustable:

    The ultimate aim of an attack on a town area is to break the morale of the population which occupies it. To ensure this, we must achieve two things: first, we must make the town physically uninhabitable and, secondly, we must make the people conscious of constant personal danger. The immediate aim, is therefore, twofold, namely, to produce (i) destruction and (ii) fear of death."[129]"

    “On 30 May 1942, between 0047 and 0225 hours, in Operation Millennium 1,046 bombers dropped over 2,000 tons of high explosive and incendiaries on the medieval town of Cologne, and the resulting fires burned it from end to end. The damage inflicted was extensive. The fires could be seen 600 miles away at an altitude of 20,000 feet. Some 3,300 houses were destroyed, and 10,000 were damaged. 12,000 separate fires raged destroying 36 factories, damaging 270 more, and leaving 45,000 people with nowhere to live or to work. Only 384 civilians and 85 soldiers were killed, but thousands evacuated the city. Bomber Command lost 40 bombers.”

    The effects of the massive raids using a combination of blockbuster bombs (to blow off roofs) and incendiaries (to start fires in the exposed buildings) created firestorms in some cities. The most extreme examples of which were caused by Operation Gomorrah, the attack on Hamburg, (45,000 dead), attack on Kassel (10,000 dead), the attack on Darmstadt (12,500 dead), the attack on Pforzheim (21,200 dead), the attack on Swinemuende (23,000 dead) and the attack on Dresden (35,000 dead).

    One could go on and on about the awe-inspiring destruction of strategic bombing raids in WWII
    But i think you get my point 😉

    :evil:

    Dude I backed down when the atomic bomb was mentioned.



  • This is an interesting tidbit on strategicbombing in ww2

    On 14 February 1942, the Area bombing directive was issued to Bomber Command. Bombing was to be “focused on the morale of the enemy civil population and in particular of the industrial workers.” Though it was never explicitly declared, this was the nearest that the British got to a declaration of unrestricted aerial bombing � Directive 22 said “You are accordingly authorised to use your forces without restriction”, and then listing a series of primary targets which included Essen, Duisburg, D�sseldorf, and Cologne. Secondary targets included Braunschweig, L�beck, Rostock, Bremen, Kiel, Hanover, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Stuttgart, and Schweinfurt. The directive stated that “operations should now be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population, and in particular, the industrial workers”. Lest there be any confusion, Sir Charles Portal wrote to Air Chief Marshal Norman Bottomley on 15 February "…I suppose it is clear that the aiming points will be the built-up areas, and not, for instance, the dockyards or aircraft factories". Factories were no longer targets.



  • Agree completely with the German V-2.  I read somewhere that the effort for this was nearly that as for the atomic bomb, but the results of the V-2 was virtually negligible.  In fact, the British were glad for the V-2 because they knew the money spent on each missile was money not spent on the things that really had an effect.



  • The bombing of cities, Britain, Germany or Japan did not break the spirit of the people. Hardships bring out the toughness in people, a willingness to see things through to the end.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @ABWorsham:

    Hardships bring out the toughness in people

    In many, and maybe even most, but not all.  Many are demoralized, depressed, and defeated.  I know the Londoners were mighty happy when it finally stopped.

    Hardships bring out the toughness in the ones that weren’t killed (or badly maimed), of course.

    The old saying is “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

    Well those bombs killed a LOT of people


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    But nobody can tell me that B-29 superfortresses are overrated

    They’re about as overrated as aircraft carriers, IMO  🙂


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    Just look at it…

    300px-B-29_in_flight.jpg



  • @Gamerman01:

    Just look at it…

    For the amount of money spent producing the B-29, it should be an awesome bomber. I’ve read that it was one of the more expensive planes to produce in history.

    Have you seen or read about the B-29 that was landed on an ice field in the North Pole early in the Cold War and was frozen? There was reserach and recovery team sent to dig the plane out and recover it. Great story, terrible ending.



  • @ABWorsham:

    @Gamerman01:

    Just look at it…

    For the amount of money spent producing the B-29, it should be an awesome bomber. I’ve read that it was one of the more expensive planes to produce in history.

    Have you seen or read about the B-29 that was landed on an ice field in the North Pole early in the Cold War and was frozen? There was reserach and recovery team sent to dig the plane out and recover it. Great story, terrible ending.

    Did not know about that.  Crazy.  Yes, the amount of money spent on the bombers relative to their effectiveness is what I was getting at until I was attacked.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @ABWorsham:

    I’ve read that it was one of the more expensive planes to produce in history.

    I think each B-29 cost as much to produce as a Navy destroyer.  It was a very sophisticated plane for its time; one of its innovative features was that it was pressurized, and I believe it had a number of gun turrets that could be operated by remote control.


  • '12

    Yeah there were remote control turrets, it was quite the piece of engineering!

    The Kee Bird was a United States Army Air Forces B-29-95-BW Superfortress, 45-21768, of the 46th Reconnaissance Squadron, that became marooned after making an emergency landing in northwest Greenland during a secret Cold War spying mission on 21 February 1947.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kee_Bird

    Very interesting!

    Carpet bombing of cities never did break the spirit of any enemy I am aware of.  As for bombing industry, I believe the accuracy of bombs dropped was something like on average a 5% chance the bomb would land within a mile of the target.

    OK, after a bit of research the accuracy was a bit better but not by much!

    In reality, the day bombing was “precision bombing” only in the sense that most bombs fell somewhere near a specific designated target such as a railway yard. Conventionally, the air forces designated as “the target area” a circle having a radius of 1000 feet around the aiming point of attack. While accuracy improved during the war, Survey studies show that, in the over-all, only about 20% of the bombs aimed at precision targets fell within this target area.[148] In the fall of 1944, only seven percent of all bombs dropped by the Eighth Air Force hit within 1,000 feet of their aim point.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing_during_World_War_II


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @BJCard:

    Perhaps an overrated weapon would be the torpedo- not only did the American ones not work the first couple of years but many submarine kills were with the deck gun.

    The American early-war dud torpedoes (I think they had defective detonators, which could be blamed on inadequate testing under realistic conditions) were certainly overrated.  On the other hand, the Japanese oxygen-fuelled Long Lance torpedo could be described as underrated: when the war started, the US had no idea that the Japanese Navy possessed the best torpedo in the world, with about twice the range of more conventional models.


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