Most Dangerous Air Target Of Wwii

Discussion in 'General' started by b17sam, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. b17sam

    b17sam WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    What was considered the most dangerous air target in WWII? My vote would be for little known Merseberg. We called it Murdersberg. www.b17sam.com/merseberg.html
     
  2. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    From what I can gather, and I am no expert on this, Ploesti and Schweinfurt were no cakewalks for the bomber crews. So how did those compare as targets Sam?
     
  3. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Bomber Command veterans will tell you that the Ruhr, "Happy Valley," was called that for a sarcastic reason...wall-to-wall flak and nightfighters. The raids on Nuremberg and Berlin were pretty rough, too.
     
  4. b17sam

    b17sam WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes, the first two missions to both Ploesti and Schweinfurt were disastrous, but in the raids that followed, our losses became tolerable (if you can call the loss of up to 15 bombers tolerable). Same for the Ruhr and Berlin. Merseberg remained a terror right up to the end of the war.
    FROM THE SUMMARY U.S. STRATEGIC BOMB SURVEY 1945
    Leuna (at Merseberg) was the largest of the synthetic plants and protected by a highly effective smoke screen and the heaviest flak concentration in Europe. Air crews viewed a mission to Leuna as the most dangerous and difficult assignment of the air war. More about Merseberg and the U.S. Strategic Bomb Survey at www.b17sam.com/merseberg.html
    It should also be noted that the five fickle fingers of fate always prevailed. All targets had the potential on any given day to be a slaughter or a piece of cake. So much depended on your position in the bomber stream. I flew 6 missions to Cologne. Some were almost a milk run, other days we were lucky to escape with heavily damaged aircraft. Merseberg was consistent.
     
  5. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    Schweinfurt and Ploesti would have to be near the top of the list. Schweinfurt and it's ball bearings factories were a prime target and it wouldn't be lost to both sides. Ploesti - oil refineries especially being perhaps the last source of fuel albeit synthetic would have been defended to the nines.
     
  6. 39thmilitia

    39thmilitia Member

    Schweinfurt because it turned out bombing it was pointless because the Germans were importing enough ball bearings.

    That was Schweinfurt right? Stupid names :P
     
  7. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    Schweinfurt because it turned out bombing it was pointless because the Germans were importing enough ball bearings.

    That was Schweinfurt right? Stupid names :P

    Schweinfurt was the main manufacturing base for ball bearing manufacture. I didn't know they were importing ball bearings though. Who was supplying them, Sweden perhaps?
    It must have held some relevance for the Allies to attack it in the strength that it did, even with the heavy losses that ensued as a result of this .
     
  8. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    Schweinfurt was the main manufacturing base for ball bearing manufacture. I didn't know they were importing ball bearings though. Who was supplying them, Sweden perhaps?
    It must have held some relevance for the Allies to attack it in the strength that it did, even with the heavy losses that ensued as a result of this .

    Sweden.
     
  9. Hawkeye90

    Hawkeye90 Senior Member

    Ploesti was a disaster due to the fact that B-24's were used on a low-altitude attack. It was a dangerous target but the low altitude contributed to the losses. Im pretty sure Bremen was an unpopular target.
     
  10. 39thmilitia

    39thmilitia Member

    Schweinfurt was the main manufacturing base for ball bearing manufacture. I didn't know they were importing ball bearings though. Who was supplying them, Sweden perhaps?
    It must have held some relevance for the Allies to attack it in the strength that it did, even with the heavy losses that ensued as a result of this .

    Sweden was supplying them and I believe I have heard that Switzerland was also supplying them. I believe that Germany was importing enough ball bearings to make bombing their plants pointless.
     
  11. adamcotton

    adamcotton Senior Member

    Yes, the first two missions to both Ploesti and Schweinfurt were disastrous, but in the raids that followed, our losses became tolerable (if you can call the loss of up to 15 bombers tolerable). Same for the Ruhr and Berlin. Merseberg remained a terror right up to the end of the war.
    FROM THE SUMMARY U.S. STRATEGIC BOMB SURVEY 1945
    Leuna (at Merseberg) was the largest of the synthetic plants and protected by a highly effective smoke screen and the heaviest flak concentration in Europe. Air crews viewed a mission to Leuna as the most dangerous and difficult assignment of the air war. More about Merseberg and the U.S. Strategic Bomb Survey at www.b17sam.com/merseberg.html
    It should also be noted that the five fickle fingers of fate always prevailed. All targets had the potential on any given day to be a slaughter or a piece of cake. So much depended on your position in the bomber stream. I flew 6 missions to Cologne. Some were almost a milk run, other days we were lucky to escape with heavily damaged aircraft. Merseberg was consistent.

    Hi Sam, pleased to make your acquaintance. I read your novel "A Real Good War" last year, then leant it to my Dad. We both enjoyed it thoroughly (and i can recommend it to anyone else reading this!). I always wanted to know : just how much were the characters in that book based on real people you'd known?
     
  12. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    Thanks for the information David and 39th Militia
     
  13. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    From what i can gather from reading books on Bomber command, for the Commonwealth it was Happy Valley, hence the old Hamm joke at every briefing. If i remember I'll find out my list of cities.
     
  14. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    "The Big City" was not too popular either.
     
  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

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    I bet my dad played baseball against him. Nyack was their biggest rival.
     
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Raids on the heartland of the German war economy and that means the Ruhr were the most dangerous for aircrews of Bomber Command.Yet the task could not be ignored and as the bomber offensive built up with increasing bomber strength as the Lancaster entered service,the raids became relentless.

    The raids on Berlin during the winter of 1943/1944 was seen as a target to maximise destruction of the German capital and the area war economy.The Luftwaffe performance excelled at a time when its night fighter force was at the peak in strength and efficiency.Target Berlin must have been the toughest cities to attack and for aircrews,Berlin presented a psychological challenge and a most dangerous of targets for survival of aircrew.

    It resulted in unsustainable losses of both aircrew and aircraft from the start of the offensive On 18 November 1943 to the last raid in the Battle of Berlin on 24 March 1944 when 72 aircraft were listed as missing from the 811 dispatched...a loss rate of 8.9%.After the disastrous raid of 24 March 1944,Berlin as a regular target was left to the Mosquitos of the Light Night Striking Force which was able to deliver the 4000 lb cookies and must have saved aircrew lives.Bomber Command then had other target priorities in being drawn into the bombing of Overload targets under the direction of the S.A.C Eisenhower.

    Overall the 16 raids on Berlin covering the Battle of Berlin cost the RAF 492 aircraft,listed as missing,954 returned damaged and 95 written off and not recoverable,...this from over 9000 aircraft dispatched during the 5 months of the offensive.
     
    canuck and Dave55 like this.
  17. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    492 X 7 = 3,444 aircrew.

    Statistically, the most dangerous air target in WWII could easily be calculated based on total aircrew losses or possibly with losses as a ratio to the aircraft deployed.

    However, with less than 1 in 4 Bomber Command aircrew emerging unscathed many veterans probably regarded the subject of "most dangerous target" as being pointless distinction.
     
  18. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    A bit different answer
    The US Navy's Fifth/Third Fleet during the later part of the WWII e.g. during the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot most of the attacking Japanese planes were lost.
     
  19. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Tried to find the real Japanese losses, not USN claims. It seems that on 19 June 1944 IJN ships sent 354 carrier aircraft and 19 floatplanes, altogether 373, of which 130 returned to the carriers and cruisers, so 243 failed to return. Some of the planes tried to land on Guam and Rota but most of those were shot down by F6F Hellcat patrols over the islands and some crashed on landing to damaged runways. It seems tat F6Fs got some 275 and ship AA appr. 20, this incl. several Japanese planes based on islands, of those nearly 60 were lost on that day.
    On 24 June when TG-58.1 (2 fleet carriers and 2 light carriers + escort) raided Iwo Jima, of the 61 counter-attacking Japanese planes 37 were shot down by Hellcats.
     

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