Dowding's Costly Blunder in the Battle of France info
At the outset of the Invasion of Holland, Belgium and France the Germans had overwhelming bomber superiority but had inferior numbers of fighter planes: 836 Bf 109s and 187 Bf-110 (1.023 fighters) against 62 Dutch, 81 Belgian, 261 British and 764 French fighters (1,168 fighters). However, most of the Allied fighters were inferior MS.406s, H-75s, Hurricanes with inferior two blade, two pitch propellers, Gladiators, Fokker D.XXIs and G1s, only 36 Dewoitine.520s, etc, because Hugh Dowding decided to keep hundreds of 3 blade Hurricanes and Spitfires in Britain.
Moreover, Dowding had to waste over 100 of his precious, best fighters based in Britain (including dozens of Spitfires) just to evacuate during operations Dynamo and Ariel, instead of using them when most needed, before and during Guderian's Sickle cut.
RAF bomber command sent mostly useless Fairey Battles, which were lost by the hundred without destroying a single objective (losing a crew of 3 with every plane). Inexplicably, the British used superior 3 blade propellers in the useless, doomed Battles for the same Merlin engine that the invaluable Hurricanes used with 2 blade props). Grounding the battles and installing their props in the Hurricanes would have helped considerably.
During the dismal performance of the obsolete allied air force, hundreds of bad planes and excellent pilots were lost, so that by the time of the BoB, Dowding was left with more of his excellent planes than he had pilots. Britain was only saved by Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, Dutchmen, Canadians, New Zealanders, South Africans, a few Frenchmen (most French pilots refused to fight for Britain out of anger for the British not sending to France their best planes, some going to Africa or preferring even to fight for the USSR much later in the war). These foreign pilots were not familiar with the British planes, yet fought wonderfully in the BoB. Most importantly, the loss of France deprived Britain of hundreds of inferior planes and excellent pilots and a huge army and navy.
Had Dowding sent to France 250 more Hurricanes (with 3 blade, variable pitch propellers), 200 Spitfires and Radar stations during the ample months of the Sitzkrieg, the expensive but clumsy Bf-110s would have been promptly dispatched and the Bf-109s would have suffered severe losses rapidly. Most importantly, the other, inferior allied fighters would have survived much longer and could have concentrated on shooting down hundreds of Stukas and other bombers, inflicting unacceptable losses on the LW and crippling ground support for the Blitzkrieg, greatly boosting the morale and strength of the allied army, which was completely demoralized by the almost unopposed Stukas, etc, Without ground support the very inferior German tanks (mostly Pz I and II) would have been wiped out, because they were very susceptible to the allied antitank artillery (even to the inexpensive Hotchkiss 25 mm gun) and the allied tank guns.
Moreover, had the Germans not dominated the air, the allied navy could have brought its formidable naval artillery to shell the wimpy German tanks near the coast, so that Guderian could not have gotten within 30 km of the coast.
Had France survived longer, there were many H-75s, P-40s, etc, on the way from the US that would have helped considerably as would the Dewoitine.520s, Spitfires, Hurricanes, French and British tanks coming out of production in ever increasing numbers, while German airplane and tank production was still very low.
As an example of how deficient the allied air force was, during the invasion the Germans caused the greatest traffic jam in European history, so they were extremely vulnerable to attack by allied planes, yet German air superiority saved the army. Otherwise, it would have been a much worse Highway of Death than the one in Desert Storm.
Last edited by samneanderthal; November 19th, 2011 at 22:54..