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Phoenix_jz

What if... no aircraft

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You're gonna have to bear with me here, as it's a bit of a weird way I got to thinking about this...

 

So, I was playing HoI IV, doing an ironman run as Italy. My opening strategy for the war now has basically been use and abuse the fact that the two Caio Duilio's you're building in the 1936 start are BB II's/1936 (making them some of the strongest BBs on the planet when commissioned, as most Allied ships are BB I's or variants of them). However, instead of continuing on the path of big guns, I usually try to research early and then pump out two Aquila-class CV's (CV III's/1940), which combined means you're able to sweep the Middle Sea clear of the opposition, especially as the Allied Fleets come at you piecemeal with 1 CV I and a BB or two, or a BC - always a 'I' model or a variant of them.

 

Of course, the campaign eventually has to be taken to the Atlantic, not only to invade the UK, but to also challenge the American juggernaut - for which I had the construction of four CV IV's underway. So, when my fleet ventured out into the Atlantic in 1944, centered around these two CV III's (named Aquila & Sparviero), two BB III's (Littorio & Vittorio Veneto), and the two BB II's (Caio Duilio & Andrea Doria), plus a few CA's, some CLs, and about 24 DD's (of a variant of the III model).

 

Things went pretty well, the fleet didn't do much but smash convoys, and catch the occasional American cruiser acting as a raider or too-adventurous British BB... until the American doomstack found my fleet off of the coast of Portugal. The British showed up with a CV, a BB, a battlecruiser, and some cruisers. The Americans came with eight (8) aircraft carriers, twelve (12) battleships, and seven (7) battlecruisers, on top of other supporting ships.

 

Well, we managed to bail before we lost any major ships (Duilio came close) - but only at the cost of every last strike aircraft on my carriers, plus most of their fighters, as well as a light cruiser (Garibaldi) and nineteen destroyers. In return, my fighters at least got a 7 to 1 kill ratio in the air, and I claimed a US CA.

 

I came back eventually, with my fleet of four CV IV's, as well as numerous CL IV's filled to the brim with AA guns, and a full fleet of DD IV's, although with only two BBs (III) and CA's (IV) each. At this point said Allied fleet was much weaker, a result of their strength being sapped by a titanic loss of pilots and aircraft from my land-based aircraft, not to mention numerous ships that were away for repairs (from damage inflicted by strikes), as well as ships sunk off the coast - including one of their most modern CVs. Anyways, victory was had in the initial battle, and a few follow-up ones basically finished the job - because having more than four CVs in a fleet is just a waste.

 

However, given the sheer dominance of CVs in these encounters - despite the massive numbers of BBs and battlecruisers on the Allied side, and the fact I only brought two, albeit far more modern ones - the BBs, including mine, did almost nothing. Air power decided almost all of the battles, with a a ship or two sunk by skirmishing light forces.

 

So, this got me thinking.

 

How much would history have changed if aircraft never happened.

 

What if man never figure out how to create heavier-than-air craft?

 

No blitz, no Battle of Britain, no Siege of Malta, no Midway, no Taranto, no Pearl Harbor... none of the aerial reconnaissance that was so important in the naval war. None of the air support for the land armies...

 

But given how much more dangerous so many surface vessels, for example, became even with the existence and eventual domination of aircraft... how much different would things have turned out?

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"If man were meant to fly God would have given him wings!" ...............My Papaw (Grandfather) born in 1876 died when I was 12. Never flew. NEVER went to a Doctor. 

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On 9/20/2017 at 7:40 PM, dmckay said:

"If man were meant to fly God would have given him wings!" ...............My Papaw (Grandfather) born in 1876 died when I was 12. Never flew. NEVER went to a Doctor. 

 

That's pretty funny. My great-grandmother had a saying (never met her, she died well before I was born. She was born quite literally 100 years before I was, 1899). Basically, it went something along the lines of; "When I was growing up, the fastest way to get around was with a donkey. Now, I've seen men land on the moon."

 

The explosion of technology over the last 150 years truly is astounding when you think about it.

 

On 9/20/2017 at 7:56 PM, ExploratorOne said:

Look up the joys of trench warfare in WWI.

 

How much did aircraft in WWI stop trench warfare? Keep in mind, mobile warfare did happen in WWI, not to mention the fact that tanks were developed with the very intention of dealing with trench warfare. I don't think a lack of aircraft would suddenly render everything into the trenches. In fact, speaking of tanks, I think it would do a lot to empower them, as that's a significant threat against them removed from the playing field.

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I was actually referring to what would happen if there was trench-style warfare in future battles; without aircraft, fortifications become more viable as well as supply lines relatively free of harassment.  Since you mention it, though, aircraft spotted artillery fire into trenches and bombing started becoming more of a factor.  Also remember, air combat started prior to WWI aircraft with balloons used for spotting and sniping in the late 1800s.  Naval power would have definitely turned out differently than it did without planes to cover distances quickly or to spot and attack ships at a distance.

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On 9/21/2017 at 5:49 PM, Phoenix_jz said:

 

That's pretty funny. My great-grandmother had a saying (never met her, she died well before I was born. She was born quite literally 100 years before I was, 1899). Basically, it went something along the lines of; "When I was growing up, the fastest way to get around was with a donkey. Now, I've seen men land on the moon."

 

The explosion of technology over the last 150 years truly is astounding when you think about it.

 

 

How much did aircraft in WWI stop trench warfare? Keep in mind, mobile warfare did happen in WWI, not to mention the fact that tanks were developed with the very intention of dealing with trench warfare. I don't think a lack of aircraft would suddenly render everything into the trenches. In fact, speaking of tanks, I think it would do a lot to empower them, as that's a significant threat against them removed from the playing field.

Yeah Blitzkrieg while Airpower was part of it, they might have been able to pull it off without airpower if Artillery replaced the air strikes.

 

Other thing is if the theory is planes being never invented back then likely  Dirigibles and Ballons might still have taken up some of the work possibly.

And as long as they had some sort of spotting from somewhere the Naval power could likely have turned out the same, except there would likely be no CVs, unless they Carried airships on the decks of CVs lol.

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Well, in naval terms, the high underwater speed submarine offers an alternative.  The Japanese and Germans both started experimenting with such submarines in the late 30's.

Japanese_No71_submarine_in_1938.jpg

Experimental submarine #71 IJN 1938.  This one does about 25 knots.

German_v80_midget_submarine.jpg

Walther's V-80 about 1939.  About 25 knots also.

Once you have a fast underwater sub that can do 20+ knots for an hour or more, you have a capital ship killer offensively.

 

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The main killer of capital ship wasn't aircraft, it was torpedoes. All that would of changed is the delivery system.

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