Disband the RAF?

dizzy29

Newbie
capt-ahab said:
Some of you have probably already seen this - been on arrse already but wondered what the feeling would be over here?

It’s time to abolish the RAF according to Col Tim Collins

"We’d have a more efficient, streamlined armed forces without the air corps" apparently - what you reckon to this?
when col collins said without the Air Corps, did he mean the RAF or the Army Air Corps?? If he meant the latter then I see where he's coming from as there is no need for the AAC. Just my opinion. :lol:
 
He meant without the Crabs, RAF. Might have a point, or at least ensure that in future all fighting airframes purchased for the RAF is Carrier compatible, and all Crab Officers can fly from a flat top.

Although the RAF is the only service that can be absorbed into the other services, the RN is the only service that is truely Tri-Operational, fights at sea, in the air and on land.

Although the point made that if it were to happen the Army would make a grab for the RM is worrying, they can barely keep their hands off of them as it is!
 

Deepdown

Newbie
The reality is that dark blue, light blue and brown are all pretty well mixed in together anyway.

Look at the big picture, tradition is fine and we can leave it to take care of itself. We are all in it together, effectively doing the same job, so in reality it's a single service with different arms. Mind you, I would get upset if the light blue developed a diving branch!
 

Jimmy_Green

War Hero
Deepdown said:
The reality is that dark blue, light blue and brown are all pretty well mixed in together anyway.

Look at the big picture, tradition is fine and we can leave it to take care of itself. We are all in it together, effectively doing the same job, so in reality it's a single service with different arms. Mind you, I would get upset if the light blue developed a diving branch!
They seem pretty good at taking a fast jet and diving into the ground with it.
 

Oil_Slick

War Hero
ThePunisher said:
Not popular, but worth mentioning; when the Army was curled into a feotal position, bleeding from it's collective ARRSE and whimpering "Make the bad Hun stop, Mummy!", it was the RAF who saved the day.
Without The Few back in 1940, Col Collins would have been speaking in German today and asking "Do we really need a Luftwaffa?"

Bollocks… with the Germans down to 10 destroyers and 1 cruiser after Norway they were doing jack shit in the Invasion Game even if the RAF had been totally wiped out.
 
ThePunisher said:
Not popular, but worth mentioning; when the Army was curled into a feotal position, bleeding from it's collective ARRSE and whimpering "Make the bad Hun stop, Mummy!", it was the RAF who saved the day.
Without The Few back in 1940, Col Collins would have been speaking in German today and asking "Do we really need a Luftwaffa?"
Army and Marines can slag the Rockapes. But the RAF remains the best Airforce in the world. And I'll fight any man who says different!
Ditto

Unusual statement from a Penguin, but the Rocks are definately OK.
 
Only an excerpt but I think some might disagree there:
http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-5844599/Pie-in-the-sky-As.html

In the words of Dr Andrew Gordon, head of maritime history:

I cheered like crazy at the film of the Battle of Britain, like everyone else. But it really is time to put away this enduring myth. To claim that Germany failed to invade in 1940 because of what was done by the phenomenally brave and skilled young men of Fighter Command is hogwash. The Germans stayed away because while the Royal Navy existed they had not a hope in hell of capturing these islands. The navy had ships in sufficient numbers to have overwhelmed any invasion fleet--destroyers' speed alone would have swamped the barges by their wash, hardly a need for guns.
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
FFS! Do we have to go through this again?

The defeat of the Luftwaffe was essential to allow the RN freedom of action to deny any invasion fleet. If that bloke really is a professor of maritime history he perhaps ought to look up what Fliegerkorps X did to the RN in the Med when we tried to operate against a capable airforce with no air cover of our own. Failing that, an analysis of the loss of Repulse, PoW, Hermes etc in 1941 might be worth a look. Or even the Battle of Leyte Gulf to evaluate how surface forces get on against an overwhelming air threat.

It's fair bet that the RN would have been trying to operate from Rosyth & Scapa to stop any invasion as without air cover, the Luftwaffe would have carried out an even more extensive remodelling of DSC, Portland, Sheerness, Chatham, Guzz etc than they actually managed!

This should never be used as an argument to support RAF control of embarked air - different argument and tactical situation altogether. However, there is no denying that without fighter command (and the FAA squadrons also contributing) the RN would probably have had a very protracted and very unsatisfactory encounter with three LuftFlotte.
 
I would suggest that perhaps defeat of the Luftwaffe is a trifle strong, they simply decided that daylight raids were too expensive in aircraft and reverted back to nightime bombing and also that the UK ability to keep fighters flying was higher than they had anticipated. I myself have wondered whether the invasion threat was ever really there, or was it a ruse to hopefully make the Brits sue for peace, something AH would have accepted to allow him to get on with the real war in the east.

Equally had Goering actually forced the RAF from south east england, by the time they had the invasion fleet ready the RAF would have been back with a vengeance, they were turning out planes and pilots at a predigious rate at that time .

As for the RN they would have blocked the channel with wrecked warships I suspect to stop the invasion fleet, and were not unprepared, one only has to see the sacrifices make by the RN over Crete to see what they were prepared to do.
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
Or indeed at the beaches at Dunkirk and elsewhere. Not disputing the readiness to do that, just the ability to do so if you have skies full of Heinkels, Junkers and Dorniers over your base ports........
 
Not_a_boffin said:
Or indeed at the beaches at Dunkirk and elsewhere. Not disputing the readiness to do that, just the ability to do so if you have skies full of Heinkels, Junkers and Dorniers over your base ports........
Hence my reference to Crete where there was very little air cover
 

Oil_Slick

War Hero
Not_a_boffin said:
FFS! Do we have to go through this again?

The defeat of the Luftwaffe was essential to allow the RN freedom of action to deny any invasion fleet. .

That's rubbish… Against basically stationary ships off Dunkirk they managed to sink the grand total of 6 RN destroyers during daylight. In 1940, the had very little anti ship capability… FFS, they couldn't even stop undefended convoys chugging along at 6 knots from passing through the Straits of Dover during daylight!

Reality is, a fast destroyer flotilla could have run through the Channel during the hours of darkness and massacred the invasion fleet.

It's covered rather well in these two essays…


http://web.archive.org/web/20060208193518/www.flin.demon.co.uk/althist/seal1.htm

http://web.archive.org/web/20060225210635/gateway.alternatehistory.com/essays/Sealion.html
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
Interesting essays, but just that, essays. The dismissal of the Stuka as vulnerable to massed AA defences is hardly borne out by the damage they did to Illustrious and the Malta convoys. The Heinkels and Ju88s weren't exactly ineffective against the Russian convoys either (granted a couple of years later). The massed AA defences mentioned were little more than Pom-Poms at the time as well. Proper HA mounts with control, VT fuse and large numbers of Bofors Oerlikons didn't arrive till after 1940.

Fast destroyer flotillas still need somewhere to operate from. Had fighter command not forced the switch to night-time city-blitzing (albeit with a lot of help from Mr Hilter), the RN would have struggled to base anything south of the Humber.

It's all a bit OBE (hence the FFS!). Without a strong RN, the RAF would not have been able to stop an invasion. However, by defeating the Luftwaffe 1940 daylight campaign (BoB), the RAF did provide the operating environment that allowed the RN to threaten the invasion fleet (if you can call barges that!)
 
Not a Boffin is largely right. The invasion fleet was rather a sideline. The important Fighter Command function was to deny the Luftwaffe control of the sky above GB and the surrounding waters. That didn't guarantee denial of the waters themselves. That required what we now call "defence in depth" for which the RN was an essential element. With "air superiority" on our side, all offensive operations were consigned to the hours of darkness, with all the limitations that imposed in those days.

I think the operations around Malta and more importantly Crete were not conducted by slow ships that were unable to manoeuvre. To take a famous example, the KELLY. The K Class were hardly slow and were somewhat agile. If you put enough iron down on a particular piece of occupied sea, though, something hard will get in its way.

Back to the original point; the RAF provided the RN and the Army (when it was engaged) with the air cover they needed. For over 5 years, it was the only Service able to take the fight to the Enemy. Had the likes of Smuts, Henderson, Sykes and, latterly, Trenchard not created an independent Air Force, resources and offensive capability would have been ill-balanced, duplicated and squandered.
 

Magic_Mushroom

War Hero
I find it incredibly sad when individuals such as Dr Gordon feel a desire to denigrate the past sacrifices and achievements of others just so that they can write a novelty essay with a fresh perspective on history. I know Dr Gordon and have been lectured many times by him. He is a real gentleman but, sadly, I gained the impression that he's one of those academics whose intelligence is not matched by his appreciation for the realities of combat.

Nevertheless, I've always felt that the threat posed by the RN to the Kreigsmarine was underestimated in analyses of why Germany never invaded. The German invasion fleet was tenuous at best and Grossadmiral Raeder was always a proponent of defeating Britain by naval blockade rather than direct invasion. However, Germany most certainly had a credible airborne assault capability which could have seized key airfields near Dover. Combined with the air superiority that thankfully they never gained, imho they had sufficient naval forces to make a successful landing in S England. However, Raeder stressed from the outset that air superiority was an absolute pre-requisite for the Kreigsmarine to conduct and support an amphibious invasion.

Individuals such as oilslick and potential officer should also reflect 2 other factors in the equation. Firstly, it is possible and indeed likely that Italy would have committed key elements of it's very powerful fleet to support the Kreigsmarine in any invasion. Italy committed it's air force to the latter stages of the Battle of Britain although they were routed by the RAF. However, their Navy would have significantly bolstered the Axis chances of success. This is another area where the influence of the RN has perhaps not been acknowledged in that any Italian Naval intervention would have required passage past Malta and through the straits of Gibraltar where it would no doubt have attracted the attentions of the senior (and junior!) service.

Secondly, the RAF itself (as with the FAA of course) had a not-inconsiderable anti-ship capability at the time, although nothing like what the UK had by 1942ish. This was another factor why Raeder placed so much emphasis upon air superiority.

I think therefore that the RN was certainly a factor in 1940. However, it is frankly insulting to suggest that it was the primary factor. As has been stated, Crete, the Malta convoys, the Russian convoys and Singapore are just a few examples of what happens when naval forces lack their own air superiority. Oilslick cites Dunkirk as an example of how inefficient the German air attacks would have been. Yet he conveniently forgets that there were intensive air battles between the RAF and Luftwaffe during the evacuation which greatly limited the numbers of aircraft getting through. Indeed, these were probably some of the most intensive ops conducted by Fighter Command during the war after the Battle of Britain itself.

The simple fact is that, without the air superiority won by the RAF and FAA pilots, the RN would have needed to have been kept at some distance from the Straights of Dover to avoid constant air attacks. This would have reduced their reaction time, especially when the RAF would have been unable to provide recce of the Channel ports to provide the indications and warning of invasion needed to attack.

Any naval reaction to invasion would therefore have been late, and would have been unable to stop the simultaneous airborne assault. The RN would have then been a massive problem to maintaining the German SLOCs to support the invasion forces. However, to do so they would have been subject to constant air attack by bomb and torpedo equipped (Ju-88 and He-115) aircraft.

Raeder acknowledged the imperitive of air superiority. Hitler acknowledged the imperitive of air superiority. Perhaps it is time that the likes of Dr Gordon, oilslick and PO also acknowledge facts. The RN was a factor in 1940, and a significant one. But let's stop frankly insulting the sacrifices of others and stop trying to re-write history.

Regards,
MM
 

DingDong

Lantern Swinger
I think that Col Tim, Decorated though he was, should stop making such rediculous statements. I know that he has a family to feed however his comments cause such debates as these to happen and serve to inflame inter-service rivalry.

Do we really think that in the RN we have sufficient expertise to manage the multitide of skills that go hand in hand with operating a professional Air Force? If we did, then surely the RFC and RNAS would never have merged.

The RAF are the experts, they should be left to get on with things without the constant sniping. Col Tims comments are surely based on the experience of being on the ground with his battalion battle group, using tactical air power. However as we all know, Warfare operates at the tactical, Operational, Strategic and Grand Strateic levels, and i would assert that airpower can operate at all of these levels except perhaps the Grand Strategic level.

Magic Mushroom help me here - I haven't read all of the air doctrine yet!!

I'm sure that the RN and Army can operate Defensive Air at the tactical level but i would say we can't do it at the other levels.
 

Magic_Mushroom

War Hero
DD,

I would perhaps argue that the traditional tactical, operational, strategic, grand strategic concepts are obsolete in the modern environment. However, it's fair to say that Air Power (be it land based or maritime based) is unique in that it can be applied at any of those levels on the same mission. Indeed, it is common that that is the case.

I'm a strong proponent of the Army and RN each maintaining an independant aviation capability. However, those who recommend absorbing the RAF into the other 2 are without exception either ignorant regarding modern ops or have a political axe to grind.

Having worked with the Army on ops as an LO, I would argue that they are the last service to comment on such things. Tim Collins' comments are naive in the extreme.

Sadly however, I can see us all destined for a purple amorphous mass by 2030 due to pressure from the bean counters.

MM
 

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