Mathematical model shows how the Nazis could have won WWII's Battle of Britain

Mathematical model shows how the Nazis could have won WWII's Battle of Britain



With just a few strategical tweaks, the Nazis could have won one of World War II's most decisive battles.


Two strategic blunders

Now, historians and mathematicians from York St. John University have collaborated to produce a statistical model (docx download) capable of calculating what the likely outcomes of the Battle of Britain would have been had the circumstances been different.


How you can determine this without taking into account Hitler & Goerings mental state, British morale, the morale of the LW Bomber crews to being decimated.

Certainly the worst mistake was going after the cities, but pompous pride had to be assuaged
 
Mathematical modelling shows my Granny, would've been my Granda if she had 2 balls.
 

endure

GCM
Mathematical modelling shows I should have been a

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Oh! that must be a different mathematical model to the one I seen. The Plean Historical Society and Pizza Delivery Centre have been working on an geometric model that shows if Hitler's boot lace had snapped at approx 09:18 hrs, on the 1st of August 1917., and he was three minutes early for breakfast the next day he would have copped a round in the bonce, thus cancelling WW2 altogether. However Prof Fuller-Ship thinks that if Hitler's dad had been drunk around July 20th 1888 he might not have got his end away, thereby rendering Hitler as a non entity
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
'Say the odds of a British victory in the real-world Battle of Britain stood at 50-50 (there's no real way of knowing what the actual odds are, so we'll just have to select an arbitrary figure). If this were the case, changing the start date of the campaign and focusing only on airfields would have reduced British chances at victory to just 10 percent. Even if a British victory stood at 98 percent, these changes would have cut them down to just 34 percent.'

so...they've just pulled a figure out of their arrse and based their entire premise on that?? ok then.

still leaves the boxheads to get across the channel and make a landing stick.
 

stuskimac

Old-Salt
As far as I was aware Goerings error was switching from bombing the RAF airfields to the cities, a blessed relief for the RAF. Although I firmly believe its was the courage & bravery of the plucky young barely in there 20's RAF pilots who kept shooting zee Luftwaffe down that won it ! But hey I was never much good at maths anyway!
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
As far as I was aware Goerings error was switching from bombing the RAF airfields to the cities, a blessed relief for the RAF. Although I firmly believe its was the courage & bravery of the plucky young barely in there 20's RAF pilots who kept shooting zee Luftwaffe down that won it ! But hey I was never much good at maths anyway!

most historians have it down as a number of things, but there's no doubt the switch from airfields to cities was a big mistake and gave Fighter Command some much needed breathing space.
 

Himmler74

On ROPS
On ROPs
Mathematical models show it would have been possible for the Americans to have won the Vietnam war?
 
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Mathematical modelling shows that I will win the National Lottery one day.

14 million to one mathematical modelling, that is. All I have to do is buy a ticket on 14 million occasions!!!!!
 
Mathematical modelling shows that I will win the National Lottery one day.

14 million to one mathematical modelling, that is. All I have to do is buy a ticket on 14 million occasions!!!!!

Errrm, the chances are independent each time you buy a ticket. It will always be X million to one, rather than (X million minus n), where n is the number of lotteries in which you buy a ticket. Sorry about that.
 

Mathematical model shows how the Nazis could have won WWII's Battle of Britain



With just a few strategical tweaks, the Nazis could have won one of World War II's most decisive battles.


Two strategic blunders

Now, historians and mathematicians from York St. John University have collaborated to produce a statistical model (docx download) capable of calculating what the likely outcomes of the Battle of Britain would have been had the circumstances been different.


How you can determine this without taking into account Hitler & Goerings mental state, British morale, the morale of the LW Bomber crews to being decimated.

Certainly the worst mistake was going after the cities, but pompous pride had to be assuaged

I was expecting to see the name Niall Mackay in there as the phrases 'Battle of Britain' and 'mathematical modelling' were in close proximity and indeed it was... He and some fellow researchers have been looking at mathematical modelling for some time; his name accompanied a piece in RAF Air Power Review a good six or seven years ago (albeit not looking at the Battle).

The problem, I fear, is when you get statements that the model brings forward the air campaign by three weeks - it just means that the Luftwaffe gets less time to recover from the losses sustained during the Battle of France. They were arguably on the verge of culminating at the time of Dunkirk - don't forget that despite the 'Royal Absent Force' jibes during Dynamo, when the RAF had the assets available to push into France and Belgian airspace and engaged the enemy, it tended to go rather badly for the Germans.

The problem is that they become fascinated with invasion - which the RN would've torn to shreds quite conceivably without using anything bigger than a cruiser (that was Admiral Forbes's plan, anyhow) as part of the rather formidable fleet.

There's also the issue of weather - which was not as uniformly brilliant (see the start of Adlertag being postponed) as oft-supposed and the rather large, elephant-shaped one which is that Kesselring persuaded Göring that attacking airfields was a jolly good idea...

And then there's the counterfactuals (CFs), which they present thus:

CF1 - What if the switch to bombing London hadn't occurred?
CF2 - What if Hitler had been fundamentally in favour of invasion from the outset
CF3 - No bombing of London and earlier campaign start
CF4 - What if Göring and his staff had believed that Fighter Command could be destroyed more easily on the ground than in the air?
CF5 - Combines early start with attacking airfields.


The problem - and it's a fairly large one - is that none of the CF's really works because you ask well, what about the British response? [STAFF COLLEGE CLICHE] Remember, the enemy has a vote [\STAFF COLLEGE CLICHE]. This means you may as well throw in CF6 : what if Churchill had set Bomber Command on Berlin three weeks earlier to the exclusion of other targets? or CF7: what if Bomber Command had been tasked to bomb French and Belgian airfields every night rather than invasion targets in Germany and the Low Countries (and the French ports)?

For CF1 to occur, you have to accept that coercion is deemed to stop with the loss of southern England's airspace to the Luftwaffe, thanks to the destruction of the airfields and no alternative operating locations for 11 Group. The model allows for the withdrawal of 11 Group to north of London into 12 Group territory. However... the problem here is that the further north - even in 11 Group's boundaries - the Luftwaffe ranges, the less protection the bombers have from the fighters - if they're hitting North Weald (which they tried on 18 August, only to be thwarted by the weather), then this brings Duxford's fighters into play. And you have to ask a very, very big question - are we seriously suspecting that destroying a relatively small element of Fighter Command's infrastructure would lead to surrender, or does the Luftwaffe have to coerce Churchill into seeking terms by bombing London?

The answer, I think, is they have to bomb London.

And this ignores the fact that Beppo Schmid was, to use a technical term, absolutely f***ing hopeless at his job. The Luftwaffe shifted to London in no small part because their intelligence suggests that they'd destroyed Fighter Command... Remember that Göring is fighting a coercive air campaign to get the British to surrender (lots of shiny medals for the Luftwaffe and lots of prestige for Herman if that happens) - that means having rendered London defenceless against air attack, London is bombed - and this isn't terror bombing, even though it's Hitler - with key targets such as the docks and the financial centre being struck to make the British realise that their ability to wage war and their strength as a nation will be fatally compromised if they don't seek terms.

The problem is that after lots of bomber crews come back suggesting that the number of Spitfires and Hurricanes trying (not without success) to kill and maim them was sufficient to convince them that perhaps there were more British fighters than their A2 branch thought, the Germans begin to realise that there's a problem... And even then they fail to realise that there's another problem in the form of CHAIN HOME, which they never get their heads around properly and thus don't target it with the urgency it requires.

CF2 is just bonkers - it completely misunderstands how Hitler saw the British Empire and its role in the post-war world. Yes, his thinking was completely bonkers - who'd have f***ing thought Hitler had mad ideas? - but he didn't want to destroy the British Empire (because he thought the Americans, Soviets and Japanese would exploit this, to German's detriment as a world power and because he liked the way that the British were ruthless in colonising a third of the globe) and he certainly didn't want to chance his arm taking on the RN and possibly losing tens of thousands of men in the Channel. Why? Because they'd not then be available to defeat Bolshevism - his real aim (how did that work out for you again, Adolf? Adolf...?)

When you get into the detail behind this CF, it gets worse - talking about an eager Hitler catching Fighter Command on the hop, winning air supremacy and invading early. What that does is lose the battle for the Germans early as the RN slaughters them in their invasion barges in mid-August rather than mid-September.

CF3 - see point above about a coercive air campaign needing to bomb London to be sufficiently coercive, and see point even further above about Luftwaffe losses over France and the need to recuperate (which it didn't). The earlier start requires Hitler to be dead set on invasion and not worried about the RN. Meanwhile, back on this planet....

CF4 - Kesselring did... Also it isn't as easy to do as might be thought - you need the intelligence to be spot on; to have the ability to press home near constant attacks on airfields not only in Southern England but in the locations where the bombers will have no fighter escort but be in range of other RAF fighter airfields in 10 and 12 Group and other airfields to which Fighter Command has moved (displacing OTUs, for instance, at places like Westcott, Bicester, Upper Heyford, Kidlington - all within fairly short flying time of London). On top of that, Göring knew that it wasn't that easy from personal experience, and he wasn't so drug-addled as to have forgotten this. Yes, he yearned for the 'knights of the air' stuff, but there was more than some idiotic romanticism behind this - airfields are not that easy to take out without significant effort (see the Tornado GR1 force during the first few days of GRANBY; see BLACK BUCK; see Op BODENPLATTE in 1945).

CF5 - flawed for the reasons noted above re: early start and what appears to be a misapprehension about the approach to attacking airfields.

And that's the problem - the maths and the modelling is great, but there are too many variables which have to be thrown into the mix.

And then, to top it all, the piece recognises that the Battle of France didn't end with Dynamo and that the Luftwaffe was rather heavily involved...

Put in more simply terms, the seductive nature of the application of modelling has led to them coming dangerously close - if not actually getting there - to situating the appreciation. It may be great maths, but the history is really, really dodgy, even allowing for it being counterfactual - because too many contextual variables aren't given sufficient consideration.

ETA - I should say that I'm not being critical of Niall Mackay; he's very good, but I happen to think he's got this a bit wrong by taking the modelling on so far.

To mangle the words of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the problem here is that the contextual factors insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated are such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the field of counterfactual history a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear (w/acknowledgements to Jonathan Lynn and Tony Jay)
 
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And if I'd been born a genius I wouldn't be thick
 

TamH70

MIA

Mathematical model shows how the Nazis could have won WWII's Battle of Britain



With just a few strategical tweaks, the Nazis could have won one of World War II's most decisive battles.

Thus ending the war before 1941 if Sealion goes ahead, since losing the BofB didnt mean as the Germans thought and planned - that the RAF was destroyed only that it withdrew from the South East to husband its strength. Although this in itselfs a bit moot really as to the outcome of large river crossing that is planned to invade Britain
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
Mathematical modelling shows that I will win the National Lottery one day.

14 million to one mathematical modelling, that is. All I have to do is buy a ticket on 14 million occasions!!!!!
Or just buy 14 million tickets at once.
 

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