The Germans came out swinging at the beginning of World War II. They took fighting from the air to a whole new level with the blitzkrieg, a form of incredibly fast attacks meant to subdue ground troops by overwhelming them.
It was an incredibly beneficial tactic and helped move Germany through Europe with very little resistance. However, while it seemed effective on the outside, the strategy did have a few flaws.
Since the Luftwaffe was so focused on close combat, they did not have any plan for long-distance bombing. Moreover, in the wake of WWI, Germany had to manufacture their bombers as civilian airliners, which is why lightweight bombers suited their needs.
The allied did not have any restrictions, so they could make the aircraft they truly wanted, which included a variety of types such as the American B-17 Flying Fortress and the British Avro Lancaster.
These two planes were capable of carrying payloads that were twice what the German He 111 could manage. Hitler always had his sights on destroying New York City, but he lacked the ability. In 1938, Luftwaffe commander-in-chief Herman Göring said, “I completely lack the bombers capable of round-trip flights to New York with a 4.5-tonne bomb load. I would be extremely happy to possess such a bomber, which would at last stuff the mouth of arrogance across the sea.”
At the beginning of 1941, the Germans truly had the upper hand, but they still needed to face off against Britain. U-boats went after the country, and Germany was able to get fuel in the Azores. Since they had the use of the Azores, Germany felt like it would also be the perfect way they could get access to the east coast of America.
Hitler wanted to send “long-range bombers against American cities from the Azores.” He called the project the Amerikabomber, a name that hit the mission objective on the head.
Four German aircraft designers submitted plans for the bomber, but only two were created and tested. Messerschmitt’s Me 264 and Junker Ju 390.
The plan was to hit industrial targets first to hurt America’s chance of being a useful democratic force. It would also mean they would not be able to support Britain.
Germany thought they could win this way, but the allies hit an industrial facility hindering the whole plan.