PDA

View Full Version : Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed


Black baron
29th May 2006, 08:34
13 as I recall. "someone" has claimed that most of his claims had no 38 losses reported on allied side.

Any data on this?

Dénes Bernád
29th May 2006, 22:37
Your post is a bit confused. :confused:

Are you actually talking of Obstlt. Kurt Bühligen of JG2?

Black baron
29th May 2006, 23:14
Yah, Kurt Bueligen. Has 13 P-38's on his record. Someone claimed US records don't show no losses on the dates he claimed em.

Here is the post..


Kurt Bühligen and Erich Rudorffer were overoptimistic about their exploits in Tunisia:

8th January 1943
II./JG 2 was credited with nine P-38s destroyed (three to Bühligen, one to Rudorffer).
Only three P-38s failed to return.

8th February 1943
II./JG 2 was credited with one P-38 destroyed.
No P-38s were lost in these combats.

9th February 1943
II./JG 2 was credited with three P-38s destroyed (two to Rudorffer).
No P-38s were lost in these combats.

15th February 1943
II./JG 2 was credited with ten P-38s destroyed (three to Bühligen, four to Rudorffer).
No P-38s were lost in these combats.

12th March 1943
II./JG 2 was credited with three P-38s destroyed (all to Bühligen).
II./JG 77 was credited with one P-38 destroyed.
No P-38s were lost in these combats.

Csaba B. Stenge
30th May 2006, 09:05
It is not just the pilot's fault, but the German confirming system as well (altough it was generally strict and good, compared with the others). I guess, you should ask some wingman about these things (why did they 'witnessed' the highly inflated 'air victories' of some high aces - BTW Rudorffer's serious overclaims over the eastern front were discussed here earlier as well)

Black baron
30th May 2006, 10:19
Yes I have heard from Mike Spick that Rudorffer & I think Oesau? he mentioned were bs'ers.

Mainly interested in Bueligen.

Artur PK
30th May 2006, 16:49
BÜHLIGEN!!!!

ArtieBob
30th May 2006, 20:34
Having worked in the USA for a German owned and managed company , the German expatriate with an "ü" in his name used the "ue" in all English documents and correspondence while he lived here. That was his choice as he was the boss. For that reason, it might not seem improper to use the anglicized version in what is an English language board and please, don't shout Artur, it hurts my PC ears.

Best Regards,

Artie Bob (aka. Arthur-Artur when in Deutschland or Österreich)

leonventer
30th May 2006, 21:04
Hi Artie Bob,

I believe it was the missing 'h' in 'Bueligen' that got Artur's goat.

Leon Venter

Dénes Bernád
30th May 2006, 21:28
There is a difference between 'Bühligen' and 'Bueligens'. That's what probably pissed off 'Artur PK', i.e., the repeated usage of the misspelled name even after the proper spelling was pointed out.

I am looking forward to the replies related to his apparent overclaimings.

Black baron
31st May 2006, 06:00
One site had it spelled like this.. Doubt the 'n' belongs there.


"Bu-Mann" Kurt Buhlingen

Ruy Horta
31st May 2006, 11:32
As a side comment, even some germans favor the oe over ö spelling, for instance WW 1 Ace Oswald Boelcke. I've read in Boelcke's biography (J. Werner) that this is, or at least was, something of a personal preference.

Buehlingen or Bühlingen is the same.

Ruy Horta
31st May 2006, 11:33
Didn't the US records have some gaps for the period?

Jim P.
1st June 2006, 22:40
My first comment would be that Sprick is hardly a reliable source. Personally, I find his stuff unreadable.Did the LW pilots overclaim? Certainly. Was it intentional deceit or over zealous enthusiasm? Who knows. Most of these guys are dead so, obviously, they ain't talking. Was the this unique to the LW? Hell no. As I recall Fighter Command knew the RAF was overclaiming by about 75% during the BoB, but didn't make anything of it for morale purposes. Everybody overclaimed - as a guess I'd say overall for all combatants you'd find about a 50% overclaiming rate. Get over it. Its a fact. I'm not about to hold it against someone 60 years on because I can refute this or that claim. Of the very few times I've read of a pilot trying to see his claim into the ground, the result was the guy usually got hit in return - Rall is one case I remember. Go read about the AVG if you're really interested in a case of overclaiming.

keith A
2nd June 2006, 00:32
JG2 do seem to have a reputation for overclaiming. Donald Caldwell hints at it in his books on JG26. There was also the case of some of those JG27 pilots in the desert of 1942...

Its a valid argument that Fighter Command were seriously overclaiming in the latter part of 1941, and in the early part of 1942 but as the time went on there was a closer relationship between claims and losses. The Battle of Britian seems to indicate a 1:3 ratio of actual loss to claim. 74 Squadron, 303 squadron, and in 1941, 452 Squadron, all have serious discrepancies between claims and enemy losses.

For serious overclaiming I think the best example in the Pacific. American and Japanese claims during the air war were occasionally ridiculous. The Japanese air forces were certainly wiped out by late 1944 if claims are true. Likewise the USAAF, and Navy.

German claims over the eastern front would be an interesting debate. Is it reasonable to believe that the Russian air forces were so poor that they succumbed in such numbers to pilots who became early victims when switched to the Western Front? (Kittel, Lang etc.)

VtwinVince
2nd June 2006, 02:45
Good points, Keith, I particularly remember the controversy surrounding the claims of the Erwin Sawallisch staffel in North Africa and his subsequent mysterious death. I believe Franz Stigler, an old family friend, was a member of this staffel as well.

Martin Gleeson
2nd June 2006, 02:53
Hallo Ruy and colleagues,

Re. gaps in US records for the period.

Yes, there are huge gaps in USAAF records for the Tunisian campaign, especially the early months. Anyone looking for pilot rosters and lists of aircraft serial numbers I wish them luck ! The 82nd FG is of huge interest to me. Some years ago I began to attempt to reconnstruct a pilot roster for this unit covering December 1942. Lack of detailed and authoritative historical documents caused this endeavour to stall after some time. It is my hope that there are yet undiscovered treasures in the NARA, but accessing them for me from Ireland is presently impossible. There is no online catalogue. One wonders if they (NARA) know themselves what they have. I would welcome further comment on this topic now that Ruy has raised it. Perhaps we can all learn a little more.

Re. P-38 losses on 8th January 1943.

As well as the P-38 losses for the 14th FG of 3 destroyed and 2 damaged the 82nd FG this day apparently lost 4 Lightnings and 2 pilots. No less than 6 separate missions were flown by the 95th and 97th FS, 3 each. This was an unusually high figure at that point in the campaign for this inexperienced group. The 96th FS was non-operational that day. All 6 were bomber escort missions. It appears the following losses occurred;

97th FS mission to Graiba, one P-38 and pilot MIA.
97th FS mission to Kairouan, one P-38 and pilot MIA.
95th FS mission to Kalaa Srira (sic), one P-38 lost. (According to data supplied by William J. Schildt this mission was airborne 1430 - 1715 hours, escorting B-25s)
97th FS mission to Kairouan, one P-38 lost.

One of the pilots lost was LtCol. Roy M. Loe, the deputy Group Commander. The other I have not been able to identify yet, if indeed a second pilot was lost. 2/Lt. Pincus P. Taback of the 97th FS had his P-38 badly damaged by a Bf 109 (according to Taback) and when he crash-landed at his airfield it was destroyed in the fire that followed.

No times are given and it is not stated if all these losses were due to enemy action. The above details are extracted from a type of statistical report for the 82nd FG titled 'REPORT OF OPERATIONS performed prior to 1 July 1943', only part of which I received from the NARA via a private researcher.

I know the above is at varience with ADORIMINI by Steve Blake and John Stanaway but I believe it to be accurate. By the way no missions were flown by the 82nd FG on 9 January 1943. I have been co-operating with Steve Blake for many years now and have supplied him with copies of anything quoted above.

And don't forget the 3rd Photo Group. I know almost nothing about their operations in North Africa. However the US Army Air Forces website on their MACR database records an F-4 (41-2134) lost on 8 January 1943, MACR 14573. Obviously an MACR compiled well after the actual loss. Next go to the ABMC website and in the unit listing for the 5th Photo Squadron of this Group one finds a Major Robert M. Ritchie lost on 8 January 1944. This apparent error is probably due to the frequent practice of the American authorities in assigning a date of death to an MIA one year afterwards.

So potentially there are 5 more P-38 losses on this date. Some were certainly caused by enemy aircraft but impossible to go further without more information, especially times.

Hope the foregoing is of interest. I look forward to others hopefully expanding on the above, but I will be away for the next few days.
Regards,

Martin Gleeson.

Franek Grabowski
2nd June 2006, 03:00
JG2 do seem to have a reputation for overclaiming. Donald Caldwell hints at it in his books on JG26.
I would say this thesis remains unsupported. In similar conditions JG26 overclaimed as wildly as JG2. IMHO during Normandy Campaign JG2 performed much better than JG26.
There was also the case of some of those JG27 pilots in the desert of 1942...
Well, this is one of the very few proven cases of deliberate false claims.
Its a valid argument that Fighter Command were seriously overclaiming in the latter part of 1941, and in the early part of 1942 but as the time went on there was a closer relationship between claims and losses.
[QUOTE]The Battle of Britian seems to indicate a 1:3 ratio of actual loss to claim. 74 Squadron, 303 squadron, and in 1941, 452 Squadron, all have serious discrepancies between claims and enemy losses.
I cannot say for the others but actual score of 303 could have been between 20-30 and 60-80 German aircraft destroyed comparing to 126 approved by RAF. It is simply impossible to verify individual scores in the period. Plenty of overclaim was caused by RAF command, who credited pilots with individual victories even if they claimed shared ones, so really, one cannot blame the airmen.
For serious overclaiming I think the best example in the Pacific. American and Japanese claims during the air war were occasionally ridiculous. The Japanese air forces were certainly wiped out by late 1944 if claims are true. Likewise the USAAF, and Navy.
For very simple reason.
German claims over the eastern front would be an interesting debate. Is it reasonable to believe that the Russian air forces were so poor that they succumbed in such numbers to pilots who became early victims when switched to the Western Front? (Kittel, Lang etc.)
It is much too complicated to be discussed in the thread but also very surprising for some.

Laurent Rizzotti
2nd June 2006, 09:26
It seems to me that this thread is derivating from the original subject, but overclaiming has always interested me, so I jump in.

Jim P. proposed a 50% overclaiming figure. My own impression is that for 100 losses, 150 victories were claimed as a mean number, and these losses included possible shared victories with AA fire.

As for JG 26 vs JG 2, my own impression is that Mr Caldwell did a common thing, that is searching enemy losses for a given day and area where the unit he studied claimed and then attributing them to the unit under study, while ignoring other friendly claims, or rejecting them. In most cases where JG 2 and JG 26 fought together, he will attribute most real kills to JG 26 rather than JG 2. I have no clue if he is right or wrong in many cases.

As for the Eastern Front, one explanation of the huge German scores was that the Soviet airmen were involved mainly in troop support and so were often caught as disadvantage by German fighters flying Frei Jagd. Also the big unescorted raids by bombers in 1941 were slaugthered (as were the Blenheim/Battles of RAF in 1940 in same circunstances) without much losses on the German side.

Another problem is that from fall 1944 most German claims are only that, the German confirmation system did'nt work any more, or rather was too slow to confirm the victories before the end of war or the collapse of the system and so end 1944-1945 German victories are likely to be more doutful than former ones.

keith A
3rd June 2006, 01:14
Perhaps I should make clear what I believe is one of the main reasons for overclaiming. In many combat films other friendly fighters appear in the film. If another fighter is shooting at the same aircraft then surely its possible the pilot is assuming his shooting is doing the damage, rather than he is one of several pilots claiming victory. In the Battle of Britain this seems to have been the case, when large numbers of fighters are attacking a target-rich environment. The Poles were notorious for closing too close with their victims and forming a queue on a victim. The Bader Big Wing was an indication of massive overclaimimg.

The bias of Caldwell in the JG2/26 argument would stand but for other instances where JG2 pilots suffer from a lack of corroboration when JG26 were not involved. And the records of JG2 pilots who move to other units and still outperform their fellow pilots by a long way. Perhaps we are just looking at a common phenomenon that has pertained from the days of Richtofen, Fonck, Rickenbacker and Bishop. Namely that when you come home with a claim its accepted because of who you are. The claims become more extravagant as competition and propaganda kick in.

The base line is that the germans can shoot! Schulz of JG27 proves that, as does Marseille, Schoepfel etc. Whether its training or aircraft its a fact! But maybe the exception doesn't prove the rule.

For the allies Beurling was a sharpshooter, and a target-rich environment for him was god sent. Tuck also seems to have been a killer in whatever bus he was driving. I haven't seem the same attention to detail for the leading American aces but haven't really researched enough, and given the quality of training and equipment I am sure they'd show more.

What I would say is that overall any score should be reduced by at least two-thirds!

Jim P.
3rd June 2006, 02:08
Keith, you make a very valid point that I think many folks do not take into consideration. Air combat, unlike ground combat, has an added dimension. Along with right, left, front or behind you have the above or below - ok, so I'm stating the obvious. Very seldom did any flyer encounter a single opponent from the other side. Given these parameters, multiple units from one side could attack a single target from an enemy formation from any of these directions and be totally oblivious that one or more of their guys are attacking the same target. All they see is the target lighting up. In the meantime, if they have any sense or experience, they are also rubber-necking around to see where the other enemy elements might be and if they themselves are a target, meanwhile keeping their bearings. Piece of cake, right?

NickM
3rd June 2006, 05:26
Jim:

OOOF, I'm getting motion sick JUST reading that! Obviously in a really large furball it's next to impossible to keep track of what's going on & who's doing what to whom...but back to the P38s claimed by II/JG2 in Tunisia; in defense of the experten of II/JG2, I also read in Fighters over Tunisia that US units had a very hard time with record keeping, given the VERY rough conditions on the ground( air raids, lean supplies, few or no 'official' forms & reports to fill out, moving from airfield to airfield) & Shores at least states it may have been possible that losses/damage may actually have occured but no one had the time/presence of mind to report it on the days they happened;

But of course, it could just be that the pilots of II/JG2 could have been optomistic RE: the assessment of THEIR skills;

NickM

kb
3rd June 2006, 06:37
Perhaps I should make clear what I believe is one of the main reasons for overclaiming. In many combat films other friendly fighters appear in the film. If another fighter is shooting at the same aircraft then surely its possible the pilot is assuming his shooting is doing the damage, rather than he is one of several pilots claiming victory. In the Battle of Britain this seems to have been the case, when large numbers of fighters are attacking a target-rich environment. The Poles were notorious for closing too close with their victims and forming a queue on a victim. The Bader Big Wing was an indication of massive overclaimimg.

The bias of Caldwell in the JG2/26 argument would stand but for other instances where JG2 pilots suffer from a lack of corroboration when JG26 were not involved. And the records of JG2 pilots who move to other units and still outperform their fellow pilots by a long way. Perhaps we are just looking at a common phenomenon that has pertained from the days of Richtofen, Fonck, Rickenbacker and Bishop. Namely that when you come home with a claim its accepted because of who you are. The claims become more extravagant as competition and propaganda kick in.

The base line is that the germans can shoot! Schulz of JG27 proves that, as does Marseille, Schoepfel etc. Whether its training or aircraft its a fact! But maybe the exception doesn't prove the rule.

For the allies Beurling was a sharpshooter, and a target-rich environment for him was god sent. Tuck also seems to have been a killer in whatever bus he was driving. I haven't seem the same attention to detail for the leading American aces but haven't really researched enough, and given the quality of training and equipment I am sure they'd show more.

What I would say is that overall any score should be reduced by at least two-thirds!

According to Nick Beale's coverage of I/JG2 Italian operations during early 1944 overclaiming was pretty common within that unit as well.

marsyao
3rd June 2006, 08:03
Jim:

OOOF, I'm getting motion sick JUST reading that! Obviously in a really large furball it's next to impossible to keep track of what's going on & who's doing what to whom...but back to the P38s claimed by II/JG2 in Tunisia; in defense of the experten of II/JG2, I also read in Fighters over Tunisia that US units had a very hard time with record keeping, given the VERY rough conditions on the ground( air raids, lean supplies, few or no 'official' forms & reports to fill out, moving from airfield to airfield) & Shores at least states it may have been possible that losses/damage may actually have occured but no one had the time/presence of mind to report it on the days they happened;

NickM

NickM, if those thing indeed occured in often, those US army airforce officers shall be sacked and sent to frontline as infantry. NickM you should considered one thing: each of those lost aircraft was a US goverment property, so each of them must be account for and each loss must be recorded, even there was some delays. and I do not believe, and would be surprised anybody would believe, that in any air force, an aircraft lost would not be recorded in official report

NickM
3rd June 2006, 09:22
Marsayo:

Certainly LATER in the war they had to account for every dang rivet, bullet & bean--but early on...I get the feeling they may have cut corners here & there;

NickM

NickM
3rd June 2006, 09:23
Oh sorry...forgot to add that maybe the losses are reported but not on the dates that they actually occured...but then again maybe it's lots of wishful thinking on the part of II/JG2

NickM

marsyao
3rd June 2006, 18:30
Marsayo:

Certainly LATER in the war they had to account for every dang rivet, bullet & bean--but early on...I get the feeling they may have cut corners here & there;

NickM

NickM, now we are doing the research based on reports that already included those "later on" reports

Black baron
5th June 2006, 08:27
Well, all good stuff. This particularly.

Re. P-38 losses on 8th January 1943.

As well as the P-38 losses for the 14th FG of 3 destroyed and 2 damaged the 82nd FG this day apparently lost 4 Lightnings and 2 pilots. No less than 6 separate missions were flown by the 95th and 97th FS, 3 each. This was an unusually high figure at that point in the campaign for this inexperienced group. The 96th FS was non-operational that day. All 6 were bomber escort missions. It appears the following losses occurred;

And this...

I also read in Fighters over Tunisia that US units had a very hard time with record keeping, given the VERY rough conditions on the ground( air raids, lean supplies, few or no 'official' forms & reports to fill out, moving from airfield to airfield)

Seems a hazy topic at best. Spick has 40 books out on WW2 aviation, don't agree on him being unreliable. he even admitted a mistake regarding a pilots 4 engined score of 44. It was typo, 14 correct number said he.

As for Buehligen being a liar, seems a stretch. 800 missions, 112 kills, knocked down 3 times, ( never hit by an enemy a/c according to The Aces Speak book ), one would have to think he was most likely a rather confident person. It's more often the "can't do it" type of person that engages in overexagerration & lies. But then Rudorrfer may prove that theory to be not always the case.

marsyao
5th June 2006, 17:08
baron, there are some very huge differences between a lia and one overclaimed sometimes. air combat was not like one watching football on your large-scree television, it was very confuse and messy, one could be a very honost man and tell just what he saw in the combat but still overclaimed heavily

alessandro bray
5th June 2006, 18:33
Hi to all,

the discussion on relationship between claims and real losses is always fashinating and complex.
Here I prefer to skip the confrontation between Luftwaffe and other aviations claims – in parenthesis I consider Luftwaffe claims on average more accurate – in the case of Bühligen’s P-38 claims a good work is “ FW 190 in North Afrika”. Can be interesting to compare Spitfire and P-38 claims and the fact that Spitfire’s are more accurate is maybe another step in favour of incomplete US data, if too overclaim is evident.
Come back to Abschüsse on western front 1941-1943 and examining the JG 2 and JG26 claims, the latter are very close to allied real losses, it is sufficient to compare days when only one of the two JG scored and this is the result. With this, I don’t think the whole JG2 overclaimed, some pilots, like Egon Mayer or Bruno Stolle, or some units, like 8./JG2 whose activities around Brest are simpler to compare with allied losses, are pretty accurate (in the period September 1942-april 1943 this staffel claimed 29 spitfire and I find 26 losses from RAF squadron in exact time and locations); other cases, like Siegried Schnell or the Stab seemed to have often very overclaimed

alessandro Bray

Black baron
5th June 2006, 20:41
Yes I'm familiar with all that Mars. & don't watch football.

Ludovico Slongo
7th June 2006, 23:15
I've joyned this thread -going a bit off topic- because impressed by the deep knowledge on 82nd FG displayed by Mr. Martin Gleeson. So I'm asking help to better reconstruct a fight between Italian Macchis from 1° Stormo CT and American Lightnings most likely of 82nd FG itself, a combat that has always intersted myself but whose details are not very clear to me.This combat took place on the morning of 5 May 1943 when a group of seven Siai Marchetti SM 82 (of 149° Gruppo T) took off at 8.45 (Italian hour) from the airstrip of Gerbini (Sicily) directed towards Tunisia under escort of 16 Macchis of 1° Stormo led by the ace Tenente Amedeo Guidi. the Italian planes were intercepted 20 miles from Zembra by some P38s .The Siais coded 602-5 (Tenente Camerini), 608-3 (Maresciallo Barba) went down in flames with no survivors. The 603-3 (Maresciallo Mascetti) exploded while ditching near Zembra island (the pilot and 5 passengers survived), the 608-2 8 (Tenente Rosci) ditched near Tunis (crew rescued), the 607-3 (Tenente Setti) force-landed in a Tunisian beach and finally the last two machines turned back. Some of the machines -at least the three that exploded- carried fuel, while Tenente Fulvio Setti was finally able to repair his kite and flew back to Italy gaining the gold medal for bravery for this mission (it is the highest Italian military award and very seldom was given to living people).It seems that the Macchis (possibly 202s) claimed seven confirmed victories plus seven damaged or alternatively only seven probables. An Italian source (Nino Arena -that sometimes appears not fully reliable) claims that two Macchis went down while another (possibly Corrado Ricci) doesn't record any fighter loss. Here is what I know of this combat. Is anyone able to add any detail of the P38s part in it (numerical consistance of the American unit, claims and losses) ? Is there any Italian expert that could add some details on the Italian claims and losses or correct any detail of the above description?Many thanks in advance.Ludovico.

Martin Gleeson
8th June 2006, 02:04
Hallo Ludovico,

Thank you for your kind words but I fear my knowledge is not as deep on the 82nd FG as you think ! Your detailed posting on the 5 May 1943 battle was new to me and very welcome as it revealed who were the opponents on the 'other side' of that severe engagement.

In this case, as usual, I depend on 'ADORIMINI - A History of the 82nd Fighter Group in WW2' by Steve Blake and John Stanaway. Also Frank Olynyk's 'USAAF (MTO) CREDITS for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft in Air-to-Air Combat WW2'.

The 95th Fighter Squadron of the 82nd FG were flying escort to six B-25s of the 321st BG(M) on an anti-shipping strike. The seventeen P-38s were arranged in four flights led by Capt. Osher. On sighting the enemy formation ("six Italian SM 82 transports and some escorting fighters") Osher led two P-38 flights into the attack. The following claims resulted;

Capt. Ernest K. Osher One SM 82 and one MC 200 destroyed.
2/Lt. Richard F. Kenney Two SM 82s and one Bf 109 destroyed.
2/Lt. Guido F. Lucini One SM 82 and one Bf 109 destroyed.
1/Lt. Charles R. Langdon One SM 82 destroyed and one Bf 109 damaged.
1/Lt. Julius F. Schoenberg One SM 82 destroyed.

The 95th FS lost two pilots and their P-38s. Both men were fairly inexperienced. They were;

2/Lt. Allen E. Ellerbee
2/Lt. Edgar L. Weddle

No times quoted, except the mission appears to have begun at 07.45 hours, US time (F. Olynyk).

I will ask Steve Blake, THE 82nd FG expert, if he has anything further on this combat. By the way, was the SM 82 of Ten. Setti damaged by the fighters before he was forced to land ?

Regards for now.

Martin Gleeson.

Ludovico Slongo
8th June 2006, 20:50
dear Martin,thank you for your pieces information, I appreciated them very much. Back to your question, as far as I know Tenente Setti was shot down and obliged to force land by the fire of the Lightnings even if it seems likely that damaged suffered was not so heavy.Apart from being very interested in any additional information on the American units, I really hope that someone else could help with the Italian claims and losses (in particular if any Macchi was lost during the engagement) as well as with other addictions/corrections to the description I wrote yesterday (that is almost integrally taken by the Official History of Nino Arena, sometimes a not-so-much-reliable source, but possibly accurate on regard of losses suffered by Italian Units). I know that some of the best Italian researchers are members of this forum (Gianandrea Bussi and Ferdinando D'Amico at least) maybe they can help.Kind RegardsLudovico.

Six Nifty .50s
9th June 2006, 04:16
JG2 do seem to have a reputation for overclaiming. Donald Caldwell hints at it in his books on JG26 ...

I don't think his coverage is that prejudiced, but in some cases the author may have made assumptions about the cause of loss. For example, on April 4th, 1942 the JG 26 claimed (15) Spitfires shot down near the French coast.

The known RAF losses were:
- Spitfire BM191 (64 Sqn) accident; midair collision on Circus 119.
- Spitfire BL721 (72 Sqn) shot down by flak on Circus 119.
- Spitfire BL935 (72 Sqn) missing from Circus 119, cause uncertain.
- Spitfire AB258 (72 Sqn) missing from Circus 119, cause uncertain.
- Spitfire ----- (72 Sqn) ASR mission, shot down by German fighter.

BM191 had its tail clipped off by an unidentified Spitfire, possibly BL935?

Six Nifty .50s
9th June 2006, 04:34
Hi to all,

the discussion on relationship between claims and real losses is always fashinating and complex. Here I prefer to skip the confrontation between Luftwaffe and other aviations claims – in parenthesis I consider Luftwaffe claims on average more accurate

If you're referring to fighter pilots then I doubt it, except in 1941. Otherwise the proof is lacking. You've ignored the German anti-aircraft units; they accounted for many Allied planes. Axis-controlled seaports, coastal towns, supply areas, and airfields were brimming with flak guns and Allied fighters also had to contend with return fire from German shipping.

A large portion of Allied losses were due to undetermined causes and unfortunately some unscrupulous writers wish to credit all losses to German fighters. For whatever reason, they refuse to recognize accident statistics and all that messy flak business remains largely unexplored.


in the case of Bühligen’s P-38 claims a good work is “ FW 190 in North Afrika”.


Lots of bogus claims of aerial victories? It was nothing new in his unit.

In 1942, JG 2 was amongst the worst offenders on Western Front. There is no logical reason why this would change in 1943. Everyone should have expected this to escalate in North Africa, and it did, as your book suggests. The pilots were further from home and the scrutiny of their superiors. Neither side had a large and reliable occupation force/police force/homeguard force to help verify crashes.

Six Nifty .50s
9th June 2006, 04:50
Well, all good stuff. This particularly. Re. P-38 losses on 8th January 1943. the 82nd FG this day apparently lost 4 Lightnings and 2 pilots.


Where is the proof that Bühligen destroyed any of them?


As for Buehligen being a liar, seems a stretch. 800 missions, 112 kills, knocked down 3 times


Based on the huge discrepancy in numbers over time, most rational individuals would not consider some of Bühligen's claims as an honest mistake. Some German officers were awards-chasers who were obsessed with submitting the maximum number of claims.

Andrew Arthy
9th June 2006, 07:35
Hi,

I’ve read this discussion with a lot of interest. As co-author of The Focke-Wulf 190 in North Africa, written with Morten Jessen, I thought I might contribute my opinion, and most importantly, some facts.

I should start with some definitions.

Overclaiming, the accidental claiming of too many victories (‘overzealous enthusiasm’ as Jim P. puts it), occurs in most combats. Pilots believe they’ve shot down an enemy aircraft, but in actual fact it is only damaged, or was not actually hit. This is inevitable in the confusion of battle.

Falsification, claiming victories when combat did not actually happen (or ‘intentional deceit’, as Jim P. puts it), certainly occurred, but it was much rarer. There are a couple of well-known cases, most notably the J.G. 27 pilots in summer 1942.

Some Data
The original question asks about Bühligen shooting down P-38s when no losses were actually reported. In Tunisia Bühligen claimed 12 P-38s, so clearly the question refers to that period. Here is some data:

26 December 1942
Lt. Bühligen of 4./J.G. 2 claims two P-38s, Lt. Marx of 4./J.G. 2 claims a P-38, and Oblt. Tonne of 3./J.G. 53 shot down another P-38. One P-38 was claimed damaged.

German claims: 4-0-1 P-38s

The 1st FG had escorted the 97th BG to Bizerta, and the P-38 unit lost two aircraft.

Thus the German claims in this combat were reasonably accurate.

8 January 1943
This was one of the first II./J.G. 2 combats when flying from Kairouan airfield. Lt. Bühligen claimed three P-38s. The rest of II./J.G. 2 claimed seven P-38s destroyed.

German claims: 10-0-0 P-38s

The 14th FG lost three P-38s, along with two more damaged. Martin Gleeson notes that the 82nd FG lost four P-38s. Although the times of the 82nd FG’s missions are not known, they were all to the Kairouan area, and II./J.G. 2 was the only German fighter unit in the region, so we can assume that on one or more of these missions the 82nd FG met II./J.G. 2.

Again, the German claims in this combat are reasonably accurate.

Thanks to Martin Gleeson for providing some information on this date. This fills in a gap in Morten and my book.

It is interesting to note that 8 January 1943 was the last day that Adolf Dickfeld flew as Gruppenkommandeur of II./J.G. 2. This may have had some bearing on subsequent events at Kairouan.

14 January 1943
Lt. Bühligen claimed a P-38F shot down, and other II./J.G. 2 pilots claimed two B-17s damaged. An Italian pilot also claimed a P-38.

German claims: 1-0-0 P-38s

The opposition in this combat was the 71st FS/1st FG, which escorted the 301st BG to Sousse and Sfax. Two P-38s failed to return.

Again, II./J.G. 2 claims were reasonably accurate.

28 January 1943
Oblt. Bühligen of 4./J.G. 2 claimed a P-38 50 km south-west of Kairouan. Two others were claimed damaged. There were also Italian claims for two P-38s destroyed.

German claims: 1-0-2 P-38s

The 71st FS/1st FG lost one pilot shot down, and another P-38 was damaged.

Again, II./J.G. 2 claims were reasonably accurate.

15 February 1943
Oblt. Bühligen claimed three P-38s shot down. In all, II./J.G. 2 claimed ten P-38s shot down, three Spitfires shot down, and one unknown fighter shot down, as well as a B-25 damaged.

German claims: 10-0-0 P-38s

B-25s and B-26s flew a mission to Kairouan, escorted by the 94th FS/1st FG and the 82nd FG, and they were intercepted by FW 190s and Bf 109s soon after leaving the target area (the 12th BG reported 15/20 enemy fighters, while the 82nd FG noted 6/9 enemy fighters). At 17:35 the USAAF reported only one loss in exchange for claims of 3-3-5. I’m not aware of any more American losses, although I’d like to hear from anyone who has details of American P-38 losses on this day.

This is one of the more suspect II./J.G. 2 combats.

12 March 1943
Oblt. Bühligen claimed three P-38s shot down, and Hptm. Rudorffer claimed one B-17 shot down.

German claims: 3-0-0 P-38s

38 B-17s were escorted by 30 1st FG P-38s to Sousse and Enfidaville. There are no known American losses, either B-17 or P-38, in this combat.


So the only dates on which Bühligen claimed P-38s shot down when there were no losses were 15 February and 12 March 1943. On these two days he claimed six P-38s.


II./J.G. 2 and Overclaiming/Falsification
Most of the suspect II./J.G. 2 claims in Tunisia occurred while they were based at Kairouan airfield in central Tunisia in January and the first half of February 1943. II./J.G. 2 pilots based at Kairouan during the period of overclaiming included: Bühligen, Rudorffer, Werner, Karch, Schülze, Goltzsche, Engelbrecht, von Farnholz, Übelbacher, Sonntag, Gäbler, Weißgruber, Jacobs, and Marx.

II./J.G. 2 was usually the only unit based at Kairouan, and it was certainly the only fighter unit based there (except for the Stab J.G. 53 during the Kasserine operation). They were 150 to 200 km from the main German headquarters in northern and southern Tunisia, and reported to the Fliegerführer Tunis once a day, in the evening. The II./J.G. 2 detachment was usually at the most fifteen pilots (for example, on 5 February 1943 there were 13 pilots in the Kairouan detachment, and ten FW 190s).

Thus it was the perfect environment if the II./J.G. 2 pilots wanted to falsify claims. Rudorffer was the highest ranked officer, and he was surrounded by pilots who had been together in the Gruppe for a while.

Please note I am not saying that falsification of victories by II./J.G. 2 did occur, I’m just suggesting that rarely would a German fighter unit be in such a good position to submit false victory claims. The chances of discovery were very slim, so long as you had the trust of your fellow pilots.

Gaps in the American Records
This is a convenient excuse for the II./J.G. 2 pilots, but it’s simply not true. The 1st Fighter Group has complete records of its operations in the period of II./J.G. 2 over claiming. I have the 14th FG microfilms, and although their records aren’t as detailed as those of the 1st FG, there is enough information to be able to match up claims and losses. Unfortunately I’ve not seen the 82nd FG records, so I generally rely on Shores, Ring & Hess for their Tunisian operations (which is one reason why Morten and I weren’t too definite about II./J.G. 2 overclaiming in our book).

Martin Gleeson mentions the 3rd PRG with P-38s in Tunisia. This is a valid point, but generally II./J.G. 2 was claiming multiple P-38 kills, and the PRG units flew singly, eliminating it as a possibility in most cases.

Rudorffer on the Eastern Front
As for Rudorffer on the Eastern Front, I’m no expert, but I know that in at least one combat he and his wingman were very optimistic with their claims. I should note that I don’t wish to accuse him of anything (I believe he is still alive). Morten and I wrote to him in 2001 asking if he wanted to provide information for our book, but he declined. We wish we could have got his side of the story.



Even if II./J.G. 2 did falsify victory claims in Tunisia, it is understandable. Victories brought medals and hero status, as Six Nifty .50s notes in one of his posts.


I hope some of the above is of interest.

Cheers,
Andrew A.

alessandro bray
9th June 2006, 12:30
I you're referring to fighter pilots then I doubt it, except in 1941. Otherwise the proof is lacking. You've ignored the German anti-aircraft units; they accounted for many Allied planes. Axis-controlled seaports, coastal towns, supply areas, and airfields were brimming with flak guns and Allied fighters also had to contend with return fire from German shipping.

A large portion of Allied losses were due to undetermined causes and unfortunately some unscrupulous writers wish to credit all losses to German fighters. For whatever reason, they refuse to recognize accident statistics and all that messy flak business remains largely unexplored.

Hi,

I continue to consider german claims more accurate than other aviation's claims, particurarly for the period 1941-1943.
You have stated that you doubt of this, but don't give any indication on which Air force has more accurate claims......then if you will, can we compare numbers and data

regards
Alessandro

Franek Grabowski
9th June 2006, 21:47
Now this discussion tends to be ridiculous for a very simple reason. You discuss verified and approved victories and not claims. Therefore bureaucrats from RLM are to be blamed and not pilots. Another point was well proven by '6' - indeed, in similar environment accuracy of JG 2 and JG 26 was similar. They were accurate over ground, where wrecks could have been counted and they were ridiculous over sea, where there were no wrecks at all. Discrepancy between JG 2 and JG 26 is just only because the former flew mostly over the Channel while the latter in the St Omer area and German clerks had just enough time to verify every claim submitted (with various results though).
That said I consider RAF late war victories most accurate, both due to quality of pilots but also methods of verification.

Martin Gleeson
10th June 2006, 02:16
Hallo Andrew,

I can add very little more on the subject but the following may be of interest. The 82nd FG 'Statistical Report' for January 1943 that I referred to shows the group flew 2 missions on both 14 and 28 January 1943. All 4 were bomber escort missions - almost certainly for B-25s and B-26s - and no pilot or P-38 losses were recorded.

ADORIMINI does not mention any activity by the 82nd FG on these two dates, probably because there were no claims, losses, accidents, etc. However this is a 'must have' unit history and one of my favoutite books. By the way I greatly enjoyed your own work on the FW 190 in North Africa and look forward to all of your proposed titles with you co-author.

As an aside from studying various published works and some records I believe USAAF units often under-reported aircraft losses as opposed to pilot losses. Aircraft that crashed on landing or were written off afterwards due to battle damage do not always seems to be included when tallying losses in action. This probably applies to most combatents.

Re. American Records.
Very interesting comments on the 1st and 14th FG records. I am both surprised and delighted that so much still exists. I do not have the 82nd FG microfilms myself - yet. From memory I seem to recall Steve Blake telling me he was unable to find any 82nd FG mission reports before a certain date in February or March 1943.

On the flip side of that the late William J. Schildt (95th FS) once sent me copies of his 'Combat Data'. It was compiled at the end of his tour of duty in July 1943 by his squadron operations office. It includes wonderful details for each mission such as his P-38 serial number, take-off and landing times, mission number, target, aircraft types escorted, etc. His family sent a copy of this to the very worthwhile 82nd FG Association website where it can happily be seen by all. www.82ndfightergroup.com (http://www.82ndfightergroup.com)

My reason for mentioning this is to suggest that very detailed records of the Tunisian campaign were available within the group - at that time. What happened to them afterwards remains a mystery , to me at any rate.

Re. Subject of Flak claims by Six Nifty .50s.
Agree with you completely. We seem to ignore what is a fascinating subject in itself. I know of no website or book devoted to Flak/AAA research or claims, as opposed to the weapons themselves. Does anyone ?

Regards,

Martin Gleeson.

Mark R.
1st March 2011, 05:01
I have a pretty good record of USAAF fighter losses in Tunisia. Here is what I have for P-38 losses on the above named dates:

8-Jan-43 vic Kairouan 1500- 1530 48th FS/14th FG P-38F Lt. Robert H. Woodward (KIA) Bf-109s
8-Jan-43 vic Kairouan 1500- 1530 48th FS/14th FG P-38F Lt Robert P. Kirschke (KIA) Bf-109s?
8-Jan-43 vic Kairouan 1500- 1530 49th FS/14th FG P-38F Lt William J. Hoelle (WIA) Bf-109s?
8-Jan-43vic Kairouan 1500- 1530 49th FS/14th FG P-38F Lt Keith (MIA?) Bf-109s?

8-Feb-43 20 miles NW Gabes1245 - 1305 97th FS/82d FG P-38F Lt William J. Dunn Enemy fighters

9-Feb-43 None

15-Feb-43 None

12-Mar-43 None

Days with numerous verified P-38 losses/without single or pairs of losses or crashlandings at base included/and this is a work in progress converted from excell spreadsheet:



3-Dec-42 vic Gabes 1000 - 1030 94th FS P-38F-LO-1 Lt Jack S. Longseth (MIA)flak?
3-Dec-42 vic Gabes 1000 - 1030 48th FS/14th FG P-38F-LO-1 Capt Carl T. Williams Jr. (KIA)flak
3-Dec-42 vic Djedieda 1500-1530 48th or 49th FS P-38F-LO-1 Lt Robert H. EubankEnemy fighters?
3-Dec-42 vic Djedieda 1500-1530 48th or 49th FS P-38F-LO-1 Lt James R. Tollen (KIA)Enemy fighters?
3-Dec-42 vic Bizerte 1030-1045 27th FS/1st FG P-38F-LO-1 Lt William Drysdale (KIA)Enemy fighters
3-Dec-42 vic Bizerte 1030 - 1045 27th FS/1st FG P-38F-LO-1 Lt David R. Everett (KIA)Enemy fighters
3-Dec-42 vic Bizerte 1030 - 1045 27th FS/1st FG P-38F-LO-1 Lt William K. Long (MIA)Enemy fighters
3-Dec-42 vic Bizerte 1030 - 1045 27th FS/1st FG P-38F-LO-1 Lt William K. HesterEnemy fighters
3-Dec-42 vic Bizerte 1030 - 1045 27th FS/1st FG P-38F-LO-1 Lt John A. Sullivan (s/d and returned)Enemy fighters


5-Dec-42 vic Bizerte1300 - 1330 49th FS/14th FG P-38G-LO-1 Lt Russell F. Guske Bf-109s
5-Dec-42 vic Bizerte1300 - 1330 49th FS/14th FG P-38G-LO-1 Lt John P. Stief (KIA) Bf-109s
5-Dec-42 vic Bizerte1300 - 1330 49th FS/14th FG P-38G-LO-1 Lt Robert F. Elliott Bf-109s
5-Dec-42 vic Bizerte1300 - 1330 49th FS/14th FG P-38G-LO-1 Capt Harold E. Lewis (KIA) Bf-109s
5-Dec-42 Souk el Asga (Arba?)1300 - 1330 49th FS/14th FG P-38G-LO-1 Lt Charles L. Earnhart Bf-109s

18-Dec-42 Tunis1030 - 1130 94th FS/1st FG P-38F-1-LO Lt Norman L. Widen (POW) Lt Anton Hafner
18-Dec-42 Tunis1030 - 1130 94th FS/1st FG P-38F-1-LO Lt George W. Sutcliffe (s/d and returned) II/JG 51?
18-Dec-42 Tunis1030 - 1130 94th FS/1st FG P-38F-1-LO Lt Victor G. Giles (KIA) II/JG 51?
18-Dec-42 Bou Arada 1030 - 1200 94th FS/1st FG P-38F-1-LO Lt Clark O. Jennings (s/d and returned) II/JG 51?


30-Dec-42 Zauara 1030 - 1130 49th FS/14th FG P-38G-1-LO Lt Thomas J. Morris Jr. flak or fighters?
30-Dec-42 Gabes 1100-1130 48th FS/14th FG P-38G-1-LO Lt Clark W. Smith JG 53
30-Dec-42 Gabes 1100-1130 48th FS/14th FG P-38G-1-LO Lt. Virgil H. Smith JG 53
30-Dec-42 Gabes 1100-1130 48th FS/14th FG P-38G-1-LO Lt Carroll JG 53


15-Jan-43 20 N of Bizerte over sea 1420 - 143049th FS/14th FG P-38-F-1-LOCapt William J. Fulmer Bf-109s
15-Jan-43 20 N of Bizerte over sea 1420 - 143049th FS/14th FG P-38-F-1-LOLt Lawrence E. Driver Jr. Bf-109s
15-Jan-43 vic Gabes Unk 96th FS/82d FG P-38-F-1-LO Lt Wayne Jorda Bf-109s?
15-Jan-43 vic Gabes Unk 96th FS/82d FG P-38-F-1-LO Lt. Raymond M. Black Bf-109s?
15-Jan-43 vic Gabes Unk 96th FS/82d FG P-38-F-1-LO Lt. Milo E. Rundall Bf-109s?

23-Jan-43 vic Medenine 0920 - 0940 48th FS/14th FG P-38F-1-LO Lt William F. Schottelkolb (KIA) II/JG 51
23-Jan-43 vic Medenine 0920 - 0940 48th FS/14th FG P-38F-1-LO Lt Guy E. Stuteville (KIA) II/JG 51
23-Jan-43 vic Medenine 0920 - 0940 48th FS/14th FG P-38G Lt Kenneth W. Harley Jr. (KIA) II/JG 51
23-Jan-43 vic Medenine 0920 - 0940 48th FS/14th FG P-38F-1-LO Lt Leo M. Yates (KIA) II/JG 51
23-Jan-43 vic Gafsa 0920 - 0940 48th FS/14th FG P-38F-1-LO Lt Mark K. Shipman II/JG 51
23-Jan-43 vic Gafsa0920 - 0940 48th FS/14th FG P-38G Lt Richard H. Soliday (KIA) II/JG 51

30-Jan-43 vic Gabes1030-1130 96th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Capt. Arthur A. Smedley (POW) Bf-109s
30-Jan-43 vic Gabes1030-1130 96th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Lt. Charles J. Zubarik Bf-109s
30-Jan-43 vic Gabes1030-1130 96th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Lt. Douglas E. Crichton Bf-109s
30-Jan-43 vic Gabes1030-1130 96th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Lt. Frederick J. Delahunt (KIA) Bf-109s
30-Jan-43 vic Gabes1030-1130 96th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Lt. Paul D. Winston Jr. (KIA) Bf-109s

31-Jan-43 Gabes1230-1245 97th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Lt. Leonard E. Pratt Enemy fighters
31-Jan-43 Gabes1230-1245 97th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Lt Harold R. Decker (POW) Enemy fighters
31-Jan-43 Gabes1230-1245 97th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO Lt William A. Knell (MIA) Enemy fighters
31-Jan-43 Unk afternoon 95th FS/82d FG P-38F-1-LO SSG William J. Schildt (shot down/rtned) Bf-110

22-Mar-43 vic Cap Serrat 1330 - 1400 95th FS/83d FG P-38G Lt Oliver B. Hays (MIA) I/JG 53
22-Mar-43 Over the Sea 1400-1430 97th FS/82d FG P-38G Lt Lemuel D. McDaniel (POW) Enemy fighters
22-Mar-43 vic Bizerte 1400-1430 97th FS/82d FG P-38G Lt Lloyd E. Atteberry (KIA) Enemy fighters
22-Mar-43 vic Bizerte? 1400-1430 97th FS/82d FG P-38G Lt Earnest E. McAnulty (sd/r) Enemy fighters

5-Apr-43 vic Tunis 0730 - 0900 96th FS/82d FG P-38G Lt Claude R. Kinsey (POW) Shot down by wingman?
5-Apr-43 N of Cap Bon 0730 - 0900 96th FS/82d FG P-38G Lt Lee H. Lawrence (KIA) Enemy fighters
5-Apr-43 N of Cap Bon 0730 - 0900 97th FS/82d FG P-38G Lt William M. Hieronymus (KIA) Enemy fighters
5-Apr-43 N of Cap Bon 0730 - 0900 97th FS/82d FG P-38G Lt Earnest E. McAnulty (POW) Enemy fighters
5-Apr-43 N of Cap Bon 0730 - 0900 27th FS/1st FG P-38G Lt Donald E. Field (KIA) Enemy fighters
5-Apr-43 N of Cap Bon 0730 - 0900 27th FS/1st FG P-38G Lt Donald Hilgert (KIA) Enemy fighters

Mark R.
3rd March 2011, 16:55
Rather than toss a draft list of P-38 kills at you, let me add a bit more refined post to the discussion. Some items may have changed as the previous post was a draft list and I did a bit more digging for this post.

Luftwaffe and Buhligen JG 2 kills against P-38s


26 DECEMBER 1942: There were two P-38F-15-LO losses on the date and at that approximate time claimed by Buhligen. Lts Milton Sahl and Richard B Jones of the 94th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group. Both were lost over Bizerte between 1300 and 1330 local time. But I also have one reference stating JG 53 claimed one B-17 and four P-38s during a raid over Bizerte on that date and at that time (Prien, JG 53, Vol. 2, p. 514 – English version). However, Die Jagdfliegerverbande der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945 – Teil 8/II noted on page 74 that JG 53 claimed only ONE P-38 over Bizerta during that same engagement – “dabei konnte eine B-17 abgeschossen werden, während der Abschuss einer P-38 offenbar nicht anerkannt wurde.” Tony Woods’ data for P-38 kills indicates three kills were awarded:

26.12.42 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 5 km E. El Obeid: 3.500 m. 13.32 Film C.2027/I Anerk: Nr.2
26.12.42 Ltn. Paul Marx 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 3 km. N. Jefna: 400 m. 13.35 Film C.2027/I Anerk: Nr.2
26.12.42 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ S. Djebel Tebourba: tiefflug 13.40 Film C.2027/I Anerk: Nr.2


8 JANUARY 1943: There were possibly six P-38 losses on that date – five of them at or near Kairouan. The sixth is somewhat uncertain. It appears most were lost between 1500 and 1530 hours. The 14th Fighter Group aircraft were conducting a fighter sweep of Kairouan while the 82d Group was escorting B-26s to Gabes. The 14th Group losses include three P-38s shot down with two pilots killed (Lt Robert H. Woodward and Lt Robert P. Kirschke) and one pilot bailed out and returned (Lt William J. Hoelle). One additional P-38 crashed when it landed at base (Lt Robert J. Moffat). I am not sure if you want to count Moffat as a “shoot down” or not. The 82d data indicating three losses is a bit flakier because only the 112 Squadron Honor Roll web site states that there were two pilots lost on 8 January: Lt Col Roy M. Lowe and Lt Thomas A. White. Lt Pincus P. Taback of the 97th Fighter Squadron made it back to base where his P-38 was destroyed in a crash landing and fire. On the other hand, Steve Blake’s unit history (Adorimini – p. 27) states these events took place on 9 January. The third P-38 (total loss) was from the 95th Fighter Squadron which escorted B-25s to Kalaa Sirira (between Sfax and Tunis). This loss is not mentioned in Blake and is listed only on the 112 Squadron website. If I had to guess, I would say that it was shot down (if actually lost) by JG 77. Prien says III/JG 77 was operating in the southern part of Tunisia that day. As for the discrepancy on dates, I would go with 8 January because there were no Luftwaffe claims for P-38s on the following day (see Tony Woods). The Tony Woods data below indicates Luftwaffe pilots were credited (?) with 10 kills out of 13 P-38s claimed that day:


08.01.43 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen Stab II./JG 2 P-38 £ 20 km. S. Kairouan: 1.500 m. 14.47 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.144
08.01.43 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen Stab II./JG 2 P-38 £ 2 km. W. Djebel Toerl: 1.600 m. 15.29 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.150
08.01.43 Ltn. Kurt Bühligen Stab II./JG 2 P-38 £ S. Djebel el Obeid: 500 m. 15.42 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.153
08.01.43 Uffz. Franz Gäbler 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 20 km. N.E. Kairouan: 4-6.000 m. 14.40 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.148
08.01.43 Uffz. Peter Fasshauer 4./JG 2 P-38 £ W. Djebel Taush: tiefflug 15.33 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.151
08.01.43 Uffz. Franz Gäbler 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 40-50 km. S.W. Kairouan: tiefflug 15.36 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.152
08.01.43 Ltn. Lothar Werner 4./JG 2 P-38 £ S. Djebel el Obeid: tiefflug 15.50 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.154
08.01.43 Oblt. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 50 km. S.W. Kairouan: 100 m. 15.35 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.69
08.01.43 Ltn. Wilhelm Crinius: 113 3./JG 53 P-38 £ 15 km. N.E. Béja: 8.500 m. 13.45 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.295
08.01.43 Fw. Helmut Baumann 5./JG 51 P-38 £ 60 km. W.S.W. Gabes: 200 m. 15.50 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.464
08.01.43 Ofw. Herbert Kaiser: 57 8./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2424
08.01.43 Ofw. Arno Potzel: 16 * 9./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2424
08.01.43 Uffz. Drehmann: 2 * 7./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2424

28 JANUARY: There are two P-38 losses on this date, one attributed to flak and the other to enemy fighters. The first loss was Lt Charles Earnhart of the 49th Fighter Squadron, 14th Fighter Group reported downed by AAA around 1530 hours during a strafing run near Sfax. The unit history identifies Earnhart as a Captain while the mission report states he was a Lt. He was taken prisoner. The second P-38 loss took place about an hour earlier when Lt. George F. Brittin of the 71st Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group was shot down by enemy aircraft “near” Kairouan. Brittin avoided capture and returned to his unit. The mission report states he lost power in his left engine and disappeared going home so whomever bagged him had the advantage of fighting a P-38 with maintenance issues. Tony Woods information is presented below:

28.01.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 50 km. S.W. Kairouan: 5.000 m. 14.15 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.101

28.01.43 Fw. Horst Schlick: 15 1./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2425
28.01.43 Ofw. Kurt Niederhagen: 4 3./JG 77 P-38 £ -Reference: JG 77 Lists f. 2425


15 FEBRUARY: I am not showing any P-38 losses. In fact, the shoe seems to be on the other foot as the 82d Fighter Group claimed two FW-190s. If I am not mistaken, Andrew Arthy’s book shows two JG 2 aircraft damaged, one with 40% damage and the other crashlanding with 70% damage after an aerial engagement. Tony Woods shows the below listed claims/kills. I am at a loss to explain the large discrepancy as the Americans did not lose multiple P-38s on any of several days leading up to this date. Notice that three pilots claimed multiple kills and a fourth claimed a single kill.

15.02.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ 15 km. S.W. Fondouk: 6.000 m. 14.59 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.199
15.02.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ E. Djebel Martila: 5.000 m. 15.03 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.200
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 10 km. N.W. Hadjel El Aictu: 5.000 m. 15.03 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: ASM
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 10 km. S.O. Sbeitla: 5.000 m. 15.07 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.90
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 8 km. N.E. Sbeitla: 5.200 m. 15.08 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.ASM
15.02.43 Ofw. Kurt Goltzsch 4./JG 2 P-38 £ N. Sbeitla: 6.000 m. 15.09 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.201
15.02.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ N. Djebel Trozza: 4.000 m. 15.13 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.202
15.02.43 Ofw. Kurt Goltzsch 4./JG 2 P-38 £ N.N.E. Djebel Vratza: 3.500 m. 15.22 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.203
15.02.43 Ltn. Fritz Karch 6./JG 2 P-38 £ W. Djebel Bou Dabouse: 3.500 m. 15.25 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.94
15.02.43 Hptm. Erich Rüdorffer 6./JG 2 P-38 £ 15 km. N.W. Pribon: 5.500 m. 15.58 Film C. 2027/I Anerk: Nr.95


12 MARCH: I am not showing any P-38 losses. But I have neither the 1st or 82d Group Fighter Group mission reports for this period. The 14th Group had been withdrawn by then. I am relying on the 112 Squadron Honor Rolls for each group, Fighters over Tunisia, and the published unit histories of each group. I try to use three sources (at least one primary) to document each USAAF loss, but in this case it’s not possible until I get to go back to the US National Archives in June. That said, the information I have already is probably 90% or better in terms of accuracy. Tony Woods information is presented below. These below represent the only P-38 claims on that date.

12.03.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ S.E. Mateur: 1.500 m. 04.27 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -
12.03.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ W. Djebel Trossa: 7.500 m. 14.22 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -
12.03.43 Oblt. Kurt Bühligen 4./JG 2 P-38 £ E. Djebel Siben-Habber: 5.000 m. 14.24 Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr. -

Rob Romero
4th March 2011, 09:18
Great Stuff Mark!