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Franek Grabowski 25th February 2005 20:27


One log book does not prove your point.
So I checked two other ones I have handy.


No one said that all RAF pilots had just 9 hours of training time in fighters, but many did because that was, at one time, the length of the Spitfire training program after converting from trainers. Some of the prewar-trained RAF fighter pilots had hundreds of hours logged before they flew combat missions.
One of the pilots underwent full 30 hrs course at OTU - he was trained in 1941, through 1940 flying Ferry etc. Another one finished his OTU course in the Autumn 1940 and indeed he logged about 10 hrs. He was not posted to a frontline unit, however, but to a 'sheepherding' squadrons, where he logged further 30-40 hrs of various training sorties. He had some flighttime in PZL P-23 and Fairey Battle bombers, so I cannot exclude he was on simplified course.


This table has nothing whatsoever to do with the performance of the La-7 or Yak-3 (I've given up seeing these data on this thread), but shows the operational strengths and losses of the Luftwaffe on its various fronts in greater detail than found elsewhere, and many useful conclusions can be drawn from it.
I have already noted to Ruy, this thread should be splitted.

Ruy Horta 25th February 2005 20:49

The point to make a split was not clear enough, hence I did not honor your request the first time you asked and I won't do so in this thread as things stand now.

My advice, start a new topic, with a clear subject and keep the discussion limited to performance figures and issues. The more one keeps on track, with hard data and suppporting sources, the less one is likely to finish discussing the Battle of Tannenberg in 1914.

Franek Grabowski 25th February 2005 21:04

The thread has a clear subject related to a certain aircraft called La-7. Since post of Christer Berstroem it is discussion concerning Soviet vs Allied airmen. For me those are two distinctive subjects. And I see no reason to start another thread on La-7 if there was one already started.

Don Caldwell 25th February 2005 22:21

Interpreting Groehler
Ruy --

Although Groehler's article contains a lot of data in 23 tables, these are in wildly inconsistent formats, and only the data from Sep 43-Oct 44 can be split out both by aircraft type and by Luftflotte, so that's what I used for my own table. I'm disappointed that I couldn't include that period in my table, but we live with what we've got. However, it should be obvious to anyone that losses on the eastern front from mid 1941-mid 1943 far exceeded those on the western front, because that's where most of the fighting was happening.

WRT your other points:

1. In 1944-45 few JG 26 pilots survived their first five missions. After that, survival was a matter of "luck", which of course eventually ran out for most of them. I don't know if these data are available for other units, but I see no reason for the overall trend to be any different, except that the loss/sortie ratio on the western front (in 1944) was almost 8 times as great as that for the eastern front, so the overall odds of survival in the west were much lower.

2. I see no point in trying to compare the Western Allies to the VVS. They were fighting altogether different wars, which both won. The Western Allies unquestionably were superior overall both qualitatively and (especially) quantitatively to the Luftwaffe in 1944-45, despite the Luftwaffe's having a handful of superior aircraft (Me 262s) and a few "super" pilots such as Grislawski who never got tired. The quantitative superiority of the VVS to the Ostfront Luftwaffe is also not questioned; qualitatively, I think the question is still open, which was the original point of this over-long thread.


Ruy Horta 25th February 2005 22:47

Thanks Donald for explaining.

The point I'd like to make is the relative importance of sorties which result in enemy engagements versus number of sorties.

If the chance of encountering enemy opposition in the West was also higher by an X factor, that should change the way one looks at that bare figure of 8 times... - if an engagement was twice as likely in West, the figure is effectively reduced by one half, und so weiter.

The war in the West might have been much more concentrated, not more difficult in terms of combat per se.

Christer may have a point, if I understood it correctly, that we should look for periods when combat in the East and West were most similar, instead of concentrating on the differences, to get significant answers.

JoeB 26th February 2005 00:10


Originally Posted by Christer Bergström

Absolutely. I am only studying the case of 4 - 6 August 1944 because I am studying the case of 4 - 6 August 1944 as such. As mentioned previously, I agree that most sources seem to indicate a considerably higher general claim accuracy for the USAAF in late WWII. That is, in Europe. . .

US claim accuracy I think was more a function of period of the war than theater. Late war Pacifict claims were fairly accurate too. Rather than time as a magic variable, the US air arms tended to have the upper hand against their opponents late in the war (for quantitative and qualitative reasons we could debate, but anyway they had the upper hand) and the having the upper hand tends to lead to more accurate claims, among variables affecting claim accuracy. But there was also more organization and development of the intel function to cull claims, this is specifically written about in the USN's postwar analysis of its results v. Japanese records.

Back to the main (hijacked from La-7 :D ) point, if we wish to compare the effectiveness of mid 20th century USAF (as a proxy for "Western") and VVS, it seems to me much more direct to look at the Korean War than to try evaluate each's performance against the LW correcting for variations in intra-LW quality, relative numbers and such. This is not to say studying WWII air combat is not a far larger and richer topic in general overall, of course it is, but for that particular comparison, late war effectiveness (assuming it didn't change alot a few years postwar) Korean War performance seems just much simpler and more direct, head to head.

And while the claim/loss results of that war may be controversial still to some, on the level of primary source research I think it's actually pretty clear. There is no situation comparable to loss numbers to "unknown" several times as high as those actually attributed to fighters or AAA (as you provided for VVS losses 1944), nor a major question of loss record accuracy that hasn't been researched yet (as you said for the German overall losses in air combat v. those of just one JG).


Juha 26th February 2005 09:14

I have understood that You have Murray's LW, there is also a table on LW monthly losses during at least most of the 1942, Eastern Front vs. other fronts. I typed the monthly fighter losses of LW in 1943 because IMHO the year is very important because during it LW really began lost its grip and was forced to mostly defencive posture and the losses became crippling and really began weaken its quality. Also Murray in that table divided the losses against Western Allies between West and Med., which opens IMHO a way to interesting observations. I gave also the LW's losses for all combat a/c for Apr and May 43 because these were the months of Kuban air battles, the figures of Jan. - Nov 43 can be foud on the given page from Murray's book. Please, help Yourself.

Eastern and Western air wars were different from number of reasons. But after the 6.6.44 on the both fronts there were active ground war going and that usually focused the use of tactical air power.

One more point. The activity of the front also depends of the activity of the participians, Western Allies activitely hunted LW and especially the longer ranged US a/c were effective in this and as a plus began to hinder LW training activities which benefited both Western Allies and SU.

Second point, the offensive against oil targets really hurts LW and again helped both Western Allies and SU. Of course at that time war was already lost for Germans and one must give a credit to SU for its success to keep Germans out of its main oil fields during 42 and the destruction of the Maikop oirfields before Germans got them.

But Franek is right this has no connection to La-7.


Juha 26th February 2005 10:49

Hello Ruy,
I checked the Murray's LW myself, the Table XXV on page 107 gives German monthly losses June - Dec. 42 and shows that losses were bigger on Eastern Front from June to Sept and then in Dec.42 but losses on other fronts were so much bigger in Oct. and Nov. 42 that the cumulative losses on other fronts were bigger than those on the Eastern Front for the whole period of Jun - Dec. 42. So once again the importance of the Med. is surprising.


Christer Bergström 26th February 2005 23:18

Imagine the Western Allies fighting the Luftwaffe without a numerical superiority. Imagine that there were 4,900 Luftwaffe aircraft (including 2,100 fighters) versus 4,900 Western Allied aircraft (including 2,100 fighters) in the Mediterranean in mid-1943. Is there anyone here who thinks that would not have completely altered the situation - compared to the real relation of a Western Allied numerical superiority of 7:1?

Imagine that the Luftwaffe had just as many aircraft in France as the Allied had when the Allies invaded France on 6 June 1944? Is there anyone here who doesn't think that that would have created a completely different situation?

Now assume also that it was the Luftwaffe which enjoyed a 7:1 numerical situation in the air in the Mediterranean area in mid-1943, and a 10:1 numerical superiority in the air over France in June 1944. Would that have created a completely different situation?

I ask only because I get the impression that some people here seem to dismiss the huge Western Allied numerical superiority in the air as THE decisive factor to the severe German difficulties in the air in the Med from 1943 onward and in the West in 1944 - 1945.

And please don't takl about individual air combats which might have constituted exceptions from the general rule. The vast Western Allied numerical superiority in the air in the Med from 1943 onward and in the West in 1944 - 1945 is a fact which can't be dismissed by pointing at a few accounts from one of the warring sides.

Remember - this is just a hobby, so stayr calm and remain friends! :D

All best,

Christer Bergström

Juha 27th February 2005 04:00

Hello, it's late, so only a few comments and only on Med.
Firstly, one reason why LW was losing the production race was the earlier decisions made by OKL that it could manage the situation with lower than maximum production. OKL awaked too late to the needs of total war.
Secondly, as I have wrote earlier, the rather poor shape of LW in Med. was atleast partly a product of bad decisions at the top of OKW, I mean the decision to stay in Tunisia too long. And with effective actions of Allied forces LW had lost during the first 5 months of 1943 appr. 1.700a/c in Med. theatre. That according to Murray's LW p. 138.

And Christer, You have forgotten the Italians, they were still a part of the Axis in mid 43. According to C.J.C. Molony et al. The Mediterranean and Middle East. Volume V (London 1973) p. 45 - 46 to support oper. Husky Allies had 3.462a/c (excl. coastal a/c and air transports) of which about 2.510 were serviceable. and At the beginning of July Axis had in Sardinia, Sicily and all Italy about 1750 a/c (excl. coastal a/c and air transports) of which 960 were German. Of these 775 operational LW a/c were within effective range of Sicily (and 63 more bombers were on the point of arriving). On where exactly the Italian a/c were the book only gives the info that of them 145 (63 serviceable) were in Sicily. IMHO is that the superiority of Allies in Central Med at the eve of Oper. Husky was somewhere between 2:1 to 3:1 in serviceable combat a/c, which for a Finn doesn't sound overwhelming. But of course they had also clear intelligence superiority. Our Italian specialists surely know more exact figure to the RA, but really Christer, this had nothing to do with La-7 vs. ???.

All the best

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