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NickM 20th June 2008 07:07

A ?? RE: LW bomber interceptions...

Been re-reading and old dogeared copy of J.E. Johnson's 'Wing Commander' & he made some interesting points about the Jagdwaffe's problems in dealing the the 8th AAF's ; Johnson even opined that it would have been better to attempt interception of the bombers with smaller units(two squadrons/staffeln at most) because of the 'unwieldiness' of trying to coordinate larger gatherings of fighters;
But on the other hand most current historical data RE: the JW's anti bomber effort seemed to indicate that it was better to 'meet mass with mass';

What do 'you-all' here think? Was Johnson comparing 'apples & oranges' ?

This IS all theoretical, after all but your opinions are appreciated;



drgondog 20th June 2008 18:55

Re: A ?? RE: LW bomber interceptions...
I agree Johnson for the periods in which Luftwaffe still had depth of experience.

The key in my mind is the Luftwaffe controllers ability to exploit holes in the 8th AF escort coverage.

Remember, even when the LW was able to find a big gap in coverage, (May 12, July 7 and Sept 27 come to mind), those attacking forces which did such devastating damage to one bomb division were not with 75+ fighter gaggles. Same for Sept 11 and 12 when the LW attacked in Gruppe or smaller size forces.

April 24 over Munich resulted in significant losses to the 1st Task Force because the large number of fighter units 'stalked' the B-17s in a cumulus covered target area and attacked them in forces of 6-30 fighters when the escorts were drawn continuously into combat. Of the two fighter Groups (355th and 357th), only one squadron was able to remain with the bombers all the way (358FS/355FG) and it lost no bombers, nor shot down any German fighters. The 355th/357th FG did however score 43+ for the loss of 4 air to air and two to mid air collisions. IIRC the LW put 200 plus 109s plus one staffel of Fw 190s plus two of Me 110's in that small area... but they engaged as Gruppe or fewer numbers.

On November 26, the combination of JG1, JG6 and JG301 attacked in huge waves which overwhelmed the Mustang escort ability to hold them all off - but JG301 paid a price they did not recover from in the process.

I also feel the Luftwaffe lost a seriou opportunity to neutralize the Mustang escort effectiveness by failing to attack them early and force drop tanks to be ejected, say over N.Sea or Lowlands.

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