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Christer Bergström 7th March 2005 01:14

Although January 1943 has been the focus for this thread, I find 2 February 1943 to be of some interest in the context.

In a morning action, ten US Airacobras and Warhawks (the latter from US 33rd FG) clashed with Ju 87s and four II./JG 2 Fw 190s. The 33rd FG pilots claimed to have shot down two Fw 190s (including one by Major Levi Chase) and one Ju 87. (Hammel, “Air War Europa”, p. 99.)

In reality, no Fw 190s were lost in that combat (Arthy & Jessen, “Fw 190 in North Africa”, loss list on p. 154), and the only Ju 87 even mentioned in the returns to the Generalquartiermeister from Tunisia that day was a Ju 87 D-3 of II./StG 3 which sustained 20 % damage during a forced landing at Gabes. (Source: Daily returns to the Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe.) However, three US fighters were shot down in that engagement with II./JG 2, and two of those were from 33rd FG.

Eric Hammel writes that later that same day, the 33rd FG lost another eight P-40s (six shot down or missing and two written off). (Hammel, “Air War Europa”, p. 99.)

I have an old note from an unspecified source which says that II./JG 51 shot down five of 33rd FG’s Warhawks in a single combat on 2 February 1943, but I doubt that is true. I only have two claims by II./JG 51 on that day.

Andrew, could you please tell us what Shores tells us about this day? (BTW, there were no German fighter losses due to enemy action in Tunisia on 2 February 1943.)

Six Nifty .50s 7th March 2005 04:36


Originally Posted by Christer Bergström
Please, what we are talking about here is the air war in Tunisia in January 1943.

SixNifty tells us that the Luftwaffe had problems with fuel shortage in Egypt on 1 August 1942 - not only 1,350 miles from northern Tunisia, not only half a year before the situation which we are discussing, but in a completely different situation. . . It is common knowledge that the Afrikakorps was completely starved on fuel in the summer and autumn of 1942.

Then Six Nifty tells us that German tanks had problems with fuel shortage in eastern Libya (“area Agheila - El Mugtaa “) on 12 December 1942. Yes, we all knew that too. But that is 850 miles from the place we are talking about. . .That doesn't either have anything to do with the supply situation in northern Tunisia in January 1943.

Then why did you quote fighter losses for the Mediterranean Theatre of operations? Your original statement was:

Due to “Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen” and the daily returns to Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe, the Luftwaffe fighter units in the Mediterranean sustained the following aircraft losses in air combat in January 1943:

II./JG 2: 2
JG 27: 0
II./JG 51: 7
JG 53: 8
JG 77: 15

Total sum: 32.

If you wanted to limit the discussion to only the planes based in Northern Tunisia or operating over Northern Tunisia, you should have been more specific. Not everyone has a map available showing all German air bases in the Mediterranean Theatre as of January 1943.

Christer Bergström 7th March 2005 11:22

Another quite interesting day is 10 March 1943. At around 1630 hrs that day, Bf 109s of JG 77 were escorting Ju 87s when - according to the German report - several formations of P-40s attacked. JG 77’s fighter pilots claimed 13 P-40s shot down between 1632 hrs and 1648 hrs, for the loss of a single Bf 109, plus that the Allied fighter pilots were prevented from shooting down any Ju 87s. Major Jochen Müncheberg and Hptm. Heinz Bär claimed to have shot down two P-40s each.

Again, I don’t have Shores’s excellent book here, but due to the 112 Squadron website, RAF 112 “Shark” Sqn alone registered six of its P-40s shot down, with another two receiving damage.

Are there any other Allied fighter losses registered that day, maybe in Shores’s book?

Nevertheless, by mid-March 1943, the Allies had managed to build up their combined air force in North Africa to no less than 1,500 combat aircraft. (Hooton, “Eagle in Flames”, p. 223.) Against such an overwhelming numerical superiority, the German fighter pilots would find that the “easy days” were gone. The German situation was further deteriorated through the decision to return II./JG 2 to France in March 1943.

Franek Grabowski 8th March 2005 21:37

A few points.
In the German monthly returns there appears a word 'Abgang'. This literally means outcoming AFAIK. Therefore this number most not include aircraft damaged up to 39% as they should be repaired within the unit. Monthly returns do not differentiate between serviceable and unserviceable aircraft.
(BTW The damage is percenteage of what? Labourtime, weight, value?)
Another thing is that until appearance of Spitfire IXs, Allies in the area had no high altitude aircraft. This gave significant advantage to the Germans.
Finally, it is a question rather than comment. Does anyone know anything about Allied radar network in Tunisia?

Christer Bergström 8th March 2005 23:35

It is a fact that Abgang includes all losses from 10 % and above. For an explanation as to what the various damage degrees means, see my first post in this thread.

In the Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen, which we are discussing here (see below), there is "Abgang" (= removed) and "Zugang" (= received).

Among the ”Zugang”, you have not only “Neufertigung” (= newly produced) and “von andere Verbände” (= received from other units), but also “Reparatur” (= repaired).

If you study for instance I./JG 53’s daily returns to the Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe, you will find that it sustained a total of four Bf 109s damaged with repairable degrees in January 1943 (incidentally, none of which was due to hostile action). Due to Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen, I./JG 53 also registered four Bf 109s in the “Zugang” category “Reparatur” in January 1943. In other words - four damaged but repairable, and four repaired. Well done, bicycle repairman! :wink:

Everyone interested can check out the lists at Michael Holm's excellent site:

Don't we all owe him a great big THANKS? :D

Juha 9th March 2005 00:21

1.500 a/c may not be so overwhelmed superiority after all, I haven't time to dig the March 43 figures but according to Shore's article Victory in the Desert in RAF Yearbook 1983 in Jan. 43 LF 2 had 1.220 combat a/c of which about 850 where in Sicily, Sardinia and Tunisia and then there were the Italians but I haven't time to check their numbers. But in March 43 there were with JG 77 and I./Sch.G. 2 etc. in SE 2 Gruppi of fighters/fighter-bombers and surely/probably there were more Italian units elsewhere in Tunisia, but of course I cannot be sure on that.


Christer Bergström 9th March 2005 00:57

The strength return for 10 January 1943 shows 854 Luftwaffe aircraft in the whole Mediterranean area:

Fliegerführer Afrika: 178 aircraft
Fliegerkorps Tunis: 119
Kommando Roth: 48 (Gabés)
Fliegerkorps II (Italy): 311
Fliegerkorps X (Greece): 163
OB Süd: 35

Luftflotte 2: Mediterranean and North Africa
10. January 1943
Fliegerführer Afrika
Close-Reconnaissance: 4.(H)/12 Me 109 11 (3) Bir Dufen Koluft Pz. Armee Afrika

Long-Range Reconnaissance: 1.(F)/121 Ju 88 6 (4) Bir Ngem Fliegerführer Afrika
Castel Benito

Day-Fighter: Stab/JG 77 Me 109G 7 (6) Bir Dufen Nord Fliegerführer Afrika
I./JG 77 Me 109G 27 (19) Bir Dufen Nord Fliegerführer Afrika
II./JG 77 Me 109G 26 (15) Zarzur Fliegerführer Afrika
III./JG 77 Me 109G 29 (19) Bir Dufen Nord Fliegerführer Afrika

Schlacht: I./Schl.G 2 Me 109 27 (16) Zarzur Fliegerführer Afrika
4./Schl.G 2 Hs 129 7 (0) Castel Benito Fliegerführer Afrika

Stuka: III./St.G 3 Ju 87 38 (18 ) Bir Dufen Nord Fliegerführer Afrika

Kommando Roth (Gabes)

Close-Reconnaissance: Part 2.(H) /14 Me 109 4 (2) Gabes Kommando Roth

Day-Fighter: II./JG 51 Me 109G 30 (23) Gabes Kommando Roth

Stuka: II./St.G 3 Ju 87 14 (11) Gabes Kommando Roth

Fliegerkorps Tunis

Close-Reconnaissance: 2.(H) /14 Me 109 4 (2) Tunis-Aouina Fliegerkorps Tunis

Day-Fighter: II./JG 2 FW 190 23 (10) Kairouan Fliegerkorps Tunis
Me 109G

I./JG 53 Me 109G 36 (25) Mateur Fliegerkorps Tunis
II./JG 53 Me 109G 28 (20) Mateur Fliegerkorps Tunis

Schlacht: III./SKG 10 FW 190 14 (10) Bizerta Fliegerkorps Tunis

Stuka: Part II./St.G 3 Ju 87 14 (10) Sebala Fliegerkorps Tunis

II. Fliegerkorps
(Italy, Sicily & Sardinia)

Long-Range Reconnaissance: 1.(F) /122 Ju 88, FW 200 15 (4) Elmas II. Fliegerkorps

Day-Fighter: 7./JG 53 Me 109G 15 (11) Comiso II. Fliegerkorps

Zerstörer: III./ZG 26 Me 110 38 (22) Trapani II. Fliegerkorps
10./ZG 26 Ju 88C 11 (8 ) Trapani II. Fliegerkorps
III./ZG 1 Me 210 15 (15) Grottaglie & Lecce II. Fliegerkorps

Bomber: I./KG 26 He 111 19 (16) Elmas II. Fliegerkorps
II./KG 26 He 111 25 (8 ) Elmas II. Fliegerkorps
Stab/KG 30 Ju 88 1 (1) Comiso II. Fliegerkorps
II./KG 30 Ju 88 21 (17) Comiso II. Fliegerkorps
III./KG 30 Ju 88 24 (16) Comiso II. Fliegerkorps
9./KG 40 FW 200 14 (4) Lecce II. Fliegerkorps
Stab/KG 54 Ju 88 1 (1) Catania II. Fliegerkorps
II./KG 54 Ju 88 17 (10) Catania II. Fliegerkorps
III./KG 54 Ju 88 15 (10) Catania II. Fliegerkorps
Stab/KG 76 Ju 88 2 (2) Catania II. Fliegerkorps
I./KG 76 Ju 88 14 (8 ) Gerbin1 II. Fliegerkorps
II./KG 76 Ju 88 15 (10) Gerbini II. Fliegerkorps
Stab/KG 77 Ju 88 1 (0) Gerbini II. Fliegerkorps
I./KG 77 Ju 88 29 (15) Gerbini II. Fliegerkorps
1. u. 2./KG 60 Ju 88 19 (10) Elmas II./Fliegerkorps

X. Fliegerkorps

Long-Range Reconnaissance: 2.(F) /123 Ju 88, Ju 86R 13 (7) Kastelli & Tatoi X. Fliegerkorps

Day-Fighter: III./JG 27 Me 109G 21 (21) Kastelli X. Fliegerkorps

Bomber: Stab/LG 1 Ju 88 1 (1) Iraklion X. Fliegerkorps
I./LG 1 Ju 88 20 (10) Iraklion X. Fliegerkorps
II./LG 1 Ju 88 33 (21) Iraklion X. Fliegerkorps
III./KG 26 Ju 88 Torp. 23 (13) Iraklion X. Fliegerkorps
III./KG 100 He 111 38 (27) Kalamaki X. Fliegerkorps

Coastal-Reconnaissance: 2./SAGr. 125 Ar 196 14 (2) Suda X. Fliegerkorps

Oberbefehlshaber Süd

Long-Range Reconnaissance: Stab (F)/122 Ju 88 4 (3) Trapani Oberbefehlshaber Süd
2.(F)/122 Ju 88: Me 210 11 (6) Trapani Oberbefehlshaber Süd

Night-Fighter: Stab II./NJG 2 Ju 88C 1 (1) Comiso Oberbefehlshaber Süd
4./NJG 2 Ju 88C: Do 217 13 (9) Comiso Oberbefehlshaber Süd

Transport: Korps Kette X. Flkps. Fi 156 6 (3) Comiso Oberbefehlshaber Süd

(See: . . . and open the document "Mediterranean & Southern Front 1943. Vol II".)

Add 288 Italian aircraft in Tunisia (figure from 15 November 1942), but keep in mind that Regia Aeronautica was badly hampered by a lack of spare parts, ammunition, etc, due to chaos in the Italian war organisation by that time.

BTW - the Luftwaffe conducted a total of 8,413 sorties in the Mediterranean in January 1943 (Hooton, “Eagle in Flames”, p. 221) - mostly of course in Tunisia. That is a higher number than any previous month since the April 1942 air offensive against Malta. The January 1943 total is even 50 % higher than the totals for both November 1942 and December 1942 together.

John Vasco 9th March 2005 01:23


That ZG 1 reference above should read III./ZG 1. II./ZG 1 flew Bf 110s from January 1942 through to its disbandment in mid-1944.

Just a gentle correction.

John V.

Christer Bergström 9th March 2005 01:37

Thanks, John. A gentle but important correction. Clearly a typo.

II./ZG 1 also served on the Eastern Front - where it sustained many more losses in January 1943 than III./ZG 1 did in the Mediterranean in January 1943. Oops, I did it again! :wink:

Franek Grabowski 9th March 2005 13:14


Originally Posted by Christer Bergström
For an explanation as to what the various damage degrees means, see my first post in this thread.

I do not find an answer of my question there. To make it more literally, if aircraft is damaged in 50% does it mean 50% of value is to be exchanged or time that is to be consumed is 50% of time necessary to build new aircraft or 50% of volume of aircraft is to be exchanged or what?


In the Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen, which we are discussing here (see below), there is "Abgang" (= removed) and "Zugang" (= received).
Among the ”Zugang”, you have not only “Neufertigung” (= newly produced) and “von andere Verbände” (= received from other units), but also “Reparatur” (= repaired).
There is also Überholung category.
Anyway, those monthly returns do mention aircraft that arrived or left a unit but do not reffer to serviceability of the aircraft. In other words, those documents define movement of aircraft in and out of the unit but do not reffer to aircraft remaining on strenght but for some reasons - minor damage or malfunction - are not flyable.
Of course the question remains why monthly returns do not fit to GQ6 returns.

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