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-   -   Luftwaffe Aces KIA in Normandy in 1944 (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=625)

Christer Bergström 9th March 2005 14:14

Are you telling us that the mere fact that an Allied pilot claimed that he shot down a German fighter at Domfront, is enough to convince you that the German version that Wurmheller collided with his wingman at Alencon is wrong? And you don’t mind that the place of Wurmheller’s demise actually is 60 km from the place where that Allied pilot said that he had shot down a German plane? Alencon is a major town in the area, and Domfront is a small townlet 60 km away, but you still think that that Allied pilot used Domfront as a reference, despite the fact that he actually was flying near Alencon? Or maybe the easiest thing is to just assume that there were many things wrong with the German report? However, although we have been told several times on this board that the German reports are incomplete etc, you find it totally excluded that even if Fleming actually shot down a German plane (which is far from certain), it couldn’t have been another German plane than Wurmheller’s? Aren’t you guys just trying to press reality into your square form? I’d advice a little more caution. A historian would never accept such weak “circumstantial evicence”.

I could give you lots and lots of similar cases where a bit of “positive thinking” creates victors. Maybe there even was a Japanese pilot who claimed a victory somewhere on 6 August 1945, the day when the US top ace Dick Bong was killed? What? Killed in an accident near Burbank, California? But the Japanese pilot claimed that. . . :wink:

I wonder why none of the German pilots who flew on the Eastern Front for real, and not just read about it in books 60 years afterward, don’t agree with Franek in the notion that “Eastern Front was quite a comfortable place for fighters”. Maybe they never asked him?

I wonder how “comfortable” Karl-Heinz Weber thought it was to get shot down in air combat with Soviet aircraft on 3 September 1942?

Regarding the notion of Soviet numerical superiority in the air, it is true that the Soviets often held a certain numerical superiority in the air, but it never reached such “biblical” proportions on a major battle scene as the Allied numerical superiority over Normandy. Actually, the Luftwaffe often managed to attain a numerical superiority on vital sectors on the Eastern Front until as late as in 1945. In the area where Weber was shot down, and by the same time, the Germans recorded a total of 583 German and 698 Soviet air sorties each day. It would have been even worse to the Germans if the Soviets had been able to mount the 8:1 numerical superiority which the Allied airmen were fortunate to enjoy on average at Normandy. Imagine not 698, but 4,700 Soviet aircraft sorties encountering those 583 German sorties each day. That of course would have increased the German losses. Since it is more dangerous when there are 4,700 enemy aircraft around (the “Normandy proportion”) than when there are 698 enemy aircraft around, of course it was much more dangerous to fly over Normandy than on the Eastern Front. But to say that the Eastern Front was “a quite a comfortable place” is just not in line with reality. I wouldn’t even say that Normandy was a quite a comfortable place for Allied fighter pilots - even though they flew fighters which were almost as superior to the German aircraft as the Bf 109 F-2 was superior to the old I-16 Mark 24, and even though they had an average flight training consisting of 225 flight hours on operational aircraft against a mass of German rookies with only a dozen flight hours or so, and even though the Allies enjoyed a numerical superiority of 8:1 on average. Even a cursory look at the loss figures - an average of around two Allied aircraft were shot down in France in June 1944 for every German aircraft that they managed to destroy - shows that not even under those circumstances was it “a quite a comfortable place”.

This board is a quite a comfortable place. Anyone who suggests that war is a quite comfortable place maybe should ask someone who has been in a war.

Franek Grabowski 9th March 2005 20:41

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christer Bergström
Are you telling us that the mere fact that an Allied pilot claimed that he shot down a German fighter at Domfront, is enough to convince you that the German version that Wurmheller collided with his wingman at Alencon is wrong?

I never claimed that Wurmheller was downed by Fleming but that there is such a possibility.

Quote:

And you don’t mind that the place of Wurmheller’s demise actually is 60 km from the place where that Allied pilot said that he had shot down a German plane?
German records say: Caen-N Alencon. Quite an area, is not it?

Quote:

Or maybe the easiest thing is to just assume that there were many things wrong with the German report?
At the moment you reffer to a German report. Apparently I do not know of its existence, therefore I ask you to publish it here. I will gladly accept that Wurmheller went down in collision but I would like to know where and when exactly, in what circumstances and with whom he collided.

Quote:

A historian would never accept such weak “circumstantial evicence”.
Several historians accepted that Katyn massacre was done by Germans and I am not a historian.

Quote:

I wonder why none of the German pilots who flew on the Eastern Front for real, and not just read about it in books 60 years afterward, don’t agree with Franek in the notion that “Eastern Front was quite a comfortable place for fighters”. Maybe they never asked him?
Perhaps they like fairy tales?

Quote:

I wonder how “comfortable” Karl-Heinz Weber thought it was to get shot down in air combat with Soviet aircraft on 3 September 1942?
Doubtless much more comfortable comparing to what he felt in his last seconds on 7 June 1944!

Quote:

This board is a quite a comfortable place. Anyone who suggests that war is a quite comfortable place maybe should ask someone who has been in a war.
Oh yes, glamour of a fighter pilot, well supplied NAAFI, always smiling WAAFs, London by night, plenty of lonely girls, the war can be comfortable and I have heard that. ;)

More seriously, bulk of Soviet aircraft and Soviet airmen could not outperform German aircraft and German airmen. Through most of the war Soviets could not get height advantage which is one of the principles of the success in air combat. Through most of the war Soviets were unable to catch German aircraft.
In other words, German fighter pilots died due to bad luck or their own errors. Do you think it was any different in Poland in 1939? Most of the Polish victories were achieved because of the reasons mentioned above - no wonder, having in mind P.11 was able to fly as fast as Hs 126. Skills of Polish pilots only allowed to make use of those errors. The situation in the Soviet Union was no different.

Leo Etgen 10th March 2005 19:31

Wurmheller
 
Hi guys

I thought that I was being cautious when I mentioned "No assurance that it was Wurmheller but it may very well be describing the last moments of one of the Luftwaffe's greatest aces." Ota also pointed out that the locations do not match up entirely. It is an interesting speculation, an exchange of opinions, that we were engaged in as to what may have occurred to Wurmheller, not an attempt to press reality into a square form, at least on my part. As I see it, what we have is an Allied pilot claiming to have shot down a German fighter in the general area where Wurmheller was lost. That is all, nothing more. I agree that overall the VVS did not enjoy such a numerical advantage over the Luftwaffe as the Western Allies did over Normandy, quite possibly due to the huge front which the VVS was engaged in. However, I have read that by June 1944 on the central sector where JG 51 was stationed, Russian aircraft outnumbered German aircraft by five to one (Operation Bagration). Is this correct, Mr. Bergström? A note: please gentlemen, I am not attempting to denigrate Eastern nor Western pilots. I believe all sides had equally skilled fighter pilots. Let us please not take one person's opinions as a personal affront.

Horrido!

Leo

Christer Bergström 10th March 2005 21:28

You are right. As I wrote in Jagdwaffe, Vol. 5, Section 2, “The War in the East 1944 - 45”:

“Contrary to popular belief, the Soviets only rarely possessed the same numerical superiority in the air as the Western Allies attained over the Normandy invasion area in the summer of 1944. . . . However, during Operation 'Bagration', the major Soviet offensive in June and July 1944 which resulted in the destruction of Army Group Centre, the Soviet commanders created a massive concentration of aircraft that vastly outnumbered those available to Luftflotte 6, the local air command covering the area occupied by Army Group Centre.”

When Bagration was launched, there were 7,790 Soviet aircraft in the region, as opposed to 836 aircraft in Luftflotte 6.

III./JG 11 arrived straight from operations over the Normandy landing area to reinforce Luftflotte 6, but the average level of pilot experience in III./JG 11was below that of most Eastern Front Jagdgruppen, and it therefore sustained some severe losses. III./JG 11 sustained 23 pilot casualties on the Eastern Front between late June and the end of August 1944. In comparison, this Geschwader's II. Gruppe, which remained in the West, sustained the same number of casualties while operating against the USAAF and RAF in the same period. In early September 1944, the badly depleted III./JG 11 was withdrawn from first-line service and its surviving pilots were given a period of rest in Germany while the gaps from the losses were filled by inexperienced replacements.

Leo Etgen 11th March 2005 06:46

II./JG 1
 
Hi Christer

Thank you for your kind response to my question. The same source from which I obtained that information also states that during this time the Germans claimed some 2,800 victories and the Russians claimed some 1,500 victories. If this is so it goes to demonstrate the usual heavy attrition that large scale offensive action usually entails. This proportion is very similar to that over Normandy. Concerning Normandy, here is a link to an interesting article relating II./JG 1's experiences which you may or may not know about: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/2072/FGnorm.html

Horrido!

Leo

kb 13th August 2005 22:10

Re: Luftwaffe Aces KIA in Normandy in 1944
 
While not he was not KIA, it appears from the records I have reviewed that I/JG5 Kdr Weissenberg was downed on this date by Col. Glenn Duncan of 353FG. Duncan's encounter report mentions the last ME109 aircraft he shot down was marked with "chevrons", which sounds similar to the markings described on Weissenberg's aircraft in the loss records listed in Frappe's book.

Can anyone confirm this?


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