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-   -   Total Luftwaffe losses in the East (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=5455)

Jack Sanders 17th July 2006 18:30

Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
Hello,
Has anyone come across any figures for total Luftwaffe combat losses on the Eastern front? I have seen various figures which most of which unfortunately list all losses, not distinguishing between combat and non-combat causes.
The most important figures are below:

2,213 total losses from all causes between 22 June 1941 and 3 January 1942 (Groehler).
1,170 combat losses between January and June 1942 (BC/RS 2).
9,766 total losses from July 1942 to October 1944 (Murray + Groehler).

This leads me to roughly estimate total Luftwaffe combat losses on the Eastern front as 10,000 aircraft. Is this supported by other sources, or am I completely wrong?

The reason I am interested in this is that the Soviet armed forces claimed 50,000 aircraft destroyed in the air during the war, so I would like to know the true Luftwaffe figure by way of comparison and as a way of making some preliminary overclaim calculations.

Regards,

Jack Sanders

Dénes Bernád 17th July 2006 21:52

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
As usual, the contribution of smaller Axis forces is ignored when talking of the Eastern Front.

Please consider the number of Rumanian, Hungarian, Finnish, Italian, Croat and Slovak aircraft losses as well.

Jack Sanders 18th July 2006 00:01

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dénes Bernád
As usual, the contribution of smaller Axis forces is ignored when talking of the Eastern Front.

Please consider the number of Rumanian, Hungarian, Finnish, Italian, Croat and Slovak aircraft losses as well.

Hello,
I did not mean to ignore any participants, but I think that it would be prudent first to establish, as far as is possible, Luftwaffe losses and then move on to the air forces which made relatively smaller contributions. However, I greatly appreciate your work and that of others who write about the air forces of Axis allies and welcome any information that you may be inclined to share.

Regards,

Jack Sanders

Jens 18th July 2006 06:28

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
IMHO there should be also a look at the damaged planes. The damaged losses at Eastern front were much higher as in the West. Maybe a tribute to the short flight ways. But not every plane was called damaged, was repaired, a part was indeed scrapped or used as reserve for parts so more or less a total loss.

Also not to forget, that in 1945 there were fierce dogfights over the Oder Front and Luftwaffe suffered serious losses against the soviets.

About the soviet claims is to say, roughly 40.000 is the number for dogfight or air to air victories, the rest should be destroyed at the ground or where captured.

Boomerang 18th July 2006 14:58

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
Jack:

Terrific project, hope it goes well.

My comment is that losses from Nov 44 - May 45 were likely to have quite large and could make a significant part of total Luftwaffe losses during the Eastern campaign. The transfer of the bulk of the day fighters to the Eastern front following the great Soviet offensive in January 1945 certainly suggests this.

I noted that Graf and Grislawski a Pair of Aces states that, in only two days of action in the Breslau area in February 1945, forty six Luftwaffe aircraft were lost (page 250).

Thus, I suggest that you will have to take into account aircraft losses from Nov 44 - May 45.

Cheers

Boomerang

Jack Sanders 18th July 2006 16:54

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jens
IMHO there should be also a look at the damaged planes. The damaged losses at Eastern front were much higher as in the West. Maybe a tribute to the short flight ways. But not every plane was called damaged, was repaired, a part was indeed scrapped or used as reserve for parts so more or less a total loss.
About the soviet claims is to say, roughly 40.000 is the number for dogfight or air to air victories, the rest should be destroyed at the ground or where captured.

I think that adding in damaged aircraft would complicate and distort the picture. Simultaneously Luftwaffe records are usually quite clear in indicating aircraft wrtten off, if not the exact cause.
The Soviets did in fact claim 50,000 aircraft shot down in the air. The breakdown is as follows: 43,500 claims by the VVS, 3,930 by the PVO and 4,567 by the Av-VMF. The Soviet air forces claimed an additional 16,450 aircraft destroyed on the ground.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boomerang
My comment is that losses from Nov 44 - May 45 were likely to have quite large and could make a significant part of total Luftwaffe losses during the Eastern campaign. The transfer of the bulk of the day fighters to the Eastern front following the great Soviet offensive in January 1945 certainly suggests this.
I noted that Graf and Grislawski a Pair of Aces states that, in only two days of action in the Breslau area in February 1945, forty six Luftwaffe aircraft were lost (page 250).
Thus, I suggest that you will have to take into account aircraft losses from Nov 44 - May 45.

Cheers

Boomerang

Thank you for your support, but unfortunately I need a lot more data if the project is to get off the ground.
The losses at the end of the war were probably not that great, as most Luftwaffe activity took place in mid-January, amidst a worsening fuel shortage. You are probably referring to the actions of 13-14 February 1945, which involved abnormally high losses, not seen again until the final Soviet offensive in mid-April.

Regards,

Jack Sanders

Graham Boak 18th July 2006 17:36

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
If, on the above figures, Soviet claims were some 50,000 as opposed to Luftwaffe and allies losses significantly over 10,000 (but unlikely to be anywhere near 20,000), then Soviet overclaiming seems to have been much the same order as those of other nations, i.e. about 3:1.

Laurent Rizzotti 18th July 2006 20:41

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
Just a question: is the number of 50 000 victories coming from a post-war Soviet book, or from a military document?

It seems to me that many victories described in Soviet books have never been found in official papers researched by Russian historians having access now to former Soviet archives.

Jack Sanders 19th July 2006 11:53

Re: Total Luftwaffe losses in the East
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Graham Boak
If, on the above figures, Soviet claims were some 50,000 as opposed to Luftwaffe and allies losses significantly over 10,000 (but unlikely to be anywhere near 20,000), then Soviet overclaiming seems to have been much the same order as those of other nations, i.e. about 3:1.

Hello,
I think that the overclaim ratio may have been much higher. Having found the article from which I took my figures, I can now say that the total number of claims by the Soviet air forces in the air was 57,180 (Of which 48,683 VVS, 3,930 PVO, 4,567 Av-VMF). A 3:1 overclaim ratio would require 19,000 actual Axis losses to Soviet aircraft. I estimate that the highest possible Axis loss total (combat losses in the air) is 16,000, some 3,000 of which can reasonably be allocated to losses due to anti-aircraft fire. This leaves 13,000 aircraft shot down by air forces and a resulkting overclaim ratio of 4.4:1. These estimates are of course highly speculative, but I am using optimistic estimates of Soviet successes.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Laurent Rizzotti
Just a question: is the number of 50 000 victories coming from a post-war Soviet book, or from a military document?
It seems to me that many victories described in Soviet books have never been found in official papers researched by Russian historians having access now to former Soviet archives.

The number of victories comes from an article by Timohovich in a 1973 "Red Star" newspaper, the total number later being quoted again in a 1976 book entitled "The operational art of the Soviet VVS in the Great Patriotic War". He is a reliable historian in the sense that he uses archival data, however spurious, rather than inventing things himself for propaganda purposes.

Regards,

Jack Sanders


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