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Old 5th August 2007, 21:04
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Ruy - Franek, I didn't read all the posts and what I am about to say may have already been covered.

There are multiple opinions regarding the point at which the LW lost (practically speaking, nothing to do with courage) control of the air over Germany. I agree with Ruy on one point in this debate - both the P-47 and very specifically the 56th FG attained parity with their counterparts over the lowlands and all the P-47 equipped groups did reasonably in the last three months preceeding the arrival of the 354th FG.

Where I absolutely agree with Franek is that you must look deeper into the detail of 8th FC operations from January through mid February to see the impact the 51 had in deep target escorts with just one Group. Then look to the increase in scores over the targets as the 357th came on ops in mid February, the 4th and 355th in late Feb/early March, then the 352nd in early April.

The P-38s and P-51s were still having troubles mechanically reducing effectives often by 50% but Ruy, you have to see where the bulk of the air to air scores were from mid January through the end of April. Prior to the introduction of the Mustangs the LW could pick at will the spots at which they would place huge concentraions of t/e and s/e fighters to punish the bombers past escort range of P-47s and Spits

It was these 5 pioneer groups plus the three P-38 groups that basically tore LuftFlotte Reich apart. The P-47s were relegated to performing penetration and withdrawal support in that period and tangled mostly with JG2 and JG26 over France and Lowlands.

One of the milestones for LW effectiveness could be an arbitrary date in after which the LW never again achieved 10% attrition on the 8th AF - that last day was May 12, 1944. The last two date preceeding that was the April 29 mission to Berlin and the April 24 mission to bomb Daimler Werke production at Landsberg...

The 24th was a day in which the only two groups available to escort the 1st Div over the target was the 357 and 355th FG's which claimed 38 109s, 10 110s and 2 Fw190s - for a loss of 6 air and two flak. The awards were reduced to 23 and 20 respectively.

In this mission the LW controllers placed 200+ JG3 and 26 and 27 and ZG26 ighters very skillfully and they were able to shoot down or force down in Sweden a total of 23 B-17s from these Task Forces from Nw Munich, around the city to south, then west to lake Constance area. Just simply too many fighters, too well positioned for 93 Mustangs to deflect. That they lost 40+ was not 'adequate' trade.

The LW would score well at least 10 more times against isolated bomb groups but never to the 10% threshold for the entire attacking force.

For what it is worth I have studied 8th FC ops most of my life and my thesis is that the true time that the LW was defeated over Germany was mid January as the beginning of the end with mid May 1944 as the last time the LW truly pounded the 8th AF from a percentage stanpoint - and the Mustang (including RAF) was THE instrument of its demise.

Invasion and post invasion was the time when all of Allied Fighter Commands were able to achieve the same levels of destruction due to LW sending so many units west to try to counter Allied fighter bomber ops. This too was avery important milestone in the attrition of trained pilots... but IMHO not the same as 1/44 through 5/44.

Regards to you both

Bill
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