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Old 19th February 2005, 22:16
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Franek,

The intense political brainwashing regarding their Soviet opponents ("Untermenschen incapable of anything good") which the German soldiers were subjected to, naturally coloured their appraisal of the enemy.

”This not only reflected to Soviets but also eg. Poles”

More or less, yes.

“Cannot comment on fighter gunsight at the moment but I welcome anyone to visit an aviation museum in Cracow. There the one may see genuine Soviet painted bombsight on Tu-2 bomber and cross wire bombsight on U-2/Po-2 LNB bomber. Supposedly just effective enough and much simplier, nonetheless limited by available technology and tools as well.”

The U-2/Po-2 was an improvised thing which had no bombsight. Compare with the Luftwaffe equivalence, like e.g. the old Ar 66 biplanes of the Störkampfgruppen. A Tu-2 with a painted bombsight? Interesting. Are there no other Soviet aircraft in that museum where you can see the reflector gunsights?

“their designs were a mix of copied designs. . .”

True to some extent. But nevertheless, the result often was quite outstanding.

“Claim of pioneering use of rocet projectiles is false, however. Rocket projectiles were first used during WWI.”

- Oh, I didn’t know that. Nevertheless, the Soviets used rocket projectiles en masse a long time before the Western Allies or the Luftwaffe brought such a weapon into use. Isn’t that true?

- Could you please elaborate on this, Franek: “Quality and dislocation were key factors. Quantity only caused the Campaign to last so long.” - I’m afraid I don’t understand what you are trying to say.

“My conclusion is that throughout the war, the Soviets had a larger number of top class pilots than the RAF or the USAAF had by the same time, and that some of the Soviet war material was of absolute top class . . . Samples please! Proofs please!”

- Just study the high number of very experienced Soviet pilots, with experience from 400, 500, 600 or more combat missions. Pilots with such a huge amount of experience could hardly be found in the RAF and USAAF, but in the Luftwaffe and the Soviet Air Force it was not entirely uncommon with such “super veterans” in 1944 and 1945.

Some random samples: Aleksey Reshetov conducted 821 combat missions between 1941 and 1945. Aleksandr Baturin logged over 400 combat missions until mid-1942. Nikolay Klepikov flew his 600th combat mission in July 1943. Viktor Shlepov had logged 685 combat missions by mid-July 1943. Due to the “tour system” which the Western Allies used, the RAF and USAAF pilots rarely manage to achieve such a huge amount of battle experience.

Allow me to compare with the battle experience of the best aces in US 8th Air Force: Gabreski 153 missions, Preddy 143 missions, R.S. Johnson 91 missions, Schilling 132 missions, Mahurin 85 missions, Beckham 123 missions, G.W. Johnson 88 missions, Anderson 116 missions, Wishner 137 missions.

Alfred Grislawski used to say: “You have to have 50 combat missions before you can come to grips with what it all is about.” Grislawski also said that he felt that he definitely grew better and better, the more experience he gained; there simply was no “limit”. He said that when he flew over Normandy in the summer of 1944, he felt that his experience from almost 800 combat missions made him totally superior to any enemy pilot that he met. He said that while he noticed that the enemy pilots often were confused as to Grislawski’s next step in air combat, his own huge experience had taught him to foresee every single move which his opponents would do in any given situation. He said that if the Western Allies would not have had their enormous numerical superiority at Normandy, it would have been an easy match for Grislawski.

“Frankly, it would be really surprising if Soviets did not improve. But I would like to see more wartime documents substantiating any thesis or at least more exhaustive letters.”

- I can guarantee that I will provide you with exhaustive evidence in future volumes of “Black Cross/Red Star”. If you have any wartime documents which deal with the matter, I would be most happy to see them.

BTW - thanks a lot for your help with the Hans-Ekkehard Bob biography, Franek! (Regarding the Polish fighter units.)

All best,

Christer
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