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Old 4th March 2005, 23:29
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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”If Murrey had used different criteria for different fronts that VERY bad. But Christer, You have been a little sloppy on this Murray gives in his Tables Eastern Front losses in Jan. 43 85 FIGHTERS but 482 a/c in TOTAL. Transport a/c and SchG 1 losses sure belonged under the TOTAL not under FIGHTERS. I'm afraid that You have mixed the tables.”
As a matter of fact, Murray seems to be using different criteria for different fronts regarding September 1942 - at least if we compare with January 1943. But I admit that I was sloppy when I read 85 losses for Eastern Front January 1943, not noticing that it was only for fighters, and that the total for all aircraft given by Murray was 482. The only defence I can think of is that my wife was calling: “When are you going to come and watch that film on TV with me?” (Yes - she actually said "watch film" and nothing else! )

“But a) you cannot use only those lost in air combat, also those lost on the ground are lost to hostile action plus those lost in transit by enemy action. I think that is the classic way to count war losses and also those lost for operational reasons were also lost but those are usually given separately.”
It depends on the perspective. If the subject for our study is supremacy in air combat - which I think you were interested in in that other thread, where I said that the Luftwaffe “super veterans” inflicted very heavy losses on the Allies in Tunisia - we have to concentrate on aircraft destroyed in air combat. (That also is the classical way of comparing losses in e.g. the Battle of Britain.) To use one of your words - that would indeed be a scientific approach, the approach of a professional historian.

However, a professional historian can have various perspectives, and can focus his study on various issues. If the focus is to examine the overall attrition on the warring sides, then also aircraft which were damaged in take-off accidents and that had to be sent to repair must be included. Then of course one must include all aircraft which for one reason or another were put out of commission - including, naturally, those destroyed on the ground. And then you also have to include each side’s possibility to replace losses - a field where the Allies clearly were superior to the Axis, since in spite of their much higher losses, the Allies managed to increase their number of aircraft in Tunisia from 600 in January 1943 to 1,500 in mid-March 1943. (Hooton, a.a., pp. 219 & 223.)

However, in this case, I chose the perspective of supremacy in air combat. In that perspective, other losses are - from a scientific viewpoint - irrelevant.

”b) You way to estimate the relation between Allied aircraft shot down & destroyed and all aircraft destroyed or damaged to all causes is purely speculation, nothing scientific in it, I'm afraid. You need at least some randomly (statistically speaking) collected sample of real figures on that this relation on Allied side to be able to approximate some sort of range inside which the real figure is on certain probability.”
Wow, strong words, or - as we say in Sweden - much noise but little workshop.

Couldn’t we agree to either contribute new facts, supported by source references, or just ask questions - but please not that kind of loose talk!

“Nothing scientific in it”? Which are your criteria for “scientific”? (That was a rethoric question - please donät answer it - at least not on this board!) If we agree that mathematics is a science, it is scientific. If we agree that logics is scientific, it is scientific. This is how professional historians operate, making assessments based on known factors. Juha, if you think that historians - or almost any scientist - operates only with 100 % waterproof facts, I have to say that I don’t agree. There is nothing unorthodox or unscientific to make assessments based on known factors. What distinguishes a scientific approach from a non-scientific approach is that the professional historian admits that some factors are unknown to him and he admits that he has made estimations based on other known facts, extrapolations; while the guy with a non-scientific approach yells that it is possible to know the WHOLE and FULL truth. Remember, when I wrote my estimations, I wrote: “Let’s assume that” and “if we estimate according to the relations above, we would arrive at. . .” If you think that is unorthodox, then you should ask a professional historian.

That said, please let’s all stop playing “scientists” here. :!:

I’ve said it before, and I say it again, no one among us here is a professional historian, and no one among us here approaches the subject with the methods of a professional historian - i.e. a scientist. :!:

And besides everything, I gave those “speculated figures” only as a reply to Murray’s in the context irrelevant figure for all damaged Luftwaffe aircraft. I thought I was clear that I think we can settle with the figures of at least 151 Allied aircraft shot down and destroyed versus 32 German fighters shot down and destroyed.

Now please - can we return to the subject as such and stop educating each other in other subjects? Or at least save that for the off-topic board.

Please letäs continue only by either contributing new facts, supported by source references, or just asking questions. Isn't that the best way to forward the discussion in a meaningful way?

Moderators, are you watching this time?

And please allow me to attend to my wife for a short while. :P
All the best,

Christer Bergström