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Old 20th February 2005, 16:05
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Christer wrote:"...In October 1944, the Western Allies were very lucky that they were confronted with mainly inadequately trained rookies and not with hardened veteran units like JG 52."

And also other way around. I'm not an expert on JG 52 but according to Lipfert, when II/JG 52 fought against 15th AF in June 44 it wasn't easy picking but it was his unit that was decimated. IIRC Lipfert's view was that the main reason was the overwhelming numerical superiority not the individual skills of US pilots but it was anyway action against USAAF and not even the most appreciated AF of the USAAF.

Christer wrote:"...In January 1945, more or less the whole Luftwaffe - particularly the day fighter force - was shifted east..."

From OoBs I could easily find (from Price's The Last Year of the Luftwaffe), on 10.1.45 there were 2,599 serviceable LW a/c in LF Reich, 2 and 3 and 342 in LF 5, which probably that time operated mostly against Western Allies if it had fuel because up north there was not much daylight at that time, out of the total strenght of 4,566 serviceable a/c. On day fighters the numbers were1,024 LW fighters in LF Reich and 3 (LF 2 didn't have fighters anymore) and 82 in LF 5 out of total strenght of 1,427 serviceable day fighters. And
on 9.4.45 the numbers were 1,261 a/c out of total of 3,331, and on day fighters the number was 505 out of 1,310. IMHO that not show that more or less the whole LW had been shifted to east. In fact on 10.1.45 a bigger part of LW day fighters were against Western Allies than on 9.4.45 was against SU and its Eastern Allies. And what more the Western Allies were not conted on this but their longer ranged fighters actively seeked the remains of LW in the east to the end of the war and they had range to do this.

It's important to remember that SU made a major contribution in the winning of the air war against the LW but IMHO it's no good to try overestimate that contribution. Same goes to the Soviet equipment, La-5FN and La-7 were very good good weather day fighters, and in fact I haven't seen anywhere in English aviation literature contrary arguments or statements that late Yaks were bad fighters. I don't know what kind of aviation literature Jens had read but from early Air Enthusiast onwards I have only seen positive commants on those fighters. So I get little bit irritated when I saw that kind of misinformation as was in that La-7 vs Spit IX comparation. And I think that kind of misinfo is also a little bit strange because the specs and handling of La-7 is in itself enough to show that it was a very good low and mid level fighter. The latter part was not against Christer but against whoever had made that comparation.

Christer wrote:"...The concentration on the Eastern Front of 1,500 Fw 190s and Bf 109s, which conducted 2,500 sorties during the first two days of February 1945 alone (to be compared with the average of 366 German fighter sorties over France in June 1944), represents a striking force which the Western Allies largely were saved from during the whole period from 22 June 1941 to the end of the war..."

Fistly the comparation of the activity during a couple peak days to a monthly average on other hand is like comparing apples and oranges. The right way is to compare peak days activity on both fronts or a monthly averages on both fronts.

Secondly, also SU was saved from that kind of fighter activity almost during the whole war, IIRC most of the time less than half of LW fighter force was concentrated against SU. For example on 31.5.43 there were 547 Jagdflugzeuge against SU and 1,077 Jagdflugzeuge against Western Allies and that is from Olaf Groehler's Geschichte des Luftkriegs 1910 bis 1980. Berlin 1981. So this isn't a info from "bourgeois history-falsifiers" but from DDR.

And if one looks where the LW lost most of its single-engined fighters the answer is that against the "those Western Allies pilots with lowly number of combat missions" and that is true both cumulatively and more surprisingly yearly, even in 1942, when the figures were closest (1,921 vs. 1849) (the numbers incl. destroyed and those damaged over 10%). Clearly, during the 2nd half of 41 the losses in Easter Front were probably higher bwcause the yearly figure is 1,474 vs. 1095. I haven't figures of 1945 and anyway they would be more difficult to analyze because the area of Reich was so compressed. If one wants to see the monthly figures in 1943 (which IMHO is a very important year in this content) please look on page 138 in Williamson Murray's Luftwaffe. George Allen & Unwin 1985 ISBN 0 04 923080 8 or if You are less lucky from same book but different and not so good edition from Eagle Editions Strategy for Defeat The Luftwaffe 1933 - 1945 on page 115.

The LW tried to use concentrate fighter force against Western Allies, from example in June 44 and during Bodenplatte, but it didn't help it much.

One point on Soviet a/c which isn't mentioned too often is that in contrary to the image of utterly disregard of own losses the Soviet AF/designers tried to protect the pilots very early on with decent armour protection. As Christer mentioned the Eastern Front air warfare and the question of Soviet equipment is rather complex.

On Grislawski, the little I know on him indicates that he had very good situation awarness and that he was very reliable claimer, which IMHO indicates that he could see the situations very realisticly. He also seems to have been able to handle stress very well. So I think that he could learn his missions more than many others, even if I think that the law of diminishing returns also apply on him. But pilots were different, there were many LW pilots whose rate of claiming diminished greatly during the later part of war. Some probably suffered from combat stress, some probably became more carefull and lost some of their agressiveness, maybe some saw that they were fighting a loosing battle for lousy goverment and did their duty but not beyond that.

And Grislawski could think that he was superior to any enemy pilots but so thought also many of the Western pilots. So IMHO one cannot draw too much on that.

Juha
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