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Old 20th February 2005, 16:49
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Warsaw, Poland
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Franek Grabowski
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The U-2/Po-2 was an improvised thing which had no bombsight.
Yes, it had and by no means it was improvised but factory build. Bomber variant is easily distinguishable by a removed fabric on two inner sections of port lower wing. There is a bombsight.

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A Tu-2 with a painted bombsight? Interesting. Are there no other Soviet aircraft in that museum where you can see the reflector gunsights?
No. Only Soviet wartime aircraft in Polish museums are Po-2LNB and Pe-2FT, the latter in rather poor condition. Tu-2 is a post war one and still had a painted bombsight.

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True to some extent. But nevertheless, the result often was quite outstanding.
Like with Tu-4. It was really an engineering achievement and the aircraft was only about 100 kg heavier than the original.

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- 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?
Depending on what you consider en masse. Indeed Soviets first used rockets in WWII but reasoning of the Westerners should be checked before drawing any conclusions. Results of use of rockets on the Western front were not very promissing.

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- 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.
That the quality and dislocation were the key factors. Had Soviets better quality and defensive dislocation, an equal number of aircraft comparing to Germans should be a hard nut for Luftwaffe.

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- 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.
Considering that average sortie was much shorter on the Eastern Front it is not very surprising pilots flying there amassed such number of sorties. Average escort sortie to Germany took about 5 hours. In the same time, Soviet pilot could make 6 full time combat sorties plus a few scrambles.

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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.
Please note, that recent research in CAMO revealed many 'inaccuracies' in published numbers concerning Soviet pilots. Unless based on primary documents I would take the mentioned numbers with a grain of salt.
Allied system was not promoting individual pilots but produced huge numbers of well trained pilots - quality plus quantity.
Otherwise Soviets had their tour system as well. You may find that units were send back for reequipment and refit.

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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.
Then multiply those numbers by flight time and then compare to Germans or Soviets. Also, why you do not include other nations?

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Alfred Grislawski used to say: “You have to have 50 combat missions before you can come to grips with what it all is about.”
This may testify about the German training system, different to the Allied one.

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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.
We discussed this earlier.

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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.
Grislawki's colleague, Karl Heinz Weber was downed when his Staffel of 9 was bounced by a section of 4 Mustangs. His victor, indeed quite an experienced pilot, less than a month earlier complained he did not down a German aircraft through entire war.
Through the entire Normandy Campaign, I think only once Polish 133 Wing outnumbered the enemy, when on 17 June Section of 4 bounced 2 Fw 190s.

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- 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.
How about order no 0823 of 16.10.1942 of People's Commissar of Defence of Soviet Union? This order introduced advanced flying training on fighter aircraft! So up until 1943 the training was elementary to say the least. No wonder Germans were downing Soviets one by another.

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BTW - thanks a lot for your help with the Hans-Ekkehard Bob biography, Franek! (Regarding the Polish fighter units.)
No problem.
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