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  #1  
Old 1st March 2005, 08:55
blackeagle_I blackeagle_I is offline
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Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

AFAI, on April 8,19 44, the 4th FG got 32 victories and suffered only 4 losts. From germany record list in Tonny wood's web site, some units had suffered serious losess.

III./JG54 , III./JG11, I./JG5 and III./JG3 lost 10, 11, 6, 5 planes respectively. The total lossses is about 78.
The losses included some aces such as Josef Zwernemann(128kills) and Ernst Maack (8 kills).
This is the very limited information I have.

Does anyone konw more information about which units had clashed with US 4th fighter group? I am surprised the luftwaffe's pilots should not be beaten so badly prior to D-days.


Thank you very much in advance.
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Old 1st March 2005, 09:43
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Quote:
I am surprised the luftwaffe's pilots should not be beaten so badly prior to D-days.
Why? At this stage, the quality of the Luftwaffe was being worn down to a mere shadow of what it had once been.

In March 1944, the German Luftflotte Reich performed 3,672 combat sorties and lost 349 fighters. That equals a loss ratio of 9.4 %. (Prien, “JG 1/11”, p. 821)

These 3,672 combat sorties were flown against approximately 18,000 sorties by US 8th Air Force (including 8,773 heavy bomber missions; I don’t have totals for fighter escort missions, but usually by this time there were more escort fighters than heavy bombers on each mission), plus several thousand sorties over Germany and the Netherlands by the 15th AF and the RAF.

Even if the Americans lost more aircraft than the number of Luftwaffe aircraft they were able to shoot down, the sheer numbers made the US losses have a less serious impact. Because of the large numbers of aircraft deployed on each mission by the Americans, the loss ratio in 8th AF heavy bombers was 3.3 % in March 1944, and in the US fighter units it was even lower. Such a loss ratio can be sustained by any air force without having any negative effect on the quality of the crews.

Luftwaffe fighter pilot losses in March 1944 alone reached nearly 22 % of pilots present on 29 February 1944. In February 1944, nearly 18 % of the pilots present on 31 January 1944 had been lost. The losses surpassed the replacements, so rookies had to leave their pilot training schools before their training was completed and were sent into action - against numerically superior Allied air forces. What you see when you read about 8 April 1944 is the effect of all of this.

BTW - read 4 FG's story here - the book is online:

http://home.earthlink.net/~johnrlove...ed/frames.html
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Old 7th February 2012, 23:07
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

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Originally Posted by Christer Bergström View Post
Why? At this stage, the quality of the Luftwaffe was being worn down to a mere shadow of what it had once been.

In March 1944, the German Luftflotte Reich performed 3,672 combat sorties and lost 349 fighters. That equals a loss ratio of 9.4 %. (Prien, “JG 1/11”, p. 821)

These 3,672 combat sorties were flown against approximately 18,000 sorties by US 8th Air Force (including 8,773 heavy bomber missions; I don’t have totals for fighter escort missions, but usually by this time there were more escort fighters than heavy bombers on each mission), plus several thousand sorties over Germany and the Netherlands by the 15th AF and the RAF.

Christer - on March 1, 1944 there were two 9th AF (354 and 363) Mustang groups plus two 8th AF Mustang groups (357 and 4) that had two weeks and 2 days respectively of combat ops. These four groups were the only Allied escorts capable of going to Berlin and Munich areas. The two P-38 groups were capable of flying straight to Berlin and back but not while flying escort.

Over the next 30 days the 355th became operational and the 352nd started converting to P-51s.

That was the complete 8th/9th AF capability to protect 36 bomb groups from central Germany to Poland and Austria.

Net - there were Never more than two fighter groups to protect ALL the bombers within each Bomb Division (250-400 launched depending on mission), until after D-Day for a Berlin length mission.

Even if the Americans lost more aircraft than the number of Luftwaffe aircraft they were able to shoot down, the sheer numbers made the US losses have a less serious impact. Because of the large numbers of aircraft deployed on each mission by the Americans, the loss ratio in 8th AF heavy bombers was 3.3 % in March 1944, and in the US fighter units it was even lower. Such a loss ratio can be sustained by any air force without having any negative effect on the quality of the crews.

Luftwaffe fighter pilot losses in March 1944 alone reached nearly 22 % of pilots present on 29 February 1944. In February 1944, nearly 18 % of the pilots present on 31 January 1944 had been lost. The losses surpassed the replacements, so rookies had to leave their pilot training schools before their training was completed and were sent into action - against numerically superior Allied air forces. What you see when you read about 8 April 1944 is the effect of all of this.

BTW - read 4 FG's story here - the book is online:

http://home.earthlink.net/~johnrlove...ed/frames.html
On April 8, 1944 the 4th, 357th and 355th were the groups engaging the LW from Celle to Uelzen to Gifhorn. The 4th was in the largest of the battles focused primarily at Celle to Brunswick.

BTW the LW controllers were smart enough to NOT engage in force within range of the P-47 groups of the 9th and 8th AF - all of which basically constrained to Penetration and Withdrawal escort to and from the Stuttgart to Hannover radius. That number of 8th AF P-47 FG's was 6 1/2 (352nd converting in late March/mid April.

Net - the LW could direct 200-250 s/e fighters to any 100 square mile area they chose to be able to find undefended bomb groups, or lightly defended groups and could count on not having to engage more than one Mustang or Lightning group - worst case two - until summer of 1944.
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Old 8th February 2012, 05:02
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

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Originally Posted by drgondog View Post

Net - the LW could direct 200-250 s/e fighters to any 100 square mile area they chose to be able to find undefended bomb groups, or lightly defended groups and could count on not having to engage more than one Mustang or Lightning group - worst case two - until summer of 1944.
Drgondog, at what point in the air war between the US 8th FC and Luftwaffe is it safe to conclude that the 8th FC gained numerical superiority against the LW fighters units tasked with intercepting the former?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 8th February 2012, 10:59
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

Multiple losses from any single unit always suggest to me the possibility that they were bounced. In the case of a surprise attack, the relative strengths of each side would be less important and the best controllers in the world can't guarantee that one of their formations won't find itself in a disadvantageous position at some point in an action.
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Old 8th February 2012, 16:04
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

Bill aka drgongog always say how usaaf were always out numbered by the luftwaffe fighters, simply not so. even is the winter/spring of 1944. Just reading JG 11 diary tells me LW always behind the 8 ball vs usaaf heavies & escorts. Other West front JG units same deal.

Kind regards.
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Old 8th February 2012, 16:11
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

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Originally Posted by Oberst View Post
Bill aka drgongog always say how usaaf were always out numbered by the luftwaffe fighters, simply not so.
Possibly not but combat reports and veterans' accounts from all sides commonly reflect the perception of being outnumbered.
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Old 9th February 2012, 16:30
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

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Originally Posted by Oberst View Post
Bill aka drgongog always say how usaaf were always out numbered by the luftwaffe fighters, simply not so. even is the winter/spring of 1944. Just reading JG 11 diary tells me LW always behind the 8 ball vs usaaf heavies & escorts. Other West front JG units same deal.

Kind regards.
If you have documentation that can prove otherwise, I would love to see it Oberst.
At the end of the day is reliable documentation the only kind of evidence that can prove which party is close to reality.
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Old 9th February 2012, 19:38
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

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Originally Posted by Erick88 View Post
If you have documentation that can prove otherwise, I would love to see it Oberst.
At the end of the day is reliable documentation the only kind of evidence that can prove which party is close to reality.
Why is when it comes to Luftwaffe, everybody wants proof, whereas when it comes to P-51 & USAAF, no proof required. It boggles my mind.

Anyways, read 'JG 11' by Marek J. Murawski, lots of answers in their. Lots of other books on this subject too.
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Old 9th February 2012, 20:30
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Re: Which Units clashed with US. 4th FG in April 8. 1944?

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Originally Posted by Erick88 View Post
Drgondog, at what point in the air war between the US 8th FC and Luftwaffe is it safe to conclude that the 8th FC gained numerical superiority against the LW fighters units tasked with intercepting the former?
Thanks in advance.
That is a tricky question.

If the LW was tasked to intercept 8th AF over Lowlands and France - then the LuftFlotte 3 was inferior numerically in Sept/Oct 1943 as all of 8th FC was capable of going to German border. In October 1943 the 4th, 56th, 78th, 352nd and 355th were operational - all P-47C/D's.

If the LuftFlotte Reich was the primary axis of dayfighter strength over Germany - and they delayed engaging until the P-47s were turning back from Dummer Lake to Frankfurt, then 8th FC reached 10-11 Long Range escort operational Groups by Ovtober 1944 - enabling approximately 500-550 long range escorts to be dispatched to deep targets.

If the question is Local superiority in which the LW could concentrate 200-250 s/e fighters on one or two bomb wings (like November 26 - Misburg) then only 40-100 USAAF fighers would be in position to defend, then I would say December/January marked the end of consistent ability to achieve local superiority anywhere in Germany.

After Bodenplatte and approximately mid January, 1945 the LW moved many squadrons to a line from Steinhuder Lake to Schweinfurt/Lechfeld.
That would be the point in time when nearly every mission, with the help of target area recon by the three Scout forces enabled concentrations of 3 or more long range fighter groups to bear anywhere along the bomber stream quickly. It is in this timeframe that the LW lost even local superiority.

The dominant factor in the crucial losses to USAAF in December 1943 through May 1944 (IMO) was the stupid directive from Goering to Not fight the US Escorts - go strictly for the bombers. The US fighter pilot became very accustomed to being the Aggressor which encouraged even smal formations of US fighters to attack - no matter the odds. The very tough and talented LW was by and large emasculated by that directive... then as losses skyrocketed in January through May - the replacement training was inadequate and the LW could not convert many bomber pilots to fighters because of Hitler.

Game of attrition over by April/May, 1944.
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