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Allied and Soviet Air Forces Please use this forum to discuss the Air Forces of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

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  #31  
Old 24th February 2005, 23:13
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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“I really don't know if the Western Allies ground forces were "far less dangerous" than the Red Army”
Since the Germans deployed a force of 2.1 million troops against the Red Army in the East, while they deployed less than half that number against the Western Allies in France in August 1944, I think we can conclude that they regarded the Red Army as a more powerful enemy.

In pure numbers (for those who like statistics), the Red Army also proved to be capable of dealing the Wehrmacht larger losses than the Western Allies were. Between 1 July 1944 and 31 December 1944, the Wehrmacht sustained an average monthly loss of 20,611 killed on the Eastern Front and 8,294 killed on the Western Front. (Kriegstagebuch OKW, vol. VIII, p. 1509.)

Now maybe you will say that that may be so, but that is mainly due to the Red Army’s immense numerical superiority against its German counterpart - 6.7 million men against 2.1 million German troops. . . So you mean that the reason why the Germans sustained higher losses due to the Red Army than due to the Western Allies was that the Red Army enjoyed a greater numerical superiority? Now where have I heard that before, in a slightly different context?

Graham, I am sorry if I hurt your feelings as an Englishman. It never was my intention to downplay the effect of the Western Allies. Maybe you missed what I wrote about general accuracy in US fighter claims (even though I admit that I pointed out quite some high RAF overclaims), and maybe you failed to notice that I agree (of course) that the German losses in the air were higher due to the Western Allies than due to the Soviets? If you think that my main explanation of the latter - namely the huge Western Allied numerical superiority in the air - is to downplay the effect of the Western Allies, then surely my similar explanation of the fact that the German losses on the ground were higher due to the Soviets than due to the Western Allies means that I downplay the Soviets.

All best,

Christer Bergström

http://www.graf-grislawski.elknet.pl/index.htm

http://www.bergstrombooks.elknet.pl/bc-rs/

http://www.bergstrombooks.elknet.pl/...-ace/index.htm
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  #32  
Old 25th February 2005, 01:58
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Juha Juha is offline
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Dear Christer
You must take to account that the front line was much shorter in France than that of Eastern Front, how about figure of men per front km. And there were also surprisingly large number of troops in Italy, in Balkan, in Norway (in Southern and Central parts). I'm not going to check this but IIRC if one takes account those listed as MIA in that loss report the losses became more even even if Eastern Front losses were still clearly greater, and again, the losses in Western Europe happened at shorter frontline.

".. . So you mean that the reason why the Germans sustained higher losses due to the Red Army than due to the Western Allies was that the Red Army enjoyed a greater numerical superiority?..."

In fact I'm used to use more sophisticated arguments when it come to the effectiveness of army units, but this isn't a tank warfare forum.

All the Best
Juha
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  #33  
Old 25th February 2005, 04:10
JoeB JoeB is offline
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Originally Posted by Juha
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And Finns found that it was possible to fight against very great odds, at least against VVS, and maintain some sort of freedom of action and even use Blemheims for tactical bombing ops in summer 44 during a major Soviet offensive (Strategic blow) without a single bomber loss to fighters. That is one reason why I doubt You claim that VVS was the best AF in the world in 45.
Also saying it was the best in 1945, via comparisons through the medium of LW opposition (how was it different West v. East) seems inherently imprecise, though interesting to debate. "Allied" and Soviet AF's did meet in combat directly not so many years after 1945...

Joe
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  #34  
Old 25th February 2005, 05:00
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christer Bergström
I do think that in general, the victories attained by the German fighter pilots in the East in 1941 actually were comparatively “easy” due to the low quality of Soviet pilot training standards

Forgive me for entering this discussion late, but what exactly were the standards for Soviet pilot training?

Recently I saw a documentary about the Battle of Britain where former RAF Spitfire pilots confirmed that it was absolutely routine for a new pilot to have just (9) hours in a fighter before they were sent into combat. Basically, they knew how to take off and land -- and not much else. The rest was on-the-job training for those who managed to survive the first mission. Many did not.

Bob Doe of No. 234 Squadron had this to say about target practice:

"We were given 20 rounds per gun each and told to go fire them into the North Sea -- but you couldn't really miss the North Sea. And, uh, that was the only gunnery we did"
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  #35  
Old 25th February 2005, 08:05
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Hello JoeB
My sentence needs a couple checks. To be more precis I meant that at the Carelia Istmus front, where the main blow of the Soviet "Strategic Blow" in summer 44 hit, and where the Finns were able to use their Bf 109 Gs as escort fighter the escorted bombers (Blenheims, Ju 88As, Do-17Zs, DB-3s and-3Fs) didn't suffer losses to Soviet fighters. Up north at Syväri (Svir) front, where Finns were compelled to use their Curtiss 75 Hawks (P-36s) as their escort fighters, they had more problems in reining La-5s and later Yaks and I remember that at least one Ju 88A was lost to a La-5.

Juha
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  #36  
Old 25th February 2005, 11:42
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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I see the discussion goes out of control and I am afraid we will be discussing Spanish Armada by the next week.

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Even in August 1944, when the Western Allies had opened the second front in the West, there were 2.1 million German troops deployed in the East while 1 million opposed Western Allied operations in France. Between 1 July 1944 and 31 December 1944, the Wehrmacht sustained an average monthly loss of 20,611 killed on the Eastern Front and 8,294 killed on the Western Front. (Kriegstagebuch OKW, vol. VIII, p. 1509.)
Does the number include Germans killed in anti-partisan operations and major battles like Warsaw Uprising? Is Poland considered Eastern or Western Ally?
What is influence of those numbers on condition of any air force?

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At the same time, I think it is an irrefutable fact that due to exactly the same factors, the victories attained by the Western Allied fighter pilots in the in 1944 also were comparatively “easy” due to the low quality of German pilot training standards. In 1944, German rookies who barely knew how to fly were shot down to the hundreds when they were caught in a position of altitude and speed inferiority by numerically superior Western Allied fighter pilots. Those Western Allied pilots were up to far greater difficulties when they were unfortunate to encounter such super veterans as Theodor Weissenberger, Emil Lang or Alfred Grislawski - but even those super veterans had to face a huge numerical superiority, and they were hampered through the disastrously low quality of the rookies who were assigned as their wingmen and Rottenflieger.
Have you ever seen any document that showed what was the experience of such a 'rookie'? German problem was definetelly not how to fly but in preparing to a combat. A slightly different thing that applies to Eastern Front as well.
Concerning those 'super veterans' as you call them, please give samples how those and other aces like Huppertz, Simsch, Weber, Wurmheller or Zweigart were outnumbered in their last combats.

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Forgive me for entering this discussion late, but what exactly were the standards for Soviet pilot training?
Just before Barbarossa 15 hrs on a combat type. As mentioned in this thread, advanced flying was introduced in late 1942.

Quote:
Recently I saw a documentary about the Battle of Britain where former RAF Spitfire pilots confirmed that it was absolutely routine for a new pilot to have just (9) hours in a fighter before they were sent into combat. Basically, they knew how to take off and land -- and not much else. The rest was on-the-job training for those who managed to survive the first mission. Many did not.
I have a copy of a log book at hand. Pilot in question finished OTU at the end of July and logged about 30 hrs on Hurricanes. I will ask a friend who finished his training at the heat of battle but did not seen operational flying, what standards were then. Anyway, as long as I cannot check any such log book, I do not believe those 9 hrs. In any way RAF suffered heavy losses up to the Battle, so it cannot be considered a normal situation.
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  #37  
Old 25th February 2005, 13:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Just before Barbarossa 15 hrs on a combat type. As mentioned in this thread, advanced flying was introduced in late 1942.
We must at least consider that a number of Soviet pilots had the benefit of real combat experience, either by operational flying in Spain, China, Mongolia or against Finland, or by the lessons learned in these wars. The Soviet Air Force might be included in the list of combat wise forces in terms of real up to date combat experience, unlike most of the western allies.

15 hrs on a combat type

Did the Soviets continue fighter pilot training in operational units, if so, the actual time doesn't mean as much as it does on first glance, as long as they (under normal circumstances) were able to continue to gather experience before being thrown into the fray.

Just some thoughts, no supporting data.
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  #38  
Old 25th February 2005, 17:53
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Quote:
Recently I saw a documentary about the Battle of Britain where former RAF Spitfire pilots confirmed that it was absolutely routine for a new pilot to have just (9) hours in a fighter before they were sent into combat. Basically, they knew how to take off and land -- and not much else. The rest was on-the-job training for those who managed to survive the first mission. Many did not.
I have a copy of a log book at hand. Pilot in question finished OTU at the end of July and logged about 30 hrs on Hurricanes. I will ask a friend who finished his training at the heat of battle but did not seen operational flying, what standards were then. Anyway, as long as I cannot check any such log book, I do not believe those 9 hrs.
One log book does not prove your point.

No one said that all RAF pilots had just 9 hours of training time in fighters, but many did because that was, at one time, the length of the Spitfire training program after converting from trainers. Some of the prewar-trained RAF fighter pilots had hundreds of hours logged before they flew combat missions.
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  #39  
Old 25th February 2005, 18:09
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Don Caldwell Don Caldwell is offline
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Is anyone ready for some data?

I'm afraid that this thread is too long and full of prejudiced posters shouting past each other for me to even read it in full. Juha is one of the few who have referred to published data (rather than opinions), but Groehler's table is not readily available from its original DDR source. I've taken his data, added some supplemental material and explanations, and posted it on http://jg26.vze.com. Scroll down the home page and click on the "Luftwaffe Aircraft Losses by Theatre" icon (I don't know why the URLs for the sub-pages don't show up.) This table has nothing whatsoever to do with the performance of the La-7 or Yak-3 (I've given up seeing these data on this thread), but shows the operational strengths and losses of the Luftwaffe on its various fronts in greater detail than found elsewhere, and many useful conclusions can be drawn from it. For example, it goes a long way to show why the few Jagdwaffe pilots who remained on the Ostfront were so "good" compared to their comrades in the RLV -- they survived long enuf to develop their skills!


Don
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  #40  
Old 25th February 2005, 18:39
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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IMHO here is one weak point in the Caldwell table, that is the late starting date which is likely to color the picture in favor of the West.

In terms of fighter pilots the real question would be if there was a significant difference for the rookie who started in the East or the West at that late date. What were his statistical chances to survive his first 5 to 10 combat sorties respectively for the East and for the West?

These statistics would proof a point.

Why does the Caldwell table start so late? It would probably be easier to collect data from the first two thirds of the war?

There are two issues being mixed.

1. Respective quality of Western Allies and Soviets
2. The role of quantity in determining the outcome

Some (in this thread) argue that although late war western pilots might on average have been inferior to those on the Soviet side, their numeric superiority made up for that. Although I don't recall where, I've read such remarks from more than one Jagdwaffe pilot.
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