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  #11  
Old 22nd March 2005, 21:16
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Andreas
The unit I mentioned is JG26 in April 1942, so no way related to Tunisia. I have enough intriguing reports concerning the former, so I do not trust GQ6 returns anymore.
  #12  
Old 22nd March 2005, 21:31
Jim P. Jim P. is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Just to add to the puzzle, do any of you guys have Arthy & Jessen's 'Fw 190 in North Africa'? In their loss list there are numerous incidents that the authors list that are not in the GQ6 reports. They also list a number of machines found abandoned on various airfields - some listed in GQ6, some not.

Prien, in the later volumes of his JG 77 volumes, had a similar abandoned 109 list. Again some could be tied to a specific GQ6 report, but many couldn't.
  #13  
Old 22nd March 2005, 21:53
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Sure, Jim. I've found quite a few losses which aren't in the Genqu listings. Anyway, I see no reason to completely dismiss the Luftwaffe loss reports (Genqu or Summarische Verlustmeldungen). By comparing Genqu with first-hand material such as unit war diaries and logbooks, I get the impression that an absolute majority of the Luftwaffe losses are listed in the Genqu material.


One question: Are there any loss reports by any armed forces which are absolutely complete, 100% reliable, and completely untouched by human error?

Hasn't this thread strayed a bit from the original topic? Wouldn't the header to this thread rather be "General talk about just one example of a classical problem confronting historians in general"? ;-)
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  #14  
Old 23rd March 2005, 15:59
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christer Bergström
Sure, Jim. I've found quite a few losses which aren't in the Genqu listings. Anyway, I see no reason to completely dismiss the Luftwaffe loss reports (Genqu or Summarische Verlustmeldungen). By comparing Genqu with first-hand material such as unit war diaries and logbooks, I get the impression that an absolute majority of the Luftwaffe losses are listed in the Genqu material.
Do you suggest that you have seen a representative sample of KTBs and FBs?

Quote:
One question: Are there any loss reports by any armed forces which are absolutely complete, 100% reliable, and completely untouched by human error?
Bouncing back the question - are there any German loss reports?

Quote:
Hasn't this thread strayed a bit from the original topic? Wouldn't the header to this thread rather be "General talk about just one example of a classical problem confronting historians in general"? ;-)
No, this thread is still about losses in Tunisia and their reliability.
  #15  
Old 23rd March 2005, 23:58
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Hi,

Just a quick post regarding the 'extra' losses in the FW 190 in North Africa book by Morten and myself. The sources for those are either ULTRA or German records (especially the BA-MA records of the Führer der Luftwaffe Tunis). In my opinion, the Gen.Qu. lists are only about 75% complete for the FW 190 units in Tunisia and the Mediterranean. In particular, the Gen.Qu. list misses a lot of aircraft damaged or destroyed in bombing raids. This will be more evident in the next book by Morten and I.

PS - Thanks to Jim for providing Morten and I with many of the Gen.Qu. losses for Tunisia.

Cheers,
Andrew A.
  #16  
Old 24th March 2005, 14:52
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

I've found quite a few losses which aren't in the Genqu listings. Anyway, I see no reason to completely dismiss the Luftwaffe loss reports (Genqu or Summarische Verlustmeldungen). By comparing Genqu with first-hand material such as unit war diaries and logbooks, I get the impression that an absolute majority of the Luftwaffe losses are listed in the Genqu material.



Quote:
Do you suggest that you have seen a representative sample of KTBs and FBs?




I don’t know what your criteria for “a representative sample of KTBs and FBs” is, and neither do I know why you ask that question. I have a number of Luftwaffe unit KTBs (some are copies from Bundesarchiv and some from various private archives) and FBs. By comparing those with Luftwaffe loss reports (Genqu or Summarische Verlustmeldungen) I have found some losses which are mentioned in the former sources but not in the latter sources, but the absolute majority of the losses mentioned in KTBs or FBs are also listed in Genqu or Summarische Verlustmeldungen. Altogether, the KTBs and FBs which I have, have a total a sum of a couple of thousand Luftwaffe aircraft losses, maybe 10 % of all Luftwaffe losses, or maybe less than 10 %. Is that a statistically reliable sample, according to the rules for sample polls etc? I don’t know, since I am no educated statistician. Maybe someone here knows such stuff better than the rest of us?



Quote:
are there any German loss reports?




I don’t know what your criteria for “German loss reports” is. The answer could be yes or it could be no, depending on which criteria you use.
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  #17  
Old 24th March 2005, 15:20
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christer Bergström
By comparing Genqu with first-hand material such as unit war diaries and logbooks, I get the impression that an absolute majority of the Luftwaffe losses are listed in the Genqu material.
I don’t know what your criteria for “a representative sample of KTBs and FBs” is, and neither do I know why you ask that question. I have a number of Luftwaffe unit KTBs (some are copies from Bundesarchiv and some from various private archives) and FBs.
How many of those KTBs or FBs reffer to the ETO or MTO?

Quote:
I don’t know what your criteria for “German loss reports” is. The answer could be yes or it could be no, depending on which criteria you use.
Never heard there is any criteria for loss report. Everyone knows what is loss report but you. Anyway, have a look at any MACR to know what I mean.
  #18  
Old 25th March 2005, 00:28
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Some notes on the Tunisian air war, based on Shores’s, Ring’s & Hess’s “Fighters over Tunisia”.



I am re-reading “Fighters over Tunisia” with great interest. To get a full picture of the air war of course requires a large amount of knowledge, so that one knows how to assess the caleidoscopic combat reports and place them into a context where conclusions can be drawn. The main benefit of “Fighters over Tunisia” is that it refers to an ocean of various combat reports. However, one thing I miss in the book is an overall assessment of various combats. It is easy to “drown” in the jungle of various unit reports. I find the final chapter, “Conclusions” - encompassing almost 50 pages, including many testimonies by the men who experienced that air war - as the most interesting part of that book. There one finds, among many accounts, this statement by the Polish fighter pilot Ludwig Martel (145 Sqn):



“We were always superior in numbers.” (p. 412)



We have seen how Luftwaffe units were drawn into one combat after another with numerically superior Allied fighter formations during one and the same combat flight over Normandy in 1944. See the article ”The Effect of Allied Numerical Air Superiority Over Normandy in 1944” here: http://www.bergstrombooks.elknet.pl/



The situation was similar for the Luftwaffe fighters in Tunisia (although the Allies didn’t enjoy the same massive numerical superiority in Tunisia as at Normandy 18 months later).



The description in “Fighters over Tunisia” of the air battle in the Mareth Line - Gabes area in shortly after midday on 22 March 1943 is interesting, because it illustrates the Allied numerical superiority in the air over Tunisia:



At 1250 hrs, a total of 24 Spitfires of 145 and 601 squadrons took off in two formations. 12 of these Spitfires, from 145 Sqn, reportedly met seven Bf 109s in the Mareth area. Then the other formation of 12 Spitfires also reported an engagement with seven Bf 109s in the same area. At 1315 hrs, 36 Kittyhawks from 112 and 250 squadrons took off and were attacked by six Bf 109s (whereby one Kittyhawk of 250 Sqn was shot down by Major Müncheberg of Stab/JG 77). Six more Spitfires of 145 Sqn were scrambled soon after this combat, and north of Mareth these Spitfire pilots “saw Spitfires, Kittyhawks and Bf 109s in combat”. An interesting note! Obviously, 12 or all 24 Spitfires and possibly all 36 Kittyhawks were involved in combat with the same Bf 109 formation. Since none of the various Allied formations reported to have encountered more than six or seven Bf 109s, it seems logical to assume that all these Spitfires and Kittyhawks - maybe a total of 66 Spitfires and Kittyhawks - were engaging those same six or seven Bf 109s. (The six additional 145 Sqn Spitfires reported that they dived into the combat, whereby S/L Wade claimed one Bf 109 shot down.) Then, at 1325, 13 Hurricanes of No. 6 Sqn. took off and was engaged by Bf 109s which shot down one Hurricane.



This is a perfect illustration of Ludwig Martel’s statement: “We were always superior in numbers.”



The result of this series of engagements was one Kittyhawk shot down for no German losses.



The massacre on Ju 52s over Tunisia on 5 April 1943 is another result of the US tactic of operating in large, concentrated numbers:



The formation of Ju 52s was escorted by only two Bf 109s (II./JG 27) and three Bf 110s (III./ZG 26). These were attacked by 46 P-38s, divided into two formations (due to the US report). The Germans scrambled whatever they could to aid the hard pressed formation of transport planes, but the whole reinforcement amounted to nothing more than eight Bf 109s from II./JG 53. The German fighter pilots shot down six P-38s, but of course were so outnumbered that they were unable to cover the Ju 52s against the masses of Lightnings. No less than 14 Ju 52s were shot down.



Later that same day, shortly after 1100 hrs on 5 April 1943, 2./JG 53 reported a combat with 24 Spitfires, whereby one Bf 109 was shot down. This matches with the Allied report referred to in “Fighters over Tunisia”, according to which 46 Spitfires of Nos. 72, 93, 111 and 243 “flew an offensive sweep over Tunis led by Wg.Cdr. Gilroy”. As a result of the Spitfire sweep led by Gilroy, the British claimed one Bf 109 shot down while they sustained the following own air combat losses: “F/Sgt. Nickless being shot down in flames, bailing out at 1,000 feet. Sgt. Faulkner’s aircraft was also damaged, as was that of PO Connors, who force-landed south of Souk el Khemis on return. Sgt. Allen’s aircraft was badly shot-up, one wingtip being shot off and a hole blown in the other wing.”



Regarding the Italian air force’s contribution to the air war over Tunisia, Wg.Cdr. D. I. Benham, who flew with No. 242 Sqn., is quoted saying this about his Tunisian air war experience:



“I only saw Italian fighters on about six occasions.” (“Fighters over Tunisia”, p. 395.)



On pages 436 - 437, Shores, Ring & Hess list the claims and air combat losses for the Luftwaffe fighter units in Tunisia during the period November 1942 - May 1943. II./JG 2, II./JG 27, JG 53 and JG 77 recorded a total of 907 victories against 157 own aircraft shot down in air combat. I wonder if Playfair gives any total sum for Allied aircraft combat losses in Tunisia for the same period? Due to figures published by the British during the war, the Allies sustained a total of 626 aircraft shot down (372 fighters and 254 bombers) over Tunisia during the period 1 January 1943 - 8 May 1943, but this source has to be taken with a grain of salt.
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  #19  
Old 25th March 2005, 01:45
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

Christer
I would appreciate if you can keep on topic and to reply the questions addressed to you. To remind you, the topic is about actual losses of Axis and especially Luftwaffe in Tunisia. If you want to discuss Skalski's Circus, you can do so but in a separate thread. I have the ORB handy, so can immediatelly comment this but only after my return back home.
  #20  
Old 25th March 2005, 02:38
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Tunisian losses

More from ”Fighters over Tunisia” - on pages 438 - 440 there are lists of the most successful fighter aces during the Tunisia air war and their scores during the air war over Tunisia Nov 1942 - May 1943.

Due to this source, these were the top aces on both sides during the Tunisian campaign, and their respective aerial victory scores during the air war over Tunisia Nov 1942 - May 1943:

Axis:

Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert (Luftwaffe), 51
Kurt Bühlingen (Luftwaffe), 40
Heinz Bär (Luftwaffe), 39 at least (plus 22 in Libya in November/December 1942)
Erich Rudorffer (Luftwaffe), 27
Franz Schiess (Luftwaffe), 23
Wolfgang Tonne (Luftwaffe), 21
Anton Hafner (Luftwaffe), 20

Allies:

Neville Duke (British), 14
John J. Lynch (US), 11
Levi R. Chase (US), 10
John S. Taylor (British), 10
John K. Buchanan (British), 9,67


Anyone who now wishes to buy the excellent book “Fighters over Tunisia” only has to pay $400 to get a used copy. That’s true, have a look here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/offer-listing/0854352104/ref=dp_primary-product-display_1//104-3524001-4463101?condition=all

No, I am not the seller, although I wish I were
Edited to compress space
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Last edited by Christer Bergström; 25th March 2005 at 03:08.
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