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Old 25th August 2005, 08:05
NickM NickM is offline
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A Question RE: 8th AF raid of April 29,1944

Guys:

The LW reaction to the 8th AF raid on Berlin on 29th April, 1944 has been characterized as the best coordinated defensive reaction of the War; the end result was the loss of 63 heavies & 13 escorts for the total loss of 21 LW fighters--a much better exchange rate than was usually experienced at that point in the war; I was curious as to why the LW did so well in this case; what were the factors in play: was it weather, different tactics by the LW, poor coordination by the 8th AF or was it just blind luck?

Thanks, ahead of time;

NickM
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Old 25th August 2005, 09:05
Peter Spoden Peter Spoden is offline
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Re: A Question RE: 8th AF raid of April 29,1944

Hello Nick,

Your mentioned raid on Berlin reminds me to one of the last big night attacks of RAF towards Würzburg and Nürnberg at 16/17. March 1945. I can not say so much about the mentality of our dayfighters but I remember very well our feelings as nightfighters. According NJG Tagebuch Kock the NJG 6 went up with 23 Me 110 and Ju 88 and claimed 20 successes and 2 own losses. Our thoughts are best described in the book by the former RAF-Navigator Peter Hinchliffe 'The Other Battle' : "The nightfighters saw the Pathfinders' marker going down on their cities, and they saw their cities burning, erupting, seething beneath them. They knew that their folk were dying down there, often in indescribable agony. They had been through air raids themselves, and many of them had lost members of their family. They knew that every bomber that they shot down was one less that could drop its explosives and its incendiaries on their country and on their people, and such knowledge lent strength to their resolve."

Dick Nick, it was not blind luck.

best regards Peter
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Old 25th August 2005, 09:12
Peter Spoden Peter Spoden is offline
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Re: A Question RE: 8th AF raid of April 29,1944

of course not dick Nick but dear Nick-sorry- Peter
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Old 25th August 2005, 11:00
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SES SES is offline
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Re: A Question RE: 8th AF raid of April 29,1944

Hi,
May I point to some facts which could be contributing factors. The Luftwaffe Fighter Command structure was reorganized 15 SEP 1943, please see: http://www.gyges.dk/Luftwaffe%20orga...20post%205.pdf

The JK would issue a consolidated directive asigning missions to the JDs and leave the detaied direction of the battle to the JD. Earlier the individual JD - so it seems - had to fight their own battle with the forces assigned. With the introduction of the JK, fighters from adjacent JD were assigned under tactical control of the JD in who's area the penetration was occuring. Centralized control, de-centralized execution one of the hallmarks of air power employment.
In the spring of 1944 the Auge-Ohr and Fumkmess Flugmelde Dienst were combined. Up till this time day-fighter employment had been based mainly on visual and aural observations supplemented by a very limited number of radarstations (sic). Now the entire network of radarstations hitherto only used at night was involved in the production of the recognized air picture (Luftkage) please see: http://www.gyges.dk/JD%20control.htm . At this point in time the Luftwaffe Air Defence system had evolved to a state similar to that found in NATO to-day. The only difference is that in those days track reporting was manual, to-day it is computerbased.
The very successful defensive battles (day and night, the RAF lost 1000 bombers during the Battle of Berlin in the winter of 43-44) fought by the Luftwaffe up to D-Day can in my opinion be credited to the above mentioned organizational changes.
After D-Day allied ground forces overran a vital part of the Command, Control and Reporting system. The early warning time bacame shorter and shorter and with the loss of territory and hence airspace the allied time spent in defended airspace became shorter and shorter.
For some odd reason the Luftwaffe seldom if ever intercepted daylight bomber missions outside own airspace (except over the North Sea) albeit they had the ability to control fighters up to 150 miles into allied airspace. The long range radars could track targets at a distance of up to 180 miles and the Y-Linien system could track and communicate with fighters up to 150 miles away.
bregds
SES
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