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  #1  
Old 16th January 2022, 17:26
Courtois Laurent Courtois Laurent is offline
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Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Hello everyone,

I am currently working on an atlas of Normandy-Niemen with one to three monthly maps and more than a thousand toponyms.
The maps show the evolution of the front line, the positions of the German and Soviet units, the aerial victories of the French pilots and the location of the crashes of the French pilots.

Each toponym cited in a French or Russian report is localized and reported in a glossary, with its German, Russian and French name, its current name and its GPS coordinates.

This work is the basis for carrying out all historical studies on Normandy-Niemen. It should be noted that some "specialist" of the subject always spells Stallupönen: Chtalloupienen....

To locate the French victories on the maps, I had to go back to the Russian archives. Indeed, it was the Russians who homologated the French victories from the reports transmitted by the political commissars of the regiment.

This is where the problems start. For example for the famous month of October 1944, one victory out of 5 underwent a modification between 1944 and 1946.

In French we use the expression "Mic-Mac" (Secret and complicated arrangements). The overall number of victories remains the number granted by the Soviets, but victories are grouped into "shared victories" to create new individual victories. Victories pass from one pilot to another, from one day to another.

For example the 3 victories canceled on October 17, 1944 at Captain Cuffaut are not lost for everyone, they are distributed to the squadron leaders.

Another example, on October 20, Midshipman Penverne shot down an FW 190 which was confirmed the next day. The official list of NN victories gives him an Me-109 the next day...
So for Roger Penverne's third victory, the official documents do not give the right day, nor the right type of plane, nor the right place.

Moreover, it is the locations of the victories that are the most altered. To draw up the maps, I took the reports from the troops on the ground, so I have a daily representation of the front line.
This allows problematic locations to be updated. For example ; still on October 17, the French pilots claim 5 Hs 129, beyond the blatant overclaiming (the 13/SG9 loses only 2 planes during the month), two of them would have been shot down south of Gumbinnen. But the report of the 303 IAD indicates that the pursuit was beyond the front line because of too much flak. the front line was that day east of Stallupönen, 30 km from Gumbinnen...

In a way, the locations provided by the Russian archives are more in line with the reality on the ground than the official French ones.

If members are interested, I can provide day-to-day details and we can ask our "Luftwaffe" colleagues if the corrections allow new cross-checks with the German archives.

Laurent COURTOIS
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  #2  
Old 17th January 2022, 00:02
richdlc richdlc is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Laurent, I have a detailed translation of the Soviet combat report from Oct '44 regarding the Hs 129s that a Russian colleague translated for me on behalf of Martin Pegg. I can send you it if you like?
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  #3  
Old 17th January 2022, 08:09
Courtois Laurent Courtois Laurent is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Quote:
Originally Posted by richdlc View Post
Laurent, I have a detailed translation of the Soviet combat report from Oct '44 regarding the Hs 129s that a Russian colleague translated for me on behalf of Martin Pegg. I can send you it if you like?
Thanks Richard for your answer, , I have already translated the reports of the 1st VA, the 303rd IAD and the 1st OIAP "Normandy". If you have other more detailed sources, thank you in advance.

Above the table for October 18, 1944







https://zupimages.net/viewer.php?id=22/03/2ovd.png

the black squares indicate victories "created" by the French. The red boxes indicate victories approved by the Soviets, but canceled (or aggregated to another) by the French to be able to recreate another victory for the benefit of another pilot.
The location and that given by the French to validate their victories (Tsamo sources, daily report of the 303 IAD).

CJE = refer to a work by the late Christian-Jacques EHRENGARDT.
LC 22 = refer to my own work, on archives and give the schedules of the missions according to the logbook of the starter on the runway.

For example the French sources give as time for the victory of Risso against an HS-129 = 11h25.
According to the 303 IAD flight log, Risso was not flying at this time but between 11:55 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
from 11:25 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., a double patrol led by Albert flew without encountering any enemy.

So the Risso-Laurent patrol, given the real time and the location corresponding to the front line, certainly attacked the same group of Hs-129s that Albert's group would later attack.

Laurent COURTOIS

Last edited by Courtois Laurent; 17th January 2022 at 09:28.
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Old 17th January 2022, 20:10
richdlc richdlc is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Laurent, please PM me your email address and I will send it. I will also ask Martin Pegg if he would like to correspond with you as I am sure he'd be interested in your research
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Old 17th January 2022, 20:35
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

LAURENT, we have talked before.

It is very NOBLE and an immense Historical effort of your part to clarify and summarize all Normandie-Niemen's DATA in a new work. Congratulations and keep going!

You certainly do have the full-support of most of us. I wish you all the luck and success you do deserve in Honoring and re-writing their full story.

PLEASE do advise us when the full manuscript will be available for purchase, in French or English language.

Adriano
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  #6  
Old 17th January 2022, 21:57
ZhekaB ZhekaB is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Hello, Laurent!

I am interested in the subject of the air operation in East Prussia and have already gathered some information. I also paid attention to the differences in the list of victories of the French pilots in the French and Soviet sources. As far as I understand it can be explained as follows. In the marching log and French sources the data of victories are primary and more truthful. In the Soviet reports the information about victories basically repeats them except for one moment: shared victories were attributed to one person (in the Soviet practice by this time they moved away from shared victories). Additionally, wanting to award Soviet decorations to certain French pilots, group victories could be attributed to them and then specified in the award submissions. I'm not sure if this was the rule. However, in my opinion, the French victory records are a more primary source. But, perhaps the distribution of victories in them may also have been oriented to awards.
Regarding the Hs.129 battle on 18.10 there is no contradiction there - French and Soviet pilots did chase German strike planes dozens of kilometers behind the front line and shot them down west of Gumbinnen as well.
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Old 19th January 2022, 13:01
Courtois Laurent Courtois Laurent is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZhekaB View Post
Hello, Laurent!

I am interested in the subject of the air operation in East Prussia and have already gathered some information. I also paid attention to the differences in the list of victories of the French pilots in the French and Soviet sources. As far as I understand it can be explained as follows. In the marching log and French sources the data of victories are primary and more truthful. In the Soviet reports the information about victories basically repeats them except for one moment: shared victories were attributed to one person (in the Soviet practice by this time they moved away from shared victories). Additionally, wanting to award Soviet decorations to certain French pilots, group victories could be attributed to them and then specified in the award submissions. I'm not sure if this was the rule. However, in my opinion, the French victory records are a more primary source. But, perhaps the distribution of victories in them may also have been oriented to awards.
Regarding the Hs.129 battle on 18.10 there is no contradiction there - French and Soviet pilots did chase German strike planes dozens of kilometers behind the front line and shot them down west of Gumbinnen as well.
Hello ZeckaB,

I agree with you, on the fact that the Russians did not recognize shared victories. Thus, in the case of an air victories in collaboration the French had to choose the name of the pilot to transmit in Russian in such a way as to optimize the attribution of the Soviet medals.
But this does not interfere with the number of planes shot down and the location of the fighting.

Regarding the sources, the Soviet archives are primary sources. These are the information transmitted by the French to the Soviets to have their victories approved.

The JM publish in 1946, is a secondary source because it has to edit to make the story epic. Regarding the list of official victories, it is later than the Soviet document and therefore likely to have been modified and therefore to be a secondary source.

In general, as in quantum physics, I admit all possibilities, unless something proves the contrary.


Concerning the day of October 18, 1944, only the 1st OIAP "Normandy" of the 303 IAD, crossed Hs-129.


The 240th IAD, only crosses Fw190 and Me 109 and shoots down 1 plane (for 200 flights), and shoots down FW 190 which crashes 15 km SW of Pillkallen / Schlossberg
129 IAD, only reports encountering FW-190s and Me-109s. Of which 3 FW 10 and 1 me 109 are shot down.
130 IAD, I did not find the report, but that of the 1 VA, does not give info on Hs-129, reported by this division.

But we can read in the report of the 303 IAD:

"Дальнейее расследование самолетов противника было прекращено, т.к. Последние вышли на свой территорию и з.а. Открыла Сильный отсечных огонь."

"further chase of enemy aircraft was stopped, because the latter entered their territory and Z.A. opened a strong barrage fire".

Which implies that the pursuit did not go as far as the longitude of Gumbinnen. Afterwards, it is possible that the French confused Gumbinnen and Stalluponen, which would be geographically more viable.

In any case, thank you very much for your answer, it is in the discussion that knowledge progresses.

Laurent COURTOIS
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  #8  
Old 20th January 2022, 16:56
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

I am not a specialist but most Soviet aces score are written as N+X, with N as the number of individual victories and X the number of shared victories. So VVS did in my opinion recognize shared victories, but not the same way as the French (for which a victory was a victory, shared or individual did not matter).

But maybe this was not the case in 1944.

As for location, I have seen Allied claims over N France being more than 100 km away from real place, so errors over the confuse battlefield of East Prussia can clearly be possible. I would rather believe ground units reports for locations.... but an air battle started at one point could end tens of km away.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 11:58
Courtois Laurent Courtois Laurent is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Hello everyone,

Here is a graph that illustrates Luftwaffe activity observed by Soviet troops.
It is noted that according to the general report on the East Prussian offensive, it is noted that the activity of the Luftwaffe is very reduced during the offensive on Gumbinnen.
In general, German activity increases over the days of the offensive, while the victories of the Normandie-Niemen decrease. So there is a negative correlation
Knowing that there are 8 times more Soviet fighters than German fighters in the area, this cannot be explained by a saturation effect. Logic would dictate in view of the overwhelming superiority of the VVS that the more German planes there were, the more would have been shot down.
I will see if this French specificity also applies to the Soviets.


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  #10  
Old 27th January 2022, 11:05
Courtois Laurent Courtois Laurent is offline
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Re: Observations on the victories of the Normandie-Niemen

Another example between an official fact and a historical fact can be illustrated by the 163rd victory of the Regiment.
According to the official list, Roger Penverne shot down a Me 109 on October 21, 1944. In his posthumous diary published in 2016, we can read for this day: "As for me, I don't finally fly. Everything is fine, my Focke-Wulf FW -190 is homologated". The FW 190 (with the yellow bonnet) mentioned by Roger Penverne was shot down the day before around 5:30 p.m. SE of Gumbinnen.
The destruction of the Me 109 is indicated in the reports of the 303 IAD and 1st OIAP without ever giving a place or the name of the pilot.
This new example illustrates two facts, the first, an official victory may not correspond to the date and type of the aircraft. The second, it is therefore necessary before looking for correspondence with German losses to clarify as much as possible the official list of victories of the Normandie-Niemen.
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