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  #41  
Old 2nd January 2020, 09:09
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

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Originally Posted by Nick Hector View Post
Well,

With Gabor's research and this other recent thread:

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=55731

We have not one but TWO periods of Hartmann's claiming to examine in-depth....
If the people actively contributing data to those threads would like them merged, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll leave you to continue the good work.
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  #42  
Old 2nd January 2020, 23:01
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

Craig addressed some important issues.
It is impossible to assess individual performance by statistics, indeed, because it is against the rules of statistics.
Plenty of German data comes from highest levels of command, hence they are prone to errors, passed by various chains of command. There are no combat reports, which should perhaps be considered most accurate, though not necessarily could be. Pilots could not remember the exact details, or the person filing them could misunderstand them, or even the pilots did not assess the situation accurately. BTW I understand that Russell's data are coming from germandocsinrussia site, and several daily reports held there.

It is not possible to assess results of air combats by simple correlation of time and place.
It is a necessity to compare detailed information from both sides to draw accurate conclusions, and even if fully documented, it is often not possible to recreate events.
It is always worth to remember that claims and credited victories are two different things, the latter being the effect of activity of a bureaucratic machinery, rather than pilots themselves. Neither claim nor credited victory is equal to actual loss.

Thus perhaps it is easier to discuss such issues on a unit level rather than individual level.
My personal observation is, that the German units on the western front overclaimed to a much higher degree, that widely thought. It is believed that the victories credited to JG 26 are highly accurate. It looks like the number of credited victories matches to the number of aircraft lost. The problem is, that accurate scrutiny of allied losses show, that plenty of those losses were to various different reasons, but not necessarily German action. Thus the one may assume that there was a preliminary selection of claims, which were then reduced to the number of wrecks found with no available paper record. Without the initial claim list it is not possible to properly assess the issue. The otherproblem is, that available victory lists are highly inaccurate, missing important details, or obviously erroneous, this becoming obvious after careful scrutiny of each combat. In the effect, it is often not possible to say, that one victory is valid, and the other is not.
Finally, about Marseille. I do not know, how accurately allied losses in Africa were recorded. This is a common problem for overseas units, that the paperwork was not kept accordingly, and they often were not very attractive for researchers, thus available information might not be the best to say the least. Such massive projects like Fighters over the Desert are often not accurate because of numbers of data involved, not possible to verify by a limited number of researchers. So the rule of the limited trust is always valid. The additional problem is, that most of Marseille's combats were not on equal terms. He always had a technical edge, and also the tactics of the Desert Air Force was not much to expectations. As soon as Spitfires appeared in the theatre, flown by experienced pilots aimed at scoring victories, the joy has ended. I presume, that Marseille would not last long on the ETO, where things were much more equal. Thus he was a highest scoring pilot, perhaps, but not necessarily the best one.
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  #43  
Old 2nd January 2020, 23:29
HGabor HGabor is offline
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

Folks, just to make things a bit more complicated. Picture this:

Let's say Hartmann hits the Yak-1B and claims a similar looking Yak-9 victory. Yak-1B does not crash, but rather returns to base and lands safely. Pilot unhurt. Soviet mechanics start to repair the plane. After some days and nights, while 'frequently wishing all the best to the mother of the German pilot', they finally give up. Not worth to repair. HQ writes off the plane as 'wear and tear'. ('износ') Not to mention that this is the time of re-arming the regiment with newer Yak models. Yak-9M and/or Yak-3. The old and used Yak-1s are almost scrap metal anyways.

Now: was this a victory, or not? If Hartmann does not hit the plane, it is still in service. But he did not destroy it either. The date of the write-off is completely independent from the date of the battle. No link between the two.

Few examples of wear-and-tear 'losses' of the 5 VA, 331 IAD in late, 1944:

Yak-1B, S/N: 16180 - December 21, 1944
Yak-9T, S/N: 0715378 - December 22, 1944
Yak-1B, S/N: 23160 - December 23, 1944
Yak-1B, S/N: 41177 - December 23, 1944

The majority of these 'losses' was simply age related, I am sure.
But still - a small chance of the prev. described story... Impossible to trace and investigate.

Gabor
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  #44  
Old 3rd January 2020, 00:44
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

Absolutely! Let's get for example the Me 109E at the RAF Museum. It was credited as a destroyed to the victorious pilot. Nonetheless it flew for quite a while under new management, and you can still see it in one piece. If landed on the other side of the Channel it would probably be listed with minor damage. On the other hand you can see eg. Spitfires, obviously write offs being repaired early in the war, and slightly damaged aircraft being written off late in the war.
Hence it is more important to find out who was on the receiving end, rather than to look for destroyed aircraft only.
Aside, Hartmann's victories were of no importance. Luftwaffe just los the war in the air in general.
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  #45  
Old 3rd January 2020, 13:03
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

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Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski View Post
Aside, Hartmann's victories were of no importance. Luftwaffe just lost the war in the air in general.
...Indeed. You've hit the nail on the head. Its becoming obvious that many of Hartmann's 'claims' were 'wishful thinking' at best. But everyone knows that he achieved '352' victories even today. Only ONE writer has come out and said 'no he probably didn't' - and he's been dismissed because he's Russian. Same thing with Rudel's 1500 tanks destroyed (or whatever..). These guys are 'heroes' - or had to become so during the Cold War because by then they were on our side..
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  #46  
Old 3rd January 2020, 14:02
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

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Originally Posted by FalkeEins View Post
...Indeed. You've hit the nail on the head. Its becoming obvious that many of Hartmann's 'claims' were 'wishful thinking' at best.
And it would be easy to lose sight of the reality that even if he "only" got 70 or 100 that was a fantastic achievement in a war where most fighter pilots probably only ever scored something between zero and one.
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  #47  
Old 3rd January 2020, 14:07
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

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And it would be easy to lose sight of the reality that even if he "only" got 70 or 100 that was a fantastic achievement in a war where most fighter pilots probably only ever scored something between zero and one.
Agree.
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  #48  
Old 3rd January 2020, 17:27
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

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Originally Posted by FalkeEins View Post
...Indeed. You've hit the nail on the head. Its becoming obvious that many of Hartmann's 'claims' were 'wishful thinking' at best. But everyone knows that he achieved '352' victories even today. Only ONE writer has come out and said 'no he probably didn't' - and he's been dismissed because he's Russian. Same thing with Rudel's 1500 tanks destroyed (or whatever..). These guys are 'heroes' - or had to become so during the Cold War because by then they were on our side..
I find it funny, that defence of Hartmann's score, when the same people are quite eager to claim that Allied fighters overclaimed heavilly.
That said, the scores of the WWII pilots should remain as they were officially credited. The verification against losses is just too prone to errors and not official, so it is more a historical information rather than a fact.
That said, we all suffer from the Cold War PR some of the German aces get. They neither deserve more glory nor attention than the Allied pilots, who saved the world from the tyranny.

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Originally Posted by Nick Beale View Post
And it would be easy to lose sight of the reality that even if he "only" got 70 or 100 that was a fantastic achievement in a war where most fighter pilots probably only ever scored something between zero and one.
Of course 70-100 victories is an achievement. Nonetheless, score is a result of opportunity, and do not say much about quality of a pilot. The large discrepancy between scores on ETO and MTO and against Soviet Union strongly suggests that this was a result of technical factor. Hence glorification seems out of place. Otherwise it would be interesting to compare scores during combats on isolated areas and on equal terms. I am afraid, however, that with the scarcy data it would not be possible. It is not only th problem of establishing exact circumstances of victory, but also finding f it was actually shared or not. Diferent critera make such comparisons unjust or rather false.
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  #49  
Old 3rd January 2020, 18:00
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

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Nonetheless, score is a result of opportunity, and do not say much about quality of a pilot. The large discrepancy between scores on ETO and MTO and against Soviet Union strongly suggests that this was a result of technical factor.
I quite agree. There was a big discrepancy in German attrition rates between the different theatres, too. I have some figures somewhere from a conference in early 1944.

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And diving on lone or isolated enemy fighters was not a 'war-winning' approach. Much like Marseille in Africa.
Stephen Bungay's book "Alamein" has some sceptical comments on Marseille — piling up scores against fighters while ignoring the bombers devastating Panzerarmee Afrika. But that's what you get when you promote the ethos of the duelling warrior-hero …
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  #50  
Old 3rd January 2020, 18:08
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Re: Hartmann: claims vs. victories

Thanks Nick. I deleted my follow-up comment as I don't want to 'bash' Hartmann. He did what he had to do - and voluntarily accepted 10 years of Soviet captivity.
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