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  #1  
Old 17th January 2006, 16:50
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Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

The Luftwaffe scored heavily against USAAF bombers during WWII but for the life of me I can't recall any historical records in which the Luftwaffe had the same success against the fighters, either escort or Tactical.

By huge I mean 20-30 victories versus a few losses like so many of the great air battles of 44. Any examples come to mind? I can think of more than a few lopsided battles in which 6-8 USAAF fighters went down but nothing really big.

Examples?
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Old 17th January 2006, 18:24
Marius Marius is offline
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Is it true that badly shot up and crashlanded in Britain USAF bombers (with their total loss) often were not counted as total losses and even not documented?

Marius
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Old 17th January 2006, 19:53
Kurfürst Kurfürst is offline
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Loss statistics are an entire world of it's own. Some stats show you all losses, other only the ones caused by the enemy, but not the ones which had to be written off after RTB due to heavy damage from enemy fire...

As for Allied losses, for obvious reasons, only the number of bombers lost over enemy territory (ie. known to the enemy) were announced to the public (via a radio station in Deventry). Bombers that crashed etc in England were not, to deny such an intelligence source to the enemy - hence the term Deventry figures for those stats that do not contain the complete losses.

As I recall the Brits announced to public ca 8000 bombers lost as 'deventry figures', but the actual number was 10 000+, when including those ones that fell off over England or the sea, or were so badly damaged that they were written off.
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Old 17th January 2006, 19:54
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Planes that crashed in friendly territory were not counted as lost (in the sense of being missing), but as damaged beyond repair, if applicable. The numbers are shown for each raid of the 8th Air Force in the USAAF official chronology.

Bomber Command did the same, the number of bombers lost each night didn't include bombers that crashed or were scrapped on return.

As for huge Luftwaffe victories, they scored most of them in the early years of the war but then had not so much luck, so when USAAF arrived the good years were gone for Germany. Even against bombers, if you have one example with a "kill ratio" of 10 to 1 in a battle in German favor, I will be surprised. Heavy bombers were not easy targets, and even the armored fighters of the Sturmgruppen suffered from bomber return fire.
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Old 17th January 2006, 23:10
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Laurent - I would tend to disagree if you want to cite actual losses recorded and carried on record vs newcast sound bites? For example Schweinfurt mission had announced losses of 60 B-17's which were as you noted those that did not cross back over the Channel to even crash land! I'm pretty sure the total number of losses, including returned but damaged beyond repair was in the 90 range.

But I am an expert on the 355th FG for example. I know what the actual number of a/c either 'lost' as in did not return, the causes and the number of 'lost' as in damaged beyond repair or destroyed in accidents, etc.

The 355th lost 191 P-47's and P-51's for all causes. 46 were destroyed in air to air combat (including one that flew all the way back to England and Crash Landed) while destroying 340, 82 to German Flak while destroying 500, 63 others to Operations (mechanical failure, landing and take off accidents, bad weather, etc) Non-Combat.

The wost air to air combat loss the 355th had was 4 on two occasions and on one of those, 2 were lost in a mid air collision diving to attack, while their best days in victories was 26, 24 and quite a few in the 10-15 range.

I've studied the other 8th AF Fighter groups and the worst air to air losses were 8 by the 20FG in Feb-44, 7 by the 4th and 55th FG (once each) and a possible 9 by the 4th on Aug-18, 1944. That is it for losses greater than 6 in air to air combat for the 8th AF Fighter Command in operations from 1942 (4th FG).

The point is that offhand I know of only one occasion in which as many as 9 fighters (six certain, 3 unknown) from one Group (4thFG 18 August 1944 - caught on deck while strafing) were lost in combat with Luftwaffe.

Was there a major battle (or battles) with other USAAF Fighter Groups that resulted in very lopsided results in favor of Luftwaffe?
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Old 18th January 2006, 14:13
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marius
Is it true that badly shot up and crashlanded in Britain USAF bombers (with their total loss) often were not counted as total losses and even not documented?

Marius
I very much doubt it, simply because any commander would wish to replace the aircraft and any crew casualties. To do that, he would have to account for the loss.

I think anyone who served in the miliitary would tell you that there were always forms to fill in whenever you wanted any piece of equipment, however small - and a Lancaster or a B-17 is not small.
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Old 18th January 2006, 18:37
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Nick is absolutely correct. Thanks to the forms and records Damick was able to put it all together ranging from MARC's to Class 26's to crash landed but repairable ships - I owe both him and Peter Randall significantly for getting my 355FG/1SF(Exp)/2SF records to current status.

Which leads me to a question regarding Luftwaffe records. If, say, a 109 was badly shot up and had to crash land - but was repairable - how would they have recorded it. It would be easy to count that a/c as a 'kill' from the RAF/USAAF point of view... and gun camera or witness would truly testify that it was 'downed'.
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Old 18th January 2006, 19:48
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drgondog
Nick is absolutely correct. Thanks to the forms and records Damick was able to put it all together ranging from MARC's to Class 26's to crash landed but repairable ships - I owe both him and Peter Randall significantly for getting my 355FG/1SF(Exp)/2SF records to current status.

Which leads me to a question regarding Luftwaffe records. If, say, a 109 was badly shot up and had to crash land - but was repairable - how would they have recorded it. It would be easy to count that a/c as a 'kill' from the RAF/USAAF point of view... and gun camera or witness would truly testify that it was 'downed'.
The problem is that an Allied claim (or an Axis one) for the matter can only in a minority of cases be linked with a known enemy loss. Most claims of WWII were done in big battles and overclaiming is rising with the size of the battles.

German loss reports will list the damage suffered by the AC by a percentage. 60% or more means the AC is destroyed or beyond repair, and this is a real (aircraft) kill.

Now the problem is that for most of the period of main USAAF activity (1944), the AC loss lists of Luftwaffe are missing from the records, only the human losses are listed, so a loss is identified only if the pilot was killed, wounded or MIA, or if a searcher has found it in another sources (logbooks, diaries, local police reports and so on).

Validating kills is a difficult process. And shouldn't be the basis for "ordering" fighter pilots. For example scoring a "real kill" against a Bf 109 was easier over UK than over France because any hit on a Bf 109 engine will force it to force land shortly after. If this was over France the AC was often repaired and the pilot unhurt most of the times. Over UK both AC and pilot were lost for the Luftwaffe. The Allied pilot responsible scored the same hits.
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Old 18th January 2006, 23:19
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Luarent - Thank you. I suspected that a badly damaged Luftwaffe a/c might not have been deemed destroyed even though shot down for all the reasons you mentioned.

I know in the case of the 355th FG I analyzed each loss, each encounter report to try to figure out when "lost to unknown causes' was a.) probably air to air as in the case of a battle in which Luftwaffe fighters were clearly in the area, b.) either mechanical, weather or flak when a P-47 or P-51 went down in absence of Luftwaffe opposition depending on the area and circumstances. I believe I have erred to 'conservative' (assign loss to enemy fighter if there is a question, but probably the best that can be achieved after 60 years...

so at the end of the day the 355th FG (including 2SF and 1SF(exp) which I included as they were always supported at Steeple Morden and often flew with 355th) lost at least 28 and at most 46 to enemy fighters, mid air collisions chasing or evading fighters or flying into debris of destroyed enemy fighter.
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Old 19th January 2006, 00:39
ArtieBob ArtieBob is offline
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Re: Huge Luftwaffe Victories over USAAF?

Somewhere I have the statistical data for 1944 and first part of 1945, translated from Luftwaffe primary documents by RAF intelligence. It has summaries by theater, by a/c type, by mission and losses. What is clear is that fighter loss rates in the West were IIRC ,5 times higher in the West than in the East, even as late as early 1945, by which time I had expected the USSR would have pretty well reached parity. I will have to dig these out and summarize them, but am really deep in my Ju 88 book right now. Based on thes figures, there were no "huge" victories by the Luftwaffe after Jan 1943. The replacement rates for aircraft in the Eighth Air Force dropped steadily, but were still significant right up to the end of the war. The ratio of losses as a result of Flak versus fighters I believe is available , but of course Flak was also part of the Luftwaffe. As an individual US or GB aircrew member right up to VE day, you were still put in harm's way when you flew over enemy territory and if you were the unlucky one that day, it probably seemed like a huge Luftwaffe victory.

Best regards,

Artie Bob
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