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Old 18th January 2007, 09:56
Boomerang Boomerang is offline
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USAAF ETO Ground Claims for 3,703 in April 1945

Gentleman:

I am interested as to whether there is any further information available to substantiate (or otherwise) the staggering USAAF ground claims for 3,703 for April 1945 in the ETO:

http://www.au.af.mil/au/afhra/aafsd/aafsd_pdf/t167.pdf

These include no less than 724 claimed by Eighth Air Force on 16 April:

http://paul.rutgers.edu/~mcgrew/wwii...ml/Apr.45.html

My understanding is that 3,703 aircraft would represent about 4% of total German production of all types from 1939 - 1945. With the Luftwaffe also heavily engaged with the VVS and RAF, this would point to a significant proportion of total German production being destroyed in the single month of April 1945 (perhaps not surprising, given the total collapse of the Reich).

I also note that Alfred Price's The Last Year of the Luftwaffe lists 1,554 aircraft on the strength of Luftflotte Reich and LuftwaffenKommando West on 9 April 1945.

No doubt the prevailing conditions precluded good record keeping by the Luftwaffe, but the USAAF claims are so striking (shades of 22 June 1941 destruction of Soviet aircraft) that it would be interesting to know what data is available out there.

Thanks

Boomerang
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Old 19th January 2007, 16:00
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drgondog drgondog is offline
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Re: USAAF ETO Ground Claims for 3,703 in April 1945

It is my understanding that the only basis for any assumption would be the 'awards' versus the claims of the USAAF and RAF in April. I know some of the record claims (notably the 78FG score of 160 on 16 April was reduced to 125 after review of film) were significantly reduced after review of film.

Complicating the assessment is that so many GAF aircraft were shot to pieces but there was no fuel to burn - so many of the damaged would have been rendered 50+% destroyed with no real facilities for repair!

What makes the sheer magnitude believable is the simple fact that a.) dispersal of the remaining Luftwaffe was made very difficult by the shrinking front lines, and b.) continental bases for the USAAF and RAF enabled virtually all of the combined air force strategic and tactical command fighters the range to strafe as far away as Linz and Prague - so there was no place to truly hide.

Absent really solid record keeping by the Luftwaffe (unfound to date) for the last months, it will be hard to arrive at a valid estimate

Regards,
Bill
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Old 19th January 2007, 16:40
Jon Jon is offline
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Re: USAAF ETO Ground Claims for 3,703 in April 1945

These claims could well be legitimate but, remember that the Luftwaffe simply left previously damaged beyond repair aircraft in position on airfields to draw the fire of any straffing Allied fighters away from un damaged aircraft.
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Old 20th January 2007, 06:20
Boomerang Boomerang is offline
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Re: USAAF ETO Ground Claims for 3,703 in April 1945

Gentleman:

Thank you for your thoughts. The overall picture seems to be that destruction of LW aircraft on the ground is likely to have been on a very large, but difficult to quantify, scale.

My initial thoughts took two conflicting directions:
  • the universal tendency for over-claims could have been exaggerated as pilots and units appreciated that this would be the last opportunity to build scores in the ETO - IIRC the 4 FG and 56 FG were in a race for most victories by any FG in the ETO, there must have been last minute efforts to boost scores
  • on the other hand, absolute chaos prevailed in the LW, with aircraft seeking hiding places inside an ever-shrinking perimeter, normal practices about aircraft dispersal, camoflage and flak protection would be breaking down
Perhaps a further issue is the military value of strafing aircraft often immobilised by fuel famine. I note that USAAF losses were also non-trivial: 343 in the ETO in April 1945.

Anyway, thanks for your assistance.

Cheers

Boomerang
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