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  #11  
Old 19th April 2022, 20:11
phasselgren phasselgren is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

Simon,

Survival rates for crew positions in Wellington, Halifax and Lancaster during the period January-June 1943 can be found in The Crucible of War 1939-1945 (RCAF history) page 755: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/th...39-1945-18.pdf

Regards,
Peter
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  #12  
Old 19th April 2022, 21:58
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

Peter,

Very nice DATA. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Adriano
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  #13  
Old 20th April 2022, 09:51
Simon Trew Simon Trew is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

Chris, Peter, Adriano,

Thanks very much for this, most helpful and informative.

Simon
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  #14  
Old 20th April 2022, 16:01
Simon Trew Simon Trew is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

A little more on the age profile of Steinbock air crew, for anybody who might be interested and/or inclined to comment:

From ADI(K) reports, dates of birth (in one or two cases, just ages at time of capture) are known for 126 of the 130 Steinbock prisoners, and also for 64 dead air crew; a total of 190 persons.

Although that is not a massively large sample, my instinct (statisticians can advise otherwise) is that this is a large enough sample for the data to be reasonably illustrative of the Luftwaffe airmen who flew in the Steinbock raids.

Taking the age of the 190 persons on 21 January 1944, the day Steinbock began (and the day on which at least one man had his birthday), these are some of the figures that fall out from a little bit of analysis.

The average (mean) age of air crew was a little over 22.5 years.
The median age was 23 (almost 24).
The modal (most common single) age was 21 (this was 48 of 190 airmen for whom the age is known).

Also:

117 (61.6%) of the 190 men were 21, 22 or 23 years of age.
The youngest for whom the age is known was 19 (7 out of 190 men)
The oldest was 31.
29 men were 25-31 years old when Steinbock began

Slightly to my surprise, pilots tended to be young; mostly 20-22 years old and one of them was 19. Having said that, the oldest man was a pilot (Uffz Boetsch, pilot of 2./KG 66 Ju 188 Z6+HK, lost 24 February).

The highest ranking prisoner was Hauptmann Oben, also a pilot (aged 29; pilot of 6./KG 6 Ju 88 3E+AP, lost 24 March; according to the ADI(K) report, known to be Operations Officer of II./KG 6 in February 1944).
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  #15  
Old 20th April 2022, 22:18
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

Hello Simon, for the dead crew, using Volksbund and the death cards on fold3 should give you far more birth dates.

You have also the link below that gives you the list of German buried in Cannock Chase War Cemetery, where most German who died in UK in WWII are buried: https://fr.findagrave.com/cemetery/2...search#srp-top. Almost all the WWII entries have a date of birth.
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  #16  
Old 22nd April 2022, 14:17
Simon Trew Simon Trew is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

Excellent ideas, Laurent, thank you for those (and for the link). I have Fold 3 membership (for FMS manuscripts, mostly) and although I was aware of the Cannock Chase cemetery it hadn't really crossed my mind to use it in the way you suggest.

I don't know quite what limits to set - I don't have any intention (or need, I think) to clarify the age profile of a very large proportion of Steinbock air crew. But using the methods you suggest to find out information about maybe another 100 airmen would be sensible. And if the things I've already found out turn out to be challenged by the additional data, then some work beyond that might be justified.

Thanks again,

Simon
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  #17  
Old 25th April 2022, 12:19
Simon Trew Simon Trew is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

First, thanks to Laurent for his suggestions – which I followed up – and also to Brian Bines for sending me some NVMs as a source of additional data and for pointing out that the I./KG 66 loss lists in RL 10/638 (which I have) contain DOBs, something I had failed to notice.

As a result, I now have dates of birth for 126 of 130 prisoners plus 218 dead Steinbock airmen; a TOTAL of 344 men. This compares with my previous sample of 190 men (126 prisoners + 64 dead airmen).

Having analysed the data, there are no significant changes from my previous figures, which suggests that the initial sample was sufficient to provide a reliable guide.

The average (mean) age for the 344 airmen was 22.5872 years; in my initial sample (190 airmen) it was 22.5842 (i.e. an almost identical figure).

The median age is 22. I made a stupid mistake in my previous calculation; in the sample of 190 airmen the median age was also 22, not 23 as stated.

The modal age (73 out of 344 airmen) remains 21.

200 (58.14%) of the 344 airmen were 21, 22 or 23 years old on 21 January 1944.

The lowest age I found was 18 years (one man out of 344). There were eleven 19-year-olds. The upper age increased from 31 in my previous sample to 36. Of 344 airmen for whom ages are known, 11 (3.2%) were 30 years or over on 21 January 1944 (six 30-year-olds; two 31-year-olds; one 32-year-old; one 34-year-old; and one 36-year-old).

I also did a bit of analysis of pilot ages. I found dates of birth for 79 pilots. The youngest on 21 January 1944 was 19 years old. The oldest was 32. Of the eleven men who were thirty years or older on 21 January, five were pilots. Three of the seven 29-year-olds were also pilots. But the average (mean) age of pilots was 22.898 years old (i.e. marginally older than the average age for air crew). The median age was 22 and the mode (20 out of 79 pilots) was 21 – i.e. the same ages as for the group as a whole. Of 79 pilots, 45 (56.96%) were 21, 22 or 23 years of age at the start of Steinbock.

I hope this of interest to a few people. I would be very interested to learn if any published sources contain similar data for other periods of the war (e.g. bomber crew members during the Battle of Britain), or if any TOCH forum contributor has carried out similar number-crunching for other Luftwaffe operations.

Simon
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  #18  
Old 25th April 2022, 14:35
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

Simon,

As far as I remember (and memory can play tricks) there is nothing compared with what you are doing, on LW books that I may have read. I may be wrong or missed something.

If memory is not faulty, I believe that Middlebrook did insert something about age or average on some of his works.

Your study is interesting because it shows that "probably" most of the airmen involved were "fresh from Training schools" or only recently "operational" (18,19, 20 years old). Of course, there were some veterans amongst them, specially the Staffelkapitän and Gruppenkommandeure and others.

MAYBE if you could pick up one of those youngsters and follow up his career, maybe we would have more clues (or not) about this probability/theme.

You are doing a fantastic work there. Keep going!

A.
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  #19  
Old 27th April 2022, 15:16
Simon Trew Simon Trew is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

A little more on the 'profile' of Steinbock air crew, this time dealing with rank distribution, for those who are interested.

Sample is 350 airmen (130 prisoners + 230 dead).

Gefreiter 28
Obergefreiter 44
Unteroffizier 175
JUNIOR NCOs 247 (70.6%)

Feldwebel 38
Oberfeldwebel 22
Fahnenjunker / Oberfähnrich 3
SENIOR NCOs (including officer candidates) 63 (18%)

Leutnant 30
Oberleutnant 8
Hauptmann 2
JUNIOR OFFICERS 40 (11.4%)

SENIOR NCOs (as defined above) are 'distributed' evenly among the dead and prisoners. They made up 18% of the total air crew figure, 17.7% (23 men) of the prisoners and 18.2% (40 men) of the dead. JUNIOR NCOs were 70.6% of the total, but made up 75.4% of the prisoners (98 men) compared with 67.7% of the dead (149 men). JUNIOR OFFICERS were 11.4% of the total sample, but only 6.9% (9 men) of the prisoners, compared with 14.1% (31 men) of the dead. The sample here might be too small to draw any conclusions, but I find it interesting that officers are 'under-represented' among the prisoners (twice as likely to die as be taken prisoner). A hypothesis might be that officers felt some sort of responsibility to remain with their stricken aircraft until other crew members had evacuated, and were therefore more likely to be killed as the plane fell apart or G-forces took hold?

Question - please forgive my ignorance, but in a stricken aircraft, who had the authority to order crew members to bale out - the pilot or (if one was present and he was senior to the pilot in rank) the officer?

I note that of 61 destroyed aircraft that I looked at (of about 275 destroyed in combat during Steinbock), about half had one officer on board (27 planes) and half were all-NCO crews (31). One plane carried an officer and an officer candidate and two planes (5./KG 30 Ju 88 4D+BN lost 15 May) and 2./KG 66 Ju 188 Z6+EK lost 19 March) carried two officers. I ignored Ju 88 S types and Me 410s as they only had three and two crew respectively; I wanted to focus on bombers with four, five or six crew members. The fact that about half the planes had one officer on board and half were all-NCO crews is of course no surprise if roughly a tenth of all airmen were officers and a 'typical' bomber had a crew of 4 or 5 men (He 177s with six but not a large number of those involved).
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  #20  
Old 27th April 2022, 18:17
Simon Trew Simon Trew is offline
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Re: Analysing survival rates among Luftwaffe air crew in 'Steinbock' and other operations

Typo above, sorry. Sample is 350 airmen (130 prisoners +220 [not 230] dead).
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