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  #91  
Old 13th November 2006, 23:53
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Ruy
This was discussed ad nauseam, hence my short reply. Yes, I stand by my words and I do not buy argument about books, sorry. For me, a daily report of 2 TAF operations provided more important details than any of the books I have seen. Please note, that most of the books reffer to kills, markings or other actually not important issues.
The basic of aerial warfare is to hit enemy and not to suffer losses. This is realised by simple way of attacking enemy on the ground or during take off or landing, where he cannot defend himself. Of course, this is the best to achieve, when own aircraft are based behind enemy's operational range and own aircraft are able to hit him at home, and the best way to achieve this is to have superior range. Another important advance is ability to engage the enemy as long as he cannot return to own base, thus either forcing him to disengage and to be in infavourable position or to cause him to land or crash in field due to lack of fuel. This is obvious but it is rarely mentioned in books, usually discussing 'medieval style' dog fights.
Thus said and realising the standard Normandy route of Mustangs and Thunderbolts covered either airfields in Paris or Le Mans area, it is clear the enormous range combined with numerical inferiority of Luftwaffe was a decisive factor in the German failure of achievieng any objectives.
Finally regarding knowledge, I assume I have better one than you on this particular issue for a very practical reason. I have researched operations over Normandy and in particular of 133 Wing based on primary documents, pilots' interviews, etc. My personal friends flew there, so it is no wonder my knowledge is a little bit deeper than yours. This is not meant as an offence, just only clearing the situation. I have a draft of an article covering the campaign, but I find it a very hard task, because of just too many factors involved, also including radar control of the battlefield.
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  #92  
Old 14th November 2006, 18:37
Jens Jens is offline
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Longer range IMHO doesn't necessarily mean to have more time for combat (hitting the enemy) or am i wrong? A shorter range to the destination give an opportunity to fly more sorties per day, and so to shoot/bomb at the enemy several times more. An Example for this effect seems to me the Eastern Front and to some degrees the battle of britain.
Also numerical superiority in planes doesn't mean to have numerical superiority in the air? It depends mostly on the sorties you fly, if you can achieve numerical superiority.

IMHO if i get Galland and others right, one of the main failures by Luftwaffe was the planning of the Normandy Air Battle. The transfer of the JGs from Reichsluftverteidigung were not well organized (Communication between and Leading staffs and unit commanders) and had not enough material/ground support. Very much fighters seem to have crashed at bad shape airfields and other reasons.
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  #93  
Old 15th November 2006, 02:26
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens View Post
Longer range IMHO doesn't necessarily mean to have more time for combat (hitting the enemy) or am i wrong? A shorter range to the destination give an opportunity to fly more sorties per day, and so to shoot/bomb at the enemy several times more. An Example for this effect seems to me the Eastern Front and to some degrees the battle of britain.
Shortening of the range is possible only if there is no enemy opposition in the air or in case of effective umbrella of own fighters. It is not possible to compare mentioned campaigns with Normandy, and actually the latter included short range missions mostly flown by 2 TAF fighter bombers.
Quote:
Also numerical superiority in planes doesn't mean to have numerical superiority in the air? It depends mostly on the sorties you fly, if you can achieve numerical superiority.
Well, there are two kinds of numerical superiority, a strategic one based on a total number of aircraft available, and a tactical one based on a number of aircraft available in a particular airspace at a particular time.
Quote:
IMHO if i get Galland and others right, one of the main failures by Luftwaffe was the planning of the Normandy Air Battle. The transfer of the JGs from Reichsluftverteidigung were not well organized (Communication between and Leading staffs and unit commanders) and had not enough material/ground support. Very much fighters seem to have crashed at bad shape airfields and other reasons.
Well, plenty of the fighters were badly trained and not prepared to the warfare. I believe, low quality of the German pilots was one of the main reasons of such a massacre as we have seen in Normandy.
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  #94  
Old 5th August 2007, 21:04
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Ruy - Franek, I didn't read all the posts and what I am about to say may have already been covered.

There are multiple opinions regarding the point at which the LW lost (practically speaking, nothing to do with courage) control of the air over Germany. I agree with Ruy on one point in this debate - both the P-47 and very specifically the 56th FG attained parity with their counterparts over the lowlands and all the P-47 equipped groups did reasonably in the last three months preceeding the arrival of the 354th FG.

Where I absolutely agree with Franek is that you must look deeper into the detail of 8th FC operations from January through mid February to see the impact the 51 had in deep target escorts with just one Group. Then look to the increase in scores over the targets as the 357th came on ops in mid February, the 4th and 355th in late Feb/early March, then the 352nd in early April.

The P-38s and P-51s were still having troubles mechanically reducing effectives often by 50% but Ruy, you have to see where the bulk of the air to air scores were from mid January through the end of April. Prior to the introduction of the Mustangs the LW could pick at will the spots at which they would place huge concentraions of t/e and s/e fighters to punish the bombers past escort range of P-47s and Spits

It was these 5 pioneer groups plus the three P-38 groups that basically tore LuftFlotte Reich apart. The P-47s were relegated to performing penetration and withdrawal support in that period and tangled mostly with JG2 and JG26 over France and Lowlands.

One of the milestones for LW effectiveness could be an arbitrary date in after which the LW never again achieved 10% attrition on the 8th AF - that last day was May 12, 1944. The last two date preceeding that was the April 29 mission to Berlin and the April 24 mission to bomb Daimler Werke production at Landsberg...

The 24th was a day in which the only two groups available to escort the 1st Div over the target was the 357 and 355th FG's which claimed 38 109s, 10 110s and 2 Fw190s - for a loss of 6 air and two flak. The awards were reduced to 23 and 20 respectively.

In this mission the LW controllers placed 200+ JG3 and 26 and 27 and ZG26 ighters very skillfully and they were able to shoot down or force down in Sweden a total of 23 B-17s from these Task Forces from Nw Munich, around the city to south, then west to lake Constance area. Just simply too many fighters, too well positioned for 93 Mustangs to deflect. That they lost 40+ was not 'adequate' trade.

The LW would score well at least 10 more times against isolated bomb groups but never to the 10% threshold for the entire attacking force.

For what it is worth I have studied 8th FC ops most of my life and my thesis is that the true time that the LW was defeated over Germany was mid January as the beginning of the end with mid May 1944 as the last time the LW truly pounded the 8th AF from a percentage stanpoint - and the Mustang (including RAF) was THE instrument of its demise.

Invasion and post invasion was the time when all of Allied Fighter Commands were able to achieve the same levels of destruction due to LW sending so many units west to try to counter Allied fighter bomber ops. This too was avery important milestone in the attrition of trained pilots... but IMHO not the same as 1/44 through 5/44.

Regards to you both

Bill
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  #95  
Old 6th August 2007, 10:36
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Bill
I disagree, Normandy was a disaster for Luftwaffe as they have lost not only pilots, but also everything they had in France including radar chain. They could recover from bomber offensive blow, but not from invasion.
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  #96  
Old 7th August 2007, 10:54
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Bill,

Thanks for reviving this older thread.

Your post is most constructive.

Incidentally I just finished Caldwell's and Muller's Defense of the Reich book (more on that still to come).

The combat entry of the Mustang (with the 8th AF) certainly marked a new point in the strategic air war, but I don't think it nor Big Week mark the real turning point. That seems to have come after Normandy.

The Jagdwaffe was always overstretched, after 1942 seldom capable of bringing up sufficient numbers to attain air superiority at any front. During the early phase of the Reichs defense (day) it was capable of waging a war of attrition, but it soon dropped behind losing qualified (pre-43) pilots faster than could be replaced.

There is a point during the battle over the Reich when the Jagdwaffe still knocks down a decent number of enemy heavies, but as a precentage of the increased air armadas their impact is shrinking fast. The Jagdwaffe at this stage has lost the production and training war. It can't bring up the number needed to maintain the same kind of pressure on the ever growing bomber fleet.

The Mustang certainly shrank the available airspace that the Jagdwaffe could control. It extended the range of escorted bomber sorties covering the all important oil targets. But I am still unconvinced that it was the key to this victory.

Arguably without the Mustang the 8th AF would have faced a more difficult struggle, but it could have absorbed the losses and the Thunderbolt was playing catch up. More Lightnings might eventually have done the job as well.

As long as the (numerically limited) Jagdwaffe kept concentrating on fighting the expanding US strategic (8th and 15th)bomber force, the expending US strategic fighter force was practically left to grow unchecked. Where they showed up (even when inferior in number) they basically held the initiative.

If the Jagdwaffe unit was lucky they still had light fighters (or even escorts) in their formation, if not they were handicapped by their specialized anti bomber equipment. As the nachwuchs Jagdwaffe pilots became more specialized in combatting bombers the easier they seem to have fallen to the escorts, like so many plums for the picking.

I'd venture as far as saying that the Jagdwaffe might have sustained a battle of attrition against unescorted US heavies, like they did against the RAF heavies in the night. But it could not fight the escorts as well, it was simply over stretching its limited numbers to the breaking point. However sustaining the battle and stopping the bombers from reaching and destroying their targets is not the same.

Der grosse Schlag might have worked in 1943 (at worst forcing them to join the RAF's night battle), but after that the US numbers were simply too overwhelming.

Although the qualitative breaking point is Normandy, the critical point is fall 1943, the strategic mistake 1940/41 (when the Jagdwaffe failed to grow and even shrunk!!). 1940 also the year of the "project" limitation.

Just some rambling from the ol' armchair ...
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  #97  
Old 7th August 2007, 16:25
smudger3 smudger3 is offline
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Ruy,

Great tread even for an ardent researcher of RAF Bomber Command, I note you mention in your recent post

I'd venture as far as saying that the Jagdwaffe might have sustained a battle of attrition against unescorted US heavies, like they did against the RAF heavies in the night. “

Can I just clarify that you are saying that the Jagdwaffe would not have achieved total dominance over the unescorted B17 & B24’s if no escorts were available? I find this hard to believe given the heavy losses sustained by the US “Heavy” bombers even with limited fighter escort and the difficulties these losses in both a/c and aircrew would have imposed on the effectiveness of the US bombing campaign.

Even the heavy armed B17 & B24 could not have survived over Germany, yes they would have inflicted losses of the Jagdwaffe but I feel this would be more in materialistic terms i.e. aircraft. I would hazard a guess and say that the actual loss of Jagdwaffe pilots would have been significantly lower, a similar situation as the RAF in the Battle of Britain, also I believe the Jagdwaffe would have had time to adapt and experiment with different methods of attacking the tight formations without the treat of escorting fighter interception.
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  #98  
Old 7th August 2007, 17:44
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

As can be seen the LW losses more than doubled during the Jan-May 44 period over the previous Sept-Dec 43 period, with only a slight increase in losses from June-Oct 44.



Source: O. Gröhler, "Stärke, Verteilung und Verluste der deutschen Luftwaffe im zweiten Weltkrieg", Militärgeschichte 17, pp. 316-336 (1978).

from http://jg26.vze.com/
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  #99  
Old 9th August 2007, 17:22
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Re: Thunderbolts and Mustangs versus the Jagdwaffe (split topic)

Kutscha - thanks for reproducing this chart - I had lost 'memory' of source.

The LuftFlotte/Reich Losses for the period in contrast to the other Western Losses is precisely the foundation for my thesis re: the impact or importance of the Mustang at a critical juncture in Daylight Strategic bombing by 8th and 12th and early 12thAF Ops. The Mustang and to a lesser extent were the sole fighter assets engaging LuftFlotee Reich in this timeframe.

Many historians point to Big Week, and I think for the wrong reasons. The right reasons are that USAAF decided to once again go deep, in force, day after day after the pounding it took in Aug-Oct, 1943. It was the determination and the emergence of the long range escort in increasing numbers that make the Big Week the beginning of the end from my POV.

It is easy to point out that the Luftwaffe, particularly LF Reich continued to inflict 10%+ casualties on the bomber force in January, February, March and April - with the crescendo in April - then only once after April 29. When you look at Kutscha's referenced Reich losses in Jan-May 1944 in contrast to prior and post periods it seems intuitive that this is the period of greatest loss of experienced pilots and leaders with severe consequences on effectiveness after that.

Ruy/Franek - while I hold a separate opinion about the period in which the Luftwaffe was broken, my thesis surrounding the term 'broken' is the point at which the Luftwaffe could no longer inflict the kind of losses that threatened the execution of Daylight Strategic Bombing - there are of course many other valid deinitions and I will not argue against yours.

Regards to all
,
Bill
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