Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum  

Go Back   Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum > Discussion > Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces

Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces Please use this forum to discuss the German Luftwaffe and the Air Forces of its Allies.

 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Prev Previous Post   Next Post Next
  #1  
Old 4th March 2005, 17:21
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 379
Christer Bergström is an unknown quantity at this point
Luftwaffe fighter losses in Tunisia

I found the loss figures for the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean area suspiciously high in Williamson Murray’s “Luftwaffe” (published in 1985). According to Williamson Murray, the Luftwaffe lost no less than 282 aircraft, including 124 fighters, in the Mediterranean area in January 1943 alone. (Murray, “Luftwaffe”, p. 211.)

These figures give a completely different impression than the picture one gets through Christopher Shores’s very detailed “Air War over Tunisia”. (In the latter book, Shore’s conclusion is that the Luftwaffe’s fighters held the upper hand in the air combats and generally sustained relatively few losses in air combat.)

If we go to another book which is quite similar to Murray’s “Luftwaffe”, and also based on a wealth of original documents, namely E. R. Hooton’s “Eagle in Flames: The Fall of the Luftwaffe” (published in 1997; ref. p. 221), we will find completely different figures:

Here is a comparison of loss figures for the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean in Murray’s and Hooton’s books - all aircraft types included:

Jan 1943: Murray: 282. Hooton: 105
Feb 1943: Murray: 206. Hooton: 99

Hooton’s figures are more in line with other sources - not only with Shores’s “Air War over Tunisia”, but above all with the official “Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen” and the daily returns to Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe.

Due to “Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen” and the daily returns to Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe, the Luftwaffe fighter units in the Mediterranean sustained the following aircraft losses in air combat in January 1943:

II./JG 2: 2
JG 27: 0
II./JG 51: 7
JG 53: 8
JG 77: 15

Total sum: 32.

That should be compared with Murray’s figure of 124 Luftwaffe fighters lost in the Mediterranean in January 1943!

The character of the air fighting in the Mediterranean through January 1943 is clearly displayed by the statistics for the Luftwaffe fighter units: 269 victory claims against 32 own aircraft lost in combat. (Among those 269 victory claims, Heinz Bär was responsible for 13 and Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert for 10.)

Since I don’t have Shores’s “Air War over Tunisia” here - which contains most losses sustained by both sides - the only source I have for Allied losses is a quite unreliable, and probably “sweetened” British public source from WW II itself (i.e. publicly issued in 1943). Due to that source, the Allies lost 151 aircraft (78 fighters and 73 bombers) in air combat over Tunisia in January 1943. This figure probably is lower than the actual figure, but even this figure gives a relation of five Allied aircraft shot down in air combat for every Luftwaffe fighter shot down in air combat. The actual Allied losses in air combat probabably were higher than those wartime released figures.

(Shores's research in "Air War over Tunisia" shows that only a small part of Allied losses in Tunisia were due to Italian fighters.)

How shall we explain Murray’s unique and very high figures, when other sources give considerably lower figures? Maybe Murray used outdated and erroneous material - after all his book was published 20 years ago.

BTW, E. R. Hooton’s conclusion about the air war in Tunisia reads: “The Jagdgruppen exploited conditions similar to those in Russia a year earlier and inflicted heavy losses: om 4 December Oberleutnant Julius Meimber’s 11./JG 2 annihilated 11 Blenheim V bombers of Nos 18 and 614 Squadrons and on 13 March JG 77 wiped out seven P-39s, while experienced US 33rd Fighter Group was reduced from 75 to 13 fighters and withdrawn to Morocco.” (p. 220.)

As an indication of the Luftwaffe fighters’ effectivity - in the face of an Allied numerical superiority in Tunisia in January 1943 of 600 aircraft against 140 German and 288 Italian (Hooton, p. 219) - II./StG 3 and III./StG 3 flew successful operations against the Allied positions throughout January 1943 wihout more than two Ju 87s being registered as lost due to enemy fighters. (Another four Ju 87s were registered lost due to “Feindbeschuss” or unknown reasons.) Moreover, III./SKG 10 also flew fighter-bomber missions thoughout January 1943, without losing more than a single aircraft to Allied fighter interception. (Arthy & Jessen, “Fw 190 in North Africa”, pp. 153 - 154.)

It would be great if anyone could contribute with some facts (supported by source references). Maybe someone here has access to the figures of actual Allied aircraft losses in Tunisia in January 1943?
__________________
All the best,

Christer Bergström

http://www.bergstrombooks.elknet.pl/
 

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
RAF Fighter Command losses June 1940 robert Allied and Soviet Air Forces 5 16th January 2007 01:33
Soviet air force losses 1941-1945 Six Nifty .50s Allied and Soviet Air Forces 12 15th May 2005 17:57
Fighter pilots' guts Hawk-Eye Allied and Soviet Air Forces 44 8th April 2005 14:25
Discussion on the air war in Tunisia Christer Bergström Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 14 1st April 2005 18:47
Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot by Norbert Hannig John Beaman Books and Magazines 0 19th January 2005 21:15


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 00:03.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2018, 12oclockhigh.net