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  #41  
Old 12th March 2005, 13:42
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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It would be nice to know if the Desert AF got better results against Axis than was that NW African AF in Tunisia in fighter combat.
I don't know, but I wouldn't think so. Reading Shores's "Fighters over North Africa" (which I still have) and "Fighters over Tunisia" (which I no longer have), my impression is that the Desert AF was badly beaten by the German fighters the whole time. Not in each single air combat, but generally and as a prevailing tendency. If I read German accounts, I get the impression that US 52nd FG was more effective than any fighter unit in the Desert AF ever was. Müncheberg was killed in combat with 52 FG on 23 March 1943, and the next day III./JG 77 lost two Bf 109s to 52nd FG.

I don't know if this is because the Americans were better pilots than those in the Desert AF. I don't think so; it would rather be the opposite because the pilots in the Desert AF were more experienced. Probably the American tactic of operating in larger formations is an important explanation.

If we examine the circumstances which led to the so-called "Palm Sunday Massacre" on 18 April 1943 (when a formation of Ju 52s was nearly annihilated en route from Tunis to Sicily), we will find the following:
The RAF and the USAAF mounted a joint fighter sweep. While RAF 92 Sqn. despatched 12 Spitfires, US 57th FG despatched no less than 46 Warhawks in one huge mass. The Germans assigned an unusually high number of fighters to escort the Ju 52s (15 Bf 109s and 5 Bf 110s/Me 210s), and not least in view of this, the American tactic of concentrating large numbers to one and the same mission clearly was very effective. If the Americans would have despatched, let's say 30 Warhawks less on this mission, we probably never would have heard of anything called the "Palm Sunday Massacre".

Please, however, take the US fighter claims in Tunisia with a grain of salt. They made some vastly inflated claims. Like on 3 April 1943, when 52 FG claimed to have shot down 13 Ju 87s. In reality only four Ju 87s were lost as a result of that combat. The escorting Bf 109 pilots of I./JG 77 claimed to have shot down two Spitfires, and I think both can be confirmed with US loss statistics.
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  #42  
Old 12th March 2005, 21:37
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Generally you are comparing apples and oranges - Allied fighters were tasked a variety of operations including sweeps, escorts, ground attacks, etc. Therefore they were much often in an unfavourable position in case of German attack by units generally involved only in hunting.

Quote:
The RAF and the USAAF mounted a joint fighter sweep. While RAF 92 Sqn. despatched 12 Spitfires, US 57th FG despatched no less than 46 Warhawks in one huge mass.
This is a pristine case of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. 92 Sqn provided top cover for Kitties (or Warhawks actually). Four days later there was a similar massacre done by a Wing of RAF Kitties and the cover was provided by 4 or 6 Spitfire IXs.
  #43  
Old 12th March 2005, 21:42
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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” This is a pristine case of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. 92 Sqn provided top cover for Kitties"
Do we have to start this mudslinging again? The book I used when I looked this up was Kenn C. Rust’s “The 9th Air Force”, page 31, where it says:

“The 57th Group sent 46 P-40s . . . with a top cover of 12 RAF Spitfires from 92 Squadron. . .”

Stop this before it goes down again, please, Franek. Just stop it!
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  #44  
Old 12th March 2005, 22:49
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Franek Grabowski
Christer

This is a quote of yours.
Quote:
I don't know if this is because the Americans were better pilots than those in the Desert AF. I don't think so; it would rather be the opposite because the pilots in the Desert AF were more experienced. Probably the American tactic of operating in larger formations is an important explanation.
Then we have another.
Quote:
The RAF and the USAAF mounted a joint fighter sweep. While RAF 92 Sqn. despatched 12 Spitfires, US 57th FG despatched no less than 46 Warhawks in one huge mass. The Germans assigned an unusually high number of fighters to escort the Ju 52s (15 Bf 109s and 5 Bf 110s/Me 210s), and not least in view of this, the American tactic of concentrating large numbers to one and the same mission clearly was very effective. If the Americans would have despatched, let's say 30 Warhawks less on this mission, we probably never would have heard of anything called the "Palm Sunday Massacre".
It is obviously wrong as noted and your statement IMHO clearly indicate that there was a difference in British (12 Spitfires) and American (46 Warhawks) approach.
I do not find in your post any information that the Spitfires were top cover and judging by your another statement I understand you did that misinformation intentionally.
Quote:
Do we have to start this mudslinging again? The book I used when I looked this up was Kenn C. Rust’s “The 9th Air Force”, page 31, where it says:
“The 57th Group sent 46 P-40s . . . with a top cover of 12 RAF Spitfires from 92 Squadron. . .”
Now, I expect explanation since when proving you wrong is mudslinging. Any comments from moderators?
  #45  
Old 12th March 2005, 23:01
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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After a day of working on vBulletin, I'll just say that my patience is running pretty thin.

IMHO you are simply trying to provoke any reaction, from eachother and from me...both of you.
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  #46  
Old 12th March 2005, 23:21
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Ruy and Franek, I have no comments. Please let's continue only the discussion on the topic, Luftwaffe fighter losses in Tunisia.
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  #47  
Old 13th March 2005, 16:31
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Ruy
I simply do not see a point in a discussion where facts are twisted to prove one's thesis. Please check (outdated) Fighters Over Tunisia that Wing shows were nothing extraordinary, dates - 20 and 22 April, PFT or 145 Sqn.
Point about missions' profiles is also very important - at the time escorts were stuck to the bombers, so this obviously inflicted more losses than successes from the fighter point of view. But for the staff the success was to drop another ton of bombs and not to down another Messerschmitt. A different perspective.
  #48  
Old 14th March 2005, 05:03
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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I am going to lock this topic for the moment...

...I think postings have gotten a little OT and too personal.

In the future we need to stick to facts, backed up by data, and topic and leave the personal opinions, especially of another forum member, aside for the purposes of discussion.
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