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  #11  
Old 31st May 2006, 10:32
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

As a side comment, even some germans favor the oe over ö spelling, for instance WW 1 Ace Oswald Boelcke. I've read in Boelcke's biography (J. Werner) that this is, or at least was, something of a personal preference.

Buehlingen or Bühlingen is the same.
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  #12  
Old 31st May 2006, 10:33
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

Didn't the US records have some gaps for the period?
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  #13  
Old 1st June 2006, 21:40
Jim P. Jim P. is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

My first comment would be that Sprick is hardly a reliable source. Personally, I find his stuff unreadable.Did the LW pilots overclaim? Certainly. Was it intentional deceit or over zealous enthusiasm? Who knows. Most of these guys are dead so, obviously, they ain't talking. Was the this unique to the LW? Hell no. As I recall Fighter Command knew the RAF was overclaiming by about 75% during the BoB, but didn't make anything of it for morale purposes. Everybody overclaimed - as a guess I'd say overall for all combatants you'd find about a 50% overclaiming rate. Get over it. Its a fact. I'm not about to hold it against someone 60 years on because I can refute this or that claim. Of the very few times I've read of a pilot trying to see his claim into the ground, the result was the guy usually got hit in return - Rall is one case I remember. Go read about the AVG if you're really interested in a case of overclaiming.
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  #14  
Old 1st June 2006, 23:32
keith A keith A is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

JG2 do seem to have a reputation for overclaiming. Donald Caldwell hints at it in his books on JG26. There was also the case of some of those JG27 pilots in the desert of 1942...

Its a valid argument that Fighter Command were seriously overclaiming in the latter part of 1941, and in the early part of 1942 but as the time went on there was a closer relationship between claims and losses. The Battle of Britian seems to indicate a 1:3 ratio of actual loss to claim. 74 Squadron, 303 squadron, and in 1941, 452 Squadron, all have serious discrepancies between claims and enemy losses.

For serious overclaiming I think the best example in the Pacific. American and Japanese claims during the air war were occasionally ridiculous. The Japanese air forces were certainly wiped out by late 1944 if claims are true. Likewise the USAAF, and Navy.

German claims over the eastern front would be an interesting debate. Is it reasonable to believe that the Russian air forces were so poor that they succumbed in such numbers to pilots who became early victims when switched to the Western Front? (Kittel, Lang etc.)
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  #15  
Old 2nd June 2006, 01:45
VtwinVince VtwinVince is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

Good points, Keith, I particularly remember the controversy surrounding the claims of the Erwin Sawallisch staffel in North Africa and his subsequent mysterious death. I believe Franz Stigler, an old family friend, was a member of this staffel as well.
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  #16  
Old 2nd June 2006, 01:53
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

Hallo Ruy and colleagues,

Re. gaps in US records for the period.

Yes, there are huge gaps in USAAF records for the Tunisian campaign, especially the early months. Anyone looking for pilot rosters and lists of aircraft serial numbers I wish them luck ! The 82nd FG is of huge interest to me. Some years ago I began to attempt to reconnstruct a pilot roster for this unit covering December 1942. Lack of detailed and authoritative historical documents caused this endeavour to stall after some time. It is my hope that there are yet undiscovered treasures in the NARA, but accessing them for me from Ireland is presently impossible. There is no online catalogue. One wonders if they (NARA) know themselves what they have. I would welcome further comment on this topic now that Ruy has raised it. Perhaps we can all learn a little more.

Re. P-38 losses on 8th January 1943.

As well as the P-38 losses for the 14th FG of 3 destroyed and 2 damaged the 82nd FG this day apparently lost 4 Lightnings and 2 pilots. No less than 6 separate missions were flown by the 95th and 97th FS, 3 each. This was an unusually high figure at that point in the campaign for this inexperienced group. The 96th FS was non-operational that day. All 6 were bomber escort missions. It appears the following losses occurred;

97th FS mission to Graiba, one P-38 and pilot MIA.
97th FS mission to Kairouan, one P-38 and pilot MIA.
95th FS mission to Kalaa Srira (sic), one P-38 lost. (According to data supplied by William J. Schildt this mission was airborne 1430 - 1715 hours, escorting B-25s)
97th FS mission to Kairouan, one P-38 lost.

One of the pilots lost was LtCol. Roy M. Loe, the deputy Group Commander. The other I have not been able to identify yet, if indeed a second pilot was lost. 2/Lt. Pincus P. Taback of the 97th FS had his P-38 badly damaged by a Bf 109 (according to Taback) and when he crash-landed at his airfield it was destroyed in the fire that followed.

No times are given and it is not stated if all these losses were due to enemy action. The above details are extracted from a type of statistical report for the 82nd FG titled 'REPORT OF OPERATIONS performed prior to 1 July 1943', only part of which I received from the NARA via a private researcher.

I know the above is at varience with ADORIMINI by Steve Blake and John Stanaway but I believe it to be accurate. By the way no missions were flown by the 82nd FG on 9 January 1943. I have been co-operating with Steve Blake for many years now and have supplied him with copies of anything quoted above.

And don't forget the 3rd Photo Group. I know almost nothing about their operations in North Africa. However the US Army Air Forces website on their MACR database records an F-4 (41-2134) lost on 8 January 1943, MACR 14573. Obviously an MACR compiled well after the actual loss. Next go to the ABMC website and in the unit listing for the 5th Photo Squadron of this Group one finds a Major Robert M. Ritchie lost on 8 January 1944. This apparent error is probably due to the frequent practice of the American authorities in assigning a date of death to an MIA one year afterwards.

So potentially there are 5 more P-38 losses on this date. Some were certainly caused by enemy aircraft but impossible to go further without more information, especially times.

Hope the foregoing is of interest. I look forward to others hopefully expanding on the above, but I will be away for the next few days.
Regards,

Martin Gleeson.
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  #17  
Old 2nd June 2006, 02:00
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

Quote:
Originally Posted by keith A
JG2 do seem to have a reputation for overclaiming. Donald Caldwell hints at it in his books on JG26.
I would say this thesis remains unsupported. In similar conditions JG26 overclaimed as wildly as JG2. IMHO during Normandy Campaign JG2 performed much better than JG26.
Quote:
There was also the case of some of those JG27 pilots in the desert of 1942...
Well, this is one of the very few proven cases of deliberate false claims.
[quote]Its a valid argument that Fighter Command were seriously overclaiming in the latter part of 1941, and in the early part of 1942 but as the time went on there was a closer relationship between claims and losses.
Quote:
The Battle of Britian seems to indicate a 1:3 ratio of actual loss to claim. 74 Squadron, 303 squadron, and in 1941, 452 Squadron, all have serious discrepancies between claims and enemy losses.
I cannot say for the others but actual score of 303 could have been between 20-30 and 60-80 German aircraft destroyed comparing to 126 approved by RAF. It is simply impossible to verify individual scores in the period. Plenty of overclaim was caused by RAF command, who credited pilots with individual victories even if they claimed shared ones, so really, one cannot blame the airmen.
Quote:
For serious overclaiming I think the best example in the Pacific. American and Japanese claims during the air war were occasionally ridiculous. The Japanese air forces were certainly wiped out by late 1944 if claims are true. Likewise the USAAF, and Navy.
For very simple reason.
Quote:
German claims over the eastern front would be an interesting debate. Is it reasonable to believe that the Russian air forces were so poor that they succumbed in such numbers to pilots who became early victims when switched to the Western Front? (Kittel, Lang etc.)
It is much too complicated to be discussed in the thread but also very surprising for some.
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  #18  
Old 2nd June 2006, 08:26
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

It seems to me that this thread is derivating from the original subject, but overclaiming has always interested me, so I jump in.

Jim P. proposed a 50% overclaiming figure. My own impression is that for 100 losses, 150 victories were claimed as a mean number, and these losses included possible shared victories with AA fire.

As for JG 26 vs JG 2, my own impression is that Mr Caldwell did a common thing, that is searching enemy losses for a given day and area where the unit he studied claimed and then attributing them to the unit under study, while ignoring other friendly claims, or rejecting them. In most cases where JG 2 and JG 26 fought together, he will attribute most real kills to JG 26 rather than JG 2. I have no clue if he is right or wrong in many cases.

As for the Eastern Front, one explanation of the huge German scores was that the Soviet airmen were involved mainly in troop support and so were often caught as disadvantage by German fighters flying Frei Jagd. Also the big unescorted raids by bombers in 1941 were slaugthered (as were the Blenheim/Battles of RAF in 1940 in same circunstances) without much losses on the German side.

Another problem is that from fall 1944 most German claims are only that, the German confirmation system did'nt work any more, or rather was too slow to confirm the victories before the end of war or the collapse of the system and so end 1944-1945 German victories are likely to be more doutful than former ones.
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  #19  
Old 3rd June 2006, 00:14
keith A keith A is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

Perhaps I should make clear what I believe is one of the main reasons for overclaiming. In many combat films other friendly fighters appear in the film. If another fighter is shooting at the same aircraft then surely its possible the pilot is assuming his shooting is doing the damage, rather than he is one of several pilots claiming victory. In the Battle of Britain this seems to have been the case, when large numbers of fighters are attacking a target-rich environment. The Poles were notorious for closing too close with their victims and forming a queue on a victim. The Bader Big Wing was an indication of massive overclaimimg.

The bias of Caldwell in the JG2/26 argument would stand but for other instances where JG2 pilots suffer from a lack of corroboration when JG26 were not involved. And the records of JG2 pilots who move to other units and still outperform their fellow pilots by a long way. Perhaps we are just looking at a common phenomenon that has pertained from the days of Richtofen, Fonck, Rickenbacker and Bishop. Namely that when you come home with a claim its accepted because of who you are. The claims become more extravagant as competition and propaganda kick in.

The base line is that the germans can shoot! Schulz of JG27 proves that, as does Marseille, Schoepfel etc. Whether its training or aircraft its a fact! But maybe the exception doesn't prove the rule.

For the allies Beurling was a sharpshooter, and a target-rich environment for him was god sent. Tuck also seems to have been a killer in whatever bus he was driving. I haven't seem the same attention to detail for the leading American aces but haven't really researched enough, and given the quality of training and equipment I am sure they'd show more.

What I would say is that overall any score should be reduced by at least two-thirds!
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  #20  
Old 3rd June 2006, 01:08
Jim P. Jim P. is offline
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Re: Bueligens P-38 kills, disputed

Keith, you make a very valid point that I think many folks do not take into consideration. Air combat, unlike ground combat, has an added dimension. Along with right, left, front or behind you have the above or below - ok, so I'm stating the obvious. Very seldom did any flyer encounter a single opponent from the other side. Given these parameters, multiple units from one side could attack a single target from an enemy formation from any of these directions and be totally oblivious that one or more of their guys are attacking the same target. All they see is the target lighting up. In the meantime, if they have any sense or experience, they are also rubber-necking around to see where the other enemy elements might be and if they themselves are a target, meanwhile keeping their bearings. Piece of cake, right?
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