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Old 6th July 2015, 17:55
GuerraCivil GuerraCivil is offline
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Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

Although kit manufacturers and modellers seem to prefer the "bubbletop" versions of P-47 and P-51 I have the impression that the fight of air superiority over Western Europe was decided by the earlier models of these aircraft. When the "more cool" bubbletop models of P-47/P-51 appeared at the European sky by mid/late 1944, the sky was already dominated by the Allied air forces.

According to what I have read the decisive breakthrough of Allied air superiority over Western Europe was achieved by February/March 1944 when the backbone of Luftwaffe was actually broken. By the spring 1944 Allied could control the airspace over Western Europe which in turn made it possible to launch the Allied invasion in Normandy by June 1944.

In the process of winning the airwar I think that P-47 D "Razorbacks" and early P-51 models were more important than their later versions. Numerically P-47´s were still more important and shot down more German fighters during the critical period of late 1943/early 1944 than the Mustangs? Luftwaffe was not able to recover of the losses suffered at that period, specially as most of their experienced pilots were lost in combat. Although Mustang pilots are credited with more air victories than P-47 pilots, one should take in account the decisive decline of the training and experience level of Luftwaffe fighter pilots by 1944 which was due to losses in attrition combat against P-47´s.

One could thus claim that the P-47 "Razorback" (with its drop tanks) was actually the most important single Allied fighter to decide the airwar over Western Europe?
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Old 6th July 2015, 18:57
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

Only you decide beforehand which was the most relevant period, and ignore all the efforts going on elsewhere. Despite all the claims that are made for the preceding period, the Jagdwaffe was still able to field a considerable force in Northern France in the days following the invasion. It was in these skies and these days that the Jagdwaffe was defeated.

In my opinion, of course.
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Old 8th July 2015, 03:36
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

I have devoted a lot of time on this subject and have some ideas on the subject.

in the first six months of 1944 the p-47d and p-51 and p-38 achieved the following air victory credits - all during the battle of Germany for control of the air over strategic targets. Source USAF Study 85 for Air Victory Credits - WWII. It includes both 8th and 9th AF VC's and for the 9th AF, all VC's were credited on escort missions - mostly 8th AF support through June 5, 1944.

P-47D 560VC in Q1, 409 in Q2
P-38J 88VC in Q1, 90 in Q2
P-51B/C 389VC in Q1 and 972 in Q2

The notable facet of these engagements is that starting in mid 1943 through early June 1944, the LW started the migration from the Ost and Sud front of 33+ Staffels moved into Lwbh Mitte, then LuftFlotte Reich, which was constituted to defend the Reich against the 8th AF daylight incursions.


What happened during that period is that the Luftwaffe was severely gutted of experienced leaders and wingmen during the daylight battles over Brunswick, Berlin, Leipzig, Halberstadt, Ludwigshafen, Schweinfurt, Munich, Merseburg, Misburg - all east of the P-47 Combat radius (and far east of RAF). Only the P-38J -15 introduced in March (two P-38 FG's in October and December had the shorter range P-38H) and the P-51B introduced in December, 1943 could penetrate the line of Me 110s' and Fw 190s and Bf 109s that retreated out of range of the P-47D.

The Normandy Invasion, as Graham noted, was remarkable in that many of the units in LuftFlotte Reich were deployed to attempt to disrupt the skies over the Invasion Front - and thus subjected to the entire Day fighter strength of RAF, 8th and 9th AF - but IMO, the end of LW effectiveness was closed in May, 1944. There was never a case of more than one 8 % losses in an 8th AF strategic strike after April 29 (May 12) and none more than 5% for the rest of the war.

I would disagree that the Invasion Front battles were decisive in comparison to March-May, 1944 in which the Mustang dominated the skies all over Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the LuftFlotte Reich was having great difficulty in achieving success even when they could place 300-400 day fighters on one Bomb Division.

As to the question of the P-47D vs P-51B/C vs P-51D comparision? There is no comparison to the effectiveness of the P-51B in the advancement of US Strategic Bombing objectives - namely POINTBLANK - Destruction of the Luftwaffe in the air, on the ground and at the manufacturing centers (including oil).
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Old 8th July 2015, 13:03
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

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I would disagree that the Invasion Front battles were decisive in comparison to March-May, 1944 in which the Mustang dominated the skies all over Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the LuftFlotte Reich was having great difficulty in achieving success even when they could place 300-400 day fighters on one Bomb Division.

As to the question of the P-47D vs P-51B/C vs P-51D comparision? There is no comparison to the effectiveness of the P-51B in the advancement of US Strategic Bombing objectives - namely POINTBLANK - Destruction of the Luftwaffe in the air, on the ground and at the manufacturing centers (including oil).
Hello drgondog,

Thank you for your very interesting post. I have also been researching these issues, from the perspective of Luftwaffe resource distribution. I would say that the crisis for the Luftwaffe came earlier than 1944. As an illustration, below are percentage losses per quarter for Luftwaffe Befehlshaber Mitte and Luftflotte Reich, from Don Caldwell's Day Fighters:
Q3 43: 21%
Q4 43: 58.4%
Q1 44: 102.8%
Q2 44: 188.2%

The 21% losses in the third quarter of 1943 would have been considered unsustainable by any RAF or USAAF force, including the strategic bomber forces.

I will add a couple more thoughts later, I have also sent you a private message.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 8th July 2015, 16:45
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

What you have to keep in mind when looking at LW Day Fighter losses in the west is that until mid to summer 1943, the 8th AF incursions were largely met by LuftFlotte/Jagddivision 3. Until August-September timeframe LBfh Mitte was the defense of Germany responsibility with Jafu-H Ruhr (i.e I.&III. JG 3 plus JG 1) plus Jagddivion was equipped largely with JG 1 plus NZG 3 and ZG 26 plus Jagddivision 5 with elements of JG 27, 50, 51, 106 NZG 101, etc) while JG2 and JG 26 bore the brunt on the coastal battlefield vs RAF and USAAF.

The concentrated losses to fighters began in the September, 1943 range and you can see a steady increase from there. You should keep in mind that two factors were at play, The first is the losses as percentage of available strength and Milch's foresight lead to a shift toward Day fighters and increased production. In concert with this, the fighters were quickly replaced and most of the shot down fighters either crash landed or the pilots bailed out successfully so you really have to look at the KIA/WIA charts for Q3 to Q4 to Q1 1944 and Q2 1944 to see the impact of long range escorts.

Caldwell has good data on that trend including the actuals attributed to Defense of the Reich.

Regards,

Bill
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Old 8th July 2015, 20:18
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

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Originally Posted by drgondog View Post
What you have to keep in mind when looking at LW Day Fighter losses in the west is that until mid to summer 1943, the 8th AF incursions were largely met by LuftFlotte/Jagddivision 3...

The concentrated losses to fighters began in the September, 1943 range and you can see a steady increase from there....

Regards,

Bill
Hello Bill,

You are right about early to mid 1943, Luftflotte 3 did indeed fly the bulk of the missions against the 8th, partly because many US raids were against targets in its area of responsbiility. Even so even in the second quarter of 1943 LBfh Mitte lost 64 fighters in these engagements to 61 losses by Luftflotte 3 (data is again from Don Caldwell's book). In the third quarter the numers were 207 and 113, respectively. So the pressure of losses switched to the main German defence force quite rapidly.

As a minor quibble, the really heavy losses begin in October 1943, with a total of 185 aircraft destroyed (including both Lfl Reich and Lfl 3) and 116 KIA/MIA. Of course, the numbers rose very sharply thereafter, but the point I would emphasise is that even in July 1943 the fighter losses against the 8th were unsustainable. In the East, the combat losses from February 1943 to the end of the year were only 500 aircraft and 352 pilots in total. When that is taken as the point of reference, it becomes clear that even the early P-47 escorts made the situation impossible for the Luftwaffe.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 9th July 2015, 21:23
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

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Hello Bill,

You are right about early to mid 1943, Luftflotte 3 did indeed fly the bulk of the missions against the 8th, partly because many US raids were against targets in its area of responsbiility. Even so even in the second quarter of 1943 LBfh Mitte lost 64 fighters in these engagements to 61 losses by Luftflotte 3 (data is again from Don Caldwell's book). In the third quarter the numers were 207 and 113, respectively. So the pressure of losses switched to the main German defence force quite rapidly.

As a minor quibble, the really heavy losses begin in October 1943, with a total of 185 aircraft destroyed (including both Lfl Reich and Lfl 3) and 116 KIA/MIA. Of course, the numbers rose very sharply thereafter, but the point I would emphasise is that even in July 1943 the fighter losses against the 8th were unsustainable. In the East, the combat losses from February 1943 to the end of the year were only 500 aircraft and 352 pilots in total. When that is taken as the point of reference, it becomes clear that even the early P-47 escorts made the situation impossible for the Luftwaffe.

Regards,

Paul
Paul - the P-47D was very important - having said that, critical German industry was well beyond the ability of P-47s to escort beyond Dummer Lake, west of Kassel, Stuttgart. Fighter Sweeps unencumbered by the bombers could take the P-47D (through D-22 series) only to Hamburg, Hannover and nearly Friedrichshafen - but well short of Brunswick, Berlin, Magdeburg, Leipzig, Merseburg, Schwienfurt - much less Brux, Politz, Stettin or Munich. So, as Mustangs arrived in February to convert 4th FG, 355th, then 352nd - the Mustangs prevented the Luftwaffe from formerly successful 'retreat tactics' and forced them to engage despite presence of US long range escort.

I don't discount the P-38 as it ranged farther than the P-47 but the combination of mechanical issues prior to the P-38J-15 and lack of 100 gallons in leading edge of the wing relegated it to mostly intermediate range target escort like Brunswick and Halberstadt and Aschersleben. P-47s were relegated to Penetration escort and Withdrawal escort until replaced by P-51's. The P-51 first swept the effective twin engine ZG's in February and March from being operationally useful, then the Me 410s in June and July. The P-51s had such a large footprint that they also ranged east of Berlin to strafe airfields all the way through Czechoslovakia and nearly Austria east of Munich.

Additionally , not all the LW day fighter losses in 1943 can be attributed to US or even fighters alone. Both RAF and US fighters were engaging LF3 and while the B-17/B-24 'credits' were outrageous, they did have an impact on attrition.

I maintain that the combination of the Mustangs quickly getting traction on long range escort first by 354FG in December, then 357, 4, 363, 355FG's between Big Week and early March, followed by 353, 339, 361, 359FG's in a 30 day span of mid April to Mid May is THE force that engaged and destroyed more German aircraft by D-Day than all the 8th and 9th AF P-47s and P-38s and Spitfires from commencement of 8th AF operations. Spitfires. It was not all 8th and 9th AF Mustangs as the RAF quickly got Mustang III's and participated in US daylight escort missions in the Spring of 1944.

One can quibble about the number of VC's credited by AAF (ditto LW VCs and RAF VC's when comparing opposition records), but the process was the same for all US fighters and so the relative disparity between the P-47 and P-51 should scale in magnitude either way. The one aspect of the Mustang that was unmatched by the P-47 was unparalleled performance Combined with long range. There was no place for Day Fighters to hide and rest when the Mustang began long range escort in December 1943.

A point you raised about relatively low losses in the East during that same time frame should be expanded upon. Namely the East and the Sud fronts were seriously drained of experienced pilots and crews in late 1943 through spring 1944 to reinforce LuftFlotte Reich as it was being dominantly being chewed up by the Mustangs - until D-Day when the LW tried to augment the Invasion Front and was chewed up by RAF, 8th and 9th AF combined.

In general, the LW units tangling most with the Mustangs prior to D-Day were JG1, JG5, JG3, JG 11, JG 27, JG 53 with JG 51 periodically engaging to the east, JG 300, JG 301 plus ZG 26 and ZG 76. Overlap during Penetration and Withdrawal also included JG 2 and JG 26.
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Old 10th July 2015, 15:14
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

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Paul - the P-47D was very important - having said that, critical German industry was well beyond the ability of P-47s to escort beyond Dummer Lake, west of Kassel, Stuttgart. ...

A point you raised about relatively low losses in the East during that same time frame should be expanded upon. Namely the East and the Sud fronts were seriously drained of experienced pilots and crews in late 1943 through spring 1944 to reinforce LuftFlotte Reich as it was being dominantly being chewed up by the Mustangs - until D-Day when the LW tried to augment the Invasion Front and was chewed up by RAF, 8th and 9th AF combined.

In general, the LW units tangling most with the Mustangs prior to D-Day were JG1, JG5, JG3, JG 11, JG 27, JG 53 with JG 51 periodically engaging to the east, JG 300, JG 301 plus ZG 26 and ZG 76. Overlap during Penetration and Withdrawal also included JG 2 and JG 26.
Bill,

Thank you for a very interesting post! Some of my thoughts follow below:

I entirely agree, and indeed defer to your superior knowledge, on the subject of the P-51's importance. I think it needs to be highlighted that the large-scale use of the Mustang was the final stage in the Luftwaffe's destruction and Germany had already lost the air war by early 1943, let alone spring 1944. The reason the 'retreat tactics' that you mentioned were in use is because the Luftwaffe could not hold its own within range of Allied fighters. As you correctly state, the Mustang turned this crisis into a disaster, since it was able to hunt and destroy German aircraft in their final refuge.

When considering the effectiveness of the Lightning, I think it needs to be mentioned that it was by far the highest performance twin-engined fighter of the war. In that sense, it was an incredible technical breakthrough, even the P-38F. I participated in a very interesting recent discussion on the Luftwaffe side of the forum on this topic, see http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/printt...?t=41714&pp=40 . In terms of ZG's being swept from the sky, II and III./ZG 1's experiences in the Mediterranean in early 1943 form a useful example. These units were rendered combat ineffective by superior allied technology before either the Thunderbolt or the Mustang entered combat.

I think the impact of the heavy bombers on attrition was quite substantial. It is difficult to separate out the losses caused by gunners for the reasons that you describe, but the Luftwaffe losses against unescorted missions were often quite heavy. This was completely without precedent in all the air battles that went before. The 50 caliber machine guns were particularly dangerous against those among the heavy fighters which weren't armed with stand-off weapons.

The numbers of German fighter losses onviously support your argument for 1944, but this is partly a product of increased German fighter deliveries, as you mentioned. It is fair to say that a German aircraft destroyed in 1942 was much more important than one destroyed in 1944, since by 1944 the Wehrmacht had substantially collapsed and lost both the strategic and operational initiative. Can you point to a good source on RAF escort operations? This is a somewhat peripheral point, but I have the impression that RAF escort units were somewhat less effective than USAAF ones, at least when operating over Norway.

I wholeheartedly agree on the question of the P-51's performance. I've never read a clear exposition on the vexed question of drag numbers, but it's obvious that the Mustang design was a breakthrough in this area. It wouldn't have been a very succesful fighter otherwise, because it had the same engine as the Spitfire and was very heavy compared to most fighters of the time. Another interesting side issue is why the Spitfire was never equipped with drop tanks in large numbers. Even the Luftwaffe used Bf 109Gs with tanks on a large scale, so the RAF was really quite far behind by the time the war ended.

The issue of fighter units draining away from the fighting fronts is extremely important. The process started on the Eastern Front in 1941, with the withdrawal of JG 27 to the Mediterranean. It then accelerated with the formation of new units in the West, for JG 1. By the time of operation Torch, the Mediterranean front was consuming parts of core Eastern Front Jagdgeschwader, like II./JG 51. Another important factor was that the West and later also the Mediterranean were the theatres where most of the higher-performance fighter types were concentrated, whether the Fw 190 or the higher-altitude sub-types of the Bf 109G. To summarise, the Eastern Front very quickly became a backwater after Torch, while the Mediterranean followed suit in late spring and summer 1943, with the destruction of German air power in Tunisia, Sicily and southern Italy.

To touch on the subject of the specific Luftwaffe units fighting the Mustangs, it is worth mentioning that some Jagdgeschwader, usually those with little experience in the West, suffered particularly heavy losses. I am thinking especially of JG3, but this was a wider phenomenon.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 10th July 2015, 17:32
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

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Bill,

I think it needs to be highlighted that the large-scale use of the Mustang was the final stage in the Luftwaffe's destruction and Germany had already lost the air war by early 1943, let alone spring 1944.

Paul - interesting postulation. So, RAF and AAF had free roam and air superiority in early 1943? But Casablanca conference named the "dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system" , code name POINTBLANK , as the primary goal of the Combined Bomber Offensive' While the conference was in January 1943 POINTBLANK did not begin in earnest until June 1943. The 8th AF tailored POINTBLANK objectives after Schweinfurt -ct 14, 1943, re-organized in December-January, 1944 and issued the focused directive of Destroy the Luftwaffe in the air and on the ground" as an essential pre-cursor to OVERLORD. The Luftwaffe was certainly not 'defeated in the minds of USAAF or RAF as the political pressures almost forced 8th AF to stand down on daylight strategic raids and join the RAF at night. The Luftwaffe brought daylight incursions beyond P-47 range to a halt until a few in January and early February - until Big Week February 20-25, 1944

The reason the 'retreat tactics' that you mentioned were in use is because the Luftwaffe could not hold its own within range of Allied fighters. As you correctly state, the Mustang turned this crisis into a disaster, since it was able to hunt and destroy German aircraft in their final refuge.

I would personally 'fine tune' the comment to - The LW could not afford to trade losses with Allied air and the twin engine fighters simply could not survive - but deadly when unopposed.

When considering the effectiveness of the Lightning, I think it needs to be mentioned that it was by far the highest performance twin-engined fighter of the war. In that sense, it was an incredible technical breakthrough, even the P-38F. I participated in a very interesting recent discussion on the Luftwaffe side of the forum on this topic, see http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/printt...?t=41714&pp=40 . In terms of ZG's being swept from the sky, II and III./ZG 1's experiences in the Mediterranean in early 1943 form a useful example. These units were rendered combat ineffective by superior allied technology before either the Thunderbolt or the Mustang entered combat.

Yet the Zerstroyer Gruppe's remained effective defending eastern, southern and southeastern Reich out of range of the P-38s until the P-51B/C arrived in numbers . The P-38F was not effective in the ETO for at least three reasons. The Intercooler design was incapable of managing power demands in the very cold high altitudes of the ETO. The P-38J-15 and newer solved that (mostly). The P-38 was nearly 2X the size in area as the Bf 109. The 109 and 190 pilots could easily see them and make choices regarding tactics - fight or flee (not so with Mustang)' Last, the instant compressibility issue entering critical Mach from high speed level flight at 20K+ after entering a dive to chase German fighters was severe and while the 38J-25 had both dive flaps and boosted ailerons, the P-38 limit dive speed was still .68M - well below the 109 and 190 (and P-51/P-47). The F7F was superior but entered the war only in the PTO in last months of the war as a night fighter.

I think the impact of the heavy bombers on attrition was quite substantial. It is difficult to separate out the losses caused by gunners for the reasons that you describe, but the Luftwaffe losses against unescorted missions were often quite heavy. This was completely without precedent in all the air battles that went before. The 50 caliber machine guns were particularly dangerous against those among the heavy fighters which weren't armed with stand-off weapons.

I agree - but point back to Luftwaffe adapting tactics to retreat the twin engine day/night fighter interceptions to middle and deep Germany - which only the Mustang truly defeated based on tactical footprint in excess of the P-38 until the J-15 with the extra 110 gallons of fuel.

The numbers of German fighter losses onviously support your argument for 1944, but this is partly a product of increased German fighter deliveries, as you mentioned. It is fair to say that a German aircraft destroyed in 1942 was much more important than one destroyed in 1944, since by 1944 the Wehrmacht had substantially collapsed and lost both the strategic and operational initiative. Can you point to a good source on RAF escort operations? This is a somewhat peripheral point, but I have the impression that RAF escort units were somewhat less effective than USAAF ones, at least when operating over Norway.

The number of German aircraft destroyed was more important only in context of a.) the re-direct priorities which were later increased greatly by Milch in early 1943 - based primarily on Galland's and Speer's warnings concerning the potential threat of AAF Daylight bombing in late 1942, early 1943, and b.) loss of fighter pilots. If you look at TO&E of all Defense of the Reich units there are always a big % (10-20) unavailable for combat based on both damage as well as lack of replacements during the first half of 1944.

What I do agree on relative to 1940 through 1942 is that attrition of the talented core of the pre-war LW was heavily assaulted on all fronts. Ditto RAF and VVS but the replacement and training program for LW was inferior. Having said that, the squadrons diverted from OST and SUD from late summer 1943 through May 1944 were from experienced units. The Americans by contrast had superior flight training and conditions relative to new LW replacements but less combat experience.


I wholeheartedly agree on the question of the P-51's performance. I've never read a clear exposition on the vexed question of drag numbers, but it's obvious that the Mustang design was a breakthrough in this area. It wouldn't have been a very succesful fighter otherwise, because it had the same engine as the Spitfire and was very heavy compared to most fighters of the time. Another interesting side issue is why the Spitfire was never equipped with drop tanks in large numbers. Even the Luftwaffe used Bf 109Gs with tanks on a large scale, so the RAF was really quite far behind by the time the war ended.

[b]The Mustang began life with several advantages leading to an outstanding all purpose fighter . First the extremely low drag 45-100 laminar flow airfoil. It had only a slight increase in laminar flow boundary layer but the separation profile remained 'thin' to the maximum T/C at 45% (vs ~25% for conventional) and it had delayed shock wave formation and subsequent movement of center of pressure - it never really had much of a 'mach tuck pitching moment like the P-38 and P-47. Second - it Began life with all the fuel in the wings - and a Lot of it at 180 Gallons US, then 182, then 85 more in the aft fuselage for the P-51B/C/D/K after November 1943. The A-36 introduced bomb racks which also served as fuel link for external fuel tanks and adopted on P-51A/B/C/D/K/H. Last, the airframe design in context of second order curves[ for lines and the placement and design of the radiator/oil cooler intake to cause a rapid opening to slow the airflow down before hitting radiator, pass through the radiator to obtain heat energy and exit through a variable opening (i.e so called Meridith effect) dramatically reduced the drag compared to say the Spit or Bf 109 designs. The intro of the Merlin 1650-3 and -7 further added to the capability by maximizing performance at bomber altitudes wher the opponents were rapidly degrading/B]

The issue of fighter units draining away from the fighting fronts is extremely important. The process started on the Eastern Front in 1941, with the withdrawal of JG 27 to the Mediterranean. It then accelerated with the formation of new units in the West, for JG 1. By the time of operation Torch, the Mediterranean front was consuming parts of core Eastern Front Jagdgeschwader, like II./JG 51. Another important factor was that the West and later also the Mediterranean were the theatres where most of the higher-performance fighter types were concentrated, whether the Fw 190 or the higher-altitude sub-types of the Bf 109G. To summarise, the Eastern Front very quickly became a backwater after Torch, while the Mediterranean followed suit in late spring and summer 1943, with the destruction of German air power in Tunisia, Sicily and southern Italy.

Agreed - though I would characterize that more as withdrawal rather than destroyed - as the Allies captured ground.

To touch on the subject of the specific Luftwaffe units fighting the Mustangs, it is worth mentioning that some Jagdgeschwader, usually those with little experience in the West, suffered particularly heavy losses. I am thinking especially of JG3, but this was a wider phenomenon.

Also agreed. IMO another huge issue is that the LW high command emasculated LW units in the West by demanding that they 'only attack the bombers' That resulted in conserving Some LW pilots in a battle of attrition but the unforeseen, unplanned consequences were that raw US pilots with good flying skills gained rapid combat experience without extraordinary losses and encouraged incredible aggressiveness to attack, attack, attack.

Regards,

Paul
It has been good to debate Paul - we remain with differences of opinion but the actual metrics are hard to arrange given the fluidity of the air war.

My last closing point to emphasize the first one above about POINTBLANK. If the LW was destroyed by early to mid 1943 - why didn't RAF discontinue night raids, or US continue deep penetrations after the cumulative losses from Late July through October 14, 1943.

The US top commanders including Marshall, Arnold and Eisenhower bought into the logic posed by Eaker at Casablanca - because the ultimate objective was a successful OVERLORD, and as late as January 1944 the intelligence coming from Brit sources including ULTRA was that the LW strength was growing 'alarmingly' - hence Big Week combined with introduction of the new operational Mustang groups to augment 20th and 55th FG Lightning's.
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Old 10th July 2015, 17:36
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Re: Allied air superiority in 1944: P-47 D Razorback decided it?

I forgot to address RAF Mustang escort sources. The most important references to the combat units in occasional support to 8th AF ops can be found in the high level Mission Summary published as a roll up from Intelligence reports prepared by each squadron, incorporated into Group, then Division, then Summary following every mission.

I don't know of an RAF Fighter Command history that details RAF operations like Kent Miller performed in his two volumes... or Dr. Prien's extensive LW staffel histories.

I know Frank Olynyk is WIP studying RAF VC's for various Mustang squadrons.

One comment on effectiveness of RAF Mustang escort support to RAF BC. The Brits, IIRC the bomber commanders, had far more say on the escort tactics, mostly demanding very close and tethered escort. The US Fighter commanders had more latitude in the operational execution of close air support as well as planning and executing Sweeps and Area patrols over the target regions to intercept and attack LW formation assemblies.
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The Effect of Numerical Superiority in the Air War Christer Bergström Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 11 3rd March 2005 08:39
Eastern vs Western Front (was: La-7 vs ???) Christer Bergström Allied and Soviet Air Forces 66 1st March 2005 19:44


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