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  #1  
Old 9th March 2005, 15:19
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Air war over North Africa

The thread on the air war over Tunisia inspired me to do some reading on the air war over North Africa. I discovered that I hadn’t updated my material on the North African air war for many years. In Ring’s & Girbig’s old JG 27 chronicle (p. 197), they give these loss & claims figures for the air war over the Western Desert during the last successful offensive by the Axis, from 26 May to 31 July 1942:

Allied aircraft losses due to British sources: 736 aircraft (600 fighters, 136 bombers). (Source referred to: “Middle East: A Study in Air Power”, published in 1944!)

Victory claims by German fighters (mainly JG 27): 269 Allied fighters shot down.

Losses sustained by JG 27: 15 pilots killed, missing, wounded or POW.

It would be interesting if someone here has access to more recent Allied sources regarding actual Allied aircraft losses in North Africa during that period.

Reminds me, I have to remind Struve Druck of that order for Prien’s latest German fighter unit book; I placed that order over a month ago, and still haven’t heard anything.
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Old 9th March 2005, 18:23
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is online now
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III/JG 53 claimed 51 of the 269 fighters during this period.

Comparing loss of pilots with loss of planes is comparing apples and oranges IMOO. Would be more interesting to know the plane losses of JG 27 or the pilot losses of the RAF.
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Old 9th March 2005, 18:32
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Quote:
Would be more interesting to know the plane losses of JG 27 or the pilot losses of the RAF.
I agree. That's why I asked for such information. Do you have it? I just contributed with what I have.
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Old 10th March 2005, 00:57
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Allied Losses in North Africa, 1942

Hi Christer,

These figures are taken from my recently completed Honours thesis. The source is Shores & Ring, Fighters Over The Desert, and these are daily Allied losses to Axis fighters in North Africa:

May 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Total
Hurricane - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - 5 - 3 - - 2 4 - 2 18
Kittyhawk - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - 3 - - 2 - - 5 1 - - - 5 2 4 12 4 40
Tomahawk - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 1 1 1 7 15
Beaufighter - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2
Boston - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - 1
Baltimore - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - - 4

June 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Total
Spitfire - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - 3
Hurricane - 1 2 - 1 - 3 2 1 5 2 - - 3 5 1 - - - - - - - - - 3 1 5 1 - - 44
Kittyhawk 3 - - 1 - - 2 1 1 - 2 5 4 2 - 6 2 - - - - - - 2 1 11 1 - - - - 44
Tomahawk 1 - 7 4 2 1 - 3 2 - 1 - 1 1 - 4 3 - - - - - - 1 - 2 1 1 - - - 35
Beaufighter - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 2 - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - 7
Albacore - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - 1
Beaufort - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4
Baltimore - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 3 - - - - 5
Liberator - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1

July 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Total
Spitfire - - - - 1 2 - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - 2 1 - - - - - - - - - 8
Hurricane - - 10 7 1 - - - - 6 - - 2 - 1 2 5 2 2 1 2 3 4 5 - - 9 1 - - - 63
Kittyhawk 2 2 3 1 1 1 - - - 5 1 - - 1 - 1 1 - - 3 1 1 1 2 - - 1 - - 1 - 29
Tomahawk - - - - - - 1 - - - 5 - - - - 1 - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - 9
Beaufighter - 3 - 1 - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6
Boston - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Bombay - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - 2
Liberator - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1

That's not very clear, but I don't have time to clean it up. I have more of this information covering from February to October 1942, so if you want to see that, please let me know.

Statistics, 10 February - 23 October 1942

Total Allied losses to Axis fighters in North Africa;

Hurricanes - 233
Kittyhawks - 230
Tomahawks - 91
Spitfires - 39
Beaufighters - 18
Beaufort - 11
Baltimore - 9
Boston - 7
P-40s - 3
Bombay - 3
Albacore - 2
Wellington - 2
Liberator - 2
Blenheim - 1
Fulmar - 1
Maryland - 1
TOTAL - 653 (or 3.9 British aircraft lost to Axis fighters each day in North Africa)

In this period the German fighter pilots claimed ca. 930 victories in North Africa, of which only 63 were bombers.

Between 1 March 1942 and 20 July 1942 the Italians claimed 265 enemy aircraft shot down, along with 73 probably shot down.

There were 58 falsified victory claims by 4./J.G. 27 between 20 June 1942 and 12 October 1942.

Sources
AWM 54 423-4-103 Part 64, Records of the Italian 5th Squadra Aerea

Tony Wood's victory claims material

C. Shores & H. Ring, Fighters Over the Desert

Cheers,
Andrew A.

"Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall,
but there's always someone cooler than you" - Ben Folds
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Old 10th March 2005, 08:39
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Thanks a lot, Andrew!

I too have Shores & Ring, Fighters Over The Desert, although the German edition. However, I am not sure that all Allied losses are covered in that book. Are you? Also, the Italian claims prove to be extremely exaggerated - by 1:10 or what? There's one quote in that book, IIRC, that says that it seems as though the Italians in their optimism counted every aircraft seen crashing as an enemy aircraft shot down by Italian fighters.

All best,

Christer
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Old 10th March 2005, 17:10
marsyao marsyao is offline
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Christer, Mr Shores's "Fighter over Desert" and "Fighter over Tunise" were excellent books, but you shall remember those two books were published in 60's and 70's, and I believe at that time, Mr Shores did not use any Italian source, so in this two books,the operations of Italian airforce were always in the shadow, so it was too soon to judge the efficiency of Italian airforce by these two books.
Mr Shores's later books would be different, have you read his "Dust Clouds in the Middle East", "Malta, the Hurricunce year" and "Malta, the Spitfire year" ? in those books, he would use sources from all of those took part into the battles: British, German and Italian.
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Old 10th March 2005, 17:57
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Marsyao, I noticed that also in Shores's Balkans book, he was better informed regarding Regia Aeronautica's operations.

Do you have any supplemental information to the material in Shores's book on N. Africa which would place certain events in a new light? It would be very interesting to see suhc information!

When I was a young boy. . . (no notes here? )

. . . I was very interested in learning about the "unknown air forces", the Soviet and the Italian. Among other things, I contacted the Italian embassy, the military attaché, and got quite an interesting stuff on Italian fighter aces. That was in 1973 - 1974. I found it vcery interesting to compare that with Ring's book on JG 27 and some other books (Neville Dukes autobiography? What else? Can't remember now). Then when I bought Shores's N. Africa book shortly afterward, I looked particularly for information about the Italian AF. I learned everything about Bordoni Bisleri when I was about 17.
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Old 11th March 2005, 02:41
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Fighters Over the Desert

Hi,

Here are the rest of the Shores & Ring figures for Allied losses to fighters in North Africa in 1942.

February 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Total
Hurricane 1 - 4 4 - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - 13
Kittyhawk - 1 1 - - 7 1 - - - - 3 - 2 - - - 3 - 18
Fulmar - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Blenheim - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - 1
Wellington - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - 1


March 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Total
Hurricane - 3 - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - 1 - - - - 8
Kittyhawk - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 2 - - - - - 2 1 - 2 - - 2 - 2 - - - 12
Tomahawk - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - 2 - - - 1 4
Beaufighter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - 1
Albacore - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Beaufort - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Boston - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - 2 - - - - - - - - 4
Wellington - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1


April 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Total
Hurricane - 4 1 - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - - - - 10
Kittyhawk - - 2 - 1 1 2 - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - 10 - - - - - 17
Tomahawk - - - - - - - - 1 - 5 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - 7
Beaufort - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6
Maryland - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - 2


May 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Total
Hurricane - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - 5 - 3 - - 2 4 - 2 18
Kittyhawk - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - 3 - - 2 - - 5 1 - - - 5 2 4 12 4 40
Tomahawk - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 1 1 1 7 15
Beaufighter - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2
Boston - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - 1
Baltimore - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - - 4


June 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Total
Spitfire - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - 3
Hurricane - 1 2 - 1 - 3 2 1 5 2 - - 3 5 1 - - - - - - - - - 3 1 5 1 - - 44
Kittyhawk 3 - - 1 - - 2 1 1 - 2 5 4 2 - 6 2 - - - - - - 2 1 11 1 - - - - 44
Tomahawk 1 - 7 4 2 1 - 3 2 - 1 - 1 1 - 4 3 - - - - - - 1 - 2 1 1 - - - 35
Beaufighter - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 2 - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - 7
Albacore - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - 1
Beaufort - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4
Baltimore - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 3 - - - - 5
Liberator - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1


July 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Total
Spitfire - - - - 1 2 - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - 2 1 - - - - - - - - - 8
Hurricane - - 10 7 1 - - - - 6 - - 2 - 1 2 5 2 2 1 2 3 4 5 - - 9 1 - - - 63
Kittyhawk 2 2 3 1 1 1 - - - 5 1 - - 1 - 1 1 - - 3 1 1 1 2 - - 1 - - 1 - 29
Tomahawk - - - - - - 1 - - - 5 - - - - 1 - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - 9
Beaufighter - 3 - 1 - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6
Boston - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Bombay - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - 2
Liberator - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1


August 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Total
Spitfire - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - 1 1 - - - - - - - 1 1 6
Hurricane 2 - 3 2 1 2 2 1 - - - - - - 1 - 2 - - - - - - - 4 - 1 - 1 3 2 27
P-40 - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1
Kittyhawk - - - 2 - - - 1 - 2 - 2 - 7 - 1 - 2 - - - - 1 - - - - 2 4 - - 24
Tomahawk - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4
Beaufighter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - 2
Bombay - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1


September 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Total
Spitfire 2 1 2 - 5 - - 1 - - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - 14
Hurricane 9 6 6 1 1 8 - - - - 2 - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - 1 - 1 - - 37
P-40 1 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2
Kittyhawk 1 1 5 - 2 2 3 1 - - - 1 1 - 7 1 - - - 3 - - - - - - - - - - 27
Tomahawk 4 2 2 - - 4 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 14
Boston - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - 1


October 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Total
Spitfire - 1 - - - - - - 1 2 - - - - - - - - 1 1 1 1 - 8
Hurricane - - - - 1 - - - 8 - - - - - - - - - 1 1 1 - 1 13
Kittyhawk - - - - - - 1 - 6 - - - 2 - - - - - 1 - 2 4 3 19
Tomahawk - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - - 3

Here are some more statistics, this time daily sorties by the units under the Fliegerführer Afrika, from various sources, which are noted in the third column:

Date Sorties Source/s
21.03.42 159 NA HW 1
03.04.42 56 fighters NA HW 1
26.05.42 220 fighters Gundelach, p.368
30.05.42 326 NA AIR 20/5774, p.5
10.06.42 299 Gundelach, p.369; NA AIR 20/5774, pp.33-34
14.06.42 390 NA AIR 20/5774, p.42
15.06.42 209 NA AIR 20/5774, p.45
16.06.42 198 NA AIR 20/5774, p.54
20.06.42 580 Luftwaffe NA AIR 20/5774, p.63
177 Regia Aeronautica
08.07.42 185 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
09.07.42 160 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
10.07.42 213 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
11.07.42 265 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
12.07.42 50 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
13.07.42 241 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
14.07.42 226 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
15.07.42 319 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
16.07.42 262 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
17.07.42 274 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
18.07.42 154 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
19.07.42 205 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
20.07.42 90 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
21.07.42 90 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
22.07.42 275 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
23.07.42 205 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
24.07.42 78 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
25.07.42 103 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
26.07.42 36 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
31.08.42 310 Hinsley, Vol. 2, p.421
02.09.42 158 Prien, JG 53, p.449
06.09.42 130 Hinsley, Vol. 2, p.421
22.10.42 142 NA HW 1
24.10.42 107 Hinsley, Vol. 2, p.437

06.42 7,035 Gundelach, p.395
07.42 5,260 Gundelach, p.396

26.05.42 - 01.06.42 2,422 NA AIR 20/5774, p.10
02.06.42 - 07.07.42 6,816 NA AIR 20/5774, p.111
08.07.42 - 26.07.42 3,465 NA AIR 20/5774, p.116

As for the accuracy of the works by Shores et al, it is my humble opinion that Fighters Over the Desert is quite accurate for the losses and victories of British units, because Shores had access to most, if not all, of the British ORBs. It is the same for Shores, Ring & Hess in Fighters Over Tunisia, where the coverage of British units is (again, just my humble opinion) very good. However, in Fighters Over Tunisia the coverage of the American units is not very good, because I guess Hess didn't have access to the detailed Fighter Squadron and Fighter Group records.

Cheers,
Andrew A.

"What could it be, it's a mirage,
You're scheming on a thing - that's Sabotage" - Beastie Boys
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Old 11th March 2005, 07:35
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Juha Juha is offline
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Thanks a lot, Andrew

greatly appreciated

Juha
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Old 12th March 2005, 12:42
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Andrew and Juha, as I asked in another thread - are your sure that Shores’s figures include all Allied losses? I’m not so sure about that.

For 7 August 1942, Shores & Ring comments a report by the famous “Vögl Schwarm” of a combat with Hurricanes whereby Bendert claimed to have damaged a Hurricane: “It has not been possible to find [this combat] in any British sources.” (My translation from the German edition.)

However, if you go here:

http://www.rifty.fsnet.co.uk/saaf/aircraft.htm

. . . you will see that there indeed was an Allied air unit fighting the Vögl Schwarm, namely 1 SAAF Sqn, and the Hurricane reportedly damaged by Bendert probably was the Hurricane MkII Ser no 227, piloted by Ray Connell of 1 Sqn SAAF. The source referred to is Ray Connell’s logbook.

I found this only by pure coincidence. I have never attempted to check the list of losses mentioned Shores’s book (“Fighters over North Africa”.)

If Shores couldn’t find this combat, we cannot be certain that he hasn’t missed other combats and other losses as well.

That said, I find Shores’s book absolutely fantastic. Of course no book is without even the slightest mistake, and only a fool would expect a book to be 100 % perfect. All I say is that we should not take for granted that Shores’s book contains exactly all Allied losses. Christopher Shores probably would agree with me.
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