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Old 30th May 2010, 14:06
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Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

I am trying to make sense of 41 and 603 Squadrons' claims on 17 November 1940, when they intercepted the Luftwaffe's first raid of the day over the Thames Estuary. I understand they inercepted JG54, but John Foreman, in his 'Battle of Britain; The Forgotten Months' states that despite 603 Squadron's claims of 3-1-0 and 41's of 5-0-1, only two Luftwaffe pilots of 5/JG54 failed to return, whilst one force-landed out of fuel at Ostend.

Are these really the only losses attributed to this day's first battle? I'm fighting with the fact that I have 41 Squadron's Combat Reports, in which each pilot states he saw his opponent hit the water. The implication of only two Luftwaffe pilots failing to return is that several pilots lied blatantly.

Whilst I understand some pilots stretched the truth at times, and many a pilot was hopeful his victory was definite or at least probable if he could not see the final result, an aircraft hitting the water is pretty clear cut.

Does anyone have any other losses in Luftwaffe units that may be attributable to 41 and/or 603 Squadron, please? Their combats took place over the outer Thames Estuary just after 09:00 and the units were back on the ground at Hornchurch at 09:30.

Any help or guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks
Steve
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Old 30th May 2010, 15:04
Brian Bines Brian Bines is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

Steve,

Had a look at a JG54 pilot loss list, and Luft Qm's returns which seem to confirm the JG54 losses on the 17th all as stated by John Foreman. Three other 109 losses plus one damaged do not tie with the 41 and 603 Sqd. claims. In the middle of a fight if several pilots see their 109 diving away giving off smoke one of these goes down in a big splash and the others pull out low and make for home, I guess more than one pilot might in good faith put in a claim. I suppose combat reports written following the stress of battle might not always tie up with known facts all these years on.

Regards

Brian Bines
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Old 30th May 2010, 15:20
christian christian is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

Hi Steve

The Stab JG 54, II./JG 54 with the I./JG 77 und the JG 26 fly escort for the Me 110 of the E.Gr.210 to Wattisham (09.30 - 11.15).

The E.Gr. 210 had three losses, two over the water. The JG 26 had one loss on this day (same combat?), Oblt. Henrici from the 1.Staffel at Harwich. The 5.Staffel of the II./JG 54 had two total losses, and one at Oostende. Many 109 E of the JG 54 was damaged in combat.

Greetings Christian
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Old 30th May 2010, 19:53
dunc8543 dunc8543 is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

Steve,

I think that your phrase " The implication of only two Luftwaffe pilots failing to return is that several pilots lied blatantly", is at the least ill informed and to some maybe seen as offensive.
It is widely accepted that during the frantic activity of a dog fight it was extremely difficult and if not dangerous for pilots to follow their victims down and observe where they crashed.
Therefore it was quite common for all sides to overclaim following combats in WW2 as aircraft seen to crash which had been attacked by a number of pilots were honestly believed to be because of those individuals actions and subsequently claimed as such.
It is a brave man who sits in judgement on events which happen with such speed and cause such fear that we who study such events can scarcely imagine.

Dunc
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Old 30th May 2010, 21:32
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John Vasco John Vasco is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

Quote:
Originally Posted by christian View Post
The E.Gr. 210 had three losses, two over the water.
Greetings Christian
This is incorrect. Erprobungsgruppe 210's three Bf 110 losses were all over water. Neumann/Stoff into the North Sea; Kowatsch/Bade into the North Sea, and Strobel/Rademacher into the Channel.
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Old 30th May 2010, 23:21
christian christian is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

Hi John

Sorry, my mistake

Greetings Christian
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Old 31st May 2010, 01:59
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Re: Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

Neumann and Stoff baled out. Stoff landed near Orford; Neumann came down in the North Sea and was rescued by the Aldeburgh lifeboat, Abdy Beauclerk. Both survived into captivity and returned to Germany post-war. The four other crewmen did not survive.
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Old 31st May 2010, 11:30
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Re: Luftwaffe Losses, 17 November 1940

Thanks Brian, Christian and John; I appreciate your feedback and additional information.

Dunc - Let me assure you, I had no intention of offending anyone. As I said at the outset, I was struggling with claims vs. losses and seeking some guidance. Your explanation was exactly the type of information I was seeking.

With thanks and regards
Steve
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