8th AF and RAF Bomber losses

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by b17sam, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. b17sam

    b17sam Member

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    I believe the total of B17 and B24 bombers that failed to return from combat operations came to 3832. Can anyone supply the total figures for Lancaster, Halifax, and Stirling bombers?
     
  2. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Hi Sam:

    The aircraft losses for the RAF by type by Group, are here:

    BC - Group Stats

    You'll have to use a little Excel-fu to get the grand totals, but that page is a good start.
     
  3. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Hi Sam:

    Brief update. The answer appears to be "depends who you ask."

    The site I mentioned above has 614 Stirlings, 1,721 Hallies and 3378 Lancs Failed to Return, total 5713. Note that it also provides separate figures for crashed on return for Stirlings and Lancs (sadly not for Halifaxes), which brings its total to 6,357 without the Hallies. If they crashed on return at the same rate as Lancs, there'd be another 200 or so losses.

    The figures given in a paper called "Britain 1939 - 1945: The Economic Cost of Strategic Bombing" are: 684 Stirlings, 1,884 Hallies and 4,265 Lancs lost on operations, total 6,833. However I'm convinced this includes those aircraft which crashed or were otherwise written off on return, so not simply Failed to Return. The paper itself is a free download pdf file at:
    http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/664/2/adt-NU20050104.11440202whole.pdf

    There is an American Paper called "Strategy for Defeat" (actually about the Luftwaffe, and also a free download from http://aupress.au.af.mil/catalog/books/Murray_B12.htm ) gives TO THE END OF '44 715 Stirlings, 1,989 Hallies and 3,292 Lancs, total 5,997 as written off. Again, I believe this includes crashed on return or written off due to damage.

    Apparently there is a table in one of the appendices in Martin Middlebrook's Bomber Command War Diaries which may split it all out. There's a copy of same in my local library, I'll see if I can get over there soonish.

    HTH
     
  4. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    It would make sense for the RAF losses to be higher considering they were bombing mainland Europe for 3 years before the Americans.
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Don't have the statistics at hand but IIRC the number of tons dropped by USAAF was just under RAF BC in ETO - implying more sorties by USAAF because of less bomb load.

    Also the RAF continued to take big losses at night through the end of the war whereas the USAAF daylight excorts were mostly effective at neutralizing the LW during the last 12 months.. with only a couple of days in which the LW took down up to 40 bombers after May 1, 1944.
     
  6. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Bear in mind Sam's after the numbers for the heavies, which really didn't enter full RAF service until 1942.
     
  7. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    although the real figure could go either way and it will be revealed in some aspects this late fall in 2 volumes on the Nachtjagd but the LW night fighter forces claimed some 7,308 confirmed day and night victories. 220 of the total were day kills mostly of heavy US 4-engine bombers but also Allied fighters as well.....

    E ~
     
  8. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    true its pretty hard to escort night bombing with WW2 technology!
     
  9. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Many RAF raids in the early part of the war involved aircraft carrying only 3,000lbs or less (ie Whitley, Hampden etc) and most of the early raids only involved leaflet drops so comparing tonnage dropped will not give a true overall picture I feel.
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    agreed.
     
  11. annecooper

    annecooper New Member

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    hi i am daughter of a deceased decorated bomber pilot i would really be grateful for information-numbers and statistics of losses-planes and pilots[raf] per mission and total,also if possible bombers seperate statistics,[is it true that 80% losses occured through the war?]
     
  12. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    Post this in the aircraft requests section, so then more people will read it and you should get the replies your looking for! Just a suggestion, good luck!
     
  13. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Hi Again Sam:

    Found the Middlebrook book in the local library. The numbers here gives are:

    Lancs: 3,431 Failed to Return, 246 Operational Crashes
    Hallies: 1,884 Failed to Return, 199 Operational Crashes
    Stirlings: 625 Failed to Return, 59 Operational Crashes

    Total: 5,940 Failed to Return, 504 Operational Crashes
     
  14. b17sam

    b17sam Member

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    Many thanks, mhuxt, for the exact reply I was seeking. What was the title of the Middlebrook book? Here are a couple of statistics you may find interesting. My bomb group, the 91st, had the most casualties of any group in the 8th Air Force (see link to 8th AF casualties in B-17 B-24 Pictures Information 8th Air Force Flying Fortress Liberator Ploesti Schweinfurt Merseberg Berlin missions ), and we were second in number of cases of VD. We might have been first in that category too, had I not abstained during the last two weeks of my tour.
     
  15. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Hi Sam:

    No worries, glad to be able to help. The book is called "The Bomber Command War Diaries", and is a massive piece of work, giving a day-by-day picture of targets, sorties dispatched and failed to return, with some more detailed narrative.

    I confess I'd not seen your website before, but I'm now slowly working my way through it. I'm not sure I could have done what you and your comrades did even when I was young and insane, and I'm damn sure I couldn't do it today.

    All the very best to you,

    Mark

    Edit - There is a cached version of the day-by-day accounts by Middlebrook (though not of the appendices etc.) here:

    RAF History - Bomber Command 60th Anniversary
     
  16. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Mark ah but lets wait for the two volumes by Dr. Theo Boiten Nachtjagd as it will be a great comparison to reality
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Sam - IIRC the 91st had ~ 197 B-17s that FTR.. did you know that your Little Friends at Steeple Morden had 192 FTR despite flying a year shorter combat ops.. of course one crew member/ac is a lot fewer than 10/ac.

    Here is one of your guys that belly landed with full load right after TO, at Steeple Morden, on March 6, 1944 - Big B day.
     

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  18. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Bill you've studied the Merseburg mission at all ? Sent some stuff to Sam a couple years ago but not sure if he ever got them

    what a horror story for both sides ~ IV.Sturm/JG 3 assaulted Sam's 91st bg and the II.Sturm/JG 4 assaulted the 457th bg.

    JG 3's Sturmgruppe "claimed" some 17 B-17's on 2 November 1944 and losing at least 22 Fw 190A-8's in process due to varying causes, but mostly through air combat situations .........sorry getting a bit OT here.

    E ~
     
  19. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Yes I have. The 91st officially lost 12 of 13 to GF and the 457th lost 9 of 9 to GF.

    IIRC that mission was the last one of the war for either BG to lose more than 4 B-17s to German fighters.

    The 355th was escorting 2nd BD B-24s and didn't lose any bombers that day.
     
  20. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    yes a terrible turn for the two Sturmgruppen this date for what they did......the inevitable was happening to them more than what they realized.

    Ed Gates did a good write up of the overview for the 91st bg on their dedicated website as well as the 457th bg site, lost 9, 5 major damage and 4 minor, the 457th claimed 8 destroyed and 2 probable.
    Remember writing group historian Willard Reese with my findings back in winter of 2001 as he had no clue whom attacked them - the 457th bg, and inf act I translated the LW accoutn from the German for his and his bg database

    small world and crazy times........
     
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