Another 'Gem' from Greg - just released.

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That is the problem. Not all charts present the altitudes for values, but USAAF typically plotted 10,000 and 25,000. The 10,000 foot values in my experience always exceed the 25K ranges displayed for same loadout.
Since I did not have a good P-47 mission planner chart I assumed 100 gallons would put the aircraft at 20,000 feet plus move it close to contested airspace. At 91 gallons from start up to 20,000 feet the 75 (84) gallon tank runs out during the climb. Except as we know take off would be using the main tanks, switching to external fuel during the climb, even so the external tanks are eligible for dropping near Britain *if* the fuel system allowed the internal tanks to be replenished by the external ones. The fact the P-47 switched from 100 gallons in the ferry tank to 84 in a combat tank says no in flight replenishment was possible in mid 1943. Assuming, since 33k has given a figure, the change to external fuel was at 10,000 feet, 59 gallons gone already, 32 more to get to 20,000 feet, leaving 50 or more gallons, or over 130 miles. The change to external fuel would actually be at lower altitude which decreases the fuel for cruise. The external ferry tanks were carried at least close to contested airspace, otherwise why have 100 gallons on board.
VIII FC doctrine built around 'beware the Hun in the sun' was keen on entering enemy airspace at a high (er) rate of speed than optimum per the charts... and refrain from cruising as a sitting duck o enemy fighters that were positioned to attack at 25K+.
It seems clear the escorts in 1943 assumed dangerous Luftwaffe from near the enemy coast but in 1944 it was not as dangerous Luftwaffe some distance back from the coast, which saved fuel. In 1943 it looks like the 8th Air Force tried to be at combat altitude leaving the British coast.

Agreed looking at encounter reports is a good way of determining actual ranges flown and the further the distance the more restrictions on deviations.
The first example of P-47s engaging in combat at Bremen or Hamburg (offhand cursory inspection of Victory credits/location are 56th FG November 29, 1943 with 108 gal C/L tanks.
My mention of Hamburg was more about why the ferry tank load is reported as fixed when there were significant differences from base to contested airspace depending on target, as noted probably because the tanks were only used for a few missions. Still, the 25 July 1943 raid on Hamburg saw the fighters used to support the B-26 and an RAF light bomber raid, not the heavy bombers. The difference between 100 gallons in a ferry tank and 108 in a combat tank is minimal range wise, and the ferry tank can carry more fuel if its drag was higher. The difference appears to be combat against ferry and associated risks carrying it.
IIRC the June 1943 ops did not have a 300 B-17 dispatched mission. The first was the Blitz Week July 28h split force strikes at Kassel (182) and Oschersleben (120) (Freeman:source) - of which only a total of 95 were effectives due to most of force (>150) returning due to weather. Only 37 of the Oschersleben force dropped bombs.. The total loss was high but could be rationalized by greatly reduced defensive firepower.
That is the concern, command seem to have been looking for reasons to discount loss rates, while even if there had been 300 sent average loss rates were still unacceptable. The four days of raids in June 1943, 11th Wilhelmshaven with 252 sent, 13th Bremen/Kiel 227 sent, 22nd Huls 235 sent (plus 42 to Antwerp of which 4 missing) total 277, 25th convoys off Wangerooge and Juist Islands 197 sent, grand total 953 sent, saw 72 B-17 listed as missing, to have a 5% loss rate requires 1,440 sorties making it to contested airspace, 360 per day, and that is assuming sending more bombers will not increase losses and that is not going to happen, flak is mostly a numbers game, a percentage of those in range will be shot down unless you can achieve saturation, while usually some defensive fighter sorties fail to make contact, the more incoming aircraft the lower that chance. Of the 72 B-17 missing 11 were lost to flak and 4 to flak and fighter, 5 more flak losses requires 100 more incoming sorties to stay at 5% losses, 385 per day. Sending 400 per day or more is required and that is to mostly coastal targets. Yet the historic literature talks about 300 sent being the required number. Also apart from the missing another 7 B-17 were written off.

25 to 30 July 1943, raids on all but the 29th, 86 missing, requires 1,720 sorties making it to contested airspace for 5% losses, an average of 344 per day for 5 days, there were 1,363 sent (Including 59 on an abandoned mission), 837 credited with attacking. With 29 of the missing credited to flak, around 400 bombers sent per day is required as per the June calculation.
my records and Freeman agree 'circa' Aug 20th for 20th FG arrival, preceding 55th.
Thanks for the that, you are correct, I swapped the two P-38 first dates. As the P-51 was just entering production it had to be considered a 1944 fighter allowing for production, training in the US, movement to Britain, training in Britain and deployment in numbers. So what to do for the next 6 months?

I do not have the specific intelligence on where the allies thought the Luftwaffe was. As far as I know it was accurate to July 1943 then would have initially missed the first moves of fighters to Germany. The 27/28 July firestorm at Hamburg was the single biggest shock the bombing delivered to the German command, with Kursk and Sicily lost as well that created a real shift in German fighter deployments, Luftwaffe thinking was the USAAF could eventually do what the RAF had just done, even though it was currently going after "key" targets, and since no one had really tried key targets plenty of people in Germany worried that also might succeed. The conversation of 28 July 1943 where Goering tells Milch defence of the Reich will have the "main emphasis" in Luftwaffe planning.

According to the Luftwaffe quartermaster the single engine fighter force had grown to 1,849 and the twin engine day force to 194 by end June 1943, end July down to 1,528 and 135, it took until April 1944 to get the single engine force back above 1,800, the twin engine force was over 300 by end August, starting to replace the expensive use of night fighters as day interceptors.
Eaker was under heavy pressure to fly more missions and 'get on with it' by Arnold. Couple those two with ove optimism on part of Eaker that a mission that a.) was strongly escorted in to German Border was adequate to brunt most of the (Known) expected resistance, and b.) sufficiently populated by enough bombers to provide interlocking defensive fire ona large scale would succeed.
Agreed Eaker was under pressure and that must be a major driver, if the 300 bomber figure had been sent to Washington that would put more pressure on once the groups became operational, 10 B-17 groups as of 21 June 1943, 15 as of 17 July.

a) ignores raids on any German target with acceptable losses were the exception, at best it assumes southern Germany was less heavily defended than the Ruhr and points north. It ignores the longer time spent in hostile airspace enabled more interceptions. Even the coastal defences landing and then doing interceptions on the return journey to an extent given the use of North Africa. The RAF had shown in 1940 how quickly fighters could be turned around.

b) is problematical, groups had spacing between them, it was a formation of groups, not one large formation, it would have to mean the group formation had better defensive power.
Recall that the plan for a 300 bomber steam to go to Schweinfurt 'en masse' the break off the 3rd BD to go to Regensburg - then go south to Africa - was a fairly good plan - save for complete disruption due to weather.
Agreed but it was 400 bombers needed in June and July 1943 and to mostly coastal targets in June at least. Part of the reported justification for the 14 October raid was the failure to achieve critical mass on 17 August but in October the extra Luftwaffe fighters in Germany were known. Almost like the 300 figure had become locked in, unable to change as circumstances changed. The 8th Air Force had arrived later than planned and was growing slower than planned even allowing for the movement of units to the Mediterranean. Meant to bomb visually from high altitude it had "missed" the summer of 1942, it was "missing" the summer of 1943, it finally reached the declared strength threshold but that was clearly inadequate from the start of June at least unless somehow the bombers could reduce the effectiveness of fighter attack, essentially evasion or defensive firepower, despite going deeper into enemy airspace, while the defenders were growing in strength, experience and average firepower. The 8th Air Force was pushing hard, total number of bombers attacking Germany July to September 1943 was not much greater than those attacking just in October 1943.

Somewhere within the 8th Air force there was a disconnect between the results of the raids and the perception of what the results meant. There were 32 raid days on Germany before 14 October 1943 with a small sample size it is easy to come up with the special reason that raid day did not work and convince yourself that reason would not be repeated. So keep using the current method you have trained for so long and hard, as it will come good.

The June and July raids had 3 fighter groups available and often used them to escort the B-26 raids. 4 fighter groups in time for the first Schweinfurt raid on 17 August, 6 for the second. Start of June 1943 the 8th Air Force had 12 operational bomb groups, as of mid August that was 16 B-17 as the B-24 groups were in the Mediterranean. Still 16 B-17 in mid October but the 4 B-24 groups were back.

The number of bombers attacking Germany went up again in November 1943 and in December it was double October but with a major difference, %loss bombers credited with attacking targets in Germany June to October 1943 inclusive, 9.07, 10.10, 15.23, 7.62, 9.48. Loss percentages for November and December 3.85 and 3.58, end October 20 operational bomb groups, 8 fighter, end November 21 to 8 plus one 9th Air Force fighter group, end December 25 bomber to 8+1 fighter. Apart from all bomber raids now being "fully escorted" what else had changed? (And yes Luftwaffe fighter pilot training had little instrument flying, so that was a factor)

There is a strong case the 8th Air Force could and should have changed tactics earlier in 1943, the evidence appears to be present at the time to back a change, a 4% of attacking loss rate for targets in Germany June to October 1943 is 173 bombers missing, historically 436 were missing. There is no evidence of attempts to block increases in USAAF fighter ranges or numbers.
In retrospect, image if Regensburg strike plan was to return to Britain and face the gauntlet again. Most folks forget that losses at Regensburg were 50% higher than Schweinfurt.
Roger Freeman has it the other way around, 36 MIA Schweinfurt, 24 MIA Regensburg.

E R Hooton, Eagle in Flames, reports the following day fighter dispositions, Remembering Germany was where fighter units refitted before returning to the front. (Based on the figures in K Gunderlach Die Deutsche Luftwaffe in Mittelmeer 1940-45. Band I 1940-1942. Band 2 1943-1945, page 716).

All for the year 1943, table is date, Luftflotte Mitte (Reich) / Luftflotte 3 /total Mitte + Reich / total fighters / % in west. // Luftwaffe Quartermaster figures, single engine fighters strength/serviceable // twin engine fighters strength/serviceable // fighter bomber strength/serviceable

20 Jan / 163 / 241 / 404 / 1,090 / 37.1% // 1323/844 // 125/50 // 21/11

20 Apr / 188 / 232 / 420 / 1,328 / 31.6% // 1580/1075 // 170/111 // 146/90
20 Jun / 343 / 353 / 696 / 1,704 / 40.1% // 1785/1305 // 188/123 // 116/67
20 Sep / 677 / 222 / 899 / 1,500 / 59.9% // 1564/1066 // 383/245 // 70/28
20 Dec / 572 / 312 / 884 / 1,588 / 55.7% // 1706/1154 // 311/193 // 0/0

Plenty of disagreement. According to Hooton of the extra 614 fighters available on 20 June versus 6 months earlier 292, or slightly under half, had been deployed in the west or Germany. The significant shift in fighter deployments takes place later in the year.

Alfred Price notes on 27 July 1942 Luftflotte Mitte held 158 day fighters and Luftflotte three 244, plus 4 twin engined. On 17 May 1943 these had changed to 299 and 229 (Including 37 twin engined) respectively. The twin engined units were mainly engaged in attempts to disrupt allied anti submarine aircraft patrols. As of end May 1943 the cumulative loss of USAAF bombers credited with attacks on Germany was 7.08% even against that size fighter force.
Can G Geoffrey Sinclair and drgondog drgondog stick their heads together and make an article for a magazine about this subject?
You wont get rich...
No way, I know what writers are paid and refuse get out of bed for anything less than 10 cents a day.
 
It may not have given max range but a lot of planes switched to external tanks at 5,000ft or lower. Sometimes a higher figure may give a built in reserve in figuring things out?
I have read (don't if it is true) that they wanted enough altitude for the plane to turn around and attempt to land if change over did not go well and the engine stopped. Attempts to restart and forced landing. Maybe not a good idea from 10,000ft and miles from the home base?

Most planes had a fuel return line from the carb to the main tank that held the reserve (last tank used when returning) , which should be the tank used for take-off. The fuel pump feed more fuel than needed and the excess was returned to reserve tank, however this was often only a few gallons per hour in Cruise. Much better than dumping it over board. There was no way to route this fuel to any other tank. Only one return line and no valve (?). Trying to fit transfer pump/s (from drop tank/s to internal tanks) is certainly possible. The cost may not be actual cost of the pump/piping but errors/mistakes causing lost aircraft?
 
Since I did not have a good P-47 mission planner chart I assumed 100 gallons would put the aircraft at 20,000 feet plus move it close to contested airspace. At 91 gallons from start up to 20,000 feet the 75 (84) gallon tank runs out during the climb. Except as we know take off would be using the main tanks, switching to external fuel during the climb, even so the external tanks are eligible for dropping near Britain *if* the fuel system allowed the internal tanks to be replenished by the external ones. The fact the P-47 switched from 100 gallons in the ferry tank to 84 in a combat tank says no in flight replenishment was possible in mid 1943. Assuming, since 33k has given a figure, the change to external fuel was at 10,000 feet, 59 gallons gone already, 32 more to get to 20,000 feet, leaving 50 or more gallons, or over 130 miles. The change to external fuel would actually be at lower altitude which decreases the fuel for cruise. The external ferry tanks were carried at least close to contested airspace, otherwise why have 100 gallons on board.

It seems clear the escorts in 1943 assumed dangerous Luftwaffe from near the enemy coast but in 1944 it was not as dangerous Luftwaffe some distance back from the coast, which saved fuel. In 1943 it looks like the 8th Air Force tried to be at combat altitude leaving the British coast.

Agreed looking at encounter reports is a good way of determining actual ranges flown and the further the distance the more restrictions on deviations.

My mention of Hamburg was more about why the ferry tank load is reported as fixed when there were significant differences from base to contested airspace depending on target, as noted probably because the tanks were only used for a few missions. Still, the 25 July 1943 raid on Hamburg saw the fighters used to support the B-26 and an RAF light bomber raid, not the heavy bombers. The difference between 100 gallons in a ferry tank and 108 in a combat tank is minimal range wise, and the ferry tank can carry more fuel if its drag was higher. The difference appears to be combat against ferry and associated risks carrying it.

That is the concern, command seem to have been looking for reasons to discount loss rates, while even if there had been 300 sent average loss rates were still unacceptable. The four days of raids in June 1943, 11th Wilhelmshaven with 252 sent, 13th Bremen/Kiel 227 sent, 22nd Huls 235 sent (plus 42 to Antwerp of which 4 missing) total 277, 25th convoys off Wangerooge and Juist Islands 197 sent, grand total 953 sent, saw 72 B-17 listed as missing, to have a 5% loss rate requires 1,440 sorties making it to contested airspace, 360 per day, and that is assuming sending more bombers will not increase losses and that is not going to happen, flak is mostly a numbers game, a percentage of those in range will be shot down unless you can achieve saturation, while usually some defensive fighter sorties fail to make contact, the more incoming aircraft the lower that chance. Of the 72 B-17 missing 11 were lost to flak and 4 to flak and fighter, 5 more flak losses requires 100 more incoming sorties to stay at 5% losses, 385 per day. Sending 400 per day or more is required and that is to mostly coastal targets. Yet the historic literature talks about 300 sent being the required number. Also apart from the missing another 7 B-17 were written off.

25 to 30 July 1943, raids on all but the 29th, 86 missing, requires 1,720 sorties making it to contested airspace for 5% losses, an average of 344 per day for 5 days, there were 1,363 sent (Including 59 on an abandoned mission), 837 credited with attacking. With 29 of the missing credited to flak, around 400 bombers sent per day is required as per the June calculation.

Thanks for the that, you are correct, I swapped the two P-38 first dates. As the P-51 was just entering production it had to be considered a 1944 fighter allowing for production, training in the US, movement to Britain, training in Britain and deployment in numbers. So what to do for the next 6 months?

I do not have the specific intelligence on where the allies thought the Luftwaffe was. As far as I know it was accurate to July 1943 then would have initially missed the first moves of fighters to Germany. The 27/28 July firestorm at Hamburg was the single biggest shock the bombing delivered to the German command, with Kursk and Sicily lost as well that created a real shift in German fighter deployments, Luftwaffe thinking was the USAAF could eventually do what the RAF had just done, even though it was currently going after "key" targets, and since no one had really tried key targets plenty of people in Germany worried that also might succeed. The conversation of 28 July 1943 where Goering tells Milch defence of the Reich will have the "main emphasis" in Luftwaffe planning.

According to the Luftwaffe quartermaster the single engine fighter force had grown to 1,849 and the twin engine day force to 194 by end June 1943, end July down to 1,528 and 135, it took until April 1944 to get the single engine force back above 1,800, the twin engine force was over 300 by end August, starting to replace the expensive use of night fighters as day interceptors.

Agreed Eaker was under pressure and that must be a major driver, if the 300 bomber figure had been sent to Washington that would put more pressure on once the groups became operational, 10 B-17 groups as of 21 June 1943, 15 as of 17 July.

a) ignores raids on any German target with acceptable losses were the exception, at best it assumes southern Germany was less heavily defended than the Ruhr and points north. It ignores the longer time spent in hostile airspace enabled more interceptions. Even the coastal defences landing and then doing interceptions on the return journey to an extent given the use of North Africa. The RAF had shown in 1940 how quickly fighters could be turned around.

b) is problematical, groups had spacing between them, it was a formation of groups, not one large formation, it would have to mean the group formation had better defensive power.

Agreed but it was 400 bombers needed in June and July 1943 and to mostly coastal targets in June at least. Part of the reported justification for the 14 October raid was the failure to achieve critical mass on 17 August but in October the extra Luftwaffe fighters in Germany were known. Almost like the 300 figure had become locked in, unable to change as circumstances changed. The 8th Air Force had arrived later than planned and was growing slower than planned even allowing for the movement of units to the Mediterranean. Meant to bomb visually from high altitude it had "missed" the summer of 1942, it was "missing" the summer of 1943, it finally reached the declared strength threshold but that was clearly inadequate from the start of June at least unless somehow the bombers could reduce the effectiveness of fighter attack, essentially evasion or defensive firepower, despite going deeper into enemy airspace, while the defenders were growing in strength, experience and average firepower. The 8th Air Force was pushing hard, total number of bombers attacking Germany July to September 1943 was not much greater than those attacking just in October 1943.

Somewhere within the 8th Air force there was a disconnect between the results of the raids and the perception of what the results meant. There were 32 raid days on Germany before 14 October 1943 with a small sample size it is easy to come up with the special reason that raid day did not work and convince yourself that reason would not be repeated. So keep using the current method you have trained for so long and hard, as it will come good.

The June and July raids had 3 fighter groups available and often used them to escort the B-26 raids. 4 fighter groups in time for the first Schweinfurt raid on 17 August, 6 for the second. Start of June 1943 the 8th Air Force had 12 operational bomb groups, as of mid August that was 16 B-17 as the B-24 groups were in the Mediterranean. Still 16 B-17 in mid October but the 4 B-24 groups were back.

The number of bombers attacking Germany went up again in November 1943 and in December it was double October but with a major difference, %loss bombers credited with attacking targets in Germany June to October 1943 inclusive, 9.07, 10.10, 15.23, 7.62, 9.48. Loss percentages for November and December 3.85 and 3.58, end October 20 operational bomb groups, 8 fighter, end November 21 to 8 plus one 9th Air Force fighter group, end December 25 bomber to 8+1 fighter. Apart from all bomber raids now being "fully escorted" what else had changed? (And yes Luftwaffe fighter pilot training had little instrument flying, so that was a factor)

There is a strong case the 8th Air Force could and should have changed tactics earlier in 1943, the evidence appears to be present at the time to back a change, a 4% of attacking loss rate for targets in Germany June to October 1943 is 173 bombers missing, historically 436 were missing. There is no evidence of attempts to block increases in USAAF fighter ranges or numbers.

Roger Freeman has it the other way around, 36 MIA Schweinfurt, 24 MIA Regensburg.

E R Hooton, Eagle in Flames, reports the following day fighter dispositions, Remembering Germany was where fighter units refitted before returning to the front. (Based on the figures in K Gunderlach Die Deutsche Luftwaffe in Mittelmeer 1940-45. Band I 1940-1942. Band 2 1943-1945, page 716).

All for the year 1943, table is date, Luftflotte Mitte (Reich) / Luftflotte 3 /total Mitte + Reich / total fighters / % in west. // Luftwaffe Quartermaster figures, single engine fighters strength/serviceable // twin engine fighters strength/serviceable // fighter bomber strength/serviceable

20 Jan / 163 / 241 / 404 / 1,090 / 37.1% // 1323/844 // 125/50 // 21/11

20 Apr / 188 / 232 / 420 / 1,328 / 31.6% // 1580/1075 // 170/111 // 146/90
20 Jun / 343 / 353 / 696 / 1,704 / 40.1% // 1785/1305 // 188/123 // 116/67
20 Sep / 677 / 222 / 899 / 1,500 / 59.9% // 1564/1066 // 383/245 // 70/28
20 Dec / 572 / 312 / 884 / 1,588 / 55.7% // 1706/1154 // 311/193 // 0/0

Plenty of disagreement. According to Hooton of the extra 614 fighters available on 20 June versus 6 months earlier 292, or slightly under half, had been deployed in the west or Germany. The significant shift in fighter deployments takes place later in the year.

Alfred Price notes on 27 July 1942 Luftflotte Mitte held 158 day fighters and Luftflotte three 244, plus 4 twin engined. On 17 May 1943 these had changed to 299 and 229 (Including 37 twin engined) respectively. The twin engined units were mainly engaged in attempts to disrupt allied anti submarine aircraft patrols. As of end May 1943 the cumulative loss of USAAF bombers credited with attacks on Germany was 7.08% even against that size fighter force.

No way, I know what writers are paid and refuse get out of bed for anything less than 10 cents a day.
Hi Geoffrey - more on this later. I need to cross check Freeman with 8th AF published losses, but good catch.

I actually like the idea of a joint article and propose one for Spitfireperformance which are notorius for paying high fees to authors..
 
I suspect that there is a serious new book in this that hits on the detail of the subject, covering the Military / Politics, the realities of aircraft capabilities and the actual raid plans and execution, including results. For sure, there are whole already written histories but, it seems to me that these guys are really hitting this nail on the head!

Eng
Actually I devote a lot of ink to the AAF/Fighter Manufacturers/NAA/8th in my P-51B Mustang Bastard Stepchild book - but the subject reqires a deeper dive.
 
Hey Geoffrey,

I am not clear what this part of your post means:

"There is a strong case the 8th Air Force could and should have changed tactics earlier in 1943, the evidence appears to be present at the time to back a change, a 4% of attacking loss rate for targets in Germany June to October 1943 is 173 bombers missing, historically 436 were missing."

When you say "historically" do you mean there were actually 436 missing during the time period June to October 1943 - instead of the 173 claimed missing?
 
Since I did not have a good P-47 mission planner chart I assumed 100 gallons would put the aircraft at 20,000 feet plus move it close to contested airspace. At 91 gallons from start up to 20,000 feet the 75 (84) gallon tank runs out during the climb. Except as we know take off would be using the main tanks, switching to external fuel during the climb, even so the external tanks are eligible for dropping near Britain *if* the fuel system allowed the internal tanks to be replenished by the external ones. The fact the P-47 switched from 100 gallons in the ferry tank to 84 in a combat tank says no in flight replenishment was possible in mid 1943. Assuming, since 33k has given a figure, the change to external fuel was at 10,000 feet, 59 gallons gone already, 32 more to get to 20,000 feet, leaving 50 or more gallons, or over 130 miles. The change to external fuel would actually be at lower altitude which decreases the fuel for cruise. The external ferry tanks were carried at least close to contested airspace, otherwise why have 100 gallons on board.
Operational doctrine when 200 gal tanks introduced. 100 gal fill. drop before crossing enemy coastline or when GAF fighters detected, There was a 30+Kt drag penalty with the bathtub tank - exascerbated with the plywood bow plane to force it away from the P-47. The modified mount was also 'iffy' regarding clean release.

I haven't seen any specificity regarding altitude of release but suspect 100gal matched reaching cruise altitude was the boundary condition.
It seems clear the escorts in 1943 assumed dangerous Luftwaffe from near the enemy coast but in 1944 it was not as dangerous Luftwaffe some distance back from the coast, which saved fuel. In 1943 it looks like the 8th Air Force tried to be at combat altitude leaving the British coast.
No opinion to contrary although the combat radius of the B-17 with 4000 pound bomb load seemed to be 350-400mi for planning purpses until July and August.
Agreed looking at encounter reports is a good way of determining actual ranges flown and the further the distance the more restrictions on deviations.

My mention of Hamburg was more about why the ferry tank load is reported as fixed when there were significant differences from base to contested airspace depending on target, as noted probably because the tanks were only used for a few missions. Still, the 25 July 1943 raid on Hamburg saw the fighters used to support the B-26 and an RAF light bomber raid, not the heavy bombers. The difference between 100 gallons in a ferry tank and 108 in a combat tank is minimal range wise, and the ferry tank can carry more fuel if its drag was higher. The difference appears to be combat against ferry and associated risks carrying it.
Minimal may need further clarification as even the paper composition Bowater 108gal tank combined with B-7 rack was cleaner than the 200al bathtub tank. Most of my sources point to the 75gal(act 82gal) combat tank having 25mi more combat radius.
Yet the historic literature talks about 300 sent being the required number.
That would point to Eaker to Arnold discussions as 300/600 operational vs inventory to prosecute POINTBLANK, which he never really had as resources were pulled constantly to other theatres.
25 to 30 July 1943, raids on all but the 29th, 86 missing, requires 1,720 sorties making it to contested airspace for 5% losses, an average of 344 per day for 5 days, there were 1,363 sent (Including 59 on an abandoned mission), 837 credited with attacking. With 29 of the missing credited to flak, around 400 bombers sent per day is required as per the June calculation.
Freeman cites 264, 302, 302, 249, 196 dispatched 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30th - of which 218, 199, 95, 193 and 134 were 'effectve' B-17ops.
I get 1300+ take offs and 839 effectives from July 25 through July 31 from Freeman? What did I miss? Were you also counting B-26 ops?

The losses for the above (B-17 only) were 19, 24, 22, 10, 12. total 87 B-17s MIA. Actual loss rate of 87 to 839 effective is 10.4%.
Blitz Week was big eye opener, followed by 30%+ at Ploesti and then Schweinfurt-Regensburg 20% loss to dispatched.

Untenable politically, but shifting to join RAF in night attacks was impossible.

Thanks for the that, you are correct, I swapped the two P-38 first dates. As the P-51 was just entering production it had to be considered a 1944 fighter allowing for production, training in the US, movement to Britain, training in Britain and deployment in numbers. So what to do for the next 6 months?

I do not have the specific intelligence on where the allies thought the Luftwaffe was. As far as I know it was accurate to July 1943 then would have initially missed the first moves of fighters to Germany. The 27/28 July firestorm at Hamburg was the single biggest shock the bombing delivered to the German command, with Kursk and Sicily lost as well that created a real shift in German fighter deployments, Luftwaffe thinking was the USAAF could eventually do what the RAF had just done, even though it was currently going after "key" targets, and since no one had really tried key targets plenty of people in Germany worried that also might succeed. The conversation of 28 July 1943 where Goering tells Milch defence of the Reich will have the "main emphasis" in Luftwaffe planning.
I agree all of thi - Price well documents the invetory shift of day fighter unis from Sud and Ost fronts to central Germany. Allis completely missed the change from basically JG2 and JG26 being only real resistance. Aside from ridiculous statements such as "P-47s killed all the old guys' before Mustang andP-38 arrivals, seemingly discounting RAF contribution 1940 through 1943, they also missed the memo that a lost of blooded Staffel were moving to Germany and new JGs wee being formed.
According to the Luftwaffe quartermaster the single engine fighter force had grown to 1,849 and the twin engine day force to 194 by end June 1943, end July down to 1,528 and 135, it took until April 1944 to get the single engine force back above 1,800, the twin engine force was over 300 by end August, starting to replace the expensive use of night fighters as day interceptors.

Agreed Eaker was under pressure and that must be a major driver, if the 300 bomber figure had been sent to Washington that would put more pressure on once the groups became operational, 10 B-17 groups as of 21 June 1943, 15 as of 17 July.

a) ignores raids on any German target with acceptable losses were the exception, at best it assumes southern Germany was less heavily defended than the Ruhr and points north. It ignores the longer time spent in hostile airspace enabled more interceptions. Even the coastal defences landing and then doing interceptions on the return journey to an extent given the use of North Africa. The RAF had shown in 1940 how quickly fighters could be turned around.

b) is problematical, groups had spacing between them, it was a formation of groups, not one large formation, it would have to mean the group formation had better defensive power.
Agree
Agreed but it was 400 bombers needed in June and July 1943 and to mostly coastal targets in June at least. Part of the reported justification for the 14 October raid was the failure to achieve critical mass on 17 August but in October the extra Luftwaffe fighters in Germany were known. Almost like the 300 figure had become locked in, unable to change as circumstances changed. The 8th Air Force had arrived later than planned and was growing slower than planned even allowing for the movement of units to the Mediterranean. Meant to bomb visually from high altitude it had "missed" the summer of 1942, it was "missing" the summer of 1943, it finally reached the declared strength threshold but that was clearly inadequate from the start of June at least unless somehow the bombers could reduce the effectiveness of fighter attack, essentially evasion or defensive firepower, despite going deeper into enemy airspace, while the defenders were growing in strength, experience and average firepower. The 8th Air Force was pushing hard, total number of bombers attacking Germany July to September 1943 was not much greater than those attacking just in October 1943.
Our industrial an training infrastructure was not up to maintaining 400 operational B-17/B-24s in 1943. Long Range escort was mandatory before initiating penetrations neccesary for ARGUEMENT in early 1944

Somewhere within the 8th Air force there was a disconnect between the results of the raids and the perception of what the results meant. There were 32 raid days on Germany before 14 October 1943 with a small sample size it is easy to come up with the special reason that raid day did not work and convince yourself that reason would not be repeated. So keep using the current method you have trained for so long and hard, as it will come good.

The June and July raids had 3 fighter groups available and often used them to escort the B-26 raids. 4 fighter groups in time for the first Schweinfurt raid on 17 August, 6 for the second. Start of June 1943 the 8th Air Force had 12 operational bomb groups, as of mid August that was 16 B-17 as the B-24 groups were in the Mediterranean. Still 16 B-17 in mid October but the 4 B-24 groups were back.


The B-24 groups were never quite back after Ploesti until after Black Thursday - they were Diversion only for October 14th.
The number of bombers attacking Germany went up again in November 1943 and in December it was double October but with a major difference, %loss bombers credited with attacking targets in Germany June to October 1943 inclusive, 9.07, 10.10, 15.23, 7.62, 9.48. Loss percentages for November and December 3.85 and 3.58, end October 20 operational bomb groups, 8 fighter, end November 21 to 8 plus one 9th Air Force fighter group, end December 25 bomber to 8+1 fighter. Apart from all bomber raids now being "fully escorted" what else had changed? (And yes Luftwaffe fighter pilot training had little instrument flying, so that was a factor)

There is a strong case the 8th Air Force could and should have changed tactics earlier in 1943, the evidence appears to be present at the time to back a change, a 4% of attacking loss rate for targets in Germany June to October 1943 is 173 bombers missing, historically 436 were missing. There is no evidence of attempts to block increases in USAAF fighter ranges or numbers.

Roger Freeman has it the other way around, 36 MIA Schweinfurt, 24 MIA Regensburg.

E R Hooton, Eagle in Flames, reports the following day fighter dispositions, Remembering Germany was where fighter units refitted before returning to the front. (Based on the figures in K Gunderlach Die Deutsche Luftwaffe in Mittelmeer 1940-45. Band I 1940-1942. Band 2 1943-1945, page 716).

All for the year 1943, table is date, Luftflotte Mitte (Reich) / Luftflotte 3 /total Mitte + Reich / total fighters / % in west. // Luftwaffe Quartermaster figures, single engine fighters strength/serviceable // twin engine fighters strength/serviceable // fighter bomber strength/serviceable

20 Jan / 163 / 241 / 404 / 1,090 / 37.1% // 1323/844 // 125/50 // 21/11

20 Apr / 188 / 232 / 420 / 1,328 / 31.6% // 1580/1075 // 170/111 // 146/90
20 Jun / 343 / 353 / 696 / 1,704 / 40.1% // 1785/1305 // 188/123 // 116/67
20 Sep / 677 / 222 / 899 / 1,500 / 59.9% // 1564/1066 // 383/245 // 70/28
20 Dec / 572 / 312 / 884 / 1,588 / 55.7% // 1706/1154 // 311/193 // 0/0

Plenty of disagreement. According to Hooton of the extra 614 fighters available on 20 June versus 6 months earlier 292, or slightly under half, had been deployed in the west or Germany. The significant shift in fighter deployments takes place later in the year.

Alfred Price notes on 27 July 1942 Luftflotte Mitte held 158 day fighters and Luftflotte three 244, plus 4 twin engined. On 17 May 1943 these had changed to 299 and 229 (Including 37 twin engined) respectively. The twin engined units were mainly engaged in attempts to disrupt allied anti submarine aircraft patrols. As of end May 1943 the cumulative loss of USAAF bombers credited with attacks on Germany was 7.08% even against that size fighter force.

No way, I know what writers are paid and refuse get out of bed for anything less than 10 cents a day.
Correct - 24 at Regensburg, 36 at Schweinfurt.
 
Thank you, our valiant contributors :)

Yes it is clear the wing racks and associated tanks hurt performance. Roger Freeman adds a pair of 150 gallon underwing tanks made handling difficult unlike the P-51. If you change the internal fuel on 17 from 305 to 370 gallons the mpg drops to 3.3 from 6.1

I'm interested in the 'item 17' from the table posted a while back, and it's 6.1 mpg on the P-47. Care to elaborate, ie. perhaps a typo is involved?
 
Our industrial an training infrastructure was not up to maintaining 400 operational B-17/B-24s in 1943. Long Range escort was mandatory before initiating penetrations neccesary for ARGUEMENT in early 1944
In most aspects of life discussions of what is needed and what is a minimum is a reflection of what can be done. When discussing an acceptable loss rate of 4-5% that is a reflection of how many planes can be made and crews that can be trained as much as it is anything happening on operations. It was a much different calculation by the same air force just 2 years later with the B-29. Often forgotten in the mix is that if crews just did a tour of 25 missions and no more then on average you have a built in loss of crews of 4% per mission, because they go home.
 
I obviously need to express myself more clearly. A web site like Spitfireperformance pays for articles? Even one on a USAAF strategic topic?

More data: US Archives Record Group 342 Entry P26 Box 2237

25 August 1941, Combat efficiency tests, best fighters in order, P-38, P-43, P-40, P-39 but the P-43 was rated as better at the moment for less cluttered controls and fewer blind spots, however firepower and protection were NOT considered in the tests and the P-43 had no protection plus light armament.

Range data, times are in decimal fractions of hours, so 0.333 = 20 minutes

P-39D-1 120 gallons internal fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 6 gallons, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 15 gallons, 0.146 hours, 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 280 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 0.525 hours, 29 gallons, 147 air miles flown, 4. combat full military power for 10 minutes 21 gallons, 5. return cruise as per outgoing 29 gallons, 0.525 hours, 147 miles, 6. Reserve 20 gallons 0.333 hours.

P-39D-1 120 gallons internal, 75 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 6 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 15 gallons, 0.146 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 250 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 1.05 hours, 58 gallons, 264 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, main tank 2,280 RPM full throttle, 273 mph, 55 gallons per hour 0.16 hours, 9 gallons 46 miles, 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes 21 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 273 mph, 64 gallons, 1.16 hours, 318 miles, 7. Reserve 20 gallons 0.333 hours. 310 miles out, 318 miles in.

P-39D-1 120 gallons internal, 154 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 6 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 17 gallons, 0.16 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 220 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 1.63 hours, 90 gallons, 360 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, with 47 gallons still in it (or use the fuel but stay within 360 miles of base) 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes, 21 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 273 mph, 73 gallons, 1.33 hours, 364 miles, 7. Reserve 20 gallons 0.333 hours. 360 miles out, 364 miles in.

P-38F 290 gallons internal, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 12 gallons, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 30 gallons, 0.1 hours, 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 280 mph, 110 gallons per hour, 0.754 hours, 83 gallons, 210 air miles flown, 4. combat full military power for 10 minutes, 42 gallons, 5. return cruise as per outgoing 83 gallons, 0.754 hours, 210 miles, 6. Reserve 40 gallons 0.333 hours.

P-38F 290 gallons internal, 150 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 12 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 34 gallons, 0.16 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 250 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 1.055 hours, 116 gallons, 265 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, main tank 2,280 RPM full throttle, 280 mph, 110 gallons per hour 0.41 hours, 45 gallons, 115 miles, 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes 42 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 280 mph, 151 gallons, 1.37 hours, 384 miles, 7. Reserve 40 gallons 0.333 hours. 380 miles out, 384 miles in.

P-38F 290 gallons internal, 300 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 12 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 34 gallons, 0.16 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 250 mph, 110 gallons per hour, 2.0 hours, 220 gallons, 500 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, with 46 gallons still in it (or use the fuel but stay within 500 miles of base) 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes, 42 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 280 mph, 196 gallons, 1.8 hours, 500 miles, 7. Reserve 40 gallons 0.333 hours.

I doubt anyone is willing to change fuel tanks at 100 feet so the above all look like theoretical calculations. The one obvious point, even allocating say 12 more gallons for the heavier P-38F to go from 15 to 20,000 feet it is using 58 gallons when the P-47 is using 91 gallons.

The P-38E maximum safe service range assumed a pair of 75 gallon external tanks costs 40 mph, a pair of 150 gallon 50 mph and they were carried all flight, as of 20 February 1942 estimated safe ranges were P-38E 1,000 miles, 440 gallons, 71% power 20,000 feet 2x75 gallon external tanks, P-38E 1,300 miles, 590 gallons, 71% power 20,000 feet 2x150 gallon external tanks, F-4 1,500 miles, 590 gallons, 71% power 28,000 feet 2x150 gallon external tanks, P-39D 900 miles, 195 gallons, 62.5% power 12,000 feet 1x75 gallon external tank, P-39D 950 miles, 195 gallons, 56% power 12,000 feet 1x75 gallon external tank, P-40D , E 900 miles, 205 gallons, 45% power 11,000 feet 1x52 gallon external tank, P-47B 1,400 miles, 310 gallons, 45% power 15,000 feet no external fuel.

In case any suggestion is made of the only other available 1943 medium/long range type. Spitfire VIII maximum weak-mixture power setting as 320 mph at 20,000 ft, consuming about 1.1 gallon per minute, corresponding with an engine setting of 2,400 rpm, +4 lbs boost (66 gallons per hour). The RAF were allocating 23 gallons for take-off and climb to 20,000 ft, and 36 gallons for 15 minutes of combat, leaving 63 gallons for cruise, add 90 a gallon external tank, subtract 18 gallons for 30 minutes reserves and 12 gallons for the effect of the external tank and combat radius is 300 miles. Similar to the P-47 with a 108 gallon external tank, assuming the Spitfire external tank can replenish the internal ones it is empty around 265 miles from base. The Spitfire managed 4.8 mpg at fast cruise, 6.1 mpg at economic cruise. There were 176 mark VIII built to end May 1943, another 467 built June to end October 1943.

A note on sources, I have the 8th Air Force monthly reports for most of 1944/45 but not 1943. That leaves Richard Davis who generally agrees with the 8th Air Force Target Summary, available in most good archives, or as a 9 Mb PDF from CARL (Combine Arms Research Library), but only gives attacking sorties. Which leaves Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger Freeman for despatched and effective sorties in 1943. Meantime the monthly reports have despatched less spares, sorties (aircraft entering contested airspace) and attacking.

4 February 1944 Freeman, target Frankfurt Main M/Y 1 BD 287 despatched, 183 effective main target, 73 other targets, 3 BD 302 despatched, 163 effective main target, 24 other targets, 2 BD 159 despatched, 27 effective main target, 63 other targets, total 748 despatched, 633 effective, 1,983.95 tons of bombs, 20 missing. 8th Air Force February report, 869 despatched less spares, 691 sorties, 657 attack, 1,629.1 tons of bombs, 20 missing. Richard Davis has 655 attacking 1,629.1 tons of bombs, 20 missing, Davis says 34.7 tons of HE on Banerheim, the monthly report says it was incendiary.

Monthly report by formation (NOT division), 1st Frankfurt-am-Main 351 despatched, 298 sorties, attacking: 267 main target, Koblenz 1 a/c on a 2nd attack, Misc, 15. 2nd Frankfurt-am-Main 331 despatched, 297 sorties, attacking: 162 main target, Giessen 37, Banerheim 17, Koblenz 31, Siegen 36, Limburg 1, Misc. 1. 3rd Russelheim 187 despatched, 96 sorties, attacking: 2 main target, Frankfurt-am-Main 45, Cologne 15, Trier 17, Koblenz 2, Darmstadt 1, Graffenhaussen 1, Cologne 1, Misc. 6

At least they all agree on the missing. It may be necessary to use attacking sorties when calculating loss rates, with a note the USAAF used credit sorties, those aircraft which entered contested airspace not all of which attacked a target.
"There is a strong case the 8th Air Force could and should have changed tactics earlier in 1943, the evidence appears to be present at the time to back a change, a 4% of attacking loss rate for targets in Germany June to October 1943 is 173 bombers missing, historically 436 were missing."

When you say "historically" do you mean there were actually 436 missing during the time period June to October 1943 - instead of the 173 claimed missing?
436 actually missing in the time period and appropriately recorded by the USAAF, a 4% loss rate like in November/December 1943 for June to October 1943 instead of the historical losses would mean 173 missing.
I'm interested in the 'item 17' from the table posted a while back, and it's 6.1 mpg on the P-47. Care to elaborate, ie. perhaps a typo is involved?
The mpg calculation was there to pick up any anomalies, 17 is clearly wrong, the simplest explanation is it applies to 370 gallons internal fuel not 305.
the combat radius of the B-17 with 4000 pound bomb load seemed to be 350-400mi for planning purpses until July and August.
Pre Tokyo tank B-17F using 8th Air Force tactics, 55,000 pounds, 5,000 pounds of bombs, 1,760 gallons, operational radius 320 miles, relatively fast climb and tight formation, would use 380 gallons in the first hour from engine start to climbing to 25,000 feet, the next two and a half hours at fast cruise would use 695 gallons, the return trip 570 gallons, leaving 115 gallons unused according to Roger Freeman. Though most of the 22 B-17 lost on 6 September 1943 to fuel starvation were not the earlier shorter range B-17F.
Minimal may need further clarification as even the paper composition Bowater 108gal tank combined with B-7 rack was cleaner than the 200al bathtub tank. Most of my sources point to the 75gal(act 82gal) combat tank having 25mi more combat radius.
So 82 gallons in the smaller tank was more than the equivalent of 100 in the ferry tank, more than 8 gallons at 3 mpg. The 108 gallon tank would have more drag, and the ferry tank had 200 gallon capacity, clearly it being a ferry tank with high drag meant it was dropped earlier than the combat tanks. While in theory the ferry tank might have enabled trips to Hamburg that would have required a route avoiding the Luftwaffe for much of the outward journey, assuming there was such an option.
That would point to Eaker to Arnold discussions as 300/600 operational vs inventory to prosecute POINTBLANK, which he never really had as resources were pulled constantly to other theatres.
Do you have a date range for these discussions? I would like to clarify how early they occurred and then look at why the figure remained despite the obvious increase in defences and rising bomber loss rates.

Freeman cites 264, 302, 302, 249, 196 dispatched 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30th - of which 218, 199, 95, 193 and 134 were 'effectve' B-17ops.
I get 1300+ take offs and 839 effectives from July 25 through July 31 from Freeman? What did I miss? Were you also counting B-26 ops?
I was not counting B-26, the 1,720 sorties is the number needed to create a 5% loss rate, around 400 more sorties than sent. Hopefully the attached spreadsheet will make things easier.
Allis completely missed the change from basically JG2 and JG26 being only real resistance. Aside from ridiculous statements such as "P-47s killed all the old guys' before Mustang andP-38 arrivals, seemingly discounting RAF contribution 1940 through 1943, they also missed the memo that a lost of blooded Staffel were moving to Germany and new JGs wee being formed.
As far as I know JG1 was in Germany and known to be there, it had 4 Gruppen in July 1942, 2 in May 1943 as 2 had become JG11, I am unsure how much delay there was between new German strength in Germany and the allies knowing about it. The situation would be complicated by the usual Luftwaffe practice of refitting units in Germany then redeploying them to the front, except in the second half of 1943 day fighter redeployments were to Germany. Really need a better timeline of firstly units in Germany and then when the allies located them.
Our industrial an training infrastructure was not up to maintaining 400 operational B-17/B-24s in 1943. Long Range escort was mandatory before initiating penetrations neccesary for ARGUEMENT in early 1944
In June 1943 and later the losses being taken meant attacks of 400 or more bombers were required to have a chance of keeping losses below 5% using current tactics. Those tactics largely stayed in use until end October 1943 while the figure of 300 being enough also seems to have stuck around. Then "suddenly, overnight" the loss figures fell to below 4% of attacking bombers in November after a widely reported tactics change but not much in the way of more fighters or bombers. The question is with the loss figures from mid year why did the change to the more effective tactics take until November? Noting the 20% increase in bombers sent to Germany in November would help decrease the percentage losses and the bad weather would have hindered the Luftwaffe. To the end of August the 8th Air Force had used visual bombing only, September to December 1943 the percentage of visual bombing per month was 88.91, 75.16, 39.23, 47.26. There is no doubt part of the reduction in bomber losses has to be using worse weather and accepting worse bombing results. To be absurd, more than doubling the non visual bombing in November corresponds to more than halving the bomber loss rate, in November 1943 clouds the USAAF equivalent of night?
 

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I obviously need to express myself more clearly. A web site like Spitfireperformance pays for articles? Even one on a USAAF strategic topic?

More data: US Archives Record Group 342 Entry P26 Box 2237

25 August 1941, Combat efficiency tests, best fighters in order, P-38, P-43, P-40, P-39 but the P-43 was rated as better at the moment for less cluttered controls and fewer blind spots, however firepower and protection were NOT considered in the tests and the P-43 had no protection plus light armament.

Range data, times are in decimal fractions of hours, so 0.333 = 20 minutes

P-39D-1 120 gallons internal fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 6 gallons, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 15 gallons, 0.146 hours, 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 280 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 0.525 hours, 29 gallons, 147 air miles flown, 4. combat full military power for 10 minutes 21 gallons, 5. return cruise as per outgoing 29 gallons, 0.525 hours, 147 miles, 6. Reserve 20 gallons 0.333 hours.

P-39D-1 120 gallons internal, 75 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 6 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 15 gallons, 0.146 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 250 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 1.05 hours, 58 gallons, 264 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, main tank 2,280 RPM full throttle, 273 mph, 55 gallons per hour 0.16 hours, 9 gallons 46 miles, 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes 21 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 273 mph, 64 gallons, 1.16 hours, 318 miles, 7. Reserve 20 gallons 0.333 hours. 310 miles out, 318 miles in.

P-39D-1 120 gallons internal, 154 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 6 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 17 gallons, 0.16 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 220 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 1.63 hours, 90 gallons, 360 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, with 47 gallons still in it (or use the fuel but stay within 360 miles of base) 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes, 21 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 273 mph, 73 gallons, 1.33 hours, 364 miles, 7. Reserve 20 gallons 0.333 hours. 360 miles out, 364 miles in.

P-38F 290 gallons internal, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 12 gallons, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 30 gallons, 0.1 hours, 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 280 mph, 110 gallons per hour, 0.754 hours, 83 gallons, 210 air miles flown, 4. combat full military power for 10 minutes, 42 gallons, 5. return cruise as per outgoing 83 gallons, 0.754 hours, 210 miles, 6. Reserve 40 gallons 0.333 hours.

P-38F 290 gallons internal, 150 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 12 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 34 gallons, 0.16 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 250 mph, 55 gallons per hour, 1.055 hours, 116 gallons, 265 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, main tank 2,280 RPM full throttle, 280 mph, 110 gallons per hour 0.41 hours, 45 gallons, 115 miles, 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes 42 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 280 mph, 151 gallons, 1.37 hours, 384 miles, 7. Reserve 40 gallons 0.333 hours. 380 miles out, 384 miles in.

P-38F 290 gallons internal, 300 gallons external fuel, 1. Warm up taxi, take off to 100 feet 12 gallons main tanks, 2. 100 to 15,000 feet 34 gallons, 0.16 hours, belly tank 3. cruise 2,280 RPM full throttle, 250 mph, 110 gallons per hour, 2.0 hours, 220 gallons, 500 air miles flown, belly tank, 4. Drop belly tank, with 46 gallons still in it (or use the fuel but stay within 500 miles of base) 5. combat full military power for 10 minutes, 42 gallons, 6. return cruise as per outgoing but at 280 mph, 196 gallons, 1.8 hours, 500 miles, 7. Reserve 40 gallons 0.333 hours.

I doubt anyone is willing to change fuel tanks at 100 feet so the above all look like theoretical calculations. The one obvious point, even allocating say 12 more gallons for the heavier P-38F to go from 15 to 20,000 feet it is using 58 gallons when the P-47 is using 91 gallons.

The P-38E maximum safe service range assumed a pair of 75 gallon external tanks costs 40 mph, a pair of 150 gallon 50 mph and they were carried all flight, as of 20 February 1942 estimated safe ranges were P-38E 1,000 miles, 440 gallons, 71% power 20,000 feet 2x75 gallon external tanks, P-38E 1,300 miles, 590 gallons, 71% power 20,000 feet 2x150 gallon external tanks, F-4 1,500 miles, 590 gallons, 71% power 28,000 feet 2x150 gallon external tanks, P-39D 900 miles, 195 gallons, 62.5% power 12,000 feet 1x75 gallon external tank, P-39D 950 miles, 195 gallons, 56% power 12,000 feet 1x75 gallon external tank, P-40D , E 900 miles, 205 gallons, 45% power 11,000 feet 1x52 gallon external tank, P-47B 1,400 miles, 310 gallons, 45% power 15,000 feet no external fuel.

In case any suggestion is made of the only other available 1943 medium/long range type. Spitfire VIII maximum weak-mixture power setting as 320 mph at 20,000 ft, consuming about 1.1 gallon per minute, corresponding with an engine setting of 2,400 rpm, +4 lbs boost (66 gallons per hour). The RAF were allocating 23 gallons for take-off and climb to 20,000 ft, and 36 gallons for 15 minutes of combat, leaving 63 gallons for cruise, add 90 a gallon external tank, subtract 18 gallons for 30 minutes reserves and 12 gallons for the effect of the external tank and combat radius is 300 miles. Similar to the P-47 with a 108 gallon external tank, assuming the Spitfire external tank can replenish the internal ones it is empty around 265 miles from base. The Spitfire managed 4.8 mpg at fast cruise, 6.1 mpg at economic cruise. There were 176 mark VIII built to end May 1943, another 467 built June to end October 1943.

A note on sources, I have the 8th Air Force monthly reports for most of 1944/45 but not 1943. That leaves Richard Davis who generally agrees with the 8th Air Force Target Summary, available in most good archives, or as a 9 Mb PDF from CARL (Combine Arms Research Library), but only gives attacking sorties. Which leaves Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger Freeman for despatched and effective sorties in 1943. Meantime the monthly reports have despatched less spares, sorties (aircraft entering contested airspace) and attacking.

4 February 1944 Freeman, target Frankfurt Main M/Y 1 BD 287 despatched, 183 effective main target, 73 other targets, 3 BD 302 despatched, 163 effective main target, 24 other targets, 2 BD 159 despatched, 27 effective main target, 63 other targets, total 748 despatched, 633 effective, 1,983.95 tons of bombs, 20 missing. 8th Air Force February report, 869 despatched less spares, 691 sorties, 657 attack, 1,629.1 tons of bombs, 20 missing. Richard Davis has 655 attacking 1,629.1 tons of bombs, 20 missing, Davis says 34.7 tons of HE on Banerheim, the monthly report says it was incendiary.

Monthly report by formation (NOT division), 1st Frankfurt-am-Main 351 despatched, 298 sorties, attacking: 267 main target, Koblenz 1 a/c on a 2nd attack, Misc, 15. 2nd Frankfurt-am-Main 331 despatched, 297 sorties, attacking: 162 main target, Giessen 37, Banerheim 17, Koblenz 31, Siegen 36, Limburg 1, Misc. 1. 3rd Russelheim 187 despatched, 96 sorties, attacking: 2 main target, Frankfurt-am-Main 45, Cologne 15, Trier 17, Koblenz 2, Darmstadt 1, Graffenhaussen 1, Cologne 1, Misc. 6

At least they all agree on the missing. It may be necessary to use attacking sorties when calculating loss rates, with a note the USAAF used credit sorties, those aircraft which entered contested airspace not all of which attacked a target.

436 actually missing in the time period and appropriately recorded by the USAAF, a 4% loss rate like in November/December 1943 for June to October 1943 instead of the historical losses would mean 173 missing.

The mpg calculation was there to pick up any anomalies, 17 is clearly wrong, the simplest explanation is it applies to 370 gallons internal fuel not 305.

Pre Tokyo tank B-17F using 8th Air Force tactics, 55,000 pounds, 5,000 pounds of bombs, 1,760 gallons, operational radius 320 miles, relatively fast climb and tight formation, would use 380 gallons in the first hour from engine start to climbing to 25,000 feet, the next two and a half hours at fast cruise would use 695 gallons, the return trip 570 gallons, leaving 115 gallons unused according to Roger Freeman. Though most of the 22 B-17 lost on 6 September 1943 to fuel starvation were not the earlier shorter range B-17F.

So 82 gallons in the smaller tank was more than the equivalent of 100 in the ferry tank, more than 8 gallons at 3 mpg. The 108 gallon tank would have more drag, and the ferry tank had 200 gallon capacity, clearly it being a ferry tank with high drag meant it was dropped earlier than the combat tanks. While in theory the ferry tank might have enabled trips to Hamburg that would have required a route avoiding the Luftwaffe for much of the outward journey, assuming there was such an option.

Do you have a date range for these discussions? I would like to clarify how early they occurred and then look at why the figure remained despite the obvious increase in defences and rising bomber loss rates.


I was not counting B-26, the 1,720 sorties is the number needed to create a 5% loss rate, around 400 more sorties than sent. Hopefully the attached spreadsheet will make things easier.

As far as I know JG1 was in Germany and known to be there, it had 4 Gruppen in July 1942, 2 in May 1943 as 2 had become JG11, I am unsure how much delay there was between new German strength in Germany and the allies knowing about it. The situation would be complicated by the usual Luftwaffe practice of refitting units in Germany then redeploying them to the front, except in the second half of 1943 day fighter redeployments were to Germany. Really need a better timeline of firstly units in Germany and then when the allies located them.

In June 1943 and later the losses being taken meant attacks of 400 or more bombers were required to have a chance of keeping losses below 5% using current tactics. Those tactics largely stayed in use until end October 1943 while the figure of 300 being enough also seems to have stuck around. Then "suddenly, overnight" the loss figures fell to below 4% of attacking bombers in November after a widely reported tactics change but not much in the way of more fighters or bombers. The question is with the loss figures from mid year why did the change to the more effective tactics take until November? Noting the 20% increase in bombers sent to Germany in November would help decrease the percentage losses and the bad weather would have hindered the Luftwaffe. To the end of August the 8th Air Force had used visual bombing only, September to December 1943 the percentage of visual bombing per month was 88.91, 75.16, 39.23, 47.26. There is no doubt part of the reduction in bomber losses has to be using worse weather and accepting worse bombing results. To be absurd, more than doubling the non visual bombing in November corresponds to more than halving the bomber loss rate, in November 1943 clouds the USAAF equivalent of night?
Geoffrey - I will dig out Eaker bio and Arnold's Global Mission. If memory serves (and not flawlessly) Casablanca Conference would be an
approximate marker and Blitz Week would serve as another - for the 300/600 data.

Yes to JG 1 and JG 11 showing up along West Germany as well as engaging more and more frequently in combined ops with Luft 3.JG 1 as early as Jan 1943, elements of JG 27 in March, followed by JG 11 in April May.

My primary sources are Price and Caldwell.

As to the high paying website, I was joking - I have never even approached charging Mike Williams for prior articles and won't for any article I pen for spitfireperformance. He has always been very supportive to my efforts.
 
Took a look at British Intelligence in the Second World War Hinsley et. al. Unfortunately the book generally references published material like the official histories when it comes to things like Luftwaffe fighter numbers.

To reiterate the Luftwaffe regularly pulled units back to Germany for refitting etc. the fighter units could obviously fly defence missions while there even though they were intended to head back to the front. It means day fighters in Germany until around the end of July 1943 are defence and refits, afterwards mostly defence.

Hinsley reports the allies picked up the Luftwaffe was overstretched in 1942 and had reduced the western fighter forces by about 10% towards the end of the year, then noticed the fighter force was expanding in 1943 but underestimated the rate of growth. As of March 1943 the intelligence indicated the west was being favoured ahead of the east, accelerating in April to pull in Mediterranean units. I suspect they were actually picking up refits, not intended permanent changes. End April the overall fighter built up was going faster than allied predictions. The allied order of battle tracking was "generally reliable" but they were underestimating total strength. In June 1943 many fighters moved from France and Belgium to Germany, extra bases were being prepared to give defensive flexibility and range, in July and again in August 2 gruppen each month moved from the east to Germany. That pushed western fighter strength estimates from 485 end 1942 to 600 in August 1943.

Craven and Cate, USAAF Official History, "Given a force of 300 heavy bombers flown by trained crews, General Eaker believed he could attack any target in Germany by day with less than 4 per cent loss." They do not give a date but its context is end 1942, Volume 2 page 236. Early October 1942 Eaker to Stratemeyer "The way we are doing it we are going to draw conclusions-some have already been drawn-which will be entirely favourable to the power of bombardment."

"On 14 October [1943], General Arnold cabled General Eaker that, according to the evidence as it appeared in Washington, the GAF was on the verge of collapse and that the situation should be carefully investigated. Eaker, whose bombers on that very day had been frightfully mauled by the German fighters on their way to and from Schweinfurt, was nevertheless able to reply with restrained confidence (thinking no doubt of the 186 enemy aircraft claimed destroyed): "There is not the slightest question but that we now have our teeth in the Hun Air Force's neck." The battle of the 14th, serious as it was, he likened to "the last final struggle of a monster in his death throes." "

However, "anxiety [in the USAAF in Britain] was soon reflected in Washington where, except for an incredibly naïve report issued by the office of AC/AS, Intelligence on 18 October stating that "aerial supremacy on a continental scale has been won," opinion came to be colored less and less by the tendency toward wishful thinking that had occasionally marked it prior to 15 October."

According to Hinsley the number of claims for destroyed German fighters by USAAF bomber gunners in the first 12 months of operation exceeded intelligence estimates of total losses to all causes. While the USAAF believed it was destroying the existing force in the air while inflicting heavy damage on German aircraft production factories thereby limiting production to below replacement level.

If you look at the list of raids, the A/ ones in the list, ignoring A/F, you have bomb tonnage on aircraft targets including repair facilities, Aug-42 24.6 (France), Sep-42 68.4 (France), Oct-42 68.8 (France), Nov-42 0, Dec-42 0, Jan-43 0, Feb-43 0, Mar-43 0, Apr-43 508.5 (245.5 Belgium), May-43 218.1 (France), Jun-43 181.5 (France), Jul-43 1085.9 (404.5 on France, 51.5 on Netherlands), Aug-43 556 (257.2 France), Sep-43 771.3 (461 on France, 310.3 Belgium), Oct-43 703.7, Nov-43 209.5 (Norway), Dec-43 0. Total 4396.3 of which 1,895.4 tons on German targets. There were 6,466.2 tons of bombs on airfields, 5,771.2 of that in France. Somehow the USAAF believed it was doing major damage to German production by dropping 263 tons of bombs in April, 629.9 tons in July, and 703.7 tons in October 1943.

The above narrative leads to the conclusions the USAAF fixed a minimum bomber force figure before undertaking any raids on Germany and kept that figure despite all the losses and the reported increases in defences. Its unsustainable losses were put down to not having 300 bombers, get to that figure and percentage losses will halve. How? In the mean time it was inflicting even more unsustainable losses on the Luftwaffe in the air and in the factories and would soon see resistance somewhere between drop significantly and crumble. Often called the just one more push idea. It kept that belief until October 1943 despite the loss rates for attacks on Germany were unsustainable and climbing from February 1943. That says there was more than occasional wishful thinking. Then in November 1943 without much change in force structure, with 20% more bomber sorties to Germany than in October the loss rates did drop below 4% and stayed that way in December. Why? And what stopped the October tactics from being applied earlier in 1943?

There were going to be raids that took heavy losses through a combination of lack of experience, incorrect assumptions and luck, to be completely unfair to the real 8th Air Force Command, giving the command the November 1943 options and experience in November 1942 means a 4% loss rate of attacking sorties for raids on Germany January to October 1943 which would see 213 bombers missing, historically 507 were missing. If the 8th Air Force changes to the November 1943 tactics at the end May 1943 then a 4% loss rate is 173 bombers missing June to end October 1943, actual missing figure was 436. Change tactics end June 1943, 4% loss 143 bombers missing, actual missing 368 July to end October 1943.
Yes to JG 1 and JG 11 showing up along West Germany as well as engaging more and more frequently in combined ops with Luft 3.JG 1 as early as Jan 1943, elements of JG 27 in March, followed by JG 11 in April May.
Agreed, the key thing for me is it was still only 4 Gruppen, originally all JG1, now 2 JG1, 2 JG11. The whether the JG27 units returned to the front for a time in mid 1943.
My primary sources are Price and Caldwell.
Which Caldwell?
As to the high paying website, I was joking - I have never even approached charging Mike Williams for prior articles and won't for any article I pen for spitfireperformance. He has always been very supportive to my efforts.
Do not worry, I assumed that. Short of Harry Potter or Taylor Swift and the 8th Air Force I doubt any results will be a best seller.

I have a 135Mb file of characteristics sheets but for earlier than the ones 33k in the air gave, again hard to read at times but they are repetitive, part of a regular monthly report. Trying to upload it here resulted in nothing happening. Not that surprising.
 
Took a look at British Intelligence in the Second World War Hinsley et. al. Unfortunately the book generally references published material like the official histories when it comes to things like Luftwaffe fighter numbers.

To reiterate the Luftwaffe regularly pulled units back to Germany for refitting etc. the fighter units could obviously fly defence missions while there even though they were intended to head back to the front. It means day fighters in Germany until around the end of July 1943 are defence and refits, afterwards mostly defence.

Hinsley reports the allies picked up the Luftwaffe was overstretched in 1942 and had reduced the western fighter forces by about 10% towards the end of the year, then noticed the fighter force was expanding in 1943 but underestimated the rate of growth. As of March 1943 the intelligence indicated the west was being favoured ahead of the east, accelerating in April to pull in Mediterranean units. I suspect they were actually picking up refits, not intended permanent changes. End April the overall fighter built up was going faster than allied predictions. The allied order of battle tracking was "generally reliable" but they were underestimating total strength. In June 1943 many fighters moved from France and Belgium to Germany, extra bases were being prepared to give defensive flexibility and range, in July and again in August 2 gruppen each month moved from the east to Germany. That pushed western fighter strength estimates from 485 end 1942 to 600 in August 1943.

Craven and Cate, USAAF Official History, "Given a force of 300 heavy bombers flown by trained crews, General Eaker believed he could attack any target in Germany by day with less than 4 per cent loss." They do not give a date but its context is end 1942, Volume 2 page 236. Early October 1942 Eaker to Stratemeyer "The way we are doing it we are going to draw conclusions-some have already been drawn-which will be entirely favourable to the power of bombardment."

"On 14 October [1943], General Arnold cabled General Eaker that, according to the evidence as it appeared in Washington, the GAF was on the verge of collapse and that the situation should be carefully investigated. Eaker, whose bombers on that very day had been frightfully mauled by the German fighters on their way to and from Schweinfurt, was nevertheless able to reply with restrained confidence (thinking no doubt of the 186 enemy aircraft claimed destroyed): "There is not the slightest question but that we now have our teeth in the Hun Air Force's neck." The battle of the 14th, serious as it was, he likened to "the last final struggle of a monster in his death throes." "

However, "anxiety [in the USAAF in Britain] was soon reflected in Washington where, except for an incredibly naïve report issued by the office of AC/AS, Intelligence on 18 October stating that "aerial supremacy on a continental scale has been won," opinion came to be colored less and less by the tendency toward wishful thinking that had occasionally marked it prior to 15 October."

According to Hinsley the number of claims for destroyed German fighters by USAAF bomber gunners in the first 12 months of operation exceeded intelligence estimates of total losses to all causes. While the USAAF believed it was destroying the existing force in the air while inflicting heavy damage on German aircraft production factories thereby limiting production to below replacement level.

If you look at the list of raids, the A/ ones in the list, ignoring A/F, you have bomb tonnage on aircraft targets including repair facilities, Aug-42 24.6 (France), Sep-42 68.4 (France), Oct-42 68.8 (France), Nov-42 0, Dec-42 0, Jan-43 0, Feb-43 0, Mar-43 0, Apr-43 508.5 (245.5 Belgium), May-43 218.1 (France), Jun-43 181.5 (France), Jul-43 1085.9 (404.5 on France, 51.5 on Netherlands), Aug-43 556 (257.2 France), Sep-43 771.3 (461 on France, 310.3 Belgium), Oct-43 703.7, Nov-43 209.5 (Norway), Dec-43 0. Total 4396.3 of which 1,895.4 tons on German targets. There were 6,466.2 tons of bombs on airfields, 5,771.2 of that in France. Somehow the USAAF believed it was doing major damage to German production by dropping 263 tons of bombs in April, 629.9 tons in July, and 703.7 tons in October 1943.

The above narrative leads to the conclusions the USAAF fixed a minimum bomber force figure before undertaking any raids on Germany and kept that figure despite all the losses and the reported increases in defences. Its unsustainable losses were put down to not having 300 bombers, get to that figure and percentage losses will halve. How? In the mean time it was inflicting even more unsustainable losses on the Luftwaffe in the air and in the factories and would soon see resistance somewhere between drop significantly and crumble. Often called the just one more push idea. It kept that belief until October 1943 despite the loss rates for attacks on Germany were unsustainable and climbing from February 1943. That says there was more than occasional wishful thinking. Then in November 1943 without much change in force structure, with 20% more bomber sorties to Germany than in October the loss rates did drop below 4% and stayed that way in December. Why? And what stopped the October tactics from being applied earlier in 1943?

There were going to be raids that took heavy losses through a combination of lack of experience, incorrect assumptions and luck, to be completely unfair to the real 8th Air Force Command, giving the command the November 1943 options and experience in November 1942 means a 4% loss rate of attacking sorties for raids on Germany January to October 1943 which would see 213 bombers missing, historically 507 were missing. If the 8th Air Force changes to the November 1943 tactics at the end May 1943 then a 4% loss rate is 173 bombers missing June to end October 1943, actual missing figure was 436. Change tactics end June 1943, 4% loss 143 bombers missing, actual missing 368 July to end October 1943.

Agreed, the key thing for me is it was still only 4 Gruppen, originally all JG1, now 2 JG1, 2 JG11. The whether the JG27 units returned to the front for a time in mid 1943.

Which Caldwell?

Do not worry, I assumed that. Short of Harry Potter or Taylor Swift and the 8th Air Force I doubt any results will be a best seller.

I have a 135Mb file of characteristics sheets but for earlier than the ones 33k in the air gave, again hard to read at times but they are repetitive, part of a regular monthly report. Trying to upload it here resulted in nothing happening. Not that surprising.
Hi Geoffrey - Rather than answer each point, I'll agree based on separate and similar sources.

Further notes post Black Thursday.
As to late 1943 Optimism at AAF top levels in NovemberDecember? - highly trusted AC/AS Plans Gen Lawrence Kuter and Muir Fairchild both sounded Gale Force warnings re: Growth of growng German Day Fighter strength in Mitte with dire warnings regarding necessity of destroying Luftwaffe regradless of losses - in advance of Overlord. Specifically Oct 24th He (Kuter) advised Air Staff that a complete re-appraisal of Pointblank's probability of succeeding be re-evaluted. He recommended that highest priority be given to destruction of German aircraft industry and that deployment on all available long range fighters is called for'.

This memo is cited as the foundation for Big Week.

Arnold followed on October 26th by cabling Kenney (5th AF) and Doolittle (12th AF) that henceforth all P-38s and P-51B were designated for ETO. Only P-47s would be delivered. On the 29th Spaatz directed that all Fighters be tasked to prioritize protection of heavy bombers engaged in Pontblank.

Also
On July 21, 1943 Kuter also released FM 100 20. Within the Doctrine of Employment is "Therefore air forces must be be employed primarily against enemy air forces until air superiority is obtained'. Within Basic Tasks is - 'Destroy hostile air forces. This will be accomplished by attacks on enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground and against those installations he requires for the application of airpower'.

Kuter was also the first top ranking officer in AAF-Hq to specifically ask that P-51Bs be directed to ETO asap.

Don Caldwell and specifically Day Fighters in Defense of the Reich.
 
Further notes post Black Thursday.
As to late 1943 Optimism at AAF top levels in NovemberDecember? - highly trusted AC/AS Plans Gen Lawrence Kuter and Muir Fairchild both sounded Gale Force warnings re: Growth of growng German Day Fighter strength in Mitte with dire warnings regarding necessity of destroying Luftwaffe regradless of losses - in advance of Overlord. Specifically Oct 24th He (Kuter) advised Air Staff that a complete re-appraisal of Pointblank's probability of succeeding be re-evaluted. He recommended that highest priority be given to destruction of German aircraft industry and that deployment on all available long range fighters is called for'.
With a large organisation you can always find documents that show a good appreciation of the situation and an unrealistic one, careful selection can therefore make the organisation look very good or very bad. It seems clear to 14 October 1943 the USAAF as an organisation was holding the idea the 8th Air Force was being effective, though warnings were being given. Afterwards it was understood as a matter of urgency the defences had to be beaten down if any bombing campaign was to succeed, the framing is as a necessity for Overlord is obviously correct, at the same time it was a necessity for strategic bombing.
Arnold followed on October 26th by cabling Kenney (5th AF) and Doolittle (12th AF) that henceforth all P-38s and P-51B were designated for ETO. Only P-47s would be delivered. On the 29th Spaatz directed that all Fighters be tasked to prioritize protection of heavy bombers engaged in Pontblank.
The general narrative for the P-51 has it initially headed for the 9th Air Force only, then most of them, along with some from the RAF allocations, were changed to the 8th Air Force. Not a lot on where else the P-51 were planned to go as of late 1943. The initial pair of P-51 groups that joined the 15th Air Force came through the 12th. It took until 16 April 1944 for the first MTO Merlin P-51 operation. What ideas/promises had been made in 1943 about P-51 deployments beyond the European Theatre?
On July 21, 1943 Kuter also released FM 100 20. Within the Doctrine of Employment is "Therefore air forces must be be employed primarily against enemy air forces until air superiority is obtained'. Within Basic Tasks is - 'Destroy hostile air forces. This will be accomplished by attacks on enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground and against those installations he requires for the application of airpower'. Kuter was also the first top ranking officer in AAF-Hq to specifically ask that P-51Bs be directed to ETO asap.
Yes, he was, at that stage, showing a good appreciation of the situation. The Air Force still had 3 more months before it collectively decided the 8th Air Force using then current tactics was not doing that.
Don Caldwell and specifically Day Fighters in Defense of the Reich.
Probably the best summary available of the defensive effort. Unfortunately it does not have the number of sorties for many of the raid days, leaving the fall back of using the number of units claiming heavy bomber shoot downs as a measure of the resistance. Counting Stab etc. units Caldwell lists something like 76 Luftwaffe units making claims for 8th Air Force heavy bombers to end 1943, including the usual oddities and short term existence units. The core defence starts with JG1, which then creates JG11, III/JG54 arrives in mid April, JG1 and 11 expand in June/July, then in late July JG2, 3 and 26 arrive as defenders of Germany. The arrival of the Luftwaffe twin engined day fighters is a classic mistiming. I, III/ZG1, I, II, III ZG26, I, II ZG76 and I, II/ZG101 start logging heavy bomber claims from 27 September 1943, three weeks later all USAAF bomber formations were going to have escorts with much better performance than the German twin engine fighters, leading to them taking heavy losses. The firepower needed to bring down the USAAF heavies was a driving factor in deploying the twin engine fighters in numbers, plus assumptions they would regularly find unescorted bombers, or have their own escorts to hold off the US escorts. There are Luftwaffe memos dated late 1943 suggesting the twin engine force should become single engine, one reason being the increasing range of the escorts.

The 20 October to 31 December 1943 USAAF raids have four main reasons losses declined, in alphabetical order, Bomber numbers, Escort numbers, Location, Weather.

According to Freeman the USAAF fighters had been doing sweeps and diversions instead of escorting the heavy bombers directly when they flew to Germany until the first escort mission on 25 June 1943, the second on 28 July was when the fighters first made it to Germany. Up to 14 October there was typically 3 bombers to 2 escorts, 1.5 to 1, and regularly going beyond escort range, the ratio fell more towards 1 to 1 for the rest of 1943, the 8th Air Force was limiting the despatched bomber force to a size and distance that enabled better escort while increasing the numbers of escorts before increasing the number of bombers. The 300 bombers acting as heavy fighters idea was dead.

Location, the post 14 October raids were generally shallow, Bremen was visited a lot.

Weather, only 29% of the bombs dropped 14 October to end 1943 were done visually. The weather limited the number of interceptors ordered up and further limited their ability to find the bombers. It was also limiting the number of bombs on targets which in turn determined how many bombers had to be used, bad weather reduced bomber casualties in the short term, but not necessarily long term. The USAAF was a clear weather air force until 27 September 1943 and for months afterwards only had limited bad weather bombing ability, the 8th could have restricted targets and bomber numbers to enable "adequately" escorted strikes any time before October 1943.
 
With a large organisation you can always find documents that show a good appreciation of the situation and an unrealistic one, careful selection can therefore make the organisation look very good or very bad. It seems clear to 14 October 1943 the USAAF as an organisation was holding the idea the 8th Air Force was being effective, though warnings were being given. Afterwards it was understood as a matter of urgency the defences had to be beaten down if any bombing campaign was to succeed, the framing is as a necessity for Overlord is obviously correct, at the same time it was a necessity for strategic bombing.

The general narrative for the P-51 has it initially headed for the 9th Air Force only, then most of them, along with some from the RAF allocations, were changed to the 8th Air Force. Not a lot on where else the P-51 were planned to go as of late 1943. The initial pair of P-51 groups that joined the 15th Air Force came through the 12th. It took until 16 April 1944 for the first MTO Merlin P-51 operation. What ideas/promises had been made in 1943 about P-51 deployments beyond the European Theatre?

Yes, he was, at that stage, showing a good appreciation of the situation. The Air Force still had 3 more months before it collectively decided the 8th Air Force using then current tactics was not doing that.

Probably the best summary available of the defensive effort. Unfortunately it does not have the number of sorties for many of the raid days, leaving the fall back of using the number of units claiming heavy bomber shoot downs as a measure of the resistance. Counting Stab etc. units Caldwell lists something like 76 Luftwaffe units making claims for 8th Air Force heavy bombers to end 1943, including the usual oddities and short term existence units. The core defence starts with JG1, which then creates JG11, III/JG54 arrives in mid April, JG1 and 11 expand in June/July, then in late July JG2, 3 and 26 arrive as defenders of Germany. The arrival of the Luftwaffe twin engined day fighters is a classic mistiming. I, III/ZG1, I, II, III ZG26, I, II ZG76 and I, II/ZG101 start logging heavy bomber claims from 27 September 1943, three weeks later all USAAF bomber formations were going to have escorts with much better performance than the German twin engine fighters, leading to them taking heavy losses. The firepower needed to bring down the USAAF heavies was a driving factor in deploying the twin engine fighters in numbers, plus assumptions they would regularly find unescorted bombers, or have their own escorts to hold off the US escorts. There are Luftwaffe memos dated late 1943 suggesting the twin engine force should become single engine, one reason being the increasing range of the escorts.

The 20 October to 31 December 1943 USAAF raids have four main reasons losses declined, in alphabetical order, Bomber numbers, Escort numbers, Location, Weather.

According to Freeman the USAAF fighters had been doing sweeps and diversions instead of escorting the heavy bombers directly when they flew to Germany until the first escort mission on 25 June 1943, the second on 28 July was when the fighters first made it to Germany. Up to 14 October there was typically 3 bombers to 2 escorts, 1.5 to 1, and regularly going beyond escort range, the ratio fell more towards 1 to 1 for the rest of 1943, the 8th Air Force was limiting the despatched bomber force to a size and distance that enabled better escort while increasing the numbers of escorts before increasing the number of bombers. The 300 bombers acting as heavy fighters idea was dead.

Location, the post 14 October raids were generally shallow, Bremen was visited a lot.

Weather, only 29% of the bombs dropped 14 October to end 1943 were done visually. The weather limited the number of interceptors ordered up and further limited their ability to find the bombers. It was also limiting the number of bombs on targets which in turn determined how many bombers had to be used, bad weather reduced bomber casualties in the short term, but not necessarily long term. The USAAF was a clear weather air force until 27 September 1943 and for months afterwards only had limited bad weather bombing ability, the 8th could have restricted targets and bomber numbers to enable "adequately" escorted strikes any time before October 1943.
Geoffrey - well written - will have some aditional comments later. Post October 14th may be caracterized as rebuilding and re-training 8th BC for Arguement.
 
I think bombing the population was the obvious thing to do for them. But in hindsight one can question how effective it was. The Germans had at least a hint of possible success when they were targeting airfields, draining the RAF, mind you with only medium bombers. When they started terror bombing on cities not so much.

I've been meaning to reply to the above for awhile, but I had to collate some data first (more on that on later).

Certainly the economic effect of area raids (day and night) on the German war effort were more indirect, but there were effects. Quoting from The Crucible of War 1939-45 (p.867):

Of much greater significance . . . was the extent to which the bomber offensive against Germany constituted a 'Second Front' long before the Allied invasion of Northwest Europe, and even only when Bomber Command was heavily involved in it. In terms of manpower alone, the Germans used between 500,000 to 800,000 workers to repair bomb damage and organize the dispersal of vital industries, labourers who could otherwise have been involved in the direct production of war materiel, while the Flak arm required some 900,000 men in 1943 and was still 656,000 strong in April 1945 — many of who might otherwise have played a significant part in the ground war.

The enemy was also forced to allocate considerable equipment to air defence. In March 1942, as the Germany army was fighting crucial battles in Russia and Bomber Command had not yet launched its first 'thousand' or its initial battle of the Ruhr, there were already 3970 heavy Flak guns deployed around German cities.which could have been made into mobile artillery or bolstered anti-tank defences in the east. By September 1944 that number had grown to 10,225. Indeed, according to Albert Speer, of the 19,713 88-millimetre and 128-millimetre dual-purpose Flak/anti-tank artillery pieces produced between 1942 and 1944, only 3172 could be allocated to the army for use in the anti-armour role because of the pressure of air attack. Similarly, the threat posed by Bomber Command's night raids meant that the German night-fighter force accounted for a consistently increasing percentage of Luftwaffe front-line strength — more than 20 per cent of the total by December 1944. Several hundred of those on strength in late 1943 and 1944 were machines which could have been used to great advantage in other roles on other fronts.


Something I've remarked on before is the stereotype that all Bomber Command did was incendiary area raids on German cities. The reality was different, and I don't think this has been documented particularly well.

We can look at the figures in the British Bombing Survey as a starting point:

1942 = 20,534 tons of incendiaries out of 51,028 total tons dropped (40.2%)
1943 = 82,956 tons of incendiaries out of 176,352 total tons dropped (47.0%)
1944 = 73,438 tons of incendiaries out of 571,057 total tons dropped (12.9%)
1945 = 28,215 tons of incendiaries out of 198,835 total tons dropped (14.2%)

From the above it's clear the peak year for incendiary bomb usage, both in terms of tonnage dropped and percentage of total bomb tonnage dropped, was 1943.

Another way of looking at it is to compare the number of incendiary missions to the number of high explosive missions. This can be readily determined by looking at the aircraft bomb loads. Incendiary operations typically carried one or two HE bombs and large numbers of 4 lb and/or 30 lb incendiary bombs, while high explosive missions usually carried various numbers of 500 lb and/or 1,000 lb bombs, and no incendiary ordnance at all.

I've been going through the mission-by-mission results for two different Bomber Command squadrons, and tallying up the number of each type of bombing operation for each year for 1943 through 1945. The results are quite interesting so far. But I still have to finish the data for one squadron. I don't think I've ever seen the bombing operations broken down in this way.
 
A note on sources, the Richard Davis Bomber Command figures are slightly incomplete, as they omit some of the data for raids where the bombing became scattered, like the 2/3 August 1943 raid on Hamburg. They are a slight underestimate of bombs dropped.

The story so far.

Pre WWII the USAAF experimented with external tanks for fighters, ultimately deciding they were not worthwhile in peace time. In February 1942 that policy was reversed after production of P-38, P-39, P-40, P-47 and P-51 had already begun. The P-47 had just made it into production and was classified as having one of the longer ranges, it was also the planned main high performance USAAF type for 1942 and beyond, like the P-38 its supercharger enabling it to operate at heavy bomber altitudes. The result was in 1943 Republic were under pressure to produce as many P-47 as possible while taking into account combat service results that started to flow from around April 1943. Meantime the doctrine of self defending heavy bomber formations was tried.

End 1942 the 8th Air Force idea was 300 bombers could operate at least partially unescorted with 4% losses, at the same time the Air Force asked about external tanks for P-47 and initiated local design and then production of external tanks. Also by expecting to only bomb visually it gave interceptors better chances to engage the bombers. The war situation and production limits meant the 8th Air Force received as many high performance USAAF fighters as reasonably possible in 1943. For example despite their obvious usefulness the Mediterranean never had more than the 3 P-38 groups sent as part of Operation Torch. The only other major source of higher performance longer ranged fighters available in 1943 were the new Spitfire VIII with an external 90 gallon combat tank, none were offered or requested.

In allied strategic terms the European Theatre in 1942/43 was not first priority, at times the China/India/Burma theatre had higher priority for some shipping. The 1943 Overlord plan was based on what resources were assigned to the operation, not what resources were needed to make a successful operation, result was a 3 beach assault. For the USAAF Europe was higher priority as the place to prove strategic bombing was a, to the, major new way of warfare, including providing evidence to help push programs like the B-29 along with dreams of air force independence. The counterpart to Arthur Harris Battle of Berlin idea, Bomber Command casualties in that battle were less than the Army D-Day ones, overall 21st Army group in 11 months of combat probably had around the same number of killed and PoW as Bomber Command for the war. A German collapse in early 1944 would have saved a lot of lives.

To 14 October 1943 the 8th Air Force believed its above forecast losses were due to a lack of bombers but although losses were unsustainable the Luftwaffe fighter force was taking even more unsustainable losses while the bombing was reducing fighter production below replacement rates, so keep attacking. After 14 October 1943 the 8th Air Force chose the number bomber sorties despatched and targets to fit the available escorts, along with using worse weather this cut losses to sustainable levels. Ignoring the weather this was an option available to the Air Force from the start. The problem in 1943 was to hurt the German war economy and provoke the Luftwaffe into major fights you had to attack targets in Germany, unless you had by around mid year a viable invasion force ready to land which then did land. The 1941/42 operations had shown how little the Luftwaffe cared to defend most targets in France. At the same time the way allied airpower in Britain was growing meant the Luftwaffe needed to up the losses inflicted, that meant more engagements. In 1941/42 the RAF had found its fighters were the main Luftwaffe targets over France as the bomber forces were so weak, with the USAAF providing a viable day bomber force from late 1942 supplemented by a growing RAF day bomber force, the RAF found the bombers became the main target and flying escort was a good way to meet Luftwaffe fighters. Start a program of systematically bombing the Luftwaffe out of France and see what happens?

The allies had detected the decline in Luftwaffe fighter numbers end 1942 but then detected an expansion in 1943, including a higher percentage being assigned to the west post July, intelligence assessments of all cause Luftwaffe losses were below the numbers claimed by heavy bomber gunners. Yet the 8th Air Force decided the Luftwaffe fighter force was in decline, mostly due to its operations while the increased defences could be handled and the fighter defences were coastal, very little deep, despite where losses were occurring.

It was hard enough maintaining 8th Air Force tight bomber group formations to provide the mutual support against fighter attack, to achieve such mutual support with 300 bombers would require a group of groups formation, which the airspace required for each formation and to keep the bombers out of slipstreams etc. says could not happen. In any case such a formation would have to significantly reduce bomber losses to fighters while the number lost to flak would increase as more bombers entered flak fields compared with earlier raids. As a general rule the non escort ways to reduce bomber casualties, speed, height, weather, formation size etc. tend to decrease bombing accuracy, and accurate bombing is the major objective.

Putting more range into the P-47 would have helped but the further the bombers go the more escorts are required, starting with the way more interceptors have a chance to engage.

To me the 8th Air Force crossed the line, largely sticking to its original force requirements and ideas while coming up with positions to explain why things were not going as planned and justifying losses. The remaining question is when the evidence was available for a "reasonable" person or a "beyond reasonable doubt" conclusion to change tactics. The Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain usually limited its day bomber sorties to places and in numbers that could be well escorted, E R Hooton reports 9,700 day bomber sorties 1 July to 6 October 1940, broken down into 1,150 from 1 July to 4 August, 3,850 from 5 August to 1 September, and 4,700 from 2 September to 6 October.

The promise was 4% losses or less, using credit sorties that happened for the months of August, September and November 1942, March and September 1943. Of the first 8 months of operations 3 had been above the 4% figure, even though most were shallow penetrations and had at least partial fighter cover. Expressed as a percentage of sorties that attacked targets the results are of course worse. Attacks on French targets had over 4% losses of attacking sorties for four of the first eight months, on a cumulative basis it went to 4% in December 1942 and stayed there until July 1943. For attacks on Germany loss rates as a percentage of attacking were over 4% February to October 1943. There were only 11 raid days on Germany to end May 1943, alone they were worrying but not enough data to make big decisions. Overall by end January 1943 it was 995 sorties credited with attacking, end February it was 1,244 sorties, end March it was 1,855 sorties, end April it was 2,206 sorties, end May it was 3,423 sorties. As of end December 1942 cumulatively 4.11% of attacking sorties were missing, and that cumulative percentage would largely keep climbing until November 1943.

Which month finally provides enough data that makes you think the 8th Air Force should have changed to bombers staying within escort range, with the bomber force size determined by the available escort numbers? How much does available strength become a factor? Spreadsheet with updated data attached.

Something I've remarked on before is the stereotype that all Bomber Command did was incendiary area raids on German cities. The reality was different, and I don't think this has been documented particularly well.

We can look at the figures in the British Bombing Survey as a starting point:

1942 = 20,534 tons of incendiaries out of 51,028 total tons dropped (40.2%)
1943 = 82,956 tons of incendiaries out of 176,352 total tons dropped (47.0%)
1944 = 73,438 tons of incendiaries out of 571,057 total tons dropped (12.9%)
1945 = 28,215 tons of incendiaries out of 198,835 total tons dropped (14.2%)
In 1941 for attacks on Germany Bomber Command dropped an average of 15% incendiary by weight, the percentage tending to decrease during the year. It was 11% in January 1942, remarkably 0% in February, 30% in March then from April 1942 until April 1944 it was 49.1%, quite consistently around 50% a month, then from May 1944 to May 1945 it fell to 16.5%. Remembering the half way point for Bomber Command bombs dropped on Germany was end August 1944 it means from 1942 to the end of the war 28.6% of Bomber Command's tonnage against Germany was incendiary. (Italy was 42.4%). In its attacks on Germany the 8th Air Force was 17.5% incendiary.

Bomber Command tried to burn Germany for two years but as the bombing campaign was so end weighted that is not reflected in the total bomb tonnage percentages. If you want a quirk of statistics the near 21 tons of bombs dropped on Denmark 1942 to 1945 were 28% incendiary.
I've been going through the mission-by-mission results for two different Bomber Command squadrons, and tallying up the number of each type of bombing operation for each year for 1943 through 1945. The results are quite interesting so far. But I still have to finish the data for one squadron. I don't think I've ever seen the bombing operations broken down in this way.
Which two squadrons?
 

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Bomber Command tried to burn Germany for two years but as the bombing campaign was so end weighted that is not reflected in the total bomb tonnage percentages. If you want a quirk of statistics the near 21 tons of bombs dropped on Denmark 1942 to 1945 were 28% incendiary.

From the numbers I'm seeing 1943 was undoubtedly the peak year for fire bombing. Even raids against targets in France — e.g. Lorient, St. Nazaire, etc. — were almost all incendiary operations in 1943.


Which two squadrons?

106 and 408 Squadrons. I also have data for 433 Squadron, but it didn't start operating until 1944.

These started as part of an effort to record the bomb load for each aircraft sent on an operation by a squadron, along with recording other important mission data stated in the squadron ORBs. I haven't been able to work on this project in awhile, but I hope to get back at some point. I have quite a list of squadrons I want to go through and document.

I'll give a little preview of the incendiary versus high explosive mission counts: in 1943, 96% of the bombing operations aircraft from 408 Squadron participated in were incendiary raids. This fell to 28% in 1944 (with two-thirds of the incendiary missions taking place in the first four months of that year), and was 28% again in 1945.
 

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