Battle of Britain Claims for Victories

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by weinace, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. weinace

    weinace Member

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    Good morning everyone!

    I have just watched a programme about the B.o.B.; it wasn't very good, said nothing new, but got me to thinking about claims made for victories by both sides abd the wide differences.

    On the luftwaffe side there were pilots like Wick, Galland and Oesau who claimed 42, 35 and 34 respectively. On the R.A.F. side you had Lock, Tuck and Bader who claimed 16, 9 and 11 respectively.

    My question is - why the difference?

    Was it because the Luftwaffe pilots had flown the Spanish Civil War, Poland and France and were more combat ready than the R.A.F.?

    Was it because, just as the Luftwaffe found in the air battles over Germany later in the war, young pilots fresh out of training school were being rushed into battle?

    Was it because more Hurricanes were being shot down in greater proportion than Bf.109s or Siptfires?

    I know there has been discussion about claims regarding JG52 but, being new to WWII Aircraft, I don't know if this question has been discussed.

    Regards,

    weinace:p
     
  2. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello
    I’d say that the reasons were: LW fighter tactics were clearly better, their experienced pilots had a bit more combat experience than British experienced pilots, Bf 109E was better fighter than Hurricane. The main reason was tactics and maybe British fighter pilot training was too oriented towards interception work and dogfights.

    Juha
     
  3. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    I will add that is harder to shoot down a bomber than a fighter. The primary target of RAF FC was the German bombers and only went after the German fighters in selfdefense.
     
  4. magnu

    magnu Member

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    It was also a matter of numbers . A few RAF aircraft intercepting a large German formation would have only a short time to try and get past the large fighter screen to get at the bombers, often splitting their already small formation to give themselves a chance to do this. In the frantic dogfights that would ensue once the 109s came down it was a case of every man for himself
    and just trying to stay alive while being attacked from many directions at once. Having time to get into position and score telling hits was a very rare luxury. The RAF pilots also suffered from being underneath the formations they were intercepting a great deal of the time.
     
  5. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    Another factor was that the Jagdwaffe experten were very focused on obtaining kills and the primary target for offensive ops such as the BoB were enemy fighters. The RAF's attention was primarily focused on enemy bombers (though in the BoB units were designated to tie up enemy fighters while others went after the bombers)

    Similar situation existed over Malta. Even on those rare occasions when the defenders got the bounce, they invariably went after the bombers as a rule. The Germans, utilizing Frei Jagd (free hunt) tactics, often targeted the defenders which were fighters.

    Similar pattern in North Africa. The Germans were often heavily outnumbered overall (bombers+fighters) and sniped at the edges of the enemy formations (aka the escort fighters and fighter patrols) There was also the pre-occupation with kill scoring and as another person just mentioned.....enemy fighters were easier targets than bombers. The end result by El Alamein, was that while a reletively small group of "Experten" obtained tremendous scorecards, overall the Luftwaffe failed to achieve air superiority there. (They would do better in Tunisia re: focusing on enemy bombers)
     
  6. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    The heavier armament of German fighters also magnified the difference in tactics. It is far easier to bring down a Spit or Hurricane with 2x mgs and 2x MG FF than it is to bring down a Heinkel or Dornier with 8x mgs.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I would suppose a large AC moving in a straight and level line at a constant airspeed is easier to hit and bring down than a small fighter doing evasive maneuvers.
     
  8. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    For sure. That is why German bombers returned to base with 1000s of bullet holes in them.
     
  9. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Easier to hit, yes - although not much easier when you're coming on the beam at 250kts+ to avoid defensive fire. Bringing a bomber down is another question though. You don't get many opportunities for a long, concentrated burst that will do serious structural damage or ignite a fuel tank. Given that the RAF squadrons were largely concentrating on the bombers, this probably explains why the RAF claimed fewer kills.
     
  10. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    You also have to take into consideration overclaiming. Wick's for example, are highly dubious.
     
  11. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    This is also true. A young pilot who has just seen smoke and debris flying from the aircraft he fired at can hardly be blamed for claiming it as a kill, even if he has really only done minor damage. And in a vitally important battle like the BoB, kit is equally likely that his superiors will grant it, feeling the need to demonstrate that they are winning..
     
  12. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    In my mind ther is no doubt that amongst the LW experts, there was an exceptional degree of proficiency. Less so in the RAF. However, overall Luftwaffe pilots were not better than there RAF counterparts, and this shows in the daily loss sheets for the battle. The LW lost something like 1900 aircrat in the battle, the RAF something less than 1000. This clearly demonstrates that when all the factors are taken into consideration (eg LW on the attack, faulty strategy, vulnerability of the bombers etc) the RAF was clearly outshooting the LW.
     
  13. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    Actual German and British losses (writeoffs, ie. 60-100% and Cat 3)

    Luftwaffe (July-October):

    1789 on operations, of these 1385 attributed to enemy action. Breakdown as :
    600 SE fighters (502 to enemy action)
    235 TE fighters (224)
    693 bombers (488)
    69 dive bombers (59)
    the rest are recce, transports, coastal etc. aircraft.

    Further 280 written of outside the scope of operational flights (i.e. training of recruits at operational units, but none of these to enemy action).

    652 aircraft were damaged on operation, 303 of these attributed to enemy action. Further 301 damaged outside the scope of operational flights.


    RAF (1 July - 31 October), written off as Cat 3.

    1140 fighters
    367 bombers
    96 other operational types
    for a total of 1603 write-offs

    Cat 2 damages, repairable only at depots or contractors :

    710 fighters
    116 bombers
    50 other operational types
    for a total of 876 seriously damaged aircraft write-offs

    Light Cat 1 damaged are not known exactly, but these were numerous, ie. between 8 August and 30 September 167 Hurricanes and 87 Spitfires, 17 Blenheims and Defiants (ie. 271 aircraft) suffered such damage.
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    What about pilot/aircrew losses?
     
  15. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #15 parsifal, Jul 19, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
    This link gives a fairly good breakdown on the loss rates for RAF Fighters. Somewhat less than Kurfursts figures, but then so too are the losses given to the LW

    Statistics of the Battle of Britain

    another analysis of lw losses for august. interesting that there are so many listwd as simply missing....suspect these ended up as hm guests

    http://history-world.org/battlelosses.htm

    and this site offers a pretty good independant assessment
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/ETO/BOB/BoB-German/index.html#traditional
     
  16. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IMHO Kurfürst’s 2069 vs 1603 written-offs is a good indicator. Of course if we want to compare claims vs kills, some RAF cat 2 losses were legatime kills for LW, but how many is difficult to establish because of the nature of Cat 2.

    Juha
     
  17. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    One should not get too caught up in the number of losses. If the losses can't be replaced which the German couldn't while the British could.

    On Aug. 13 the Germans had 3437 combat a/c while on Sept 7 the German a/c strength had been reduced to 2804 a/c. In the meantime, RAF FC had increased the number of fighter a/c available.

    Luftwaffe Campaign Orders of Battle

    Number Type Strength Svcble

    Aug. 13
    42 1/3 Kampfgruppen 1482 1008
    9 Stukagruppen 365 286
    1 Schlachtgruppe 39 31
    26 Jagdgruppen 976 853
    9 Zerstrergruppen 244 189
    3 Nachtjagdgruppen 91 59
    14 Seefliegerstaffeln 240 125

    Sept 7
    43 Kampfgruppen 1291 798 > -181, -210
    4 Stukagruppen 174 133
    2 Schlachtgruppe 59 44
    27 Jagdgruppen 831 658 > -145, -195
    8 Zerstörergruppen 206 112
    18 Fernaufklärungsstaffeln 191 123
    6 Seefliegerstaffeln 52 33

    Number Type Strength Svcble

    decrease in numbers for bomber and fighters shown
     
  18. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    Apparently you are looking at figures on Luftwaffe strenght deployed against Britain, which is something quite different from total Luftwaffe strenght...!

    ie. German bomber strenght (for the whole LW, not just the ones in France deployed against the British) was 1,380 on 29 June 1940, 1,420 bombers on 28 September, 1,423 level bombers on 2 November and 1,393 bombers on 30 November 1940.
     
  19. weinace

    weinace Member

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    I would like to thank you ALL for your excellent replies, which have given me a totally different (and more accurate) perspective of air combat and the factors affecting 'victory rates'.

    I did forget that RAF aircrfat had rifle calibre m/c guns whilst the LW had cannon, sparking a long and bitter arguement in the RAF as to which way to go. As I understand it Tuck was pro cannon Bader against but - eventually (and AT LAST) - the RAF did instal cannon but after BoB was over.

    Thank you all again,

    weinace:p
     
  20. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Naturally, as the link does say 'Campaign'.

    Those extra a/c are of no use during BoB if they are stationed elsewhere and are not used to replace BoB losses.

    Since you mentioned 280 LW other losses, how many of the 1603 RAF write-offs were in the same category as the 280 LW losses?

    The source for your numbers posted is ...........?
     
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