BOB: Why Are There Differences?

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Njaco

The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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Feb 19, 2007
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After reading numerous books and visiting several sites related to the Battle of Britain, I've noticed that there is a discrepancy about what the aircraft losses for each side per day are. Toliver would say (as an example) that 40 British aircraft were lost on sept 5 while the BOB website says 35, another book says 41, etc, etc. Are they counting non-action losses as well? I'm doing some research on the BOB and this gets confusing with what would be reliable sources. Any answers?

Thanks
 
It's a matter of where writers get their sources from. Also some writers may include non-combat losses but don't mention it in their books.
 
I have seen many of this particular thread in other forums.

If one has a clear picture of what happend up in the air during the plane encounters, one will understand why it is more or less impossible for the agressor to determin if a plane was actually shot down (a kill - exploding right in front of you) or dragging smoke and going down - not knowing if the poor fellow crashed or still made it out. Or whilst going down in smoke being shot down (exploded in front of the second attacker) or again making still a landing.
In many of these cases pilots would in total overclaim, without even knowing about it.
But I would say there is one every clear indication about losses during the BoB.

Take the respective national archives for KIA or MIA and Pow and one will know exactly how many pilots and planes where lost. These records also show who was a Pilot (Flugzeugfuehrer) or just a crew man (Flieger personal, Bordschuetze etc.)
Probably nobody has undertaken this painstaking task, because any book which talks about Kills, and keeps the myth about the BoB sells a lot better.

According to the British archives about 557 Pilots are registered as KIA,MIA and PoW from 10th of July till 30th of October. So does this figure contribute any significance to what is called a battle ?

Wespe
 

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And I understand about archives and research but why so many authors with supposed access to these records still seem to give conflicting results. I would think that after 60 years and with such a prominent battle this little problem would be ironed out. I don't have access to alot of these libraries and my own is a bit lacking -don't have $300 for Fighters Over Tunisia-but it just bugs me alittle.

*one will understand why it is more or less impossible for the agressor to determin if a plane was actually shot down*

I definately take that into consideration - fully understand. I'm just surprised after all these years something isn't more concrete.
 
Hi Wespe,

As you can see, I am new on this Forum.

I would fully agree to your statement regarding the BoB. Figures alone are just not interesting enough to be read.

Jabo
 

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Gutten Tag, Jabo

Thats my point. I would think if you're going to build perception, such as a recreation of a battle, some of the little things must be made solid first. Loss figures can fluctuate, I understand, but without a solid starting point, how does one dig deeper into what happened. Maybe I'm taking myself too serious but when I try to disect minor engagements during a certain day its hard to figure out who shot who, when, where, etc. even with combat reports, etc. If There were five Spits brought down DEFINATE, and six claims, you can work from that. But I can't even get a specific number from all the sources I've seen. Confusing and disappointing. Maybe its the Fermat problem of WWII.
 
Hi there Njaco,

well I think Wespe already pointed it out, the only thing one could go for are the acctual KIA/MIA/POW stats on behalf of pilots and crewman.
If for example: a Lufftwaffe plane gets (shot down-e.g. trailing smoke) the English pilot would have recorded a kill.
However the German pilot managed to land, gets into a new plane, takes off four hours later and run's into the same English pilot (shots down the Spit - trailing smoke) but the English guy still gets down to his Base.

The record for this day would show: 1 Bf-109 down, 1 Spit down
The record on base would show 1 Bf-109 damaged, 1 Spit damaged

So in total: 2 planes down and 2 planes damaged
And the story continious: where the damaged planes to be repared? So lets say the Bf-109 was a wreck beyond repair.
Later some author will find out, that on that day, 1 Bf-109 was shot down(according to British records) and according to German records 1 Bf-109 had to be scrapped on that particular day.

So to the author it will be 2 Bf-109 destroyed on that day. Another author will change the destroyed to 2 Bf-109 shot down.

Confusing eh? that is why I agree with Wespe; count the KIA/MIA and PoW
and if the pilot was a PoW he can be counted as a loss just as well.

Jabo
 

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Jabo or Wespe or ? whomever you are respond to the moderators privates at once or you will suffer the wrath of the moderating team !!

Erich ~
 
Well Wespe is going to get banned soon as well, if he does not explain himself...


Good. Makes me laugh when I see newbies come here and try and play us for fools. I love best when they come here BS about their military back grounds and you flush them out. I love that. Funny as hell watching it happen from post to post.
 
Jabo or Wespe or ? whomever you are respond to the moderators privates at once or you will suffer the wrath of the moderating team !!

Erich ~
I did not know this was a place of that kind. :shock: The only person that I allow to respond to my privates is the wife.
 
*Jabo or Wespe or ? whomever you are respond to the moderators privates at once or you will suffer the wrath of the moderating team !!*

Wow, didn't mean to start something!

*Confusing eh? that is why I agree with Wespe; count the KIA/MIA and PoW
and if the pilot was a PoW he can be counted as a loss just as well.*

and sometimes that can be confusing. I've found pilots who were dead recording kills months later. Tony Wood's Loss lists have sevral of these.

It was just sumptin I was wunderin about. I guess thats why research is what it is, otherwise might be boring:)
 
I'm not an expert on this but I do know that some people have done an enormous amount of research to pin down the exact figures. I recall reading that they believe they have got as close as possible, with very few remaining questions.

What you have to remember is that very few authors do original research: it takes a huge amount of time to find, slog through and analyse the sources from both sides, so most authors just copy whatever's in some other book :)

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum
 

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