Controversial 8th AF FC air to air ratios

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by drgondog, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/marshall/SUMMARY_OF_COMBAT_OPERATIONS.pdf

    Could a moderator correct the spelling of 'Controversial' from 'Contoversial' in the title?

    I recently posted results of about 20 years of research - post publish "Angels, Bulldogs and Dragons - History of the 355th FG WWII" . The Above Operational Summary contains both the 355th as well as all other 8th AF Fighter Command statistics.

    I put it out because it will go in my follow on book "Our Might Always - History of 355th Fighter Group and Wing - WWII through Iraqi Freedom" and I WANT constructive criticism.

    The sources are well described in the article. The Operations Losses are the result of reading some 2100 Macr's and I feel pretty comfortable with the relative judgement regarding 'cause' and where an 'Unknown cause' exists I usually assigned an "Air to Air loss" where the LW was present and a "Flak or Strafing loss" when a fighter went down near an airfield with flak present.

    The ratios ARE high and for similar reasons perhaps to Korea - in that not enough details are available via conventional research of Luftwaffe records because so many were lost at the end of WWII. Some a/c legitimately claimed for example as 'shot down' and awarded a Destroyed, was in fact 'shot down' but repaired and returned to service.

    Therefore, the USAAF awards must be considered overstated in that light.

    One other thing to reflect on. The high ratios for the P-47 and P-51 were lower in 1943 through May 1944, than in the last six months of the war. The low P-38 ratio was not reflective of the extremely good results the P-38L achieved with the 479th FG before they converted to Mustangs.

    I'm working on a month by month Ops Summary to show that trend - which clearly implies the increased experience and talent of the 8th AF FC pilots and the decreasing experience and talent of the LW pilots as the major attrition occurs in the Oct 43 through May 44 timeframe.

    An illustration of this concept can be made by emphasizing that the 355th FG lost 3 pilots to Me 109s in August 1944 and did not lose another air to air until eight months later in April 45 with two lost in air combat plus two of 'Unknown' causes - which I believe was probably 'Air" and counted them so. Makes for very high 'air to air' ratios when the competition is getting worse every day - with occasional suprises.

    The achievements in air to air ratios of the 339th and 479th FG's are reflective, in my opinion, of the late start in the air battles over Germany when so many of the experienced LW pilots were gone and the replacements not very good.

    Fire away and I appreciate your comments.

    Regards,

    Bill

    PS it has a couple of small errors, since corrected from last week, and Mike should have the update on-line in a day or so
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Re-organized for clarity. BTW, this section below contains same info as Mike Williams website version but re-arranged to present 8th AF, then 355th next and finish with Galland letter to my question "How did the appearance of the Mustang as a long range fighter influence Luftwaffe Operations?

    Perhaps also interesting are the low ratios of air to air awards for the P-38s as well as the high ratios of losses due to combined flak and strafing. Only the 479th excellent results with the P-38L were enough to keep 8th AF P-38 units much above one to one.

    When I started this research, I expected the P-38 to reflect twin engine survivability over the P-51 but did not seem to be the case.
     

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  3. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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  4. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I read the conclusions and it covers a lot of ground. It starts off discussing how the fighters attacked transport and ends up with a quote covering Galland and the effect the numbers of allied fighters had on morale. Not doubting the essential accuracy of your charges but think you might be covering a large subject in a cursory way. Your points are good, but there might be more to it than the space given to the final points.

    In truth, I think the ideas put forward in the final points are valid ground for a full book.

    Also, not sure a study of ratios would support the conclusions. Might be reading more into it than is there in the ratios.

    All IMHO, no offense intended.
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Zero offense taken.. these are several pages following 200 pages of Combat Diary wrapping up 355th FG operations during WWII. The 8th AF section is there to put 355 achievements in some context. I have been struggling to put a proper framework on it.

    It's even tougher discussing 355TFW results in Viet Nam (in the new book). How do you put in context losing so many pilots and F-105s/RB-66s while dropping 202,000 tons (approximately 1/3 of all the tonnage dropped by B-17s in WWII) of bombs in North Viet Nam? And being the second highest FG in killing MiGs when you cannot manuever with them?

    The Galland Letter was one I asked for after the American Fighter Aces Association took 'ace' status away from a lot of brave men that achieved 5 or more in combination - after the 8th AF incented them to do so.

    So, to summarize - it's not about 8th AF per se, but I needed to do the research to at least align the achievements of all the FG's in some comparative view?

    I'll think about what you said, and thanks for the comments.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Was kicking around the ideas last night. Think the work you did was very good. A great starting point. Is there a counter work that you could combine (something that shows the losses on a given day by German Aircraft) that would give depth to the numbers you list.

    My point of questioning is of the data supporting any conclusions at all. As listed, it is simply data on victories claimed by American Fighter Groups. We are talking about the WW2 stats. What was the numberical effect on the opposing fighter groups. It might then lead to better interpertation.

    As for the Vietnam kills, oy-vey, that one could go on forever. Two different wars (WW2/Vietnam) and two totally different rules of engagement (very limited ROE in WW2 vs. very limiting in Vietnam).

    As noted earlier, your stats are a great place to start. Interesting stuff.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again.

    I've sent all my foundation stuff, like my Honor Roll of MIA/KIA/POW/Evaders - with details (including Macr/J reports) of 355th guys who went down over enemy territory or were Killed in Accident; my Encounter Log which details every date in which the 355th engaged with LW in the air - often linking LW unit or pilot; the entire 355/SF fighter inventory (maybe 90% complete) and a complete detailed list of all 355FG awards, air and ground - to people like Eric, Dr.'s Olynyk, Prien, Mueller, Caldwell and other fellow researchers like Jan Hey and Leo Etgen, etc for their use also. Ditto to Lynn Gamma at Maxwell AFHRC

    I am working on the day by day, award by award, by type a/c (shooter and shootee), by pilot, by squadron and group but I don't expect to live long enough to cross check that against LW records. The tables you are looking at are the top level summary of this effort but I still have some details that aren't quite 'reconciling' as you can imagine for some 10,000 records.

    I'm 'comfortable' with the top level numbers - but there are so many opportunites for transposing 1-0-1 to 1-1-0 for air scores or 1-0 to 1-1, etc for ground scores on the day by day stuff.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
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