Defensive battle

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by herman1rg, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    What was the greatest defensive air battle in history won by the defenders?
     
  2. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Battle of Britain comes to mind here...
     
  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The Battle of Britain is certainly the most popular and best known, but Malta was all the more desperate due to the chronic lack of resources. Interesting that Keith Park played such a crucial role in both.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #5 stona, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
    Another one for Malta,won with the benefit of lessons learned during the BoB which runs it a close second.

    The Royal Navy might take exception to it being described as an Air Defence campaign.

    Ultimately,after winning the defensive battle,the RAF waged a successful offensive campaign under the command of a very familiar name,Sir Keith Park. This is something,under Leigh Mallory,it singularly failed to do following the BoB.

    Steve
     
  6. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    Another vote for Malta here!

    when you consider the extreme conditions of starvation, malta dog (dysentry), chronic shortage of spares, fuel, ammo and even planes, the overwhelming numerical superiority of the enemy and the difficulty of even getting back to land in one piece, it was probably the most unlikely and exceptional air campaign victory ever!
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Edgar beat me to it - definitely Malta.
     
  8. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Doesnt anybody here think that both the BoB and Malta were won in part because of the German's lack of combat vision and ultimatly poor command execution???
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Most battles or campaigns are won despite failiures on the victorious side and because of failiures on the vanquished side.
    I agree with you but am not sure what point you are making.
    Those of the vanquished are thrown into sharp relief by their defeat. Those of the victors are overlooked in the glow of victory at their peril.

    Malta was a defensive air battle won by the defenders (in this case the RAF)and is one,popular,answer to the original posters question.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  10. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    What I was looking at was the fact that both of those Campaigns were on the verge of being lost before the German Command structure decided to change tactics and inturn lose them... The BoB stands out more so to me than Malta in this regard, but all the same, both Campaigns pretty much stand alone...

    What other Campaigns wold u guys say round out a Top 5??? Stalingrad??? Midway???
     
  11. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Midway would be another, I agree.

    I choose Malta because - while BoB was a major AF against another major AF, Malta was like David in the lion's den. A few machines against a storming air force! Reminds me of Rourke's Drift......
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Surely you could argue the same about German decisions at Stalingrad or Japanese decisions at Midway. In fact you could argue that some shortfall("lack of combat vision" or "poor command execution" included) has been responsible for every defeat of every force in every confrontation in human history.

    Somebody probably lost his dinner because he went out of the cave carrying the wrong club :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #13 oldcrowcv63, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
    1. Finn AF defense of Finland,
    2. Malta
    3. BoB
    4. AVG defense of China Rangoon (although the latter instance was in vain)

    I wouldn't include Midway, because the air battle was clearly lost by its USMC defenders, but the overall battle won by means rendering the results over Midway somewhat inconsequential. I say somewhat because the urgency of recovering IJN aircraft returning from the air battle over the island was intensified by the reports of many wounded aircrew. While the ineffectiveness of the F4F-3's and F2A-3's defense of Midway may superficially appear to have resulted in a dismal failure, I have to wonder if IJN aircraft actually downed by the defenders is only the tip of a larger damage iceberg inflicted on the IJN aircraft. Hiryu's B5N Kate squadron was particulary hard hit by the defenders with only 10 of its 18 aircraft fit to fly in its retaliatory raid on the Yorktown. At least one of these aircraft suffered battle damage that should have grounded it and would have in less desparate circumstances. In any event, Tomonaga flew it to his fateful meeting with John Thach.

    Of course I am neglecting to consider the air battle that occurred between the Yorktown's defending CAP and the 18 Vals attacking the Yorktown. The air battle was clearly won despite the survival of the few that got through to inflict non-fatal damage to the Yorktown. Subsequent CAP defense of the Yorktown was however less than effective.
     
  14. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    If it's of all times, I'll toss in Arab-Isreali War of 1948. If that had been lost the country would have ceased to exist.
     
  15. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Henderson Field
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that qualifies as an air defence battle in the sense of the original question although that was an important element of it.

    I implied above that you could argue the same for Malta and,to be honest,most others. The defence of Henderson Field certainly qualifies as a tremendous defensive battle nonetheless.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    An interesting call! I suppose there was a battle for air superiority.
    Whilst it is true that the nascent Israeli Air Force achieved a sort of air superiority after the arrival of the Avia S-199s it is difficult to argue that this was decisive in the outcome of the conflict given the relative paucity of air power in the posession of the combatants.
    Israel would probably have prevailed for a host of reasons which have nothing to do with air power without their "modernised 109s".

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Without wishing to denigrate the Finnish effort here I have to say that this was not an air defence battle.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    ??? Color me puzzled. How so? Weren't the pilots of Finland's air force flying missions in defense of their territory. Not disagreeing (at this stage) just curious at what seems to me to be very much an air defence battle.
     
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