For Bill Marshall

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GregP, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bill,

    As you know I recently posted my most recent attempt at Tony Woods German aerial victory files. In it I did a basic analysis of the claims by type victim and date. To get there I literally went through the victories and inserted generic types for the victims in a column I added. So a P-40, P-40E, Kittyhawk, Tomohawk, Warhawk were all transformed into "P-40" in my "generic type" column, as an A-20, Havoc, and Boston were all turned into "A-20." The main reason for the time involved between my last try at the file and this one was going through things to verify them. I know you understand that one well.

    That being said, I turned P-51, P-51A, P-51B, P-51D, Mustang, Mustang I, Mustang II, etc. into "P-51."

    That gives me a total claims for the generic P-51s claimed as 1,190 claimed P-51s in Tony's files. I am working toward a question here. I have Naval losses broken out by losses to enemy aircraft, losses to AAA, and operational losses ... but while I have victories by theaters versus Germany aircraft USAAF including P-51s, I have never found losses of P-51s (or anything else) broken out by loss type, or even total losses. All I have is combat losses to enemy aircraft. In the USAAF statistics table they are shown, but not broken out by type, and not all loss types are represented.

    I thought if anyone in here knew the losses of P-51s in theaters versus Germany including losses to enemy aircraft, AAA, and operations, it would be you. Since I have a reasonable estimate of German claims, if you know the losses, we could arrive at a reasonable estimate of overclaims of P-51s.

    Naturally, I'd like to get to P-47s and P-40s, too, as well as all the others, but it helps to start somewhere.

    If you have the losses, perhaps you'd share them?

    In any case, Merry Christmas to you and to all the member in here.
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Yes I will share what I have in excel format which is transcribed in Our Might Always. Having said that I am a long way from converting the written notes to database. PM me your email address.

    Suggestion - Kent Miller did a pretty good job in Volume I of Fighter Units Pilots of the 8th AF. I bought my set about five years ago at Chino POF and used his data to correlate against my own. We agree to about 90% on the 355th but I have far deeper insight than he was able to devote and as near as I can tell, he used my AB&D for loss info - which I corrected significantly when MACRs became available online in Fold3. My Our Might Always is as accurate as can be represented with some judgment reserved.

    If you have his book, you can either go to the individual Group histories of Claims and Losses or go day by day Claim/Loss by Group/Squadron which is an extraction of the Group data. It took me about a month to do that, then cross check with other sources (USAF 85) and 8th AF VCB to arrive at some Judgment issues once again. In my case I was forced to pull the MACRs and use that as the final arbiter and use USAF 85 as the final air to air arbiter and 8th AF VCB as the final Ground score arbiter.

    Explanation. As you know MACR's were developed by compiling the Eyewitness reports (sometimes vague) with data from the mission and engineering records and control tower. When I did Our Might Always I pulled every MACR (not 100% Complete as some of the April 16, 1945 data is missing - but well covered by 355 History reports) and pulled the KUJ reports attached post war as well as Evadee/Returned POW Questionnaires. The latter two reports were not used as near as I can tell by Kent Miller.

    So, my data of Lost because "XYZ", and Lost "UNK causes" were further refined to Lost-air combat, Lost-Unk but probably air combat; Lost Strafing, Lost Flak, Last seen while strafing-Unk; Lost Engine Failure/Coolant, Mechanical (MP, Oxygen, structural failure, ran out of fuel), Accident (weather related, Pilot error -take off/landing, Mid Air collision - not combat related and Friendly Fire).

    In my book I lumped all the Mech/EF/Coolant/Fuel into "OTHER". I lumped in Lost-air and Lost-Unk but enemy aircraft in area into "LOST AIR". I lumped Strafing, Flak and Strafing-Unk into "STRAFING" even though a couple of losses were real high altitude flak.

    A mid air collision in which the LW and 355th pilot were both lost, or in one case a LW collision with P-51 resulted in downing of both the 109 and the P-51 but LW pilot survived - all LOST-AIR. In one case two 355 pilots collided when attempting to bounce (not evade) I also lumped it in as LOST AIR.

    So you can see a lot of judgment needs to be applied to even attempt to match against Tony Wood claims/awards. In my research the LW awards as referenced by film number were 80-100% overstated when compared to 8th AF losses. In some cases, when you also account for aircraft returned (mostly bombers) that were salvaged, you get closer to 50% overclaimed - but the simple fact for those cases is that they did not go down when hit by the claiming LW pilot.

    Hope this is helpful.

    BTW if you don't have the 8th AF VCB microfilm you should get it because the VC's not only state the pilot/squadron data but also the type of LW aircraft credited.
     
  3. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #3 drgondog, Dec 25, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
    Last thought - My 8th AF summary has all the VC's by type of LW a/c and type (Spit, P-38, P-47, P-51) as correlated with USAF 85 for VC's and 8th AF VCB tor LW a/c type (ground and air).

    My totals for P-51 losses ------> 324 air, 569 strafing, 473 operational = 1366 total all causes.

    The above number does not include Class 5/E salvage. I would speculate approximately 10% of the above would be in the ballpark of Mustangs destroyed or damaged beyond repair over UK, pilot OK.

    To close on Tony Wood LW awards against 8th AF, you will have to go deeper into 9th AF from December 1943 forward.
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #4 GregP, Dec 25, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
    PM sent, Bill and, again, Merry Christmas.

    And thanks you for the above data. Is that all P-51s or just the 8th Air Force?

    One last question. Do you know how many P-51s were sent to the Soviet Union? I have seen that we sent them 10 in one place. Another place had it 14. But I have never seen that we supplied them very many ... that is, enough to form a combat unit or units with them. I ask only because if they didn't have more than a handful, then I don't have to factor in potential Soviet P-51 losses with the German claims.

    So far, their claims are 1,190 and you can say we lost 324 in the air to fighters , 569 strafing, and 473 operationally. That's about an overclaim rate of some 3.7 : 1, which isn't all that unreasonable, given what we know about claims in combat. I think the overclaim rate was MUCH lower in the Pacific after the initial shock of combat due primarily to many fewer planes being involved in individual combats and no chance for planes that went down to be recovered and used again, at least for parts. Add to that the weather was, for the most part, much more clear than in the ETO, especially in fall and winter. So they weren't going to go hide in the clouds on all THAT many days compared with Europe.

    Again, my thanks.
     
  5. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    you can losses planes for not operational causes, or the USAAF had a broad means for operational?
    so of the around 7 thousand of fighter lost from USAAF in Europe (south incluse) in 44/5 less of 20% was P-51, i suppose the weight on fighter on hands was much higher or i'm in wrong?
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The number above is solely 8th AF P-51B/C/D/K and the total number is for combat and operational losses of the aircraft including 'dropping out of the sky' for any reason prior to returning to England. It does not include all the fighters declared War Weary taken away from operations, or aircraft damage beyond economic repair or the 1000's destroyed after VE Day rather than bring them home or to aircraft lost by accident or pilot error such landing short, losing an engine on take off, or crashing after pilot bailed out (safely) for major malfunction not combat related.

    These losses also include ditchings in North Sea and Channel. If the cause was battle damage then it was assigned 'Air' or 'Strafing', if lack of Fuel it was assigned 'Operational' with a sub-category of 'fuel' in my data base.

    There is one category that I know my data is subject to much refinement and possibly a 'never know conclusively' category. That is the more rare occasion in which the aircraft returned with battle damage beyond economic repair and is written off. Where I have data from various squadron histories which specify both the condition and the probable cause (I have several in which battle damage from air combat caused the pilot to bail out over England or say, land at Manston) then I assigned that case to Lost-Air or Lost-Strafing. I have about 30 of that type.

    One point to be made is that 8th AF records for Fighters originated from the Squadron level, reported to Wing and Division levels, were from Engineering. It included Operational and Available for Combat, out of Operations (engine change, modification per T.O., battle damage repair) and Charged Off. For the latter category few details exist other than 'battle damage' or 'accident'. You have to rely on incomplete or unavailable documentation from the Engineering orgs of each Squadron or Service Group or Base Air Depot records for clues to differentiate whether air combat or flak.

    The Operational category is an extraction of losses over enemy held (or neutral) territory in which the aircraft did not return to England and the pilot went POW/KIA/MIA or Evaded but not deemed by evidence to have received battle damage during operations. The Accident category is for aircraft destroyed and pilots killed over England in an accident - for any reason, including pilot error, weather, structural failure.

    For my purposes the 'blocks' or 'collections' are for the purposes of attempting to acquire insight to the specific 'Actual/Probable Cause' of 8th AF Fighter losses experienced during combat operations and separate them from losses to other causes such as Training accidents or accidents during non-combat flight operations over England.

    In my Accident category, the aircraft destroyed/pilots killed were not result of enemy actions (or presence) and Does not include aircraft destroyed, pilot safe over England. Nor does it include in any tabulation those Fighters that returned with battle damage 'deemed not economical to repair' nor non-combat flight operations (ferrying, training, cross country, etc) in which the fighter was damaged beyond repair and salvaged.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I didn't see a category for losses to AAA and that seems to be the biggest category for most other losses in the Navy. I take it that losses due to strafing are AAA as well as all other combat causes when lost not due to enemy aircraft.

    Checked out one of your books mentioned above and I must say, impressive. Unfortunately Amazon is out of stock at this time, but soon enough I hope.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #8 drgondog, Dec 26, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
    Greg - I put AAA/flak into Strafing even though several examples were clearly NOT strafing but high altitude damage. There are few cases of Fighters being shot down by flak during an escort mission, but equally difficult is separating more 'operational blocks' for simplicity in editing. The category could be stated Flak/Strafing as some strafing losses were collisions into parked aircraft or tree line but witness could not state 'Loss of Control with subsequent crash' as they could not clearly differentiate the cause in fleeting view of the aircraft.

    My method very slightly OVERSTATES Losses due to Strafing on this point.

    I would say the USN would have an equal difficulty in making the separation of a loss while shooting up ground targets - i.e "golden B-B" from small arms, distinct hit by AAA, or just target fixation and crash.

    Having spent 30-40 years gathering data and parsing it, I Know a lot of judgment is applied when reviewing reports in MACR's. I also know from the same examinations that post war debriefing of POWs as well as Graves Registration examining LW reports contradicted some MACR, and some KUJ reports were wrong with respect to 'cause'. Use these observations as you integrate my findings into yours. A suggestion is that you create a separate column to identify the source?
     
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  9. Andrew Arthy

    Andrew Arthy Member

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    Hi Greg,

    From Hardesty Grinberg, Red Phoenix Rising, based on Romanenko's Ph.D. dissertation 'Lend-Lease Aircraft 1941-1945', four Mustang Mk. Is were delivered in 1942 as non-Lend-Lease Deliveries. These were the only Mustangs given to the Soviets.

    Am about to add a bit of data to your German claims thread.

    Cheers,
    Andrew A.
     
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  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again, Bill,

    When I saw flak missing, that's what I figured. Bill, when I find a copy of your book, I'll pick it up. The price wasn't out of site and the source is well respected, at least by me.

    And thank you, Andrew!
     
  11. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Greg - Amazon doesn't have the Our Might Always because of feud with Schiffer. I you want me to autograph it, send me a check for the book - I'll have it shipped to me, enscribe with a note and mail it to you. I'll put the details in me email with the stuff I am sending.
     
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