Messerschmitt Me 109 Victories and Losses

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GregP, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #1 GregP, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
    I have been a fan of the Me 109 for years. Though it certainly has its faults, it is a strong candidate for best overall fighter of the war. Certainly not the ONLY candidate, but a strong one based on actual wartime performance.

    In the course of acquiring data about the Me 109, I can find no definitive number built. People claim anywhere from 29,000 to 36,000 were built, including post-war Czech Avias, but the complete records were lost in the war, apparently. The people who claim to know the exact total have only RLM orders, not the production records of aircraft acceptance by model. The exact number is relatively unimportant to me in reality because it is “a lot.”

    Of more importance, at least to me, are the victory and loss records. I have said and have seen it said that the Me 109 shot down more enemy aircraft than all the other fighters in the war all put together. But I have never seen any list of Luftwaffe victories that tells me by aircraft type how many enemy aircraft were shot down by Me 109’s, Fw 190’s, etc., nor a list of how many were lost in air-to-air combat and operational losses.

    All are important. By way of example, the American Grumman Hellcat, in U.S. service, shot down 5,163 enemy aircraft and had 270 combat losses for a kill ratio of 19 : 1 (the best in WWII). What is usually not said is that the Hellcat also had 553 losses to AA and 340 operational losses on combat sorties not related to combat with the enemy. That adds up to 1,163 losses on combat sorties, with only 270 being related to enemy aircraft. Additionally, there were 1,298 operational losses on non-combat-related sorties, such as training or normal missions where no enemy was encountered, but the engine quit or two planes collided, ran out of gas, etc. . So, the total losses are 2,461.

    Of course, all OTHER aircraft types are calculated the same, so the “kill-to-loss” ratios we all quote are only for losses to enemy aircraft in combat. They have nothing whatsoever to do with operational and other combat losses unrelated to direct combat with enemy aircraft. The basic assumption seems to be that fighter pilot could fight another pilot, but was powerless to dodge or otherwise affect loss due to AA since nobody can dodge an incoming AA shell that he cannot see. The assumptioon is that AA losses were due to good AA gunners, not to any fault attributable to the aircraft, and that seems valid.

    Whether or not we all concur is another post, but I really want to get the Me 109 data including ALL victories and losses. Somewhere in there will be operational losses and there will be some corroboration as to takeoff and landing accidents, which have been blown out of proportion by several sources in the past.

    Does anyone know where I can find Me 109 kills and losses, Fw 190 kills and losses, etc?

    Certainly I have, say, Erich Hartmann’s kill list and I assume the bulk, if not all, were in Me 109’s. I’m looking for the victories and losses for the type, not for a particular person, though that information would be welcome, too, if it gives me more data than I already have.

    Thanks in advance if you know where these data may be found!
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    An American, Frank Tinker is thought to be the first person to shoot down a Bf 109, that happening over Spain July 13, 1937
     
  3. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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  4. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Greg, for losses, combat and non combat, you can start compiling the data from this site, The Luftwaffe, 1933-45

    Is only from 1942 - 45 though.

    durch Feindeinw - loss due to enemy action

    ohne Feindeinw - loss not due to enemy action

    The BAL (Bauaufsicht Luft**) records are fairly complete and more are coming to light every day, so not all records were lost.

    ** This was an RLM organization which had personnel stationed at the manufacturer’s plants and in addition to the inspection and approval for delivery of aircraft, might also be involved in obtaining the supply of critical materials or even becoming directly involved in the company’s production methods.
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I apperciate the link and I can find units, equipment, personnell assigned ... but no victory or loss list.

    Still, it's good information. Again, thanks!
     
  6. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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  7. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Greg - there is another statistic that will never be reconciled - namely the number of badly damage 109s restored to service. A signifivant % of allied claims involve 109s that crash landed and credited as 'destroyed' when in fact many were repaired and restored to service. In my view it does in many case count the same because of the effort required to restore the 50% damaged ship... but difficult to argue the claim.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Not sure that is true Vincenzo - I have seen very few 'probable' awards for USN in contrast with USAAF ETO/MTO credits
     
  9. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    is very true, that they are not probable awards for their air force is not same that they are true enemy loss
     
  10. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #10 vanir, Oct 22, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
    The take off accident rate of the 109 is misleading, the very high accident rate of the type is within 1km of home airfield, it had atrocious low speed handling Marsielle and others remarked on. It wasn't unforgiving, it gave plenty of warning before a stall, but just didn't handle very nicely until you got your speed up, above 300km/h they were fantastic to fly, under 250km/h not so good.

    The accident rate during the take off/landing run itself wasn't particularly high for a slim track gear (plenty of fighters had that in the thirties), it only became unusually high in the later models. Seyringer says 109s skyrocketed in field fatalities as soon as the 605 engine and heavy bomber intercept gear was put on them. He characterises a tiny, lightweight frame, with very heavy euipment and a monster engine with too much torque for inexperienced pilots to handle. He says the combination as an unstable aircraft, that the "Gustav did not suffer fools gladly."

    But earlier high accident rate claims are conflusing. They're not particularly atrocious overall, not a widowmaker, but the unusual thing about them is the vast majority within 1km of home base, if not on the runway. IIRC the clash of wings writer puts it at something like two thirds of all 109 losses through the war accidents, 90% of those within 1km of home field.


    one should also point out the better you make a fighter, the higher your accident rate proportionate to losses by enemy action are going to be no matter how awesome it is to fly and land and do pirouettes.

    hey I remembered listening to some comments by a warbird operator of a flying Gustav, he also commented on its frightening low speed habits near the field. It might give plenty of warning before a stall, but if at low speed/altitude doesn't mean there's anything you can do about it.
     
  11. me109ster

    me109ster New Member

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    Hi, like Greg, i was also curious about actual losses incurred by the Luftwaffe fighter groups. I have been trying to find a book which might outline actual combat and operational losses by unit in each theatre of war but can't find anything....particular interest for me is the defence of the Reich 43-45.

    Apart from the link outlined further above is there anything else to go on?
    It would be great to see an easy guide table....?

    Me109ster...
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't the same thing apply for most late WWII era fighter aircraft? When I read first person accounts of pilot training (regardless of nation) they are full of aircraft accidents.
     
  13. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  14. iron man

    iron man Member

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    #14 iron man, Jan 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
    While it is far from the definitive "Luftwaffe losses for Dummies" (TM), THIS site has a mountain of information on the period you're asking about. You just have to dig through it all to find what you're looking for. If used in conjunction with the tables at Micheal Holm's site (linked above in the thread) then a fair estimate should be within reason...but that would be a boatload of work to do...:shock:
    As far as the Nachtjagd story is concerned...Dr Theo Boiten has released a two volume set which is receiving very high praise for it's thorough treatment of claims/losses. It is mega spendy though. Dr. Theo Boiten: "The Nachtjagd War Diaries"; Volumes 1 2. Published Nov 2008 by Red Kite.

    Hope this helps,
    Ron

    Edit: The info at the site Njaco just posted is primarily compiled from the lists that I have linked to, here in this post!
     
  15. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    truthfully friends the only actual remedy is to purchase the newer versions of the older Dr. J. Prien LW histories which are now in multi-volume's covering each theater of ops and multi- fighter units. claims/losses included. and yet and Prien knows full well about the gaps of lost documentation during 1945.
     
  16. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Finnish Bf 109G pilots got 663 accepted claims 24 March 43 – 9 Aug 44 and lost 34 109s because of enemy actions (27 in aerial combats, 5 to AA and 2 on ground). Notice that this is comparing apples and oranges, ie the accepted claims to the true losses.

    Juha
     
  17. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    "Spitfire vs Bf 109: Battle of Britain" by Tony Holmes claims that in the 4 months of the BoB, the LW lost 610 Bf 109Es.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    4 months = ~120 days.
    If that claim is correct Germany lost an average of 5 Me-109s per day.

    Even if correct those aren't particularly heavy losses for a period of intense combat.
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Except that - according to the book - the RAF during that same time period lost 1,023 Spits and Hurris. Ouch.
     
  20. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    Now add in the Luftwaffe bomber losses to get a clearer picture, after all it was the bombers the RAF had to stop!
     
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