Nachtjaegers shooting down Allied nightfighters

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by paradoxguy, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. paradoxguy

    paradoxguy Member

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    #1 paradoxguy, Dec 8, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
    The very recent and interesting Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 thread reminded me that all of Schnaufer's 121 victories were scored against bombers and piqued my curiosity as to how the Nachtjaegers did against Allied nightfighters. According to the Luftwaffe fighter ace site http://www.luftwaffe.cz/nacht.html, Kurt Welter claimed 33 Mosquitoes, 8 in Wilde Sau operations with JG 300 and 25 with a Me 262-equipped nightfighter unit; the latter group of 25 Mosquito victories seem to have been achieved in Wilde Sau-type operations without radar also. I'm also aware of Welter's reputation for low reliability of his claims. I recall that Helmut Lent shot down one Mosquito intruder in nightfighter operations, which was listed also on http://www.luftwaffe.cz/nacht.html. The same site mentions individual Mosquito victories by several other Nachtjaegers, such as Meurer, Struening, and Zorner, but doesn't seem to mention victories over other Allied nightfighters such as Beaufighters.

    Hence I am presenting the following questions about Nachtjaeger victories against Allied nightfighters/ intruders, with individual mention of Mosquitoes, and a question about nightfighter airplanes. The criteria are that the victories were achieved in radar-equipped multi-engined nightfighters in nightfighter operations, both defense over German-occupied territories and intruder operations into England. Radar-equipped nightfighter Me 262's are allowed, but I'm not certain at all if these saw action. If possible, I'd like to include as victories only Mosquitos used as nightfighters/intruders and not night bombers, but I know this may be difficult or impossible. I am also excluding Kurt Welter for now, given his controversy.


    1. Does anyone know the highest tally of Allied nightfighters shot down by one Nachtjaeger?

    2. Did one or more Nachtjaegers shoot down five or more Allied nightfighters? If so, did any of them score five or more against Mosquito nightfighters?

    3. Is there any data to suggest any of the following German nightfighters had more operational success against Mosquitos: Bf 110G, Ju 88C and Ju 88G, and He 219A?

    Thanks,
    PG
     
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    I'm not going to reveal too much from my own personal book Moskito-jagd over Deutschland but will give hint(s) to your questions ..............

    for your last question you must add the Bf 109G-6/AS and even the Fw 190A.

    I'll return later with more.

    E ~
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Allied night fighters were rare over Germany prior to the Normandy invasion. For instance.

    30 March 1944. Attack on Nurenberg.
    ~800 heavy bombers.
    20 Mosquito night fighters escorted the bomber stream.

    On this mission Mosquito escort fighters constituted 2% of the total British bomber stream. In other words they were a negligible factor. Bumping into one of the Mosquito escort fighters would be purely a matter of chance.

    Why the RAF used so few escort fighters is a mystery to me. They had quite a few Mosquito aircraft by 1944 but typically most were used as path finders and/or to conduct diversionary strikes. Consequently RAF heavy bombers had to fend for themselves.
     
  4. paradoxguy

    paradoxguy Member

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    Erich-Thanks for your intriguing note. I'm looking forward to whatever information you can/will provide! I deliberately left off the single-seat fighters (i.e., Bf 109G6/AS, Fw 190A) because I was initially interested in how Nachtjaegers flying radar-equipped two-engined Luftwaffe nightfighters did against the Mosquitoes in "traditional" night combat, not Wilde Sau operations. I felt that the Wilde Sau pilots flying the single-seat fighters had an inherent advantage against Mosquitos--which I thought explained Welter's high number of nocturnal Mosquito victories, if the claims are true--and wanted to see how Nachtjaegers did on a "more level playing field". However, you bring up a valid point, seeing how the Wilde Sau's records against the nightfighter Mosquitos would also be interesting, so now I am indeed interested in this data as well.

    Davebender-thanks for the interesting and valid points. I had a slight hunch this was one of the reasons that Nachtjaegers shot down so few Allied nightfighters. I too am puzzled why the British left the nocturnal heavy bombers to fend for themselves, when the bombers were clearly sustaining heavy losses in 1943 and 1944, with the pinnacle disaster of Nuremberg in March 1944.

    Thanks again,
    PG
     
  5. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    Welter's claims are controversial, very few can be confirmed. See Dr Theo Boiten's "Nachtjagd War Diaries Vol II" for details.
     
  6. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    I would imagine at night, it would be hard to reliably identify what particular plane you shot down.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's true to a point. However night fighter aircraft like the Mosquito and Ju-88 are so much smaller then a heavy bomber that the difference should be obvious even at night.
     
  8. paradoxguy

    paradoxguy Member

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    #8 paradoxguy, Dec 9, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
    Thanks for pointing out the low veracity of Welter's claims, this is why I am keeping Welter's "victories" out of this discussion for now. Thanks also for the pointer about discussion of Welter's controversial victory claims in the 2nd volume of Boiten's Nachtjagd War Diaries. I recently acquired the tome, haven't read it yet, but now I am eager to read the details of Welter's controversy.
     
  9. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Pretty good question Dave.

    My guess would be the problems associated with escorting a stream instead of a formation. Anybody out there who was a twin would be considered the enemy. Adding the escorts in increases the chances of a blue on blue or hesitation from the gunners. That would be my guess, but it's an off the top of the head thing.

    I think the tactics they developed, intruders hanging around airfields, and flying a parrallel course to the stream may reflect that perspective. Trying to keep the German fighters on the ground or, if in the air, out of the stream, may've been the goal. Once they got in the stream, they left them to the bomber gunners.

    Again, all a guess.
     
  10. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Night fighter crews FEARED the Mosquito. How they clung on to their single rear firing MG is instrumental ...


    Kris
     
  11. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    They certainly were not keen on it Kris! In the autobiographies of Wim Johnen and Peter Spoden there's various references to it. The Luftwaffe never really had an aircraft that could counter it apart from the 262..

    ..too little, too late. Mosquito repellent needed perhaps? :D
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    lets let the Welter thing rest as I am covering him and the NJG 11 jet boyz at length and am not going to put up anything here though will say the bulk of the Mossie claims by the jet unit were LSNF bomber Mossies, though a few Mossie nf's were shot down by them but very few, in fact overall Mossie NF's were far few in number claimed by NF's of the Luftwaffe and simply we are still not sure due to lost records even Theo Boiten would admit to this though he is still acquiring new info weekly for updating the two volumes for future work.

    back to an asked question yes at least 5 ops were flown by the twin seat 262's with FuG 218 Netun radars in 10./NJG 11.

    lets realize gents that the English were putting up Beau's on intruder ops over known north German LW fields in 43 as well as free romps in the skies over the Reich. true ID from both sides was very difficult during an overcast night sky without the aid of ground fires or searchlights.

    there are documented 12 Mossie kills most likely all bomber variants lost to I./NJG 1 He 219 A's, I have the numerations buried so this is off the top of my little noggin.

    back to wilde sau s/e's. let me point out that wilde sau was performed against BC heavy bombers only, the chase of BC Mossie nf's and the LSNF was under a different tactic called Helle nacht, this ws the case with 10 (N)/JG 300, NJG 11 109's and Fw A's and of course the jet component of NJG 11 from the late sumer of 44 till wars end.

    back to Welters score, several of his jet kills are known to have been really credited to other pilots of the staffel and not by him but I must point out as he was the most dedicated and experienced s/e nf pilot and for propaganda purposes he was given claims as confirmed, very interesting and we cover this in our book but in the spring of 45 he delegated himself to administrative duties and did not fly on operations and even excellent histories of the LW NF force still go through the myth and give him credit nearly towards end of flights and encounters.

    apoligies for my atrocious spelling guys, migrane on the way ......

    lets put it this way there were more BF, radio operators that did succeed in shooting down Allied NF's with the single or twin mg's fitted: than we really know, again probs with accumulating the precise data form existing reports as many are completely lost to the world.

    for now let me just say through interviews of some LW NF crews, many never ever saw a Mossie NF. Scared am not sure is the correct word to use. Knowing that they were there yes, praying the rearward radar would pick up the blip when engaged.......
     
  13. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Well you were the one who explained to me how vital the NJ crews thought that MG in the back was. The He 219 was desiigned without one.

    Talking about the He 219, I know you are very critical about it ... and yet now it seems that most Mossies were shot down by the few operational He 219s.

    Kris
     
  14. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Mossie bombers anyway. 10./JG 300 with the G-6/AS 109 was even more successful a couple were even NF's, NJg 11 also can be added to the listing with Fw's and 109 variants.

    yes the mg 131 in the Ju 88G-6 was needed even in close support in similar fashiopn to the SM installation when all else failed use it to take out the Heavies engine.

    most crews probably knew full well a beau or mossie with the 20mm was such a devastation that the rear single or twin was not even a safeguard but a pop gun, yet it was able to take out it's Allied pursuer.

    in LW loss listings it is apparent the He 219A when followed was easy prey only if the crew was alert could it take to an incredible dive, pull itself up abruptly and possibly escape low level to a field. Why the Ju 88G-6 was equip[ped with tail warning as standard is anyones guess, why not the existing Bf 110's especially in NJG 1 who were keeping the unit in II.-IV.th gruppen. few were allowed the chance.

    only through testing was the Uhu given a rear gunner position but it never went beyond the testing faze, sad.
     
  15. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Where on earth did you get that from?
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps so but bomber guners, aircraft collisions and landing accidents killed a lot more German night fighters then the Mosquito did.
     
  17. markstuk

    markstuk New Member

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    100 group ran about 140 NF instruder mosquitos from a total strength of 260 aircraft. They claimed 258 victories against losses of 70 aircraft in 44-45.. I'm not sure how real the moskitopanik reaction was, but if I'm flying in the dark and in bad weather and in the circuit, worrying about a mosquito on my tail is one thing I could probably do without..
     
  18. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Sounds about right. Figure operational accidents destroyed 30% of the Luftwaffe Nightfighters (usual operational losses are about 50% at the time), toss in losses to gunners and the odd collision and the Mosquito kills become less of a factor.

    I guess a question to cover would be, was the Mosquito the aircraft of choice for intruder/night fighter support to Bomber Command or was it the Beaufighter?
     
  19. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's certainly true. However it's rather low on the list of things likely to kill a German night fighter pilot. Let's look at the death of Helmut Lent, one of the best night fighter pilots.

    12:46 5 Oct 1944.
    Helmet Lent take off from Stade in his Ju-88. His destination is Paderborn. A 140 milie trip.

    ~13:00 5 Oct 1944.
    American heavy bombers attack the Paderborn airfield. The main concrete runway is cratered and temporarily unusable.

    The emergency grass runway at Paderborn is still usable. However the approach to this runway is dangerous due to overhead electrical cables.

    13:20 5 Oct 1944.
    Helmet Lent enters the approach path for the emergency grass runway at Paderborn. The Ju-88 port engine suffers a mechanical malfunction causing the aircraft to veer left towards the high tension wire. Helmet Lent struggles to keep the Ju-88 from stalling and to miss the electrical wire but is unsuccessful. The port wing contacts the ground and the starboard wing cuts through the high tension wire. And thats all she wrote for the man who was possibly the best light fighter pilot of all.

    3 things taken in combination killed Helmut Lent.
    - Paderborn runway was bombed only minutes before his arrival.
    - The emergency runway was poorly laid out with an electrical wire in close proximity.
    - The Ju-88 suffered an engine failure while on final approach.

    An unlikely combination of events but eventually the odds catch up with you. Circumstances like this killed more German night fighters then RAF Mosquito night fighters.
     
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