The Allied Air Force....

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Could they, how would they have handled their pilots, flying the same number of missions as their Luftwaffe counterparts?
     
  2. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    This would have worsened Allied flight crew training, as they would not get the feedback from combat veterans into the training commands. I don't have, and don't know if anybody has, any reliable statistics on the mental health of Luftwaffe vs Allied pilots, but I'd be willing to bet money that the LW pilots had higher rates of suicide attempts and other symptoms of psychiatric injury than did the Allied pilots. I'd also bet money that there are no reliable LW statistics to be had.
     
  3. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #3 parsifal, Mar 26, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
    can we first clarify or estimate the number of sorties flown, perhaps also the average numbers of sorties flown per aircraft. I will be surpised if the number of sorties flown overall is less for the allies, and i would even be surpised is the numbers of sorties per aircraft was substantially different. somewhere at home I have some information on this. i will see if I can track something down.

    Figures I do have relate to BC. From the annual totals for the whole war the official history gives 364,514 Sorties despatched and 8325 aircraft missing, whereas according to data contained in ACM Sir A Harris' Despatch a total of 389,809 Sorties of all categories were despatched during the war and 8655 aircraft went missing. The latter figure includes mining, counter measures and miscellaneous. Throughout the war
    there was a marked seasonal variation in command activity.

    From memory BC finished the war with about 3500 aircraft attached. if we add the 8500 that were lost or scrapped, that means BC used 12000 aircraft to undertake 390000 combat missions. Thats an average of 32 missions per aircraft

    The attrition rate for the LW was always greater than that applicable to the allies. In 1944, attrition rates ran at about 205, which by extension means an average of five flights per machine. according to Murray ("Attrition and the Luftwaffe")

    "The impact of the American air offensive on the Luftwaffe’s single-engine fighter force was no less severe. The number of single-engine fighters written off in January and February reached above 30 percent, while in March the level reached well above 50 percent. Thereafter, for the next three months the total each month was well above the 40 percent level. Pilot losses were appalling by any standard. (See Table III.) By March attrition had reached over 20 percent per month of single-engine aircraft crews, while losses for May reached one quarter of the pilots present at the beginning of the month. The losses in Germany’s bombing force were hardly more encouraging. Committed to a series of revenge attacks on London as well as a series of wasting and operationally pointless missions on the Eastern Front, front-line bomber squadrons wrote off close to 30 percent of their aircraft strength each month from February through June 1944".

    That clearly suggests a far worse sortie rate and pilot mortality rate than ever existed for the allies, even during their worst days. A few of the German pilots survived and thrived, but as a generalization, I think it simply untrue that the LW enjoyed a higher sortie rate, or suvivability rate compared to the allies
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I think if the Allies decided to invade Japan, they would have had to switch to the Luftwaffe method.
     
  5. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    They wouldn't, purely because the Western Allies had the necessary resources that they didn't need to do it and it was a very silly way to run an airforce.

    The only way it would be historically feasible - forget necessary for a second - would have been if they'd drastically cut back on pilot training schools and thus didn't have the required number of trained pilots coming through to replace those leaving at the end of their tours.

    Otherwise, if Allied fighter pilots had hung around like Luftwaffe pilots, you'd see some racking up bigger scores (but never on the scale of the Luftwaffe, purely because there weren't the scoring opportunities), others ending up as KIA/WIA/MIA/PoW and others being invalided out with PSTD. Their chance of survivability was probably pretty high, particularly from the beginning of 1943 onwards, purely because of the size of the Allied airforces.

    Bomber pilots would be faced with a much less enviable prognosis. Flak remained just as deadly throughout the war in daylight, and it was much more a matter of inevitability that you were going to get hit eventually. Night bombing was almost as costly in terms of loss rate (sometimes better, sometimes worse), so again it becomes a matter of "when, not if" when pilots are forced to fly until they can't fly any more.

    The main issue I can see is morale. I get the feeling that in the RAF the euphamism "Lack of Moral Fibre" covering psychological prblems, morale issues and outright cowardice would have become much more prevalent. The USAAF took a more scientific approach to the issue, as was their want on a lot of things related to pilots and piloting, but I cant see their pilots escaping the 'fly until you die situation' much less unscathed than RAF ones.
     
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