The Battle Of Kursk - the air battle

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My apologies Erich and Parsifal.
I believed for a moment that the potential impact of strategic bombing against the Soviet Union was a valid point to be considered in this thread; now I realize it has nothing to do with it.
If you get the impression I sound Pissed off, you'd be correct

my appologies parsifal, I should not have responded to obvious off-subject remarks that some have made.

to continue onto your post a little if I may:

The VVS played a significant role in hampering German preparations. On 17 April 1943, a raid on the German airfield at Orsha-South destroyed five Ju 88 reconnaissance aircraft from 1./Aufklärungsgruppe 100 and 4./121, and three Do 17s/Do 217s of 2. Nachtaufklärungsstaffel. Three days later, another ten high-level reconnaissance aircraft were destroyed on the ground. As a result, the only operational strategic reconnaissance Staffel was 4./14.

The Luftwaffe was also busy before the main operation. The tank factory at Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (GAZ) was subjected to a series of heavy attacks throughout June 1943. On the night of 4/5 June, He 111s of Kampfgeschwader 1, KG 3, KG 4, KG 55 and KG 100 dropped 179 tons of bombs, causing massive destruction to buildings and production lines. All of GAZ No. 1 plant's 50 buildings, 9,000 metres of conveyors, 5,900 pieces of equipment and 8,000 tank engines were destroyed.However, the Germans made an error in target selection. The GAZ plant No. 1 produced only the T-70 light tank. Factory No. 112, the second-biggest producer of the more formidable T-34, continued production undisturbed. Soviet production facilities were repaired or rebuilt within six weeks. The Luftwaffe also failed to hit the Gorkiy Artillery Factory (No. 92) and the aircraft plant where the Lavochkin La-5 and La-5FN were made.

According to Christer Bergström, VVS losses amounted to 1546 a/c.
Hello Ratsel
thanks for the info from Bergström's book, and yes, Gorky tank factories were the main targets, but not only ones of that German strategic bombing campaign.

On topic, off topic, sheesh. This is a conversation guys, and conversations are fluid. An article, or an essay, will stay on topic, a conversation will not.

As interesting or contested points are made they will be discussed, and this will lead to other points that may diverge from the original topic.

That being said, if you wish to bring the conversation back to the original topic you merely make a point that pertains to that topic and it will be picked up and discussed. If it is not picked up, it's because nobody is interested in it. People will discuss what interests them, and people will read the threads that interest them.

Again, all that is required to refocus the direction of this thread (or any thread) is a post with relavant points that posters will respond to.

my 2 cents

May I recommend right now that no more postings be made here and that Parsifal open a brand new thread with a slightly different title. this thread will be closed soon ..........
I agree with Erich 100%. This thread has developed all the nasty aspects I thought that it would. If you guys want to continue this thread, and attract better debate and information, the rules of the Forum about respect need to be observed to amuch greater extent.

100% agree, can we go a little forwards, please?

In spring soviet armies recieved some new material. For aviation it was the La-5F appeciated for improved armor, and 360° visibility, the Yak-9 with new steel wing spars, the Il-2 with increased reliability AM 38F, and Pe-2 with modified aerodynamics. All these planes were replacing desuete and tired Polikarpovs, worned MiG-3 ans some other secund choice planes as LaGG-3, Hurricane, Tomahawk, Kittihawk that proved disappointing for the eastern-front.

Soviet industry produced 3 394 fighters, 2 838 stormoviks, 1101 bombers in april, may and june 1943.
And this despite the whole production loss of the 292 th factory in Saratov (Yak-1) after the night of the 23 to 24th june. Lufwaffe raid provided insignificant damages on the factory, but some period after the raid, a negligated fire occured on the wooden floor that quickly expanded to the whole factory. I hope it will be, once that said, the last mention to strategic bombers, fuel etc of the thread.

Such stressed production rate, took of course it's toll: numerous problems occured with engines reliability and planes of mixted construction, as Yak-7b, and Il-2 that were loosing some wooden skinning. Urgently some workers were taken from factories to repare and reglue on ribs the wooden skin on faulty immobilised planes directly on the front airfields. Due to such efforts the availability reached at about 90% rate. *

*Khazanov p 17
...According to Christer Bergström, VVS losses amounted to 1546 a/c.

Hello Ratsel
during what timeframe?

According to Khazanov, VVS losses during the Battle of Kursk as Russians definite it (5 July - 23 Aug 1943) were 2800 a/c, that incl. ADD and PVO losses which occured during the sorties connected to the battle.

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If the thread survives, I will post a more complete opinion piece on the significance of the Kuban battles later tonite. However in essence the points i wanted to make were

1) VVS emerged from Stalingrad with some additional skills and better survivability. For the first time they had conducted operations that had a strategic effect

2) However, though they now possessed many of the ingredients needed for an effective offensive posture, they still lacked sufficient experience and an effective doctrine to be effective in offensive operations.

3) LW continued to demostrate marked superiority in its fighter operations over the Kuban. However the campaign as a whole has to be seen as a Soviet maturing of strategy and application of airpower. No longer was the priority for theVVS to shoot down German Fighters and gain air superiority in the traditional sense. VVS fighters were there to keep losses amongst friendly bombers tolerable, and to harass German bomber operations to the point of writing them down to insignificance. losses continued to heavily favour the LW, but the LW was being reduced to no more than nuisance value....VVS completed its mission, which was now firmly wedded to the ground support mission. Germans despite inflicting very heavy losses on the VVS were unable to have any appreciable effect on the ground operations (particularly near Myshakko) and their bomber formations no longer could operate with impunity over the battlefield

4) Many LW bomber operations had to be conducted at night because of the effects of VVS fighters. Also, VVS losses were inflated by the significant effects of the newly re-constituted 9 flak division, operating at the front and with many hundreeds of heavy and light guns attached. Just the same rounds per kill for the flak arm were rising. Over Stalingrad, LW flak had expended around 5000 rounds per kill, now it was over 9000 rpk.

5) Thiings were getting harder for the LW. VVS now had a workable offensive strategy, an expanding experience base, lessons that it could absorb, and equipment that rivalled LW quality. It could always count on a numerical superiority because of the simplicity of its equipment

6) In the coming three months to Kursk, Soviet frontal Aviation in the TO was to grow by over 75% in frontline strengths which was not done at the expense of other sections of the front. Overall quality was improving in a numbe of areas....Higher echelon leadership, servicieability rates, mechanization, ground organizations, arguably even, aircrew experience. LW expansion between the end of April and the start of the battle in July was extremely modest....question then begs, with such a rapid rise in size, experience and effectiveness by the VVS in that 3 month period, was it a mistake for the germans to wait until July....should they not have continued their offensive-defensive operations as had been demonstrated by Manstein. To successfully implment this stratgy, Germans needed to at least maintain mobility for thei Infantry, but by the latter part of '43 this had gone, and with it, the last hope of salvaging anything in the east.
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