Unbelievable Statistic

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by stevethebuilder, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. stevethebuilder

    stevethebuilder New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I have just watched a documentary (History Channel - Empires od Industry - War Planes of WWII) and one of the statistics was that the B17 was responsible for two thirds of enemy fighters shot down in WWII, there were no other qualifiers like shot down by bombers, it was said as a flat statistic.
    I find this very hard to believe despite the B-17's armament, does anyone know if this is correct or possibly give an url to some evidence for this.

    Thank you.
     
  2. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    I don't buy it. Not even 1/3.
     
  3. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    That seems very hard to believe to me too!
     
  4. Doughboy

    Doughboy Member

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    I don't even believe it....Not even 1/4.....Maybe not even 1/5.:)
     
  5. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I'm sure drgndg will have a say on this.
     
  6. Jerry W. Loper

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    No frikkin' way, especially if you skim off the top of Axis fighters shot down, German fighters that were shot down in the war against Russia, which didn't have any B-17s. I could buy 1/3 of German and Italian fighters shot down by Allied bombers in the European/Mediterranean/North African theatre, but not so sure I would even include the war against Japan.
     
  7. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    That I would believe Jerry. 1/3 of fighters shot down by bombers where by B-17's. That's seems plausible.

    You sure you heard that right Steve?
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    1/10th maybe.
     
  9. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Will putting a figure
    on the number of fighters destroyed by bomber gun crews ever be realistically possible?
    As a stricken fighter tumbled through a box, just about every gunner of every bomber that it passed would give it a squirt and call it a kill.
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Yeah, I think you misunderstood what they said. The B-17 shot down 1/3 of all fighters that were shot down by bombers, I can believe.
     
  11. TheMustangRider

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    Throughout the war, claims of German fighters destroyed by gunners were subjected to serious exaggeration. While some might have exaggerated on purpose, others genuinely thought they have destroyed large numbers of fighters when in fact they might have just damaged them as I have read in some books about the American bombing campaign over Europe; making me believe as well that those statistics are not accurate.
     
  12. stevethebuilder

    stevethebuilder New Member

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    Thanks for your replies.

    I have put a clip of the documentary onto rapidshare so you can hear the statistic for yourself.
    After watching it again, the narrator definately says it is for the entire war!
    Were can such statistics be found?

    RapidShare: Easy Filehosting
     
  13. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    #13 imalko, Jun 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
    I believe you are right, Adler. That sounds like realistic assessment.
     
  14. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    #14 JoeB, Jun 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
    Even for victory credits that statistic is clearly wrong among all a/c. The (aerial only) victory credits by general type of a/c and theater in USAAF were as follows:

    Theater/heavy bombers/med and light bombers/fighter
    ETO/6098/103/7422
    MTO/3178/510/3300
    Pacific (means 7th AF)/183/22/370
    Far East AF (most of rest of PTO)/1344/231/2709
    CBI/283/46/847
    20th AF/914/0/80
    Alaska/29/9/34
    source: USAAF Statistics Digest, which adds up to:
    Total/12029/921/14762

    So, total bomber credits rivaled fighter credits, but probably less than half of those were credited to B-17's, I don't know an exact stat for that.

    BUT, if the question is about how many enemy a/c *really* shot down, the proportion by bombers would be much lower. Bomber credits were consistently vastly exaggerated. Drgondog has said that he can correlate 8th AF fighter credits pretty well to German losses assuming only 10% of the simultaneous bomber credits are valid, I'm sure he can comment more. When I've looked at more micro situations where the bomber credits can be directly correlated to enemy fighter losses (in absence of US fighters, or where the details allow one to see the exact cause):
    -Japanese fighter losses to 20th AF B-29's in Nov '44-Feb '45 unescorted operations were around 25% of the US credits, but quite a few of those losses were suicide rammers, hard to mistake those losses.
    -B-29's were credited with 27 MiG-15's over Korea; studying each case, and Soviet accounts are known for each, the real score was probably 3 MiG-15's.
    -See "Revenge of the Red Raiders"by Gaylor et al, about the 22nd BG in the Pacific. It's well correlated with Japanese accounts which I've also studied separately. Per the USAAF overall stats the mediums and lights were credited with 23 enemy a/c in the air in May and June 1942, that was only the (then B-26 equipped) 22nd plus the B-25 equipped 3rd BG at that time. The Tainan AG actually lost only 2 Zeroes to those two units in that period, one to each, and they were the only Japanese fighter unit engaged. Several others were damaged though.

    USAAF fighter credits OTOH varied a lot in accuracy. Back to New Guinea 1942 , for example the 8th FG in its April-May 1942 tour was credited with 32 Zeroes; the Tainan AG's actual losses were around 10 or 12, and again they were the only Japanese fighter unit present at the time. The losses are quite clear in their reports including every combat recorded on the US side, but the causes are uncertain in a few cases.

    But in later periods of WWII USAAF fighter credits were sometimes considerably more accurate than that. It's hard to generalize about USAAF fighter credit accuracy, whereas it can be reasonably generalized to say that bomber credits (USAAF's or anyone else's AFAIK) seldom bore much relationship to reality.

    Joe
     
  15. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Nowhere really.... Bits and pieces of the whole puzzle are still being researched, translated and debated....

    There are a few on this site who are currently in the middle of some seriously eye opening research, Erich and Drgondog leading the way, with several others whose research projects are being released shortly....

    I will say this, if they did infact mean the -17 shot down 1/3 of ALL Luftwaffe losses in the ENTIRE War, u gotta call bullsh!t on that.... I will say this, although the general consensus of this Board is what u see above, there were alot of guys who either hit the silk or died because of those .50 cals... ALOT...

    Ive read quite a bit about the Luftwaffe and its ops, pilots and losses/victories, and usually, in almost every daily combat report where the Luftwaffe boys went up against the -17 streams, there were losses from defensive fire... Many brave kids died looking at the tail gunners' .50 cal swinging around...

    The actual claimed vs actual Luftwaffe losses from B-17's would probably be somewhere around 8-9:1..... GROSSLY exaggerated, as it should be....
     
  16. magnocain

    magnocain Member

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    Shot down or destroyed? Maybe if you count fighters destroyed by the bombs and fighters stopped from being built by the destruction of their factories it would be 2/3.
     
  17. stevethebuilder

    stevethebuilder New Member

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    The researcher for this documentary has got it seriously wrong.
    I guess you shouldn't believe everything you watch :)
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    NFW.

    The B-17 gunners may have claimed a number that large but actual Luftwaffe losses when matched up to the battles were Far lower than the claims. The US and RAF escort fighters did the heavy lifting against the LW in the West - and the VVS surely shot down more Axis airplanes than all the US bombers combined.

    The P-51/P-47/F6F/F4U and P-38 combined shot down about 90% of all US awards for all theatres. Doesn't leave much for P-40 and F4F much less B-17 and B-24 and B-26.
     
  19. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    Just here-say. My Pop was a B-17 driver and always said his gunners couldn't hit the broadside of a barn from inside. I attended one of his reunions and gunners were pretty much the butt of many jokes. One of the jokes was about the B-17 in that it "had to be as big as it was to carry the gunners because it sure couldn't carry any bombs". Others called it a gunner's tour bus. There were other colorful rants about the planes, the 8th and gunners but most of it was typically pilot bravado.
     
  20. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    Well think about hard it must be to hit a fighter zooming around you with a .50 cal, not to mention the confusing and the inability to confirm a kill. A fighter might get shot down by the collective fire, from a group of 5-6 B-17's in formation. There are probably 20 .50cals all moving and vibrating firing at a single fighter. The crews would probably all claim a kill.
     
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