Was Air Power decisive in the two battles of El Alamein?

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Can we confirm that they were using Kittyhawk I or IA at this time? Wikipedia says they had Tomahawk IIB until May 1942 and then switched to Kittyhawk I, but sometimes that was a gradual or incremental process with some units.
2SAAF at this time were on a mix of Kittyhawk I and Kittyhawk Ia (P-40E-1)'s. The change over was rapid in May 42, lasted about only a few days (they were given all the airframes from a previous Squadron that were sent back from the front and re-issued with Hurricanes - mentioned this Unit before)

Buz
 
Can we confirm that they were using Kittyhawk I or IA at this time? Wikipedia says they had Tomahawk IIB until May 1942 and then switched to Kittyhawk I, but sometimes that was a gradual or incremental process with some units.

Additional to what Buz wrote, see the attached:
 

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Additional to what Buz wrote, see the attached:
Note also the increase in Sqn size from the original 16 I.E and 2 I.R to 18 I.E and 3 I.R - this was likely due to most of the other squadron's converting to Kittyhawk II and Kittyhawk III allowing more Kittyhawk I's to be available for the remaining 3 SQN's. Mike PM sent.
 
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Bill

I did some checking for you and the Silver-lead bearing started in early 1942, however Allison suffered quite a number of failures trying to get them right (which in turn may have lead to some very lower hour engine failures that occurred in early -mid 1942). I suggest the change over either happened at the start of the FY 42 V-1710-39's or certainly during this batch of engines that start around the MFG No. 9200 mark. Suggest the 42-160XXX batch V-1710-39's were Sliver-lead lined bearings from the very start.

Quick look at the AVG engines their earliest number I can see is 829 (fitted to P-8117) in returns from Jun 1942 which places the engine firmly in a batch of engines built for the British, the engine before was fitted to a RAF Tomahawk AK433 which was written off in Jul 1941, other engines in and around AVG engine number can be found on RAF airframes.

On checking the engines that failed and were returned to Allison it was because of the bearings, 132 F3R and 48 E4 engines failed, the numbers for the E4's were in batches of 70xx to 710x, the F3R 62xx to 63xx batch

Modified engines - I've attached a photo of an engine that they changed the type of engine for interest, I'm afraid I don't have an example of a Modified plate presently to hand (not actually sure I even have one).

Will start in the records later tonight and start working at least the Kittyhawks out for you.

Buz
s-l1600-xba.jpg
 
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2SAAF at this time were on a mix of Kittyhawk I and Kittyhawk Ia (P-40E-1)'s. The change over was rapid in May 42, lasted about only a few days (they were given all the airframes from a previous Squadron that were sent back from the front and re-issued with Hurricanes - mentioned this Unit before)

Buz

Yes I think this was 94 Sqn RAF that switched from Hurricane to Kittyhawk and then back to Hurricane, maybe not the only one. They had a very bad first sortie with Kittyhawks and lost four out of eight aircraft on the sortie including their Squadron leader KiA. This kind of underscores what I was saying about the devastating morale effect of the high losses in some of these actions in early 1942. Amazingly James 'Stocky' Edwards, who became maybe one of the single most effective P-40 aces, was originally in this unit though he transferred over to 260 RAF, one of the most successful RAF units in North Africa. 2 SAAF got a lot of their Kittyhawks from 94 RAF when the latter switched back to the Hurricane.

The poor South Africans seem to have always been stuck with the oldest kit. They were glad to replace their Tomahawks with Kittyhawks, and by the time they did they were lucky in that many of the issues with the Kittyhawk had been ironed out or figured out. Thanks to y'alls recent posts here it's a little bit clearer about some of the problems they were having with these in early 1942, it clearly took a while for the engines to be updated sufficiently to handle the higher boost and therefore reduce the number of damaged engines dramatically. This is an issue Shortround6 has often brought up about flying the P-40s at higher boost settings.

And I also think, based on the famous Allison memo on overboostings with the Allisons that came after the -73, boosting much higher than the official WEP setting of 56" or 57" Hg may have been riskier due to the higher supercharger gear ratio. It was mainly in this critical period of later 1942 and early 1943 that the highest boosting of P-40 engines was being used, both in the Middle East and the Pacific, and probably in Russia too.

kuznetsov.jpg

A lot of the top Soviet P-40 Aces flew the P-40K, I don't think that is an accident. A lot of the 23rd FG aces in China did as well.

The Soviets would have extra challenges boosting higher as they had a lot of trouble with the Allisons and Western made engines in general, with oil filtration and Winter conditions and so on, but by the time the K were arriving they had figured out a lot of these issues (partly during their long work up on the P-39)
 
Dug out my Vee's For Victory, Daniel Whitney.

Pg 124. Frank Losonsky, a crew chief for the 3rd Squadron, AVG, relates that, " the pilots naturally wanted lots of manifold pressure, but too much destroyed the engines, which were normally set to operate at 58 inHgA, the "take-off" position. The pilots wanted 62 inHgA, I recall we could make one small adjustment to improve engine performance. We could lengthen the "regulator-to-carburetor" rod a certain number of turns, supposedly to "correct small manifold pressures". This "unauthorized" adjustment increased the aircraft speed and performance, just a little." As well it should for as shown on the accompanying performance chart for the C-15 58 inHgA would allow 1600 bhp at up to about 1,700 feet when running at 3000 rpm. If the pilots were getting 62 inHgA they were doing it by running the engine at up to 3200 rpm, where about 1700 bhp would be available. It is very likely that these power levels were used at times, and seldom if ever officially acknowledged, In the heat of combat, and with the pilot's life in the balance, using the engine for all it was worth was acceptable. Even so, it appears that the engines took the abuse and continued to operate successfully.

Pg 152. The V-1710-73(F4R) was provided with an Automatic Manifold Pressure Regulator as well as incorporating a number of internal improvements allowing an increase in the take-off rating to 1325 bhp instead of the 1150 bhp available with the V-1710-39(F3R). […] The War Emergency Rating was increased to 1580 bhp at 60 inHgA. In the early days of the war, before the Army officially established WER ratings, V-1710's in the combat theaters were often being overboosted. Allison field representatives reported cases where V-1710-73's were routinely operated at 66 inHgA in combat, and one representative in Australia noted cases where 70 inHgA were being used on P-40K and P-39D/K/L aircraft. Such indications show that the engines were being greatly abused. At 3000 rpm and at sea level the engine was only capable of about 62 inHgA at which point it would be producing 1760 bhp. Achieving 66 inches would have required running the engine to at least 3200 rpm, and 70 inches would have meant at least 3400 rpm. While the engine was capable of safely exceeding 4000 rpm at this point in its development, the valve springs and/or fuel Grade were probably acting as the power limiters. Later models used stiffer springs and higher grade fuel when 60-65 inHgA was to be exceeded.

Pg 165. With the introduction to combat, pilots were pushing their engines to the limits. Since few of these early installations utilized manifold pressure regulators it was easy for British pilots to pull more than "rated" power. The consequence of unconstrained operation was a serious possibility of engine damage or reduced reliability. The experience of British pilots was that many had pulled 50-56 inHgA (45 inHgA was the handbook maximum for Military power) from their F-3R's for 5 to 15 minutes while over enemy territory without trouble. As U.S. pilots entered the combat theaters, they were asking for authorization to use the same capability from the Allisons. The U.S. Government did not allow "Combat" power ratings until December 1942, until the war was a year along.

As an interesting aside, a USAAF memo dated 26 August 1943 on British Army Cooperation Tactical Employment of the Mustang I (P-51) noted:

33. This aircraft is powered with the Allison 1710-39 engine having a rated power of 1150 H.P. at 3000 R.P.M. and 44" Hg. at 12,000 ft. The engine was originally equipped with an automatic boost control limiting the manifold pressure at the lower altitudes to 44". The British remove this so as to get the vastly increased performance at lower altitudes thru the judicious use of over-boost. As has been mentioned before, they have had exceptionally good service out of these engines and due to its smoothness at low RPM's, they are able to operate it so as to obtain a remarkably low fuel consumption giving them an operational range greater than any single engine fighter they possess (the fact that the Merlin engine will not run well below 1600 prevents them from obtaining an equivalent low fuel consumption and therefore limits its usefulness for similar operations).

36. In view of the British operation and the fact that we have an approved war emergency rating on the 1710-39 engine of 56", it is suggested that immediate steps be taken to remove the automatic boost controls from our P-51 airplanes in this theatre and that the instrument dials be marked with the proper lights. The British have operated at full throttle at sea level (72" Hg) for as much as 20 min. at a time without hurting the engines. According to them, the Allison is averaging 1500 hours between bearing failures as compared to 500 to 600 hours for the Merlin. The Allison, they have found, will drag them home even with the bearing ruined.
 
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Dug out my Vee's For Victory, Daniel Whitney.

Pg 124. Frank Losonsky, a crew chief for the 3rd Squadron, AVG, relates that, " the pilots naturally wanted lots of manifold pressure, but too much destroyed the engines, which were normally set to operate at 58 inHgA, the "take-off" position. The pilots wanted 62 inHgA, I recall we could make one small adjustment to improve engine performance. We could lengthen the "regulator-to-carburetor" rod a certain number of turns, supposedly to "correct small manifold pressures". This "unauthorized" adjustment increased the aircraft speed and performance, just a little." As well it should for as shown on the accompanying performance chart for the C-15 58 inHgA would allow 1600 bhp at up to about 1,700 feet when running at 3000 rpm. If the pilots were getting 62 inHgA they were doing it by running the engine at up to 3200 rpm, where about 1700 bhp would be available. It is very likely that these power levels were used at times, and seldom if ever officially acknowledged, In the heat of combat, and with the pilot's life in the balance, using the engine for all it was worth was acceptable. Even so, it appears that the engines took the abuse and continued to operate successfully.

Pg 152. The V-1710-73(F4R) was provided with an Automatic Manifold Pressure Regulator as well as incorporating a number of internal improvements allowing an increase in the take-off rating to 1325 bhp instead of the 1150 bhp available with the V-1710-39(F3R). […] The War Emergency Rating was increased to 1580 bhp at 60 inHgA. In the early days of the war, before the Army officially established WER ratings, V-1710's in the combat theaters were often being overboosted. Allison field representatives reported cases where V-1710-73's were routinely operated at 66 inHgA in combat, and one representative in Australia noted cases where 70 inHgA were being used on P-40K and P-39D/K/L aircraft. Such indications show that the engines were being greatly abused. At 3000 rpm and at sea level the engine was only capable of about 62 inHgA at which point it would be producing 1760 bhp. Achieving 66 inches would have required running the engine to at least 3200 rpm, and 70 inches would have meant at lease 3400 rpm. While the engine was capable of safely exceeding 4000 rpm at this point in its development, the valve springs and/or fuel Grade were probably acting as the power limiters. Later models used stiffer springs and higher grade fuel when 60-65 inHgA was to be exceeded.

Pg 165. With the introduction to combat, pilots were pushing their engines to the limits. Since few of these early installations utilized manifold pressure regulators it was easy for British pilots to pull more than "rated" power. The consequence of unconstrained operation was a serious possibility of engine damage or reduced reliability. The experience of British pilots was that many had pulled 50-56 inHgA (45 inHgA was the handbook maximum for Military power) from their F-3R's for 5 to 15 minutes while over enemy territory without trouble. As U.S. pilots entered the combat theaters, they were asking for authorization to use the same capability from the Allisons. The U.S. Government did not allow "Combat" power ratings until December 1942, until the war was a year along.

As an interesting aside, a USAAF memo dated 26 August 1943 on British Army Cooperation Tactical Employment of the Mustang I (P-51) noted:

33. This aircraft is powered with the Allison 1710-39 engine having a rated power of 1150 H.P. at 3000 R.P.M. and 44" Hg. at 12,000 ft. The engine was originally equipped with an automatic boost control limiting the manifold pressure at the lower altitudes to 44". The British remove this so as to get the vastly increased performance at lower altitudes thru the judicious use of over-boost. As has been mentioned before, they have had exceptionally good service out of these engines and due to its smoothness at low RPM's, they are able to operate it so as to obtain a remarkably low fuel consumption giving them an operational range greater than any single engine fighter they possess (the fact that the Merlin engine will not run well below 1600 prevents them from obtaining an equivalent low fuel consumption and therefore limits its usefulness for similar operations).

36. In view of the British operation and the fact that we have an approved war emergency rating on the 1710-39 engine of 56", it is suggested that immediate steps be taken to remove the automatic boost controls from our P-51 airplanes in this theatre and that the instrument dials be marked with the proper lights. The British have operated at full throttle at sea level (72" Hg) for as much as 20 min. at a time without hurting the engines. According to them, the Allison is averaging 1500 hours between bearing failures as compared to 500 to 600 hours for the Merlin. The Allison, they have found, will drag them home even with the bearing ruined.

When I was reading the first part of this, I immediately thought of that P-51 memo you included at the end. Apparently (from what I've seen people note on this forum in the past) P-51A (etc.) has a bit more efficient cooling than a P-40, but it is the same engine.

We can also see in the data posted here some hint as to the number of engines lost in North Africa through bearing failures and similar problems that this overboosting was probably taking a not insignificant toll on engines, though a prematurely burnt out engine is still better than losing a pilot and the whole aircraft. And it's nice to see direct confirmation of what I previously guessing due to indirect sources (like the famous Allison memo) that they were indeed using the higher boost settings in escape maneuvers.

Apparently one standard escape technique was to either do an 'outside roll' or a 'split-S' and go into a dive, then roll left and turn slightly several times, to achieve separation as the torque on the Bf 109 at high speeds (and absence of rudder trim) made it hard to keep up whereas the P-40 had very good high speed roll, at least up to a point. They also did something like this against A6Ms in the Pacific. However apparently the Ki-43 nor the MC.202 had this same problem to the same extent.
 
It also seems that the 'official' WEP settings of 60" Hg for P-40K and 56" or 57" for all the other Allison engined P-40s was something more or less forced from the squadron level, both in the North African and Pacific Theaters (and probably China as well) that the USAAF and Curtis / Allison came to agree to. Boosting the engine that high is definitely an emergency type situation and it probably required a host of adaptions from mechanics and crew chiefs, but it's clear they figured it out. The interesting part is precisely when, who were the early adopters and when did it become more or less universal.
 
14 squadron used British torpedoes. Photos here. Note the length to diameter of the torpedoes. The US Mk.13 as short and fat relatively speaking. Note also the British Monoplane Air Tail at the attend of the torpedo.

The US B-26 units in the Med were never intended for the anti-shipping role.

Yes I was aware of that, maybe they should have been though... the combination of B-26 with British torpedo seems like a potentially highly effective weapon. Probably more useful in the Pacific as I guess Axis maritime traffic was already declining in 1943.

Gernal Kenney decided to focus on B-25 and A-20 using skip bombing, masthead bombing etc. (I think) partly because the US torpedoes were so unreliable. Partly also because of the relatively high landing speeds and more difficult handling of the Marauder. But British torpedoes on such a fast, well armed bomber might have been pretty useful.
 
though a prematurely burnt out engine is still better than losing a pilot and the whole aircraft.
That assumes the pilot with the "burnt out engine" makes it back to a friendly field. If he doesn't???

I would also note that RAM effect is both speed and altitude dependent. In level speed they sort of cancel each other out.
As the air gets thinner the plane goes faster and at higher speed it takes in more air. A plane that goes 10% faster is going to take in 10% air through the intake scoop and that will raise pressure a bit.
The Problem is what happens at less than full speed. Test with a P-40K equipped with a -81 engine (prototype for the P-40N).
2960 ft speed 344mph with 57in MAP with 1415hp (engine is being throttled).
10550ft speed 378mph with 57 in MAP with 1480hp (engine is wide open)

British Mustang II with engine with 9.60 gears.
10,000ft speed 409mph with 60in MAP. power not given but engine was wide open.
Extra 30mph is worth ??

Going back to the P-40 and climbing at 174mph wide open throttle (57in) gave 1480hp at 8,000ft.

The British have operated at full throttle at sea level (72" Hg) for as much as 20 min. at a time without hurting the engines.
Trying to get 72" Hg out of P-40 at Sea Level may call for extraordinary measures, since you are flying at around 30mph slower (assuming you get the P-40 to run into the mid/hi 60in range).

Now the bit about not hurting the engines. Basically that means that the pilots that made it home hadn't hurt their engines (?) although how that squares with
The Allison, they have found, will drag them home even with the bearing ruined.

Dragging them home with the bearing ruined is not hurting the engines? The engines that ruined their engines were being over boosted on that flight or had never been over boosted?
BTW, plenty of Allisons were ruined by over boosting or detonation in P-38s. If you are flying at high speed at sea level and there is a very loud bang from the engine compartment and parts exit the engine (and the aircraft) at high speed the pilot is probably not going to make it home to report in. Broken connecting rods and broken/holed pistons will do that.
With P-38s a number of them came home with one engine running so the mechanics, engineering officers and sometimes Allison/Lockheed tech support could try to figure out what happened. P-40s and Mustangs don't fly all that well when the engines stop running.

Different Cause but one P-38 squadron (not group but one Squadron) the 459th operating out of India loosing 11 right engines for every left hand engine they lost.
They found the problem (in the linkages) but if you are not getting back engines with a certain type of failure on single engine planes it can take a while to figure out what is going on.

The AVG found that planes would return after being over boosted but would sometimes fail on the next flight. The older crankshafts had a much shorter fatigue life but it took a while to put it together.
 
I think Kenney got 5th AF onto skip-bombing/masthead stuff because the AAF simply didn't have a lot of torpedoes running around in the first place. Aside from anything else, American torpedo production was slow in 1942. The issues with unreliability were known in the submarine field by the end of 42, to be sure, but how many torpedoes did 5th AF have on hand to deliver?

I suspect they went with skip-bombing because it worked with what they had at hand by way of weapons.
 
That assumes the pilot with the "burnt out engine" makes it back to a friendly field. If he doesn't???

I think it's a safe bet that some planes didn't make it back as a result of engine failure, especially in those early months of 1942 (with the Kittyhawks), and maybe in 1941 (with the Tomahawks)

I would also note that RAM effect is both speed and altitude dependent. In level speed they sort of cancel each other out.

Well, think of coming out of a high speed dive with a lot of momentum or 'E'

The Problem is what happens at less than full speed. Test with a P-40K equipped with a -81 engine (prototype for the P-40N).
2960 ft speed 344mph with 57in MAP with 1415hp (engine is being throttled).
10550ft speed 378mph with 57 in MAP with 1480hp (engine is wide open)

344 mph at 3,000 is pretty good. I'm not sure if I'm reading these German charts right but I think it's a good bit faster than a Bf 109G-6 at that altitude (looks like about 330 mph)

British Mustang II with engine with 9.60 gears.
10,000ft speed 409mph with 60in MAP. power not given but engine was wide open.
Extra 30mph is worth ??

I'm sure the extra 30 mph is worth a good bit, that's why those Mustangs were so good in that role they used them in.

Going back to the P-40 and climbing at 174mph wide open throttle (57in) gave 1480hp at 8,000ft.

Trying to get 72" Hg out of P-40 at Sea Level may call for extraordinary measures, since you are flying at around 30mph slower (assuming you get the P-40 to run into the mid/hi 60in range).

Or it could just meant coming out of a dive. Though I suspect they were figuring out not to push them quite that hard.

Now the bit about not hurting the engines. Basically that means that the pilots that made it home hadn't hurt their engines (?) although how that squares with


Dragging them home with the bearing ruined is not hurting the engines? The engines that ruined their engines were being over boosted on that flight or had never been over boosted?
BTW, plenty of Allisons were ruined by over boosting or detonation in P-38s. If you are flying at high speed at sea level and there is a very loud bang from the engine compartment and parts exit the engine (and the aircraft) at high speed the pilot is probably not going to make it home to report in. Broken connecting rods and broken/holed pistons will do that.

I don't entirely disagree, but you are assuming engine out = aircraft crash, which isn't necessarily the case. A lot of those 'crash landings' and 'crash landing at base' and some just 'landed with damage' were dead stick landings, which were not at all uncommon in P-40s (or any fighter really). The biggest problem is when the engine dies during takeoff especially, or sometimes during landing, at some other highly inconvenient moment. But a dead engine definitely wasn't an automatic death sentence, or crash, in one of those things.

With P-38s a number of them came home with one engine running so the mechanics, engineering officers and sometimes Allison/Lockheed tech support could try to figure out what happened. P-40s and Mustangs don't fly all that well when the engines stop running.

Different Cause but one P-38 squadron (not group but one Squadron) the 459th operating out of India loosing 11 right engines for every left hand engine they lost.
They found the problem (in the linkages) but if you are not getting back engines with a certain type of failure on single engine planes it can take a while to figure out what is going on.

The AVG found that planes would return after being over boosted but would sometimes fail on the next flight. The older crankshafts had a much shorter fatigue life but it took a while to put it together.

I think something that was alluded to in some of the maintenance reports posted above. I suspect problems like this was what led the forward field units to agree with Allison and the US War dept on the 55-60" WEP settings which ultimately became standard (I think originally as a compromise). It is clear some of the more remote or far flung squadrons, in the Pacific, Med and China, were making their own policy as to acceptable boost limits. Being chased by something shooting 20mm cannon shells at you has a way of streamlining priorities... but of course increasing the chances of sudden engine failure wasn't so good either. Allison toughened the engines, and the pilots disciplined themselves somewhat.

I wish we had a realistic assessment of what kind of performance, as in speed and climb, say a 60" manifold pressure really gave, but I've never found one (even though that apparently became the standard WEP for a P-40K because it's in some of the official documents.
 
Aircraft crash landed with "tail shot away" according to the historical record = Sinclair outraged = casts baseless aspersions on Kelso.... over and over and over again
So what happened to the step by step instructions to look up the 3 RAAF squadron records about 8 February 1942? The way it says landed, not crash landed, other people have looked at the page, please show where it says crash landed. Was the look up sacrificed for speed, given the reply took under an hour to write, less two other replies and notification time? By the away I do not get outraged, I just move the topic to comedy relief time.

I see this as, as someone else accused me, 'equivocation' not actually admitting you were wrong.
Still do not get it, your idea of loss is something back flying in under 3 days.

I asked you if you had the book because it was hard to believe that someone who had it could draw the conclusions you have done.
Go back and read, you did not ask, you decided I did not have the book. Message 225 "Your assumption on error or conspiracy without even ever seeing the book seems very unfounded to me". Now this statement is supposed to be a question.

Since we both agree that Shores is mostly accurate, why not just accept his records and move on?
Once again, it is your interpretation that is the main problem.

Turgid grumbling, insults and accusations don't actually reveal anything or enlighten anybody.
Then stop doing it.

I'm glad you are finally starting to post some pertinent data... I think.
The spreadsheet some days ago now, good to know none of that data is ruled pertinent, like shipping losses, RAF hours, losses and strengths. Glad to see your starting conclusion is the arbiter of whether data is pertinent or not.

So you admit you thought the video was biased because Canadian.
You may have upgraded your shoot the messenger weapon to a machine gun but are still missing. I like the way I am assumed to admit I am wrong, then not admit I am wrong, in each case whatever looks worse for me.

So far, Shores data is contested, chiefly by you, so it's been one step forward, two steps back.
Kelso interpretation. Stop mistreating Shores.

But quite a lot of other data has been posted in the thread which supports my point, especially the book excerpts.
We already know you are searching for what fits, rather than what happened. History by quotes is really good when you want to be selective.

On the contrary, I knew the M7 and 105mm howitzer were used in the battle. And I knew the M7 is far more effective than a 25 pounder. I have read that they played an important role, I'm looking forward to exploring the details of that, if we ever get that far.
Why bother, you started with a conclusion, saying now is the time to find the evidence is the wrong way around.

Where is your count of the number of times "often" the allied escorts were annihilated forcing the bombers to eject their bombs? Is everything to do with a response annihilated?

There are many examples of this in Shores, but I suspect when I post them I'll be accused of missing phantasms of minor damage to Axis planes that Shores missed, or baffling statements from the unit records which will be transformed into malfeasance by Shores or by myself... But the data is there if you can stand to look at it.
It must be bad to look at it since you do not seem to be able to. At the moment it is another example of conclusion first, evidence maybe later.
So what is the ratio of lost Allied to lost Axis aircraft in that time period according to your count?
RAF losses in combat 26 to 31 May most were fighters apart from 1 Wellington per day 28 to 31 July, plus 2 damaged on both the 29th and 31st, and 1 Baltimore or Boston lost on the 29th. Casualties 26 to 31 May, page is hard to read, lost/damaged 1/1, 7/1, 7/0, 12/3, 16/0 and 17/2.

RAF losses in combat 27 to 31 July, 9 fighters plus 2 damaged, 4 light bombers plus 1 damaged, 7 medium bombers plus 1 damaged, 1 PRU fighter lost, 2 light twin engine reconnaissance lost. Casualties 27 to 31 July, lost/damaged 11/1, 5/0, 2/0, 2/3 and 3/0. But the data this supplements is in the spreadsheet I posted, ruled non pertinent.

So which of you books supports the claim the air force saved the ground forces in Battleaxe from total annihilation?
That was in the video of the interview with the Canadian historian provided by "33k in the air" in post 143, and apparently "The Mediterranean Air War" by Robert Ehlers, which the historian in the video refers to as a good source. MikeMeech also posted excerpts from this book in post 80 and (IIRC) some other posts. These excerpts incidentally are in sync with several of the points I made early in this thread, such as about the importance of the P-40Fs and Spitfires, the extra strain to Axis logistics caused by Allied air attacks (especially by the newer Allied medium and heavy bombers), and the heavy impact of Allied air support on the outcome of battle, as noted by Erwin Rommel himself.
Battleaxe was in 1941, well before any Spitfires and P-40F were around. So the proof of the claims about Battleaxe in the video is the video and none of the number of books in your library backs the claim. So another conclusion first, evidence maybe later.

I didn't realize Collishaw was even Canadian until you pointed it out as a way of casting aspersions.
Your machine gun keeps jamming.

The consensus seems to be that keeping an 'air umbrella' over the ground forces was wasteful of resources and ineffective.
Until your air power grows to the overwhelming superiority seen in the west in 1944/45. Then it gives all sorts of benefits.

hit eight times (5 x 1000 lb bombs and 3 x 500 lb bombs). Amazingly that tough ship survived the attack. This is a moving target with pretty good AA defenses (apparently they shot down some of the Stukas in the attack).

If an enemy armored column is attacking your forces, or if your armored column faces a line of fortified defensive positions, and you hit them by that number of bombs within a 100 foot wide by 750 foot long rectangle, it's a fair bet you are going to cause some serious havoc.
Actually it is not a fair bet, troops in front line positions are dug in, meaning a near miss usually does little material damage. The prolonged attacks on Bir Hacheim shows that, the best of the attacks were well co-ordinated with the ground troops helping the assault as a form of artillery barrage rather than actual damage, like the barrage itself.

A US 500 lb bomb had 262 lbs of explosive, a 1,000 lb bomb had 530 lbs. By comparison, a 105mm artillery shell had 5 lbs of explosive. So one 1,000 lb bomb is the equivalent of over a hundred 105mm shells. Imagine a hundred 105mm shells landing inside a 50 meter radius. That's a problem.
I.e. twelve 1,000 lb bombs is equivalent of 1,200 x 105mm shells landing inside 50 meters. If it's 500 lb bombs it's about half that (roughly 600). Yikes.
The 105mm HE shell came in at 33 pounds, or 30 to 31 shells per 1,000 pounds, 12,000 pounds is 364 shells in round terms, but the effect a given weight of bombs on above ground structures is likely to be more than the equivalent weight of shells because the average bomb carries a higher percentage of explosive, the 105mm shell had 4.8 pounds of TNT, under 15%. British GP bombs around 30% explosive, MC around 50%, HC around 70%. Of course the more things you launch at the enemy the more you are likely to hit and an artillery shell is quite capable of destroying an enemy artillery piece with a direct hit, a 500 pound bomb tends to over destroy it. While the artillery sprays more shrapnel around than a bomb, makes air bursts rather effective.
 
There were 90 M7 Priests available at Alamein although I haven't seen much detail as to use except one reference to 1st Armoured
vehicles providing fire support at the Snipe outpost. Unfortunately they mostly fired into the British positions on that occasion - they
were not the only ones during the battle as exact locations of units was an ongoing problem (lack of landmarks etc ?).

The 25lber was the mainstay for the artillery and there were plenty at Alamein. The smaller round meant more could be carried with each
section of two guns which also had another Quad supply vehicle with two more trailers also carrying rounds. This suited the British
system as it had been noted in the First World War that it was better to land more shells in an area to suppress and disrupt enemy units
than to land less larger shells and not get many hits.

The 25lber also replaced two types of artillery. The 18lber field gun and the 4.5" howitzer. This made it a gun / howitzer. The hybrid
capability was what made Axis forces think British forces had some kind of auto cannon. The reason for this was that a gun battery could fire say
three rounds in 'howitzer' mode - ie high arc taking longer to reach the target followed by three rounds in flatter trajectory 'gun' mode.
The range setup and cartridge charge system made this fairly straightforward to do. The result in this example was that instead of the
opposition having six shells landing at one per 20 seconds they would cop six shells all landing within one minute. The shells from the next
gun would then land and so on (hell on Earth as they say).

Multiply that out for an eight gun battery and it gets scary if you are receiving the parcels.

The range of the 25lber was also greater than most 105's which allowed batteries to easily fire at angles across a front to support other
guns when even more rounds were needed.

Infantry liked advancing behind 25lber barrages as they could follow closer than was safe with larger rounds.

The gunner also had a telescopic sight for direct fire at targets where needed. At the time of Alamein there were no Axis armoured
vehicles that could not be walloped by this gun although it wasn't needed for AT work as other equipment was available.

That will probably be enough for now.
 
There were 90 M7 Priests available at Alamein although I haven't seen much detail as to use except one reference to 1st Armoured
vehicles providing fire support at the Snipe outpost. Unfortunately they mostly fired into the British positions on that occasion - they
were not the only ones during the battle as exact locations of units was an ongoing problem (lack of landmarks etc ?).
I made it 93 in Egypt by the time of Second El Alamein, but we won't argue about the odd 3! These had begun to arrive at Suez on 3 Sept 1942 but then needed modified to meet British requirements e.g. fitting British No.19 radio sets, new sandshields and rails for Sunshield disguises (to allow camouflage as a truck). 24 were then used to equip 11 RHA by El Alamein (3 batteries each of 2 troops with 4 Priests per troop). One battery was attached to each of the 3 armoured regiments in 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Div. They carried out their first shoot on 24 Oct.

The next unit to get them was 1 RHA in Jan 1943, followed by a couple more in March.
 
So what happened to the step by step instructions to look up the 3 RAAF squadron records about 8 February 1942? The way it says landed, not crash landed, other people have looked at the page, please show where it says crash landed. Was the look up sacrificed for speed, given the reply took under an hour to write, less two other replies and notification time? By the away I do not get outraged, I just move the topic to comedy relief time.

My criteria was to include it as a loss if it 'crash landed', so if there is no corroborating evidence that that specific aircraft crash landed, then I'd say remove it from the loss list for that day. Since two different sources on this have been checked, I will concede Shores may have been wrong in that one case, pending further evidence.

I don't however believe it means the numbers or the overall point have changed.

Still do not get it, your idea of loss is something back flying in under 3 days.

If it did crash land, force land, or in any way stop flying as a result of enemy damage, then I would count it, just like any aircraft which went down due to a single bullet hole in the radiator. This counts as a real 'victory' in aerial combat. The amount of damage or how long it took to repair it are irrelevant for this criteria.

You can count up the losses however you want, but instead you mulishly dispute my criteria over and over and over and over.

Go back and read, you did not ask, you decided I did not have the book. Message 225 "Your assumption on error or conspiracy without even ever seeing the book seems very unfounded to me". Now this statement is supposed to be a question.


Once again, it is your interpretation that is the main problem.

You don't like my interpretation either, but your main problem is with Shores, as you claimed that he didn't list damage scored by the Allied pilots, you claim he called an aircraft crash landed when it just landed (which you may be right about), and you claimed that "tail shot off" is a lie or impossible (even though the nearly identical "tail shot away" turns out to be in the Allied records). One of these claims may be correct, one appears to be baseless, and one is directly contradicted though you haven't acknowledged it. I still trust Shores data more than yours mate.

The spreadsheet some days ago now, good to know none of that data is ruled pertinent, like shipping losses, RAF hours, losses and strengths. Glad to see your starting conclusion is the arbiter of whether data is pertinent or not.

I'll admit the mix of pointless squabbling, insults and obvious delusion makes your posts tiresome to read. And most of the data you posted I already had. I found the spreadsheet more useful but only to a point since it only included Allied losses.

You may have upgraded your shoot the messenger weapon to a machine gun but are still missing. I like the way I am assumed to admit I am wrong, then not admit I am wrong, in each case whatever looks worse for me.

Kelso interpretation. Stop mistreating Shores.

Great! So we can admit that Shores is basically correct, the Axis took no losses on Feb 8, and we can rest assured that one of the Allied Kittyhawks had it's "tail shot off". I'm relieved, now we can move on to the next batch of loss records.

We already know you are searching for what fits, rather than what happened. History by quotes is really good when you want to be selective.

Why bother, you started with a conclusion, saying now is the time to find the evidence is the wrong way around.

Who is 'We'? You sound like you are describing yourself mate. Take your own advice.

Where is your count of the number of times "often" the allied escorts were annihilated forcing the bombers to eject their bombs? Is everything to do with a response annihilated?

I'll post some examples. I predict, in advance, no matter how many I post you won't admit it, and the conversation will continue to descend into pointless bickering.

It must be bad to look at it since you do not seem to be able to. At the moment it is another example of conclusion first, evidence maybe later.

RAF losses in combat 26 to 31 May most were fighters apart from 1 Wellington per day 28 to 31 July, plus 2 damaged on both the 29th and 31st, and 1 Baltimore or Boston lost on the 29th. Casualties 26 to 31 May, page is hard to read, lost/damaged 1/1, 7/1, 7/0, 12/3, 16/0 and 17/2.

RAF losses in combat 27 to 31 July, 9 fighters plus 2 damaged, 4 light bombers plus 1 damaged, 7 medium bombers plus 1 damaged, 1 PRU fighter lost, 2 light twin engine reconnaissance lost. Casualties 27 to 31 July, lost/damaged 11/1, 5/0, 2/0, 2/3 and 3/0. But the data this supplements is in the spreadsheet I posted, ruled non pertinent.

I posted February to May. You are posting two batches of 4 or 5 days? I don't see how this is supposed to advance the discussion in any way. I already have Shores for data, the point is to aggregate it. If you can't, then just stop griping and move on.

So which of you books supports the claim the air force saved the ground forces in Battleaxe from total annihilation?

Battleaxe was in 1941, well before any Spitfires and P-40F were around. So the proof of the claims about Battleaxe in the video is the video and none of the number of books in your library backs the claim. So another conclusion first, evidence maybe later.

The claim is from the video, you seem mortally offended by the video, take it up with the historian in the video. I don't have an opinion on Battleaxe. Once again you are complaining about someone else's data to me, as if I'm the one who posted the video (hint - I'm not).

Your machine gun keeps jamming.

Actually it is not a fair bet, troops in front line positions are dug in, meaning a near miss usually does little material damage. The prolonged attacks on Bir Hacheim shows that, the best of the attacks were well co-ordinated with the ground troops helping the assault as a form of artillery barrage rather than actual damage, like the barrage itself.
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You can't really dig in an 88 mm Flak 18 type gun, they are a little too big, and the same goes for tanks, armored cars, trucks, prime movers, artillery pieces, and a lot of other larger crew served weapons. They can put some sandbags around it, but that is not going to protect from a 500 lb bomb within 20 meters.

In North Africa, it was not always possible to dig deep into the ground because the ground was often rock. Deep sand also posted it's own difficulties.

01147r.jpg


Air strikes tend to work best in coordination with ground troops, but assuming they targeted the right area (which can be a big 'if') then that number of strikes in a small area with 500-1000 lb bombs is going to wreak havoc on the ground forces. Even if they aren't all casualties, they are definitely going to be 'disrupted' which can then be exploited by friendly ground forces, and often makes the difference in the battle.

This, by the way, is the real reason why so much money, time, effort, blood, sweat and tears was put into the air war in the Western Desert, on both sides. Ultimately, the only thing that really matters is the effect of the aircraft on the ground war.

The 105mm HE shell came in at 33 pounds, or 30 to 31 shells per 1,000 pounds, 12,000 pounds is 364 shells in round terms, but the effect a given weight of bombs on above ground structures is likely to be more than the equivalent weight of shells because the average bomb carries a higher percentage of explosive, the 105mm shell had 4.8 pounds of TNT, under 15%. British GP bombs around 30% explosive, MC around 50%, HC around 70%. Of course the more things you launch at the enemy the more you are likely to hit and an artillery shell is quite capable of destroying an enemy artillery piece with a direct hit, a 500 pound bomb tends to over destroy it. While the artillery sprays more shrapnel around than a bomb, makes air bursts rather effective.

Well here is another case where you are clearly, factually wrong. I was comparing the amount of explosive in the 1,000 lb bomb (and 500 lb bomb) with the amount of explosive in a 105mm shell. Not the weight of the whole shell, which is pointless to measure.
 
Reading the Wiki on "Battleaxe" I ran across an interesting passage:

"Starting at dawn, the 5th Light Division began to advance southwards past the western edge of Hafid Ridge. The 7th Armoured Brigade kept pace with them to the east, joined by the 7th Support Group as the two forces approached Sidi Omar. During the running skirmish, the British tanks had a few successful attacks against unarmoured German transport vehicles, but they found themselves at a significant disadvantage when they engaged the panzers, who utilised an extremely effective tactic against them. The Panzer IVs, armed with high-explosive 75 mm (2.95 in) guns with an effective range of ~2750 m,[54] would open fire while still well out of the roughly 460 m (500 yd) range of the 2-pounder guns found on British tanks.[54] While this would do minimal damage to the British tanks, it decimated their towed 25-pounder artillery, which would be forced to withdraw. Without British artillery to concern them, the Panzer IV and 50 mm (1.97 in) gun armed Panzer IIIs could then safely close range with their British counterparts and pick off the thinly armed cruiser tanks while still remaining beyond the range of the British tank guns.[54] If the British tanks attempted to move forward to engage the panzers, the latter would quickly retreat behind a screen of anti-tank guns while lighter armoured elements would begin to move around the British flanks.[53] To make matters worse for the 7th Armoured Brigade, they suffered numerous breakdowns.[53] By evening, both regiments of the 7th Armoured Brigade had retreated east of the Frontier Wire and the 7th Support Group and withdrawn even further. At 19:00, just as dusk fell, the 5th Light Division further weakened the 7th Armoured Brigade with an attack which only ended when night fell.[55]"

Yikes.

That kind of underscores what I was saying previously about the importance of the HE capability (and range) of the 75mm guns on the M3 and M4 tanks for the Allies.
 
Hi
Some extracts from E R Hooton's book 'Eagle in Flames, The Fall of the Luftwaffe', reference North Africa (and Med), first the end of 1941:
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And 1942:
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Mike

The significance of these passages are not a matter of 'cherry picking' quotes, it's the overall point Rommel was making over and over (i.e. that Allied air superiority was key, that it was wiping out his units, making previously employed tactics impossible and so on), as well as the data that the author, Hooton, is making such as the significance of the Spitfire and the P-40F, and the heavy US bombers and other air strikes on Axis fuel and supplies, and the fact that the Axis could not block the Allied air attacks effectively while the Allies were able to substantially block the Axis CAS strikes, and so on.

"Throughout the offensive Allied fighters shielded the battlefield, inflicting heavy losses on Axis close support forces, Haptmann Kurt Welter becomming one of the casulaties on 26 October. The despatch of Major Joachim Müncheberg's JG 77 failed to prevent Allied strike forces from hammering every Axis counter-attack, and Luftwaffe sorties dropped dramatically as forward fuel stocks were exhausted. "Rommel's retreat was covered by Luftwaffe close support forces, but at great cost. 1./StG 3 was mauled on 11 November, it's Kommandeuer, Oberleutnant Martin Mossdorf being taken prisoner, while the African deputs of the Md 210 and HS 129 failed to slow the British advance."

You don't need to cherry pick anything here. It's pretty stark and clear. Now Rommel's personal opinions on how the battle went does not equal indisputable reality, nor does Ehlers opinion as a historian, but it's certainly data, and evidence which supports exactly what I've been saying and I certainly didn't cherry pick any of it. It's a little glib to just dismiss it from the discussion in favor of long-winded, turgid, confused and contradictory gibberish and claims that I'm 'cherry picking'.

If you want to actually make sense of anything in a potentially complex discussion such as "was air power decisive in the two battle of of El Alamein", I think it's best to focus on the high level points first and identify the points of disagreement, then drill down into the details to verify or refute each point, rather than just combining detail and opinion in a haphazard way. In the latter case the discussion can go on forever, but it's more heat than light, and nobody really learns anything.

To check up on the detail of the days mentioned by Hooton above, on 26 October 1942 I see the following losses in Shores:

Allies: 12 Aircraft: 8 x P-40, 4 x Hurricane IIs (this includes one Kittyhawk III "crash landed nr front line", one Kittyhawk IIa was also badly damaged and force landed. There were also a Hurricane II which was damaged by flak and crash landed damaged Cat III, pilot picked up by armored cars. Another Hurricane II hit by flak and crash landed with Cat II damage. And multiple other damaged. Three Kittyhawk IIa listed as 'badly damaged' but I didn't count these.)

Axis: 12 Aircraft: 5 x Bf 109F-4, 2 x MC 202, 5 x Ju-87D (one MC.202 was listed as "hit in combat, crash landed", pilot WiA. Four Ju-87s were listed as 'crash landed' and damage rating 80%, 95%, 60%, and 20% - the last with an injured gunner. I counted all these because 'Crash landed")

Noteworthy that the Allied losses were mostly to MC 202 and Bf 109, the Axis Stuka losses mostly to Hurricanes, the MC 202 and Bf 109s to P-40s. There were also two confirmed claims (a 109 and a MC 202) from RAF Spitfires from 92 and 601 Sqn, plus 2 damaged. RAF Kittyhawks claimed 5 fighters confirmed, Hurricanes claimed 3 Ju 87s. USAAF P-40Fspilots claimed four MC.202s. The Axis pilots also claimed 2 Bostons and 1 B-25, though they didn't get any bombers. No Allied bombers show up even as damaged.

On 11 November 1942, I see the following losses in Shores:

Allies: 10 Aircraft: 9 x RAF P-40s (including 4 'crash landed') plus 1 x USAAF P-40F "ftr".

Axis: 16 Aircraft: 5 Bf 109 (4 x G-2 from JG. 77 and 1 x F-4 from SchG-2), 1 Ju 88, 4 x Ju 87, 1 Do 17, 3 x Ju 52, 1 CANT Z.1007 and 1 SM.79 (lost to AA)

All of the Allied claims this day were from P-40s (15 claims by RAF and 8 by USAAF). No Spitfire or Hurricane pilots made any claims on this day. 7 of the 9 lost Allied fighters were Kittyhawk I from 2 SAAF and 4 SAAF. 260 Sqn also lost one Kittyhawk IIa shot down (pilot PoW) and one crash landed. Oblt Mossdorf is listed as one of the casualties, shot down in a Ju 87D-3 and taken prisoner. The Germans claimed 15 P-40s shot down, the Italians made no claims. The Do 17 which was lost was a squadron 'hack' which Shores said crash landed with four WiA and 1 KiA. Shores includes a long excerpt from a personal account by the Captian of one of the Stuka units, 2.StG 3 in which he notes his unit had to eject their bombs and fight for their lives. He mentions that an Allied fighter pilot spared his life and waggled his wings as he force landed with a dead engine, and he later met this pilot in South Africa in the 1970s.

In addition to all the losses listed in air combat, the Axis had to destroy 22 German and 2 Italian aircraft due to their fields being overrun. These were mostly older aircraft such as He 126, Go 242, DFS 230, He 111, and Ju 52 but also included 5 Bf 109E-7, one Bf 110F and 4 Ju 87.

I think you can see a few different patterns here compared to earlier air combats, which correlate what I have been saying. I hadn't looked at this data until I just now opened the book to check what Eheler's said.
 
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My criteria was to include it as a loss if it 'crash landed', so if there is no corroborating evidence that that specific aircraft crash landed, then I'd say remove it from the loss list for that day. Since two different sources on this have been checked, I will concede Shores may have been wrong in that one case, pending further evidence.

I don't however believe it means the numbers or the overall point have changed.



If it did crash land, force land, or in any way stop flying as a result of enemy damage, then I would count it, just like any aircraft which went down due to a single bullet hole in the radiator. This counts as a real 'victory' in aerial combat. The amount of damage or how long it took to repair it are irrelevant for this criteria.

You can count up the losses however you want, but instead you mulishly dispute my criteria over and over and over and over.



You don't like my interpretation either, but your main problem is with Shores, as you claimed that he didn't list damage scored by the Allied pilots, you claim he called an aircraft crash landed when it just landed (which you may be right about), and you claimed that "tail shot off" is a lie or impossible (even though the nearly identical "tail shot away" turns out to be in the Allied records). One of these claims may be correct, one appears to be baseless, and one is directly contradicted though you haven't acknowledged it. I still trust Shores data more than yours mate.



I'll admit the mix of pointless squabbling, insults and obvious delusion makes your posts tiresome to read. And most of the data you posted I already had. I found the spreadsheet more useful but only to a point since it only included Allied losses.



Great! So we can admit that Shores is basically correct, the Axis took no losses on Feb 8, and we can rest assured that one of the Allied Kittyhawks had it's "tail shot off". I'm relieved, now we can move on to the next batch of loss records.



Who is 'We'? You sound like you are describing yourself mate. Take your own advice.



I'll post some examples. I predict, in advance, no matter how many I post you won't admit it, and the conversation will continue to descend into pointless bickering.



I posted February to May. You are posting two batches of 4 or 5 days? I don't see how this is supposed to advance the discussion in any way. I already have Shores for data, the point is to aggregate it. If you can't, then just stop griping and move on.



The claim is from the video, you seem mortally offended by the video, take it up with the historian in the video. I don't have an opinion on Battleaxe. Once again you are complaining about someone else's data to me, as if I'm the one who posted the video (hint - I'm not).


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You can't really dig in an 88 mm Flak 18 type gun, they are a little too big, and the same goes for tanks, armored cars, trucks, prime movers, artillery pieces, and a lot of other larger crew served weapons. They can put some sandbags around it, but that is not going to protect from a 500 lb bomb within 20 meters.

In North Africa, it was not always possible to dig deep into the ground because the ground was often rock. Deep sand also posted it's own difficulties.

01147r.jpg


Air strikes tend to work best in coordination with ground troops, but assuming they targeted the right area (which can be a big 'if') then that number of strikes in a small area with 500-1000 lb bombs is going to wreak havoc on the ground forces. Even if they aren't all casualties, they are definitely going to be 'disrupted' which can then be exploited by friendly ground forces, and often makes the difference in the battle.

This, by the way, is the real reason why so much money, time, effort, blood, sweat and tears was put into the air war in the Western Desert, on both sides. Ultimately, the only thing that really matters is the effect of the aircraft on the ground war.



Well here is another case where you are clearly, factually wrong. I was comparing the amount of explosive in the 1,000 lb bomb (and 500 lb bomb) with the amount of explosive in a 105mm shell. Not the weight of the whole shell, which is pointless to measure.
You are cherry picking your images. There are plenty of pictures of dug in 88s such as this one taken in the desert in November 1942
ere-killed-and-were-found-buried-alongside-the-gun.jpg



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To quote from the above "A direct hit is necessary to knock out any AA position."
"However very little if any damage was caused by a bomb falling more than 15 feet away."
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