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Thread: Where was the Luftwaffe defeated?

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    Where was the Luftwaffe defeated?

    There was a thread a while ago in which it was posited that the Luftwaffe was defeated on the Eastern front,contrary to the generally accepted Anglo-American view.
    I couldn't find the overall statistics at the time to show where the Luftwaffe's losses occured,but stumbled across them looking for something else. They are pretty unequivocal numbers,unless you believe that the Luftwaffe was materially defeated in 1942.



    The table is published in U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, European War, Volume 2A, Statistical Appendix to Overall Report and is collated from German,OKL documents.



    Cheers
    Steve
    Last edited by stona; 07-12-2012 at 03:54 PM.

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    Luftwaffe was more than just single engined fighters..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tante Ju View Post
    Luftwaffe was more than just single engined fighters..
    Yes but from 1943 onwards the objective,particularly of the USAAF,was to gain air superiority. To this end it concentrated on the destruction of the Luftwaffe's fighter force. Luftwaffe multi engined bombers were hardly relevant as such on the Western front.German production in 1943/4 was predominantly of single engined fighters.You can only shoot down what the enemy puts up.



    Cheers
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by stona View Post
    Yes but from 1943 onwards the objective,particularly of the USAAF,was to gain air superiority. To this end it concentrated on the destruction of the Luftwaffe's fighter force.
    It was the USAAF objective only however.. you want to judge other's performance by applying USAAF goals and tactics to measure their success, but IMO its flawed thought. Soviet did not want to shoot down German fighters. They wanted to escort Shturmoviks, and shoot down Germans fighter and bomber when needed. British did not want to shoot down German fighter either. They wanted to minimize losses of their night bomber so they can keep up operation.

    Luftwaffe multi engined bombers were hardly relevant as such on the Western front.
    They were however very relevant on the other fronts. Western front was hardly the only relevant thing in the war. German bombers played a vital role in the Eastern Front, supporting German land army, and that is where the war was decided.

    German production in 1943/4 was predominantly of single engined fighters.You can only shoot down what the enemy puts up.
    Very true. But I still do not get how shooting down many German fighters is the same as shooting down many German fighters, bombers, attack, recon and transport, ie. the Luftwaffe.

    If shooting down fighters is a measure how the LW was defeated then we can close the thread since the German still produced a lot more than shot down and the number of their serivce fighters actually increases steady until 1945... that said, the LW was defeated, or at least certain lost ability control air by two factor IMO: sheer output of American factories (simply too many American planes to catch and shoot down) and destruction of their oil capacity by USAAF bombers.

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    http://don-caldwell.we.bs/jg26/thtrlosses.htm

    Nice chart on losses East vs West.

    4.06 times as many aircraft were lost in combat in the West than were lost in the East, a ratio reasonably close to Groehler's 3.41 for all "losses". The most chilling statistic for the JG 26 pilots appears in the sortie data. An airplane flying a combat mission in the West was 7.66 times more likely to be destroyed than one on a similar mission in the East. It is clear that the burden of sacrifice was borne by the Luftwaffe aircrew on the Western Front and over the Reich, not on the Eastern Front.

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    The British most certainly did want to shoot down German fighters. They had learnt a bitter lesson in 1941/42 trying to do this and were only able to do this effectively much later in the war. Unlike the USAAF the RAF didn't have a fighter capable of doing the job at range.

    It is worth noting that a significant percentage of twin engined aircraft produced from late 1942 onwards did go to the nightfighter arm. I will attempt to find the numbers at home over the week end.

    The Luftwaffe did of course suffer losses in bomber,transport and "others" on the Eastern front just as it did in the West.Bomber and Transport losses in the Mediterranean make sobering reading. Someone who has more time on their hands can dig for the numbers of multi engined aircraft destroyed by the RAF and USAAF on the ground or at the factories before they were ever accepted into service. This was the effect of the Second Front in the air so often minimised by Eastern Front promoters.
    Germany lost the war on the Eastern front,I don't think anyone would deny that,but the Luftwaffe was systematically ground into oblivion and denied vital resources(look at charts of production v requirements of just about anything,fuel,rubber,engines etc from around the end of the first quarter in 1944) on the Western Front,very largely by the USAAF.
    You don't destroy an Air Force simply by shooting down its aircraft though that is a good starting point.

    Cheers

    Steve

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    When one of the Germans' top echelon was interviewed, by the Russians, post-war, he was asked what he considered to be their most telling defeat, thinking he would say Stalingrad. They were somewhat shattered, when he said that they never recovered from the damage inflicted in the Battle of Britain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar Brooks View Post
    When one of the Germans' top echelon was interviewed, by the Russians, post-war, he was asked what he considered to be their most telling defeat, thinking he would say Stalingrad. They were somewhat shattered, when he said that they never recovered from the damage inflicted in the Battle of Britain.
    According to Stephen Bungay - it was Field-Marshall Gerd von Runstedt.

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    they never recovered from the damage inflicted in the Battle of Britain.
    Beat me to it.
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read" Groucho Marx

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    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tante Ju View Post
    It was the USAAF objective only however.. you want to judge other's performance by applying USAAF goals and tactics to measure their success, but IMO its flawed thought. Soviet did not want to shoot down German fighters. They wanted to escort Shturmoviks, and shoot down Germans fighter and bomber when needed. British did not want to shoot down German fighter either. They wanted to minimize losses of their night bomber so they can keep up operation.

    The USAAF objectives were threefold: First was to crush German Industry and restrict supply of war materials critical to The German prosecution of the war. Second was to enable air superiority over Allied land forces. Third was to provide Tactical interdiction of men and material to the front.

    Destruction of Luftwaffe over Germany was a complimentary objective. The Soviets were more focused on 2.) and 3.) and not at all on 1.)


    They were however very relevant on the other fronts. Western front was hardly the only relevant thing in the war. German bombers played a vital role in the Eastern Front, supporting German land army, and that is where the war was decided.

    The war was decided when a.) The Wermacht was prevented from holding Soviet Oil production, b.) the Wermacht was prevented from capturing the Suez Canal, c.) when the German submarine force failed to prevent the flow of material, supplies an men from the US to USSR and Britain, d.) when the Soviet army defeated the German army in the East, e.) when the Allied armies defeated the Wermacht in the West, f.) when the USAAF and RAF destroyed German industrial capability, specifically oil and chemicals, g.) when the Luftwaffe was destroyed - enabling f.) and e.)

    Very true. But I still do not get how shooting down many German fighters is the same as shooting down many German fighters, bombers, attack, recon and transport, ie. the Luftwaffe.

    The key is killing German fighter pilots, thereby stripping German bombers, attack, recon and transport operations of effective capability against Allied fighters. In addition, daylight strategic bombing was effectively stopped (RAF in 1941, USAAF in fall 1943) by the Luftwaffe. It is possible the Oil campaign could have achieved stoppage but we will never know for sure to what degree.

    If shooting down fighters is a measure how the LW was defeated then we can close the thread since the German still produced a lot more than shot down and the number of their serivce fighters actually increases steady until 1945... that said, the LW was defeated, or at least certain lost ability control air by two factor IMO: sheer output of American factories (simply too many American planes to catch and shoot down) and destruction of their oil capacity by USAAF bombers.
    German technology in re-generating skilled fighter pilots never matched their ability to produce machines. While the manufacturing capability of the US was unmatched, it was the ability to plan and deliver an endless supply of trained crews that got the the USAAF through the August through October, 1943 period - then the delivery and utilization of a high performance fighter with very long range to carve out the Luftwaffe fighter pilot cadre from December through May, 1944.

    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by stona View Post
    Germany lost the war on the Eastern front,I don't think anyone would deny that
    I wouldn't "deny" this, but it depends of the way you see the things. I have serious doubts that if the war started like historically, the Russians, alone, would be able to set a foot in Germany. Thus, Germany lost the war in the East or West? It's not incorrect even to say it was in both.
    Last edited by FLYBOYJ; 07-13-2012 at 03:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tante Ju View Post

    If shooting down fighters is a measure how the LW was defeated then we can close the thread since the German still produced a lot more than shot down and the number of their serivce fighters actually increases steady until 1945...
    No it did not.

    In January 1942 there were 1,324 fighters available.

    The number peaked in July 1943 with a total of 1,849

    By July 1944 this had FALLEN to 1,523. There is a slight recovery to a September 1944 peak of 1,610 (still less than mid 1943 and less than its strength in May 1940 of 1,758 fighters) before which the graph continues inexorably downwards.

    The faster the Luftwaffe produced aircraft the quicker the USAAF/RAF shot them and their barely trained pilots down.

    Only during one month of the entire war (July 1943) did the Luftwaffe have more fighters available than it did in May 1940,immiediately prior to the Battle of France.

    Compare those numbers with the enormous build up of air power by the Western Allies in the same month,September 1944.

    USAAF 5,490 Fighters 7,007 Bombers
    RAF 7,651 Fighters 6,044 Bombers.

    These numbers were mostly higher for both Air Forces by the end of the war. Only the number of RAF bombers was reduced.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tante Ju View Post
    the LW was defeated, or at least certain lost ability control air by two factor IMO: sheer output of American factories (simply too many American planes to catch and shoot down) and destruction of their oil capacity by USAAF bombers.
    Germany disappeared under a hail of high explosive ordnance,particularly in the last months of the war.



    Only 9.5% of this was aimed at POL (and rubber).



    It had this effect.



    What is often overlooked is that similar charts can be drawn for just about every aspect of German production,transport etc.

    Cheers

    Steve
    Last edited by stona; 07-13-2012 at 05:08 PM.

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    Senior Member parsifal's Avatar
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    My opinion is that whilst the combat losses in the air were heavily weighted to the west for the LW, the overall loss rates including non-operational losses, captures and the like tipped this balance back in favour of the eastern front. More than half the LW losses in the east had nothing to do with the VVS. Bad weather, poor airfields and the advanacing Red Army took their toll on the LW.

    Somewhere ( I will try and find it) I read that during the Bagration operation, LW losses to non combat causes were seven times those of the losses due to enemy air activity.

    The Eastern front was just as much of a meat grinder for the LW as it was for the Heer.
    Fr President Clemenceau’s speech to the AIF 7th July 1918: “ we expected a great deal of (Australians)… We knew that you would fight a real fight, but we did not know that from the beginning you would astonish the whole continent. I shall go back and say to my countrymen “I have seen the Australians, I have looked in their faces …I know that they will fight alongside of us again until the cause for which we are all fighting is safe for us and for our children”.



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    Aircraft losses are certainly important but even more important are PILOT losses. As pilots are killed they are replaced but as the war progresses the replacements are of lower and lower quality which in turn accelerates the loss of aircraft and lowers kill ratios. Germany could never hope to equal the US ability to manufacture aircraft or field quality pilots. The Germans on the western front were indeed overwhelmed by sheer numers of aircraft and pilots

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