Kurfurst's argument appears to be later German fighters like the K4 and Dora outclassed the Spitfire IX. The thing is, in the real world these late war German fighters were too little, too late, and had very little impact.
Let's look at some figures. From the start of August 1944 to the end of the war, the Jagdwaffe claimed 200 Spitfires, 83 Typhoons and Tempests.
RAF Tempests alone claimed 203 German fighters (109s, 190s and 262s) in the same period.
Kurfurst likes to claim the RAF had to soldier on with the Spitfire IX, because they were short of more modern types. As of 26th April, the RAF had on charge the following (figures are UK&Western Europe/Overseas):
Mustang III&IV - 782/224 (Mustang III is P-51B/C, IV is P-51D)
Spitfire XIV - 500/62
Tempest V - 426
Tempest II - 39
Now, as to reconnaissance, we have seen the unsourced opinion of Soren and Kurfurst. Here are some sourced facts, from people with rather better reputations:
First, RV Jones. Jones was in charge of British technical intelligence during the war. In 1940 and 41 he was involved in the battle against the German blind bombing beams, in 1943 and 1944 he was involved in the battle against the V weapons.
Jones writes in his autobiography that he came up with the idea of using a double agent to feed the Germans information that the V-1s were overshooting London. He hoped the Germans would reduce the flight time, causing the V-1s to fall short of London. The double agents then fed back the information that the V-1s were right on target.
Jones says that when the German launching headquarters was overrun, he had two surprises. First was that some of the bombs had been fitted with radio locators. Both the reports of the radio locators and the agents in London were plotted on a map at the headquarters. The Germans assumed the radio devices were inaccurate, because they reported the bombs were tending to fall short, and that the agents reports must be accurate. Jones continues:
Jones then goes on to say that because of cloud on that sortie, only the damage in North London could be photographed. Although much of it was from 1941 and 1942, because it had not been photographed before, the V-1 was credited with causing it, which vindicated the reports of the double agents.In this helpful conclusion, Wachtel was supported by the evidence of photographic reconnaissance, which incidentally revealed one of the biggest surprises of the whole war. It turned out that there seemed to have been no German photographic reconnaissance of London from 10th January 1941 to 10th September 1944. We had expected that the Germans would have flown regular reconnaissances of the whole of southern England, but Fighter Command had been so effective in interception that the Germans had not succeeded in making a reconnaissance of London for 3 years and 9 months, no more than 50 miles inside our own coastline, while our own reconnaissance pilots were often flying over 500 miles of German occupied territory. I knew of no more startling contrast in the entire war, a joint tribute to Fighter Command and our own reconnaissance units.
I had a slight inkling of the situation before we captured Wachtel's map, because I had read a glowing tribute to the new German twin jet fighter, the Me 262, which a secret German report said was so good it had succeeded in photographic reconnaissance of London "hitherto considered impossible".
Secondly, Dr Alfred Price. He doesn't (as far as I know) detail German reconnaissance efforts against Britain, but he does describe German efforts against the Normandy area:
Price goes on to say the situation only changed when the Ar 234 was deployed.Throughout the Battle of Normandy Allied army commanders received frequent and comprehensive photographic coverage of the enemy positions in front of them. In stark contrast, German field commanders often received no warning of a build-up of Allied forces until the leading units came within view of their forward positions. During the battle Luftwaffe reconnaissance units endeavoured to fly two types of operation: high-speed low-altitude visual and photographic reconnaissance sorties by day, flown by Messerschmitt 109s of the tactical reconnaissance units; and high-altitude night photographic missions by Me 410s and Ju 188s of strategic reconnaissance units.
The tactics employed by the Bf 109 reconnaissance units were straightforward enough, though often hazardous in view of the magnitude of the opposition. Usually the aircraft operated in pairs, one of each pair conducting the reconnaissance while the other kept watch for enemy fighters. On rare occasions a fighter escort would be provided if a reconnaissance of a particularly heavily defended area were required, but usually the reconnaissance pilots had to penetrate the defences on their own.
In the nature of things, photographs taken at night gave considerably less information than those taken by day. However, the all-pervading Allied fighter patrols rendered high-altitude daylight photography too dangerous to be contemplated. During a night mission the aircraft would run through the target area at high speed, at altitudes of around 20,000ft, and release a photo-flash bomb fused to ignite at about 4,000ft above the surface. On ignition the bomb gave a flash of 6,000,000 candlepower lasting for a third of a second, and this automatically closed the shutter of the camera and wound on the film for the next photograph. Then the shutter opened again for the next shot. Usually four or five pictures were taken in this way, at ten-second intervals. By the end of that time the night fighter and gun defences in the area were thoroughly alerted and the German crew had to dive to low altitude and beat a hasty retreat.
As was to be expected, such reconnaissance methods produced only a fragmentary picture of the Allied dispositions. The powerful defences took a mounting toll of both aircraft and crews, and, if they were to survive, the latter had often to break off their missions at the first sign of trouble.
The lack of aerial reconnaissance had serious consequences.
So that's two respected sources that say the Luftwaffe were not succeeding with their recce efforts.
However, the situation is summed up by a third. The USAF commissioned historical studies of the war effort, their own and the Luftwaffe's. One is on Luftwaffe intelligence operations, and covers recce flights. It was written by Generalleutnant Andreas Nielsen.
Writing about German efforts to photograph the invasion fleet in the run up to D Day:
David Kahn, in Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II, sums up German recce efforts:The almost impenetrable fighter screens above England complicated aerial reconnaissance to such a degree that results were obtained only accidentally. Thus, no information could be gathered as to possible secondary landings, for instance in Norway, Denmark or along the German North Sea coast.
I'm sure the Germans managed night time recce of Britain, the USAF study even talks of successful missions over Britain, although without mentioning the time. But night recce, as Dr Price points out, is very much second best.The curve of the effectiveness of German aerial reconnaissance matched that of the rise and fall of German arms in general more closely than that of any other form of intelligence. In seeking physical evidence, it depended more upon strength—control of the air—or speed to obtain this evidence than almost all other forms of intelligence. This strength was naturally a function of the overall German strength. For the first half of the war, German air superiority permitted German aerial reconnaissance, and it in turn helped German arms win their victories. But with the German defeats on the ground and in the air, reconnaissance became sparser and less effec
. Toward the end it became almost nonexistent. In December 1944, an air force officer noted that no air reconnaissance of British industry had taken place for three years. German aerial reconnaissance made no great discoveries, as the Allies' did of the V-l sites. It could not get planes over London to correct the fake reports of turned-around agents about the impact points of these flying bombs. It failed to spot the bringing-up of the troops from Siberia that stopped the Germans at Moscow. A mournful comment by the navy on 22 May 1944, while the Germans were trying desperately to discover where the expected invasion of Europe would come, may serve as its epitaph: "Especially on account of the lack of constant comprehensive air reconnaissance, the [enemy's] main transport effort in one sector or another of the Channel coast is not ascertainable"