Luftwaffe lost

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
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thor-jg51
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Postby thor-jg51 » 08 Sep 2006 15:36

between the "internet" and the history channel as a source i'll take the history channel.

they have to fact check.

but if it will make you feel better throw in the raf, vvs, royal navy, and the usaf not

directly attached to the 8th a.f., all aggnst the luftwaffe over europe,

and then see how the casualties fall.

germany "lost" the war when it started it.

the outcome of a total war was never in doubt.

as far as the luftwaffe being the best air force in history,

that point can be made and defended on several points.

i however, did not make that arguement.

the fact remains however, that inspite of overwhelming numbers, and imposible demands.

the luftwaffe throughout the war scored tactical victory, after tactical victory, until

germany was stragically defeated.

if the luftwaffe was a failure, than so was the avg in china.

the difference in the two bob's was that one force had planned and prepared to

make an invasion for years, the other had not, and decided it was better to turn their

attention to the ussr, rather than to procede with attrition air warfare without the means

to take advantage of it. the first bob was not lost by germany, it was postponed.

the germans invented air to air combat, and to this day there is no finer air force in the

world, just ask all the former nato pilots the germans train in dissimilar airframe combat.

t



LWD wrote:This thread is as far as I can tell a response to those who seam to be claiming the LW was the best AF ever. At least on the part of most here the intent was not to say that the LW was worthless.

Now as to a few specifics of your post:

"(the "mighty 8th" suffered more casualties than the entire usmc) "
According to: http://members.aol.com/usregistry/usmclife.htm
The Marines suffered ~87,000 casualties
According to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Air_Force
The 8th AF suffered ~47,000

"the luftwaffe nearly (very nearly) secured europe for the 3rd reic"
The only case I can think of in recorded history where an airforce could even claim with any sort of believability that it secured anything was the RAF and the BOB. In some alternate history the LW may have helped the German army secure Europe but it wasn't going to on it's own.

I'm not sure I've seen much of what I would call boasting on either side of this debate. We're too far removed from them in time for it to make much sense. We do on the otherhand have some who are very passionate about some organizations and machines.

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Postby LWD » 08 Sep 2006 16:05

thor-jg51 wrote:between the "internet" and the history channel as a source i'll take the history channel.

they have to fact check.

That would be a mistake. The history channel does not have to fact check and indeed erroneous information is very common there. If you had checked my sources you'd probably have picked up where the problem was with your info. (The 8th had more KIAs than the marines but not more casualties). The reason for listing sources for internet info is so they can be checked out and as an aid for determing validity. Official records or pages based on them are usually pretty good. Wickopedia also has a pretty good system for self correction.

...as far as the luftwaffe being the best air force in history,
that point can be made and defended on several points.
i however, did not make that arguement.

No but you condemed the opposing side for something similar without mentioning the similar excesses of the LW advocates. That tends to make it look like you either support that position or were not awair of the background (and hadn't read all the thread).

...the fact remains however, that inspite of overwhelming numbers, and imposible demands.
the luftwaffe throughout the war scored tactical victory, after tactical victory, until
germany was stragically defeated.

They also suffered tactical defeat after tactical defeat during the same period and the latter became much more common than the former as time went on.

...if the luftwaffe was a failure, than so was the avg in china. the difference in the two bob's ...

How so? The AVG was so different from the LW that I'm not sure how you can even compair them. What two "bob's". (BOB normally referrs to the Battle Of Britain)
was that one force had planned and prepared to make an invasion for years, the other had not, ...

Who had planned and prepared for an invasion for years????

.... the first bob was not lost by germany, it was postponed.

The LW clearly lost the BOB. They were loosing more planes and pilots and replacing them at a slower rate than the British.
the germans invented air to air combat, and to this day there is no finer air force in the
world,....

Claiming they invented air to air combat is a bit of a simplification at best. Claiming the LW has been the finest airforce in the world for the entire duration of the last 60 + years is a real stretch and outside the boundires of this forum I believe.

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Postby Andreas » 08 Sep 2006 16:11

Let's stay on topic here. The performance of current German pilots is not relevant, neither is China.

The history channel is also not a reliable source, and in any case it would be helpful if you stated where you have got your figures from. The History Channel is wrong if they indeed said that 8th AF suffered more casualties than the USMC

http://www.mightyeighth.org/about_us/hi ... _force.htm (47,000 casualties)

http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/HD/Histo ... alties.htm (Marine Corps 87,760 total casualties)

The USMC had less people killed than 8th Air Force though.

The Luftwaffe also did not score tactical victory after tactical victory. It was clearly defeated in the Battle of Britain, both tactically and operationally. If you want to continue to contribute to this debate, I suggest checking and providing sources before posting.

All the best

Andreas

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thor-jg51
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Postby thor-jg51 » 08 Sep 2006 17:11

my apologies gentlemen, i concede the casualties to kia mistake and change my statement.

the 8th a.f. had more kia than the usmc.

my point about the avg is that they failed to defend the burma road

and therfore (that is using the same logic that some have applied to the luftwaffe)

were a failure.

clearly the avg is not reguarded as a failure, so why is the luftwaffe?

is that off topic ...

if so i apologise once again for pointing out the double standard.

as far as the 2nd bob that would be the battle of berlin, i'm suprised you never heard of
it.

daylight bombing by the allies stopped several times over europe, should

not each of those be considered as defeats? just like the battle of brittan?

i'm sorry i have to point out that the victors have the benifit of deciding when a battle is

"finished" as opposed to a change in priority or tatics.

my original point is in this day of wars being won in hours instead of years, the ability to

understand the required effort that defeating the luftwaffe becomes more and more

remote. numbers approaching 600 lost in an single day of air combat tend to be lost

on this generation.

i do not think because i propose a

different interpretation of events i should be thretened with censure, i am just trying to

stimulate thought and communication.

message boards are supposed to be alive with thought, otherwise we could all just read

the same old books with the same old conclusions.

t

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Postby Andreas » 08 Sep 2006 18:10

I was not aware of BoB as an abbreviation for Battle of Berlin. That is probably the last one where a claim can be made that the Luftwaffe won, and I guess it has to count as the last operational victory it achieved. http://www.awm.gov.au/wartime/25/article.asp

The allied air forces suffered operational defeats at the hands of the Luftwaffe, that is beyond question. What they did not suffer was the strategic defeat that was handed to the Luftwaffe in spring 1944 over the Reich (and I would certainly not agree with your description of Operation Argument as a 'pyrrhic victory' , let alone a defeat), and which was made permanent by the oil offensive and the loss of the Romanian and Hungarian oil.

All the best

Andreas

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Postby LWD » 08 Sep 2006 18:15

thor-jg51 wrote:...
my point about the avg is that they failed to defend the burma road
and therfore (that is using the same logic that some have applied to the luftwaffe)
were a failure.

clearly the avg is not reguarded as a failure, so why is the luftwaffe?

is that off topic ...

I hope it isn't to far off as my reply here will be. Was the mission of the AVG to defned the Burma road? The mission of the Luftwaffa at one point was clearly to win the Battle of Britain.

as far as the 2nd bob that would be the battle of berlin, i'm suprised you never heard of
it.

The proximatay of it's use to the comments about China confused me especially as I haven't seen the Battle of Berlin abreviated that way.

daylight bombing by the allies stopped several times over europe, should

not each of those be considered as defeats? just like the battle of brittan?

Indeed each was a defeat that was composed of a number of smaller defeats and victories but in the end the alllies ruled the skies over Berlin so the campaign has to be considered an allied victory.

i'm sorry i have to point out that the victors have the benifit of deciding when a battle is
"finished" as opposed to a change in priority or tatics.
my original point is in this day of wars being won in hours instead of years, the ability to
understand the required effort that defeating the luftwaffe becomes more and more
remote. numbers approaching 600 lost in an single day of air combat tend to be lost
on this generation....



It's not so much the victors as the historians who decide when a battle is finsihed. In the case of the Battle of Britain there is a pretty clear cut off. The Luftwaffe gave up large attacks vs Britain. Whatever the reason they broke this off (losses, preping for the invasion of the Soviet Union, retraining and regrouping, etc) the case is clear that they attempted to do something and decided at least for the time being they couldn't do it or it wasn't worth doing. Clearly the defeating the LW was a major effort and the allies spent a lot more resources doing it than Germany did on the LW but they had them to spend partially because they didn't make some of the planning errors the LW high comand did.

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Postby thor-jg51 » 09 Sep 2006 08:45

well i guess my point is that while defeated,

the luftwaffe was extremely succesful on it's way to it's defeat,

and had they been slightly more successful in the spring of 44

d-day may have not been possible til 45, which may have changed

everything. imo the largest factor in the loss of german air supremacy over

europe was the lack of time to address escorted large buff raids,

before the invasion of france. had the germans understood what was happening sooner,

things could have been very different.

i like "what if" history, it's fun to muse.

(from a safe distance)

t

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Postby LWD » 09 Sep 2006 23:36

thor-jg51 wrote:well i guess my point is that while defeated,
the luftwaffe was extremely succesful on it's way to it's defeat,
/
They're initial campaigns were very successful, but it was pretty much down hill after that. They were basically forced to fight a war they weren't prepaired for. At the unit level and below they performed in a very profesional and dedicated manor but at the strategic level they just weren't there.
and had they been slightly more successful in the spring of 44
d-day may have not been possible til 45,

Define slightly. The LW as a non player at D-Day they could have put many times the planes in the air they did and they still wouldn't have been a player. By that point in time they couldn't face the combined force of the allied airforces that close to the allied bases.

... imo the largest factor in the loss of german air supremacy over
europe was the lack of time to address escorted large buff raids,
before the invasion of france. had the germans understood what was happening sooner,
things could have been very different....

It could be argued that the Germans really never had air supremacy over Europe. Certainly they had air superiority over much of it but they simply didn't have the planning, logistics, planes, or pilots to maintain it given their opposition. To produce a real change in the equation you have to go back at least until Dec 41 and probably back to 37 or 38.

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Postby thor-jg51 » 11 Sep 2006 19:42

if germany didn't have air superiority over europe from 39 - spring of 44 ...

who did?

getting bombers to and from a target does not mean you have air superiority, especially when you loose up to 1/3 of them doing it.

germany withdrew from the battle of brittan before they had finished the distruction of the raf because it became clear that the brittish were not going to surender from the weight of air power alone, and germany had not planned for, or produced the means to invade across the channel. it was decided to move on to the invasion of the ussr which they had planned for and where they acheved air superiority immediately all the way to the urals.

it can be argued that if germany "lost" the battle of brittan. than the allies lost the battle of europe (under the same conditions for victory) from 1939 till they finally succeded in the spring of 1944 when the luftwaffe faced a change in allied capabilities/tatics which they did not have time to adjust to before their situation once again changed with the invasion of france.

looked at in terms of success/assets allocated the luftwaffe were extremely successful on every front, also in airspace under contention controlled, and finally in victorys/losses. all "conditions for victory" for specific forces in other conflicts/theaters of operation. the luftwaffe comes out on top of it's opponents by a wide margin. the battle
lost was the battle of attrition, and that was axis wide and cannot be fairly placed on the sholders of the luftwaffe alone.

so germany lost, yes that is obvious, however it was not because the luftwaffe "lost",
that should also be obvious.

t

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Postby LWD » 11 Sep 2006 21:47

thor-jg51 wrote:if germany didn't have air superiority over europe from 39 - spring of 44 ...

who did?

It depends on where and when. Certainly the LW had air superiority over Germany from 39 until 43. Sometime between then and spring 44 they lost it and eventually the allies gained it. I'd have to look up the exact defintion and study the campaign a bit more to tell you when. But they never had it over Britain and they lost air superiority over parts of France before that. In other parts of Europe they never really had air superiority and in still others they may have maintained it later.
...
germany withdrew from the battle of brittan before they had finished the distruction of the raf because it became clear that the brittish were not going to surender from the weight of air power alone, and germany had not planned for, or produced the means to invade across the channel.

They withdrew from the BOB because they were loosing it. Take a look at the BOB thread(s) elsewhere on this forum or earlier in this thread. The RAF was winning. They were either getting stronger faster or weaker slower than the LW for most if not the entire battle. If they had continued they would have ground the LW in to a toothless remenant.
it can be argued that if germany "lost" the battle of brittan. than the allies lost the battle of europe (under the same conditions for victory) from 1939 till they finally succeded in the spring of 1944 when the luftwaffe faced a change in allied capabilities/tatics which they did not have time to adjust to before their situation once again changed with the invasion of france.

No. In the BOB the LW was getting weaker during the entire time of the battle until they gave up (ie admitted failure). In the allied air campaign vs Germany the allies were getting stronger relative to the LW over most of the battle. So the course of the campaign was almost completly opposite. But when you look at the winner and looser of a battle it's the final status that counts. In the BOB the LW failed to acomplish their objectives and the RAF accomplished theirs. In the air campaign over Europe the Western allies acomplishded their objectives the LW again failed to acomplish theirs.

looked at in terms of success/assets allocated the luftwaffe were extremely successful on every front, also in airspace under contention controlled, and finally in victorys/losses. all "conditions for victory" for specific forces in other conflicts/theaters of operation. the luftwaffe comes out on top of it's opponents by a wide margin. the battle
lost was the battle of attrition, and that was axis wide and cannot be fairly placed on the sholders of the luftwaffe alone.

War is not a game for handicapping. success/asset doen't count for much. The LW failed to acomplish their goals in the West after 39 and in the east sometime later (42?). The LW was wiped from the sky over western Europe by the spring of 44 there is no way that counts as winning. IF you can't win a battle of attrition then you need to force a win before it becomes one. This the LW failed to do except in their very early campaigns.
so germany lost, yes that is obvious, however it was not because the luftwaffe "lost",
that should also be obvious.
t

This I can agree with. Germany lost because they got in a war they couldn't win. They lacked the military, logistics, manpower, and industry to win the war. Blaming it on one service is neither fair nor correct. If blame has to be laid it's the German high command starting at the top that deserves it.

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Postby Erich » 12 Sep 2006 19:09

~~ if you are at all familiar with the 3 Sturmgruppen of the Luftwaffe then you know full well the Spring of 44 was not the demise of the Luftwaffe..............the horror of aerial combat single engine fighters vs the US heavy bomber did not diminsh till January of 45 where then the Me 262's of JG 7 became apparent and thank God did not reach such numbers as the Luftwaffe had on hand in March of 1944.

E ~

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Postby JonS » 12 Sep 2006 22:18

you know full well the Spring of 44 was not the demise of the Luftwaffe..............the horror of aerial combat single engine fighters vs the US heavy bomber did not diminsh

Interesting perspective. With the same approach it would be reasonable to say that
* 1940 wasn't the demise of the German surface fleet, because the horror of surface actions continued till 1945, or
* 1943 wasn't the demise of the U-boats because merchantmen faced the horror of death by drowning/burning/mutilation from submarines until 1945, or
* Late 1942 wasn't the demise of the Afrika Korps (and PAA, et al) because CW and US forces faced the horror of land combat in Africa until May 43, and
* the third quarter of 1944 wasn't the demise of the German ground forces in general because Allied forces faced the horror of combat until mid-45.
Last edited by JonS on 13 Sep 2006 02:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Erich » 12 Sep 2006 22:49

Jon yes some assumption could be made

odd that the US bomber crew vets that I have interviewed felt very safe with hordes of P-51 escorts about them in summer of 44 till wars end but knew full well and they have admitted it to me, that if the escorts were not in place and a heavy Fw 190 attack was immenent that they all had a good chance of being shot down in a single pass. September 27, 1944 comes to mind with 30 B-24's shot down and only the Yellow Jackets ~ 361st fg came to the rescue late.

what was heart wrenching in 1945 was seeing the Me 262's fly through the formation and if they were lucky enough not to be pounced upon by P-51's would again form up in 3's and attack from the rear. US bomber gunners have stated they could not track the 262 with their .50's/turrets the jet (blow-job) was just too fast ............
(Side Note) have the last three weeks contacted over 15 US Stang pilots that scored a 262 and nearly half of the jet kills of these fine pilots were scored while the jet was in transit slowing down for the landing pattern. 1 pilot who scored 1 kill and 2 damaged on three different dates has said you had to catch the 262 in a turn and with the altitude in your favour or the 262 pilot would just outrun flat and fast...................

E ~

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Postby JonS » 12 Sep 2006 22:58

As an aside, "the horror of aerial combat single engine fighters vs the US heavy bomber did not diminsh until Jan 45" is simply wrong.

Individual instances were just as horrible* in 1939 as they were in 1945, but the number of such instances did diminish, both in absolute terms (number of bombers lost reached a wartime peak in April 1944, when 409 were written off), and most especially in terms of % sortie loss (the loss rate for the six months from Nov 43 through Apr 44 was 3.6%. For the six months May44 through Nov 44 it was 1.6%).

Regards
Jon

* So, in that sense, if you want to play semantic games it is true that "the horror experienced by the crew of a bomber under attack by an enemy fighter did not dimish." :roll: Hardly a staggering insight, and true of all times, and in particular just as true after Jan 45 as it was before.

Addendum: USAAF, ETO losses of Heavy Bombers to enemy a/c, AA, and 'other'. (Note especially the catastrophic decline in losses due to enemy a/c from Apr 1944 onwards) (Source, see Table 159):
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Postby JonS » 12 Sep 2006 23:18

Erich wrote:odd that the US bomber crew vets that I have interviewed felt very safe with hordes of P-51 escorts about them in summer of 44 till wars end but knew full well and they have admitted it to me, that if the escorts were not in place and a heavy Fw 190 attack was immenent that they all had a good chance of being shot down in a single pass.

It's not odd at all - I'm sure they did 'feel safe' with hordes of P-51s around. However, what they thought they 'knew' and the reality of the situation are two very different things.


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