WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Dec 2020 22:29

Gee, how about a specific Eighth Air Force operation?

The complex raid on Brunswick and Hanover, on 8 April 1944. They sent 630 HB out (the Germans counted 530-760) and 34 failed to return. The Germans estimated the Jagdwaffe shot down 52 and another 27 were possibles, while they thought flak accounted for another 19 and 3 possible, so 71 and 20. So somewhere between double and triple counting. The German losses were 55 known lost 8 missing and assumed lost, and 10 damaged greater than 60%.

Oh, I know. How about the 12 October raid on Bremen-Osnabruck when the Jagdwaffe was at peak strength? The Eighth Air Force dispatched 505 HB and lost 3. The Germans thought there were 800 and sortied 657 aircraft, of which 83 managed to engage. They thought the fighters shot down 1 and flak 6, while they lost 4, with 5 missing and 2 damaged 60% or greater.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Richard Anderson » 22 Dec 2020 22:47

Too unfair because of weather problems? Okay, 27 September when 1,078 HB attacked Henschel at Kassel, as well as targets at Cologne, Ludwigshafen, and Mainz. The Luftwaffe counted 1,100 attackers - pretty good - and thought flak shot down 3, while the Jagdwaffe had a field day, shooting down 69 definitely and 3 probables. All that from just 121 sorties, of which 111 reportedly engaged. Admittedly, they did suffer, 17 known lost, 11 missing, and 10 damaged 60% or greater, but hey, they inflicted almost two to one losses.

There were actually 28 US HB losses, 25 of which were out of 35 planes in the 445th BG, which missed escort and were caught by the German Sturmgruppe of II./JG 4.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Politician01 » 22 Dec 2020 22:53

Richthard Anderson wrote:
22 Dec 2020 21:07
BTW, to square the circle, the Germans actually recorded flying at least 3,078 fighter and 960 night fighter sorties over Germany during "Big Week" to counter the Allied heavy bombers. The Luftwaffe losses were 167 fighters and 16 night fighters written off, 86 fighters and 19 night fighters missing and presumed lost, and 133 fighters and 6 night fighters damaged 60% or greater (thus requiring a factory/depot rebuild).
How many Wallied aircraft were damaged and how many had to be written of because of damage once they returned to their bases?
Richard Anderson wrote:
22 Dec 2020 22:29
The complex raid on Brunswick and Hanover, on 8 April 1944. They sent 630 HB out (the Germans counted 530-760) and 34 failed to return. The Germans estimated the Jagdwaffe shot down 52 and another 27 were possibles, while they thought flak accounted for another 19 and 3 possible, so 71 and 20. So somewhere between double and triple counting
And?

On October 9th 1942 the Americans estimated to have scored 56 kills, 26 probable kills, and 20 aircraft severely damaged. In reality the Germans lost 1 aircraft. So somewhere around 100x counting.

On April 17 1943 the Americans estimated to have scored 63 German fighters destroyed, 15 probable destructions, and 17 damaged. In reality the Germans lost 2 aircraft and had 9 damaged. Somewhere around 9x counting.

On 6th January 1944 the American estimated to have scored 241 German fighters destroyed, while in reality the Germans lost 39. Somewhere around 6x counting.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Dec 2020 00:08

Politician01 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 22:53
How many Wallied aircraft were damaged and how many had to be written of because of damage once they returned to their bases?
They are not "Wallied aircraft", they are aircraft of the Eight and Fifteenth U.S. Air Force.

Good question though. The mission losses as recorded were "only bombers lost in combat, not aircraft that crashed on takeoff, landing, or collision, or were lost to weather or written off as unusable after their return." Not that it makes much difference though, because the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Force losses to all causes, including combat and accident, as well as aircraft lost to damage and reduced to 2d line non-operational due to age, obsolescence, and damage in the month of February totaled 315 in Eighth AF and 137 in Fifteenth AF. Mission losses for Eighth AF totaled 288 and for Fifteenth AF totaled 89, so accounting for 91.4% and 65% of the total respectively.

Note also that the German losses also are combat losses only, so they are congruent figures.
And?

On October 9th 1942 the Americans estimated to have scored 56 kills, 26 probable kills, and 20 aircraft severely damaged. In reality the Germans lost 1 aircraft. So somewhere around 100x counting.

On April 17 1943 the Americans estimated to have scored 63 German fighters destroyed, 15 probable destructions, and 17 damaged. In reality the Germans lost 2 aircraft and had 9 damaged. Somewhere around 9x counting.

On 6th January 1944 the American estimated to have scored 241 German fighters destroyed, while in reality the Germans lost 39. Somewhere around 6x counting.
And what?

You do understand the issue is not about the vagaries of claims, but the realities of what damage the Jagdwaffe could inflict versus what they suffered? As well as what effect increasing Jagdwaffe strength would have on the same.

Please try to stay on topic.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 23 Dec 2020 02:16

Politician01 wrote:
21 Dec 2020 21:12
Where were the Wallies ahead? And to compare OTL 44/45 when the Germans had to seriously scale back/cancel many projects because they needed all manpower and funds for the Eastern Front, to ATL where they can invest additional manpower/funds into development from the summer of 43 onwards is just stupid.
Well, by early '45 the Allies were:

Far ahead in electronics across the board. This was a lead expanded from early 1943 on.
The AAM race. The US had proven that a visually guided CLOS AAM using a joystick (like the Ruhrstal X4) was impossible to control due to the closing speed. Testing at Cape May in New Jersey by the USN as part of project Gorgon did live fire tests in late 44. The US was developing both beam riding and semi-active homing AAM's including the JB-3 Tiamat and Ryan Firebird, among others.

In the race to a SAM, the Germans were piddling around with a number of missile designs but had done little beyond try the same joystick-type controller and CLOS using a radio link they were using on things like the Fritz X and Hs 293. It wasn't going to work as a SAM control. The British were testing both Brakemine and the Stooge missiles in this role including using various guidance techniques.
The US was developing Nike, Little Joe, Lark, and the USN had Operation Bumblebee going. This last evolved into Talos eventually, but the sheer size of the program even in 1945, dwarfed everything the Germans were doing in this field. It was also the first live flight testing of supersonic ramjet engines that by early 45 were hitting about Mach 1.8 and a 10 NM range.
The US Army was slower to develop Nike simply because historically, they had near total air control so even though the need for a SAM was recognized, it wasn't considered as high a priority as the Navy considered it for shooting down Kamikaze.

The US an Britain both had better late generation piston engine aircraft in development but by late '44 terminated or downgraded these as the were deemed unnecessary to win the war.

The Allies were at a minimum on parity by '44 in jet engine technology and poised to pull ahead. The Germans still had an advantage in high speed airframes and airfoils but that advantage was diminishing rapidly. The Allies were looking very seriously at supersonic aircraft flight at that point and while that took several years to materialize it was something the Germans were still doing disjointed research on at best.

The Allies were aware the Germans (and Japanese) were moving towards high underwater speed submarines and were developing and deploying weapons to deal with these by 1945. The Germans did have a better sonar in the GHG, something the Allies hadn't paid much attention to as of 1945.

In guided weapons like the Fritz X and such, the US had similar weapons deployed and in use too. More sophisticated guided weapons like the US Navy's Bat glide bomb were also coming into use in 1945.

Yes, the Germans got a head start on ballistic missiles with the V-2 but its use was largely limited to a terror weapon as it could barely be relied on to hit a large city at 200 + miles. The US was developing their version with programs like MX 774 Hiroc so the Allies weren't out of the running by any means there.

In cruise missiles like the V-1, the Allies had equivalents and had also copied the V-1 as the JB-2 / Loon so they could give as good as they got there if by no other means firing several of their V-1 copies at the Germans for every one the Germans fired at them.

Of course, in terms of nukes, the Germans were hopelessly behind. By 1945 they didn't even have a working nuclear reactor.

Pretty much everywhere, the Allies were at parity or ahead of the Germans and gaining ground on them.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Dec 2020 08:34

Richard Anderson wrote:The USAAF did not lose 226 bombers[...] they lost 225.
There goes my argument. I tender my resignation from AHF.
Richard Anderson wrote:it isn't a "ratio" that matters.
Maybe not to you. Whether the ratio matters is the analytical dispute and you're simply analytically wrong:

Most people understand that an 8-20:1 resource loss ratio is only sustainable when one side can afford such uneven ratios.

From that basic insight, most people would understand that if Germany could have expended more resources defending the Reich - say if Reich defense weren't a sideshow to the biggest-ever land war - then a strategy that relied on sustaining massively unfavorable loss ratios might be a losing strategy.
Richard Anderson wrote:Obviously, while severe, the losses were sustainable. That was not the case for the Luftwaffe.
Everybody understands that.

Most also understand that we're in an ATL where Germany isn't fighting - has won - the biggest-ever land war, and that this land war - and winning it - has ramifications for German aircraft production and overall LW strength.
Richard Anderson wrote:Worse than that even...for the month of February in theaters versus Germany, 4,653 battle casualties were incurred, all except 506 "irretrievable" (killed, died, missing, captured, and interned). It was worse in March, 4,744, and far worse at peak in April, 7,219.
Is there a Zamansky-like study that gives LW losses by theater/month after '43?
Richard Anderson wrote:
22 Dec 2020 19:34
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2020 09:56
USAAF was - with splendidly trained and educated human resources - less efficient at winning wars than were the Russians with semi-literate peasants.
Nice claim. You have the figures to back that up?
Re Big Week you have the numbers; they speak for themselves. In that battle American/German relative combat lethality in material and personnel terms was worse than what the Russians achieved with half-literate peasants. The only arguable issue is whether it's representative of the period. Carl held out Big Week as a "culminating" American triumph so my comment rebuts that argument.

I was being a bit unfair to the Russians though. They were facing a historically-excellent foe in the Ostheer whereas USAAF was facing what was a fairly mediocre foe by that time, one that got progressively worse due to resource issues (and bad planning but no good planning could have saved the OTL LW).

Rather than comparing the USAAF/LW combat outcomes in Big Week to Ostheer v. RKKA, I should have compared it to Italy vs. Ethiopa.
Richard Anderson wrote:Overall, it appears that about 77.5% of the 1E Ftr loss, 51.1% of the 2E Ftr loss, 92.4% of the N Ftr loss, and 57% of the Bmb loss was in the West and in defense of the Reich. Only GA were lost disproportionately in the East, about 71.6% of them.
What's the relevance?

I could see it being relevant if my argument were simply that moving Ostheer's LW contingent west defeats the CBO.

But you know better than that.
Richard Anderson wrote:Your analysis goes wrong by assuming that the Luftwaffe could successfully continue to focus on the big, expensive bombers and not the American fighters
You're assuming that I so assume.
Richard Anderson wrote:Uh, Pot, meet Kettle.
I'm sure something has played out in your head to make sense of this. Maybe pot? Maybe Kettle One? Hey no judgments here.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 23 Dec 2020 09:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Dec 2020 09:23

Richard Anderson wrote:so the Germans suffered nearly three times the American HB loss rate.
If anybody on this forum should know better than simplistically to compare loss rates as a percentage of deployed forces, it should be the guy worked with Trevor Dupuy.

For others - it is axiomatic that the smaller force suffers a higher loss rate (all else being equal). Of course this is air warfare but the principal applies at least as much.

Just look at the force ratios:
The Eighth Air Force adopted a simpler operational plan on the [Feb] 21st. Its 15 combat wings (861 bombers) headed for Germany in a single stream, splitting up to attack targets in the Brunswick area. Heavy cloud restricted visibility, and few primaries were hit; most of the groups bombed airfields. The day proved to be just another minor battle in the war of attrition. Fifteen fighter groups (679 fighters) provided the new, looser escort, and claimed 33 German fighters for losses of 5–3. I. Jagdkorps and Jagddivision 4 fighters flew 331 defensive sorties, but in small units rather than Gefechtsverbände—weather was blamed for the failure to form the latter—and few holes in the escort were found. The RLV forces lost 24 KIA, 7 WIA, and 30 fighters. American bomber losses from all causes were 16–7.47
The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defense of the Reich by Caldwell and Muller.

That's 1,540 HB's and fighters versus 331 LW sorties - a 4.6:1 force ratio.

---------------------------------------------------------------

For reasons of economy I've been assuming OTL attrition ratios when arguing that the CBO wouldn't have been feasible post-SU.

But of course that's an invalid assumption that vastly favors the W.Allies: with better force ratios in the air, fewer German fighters get bounced without warning by roving enemies, fewer German fighters are outnumbered in combat.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Politician01 » 23 Dec 2020 09:55

Richard Anderson wrote:
23 Dec 2020 00:08
You do understand the issue is not about the vagaries of claims, but the realities of what damage the Jagdwaffe could inflict versus what they suffered? As well as what effect increasing Jagdwaffe strength would have on the same.
You do understand that without having to fight the largest lang war in history from April 1943 onwards, the amount of damage the Jagdwaffe cound inflict as well as their strenght would be vastly greater compared to OTL?

So from May 43 the Wallies sustain larger losses than OTL, meaning that by early/mid 44 their nummerical superiority is greatly reduced compared to OTL, meaning that German losses in 1944 are also greatly reduced compared to OTL.

Even with a 1:1 exchange ratio in aircraft and assuming that around 80% of downed Wallied aircraft are bombers and 20% fighters, while 80% of all German losses would be fighters, leaves such an uneconomic exchange ratio that the bombing campaign would eventually collapse.

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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Peter89 » 23 Dec 2020 11:19

The Luftwaffe couldn't sustain losses of that scale, and yes, if we conjure up limitless fuel, perfect training, doubled or tripled aircraft production, etc. THEN they might inflict unbearable attrition losses to the Wallies. But THEN the Wallies could change strategy as they often did, and we are talking about an irrelevant imagination again. If the air control is so heavily contested over the Reich (even over Europe), then the Wallies would fight for the air superiority again and not throw their bombers into suicide missions.

If Germany could replace its units both aircraft- and aircrew-wise, then they need such an increase in output that is not realistic, and based on a series of seriously flawed assumptions.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Dec 2020 11:23

Let's look at a day when the LW managed to close the force ratio gap a little. Again from Defense of the Reich:
The Eighth returned to Berlin on March 8. On this day 623 bombers from all three bomb divisions targeted the Erkner ball-bearing factory. Bombing conditions were good, and serious damage was both claimed and attained. Fortunately for the German war effort, the dispersal of ball-bearing production was already well under way. The defensive effort was only slightly less than that of the 6th, 378 sorties being flown, and was effective in two major combats. Only Jagddivision 1 formed its Gefechtsverband, and this contained only seven Zerstörer. But other units sent up against the incoming bomber stream formed an even larger concentration, even if it was not formally called a Gefechtsverband. Schmid knew full well what the day’s target would be, and asked Luftflotte 3’s Jagddivision 4 to send its fighters north at 1000, a full hour before the B-17s and B-24s started leaving England. The bombers’ course was a duplicate of that of the 6th, due east across Holland and northern Germany. II., III., and 4./JG 26 (4./JG 26 normally ooperated independently) landed at Rheine with a total of 49 fighters. They took off at noon and flew to Steinhuder Lake, a distinctive landmark west of Hannover. Here they rendezvoused with five Jagd-gruppen of JG 1 and JG 11. They succeeded for once in overwhelming the escorts, which on this part of the route were the P-47s of the 56th and 353rd Fighter Groups. JG 26 Bf 109s and Fw 190s formed up ahead of the 45th Combat Wing, which was leading the 3rd Bomb Division and had already lost cohesion owing to early returns. This time the Focke-Wulfs attacked in trail, in closely spaced strings of 10–12 aircraft. The B-17 gunners found this confusing; targets were difficult to select, and no JG 26 aircraft was seriously damaged by return fire. Eight 45th Wing B-17s crashed between Steinhuder Lake and Brunswick, all victims of JG 26. 4./JG 26 got into a scuffle with a flight of 56th Fighter Group Thunderbolts. Gerd Wiegand, now a Fähnrich-Feldwebel or officer candidate, shot down a P-47, but was shot down in turn by another, and suffered injuries that kept him out of combat for three months. The more persistent pilots from this first formation continued to nibble at the bombers until the Jagddivision 1 Verband took up the fight. For the day the Eighth lost 37–3 bombers and 18–16 fighters; the RLV lost 42 fighters and 3 KIA, 26 MIA, and 9 WIA among the aircrew.102
The two escorting P-47 groups would have had ~200 fighters, so total force ratio was "only" ~2.2:1 including the bombers.

8th AF lost 74 planes total (55 shot down, 19 scrapped on return) while LW lost 42.

There aren't many examples of the LW achieving anything approaching numerical parity in a large-scale action like this. In this example, it resulted in loss ratios even worse for the W.Allies than the Big Week example already discussed.

In ATL, German aircraft production is >3x OTL, meaning that the conditions of March 8th would be the norm: LW could send up thousands of sorties, largely nullifying the protective screen of escorts who would have their hands full. If 1,000 LW fighters engaged 1,000 W.Allied fighters while another 1,000 LW fighters (or even 300) attacked the bomber stream, there would be a massacre of B-17's/24's.

Other options would have been available to deal with escorts. LW could, for example, maintain units in the Netherlands specifically tasked with engaging the fuel-laden escorts on their outward legs. This would compel either dropping tanks to avoid a heavy performance penalty or accepting battle on unfavorable terms and falling behind the bomber stream, leaving gaps in coverage.

----------------------------------------------------

If the German fighters can maintain a 1:1 loss ratio against the bomber stream then they have immense latitude to suffer disproportionate losses in fighter:fighter combat while maintaining a favorable economic and personnel attrition ratio.

For example, let's suppose Germany loses 4 fighters for each American fighter shot down and 1 LW fighter for each HB shot down. That's 5 German fighters traded against an enemy fighter and HB.

German production lost: 5 * $35,000 (see below) = $175,000
American production lost: $67,777 (see below) + $210,000 ( average of B-17/24) = ~$288,000

...so even if American fighters maintain a 4x kill ratio against German fighters in this ATL, they're losing economic resources at a >50% higher rate.

On personnel Germany loses ~2.5 trained pilots in this example (assuming half parachute safely); US 3 (co-pilot is fully qualified). US loses another 8 trained gunners/navigators/bombardiers/engineers. US loses some more WIA on damaged planes as well.

Re cost of German fighters: feel free to quibble with the math - there's various figures for Me-109/Fw-190 cost across various sources. I assume 2.5:1 RM:$ exchange and <80,000RM for Me-109. Cost should be weighted towards Me-109 as these were disproportionately assigned to the fighters while heavily-laden Fw-190's tended to go after the HB's.

Weight average cost of US escort fighters:
  • Number produced in '44:
    • P-38: 4,186
    • P-47: 7,065
    • P-51: 6,908
  • 1944 average unit cost:
    • P-38: $97,147
    • P-47: $85,578
    • P-51: $51,572
  • Weighted average cost: $64,777
Source: US Army and AAF Statistical Digests

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wonder on what timeline the US would have been able to respond to higher German fighter production, as needed in this ATL. In 1944 the Army still procured 1,729 P-39's and 2,002 P-40's, presumably because of the industrial difficulties of switching over to better types.

The average US escort fighter was quite a bit more expensive than Me-109 or even Fw-190 because range is expensive. Would the US have been able to switch emphasis to the relatively cheaper P-51 during an ATL '44 that requires thousands more fighters? Would they have switched some of their USN production (which seems excessive) to ETO fighters? Probably but what's the timeline?

While the P-51 was much cheaper than P-47 and P-38, its laminar-flow wing increased manufacturing cost significantly to little benefit: https://youtu.be/OqiG9VHuBbM?t=453 (time-stamped for technical report on the failure of P-51's laminar flow design in practice).

I'm confident that there's no feasible production path to a sustainable ATL CBO absent the fact that American fighters were so expensive but these factors further reinforce the point. It's not a critique of American designers, just a fact of physics and aerodynamics that - all else being equal - a long range fighter is going to be more expensive than a short-range interceptor.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Dec 2020 11:55

TheMarcksPlan wrote:there's various figures for Me-109/Fw-190 cost across various sources. I assume 2.5:1 RM:$ exchange and <80,000RM for Me-109.
Ok here's a cite... From Uziel's Arming the Luftwaffe:
In 1941 the price of a Me 109F
was between 50,100 and 62,200 RM, depending on the size of the order. In 1945 unit price
of the heavier and more powerful G and K models of the same aircraft decreased to only
43,700 RM regardless of the size of the order.
I assume that's without the engine but for a G/K to have cost 80k RM the engine would have been an anomalously high share of total cost.

Most know this but compared to its British nemesis the Me-109 was cheaper as well. I don't want to cite a particular source because I'm not as deeply read on British aircraft but the minimum production cost I've seen is $50k.

For all the criticism of the LW flying Me-109's throughout the war, it was a marvelously efficient weapon. Ironically it's the LW's true Wunderwaffe.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Dec 2020 16:27

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Dec 2020 08:34
There goes my argument. I tender my resignation from AHF.
Well what will I do with all this time on my hands?
Maybe not to you. Whether the ratio matters is the analytical dispute and you're simply analytically wrong:

Most people understand that an 8-20:1 resource loss ratio is only sustainable when one side can afford such uneven ratios.

From that basic insight, most people would understand that if Germany could have expended more resources defending the Reich - say if Reich defense weren't a sideshow to the biggest-ever land war - then a strategy that relied on sustaining massively unfavorable loss ratios might be a losing strategy.
Given that "resource loss ratio" was in fact historically sustained and that you have not demonstrated that your imaginary increase in fractional exchange ratios could be sustained by Germany, I'm not sure what "basic insight" you think I need to understand?
Everybody understands that.

Most also understand that we're in an ATL where Germany isn't fighting - has won - the biggest-ever land war, and that this land war - and winning it - has ramifications for German aircraft production and overall LW strength.
Oh, sure, sometime during 1943, after an undefined German victory against the USSR, the Luftwaffe redeploys west...increasing the Jagdwaffe in the west by about one-third and thus increasing Allied heavy bomber losses by one-third, before the avalanche appears in 1944. Sure...maybe.
Is there a Zamansky-like study that gives LW losses by theater/month after '43?
I don't know.
Re Big Week you have the numbers; they speak for themselves.
Yeah, but what they say doesn't seem to be what you think they say.
In that battle American/German relative combat lethality in material and personnel terms was worse than what the Russians achieved with half-literate peasants. The only arguable issue is whether it's representative of the period. Carl held out Big Week as a "culminating" American triumph so my comment rebuts that argument.
Of course, what you say is pure rhetoric, so I'm not sure what numerical analysis is actually justifying it?
I was being a bit unfair to the Russians though. They were facing a historically-excellent foe in the Ostheer whereas USAAF was facing what was a fairly mediocre foe by that time, one that got progressively worse due to resource issues (and bad planning but no good planning could have saved the OTL LW).
Again, rhetoric. Do you have some evidence that the Jagdwaffe in the East was somehow better than those in West? Did they get more training? Fly better aircraft?
Rather than comparing the USAAF/LW combat outcomes in Big Week to Ostheer v. RKKA, I should have compared it to Italy vs. Ethiopa.
Then please do so. Rhetoric isn't analysis.
What's the relevance?
I'm was simply trying to find some evidence regarding your claims that the VVS outperformed the RAF and USAAF.
I could see it being relevant if my argument were simply that moving Ostheer's LW contingent west defeats the CBO.

But you know better than that.
No, you were arguing that the VVS outperformed the RAF and USAAF. I was trying to find some evidence supporting that. You just keep piling on the rhetoric.
You're assuming that I so assume.
Then how does it work?
I'm sure something has played out in your head to make sense of this. Maybe pot? Maybe Kettle One? Hey no judgments here.
Its an old and vaguely racist expression I probably shouldn't have used - the "pot calling the kettle black". Either I am ancient or you are young or both.
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Dec 2020 16:48

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Dec 2020 09:23
If anybody on this forum should know better than simplistically to compare loss rates as a percentage of deployed forces, it should be the guy worked with Trevor Dupuy.
Yeah, and also would know that simple numerical counts do not make a force ratio.
For others - it is axiomatic that the smaller force suffers a higher loss rate (all else being equal). Of course this is air warfare but the principal applies at least as much.
Yes. Is it axiomatic too that a 4.6 to 1 numerical ratio results in a 1 to 4.6 numerical loss ratio?
Just look at the force ratios:
The Eighth Air Force adopted a simpler operational plan on the [Feb] 21st. Its 15 combat wings (861 bombers) headed for Germany in a single stream, splitting up to attack targets in the Brunswick area. Heavy cloud restricted visibility, and few primaries were hit; most of the groups bombed airfields. The day proved to be just another minor battle in the war of attrition. Fifteen fighter groups (679 fighters) provided the new, looser escort, and claimed 33 German fighters for losses of 5–3. I. Jagdkorps and Jagddivision 4 fighters flew 331 defensive sorties, but in small units rather than Gefechtsverbände—weather was blamed for the failure to form the latter—and few holes in the escort were found. The RLV forces lost 24 KIA, 7 WIA, and 30 fighters. American bomber losses from all causes were 16–7.47
The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defense of the Reich by Caldwell and Muller.

That's 1,540 HB's and fighters versus 331 LW sorties - a 4.6:1 force ratio.
Nope. Since we are talking the TNDM, it is a numerical ratio, not a force ratio. What is the OLI of a B-17 versus a Bf 109? Maybe you know, but I don't.

Meanwhile, what the Germans encountered was a part of that bomber stream, by their count 350 aircraft, so by the Germans estimate of the force they encountered the numerical ratio was 350:331. The German accounting of their own losses BTW was 18 shot down, 11 missing and presumed lost, and 4 damaged greater than 60%.
For reasons of economy I've been assuming OTL attrition ratios when arguing that the CBO wouldn't have been feasible post-SU.

But of course that's an invalid assumption that vastly favors the W.Allies: with better force ratios in the air, fewer German fighters get bounced without warning by roving enemies, fewer German fighters are outnumbered in combat.
What "OTL attrition ratios" are those?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Dec 2020 17:07

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Dec 2020 11:23
The two escorting P-47 groups would have had ~200 fighters, so total force ratio was "only" ~2.2:1 including the bombers.
Er, no, sorry, but two fighter groups would have ~96 fighters, three squadrons each of 16 aircraft in four flights of four was the basic USAAF escort organization.
8th AF lost 74 planes total (55 shot down, 19 scrapped on return) while LW lost 42.
Um, the strike on the Erkner works actually involved 468 HB of which 36 were lost. 543 Eighth AF HB in total flew against Germany on 8 March. The Luftwaffe accounting of its own loss was 42 shot down, 5 missing, and 25 damaged greater than 60%. From their POV they believed they encountered 690 HB and 750 fighters.

I don't know where Caldwell and Muller got their number of HB from, but it is significant that the Luftwaffe inflated ~96 fighters to ~750.
There aren't many examples of the LW achieving anything approaching numerical parity in a large-scale action like this. In this example, it resulted in loss ratios even worse for the W.Allies than the Big Week example already discussed.
Um, they achieved about a three-to-one numerical superiority fighters versus fighters.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: WW2 Air war in Europe with a defeated USSR?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 23 Dec 2020 17:27

Richard Anderson wrote:
23 Dec 2020 16:48
Nope. Since we are talking the TNDM, it is a numerical ratio, not a force ratio. What is the OLI of a B-17 versus a Bf 109? Maybe you know, but I don't.
A B-17 comes out with an OLI (depending on bombload, range, weight of aircraft, etc.) somewhere between 224392 and 532716. That's rough but a reasonable range using 500 lbs. bombs. Of course, not that knowing that makes any real difference here... :D

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