Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

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Asdrúbal Barca
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Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by Asdrúbal Barca » 02 Apr 2009 13:38

Hi everybody.

Does anyone knows how many aircraft Luftwaffe lost in the Eastern Front in combat? I've been searching about that for a few days but I have not found any data.

I know how many Soviet aircraft were lost in combat: between 45,568 (soviet stuff) and 46,100 (modern research by Krivosheev). The difference is only about 1.15%.

Also I know that Germany claim 77,000 soviet aircraft. So, only 60% (~59.87%) of claims were true.

I know how many german aircrafts did the soviets claim: 52,850.

So, I will like to know how many german aircraft did the Luftwaffe lost (only in combat, NOT by accident during transport, training or something not related with enemy action) in the Eastern Front during the whole war to do a relation between lost/claims.

PD: Lost in combat = every aircraft that did not return from a mission = air combat + flak + accidents during the mission + lack of fuel during the mission + get lost, etc...

Thank you all. :)

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antero59
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by antero59 » 06 Apr 2009 16:28

I don't you - and propably nobody knows. But i can tell the distribution of losses of Finnish Air Forces during the Continuation War between Finland and Soviet Union (from 25th of june 1941 to 5th of September 1944). Note one important thing - finns have very many different types of aircrafts during that war, but they have relatively few modern aircafts. So most of airplanes were either old or technical problems. Many were "out of date" and were actually put on training or out from front line. But here are the figures:

-"Losses" 522 aircrafts (majority coz they got "tired", were too old, too damaged, "out of date" etc...)
-combat losses 206 aircrafs (39,5% of all losses)
- 86 aircraft were shut down by enemy aircraft (41,7% of combat losses, 16,5% of "losses")
-66 aircrafts were shut down by enemy A-aircraft artillery fire( 32% of combat losses, 12,6% of "losses")
-54 other combat losses (technical problems, weather, mistake, ground-attack, also crashed by enemy aircraft, shut down by friendly fire...)

Now as you noticed combat losses rate was relatively low, but i think that western allies had much lower rate. E.g UK built up 88 000 combat aircraft + some more others. They lendleased aircrafts to Soviet Union but were getting also aircraft from USA. UK has claimed to have combat losses of 22 000 in Europe (against Germany). Americans built up more than 300 000 aircraft. 1945 they got over 100 000 aircraft left! Thoug they lendleased 14 000 to Soviet U and thousands to UK and France they must have had over 250 000 for their own airforce and navy. So gap is at least 150 000 ( 250 000- 100 000). But USA had claimed to have combat losses "only" 18 500 (s. 14 000 against germans and 4500 against japanese). I dunno the figures of Canada, Australia, S-Africa, NZL etc...

About Luftwaffe if have red that germans built up some 100 000 combat aircrafts plus thousands of others (gliders, training airplanes etc). Then there is a info that of all Luftwaffe lossess 40-45% were "accidents". Question is now - how many Luftwaffe aircrafts were put out of duty because "out of date", "tired", too damaged, no sense using them in combat form? I haven't found good answers were have gone these americans over 100 000 aircraft which were not lost in combat action and not sold to allies? How many of them were destroyd by accident?

If Luftwaffe lost 100 000 aircrafts (excluding gliders, trainers) i suggest that:

-20 000 were not lost by combat action or accident ("too old", too damaged, no sense to use them...)
-80 000 weret either combat losses or lost by accidents (a called them 'real losses')
-32000-36 000 were lost by accident (40-45% of 'real losses')
-44000-48 000 were combat losses.

And now i compare the combat losses of Finland and argued that.

- 18500 -20 000 were shut down by enemy aircraft (41,7% of combat losses)
-14 100-15 400 were shut down by enemy A-aircraft artillery fire (32% of combat losses)
- 11400- 12600 were other combat losses (including ground attack losses)

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

What is my guess about losses of Soviet Union? They had some 15 000 aircrafts in 1941. They built up 142 500 aircrafts during 1941-1945 (until end of the war). In summer 1945 they had some 15 000 aircraft left. They got 22 000 aircrafts from western allies. So i guess 167 000 aircrafts were missing? Why?

OK. Soviet Union got great plenty of modern aircrafts. Not many of them got "out of date"). But lets guess that 30 000 of them were destroyd by this way or put on training duty. 137 000 are left.

Propably they have same distribution than Germany. 40-45% were lost by accident.

-54 800-61 600 were lost by accidents
- 75 400 - 82 200 were combat losses

Now again Finland. Finns are claming that 1106 soviet aircraft were shot by A-aircraft artillery and 1567 (1569) shut down by finnish airforces. It rather similar distribution than combat losses of Finnish Air Forces. And then they're other combat losses too.

So probably 31 500 -34 300 soviet aircrafts (41,7% of combat losses) were shut down by enemy airforces (over 90% by Luftwaffe) and 24 100 -26 300 were shut down by enemy A-aircraft artillery fire. 19800 -21 600 were other combat losses (ground-attack, damaged , bad force landing etc.. tecnical problems ,failuries, friendly fire...)

I'm not saying that these are the facts take it or leave it , but here's some perspective to this one.

BTW I'm interesting in to hear also about losses of US Air Force, US Navy and RAF.

Asdrúbal Barca
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by Asdrúbal Barca » 07 Apr 2009 12:29

Hi Antero

Can you tell me the source of Winter War aircraft losses please? It's interesting. :)

BTW Soviet combat losses were 46,100 aircrafts, not 75,400-82,200 (G.F. Krivosheyev, ‘Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the twentieth century’, London, Greenhill Books, 1997)
- 20,000 aprox. in air combats
- 26,100 aprox. because of flak and other causes related in combat

I've posted in other military forums and no one have any reliably data. :|

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antero59
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by antero59 » 07 Apr 2009 17:14

Hi Asdrúbal Barca. In Winter War finnish A-aircraft artilleries shut down 314 enemy aircrafts (confirmed officiell number) and damaged 360 aircraft. Real "killings" must be somewhere between figures 314 and 674. Propably s. 400.

Air Forces claimed to haw shut down 206 enemy aircraft. Then there is another figure of 270. But i think that this 206 is much more reliable and could be compare better to result of Continuation War result: 1567(1569) confirmed.

The reason why in Winter War there was such a gap in killings of Air Force (206 and 270) was because some russian aircraft were damaged by fighters but finally destroyed by A-aircraft artillery fire. Also system for calculation and making tratistics were best possible. There is also summit estimatation that s. 700 soviet air-crafts were destroyed.

Finns lost 61 aircrafs, 34 in airbattles, 4 by anti-aircraft fire and 23 were other combat losses.

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antero59
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by antero59 » 07 Apr 2009 17:35

Asdrúbal Barca wrote:
BTW Soviet combat losses were 46,100 aircrafts, not 75,400-82,200 (G.F. Krivosheyev, ‘Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the twentieth century’, London, Greenhill Books, 1997)
- 20,000 aprox. in air combats
- 26,100 aprox. because of flak and other causes related in combat

|
The numbers of Krivosheyev are - as Soviet's statistics usually are - very questionable. As i wrote, USSR built up andd get from west 164 500 aircrafts. If their own statistics of production are quite correct we have to maximum number of all Soviet losses there coz - as i wrote - they have quite the same number of aircraft left in 1945 as they have at the beginning of Barbarossa.

If their combat losses were 46 100 and accidents were (40-45% of all losses) 30 700- 37 700.

Now it's interesting that Soviet U which got all time time modern and brand new (and good) aircrafts would have lost 81 000-87 700 aircraft by other ways than accident or combat mission.

Besides i found from wikipedia:

# Soviet Union: Total losses were over 106,400 including 88,300 combat types.[3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipment_ ... rld_War_II
^ Kirosheev, G. I. (1997). Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses. Greenhill. p. 255. ISBN 1-85367-280-7.

So Kirosheev G.I got even bigger number than i got. :idea:

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antero59
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by antero59 » 07 Apr 2009 17:53

Please check out this site again:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipment_ ... rld_War_II
"# Germany: Estimated total losses for the war totaled 116,875 aircraft, of which 70,000 were total losses and the remainder significantly damaged. By type, losses totaled 4,452 fighters, 2,037 bombers, 5,428 trainers, 1,221 twin-engine fighters, 8,548 ground attack, 3,733 reconnaissance, and 3,141 transports.[1] "
As germans have claimed - and i think it's very realistic- that 40-45% of their total losses were by accident, then rest were combat losses. It means that it this statistics Luftwaffe's combat losses were 55%-60% of 70 000 = 38 500 - 42 000. As you noticed there are also quite a lot non-combat aircrafts like trainers ( gliders?).

source: Ellis, John (1993). World War II - A statistical survey. Facts on File. p. 258. ISBN 0-8160-2971-7.

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

Numbers given by Ellis destroyes these comments that allied shut down or destroyed by ground-attack 70 000 german aircrafts. They didn't. If Luftwaffes combat losses were about 40 000 then example of Finnish Air Force losses during Continuation War (206 combat lost, but 152 by enemy fire + couple of destroyed by ground-attack) give good perspective. Allied more likely shut down or destroyed on air-bases some 30 000 Luftwaffe aircrafts.

Lu444
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by Lu444 » 01 Mar 2010 22:39

Mister from Finland and others. I'm from Moskow and I checked an information about WWII aviation over the time of many years, included archive sources of Russia Defense Ministry. Respect you, but you're use very untrue information. English wikipedia articles about Soviet Army and Soviet Air Force has very low level -- directly, it is the baby's lie, based only on German propahanda datas. No real sources, no researches. About Finnish War is the same things. Only during july and august 1941 soviet planes shoot down 35 enemy planes in finnish air, including 24 machines over Hanko naval base, including 20 shooting down planes of the soviet aces pair - captains Antonenko and Brin'ko.
Yours monstrous digits seems very complimentary for the soviet avia-industry, but with excluding training biplan Po-2, most mass soviet aircraft was «betonflugzeug» Il-2: 36183 build http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%98%D0%BB-2.
For Il-2, total losses during WWII was about 23650, including about 11800 casualities (because very low operational altitude). Total сombat losses of the soviet airplanes during WWII was about 46100, and added about 45% from it was casual losses. Total less 68000. Source: "Russia and USSR in the XX century wars. Armed forses losses: statistic research" page 430, Moscow 2001, publishing Olma-Press.
Last edited by Lu444 on 02 Mar 2010 22:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Tim Smith
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by Tim Smith » 02 Mar 2010 13:53

How did the Soviets deal, statistically, with aircraft that managed to make it back to friendly territory, then either land or crash-land, but then are judged too badly damaged to be worth repairing, and just scrapped or cannabalised for spare parts?

My guess is, Soviets didn't count these aircraft as combat losses. My guess is, Soviets regarded combat losses only as aircraft which actually failed to return from a mission - and didn't include aircraft which returned, but were written off after landing.

Both German and Allied air forces used this 'trick' to 'reduce' their losses. So the Soviets may have done the same thing.

If true, this would explain the discrepancy between Axis combat claims, and Soviet combat loss figures.

Can anyone confirm?

RichTO90
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by RichTO90 » 02 Mar 2010 21:13

Asdrúbal Barca wrote:Hi everybody.

Does anyone knows how many aircraft Luftwaffe lost in the Eastern Front in combat? I've been searching about that for a few days but I have not found any data.
Losses to enemy action are somewhat fragmentary and basically run from March 1942 to December 1944. In that period they total:

2,814 single-engine fighters
495 twin-engine fighters
117 night fighters
2,599 ground attack
2,315 bombers
8,340 total

That includes all operational units as well as JG Ost.

Losses for June 1941-February 1942 are probably available from other sources, but I haven't compiled them. Losses for January-May 1945 are fragmentary and, by the end, were 100%. :D

Cheers!

Lu444
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by Lu444 » 02 Mar 2010 22:14

Soviet avia-industry before WWII was developing. Especially difficult it was to produce avia-engines. In the time of War many soviet industries was evacuated. Therefore Soviet Air Force has no choice: right up 1944 Caucasian Front, then Crymea Front, 3 and 4 Ukrainian Fronts used outmoded biplans I-153 and I-15bis in the capacity of low-flying attack aircrafts. Only highest skill of the soviet pilots allows successful to fight on its with modern deutch aircrafts. Il-2 at that time was technologically hard to produce enough. 2 from 5 plants producing armoured slabs for Il-2 placed in Stalingrad and in Zaporozh'ie was destroyed. Вut all soviet aicrafts exсеpt Su-2 was enduring enough. Datas of Central Archive of Defense Ministry of Russia: on 1 july 1943 each soviet fighter was repaired 7 times at the average. Figters more frequently damaged by fighters, than other aircrafts. Luftwaffe fighters has auto-photo thus aircrafts when fired, but often thus aircrafts really was not shooting down. It is known many thousands occurs when luftwaffe pilot claimed victory, but soviet plane in some days again flied with combat mission. Soviet claiming system was directly opposite. It needs the table with werke number of the aircraft or written evidence from the ground or maritime units with the certain crashing place. Therefore many axis aircrafts which was falling beyond front line or in the water doesn't reckon among soviet air victory. It is known seldom occurs when ground units gave no evidence.

Meyer
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by Meyer » 04 Mar 2010 07:44

From Bergström's "Barbarossa, the Air Batle"

-"around 2,800 German aircraft destroyed or severly damaged due to hostile actions or unknown reasons on the Eastern Front in 1941" (so, "combat" losses, and not sure what "severly damaged" means exactly, my guess would be more of 25% of damage)
-"according to the Luftwaffe's own records" 2,093 aircraft destroyed to all causes, from June 22 to December 6 1941, on the Eastern front (758 bombers, 568 fighters, 170 dive-bombers, 330 reconnaissance, and 267 miscellanous), another 1,362 (including 473 bombers and 413 fighters) damaged (again, to all causes)

-Combat losses (due to enemy activity or unknown reasons) from 22/6 to 31/12/41: 1,769 aircraft write offs (60% or more damage) and 1,113 damaged (10-59%)*

From Bergström/Mikhailov "Black Cross-Red Star" vol2

-Combat losses (write offs, due enmy or unknown reasons) from January-June 1942: 1,170 aircraft (1,046 "air" and 124 "ground")*

*These two are compilations of unit loss records, "based mainly on the daily loss reports to Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe", and in both cases it is stated that those files are probably not one hundred percent complete, so the total losses could be a little higher.

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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by libyan » 28 Apr 2010 21:02

What information do you wish to infer from aircraft losses? Remember the closing weeks/months of the war, there would have been an acceleration of destruction/capture/abandonment of equipment at the same time as combat losses ground on. There's a tail end inflation of luftwaffe losses which is a simple reminder that in the end ALL luftwaffe aircraft were captured or destroyed.

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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by Peter K » 18 Feb 2011 01:33

So you say Germans claimed 77,000 aircrafts on the Eastern Front while actually shooting only 20,000.

Seems probable.

Recently some historians evaluate the real number of Hartmann's victories as around 90 (or 80 - 120, precisely).

Here is a thread about this (the fact that many of his victories don't find confirmation in Russian sources):

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 84&start=0

What is also suspicious about his victories is that he claimed a relatively very small number of bombers & Sturmoviks compared to fighters. While on average 50% of Russian planes that flew over the Eastern Front were bombers & Sturmoviks, fighters were a much smaller percent. Here is also an interesting discussion about that (in Polish):

http://www.dws.org.pl/viewtopic.php?p=1450710#p1450710

They posted some interesting info on numbers of German aces (according to Nazi Germany's data from WW2):

More than 300 air victories - 2 (Hartmann and Barkhorn)
Between 200 and 275 - 14
Between 100 and 199 - 92
Between 60 and 99 - 128
Between 40 and 59 - 232
Between 5 and 39 - over 2532

In total Germany claimed to have more than 3000 aces in WW2 (ace = at least 5 air victories).

Out of the total of 236 aces who scored (were granted) over 60 victories, 133 were Killed In Action or captured (Eastern Front - 87; Western Front - 46).

Among the Soviet pilots according to the same link only 15 (!!?) aces scored (were granted) more than 40 victories. And the best of them (as well as the best of all Allied pilots in WW2) scored 62 / 64...

It seems that it has something to do with German overclaiming...

Because Germans also lost thousands of aircrafts on the Eastern Front (and Western Front too) - after all.

The good point is that out of those 15 best Soviet aces, only one was Killed In Action (all the rest survived the war).

Here another data on Soviet aces:

http://www.wio.ru/aces/ace2.htm

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tramonte
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by tramonte » 13 Jan 2016 19:25

It's well known fact that majority of aircraft losses in WW2 were not caused by enemy directly. Actually more moderate combat losses were more likely non-operational losses and "write-offs" increased. Then there was in case of Luftwaffe remarkable increase of non-operational losses especially after mid point of 1943. Phillips Payson O'Brien in his book ("How The War Was Won") used estimation of increase of 1 711 aircraft losses because decline of pilot training. In 1944 that trend became even worse. It's like in case of T-34: if not destroyed by Germans in combat, that tank would break on road march anyway later. WW2 aircraft were mostly disposable material. Hardly long life circle at all anyway. Non-operational losses are too often underrated.

Until early 1943 German non-operational losses were not any special high. O'Brien sees correlation between Allied strategic bombing campaign and cutting Luftwaffe pilot training after mid 1943. The percentage of non-operational losses were likely highest in Pacific because terrible difficult weather conditions and long distance cause serious problems especially for Japanese to deploy aircraft from home islands to combat zone. Some Japanese officials are talking about as high as 90% loss rate after 1943.

Instead of talking about only aircraft losses and especially just combat losses we should focus more on pilot losses and pool of trained pilots (including how well trained they actually were). In western front during summer of 1944 German problem was this: while industry managed to produce some 2 000 new fighters for units of Jadgwaffe there in west, actually only some 500 was deployed.
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

- Gaston de Pawlowski, Dans les rides du front

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tramonte
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Re: Aircraft losses in the Eastern Front

Post by tramonte » 13 Jan 2016 19:37

RichTO90 wrote:Losses to enemy action are somewhat fragmentary and basically run from March 1942 to December 1944. In that period they total:

2,814 single-engine fighters
495 twin-engine fighters
117 night fighters
2,599 ground attack
2,315 bombers
8,340 total

That includes all operational units as well as JG Ost.
German produced in 1942-1944 total 68 497 fighters, ground-attack aircraft, bombers, transport, reconnaissance and sea planes.So those losses in Eastern Front have been about 12,1% of German aircraft production.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ai ... rld_War_II
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

- Gaston de Pawlowski, Dans les rides du front

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