Luftwaffe vs RAF

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
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Urmel
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Urmel » 18 Sep 2014 23:05

What's the difference, in real terms? If a plane sits on an airfield for [insert time here] because it was heavily damaged in combat, and then is lost before being repaired because the airfield is overrun by ground forces, it was still ultimately put out of action by the initial combat.The very large share of Emils may however be a clue that these were really written off.

Of course, what isn't known here is whether these planes were ultimately lost due to air combat, ground combat (such as the 18 (each) Italian planes at Agedabia or Sidi Rezegh, strafing of the airfield, heavy landings, or simply a piece going kaput with no spare coming in.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by phylo_roadking » 18 Sep 2014 23:18

What's the difference, in real terms?
At the time - none, of course.

But when trying to put together a cohesive record and account nowadays from period records...
...the Luftwaffe arrived in North Africa the RAF claimed quite a few Bf109's and these claims are dismissed because they are not listed in German records...
Of course, what isn't known here is whether these planes were ultimately lost due to air combat, ground combat (such as the 18 (each) Italian planes at Agedabia or Sidi Rezegh, strafing of the airfield, heavy landings, or simply a piece going kaput with no spare coming in.
Somewhere on AHF there's a old thread of JonG's discussing some remarkable unserviceability rate for Ju88 units at one point in the desert war after several days' heavy activity. I'm more familiar with the RAF's issues - and for the aircraft reaching the Delta via the Takoradi air bridge across the Sahara, they'd require a complete pulling-down and engine rebuild on arrival, even when they left Nigeria virtually new!

Not only would this take time, and man-hours of effort - it would also deplete the MU's stock of "shelf spares" for normal servicing if "new" aircraft required full servicing immediately on arrival before turning a prop in anger 8O Filters, seals, consumables etc., every one of which would then have to be replaced on the shelf...or an aircraft marked down U/S for want of at some other time. But I think that's mentioned back up the thread anyway.
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Urmel
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Urmel » 18 Sep 2014 23:37

Indeed.

The Ju 88 issue was at the beginning of CRUSADER. Serviceability in III./LG1 was so bad that Berlin started asking questions. At another point in January 42 50 or 60 Me 109F4 went u/s because they had their engines changed - many of these planes were just a few months or even weeks in service. When they sent some FW200 to support air transport, Fliegerfuehrer Afrika after a few runs pointed out that the additional load carrying ability was negated by the serviceability demands, and could they have more Ju 52 instead please.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by phylo_roadking » 19 Sep 2014 19:33

Of course, it wasn't just North Africa; you see the same rows of engineless Ju52s etc. sitting in the background of pics of the airfields supplying Stalingrad, and the field at Stalingrad itself. There seems to have been something particularly slow about the supply of spares - consumbables etc., right up to whole engines - for the Luftwaffe. Are there any studies on this?
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Urmel
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Urmel » 19 Sep 2014 20:31

Isn't there something in Williamson Murray, 'Strategy for Defeat'?
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

pugsville
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by pugsville » 20 Sep 2014 02:11

Didn't the RAF have a much greater spares and reserve aircraft policy than the Luftwaffe? In the Standard operating practice of both organizations I thought the RAF kept a lot more spares and actual reserve aircraft , were in the Luftwaffe there was a push to count every possible aircraft "ready" for font line service and no margins in reserves?

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Sep 2014 10:31

Given their range of previous combat experience, I think there can be little doubt that, at the time the Battle of Britain began, the Luftwaffe fighter pilots probably had a distinct qualitative edge on their British opponents.

However, this makes Luftwaffe's defeat in the battle even worse. The British recovered most of their pilots who parachuted, because they were over home soil, but the Luftwaffe could recover almost none because they came down over the UK and became prisoners.

By the end of the battle, I would suggest that the British had probably closed any quality gap considerably, whereas the average quality of Luftwaffe pilots had fallen somewhat due to the loss of irreplaceable veterans.

Later in the war the British clearly had the edge on average, as they were able give complete flight training, whereas the Luftwaffe had to rush its training programmes.

The Luftwaffe seems to have rated the RAF as their most consistently formidable opponents, but within the RAF it should be pointed out that it was the Poles who were most successful during the Battle of Britain. Indeed, the Poles performed well in the air even under the difficult circumstances of September 1939. Perhaps they were better, on average, than either the RAF or Luftwaffe?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by stg 44 » 08 Nov 2014 16:53

Sid the standards of the Polish air forces pilots was very high due to the limited number of aircraft that were available, so they were extremely well trained and of the highest quality in terms of education and talent. When finally given a chance to fight in modern aircraft at or near the quality of the Bf109, then they performed very well, probably much better than the Brits themselves, who seem to have neglected training fighter pilots in operational tactics. When couple with the fact that they already had faced the LW in combat in their own country, were extremely motivated to fight, and had the full backing of the British logistical and radar/CiC system they were at a distinct advantage over anyone fighting, British or German, except perhaps for the Czechs, who had all the same advantages except for recent combat experience in their own country. I don't know if we would say they were better than anyone else man for man, though by dint of being the best of the best their country had to offer in terms of pilots, then yes probably they and the Czechs were the best flyers in the fight on average. If the same were done with Germany or Britain, taking their best pilots and concentrating them with all the advantages that the Brits had during the BoB, then they too would excel on average compared to the majority of the flyers in the fight.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Tony Williams » 25 Nov 2014 10:48

Just in case anyone hasn't come across it yet, here's an article from my website on THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN: ARMAMENT OF THE COMPETING FIGHTERS http://quarryhs.co.uk/BoB.htm
Military Guns & Ammunition website https://quarryhs.co.uk

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Dupplin Muir » 29 Jan 2015 18:27

stg 44 wrote:
Sid the standards of the Polish air forces pilots was very high due to the limited number of aircraft that were available, so they were extremely well trained and of the highest quality in terms of education and talent. When finally given a chance to fight in modern aircraft at or near the quality of the Bf109, then they performed very well, probably much better than the Brits themselves.
Actually this isn't true. One of the Polish squadrons (I think it was 303, but I don't have my books with me) made the most claims during the battle, but when a Polish historian actually tried to match their claims with reality they dropped to 8th place in the listings - and that was when they were given the benefit of every possible doubt: basically the historian simply assumed that if an aircraft could have been shot down by the Poles, then it was.

As for being well-trained, they probably were in a peace-time sense, but every single airforce that entered WWII found their peace-time training to be hopelessly inadequate: the Germans had the advantage of combat experience in the Spanish Civil War which gave them a small edge.

Basically the Poles overclaimed a lot more than RAF units, which is where the myth of their greater effectiveness arose.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by phylo_roadking » 29 Jan 2015 18:44

Shhhh! Don't mention over-claiming or someone will mention Douglas Bader and the thread will go all to hell! :D
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by David1819 » 13 Feb 2015 23:14

I would argue that the Luftwaffe was a superior outfit to the RAF at that time. However Hitler's decided to bomb civilian cities instead of radar installations that proved very useful tool for the RAF. The Luftwaffe was never really defeated in the battle of Britain as such rather Hitler just turned his attention to the USSR like a child with poor attention and no patience going from one unfinished project to the next.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Feb 2015 18:05

Hi David1819,

The Luftwaffe was very definitely defeated in the Battle of Britain, as it failed to achieve its offensive goals.

By contrast, the RAF was certainly victorious, in that it achieved its defensive goals.

And that is without counting irrecoverable aircrew losses on either side, or production figures, etc.

It is worth noting that when RAF fighters began to enter Luftwaffe airspace over France on so-called "Rhubarbs" in 1941, the irrecoverable aircrew loss rate greatly favoured the Germans, in turn. Clearly, the Battle of Britain did not result in the qualitative advantage swinging the RAF's way, but it probably closed the gap significantly. The balance of losses over Dieppe in 1942 were also sobering for the RAF.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Feb 2015 19:15

I would argue that the Luftwaffe was a superior outfit to the RAF at that time. However Hitler's decided to bomb civilian cities instead of radar installations that proved very useful tool for the RAF. The Luftwaffe was never really defeated in the battle of Britain as such rather Hitler just turned his attention to the USSR like a child with poor attention and no patience going from one unfinished project to the next.
The Luftwaffe was very definitely defeated in the Battle of Britain, as it failed to achieve its offensive goals.

By contrast, the RAF was certainly victorious, in that it achieved its defensive goals.

And that is without counting irrecoverable aircrew losses on either side, or production figures, etc.
TWO things actually happened;

1/ in the last week of August, the Luftwaffe, after several tries, fastened on the correct tactic for successfully attacking airfields - and hit the sector and satellite stations in the two Sectors covering their approach to London...

THEN the full weight of the Luftwaffe was turned on London by day. Which was a mistake - given what had just happened, that the LW had discovered the correct way to deal with Fighter Command;

2/ at the same time, the Luftwaffe began converting its Bf109s en masse to use the tactics worked out in Late August; but October, half the Bf109s in Western France and the Low Countries was able to carry ordnance for the lowlevel, fast-pass raids on airfields that proved so successful when piloted (sic) by Erprobungskommando210.

But the weather window closed, and the Germans were simply not able to renew the daylight campaign against Fighter Command.

The RAF....like the British Army and Royal Navy on the ground and at sea...held off the Germans until the weather window closed with winter. THAT was their victory; getting to the end of a very finite period without losing.
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Feb 2015 19:39

Hi Phylo,

I would suggest that the RAF did more than just survive until the weather saved it.

It ended the battle with a fighter strength numerically almost as strong as it started it, it had (advisedly or not) been careful to conserve units and did not cram them all into the south-east simultaneously and the number of new aircraft being produced was outpacing Germany, even as irrecoverable crew losses were lower. The Germans, by contrast, were in the reverse circumstance.

Only the RAF was in a position to continue the Battle of Britain with confidence. I would suggest that the Germans needed the rest more than did the British.

Cheers,

Sid.

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