Luftwaffe vs RAF

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

Postby phylo_roadking » 18 Feb 2015 20:52

Sid,

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


Surviving was all it had to do ;) As I noted elsewhere recently - the "Small Island" thread IIRC - the "invasion window" in 1940 was remarkably short from the Armistice until safety for the rest of the year. Only 14-16 weeks from the Armistice with France until weather made it impossible until the Spring of '41.

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


But aircraft were never the problem....pilots were. Sheer numbers of aircraft was the wrong criteria, the one that Churchill and "Beppo" Schmid counted LOL

And Dowding didn't actually set about creating a cohesive ASR capability until quite late in the summer, the Luftwaffe and its seaplanes had a great jump on us in that respect...around the time he ordered that fighters not intercept the incoming enemy until over the coast of England because of the irrecoverable loss rate. Until then, the RAF bled trained aircrew.

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.


"Confidence" is indeed one of the issues. The Luftwaffe had the confidence that their "new" tactics would work if they'd been allowed to continue with them. The big day battles over London look as if they SHOULD have filled the RAF with confidence....but it wasn't all in their favour. For example - Douglas Bader's "Big Wing" got jumped on one occasion over London, with the two squadrons making it up getting badly cut up.

It ended the battle with a fighter strength numerically almost as strong as it started it


The problem wasn't "total strength" of Fighter Command...except when the number of aircrew plummeted. because the number of fighter aircraft in the air that the Dowding System could handle on an ongoing basis was limited to c.740-750 in the entire country anyway...

And further down the "System", the reason for the division into Sectors within groups is that in the period of HF radio, a "Sector" could only manage four squadrons at once; the number being limited by the number of radio channels it could use.

(That was one of the major complaints raised against Bader; in taking his squadron down to the coast "Jerry hunting" instead of protecting the airfields they were supposed to protect, he overloaded the radio net in that particular Sector, and the Sector Control Room couldn't control all its own aircraft it had in the air!)
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby Sid Guttridge » 19 Feb 2015 13:52

Hi Phylo,

Wiki says this:

"Overall, by 2 November, the RAF fielded 1,796 pilots, an increase of over 40% from July 1940's count of 1,259 pilots."

and

"In July – September the number of Luftwaffe pilots available fell by 136, but the number of operational pilots had shrunk by 171 by September."


The sources given are:

Bungay, Stephen. The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain. London: Aurum Press, 2000. ISBN 1-85410-721-6 (hardcover), 2002, ISBN 1-85410-801-8 (paperback).

Dye, Air Commodore Peter J. "Logistics and the Battle of Britain". Air Force Journal of Logistics No. 24, Vol 4, Winter 2000.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby RichTO90 » 19 Feb 2015 15:29

Sid Guttridge wrote:"In July – September the number of Luftwaffe pilots available fell by 136, but the number of operational pilots had shrunk by 171 by September."


To be precise, Übersicht über Soll, Istbestand, Einsatzbereitschaft, Verluste und Reserven der fliegenden Verbänden, RL 2 III/700, states that as of 28 June there were 1,309 single-engine fighter pilots assigned against an establishment of 1,398, and of those 1,089 were ready for operations and 82 were on light duty. As of 27 September the number assigned had increased to 1,452 against an establishment of 1,450, but those ready had fallen to 994 with 334 on light duty.

So there were actually 143 more available, but 95 fewer ready for operations.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby phylo_roadking » 19 Feb 2015 17:06

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Phylo,

Wiki says this:

"Overall, by 2 November, the RAF fielded 1,796 pilots, an increase of over 40% from July 1940's count of 1,259 pilots."



....remembering however when the height of the manpower crisis occurred - and that by October not only was that long past, but the bulk of the daytime fighting long done with too - AND the influx of trained aircrew from the Empire flying schools had started to arrive.

The Battle of Britain may have ended (three days before!) with the net gain of 40% in the number of pilots...but what you should do is take any available figures across the dates of the BoB and see how they fell from that July figure before climbing back up again - and that that climb became much steeper through later September and October.
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby Sid Guttridge » 19 Feb 2015 18:21

Hi Phylo,

I wrote that "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 the British".

You replied, "But aircraft were never the problem....pilots were."

The Wiki link implies that numbers of pilots were not such a problem for the British in continuing the battle with confidence. Having lost some 500 pilots over July-September, they nevertheless by November had some 500 more pilots than they had started with in July.

I still don't think the British were saved by the closing of the weather window. The Germans were simply too handicapped by the terms of combat to inflict greater attrition on RAF fighters than they were suffering themselves in bombers.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby phylo_roadking » 19 Feb 2015 19:10

I wrote that "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 the British".

You replied, "But aircraft were never the problem....pilots were."

The Wiki link implies that numbers of pilots were not such a problem for the British in continuing the battle with confidence. Having lost some 500 pilots over July-September, they nevertheless by November had some 500 more pilots than they had started with in July.


Sid, you seem to be missing how the Battle changed in September - with it veering away from conditions favourable or at least "on par" for the Luftwaffe...to conditions I.E. over London, and tied to bomber escort, that favoured the RAF. Yes, that does come under "terms of combat"....but the thing to remember is that it happened just as the manpower issue became critical for the RAF - and gave them their break, both literally and figuratively.

From THAT point - apart from the aforementioned occasional events like the Duxford Wing getting jumped etc. - the RAF was going to do more damage than they suffered themselves. Therefore..."net"...from that point on their loss rate would go down at the same time as the rate of arrival of new aircrew was picking up.

It didn't have to be that way. That change in "battlefront" was what was fortuitous for the RAF, not the spike in new aircrew availability. That the two happened together was a very welcome coincidence.

And it didn't hurt either that both happened at the same time as the number of days' flying lost per month due to the weather was going up! The daylight raids on London and their massive air battles...which as I've noted did NOT go all the RAF's way...wasn't a cohesive, day-after-day campaign like the last weeks(s) of August.
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby Sid Guttridge » 20 Feb 2015 15:00

Hi Phylo,

My point was simply that the RAF was not saved by the closure of the "weather window".

When the "weather window" closed the RAF had been less degraded than the Luftwaffe and had a growing pipeline of further aircraft and pilots on stream.

It therefore had more reason to face the future with confidence had the Battle of Britain continued than did the Luftwaffe.

Of course both sides could, would and did modify their tactics, but these are variable imponderables that cut both ways.

The RAF was saved by being effective in combat against German bombers in particular and by forward planning that ensured the continuing arrival of new aircraft and pilots kept up with or outpaced the rate of attrition the Luftwaffe had been able to inflict.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby RichTO90 » 20 Feb 2015 17:26

phylo_roadking wrote: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.


Phylo, do you have some evidence for this?

Insofar as I have been able to find, technically the Bf 109 Jabo were not "conversions" (Rustsaetze) at this time, they were either factory builds or factory rebuilds. The grand total were 110 Bf 109E-1/B, 211 Bf 109E-4/B, 20 Bf 109E-4/BN, and 438 Bf 109E-7 (the E-7, which was first fielded in August, was piped for a drop tank, but could instead carry a 250KG bomb). So roughly 1/4 of all E variants produced. All of the 1/B, 4/B, and 4/BN appear to have

The units equipped with the Jabo were 3./Erpr.Gr. 210, I.(Jagd.)/LG 2, and II. (Sch.)/LG 2, with nominally 90 aircraft. The order for the other JG to form Jabo Staffeln was actually in 1941, with the first, 10. (Jabo)/JG 2 formed 10 November 1941. Note also that only one-third of Erpr.Gr. 210 was equipped with Bf 109, the rest of the Gruppe had Bf 210.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby phylo_roadking » 20 Feb 2015 17:44

Rich, just a comment in Len Deighton's "Fighter" many years ago.

Note also that only one-third of Erpr.Gr. 210 was equipped with Bf 109, the rest of the Gruppe had Bf 210.


Yes...but my point was it was the mission profile developed by 210 that was the effective bit ;)

During the BoB Erprobungsgruppe 210 didn't have any Bf 210s. It had Bf 110s and 109s; Bf 110C-6s, Bf 110D-0...and Bf 109E-4Bs - as the 210 hadn't come along yet because of its design and development difficulties. In fact, even a year later, as I. Gruppe, Schnellkampfgeschwader 210 it was still flying 110s in BARBAROSSA! http://www.ww2.dk/air/attack/skg210.htm
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby Urmel » 20 Feb 2015 17:54

RichTO90 wrote:The units equipped with the Jabo were 3./Erpr.Gr. 210, I.(Jagd.)/LG 2, and II. (Sch.)/LG 2, with nominally 90 aircraft. The order for the other JG to form Jabo Staffeln was actually in 1941, with the first, 10. (Jabo)/JG 2 formed 10 November 1941. Note also that only one-third of Erpr.Gr. 210 was equipped with Bf 109, the rest of the Gruppe had Bf 210.


Also worth noting that e.g. JG27 only had a Jabo staffel in early 1942.
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby RichTO90 » 20 Feb 2015 17:56

phylo_roadking wrote:Rich, just a comment in Len Deighton's "Fighter" many years ago.


So a comment from Len Deighton became half of the Bf 109 equipped with bomb racks?

Yes...but my point was it was the mission profile developed by 210 that was the effective bit ;)


Sure it was effective...until improvements in radar and light AA made extended low-level flights dicey...for both sides. Anf none of Erpr.Grp. 210's attacks did more than destroy aircraft on the ground and cause temporary closures of airfields. We looked pretty extensively into the matter when we developed the BoB DB years ago. The mission profile is only as good as the number of aircraft and pilots you have to carry out the mission.

During the BoB Erprobungsgruppe 210 didn't have any Bf 210s.


Sorry, conflation of 210's from Erpr.Grp. 210 to Bf 210, so actually a non-issue, but I agree it was a good way for you to dodge around the actual issue of lack of evidence for your contentions that "half" the Bf 109 were bomb-capable and also capable of the tactics developed by Erpr.Grp. 210. :roll: :lol:

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby RichTO90 » 20 Feb 2015 18:03

Urmel wrote:Also worth noting that e.g. JG27 only had a Jabo staffel in early 1942.


Yep, just six were ever created to my knowledge. In addition to 10./JG 2, there were:

Jabostaffel/JG 3 (March 42)
10./JG 26 (10 March 42)
10./JG 27 (5 May 42)
10./JG 53 (1 Feb 42)
10./JG 54 (17 Feb 43)

Most only lasted until spring 1943 when they were either incorporated back as Jagdstaffeln or split off to form the new Schnellkampfgeschwader, transitioning to the more capable (in terms of ground attack) FW 190.

EDIT: Sorry, I forgot about the Goeringbefehl of 2 September ordering each Jagdgruppe to form a Jabostaffel, which apparently took until November to complete. the highest number of Jabo operational appears to have been 300 (including perhaps 70 in the specialist units) in mid-October. So not "half", but perhaps a "third" (theoretically 39 Staffeln, plus the 7 Staffeln of the specialty units)...except that it took quite a while for the Jagdgruppen to accept the tactic and even longer to practice and perfect the tactic.

Oh, and never mind that loading bombs didn't solve the range problem, it made it worse.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby phylo_roadking » 20 Feb 2015 18:33

So a comment from Len Deighton became half of the Bf 109 equipped with bomb racks?


but I agree it was a good way for you to dodge around the actual issue of lack of evidence for your contentions that "half" the Bf 109 were bomb-capable and also capable of the tactics developed by Erpr.Grp. 210.


Seem to have missed something out there, haven't you?

And who mentioned bomb racks?

Sure it was effective...until improvements in radar and light AA made extended low-level flights dicey...for both sides. And none of Erpr.Grp. 210's attacks did more than destroy aircraft on the ground and cause temporary closures of airfields.


And if you cause a lot of temporary airfield closures?

For example, this is what the change in tactics achieved at the end of August - after the previous two weeks of not managing to do very much at all to Fighter Command compared to the level of effort put in...

22nd August - Erprobungskommando 210 hit Manston and destroyed a number of aircraft on the ground, and half the station's buildings.

24th August - Manston hit again when N0.264 Sqn was refuelling there; they decamped to Hornchurch - but were bombed there again. North Weald was hit simultaneously....and on their way out, this raid plastered Manston AGAIN, forcing its closure. 17 dead on the ground in this raid, all contact with the RAF telephone network cut, and the flightline too badly cratered. Hornchurch and North Weald were still open for business...but badly damaged.

25th August - Only seven of the 40+ bombers that No.17 Sqn, Ten Group encountered heading for Portland, Weymouth and Warmwell got through....but these severely badly damaged Warmwell; two hangars destroyed, and the station also taken off the RAF telephone and teleprinter network so it was unable to function.

26th August - Biggin Hill and Kenley hit again; Debden was hit an hour later, with buildings destroyed and aircraft badly damaged on the ground, and a number of fatalities.

28th August - Eastchurch, a joint FC/Coastal Command field, was hit and buildings destroyed, and several bombers destroyed on the ground.

30th August - In the morning, Biggin Hill was attacked (AGAIN while Bader's aicraft were...elsewhere), along with Kenley (major damage this time) Croydon and Detling. In the early afternoon, Kenley was hit again...and Tangmere and Shoreham - and Detling again after 4pm. This was a bad raid; Detling's oil bunkers were set on fire, it was isolated from the RAF network, hangars were badly damaged and the runway cratered....then late in the day, after 6pm a raid evaded interception and hit Biggin Hill again; another hangar was destroyed, leaving only three, an entire slit trench full of groundcrew was killed, and a similar fate befell a trench full of WRAFs The station's barracks, storehouses, armoury and workshops were all hit. In total 39 ground staff died, water and gas lines were cut, and Biggin too was isolated from operations by telephone and telex cables being cut.

31st August - North Weald hit again...and Debden badly damaged; four aircraft damaged on the ground had to be struck off, and 18 killed. Eastchurch was attacked, but with little damage...and Detling strafed. Croydon aerodrome was hit again....but again it was Biggin Hill that came off worst; two of the remaining three hangars were very badly damaged, two aircraft destroyed on the ground, and the ops room hit and destroyed - undoing ALL the work done since the raid the day before at getting The Hump back onto the RAF network. Hornchurch had been hit ten minutes before Biggin....and was out of action for several hours due to bad cratering; six were killed...but the bombs that fell across the runway and into a housing estate missed all the airfield's buildings; it was back in action by 4pm...then Biggin Hill - and Hornchurch -were hit again at 5.50pm!


Now...take a look at the locations of Manston, Detling, Eastchurch, Biggin HIll and Kenley and what do you notice?

The mission profile is only as good as the number of aircraft and pilots you have to carry out the mission.


Well, exactly... and -

Oh, and never mind that loading bombs didn't solve the range problem, it made it worse


Depends on what you're targeting...
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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby RichTO90 » 20 Feb 2015 18:56

phylo_roadking wrote:Seem to have missed something out there, haven't you?

And who mentioned bomb racks?


Okay, I'll bite, how were they "able to carry ordnance for the lowlevel, fast-pass raids on airfields that proved so successful when piloted (sic) by Erprobungskommando210" without bomb racks as fitted on the 1/B, 4/B, 4/BN, and 7?

And if you cause a lot of temporary airfield closures?


Which requires a lot of Jabo.

For example, this is what the change in tactics achieved at the end of August - after the previous two weeks of not managing to do very much at all to Fighter Command compared to the level of effort put in...


Or you could look at the results of 15 August...the attack on Croyden (which the Germans thought was Kenley) where they lost six of 10 (IIRC, half to check the database) Bf 110 and one of four Bf 109 to aircraft of 32 and 111 Squadron?

Now...take a look at the locations of Manston, Detling, Eastchurch, Biggin HIll and Kenley and what do you notice?


That you're dodging the issues again? :roll:

Well, exactly... and -


Thank you for agreeing that you were talking through your hat.

Depends on what you're targeting...


Sure, which is what the Germans quickly appreciated, which was that the Bf 110 Jabo was a dying dodo and that the Bf 109 Jabo lost effectiveness in direct ratio to how deep a penetration of the coast it made.

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Re: Luftwaffe vs RAF

Postby phylo_roadking » 20 Feb 2015 19:25

And if you cause a lot of temporary airfield closures?

Which requires a lot of Jabo.


Which is what they were going to have. Which is what I meant by -

Well, exactly



Okay, I'll bite, how were they "able to carry ordnance for the lowlevel, fast-pass raids on airfields that proved so successful when piloted (sic) by Erprobungskommando210" without bomb racks as fitted on the 1/B, 4/B, 4/BN, and 7?


I was referring to the centre-line shackles or "ventral ETC centre-line stores pylon".


Now...take a look at the locations of Manston, Detling, Eastchurch, Biggin HIll and Kenley and what do you notice?

That you're dodging the issues again?


Obviously you're not interested in noticing....but for those that are, what you notice is a two-Sector-wide corridor to London. Four, if you include the earlier in the week operations against Kenley and Tangmere.


Sure, which is what the Germans quickly appreciated, which was that the Bf 110 Jabo was a dying dodo and that the Bf 109 Jabo lost effectiveness in direct ratio to how deep a penetration of the coast it made.


...and for the purposes expressed in Direct No. 16, what more do they have to do to achieve local air superiority over the invasion area than prevent Fighter Command operating effectively in the four most southerly Sectors of Eleven Group?
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