Luftwaffe kill confirmation procedure.

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ustal
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Luftwaffe kill confirmation procedure.

Post by ustal » 10 Jul 2002 01:03

I've heard speculations about Luftwaffe victory claims were too easy to confirm. Although I do not buy it, still I'd like to know how this procedure works and how it compares to Soviet Air Force kill confirmation.
Thanks.

Ovidius
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Re: Luftwaffe kill confirmation procedure.

Post by Ovidius » 10 Jul 2002 01:18

ustal wrote:I've heard speculations about Luftwaffe victory claims were too easy to confirm. Although I do not buy it, still I'd like to know how this procedure works and how it compares to Soviet Air Force kill confirmation.


Yeah right, speculations that Rudel's tanks were mostly trucks and Hartmann's planes were just a few unfortunate birds :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Actually the Luftwaffe victory claims were the hardest to confirm from all air forces involved in WWII. Plus, the pilots were not awarded points for aircraft destroyed on ground, for collective victories etc, and the rule was 1 victory= 1 point, unlike other countries where the pilots got a larger number of points for a bomber than a fighter.

I don't know the details, but the other members of the Forum are more informed than I am :(

I'll just throw in a droplet of venom and say that the authors of the speculations are too embarrassed by the disproportion between Allied aces and German aces. The Political Correctness does not allow to say the "bad Nazis" were better(and even worse for our Western friends, the Soviet air aces came next).

~Regards,

Ovidius

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Christoph Awender
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confirmation procedure...

Post by Christoph Awender » 10 Jul 2002 01:45

Hello!

The major difference between the German and Western Allies' method of scoring victories was that the Germans were not allowed to share a victory. Their cardinal rule was: "One pilot-one kill." In contrast Allied pilots were allowed to share victories. If two pilots fired at an enemy and it went down, each Allied pilot received one-half of the kill. Carried to absurdity, it is conceivable that an Allied pilot could become an ace with ten or more half-victories, never scoring any victories of his own! The Luftwaffe system of awarding victories was impartial, inflexible, and far less prone to error than the American or British method. That is not to say that errors were not made, history shows that both sides during the "Battle of Britain" tended to overclaim victories on a scale of 2:1.

The German's recorded victories in one of three categories: Abschuss (Destroyed), Herausschuss (Seperation), and endgueltige Vernichtung (Final Destruction.) These three categories were used for assessing "points" towards awards. Only an enemy aircraft in an Abschuss was counted towards the pilot's overall victory tally. A pilot that brought down and enemy plane with a Endgueltige Vernichtung or Final Destruction of a damaged aircraft was not awarded credit for the "kill", however he did earn "points" for the aircraft's destruction.

Following the policy of "one pilot-one kill", the investigating authorities would determine if the claiming pilot was solely responsible for the destruction of the enemy plane. Every Abschuss had to be observed by a witness: either a ground observer or the encounter, the pilot's wingman, or a Staffelmate. Witnesses were necessary unless the victor's aircraft had been fitted with a gun-camera and the destruction of the plane or the vanquished pilot's bailout had been recorded on film, if the wreckage of the downed pilot or other crew crew member had been captured by German forces. In effect: No witness or tangible evidence - no victory.

Every Abschuss had to be confirmed by the Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe or Commander in Chief of the Air Force. Jagdwaffe pilots were at all times required to note their geographical position as well as the type and number of the aircraft in enemy formations engaged. Naturally, the victor was required to log the exact time of a kill, while he maneuvered for a tactical advantage over the remaining enemy aircraft! In addition, he had to observe other actions in the air in order to be able to witness victories by his Staffelmates. Upon landing, the claimant prepared his Abschuss report for review by the immediate supervisory officer, who either endorsed or rejected the claim. If endorsed, the pilot's report to the Geschwaderstab, or Wing Staff, which, in turn, filed its report and sent both to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM), or Air Ministry. After checking all the papers that were submitted, the official confirmation was prepared and sent to the unit. This very long bureaucratic proceedure sometimes took as long as a year! During 1944, another authority was created: the Abschusskommission, which received all reports on crashed aircraft remains found by search units. This commission checked conflicting claims between antiaircraft batteries and fighter pilots, and awarded credit for the victory to one claimant or the other. This system ensured that no more credits would be awarded than wrecks found.

The German system of confirming aerial victories was very effective in keeping human errors and weknesses within limits. Despite this, the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, or Luftwaffe High Command, considered the large victory totals during the early days of the Russian campaign as incredulous. On many occasions, they accused the Jagdgeschwader Kommodores of exaggerating the victory scores. In effect Goering was calling the frontline pilots liars. This was one of the grievances that brought about the Mutiny of the Fighters, or the Kommodores' Revolt Conference, in Berlin during January, 1945.

When a German fighter pilot scored a victory, he would call "Horrido" on the radio. This distinctive announcement of victory alerted his fellow pilots to watch for a crash or a flamer, as well as notify ground stations, which helped to confirm many victories.

taken from: http://members.aol.com/dheitm8612/index.htm

Christoph

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re

Post by tonyh » 10 Jul 2002 01:50

Basically, the order of the day was "one pilot, one kill". For the entire war. A pilot had to have the conformation of a wingman, or a pilot of higher rank, or ground troops, or in the case of enemy planes shot down over friendly territory proven wreckage in order for the RLM "Reichsluftfhartministerium" to take the claim seriously. Or more than one in a lot of cases. The claim was then submitted to the RLM in Berlin, where it was then processed and assessed and then the claim awarded or refused. Many pilots of all ranks had claims refused, or just refused to file a futile claim, in the case of a solo victory over enemy territory.

Later, in the war there was a points system introduced. But this was for awards only, ie 40 points for a Knights Cross.

Unfortunately I am in Barcelona now and cannot post the exact details. But if nobody else does, I will when I get back to Dublin.

Tony

Ovidius
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Post by Ovidius » 10 Jul 2002 09:44

tonyh wrote:The claim was then submitted to the RLM in Berlin, where it was then processed and assessed and then the claim awarded or refused. Many pilots of all ranks had claims refused, or just refused to file a futile claim, in the case of a solo victory over enemy territory.


This meaning that when talking about pilots with 300 air victories, and unconfirmed kills being taken into account, the 300 figure might have been just the tip of the iceberg :mrgreen:

~Ovidius

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 10 Jul 2002 12:02

One explanation for the rather high kill amount of German aces could be also this:
the leader of the current formation (usually highest in ranks or the most experienced pilot = "Experte") had a right to choose his targets first or sometimes even shoot down all enemy planes all alone (or maybe confirm all the kills to a certain pilot?)!!

My source is an excellent book of (Col.) "Joppe" Karhunen, who was one of the top aces in Finnish Air Force. Capt. (then) Karhunen had a chance to discuss with German pilots of JG 54 in the summer 1942 and they told him about this system when Finnish pilots were wondering their very high scores.

tonyh
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Post by tonyh » 10 Jul 2002 18:35

True. The katchmarek or wingman always watched out for the RottenFührer in an element, or rotte. This was his primary job. When the rotte was increased to a schwarm or two rotten, the two elements would split in combat. In combat, the rottenführer would pick out the target and the his wingman would follow watching his tail. If the first pass by the rottenführer was unsuccessful, the wingman would fire at the same target in the same pass. So in this way the wingman, who would usually have a somewhat limited chance of getting kills would be given a chance to increase his score. A good rottenführer would know the benefits of teaching good shooting skills to his katchmarek. A wingman with a good shot was better than a bad shot. Hartmann learned his "technique" as it were, from his old wingleader, who when to great pains to point out the obvious benefits of choosing to engage or disengage and getting in close to ensure a kill. Both survived the war.

A wing leader, at least on the Russian front, was always the pilot who was most skilled, not the highest in rank. He was also singled out for leadership if he was viewed as a good teacher.

Tony

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Post by tonyh » 10 Jul 2002 18:38

>>This meaning that when talking about pilots with 300 air victories, and unconfirmed kills being taken into account, the 300 figure might have been just the tip of the iceberg>>

True. Hartmann said that he scored more kills than is attributed to him. Gunther Rall too.

Tony

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Erich
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a little explanation.......

Post by Erich » 10 Jul 2002 20:10

Tony :

A variation on your statements about wingmen......

The term should read Kaczmarek

Schwarmführer or element leader with a wingamn or flieger (pilot)

Verbandsführer or formation leader, quite a common term used for a leader of staffel up to gruppe size in 1944 during attacks on Viermot formations.

Staffelkapitän squadron commander and Staffelführer could also lead the staffel in combat while the staffelkapitän would remain on the ground. The Staffelführer many times was regarded more highly due to his combat expereince than the Staffelkapitän.

E

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 10 Jul 2002 20:32

A good explanation for the high number of victories of some of the Jagdfliegern was baron von Richtoffen's dictum: "Find your enemy and shoot him down. The rest is unimportant".

One must also take into conmsideration the fact that the Luftwaffe Experten had already 2 years of experience when Operation Barbarossa started. They knew the advantages and disadvantages of their Bf-109Es and Fs and exploited them to the fullest. Also, the Soviet tactics during the first weeks also helped. The massive unescorted day bomber offensive offered rich killing grounds for the German fighters.
Soon a very experienced chast emerged from the German ranks and these guys got so good, that victories just kept on coming.
This is IMHO why some German pilots achieved such high scores.

Btw, IIRC the Luftwaffe employed from 1944 on a victory poinbt system (3 points for four-engine bombers, 2 p. for 2 engine airplanes and 1 for one engined airplane).

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Erich
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point system

Post by Erich » 10 Jul 2002 20:40

Victor :

And did you know that the point system in 1945 was almsot worthless ? Due the chaoticness at least for night fighter claims many pilots that did score 20 victories or more were never allowed the proper paper work to file for the award of the Deutsch Kreuz. Some even were handed out on May 8th 45 due to the lateness......

E

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Post by tonyh » 11 Jul 2002 12:29

Erich...

"Kaczmarek". I never ever remember how to spell this. Probably never will. Thanks.

Also, would a Schwarmführer not be the leader of a four plane formation. ie, two Rotten?

And therefore a Rottenführer would be the leader of a Rotte, ie the leader in a two plane formation.

Tony

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 11 Jul 2002 14:23

I read somewhere that the Soviets needed testimonies of witnesses, photos from the crash site plus the serial number of the airplane. However, I doubt this, at least during 1941-42, given the high rates of overclaiming. There was a case, for example, on 8 August 1941 near Odessa, the pilots of the 69th IAP claimed 9 out of 12 Bf-109s encountered. No Romanian Bf-109E from the 7th Fighter Group was lost that day. The Germans only reported two Bf-109Fs damaged. Obviously they couldn't produce any photos or serial numbers.

BC/RS brought, at least for me, some light in the subject of overclaiming over the Eastern Front. But one thing is for sure: everybody overclaimed, more or less. There was no monopoly on it. My opinion is that the majority of these weren't done with intention. Dogfights are very confusing, especially when it involves a large number of a/c. Even today, with all the "Star Trek" equipment of modern fighters, an air battle is still confusing. Another explanation for overclaiming is the fact that many aircraft which were in fact only damaged could have been considered as shot down by the attacker. Since the damaged airplanes aren't generally included in the losses figures, a part of the difference can be explained this way.

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Erich
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explanation ........

Post by Erich » 11 Jul 2002 14:23

Tony :

Yes, that would be correct but during the latter war period Rottenführer was dropped as generally due to overwhelming Allied air superiority the Luftwaffe usually flew in 4's to 6's if at all possible. The wedge formation was flown-brietkeil- against the US bomber formations and then once through if the staffel/gruppen could not form up on whomever was the leader, then it was everyone for themselves and they tried to make it back to base. Whether you had a leader and wingman together was not always the case / attacking the bombers or even one on one with the Allied escorts. Late summer through 1945 the Fw 190's and Bf 109's flew either loosley or in a strict wedge formation, the latter being the case if no US P-51's were in the area. They would fly 1000 feet higher and usually behind heavier Fw 190's when attacking a bomber group. The Höhenjägers would watch for the Allied escorts and if none present would dive down and try to finish off the crippled B-17/B-24's.......

E

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Erich
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Rottenflieger again......

Post by Erich » 11 Jul 2002 19:48

Tony :

Just checked through some remarks made by Walter Schuck, ace with Me 262 3./JG 7. He mentions during his flight on March 24, 1945, when he shot down two P-51's that his Rottenflieger Lt. Hadi Weihs shot down a P-38. So it appears from this old account that even the term Rottenflieger was used for wingman......... 8)

E

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