Are the Luftwaffe claims credible?

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
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Victor
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Post by Victor » 06 Sep 2004 21:26

Erich wrote:CAn only think of Christer Bergströms Balck cross/REd star volumes but since I do not own any of these very fine books I cannot say if it is day by day or overviews.
Erich :D


It doesn't have day by day overviews, but it dows have an overview at the end of each volume, concerning the whole period depicted in the book.

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Erich
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Post by Erich » 08 Sep 2004 18:16

thank you for the clarification. Now let me add and I know it is off the beaten path from the original posting but here ya go............

"The Luftwaffe stopped processing and officially awarding claims in the Fall of 44, so it is not likely that anyone will find any official source for late war claims other than individual pilots flugbuch and or a unit KTB"..........

from friend and author John Beaman, this is one of the reasons why I have had incredible trouble trying to verify who shot down the 23 plus B-24's around Misburg on 26 November 1944. My cousins unit JG 301 alone claimed over 56 bombers which is false of course and in return JG 301 lost some 40 Fw 190A's..........

Erich ~

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 08 Sep 2004 21:53

It always seemed very strange to me, how on many occasions, the defenders confirmed more kills than they actually were, since they had the possibility to tack the wrecks. The same happened in Romania in 1944. It is true that in those massive air battles confusion was high and pilots' (over)claims are somewhat justified, so maybe many were confirmed, just to try to keep the morale among the airmen.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 08 Sep 2004 22:04

From the first volume of Black Cross/Red Star by C. Bergstrom and A. Mikhailov:

According to Soviet statistics, at least 21,200 aircraft were lost, including 10,600 in combat, between June 22 and December 31, 1941. The combat losses included 5,100 fighters, 4,600 bombers, 600 ground attack aircraft and 300 other types. To these figures should be added the "unaccounted decrease" of 5,240 VVS aircraft between June 22 and July 31. The coresponding overall figure given by the Luftwaffe - 17,745 Soviet aircraft destroyed by December 19 - is thus not far from reality.

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Erich
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Post by Erich » 08 Sep 2004 22:06

Victor how many of the gents volumes are in print and what are the years covered so far.... ?

E

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 08 Sep 2004 22:18

Two volumes published so far. The first one covers 1941 and the second one the first half of 1942. The third volume is schedualed to be published at the end of this year IIRC and will cover the rest of 1942, including the battle of Stalingrad. A revised version of the first volume will also be published.

If one is interested in the airwar on the Eastern Front, the BC/RS series is really worth the money.

See here:
http://www.bergstrombooks.elknet.pl/bc-rs/

mars
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Post by mars » 08 Sep 2004 23:15

Victor wrote:It always seemed very strange to me, how on many occasions, the defenders confirmed more kills than they actually were, since they had the possibility to tack the wrecks. The same happened in Romania in 1944. It is true that in those massive air battles confusion was high and pilots' (over)claims are somewhat justified, so maybe many were confirmed, just to try to keep the morale among the airmen.


Victor, I believe the more fighter units involve into a air combat, the less accurate the claims these fight units would submite, since after the battle, pilots in the same squandron or group could sit together and ruled out those double-claimed, but it is difficult or even impossible for those from different fighter units to "compare their book"

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Post by Steady » 09 Sep 2004 10:05

Finnish claims were very accurate. Between 1939 and 1944, Finnish flying units claimed 1807 aircraft destroyed out of total of 3313. Number does not include aircraft seen to crash while avoiding Finnish flak or fighters.

Recent russian research has revealed that 1855 aircraft were downed by Finnish fighters. So the Finns really made kill claiming into an accurate science!

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Post by mars » 09 Sep 2004 14:55

Steady, Finnish aviation historian Carl-Fredrik Geust has something to say about this subject:
This is really a controversial issue, and if you really want to make yourself impopular then you should raise it at veterans' meetings (I speak of experience...).

Seriously, I believe that in the winter War the claims are rather accurate (as most air fights took place over Finnish territory, and the wrecks were located; furthermore summer 1941 a number of wrecks of damaged aircraft or "probables" which did not make it back to their bases in East Karelia were found).

Also the claims in summer 1944 are surprisingly accurate (I have been working rather extensively in the Russian Military archives, and in particular tried to collect loss info concerning Russian aircraft, which I hope to be able to publish sometime).

The real problem lies the air combat summer 1942 and 1943 over Gulf of Finland (region Suursaari-Lavansaari-Tytärsaari-Oranienbaum-Kronstadt), when a handful of Finnish fighters fought repeatedly against 50-60 Soviet aircraft, shooting down 20-30 for no, or extremely limited, one or two own aircraft) losses(see Joppe Karhunen's "fables")...

My comments:

1) the Baltic Fleet did never have that number of aircraft available in this period, from where certain absolute conclusions can be made,

2) if an aircraft falls into the sea, there are no wrecks to be located,

3) thus "certification" must be done by participants of the combat themselves, which easily leads to "cross-certification" or multiplying of the claims.

I have been told that at this period (= 1942-43) the Finnish AF radio intelligence was already on sufficiently high level to really keep track of the real losses of VVS KBF, but they were ordered to keep quiet for many reasons:

1) their real information and sources of information were the biggest secret of the Finnish armed forces, and this secret was to remain secret by all means,

2) there were obvious "propaganda" and combat morale reasons to accept boosted claim numbers during the war (same for all combattants),

3) when one overclaim was made public, and repeated sufficiently, it became soon "accepted truth". To break this circle means to make a big number of people to loose their faces, which was absolutely unacceptable during the war...

I agree that it is high time to speak openly and unbiasedly about this sensitive issue - without unnecessary affections; on the other hand I do absolutely not want to make any problems for anyone of the respected veterans of any of the combatting sides,

Carl

PS.
For more facts about individual "claimants", see Kari Stenman's articles about the Finnish aces in Suomen Ilmailuhistoriallinen Lehti, where I have tried to make analysis of the victory (or claims) lists.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/message? ... =979942019

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Post by Steady » 09 Sep 2004 18:23

Hello Mars,

the numbers I quoted are from the Kari Stenman-Kalevi Keskinen book "Finnish aces of world war 2", published by Osprey. The book was published is 1998. I understand these guys base their numbers on official Finnish Air Force numbers. I wonder, if the Finnish numbers are not accurate, why do the Russian numbers (at least according to this same book) come so close to them? Well the numbers do not match exactly, so could be it is just a coincidence.

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Post by Topspeed » 09 Sep 2004 18:37

Funny thing was when I read the Börje Sjögren autobiograpfy of Hans Wind. The official score of Wind is 75 and Illu Juutilainen only 74 !

Officers do it better !

rgds,

JT

mars
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Post by mars » 09 Sep 2004 20:16

Steady wrote:Hello Mars,

the numbers I quoted are from the Kari Stenman-Kalevi Keskinen book "Finnish aces of world war 2", published by Osprey. The book was published is 1998. I understand these guys base their numbers on official Finnish Air Force numbers. I wonder, if the Finnish numbers are not accurate, why do the Russian numbers (at least according to this same book) come so close to them? Well the numbers do not match exactly, so could be it is just a coincidence.

Steady, most of the Osprey series are just for starters, Mr Carl-Fredrik Geust is a much more serious researcher about the Finnish and Soviet air force in winter war and continue war, you should find you a copy of his recently publish book "red star 5: Soviet Baltic fleet airforce in winter war"

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Post by Steady » 09 Sep 2004 22:58

Mr Stenman and Keskinen are well known aviation historians in Finland. I have been reading their books since the early eighties. For example, they have written the complete history of the Finnish air force, down to the operational history of every individual aircraft it possessed.

Yes not all of the Osprey books are of very high quality, for example the book about German jet aces has some fantastic numbers in it.

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Erich
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Post by Erich » 09 Sep 2004 23:36

should I get on the Osprey gripe ? better not. their German night fighter aces is garbage and the profiles are fantasy........ their Afrika aces book is also low on the totem pole in my book. have to say though they got smart when they did their eilite series covering the US fighter groups and although small they are worth the monies....

2 cents from your pocket..........

E ♪

mars
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Post by mars » 10 Sep 2004 05:12

Erich wrote:should I get on the Osprey gripe ? better not. their German night fighter aces is garbage and the profiles are fantasy........ their Afrika aces book is also low on the totem pole in my book. have to say though they got smart when they did their eilite series covering the US fighter groups and although small they are worth the monies....

2 cents from your pocket..........

E ♪


Erich, some of the ospery ace series are actually pretty good, for example "Gladuator ace" and Denes's "Rumania ace"

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