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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Topspeed
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Post by Topspeed » 04 Oct 2004 18:20

Rauli wrote:Like I said, overclaiming is universal.


Yeah, but if one claims 80% more than in reality then Hartmann only scored some 70+ victories...and Hans Wind who scored 44 planes in a forthnite was underclaiming then he'd be the top ace ! ( just an example ).

I have always wondered that Hartmann wingman became later a 100 kill pilot. Some wingmens scores must have been added to some heroes account.

rgds,

Juke

mars
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Post by mars » 04 Oct 2004 20:02

Here is an interesting article about this topic:

http://www.1jma.dk/articles/1jmaarticle ... twaffe.htm

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 04 Oct 2004 21:43

Topspeed wrote:Yeah, but if one claims 80% more than in reality then Hartmann only scored some 70+ victories...


Simple mathematics tell us that if Hartmann would have claimed with 80% more aircraft, then his real score would be 195.5, not 70.

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Post by Topspeed » 04 Oct 2004 22:21

Rauli wrote:Total: 21 victories

Rune Rautio´s notes from Soviet records: 3 Hurricane and Jak-1. In reality 4 victories.
Pilots of JG 5 overclaimed over 80%.


Victor,

I referred to this => only 20 % is verified. Any clearer ?

Hitler during his visit in Finland said germans have now destroyed 34 000 outa 35 000 soviet tanks. I think he was being fed with all kinda lies too or did he just made them look better..was that a standard procedure ?



rgds,

Juke

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Post by Hop » 04 Oct 2004 23:41

True. The Luftwaffe's claim procedure was very strict, but there were hits and misses as it were.


The Luftwaffe's beuracratic procedures were involved,; that's not the same thing as being strict.

For a claim to be confirmed required a minimum of one witness, often the claimants wingman.

At some stages of the war, other methods of confirmation were combined, such as looking for wreckage, confirmation of ground observers etc.

The reputation of the Luftwaffe procedure as being strict probably stems from the fact the Luftwaffe spent much of the war on the defensive, and indeed as far as the Americans are concerned, almost all their battles against the Luftwaffe were over German held territory, with fairly stable lines, which afforded the Luftwaffe ideal conditions for verifying claims.

However regarding Claims during the BoB. The Luftwaffe did indeed over claim, but were those claims actually awarded for the most part? Pilots may have come back claiming they shot down two Spitfires, but how far did it go? I don't know.


The Jagdwaffe made about 2000 claims of single engined fighters, as against British losses of half that to all causes. That's a roughly 3 for 1 overclaim.

There's two ways of looking at that.

One is that these were claims only, and not confirmed.

You can take that line because so much of the Luftwaffe archives were destroyed, it's hard to find "final" decisions over kills.

However, looking at the "claims", and comparing them with the well known Luftwaffe aces's totals, you can see that almost all the "claims" are counted in those totals.

For example, the claims list covering the period 1939 - 41, West Front and Poland, shows Galland making 100 "claims", 5 of which were definately denied. Galland is usually credited with 97 claims during this period, however.

Molders made 69 "claims" during the same period, Molders is usually acknowledged with 68 of those.

The same sort of ratio is true for all the aces I tried, almost every single kill is counted towards their acknowledged totals.

The other way of looking at it is that those victories were not confirmed by the Luftwaffe, but in that case it means that the high scoring German aces, of that period at least, did not have very high numbers of "confirmed" victories, but only high numbers of claims.

In short, if Galland really had 104 confirmed kills during the war, the Luftwaffe awarded 3 times the number of kills during the BoB that were actually achieved, or

If the Luftwaffe did not confirm those claims, Galland did not have 104 kills, but 104 unconfirmed claims.

OKL did approach Hitler with wild claims of 30 aircraft destroyed in the air on the 13th August, but those numbers were rapidly revised, when interrogations of pilots began showing up claims as probable's rather than actual "kills".


The claims list shows 29 kills that are nopt definately denied, but we can't be certain they were definately awarded either. The above still holds true, either these claims were awarded, or the Luftwaffe aces from the period each have X number of unconfirmed claims, not confirmed victories.

As regards defensive claiming, this is subject to error too. The RAF overclaimed absurd numbers during that Battle of Britain and they were let stand, even though Fighter Command knew it was bollox. It was done for obvious morale reasons and probably did do a lot to buck up the men.


The RAF claims are actually not that far off, as far as historical results go. They confirmed around 2500 kills by all forces, including flak, for actual German losses of around 1700 - 1800 to all causes on operations.

That's for confirmed kills, there were much larger numbers of "probables" and "damaged".

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 05 Oct 2004 08:44

Topspeed wrote:I referred to this => only 20 % is verified. Any clearer ?


OK. Overclaiming with 80%, means that for one kill they claimed 1.8. What you say is that for one kill they claimed 5, that is with 400%. There is a difference.

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Post by tonyh » 05 Oct 2004 10:02

The Luftwaffe's beuracratic procedures were involved,; that's not the same thing as being strict.


Hop, The Luftwaffe claims procedure was a involved procedure yes, but also very strict in nature too. It had to be as it faced a disproportionate number of enemies in the air for a lot of its existance, therefore it was essential that that real figures, or as real as could be determined, were noted. Filing bogus claims in official records would do the Luftwaffe no favors at all and there were penalties to be faced if a pilot was caught lying.

This was reinforced by the fiasco of OKL telling Hitler that tens of RAF fighters were falling out of the sky every day. You say that the Jadgwaffe filled 2000 claims, but again, how many were actually awarded. I doubt that 2000 claims were awarded, as the Luftwaffe were well aware that the RAF didn't possess 2000 fighter aircraft to shoot down. So while initial claims may have been wild, by September, there was a more tempered approach.

One only has to compare the loss figures of the VVS with the claims of the Luftwaffe in the opening stages of Barbarossa and how remarkably close they were, in fact, they underclaimed somewhat, IIRC. This could only result from the claims procedure being strictly adhered to, both from the claimant and the RLM.

If the Luftwaffe did not confirm those claims, Galland did not have 104 kills, but 104 unconfirmed claims.


As far as Galland and Mölders are concerned, I don't think that they overclaimed by deliberate consideration, they just don't seem to be the type frankly, especially Werner mölders, thats not to say that it didn't happen in the Luftwaffe or any other airforce either though. But probably, due to the nature of combat in the BoB, claims that they filed, in good faith, were subject to error. Also, because of the huge propaganda value of following the Jagdwaffe's two brightest stars, there is a chance that claims that they made, that were probables rather than definites, were let go. I doubt other pilots would have had the same leniency though.

Its extremely difficult to assess individual scores attributed to pilots during the war however. The following must be considered.

1. What an actual claim means. Did the pilot claim destroyed or shot down or something else. What constitues a claim.

2. What the enemy does with that plane if the aircraft is intact enough to land. Does the enemy file the aircraft as shot down, repaired, destroyed. Many a 109 claimed "destroyed" simply had its radiator shot up. This was replaced in a ten minute turn over. However, as I said, if an aircraft is shot out of the battle area by damage from an enemy AC, then that is classed as a legitimate claim. This is the most important and difficult area to assess.

3. How the Countries claim procedure deals with the pilot's claim.

Tony

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Rauli
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Post by Rauli » 05 Oct 2004 13:56

I can well understand Göring´s doubts what comes to victory claims at the start of the operation Barbarossa. First day of war: Soviet records show that 800 Soviet planes were destroyed on the ground, another 400 aircraft lost in the aerial combat. Didn´t Luftwaffe´s pilots make 322 victory claims?
And at the end of year (1941) Soviets lost 10800 planes in combat and 7600 for other reasons. Major success for Luftwaffe but still, how many were lost to fighters, how many were claimed by flak, what was the number of Soviet aircrafts simply left behind during rapid advance of Wehrmacht?

From Don Caldwell´s JG 26 book I got an impression that Adolf Galland´s victory claims hold up pretty well after checked up from post-war records, but my memory may serve me wrong.

Best regards,

Rauli

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Post by mars » 05 Oct 2004 14:48

tonyh, here is a thing, a strict claim approval system does not guarrentee the accurancy of claims, I already told you the approval system of the VVS was at least as strict as Luftwaffe's, but VVS overclaim more than 3:1 in the whole war.
About the first day of Barbarsa, tonyh, I heard this story almost 12 years ago, and since then, I heard it more than hundred times, I am pretty tired of it already, so I beg your parden here, what point you want to prove via this story ? Because Luftwaffe's claim were accurate on the first of German-Soviet war, their claims must be accurate at any place, at any time in the entire war ? By the way, Luftwaffe overclaimed about 2:1 at east front in 1941, not bad according to WWII standard, and far better than VVS's 4:1 overclaim rate

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Re: victories credibility

Post by PF » 16 Feb 2014 14:43


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Re: Are the Luftwaffe claims credible?

Post by Urmel » 17 Feb 2014 10:24

This thread has an amazing amount of detail on the question:

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=1262
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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Re: Are the Luftwaffe claims credible?

Post by Topspeed » 17 Feb 2014 12:24

I certainly did not like the tone in that link...I personally met a finnish infantry sergeant who claimed he had seen a finnish Me-109 shooting down 6/6 Il-2s in Karelian Isthmus. Later reserve officer Kössi Karhila had claimed in his memoirs to have shot down 5/6 Il-2 outa batch of 6 Il-2s. Officially he only claimed 2-3 planes damaged that day..since he knew nobody would believe him anyway since he was alone against them.

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Urmel
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Re: Are the Luftwaffe claims credible?

Post by Urmel » 17 Feb 2014 14:19

What has the tone got to do with the facts outlined?
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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Re: Are the Luftwaffe claims credible?

Post by ljadw » 17 Feb 2014 17:49

Do "the LW claims" exist ?

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Re: Are the Luftwaffe claims credible?

Post by Topspeed » 18 Feb 2014 14:47

Urmel wrote:What has the tone got to do with the facts outlined?

I mean Valtonen claims finns over claimed 1:3..this is not the case.

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