Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

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tramonte
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Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 27 Jan 2020 10:43

To put it short: how realistic are the claims of Finnish antiaircraft units especially in 1944 when they claimed to have shot down 598 Soviet aircraft with such a small numbers of 20 mm, 37-40 mm and 75-88 mm ammunition use. Here are these figures:

Whole Continuation War (only antiaircraft ammunition):
20 mm: 968,732 units
37-40 mm: 507,396 units
75-76 mm: 122,398 units
88 mm: 20,036 (used only in home front)

Field Army, whole Continuation War:
20 mm: 749,702 units
37-40 mm: 370,060 units
75-76 mm: 12,308 units

1944 (Field Army, Navy forces, Home Front):
20 mm: 601,809 units (including share of pz. units perhaps less than 10%, used mostly by Navy)
37-44 mm: 197,678 units (including small share of pz. units used mostly by Navy)
75-76 mm: 40,852 units (used mostly by Home Front and Navy)
88 mm: 17,978 (used only by Home Front)

Claims and ammo used per claim 1941-44:
AA-units supporting Field Army and airbases: 976.........1,160 units per claim
Home Front AA-units: 55.................................................3,106 units per claim
Navy AA-units: 75............................................................4,209 units per claim

Field Army claims in 1944:
- ~570 shot down Soviet aircraft and about 540 during June-August.
- AA ammo used estimates:
20 mm: 560,000 units
37-40 mm: 170,000 units
75-76 mm: very small, likely some 3,000 maximum 5,000?

No way has any WW2 field army supporting AA-organization had such efficiency (1 160/claim, less than 1,300 in 1944 ). That's why there are good reasons to claim that hardly more than 1/4 of claims may have been true. It won't surprise me if just 15% of claims (540) during June-August 1944 may have been true.

Comparing massive ammo using German Flak in Eastern Front can give some perspective for these claims of Finnish AA.
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 27 Jan 2020 22:08

tramonte wrote:
27 Jan 2020 10:43
No way has any WW2 field army supporting AA-organization had such efficiency (1 160/claim, less than 1,300 in 1944 ).
According to book Ilmatorjunta Ilmasodassa 1794-1945 by Ahti Lappi, Finnish AAA during Winter War spent ammo/shot down plane as following:
75-76mm guns - 163 rounds
40mm guns - 391 rounds
20mm guns 474 rounds
Machine guns - 8147 rounds
'
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 28 Jan 2020 19:02

Juha Tompuri wrote:
27 Jan 2020 22:08
tramonte wrote:
27 Jan 2020 10:43
No way has any WW2 field army supporting AA-organization had such efficiency (1 160/claim, less than 1,300 in 1944 ).
According to book Ilmatorjunta Ilmasodassa 1794-1945 by Ahti Lappi, Finnish AAA during Winter War spent ammo/shot down plane as following:
75-76mm guns - 163 rounds
40mm guns - 391 rounds
20mm guns 474 rounds
Machine guns - 8147 rounds
'
Regards, Juha
Thanks Juha. It's really interesting how during Continuation War used AA-ammo per claim even in homo front was much higher than during Winter War. I focus also Navy AA-units who had almost 4 times more using ammo per claim than those AA-units of field army. It's natural to have more AA-ammunition use when firing high flying bombers, nothing special there. The truth however was that Soviet Air Force especially in 1943-44 was absolutely different and far better than in 1939-40. But here's the thing:

According sources used by Dan Zamansky (BArch RL 2-III/636, pp.17, 125) German Flak units used in 1943 anti-aircraft ammunition in Eastern Front:

Jan-June..............total 30,475 tons
July-Dec...............total 31,140 tons
whole year 1943..........61,615 tons

The weight of Finnish AA-units in whole during 1944 must have been something like this:

20 mm: 601,809 units x 0,123 kilo
37-40 mm: 197,678 units x 0,85 kilo (average of 0.8 kg and 0.9 kg )
75-76 mm: 40,852 units x 6,5 kilo (very small share used by field army AA-units)
88 mm: 88 mm: 17,978 x 9,4 kilo (not used by field army AA-units)

I got total weight of 676½ tons ammo. Besides there were pz.shells in those numbers as i mentioned which will reduce the total weight of AA-ammo to near 600 tons. If we took field army AA-units the consumption has been hardly more 230-240 tons and they claimed about 570 aircraft. So Germans used some 100 times more AA-ammunition in Eastern Front during 1943 than Finns in 1944. If Finns AA-units really have shot down 598 Soviet aircraft then they have been at least 10 times more accurate than Germans. But when be compare Finnish field army AA-units the gap is even more wide.

The question here is: was it even possible in reality of 1944 that field army AA-units needed average just about 400 kilos AA-ammunition per shot down enemy aircraft or about 1,200 (mostly light) AA-shells. I have tried to get some further information from 1940-44 ETO. So far i haven't find any proof that shooting down let's say 100 enemy fighters, light bombers and ground attack aircraft with just 120,000 AA-units was some norm. More likely there are numbers of some 4,000 to 10,000 shells per shot down aircraft.
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Ruotsinsalmi » 28 Jan 2020 20:13

According to war diary of Naval Forces (Merivoimien Esikunta) Naval Forces used 525 units of 20 mm Madsen ammunition per claim. In one known case ex. Civil Guard boat SP 1 equipped with two 20 mm Madsens shot down one A-20 5.7.1944 near Pukkio with only 44 shots.
You have to remember that Naval Forces had no heavy (75 or more) AA-guns on vessels except Väinämöinen (and gunboats Uusimaa and Hämeenmaa during summer 1944) and 20 mm and 40 mm guns were used also/mainly against surface forces...
Pekka

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 29 Jan 2020 10:33

Ruotsinsalmi wrote:
28 Jan 2020 20:13
According to war diary of Naval Forces (Merivoimien Esikunta) Naval Forces used 525 units of 20 mm Madsen ammunition per claim. In one known case ex. Civil Guard boat SP 1 equipped with two 20 mm Madsens shot down one A-20 5.7.1944 near Pukkio with only 44 shots.
You have to remember that Naval Forces had no heavy (75 or more) AA-guns on vessels except Väinämöinen (and gunboats Uusimaa and Hämeenmaa during summer 1944) and 20 mm and 40 mm guns were used also/mainly against surface forces...
Pekka
Probably AA-guns under command of Navy and not only those in vessels?

I have Navy AA-weapons statistics only of 01.01.1944 and 4.9.1944

01.01.1944:
- 353 (20 mm gun)
- 40 (37-40 mm gun)
- 30 (75 mm gun)

4.9.1944:

-368 (20 mm gun)
- 38 (37-40 mm gun)
- 21 (75 mm gun)

...and no info how much ammo did it use in 1944. Only total figures of Continuation War.

The German FLAK fire power in Eastern Front was something very different. For instance in Nov 1943 estimated: 1,850 heavy (>75 mm) and 6,800 light AA guns. If German FLAK has downed annually 5,000 Soviet aircraft (?) with 20 times more light AA and about 100 times heavy AA guns, then clearly they have had potential to shot down clearly 30-50 times more aircraft than Finns. Germans faced clearly 30-40 times more Soviet aircraft than Finns. Even in 1944. Finnish observation organization estimated some 16,250 Soviet flying sorties in June 44 and 14,650 in July 44. The whole year 1944 estimated some 46,000 sorties. Hardly more than 3% of all combat sorties of Soviet pilots. (Don't know real figures of VVS/PVO/Baltic Fleet units flying in Finland during 1944).
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 29 Jan 2020 11:05

Ruotsinsalmi wrote:
28 Jan 2020 20:13
According to war diary of Naval Forces (Merivoimien Esikunta) Naval Forces used 525 units of 20 mm Madsen ammunition per claim.
I have totally different figures. During whole Continuation War Navy used
- 189,737......... 20 mm units
- 82,920........... 37-40 mm units
- 42,991............ 75-76 mm units

... and when it had 75 claims then they used per claim:
- 2,530 (20 mm)
- 1,106 (37-40 mm)
- 573 (75-76 mm)

Source: Suomen sota 1941-45, osa 9, sivu 349
Last edited by tramonte on 29 Jan 2020 13:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 29 Jan 2020 11:59

And when it comes to German Flak AA-ammunition consumption rounds in Eastern Front (61,615 tons in 1943) it's of course pretty hard to find true numbers of rounds. Production figures of light AA and AT units in 1943 was: 196,332,000 rounds ( small share, likely few percentage for AT-ammo, pz.rounds). Heavy AA-ammo production during same year was 16,600,000. Whole consumption in 1943 was according sources used by Dan Zamansky 215,620 tons of which 28.58% used in Eastern Front. When it comes to light AA-ammunition it might be possible that slight majority however was used in Eastern Front but i'm not sure. This Source: )BArch RL 2-III/633 p.22ff, BArch RL 2-III/634 pp.3-9; munitions weights from RL 2-III/748).... gave numbers of German heavy FLAK (75 mm to 94 mm) in Eastern Front 1942: 1,747,331 rounds. Even if German FLAK was using double numbers of rounds in 1943 those heavy AA-ammo it's still just about 30,000 tons (less than half of AA-ammo tons German Flak used in east).

Clearly Germans were using incredible numbers of light antiaircraft rounds in Eastern Front. Not far from 100 million annually and certainly more than 50 million. What we do know is that Germans used much much more than just average about 1,200 rounds light ammo per shot down Soviet aircraft.

(German ammunition production figures from report 6 Feb, 1945, BA-MA R3/1729)
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Fliegende Untertasse » 29 Jan 2020 16:23

tramonte wrote:
29 Jan 2020 11:59
Clearly Germans were using incredible numbers of light antiaircraft rounds in Eastern Front. Not far from 100 million annually and certainly more than 50 million.
Well obviously. They were using flak very liberally against ground targets.
Same for Finnish navy. The light guns were also used against surface targets and for mine sweeping.
tramonte wrote:
29 Jan 2020 11:59
What we do know is that Germans used much much more than just average about 1,200 rounds light ammo per shot down Soviet aircraft.
Do we?
If you do have the actual statistics of rounds used for actual air target engagements, why do you need to speculate by prodution numbers?

And then also notice the number of guns engaging a single target.

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Cult Icon » 29 Jan 2020 16:27

The German used light AA VERY heavily against ground targets. (particularly 20mm single and quad)

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 29 Jan 2020 17:20

tramonte wrote:
29 Jan 2020 11:05
Ruotsinsalmi wrote:
28 Jan 2020 20:13
According to war diary of Naval Forces (Merivoimien Esikunta) Naval Forces used 525 units of 20 mm Madsen ammunition per claim.
I have totally different figures. During whole Continuation War Navy used
- 189,737......... 20 mm units
- 82,920........... 37-40 mm units
- 42,991............ 75-76 mm units

... and when it had 75 claims then they used per claim:
- 2,530 (20 mm)
- 1,106 (37-40 mm)
- 573 (75-76 mm)

Source: Suomen sota 1941-45, osa 9, sivu 349
Ruotsinsalmi wrote:
28 Jan 2020 20:13
20 mm and 40 mm guns were used also/mainly against surface forces...

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 29 Jan 2020 19:08

Soviet aircraft losses in combat mission in 1943 where 11,200 and 1944 9,700. Average 870 aircraft per month. If estimating 10% were accidents, 40% shot down by Jagdwaffe or destroyed in airbases about half being shot down by FLAK were get monthly result for FLAK: about 400. With some few exception Eastern Front was almost all the time full of fierce action both in land war and air war. Germans had 8,050 heavy and light AA guns in east. So Germans needed monthly 20 AA-guns to shot down one Soviet Aircraft. In summer 1944 Finnish field army AA-units with just about 350 guns claimed to have shot down 540 aircraft, 180 per month (or even 265 excluding silent last month). German FLAK: 400 shot down monthly. Finnish AA: 180 shot down monthly (when there was 2 of 3 months intense fighting). I won't follow this kind of narrative. Finnish AA-units are over claiming even more than FiAF when it comes to battle during summer of 1944.

Soviet TsMo achieves (studied by Finnish air war historians) are suggesting that in Karelian Isthmus about 25% (at maximum) of their losses was caused by AA in June 44. When Finnish AA claimed almost 300 (in June), real losses seems to have been about 50, or even less (89-35-36). There is just no room for those claims even Colonel Lappi is still believing. Even if not a single aircraft was shot down by FiAF and Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey.
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 29 Jan 2020 19:32

tramonte wrote:
29 Jan 2020 19:08
Soviet aircraft losses in combat mission in 1943 where 11,200 and 1944 9,700.
According to what?
Soviet sources with Soviet style of statistics about plane losses?

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 29 Jan 2020 22:35

The US Navy used on average 5287 20 mm rounds per bird during WW2, but only 1809 in 1942. With the 40 mm the average was 1713 RPB. Which is, of course, completely different world.
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... ry.html#II

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 29 Jan 2020 22:53

Seppo Koivisto wrote:
29 Jan 2020 22:35
With the 40 mm the average was 1713 RPB. Which is, of course, completely different world.
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... ry.html#II
Proximity fuzes:
The importance of the proximity fuze to the successful outcome of the Second World War is best stated by those who witnessed it's effectiveness.

James V. Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy said, "The proximity fuze has helped blaze the trail to Japan. Without the protection this ingenious device has given the surface ships of the Fleet, our westward push could not have been so swift and the cost in men and ships would have been immeasurably greater."

Prime Minister, Winston S. Churchill was quoted with "These so-called proximity fuzes, made in the United States.., proved potent against the small unmanned aircraft (V-1) with which we were assailed in 1944."

And Commanding General of the Third Army, George S. Patton said, "The funny fuze won the Battle of the Bulge for us. I think that when all armies get this shell we will have to devise some new method of warfare."
http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-075.php

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 30 Jan 2020 11:27

Juha Tompuri wrote:
29 Jan 2020 19:32
tramonte wrote:
29 Jan 2020 19:08
Soviet aircraft losses in combat mission in 1943 where 11,200 and 1944 9,700.
According to what?
Soviet sources with Soviet style of statistics about plane losses?
Sorry Juha but those days have gone when i really believed that Soviet combat losses were 106 000 or even more. Let's not forget that growing Soviet air force had growing non-combat aircraft losses in 1942-45. Americans have mentioned to have lost less than 24,000 aircraft in combat though their operational losses were 53,000 and total loss 95,000 (including waste of aircraft outside battleground and also in U.S.A). The more aircraft you got the more you lost aircraft outside battleground. American combat losses were less than 50% of their all operational losses and same with Soviet losses. So never even imagine that Germans, Romanians, Hungarians and Finns shot down 106,000.

Besides are you questioning studies made by Geust, Stenman, Keskinen, Rautio etc studing Tsmo achives for decades? They have confirmed that both Finnish and German fighter and AA-units have lots of over claiming during 1941-45.

Soviet aviation combat sorties:
1941 - 459 221
1942 - 852 691
1943 - 885 416
1944 - 993 050
1945 (up to May) - 617 758
From statistical digest "Soviet aviation in the Great Patriotic War in numbers" (1962)
http://stsokol.ru/vvs_tsifra/index.html


Finnish observation figures estimated some 40,000 Soviet aviation sorties during 1944 (4% of all Soviet combat sorties, but 2% or less in 1942-43)
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