Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

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tramonte
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 31 Jan 2020 13:04

There was interesting article in Sotahistoriallinen aikakauslehti 13/1994 page 109-110 estimating Navy AA weapons against Soviet aircraft, mainly Il-2:

"It was difficult to fight against armored Il-2 aircraft because the 20mm cannon used as the main weapon of the ships did not work against them. The 105 mm and 40 mm cannons were excellent..."

"Panssaroidun Il-2 koneen torjunta oli vaikeaa, koska alusten päätorjunta-aseena olleen 20 mm tykin kranaatti ei tehonnut niihin. 105 mm:n ja 40 mm:n tykit olivat erinomaisia ilmatorjunnassa. 105 mm:n tykki ampumalla tehokasta sulkutulta ja 40 mm:n tykin ampuessa seurantatulta."

In retrospect AA experts have consensus that Finnish field army was lacking desperately especially heavy AA-guns during summer of 1944. 20 mm AA cannon was the main weapon of army in 1944 too. In 4 Sept 1944 field army had just 99 pieces of 37-40 mm guns while 204 of those 20 mm AA-guns. Compared to Navy, field army had 3 times more 37-40 mm and 1.8 times more 20 mm guns. The rate was pretty same also in 1 Jan 1944.
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

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tramonte
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 01 Feb 2020 14:42

And these are statistics of US NAVY claims of AA-units 1944:

Ammunition Performance

Weapon.....rounds.........claims.........rounds/claim

13 mm: ...118,211...................4............29,552
20 mm: 1,103,028...............118..............9,348
40 mm:....432,680...............183..............2,364
50-75mm.....7,540...................6..............1,257
125- ... ....108,728...............141.................771


It's hard to claim that American NAVY gunners were somehow more poor with kill rate. Consumption of 20 mm and 40 mm AA ammuntion and the fact that 20 mm gun was estimated to be much poor when facing armored Il-2 is hardly suggesting that Finnish AA-gunner were somehow almost 10 times more effective. NAVY AA rounds per claim is quite near to that of German FLAK in Eastern Front.

Source: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/rep ... index.html
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

- Gaston de Pawlowski, Dans les rides du front

John T
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by John T » 01 Feb 2020 18:14

Until you can compare archives from both sides all we say are more or less speculations.

But
Yes, all other combat units of the world did overclaim, so why not the Finns?

Then we have factors that may affect the numbers:

Barrage fire instead of aimed fire, significantly less chance to hit with each round.

Comparisons with USN - a late war US Battleship task force had more guns that Finland combined and that in a very small area.
And USN liked the quad Bofors.
Thus many guns would fire at the same target causing "overkill" with more ammo expended per kill.

Winter war
- The low density of Finnish AA (or just Soviet fatalistic aircrews) made Soviet aircraft did not bother with evasive maneuvers. (?)
The thing I know is that Finns requested tracers with longer burn time for the Bofors than currently produced,
indicating that they thought they had a chance to hit at a distance.

but as said, this is just common sense, not scientific in any sense.

Cheers
/John

PS
Oh, dear!
I just spent my 17:th birthday at AHF!
DS

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 02 Feb 2020 22:16

John T wrote:
01 Feb 2020 18:14
Until you can compare archives from both sides all we say are more or less speculations.

But
Yes, all other combat units of the world did overclaim, so why not the Finns?

Then we have factors that may affect the numbers:

Barrage fire instead of aimed fire, significantly less chance to hit with each round.
The nature of Winter War itself was rather different compared especially summer of 1944. I focus especially claims of Finnish field army AA units. The pressure VVS and VVS KBF put on Finnish air defense was immense. Finnish observation estimated 1,600 combat sorties of Soviet aircraft in 14 June, 1,320 in 17 June. And 1,390 in 21 June ,almost 900 in Syväri, Svir north of Lake Ladoga. I bet the "aimed fire" was rather questionable in such a situation. It's pretty hard to claim that Finnish AA-gunners were so much more effective compared their American, German or British colleagues.

Folks have for years talked about overclaiming in aerial warfare in this platform of Axis Forum but mostly about claims of pilots. I have been surprised why most of us don't pay attention of overclaiming of AA-units. After all Soviet data is suggesting that German FLAK caused more of their losses than Luftwaffe pilots in 1944 and even in 1943 FLAK took terrible toll. I have made guess of 5,000 shot down aircraft by FLAK (it might be much lower) and compared that to claims of Finns. And i have asked: if Finns were so cost effective with their AA fire then why in heck Germans couldn't make it. The only realistic answer is that Finnish AA gunners especially in 1944 had quite high overclaim %. No way could they have shot down 540 Soviet aircraft in just two months, with just about 320 light and hardly more than 10-15 heavy AA gun supporting field army and air bases. Navy and home front units had much lower and moderate claims (and better chance likely to check those claims). Besides Finnish military historians and experts of AA have consensus that there were absolutely too weak AA in Karelian Isthmus and Karelian front. Especially when it was question about heavy AA fire.
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Harri » 22 Mar 2020 02:25

A few points. Finnish AA gunners were generally very "economical" shooters. They didn't shoot at all when the target was clearly out of range or there were other reasons hitting a target was uncertain. Additionally most light AA batteries since 1943 were of a new type: combined with a light platoon of two or three 20 mm "heavy machine cannons" and a battery section with two 40 mm Bofors guns (in addition to various close range rifle calibre AAMGs) which much improved the results of earlier type Finnish AA units. There was a total of 74 such AA batteries in Finland. There was also a new 20 mm It.K/40 VKT2 twin AA gun which was more effective than single barrel cannons. By 1944 light front AA units were organized to larger AA Battalions under competent leaders.

I think it is partly a myth that Il-2 would have been especially difficult to shoot down. Many Finnish pilots knew well how it was done because the wings were the weak point of Il-2s. Even using heavy 12.7 mm MGs a trained fighter pilot "sawed" the wing loose and the plane was doomed. No 20 mm cannons were needed.

I would not compare German, Finnish, US or Soviet statistics because they mostly are not comparable due to the reasons already mentioned earlier. I do not say there would have been "air" in claims but the reliability of statistics varies.

In Finland heavy AA batteries were mainly gathered to protect the cities of Helsinki and Kotka. Elsewhere the heavy AA protection was inadequate, even in Viipuri, Tampere and Turku. Other places had usually only individual batteries. Field Army had also only a few heavy units in its disposal. Heavy guns could not shoot fast planes flying at low level except on sea areas but 40 mm Bofors cannons were probably the best available AA guns in the world at that time.

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 05 Sep 2020 18:57

Cult Icon wrote:
29 Jan 2020 16:27
The German used light AA VERY heavily against ground targets. (particularly 20mm single and quad)
The same with Finnish AA-units. They also used 20 mm panzer grenades against Il-2 after realizing how ineffective normal grenades were against these ground attack aircraft.

During period of 9 June to 30 June 1944 Finnish AA-units claimed 336 Soviet aircraft. Some 280 in Karelian Isthmus. During same period Finnish pilots claimed in Karelian Isthmus 311 and Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey 92. Soviet achieves are suggesting losses of Leningrad Front and Baltic Fleet ~190 aircraft of which less than 50 by enemy AA-units. Besides Leningrad Front operated partly even during first days of Svir offensive (started 21 June 1944).

Finnish AA-units claimed 280 in Karelian Isthmus while Soviet achieves are suggesting maximum 50 own losses by enemy AA. (Losses of 13th Air Army were 160: 89 by enemy aircraft, 35 by enemy AA and rest 36 "did not return from sortie".
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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Mangrove » 07 Sep 2020 14:56

Ammunition usage per claimed damaged and destroyed plane from 23 June 1941 to 8 November 1942 according to Ilmatorjuntarykmentti 1 defending Helsinki.

Destroyed:
Heavy: 2897
Light: 721
20mm: 419
7.62mm: 951

Damaged:
Heavy: 2897
Light: 721
20mm: 419
7.62mm: 951

Ammunition usage per claimed damaged and destroyed plane according to Ilmatorjuntarykmentti 2 defending Kotka and Hamina during the Continuation War.

Destroyed:
Heavy: c. 1200
40mm: c. 960
20mm: c. 410
7.62mm: c. 235

Damaged:
Heavy: c. 525
40mm: c. 425
20mm: c. 180
7.62mm: c. 100

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 11 Sep 2020 07:20

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
This is likely based on claim of 314 Soviet aircraft shot down by Finnish AA-units during Winter War. However new study by Carl-Fredrik Geust based on achieves of TsAMO and VVS KBF (Baltic Fleet) found just 119 cases where Soviet aircraft was shot down by AA. If Ahti Lappi has used that first number 314 then those of Geust are giving result...

75-76mm guns - 430 rounds
40mm guns - 1 032 rounds
20mm guns 1 251 rounds
Machine guns - 21497 rounds

... per shot down Soviet aircraft. Total 2 713 AA-rounds (20-77 mm guns) per aircraft.

It's also important to notice that during Winter War Finnish AA units used only 21.2% more 20 mm rounds than 37-40 mm rounds. During Continuation War (1941-44) Finns used 90.9% more 20 mm AA-rounds than those of 37-40 mm. So relatively chance to shot down enemy aircraft didn't improve as much as numbers of ammo consumption would suggest.

20 mm: 968 732 rounds (excluding pz.grenades)
37-40 mm: 507 396 rounds (excluding pz.grenades)

When it comes to fight against Il-2s Finnish troops in 1944 started to use also 20 mm pz.grenades. When it comes to Navy 20 mm weapons in 1941-44 they used 189 737 rounds of AA grenades and 90 949 pz.grenades. So the claim that most of its 20 mm shells were not used against aircraft is hardly true at all.
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by Garfunkel » 11 Sep 2020 12:21

There is no doubt that overclaiming happened. It happened in every country.

However, before you can compare ammo consumption, it's important to note differences in doctrine. German FlaK doctrine was to shoot down planes. Finnish IT doctrine was to prevent bombing runs. Finnish AAA never shot at departing planes which German AAA often did.

And as others mentioned, Germans used their AAA against ground targets vastly more than what the Finns did, mostly because Finns didn't have that much AAA in the first place, not even in 1944. That will affect overall consumption of ammunition as well.

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Re: Unrealistic claims of Finnish AA-units?

Post by tramonte » 11 Sep 2020 16:06

Garfunkel wrote:
11 Sep 2020 12:21
There is no doubt that overclaiming happened. It happened in every country.

However, before you can compare ammo consumption, it's important to note differences in doctrine. German FlaK doctrine was to shoot down planes. Finnish IT doctrine was to prevent bombing runs. Finnish AAA never shot at departing planes which German AAA often did.

And as others mentioned, Germans used their AAA against ground targets vastly more than what the Finns did, mostly because Finns didn't have that much AAA in the first place, not even in 1944. That will affect overall consumption of ammunition as well.
I won't buy that theory before you present document. I guess all AA forces had primary doctrine to force enemy aircraft to fly higher and having more inaccurate bombing. I also doubt was German FLAK in east focusing mostly ground targets when ground forces anyway had their AT units and armoured divisions + independent assault gun/ panzer Abteilungen. Especially when Soviet air force put Germans under heavy pressure.

The only explanation: claims of Finnish AA units, especially those of field army can't be true at all. Latest studies of air war during Winter War 1939-40 is suggesting to that evident direction. Finnish army AA-units had on average relatively more over claiming than fighter pilots especially in 1944. On average during the whole 1941-44 war Finland's AA ammo expenditure per claimed enemy aircraft was about 1.55 tons. And that includes home front and navy too. When it comes to field army units it was just little bit over 600 kilos per claim. And even if Germans in Eastern Front had used half of their AA ammo targeting ground forces ( quite questionable claim itself) they still would have used e.g in 1943 some 5.5 tons AA ammunition per shot down enemy aircraft. (I even doubt had German FLAK shot down 4500 air craft during that year. Official Soviet loss figures in combat: 11,200 aircraft of which not even near all shot down by enemy pilots of Flak)

Quite good example how Finnish AA units might have had high over claiming rate is 2 July 1944 evening air battle. There were total 11 Il-2 claims coming from pilots and 13 Il-2 claims from Finnish AA units. Soviet data is suggesting their losses: 10 lost Il-2 (of which 3 badly damaged/forced landings, sent to repair): 9 shot down or seriously damaged by enemy aircraft and only 1 shot down by Finnish AA units.
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

- Gaston de Pawlowski, Dans les rides du front

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