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."

- Gaston de Pawlowski, Dans les rides du front

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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.
"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 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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