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WorldWar2.ro Forum > WW2 in General > The most effective air force in WW2


Posted by: i16stealth August 03, 2004 08:53 am
I want you to say, what air force was the most effective (please prove your opinion).

Variants:

1) ARR
2) VVS RKKA (soviet)
3) Luftwaffe
4) Japanese Imperial Aviation
5) RAF
6) USAF
7) Other

Posted by: tjk August 03, 2004 12:25 pm
There was no USAF in World War 2, it was still then the USAAF (United States Army Air Force).

Posted by: i16stealth August 04, 2004 07:47 am
QUOTE
There was no USAF in World War 2, it was still then the USAAF (United States Army Air Force).


Sorry, my mistake.

But what about your vote?

Posted by: dragos August 04, 2004 10:03 am
In my opinion, the domain covered is too vast to be able to give an unbiased and accurate answer. One can say that the Germans had some of the most successful pilots, given their number of victories, but we must take into account the fact that they stayed in combat for the longest time and had the biggest number of sorties. In similar conditions, it is possible that pilots of the other nationalities could have achieved similar performances.

IMO the biggest importance for the outcome of the war had the USAAF, because they fought on all theatres and the eventual results were in their favor.

Again, the domain covered include too many countries and many branches of the air forces.

Posted by: Iamandi August 04, 2004 10:38 am
USAAF in "too many" aspects...



Iama

Posted by: Chandernagore August 04, 2004 10:54 am
RAF, hands down.

Best planes, best fighting spirit, best Polish pilots, best everything but quantity.

Posted by: tjk August 04, 2004 12:11 pm
My vote is for the Finnish Air Force. They had a very high victory to loss ratio and made the most effective use of their equipment, which was mostly cast offs from other nations. An example is the Brewster Buffalo, which was a disaster in British and American units, but the Finns used it effectively.

Posted by: dragos August 04, 2004 01:04 pm
QUOTE
My vote is for the Finnish Air Force. They had a very high victory to loss ratio and made the most effective use of their equipment, which was mostly cast offs from other nations. An example is the Brewster Buffalo, which was a disaster in British and American units, but the Finns used it effectively.

For a specific time frame and a specific theater of operations, are you positive that another nation's airforce did not achieved a similar ratio ? For example what was the ratio achieved by the Luftwaffe over VVS in the first months starting from operation Barbarossa ?

Also, can we say the early Soviet aircraft were more practicing targets than veritable opponents ?

Posted by: Dénes August 04, 2004 03:36 pm
QUOTE
can we say the early Soviet aircraft were more practicing targets than veritable opponents ?


Not quite. There were quite a few very good Soviet pilots in 1941, who had previous combat experience from Spain of Mongolia. True, some were purged by Stalin, but some not and many of those did achieve some remarkable results even in the opening stage of the war on East.
Maybe 'I16Stealth' can give us further details.

Dénes

Posted by: Dr_V August 05, 2004 09:36 pm
Over all I'd say the USAAF, mainly for their key impact on the final outccome. Without American air superiority the Japanese Empire would have prevailed in the Pacific, as they were far more efficient on the grownd and even on the sea. Also on the European theater only the air superiority (fully acheived only when the Americans joined in) was the key factor to the Allied victory, as without it the Panzer divisions were almost unstoppable.

But to be fair I'd like to highlight the credits of all WW2 air forces, as every significant player had something that made history in the war aviation field. In my oppinion these are as following:

Germany: ME 262 was the first effective jet fighter; Ju 88 was a splendide versatile dive-bomber

Britan: Spitfire (V-IX-XII) "the best deffensive fighter of WW2"

USA: P51 Mustang was overall the most effective fighter of the war; B17&B24 flying fortresses were undubtfully the most effective bombers

Japan: they practicaly invented the aircraft carrier as an offensive weapon, both for ground support and sea battles (even if the Americans were the ones who eventually had the means to fully exployt this new tactic)

Romania: the IAR80 was a grate acheivement for a small nation with limited industrial development. The bravery shown in combat was also remarcable.

Finland: a small, but determined and resourcefull nation that set an example of courrage and acheived unexpected results with the limited resources available.

There are also some air forces to be listed as dissapointments, unable to acheive anything noteworthy except huge losses, bad aeroplanes and poor tactics:

Italy: produced maybe the worst WW2 planes and their rigid and outdated tactics were not helping them. There were many brave Italian pilots, but didn't stud any chance.

USSR: they produced low quality planes and teir victorys were only the result of the huge quantity of matherials they deployed. If the losses/defeats are took into count, their aviation was one of the worst air forces of the war.

France: as in many other situations, the French failed to exployt their relative technical superiority in aviation design at the beginning of WW2.

Posted by: Victor August 06, 2004 05:41 am
QUOTE
USSR: they produced low quality planes and teir victorys were only the result of the huge quantity of matherials they deployed. If the losses/defeats are took into count, their aviation was one of the worst air forces of the war.


I have to disagree here. The VVS had some of the best aircraft in the world for the job it had to do and eventually helped the Red Army win the war. If you wil check the Allied aces list you will see who has the most kills.

Posted by: Der Maresal August 07, 2004 03:31 am
If I may only say - the Americans were very impressed about the German Airforce, the Luftwaffe. They had such an admiration for it and for the pilots, that they 'allowed' germany to keep her airforce name - Luftwaffe- after the war.

The German army - the wehrmacht had to change it's name, the Kriegsmarine too.. The Luftwaffe however remains. Americans in 1945 were mostly interested in airforce technology.

One can say roughly that the Russians were mostly interested in the German Army - in Tanks because it was against the wehrmacht that they fought mostly. The British were interested in the Germany Navy, in Submarines, Radars, radar-detectors and all sorts of secret projects that the Germans had - they had fought a war primarily against the German U-Boots in the Atlantic, they mostly took naval technology - As for the Americans (who treated german prisoners with contempt), were more kind to Luftwaffe pilots, they respected them more. during the last years of that war, mosty the US and the Luftwaffe had fought for air supremacy, so the US was mostly interested in the Airforce, in secret weapons and rocket technology.
I tried to show by this which country was interested in what 'area' and what they looted the most.
So there you have it, USSR - Army, America - Airforce, Britain - Navy.
I vote for the Luftwaffe as the most efficient airforce, with battlehardened experienced pilots, excellent aircraft, designers, engineers, great quality of workmanship, well maintained planes and superb combat record.

Posted by: Victor August 07, 2004 04:08 am
QUOTE
If I may only say - the Americans were very impressed about the German Airforce, the Luftwaffe. They had such an admiration for it and for the pilots, that they 'allowed' germany to keep her airforce name - Luftwaffe- after the war.


Actually it's the Bundesluftwaffe I think.

AS for teh best, IMO, it was the USAAF, followed by the RAF and only then the Luftwaffe and the VVS. The rest were too small to even be compared with the big players.

The USAAF had the capability to carry out any kind of mission, from strategic to tactical, something which only the RAF could do. The Luftwaffe and the VVS were limited mostly to tactical missions, which they did very well in most cases. The Germans carried out a strategic bombing campaign against Britain, but were hardly as successfull as the USAAF and RAF were later on.

Posted by: Dénes August 07, 2004 04:29 pm
Yes, I'd also say that as a whole, USAAF was the most efficient.
However, down to basic unit (squadron) or even pilot level, I stick with the Luftwaffe.

Dénes

Posted by: Chandernagore August 07, 2004 08:23 pm
USAAF might have been excellent in 44/45. But top level in 41-42 ? Uh, tell that to Saburo Sakaï ;-)

Posted by: Der Maresal August 08, 2004 03:33 am
[quote]
AS for teh best, IMO, it was the USAAF, followed by the RAF and only then the Luftwaffe and the VVS. The rest were too small to even be compared with the big players.
The USAAF had teh capability to carry out any kind of mission, from strategic to tactical, something which only the RAF could do. The Luftwaffe and the VVS were limited mostly to tactical missions, which they did very well in most cases. The Germans carried out a strategic bombing campaign against Britain, but were hardly as successfull as the USAAF and RAF were later on.[/quote]
:shock:

:nope:

If you include Stategic bombing of Cities with phosphorous and incendiary bombs, dropped on purpose on civilians, - the famillies of the soldiers at the front, and on their ancient medieval monuments to purposely demoralize them and thus shorten the end of the war - then the Anglo Americans have my vote. Arthur Harris said that if you can't get "Kraut" in his factory when he's working there, you can get him in his home when he sleeps" - not only this man had an obsessive hatread for the Germans, but never felt anthing after the war for what he had done. He had abosolutely no regretts, and neither did Tibbits of the USAAF who dropped the Atomic bomb. If most effective Airforce for you means thousands of bombers reducing cities to ashes to shorten the end of the war - then go ahead and vote for the Anglo-Americans, but in terms of skill and chivalry, and in fair air to air battle the pilots of the Luftwaffe are at the top of the list.

Posted by: Der Maresal August 08, 2004 04:26 am
[quote]
Actually it's the Bundesluftwaffe I think.
[/quote]

Yeah,..right.. o:)
And Germany is also called Bundesrepublik .., but to each of it's citizens of teutonic origin. - it's called Deutschland, as it was always called.

The germans feel todat that by putting the name "federal" before everything it makes it sound more 'democratic', and distances them from the past.

BTW: Romania was not called "Republica Populara Socialista R..." - but who on earth called it that? It's called Romania ( . )

* After the war the allies powers - all of them- intended to shape their conquered price into a 'peacefull' & tame society of Agrarians. A small symbolic army, intended to serve the interestes of Allied Command Europe, was created for this american protectorate.
Anything that had "Agressive :mad: " names like "Macht - Force" or Waffe, Waffen.., Krieg, Kriegs' ...arms, power, might, war...these words had to dissepear from the German vocabulary! ohmy.gif
The Luftwaffe was the only one that kept it's name, partically because it fought well, and partially because it was hard to find a better name for it.

:smg:

Posted by: Dr_V August 08, 2004 09:14 am
Do we have a German speaking member here? 'Cause if I'm not mistaking "luftwaffe" means just "air forces" in German and I don't think that the name could be changed...

Posted by: Victor August 08, 2004 10:47 am
Do not use double standards. Just because the Luftwaffe wasn't capable of conducting such raids, didn't mean it wouldn't do it could. See Coventry, London etc. during BoB and before that Guernica in the Spanish civil war.

The initial question was not about the most ethical air force, but about the best. And, I repeat, the USAAF had no contestant, with the exception of the RAF, simply because it could carry out any task given to it and wasn't limited to tactical duties like the Luftwaffe or the VVS.

Posted by: johnny_bi August 08, 2004 01:15 pm
[quote]simply because it could carry out any task given to it[/quote]

Including bombing Dresden and so on...

Posted by: Der Maresal August 08, 2004 10:26 pm
[quote]...I repeat, the USAAF had no contestant....,[/quote]


An 'effective"Airforce" indeed.

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These images are from a movie made by Spiegel TV.

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Picture are either from http://www.fpp.co.uk/online, the rest from my private collaction, and not from the internet.

One more thing needs clarification.

Luftwaffe weapons were shaped for precision bombing and tactical bombing , - like the Stuka. Strategic bombers that fly over continents carrying large payloads, comming in by the hundreads - it an Anglo-American wetdream - not a german one.

When bombing cities - "a bomb that dropped 300 meters from target, was considered "On Target".

Effective airforce indeed.

Posted by: Victor August 09, 2004 09:51 am
I told you not to use double standards.
Just search the web for:
- Guernica (see for example http://www.tamu.edu/mocl/picasso/study/history.html)
- Coventry (see for example http://www.cwn.org.uk/heritage/blitz/)
- London (see for example http://london.allinfo-about.com/features/blitz.html)
etc. and you will see that the USAAF and RAF were not the only air forces carrying out such raids and that the Luftwaffe als odid it while it could.

As I already told you, I do not see what ethics have do to with effectiveness, especially in war like WW2. Your personal dislike of the US shouldn't, at least theoretically, impeach from seeing this.

Posted by: dead-cat August 12, 2004 09:19 pm
QUOTE
Do we have a German speaking member here? 'Cause if I'm not mistaking \"luftwaffe\" means just \"air forces\" in German and I don't think that the name could be changed...


Luftwaffe=air force
Bundesluftwaffe= federal air force. (everything is called "federal" in Germany, Bundeswehr, Bundesmarine etc.)

Posted by: Jeff_S August 12, 2004 10:23 pm
I have to agree with Victor here. Many have noted the strengths of some air forces in different areas -- technical quality, or the bravery and skill of their pilots. And Chandernagore's right -- the American air forces (USAAF, USN, USMC) performed very poorly in the early years of the war, especially for a wealthy country who by December 1941 had over two years of watching other countries to see what worked and what did not.

But by 1945 they accomplished the full range of missions assigned to them -- tactical, strategic, and support -- in both the European and Pacific regions. To me, effectiveness is not "who had the best pilot" or "who had the best plane" -- the Americans had neither. But they played a key role in bringing victory, and that counts for a lot. Only the British RAF comes close.

As for the "ethics" issue, the Americans did not invent terror bombing, we were just the most effective at it (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, etc.). Just read some of the German statements about the value of bombing in intimidating the civilian population, and you will know "chivalry" was not high on the Luftwaffe's task list. (And you could add Warsaw, Rotterdam, and others to the list of Luftwaffe targets) They just weren't as effective. The He-111 and Do-17 simply weren't up to the job. The B-17, B-24, and B-29, escorted by the P-51, were.

Cheers, Jeff

P.S. My father was on Okinawa in August 1945, preparing for the invasion of Japan, so I might never have been born if not for the atomic bomb. I accept this may be clouding my judgment.

Posted by: i16stealth August 13, 2004 07:25 am
Denes said:
---
Maybe 'I16Stealth' can give us further details.
---

For my opinion, "effectiveness" can be explained as "smb, who done its work well". In case of air forces it means that an effective air force executes all the objectives that "stands in front of it". For example, FAF pilots made many kills, but they couldn't defend their territory from bombing. This force is to small to be effective, I think.

To Dr_V: You greatly underestimate the role of VVS in WW2. You've a lack information about it and it seems that all such information you've got is written in USA.

Posted by: dead-cat August 13, 2004 01:20 pm
QUOTE

The B-17, B-24, and B-29, escorted by the P-51, were

AFAIK the He 111 could carry a heavier bombload than the B17.
unescorted bombers are allways a problem (as the allies found out during the raid on Schweinfurt for example). and during BoB the german fighters had a range problem. then there was Hitlers and Goerings constant meddling with the fighter arm (first holding back the Me262 then taking away precious interceptors accumulated by Galland for the "big strike")
QUOTE

you will know \"chivalry\" was not high on the Luftwaffe's task list.

well, unlike in the USAAF, in the luftwaffe, firing at parachuted pilots was frowned upon.

Posted by: Jeff_S August 13, 2004 10:16 pm
QUOTE
AFAIK the He 111 could carry a heavier bombload than the B17


I would be interested in a good reference for German WW2 aircraft. Web is best of course, but print would work too. I am sure Col. Denes could help (please?)



QUOTE
unescorted bombers are allways a problem (as the allies found out during the raid on Schweinfurt


I so agree with you there! Schweinfurt is probably the best example, but not the only one. I think the U.S. day bombing doctrine, as opposed to the RAF night bombing, only became workable because of the range of the P-51. And I'm not totally convinced, even with that. As for the arguments about "increased accuracy", it still seems to have been pretty bad. What is "less accurate"? Bombing Switzerland or Sweden by mistake?

QUOTE
then there was Hitlers and Goerings constant meddling with the fighter arm


I agree here too. You could add "meddling with fighter production" also. For example wasting resources on jets (especially bombers ohmy.gif ) other than the Me262, rather than putting it in production as soon as possible and building as many as possible.

QUOTE
well, unlike in the USAAF, in the luftwaffe, firing at parachuted pilots was frowned upon


Could you point me to a believable source for this? I thought most air forces frowned on this, but that it really depended on the pilots. There can always be a gap between the theory and the reality.

Posted by: PanzerKing August 13, 2004 10:18 pm
Oh yes Maresal, the nasty Americans were the only ones that bombed populated cities...

Ever heard of Rotterdam, Belgrade, London etc? I believe the Germans used those tactics first.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but Germany was hardly innocent.

Posted by: dead-cat August 13, 2004 10:44 pm
QUOTE

Could you point me to a believable source for this? I thought most air forces frowned on this, but that it really depended on the pilots. There can always be a gap between the theory and the reality.


Raymond F. Toliver / Trevor J. Constable "Horrido!"(Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe) Arthur Barker Ltd., London 1968 (i think. i read a german version reprint)

in chapter 3. (about Galland):
Galland refused Göring when the latter tried to find out if Galland might agree on issuing an order to shoot at parachuted pilots.

in the same chapter the authors single out the USAAF fighter branch for not embracing the same point of view.
also, an order is mentioned, to explicitely shoot at parachuted Me262 pilots.

Posted by: dragos August 13, 2004 11:00 pm
QUOTE
AFAIK the He 111 could carry a heavier bombload than the B17.


He111 bomb load: 4,400lb.

B-17 bomb load: 12,800lb (max).

Source: The Macmillan Dictionary of the Second World War

Posted by: dead-cat August 13, 2004 11:14 pm
probably depends on the type.
AFAIK B17C could carry 4800lbs while the He111 H6 could carry 2800kg of bombs (which amounts about 5600lbs, if i'm not mistaken)

taken from http://www.ww2guide.com/usab.shtml

but i'm no aircraft specialist, so if anyone has more reliable data, i stand corrected.

Posted by: dragos August 13, 2004 11:32 pm
The bombload of 12,800lb is given for B-17G while the 4,400lb is given for He111H3

Posted by: Victor August 14, 2004 05:28 am
QUOTE
What is \"less accurate\"? Bombing Switzerland or Sweden by mistake?


That actually happened.

QUOTE
Could you point me to a believable source for this? I thought most air forces frowned on this, but that it really depended on the pilots. There can always be a gap between the theory and the reality.


On 21 April 1944, adj. av. Spiridon Matei from the 58th Fighter Squadron/7th Fighter Group was shot down near Ramnicul Valcea by 31st Fighter Group's P-51s. He bailed out, but was shot in the parachute.

Posted by: Dénes August 14, 2004 03:02 pm
There were more than one occasion when American pilots shot on Rumanian pilots descending on their parachutes.
One can find same reports from Hungarian sources as well (not to mention German).

Col. Dénes

Posted by: Dénes August 14, 2004 03:10 pm
QUOTE
On 21 April 1944, adj. av. Spiridon Matei from the 58th Fighter Squadron/7th Fighter Group was shot down near Ramnicul Valcea by 31st Fighter Group's P-51s. He bailed out, but was shot in the parachute.

I have a note in my loss files that he was shot down by Lightnings.
BTW, do you have the tail number of his I.A.R. 80/81?

Col. Dénes

Posted by: mabadesc August 14, 2004 06:36 pm
I've been watching this thread from its inception and have been quite amused and sympathetic with Victor's repeated attempts to prove his point through objective statements, only to be shut down by completely irrelevant, subjective arguments which have nothing to do with Air Force "EFFICIENCY". laugh.gif

Victor came up with simple, objective, and to-the-point arguments, all relevant to the USAAF/RAF's efficiency in WWII.
It seems, however, that some people cannot put aside their dislike/hatred/envy of the US even for one moment. Their dislike of the US is so great that they simply will not concede that the US was the best at anything, never, ever, period. If you bring objective arguments that they have no answer to (like Victor did), they will just change the topic or come up with irrelevant criticism. laugh.gif

I knew this was going to happen in this thread as soon as someone would mention the USAAF as being the most efficient airforce in WWII, and surely enough, that's how it happened.

So, in conclusion, here is the summary of this thread:

The Luftwaffe was the most efficient WWII airforce at all levels and at all types of missions.
(Even though the USAAF had the best fighter of the war (P-51) and the best strategic bombers of the war (B-17, B-24), and even though they could conduct any type of mission, including large-scope strategic ones, which the Luftwaffe could not)

Why was the Luftwaffe the most efficient WWII airforce? Simple: it's because their pilots exhibited chivalry and would not shoot at parachuting pilots with the same frequency the allies did. biggrin.gif

How can you argue with this line of thinking? These are rock-solid, relevant arguments in establishing efficiency. :roll: laugh.gif

Posted by: dead-cat August 14, 2004 09:56 pm
QUOTE

Why was the Luftwaffe the most efficient WWII airforce? Simple: it's because their pilots exhibited chivalry and would not shoot at parachuting pilots with the same frequency the allies did.

would you please bother to quote who exactly claimed that?

Jeff said something about the Luftwaffe not displaying chivalry to which i pointed out an obviously frequent USAAF custom of shooting at bailed out pilots. the conclusion that, because the luftwaffe command did not encourage such a beaviour, the luftwaffe is the most efficient air force is entirely yours.

QUOTE

Even though the USAAF had the best fighter of the war (P-51)

i'd say it's the Me262.
there is another category: night fighter
but when discussing the best fighters (more than just from a technological point of view) the quality of the pilot is even more relevant. and since german pilots flew on average more missions they gained more experience than most allied pilots. hence the high(er) numbers of aerial victories.

Posted by: Victor August 15, 2004 06:35 am
Mabadesc, there is no need to flame things, so calm down.

Posted by: i16stealth August 15, 2004 09:08 am
QUOTE
Why was the Luftwaffe the most efficient WWII airforce?  Simple:  it's because their pilots exhibited chivalry and would not shoot at parachuting pilots with the same frequency the allies did.   biggrin.gif


The Soviets didn't shoot also.

Posted by: Victor August 15, 2004 10:01 am
Not exactly. See the case of lt. Mihail Oncioiu here: http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/viewtopic.php?p=757

Posted by: Victor August 15, 2004 10:18 am
QUOTE
but when discussing the best fighters (more than just from a technological point of view) the quality of the pilot is even more relevant. and since german pilots flew on average more missions they gained more experience than most allied pilots. hence the high(er) numbers of aerial victories.


The average pilot quality, especially towards the end of the war, was higher on the USAAF side, than on the Luftwaffe side. I believe it was Pierre Closterman who said that the Luftwaffe had 20% superb pilots and 80% future victims, or something like that. The American system relied more on large numbers of good pilots (hence the over 1250 aces) than on fewer superb Experten.

Posted by: C-2 August 15, 2004 11:51 am
All nations participating pilots ,some were shooting at parachutes :cry: :cry:

Posted by: cipiamon August 15, 2004 01:32 pm
QUOTE
the Germans had some of the most successful pilots, given their number of victories, but we must take into account the fact that they stayed in combat for the longest time and had the biggest number of sorties.


I heard that before and i don't agree whit it, it's logic for me that they also have the most high ratio of surviving, so they were better pilots

From all non-propagandistic material i read it was not the quality of the pilots who matter in the end but he quantity, you can't win a battle when is 17:1.

Posted by: Huck August 20, 2004 01:27 am
Among the major airforces, LW was definitely the most efficient. The very best pilots using the very best material. Lethal to the last day (in the west), in spite of TR dissarray.

A better use of resources might have led to a different outcome, but the chances were slim. What was expected to happen, happened. LW was better than any of its enemies, but not good enough to defeat them all.

Posted by: mabadesc August 20, 2004 05:18 pm
QUOTE
Among the major airforces, LW was definitely the most efficient.


The Luftwaffe was definitely a formidable tactical force (though not nearly as much in '44 and '45).

However, what were its strategic capabilities?

Posted by: Victor August 20, 2004 08:09 pm
QUOTE
A better use of resources might have led to a different outcome, but the chances were slim. What was expected to happen, happened. LW was better than any of its enemies, but not good enough to defeat them all.


The question was about the best air force, not the best pilots. IMO, at least, an air force also includes a leadership, staffs, not only some Geschwader.

Posted by: Huck August 22, 2004 01:52 am
QUOTE
QUOTE
Among the major airforces, LW was definitely the most efficient.


The Luftwaffe was definitely a formidable tactical force (though not nearly as much in '44 and '45).

However, what were its strategic capabilities?



If you mean by strategic capabilities the ability to strike directly the suppliers and the supply lines and facilities LW had this capability until mid '44 on Western Front, because range was not an issue. In the East they had this ability from mid '43 when He-177 became available, but they did not used it until mid '44. KG1 mounted 100 planes long range raids from Germany to Russia for about 2 months. Reportedly these missions were successful and only 10 planes were lost (enemy action + accidents + written-offs). However these mission were stopped because KG1 started conversion to Me-262 fighters in August '44 - KG1 will be the nucleus for the famous jet fighter wing, JG7.

Another LW strategic ability was the antishipping capability. Although strongly discouraged by Goering and Milch, LW antishipping units were capable of sinking comparable amounts of shipping with KM U-boats, which they did when they were adequately supplied (these units were probably the worst supplied LW units, most of the time their aircrafts were unserviceable), all these without the KM immense efforts and losses. In '43 and '44 antishipping units like KG40 and KG100 remained extremely dangerous not only to merchant ships but also to warships (a target already untouchable for the U-boats).

Posted by: Huck August 22, 2004 02:03 am
QUOTE
QUOTE
A better use of resources might have led to a different outcome, but the chances were slim. What was expected to happen, happened. LW was better than any of its enemies, but not good enough to defeat them all.


The question was about the best air force, not the best pilots. IMO, at least, an air force also includes a leadership, staffs, not only some Geschwader.



The question was about the most effective air force not the best airforce. A small airforce was not capable of being the most effective because it lacked the variety of capabilities a major airforce had. Therefore we have to restrict our answers to American, British, German, Russian and Japanese airforces. In my opinion LW outperforms each of these contenders, in war material, pilots, tactics and leaders (not always though laugh.gif).

Posted by: Chandernagore September 03, 2004 03:05 pm
QUOTE
LW was better than any of its enemies, but not good enough to defeat them all.


In 1940 it was not even good enough to defeat just one (RAF) in spite of blatant and continuous numerical superiority.

Posted by: mabadesc September 03, 2004 08:50 pm
QUOTE
KG1 mounted 100 planes long range raids from Germany to Russia for about 2 months. Reportedly these missions were successful and only 10 planes were lost (enemy action + accidents + written-offs). However these mission were stopped because KG1 started conversion to Me-262 fighters in August '44 - KG1 will be the nucleus for the famous jet fighter wing, JG7.


100 planes does not constitute a powerful long-range strategic bomber fleet. 2 months of long-range operations does not constitute an efficient strategic campaign.

The Me-262 jet fighter/bomber was a non-issue in the grand scheme of things. It came much too late in the war, when "the party was already over".

Posted by: Dénes September 11, 2004 08:10 pm
Here is what one of the Luftwaffe's Experte fighter pilots, Alfred Grislawski, has to say about his involvement in the air war on the Western Front, in 1944:
"When we flew over Normandie in the summer of 1944, I had amassed an experience of almost 800 combat missions. That meant that I had learned to master every situation would could possibly imagine. I felt that I was immensely superior to every Allied fighter pilot which we confronted in the air. When one has gained the experience I had by that time, one realizes that in order to get even the most necessary situational awareness in an air combat, an experience of at least 50 combat missions is necessary. Before that, I would say that you are a beginner. And the Allied pilots were pulled out of combat after only 50 combat missions. I can't understand that. That means that they never accumulated the necessary experience. That was quite obvious in air combat over Normandie. I always was able to calculate my opponent's next move. If we had not been outnumbered by 10 or 20 to one, they would not have stood a chance. But they triumphed due to their vast numbers."

I think this small quote is very relevant to the original thread title.

Col. Dénes

Posted by: dragos September 11, 2004 08:20 pm
QUOTE
... And the Allied pilots were pulled out of combat after only 50 combat missions. I can't understand that. That means that they never accumulated the necessary experience...

Here lays, in my opinion, a difference between civilizations, regarding the perception on war. For Americans 50 missions were enough to do your duty, and the reward was sending the pilot home, alive. Of course, because the Germans were fighting to the end (or to the final victory :| ), all they could think was to perfect themselves, even if that did not acquit a sudden death.

Posted by: Chandernagore September 11, 2004 08:26 pm
QUOTE
For Americans 50 missions were enough to do your duty, and the reward was sending the pilot home, alive.


I think the idea behind it was that after a set number of missions the pilot would return home to become instructor. The pacific theatre saw that organization bear fruits as US fighter pilot quality kept increasing throughout the war while the Japanese one dwindled in spite of their higher scoring aces.

Posted by: Victor September 11, 2004 08:44 pm
The Japanese pilot quality decreased not only because of the lack of instructors, but also because of lack of enough fuel to train them properly. The situation in Germany towards the end of the war was somewhat similar.

Posted by: cipiamon September 21, 2004 02:29 pm
QUOTE (dragos @ Sep 11 2004, 08:20 PM)
Here lays, in my opinion, a difference between civilizations, regarding the perception on war. For Americans 50 missions were enough to do your duty, and the reward was sending the pilot home, alive.

Too bad they always send big groups of lams to fight whit wolfes, this concept is totaly wrong but the hurt ones ar heroes laugh.gif

Posted by: Dan Po November 04, 2004 12:52 am
In my oppinion, the Luftwaffe was the best air-force in the WW2, if we consider the fighting value. Just we have to compare how many allied plannes was losts to destroy a german one and we have the true winner.

I read about this in a historical magazine but i don t have acces to those precise informations in present. Maybe gen. Denes can help us with his knowledge ....

Posted by: Dénes November 04, 2004 04:17 am
Well, I am no General any more, but I still preserve my knowledge. wink.gif

I also think the Luftwaffe was the most effective tactical air force in W.W. 2. However, to your point, not all Allied (incl. Soviet, of course) aircraft were shot down by the Jagdwaffe (and it's Axis Allies). The Flak (organizatorically part of the Luftwaffe) also claimed huge numbers of victims, particularly among the US heavy bombers. I cannot dig out the concrete numbers just now, perhaps later on.

Lt. Col. Dénes

Posted by: Curioso March 04, 2005 10:17 am
QUOTE (Dénes @ Sep 11 2004, 08:10 PM)
Here is what one of the Luftwaffe's Experte fighter pilots, Alfred Grislawski, has to say about his involvement in the air war on the Western Front, in 1944:
"When we flew over Normandie in the summer of 1944, I had amassed an experience of almost 800 combat missions. That meant that I had learned to master every situation would could possibly imagine. I felt that I was immensely superior to every Allied fighter pilot which we confronted in the air. When one has gained the experience I had by that time, one realizes that in order to get even the most necessary situational awareness in an air combat, an experience of at least 50 combat missions is necessary. Before that, I would say that you are a beginner. And the Allied pilots were pulled out of combat after only 50 combat missions. I can't understand that. That means that they never accumulated the necessary experience. That was quite obvious in air combat over Normandie. I always was able to calculate my opponent's next move. If we had not been outnumbered by 10 or 20 to one, they would not have stood a chance. But they triumphed due to their vast numbers."

I think this small quote is very relevant to the original thread title.

Col. Dénes

This quote would be meaningful if _all_ the German pilots in 1944 had been Experten with 700+ missions. That is, of course, untrue. Even Experten got shot down in a moment of carelessness, or were found by an AA round, or died in a simple accident. And in any case the Experten were a minority to start with, because they were the result of inborn talent and combat refinement, and inborn talent is rare, and combat nips out both the unlucky and those who simply are not Experte stuff.
So by 1944 the Luftwaffe included newcomers, a majority of them, and they were lambs just like any other nations' newcomers - and increasingly even more so, since Germany wasn't able to expend the fuel they needed for serious training.

Add to that the fact that the mission limit was an US affair, at least AFAIK. I'm not aware of similar practices in the British or Soviet air forces.

Posted by: alexkdl March 06, 2005 11:50 am
QUOTE (Dénes @ Nov 4 2004, 04:17 AM)
Well, I am no General any more, but I still preserve my knowledge. wink.gif

I also think the Luftwaffe was the most effective tactical air force in W.W. 2. However, to your point, not all Allied (incl. Soviet, of course) aircraft were shot down by the Jagdwaffe (and it's Axis Allies). The Flak (organizatorically part of the Luftwaffe) also claimed huge numbers of victims, particularly among the US heavy bombers. I cannot dig out the concrete numbers just now, perhaps later on.

Lt. Col. Dénes

Denes here are the numbers you looking for

US aircraft losses ( all services) was numbered to 59'296 ; 9949 of it were bombers and 8'420 fighters. The human toll of US ARMY AIR CORPS/USAF was 234'874 and 565'861 wounded. the total American military personal loss in WWII was 406'000.

From Martin Bowman ( not Bormann) USAAF Handbook 1939-1945


Al

Posted by: Bearcat March 07, 2005 05:24 am
QUOTE
Italy: produced maybe the worst WW2 planes and their rigid and outdated tactics were not helping them. There were many brave Italian pilots, but didn't stud any chance.


Italy produced many quality planes in WW2 unfortunatly they came too late too few to make an impact. Planes such as the Fiat G.55 which was on par with the P-51 even
http://www.comandosupremo.com/G55.html

Macchi Mc.205 Veltro another very capable fighter
http://www.comandosupremo.com/Mc205.html

and the Piaggio-108 heavy bomber
http://www.comandosupremo.com/P108.html

And of course the SM.79 which Romania used effectivly, Also there is the Reggiane jetfighter which never got finished being produced. So as you can see italy actually had some of the best planes, and yes the tactics were not great many years of facing airforces from nations like Ethiopia, Albania, and Spain had made the pilots cocky. The italian pilots also are known for being acrobats which even the bomber pilots would be seen as which does not help.

Posted by: Fratello March 08, 2005 01:37 pm
It's very hard to say hwo was most effective air force in WW2
But I vote Luftwaffe> the best pilots and fighter planes (in my opinion)
...and do not forget the AAR with his pilots.

Posted by: Ruy Aballe March 09, 2005 03:09 pm
The Finnish Ilmavoimat is among the best, at least they performed incredible deeds against an enemy with an overwhelming superiority (in numbers). And for most of the time, they've done that with obsolete aircraft especially during the Winter War. Of course, the quality of the pilot training was first class among the Finns, but still... they used aircraft (take the example of the Brewster 239, for instance) that everybody else thought of as inferior to their advantage, exploiting all their resources in a very professional way. Pity that V.L., the local, State-owned aircraft industry only managed to design and build an capable indigenous fighter when all the fighting was over and after the armistice with the Russians... their radial-engined Myrsky was mediocre at best, but the Pyörremyrsky was actually a very good fighter, but remained at the prototype stage only.

Ruy

Posted by: Florin April 07, 2012 04:42 am
For whoever is interested and has time to read:

http://wunder2.greyfalcon.us/German%20wonder%20weapons.htm

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