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> The most effective air force in WW2
Victor
Posted: August 20, 2004 08:09 pm
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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.
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Huck
Posted: August 22, 2004 01:52 am
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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).
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Huck
Posted: August 22, 2004 02:03 am
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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 :lol:).
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Chandernagore
Posted: September 03, 2004 03:05 pm
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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.
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mabadesc
Posted: September 03, 2004 08:50 pm
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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".
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Dénes
Posted: September 11, 2004 08:10 pm
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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.

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dragos
Posted: September 11, 2004 08:20 pm
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... 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.
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Chandernagore
Posted: September 11, 2004 08:26 pm
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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.
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Victor
Posted: September 11, 2004 08:44 pm
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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.
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cipiamon
Posted: September 21, 2004 02:29 pm
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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 :lol:
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Dan Po
Posted: November 04, 2004 12:52 am
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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 ....

This post has been edited by Dan Po on November 04, 2004 12:55 am
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Dénes
Posted: November 04, 2004 04:17 am
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Well, I am no General any more, but I still preserve my knowledge. ;)

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

This post has been edited by Dénes on November 04, 2004 04:17 am
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Curioso
Posted: March 04, 2005 10:17 am
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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.
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alexkdl
Posted: March 06, 2005 11:50 am
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QUOTE (Dénes @ Nov 4 2004, 04:17 AM)
Well, I am no General any more, but I still preserve my knowledge. ;)

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
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Bearcat
Posted: March 07, 2005 05:24 am
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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.
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