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Istreliteli
06-06-2004, 07:13 PM
Article from Russian war-history magazine.

Autor: Yuri Muchin.

Soviet historians have been writing for a long time now that Russian aircraft that were "shot down" by German aces were in fact aircraft that the Germans merely shot at and not really shot down. At the moment of the shooting, photographs were taken. Film was taken from the German fighters. There is no doubt about the fact that the Germans shot at the Soviet aircraft but there is not enough proof that these planes were destroyed.

Without a doubt, especially in the encyclopedias, the thought of German flawlessness was carefully planted. As it turned out, for every plane that was shot down, the Germans, used the photos made with a special photo machine-gun to fill out a 21 question form. Question 9 asked for confirmations from witnesses that a plane was shot down. Could the Germans have truely lied in such circumstances? When the Americans and British had a plane that was shot down in a group battle, they divided their results fractionally-lets say 6.5 kills. For Soviet pilots, such a plane was recorded individually to every participant. This kill would not enter into personal victories. For the Germans the kill would of course be given to that person who made the kill. German fighters flew in pairs so it is understandable that there was a mentality of "you confirm mine today" and "I will confirm yours tommorow." In that case the Germans had no problems with witnesses. The only obstacle to a notice would be the pilots laziness towards the filling out of the 21 question form. But they weren't lazy.

Declarations of victories over Soviet pilots were writen mercilessly. For the example of German "love of work", I will cite the following from "Encyclopedias to also show the level of writing: "November 6, 1943 - during a 17 minute battle over Lake Ladoga. Rudorffer declared his 13 Soviet kills. It was, of course, one of the biggest successes in fighter aviation and one of the most antagonistic battles. Rudorffer's rivals (maybe-critics-U.M.) pointed to the fact that for this day there were no documents confirming these victories. On the other hand it is unknown as to how Rudorffer had enough ammunition; nor how the vicories were confirmed. In the end, this matter can be verified by ground documentation on the losses of Soviet units (if they really existed. For this, the planes really needed to be shot down U.M.). In addition to his work, the hard-working Rudorffer, given blisters from a pen, was entered into the ******ss Book of Records despite the fact that another pilot had the right.

July 6, 1943 - Guards Junior Lieutentant A.K. Gorovets, attacked a defended formation of Ju-87 dive-bombers alone. He shot down 9 aircraft. He didn't fill out any forms for his kills and when he ran out of ammunition, he was shot by 6 Messerschmidt bombers. The 9 "Junkers" kills were confirmed on the ground. To hell with the book of records, it isn't the main point. I'm looking at the list of 324 of our best pilots. Not a name from any "civilized" nation. Even something like "Rabinovich" isn't there. Everywhere there are Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar, Georgian, Armenian names. There are even two "Mukhins." Is today's pilots nationality much different? How should our pilots fight "them" today if "they" were shooting down our fathers by nearly 10 times more? One thing remains for our pilots to do upon seeing a plane with a "civilized" German or American - raise your hands in surrender and shout "Yeltsin is Kaputt."


AWARDS

Upon describing the hardships of their beloved Germans, some authors cannot leave out how Hitler awarded his aces. Thus in this case they begin to have difficulties.
Awards are different but they have one goal: to stimulate great triumphs. Without this goal they are simply toys and there is no value to them. To fulfill the goal of the award one must fulfill and equal a principle. Eliminate this principle during awarding and you eliminate the award. Lets assume, in the USSR the highest decoration is the Order of Lenin. But seeing as how it was given deserving its stature, and the obkom secretary's birthday. Many in the army sought to earn the medal and not simply own it, it seemed, a less important Order of the Fighting Red Banner.

The Germans of those days were born to be in the military. One can say, they loved war and, corresponding in such, they knew exactly what a decoration was and the purpose it served. Their main decoration was the Iron Cross with its many levels. First the Iron Cross, Second Class was given, then first class and then the Knight's Cross. In addition, the Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds were added. All the Crosses were given for fairly equal accomplishments. But when you involve a fighter pilot, these different decorations varied in stature depending on the front the pilot flew in. There were three such fronts:
1) Western- Territory in Western Europe under Germany's control-and the British Isles
2) Southern- Italy, Greece and North Africa.
3) Eastern- USSR


INTERESTING DETAILS

To earn a Knight's Cross on the Western front, a German pilot must have accumulated 40 aerial victories. Lets say, the best of the decorations including the Diamonds, the pilot fought exclusively on the Western Front until death. H. Lent (totaling 113 kills) recieved his Knight's Cross for 16 kills (Polish and English). G. Jabs (totaling 50 kills) recieved the coveted cross after 19 kills (French and English). G. Gollob (totaling 152 kills) got his after 42 kills. F. Muller, by May 9, 1945, he had 30 kills. He recieved his Cross in July of 1944. At the same time on the Eastern Front, V. Batz (totaling 237 kills) recieved the Cross after he filled out his 101st form declaration of confirmed kills. On the Western Front, H. Lent recieved his Oak Leaves for his Knight's Cross after 60 kills. G. Jabs, having killed a total of 50 during the war, recieved his Leaves in March of 1944.

On the Eastern Front, E. Hartmann (352 kills) recieved the Leaves after his 200th kill. V. Novotny (258 kills) after 190. G. Barkhorn (301 kills) after 175. Diamonds for the Ritterkreuz on the W. Front were given after 80-100 kills (W. Melders, A. Galland, H. Lent), but on the Eastern Front - after 250-300 kills(W. Novotny, E. Hartmann).


THESE BAD SOVIET PILOTS

Some authors gave extraordinary and elaborate excuses to this outrageous and obvious mistake. Soviet pilots were so much worse than British pilots, their planes so obsolete that their destruction counted for very little. This idea needed to be confirmed with facts. Strangely, no one seems to be doing this since the facts tell a much different story. English and French pilots fought longer than Soviet pilots by 1.5 times. Besides that, to the end of 1941, Russian pilots did not make any individual records, but aircraft, shot down in group battles, were not recorded as personal scores. This is why if English and French pilots were not just better, but at least a bit worse than Soviet pilots, the victories of their best pilots for the most part would have been much higher than that of Soviet Pilots. But reality looked like this. The best English ace, Col. D. Johnson - completed 515 sorties but achieved only 38 German kills. The best French ace, Lieutenant (Lt. Col. in the RAF) P. Closterman - completed 432 sorties during the war but had only 33 kills. But Ivan Nikitich Kozhedub, flying exclusively on Soviet aircraft, from 1943 onwards completed just 330 sorties with 62 German kills. In the Royal Air Force, only 3 pilots achieved 32+ kills. In the the Soviet Air Force, there were 39 of these people. Where should A. F. Klubov be placed with his 31 kills + 19 in group combats? What about L. L. Shestakov, whose personal score was just 29 aircraft + 45 kills in group combat? Even if but one-third of the 45 was killed by him personally, then L.L Shestakov, took 52nd place in the list of Soviet aces. This pilot overtook the best English ace.


WHO WAS KILLING THEM?

The publication "Eastern Front" released a collection "Soviet Aces" from an anonymous author. Judging by the text, the author was Polish. He could hardly hide his conflicted feelings towards "Stalin's Falcons." Through his teeth he was forced to write the following:

"Combat with the Me-262 wasn't the worst in Kozhedub's career. He lived
through more difficult times in the end of summer 1944, when in the skies
over the 3rd Baltic Front suddenly appeared a Luftwaffe volunteer group of
aces under the command of Major Wilhe (130 kills). This group was able
to cause such a mess that for the liquidation of the group, the 14th
Air-Army was forced to include the forces of the 176th Guards Fighter
Regiment under Kozhedub's command. The arrival of the Soviet veteran
pilots signalled the quick dispatchment of the German volunteers.
Kozhedub's men shot down 12 German aircraft at the cost of 2 La-7's. It
was reported that Kozhedub personally shot down Wilhe, however who
truly became the victim of the Soviet ace is still uncertain."

The British and Americans bombed Germany mercilessly, meanwhile the Germans tried to constantly maneuver their aircraft to protect their cities. According to their data, they sometimes left no more than 400 fighters on the Eastern Front. Nevertheless the Germans lost one-quarter of their aviation in the Western and Southern theaters but suffered three quarters losses to their airpower on the Eastern Front. Was that because Soviet pilots were worse than the British?

The stupidity of similar arguments is supported even by this fact: in the beginning of the war the Germans faced obsolescent aircraft such as the TB-3 and SB bombers that were converted from a totally-wooden passenger aircraft. The fighters I-16 and I-153 were flown by inexperienced pilots. Within a year, the Germans were met with modern Yak, LaGG, and MiG fighters. They were attacked by the nimble Pe-2 dive bomber and the IL-2 Shturmovik (known as the "Black Death" or "concrete flying tub" to the Germans). German fighter pilots remarked that fighting the IL-2 was like attacking a porcupine. German ace O. Kittel (267 kills) was put to rest forever by the IL-2.

It seemed that for this reason, in the beginning of the war in the East, the German command was obliged to give medals for vast quantities of destroyed Soviet aircraft. In the end, it simply became harder to shoot down Soviet aircraft. In reality, everything was the other way around! In the beginning of the war on the Eastern Front, the Oak Leaves for the Knight's Cross were handed out for 40 kills. In 1942 it was 100, 1943 it was 120 and towards the end of 1943 it was 190. An important question: how is this meant to be interpreted?


"BERMUDA TRIANGLE"

German ace Walter Novotny was a favorite in the Luftwaffe, like Bukharin in the VKP(b). By February 1944, he had filled out 255 forms for his kills against Soviet aircraft. In February he was transfered to the Western Front into a regiment of rocket-propelled fighters. Within a period of 8 months the super-ace didn't manage to shoot down one enemy aircraft! On the 8th of November he was shot down. It is thought that in this final battle he managed to "neutralize" 3 American bombers. But from this "neutralizing" one gets a sense of a "death flight."

German Graf was in the Luftwaffe since 1938. But before the war with the USSR, he didn't manage to shoot down a single British or Polish aircraft. In August of 1941 he was transfered to the Eastern theater. Here, until the end of 1942, he was simply destroying "packs" of Soviet aircraft. He filled out forms for 202 kills (over a period of 17 months). From January 1943 - in France until the end of the war (29 months) he managed to shoot down 10 enemy aircraft! Notice the discrepancy between East and West: in the the USSR, he was doing 10+ per month, whereas in the West he did 10 over 29 months!

Gunther Rahl began fighting in May 1940. In France and Western Europe (until the end of 1941) he shot down 4 aircraft. On the Eastern Front from the end of 1941 to April 1944 (28 months) he shot down 275 aircraft. Again in the West: April 1944 to May 1945: only 2 aircraft. One might think that Western airpower was almost non-existant according to these records. The records for the East are nothing but correct!
One gets the impression that for the German aces of the Eastern Front, the Western Front was a sort of "Bermuda Triangle." Easily shooting down Soviet aircraft, they were incapable of defending the skies of their own country fighting with weaker pilots of the West. What exactly is the problem here. What was it about the East that the Germans had so much trouble with? One might only begin to wonder.

Translatred by Sergey with Michael A. Balis advice. USA.

Ya sizhu i smotru chuzhoya neba iz chuzhoya okna, i ne vidyem ne odnoi znakom iz zvezdiy,ya hodil po vsyem dorogo iz tuda i suda, a vernusya i ne smog, razgredyet sledi, no isli yest karmane pachka sigaret nachat vsye ne tak uzh plocha na syevodnachniy dyen-Victor Tsoi, Kino (Gruppa Krovi)

Istreliteli
06-06-2004, 07:13 PM
Article from Russian war-history magazine.

Autor: Yuri Muchin.

Soviet historians have been writing for a long time now that Russian aircraft that were "shot down" by German aces were in fact aircraft that the Germans merely shot at and not really shot down. At the moment of the shooting, photographs were taken. Film was taken from the German fighters. There is no doubt about the fact that the Germans shot at the Soviet aircraft but there is not enough proof that these planes were destroyed.

Without a doubt, especially in the encyclopedias, the thought of German flawlessness was carefully planted. As it turned out, for every plane that was shot down, the Germans, used the photos made with a special photo machine-gun to fill out a 21 question form. Question 9 asked for confirmations from witnesses that a plane was shot down. Could the Germans have truely lied in such circumstances? When the Americans and British had a plane that was shot down in a group battle, they divided their results fractionally-lets say 6.5 kills. For Soviet pilots, such a plane was recorded individually to every participant. This kill would not enter into personal victories. For the Germans the kill would of course be given to that person who made the kill. German fighters flew in pairs so it is understandable that there was a mentality of "you confirm mine today" and "I will confirm yours tommorow." In that case the Germans had no problems with witnesses. The only obstacle to a notice would be the pilots laziness towards the filling out of the 21 question form. But they weren't lazy.

Declarations of victories over Soviet pilots were writen mercilessly. For the example of German "love of work", I will cite the following from "Encyclopedias to also show the level of writing: "November 6, 1943 - during a 17 minute battle over Lake Ladoga. Rudorffer declared his 13 Soviet kills. It was, of course, one of the biggest successes in fighter aviation and one of the most antagonistic battles. Rudorffer's rivals (maybe-critics-U.M.) pointed to the fact that for this day there were no documents confirming these victories. On the other hand it is unknown as to how Rudorffer had enough ammunition; nor how the vicories were confirmed. In the end, this matter can be verified by ground documentation on the losses of Soviet units (if they really existed. For this, the planes really needed to be shot down U.M.). In addition to his work, the hard-working Rudorffer, given blisters from a pen, was entered into the ******ss Book of Records despite the fact that another pilot had the right.

July 6, 1943 - Guards Junior Lieutentant A.K. Gorovets, attacked a defended formation of Ju-87 dive-bombers alone. He shot down 9 aircraft. He didn't fill out any forms for his kills and when he ran out of ammunition, he was shot by 6 Messerschmidt bombers. The 9 "Junkers" kills were confirmed on the ground. To hell with the book of records, it isn't the main point. I'm looking at the list of 324 of our best pilots. Not a name from any "civilized" nation. Even something like "Rabinovich" isn't there. Everywhere there are Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar, Georgian, Armenian names. There are even two "Mukhins." Is today's pilots nationality much different? How should our pilots fight "them" today if "they" were shooting down our fathers by nearly 10 times more? One thing remains for our pilots to do upon seeing a plane with a "civilized" German or American - raise your hands in surrender and shout "Yeltsin is Kaputt."


AWARDS

Upon describing the hardships of their beloved Germans, some authors cannot leave out how Hitler awarded his aces. Thus in this case they begin to have difficulties.
Awards are different but they have one goal: to stimulate great triumphs. Without this goal they are simply toys and there is no value to them. To fulfill the goal of the award one must fulfill and equal a principle. Eliminate this principle during awarding and you eliminate the award. Lets assume, in the USSR the highest decoration is the Order of Lenin. But seeing as how it was given deserving its stature, and the obkom secretary's birthday. Many in the army sought to earn the medal and not simply own it, it seemed, a less important Order of the Fighting Red Banner.

The Germans of those days were born to be in the military. One can say, they loved war and, corresponding in such, they knew exactly what a decoration was and the purpose it served. Their main decoration was the Iron Cross with its many levels. First the Iron Cross, Second Class was given, then first class and then the Knight's Cross. In addition, the Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds were added. All the Crosses were given for fairly equal accomplishments. But when you involve a fighter pilot, these different decorations varied in stature depending on the front the pilot flew in. There were three such fronts:
1) Western- Territory in Western Europe under Germany's control-and the British Isles
2) Southern- Italy, Greece and North Africa.
3) Eastern- USSR


INTERESTING DETAILS

To earn a Knight's Cross on the Western front, a German pilot must have accumulated 40 aerial victories. Lets say, the best of the decorations including the Diamonds, the pilot fought exclusively on the Western Front until death. H. Lent (totaling 113 kills) recieved his Knight's Cross for 16 kills (Polish and English). G. Jabs (totaling 50 kills) recieved the coveted cross after 19 kills (French and English). G. Gollob (totaling 152 kills) got his after 42 kills. F. Muller, by May 9, 1945, he had 30 kills. He recieved his Cross in July of 1944. At the same time on the Eastern Front, V. Batz (totaling 237 kills) recieved the Cross after he filled out his 101st form declaration of confirmed kills. On the Western Front, H. Lent recieved his Oak Leaves for his Knight's Cross after 60 kills. G. Jabs, having killed a total of 50 during the war, recieved his Leaves in March of 1944.

On the Eastern Front, E. Hartmann (352 kills) recieved the Leaves after his 200th kill. V. Novotny (258 kills) after 190. G. Barkhorn (301 kills) after 175. Diamonds for the Ritterkreuz on the W. Front were given after 80-100 kills (W. Melders, A. Galland, H. Lent), but on the Eastern Front - after 250-300 kills(W. Novotny, E. Hartmann).


THESE BAD SOVIET PILOTS

Some authors gave extraordinary and elaborate excuses to this outrageous and obvious mistake. Soviet pilots were so much worse than British pilots, their planes so obsolete that their destruction counted for very little. This idea needed to be confirmed with facts. Strangely, no one seems to be doing this since the facts tell a much different story. English and French pilots fought longer than Soviet pilots by 1.5 times. Besides that, to the end of 1941, Russian pilots did not make any individual records, but aircraft, shot down in group battles, were not recorded as personal scores. This is why if English and French pilots were not just better, but at least a bit worse than Soviet pilots, the victories of their best pilots for the most part would have been much higher than that of Soviet Pilots. But reality looked like this. The best English ace, Col. D. Johnson - completed 515 sorties but achieved only 38 German kills. The best French ace, Lieutenant (Lt. Col. in the RAF) P. Closterman - completed 432 sorties during the war but had only 33 kills. But Ivan Nikitich Kozhedub, flying exclusively on Soviet aircraft, from 1943 onwards completed just 330 sorties with 62 German kills. In the Royal Air Force, only 3 pilots achieved 32+ kills. In the the Soviet Air Force, there were 39 of these people. Where should A. F. Klubov be placed with his 31 kills + 19 in group combats? What about L. L. Shestakov, whose personal score was just 29 aircraft + 45 kills in group combat? Even if but one-third of the 45 was killed by him personally, then L.L Shestakov, took 52nd place in the list of Soviet aces. This pilot overtook the best English ace.


WHO WAS KILLING THEM?

The publication "Eastern Front" released a collection "Soviet Aces" from an anonymous author. Judging by the text, the author was Polish. He could hardly hide his conflicted feelings towards "Stalin's Falcons." Through his teeth he was forced to write the following:

"Combat with the Me-262 wasn't the worst in Kozhedub's career. He lived
through more difficult times in the end of summer 1944, when in the skies
over the 3rd Baltic Front suddenly appeared a Luftwaffe volunteer group of
aces under the command of Major Wilhe (130 kills). This group was able
to cause such a mess that for the liquidation of the group, the 14th
Air-Army was forced to include the forces of the 176th Guards Fighter
Regiment under Kozhedub's command. The arrival of the Soviet veteran
pilots signalled the quick dispatchment of the German volunteers.
Kozhedub's men shot down 12 German aircraft at the cost of 2 La-7's. It
was reported that Kozhedub personally shot down Wilhe, however who
truly became the victim of the Soviet ace is still uncertain."

The British and Americans bombed Germany mercilessly, meanwhile the Germans tried to constantly maneuver their aircraft to protect their cities. According to their data, they sometimes left no more than 400 fighters on the Eastern Front. Nevertheless the Germans lost one-quarter of their aviation in the Western and Southern theaters but suffered three quarters losses to their airpower on the Eastern Front. Was that because Soviet pilots were worse than the British?

The stupidity of similar arguments is supported even by this fact: in the beginning of the war the Germans faced obsolescent aircraft such as the TB-3 and SB bombers that were converted from a totally-wooden passenger aircraft. The fighters I-16 and I-153 were flown by inexperienced pilots. Within a year, the Germans were met with modern Yak, LaGG, and MiG fighters. They were attacked by the nimble Pe-2 dive bomber and the IL-2 Shturmovik (known as the "Black Death" or "concrete flying tub" to the Germans). German fighter pilots remarked that fighting the IL-2 was like attacking a porcupine. German ace O. Kittel (267 kills) was put to rest forever by the IL-2.

It seemed that for this reason, in the beginning of the war in the East, the German command was obliged to give medals for vast quantities of destroyed Soviet aircraft. In the end, it simply became harder to shoot down Soviet aircraft. In reality, everything was the other way around! In the beginning of the war on the Eastern Front, the Oak Leaves for the Knight's Cross were handed out for 40 kills. In 1942 it was 100, 1943 it was 120 and towards the end of 1943 it was 190. An important question: how is this meant to be interpreted?


"BERMUDA TRIANGLE"

German ace Walter Novotny was a favorite in the Luftwaffe, like Bukharin in the VKP(b). By February 1944, he had filled out 255 forms for his kills against Soviet aircraft. In February he was transfered to the Western Front into a regiment of rocket-propelled fighters. Within a period of 8 months the super-ace didn't manage to shoot down one enemy aircraft! On the 8th of November he was shot down. It is thought that in this final battle he managed to "neutralize" 3 American bombers. But from this "neutralizing" one gets a sense of a "death flight."

German Graf was in the Luftwaffe since 1938. But before the war with the USSR, he didn't manage to shoot down a single British or Polish aircraft. In August of 1941 he was transfered to the Eastern theater. Here, until the end of 1942, he was simply destroying "packs" of Soviet aircraft. He filled out forms for 202 kills (over a period of 17 months). From January 1943 - in France until the end of the war (29 months) he managed to shoot down 10 enemy aircraft! Notice the discrepancy between East and West: in the the USSR, he was doing 10+ per month, whereas in the West he did 10 over 29 months!

Gunther Rahl began fighting in May 1940. In France and Western Europe (until the end of 1941) he shot down 4 aircraft. On the Eastern Front from the end of 1941 to April 1944 (28 months) he shot down 275 aircraft. Again in the West: April 1944 to May 1945: only 2 aircraft. One might think that Western airpower was almost non-existant according to these records. The records for the East are nothing but correct!
One gets the impression that for the German aces of the Eastern Front, the Western Front was a sort of "Bermuda Triangle." Easily shooting down Soviet aircraft, they were incapable of defending the skies of their own country fighting with weaker pilots of the West. What exactly is the problem here. What was it about the East that the Germans had so much trouble with? One might only begin to wonder.

Translatred by Sergey with Michael A. Balis advice. USA.

Ya sizhu i smotru chuzhoya neba iz chuzhoya okna, i ne vidyem ne odnoi znakom iz zvezdiy,ya hodil po vsyem dorogo iz tuda i suda, a vernusya i ne smog, razgredyet sledi, no isli yest karmane pachka sigaret nachat vsye ne tak uzh plocha na syevodnachniy dyen-Victor Tsoi, Kino (Gruppa Krovi)

horseback
06-06-2004, 09:59 PM
The author is comparing apples and oranges here. Allied pilots looking for German planes to shoot down had to travel great distances to after climbing to great heights to do so.

German pilots on the Western Front attempting to intercept bombing raids had to climb to great heights in an aircraft with very limited endurance, and hope that the Ground Control had him pointed in the right direction. Even if everything went right, he would be fortunate to have enough fuel for a couple of passes before he had to either engage or dodge the escort. He rarely had enough time to land, rearm, refuel, take off and make contact again before the high flying bombers were out of his range.

From mid-1943 onwards, the average American escort pilot's sorty would take a minimum of two and a half hours, about three times what his Soviet or German counterpart on the Eastern Front would take for a single sorty.

In the West, a fighter sorty was usually a full day's work, with a briefing in the early morning, pre-flighting and equipment checks before takeoff, a long climb in formation through the inevitable overcast to 6-7000m, forming up with the rest of his group, flying to rendezvous with the the bombers, staying with them through his group's 'leg' of the escort (escorts were done in relays, because the fighters -even Mustangs- couldn't carry enough fuel to stay with the bombers for the whole trip), and trying to keep any German fighters or bomber destroyers from attacking his big friends.

Then after being relieved, or being scattered through fending off enemy attacks, and/or reaching the point of not having enough fuel to make it back to base, he had to head back to England, find his way through the overcast without running into any of the dozens of other aircraft navigating through the murk. Since Air Traffic Control was in its infancy, this was much harder than it is today. Great Britain is littered with craters made by young men in bombers and fighters that didn't make it back to base for one reason or another-I played in a few of them as a child.

Once he landed, assuming he didn't need immediate medical attention, he went the can and relieved himself (bladder infections from 'holding it' for three or four hours were common among AAF aircrew - some guys just don't want to risk frostbite even if the relief tube doesn't freeze closed halfway through the job), gave his crew chief any observations about the aircraft's performance that might be cause for concern, gave an oral report to the Squadron Intelligence Officer, had a shot of medicinal brandy, and wrote his official report. Then he might eat, counting how many of his friends made it back, and then attend to his other collateral duties as an officer in the squadron.

Eastern Front air combatants averaged 3-4 sorties a day for extended periods, and made contact with the enemy more than half the time (both Soviets and Germans). For those skilled enough to survive, an average month could yield around 45 sorties, 25 contacts with the enemy, and X number of kills, depending on personal skill and luck.

USAAF and RAF pilots often went weeks at a time when the weather was so bad that they couldn't fly at all, and when they could get over the target area, it was so bad over the target that the Germans couldn't get up to altitude and make contact in any numbers, and then it was a horse race to see who could get to the enemy first.

There were dozens of escort pilots who served through the heaviest fighting over the Med and ETO who never got to fire their guns at an enemy aircraft, because they were flying number two or four in their flight (wingmen), and hardly even SAW German aircraft.

It was a very different war from the Eastern Front, and since we were and are an open, democratic society, the politicians in charge made sure that the folks back home were well informed about what their sons and their tax dollars were doing within the constraints of wartime security. In any case, a great deal was done to record the effort for posterity; historians, photographers, reporters, film crews and artists observing almost every operation to some degree.

Postwar, all the guys who came back had their say if they wanted to, particularly the ones who distinguished themselves in combat. Flying is glamorous, and flying fighters is doubly so. The public wanted to know all about it, throughout Western Europe and the Americas, and authors & historians fed them all the information that could be gathered.

For the Eastern Front, that meant getting the German side, because the Russians weren't talking much, and when they did, the propaganda value was more important than facts. There were too many occasions when the information they made available was distorted by political considerations, and then found to contradict what could be determined elsewhere.

Added to this that the German experten were by and large, intelligent, charming men who were, by the way on our side now, and the Soviet side was, naturally, underreported.

It's simply going to take a while for the new Russian aviation historians to overcome the inertia of the mass of information about the West's air war to get their side of the story told and verified (Stalin and his successors were great believers in the right of the victor to write history the way he wanted) by outside authorities on the subject.

In the meantime, advocates of the Great Patriotic War in the air are going to have to get used to being treated like the boy who used to lie all the time and finally starts telling the truth. He knows he's being honest, but it's going to take a while for the rest of us to get used to the idea.

cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

Istreliteli
06-06-2004, 10:40 PM
interesting horseback, i also get the impression that this author was really pissed off and had a skewed view on the whole thing....but he does touch off the subject of a pro-german anti russian bias concerning history of the eastern air war in general.

Ya sizhu i smotru chuzhoya neba iz chuzhoya okna, i ne vidyem ne odnoi znakom iz zvezdiy,ya hodil po vsyem dorogo iz tuda i suda, a vernusya i ne smog, razgredyet sledi, no isli yest karmane pachka sigaret nachat vsye ne tak uzh plocha na syevodnachniy dyen-Victor Tsoi, Kino (Gruppa Krovi)

ImpStarDuece
06-06-2004, 11:37 PM
At the close of WW2 large amounts of Luftwaffe documents were captured by both the Eastern and Western Allies. At first there was a great deal of disbelief at the kill numbers of Luftwaffe experten, particularly by te Western Allies. However further scrutiny of captured documents revealed that the Luftwaffe and Jadgwaffe had requirements that were as tough or more so for a confirmed kill as their Allied counterparts.

Additionally luftwaffe experten often 'gave' kills to green or inexperienced pilots, giving them confidence and sureness of their abilities in the air. So it may be that for some German pilots that their actual scores are marginally higher than the 'official' figures suggest.

This being said it is a known fact that a German pilots promotion up the chain of command was based on his aerial kills, not necessarily his senority and so there may well of been overclaiming by many pilots.

The Battle of Britain is a good example with German pilots claiming twice the number of planes shot down compared with actual losses. British claims on the other hand are around 30-60% higher for single engined fighters(depending on whose figures you believe) than their actual kills, and they may of actually underclaimed on their bomber kills (as many survived only to crash in the channel or on return to base).

The difference is that British fighters were fighting over home territory with ground observers and greater loiter time than their German counterparts. As a result they could confirm their claims, verify it with other formations, radar returns and ground obeservers while German pilots relied on guncam footage and the recall of thier wingman.

The airwar on the eastern front was essentially tactical in nature while the airwar on the western front was primarily, but not exclusively, strategic in nature. As horseback already pointed out a fighter sweep on the western front could take a whole day. German aircraft needed to form up into large groups, climb to 30 000 ft plus and then mass effectively all while fighting off marauding groups of p-38, p-47s and p-51s. This doen they then would have one or two passes at the enemy formation before having to break off to refuel and rearm. When large scale dogfights did break out (sometimes as many as 3000 aircraft in the general vicinity at the same time) any attack was a washout and German pilots would primarily concentrate on defensive tactics. The bombers were ALWAYS the target not the fighters.

So on the western front we have a frontline that is strategic in nature, seperated by, at the absolute minimum, the channel coast and one that was primarily defensive in nature, fought mostly at high altitude involving strikes by very large numbers of aircraft concentrated at the one time.

Compare this with the situation on the easternfront, where the action is primarily tactical in nature. The majority of missions were low level tactical strikes aimed at troop formations and logistics groups. The most important aircraft on this front were single seat fighters (laags, yaks, bfs, Fws), low level dive/attack bombers (il2s, ju87s, hs129s) and medium ranged twin engine attack bombers/fighter bombers (pe2, bf110).
This was combined with a constantly evolving frontline where neither side had absolute air superiority (unlike western dominance in the last year of the war) and tactical strikes made up the vast majority of sorties flown. Tactical airpower calls for constant use of aircraft, often with multiple strikes per day, resulting in an environment that was more profitable for fighter pilots of both sides.

Combine this high intensity with highly experianced pilots whos goal was local air superiority and the German figures aren't so doubtful. Indeed Eastern front aces on both sides gained genrally higher scores than comparable pilots on the Western front. I'll paraphrase Walter Nontwoy (spelling???) here who said that when he fought on the eastern front he was happy enough to survive a successful mission but when he flew in the west he was terrified every single time.

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