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Hoenire
05-29-2008, 02:58 PM
Does anyone have any sources for this? I'm asking as I've read a number of WWII pilots accounts and they all say that the RAF and LW had a system in place for verifying kills, but the USAAF are either portrayed as over claiming or outright liars.

I can understand bomber claims when 10 FWs might have 50 B17s firing at them, but I'm more interested in the fighter kills claimed. I'm not really interested in the "P51 won the war" argument or a discussion of the LW flying with 10:1 against them, I want to know how the USAAF verified kills.

Thanks in advance.

berg417448
05-29-2008, 03:48 PM
http://www.au.af.mil/au/afhra/avc/avc_intro_wwii.html

Hoenire
05-29-2008, 04:58 PM
Thanks Berg. I was after something a bit more in-depth though explaining the process and the levels of verification each kill went through.

Capt.LoneRanger
05-29-2008, 05:02 PM
AFAIK from guncams if available and from pilot-reports. There was no easy way to tell how many of the hit planes actually were destroyed.

Just as the USAAF alone claims 700% of all German submarines sunk, that were ever built until 1945...

Skoshi Tiger
05-29-2008, 06:36 PM
I've read a number of WWII pilots accounts and they all say that the RAF and LW had a system in place for verifying kills, but the USAAF are either portrayed as over claiming or outright liars.

Just because the LW and RAF had 'Systems' didn't mean there wasn't overclaiming. There was throughout the war, by all sides and nationalities. It was a fact of life.

Could you imagine the number of claims put in by online pilots?

Just last night I got my first biplane kill (yay!) AND shotdown someone with one of the rockets used by the I-16 in a head on pass!!!!! But does anyone believe me! Come on guys! You were there, you must have seen it!

Xiolablu3
05-29-2008, 11:51 PM
All sides overclaimed. its easy to do in the heat of combat.

I have see combat reports from USAAF fighter where they are on their own and claim 3-4 kills in a sortie and get them credited.

Also some are really vague, this one for example still gets a Fw190 crdeited even tho he only saw it 'falling off to the left' :-

http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-repor...-bille-24april44.jpg (http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-reports/355-bille-24april44.jpg)


For the RAF and Luftwaffe I believe there was a strict policy of 'no witness/ no kill'. No plane seen crash/ no kill.


If I am wrong about htis pls tell me, its just the conclusion I have gathered from reading combat reports.

WOLFMondo
05-30-2008, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:

Also some are really vague, this one for example still gets a Fw190 crdeited even tho he only saw it 'falling off to the left' :-

http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-repor...-bille-24april44.jpg (http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-reports/355-bille-24april44.jpg)


At what date was the pilot actually credited? The RAF went through luftwaffe records after the war for statistical reasons and post war verification of claims was a offshoot of that.

BWaltteri
05-30-2008, 02:05 AM
Haha!

I remember one story about some rookie US pilot who freaked out in a battle and since he didn't want to get back to base without seeing any action he emptied his guns to some rice paddy and made up some huge tale.

Unfortunately he had forgotten that he had gun cams and when his movie was being played some more experienced pilot remarked 'so you killed those enemies in hunger?'

tragentsmith
05-30-2008, 02:21 AM
I remember Clostermann's book "Le grand cirque". In his memories, he says that because he was one of the aces of the Free French Airforce and te politicians didn't want to lose him they put him in an HQ work for a while, before the invasion of the Normandy. In one of his working day, he explain that they were calculating how many aircrafts the german would be able to put in opposition compared to their production and their loss.

The result was if I remember correctly :

RAF claim : around 3000 enemy a/c disabled in the last 6 months.

USAAF : Over 19000 enemy a/c destroyed in 6 month. With around 10000 for the bombers alone.

Of course he explain that the RAF complained that no invasion plan could be done counting on the number of kills the american gave to their propaganda office to justify the tremendous lost of bombers over Germany for the american public oppinion.

After long negociations, the americans accepted to bring back this number of aircraft destroyed to 1/3.... Which was still unbelievable for the RAF intelligence officers.... Given that they had shot down more a/c in 6 months than the whole capacity of production of Germany of a year.

ViktorViktor
05-30-2008, 04:30 AM
I always wondered how USMC ace Pappy Boyington got credit for his last 3 kills, since both he and his wingman were shot down by Zeroes over enemy waters shortly thereafter. (Boyington was taken prisoner while his wingman died.)

Yet he not only got credit for the kills, he got a 'posthumous' Medal of Honor to boot !(while being held a prisoner in Japan)

???
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif


note - If I remember correctly, he and his wingman became separated from his formation and engaged some Zeroes alone. His 3 kills gave him a total of 28, which broke the record for USMC kills (though I see in other sources he gets credit for only 26.)

tragentsmith
05-30-2008, 04:57 AM
Well, the fun factor compared to Hartmann for exemple is that the Luftwaffe itself had serious doubts about Hartmann's claim and sent an observer to authentificate the kills to be sure he and his wingmen were not overclaiming !

K_Freddie
05-30-2008, 05:12 AM
Originally posted by tragentsmith:
Well, the fun factor compared to Hartmann for exemple is that the Luftwaffe itself had serious doubts about Hartmann's claim and sent an observer to authentificate the kills to be sure he and his wingmen were not overclaiming !
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif
And the LW ozzifers looked at the 'observer' strangely as he excitedly told them how he witnessed Hartman taking out 5 planes in as many minutes.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

R_Target
05-30-2008, 05:45 AM
Originally posted by Skoshi Tiger:
Just because the LW and RAF had 'Systems' didn't mean there wasn't overclaiming. There was throughout the war, by all sides and nationalities. It was a fact of life.

For sure. Large RAF and Luftwaffe overclaiming in BoB and other theaters. Critics of 8th Air Force usually sneak in the bomber gunner claims to arrive at some ridiculous figure as proof of rampant overclaiming.

I wouldn't take Herr Closterman's word for anything, as his bitter hatred of Americans colors everything he writes.

ICDP
05-30-2008, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by R_Target:
[QUOTE]I wouldn't take Herr Closterman's word for anything, as his bitter hatred of Americans colors everything he writes.

I have read The Big Show and while Closterman does have a clear hatred for how the US conducted their bombing campaigns he does not show a "bitter hatred of Americans". He even mentioned how much admiration and empathy he felt for the US bomber crews who were sent on long unescorted bomber raids over Germany.

So Closterman did hate the US for bombing his fellow countrymen in France. He most certainly did not hate individual Americans. I have read his book three times now and I get the definate impression he hated American policy, not Americans.

Xiolablu3
05-30-2008, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by WOLFMondo:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Xiolablu3:

Also some are really vague, this one for example still gets a Fw190 crdeited even tho he only saw it 'falling off to the left' :-

http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-repor...-bille-24april44.jpg (http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-reports/355-bille-24april44.jpg)


At what date was the pilot actually credited? The RAF went through luftwaffe records after the war for statistical reasons and post war verification of claims was a offshoot of that. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Sorry, maybe that wasnt such a good example as he possibly didnt get a kill there.

There are others I have seen in those lists where guys on their own claim many kills and get them credited.

Its possibly from Guncam footage. DId all US planes carry guncams?

Sturm_Williger
05-30-2008, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Xiolablu3:
All sides overclaimed. its easy to do in the heat of combat...

Hehe, even IL2 combat.

Many's the time I've related a tale of some online success to a friend only to discover when watching the track afterwards that I have misremembered vast chunks of the events, such as damaging one plane and shooting down another and thinking they were the same plane http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif, or being irked that someone "stole my kill" only to see that actually my shots weren't even close http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

Even the confines of our virtual cockpits can give rise to some weird perceptive errors.

M_Gunz
05-30-2008, 03:32 PM
Oh goody, it's time to judge whole countries on the basis of "I've heard" type urban legends.

Aaron_GT
05-31-2008, 06:28 AM
Hehe, even IL2 combat.

Many's the time I've related a tale of some online success to a friend only to discover when watching the track afterwards that I have misremembered vast chunks of the events, such as damaging one plane and shooting down another and thinking they were the same plane Veryhappy, or being irked that someone "stole my kill" only to see that actually my shots weren't even close Hammer

Even the confines of our virtual cockpits can give rise to some weird perceptive errors.

Indeed, in many ways the virtual skies are an interesting test of the psychology of memory. And in reality during WW2 there would be a combination of much more boredom, followed by much more adrenaline, and those powerful hormones play havoc with memory. This is not to disrespect those who fought, just an admission that we humans are very fallible, and in the confusion of dozens of planes flying round being exact is very difficult.

ViktorViktor
05-31-2008, 07:05 AM
Was it only the U.S. which regularly equiped their fighters with gun cameras, or were there other nations ? Great Britain too ? When I see old gun camera film, 3 out of 4 times it is U.S. gun camera film.

I have to think that an air force which uses gun cameras as a tool would be more efficient at determining aircraft shot down than those air forces which do not.

I agree with Closterman's view that aircraft gunner claims were greatly exaggerated, but don't think fighter pilot kill claims were more exaggerated for the U.S. than other nations.

Pirschjaeger
05-31-2008, 09:09 AM
One thing that is always between you, I, and the pilots, is the spin doctors. Don't blame the pilots for all the over-claiming. They had leadership doing that for them.

nimitstexan
05-31-2008, 02:42 PM
USAAF used guncam and/or eyewitness; bomber crews aside (which tended to wildly overclaim), USAAF kill claims were as close to reality as anyone elses (and noticably better than some). The point of fact, of course, is that EVERYONY overclaimed. The IJN and IJAAF were generally the worst. Often, especially as the war started going badly, intelligence officers and unit commanders would encourage returning pilots to put the most "optomistic" slant on things possible so that the unit would look as if it were performing its duty successfully in the eyes of higher headquarters. But no matter how much you tried to be realistic about it, overclaims happened often and consistantly.

A case in point - During the February, 1942 engagement between the Lexington task force and 2 squadrons of G4M bombers in the sea south og Bougainville, the interception of the second wave by Edward "Butch" O'Hare took place mostly within visual range of the entire and involved precisely 8 enemy aircraft and 1 US F4F, with the F4F downing 3 G4Ms, and downing 2 others. However, despite the low number of aircraft involved, their dissimilarity to each other, that almost all the firing was done by a single US fighter, and that almost the entire combat took place within visual range of several thousand US sailors, the following mistakes were made:
(1) The IJN bomber force was reported as 9 aircraft, an overestimate of 1 (understandable, since flying in a V of Vs as the IJN bombers did at the time suggested that there were 9 bombers, the standard number in IJN bomber squadrons)
(2) The USN shipborne observers reported that O'Hare shot down 6 IJN bombers
(3) O'Hare himself reported shooting down 5 IJN bombers

Now, short of using moderning computing devices, you cannot get much better conditions for accurately documenting a dogfight than holding a 1v8 in clear weather over a carrier task force, yet the USN still made several mistakes. The idea that any nation had a kill-vetting system that was noticably more accurate is ridiculous. Aside from the IJN/IJAAF, it was in the obvious self interest of air intelligence staffs to get the best after action kill information they could, but the fog of war made accurate reports on air to air fights near impossible. As a rule of thumb, you can probably divide the kills of any Allied or German ace by two, and of any IJN/IJAAF ace by 3 or 4, to discover how many aircraft they really shot down.

J_Anonymous
06-01-2008, 08:26 AM
"Hien" (by Yoji Watanabe, published by Bungeishyunjyu in Japanese, ISBN4-16-724914-6) describes research on several major engagements between USAAF/USN vs. IJA's Ki61. Examples;

(a) July 21, 1943. P38F of USAAF 5th reported 24 kills over New Guinea, including 3 kills by J.T. Robbins. In reality, IJA records show only two Ki61 were shot down. On the other hand, IJA reported 9 kills. In reality, USAAF record shows that only 2 P38 were shot down.

(b)Sepember 21, 1944. F6F of 38th claimed 145 kills and 16 unconfirmed. Among these kills, claims against fighters were 73 kills and 9 unconfirmed. In reality, IJA didn't even have and launch so many Ki61's and the loss was 20 Ki61.

The author Watanabe comments that, in fighter vs fighter combat, victors generally can't keep chasing the victims until the end, hence it is natural for both sides to overclaim.

The famous book "Genda's Blade" also describes (in English) combats of NiK2 Shidenkai over Japan, and explains overclaiming made by pilots on both US and Japanese. BOTH US and Japanese typically overclaimed by factor 3 to 4.

Aaron_GT
06-01-2008, 05:21 PM
Was it only the U.S. which regularly equiped their fighters with gun cameras, or were there other nations ? Great Britain too ? When I see old gun camera film, 3 out of 4 times it is U.S. gun camera film.

The UK used it too, and I've seen some UK gun camera film on TV. The film has a limited lifetime, though, and it may be that not as much was saved to newer film stock in the UK. Or it might have been considered a waste of space in the 1950s or 60s when things were tending towards missiles.

R_Target
06-01-2008, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by J_Anonymous:
(b)Sepember 21, 1944. F6F of 38th claimed 145 kills and 16 unconfirmed. Among these kills, claims against fighters were 73 kills and 9 unconfirmed. In reality, IJA didn't even have and launch so many Ki61's and the loss was 20 Ki61.

By "the 38th", I assume you mean Task Force 38? Does Mr. Watanabe note his source for USN claims on 21 September? The bulk of the action on the 21st was fought by CVL squadrons, which didn't even claim 145 kills for the whole month of September. Also, not all claims submitted were for Ki-61.


BOTH US and Japanese typically overclaimed by factor 3 to 4.

If we look at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, a typical carrier battle, Japanese losses on June 19th were about 275, not including planes that made it back but were too damaged to fly on June 20th, and not including planes that made it to Guam but never flew again. USN VF claims for the 19th were about 360, for roughly a 1.3 to 1 ratio of claims to actual kills.