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CapStratos
11-04-2009, 09:51 AM
Saburo Sakai in his escape from the 15 Hellcats on Iwo Jima, recalled that there are some pilots really green. Anyone know the % of veterans and replacements in USN squadrons late in the war?

CapStratos
11-04-2009, 09:51 AM
Saburo Sakai in his escape from the 15 Hellcats on Iwo Jima, recalled that there are some pilots really green. Anyone know the % of veterans and replacements in USN squadrons late in the war?

DKoor
11-04-2009, 09:59 AM
I suspect those F6F pilots had my type of video card.

HayateAce
11-04-2009, 10:37 AM
It was the canopy smudges.

CapStratos
11-04-2009, 10:46 AM
alking about newbye pilots, pilots without experience, call like you like

Crash_Moses
11-04-2009, 10:54 AM
I don't know the exact percentage but I do know that the U.S. did a much better job of rotating their experienced pilots out of theatre than the Japanese did.

Experienced U.S. pilots, having completed their required number of mission would rotate back to the states as instructors.

The Navy was more apt to follow this procedure however. The U.S. Army had a similar doctrine but didn't apply it as aggressively. Army pilots often stayed for as long deemed necessary.

Japense pilots, on the other hand, were rarely rotated out of theatre so their experience was rarely passed along to the new pilots.

I'm only about three-quarters of the way through it but I recommend reading "Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific" by Eric Bergerud. It goes into all sorts of details like this. When I get home I'll pop it open and see if I can't find some hard statistics.

horseback
11-04-2009, 12:21 PM
First let's establish that this is Sakai's opinion, based on the fact that he thought that the Hellcat pilots who caught his Zero low and slow off Iwo Jima (I think in late 1944) should have easily nailed him, but consistantly missed him as he pulled the same trick again and again as each of them took a firing pass at him.

Sakai was considered a remarkable shot in his heyday, so his standards were pretty high and maybe just a little unfair to guys who got very few opportunities for air to air targeting at that point in the war. By the way, he was also considered a pretty good pilot too, flying an exceptionally responsive aircraft; given the general level of opposition the USN was seeing at that point of the war, running into someone like Sakai would be a hell of a shock--you just wouldn't have a realistic idea of what a Zero could do when it was being flown to 10/10ths of its potential.

He may have just been unfair to pilots with lesser skills and experience, not realizing at the time that the Americans didn't stay at the front until they died or were physically unable to continue.

BUT there was a time when the expansion of the fast carrier forces led to the Navy coming close to running out of qualified pilots to man their squadrons; this led to Marine squadrons being assigned to carrier air groups because the USMC pilot inventory was a bit higher than they needed. Late 1944/early 1945 was that time.

The 8th AF had a similar slump in experienced fighter pilots in the summer of 1944, when the surviving 'old hands' in the original three fighter groups were all due to rotate home; this was about the time that Gabreski invited his veteran Polish AF buddies to fly with the 56th FG instead of flying desks for the RAF.

cheers

horseback

CapStratos
11-04-2009, 01:00 PM
Pretty interesting, you're right Sakai was an excellent pilot, but the rotation of the USN pilots to home sure have something to say

general_kalle
11-04-2009, 03:28 PM
the hellcats were overheating so they couldnt catch him http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

doraemil
11-04-2009, 06:02 PM
Sakai was playing on a open pit and TnB server where BnZ is a bannable offense.

Or maybe the hellcat pilots had 300+ ping?


serious:

Also it could have been 15 hellcats, and the pilots were so excited to gun him down, they might have gotten in each other's way etc . . .

Hellcats might have been smart and only two pairs engaging (lead and wing) at a time to prevent friendly fire + collisions.

Maybe one or two were set to cruise . . . maybe they tried TnB, Sakai's experience allowed him to just get out of plane with his attackers on their runs..

mortoma
11-04-2009, 09:01 PM
The Hellcats were too wobbly, like they are in game. Therefore Sakai was able to take advantage of the situation and cause them to miss.

jbrunner
11-04-2009, 09:19 PM
New evidence has emerged that Sakai cheated - repeatedly spamming the Prt Screen button to cause warping as the US fighters made their firing passes.

R_Target
11-07-2009, 10:05 AM
If anyone's interested, Sakai evaded about four or five Hellcats that day over Iwo (part of the fight was witnessed by a VF-2 pilot), and probably shot down two. Sakai was not alone however; 55-57 Zeros intercepted about 52 bomb-laden Hellcats. Sakai was also probably correct in his skill assessment of the pilots he faced, as most of the USN pilots in this attack were specifically chosen because they had little or no combat experience.

Kettenhunde
11-07-2009, 10:26 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The 8th AF had a similar slump in experienced fighter pilots in the summer of 1944, when the surviving 'old hands' in the original three fighter groups were all due to rotate home; </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If their competition was composed of seasoned and highly trained combat veterans, this might have made a difference. As it was, rotating the vetís home to train the force was a very good idea as we still had Japan to take on when Germany surrendered.


You just can't compare the training the USAAF received to their competition in Europe. The USAAF received 4-5 times on average the training a Luftwaffe pilot candidate did before entering combat.

There just is no basis to compare the skills of a 25 hour pilot to a 250 hour pilot. A 25 hour pilot cannot precisely control the aircraft and is very limited in what they can safely accomplish with the airplane. A 250 hour pilot is on a completely different level of advanced training and there is nothing he cannot do with the airplane. He is maintaining skills not building them.

All the best,

Crumpp

Feathered_IV
11-07-2009, 05:32 PM
Was the actual Hellcat unit identified? I wonder if the combat reports were ever published.

horseback
11-07-2009, 06:04 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Kettenhunde:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The 8th AF had a similar slump in experienced fighter pilots in the summer of 1944, when the surviving 'old hands' in the original three fighter groups were all due to rotate home; </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If their competition was composed of seasoned and highly trained combat veterans, this might have made a difference. As it was, rotating the vetís home to train the force was a very good idea as we still had Japan to take on when Germany surrendered.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>And yet all three of these 'veteran' groups (4th, 56th and 78th FGs) all but disappeared from the scoreboard during that summer, and their loss rates jumped noticeably.<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You just can't compare the training the USAAF received to their competition in Europe. The USAAF received 4-5 times on average the training a Luftwaffe pilot candidate did before entering combat.

There just is no basis to compare the skills of a 25 hour pilot to a 250 hour pilot. A 25 hour pilot cannot precisely control the aircraft and is very limited in what they can safely accomplish with the airplane. A 250 hour pilot is on a completely different level of advanced training and there is nothing he cannot do with the airplane. He is maintaining skills not building them.

All the best,

Crumpp </div></BLOCKQUOTE>I would note that USAAF and Commonwealth pilots coming into combat had vastly better training and more training than the average Luftwaffe pilot by mid 1944, their pre and early war trained predecessors having eliminated a large percentage of the Germans' experienced pre-and early war trained pilots in the previous 6 months; I'm not sure that we can characterize it as an advantage for the whole war. The levels of training and experience certainly favored the Axis in the early part of the war, and overall training and experience levels were close to even in Europe and the Med going into 1944.

I think that the big difference was that the Allies' training numbers were improving in both numbers and quality while the Axis powers' numbers were rapidly going in the opposite direction.

I would certainly not argue that the Allies' practice of rotation for their pilots was a bad thing by any means, but at times, whole units lost their core group of experienced pilots almost en masse, and that is NEVER a good thing.

Being well trained before you go into combat is a good thing, but having an experienced veteran there to go into combat with you is at least as important.

cheers

horseback

R_Target
11-07-2009, 06:26 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Feathered_IV:
Was the actual Hellcat unit identified? I wonder if the combat reports were ever published. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

VF-1 is the most likely squadron. I don't know for sure if the USN AARs have been completely published, but I've never heard of it. William T. Y'Blood and Barret Tillman use the reports in their books about Philippine Sea. Henry Sakaida also relates this engagement in Winged Samurai.

Kettenhunde
11-07-2009, 06:31 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">And yet all three of these 'veteran' groups (4th, 56th and 78th FGs) all but disappeared from the scoreboard during that summer, and their loss rates jumped noticeably. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Operation Overlord placed different priorities on these units, Horseback. It exposes them to more dangerous ground attack work while offering less chances for air to air victories.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> The levels of training and experience certainly favored the Axis in the early part of the war, and overall training and experience levels were close to even in Europe and the Med going into 1944.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

From about 1942-on, the Allies gained the advantage in training and experience. In 1944 the USAAF had a decisive training and experience advantage.

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/5480/traininghours.jpg (http://img14.imageshack.us/i/traininghours.jpg/)


http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/1758/flyinghours.jpg (http://img14.imageshack.us/i/flyinghours.jpg/)

All the best,

Crumpp

horseback
11-07-2009, 08:02 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">quote:
And yet all three of these 'veteran' groups (4th, 56th and 78th FGs) all but disappeared from the scoreboard during that summer, and their loss rates jumped noticeably. </div></BLOCKQUOTE><BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Operation Overlord placed different priorities on these units, Horseback. It exposes them to more dangerous ground attack work while offering less chances for air to air victories. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>That's a non sequiter;
EVERY fighter group in the 8th AF was affected by OVERLORD, but the 4th, 56th and 78th suddenly appear to have lost their respective edges for much of that summer before they started catching back up to their former elite status. There were 10 or more other groups in the 8th AF who didn't experience that big dropoff and corresponding jump in losses (compared to where they were two/three months before) at that specific point in time.

As for training levels, I'd point out that by late 1942, a growing percentage of ALL pilot training for the western Allies (Commonwealth as well as USAAF) was taking place in the continental United States. That adds at least a month's delay in transit times from Britain or Australia (or China) merely assuming they do all their training on the nearest coast.

As I understand it, it took at least a year from induction to pilot's wings, and then another year before making it overseas, so a pilot who joined in early 1942 didn't arrive in Britain (where at least a month of MORE training took place) didn't get to the ETO until late 1943 or early 1944. Luftwaffe traing was considered to be of pretty high quality even if the flying hours were restricted by fuel shortages and weather well into 1943, so I am loath (always wanted to use that word in a sentence) to minimize or demean their efforts. The Germans certainly had more personal motivation once the Allies started bombing German cities in earnest.

Since both the Allies and the Germans were under the impression that the Germans were winning the air war until late in the winter of 1943/45, I contend that it was the sheer numbers of trained Allied aircrewmen that made the difference, and that at least some of their extra flight hours was "keep them busy until we can figure out what do do with them" time more than formal training.

There was a HUGE bubble of high quality volunteers coming in in early 1942, and many of them didn't start flying combat until early 1944.

cheers

horseback

Kettenhunde
11-08-2009, 07:44 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> EVERY fighter group in the 8th AF was affected by OVERLORD, </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sure and the emphasis on ground attack missions shows in the statsÖ. June of 1944 is the highest loss rate suffered by the USAAF in the ETO as a direct result of Overlord.

You can expect to see a casualty rate increase under such circumstances. It is the same when Doolittle changed the mission of the 8th Fighter Command. The emphasis on destroying the Luftwaffe meant the 8th USAAF increased contact with the GAF fighters. As a consequence, the USAAF casualties from air to air combat increased 8 fold.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Luftwaffe traing was considered to be of pretty high quality even if the flying hours were restricted by fuel shortages and weather well into 1943 </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't know where you get this bit of supposition. It is not based on any facts.

http://img301.imageshack.us/img301/8413/gaftraining.jpg (http://img301.imageshack.us/i/gaftraining.jpg/)

Kettenhunde
11-08-2009, 08:07 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I contend that it was the sheer numbers of trained Allied aircrewmen that made the difference, and that at least some of their extra flight hours was "keep them busy until we can figure out what do do with them" time more than formal training. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


The USAAF and USN pilots recieved the absolute best training in the world at the time, Horseback.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> These pilots just didn't jump out of school or hop out of their hot rods at the hamburger stand to become what they became. Their training was grueling, and competitive. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> There were normally five stages in the Aviation Cadet pilot training program: classification, preflight, primary pilot training, basic pilot training, and advance pilot training. The classification step was the entry point, a place to determine what training was going to be given and a place to issue the gear the cadet was going to needs. Its length was variable, usually a ocuple weeks at most.

The other four stages were nine weeks or 63 days in length each. They were divided into 4.5 week segments. Every 4.5 weeks half of them would move to th enext stage and the half that had been the underclass became the upper class. This is where the non-flying educaiton took place.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Charles Dills has remarked:

"We weren't people, we were packages being wrapped on an assembly line to give a steady line to give a steady, somewhat predictable, number of pilots. The washout rate could not be predicted and the Classification Center was established to attempt to minimize this. As I remember, Preflight to Primary, no washouts. From Primary to Basic, we went from 145 to 85, or 41 percent. From Basic to Advanced we went from 85 to 75 or 12 percent. Twenty went to single engine and 65 went to multi-engine ... If anyone washed out of the flying program, he was sent to navigator ot bombadier school. I don't think a cadet was given a choice, even there."

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> As you see in the photo above, there is a lot of school work involved. You will recall that Gerry was strong in math and science, and that proved most helpful in the classroom, where students needed to understand aerodynamics, angles of attack, what their plane would do and would not do, how to make it do what you wanted it to do, how to position for an air-to-air kill, how to think three dimensionally, and how to pull out from a sure crash scenario </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Flying now was more precise, challenged to hit higher altitudes within 10 feet, turn at three degrees per second and, on landing, turn off at the first turn off. Night flying and night soloing were now on the agenda as were cross country flights, often through bad weather, instrument flying and a thorough study and application of aerial navigation flying. They also learned formation takeoffs, formation flying, and short field landings

Practicing spins was always a heart-throbber. The challenge was to recover her out of a spin and avoid going much more than two spins; a third spin meant you had to start thinking about bailing out. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Well, Gerry made it through this training, so off he went to Craig Field in Selma, Alabama for advanced fight training, flying the North American AT-6 "Texan" and the Curtiss P-40 "Warhawk." We'll highlight again that there were no breaks for him between training sessions. He simply went from one to the other.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> The Texan was tough to handle on the ground, and few student pilots had a good time flying her either. She was a deliberately a challenging aircraft, and the student pilot had to be on his toes every second of his flight. Mental and physical exertion were the names of the game. A pilot had no choice but to become a better pilot with this aircraft, or wash out at the final stage. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> In addition to the normal routines of honing flying skills in two new aircraft that would closely resemble what they might get to fight in, the cadets now did serious work at the bombing and gunnery ranges. Night cross country flights were longer, often 300 miles. Some airfields were lit only with flare pots. In-flight maneuvers had to be perfected and included lazy 8s, pylon 8s and others. Each cadet received instrument training, closing the student in so he could not see outside and forcing him to rely completely on his instruments. The training was tough, and most advanced training fields have cemeteries for those who couldn't pull their machines out. Night flying was particularly a problem. Engines would wear, tires would go flat, and wing tips often were bent.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Well, Gerry might have qualified in this machine at Craig, and he might have accumulated a grand total of 238 hours flight time since he began training, but the 10 hours he had in the P-40 were not good enough to go to war in Hap Arnold's Air Force. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> After a week or so off to go home and see family in Wausau, it was off to bigger and better things for Gerry Wergin as well, starting at Dale Mabry Base at Tallahassee, Florida for two weeks and finishing up with intense P-40 flight training at Sarasota Army Air Base (AAB) in Tallahassee, Florida.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> While at Sarasota, Lt. Wergin accumulated just over 63 hours flying time in the P-40, flying combat formations, combat aerobatics, navigation, gunnery, instrument, night and bombing missions. Combat aerobatic missions were above 8,000 ft and above 20,000 ft. He flew low altitude (200-500 ft), medium altitude (1500 - 2000 ft) and high altitude (above 30,000 ft) navigation missions, he fired his guns at ground targets (strafing) and at aerial targets at varying altitudes to include low and high as previously defined, and he practiced dive, skip and low level bombing. His records say he fired 5400 rounds from his machine guns and dropped 34 bombs. He flew two missions fully loaded with belly tanks and bomb loads. Lt. Wergin, when finished in Sarasota on December 28, 1943, had jumped from 10 hours in the P-40 to a total of 73.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://www.talkingproud.us/HistoryWWWIIFtrPilot.html

Bremspropeller
11-08-2009, 08:27 AM
I think one should recognize there is a difference between going into batte without any experience but knowing your mount quite well and going into battle sans experience and not quite having figured out how your plane works and handles.

The learning-curve is steep and it gets even steeper if you're learning to fly a plane on a combat-mission

horseback
11-08-2009, 11:46 AM
1. My statement about the 4th, 56th and 78th FGs dropoff in the early summer of 1944 was that they experienced a dropoff RELATIVE to the other FGs in the theater. These groups had entered combat between 9 and six months prior to OVERLORD and still a sizeable core group of experienced pilots, while the three groups that had been there from the spring of 1943 had most of the people who had been there and gathered all that combat experience rotate home over a period of two months or so, leaving a few hard chargers and a higher percentage of low combat time pilots than the 'newer' groups.

2. Maybe I should have qualified my remark about German training and said 'at that time'. The Allies did not have the luxury of knowing the Luftwaffe's training syllabus. THEY thought that the German pilots they were dealing with were pretty good, and it might be because the combat commanders (and this happened on both sides of the Channel) had their own training requirements before allowing a newbie to fly a combat mission. I seem to recall Pips Priller holding a whole gruppe from the Eastern Front out of combat for an extended period because he wasn't satisfied that they knew what they were getting into, and I know that in the second half of 1944 the 8th Fighter Command had a month long training syllabus (referred to as Clobber College') for all those newly arrived 'superbly trained' replacement pilots that included a crash course in tactics, gunnery and air combat maneuvering (and most Group commanders STILL had someone they trusted run these guys trough the paces for a few days before they'd allow them to fly wing for one of their guys.

My point is that experience is at least as important to survival in combat as training, and up the spring of 1944, most German fighter units had a solid group of experienced veterans to guide the rookies joining their units.

As I said, BOTH sides thought that the Germans were winning the daylight air war over Europe in late 1943; that was why Doolittle was brought in and the old West Point ring knockers were swept out.

3. I never disputed the quality of training of the Allied pilots who trained POST Pearl Harbor; the record shows that I have defended the quality of USAAC training before and after that date, and I have always contended that USN and USMC fighter pilots were among the best trained in the world long before December 7th 1941.

4. It is the NUMBERS that seem to me to be unappreciated; there were considerably fewer young men in the training pipeline in 1940-41 than there were by mid-1942, and those guys had to hold the line all around the world for a year or more before the training programs got sorted out and began producing all those steely-eyed pilot officers and second lieutenents eager to 'deal with the wiley Hun'.

The systems that existed in 1941 were not remotely equipped to handle the numbers suddenly available in 1942, so there were a lot of wheels spinning like crazy without ever getting traction for most of that first year.

Also, let's not forget that a much higher percentage of pilot training was spent on lots of bomber, attack, and lots and lots of transport pilots by the Allies than their Axis counterparts. The Allies were (or planned to be) on the offensive, and they had much longer supply lines than the Axis.

It took 8th AF until April of 1943 to actually put TWO homegrown Army Air Force Fighter Groups equipped with their most sophisticated fighter into combat; at that time the 4th FG was still composed entirely of British and Canadian trained pilots who had mostly been rejected by the the Army and Navy air arms prewar.

By the way, the 4th was stripped of close to half of its best & brightest to help leaven the 56th, 78th and the Mediterannean based FGs with experienced flight leaders. This may help explain why the 4th was soon eclipsed by the 56th the summer of 1943 and did not return to prominence until January/February of 1944. Experience, don't you know...

Meanwhile in North Africa, China and the Pacific, the fight was carried mostly by fully prewar trained pilots who were gradually supplemented by men who were in the pipeline in late 1941 and finished their training in late 1942-early '43. We didn't start winning the numbers game until mid-1943, and it was a lot more gradual than most people can appreciate.

Pilot memoirs tend to skip over the scholastic parts of the training regimen and concentrate on the flying, but I would suggest from my reading that the Army Air Force's training became progressively more regimented and 'military' as the war progressed; it was FAR less formal in 1941-1943 than it was by early 1944, and the vast majority of 1944 trained pilots never saw combat.

I would also suggest that the reason for the greater regimentation was as much political as it was for safety or military discipline. The public's tolerance for flat hatting and rat racing over populated areas was much lower by then, and the sheer numbers of available qualified men made it necessary to tighten requirements and make it far easier to wash out than before.

There's also the 'empire building' aspect; when somebody throws billions of dollars and almost limitless resources in men and material at you, you WILL find a way to use as much of it as you can, especially if you're at all ambitious and/or competent. A number of the generals who proved less than successful in the early stages of the war found themselves in training commands, so they had the extra incentive of redemption.

Training is very important, and I would not minimize it, but if you have a choice between a wingman who has gone through a 'spotty' training program but has survived 10 combat missions and a brand new second lieutenent packed with vitamins and trained to a gnat's thorax BUT who has never had someone shooting at him or had another man's life in his hands, who would you pick to fly your wing?

cheers

horseback

Kettenhunde
11-08-2009, 12:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> It is the NUMBERS that seem to me to be unappreciated; </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Oh I agree. The sheer scale of the USAAF's in the ETO was mind-boggling. The 8th Fighter Command had more P47's and P51's as well as the pilots to man them than the entire GAF at its most powerful.

The USAAF graduated more fighter pilots per quarter than the GAF had serving on active duty.

When that overwhelming quantitative and qualitative superiority was brought to bear, it is wonder anyone survived.

Kettenhunde
11-08-2009, 06:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> My point is that experience is at least as important to survival in combat as training, and up the spring of 1944, most German fighter units had a solid group of experienced veterans to guide the rookies joining their units.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The GAF replacement pilots died faster than that experienced advice could be given to them.

If you read the USAAF AAR's, that was the predicament poor basic flying skills training put the GAF into.

TS_Sancho
11-08-2009, 06:48 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">When that overwhelming quantitative and qualitative superiority was brought to bear, it is wonder anyone survived. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Interesting point. The role the U.S. industrial base played in securing the allied victory on all fronts is something that is overlooked far to often in these discussions.

We concentrate on such trivial details at times we fail to see the forest through the trees.