1. #1
    What was the typical ratio of German a/c / British a/c engagements during BoB?

    One often reads of a single British squadron or less engaging German formations of 20, 30, 40 or more a/c.
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  2. #2
    JtD's Avatar Senior Member
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    Was there a ratio one can call "typical"?
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  3. #3
    K_Freddie's Avatar Senior Member
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    The Allied a/c went up piecemeal (squadron strength) attacking as they encountered. The ratios were probably in favour of the germans, but drawing the escorts in the first wave, made the german bombers 'defenceless' for the second (or more)wave(s) of allied fighters rising to the occasion.

    This was the tactic used by Sailor Malan (opposed by Bader and his Big Wing theory) which worked fairly well in the earlier part of BoB. When the Blitz began, and the target was obviously London, the Big Wing theory worked better, pouring in masses of fighters into a single area.
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  4. #4
    AVM Park, commanding 11 Group, tried to vector pairs of squadrons, one Spitfire and one Hurricane, when he could. The idea being that the Spitfires would take on the 109s and the Hurricanes the bombers.
    As K_Freddie said, he would feed his squadrons into the fight in waves to wear down the fighter escorts and break up the massed bomber formations.

    AVM Leigh-Mallory, commanding 12 Group, espoused the big wing theory for mainly political reasons imho.

    Malan was a Flight Lt, later acting Sqd Leader, during the BoB so I doubt he had much input
    Although he was one of the first RAF pilots to abandon the Vic and area attack tactics in favour of the Luftwaffe pairs \ finger 4 approach.
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  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Ahh. SOW:BOB is going to be so good. I love this conflict!
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  7. #7
    Thanks Galway. It was reading thorough that site that made me ask the question as the RAF fighters always seemed to be outnumbered by the Luftwaffe.

    Would 4:1 be a good ratio?
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  8. #8
    JtD's Avatar Senior Member
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    I recall reading about a dozen Stukas getting attacked by twice as many British fighters, so, as I said, I don't think there's a "typical" ratio.
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  9. #9
    That site has not been updated in a while.

    I would be careful of sites that show things from only one sides perspective as well. This is a shortcoming the RAF official History duly notes. It was written during the war in 1943-44 and completed shortly after the end. It unfortunately forms the basis for most histories of the BoB without regard to the lack of information from the other side.

    Additionally the flood of declassified documents now readily available to the public has allowed a more through examination.

    For example, the production numbers quoted on that site are not correct according to the RAF.

    The sites numbers...

    http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/document-42.html

    Planned vs actual production according the RAF:



    Neither is the strength of the RAF squadrons correct on that site. For example in 13th of July 1940 the site lists the RAF as only having 666 Operational fighters.

    The reality is on the 14th of July they had 1020 Spitfire and Hurricane fighters in the squadrons. Of those Spitfires and Hurricanes 866 were fully operational.

    So the perception the site creates is the RAF was down some 200 first line fighters.

    This is all informed speculation because I don't know the specific source of their numbers. It just it conflicts with the RAF numbers.

    I suspect their information is correct in the context it was delivered just as the RAF document is correct. The status of many things, especially equipment in a combat unit during time of war is a dynamic process. It changes all the time.

    Those numbers are probably correct for a few hours in the evening of the 13th of July after fighting off the Luftwaffe during the day. However, by next morning those airframes are back in the mix after minor repairs ready to fight.

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  10. #10
    Originally posted by JtD:
    I recall reading about a dozen Stukas getting attacked by twice as many British fighters, so, as I said, I don't think there's a "typical" ratio.
    Wouldn't in this case, the word be 'exception'?
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