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VO101Kurfurst

Luftwaffe aircraft strength prior to Bodenplatte

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Since this may prove most educational in certain re-occurring discussions about how 'rare' some Luftwaffe fighters were supposed to be in Bodenplatte, I will post this research on the LW fighter strenghts in December 1944 derived from historical Luftwaffe strength and movement reports.

 

Note that for the fighters (109s, 190s) I have only checked day fighter units so the aircraft present in second line units, or ground attack units (i.e. Fw 190F) are NOT presented here. I may also have missed some odd variants which were far and few between (like 190Fs present in day fighter units for some reason).

 

For Me 262 numbers, I have checked both day fighter and bomber unit strenght reports, as many 262 were present with ex-bomber units.

 

LW fighter strenght with 1st line day fighter units, on 1st December 1944 was, per model:

 

109G-6 101 pcs     

109G-6/U2 2 pcs

109G-6/U4 43 pcs

109G-14 649 pcs

109G-14/AS 249 pcs

109G-14/U2 15 pcs

109G-14/U4 66 pcs.

109G-10 124

109G-10/U4 none

109K-4 198 pcs

190 A-2 through A-7 36 pcs

190 A-8 585 pcs

190 A-8/R2 75 pcs

190 A-8/R6 74 pcs

190 A-9 73 pcs

190 A-9/R6 2 pcs

190 A-9/R11 15 pcs

190 D-9 124 pcs

 

As of LW fighter strenght with 1st line day fighter units, on 31 December 1944, little have changed - older models were phased out (-), newer models were getting more numerous (+), particularly the D-9:

 

109G-6 91 pcs     -

109G-6/U2 1 pcs -

109G-6/U4 13 pcs - 

109G-14 298 pcs - -

109G-14/AS 184 pcs -

109G-14/U2 10 pcs -

109G-14/U4 101 pcs. +

109G-10 121 pcs

109G-10/U4 4 pcs +

109K-4 159 pcs - 

190 A-2 through A-7 23 pcs -

190 A-8 461 pcs - 

190 A-8/R2 28 pcs - 

190 A-8/R6 16 pcs -

190 A-8/R11 0 pcs - 

190 A-9 35 pcs -

190 A-9/R6 none - 

190 A-9/R11 28 pcs +

190 D-9 238 pcs ++

 

Now, as for the supposedly "ultra rare" Me 262.

 

The number reported on strenght in day fighter and KG units (did not check the rest), as of 1st December 1944 (all Me 262 versions)

 

23 Me 262s reported on strenght by III / EJG 2.

14 Me 262s reported on strenght by III / JG 7.

 

1 Me 262 reported on strenght by Stab / KG 51.

47 Me 262s reported on strenght by I / KG 51.

36 Me 262s reported on strenght by II / KG 51.

16 Me 262s reported on strenght by IV / KG 51.

 

2 Me 262s reported on strenght by Stab / KG 54.

16 Me 262s reported on strenght by I / KG 54.

3 Me 262s reported on strenght by III / KG 54.

 

Grand total of 158 Me 262s on strength on 1st December 1944.

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Geographics-wise the data is for the entire LW, for all units classified as day fighters or Tagjagd, i.e. East and West, Med etc. However this means that for example planes in schooling units, ground attack units, recce, night fighter units are NOT listed in this!

 

But if needed it can be broken down to individual units. That is however somewhat more time consuming as the units moved a lot, and originally I was interested to see what were the 'typical' types at the time. 

 

However from what I gather the more recent types generally went to the West and Bodenplatte, the Eastern front had less of priority for 'new stuff'.

Edited by VO101Kurfurst

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Hi,

 

I believe Panzerbar had a quiet complete OOB for both the LW and USAAF, RAF that he posted a couple of months back. It's somewhere in the announcement thread. I will try to find it tomorrow. 

 

Grt M

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I./KG51 went from 16 Me262s Dec 1 to 1 Me262 at month end

I./KG51 went from 3 Me262s Dec 1 to 1 Me262 at month end

 

I./KG54 went from 47 Me262s Dec 1 to 30 Me262s at month end

I./KG54 went from 36 Me262s Dec 1 to 13 Me262s at month end

I./KG54 went from 16 Me262s Dec 1 to 12 Me262s at month end

 

​On Jan 10 1945 I./KG51 had 51 Me262s but only 37 were serviceable

 

Source http://www.ww2.dk/ and http://www.oocities.org/sturmvogel_66/LWOB45.html

 

​For the OoB for Bodenplatte the book by the same name by Manrho/Putz is a must read.

 

​Aircraft Authorized - 2665

Aircraft on Strength - 1446 (incl NAGr)

Aircraft Serviceable - 986 (incl NAGr) of which 929 flew

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109K-4 198 pcs

 

 

109K-4 159 pcs -

 

and 529 had been produced til  end of Nov with a further produced .326 in Dec.

 

So only 159 in service out of 855 produced. :blink:

 

Doesn't matter how many a/c are onhand but how many are serviceable. For Bodenplatte there was 167 K-4s on hand but only 92 were serviceable.

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The Manrho-Putz book gives establishment, on strength, serviceable and actually used for all the GAF fighter units actually involved in the BoBd operation at Dec 31st 1944. It is striking how under-strength they were:

 

total authorized   2665   100%

on strength         1446     54%

serviceable          986      37%

flown                    929      35%

 

edit - see that MiloMorai has already shown this data - must read thread more carefully before posting!  Still, the %s are interesting.

Edited by unreasonable
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Really goes to show how the Luftwaffe had no chance once the heavy bombing raids had exacted their toll on it... a nearly complete wipe-out by early-mid 44.

 

When the 8th Air Force was routinely putting 600-800 bombers on each mission, and an equal number of escorts.

 

Not to mention night bombers. Not to mention the entire eastern, or Mediterranean fronts.


Just another argument for staying at Jan 44, and earlier...

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According to Smith & Creek's  Focke-Wulf Fw 190: Volume 3 1944-1945, there were 490 serviceable Fw 190s available for Bodenplatte, cf. 809 on strength December 31(page 867).

 

Note: 75 were F-8s of SG. 4, meaning that 415 Fw 190 fighters were serviceable, out of 884 Fw 190s total: 138 D-9s were serviceable, out of "238 pieces".

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Yes I believe there is a LW OOB floating somewhere around from Munroe's (sp?) book.

 

 

Hi,

 

I believe Panzerbar had a quiet complete OOB for both the LW and USAAF, RAF that he posted a couple of months back. It's somewhere in the announcement thread. I will try to find it tomorrow. 

 

Grt M

 

When Panzerbar posted the screenshots, I took the numbers from the serviceable planes and came up with these:

 

407 Bf 109s:

 

262 G-14s ( 117 of them G-14/AS)              

92 K-4s                              

52 G-10s                            

1 G-6

 

517 Fw 190s:

 

333 A-8s (75 of them F-8s)

17 A-9s

167 D-9s

 

There were also a couple dozen Bf 109 Gs (unspecified variant) from what I think were nightfighter squadrons.

Edited by -=PHX=-SuperEtendard

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The Manrho-Putz book gives establishment, on strength, serviceable and actually used for all the GAF fighter units actually involved in the BoBd operation at Dec 31st 1944. It is striking how under-strength they were:

 

total authorized   2665   100%

on strength         1446     54%

serviceable          986      37%

flown                    929      35%

 

edit - see that MiloMorai has already shown this data - must read thread more carefully before posting!  Still, the %s are interesting.

Also from Manrho & Putz, there were Bf 92 109K-4s serviceable as of Dec 31: 52 G-10s: 121 G-14s: 117 G-14/AS: 17 G-14/U4s = 399 109s serviceable

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Also from that book - so far I have dipped rather than read cover to cover - there is at least one unit that did not have enough ready pilots in the unit to man the serviceable aircraft, so ferry pilots got roped in as well. They really were in a bad way.

 

Even so, I do recall from Clostermann's book, that although there was allied air supremacy the Tempest squadrons took significant casualties in the last months of the war, and those GAF units that retained some experienced pilots could still put up a fight. Meaningless strategically, but from the pov of the allied pilots who had to deal with them still a real contest.  

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Really goes to show how the Luftwaffe had no chance once the heavy bombing raids had exacted their toll on it... a nearly complete wipe-out by early-mid 44.

 

When the 8th Air Force was routinely putting 600-800 bombers on each mission, and an equal number of escorts.

 

Not to mention night bombers. Not to mention the entire eastern, or Mediterranean fronts.

Just another argument for staying at Jan 44, and earlier...

 

While I agree with the conclusion (stay out of late war scenarios) the Luftwaffe really had no chance at any point. Their Jagdwaffe never had more single seat fighters on hand than in early 1945. 

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I agree Fink, no chance at all... The full weight of allied might with global industrial backing. They lost the moment they crossed into Poland.

Edited by 7./JG26_Smokejumper

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The European axis powers (Germany and Italy) could have won the war - at multiple points. Just not after the decisions of 1940 - 1941.

 

1. If, as Smokejumper said, the Germans had not invaded Poland... triggering war with France and England, Hitler would (as one of my college professors put it) most likely have been hailed as the greatest German leader since Otto von Bismarck. Millions need not have perished. The British empire might still be extant. The cold war would not have happened... I could go on.

 

2. If the Germans had offered Britain peace after knocking out France and before Barbarossa, Britain most likely would have accepted it. As it was, there was a large contingent of British politicians who fought to sue Germany for peace, fearing that after Dunkirk, there could be no real resistance to an invasion. The Italians too, would have benefited from such peace terms in their North African conquests. However, after the Battle of Britain was over, Parliament belatedly realized that Churchill was right and the English channel and superior seapower (with equivalent airpower) had saved them... and that they could continue on. Still, I have long thought that the British heaved a massive sigh of relief when Barbarossa began... and another in December, when Hitler declared war on the USA. Which brings me to... 

 

3. If the Germans' had not then also declared war on the USA (for what reason? Idiocy.) when Japan attacked Hawaii on Dec 7, 1941 -- it is highly unlikely that the USA would have itself declared war on Germany, with its hands full in the Pacific and with Britain at peace. The long term ramifications should be clear.

 

Assuming #2 and #3 occurs, and Germany and Russia still go to war, say in early summer of 1942 -- but this is no longer a world war -- then it is a different situation than as historical. Germany would not divert resources to North Africa, would not deal with strategic bombing, would not worry about the battle of the Atlantic, would not have to deal with trade blockades (including all of the colonial territories' raw resources). In short, it is a different situation entirely and it is not clear to me who is the winner in the case of a German invasion of Russia (or vice-versa).

 

Unfortunately for the Germans, and -- ultimately -- fortunately for the USSR, Hitler was racially motivated, shortsighted, overconfident, and extremely aggressive. An Otto von Bismarck would have seen the situation in a totally different light... and most likely history would have been different.

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Additionally, regarding the Jewish and other ethnic groups of people who were systematically put to death by the Nazi regime (the Soviets were also not guiltless - just not as efficient in their atrocities) ---- it is a horrific thing to consider a peace in Europe under Nazi rule. Even the USA is not innocent (at least WE didn't kill off swaths of our own population... only deprived those Americans who were of Japanese descent of their property, their families, and years of their lives).

 

Sorry to be a killjoy, but I like to think about these things in context. :)


Ultimately, we can fly our simulator, enjoy the technical aspects of these aircraft and this amazing point of aviation history, and not get too factional -- considering very carefully the historical ramifications of such... :)

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I agree that people tend to assume that what did happen, must have happened, and that this is false. Even the German invasion of the USSR could have worked - Stalin lost his nerve for a week, and if the other top communists had had the guts to get rid of him the regime might have crumbled in a variety of ways. People now tend to forget that the Germans did knock out the Russians in WW1 using only a quarter of their army: the belief that a similar dynamic might occur was not irrational - it just turned out to be wrong, especially given the insane decision to declare war on the USA. 

 

I would take issue with " If the Germans had offered Britain peace after knocking out France and before Barbarossa, Britain most likely would have accepted it."  Actually, Hitler did offer peace to Britain after Dunkirk, the Cabinet discussed it, and rejected the proposal since, whatever the merits of halting the war, they believed that Hitler had proven that he could not be trusted to keep any agreements. A decision, IMHO, not so much brave as realistic. 

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I dont think this is widely accepted!

 

If true, in hindsight and knowing Hitler’s racial idealeogy for lebensraum — and therefore his overall war aims — the offer may have been genuine.

 

Of course, any peace would also have led to other things objectionable to the British, who have always wanted to keep the continent fractured... I doubt they cared much about any exterminations.

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I will try to find a reference. I think the offer was genuine: in the sense that Hitler would have been happy to have the British Empire neutral, and as a source of trade for raw materials, while he completed the invasion of the USSR.  Of course you are right that some people would have been happy to make a deal - but even many of those who supported appeasement pre-war must have realized that any protection of the Empire offered by Hitler would only have been temporary. If he had achieved total domination in Europe, a huge navy would be next on the list: and then the UK's independence is finished.

 

British foreign policy has always been to try to prevent any single power having such hegemony in Europe that they could then develop a serious invasion threat. A perfectly sensible and ethical approach: a government's first duty is to it's own people. As to exterminations in far off places: in 1940 these had not actually started, they began during Barbarossa. You had systematic persecution at a lower level before of course: but it is hardly clear what if anything could have been done about it.

 

Edit: On Hitler making an offer see https://www.upi.com/Archives/1940/07/19/Hitler-offers-Britain-peace-or-destruction/6824181303557/

 

Edit: On British responses:   "Halifax later helped to persuade Churchill not to send any more aircraft to France.[26] Halifax poured cold water on the Dominions’ desire to be receptive to German peace feelers.[27] On 19 July 1940 Hitler in a speech put out peace feelers to Britain. However, on 22 July Halifax delivered a speech rejecting the offer. Halifax had little further interest in tentative German peace feelers throughout the year. In 1942 Hitler told Bormann of how Halifax had "declined the hand of peace".[28]"

 

This is from the end of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1940_War_Cabinet_crisis

 

Basically Churchill got his way in rejecting proposals to negotiate before the Fall of France. After Dunkirk, the issue arose again, but even most of the "Doves" like Halifax could no longer see any point in a deal. 

 

Edit - sorry about OT!

Edited by unreasonable

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The Manrho-Putz book gives establishment, on strength, serviceable and actually used for all the GAF fighter units actually involved in the BoBd operation at Dec 31st 1944. It is striking how under-strength they were:

 

total authorized   2665   100%

on strength         1446     54%

serviceable          986      37%

flown                    929      35%

 

edit - see that MiloMorai has already shown this data - must read thread more carefully before posting!  Still, the %s are interesting.

 

Understrenght compared to what? Authorized strenght? Authorized strenght of the Jagdgeschwadern was increased in August 1944 - each Staffel was to have 16 planes instead 12 (4 being reserve), Gruppen were to have an extra (4th) Staffel, and several of them even got a fourth Gruppe. In practice, carrying out this bolstering of the fighter units heavily depended wheter they could be pulled out from operations of course.

 

In other words, a Gruppe that was 100% authorized strenght in June 1944 would seem "under strenght" even if it had the exaxct same number of planes simply because changes in the ToE. A Gruppe in 1940-mid 1944 was supposed to be authorized 40 fighter aircraft when fully equipped, or about 62% of what it was authorized to have by late 1944 it was supposed to have 64, of which 16 were immediate reserves.

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Understrenght compared to what? Authorized strenght? Authorized strenght of the Jagdgeschwadern was increased in August 1944 - each Staffel was to have 16 planes instead 12 (4 being reserve), Gruppen were to have an extra (4th) Staffel, and several of them even got a fourth Gruppe. In practice, carrying out this bolstering of the fighter units heavily depended wheter they could be pulled out from operations of course.

 

In other words, a Gruppe that was 100% authorized strenght in June 1944 would seem "under strenght" even if it had the exaxct same number of planes simply because changes in the ToE. A Gruppe in 1940-mid 1944 was supposed to be authorized 40 fighter aircraft when fully equipped, or about 62% of what it was authorized to have by late 1944 it was supposed to have 64, of which 16 were immediate reserves.

 

Under-strength comparing aircraft on strength to authorized establishment. Which was 68 aircraft per gruppe on 1st Jan 1945, not 64, you are forgetting the Gruppe HQ flight.  The actual number of planes on strength varied enormously between gruppes, some had fewer than 20, but taken together was little over half the authorized, and only 68% of the planes on strength were serviceable. 

 

It is not complicated. 

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Under-strength comparing aircraft on strength to authorized establishment. Which was 68 aircraft per gruppe on 1st Jan 1945, not 64, you are forgetting the Gruppe HQ flight.  The actual number of planes on strength varied enormously between gruppes, some had fewer than 20, but taken together was little over half the authorized, and only 68% of the planes on strength were serviceable. 

 

It is not complicated. 

 

You are right about the Stabschwarm. 

 

Apart from that, indeed it isn't complicated. The reformed 1944 ToE of the Jagdgeschwadern provided the unit for immediate reserves and allowed continued full operational capacity for some time, since at least 25% of their authorized strength was simply there to replace losses. 

 

The state of individual units of course varied. It is even more true for serviceability rates, which were usually reported in the evening after the daily operations, but before repair (if possible at the Gruppe-level) maintenance performed during the night. In any case, 70-80% serviceability of the present strength is fairly typical for any side, at any time of the war.

 

The same applied to the Allied units operational in the area of course. Serviceability rates of Typhoon units was especially appealing in the 2nd TAF area. Its normal during heavy operations, and the second half December 1944 was fairly active, to say the least - wo gehobelt wird, fallen Späne.

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Apart from that, indeed it isn't complicated. The reformed 1944 ToE of the Jagdgeschwadern provided the unit for immediate reserves and allowed continued full operational capacity for some time, since at least 25% of their authorized strength was simply there to replace losses.

 

 

Is that so?

 

The K-4 units participating in Bodenplatte had an establishment strength of  820 a/c but only had 167 a/c on hand of which 81 were operational.

 

G-10 752, 89, 52

G-14 884. 157, 141

G-14/AS 412, 172, 118

 

So much for those reserve a/c.

Edited by MiloMorai

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I was just about to say that  if "The reformed 1944 ToE of the Jagdgeschwadern provided the unit for immediate reserves and allowed continued full operational capacity for some time, "  the some time clearly did not extend up to 1st January 1945. 

 

Being only able to fly 35% of your established strength on what was supposed to be a decisive all out effort shows that most of the JGs were incapable of operating at full capacity, whether you think that is 68 aircraft per Gruppe or 40.

 

The book also has the "ready number" which is 990, next to the flown. So it seems all of 4 aircraft were made serviceable overnight.

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I was just about to say that  if "The reformed 1944 ToE of the Jagdgeschwadern provided the unit for immediate reserves and allowed continued full operational capacity for some time, "  the some time clearly did not extend up to 1st January 1945. 

 

Being only able to fly 35% of your established strength on what was supposed to be a decisive all out effort shows that most of the JGs were incapable of operating at full capacity, whether you think that is 68 aircraft per Gruppe or 40.

 

The book also has the "ready number" which is 990, next to the flown. So it seems all of 4 aircraft were made serviceable overnight.

 

I am beginning to see that you are perhaps not so much interested in understanding how real life military operations meant, rather you are interested in spouting out random numbers followed by a % sign. I also start to recognize that that it still did not sink in completely the difference between authorized reserves and operational flying strength. You very clearly need to spend some more time figuring out what ´reserve aircraft´ means. 

 

Let us return to the subject when you have done that and show some actual interest in understanding the subject.

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I am beginning to see that you are perhaps not so much interested in understanding how real life military operations meant, rather you are interested in spouting out random numbers followed by a % sign. I also start to recognize that that it still did not sink in completely the difference between authorized reserves and operational flying strength. You very clearly need to spend some more time figuring out what ´reserve aircraft´ means. 

 

Let us return to the subject when you have done that and show some actual interest in understanding the subject.

 

"Oh look! A squirrel!"

 

As an ex-Army officer, I am confident that I understand the meaning of "reserves". Since you apparently do not, I will explain. Essentially, they are those assets that you hold back for use when you really need them. On crucial last ditch operations like Bodenplatte.  

 

The GAF threw everything it had on that operation, even using non-combat pilots.  The fact is that most units were woefully under-strength, and their pilot rosters even more so, after months of attrition by the allied air forces. Why accepting this simple fact is apparently so painful for you I cannot imagine.

 

[Edited]

Edited by Bearcat
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Dec 31 1944/Jan 1 1945

III./JG27 OnHand 26 Serviceable 15

 

​So a wee bit short of your revisionist establishment number Kurfurst

 

 

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I would have thought that the Me 262 would have been the ideal aircraft for Operation Bodenplatte, with the intention being to get in and out fast, destroying targets on the ground and not hanging about to 'dogfight'

 

From the first post, with 154 Me262 'on strength' on first Dec why could they only deploy 22 for the actual Operation on Jan 1, two suffered engine failure on/before takeoff and one was delayed 1 hour, the pilot of one of the engine failure aircraft was able to take a spare aircraft so 19 sortied at start with 2 delayed

 

21 aircraft does not seem much to be able to muster for such an important operation what happened to all the others?

 

Cheers, Dakpilot

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I would have thought that the Me 262 would have been the ideal aircraft for Operation Bodenplatte, with the intention being to get in and out fast, destroying targets on the ground and not hanging about to 'dogfight'

 

 

 

Weren´t they banned from bombing from anything lower than 4000 meter at the time, for fear of Flak related losses and the tech falling to Allied hands;

 

From the first post, with 154 Me262 'on strength' on first Dec why could they only deploy 22 for the actual Operation on Jan 1, two suffered engine failure on/before takeoff and one was delayed 1 hour, the pilot of one of the engine failure aircraft was able to take a spare aircraft so 19 sortied at start with 2 delayed

 

21 aircraft does not seem much to be able to muster for such an important operation what happened to all the others?

 

Cheers, Dakpilot

 

 

 

The Me 262 units participating in Bodenplatte and the units listed in the first posts (i.e. all Me 262 units, stationed everywhere not just in Bodenplatte). It appears only Stab. I. Gruppe and II. Gruppe of KG 51 participated in the Bodenplatte attack. Panzerbar posted the units participating in Bodenplatte here. https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/32255-discussion-bodenplatte-flying-circus-and-tank-crew-announcem/page-19

 

I suppose the other jet units may have had other objectives at the time, such as defending the airspace or training working up the new jet airplanes; KG 54 was for example deep behind in Bavaria at Giebelstadt airfield; III/JG 7 was apparently at the Brandenburg-Briest airfield just west of Berlin, III/EJG 2 was stationed at Lechfeld, south of Augsburg, also in Bavaria.

 

Keep in mind that Operational Bodenplatte was not in support of Wacht am Rhein, but Operation Nordwind, a follow-up offensive in Asace - Lorraine that started on 31st December 1944.

Edited by VO101Kurfurst

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I./KG51

Authorized 40

OnHand 30

Serviceable 21

 

II./KG51

Authorized 40

OnHand 13

Serviceable 3

 

JG7 had 16 a/c

KG54 had 7 a/c

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Somewhat related to the subject, I recalled that a good while ago HoHun was kind enough to dig through all the strenght and movement returns of the Luftwaffe, and managed to comply a fairly comprehensive graphical study of all the Luftwaffe units and the types they operated at various times through the war, from March 1942 up to the end of 1944, when these strenght returns were available. I have found them fairly informative and I hope he does not mind if I share his work. Its fairly revealing as to the changes of the force structure that occured in the last quarter of 1944.

 

Its quite visible that fighters got top priority, while the bomber arm effectively ceased to exist due to fuel shortages.

 

post-1271-0-05699700-1518639509_thumb.png

post-1271-0-71893300-1518639588_thumb.png

Edited by VO101Kurfurst

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Keep in mind that Operational Bodenplatte was not in support of Wacht am Rhein, but Operation Nordwind, a follow-up offensive in Asace - Lorraine that started on 31st December 1944.

 

actually, there is a bit more of a backstory. The original plan was to have the attack occur on the first day of the Bulge offensive, i.e. December 16, which would have been logical. It was delayed for a variety of reasons, the Bodenplatte book goes into this in some detail, so yes, it was part of the overall plan.

 

It would have been better if the attack had occurred on dec. 16, since most squadrons were close to full strength and rested on that day. In the two week period leading to jan. 1, all squadrons involved in Bodenplatte were involved in heavy fighting and suffered heavy losses.

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Understrenght compared to what? Authorized strenght? Authorized strenght of the Jagdgeschwadern was increased in August 1944 - each Staffel was to have 16 planes instead 12 (4 being reserve), Gruppen were to have an extra (4th) Staffel, and several of them even got a fourth Gruppe. In practice, carrying out this bolstering of the fighter units heavily depended wheter they could be pulled out from operations of course.

 

In other words, a Gruppe that was 100% authorized strenght in June 1944 would seem "under strenght" even if it had the exaxct same number of planes simply because changes in the ToE. A Gruppe in 1940-mid 1944 was supposed to be authorized 40 fighter aircraft when fully equipped, or about 62% of what it was authorized to have by late 1944 it was supposed to have 64, of which 16 were immediate reserves.

 

Manhro & Putz have taken their figures directly from the Luftwaffe's Strength Report dated 31 December 1944 - the figures INCLUDE the numbers of aircraft (68) authorized for each Gruppen, including the purported 16 "immediate reserves"  as per the revised ToE, followed by the number of aircraft actually on strength, which would include whatever "immediate reserves" were purportedly available = 1,446 aircraft, including reserves, out of an authorized strength of 2,665 = 1,219 aircraft under strength. Of the Aircraft Serviceable, it's possible that some units counted reserve aircraft as unserviceable, but there's nothing to indicate that.

 

As such, it is very clear that most of the units were well under strength, in both aircraft and available pilots and it's also very clear that few of the units held any of their strength in reserve during the operation on 1 January 1945- see Aircraft Ready and Aircraft Flown. 

 

There was no "magic" to it: the frontline Gruppen during Bodenplatte  were mostly well under strength, regardless of any reserves (the closest unit to have the full 68 authorized aircraft was III./JG 11, with 63 Fw 190s, 31 of which were flown on Bodenplatte), no matter how much one tries to cook the calculations.

 

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Thanks for producing scan - I do not have one easily available.

 

I will admit to one thing: the ratio of aircraft ready to aircraft authorized is actually a little lower than that of pilots ready to pilots authorized.  990/2665 = 37% for aircraft,  vs 1139/2665 = 43% for pilots, so in aggregate the situation with respect to planes was worse than that for pilots in terms of numbers, but it is hard to tell how many of the "ready" pilots were really competent, what with limited training and conversions from bombers.

 

That some ferry pilots were kept with units and may have flown in the operation comes from the text. Clearly in the lead up to the operation some units were better off for planes rather than pilots and vise versa.

 

That aside, another point to notice is that the authorized number for pilots = authorized number for planes.  In other words, the new large establishment was not about establishing reserves in the sense of providing spare planes to fill in for those being serviced so that pilots would not be grounded for lack of a mount.  The unit was expected to be able to field it's full strength if required within normal serviceability constraints.

 

The Germans expanded the authorized establishment - IMHO - not to provide reserves but because they were seeking to expand significantly the overall size of the fighter arm since they were losing the air war. It is much harder, however, to increase the total number of leaders and potentially wasteful to increase the number of administrative units. So adding an extra sub-unit at each level was seen as a better than simply expanding the number of JGs using the older orbat.   

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Serviceability rates of Typhoon units was especially appealing in the 2nd TAF area. Its normal during heavy operations, and the second half December 1944 was fairly active, to say the least - wo gehobelt wird, fallen Späne.

 

Yes the serviceable rates of Typhoon squadrons was appealing unlike the JGs which was certainly appalling. For example, the K-4 units that flew during Bodenplatte it was 11% (Serv/Estab)

 

On Sept1 1944 there was 20 Typhoon squadrons with an UE of 18 a/c. Of this UE 360 a/c, there was 328 Typhoons with crew available for operations.

328/20 = 16

 

On Jan 4 1945 there was 221Typhoons with crew in 20 squadrons available for operations. Some 55-60 had been damaged or destroyed during Bodenplatte.

221/20 = 11

 

On April 26 1945 there was 17 Typhoon squadrons with an UE of 306 a/c. Of this 306 a/c, 272 were available with crew for operations.

272/17 = 16

 

As can be seen Typhoon squadrons had no trouble meeting the requirement  of 12 a/c flying on operations from the reserve a/c in the squadron. It is best not to take anything Kurfurst says, especially about the Brits, at face value.

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I would love to see just ONE thread dealing with anything German.. that does not turn into a pissing match between the usual experts... 

 

JUST ONE  :mellow:  

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On 2/14/2018 at 12:37 PM, Sgt_Joch said:

 

actually, there is a bit more of a backstory. The original plan was to have the attack occur on the first day of the Bulge offensive, i.e. December 16, which would have been logical. It was delayed for a variety of reasons, the Bodenplatte book goes into this in some detail, so yes, it was part of the overall plan.

 

It would have been better if the attack had occurred on dec. 16, since most squadrons were close to full strength and rested on that day. In the two week period leading to jan. 1, all squadrons involved in Bodenplatte were involved in heavy fighting and suffered heavy losses.

 

What is the "Bodenplatte Book" you speak of? Just curious.

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