Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Avimimus

Late to Bodenplatte thread

Recommended Posts

I thought I'd create a thread for those of us who didn't pre-order and are thus picking up BoBP late.

 

Quick reaction:

I'm quite impressed by the integration of compressibility effects and the pilot physiology improvements... I'd valued them, but without all of the fast late-war aircraft their impact on gameplay wasn't as mind-blowing.

 

I'm also a bit shocked by how much I like the P-51... I hadn't really liked it in any sim before, but I think I'm falling in love in spite of my long-standing biases. The G-14 and K-4 are also pretty fascinating in their differences to each other (rudder seems to handle very differently) and are surprisingly nice to fly compared to early Bf-109Gs. The Fw-190A8 also surprised me by handling better than the early variants in some ways (overturning a bias from Il-2 1946). The Tempest is magnificent. The Spit's RP-3 was surprisingly satisfying, despite only having two rockets I took out a sub on my first try... it makes me look forward to the Typhoon even more. The P-47 sort-of works so long as I keep it over 400 kph... but it is going to take a lot to convince me of its merits.

 

I agree that the lack of river barges and railway yards makes the map feel a bit emptier than I imagined it over the years... and damaged versions of buildings might also be worth adding... so I do agree with those points I saw people making - but overall the map is really diverse and I think really well done. I'm excited to see if/how the designers manage bocage in Normandy.

 

To be honest... my main motive was to get the Fw-190F8/G8 ground attack aircraft, and to a lesser extent a few other aircraft (P-38, Tempest, Clip-wing spit)... and it has proven to be so much more!

 

P.S.

(yes I know the title doesn't technically rhyme).

Edited by Avimimus
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Arthur-A said:

P-47 is a joke (in this game). 

This 

is 

making 

huge 

black

cloud

over

bobp

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, LuseKofte said:

This 

is 

making 

huge 

black

cloud

over

bobp

Over BoN as well. And if you add those engine timers.. you may notice that the cloud stretches even more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are working on the DM, stay tuned :friends:

Edited by 76IAP-Black

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it is clearly a sign that they rework the FM and DM of the 47, that the 47 is on top of the BON list of the aircrafts to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Yogiflight said:

For me it is clearly a sign that they rework the FM and DM of the 47, that the 47 is on top of the BON list of the aircrafts to come.

Hopefully that's the case but honestly idk. Not trying to be pessimistic but I'm not holding my breath on the P-47 improving any. Hopefully I'm wrong.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Arthur-A said:

Over BoN as well. And if you add those engine timers.. you may notice that the cloud stretches even more.


Kind if forgot that. 
I am so used to restricting P 40 performance that it has become a second nature. Witch btw is another ac that suppose to be my favorite. 
ye ye it is a great game. 
And I do not like to be dramatic, but these timers and parameters used in this software simply will not do. 
I find less and less time to fly, so instead of this WT tendencies I simply rather choose to watch TV with my wife, then I have to talk to her and then well dammit FIX this

Edited by LuseKofte
  • Haha 7
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, LuseKofte said:


Kind if forgot that. 
I am so used to restricting P 40 performance that it has become a second nature. Witch btw is another ac that suppose to be my favorite. 
ye ye it is a great game. 
And I do not like to be dramatic, but these timers and parameters used in this software simply will not do. 
I find less and less time to fly, so instead of this WT tendencies I simply rather choose to watch TV with my wife, then I have to talk to her and then well dammit FIX this

I think sometimes they should put the engine timers as a realism option, after all you can turn off all sorts of other things like gloc, limited ammo, limited fuel etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LuseKofte said:

... I simply rather choose to watch TV with my wife, then I have to talk to her and then well dammit ...

 

Buddy, I hear you.  My old lady likes to talk and talk so you can't hear the dialogue also... 😆

 

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Legioneod said:

Hopefully that's the case but honestly idk. Not trying to be pessimistic but I'm not holding my breath on the P-47 improving any. Hopefully I'm wrong.

 

Yeah, I've started reading between the lines regarding how the P-47 was used... and it doesn't imply that she can really win a turning fight below 400 kph... there is a big emphasis on dive speeds and having an energy advantage in a lot of the historical accounts. There are also contemporary accounts:

 

If one considers that many air-combats involved only one pass (IRL pilots lose sight of their opponents and disengage much more often than AI do) and that there was a huge numerical advantage in many fights... one could definitely see the P-47 keeping its reputation as a reliable aircraft, effective escort fighter, and good fighter-bomber in '44-'45 on the Western Front while it wouldn't have been able to have its reputation survive if it had been mainly used in the low-altitude turning fights of 1941 on the Eastern Front... so, I have doubts that the FM is that inaccurate. Of course, if it had better stall characteristics in a future patch I'd like it more.

 

As for the damage model - I do agree that the engine in particular feels a bit too vulnerable to damage. It is important to remember that the pilots were comparing it to Mustangs, not to Il-2s... it is important to remember that 'durable' is a relative concept (durable compared to what?).

 

Anyway, if people have tips somewhere (perhaps an existing thread) with info on how to love the Jug... I'd be happy to hear it.

 

Oh, quick question: In Il-2 1946 the 0.50 cals were split between two triggers... but this isn't the case here! I assume it is accurate (they went to the trouble of giving the F-8 bomb selection options that the A-5 doesn't have etc.) ...but I was wondering if the trigger configuration in the old Il-2 is based on a different model?

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Avimimus said:

 

Yeah, I've started reading between the lines regarding how the P-47 was used... and it doesn't imply that she can really win a turning fight below 400 kph... there is a big emphasis on dive speeds and having an energy advantage in a lot of the historical accounts. There are also contemporary accounts:

 

If one considers that many air-combats involved only one pass (IRL pilots lose sight of their opponents and disengage much more often than AI do) and that there was a huge numerical advantage in many fights... one could definitely see the P-47 keeping its reputation as a reliable aircraft, effective escort fighter, and good fighter-bomber in '44-'45 on the Western Front 

 

No - in real life it wasn’t  a “below 400 kph” thing, it was an “above 15,000’” thing.

 

Further it’s efficacy had nothing to do with greater numbers. In fact you have the numerical advantage thing backwards. :) U.S. pilots were most often outnumbered in those engagements.

 

I suggest some reading. - start with “The Long Reach” which is full of statements written during the war by American pilots, including Jug pilots from the 352nd and other squadrons.

 

 

Jugs gave aa good aa they got down low, but not 1 vs 1.

 

1 vs 1 at altitude wasn’t a problem.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it's understandable that at low altitude the Jug is at disadvantage. But to what degree? Is it really that bad so that even A20 with full fuel load is a better dogfighter?

And even at high alts it's not convincing either.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Arthur-A said:

Yeah, it's understandable that at low altitude the Jug is at disadvantage. But to what degree? Is it really that bad so that even A20 with full fuel load is a better dogfighter?

And even at high alts it's not convincing either.

It's worth noting that the a20 gives a lot of planes a run for their money in a dogfight. It actually has a lot of power, and down low it is possible to run the engines higher than rated max power without detonation. It sounds counterintuitive that a 'bomber' can hold its own against a fighter, and it maybe that it is the case in the sim because of an error in the FM, but there are cases of larger planes being able to out manoeuvre fighters. Anecdotally the Vulcan could simply outturn mig 21s, and that plane is far bigger. I personally would fancy my chances against an a20 in game, if I was in a p47, mostly because the a20 is limited to 4 g, but I get that in game if you do a circle fight with no out of plane manoeuvres the a20 might do well, so i understand why that seems suspicious. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Avimimus said:

It is important to remember that the pilots were comparing it to Mustangs, not to Il-2s...

 

Mustangs and Lightnings. Lightnings were replaced by P-47s in TacAir in late 1944 specifically because the P-38 was more vulnerable to FlaK.

From AIR POWER FOR PATTON’S ARMY: The XIX Tactical Air Command in the Second World War p247
 

Quote

The relatively static situation in February eased the burden of aircraft conversion for two XIX TAC groups. With earlier experience to follow, the command had no trouble providing the 367th Fighter Group with P–47s in place of P–38s, and the 354th Fighter Group with P–51s in place of P–47s. In fact, both conversions occurred faster than the 354th’s conversion from P–51s to Thunderbolts back in November 1944.17 For some time the command had considered standardizing its fighter-bomber force by reequipping its lone Lightning group with the more durable P–47s. Despite the P–38’s superior low-level speed and maneuverability, the command preferred the Thunderbolt for divebombing and close support in the final offensive. [emphasis mine-ck]The reconversion of the 354th Fighter Group from P–47s to P–51s no doubt became a consideration as well. Beginning in December 1944, each of the 367th Fighter Group’s three P–38 squadrons had four P–47s assigned. When no more arrived in January 1945, group members thought there would be no conversion. But on February 11, the group’s 392d Fighter Squadron received 13 P–47s and by the sixteenth, was flying combat missions with the new aircraft. The remaining two squadrons became operational after only four and three days, respectively. By February 26, the 367th Fighter Group operated as a fully equipped Thunderbolt outfit.
 

 

Edited by cardboard_killer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, 71st_AH_Barnacles said:

Anecdotally the Vulcan could simply outturn mig 21s, and that plane is far bigger.

 

That is at high altitude though... where the large wing area of the Vulcan meant that it wouldn't enter into high-speed stalls as easily as the small winged Russian interceptors...

 

That said, there are cases where some bombers (e.g. A-26) could turn inside enemy single engined fighters at certain altitudes. They'd still be bigger targets, slower to roll etc. But turning inside an enemy fighter did happen.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The A-20B was much lighter than later variants. The Soviets thought it was bizarrely overpowered for a level bomber. The C and later carry a lot more armour and bombs, and are notably less agile

 

A P-47 is never going to be quick down low. It's a very large airframe carrying a lot of weight, including a turbo that does nothing for it until at least a few km up

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, cardboard_killer said:

Mustangs and Lightnings. Lightnings were replaced by P-47s in TacAir in late 1944 specifically because the P-38 was more vulnerable to FlaK.

 

Interesting! Thanks!

 

56 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

No - in real life it wasn’t  a “below 400 kph” thing, it was an “above 15,000’” thing.

 

For the record... the 400 kph thing is my experience based on how I fly...

 

 

It has been a long time since I read the USAAF histories and after action accounts... I'm sure the P-47 one some 1 vs 1 turn-fights... and it would be interesting to go over accounts of those. That said, I wouldn't characterise '44 or '45 Western Front as being prone to producing conditions where allied fighters were at a numerical disadvantage... the majority of fights would be the other way around (that goes for all fighters).

Edited by Avimimus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that the Razorback at the same Powersettings is faster than the Bubble and faces Aircraft on roughly the same Performance Level as the Kuban Aircraft (if not worse) the P-47 in BoN will not be nearly as outmatched as it is by the BoBP Planes. It will be faster pretty much everwhere, and around 18m/s of Climb it will be able to compete far more readily against G-6s with barely 20m/s and A-6s with roughly the same at some Altitudes.

 

The P-47 Bubbletop falls Victim to insanely strong enemy Aircraft and Powersettings from 1943.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Avimimus said:

 

It has been a long time since I read the USAAF histories and after action accounts... I'm sure the P-47 one some 1 vs 1 turn-fights... and it would be interesting to go over accounts of those. That said, I wouldn't characterise '44 or '45 Western Front as being prone to producing conditions where allied fighters were at a numerical disadvantage... the majority of fights would be the other way around (that goes for all fighters).

 

Indeed but happened all the time in 43-44 during escorts. Which relates to my Jug statement. I get it though - you’re talking late war, down low. You’re not wrong - stay fast! :)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Avimimus said:

 

That is at high altitude though... where the large wing area of the Vulcan meant that it wouldn't enter into high-speed stalls as easily as the small winged Russian interceptors...

 

That said, there are cases where some bombers (e.g. A-26) could turn inside enemy single engined fighters at certain altitudes. They'd still be bigger targets, slower to roll etc. But turning inside an enemy fighter did happen.

Another thing I heard was that a Lancaster's plan a against a night fighter was to do a sharp corkscrew dive. Obviously not the same as a dogfight against a day fighter, but just shows that bombers aren't just sitting ducks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Gambit21 said:

U.S. pilots were most often outnumbered in those engagements.

 

At first glance, yes, but it atually goes deeper than "..there I wuz...we were attacked by 40-60 Messerschmitts out of the sun..."

 

1) Don't forget the sheer number of bombers - each one starring 10+ HMGs, pointed in each direction - which the Luftwaffe was really set out to fight. The brunt of the attack was always directed at the bombers and even if a US fighter-squadron was caught with it's pants down once every while, it was a statistical insignifigance, giving the total amout of missions flown by 8th and 9th US fighter groups that very day, let alone over the entire campaign. Such a squadron had the unfortunate honor of being given the attention of most of what the Luftwaffe could field that day.

 

2) The reason why the Luftwaffe created focal points when attacking wasn't related to it's overwhelming numerical odds, but by the sheer neccessity of survival.

Groups of aircraft in less than Gruppe-strength (three squadrons - or however many airplanes could be made serviceable per squadron) were usually torn apart quickly by escort fighters.

Of course, when such a focal point came in on a patch of bombers that was protected by a single squadron, it looked like an overwhelming attack. However, most of that was directed at the bombers, with only - at most - a single high-altitude squadron per Gruppe covering the bomber-killers.

 

3) The Luftwaffe had a total of five to seven fighter groups at their disposal along the whole length of the English Channel (depending on time-frames).

JG1 covering the belgian and dutch coast, JG26 the greater Pas de Calais region and JG 2 the Normandy with detachments all the way down to Brittany. Compare that to the load of american fighter groups (at first few, but steadily increasing through 1943/44) and british fighter wings. Count US/RAF bomber groups/ wings on top of that and don't forget good ole coastal command. Yes, the Allies weren't attacking all at once, but they were also flying decoy-missions or totally unrelated missions at the very same time the bombers came over.

The Luftwaffe had to priorize and if a focus was created here, somebody else on the allied side probably had a field-day somewhere else.

 

4) The USAAF had a pretty bloody learning period in 1943. That's due to not having much experience (compred to the RAF and Luftwaffe), but as time went on, they became better and better. Not only in respect to tactical experience, but also how to make use of their aircraft, which (P-47) weren't neccessarily fighters in regards to common wisdom at the time.

 

5) Don't forget that numbers given usually aren't actually counted, but a ballpark-estimate dependant on the sight-picture. That works pretty well for up to a Staffel/ squadron size (three Schwärme/ flights times four equals 12), but it breaks down when numbers get big. There's just no way you can estimate the number of contacts reliably by just a glance, if the number is greater than 20 or so. Thus one has to be careful with numbers of 40-60 or even 60-80. Keep in mind that 36 is the number of an all up Gruppe attacking. A group of 80 aircraft would mean a focal attack of two Gruppen at once, which is possible and probably happened several times, but not all that often. Especially later in the war, when serviceability and pilot-quality were going down the sink.

 

6) Pilot-quality. While being outnumbered and having to fight your way out of an attack by very experienced and battle-hardened Channel-based Luftwaffe pilots was a scary thing to think of in mid-early 1943, the same is not true for the later times. It's no chance that greater Luftwaffe-formations were called "gaggles" later on, as experience, formation-integrity and tactical ability were becoming lower by the day. All of those were neccessary to to successfully attack an allied bomber stream and come back alive.

Edited by Bremspropeller
  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, cardboard_killer said:

... I'd rather have that plane than a flyable B-25. Sorry, guys.

No intention to derail the thread... 

@cardboard_killer  In IL-2GB you don´t choose the A-20, the A-20 chooses you. She is simply irresistable. Nothing I could put my finger on...

Except power, manouvreability, controllability, smoothness, beautiful lines, sound, a name just as powerful as the plane itself... 🤣

So your passion is fully understandable. :drinks:  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

6) Pilot-quality. While being outnumbered and having to fight your way out of an attack by very experienced and battle-hardened Channel-based Luftwaffe pilots was a scary thing to think of in mid-early 1943, the same is not true for the later times. It's no chance that greater Luftwaffe-formations were called "gaggles" later on, as experience, formation-integrity and tactical ability were becoming lower by the day. All of those were neccessary to to successfully attack an allied bomber stream and come back alive.

 

Along with all those excellent points is that the Luftwaffe ground control had to plot successfully where the attack was headed once detected in order to climb to 8km to meet the threat. That improved as the war went on, but fuel wastage climbing to the wrong city was extreme. And newer and newer pilots had fewer and fewer hours of high altitude flight time.

Edited by cardboard_killer
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way Avi, I do appreciate the “Late to Boden-plate” title.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, 6./ZG26_Klaus_Mann said:

Given that the Razorback at the same Powersettings is faster than the Bubble and faces Aircraft on roughly the same Performance Level as the Kuban Aircraft (if not worse) the P-47 in BoN will not be nearly as outmatched as it is by the BoBP Planes. It will be faster pretty much everwhere, and around 18m/s of Climb it will be able to compete far more readily against G-6s with barely 20m/s and A-6s with roughly the same at some Altitudes.

 

The P-47 Bubbletop falls Victim to insanely strong enemy Aircraft and Powersettings from 1943.

This is true. The Razorback will have the same power settings as the D-28 that we have in-game and maybe it will even get 70" MAP since it used it at this timeframe as well and 150 fuel was standard in the UK at this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Legioneod said:

This is true. The Razorback will have the same power settings as the D-28 that we have in-game and maybe it will even get 70" MAP since it used it at this timeframe as well and 150 fuel was standard in the UK at this time.

 

I wonder if the Mustang III will have anti-diver engine settings seeing as we're getting V-1s to shoot... 81"hg would be a lot of fun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fly planes with bomb, if I survive the ground attack I have a fighter down low. I do not expect a advantage. But I wont accept my sturdy P 47 being pulverized and having a glass engine. 
There is so much wrong with this plane when it comes to durabilities both structural and mechanical that I have my doubt it ever will meet my expectations, how low they might be

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, LuseKofte said:

But I wont accept my sturdy P 47 being pulverized and having a glass engine. 

I don't know about the La-5, but the FW 190 has the same issue with the engine pretty much always being dead at once, when hit. It seems the radials don't get the love they should.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Yogiflight said:

I don't know about the La-5, but the FW 190 has the same issue with the engine pretty much always being dead at once, when hit. It seems the radials don't get the love they should.

Yes I flown FW ground missions. Instant stop at first hit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/18/2020 at 9:28 AM, Bremspropeller said:

 

At first glance, yes, but it atually goes deeper than "..there I wuz...we were attacked by 40-60 Messerschmitts out of the sun..."

 

1) Don't forget the sheer number of bombers - each one starring 10+ HMGs, pointed in each direction - which the Luftwaffe was really set out to fight. The brunt of the attack was always directed at the bombers and even if a US fighter-squadron was caught with it's pants down once every while, it was a statistical insignifigance, giving the total amout of missions flown by 8th and 9th US fighter groups that very day, let alone over the entire campaign. Such a squadron had the unfortunate honor of being given the attention of most of what the Luftwaffe could field that day.

 

2) The reason why the Luftwaffe created focal points when attacking wasn't related to it's overwhelming numerical odds, but by the sheer neccessity of survival.

Groups of aircraft in less than Gruppe-strength (three squadrons - or however many airplanes could be made serviceable per squadron) were usually torn apart quickly by escort fighters.

Of course, when such a focal point came in on a patch of bombers that was protected by a single squadron, it looked like an overwhelming attack. However, most of that was directed at the bombers, with only - at most - a single high-altitude squadron per Gruppe covering the bomber-killers.

 

3) The Luftwaffe had a total of five to seven fighter groups at their disposal along the whole length of the English Channel (depending on time-frames).

JG1 covering the belgian and dutch coast, JG26 the greater Pas de Calais region and JG 2 the Normandy with detachments all the way down to Brittany. Compare that to the load of american fighter groups (at first few, but steadily increasing through 1943/44) and british fighter wings. Count US/RAF bomber groups/ wings on top of that and don't forget good ole coastal command. Yes, the Allies weren't attacking all at once, but they were also flying decoy-missions or totally unrelated missions at the very same time the bombers came over.

The Luftwaffe had to priorize and if a focus was created here, somebody else on the allied side probably had a field-day somewhere else.

 

4) The USAAF had a pretty bloody learning period in 1943. That's due to not having much experience (compred to the RAF and Luftwaffe), but as time went on, they became better and better. Not only in respect to tactical experience, but also how to make use of their aircraft, which (P-47) weren't neccessarily fighters in regards to common wisdom at the time.

 

5) Don't forget that numbers given usually aren't actually counted, but a ballpark-estimate dependant on the sight-picture. That works pretty well for up to a Staffel/ squadron size (three Schwärme/ flights times four equals 12), but it breaks down when numbers get big. There's just no way you can estimate the number of contacts reliably by just a glance, if the number is greater than 20 or so. Thus one has to be careful with numbers of 40-60 or even 60-80. Keep in mind that 36 is the number of an all up Gruppe attacking. A group of 80 aircraft would mean a focal attack of two Gruppen at once, which is possible and probably happened several times, but not all that often. Especially later in the war, when serviceability and pilot-quality were going down the sink.

 

6) Pilot-quality. While being outnumbered and having to fight your way out of an attack by very experienced and battle-hardened Channel-based Luftwaffe pilots was a scary thing to think of in mid-early 1943, the same is not true for the later times. It's no chance that greater Luftwaffe-formations were called "gaggles" later on, as experience, formation-integrity and tactical ability were becoming lower by the day. All of those were neccessary to to successfully attack an allied bomber stream and come back alive.

There's a lot here, but some of my thoughts in response:
 
#1:  The American daylight bombing campaign spanned mid 1942 to spring 1945.  Massive changes in force size and composition occurred on both sides during that period.  The 8th AF started with a handful of bombers and grew to the point that by mid 1944 its 3 air divisions could launch around 1200 heavy bombers (2 divisions of B-17s, 1 of B-24s) on a single raid.  Having that massive force had obvious advantages.  But it also created some challenges.  Primarily that you could only squeeze so many bombers into one section of airspace at a time.  As a result the bombers were stretched out into a “stream” of formations (a variety of formations were used, but they generally seemed to be in range of 20-40 bombers per “box”).  Often the individual divisions would attack separate targets, and so the force would often be split.

Likewise, 8th fighter command started with a handful of Spitfires and early P-47s which had very little range.  It ultimately grew to 15 fighter groups (each on paper equivalent to a German gruppe, though German units were often under strength),with 14 of those groups having P-51s which could reach the entire Reich.  Along the way, the 9th AF and the RAF both pitched in where they could, but outside of the 9ths two early P-51 groups, most of these fighters didn’t have the range to play a significant role in most missions.  But even at its high point, the fighters had to split up to try to cover the entire bomber force.  A single group would be assigned a section of the bomber stream and then split into its individual squadrons and flights to try to cover the area, often sweeping ahead or on the flanks of the bomber stream.  Further, the fighters needed to fly faster than the bombers to be effective and had less endurance to start with.  As a result each fighter group could only cover a portion of the bomber stream for part of the raid, with penetration, target support and withdrawal being broken up so that ideally as a fighter group ran low on fuel and had to turn back, it would be replaced by another.  If you do the math, that means each division of 400 or so bombers only had at most around 96-144 escorts in the vicinity at any stage of the mission.  And "in the vicinity" could mean completely out of visual range over a different part of the bomber stream.

#2:  The Luftwaffe made the move to larger and larger battle formations in 1944 - often Geschwader strength or greater - in response to the increasing number of long range escort fighters.  Even the P-47s were penetrating further due to better drop tank setups and increased internal fuel.  A variety of different formations and makeups were tried.  In spite of admonishments from Goering, the operational commanders were quite aware of the fact that you couldn’t just ignore the escorts.  Generally an entire gruppe (ideally one equipped with 109s or AS engined 109s if they were lucky was used)  was devoted to the escorts.  Later in 1944 as the Sturmgruppe concept took hold, a single Sturmgruppe often had multiple "light" gruppen to keep the escorts at bay and allow the Sturmgruppe to make their attack.  And of course sometimes there were no cover gruppen or they had failed to make rendezvous.  Likewise, the American escort was sometimes completely absent, sometimes only a pair or a flight and sometimes 3 full fighter groups.  The size and composition of the Luftwaffe battle formations was often heavily impacted by weather - German fighter pilots in general received less instrument training then their allied counterparts, and bad weather could often ground part or all of the German fighter defenses on days when the 8th AF was up in force.

#3:  Yes, Luftflotte 3 in France contained just JG2 and JG26, and JG1 was tasked with the defense of Holland and northern Germany.  In early 1943.  By the middle of 1943 JG11 was formed as a home defense unit and JG3 was transferred back to Germany.  By spring of 1944, most of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force was based in Germany and being used to oppose the daylight bombing campaign.  There were 15 or more single-engined gruppen operating under Luftflotte Reich during this time frame, on top of JG2 and JG26 in Luftflotte 3, as well as the zerstorer gruppen and night fighters that sometimes participated as well.  It was not uncommon for 300-500 sorties to be flown against a single raid.    This compares quite favorably to the 8th AF force, when you consider that it was usually being directed at a portion of the US force, and often only 1/3 or 1/2 of the US force was involved in the air combat on any given day.  Spring of 44 was the high point for the Reichs defense force due to mounting losses, and then the switch in focus to Normandy in June.  Peak US bomber losses and German fighter losses opposing 8th AF raids occurred in April and May respectively.  This was the most intensive part of the campaign from an air combat perspective. 

#4:  No argument here.  The 8th fighter command was really the child of RAF fighter command.  They benefited greatly from the Eagle Squadron experience and while their start was slow in 1942 and 1943, having experienced leaders and sound tactics helped them rapidly become a formidable force through the expansion period of late 43 and early 44 when 8th FC grew from 3 groups to 15.
 
#5:  A Gefechtsverband formation used in the spring of 44 and onward was often in Geschwader strength, sometimes greater.  On the well known Berlin raid, the Jagddivision 2 Gefectsverband totaled 107 fighters made up of the Stab and 3 gruppen of JG11, the Stab and 2 gruppen of JG1 along with III/JG54.  While this was definitely on the high end of these formations, that was the goal and the Germans were able to achieve this kind of concentration on many occasions.  Just quickly glancing through some of my materials, I found examples in September where a now much smaller Luftflotte Reich was putting up maybe half the sorties compared to the spring, but still using them to build one or two large battle formations.  On Sept 12th they tried to form 7 gruppen into one massive formation!  This proved to be a little too much and the formation split it two, but both still made successful attacks.
 
#6:  Luftwaffe pilot training hours were first cut back in early 1942, as the Luftwaffe high command began to realize it needed a much bigger force to handle German commitments to the Eastern front, Western front, Mediterranean, Norway, the battle of the Atlantic, and to face the rapidly growing RAF night bombing campaign.  Average training hours dropped from 240 to 200 in 1942, and then again to 170 in early 1943.  However, the Luftwaffe fighter force continued to have a significant level of success throughout this period.  German fighters generally had the upper hand over Dieppe in 42, Malta in 42, Kursk in 43, and Schweinfurt/Regensberg/Munster in 43.  The night fighter force really improved their performance during this time frame and forced the RAF to abandon their Berlin offensive in early 44.  The first half of 1944 was VERY costly for the 8th AF due to aggressive fighter defenses.  But it was during this spring 44 period that casualties rose wildly for the fighter force.  From January to May 1944, solely counting losses on missions opposing the 8th Air Force, Luftflotte Reich and Luftflotte 3 lost over 2000 aircraft and 1100 pilots.  The ENTIRE Luftwaffe fighter force on all fronts only had around 2000 fighters at this time.  Training was slashed yet again down to around 110 hours in early 1944 to try to keep up.  And then the American oil campaign began in May of 1944.  By mid 44 fuel production had largely collapsed and in order to keep combat aircraft flying the training apparatus began to fall apart.  From this point onward, what little fuel was available for training units was used to "finish up" new pilots who were partially trained, or to convert bomber pilots to single-engined fighters.  The huge drop of in German pilot quality really became apparent in the Summer of 44 when the Luftwaffe committed most of its fighter resources to combat the Normandy invasion, but suffered a massive defeat.  Similarly, the Luftwaffe's efforts to expand the fighter arm really ground to a halt in 1944 because of the heavy casualties that were taken.
 
So in summary for the TLDR crowd:  Yes the 8th AF had more bombers and fighters than the Luftwaffe defenders.  They wouldn't have been attacking if that wasn't the case.  But due to tactics and the realities of trying to manage thousands of airplanes at once, at the point of contact the numbers were actually pretty even - particularly between escorts and interceptors.  Obviously this varied from individual case to case and sometimes one side or the other had a significant numerical advantage.  This was an incredibly hard fought campaign by both sides.  There are a lot of similarities with the Battle of Britain.  The Americans however had some key advantages that the Germans didn't in 1940 - much more durable bombers that could deliver heavy strikes to strategically critical targets and long range fighters that actually had a performance advantage over the interceptors.
 
For anyone interested in the German fighter defense, check out "The Luftwaffe over Germany" and "Day Fighters in Defense of the Reich" by Donald Caldwell.  I cannot recommend these highly enough.  The first is a narrative history and is wonderfully done.  The second is a companion war diary with numerical breakdowns of EVERY raid of the campaign and maps of many of the major battles.  All told from the German perspective and containing some amazing photos that have likely never been published before.  This is really a poorly understood part of the history of World War II, in large part because German pilot casualties for Reich's Defense pilots was somewhere around 90%!  Not many survived to tell their stories and obviously only a handful of vets ever do to a wide audience.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KW_1979 said:

If you do the math, that means each division of 400 or so bombers only had at most around 96-144 escorts in the vicinity at any stage of the mission.  And "in the vicinity" could mean completely out of visual range over a different part of the bomber stream.

 

That's exactly what I meant above, however, it was the primary aim to bring down the bombers, not the fighters.

 

When the B-17 arrived in 1942, it was immediately recognized, that in order to shoot it down, a disproportionate amount of skill was necessary by the attacking fighter. There was a non-trivial amount of psychology involved in attacking a single one of those "porcupines" and even more so, when engaging a whole formation - let alone a well organised combat-box. Much of that can be found in diary-entries, letters and interviews by Luftwaffe pilots. It was different for pilots who specialized in bomber-destruction (e.g. the Sturmgruppen or Zerstörer), but for the usual fighter-pilots, just attacking a large formation of bombers was a feat in it's own, requiring courage and mental strength. Doing it over and over again was psychologically draining for a large percentage of fighter-pilots. This contributed to a high level of fatigue which in no doubt cost a number of highly experienced pilots their lives.

 

The escort-fighters zipping around on top of the bombers was another threat that made the icing on the cake. When the escorts were later unleashed, a whole different game had started.

 

2 hours ago, KW_1979 said:

Generally an entire gruppe (ideally one equipped with 109s or AS engined 109s if they were lucky was used)  was devoted to the escorts.  Later in 1944 as the Sturmgruppe concept took hold, a single Sturmgruppe often had multiple "light" gruppen to keep the escorts at bay and allow the Sturmgruppe to make their attack.

 

That was only later in 1944 and not during the early time-frame of 42-43, which I was mostly concerned about, since we were discussing the P-47.

 

The high altitude cover-groups were neccessary, because the Sturmböcke were easy targets - especially when attacking bombers from behind. That is a defensive move and the cover-groups were bound to the Sturmböcke, so they weren't free to roam and actively hunt american fighters. A Sturmgruppe without cover was helpless when attacked by fighters - much like Zerstörergruppen or (even worse) daytime Nachtjäger operations. On 6th March 1944, 35% of the Zerstörer and 50% of the Nachtjäger forces were lost.

 

Gefechtsverbände scattered more or less as soon as they made contact with the bombers (or attacking fighters) - often disengaging vertically after just one pass. Depending on the time it took to form the Gefechtsverband, fighters may or may not be low on fuel at the time of contact with the bombers.

Especially when talking about time-frames later in 1944 (certainly after late summer), pilots flying under-performing Luftwaffe fighters would usually try to disengage as soon as feasable and not risk being picked up by escorting fighters. Sticking around was a good way of getting killed - especially when on the way home and low on fuel, one might have to fend off an attack of free-roaming escort fighters, visiting your airfield.

 

2 hours ago, KW_1979 said:

There were 15 or more single-engined gruppen operating under Luftflotte Reich during this time frame, on top of JG2 and JG26 in Luftflotte 3, as well as the zerstorer gruppen and night fighters that sometimes participated as well.  It was not uncommon for 300-500 sorties to be flown against a single raid.    This compares quite favorably to the 8th AF force, when you consider that it was usually being directed at a portion of the US force, and often only 1/3 or 1/2 of the US force was involved in the air combat on any given day.

 

One has to note, though, that in the event of multiple Gruppen or even attacks in Geschwader-strength, these units very seldomly attacking precisely the same part of the US-formation at the same time, as Luftwaffe units were stretched out accros the entire Reich area. Thus, usually some units engaged the inbound missions, while others engaged the outbound missions.

At some instancess, a unit would scramble two or three times a day to cover the same raid more than once - usually once during the inbound and once during the outbound legs. IIRC there were some occasions where units flew up to four consecutive missions against the same raid.

 

It was hard for Luftwaffe fighter-units based far away from the path of the stream to be used successfully, as the bombing-targets were often identified late and thus it was hard to scramble a unit that just barely could reach a bomber-formation in time and with enough fuel to engage. Unless you had Zerstörergruppen at hand. They'd cover a Berlin air-raid from Bavaria. That's where the low operational rang eof the Luftwaffe single engine fighters came to show - specificly when using high power-settings for a longer time, to climb to or above bomber-altitudes.

 

One amazing feat standing out is the ability to sometimes successfully predict the inbound-corridor for an imminent attack very early and transitioning more firepower into that corridor - see 8th March 1944, when a good chunk of JG 26 was transferred to Rheine, prior to taking off against the raid and joining a Gefechtsverband. At the same day, a good deal of JG 2 scrambled in vein, trying to attack the outbound bombers coming back accross the Channel. What also is very interesting about the raid on Berlin that day is the fact that the bombers were under pretty much constant attack more than half the way accross Germany on the leg in, and also on the leg out. 40 bombers and 34 escorts were lost that day...

 

As you pointed out, the time between "Big Week" (which resulted in atroucious losses for both sides) and the time-frame just before the pre-invasion days was extremely intense - much like the time in December '44. The difference was that the losses inflicted in spring and during the days of the Invasion Front would not be replaced by adequately trained pilots anymore. Be it from the East due to rotation, or be it from the training units. Another thing to note is that there was a great deal of Jagdlehrer who'd come into the operational units and had a relatively high level of experience (not neccessarily with the leatest procedures, though). That's probably one of the reasons why the Luftwaffe held together surprisingly long, considering the vast challenge of meeting an ever stronger foe with an ever-decresing quality of pilot-training.

 

I just read through vol 2 of Eric Mombeek's books on Jagdgeschwader 4 and what struck me, was how many more pilots seemed to have died during the last couple of months, compared to JG 26, flying their Doras. Now that might have been just a subjective impression taken away from the narrations, but the whole book - especially towards the end - has a lot of sinister episodes and anecdotes in it. I hope Mr. Mombeek can soon finish his series on JG 2. His books are highly recommended. Just like the books by Prien.

 

 

Edited by Bremspropeller

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Unfortunately for Germany's cities, the critical production choices that German air strategy faced in the summer and fall of 1943 were made by individuals who did not possess the background to make intelligent decisions.

 

From page 189 of Strategy for Defeat: The Luftwaffe 1933-1945
 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/18/2020 at 1:42 PM, Avimimus said:

The G-14 and K-4 are also pretty fascinating in their differences to each other (rudder seems to handle very differently)

 

How does the rudder handle differently between the K4 and G14? They are exactly the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bilbo_Baggins said:

How does the rudder handle differently between the K4 and G14? They are exactly the same.

 

Outwardly it is identical right?

 

But the G14 seems to have less dynamic stability in yaw. It could be something do do with other changes (weight distribution).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...