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yuuppers
05-08-2010, 08:51 AM
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.

JtD
05-08-2010, 09:30 AM
Was there a ratio one can call "typical"?

K_Freddie
05-09-2010, 12:11 PM
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.

trashcanUK
05-09-2010, 02:43 PM
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 http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
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.

WTE_Galway
05-09-2010, 06:36 PM
good read ...

http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/0032.html

Main page ...

http://www.battleofbritain1940.../contents-index.html (http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/contents-index.html)

FlatSpinMan
05-09-2010, 07:44 PM
Ahh. SOW:BOB is going to be so good. I love this conflict!

yuuppers
05-10-2010, 05:47 AM
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?

JtD
05-10-2010, 08:35 AM
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.

Kettenhunde
05-10-2010, 09:54 AM
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:

http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/7305/bobproduction.jpg (http://img202.imageshack.us/i/bobproduction.jpg/)

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.

http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/2590/bobstrengths11aug.jpg (http://img641.imageshack.us/i/bobstrengths11aug.jpg/)

yuuppers
05-11-2010, 12:13 AM
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'?

yuuppers
05-11-2010, 12:22 AM
Nice document graphics Eugene but to bad they are cropped.

What does the number of a/c produced, and available, have to do with the number of RAF a/c attacking the German force?

JtD
05-11-2010, 08:07 AM
I really don't think so.

I think that the factor determining the "ratio" would be the number of Luftwaffe planes participating. If the Luftwaffe send up large formations, maybe the 4:1 ratio is a good approximation. However, the Luftwaffe did not always do so, and in these cases, the ratio was significantly better for the RAF. I think the occasions where the Luftwaffe send out large numbers are far more popular these days, which would lead to a wrong perception.

But all that really isn't my cup of tea, so I'll resort to reading.

JG53Frankyboy
05-11-2010, 09:02 AM
well, when one squadron of RAF fighters meets one group of LW fighters, the RAF is most propably outnumbers in this specific area.
one group LW has 3 squadrons, but these squadrons are smaller (8-12 planes) than the RAF ones.

in other areas a RAF squad dont meet any LW group at all, and is alone in attacking the LW bombers.

its these 109 LW units

I,II,III/JG 2
I,II,III/JG 3
I,II,III/JG 26
I,II,III/JG 27
I,II,III/JG 51
I,II,III/JG 52 (III. since August back to germany)
I,II,III/JG 53
I,II,III/JG 54
I(J)/LG 2
II(Schl)/LG 2 (fighterbombers, first action 6. September 1940)
3./Erp.Grp 210 (fighterbombers)
II/JG 77 in Norway (so, too far away http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

against 52 1/2 RAF squadrons (as shwon in the sheet above) - most propably less, as i think this number counts the squadrons in england in total, not only in the range of enemy Bf109s?!

Kettenhunde
05-11-2010, 08:53 PM
Here is more on the numbers of fighters:

http://findarticles.com/p/arti...is_4_24/ai_74582443/ (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IBO/is_4_24/ai_74582443/)

Kettenhunde
05-11-2010, 09:22 PM
By the end of August, the RAF was easily fielding more aircraft than the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe logistical system simply kept their damaged aircraft out of the fight for too long. As a result, the Luftwaffe became much weaker than the ingenious system the RAF had in place with the CRO.

That system allowed the RAF to maintain extremely high operational readiness rates throughout the battle.

Here is the sortie rates.

http://img188.imageshack.us/img188/5563/aug1940fcsortierate.jpg (http://img188.imageshack.us/i/aug1940fcsortierate.jpg/)

The RAF also reinforced sectors as required.

Here is a breakdown of the battles comparative burden for each of the Groups:

http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/7069/comparitiveburden.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/comparitiveburden.jpg/)

Here is an order to the controllers of 11 Group on reinforcement from the other Groups.

http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/5035/controllerinstructionsf.jpg (http://img30.imageshack.us/i/controllerinstructionsf.jpg/)

Here is a breakdown of the claims vs actual losses. It gives a great picture of extent of over claiming. In some cases over three times the amount of enemy fighters would be claimed as destroyed.

http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/3278/claimsvslosses.jpg (http://img99.imageshack.us/i/claimsvslosses.jpg/)

hop2002
05-12-2010, 04:29 AM
http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/2590/bobstrengths11aug.jpg

The first problem with this is it includes non operational squadrons.

The second is it contradicts everything else I have seen, and we never get a look at the full document to find out why.


against 52 1/2 RAF squadrons (as shwon in the sheet above) - most propably less, as i think this number counts the squadrons in england in total, not only in the range of enemy Bf109s?!

Yes, the RAF kept fighters in the north of England, and in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

On the 1st September, for example, 11 Group in the SE of England had 21 squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes. 12 Group had 7 squadrons within easy range of London able to take part in the battle some of the time, and 10 Group had 4 squadrons within range of the battle.

The rest were scattered around the country where they had the odd recce aircraft and lone raider to deal with.


By the end of August, the RAF was easily fielding more aircraft than the Luftwaffe.

Not quite. Even as late as 7 September the Luftwaffe still had a small numerical advantage.

Serviceable Spitfires and Hurricanes with operational squadrons, 7 September:

Hurricanes - 398
Spitfires - 223

Meanwhile the Luftwaffe had the following serviceable fighters in the JG and ZG:

JG - 658
ZG - 112


Here is the sortie rates.
http://img188.imageshack.us/img188/5563/aug1940fcsortierate.jpg

The Luftwaffe figures are of course RAF estimates. Actual Luftwaffe sortie figures:

http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/2637/luftwaffelossesbobhootoym2.jpg


Here is a breakdown of the claims vs actual losses. It gives a great picture of extent of over claiming. In some cases over three times the amount of enemy fighters would be claimed as destroyed.
http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/3278/claimsvslosses.jpg

No, that's a table of RAF claims vs the losses the Luftwaffe released to the press, and the number of shot down aircraft the RAF could confirm. Both numbers were far smaller than actual German losses.

Again from Hooton, actual German losses:
http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/2637/luftwaffelossesbobhootoym2.jpg

Kettenhunde
05-12-2010, 05:39 AM
The first problem with this is it includes non operational squadrons.

No the portion depicted is the operational squadrons. The reserve and CRO holdings are separate columns.


The second is it contradicts everything else I have seen, and we never get a look at the full document to find out why.

I would say this your problem and not mine.

The sheet is huge (~3ft x ~4ft) and won't fit in a scanner. You can order it from the PRO CAT just as I did.

The document number is referenced in this article. I ordered the document from the PRO CAT to see the numbers for myself.

http://findarticles.com/p/arti...is_4_24/ai_74582443/ (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IBO/is_4_24/ai_74582443/)


Actual Luftwaffe sortie figures:

Your table is clearly labeled Estimated Sortie Rates for a block of several days. The official RAF history has sortie rates for a single day.

Additionally, there is no RAF sortie data for comparison unlike the RAF's Official History.

The Luftwaffe losses and sortie rates reflected in Hooten's table are different date blocks but the numbers are about the same if you correlate the time differences.

Other than the absence of any RAF data to make any kind of comparison, can you point how your information is presents a different picture?

hop2002
05-12-2010, 06:28 AM
No the portion depicted is the operational squadrons. The reserve and CRO holdings are separate columns.

I'm not talking about reserves, I'm talking about non operational squadrons. Those squadrons formed, with planes and pilots, but not yet at operational readiness.

The RAF simply didn't have 32/33 operational Hurricance squadrons in July.


Your table is clearly labeled Estimated Sortie Rates for a block of several days.

It's estimated because the data is reported monthly, and Hooton is breaking it down weekly. But the source is clearly stated.


The official RAF history has sortie rates for a single day.

They are RAF estimates. In many cases they are well out. For example, the RAF estimate was 450 Luftwaffe sorties on 13 August (as far as I can see, it's not very legible). Actual Luftwaffe sorties were 1485 for the day according to Wood and Dempster.


The Luftwaffe losses and sortie rates reflected in Hooten's table are different date blocks but the numbers are about the same if you correlate the time differences.

If you look at the RAF estimate for the week 12 - 18 August, it's 3,050 day sorties. According to Hooton's table it was 5,475.

Kettenhunde
05-12-2010, 10:18 AM
I'm talking about non operational squadrons.


Once again, it depicts operational squadrons. There is no boogey man or Spitfires hiding in the bushes.

Please get the report yourself.

The expansion of the RAF was handled by assigning additional personnel to the Operational Squadrons. That is also detailed.

When the Operational Squadron had enough folks to make another squadron...they split the unit.

Of course they trained, everyone trained, the military always trains when it can.

It is called the "lull" in battle.


They are RAF estimates.

The RAF does not have to estimate their own sorties.

For Godsakes, just line up the timeline of both sets of documents!!

You will see the numbers are about the same.

Your information does not conflict at all with what I posted.


If you look at the RAF estimate for the week 12 - 18 August, it's 3,050 day sorties.

The RAF information is fighter sorties and is labeled as such.

The RAF knew that:


the analysis focuses primarily on the single-seat fighters deployed by the respective air forces. It was in this arena that the Luftwaffe needed to prevail if it were to achieve air superiority over southern England and, in so doing, defeat the Royal Air Force.

http://findarticles.com/p/arti...is_4_24/ai_74582443/ (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IBO/is_4_24/ai_74582443/)

hop2002
05-12-2010, 11:04 AM
Once again, it depicts operational squadrons. There is no boogey man or Spitfires hiding in the bushes.

I'm sorry, I can't see the word "operational". I know the number of operational hurricane squadrons, and it most certainly was not 32 in early July.

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/3231/air204174enlarge.jpg

That shows not just the number of operational squadrons, but operational aircraft as well, ie those in serviceable condition with pilots available.

It's from Air 20/4174


When the Operational Squadron had enough folks to make another squadron...they split the unit.

Go and look up the ORB of 303 squadron. Formed 2nd August 1940, declared operational 30th August. Before the 30th, 303 had pilots and planes, but all they did was fly training flights.

Go and read Douglas Bader's biography. He took over a squadron that had been fighting in France and lost most of its equipment. They had pilots and planes, but a shortage of other equipment kept them non-operational.


They are RAF estimates.


The RAF does not have to estimate their own sorties.

We were talking about the German sorties.


You will see the numbers are about the same.

Your information does not conflict at all with what I posted.

No, the RAF's estimate of German sorties is far below the German records.


If you look at the RAF estimate for the week 12 - 18 August, it's 3,050 day sorties.


The RAF information is fighter sorties and is labeled as such.

We were talking about German sorties, not RAF sorties. Of curse the RAF's record of their own sorties is accurate. Their estimate of German sorties is far too low.

Kettenhunde
05-12-2010, 09:53 PM
I know the number of operational hurricane squadrons, and it most certainly was not 32 in early July.


You are confusing Establishment with Strength. Establishment is the number of slots available while Strength is actual number of aircraft operational.

When they are full strength at 100% then Strength will match Establishment. It almost never happens in any Military force and most units hover around ~85% Establishment.

http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/1174/bobstrengths11aug2.jpg (http://img17.imageshack.us/i/bobstrengths11aug2.jpg/)


So far none of your info contradicts the information or the conclusions reached in this article:

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/7645/operationallossesandser.jpg (http://img52.imageshack.us/i/operationallossesandser.jpg/)

http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/8383/singleseatoperationallo.jpg (http://img96.imageshack.us/i/singleseatoperationallo.jpg/)

http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/5716/sortieratesbob.jpg (http://img3.imageshack.us/i/sortieratesbob.jpg/)

http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/4903/comparitivefighterstren.jpg (http://img214.imageshack.us/i/comparitivefighterstren.jpg/)

http://books.google.com/books?...of%20Britain&f=false (http://books.google.com/books?id=fmcBjU9-zOgC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=Logistics+and+the+Battle+of+Britain&source=bl&ots=6ZFSxwHPCx&sig=vQqzc99sRIcZy5GPf9ajm4aCAjA&hl=en&ei=9W_rS7SROIL68AaJkLXUBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Logistics%20and%20the%20Battle%20of%20Britain&f=false)



That shows not just the number of operational squadrons, but operational aircraft as well, ie those in serviceable condition with pilots available.

Do you understand:


Crumpp says:

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.


We were talking about German sorties, not RAF sorties.

Look, the RAF history is listing GAF fighter sorties. It is not only labeled as such on the page, the numbers match your sources.

Kettenhunde
05-12-2010, 10:18 PM
Go and look up the ORB of 303 squadron. Formed 2nd August 1940, declared operational 30th August. Before the 30th, 303 had pilots and planes, but all they did was fly training flights.

Go and read Douglas Bader's biography. He took over a squadron that had been fighting in France and lost most of its equipment. They had pilots and planes, but a shortage of other equipment kept them non-operational.

I agree the RAF expanded during the battle. They also kept squadrons in reserve or on rest/refit.

That has no bearing at all and is fact a plus in favor for the RAF. It is money in bank they can spend at a later date.

It does not change the fact the RAF as a general trend put more fighters in the air than the Luftwaffe.

Buzzsaw-
05-12-2010, 11:28 PM
Salute

Kettenhund/Crumpp is ignoring the points made by Hop and others.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi...e_of_Britain_map.svg (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2f/Battle_of_Britain_map.svg)

A quick look at the above map shows quite clearly the British Fighter dispersal during the battle, much of their strength was forced to be placed in the north or west, away from the major engagements. To claim these Squadrons as part of the British strength is at best dissembling. They were rarely engaged, many saw no action.

Meanwhile the entire German Fighter strength in Luftflotte 2 and 3 was available and used.

Kurfurst__
05-13-2010, 02:42 AM
German and British sortie totals during September-November, via Wood and Dempster: The Narrow Margin

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e133/Kurfurst/BoB%20Stuff/BOBRAFLWsorties.jpg

JtD
05-13-2010, 03:24 AM
I don't think that number of sorties is directly linked to the numbers participating in combat yuupers was looking for. Still interesting, though.

Kettenhunde
05-13-2010, 06:18 AM
I don't think that number of sorties is directly linked to the numbers participating in combat yuupers was looking for. Still interesting, though.

The relative number of airplanes in the sky has nothing to do with the potential to participate in aerial combat?

Interesting concept.

So your saying we can conclude then the fact the RAF had more fighters in the sky means that on average they fought outnumbered?

thefruitbat
05-13-2010, 06:39 AM
its does indeed affect the potential, but not the actual.

loacation has a major effect to....

hard (impossible) to fight on the south coast, if you're based the north....

the OP asked for combat ratios, not flight ratios.

Kettenhunde
05-13-2010, 10:24 AM
its does indeed affect the potential, but not the actual.

loacation has a major effect to....

hard (impossible) to fight on the south coast, if you're based the north....

the OP asked for combat ratios, not flight ratios.

Certainly some of those sorties are not going to see combat and certainly the RAF fought outnumbered in the local arena at times.

However the RAF had radar and made extensive use of it to maximize their combat power.

I don't think it would be correct to characterize the RAF as having 4 times the number of fighters flying on a given day and then state the RAF was fighting severely outnumbered in its average engagement.

Both Galland and Mitch testify in the RAF's official history that the Germans were very surprised at the numbers of RAF fighters they encountered.

The RAF was much stronger than they had been led to believe.

It looks to me that the RAF fought at times outnumbered in the local arena and for short periods in the beginning of the battle.

The Luftwaffe fought outnumbered in the local arena at times as well.

I don't think the typical engagement can be characterized as a few highly outnumbered Spitfires whipping the pants off the Luftwaffe horde. It sounds good though and is the stuff of legend.

It appears to me that some brave men in the air combined with brilliant pre-war planning in logistics, dedicated civilian workers, volunteers, and a revolutionary use of new electronic equipment combined to give those brave men the resources they needed to ensure victory for the RAF by overwhelming the Luftwaffe efforts.

thefruitbat
05-13-2010, 11:13 AM
11 group did by far the lions share of the fighting, with 12 group and 10 group chipping in, but often not part of the main fighting. 13 group saw some very limited days fighting, but they are all included in the flights that you posted.

plus another thing your completly forgeting to factor in, is that often 11 group planes would be able to hit the same attack twice, after landing and refueling.

So although x planes may have intercepted a german attack, it does not mean they were all at the same time.... Indeed even the legendry as you like to say spitfire, couldn't be in two places at the same time.

yes sometimes the raf outnumber the attacking fighters, but for all the reading i've done, this was not the norm, it was normally squdrons attcking as and when they found and got to the target, peicemeal, rather than every flight co-ordinating to turn up at exactly the same time to give numerical superiority, as you seem to suggest, the obvious exception being 12 groups 'bigwing' which was often less than succsesfull anyway.

all of this still goes to confirm the lovely refences you made about Galland and Mitch, as they continually met resistance all through there operations over england...

i suggest you read more books on the subject.

K_Freddie
05-13-2010, 03:35 PM
OK you number crunchers..
Let's have the sorties 11 group RAF, and LW attacking forces. This should give a real perspective until the Blitz began.

Remember that 'Stiffy' was keeping a lot of a/c NW of London, and only feeding in as necessary.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

thefruitbat
05-13-2010, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by K_Freddie:
OK you number crunchers..
Let's have the sorties 11 group RAF, and LW attacking forces. This should give a real perspective until the Blitz began.

Remember that 'Stiffy' was keeping a lot of a/c NW of London, and only feeding in as necessary.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

someones obviously done more reading than someone else.

Kurfurst__
05-13-2010, 05:01 PM
Well its so great to have some who had done so much more reading than others because maybe they have some figures about the number claims made by 10, 11, 12 and 13 group respectively.

Verifiable facts are sooooo much better than opinions backup up by lame arrogance aren't they? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

hop2002
05-13-2010, 05:09 PM
You are confusing Establishment with Strength. Establishment is the number of slots available while Strength is actual number of aircraft operational.

No Crumpp, I'm not talking about Strength or Establishment. I'm talking about the number of operational squadrons.

Go and take a look at a fighter command oob. You will not see 33 Hurricane squadrons operational on 14 July.

Fighter Command had squadrons in France in 1940. Many of those squadrons came back with only some of the ground crew, missing some aircraft, and with little equipment. Those squadrons were declared non-operational whilst they were rebuilt. New squadrons were also formed, they did not begin operations on the first day they were formed, they were declared non-operational until they were ready.


When they are full strength at 100% then Strength will match Establishment. It almost never happens in any Military force and most units hover around ~85% Establishment.

http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/1174/bobstrengths11aug2.jpg

Crumpp, look at the Spitfire strength. It's higher than establishment for all but the 18th August.

The reason Hurricane strength is below establishment is that there were non-operational Hurricane squadrons included in that list. New squadrons, and those coming back from France, were equipped with Hurricanes. There were actually 27 operational Hurricane squadrons in early July.

The Spitfire figure is above establishment because all the Spitfire squadrons were operational.


Look, the RAF history is listing GAF fighter sorties. It is not only labeled as such on the page, the numbers match your sources.

No, they don't. In the week 12 - 18 August the RAF estimate for "GAF" sorties is 3,050, according to Hooton the total was over 3,800.

The daily totals don't match, either. On the 15 August the RAF estimated 650 Luftwaffe day sorties. You say this was for fighters only. According to Wood and Dempster:


The Luftwaffe had put up 1,786 sorties in the twenty-four-hour period of which 520 were bombers. Practically every available fighter had been used in an attempt to destroy Fighter Command in the air

The figures you are quoting are RAF estimates of German activity and are quite simply wrong.


I don't think that number of sorties is directly linked to the numbers participating in combat yuupers was looking for. Still interesting, though.

Sadly both Crumpp and Kurfurst are quoting RAF estimates of German sorties. The estimates are way below actual German activity.


Let's have the sorties 11 group RAF, and LW attacking forces. This should give a real perspective until the Blitz began.

Even that won't give us an accurate picture. A lot of people believe that radar meant RAF fighters could easily be vectored against the Luftwaffe, but the truth is even 11 Group flew an awful lot of patrols.

Have a look at 303 squadron's operations after they were made operational at the end of August:
http://orb.polishaf.pl/303sqn/...no-303-squadron-f540 (http://orb.polishaf.pl/303sqn/1940-4/1940-09-no-303-squadron-f540)

303 were based in Northolt, in 11 Group. You'll see frequent patrols with no contact made.

The RAF were on the defensive, so they flew a lot of patrols over convoys, airfields, factories etc. The Luftwaffe were on the offensive and so far more sorties resulted in combat.

WTE_Galway
05-13-2010, 05:10 PM
Originally posted by thefruitbat:
the obvious exception being 12 groups 'bigwing' which was often less than succsesfull anyway.


It took a while to assemble.

I think when evaluating the 'bigwing' concept you need to distinguish the early BoB unpredictable raids across a wide area of the channel coast and southern England from the later and much more predictable blitz period.

thefruitbat
05-13-2010, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
Well its so great to have some who had done so much more reading than others because maybe they have some figures about the number claims made by 10, 11, 12 and 13 group respectively.

Verifiable facts are sooooo much better than opinions backup up by lame arrogance aren't they? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

i don't see anywhere on the figures YOU posted from Wood and Dempster that show 11 group....

just total sorties, but thanks for playing.

arthursmedley
05-13-2010, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by K_Freddie:

Remember that 'Stiffy' was keeping a lot of a/c NW of London, and only feeding in as necessary.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

'Stiffy'!!! Don't you mean 'Stuffy' Dowding?
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a341/nw969/SYork03.jpg

Mmmm, Perhaps you were right, Freddy http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Kettenhunde
05-13-2010, 10:47 PM
The Spitfire figure is above establishment because all the Spitfire squadrons were operational.

The operational squadrons are list in the document. The Spitfire figure is above establishment because damaged aircraft are still on the books until the repair facility or scrapyard takes responsibility for them.

That is how the RAF kept such a high serviceability rate. You can see that the serviceable aircraft never reaches Establishment.

303 Squadron that you keep pointing to is a Polish Squadron. The RAF was very reluctant to have them even though they fought very well in the Battle of France using obsolete aircraft.

Before starting, the Poles were required to join the British Reserves, take an oath to King George, and have their former rank/standing in the Polish Air Force stripped. The Polish Government was informed it would have to pay all expenses for the men while they served. It was not until June 1940 that Polish Government finally conceded to the demands.

AndyJWest
05-13-2010, 11:10 PM
...the Poles were required to join the British Reserves, take an oath to King George, and have their former rank/standing in the Polish Air Force stripped. The Polish Government was informed it would have to pay all expenses for the men while they served. It was not until June 1940 that Polish Government finally conceded to the demands.
When did the Battle of Britain start, Kettenhunde?

Kettenhunde
05-13-2010, 11:11 PM
according to Hooton the total was over 3,800.

Who cares. Where is Hooton getting his information? How was it reported? Many sorties are planned but not always flown.

The RAF totals come from German Ultra intercepts and are not "estimates".

Unless the Germans were hiding sorties from themselves, they can be considered accurate.

JtD
05-14-2010, 01:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">
I don't think that number of sorties is directly linked to the numbers participating in combat yuupers was looking for. Still interesting, though.

Sadly both Crumpp and Kurfurst are quoting RAF estimates of German sorties. The estimates are way below actual German activity. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I meant my comment the way thefruitbat has picked it up already. While you know the number of sorties, even if accurately, you don't know which number of aircraft participated in actual combat. We won't know how many of the planes met enemy aircraft, it could be that one day, both sides make 500 sorties, with 200 RAF fighters attacking the same formation of 100 Luftwaffe planes, while on the next day, with the same number of sorties, only 100 RAF fighters attack a formation of 200 Luftwaffe planes. And then, we still don't know if the RAF showed up in groups of 10 on each occasion, first day 20 occasions, next day just 10, or managed to coordinate a couple of groups to attack at the same time.

I know the Italians went in about unopposed a couple of times, but then one time faced superior numbers. If you look at the sorties flown for these days, you'll never arrive at that. Same goes for the Luftwaffe.

Kurfurst__
05-14-2010, 03:32 AM
Originally posted by hop2002:
Sadly both Crumpp and Kurfurst are quoting RAF estimates of German sorties. The estimates are way below actual German activity.

Nope. Actually in a previous discussion you have admitted that the Hooton figures you are quoting are the same as the figures quoted by Wood and Dempster, its just that they use it differently - Hooton for example counts fighter-bomber sorties amongst the fighter sorties, whereas WD (IMHO more correctly, esp. in the context of this discussion) counts Jabo sorties amongst bomber sorties (which is what their task was anyway, to bomb targets, rather than to destroy fighters).

You just made up a story about it, because it doesn't fit into what you are arguing for. Thing is though, anyway you look at it, Fighter Command was not outnumbered operationally: it had at about many fighters as the Luftwaffe, and it usually flew a lot more fighter sorties.

If in cases RAF fighters were locally outnumbered, it was down to the rigidity of their organisation - the inflexibility of Group operational bounderies and the ridiculus bickering about it amongst the command staff, and the limitation of their Command and Control structure (IIRC only one or two squadrons could be vectored on the target). Furthermore whereas the British tactical-operational element was a 12-aircraft Squadron, on the German side it was the 39 plane Gruppe, or Wing in RAF terms. Coupled with the advantage of gathering their forces above France and the La Manche before starting the attack, whereas the RAF had much less time to react, climb to altitude and concentrate their fighters, the German fighter organisation into larger units made it easier for them to concentrate their fighter forces.

Friendly_flyer
05-14-2010, 12:30 PM
I believe Kurfürst has got it right. From most accounts I have read, the RAF squadrons met a superior number of Luftwaffe planes in at least 3 out of 4 cases, perhaps more. Mostly the Luftwaffe groups the fighter squadrons met were bombers with escort, but not always. Occasionally they ran into unescorted bombers, or fighter groups that apparently has lost their charge.

A number of accounts tell how a Luftwaffe group would be attacked by RAF fighters in several waves, often hit-and-run attacks aimed at the bombers.

The attacks changed patterns throughout the battle as bout sides learned the strategic lesson. Unescorted Luftwaffe bombers was more common in the spring and early summer, and unheard off during the autumn. The RAF attacks became better organized and coordinated during the summer, and the "Big Wing" (local air superiority) became possible when Luftwaffe switched target to London, giving the RAF more time to prepare.

Neither Luftwaffe nor RAF were infallible. The radar and standing patrols did not pick out all Luftwaffe attacks. The Luftwaffe did not always find their way, and sometimes bombers and escort got separated. The individual pilots and planes would contribute to uneven performance too, sometimes a small technical error (e.g. a flat tire, a crapy radio) or a pilot related problem (pilots too get diarrhea, miss the bus back to base after leave etc), would mean that even the Strength numbers are off at times.

Thus, we need to take into account that not only did the patterns off attack from bout sides by chance change from day to day, there are also more consistent long term changes throughout the BoB.

Blue_5
05-20-2010, 03:14 AM
If in cases RAF fighters were locally outnumbered, it was down to the rigidity of their organisation - the inflexibility of Group operational bounderies and the ridiculus bickering about it amongst the command staff, and the limitation of their Command and Control structure (IIRC only one or two squadrons could be vectored on the target). Furthermore whereas the British tactical-operational element was a 12-aircraft Squadron, on the German side it was the 39 plane Gruppe, or Wing in RAF terms. Coupled with the advantage of gathering their forces above France and the La Manche before starting the attack, whereas the RAF had much less time to react, climb to altitude and concentrate their fighters, the German fighter organisation into larger units made it easier for them to concentrate their fighter forces.


This is rather simplistic but I don't have the relevant books with me to indicate the many counter-examples that exist. Group Boundaries were not that inflexible and 10 and 11 Groups co-ordinated their work extremely well when raids fell on the East-West division (18th August among others springs to mind but I could be wrong about that without checking). The problems, which sprang from the political /personal issues of Leigh-Mallory and Park, were over the 11 /12 Group co-operation but I suggest that many Luftwaffe raids were in any case well to the South of 12 Group's core bases. 'Ridiculous bickering' is unnecessary hyperbole; the system was far from perfect but given the technical restrictions of the day, operations went surprisingly smoothly and - crucially - operational level rotation of squadrons between Groups was maintained even if units heading south tended to suffer higher losses.

What should be remembered is that Park's rule of thumb for interceptions was a succession of paired squadrons to peel away at the escort and attrite the bomber formations over time. It certainly did not always work but at no point does he appear to have attempted interception with parity of numbers at a tactical level. He used his forward defence policy at Malta when he took over (a 'simpler' problem in some respects) and it again proved successful.

While the Gruppe was certainly a tactical unit, my reading of Steinhilper was that a Gruppe rarely managed much over 30 aircraft as the battle went on. Indeed, by Osterkamp's own basic calculations of 75% wartime serviceability, any given Gruppe was very unlikely to field over 30 aircraft at the beginning of a day's operations so Luftwaffe fighter numbers were probably lower than they should have been on most raids. Coupled with the low rate of reserves policy, this was an undoubted help to Fighter Command given the lower average experience and tactical handling of RAF vs. Luftwaffe fighter squadrons at this time.

Kettenhunde
05-21-2010, 10:53 AM
If in cases RAF fighters were locally outnumbered,

Without a doubt there were times the RAF SE fighters were outnumbered locally.

To characterize that as the norm for anything but short periods of time is just not correct.


While you know the number of sorties, even if accurately, you don't know which number of aircraft participated in actual combat. We won't know how many of the planes met enemy aircraft, it could be that one day, both sides make 500 sorties, with 200 RAF fighters attacking the same formation of 100 Luftwaffe planes, while on the next day, with the same number of sorties, only 100 RAF fighters attack a formation of 200 Luftwaffe planes. And then, we still don't know if the RAF showed up in groups of 10 on each occasion, first day 20 occasions, next day just 10, or managed to coordinate a couple of groups to attack at the same time.

It is absolutely silly to try to make the assumption that the RAF, an air force at war with the survival of the very nation at stake, would fly a majority of sorties without the intention of meeting the enemy in combat. Certainly things happen, mistakes get made, and people learn to adapt.

A small percentage of the operational sorties did not see combat is probably true of both sides. The higher sortie rate of the RAF ensures in the same margin, that more aircraft will make it to the fight.

To try and argue the RAF had more airplanes in the air but less in combat on a regular basis is ludicrous.

If that was the case, the RAF would have to go down in history as the most incompetent air force in the world. In fact the RAF is one of worlds premier air forces.

The biggest thing going for the Luftwaffe SE fighters at the time was their pilot training was better. That is why the Germans with slightly fewer pilots in the force were able to do so well on equal terms.

Fortunately for the RAF, they had more pilots and aircraft than the Luftwaffe for most the of the battle. Once the average RAF pilot became better trained than the average Luftwaffe pilot in mid 1942, the fate of the Luftwaffe was sealed.