World War 1 to World War 2

April 24th, 2011  

Topic: World War 1 to World War 2


I was looking the History Channel's program, "Operation Bodenplatte," the Luftwaffe's Jan. 01, 1945 air offensive against the western allies. (The Luftwaffe's last air offensive of the war!) A surprise attack by the Luftwaffe on seventeen Allied airfields in Holland, Belgium and, Northern France. I also Goggle'd the topic and found it interesting.
The Luftwaffe looks good when you compare them to the operational aircraft of the USA and USSR at the start of the war. They ran up huge kill records but, by late 1943 the Allies had caught up with the Luftwaffe in quality of fighters. The Luftwaffe also looked good against heavy bombers. When against the Yak-3s, P-38Fs, P-47Cs and, the Spitfire Mk.4s they could not maintain a 1:1 kill ratio. Then the Yak-9s, P-47Ds and, P-51Cs entered combat and suddenly the Allies had an advantage. Sure the Luftwaffe came out with the Comet interceptor rocket plane and the Me-262 but, these also did not have great success against Allied fighters either. These wonder weapons lacked range and Allied fighters would attack them as they took off or while they were landing.

I thought the Luftwaffe's performance during Operation Bodenplatte was horrible, the best example was the attack at the USAAF's base "Y-29" in Asch, Holland. Forty Fw-190s and twenty-four Me-109, of JG 11 tried to attack that base. Short before they arrived eight P-47s took off to provide air support for the US Army. Within a few minutes the P-47s engaged the Luftwaffe fighters. There were twelve P-51Ds on the south runway, they saw flak over the RAF base "Y-32" and took off without orders. They ran right into the dogfight between the German and US fighter. So you have twenty American fighters against sixty-four German fighters. The air battle lasted several hours and in the end, the Americans loss one P-47 (the pilot survived), no P-51s although several were damaged, while the German attack force lost twenty planes and sixteen pilots... four of which ended as POWs. They also did little damage to the airbase they went to attack!
The Allied air offensive of March 1945, the Luftwaffe lost 1,000 pilots including 28 aces! This despite the fact that at that time the Luftwaffe could put up more fighters over Germany than the Allies launched.

Personally, I feel they could have done better if the politicians left them alone but, I feel they were considered good when attacking bombers but, in fighter versus fighter air combat against fighters from allied countries.... it turns out that they were not as good as their reputation! What is your opinion?

April 24th, 2011  
I think it is rough trying to compare the Luftwaffe of 1945 to the Allied Air Forces as their situations had reversed since 1939-40, in 1939-40 the Allied air forces had inexperienced pilots with little flight time in crap aircraft going up against an experienced opponent in top class equipment, by 1945 it was the Germans with new inexperienced pilots flying aircraft that had barely changed since the beginning of the war.

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