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Old 27 January 2024, 07:39 PM   #1
Pips
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56 Squadron Casualties

I'm reading an interesting book titled "Boomerang On The Fuselage" by Lance Rainey. Which is about Australia's efforts in the air during The Great War.

One chapter is devoted to Major Richard Bloomfield, an Australian. Major B was the highly energised Squadron Leader that got 56 Squadron up and running and took it to France in April 1917.

What caught my eye was the stated number of casualties suffered by 56 Squadron during the war, namely: 40 KIA, 31 POW and 20 WIA.

Are those figures correct? That seems a frighteningly high number, given a squadron strength of roughly 20 pilots at any one time.

If correct is that a typical loss rate for RFC Fighter squadrons?

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Old 28 January 2024, 05:25 AM   #2
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Loss rate seems typical;
I have 54 Squadron losses ( 23 months at the front) as 32 KIA, 24 WIA, 33 PoW.
Similarly 41 Squadron (25 months) lost 39 KIA, 48 WIA, 20 PoW.
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Old 28 January 2024, 06:07 AM   #3
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From my 100 years ago today threads, I have listed 44 killed in action, 28 prisoners of war (+ 1 died of wounds) and 17 wounded in action (+ 2 died of wounds) for a total of 92 casualties. It is worth noting that 27 of these casualties were suffered in the last three months of the war (8 August to 9 November 1918) during the Allies' push towards victory.

Overall, a fairly typical casualty rate for an RFC fighter squadron.

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Old 28 January 2024, 02:28 PM   #4
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Crikey!
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Old 28 January 2024, 03:36 PM   #5
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Compare with Richthofens Jasta 11 of 17 killed, 2 pow & 19 wounded. RFC & RAF were used much more offensively, at the end of the day I might question whether it was used more effectively.
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Old 29 January 2024, 02:34 PM   #6
R Gannon
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No pain no gain.

I have Js 11 with 17 kia, 26 woundings (9 definitely brought down), 2 POW and at least another 11 brought down uninjured, which I suspect is just the top of the iceberg.

More importantly, if one looks past the body-count mentality and the inflated game-booking; what did the Jagdstaffeln actually achieve in regards benefitting the lot of their own troops on the ground - who were routinely shelled (particularly their artillery), bombed & strafed as a result of barely unhindered RFC/RNAS/RAF activity over the German side of the lines.

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Old 30 January 2024, 08:54 AM   #7
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Russ, you seem to dismiss out of hand the effect of the Schlachtstaffeln on the course of events.
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Old 30 January 2024, 12:59 PM   #8
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Rather more, and the bigger picture of RFC/RAF losses.

56 Squadron Losses.

From High in the Blue by Alex Revell.
The History of 56 Squadron RFC/RAF 1916-1919

KIA =44
DofW =3
Wounded in Action =19
POW D of Wounds =1
POW Wounded =20
Kill in Flying accident =3
Injured in Fly acc and Died of Injuries = 1
Injured in Flying accident =11


Total dead 52.


From Y.T

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKJ-...V_RnKz&index=4

British RFC/RAF losses =/= German losses All fronts.
1915 50 / 27
1916 357 / 67
1917 1811/ 296
1918 2508 / 662
49.26sec

Screenshot 2024-01-30 at 20.36.44.jpg


Total killed in training 8000

50.36/1.29

Screenshot 2024-01-30 at 20.39.36.jpg
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Old 30 January 2024, 01:06 PM   #9
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I see the 8,000 killed in training accidents twaddle is being trotted out again!

The true figure is a little over 2,000 - I would recommend getting hold of a copy of Airmen Died in the Great War, 1914-18: The Roll of Honour of the British and Commonwealth Air Services of the First World War.

The total number of fatalities during the war (1914-18) was 6,933.

The Schlastas were specialised fighter-bomber units and not directly comparable to the RFC/RNAS/RAF scout/fighter squadrons which were simply fighters with a few bombs slung underneath the wings (and whose pilots were only too happy to get rid of their encumbrance at the earliest opportunity unless specifically tasked with low bombing).

Graeme

Last edited by Graeme; 30 January 2024 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 30 January 2024, 02:02 PM   #10
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More myth making

Quote:
Originally Posted by VtwinVince View Post
Russ, you seem to dismiss out of hand the effect of the Schlachtstaffeln on the course of events.
Yes Vince, if you had been paying attention over the last 10 years or so, you will discover I’m very dismissive of the effectiveness of the Schlachstaffeln in operations against the BEF. Just because there has been a parochial book on the Schlachstaffeln, wistfully talking up their efforts, doesn’t mean it represents detailed balanced research. Much of the ‘hyped’ perception of the effectiveness is dependent on the cherry-picking of HA Jones accounting of 30 Nov 17 (German counter-attack at Cambrai) in WITA Vol IV, whilst the accounting of the Schlachstaffeln during ‘Operation Michael’ was just wishful speculation, lacking specific detail and somehow believing that each day was a repeat of the cherry-picked 30 Nov 17performance. Indeed, I ran up a series of detailed posts here in Forum on the ‘real’ performance of the Schlachstaffeln during 'Op Michael', and like that of JG 1, it was palpably lackluster and had no appreciable impact on the course of the battle on the ground – unlike the herculean ground strafing/bombing efforts of the RFC/RNAS. Thereafter, Schlacta efforts against the BEF on the ground were few and far between and most often described in ground unit diaries as simply ‘annoying’. The notion of an all-conquering Schlachstaffeln is just more myth making.

Russ
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