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1999 Closed threads from 1999 (read only)

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Old 24 June 1999, 01:29 PM   #1
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My question is in several parts, as follows, which all lead up to the ultimate question of all:
(1) Various forumites question German records in this way: "This or that Allied ace's record of claims cannot be correlated with German loss records: therefore the German records must be incomplete or inaccurate". Is this wishful thinking? Couldn't the reverse be just as valid: "This or that ace's record of claims cannot be comfirmed by German records, therefore the claim's are inaccurate"?
(2) Just to be fair, reverse the whole controvery: can Allies loss records authenticate Central Power's claims? There seems to be published loss records on both sides, that can be compared to claims on both sides. (And to do a really good job of comparing, it would require a yet to be created computer, and a fantastic analyst who can program in all sorts of variable data like "approx. date, time, location, aircraft type, etc.
(3) So many claim this or that inaccuracies in this or that claims or loss records. If so, can anyone quantify whose records are more or less accurate compared to anyone else's records? Like, are the German records of losses 40-60-80% accurate, or what? What about the claims records? Same question - those who hold up a higher standard of accuracy seem to not talk about the other side - who is fairly being represented here on this forum?
(4) We have all sorts of people claiming that the "official records" are the ultimate, and not to violate those sacred figures. Get real here people, those governmental records are just (a) an approximate "agreement" that such claims are acceptable during wartime, but never specific or final (B) most governments never officially, formally, forever and a day, accept any claims as other than what was perceived at the time, and (never talked about, but subject to revision whenever the govt. likes).
(5) The real ultimate to resolve all this controversy is to (a) get a list of close to, maybe accurate, or just wing it list of claims and losses from every participant in WWI, run a comparision, and see who checks out and who falls out. Debates should be limited to (to use Dr. Frank's example for B. Bishop) not who claimed who or what, but whom (plural) claimed this or that on any given appox. date vs. loss records. Then analyize who is the most likely candidate (I don't want the job, he or she will be ostrasized by everyone out there for insulting any and everyone). You will end up with a list that satisfy's no one, insults everyone, and all sorts of famous names drop off the list or are very seriously damaged in reputation.
Who wants all this crap to be done - the serious historian!! Everyone else will follow along, albiet with protest, anger, hurt, etc. for years until the weight of facts either are proven wrong or right.
So when do we start talking about real facts, not claims (any war is applicable, WWII is just as inaccurate)? When do we stop justifying, and start being really critical? I, personally, do not care who is (victory wise) higher than the next, let it all wash out in the end. Those who feel otherwise will continue to work strenuously to prove their case, use every arguement, and just delay the end result. Work together to resolve this issue (of course, then there would be less of a reason to watch this forum, or write books, wouldn't there?)
Haven't had time to respond much lately, I am in the last phases of an SAP implemenation (4th of July go-live date), no time to get on the forum, or anywhere else, to do what I really like.

Old 24 June 1999, 07:19 PM   #2
Mr Wonderful
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Bravo Terry! A voice of reason. Particularly point #1. The impetus in this Forum has been to prove that Allied claims DIDN"T happen. If you point out that there were no corresponding German casualties for the date, time, area code, week, it's always because of incomplete German records. The Nachrichtenblat is accurate enough to post wounds to MvR, Voss, Berthold,
but when an Allied pilot who admittedly doesn't know where he is supposedly strafes an airfield that he can't identify and supposedly shoots down three planes form a Jasta that most likely wasn't even in the area, it's an Axis lovers conspiracy to besmerch the name of one of Canada's beloved heroes.

A cursory look thru the Grub Street books and any other credible works on the war clearly show that German claims were more or less 70%
accurate versus 20% for the good guys. Collishaw and Bishop alone account for over 100 Allied victories that couldn't have remotely taken place. Certainly it was much easier to confirm German victories from a logistic standpoint but many Allied OOC claims are laughable at best.

Yeah, feelings will be hurt, beliefs crushed, legends dashed but isn't it time that this Forum call a spade a spade!
Old 24 June 1999, 08:38 PM   #3
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The following is not aimed at anyone in particular, except maybe anyone I name in it.

Controversy exists because it's a hobby for some of us, a profession for others, but NOT a major life-time project for the vast majority.

What it would take to clarify this whole mess would be dedicated individuals with nothing but time, money and energy to devote to setting the records straight.

If you have the resources, go for it. I for one do not. And the same goes for Mr. Wonderful (Omniwhatever I presume), as well as everyone else.

Instead of asking redundant questions or spouting childish, veiled insults at some of us, why don't YOU go find the answers and then show us????

BUT, I don't want to hear theories, or speculation based on what is or is NOT reported. We've already had more than enough of that. I want cold, hard, incontrovertible facts!!!! After all, if you're going to start defrocking heroes, you better be able to prove it 101%

IF you can't produce that, then don't start slinging mud. And remember, I don't have to produce proof. My heroes have already been confirmed by medals, awards, the King of Great Britain, the President of the USA, and everything else. THEY, and I have all the proof we need.

VBR to almost everyone,

Al Lowe
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Old 25 June 1999, 02:27 AM   #4
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Only a little remark to "My heroes have already been confirmed by medals..".

We have a saying in German "Awards are falling like bombs in the war and hit innocent and guilty people!"

My homepage:
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Old 25 June 1999, 02:48 AM   #5
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I was neither singling you out or anyone else, I think you protest too much! And your comments are what I was talking about - that yes, facts are what decide everything. The hobby, as you put it, is in deciphering whose "facts" are to be used. I for one cannot find the time to do all the research, I doubt anyone except, as you say, someone who can spend a lifetime working on it. Nevertheless, that is what it will take to resolve it all. And "childish"? Well, each has his own cross to bear, yours is well known and I respect the tremendous work you have done. But that doesn't always mean others cannot have differing viewpoints. Good luck. Terry
Old 25 June 1999, 03:05 AM   #6
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Let's face it, it's impossible to properly substantiate individual pilots' claims. But, on a broad strategic view, its quite clear the allies suffered much greater losses and their aces' kill figures were inflated, while the Germans had more accurate kill figures. According to statistics on this website, the French and British combined lost 88613 planes against 27637 Germans in combat (these figures seem extremely high - but a 3-1 ratio seems clear). I've got casualty figures for both sides in a book left 'up north' but I seem to recall 4400 dead German aircrew and three times as many dead British aircrew alone (can someone else produce these figures?). And yet Germany had just 400 or so 5-kill aces and Britain and France had over 1100 combined. This doesn't add up.

Strategy played a key part in this controversy. The allies patrolled over the German lines to a much greater extent, thus making all their claims questionable for lack of physical evidence - and is probably the reason for a more 'liberal' claims regime, and in my view is perfectly justified. Patrolling over the lines also meant a much higher casualty rate due to prolonged exposure to flak, battle damage and mechanical failure, which partially accounts for the discrepencies in losses between Axis and allies. Germans, as well as having parachutes, by fighting in their own lines, had a far less hazardous escape - hence reduced pilot and plane losses. And naturally, with the wreckage of victims strewn on the German side of the lines, physical evidence of the claim was easier to come by - and allowed a much more accurate claims regime.

This does not detract in any way the skills of pilots such as Bishop or Mannock - I think it highlights their skill and courage, that they faced greater hazards more often than, say, Von Richthofen, who had a Flying Circus of aces protecting his tail in his latter days and could stay over his own lines and expect the enemy to come to him (April 21, 1918 being an obvious exception). But clearly the German way was more conducive to running up more accurate kills totals and shooting down more of the enemy.
Old 25 June 1999, 04:44 AM   #7
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Hey Eddie, good response, but in the future please limit yourself to hitting your enter key "ONCE"!!!

Bill Gates.
Old 25 June 1999, 05:13 AM   #8
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Terry, first, my first message in this thread was NOT aimed at you, as I know that yours was not aimed at me specifically.

And what I meant by "childish" is some of the stuff done particularly by a person not to be named, other than he thinks he's "All-powerful".

But, unforunately, controversy is going to exist for quite some time, until one of the many "amateur" historians out there wins the lotto, and can then afford to do nothing else but research.

I hope it's me, I could use the money.


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Old 25 June 1999, 02:13 PM   #9
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you do your research and then what? do you really think they'll rewrite history because of it? no. is it just some sort of self-satisfaction knowing kills were less than claimed? mabey. fact of the matter is, that long after we're all gone, bishop will still have 72 and mannock will still have 73. fonck's 75 will still be there as will richthofen's 80.
the controversy is there because some people want it to be. some people love to stir the fire.

Old 25 June 1999, 03:54 PM   #10
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Your vision of the future is bleak to say the least. Maybe some just want to feed the fire for today's thrills and chills, but I think most people with long term interests in this field look forward to new information, new viewpoints, and yes, maybe, new evaluations of what really happened. I am nothing if not encouraged by the lively debates, information flying all the time form out of everywhere, and even though some yearn to cherish the history that was, others also honor the past while polishing it up with new luster and brightness. (Oh yuk, how could I write this bluster? Oh well, it came out anyway. Terry


question, controversy, exist

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