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2000 Closed threads from 2000 (read only)

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Old 5 September 2000, 11:00 AM   #1
Bob Sellwood
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The replies to my "German Losses" thread clearly show that there are no accurate German records for their own aircraft lost to enemy action, unless the crew became casualties.

Given that there are many authenticated cases of allied pilots walking away from their own wrecked machines after a scrap on their own side of the lines, and returning to their units, the same must logically apply to the Germans: only more so, since most fighting took place on their side of the lines!

So when people say that an allied pilot must be a liar for claiming a victory that is not matched by a known German loss they ignore possibilities such as the downed German pilot surviving uninjured.

This is the reason I posted the German Losses thread. My own belief is that most allied claims were made in good faith, and that many of those that can't be proven today may still have been accurate.

My apologies if someone has already said all this before, but I've only been following the Forum for about three months.

Thanks for all the replies,

Old 5 September 2000, 11:14 AM   #2
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True, true, and true. But extrapolating from the ratio of Allied lost planes vs. lost/injured pilots to their German counterparts, the margin of overclaiming is still quite significant. (see most any Grub Street book on this subject)

Also, there has been question on a recent thread about the actual degree to which the air war was concentrated over German territory. I'd believed the common wisdom, but someone pointed out that an actual majority of German claims were over Allied territory for some months.

Now I'm not sure what to believe.


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Old 5 September 2000, 11:42 AM   #3
Kory Clark
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Bob, even if the subject has come up before, it opened my eyes to something I didn't know before.

I'm glad you posted it.

While i admit german records do sometimes point out allied flyers who were somewhat meticulous in claiming DEST or flammers(Barker, Mannock etc) and others who justifiably claimed anyone they bested in air to air combat(Bishop, Fonck etc). There is circumstances, like fighting over the other guy's side of the tracks where an enemy forced down (Read: Victory), could easily survive and of course not be captured.

Here's my take on OOC victories, said simply. Your are the RFC commander. Ok, so now your sent all your pilots into enemy territory. Now, you sent them in very high up because that's smart. Now, they get in a fight and on occasion an enemy is seen to fall out of the fight at 15,000 feet "Out of Control". Do you tell your pilot who made him OOC that he gets no credit? Nope, because next time this young man, probably full of piss and vinegar, will follow the tricky bugger all the way down to the dirt shooting and then promptly get his young ass shot off by a higher bird.

Now maybe Fritz was playing a trick(a trick that certainly saved many german flyers) or maybe he was dead. Sometimes it was too dangerous to make sure.

Old 5 September 2000, 12:05 PM   #4
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Without any doubt the number of 'kills' by the Allied especially British side is to high, and not realistic. If true, I wonder if the Germans had any planes left. Many of the Destroyed or planes going down in flames should at least have led to serious injuries in most cases. The chance a pilot walked out of his wreck in such a case without a scratch, is minimal. However the problem was not only at the British side, the Belgians had the same problem, and even the Germans were not free of this kind of claims. Just think about victories which were 'owned' by multiple pilots as some cases suggest.

Old 5 September 2000, 02:00 PM   #5
Tom McConnell
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If you consider that von Richthofen fell victim to multiple claims, and that was within Allied lines, and that the US Air Forces in World War Two shot done the entire Luftwaffe three times ove, and that the Luftwaffe did the same to the RAF, it's easy to see that multiple claims are a fact of life. What Bob has put forward is a case for defending the honor of the men who made the claims. It's a good case. I doubt that there were many instances of fabrication, rather the Allied airmen reported what they believed to be true. Noise, smoke, confusion, cold and fear were their climate, gentlemen. We sit at our computers and second guess them.
Old 5 September 2000, 03:09 PM   #6
Bob Sellwood
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Thank-you, Tom, and everyone else. Kory mentions OOC's:These made up a large part of allied claims, and apart from the encouragement of a fledgeling there are other reasons to accept them as made in good faith.

When a patrol of, say, 2-seaters, was attacked by a superior force of Albatros, they would keep tight formation and send up a wall of fire. If 2 or 3 of the enemy then spun or dived the hell out of it, and did not come up again for more, then a "victory" had been achieved - but not necessarily a "kill". Not only that, but with everyone firing at once there were bound to be cases where 2 or more pilots/gunners - quite sincerely - put in claims for the same enemy machine: and this must have applied to scout pilots too. I suggest that quite a number of those OOC's probably went down damaged in some way (or they were just cowards), and should be counted as "Victories". Bear in mind that the RFC recorded "Combat Victories", in various sub-divisions, rather than only definite "kills".

And who really won the "victory" in such a case? The German pilots who maybe got one or two definite "kills" in the fight, or the reconnaissance or bomber flight who still got through, despite losses, and carried out their mission? The point I am trying to make is the same as Tom's: we weren't there, and no matter how much we quibble over the exact identities of the enemy pilots that Bishop or Ball or anyone else claimed, we will never really know. So since Justice usually presumes innocence until PROVEN guilty, perhaps we should just accept the lack of evidence, acquit these men of the charges of lying, and recognise that they were all brave men doing their best in a noble cause.

Old 5 September 2000, 06:32 PM   #7
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>OOC's:These made up a large part of allied claims

RAF Communique No.2 contains;
"Capt GH Lewis, 40 Sqn, whilst on patrol dived on one of seven EA triplanes but was forced to break off combat owing to gun jams. He shortly afterwards found a solitary enemy triplane and dived on it, getting in long bursts from both guns whilst closing in towards the EA, which turned over and went down in a slow spin out of control and is confirmed by C Battery AA to have crashed east of Lens."

RAF Communique No.4 contains;
"Capt A.T. Whealy, 203 Sqn, dived on one EA scout into which he fired a good burst at 50 yards range. The EA went down completely out of conrol and was confirmed to have crashed near Merville. Capt Whealy then dived on the tail of another EA scout which was attacking one of our machines. A long burst was fired into the EA which went into a spin and fell completely out of control into a cloud. This EA is confirmed to have crashed into a building on the Melville-Estaires road, near Melville."

The RFC/RAF communiques have many entries like that. Most of the destroyed or crashed aircraft that didnt break up or caught fire are described as falling out of control or completely out of control and then being observed to crash by either the flight, another flight or ground observers.

Old 5 September 2000, 08:26 PM   #8
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When Bishop claims to have DESTROYED about 32 aircraft during 1917 with virtually no related casualties in the German records, it is obvious that someone is lying, and it's not the Germans.
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Old 5 September 2000, 08:43 PM   #9
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Jasta said...
"When Bishop claims to have DESTROYED about 32 aircraft during 1917 with virtually no related casualties in the German records, it is obvious that someone is lying, and it's not the Germans."

Can you or anyone else PROVE the Germans didn't lie???


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Old 5 September 2000, 10:08 PM   #10
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BTW: Al, your PC seems to work pretty well. And here are still some people waiting for your announced list of Bishops victory claims whitnessed by his mates. Or did I miss your post?
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