Saturday, 28 July 2018

More Steel!

Norm has kindly reminded me of the importance of German control of the air over Kursk. I have been doing some more thinking about that and I now have some numbers to report on.

Here is the basic data on German air sorties for the Citadel period on the Southern Front.

Making sense of this in relationship to the Soviet air effort and the ground fighting is next. Lots more to do!


Norm said...

I am not very good with air war knowledge, but I wondered how the Soviet craft compared to the German machines at this stage of the war and likewise pilot quality - are still in the setting of ‘quantity has a quality all of its own’?

Old Trousers said...

Hi Norm,

Good questions as usual. My take on them is that:

- The latest German aircraft remained generally superior to Soviet equivalents so FW190s and late model Me109s would still out perform most Soviet aircraft, although Yak9s and LA5s were very similar if not better in some aspects of performance.

- German pilots were generally better than Soviet pilots (at least they thought so!) and the numbers tend to show it.

- Pressure on Germany from Allied bombing meant that a lot of the best planes and pilots were busy defending the Reich.

- The Germans suffered from lack of aviation fuel, early on and especially from 1943 which limited some of their options.

- By the time of Kursk things were becoming quite even and the Luftwaffe could not guarantee air superiority without making a big effort.

I have also concluded that there are problems with the air sortie data I have been using so I'll need to reconsider the graph, aagh!