Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Other Means

Arguing with a guy about Rudel.

Recommended Posts

He's saying the JU 87G was an effective tank killer:

Stukas on the eastern front were retrofitted with 20cals, they were very definitely highly effective tank kilers and one of the first properly thought out atg weapons which then lead to the development of the FW190

Ju 87G

Ju 87 G-1 "Kanonenvogel" with its twin Bordkanone BK 3,7, 37 mm underwing gun pods.

With the G variant, the aging airframe of the Ju 87 found new life as an anti-tank aircraft. This was the final operational version of the Stuka, and was deployed on the Eastern Front. The reverse in German military fortunes after 1943 and the appearance of huge numbers of well-armoured Soviet tanks caused Junkers to adapt the existing design to combat this new threat. The Hs 129B had proved a potent ground attack weapon, but its large fuel tanks made it vulnerable to enemy fire, prompting the RLM to say "that in the shortest possible time a replacement of the Hs 129 type must take place."[69] With Soviet tanks the priority targets, the development of a further variant as a successor to the Ju 87D began in November 1942. On 3 November, Erhard Milch raised the question of replacing the Ju 87, or redesigning it altogether. It was decided to keep the design as it was, but to upgrade the powerplant to a Jumo 211J, and add two 30 mm (1.2 in) cannon. The variant was also designed to carry a 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) free-fall bomb load. Furthermore, the armoured protection of the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik was copied - a feature pioneered by the 1916-17 origin Junkers J.I of World War I Imperial Germany's Luftstreitkräfte - to protect the crew from ground fire now that the Ju 87 would be required to conduct low level attacks.[70]

Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a Stuka ace, had suggested using two 37 mm (1.46 in) Flak 18 guns, each one in a self-contained under-wing gun pod, as the Bordkanone BK 3,7, after achieving success against Soviet tanks with the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon. These gun pods were fitted to a Ju 87 D-1, W.Nr 2552 as "Gustav the tank killer". The first flight of the machine took place on 31 January 1943, piloted by Hauptmann Hans-Karl Stepp.[68] The continuing problems with about two dozens of the Ju 88P-1, and slow development of the Hs 129 B-3, each of them equipped with a large, PaK 40-based, autoloading Bordkanone BK 7,5 cm (2.95 in) cannon in a conformal gun pod beneath the fuselage, meant the Ju 87G was put into production. In April 1943, the first production Ju 87 G-1s were delivered to front line units.[68] The two 37 mm (1.46 in) cannons were mounted in under-wing gun pods, each loaded with two six-round magazines of armour-piercing tungsten carbide-cored ammunition. With these weapons, the Kanonenvogel ("cannon-bird"), as it was nicknamed, proved spectacularly successful in the hands of Stuka aces such as Rudel. The G-1 was converted from older D-series airframes, retaining the smaller wing, but without the dive brakes. The G-2 was similar to the G-1 except for use of the extended wing of the D-5. 208 G-2s were built and at least a further 22 more were converted from D-3 airframes.[71]

Only a handful of production Gs were committed in the Battle of Kursk. On the opening day of the offensive, Hans-Ulrich Rudel flew the only "official" Ju 87 G, although a significant number of Ju 87D variants were fitted with the 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon, and operated as unofficial Ju 87 Gs before the battle. In June 1943, the RLM ordered 20 Ju 87Gs as production variants.[72] The G-1 later influenced the design of the A-10 Thunderbolt II, with Hans Rudel's book, Stuka Pilot being required reading for all members of the A-X project.[73]

I'm saying poppycock. Anyone got anything I can back this up with? JasonC usually has some good stats - he still around?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect what you are really going to argue over is how to define effective. His stats as argued here on this forum repeatedly are likely highly inflated (the norm it would seem on reports coming from air units regardless of nationality), but does that necessarily translate to ineffective and does a kill necessarily translate to effective or non effective if it forces your opponent to change tactics or operations based on a perceived threat. None of which am I qualified to render an opinion on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im not the expert so Im speculating....

Im sure many of the upper facing areas of a T-34 have pretty thin armor. Im sure too captured samples were carefully analyzed and findings presented to troops and pilots.

Ill let the experts also chime in on the velocity of 20mm/37mm fired from a in a shallow dive. Perhaps the momentum of the plane as well as the fact the shells are falling to earth might provide a little more umph.

Rapid firing cannons like the 20mm may have shotgun like hit patterns so you may get multiple hit on the weakest armored areas of a tank.

A mobility kill is almost as good as a kill and a panicked crew that bails out is a kill in sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other thing...20mm used for air to air combat usually has a fuse so it explodes when it penetrates an airframe.

20mm designed for use against tanks may have been solid core, used a hardened outer core so it penetrated armor then exploded, so it had different characteristics one might associate with 20mm. The velocity the 20mm cannons fired the shells also is a factor.

Size does not always mean more effectiveness. Germany produced an excellent AT gun that was something like 28mm iirc. It had great performance, but because it required ammo that needed metals they didn't have in abundance it was produced in small numbers.

The 75mm on the Panther had better armor penetrating capabilities than the famous 88mm due to higher velocities iirc.

Modern main battle tanks have guns in the 120mm range, but the actual dartlike projectile is far smaller than 120mm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps the momentum of the plane as well as the fact the shells are falling to earth might provide a little more umph.

Nah, not really. In practice, you're constantly losing muzzle velocity once the shell leaves the barrel and the aircraft's forward motion doesn't contribute all that much.

Rapid firing cannons like the 20mm may have shotgun like hit patterns so you may get multiple hit on the weakest armored areas of a tank.

Unless you were extremely close -- as in, about to fly into the dirt -- the pattern would mostly spatter around the tank, not on it. As you fly shallower, that pattern goes from being a relatively tidy circle to more and more oblong. This effectively chops down the effective range, along with putting you right in the envelope of light and medium AA and presenting the picture perfect "clay pigeon" target for an extended period.

So you dive instead.

The downside to a steep dive is that it limits firing time. The idea behind rapid fire cannons is that you put enough "steel in the box" that something hits without an excessively long (in time) burst, since your aircraft is in a steep dive for accuracy reasons and literally cannot spare more than a few seconds getting an effective strafing run in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't the angle of attack mitigate the advantage of the armor being sloped thus enabling the 3.7 cm tungsten core shell to penetrate thinner side/rear armor in addition to top armor? Can anyone confirm the actual armor penetration values for the BK 37, some figures i found after short googling: 140mm/100m/90 degrees, or 70mm/100m/60 degrees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Rudel is full of crap and the Ju-87 was never an effective tank killer; no aircraft in WWII was. JasonC has written extensively on this in the past here on this forum. I recommend looking up some old threads if you want details. Here is one useful thread:

http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=45658&highlight=rudel

Another good source is Zetterling in his Normandy book. While he does not talk about the Luftwaffe or Rudel, he debunks the myth that USAAF and RAF aircraft were capable tank killers in Normandy by looking at actual Operations Research data after the fight. Naturally, if the much more powerful Allied air forces under vastly better conditions were unable to be effective tank killers, then there is no way that the Luftwaffe achieved more with a handful of Stukas.

The best way to debunk the stuka claims is to look at the actual loss reports of Soviet tanks. Essentially, if the air force claims are correct, then there would be hardly any losses remaining to be accounted for by all of the German tanks, PAK, panzerfaust, etc. This argument comes up in a number of Jason's posts, if I recall, and is sound. Can't argue with the math.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The horizontal armor on the back of the T-34 C by several sources is 16mm. A 37mm round should be able to get through that to the engine compartment. Hit most tanks from above and behind, their 'deck' armor isn't good compared to facing or even side or back armor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beyond the question of just how effective the Ju-87's 37mm cannon pods were at knocking out tanks, the other big problem with the Ju-87G was that it was, by late war standards, slow, not very maneuverable, not particularly well protected (either in the sense of its armor plating or in the sense of its defensive armament), and also difficult to fly due to the the weight of the gun pods slung relatively far out, away from the centerline under the wings. In the late war, Ju-87 pilots (of any variant) did not have a long life expectancy.

My personal belief is the Rudel was an exceptional pilot who was able to get far more out of a fairly antiquated airframe than any of his contemporaries. We'll never know for sure exactly how much damage he caused on his sorties, but I think it's likely he scored more air-to-ground tank kills than any other WWII pilot, due to his skill and also due to the the fact that he was working in a very target-rich environment.

But I don't believe the 500+ tank kills he claimed for a second. Maybe 1/10th that, as an upper range of the possible actual kills, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was a fair bit less than this.

He was also extremely lucky. He was shot down or forced to emergency land by battle damage over 30 times, and any one of these could have ended up in his permanent disability or death.

Theoretically, if it were possible to clone Rudel and crew an entire air wing of Ju-87Gs with him, I might consider it an effective combat aircraft. But outside this kind of science fiction, IMHO it was a middling to poor weapons system that could at times turn in a decent performance when in the hands of a very good pilot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Footage labeled as JU-87 G shooting at tanks. Doesn't disprove or prove any argument, except that it was possible to get multiple hits on a tank in one run. The 'unknown tank' in the video is likely a Valentine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recall some arguments that the process of kill verification for the Luftwaffe in WW2 was not as stringent as was the case in the American and British Air corps so you had highly inflated numbers not only for Rudel, but also pilots like Hartman who claimed something like 352 kills or so.

Perhaps someone knowledgeable could shed some light on this , if it hasn't already been done.

The Stuka would always suffer in the fact of determined air opposition. In 1940 during the opening days of the Battle of Britain they got butchered by the RAF and pulled back or given heavy escort. The Me-110 also proved to be less than stellar in air to air.

Some today say the A-10 is nothing more than a modern day version of the Stuka-in fact ex-Stuka pilots were used as consultants when it was being designed. Many believe that in the face of determined air resistance the A-10 would suffer the same fate as Stukas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I recall some arguments that the process of kill verification for the Luftwaffe in WW2 was not as stringent as was the case in the American and British Air corps so you had highly inflated numbers not only for Rudel, but also pilots like Hartman who claimed something like 352 kills or so.

Perhaps someone knowledgeable could shed some light on this , if it hasn't already been done.

The Stuka would always suffer in the fact of determined air opposition. In 1940 during the opening days of the Battle of Britain they got butchered by the RAF and pulled back or given heavy escort. The Me-110 also proved to be less than stellar in air to air.

Some today say the A-10 is nothing more than a modern day version of the Stuka-in fact ex-Stuka pilots were used as consultants when it was being designed. Many believe that in the face of determined air resistance the A-10 would suffer the same fate as Stukas.

Pilots are notoriously bad at verifying kills (or rather, failing to kill things). Being charitable, they overclaimed ground kills by a minimum of a factor of 10; more realistically, they probably overclaimed by a factor of 50 or so.

An example: During the Mortain offensive in August, the Germans assembled a force of approximately 75 Pz IV, 70 Pz V and 32 Stugs for the attempt to cut of the American breakout. During the first three days the British and American pilots claimed 252 German tanks knocked out. The Germans had only deployed 177 full AFV's for the offensive. Furthermore, later OR analysis showed that allied aircraft only accounted for 9 German vechicles destroyed, the rest instead going to the usual causes (TD's, artillery, zooks, etc).

Later analysis by the Brits of lost Panthers in Normandy and the Ardennes showed that only approximately 6% of Panthers were lost to air weapons. Losses of Soviet armor during Kursk to German air is even lower than this figure, the Luftwaffe accounting for 2% to 5% of armored losses.

Quite simply, WWII aircraft did not have the weapons or accuracy to successfully attack armor. It was one of the worst targets to direct them against, as FLAK took a very heavy toll for practically no purpose. Air superiority was useful, but not in attacking armor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pilots are notoriously bad at verifying kills (or rather, failing to kill things). Being charitable, they overclaimed ground kills by a minimum of a factor of 10; more realistically, they probably overclaimed by a factor of 50 or so.

An example: During the Mortain offensive in August, the Germans assembled a force of approximately 75 Pz IV, 70 Pz V and 32 Stugs for the attempt to cut of the American breakout. During the first three days the British and American pilots claimed 252 German tanks knocked out. The Germans had only deployed 177 full AFV's for the offensive. Furthermore, later OR analysis showed that allied aircraft only accounted for 9 German vechicles destroyed, the rest instead going to the usual causes (TD's, artillery, zooks, etc).

Later analysis by the Brits of lost Panthers in Normandy and the Ardennes showed that only approximately 6% of Panthers were lost to air weapons. Losses of Soviet armor during Kursk to German air is even lower than this figure, the Luftwaffe accounting for 2% to 5% of armored losses.

Quite simply, WWII aircraft did not have the weapons or accuracy to successfully attack armor. It was one of the worst targets to direct them against, as FLAK took a very heavy toll for practically no purpose. Air superiority was useful, but not in attacking armor.

BTW-In my reference above I neglected to say that Hartman's 352 kill claim was for aircraft shot down, not tanks or vehicles destroyed.

Now that that is out of the way, what about the Faliase Gap? That has always been touted as the great killing fields where Typhoons and other aircraft slaughtered the Germans.

Putting aside the actual kill tally. Getting strafed, bombed and rocketed by aircraft, regardless of whether they actually hit or kill anything cannot be pleasant.

I remember a quote from the 1991 Desert Storm campaign to the effect that the carpet bombing of positions by B-52s may not kill a lot of enemy combatants, but it sure will make them s*** in their pants and render them ineffective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BTW-In my reference above I neglected to say that Hartman's 352 kill claim was for aircraft shot down, not tanks or vehicles destroyed.

Now that that is out of the way, what about the Faliase Gap? That has always been touted as the great killing fields where Typhoons and other aircraft slaughtered the Germans.

Putting aside the actual kill tally. Getting strafed, bombed and rocketed by aircraft, regardless of whether they actually hit or kill anything cannot be pleasant.

I remember a quote from the 1991 Desert Storm campaign to the effect that the carpet bombing of positions by B-52s may not kill a lot of enemy combatants, but it sure will make them s*** in their pants and render them ineffective.

By Falaise most of the German armor in theatre was already knocked out. It was the destruction of this armor by allied ground forces that made the breakout possible in the first place. Allied air helped indirectly by by interdicting roads and rail, hindering any daytime movement. But none of that German armor was going to make it out anyway, since it was already dead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But none of that German armor was going to make it out anyway, since it was already dead.

Pretty much, yeah. According to the relevant OR report, a total of 133 German tanks, SP guns and armoured vehicles were found in the area of the Pocket after the battle had moved on. The authors allow that an additional 50% might be added to cover side roads and areas not examined.

In the area known as the Shambles (basically the 'neck' of the Pocket), a further 187 tanks and SP guns were found, along with 157 lightly armoured vehicles (mainly armoured cars and halftracks). It is not thought that many vehicles were missed in this area.

In The Chase area (from the neck back to the Seine) there were 304 tanks, SP Guns, and lightly armoured vehicles counted. They found it difficult to estimate how many vehicles were missed in this area, but believe that the actual total number to less than double the number counted.

In total, then, the Falaise pocket only accounted for between 780 and 1150 German armoured vehicles (of which 420-to-610 were tanks or SP guns), or 1/6th to 1/4th of all German tanks* sent to Normandy.

The relevant OR report can be found here: http://lmharchive.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/The-Full-Monty2.pdf (8MB)

The report you're looking for is Report No.15; Enemy casualties in vehicles and equipment during the retreat from Normandy to the Seine.

* Nik Zetterling, Normandy 1944, p.83: "... 2,336 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns sent to Normandy ..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I recall some arguments that the process of kill verification for the Luftwaffe in WW2 was not as stringent as was the case in the American and British Air corps so you had highly inflated numbers not only for Rudel, but also pilots like Hartman who claimed something like 352 kills or so.

Perhaps someone knowledgeable could shed some light on this , if it hasn't already been done.

...

As far as I know, the German kill verification process was more stringent than the Allies for air-to-air claims. ( ground kills ... not so much ).

I'm not, however, knowledgeable on the subject, just what I've read ( eg. 'Luftwaffe Fighter Aces: The Jagdflieger and Their Combat Techniques' ( pub. 2003 ) by Mike Spick ).

If this too has been debunked recently, I'm not aware of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As far as I know, the German kill verification process was more stringent than the Allies for air-to-air claims. ( ground kills ... not so much ).

I'm not, however, knowledgeable on the subject, just what I've read ( eg. 'Luftwaffe Fighter Aces: The Jagdflieger and Their Combat Techniques' ( pub. 2003 ) by Mike Spick ).

If this too has been debunked recently, I'm not aware of it.

I've not seen any recent literature that debunks the German air claim process. By all accounts, the Germans took a very long time to verify kills. Because of that, most of the kill claims made by German pilots in late-44 to the war's end were never verified by the higher-ups.

On the contrary, in books such as the Black Cross / Red Star series, it's shown the Soviets were highly optimistic in their victory claims.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike Spick's books are very good.

Rudel: his book is a great read. I would not put much store in his total kill claims. However, I would not dismiss his actions as totally ineffective. There were witnesses to the various anti-tank attacks by Stukas. The G's, with 3.7cm cannon, did kill T-34's.

I -think- each cannon only had 5 shots. (Modified for a semi-auto cartridge feed.) The only possible shot was from the rear. Not a steep dive, but a shallow dive. Engine fires do destroy tanks. Not every hit will be an engine fire. Not every shot will be a hit.

Rudel was an outlier. (Really, the pun is there. ;) ) He was a manufactured hero, and a real one, as well. I think his kill stats were exaggerated; his commitment was not.

And, yes, he was the guy they talked to about the A-10. (Kind of like Northrop and the B-2 team. "Look what we did with your idea.")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...the Soviets were highly optimistic in their victory claims.

I doubt that they were any worse than the Japanese, who seem to have believed that if they fired at an American plane always hit it, and if they hit it always killed it.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, Rudel is full of crap and the Ju-87 was never an effective tank killer; no aircraft in WWII was. JasonC has written extensively on this in the past here on this forum. I recommend looking up some old threads if you want details. Here is one useful thread:

http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=45658&highlight=rudel

Another good source is Zetterling in his Normandy book. While he does not talk about the Luftwaffe or Rudel, he debunks the myth that USAAF and RAF aircraft were capable tank killers in Normandy by looking at actual Operations Research data after the fight. Naturally, if the much more powerful Allied air forces under vastly better conditions were unable to be effective tank killers, then there is no way that the Luftwaffe achieved more with a handful of Stukas.

The best way to debunk the stuka claims is to look at the actual loss reports of Soviet tanks. Essentially, if the air force claims are correct, then there would be hardly any losses remaining to be accounted for by all of the German tanks, PAK, panzerfaust, etc. This argument comes up in a number of Jason's posts, if I recall, and is sound. Can't argue with the math.

Cheers Cuirassier, that's the thread I was thinking of - thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I -think- each cannon only had 5 shots. (Modified for a semi-auto cartridge feed.) The only possible shot was from the rear. Not a steep dive, but a shallow dive. Engine fires do destroy tanks. Not every hit will be an engine fire. Not every shot will be a hit.

It was 12 rounds per 3.7 cm gun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hell I think a 37mm flak gun had enough velocity to take on Russian and lend leas tanks.  The method of Approach would be top attack anyways, so basically the object would be of course to penetrate the top turret, or rear deck, its even possible to maybe even immobilize the tank this way as well.  I always like to think of them as the first A-10 Warthogs in the sky... sort of.

 

"In April 1943, the first production Ju 87 G-1s were delivered to front line units. The two 37 mm (1.46 in) cannons were mounted in under-wing gun pods, each loaded with two six-round magazines of armour-piercing tungsten carbide-cored ammunition"

Edited by GhostRider3/3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...