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Film of Stuka 87G in action

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Originally posted by JasonC:

"gives them so small chances to destroy an enemy tank"

Why do you think 2-3% chance per sortie is "so small"? Do you think a Stuka evaporates after 3 sorties? The Russians got 25 sorties out of each Sturm in the years when the Germans dominated air to air fighting, and 45 after that.

Once again, nth time, any weapon system that takes out its own value on the opposite side is an above average weapon system. Most fail to do so, by mathematical law. Nowhere is it written that ground attack aircraft are above average weapon systems. And most of the damage they inflict is to soft targets, particularly soft vehicles.

A tank is the hardest target they regularly try for. Moveover, the number of fighter-bomber sorties exceeds the deployed tank fleets of all sides by an order of magnitude. They can't all take out a tank, or the tanks all die 10 times over without the ground forces doing anything, which is absurd.

It is completely unsurprising that they have poor per sortie records against them. If they didn't, tanks would have been irrelevant and WW II would have been decided in a few months by air attacks.

It is not so much that i consider the number so small inside a specific operational enviroment.

I consider it small as a number of probability to see a single stuka attacking a single tank and take it out of action.

If that was the case, then i do not see why someone would produce such a weapon and second the actual effectiveness of weapon inside the"big picture" with all countermeasures ,flak interceptors, missed spotting and so on would be much more less than 3-4 %.

To put it differently, even if someone accepts that the figure of 3-4 % losses per sortie is true inside the operational enviroment , this indicates that the actual effectiveness of stuka as a single platform attacking a single tank, is considerably more.

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Once again, nth time, any weapon system that takes out its own value on the opposite side is an above average weapon system. Most fail to do so, by mathematical law
I noticed you have mentioned this more than once.

can you give some details ,links or bibliography.

Even if you can not find relative links, if you give me some more details i might be able to locate information cause i have some books related with operational research.

Can you give me for example the name of this mathematical law-theory?

For example we frequently talk about lanchester laws when we deal with OR.

What is the name of this law you are referring to?

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Numerator - all weapons systems fielded in the war, minus all weapon systems that survive the war, weighted by input cost.

Denominator - all weapon systems fielded in the war, weighted by input cost.

Since weapon systems that survive the war is non-negative, the numerator is smaller than the denominator. The numerator is the total KOed. The denominator is the total doing the KOing.

The average weapon gets that quantity as its result. Any weapon that does better than that is above average. There can only be above average weapons, if they are fully balanced by others that are below average. By the definition of average.

As was to be demonstrated.

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Originally posted by pamak1970:

I have also a reservation regarding the claim that shootting too close you "overshoot" the target.

I guess what they try to say is that the weapons were "zeroed" to a certain range.

[snip]

Now try to see at what distance the width between the trajectories is greater than the length of the tank, in which case we have "overshoot" .

Using the above numbers , this distance is over 400 meters.

In this case the danger for the pilot to miss his target is if he decides to fire too early but there is no any effect if he fires too late.

I had a different understanding. In my mind, "overshooting" referred to the fact that the aircraft has to initiate a pull up at some point (I think 180m from the target is used in our example) or else it will fly into the ground. Since the aircraft is pitching up once it is within 180m of the target, any rounds fired will miss the target by "overshooting" it. I don't think it has anything to do with at what range the weapons were zeroed.

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]

They would produce the weapon to fly it 50 times and destroy a tank or two. What is the supposed mystery?[/b
How you would respond if someone was claiming that

they could produce the weapon to fly 1000 or 10000 times to destroy a tank or two?

What is the red line according to your point that makes a certain system having poor perfomance?

Speaking about 50 sorties per airplane we should consider the time-frame in order to reach this number.This gives a more clear picture of the impact of this platform.

How many sorties per day was the average for a single assault plane?

I do not know details ,i just have some data from the Soviet study of Kursk with the 2nd Air army executing between 250-300 sorties daily.

Since the number of assault planes for this army is about 270, this means one sortie per day.

It seems very low at first but it is explained in this study that one of the reasons was the lack of availability of escorts .

Anyway ,lets boost this up and claim that we have 5 sorties per plane per day which might be generous.

If the probability of destroying a tank with a stuka is 4% per sortie ,this means that we have 2 tanks destroyed every 10 days of intense action for each plane.

(Using the actual number given for the Russians we talk about 2 tanks destroyed during a period of 50 days for each arcraft).

Now all these numbers imply the aircraft HAS spotted the target ,HAS avoided enemy interceptors and flak and so on.

Of course as i said before we all know that in true enviroment these percentages will fall much more .

So a German designer producing a plane with a kill probability of 4% per sortie would expect to acheive an actual percentage of much less in combat.I would not be surprised to see actual effectiveness of 1%

Now why would someone think that this type of CAS is so effective ?

Having a formation of 100 aircrafts acheiving 4 tank kill per day -in a single battle (4 sorties per day with actual true effectiveness 1% ), means that there is not really any significant impact of CAS on the tactical battlefield.

The meaning of CAS does not have any sense in this case.

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Originally posted by pamak1970:

Having a formation of 100 aircrafts acheiving 4 tank kill per day -in a single battle (4 sorties per day with actual true effectiveness 1% ), means that there is not really any significant impact of CAS on the tactical battlefield.

The meaning of CAS does not have any sense in this case.

Hooray! I think you finally got it! This is what we - well, half of us - have been saying all along. And the reason we've been saying it is because the performance of CAS in CM is so radically different.

CAS in CM ≠ Cas in Real Life™

CAS in CM >> Cas in Real Life™

BUT ... CAS in Real Life™ was useful, just not at KO-ing armour. And those reasons have been discussed too.

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Originally posted by Ace Pilot:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by pamak1970:

I have also a reservation regarding the claim that shootting too close you "overshoot" the target.

I guess what they try to say is that the weapons were "zeroed" to a certain range.

[snip]

Now try to see at what distance the width between the trajectories is greater than the length of the tank, in which case we have "overshoot" .

Using the above numbers , this distance is over 400 meters.

In this case the danger for the pilot to miss his target is if he decides to fire too early but there is no any effect if he fires too late.

I had a different understanding. In my mind, "overshooting" referred to the fact that the aircraft has to initiate a pull up at some point (I think 180m from the target is used in our example) or else it will fly into the ground. Since the aircraft is pitching up once it is within 180m of the target, any rounds fired will miss the target by "overshooting" it. I don't think it has anything to do with at what range the weapons were zeroed. </font>

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No pilots kept up multiple sorties per day for more than the briefest surge periods, nor could the planes stand that op tempo. They'd just die anyway, if they tried to.

The Germans flew 12000 sorties total in the battle of Kursk. The Russians flew 17000. Around a third of them ground attack, more if you include the level bombing missions at altitude.

The relevant consideration is not per unit time but over the time the plane flies before it is lost itself. Which could be as low as 25-45 sorties for Russian ground attack planes, and might reach 100 under better conditions. The plane would be lost itself in that time.

If the bombs it dropped took out equal value it was successful. If they didn't it wasn't. Warfare is an industrial process, not a romance of individual prowess. Many did not cover their own value before they were lost. Some did appreciably better. The average was not much better than break even for most types.

If a third of the Russian sorties were Sturm ground attack missions (a conservative estimate, they were about that portion of the planes), that means 6000 IL-2 strikes in the Kursk defensive phase. The Germans only had about that many AFVs in the theater. Their AFV total write offs were less than 1/20th of that figure, from all causes. The drop in operational AFVs was a third of that figure at most. Almost all of it from direct fire AT from tanks and ATGs.

If 6000 IL-2 strikes took out a thousand trucks or so, they'd be doing fine. It it unlikely they took out even 100 AFVs.

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Originally posted by JonS:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by pamak1970:

Having a formation of 100 aircrafts acheiving 4 tank kill per day -in a single battle (4 sorties per day with actual true effectiveness 1% ), means that there is not really any significant impact of CAS on the tactical battlefield.

The meaning of CAS does not have any sense in this case.

Hooray! I think you finally got it! This is what we - well, half of us - have been saying all along. And the reason we've been saying it is because the performance of CAS in CM is so radically different.

CAS in CM ≠ Cas in Real Life™

CAS in CM >> Cas in Real Life™

BUT ... CAS in Real Life™ was useful, just not at KO-ing armour. And those reasons have been discussed too. </font>

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The one thing you guys are forgetting is out of your basic economics class.

Value has no relevance to cost.

The value of the inf coy behind Omaha Beach far exceeded to value of the division sitting at Calaise waiting the "real invasion".

The destroyers 1000 yds off the beach exceeded to value of the battleships ineffectually tossing shells into the mist or, not firing at all.

Cost, has nothing to do with it.

So, while the Stuka may or, may not have lots of armor kills, based on this discussion, the most valuable part of the weapon system may have been the whistles on the bombs and sirens on the aircraft. But they certainly had no kills.

Edited because I didn't want the terrorists to win.

[ August 15, 2005, 08:34 PM: Message edited by: Egbert ]

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Originally posted by pamak1970:

Your position basically implies that the germans made a CONSIOUS decision to produce the plane knowing the ineffectiveness of THIS TYPE of CAS.

No, that isn't my position at all. My position is that - regardless of what they thought or what their pilots claimed - the air forces of all combatants were slightly better than hopeless at KO-ing armour.

However, what they thought and claimed was widely reported, and has continued to be repeated down through the last 60-odd years. And, it seems, those thoughts and claims are held to be The One, The Only, The Undeniable Truth.

It's also wrong.

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The relevant consideration is not per unit time but over the time the plane flies before it is lost itself. Which could be as low as 25-45 sorties for Russian ground attack planes, and might reach 100 under better conditions. The plane would be lost itself in that time.
We do not,or at least me do not discuss the "effectiveness" of a single weapon related to the impact in the strategic economic enviroment.

I am talking about the effectiveness of the weapon against another single weapon related more with kill probability during a single actual attack after a single sortie.

This is a totally different subject.

You talk about the value of Stuka -tank buster in strategic economic terms and from a general observation you go to specifics trying to apply the same relations you see in the general enviroment and this is where i disagree.

In a way it is like saying that since Chinese have an average height of 5.5 feet,therefore the basketball coach should be happy to see his team having an average height of 5.5 feet during a certain game against U.S for example.

Talking about our specific example.

From what i understand you assume that if the Stuka tank buster was an average asset then a 5% of effectiveness per sortie, which was sufficient to have the plane K.O a tank before itself becomes a casualty (after about 20-40 missions) is reasonable.

I still do not see this number credible to indicate probability of kills in ACTUAL attacks of tank buster planes against tanks and i will try to explain why.

Let's take for example an "average" tank according to the way you want to define it.

Now an average tank should be able to kill another average tank before itself becomes a casualty.

In fact the average perfomance will be less than one enemy average tank kill , for each friendly unit (since the "score sheet" will include other hits also against AT guns ,MGs and so on).

Now let's go deeper and try to apply this at tactical level.

What is the duration of "life" for an average tank?

Now we can not use "number of sorties" and that is why i prefered from the beginning to relate the effectivenss of a platform to an actual time unit.

I do not have data about the above but let say for the sake of my argument that it is 10 days which .

According to your logic ,we would expect to see an average tank K.O less than one enemy tank during this period of 10 days of fighting, before itsef becomes a casualty.That is about 37% of chances to K.O less than an enemy tank during a single day

(note that in probabilities we do not add or divide numbers.Therefore the result is not 100%:10 days -10% per day).

And here comes the strange conclusion of your logic.

Someone might claim that the Germans could be satisfied to produce a tank that had 37% of chances to K.O another tank during a period of 24 hours.

Again applying this to tactical level and try to find the percentage of effectiveness during a perid of 2.4 hours of tank combat ,we will find a certain number which will be much less than 37% of course.

I do not have time to use now calculations but a rough calculation gives about 5% to K.O a tank.

So if now we take in consideration an average distance range of engagement we conclude that german scientits should be satisfied to see during the tests a new tank having a kill probability of much less than 5% after expending its whole stock of ammunition at enemy tanks from average ranges, since according to the general -strategic economic enviroment , this weapon does fullfil the definition of "average perfomance".

P.S I did not have time to double check my results .

For anyone interested to check it i used the formula of

P= 1- (1-x)^n

P= probability to acheive at least one kill in n trials

x= probability of kill in one trial

n is exponent to (1-x) and indicates as i said before the number of trials

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Jason,

do you not think that your formula theory is a bit too simplistic. If for example, you produced a 100 AA guns that protected something important (factory, tanks, whatever) and due to their presence the other side could not effectively attack this target, you can have a weapon system that never really kills its own value's worth but is still of economic/strategic/tactical benefit as it prevents losses of material/territory/whatever. How many rifles/MGs/bullets etc ever killed anyone, but how well could anything be defended or attacked without them.

Still, I agree with your read on damage caused by the aircraft on tanks. When you are shooting down a plane it is rather obvious when one is damaged or destroyed (the falling out of the sky is a bit of a give away really :D ) and yet pilots claims are demonstrably false to the point of at times being ridiculous. So if the same individuals are doing the reporting of air to mud effects where it is going to be much more difficult to measure results, then IMO, their reports are not worth the paper they are written on.

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A few more points.

First, the Stuka effectiveness number allegedly attributed to the Russian web site is inflating duriung this discussion. The number given on the was 2-3 per cent.

From what I can tell it is fairly consistent throughout standard Soviet military writing. The Soviets did not consider aircraft a big threat to their tanks, during WW2 -in no small part because they tried hard to keep plenty of AAA with their tanks.

The Soviets also did not consider their fighter-bombers anything close to dedicated tank busters. Sure every once a while there might be a special strike, but in general the point to Soviet fighter bombers was to act as aerial artillery, meaning it is designed to destroy or damage fixed objects, and soft vehicles.

Second, the site is very specific about the Stuka's angle of attack and the effect that angle has on the Stuka's cannon's of hitting a tank. The angle of attack was 5 to 10 per cent.

The logic given is that steeper and there is a good chance you whack your Stuka into the ground as you can't pull out if you are in a steep dive, and must drop as low as 400 meters, as higher than that and your shells may well not have much effect. The Stuka was an ungainly machine to start out with, and it got worse with the 300 or 600 kg (whatever it was, it's on the site) of AT cannon strapped onto the wings.

A flat approach on the deck is also out because Soviet tanks are at best 3 meters high, and usually a lot closer to two. To get a flat attack against a target that size the target either needs to be on a bit of high ground, or the plane has to be 2-3 meters off the deck. The former is very improbable because, as we CM vets know, Soviet tanks, especially ones in motion, love low ground.

The latter - extended flight 2-3 meters above the ground - is almost impossible in peacetime aerobatics demonstrations by pilots trained to do nothing else. It would be suicide for 99.99 per cent of Stuka pilots a combat environment.

That leaves the shallow dive, and a shallow dive plus limited pentration of the 37mm weapon means you have to get quite close to achieve a side penetration, but if you get too close your rounds are going to go past the tank. You're in a slant.

The Soviet take on this, especially when the post-war German memoirs like Rudel's came out, was basically that the Germans were really wrapped around the axle trying to find wonder weapon solutions to combat problems, and a lot of times those efforts were just a waste of German resources.

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On value and cost, what do you think I am measuring when I look at actual achieved effectiveness? If a weapon system takes $10000 of invested resources and wipes out $1 million in enemy invested resources, clearly its value is higher than $10,000. But that is exactly to say, it is an above average weapon system.

The fallacy so common in these things is to jump from above average effectiveness being desirable to it being achieved, which on average simply can't happen, definition of average. For every item whose value (in impact on the enemy) exceeds its cost, there is another whose cost exceeds its value.

Overall, the value invested fails to take out even its own cost. Or does anybody think a war can be fought in which each side destroys 100 times the value both sides have invested, resulting in negative 99 times their invested value worth of military equipment running around like ghosts? What is a negative tank? I don't mean a destroyed one, that is plus one tank produced, minus one tank KOed. What is plus one tank produced, minus 10 tanks KOed supposed to be, here in the corporeal world?

Next to people still full of illusions of high effectiveness in kills per unit time for items like tanks, some home truths. The average lifetime of a tank is not 10 days, it is a year. The loss rate of US medium tanks hit 0.9% per day in Normandy and 1.2% per day in the Bulge. But was miniscule for the rest of the campaign, averaging one lost tank per tank battalion per week.

The average German AFV with superior armament took out 1 to 1.5 enemy AFVs over its operational life. Panthers might have scored as high as 3. Tigers might have scored as high as 5, making them far above average weapon system. Not in one 30 minute CM engagement, over their entire operational life, averaging a year. Higher estimates are incompatible with the known number of tanks actually taken out.

Tanks most certainly did fire off their ammo at long range with low hit chances - we can tell because they expended hundreds of times as many AP rounds as there even were enemy tanks.

They also went long stretches off the line even when fully operational, other stretches in repair, fought pure infantry and towed gun forces, avoided enemy AFVs when they did not have a tactical advantage with the enemy doing the reverse (one side or the other has an incentive to "deny battle" more often than you might imagine).

What a typical squadron of say 12 IL-2s would actually expect, is to fly perhaps 400 missions before the planes themselves were lost, one by one. Those 400 missions might take out half a dozen tanks, a couple of locomotives, a few dozen of freight cars, scores of trucks or wagons, and maybe 100-200 personnel killed or wounded (most of them wounded of course) by bomb and rocket fragments or by strafing. For 12 planes and perhaps 30 personnel lost, that is a nice solid return. It means on a typical decent day, the squadron sends up 8 planes and takes out a truck or two and a few men, not a dozen tanks.

Op tempos and specific lethalities are dramatically less than wargamers imagine from their reckless mashing together of their fearless electronic critters. Wars take a long time for a reason.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

Tanks most certainly did fire off their ammo at long range with low hit chances - we can tell because they expended hundreds of times as many AP rounds as there even were enemy tanks.

Including or excluding rounds fired in training?

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Next to people still full of illusions of high effectiveness in kills per unit time for items like tanks, some home truths. The average lifetime of a tank is not 10 days, it is a year.

combined with

The average German AFV with superior armament took out 1 to 1.5 enemy AFVs over its operational life.

This makes my argument even more clear.

So ,what is the conclusion if we apply these numbers to estimate battlefield results using the logic of average weapons and their perfomance?

If an average AFV is KO approximately one enemy average AFV during a period of a year ,360 days, then tranfering this to tactical scale, we should expect to see 360 AFV engaging enemy AFVs in a battle during a single day with the result of destroying a single enemy AFV at the end of the battle.

So we "conclude" that an average AFV is basically ineffective in destroying another average AFV.

That is basically the implications of your way of thinking and that is why i say that you can not use a deductive logic-reasoning in this case and go from the large picture to specifics.

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Good grief :rolleyes: Did it ever occur to you that tanks only rarely ever fight each other?

pamak, your random wanderings in Stats World aren't the least bit convincing. In fact, they aren't even the least bit coherent.

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Originally posted by Michael Dorosh:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by JasonC:

Tanks most certainly did fire off their ammo at long range with low hit chances - we can tell because they expended hundreds of times as many AP rounds as there even were enemy tanks.

Including or excluding rounds fired in training? </font>

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Originally posted by JonS:

Good grief :rolleyes: Did it ever occur to you that tanks only rarely ever fight each other?

pamak, your random wanderings in Stats World aren't the least bit convincing. In fact, they aren't even the least bit coherent.

So ?

Do aircrafts have more time of fight in their belt when according to your post their average life was between 20-40 sorties?

How much time of this 20-40 sorties duration is actually spent for attacks against enemy tanks?

And why you do not consider these things when you talk about assault aircrafts but you are willing to do so when you talk about tanks?

[ August 16, 2005, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: pamak1970 ]

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Originally posted by pamak1970:

...This makes my argument even more clear.

snip

.....That is basically the implications of your way of thinking and that is why i say that you can not use a deductive logic-reasoning in this case and go from the large picture to specifics.

My nomination for Pseuds Corner

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For convienience, let's say:

The average tank kills ~1 tank.

The average FB kills ~1 tank.

God knows how many missions, or how many days, are against enemy tanks. It doesn't matter. On one of them it kills one enemy tank. And that's it, on average.

Some get more, of course, but by definition that means that some others get less. So, if Rudel really did get 500 tanks, that means that there are 499 other Stuka pilots who tried to, but never did, kill an enemy tank. Similarly, for all Wittmans heroics - and assuming all his kills really were - it means that there were 140-odd other somewhat less than uber German tankers who never got a single tank kill (or, if we take the avg PzVI as killing 5 enemy tanks, there are 28 other 'elite' Tiger tankers who never killed a single tank).

Regards

JonS

P.S. Actually, both these examples are a little wonky, since Rudel and Wittman each had several mounts shot out from under them.

[ August 16, 2005, 04:47 PM: Message edited by: JonS ]

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Originally posted by JonS:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Michael Dorosh:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by JasonC:

Tanks most certainly did fire off their ammo at long range with low hit chances - we can tell because they expended hundreds of times as many AP rounds as there even were enemy tanks.

Including or excluding rounds fired in training? </font>

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Originally posted by JonS:

The average tank kills ~1 tank.

The average FB kills ~1 tank.

God knows hom many missions, or how many days, are against enemy tanks. It doesn't matter. On one of them, it kills one enemy tank. And that's it, on average. Some get more, of course, but by definition that means that some others get less. So, if Rudel really did get 500 tanks, that means that there are 499 other German stuka pilots how tried to, but never did, kill an enemy tank. Similarly, for all Wittmans heroics - and assuming all his kills really were - it means that there were 140-odd other somewhat less than uber German tankers who never got a single tank kill (or, if we take the avg PzVI as killing 5 enemy tanks, there are 28 other 'elite' Tiger tankers who never killed a single tank).

Regards

JonS

P.S. Actually, both these examples are a little wonky, since Rudel and Wittman each had several mounts shot out from underneath them.

I do not have any objections about inflation of losses reports and i said even earlier that i do not find it strange to see FB contribute a small percentage to the total losses inflicted to the enemy during a large operation.

My firm objection is only relative with the opinion that since FB score on average 1 tank kill,therefore are ineffective in engaging tanks on the battlefield.

If you do beleive that

"The average tank kills ~1 tank.

The average FB kills ~1 tank."

then you have to admit that FB are as much effective as tanks in engaging enemy armor in the battlefield.

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