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Would the other side please acknowledge the point that nothing any pilot says means a darn thing in this context, and present -any other source type- in support of their opinions about the effectiveness of air attack against fully armored vehicles? That is not itself simply an aggregation of claims by pilots about their own accomplishments?

Please, show me the report of the German ground commander who says, "and things looked dicey then, because we only had 4 underpower PAK facing an entire tank brigade, but then thankfully the Luftwaffe showed up, some of those tank-busting Stukas, and wiped out the Russian column." Even without detailed loss claims.

Please, show me the report of any operational impact, as in a Russian penetration that fails because of Luftwaffe intervention. It can be as rare as you please, but needs to include fully armored AFVs in quantity before the Luftwaffe shows up, no other major AT intervention, wrecks strewn across the field afterward. Russian side or German, in an operational ground combat narrative. (Mines appear that way all the time, for instance).

I've looked, and in the combat narratives of half a dozen panzer divisions in the southern part of the Kursk offensive, I've found a single report of a single platoon of Russian tanks taken out by Stukas. If individual pilots were racking up kills in the hundreds, there should be numerous outlier occasions when scores of Russian AFVs were taken out this way. (There are for tanks and tank aces e.g.).

In cases like Mortain and Falaise, we actually have famous instances of air power intervening in supposedly decisive fashion on the ground battlefield. That do not in fact hold up under detailed scrutiny. Where are even the allegations of the same sort of thing in the east? And for pity's sake, please do not give me another pilot's report.

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Originally posted by Bigduke6:

If you want to rationalize the fighter-bomber buzzing around when you run CM as a taxi cab rank of Typhoons or a series of pre-planned Il-2s, then ok the simulated effect maybe - and maybe not even - approximates the historical results.

I believe I proffered the sugestion a couple of years ago that in the game, aircraft should be purchased in multiples of four. Of course, their numbers can be reduced by aborts and losses on the way to the battlefield, but buying one of these and one of those is frankly absurd.

Michael

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Originally posted by dieseltaylor:

I think you are being a little disingenuous here. Until we had Neumann's quote I was relying on Rudel statements and a fellow forum members calculation. I take it from your tone that we can believe Neumanns memory of his airspeed but not his description of tank-busting. Are you not being a little picky then.

It's statements like this that make it impossible for me to take your arguments on this subject seriously. Pilots are very conscious of their airspeed. If they aren't, they die. That's how flying works and it works that way whether you are a civilian pilot flying a Cessna or a Boeing 747. It is no less true when flying combat. Speed and altitude are critical factors to be aware of at all times when flying close to the ground. So yes, I take his word for that.

But knowing whether or not he is scoring hits with his guns is a vastly more iffy proposition. He knows he is shooting at the tank, and that his shells should be landing somewhere in the vicinity, but how many of them—out of the three or four he might have time to fire—actually hit the vehicle, he likely cannot discern from the cockpit. And assuming he does score a hit—already an iffy proposition—he is in no position to ascertain how many of those achieve a penetration. And out of however might achieve a penetration, how many will have a disabling effect. I'd say a violent explosion, such as the guy who saw the turret fly over his cockpit, is a pretty strong piece of evidence, but even there one must ask whether anything else might have been shooting at the vehicle with the ability to cause such destruction.

In short, it is reasonable to accept his testimony about his airspeed and altitude because those are part of his daily flying experience, and the fact that he survived it is prima facie proof that he was a good judge of those factors. No such prima facie proof exists for his claims of destruction of enemy tanks. It may have happened, but no proof has yet been put forward. It is at best an open question.

Michael

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Big Duke

Thanks for the input. I do believe an individual aircraft is overmodelled and that is why I believe in a taxi rank abstraction. For game purposes players have to believe the threat is real and that is accomplished.

As for your figures of an armoured vehicle per sortie I am somewhat surprised that the rate is so high. Certainly in my experience it is not that reliable. If it was I would certainly buy them more often than I do.

If it was so I would expect to see far more airplanes in games than I do - they are positively rare. But then this may just be a reflection on the people I have played rather than anything else.

I agree with your description of Northern Europe , the tundra , the taiga, the steppes etc as I did Northern Europe during physical geography of the world many decades ago. Am I right in thinking that the population of Russia was at the time I fairly broadly in many small villages often with mainly wooden houses. Given the road state the distance between villages and small towns was small by standards of the New Worlds?

Basse Normandy is a total area of 18000sq kms of which only a fraction was fought over to start with. The amount of flak and very small fields, big hedges and small woods then compared to the rolling nature of northern Europe I suggest is more favourable to be an FB away from Normandy.I was hoping to find my detailed maps of Normandy to give the terrain specifics but that will have to wait. Therefore at this stage it is my opinion : ) but obviously if you graduate from flat plain to jagged narrow valleys there should be a corresponding decrease in FB effectiveness.

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ME

It's statements like this that make it impossible for me to take your arguments on this subject seriously. Pilots are very conscious of their airspeed. If they aren't, they die.

I think it possible Neumann could lie about it all. But you seem to be happy to support 300 kph to cast scorn on my lower figure .. of 160-180kph but ignore all other aspects of the interview as mainly bogus or explainable in another way.

The reduction of the firing point to 100 metres and the deliberate choice of spot to aim for does suggest that they thought they could do the damage. It could be a total fabrication but then if the subject is in the air hopefully we may yet find someone to add knowledge to the debate.

I am still hopeful of getting some more information on the effectiveness of the SD4HL. My apologies for missing Pamak1970's post at the bottom of page 7 which did mention their use.

spec

Lastly as the evidence as maintained by Jason C's post and the Western data is so damming of Rudel's ,and others claims, is there not a concerted effort to nail the lies. I have no problem with that and it seems surprising that on the entire web there is not such a thing

- that I can see : )

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Originally posted by dieseltaylor:

Lastly as the evidence as maintained by Jason C's post and the Western data is so damming of Rudel's ,and others claims, is there not a concerted effort to nail the lies. I have no problem with that and it seems surprising that on the entire web there is not such a thing

- that I can see : )

You aren't looking very hard then. What do you call this thread, or the one at TDI?
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The Dupuy Institute, which has a forum like this discussing operations research issues and history. See Mike's last link. It shows the closest thing to a German ground force claim of Russian armor KOed en masse by air attack, and the Russian side reports that debunk it, proving the losses claimed were high by an order of magnitude. Just like Mortain reports.

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Originally posted by sturmelon:

service-plate3.gif

Just to prove the operation of the louvres. Note that an attacking plane shooting up the rear of the tank has a direct LOS into the rear of the engine itself.

http://www.gjames.com.au/chris/t34/service.html

A good website to bookmark.

Good find - and nice to see you using some facts for a change.

However this provides "direct access" to the Transmission compatment, not to the engine, and then only if the aircraft is attacking from a suitable angle.

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For grandiose German air claims at Kursk you can't go past the Bruno Meyer story discussed in the thread Dorosh linked to above. I've been racking my brains trying to recall where I read that original discussion and forgot it was at dpi. Anyway the claims are clearly debunked by the evidence and this incident along with others presented in this thread indicate that actual tank kills are a miniscule proportion of claims.

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Apologies for being dense about TDI. I had read that piece when sturmelon mentioned it on page 7 and I thought I had mentioned in my post following that there would be a difference between 37mm tungsten and 30mm cannon in effectiveness.

However I had duly noted the references to the records for the day and the personality of Rudel. From somewhere else I saw mention that he had been regarded as unfit for fighter service so it does lead one to wonder if he had a personal axe to bury.

Contemplating the disparity between claims and actuality there are a number of thoughts that cross my mind :

Soviet orders on reacting to air attack - was there the possibility of smoke being produced deliberately.

How did the Soviets deal with crew casualties that occurred versus tanks ready for combat daily reports.

Attacks being successful in that tanks were hit but the effects - burning external baggage, penetration but ineffective apart from killing crew. And this could also apply to the bomblets and the 37mm. Penetration with the chance to hit ammo very rare but possible and big explosion.

For propaganda purposes that all hits were recorded as destroyed? I have worked in environments where the pressure to provide the results wanted as resulted in the twisting of or fabrication of figures.

Points to mull over. Obviously more info on bomblets and the 37mm would help.

JonS

With regard to my comment on Rudel and nailing the lie I was not ignoring Dupuy or this thread and others on other boards. What I meant as apparently all the scores are over hyped then one would hope there was a site that whenever Rudel or Hartmann got typed in you could read the official blurb, repeated as nauseum over the web, and then have the nitty gritty on why they are overstated.

As I said there apparently is not such a site - or that I have not found it. Therefore the casual wargamer who reads neither these threads or the Dupuy is likely to believe what is commonly posted.

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It's quite interesting that Kursk seems to keep cropping up in these threads. I was under the impression that this battle was the first that the Red air force actually managed to prevent the Luftwaffe gaining any kind of air superiority over the field. So it's really not surprising that Kursk doesn't throw up many reports of successful air attacks.

I was also under the impression that right up until at least Kursk a large part of the Soviet tank armies were still at the lighter end of the scale (T60/T70), so it's not safe to assume that every tank fired at was a Stalin or even a T34. Hell, it's not even safe to assume that it was a tank at all. And if it was a light tank, I think the chances of a 37mm round ending it's shelf life are very high indeed.

How difficult it was to actually hit a target in a Stuka I'll never know, as I have never flown one in combat conditions. I strongly suspect that noone on these boards has. The only people that know are the Rudel's and the Neumann's, so I'm inclined to take what they say, but with a healthy pinch of salt.

Anyway, I'm happy with CMs take on aircraft. Ok, they may more damage than they really should when they show up, but we don't complain that we see 3 men where there are actually 10. Is it so hard to imagine that, whether it is intended or not, 1 Stuka is actually a flight of 3 or 4?

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JasonC,

I easily found two accounts of Stukas given credit for stopping a Russian Tank assault. However, it depends if you think General Rauss was a reliable source or not. He also mention that in 1945 the IL2 was quite effective, and specifically mentions losing 8 tanks in Prussia in one attack, but without number, it doesn't mean anything. Oh on the Stuka attacks, they read as an exception rather then the rule. Can give you book name and pages if interested, but my understanding is his credibility is iffy at best.

Rune

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Several points.

As to Russian building materials, during the war years wood clearly was the dominant building material in the rural regions of the Soviet Union.

I would say in the regions of the Soviet Union the bulk of the war was fought in - meaning I am excluding the Finland front - population densities were relatively high and something like 50 per cent of the population lived rurally. The further north you went, the less overall population density, but the higher the percentage of urban residence.

It's hard to be even approximately accurate on this because collectivization 1931-32 killed more Soviets than the Germans ever did, and the victims were predominantly rural. So the demographics by 1940 were possibly skewed towards urban residence.

The web site DT offered is quite clear that the StukaG did not attack vertically but more or less horizontally. If that is true, then obviously the grate/engine deck discussion becomes a lot less important, as the threat is limited to bomblets.

I wouldn't personally say the site is an end-all final word, although the text was pretty detailed and interesting. The authors in my opinion appear to have done their homework.

Apropos of Kursk, the authors total up Luftwaffe ground kills claimed during Kursk, and compare that to actual vehicles reported destroyed by participating Soviet Fronts. The ratio is unsurprisingly - roughly an order of magnitude; the German seem to claim about 700 tanks destroyed, and the Soviets in the estimate of the site authors actually lost around 70 armored vehicles to German air strikes.

I will add that, from my own reading of the subject on the Russian-language side, I have yet to come across a report of devastating Luftwaffe anti-armor attacks, although you can find plenty describing the deadly effects of overall German air superiority during the first months of the war. If one were to make conclusions based wholly on Soviet sources, German air was a marginal to nonexistant threat to Soviet armor. (As opposed to German AT guns and panzers, which the Soviet histories seem to take very seriously.)

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Apropos of Kursk, the authors total up Luftwaffe ground kills claimed during Kursk, and compare that to actual vehicles reported destroyed by participating Soviet Fronts. The ratio is unsurprisingly - roughly an order of magnitude; the German seem to claim about 700 tanks destroyed, and the Soviets in the estimate of the site authors actually lost around 70 armored vehicles to German air strikes.
I ddi not read thoroughly all information but i noticed that the loss of 70 armored-vehicles comes from a larger group of about 150? losses from air attack.

A large percentage of those was repaired and do not count in the final figure of 70 losses.

If we compare the numbers given by Soviets (using 150 since German pilots of course could not predict how many of these tanks would become operational again) and the number claimed by German pilots (700), we see their claims to be about 4-5 times more than the actual losses,which i find it beleivable.

[ August 15, 2005, 09:56 AM: Message edited by: pamak1970 ]

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Great stuff Guys!

Here's a Soviet side report to add to the info mix.

http://rkkaww2.armchairgeneral.com/battles/Kursk/prokhorovka.htm

It claims losses from German aviation.

The 2nd TC operated together with the 2nd Gds. TC vs. SS Panzer Division "Das Reich".

The 2nd Gds. TC started attacks at 10:00 am. The 2nd TC was left in defence. Until noon the soviet offensive was stopped by German aviation and rocket launcher's fire. At 15:00 SS panzer division launched a counter-offensive and forced soviet troops to retreat 2 km on 5km of front line.

Losses of the 2nd and 2nd Gds. TCs were ~85 tanks(47%) (44 from them irretrievable).

31th Tank Brigade: Was moving after the 32th Brigade from 1 km south to Barchovka on "Oktiabrsky". Had many losses from German aviation. At 10:30 reached "Oktiabrsky" but was stopped by aviation. At 15:40 repelled a German counter-attack. Lost 24 T-34, 20 T-70, 62 men.

[ August 15, 2005, 10:02 AM: Message edited by: stukapalooka ]

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Originally posted by Mike:

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

service-plate3.gif

Just to prove the operation of the louvres. Note that an attacking plane shooting up the rear of the tank has a direct LOS into the rear of the engine itself.

http://www.gjames.com.au/chris/t34/service.html

A good website to bookmark.

Good find - and nice to see you using some facts for a change.

However this provides "direct access" to the Transmission compatment, not to the engine, and then only if the aircraft is attacking from a suitable angle. </font>

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