Luftwaffe Kill Claims

So were the fantastic kill claims by the likes of Hartman, Barkhorn, Rall and the other high scoring Experten of the luftwaffe, indeed genuine? At some time or other there have been serious challenges to these claims, some of them backed up by facts, some purely from jealousy or politics.

It works both ways, as claims by the top Soviet aces have been challenged in the west.

Allowing for the natural tendency to claim a victory in a confused combat, it is obvious many cases of discrepencies were of an accidental nature rather than a deliberate deception.

The Luftwaffe claim process was quite complex and hundreds if not thousands of claims were still awaiting recognition in Berlin at the end of the war. Of course the process was far speedier if there was a witness to a claim or wreckage recovered. Similarly the introduction of gun cameras from 1942 cleared many disputes and false/accidental claims.

Would have the top Allied pilots have equalled the experten of the Luftwaffe? Certainly if they had fought under the same conditions the top Allied pilots would have amassed incredible scores.

Regards digger.

Hartmann claims were officially confirmed until his 307th victory after that due the delay in the paperwork to gave the official confirmation… the war simply was over.

A lot of people still dispute the figure of 307 victories and indeed the claims of most of the experten.

Hartman was once challenged by a pilot from another unit over his claims and was offered to fly a mission with him. After his one mission experience with Hartman an apology was offered, but I cannot recall how many kills Hartman made that day.

Regards digger.

You are refering to this:

The sudden steep rise in “Bubi” Hartmann’s success rate created suspicion among several other fighter pilots. One of them was Lt. Fritz Obleser, a twenty-year-old Austrian who had joined JG 52 a couple of months after Hartmann. Obleser also had achieved a large number of victories, and he found it hard to believe that another relative newcomer could rise to such level in such a short space of time.

So Obleser asked the Gruppenkommandeur if he was allowed to fly a mission with Hartmann, and he received permission to do so. Hartmann and Obleser took off from Novo-Zaporozhye at 1200 hours on 1 October 1943. As they returned fifty-five minutes later, Obleser admitted that his earlier suspicions toward Hartmann had been unfounded; he had personally witnessed how Hartmann had blown two La-5s out of the sky in a matter of minutes

Thanks Panzerknacker, that is the correct incident. Unfortunately a lot of my research material is buried at the moment, so I can’t draw on info very quickly.

Regards digger.

Again we must admit that every German kill claims was 100% verified.
German aeroplanes like the Me262 were much better than the Allied ones.
Bismark could not be sunk and had to be scuttled by the crew,
German tanks also ran out of fuel and were not really knocked out
German Generals were really good strategists.
The German Soldier was by far the best soldier in the history of the world!
It goes on and on …
Really I do not understand how they manged to lose the war.

Cue excuse number 1 …Outnumbered?

Indeed, it had to be verified before it counted as a kill in the Luftwaffe statistic, before that it was a mere claim and would be dismissed without verification. As already mentioned, usually gun camera footage was used for that purpose later in the war.

It was at least faster when it came to top speed. My overall impression of WW2 planes is, that they pretty much matched on all western sides. The British imho always held an edge in the motor department, while the germans were slightly better with aerodynamics, but that too varied from model to model.

It could be sunk, but not by british guns in close range(that’s what it was build to survive) but it was scuttled, after all it was merely a floating platform at its end.

Some were, some were not … guess that’s pretty much the same everywhere.

We are still talking about WW2, aren’t we?

Well, being outnumbered by the margin the germans were in ww2 is a pretty good excuse to lose …

More or less. The big difference was in production - the Germans had a very bad habit of trying to put prototypes into mass production, without the small changes to fix bugs that prototypes are supposed to check for and without any input from the manufacturing engineers. That’s a really, really dumb thing to do if you’re trying to mass produce something.
The British had their own problems (related to design for manufacture - they would design things that required skilled craftsmen to assemble, as well as a multiplicity of tools), but they had at least got the concept of prototyping.
The US were in a class of their own during WW2, they really were the best in the world by a stunning margin. Men like W.E. Deming (whose postwar work was ignored in the US but turned Japan into the industrial powerhouse it is today) could do mass production with unskilled labour to a greater extent than had ever even been thought possile before. At times US productivity was approaching 10 times that of the Axis…

Doesn’t really matter. By the time the Germans tried to scuttle it (note that 60 years later there is only agreement that they attempted to scuttle it - nobody is really sure if the scuttling charges made any difference to the time of sinking or not) it was a barely floating wreck. All propulsion and steering had failed, nobody anywhere near the deck was alive, all the armament was disabled, it was very badly on fire and taking on a lot of water. Even with no RN interference and a large number of modern salvage tugs it would be touch and go to get it back into port at the time the charges were ordered to be fired. Had they managed to do so, it would be 40,000 tonnes of scrap metal encasing a big pile of bodies.
Incidentally, one of the more generally accepted reasons Bismarck didn’t sink sooner was that Rodney was so close. The shells were coming in on a very flat trajectory and hence did a mass of damage above the waterline but let very little water in.

Jup, the numbers were impressive … We can be happy that the Nazi really had no clue about efficient governing.

That’s pretty much what I said :wink: floating platform and to close range for the 14" guns to penetrate the belt armor of the citadel. Should’ve tried long range, guess that would’ve worked as the deck armor was a pretty bad design in the bismarck class imho.

KGV was 14" and had major turret problems which meant it only took part early in the engagement. Rodney was 16" and did most of the damage.
In any case, sensible tactics had nothing to do with sinking the Bismarck. The RN were out for blood and they wanted to see Bismarck die. That’s why they got so close (to the extent that Rodney even used torpedoes!).

Yeah, Churchill seemed pissed after losing the Hood as far as one can tell from old camera footage and I guess that was a common feeling.

Again we must admit that every German kill claims was 100% verified.
German aeroplanes like the Me262 were much better than the Allied ones.
Bismark could not be sunk and had to be scuttled by the crew,
German tanks also ran out of fuel and were not really knocked out
German Generals were really good strategists.
The German Soldier was by far the best soldier in the history of the world!
It goes on and on …
Really I do not understand how they manged to lose the war.

Cue excuse number 1 …Outnumbered

Nobody have claimed that and this is trolling my friend, by now I let you pass, more like this and I going to edit your post, watch your step.

Well, they could have pissed the RN off a bit more if they’d sunk the Victory, but probably not very much. Hood was something of a totem for the RN, if not in the way Hitler thought. He assumed sinking the Hood would demoralise the RN - when the reverse was true. There is something of a tradition in the RN of fighting a ship until it sinks under the crew, and this was no different. They were out for blood in revenge however.

Incidentally, my Great Uncle served on the Hood in the 1920s. By WW2 he’d retired and was in the Merchant Navy instead - only a marginally safer job sadly.

Safer? :shock:

Yeah, I guess Hitler never understood how normal humans tick. It is really puzzling, how he was building his false hopes about the war in some very significant areas on assumptions on how others would or better should behave and that others eventually were even stupid enough to believe, though he was always wrong.

There were three survivors of the Hood at Denmark Strait, out of a crew of 1,418. While the casualties suffered by the Merchant Navy were grim (roughly 20% were fatalities over the course of the war) they still beat your chances if you were on board the Hood at Denmark Strait…

Another problem with trying to clear up the disputed claims of the German pilots is the loss/destruction of the entire Generalquartiemeister claims list for 1944.

Without this record not one kill by any Luftwaffe pilot during 1944 cannot be researched or verified other than by word of mouth or the still unverified Jagdgeschwader records.

Thanks Digger for rescuing this topic off the Royal Navy discussion.:roll:

I think the problem shouldnt be that much, there is plenty pilots log books to contrast the claim/kills.

The people always focused in the Eastern Front but there was several cases of clear cases overclaim in the West, like the Walther Dahl case.

An example of burocracy:

Here’s a nice article on overclaiming by the Luftwaffe.

While I was aware that Luftwaffe claims were as wild as anybody else’s, when fighting over disputed territory, I was rather shocked at the amount that was overclaimed during the 8th USAAF long range attacks on Germany, when they could count the amount of shot down aircraft.

mkenny, I value anyone’s posts on this subject and let me assure you, your contributions are welcome.

Let me also assure you this thread is not about proving Nazi uber myths, not by any stretch. For a variety of reasons many German claims cannot be proven, particuarly for the year 1944. Perhaps gun camera footage which is quite substantial, is the only sure way to verify kills for that year.

Yes, there were false claims by German pilots. This was no different in any air force. Were some claims deliberate falsifications? Definately. the case of Winck and his wingman and possibly his entire unit caused quite a ruckus in the Jagdwaffe and a further tightening and scrutiny of the claim process.

As already mentioned Dahl was another pilot with rubbery figures and some of Gollob’s claims have been called into question. These are but a few. the interesting thing it was the Germans themselves who uncovered the discrepencies.

Goering knew overclaiming was going on, that some pilots suffered from throat ache and he was most scathing in his criticism of some pilots. This led to clashes with Galland in particular and partly led to a falling out between the pair. Galland refused to wear his decorations for a year.

As an interesting stat US losses of these aircraft over Europe are B-17’s 4,754, B-24’s 2,112, P-47’s 1,043, P-38’s 451, P-51’s 2,201. Obviously the various tactical air forces and support aircraft aren’t included, nor are the not insubstantial losses of the RAF. Not for one minute am I suggesting the Jagdwaffe was solely responsible for these losses, they weren’t, but even accounting for the losses by flak, someone was sure as heck shooting down large numbers of Allied aircraft.

So to assert all German figures and claims are incorrect and deliberately so is as bad as believing all the German claims are indeed correct.

Somewhere in between there is a balance, but I personally do not believe we will find it.

Regards digger