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There’s something odd about such an extreme ratio, although I can just about accept it for the Pacific given the Japanese’ dire situation in 1944-45. In the RAND paper that John links to they do specifically compare ratios for air to air combat between single engined fighters, but it doesn’t include US losses from other causes in the analysis, most notably ground fire which was the main killer.

Do some of those numbers include destruction of aircraft on the ground? The USAAF (at least) at one point added strafing ‘kills’ to a pilots tally.  https://ospreypublishing.com/down-to-earth-039-strafing-aces-of-the-eighth-air-force  (introduction) but it looks like practices varied according to (US) organisation and date.

Overall numbers lost are in a somewhat different ratio. The numbers below are at most a ‘best guess’ since there are some significant omissions, including British Commonwealth forces (unless incorporated into British), Dutch East Indies forces & British losses in the East, which were significant. Looking at the raw numbers, the USA lost two thirds as as many aircraft in the ETO as the Germans did in the whole war. They can’t all have been heavy bombers surely?

“Aircraft losses

Finland: Reported losses during the Winter War totaled 67, of which 42 were operational, while 536 aircraft were lost during the Continuation War, of which 209 were operational losses. (Overall 603).[1]
France: From the beginning of the war until the capitulation of France in 1940, 892 aircraft were lost, of which 413 were in action and 234 were on the ground. Losses included 508 fighters and 218 bombers.(Overall 892)[1]
Germany: Estimated total losses for the war totaled 27,875 aircraft, of which 7,000 were total losses and the remainder significantly damaged. By type, losses totaled 4,452 fighters, 2,037 bombers, 5,428 trainers, 1,221 twin-engine fighters, 8,548 ground attack, 3,733 reconnaissance, and 3,141 transports.[1]
Italy: Total losses were 5,272 aircraft, of which 3,269 were lost in combat.
Japan: Estimates vary from 35,000 to 50,000 total losses, with about 20,000 lost operationally.[2]
Netherlands: Total losses were 81 aircraft during the May, 1940 campaign.[2]
Poland: Total losses were 398 destroyed, including 116 fighters, 112 dive bombers, 81 reconnaissance aircraft, 36 bombers, 21 sea planes, and 9 transports.[2] 
Soviet Union: Total losses were over 106,400 including 88,300 combat types.[3]
United Kingdom: Total losses in Europe were 22,010, including 10,045 fighters and 11,965 bombers. (This figure does not include aircraft lost in Asia or the Pacific.)[2]
United States: Total losses were nearly 45,000, including 22,951 operational losses (18,418 in Europe and 4,533 in the Pacific).[2]”

From wikipedia, tabulated here: https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/air-forces-losses-in-wwii.13403/

From the same thread:

Type Sorties Bombs Dropped Tons Combat losses Kills in air Kills on ground   Loss Rate Kill Rate Kill/Loss
P-39   30547           121                                       107               14                  18                        0.4          0.0         13.1
A-36   23373         8014                                    177                84                  17                        0.8          0.4         47.5
P-40   67059         11014                                   553              481                40                       0.8          0.7         87.0
P-47    42343(5)  113963                                3077            3082           3202                      0.7          0.7        100.2
P-61     3637           141                                      25                 58                    0                        0.7          1.6         232.0
P-38   129849      20139                                  1758             1771               749                       1.4          1.4         100.7
P-51    213873       5668                                  2520             4950            4131                       1.2          2.3        196.4

Apparently from http://www.schifferbooks.com/americas-hundred-thousand-u-s-production-fighters-of-world-war-ii-93.html


Looks like I’ll have to dig Williamson Murray out again. https://www.awm.gov.au/index.php/collection/LIB16282

 In the period through the late summer of 1942,
German pilots were receiving at least as many training hours as their opponents in
the RAF. By 1943, that statistic had begun a gradual shift against the Germans until
the last half of the year when Luftwaffe pilots were receiving barely one-half of the
training hours given to enemy pilots . In terms of flying training in operational
aircraft, the disparity had become even more pronounced: one-third of the RAF
total and one-fifth of the American total . But those Luftwaffe pilots who had
survived the attrition of the first air battles of the war had little difficulty defeating
new Allied pilots no matter how many training hours the latter had flown. In fact,
the ratio of kills-to-sorties climbed as those Luftwaffe pilots who survived built up
experience (see Table LXXI16) . However, few German pilots survived the attrition
of the first war years, and thus the Luftwaffe became, in fact, two distinct forces: the
few great aces-the Hartmans, Galands, and Waldmans-and the great mass of
pilots who faced great difficulty in landing their aircraft, much less surviving
combat . Only 8 of Germany’s 107 aces to score more than 100 victories joined their
squadrons after mid-1942.” (Murray pg 316 http://uploads.worldlibrary.org/uploads/pdf/20121011002456strategy_for_defeat_pdf.pdf )

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Etranger.
  • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Etranger.