The London Gazette, December 31st 1946 - Supplement

42 SUPPLEMENT t o t h e LONDON GAZETTE, 2 JANUARY, 1947 Moreover, the heavy daylight raids of the United States Eighth Air Force into Germany achieved a steady attrition of the German fighter forces. Attrition of the G.A.F. 42. How crippling these blows were on Ger­ man aircraft production is illustrated by inform­ ation obtained from intelligence sources. A comprehensive picture of the effects of direct air attack in terms of enenty single-engine fighter production during the five months from 1st Nov­ ember, 1943 to 1st April, 1944 can be gained from the estimates below: — * Planned Achieved November ... 1,280 600 December ... ••• i »335 600 January ... 1,415 650 February • 1,480 600 March ••• I o 55 500 7.065 2,950 43. The difference between the production planned and achieved totals 4,115 aircraft, an average loss to the enemy of more than 820 single-engined fighters per month. 44. These figures ignore the heavy losses sus­ tained by German Air Force fighters in air attacks on their airfields and in combat; also ihe effective attacks on the factories producing twin-engined fighters must be taken into account. 45. Parallel with the attacks on production centres by the strategic air forces, a campaign of day and night intruding against enemy air­ fields, designed to hamper enemy training schedules as well as to destroy the enemy in the air, was carried out by aircraft of A.E.A .F. with very great success. In addition, many heavy attacks were made in the preliminary period on the enemy's airfields, which achieved considerable destruction of airfield facilities. 46. It became evident during this period (November, 1943, to May, 1944) that the High Command of the German Air Force was pur­ suing a policy of conserving its air forces for the defence of vital targets only. This policy made it extremely difficult to get the G.A.F to fight. Even large scale fighter sweeps failed to produce any serious reaction. However, in the period from 15th November, 1943, the date A.E.A.F. of the formation of A .E .A .F ., to the 5th June, 1944, the eve of D-Day, the Allied forces accounted for the following enemy aircraft in air combat alone (see foot of page). 47. This enormous attrition of G.A.F. strength is based on claims of enemy aircraft destroyed in combat alone; no account is taken in these statistics of aircraft destroyed on the ground. Of the figures given above no less than 2,655 enemy aircraft were destroyed by Allied Air Forces operating out of the United Kingdom during what I have termed the preparatory period of the assault, namely 1st April to 5th June, 1944. 1 deal with the planned attacks on the G.A.F. and its bases in France during this preparatory period in para. 129 et seq. (b) Preparatory Period. Method of Presentation. 48. Since the war began all attacks against enemy tafgets have, in some measure, in­ fluenced the situation prevailing on the eve of the assault. The commencement of the preparatory phase for this Despatch I have, however, fixed at 1st April, 1944, except in so far as detailed co-ordinated plans for attacks on targets of specific importance within the framework of the “ Neptune ” plan were in operation earlier. In these cases, I have in­ cluded all the attacks made in accordance with the complete plan. 49. For convenience of presentation, I have dealt with these preparatory operations under the headings set out below. These headings cover the various operations planned and carried out to fulfil the tasks laid on to the air forces (see paragraph 25): — Dislocation of Enemy Lines of Communi­ cation, including Destruction of Bridges. Neutralisation of Coastal Defences. Disruption of Enemy Radar Cover and W /T facilities. Attacks on Military facilities. Harassing of Coastwise Shipping and Sea Mining. Attacks on Airfields. Air Reconnaissance. Protection of the Assembling Assault Forces. “ Crossbow ” Operations. Destroyed Probably Destroyed Damaged Aircraft on offensive operations........................... 711 79 308 Aircraft on defensive operations over the United Kingdom and Channel a r e a s ........................... 167 23 39 878 102 347 Guns of Anti-Aircraft Command ... 73 5 22 Eighth Air Force— by Bombers ........................... 2,223 696 1,188 — by Fighters ........................... 1,835 202 705 R.A.F. Bomber Com m and....................................... 201 52 267 R.A.F. Coastal Command ... 28 3 22 Grand Totals ........................... 5.233 1,060 2,55i * Subjcct to modification in the light of information subsequently received.
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