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Pre War Hurricanes


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That's exactly my point. The INTENTION would have been to allocate Hurricanes against bombers and Spitfires against fighters. The reality is that such neatness rarely occurred and whoever got on the scene first did what they could against the enemy, whatever its make up.

 

I just don't think that Fighter Command had the luxury of being so prescriptive when it came to the actual fight.

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I was merely trying to make the point that Hurricanes against the bombers, Spitfires against the fighter escorts was actually the preferred way by controllers of marshalling an interception and wasn't some dubious claim which is what I thought you had stated in your previous post. If my interpretation was incorrect, I apologise.

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8 hours ago, Eric Mc said:

My take on it was that there three times as many Hurricanes in use compared to Spitfires so it is likely that most interceptions were by Hurricanes and the Hurricanes intercepted whatever enemy aircraft they came across - irrespective of what type of aircraft they happened to be.

Overall yes, but in 11 group, it was a pretty even split of types, which make sense, as the Spitfire was superior.   

But, squadrons got rotated in and out,  and in some cases. quickly, there were cases of less experienced squadrons coming into 11 group, using outmoded tactics, and getting very badly mauled very quickly, a unit still using vics that got bounced could and did lose 3 planes out of 12,  a bad week or two and the squadron would get rotated out.

Another point. the important target was the bombers,  fighter sweeps by 109's were ignored, as they were not strafing, so intercepted were basically harmless.

As i said before, Most Dangerous Enemy is a great primer, if you want the details there is Battle of Britain, Day by Day,  which gives all the details.

 

8 hours ago, Eric Mc said:

 

I suppose there might have been occasions when a mixed group of Hurricanes and Spitfires made an interception against the same group of incoming German aircraft but I really doubt that there was a co-ordinated attack based on the Spitfires specifically going after 109s and 110s and Hurricanes going after He111s. Dorniers 17/215s and Ju88s. I would guess that the real decisive factor was whichever intercepting squadron had the best height advantage at the moment of interception determined who went for what. 

 

The myth is of the few going up against large formations, but as the over-inflated claims of the Big Wing (from subsequent research of actual Luftwaffe losses)  air combat was very confusing.

Feeding in 1 or 2 squadrons of RAF planes against German bomber formations means a 'target rich environment'  and is safer, less risk of friendly  fire.

This was also a factor in 11 group as time was critical, get in, attack, get out, no time to form up.

 

While the individual squadrons may have felt greatly overwhelmed,  what they didn't realise was that same formation may have been hit before and after by other squadrons, making the entire of southern England a death trap for the bomber units,  imagine being a German bomber formation that is being hit every 5 or 10 mins by fresh squadron of RAF fighters.

The BoB was basically about keeping air superiority over England until the autumn weather set in,   and the Luftwaffe never recovered from the losses of the highly trained and experienced aircrew  lost over Britain.

 

I believe that many of the air battles have subsequently been wargamed, and Park's actual handling of his units was hard to beat.   he later repeated this on Malta.

 

anyway,  just some points to bear in mind, try the recommend books for more.

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13 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

The myth is of the few going up against large formations, but as the over-inflated claims of the Big Wing (from subsequent research of actual Luftwaffe losses)  air combat was very confusing.

Feeding in 1 or 2 squadrons of RAF planes against German bomber formations means a 'target rich environment'  and is safer, less risk of friendly  fire.

This was also a factor in 11 group as time was critical, get in, attack, get out, no time to form up.

 

While the individual squadrons may have felt greatly overwhelmed,  what they didn't realise was that same formation may have been hit before and after by other squadrons, making the entire of southern England a death trap for the bomber units,  imagine being a German bomber formation that is being hit every 5 or 10 mins by fresh squadron of RAF fighters.

 

One of the really interesting things about air combat in the Battle of Britain (and actually all air combat)  is that it conforms nearly perfectly to the law of diminishing returns. In other words the larger the force, the smaller the actual increase in killing effectiveness. It's the reason why a 109 Gruppen although twice the number of aircraft as an RAF fighter squadron was not twice as lethally effective in combat, ie it does not inflict twice the level of casualties.

 

With all fighter units the actual "killing" was mostly done by a small number of pilots and combat effectiveness seems to be more a matter of whether this core of pilots could maintain cohesion in combat. Although obviously number of aircraft shot down affected a fighter formation, just as importantly for combat effectiveness is unit cohesion and integrity in combat. Once a fighter unit becomes broken up into single elements, or elements of pairs of aircraft, and with other aircraft breaking for home because of lost contact with other aircraft, then it's effectiveness as a fighting body is dramatically reduced.

 

I wholeheartedly recommend Bungay's book too Troy. I will say though with one caveat, and that's to get/read the original version of it. For the 70th anniversary an illustrated and highly edited version was released and although good, it doesn't have nearly the scale nor in depth examination that the original has.

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That's simplifying a very complex situation.  All thing being equal, which they never are, a larger force will inflict greater losses on a smaller one.  A more important factor is to have the offensive position tactically.  A smaller force may do well if it starts with a tactical advantage, but is likely to suffer greatly given the reverse.

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22 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

That's simplifying a very complex situation.  All thing being equal, which they never are, a larger force will inflict greater losses on a smaller one.  A more important factor is to have the offensive position tactically.  A smaller force may do well if it starts with a tactical advantage, but is likely to suffer greatly given the reverse.

 

Sorry Graham but I don't think you understand me.

 

The point I am making is that air combat casualties are a good model for the rule of diminishing returns. That is that the increase in aircraft involved does not equate to the same ratio of increased  casualties. So twice the combatants involved does not automatically equate to twice the number kills or casualties.

 

This is borne out by studying actual engagements. When I get home I can illustrate this with examples of actual BoB interceptions.

 

The percentage increase of a side's aircraft does not equate to that increase of losses on the other side. For example if the Luftwaffe 109s in a combat outnumber RAF fighters 4:1 it does not translate to 4 times the losses on the RAF from a 1:1 engagement. Air combat just does not work out that way.

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I don't doubt it, but do doubt its relevance here.  In the context of this discussion your description can be taken as a recommendation to use more small units rather than fewer large ones (hence 12 Group were wrong) which is certainly generally not the case and arguably not the point here.  Using smaller units guarantees more losses to the defenders.  Park used small forces because he had to, being unable to gather larger forces together in time to intercept bomber formations before they bombed.  This was less of an imperative once the offensive had switched to London - although it must be borne in mind (as I'm sure it was by Park) - that there was no guarantee that this would continue.  Park could have switched to larger formations and attacked bomber formations on their way home, in the expectation that the fewer the bombers that returned, the more difficult it would be for the Luftwaffe to continue the offensive.  Some strategists would (and have) argued that this would have resulted in greater Luftwaffe losses and fewer RAF ones, hence the battle being won earlier.  Park however preferred to have airfields remaining for his fighters to return to, not least for their value as forward bases in the case of invasion.  Not to mention reduced civilian casualties.

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4 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I don't doubt it, but do doubt its relevance here.  In the context of this discussion your description can be taken as a recommendation to use more small units rather than fewer large ones (hence 12 Group were wrong) which is certainly generally not the case and arguably not the point here.  Using smaller units guarantees more losses to the defenders.  Park used small forces because he had to, being unable to gather larger forces together in time to intercept bomber formations before they bombed.  This was less of an imperative once the offensive had switched to London - although it must be borne in mind (as I'm sure it was by Park) - that there was no guarantee that this would continue.  Park could have switched to larger formations and attacked bomber formations on their way home, in the expectation that the fewer the bombers that returned, the more difficult it would be for the Luftwaffe to continue the offensive.  Some strategists would (and have) argued that this would have resulted in greater Luftwaffe losses and fewer RAF ones, hence the battle being won earlier.  Park however preferred to have airfields remaining for his fighters to return to, not least for their value as forward bases in the case of invasion.  Not to mention reduced civilian casualties.

 

Once again you either have misunderstood what I said or you didn't actually read it. Looking back over my last two posts nowhere did I say that using small units was better, neither did I say that using smaller units doesn't lead to larger losses. I made no reference to Park's or controllers' scrambling strategy as the point I was making was unrelated to this.

 

If you read those last two posts again, all I said was that massed air combat (and that includes engagements other than just the BoB) conforms to a law of diminishing returns. The ratio by which the numbers of belligerents increases does not equal a corresponding ratio increase in casualties. This was merely a response to Troy's points in post #28 as it was relevant to the second part of his post.

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19 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

... all I said was that massed air combat (and that includes engagements other than just the BoB) conforms to a law of diminishing returns. The ratio by which the numbers of belligerents increases does not equal a corresponding ratio increase in casualties. This was merely a response to Troy's points in post #28 as it was relevant to the second part of his post.

Interesting theory. Had to look up the definition, and you certainly have a case for applying the law to the BoB, but I don't believe that any of the controllers at that time had this in mind.

 

From what I have read, the RAF was operating to counter the idea that "the bomber always got through", using Radar to avoid wasteful standing patrols and more effectively counter the threat.

 

Nobody, in 1939-1940, knew if the Dowding system would succeed.

 

/Finn

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Smithy: you didn't say, I didn't say you did say, but in the context of the argument it was implied, deliberately or not.  Otherwise why mention it?  As I said, it is the relevance that matters, and matters were complex..

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12 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

Smithy: you didn't say, I didn't say you did say, but in the context of the argument it was implied, deliberately or not.  Otherwise why mention it?  As I said, it is the relevance that matters, and matters were complex..

 

Once again you were extrapolating what I was saying and trying to make connections with it to things which frankly I don't think are connectable 

 

For the last time, all I was saying was that in massed air combat there is a law of diminishing returns in terms of aircraft losses. I mentioned it as it was relevant to Troy's comment in #28 and it's perhaps something that many are unaware of, obviously you being one. This is a statistical provable model and I'm not the first one to espouse it in any way. Mike Spick was probably one of the first to do so in 1983 and it's been noted in many military treatises concerning examinations of massed air combat since.

 

This is a statistical constant which is not dependent upon the methods of how aircraft came to be in the combat situation, merely what can be seen to happen from a statistical standpoint in terms of losses in relation to the increase in aircraft involved.

 

I really can't make it clearer than that and TBH I don't think there's much point in saying the same thing over and over again.

 

 

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Sorry you continue to miss my point.  An argument that greater numbers are less efficient than smaller numbers is entirely relevant to the 12 Group vs. 11 Group argument.  It is saying that three attacks with 12 aircraft will destroy more of the enemy than one attack with 36.    Not an argument that I've seen advanced in favour of Park's tactics, and to be honest not one that would seem to deal with the specifics of the situation.

 

It is also saying that 36 attacks with 1 aircraft each would be the most efficient possible, which is obvious nonsense and illustrates the limitations of the statistics.  Any overall rule cannot reflect the result of all specific combat situations.  This particular one is clearly biased by large operations where units in the high cover role have a much smaller chance of success than those in lower altitudes (eg Palm Sunday Massacre),which is not applicable to the BoB.  The ideal use of Spitfires there was not to sit above the fight in case any enemy turned up unexpectedly, but as a direct response to the Jagdwaffe, knowing where it was.

 

If you wish to consider statistics, then look at Lanchester's Rules of War, which will have been familiar to every RAF officer of the time who had been to Staff courses or studied military history.  Basically (if horribly simplified) the bigger the better.  Yes, we can all point to examples of combat that would contradict Lanchester's laws, but isn't that part of the point here?

 

Post-facto analysis clearly is important, but for the officer faced with a specific situation, Circumstances Alter Cases.

 

My apologies to those who find this sort of thing adversely affects their modelling time.  I'll just add that everyone should be careful in assuming what their debating opponents may or may have already encountered.  I spent several years in the Operational Analysis department of BAe Warton, where I was at least exposed to many aspects of the discipline, either professionally or in my private reading.  I have books by Spick and others in my own collection.  Whether I have fully absorbed and assimilated all of these, and have profited from them wisely, may be another matter.

 

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18 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Sorry you continue to miss my point.  An argument that greater numbers are less efficient than smaller numbers is entirely relevant to the 12 Group vs. 11 Group argument.

 

And yet once again for the umpteenth time you continue to miss my point and also make causal jumps on what I have said. Nowhere have I mentioned that greater numbers are less efficient. Rather I mentioned aircraft losses. And how the number of these does not increase by the same ratio as the number of aircraft involved. This is supported by any investigation of mass air combat engagements.

 

If you wish to bring up efficiency in terms of combat aircraft formations, it actually is not merely about how many aircraft you shoot down but also whether you can disrupt an enemy formation. Breaking an enemy formation and making it turn for home because it has lost its formational cohesion is arguably just as important because you disrupt its ability to complete its mission objective, eg in terms of the BoB, you stop a formation bombing its raid target or bombing it as a cohesive raid formation, or you stop an intercepting unit from effectively engaging the formation it was tasked with intercepting. This is affected by greater numbers of aircraft. It is easier to disrupt and break enemy formations with larger numbers of aircraft. But the rate of increase of number of aircraft losses does not increase by the same rate increase of the amount of aircraft opposing them.

 

I'm not into chest thumping but it's sometimes wise to consider that perhaps others here have worked professionally in relation to matters of historical aviation as well.

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Indeed, but others here don't open postings by castigating their debating opponents on imagined deficiencies.  However well this may work in politics.  And I'm sorry that you can't identify a lower kill rate per participant as reflecting lower combat efficiency.  Not all combats involve breaking up bomber formations, however useful such an event may be.   I would suggest that a successful breaking up of a formation was likely to lead to higher enemy losses rather than a reduction in the same.  Nor is it always necessary - if perhaps easier - to field greater numbers in order to do so.  Both back up my point that circumstances are much more important to planning and events than a conclusion based on lumping many different events together over many times and campaigns.

 

To revert to 11/12 Group tactics in the BoB, there's nothing to be gained in "efficiency" by breaking up a bomber formation after it has dropped its bombs if this is not reflected in a greater number of kills.

 

I suspect we have indeed exhausted this argument.

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2 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Indeed, but others here don't open postings by castigating their debating opponents on imagined deficiencies.

 

I'd point out that your condescending attitude and the implied observation by yourself that your background somehow meant that you had a unique and superior grasp of the issue at hand wasn't exactly exemplary debating nor gentlemanly behaviour either.

 

4 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

And I'm sorry that you can't identify a lower kill rate per participant as reflecting lower combat efficiency.

 

If you really like we can do this in relation to the BoB. We can start with comparing engagements both in terms of combatant numbers and losses from the smaller engagements from the first week or two of the official BoB period, say the 10th to the 20th July, and then compare with higher massed combats from late August and September. I'm very happy to do this as the figures demonstrate what I have already pointed out - much to your disbelief - in my previous 4 or 5 posts.

 

11 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Not all combats involve breaking up bomber formations, however useful such an event may be.

 

I never said all engagements were. Rather I used it as an example of what the primary function of intercepting a bomber raid was. An RAF controller's primary function in intercepting a raid was to stop it from reaching its primary target or if this was impossible, as was often the case, to harry it in such a way as to adversely affect its ability to attack the target by disrupting its cohesion as a unit.

 

16 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I would suggest that a successful breaking up of a formation was likely to lead to higher enemy losses rather than a reduction in the same.

 

Yes but for the umpteenth time the ratio of losses was not in direct proportion to the increase of belligerents. Which was my original point to begin with in post #30.

 

18 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

To revert to 11/12 Group tactics in the BoB, there's nothing to be gained in "efficiency" by breaking up a bomber formation after it has dropped its bombs if this is not reflected in a greater number of kills.

 

That is why Park was apoplectic if bombing formations were intercepted after bombing their target when it could have been possible to intercept prior to bombing ingress. The preferred method of interception was to do so before bombs were dropped, and at optimal positioning and altitude.

 

24 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I suspect we have indeed exhausted this argument.

 

That is the one thing I can actually agree with you on.

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36 minutes ago, Gomtuu said:

I rarely contribute to this forum because of this. Someone needs to crank his neck in. Hes always doing it.

I agree -@Smithy does seem to be somewhat more aggressive than is called for on a polite forum like this. He and @Graham Boak should restrict themselves to one or two answers each then leave it alone.

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28 minutes ago, wombat said:

So anyway, pre war hurricanes...

 

complex subject.... lots of detail changes in a short time,  rushed markings changes, with orders that are at once exacting and fraught with lack of detail... all of which carry on until 1941....  see the Ducimus camo and markings guide I link at points like these

https://boxartden.com/reference/gallery/index.php/Modeling-References/Camoflage-Markings/03-Hawker-Hurricane

Make for interesting models though... ;) 

 

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5 hours ago, Tom R said:

I agree -@Smithy does seem to be somewhat more aggressive than is called for on a polite forum like this. He and @Graham Boak should restrict themselves to one or two answers each then leave it alone.

 

I'll admit that I strenuously defended my position and my argument. Was I aggressive and impolite in doing that? Well I will admit that I reached a level of frustration but mostly because Mr Boak, either knowingly or unknowingly, seemed to be using straw man techniques - deliberately twisting, extrapolating and misrepresenting what I was saying. There are many, many things on this forum which I know little about, but one thing I am more than a little au fait with is the tactical and operational considerations in relation to the Battle of Britain so I will defend my position and arguments especially when it appears that someone is deliberately twisting or misrepresenting them.

 

5 hours ago, Gomtuu said:

I rarely contribute to this forum because of this. Someone needs to crank his neck in. Hes always doing it.

 

If this is referring to me, I'm a little perplexed. I don't post terribly often here and particularly over the warmer months when I don't tend to do much if any modelling and to be honest I can't even remember the last time I was involved in anything even remotely resembling an argument here on BM.

 

In truth this whole hoofluff went on far too long and for my part in contributing to that, I do apologise.

 

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4 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

I'll admit that I strenuously defended my position and my argument. Was I aggressive and impolite in doing that? Well I will admit that I reached a level of frustration but mostly because Mr Boak, either knowingly or unknowingly, seemed to be using straw man techniques - deliberately twisting, extrapolating and misrepresenting what I was saying. There are many, many things on this forum which I know little about, but one thing I am more than a little au fait with is the tactical and operational considerations in relation to the Battle of Britain so I will defend my position and arguments especially when it appears that someone is deliberately twisting or misrepresenting them.

 

 

If this is referring to me, I'm a little perplexed. I don't post terribly often here and particularly over the warmer months when I don't tend to do much if any modelling and to be honest I can't even remember the last time I was involved in anything even remotely resembling an argument here on BM.

 

In truth this whole hoofluff went on far too long and for my part in contributing to that, I do apologise.

 

 

Please, can you just stop ( that's both of you two ) and let the topic get back to pre-war Hurricanes? You are both becoming annoying.

 

 

Chris

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No not you Smithy.

 

This forum has a wealth of knowledge to with I am truely grateful,  but, if you have an opposing view it can become tiresome when you see one side either browbeaten and spoken down to, or it becomes an arguement when someone sticks to there guns.

 

Just my 2 cents. Back to the Hurricanes, its what im here for.

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5 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

I... for my part in contributing to that, I do apologise.

 

Apology accepted, but don't do it again. As other have said, that kind of arguments tend to kill forums. 

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