lahoda wrote: ↑
17 Nov 2022 21:45
Carl Schwamberger wrote: ↑
17 Nov 2022 14:30
Ironically the air groups with the older ,aircraft were those flown south in April for the transition stand down. There were some 300 Hawk-75 interceptors and MB-167 fast bombers in the depots and a similar number on the docks in the US. The aircraft industry was just restarting large scale production after a major reorganization and retooling, and more aircraft were scheduled for delivery from the US. France was about five months away from having a modern air force. If the war in 1939 or 1940 goes the other way Germany is very much on the wrong side of the air war. British aircraft production alone in 1940 outstripped German. 6,200 German combat types vs 7,700 British.
Yep and that window was quite narrow, as Bf-109 E started to be produced in November 1938, but due to problems with the new powerful engine DB 601 with fuel injection some units only got their airplanes as late as in August 1939, literally weeks before the war broke out.
French "obsolete" airplanes such as MS-406 would fare much better against Bf-109B/C which were still at the units earlier (as well as some Arados Ar-68, with Heinkels He-51 being moved to ground attack units starting spring 1938)
Thats one nuance of the air war question. Another is the size of the French (and British) pilot or air crew reserves. Then there is the depth of training for each group of pilots, and the number coming out of the training schools April - July 1940. Then there is the question of tactics.
Sorting all that out would be difficult. I don't have numbers for the first item, the number of total pilots on each side not just those in squadron or group service. Theres claims the French and British combined had better than 50% more trained pilots than Germany in April 1940, but that can mean many things depending on the type of training/experience.
The second item, depth of training is complex. Both the Brits and French were making drastic alterations in the training of their pilots. The extended prewar programs of producing a well rounded 'airman' had been pared of a lot of nice to have items to a bare essentials program of 3-6 months. Its not clear to me how far along the Germans were in that. I have seen a claim they were still using a extended full course program, but I cant recall any collaboration of that. Beyond that the Average French pilot had four plus years service. a large portion were reservists in their mid to late twenties. The bulk of the Luftwaffe pilots had been enrolled and trained from 1938 giving them less time to accumulate OJT, flight hours & potential less tactical training. A study of the German & French (or British) training records would clarify how large the difference actually was.
For the third item there is that the Germans temporarily shut down their intake into the basic flight and finishing schools for the summer campaign. Further many of the instructors were transferred to combat units to bring those to full strength. In both cases the French a Brits had their pilots schools running through the summer. Depending on the actual numbers that has implications for a a sustained campaign through the summer, autumn, and into early winter.
Fourth is tactics. The general consensus in the literature is the Germans were using better fighter and bomber tactics. Rolling with that theres a advantage much more important than the tiny details of aircraft performance. At least for the summer the Germans have a combat multiplier in this respect. How long that lasts depends on how fast the surviving Allied pilots and their squadron/group leaders learn.