British aircraft maintenance N. A.

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British aircraft maintenance N. A.

Post by Wargames » 25 Jun 2022 01:49

What percentage of British aircraft averaged as "operational" in North Africa?


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Re: British aircraft maintenance N. A.

Post by Peter89 » 28 Jun 2022 12:24

Wargames wrote:
25 Jun 2022 01:49
What percentage of British aircraft averaged as "operational" in North Africa?

It was depending very much on the time period we are talking about.

Up until May 1941 the combat readiness was around 50%, sliding from roughly 30% when the British outran their supply lines and about 70% when they were nearer to their repair shops. But again, this is a very rough number, because the air force was a hodgepodge of types, units, etc. then.

It caused constant friction with London, because the Londonites didn't accept the reality of desert warfare which necessitated much more intensive maintenance. In April/May 1941 they made an accessment of the situation and implemented many changes which gradually improved combat readiness. The operationally ready aircraft tripled in half a year (also because of reinforcements).

During Crusader, operational readiness (but also the number of sorties flown) sank gradually as the RAF moved westwards. It started from ~80%.

In 1942's German campaign the British were way better in maintenance, starting from 67% on the first week of the battle, which rose as they got nearer to supply; even 85% was reached but the average was 75% in the period.

In a very broad and quite meaningless generalization, we can say that average Axis readiness was around 50%, the British after mid-1941 around 75%.

But it makes much more sense to compare sorties flown.
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Re: British aircraft maintenance N. A.

Post by Urmel » 29 Jun 2022 07:54

What Peter said. Operational readiness by itself is pretty meaningless. Prior to CRUSADER concerns were on the raw number of planes, the number of trained crew, and the availability of motor transport to make the squadrons mobile. All of which were challenges. ... ober-1941/

Serviceability was addressed by giving each squadron an immediate reserve (I think four planes for fighter squadrons), to make sure they could mount full-strength sorties even with losses or planes being u/s.

CRUSADER figures are here:

While one may think that on the eve of a big offensive the RAF would have focused on putting everything into the shop window, in reality (except for some of the fighter squadrons) the RAF had been fighting CRUSADER for over a month at this time. The air campaign started mid-October, and it was very active. A lot of fighters also provided convoy cover.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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