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Biggest Air battle of the war
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#257
Biggest Air battle of the war 2 год, 1 Месяц назад  
What was the biggest air battle of the war in the east? By this I mean the battle involving the most aerial combat either as a result of bomber interception or air superiority combats and NOT the biggest Air-Land battle (bombers attacking without signifigant opposition).
I would think, right off the bat, that it would have to be the dogfights around Kursk during the Kursk battle.
Seawolf
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#258
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 2 год, 1 Месяц назад  
You're probably right. Kursk was the last hurrah of the Luftwaffe in the east. After that its strength declined rapidly, primarily because it had to direct its main effort to defence against the Western Allies.

The other possibility is June 1941. A lot of Soviet aircraft were destroyed on the ground in the opening days of the war but there must also have been many thousands of sorties that resulted in somewhat one-sided aerial combat.
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#259
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 2 год, 1 Месяц назад  
I think Barbarrossa was the largest scale ANYTHING but the lack of details and the nature of the surprise attack change the dynamic of it all. You could say that Pearl Harbor was the Japanese Navy's most lopsided victory of the war and you'd be right, but in pitched battle you'd have to pick Savo Island. I'd use the same logic for comparing the 6/22 attack to any subsequent operations.
Seawolf
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#261
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 2 год, 1 Месяц назад  
I don't think the analogy is all that close. Pearl Harbour was a genuine hit-n-run attack that was a complete surprise to those on the receiving end. The German attack was somewhat anticipated — in the Baltic Region Col-Gen F I Kuznetsov imposed a black-out weeks before Barborossa. Anyway I was thinking more about the days after 22 June when Red Army commanders committed aircraft to attacks all along the frontline.
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#311
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 2 год назад  
There are several to choose from.

The slaughter on and after June 21, 1941 is unmatched.

The slaughter of the Luftwaffe transport force at Stalingrad is unmatched.

As far as scale, the air armies assembled for the Bagration and Berlin offensives are unmatched.

In terms of importance, the air war over Kuban in the spring of 1943, following on from Stalingrad, set the stage for the air battle at Kursk three months later. Between March and May, the VVS siezed and maintained air superiority, albeit locally, and in the course of that battle inflicted very substantial losses on the Luftwaffe that they were not able to make good by Kursk. From those battles emerged viable tactics for fighters and Sturmoviks, advanced by Pokryshkin among others, that did for VVS pilots what the «Thatch Weave» did for US Wildcat pilots. It was the turning point for the VVS. From there they took the offensive to the Luftwaffe.

Regards
Scott Fraser
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#322
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 2 год назад  
Surely there's more to it than simply improved tactics. Improvements in Soviet aircraft design meant that by 43/44 the Soviets were able to achieve a degree of parity in fighter aircraft performance that they had not previously enjoyed. More important was the sheer number of Soviet aircraft produced in those years (plus the lend-lease aircraft equivalent to more than six months of Soviet domestic production). This at a time, post-Kursk, when most of the Luftwaffe's strength and the vast majority of its losses were in Western Europe. Even then, despite its numerical superiority, the Red Air Force suffered disproportionate losses — 2.5 aircraft lost for every German aircraft lost on the eastern front.
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#855
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 1 Год, 3 мес. назад  
Hi, I think the Western Allies had more aircraft employed before, buring, and after the Normandy campaign than the USSR did during Op. Bagration. The figure of 12,000 palnes seesm to be near the figure of Western Allied aircraft employed. As for production, in 1944 nearly 100,000 aircraft (96,318 by some accounts) were produced in the USA alone excluding Britain, and by the next year ~100,000 would have been produced if the war had continued, but only ~46,000 were produced in 1945. Total USA aircraft production was ~310,000 from 1939–45, USSR 158,200, Britain ~131,500, Germany ~119,900, Japan ~ 76,300, Italy ~18,000 or so. Big advantage to having the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on your flanks and good neigbors such as Canada and Mexico on your borders and not having your industry bombed, shelled, wrecked, and stolen by an enemy.

Are you all familiar with the Luftwaffe high command order to avoid Yak-3 fighters («the fighter without the conspicuous air scoop» or some such words)in combat?? Too bad it came into production later in the war and only maybe less than 4,000 were produced. It may have been the best or at least one of the best of the best dogfighters of the war.
christof139
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#862
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 1 Год, 2 мес. назад  
The Luftwaffe's problems in the closing stages of the war weren't just aircraft numbers. Sorties were increasingly constrained by shortages of aviation fuel as Germany lost access to sources of crude oil and had to rely more and more on synthetic fuel derived from coal.
Keith
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#865
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 1 Год, 2 мес. назад  
I think main problem of the Luftwaffe (in the closing stages) was lack of trained and skilled pilots because most of them were KIA.
V_P
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#876
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 1 Год, 2 мес. назад  
I don't have data on Luftwaffe pilot numbers, but I'd be surprised if their training schools in 1944 were suffering from intake shortages. Any training or skill deficiencies would have resulted from an inadequate number of training hours in the air, and that would have been as a result of fuel shortages.
Keith
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#877
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 1 Год, 2 мес. назад  
A school couldn't give any cobmat experience but a basic skill only. That's the problem I guess.
I also read somewhere the Germans reduced training time in 1944–45 (same was in USSR in fall 1941).
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#911
Re:Biggest Air battle of the war 1 Год, 2 мес. назад  
I'd be surprised if more than a few fighter pilots flying combat aircraft today have any experience in hostile fire air-to-air combat. But they spend their professional lives training for it. It would be a mistake to think that as a result they only have basic skills. Train hard — fight easy.
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