Low flak losses (Full Version)

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Arstavidios -> Low flak losses (1/6/2013 6:15:09 PM)

I'm currently playing a server game as the Germans.
Game is now in mid January 1942. So far 330 soviet are reported shot down for the whole campaign. Most bombing attack attacks on my units result in 0 plane shot down, including attacks on stacks containing several hundred AA guns with several AA battalions attached to divisions in the stack???

On the other hand I've lost over 800 planes to soviet flak.

Am I doing something wrong? anybody else has this happening?

Pelton -> RE: Low flak losses (1/6/2013 6:43:21 PM)

Its been like that for a long time not sure why.

Arstavidios -> RE: Low flak losses (1/6/2013 7:02:45 PM)

Might be something wrong there.
there are over 200 000 men and 700 guns in the flak units.
Plus the AA guns in the units. In 7 months of campaign they shot down .... 330 planes.
Granted not all the AA units are in the front line, but that does not look like a very efficient use of resources.
they are useful units to give punch to divisions though.

Pelton -> RE: Low flak losses (1/6/2013 11:40:36 PM)


ORIGINAL: Arstavidios

Might be something wrong there.
there are over 200 000 men and 700 guns in the flak units.
Plus the AA guns in the units. In 7 months of campaign they shot down .... 330 planes.
Granted not all the AA units are in the front line, but that does not look like a very efficient use of resources.
they are useful units to give punch to divisions though.

Yes they are good on the front lines. You can move the ones in the citys to front also.

turtlefang -> RE: Low flak losses (1/8/2013 2:01:54 PM)

I looked at the impact of flak a while back. Based on a number of simulations, it appears that the Soviets have two hardcoded? rules to limit the there effectiveness in 1941:

- Fewer planes will show up
- Of the planes that do show up, many don't participate in the attack

The indirect effective of this is that Soviet losses due to flak are much lower than the Germans in 1941 (and maybe part of 1942 but I'm not sure of that).

As you move further in the game, German flak effectiveness increases IF the Soviet air force increases the number of bomb runs rather than focusing on fighters.

Also, flak impact depends on the mix of guns (heavy/light) vs the type of bomber used (level/tactical). Light flak causes very few losses to level bombers; heavy flak does much better against against level bombers but is less effective against tacticial bombers (not ineffective, just less effective).

One thing I'm not sure about is if flak is a support unit, does it have to pass a leader check to be committed to defense vs a bombing mission? If so, that will decrease the effectiveness by some amount.

Usually, the German is running a LOT (as in three to four times as many) ground support attacks than the Soviet does in the early war. This also leads to an imbalance in flak losses between the Soviets and Germans.

Overall, as the Soviet, I've found assigning a PVO AA regiment to each HQ helps really drive German air losses way up - far more than what the Soviet air force can inflict early in the war.

In any case, my 2 cents.

Arstavidios -> RE: Low flak losses (1/9/2013 3:06:13 PM)

Number of bombers and AA units commitment are valid points, and in 1941 the Germans suffered around 800 AA losses to 300 soviet. This figure seems quite consistent with some AAR's I've seen posted.

However the issue seems that actual AA fire is rather ineffective at least when unit bombing is concerned, resulting most of the time in zero loss, even in the case of significant raids against stacks containing several hundred guns ranging from 20mm to 88mm.
so bombers and AA guns are here. But the AA guns do not seem to shoot at the bombers. also, I don't recall seeing interceptors committing against unit bombing, but I'll have to check that.[8|]

I don't know the figures of planes actually shot down by flak during the campaign either, so maybe this is correct.

turtlefang -> RE: Low flak losses (1/9/2013 6:51:20 PM)

We'll never know the number shot down by flak or other means. If the aircraft was lost, many times even the side destroying it really doesn't know what killed it.

As far as losses, this is about all I can find that I feel is in the ball park:

"according to the Luftwaffe's own records" 2,093 aircraft destroyed to all causes, from June 22 to December 6 1941, on the Eastern front (758 bombers, 568 fighters, 170 dive-bombers, 330 reconnaissance, and 267 miscellaneous), another 1,362 (including 473 bombers and 413 fighters) damaged (again, to all causes)"

Source: Ellis, John (1993). World War II - A statistical survey. Facts on File

The Luftwaffe later reported, for the time period Sept 1939 to Dec, 1944 the following:

- 40% of all losses were accidents, landing mistakes, or pilot errors)
- 15% were unknown (this includes airbases being over run)
- 45% were combat losses
-- 30 % pts were air to air
-- 15 % pts were other (read flak)

However, this includes the massive losses over Germany during the strategic bombing campaign, so not sure how accurate this would apply to the East front.

Next, for specific time periods that the Luftwaffe did samples, it came up with very different numbers that you simply can't reconcile to either the total it reported above OR to each other OR to operational reports (the Germans weren't the only one's that had this problems; so did the Americans, British and Japanese so it wasn't an easy task).

And the East front samples indicated a higher loss rate due to ground fire (literally bullets from MGs, rifles, etc.. that suffered on other fronts, both for down and damaged aircraft).

As for cause of Soviet losses, I simply haven't found anything that I feel I can trust. Doesn't mean that its not out there, just I don't feel really comfortable with the numbers I've seen.

Wish I could provide a more "definite" answer, but this is the best I have seen. And I think the Germans "guesstimate" a lot of their estimates based on incomplete information. But I doubt anyone has been guesstimates.

Von Weber -> RE: Low flak losses (1/9/2013 9:43:04 PM)

The flak damage causes 3-5% of losses from total amount of planes committed for bombing. So you should have at least 30 bombers that it could be rounded to one. Once I had 30 + escort and still no result but may be I had a little less medium flak for bombers.Light flak as it was posted previously can not reach them,they are good against tactic bombers especially if they are U2VS. I had once attached SP Flak Coy and it did pretty well even in 1941.

Arstavidios -> RE: Low flak losses (1/10/2013 2:12:01 AM)

Well I've conducted a few experiments.
Target was a stack of 3 german divisions with several flack unit attached no interceptors
I launched 20 unit bombing missions with raids from 1 to 50 planes. only one il4 was shot down in a 10 plane raid.

I tried an assault and 4 out of 10 supporting bombers were shot down.
so flak seems to be quite efficient against air support, but useless against unit bombing missions. why is it so?
Am I missing something or doing something wrong? [&:]

morvael -> RE: Low flak losses (1/10/2013 12:25:56 PM)

Example from my game: 342 various-caliber AA guns and AA MGs and 81 fighters (Soviet side, defending) vs 97 fighters (Axis side raiding an air base):
2 Axis planes destroyed
7 Soviet planes destroyed

turtlefang -> RE: Low flak losses (1/10/2013 10:21:51 PM)

Historically, flak was always more effective against low flying aircraft flying ground support than against general bombing missions. You could simply get more bullets/cannon fire in the area of the plane when it closer to the ground that when it was higher up. And if it was hit, the pilot had less room for error when trying to correct after potentially losing control for a few seconds. Flak takes a toll, but your playing a long term game, not going to inflict a large number of losses on a raid except as a highly unusual event.

And remember than a 4 to 6% loss rate on a mission was considered massive at the time. So in the example cited, 7 planes out of 81 would be consider terrible losses.

The US bomber command went into a panic when it started suffering 6-8% losses on a regular basis. When the Pointblank series of raids produced a 16% loss rate, the US 8th air force suspended daylight bombing raids in Germany. So I wouldn't expect massive losses here in an individual battle.

morvael -> RE: Low flak losses (1/11/2013 6:27:14 AM)

You read that the other way round. The attacker (Axis) lost 2 of 97 planes when bombing a Soviet airfield protected by 81 Soviet fighters and 342 AA. Basing plane losses only on the number of planes used seems wrong as it doesn't count opposition into account. Surely, enemy CAP and AA could be stronger or weaker in-game than in history, so the ratio could be different than flat 2-3% of used planes.

turtlefang -> RE: Low flak losses (1/11/2013 9:13:38 PM)

Your right. I did misread the numbers. And I do agree that "averages" don't always tell you what your going to lose - or should lose.

However, the point I was trying to make, and I must not have stated it very clearly, is that most aircraft missions just don't result in large losses (exception: Pacific War/Carrier Battles). A 2 to 3% loss rate per sortie was considered high; higher than that, and on going air operations by nearly anyone was considered unacceptable and unsustainable. And that is ALL losses not just combat losses.

Here's an example:

The B-17 loss rate climbed from 3.5% per sortie in 1942 to 5% in early 1943. The B-17 was a robust plane able to withstand heavy punishment, but when 5% were lost in a single mission, the life expectancy per bomber was a mere 13 missions; crews rotated home only after completing 25 missions.

So, at a loss rate of 5% - from all causes - you get 13 missions per air frame and slightly more per air crew. That's an incredible high rate of attrition - much higher even that of an infantryman (1.5%), artillery gun (1.7%) or tank (.9%).

And with aircraft, accidents already account for (in reality), about a .5 to 1.0% loss rate per sortie. So it doesn't take much to push the level up to destroying an air force very quickly.

In theory, if you pushed the loss rate up to 5%, flew every plane in the German air force every turn for the first 15 turns, you would have no German air force on turn 16 - or, at least, a little bitty German air force. (Or, in theory, ever other turn and on turn 31, no more German air force).

Again, the point I was trying to make is that air combat doesn't produce massive losses like ground combat does. You typically (or very rarely) should see a dozen planes shoot down. And a relatively small, on going % loss in an air force will end up destroying it rather quickly if it is used all the time.

And, as a note, the only decent source I have ever seen on losses per sortie on the eastern from show the following:

German East Front .007
Soviet 1.0
German West Front .057

Gröhler in "Stärke, Verteilung und Verluste der deutschen Luftwaffe im zweiten Weltkrieg"

These are for 1944 and come from very incomplete studies. I make no claim as to how good they are but its all I have. And these, in theory, represent COMBAT losses. And I can't match these up to anything else. But I felt it was only fair to provide them.

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