There are several earlier posts detailing how they used the AAC to wipe out the enemy fighters, a sad tale.The “After Big Week” Assessment, plus 75 years
Posted by Trent Telenko on February 26th, 2019 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the completion of Operation Argument otherwise known as BIG WEEK. The strategic goals of the operation were to destroy German fighter production and inflict a “wastage” rate of the German fighter force such that it was losing fighter planes faster than it was producing them. In measurements of this objective. In the initial assessments of the BIG WEEK bombing, 8th Air Force thought they had done that. Actually, this was as wildly optimistic as the claims of air to air kills by the heavy bomber crew machine gunners.
Despite destroying 70% of the German fighter aircraft assembly buildings targeted. The USAAF high command had grossly underestimated damage done to electric motor powered machine tools within those buildings and the UK’s Ministry of Economic Warfare that the USAAF relied upon for intelligence of German industry had underestimated German fighter production by a factor of 2 & 1/2 times.
See my Jan 1, 2019 Chicagoboyz post “Industrial Electrification and the Technological Illiteracy of the US Army Air Corps Tactical School 1920-1940” for many of the reasons why this was so.
Assessment of American “Big Week” Combat Results (Slide 1) from “Coming of Aerial Armageddon” by Dr. John Curatola
The 8th Air Force lost 565 heavy bombers shot down or scrapped from combat damage so bad it was not worth the effort to repair them. 8th and 9th Air Force fighters escorting the bombers suffered 28 planes shot down. The over all loss rate per raid averaged 6%…but the American total force losses were 2,600 air crew killed, wounded or captured. This was 1/5th of 8th Air Force.
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