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Thread: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

  1. #1
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    Default Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    Hello!

    I need to get some info on the survival rate of the American and the British strategic bomber crews. I know it has been mentioned in our forum in the last year but I can not find it.

    As I veigly remember the British had very high losses during the day time bombing raids and therefore had to shift to the night raids to reduce the losses. The Americans had it better as they had better fighter cover.

    That is the only thing I have in mind. But if someone has some statistics it would be great!!!

    P.S: I guess this one can be handy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ussb-1.jpg
    Last edited by Egorka; 01-15-2008 at 05:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bobmer crews.

    The RAF only did a handful of daylight raids early in the war. IIRC in one raid on Wilhelmshaven by Witleys (unescorted as no fighters could reach that far) they suffered around 70% losses. This would have been in late 1939 or early 1940.
    By the time of the Battle of Britain the RAF had accepted that they simply couldn't survive over Germany in daylight without a fighter escort they didn't have, and so moved to night bombing. To start with this was both relatively safe and completely ineffective. Later, the German defences improved faster than Bomber Command, to the point where over Nuremberg a little over 10% of the attackers were shot down - this being higher than the US were suffering in daylight raids at the same time. More typical losses were in the 4-5% region.

    Oh, and one frightening statistic - the only more dangerous job in the war than aircrew in RAF Bomber Command was to be a U-boat crewman. Losses there were ~75% of the entire force, and nearer 90% of those who actually made an active patrol at some point during the war (the majority of the survivors were still in training at the end of the war).

    The USSBS for Europe may be found here. I know of no equivalent work for Bomber Command unfortunately.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bobmer crews.

    I,ve readed that the overal rate of loses RAF was in average 25% in the 1943-44 while the GErmans aviation was still possible to make a essential resistence.
    The Britance survived the more loses coz they fight from the beginning of War. The 8 USAAF has arrived into the Britain in the end of 1942 but was involved into the bombing compain just in mid of the 1943.
    the 160 000 mans of personals , lost in the battles and about 20 000 of bombers lost over germany is a too great pay for the stratgic compain.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    Ok. Thanks!

    So if we take a hipotetical crew memmber, what whould be his chances to survive the whole duration of the service? I think there was a limit on the number of sories after which the man would be moved back home, right?

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bobmer crews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    The 8 USAAF has arrived into the Britain in the end of 1942 but was involved into the bombing compain just in mid of the 1943.
    In fact 8th AF begun air operations in Europe in August 1942.
    The decision of "round the clock bombing" was made in Casablanca in January 1943, what allowed to start so-called The Combined Bomber Offensive officially six months later.
    But it doesn't mean that 8th was staying on the ground all winter and spring. Bombing raids were conducted before that.

    For much of the war both the Bomber Comand and the 8th AF ran a casualty rate in excess of 50 percent of crew force. In the 8th AF, the pioneers of 1942-43 paid the heaviest cost. Only one in five of these fliers completed their tour of duty. Of the 110,000 aircrew in Bomber Command, 56,000 were kiled, a los rate of 51 percent, the highest casualty rate of any of the Commonwealth's armed forces in the war.
    8th AF's total casualty rate was between 26,000 and 28,000 fatalities (12.3 percent) of the 210,000 crewmen who flew in combat.

    In the beggining, the tour of duty in 8AF was 25 missions, later tht number increased to 30 and 35. I don't know what was it at the end of the war.

    Pozdrawiam,
    Kovalski
    Last edited by Kovalski; 01-16-2008 at 02:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bobmer crews.

    Kovalsky,

    thanks! What is exactly "loss" in this case? I guess it is shot down, not neseessary killed pilot. Right?

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bobmer crews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    Kovalsky,

    thanks! What is exactly "loss" in this case? I guess it is shot down, not neseessary killed pilot. Right?
    The above numbers refer only to the KIA.

    8AF total loses:
    KIA - 26,000 to 28,000 (I have no idea, why there is so big discrepancy)
    MIA - 28,000 (POWs in German captivity)
    WIA - 18,000 (psychological casualties not included - nobody ever counted them)
    Total: 72,000 to 74,000 (34% of those who expirienced combat)

    Source: "Eight Air Force:The american bomber crews in Britain", Donald L. Miller.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    The RAF would do a tour of duty of 30 sorties. At the end of a tour, they would be "rested" for a tour - for instance working in a desk job, flying instructor, or similar. I'm not sure about the length of a rest tour though - gut feeling is around 6 months. After that they would start another operational tour. This cycle would continue until they were either shot down, wounded severely or the war was over. A (very) small number of aircrew survived four or five tours of duty.
    AIUI in the USAAF - at least initially - for aircrew their war was over once they had done a tour of duty and they were returned to the US to training jobs and the like. I suspect this may have changed later in the war when loss rates became less severe.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    Bomber Command crews also suffered an extremely high casualty rate: 55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4% death rate), a further 8,403 were wounded in action and 9,838 became prisoners of war.[11] A Bomber Command crew member had a worse chance of survival than an infantry officer in World War I.[12] By comparison, the US Eighth Air Force, which flew daylight raids over Europe, had 350,000 aircrew during the war, and suffered 26,000 killed and 23,000 POWs.[13] Of the RAF Bomber Command personnel killed during the war, 72% were British, 18% were Canadian, 7% were Australian and 3% were New Zealanders
    Lifted from Wiki, however, its the same information that Ive seen countless times and dont think I could dispute them.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    Lifted from Wiki, however, its the same information that Ive seen countless times and dont think I could dispute them.
    I think the percentages between Britain and the Commonwealth forces mightn't be quite accurate in suggesting that only Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis were in RAF bombers.

    I'm sure there were Americans, South Africans, and Poles, and probably other nationalities, sprinkled among bomber air crew.

    Can't think of a reference, but I've read in various accounts of those nationalities being in RAF bomber air crew.

    As they enlisted in the RAF in Britain, they might have been included in the British percentage.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    I remember something about the 8th AF having to stop raids because the losses had become unsustainable (in about the late summer and early autumn of 1943)...

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    Following on from my last post.

    An extraordinary mix of people from all over the world flew with Bomber Command, including Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Poles, Czechs, South Africans, French, Americans, Jamaicans, Rhodesians. Some served in mixed squadrons, some formed their own squadrons. Almost all arrived in wartime Britain with no previous experience of the British way of life.
    http://www.rafbombercommand.com/master_about.html

    Note the pictures in the link showing non-Brits wearing national shoulder patches.

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I remember something about the 8th AF having to stop raids because the losses had become unsustainable (in about the late summer and early autumn of 1943)...
    This is true. The 8th AF were flying unrscorted raids over Germany and suffered heavily, especially during the Schweinfurt raids. The loss ratio could not be sustained and the offensive was suspended until enough long range escort fighters were available in early 1944.

    digger

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bobmer crews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kovalski View Post
    In fact 8th AF begun air operations in Europe in August 1942.
    The decision of "round the clock bombing" was made in Casablanca in January 1943, what allowed to start so-called The Combined Bomber Offensive officially six months later.
    But it doesn't mean that 8th was staying on the ground all winter and spring. Bombing raids were conducted before that.
    I never told thay were staing on the ground all winter
    But as it was mentioned by the Nickdfresh and Digger the 8 army was not involved for the active bombing compain untill the mid of the 1943.Also we know that after the Schweinfurt raids the Americans made a break for the four month- to restore the casualties .
    BTW the very character the difference of behaviour of the Brits and Americans- the Brits NEVER stopped the flying raids since the 1941 even if they survived the great casualties- this was matter of honour for them( they fight for the matherland).
    The americans to the contrast try to save their airplains until the moment when the mean of protection of the Strategic bombers was found ( p-51).

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Default Re: Survival rate of the US and UK strategic bomber crews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    This is true. The 8th AF were flying unrscorted raids over Germany and suffered heavily, especially during the Schweinfurt raids. The loss ratio could not be sustained and the offensive was suspended until enough long range escort fighters were available in early 1944.

    digger
    Although the raid on Schweinfurt and Regensburg was a total disaster for 8AF, the air operations were not suspended. They were carried out with partial escort of Spitfires, P-47s and P-38s. There was idea of night-bombing but the Air Force command kept pressure for daylight bombing raid, so the 8AF flew air operations in fall of 1943 and winter 1943/44.

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