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AAA suppression?

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Wild Turkey, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Wild Turkey

    Wild Turkey New Member

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    Watching a program on the raids on Ploesti and the number of planes shot down by AAA.

    Did we do anything to suppress the flak batteries? Seems we could have had a few bombers tasked to make them go away or let the Mustangs/Jugs beat up on them while the bombers did the heavy work.
     
  2. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Generally not a good idea to suppress flak batteries with aircraft, ja? These are called anti-aircraft guns for a reason.
     
  3. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    USAAF Heavy bombers flew 422,032 effective sorties in the ETO/MTO and lost 3,752 heavies to flak - a loss rate of 0.9%.

    Planners pretty much ignored flak at the targets on strategic missions. The routes to and from would be chosen to avoid known flak areas, but at the target, the primary concern was to pick an attack heading that provided a good Initial Point for the bomb run and kept the sun to the bombardier's backs as much as practical. Expending part of the attack force to supress flak was not seen as worthwhile considering the low loss rate to flak.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Actually that worked out quite well in the Pacfic from what I've read. I think it has been mentioned on these pages as well.
     
  5. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    True, and by Vietnam, both the USAF and the USN included flak suppression aircraft in their strike packages.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That said looking a the post war loss reports from the Med which go into some detail on the cause of the loss a considerable number of losses appear to be from a combination of flak and fighters. I.e. damaged by flak and shot down by a fighter. I'm not sure how much of this applied to the north or how well, if at all, this was known at the time.

    In that regard I still remember a story one of my uncles told me (he was lead naviagtor in a B-24 squadron). Apparently there was a small air field in France that they got routed over on a frequent basis. They had never observed any fighter activity from that field but they apparently had some very good AA gunners. On one raid they were the last squadron in the stream and they got the word that weather had occluded both the Primary and Secondary targets so the Squadron CO asked my uncle to find them a target of opertunity. The air field (which I think they had passed over not too long ago) came to mind so he head them for it. A bit later he got an intercom call from the CO asking if he was sure he knew where he was going. He replied (apparently some what irked by the question) to the affermative and asked why? His CO replied that 8th AF was following his lead. Apparently the fact that he had a target was good enough for the other squadrons on that raid. After that they didn't get much flak from that site. In recent years I've wondered just what the name of the site was.
     
  7. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    What type of aircraft did USAAF and USN suppress flak batteries with? I presume heavy bombers are not the choice of weapon here?
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    For suppression of AAA fire on ships dive bombers and fighters at least as far as the USN goes. Probably the same for FLAK supression of ground targets. As far as the USAAF goes (I think this was detailed in one of our discussions about the air war in Erurope by the way) it was medium bombers, light bombers, fighters and some heavies. As I recall it was a combination of low level attacks (often using parachute bombs) along with higher level attacks using multiple small fragmentation bombs possibly followed up with strafing before the level bombers hit. Again I'm pretty sure someone on this board wrote that up so hopefully they will show up and correct any errors I've injected into the discussion.
     
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  9. Wild Turkey

    Wild Turkey New Member

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    I hadn't seen that data on losses. That is pretty light but the programs on the "Air War" always talk about flak but now that I think about it they don't mention casualties except in terms of crew tour survivability.

    I spent most of my military career with tanks and losses at that level would have been amazing.

    I still am in awe of the courage it took to go into combat time after time.
     

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