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WWII Aircraft Facts

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    Posted: February 23 2013 at 2:25am

 

For all of you history buffs out there.  STATISTICS GIVE THE CARNAGE A DIMENSION.    WHEN YOU READ THE PRODUCTION NUMBERS CAPTIONS BELOW THE PHOTOS, UNDERSTAND THAT VIRTUALLY NONE OF THESE PLANES SURVIVES TODAY!  THERE IS ONLY ONE B-29 RESTORED BY BOEING TO FLYING CONDITION.

 

Amazing WW2 Aircraft Facts 

These are very moving statistics.

On average 6600 American service men died per MONTH, during WW2 (about 220 a day).

People who were not around during WW2 have no understanding of the magnitude.  This gives some insight. 

276,000 aircraft manufactured in the US .
43,000 planes lost overseas, including 23,000 in combat. 
14,000 lost in the continental U.S.


The staggering cost of aircraft in 1945 dollars

B-17       $204,370.     P-40       $44,892.
B-24       $215,516.     P-47       $85,578.
B-25       $142,194.     P-51       $51,572.
B-26       $192,426.     C-47       $88,574.
B-29       $605,360.     PT-17     $15,052.
P-38         $97,147.     AT-6       $22,952.


From Germany 's invasion of Poland Sept. 1, 1939  until Japan 's surrender on Sept. 2, 1945 = 2,433 days.  
America lost an average of 170 planes a day.

A  B-17 carried 2,500 gallons of high octane fuel and carried a crew of 10 airmen.

9.7 billion gallons of gasoline consumed.
108 million hours flown.
460 thousand million rounds of aircraft ammo fired overseas.
7.9 million bombs dropped  overseas.
2.3 million combat flights.
299,230 aircraft used.
808,471 aircraft engines used.
799,972 propellers.

WWII   MOST-PRODUCED COMBAT AIRCRAFT

Russian  Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik                                  36,183

Yakolev Yak-1,-3,-7, -9                               31,000

Messerschmitt Bf-109                                  30,480

Focke-Wulf Fw-190                                      29,001


 Supermarine Spitfire                                     20,351

Convair B-24/PB4Y Liberator/Privateer       18,482

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt                          15,686

North American P-51 Mustang                     15,875

Junkers Ju-88                                              15,000

Hawker Hurricane                                        14,533

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk                                 13,738

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress                         12,731

Vought F4U Corsair                                      12,571
Grumman F6F he!!cat                                  12,275

Petlyakov Pe-2                                             11,400
Lockheed P-38 Lightning                              10,037

Mitsubishi A6M Zero                                    10,449

North American B-25 Mitche!!                        9,984

Lavochkin LaGG-5                                         9,920

Grumman TBM Avenger                                9,837

Bell P-39 Airacobra                                        9,584

Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar                                    5,919

DeHavilland Mosquito                                   7,780

Avro Lancaster                                              7,377

Heinkel He-111                                              6,508

Handley-Page Halifax                                     6,176

Messerschmitt Bf-110                                    6,150

 

Lavochkin LaGG-7                                         5,75

 

Boeing B-29 Superfortress                            3,970

Short  Stirling                                                   2,383
 

The US lost 14,903 pilots, aircrew and support personnel plus 13,873 airplanes --- inside the continental United States .  There were 52,651 aircraft accidents (6,039 involving fatalities) in 45 months.
Average 1,170 aircraft accidents per month---- nearly 40 a day.


It gets worse.....
Almost 1,000  planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign climes.  But  43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 in Europe ) and 20,633 due to non-combat causes overseas.

In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943,  60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant
600 empty bunks in England .  In 1942-43, it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete the intended 25-mission tour in Europe .

Pacific theatre losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed.  The B-29 mission against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas .

On  average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day.
  Over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat and another 18,000 wounded.  Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including those "liberated" by the Soviets but never returned.  More than 41,000 were captured.   Half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity,  compared with one-tenth in German hands.   Total combat casualties were  121,867.

The US forces peak strength was in 1944 with 2,372,000 personnel, nearly twice the previous year's figure.

Losses were huge---but so were production totals.   From 1941 through 1945, American industry delivered more than 276,000 military aircraft.  That was not only for US Army, Navy and Marine Corps, but also for allies as diverse as Britain , Australia , China and Russia .  

Our enemies took massive losses.  Through much of 1944, the Luftwaffe sustained hemorrhaging of  25% of aircrews and 40 planes a month.


Experience Level:
Uncle Sam sent many men to war with minimum training.  Some fighter pilots entered combat in 1942 with less than 1 hour in their assigned aircraft..
The 357th Fighter Group (The Yoxford Boys) went to England in late 1943 having trained on P-39s, then flew Mustangs.   They never saw a Mustang until the first combat mission. 

With the arrival of new aircraft, many units transitioned in combat.  The attitude was, "They all have a stick and a throttle.  Go fly `em."   When the famed 4th Fighter Group converted from P-47s to P-51s in Feb 44, there was no time to stand down for an orderly transition.   The Group commander, Col. Donald
 Blakeslee, said, 
"You can learn to fly 51s on the way to the target". 
 
A future P-47 ace said, "I was sent to England to die."  Many bomber crews were still learning their trade.  Of Jimmy Doolittle's 15 pilots on the April 1942  Tokyo raid, only five had won their wings before 1941.   All but one of the 16 co-pilots were less than a year out of flight school.

In WW2,  safety took a back seat to combat.  The AAF's worst accident rate was recorded by the A-36 Invader version of the P-51: a staggering 274 accidents per 100,000 flying hours.   Next worst were the P-39 at 245, the P-40 at 188, and the P-38 at 139.  All were Allison powered.

Bomber wrecks were fewer but more expensive.  The B-17 and B-24 averaged 30 and 35 accidents per 100,000
flight hours respectively-- a horrific figure considering that from 1980 to 2000 the Air Force's major mishap rate
was less than 2.

The B-29 was even worse at 40 per 100,000 hours; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to be able to stand down for mere safety reasons.

(Compare:  when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force declared a two-month "safety pause").

The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Although the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, only half the mechanics had previous experience with it.  

Navigators:
Perhaps the greatest success story concerned Navigators.  The Army graduated some 50,000 during WW2.

Many had never flown out of sight of land before leaving "Uncle Sugar" for a war zone.  Yet they found their way across oceans and continents without getting lost or running out of fuel - a tribute to the AAF's training.

At its height in mid-1944, the USAAF had 2.6 million people and nearly 80,000 aircraft of all types. 
Today the US Air Force employs 327,000 active personnel (plus 170,000 civilians) with 5,500+ manned and perhaps 200 unmanned aircraft.  That's about 12% of the manpower and 7% of the airplanes of the WW2 peak.

SUMMATION:
Another war like that of 1939-45 is doubtful, as fighters and bombers have given way to helicopters and remotely-controlled drones, eg. over Afghanistan and Iraq .  But within our living memory, men left the earth in 1,000-plane formations and fought major battles five miles high, leaving a legacy that remains timeless.

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Canuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2013 at 7:11am
Amazing statistics! Thanks for the good read.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2013 at 7:47am
Interesting stats.Note the issue with the Allison engines. As I've noted before..the Mustang ALMOST didn't come into exsistance because of the Allison power plants.
I note there is no mention of the Typhoon.(Although it had shortcomings, it was mass produced.)I'm surprised at no mention of the Stuka or the Mosquito, as well
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2013 at 7:49am
woops! I spoke too soon! There it was..the '"SKEETER" IS listed. I stand corrected
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2013 at 3:09am
Thats an interesting article. The casualty figures from WWII are astounding, when you consider that 95% of  all Allied casualties were Russian! 
The Spitfire is my favourite plane of WWII, (It' normal I'm englishWink) I have a client that owns and flies a Spitfire Mk19 (36 litre RR Griffin engine instead of the 27 litre Merlin) It is a photo reconaissance version with pressurised cabin, very rare. Last year I got to visit the hangar and sit in it, that was a boyhood dream come true. There are many films on youtube of his Mk19.
There is only 1 Lancaster still flying and I think 1 Mosquito.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flanker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2013 at 3:56am
Some of the statistics about losses are truly alarming. I think the RAF lost 80,000 aircrew from the bomber command over Germany in the course of that war. That's just one command, in one campaign in one theatre of war. The impact on the German population must have been absolutely staggering too.

The information you mention only details the more popular aircraft too. There were dozens of other less common types all manufactured in their hundreds and thousands by all sides.

I think we do live in safer world nowadays. let's hope it stays that way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 25-5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2013 at 8:18am
Just want to say that these stats are not totally complete.  They are what they are, and from a US perspective.  Anyone who knows about WWII is fully aware of the sacrifices made buy all the allies and like myself, honor them all.  Those of us who are more mature have a responsibility to let the youngins know that "Freedom is not free" .
My original source had photos of all the planes listed.  However, I was unable to get them to copy.  Angry  Probably too big a file.
"a rumor is half way around the world before the truth gets it's boots on." (Mark Twain)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2013 at 9:30am
Zed, there is TWO flying Lancasters.One in Blighty & one here in Canada.(Hamilton,Ontario).There is also one out west in Canada, although operable, does not have an airworthy ticket(read$$$). I was told-but I dont know- that there is one in Oz, as well.It is supposedly under the same constrictions as the one out west...taxi but do not fly. (sigh)
To my knowledge, there is not a single Mossie airworthy.I DO know that there was collection boxes @ some legions for donations for a 'skeeter" restoration project. It was a P/R model, ex Jamaican air force.Dunno what ever became of that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 303Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2013 at 12:56pm
I've seen a TV documentary in which the cameraman was in a flying Mosquito in the UK, sounds and all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2013 at 4:33am
Many years ago an article on the U S Airforce stated that at the end of WW2 we had 76,000 combat aircraft and 3.5 million personel. They may have been counting some civilian personel and airmen still in training and not yet assigned to duty as aircrew.
 
There may have been some overlap of Naval Aviators and Marine Corp Aviators.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2013 at 5:05am
For anyone interested, here is a link to a site that features several videos of the Mk19 Spitfire of one of my clients, as well as his recently finished Hawker Sea Fury, which was the last piston engined Royal Navy fighter. 18 cylinder radial, 3,000 HP
http://www.youtube.com/user/ericgoujon/videos

Turn the sound up for the fly pasts!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2013 at 7:25am
"................
The B-29 was even worse at 40 per 100,000 hours; the world's most sophisticated, most capable and most expensive bomber was too urgently needed to be able to stand down for mere safety reasons.

(Compare:  when a $2.1 billion B-2 crashed in 2008, the Air Force declared a two-month "safety pause").

The B-29 was no better for maintenance. Although the R3350 was known as a complicated, troublesome power-plant, only half the mechanics had previous experience with it. 
..............................."
 
 
the one in my avitar was one that made it back to rest in the desert , my father was an electrician on her ground crew and left gunner in the air , the avitar is the cover of yank magazine in december 44 , photo taken on hardstand soon after the dec 7th raid
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lmao_37 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2013 at 9:57am
There is no mention of the Tempest or the Defient or the lysander sorry but these were all aircraft flown bybthe RAF during world war two the lysander was used fly spys in to france as well as other duties.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2013 at 11:29am
The Tempest & the TYPHOON were one and the same.The Bolton-Paul defiant wasn't produced in great numbers, & was actually obsolete by the time the festivities got going.
I note there was ALOT of Yanks flying in RCAF.(We got into the 2nd twirl at war in '39.)Doc Hannah only lost ONE crewman during the airwar.It was a kid named "PARKER" from Chicago.He was trapped in the tail turret when they crashed the Sterling on a training mission.He couldn't get out when she burnt.Went onto Lancs after that..& didn't lose anyone else.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 303Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2013 at 12:19pm
Originally posted by hoadie hoadie wrote:

The Tempest & the TYPHOON were one and the same.
That's not quite correct.  (But close).



The Tempest was developed from the Typhoon with basically an improved wing, being thinner among what can be seen in the image.  Same airframe though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2013 at 10:00pm
& you had to "tap the brakes" at about 90 KIAS just to get the tail to come up.Dead
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