What Killed The Most US Bombers?

What Killed The Most US Bombers? | World War Wings Videos

YouTube / Military Aviation History

Both fighters and flak were used by Germany to shoot down Allied bombers like the B-17 and the B-24. However, which of the two was better at it?

The Famous German Flak

Germany invested a lot of resources in air defenses and radar gun laying technology.

Positional radar information was fed into the system which automatically adjust flak guns to shoot bombers and automatically set the fuses that detonated the shells at the correct altitude. 

This significantly increased the accuracy of the AA guns and decreased the number of shells needed to down a single bomber from 8,000 shells per bomber down to 3,000 and even 1,500 shells per bomber.

The Rise of German Fighters

It’s worth noting that German fighter production is extremely low and focused more on producing bombers.

As the war went on, there was a sharp rise of single-engine planes built around 1944. Against Allied daytime bombers, Germany operated a single-engine fleet that’s between 30-45% of its deployed fighters. 

Flak Vs. Fighters

Depending on the year, the Americans considered fighters to be roughly equal to flak in taking down bombers.

Now, if we go through German figures between 1942 to 1944, based on 1943, the Luftwaffe estimated flak inflicted between 15% to 25% of Allied bomber losses. 

In September 1943, Germany estimated to have shot down over 48,000 aircraft with fighters and just under 13,000 with flak. However, these figures are a bit inflated.

Which One Is It?

Additionally, after June 1944, data showed that flak started to become more effective. However, this could also be because the number of German fighters has significantly dropped at this point.

As such, we can conclude that on a one-on-one comparison, fighters are a lot better at shooting down bombers but flak can bring far more damage to the aircraft, or kill or wound the crew.

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