Can an outnumbered air force be dangerous?

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sergei

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Unread post10 Nov 2014, 11:41

hornetfinn wrote:
joost wrote:I have another example for You. Look into the numbers of the Finnish-Russian war of 1939. There an outnumbered air force was quite dangerous.


This. And you can also look into the numbers of Finnish-Soviet Continuation war of 1940-1944 where FAF managed to keep Soviet Air Force at bay and managed a very lopsided score against them. Finnish Air Force was probably better trained, but was not much better technologically and in many cases had significantly inferior equipment. Of course FAF was also significantly inferior in numbers (outnumbered by about 3:1 to 10:1 depending on exact date). There were a lot of factors why the end result was what it was, but the main reasons were better training and skill, better tactics, better employment, home field advantage due to better knowledge of geography and weather conditions and having better communications systems (especially ground control system).

I'm sure a smaller air force can be extremely dangerous even with similar equipment and skills, if it has some other advantages like FAF had during 1939-1944. Usually the larger country can not afford to use all of their forces against one small enemy, but has to use only part of it and thus making things more equal. Also the defender aircraft usually have to fly shorter distances and their defending fighters can fly more sorties thus making forces more equal.

Continuation War
25 June 1941 – 19 September 1944
Finland +Nazi Germany vs Soviet Union
Result
Soviet victory
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hornetfinn

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Unread post10 Nov 2014, 12:53

sergei wrote:Continuation War
25 June 1941 – 19 September 1944
Finland +Nazi Germany vs Soviet Union
Result
Soviet victory


True that Soviet Union eventually won (although they were not even close to meeting their objectives), but that does not change the fact that Finnish Air Force inflicted huge losses on Soviet Air Forces. Finnish Air Force on the other hand lost very small amount of their aircraft and remained completely effective force throughout the several years of combat against numerically far superior and technologically pretty equal Soviet Air Forces. The question here was can an outnumbered air force be dangerous and in this case it certainly was.

Of course Finland also fought Nazi Germany and removed about quarter of a million men out of Finnish Lapland after peace with Soviet Union. Btw, Finland was also officially at war with UK, Canada, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand during Continuation War... It was rather complex war in many respects.
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sergei

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Unread post10 Nov 2014, 22:25

hornetfinn wrote:
sergei wrote:Continuation War
25 June 1941 – 19 September 1944
Finland +Nazi Germany vs Soviet Union
Result
Soviet victory


" but that does not change the fact that Finnish Air Force inflicted huge losses on Soviet Air Forces."
could you escort these statements referring to the source of information
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joost

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Unread post10 Nov 2014, 23:35

Well, start here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War

62 Finns vs 200 ussr in air combat, although I think of the 62 finnish ac only 40 were Fighters,so 40 vs 200. And if You Google you'll find a few nice books as well to go into detail.
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sergei

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Unread post11 Nov 2014, 00:41

joost wrote:Well, start here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War

62 Finns vs 200 ussr in air combat, although I think of the 62 finnish ac only 40 were Fighters,so 40 vs 200. And if You Google you'll find a few nice books as well to go into detail.


it is not about the Winter War it about The Continuation War
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sergei

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Unread post11 Nov 2014, 01:08

On February 29, 1940 in the afternoon, 24 I-16, and also I-153 from the 68th separate IAP Air Force of the 13th army of the Northwest front attacked Ruokolakhti's airfield. Towards to them 15 "Gladiators" from LeLv 26 and "Fokker" D.XXI from LeLv 24 rose. During the hardened air fight Finns lost 6 (!) "Gladiators" and 1 "Fokker", and also 4 pilots the killed and 3 wounded. (Only 7 planes). The Soviet party missed 2 I-16 with their pilots. 7 planes returned on airfields with damages.
During this fight the ram, only for all war, was executed. Komesk Art. Leith. Yakov Filippovich Mikhin in a frontal attack "ishachka" struck with a wing of the across Kiel of "Fokker" of the lieutenant of Tatu Gugananti (FR-94 board), having cut down it. the Finnish pilot was lost in a cabin of the plane. It should be noted that Gugananti on the account had 6 victories and it appeared one of 2 Finnish experts of the dead during war.
The Finnish promotion declared that the ram was made by fatally wounded Gugananti, having directed the flaring car on the Soviet fighter.
However, Mikhin returned on airfield in a cabin of "yastrebk", and the lost Finn won the 6th victory, according to the Finnish statistics, much earlier - on January 20.


So, 7:2.
And it in fight of fighters, but not at execution of bombers without escort. Yes, there was a superiority in strength, but even not double. For "mega As" with what try to present certainly worthy Finnish pilots, it shouldn't have become a hindrance, however there was everything differently.

1940 – Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations
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joost

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Unread post11 Nov 2014, 11:54

The Soviets took a serious beating from the Finnish, no doubt about that. Nice try to zoom into one fight, but you'll not be able to change history. Just accept the fact that a small but motivated combat force was able to do some serious damage to a superior adversary.

Here some extensive info on th winter war:

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/winter-w.htm

and on the continuation war:

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/FAFhist.htm
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sergei

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Unread post12 Nov 2014, 12:26

joost wrote:The Soviets took a serious beating from the Finnish, no doubt about that. Nice try to zoom into one fight, but you'll not be able to change history. Just accept the fact that a small but motivated combat force was able to do some serious damage to a superior adversary.

Here some extensive info on th winter war:

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/winter-w.htm

and on the continuation war:

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/FAFhist.htm

it's very funny that the proof lies on the site "science fiction" it adds credibility very much
" Early in the war the Soviet bombers typically flew at medium altitudes in formations of 3-9, usually without fighter escort, and suffered heavy losses"

the Russian bombers seriously under-armed, with only two light machine gun covering the rear hemisphere; one of these guns was mounted on top, the other on the belly. Unfortunately, there was only one gunner, so he had to scramble from one gun to the other as the attacking fighters changed position, so it was effectively one puny rifle-caliber gun against the entire firepower of the attacker.
quantity is typically much better correlated with the final outcome of a conflict than with aircraft exchange ratios. If the side with superior numbers is willing and able to make good on its losses, it can accomplish its goals in support of the overall effort and eventually achieve victory

"http://www.sci.fi/~fta/FAFhist.htm"

many claims no evidence. especially pleasing to the MiG-21 and F- 18 at the end of the text just as the topic of the war in 1941
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hornetfinn

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Unread post14 Nov 2014, 14:41

Sergei, first you scold joost about talking about Winter War instead of Continuation War and in next post take a battle that went well for the Soviets from Winter War... :? That battle happened and didn't go well for the Finns. Of course you might also notice that I-16 is a totally different beast to Fokker D.XXI or Gloster Gladiator. It's like fighting Messerschmitt Bf 109 with a Polikarpov I-15 or Hawker Fury. It was definitely a good plan and good execution on the Soviet side.

Again, the question was can an outnumbered air force be dangerous and FAF definitely showed that it can be very much so. I'm not claiming that Finland won the war, but on the other hand it fought fiercely against numerically far superior and technologically at least equal enemy. It was also the only country on the Soviet pre-World War II border to retain democracy and a market economy.

You are correct that the side having really serious numerical superiority can absorb losses and just keep going. Soviet Union had that luxury as it had several thousand aircraft against Finland and Finland had only few hundred aircraft of all types. In most cases such a huge advantage will lead to quick victory but FAF hang on. I'm sure the Soviets were capable of ultimately crushing Finnish forces, but they chose not to because it would've been too costly for the benefits.
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lamoey

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Unread post14 Nov 2014, 19:24

hornetfinn wrote: It was also the only country on the Soviet pre-World War II border to retain democracy and a market economy.


Including Norway
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Unread post22 Nov 2014, 19:59

OK, I guess I have got the answer. With great tactics a numerically inferior force can cause great losses to its enemy.

sergei wrote:it's very funny that the proof lies on the site "science fiction" it adds credibility very much

--

many claims no evidence. especially pleasing to the MiG-21 and F- 18 at the end of the text just as the topic of the war in 1941


Umm... "sci.fi" forwards you to the Finnish telecommunications operator Saunalahtis home page. They provide the web page hosting for FTA, I guess.

Fighter Tactics Academy itself is a rare site in its class. It dates back to 1997 and has limited content but the site is still alive even though the most recent update is from 2008. Best thing about the site, however, is IMHO the guy behind it, Jarmo Lindberg. He has a pilot background in the FAF and is now a General and the Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces. How many commanders have their own private websites that serve as something more than a Curriculum Vitae? Not too many.

As far as the informational value goes, the praise of MiG-21 and F/A-18 is quite understandable as Gen. Lindberg has flown those planes during his service in the FAF. So some things have to be taken with a grain of salt but that's with all pilots and the planes they have flown. I don't believe it would be easy to fly thinking that what you fly is complete crap. The morale would be extremely low. Every service in the world conditions their service members to believe they have the best equipment for a very good reason.
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sergei

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Unread post23 Nov 2014, 14:15

In summary we can say :
though that small defenders can cause trouble to the enemy despite any superiority in skill or technique they are not able to reverse the outcome of the war
and it all that matters
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joost

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Unread post23 Nov 2014, 20:40

Not really. Ref to the Falkland war and the Israeli wars among others, we can state that an outnumbered air force can inflict a lot of damage, given the advantage of superior tactics, better equipment, terrain advantage or being the defending party. In shorter confrontations an outnumbered air force can be victorious (Falklands, BoB etc). In longer conflicts it will be hard to sustain with a smaller air force due to wearing down of men and machine.
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sergei

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Unread post23 Nov 2014, 21:40

joost wrote:Not really. Ref to the Falkland war and the Israeli wars among others, we can state that an outnumbered air force can inflict a lot of damage, given the advantage of superior tactics, better equipment, terrain advantage or being the defending party. In shorter confrontations an outnumbered air force can be victorious (Falklands, BoB etc). In longer conflicts it will be hard to sustain with a smaller air force due to wearing down of men and machine.


difference in the number of troops in the Arab- Israeli conflict is not comparable to the Finnish- Soviet conflict
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Unread post24 Nov 2014, 15:05

lamoey wrote:
hornetfinn wrote: It was also the only country on the Soviet pre-World War II border to retain democracy and a market economy.


Including Norway


Actually AFAIK, Norway didn't have common border with Soviet Union before the WW2 as Finland had Barents sea coastline between Norway and Soviet Union then. This area is now known as Pechengsky District.
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