Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Number of combat sorties flown by J. E. Johnson during the WWII?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    51
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Number of combat sorties flown by J. E. Johnson during the WWII?

    Hello, I wonder if somebody has reliable info on the number of combat sortiesflown by J. E. Johnson during the WWII?

    Couldn't find that info from Shores' & Williams' Aces High books or from my copy of the Finnish edition of the Wing Leader or from any other sources I have access. Wiki says 515 and 700, the later with reference to Sakar 2011, p. 306, which isn't given in the sources of the article, but means probably Dilip Sarkar's Spitfire Ace of Aces: The Wartime Story of Johnnie Johnson. On the other hand on the Amazon.co.uk page on that book the book description gives “over 1000 combat missions” and Johnnie's obituary on Guardian web page gives "some 1,000 combat missions". Now imho 515 seems to be better in line with RAF tour system and the number of sorties flown by the few other long serving RAF fighter pilots I have info on (Beamont appr. 492 etc)

    TIA
    Juha

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    270
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Ace of Aces reference quoted by you, actually says 785.40 hours of operational flying,

    "This represents some 700 operational sorties."

    Wether this is averaged or totaled Dilip does not say.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    944
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    I would say less, my estimate based on another pilot brings 640 missions, but given Johnson flew a lot of over the channel missions, 515 seems not unreasonable. I cannot exclude, that operational sorties were not listed, though.
    What struck me, is the high number of missions, especially given Johnson started his operational flying in 1941. I took the numbers of Polish aces, who were rather known to not avoid combat missions, and flew from the start of the war in 1939 to the end in 1945, and their results are not as impressive: Gabszewicz 384, Skalski 321, Falkowski 260, Pniak 256. Of those, Skalski missed French Campaign and retired in mid-1944, Falkowski missed Polish Campaign, and Pniak FC. Pilots, who started flying in 1941: Sołłogub 168, Blok 78.
    I am not sure of the total of Horbaczewski - 250 - he started flying in 1941 and died in combat in mid-1944, Król 223 (1940-45) - his total of 432 seems an error, I expect him to be about 250 for the whole war. Łokuciewski until being downed early 1942 reputedly amassed 268, but I believe this wrong, perhaps it should read 168. For a comparison, pilots who did a lot of non operational flying - Szaposznikow 117 & Popławski 49.
    Thus, how it was possible for Johnson, flying in the same tour system, to fly so many sorties?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,527
    Thanks
    20
    Thanked 14 Times in 13 Posts

    Default

    Hi all,

    I have rather answer to Franek than to Juha re Johnson.

    Few examples of Czechoslovak fighter pilots with the RAF:
    Vaclav Slouf 5.9.40-19.4.45 - 526 operational flights (in June 1944 - 80!)
    Jaroslav Hlado 19.1.43-8.5.45 - 439 operational flights
    Vaclav Bergman 12.7.40-22.5.44 - 369 operational flights (but only 88 over the Channel)

    Source - J. Rajlich - Na nebi hrdeho Albionu, different volumes

    The numbers are really individual, Hlado finished more than 2,5 of operational tour, Bergman nearly 3 and Slouf nearly 4 (tour for day fighters was 200 hrs).

    Hope this helps a little

    Pavel
    Last edited by CZ_RAF; 1st April 2013 at 19:43.
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    51
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks a lot Peter, Franek and Pavel!
    So JEJ had 785.40 hours of operational flying, and the number of sorties is a bit inexact. I'm with Franek on the number of combat sortie, but my opinion has a weak base, namely Neville Duke War Diaries, BTW IMHO an excellent book. He had a total of 486 operational sorties, covering 712 operational flying hours, but most of this was acquired in MTO and part of it while flying longer ranged fighters than those flown by JEJ, namely Tomahawk IIB, Kittyhawk I and Spitfire VIII, but many in Spit Vs and IXs. About ˝ of his first tour was flown in Spit Vs from Biggin Hill and during his first tour he flew 161 op. sorties covering 221 op. hours. If we roughly calculated that 200 op.h ~150 combat sorties we get some 600 for JEJ but because he flew many sorties from Continental Europe after D-Day it's very difficult to say. He flew some dive-bombing missions, so they might be with shorter duration but on the other hand most of his sorties were without enemy contacts. Did he ever use drop tanks? So both 515 and 700 are possible.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    944
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Pavel
    I think the issue is in break down between combat and operational sorties. I understand that Bergman had 88 combat, and 281 operational sorties, and it looks completely out of proportion for a typical Polish pilot. In regard of operational tour, I recall that the length of tour varied over the time, and that it depended on a number of factors, but I suppose others may provide more detailed explanation.
    My point is, that eg. Skalski did fly combat sorties in the UK since August 1940, followed same rules as RAF pilots, did not avoid combat missions, and even volunteered for MTO to be operational pilot, and still he was able to make only ~300 sorties (321 includes his Polish tour). Of course, had he not fly Mustangs in 1944 or returned to operational flying after the end of his last tour in mid July 1944 (he even attempted to go to PTO with USAAF to do so), the number would be higher, but still not nearly close to Johnson.

    Juha
    I guess operational sorties were not included in Johnson's tally. Dive bombing would count as combat sortie, and still it was time consuming, as Spitfires operated on a bit of stretch, though I do not have any Spitfire log book handy, to provide average length of a mission.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,527
    Thanks
    20
    Thanked 14 Times in 13 Posts

    Default

    Hi all,

    could anybody explain me the difference between combat and operational flight/sortie?
    In my post operational flight means any operational flight - scramble over UK, convoy escort, bombers escort, sweep, etc.

    As for the ratio operational tour:number for sorties - one must be careful as I know once case of Czech fighter pilot who was worried to be ground and posted behind a desk after the tour that he was recording into his Log Book always flown time/2 to stay in operation longer:-) I do no think it helps him much but I want to noted this case.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    525
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Don't forget to add combat missions flown in Korea to his total. He was attached to a B-26 Invader wing. I don't see this as making up the missing 300/500 missions though. I suspect a rounded total of 1000 operational flying hours has been converted to 1000 missions somewhere along the line.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default combat vs. operational sorties (Polish definition)

    Hi all,

    it seem that Polish forces have its own definitions of operational / combat sorties as given at:

    http://www.polishairforce.pl/bojowed.html

    roughly:
    Combat flight - all flights over enemy territory + all flights when the enemy was encountered (air combat)
    Operational flight - all other operational flying - convoy, scramble (without contact with enemy), patrols over own territory atp.

    It is different from Czech definitions where "combat" flights represent flights over enemy held territory - sweeps, ramrods, circuses, rhubarbs, dive bombing etc.

    S/Ldr Vaclav Slouf, RAF No 112547 accumulated 526 sorties (192 sweeps) representing 677.20 hours of combat flying with RAF (312, 313 sqns RAF) and another 91.30 hours (and unknown number of sorties) with GC III/3 in 1939/1940.

    The only way to confirm the exact numbers of sorties/hours in an individual is to check both Flying Log Book and/or ORB´s.
    For example W/Cmdr Jaroslav Hlado, RAF No 125414 is credited with 439 sorties (281 sweeps) and 519,20 hours but when recommended for DFC (20 Jul 1944) the citation gives 180 sorties/315 hours, when recommended for OBE (19 Feb 1945) citation gives 257 sorties /467 hours and when recommended for DSO (25 May 1945) the citation gives 304 sorties/540 hours.

    Regards.

    David

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    944
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Had to write it. Note 1 - operational sorties listed as a half. Note 2 - those were general RAF rules in ETO. I am surprised it was any different with CzAF.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •