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Luftwaffe Research Pages
The 33rd Fighter Group in Tunisia and Algeria, December 1942 - January 1943
By
Apr 26, 2007, 23:38

Introduction
The 33rd Fighter Group took part in the initial TORCH landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November 1942. In early December the unit was sent forward to frontline airfields at Youks-les-Bains, and then Thelepte, near the Tunisia/Algeria border. Here, the 31st FG engaged the Luftwaffe on a daily basis, and was on the end of many bombing and strafing raids. It was a harsh baptism for an unblooded unit. The below statistics demonstrate the toll taken on the Group before it was withdrawn from combat on 6 February 1943.

Aerial Victory Claims by the 33rd FG
Type: Destroyed-Probable-Damaged
FW 190: 8-0-4
Bf 109: 5-1-4
Ju 88: 14-0-2
He 111: 2-0-0
Ju 87: 5-2-4
Total fighters claimed: 13-1-8
Total claimed: 34-3-14


Actual Luftwaffe losses to the 33rd FG
Type: Lost-Damaged
FW 190: 1-0
Bf 109: 1-0
Ju 88: 12-1
He 111: 0-0
Ju 87: 2-3 *
Hs 129: 2-0
Total fighters actually lost: 2-0
Total actually lost: 18-4 **


* I don’t have all the Ju 87 losses
** In addition a Beaufighter was accidentally shot down on 13 January 1943

Luftwaffe Pilot/Crew Losses to the 33rd FG
Aircraft Type: Killed-Missing/Prisoner-Wounded
FW 190: 1-0-0
Bf 109: 1-0-0
Ju 88: 0-10*-2
Ju 87: 2-0-3
Hs 129: 1-0-0

* Some of these were probably killed

33rd FG Pilot Losses
Cause: Killed–Missing/Prisoner-Wounded
Fighters: 10-0-1
Anti-aircraft fire: 2-0-0
Other/unknown: 3-3-0
Total pilots lost: 15-3-1

33rd FG Aircraft Losses *
Cause: Lost-Damaged
Fighters: 15-9
Anti-aircraft fire: 2-7
Bombing & strafing: 2-3
Other: 6-2
Total aircraft lost: 25-21

* Still quite incomplete, especially damaged aircraft

Conclusion
As can be seen, despite some success against Ju 87s, and especially against Ju 88s, the 33rd Fighter Group struggled in combat with the major German fighter types, the FW 190 and Bf 109. The American pilots shot down just two of the Luftwaffe fighters, in exchange losing 15 P-40s to the Bf 109 and FW 190.


Sources
Olynyk

Prien, Jagdgeschwader 53

Prien, Jagdgeschwader 77

Reed

Shores, Ring and Hess

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