The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

German Luftwaffe 1935-1945.
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The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; something on this topic..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The beginnings of the German air defense 1939-1941.

In pursuit of the guiding political ideas, the German Supreme Command was guided by the strategic idea of destroying the various opponents in short campaigns and separately. A war of attrition, as well as campaigns seeking a decision in two or even more theaters of war at the same time, should be avoided as far as possible.

The Luftwaffe also thought offensively. Their striking power was intended to break enemy resistance on the battlefield. It was hoped that air strikes on the enemy's rear facilities would deprive the enemy of their freedom of action for strategic defense or for possible new offensives.

At the same time, however, the training and combat principles of the German Air Force were aimed at strategic air warfare independent of the other branchs of the Wehrmacht. These operations were intended to hit the enemy's power sources. However, such an air war was not envisaged in connection with the planned “blitzkriegs”, at least in the early stages of a possible war.

The Germans did not have a distinct defensive air strategy. It was argued that the sooner and more effectively the enemy was thrown out of the airfields used by his bombers, the fewer the forces required for the actual air defense of the Reich. Under no circumstances should the attack force be weakened. German military doctrine still saw attack as the best defense. In addition, the German air warfare potential did not seem to be sufficient to build up a strong offensive force and a correspondingly powerful air defense at the same time. The effectiveness of the German Luftwaffe was not suitable for a long war.

The organization and operational objectives of the German air defense forces in 1939 were based on the view that the well-fortified “Western Air Defense Zone” (flak and fighters) was able to repel even stronger air attacks than was expected from the British and French at the time. However, anti-aircraft units were still spread across the whole of Germany from the western borders to the Elbe. They were supposed to provide localized defense to protect the most important objectives that were behind the West Wall and east of Germany's western borders. Day fighters were grouped around a few very specific objectives for the same purpose. Berlin initially received more “symbolic” protection.

The overestimation of the own air offensive was also reflected in the insufficient expansion of night fighters. There had already been some experimental units before the war. But back then it was not believed that night air combat would acquire the same importance as it actually did later. The correctness of this opinion seemed to be confirmed when the Anglo-French air raids did not reach any major proportions until the spring of 1940. Night raids were limited to occasional disruptive operations, with enemy bombers primarily dropping propaganda material. These flights mostly extended to the western part of the empire, and in individual cases also to areas further east.

On December 18, 1939, the RAF launched a strong daytime bombing attack on naval installations in the northwestern coastal area. The losses inflicted on the British bombers by the German fighters showed that daylight attacks into the interior of the Reich without fighters protection would initially have little success. There were no further attacks for the time being, so the Germans believed that air supremacy over German space was assured. Radar devices were used experimentally for the first time on the German side during this operation.

However, from this success the necessary conclusions for the liberal use of these devices in air defense were not immediately drawn. The anti-aircraft artillery had been using it since 1940 to detect approaching bombers and to achieve more effective defensive fire. However, the German hunters only used them on a larger scale from 1941/42. Previous use of these devices was also hampered by production difficulties. In addition, the German Supreme Command probably did not realize the great importance that radar would have for both air tactics and the overall strategy of the future air war.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The beginnings of the German air defense 1939-1941.

After the attack on France began, British bombers carried out the first large-scale night raids against targets in northern Germany (Sketch 1). With the conclusion of land operations in France, the RAF increased its night attacks against northwest Germany and Berlin.

The hopes that the Germans had placed on the success of their strategic planning were only partially fulfilled. France was well defeated militarily. However, the British continued the war. The invasion of England proved unsuccessful. In addition, the German Supreme Command began planning the war against Russia as early as late summer 1940; It was very likely that this battle in the East would tie up extremely strong air force units.

Nevertheless, the “Blitz” was opened. The German leadership seemed to consider itself strong enough to paralyze Great Britain from the air in a short period of time. At the same time, this air operation was intended - at least initially - to prepare for the invasion, the "Sea Lion." This offensive idea of Germany's overall warfare and the underestimation of the British enemy make it understandable that until the last stages of the war only temporary resources were actually used to strengthen the German air defense. The German Supreme Command continued to hope that it would be able to decisively repel the Allied air raid forces beyond the German border. No threatening air operations were expected from the east.

Until 1941, the air defense forces were led by the various air district commands. The anti-aircraft artillery bore the brunt of the defensive battle. The bulk of the day fighters were deployed in the areas close to the front. By the end of 1940, the night fighters had reached a strength of three groups based in the Netherlands.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Night raid of the RAF on October 6, 1940 from 21:05 to 23:50 hours..............
Night raid of the RAF on October 6, 1940 from 21:05 to 23:50 hours..............
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The beginnings of the German air defense 1939-1941.

From the autumn of 1941 onwards, the idea of placing the Reich's entire defense system under a unified command grew stronger. In April 1941 the “Air Defense Commander Center” was established (Plate 1). The newly formed night fighter division and the air district commandos were subordinate to him. The latter led the anti-aircraft units (flak), the necessary air intelligence units, the flight reporting service (flugmeldedienst), the passive air protection (luftschutz) and the air ground organization (Fliegerboden).

Although the “Battle of Britain” was lost, the strategic idea of fighting the war primarily on the offensive was retained. A powerful Reich air defense was not built and its armaments were not fundamentally expanded.

However, the British night attacks in 1940 had led to new methods in air tactics. Two night hunting methods developed:

1. The non-guided night hunt tied to the protected object, called “Wilde Sau”.
2. The guided object night hunt, called “Zahme Sau”.

The first procedure tied the night fighters to a very specific protective object, whereby they had to work closely with the anti-aircraft artillery. The other method involved pure night fighter operations on the object, in which the night fighters were guided to their targets by radar stations on the ground.

Another development brought about “light” and “dark” night hunting. For bright night hunting, a large number of flashlight batteries were distributed over a specific area, such as in the Hamburg-Bremen area.

In accordance with the main approach directions used by the RAF, night fighters were allocated limited canopy sectors. During dark night hunting, the searchlights were replaced by radar ground devices. In both cases, the night fighters' battles had absolute priority over the anti-aircraft artillery's defensive fire.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Navidad - Feliz Natal - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas - Wesołych Świąt! :up:
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Plate 1 - Command Organization of the Reich air defense...................
Plate 1 - Command Organization of the Reich air defense...................
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The beginnings of the German air defense 1939-1941.

From 1941/42, General Kammhuber, Commanding General of the entire Night Fighter Unit, increased the use of night fighters and introduced area night hunting guided by radar devices, the so-called "canopy bed method" («Himmelbett verfahren»).

In 1941, and even earlier, the RAF had not yet shown itself capable of launching a powerful air offensive, although Britain was able to recover considerably after the Battle of Britain. But the important thing was that this important enemy of Germany was able to increasingly strengthen its own air defense.

However, the Germans had their advanced airfields right on the doorstep of the British Isles: in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. Losses to German fighters taking off from the English Channel coast were limited. German aircraft production had at least increased to such an extent that at that time the number of operational fighters seemed sufficient, given that the war was not yet gigantic. However, this was not enough for decisive battles. Both sides carried out their daytime operations with caution.

In contrast to this cautious daytime strategy, British night bomber operations intensified. In Germany it was believed that these night attacks were aimed at training crews and developing the best attack methods. The RAF also expected corresponding effects to occur.

Meanwhile, the start of the Russian campaign had halted the main German air offensive against England. After the start of this fateful war, only two fighter wings of Luftflotte 3 remained in France. Each fighter group was deployed in Holland and another in the coastal area of northwestern Germany. Luftflotte 3 also had training groups from all fighter groups. The German leadership was clear that these training groups represented little combat value. It was hoped that, at least for a limited time, they would give the enemy the illusion of greater combat power.

Each of these groups created the so-called “operational team.” They prevented British day bombers from penetrating unescorted into the western areas, where there were no German fighter units. However, in general the fighter bombers remained within the range of their escort, that is, approximately west of the line Antwerp - Brussels - St-Quentin - Amiens - Le Mans - Nantes.

Taking into account the strength of the British attack, the scope and the selection of the target, one could assume that the British were primarily interested in pinning down the German forces and giving symbolic support to the Russians.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).

Feliz Año Nuevo - Happy New Year - feliz Ano Novo - gluckliches Neues Jahr - Bonne Année - Felice Anno Nuovo - Szczęśliwego nowego roku! :beer:
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«Himmelbett verfahren» o Kammhuber Line.......................
«Himmelbett verfahren» o Kammhuber Line.......................
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The beginnings of the German air defense 1939-1941.

With the exception of a group of destroyers (Bf-110) operating in the German Bight, in 1941 there were no fighter forces available over Reich territory. German fighters initially remained in their forward combat zone in Western Europe. In general, the British night bomber war of that year was only of a disruptive character.

Navigation methods, target search, and bomb dropping techniques had not yet reached their peak. Therefore, no effective area bombardment occurred. The night bombers arrived at long intervals. The attacks themselves were fragmented over a large area. On the return flight, the attackers dispersed further (sketch 2).

Compared to this British attack method, the "canopy bed" method proved to be very suitable and effective within the range of ground search devices. But these determined the size of the night hunting areas. Greater success seemed to depend solely on the following conditions:

1. About the necessary increase in the number of fighters used in night hunting areas. The objective was to cover the entire area and catch all the enemy bombers that flew by.
2. On improving the training and experience of crews deployed on land and on-board equipment (radar).

If one examines the air defense of the Reich in 1941, one can come to the following assessment:
1. There was German air supremacy over the territory of the Reich during the day. The British had not fought for this fact either.
They probably weren't ready to win it seriously yet.
2. German air supremacy over the territory of the Reich at night did not exist. Air superiority seemed to be a given.
3. The protection of German sources of force, which represent the heart of a successful global war, cannot be considered absolutely secure.
4- No decisive measures had been taken to reinforce the Reich's air defense in a truly generous way.
5. Germany had the industrial and technical base necessary to establish a strong air defense. However, this potential had not been sufficiently exploited.
6. In addition to bombers, the army's offensives had to rely on powerful combat units, especially in Russia and later also in the Mediterranean, whose combat leadership was exposed to considerable crises.
7. The German Supreme Command underestimated the war potential of the British and Russians, as well as the weapons and services that could reasonably be expected from the United States.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Sketch 2 - RAF night flights on 26 and 27 January 1941 between 00:30 and 07:40 hours............
Sketch 2 - RAF night flights on 26 and 27 January 1941 between 00:30 and 07:40 hours............
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

With insufficient air defense - 1942 - setbacks on the external fronts.

At the beginning of 1942, the high command of the German Air Force decided to create two daylight fighter wings (Tagjagdgeschwadern). These were made up of several “operational squadrons” (“Einsatzstaffeln”). For a long time they had little combat value due to a lack of experienced pilots.

On the other hand, British daylight bombing operations lacked strategic effect. However, it must be admitted that certain signs pointed to the increase in strategic air warfare. These were jamming attacks carried out in bad weather and long-range daytime aerial reconnaissance carried out by the “Mosquitos”. Furthermore, a daytime bombardment deserves our special attention. The British "Bomber Command" deployed twelve Lancaster bombers on April 17, 1942 against the diesel engine factory (for submarines) at Augsburg.

Eight aircraft entered the target area. Seven bombers were shot down by anti-aircraft fire and fighter planes. This defensive success was based on particularly favorable circumstances. The enemy arrived without escort and in favorable weather for air defense. The German air traffic control service was able to transmit its reports in time to the air defense forces, which were fully alert. Therefore, it was perfectly understandable that the German air defense command authorities had a wrong opinion about the effectiveness and robustness of the defense system.

They considered that the "alarm units" created by the hunting schools were capable of dealing with the enemy's daytime operations inside Germany. The leaders probably did not want to create new units because this would weaken the operational strength of the combat units fighting on the external fronts and because the Luftwaffe did not have sufficient reserves.

Attempts to successfully counter reconnaissance mosquito planes failed for the following reasons:

1. Inadequate performance of the flight information service, the radio communications service and the fighter communications system.
2. The speeds of the German fighter planes did not have the excess power necessary to combat the fast "Mosquitoes."
3. The German crews lacked the combat experience necessary for these fights.
4. The “Mosquitoes” also flew too high and too fast for the German anti-aircraft artillery.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

With insufficient air defense - 1942 - setbacks on the external fronts.

In mid-1942, the German Supreme Command recognized the establishment of the US 8th Air Fleet in the British Isles. The news received about the weapons and other technical equipment of the aircraft indicated the planning of daytime bombing operations. By October 1942, the number of American bombers participating in individual missions in France had already increased by more than half. However, the start of the strategic daylight bomber offensive against Reich territory was delayed by the withdrawal of significant American forces from England to the North African theater of war (probably four fighter groups and two heavy bomber groups). At least German leaders recognized the long range of American escort fighters.

It had already become clear that American bombers, with their powerful defensive armament and solid construction, were not easily vulnerable. At that time in the air war over Germany, German fighters had not yet mastered the tactic of mass attacks with several aircraft at the same time. But such a procedure was necessary to fragment the defensive fire of the bombers. Perhaps the fighters also overestimated the defensive power of the “flying fortresses” and their invulnerability.

At the same time, a dangerous increase in British night bombing became evident. The number of aircraft used and the destructive effect of surface attacks gradually became evident and already exceeded the level that the Germans had reached in Coventry in 1940. Altitudes increased and speeds did too.

On the other hand, the methods and effectiveness of German night hunting operations also improved, as radar devices and radar connections were not disturbed. As the British bombers were still widely dispersed, they were trapped and destroyed. Their defensive weaponry was also weak. British long-distance night fighters did not appear. Taking these successes into account, the Germans could still consider themselves superior. However, its leaders did not seem to foresee this with the necessary clarity. The RAF would soon use new tactics and improved technical equipment to render German defense methods and their equipment ineffective.

The German "canopy bed" (space-guided night fighter) began to prove too immobile, as the enemy constantly attempted to change its attack tactics. The new German tactics were not yet considered urgent or immediately necessary. The reasons for the failure of this defense system were the following:

1. It was not possible to quickly move the facilities from a canopy bed to other areas and thus adapt in time to the new targets chosen by the opposing bomber formations.
2. The British “bomber stream” tactic shortened attack times and concentrated units on the objective. This tactic did not allow the Germans to bring a sufficient number of night fighters into battle in a promising position.
3. The canopy bed method did not allow any effective defense against larger areas extending beyond the range of permanently installed radar devices, much less against enemy night operations throughout the territory of the Reich.
4. Therefore, German fighters were unable to undertake extensive pursuit operations.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

With insufficient air defense - 1942 - setbacks on the external fronts.

At that time, the Reich's air defense had not yet switched to more modern methods of night air warfare: long-range night hunting, long-range night hunting over British air bases (personally banned by Hitler). Only the fighters deployed in the canopy bed areas were reinforced and the number of radar devices was increased.

Taking into account all the development of air warfare, the year 1942 can be described as the beginning of the era of modern air warfare. Barely but steadily, the emphasis of the battle shifted from ground strategy to air strategy. In the western war zones, air warfare alone dominated the situation and also had an increasingly decisive impact on maritime warfare. The “intercontinental” war came into full force when the United States Air Force began to intervene effectively in European combat. The British and Americans had improved the technical combat equipment of their air forces and increased the effectiveness of their ever-growing units.

The Western Allies had recognized before the Axis powers that ultimate success would depend above all on overwhelming air superiority. This alone would significantly weaken Germany's war potential and slowly undermine the morale of the German resistance. The war had long since passed into the stage of pure battle of attrition, in which "lightning campaigns" would only be successful again when the defenders' supplies were weakened and their own attacking ground troops could receive an "air shield" insuperable.

The Axis powers, on the other hand, fought their military battles in Russia and Africa, which were based purely on a ground strategy, with an increasingly weakened air force. Great decisions were certainly sought, but they could not be imposed without an effective air shield constantly fed by new forces.

On the other hand, German strategic air defense was deprived of the much-needed expansion. A strategic air offensive had not been possible for a long time, although some attempts were made to attack industrial installations in the east and against British energy sources, although they were insignificant to the most important events.

The British defense forces became increasingly stronger. The RAF, for its part, resorted to greater attacks. The American air force attacked the outer strongholds of the German Luftwaffe in the occupied western territories, in Italy and in the Balkans.

The combined operations of the Allied forces reduced the area occupied by the Axis powers in North Africa. Allied shipping traffic, which had previously been significantly crippled by German submarines and air forces, began to recover as German sea and air attacks were able to lose their impact. Only in the far north did shipping from the Western Allies to Russia suffer losses, although these did not endanger the Soviet Union's supplies.

In all these difficult battles, the German Air Force was increasingly crushed against the enemy, who seemed to be superior everywhere, on numerous widely separated fronts. It no longer fulfilled the strategic task it had initially pursued.

This was the situation at the end of the fateful year 1942! This particular period represented a development that required fundamental improvements and reinforcements in the German Air Force and its strategy. This was the last moment in which certain successes could still be glimpsed. However, the declaration of "total war" turned out to be a useless attempt to improve the military and economic situation of the Reich, which also did not capture the essence of the overall situation.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 10

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The fight for air supremacy over Germany until the invasion 1943-1944.

The year 1943 prepared the ground for the outcome of World War II. Taking into account the Allied air war, that year is notable in the following aspects:

1. The US Air Force conducted major air operations against German energy sources in the Reich.
2. The fighters that accompanied the bombers during the day achieved greater penetration depths.
3. The total number of attacking aircraft increased.
4. The destructive effects were amplified by the “carpet rolling” of bomber formations flying together.
5. The bombings covered increasing areas of German territory.
6. British night operations became more important.

The main objectives of the Western Allies' air war were:

1. Submarine bases, submarine shipyards and repair shops.
2. Ball bearing factories.
3. The air force industry (construction of airframes, assembly plants and engine factories).
4. The supply of oil.

The largest daytime bombing operations were carried out by the US 8th Air Fleet. It was based in England. At the end of 1943 the US 15th Air Fleet and, to a lesser extent, the US 9th Air Fleet appeared from Italy. They carried out air raids against Austria and the Balkans.

The British attacks on the Eder and Möhne dams and the Battle of Hamburg significantly worsened the German air defense situation.

The attacks on the dams (March 16 and 17 and June 24 and 25, 1943) caused great surprise due to their sudden nature and the use of new bombs especially suitable for this purpose. The power of German anti-aircraft artillery used against these objects was small.

Only at the Eder Dam did a small number of light anti-aircraft guns come into action. The anti-aircraft artillery was now reinforced. However, this did not reverse the serious damage and the high number of victims among the civilian population.

At the end of July 1943, an extremely powerful British air raid, carried out over three nights, devastated the city of Hamburg. For the first time the British used “chaff”. A new type of war seemed to be developing: “high-frequency warfare.” The strips of aluminum foil interfered with onboard search devices and ground-based radars. Night fighter combat and anti-aircraft artillery fire soon reached a point where they lost their previous effectiveness.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 11

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The fight for air supremacy over Germany until the invasion 1943-1944.

In addition, the combined British bomber attack achieved other successes. The Reich Air Defense faced a situation that fundamentally changed previous combat conditions. Assessments of the air situation turned out to be incorrect. The massive attacks occurred in such a short time that anti-aircraft fire no longer had the necessary effect.

The British used the modern "Lancaster" and "Halifax" night bomber models. In the tactical and technical spheres of this phase of the war, they expressed the clear superiority of the air offensive over the air defense. While in May 1942 about 1,000 RAF bombers with 1,500 tons of bombs destroyed the city of Cologne in an hour and a half, in 1943 similar attacks were carried out with almost 400 aircraft in 15 minutes. However, the number of British bombers used in attacks increased without their losses increasing significantly. The reasons have already been developed above.

The year 1943 also marked a new turning point for daytime bombing. The US 8th Air Fleet did not always conduct its attack operations under escort. From May 1943, the "Thunderbolts" were regularly used as escort fighters for the bombers of this air fleet, which initially searched for targets in the Netherlands and West Germany. This was a new and decisive step towards the conduct of an independent and far-reaching strategic air war.

However, German leaders remained of the opinion that daytime operations by the American air fleets would not be successful in the long term. They believed that the German fighter forces, although outnumbered, would still be capable of inflicting such heavy and then intolerable losses on the attacking bombers that the American air force would be forced to refrain from major operations.

Although there was very clear information about the development of current procedures, the German Supreme Command did not believe that these plans would be fully realized. In view of this trend in the air war, German leaders had not yet implemented the generous and urgently needed reinforcement of the Reich's air defense. In Hitler's view, any defensive strategy implemented on a large scale meant a step backwards. Even when it was clearly recognized that American escort fighters could easily reach the Ruhr area, no decisive measures were taken to eliminate this danger.

Mosquito attacks also continued to expand in 1943. Special hunting units that had gained good experience in the Russian campaign were withdrawn from the Eastern Front and used against the Mosquitoes. However, at that time the German Luftwaffe did not have a “pursuit fighter” capable of effectively combating the armed reconnaissance of the “Mosquitoes”. Therefore, all efforts were fruitless. The German air force lacked the technical means to compensate for this inferiority.

If the Germans had been able to distribute large numbers of "mosquito" combat units, albeit in small groups, throughout the Reich, the battles would probably have been successful. However, pursuit operations at very long distances with aircraft of insufficient speed proved useless.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 11

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The fight for air supremacy over Germany until the invasion 1943-1944.

Until now, the German Reich's air defense strategy had been based primarily on fighting enemy bombers on the outer periphery of the occupied territories. The plan was that under no circumstances would valuable time and combat space be lost in defending of the enemy. However, due to the wide distribution of the fighter units, which fought in groups of about 20 operational aircraft each, only individual groups engaged the enemy one after the other.

From April 1943, additional tanks were used to a greater extent to allow the fighters a larger combat area. Within the Reich, fighter pilot schools and fighter training groups, and even the testing service of aircraft factories, were entrusted with the task of assembling small alarm units. They were supposed to attack enemy bombers that had broken through the western air barrier (sketch 3).

Successes remained limited. Meanwhile, Allied daytime operations in the Reich were creating a serious situation. Air raids on the aviation industry in late July and on the ball bearing industry in mid-August 1943 caused setbacks in the armaments program. The accuracy of area calculation and the general planned strategy of the allies began to paralyze very important industries that presented bottlenecks. The German war potential, which was striving to intensify its effectiveness especially in this period of the war, could not withstand such devastating effects in the long term.

On the other hand, high hopes were placed on the efforts of General Milch, which led to an independent increase in fighter production. We note that these improvements were not initiated by the German Supreme Command itself. However, this program was essentially aimed at making better use of the capacity of existing plants and their technical resources. There is no evidence of a radical change in Germany's overall industrial and material performance in favor of a powerful air defense. It won't happen in 1944 either.

Therefore, the German Supreme Command must have hoped for the possibility of being able to carry out the war without this shift towards strategic air defense. In Hitler's opinion, Central Europe should defend itself first in Tunisia, then in Sicily and finally in Italy. The Western Allies would never have been able to operate over Germany without the protection of their fighters if the Germans had reinforced their own fighters within the Reich in a timely manner.

But the German fighter branch had to attack the enemy on the periphery of the combat area (sketch 3). The growing Allied air superiority was increasingly wearing down the German fighters. There were no breaks for the units. No notable reinforcements arrived. The material was worn away without any visible success in combat. Combat morale did not improve. Personnel losses increased.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 11

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Sketch 3 - Peripheral defense (fighters) 1940 - 1943..............................<br />Thick line - strong grouping of German fighters; dashed line - weak grouping of German fighters; Stroke around London - Allied air bases.
Sketch 3 - Peripheral defense (fighters) 1940 - 1943..............................
Thick line - strong grouping of German fighters; dashed line - weak grouping of German fighters; Stroke around London - Allied air bases.
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The fight for air supremacy over Germany until the invasion 1943-1944.

It was not until July 1943 that some exhausted fighter groups were transferred to the Reich, when attempts to break Allied air supremacy in the southern battle area failed. Two fighter groups were also deployed from the east in the air defense of the Reich. There was no rest or renewal. The units also did not have time to familiarize themselves with the special conditions of strategic air defense over the territory of the Reich. Due to the critical situation, they had to be deployed immediately. From April 1943, night fighter units were thrown into daytime combat due to a lack of daytime fighters.

They were equipped with the Bf-110 (destroyer) and the Ju-88 (long-range bomber and reconnaissance aircraft). The crews had not yet mastered close formation flying or the mass attack style. The planes were too big and cumbersome for these fights. These daytime hunting battles exhausted the night hunting teams and depleted materiel.

However, positive successes appeared to occur while the Allied escort was not yet in use. However, now that this was the case, the losses of the night fighters increased rapidly and dangerously. The operational strength of night fighters used in daytime combat decreased; But above all, many good crews were lost. In 1944 the use of night fighters in daytime combat over Reich territory was abandoned.

The first battles of the reinforced German combat forces relieved the pressure of the critical air situation over the territory of the Reich. Since the escort fighters of the US 8th Air Fleet had barely penetrated beyond the Dutch and northern German coastal areas, the German fighters were not significantly hampered.

At the same time, the 21 cm rockets of the German defense fighters had temporary success, as the planes were able to remain outside the effective range of the bombers' defensive weapons (about 880 m). On the other hand, the objective of these weapons, that is, to fragment closed bomber formations, was only achieved in individual cases. Escort fighters later deployed by the Western Allies over the Reich made this new weapon ineffective anyway.

At least the numerically weak German fighters achieved some success. Examples include the air battles over Kassel on 29 July 1943 and over Schweinfurth on 17 August 1943. American units lost 35 bombers near Kassel, the Germans suffered 7 losses. At Schweinfurth, 36 American bombers were lost, compared to 25 German losses. The successes increased the self-confidence of the German hunters. It was believed that such defensive battles could be repeated everywhere and that successes could increase even further if the hunters were reinforced. However, the combination of fighter units had to be expressed even more clearly.

However, this successful period of German air defense soon ended. The P-47 increased its range to 325 miles (520 km) with the help of deployable auxiliary tanks. However, as long as the accompanying hunters were linked to the unit's direct close game protection, there was no need to overestimate their effectiveness. However, this would be different as it had to be assumed that the expected performance of the P-51 would be significantly better.

The United States Air Force, however, had no intention of repeating the German mistakes in the “Battle of Britain” of 1940. At that time, the Germans believed in the possibility of achieving air supremacy over England through an escort with a range of about 250 km. American daylight operations would also have failed if they had ultimately given up an escort covering all of Germany, something that was urgently needed to fulfill the overall plan.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 11

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The fight for air supremacy over Germany until the invasion 1943-1944.

At this time the Germans were still dealing with two types of US Air Force operations:

1. Attacks under escort against closer targets in the coastal area of northern Germany, in Holland, Belgium and France.

2. Several raids against targets inside Germany. The fighters escorted the bombers only to the German borders on the approach flight and then back west of the border in the same area.

These last operations must be described as very daring. They would have caused heavy losses if the Germans had deployed their defensive fighters not in the outer bastions, but rather deep within the Reich's territory.

The tactical system of the German combat direction had the main objective of destroying the bombers. If possible, Allied escort fighters were to be ignored. Tactics, equipment, training and weaponry were primarily intended to fight bombers. A strong attack against bombers and escort fighters could no longer be carried out at the same time, given the increasingly unfavorable balance of forces between defenders and attackers.

Detailed military scientific investigation will still be necessary to determine whether the German decision, as described above, was indeed the correct one. Perhaps turning back or even effectively eliminating enemy escort fighters would have ultimately deprived the American bombers of their assured strike power.

Even today, a defender's daily air dominance primarily involves suppressing or destroying enemy escort fighters, especially since improved anti-aircraft weapons on the protected target itself will play an even greater role than hitherto.

In any case, a rigid regulation of this issue does not seem adequate to the ever-changing enemy situation and changing climatic conditions. As has always been the case, it should ultimately be left to the tactical leader on the scene (commander on scene) to decide who to attack, but to do so with all the forces at his disposal. The strategy must adapt to tactical victory.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 11

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

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Hello to all :D; more..............................

The air defense of the German Reich in the World War 1939-1945 and its lessons.

The fight for air supremacy over Germany until the invasion 1943-1944.

The overall situation was further complicated by the bilateral encirclement of German space by the Allied air forces. On August 13, 1943, 61 B-24s of the US 9th Air Fleet attacked the Messerschmidt factory in Wiener-Neustadt. A “second air front” had emerged. The Germans found it difficult to counter this strategy. The necessary preparations had to be made hastily. Jagdfliegerführer Ostmark, stationed near Vienna, was assigned three fighter and destroyer groups to operate in Austria, Hungary and southern Germany.

For its part, the “Jafü Ostmark” was subordinated to the 8. Fighter Division in Munich, so that the uniformity of combat operations in this large area was guaranteed. However, attacks by the US 9th Air Fleet and later the US 15th Air Fleet caused a fragmentation of the German forces. From the point of view of the US Air Force command, this development was as beneficial as the increased range of escort formations.

However, the Americans had not yet achieved complete air supremacy, a necessary condition for strategic air warfare to have decisive effects. Now they also began to attack German fighter production. This figure had gone from 455 aircraft in January 1943 to 1,068 aircraft in July of the same year, and then, as a result of the attacks, fell to 812, 936, 947, 796, 872 in the last five months of the year.

To achieve these successes, the Americans attacked 14 aircraft industry plants in the summer of 1943. On October 9, bombers of the US 8th Air Fleet attacked Gdynia, Danzig, Marienburg and Anklam without escort, being severely damaged the Focke-Wulf factories in Marienburg and Anklam. These attacks led to an underestimation of the German air defense by the Western Allies, which would be reflected in the second air battle over Schweinfurth. On October 14, 1943, 228 American bombers flew to the Schweinfurth ball bearing factory for the second time. The escort was allowed to turn around in the Eifel.

The Germans managed to bring all available fighters and destroyers, including those of the Air Fleet 3, in France, against the enemy, which began the largest air battle of 1943. The destroyers and many of the fighters were equipped with 21 cm rockets. It was possible to break up some bomber formations and almost completely destroy them, a result that was caused by the lack of escort by the American bombers. On the German side, 300 fighters, 40 destroyers and several night fighters participated in the aerial combat. Of the 228 bombers, 62 were shot down and 138 were damaged (US figures). German losses were 35 fighters and destroyers. The “US Strategic Bombing Survey” stated the following:

«Repeated losses of this magnitude had to be considered intolerable. Unescorted attacks deep into enemy territory were suspended, of which the operation at Schweinfurth was one of the first of its kind. For four months there were no more attacks on Schweinfurth.”

There is no doubt that the German air defense achieved good partial success. The American side spoke of a “temporary loss of air superiority.” This was while American bombers flew to Germany unescorted. However, it became clear to the Germans that their night fighters and destroyers could hardly continue to participate in daytime combat against increased US Air Force escort protection. The technical inferiority was too great.

Source: Die Luftverteidigung des Deutschen Reiches im Weltkrieg 1939-1945 und ihre Lehren: ein strategischer Überblick. Herhudt von Rohden. Allgemeine schweizerische Militärzeitschrift. Band (Jahr): 117 (1951). Heft 11

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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