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

German Luftwaffe 1935-1945.
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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke »

Well done Raul It's very interresting
Kindly regards
Prosper :up: :up:
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tigre
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

Post by tigre »

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 the end of 1943, the “Air Commander Center” (“Luftbefehlshaber Mitte”) was replaced by the “Reich Air Fleet Command” (“Luftflottenkommando Reich”), which now took charge of the entire air defense of the Reich. Fighter divisions were given control of the flight reporting service. The air defense radio listening system was combined in the hands of the Reich Air Fleet and the Air Fleet 3 in France. The tactical and strategic reports of the air situation were immediately communicated to the combat units.

However, the German Air Force did not begin 1944 with any decisive reinforcements for its fighter units. By the spring of 1944, the numerical superiority of Allied escort fighters had become so great that German fighters and destroyers suffered increasing losses in the escalating battles. Only in isolated cases did the defense forces manage to find unaccompanied bombers. For this period the following picture of the distribution of forces for all German fighters emerged: see table below.

Before the invasion, German air defense in the West and in the Reich had the following defense units available and ready for action:
Fighter 540, destroyer and night fighter 544.

The Americans and British were able to counter these German forces with the following numbers: US 8th and 9th Air Fleet -- RAF
Heavy bombers: 2592-1620
Medium bombers: 456 - 342
Light bombers: 171 - 144
Fighter and fighter-bombers: 2700 - 918
Night fighters: 36-198
Reconnaissance fighter aircraft: 280 - 144
Total USAAF: 6235 - RAF: 3366

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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* As of 5/31/44: 129. ** As of 5/31/44: 54.<br />1. Occupied Western Territories; 2. Territory of the Reich; 3. Russia; 4. Finland and Norway; 5. Italy; 6. Balkans.
* As of 5/31/44: 129. ** As of 5/31/44: 54.
1. Occupied Western Territories; 2. Territory of the Reich; 3. Russia; 4. Finland and Norway; 5. Italy; 6. Balkans.
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

Post by tigre »

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.

If we assume that the heavy and medium bombers, fighters and fighter-bombers of the Western allies had an operational readiness of 60%, which is certainly still too low, then they faced each other in the ongoing battle in the West and over the Reich (round numbers):

American bombers 1830 - 1,100 German fighters, destroyers and night fighters
RAF 1,180 bombers - 1,492 heavy anti-aircraft batteries in the Reich /
USA fighters 1,620 - 612 light anti-aircraft batteries (May 9, 1944) / (Luftwaffe Flak only)
RAF 550 fighters - 433 heavy anti-aircraft batteries in the west /
422 light anti-aircraft batteries (May 24, 1944) / (including Flak Kriegsmarine)
Source: Lagekarten des OKL.

In the period between March 31, 1944 and May 1, 1944, and between November 29, 1944 and December 31, 1944, the proportion of the branches of the air force, calculated based on its operational aircraft, was as follows:
March-April 1944 - - November-December 1944
Fighters, destroyers and night fighters 38% -- 53%
Bombers 13% -- 6%
Attack aircraft 17% -- 18%
Reconnaissance aircraft and seaplanes 17% -- 13.6%
Transports 15% -- 9.4%
Source: Lagenkarten des OKL in connection with GenQu reports; the latter have generally proven to be too high.

At the height of the battle for air supremacy over the Reich, losses of fighters, destroyers and night fighters (from 10% damage to total loss) were as follows:

In 1943
from January 1 to June 30 - 4,470
from July 1 to December 31 - 6,191

In 1944
from January 1 to March 31 - 3,900
from April 1 to May 31 - 3,902
from June 1 to August 31 - 7,855
from September 1 to December 31 - 7,704
In total: 34,022
Source: GenQu Reports 1939-1944.

By 1943, American fighters had reached a depth of approximately to the Aurich-Rheine-Münster-Dortmund-Cologne-Sedan line. At the beginning of 1943/44 it was known that they flew to the Elbe, but the bombers flew over all of Germany. In March 1944, escort fighters flew north to the Bremen - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt am Main area, south to Vienna and Munich, and at the end of summer throughout the Reich.

What the leaders of the Reich Air Defense had predicted starting in 1942 had come true: contrary to all the opinions of the Supreme Command, the flights of bomber units to the territory of the Reich were protected by fighters.

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.

Post by tigre »

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.

Now the Germans abandoned their peripheral defense to avoid further losses. Holland was evacuated by the units (sketch 4). On the territory of the Reich, several units were combined into 2 Day Fighter Wings. According to the instructions of the OKL at that time, the tactics of day fighters were regulated as follows:

"Approximately one-third of the Wing's fighter forces were to allow attack on bombers by holding on to enemy fighters. Destroyers and night fighters used as day fighters were to attack bombers out of range of enemy fighters or attack groups of bombers that would otherwise be left unprotected.

The result of the continuation of the previous combat tactics, albeit at a weaker level, was that the escort fighters of the Western powers lost their initial insecurity and switched to offensive protection. The German fighter pilot soon ceased to dominate the fight. He dodged it too easily. When the escort fighters realized that they were not being attacked by the Germans, they fought all the German fighters that appeared. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that this tactic could not be considered successful.

During these months (around April 1944) the first squadron of combat jet aircraft (Me-262) appeared with the task of taking charge of the protection of the chemical plant near Leuna. For the first time, a type of aircraft began to intervene in combat which, if it had been used - as was possible - from 1942/43 onwards, would have caused a fundamental change in the aerial situation. However, there was also bitter disappointment because Hitler wanted jet aircraft to be used as fighter-bombers. The Reich's air defense was deprived of a new effective weapon.

Furthermore, production was delayed. When, after much back and forth, Hitler finally gave his approval for the use of these aircraft as fighters, the industry could no longer guarantee even remotely sufficient production in this crucial final stage of the war.

From around April 1944, the German leadership decided to use the strong combat forces concentrated in the Reich to carry out massive attacks against the bombers and escort fighters of the Western Allies. The fighter groups withdrawn from the western areas were divided into three groups (sketch 4):

1. Hanover - Berlin
2. Frankfurt am Main or Westphalia *
3. Nuremberg or Vienna *
* Deployment according to enemy raids.

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 4 - Defense in deep airspace (fighters) from the end of 1943 to the beginning of the summer of 1944......<br />From above:<br />Western Allied Air Force Bases<br />Fighters of the Air Fleet 3<br />Weaker combat forces in France (Air Fleet 3) and Norway<br />Fighters division<br />Jagdfliegerführer H. Hannover, N. Nuremberg, P. Frankfurt
Sketch 4 - Defense in deep airspace (fighters) from the end of 1943 to the beginning of the summer of 1944......
From above:
Western Allied Air Force Bases
Fighters of the Air Fleet 3
Weaker combat forces in France (Air Fleet 3) and Norway
Fighters division
Jagdfliegerführer H. Hannover, N. Nuremberg, P. Frankfurt
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Re: The air defense of the German Reich, 1939-1945.

Post by tigre »

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 withdrawal of defense forces was undoubtedly the right decision. The distribution of the groups also seemed to correspond to the situation. But the strategic success that is generally associated with any mass deployment did not occur because the small number of operational aircraft (ranging between 250 and 350) was not a mass at all. So the expected success could never come. Additionally, the units were worn out; the quality of training new crews increasingly declined due to losses; The blind flight that all combatants must master in modern warfare was only partially mastered by the crews; The technical performance of fighter aircraft, particularly their range and excess power at high altitudes, were no longer sufficient for long-range strategic air defense operations.

The German leadership also followed the principle of attacking, if possible, all enemy units flying into the Reich. This was to happen even as German fighters were outnumbered and engaged the enemy in unfavorable weather and combat conditions. It is very likely that this form of warfare demanded from above arose from the desire to allay the concerns of the German population, who hardly saw really strong fighter forces of their own over their homeland. This trend may be understandable. In any case, they led to the final defeat of the Luftwaffe and therefore Germany in general!

However, who should have the courage to completely interrupt the defensive operations of German fighters for a certain period of time, renew the units and, so to speak, form a "fighter shock army" together with better trained units? Attempts have been made. They were repeatedly thwarted by the fact that Germany was already in the throes of defeat and no longer had freedom of action. The enemy had usurped the law of action!

The fragmented actions of the fighters did not deter the enemy from their increasingly intense attacks. German losses, the invasion and then the Battle of the Bulge prevented the formation of a shock army.

At the beginning of the invasion of France, Allied air operations had achieved the following results:
1. Air supremacy in the invasion zone.
2. Air superiority over Germany.
3. A dangerous decrease in oil supplies for the German Wehrmacht.
4. The beginning of a paralysis of transport routes and, therefore, a restriction of German freedom of military and economic action.
5. Non-insignificant interruption in the flow of aircraft to the fronts.
6. A weakening - but by no means elimination - of the German war industry, especially in the production of submarines and combat vehicles, and other key industries.

One of the most important foundations of this strategy was the fight against German hunting weapons. It was to be destroyed in the West and decisively worn out in the Reich.

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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