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

German Luftwaffe 1935-1945.
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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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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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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.

To this end, the German fighters were worn out by spatially and temporally extended surveillance flights by the Allied fighter units, with a clear focus on the areas of operation of the German fighters. German units were prevented from taking off and were involved in fighting from the beginning under unfavorable circumstances. This forced the Germans to get rid of their extra tanks, which in turn made it difficult or impossible to carry out their actual combat missions.

The Germans, who had gathered in the air to fight and approach together, dispersed. The effectiveness of fighting four-engine bomber formations decreased. Fighters returning from flights against the enemy due to lack of ammunition or fuel were defenseless against their opponents. In addition, the enemy carried out large-scale deep attacks with shipborne weapons deep in the Reich (Berlin, Munich, etc.).

Both in the West and in the Reich, the air force command of the Western Allies viewed the fight against “fighter power sources” as an essential prerequisite for the ultimate success of their fight in France and for the advance towards the interior of the Reich.

The RAF recorded the following as its overall performance in 1943:

30 attacks with bomb loads of 500 to 1000 tons.
16 attacks with bombs of 1000-1500 tons
9 attacks with bombs of 1500-2000 tons
3 attacks with bomb loads of more than 2000 tons.

Losses now amounted to one aircraft lost for every 80 tons dropped (1 plane lost for every 40 tons dropped in 1942). (136,000 tons of bombs). Since November 1943, the number of four-engined forces flying towards Fortress Germany had increased:

Month: highest average number of four-engine aircraft used in an attack - number of four-engine attacking aircraft in an operational force.
November 1943: 300 -- 360
December 1943: 450-600
January 1944: 600-760
February 1944: 600 -- 700
March 1944: 700-800
April 1944: 800-980
May 1944: 900 -- 1180
Source: Ic des Luftwaffenführungsstabes, OKL. (Die Zahlen stammen aus dem Jahre 1944.)

The number of shootdowns by fighters and anti-aircraft guns rarely reached 5 percent.

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.

As part of these operations, Allied air activity against the entire transportation system in Western Europe and West Germany was intensified. The attacks against the sensitive area of ​​the transition zone from the German to the Belgian-French transport system caused traffic disruptions. They were further increased by the disruption of roads and inland waterways. In this way, the future invasion zone would be isolated from the territory of the Reich, as a military center and source of supplies, weapons and equipment.

These attacks began in mid-March 1944. It was already recognized then that the attacks on the German internal transport system were directly related to the attacks on the transport systems in the occupied western areas.

The immediate prelude to the invasion were the following Allied operations:
1. Beginning of major attacks against the German fuel industry. A shutdown of these systems could have a short-term impact on all German combat operations (May 28, 1944, American four-engine units)
2. Continuous attacks by heavy, medium and light bombers against coastal fortifications and V-weapon launching bases.
3. Attacks against supply bases in the occupied western areas and against important Tiger tank unloading ramps.
4. Attacks with rockets, fighter-bombers and board weapons against German radar systems (large search positions).
5. Significant increase in missions on moonlit nights to supply the French and Belgian resistance movements.

The increase in Allied flights before the invasion is explained by reports from Air Fleet 3 in Paris:
January 1944 - 24,300 inbound and transit flights.
February 1944 - 33,600 incoming and transit flights.
March 1944 - 42,000 incoming and transit flights.
April 1944 - 51,300 incoming and transit flights.
May 1944 - 87,400 inbound and transit flights
(From the archives of the 8th Department of the General Staff of the Air Force).

Deployment of fighters and fighter-bombers in the West increased from 28,600 in April 1944 to 54,800 in May 1944 (8th Department).
In May 1944, 2,017 locomotives were taken out of service in the occupied West (8th Department).

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.

Defeat and collapse 1944-1945.

June 6, 1944 represents the last decisive turning point in World War II. The best criticism of weaponry and mutual air strategy comes from one of the top men on the Air Force General Staff, Generalleutnant Koller, chief of the Luftwaffe General staff. On May 15, 1944, in a discussion on armament issues with Generalluftzeugmeister Milch, he stated the following:

"Consideration of the balance of power between the German and enemy air forces and the fact of constantly growing air superiority on all fronts leads to the conclusion that all previous air armament programs did not take into account the real needs of the German air war to assert itself in Europe's airspace. It should be noted that the strategic decisions of the first years of the war, the great successes of this era in general and the tactical superiority in particular are due to the superiority and constant employment of the German Air Force.

From this lesson the enemies quickly drew the conclusion that the air force had decisive importance in the interaction of all military means of power. They have focused their main effort on this. On the contrary, German air weapons have remained in the same position for years and, apart from a certain increase in performance, have not provided any significant reinforcement to the air.

The starting point here is the consideration that while the outcome of war may depend on unpredictable factors, these in turn have underlying conditions that can be weighed and therefore, if recognized, must be created. The Air Force Command considers strengthening the Air Force to the maximum possible extent a sure, if not decisive, prerequisite for victory.

Total war only became such thanks to the Luftwaffe. No combat operations on land or at sea can no longer function without the support of the Air Force. In addition, operational air warfare with superior forces, regardless of the situation on the land fronts and on the seas, is capable of decisively determining the law of action. The strength and weakness of the German Air Force will be, more than any other factor, decisive for the outcome of the war.” (From the minutes of the meeting of the Generalluftzeugmeister.)

At that time, on June 30, 1944, the German Air Force had 4,637 combat aircraft (bombers, attack aircraft, fighters, destroyers and night fighters, of which 2,292 combat aircraft were actually operational. [Situation map from the OKL of June 30, 1944] ).

The extreme efforts and best planning of the air force leadership could no longer stop the collapse: at the end of June 1944, the fighter units of the Western Allies in the south of England and in the Normandy landing zone had increased to around 5,400 aircraft, and long-range bomber units in England and Italy had increased to around 7,300 (*) aircraft; At that time there were around 1,800 aircraft in close support units in England, Sardinia and Corsica (8th Department). How was the German Luftwaffe supposed to recover from this superiority?

(*) Sketch 5 gives an idea of ​​the raids from the west and south.

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).
Attachments
Sketch 5 - From England almost 1,100 Boeing and Liberators at an altitude of 5,500 - 7,000 meters, flying at 450 k/h with fighter protection at 7,500 meters (700 - 800 Mustangs). From the south approximately 400 Boeing and Liberator at an altitude of 6,000 - 7,000 meters with fighter protection...............
Sketch 5 - From England almost 1,100 Boeing and Liberators at an altitude of 5,500 - 7,000 meters, flying at 450 k/h with fighter protection at 7,500 meters (700 - 800 Mustangs). From the south approximately 400 Boeing and Liberator at an altitude of 6,000 - 7,000 meters with fighter protection...............
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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.

Defeat and collapse 1944-1945.

Already in mid-June 1944, the enemy air force increasingly turned against German sources of force in the Reich. In the second half of June, 15 major attacks were again recorded (21 major attacks in May). The nightly harassing attacks never ceased. Already in June 1944 it became clear that the enemy had only weakened the fighting on the territory of the Reich in the first days of June in favor of the invasion zone in Normandy. In the invasion zone it completely dominated space to a depth of 200 km and yet was able to further wear down German power sources with much superior forces.

The major Russian attack, which also began in the east in the second half of June, opened a large hole in the German front. It was hardly stopped by the German army and air force, which was still present here. The withdrawal of the Eastern air forces into the Reich had weakened the East, but it had not been able to strengthen both Normandy and the German zone enough for there to be any chance of achieving a defensive decision that would last even a long time.

A sober comparison of the forces and results of the air war still expected made it seem even then hopeless that Allied air supremacy would be broken in the foreseeable future by existing and still expected reinforcements.

The first reserve of some 900 fighters, assembled by General Milch and Fighter Inspector Galland, was launched into the Normandy battlefront in early June 1944. Weather conditions and the enemy caused them such losses as they entered the area of ​​operations that only about 350 aircraft were operational at the new destination airfields. At the end of August, a second reserve of fighters launched to France was depleted.

Only a few single-seat night fighter units remained in the Reich, grouped widely in Berlin, Frankfurt, Bavaria and Vienna. Two of these groups were also relocated to France. For three months, the night fighters fought a brave but unequal battle against the twenty-fold superiority of the American day bombers and their escort. It was inevitable that they would suffer more wear and tear.

Already in July 1944, the command of the German front in Normandy realized that the Allies were launching aluminum strips of a more modern type and that the onboard search device SN 2 was again outdated. Hoaxes, radio jamming, and completely unforeseen guidance of separate streams of bombers left German air defense command centers confused about the actual air situation, which in turn made the use of fighters difficult. Simulated and diversionary attacks by Western escort fighters only increased the uncertainty in recognizing the real situation.

Despite the initial success of the SN 2 shipboard search device, the Allies won the “high frequency war” in 1944. The mass production of the new SN 3 search device, which aimed to avoid enemy interference by continuous changes of waves, only reached the front with a few samples in February 1945. The impact of the bombings on the German weapons industry, as well as the shortage of raw materials and workers, meant that timely production of the new ones was no longer possible. The German development of radio measurements could probably have caught up with the technical leadership of the Allies. However, under the given conditions, superiority at the front would not have been possible. For this, the most important requirement was missing: an intact radiometering industry.

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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