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St r at egy f or Def eat

The Luf t waf f e
1933- 1945
By
WILLIAMSONMURRAY
AIRUNIVERSITY
AIRUNIVERSITY
PRESS
MAXWELL AIRFORCEBASE,
ALABAMA
J anuar y
1983















THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
DI SCLAI MER-ABSTAI NER
The vi ews expr essed do
not necessar i l y r ef l ect any f or mal posi t i on by t he
Ai r power Resear ch I nst i t ut e, t he Ai r Uni ver si t y, t he Ai r Tr ai ni ng Command, or t he
Uni t ed St at es Ai r For ce.
Cl ear ance f or publ i c
r el ease of t hi s wor k under t he pr ovi si ons of AFR190-1 has
been accompl i shed.
Pur sal e by t he
Super i nt eml ent of Doeument s, U
. S. Gover nment Pr i nt i ng Of f i ce
Washi ngt on,
D. C. 20402
Li brary of Congress
Catal ogi ngi n Publ i cati onData
Murray,
Wi l l i amson.
Strategy f or Def eat : TheLutf waf f e, 1933-1945.
At headof ti tl e: Ai rpower ResearchI nsti tute.
"J anuary 1983. "
Bi bl i ography: p.
I ncl udes i ndex.
1.
Worl d War, 1939-1945-Aeri al operati ons, German.
2. Germany. Luf twaf f e-Hi story-Worl dWar, 1939-1945.
3. Germany. Luf twaf f e-Hi story. I . Ai r Uni versi ty (US) . Ai rpower Research I nsti tute. 11. Ti tl e.
D787. M841982 940. 54' 4943 82-73232
I SBN1-58566-010-8
Fi rst
Pri nti ngJ anuary 1993
Second Pri nti ngJ ul y 1999
Thi rd Pri nti ngDecember 2000
WI LLI AMSONMURRAY
Dr . Wi l l i amson Murray earned BA, MA, and PhDdegrees
i n hi st ory f romYal e
Uni versi t y. Af ormer Ai r Force mai nt enance of f i cer, Dr . Murray present l y t eaches
at
Ohi o
St at e Uni versi t y
where
he
i s rapi dl y acqui ri ng
a reput at i on
as
one of t he
f oremost USaut hori t i es on t he German Luf t waf f e. An avi d schol ar on mi l i t ary
af f ai rs, Dr . Murrayhas wri t t en numerous art i cl es i nprof essi onal j ournal s on vari ous
f acet s of mi l i t ary hi st ory. Anot her maj or research ef f ort , "The Pat ht o Rui n: The
Change i n European Bal ance of Power, 1938- 1939, " has j ust been accept ed
f or
publ i cat i on by t he Pri ncet on Uni versi t y Press. Dr .
Murray st i l l ret ai ns
hi s
commi ssi on i n t he USAF Ready Reserve, servi ng as a maj or i n
t he
Ai r
Force
I nt el l i gence Servi ce .















THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
TOMYPARENTS















THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
CHAPTER
CONTENTS
Page
DI SCLAI MER-ABSTAI NER
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
i i i
BI OGRAPHI CALSKETCH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v
LI STOFI LLUSTRATI ONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi i
LI STOFMAPS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . .
.
. . . .
.
. . . .
. .
. . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvi i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi x
FOREWORD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxi
I NTRODUCTI ON. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxi i i
I

THELUFTWAFFE: ORI GI NSAND
PREPARATI ON. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
TheEconomi c Probl em. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
TheDevel opment of t heLuf t waf f e, 1 933-39. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
TheLuf t waf f e' s I mpact , 1 933-39 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 4
Concl usi on. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 9
Not es, Chapt er I

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
I I

THEEASYWAR: GERMANYTRI UMPHANT, SEPTEMBER
1 939-SEPTEMBER
1 940. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Backgroundt o Pol and. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
ThePol i sh Campai gnand t he"Phony" War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Scandi navi aandFrance. . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
TheBat t l eof Bri t ai n. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Concl usi on. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Not es, Chapt er I I

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
I I I

THETURNTO
RUSSI A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
TheSt rat egi c Probl em
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Di st ract i ons
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Barbarossa:
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Barbarossa: The
I nvasi on. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
81
Product i on andSt rat egy, 1 940-41 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 88
Concl usi on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . .
. .
. .
. . . . . . 1 03
Not es, Chapt er I I I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .
. . .
. .
.
. . . .
.
. . 1 08
V
Page
I V

ON
THEBRI NK: JANUARY-OCTOBER1942. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
The East
. . .
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
.
.
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
TheMedi t er r anean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
TheWest : Br i t i sh Ef f or t s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
127
The
Ger man Response: Ai r War i n t heWest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Ger manPr oduct i on,
1942: Per f or mance and
I mpl i cat i ons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . 136
Concl usi on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
.
.
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
Not es, Chapt er I V. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
ATTRI TI ONONTHEPERI PHERY: NOVEMBER1942-
AUGUST1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
The War i n t he East : November 1942-
August 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
The Medi t er r anean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
The Ai r War i n t he West : The Combi ned
Bomber Of f ensi ve
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .
166
The Def ense of t heRei ch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Losses, Pr oduct i on, and St r at egy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Concl usi on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
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.
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. 191
Not es, Chapt er
V
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
VI

ATTRI TI ONOVERTHEREI CH: SEPTEMBER1943-
MARCH1944
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Ni ght Def ense of t heRei ch . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
210
The Day Bat t l e: Vi ct or y, Sept ember -Oct ober
1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
.
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.
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.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
The Day Bat t l e: The Pause, November -
December 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
.
.
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226
Def eat : Januar y-Mar ch 1944 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . 234
War i n t he East , t he Medi t er r anean,
and
Over Br i t ai n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
. . . . . . . . 245
Pr oduct i on andTr ai ni ng
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251
Concl usi on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 255
Not es, Chapt er VI
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256
VI I

DEFEAT: APRI L-SEPTEMBER1944. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
"Over l or d" and"St r at egi c" Bombi ng. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Def ense of t he
Fr ont i er s : The LUFTWAFFE,
Apr i l -Sept ember 1944 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 277
Page
Concl usi on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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. . 291
Not es,
Chapt er VI I
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
VI I I
CONCLUSI ON. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 299
The Resul t s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. .
.
. .
.
. .
. .
.
. .
.
. . . . . . . . 299
The Ot her Si de of t he Hi l l . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 302
Not es, Chapt er VI I I
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
BI BLI OGRAPHY
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . .
347
I NDEX. .
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
. .
.
. . . 357
APPENDI X
1
THEPREWARDEVELOPMENT
OF
BRI TI SHAND
AMERI CANDOCTRI NEANDAI RPOWER. . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
The Royal Ai r For ce
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
TheDevel opment of Ai r power i n t he Uni t ed
St at es . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . .
.
. . . . . .
.
. .
.
.
. 331
Not es, Appendi x 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
.
. .
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.
. .
.
. .
. .
.
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.
. 337
2 EFFECTONA10, 000- AI RCRAFTFORCESTRUCTUREOF
A3. 6- PERCENTLOSS
RATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
3 AI RCRAFTWRI TTENOFF, BOMBERCOMMAND-
1941- 1944 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . .
. .
.
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.
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.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
4
EI GHTHAI R FORCE, PERCENTAGE
SORTI ELOSSRATE
(HEAVYBOMBERS) . . . . . .
.
. .
.
. .
.
.
. .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345
LI STOFI LLUSTRATI ONS
Tabl e
Page
I Pl anned andAct ual Ai r cr af t Out put - 1938and 1939. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
I I Ai r cr ewReadi ness- August 1938. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
I I I Ger man Ai r cr af t Losses (Damaged and Dest r oyed)-
May- J une1940 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
I V Ger man Ai r cr af t Losses 1940 (Al l Types) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
V Ger man Fi ght er Losses 1940 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
VI Ger man Bomber Losses 1940 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
VI I Ai r cr af t andCr ewLosses- August 1940 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
VI I I Per cent age of Ful l y Oper at i onal ReadyCr ews,
J ul y- Sept ember 1940 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
I X Ai r cr af t Losses- J ul y- Sept ember 1940. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 53
X Ai r cr af t Losses- May- Sept ember
1940. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
XI
Luf t waf f eBomber Losses- - Oct ober - December 1940 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
XI I
Ger man Ai r cr af t St r engt h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
XI I I Cr ewandAi r cr af t Losses ont he East er n Fr ont -
J une22- November 1, 1941 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. .
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . 89
XI V Ger manAi r cr af t Losses 1941 (Al l Types) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 90
XV Ger manBomber Losses 1941 . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
XVI Ger man Fi ght er Losses 1941 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
XVI I Ger man Losses, Al l Causes- 1941
(Not I ncl udi ng
November ) . . . . . . . . . .
.
. .
.
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
XVI I I
Luf t waf f e"I n- Commi ssi on" Rat es 1941 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 95
XI X %of Ful l y Oper at i onal Cr ews, J ul y 1941- J anuar y
1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. .
.
. .
.
. .
.
.
. .
.
. .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
XX
Pr oduct i on of Ger man Ai r cr af t - 1939- 1941 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . 100
XXI Aut hor i zed
and Act ual St r engt h, Combat
Ai r cr af t -
Sept ember
1939- Mar ch 1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 101
Page
XXI I

Average
Monthl yProducti on byHal f Years :
Fi ghters . . . . . . . . .
. .
.
. . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
XXI I l

Average Monthl y Producti onby Hal f Years :
Twi n- Engi ne Ai rcraf t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
XXI V

Average Monthl y
Producti onby Hal f Years :
Four- Engi ne
Ai rcraf t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
XXV

GermanLosses, J un- Dec 1942, byTheater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
114
XXVI

GermanAi rcraf t Losses 1942 ( Al l Types) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
XXVI I

GermanBomber Losses 1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
XXVI I I

GermanFi ghter Losses 1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
XXI X

GermanLosses, Al l Causes- J anuary- October 1942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
XXX

GermanLosses by
Theater, J an- Nov 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
XXXI

GermanFi ghter Losses, 1943 ( Number of Ai rcraf t) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
XXXI I

GermanAi rcraf t Losses, Medi terranean
Theater-
November 1942- May 1943
.
. . .
.
. .
.
. . .
.
. . . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
XXXI I I

Ai rcraf t Wri tten Of f : Ei ghth Ai r Force, 1943
( Heavy Bombers) . . . .
.
. . . . . . .
.
. . . . . .
.
. . . . . .
.
. . . . . .
.
. . . . . .
.
. . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . 175
XXXI V

CrewLosses Ei ghth Ai r Force, 1943 ( Heavy Bombers) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
XXXV

GermanAi rcraf t Losses 1943 ( Al l Types) . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
184
XXXVI

GermanBomber Losses 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 185
XXXVI I

GermanFi ghter Losses 1943
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
XXXVI I I

Fi ghter Pi l ot Loss, J an- Aug 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . 187
XXXI X

Fi ghter andBomber Strength i n
Frontl i ne Uni ts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . 188
XL

Bomber Command Strength and
Ai rcraf t Losses- 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 212
XLI

Bomber Command Losses,
J anuary 1943- March 1944 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 220
XLI I

Bri ti sh Bomber Losses- 1944
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
XLI I I

Ai rcraf t Losses,
Schwei nf urt- October 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 226
XLI V

Fi ghter Pi l ot Losses - Sept- Dec 1943 . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
XLV

Producti on
of
Newand Recondi ti oned Fi ghter
Ai rcraf t- J une- December 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Page
XLVI Pr oduct i on of NewFi ght er s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 230
XLVI I
Fr ont l i ne St r engt h and Oper at i onal Ready Rat e,
Fi ght er For ce- August - December 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
XLVI I I Losses i n J agdgeschwader 26. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
XLI X
Bomber and Fi ght er St r engt h, Ei ght h Ai r For ce. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
L Ai r cr af t Wr i t t en Of f :
Ei ght h Ai r For ce, 1944
( Heavy Bomber s) .
.
. . .
. .
. . .
. .
. .
. .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
LI Ger man Ai r cr af t Losses, J an- J un
1944 ( Al l Types) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
LI I Ger man Fi ght er Losses, J an- J un 1944. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
LI I I
Fi ght er Pi l ot Losses - J an- May 1944 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
LI V
Ger man Bomber Losses, J an- J un 1944. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
LV Number
of LoadedWagons ( Excl udi ng a Rel at i vel y
Smal l Number
Owned Pr i vat el y) Or i gi nat i ng i n
Regi on Nor t h ( Weekl y
Tot al s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
LVI Number of LoadedWagons
( Excl udi ng a Rel at i vel y
Smal l
Number Owned Pr i vat el y) Or i gi nat i ng i n
Regi on West ( Weekl y Tot al s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
LVI I Number of Tr ai ns Passi ng Al ongt he Rout e Val ent on- J uvi sy
i n Rel at i on t o t he Tonnages of Bombs Di r ect ed
Agai nst Rai l way Cent r es Al ongt he Rout e. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
LVI I I Ger man Fuel Pr oduct i on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
LI X Fi ght er For ces Avai l abl e, Luf t f l ot t eRei ch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
LX Di st r i but i on of Ger man Fi ght er s, End of J une 1944 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 284
LXI Ai r cr ewSur vi val Rat e, Bomber Command- 1939- 1945
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
LXI I Ger man Ai r cr af t Losses, 6- Mont h Per i ods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 304
LXI I I Bomber Losses, 6- Mont h Per i ods
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .
305
LXI V Fi ght er Losses, 6- Mont h
Per i ods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
LXV No t i t l e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . .
.
. .
. .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
LXVI Not i t l e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. .
. .
. .
. .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 308
LXVI I %of Ai r cr af t
Aut hor i zed St r engt h. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . 309
Page
LXVI I I

%Loss Fi ght er Pi l ot St r engt h, J an
1942- J un
1943 - Par t I
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. .
. .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . 310
Par t I I .
.
. . . . . . . . .
.
. . . . . . . . .
.
. . .
. .
. .
. . .
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
LXX

Fl yi ngHour s i n Br i t i sh, Amer i can and Ger man
Tr ai ni ngPr ogr ams .
.
. . . . . . . .
. .
. .
. . .
.
. .
. .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
LXXI

Number of Vi ct or i es Achi evedEach 50Mi ssi ons
Fl own: 4Ger man Aces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Phot ogr aphs
Fol l owi ngPage
61
Gener al Wal t her Wever , f i r st Chi ef of St af f
Rei chsmar schal l Her mann Gbr i ngand Gener al ober st Hans J eschonnek
Er nst Udet and Wi l l i Messer schmi t t
Mai nst ay of t he f i ght er f or ce: t heBf 109G
Thef l awed f i ght er : t he Bf 110
The"f ast " bomber : t heJ u 88
Thei nt er i m
bomber : t heHe
111
Thecancel l ed "st r at egi c" bomber :
t heDo 19
Thef l awed "st r at egi c"
bomber : t he He177
Russi an Ai r
For ceBaseat Kovno af t er Ger man at t ack, 22J une1941
Fi el d
Mar shal Al ber t Kessel r i ng
Fol l owi ngPage
199
Fi el d Mar shal Er har dMi l ch vi si t i ngt he55t h BombWi ng
xv
LXI X

%of Cr ews Oper at i onal
Ready ( Ful l y) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
B- 17 f or mat i on
at t acki ng Br unswi ck
B- 17' s under at t ack byFw190, 29
Nov
1943, t ar get
: Br emen
The
cost :
B- 17
st r aggl er
under t he guns
of
an Fw190
Thecost
The cost : B- 17 f al l i ng out of f or mat i on
The cost : B- 17 muni t i on handl i ng acci dent
The def ender s: Gal l and and Her mann at war game wi t h 1st Fi ght er Wi ng, Nov- Dec
1943
The def ender s: t he Fw190
The def ender s:
mai nst ayof t he ni ght f i ght er f or ce- t he
Bf 110G
Ai r super i or i t y: Amer i can f i ght er s over B- 17 f or mat i on
At t r i t i on: dest r uct i on of a Bf 109
At t r i t i on: Bf 109 pi l ot bal es out
Ai r super i or i t y
: He 177 under st r af i ng at t ack
Def eat : occupi edGer manai r f i el d, 1945
Gor i ng i n def eat : t he
Rei chsmar schal l r emoves
hi s medal s f or hi s Amer i can
capt or s
LI STOFMAPS
Page
TheI nvasi on of Fr ance 1940: The
Pl ans
. . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Bat t l e of Br i t ai n . . .
. .
. .
. .
. . .
.
. . .
. .
. . .
. .
. .
. .
. . .
.
. . .
. .
. .
. . .
. .
.
. . .
. .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
TheI nvasi on of Russi a. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
TheGer man Summer Of f ensi ve: 1942. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
123
TheSovi et Count er At t ack : St al i ngr ad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
TheMedi t er r anean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.
. . .
.
. . 161
Maj or Tar get s : TheSt r at egi c Bombi ngOf f ensi ve
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Escor t Fi ght er Range .
. . .
. .
. .
. .
. . . .
.
. .
. .
. . .
. .
. .
. .
. . .
.
. . .
. .
. .
. .
. .
. . .
. .
. .
. .
. . .
.
. . .
.
. . . .
.
. . . . . 172
Ger man Ai r Def ense- Oct 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 178
Kassel 22/ 23r d Oct ober 1943 - Out war d Rout e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
Pl ot s on Bomber s Passed Over RT&WTt o
Ni ght f i ght er s, Rai d on Nur ember g,
30/ 31. 3 . 44. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
TheSovi et Advance, Nov 1942- Dec 1944 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. 287















THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I n a
work of t hi s nat ure, i t i s not s urpri s i ng t hat many peopl e pl ayed a
cons i derabl e rol e i n advi s i ng me as
I began and conduct ed my res earch . The
s t rengt hs of t hi s book ref l ect t hei r hel p; i t s weaknes s es ,
myf ai l i ngs . I n part i cul ar, I
woul d l i ke t o t hank Prof es s or Phi l i p Fl ammer of Bri gham
Young Uni vers i t y who
i nt roduced me t o t he Ai r War Col l ege and pl ayed a maj or rol e i n
devel opi ng my
i nt eres t i n doi ng a s t udy of t he Luf t waf f e .
At t he Ai r Uni vers i t y, Col onel Thomas Fabyani c,
f ounder of t he Ai rpower
Res earch I ns t i t ut e ( ARI ) , des erves s peci al ment i on f or hi s generous s upport of t hi s
proj ect as does
t he current Di rect or of t he I ns t i t ut e, Col onel Kennet h Al nwi ck.
Wi t hout t he whol eheart ed s upport of Maj or General Davi d Gray, f ormer
Commandant of t he
Ai r War
Col l ege,
t hi s s t udy coul d not have been conduct ed. I
woul d al s o l i ke t o t hank t he
f ol l owi ng i ndi vi dual s at t he Ai r War Col l ege f or t hei r
hel p and gui dance: Col onel Donal d Fri zzel l ,
Li eut enant Col onel s Donal d Baucom,
Davi d Macl s s ac, Davi dLupt on, and J ames True ;
and
my
col l eagues i n
t he
ARI , Dr .
Davi d Met s and Dr . Kennet h Werrel l . My s peci al t hanks t o J ohn Schenk and
Dorot hyMcCl us ki e of t he ARI f or t hei r t horough and det ai l ed edi t ori al as s i s t ance. I
woul d al s obe remi s s i f I were not t o expres s myt hanks t o t hos e whohel ped wi t h t he
t ypi ng of t hi s manus cri pt and wi t h arrangement s f or myt ravel s : es peci al l y Edna
Davi s , J o Ann Perdue, MarySchenk, Bet t yBrown, and Norma Todd. I mus t t hank
Ros e McCal l f or t he excel l ent graphi cs and St eve Gars t , Ai r Uni vers i t y Revi ew, f or
des i gni ng t he cover . I n t he academi c worl d, mycol l eagues Prof es s ors I . B.
Hol l ey
and Hans Gat zke des erve t hanks f or t hei r hel p and advi ce.
At
t he
Ohi o St at e
Uni vers i t y, Kennet h Wat man and Bruce Nardul l i were es peci al l y hel pf ul
i n
revi ewi ng t he cont ent of t he f i nal manus cri pt . I
s houl d al s o l i ke t o t hank Harry
Fl et cher f or hi s cons i derabl e hel p i n gui di ng me
t hrough
t he
archi ves at t he Al bert
F. Si mps on Hi s t ori cal Res earch
Cent er . I n addi t i on, I recei ved s ubs t ant i al
as s i s t ance whi l e worki ng
abroad i n European archi ves . I n Great Bri t ai n, Group
Capt ai n "Tony" Mas on af f orded me acces s t o cri t i cal
mat eri al s i n t he RAFSt af f
Col l ege archi ves ; "J . P. "
McDonal d gui ded me t hrough t he mat eri al s avai l abl e
i n
t he Publ i c Record Of f i ce
( PRO) f romhi s pos t i n t he Ai r Hi s t ori cal
Branch ; and
"Freddi e" Lambert
and Suzanne Mars h provi ded i nval uabl e
res earch as s i s t ance. I
mus t al s o t hank
Prof es s ors Paul Kennedy, J ohn Gooch,
Bri an Bond, and Ri chard
Overy f or t hei r hel p
as wel l as f ri ends hi p t hat t hey ext ended
t o me whi l e I was i n
Great Bri t ai n . Dr .
Nobl e Frankl and provi dedhi s
t i me and hi s vas t knowl edge at
t he
I mperi al War
Mus eum. I al s o mus t t hank t he s t af f s
at t he PRO, t he I mperi al War
Mus eum, and
t he RAFSt af f Col l ege .
I n
Germany, t he s t af f s at t he mi l i t ary
archi ves i n Frei burg and t he
Mi l i t drges chi cht l i ches
Fors chungs amt pl ayed an i nval uabl e
rol e i n f urt heri ng my
work. I n part i cul ar, I mus t t hank Dr . Manf red
Mes s ers chmi dt , Dr . J urgen Fors t er,
Dr . Hors t
Boog,
and
es peci al l y Dr . Wi l hel mDei s t and Obers t l eut nant Kl aus Mai er
f or t hei r hel p and f ri ends hi p . Maj or General Hans W. As mus provi ded
enormous
pat i ence, wi sdom,
as
wel l as gr eat cour t esy and hospi t al i t y dur i ng my st ay i n
Ger many
.
I shoul d al so
l i ke
t o
t hank Ober st Wer ner Gei ssi nger f or hi s consi der abl e
hel p i n pr oof r eadi ng t he Ger man as wel l as t he Engl i sh i n t he var i ous dr af t s of t hi s
wor k . I n t he mi l i t ar y ar chi ves i n Fr ei bur g, Fr au El eonor e Mi i l l er was
most hel pf ul ,
al ways f r i endl y, and i nvar i abl y pl easant .
Fi nal l y,
I
must t hank my wi f e Mar j or i e and my chi l dr en, Al exandr a and Spencer ,
f or t hei r suppor t andl ove i n al l t he separ at i ons t hat t hi s pr oj ect ent ai l ed.
Mi l i t ar y hi st or y i s a wi ndowt hr ough whi ch wemay st udy t he l essons of past
combat . These l essons become cl ear onl y
af t er t hought f ul exami nat i on of event s
and f act or s t hat i nf l uenced t hem.
Or gani zat i ons t hat have not been wi l l i ng t o
exami net he past , especi al l y t hei r own, have
usual l y pai d
a
pr i cef or t hat over si ght .
West and t oday on t he f ar si de of a gul f
of
t i me
whi ch separ at es us f r omt he
exper i ences of t heSecondWor l dWar . Near l y f or t y year s
ago, t heAl l i edAi r
For ces
f ought
an ext ensi ve, cost l y bat t l e f or ai r super i or i t y over t he Eur opean cont i nent .
The
ai r war
over Eur ope r epr esent ed a gr eat st r uggl e bet ween f ul l y mobi l i zed
i ndust r i al power s . Thi s conf l i ct had t he scal e, char act er i st i cs, and bal ance of
st r engt h bet ween
bot h si des whi ch we mi ght wel l exper i ence i n a f ut ur e conf l i ct .
Though over t i mewewer eabl et o br i ng our massi vepr oduct i ve super i or i t y t o bear
i n t hi s war , i t never t hel ess was a st r uggl e whi ch chal l engedour st ayi ng power and
st ami na . The l engt h andat t r i t i on of t hat conf l i ct suggest t hat shoul d weever f ace
anot her war ona si mi l ar scal e, t he cl ash
of
power may nei t her be
shor t
nor qui ckl y
deci si ve. Wemay agai n havet o f ace
a bat t l ef i el d envi r onment andset of chal l enges
whi ch ar ewhol l y di f f er ent f r omwhat wehavef acedi n r ecent conf l i ct s .
Onl y a f ewof our seni or of f i cer s cancal l di r ect l y upon t he exper i ence of Wor l d
War I I t o gui de t hemi n l eadi ng t he Ai r For ce. Our combat exper i ence base i s
l i mi t ed mai nl y t o t heevent s of Kor ea andVi et nam. Shoul d wehavet o f i ght a l ar ge
scal e war agai n, onl y hi st or y can pr ovi de t he necessar y i nsi ght s . I f hi st or y has had
onedi r ect l esson f or t hest udent of war , i t i s t hat nat i ons andt hei r ar medf or ces wi l l
not be f ul l y pr epar ed f or t he war t hat comes . I f t hi s i s
so, wemust acqui r e by an
ext ensi vest udy of past conf l i ct s, a f l exi bi l i t y of mi ndandi nt el l ect ual
r i gor t hat wi l l
per mi t us t o deal wi t h t heunexpect ed andadapt t o changi ng
condi t i ons as t hey ar e,
not as wef or ecast t hemt o be. Hi st or y cl ear l y poi nt s
out t hat t hosewho i gnor e t he
past ar edoomedt o r epeat ol d mi st akes
.
Thi s book i s a compr ehensi ve anal ysi s of
an
ai r f or ce, t heLuf t waf f e, i n Wor l d
War I I . I t f ol l ows t he
Ger mans f r omt hei r pr ewar pr epar at i ons t o t hei r f i nal
def eat .
Ther e ar e many di st ur bi ng par al l el s
wi t h our cur r ent si t uat i on. I ur geever y
st udent
of mi l i t ar y sci ence
t o r ead i t car ef ul l y . The l essons of
t he nat ur e of war f ar e andt he
appl i cat i on
of , ai r power canpr ovi de t hegui dance
t o devel op our f i ght i ng f or ces and
empl oyment concept s t o meet t hesi gni f i cant
chal l enges wear e cer t ai n t o f acei n t he
f ut ur e.
ROBERTC.
MATHI S
Gener al , USAF ( Ret i r ed)
FOREWORD















THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
INTRODUCTION
As wi t h al l mi l i t ar y t hought , a wi de var i et y of pol i t i cal ,
hi st or i cal , and economi c
f act or s gui ded
t he devel opment of ai r doct r i nes i n t he per i od
bet ween t he Fi r st and
Second Wor l d War s . Yet st andi ng above al l ot her i nf l uences
was
a
r evul si on
agai nst t he mudand
despai r of t he t r enches . Thus, i t i s not sur pr i si ng t hat an It al i an
seni or of f i cer , Gi ul i o Douhet , woul d ar gue
t hat ai r power coul d pr event t he
r epet i t i on of a war t hat had cost It al y
mor e t han 400, 000 dead. In t er ms of t he f i r st
f or mul at i ons of ai r doct r i ne,
Douhet ' s t hought di d not pr ove par t i cul ar l y i nf l uent i al .
In Br i t ai n, t he devel opment
of doct r i ne, bot h wi t hi n and out si de of t he Royal Ai r
For ce ( RAF) , al r eady was wel l advanced by
t he
end
of t he Fi r st Wor l d War . '
Douhet may have exer ci sed mor e i nf l uence on
Amer i can doct r i ne, si nce var i ous
t r ansl at ed ext r act s of hi s wor k f ound t hei r way
i nt o
t he
l i br ar y and school s of t he
Amer i can Ai r Ser vi ce as ear l y as 1922. 2 But
t he f or mul at i on of a pr eci si on bombi ng
doct r i ne i n t he Uni t ed St at es r ai ses t he quest i on of how deepl y
hi s wr i t i ngs
i nf l uenced ear l y Ar my Ai r Cor ps pi oneer s .
Yet , Douhet ' s
t heor i es ar e sympt omat i c of i nt el l ect ual at t i t udes cur r ent among
mi l i t ar y and
ci vi l i an t hi nker s i n t he post - Wor l d War I er a . They ar e, t her ef or e, a
usef ul poi nt of
depar t ur e. Douhet ' s cent r al , si ngl e- mi nded ar gument was t hat t he
deci si ve mi ssi on
f or
an
ai r f or ce was " st r at egi c" bombi ng . ' Al l ot her mi ssi ons
woul d onl y det r act f r omt hi s r ol e and t hus wer e
consi der ed count er pr oduct i ve and a
mi suse of ai r r esour ces. Douhet excl uded t he
possi bi l i t y
of
ai r def ense, deni ed
f i ght er ai r cr af t a pl ace i n f ut ur e ai r
f or ces, and ar gued t hat cl ose ai r suppor t and
i nt er di ct i on wer e an i r r el evant wast e of ai r cr af t .
The
onl y
r ol e f or t he ai r f or ce of t he
f ut ur e woul d be t hat of " st r at egi c" bombi ng .
Douhet f ur t her r easoned
t hat
t he
mor e heavi l y ar med bomber woul d al ways pr ove super i or t o t he f i ght er i n ai r - t o- ai r
combat
. 4
Under l yi ng Douhet ' s ar gument s was a bel i ef t hat bombar dment of an
enemy' s popul at i on cent er s woul d shat t er hi s mor al e and l ead di r ect l y t o t he
col l apse of hi s war ef f or t . ' Such an at t i t ude under l ay most ai r power t heor i es
bet ween t he war s and r ef l ect ed a f undament al di sbel i ef i n t he st ayi ng power of
ci vi l i ansoci et i es.
Douhet ' s appr oach r epr esent ed t he hope t hat ai r power and " st r at egi c"
bombi ng
woul d enabl e i nt er nat i onal conf l i ct t o r et ur n t o an er a of shor t , deci si ve
war s and
t hus woul d
al l ow Eur ope t o escape t he mass sl aught er of
t he l ast war . However ,
nowher e i n Douhet ' s wr i t i ngs i s t her e a sense of
t he t echnol ogi cal and i ndust r i al
under pi nni ngs necessar y f or ai r war . Thi s may
subconsci ousl y r ef l ect t he
ci r cumst ance t hat It al y possessed
none of t he r esour ces, exper t i se, or i ndust r i al
r equi r ement s f or such a war . It i s wor t h
not i ng, however , t hat most ot her t heor i st s
of t he per i od wer e si mi l ar l y
r el uct ant t o r ecogni ze t he t echnol ogi cal and
i ndust r i al
compl exi t i es of t hei r subj ect .
In r et r ospect , what makes t he
pr esent - day
convent i onal wi sdomt hat
Douhet was t he pr ophet of ai r power so sur pr i si ng
i s t he
f act t hat hi s t heor y deni gr at ed al l
t he maj or mi ssi ons of moder n ai r
f or ces except
" st r at egi c"
bombi ng. Douhet di smi ssed ai r def ense, t act i cal ai r , ai r l i f t ,
XXl l l
r econnai ssance,
and ai r super i or i t y as i mmat er i al
. Not sur pr i si ngl y, he al so ar gued
t hat
ai r power el i mi nat ed t he r equi r ement f or ar mi es
and navi es ; consequent l y, t her e
was no need
f or i nt er ser vi ce cooper at i on.
The t heor i es of
Douhet and ot her ear l y ai r power advocat es, wi t h t hei r st r ess on
t he
not i ont hat " st r at egi c" bombi ng was t he
excl usi ve ai r mi ssi on, have exer ci sed a
gr eat i nf l uence ont he devel opment of
ai r f or ces si nce t hat t i me. Comment at or s on
ai r power have al l t oo of t ent i ed t hei r subj ect
di r ect l y and excl usi vel y t o " st r at egi c"
bombi ng, whi l e i gnor i ng ot her possi bl e
appl i cat i ons. Ai r f or ces, however , have
had
t o per f or ma wi de var i et y of t asks ot her t han " st r at egi c"
bombi ng. The r eal
cont r i but i on of ai r power t o
f i nal vi ct or y i n t he Second Wor l d War l ay i n t he
ver y
di ver si t y of i t s
capabi l i t y . Ir oni cal l y, t he conduct of ai r oper at i ons i n
t hat war
r esembl ed, i n many
f acet s, t he st r at egy of t he pr evi ous conf l i ct except t hat at t r i t i on
came nowi n t er ms of
ai r cr af t and ai r cr ews r at her t han mud- st ai ned i nf ant r y . Mont h
af t er mont h, year af t er year ,
cr ews cl i mbed i nt o t hei r ai r cr af t t o f l y over t he
Eur opeancont i nent . Those i n char ge of t he ai r bat t l e
came t o measur e success by
dr ops i nper cent age poi nt s of bomber and
f i ght er l osses r at her t han i n t er ms of yar ds
gai ned. As one comment at or has
poi nt edout :
Despi t e t he vi si ons of i t s pr ot agoni st s of pr ewar days, t he ai r war
dur i ng t he Second Wor l d War
. . .
was at t r i t i on war
.
It di d
not
suppl ant t he oper at i ons of convent i onal f or ces; i t compl ement ed
t hem. Vi ct or y went t o t he
ai r
f or ces
wi t h
t he gr eat est
dept h,
t he
gr eat est bal ance,
t he
gr eat est
f l exi bi l i t y i n
empl oyment
.
The r esul t
was anai r st r at egy
compl et el y
unf or eseenby ai r commander s . . . 6
Thus, ai r
war pr oved t o
have none of t he deci si ve el ement s t hat pr ewar
t hi nker s and
advocat es had so conf i dent l y pr edi ct ed.
Rat her , ai r
super i or i t y
and t he ut i l i zat i on of
ai r power t o br eak t he opponent pr oved t o be el usi ve
and i nt r act abl e
pr obl ems
.
Enemy ai r
f or ces coul d and di d l i ve t o f i ght anot her day despi t e set backs
anddef eat .
Onl y t he el i mi nat i on of t hei r suppor t i ng i ndust r i es and r esour ces, or t he occupat i on
of t hei r bases by gr ound f or ces, guar ant eed compl et e vi ct or y. The accompl i shment
of t he f or mer t ask pr oved ext r aor di nar i l y di f f i cul t , whi l e t he l at t er i ndi cat ed a
degr ee of i nt er dependence among ai r , gr ound, and naval f or ces t hat ai r power
advocat es had
so casual l y di smi ssed bef or e t he war . If t he ai r cr af t had added a new
di mensi on t o war f ar e, i t had not changed t he under l yi ng pr i nci pl es.
Whi l e t he concept of " st r at egi c" bombi ng i nt r i gued pr ewar ai r
f or ces, pr act i cal
f act or s- t he " r eal wor l d" of i nt er ser vi ce r el at i onshi ps, def ense
pr i or i t i es, pol i t i cal
at t i t udes,
and economi c l i mi t at i ons- exer ci sed an i mpor t ant
i nf l uence over t hei r
est abl i shment
and devel opment . Ent i r el y di f f er ent st r at egi c f act or s
det er mi ned
cont r ol
over t he const i t ut i on and st r at egi es of each
di f f er ent Eur opeanai r f or ce, not
t o ment i on t he Ar my Ai r Cor ps i n t he Uni t ed
St at es. To under st and t he cour se of
t hose devel opment s
as wel l as t he doct r i ne t hat gui ded t he empl oyment of ai r power
i n t he Second Wor l d War , one must gr asp not onl y t hose f act or s i nf l uenci ng t he ai r
f or ces t hemsel ves but al so t he l ar ger pr obl ems of nat i onal pol i cy and st r at egy t hat
i nf l uenced bot h pol i t i ci ans and t he mi l i t ar y.
xxi v
The Luf t waf f e, as wi t h al l mi l i t ar y or gani zat i ons, was a chi l d of i t s t i me . The
t heor i es cur r ent t hr oughout
Eur ope i n t he 1920' s and 1930' s wi t h r espect t o t he
f ut ur e cour se of war f ar e i n
gener al
and
ai r
war
i n par t i cul ar al so wer e pr esent i n
Ger many . Conver sel y, and not sur pr i si ngl y, t he pecul i ar f or ces t hat had gui dedand
mol ded Ger man
hi st or y exer ci sed t hei r i nf l uence ont he gr owt h and devel opment of
t he Luf t waf f e. Li ke t hei r count er par t s i not her
nat i ons,
Ger man
ai r menbel i eved
t hat
t hei r ai r f or ce woul d be abl e t o exer ci se an i mpor t ant , i f not deci si ve, i mpact on a
f ut ur e war . To t hem, ai r cr af t woul d be t he def i ni t i ve " st r at egi c" weapon i n t he
comi ng conf l i ct . ' Those cur r ent s wi t hi n t he Ger man mi l i t ar y, t ypi f i ed by Er i ch
Ludendor f f ' s concept i ons of t ot al war and t he mobi l i zat i on of t he popul at i on, not
onl y made t he mass movement of t he Nazi
Par t y at t r act i ve t o many of f i cer s but al so
l ed t o a gr eat er accept ance of ai r power t heor i es
among t he ai r f or ce of f i cer cor ps. '
Ont he ot her
hand, Ger many' s l ocat i on and st r at egi c si t uat i on pr esent ed
t he Ger man
mi l i ar y
wi t h a r eal i t y t hat t hey coul d not i gnor e; one
maj or def eat on l and mi ght
wel l seal
t he f at e of t he Rei ch bef or e t he Luf t waf f e coul d have an i mpact .
That
r epr esent ed a st r at egi c
si t uat i on qui t e di f f er ent f r om t hat f aci ng Br i t i sh and
Amer i canai r men.
Besi des r ef l ect i ng i t s soci et y, t he Luf t waf f e r ef l ect ed t he t r adi t i ons and val ues of
t he Pr ussi an of f i cer cor ps . Li ke t hei r br ot her of f i cer s i n t he ar my, Luf t waf f e of f i cer s
woul d pr ove i magi nat i ve, i nnovat i ve, and
hi ghl y
compet ent i n oper at i onal and
t act i cal mat t er s. They woul d, however , pr ove t hemsel ves l ost i n t he hi gher r eal ms
of st r at egy and gr and st r at egy, and i t woul d be i n t hose r eal ms t hat t he Rei ch woul d
f ounder . Af t er t he war , t he Ger man gener al s and admi r al s woul d r ush i nt o pr i nt t o
pr ove t hat def eat had been l ar gel y t he r esul t of Hi t l er ' s l eader shi p . In f act , t hei r
st r at egi c concept s i n t he war pr oved t o
be as f l awed as had t he Fi i hr er ' s.
The
Ger mangener al s and admi r al s ai ded and abet t ed Hi t l er ' s
st r at egy i n 1940; and when
i t succeeded
beyond t hei r wi l dest expect at i ons wi t h t he f al l of Fr ance, t hey r eact ed
i n
awe,
suspendi ng
r eason f or a bl i nd f ai t h i n t he i nvi nci bi l i t y of t he Rei ch and i t s
Fi i hr er . The
st r at egi c advi ce t hey t ender ed f r omt hat poi nt f or war d i gnor ed t he
i ndust r i al , economi c, and pol i t i cal r eal i t i es
of war bet ween i ndust r i al i zed nat i ons
t hat have exi st ed si nce
t he Amer i can Ci vi l War . The f ai l ur e of
Ger man gr and
st r at egy and mobi l i zat i on
i n 1940- 41 i nsur ed not onl y t he def eat
of t he Ger man
ar medf or ces and t he Luf t waf f e
i nt he comi ng year s but a cat ast r ophe
f or t he Ger man
nat i on as wel l . Ther ef or e,
expl or i ng t he causes f or t he def eat of t he
Luf t waf f e, t he
f ocus
of t hi s st udy, expl ai ns mor e
t han t he downf al l of an ai r f or ce
.
Not es
1 . For a det ai l ed di scussi on of t hi s poi nt ,
see t he excel l ent wor kby Bar r y D. Power s,
St r at egy Wi t hout
Sl i de- Rul e, Br i t i sh Ai r St r at egy, 1914- 1939( London, 1976) .
2 . Rober t F. Fut r el l , Ideas,
Concept s,
Doct r i ne : AHi st or y of Basi c Thi nki ng
i n
t he Uni t ed
St at es
Ai r
For ce, 1907- 1964
( Mont gomer y, 1971) , pp . 38- 39.
3 . For t he pur poses of t hi s st udy, t he use of
t he
t er m" st r at egi c"
bombi ng wi l l have t he wor d
st r at egi c
i ncl osed wi t hi n quot at i on mar ks, as t hi s
aut hor bel i eves
t hat
t he use
of
t he
wor d st r at egi c by ai r power
ent husi ast s t o connot e a par t i cul ar f or m of bombi ng di st or t s t he cl assi cal meani ng of t he wor d. The
di f f i cul t y i nt o whi ch t he mi suse of t hi s wor d has l ed hi st or i ans mi ght be best char act er i zed by t he
f ol l owi ng quest i on: InMay 1940, gi ven Ger many' s mi l i t ar y si t uat i on, what was t he best st r at egi c use t o
whi ch t he Luf t waf f e coul d be put : suppor t i ng t he ar my' s dr i ve t o t he channel and t he cr ushi ng of Fr ench
and
Br i t i sh
l and
power , or at t acki ng Fr enchf act or i es and ci t i es? The answer i s cl ear i n a cl assi cal sense .
Wi t hi nt he exi st i ng def i ni t i ons of " st r at egi c" and" t act i cal " bombi ng, i t i s not so cl ear .
4. Gener al Gi ul i o Douhet ,
The
Commandof t he Ai r ( London, 1943) , pp . 16- 17, 44,
55,
218, 239.
5.
Edwar d War ner , " Douhet , Mi t chel l , Sever sky :
Theor i es of Ai r War f ar e, " Maker s
of Moder n
St r at egy, ed. byEdwar dMead Ear l e, 2nd edi t i on ( Pr i ncet on, 1971) , p . 489.
6. Wi l l i amEmer son, " Oper at i on Poi nt bl ank, " Har mon Memor i al
Lect ur e,
No .
4
( Col or ado Spr i ngs,
1962) , p . 41.
7. For t he basi c gr oundbr eaki ng wor kont hi s poi nt , I ami ndebt ed t o a l ect ur e gi ven i n Sept ember 1980
at t he Ai r War Col l ege, Maxwel l AFB, Al abama, by Ober st l eumant Kl aus Mai er of t he
Mi l i t ar geschi cht l i ches For schungsamt , Feder al Republ i c of Ger many . See t he f ur t her di scussi on and
ampl i f i cat i on of t hi s poi nt i n Chapt er I and i n my ar t i cl e, " The Luf t waf f e Bef or e t he Second Wor l d War :
AMi ssi on, ASt r at egy? , " J our nal of St r at egi c St udi es ( Sept ember 1981) .
8. See, i n par t i cul ar , t he ar t i cl es deal i ng wi t h ai r power t hat appear ed i n t he Mi l i t dr wi ssenschaf t l i che
Rundschau f r om1936t hr ough 1939.
CHAPTERI
The Luf t waf f e :
Or i gi ns and Pr epar at i on
Si nce
Wor l d War II, Amer i can
and Br i t i sh advocat es of " st r at egi c" bombi ng
have cr i t i ci zed t he Luf t waf f e as bei ng " i n ef f ect t he hand mai den
of t he Ger man
ar my. " ' Such a
vi ew does not do j ust i ce t o t he compl exi t y of t he r ear mament
pr obl emf aced by
t he Thi r d Rei ch i n gener al and t he Luf t waf f e i n par t i cul ar . It al so
mi sses ent i r el y t he f act t hat a si gni f i cant body wi t hi n
t he
Luf t waf f e' s hi gh command
wer e conver t s t o t he doct r i ne of
" st r at egi c" bombi ng bef or e t he out br eak of Wor l d
War 11. That Ger many was
not abl e t o wage a successf ul " st r at egi c" bombi ng
campai gni n 1940 r ef l ect ed mer el y t he
f act t hat Ger manai r st r at egi st s i n t he pr ewar
per i od, l i ke t hose i n ot her nat i ons, had
consi der abl y over est i mat ed t hei r abi l i t y t o
i nf l i ct puni shi ng st r at egi c damage wi t h t he weapons at hand
. Bef or e t he war , t he
same t r ends t hat
mar ked t he ai r f or ces of Gr eat Br i t ai n and t he Uni t ed St at es
al so
wer e
pr esent i n t he of f i cer cor ps of t he Luf t waf f e. But an i mpor t ant geogr aphi c
consi der at i on, t he f act t hat Ger many was a cont i nent al power , had an
addi t i onal
i mpact on Ger man
st r at egi c t hi nki ng . In any concei vabl e conf l i ct i nvol vi ng t he
mi l i t ar y f or ces of
t he Rei ch, Ger many f aced t he pr obabi l i t y of l and oper at i ons at t he
out set of host i l i t i es . Thus, i t woul d scar cel y
i mpr ove Ger many' s st r at egi c posi t i on
i f - at t he same t i me
t hat t he Luf t waf f e l aunched aer i al at t acks onLondon, Par i s,
and War saw- Ger many' s
enemi es def eat ed t he Wehr macht on t he bor der and
over r an Si l esi a, East Pr ussi a, andt he
Rhi nel and.
THEECONOMICPROBLEM
Const r ai ni ng and gui di ng t he cour se of Ger man r ear mament t hr oughout t he
1930' s was an economi c si t uat i on consi der abl y di f f er ent f r om t hat whi ch
det er mi ned
Br i t i sh or Amer i canr ear mament . ' The onl y r awmat er i al
possessed by
Ger many i n any abundance was coa1. 3 Al l ot her r aw mat er i al s
r equi r ed f or t he
cont i nued f unct i oni ng
of t he Ger man economy, not t o ment i on t he
successf ul
pr osecut i on of war , had t o be i mpor t ed t o one
ext ent or anot her . Impor t s of oi l ,
r ubber , al umi num, and ot her cr i t i cal
mat er i al s necessar y f or t he cont i nued
f unct i oni ng of t he Luf t waf f e and
t he Wehr macht wer e al l subj ect t o
bl ockade .
Mor eover , i n peacet i me t he
Ger mans had t o use a subst ant i al por t i on
of t hei r
i ndust r i al pr oduct i on t o expor t goods
i n or der t o ear n t he f or ei gn
exchange
necessar y t o pay f or t hese st r at egi c
r awmat er i al i mpor t s needed f or
r ear mament .
Sympt omat i c of t hi s
Ger man economi c vul ner abi l i t y was t he
si t uat i on i n t he
pet r ol eumi ndust r y. In or der
t o mai nt ai n an i ncr easi ngl y mot or i zed
economy and t o
cut downon
dependence f r omf or ei gn sour ces, t he Ger mans
pushed const r uct i onof
synt het i c f uel
pl ant s ( i . e . , pl ant s t hat used coal t o
make pet r ol eum pr oduct s) .
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Never t hel ess, i n
spi t e of subst ant i al i nvest ment s i n a synt het i c f uel
i ndust r y,
synt het i c pr oduct i on
never caught up wi t h demand dur i ng t he 1930' s. Whi l e t he
per cent age of
synt het i c f uel i n t er ms of consumpt i on st eadi l y i ncr eased i n t hi s
per i od, Ger many i mpor t ed mor e f uel i n 1937 t han she had at t he begi nni ng of t he
decade. ' Demand had si mpl y i ncr eased
f ast er t han pr oduct i on. ' The f uel si t uat i on
i n
t he
summer
of 1938 r ef l ect s t he ext ent of t he pr obl em. In J une of t hat year ,
suppl i es i n
st or age t anks coul d cover onl y 25 per cent of mobi l i zat i on
r equi r ement s- - on t he aver age,
f our mont hs of f ul l war t i me needs . Suppl i es of
avi at i on l ubr i cant s wer e as
l ow
as 6
per cent of mobi l i zat i on r equi r ement s. ' Thi s
was, of cour se, a r ef l ect i on of Ger many' s i nher ent i nabi l i t y t o meet
pet r ol eum
r equi r ement s f r om her own r esour ces and her
consi der abl e pr obl em
i n ear ni ng
f or ei gnexchange t o pay f or st r at egi c r awmat er i al i mpor t s.
In f act , t he most ser i ous const r ai nt onGer man
r ear mament
i n
t he
1930' s
was
t he
l ackof f or ei gn exchange. Wi t hout har d cur r ency t o cover i mpor t s, Ger mani ndust r y
coul d not r each t he l evel of ar mament pr oduct i on demanded by t he Wehr macht and
Hi t l er . Indeed, t he Rei chexper i enced i ncr easi ng di f f i cul t i es i n acqui r i ng t hese r aw
mat er i al s r equi r ed f or mi l i t ar y pr oduct i on. Aser i es of mor e di f f i cul t economi c
cr i ses, caused by a l ack of f or ei gn exchange, mar ked t he cour se of Ger man
r ear mament t hr oughout t he 1930' s . ' Begi nni ng i n 1930, a wor l dwi de depr essi on
had
caused a
shar p dr opof f
i n t he
val ue of
Ger manexpor t s t hat cont i nued t hr ough
1934. Ther eaf t er , onl y a mar gi nal
r ecover y t ook
pl ace.
As a r esul t , hol di ngs of
f or ei gn
exchange st eadi l y dwi ndl ed, and t hi s shor t age of har d cur r ency i n t he
t hi r t i es
set
def i ni t e
l i mi t s on t he
l evel
of r awmat er i al i mpor t s avai l abl e t o suppor t
r ear mament . '
As ear l y as t he f al l of 1934, t he Ger mancot t oni ndust r y hel dr eser ves f or no mor e
t han t wo weeks' pr oduct i on, r ubber pl ant s f or t wo mont hs, and t he pet r ol eum
i ndust r y
f or t hr ee t o t hr ee and one- hal f mont hs. Mor eover , f or ei gn suppl i er s al r eady
wer e becomi ng doubt f ul as t o t he l i qui di t y of t he Ger maneconomy and, as a r esul t ,
woul d not del i ver on cr edi t . 9 By 1935, t hi s si t uat i on had caused si gni f i cant
por t i ons
of Ger man i ndust r y t o dr awdown st ockpi l es . Fr omMar ch
t o December 1935,
st ockpi l es
of maj or i ndust r i al r awmat er i al s f el l dr amat i cal l y; and f or
t he r emai nder
of
t he
1930' s,
t he Ger man economy l i ved a hand- t o- mout h
exi st ence, scr at chi ng t o
f i nd
suf f i ci ent f or ei gn exchange t o pay f or
i mpor t s
.
By 1937,
t he Ger man economy was suf f er i ng ser i ous
shor t ages of st eel because
of a l ack of or e
i mpor t s, whi l e t he i ndust r y i t sel f
was oper at i ng at bar el y 83
per cent
of
capaci t y . 10 These economi c di f f i cul t i es af f ect i ng
r ear mament most l i kel y pl ayed
a
r ol e i n pushi ng Hi t l er i nt o t he conf r ont at i ons
of 1938. Her e agai n, despi t e
subst ant i al f i nanci al gai ns
made by t heAnschl uss wi t h Aust r i a, ef f or t s t o expand t he
r ear mament pr ogr am, t o bui l d
up synt het i c and muni t i on i ndust r i es, t o begi n t he
massi ve const r uct i on of t he West wal l pr oj ect , and t o mobi l i ze f or t he Czechcr i si s
sever el y st r ai ned t he Ger man economy. In November 1938, Her mann G6r i ng
admi t t ed t hat
t he Ger maneconomi c i nf r ast r uct ur e had r eached a poi nt of maxi mum
economi c di st r ess. " As a di r ect r esul t , t he
Ober kommando der Wehr macht ( OKW) ,
t he Ger manar med f or ces
hi gh command, made maj or r educt i ons i n st eel and r aw
ORIGINSANDPREPARATION
mat er i al al l ocat i ons t o ar mament pr oduct i on. "
Cont i nui ng di f f i cul t i es l ed Hi t l er t o
announce t o t he Rei chst ag on J anuar y 30,
1939,
t hat
Ger many must wage an
" expor t bat t l e" ( Expor t schl acht ) t o r ai se f or ei gn exchange. Si mul t aneousl y, he
announced f ur t her r educt i on i n Wehr macht al l ocat i ons: st eel , 30 per cent ; copper ,
20per cent ; al umi num, 47 per cent ; r ubber , 14per cent .
' s
Pr obl ems st emmi ng f r ombot h i nsuf f i ci ent f or ei gn exchange
and
r aw
mat er i al s
gui ded t he
cour se
of t he Ger man r ear mament . Nei t her wer e avai l abl e i n suf f i ci ent
quant i t y
t o
bui l d a massi ve " st r at egi c" bombi ng
f or ce. Mor eover , t he ar my, gi ven
Ger many' s st r at egi c posi t i on as a cont i nent al power , l ai d cl ai ms t o r esour ces t hat
any r ear mament pr ogr amhad t o meet . Fi nal l y, t he count r y' s doubt f ul access t o
f or ei gn suppl i es of pet r ol eumpr oduct s r ai ses t he quest i on as t o whet her Ger many
coul d suppor t an i ndependent " st r at egi c" bombi ng of f ensi ve. Thus, i t i s cl ear t hat
def i ni t e economi c const r ai nt s l i mi t ed Ger man ai r pl anner s i n t he cr eat i on of t he
Luf t waf f e, and t he f or ce t hey mol dedbot h bef or e and dur i ng t he war was i nf l uenced
by di f f er ent st r at egi c f act or s t han t hose gui di ng ei t her t he Br i t i sh or t he Amer i cans.
THEDEVELOPMENTOFTHELUFTWAFFE,
1933- 39
The Ger mans f aced consi der abl e di f f i cul t i es i n t he cr eat i on of an ai r capabi l i t y
wi t h t he onset of r ear mament i n 1933. Gi ven t he f act t hat no Ger man ai r f or ce
sur vi ved f r omt he Gr eat War except as a camouf l aged pl anni ng st af f wi t hi n t he
ar my and t hat t he capaci t y f or ci vi l ai r cr af t pr oduct i on was l ar gel y i nadequat e f or
mi l i t ar y pur poses, t he devel opment of t he Luf t waf f e was an enor mousl y compl ex
and di f f i cul t t ask. Consi der i ng t he f act t hat wi t hi n si x and a hal f year s t hi s f or ce
woul d go t o war and r ender vi t al suppor t i n t he ear l y campai gns, t he Ger mans wer e
most successf ul i n t hei r ef f or t s .
The f i r st st r at egi c pr obl emon Hi t l er ' s ascensi on t o power i n J anuar y 1933 was
t he per cept i on t hat a st i l l di sar med and vul ner abl e Rei ch f aced t he possi bi l i t y of a
pr event i ve war , waged by her nei ghbor s t o st op t he r esur r ect i on of Ger many as a
mi l i t ar y power .
As Hi t l er t ol d hi s gener al s shor t l y af t er he had come t o power , i f
Fr ance possessed
any
st at esmen, she woul d wage war i n t he i mmedi at e f ut ur e.
' 4
Thus,
what ever t heor et i cal advant ages mi ght accr ue t o Ger many t hr ough t he
possessi on of a " st r at egi c"
bombi ng f or ce i n t he l at e 1930' s, t he Thi r d Rei ch f aced
t he possi bi l i t y
of an i mmi nent war . Fut ur e " st r at egi c" bombi ng capabi l i t i es woul d
do not hi ng f or pr esent
mi l i t ar y di f f i cul t i es, whi l e t he t act i cal pot ent i al of
a l ess
sophi st i cat ed,
mor e convent i onal ai r f or ce woul d be
mor e qui ckl y r eal i zed f or
ut i l i zat i oni n a cont empor ar y mi l i t ar y conf r ont at i on.
Ger man i nt er est i n a " st r at egi c" ai r weapon goes
back t o t he ear l y days of t he
Fi r st Wor l d War . Fr ust r at ed at t he i mposi t i on of a di st ant
bl ockage i n 1914 by t he
Royal
Navy,
Ger man naval st r at egi st s l ooked f or a
means t o st r i ke at t he Br i t i sh
Empi r e. As ear l y as August 1914,
Rear
Admi r al
Paul Behncke, Deput y Chi ef of t he
Naval St af f , ur ged t hat t he navy' s Zeppel i ns at t ack London, t he hear t of t he Br i t i sh
Empi r e. Suchat t acks, he ar gued, " may be
expect ed, whet her
t hey
i nvol ve London
or t he nei ghbor hood of London, t o cause pani c i n t he popul at i on
whi ch may
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
possi bl y r ender i t doubt f ul t hat
t he war can be cont i nued. " 15 Gr and Admi r al
Al f r ed
vonTi r pi t z not ed i n a l et t er of November
1914 t hat :
The Engl i sh ar e
nowi n t er r or of t he Zeppel i n, per haps not wi t hout
r eason. I cont end her e . . . . I go f or t he st andpoi nt of " war t o t he
kni f e, " but
I
am
not i n f avor of " f r i ght f ul ness . . . . . . Al so, si ngl e
bombs f r omf l yi ng machi nes ar e wr ong; t hey ar e odi ous when t hey
hi t and ki l l ol d women, andone get s used t o t hem. If [ however ] one
coul dset f i r e t o London i n t hi r t y pl aces, t hen what i n a smal l way i s
odi ous woul dr et i r e bef or e somet hi ng
f i ne and
power f ul .
16
When t he Zeppel i n campai gn
f ai l ed,
t he
Ger mans at t acked London wi t h t he
heavi er - t han- ai r bomber . That campai gn,
even i f i t di d not achi eve gr eat mat er i al
damage, di dl eadt o t he cr eat i on of t he
Royal
Ai r
For ce. "
The def eat of 1918 and t he condi t i ons of t he Ver sai l l es Tr eat y el i mi nat ed ai r cr af t
f r omt he
Ger man ar senal . Not onl y was Ger many deni ed access t o newt echnol ogy
as r epr esent ed by t he submar i ne, t he ai r pl ane, and t he t ank, but t he peace al so
sever el y l i mi t ed t he si ze and
capabi l i t y of Ger many' s mi l i t ar y ser vi ces. The
vi ct or i ous Al l i es, however , coul d not pr event t he Ger mans f r om t hi nki ng about
t hei r exper i ences and t he weapons of t he l ast war .
Hans von Seeckt , f at her of t he Rei chswehr ,
i nsur ed
t hat t he mi ni scul e ar my l ef t
t o Ger many i ncl uded a smal l body of of f i cer s ( 180) who had had exper i ence i n t he
conduct of t he ai r bat t l es i n t he Gr eat War . As was t he case wi t h t he devel opment of
mot or i zed/ mechani zed war f ar e, Seeckt showed consi der abl e pr esci ence wi t h
r espect t o ai r power " and sawt o i t t hat i t s advocat es possessed at l east some voi ce
wi t hi n t he ar my.
' 9
Li mi t at i ons i mposed by Ver sai l l es f or ced Ger manavi at i on i nt o a
nar r owf r amewor k. Never t hel ess, ext ensi ve subsi di es t o ci vi l avi at i on cont r i but ed
t o t he sur vi val of Ger many' s avi at i on i ndust r y, and pr epar at i ons f or ai r r ear mament
dur i ng t he Wei mar Republ i c pl ayed a si gni f i cant r ol e i n t he est abl i shment of t he
Luf t waf f e dur i ng t he Nazi per i od. z° Ger many' s l ead
i n
ci vi l
avi at i on was such t hat
by 1927, Ger man ai r l i nes f l ew gr eat er di st ances wi t h
mor e passenger s t han t hei r
Fr ench, Br i t i sh, andIt al i an compet i t or s t oget her
. z'
Thi s
exper i ence i nl ong- di st ance
f l yi ng, navi gat i on, and i nst r ument f l yi ng obvi ousl y
had a posi t i ve i mpact on
devel opi ng t he Luf t waf f e i n t he i nt er war
per i od
.
St i l l , t he pr obl ems f aci ng t he Nazi s
i n J anuar y 1933 i n t he cr eat i on of an ai r
f or ce
t hat coul d ser ve as
an ef f ect i ve t ool of di pl omat i c and mi l i t ar y
pol i cy wer e
enor mous. Onl y a t i ny cadr e
of exper i enced of f i cer s exi st ed
wi t hi n t he ar my and
navy; Luf t hansa
exper i ence was not di r ect l y conver t i bl e
i nt o a mi l i t ar y f or ce ;
and
t he Ger man
ai r cr af t i ndust r y, weakened not onl y
by t he depr essi on but al so by
i nt er neci ne
quar r el s amongst i t s al most bankr upt
f i r ms, was not pr epar ed f or
massi ve
expansi on.
The Luf t waf f e was f avor ed at i t s
bi r t h, however , by t he f act t hat i t s pat r on and
f i r st l eader , Her mann
Gor i ng, was
Hi t l er ' s
r i ght - hand man. Gor i ng' s pol i t i cal pul l
i nsur ed t hat t he Luf t waf f e gai ned posi t i on as an i ndependent ser vi ce and
t hat i t
enj oyed a pr i vi l eged st at us i n i nt er ser vi ce
ar gument s over al l ocat i on of f undi ng and
r esour ces . Whi l e f undi ng di d not r epr esent a pr obl em i n t he ear l y days
of
ORIGINS
ANDPREPARATION
r ear mament , by
t he l at e t hi r t i es ser i ous
economi c di f f i cul t i es i mpact ed
on al l
ser vi ces- but
on t he Luf t waf f e l east of
al l because of Gbr i ng' s posi t i on.
Unf or t unat el y, however ,
f or t he ef f i ci ent f unct i oni ng of t he Ger man command
syst em, G6r i ng, as Mi ni st er of
Avi at i on, r ef used t o subor di nat e hi msel f t o t he
Mi ni st er of War , Wer ner von Bl omber g. Thus, Bl omber g f aced
t he
i mpossi bl e
t ask
of
coor di nat i ng and cont r ol l i ng t he t hr ee ser vi ces. Hi s pr obl ems wer e
f ur t her
compounded by t he f act t hat Gor i ng, as Commander i n Chi ef of
t he Luf t waf f e, went
ar oundhi mat ever y oppor t uni t y
. "
In t he
l ong r un,
G6r i ng had a
di sast r ous
i mpact on
t he Luf t waf f e' s hi st or y
and
hi s
posi t i on as number
t wo
i n
t he pol i t i cal hi er ar chy pr event ed Hi t l er
f r omr emovi ng
hi meven af t er hi s many f ai l ur es demanded such act i on. Ini t i al l y, G6r i ng' s pol i t i cal
t asks as Hi t l er ' s chi ef ai de dur i ng t he consol i dat i on of power ( t he est abl i shment of
t he Gest apo, t he savagi ng of t he Communi st s, and t he pur ge of Er nst R6hmand t he
S . A. ) absor bed a subst ant i al por t i on of " der Di cke' s" t i me . " Thus, whi l e G6r i ng
as Rei ch Ai r Mi ni st er and af t er Mar ch 1935 Commander i n Chi ef pl ayed at t he r ol e,
at l east unt i l 1936 ot her s made t he subst ant i ve deci si ons cr eat i ng t he new f or ce.
G6r i ng' s ment al f r amewor k was t hat of a squadr on- l evel f i ght er pi l ot whi ch he
had
been i n t he Fi r st Wor l d War ; and t hr oughout hi s t enur e as Luf t waf f e commander ,
he
r emai ned l ar gel y i gnor ant of suppl y, l ogi st i cs,
st r at egy, ai r cr af t capabi l i t i es,
t echnol ogy, and engi neer i ng- i n ot her wor ds, j ust about
ever yt hi ng havi ng t o do
wi t h ai r power . Compoundi ng hi s i gnor ance was
t he f act t hat G6r i ng t ook a r at her
l oose vi ew on t he subj ect
of har d
wor k,
and
hi s
vi si t s t o t he Ai r Mi ni st r y wer e
spor adi c
at best . In
J ul y
1938, dur i ng an addr ess t o ai r cr af t manuf act ur er s, Gor i ng
even admi t t ed
t hat he
saw
Er nst Udet , at t hi s t i me i n char ge of al l t he Luf t waf f e' s
t echni cal
depar t ment s, onl y once a week
. 24
The l ong- r ange i mpl i cat i ons of such
l eader shi p spel l ed
di sast er . Never t hel ess, i n t he shor t t er m, G6r i ng' s pol i t i cal pul l
was
of gr eat use i n t he est abl i shment of an i ndependent ai r ar m.
G6r i ng was par t i cul ar l y f or t unat e i n hi s l eadi ng subor di nat e . Er har d Mi l ch,
G6r i ng' s and Hi t l er ' s sel ect i on f or t he posi t i on of St at e Secr et ar y i n t he newAi r
Mi ni st r y, possessed t r emendous dr i ve, a t hor ough
knowl edge of t he pr oduct i on
capabi l i t i es of t he Ger man ai r cr af t i ndust r y,
a det ai l ed under st andi ng of i t s
manager s and desi gner s, and, per haps
most i mpor t ant l y, excel l ent connect i ons
wi t hi n t he pol i t i cal l eader shi p of t he newl y
est abl i shed Thi r d Rei ch. " Mi l ch' s
br ashness and ar r ogance event ual l y
l ed t o conf l i ct wi t h mor e convent i onal
Luf t waf f e of f i cer s
who had r emai ned pr of essi onal sol di er s dur i ng
t he Wei mar
per i od. Those r egul ar
of f i cer s never f or got t hat Mi l chhad l ef t t he
mi l i t ar y af t er t he
war t o become
t he event ual headof Luf t hansa .
The ot her seni or
of f i cer s of t he Luf t waf f e came f r om t he Rei chswehr .
Of
par t i cul ar not e her e i s
Bl omber g' s cont r i but i on t o t he est abl i shment
of t he new
ser vi ce' s of f i cer cor ps
. In 1933, on t he occasi on of t he f oundi ng
of t he Ai r Mi ni st r y,
Bl omber g comment ed t hat t he newLuf t waf f e woul d r equi r e an el i t e of f i cer cor ps
wi t h " a t empest uous spi r i t of at t ack . "
26
Mor e t o t he poi nt , he i nsur ed t hat t he ar my
t r ansf er r ed f i r st - cl ass of f i cer s t o t he newser vi ce . Si gni f i cant l y, not onl y per sonnel
wi t h f l yi ng
exper i ence moved t o t he Ai r Mi ni st r y but al so hi ghl y t r ai ned of f i cer s
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
f r omt he ar my' s gener al st af f
t r ansf er r ed t o t he Luf t waf f e. Bl omber g of f er ed Gor i ng
a
choi ce bet ween Wal t her Wever
and t he f ut ur e Fi el d Mar shal Er i ch vonManst ei n
f or t he posi t i on of Chi ef of St af f of t he Luf t waf f e;
Gor i ng chose t he f or mer . When
Wever di ed i n an ai r cr af t cr ash i n 1936, Bl omber g i ni t i al l y consi der ed of f er i ng
Gor i ng t he f ut ur e chi ef of
t he ar my' s gener al st af f , Gener al Fr anz Hal der , as a
r epl acement . " Al ong wi t h Wever , ot her
ar my l umi nar i es such as Al ber t Kessel r i ng
and Hans J eschonnek t r ansf er r ed t o t he Luf t waf f e. J eschonnek, among
ot her
accompl i shment s, had f i ni shed f i r st i n hi s cl ass at t he Kr i egsakademi e, usual l y a
sur e si gn of pr omi se f or a qui ck
r i se
t o
t he t op of t he mi l i t ar y pr of essi on. 28 By
Oct ober 1933, 228 of f i cer s up t o
t he r ank of col onel had t r ansf er r ed f r omt he ol der
ser vi ces. By J anuar y 1939,
a f ur t her 70 had f ol l owed al ong wi t h 1, 600
noncommi ssi oned of f i cer s ( NCOs)
and enl i st ed men. Bl omber g demanded t hat
i ndi vi dual s sel ect edf or t r ansf er r epr esent t he
" best
of
t he best .
" 29
The hi gh qual i t y of t hese of f i cer s shoul d not obscur e t he
f act t hat t he Luf t waf f e' s
of f i cer cor ps and gener al st af f , never i n t hei r shor t
car eer s, r eached a l evel of
homogenei t y and compet ence t hat
t he
ar my
of f i cer cor ps
and gener al
st af f
enj oyed.
The si mpl e mechani cs of expansi on al one r ul ed out such a possi bi l i t y . Fr om1933 t o
1935, t he Luf t waf f e devel oped a per sonnel st r engt h of appr oxi mat el y 900 f l yi ng
of f i cer s, 200
f l ak
( ant i ai r cr af t ) of f i cer s, and 17, 000 men. In addi t i on t o t he ar my,
t he of f i cer cor ps came f r om wi del y di f f er ent sour ces; many pi l ot s ent er ed t he
Luf t waf f e di r ect l y f r omci vi l avi at i on, whi l e vet er ans of t he Fi r st Wor l d War f ur t her
f l eshed out t he of f i cer cor ps. Fr omt hi s mi xt ur e, t he Luf t waf f e expanded t o a
st r engt h of 15, 000
of f i cer s and
370, 000 men
by t he out br eak of t he
war . 3°
Wi t hi n
t he of f i cer cor ps al one, t he sheer magni t ude of
t he
expansi on r esul t ed i n an ent i r el y
under st andabl e l ack of coher ence and a not abl e l ack of
st r at egi c
compet ence .
Shor t l y
af t er t he sur pr i se
J apanese at t ack onHawai i when Hi t l er asked hi s mi l i t ar y
st af f f or t he l ocat i on of Pear l Har bor , none, i ncl udi ng hi s Luf t waf f e of f i cer s, coul d
l ocat e t he Amer i can naval base . " Luf t waf f e of f i cer s, under st andabl y gi ven t he
shor t ness of t hei r ser vi ce' s l i f espan, had an i mmense t ask of cat chi ng up
and
mai nt ai ni ng cur r ency i n t he . t echni cal aspect s of t hei r ser vi ce . The r esul t was
t hat
t hey became at best t echnocr at s and oper at i onal exper t s wi t h l i mi t ed vi si on. "
Thus,
wi t h per haps t he except i on of Wever and t o a l esser ext ent Mi l ch,
t he of f i cer cor ps
showed a l ack of under st andi ng of t he l ar ger i ssues
r evol vi ng ar ound t he
i nt er r el at i on of ai r power t o nat i onal st r at egy, def ect s
whi ch may, i ndeed, have been
not hi ng l ess t hanf at al .
At t he out set of r ear mament i n 1933, Ger man
pl anner s f aced t he
pr obl emas t o
what r ol e t he Luf t waf f e woul d pl ay
wi t hi n t he l ar ger f r amewor kof nat i onal
st r at egy .
In
May 1933, Mi l ch, t he
key f i gur e i n t he Luf t waf f e' s or gani zat i on
and
devel opment i n
t he 1933- 36 per i od, r ecei ved a maj or st udy f r om one
of
hi s
Luf t hansa subor di nat es, Dr . Rober t Knauss, ont he st r at egi c concept f or t he newai r
f or ce
. 33
Knauss' r epor t
cont ai ned maj or el ement s of Douhet ' s " st r at egi c" bombi ng
phi l osophy, Ti r pi t z' s
" r i sk t heor y, " and what woul d t oday be r egar ded as
" det er r ence" doct r i ne . He bel i eved t hat
t he pur pose of t he r egi me was t he
" r est or at i on of Ger many' s gr eat power posi t i on
i n Eur ope" and ar gued t hat si nce
ORIGINSANDPREPARATION
Pol and, and par t i cul ar l y
Fr ance, woul d r esi st such a devel opment ,
Ger many f aced
t he
i mmedi at e possi bi l i t y of a
pr event i ve war waged by t hose t wo power s. To
over come Ger man mi l i t ar y weakness t hr ough r ear mament , t her eby r e- est abl i shi ng
Ger many' s gr eat
power st at us, Knauss suggest ed t he r api d cr eat i on of a st r ong ai r
f or ce . The deci si ve el ement i n t hi s
f or ce woul d
be
t he det er r ent ef f ect of a f l eet of
400 f our - engi ne bomber s. Knauss ar gued t hat moder n
i ndust r i al i zed soci et y of f er ed
t ar get s whi ch,
when dest r oyed, woul d hal t t he enemy' s i ndust r i al pr oduct i on and
t hat popul at i on cent er s of f er ed
t he possi bi l i t y of br eaki ng t he enemy' s mor al e.
Nat ur al l y, he f el t t hat t he newl y
cr eat ed t ot al i t ar i an soci et y of Ger many coul d
endur e t he pr essur es of bombi ng bet t er t han t he
f r act ur ed soci et i es of t he Br i t i sh and
Fr ench democr aci es. Thus, i f Ger many
possessed a " st r at egi c" bombi ng f l eet , her
put at i ve enemi es- Pol and and Fr ance- woul d t hi nk ser i ousl y bef or e i ncur r i ng t he
r i sk of ai r at t ack on maj or popul at i on cent er s. Above al l , Knauss
ar gued
t hat
t he
cr eat i on of such a bombi ng f l eet of f er ed a
gr eat er possi bi l i t y f or af f ect i ng
t he
Eur opean mi l i t ar y bal ance t han di d t he est abl i shment of ar my
di vi si ons or
t he
const r uct i on of naval sur f ace uni t s .
The cr eat i on of such a bomber f or ce abor t ed f or sever al r easons. Fi r st , t he ar my
was har dl y ent husi ast i c about such a st r at egi c concept i on. Col onel Konr ad Gossl er ,
head of t he
Tr uppenamt ' s oper at i on sect i on, ar gued t hat a cl ear separ at i on bet ween
t he
homel and and
t he combat f r ont no l onger exi st ed. Thus, bot h opposi ng ai r
f or ces possessed t he
same oppor t uni t y
t o
at t ack t hei r enemy' s homel and. Mor eover ,
si nce t he
begi nni ng of t i me, Gossl er ar gued, each newweapon had l ed
many
t o
concl ude t hat
t he
ol d
weapons
of
war wer e no l onger needed. Thi s had si mpl y not
happened. Fi nal l y, he obj ect ed t hat such a concept i on, i f r eal i zed, " mi ght dest r oy
war
by maki ng i t i mpossi bl e
f or
bot h si des
. "
Suchar gument s woul dl ead i nevi t abl y
t o paci f i sm! 14
Mor e deci si ve f or t he act ual est abl i shment of t he Luf t waf f e was t he di scover y t hat
Ger man ai r cr af t i ndust r y l acked t he desi gner s, i ndust r i al capaci t y, or exper i ence t o
bui l d such a " st r at egi c" bombi ng f l eet . Dur i ng t he summer of 1933, Mi l chand hi s
pl anner s f ound t hat t hey coul d bar el y squeeze 1, 000 ai r cr af t out of i ndust r y
f or t he
f i r st pr oduct i on pr ogr am. Most of t hat ef f or t consi st ed of t r ai ni ng ai r cr af t t o
expand
t he f l yi ng
base . ' 5
The
" combat " ai r cr af t har dl y deser ved t hat char act er i zat i on.
Fr om
a J anuar y 1933 i ndust r i al base of 4, 000 wor ker s, t he ai r cr af t
i ndust r y
expanded t o 16, 870
wor ker s i n 1934 and t o 204, 100 wor ker s by t he f al l of
1938. 36
To a gr eat ext ent ,
t hi s r epr esent ed Mi l ch' s gr eat t r i umph
as an or gani zer and
bur eaucr at .
Whi l e Mi l chpl ayed t he
deci si ve r ol e i n t he admi ni st r at i ve and
i ndust r i al t asks of
cr eat i ng t he Luf t waf f e,
Wever pl ayed a no- l ess- i mpor t ant
r ol e i n f or mul at i ng t he
new ser vi ce' s
doct r i ne and st r at egy . He was not
an unabashed advocat e
of
" st r at egi c"
bombi ng but r at her ar gued f or a br oadl y
based ai r st r at egy . Wever
di d
not bel i eve t hat t he Luf t waf f e' s
exi st ence as a separ at e ser vi ce
gave i t a mi ssi on
ent i r el y i ndependent of t he ar my and navy. Rat her , he
ar gued t hat i t s mi ssi on
shoul d compl ement t hose of t he ot her ser vi ces . Thus, t he Luf t waf f e' s cont r i but i on
t o vi ct or y coul d i nvol ve at t acks on an enemy' s
ai r f or ces, hi s ar my, hi s f l eet ,
or
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
even
t he dest r uct i on of hi s r esour ces
and ar mament i ndust r y . The
condi t i ons of t he
gener al
si t uat i on and over al l nat i onal st r at egy
woul d det er mi ne i n what f or mone
woul d wage t he ai r bat t l e
. Whi l e not denyi ng t he possi bi l i t y of ai r def ense or t he
i mpor t ance of f i ght er s, Wever f el t t hat t he
" deci si ve weapon of ai r war f ar e i s t he
bomber . " "
Meanwhi l e, a car ef ul anal ysi s of Ger many' s st r at egi c si t uat i on r ai sed doubt s as t o
whet her " st r at egi c" bombi ng
shoul d be t he Luf t waf f e' s sol e
mi ssi on. Awar game
conduct ed dur i ng t he wi nt er of 1933- 34
i ndi cat ed t hat a bomber f l eet al one coul d
not i mmedi at el y dest r oy t he enemy' s
ai r f l eet . The concl usi on was t hat st r ong
f i ght er f or ces, as wel l as
ant i ai r cr af t guns, wer e necessar y t o pr ot ect t he
Rei ch' s
i ndust r i al and
popul at i on cent er s. 38
Wever ' s t hi nki ng on t he subj ect of ai r power was best
summed up i n t he
f or mul at i onof Ger manai r doct r i ne t hat f i r st appear ed i n 1935: " Conduct of t he Ai r
War ( Di e
Luf t kr i egf uhr ung) .
" 39
As wi t h most Ger man mi l i t ar y doct r i nal
st at ement s, t hi s
one was a cl ear , conci se f or mul at i on. It was not meant t o r est r i ct or
dogmat i ze but r at her t o gi ve ai r f or ce commander s t he wi dest l at i t ude and t o
encour age maxi mum f l exi bi l i t y . Among
t he chi ef poi nt s enunci at ed was t he
r ei t er at i on of Wever ' s poi nt t hat t he empl oyment of t he Luf t waf f e shoul d
r ef l ect t he
over al l f r amewor k of nat i onal gr and st r at egy.
Wi t hi n
gr and
st r at egy,
t he
cr i t i cal
t asks of t he Luf t waf f e woul d be t he at t ai nment and
mai nt enance of ai r super i or i t y,
suppor t
of t he ar my and t he navy, at t acks on enemy i ndust r y, and i nt er di ct i on
bet ween f r ont and homel and. " The nat ur e of
t he
enemy, t he t i me of year , t he
st r uct ur e of hi s l and, t he char act er of hi s peopl e, as
wel l
as one' s own mi l i t ar y
capabi l i t i es" woul d det er mi ne howone shoul dempl oy ai r power . 4°
Wever ' s doct r i nal st at ement st r essed t hat ai r r esour ces shoul d not be used
pi ecemeal nor shoul d f r equent changes be made i n goal s. In al l l i kel i hood,
however , one coul d pr obabl y not cl ear l y separ at e t he st r uggl e wi t h an enemy ai r
f or ce f r omsuppor t pr ovi ded t o t he ar my and navy. Unl i ke most ai r power t heor i st s,
he showed a r eady under st andi ng f or t he f act t hat ai r super i or i t y woul d be a most
el usi ve goal . Changi ng t echni cal capabi l i t i es, newpr oduct i on, and r epl acement of
l osses woul d al l combi ne t o al l owt he enemy t o f i ght anot her day. Whi l e Wever f el t
t hat " st r at egi c" bombi ng at t acks ont he enemy' s i ndust r i al and
economi c sour ces
of power coul d have an absol ut e i mpact , he war ned t hat such
an of f ensi ve mi ght
t ake t oo l ong t o be deci si ve and mi ght t hus be t oo l at e
t o
hel p
t he ar my and t he
navy. He emphasi zed t hat onl y t he st r ongest
cooper at i on among t he t hr ee ser vi ces
coul d achi eve t he over al l obj ect i ves of nat i onal gr and
st r at egy. The ai r war agai nst
t he enemy i ndust r i al base shoul d occur onl y
when ( 1) an oppor t uni t y exi st ed
t o
af f ect qui ckl y t he war ' s cour se, ( 2)
whenl and and naval pr epar at i ons hadpr epar ed
t he way, ( 3) when a st al emat e had occur r ed, or ( 4)
when a deci si ve ef f ect coul d
onl y be achi eved t hr ough t he dest r uct i on
of t he enemy' s economi c sour ces
of
power .
Wever ' s deat h i n t he spr i ng of 1936
was a maj or bl ow t o t he Luf t waf f e.
However , i t di d not r esul t i n cancel l at i on of
t he f our - engi ne " st r at egi c" bomber
pr oj ect
as some have cl ai med
. 4'
In 1936, t he Ai r Mi ni st r y cancel l ed t he
ORIGINS ANDPREPARATION
devel opment of t he f our - engi ne
Dor mer Do 19 andJ unker s J u 89, because sui t abl e
engi nes
wer e not yet avai l abl e f r omt he Ger man
ai r cr af t i ndust r y t o pr ovi de
adequat e power . * The
f ai l ur e t o have a sui t abl e engi ne avai l abl e i n 1936 and 1937
r ef l ect ed t he f act t hat Ger man ai r
r ear mament had onl y beguni n 1933. As a r esul t ,
Ger manengi ne r esear ch and devel opment was i n some i mpor t ant r espect s behi nd
what
was occur r i ng i n Gr eat Br i t ai n and t he Uni t ed St at es . Mor eover , t he l ong
l ead- t i me
r equi r ed f or engi ne devel opment const r ai ned Ger man ai r cr af t desi gn
t hr oughout t he 1930' s . The Ger mans
di d
embar k
on t he He 177 pr oj ect i n 1937 i n
t he bel i ef t hat Hei nkel
coul d desi gn and bui l d a l ong- r ange " st r at egi c" bomber by
t he
ear l y 1940' s. The desi gn of t he He 177, i n ef f ect , r epr esent ed an ef f or t t o
shor t cut t he devel opment pr ocess
of a hi gh- power ed engi ne f or a heavy bomber by
pl aci ng f our engi nes wi t hi n t wo nacel l es .
Hei nkel desi gner s expect ed
t hat
by cut t i ng
down on t he dr ag, t hey woul d have a bomber compar abl e t o ot her f our - engi ne
ai r cr af t wi t h mor e power f ul engi nes. Unf or t unat el y f or t he Luf t waf f e, t hey wer e
never abl e t o over come t he di f f i cul t i es i nher ent i n t he desi gn; hence t he f ai l ur e of
t he pr ogr am r ef l ect ed t he f ai l ur e of engi neer i ng and not a l ack of i nt er est i n
" st r at egi c" bombi ng.
42
Wever ' s br oadl y based appr oach t o t he quest i on of
ai r power shoul d not obscur e
t he f act t hat hi s wr i t i ngs never
deni ed t he possi bi l i t y t hat " st r at egi c" bombi ng
coul d pl ay an i mpor t ant par t i n
ai r
war f ar e
. Mor eover , a si gni f i cant por t i on of t he
Luf t waf f e' s
doct r i nal t hi nki ng r emai ned enamor ed wi t h " st r at egi c" bombi ng
t hr oughout t he t hi r t i es . Ther e was an obvi ous r eason why t hi s shoul d be
so : The
concept s of t ot al war and t ot al mobi l i zat i on had pr oved at t r act i ve t o much of t he
Ger man mi l i t ar y t hr oughout t he i nt er war per i od.
Whi l e Seeckt ar gued
f or
est abl i shment of an el i t e ar my, Ludendor f f ar t i cul at ed t he concept t hat moder nwar
had become t ot al . Unl i ke most i nt er war mi l i t ar y t hi nker s who sought t o escape t he
hor r or s of Wor l d War I' s mass war f ar e, Ludendor f f embr aced what had happened
and ar gued t hat Ger many must pr epar e i n r ut hl ess f ashi on dur i ng peace f or t he next
war . Among ot her t hi ngs, Ludendor f f ar gued t hat war i nvol ved t he ent i r e
popul at i on i n t he conf l i ct , not j ust ar mi es . In hi s vi ew, economi c pr oduct i on had
become as i mpor t ant as bat t l es ont he f r ont l i ne . 41 The 1918 col l apse convi nced hi m
t hat Ger many r equi r ed a di ct at or shi p f or t he next war and, even mor e
i mpor t ant l y,
t hat some met hod must be f ound t o i nspi r e t he nat i onal uni t y
t hat had come apar t i n
t he l ast mont hs of t he
war
.
44
Fr om
t he f i r st ,
t he Nazi Par t y appear ed as a par t i cul ar l y at t r act i ve means t o i nsur e
such a
uni t y of nat i onal wi l l . Hi t l er ' s popul ar i t y wi t h t he masses of f er ed
t he
possi bi l i t y
of est abl i shi ng a nat i onal cohesi on t hat t he concept i on of t ot al war
demanded
. 45 Thus, what made t he Nazi movement at t r act i ve t o t he mi l i t ar y
t hr oughout t he 1930' s was t he f act t hat t he Nazi s seemi ngl y pr ovi ded
t he
psychol ogi cal
basi s and pr epar at i on necessar y
f or t ot al war . " Ei n Vol k, ei nRei ch,
* Ger man
ai r cr af t desi gnat i ons do not cont ai na hyphen
bet weenmanuf act ur e andmodel number .
Amer i can desi gnat i ons do . The t ext wi l l
r ef l ect nat i onal pr ef er ences.
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
ei nFi i hr er " was mor e t han a sl ogan; i n t he mass r al l i es and pr opaganda di spl ays, i t
guar ant eed t hat t he 1918 col l apse
woul d not r ecur . Thus, Ludendor f f ' s concept i on
of t ot al war and
t he mass movement of t he Nazi Par t y pr ovi ded an af f i ni t y bet ween
t he mi l i t ar y and t he Nat i onal Soci al i st movement t hat hel ps expl ai n t he r eadi ness of
t he of f i cer cor ps t o ser ve a par t y
t hat
har dl y
r epr esent ed t hei r upper - cl ass at t i t udes.
Many wi t hi n t he Luf t waf f e
f ound i n t hi s pol i t i cal and psychol ogi cal pr epar at i on
f or war a basi s t o ar gue t hat t he next
war
woul d be a t ot al war of
t he
ai r and t hat
because of t he nat i onal uni t y t hat t he Nazi s had cr eat ed, Ger many coul d bet t er
wi t hst and such a st r uggl e . Int he May 1933 memor andumdi scussed above, Knauss
ar gued t hat " t he t er r or i zi ng of t he enemy' s chi ef ci t i es and i ndust r i al r egi ons
t hr ough bombi ng woul d l ead t hat much
mor e qui ckl y t o a col l apse
of mor al e, t he
weaker t he nat i onal char act er of hi s peopl e i s, and t he mor e t hat soci al and pol i t i cal
r i f t s cl eave hi s
soci et y
. "
Knauss assumed t hat a t ot al i t ar i an soci et y l i ke Nazi
Ger many
woul dpr ove mor e capabl e of endur i ng bombi ng at t acks t han t he f r act ur ed
soci et i es of
Br i t ai n and Fr ance. 46 Such
at t i t udes pl ayed an i mpor t ant
r ol e i n
Luf t waf f e t hi nki ng t hr oughout t he r emai nder of t he t hi r t i es .
Knauss hi msel f went on f r omt he Ai r Mi ni st r y t o become
t he head of t he newAi r
War Col l ege i nGat ow. Ther e, under hi s l eader shi p, t he emphasi s
r emai ned sol i dl y
on " st r at egi c" bombi ng unt i l t he out br eak of t he war . Near l y
al l l ect ur es concer ned
t he " st r at egi c" uses of ai r power ; vi r t ual l y none
di scussed t act i cal cooper at i on wi t h
t he ar my . 47 Si mi l ar l y, t he emphasi s i n t he mi l i t ar y j our nal s cent er ed on" st r at egi c"
bombi ng. The pr est i gi ous Mi l i t dr wi ssenschaf t l i che Rundschau, t he newj our nal of
t he War Mi ni st r y, f ounded i n 1936,
publ i shed a number of t heor et i cal pi eces on
f ut ur e devel opment s i n
ai r war
.
Near l y al l di scussed t he use of " st r at egi c"
ai r power wi t h some
emphasi zi ng t hat aspect of ai r war f ar e t o t he excl usi on of
ot her s
. 48
One
aut hor comment ed t hat Eur opean mi l i t ar y power s wer e i ncr easi ngl y
maki ng
t he
bomber
f or ce
t he hear t of
t hei r ai r power . The
maneuver abi l i t y
and
t echni cal capabi l i t y of t he newgener at i on of bomber s wer e such t hat " al r eady i n
t oday' s
ci r cumst ances
t he
bomber
of f ensi ve woul d
be as unst oppabl e as t he f l i ght of
a
shel l . - 49
Maj or Her hudt von Rohden, event ual l y t he head
of t he gener al st af f ' s
hi st or i cal sect i on,
went
so f ar
as
t o ar gue
t hat unl i ke t he ar my and t he navy, onl y t he
ai r f or ce was
i n t he posi t i on t o at t ack t he enemy i n dept h and t o l aunch i mmedi at el y
" dest r uct i ve
at t acks agai nst t he economi c r esour ces of t he enemy f r om al l
di r ect i ons. " Mor eover , von Rohden st r essed, t he Luf t waf f e shoul d not be an
auxi l i ar y t o t he ot her t wo
ser vi ces . Int er ser vi ce cooper at i on di d not meandi vi di ng
t he Luf t waf f e up and
par cel i ng out i t s per sonnel and mat er i el t o suppor t gr ound
or
naval t act i cal
pur poses . Rat her , i nt er ser vi ce cooper at i on meant usi ng t he Luf t waf f e
i n " a uni f i ed and
massed ` st r at egi c' ai r war " t hat coul d pr ovi de f or
bet t er l ong-
r ange suppor t . °
The f ai l ur e of t he Luf t waf f e
t o pr ogr ess f ur t her t owar ds a " st r at egi c"
bombi ng
capabi l i t y i s at t r i but abl e
t o sever al f act or s . The f i r st i s
t hat many wi t hi n t he
Luf t waf f e
t hought t hat t hey possessed suf f i ci ent capabi l i t y wi t h t hei r
t wi n- engi ne
ai r cr af t t o l aunch " st r at egi c" at t acks agai nst Ger many' s most l i kel y
cont i nent al
opponent s- Fr ance, Czechosl ovaki a, and Pol and. Engl and pr esent ed
gr eat er
10
ORIGINS ANDPREPARATION
pr obl ems, but even
her e Gener al Fel my, Commander of Luf t f ot t e 2 and
char ged
wi t h pl anni ng of an ai r war
agai nst Br i t ai n i n 1939, sawpossi bi l i t i es . Concl udi ng
t he 1939 spr i ng pl anni ng
ef f or t , Fel my admi t t ed t o hi s subor di nat es t hat t he
Luf t waf f e di d not yet possess any of t he pr er equi si t es f or a successf ul " st r at egi c"
bombi ng of f ensi ve agai nst Gr eat Br i t ai n
.
He
di d suggest , however , t hat t he pani c
t hat had br oken out i n London i n
Sept ember
at
t he hei ght of t he Muni ch cr i si s
i ndi cat ed t hat a massi ve aer i al onsl aught
di r ect ed agai nst London mi ght br eak
Br i t ai n' s power s of r esi st ance. " A
second f act or l ay on t he t echni cal si de: The
engi neer s never sol ved t he He 177 desi gn di f f i cul t i es .
Mor eover , not onl y di d
Ger many not possess t he economi c st r engt h and r esour ces
t o
bui l d a " st r at egi c"
bombi ng f or ce ont he scal e of t he Br i t i sh and Amer i can ef f or t
of 1943- 44
but
f ew
ai r men of any nat i on i n t he pr ewar per i od had f or eseen t he enor mous magni t ude of
t he i ndust r i al andmi l i t ar y ef f or t t hat " st r at egi c" bombi ng woul dr equi r e . Thus, i t i s
not sur pr i si ng t hat Ger many was not muchbet t er pr epar ed t o l aunch a " st r at egi c"
bombi ng campai gnt han Br i t ai n
i n 1939.
As pr evi ousl y ment i oned,
Wever ' s deat h i n 1936 was di sast r ous f or t he f ut ur e
cour se of t he Luf t waf f e but i n a sense ot her t han t hat whi ch most hi st or i ans have
suggest ed. Fi r st , he pr ovi ded t he gl ue t hat
hel d
t he
Luf t waf f e
t oget her i n t he ear l y
r ear mament year s. He got on
r el at i vel y
wel l
wi t h ot her Luf t waf f e l eader s, i ncl udi ng
Mi l ch, and al l r espect ed hi s qual i t i es of i nt el l ect and l eader shi p . Second, and
equal j y i mpor t ant , Wever
possessed
bot h a
pr act i cal mi l i t ar y mi nd and a f i r st - cl ass
st r at egi c sense t hat t hought i n t er ms of t he l ong pul l and not j ust i mmedi at e,
, oper at i onal pr obl ems. Gi ven t he f i nanci al and r aw mat er i al const r ai nt s on
r ear mament , Wever coul d not have cr eat ed a " st r at egi c" bombi ng f or ce i n t he
t hi r t i es i nt er ms of what t he Uni t ed St at es Ar my Ai r For ces ( USAAF) woul d have i n
1943 and 1944. Never t hel ess, hi s pr esence woul d have mi t i gat ed t he r at her
haphazar d appr oach t hat char act er i zed t he Luf t waf f e i n t he l at e t hi r t i es and ear l y
f or t i es.
The cal i ber of Wever ' s successor s under l i nes hi s i mpor t ance t o t he Luf t waf f e.
Al ber t Kessel r i ng, hi s i mmedi at e successor , was a t r oop l eader par
excel l ence, but
over al l he was not an ef f ect i ve Chi ef of St af f and di d not get al ong wel l wi t h
Mi l ch.
The back- bi t i ng bet ween t he t wo l ed t o Kessel r i ng' s
r epl acement by Hans- J ur gen
St umpf f wi t hi n a year . " The l at t er
pr oved l i t t l e bet t er t han Kessel r i ng; and i n
Febr uar y
1939, Gor i ng named Hans J eschonnek
as Chi ef of t he Luf t waf f e' s
Gener al
St af f . Despi t e hi s br i l l i ance at t he
Kr i egsakademi e, J eschonnek pr oved
no bet t er
t han hi s pr edecessor s . He was
ar r ogant , shor t si ght ed, and had had
sever al bi t t er
r un- i ns wi t h Mi l ch. s' Mor eover ,
J eschonnek f el l under Hi t l er ' s spel l and
swal l owed
t he l i ne
t hat t he Fi i hr er was t he " gr eat est commander i n hi st or y . " As a r esul t ,
he
never possessed t he i ndependent j udgment t hat hi s posi t i on r equi r ed. Shor t l y af t er
Muni ch, Hi t l er demanded a f i vef ol d i ncr ease i n t he Luf t waf f e by 1942, an
i mpossi bl e goal gi vent he economi c const r ai nt s and t he megal omani acal pr opor t i on
of t he pr ogr am. ( Such a
f or ce woul dr equi r e 85 per cent of t he wor l d' s avi at i on f uel
and woul d cost 60 mi l l i on RM, a t ot al
equi val ent t o al l Ger man def ense spendi ng
f or
t he 1933- 39 per i od. ) Seni or
of f i cer s cor r ect l y concl uded t hat
t her e was no
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
pr ospect of accompl i shi ng
such a pl an. J eschonnek, however , announced,
" Gent l emen, i n my vi ew i t i s our dut y t o suppor t t he Fuhr er andnot wor k agai nst
hi m.
" 54
Such an at t i t ude was not consi st ent wi t h t he t r adi t i ons of t he gener al st af f ,
but
f ul l y
conf or medt o Hi t l er ' s bel i ef t hat hi s gener al s wer e t her e
not t o
gi ve
advi ce
but t o car r y out or der s
. "
The al most year l y changes i n t he posi t i on of Chi ef of St af f f r om1936 t o 1939
was not t he onl y r esul t of G6r i ng' s mi shandl i ng of t he Luf t waf f e.
He
nowsever el y
const r ai ned Mi l ch by bal anci ng t he St at e Secr et ar y wi t h ot her s wi t hi n t he
Luf t waf f e' s bur eaucr acy.
Er nest Udet , a gr eat f i ght er pi l ot i n Wor l d War
I and
bar nst or mer of t he 1920' s,
r ecei ved an appoi nt ment as head of t he
Luf t waf f e' s
t echni cal depar t ment s
as
wel l
as t he Of f i ce
of
Ai r Ar mament wher e he cont r ol l ed
r esear ch anddevel opment f or t he Luf t waf f e . Udet di dnot possess t he t echni cal or
engi neer i ng ski l l s t o handl e such r esponsi bi l i t i es andwas a dr eadf ul admi ni st r at or .
He hadno l ess t han 26 separ at e depar t ment s r epor t i ng di r ect l y t o hi m. "
In sum, G6r i ng possessed nei t her t he abi l i t y nor backgr ound t o r un t he
enor mousl y expanded Luf t waf f e. Mi l chwas i ncr easi ngl y i sol at ed f r omt he cent er s
of power ; andt he ot her t op l eader s, such as Kessel r i ng, Udet , andJ eschonnek, di d
not possess Wever ' s st r at egi c i nsi ght . Long- r ange pl anni ng and st r at egi c t hi nki ng
went by t he boar ds, andt he Luf t waf f e i ncr easi ngl y became a f or ce t hat r eact ed t o
day- t o- day pol i t i cal andoper at i onal pr essur es.
The r esul t of t hi s i ncr easi ngl y chaot i c or gani zat i onal si t uat i on showed
up most
di r ect l y i n
t he pr oduct i on pr ogr ams of t he l at e pr ewar per i od. Even consi der i ng
t hei r r aw
mat er i al
shor t ages and t hei r
economi c
and
f or ei gnexchange di f f i cul t i es,
t he Ger mans under cut
t he pr oduct i on capaci t y of t hei r ai r cr af t i ndust r y . Wast e,
obsol et e
pr oduct i on met hods, andbadpl anni ng char act er i zed t he ef f or t s of event he
maj or manuf act ur er s.
Thr oughout t he l at e 1930' s, t he Ger manspr oduced numer ous
pl ans f or ai r cr af t pr oduct i on due t o const ant l y changi ng goal s and pr i or i t i es. By
1939,
ai r cr af t
pr oduct i on was onl y 70 per cent of st at edpr oduct i on goal s ( goal s t hat
wer e si gni f i cant l y under Hi t l er ' s
demand
f or
qui nt upl i ng of t he Luf t waf f e) . 57 The
f ol l owi ng f i gur es
i n Tabl e
I' s
r ef l ect t he shor t f al l bet ween pl anned expansi on and
act ual
pr oduct i on f i gur es i n t he l ast year s of peace.
12
TABLEI
Pl anned and Act ual Ai r cr af t Out put - 1938and 1939
1938
Pl anNos. Al l Types Combat
1939
Pl anNos. Al l Types Combat
6 5, 800 4, 129 8 9, 957 7, 095
7
6, 021 3, 971 10 8, 299 6, 051
7/ 8
6, 154 3, 710 10/ 11 8, 619
6, 357
Act ual Act ual
Pr oduct i on 5, 235 3, 350 Pr oduct i on
8, 295 4, 733
ORIGINS AND
PREPARATION
The mobi l i zat i on pl ans, done by t he
gener al st af f under J eschonnek, and t he
pr oduct i on pl ans of Udet ' s t echni cal exper t s cont i nued t o di ver ge- t he
f or mer
i nf l uenced by
pr essur e f r omGor i ng and Hi t l er ( and t he r eal possi bi l i t y of war ) , t he
l at t er under t he i mpact of
t he di st r essi ng economi c si t uat i on di scussed at t he
begi nni ng of t hi s chapt er . The r eper cussi ons of t hi s
si t uat i on wer e not i mmedi at el y
appar ent si nce t he Luf t waf f e' s
si ze and st r engt h pr oved suf f i ci ent t o meet i ni t i al
war t i me demands i n Pol and and Fr ance.
But i nl ong- r ange t er ms, t hi s unbr i dgeabl e
gul f
bet ween t he gener al st af f and t he Luf t waf f e' s
t echni cal depar t ment s made
i ndust r i al pl anni ng al most
i r r el evant i n t he consi der at i onof Ger manst r at egy . Ther e
was no per son or agency, except Gor i ng, i n
over al l char ge of st r at egi c pl anni ng,
f or ce st r uct ur e, or
i ndust r i al pr oduct i on. The r esul t s l ed di r ect l y t o t he si t uat i on of
1943, 44.
Begi nni ng i n 1936, but wi t h
i ncr easi ng f or ce i n 1937, t he Luf t waf f e t r ansi t i oned
i nt o i t s second gener at i on
of ai r cr af t
.
The emphasi s f r om above on st at i st i cs
compl i cat ed an i nher ent l y di f f i cul t
pr ocess. As Gor i ng st at ed, what mat t er ed wer e
number s " t o i mpr ess Hi t l er and t o enabl e Hi t l er ,
i n
t ur n, t o
i mpr ess t he
wor l d. - 19
Mi l ch at l east mi t i gat ed some of t he wor st aspect s of t hi s number s
cr aze. In 1935,
he r ecogni zed t hat most model s i n pr oduct i on wer e obsol escent and r ef used t o
i ncr ease t hei r pr oduct i on l evel s. But t o st op ai r cr af t pr oduct i on j ust because not hi ng
bet t er
was
yet avai l abl e woul d have been count er pr oduct i ve, especi al l y si nce a
nat i onal goal
was t o expand ai r cr af t pr oduct i on capaci t y. For t unat el y f or t he
Luf t waf f e, t he J u 52,
pr oduced as
a
bomber dur i ng t hi s per i od, pr oved an
out st andi ng t r anspor t ai r cr af t
and f or med t he backbone of t he Luf t waf f e' s ai r l i f t
f or ce t hr oughout t he Second
Wor l d War . 6° Compl i cat i ng t he i nt r oduct i on of new
ai r cr af t wer e t he di f f i cul t i es exper i enced by Ger man
engi ne
manuf act ur er s i n
pr oduci ng engi nes t hat met compar abl e per f or mance st andar ds of Amer i can and
Br i t i sh i ndust r y. 6' The f act t hat t he
J u 52 was not an adequat e bomber i n any r espect
l ed t o pr essur e f r omt he bomber uni t s f or r epl acement . As a r esul t , t he Ai r Mi ni st r y
r ushed t he J u 86, He 111, and Do
17
i nt o pr oduct i on bef or e compl et e eval uat i on.
None of t he t hr ee was f ul l y sat i sf act or y wi t h t he J u 86vi r t ual l y usel ess, whi l e t he
He 111 showedt he most pot ent i al f or i mpr ovement
. 62
The
1936 medi umbomber pr ogr am was meant t o ser ve as an i nt er i m measur e
unt i l a t hi r d
gener at i onof bomber s ar r i ved. Udet ' s gr owi ng l ove af f ai r wi t h t he di ve
bomber di sast r ousl y af f ect ed
t hat pr ogr am. In Spai n, t he Luf t waf f e hadexper i enced
di f f i cul t y i n hi t t i ng
t ar get s accur at el y f r omhi gh al t i t ude, whi l e t he J u 87 was
most
accur at e i n
put t i ng bombs di r ect l y ont ar get . Fr omt hi s exper i ence,
Udet concl uded
t hat ever y bomber shoul d
be
a
di ve bomber . Ther e wer e sound ar gument s f or t he
need t o
achi eve mor e accur at e bombi ng, because t he l owpr oduct i on
capaci t y of t he
Ger man muni t i ons i ndust r y i n t he l at e t hi r t i es di d not al l ow
f or much wast age of
bombs. 63 But t he deci si on t hat t he next gener at i on
of bomber s shoul d have t he
char act er i st i cs of di ve bomber s was mani f est l y
i mpr act i cal , i f not i mpossi bl e . The
r esul t s wer e ser i ous f or bot h t he J u 88 and
t he He 177 . In t he case of t he J u 88
pr ot ot ype, Udet ' s demand t hat i t possess a di ve- bombi ng
capabi l i t y, al ong wi t h
50, 000 ot her desi gn changes, i ncr eased
t he ai r cr af t wei ght f r om7 t o 12 t ons wi t h a
13
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
concomi t ant l oss i n
speed f r om500 km/ h t o 300 km/ h. Mor eover , t hese changes
del ayed
act ual pr oduct i on by at
l east a year
. 64
The addi t i onal r equi r ement
t hat t he
He 177 be abl e t o di ve bomb came i n t he mi ddl e of pr ogr amdevel opment and
vi r t ual l y i nsur ed t hat , gi ven an i nher ent l y compl ex
engi ne desi gn, t he model woul d
never evol ve i nt o an ef f ect i ve heavy bomber . 65
Gor i ng' s
and Hi t l er ' s
f asci nat i on wi t h number s al so ser ved t o di st or t t he
mai nt enance and suppl y syst em. Theor et i cal l y, t he Luf t waf f e based i t s appr oach t o
ai r power
on
t he bel i ef t hat a f l yi ng uni t was not combat - r eady unl ess i t possessed
moder n, r el i abl e ai r cr af t backed up by a f i r st - cl ass mai nt enance or gani zat i on and
suppl y syst em.
Usi ng
t hi s
r at i onal e, f r ont l i ne uni t s had
t o
r ecei ve
adequat e
number s
of r epl acement ai r cr af t and
r eser ves
of spar e
par t s. In an " af t er act i on" r epor t
on
t he
Czech cr i si s, t he chi ef of t he Luf t waf f e' s
suppl y ser vi ces r epor t ed t hat t hese
r equi r ement s had not yet been met
. 66
Among ot her i t ems, he under scor ed t he f act
t hat t he number of ai r cr af t engi nes i n mai nt enance and suppl y depot s r epr esent ed
onl y 4 t o 5 per cent of t ot al engi nes i n ser vi ce. The basi c r eason why t hi s si t uat i on
exi st ed was i n Gor i ng' s r ef usal t o f ol l ow r ecommendat i ons t hat t he Luf t waf f e
devot e 20 t o 30 per cent of pr oduct i on t o pr ovi de adequat e i nvent or i es of spar e
par t s . 6' Inst ead, t he Ger mans assi gned pr oduct i on al most excl usi vel y t o f i r st l i ne
st r engt h because of t he pol i t i cal out l ook of t he t op l eader s and t hei r f asci nat i on wi t h
number s . Thi s pr act i ce cont i nued t hr oughout t he war . As a r esul t , t heLuf t waf f e was
chr oni cal l y shor t spar e par t s and had t o canni bal i ze wi t h a di r ect and negat i ve
i mpact on oper at i onal r eady r at es.
THELUFTWAFFE' S IMPACT, 1933- 39
The Luf t waf f e' s i ni t i al st r at egi c pur pose had been t o det er
Pol and
and Fr ance
f r oml aunchi ng a pr event i ve war agai nst t he Rei ch. It was nei t her not abl y successf ul
nor unsuccessf ul i n t hi s r ol e. Hi t l er ' s di pl omat i c ski l l s, par t i cul ar l y t he 1934 Non
Aggr essi on Pact wi t h Pol and, wer e mor e i mpor t ant i n al t er i ng t he Eur opean
di pl omat i c bal ance of power . The Fr ench, at l east i n t he ear l y per i od of Ger man
r ear mament , wer e somewhat bl ase about t he i mpl i cat i ons of t he Luf t waf f e. As l at e
as Sept ember 1937, one mi l i t ar y l eader t ol d t he Br i t i sh t hat wi t h " a ver i t abl e f or est
of guns" over t he Magi not Li ne, Fr ance coul d pr event t he Ger man ai r f or ce f r om
i nt er veni ng i n t he l and bat t l e . 6$ The f ol l owi ng mont h, t he Fr ench assur ed t he
vi si t i ng Br i t i sh Chi ef of t he Imper i al Gener al St af f t hat t hey pl anned t o
st r engt hen
t he Magi not Li ne t o count er Ger manai r cr af t super i or i t y and t hat t hey
bel i eved any
" enemy woul d r equi r e an unr eal i zabl e supr emacy of machi nes t o
get over t he
ant i ai r cr af t def enses. . .
.

69
If at f i r st t he ai r t hr eat di d not i mpr ess t he Fr ench, i t cer t ai nl y
upset t he Br i t i sh.
St anl ey Bal dwi n' s r emar k t hat t he bomber " woul d al ways get t hr ough" i s ampl e
t est i mony t o Br i t i sh f ear s about t he ai r t hr eat . Ther e i s, of cour se, some i r ony her e,
because at l east unt i l
1937- 38
Hi t l er
di d
not
ser i ousl y consi der Gr eat Br i t ai n as a
possi bl e opponent . Never t hel ess, Br i t i sh al ar ms
over
t he
" gr owi ng ai r t hr eat " and
t hei r
hopes of r eal i zi ng anai r l i mi t at i on agr eement bet weent he Eur opean
power s
wer e a usef ul
di pl omat i c t ool t hat al l owed Hi t l er t o
mani pul at e t he i sl andpower .
1
4
ORIGINS ANDPREPARATION
If
t he t hr eat of t he Luf t waf f e, al ong wi t h t he ar my' s
bui l dup i n t he mi d- t hi r t i es,
i mpr essed many Eur opeans
wi t h t he r esur gence of Ger man mi l i t ar y power , t he
r eal i t y was a di f f er ent mat t er . The concl usi on
dr awn f r oman assessment of an
Apr i l 1936 war game i n t he Luf t waf f e st af f war ned t hat Ger manai r r ear mament t hus
f ar was i nsuf f i ci ent and
i nf er i or
t o
t he Fr ench ai r f or ce . ' ° Not unt i l 1938 di d t he
Luf t waf f e begi n t o r eal i ze i t s pot ent i al . Bef or e t hat poi nt , event s i n sout her n Eur ope
had al r eady i nf l uenced t he Luf t waf f e' s devel opment .
Whi l e
t he
Ger mans compl et ed t he f i r st st ages of r ear mament , t he Spani sh Ci vi l
War occur r ed. Hi t l er wi l l i ngl y pr ovi ded subst ant i al ai d t o t he r ebel s, especi al l y i n
t he ai r , but
r egar ded
t he war most l y as usef ul i n di st r act i ng Eur ope' s at t ent i on f r om
t he gr owi ng danger of
Nazi Ger many. " For t he Luf t waf f e, Spai n was a hel pf ul
t est i ng gr ound f or i t s ai r cr af t and t act i cs . The J u 52
qui ckl y
showed
i t s l i mi t at i ons
as a bomber and was soon r el egat ed t o i t s Wor l d War 11 r ol e
as a t r anspor t
; t he He
51 bi pl anes pr oved i nf er i or t o Russi an ai r cr af t suppl i ed t o
t he
Republ i c . By 1937,
t he Ger mans had i nt r oduced t he Bf 109 f i ght er , t he He 111, and Do 17 bomber s, as
wel l as a f ew J u 87 di ve bomber s. Al l t hese ai r cr af t soon i ndi cat ed t hei r r el at i ve
wor t h. On t he gr ound, t he 88mmf l ak gun pr oved i t sel f ef f ect i ve not onl y as an
ant i ai r cr af t
weapon
but al so agai nst gr ound t ar get s . 72 The f i ght er commander
Adol ph Gal l and, however , f el t t hat t he combat exper i ence gai ned i n Spai n l ed t he
Luf t waf f e t o over est i mat e t he per f or mance of ant i ai r cr af t weapons, t her eby
di st or t i ng f ut ur e pr ogr ams f or t he ai r def ense of t he Rei ch
. ' s
Per haps of gr eat er i mpor t ance, t he Ger mans l ear ned i nval uabl e combat l essons i n
Spai n
whi ch
t hey
qui ckl y absor bed i nt o t hei r doct r i ne . The
devel opment of cl ose ai r
suppor t and cooper at i on wi t h t he ar my came di r ect l y f r omt he Spani sh Ci vi l War .
Wol f r am
von
Ri cht hof en, Manf r ed' s cousi n, ar r i ved i n Spai n out of f avor wi t h t he
Ai r Mi ni st r y i n Ber l i n. Hi s concept i on of ai r war uponar r i val was not subst ant i al l y
di f f er ent f r ommost ot her Luf t waf f e of f i cer s at t hat t i me; i n ot her wor ds, cl ose ai r
suppor t f or t he ar my r anked at t he bot t omof hi s pr i or i t i es. However ,
once i n hi s
posi t i on as Chi ef of St af f t o t he Condor Legi on, Ri cht hof en r ecogni zed
t hat t he
t heor i es of ai r power and Spani sh pol i t i cal r eal i t i es di d not have
much
i n
common.
The st al emat e ont he gr ound, t he l ack of sui t abl e " st r at egi c"
t ar get s, and t he gr eat
Nat i onal i st weakness i n ar t i l l er y l ed Ri cht hof en
t o consi der usi ng hi s f or ces t o
suppor t di r ect l y Fr anco' s of f ensi ve agai nst
Bi l bao
.
74
Agai nst consi der abl e opposi t i on
and wi t hout of f i ci al sanct i on, Ri cht hof en
devel oped t he t echni que and t act i cs of
cl ose ai r suppor t f or gr ound f or ces
i n
of f ensi ve oper at i ons. ' S None
of
t he
el ement s r equi r ed f or such oper at i ons
exi st ed
wi t hi n t he Luf t waf f e bef or e t he of f ensi ve
agai nst t he Basque Republ i c . To
begi n
wi t h, t her e was
an over al l l ack of exper i ence and t echni cal
exper t i se, f or
communi cat i on
bet ween gr ound and ai r uni t s ( par t i cul ar l y
r adi o) di d not yet exi st .
By t he t i me Ri cht hof en was
t hr ough devel opi ng t he concept and t act i cs,
t he
Ger mans had r ecogni zed
t he necessi t y f or cl oser cooper at i on
and i mpr oved
pl anni ng bet ween
gr ound and
ai r
uni t s, had est abl i shed cl ose
communi cat i on l i nks
and r ecogni t i on
devi ces, and had det ai l edLuf t waf f e l i ai son
of f i cer s t o ser ve di r ect l y
wi t h
f r ont l i ne uni t s . Al l of t hi s was due t o
Ri cht hof en' s dr i ve and i magi nat i on. ' 6
1
5
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
The l essons of
" st r at egi c" bombi ng wer e mor e mut ed. On t he one hand, one
af t er act i on r epor t
( Er f ahr ungsber i cht ) went so f ar as t o emphasi ze t he i mpact upon
mor al e of bombi ng t he Republ i c' s wor k
f or ce, i . e . , at t acks r esul t i ng i n supposedl y
bad di sci pl i ne among t he wor ki ng cl ass . Cont i nuous at t acks evenby smal l bombi ng
uni t s agai nst a si ngl e ci t y, especi al l y wher e
ant i ai r cr af t def enses
wer e
i nsuf f i ci ent ,
had " deepl y i mpr essed and depr essed" t he
popul at i on. " Never t hel ess, t he
Luf t waf f e' s year book f or 1938
suggest ed t hat " st r at egi c" ai r war f ar e i n Spai n had
not occur r ed f or a var i et y of r easons . The Nat i onal i st s had been i n a posi t i on t o
dest r oy ut t er l y Madr i d, Bar cel ona, and Val enci a wi t h i ncendi ar i es but had not done
so because of t he del i cat e pol i t i cal pr obl ems i nvol ved i n a ci vi l war . Fr anco had not
at t acked t he maj or por t s because t hese l ay wi t hi n t he " i nt er nat i onal zone" and had
not aut hor i zed at t acks on ar mament f act or i es si nce Spai n possessed so f ew
. ' e
Conver sel y, Capt ai n Heye
of
t he Seekr i egsl ei t ung ( naval hi gh command) gai ned
a di f f er ent i mpr essi on af t er t al ki ng wi t h Luf t waf f e of f i cer s dur i ng a 1938 vi si t t o
Spai n. He r epor t ed on hi s r et ur n t o Ber l i n:
Di sr egar di ng t he mi l i t ar y success accompanyi ng t he Luf t waf f e' s use
i n i mmedi at e suppor t of ar my oper at i ons, one get s t he i mpr essi on
t hat our at t acks on obj ect s
of
l i t t l e
mi l i t ar y i mpor t ance, t hr ough
whi ch i n most cases many
womenand chi l dr en . . . wer e hi t , ar e
not
a
sui t abl e means t o br eak anopponent ' s r esi st ance . They seem
t o st r engt hen hi s
r esi st ance . . . . The memor y of t he ai r at t ack on
Guemi ca
by
t he
( Condor ] Legi on st i l l t oday af f ect s t he popul at i on
and
per mi t s no f r i endl y f eel i ngs f or Ger many i n t he popul at i on of
t he Basques, who ear l i er wer e t hor oughl y f r i endl y t o Ger many and
i n
no manner Communi st i c .
79
Si gni f i cant l y, what ever t hei r at t i t udes t owar ds
t he ef f ect s of bombi ng, t he
Spani shCi vi l War conf i r med i n
some Ger mans' mi nds t he bel i ef t hat f i ght er ai r cr af t
and ci vi l def ense measur es woul d be
of i mpor t ance i n t he comi ng war . In 1937,
Udet i ncr eased t he pr opor t i on
of f i ght er s t o bomber s f r omt he exi st i ng 1- t o- 3 r at i o
t o 1- t o- 2
.

Mor eover , unl i ke t hei r count er par t s i n Br i t ai n, Ger manai r power
exper t s
" bel i eved
t hat
ci vi l
def ense measur es coul d appr eci abl y r educe casual t i es i n
an ai r
at t ack.
" 8'
Spai n al so
i ndi cat ed t he di f f i cul t i es of hi t t i ng t ar get s by
bot h day and ni ght . The
exper i ence gl eaned
f r om ni ght at t acks pr oved
gener al l y benef i ci al , whi l e
t he
pr obl em
of hi t t i ng t ar get s accur at el y i n dayl i ght
mi ssi ons hel pedpushUdet t owar ds
hi s concept i on
t hat ever y bomber shoul d have a
di ve- bombi ng capabi l i t y . At
ni ght ,
t he
Ger mans di scover ed t he di f f i cul t i es
not onl y i n f i ndi ng t ar get s but i n hi t t i ng
t hem. " Thi s l ed t o a
r ecogni t i on t hat navi gat i onal ai ds wer e cr i t i cal f or bad weat her
and ni ght oper at i ons. In Mar ch
1939, Kessel r i ng admi t t ed t hat even gi ven a hi gh
l evel of t echni cal compet ence, he doubt ed whet her t he aver age bomber cr ewcoul d
hi t t hei r t ar get wi t h any degr ee of accur acy at ni ght or i n bad weat her . " To hel p
over come t hi s di f f i cul t y,
Luf t waf f e sci ent i st s exper i ment ed wi t h r adi o di r ect i on
syst ems as an ai d t o navi gat i on and
as a t echnol ogi cal answer t o t he pr obl emof
bombi ng t ar get s i n
condi t i ons of l i mi t ed vi si bi l i t y . The " Kni ckebei n" syst em,
f i r st
used i n
t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n, was a di r ect
r esul t . 84
16
The
i nt r oduct i on of a newgener at i on of bomber s and
f i ght er s af t er 1936 caused
ser i ous t r ansi t i on pr obl ems
. Hi gh acci dent r at es coupl ed wi t h l ow i n- commi ssi on
r at es cont i nued t o pl ague t he
t r ansi t i on pr ogr amas l at e as t he summer of 1938. At
t hat t i me, Luf t waf f e oper at i onal r eady r at es wer e
sur pr i si ngl y l ow. On August 1,
1938, t he i n- commi ssi on r at e f or bomber s was 49 per cent , f or f i ght er s 70 per cent ,
and f or t he whol e f or ce 57
per cent . 85 Onl y af t er dr ast i cal l y r educi ng f l yi ng and
t r ai ni ng t i me coul d t he Luf t waf f e
br i ng i t s i n- commi ssi on r at e t o a r espect abl e l evel
by t he end of Sept ember 1938,
shor t l y bef or e t he onset of t he pl anned i nvasi on of
Czechosl ovaki a. " The l evel of
ai r cr ewt r ai ni ng was equal l y depl or abl e. In August ,
t he Luf t waf f e possessed bar el y t wo- t hi r ds
of i t s aut hor i zed cr ewst r engt h, and over
40 per cent of t he cr ews on dut y wer e not f ul l y
oper at i onal . Tabl e 1117 hel ps t o poi nt
out t he ext ent of t he pr obl em.
TABLEII
Ai r cr ewReadi ness- August 1938
Mor eover ,
t he
chi ef of suppl y ser vi ces poi nt ed out i n an af t er act i on r epor t ont he
Czechcr i si s t hat :
In t he l ast mont hs [ bef or e Muni ch] , t he f ol l owi ng
speci al measur es wer e car r i ed t hr ough concur r ent l y : ( I) equi ppi ng
of many newuni t s
;
( 2) r ear mi ng of numer ous uni t s; ( 3) ear l y
par t i al
over haul f or appr oxi mat el y
60 per cent of f r ont l i ne ai r cr af t ; ( 4)
r epl acement of spar e par t s; ( 5) r ebui l di ng of numer ous ai r cr af t i n
suppl y
depot s, uni t s, and i ndust r y; ( 6) r ear mament of many ai r cr af t ;
( 7) accel er at ed i nt r oduct i on of par t i al l y over haul ed mot or s .
. .
; ( 8)
est abl i shment of f our newai r gr oups andone newai r f i el d
. . .
; ( 10)
pr epar at i on and r esuppl y of mobi l i zat i on suppl i es cor r espondi ng
t o
t he newl y
est abl i shed uni t s, r ear med uni t s, and t r ansf er r ed
uni t s. . . . The compr essi on of t hese t asks i nt o a
ver y shor t t i me
span has once mor e and i n cl ear f ashi on poi nt ed out
t he known l ack
of r eadi ness i n t he mai nt enance of f l yi ng equi pment
as wel l as
among t echni cal per sonnel . . . .
The consequence of t hese ci r cumst ances was: ( a) a
const ant
and, f or f i r st l i ne ai r cr af t , compl et e l ack of r eser ves bot h
as
acci dent r epl acement s and f or mobi l i zat i on ; ( b)
a weakeni ng of t he
ai r cr af t i nvent or y i n t he t r ai ni ng school s i n
f avor of r egul ar uni t s;
( c) a
l ack of r eser ve engi nes and suppl i es f or t he t i mel y equi pment
of ai r f i el ds, suppl y ser vi ces, and depot s bot hf or peacet i me needs as
wel l as mobi l i zat i on.
88
ORIGINS ANDPREPARATION
17
Type of Ai r cr af t
Aut hor i zed
Number of
Cr ews
Cr ew
Ful l y
Oper at i onal
Tr ai ni ng St at us
Par t i al l y
Oper at i onal
St r at Recon 228
84 57
Tac Recon 297 183
128
Fi ght er 938 537 364
Bomber 1, 409 378 411
Di ve Bomber
300 80 123
Gr ound
At t ack
195 89 11
Tr anspor t
117 10 17
Coast al and Navy
230 71 34
TOTAL
3, 714 1, 432 1, 145
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Whi l e t he Luf t waf f e was not
pr epar ed t o f ace a mi l i t ar y conf r ont at i on over
Czechosl ovaki a, " i t had a maj or i mpact on Br i t i sh and Fr ench
di pl omacy .
Thr oughout t he l at e
1930' s, t he Br i t i sh Chi ef s of St af f had r ei t er at i vel y war ned t hei r
mi ni st er s about t he Ger manai r
danger .
In l at e Mar ch 1938, t hey emphasi zed t hat i n
a mi l i t ar y conf r ont at i on over Czechosl ovaki a, Ger many woul d domi nat e t he ai r
and, mor eover , t hat t he ent i r e Luf t waf f e mi ght concent r at e on Br i t ai n as t he most
pr omi si ng met hod of wi nni ng t he war . In addi t i on, t hey war ned t hat whi l e ear l i er
st udi es
had
consi der ed
a
possi bl e ai r at t ack i n 1939, an ai r of f ensi ve i n 1938 woul d
cause mor e damage because f ewer def enses yet exi st ed. 9° Upon hi s r et ur n f r om
meet i ng Hi t l er at Godesber g, Chamber l ai n r emar ked t o hi s Cabi net col l eagues t hat
he had j ust f l own up t he Thames
and
had i magi ned Ger man bomber s t aki ng t he
same cour se . 9'
Never t hel ess, i n t he f i nal anal ysi s, f ear s about t he Luf t waf f e pr obabl y wer e not
deci si ve i n mol di ng t he Br i t i sh r esponse t o Ger man t hr eat s bef or e Muni ch. In f act ,
by Sept ember 1938 many l eadi ng appeaser s f el t t hat t he West coul d beat
Ger many
i n a war ,
12 whi l e t he Br i t i sh
mi l i t ar y i n l at e Sept ember came ar ound
t o t he
vi ew t hat " t he l at ent r esour ces of our Empi r e and t he doubt f ul
mor al e of our
opponent s under t he st r ess of war gi ve us conf i dence as t o t he ul t i mat e
out come [ of
a war ] .
" 9s
But t he t er r i bl e cost s of Wor l d War I
l i nger ed i n Br i t i sh mi nds
and
t emper ed t he r esponse. As t he For ei gn Mi ni st er , Lor d
Hal i f ax, t ol d t he Cabi net he
" coul d not f eel we wer e j ust i f i ed i n embar ki ng
on an act i on t hat woul d r esul t i n
such unt ol d suf f er i ng .
" 94
The Luf t waf f e' s ef f ect ont he Fr ench i n 1938
can, at best , be descr i bed as causi ng
bot h pani c and a col l apse i n mor al e
.
Af t er
t he Fr ench Chi ef of Ai r St af f had vi si t ed
Ger many i n
mi d- August and had been showna di spl ay of aer i al mi ght , he r et ur ned
t o Par i s t o advi se hi s gover nment t hat
t he Fr ench ai r f or ce woul d l ast bar el y t wo
weeks agai nst
t he Luf t waf f e. 95 The spect acl e t hat t he Fr ench For ei gn
Mi ni st er ,
Geor ges
Bonnet , made i n war ni ng t he Ger man ambassador t hat
an at t ack on
Czechosl ovaki a
woul d l ead t o war , whi l e at t he same t i me beggi ng
t hat Ger many
not put
Fr ance i n a posi t i on wher e she must honor her
obl i gat i ons, r ef l ect ed
desper at e Fr ench
f ear s concer ni ng t he Ger manai r t hr eat . 96 At t he
end of Sept ember
1938, a seni or gener al
t ol d t he Br i t i sh mi l i t ar y at t achd
t hat i n a Eur opean war ,
" Fr ench
ci t i es woul d be l ai d i n r ui ns [ because]
. . . t hey had no means of def ense. "
He added t hat Fr ance was nowpayi ng
t he pr i ce f or t he year s of negl ect
of her ai r
f or ce. 91 Ther e was,
of cour se, no mor e t al k about a f or est
of guns over t he Magi not
Li ne .
What i s Sur pr i si ng, gi vent he
pr edi l ect i on of some hi st or i ans t o ar gue t hat Muni ch
saved Br i t ai n f r omt he Luf t waf f e, i s t he
f act t hat t he Ger man ai r f or ce had made
al most no pr epar at i on t o wage war agai nst t he
Br i t i sh. In August 1938, a st af f
of f i cer
of Luf t f l ot t e 2, r esponsi bl e i n 1938 f or
oper at i ons over t he Nor t h Sea and
agai nst t he Br i t i sh
Isl es, suggest ed t hat Ger many' s
cur r ent capabi l i t y t o at t ack
Br i t ai n woul d amount
t o pi n pr i cks . " In
l at e Sept ember , Gener al Fel my,
Commander
of Second Ai r For ce,
war ned t he hi gh command
t hat " gi vent he means
at hi s di sposal ,
a war of dest r uct i on
agai nst Engl and
seemed t o be excl uded. " 99
In
18
May 1939, Fel my concl uded an
addr ess by hi ghl i ght i ng t he l ack of
pr epar at i onf or a
" st r at egi c" bombi ng of f ensi ve agai nst
Br i t ai n. He doubt ed whet her t he Luf t waf f e
coul d achi eve mor e t han a l i mi t ed
success i n 1940 and admi t t ed t hat t he Luf t waf f e
woul d not have one ai r di vi si on
f ul l y
t r ai ned
and pr epar ed
t o at t ack Br i t ai n i n t he
summer of
1939. Consi der i ng Second Ai r For ce' s equi pment , pr epar at i ons f or an
ai r
of f ensi ve
on
Br i t ai nwer e t ot al l y i nadequat e ( vol l i g ungenugend) . 100
Thi s st at e of af f ai r s was a r esul t of
Ger many' s st r at egi c si t uat i on. Luf t waf f e
pl anner s had t o f ace t he f act t hat t hei r
f i r st commi t ment woul d
be
t o a maj or gr ound
war . The conduct and t he success of
t hose oper at i ons woul d det er mi ne whet her
Ger many woul d sur mount her nar r oweconomi c and st r at egi c base and t hus be abl e
t o f i ght a pr ot r act ed wor l d war . If not , t he war woul d end r i ght t her e. In 1938,
" Fal l
Gr i i n, " t he pr oposed at t ack on
Czechosl ovaki a, woul d have i nvol ved t he
Wehr macht i n a maj or l and campai gn agai nst t he CzechRepubl i c, l eavi ng t he ar my
wi t h onl y weak gr ound f or ces t o pr ot ect t he Pol i sh and Fr ench f r ont i er s. As was t he
case wi t h " Fal l
Wei ss, " t he at t ack on Pol and, t he Wehr macht woul d t hen have
f aced
a maj or
gr ound campai gn i nt he west . 101
The r esul t of t hi s st r at egi c
si t uat i on was t hat t he Luf t waf f e t i ed i t s pl ans f or bot h
1938 and 1939
cl osel y
t o t he
oper at i ons of t he ar my. The t asks of t he t wo ai r f l eet s
assi gned t o suppor t
t he i nvasi on of Czechosl ovaki a wer e t o dest r oy t he Czech ai r
f or ce, t o hi nder t he mobi l i zat i on and movement of
r eser ves,
t o suppor t
t he ar my' s
advance, and onl y t hen t o at t ack t he enemy' s
popul at i on. ' °
2
Si mi l ar l y, t he
Luf t waf f e' s gener al st af f under scor ed t hat t he most i mpor t ant mi ssi ons i n t he west
woul d be t o at t ack t he Fr ench
ai r
f or ce and
pr event a br eakt hr ough al ong t he
West wal l by
Al l i ed
f or ces.
103
The same
pat t er n
r epeat ed i t sel f
i n 1939, except t hat
t hi s t i me Hi t l er r ef used t o al l owhi msel f t o be r obbed onan oppor t uni t y t o wage hi s
" l i t t l e war . "
CONCLUSION
ORIGINS ANDPREPARATION
In concl usi on, sever al f eat ur es of
pr ewar
Luf t waf f e
doct r i ne deser ve f ur t her
el abor at i on. The f i r st , andmost obvi ous, i s t hat t he pr evai l i ng hi st or i cal pi ct ur e of a
Luf t waf f e t i ed cl osel y
t o
t he ar my' s coat t ai l s i s
no l onger t enabl e . Most Luf t waf f e
l eader s f r omGor i ng t hr ough t he gener al st af f bel i eved, as di d t hei r count er par t s i n
Br i t ai n andt he Uni t ed St at es, t hat " st r at egi c" bombi ng was t he chi ef mi ssi on of
an
ai r
f or ce and t hat i n such a r ol e t hey woul d wi nt he next war .
104
They pr obabl y di d
not
consi der t he t wi n- engi ne ai r cr af t at t hei r di sposal i n 1937 and
1938 suf f i ci ent f or
a campai gn
agai nst Br i t ai n, Russi a, or t he Uni t ed St at es ;
but wi t hi n t he cont ext of
Cent r al Eur ope, wer e not such ai r cr af t
adequat e f or at t acki ng War saw, Pr ague, and
Par i s? Most Ger mans t hought so, and
cer t ai nl y t he l eader s of t he Fr ench and Br i t i sh
ai r f or ces agr eed wi t h t hem. For t he
l ong r un, t he Luf t waf f e had begun wor k
on a
f our - engi ne bomber f or mor e
di st ant t ar get s. Li ke most of t hei r cont empor ar i es i n
ot her ai r f or ces,
Luf t waf f e of f i cer s consi der abl y over est i mat ed t he possi bi l i t i es and
pot ent i al of " st r at egi c" ai r war , bot h i n t er ms of i ndust r i al damage and i t s i mpact
on mor al e. Thi s was nei t her sur pr i si ng nor uni que, si nce t her e was so l i t t l e
19
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
empi r i cal evi dence
on whi ch t o base pr edi ct i ons . The
pr eval ence of such at t i t udes
wi t hi n t he Luf t waf f e' s
of f i cer cor ps hel ps expl ai n Rot t er dam as
wel l
as t he
seemi ngl y casual shi f t f r oman
ai r super i or i t y st r at egy t o a di r ect at t ack onLondon
dur i ng t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n. Mor eover , i n t hei r appr oach t o " st r at egi c" bombi ng,
t he Ger mans
showed a gr eat er awar eness of t he di f f i cul t i es i nvol ved
i n f i ndi ng and
hi t t i ng t ar get s at ni ght or i n bad weat her t han di d ot her ai r f or ces . For i nst ance,
t hei r
pr epar at i ons i n
devel opi ng bl i nd bombi ng devi ces l i ke " Kni ckebei n" wer e f ur t her
advancedby a f ul l t wo year s t han
t hose of t he RAF.
When Adol ph Hi t l er l aunched
t he Wehr macht agai nst Pol and on Sept ember 1,
1939, t o begi n t he Second Wor l d War , t he
Luf t waf f e was i n a consi der abl y bet t er
posi t i on t han i t had been t he
pr evi ous f al l . The st af f and commander s had sol ved
most of t he t eet hi ng pr obl ems t hat had mar ked t he t r ansi t i on i nt o
a
new
gener at i on
of ai r cr af t i n 1937 and 1938. Ai r uni t s possessed moder n equi pment , and ant i -
ai r cr af t and ai r bor ne f or ces gave t he Ger mans capabi l i t i es
t hat ot her Eur opean ai r
f or ces
coul d not mat ch. In 1939, t he Luf t waf f e was cl oser t o
r eal i zi ng t he pot ent i al
of
t he ai r cr af t , whi l e t he doct r i ne of cl ose ai r suppor t and
cooper at i on wi t h t he ar my
pl aced t he
Ger manai r f or ce i n t he posi t i on t o have a deci si ve i mpact ont he comi ng
bat t l es besi de t he ar my' s ar mor edf or ces
.
Never t hel ess, t her e wer e pr obl ems . Above al l , t her e wer e ser i ous def i ci enci es i n
t he char act er of t he Luf t waf f e' s l eader shi p si nce most of t hose occupyi ng t op
posi t i ons wer e i ncapabl e of t hi nki ng f or t he l ong pul l . On t he t echni cal and
pr oduct i on si de, t he Ger mans appear ed wel l ont hei r way
t o di sast er
. By
t he spr i ng
of 1939, Br i t i sh ai r cr af t pr oduct i on was
appr oachi ng Ger man l evel s and i n 1940
woul d act ual l y sur pass Ger man out put . ' ° s
The f act t hat Gor i ng had shunt ed Mi l ch
asi de and
t ur ned
t he
t echni cal and pr oduct i on si de over t o Udet i nsur ed t hat t hi s
omi nous t r end woul d cont i nue. Fur t her
exacer bat i ng t he Luf t waf f e' s danger ous
posi t i on wer e cer t ai n
cr i t i cal r esear ch and devel opment deci si ons t aken
i n t he l ast
mont h bef or e t he out br eak of war . In December 1938, Mi l ch pushed t hr ough a
maj or
r eor gani zat i on of t he pr oduct i on syst emso t hat t he ai r cr af t
i ndust r y coul d
concent r at e on devel opi ng a f ew super i or ai r cr af t . 101
In August 1939 shor t l y bef or e
t he out br eak
of war , Gor i ng al ong wi t h Udet , Mi l ch, and
J eschonnek deci ded t o
const r i ct
devel opment and pr oduct i on. They
pl aced st r ong devel opment emphasi s
on t he He
177, J u 88, and Me 210. ' ° ' Whi l e
such emphasi s was not meant
t o hal t
r esear ch and
devel opment on t he next
gener at i on of ai r cr af t , i t di d t end
t o sl ow
down
exper i ment at i on. When t he
Ger mans awoke t o t he danger
i n 1942, i t was
al r eady
t oo l at e ; t hey woul d f i ght t he
gr eat ai r bat t l es of 1943
and 1944 wi t h
basi cal l y t he same equi pment
t hat t hey had used agai nst Pol and. '
As di scussed above, t her e wer e
f act or s pushi ng t he Ger mans t owar ds a br oader
concept i on of ai r power
t han was t he case i n
Br i t ai n and
Amer i ca
.
Economi c r eal i t y
pl aced sever e l i mi t s ont he nat ur e and f or ce st r uct ur e of t he Luf t waf f e i n t he pr ewar
per i od. Even mor e i mpor t ant t han t hi s l i mi t i ng f act or was Ger many' s gener al
st r at egi c pl acement i n t he hear t of t he Eur opean cont i nent .
Unl i ke Br i t i sh and
Amer i can ai r st r at egi st s, Ger man ai r st r at egi st s
f aced t he pr ospect of a l ar ge- scal e
l and bat t l e f r omt he moment t hat a
war
beganand wer e
never i n a posi t i on t o i gnor e
20
ORIGINS AND
PREPARATION
ent i r el y t he demands of Ger many' s gr ound f or ces . Si mul t aneousl y, most Ger man
ai r men di d bel i eve
t hat " st r at egi c" bombi ng woul d be a deci si ve f act or i n t he
comi ng
war . Thus, Ger man
ai r st r at egy was a combi nat i on of t hese t wo
di ver gent
el ement s . So wi t h t he out br eak of host i l i t i es, Ger man ai r men f ound t hemsel ves i n
qui t e di f f er ent st r at egi c ci r cumst ances t han t hey had or i gi nal l y envi si oned.
Unf or t unat el y f or t he West ,
t he
br oader based appr oach
of Wever , al ong wi t h a
gr eat er
f l exi bi l i t y i n Luf t waf f e doct r i ne, cor r esponded mor e cl osel y t o t he combat
capabi l i t i es
of
ai r cr af t i n t he l at e 1930' s
t han
di d
t he al most excl usi ve " st r at egi c"
bombi ng
doct r i nes of t he RAFor t he US Ar my Ai r Cor ps . 109 The r eal war of 1939
and 1940 was not t he war f or whi chmost of t he Luf t waf f e had pr epar ed, but i t was a
war i n t he i ni t i al st ages t o whi ch i t coul d and di d adapt , and t o whi ch
i t appl i ed
ai r power i n cooper at i on wi t h t he ar my t o gai n an i ni t i al , devast at i ng st r at egi c
vi ct or y t hat unf or t unat el y, f r omt he Ger manper spect i ve, coul d not be sust ai ned
.
Not es
1. For t hi s vi ew, see Denni s Ri char ds, The Royal Ai r For ce, 1939- 1945 ( London, 1953) , p . 29; Asher
Lee, The Ger man
Ai r
For ce
( NewYor k, 1946) , pp . 16- 17; and even sur pr i si ngl y Si r Char l es Webst er
and Nobl e Fr ankl and, The St r at egi c
Ai r
Of f ensi ve
Agai nst Ger many ( SAOAG) , Vol . I, Pr epar at i on
( London, 1961) , p . 125 .
2. For a f ul l er di scussi on of t he
i mpact of t he Ger man economi c si t uat i on on r ear mament , see my
di sser t at i on: Wi l l i amson Mur r ay, " The Change i n t he Eur opean Bal ance of Power , 1938- 1939, " Yal e
Uni ver si t y di sser t at i on, 1975, Chapt er V.
3 . For a di scussi on of t he Ger man coal si t uat i on, see : Inst i t ut f i i r Wel t wi r t schaf t an der Uni ver si t at
Ki el , " Di e Kohl enver sor gung Eur opas dur ch Gr ossdeut schl and unt er den gegenwar t i gen
kr i egswi r t schaf t l i chen
Gesi cht spunkt en, " Oct 1939, Nat i onal Ar chi ves and Recor ds Ser vi ce ( NARS)
T- 84/ 195/ 1560466
.
4.
Abschr i f t
ei ner Auf st el l ung der Uber wachungsst el l e f ur Mi ner al 61 vom3 . 5. 38. , " Deut schl ands
Mi ner al dl nach In- and Ausl andsauf kommen i n den J ahr en
1928- 1937 i n 1000t , " NARS
T- 77/ 282/ 1107267. Ther e i s anaddi t i onal pr obl empr esent her e
.
The
synt het i c f uel pr ocess and i t s basi c
r awmat er i al , coal , wer e not conduci ve t o t he pr oduct i on of hi gh- oct ane gasol i ne,
and t he Luf t waf f e
woul dhave a maj or pr obl emt hr oughout t he war i n obt ai ni ng suf f i ci ent amount s of hi gh- oct ane avi at i on
f uel .
5. Speech by Kor vet t enkapi t an Haensel ,
4
. 3. 39. wahr end des
Kr i egsspi el es des
Mar i nekommandoamt es i n Ober hof , p . 13, NARS T- 1022/ PG49089 .
6. OKWEconomi c St af f , " Di e Ar bei t en des Wi Ri i Amt es an der Mi ner al dl - Ver sor gung, " p . 37,
NARS
T- 77/ 282/ 1107267.
7. For a f ul l er di scussi on of t hese pr obl ems, see: Hans- Er i ch Vol kmann, " Aussenhandel and
Auf r ust ung i n
Deut schl and, 1933 bi s 1939, " Wi r i schaf t and Ri i st ung am Vor abend des Zwei t en
Wel t kr i eges, ed. by Fr i edr i ch For st mei er and Hans- Er i chVol kmann( Dussel dor f , 1975) , p . 85.
8. Ibi d. , p . 89.
9. Ibi d.
10.
Di et er
Pet zi na,
Aut ar ki epol i t i k i mDr i t t enRei ch ( St ut t gar t , 1968) , p . 103 .
11 . Int er nat i onal Mi l i t ar y Tr i bunal ( IMT) , Tr i al
of
Maj or
War
Cr i mi nal s ( TMWC) , XXXII, Doc .
#3575PSS.
12. Ibi d. , Doc . #1301PS.
13 . J . Dul f f er , Wei mar , Hi t l er anddi e Mar i ne: Rei chpol i t i k andFl ot t enbau, 1920- 1939 ( Ddssel dor f ,
1973) , p . 504.
14 . Edwar dW. Bennet t , Ger manRear mament andt he West , 1932- 1933( Pr i ncet on, 1979) , p . 324.
15 . Dougl as H. Robi nson, " The Zeppel i nBomber , " TheAi r Power Hi st or i an ( J ul y 1961) , p . 133 .
16. Gr andAdmi r al Al f r ed vonTi r pi t z, My Memoi r s, Vol . II ( NewYor k, 1919) , pp . 271- 72 .
17 . For anexcel l ent di scussi onof t he Ger man " st r at egi c" bombi ng ef f or t i n Wor l dWar I, see : Fr anci s
K. Mason, Bat t l e Over Br i t ai n( NewYor k, 1969) , Chapt er I .
18. For Seeckt ' s i nt er est i n t he devel opment of mot or i zed f or ces and hi s r ecogni t i on
of t hei r
i mpor t ance f or f ut ur e def ense pol i cy, see : Rei chswehr mi ni st er i um, Chef
der Heer esl ei t ung, Bet r :
" Har zdbung 8 . 1 . 22. , " NARS T- 79/ 65/ 000622.
19. For t he best descr i pt i on
of Seeckt ' s cont r i but i on t o t he car r yi ng over of a por t i on of Ger many' s
Wor l d War I ai r f or ce i nt o t he body of t he Rei chswehr ,
see : Kar l - Hei nz Vol ker , " Di e Ent wi ckl ung der
mi l i t df schen Luf t f ahr t i n Deut schl and, 1920- 1933, "
i n Bei t r dge zur Mi l i t dr - und Kr i egsgeschi cht e,
Vol .
III,
( St ut t gar t , 1962) , pp . 126- 27.
20. For a di scussi on of t he hi st or i ogr aphy
sur r oundi ng t he Wei mar per i od' s cont r i but i on t o t he
Luf t waf f e, see : Edwar dL. Homze' s out st andi ng
st udy Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, The Rei chAi r
Mi ni st r y and
t he Ger manAi r cr af t Indust r y, 1919- 1939
( Li ncol n, 1976) , pp . 40- 41. For t he ot her out st andi ng
st udy of
t he Luf t waf f e af t er 1933, see : Kar l - Hei nz
Vol ker , Di e deut sche Luf t waf f e, 1933- 1939:
Auf bau, Fuhr ung
und Rl l st ung der Luf t waf f e Bowi e di e
Ent wi ckl ung der deut schen Luf t kr i egst heor i e ( St ut t gar t , 1967) .
Fr omt he smal l cor ps of f l yi ng
of f i cer s wi t hi nt he Rei chswehr , 97 ar my and 19naval of f i cer s woul dr each
gener al of f i cer r ank i n t he Luf t waf f e . In addi t i on, a number of ar my of f i cer s such as Kessel f ng and
Wever woul d t r ansf er t o t he Luf t waf f e and t henl ear n t o f l y af t er 1933. Vol ker , " Di e Ent wi ckl ung der
mi l i t ar i schen Luf t f ahr t i n Deut schl and, 1920- 1933, " pp . 284- 88.
21. Ibi d. , p . 32 .
22. It i s wor t h not i ng t hat t he ar my was no mor e
wi l l i ng t o al l ow t he est abl i shment of a j oi nt ser vi ces
hi gh command.
22
ORIGINS AND
PREPARATION
23. For a di scussi on of G6r i ng' s
r ol e i n t he Nazi sei zur e of power , see Kar l Di et r i ch
Br acher ,
Wol f gang Sauer , and Ger har d Schul z, Di e
Nat i onal sozi al i st i sche Macht er gr ei f ung ( K6l n, 1960) .
24. IMT, TMWC, XXXVIII, Doc . 140- R.
25. For an i nt er est i ng st udy of Mi l ch and hi s cont r i but i on t o t he Luf t waf f e, see Davi dIr vi ng' s The Ri se
andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, The Li f e of Fi el d Mar shal Er har dMi l ch( Bost on, 1973) .
26. Wi l hel m Dei st , Manf r ed Messer schmi dt , Hans- Er i ch Vol kmann, Wol f r am
Wet t e,
Das
deut sche
Rei ch and der Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 1, Ur sachen and Vor ausset zung der deut schen Kr i egspol i t i k
( St ut t gar t , 1979) , p . 478.
27 . Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, pp . 60, 235.
28. Ibi d. , p. 236. It i s wor t h not i ng t hat J eschonnek had been a pi l ot i n Wor l dWar I and subsequent l y
ser ved most l y wi t ht he ai r pl anni ng st af f s wi t hi nt he Rei chswehr dur i ng t he Wei mar per i od.
29. Dei st , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol .
I . , pp .
478- 79.
30. Ibi d. , p . 479.
31. Hor st Boog, " Hi gher Command and Leader shi p i n t he Ger man Luf t waf f e, 1935- 1945, " Ai r
Power and
War f ar e,
Pr oceedi ngs of t he Ei ght h Mi l i t ar y Hi st or y
Symposi um, USAFAcademy, ed
. b
y
Col onel Al f r ed F. Hur l ey and
Maj or Rober t
C. Ehr har t ( Washi ngt on, 1979) .
32
.
Dr
.
Boog' s above ci t ed ar t i cl e i s par t i cul ar l y usef ul i n hi s di scussi onof t he i nt el l ect ual l i mi t at i ons
of t he
Luf t waf f e' s of f i cer cor ps
.
33. Ber nar d Hei mann and J oachi mSchunke, " Ei ne gehei me Denkschr i f t
zur Luf t kr i egskonzept i on
Hi t l er - Deut schl ands vomMai 1933, " Zei t schr i f t f 4r Mi l i t i r geschi cht e, Vol . III ( 1964) , pp . 72- 86.
34. Kl aus A. Mai er , Hor st Rohde, Ber nd St egemann, and Hans Umbr ei t , Das deut sche Rei ch andder
Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . II, Di e Er r i cht ung der Hegemoni e auf demEur opdi schen Kont i nent ( St ut t gar t ,
1979) , p . 44.
35. For a f ul l di scussi onof t he di f f er ent pr ogr ams and t he i ndust r i al and engi neer i ng pr obl ems t hat t he
Luf t waf f e f aced, see : Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, Chapt er IX.
36. Dei st , et al . , Das deut sche Rei ch and der Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . I, pp . 480- 81; see
Homze,
Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, p . 184, f or a det ai l ed br eakdown of wor ker di st r i but i on wi t hi n t he
ai r cr af t
i ndust r y .
37. See, i n par t i cul ar , Wever ' s l ect ur e t o t he Ger man Ai r War Col l ege, 1 . 11
. 35. " Vor t r ag des
Gener al maj or s Wever bei Er bf f nung der
Luf t kr i egsakademi e and Luf t t echni schen Akademi e i n Ber l i n-
Gat owamI . November 1935, " Di e Luf t waf f e ( 1936) .
38. Kar l - Hei nz V61ker , Dokument e and Dokument ar f ot os zur Geschi cht e der
deut schen Luf t waf f e
( St ut t gar t , 1968) , Doc . #184, p . 429.
39. " Di e Luf t kr i egf 0hr ung, "
Ber l i n 1935; copy made avai l abl e t o t he aut hor by Ober st l eumant Kl aus
Mai er of t he Mi l i t i i r geschi cht l i ches For schungsamt ,
Fr ei bur g, Feder al Republ i c of Ger many .
40. Ibi d. , par agr aph 11 .
41. See Her ber t M. Mason, J r . , The
Ri se of t he Luf t waf f e ( New Yor k, 1973) , pp . 213- 15; Pet er
Cal vocor essi and Guy Wi nt , Tot al
War ( London, 1972) , p . 492; Denni s Ri char ds, Royal
Ai r For ce,
1939- 1945, Vol . I ( London,
1953) , p . 29; Basi l Col l i er , The Def ense of t he Uni t ed Ki ngdom
( London,
1957) , p . 121 ; Tel f or d
Tayl or , The Br eaki ng Wave ( New Yor k, 1967) , p .
83; and Webst er and
Fr ankl and,
SAOAG, Vol . 1, p . 125.
42 . V61ker ,
Di e deut sche Luf t waf f e, pp . 132- 33; and H.
Schl i ephake, The Bi r t h of t he Luf t waf f e
( Chi cago, 1972) , pp .
38- 39. For f ur t her ampl i f i cat i on on t he f ai l ur e
t o have a heavy bomber i n t he l at er
1930' s, see
Edwar d L. Homze' s excel l ent pi ece, " The
Luf t waf f e' s Fai l ur e t o Devel op a Heavy
Bomber
Bef or e Wor l d
War II, " Aer ospace Hi st or i an ( Mar ch 1977)
. For a f asci nat i ng and gr oundbr eaki ng
wor k
on t he pr obl ems of
engi ne devel opment , see Edwar d W.
Const ant , III, The Or i gi ns of t he
Tur bo J et
Revol ut i on
( Bal t i mor e, 1980) . See al so
C. Fayet t e Tayl or , Ai r cr af t
Pr opul si on, ARevi ew of t he
Evol ut i onof Ai r cr af t Pi st on
Engi nes ( Washi ngt on, 1971) .
43. See t he di scussi on
by Hans Spei er , " Ludendor f f -. The Ger manConcept of Tot al War , " Maker s of
Moder nSt r at egy, ed. by Edwar d_ Mead Ear l e ( Pr i ncet on, 1943) . I woul dal so l i ke t o t hank Ober st l eumant
Kl aus Mai er of t he Mi l i Or geschi cht l i ches For schungsamt f or maki ng avai l abl e t o me hi s l ect ur e gi ven at
t he Ai r War Col l ege i n Sept ember 1980 i n Mont gomer y, Al abama, t hat cl ar i f i ed t he connect i on and
i mpor t ance
of
t he concept
of
t ot al war and i t s r el at i onshi p t o t he devel opment of Luf t waf f e doct r i ne .
44. Er i chLudendor f f , Kr i egsf i i hr ung
andPol i t i k ( Ber l i n, 1922) , pp . 328- 33.
45. See t he i nt er est i ng di scussi on of t hi s poi nt i n
Dei st , et al . , Das deut sche Rei ch and der Zwei t e
Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 1, pp . 124- 25.
46. Hei mannand Schunke, " Ei ne gehei me Denkschr i f t
zur Luf t kr i egskonzept i on Hi t l er - Deut schl ands
vomMai 1933, "
pp . 72- 86.
23
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
47
. See Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se and Fal l
of t he Ger man Ai r For ce ( 1933- 1945) , i ssued by t he Ai r
Mi ni st r y ( ACAS)
( London, 1948) , p . 42.
48. See, i n
par t i cul ar , Ober st ( E) Fr hr . v . Bul ow, " Di e Gr undl agen neuzei f i cher Luf t st r ei t kr i i f t e, "
Mi l i t kr wi ssenschgf t l i che Rundschau
( 1936) ; Maj or Bar t z, " Kr i egsf l ugzeuge, i hr e Auf gaben and
Lei st ung, " ( 1936) ; and par t i cul ar l y
Maj or Her hudt von Rohden, " Bet r acht ungen uber den Luf t kr i eg, "
al so Mi l i t 6r wi ssenschaf t l i cheRundschau 4 par t s ( 1937) .
49
. Bar t z, " Kr i egsf l ugzeuge, i hr e Auf gabenandLei st ung, " p . 210.
50. von Rohden, " Bet r acht ungen abet den
Luf t kr i eg, "
Par t
I, pp . 198- 200.
51 . BA/ MA, RL7/ 42, Luf t f l ot t enkommando 2,
Fuhr ungsabt ei l ung Nr . 7093/ 39 g . Kdos, 13 . 5 . 39. ,
Schl ussbespr echung des Pl anspi el s, 1939. Those who desi r e
anot her
exampl e
of howseni or st af f of f i cer s
t hought t he Luf t waf f e woul d wage an i ndependent " st r at egi c" ai r war shoul d consul t : Chef
des
Or gani sat i onsst abes i mGener al st ab der Luf t waf f e Nr . 50/ 38 Chef sache, An den Chef des Gener al st abes
der Luf t waf f e, " Or gani sat i onsst abee I950, " NARS
T- 971/ 36/ 0002
.
52 . Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 47.
53.
Ibi d. , p . 69. Al t hough many t i mes, Mi l ch' s abr asi ve per sonal i t y l ed hi mi nt o maj or
conf l i ct s wi t h
hi s f el l owLuf t waf f e of f i cer s, t he f aul t i n t hi s case seems t o have l ai n wi t hJ eschonnek.
54.
Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, pp . 223- 24.
55.
Dei st , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . I, p . 645.
56. Ir vi ng, The Ri seand
Fal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 68.
57.
R.
J . Over y, " Ger manAi r cr af t Pr oduct i on 1939- 1942: ASt udy i n t he Ger manWar Economy, "
Cambr i dge Uni ver si t y di sser t at i on, 1977, p . 2; f or a di scussi on of t he pr ewar Ger man pr oduct i on pl ans,
see : R. J . Over y, " The Ger man
Pr e- War Ai r cr af t Pr oduct i on Pl ans: November 1936- Apr i l 1939, "
Engl i shHi st or i cal Revi ew( 1975) .
58. Ibi d. , p . 11 .
59. Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, p . 106.
60. Dei st , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg,
Vol . 1, pp . 484- 85.
61. Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, pp . 82- 87 and 158- 63
.
62. Ibi d. , pp . 120- 21 .
63. For t he sur pr i si ngl y l ow capaci t y l evel s of t he Ger man muni t i ons i ndust r y i n t he t hi r t i es, see :
Ber i cht des Hewn Pr of essor Dr . C. Kr auch f i ber di e Lage auf demAr bei t sgebi et der Chemi e i n der
Si t zung des Gener al r at es am24. 6. 41 . , NARS T- 84/ 217/ 1586749.
64. Dei st , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . I, p . 490.
65
. Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, pp . 167- 68.
66. Mi l ch Col l ect i on, Imper i al War Museum, Reel 55, Vol . 57, Der Chef des Nachschubamt s, Nr .
3365/ 38, g. Kdos. , Ber l i n, 3 . 11 . 38 . , Anl age L. E. 2. Nr . 15 . 222/ 3
8 g . Kdos, Ber l i n, Oki 1938,
" Er f ahr ungsber i cht uber di e Spannungszei t
1938, " p .
3270.
67. Ri char d Suchenwi r t h,
The
Devel opment of t he Ger manAi r For ce, 1919- 1939 ( NewYor k, 1970) ,
p . 148
.
68
.
PROCAB23/ 89, Cab 35( 37) , Meet i ng of t he Cabi net , 29. 9. 37 . , p . 215.
69. PROCAB21/ 575, 15 . 10 . 37. , " Fr ench and Ger man Maneuver s, " a
not e by Fi el d Mar shal Si r C.
Dever el l on hi s vi si t . The Fr ench, of cour se, mi ght have been
di sgui si ng t hei r r eal f ear s f r om a
t hor oughl y unr el i abl e al l y . St i l l , t hey spent l i t t l e on t hei r ai r f or ce
unt i l t he awakeni ng of 1938.
70. Vol ker , Dokument e andDokument ar f ot os
zur Geschi cht e der deut schen Luf t waf f e, Doc . #196, p .
449.
71 . Ger har d Wei nber g, TheFor ei gn
Pol i cy of Hi t l er ' s Ger many, 1933- 1936( Chi cago, 1970) , p .
298.
72. " Ei nsat z der deut schen Fl akar t i l l er i e
i n Spani en, " Aus Koehl er s Fl i eger Ki l ender 1940;
" Fl akei nsat z " wahr end des Fel dzuges i n Spani en, " Auszug
aus ei ner Ausar bei t ung von Gen. Lt .
Kar l
Vei t h
vomMai 194, Kar l sr uhe Col l ect i on, Al ber t F.
Si mpson Hi st or i cal Resear chCent er
( AFSHRC) : K
113. 302.
73. " Auswi r kung der Er f ahr ungen
i n Spani en, " Aus ei ner Ausar bei t ung von
Gener al l t . Gal l and uber
di e Luf t ver t ei di gung
des Rei ches, 1946. Ibi d .
74. Conver sat i on wi t h
Gener al maj or a . D. Hans W. Asmus, Baden Baden,
November 7 and 8; 1980, ,
and l et t er f r om
Gener al Asmus, Febr uar y 6, 1981 .
75. Ai r
Mi ni st r y, TheRi se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, pp . 16- 17.
76.
" Lehr en aus demFel dzug i n Spani en, Ei nsat z vonSchl acht f l i egem, "
aus ei ner St udi e der 8 . Abt .
des
Gener al st abes aus demJ ahr e 1944; Hans Henni g Fr ei her r
von Beust , " Di e deut sche Luf t waf f e
i m
spani schenKr i eg, " 2 . 10. 56. , p .
162, AFSHRC: K 113 . 302 .
77
.
Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol
. II, p . 53.
24
ORIGINSAND
PREPARATION
78. Ober st J aenecke, " Lehr endes spani sehen
Bi i r ger kr i eges, " J ahr buch des deut schen Heer es, 1938
( Lei pzi g, 1939) .
79.
OKM, B. Nr . , l . Abt . Skl . l a 961/ 38g . Kdos . , Ber l i n, 14. 7 . 38. , Gehei me
Kommandosache,
NARS T- I022/ 2957/ PG48902.
80. Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, p. 172.
81 . PROCAB
63/ 14,
I . O. ( S) l . , 19. 7. 37. , Ai r Rai d Pr ecaut i ons Depar t ment , Int el l i gence Sect i on,
vi si t t o Ber l i n of Maj or F. L . Fr aser , " Int er vi ewwi t hMi ni st er al r at Gr osskr euz . "
82. VonBeust , " Di e deut sche Luf t waf f e i mspani schen Kr i eg, " p. 140f f .
83.
BA/ MARL
2
II/ 101,
" Zusammenhdnge zwi schen Met eor ol ogi c and Takt i k, " Vor t r ag: Gener al
der Fl i eger
Kessel r i ng, Chef der Luf t f l ot t e
1 . ,
1 . 3 . 39. , p. 5.
84
.
See PROAIR20/ 1623, Ai r Sci ent i f i c Int el l i ence Repor t No . 6, " The Cr ooked Leg, " 28. 6. 40. ,
f or a di scussi on of howBr i t i sh i nt el l i gence di scover ed t he Ger man syst em.
85. Ai r Hi st or i cal Br anch, Ai r Mi ni st r y, VII, Tr ansl at i ons : Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y
St at i st i cs, G302694/ AR/ 9/ 51/ 50.
86. BA/ MARL 7/ 164, Der Kommandi er ende Gener al and Bef ehl shaber der Luf t waf f engr uppe 3. ,
1 . 12. 38. , " Er f ahr ungsber i cht f i ber di e Spannungszei t 1938: Tei l II . "
87. Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, 1933- 1945 ( London, 1948) , pp . 19- 20.
88. Mi l ch Col l ect i on, Imper i al War Museum, Reel 55, Vol . 57, Der Chef des Nachschubamt s, Nr .
3365/ 38, g. Kdos. , 3. 11 . 38. ; Anl age L. E. 2. Nr . 15. 222/ 38, " Er f ahr ungsber i cht uber di e
Spannungszei t , " p. 3270.
89. For a f ul l er di scussi on of t hi s i ssue, see my ar t i cl e, " Ger manAi r Power and t he Muni ch Cr i si s, "
War andSoci et y, Vol . II, ed . by Br i anBondand Ian Roy ( London,
1977) .
90. Publ i c Recor dOf f i ce ( PRO) CAB53/ 37, COS 698( Revi se) , CID, COS Subcommi t t ee, " Mi l i t ar y
Impl i cat i ons of Ger man Aggr essi onAgai nst Czechosl ovaki a, " 28. 3. 38. , pp .
150- 51 .
91. PROCAB23/ 95, Cab 42( 38) , Meet i ng of t he Cabi net , 24. 9
. 3. , p. 178
.
92. Nevi l l e Hender son admi t t ed t hat Ger many mi ght
not l ast mor e t han " a cer t ai nnumber of mont hs. "
PROFO800/ 309, Par t IV, l et t er f r omHender son
t o Cadogan,
4
. 9 . 38. Hal i f ax t ol d t he Cabi net i n mi d-
Sept ember 1938 t hat " he hadno doubt t hat i f we wer e i nvol ved i n war now, we shoul d wi ni t af t er a l ong
t i me. " PRO
CAB23/ 95, Cab39( 38) , Meet i ng of t he Cabi net , 17. 9. 38. , pp . 98- 99.
93.
PRO
CAB53/ 41, COS 773, COS Subcommi t t ee, " The Czechosl ovak Cr i si s, " 29. 9. 38.
94. PROCAB23/ 95,
Cab 39( 38) , Meet i ng of t he Cabi net , 17. 9. 38. , pp . 98- 99.
95. For Gener al
Vui l l emi n' s vi si t t o Ger many, see: Document s di pl omat i quesf r an( ai s ( DDF) ,
2nd
Ser i es, Vol . X,
Doc . #401, 18. 8. 38. , Doc . #429, 21 . 8. 38. , and Doc . #444, 23. 8. 38. For
what he t ol d
hi s gover nment ,
al so see: Paul St ehl i n, Temoi gnage, Pour l ' hi st oi r e ( Par i s, 1964) , pp . 86- 91. For
Vui l l emi n' s advi ce at t he endof t he mont h, see: DDF, 2nd
Ser i es, Vol . XI, Doc . #377, 26. 9. 38.
96. Akt enzur deut schenauswdr t i genPol i t i k ( ADAP) ,
Ser i es D, Vol . II, Doc . #422, 2. 9. 38.
97. PROCAB24/ 279, CP206( 38) , Col onel Fr aser t o Phi pps, 23. 9. 38. , p.
52.
98. Vor t r agsnot i z f i ber Bespr echung mi t t o des Bef ehl shaber s
der Luf t waf f engr uppe Br aunschwei g,
25. 8 . 38. ,
NARS T- 1022/ 2307/ 34562.
99. L. W. Gr . Kdo. 2. , Fuhr ungsabt ei l ung, Nr .
210/ 38, 22. 9. 38. , " Pl anst udi e ` Fal l Bl au' . "
Quot ed
by Ri char dSuchenwi r t h, Hans J eschonnek, pp .
39- 40.
100. BA/ MARL 7/ 42, RL 7/ 43, Luf t f l ot t enkommando
2. , Fi i hr ungsabt ei l ung, Nr . 7093/ 39,
13. 5. 39. ,
" Schl ussbespr echung
des Pl anspi el es 1939. "
101. For a f ul l er
di scussi on of t he over al l st r at egi c si t uat i on
at t he t i me of Muni ch i n 1938,
see my
ar t i cl e: Wi l l i amson
Mur r ay, " Muni ch, 1938: The Mi l i t ar y
Conf r ont at i on, " J our nal of
St r at egi c St udi es
( December 1979)
.
102.
Concer ni ng Luf t waf f e pl anni ng f or t he
i nvasi on of Czechosl ovaki a, see
i n par t i cul ar BA/ MARL
7/ 164,
Der Kommandi er ende
Gener al and Bef ehl shaber der
Luf t waf f engr uppe 3. , 1 . 12. 38. ,
" Er f ahr ungsber i cht f i ber di e
Spannungszei t 1938. "
103. IMT,
TMWC, Vol . XXV, p . 381 .
104. One of t he sur pr i si ng el ement s i n t he wi despr ead wi l l i ngness t o accept
t he
l egend
t hat t he
Luf t waf f e was t he " hand mai den" of t he ar my i s t he f act t hat Gor i ng never got al ong wi t ht he
ar my, and
i t t hus seems t ot al l y cont r adi ct or y f r omwhat we knowof hi s per sonal i t y t hat he woul daccept a r ol e t hat
subor di nat ed hi s ai r f or ce t o t he ar my i n over al l Ger man
st r at egy .
105. Over y, " The Ger manPr e- War Ai r cr af t
Pr oduct i on Pl ans: November 1936- Apr i l 1939, " p. 796.
106. Mi l ch Col l ect i on, Imper i al War Museum, Reel
64, Vol . 65, p. 7400: 13 . 12. 38. ,
" Vor t r agsunt er l agen f i i r denVor t r ag vor demHer m
Gener al f el dmar schal l , " p. 7419.
107. Homze, Ar mi ng t he Luf t waf f e, p. 229.
25
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
108. It shoul d be not ed t hat t he Al l i es al so f ought t hese 1940 bat t l es by and l ar ge wi t h t he ai r cr af t i n
pr oduct i onor ont he dr awi ng boar ds.
109. See Appendi x I f or a descr i pt i on of t he devel opment of ai r
doct r i ne i n Br i t ai n and t he Uni t ed
St at es.
CHAPTER
11
THEEASYWAR:
GERMANY
TRIUMPHANT,
SEPTEMBER
1939- SEPTEMBER1940
BACKGROUNDTOPOLAND
The Ger man t r i umph over Czechosl ovaki a i n Sept ember 1938 mi sl ed not onl y
Hi t l er but hi s mi l i t ar y as wel l and cr eat ed t he psychol ogi cal pr econdi t i ons t hat
cont r i but ed heavi l y t o t he deci si on t o at t ack Pol and t he f ol l owi ng year - a deci si on
t hat pr eci pi t at ed t he Second Wor l d War . Al most i mmedi at el y af t er t he si gni ng of
t he Muni ch
agr eement , Hi t l er r egr et t edt hat he had backedaway f r oma l i mi t ed war
agai nst Czechosl ovaki a.
Fur t her aggr avat i ng hi s di spl easur e was t he f act t hat t he
Sudet enl and' s i ncl usi on wi t hi n Ger many di d not hi ng t o r el i eve t he
Rei ch' s
ser i ous
economi c pr obl ems . Gor i ng admi t t ed i n November 1938t hat economi c di f f i cul t i es
had r eached t he poi nt wher e no mor e wor ker s wer e
avai l abl e, f act or i es wer e
at f ul l
capaci t y, f or ei gn exchange was compl et el y exhaust ed, and t he economy was i n di r e
st r ai t s . ' These economi c t r oubl es meant t hat i n ear l y 1939, t he r egi me had t o r educe
t he
Wehr macht ' s st eel al l ocat i ons by 30 per cent , copper by 20 per cent , al umi num
by 47 per cent , r ubber by 30 per cent , and cement f r om25 per cent t o 45per cent . 2
Under t hese condi t i ons, t he t empt at i on t o sei ze t he r emai nder of Czechosl ovaki a
and gai n cont r ol of i t s i ndust r i al r esour ces as wel l as i t s consi der abl e hol di ngs of
f or ei gn exchange was over whel mi ng . In Mar ch 1939, usi ng Czech pol i t i cal
t r oubl es as an excuse, Hi t l er
or der ed
t he Wehr macht
t o compl et e what Muni chhad
begun
.
He t hr eat ened t he Czech l eader , Dr . Emi l Hacha, by decl ar i ng t hat i f
Czechosl ovaki a r ef used t o accede t o Ger mandemands, " hal f of Pr ague woul d
be i n
r ui ns f r ombombi ng wi t hi n t wo hour s, and
t hat t hi s woul d be onl y t he begi nni ng .
Hundr eds of bomber s wer e wai t i ng t he or der
t o t akeof f , and t hey woul d r ecei ve t hat
or der at si x i n
t he mor ni ng, i f t he si gnat ur es wer e not f or t hcomi ng.
" 3
But t he sei zur e of
Pr ague i n Mar ch 1939 was one of t he l ast of Hi t l er ' s
peacef ul
conquest s . ( Sever al
weeks l at er , t he Nazi s br owbeat Li t huani a i nt o
sur r ender i ng t he
por t ci t y of Memel . )
The di pl omat i c expl osi on, r esul t i ng
f r om t he sei zur e of
Pr ague,
f i nal l y f or ced t he Br i t i sh gover nment t o
make a ser i ous commi t ment t o t he
cont i nent
and t o al t er t he " busi ness- as- usual "
appr oach t hat t hey had t aken t owar ds
r ear mament . Yet , t he new Br i t i sh
cour se was due mor e t o i nt er nal pol i t i cal
pr essur e, pr eci pi t at ed by t he Br i t i sh publ i c' s out r age, t han
of a basi c change i n t he
gover nment ' s at t i t ude . Gr eat Br i t ai n now
at t empt ed di pl omat i cal l y t o bol st er
Eur ope agai nst f ur t her Nazi
aggr essi on. However , Br i t i sh l eader s di d not yet
r egar d
war as i nevi t abl e
and, as a r esul t , di d not seek t o cr eat e mi l i t ar y
al l i ances agai nst
27
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
t hat event ual i t y . The sl ow
and hesi t ant appr oach t owar ds Russi a i n t he summer of
1939 har dl y i ndi cat ed
ser i ous pr epar at i on f or war . Al so dur i ng t hi s per i od, t he
Br i t i sh of f er ed t he Ger mans a maj or economi c
l oan
i f t hey
behaved t hemsel ves-
har dl y t he sor t of pol i cy t o det er Adol f Hi t l er
. 4
The
Fuhr er ' s r eact i on t o Br i t i sh cr i t i ci sm and di pl omat i c act i vi t y was at f i r st
out r age and t hen cont empt . As he t ol d hi s st af f , he had seen hi s opponent s at
Muni ch and t hey wer e wor ms. ' Af t er hear i ng t hat t he Br i t i sh had ext ended a
guar ant ee t o Pol and at t he end of Mar ch, he shout ed: " I' l l cook t hem[ t he Br i t i sh] a
st ew t hey' l l choke on.
" 6
But as t he summer pr ogr essed, Hi t l er seems t o have
convi nced hi msel f t hat Br i t ai n woul d not i nt er vene i n a mi l i t ar y campai gn agai nst
Pol and. Bot h t he
af or ement i oned i nadequaci es of Br i t i sh di pl omacy and t he ski l l
wi t h whi ch
Hi t l er
mani pul at ed
t he Eur opean power s l ed hi mt o concl ude t hat he
coul d get away wi t h a smal l war on Pol and.
By si gni ng
t he
Nazi - Sovi et Non
Aggr essi on Pact , t hus r emovi ng t he Sovi et Uni on f r om
t he
l i st of possi bl e enemi es,
Hi t l er , i n ef f ect , i sol at ed t he Pol es mor e t hor oughl y t han he had t he Czechs t he
pr evi ous year .
Fur t her conf i r mi ng Hi t l er i n hi s smal l war t hesi s was t he consensus among t he
Luf t waf f e t hat t he t hr eat of " st r at egi c" bombi ng ( or t er r or bombi ng) woul d ser ve t o
keep t he West er n Power s out of an east er n war . ' Ir oni cal l y, t he unpr epar edness of
t he
Luf t waf f e i n t he f al l of 1938 pl ayed a r ol e i n Hi t l er ' s deci si on not t o pusht he
Czechcr i si s i nt o a
di r ect
mi l i t ar y
conf r ont at i on but r at her t o negot i at e at Muni ch.
However ,
t he spect acl e t hat t he Br i t i sh managed t o make out of t hemsel ves
t hat
l at e
Sept ember
as t hey
dug sl i t t r enches and passed out gas masks pl ayed
an
i mpor t ant
r ol e i n shapi ng Hi t l er ' s as wel l as t he Luf t waf f e' s st r at egi c t hi nki ng i n 1939. As
ment i oned ear l i er , when speaki ng t o hi s seni or commander s,
Gener al Fel my,
commander of Luf i f ot t e 2, had specul at ed i n May 1939 on t he mor al pr essur e t hat a
t er r or bombi ng campai gn
agai nst London
mi ght
of f er . The event s i n Br i t ai n i n
t he
f al l
of 1938 suggest ed t o Fel my t hat a hi ghdegr ee of war hyst er i a al r eady exi st ed i n
Br i t ai n
and
t hat t he Thi r dRei ch shoul d t ake f ul l
advant age of such a st at e of af f ai r s
i n
cont r ast
t o t he hesi t ant behavi or of Ger many' s Wor l d War I gover nment . $
That same mont h,
t he Fi f t h
Sect i on ( i nt el l i gence) of t he gener al st af f echoed such
sent i ment s. It r epor t ed t hat i n ever y r espect , compar ed t o ot her Eur opeanai r f or ces,
t he Luf t waf f e was t he best pr epar ed.
Ger many i s, on t he basi s of al l r epor t s, t he onl y st at e t hat i n r espect
t o equi pment , or gani zat i on, t act i cs, andl eader shi p has advanced
t o
a t ot al concept i on of pr epar at i on and
l eader shi p of an of f ensi ve as
wel l as def ensi ve ai r war .
Thi s f act i ndi cat es a gener al advance i n
mi l i t ar y pr epar edness and wi t h i t a st r engt heni ng
of t he whol e
mi l i t ar y si t uat i on.
As pr oof of t he val ue of ai r super i or i t y, t he i nt el l i gence exper t s
poi nt ed t o t he It al i an
success i nAbyssi ni a and par t i cul ar l y t o Ger many' s
di pl omat i c t r i umph t he pr evi ous
aut umn
.
They ar gued t hat pani c i n London and Par i s over
t he t hr eat of ai r at t acks
had
cont r i but ed di r ect l y t o t he Muni ch sur r ender and
suggest ed t hat t he
par l i ament ar y syst ems of t he West er n Power s gave Br i t ai n
and Fr ance consi der abl y
28
THEEASYWAR:
GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
l ess f l exi bi l i t y i n st r at egi c
pol i cy t han an aut hor i t ar i an Nazi Ger many . Thi s
l i ne of
r easoni ng l ed t o t he danger ous suggest i on
t hat i t was " qui t e possi bl e t hat i n spi t e of
[ West er n] pact s and pr omi ses t o East er n
Eur ope,
a
conf l i ct i n t hat r egi on woul d
r emai n l ocal i zed. " 9
In ear l y J ul y, bot h Hi t l er andGor i ng vi si t ed t he Luf t waf f e' s t est
st at i on at Rechl i n
t o exami ne t he l at est
i n r esear ch and devel opment . The t echni cal exper t s di d a
t hor ough j ob of i mpl yi ng
t hat ai r cr af t and equi pment i n t he desi gn and t est st ages
wer e cl ose t o pr oduct i on
. Al t hough t hi s was not t he case, t he demonst r at i on
pr ovi ded one mor e
conf i r mat i on t o t he Fuhr er t hat t he Luf t waf f e not onl y possessed
cur r ent super i or i t y over i t s opponent s
but woul d mai nt ai n such super i or i t y f or t he
f or eseeabl e f ut ur e . In 1942, Gor i ng r ecal l ed:
" The Fuhr er t ook t he most ser i ous
deci si ons on t he basi s of t hat di spl ay . It was a mi r acl e t hat
t hi ngs wor ked out as
wel l as t hey di d and t hat t he consequences wer e not f ar wor se. " ' °
Whi l e t he Rechl i n
demonst r at i on di d not ai mat suppor t i ng Hi t l er ' s i ncl i nat i on f or a mi l i t ar y sol ut i on
t o t he Pol i sh quest i on but
r at her at convi nci ng hi mt hat t he Luf t waf f e shoul dr ecei ve
mor e of t he def ense budget
f or t he comi ng year s, i t undoubt edl y hel ped t o push
Hi t l er t owar ds t he pr eci pi ce .
On August 22, 1939, Hi t l er met wi t h seni or mi l i t ar y of f i cer s t o announce t he
r easons behi nd hi s i ncl i nat i on t o set t l e account s wi t h Pol and. I' He gave pr i de of
pl ace t o hi s hi st or i cal uni queness andt he danger t hat he coul d " be el i mi nat ed at any
t i me by a cr i mi nal or a l unat i c . " Second i n i mpor t ance was t he f act t hat Ger many' s
economi c si t uat i on was pr ecar i ous . " Because of t he const r ai nt s on us, our
economi c si t uat i on i s such t hat we can onl y hol d out f or a f ewmor e year s. " Four
days l at er , Hi t l er summed up
hi s gener al eval uat i on of t he st r at egi c si t uat i on i n a
l et t er
t o Mussol i ni :
As nei t her Fr ance
nor Br i t ai n
can
achi eve
any
deci si ve successes i n
t he west , and as Ger many, as a r esul t of t he agr eement wi t hRussi a,
wi l l have al l her f or ces f r ee i n t he east af t er t he def eat of Pol and,
and as ai r super i or i t y i s undoubt edl y on our si de, I do not shr i nk
f r omsol vi ng t he east er nquest i on even at t he r i sk of compl i cat i ons
wi t h t he West .
12
What i s i nt er est i ng
i n
t he
above cal cul at i on of r i sks i s t hat t he Luf t waf f e
pl ayed a
r ol e
i n
t wo
out of t hr ee f act or s t he Fuhr er ci t ed. The bel i ef i n t he shor t war
agai nst
Pol and,
of cour se, r est ed on t he ar my as wel l as t he Luf t waf f e, but cl ear l y
t he
Ger manai r f or ce cont r i but ed
t o a bel i ef t hat Pol and woul d not t ake
l ong t o dest r oy .
The emphasi s
on ai r super i or i t y undoubt edl y r epr esent ed a
mi scal cul at i on t hat t he
Luf t waf f e coul d det er t he
West er n Power s by t he
mer e t hr eat of maj or ai r at t acks
agai nst t hei r
popul at i on cent er s . As we nowknow
Hi t l er was wr ong, not so muchi n
hi s est i mat e of
West er n l eader shi p, f or t hat r emai ned caut i ous,
over pessi mi st i c, and
unwi l l i ng t o t ake
r i sks, but r at her i n hi s f ai l ur e t o r ecogni ze
t hat West er n popul ar
opi ni on was
so i ncensed at Ger manact i ons t hat
Chamber l ai n and Dal adi er had no
choi ce
but t o decl ar e war i nr esponse t o a
Ger mani nvasi on of Pol and. "
Hi t l er ' s r emar ks i n August 1939
t o hi s gener al s j ust pr i or t o t he
i nvasi on of
Pol and r ai se ani nt er est i ng hi st or i ogr aphi cal
quest i on as t o t he nat ur e of t he
war t hat
29
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
t he Ger mans expect ed t o f i ght . Si nce t he
war , a number of Angl o- Amer i can
hi st or i ans have ar gued t hat bef or e t he war Hi t l er and
t he Ger man hi gh command
del i ber at el y devel oped a " Bl i t zkr i eg st r at egy" whi ch t hey t hen appl i ed on t he
bat t l ef i el ds of Eur ope f r om 1939 t o 1941 . ' ° The hear t of t hi s st r at egy supposedl y
was t he cl ose cooper at i on of t act i cal ai r and ar mor ed f or mat i ons i n t he
accompl i shment of deep ar mor ed dr i ves i nt o enemy r ear ar eas. By choosi ng such a
st r at egy, t he Ger mans, t he ar gument r uns, escaped t he necessi t y of r ear mi ng i n
dept h. On t he ar mor ed si de
of t he ar gument , sever al maj or di f f i cul t i es exi st wi t h
such a t heor y . Fi r st , t he Ger man ar my di d not emphasi ze t he
est abl i shment
of an
ar mor ed f or ce i n i t s r ear mament pr ogr am, and
t her e i s no
evi dence
t hat Hi t l er
i nt er f er ed i n t he f or mul at i on of ar my doct r i ne bef or e t he war . " As t he pr evi ous
chapt er suggest s, t her e ar e al so pr obl ems r el at i ng t o ai r power . Cl ose ai r suppor t
devel oped i n Spai n wi t h l i t t l e ur gi ng f r omt he
Luf t waf f e' s hi gh
commandi n Ber l i n,
whi l e many Ger manai r f or ce l eader s and gener al st af f of f i cer s r emai ned enamor ed
wi t h t he concept of " st r at egi c" bombi ng. Hi t l er ' s emphasi s on ai r power i n hi s
August speech t o t he gener al s suggest s t hat at t he begi nni ng of t he war , he pl aced
hi gher r el i ance on t he det er r ent val ue as wel l as t he act ual capabi l i t i es of ai r power
i n t he comi ng war t han most hi st or i ans have al l owed. The i mpact of t he Pol i sh
campai gnonGer man ai r st r at egy
and
t he
i ni t i al st r at egi c
r esponse of
Hi t l er t o t he
war
i n
t he
west
pr ovi de f ur t her suppor t f or such a t hesi s.
THEPOLISHCAMPAIGN
ANDTHE" PHONY" WAR
In t he ear l y mor ni ng hour s of Sept ember 1,
1939,
Ger man bomber s
and f i ght er s
del i ver ed heavy at t acks on
t ar get s
t hr oughout Pol and
. Unl i ke t he pr evi ous
year
whent he Czechs had
f ul l y mobi l i zed
by
t he end
of
Sept ember , t he Ger man
at t ack
caught t he Pol es i n t he pr ocess of mobi l i zi ng.
' 6
Int er est i ngl y, t he
Luf t waf f e
consi der ed l aunchi ng an al l - out at t ack on mi l i t ar y i nst al l at i ons and ar mament
f act or i es i n War sawt o par al yze Pol i sh r esi st ance. But bad weat her pr event ed t he
l aunchi ng of such a " knockout " bl ow. By t he t i me t he weat her had cl ear ed, t he
i nt er di ct i on and cl ose ai r suppor t aspect s of oper at i ons wer e
goi ng
so
wel l
t hat
t he gener al st af f hesi t at ed t o shi f t t he emphasi s. " One must al so not e t hat at t he
concl usi on of t he Pol i sh campai gn, t he Luf t waf f e l aunched massi ve ai r
assaul t s
agai nst mi l i t ar y t ar get s i n War saw. In t hese r ai ds, t he Ger mans wer e
not adver se t o
any col l at er al damage i nf l i ct ed ont he ci vi l i an popul ace.
Compl i cat i ng Pol and' s st r at egi c di f f i cul t i es at t he begi nni ng of t he
campai gn was
t he f act t hat her hi gh command had not separ at ed oper at i onal
f r om pol i t i cal
r equi r ement s . To def end t hose ar eas r egar ded as pol i t i cal l y
essent i al , t he Pol es had
di st r i but ed t hei r f or ces i n i ndef ensi bl e r egi ons
such as t he Cor r i dor and Si l esi a . As
a r esul t , t hei r ar my was unabl e t o def end
i t sel f and t o car r y out a pr ol onged
r esi st ance .
' s
Wi t hi n t he f i r st days of t he
campai gn, panzer uni t s f r omGener al Wal t her
von
Rei chenau' s Tent h
Ar my had br oken out i nt o t he open, t her eby
achi evi ng
oper at i onal f r eedom
. By Sept ember 6, t ank uni t s wer e hal f way
t o War saw, t he
30
THEEASYWAR: GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
Cor r i dor had been
cl osed, and t he
Pol i sh ar my was di si nt egr at i ng . The
Pol i sh ai r
f or ce put up
subst ant i al r esi st ance i n t he
f i r st days of t he war ; i t s pi l ot s, as t hey
woul d do i n
t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n, not onl y pr oved
t hemsel ves t enaci ous and br ave
but hi ghl y ski l l ed as wel l
. Over whel mi ng Ger man super i or i t y, however , soon
t ol d.
' 9
Ont he
gr ound f or t he f i r st t i me i n moder nwar , t he combi nat i on
of ar mor ed
mobi l e f or mat i ons
suppor t ed by ai r cr af t pr oved devast at i ngl y ef f ect i ve . z°
Int er di ct i on
st r i kes made i t i mpossi bl e f or t he Pol es t o move l ar ge bodi es of t r oops
i n t he open, whi l e ef f or t s by Pol i sh t r oops t o
f i ght t hei r way out of enci r cl ement s,
especi al l y al ong t he Bzur a Ri ver , col l apsed i n t he f ace
of Luf t waf f e bombi ng. These
ai r at t acks so demor al i zed t he Pol es t hat some t r oops t hr ewaway t hei r
weapons . "
Af t er t he
f al l of most of Pol and, t he Ger mans f aced t he pr obl emof f or ci ng t he
capi t al
t o
sur r ender . Ri cht hof en, i n char ge of t he ai r assaul t on t he ci t y, r equest ed
per mi ssi on t o dest r oy
War saw compl et el y as " i t woul d, i n t he f ut ur e, be onl y a
cust oms st at i on. "
Oper at i onal or der s f r omt he OKWf or t he at t ack ont he ci t y wer e
mor e r est r ai ned
and onl y r equi r ed t hat t he bombar dment ai mat el i mi nat i ng t hose
i nst al l at i ons j udged essent i al
f or t he mai nt enance of l i f e i n t he ci t y
. "
By t he end of Sept ember , not onl y had t he Ger mans managed t o dest r oy t he
Pol i sh ar my and ai r f or ce but Pol and had ceased
t o exi st as an i ndependent nat i on.
The Wehr macht had won t hi s vi ct or y at a sur pr i si ngl y
l ow
cost
. Pol i sh l osses
wer e
70, 000 dead, 133, 000 wounded, and 700, 000 pr i soner s agai nst t he Ger mans; whi l e
Ger manl osses wer e onl y 11, 000dead, 30, 000 wounded, and 3, 400 mi ssi ng
.
21
Despi t e t he over whel mi ng nat ur e of t he vi ct or y, ser i ous pr obl ems r emai ned f or
t he Ger mans t o r esol ve i n t he ar eas of hi gh st r at egy, t he nat i onal economy, andt he
Wehr macht ' s
act ual ver sus ant i ci pat ed mi l i t ar y per f or mance . In par t i cul ar , t he
ar my hi gh command( Ober kommando des Heer es, OKH) was most di ssat i sf i ed
wi t h
t he l evel of per f or mance of even act i ve dut y r egul ar f or mat i ons.
Ser i ous
shor t comi ngs had shown up t hr oughout t he r egul ar ar my, whi l e r eser ve
and
Landwehr uni t s wer e wel l bel ow t he st andar ds accept abl e
t o seni or ar my
commander s . "
But t he l ar gest pr obl em conf r ont i ng Hi t l er was t he f act t hat Ger many f aced
a
maj or Eur opean war . The Luf t waf f e had
not succeeded i n det er r i ng t he West f r om
honor i ng i t s obl i gat i ons t o Pol and.
Mor eover , Hi t l er had cal cul at ed t hat t he
combi nat i on of t he Nazi - Sovi et Non Aggr essi on
Pact , suppl i es f r om t he Bal kans,
and aut ar ki c measur es t aken i n t he 1930' s woul d
mi t i gat e t he ef f ect s of an
Al l i ed
bl ockade . He had assur ed hi s
gener al s bef or e t he out br eak
of
war
t hat Ger many had
l i t t l e r easont o f ear a bl ockade,
si nce i t woul d " be i nef f ect i ve
due t o our aut ar ky
and
because we have economi c r esour ces
i n t he East . We need have no
wor r y. . . . The
East wi l l del i ver us gr ai n,
cat t l e, coal , l ead and
zi nc . " " Real i t y, however ,
pr oved
qui t e di f f er ent
. Impor t t onnage f el l 57
per cent . By J anuar y 1940, t he
val ue of
i mpor t s had f al l en t o RM186 mi l l i on
as compar ed t o RM472 mi l l i on i n
J anuar y
1939, whi l e
i mpor t t onnage decl i ned f r om 4, 445, 000 t ons t he pr evi ous year t o
1, 122, 000 t ons
. 26
Wi t h
such pr obl ems, t he l ong- t er mout l ook appear ed exceedi ngl y
danger ous. Mor eover , pet r ol eum r eser ves decl i ned f r om 2, 400, 000 t ons at t he
31
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
begi nni ng of t he war t o 1, 600, 000 t ons i n May 1940, 2' whi l e gasol i ne suppl i es
f el l
f r om300, 000 t ons i n Sept ember 1939t o 110, 000t ons by Apr i l 1940. 2$
Thi s cr i t i cal economi c si t uat i on, caused by t he out br eak of a wi der Eur opeanwar
t han Hi t l er had expect ed,
hel ps t o expl ai n an hi st or i cal puzzl e
:
Why
t hr oughout t he
f al l and ear l y wi nt er of 1939di d Hi t l er push so st r ongl y f or an i mmedi at e of f ensi ve
i n t he west ?
29
Because
of t hese economi c pr essur es, Hi t l er f el t t hat t he Wehr macht
must move bef or e t he economy' s
di f f i cul t i es
af f ect ed Ger manf i ght i ng sr engt h. In
ear l y Oct ober , he war ned
t hat t i me f avor ed Ger many' s enemi es. " The danger , i n
case of a pr ol onged war , l i es i n t he di f f i cul t y of secur i ng f r oma l i mi t ed f ood and
r aw
mat er i al base [ enough t o sust ai n t he] popul at i on, whi l e at t he same t i me
secur i ng t he means f or t he pr osecut i on of t he war . " ' ° Thus, t he pr essur e f or an
i mmedi at e of f ensi ve.
On t he same day t hat Hi t l er was j ust i f yi ng t he f act or s behi nd hi s st r at egy, he
i ssued " Di r ect i ve No. 6 f or t he Conduct of t he War . " In i t he spel l ed
out t he
t er r i t or i al goal s of t he comi ng campai gn as wel l as i t s st r at egi c pur poses:
( a) An of f ensi ve wi l l be pl anned on t he nor t her n f l ank
of t he west er n f r ont t hr ough Luxembour g, Bel gi um, and Hol l and.
Thi s
of f ensi ve must
be
l aunched at t he ear l i est possi bl e moment and
i n t he gr eat est
possi bl e st r engt h.
( b) The pur pose of
t hi s of f ensi ve wi l l be t o def eat
as
much . . . of t he Fr ench ar my and . . . t he f or ces of t he al l i es
f i ght i ng at t hei r si de, and at t he same t i me t o wi nas mucht er r i t or y
as possi bl e i n Hol l and, Bel gi um, and nor t her n Fr ance t o ser ve as a
base f or t he successf ul pr osecut i on of t he ai r and sea war agai nst
Engl and and as a wi de pr ot ect i ve ar ea f or t he economi cal l y vi t al
Ruhr . "
Hi t l er ' s or der t hat t he ar med f or ces l aunch a f al l of f ensi ve i n
t he
west
caused an
enor mous r owwi t h t he gener al s.
On
t he basi s
of
" af t er act i on"
r epor t s f r omPol and
and t he west er n f r ont , ar my l eader s ar gued t hat
t hei r t r oops coul d not meet t he
demands
t hat
a west er n
campai gn
woul d pl ace on t hem
.
' 2
In
r et r ospect , t he gener al s
wer e cor r ect : The f al l and wi nt er of 1939- 40 pr ovi ded t he necessar y
t i me t o br i ng
r egul ar , r eser ve, and Landwehr di vi si ons
up t o t he same hi gh st andar d of
per f or mance .
Gener al l y, t he
Luf t waf f e seconded t he ar my' s ef f or t s t o post pone t he west er n
of f ensi ve . " Weat her condi t i ons
i n cent r al Eur ope, however , pr obabl y pl ayed a
gr eat er r ol e i n Luf t waf f e
cal cul at i ons. The ai r st af f was happi er wi t h
t he
per f or mance
i n Pol and t han was t he ar my hi gh command and, of
cour se, t he ai r
f or ce di d not f ace t he pr obl emof t r ai ni ng enor mous number s of r eser vi st s .
St i l l , t he
pause bet ween t he end of t he Pol i sh campai gn and t he begi nni ng
of
ai r oper at i ons
agai nst Nor way al l owed t he Ger mans t o augment consi der abl y t hei r ai r st r engt h. On
Sept ember 2, 1939, t he Luf t waf f e possessed 4, 161 ai r cr af t : 604 r econnai ssance,
1, 179 f i ght er s, 1, 180 bomber s, 366 di ve bomber s, 40 gr ound at t ack, 240 coast al ,
and 552 t r anspor t s . By t he
begi nni ng of Apr i l 1940, t he number had i ncr eased t o
5, 178 ai r cr af t : 671 r econnai ssance,
1, 620 f i ght er s, 1, 726 bomber s, 419 di ve
3
2
THE
EASY
WAR
: GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
bomber s, 46
gr ound at t ack, 230
coast al , and 466 t r anspor t
. 34
In addi t i on,
t he
gener al qual i t y
of t he bomber f or ce
r ose somewhat wi t h t he
wi despr eadi nt r oduct i on
of
t he J u 88 i nt o i t s squadr ons
.
Hi t l er ' s appr oach t o Ger many' s st r at egi c pr obl ems
i n t he f al l of 1939 f ur t her
suggest s a bel i ef at t he t op l evel t hat
t he Luf t waf f e coul d and woul d be t he deci si ve
weaponi n t he comi ng st r uggl e. Hi st or i ans, as
wel l as t he Ger mangener al s of t hat
t i me, have not ed t hat t he
f al l
of f ensi ve
di d
not ai mt o
achi eve a deci si ve success
agai nst t he Fr ench ar my. Rat her , as Hi t l er ' s di r ect i ve made cl ear , i t s
f undament al
ai m, whi l e cr i ppl i ng as muchof t he Al l i ed ar mi es as possi bl e, was " t o wi nas much
t er r i t or y as possi bl e i nHol l and, Bel gi um, and nor t her n Fr ance t o ser ve as a base
f or
t he successf ul pr osecut i on of t he ai r andsea war agai nst Engl and" [ my emphasi s] .
Such t er r i t or i al gai ns woul d al l ow t he Ger man ai r f or ce t o st r i ke at t he hear t of
Engl i sh power and al so ser ve as a buf f er agai nst ai r at t acks on " t he economi cal l y
vi t al Ruhr
.
" 3s
The Luf t waf f e' s chi ef of i nt el l i gence, " Beppo" Schmi d, ar gued i n l at e
November 1939 f or an excl usi ve ai r st r at egy . The Wehr macht , he suggest ed, shoul d
not car r y out any oper at i ons agai nst t he Fr ench, but r at her t he ent i r e st r engt h of t he
Luf t waf f e, wi t h what ever hel p t he navy coul d pr ovi de, shoul d concent r at e agai nst
Engl i sh i mpor t s. Ger manai r st r at egy woul demphasi ze at t acks onEngl i shpor t s and
docks, and Schmi d not ed t hat , " Shoul d t he enemy r esor t t o t er r or measur es- f or
exampl e, t o at t ack our t owns i n west er n Ger many- her e agai n [ r et al i at or y]
oper at i ons coul d be car r i ed out wi t h even gr eat er ef f ect due t o t he gr eat er densi t y of
popul at i on of London and t he bi g i ndust r i al cent er s .
" 36
Whi l e el ement s f r om
Schmi d' s memor andumwer e pr esent i n an OKWDi r ect i ve of November
29, Hi t l er
was unwi l l i ng t o go qui t e so f ar and r i sk al l onan ai r - sea war agai nst
Br i t ai n bef or e
cer t ai n pr econdi t i ons had been met . The
OKWst at ed t hat an at t ack on Br i t i sh
i mpor t s coul d not occur unt i l t he ar my had ei t her
def eat ed t he Al l i ed ar mi es i n t he
f i el d or unt i l i t had sei zedt he coast opposi t e Br i t ai n. "
The gr eat f al l campai gn never t ook pl ace. Hi t l er hi msel f does
not seemt o have
abandonedt he i dea of such a campai gnunt i l
J anuar y 1940whenan ai r cr af t car r yi ng
t he pl an cr ash- l anded i n Bel gi um. However , t he weat her ,
one of t he wor st wi nt er s
i n memor y, r esul t ed i n r epeat ed post ponement s
unt i l J anuar y . Ther eaf t er , Hi t l er ,
suppor t ed by Ar my Gr oup A, f or ced t he
OKHt o al t er t he pl ans f or t he
west er n
campai gn t o a massi ve ar mor ed
t hr ust t hr ough t he Ar dennes.
The new st r at egy
ai med not at cr eat i ng t he st r at egi c
basi s f or an ai r and naval
of f ensi ve agai nst
Br i t ai n but r at her at t he st r at egi c
over t hr owof t he Al l i ed
posi t i on on t he cont i nent .
Whi l e many ar my commander s doubt ed
t he oper at i onal f easi bi l i t y
of
a
deep
penet r at i on ar mor ed dr i ve, Hi t l er
suppor t ed t he r adi cal s ur gi ng a r api d
expl oi t at i on
acr oss t he
Meuse
. "
Al most concur r ent l y, Ger man pl anni ng t ur ned t owar ds
Scandi navi a. The Al t mar k af f ai r convi nced Hi t l er t hat t he Br i t i sh woul d not r espect
t he neut r al i t y of Scandi navi a and t hat Ger many must move t o pr ot ect t he cr i t i cal or e
i mpor t s f r omnor t her n Sweden t hat moved t hr ough Nar vi k.
Thus, t he deci si on t o
at t ack Nor way i n
t he spr i ng . "
33
THE
INVASION
OF FRANCE
1940: The Pl ans
OKH PLAN,
OCT 1939

FINAL PLANMARCH 1940
H
p7
G1
0
d
a
H
THEEASY
WAR: GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
Wi t hi n t he f r amewor k of t hese t wo
gr eat oper at i ons, t he st r at egy of t he t hr ee
ser vi ces
was i nt egr at ed r at her t han separ at e . Whi l e
t her e wer e i nst ances wher e t he
Luf t waf f e act ed as
an i ndependent f or ce, i t s basi c mi ssi on i n bot h
campai gns l ay
wi t hi n t he car ef ul l y st r uct ur ed
f r amewor k of over al l Ger man st r at egy . As one of
Hi t l er ' s di r ect i ves f or t he f al l of f ensi ve i n t he west suggest ed, " t he ai r f or ce wi l l
pr event at t acks by t he Angl o- Fr ench ai r f or ces on our ar my and wi l l gi ve al l
necessar y di r ect suppor t t o
t he advance
. " ^°
It was not a case of t he Luf t waf f e bei ng
subor di nat ed t o t he di ct at es of t he ar my or
t he navy ( i n t he case of Nor way) but
r at her t hat over al l ai r st r at egy f i t wi t hi n t he concept ual
desi gn of t he campai gn' s
st r at egy . Thus, t he Luf t waf f e' s r ol e f ol l owed
cl osel y Wever ' s t hought s on ai r
st r at egy and t he r ol e of ai r power
i n f ut ur e war s. The gener al st r at egi c concept i on
and mi l i t ar y pur poses of t he campai gn had det er mi ned howt he
Ger mans woul d use
t hei r ai r r esour ces.
SCANDINAVIAANDFRANCE
OnApr i l 7, 1940, Ger mansea, l and, and ai r f or ces st r uck Denmar k and Nor way.
Wi t hi n t he f i r st hour s, Dani sh r esi st ance had col l apsed. In Nor way, despi t e al most
compl et e sur pr i se, t he Ger mans wer e not as successf ul . The occupat i on of Ber gen,
Tr ondhei m, and Nar vi k went wi t hout ser i ous di f f i cul t y, even t hough t he l andi ngs
wer e
danger ousl y exposed t o count er moves by Br i t i sh naval f or ces
. 4'
At Osl o and
Chr i st i ansand, t he Ger mans r an i nt o ser i ous opposi t i on, and at bot h l ocat i ons
i nt er vent i on by t he Luf t waf f e t ur ned t he scal es. In t he l at t er case,
Ger manbomber s
si l enced f or t s
guar di ng t he har bor ent r ance so t hat t he navy coul d l and t r oops. At
Osl o, t he f or t s pr ot ect i ng t he capi t al , despi t e t hei r anci ent equi pment , shel l ed and
sank t he heavy cr ui ser Bl ucher and, f or most of t he day, deni ed Ger man l andi ng
f or ces access t o t he ci t y . However , Ger man par at r ooper s sei zed t he ai r por t , and
r ei nf or cement s r ushed i n by ai r over awed t he Nor wegi an popul at i on. The br eat hi ng
space pr ovi ded by t he def ender s of t he Osl o f j or d di d al l ow t he Nor wegi an
gover nment t o escape and set i n mot i on measur es of r esi st ance. Never t hel ess, by
t he end of t he f i r st 24 hour s, t he st r at egi c si t uat i on f r omt he Nor wegi an per spect i ve
was
hopel ess. Wi t h al l i mpor t ant har bor s and ai r f i el ds i n Ger man hands, t he
Luf t waf f e domi nat ed Nor wegi an r esi st ance and pr event ed t he
i nt er vent i on of t he
Royal
Navy except agai nst Nar vi k. In t he cour se of
oper at i ons, t he Ger man ai r
f or ce
pl ayed a cr uci al r ol e i n mai nt ai ni ng ai r
super i or i t y, i n pr ovi di ng suppor t t o
advanci ng gr ound f or ces, and i n suppl yi ng
wi del y scat t er ed f or ces . 4z
No mat t er what t he t act i cal successes of t he
Nor wegi an campai gn mi ght have
been,
t he i mpact of t he campai gn on Ger many' s
st r at egi c si t uat i on was negat i ve
bot h f or t he shor t as wel l
as t he l ong haul . In t he l at t er case, Nor way
pr oved a
st r at egi c dr ai n t hr oughout t he
Second Wor l d War . Mor eover , t he
conquest of t he
Lor r ai n or e f i el ds
i n t he campai gn agai nst Fr ance mi t i gat ed
t he need f or Swedi sh
i r on or e. Those i mpor t s,
whi l e usef ul , wer e never deci si ve. 4' The shor t - r ange
st r at egi c i mpact was even mor e dubi ous . , By t he t i me t hat naval
oper at i ons i n
Nor wegi an wat er s had concl uded, t he Ger man navy had ceased t o exi st
as
an
ef f ect i ve sur f ace f or ce. By mi d- J une, Admi r al Er i ch Raeder , Commander i n Chi ef
35
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
of t he
navy, was downt o
one heavy cr ui ser , t wo l i ght
cr ui ser s, and f our dest r oyer s
;
t he
r emai nder of t he f l eet was
ei t her at t he bot t omof t he
ocean or i n dr ydock
under goi ng r epai r . ° ° The naval
st af f compounded t he i nevi t abl e
naval l osses t hat
went
wi t h such a campai gn by what can
onl y be cat egor i zed as st r at egi c
i ncompet ence. In l at e May and ear l y J une, af r ai d t hat
t he war woul d end bef or e i t s
t wo bat t l e cr ui ser s
had si gni f i cant l y engaged enemy
f or ces, t he naval hi gh
command r i sked
t he Gnei senau and Schar nhor st i n
st r at egi cal l y poi nt l ess
oper at i ons i n
nor t her n wat er s. As a r esul t , bot h wer e ser i ousl y
damaged and di d not
r et ur n t o ser vi ce
unt i l December 1940.
45
Consi der i ng
t hat Raeder had al r eady
br oached t he possi bi l i t y of an
i nvasi on of Br i t ai n wi t h t he Fi i hr er as ear l y as
t he
20t h of May, such a f r i t t er i ng
away of naval st r engt h i n t he nor t h i s
qui t e
sur pr i si ng . 46
Wi t h i ni t i at i on of oper at i ons
agai nst Scandi navi a, t he Ger mans compl et ed
pr epar at i ons f or a move agai nst t he
West
.
OnMay 10, 1940, t he Wehr macht began
an of f ensi ve ai med at t he st r at egi c over t hr owof i t s opponent s
. Oper at i ons agai nst
Hol l and and
nor t her n Bel gi umby Ar my Gr oup Bconf i r med Al l i ed
expect at i ons as
t o Ger man st r at egy
and f i xed t hei r at t ent i on away f r om t he deci si ve t hr eat .
Meanwhi l e,
Ger man ar mor movedt hr ough t he Ar dennes unt i l i t hi t t he Meuse . By
t he eveni ng of t he
13t h,
Panzer
Gr oup Kl ei st had t hr ee br i dgeheads acr oss t he r i ver .
Wi t hi n l ess
t han
t wo days, t he Ger mans achi eved oper at i onal f r eedom and wer e
r ol l i ng t owar ds t he
Engl i sh Channel . At t hat t i me, Ger many' s opponent s bel i eved
t hat t he Wehr macht enj oyed over whel mi ng super i or i t y . As we nowknow, except i n
t he ai r ( and evenher e Ger man
super i or i t y was not over whel mi ng) , t he Ger mans di d
not
enj oy a
si gni f i cant , quant i f i abl e advant age. " Thei r vi ct or y was due t o an
oper at i onal pl an whose
ser i ous r i sks wer e mor e t han of f set by cor r espondi ng
advant ages t hat woul d not have been pr esent i n a mor e convent i onal oper at i on.
Second, Ger man t r ai ni ng and doct r i ne wer e mor e r eal i st i c and demandi ng t han
t hose of t hei r opponent s. Thi r d, t he ar my and t he Luf t waf f e had cl osel y i nt egr at ed
t hei r pl ans t o meet t he over al l demands of Ger manst r at egy.
Ger manai r
at t acks
t hat
accompani edt he st ar t of t he of f ensi ve
ai med at achi evi ng
ai r
super i or i t y over t he Low Count r i es and nor t her n Fr ance.
In t he f i r st hour s, a
si gni f i cant por t i on of t he
Luf t waf f e' s ef f or t st r uck
at Al l i ed ai r f or ces and t hei r
gr ound
or gani zat i ons. Nei t her t he Dut ch nor t he
Bel gi ans wer e capabl e of ser i ous
opposi t i on
as most of t hei r equi pment was obsol et e.
The Br i t i sh had st at i oned
a
si gni f i cant f or ce
of bomber s and f i ght er s
( " Hur r i canes" ) i n nor t her n
Fr ance t o
suppor t t he
Br i t i sh Expedi t i onar y For ce. 48
The Fr ench ai r f or ce,
unf or t unat el y, was
i ngr eat
di sar r ay as i t was t r ansi t i oni ng
t o a newer gener at i on of
ai r cr af t ( as had t he
Luf t waf f e i n
1937- 38 and t he RAFi n 1938- 39 wi t h si mi l ar r esul t s) . The
Fr ench
wer e, i n f act , havi ng consi der abl e
di f f i cul t y i n equi ppi ng squadr ons wi t h new
ai r cr af t as wel l as mai nt ai ni ng
oper at i onal r eady r at es. In ear l y 1940, some Fr ench
squadr ons r an
i n- commi ssi on r at es of bar el y 40 per cent , and t he pr essur e of
oper at i ons onl y compoundedt hei r di f f i cul t i es . 49 The Al l i es' def eat i n t he campai gn
shoul dnot obscur e t he f act t hat t he Fr ench ai r f or ce f ought wel l , and i t s exper i enced
pi l ot s, of t en i n i nf er i or equi pment , f ought t enaci ousl y
. " '
36
THEEASYWAR
:
GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
The f i r st Ger man
ai r st r i kes agai nst t he Bel gi ans
and Dut ch vi r t ual l y el i mi nat ed
t hei r ai r f or ces as possi bl e
f act or s i n t he campai gn; t he
Br i t i sh and Fr ench al so
suf f er ed heavy
ai r cr af t l osses on t he gr ound
and i n t he ai r . But t he f i r st
day' s
oper at i ons di d not
come l i ght l y . On May 10, t he
Ger mans l ost 83 ai r cr af t ( not
i ncl udi ng J u 52' s) ,
i ncl udi ng 47 bomber s and
25 f i ght er s, equal l i ng t he wor st
l osses
f or a day i n t he
Bat t l e of Br i t ai n. Ont he
f ol l owi ng day, t he Ger mans l ost a
f ur t her
42 ai r cr af t , i ncl udi ng 22
bomber s, 8 di ve bomber s,
and 10 f i ght er s . "
Si gni f i cant l y, t he
Luf t waf f e l aunched f ew at t acks
onAl l i ed f or ces advanci ng i nt o
Bel gi umt o meet Ar my
Gr oup B' s dr i ve. Rat her , i t
shi el ded Gener al Ger t von
Rundst edt ' s f or ces movi ng
t hr ough t he Ar dennes f r om t he pr yi ng
eyes of Al l i ed
r econnai ssance ai r cr af t .
By t he 12t h, Luf t f l ot t e 3 r epor t ed
gener al super i or i t y over
i t s opponent s, and Ger man
ai r cr af t nowt ur ned i ncr easi ngl y t o at t acks
on t he Al l i ed
t r anspor t at i on net wor k andt o
suppor t i ng t he advance of gr ound f or ces
. Rei nf or ci ng
t he i mpr essi on made
by ai r at t acks i n t he ear l y days of t he campai gn
went t he
psychol ogi cal
i mpact of Ger man par at r ooper oper at i ons. Luf t waf f e ai r bor ne
f or ces
sei zed st r at egi c
br i dges t hr oughout Bel gi umand Hol l and, whi l e Ger man gl i der
f or ces capt ur ed t he
supposedl y i mpr egnabl e f or t r ess of EbanEmael . Suchsuccesses
cr eat ed an i mpact out of
al l pr opor t i on t o Ger man par at r ooper st r engt h. " By
mat er i al l y ai di ng Ar my Gr oup
B' s advance, t hey f ur t her edt he i mpr essi onof Al l i ed
commander s t hat t he Wehr macht ' s
of f ensi ve wei ght l ay i nt he nor t h.
Li ke t he Ger manar my, t he
Luf t waf f e
had pr epar ed
f or t he comi ng campai gn wi t h
r ut hl ess ef f i ci ency. Ri cht hof en had honed hi s " St ukas" t o a f i ne edge . "
Nowon
t he banks of t he Meuse, t he wor k pai d of f . On t he
13t h,
Ger man i nf ant r y ( an
i nt egr al par t of t he panzer di vi si ons) began t o cr oss t he
r i ver .
Guder i an
had
car ef ul l y wor ked out pl ans wi t h hi s ai r count er par t , Gener al Br uno Loer zer ,
Commander of Fl i eger kor ps II . The t wo had deci ded t hat t he Luf t waf f e woul d
pr ovi de cont i nuous suppor t r at her t han a massi ve, one- shot at t ack. It woul d t hus
f or ce Fr ench ar t i l l er ymen and i nf ant r y t o keep t hei r heads down whi l e Ger man
i nf ant r y made t he cr ossi ng. Despi t e i nt er f er ence at hi gher l evel s, t he pl an went l i ke
cl ockwor k. 5° Cont i nuous " St uka" at t acks onFr ench r eser vi st s hol di ng t he l i ne had
a devast at i ng ef f ect . " By ni ght f al l , t he Ger mans had est abl i shed a secur e
br i dgehead; by t he next day, t anks wer e acr oss; and by t he 15t h, t he panzer s wer e i n
t he open wi t h a cl ear r un t o Abbevi l l e. The use of di ve bomber s t o suppor t
t he
Meuse cr ossi ngs pl ayed a maj or r ol e i n one of t he most deci si ve st r at egi c
vi ct or i es
i n t he mi l i t ar y hi st or y of t he 20t hcent ur y .
Int he nor t h, Dut chr esi st ance col l apsed i n t he f ace
of t he Ger manassaul t . By t he
t hi r d
day, t he 9t h Panzer Di vi si on had r eached t he out ski r t s of
Rot t er dam. OnMay
14, t he 54t h Bomber Wi ng shat t er ed t he cent er of
t hat ci t y and ki l l ed over 800 and
r ender ed 80, 000 homel ess despi t e t he f act t hat
negot i at i ons wer e al r eady i n mot i on
t o sur r ender t he t own.
Af t er t he war , qui t e nat ur al l y, t her e was a
pauci t y of
i ndi vi dual s wi l l i ng
t o accept r esponsi bi l i t y . Whet her or not t he bombi ng
was a
del i ber at e act of t er r or ,
as Tel f or d Tayl or suggest s, i t " was par t of
t he Ger man
pat t er nof conquest - a
pat t er n wovenby Hi t l er and t he Wehr macht . " 36
To avoi d t he
possi bi l i t y t hat
t he Luf t waf f e woul d dest r oy anot her ci t y, t he Dut ch
Commander i n
37
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
Chi ef sur r ender ed al l hi s
f or ces i n Hol l and on t he next day. At
t hat t i me, t he
Ger mans wer e not hesi t ant t o not e t he connect i ons'
Expl oi t at i on by Ger man
ar mor ed f or mat i ons pr oceeded wi t h
ut most di spat ch.
What i s r emar kabl e i s t he speed wi t h whi ch shor t - r ange f i ght er and di ve bomber s
moved f or war d t o suppor t gr ound f or ces t hat wer e r api dl y dr awi ng out of
r ange
. By
t he 17t h, wi t hi n 24 hour s of t he Fr ench evacuat i on, Ger man f i ght er s wer e
est abl i shi ng t hei r oper at i onal base at Char l evi l l e, west of t he Meuse.
For
sever al
days, f uel , ammuni t i on, par t s, and gr ound per sonnel f l ew i n by J u 52' s si nce t he
ar my' s movement
i nt o t he ever - deepeni ng pocket had choked t he Meuse br i dges .
The f or war d oper at i ng
base was so shor t of f uel t hat gr ound per sonnel si phoned al l
but t he mi ni mumamount of gasol i ne
f r om
ever y
noncombat ai r cr af t l andi ng at
Char l evi l l e. Thi s r api d
depl oyment f or war d was due ent i r el y t o an ai r t r anspor t
syst emof J u
52' s. 58 The syst emsuppor t ed t he ar my as wel l as t he ai r f or ce i n i t s
dr i ve t o t he Channel ; and shor t l y af t er t he f i ght er s had moved t o Char l evi l l e,
t he
Luf t waf f e f l ew i n 2, 000 ar my t echni ci ans t o
est abl i sh a t ank r epai r f aci l i t y at t he
same l ocat i on
. 59
The next st age of t he campai gn l ed t o one of t he mor e cont r over si al epi sodes i n
t he war , t he f amous " st op or der " t hat r esul t ed i n t he event ual escape of most of
Br i t i sh Expedi t i onar y For ce and l ar ge number s of Fr enchmen t hr ough Dunki r k.
Avai l abl e evi dence cont r adi ct s t he wel l - publ i ci zed post - war t est i mony of Ger man
gener al s t hat Hi t l er was r esponsi bl e f or hal t i ng t he movement of Ger man t ank
f or ces shor t of Dunki r k. The most car ef ul r econst r uct i on suggest s t hat
Gener al ober st Ger d von Rundst edt and Hi t l er , suppor t ed by a number of ot her
seni or of f i cer s, st opped t he ar mor bef or e i t
coul d cut Al l i ed f or ces of f f r om
Dunki r k. 6° Gi ven t he ext ent of Ger man success and t hei r under st andabl e
ner vousness, as wel l as a desi r e t o pr ot ect t hei r ar mor ed f or ces f or
t he ant i ci pat ed
conquest of Fr ance, t he st op or der made sense at t he t i me. Int er woven wi t h t hi s
Ger man caut i on was a consi der abl e under est i mat i on of how swi f t l y t he Br i t i sh
coul d or gani ze and conduct a wi t hdr awal oper at i on
. On May 25, Gor i ng
compounded what was i n r et r ospect
a ser i ous st r at egi c mi st ake by suggest i ng t o
Hi t l er t hat t he Luf t waf f e coul d by i t sel f dest r oy what was
l ef t of Al l i ed ar mi es i nt he
LowCount r i es. " Hi t l er f ound Gor i ng' s
pr oposal suf f i ci ent t o del ay f ur t her t he
gr ound of f ensi ve agai nst t he Dunki r k per i met er .
By t he t i me t he ar my moved
f or war d, t he oppor t uni t y had beenl ost ;
t he enemy had ent r enched and had begun
a
f ul l - scal e evacuat i on.
Over Dunki r k, t he Luf t waf f e suf f er ed
i t s f i r st ser i ous r ebuf f of t he
war . As
Gal l and has not ed, t he nat ur e and
st yl e of t he ai r bat t l es over t he beaches shoul d
have pr ovi ded a war ni ng
as t o t he i nher ent weaknesses of t he Luf t waf f e' s f or ce
st r uct ur e
. 6z
Admi t t edl y,
t he Ger mans f ought at a di sadvant age .
Al t hough posi t i oned
f or war d
at capt ur ed ai r f i el ds, t he Bf 109 was at t he out er l i mi t s of i t s
r ange and
possessed l ess f l yi ng t i me over Dunki r k t han di dt he " Hur r i canes" and " Spi t f i r es"
oper at i ng f r om sout her n Engl and. Ger man bomber s wer e st i l l l ocat ed i n west er n
Ger many and had even f ar t her t o f l y . Thus, t he Luf t waf f e coul d not br i ng i t s f ul l
wei ght t o bear so
t hat when i t s bomber s hammer ed t hose on t he beaches or
38
embar ki ng, t he RAFi nt er vened i n a si gni f i cant
f ashi on. Ger man ai r cr af t l osses
wer e hi gh,
and Br i t i sh f i ght er at t acks of t en pr event ed Ger man bomber s
f r om
per f or mi ng wi t h
f ul l ef f ect i veness . Bot h si des suf f er ed heavy l osses
.
Dur i ng t he
ni ne days f r om May 26 t hr ough
J une 3, t he RAFl ost 177 ai r cr af t dest r oyed or
damaged; t he Ger mans l ost 240. 63 For much of t he Luf t waf f e,
Dunki r k
came
as a
nast y shock. Fl i eger kor ps II r epor t ed i n i t s war di ar y t hat i t l ost mor e ai r cr af t on t he
27t h
at t acki ng t he evacuat i on t han i t had l ost i n t he pr evi ous t en days of t he
campai gn
. 6a
The
dest r uct i on
or f or ced evacuat i on of t he ent i r e Al l i ed l ef t wi ng i n t he Low
Count r i es ( consi st i ng of t he most mobi l e
and best t r ai ned di vi si ons) made t he
def ense of Fr ance hopel ess . Never t hel ess, t he r emai ni ng
Fr ench f or ces put
up
a
cr edi t abl e def ense i n
ear l y J une, suggest i ng what t hey
mi ght have accompl i shed
wi t h bet t er
l eader shi p i n May. Thei r hopel ess mi l i t ar y
posi t i on made def eat qui ck
andbr ut al . To a cer t ai n
ext ent , t he st r at egi c col l apse of t he ent i r e
west er nposi t i on
has obscur ed t he si gni f i cant
at t r i t i on of Ger man ar mor ed and
ai r f or ces t hat t ook
pl ace dur i ng t he f i ght i ng. At t he
begi nni ng of t he west er n of f ensi ve, t he
ar my
possessed 2, 574t anks
. 65
By t he
ar mi st i ce, t he Ger mans hadl ost 753t anks or near l y
30 per cent of t hei r ar mor ed f or ces
. 66
Luf t waf f e l osses of ai r cr af t wer e on a si mi l ar
scal e ( see Tabl es
111, 67
IV,
6
e
V, 69 andVI' ° ) .
Tabl es
III t hr oughVI under scor e t he ext ent of Ger manai r cr af t
l osses i nt he Bat t l e
of Fr ance. They
suggest t hat t he t endency t o vi ewt he Bat t l e of
Br i t ai n as asepar at e
epi sode f r omt he def eat
of Fr ance does not do j ust i ce t o t he r esi st ance of Al l i ed
ai r
f or ces i n t he spr i ng of 1940
and di st or t t he f act t hat f or f i ve
mont hs, f r omMay
t hr ough Sept ember , t he
Luf t waf f e, wi t h onl y a shor t pause, was cont i nuousl y i n
act i on. The br eak i n mor al e of
bomber pi l ot s, r epor t ed over London i n mi d-
Sept ember 1940, t hus was t he r esul t
not onl y of t he st r ai n of f i ght i ng over Br i t ai n
but of oper at i ons t hat hadbeencont i nuous
f r omt he pr evi ous May.
THEBATTLEOFBRITAIN
THEEASYWAR:
GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
Ser i ous Ger man ai r cr af t l osses f r omt he spr i ng campai gn gr eat l y weakened t he
Luf t waf f e bef or e t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n. Had t hat been t he onl y
di sadvant age under
whi ch t he Luf t waf f e oper at ed, Ger man st r at egi c
pr obl ems woul d have been
daunt i ng enough, gi ven t he di f f i cul t i es
of mount i ng a maj or combi ned ar ms
oper at i on. Unf or t unat el y f or t he
Ger mans, t he st r ai n t hat r ecent bat t l es had
i mposedon t hei r mi l i t ar y st r uct ur e r epr esent ed
onl y a smal l por t i onof t he pr obl em;
a whol e host of st r at egi c,
economi c, t act i cal , andt echnol ogi cal pr obl ems had
t o be
f aced andsur mount ed
bef or e t he Rei chcoul dsol ve t he " Br i t i shquest i on. "
What made an
i nher ent l y compl ex t ask i mpossi bl e was t he over conf i dence
t hat
mar ked t he Ger manl eader shi p
i n t he summer of 1940. Hi t l er , baski ng i n a
moodof
pr eeni ng sel f - adul at i on,
went on vacat i on. Dur i ng a vi si t t o Par i s af t er
t he si gni ng
of t he ar mi st i ce, t our s
of Wor l dWar I bat t l ef i el ds, andpi cni cs al ong
t he Rhi ne, t he
l ast t hi ng
on Hi t l er ' s mi nd was gr and st r at egy . "
The hi gh command st r uct ur e,
however ,
was such t hat wi t hout Hi t l er t her e was no one
wi t h ei t her t he dr i ve or
39
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
TABLEIII
Ger man
Ai r cr af t Losses ( DamagedandDest r oyed) - - May- J une 1940
Dest r oyed
on
Oper at i ons
Damaged on Oper at i ons
Type Ai r cr af t
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on Tot al
Damaged
Not on
Oper at i ons
Tot al
Damaged
Tot al
Damagedand
Dest r oyed
Tot al Damaged
and Dest r oyed
as
Per cent of
Ini t i al St r engt h
Cl ose Recce 13 4 17 1 18 96 28%
Long- Range
Recce
12
8
20 1
21
109 34%
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 33 92 125 25
150 407 30%
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
20 6 26 3 29 139
38%
Bomber s 116 47 163
40 203 724 41%
Di ve Bomber s 20
7 27 1 28 150
36%
Tr anspor t 8 14
22 5 27 240
45%
Coast al 3 5 88 4
12 51 21%
TOTAL 225 183 488 80 488
1, 916 36%
Type Ai r cr af t
St r engt h
4. 5. 40
.
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on Tot al
Dest r oyed
Not on
Oper at i ons
Tot al
Dest r oyed
Losses asPer cent
of Ini t i al St r engt h
Cl ose Recce 345 67
5 72 6 i 8 23%
Long- Range
Recce 321 68 18 86 2 88 27%
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 1, 369 169 66
235 22 257 19%
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 367 90
16 106 4 110 30%
Bomber s 1, 758 438 53
491 30 521 30%
Di ve Bomber s
417
89
24 113 9 122 30%
Tr anspor t 531 188 18 206 7 213 40%
Coast al 241 20 16 36
3
39 16%
TOTAL 5, 349 1, 129 216 1, 345 83 1, 428 28%
20r.
BATTLE OF

BATTLE OF

LONDON
FRANCE BRITAIN

" BLITZ"
20 . 2%
TABLEIV
GERMANAIRCRAFT LOSSES 1940 ( ALL TYPES)
x
16. 1 °~u
15. 6%
n
cn
g

1%
MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
30%
20%
1004
0-
p-
TABLEV
GERMANFIGHTERLOSSES 1940
BATTLE OF

BATTLE OF

LONDON
FRANCE BRITAIN

" BLITZ"
MAY J UNE J ULY AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 1»,
30° x°
20° x°
BATTLE OF

BATTLE OF

LONDON
FRANCE BRITAIN

" BLITZ"
TABLEVI
GERMANBOMBERLOSSES 1940
18. 9%
6%
1

1

1

1

l

1

1
MAY J UNE J ULY AUG SEP OCT NOV
m
m
a
- c
n
'
c
1
DEC
z
y
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
st r at egi c vi si on t o pi ck
up t he r ei ns- a st at e of
af f ai r s pr eci sel y i n accor d wi t h t he
Fuhr er ' s wi shes .
Unt i l mi d- J ul y
1940, Hi t l er bel i eved t hat Engl and woul d sue f or a peace t hat he
woul d have happi l y ext ended t o
her . As ear l y as May 20, Hi t l er had r emar ked t hat
Engl and
coul d have peace f or t he aski ng.
' z
Not hi ng i n Br i t i sh behavi or i n t he l at e
1930' s
suggest ed t hat Hi t l er ' s expect at i on was unr eal i st i c . In f act , t her e wer e st i l l
some
wi t hi n t he Br i t i sh gover nment who r egar ded Chur chi l l ' s i nt r ansi gence wi t h
di st ast e . In l at e May, Lor d
Hal i f ax, t he For ei gn Secr et ar y, expr essed hi s al ar mat
t he r el i sh wi t h whi ch
Chur chi l l appr oached hi s t ask, whi l e " Rab" But l er , Under
Secr et ar y of St at e f or
For ei gn Af f ai r s, t ol d t he Swedi sh mi ni st er i n Londont hat " no
oppor t uni t y woul d be negl ect ed
f or concl udi ng a compr omi se peace i f t he chance
[ wer e] of f er edonr easonabl e condi t i ons
. " "
But
t he
moodi n Br i t ai n
had changed. Chur chi l l , f ur i ous at But l er ' s i ndi scr et i on,
passed al ong
a bi t i ng not e t o Hal i f ax . But l er ' s whi ni ng r epl y t hat he had been
mi sunder st ood and had meant no
of f ense i ndi cat es howmuch t hi ngs had changed
si nce
Chur chi l l had assumed
power . " But one must st r ess t hat Chur chi l l ' s
t oughness as t he nat i on' s l eader
r ef l ect ed a newmoodi nBr i t ai n. In l at e J une 1940,
Admi r al Dudl ey Pound t ol d t he Fr ench l i ai sonof f i cer at t he Admi r al t y t hat " t he one
obj ect we had i n vi ewwas wi nni ng t he war and t hat i t was as essent i al
f or
t hem[ t he
Fr ench] as f or us t hat we shoul d do so. . . . Al l t r i vi al i t i es, such as quest i ons of
f r i endshi p and hur t i ng
peopl e' s f eel i ng, must be swept
asi de. "
15
Indeed t hey wer e,
whenf or st r at egi c r easons, t he Br i t i sh gover nment or der ed
t he Royal Navy t o at t ack
and si nk
t he Fr ench f l eet at Mer s- el - Kebi r . 76
The Ger mans mi ssed t he new Br i t i sh r esol ve al most
compl et el y, and Hi t l er ' s
st r at egi c pol i cy f r omt he summer of
1940 t hough 1941 sought a met hod, whet her i t
be
mi l i t ar y,
di pl omat i c, or pol i t i cal , t o per suade t he Br i t i sh t o make peace. The
mood i n Ber l i n was euphor i c, si nce t he Ger mans
bel i eved t hat t he war was near l y
over . Al l t hat r emai ned, f r omt hei r
vi ewpoi nt , was t o f i nd t he r i ght f or mul a f or
endi ng host i l i t i es. Conf i r mi ng
t hi s per spect i ve was a st r at egi c memor andum
of l at e
J une i n whi ch
Al f r ed J odl , t he number t wo man i n t he OKW,
suggest ed t hat " t he
f i nal vi ct or y of
Ger many over Engl and i s onl y a quest i on of
t i me. '
171
J odl ' s
appr oach t o t he Engl i sh " pr obl em"
r ef l ect ed a gener al f ai l i ng wi t hi n
t he of f i cer
cor ps of al l t hr ee ser vi ces.
As t he campai gn i n t he west i n
1940 had shown, t he
t act i cal and oper at i onal
per f or mance of Ger man
mi l i t ar y f or ces was wi t hout equal .
The pr obl em
l ay on a hi gher l evel : t hat of st r at egy
. The Ger mans, i f t hey
had
mast er ed
t he t act i cal and oper at i onal
l essons of Wor l d War I, had not mast er ed t he
st r at egi c l essons of t hat t er r i bl e conf l i ct . Whi l e t he Fr ench f ai l ur e
t o l ear n f r omt he
l ast war had i mmedi at e
consequences i n May 1940, i n t he l ong r un Ger man
unwi l l i ngness t o f ace t hat war ' s st r at egi c l essons had an even mor e cat ast r ophi c
i mpact on t hei r hi st or y.
Ger man st r at egi c pl anni ng
and di scussi ons t hr oughout t he summer
of 1940
r ef l ect , i ngl ar i ng f ashi on, a
f ai l ur e t o gr asp t he essent i al s of
st r at egy . The navy had
squander ed i t s bat t l e cr ui ser asset s
i n st r at egi cal l y meani ngl ess
oper at i ons of f
THEEASYWAR: GERMANY
TRIUMPHANT
Nor way i n t he l at e spr i ng. The ar my
dr ewup a pl an f or t he pr oposed cr oss- channel
i nvasi on, code named " Sea Li on, " t hat one can char i t abl y
descr i be as i r r el evant t o
and i gnor ant of t he gener al st at e of avai l abl e
naval st r engt h. The Luf t waf f e
t hr oughout t he summer , f ol l owi ng Gor i ng' s
l ead, pai d mi ni mal at t ent i on t o t he
oper at i onal pr obl ems of a channel cr ossi ng by t he ar my
i n
t he bel i ef t hat
i t s
vi ct or y
over t he RAFwoul d make an i nvasi on unnecessar y.
78
J odl ' s J une memor andum
posed t wo possi bi l i t i es f or Ger man st r at egy agai nst
Engl and: ( a) " a di r ect
at t ack on t he Engl i shmot her l and; ( b) an ext ensi onof t he war
t o per i pher al ar eas" such as
t he Medi t er r anean and t r ade r out es. In t he case of a
di r ect st r at egy, t her e exi st ed t hr ee avenues
: ( 1) an of f ensi ve by ai r and sea agai nst
Br i t i sh shi ppi ng combi ned wi t h ai r at t acks agai nst cent er s of
i ndust r y ; ( 2) t er r or
at t acks by ai r agai nst popul at i on cent er s; and ( 3) f i nal l y, a
l andi ng oper at i on ai med
at occupyi ng Engl and. The pr econdi t i on f or Ger man
success, J odl ar gued, must be
t he
at t ai nment of ai r super i or i t y . Fur t her mor e, at t acks on Br i t i sh ai r cr af t pl ant s
woul d
i nsur e
t hat t he RAFwoul d not r ecover f r om i t s def eat . Int er est i ngl y, J odl
suggest ed t hat ai r super i or i t y
woul d l ead t o a di mi ni shi ng capaci t y f or t he RAF
bomber
f or ce t o at t ack Ger many . It i s i n t hi s cont ext t hat Ger man at t acks i n t he
comi ng st r uggl e onBomber Command' s bases must be seen. By ext endi ng t he ai r
of f ensi ve t o i nt er di ct i mpor t s
and t o t he use of t er r or at t acks agai nst t he Br i t i sh
popul at i on ( j ust i f i ed as r epr i sal at t acks) ,
J odl bel i eved t hat t he Luf t waf f e woul d
br eak Br i t i sh wi l l power . He comment ed t hat Ger man st r at egy woul d r equi r e a
l andi ng on t he Br i t i sh coast onl y as t he f i nal bl ow( " Todesst oss" ) t o f i ni sh of f an
Engl andt hat t he Luf t waf f e andnavy had al r eady def eat ed. 19
On J une 30, 1940, Gor i ng si gned an oper at i onal di r ect i ve f or t he ai r war agai nst
Engl and. Af t er r edepl oyment of i t s uni t s, t he Luf t waf f e woul d f i r st at t ack t he RAF,
i t s gr ound suppor t echel ons, and i t s ai r cr af t i ndust r y. Success of t hese at t acks woul d
cr eat e t he condi t i ons necessar y f or an assaul t onBr i t i sh i mpor t s and suppl i es, whi l e
at t he same t i me
pr ot ect i ng Ger mani ndust r y . " As l ong as t he enemy ai r f or ce i s not
dest r oyed, i t i s t he basi c pr i nci pj e of t he conduct of ai r war t o
at t ack t he enemy ai r
uni t s
at ever y possi bl e f avor abl e oppor t uni t y- by day and ni ght ,
i n
t he ai r , and
on
t he gr ound- wi t hout
r egar d f or ot her mi ssi ons . " What
i s appar ent i n ear l y
Luf t waf f e st udi es
i s t he f act t hat t he Ger man
ai r f or ce r egar ded t he whol e RAFas
t he opponent
r at her t han j ust Fi ght er Command.
Thus, t he at t acks on Bomber
Command
bases and ot her RAFi nst al l at i ons par t i al l y
r ef l ect ed an ef f or t t o dest r oy
t he ent i r e Br i t i sh
ai r f or ce r at her t han bad
i nt el l i gence. Par ent het i cal l y, t he l osses
i n
Fr ance di r ect l y
i nf l uenced Gor i ng' s t hi nki ng.
He demanded t hat t he Luf t waf f e
mai nt ai n i t s
f i ght i ng st r engt h as much
as possi bl e and not al l ow i t s per sonnel
and
mat er i el t o be di mi ni shed because of
over commi t ment s. 8°
In r et r ospect , t he t ask f aci ng t he
Ger mans i n t he summer of 1940
was beyond
t hei r capabi l i t i es. Evendi sr egar di ng
t he gaps i n i nt er ser vi ce cooper at i on- a
must i n
any
combi ned oper at i ons- t he
f or ce st r uct ur e, t r ai ni ng, and
doct r i ne of t he t hr ee
ser vi ces wer e not
capabl e of sol vi ng t he pr obl emof
i nvadi ng t he Br i t i sh Isl es . The
Nor wegi an
campai gn had vi r t ual l y el i mi nat ed t he
Kr i egsmar i ne as a vi abl e naval
f or ce. Thus,
t her e wer e nei t her heavy uni t s nor l i ght cr af t avai l abl e
t o pr ot ect
45
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
amphi bi ous
f or ces cr ossi ng t he Channel . The l ack of escor t i ng f or ces
woul d have
made " Sea
Li on" par t i cul ar l y hazar dous because i t meant t hat t he Ger mans
possessed no suppor t agai nst
Br i t i sh dest r oyer at t acks comi ng up
or down t he
Channel . The Admi r al t y had st at i oned 4 dest r oyer f l ot i l l as ( appr oxi mat el y 36
dest r oyer s) i n t he i mmedi at e vi ci ni t y of t he t hr eat ened i nvasi on ar ea, and addi t i onal
f or ces of
cr ui ser s, dest r oyer s,
and
bat t l eshi ps wer e avai l abl e f r omt he Home Fl eet . "
Evenwi t h ai r
super i or i t y, i t i s doubt f ul whet her t he Luf t waf f e coul d have pr event ed
some Br i t i sh dest r oyer s f r om get t i ng i n among t he amphi bi ous f or ces; t he Navy
cer t ai nl y coul d not . The l andi ng cr af t t hat ci r cumst ances f or ced t he Ger mans t o
choose, Rhi ne Ri ver bar ges, i ndi cat es t he haphazar d nat ur e of t he under t aki ng as
wel l as t he t enuous l i nks t o suppl i es and r ei nf or cement s t hat t he Ger mans woul d
have had acr oss t he Channel . J ust a f ew Br i t i sh dest r oyer s among t he sl owmovi ng
t r anspor t
vessel s woul dhave caused havoc
.
Ai r super i or i t y i t sel f r epr esent ed a most di f f i cul t t ask, gi ven Luf t waf f e st r engt h
and ai r cr af t capabi l i t i es . Somewhat i r oni cal l y, t he st r at egi c pr obl emconf r ont i ng t he
Ger mans i n t he summer of 1940 r epr esent ed i n mi cr ocosmt hat f aci ng Al l i ed ai r
f or ces i n 1943. Because of t he Bf 109' s l i mi t ed r ange, Ger manbomber s coul d onl y
st r i ke sout her n Engl and wher e f i ght er pr ot ect i on coul d hol d t he l oss
r at e down t o
accept abl e l evel s. Thi s st at e of af f ai r s al l owed t he RAF
a subst ant i al por t i on of t he
count r y
as
a sanct uar y wher e i t coul d est abl i sh and cont r ol
an ai r r eser ve and wher e
Br i t i sh i ndust r i al power , par t i cul ar l y i n
t he Bi r mi ngham- Li ver pool ar ea, coul d
mai nt ai n pr oduct i on l ar gel y undi st ur bed. Mor eover , t he l i mi t ed r ange
of Ger man
f i ght er cover al l owed t he Br i t i sh
one opt i on t hat t hey never had t o exer ci se: Shoul d
t he pr essur e on Fi ght er Command become t oo gr eat , t hey coul d wi t hdr aw t hei r
f i ght er s nor t h of London t o r ef i t and r eor gani ze ; t hen whent he Ger mans l aunched
" Sea Li on, " t hey coul d r esume t he st r uggl e . Thus i n t he f i nal anal ysi s,
t he
Luf t waf f e
coul d onl y i mpose on Fi ght er Command a r at e of at t r i t i on
t hat i t s
commander s woul d accept . The Ger mans wer e never i n a
posi t i on t o at t ack t he RAF
over t he f ul l l engt h and br eadt h of i t s
domai n. Si mi l ar l y i n 1943, Al l i ed f i ght er s
coul d onl y gr appl e wi t h t he Ger mans
up t o a
l i ne
appr oxi mat el y al ong t he Rhi ne .
Ont he ot her si de of t he l i ne, t he Luf t waf f e
coul d i mpose an unaccept abl e l oss
r at e
on Al l i ed bomber s . Not unt i l Al l i ed f i ght er s coul d
r ange over t he ent i r e
l engt h and
br eadt h of
Nazi Ger many coul d Al l i ed
ai r f or ces wi n ai r
super i or i t y over t he
cont i nent .
The r at her l ong pr epar at or y per i od
bet ween t he end of t he Fr ench campai gn and
t he l aunchi ng
of
t he gr eat
ai r of f ensi ve agai nst t he Br i t i sh Isl es was due t o mor e t han
j ust Ger manconf i dence t hat t he war was over and t hat Br i t ai n woul d accept peace .
The l osses suf f er ed i n t he spr i ng and t he ext ensi ve commi t ment s of ai r cr af t and
ai r cr ews i n t he
May- J une bat t l es demanded consi der abl e t i me f or r est and
r ecuper at i on as wel l as t he
i nt egr at i on of f r esh cr ews i nt o bomber and f i ght er uni t s .
Mor eover , t he speed of t he
Ger man advance had caused sever al
maj or
r edepl oyment s of ai r uni t s t o keep up
wi t h gr ound oper at i ons. The at t ack on
Br i t ai n
now r equi r ed anot her
maj or r edepl oyment and
t he pr epar at i on of per manent
46
THE
EASYWAR: GERMANY
TRIUMPHANT
ai r f i el ds and f aci l i t i es f or
an ext ended campai gn. The l ogi st i cal
di f f i cul t i es i nvol ved
i n est abl i shi ng a newbase st r uct ur e
f ar f r omGer many wer e consi der abl e .
Fur t her compl i cat i ng t he Luf t waf f e' s t asks
was an i nadequat e i nt el l i gence
syst em.
Whi l e
t he gap
bet ween t he Br i t i sh and t he Ger mans was not yet wi de, t he
Br i t i sh wer e on t he way t owar ds gai ni ng a deci si ve edge i n i nt el l i gence col l ect i on. "
Al r eady t he Br i t i sh had enj oyed t hei r f i r st successes i n br eaki ng i nt o t he Ger man
" eni gma" codi ng syst em, and poor si gnal di sci pl i ne by t he Luf t waf f e t hr oughout
t he war pr ovi ded
t he Br i t i sh wi t h easy access t o Ger manai r f or ce communi cat i ons
t r af f i c . The i mpact of " Ul t r a" ( t he compr ehensi ve gener i c t er m f or i nt el l i gence
based oni nt er cept ed and decoded Ger man
messages)
ont he
Bat t l e of Br i t ai n i s not
ent i r el y cl ear . The of f i ci al hi st or i an of Br i t i sh
i nt el l i gence i n
t he
war cl ai ms t hat i t
had no di r ect i mpact on t he bat t l e, whi l e anot her
hi st or i an
ar gues
t hat " Ul t r a"
i ndi cat ed Ger mant ar get s f or t he August 15 at t acks ear l y enoughf or Ai r Mar shal Si r
Hugh Dowdi ng, Commander i n Chi ef of Fi ght er Command, t o use t he decr ypt s i n
hi s conduct of t hat day' s ai r bat t l es . " What i s cl ear i s t hat " Ul t r a, " i n combi nat i on
wi t h ` Y' Ser vi ce i nt er cept s of Ger manr adi o t r af f i c, gave t he Br i t i sh an i ncr easi ngl y
accur at e pi ct ur e of t he Ger man or der of bat t l e as ai r oper at i ons cont i nued i nt o
Sept ember . 1' Fi nal l y, t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n wi t nessed t he i nt egr at i on of Br i t i sh
sci ent i st s di r ect l y i nt o t he i nt el l i gence net wor k. The combi nat i on of sci ent i st s wi t h
si gnal s
and ot her
i nt el l i gence
gave
t he Al l i es
a det ai l ed pi ct ur e of Ger mansci ent i f i c
advances as
wel l
as t he enemy' s t act i cs and oper at i ons . Conver sel y, t he pi ct ur e of
Al l i ed
devel opment s r emai ned al most opaque t o
t he
Ger mans
. 85
The f i r st cl ear
br eak i n sci ent i f i c i nt el l i gence came whent he Br i t i sh- on t he basi s of a f ewscr aps
of i nf or mat i on dr awn f r omcr ashed ai r cr af t , t he i nt er r ogat i on of capt ur ed ai r cr ews,
and sever al " Ul t r a" messages- deduced t he nat ur e of t he Ger manbl i nd bombi ng
syst em, t he so- cal l ed " Kni ckebei n" met hod. " Thi s was t he f i r st of many t r i umphs.
The under val ui ng of i nt el l i gence and a concomi t ant under est i mat i on of enemy
capabi l i t i es mar ked Luf t waf f e oper at i ons t hr oughout t he war . " These def ect s
showed up i n appr eci at i ons
wr i t t en by t he Luf t waf f e' s
i nt el l i gence sect i on f or t he ai r
of f ensi ve on Br i t ai n. However , gi ven t he successes of May and J une
and t he
over est i mat i on of ai r power capabi l i t i es t hen cur r ent i n t he ai r f or ces of
t he wor l d, i t
i s per haps under st andabl e t hat t he Ger mans mi sj udged t hei r opponent s
. In a st udy
dat ed J ul y 16, Luf t waf f e i nt el l i gence est i mat ed t he
" Hur r i cane" and " Spi t f i r e"
wel l bel ow t hei r act ual per f or mance capabi l i t i es,
made no ment i on of Br i t ai n' s
r adar - cont r ol l ed ai r def ense syst em, and ended on t he
opt i mi st i c not e t hat " t he
Luf t waf f e, unl i ke t he RAF, wi l l be i n a
posi t i on i n ever y r espect t o
achi eve a
deci si ve ef f ect t hi s year .
" I'
The i ni t i al Luf t waf f e est i mat e
ont he dur at i on of t he comi ng
campai gn was f our
days f or t he def eat of Fi ght er
Command i n sout her n Engl and, f ol l owed
by f our
weeks dur i ng whi ch
Ger man bomber s and l ong- r ange f i ght er s woul d mop up t he
r emai nder of t he RAFand dest r oy t he Br i t i sh ai r cr af t i ndust r y. " OnJ ul y 21, G6r i ng
i nt i mat ed t o hi s commander s t hat besi de t he RAF, t he Br i t i sh ai r cr af t i ndust r y
r epr esent ed a cr i t i cal t ar get f or wi nni ng ai r super i or i t y . Above al l , t he i ni t i al
st r at egi c goal must ai mat t he
weakeni ng of t he mor al e and act ual st r engt h of Br i t i sh
47
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
f i ght er uni t s . Int er est i ngl y, Gor i ng
suggest ed t hat hi s f i ght er f or ces exer ci se
maxi mum
oper at i onal l at i t ude, and t o t hi s end commander s
shoul d not t i e t hemt oo
cl osel y t o t he bomber s
. Such a st r at egy woul d al l owt he f i ght er s t o use t hei r speed
and maneuver abi l i t y . 9° Thr ee days l at er , Fl i eger kor ps I del i neat ed f our di r ect
mi ssi ons f or t he Luf t waf f e i n t he comi ng bat t l e . The f i r st and most
i mpor t ant was
t o
wi n ai r super i or i t y by at t acks on t he RAFand
i t s i ndust r i al suppor t , par t i cul ar l y t he
engi ne i ndust r y; second, t o suppor t t he Channel cr ossi ng by at t acks agai nst
t he
enemy f l eet and bomber s, and event ual l y t hr ough di r ect ai d f or t he ar my ; t hi r d, t o
at t ack
Br i t i shpor t s, suppl i es, and i mpor t s ; and f i nal l y, i ndependent of t he f i r st t hr ee
t asks, l aunch r ut hl ess
r et al i at or y t er r or at t acks on maj or Br i t i shci t i es. 9'
The f i r st phase of t he bat t l e, J ul y t hr ough
ear l y August , i nvol ved expl or at or y
oper at i ons over t he Channel as t he Ger mans, pr epar i ng f or a maj or of f ensi ve i n
August , sought t o dr awFi ght er Command out and t o cl ose
t he
Channel
. Nei t her
si de came out a cl ear wi nner , but one can
per haps
cr i t i ci ze t he
Admi r al t y f or
cont i nui ng coast al convoys i n t he f ace of t he ai r t hr eat f r omacr oss t he Channel and
t he Ai r Mi ni st r y f or accept i ng an
addi t i onal r esponsi bi l i t y f or Fi ght er Command t o
pr ot ect a r el at i vel y uni mpor t ant movement
of shi ps . By t he
end of
J ul y, despi t e
l osses, bot h si des wer e st r onger numer i cal l y t han at t he end of J une. 9z
Even bef or e t he Ger mans l aunched t hei r aer i al
assaul t , code- named
" Eagl e
Day, " di st r essi ng t act i cal pr obl ems had appear ed
over t he Channel . The bomber s
and " St ukas" had pr oven as vul ner abl e t o Br i t i sh f i ght er at t ack as t hey had over
Dunki r k, whi l e t he Bf 110 pr oved unabl e t o def end i t sel f adequat el y agai nst
" Hur r i canes" and " Spi t f i r es . " Onl y t he Bf 109 showed i t sel f equal
t o t he
" Spi t f i r e" and super i or t o t he " Hur r i cane . " Thus, t he si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er f or ce
had t o pr ovi de pr ot ect i on t o al l bomber sor t i es and Bf 110
mi ssi ons, as wel l as
conduct i t s own campai gn agai nst Fi ght er Command.
The hel pl essness of Ger man
bomber s f aced wi t h Br i t i sh f i ght er opposi t i on was
r ef l ect ed i n Gor i ng' s ear l y
August di r ect i ve
t hat Ger man f i ght er s f l yi ng cover shoul d st i ck cl ose t o t he uni t s
t hey wer e pr ot ect i ng and not al l ow t hemsel ves t o be def l ect ed f r omt hei r pr i mar y
mi ssi onby
t he appear ance of si ngl e enemy ai r cr af t . 91
The ai r bat t l es i n mi d- August under l i ned t he weakness of t he Luf t waf f e' s f or ce
st r uct ur e
. On August 15, RAFf i ght er s based i n cent r al and nor t her n
Engl and
deci mat ed
Ger man bomber s and Bf 110' s f l yi ng unescor t ed f r om
Scandi navi a and
pr oved
once and f or al l t hat unsuppor t ed dayl i ght bomber
oper at i ons agai nst Br i t ai n
wer e near l y
i mpossi bl e. RAFopposi t i on i n t he nor t h al so
di spr oved t he Ger man
vi ewt hat
Dowdi ng woul d concent r at e hi s ent i r e st r engt h
i n t he sout h t o meet t he ai r
t hr eat f r om
acr oss t he Channel . In t hat ar ea, t he cont est f or ai r
super i or i t y l ast ed f or
a l i t t l e over a
mont h. Fl yi ng up t o t hr ee sor t i es a day, t he Bf
109 f or ce coul d not
be
ever ywher e; and as bomber and Bf .
110 l osses mount ed, t he f i ght er squadr ons
unf ai r l y came under cr i t i ci sm
f r omGor i ng and
hi s
st af f
f or
i nsuf f i ci ent l ypr ot ect i ng
t he
bomber s. 94 The f uel suppl y of t he Bf 109 l i mi t ed t he ar ena wi t hi n whi ch t he
Luf t waf f e gr appl ed wi t h Fi ght er Command, as wel l as t he t i me t hat
f i ght er
f or mat i ons coul d r emai n wi t h t he bomber s . Sur pr i si ngl y, t he Condor Legi on
had
successf ul l y exper i ment ed
i n
Spai n
wi t h dr op t anks t hat ext ended t he
Bf 109' s
48
BATTLE OF BRITAIN
v
v
i
THEEASYWAR: GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
~_i
FIGHTER
COMMAND BASES
LUFTWAFFE FIGHTERBASES
LUFTWAFFE BOMBERBASES
o - o RAF GROUP BOUNDARIES
LUFTFLOTTE BOUNDARIES
RANGE OF OF 109
___RANGE OF LOWLEVEL RADAR
RANGE OF HIGH LEVEL RADAR
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
r ange by upwar ds
of 125 mi l es; none wer e avai l abl e f or use i n 1940- a st at e of
af f ai r s qui t e
si mi l ar
t o what was t o occur i nt he US Ar my Ai r For ces
i n 1943. 95
On August 15, an easi l y di scour aged Gor i ng quest i oned t he pr omi si ng at t acks
t hat t he Luf t waf f e had made on r adar i nst al l at i ons . 96 Ther eaf t er , t he
Ger mans l ef t
t he Br i t i sh r adar net wor k al one and concent r at ed on Fi ght er Command, ai r cr af t
bases, and sect or st at i ons i n sout her n Engl and.
The
pr essur e t hat t hese at t acks
pl aced on t he ai r def ense f or ces has r ecei ved j ust i f i abl e at t ent i on f r omhi st or i ans,
and Dowdi ng' s conduct of t he ai r bat t l e, suppor t ed by t he Commander of 11 Gr oup,
Kei t hPar k, r anks among t he gr eat def ensi ve vi ct or i es of t he war .
What has not been so cl ear i s t hat t hese ai r bat t l es pl aced a compar abl e, i f not
gr eat er , st r ai n
on t he
Luf t waf f e' s r esour ces . For t he week begi nni ng wi t h " Eagl e
Day" on August 13 andendi ng onAugust 19, t he Ger mans wr ot e of f appr oxi mat el y
284 ai r cr af t , or 7 per cent of t hei r t ot al f or ce st r uct ur e, or appr oxi mat el y 10
per cent
of al l ai r cr af t depl oyed i n t he t hr ee ai r f l eet s f aci ng Br i t ai n as of J ul y 20. 9' For
August , ai r cr af t l osses
wer e 774 f r omal l causes, or 18. 5 per cent of al l combat
ai r cr af t avai l abl e at t he begi nni ng of t he mont h. 98
Sucha hi gh at t r i t i on r at e had an obvi ous i mpact oncr ewst r engt h and mor al e. As
Tabl e VII 99 i ndi cat es, pi l ot l osses f or August wer e di spr opor t i onat el y hi gh
compar ed t o ai r cr af t l osses, undoubt edl y r ef l ect i ng t he f act t hat most of t he ai r
f i ght i ng occur r ed over t he Channel or Br i t i sh t er r i t or y .
TABLEVII
Ai r cr af t and Cr ewLosses- August 1940
The at t r i t i on of exper i enced
ai r cr ews i n t he bat t l e i s i ndi cat ed by a st eady dr op i n
t he per cent age of oper at i onal r eady cr ews pr esent i n t he squadr ons over t he summer
( see Tabl e VIII' ° ° ) .
Ai r cr af t Pi l ot s
Wr i t t enOf f
Ki l l ed Capt ur ed Inj ur ed Uni nj ur ed
Mi ssi ng
Me 109
229 57 3 41
47 84
Me 110 123 48 2
6 19 48
Do 17 75
22 2 14
10 26
He 111 98 36
1 9
15 34
J u 88
104 33 4
5 17
44
J u87 - -
62 20
1 5
9 28
TABLEVIII
PERCENTAGE OF FULLYOPERATIONAL READYCREWS
J ULY- SEPTEMBER1940
BOMBERS
BF 1095
BF 110s . . . , . .
J UL 7 J UL 16 J UL 23 J UL 30 AUG 3 AUG 10 AUG 17 AUG 24 AUG 31 SEP 7 SEP 14 SEP 21
ao
90%-
84% 83% °
85%
82% 401" *
801/ 0 -
81%
81% 80%
78%~,
* #am
. , 43%
k
x""
v I 81%"" 81%". ; 6 %
70%
w. . . . . .
75% ~' '. .
73
%
70% 71%
70° /. "",. . 1. ,
76%
"comma
74%
744% 74° 4
77%
690/ 0
67% " '". . d"~n
66/ 0
nnuuynnnnuf uu
65%
66%
.
. OJ p
, ~~.
64%
" I~
60° / , - W
61%
60%
591/ 9
50%
1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 i 1 I 1
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
The f i gur es i n
Tabl es VII and VIII onl y hi nt at t he
pr obl em. Not onl y had t he
Ger mans l ost many
of t hei r most exper i enced combat
cr ews but by Sept ember
1940, t he per cent age
of oper at i onal r eady cr ews agai nst aut hor i zed ai r cr af t had
dr opped t o an unaccept abl e l evel . On Sept ember 14, Luf t waf f e Bf 109
squadr ons
possessed onl y
67 per cent oper at i onal r eady cr ews agai nst aut hor i zed
ai r cr af t . For
Bf 110 squadr ons, t he f i gur e was 46per cent ; and f or bomber s, i t was 59
per cent .
One week l at er , t he
f i gur es wer e 64 per cent , 52 per cent , and 52 per cent ,
r espect i vel y. 101
Conver sel y, ai r cr af t l osses f or
J ul y t hr ough Sept ember gi ve t he i mpr essi on t hat
t he Ger mans wer e r unni ng out of ai r cr af t
as wel l as ai r cr ews! ( See Tabl e IX. ' ° z)
Tabl e X' °
3
i ndi cat es t he cumul at i ve
ef f ect of l osses f r omMay t hr ough Sept ember .
These l osses i ndi cat e t he Luf t waf f e' s heavy commi t ment
f or t he per i od.
The i mpact
of
l osses over sout her n Engl and combi ned wi t h i ncl i nat i ons al r eady
pr esent i n Luf t waf f e doct r i ne t o
i nduce a change i n Ger man ai r st r at egy ear l y i n
Sept ember . At t acks on
Br i t ai n' s ai r def ense syst emt hr ough Sept ember 6had gi ven
no
i ndi cat i on t hat Fi ght er Command was weakeni ng . As a r esul t , Gor i ng- at
Kessel r i ng' s ur gi ng and wi t h Hi t l er ' s
suppor t - t ur ned t o a massi ve assaul t on t he
Br i t i sh capi t al . Thi s al l - out ef f or t , di r ect ed at
London' s East End and t he Thames
docks, accor ded wel l wi t h Douhet ' s t heor i es and t he Ger man' s own bel i ef t hat
r ut hl essness coul d pay ext r a di vi dends.
Hi t l er ' s
conver si on t o t he
assaul t on London r ef l ect ed a pr edi l ect i on t hat woul d
haunt t he Luf t waf f e i n t he comi ng year s : hi s
i nsat i abl e f asci nat i on wi t h a r et al i at or y
ai r st r at egy i n r epl y t o enemy bombi ngs . On Sept ember 4, t he Fuhr er decl ar ed i n
Ber l i n: " When t hey decl ar e t hey wi l l at t ack our ci t i es i n gr eat measur e, we wi l l
er adi cat e t hei r ci t i es. . . . The hour wi l l come when
one
of us wi l l br eak, and i t
wi l l
not be Nat i onal Soci al i st Ger many! " ' ° '
The r esul t s of t he gr eat Sept ember 7 r ai d
on
t he
London docks wer e i ndeed
spect acul ar . Over t he ni ght of
Sept ember 7- 8, Londonf i r emen f ought ni ne f i r es t hat
t hey r at ed over 100
pumps,
and
one f i r e ont he Sur r ey docks of over 300 pumps . 105
The at t ack of Sept ember 7 di d not ent i r el y st ep
over t he l i ne i nt o a cl ear t er r or
bombi ng ef f or t si nce t he pr i mar y
t ar get was t he Londondocks, but t her e cl ear l y
was
an assumed hope of t er r or i zi ng
t he London popul at i on. The r el i ef
t o Fi ght er
Commandpr ovi ded by t hi s
change i n Ger man st r at egy benef i t ed not
so much t he
exhaust ed f i ght er cr ews who st i l l
f aced consi der abl e f i ght i ng but
r at her t he gr ound
i nf r ast r uct ur e of t he Br i t i sh ai r
def ense syst em ( t he mai nt enance
per sonnel ,
ai r f i el ds, and sect or
st at i ons needed t o keep t he ai r cr af t f l yi ng)
.
The heavy ni ght bombi ng and
dayl i ght pr obes of t he next
week put heavy
pr essur e on bot h London' s
i nhabi t ant s and Ger man bomber
cr ews. However , not
unt i l Sept ember 15 di d t he Luf t waf f e
l aunch t he next massi ve
dayl i ght at t ack on
London. Thi s st r i ke r epr esent ed t he
cl i mact i c moment of t he bat t l e . Whi l e on
ear l i er occasi ons
t he Ger mans had l ost mor e ai r cr af t , t he st unni ng i mpact of a
Fi ght er Commandt hat was r est ed and pr epar ed by a weekof l ess cr i t i cal oper at i ons
52
TABLEIX
Ai r cr af t
Losses- J ul y- Sept ember 1940
Dest r oyed onOper at i ons
DamagedonOper at i ons
THEEASY
WAR: GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
53
Type Ai r cr af t
St r engt h
29. 6
. 40.
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on Tot al
Dest r oyed
Not on
Oper at i ons
Tot al
Dest r oyed
Tot al Dest r oyed
as Per cent of
Ini t i al St r engt h
Cl ose Recce 312 1
2 3 5 8 3%
Long- Range
Recce 257 47
14 61 9 70 27%
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
1, 107 398 79 477 41
518 47%
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 357 214 9
223 12 235 66%
Bomber s
1, 380 424 127 551 70 621 45%
Di ve Bomber s 428 59 10 69 19
88 21%
Tr anspor t 408
3 1 4 11 15 4%
Coast al 233 38 29 67
14 81 35%
TOTAL 4, 482 1, 184 271
1, 455 181 1, 636 37%
Type Ai r cr af t
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on Tot al
Not on
Oper at i ons
Tot al
Damaged
Tot al
Damagedand
Dest r oyed
Tot al Damaged
and
Dest r oyed
as Per cent of
Ini t i al St r engt h
Cl ose Recce 0 3 3 9 12
20 6%
Long- Range
Recce 6 8 14 5 19 89 35%
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 47
83
130
55 185 703 64%
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 49 11 60 5 65
300 84%
Bomber s 118 118 236
98 334 955 69%
Di ve Bomber s 22 6 28 21
49 137 32%
Tr anspor t
1 1 2 9 11
26 6%
Coast al 4 6 10 12
22 109 47%
TOTAL
247 236 483 214 697
2, 339 52%
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
5
4
TABLEX
Ai r cr af t Losses- May- Sept ember 1940
Dest r oyed onOper at i ons
br oke t he back of t he at t ack. Unl i ke t he pr evi ous week
when t he
Luf t waf f e had
devast at ed t he Thames docks, t he
bomber s nowscat t er ed over Londonand r an f or
t he coast . As a
consequence, t her e was no concent r at ed pat t er nt o t he bombi ng. 106
The f ai l ur e of t he dayl i ght of f ensi ve
i n Sept ember
l ed
t o
t he
cancel l at i on of " Sea
Li on" andt o a r et hi nki ng of Ger manai r st r at egy agai nst Br i t ai n
as par t of an over al l
r eassessment . The Ger mans nowt ur ned t o a ni ght bombi ng
of f ensi ve. The st r at egi c
pr obl emt hat f aced t he Luf t waf f e was how
exact l y i t coul d conduct t hi s campai gn.
As wi t h t he ai r super i or i t y
bat t l e of August and ear l y Sept ember , t hi s pr obl em
was,
i n many ways, si mi l ar
t o t hat f aci ng t hose di r ect i ng t he Al l i ed " st r at egi c" bombi ng
campai gnof 1943 and 1944.
Ger manpl anner s had t o deci de whet her t he Luf t waf f e
shoul d del i ver
t he wei ght of i t s at t ack agai nst a speci f i c segment of Br i t i sh i ndust r y
such as ai r cr af t f act or i es, or agai nst a syst em of i nt er r el at ed i ndust r i es such as
Br i t ai n' s i mpor t and di st r i but i on net wor k, or eveni n a
bl owai med at br eaki ng t he
mor al e of t he Br i t i sh popul at i on. The bombi ng
of f ensi ve agai nst London, r ef er r ed
t o as
t he Bl i t z, at t empt ed t o achi eve si mul t aneousl y
al l t hr ee st r at egi es, none of
whi ch pr oved deci si ve
. 101 As wi t ht he dayl i ght at t acks,
t he Luf t waf f e di dnot
possess
t he st r engt h or t he capabi l i t i es
t o achi eve t hese
obj ect i ves, but t hese di r ect
at t acks
on Br i t i sh
mi l i t ar y i ndust r i al
t ar get s and popul at i on
cent er s onl y spur r ed
Br i t i sh
desi r es t o r epay
t he Ger mans i n ki nd. ' 0'
Type
Ai r cr af t
St r engt h
4
. 5. 40
.
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on
Tot al
Dest r oyed
Not on
Oper at i ons
Tot al
Dest r oyed
Ai r cr af t Dest r oyed
i n May- Sep
Per i od as of
Ini t i al St r engt h
Cl ose Recce
345 68 7
75
11 86 25%
Long- Range
Recce 321 115 32 147 11 158 49%
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 1, 369 567 145 712 63 775 57%
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 367 304
25 329 16 345 94%
Bomber s 1, 758 862 180 1, 042 100 1, 142
65%
Di ve Bomber s 417 148 34 182 28 210 50%
Tr anspor t 531 191 19 210 18 228 43%
Coast al 241 58 45 103 17 120 50%
TOTAL
5, 349
2, 313 487
2, 800 264 3, 064 57%
TABLE
XI
Luf t waf f e Bomber Losses- - - Oct ober - December 1940
THEEASYWAR: GERMANYTRIUMPHANT
One aspect
of
t he
Ger manni ght bomber of f ensi ve deser ves cl oser
scr ut i ny . The
swi t ch t o ni ght bombi ng r esul t ed
f r oma r eal i st i c appr eci at i on t hat Ger manf i ght er s
wer e not suf f i ci ent l y numer ous t o pr ot ect t he
bomber s f r om devast at i ng Br i t i sh
f i ght er at t acks
.
The ni ght ef f or t l ed t o a dr ast i c f al l of f i n bomber l osses
due
t o
combat ; and t hr ough t he wi nt er of 1941, Br i t i sh ni ght
f i ght er and ant i ai r cr af t
def enses wer e gener al l y
i nef f ect i ve agai nst Ger man i nt r uder s. Whi l e combat -
r el at ed l osses wer e
l ow, t he acci dent r at e r emai ned hi gh. Luf t waf f e cr ews f l ewt hese
combat mi ssi ons at ni ght
and i n bad weat her , or t r ai ned i n l ess- t han- per f ect
condi t i ons t o achi eve t he
f l yi ng pr of i ci ency r equi r ed. Thus, t o l i st onl y combat
l osses consi der abl y
under st at es t he at t r i t i on t aki ng pl ace . Fr om Oct ober t o
December 1940, bomber l osses due
t o
noncombat
causes r an wel l over 50 per cent
of al l l osses each mont h; whi l e f or t he
whol e per i od, 63. 5 per cent of bomber l osses
r esul t ed f r omnoncombat causes . ( See
Tabl e XI . 109)
CONCLUSION
As wi t h most
war s, t hose who par t i ci pat ed
i n or who obser ved t he
Bat t l e of
Br i t ai n
and t he Bl i t z dr ew
concl usi ons compat i bl e wi t h t hei r own vi ews on f or ce
st r uct ur e and doct r i ne. Never t hel ess, i n
ever y sense, t hose di r ect i ng t he Luf t waf f e
came of f l east wel l i n
t he " l essons l ear ned" anal ysi s. Al t hough t he Ger mans
had
suf f er ed t he
har dest psychol ogi cal knocks, si nce i t had beent hei r ai r of f ensi ve t hat
had
f ai l ed, t hei r r eact i on seems best r epr esent ed by J eschonnek' s r emar k shor t l y
bef or e t he i nvasi on of Russi a: " At l ast , a pr oper war ! " " ° Bef or e goi ng on t o
exami ne t he f ul l i mpl i cat i ons of such a st at ement , one shoul d not e t hat J eschonnek
and t he
gener al st af f pai d mi ni mal at t ent i on t o
t he at t r i t i on t hat had t aken
pl ace not
55
Tot al No
.
of Bomber s
at Begi nni ng
of Mont h
Bomber s
Dest r oyed
Due t o Enemy
Act i on
Bomber s
Dest r oyed
on
Oper at i ons But
Not Due t o
Enemy Act i on
Bomber s
Dest r oyed
Not on
Oper at i ons
Tot al
Dest r oyed
Oct ober 1940 ( 28. 9. 40. ) 64 78 29 171
1, 420
November 1940 ( 2. 11 . 40. ) 14 57 13 84
1, 423
December 1940 ( 30. 11 . 40. ) 62 58
9 129
1, 393
Aver age
TOTAL 1, 412 140 193
51 384
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
onl y i n t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n but i n t he l and campai gn t hat had
pr eceded i t . Thus,
wi l l f ul l y and
conf i dent l y, t hey embar ked on a campai gn t o conquer t he l ar gest
nat i on i n t he wor l d
wi t h an ai r f or ce t hat quant i t at i vel y was vi r t ual l y t he same si ze
as i t had been t he pr evi ous year and t hat
was ar guabl y
weaker i n t er ms of cr ew
exper i ence and t r ai ni ng. Mor eover , i ndust r i al pr oduct i on of ai r cr af t had st agnat ed
f or t he t hi r d consecut i ve year .
For t he Br i t i sh, t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n
conf i r med what oper at i ons over t he
Hel i gol and Bi ght had
i ndi cat ed t he pr evi ous
December - dayl i ght bomber
oper at i ons i n t he f ace of enemy f i ght er s wer e not possi bl e
.
Sur pr i si ngl y, Ger man
ni ght oper at i ons, whi ch of t en di d not achi eve ei t her concent r at i on or accur acy i n
bombi ng, di d
not r ai se t he obvi ous quest i on of t he RAF' s bombi ng accur acy over
Ger man t er r i t or y
. Not unt i l t he summer of 1941, on t he basi s of Bomber
Command' s own
oper at i ons, di d t he Br i t i sh r ecogni ze t hat onl y one- t hi r d of t hei r
bombs wer e f al l i ng wi t hi n 5 mi l es of
t he t ar get ( a t ar get ci r cl e equal t o 78. 54 squar e
mi l es) . " ' Nor di d t he f act t hat
massi ve Ger man bombi ng of London had not
di mi ni shed but r at her st r engt hened
Br i t i sh mor al e make much i mpr essi on. Ont hi s
ver y poi nt , Ai r Mar shal Si r Char l es Por t al ,
Commander i n Chi ef of t he RAF,
r emar ked at t hat t i me t hat t he Ger mans
sur el y coul d not t ake t he same l evel of
poundi ng as had t he Br i t i sh peopl e .
112
The Amer i can assessment of t he t act i cal
l essons was equal l y dubi ous. Ar my Ai r
For ces' obser ver s at t r i but ed t he hi gh
l oss r at e of Ger man bomber s at t he hands of
Br i t i sh f i ght er s t o i nadequat e def ensi ve ar mament
and ai r f r ame si ze, t o f l yi ng
mi ssi ons at t oo l ow a l evel , and t o poor f or mat i on
di sci pl i ne under
at t ack. " ' The
Ar my Ai r For ces' pl an of empl oyment , dr awn up i n August 1941 f or Amer i ca' s
possi bl e ent r ance i nt o a Eur opeanwar , ar guedt hat " by empl oyi ng l ar ge number s of
ai r cr af t wi t h hi gh speed, good def ensi ve power , and hi gh al t i t ude, " i t s bomber s
coul d penet r at e deep i nt o t he hear t of Ger many i n dayl i ght wi t hout unbear abl e
l osses. " " The i mpedi ment t hat t he Bf
109' s
l ack
of
r ange pl aced on Ger manbomber
oper at i ons di d not r ecei ve pr oper r ecogni t i on unt i l t he di sast er over Schwei nf ur t i n
Oct ober of 1943 had agai n under scor ed t he need f or l ong- r ange f i ght er suppor t .
Accor di ng
t o Amer i can of f i ci al
hi st or i ans, such an over si ght " i s
di f f i cul t t o account
f or .
11115
In one cr i t i cal r espect ,
however , t he Br i t i sh and Amer i can ai r f or ces dr ew t he
cor r ect l essonf r omt he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n
. Bot hai r f or ces concl uded t hat t he
Ger man
f or ce st r uct ur e had been
i nadequat e t o meet t he demands of t he bat t l e. Encour aged
by an over est i mat i on of act ual Ger man ai r
st r engt h, bot h ai r f or ces set
t ar get s f or
t hei r i ndust r i al pr oduct i on
and f or ce st r uct ur e t hat demanded enor mous
i ncr eases i n
ai r st r engt h. Thus,
at t he same t i me t hat t he Ger mans cont i nued
a mi ni mum
pr ogr amof ai r
ar mament , Br i t ai n and t he Uni t ed St at es set i n mot i on
pr epar at i ons
t hat gave
t hema deci si ve quant i t at i ve edge i n t he l at er year s of t he
war . The ai r
st r uggl e
of t hose year s, as wi t h t he 1940 bat t l es, r est ed on number s of ai r cr af t ,
i ndust r i al capaci t y and pr oduct i on, and avai l abi l i t y of t r ai ned ai r cr ews . The basi s
of
Al l i ed super i or i t y, t hus, woul d r est
on t he pr oduct i on pr ogr ams dr awn up i n 1940
and 1941 by bot h si des.
5
6
Not es
1 .
IMT, TMWC, Vol .
XXXII,
Doc . #3575, p . 413.
2 . J ost Ddl f f er , Wei mar , Hi t l er anddi e Mar i ne, Rei chspol i t i k andFl ot t enbau 1920- 1939( Dussel dor f ,
1973) , p . 504.
3 . Wi l l i amL . Shi r er , The Ri se andFal l of t he Thi r d Rei ch ( NewYor k, 1960) , pp . 446- 47.
4. For a f ul l er di scussi on of t hi s cr i t i ci sm of Br i t i sh pol i cy, see my soon- t o- be- publ i shed st udy The
Change
i n t he Eur opean Bal ance of Power , 1938- 1939, Chapt er s Xand XI . Thi s i s a f undament al l y
di f f er ent
vi ew
t han t hat expr essed
by Ger har d Wei nber g i n The For ei gnPol i cy of Nazi Ger many, Vol . It
( Chi cago, 1981) . Reader s i nt er est ed
i n t he subj ect ar e i nvi t ed t o compar e t he di f f er i ng i nt er pr et at i ons .
5 . IMT, TMWC, Vol . XXVI, Doc . #798PS, p . 338.
6. Shi r er , The Ri se andFal l of t he Thi r d Rei ch, p . 467.
7. I ami ndebt ed t o Ober st l eumant Dr . Kl aus Mai er of t he
Mi l i t ar geschi cht l i ches For schungsamt f or
t hi s l i ne of ar gument .
8. BA/ MARL 7/ 42, RL 7/ 43, Luf t f l ot t enkommando 2. , Fuhr ungsabt ei l ung, Nr . 7093/ 39, 13 . 5. 39. ,
" Schl ussbespr echung des Pl anspi el es 1939. "
9. Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche Rei ch andder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 11, pp . 63- 64
.
10. Quot ed i n Davi d Ir vi ng, The War Pat h, Hi t l er ' s Ger many, 1933- 1939( NewYor k, 1978) , p . 225;
f or f ur t her di scussi on of t hi s vi si t , see Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, pp . 73- 74.
11 . Document s onGer man
For ei gnPol i cy ( DGFP) , Ser i es D, Vol . VII . Doc .
#
192, 22. 8. 39.
12. Ibi d. , Vol . VII, Doc . #307, 26. 8. 39.
13. See t he out st andi ng ar t i cl e on
t he
r eal at t i t udes
wi t hi nt he Chamber l ai n
Cabi net
by Pet er
Ludl ow,
" The Unwi ndi ng
of
Appeasement " i n Das " Ander e Deut schl and"
i m
Zwei t en Wel t kr i eg,
ed. by L.
Ket t enacker ( St ut t gar t , 1977) .
14. For t he economi c si de of such a st r at egy, see Bur t onKl ei n, Ger many' s Economi c Pr epar at i ons f or
War ( Cambr i dge, 1959) , and Al an Mi l war d, The Ger man Economy at War ( London, 1965) . On t he
mi l i t ar y si de of t he ar gument , see Lar r y Addi ngt on, The Bl i t zkr i eg Er a andt he Ger man Gener al St af f ,
1865- 1941 ( NewBr unswi ck, 1971) . For a r ecent r est at ement of t he t heor y, see F. H. Hi nsl ey, E. E.
Thomas, C. F. G. Ransom, R. C. Kni ght , Br i t i shInt el l i gence i n t he Second Wor l dWar , Vol . I ( London,
1979) , Chapt er 1 .
15 . For a f ul l er di scussi on of t hese i ssues, see Mur r ay, " The Change i n t he Eur opean Bal ance of
Power , 1938- 1939, " Chapt er I .
16. Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . II, p . 117.
17. " The Luf t waf f e i n Pol and, " a st udy pr oduced by t he Ger man Hi st or i cal Br anch ( 8t h Abt ei l ung) ,
11 . 7 . 44 . , AHB, Tr ansl at i on No . VII/ 33.
18. For a f ul l er di scussi on of t he pl anni ng and conduct of oper at i ons
i n
t he Pol i sh
campai gn, see :
Rober t M. Kennedy, The Ger manCampai gn i n Pol and1939( Washi ngt on,
1956) ; and Mai er , et al . , Das
deut sche Rei ch andder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 11,
Par t
IV.
19. For an i nt er est i ng di scussi on of t he Pol i sh campai gn
i n t he ai r , see J . S . Or wor ski , " Pol i sh Ai r
For ce Ver sus Luf t waf f e, " Ai r Pi ct or i al , Vol .
21, Nos
.
10 and 11, Oct ober and November 1959.
20. In f act , i t canbe ar gued t hat i t was onl y
i n Pol and t hat t he Ger mans i nt egr at ed ar mor ed f or mat i ons
and cl ose ai r suppor t i nt o a coher ent oper at i onal
concept
.
It was onl y i n Pol and t hat a si gni f i cant body
wi t hi n t he Ger man ar my' s hi ghcommand
became convi nced t hat an ar mor ed expl oi t at i on st r at egy
was i n
t he of f i ng.
21 .
Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche Rei ch andder
Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 11, p . 124; f or
a det ai l ed account
of t he bat t l e al ong t he Bzur a, see Rol f
El be, Di e Schl acht an der Bzur a i mSept ember
1939aus deut scher
andpol ni scher Si cht ( Fr ei bur g, 1975) .
22. " Ger manBombi ng
of War sawand Rot t er dam, " Ai r Hi st or i cal Br anch, Tr ansl at i on VII/
132 .
23. Mai er , et al . ,
Das deut sche Rei ch and der Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 11, p . 133 .
24.
For a f ul l er di scussi on of t he st at e of t he Ger manar my af t er t he Pol i sh campai gn and i t s
ef f or t s
t o
cor r ect i t s def i ci enci es, see my ar t i cl e i n Ar med For ces and
Soci et y ( Wi nt er 1981) , " The Ger man
Response t o Vi ct or y i n Pol and: ACase St udy i n Pr of essi onal i sm. "
25. IMT, TMWC, Vol . XXVI, Doc . #798 PS, pp . 342- 43.
26. Schl esi sches Inst i t ut f ur Wi r t schaf t s- and
Konj unkt ur f or schung, " Zahl en des deut schen
Aussenhandel s sei t Kr i egsbegi nn, " August 1940, pp .
2- 7, NARS T- 84/ 195/ 1560551.
27
. Ber i cht des Her mPr of essor Dr . C. Kr auch ( f i ber
di e Lage auf demAr bei t sgebi et der Chemi e i n der
Si t zung des Gener al r at es
am24. 6 . 41 . , " Tr ei bst of f - Vor r dt e, "
NARS T- 84/ 217/ 1586749.
5
7
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
28. In par t i cul ar , see Har ol d C. Deut sch, The
Conspi r acy Agai nst Hi t l er i n t he Twi l i ght War
( Mi nneapol i s, 1968) , who r egar ds Hi t l er ' s desi r e f or a west er n
of f ensi ve i n t he f al l as compl et el y
i r r at i onal .
29. Mai er , et al
. , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 11, p . 267.
30.
OKWf i l es : " Denkschr i f t and Ri cht l i ni en f i ber di e F0hr ung des Kr i eges i mWest en, " Ber l i n,
9. 10. 39. , NARS T- 77/ 775.
31. H. R. Tr evor - Roper , ed. , Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat , Hi t l er ' s War Di r ect i ves ( New Yor k, 1965) ,
Di r ect i ve
#6
f or t he Conduct of t he War , 9. 10. 39 . , p . 13.
32. For a f ul l er di scussi on of t hese " af t er act i on" r epor t s andt hei r i mpact on ar my t hi nki ng, see my
ar t i cl e " The Ger manResponse t o
Vi ct or y i n Pol and: ACase St udy i n Pr of essi onal i sm. "
33. Mai er , et al
. , Dasdeut scheRei ch andder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . 11, p . 242.
34. Ai r Hi st or i cal Br anch,
Tr ansl at i on
No .
VII/ 107, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es,
August
1938- Apr i l
1945 ( compi l ed f r om t he r ecor ds of
VI
Abt ei l ung Quar t er mast er Gener al ' s
Depar t ment of t he Ger man Ai r Mi ni st r y) . Dat es f or t he f i gur es ar e Sept ember 2, 1939, and Apr i l 6,
1940.
35. Tr evor - Roper , Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat , Di r ect i ve #6 f or t he Conduct of t he War , 9. 10. 30. , p . 13.
36. " Pr oposal f or t he Conduct of Ai r War Agai nst Br i t ai n, " made by Gener al Schmi dof t he Ger man
Ai r For ce Oper at i ons St af f ( i nt el l i gence) , 22 . 11 . 39. , AHB, Tr ansl at i on No . VII/ 30.
37. Tr evor - Roper , Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat , Di r ect i ve #9, " Inst r uct i ons f or War f ar e Agai nst t he Economy
of t he Enemy, " 29. 11 . 39 . , p . 18.
38. See, i n par t i cul ar , Guder i an' s descr i pt i on of t he maj or ar gument i n t he Mar ch conf er ence bet ween
hi msel f and Gener al s Hal der and Busch. Hei nz Guder i an, Panzer Leader ( London, 1952) , pp . 90- 92.
For f ul l er account s of ar gument s wi t hi n t he Ger man hi gh command over t he pr oper st r at egy f or t he
comi ng campai gn, see: Tel f or d Tayl or , The Mar ch
of
Conquest ( New
Yor k,
1958)
;
Al i st ai r
Home, To
Lose a Bat t l e, Fr ance 1940 ( London, 1969) ; Hans- Adol f
J acobsen, Fal l Gel b. Der
Kampf
umden
deut schen Oper at i ons pl an zur West of f ensi ve 1940 ( Wi esbaden, 1957) ; Hans- Adol f J acobsen,
Dokument e zur Vor geschi cht e
des
Wesf el dzuges 1939- 1940
( Got t i ngen, 1956) .
39. Tayl or , The Mar chof Conquest , p . 90.
40
.
Tr evor - Roper , Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat , Di r ect i ve #6 f or t he Conduct of t he War ,
9
. 10. 39. , p . 14.
These i nst r uct i ons f or t he i mmedi at e oper at i onal empl oyment of t he Luf t waf f e do not cont r adi ct t he t hesi s
t hat t he pur pose of t he campai gn was t o cr eat e t he condi t i ons f or a st r at egi c of f ensi ve ( ai r and naval )
agai nst Br i t ai n. For a f ul l er descr i pt i on of Luf t waf f e t asks, see : ObdL, Fbhr ungsst ab l a Nr . 5330/ 39,
7. 12. 39. Wei sung Nr . 5, Luf t kr i eg i mWest en. AFSHRC: K 113. 306. 2.
41. The mi sr eadi ng of t hese Ger mannaval oper at i ons by t he Admi r al t y and by Chur chi l l i n par t i cul ar
must be count ed as one of t he gr eat Br i t i sh f ai l ur es of t he Second Wor l dWar .
42. The cl ear est account of t he campai gn i n Engl i sh i s cont ai ned i n Tayl or , The Mar ch of
Conquest ;
see al so T. K. Der r y, The Campai gn i n Nor way ( London, 1952) ;
S .
W.
Roski l l , The War at Sea,
1939- 45 ( London, 1954) ; and Mai er , et al . , Das
deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . II .
43. For t he best di scussi on
on
t he i mpor t ance
of
Swedi sh i r on
or e i mpor t s t o t he Rei ch, see : Rol f
Kar l bom, " Sweden' s Ir on Or e Expor t s t o Ger many 1933- 1944, "
Scandi navi an Economi c Hi st or y
Revi ew, No . 1 ( 1965) .
44. Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chander Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . II, p .
224.
45. Ibi d. , 221- 24. It shoul d be st r essed t hat t he navy
r i sked t hese shi ps par t i al l y t o gai n
an
advant ageous posi t i onf or t he post - war budget debat es.
46. Raeder cl ai ms i n hi s memoi r
t hat he onl y r ai sed t he i ssue of a possi bl e i nvasi on t o
pr e- empt t he
t opi c . Hi s st r at egy t her eaf t er i ndi cat es
t hat f r om t he st ar t , he never consi der ed an i nvasi on a ser i ous
possi bi l i t y . See Er i chRaeder , St r uggl e
f or t he Sea ( London, 1952) , p . 331 .
47. For a numer i cal
compar i son of t he f or ces empl oyed i n t hi s campai gn,
see i n par t i cul ar R. H. S .
St ol f i ,
" Equi pment f or Vi ct or y i n Fr ance i n 1940, " Hi st or y ( Febr uar y 1970) . Ther e i s, of cour se,
anot her aspect and t hat i s t he qual i t at i ve di f f er ence . See al so my ar t i cl e i n Ar med For ces and Soci et y,
" The Ger manResponse t o Vi ct or y i n Pol and: ACase St udy i n Pr of essi onal i sm. "
48. For t he di sposi t i on of RAFf or ces i n Fr ance at t he st ar t of
t he 1940 campai gn, see Maj or L. F.
El l i s,
The War i n Fr ance andFl ander s, 1939- 1940 ( London,
1953) , map bet weenpages 34and 35.
49. See, i n par t i cul ar , Pat r i ce Buf f ot ot and J acques
Ogi er , " L' ar mee de f ai r f r ancai se dans l a
campagne de Fr ance
( 10 mai - 25j ui n 1940) , " Revue hi st or i que des
Ar mi es, Vol . II, No . 3, pp . 88- 117.
50. For an i nt er est i ng
di scussi on of t he r el at i ve exper i ence l evel of
pi l ot s i n t he Fr enchand Ger man ai r
f or ces, see : J . Cur r y, " Hawk75
i n Fr ench Ser vi ce, " Amer i canAvi at i on
Hi st or i cal Soci et y J our nal , Vol .
11, No . 1 ( Spr i ng 1966) , pp . 13- 30.
5
8
THEEASYWAR: GERMANY
TRIUMPHANT
51. " Der Ei nsat z
der deut schen Luf t waf f e wahr end der er st en 11 Tage des
Fr ankr ei chf el dzuges, "
Auszf ge aus den t agl i chen
Lagemel dungen des Ober bef ehl shaber s der Luf t waf f e, Abt . Ic . , AFSHRC: K
113. 306- 3, v . 2 .
52. Sevent y Ger man par at r ooper s ended up on t op of Eben- Emael and wer e suf f i ci ent t o f or ce
t he
sur r ender of t he f or t wi t h i t s 1, 200 def ender s . " Der Handst r ei ch auf di e Wer k- Gr uppe Eben- Emael am
10.
Mai
1940, " NARS
T- 971/ 35/ 1019.
53. KTB
VIII
Fl . Kor ps,
BA/ MARL8/ 45.
54. For Guder i an' s account , see Panzer
Leader , pp .
79- 82. See al so
" Der
Ber i cht der Luf t waf f e f i ber
di e Dur chf 0hr ung, " Auszug aus den t agl i chen Luf t l agemel dungen des
Ober bef ehl shaber s der
Luf t waf f e- Lageber i cht Nr . 251, 14. 5 . 40, AFSHRC: K 113 . 306- 3,
v .
2; and KTBVIII
Fl .
Kor ps,
BA/ MARL 8/ 45.
55. For t he col l apse of t he Fr ench i nf ant r y under " St uka" at t ack, see Home, To Lose a Bat t l e,
Fr ance, 1940, pp . 290- 92.
56. Tayl or , Mar chof Conquest , p . 203.
57. See t he di ar y ent r y f or Gener al von Wal dau' s di ar y : Auszugwei se Wi eder gabe aus dem
per s6nl i chen Tagebuch des Gener al s von Wal dau vom Maa 1939- 10. 4. 42 Chef des
Luf t waf f enf f i hr ungst abes . AFSHRC: K 113. 306- 3, v . 2.
58. " Das J agdgeschwader 27 des
VIII . Fl i eger - Kor ps i mFr ankr ei chf el dzug, 1940, " Gener al maj or a.
D. Max Ibel , 25. 6. 53 . , BA/ MA,
RL 10/ 591 .
59. Gener al ober st Hai der , Kr i egst agebuch, Vol . I, ed. by Hans- Adol f J acobsen
( St ut t gar t , 1964) ,
di ar y ent r y f or 16. 5 . 40.
60. See t he car ef ul l y wor kedout ar gument i n Tayl or , The Mar chof Conquest , pp . 255- 03.
61. Test i mony by f or mer Chi ef of Int el l i gence Schmi d
on
18
. 6. 54. ,
AFSHRC:
K 113. 306- 3, v . 3.
62. Adol f Gal l and, The Fi r st andt he Last ( NewYor k, 1954) , p .
6.
63. El l i s, The War i n Fr ance andFl ander s, p . 246. The Ger man l osses, i t shoul d be not ed, wer e f or
t he ent i r e west er nt heat er of oper at i ons, but most of t he Luf t waf f e' s ef f or t was concent r at ed i n t hi s t i me
per i od over Dunki r k.
64. " Ei nsat z des II . Fl i eger kor ps bei Danki r chen am27. 5 . 40. : Schwer er Tag des II . Fl i eger kor ps, "
AFSHRC: K113. 306- 3, v . 3.
65. Guder i an, Panzer Leader , p . 75.
66. Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . II, p . 294.
67. These t wo t abl es ar e dr awn f r omt wo maj or compi l at i ons of t he Ai r Hi st or i cal Br anch
. They ar e
AHB, Tr ansl at i on VII/ 107, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es,
August
1938- Apr i l
1945" ;
and Tr ansl at i on VII/ 83,
" Ger man Ai r cr af t
Losses, Sept ember 1939- December
1940. " These t abl es, i n
t ur n, wer e compi l ed f r omt he Ger manQuar t er mast er r ecor ds t heni n t he hands of t he AHB.
68.
BA/ MARL 2
III/ 1025,
gen. Qu . 6
. Abt
. ( III A) , " Fr ont - Fl ugzeug- Ver l ust e, " 1940.
69. Ibi d.
70. Ibi d
.
71 .
For Hi t l er ' s mood af t er t he def eat of Fr ance, see Tel f or d Tayl or , The Br eaki ng Wave ( NewYor k,
1967) , pp . 53- 54
.
72.
IMT, TMWC, Vol . XXVIII, J odl di ar y ent r y f or 20. 5. 40.
73. The Ear l of
Bi r kenhead, Hal i f ax ( Bost on, 1966) , p . 458; and Ll ewel l yn Woodwar d, Br i t i sh
For ei gnPol i cy i n t he Second Wor l dWar
( London, 1962) , p . 53.
74. For t he Br i t i sh f i l es ont hi s i nci dent ,
see PROFO371/ 24859and FO800/ 322.
75. PROADM205/ 4 undat ed
and unsi gned memor andum.
76. For
a
f ul l
di scussi on of t he Br i t i sh at t ack on t he Fr ench f l eet at
Mer s- el - Kebi r , see t he t hought f ul
st udy by
Ar t hur Mar der i n Fr omt he Dar danel l es t o Or an ( London,
1974) , Chapt er V.
77. Chef WFA,
30. 6. 40
. ,
" Di e Wei t er f i i hr ung des Kr i eges gegen
Engl and, " IMT, TMWC, Vol .
XXVIII, pp .
301- 03.
78. Mai er , et al
. ,
Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, Vol . II, pp .
378- 79.
79. Chef WFA,
30. 6. 40. , " Di e Wei t er f i i hr ung des Kr i eges
gegen Engl and, " IMT, TMWC, Vol .
XXVIII, pp .
301- 03.
80. BA/ MARL 211/ 27, " Al l gemei ne Wei sung
f ur den Kampf der Luf t waf f e gegen Engl and, "
ObdL,
Fi i hr ungsst ab Ia Nr . 5835/ 40, 30. 6. 40.
81. Roski l l , The War at Sea, Vol . I, pp . 248- 49.
82. For t he i nt el l i gence advant age t hat t he Br i t i sh
enj oyed, see : R. V. J ones, The Wi zar d War
( New
Yor k, 1978) ; Hi nsl ey, et al . , Br i t i sh Int el l i gence
i n t he Second Wor l d War , Vol . I; Ronal d Lewi n,
Ul t r a
Goes t o War ( NewYor k, 1978) ; and Br i anJ ohnson, The
Secr et War ( London, 1978) .
59
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
83. Hi nsl ey, et al . , Br i t i sh Int el l i gence
i n t he Second Wor l d War , Vol . I, pp . 176- 77
; and Har ol d
Deut sch,
" Ul t r a and t he Ai r War i n Eur ope and Af r i ca, " Ai r
Power and War f ar e, pp . 165- 66. For t he
Ger manvi ewon
Ul t r a' s i mpact , see Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche
Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg, p . 384.
84. For t he cont r i but i on of " Y" Ser vi ce, see Ai l eenCl ayt on, The Enemy
i s Li st eni ng ( London, 1980) .
85
.
See,
i n par t i cul ar , J ones, Wi zar d War and Sol l y Zucker man, Fr omApes t o War l or ds ( London,
1978) .
86. In par t i cul ar , see PROAIR20/ 1623 Ai r Sci ent i f i c Int el l i gence Repor t No. 6, " The Cr ooked
Leg, " 28. 6 . 40. , f or R. V. J ones' i ni t i al r epor t and est i mat i on of t he " Kni ckebei n" syst em.
87. See par t i cul ar l y, Boog, " Hi gher Command and Leader shi p i n t he Ger man Luf t waf f e,
1935- 1945, " Ai r Power andWar f ar e, p . 145.
88. Mason, Bat t l e Over Br i t ai n, Appendi x K, OKL, 16, 7. 40. , Oper at i ons St af f Ic .
89. Basi l Col l i er , The Def ense of t he Uni t edKi ngdom( London, 1957) , p . 160.
90. BA/ MARL 2 II/ 30,
" Bespr echung Rei chsmar schal l am21 . 7. 40 . "
91 . BA/ MARL 8/ 1 Gener al kommando
I . Fl i eger kor ps Abt . I a Nr . 10260/ 40, 24. 7 . 40. , " Gedanken
uber di e Fuhr ung des Luf t kr i eges gegenEngl and . "
92. Basi l Col l i er , The Bat t l e of
Br i t ai n
( New
Yor k, 1962) , pp . 62- 75.
93. BA/ MARL 2II/ 30, H. Qu. ,
2 August 1940, Akt enver mer k.
94. See Gal l and, The Fi r st andt he Last , pp .
24- 29
.
95. Ibi d . , p . 24.
96. BA/ MARL 2IU30, Bespr echung am15. 8. 40.
97. The f i gur es of Luf t waf f e ai r cr af t wr i t t en of f ( 60 per cent or gr eat er damage) comes f r omt he l oss
t abl es i n Mason, Bat t l e Over Br i t ai n, pp . 241- 43, 247, 263- G4, 272- 73, 274, 281- 84, 286- 87; t he 7
per cent f i gur e r epr esent s t ot al Luf t waf f e ai r cr af t t ypes i nvol ved i n t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n as of August 10
based on AHB, Tr ansl at i on No. VII/ 107, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es, August
1938- Apr i l 1945"
;
whi l e t he 10 per cent f i gur e r epr esent s ai r cr af t depl oyed
i n
t he t hr ee ai r f l eet s as
of
J ul y 20, Mason, Bat t l e Over
Br i t ai n, p . 128.
98. Fi gur es based
on:
AHB,
Tr ansl at i on
No .
VII/ 107, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es,
August 1938- Apr i l
1945" ;
and AHB,
Tr ansl at i on VII/ 83, " Ger man Ai r cr af t
Losses,
Sept ember
1939- December 1940. "
99.
Thi s t abl e i s dr awn f r om t he Luf t waf f e l oss r epor t s i n Mason, Bat t l e Over Br i t ai n.
Wi t h t he
except i on
of t he
Bf 109 f i gur es i n
whi ch,
wi t honl y a pi l ot ai r cr ew, l osses di r ect l y r ef l ect pi l ot l osses, t hi s
t abl e est i mat es pi l ot
l osses
as pi l ot s ar e not di r ect l y
i dent i f i ed among cr ewl osses. The Mason t abl es onl y
concer n ai r f l eet s i nvol ved i n t he bat t l e so t hat l osses i n t he Rei ch or i n OTUs ( Oper at i onal Tr ai ni ng
Uni t s)
ar e
not count ed
.
The
f i gur es f or pi l ot s
ki l l ed,
capt ur ed,
i nj ur ed, uni nj ur ed, or mi ssi ng ar e not
di r ect l y
equi val ent t o ai r cr af t wr i t t en
of f
si nce, i n some cases, pi l ot s wer e ki l l ed or i nj ur ed i n acci dent s i n
whi ch
t he ai r cr af t was not wr i t t en of f . In ot her l osses, ai r cr af t wer e dest r oyed wi t h no ai r cr ew l osses
i nvol ved ( i . e . , enemy bombi ng, gr ound acci dent ) . However , si nce onl y t hose pi l ot s who wer e uni nj ur ed
r et ur ned t o dut y,
t he ext ent of pi l ot l osses i s obvi ous. Fi nal l y, t he hi gh number of mi ssi ng avi at or s
i ndi cat es t hat many pi l ot s wer e capt ur ed by t he Br i t i sh.
100
.
Based
on f i gur es i n t he quar t er mast er r et ur ns i n BA/ MARL 2III/ 708 and 709.
101 . Based
on f i gur es dr awn f r omBA/ MARL 2 III/ 709 f or 14. 9 . 40. and 21. 9. 40 .
102. AHB,
Tr ansl at i on VII/ 83, " Ger manAi r cr af t Losses, Sept ember 1939- December
1940. "
103
.
Ibi d.
104 . Quot ed
i n Mai er , et al . , Das deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e
Wel t kr i eg, Vol .
II, p .
386.
105. Mason,
Bat t l e Over Br i t ai n, p . 363.
106. Ibi d. , pp . 387- 91 .
107
.
For an excel l ent di scussi on
of var i ous ar gument s over
t ar get sel ect i on and st r at egy
i n t he post -
Sept ember
15per i od, see : Mai er , et
al . , Das deut sche Rei chand
der Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg,
pp
.
388- 96.
108.
Ai r Mar shal ` Ber t '
Hams r ecal l s t aki ng Si r Char l es
Por t al up t o t he r oof
of t he Ai r Mi ni st r y t o
wat ch t he spect acul ar
r esul t s of one of t he December
r ai ds on London. Har r i s
i nt er vi ew, RAFSt af f
Col l ege, Br acknel l , Engl and.
109. Tabl e dr awn f r om
AHB, Tr ansl at i on No .
VII/ 83, " Ger man Ai r cr af t
Losses, Sept ember
1939- December 1940" ; and
AHB, Tr ansl at i on No . VII/ 107,
" Luf t waf f e St r engt h and
Ser vi ceabi l i t y
Tabl es,
August 1938- Apr i l 1945. "
110 .
Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l
of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 123
.
111 . Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . IV,
Annexes and Appendi ces, p . 205.
60
THEEASY
WAR: GERMANY
TRIUMPHANT
112. Denni s Ri char ds, Por t al ( London, 1979) , p . 146. The si mi l ar i t y bet ween Por t al ' s comment and
Knauss' ar gument at i on i s i ndeed st r i ki ng. See Chapt er I of t hi s book, p . 10.
113. HaywoodS. Hansel l , J r . , TheAi r
Pl ant hat Def eat ed Hi t l er ( At l ant a, 1972) , pp . 53- 54.
114. Cr avenand Cat e, The Ar myAi r For ces
i n Wor l dWar 11, Vol . I, p . 149.
115. Ibi d. , p . 604.
Gener al Wal t her Wever , Fi r st Chi ef
of St af f
( Phot o Cr edi t : AFSHRC)
6
2
Rei chsmar schal l Her mannGor i ng and Cener al ober st Hans J eschonnek
( Phot o Cr edi t : AFSHRC)
Er nst
Udet and
Wi l l i Messer schmi t t
( Phot o Cr edi t :
AFSHRC)
Mai nst ay of t he f i ght er f or ce : t he Bf 109G
( Phot o Cr edi t : Of f i ci al USAFPhot o)
The f l awed f i ght er : t he Bf 110
( Phot o Cr edi t : Of f i ci al
USAFPhot o)
The " f ast " bomber : t he J u 88
( Phot o Cr edi t : Of f i ci al USAFPhot o)
6
5
The i nt er i mbomber : t he He 111
( Phot o Cr edi t : Of f i ci al USAFPhot o)
The cancel l ed " st r at egi c" bomber : t he Do 19
( Phot o Cr edi t : AFSHRC)
The f l awed " st r at egi c" bomber
:
t he
He 177
( Phot o Cr edi t : Of f i ci al USAFPhot o)
6
6
Russi an Ai r For ce Base at Kovno af t er Ger man at t ack, 22 J une 1941
( Phot o Cr edi t : AFSHRC)
Fi el d Mar shal Al ber t Kessel r i ng
( Phot o Cr edi t : AFSHRC)
67















THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
THESTRATEGIC
PROBLEM
CHAPTER
III
The Tur nt o Russi a
If ear l y summer 1940 br ought Hi t l er an uni magi ned, easy t r i umph over Fr ance, i t
al so br ought unant i ci pat ed st r at egi c pr obl ems
.
Hi t l er
had
expect ed
t he Br i t i sh
t o
r ecogni ze t hei r hopel ess si t uat i on and sue f or peace. He seems, however , t o have
gi ven al most no t hought
t o what opt i ons
Ger many possessed shoul d
Br i t ai n
r ej ect
hi s of f er ' . The unr eal i st i c opt i mi smt hat char act er i zed t he ai r of f ensi ve agai nst t he
Br i t i sh Isl es mar ked t he Ger man appr oach t owar ds t hei r st r at egi c pr obl ems
t hr oughout t he 1940- 41 per i od. As It al i an For ei gn Mi ni st er Gal eazzo Ci ano not ed
af t er a vi si t t o Muni ch i n J une 1940, Hi t l er r esembl ed a successf ul gambl er who
" has made a bi g scoop and woul d l i ke t o get up f r om t he t abl e, r i ski ng not hi ng
mor e.
" 2
Ci ano' s descr i pt i on was most apt , f or Hi t l er di d, i ndeed, wi sh t o escape a
war agai nst Br i t ai n. He cal cul at ed, qui t e cor r ect l y, t hat t hose who st ood most t o
gai n f r om a Br i t i sh def eat wer e t he J apanese and t he Amer i cans and not t he
Ger mans . ' Thus, t he r oad t hat pol i cymaki ng wi t hi n Ger many t r avel l ed up t o t he
begi nni ng of " Bar bar ossa" l ed ( 1) f r oma di r ect ai r of f ensi ve on Br i t ai n t o
per suade
t he Br i t i sh of t hei r hopel ess posi t i on and t o al l ow an unhi nder ed
move agai nst
Russi a; ( 2) t o a sear ch f or an i ndi r ect st r at egy t o def eat t he Br i t i sh; ( 3) t o i ncr easi ng
i nt er est i n at t acki ng t he Sovi et Uni on t o r emove a maj or but t r ess i n Chur chi l l ' s
st r at egi c pol i cy ; and, f i nal l y, ( 4) t o t he deci si on t o i nvade Russi a as t he basi s f or
r eal i zi ng Hi t l er ' s l ong- t er mi deol ogi cal goal s. 4
What t he Ger mans mi sr ead, however , was t he r eal si gni f i cance of t he vi ct or y
over Fr ance i n 1940. Thei r success di d not meant hat Ger many had wont he war ,
as
J odl ' s memor andumof J une 30, 1940, suggest ed. s Rat her , i t meant
t hat Ger many
had acqui r ed
t he economi c and r aw mat er i al r esour ces t o f i ght a l ong war .
The
nat ur e and
di r ect i on t hat a pr ot r act ed war mi ght t ake woul d depend
ont he st r at egi c
choi ces t hat t he Ger mans
wer e nowt o make ; never t hel ess, no
mat t er what st r at egy
Hi t l er and hi s
advi ser s chose, t he Rei ch was i n f or
an ext ended and di f f i cul t
st r uggl e . The
r ef usal of Ger many' s pol i t i cal and
mi l i t ar y l eader s t o r ecogni ze
t hat
f act dest r oyed
what ever smal l chance Ger many had
t o r eal i ze her i nor di nat e
goal s
andcont r i but ed
di r ect l y t o t he cat ast r ophe of
1945. Above al l , t hi s f ai l ur e
i n gr and
st r at egy
r ef l ect ed t he unwi l l i ngness of t he
Ger man mi l i t ar y t o
compr ehend t he
nat ur e of
war f ar e bet ween t he gr eat
power s i n t he moder n age . Thi s
l ed t o t he
unr eal i st i c bel i ef t hat vi ct or y
over Fr ance r epr esent ed a r et ur n t o
t he er a of t he shor t
war .
Wi t hBr i t ai n' s
r ej ect i on of peace, Hi t l er sensed t he
st r at egi c basi s f or Chur chi l l ' s
deci si on. As he suggest ed
t o Hal der , t he Br i t i sh hoped
t hat bot h t he Sovi et Uni on
and t he Uni t ed St at es
woul d i nt er vene i n
t he war agai nst Ger many' b
In t hi s Hi t l er
69
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
was cor r ect , f or
Chur chi l l had i ndeed based hi s har d l i ne ont he bel i ef t hat Russi a
and Amer i ca coul d not , i n t hei r
own sel f - i nt er est , al l ow Ger many t o domi nat e
Eur ope. 7 Wi t h t hat st r ange mi xt ur e of i nt ui t i on and i gnor ance t hat char act er i zed
Hi t l er ' s makeup, t he Fuhr er ur ged on hi s mi l i t ar y advi ser s t he possi bi l i t y of a
qui ck,
l at e summer campai gn agai nst t he Sovi et Uni on t o r emove t hat pr op f r om
Br i t i sh pol i cy . Hi s mi l i t ar y advi ser s event ual l y wer e abl e t o per suade hi mt hat such
a campai gn, l at e i n t he year , made no sense. 8
Yet , Hi t l er ' s i nt er est i n a possi bl e
st r i ke agai nst Russi a i n t he summer of 1940
does not i ndi cat e t hat he had
f i r ml y set Ger many' s cour se f or
t he f ol l owi ng
summer . 9 Rat her as i t became cl ear by
mi d- Sept ember t hat t he RAFwoul d hol d i t s
own and t hat " Sea Li on" was no l onger a vi abl e opt i on, Hi t l er
t ur ned t o t he
per i pher al st r at egy whi ch J odl had ur ged i n J une . In t he
ear l y f al l
of
1940, Hi t l er
appr oached Spai n and Vi chy Fr ance about hel pi ng Fasci st It al y at t ack Br i t i sh
i nt er est s i n t he Medi t er r anean, Nor t h Af r i ca, and t he Mi ddl e
East . Such an
appr oach
mi ght have wor ked i n t he ear l y summer of 1940 when t he Wehr macht ' s
r eput at i on was at i t s hi ghest .
But havi ng suf f er ed def eat i n t he ski es over Br i t ai n, i t
was not so easy t o f or ge an al l i ance
among power s whose i nt er est s and appet i t es
wer e mut ual l y excl usi ve. Hi t l er
f ul l y r ecogni zed t he di pl omat i c di f f i cul t i es when
he comment ed bef or e meet i ng wi t h Fr anco
andPdt ai n t hat t he needof t he hour was
a gi gant i c f r aud. 10
Conver sat i ons wi t h t he Fr ench and
par t i cul ar l y
t he Spani sh l ed nowher e, and
upon r et ur n t o Ber l i n Hi t l er r emar ked t hat he woul d sooner have " t hr ee or f our "
t eet h pul l ed t han f ace anot her conver sat i on wi t h Fr anco. Hi t l er had mi ssed t he
bus. " In t he ear l y summer i nt he f ul l f l ush of vi ct or y, he mi ght wel l have per suaded
Spai n t o par t i ci pat e . Af t er Mer s- el - Kebi r , had he gr ant ed subst ant i al
concessi ons t o
Fr ance i n t er ms of t he event ual peace t r eat y, he mi ght al so have enl i st ed Vi chy
suppor t . However , wi t h t he Wehr macht ' s over whel mi ng
success,
he
f el t no needt o
cut Spai n i n on t he l oot or t o mi t i gat e t he oner ous
t er ms he wi shed t o i mpose on
Fr ance . Nowi n t he f al l
of
1940,
i t
was
t oo l at e ; t he Spani sh and t he Fr ench
r ecogni zed t hat t he war was not over . The f or mer made i mpossi bl y
hi gh demands
concer ni ng t he pr i ce f or Spai n' s ent r ance
i nt o t he war ; t he l at t er deci ded t o wai t on
f ur t her event s despi t e bi t t er ness agai nst t he Br i t i sh f or
Mer s- el - Kebi r .
Ther e r emai ned
onl y t he Russi ans as a means of pr essur i ng t he Br i t i sh.
Si nce
Hi t l er had hoped
t o end t he war i n t he west so t hat he coul d sol ve t he east er n
quest i on, one can wonder how
ser i ousl y t he Fuhr er ever consi der ed t he
possi bi l i t y
of a cl oser al l i ance wi t h
Russi a. Never t hel ess, i n
November 1940, t he Sovi et
For ei gn Mi ni st er ,
Vyachesl av Mol ot ov, ar r i ved i n
Ber l i n t o expl or e f ur t her
cooper at i on bet ween t he di ct at or shi ps . The Russi ans over pl ayed t hei r hand.
St al i n
seems t o have bel i eved hi s di pl omat i c posi t i on was st r onger t han, i n f act , i t was .
Thus, Mol ot ov was at hi s most t r ucul ent , br ushi ng asi de Ger man suggest i ons t hat
t he Sovi et s i nt er est
t hemsel ves i n t he Per si an Gul f , Ir an, and Indi a. Whi l e such
goal s wer e not ent i r el y out of t he r ange of Sovi et
expect at i ons, Mol ot ov emphasi zed
mor e
concr et e and i mmedi at e ai ms i n Eur ope .
Among ot her i t ems, he suggest ed
t hat Fi nl and, t he Bal kans,
and t he Dar danel l es al l l ay
wi t hi n t he Sovi et spher e of
70
THETURNTO
RUSSIA
i nt er est . What undoubt edl y made t he Ger mans choke was
Mol ot ov' s pr oposal t hat a
t wo- nat i on commi ssi on
cont r ol t he Skager r ak, ent r ance and exi t t o t he Bal t i c- t he
pr oposed nat i ons bei ng t he Sovi et Uni on and
Denmar k. Addi ng f ur t her t o t he
Ger mandi scomf or t
wer e Mol ot ov' s t act l ess cont r adi ct i ons of t he Fuhr er and hi s
j ust l y f amous r ej oi nder t o
J oachi mvonRi bbent r op' s ( t he Ger manFor ei gnMi ni st er )
comment t hat Br i t ai n was
f i ni shed
;
why t hen, he asked, wer e t hey i n an ai r r ai d
shel t er ? '
2
Mol ot ov' s behavi or , t ypi cal of Sovi et
di pl omat i c pr act i ces t hat have
subsequent l y wor ked so wel l i n deal i ngs wi t h t he West , made a di sast r ous
i mpr essi on on
hi s host s and undoubt edl y cont r i but ed t o t he Ger man deci si on t o
set t l e mat t er s wi t h t he
Sovi et s t hat comi ng summer . Ther e had been, mor eover , a
gener al det er i or at i on
i n r el at i ons bet ween t he t wo power s si nce t he summer of
1940. ' 3 St al i n had t aken advant age of
Ger man pr eoccupat i on i n t he west t o
i ncor por at e Li t huani a, Lat vi a, and Est oni a i nt o t he Sovi et Uni on. Mor e
t hr eat eni ng
t o Ger man i nt er est s was t he Russi an move agai nst Rumani a
i nJ ul y 1940, whent he
Sovi et s f or ced t hei r nei ghbor t o sur r ender
not onl y t he pr ovi nce of Bessar abi a
( cover ed by t he Nazi - Sovi et NonAggr essi on
Pact ) but t he pr ovi nce of Bukovi na as
wel l ( not cover edby t he agr eement ) .
Hi t l er ' s r epl y t o what he r egar ded as a t hr eat t o Ger mani nt er est s i n t he Bal kans,
par t i cul ar l y Rumani an oi l , was di r ect and f or cef ul . Compl i cat i ng t he di pl omat i c
si t uat i on was t he f act t hat Hungar y and Rumani a wer e on t he br i nkof war over t he
pr ovi nce of Tr ansyl vani a. 14 To t he Ger mans, such a di sr upt i on of Bal kan r el at i ons
was
unaccept abl e
.
Under pr essur e f r ombot h Ri bbent r op and Ci ano, t he Rumani ans
sur r ender ed subst ant i al t er r i t or y t o
Hungar y.
' 5
Wi t h t hat di f f i cul t y cl ear ed up, t he
Ger mans t ur ned t o bol st er a Rumani anr egi me
badl y shaken by
a
ser i ous di pl omat i c
def eat
. The Ger mans moved wi t h t hei r usual speed. In ear l y Sept ember ,
t hey
suppor t ed t he
est abl i shment
of
a
pr o- Ger man mi l i t ar y
r egi me
under Gener al Ion
Ant onescu . At t he end of t he mont h, t hey sent a mi l i t ar y " mi ssi on" consi st i ng of a
mot or i zed i nf ant r y di vi si on, suppor t ed by f l ak and ai r uni t s, t o pr ot ect t he oi l r egi on
and t o demonst r at e Ger man suppor t f or t he newr egi me. One of t he " mi ssi on' s"
maj or t asks was: " In case a war wi t h Sovi et Russi a i s f or ced uponus, t o pr epar e f or
t he
commi t ment of Ger man and Rumani an f or ces f r om t he
di r ect i on of
Rumani a.
" ' 6
These
Ger manmoves, al l wi t hout consul t at i on, el i ci t ed
a vi gor ous r esponse f r om
t he
Russi ans. They pr ot est ed st r ongl y agai nst t he Vi enna
Accor ds t hat had set t l ed
t he di f f i cul t y
bet ween Rumani a and Hungar y, and
t he movement of Ger man
mot or i zed t r oops i nt o Rumani a coul d not have cont r i but ed
t o a Sovi et sense of
wel l - bei ng . " Equal l y di st ur bi ng, i n vi ew of
Sovi et i nt er est s i n t he Bal t i c, was a
Fi nni sh- Ger man agr eement t hat al l owed t he Ger mans t o t r anspor t subst ant i al
f or ces t hr ough Fi nl and t o
nor t her n Nor way. Of t he 4, 800 t r oops i nvol ved i n t he
move, 1, 800 r emai ned i n Fi nl and
f or a consi der abl e per i od. Under t hese
ci r cumst ances, t he
Russi ans had ever y r i ght t o be suspi ci ous . ' 8
Gi ven t hese
f r i ct i ons, t he r apaci ous
nat ur e of
t he
t wo di ct at or s' appet i t es, as wel l as
Hi t l er ' s
bel i ef t hat onl y i n t he east
coul d Ger many achi eve t he l i vi ng space she needed,
t he
71
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
conf l i ct bet ween
Russi a and Ger many
was i ndeed
i nevi t abl e. Had Mol ot ov been
mor e t act f ul and t r act abl e,
i t i s st i l l unl i kel y
t hat t he Russi ans coul d have
del ayed
t he comi ng conf r ont at i on f or
l ong .
Never t hel ess, Mol ot ov' s vi si t di d
pr eci pi t at e a qui ck deci si onby Hi t l er . Wi t hi n
a
l i t t l e
over a mont h, Hi t l er i ssued Di r ect i ve No
. 21, " Oper at i on Bar bar ossa, " t o t he
ar med f or ces. It st at ed: " The Ger manWehr macht
must be pr epar ed t o cr ush Sovi et
Russi a i n a qui ck campai gn even bef or e
t he concl usi on of t he war agai nst
Engl and.
" ' 9
The di r ect i ve i t sel f r ef l ect ed a cul mi nat i on of t he
pl anni ng pr ocess t hat
had begun
dur i ng t he pr ecedi ng summer .

Bef or e exami ni ng
t he
out l i nes
of
Ger man mi l i t ar y
and st r at egi c pl anni ng, one need onl y not e t hat Hi t l er had set t he
f i nal di r ect i on t o Ger man
gr and st r at egy . Fr omt hi s poi nt f or war d, t he Ger mans
began ser i ous pr epar at i ons
t o dest r oy t he Sovi et Uni on i n a swi f t , f ast - movi ng
campai gn i n whi ch t he Wehr macht
woul d dr i ve i nt o t he hear t of t he Eur asi an
cont i nent .
DISTRACTIONS
Unf or t unat el y f or
t he Ger mans, di f f i cul t i es nowar ose i n t he sout h. InJ une 1940,
bel i evi ng t hat t he war was over and t he t i me pr opi t i ous t o l oot t he Br i t i sh and
Fr ench empi r es, t he It al i ans j oi ned t he war . Most It al i ans, par t i cul ar l y t hose i n
t he
upper cl asses- t he mi l i t ar y and Royal i st ci r cl es, as wel l as t he Fasci st s- wi l dl y
appl auded Mussol i ni ' s war decl ar at i on, a decl ar at i on t hat Fr ankl i n Roosevel t
so
apt l y descr i bed: " On t hi s t ent h day of J une 1940, t he hand t hat hel d t he
dagger has
st uck i t i nt o t he back of i t s nei ghbor .
" 2'
The It al i an ar med f or ces,
however , wer e
woef ul l y unpr epar ed f or any mi l i t ar y commi t ment s. The ar my
possessed obsol et e
equi pment , a f aul t y doct r i ne, and a t hor oughl y
i nadequat e t abl e of or gani zat i on.
The navy was acqui r i ng an up- t o- dat e bat t l e f l eet but had no
desi r e t o use i t s shi ps i n
combat . The It al i an ai r f or ce, supposedl y hei r s
of Douhet , coul d not pr ovi de an
accur at e count of t he ai r cr af t
at
i t s
di sposal . 22 These def i ci enci es, whi ch became
so
gl ar i ngl y obvi ous i n comi ng
mont hs, had not hi ng t o do wi t h t he br aver y
of t he
It al i an peopl e; r at her ,
t hey hadt o do wi t h mi l i t ar y or gani zat i ons
t hat di d not exi st t o
f i ght . As Gener al Ubal do Soddu
descr i bed hi s mi l i t ar y car eer : " . . .
when you
have a f i ne pl at e of past a guar ant eed
f or l i f e, and a l i t t l e musi c,
you don' t need
anyt hi ng mor e.
1123
The Ger mans soon pai d
f or t hei r bel i ef t hat
Mussol i ni had r ef or med
t he
capabi l i t i es of t he It al i an
mi l i t ar y. The Rei ch
assi gned t he It al i ans t he
t ask of
pi nni ng down
Br i t i sh f or ces i n t he Medi t er r anean
. Hence, t he It al i an
char act er i zat i on
of t hei r Medi t er r anean ef f or t as a
" par al l el war . " That was anapt
descr i pt i on f or , i n f act ,
t her e was l i t t l e mi l i t ar y cooper at i on bet ween t he Axi s
power s unt i l t he f ol l owi ng wi nt er when t he Ger mans had t o t ake over because of
It al i an mi l i t ar y i nept i t ude.
Di sast er came
soon enough
. Despi t e an expl i ci t Ger man war ni ng i n l at e
Sept ember not t o st i r
up t r oubl e i n t he Bal kans, t he It al i ans bl i t hel y went
t hei r own
way.
24
In Oct ober 1940, i n an ef f or t t o
par al l el t he Ger man move i nt o Rumani a,
72
THETURNTORUSSIA
t hey at t acked Gr eece .
Wi t hl i t t l e pr epar at i on, no st r at egi c pl anni ng, and at t he onset
of bad weat her , Mussol i ni l aunched
hi s f or ces i nt o t he hi ghl ands of nor t her n
Gr eece. The r esul t was a mi l i t ar y
def eat wi t h ser i ous st r at egi c i mpl i cat i ons . It al i an
i ncompet ence had upset t he Bal kans and had pr ovi ded an ent r ee i nt o t he r egi on f or
t he Br i t i sh.
Wor se news soon f ol l owed.
In November , " Swor df i sh" t or pedo bomber s, f l yi ng
of f t he car r i er Il l ust r i ous, at t acked
t he It al i an f l eet i n t he har bor of Tar ant o . By t he
t i me t wo st r i ke f or ces of 12 and 9 ai r cr af t had
compl et ed t hei r mi ssi on, t hey had
sunk 2 new and 2 ol der It al i an bat t l eshi ps and had al t er ed
per manent l y t he
Medi t er r anean
naval bal ance i n t he Royal Navy' s f avor
. 21
The col l apse of It al i an gr ound f or ces i n Nor t h Af r i ca
i n December 1940
compl et ed
t he cat al ogue of di sast er s. Begi nni ng on December 9, Br i t i sh
mechani zed uni t s wi t hi n t he space of t wo mont hs dest r oyed an It al i an ar my t hat had
i nvaded Egypt
and
moved f or war d i nt o Li bya t o capt ur e Bar di a, Tobr uk, and
Benghazi , and by
t he begi nni ng of Febr uar y t he Br i t i sh t hr eat ened t o dr i ve t he
It al i ans ent i r el y
f r omNor t h Af r i ca. Wi t h t he f al l of Tobr uk on J anuar y 12, 1941,
t he Br i t i sh had capt ur ed wel l
over 100, 000 It al i an t r oops and dest r oyed near l y t he
ent i r e It al i an ar my i n Nor t h Af r i ca. 26 The It al i ans,
wi t h t hei r " par al l el war , " had
wr ecked t he Axi s'
st r at egi c posi t i on not onl y i n t he
Bal kans but al so i n
t he
Medi t er r anean.
The Ger mans nowhad no choi ce but t o r est or e st abi l i t y t o t he sout her n f l ank
bef or e " Bar bar ossa . " As ear l y as August 1940, t hey had consi der ed sendi ng a
panzer cor ps t o Li bya t o ai d i n t he dr i ve t o Suez, but t he It al i ans had r ebuf f ed t he
of f er
. 21
The
dest r uct i on
of much
of t he It al i an bat t l e f l eet at Tar ant o and t he mi l i t ar y
di sast er i n Gr eece f or ced
Hi t l er t o st r onger act i on. OnNovember 20, af t er
poi nt ed
r ecr i mi nat i ons at
t he
l ack of di pl omat i c di sci pl i ne and mi l i t ar y i ncompet ency
of
It al y, t he Fuhr er pr oposed t hat Ger many send st r ong ai r uni t s t o Si ci l y t o
make
l ong- r ange at t acks ont he Br i t i sh f l eet i n t he east er n Medi t er r anean
. 28
The It al i ans,
i n no posi t i on t o r ef use any of f er of hel p, speedi l y acqui esced. By t he begi nni ng of
J anuar y 1941, Fl i eger kor ps X, most l y dr awnf r omuni t s oper at i ng
i n Nor way, had
ar r i ved at bases i n Si ci l y . By mi d- J anuar y, near l y 200 Ger man bomber s and l ong-
r ange f i ght er s wer e oper at i ng agai nst t he Royal Navy and
i t s l i nes of
communi cat i ons i n t he cent r al and east er n basi ns
of
t he
Medi t er r anean. The i mpact
of t he Luf t waf f e on naval and ai r oper at i ons
i n
t he
Medi t er r anean t heat er was
i mmedi at e anddi r ect .
29
The di sast er s t hat over t ook It al i an
gr ound f or ces i n Li bya f or ced Hi t l er t o
i ncr ease t he l evel of ai d. By t he end of
December , t he mi l i t ar y si t uat i on l ooked so
bl eak t hat t he
Ger manEmbassy i n Rome suggest ed t hat onl y a j oi nt
Medi t er r anean
command, domi nat ed
by Ger man of f i cer s, coul d save t he si t uat i on
. 10
For
pol i t i cal
r easons,
Hi t l er r ej ect ed t he pr oposal t o t ake over di r ect l y t he
It al i an war ef f or t .
Never t hel ess, he coul d not escape t he need t o bol st er It al y
i n Nor t h Af r i ca wi t h
si gni f i cant
gr ound f or ces. OnJ anuar y 11, he or der ed t he ar my
t o pr epar e a bl ocki ng
f or ce f or ser vi ce i n Li bya
. At t he same t i me,
he al l owedFl i eger kor ps Xt o move t o
Nor t h Af r i ca t o suppor t Axi s gr ound f or ces. " By
mi d- Febr uar y, Hi t l er had added a
73
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
panzer di vi si on t o an
i ni t i al commi t ment of one l i ght di vi si on. Commander of
t he
newGer man f or ces i n Af r i ca was a r ecent l y pr omot ed l i eut enant
gener al , Er wi n
Rommel .
The emphasi s on t he Nor t h Af r i can campai gn by many
Angl o- Amer i can
hi st or i ans shoul d not obscur e t he f act t hat t he Medi t er r anean
r emai ned a st r at egi c
backwat er f or Hi t l er - an ar ea i n whi ch t he Ger mans consi st ent l y mi ni mi zed t he
f or ces commi t t ed. 3z
Rommel ' s t ask was t o pr event an It al i an col l apse and t o pi n
downas many Commonweal t h
f or ces as possi bl e ; he was not abl y successf ul i n t hi s
endeavor . Mor eover ,
cr i t i ci smof hi s capabi l i t i es as a st r at egi st mi ssed t he poi nt t hat
Rommel never r ecei ved t he r esour ces
necessar y f or a wi de r angi ng st r at egi c
campai gn. Al t hough Rommel ' s
sur ge i nt o Egypt i nt he spr i ng of 1942 was not , as i t
t ur ns out , capabl e of over t ur ni ng Br i t ai n' s Mi ddl e East er nposi t i on, i t
di dmanage t o
unbal ance t he Br i t i sh so t hor oughl y t hat not unt i l t he f ol l owi ng Oct ober wer e t hey
abl e t o ut i l i ze t hei r over whel mi ng super i or i t y i n t he t heat er . For t he Luf t waf f e, t he
Medi t er r aneanr epr esent ed a per i pher al t heat er f r omJ anuar y 1941 t hr ough t he f al l
of 1942. The Luf t waf f e' s mi ssi oni n t he Medi t er r anean l ar gel y i nvol ved at t acks on
t he i sl and
of Mal t a, suppor t f or t he Af r i ca Cor ps, at t acks on t he Br i t i sh
f l eet , an
i ncr easi ng commi t ment t o pr ot ect t he t enuous suppl y l i nes bet ween Af r i ca and
Eur ope, and suppor t f or t he i nef f ect i ve It al i ans. As Ger man l i ai son of f i cer s not ed
ear l y i n t he war , t he It al i ans had nei t her t he per sonnel nor t he pr oduct i on r at e t o
suppor t a sust ai ned ai r war .
13
Because t he Ger mans wer e usi ng
a
def ensi ve
st r at egy i n t he Medi t er r anean, t hey
had
t o
r est or e or der t o
t he Bal kans bef or e " Bar bar ossa" coul d begi n. Br i t i sh ai d t o
Gr eece, i n t he f or mof RAFsquadr ons, al ar med Hi t l er who par t i cul ar l y f ear ed ai r
at t acks on t he oi l f i el ds and r ef i ner i es of Rumani a' 3' Fur t her Wehr macht
depl oyment s i nt o Rumani a i n t he l at e f al l i ni t i at ed pr epar at i ons bot h f or
" Bar bar ossa" and t he el i mi nat i on of Gr eece as an
opponent . However , bot h
geogr aphi c and di pl omat i c di f f i cul t i es hi nder ed t he
bui l dup ; bad weat her i n
December 1940 and J anuar y 1941,
combi ned wi t h Rumani a' s pr i mi t i ve
t r anspor t at i on syst em, caused ser i ous
del ays
.
Mor eover , Bul gar i a, wor r i ed about
Tur key, hesi t at ed t o al l owGer mant r oops access t o i t s
t er r i t or y . Not unt i l t he endof
Febr uar y di d
t he Ger mans assuage Bul gar i an
f ear s, and onl y on Mar ch 1 di d
t hei r
t r oops
cr oss t he Danube t o begi n
depl oyment agai nst Gr eece . "
As t he Ger manar my
pr epar ed t o i nvade Gr eece, Hi t l er
pr essur ed Yugosl avi a
t o
j oi n t he
Axi s andt o pr ovi de addi t i onal r out es f or t he
of f ensi ve . Her e t he t r ucul ence
t hat has mar ked muchof Ser bi anhi st or y st ymi edHi t l er ' s obj ect i ves . Shor t l y af t er
t he
Regent acceded t o Ger man
demands, Ser bi an of f i cer s over t hr ewhi s r egi me.
Unf or t unat el y, t he pl ot t er s pr oved
sur pr i si ngl y hesi t ant t o accept Br i t i sh suppor t ;
t hey f ai l ed t o
r ecogni ze t hat t hei r act i ons had so
ant agoni zed Hi t l er t hat war was
i nevi t abl e . " Fur i ous,
Hi t l er was not t he sor t t o hesi t at e
. Af r ai d t hat t he Yugosl avs
r epr esent ed a t hr eat t o
t he sout her n f l ank of Ger man
ar mi es i nvadi ng Russi an,
not t o
ment i on
t he at t ack onGr eece,
Hi t l er det er mi ned t o r emove
Yugosl avi a f r omt he l i st
of
i ndependent Bal kan
nat i ons.
7
4
THETURN
TORUSSIA
The spr i ng 1941 campai gn
her al ded t he r et ur n of maj or ai r oper at i ons
f or t he
Luf t waf f e af t er t he per i od of
r el at i ve- cal m l ast i ng f r om December 1940 t hr ough
Mar ch 1941 . However , t he onset of t hi s
newcampai gn di f f er ed f r omt hat of t he
year bef or e . Thi s t i me, t he
Luf t waf f e woul d f ace i ncr easi ng commi t ment s wi t h no
r ecuper at i ve per i ods unt i l i t s f i nal def eat i n 1945. Hi t l er ' s anger at what he r egar ded
as a Yugosl av bet r ayal i nsur ed
t hat t he Luf t waf f e r ecei ved a mi ssi on wel l
beyond a r ol e of st r i ct mi l i t ar y ut i l i t y . On Mar ch 27 i n War Di r ect i ve #25, he
emphasi zed
t hat " Yugosl avi a, even i f i t makes i ni t i al pr of essi ons of l oyal t y, must
be r egar ded as
an enemy and beat en downas qui ckl y as possi bl e. " The Luf t waf f e' s
f i r st obj ect i ve woul d be:
" As
soon
as suf f i ci ent f or ces ar e avai l abl e and t he weat her
al l ows, t he gr ound
i nst al l at i ons
of
t he Yugosl av ai r f or ce and t he ci t y of Bel gr ade
wi l l
be dest r oyed f r omt he
ai r by cont i nual day and ni ght at t acks [ my emphasi s] .
" 3'
Ger man mi l i t ar y pl anni ng
exhi bi t ed i t s usual adapt abi l i t y t o changi ng
ci r cumst ances . As Hal der admi t t ed l at er , t he OKHhad al r eady pr epar ed t he
t heor et i cal gr oundwor k f or an at t ack on Yugosl avi a;
al l
t hat r emai ned was t o sol ve
t he pr act i cal di f f i cul t i es of movi ng t r oops and suppl i es f or t he expanded
campai gn. " In l i t t l e mor e t han a week af t er t he coup, t he Ger mans had
al t er ed
Twel f t h Ar my' s di sposi t i ons i n Bul gar i a t o i ncl ude Yugosl avi a i n i t s mi ssi on and
had est abl i shed t he Second Ar my i n sout her n Aust r i a and Hungar y al ong t he
Yugosl av f r ont i er . Ar mor ed f or ces f r omt he t wo ar mi es, one advanci ng f r omt he
nor t h and t he ot her f r omt he sout h, woul d st r i ke
deep
i nt o Yugosl avi a
at
Bel gr ade
.
Meanwhi l e, Twel f t h Ar my woul d bypass Gr eek def enses by swi ngi ng t hr ough
Yugosl avi a t o t ake t he Gr eeks i n t he f l anks and r ear . ' 9 Al ong wi t h t hese new
depl oyment s went an ext ensi ve r edepl oyment of t he Luf t waf f e . Near l y 600 ai r cr af t
movedf r omvar i ous bases wi t hi n t he Rei ch t o suppor t t he ext ensi on of t he campai gn
t o
Yugosl avi a
;
some uni t s
wer e
depl oyed f r om bases
as
f ar away
as sout her n
Fr ance. Luf t waf f e st r engt h f or t he comi ng of f ensi ve nowexceeded 1, 000 ai r cr af t . ° °
The r easons behi nd such a dr ast i c i ncr ease i n ai r cr af t st r engt h become r eadi l y
appar ent i n r evi ewi ng t he or der s di r ect i ng t he ai r at t acks on Yugosl avi a. The
campai gn' s
st r at egi c pl an speci f i cal l y excl uded bombi ng ei t her i ndust r i al pl ant s or
t he t r anspor t at i on net wor k, si nce t he
Ger mans hoped t o ut i l i ze t he Yugosl av
economy as soon
as
possi bl e
f or t hei r own needs . However , t he maj or t ask,
concur r ent wi t h achi evi ng ai r super i or i t y, was " t he
dest r uct i on of
Bel gr ade t hr ough
a gr eat ai r
at t ack
. "
That at t ack woul d begi n i n t he mor ni ng wi t h
a di r ect bombi ng of
t he ci t y' s cent er
wi t h 75 per cent hi gh expl osi ves and 25 per cent
i ncendi ar i es; af t er a
qui ck t ur nar ound,
t he bomber s woul d r et ur n t hat same
af t er noon wi t h 40 per cent
hi gh expl osi ves and 60
per cent i ncendi ar i es . The change i n bomb
l oad r ef l ect ed a
desi r e t o cause as
many f i r es as possi bl e " t o ease t he pr obl em
of mar ki ng t he ci t y
f or t he
ni ght at t ack. " Ni ght bomber s woul d
dr op 50 per cent hi gh expl osi ves and 50
per cent
i ncendi ar i es . Fur t her bombi ngs of Bel gr ade woul d
occur onD+1 . The code
wor d f or t he
oper at i on was " Puni shment ,
" 4'
an accur at e
descr i pt i on of Hi t l er ' s
f eel i ngs
.
By
t he t i me t he Ger mans had compl et ed
t hei r at t acks on a ci t y t hat t he
Yugosl avs
had decl ar ed open, 17, 000 peopl e had
di ed. 4z Hi t l er had exact ed hi s
measur e of r evenge .
75
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
The campai gn was a
st unni ng r epet i t i on of t he success t he pr evi ous spr i ng .
Wi t hi n l ess t han a week, Ger man mechani zed
f or ces
had capt ur ed t he r ui ns of
Bel gr ade. Ger manspear heads suppor t ed by t he Luf t waf f e sl i ced t hr ough t he l and. 43
By Apr i l 17, or gani zed r esi st ance had ended wi t h t he
sur r ender of t he r emnant s of
t he Yugosl av ar my . ^4 The dr i ve t o t he sout h agai nst t he Gr eeks and Br i t i sh di d not
l ast much l onger . The sweep t hr ough Yugosl avi a not onl y out f l anked Al l i ed f or ces
f aci ng Bul gar i a but al so cut of f t he Gr eek' s Fi r st Ar my f i ght i ng t he It al i ans i n
Al bani a
.
By Apr i l 22, Ger manar mor ed and ai r uni t s had br oken t hr ough t he pass at
Ther mopyl ae, and t he r emai nder of t he campai gn was a r ace t o see whet her t he
Royal Navy coul d evacuat e Br i t i sh t r oops bef or e Ger manar mor coul d cut of f t hei r
escape. 45
Ther e was one cl i mact i c
cl ash t o t he campai gn. On May 20, Ger man
ai r bor ne f or ces dr opped
on
Cr et e
. However ,
t hey met an unexpect edl y war m
r ecept i on. In f act , on t he basi s of t he f i r st day' s oper at i on, i t l ooked as i f t he
Ger mans mi ght f ai l ent i r el y . Not onl y di d t he par at r ooper s not capt ur e a l andi ng
st r i p but t he sur vi vor s wer e i sol at ed and under gr eat pr essur e . Onl y f aul t y l eader shi p
and coor di nat i on ar ound t he Mal ene ai r f i el d al l owed t he Ger mans t o sei ze t hat
ai r base and t o f l y i n r ei nf or cement s . Ai r super i or i t y gave t he par at r ooper s cr i t i cal
suppor t and pr event ed t he Royal Navy f r om br i ngi ng
t o
bear
i t s
f ul l
wei ght
. 46
Despi t e t he successf ul out come, t he Ger mans i ndeed had r ecei ved a bl oody
nose i n
Cr et e . Al t oget her , t hei r l osses
t ot al l ed near l y
4, 000
men or one- quar t er of t he
at t acki ng f or ce . Out of t he 500 t r anspor t ai r cr af t , t he Luf t waf f e had t o wr i t e of f 146
as t ot al l osses, whi l e
a
f ur t her 150
wer e damaged
. 4'
Because of t he oper at i on' s hi gh
cost , Hi t l er consi der ed t he day of l ar ge par at r ooper oper at i ons as f i ni shed .
In r et r ospect , t he Bal kan campai gn was onl y a f oot not e i n t he war .
It
di d
not
si gni f i cant l y post pone t he i nvasi on of Russi a . The del ay i n t he
Russi an campai gn
r esul t ed mor e f r om suppl y and or gani zat i onal di f f i cul t i es and poor gr ound
and
weat her condi t i ons associ at ed wi t h t he l at e spr i ng t han f r omt he
at t ack on Gr eece
and
Yugosl avi a
. 4s
At t he most , Bal kan oper at i ons af f ect ed
t he f r eshness andst ayi ng
power of uni t s t r ansf er r ed f r omoper at i ons i n t he sout h t o
t he Russi an campai gn.
Ir oni cal l y, t he campai gn i n t he Bal kans succeeded
t oo wel l . The advance of
ar mor ed spear heads had been so qui ck and t he
col l apse so sudden t hat t he Ger mans
wer e not
abl e t o r ound up t housands of Gr eek
and Yugosl av sol di er s l ef t
i n t he
backwat er
ar eas of t hose count r i es .
Rapi d r edepl oyment of
Ger man uni t s t o
" Bar bar ossa" assi gnment s
al l owed t hose sol di er s t o
r oamt he count r ysi de ; t hey
soon f or med t he
basi s f or t he consi der abl e guer i l l a
movement s t hr oughout t he ar ea.
By 1942,
t hese guer r i l l as wer e t yi ng down
l ar ge number s of Ger mans and wer e
Qr event i ngt he Rei ch f r omf ul l y ut i l i zi ng t he r esour ces
of
t he
sout her nBal kans.
For t he Luf t waf f e, t he spr i ng of 1941 of f er ed t he l ast easy campai gn.
Never t hel ess, even
bef or e
" Bar bar ossa, " ai r cr af t l osses wer e r i si ng omi nousl y.
Oper at i ons i n t he Bal kans, as
wel l as an i ncr eased ef f or t agai nst Br i t i sh
ci t i es t o
di sgui se t he
r edepl oyment t o t he east ,
pushed t he l oss r at e ( al l
ai r cr af t ) f r om2. 6
per cent ( wr i t t en
of f ) i n J anuar y 1941 t o
7. 2 per cent i n Apr i l , and t o
7 . 5 per cent i n
May. 49
The l oss r at e f or
bomber s ( wr i t t en
of f ) cl i mbed i n t he same
per i od f r om4. 8
per cent i n J anuar y,
t o 5. 5 per cent
i n Febr uar y, t o
8. 6 per cent i n
Mar ch, t o 10. 6
76
THETURN
TORUSSIA
per cent i n
Apr i l , and t o 12 per cent i n May. Thus, t he st r ai n on r esour ces was
al r eady mount i ng bef or e oper at i ons i nt he east
began. Fur t her mor e, of f i ci al Ger man
r eact i on among t he r ul i ng hi er ar chy t o t he l oss r at e suggest s a gener al
i ndi f f er ence
t o t he pot ent i al i mpact t hat such l osses mi ght have i n sust ai ned combat oper at i ons i n
Russi a.
BARBAROSSA: BACKGROUND
The deci si ve campai gn of t he Second Wor l d War was t he Ger man i nvasi on of
Russi a i n 1941 . The def eat of t hat ef f or t r ef l ect ed t he f ai l ur e of Ger man l eader s t o
pr epar e t he economi c and pr oduct i ve capaci t y of t he Rei ch and west er n Eur ope f or
war
ona
cont i nent al r at her t han a west er n Eur opeanscal e. Thus, i n a cer t ai n sense,
t he pr oduct i on and i ndust r i al deci si ons made by t he Ger man l eader shi p i n t he
summer of 1940
r epr esent ed a deci si ve t ur ni ng poi nt i n Wor l d War 11 . In ef f ect ,
Ger many' s l eader shi p had seal ed her f at e
bef or e t he campai gn opened.
Hi t l er had t ur ned t o Russi a i n t he summer of
1940 as
a
possi bl e sol ut i on t o t he
Br i t i sh di l emma. Whi l e t he i dea of a f al l 1940 campai gn had t o be shel ved
t empor ar i l y, cont i ngency pl anni ng f or an i nvasi on of Russi a beganal most at once.
By t he endof J ul y 1940, ser i ous pl anni ng was under way i n t he OKH. OnAugust 5,
Gener al Er i ch Mar cks pr esent ed a st r at egi c st udy t hat sket ched i n out l i ne a
f r amewor k f or t he pr oposed campai gn. Mar cks posi t ed as t he mai nst r at egi c ai mt he
dest r uct i onof Sovi et ar med f or ces. The Wehr macht woul d advance at l east as f ar as
t he l i ne Ar changel - Gor ki - Rost ov t o pr event t he possi bi l i t y of bomber at t acks
agai nst Ger many . The mai n t hr ust woul d occur nor t h of t he Pr i pyat mar shes and
at t empt t he capt ur e of Moscow. Subsi di ar y dr i ves i n t he nor t h and sout h woul d
pr ot ect t he f l anks of t he advance ont he capi t al and pr event a Sovi et spoi l i ng at t ack
on Rumani an
oi l r esour ces . Mar cks suggest ed
t hat t he deci si ve bat t l es woul d occur
i n t he f i r st f ew weeks wi t h t he ar mor ed dr i ve pl ayi ng t he cr i t i cal r ol e; t hese
penet r at i ons woul d hopef ul l y dest r oy t he mai nbody of t he Red Ar my i n t he bor der
ar eas. The st udy est i mat ed a sl i ght numer i cal advant age i n f avor of t he Wehr macht
andcer t ai nl y a deci si ve qual i t at i ve super i or i t y . Once Ger mant r oops had pi er ced t he
Red
Ar my' s
f or war d l i nes and had begun t he expl oi t at i on phase, Mar cks bel i eved
t hat t he Sovi et commandand cont r ol syst emwoul d col l apse, al l owi ng
t he Ger mans
t o dest r oy Sovi et ar mi es pi ecemeal . The st udy suggest ed
t hat a per i od of bet ween
ni ne and sevent een weeks woul d be necessar y
t o achi eve t he campai gn' s
obj ect i ves. s o
Fur t her
st udi es i n t he f al l of 1940 f ol l owed t he
di r ect i on t hat Mar cks had
suggest ed. Whi l e cer t ai n pr obl ems emer ged
i n t he war gami ng of oper at i ons, such
as t he di st ances i nvol ved i n Russi a, most
of f i cer s concur r ed wi t h t he pr oposed
st r at egy wi t h i t s emphasi s
on gai ni ng a swi f t mi l i t ar y vi ct or y by advanci ng
on
Moscow. However , Hi t l er di d not
agr ee f ul l y, and t he Fuhr er emphasi zed t hat af t er
t he capt ur e of t he bor der ar eas,
t he advance on Moscow woul d not pr oceed
unt i l
Ger manf or ces had capt ur ed
Leni ngr ad
. s'
The emphasi s i n Hi t l er ' s st r at egy
was on
gai ni ng Sovi et
economi c r esour ces as qui ckl y as possi bl e.
Thus, r i ght f r om t he
begi nni ng,
t her e was a di cot omy i n Ger manst r at egy bet ween
Hi t l er ' s emphasi s on
77
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
capt ur i ng
economi c spoi l s and t he ar my' s
pr eoccupat i on wi t h st r i ct l y mi l i t ar y
f act or s. Thi s was t he f i r st di r ect i nt er f er ence by t he Fuhr er i n " Bar bar ossa' s"
pl anni ng
pr ocess; as i n Fr ance, he woul d i nvol ve
hi msel f deepl y i n oper at i onal
mat t er s.
Ther e ar e sever al el ement s
i nt he pl anni ng pr ocess t hat r equi r e ampl i f i cat i on. The
f i r st i s t hat , whi l e Hi t l er and t he OKHhel d somewhat
di f f er ent vi ews as t o t he
pr oper st r at egy f or t he campai gn' s l at er st ages, al l subst ant i al l y
under est i mat ed t he
Red Ar my' s numer i cal st r engt h, Sovi et i ndust r i al r esour ces, and t he i nher ent
l ogi st i cal di f f i cul t i es i nvol ved i n wagi ng a campai gnona cont i nent al scal e.
12
Ther e
wer e, of cour se,
r easons f or suchunder est i mat i ons of t he RedAr my; t he per ni ci ous
ef f ect of t he pur ges as wel l as
t he depr essi ngl y poor showi ng of Sovi et mi l i t ar y
f or ces i n Pol and and Fi nl and wer e al l t oo obvi ous. Mor eover , t he Ger mans f oundi t
di f f i cul t t o bui l d an accur at e pi ct ur e of Sovi et i ndust r i al pot ent i al . In St al i n' s pol i ce
st at e, i nt el l i gence agent s di d not l ast l ong. For secur i t y r easons, Hi t l er f or bade deep
r econnai ssance f l i ght s i nt o t he Sovi et Uni onunt i l shor t l y bef or e t he i nvasi on, and
t he Luf t waf f e di d not possess r econnai ssance ai r cr af t wi t h t he
r ange t o r each t he
Ur al s
. " Never t hel ess, t her e wer e gl i mpses behi nd t he cur t ai n of Sovi et secur i t y
.
Shor t l y bef or e " Bar bar ossa, " t he Russi ans al l owed
sever al Ger man engi neer s t o
see t he newai r cr af t f act or i es i n
t he Ur al s and
t he ext ensi ve pr oduct i on t hat was
al r eady under way; t hei r r epor t s went unheeded
. "
Thi s under est i mat i on
of
Russi an
capabi l i t i es l ay not onl y i n mi sr eadi ngs of Sovi et
r esour ces but i n t he nat ur e of t he war t hat Hi t l er was l aunchi ng . Thi s war was mor e
t han a
pol i t i cal
or st r at egi c st r uggl e . It was an i deol ogi cal war , a cr usade, wagedt o
encompass not si mpl y t he def eat of an enemy nat i on but t he ut t er dest r uct i on and
subj ugat i onof a whol e peopl e . The pur poses f or t hi s campai gni n Hi t l er ' s eyes wer e
t o ( 1) capt ur e t he Lebensr aum( l i vi ng spaces) f or t he Ger mani c peopl es, ( 2)
dest r oy
t he J ewi sh- Bol shevi st r egi me, ( 3) r oot out anddest r oy t he J ewi sh popul at i on
( al ong
wi t h sever al ot her unf or t unat e nat i onal i t i es) , ( 4) r educe t he
Russi an peopl e t o a
ser vi l e mass, and ( 5) capt ur e t he r esour ces t o
conduct a war agai nst t he Angl o-
Saxon power s. It i s nowcl ear
t hat t he Ger man mi l i t ar y, wi t h f ew except i ons,
concur r ed wi t h t he i deol ogi cal f r amewor k
wi t hi n whi ch Hi t l er
det er mi ned
t o wage
" Bar bar ossa.
" 55
Fr omt he f i r st , t he
Fuhr er made cl ear t o hi s commander s
t hat t he
comi ng campai gn
was
a bat t l e of ext er mi nat i on. . . . Anni l hi l at i on
of Bol shevi k
commi ssar s and communi st i nt el l ect ual s .
. . .
The
st r uggl e must be
conduct ed agai nst t hi s poi son. Ther e i s no quest i on of
t he l aws of
war . . . commi ssar s and member s of t he secr et pol i ce ar e cr i mi nal s
and must be t r eat ed as suchl i . e . , shot }
.
56
Shor t l y bef or e t he begi nni ng of
" Bar bar ossa, " t he head of
t he Luf t waf f e' s ai r
mi ssi on i n Rumani a
r et ur ned f r om meet i ng Gor i ng
t o r epor t t o hi s l eadi ng
subor di nat es t hat
" t he Rei chsmar schal l
has cl ear l y
or der ed t hat among
Russi an
pr i soner s each Bol shevi k
f unct i onar y i s t o be
i mmedi at el y shot
wi t hout any j udi ci al
pr oceedi ngs
. That r i ght [ t o
shoot communi st s]
ever y of f i cer
possesses. " " If t her e
79
THETURNTO
RUSSIA
wer e some opposi t i on t o t he " commi ssar or der , " i t was not wi despr ead. As t he
head of t he ar my' s Rumani an mi ssi on suggest ed, war hadr et ur ned t o t he r el i gi ous
and i deol ogi cal basi s of t he Thi r t y Year s' War : Ger many' s opponent s
wer e t he
f i nanci er s, Fr eemasonr y, and t he f i nanci al and pol i t i cal
power of t he Wor l d
J ewr y . s8 Far t oo many of f i cer s acqui esced i n out r ages, such as t he mur der
of
hundr eds of t housands of J ews by SS commando t eams ( Ei nsat zgr uppen) ,
whi l e t he
st ar vat i on of l i t er al l y hundr eds of t housands ( i f not mi l l i ons) of pr i soner s
was
di r ect l y at t r i but abl e t o Wehr macht
aut hor i t i es . 19
The wi despr ead accept ance
of Hi t l er ' s goal s andat t i t udes t hr oughout t he of f i cer
cor ps made possi bl e t he t er r i bl e at r oci t i es t hat occur r ed. It was not mer el y a mat t er
of Hi t l er and t he SS. Ont he pol i t i cal si de of t he i nvasi on, t he scal e of cr i mi nal i t y
qui ckl y di sabused di saf f ect ed
Russi ans and Ukr ai ni ans of t he
not i on t hat t he
Ger mans mi ght be t hei r
l i ber at or s. Ger man at r oci t i es r al l i ed t he
popul at i on
t o t he def ense of a t hor oughl y unpopul ar andvi ci ous r egi me. Ont he mi l i t ar y si de, a
sense of a r aci al and cul t ur al super i or i t y, shar ed by most Ger man of f i cer s,
cont r i but ed t o an
under est i mat i onof Russi a' s power s of r esi st ance . As sophi st i cat ed
a gener al of f i cer
as
Gunt her Bl ument r i t t coul dcl ai mi n 1941 t hat " Russi an mi l i t ar y
hi st or y
showst hat
t he
Russi anas
a
combat
sol di er ,
i l l i t er at e andhal f - Asi at i c, t hi nks
andf eel s di f f er ent l y. - 60 Gi vensuch at t i t udes, i t i s not
sur pr i si ng
t hat many Ger man
sol di er s, as wel l as t hei r l eader , expect ed t hat once t hey ki cked i n t he door , t he
st r uct ur e- r ul edby J ewi sh subhumans- woul dcol l apse
. a'
One of t he mor e gl ar i ng def ect s i n mappi ng out t he pr ei nvasi on st r at egy was t he
scant at t ent i on t he Ger mans pai d t o t he l ogi st i cal di f f i cul t i es of suppor t i ng
t r oops
deep i nsi de Russi a. The gener al assumpt i on seems t o have been t hat t he f i r st gr eat
r ush of mechani zed f or ces woul d car r y t o Smol ensk and dest r oy t he Red Ar my i n
t he bor der ar eas. Ther eaf t er , dependi ng onr ai l r oads, Ger man
t r oops
woul d
expl oi t
t he i ni t i al success t o f i ni sh t he campai gn. Sur pr i si ngl y, t he uni t s schedul ed
t o r epai r
r ai l r oads l eadi ng t o Smol ensk l ay at t he bot t omof
ar my pr i or i t i es- a r ef l ect i on of
an undul y opt i mi st i c appr oach
t o
l ogi st i cs. bz
Compoundi ng t hi s casual at t i t ude
t owar ds l ogi st i cs was t he f ai l ur e
t o
appr eci at e
t he di st ances i nvol ved i n t r aver si ng
Russi a. The push t o Smol ensk and f r omt her e
t o Moscowr epr esent ed a l ogi st i cal
pr obl emon a vast l y di f f er ent scal e f r om
t he campai gni nt he west agai nst Fr ance .
For t he Luf t waf f e, t he awesome
geogr aphi c si ze of Russi a pr esent ed compar abl e
l ogi st i cal di f f i cul t i es.
What i s mor e, t he maj or commi t ment s occupyi ng
t he ai r
f or ce f r omJ une 1940 on had al l owed
al most none of t he per i ods of r est
t he ar my
hadenj oyed
t o conser ve andr ebui l d st r engt h. Gor i ng
cl ai medaf t er t he war t hat he
had opposedt he i nvasi on; but hi s r emar ks t o Gener al Geor g Thomas, head of
t he
OKW' s economi c sect i on, t hat such a war was si mpl y a " pr obl em
of
t he necessar y
suppl y or gani zat i on" suggest s t hat he was as
over conf i dent
as
t he r est
. 6'
Hi t l er ' s
Di r ect i ve #21 st r essed t hat t he
Luf t waf f e' s f i r st t ask was t o el i mi nat e t he Russi anai r
f or ce and t o pr event i t f r om i nt er f er i ng wi t h
t he advance on t he gr ound; af t er
gai ni ng ai r super i or i t y,
t he Luf t waf f e was t o suppor t t he
ar my . Int er est i ngl y, t he
di r ect i ve expl i ci t l y r ul ed
out at t acks on t he enemy' s
ar mament i ndust r y " dur i ng t he
mai n oper at i ons. Onl y af t er
t he compl et i on of t he mobi l e
oper at i ons may such
7
9
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
at t acks be consi der ed- pr i mar i l y
agai nst t he Ur al r egi on. " 6' The assumpt i on was
t hat
gr ound oper at i ons woul dpr oceed so r api dl y t hat t he
Wehr macht woul d soon
occupy Sovi et
i ndust r i al cent er s; t hus, i t made no sense t o dest r oy
what woul dsoon
be i n Ger manhands
. No one consi der ed or even t hought i t possi bl e t hat t he Sovi et s
woul dt r ansf er muchof t hei r mi l i t ar y i ndust r i al compl ex behi nd t he Ur al s .
The ext ensi on of t he war t o Russi a meant t hat t he Luf t waf f e nowf aced t he
pr ospect of war on t wo f r ont s ( t hr ee f r ont s i f one consi der s t he Medi t er r anean a
separ at e t heat er ) . 65 What shoul d
have al ar med seni or Ger man mi l i t ar y andci vi l i an
of f i ci al s was t hat , despi t e a dr ast i c
i ncr ease i n commi t ment s, t her e had been
vi r t ual l y no change i n t he number of ai r cr af t i n t he f or ce
st r uct ur e f r omt he pr evi ous
year . ( See Tabl e XII
. 66
)
80
TABLEX11
Ger manAi r cr af t St r engt h
Ar eveal i ng st at i st i c i n Tabl e
XII
i s t he f act t hat t he Luf t waf f e begant he i nvasi on of
Russi a wi t h
200
f ewer bomber s t han i t had possessed at t he st ar t of oper at i ons
agai nst t he West ; Ger manbomber pr oduct i onhad not kept pace wi t hl osses over t he
cour se of t he year .
The OKL ( Ober kommando der Luf t waf f e, Ger man ai r f or ce hi gh command)
det ai l ed t hr ee ai r f l eet s t o cooper at e di r ect l y wi t h t he t hr ee ar my gr oups i n t he
subj ugat i on of t he Sovi et Uni on. Two t housand sevenhundr edsevent y ai r cr af t , or
65 per cent
of t he f r ont l i ne st r engt h of t he Luf t waf f e, moved east
agai nst t he
Russi ans; t hr ought he spr i ng of 1943, t he bul kof t he Luf t waf f e woul d
r emai nt i ed t o
t he
east er n f r ont
. 67
Faci ng t he Ger mans was a Sovi et ai r f or ce est i mat ed
at 8, 000
ai r cr af t ,
wi t h somewher e ar ound 6, 000 depl oyed i n Eur opean
Russi a
. 68
Li ke t he
ar my,
t he Luf t waf f e bel i eved t hat af t er t he f i r st day' s oper at i ons hadbr oken t he
back
of t he Sovi et ai r f or ces, t he Russi ans woul d not r ecover . Mor eover ,
Russi a
seemi ngl y of f er ed
an
oppor t uni t y
t o r epl i cat e t he vi ct or i ous ef f or t agai nst Fr ance
wi t h none of t he f r ust r at i ons of t he aer i al
assaul t on t he Br i t i sh Isl es . Thus,
J eschonnek' s r emar k " at l ast a pr oper war " r epr esent ed
mor e
t han
j ust t he r el i ef of
an ai r
st af f t hat hadsuf f er edt he onl y Ger mandef eat
t hus f ar i nt he war . Fl i ght cr ews
al so wer e gl ad t o
t er mi nat e i ncr easi ngl y danger ous and
i nef f ect i ve ni ght mi ssi ons
over Gr eat
Br i t ai n. 69 By Febr uar y
1941, RAFcount er measur es
had so neut r al i zed
May 11, 1940 J une 21, 1941
Cl ose Recce 335 440
Long- Range Recce 322 393
Si ngl e- Engi ne Fi ght er s 1, 356 1, 440
Ni ght Fi ght er s 263
Twi n- Engi ne Fi ght er s
354 188
Bomber s
1, 711 1, 511
Di ve Bomber s
414 424
Gr oundAt t ack 50
Coast al 240 223
TOTAL 4, 782 4, 882
THETURNTORUSSIA
Ger man bl i nd bombi ng
devi ces t hat scar cel y 20 per cent
of bombs dr opped wer e
f al l i ng near t hei r t ar get s. The
r est wer e l andi ng i n t he count r ysi de . ' °
In r et r ospect , consi der i ng t he opposi ng f or ce
st r uct ur es, t he di f f i cul t i es
and
ext ent of t he t heat er andt he over conf i dence wi t hi n t he hi ghcommand, t he Ger mans
di d bet t er t han t hey shoul d have . Thei r enor mous t act i cal successes t hr ough t he f al l
of 1941 wer e
as
much t he r esul t of St al i n' s i ncompet ence as of Ger man
mi l i t ar y
br i l l i ance. In hi s sear ch f or
i nt er nal secur i t y, t he sovi et di ct at or
had
qui t e
l i t er al l y
dest r oyed hi s ar my' s of f i cer cor ps i n a pur ge t hat l ast ed f r om1937 t hr ough 1939. "
Unf or t unat el y, t he pur ge had hi t har dest at t hose i n t he hi gh command who
possessed t he most r eal i st i c sense of oper at i onal and t act i cal mat t er s, i ncl udi ng t he
st r at egi c di f f i cul t i es t hat Russi a woul d f ace i n a maj or Eur opeanwar .
' z
St al i n compounded t he pr obl ems f aci ng hi s ar mi es i n hi s r eact i on t o t he Ger man
vi ct or y over Fr ance . The Russi ans over pl ayed t hei r di pl omat i c hand i n t he f al l of
1940;
t hen
when omi nous si gnal s
accumul at ed as
Ger man
t r oops depl oyed t o t he
east , St al i n l ost cont r ol of t he si t uat i on. He di sbel i eved t he evi dence t hat poi nt ed
t o
a Ger mani nvasi on. Admi t t edl y, t he Ger mans t hr ewconsi der abl e mi si nf or mat i on at
t he Sovi et s, and t he cover pl an f or " Bar bar ossa" was a car ef ul l y wor ked out
at t empt t o t hr ow t he Russi ans of f t he scent . " The l ast mi nut e depl oyment of ai r
uni t s t o oper at i ng bases i n East Pr ussi a and al ong t he f r ont i er al so hel ped decei ve
t he Sovi et s. Not unt i l J une 19 di dFl i eger kor ps VIII move t o East Pr ussi a f r omdeep
i nsi de Ger many wher e i t had r epl eni shed suppl i es and dr awn new ai r cr af t and
cr ews . ' °
Fi nal l y ont he eveni ng of J une 21, St al i n al l owed hi s hi gh command t o
i ssue a
st r at egi c war ni ng t o t r oops ont he f r ont i er .
The war ni ng f r omMoscowcame so l at e
t hat i t r eached f ew f r ont l i ne uni t s. " Sur pr i se
was al most compl et e, and t he
di spai r i ng si gnal
of a bor der pat r ol - " We ar e bei ng f i r ed on, what shal l
we
do? " - i ndi cat es t he l evel of unpr epar edness. The r epl y f r om hi gher
headquar t er s- " You
must be i nsane, and why i s your si gnal not i n
code? " poi nt s
out t he di sadvant ages under whi ch t he Sovi et s begant he campai gn
. 76
BARBAROSSA
: THEINVASION
In t he ear l y
mor ni ng hour s of J une 22
f r om t he Bal t i c t o t he
Bl ack Sea, t he
Wehr macht
st or med acr oss t he
f r ont i er . Ger man ai r cr af t , cr ossi ng
t he f r ont i er at
hi gh
al t i t udes i n or der not t o
al er t Sovi et def enses, dr opped
t o at t ack al t i t ude and
pul ver i zed Russi an
ai r f i el ds . St i l l unal er t ed, Sovi et ai r uni t s had t hei r ai r cr af t l i ned
up i n neat
r ows f aci l i t at i ng t he Luf t waf f e' s t ask. Those f ewai r cr af t t hat managed t o
scr ambl e soon f el l t o t he guns of Ger man f i ght er s. The ext ent of t he sur pr i se i s
shown
by
Fl i eger kor ps
IV,
whi ch on t he
f i r st day r epor t ed dest r oyi ng 142 enemy
ai r cr af t on t he gr ound and onl y 16 i n t he
ai r . " By noon of t he 22nd, t he Russi ans
had l ost 528 ai r cr af t ont he gr ound and 210 i n t he ai r i n t he
west er n di st r i ct . For t he
ent i r e f r ont , Russi an l osses t ot al l ed no l ess
t han 1, 200 pl anes i n t he f i r st ei ght and
one- hal f hour s
. "
81
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
The si t uat i on on t he
gr ound f or ced t he Sovi et s t o commi t t hei r r emai ni ng ai r
r esour ces i na desper at e ef f or t t o st abi l i ze t he col l apse. 111- t r ai ned,
i l l - equi pped,
and
i l l - pr epar ed, Sovi et ai r cr ews f l ounder ed i n i mpossi bl e f or mat i ons and i n obsol et e
ai r cr af t ; ' 9 t he
sl aught er of Sovi et ai r cr af t r esembl ed t he dest r uct i on of t he J apanese
f l eet ai r ar mi n t he " Mar i ana' s t ur key shoot " of 1943. The at t acks on Sovi et
ai r bases and gr ound suppor t or gani zat i ons l ed t o a gener al col l apse of t he Russi an
ai r f or ce' s abi l i t y t o cont r ol i t s uni t s . Desper at e appeal s, r adi oed i n cl ear t ext f r om
ai r uni t s t o hi gher
headquar t er s, gave t he i mpr essi on of a t hor oughl y
chaot i c
si t uat i on. 8° Mi l ch r ecor ded i n hi s di ar y t he dest r uct i on of 1, 800 Sovi et ai r cr af t on
t he f ast
day, f ol l owed by 800onJ une 23, 557 on t he 24t h, 351 ont he 25t h, and300
on t he 26t h. " Whet her , i n f act , t he Luf t waf f e had managed t o dest r oy t hat many
ai r cr af t i s besi de t he poi nt ; a
def eat of i mmense pr opor t i on had over t aken t he Red
Ai r For ce- - a cat ast r ophe
over shadowedonl y by event s ont he gr ound.
On t he mai n bat t l ef r ont s, ai ded by Luf t waf f e cl ose ai r suppor t and
i nt er di ct i on
mi ssi ons, Ger man ar mi es sur ged f or war d agai nst a col l apsi ng opponent . Wi t hi n
f our days, Manst ei n' s panzer cor ps had advanced near l y 200 mi l es t o t he Dvi na
Ri ver ; and by t he end of t he mont h, t he ent i r e Russi an posi t i on i n t he Bal t i c r egi on
was i n shr eds. The gr eat est di sast er occur r ed, however , on t he cent r al f r ont i n an
enor mous doubl e envel opment ar ound t he ci t i es of Bi al yst ok and Mi nsk. Whent he
ar mor ed pi ncer s of Panzer Gr oups 2 and 3 met behi nd Mi nsk, t hey i ncl osed
el ement s f r omf our Sovi et ar mi es. By t he t i me t hat moppi ng- up oper at i ons
had
f i ni shed onJ ul y 9, t he Ger mans had cl ai med 287, 704 pr i soner s and
dest r uct i on of
2, 585 t anks . " Pr obabl y anot her quar t er
of
a mi l l i on
Sovi et sol di er s had di edor been
wounded
i n oper at i ons l eadi ng up t o t hi s f i nal col l apse. The Ger man dr i ve,
however , di d not r emai n st at i onar y . As t he i nf ant r y
hur r i ed f or war d t o encompass
and dest r oy
t he
pocket ,
mechani zed
f or ces
f r omPanzer Gr oups 2 and 3 swung out
agai n
t o meet on
J ul y
19 at Smol ensk t o compl et e anot her envel opment of Sovi et
f or ces. By t he t i me t hat t hey had r educed t he Smol ensk pocket , t he Ger mans had
capt ur ed a f ur t her
100, 000 pr i soner s, 2, 000 t anks, and 1, 900 guns. " Onl y i n t he
sout h di d t he Ger mans f ai l t o gai n a si gni f i cant success . Never t hel ess, event her e
Ar my Gr oup Sout h
cl osed up on Ki ev and was br eaki ng i nt o t he bi g bend
of t he
Dneper Ri ver . OnJ ul y 3, Hal der not ed
opt i mi st i cal l y:
On t he whol e, one can al r eady say t hat t he t ask of
dest r oyi ng t he
mass of t he Russi an ar my i n f r ont of t he Dvi na and
Dneper has been
f ul f i l l ed. I bel i eve t he
asser t i on of - a capt ur ed Russi an gener al t o be
cor r ect t hat we can cal cul at e on meet i ng
east of t he Dvi na and
Dneper onl y di sj oi nt ed
f or ces whi ch al one do not possess
t he
st r engt ht o hi nder
Ger man oper at i ons subst ant i al l y . It i s, t her ef or e,
t r ul y not cl ai mi ng t oo much when I asser t t hat t he campai gn
agai nst Russi a
has been won i n f our t een days. Nat ur al l y, i t i s not
yet ended. The ext ent of t he t heat er and t he t enaci t y of r esi st ance
t hat wi l l be conduct ed wi t h ever y means wi l l st i l l cl ai m many
weeks. s°
Yet , t he advance t o Smol ensk
st r et ched
suppl y
l i nes t o t he br eaki ng poi nt . As t he
Smol ensk caul dr on di ed down at t he end
of J ul y, t he Ger mans f ound i t al most
82
THETURNTORUSSIA
i mpossi bl e
t o
suppl y t hei r f or war d spear heads . The di st ance t o t he r ai l heads, t he
movement of i nf ant r y t o suppor t t he mechani zed f or ces, and t he exhaust i on of t he
mot or i zed
suppl y
syst emcr eat ed a l ogi st i cal ni ght mar e . Fur t her compl i cat i ng t he
ser i ous suppl y si t uat i on wer e Sovi et at t acks l aunched f r omwi t hi n and wi t hout t he
Smol ensk pocket t o br eak t hr ough t he Ger manenci r cl ement . The i nt ensi ve f i ght i ng
made heavy demands on ammuni t i onst ocks of di vi si ons i n t he f or war d l i nes so t hat
t he t r anspor t at i on syst em had t o br i ng up ammuni t i on, and t hus t her e was no
oppor t uni t y t o st ockpi l e f uel f or t he next advance . gs By J ul y 23, Hal der admi t t ed
t hat t he exi st i ng si t uat i on wher e f r ont l i ne uni t s wer e l i vi ng a " hand- t o- mout h"
exi st ence i n t er ms of t hei r suppl i es was maki ng i t i mpossi bl e t o bui l d up st ockpi l es
f or t he next push. 86 Thus, t he i nf amous August pause dur i ng whi ch t he Ger man
ar my r emai ned vi r t ual l y st at i onar y at Smol ensk and i n t he nor t h r esul t ed not onl y
f r omdi sagr eement s wi t hi n t he hi gh command as
t o
t he
next
obj ect i ve and t he need
t o r ef r esh exhaust ed mechani zed uni t s but al so f r oma l ogi st i cal syst emt hat coul d
bar el y suppl y f r ont l i ne f or ces, muchl ess bui l d up r eser ves. "
The demands pl aced ont he f r ont l i ne uni t s r ef l ect ed t he gr i evous under est i mat i on
t hat t he Ger mans had made of Russi an st r engt h. Of t en badl y l ed
and consi st i ng of
i l l - equi pped and i l l - t r ai ned t r oops, Russi an count er at t acks
st r ai ned t he ent i r e
Ger manst r uct ur e . Hal der admi t t edonAugust 11 t hat :
[ The] whol e si t uat i on shows
mor e and mor e cl ear l y t hat we have
under est i mat ed t he col ossus of Russi a- a Russi a t hat had
consci ousl y
pr epar ed f or t he comi ng war wi t h t he whol e
unr est r ai ned power of whi ch a t ot al i t ar i an st at e i s capabl e . Thi s
concl usi on i s shown bot h on t he or gani zat i on as wel l as t he
economi c
l evel s, i n t he t r anspor t at i on, and above al l , cl ear l y i n
i nf ant r y di vi si ons . We have al r eady i dent i f i ed 360. These
di vi si ons
ar e admi t t edl y not ar med and equi pped i n our sense, and t act i cal l y
t hey
ar e badl y l ed. But t hey ar e t her e ; and when
we dest r oy a
dozen, t he Russi ans si mpl y est abl i sh anot her dozen.
88
These Sovi et
at t acks on Ar my Gr oup Cent er f ai l ed
t o gai n any appr eci abl e
t act i cal
success and cl ear l y expended an i mmense
number of Russi an l i ves.
Yet , i n
t he l ong
r un, t hey had an i mpor t ant st r at egi c
i mpact . The wear - and- t ear
on Ger man
uni t s, at t acked
i n t he Yel ' nya and Smol ensk
bat t l es, was per haps
of gr eat er
i mpor t ance t han any t act i cal vi ct or y
Sovi et f or ces mi ght have
gai ned. The bat t l e of
at t r i t i on had begunwi t h
a t er r i bl e vengeance. Havi ng
advanced as f ar as t hey had i n
t he ent i r e
Fr ench campai gn, t he
Ger mans di scover ed t he geogr aphi cal
di f f er ence
bet ween cont i nent al di st ances and
t hose i n Cent r al Eur ope. The Russi ans possessed
st r at egi c dept h; andeveni f t hey had not f ul l y ut i l i zed i t i n t he f i r st mont hs, i t was an
i nevi t abl e st r at egi c advant age .
For t he Luf t waf f e, t hese
same f act or s wer e oper at i ve. The deeper
t hat f l yi ng uni t s
moved i nt o Russi a, t he mor e
pr ecar i ous became t hei r suppl y si t uat i on. By
mi d-
J ul y, ai r uni t s
wer e cr yi ng f or f uel and
ammuni t i on; and wi t hi n t he j umbl e
movi ng
f or war d t o suppor t
t he spear heads,
t he Luf t waf f e' s l ogi st i cal syst em
f unct i oned no
mor e
ef f i ci ent l y t han t hat
of t he ar my.
Fl i eger kor ps VIII r epor t ed as ear l y
as J ul y 5
t hat f uel
was l acki ng even
t hough t he
cor ps had al r eady l i mi t ed
i t s mi ssi ons.
83
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Laconi cal l y, Ri cht hof en not ed: " Suppl y i s
f or us t he gr eat est di f f i cul t y i n t hi s
war . " " The f unnel - shaped nat ur e of t he t heat er al so oper at ed agai nst
t he Luf t waf f e .
As t he Wehr macht moved deeper i nt o Russi a, t he f r ont wi dened. As a r esul t , t he
Luf t waf f e had t o cover gr eat er di st ances wi t h f or ces t hat weakened as l osses
mount ed. Mor eover , as t he ar my spr ead out , t he t endency became mor e
pr onounced t o use
ai r uni t s
as f i r e br i gades t o pat ch up f r ont l i ne di f f i cul t i es . Ai r
f or ce commander s wer e not necessar i l y happy wi t h such a st at e of af f ai r s but of t en
hadno choi ce ot her t han t o use t hei r ai r r esour ces t o suppor t t he ar my. 9° Thi s shoul d
not suggest t hat t he Luf t waf f e i nvol ved i t sel f sol el y i n ai di ng gr ound f or ces . In l at e
J ul y
wi t h t he
sei zur e of bases near Smol ensk, i t l aunched maj or r ai ds agai nst t he
Russi an
capi t al . 9' Ri cht hof en, Commander of
Fl i eger kor ps VIII, expect ed
gr eat
r esul t s f r om
t hese
at t acks
andnot edhopef ul l y
on
J ul y
13 t hat t he
f i r st
massed
at t ack ( er st er gr osser Angr i ) on Moscow
" coul d cause a
cat ast r ophe.
Al l
t he
exper t s
cal cul at e t hat
a
f ami ne exi st s i n t he
4mi l l i on
popul at i on of t he capi t al . " 91
When t r ansf er r ed t o t he nor t h i n August , Ri cht hof en or der ed a f i r ebomb at t ack on
Leni ngr ad; t he next day, he
not edt hat t wo smal l and one l ar ge conf l agr at i ons, 1 . 5
ki l omet er s wi de, bur ned i n t he ci t y' s cent er
wi t h
smoke
cl ouds r eachi ng gr eat
hei ght . 9' Never t hel ess, f or t he most
par t , t he demands and t empo of gr ound
oper at i ons kept t he Luf t waf f e suf f i ci ent l y occupi ed t o pr ecl ude
si gni f i cant aer i al
at t empt s at ci t y bust i ng .
The ai r l osses suf f er ed by Fl i eger kor ps VIII i n
t wel ve days ( August 10 t o 21)
whi l e suppor t i ng I Ar my Cor ps
i n i t s ef f or t t o cut t he mai n Moscow- Leni ngr ad
r ai l r oad
dr amat i zes t he i mpact of at t r i t i on on Luf t t i vaf f e st r engt h. In t hi s per i od
suppor t i ng t he advance of one ar my cor ps, Fl i eger kor ps
VIII l ost 10. 3 per cent of i t s
ai r cr af t
( dest r oyed or wr i t t en of f as t he r esul t of oper at i ons) , wi t h 54. 5 per cent
of
i t s
ai r cr af t damagedbut r epar abl e . Dur i ng t hi s act i on, t he ai r cor ps had3. 9 per cent
of
i t s
f l yi ng per sonnel ki l l ed, 5. 7 per cent wounded, and2. 9
per cent l i st ed as mi ssi ng
f or a 12. 5 per cent t ot al casual t y r at e
. 94
Ai di ng t he Luf t waf f e i n i t s suppor t of t he ar my' s
advance was t he f l exi bl e suppl y
andmai nt enance syst emal r eady
di scussedi nr el at i on t o t he Fr ench campai gn. Uni t s
moved f or war d r api dl y
behi nd advanci ng spear heads; and as t he
campai gn' s
emphasi s shi f t ed f r omone f r ont t o anot her ,
bomber andf i ght er uni t s moved
swi f t l y
t o
newbases and ar eas of oper at i on.
Such f l exi bi l i t y al l owedt he Luf t waf f e
t o gi ve
maxi mum
suppor t t o t he ar mor eddr i ves
and hel ped t he ar my push ever
deeper i nt o
Russi an
t er r i t or y . 95 Never t hel ess,
t he cont i nual
movement of uni t s acr oss t he
Russi an l andscape
was not wi t hout cost . These shi f t s
st r ai ned t he mai nt enance and
suppl y
syst emt o t he br eaki ng poi nt so t hat by l at e f al l 1941, oper at i onal
ai r cr af t
r eady r at es wer e way down, t her eby havi ng a negat i ve i mpact on t he whol e f or ce
st r uct ur e.
Af t er consi der abl e ar gument bet weenHi t l er andhi s gener al s and
af t er a modi cum
of r esuppl y had occur r ed,
f or war dmovement began agai n at t he
endof August . In
t he nor t h, Fi el d Mar shal
Ri t t er von Leeb' s f or ces,
suppor t ed by mechani zed uni t s
det ached
f r omt he cent r al f r ont , dr ove t o
t he subur bs of Leni ngr ad
andi sol at ed t hat
ci t y except f or a
t enuous l i nk acr oss Lake
Ladoga. Hi t l er f or bade
Leeb f r omt aki ng
84
t he ci t y and or der ed hi m
t o st ar ve i t i nt o submi ssi on.
By t he end of t he wi nt er , 1
mi l l i on ci vi l i ans wi t hi n
Leni ngr ad had di ed of f ami ne . 96
In t he sout h, a mor e
i mmedi at e di sast er t hr eat ened t he Russi ans
. Thanks l ar gel y t o St al i n' s mi l i t ar y
i nept i t ude, Guder i an' s Panzer Gr oup 2 br oke l oose f r omt he cent r al f r ont and
dr ove
al most st r ai ght sout h t o l i nk
up wi t h Gener al Ewal d vonKl ei st ' s Panzer Gr oup 1 . 97
Behi nd
t he encompassi ng
ar ms of t he panzer ar mi es l ay a vast pocket of Sovi et
t r oops ar ound Ki ev. By t he t i me t hat
cl eanup oper at i ons had ended, t he Ger mans
cl ai med t o have t aken 655, 000 pr i soner s. The Sovi et s asser t ed
af t er
t he
war t hat
onl y 677, 000 Russi an sol di er s had beeni n t he r egi on at
t he end
of
August and t hat
150, 000 managed t o escape bef or e r esi st ance col l apsed. 98 The f i gur es ar e
meani ngl ess
; t hey can onl y symbol i ze a human t r agedy of uni magi nabl e ext ent .
What i s cl ear i s t hat t he Ger mans had t or n t o r i bbons t he ent i r e sout her n t heat er of
oper at i ons; Ger man t r oops
coul d now move f or war d as f ast as t hei r vehi cl es,
suppl i es, and weat her
condi t i ons woul dper mi t .
BORDER
22 J UNE 1941
DIRECTION OF GERMAN
THRUSTS
J ULY
9
.
1941
SEP. 30, 1941
. . , . . ,

DEC. 5. 1941
IS

MAJ ORENCIRCLEMENT BATTLES
THE INVASION
OF RUSSIA
THETURNTORUSSIA
85
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
The cat al ogue of Russi an di sast er s
was not yet compl et e. Sat i sf i ed t hat hi s
deci si on t o di ver t st r engt h f r omAr my Gr oup Cent er t o t he ar my gr oups on t he
wi ngs had pai d di vi dends, Hi t l er r et ur ned t o t he st r at egy hi s gener al s had ur ged i n
August : a gr eat
of f ensi ve ai medat dest r oyi ng Russi an ar mi es l yi ng i nt he cent er and
at capt ur i ng Moscow. The oper at i on' s code name was " Typhoon. " Set t i ng t he
t one
f or t he comi ng weeks, Hi t l er i ssued a pr ocl amat i ondemandi ng t hat
at t acki ng t r oops
compl et e t he wor k of t he campai gn and end t went y- f i ve year s of Bol shevi smi n
Russi a- a syst em
of r ul e equal l ed onl y by capi t al i st i c pl ut ocr acy . ( " The suppor t of
t hese syst ems
i s al so t he same i n bot h cases : t he J ew and onl y t he J ew. " ) 9
Ger man
ar mor ed
st r engt h concent r at ed
agai n on
t he cent r al f r ont , and
agai n t he
Sovi et s al l owed wi shes
t o del ude t hei r vi ewof r eal i t y . The Ger man hal t i n t he
cent er af t er J ul y, t he di ver si on of
ar mor ed f or ces t o t he nor t h and sout h, as wel l as
t he l at eness of t he season per suaded t he Russi ans t hat t hey need not
wor r y about
an
of f ensi ve agai nst Moscow. However , Guder i an' s Panzer Gr oup 2 hust l ed up f r om
t he Ukr ai ne. On Sept ember 30, t wo days bef or e t he ot her ar mi es, Guder i an began
hi s dr i ve t owar ds Or el . OnOct ober 2, t he ot her
Ger manar mi es at t acked, suppor t ed
by 1, 387 ai r cr af t . ' ° ° The of f ensi ve caught t he Red Ar my unawar e ; t wo panzer
ar mi es bl ast ed t hr ough t he f or war d posi t i ons and moved swi f t l y t o expl oi t t he
br eakt hr ough. On
Oct ober 3, Ger man t anks, sur pr i si ng Russi an def enses and
passi ng t r ams t hat wer e st i l l oper at i ng,
dr ove
i nt o Or el
.
So f ast had t he Ger mans
movedt hat t he Russi ans
coul d not evenbegi n evacuat i on of t hat t own' s i ndust r i al
pl ant . By Oct ober 6,
Br yansk had f al l en, and Russi an
command and cont r ol over
t he ent i r e cent r al f r ont col l apsed. 101
The advance came so swi f t l y and t he col l apse so suddenl y t hat Moscowr ecei ved
i t s f i r st i ndi cat i ons of di sast er t hr ough Hi t l er ' s speech onOct ober 5 t hat spoke of a
" f i nal deci si ve of f ensi ve. " The Russi ans had no speci f i c knowl edge of what Hi t l er
was speaki ng except f or t he f act t hat communi cat i ons no l onger exi st ed wi t h t he
West er n Ar my Gr oup . 101 On Oct ober 5, Russi an r econnai ssance pi l ot s
r epor t ed a
Ger manar mor ed col umnsome 25 ki l omet er s l ong advanci ng
ont he
gr eat hi ghway
f r omSmol ensk t o Moscow. Despi t e ef f or t s by t he NKVD
( Sovi et Secr et Pol i ce) t o
ar r est t he pi l ot s as " pani c monger s, " t hei r r epor t s gave Moscow
i t s f i r st i ndi cat i on
of t he
ext ent of t he col l apse. 101 The Ger mans had r i pped open
Sovi et f r ont l i nes f r om
Br yansk t o Vyazma and wer e enci r cl i ng
t wo vast gr oupi ngs of Russi an
ar mi es: t he
f i r st of t hr ee
ar mi es ar ound Br yansk and t he second
of f i ve ar mi es ar ound
Vyazma . Of f i ci al l y, t he
Ger mans cl ai med 658, 000
pr i soner s i n t he doubl e
enci r cl ement s . 104 Agai n, t he
t ot al s ar e meani ngl ess. One can onl y
not e t hat f or t he
secondt i me wi t hi n
a l i t t l e over a mont h, ani mmense di sast er had over t aken t he Red
Ar my . So gr eat was t he boot y i n pr i soner s and mat er i el t hat t he Rei ch' s pr ess chi ef ,
at t he i nst i gat i on
of
Hi t l er
and
Goebbel s, announced t hat t he Sovi et Uni on was
f i ni shedandt he war vi r t ual l y over . 101
Despi t e t hese cat ast r ophes, t he si t uat i on
was by no means hopel ess . The
Ger mans had begun " Typhoon"
wi t h- a mi ni mumof suppl i es . 10, Evenmor e
t el l i ng
was t he onset of
poor weat her i n t he f al l ; t he Ger man
advance sl owed t o a cr awl i n
t he l ast hal f of Oct ober , whi l e
Luf t waf f e suppor t al most
ceased. Fl yi ng of f
pr i mi t i ve
86
THETURNTORUSSIA
di r t st r i ps l ocat ed
at t he end of l ong suppl y
l i nes, ai r uni t s f ound i t as di f f i cul t t o
pr ovi de t he ar my wi t h cl ose
ai r suppor t as t he ar my f ound i t t o advance .
Fr oma
l evel of over 1, 000 sor t i es per day bef or e t he onset
of bad weat her , t he sor t i e r at e
f el l t o 559on Oct ober 8
andt o 269on t he 9t h. 107
The t hr eat t o Moscowper suaded St al i n t o br i ng
Mar shal Geor gi Zhukov f r om
Leni ngr adt o def end t he capi t al . Wi t ha f i r mhand
i n cont r ol , t he Sovi et s r ekni t t hei r
def enses wi t h sur pr i si ng swi f t ness as t he enemy
advance
bogged
down i n aut umn
mud. Never t hel ess, t he onset of bad weat her shoul d not obscur e t he f act t hat t her e
was
not hi ng unusual about such weat her ; i f anyt hi ng, t he per i odof mudl ast ed
f or
a
shor t er per i od t han usual . 101 In r et r ospect , t he Ger mans shoul d have shut downt he
campai gn af t er t he vi ct or y of Br yansk/ Vyazma. The suppl y si t uat i onhadbecome so
di f f i cul t t hat bar el y
enough r esuppl y got t hr ough t o keep t he advance movi ng.
Consequent l y, t her e was no l eeway t o bui l d up r eser ves or t o send f or war d t he
cr i t i cal
wi nt er cl ot hi ng andequi pment
t hat t he t r oops woul ddesper at el y needwhen
wi nt er st r uck . 109 The of f ensi ve cont i nued. The Ger man hi gh command, i n t he f ace
of st eadi l y wor seni ng weat her , t ur ned r eal i t y upsi de down. It woul d push t he l ast
bat t al i on of r eser ves i nt o t he f r ont . Unl i ke t he Mar ne campai gn of Wor l d War 1,
Ger mangener al s assur ed t hemsel ves, t hi s t i me t hey woul d not wi t hdr aw. " ° Whi l e
t hose at Ar my Gr oup Cent er and i n t he f i el d wer e t oo cl ose t o condi t i ons t o
under est i mat e t he di f f i cul t i es of f ut ur e oper at i ons, Hi t l er and t he OKHpl anned
wi de r angi ng oper at i ons deep behi nd Moscowf or whi chnei t her t r oops nor suppl i es
exi st ed
.
Thi s undoubt edl y r esul t ed f r om a poor appr eci at i on f or condi t i on i n t he
hel d t hat , i n t ur n, l ed t o a gener al over conf i dence as t o t he capabi l i t i es of Ger man
f or ces anda compl et e under est i mat i onof Russi anf or ces . " ' For t he f r ont l i ne t r oops
advanci ng under dr eadf ul condi t i ons, Hi t l er ' s over conf i dence showed i t sel f not
onl y
i n
i mpossi bl e demands but wi t h t he mi d- November wi t hdr awal of much of
Luf t f l ot t e 2 f or ser vi ce i n t he Medi t er r anean. Thus, suppor t f or t he dr i ve on
Moscow al most ent i r el y devol ved on t he shoul der s of Ri cht hof en' s Fl i eger kor ps
VIII .
112
At t he begi nni ng of November , t he ar r i val of
col d weat her br ought an endt o t he
mud, and t he advance began agai n. By now, however ,
under Zhukov' s i nspi r i ng
( and f er oci ous) l eader shi p, t he Russi ans had
r ecover ed. Mi l i t i a uni t s, di vi si ons
pul l ed f r om qui et segment s of t he
f r ont , and Si ber i an r ei nf or cement s t r undl ed
t hr ough Moscow i n a desper at e
ef f or t t o keep t he Ger mans at
bay out si de t he
capi t al . The
cl awi ng r esi st ance bought
pr eci ous t i me unt i l f ul l wi nt er
condi t i ons set
i n, t hus weakeni ng
Ger man st r engt h f ur t her .
By t he begi nni ng of
December , t he
Ger mans
hadr eachedMoscow' s
subur bs; t hat was as f ar as t hey
got . OnDecember
5, Zhukov count er at t acked, andi n
appal l i ng wi nt er weat her t he ent i r e
Ger manf r ont
t hr eat ened t o come apar t .
The
Luf t waf f e pl ayed
a decr easi ngl y i mpor t ant r ol e as t he Bat t l e of Moscow
appr oached. Conver sel y, t he
Red Ai r For ce, once t hought dest r oyed, mount ed
i ncr easi ngl y ef f ect i ve at t acks suppor t i ng
t he Moscowdef ender s . Apr i mar y r eason
was t hat t he f i ght i ng on t he east er n f r ont had
br ought t he Luf t waf f e t o desper at e
st r ai t s.
Oper at i onal r eady r at es f or combat
ai r cr af t t hr oughout t he f or ce st r uct ur e
sank t owar ds danger ous
l evel s ; and i n condi t i ons
of mud, bad weat her , and
87
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
i ncr easi ng col d ( not t o ment i on t he di f f i cul t i es i n suppl y) , mai nt enance per sonnel
f ound i t al most i mpossi bl e t o mai nt ai n ai r cr af t . By t he begi nni ng of Oct ober , t he
i n- commi ssi on r at e f or t he Luf t waf f e' s bomber f or ce had sunk bel ow40 per cent ,
whi l e
onl y
58 per cent of si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er s wer e i ncommi ssi on. The r at e f or al l
ai r cr af t hover ednear 53 per cent .
" 3
Fur t her compl i cat i ng t he Luf t waf f e' s pr obl emof
f l yi ng mi ssi ons at t he end of t enuous suppl y l i nes was t he f act t hat i t s ai r cr af t wer e
f l yi ng of f pr i mi t i ve di r t st r i ps, whi l e t he Red Ai r For ce was usi ng mor e per manent
f aci l i t i es i n t he vi ci ni t y of Moscow.
Hi t l er ' s gambl e t o conquer Russi a i none summer had f ai l ed. Ger many nowf aced
i mmense commi t ment s i n t he east wi t h an ar my and ai r f or ce t hat t hr ough at t r i t i on
dur i ng t he summer and f al l had l ost t hei r cut t i ng edge. In f act , i t was onl y at t hi s
poi nt t hat t he Ger mans, f aced wi t h t he possi bi l i t y of massi ve def eat i n Russi a,
began t o mobi l i ze t hei r economy and t he nat i onal economi es of t hei r al r eady
subj ugat ed
f oes f or t he l ong pul l .
To add t o hi s di f f i cul t i es i n t he east ,
Hi t l er gr at ui t ousl y decl ar ed war on t he
Uni t ed St at es af t er
t he J apanese had dest r oyed t he Amer i can bat t l e f l eet at Pear l
Har bor . In doi ng t hi s, he made i t
vi r t ual l y cer t ai n t hat Amer i can r esour ces and
mi l i t ar y power woul d appear
i n Eur ope at t he ear l i est possi bl e hour and woul d add
t o Wehr macht r equi r ement s i n Russi a, i n t he
Medi t er r anean, and i n t he west . Why
Hi t l er ext ended Ger man st r at egi c r esponsi bi l i t i es
at t he desper at e hour when hi s
f or ces i n f r ont of Moscowwer e col l apsi ng i s har d t o f at hom. It
seems
most
l i kel y,
as i s so of t en t he case i n human af f ai r s, t hat Hi t l er ' s deci si on was an i nst i nct i ve,
i l l ogi cal r eact i on t o a desper at e si t uat i on.
114
Wi t hevent s i n Russi a sl i ppi ng beyond
hi s cont r ol , Amer i ca of f er ed Hi t l er a psychol ogi cal obj ect at whi ch t o st r i ke.
Undoubt edl y cont r i but i ng t o Hi t l er ' s moodwas a sense of f r ust r at i on t hat he hadf el t
over t he summer and f al l of 1941 as t he US Navy i ncr easi ngl y i nt er vened i n t he
Bat t l e of t he At l ant i c . Nowi n December 1941, t he Uni t ed St at es, humi l i at ed at
Pear l Har bor , pr esent ed an i nvi t i ng and vul ner abl e t ar get f or hi s navy' s submar i ne
f or ce. The decl ar at i on of war on December 10,
however , al l owed t he Roosevel t
admi ni st r at i on
t o
pr esent
Amer i ca' s ent r y i nt o t he war i n a wi der cont ext t han
mer el y t he sur pr i se at t ack
on
Pear l Har bor ,
somewhat di ver t i ng t he publ i c' s cl amor
f or r evenge agai nst J apan. Thus, i t was Hi t l er ' s
act i ons t hat pr ovi ded t he pol i t i cal
basi s f or Roosevel t ' s deci si ont o
suppor t a " Ger many f i r st " st r at egy.
PRODUCTIONANDSTRATEGY, 1940- 41
Bet ween J ul y
1940 and December 1941, t he
Ger mans l ost t he ai r war
over
Eur ope f or
1943 and 1944. Ignor i ng t he
sever e at t r i t i on t hat had occur r ed
even i n
t he
Bat t l e of Fr ance, t hey pai d l i t t l e
at t ent i on t o t he f act t hat t hei r ai r cr af t
i ndust r y
had changed nei t her i t s
appr oach nor i t s pr oduct i on r at e
subst ant i al l y f r omwhat i t
had been dur i ng
t he openi ng mont hs of t he war . The negat i ve i mpact
of t hi s
si t uat i on
needs no gr eat el abor at i on consi der i ng t he f act
t hat ai r cr af t l oss and
r epl acement r at es f or 1941 wer e
appr oxi mat el y equal
.
The i mpact of ai r cr af t and
cr ewl osses ont he Luf t waf f e' s f or ce st r uct ur e, t he st r ai n of sust ai ned oper at i ons on
98
THETURNTORUSSIA
t he mai nt enance and suppl y
syst ems, and t he di f f i cul t i es
encount er ed i n at t empt i ng
t o escal at e
t he Luf t waf f e' s i nvol vement
had a syner gi st i c ef f ect t hat
pl aced t he
Luf t waf f e i n a
pr ecar i ous si t uat i on by t he wi nt er of
1941- 42. Mor eover , t hese
i nt er r el at ed f act or s l ar gel y det er mi ned
t he Luf t waf f e' s f at e i n t he upcomi ng ai r
bat t l es of 1943 and 1944.
The gr eat est st r ai n ont he Luf t waf f e i n 1941 r esul t ed f r omoper at i ons conduct ed i n
t he east begi nni ng on J une 22. Unl i ke t he Bat t l e of Fr ance or t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n,
at t r i t i on i n Russi a i nvol ved l owl oss r at es combi ned wi t h sust ai ned oper at i ons over
an ext ended per i od. The cumul at i ve ef f ect of t hese smal l " accept abl e" l osses was
no l ess deci si ve i n i t s i mpact t han was t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n. Tabl e X1111
11
gi ves a
det ai l ed pi ct ur e of t he cumul at i ve i mpact of t hose l osses t hr ough t he f al l of 1941 on
t he
east er n
f r ont .
TABLEXIII
Cr ewand Ai r cr af t Losses on t he East er nFr ont - J une 22- November 1, 1941
Yet , t he l osses i n Russi a t hr ough November 1941 onl y r ef l ect a par t of t he sever e
bur den t hat t he Luf t waf f e exper i enced i n 1941 ( see Tabl es XIV, '
16
XV, " ' XVI, 118
and XVII'
19
)
. Due t o t he " Bl i t z" agai nst t he Br i t i sh Isl es i n t he wi nt er of 1941, t he
Bal kan campai gn, and ai r commi t ment s i n t he Medi t er r anean
as wel l as
" Bar bar ossa, " t he Luf t waf f e had gone t hr ough i t s
ent i r e i nvent or y of ai r cr af t i nj ust
t wel ve
mont hs. ( See Tabl e XVIL)
Aver age
Mont hl y
St r engt h
Aver age
Mont hl y Losses:
Damaged
and Dest r oyed Per cent
Aver age
Cr ew
St r engt h
Aver age
Mont hl y
Cr ew
Losses Per cent
Per cent
Loss: Four -
Mont h
Per i od
Cl ose Recce 323 92 28. 5 539 51 9. 5 38
Long- Range
Recce 238 54 22. 7 270 31 11 . 5 46
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
661 240 36. 3 800 73 9. 1 36. 4
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
77 22 28. 6 84 11 13. 1 52. 4
Bomber s 836 268 32. 1 901 126 14 56
St ukas 293 60 20. 5 345 24 7 28
Coast al 34 5 14. 7 24 2 8. 3 33. 2
TOTAL INEAST 2, 462 741 30. 1 2, 963 318 10. 7 42. 8
30%
20%
GERMANAIRCRAFT LOSSES 1941 ( ALL TYPES)
BALKAN

INVASIONOF
CAMPAIGN RUSSIA
16. 1
9. 8% 8. 8% 7. 7%
7. 2%
7. 5%
50.1
4. 9%. r t e""
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
300/ 6
20%
r
TABLEXV
GERMANBOMBERLOSSES 1941
BALKAN INVASION
CAMPAIGN

OF RUSSIA
N
0
T
18. 4%

A
'

V
A 15. 3%
12% 12. 2%/
1
o

IA
L00
00
103:
A
8. 60/ 1
4. 8%
5. 5%0o00*

C
z
0
1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1 C
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 1»
30%
20%
TABLEXVI
GERMANFIGHTERLOSSES 1941
BALKAN INVASION
CAMPAIGN

Of RUSSIA
22. 9%
A
14. 2%

y
13. 4%

A
" ` 12. 6%
L 10. 2%
6. 49%

Z. ,

A
" 0000
I' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV
TABLEXVII
Ger manLosses, Al l Causes- 1941
( Not Incl udi ng November )
Ai r cr af t Wr i t t enOf f
THETURNTO
RUSSIA
Ai r cr af t Damaged, 1941
( Not Incl udi ng November )
Not Repar abl e at
Uni t Level
Due t o Not Due
Enemy t o Enemy
Act i on Act i on Tot al
Repar abl e at
Uni t Level
Due t o Not Due
Enemy
t o
Enemy
Act i on Act i on Tot al
Tot al
Ai r cr af t
Damaged
Cl ose Recce 21 26 47 76
108 184 231
Long- Range
Recce 16 28 44 20 94
114
158
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
166 463 629 80 350 430 1, 059
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
38 77 105 23 119 142 257
Bomber s 187 439 626 130 538 668 1, 294
St ukas 29 56 85 27 74 101 186
Tr anspor t 9 54 63 38 112 150 213
Li ai son 7 48 55 5 87 92 147
Coast al 2 2 4 3 10 13
17
TOTAL 475 1, 193 1, 658 402 1, 492
1, 894 3, 562
Ai r cr af t
Aut hor i zed,
J an 1941
Act ual
St r engt h
4. 1. 41 .
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on Tot al
Per cent of
J anuar y
St r engt h
Cl ose Recce 372 384
165 98 263 68. 5
Long- Range
Recce 276 356
195 95 290 81. 5
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 1, 202 841 622
705 1, 327 157. 8
Twi n- Engi ne Fi ght er s
435 384 246 217 463
120
. 6
Bomber s
1, 715 1, 339 1, 154 644 1, 798
134. 3
St ukas 467
456 225 141 366 80. 3
Tr anspor t
444 415 159 155 314 75. 7
Li ai son 200
* 40 56
96
Coast al
162 122 43 42 85 69. 7
TOTAL 5, 273 4, 297
2, 849 2, 153 5, 002 115%
* Dat a not avai l abl e .
9
4
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
By t he
end of 1941, Ger man ai r cr af t pr oduct i on and cr ew
t r ai ni ng pr ogr ams
coul d no l onger keep
up wi t h l osses; and by J anuar y 1942, condi t i ons f or ced
f r ont l i ne uni t s t o r ob t r ansi t i on school s
of cr ews a mont h bef or e t hei r schedul ed
cour se compl et i on. By Febr uar y, t he quar t er mast er gener al no l onger
knew
how
many ai r cr af t he woul dr ecei ve due t o
chaot i c condi t i ons i n t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y .
l 2°
Thus, by l at e wi nt er , t he gener al st af f coul dnot
accur at el y f or ecast ei t her howmany
ai r cr af t or cr ews t he Luf t waf f e woul d r ecei ve i n t he next mont h, not t o
ment i on
succeedi ng mont hs.
' 2'
Fr omt hi s poi nt f or war d, t he st af f woul d squeeze out of
i ndust r y and out of t r ansi t i on school s as much as possi bl e each mont h and shove
newcr ews wi t h decr easi ng ski l l l evel s andnewai r cr af t i nt o t he f r ont l i ne uni t s .
Compoundi ng
t he di f f i cul t i es wasasuppl y andmai nt enance syst emt hat r eveal ed
l i t t l e capaci t y f or f unct i oni ng over t he l ong di st ances t hat t he Luf t waf f e now
cover ed. What
had suf f i ced wi t hi n t he l i mi t ed f r ont i er s of pr ewar Ger many coul d
not meet t he needs of an ai r f or ce
commi t t edf r omt he Bayof Bi scay t o t he gat es of
Moscowandf r omt he Nor t h Cape t o Nor t h Af r i ca.
The
suppl y
syst em, par t i cul ar l y
i n Russi a, no l onger f unct i oned ef f ect i vel y.
Mi l ch
i n a
vi si t
t o t he east er n
f r ont
di scover ed t hat hundr eds of i noper abl e ai r cr af t wer e l yi ng about on f or war d
ai r f i el ds . They hadei t her br oken downor been damagedi n combat , andspar e par t s
wer e not f l owi ng f or war d t o r epai r t hese ai r cr af t .
112
Because suppl y and
mai nt enance wer e separ at e f r om oper at i onal uni t s, a wi de gul f had gr own up
bet ween f r ont l i ne uni t s and t hei r l ogi st i cal suppor t est abl i shment i n t he Rei ch.
Fur t her mor e, t he Luf t waf f e' s or gani zat i onal st r uct ur e di vor ced suppl y and
mai nt enance f r om oper at i ons, t her eby hi nder i ng vi t al communi cat i ons bet ween
t hese t wo di vi si ons. Mor e of t en t han
not ,
t he
speci al needs of one wer e not
meani ngf ul l y addr essedby t he ot her
.
123
The pr essur e of cont i nuous ai r oper at i ons on t he Luf t waf f e' s
mai nt enance
i nf r ast r uct ur e al so had i t s ef f ect . Over t he wi nt er of 1940- 41, t he Ger mans
exper i enced a consi der abl e per i od wi t hout combat i n whi ch t o r econst i t ut e and t o
r ebui l d f l yi ng uni t s st r ai ned by t he f i ght i ng i n 1940. The bomber s, however , wi t h
t hei r
heavy commi t ment s i n t he ni ght of f ensi ve agai nst Br i t i sh ci t i es, di dnot enj oy
such r ecuper at i on. But begi nni ng
i n Apr i l 1941, wi t h t he campai gni n t he Bal kans,
t he demands of f ar - f l ung campai gns
bur dened t he ent i r e st r uct ur e. The r esul t was
a
sl owbut st eady decl i ne i n
t he Luf t waf f e' s " i n- commi ssi on" r at es t o a nadi r
i n t he
wi nt er of 1941- 42
( see Tabl e XVIII 114) .
Besi des
mai nt ai ni ng ai r cr af t " i n commi ssi on, "
t he Luf t waf f e had t he
concomi t ant
pr obl emof f i l l i ng cockpi t s . The l oss
r at e, as al r eady suggest ed, had
r eached t he
poi nt wher e t he Luf t waf f e pushed pi l ot s
out of t r ai ni ng school s as
r api dl y
as possi bl e t o br i ng ai r cr ew st r engt h
t o accept abl e l evel s . What now
happened was t hat oper at i onal uni t s compl et ed
what t he school s coul d no
l onger
f i ni sh. The pr ocess i n many uni t s
i nvol ved wor ki ng newpi l ot s
i nt o squadr on
oper at i ons on a gr adual basi s whi l e
hopef ul l y mi ni mi zi ng t hei r exposur e
t o
hazar dous mi ssi ons. Thenas exper i ence
i ncr eased, squadr ons assi gned t he
pi l ot s t o
mor e danger ous t asks unt i l
t hey wer e f ul l y combat - r eady . ' 25
Such a syst emwas
undoubt edl y t he onl y
one t hat f r ont l i ne uni t s coul d f ol l ow
gi ven t he st at e of pi l ot
80° i °
ALL AIRCRAFT- - -
BOMBERS- - - - - - - -
FIGHTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TABLEXVIII
LUFTWAFFE " IN- COMMISSION" RATES 1941
" . ,

,. " , 75%
73%, * * ,
. ,
60%

62%

X58
/ u~

63%~

62° / %%" ~~

62%,

6p° / 62%

62%' """. ,
57% %
50% "`

4%
50%

52% 52%
40%

45%' * ~

45%

x
%

r n
38%
30%

, 32%
O
1
C
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
t r ai ni ng. It had,
however , t wo per ni ci ous si de ef f ect s . The
f i r st was t hat i t
maxi mi zed t he exposur e t o
danger of exper i enced ai r cr ews, t hus i ncr easi ng t hei r
l osses. Thi s, i n t ur n, l ed t o hi gher
per cent ages of
unt r ai ned or par t i al l y t r ai ned
per sonnel i n t he combat uni t s. The second, and equal l y di sast r ous, ef f ect was t hat
unt r ai ned
pi l ot s i n
t he
danger ous and pr i mi t i ve condi t i ons of f r ont l i ne ai r f i el ds hada
hi gher acci dent r at e t han nor mal
. The
nor mal r at e
was hi gh
enough gi ven a l ax
at t i t ude t owar ds f l yi ng saf et y t hr oughout t he war .
116
But t he combi nat i on of a weak
f l yi ng saf et y pr ogr amal ong wi t h unt r ai ned and unski l l ed pi l ot s f l yi ng of f pr i mi t i ve
ai r st r i ps
was deadl y . As
Tabl e
XVII i ndi cat es, t he Luf t waf f e was dest r oyi ng t hr ee of
i t s ownai r cr af t f or ever y f our dest r oyed by t he enemy, and t he number of damaged
ai r cr af t f r om noncombat acci dent s was an i nt ol er abl e bur den on an al r eady
over st r ai ned mai nt enance syst em.
The at t r i t i on over t he summer and f al l of 1941
l ed
t o a
st eady det er i or at i on i n t he
exper i ence l evel of ai r cr ews. Fr omt he summer of
1941, t he Luf t waf f e ent er ed a
per i od
i n whi ch l osses pr oceeded at such a pace t hat a r ecover y i n t er ms of cr ew
f l yi ng
exper i ence coul d onl y come wi t h a l ong hal t t o oper at i ons
.
However ,
f ai l ur e
i n Russi a
i n 1941 vi r t ual l y i nsur ed t hat t he Luf t waf f e woul d never r ecei ve a r espi t e .
In f act , t he i ncr ease of Al l i ed
ai r ef f or t s i n t he Medi t er r anean and west meant t hat
t he demands ont he Ger man
ai r f or ce woul d cont i nual l y i ncr ease, t hus exacer bat i ng
an al r eady ser i ous si t uat i on. Thi s
det er i or at i on of ai r cr ewski l l l evel shows up most
cl ear l y i n Tabl e XIX' 27 i n t he
t wo col umn summar i zi ng l osses not due t o enemy
act i on.
The most danger ous t r end i n 1941 was a pr oduct i on pr ogr am
t hat
one
canper haps
best descr i be as
i nadequat e .
The Ger mans had
ent er ed
t he
war wi t h
a
sur pr i si ngl y
l ow
pr oduct i on r at e. However , gi ven t he r esour ce l i mi t at i ons under whi ch t hey
wor ked, pr oduct i on l evel s r ef l ect ed economi c r eal i t y . The vi ct or i es of 1940,
however , f undament al l y al t er ed Ger many' s st r at egi c
and economi c si t uat i on. Not
onl y had t he Ger mans capt ur ed l ar ge st ockpi l es of r awmat er i al s i n Fr ance and t he
LowCount r i es but t he moder ni ndust r i al pl ant of t hose nat i ons was nowunder t hei r
cont r ol . Mor eover , t he success i n t he west made East er n Eur ope, i ncl udi ng
t he
Sovi et Uni on, mor e amenabl e t o cooper at i on wi t h t he Rei ch; f i nal l y t he occupat i on
of Fr ance gave
t he Ger mans di r ect access t o Spani sh and Mor occan r aw
mat er i al
r esour ces ( par t i cul ar l y
t ungst en and i r on or es) .
Wi t ht hese r esour ces at t hei r di sposal , t he Ger mans wer e i n a posi t i on t o or gani ze
t he new
conquest s i n t andemwi t h t hei r own war economy i n or der
t o i ncr ease
dr ast i cal l y
t hei r ar mament pr oduct i on. They di d no such
t hi ng. " '
Ther e
wer e
sever al basi c r easons f or
t hi s f ai l ur e
.
Thi s omi ssi on di d not , one must st r ess, r esul t
f r om a bel i ef i n a
so- cal l ed " Bl i t zkr i eg" st r at egy . Rat her , t he
Ger mans now
al l owed t hemsel ves
t o be del uded by t he speed of t he f i r st vi ct or i es
over Pol and and
Fr ance
i nt o bel i evi ng t hat t hey coul d cont i nue ar mament
pr oduct i on at t he
pr evai l i ng l ow
l evel . The over conf i dence mar ki ng t he appr oach
t o " Seal Li on" and
" Bar bar ossa"
wer e sympt omat i c of a wi der mal ai se: Not hi ng was
i mpossi be f or t he
r ul er s of t he
Thi r d Rei ch! The i ssue her e i s not t hat
t he Ger mans bui l t t anks or
ar t i l l er y pi eces at t he expense of ai r cr af t , but r at her
t hey made mi ni mal al t er at i ons
9
6
70° x°
60%
50%
40%
OF FULLYOPERATIONAL CREWS J ULY1941 - J ANUARY 1942
"67. 7%
" I
679% '
675% .
TABLEXIX
ALL AIRCREWS - -
FIGHTER PILOTS - -
BOMBERCREWS
W, `
60. 3%
'". ,

64. 4° 0

59. 6%
59. 6%
,. , , 56. 5%
"

~. 54. 8%
49. 6% ' " "" . . .
47. 2%
45. 4%
I

1

1

1

1
J ULY AUG
SEP OCT NOV DEC J AN
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
i n t he pr oduct i on of
al l maj or weapon syst ems af t er t he f al l of Fr ance
i n spi t e of a
r adi cal l y di f f er ent r aw mat er i al and
i ndust r i al si t uat i on. Sympt omat i c of t hi s
si t uat i on i n t he summer of 1940 was t he Ar my or dnance
of f i ce' s r ej ect i on of
Hi t l er ' s pr oposal t hat t ank pr oduct i on be i ncr eased f r om 100 t o 800 per mont h
because such a l evel woul d be t oo
expensi ve and r equi r e t oo many ski l l ed
wor ker s . ' z 9 But as l at e as Febr uar y
1941, a maj or economi c j our nal not ed t hat
" Ger many i s ent er i ng t he f i nal st r uggl e wi t h so
over whel mi ng a super i or i t y of
ar mament capaci t y t hat t he r esul t can no l onger be i ndoubt . " 110
Cer t ai nl y, t he l osses i n t anks and ai r cr af t i n t he Fr ench campai gn shoul d have
r ai sed ser i ous doubt s as t o exi st i ng r at es of pr oduct i on; t he same coul d be sai d f or
t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n. However , no one i n t he Luf t waf f e, wi t h t he possi bl e except i on
of Mi l ch, became par t i cul ar l y wor r i ed over t he cont i nui ng l ag i n pr oduct i on.
Onl y
t he f ai l ur e of t he Russi an campai gn spur r ed Hi t l er t o r eor gani ze t he economy
pr ompt i ng a dr amat i c expansi on of pr oduct i on. Never t hel ess, t he Fuhr er hi msel f
was not compl et el y at f aul t , si nce f ew seni or of f i ci al s had pushed f or maj or
i ncr eases i n pr oduct i on.
Fur t her compl i cat i ng a r at i onal ut i l i zat i on of Eur ope' s economi c r esour ces wer e
t he
i deol ogi cal per cept i ons of t he Ger man l eader shi p . Gor i ng i ndi cat ed t he
i deol ogi cal basi s
col or i ng t he Nazi appr oach t o economi c pr obl ems when he st at ed
i n 1942:
Basi cal l y, I consi der al l of occupi ed Fr ance as a conquer ed count r y
.
It seems t o me t hat i n ear l i er t i mes t he t hi ng was si mpl er . In ear l i er
t i mes, you pi l l aged. He who had conquer ed a count r y di sposed of
t he r i ches of t hat count r y . At pr esent , t hi ngs ar e done i n a mor e
humane way. As f or mysel f , I st i l l t hi nk of pi l l age
compr ehensi vel y .
131
The pr obl emwas
t hat
such an appr oach was count er pr oduct i ve
.
Gor i ng' s
posi t i ons
i n t he Rei ch ( as t he Ai r Mi ni st er and Commander i n Chi ef of t he
Luf t waf f e, as
Mi ni st er of t he Four - Year Pl an, and as a l eadi ng conf i dant of t he Fuhr er )
i ncr eased
t he pr obabi l i t y t hat hi s vi ews gui ded Ger man economi c
pol i cy . Thus, expl oi t at i on
of t he Fr ench economy i nvol ved
a l oot i ng expedi t i on i n whi ch compet i ng mi l i t ar y
aut hor i t i es ( i n Fr ance t he ar my got
t he l ar gest shar e of t he l oot as i t s t r oops
wer e
f i r st on t he scene) , ci vi l aut hor i t i es,
and i ndust r i al f i r ms di vi ded t he
boot y .
Capt ur ed r awmat er i al s went st r ai ght
t o t he Rei ch al ong wi t h consi der abl e
number s
of machi ne t ool s .
t 32
In t he l at t er case,
such t r ansf er s made no economi c sense,
' 33
f or
t he movement of machi ne
t ool s t o Ger many coul d not possi bl y
i ncr ease pr oduct i ve
capaci t y
as t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y was al r eady under ut i l i zed
wi t h most f act or i es on8-
hour shi f t s,
once a day. The l oot ed machi ne t ool s
went i nt o st or age f aci l i t i es.
Ir oni cal l y,
under t he pr essur e of Al l i ed ai r at t acks i n 1943
and 1944, t he Ger mans
at t empt ed t o di sper se t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y
i nt o occupi ed count r i es; t he l oot i ng of
1940 and 1941, however ,
pr oved a sever e hi ndr ance as many t ool s wer e no l onger
avai l abl e .
' 34
Mor eover , t he f ai l ur e t o use f act or i es i noccupi ed count r i es i n 1941 and
98
THETURN
TORUSSIA
1942 meant t hat whent he
Ger mans r eopenedpl ant s, t hey di scover edmachi ner y and
f aci l i t i es i n poor condi t i on.
The badl y t hought - out l oot i ng
of occupi ed count r i es st ands i n cont r ast t o t he
occupat i on of Czechosl ovaki a i n 1939. Whent he Ger mans sei zed Pr ague i n Mar ch
1939, economi c aut hor i t i es r ef used t o al l ow t he t r ansf er
of
r awmat er i al st ockpi l es
t o t he Rei ch, si nce t hi s woul d
al l ow
Ger many t o mai nt ai n Czechpr oduct i on and t o
ut i l i ze Czechosl ovaki a' s i ndust r i al pot ent i al t o t he f ul l est . They wer e cor r ect i n t hat
assumpt i on, f or not onl y di d Czechi ndust r y subst ant i al l y ai dGer manar mament but
i t al so ear ned subst ant i al f or ei gn exchange up t o t he out br eak of war . " ' Si mi l ar l y,
t he Luf t waf f e f ound
Czechosl ovaki a ext r emel y usef ul i n suppor t i ng i t s own
pr oduct i on
pl ans. By t he end of 1939, Udet had pl aced or der s f or 1, 797 Czech
ai r cr af t . Indeed, t he Czech ai r cr af t
i ndust r y pr oved usef ul i n ser vi ng i t s new
mast er s .
' 36
In t he case of Fr ance, however , t hi ngs wor ked out qui t e di f f er ent l y . In al l of
1941, t he Fr ench ai r cr af t i ndust r y pr oduced onl y 62 ai r cr af t f or t he Luf t waf f e
( Hol l and onl y 16) , whi l e Czech pl ant s pr oduced 819. ' 3' The r eason i s qui t e
appar ent . In t he case of Czechosl ovaki a, t he Ger mans wer e st i l l i n a di f f i cul t
st r at egi c and economi c si t uat i on, and t hey, t her ef or e, eager l y i ncor por at ed Czech
pot ent i al i nt o t hei r economi c syst em. The euphor i a af t er vi ct or y over Fr ance,
however , l ed most of t he Luf t waf f e' s l eader shi p t o di sr egar d t he l ow pr oduct i on
f i gur es f or Ger man i ndust r y and t o i gnor e t he possi bl e i nt egr at i on of west er n
Eur opean economi es, i ncl udi ng
Fr ance, i nt o t he Ger manwar ef f or t .
Exacer bat i ng al l of
t he
pr oduct i on
pr obl ems
was
a maj or
l abor shor t age .
Wi t h so
many Ger manmen mobi l i zed f or ser vi ce wi t h t he ar my, a
l ar ge def i ci t exi st ed i n
manpower avai l abl e f or
i ndust r y. In Br i t ai n, women f i l l ed many of t he shor t ages
caused by t he r api d expansi on of t he ar med f or ces. " ' However , Ger many' s
i deol ogy i nt er f er ed di r ect l y wi t h economi c good sense- Hi t l er r ef used t o al l owt he
wi despr ead use of women i n t he f act or i es as had occur r ed i n Wor l d War 1. The
r esul t was t hat i n t he summer and f al l of 1941, an acut e shor t age of wor ker s exi st ed
t hr oughout t he ar mament i ndust r y. Ther e wer e not
enough Ger man men t o go
ar ound. Whi l e t he Ger mans had mi l l i ons of pr i soner s of war
capt ur ed i n t he Pol i sh
and west er n campai gns, most of t hose wor ked
i n t he count r ysi de t o keep Ger man
agr i cul t ur al pr oduct i on at accept abl e l evel s
.
But t her e
was a manpower pool of enor mous pot ent i al
i n t he summer of 1941: t he
hundr eds
of t housands of pr i soner s t hat
wer e f al l i ng i nt o Ger man
hands as t he
Wehr macht sur ged i nt o Russi a.
However , i deol ogy i nt er vened
wi t h a vengeance.
Hi t l er r ef used t o al l ow t he
t r ansf er of any of t hese pr i soner s t o t he Rei ch f or
wor k
ei t her
on f ar ms or i n f act or i es .
' 39
Thus, whi l e Ger man i ndust r y was desper at el y
shor t of wor ker s, hundr eds of t housands of Russi an sol di er s wer e st ar vi ng t o deat h
i n i nadequat e Wehr macht pr i soner of war camps . By Febr uar y 1942, of t he
3, 900, 000 Russi an
sol di er s t hat t he Ger mans cl ai med t o have capt ur ed, onl y
1, 100, 000 r emai ned al i ve; of t hese,
onl y 400, 000 wer e capabl e of bei ng moved t o
t he Rei ch t o wor k i n i ndust r y . 140 Ci ano r ecor ded
i n hi s di ar y i n l at e November
1941
Gor i ng' s macabr e sense of humor
about t hi s t er r i bl e si t uat i on:
99
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Gor i ng t ol d me t hat hunger among t he
Russi an pr i soner s had
r eached such an ext r eme t hat i n or der t o st ar t t hemt owar d t he
i nt er i or i t i s no l onger
necessar y t o send t hemunder ar med guar d
; i t
i s
enough t o put at t he head of t he col umn of
pr i soner s a camp
ki t chen, whi ch emi t s t he f r agr ant
odor of f ood; t housands
and
t housands of pr i soner s t r ai l al ong l i ke a her d of f ami shed
ani mal s.
141
As Ger many' s chi ef
economi c czar , t he Rei chsmar schal l was cogni zant of t he
shor t ages i n t he wor k f or ce. Hi s r emar ks under l i ne t he
cal l ous at t i t udes t owar d t he
" Unt er mensch" and a f r i vi l ous appr oach t o Ger many' s danger ous economi c
si t uat i on.
The basi c cause of t he Luf t waf f e' s pr oduct i on pr obl ems i n 1941 l ay not onl y i n
t he di l et t ant i smof t he hi gher Nazi l eader shi p but al so wi t h a mi l i t ar y l eader shi p t hat
di d not under st and t he di f f i cul t i es i nvol ved i n pr oduci ng moder nweapons i n l ar ge
number s and who evi nced l i t t l e wor r y about enemy pr oduct i on capabi l i t i es . As
ment i oned i n Chapt er I, Gor i ng i n 1937 and 1938 had l ar gel y r emoved Mi l chf r om
cont r ol over t he pr oduct i on and t echni cal aspect s of t he Luf t waf f e. Udet , Mi l ch' s
r epl acement , possessed nei t her t he t emper ament nor t he t echni cal backgr ound t o
handl e hi s new
r esponsi bi l i t i es. J eschonnek, ont he gener al st af f si de, showed l i t t l e
i nt er est i n t he
dul l nonoper at i onal r equi r ement s of pl anni ng and car r yi ng t hr ough
a
pr oduct i on pr ogr am. Thus, evenbef or e t he war t he pl ans of t he gener al st af f and of
Udet ' s pr oduct i on pl anner s
had di ver ged
.
Now i n
a
war i n
whi ch Luf t waf f e
commi t ment s wer e wi deni ng, pr oduct i on f i gur es r emai ned vi r t ual l y st at i onar y .
Tabl e XX
142
i ndi cat es t he ext ent of Ger many' s ai r cr af t pr oduct i on.
100
TABLEXX
Pr oduct i onof Ger man Ai r cr af t - 1939- 1941
The
i mpact of t hese l evel s
of ai r cr af t pr oduct i on
on f r ont l i ne uni t s
became
obvi ous as t he war
cont i nued. Ger man i ndust r y
was not pr oduci ng ai r cr af t at a
r at e
suf f i ci ent
t o r epl ace l osses at t he f r ont and i n acci dent s.
As a r esul t , t he di f f er ence
bet ween
t he number of ai r cr af t aut hor i zed
and act ual l y pr esent i ncr eased as
oper at i ons at t r i t ed f r ont l i ne st r engt h
. In Sept ember 1939, combat uni t s had
possessed vi r t ual l y a f ul l compl ement of ai r cr af t . As pr oduct i on f ai l ed t o keep up
wi t h l oss r at es, i t
became
ever mor e di f f i cul t t o sust ai n aut hor i zed l evel s, and even
t he most f avor ed
or gani zat i ons had t o oper at e wel l bel owaut hor i zed
st r engt h ( see
Tabl e XXI' 4' ) .
Fi ght er s Bomber s Tr anspor t s Tr ai ner s Ot her s Tot al
1939 1, 856
2, 877 1, 037 1, 112 1, 413
8, 295
1940
3, 106 3, 997 763 1, 328
1, 632 10, 826
1941
3, 732 4, 350 969 889
1, 836 11, 776
TABLEXXI
Aut hor i zedAct ual St r engt h, Combat Ai r cr af t -
Sept ember 1939- Mar ch 1942
THETURNTO
RUSSIA
When combi ned wi t h
t he oper at i onal r eady r at es f or l at e 1941, t he f i gur es i n
Tabl e XXI pr esent a t hor oughl y depr essi ng pi ct ur e of t he Luf t waf f e' s combat
st r engt h. One ai r cr af t t ype i n par t i cul ar , t he bomber , hadr eachedt he poi nt wher e
t he Luf t waf f e had har dl y any capabi l i t y l ef t . In December 1941, t he bomber f or ce
possessed onl y 47 . 1 per cent of i t s aut hor i zed st r engt h; onl y 51 per cent of t hat f or ce
was i n commi ssi on. Thus, f r oman aut hor i zed st r engt h of 1, 950 bomber s, t he
Luf t waf f e had onl y 468 i n commi ssi on on December 6, 1941, or 24 per cent of
aut hor i zed ai r cr af t . 144
The cause of t hi s shor t f al l l ay di r ect l y at t he door of Udet ' s poor admi ni st r at i on,
wi t h a si zeabl e por t i on of t he bl ame al so t o be shar ed among Gbr i ng, J eschonnek,
and
t he
ai r cr af t i ndust r y .
Udet
had possessed nei t her t he capabi l i t y nor backgr ound
t o assume r esponsi bi l i t y f or t echni cal devel opment and pr oduct i on. At one poi nt ,
he admi t t ed t hat he under st ood not hi ng of i ndust r i al pr ocesses and even l ess about
t he engi neer i ng of l ar ge ai r cr af t .
, 45
The r esul t of such a si t uat i on was t hat f or a
t hr ee- year per i od, t he Ai r Mi ni st r y pr ovi ded l i t t l e l eader shi p
or gui dance t o
manuf act ur er s. Udet ' s of f i ces became i nvol ved i npr oduci ng a
ser i es of pr oduct i on
pl ans t hat bor e no r el at i onshi p t o what was occur r i ng i n
i ndust r y . Af t er each
demand f or an i ncr ease i n pr oduct i on, hi s st af f i nvar i abl y r evi sed
downwar ds pl ans
t o r ef l ect t he r esul t s. ' 46 Mor eover , i nt r oduct i on of new
ai r cr af t t ypes or newmodel s
of exi st i ng ai r cr af t " meant t hat t he
l ar ge pl anned i ncr eases wer e subj ect t o
sudden
andshar p r evi si on downwar ds,
even whenst r at egy demanded
ot her wi se.
11147
Yet , t he t op l eader shi p al so
bear s r esponsi bi l i t y f or t he pr oduct i oncr i si s of 1941 .
Hi t l er , despi t e occasi onal i nt er est i n
t echni cal mat t er s, i nt er vened har dl y
at
al l
i n
Luf t waf f e
pr oduct i on dur i ng t he ear l y war year s. Cont r ar y t o hi s
r el at i ons wi t h t he
ar my, Hi t l er
del egat ed muchaut hor i t y over ai r f or ce mat t er s t o
Gbr i ng; and whi l e
he di d set
i ndust r i al pr i or i t i es, he was poor l y i nf or med
about what was goi ng on
wi t h
Luf t waf f e pr oduct i on. Whi l e i t sui t ed Gbr i ng t o keep t he
Fuhr er uni nf or med,
he hi msel f
al so possessedl i t t l e knowl edge t hr ought he spr i ng of 1941
of what was
happeni ng . Udet di dpr ovi de a scapegoat f or
subsequent pr oduct i on f ai l ur es, 148 but
Aut hor i zed Act ual
Per cent of Aut hor i zed
Ai r cr af t
Sept ember 1939 2, 950 2, 916 98
. 9
December 1939
3, 313 3, 258 98. 3
Mar ch 1940
4, 034 3, 692 91 . 5
J une 1940 3, 714
3, 327 89. 6
Sept ember 1940 3, 547
3, 015 85. 0
December 1940 3, 792
3, 050 80. 4
Mar ch 1941 4, 100
3, 853 94. 0
J une 1941 4, 228
3, 451 81. 6
Sept ember 1941
4, 318 3, 561 82 . 5
December 1941 4, 344 2, 749
63. 3
Mar ch 1942 4, 623
2, 876 62 . 2
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
Gor i ng
and hi s st af f deser ve a f ul l measur e of bl ame
f or t hei r concur r ence wi t h
pr oduct i on
l evel s dur i ng t hi s per i od.
The cr i si s came t o a head i n
t he summer of 1941. Udet ' s of f i ce coul d no l onger
hi de t he gr owi ng di spar i t y bet ween pl anned and act ual pr oduct i on t ot al s when
Luf t waf f e st r engt h i n t he f i el d r eached scandal ousl y l owl evel s.
To hel p over come
t hi s i ndust r i al shor t f al l , Gor i ng r ei nser t ed Mi l ch i nt o t he pr oduct i on
pr ocess.
Shor t l y bef or e t he begi nni ng of " Bar bar ossa, " Gor i ng gr ant ed t he St at e Secr et ar y
wi de power s over t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y t hat i ncl uded t he r i ght t o cl ose or t o
r equi si t i on f act or i es, t o conf i scat e r awmat er i al s, t o t r ansf er or di smi ss desi gner s,
and i n gener al t o r eor gani ze i ndust r i al pr oduct i on. As wi t h pr evi ous or der s f r omt he
Rei chsmar schal l , Mi l ch was t o quadr upl e pr oduct i on. ' 49
Thi s t i me, however ,
Gor i ng had gi ven t he br i ef t o a man who di d under st and
moder n pr oduct i on
met hods and i ndust r i al pr act i ces .
' So
Over t he summer of 1941, Mi l ch suppl ant ed Udet and assumed cont r ol
of
t he
t echni cal of f i ces t hat Udet had cont r ol l ed. " ' The gr adual
excl usi on of Udet f r omt he
cent er s of power wi t hi n t he
Ai r
Mi ni st r y
as wel l
as
Mi l ch' s
l ess- t han- t act f ul
behavi or cont r i but ed t o t he f or mer ' s sui ci de i n t he f al l of 1941. Undoubt edl y, t he
ni ght mar i sh si t uat i on t hat Mi l ch di scover ed i n i ndust r y and wi t hi n t hese of f i ces
cont r i but ed t o Udet ' s deat h. But bef or e hi s deat h, Udet , wi t h Mi l ch' s backi ng,
pr oduced a pl an i n J ul y 1941 cal l i ng f or a r adi cal r est r uct ur i ng of Ger mani ndust r y
t o accel er at e pr oduct i on. 112 Amor e det ai l ed, l onger - r ange pl an came out i n
Sept ember under Mi l ch' s gui dance. Based on a change i n pr i or i t i es af t er t he
compl et i on of " Bar bar ossa, "
153
Mi l ch' s pr oduct i on pr oj ect i on demanded
near l y
50, 000 ai r cr af t f r omi ndust r y by Mar ch 1944.
For 1942, t he so- cal l ed " Gor i ng
pl an" asked f or
appr oxi mat el y 33 per cent mor e ai r cr af t t han had been pr oduced i n
1941 . For f i ght er ai r cr af t , t he Gor i ng
pl an asked f or a 61. 1 per cent i ncr ease i n
mont hl y f i ght er
pr oduct i on i n 1942 and a 20. 5 per cent i ncr ease i n bomber
pr oduct i on. By
t he end of 1943,
Mi l ch
f or esawa r i se i n t he mont hl y pr oduct i on r at e
f or f i ght er s t o 625 ( a 101 per cent r i se over t he 1941
aver age) and f or bomber s t o 656
( an i ncr ease of 81. 2 per cent over 1941
pr oduct i on) .
114
Unl i ke Udet who had gl oomi l y
assumed i n J une 1941 t hat gi ven t he r esour ces,
t he wor k f or ce, and t he
i ndust r i al capaci t y t hen avai l abl e,
t he
ai r cr af t i ndust r y coul d
not subst ant i al l y i ncr ease pr oduct i on
. " ,
Mi l ch
t ook a
di f f er ent l i ne . In
a speech t o t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y' s chi ef
i ndust r i al i st s, Mi l ch
out l i ned t he
pr oduct i on i ncr eases enumer at ed i n t he
newpl an. He demanded t hat
t he i ndust r i al i st s
j udge what was possi bl e and what
was not . Fur t her , he r ef used t o
al l ow
i ndust r y t o pr oceed wi t h ser i al pr oduct i on
of new ai r cr af t , because he
demanded t he mass pr oduct i on
of exi st i ng t ypes.
116
Del ays i mposed by t he sear ch
f or qual i t y
wer e a maj or f act or i n mi ni mi zi ng ai r cr af t pr oduct i on. Indeed, t he
qual i t y ver sus quant i t y di l emma was a f act or Mi l chnever succeeded i n r econci l i ng
wi t h t he Ger man
i ndust r i al syst em. Ri ght t hr ough 1, 944, Ger man ai r cr af t
possessed
t he f i nest uphol st er ed cr ew
seat s; t housands of man- hour s wer e wast ed i n
machi ni ng
bul kheads and mi nor f i t t i ngs, whi l e
par t s t aki ng no st r ai n or
r equi r i ng no pr eci si on
wer e f i ni shed t o
cl ose t ol er ances. The
compl et ed ai r cr af t r epr esent ed a
f i nel y
102
f i ni shed pr oduct
compar ed t o t hei r Amer i can and Br i t i sh count er par t s; but wher e
t her e wer e hundr eds of t he l at t er , one f oundonl y t ens of t he
f or mer . " '
One of t he maj or excuses t hat ai r cr af t manuf act ur er s had pr esent ed f or t he l ow
r at e
of ai r cr af t pr oduct i on i n
t he
f i r st war year s was a
l ack of
r aw
mat er i al s,
especi al l y i n t he l i ght met al s sect or so essent i al t o an i ncr ease i n pr oduct i on.
Sendi ng out i nspect or s t o check on i ndust r i al pr ocedur es, Mi l ch di scover ed
wi despr ead wast e of r awmat er i al s t hr oughout t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y : The pr oduct i on
of one t ype ai r cr af t engi ne was wast i ng appr oxi mat el y 1, 500 pounds of al umi num.
Mor eover , i ndust r y hadbui l t up l ar ge st ockpi l es, andMesser schmi t t f act or i es
wer e
even usi ng al umi numt o bui l d
t r opi cal shel t er s and l adder s f or use i n vi neyar ds .
158
Mi l chwas abl e t o put a st op t o many of t hese pr act i ces, and i t was soon appar ent t o
t hose i n char ge of t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y t hat a f i r mhand hadnowgr aspedcont r ol
.
The change of r esponsi bi l i t y wi t hi n t he Ai r Mi ni st r y had, f or t unat el y f or
Ger many' s opponent s, come t oo l at e. For 1941, t he West er n Power s had
out pr oduced Ger many' s ai r cr af t i ndust r y by a wi de mar gi n ( see Tabl es XXII, ' S9
XXIII, ' 60 andXXIV' 6' ) .
In f i ght er s al one, Angl o- Amer i can pr oduct i on t ot al s f or t he l ast quar t er of 1941
wer e near l y 400per cent gr eat er t han Ger many' s; i n t wi n- engi ne ai r cr af t , t he l ead
was 169 per cent ; and
i n f our - engi ne ai r cr af t , a whoppi ng 4, 033 per cent .
' 62
The
l evel s f or 1941,
however , onl y r ef l ect ed a smal l
por t i on of Ger many' s pr obl em.
The Br i t i sh and Amer i cans had been
pl anni ng maj or i ncr eases i n pr oduct i on si nce
t he summer of 1940. Consi der i ng
t he pot ent i al of Amer i can i ndust r y, t hose
pr epar at i ons had been on a f ar gr ander scal e t han Ger many
coul d
ever consi der .
Nowi n t he summer of 1941, t he Ger mans begant o change t hei r appr oach, but i t
was onl y af t er Udet ' s sui ci de i n November 1941 t hat Mi l ch gai ned gener al
aut hor i t y.
Most of t he l eader shi p r emai ned bl i ssf ul l y i gnor ant of t he t er r i bl e danger f aci ng
t he Rei ch. Wi t h gr eat gl ee, Goebbel s r ecor ded ever y Angl o- Amer i can di sast er i n
ear l y 1942, whi l e di smi ssi ng as i dl e Yankee boast i ng t he Amer i can pr oduct i on
f i gur es.
' 63
G6r i ng casual l y r epl i ed t o war ni ngs of t he i ndust r i al pot ent i al of t he
Uni t ed St at es t hat Amer i cans " coul d onl y pr oduce car s and
r ef r i ger at or s. " '
64
The
Ger manEmbassy i n Washi ngt on sent a number of war ni ngs dur i ng
1940 t hat whi l e
Amer i ca' s nat i onal def ense was st i l l woef ul l y
l acki ng i n near l y ever y r espect ,
pr oduct i on woul d r epr esent
a ser i ous t hr eat by 1941 and i ncr easi ngl y each
year
t her eaf t er . The caut i onar y f or ebodi ngs
made l i t t l e i mpr essi on.
' 65
Mi l ch was not so
sangui ne havi ng seen Amer i can i ndust r y
at wor k, ' 66 but onl y i n l at e 1941 had
he
gai ned
f ul l cont r ol of ai r cr af t
pr oduct i on.
CONCLUSION
THETURN
TORUSSIA
For t he second year
i n
a
r ow, t he Luf t waf f e hadl ost near l y i t s ent i r e compl ement
of ai r cr af t . The Ger manai r f or ce coul d not l ook f or war d, as i t had i n 1940 af t er t he
Bat t l e of Br i t ai n, t o a per i odof r ecuper at i on. The f ai l ur e i nf r ont of Moscowmeant
103
1200
1000
600
TABLEXXII
AVERAGE
MONTHLY
PRODUCTIONBY HALF YEARS:
n
FIGHTERS.

o
d
- GERMANY- - -
BRITAIN
.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
aun. . . . .
.
. nm434_
~
0
00
400
"~ , . I435
2 ,.
",. 200

as

2474

373
/ 243~"
l ~~0000
- %
j ~
149
231
1099
847
, f ~ "
65e
670

753
"
" I ", , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 692~ . . ~
. . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
.
5
491

411

. . . . "
. , , " . "`

500 -
633
WIN0- j
666
, UNITED STATES- - - - - - .
1940 1940
1941
1941
1942 1942
1943 1943 1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF


1200
1000
800
600
400
200
AVERAGE
MONTHLY
PRODUCTION
BY HALF YEARS:
TWIN- ENGINE
AIRCRAFT
GERMANY
BRITAIN" - . - . .
UNITED STATES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TABLEXXIII
858
7161000. "op
70
5500
53 :
' 'f '

480
488
.
" 510
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

448
402
382

423
~13
". . ,
382
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I
I
357 360
' 219

196

351
78
0
z
24

24
1940
1940
1941 1941
1942
1942 1943 1943
1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF
a
TABLEXXIV
AVERAGE
MONTHLY
PRODUCTION
BYHALF
YEARS:
FOUR- ENGINE
AIRCRAFT
1940 1940
1941
1941
1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF
1942
1942 1943
1943
1ST HALF

2ND HALF

1ST HALF

2ND HALF
GERMANY
BRITAIN
, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
UNITED STATES _- - - - .
1200
1D00
1024
800
600
I
I
5781
400
' o I V
283"""
0
405
200
359
153»' ~
. . . . . ~'
211
3
16
26
38 44
THETURNTO
RUSSIA
t hat t he war i n t he east woul d cont i nue wi t h i t s ever - vast er commi t ment s and
i t s
i nt er mi nabl e di st ances . In t he west , af t er a year and hal f of f r ust r at i on, t he Br i t i sh
wer e begi nni ng t o acqui r e t he
capabi l i t y needed t o savage Ger manci t i es by ni ght ,
whi l e t he f i r st uni t s of t he Amer i canAr my Ai r For ces woul d soon appear over t he
dayt i me ski es of West er n Eur ope
.
In t he Medi t er r anean, t he Ger mans had vi r t ual l y
l ost cont r ol of t he ski es over t he Af r i ca
Cor ps
. Thus, ever ywher e Ger many
f aced
i ncr easi ng commi t ment s wi t h f or ces t hat bar el y r eachedpr ewar l evel s .
The
r easons f or t hi s danger ous si t uat i on ar e not har d t o f i nd.
A
f ai l ur e t o
dr aw
obj ect i ve
concl usi ons f r om
t he
at t r i t i on
r at es
of
1940,
over weeni ng pr i de and
ar r ogance af t er t he ear l y vi ct or i es, and a r ef usal t o r ecogni ze t he f act t hat moder n
war ever
si nce t he t i me of
t he Amer i canCi vi l War has beena st r uggl e of i ndust r i al
pr oduct i on as wel l as a conf l i ct on t he bat t l ef i el d al l conver ged t o weaken t he
Luf t waf f e f at al l y . Combi ned wi t h t hese f ai l i ngs went a r egi me, t he cr i mi nal
i ncl i nat i ons of whi ch have r ar el y been equal l ed i n hi st or y . What ever pol i t i cal
oppor t uni t i es exi st ed i n t he campai gn agai nst Russi a whi ch,
combi ned wi t h
mi l i t ar y success, mi ght
have
t hr eat ened St al i n' s gover nment never came
t o
f r ui t i on.
Ger many nowf aced a wor l dwi de coal i t i on wi t h an ar my near def eat i n Russi a and
an ai r f or ce t hat was al r eady i n ser i ous t r oubl e. The f act t hat t he Rei ch r ecover ed
f r omt hi s si t uat i on and managed t o hol d onf or t he next t hr ee and one- hal f year s i s a
r emar kabl e comment ont he st ayi ng power of t he
Ger manpeopl e and t hei r mi l i t ar y
i nst i t ut i ons, i f not t hei r
good sense . Never t hel ess, t he def eat i n f r ont of Moscow
r epr esent ed t he deci si ve mi l i t ar y
t ur ni ng
poi nt
of Wor l d War II
.
Fr omt hi s poi nt on,
Ger many had no
chance t o wi n t he war ; and wi t h her i nadequat e pr oduct i on, she
f aced enemi es who
woul d soonenj oy over whel mi ng numer i cal super i or i t y i n t he ai r
andont he gr ound
.
108
Not es
1 . Andr eas Hi l l gr uber , Hi t l er s St r at egi e . Pol i t i k and
Kr i egf ahr ung, 1940- 1941 ( Fr ankf ur t , 1965) , p .
144.
2.
Gal eazzo Ci ano,
The Ci anoDi ar i es, 1939- 1943 ( NewYor k, 1946) , p . 266.
3. Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, ent r y
f or
13
. 7. 40. , Vol . II, p . 21 .
4. See Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, ent r y f or 30. 6. 40. ,
Vol
. I, p . 375. Thi s i s
t he par t i al l y
subj ect i ve
vi ew
of t he aut hor , but one must not e t hat unl i ke t he Fr enchcampai gn, unl i ke t he Bal kan campai gn of
1941,
and ever y succeedi ng campai gn, Hi t l er t ook vi r t ual l y no i nt er est i n t he day- t o- day oper at i ons of t he
Luf t waf f e and t he pl anni ng pr epar at i ons f or " Sea Li on. " Thi s does suggest t hat " Sea Li on" oper at i on
ai med
l ar gel y
at
put t i ng pr essur e on t he Br i t i sh t o end t he war . See al so Hi l l gr uber , Hi t l er s St r at egi e, p .
171 .
5 . IMT, TMWC, Vol . XXVIII, pp . 301- 03.
6 . Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, ent r y f or 13 . 7 . 40. , Vol . II, p . 21 .
7.
J . R. M.
But l er ,
Gr andSt r at egy,
Vol . II, Sept ember 1939- J une 1941 ( London, 1957) , pp . 209,
239- 41 ; Wi nst on
Chur chi l l , The Second Wor l d War , Vol . II, Thei r Fi nest Hour ( Bost on, 1948) , pp .
119- 72
.
8 . J odl ' s t est i mony, IMT, TMWC, Vol .
XV, p . 428.
9.
Hi l l gr uber , Hi t l er s St r at egi e, not e 6, p . 146.
10. Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, ent r y
f or
3
. 10. 40. , Vol . II, p . 124.
11. Gal eazzo Ci ano, Ci ano' s Di pl omat i c Paper s ( London, 1948) , p . 402.
12. For det ai l s of t he meet i ng bet weenMol ot ov and Ri bbent r op, see DGFP, Ser i es D, Vol . XI, Docs.
#325, 13 . 11 . 40. ; #326, 16 . 11 . 40. ; #328, 15 . 11 . 40. ; #329, 18. 11 . 40.
13. For a f ul l di scussi on of Sovi et f or ei gn pol i cy and mot i ves dur i ng t hi s per i od, see AdamUl am' s
br i l l i ant wor kExpansi onand
Coexi st ence ( NewYor k, 1974) ; see al so Ger har d Wei nber g, Ger many and
t he Sovi et Uni on, 1939- 1941 ( Lei den, 1954) .
14. DGFP, Ser i es D, Vol . X, Docs. #384, #393.
15. Ibi d . , Doc . #413.
16. DGFP, Ser i es D, Vol . XI,
Doc
. #84, 21. 9
. 40.
17. Ibi d. ,
Docs. #1, 1 . 9
. 40. ; #7,
3. 9
. 40.
18. Ibi d. , Docs . #91, 23. 9. 40. ; #142, 2 . 10. 40. ; #148, 4. 10. 40. ; #178, 14. 10. 40. ; #197, 19, 10 . 40.
The Ger mans di d cl ai mt hat t he 1, 800 t r oops r emai ni ng i n
Fi nl and
woul dbe r educed t o 100 menas soon
as t he move had f i ni shed .
19. Ibi d. , Doc . #532, 18. 12. 40.
20. See t he di scussi on i n Kl aus Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, Das Schei t er n der St r at egi e Hi t l er s
i mWi nt er 1941142 ( St ut t gar t , 1972) , pp . 16- 17.
21 . Fr ankl i n D. Roosevel t , The Publ i c Paper s and Addr esses of Fr ankl i n D. Roosevel t ( London,
1941) , p . 263. For t he best di scussi on of t hose mi l i t ar y and pol i t i cal f act or s i nvol ved i n
war t i me
It al y,
a
count r y t hat r i val ed t he Thi r d Rei chandSt al i n' s Russi a i n mendaci t y i f not i n compet ence, see
Ber nar d
M. Knox' s br i l l i ant di sser t at i on, " 1940. It al y' s ` Par al l el War ' , " Yal e Uni ver si t y di sser t at i on ( 1976) .
22. Thi s gener al i zat i on on t he st at e of It al i an pr epar at i on i s dr awn f r om
Knox, "
1940.
It al y' s ` Par al l el
War ' , " pp . 21- 77, and my di sser t at i on, " The Change i n t he Eur opean
Bal ance of Power , " Chapt er 7 .
For t he i nabi l i t y of t he It al i an ai r f or ce t o r epor t i t s number s
accur at el y, see Knox, p . 57. The ai r f or ce
Chi ef of St af f r epor t ed t o Mussol i ni i n Apr i l 1939 t hat t he ai r f or ce
possessed 3, 000 ai r cr af t ; t he navy' s
i nt el l i gence ser vi ce, spyi ng on t he ai r f or ce, coul d
onl y l ocat e 982.
23. Ber nar d M. Knox, " Fasci st It al y Assesses It s
Enemi es, 1935- 1940, " a paper del i ver ed at Har var d
Uni ver si t y, J ohnF. Kennedy School of Gover nment , J ul y
1980.
24. DGFP,
Ser i es D, Vol . XI, Doc . #73, 20
. 9. 40.
25. Capt ai n S. W.
Roski l l , The War at Sea, Vol . I ( London, 1976) , pp . 300- 01 .
26.
Maj or Gener al I . S . O. Pl ayf ai r , The Medi t er r anean and t he Mi ddl e East , Vol . I, The Ear l y
SuccessesAgai nst It al y ( London, 1974) , pp . 272- 93.
27. Kr i egst agebuch des Ober kommandos der Wehr macht , ( KTB
OKW) ,
Vol . I,
ed.
by Hans- Adol f
J acobsen
( Fr ankf ur t am
Mai n, 1965) , ent r y f or 9. 8. 40. , p . 17. See al so Wal t er War l i mont , Insi de
Hi t l er ' s Headquar t er s ( NewYor k, 1964) , p .
110. For t he It al i an r ebuf f of Ger man of f er s of hel p, see
DGFP, Ser i es D, Vol . XI, Doc . #149,
4. 10. 40 . ; and not e p . 462.
28. DGFP, Ser i es D, Vol . XI, Doc . #369, 20. 11 . 40.
29. Pl ayf ai r , TheMedi t er r aneanandt he Mi ddl e
East , pp . 315- 21 .
30. DGFP, Ser i es D,
Vol . IX, Doc . #583, 30. 12 . 40. ; see al so
#597, 2. 1 . 41 .
THETURNTORUSSIA
31 . Tr evor - Roper ,
Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat , Di r ect i ve #22, pp .
53- 54.
32. See, i n par t i cul ar , B.
H
.
Li ddel l Har t , Hi st or y of t he SecondWor l d War ( NewYor k, 1971) , who
devot es 103pages t o t he Nor t h
Af r i can campai gni n 1941- 42 and onl y 53pages t o t he Ger mancampai gn
i n Russi a i n 1941- 42
.
33. BA/ MA, RL 2 II/ 38, Ver bi ndungsst ab zur i t al i eni schen Luf t waf f e,
Nr
2212/ 41, 11 . 2 . 41 . ,
" Kr i egsgl i eder ung der i t al i eni schen Fl i eger t r uppe . St and 11 . 7 . 41 . "
34. DGFP,
Ser i es
D, Vol . XI,
Doc.
#368, 20. 11 . 40.
35
.
Mar t i nL. van Cr evel d,
Hi t l er ' s St r at egy 1940- 1941, The Bal kan Cl ue ( Cambr i dge, 1973) , pp .
114- 30.
36
. J . R.
M.
But l er , Gr andSt r at egy, Vol . II, Sept ember 1939- J une 1941 ( London, 1957) , p . 449.
37
.
Tr evor - Roper , Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat ,
Di r ect i ve #25, p . 61.
38. van Cr evel d, Hi t l er ' s St r at egy 1940- 1941,
p . 145 .
39. For t he best conci se hi st or y of t he war i n t he Bal kans, see Geor ge Bl au, The
Ger man Campai gns
i n t he Bal kans ( Spr i ng 1941) ( Washi ngt on, 1953) .
40. Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, p . 123 .
41. BA/ MA, RL
7/ 657, Luf t f l ot t enkommando 4,
Fuhr ungsabt ei l ung l a op Nr 1000/ 41, Wei n, 31 . 3. 41 . ,
" Bef ehl f ur di e Luf t kr i egf uhr ung J ugosl awi en. "
42 . Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 118.
43. For t he ef f ect of ai r oper at i ons on t he Yugosl av ar my, see BA/ MA, RL 7/ 656, Auszug aus dem
Tagebuchder j ugosl . Ober st en Heer esl ei t ung .
44.
KTBOKW,
Vol
.
I, ent r y f or 18. 4. 41 . , p . 382.
45. See Bl au, The Ger man
Campai gn
i n
t he Bal kans.
46. See Hans- Ot t o Mdhl ei sen,
Kr et a 1941, Das Unt er nehmen ' Mer kur ' ( Fr ei bur g, 1968) .
47. Ibi d. , p . 102.
48. For an i nt er est i ng di scussi on of t hi s poi nt , see van Cr evel d, Hi t l er ' s St r at egy 1940- 1942, pp .
172- 78.
49. BA/ MA, RL 2 II/ 1025, Genst . 6. Abt . ( III A) , Fr ont - Fl ugzeug- Ver l ust e . May' s l oss r at e was
di st or t ed and consi der abl y hi gher t han shown because t he t r anspor t l osses i n t he Cr et e oper at i onhad not
yet beenr epor t ed.
50. Geor ge E. Bl au, The Ger man Campai gn i n Russi a- Pl anni ng and Oper at i ons ( 1940- 1942)
( Washi ngt on, 1955) , pp . 6- 12.
51 . DGFP, Ser i es D, Vol . XI, Doc . #532, 18. 12 . 40.
52. Hi l l gr uber , Hi der s St r at egi e, pp .
210- 11
.
53. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, p . 19.
54. Bl au, The Ger man Campai gn i n Russi a, p . 42. See al so Guder i an, Panzer
Leader ,
p . 143,
f or hi s
r emar k t hat a t our of Ger man t ank pr oduct i on f aci l i t i es dur i ng whi ch t he Russi ans had cl ai med
t hat t he
Ger mans wer e hi di ng bot ht hei r l at est t ank desi gns and ot her f act or i es had al ar med hi m.
55. I ami ndebt ed t o J dr gen For st er of t he Mi l i t dr geschi cht l i ches
For schungsamt f or di scussi ng hi s
wor k wi t h me i n t hi s f i el d. Hi s wor k wi l l
appear i n t he f our t h vol ume of t he For schungsamt ' s hi st or y of
Wor l d War II . For a summar y of t hi s
wor k, t he r eader shoul d consul t " Hi t l er ' s War Ai ms Agai nst t he
Sovi et Uni on
and
t he
Ger man
Mi l i t ar y Leader s, "
Mi l i t dr hi st or i sk Ti dskr i f t ( St ockhol m, 1979) .
56. Hai der , Kr i egst agebuch, ent r y f or 30. 3. 41 . ,
Vol
. II, p .
337.
57. BA/ MA, RL 9/ 85,
Kommandeur bespr echung vom 18. 6. 41 . , Deut sche Luf t waf f enmi ssi on
i n
Rumani en.
58. BA/ MA, R 31- 1/ 24. Der
Bef ehl shaber der deut schen Heer es- Mi ssi on
i n Rumi ni en,
St absbespr echung, 9. 10. 40 .
59. See, i n par t i cul ar ,
For st er ' s " Hi t l er ' s War Ai ms Agai nst t he Sovi et Uni on
and t he Ger man
Mi l i t ar y Leader s. " For t he t r eat ment of
Sovi et pr i soner s of war , see :
Chr i st i an St r ei t , Kei ne Kamer aden,
Di e Wehr macht and
di e sowj et i schenKr i egsgef angenen 1941- 1945
( St ut t gar t , 1978) .
60. Quot ed i n: Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, p . 21 .
61 . Ibi d. , p. 27 . What i s so sur pr i si ng about al l of t hi s i s t hat i n t he Fi r st Wor l d
War , i t had t aken t he
Ger man ar my
t hr ee year s of har d f i ght i ng t o beat t he Russi ans; t hey had, t hus, been t her e bef or e, and
post - war pr ot est at i ons about havi ng been sur pr i sed by condi t i ons i n Russi a
ar e
not
cr edi bl e consi der i ng
t he
Ger man
exper i ence i n Wor l dWar I .
62 . For an
i nt er est i ng di scussi onof t he pr obl ems of l ogi st i cs and
suppl y
i n
t he Russi ancampai gn, see
Mar t i n vanCr evel d, Suppl yi ng War ( Cambr i dge,
1977) , Chapt er V.
63.
Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau,
p . 25.
64.
DGFP, Ser i esD, Vol . XI, Doc . #532, 18
. 12. 40.
109
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
65. Gor i ng admi t t ed as much. See t he speechof t he head of
t he Ai r Mi ssi on i n Rumani a br i ef i ng seni or
of f i cer s i n
t hat count r y on t he cont ent s of a meet i ng of seni or Ger man ai r f or ce gener al s at Kar i nhal l .
BA/ MA,
RL 9/ 85, Kommandeur bespr echung vom18 . 6. 41 . Deut sche Luf t waf f enmi ssi oni n Rumdni en.
66. " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and
Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es, August 1938- Apr i l 1945, " AHB, Tr ansl at i on No .
VII/ 107.
67. Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, p . 165 ; see al so f or si mi l ar f i gur es : Ol af
Gr oehl er , " St ar ke, Ver t ei l ung and Ver l ust e der deut schen Luf t waf f e i m zwei t en Wel t kr i eg, "
Mi l i t dr geschi cht e, 1978, pp . 322- 23.
68.
Bl au,
The Ger manCampai gn
i nRussi a,
p . 42.
69. By f al l 1941, l osses i n ni ght oper at i ons
by
He
I l 1' s had r eached t he
poi nt
wher e
He
Il l ' s
wer e
pul l ed of f of oper at i ons evenat ni ght i n t he west . BA/ MA, RL 3/ 50, Kommando der Er pr obungsst el l en
der Luf t waf f e, Nr 15520/ 42 g. Kdos " Gedankenf i ber
das mi t t l er e
Kampf f l ugzeug
. "
70. See t he di scussi on i n Hi nsl ey, Br i t i sh Int el l i gence i n t he SecondWor l d War , Vol . I, pp . 326- 28.
71. For a f ul l er descr i pt i on of t he cour se of t he pur ges, see Rober t Conquest , The Gr eat Ter r or ,
St al i n' sPur ge of t he Thi r t i es ( London, 1968) , Chapt er VII .
72. See J ohnEr i ckson, The Roadt o St al i ngr ad ( NewYor k, 1975) , Chapt er I .
73. For an i nt er est i ng and i nf or med
di scussi on of t he i nt el l i gence backgr ound t o " Bar bar ossa, " see
Bar t onWhal e, Codewor dBar bar ossa ( Cambr i dge, 1973) .
74. BA/ MA, RL
8/ 49 Russl and- Fel dzug 1941 : VIII Fl i eger kor ps. See al so Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se and
Fal l
of
t he
Ger man
Ai r For ce,
pp .
162- 65, f or t he movement of Ger man ai r uni t s t o t he east .
75. Er i ckson, TheRoadt o St al i ngr ad, pp .
101- 35.
76. Seymour Fr ei denand Wi l l i amRi char dson, eds,
The
Fat al
Deci si ons
( NewYor k, 1956) , p . 56.
77. BA/ MA, RL 8/ 31 Gener al kommando des IV. Fl i eger kor ps Abt . Ic, " Lageber i cht v . 22. 6. 41 . "
78. Er i ckson, The Roadt o St al i ngr ad, p . 118- 19.
79. Al ber t Kessel r i ng, ASol di er ' s Recor d( NewYor k, 1953) , p . 90.
80.
BA/ MA, RL 8/ 31
Gener al kommando des IV. Fl i eger kor ps
Abt
.
Ic, " Lageber i cht
v .
22 . 6 . 41 . "
81. Ir vi ng, TheRi se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 123.
82. Er i ckson, The Roadt o St al i ngr ad, pp . 150- 59. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, p . 28, gi ves
t he f ol l owi ng f i gur es : 330, 000 pr i soner s, 3, 000 ar t i l l er y pi eces, and 3, 332
t anks. Hal der ,
Kr i egst agebuch, Vol . III, p . 56, gi ves 289, 874 pr i soner s, 2, 585 capt ur ed and dest r oyed t anks,
1, 449
ar t i l l er y pi eces, and 246 ai r cr af t .
83. Bl au, The Ger manCampai gn i nRussi a, p . 49.
84. Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, Vol . III, p . 38.
85. vanCr evel d, Suppl yi ng War , pp . 168- 69.
86. Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, Vol . III,
p .
106.
87. See, i n par t i cul ar , vanCr evel d, Suppl yi ng
War ,
pp .
167- 80.
88. Hal der ,
Kr i egst agebuch, Vol
.
III, p . 170.
89. BA/ MA,
RL
8/ 49
Russl and- Fel dzug 1941 : VIII Fl i eger kor ps.
90. Ibi d.
91. BA/ MA, RL 10/ 17
Auszug aus demFr ont f l ugbuch des ehem. St f f Fw. Fr i t z Hoyer ,
St absst af f el
Kampf geschwader 2
vom24
.
J uni bi s 29. 10. 41 .
92. BA/ MA, RL 8/ 49 Russl and- Fel dzug 1941 : VIII Fl i eger kor ps.
93. v. Ri cht hof enTagebuch, ent r i es f or 8. 9. - 9. 9. 41 .
94. BA/ MA, RL 8/ 47 Gener al kommando I . A. K. , Abt , l a 545/ 41, 16. 9 . 41 . , " Ei nsat z des
Fl i eger kor ps VIII vom 10. - 21
. 8. 41
. , "
Appendi x I, Tat i gkei t des VIII . Fl i eger kor ps bei der
Unt er st ut zung des Dur chbr uchs
des I . A. K. hi s zur Ei senbahnl i ni e Leni ngr ad- Moskau
vom
10. 8. 41 . - 21. 8. 41 .
95
.
For t he movement of Luf t waf f e uni t s on t he east er n f r ont , see
par t i cul ar l y Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se
andFal l
of t he
Luf t waf f e, pp .
167- 70. See al so BA/ MA, RH19II/ 661D, " Der Fel dzug gegen
di e Sowj et
Uni on
: Kr i egsj ahr 1941 : Bear bei t et i n der Fdhr ungsabt ei l ung des
Ober kommandos der Heer esgt uppe
Nor d" ; and al so Auszug aus dem Fr ont f l ugbuch des ehem
.
St f f Fw.
Fr i t z Hoyer , St absst af f el
Kampf geschwader 2.
96. Har r i sonSal i sbur y, The 900Days, The Si ege of Leni ngr ad ( New
Yor k, 1969) , p . 582.
97
.
Er i ckson, The Roadt o St al i ngr ad, pp . 198- 210.
98. Ibi d. , p . 210.
99
. BA/ MA, RH19III/ 6561 D, " Der Fel dzug gegendi e Sowj et Uni on: Kr i egsj ahr
1941:
Bear bei t et
i n
der Fuhr ungsabt ei l ung
des Ober kommandos der Heer esgr uppe Nor d. "
100. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau,
p . 67 .
1951) , p
.
275
.
Qu . 6. Abt . ( I) , " Uber si cht f i ber Soi l , Ist best and,
Qu . 6. Abt . ( I) , " Uber si cht f i ber Soi l , Ist best and,
131 .
THETURNTORUSSIA
101 . For a
mor e compl et e di scussi on of t he
Kr yansk/ Vyazma di sast er , see Rei nhar dt ,
Di e Wende vor
Moskau,
pp . 67- 74; and Er i ckson, The Roadt o
St al i ngr ad, pp . 214- 19.
102. Li eut enant
Gener al K. F. Tel egi n, " Ger man Br eakt hr ough, "
quot ed i n St al i n andHi s Gener al s,
edby Sewer yn
Bi al er ( NewYor k, 1969) , p . 273.
103. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende
vor Moskau, pp . 68- 69; and Er i ckson, The Road t o St al i ngr ad, pp .
216- 17.
104. Bl au, The Ger man
Campai gni n Russi a, p . 79.
105.
Rei nhar dt ,
Di e Wende vor Moskau, pp . 74- 75.
106. Ibi d. , pp . 56- 57.
107 . Ibi d. , p . 73.
108. Ibi d. , pp . 78- 79.
109. van Cr evel d, Suppl yi ng War ,
p. 174.
110. Kur t Assmann, Deut sche Schi cksal sj ahr e ( Wi esbaden,
111 . Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, pp . 84- 86, 93.
112 . Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, pp . 172- 73. See al so Kessel r i ng, A
Sol di er ' s
Recor d, pp .
107, 115- 17. Fl i eger kor ps VIII was schedul ed t o f ol l ow Luf t f l ot t e 2 t o t he
Medi t er r anean
.
113 .
Ai r
Hi st or i cal
Br anch, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es, August 1938- Apr i l
1945, " Tr ansl at i on No . VII/ 107.
114. For anot her vi ewof Hi t l er ' s deci si on, see Hi l l gr uber , Hi der s
St r at egi e, pp . 553- 54.
115. BA/ MA, RL 2111/ 715, Gen. Qu. 6. Abt
.
( I) , " Uber si cht
f i ber Soi l , Ist best and, Ver l ust e and
Reser vender f l i egenden Vet bande, " 1 . 11. 41
.
116. BA/ MA, RL 2111/ 1025, Genst . 6. Abt .
( 1II
A) ,
Fr ont - Fl ugzeug- Ver l ust e, 1941 .
117. Ibi d.
118. Ibi d.
119. Ibi d.
120. BA/ MA, RL 2 111/ 717, Gen.
Reser vender f l i egenden Ver bande . "
121 . BA/ MA, RL 2 111/ 718, Gen.
Reser vender f l i egendenVer bande . "
122. Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p .
123. Ai r Di vi si on, Cont r ol Commi ssi on f or Ger many, Br i t i sh El ement , " A
Or gani zat i on
of
t he Ger manAi r For ce, 1935- 1945, " ( J une 1946) .
124. Ai r Hi st or i cal Br anch, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and
Ser vi ceabi l i t y
Tabl es, August 1938- Apr i l
1945, " Tr ansl at i on
No
.
VII/ 107.
125. Conver sat i onwi t hLi eut enant Gener al Hannes Tr aut l of f ,
a .
D. ,
Baden Baden, Feder al Republ i c of
Ger many, November 7, 1980.
126.
Let t er f r omMaj or Gener al Hans W. Asmus, Febr uar y 6, 1981 .
127 . The f ol l owi ng
per cent ages ar e dr awn f r om RL 2 III/ 715, 716, 717: Gen Qu. 6. Abt . ( I) ,
" Omr si cht
f i ber Soi l , Ist best and, Ver l ust e andReser vender f l i egenden Ver bande . "
128. For a f ul l er di scussi on of t he economi c i nadequaci es of Ger man pr oduct i on i n t he 1940- 1941
per i od, see t he di scussi on i n Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, Chapt er 1. Rei nhar dt
accept s t he
" Bl i t zkr i eg" t heor y, but hi s
anal ysi s of t he act ual pr oduct i onsi t uat i on i s excel l ent .
129
. Guder i an, Panzer Leader , p. 114.
130. The Uni t ed St at es
St r at egi c Bombi ng Sur vey ( USSBS) , The Ef f ect s of
St r at egi c Bombi ng on t he
Ger man War
Economy ( Washi ngt on, 1945) , p . 151 .
131 . A. S .
Mi l war d, The NewOr der andt he Fr enchEconomy
( Oxf or d, 1970) , p . 77 .
132. For
t he most det ai l ed exami nat i on of t he Luf t waf f e' s
f ai l ur e t o ut i l i ze pr oper l y t he economi c
r esour ces of Eur ope,
see Ri char d Over y' s out st andi ng
ar t i cl e, " The Luf t waf f e and t he Ger manEconomy
1939- 1945, " Mi l i t 4r geschi cht l i che Mi t t ei l ungen2/ 79.
133. One must not e t hat
i n t er ms of Nazi i deol ogy, such act i ons made excel l ent sense gi ven t he
pur poses f or whi chHi t l er had wagedt hi s war .
134 . For a f ul l er di scussi on of t hese poi nt s, see Over y, " The Luf t waf f e and t he Ger man
Economy, "
pp .
66- 67.
135. Dei st , et al
. ,
Das
deut sche Rei chandder Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg,
Vol . I, pp . 333- 34.
136. Over y, " The Luf t waf f e and
t he Ger manEconomy, " p . 55.
137. Ibi d. , p . 59.
Ver l ust e and
Ver l ust e and
St udy of t he Suppl y
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
138. Al t hough
t her e wer e l i mi t s t o what one coul d do wi t h
t hi s expedi ent , by 1943 t he Br i t i sh had
vi r t ual l y exhaust ed al l t hei r sour ces
f or wor ker s. See J ohn Ehr man, Gr and St r at egy, Vol . V, August
1943- Sept ember 1944( London, 1956) , p . 41.
139. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, p . 104.
140. Ibi d. , p . 188.
141 .
Ci ano,
The Ci ano Di ar i es,
p .
411.
142. USSBS, The Ef f ect s of St r at egi c Bombi ng ont he Ger man War Economy, Appendi x Tabl e 102, p .
277 .
143. These f i gur es ar e dr awn f r omWebst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG,
Vol
.
IV,
Appendi x xxvi i i , pp .
501- 04.
144. The above cal cul at i ons ar e basedon f i gur es dr awn f r omWebst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol .
IV, Appendi x xxvi i i , p . 502; and AHB, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es, August
1938- Apr i l 1945, " Tr ansl at i on VII/ 107.
145. E. Hei nkel , He 1000( London, 1965) , p . 180.
146. Ir vi ng, TheRi se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 120.
147. Over y, " Ger man Ai r cr af t Pr oduct i on, 1939- 1942, " p . 34. Over y' s Cambr i dge Uni ver si t y
di sser t at i on i s t he most car ef ul exami nat i on of
t he f ai l ur es i nvol ved i n t he pr oduct i on of ai r cr af t i n t he
ear l y war year s.
Al l of t he poi nt s di scussed i n t he above anal ysi s ar e exami ned i n gr eat er det ai l i n t hi s
admi r abl e
wor k
.
148. Gor i ng conf er ence, 9 . 10. 43. , Mi l ch Document s, Imper i al War Museum, Vol . LXIII, p .
6309.
149. Gor i ng t o Mi l ch, J une 1941, Mi l ch Document s, Imper i al War Museum, Vol . LVII, p . 3213. See
al so Ri char d Suchenwi r t h, " Command and Leader shi p i n t he Ger man Ai r For ce" ( Ai r Uni ver si t y,
1969) , pp.. 99- 101.
150. Conver sat i on wi t h Gener al l eut nant Hannes Tr aut l of f , a . D. , Baden Baden, November 7 and 8,
1980. Tr aut l of f , who was on t he f i ght er st af f wi t h Mi l ch i n 1944, descr i bed Mi l ch as " t he onl y gener al
di r ect or we had- t he onl y seni or of f i cer who under st ood t he pr obl ems of moder ni ndust r y . "
151 . Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, Chapt er VIII .
152. Over y, " Ger manAi r cr af t Pr oduct i on, 1939- 1942, " pp . 43- 44.
153. Tr evor - Roper , Bl i t zkr i eg
t o
Def eat ,
Di r ect i ve
#32a,
14 . 7
. 41 .
154. Fi gur es based on USSBS, ESBGWE, Appendi x Tabl e 102, " Number
of Ger man ai r cr af t
pr oduced
by t ypes,
annual l y 1939- 1944 and mont hl y 1941- 1944, " and BA/ MA, RL 3/ 999 CAmt s-
Pr ogr amm, " Li ef er pl an, " 15. 9. 41 .
155. Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 124.
156. Over y, " Ger manAi r cr af t Pr oduct i on, 1939- 1942, "
pp . 45- 46.
157. Conver sat i on
wi t h Ober st l eumant i . G. Wer ner Gei ssi nger , GAF, Ai r War Col l ege, Maxwel l
AFB, Mar ch 10, 1981 .
158. Ir vi ng, The Ri se and
Fal l
of t he
Luf t waf f e,
p .
126.
159. The above f i gur es ar e based
on
Appendi x
xxxi v, Webst er andFr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . IV, p .
497.
160. Ibi d.
161 . Ibi d
.
162. Ibi d
.
163.
Goebbel s, The Goebbel s Di ar i es, 1942- 1943, ed. by L.
Lochner ( NewYor k, 1948) , pp . 41, 65,
104, 169, 251.
164. Asher Lee,
Goer i ng, Ai r Leader ( NewYor k, 1972) , p . 58
.
165. See among ot her s DGFP,
Ser i es D, Vol . XI, Doc .
#60,
14
. 9
. 40.
166. Ir vi ng, The Ri seand
Fal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 127.
THEEAST
CHAPTERIV
ONTHEBRINK:
J ANUARY- OCTOBER1942
As wi t h 1941, t he east er n t heat er of oper at i ons r emai ned t he f ocus of Luf t waf f e
oper at i ons t hr oughout 1942. ' ( See Tabl e XXV. 2) Al t hough t he Ger man ai r f or ce
f aced cr i t i cal depl oyment s and t asks el sewher e, t he bul k of
Ger man ai r cr af t
r emai ned i n t he east unt i l event s i n t he f al l r equi r ed shi f t s i n ai r r esour ces . The
war
i n t he east i n t he summer of 1942 super f i ci al l y r esembl ed t he swi f t
advance of 1941
wi t h
a r api d sur ge
t owar ds t he Caucasus
and St al i ngr ad,
but
i nher ent suppl y
and
mai nt enance di f f i cul t i es i nt ensi f i ed as t he Luf t waf f e oper at ed
f r om bases deep
i nsi de
Russi a
and
f ar
f r om
i t s sour ces of suppl y . Mor eover , t he at t r i t i on t hat had
occur r ed
dur i ng 1941 f or ced t he Luf t waf f e t o oper at e wi t h consi der abl y l ess
ef f ect i veness
because of l ess wel l - t r ai ned cr ews t han i t had i n 1941. Fi nal l y, one
must not e t hat geogr aphi c and cl i mat i c pr obl ems, compl i cat ed by di f f i cul t i es f aci ng
gr ound f or ces t hat wer e out number ed and l osi ng t hei r qual i t at i ve super i or i t y,
pr ecl uded t he Luf hvaf f e f r omdevel opi ng any newr ol e i n t he east ot her t han
hel pi ng
ext r i cat e t he ar my out of i ncr easi ngl y danger ous si t uat i ons . Per haps,
consi der i ng
t he bal ance of f or ces i n t he east , gr ound and ai r , t her e
was no ot her choi ce. Over al l ,
Luf t waf f e at t r i t i on r at es f or
t he year showed an al ar mi ng r i se over t hose of 1941 ( see
Tabl es XXVI, 3 XXVII, 4 and XXVIIIS) .
As i ndi cat ed i n Chapt er III, t he
Ger manf ai l ur e i n f r ont of Moscowi n December
1941 and Russi an
count er at t acks pr ovoked a cr i si s i n t he Ger man hi gh command
and t hr eat ened
t he col l apse of t he east er n f r ont . The Russi an count er of f ensi ve
caught t he Ger mans
ont he poi nt of f i nal exhaust i on, shor t of suppl i es, and wi t h f ew
pr epar at i ons t o meet t he wi nt er
weat her
.
Hi t l er excused hi s and t he hi gh command' s
cul pabi l i t y by cl ai mi ng
t hat sever e wi nt er weat her hadcome sur pr i si ngl y
ear l y, b but
such cl ai ms di d l i t t l e t o hel p t r oops t hat wer e
f i ght i ng i n t emper at ur es 20° bel ow
zer o . As t he col l apse t hr eat ened t o become
gener al , t he Fuhr er sacked Br auchi t sch
and ot her seni or commander s and
assumed t he posi t i on of Commander
i n Chi ef of
t he ar my hi msel f . '
Weat her condi t i ons accel er at ed
t he at t r i t i on of men t hr ough
f r ost bi t e and of
equi pment
t hr ough col d. By December
16, Panzer Gr oup 2 was downt o 40
t anks i n
oper abl e condi t i on.
Si xt h Panzer Di vi si on
possessed onl y 350r i f l emen and
no t anks
by t he 13t h, whi l e 7t h
Panzer Di vi si on had a combat
st r engt h of bar el y
200men. ' In
such
condi t i ons, Russi an
at t acks t hr eat ened t o
dest r oy t he ar my
i n t he east . Thi s
event ual i t y
di d not occur f or t wo
r easons. The f i r st
was t hat t he vast bl ood
l et t i ng of
t he
summer and f al l
had l ef t t he Russi an
ar my wi t h l i mi t ed
r esour ces t o achi eve
i t s
obj ect i ves
. The second
f act or dovet ai l ed
wi t h t he f i r st
. Af t er t he
f i r st f l ush of
OTHERFRONTS - - - - - .

TORCH
r
GERMANLOSSES J UN- DEC 1942 BYTHEATER
EASTERNFRONT- - -

STALINGRAD H
438
436

I
I
00

0
04,
350
"
00
go

388

371I.

332

324
". . "I_
` 2oa2
"

224
206
408
388
J UNE

J ULY

AUG

8EP

OCT

NOV

OEC +m
30%
20%
6. 6%
"
J AN
GERMAN
AIRCRAFT LOSSES 1942 ( ALL TYPES)
HEAVYFIGHTING IN

STALINGRAD
RUSSIA

TORCH
EL ALAMEIN
8. 7%
6. 4%000' *
"
Wool
TABLEXXVI
127%
13. 6%
11 . 9% 12. 2% e, '
10%
11 . 3%0 "
8. 10/ ~' -
"

6. 7% 7. 3%
'

'

I

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1
FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
30%
20%
TABLEXXVII
GERMANBOMBERLOSSES 1942
HEAVYFIGHTING

STALINGRAD
IN RUSSIA

TORCH
EL ALAMEIN
23. 3%
19. 3%
N
" 0
15. 6%

14. 2

T
. '

A
. 0000- 0
v%
13. 3%

A ~ "
. ~.
l 11 . 7% 11 . 7%
A
B
L
E
1

1

1

1

1 1
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
30%
20%
r
TABLEXXVIII
GERMANFIGHTERLOSSES 1942
HEAVYFIGHTING

STALINGRAD
IN RUSSIA

TORCH
EL ALAMEIN
N
18. 9% 0
16. 7%

T
15. 8%
11. 4%/

h, %
13. 8%
, 1000* 0

L , , _9. 4%
8. 7%
6. 9%0-, ~

A
9. 7%

B
"

L
E
1 1 1 1 1- 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
1113
°z
H
x
z
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
vi ct or i es i n
December , St al i n became
over conf i dent ; over r ul i ng Zhukov, he set
wi de- r angi ng st r at egi c
goal s t hat wer e beyond
t he capabi l i t i es of hi s f or ces . ' The
r esul t was t hat
ever ywher e Sovi et f or ces succeeded i n
pushi ng
t he
Ger mans back;
nowher e di d t hey
succeed i n f ul l y expl oi t i ng t he si t uat i on. ' ° Fur t her compl i cat i ng
Ger man di f f i cul t i es at t he f r ont was a col l apse of t he Wehr macht ' s suppl y syst em.
In t he col d, r ai l r oad
engi nes f r oze up and t hose st i l l i n wor ki ng condi t i on moved
wi t h gr eat di f f i cul t y
t hr ough dr i f t i ng snows . Rai l r oad aut hor i t i es war ned
Ar my
Gr oup Cent er
t hat i n t emper at ur es bel ow - 15° Cent i gr ade, over 50 per cent of
i t s
suppl i es woul d not get t hr ough, and
i n heavy snowt he ent i r e suppl y syst emmi ght
cease t o f unct i on. "
Yet despi t e t he desper at e si t uat i on, t he Ger mans hel d t he cr i t i cal poi nt s and
pr event ed a gener al col l apse. In Febr uar y 1942, t he Russi ans opened a hundr ed-
mi l e gap bet ween Ar my Gr oup Nor t h and Ar my Gr oup Cent er . Russi an f or ces
f ai l ed t o expl oi t t hei r advant age, however , and t he Ger mans escaped t he f ul l
consequences of
t he br eakt hr ough
. Never t hel ess, t hi s
t i me t he Red Ar my managed
t o i sol at e t wo pocket s of Ger mant r oops: t he f i r st of appr oxi mat el y br i gade st r engt h
ar ound Khol m, t he second cont ai ni ng t he bet t er par t of t wo ar my cor ps ( si x
di vi si ons wi t h 100, 000 men) near Demyansk. 12
Hi t l er or der ed t he
f or ces t r appedt o
hol d i n what was opt i mi st i cal l y t er med t he Demyansk " f or t r ess. " " The
r esponsi bi l i t y f or r esuppl yi ng t he besei ged f or ces f el l on t he Luf t waf f e' s al r eady
over bur dened shoul der s .
By t he t i me t hat t he spr i ng t hawar r i ved i n l at e Mar ch, t he i mmedi at e cr i si s was
over
.
Bot hsi des wear i l y f acedeachot her wi t h ar mi es t hat had f ought t hemsel ves t o
exhaust i on. At t r i t i on of t he Ger man ar my, however , i nsur ed t hat i t woul d never
agai n r each t he l evel of ef f i ci ency t hat i t had di spl ayed
at t he begi nni ng of
" Bar bar ossa . " OnMar ch 25, 1942, Hal der r ecor ded Ger man
l osses i n t he east as
32, 485 of f i cer s and 1, 040, 581 NCOs, and men
f r omf or ces t hat had number ed 3. 2
mi l l i on at t he st ar t of t he i nvasi on( 33. 52per cent ) .
' 4
Thi s
t ot al di d not i ncl ude t hose
r epor t i ng si ck. Consi der i ng t hat t hese t ot al s
i ncl uded suppor t t r oops, at t r i t i on of
combat uni t s had undoubt edl y
exceeded 50 per cent . Equi pment l osses wer e on a
si mi l ar scal e . By Mar ch 1942, t ank l osses
had r eached 3, 486 f r oma t ank f or ce
number i ng 3, 350 i n J une 1941,
and whi ch had r ecei ved onl y 873
r epl acement
t anks. " Not sur pr i si ngl y, t he number
of t anks r eady f or act i on
ont he east er n f r ont
onMar ch30, 1942, was 140
. ' 6 Losses i n ar t i l l er y, t r ucks, and
suppor t vehi cl es wer e
compar abl e .
The wi nt er cr i si s
onl y i nt ensi f i edLuf t waf f e pr obl em
ar eas ( i nadequat e pr oduct i on
and mai nt enance,
and decl i ni ng cr ewcapabi l i t i es) .
The f ai l ur e t o def eat Russi a,
unl i ke t he si t uat i on t he pr evi ous year ,
meant
t hat t he Luf t waf f e
f aced i nescapabl e
commi t ment s wi t h no possi bi l i t y of a l ul l i n
oper at i ons dur i ng whi ch i t coul d
r ehabi l i t at e
exhaust ed f l yi ng
uni t s.
Gener al l y, however , t he
Luf t waf f e
was
bet t er
pr epar ed f or col d
weat her t han
t he ar my.
The
ai r
t r anspor t syst em
enabl ed i t t o
evade suppl y bot t l enecks and t o move wi nt er cl ot hi ng f or war d t o
i t s
uni t s
i n Russi a.
Never t hel ess, t he weat her was no ki nder t o t he
Luf t waf f e' s gr ound t r anspor t at i on
syst em; by J anuar y 1942, onl y 15 per cent of t he
100, 000 ai r f or ce vehi cl es i n t he
ON
THEBRINK
east r emai ned i n wor ki ng
condi t i on. "
Vehi cl e shor t ages f or ced some uni t s t o use
shovel s and peasant
sl eds
t o
cl ear snowf r om ai r f i el ds. The col d i t sel f pr esent ed
numer ous pr obl ems f r om st ar t i ng ai r cr af t t o per f or mi ng si mpl e
mai nt enance.
Mechani cs had t o pr eheat
t ool s bef or e begi nni ng wor k and r epeat t he
heat i ng
oper at i on sever al t i mes t her eaf t er whi l e wor ki ng i n t he
open. " Speci al weat her
condi t i ons
i n Russi a demanded speci al pr ocedur es and t he devel opment of
speci f i c
equi pment
i t ems, most of whi chcoul d not be avai l abl e
unt i l
t he
f ol l owi ng wi nt er .
Mor eover , t he ar my' s pl i ght f or ced ai r f or ce commander s t o commi t t hei r
r esour ces
t o
ai d f r ont l i ne cr i ses, whi l e heavy l osses of ar t i l l er y i ncr eased demands
f or cl ose ai r suppor t
.
The
f act t hat t he Luf t waf f e possessed f ew gr ound suppor t
ai r cr af t
l ed t o
t he use of bomber s i n t hi s r ol e, t hus i ncr easi ng t hei r l oss r at e. Thi s
t act i cal mi suse of
bomber s cont i nued unabat ed t hr oughout t he war , but t he
i mper at i ves of t he gr ound si t uat i on of t en of f er ed no ot her choi ce. Not onl y was t hi s
an i nef f i ci ent use of ai r cr af t but each bomber l oss i nvol ved t he wast age of mor e
cr ew, mor e i nst r ument s, mor e engi nes, and mor e r awmat er i al s t han i n t he case of a
si ngl e- engi ne gr ound at t ackai r cr af t . 19
In t he desper at e bat t l es on
t he east er n f r ont , Luf t waf f e
ant i ai r cr af t uni t s,
especi al l y
t hose equi pped
wi t h 88mmant i ai r cr af t guns, pl ayed
a val uabl e par t i n
f i ght i ng Russi an t anks. Because par t i san act i vi t y made r ear ar eas i nsecur e and
Russi an br eakt hr oughs t hr eat ened f or war d oper at i ng f i el ds, t he Luf t waf f e used
suppor t and st af f per sonnel i n J anuar y
1942
t o def end ai r f i el ds. But what was
def ensi bl e as necessi t y soon became i ndef ensi bl e as common pr act i ce. Deci di ng
t hat t he Luf t waf f e was over manned wi t h mai nt enance and suppor t per sonnel ,
Gor i ng or der ed est abl i shment of Luf t waf f e f i el d di vi si ons f or f r ont l i ne ser vi ce. Led
by unt r ai ned of f i cer s and NCOs, such uni t s suf f er ed di spr opor t i onat el y heavy
casual t i es. Mor eover , such shor t si ght edness, whi ch char act er i zed so much of t he
Luf t waf f e' s
appr oach, r esul t ed i n t he enl i st ment of mai nt enance and ser vi ce t r oops
f or dut y as f r ont l i ne r i f l emen. z° Thus, at t he same t i me t hat Mi l ch and hi s st af f
pr epar ed f or a r api d expansi on i n ai r cr af t st r engt h, Gor i ng was squander i ng t he
exper t i se of t r ai ned t echni ci ans who al r eady wer e havi ng di f f i cul t y
i n keepi ng
suf f i ci ent number s of Luf t waf f e ai r cr af t
f l yi ng
.
The aer i al r esuppl y of bel eaguer ed
gr ound f or ces i n t he Khol mand
Demyansk
pocket s added t o commi t ment s,
whi l e t he success of aer i al r esuppl y
set a danger ous
pr ecedent f or t he
f ol l owi ng f al l . In t hi s case,
aer i al suppl y wor ked because
a
var i et y of f act or s wer e di f f er ent
f r omt hose i nvol ved i n t he St al i ngr ad
r el i ef
oper at i on. Fi r st , t he f r ont st abi l i zed near t he pocket , and f or war d oper at i ng
ai r f i el ds wer e
t hus onl y a shor t di st ance f r omt he t r oops t hey suppl i ed.
Mor eover ,
t hese f or war d
oper at i ng bases wer e accessi bl e t o ai r f i el ds
i n t he f or mer Bal t i c
count r i es and wer e t i ed di r ect l y
t o t he Luf t waf f e' s i nf r ast r uct ur e
i n Ger many .
Consequent l y, i t was r el at i vel y easy
t o move ai r cr af t and suppl i es
f or war d.
Unf or t unat el y
f or t he Luf t waf f e,
i t had never possessed
t he r esour ces t o bui l d
a
si zeabl e i ndependent
t r anspor t f or ce;
r at her a si gni f i cant
per cent age of
t r anspor t
ai r cr af t
ser ved t o
t r ansi t i on f ut ur e bomber
pi l ot s f r om
si ngl e t o mul t i engi ne
ai r cr af t .
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Thus, t he
onl y way t o bui l d up
ai r l i f t capabi l i t y f or emer gency
si t uat i ons l i ke
Demyansk
and St al i ngr ad was t o st r i p
t r ai ni ng est abl i shment s of i nst r uct or s,
pupi l s,
and ai r cr af t ; i n
ot her wor ds, t o shut school s
down. But t he l osses i n t r ai ni ng
r esour ces,
par t i cul ar l y i n i nst r uct or pi l ot s, wer e not onl y i r r epl aceabl e but
wer e
enor mous i n t hei r cumul at i ve i mpact . Never t hel ess,
i n t he shor t t er m, bot h t he
Khol mand Demyansk ai r l i f t s succeeded i n
t hei r nar r owt act i cal goal s . The pocket s
hel d unt i l
r el i evi ng f or ces br oke t hr ough i n May . The
ai r l i f t i n suppor t of t he
Demyansk pocket f l ew 14, 455 mi ssi ons, moved 24, 303 t ons of weapons and
suppl i es and
15, 445 sol di er s i nt o t he pocket , and 22, 093
wounded out : a
per f or mance t hat aver aged
bet ween 100 and 150 mi ssi ons and 265 t ons per day . "
But t he cost was i nor di nat el y
hi gh. By t he t i me t he ar my r el i eved t he pocket
i n May
1942, t he Luf t waf f e
had l ost 265 t r anspor t ai r cr af t , or 30 per cent
of i t s t r anspor t
f or ce at t he end of Febr uar y
. 22 The negat i ve i mpact on t r ai ni ng was,
of cour se,
subst ant i al .
Havi ng weat her ed
t he l ast cr i ses i n l at e wi nt er , t he Ger mans now f aced t he
pr obl emof what t hei r st r at egy shoul d be f or t he comi ng year . Hal der , who had
r emai ned
as Chi ef of St af f , ar gued f or a def ensi ve st r at egy i n t he east i n whi ch t he
ar my woul d l aunch no maj or of f ensi ves but r at her husband and r ebui l d i t s
st r engt h. 23 Hi t l er , convi nced t hat he al one had pr event ed a di sast er dur i ng t he
wi nt er , di sagr eed. Ever t he gambl er , he det er mi ned t o knock t he Sovi et s out of t he
war . But t hi s deci si on woul d pr ove di f f i cul t t o execut e gi ven t he ext ent of l osses
si nce " Bar bar ossa" had begun. In f act , onl y by t aski ng t hei r al l i es- t he
Hungar i ans, t he It al i ans, and t he Rumani ans- t o def end l ar ge segment s of t he f r ont
wer e t he Ger mans abl e t o bui l d up t hei r f or ces f or t he summer of f ensi ve
.
The condi t i on of t he Ger man ar my gave l i t t l e cause f or opt i mi sm. At t he end of
Mar ch 1942, OKHr epor t ed t hat
out
of 162 di vi si ons i n t he east , 8 wer e sui t abl e f or
of f ensi ve oper at i ons, 3 coul d be br ought up t o f ul l of f ensi ve capabi l i t y af t er a shor t
r est , and 47 coul d per f or ml i mi t ed of f ensi ve t asks. The r est wer e onl y sui t abl e f or
def ensi ve war f ar e. 24 In an ef f or t t o upgr ade t he combat capabi l i t y of
def i ci ent
di vi si ons, t he ar my r eor gani zed i t sel f . The r esul t s, however , wer e l ess
t han
sat i sf act or y .
Ar my Gr oups Nor t h and Cent er l ost vi r t ual l y al l mot or
vehi cl es so t hat
t hei r di vi si ons
wer e no l onger capabl e of even l i mi t ed mobi l e
oper at i ons . 2s Of 65
di vi si ons det ai l ed
f or t he comi ng of f ensi ve, onl y 21 ei t her had
t r ai ned as newuni t s
or had
r ecei ved r ehabi l i t at i on i n r ear ar eas. The
r emai ni ng 44 di vi si ons had
r ei nf or ced and
r ehabi l i t at ed whi l e ser vi ng i n t he f r ont l i ne .
Shor t ages of vehi cl es and
hor ses sever el y
l i mi t ed t he mobi l i t y of i nf ant r y di vi si ons,
whi l e t he spear head
di vi si ons of
panzer and mot or i zed i nf ant r y possessed
onl y 80 per cent of t hei r
aut hor i zed
mot or vehi cl es
.
26
OnApr i l 5, 1942, Hi t l er i ssued
Di r ect i ve #41 f or t he summer of f ensi ve .
Ar my
Gr oup Cent er woul d r emai n
on t he def ensi ve, and Ar my Gr oup Nor t h woul d
under t ake a l i mi t ed of f ensi ve agai nst
Leni ngr ad t o l i nk up wi t h Fi nl and. The
mai n
ef f or t l ay i n t he
sout h, " wi t h t he ai mof dest r oyi ng t he enemy bef or e t he Don
[ Ri ver ] , i n or der t o
secur e t he Caucasi an oi l f i el ds and t he passes t hr ough t he
120
ONTHEBRINK
Caucasus
mount ai ns t hemsel ves.
" 21
The pr i mar y st r at egi c ai mof t he campai gnwas
oi l . Consi der i ng Ger many' s ser i ous oi l shor t age, t he emphasi s on oi l made sense
. 28
What di d not make sense was t he bel i ef t hat Ger man f or ces possessed t he st r engt h
and l ogi st i cal capaci t y t o r each t he mai noi l f i el ds, t o sei ze t hem
undamaged, and t o
hol d
t heml ong enough t o al l owexpl oi t at i onof t hei r pr oduct i on.
The Luf t waf f e' s t ask was t o bol st er t he ar my' s advance . It woul d pr ovi de ai r
cover f or
gr ound r edepl oyment s i n suppor t of oper at i on " Bl au" ; shoul d t he enemy
seek t o st r engt hen def endi ng f or ces, Ger man bomber s
wer e t o at t ack hi s
t r anspor t at i on syst em.
When t he of f ensi ve began, t he Luf t waf f e woul d seek t o
mai nt ai n ai r super i or i t y whi l e
at t acki ng enemy gr ound f or ces. Ear l y i n Di r ect i ve
#41,
Hi t l er suggest ed t hat t he pur pose of t he of f ensi ve was " t o wi pe out t he ent i r e
def ensi ve pot ent i al r emai ni ng t o t he
Sovi et s and t o cut t hemof f , as f ar as possi bl e,
f r om
t hei r most i mpor t ant cent er s of war i ndust r y .
" 29
However , Hi t l er cast hi s
st r at egy so as t o achi eve t he capt ur e of t he Sovi et Uni on' s oi l pr oduct i on r egi on, a
goal
whi ch- as al r eady suggest ed- was vi r t ual l y unat t ai nabl e gi ven t he f or ces
avai l abl e
. Thus, t her e was no possi bi l i t y of cut t i ng t he Sovi et s of f " f r omt hei r
most
i mpor t ant
cent er s of war i ndust r y" except t o depr i ve Russi a of a l i mi t edper cent age
of
her
oi l pr oduct i on. Nowher e i n hi s di r ect i ve di d t he Fuhr er
suggest usi ng t he
Luf hvaf f e t o st r i ke Sovi et i ndust r y or pet r ol eum
pr oduct i on; gi ven t he
megal omani acal ext ent of Hi t l er ' s summer ai ms and t he
weaknesses of t he gr ound
f or ces, t he Luf t waf f e woul d be compl et el y empl oyed
i n suppor t i ng t he ar my' s dr i ve.
Bef or e t he mai n summer of f ensi ve began, Hi t l er
deci ded t o el i mi nat e Sovi et
f or ces on t he Cr i mea Peni nsul a . On May
8, El event h Ar my, suppor t ed by
Fl i eger kor ps IVand VIII, at t acked
t he Russi ans on t he Ker sch Peni nsul a. Ai ded by
a cont i nuous f l ow of cl ose ai r suppor t ,
Manst ei n' s gr ound f or ces br oke t hr ough
Russi an posi t i ons and r out ed subst ant i al Sovi et f or ces
. OnMay 19, Hal der r ecor ded
t he successf ul compl et i on of oper at i ons and t he capt ur e of 150, 000
pr i soner s wi t h
consi der abl e equi pment . 3° Whi l e t he Ger mans mopped
up Ker sch, t he Russi ans
l aunched a spoi l i ng of f ensi ve on
t he sout her n f r ont
.
They hoped t o di sl ocat e
Ger man pr epar at i ons by
capt ur i ng t he cr i t i cal t r anspor t at i on cent er of Khar kov.
Af t er i ni t i al success, t he Russi ans
r an i nt o st r ong r esi st ance. Sovi et i nf ant r y
pr essed
Si xt h Ar my back on
Khar kov, but t he Russi ans hesi t at ed t o unl eash
t hei r ar mor .
Havi ng hesi t at ed,
t hey l ost t he oppor t uni t y . The Ger mans had
r eser ves i n t he ar ea;
Kl ei st ' s Fi r st
Panzer Ar my, suppor t ed by Ri cht hof en' s
" St ukas, " sl i ced
nor t hwar ds
and i n one gr eat sweepi ng t hr ust i sol at ed t he
Izyumsal i ent and at t acki ng
Russi an
f or ces
.
Once agai n, St al i n
t ur ned a ser i ous mi l i t ar y si t uat i on
i nt o
cat ast r ophe . He r ef usedt o al l owa wi t hdr awal unt i l t oo l at e . By
t he end of May, t he
Ger mans had dest r oyed t wo
Russi an ar mi es and badl y
maul ed t hr ee ot her s. Two
hundr ed t housand
pr i soner s mar ched
west war d t o wor k i n
Ger man sl ave l abor
camps
; pr obabl y as
many l ay dead i n t he
wr eckage of def eat .
Not onl y had t he
Ger mans
el i mi nat ed Russi an
r eser ves ont he
sout her n f r ont but
t he Russi ans hadl ost
t he
bet t er par t of
t hei r ar mor ed
f or ces . "
One f i nal
pr epar at or y
oper at i on came
bef or e t he
summer of f ensi ve
began.
Mai nst ei n
r egr ouped
hi s f or ces,
whi l e
Ri cht hof en' s
" St ukas" r et ur ned
f r om
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Khar kov: t hei r t ar get ,
t he f or t r ess ci t y of Sevast apol
. On J une 2, t he Ger man ai r
and ar t i l l er y bombar dment
began and cont i nued wi t hout
i nt er r upt i on f or t he next
f i ve days . Fl i eger kor ps VIII f l ew
up t o 1, 000 sor t i es per day, whi l e Manst ei n' s
t r oops f ought t hei r way t hr ough t he Russi an
f or t s
and
def ensi ve syst em
. 32
On
t he
19t h, Ri cht hof en
not ed wi t h sat i sf act i on t hat t he ci t y' s cent er was a sea of f l ames
f r om ai r at t acks wi t h smoke
cl ouds r eachi ng 1, 500 met er s and st r et chi ng f r om
Sevast apol t o t he
Sea of Azov and t he Ker schPeni nsul a
. 33
By t he begi nni ng of J ul y,
r esi st ance had col l apsed;
Ri cht hof en' s Fl i eger kor ps VIII moved nor t h t o suppor t
t he mai nsummer of f ensi ve.
Many hi st or i ans have ar gued t hat t he summer and f al l of 1942 r epr esent ed t he
deci si ve t ur ni ng poi nt i n t he hi st or y of Wor l dWar 11
.
The
evi dence does not suppor t
such a cont ent i on. The sur ge f or war d of Ger man ar mi es i n
Russi a and i n t he
Medi t er r anean r egi on r epr esent ed t he l ast spasmodi c advances of Nazi
mi l i t ar y
power ; t her e was no pr ospect of achi evi ng a deci si ve st r at egi c vi ct or y. By t he spr i ng
of 1942, at t r i t i on
had r educed bot h si des i n Russi a t o desper at e st r ai t s . Whi l e t he
Ger mans enj oyed a smal l
qual i t at i ve edge, t he expl anat i onf or t hei r successes i n t he
summer l ay i n t he Sovi et bl under s i n t he Cr i mea and at Khar kov i n t he spr i ng .
However , t he numer i cal
scal es wer e r api dl y t ur ni ng agai nst t he Wehr macht ,
as
Sovi et pr oduct i on hi t f ul l st r i de and as West er n ai d r eached Russi a i n
i ncr easi ng
quant i t i es . In t he Medi t er r anean, t he scal es had al r eady t i l t ed agai nst t he Ger mans;
t he Br i t i sh col l apse i n Nor t h Af r i ca i n May i s expl i cabl e onl y i n t er ms of
gr oss
mi l i t ar y i ncompet ence .
We have al r eady del i neat ed t he weaknesses of gr ound f or ces avai l abl e f or t he
summer ; t he Luf t waf f e pr esent ed a si mi l ar depr essi ng pi ct ur e. The Luf i waf f e
depl oyed appr oxi mat el y 2, 750 ai r cr af t i n t he east , t he bul k bei ng assi gned t o Ar my
Gr oup Sout h f or t he summer of f ensi ve. But maj or commi t ment s i n t he Ar ct i c as
wel l as t he need t o ai d t he har d- pr essed and equi pment - st ar ved nor t her n and cent er
ar my gr oups r equi r ed si gni f i cant number s of ai r cr af t . As a
r esul t , onl y 1, 500
ai r cr af t wer e avai l abl e t o suppor t t he mai ndr i ve. 3a
On J une 28, t he summer of f ensi ve began
as
Four t h
Panzer and Second Ar my
j umped of f . Thr ee ar mor ed, t hr ee mot or i zed i nf ant r y,
and ni ne i nf ant r y di vi si ons
l ed t he openi ng phase t hat hi t t he Br yansk Fr ont .
Led by " St ukas" and ot her
bomber s f r om Fl i eger kor ps VIII, Ger man ar mor
br oke t hr ough and r aced f or
Vor onezh. " By J ul y 2, t he Ger mans
had advanced 80 ki l omet er s; andas t he
of f i ci al
Russi an hi st or y suggest s, t he si t uat i on
was near di sast er . 36 Meanwhi l e
onJ une 30,
Si xt h
Ar my at t acked f r omnor t h
of Khar kov t o compl et e a
pi ncer movement sout h
of Vor onezh. Thi s t i me,
however , t he pi ncer ar ms cl osed ar ound f ew
Russi ans. The
Sovi et hi gh command
had f i nal l y absor bed t he l essons of
t he past year ; when
t hr eat ened wi t h enci r cl ement , i t pul l ed t r oops
back wi t hout hesi t at i on.
Thi s
r esponse t o Ger man br eakt hr oughs char act er i zed Sovi et st r at egy t hr oughout t he
summer , and
pr ompt
wi t hdr awal s deni ed
t he
Ger mans t he successes
t hey
had
enj oyedt he pr evi ous summer . 3'
Now i n ear l y J ul y, Hi t l er
di vi ded Ar my Gr oup Sout h i nt o t wo separ at e
commands, Ar my Gr oup Bi n t he nor t her nsect or
and
Ar my
Gr oup Ai nt he sout her n
122
THE GERMANSUMMER
OFFENSIVE: 1942
- - J '
GERMANOFFENSIVE - FIRST STAGE
GERMANOFFENSIVE - SECOND STAGE
FRONT MAY30. 1942
. . . . . . J ULY 22
__ __NOV18
ONTHEBRINK
sect or . He al so made maj or changes i n t he command st r uct ur e
t o f aci l i t at e hi s
cont r ol over oper at i ons. Whi l e Ar my Gr oup Bmovedsout h
f r omVor onezh t o cl ear
out t he DonRi ver bend, Ar my Gr oup A, spear headed by Fi r st
Panzer Ar my, dr ove
east t o Vor oshi l ovgr ad
and t hen sout heast t o sei ze t he Don br i dges at
Konst ant i novskaya. 38 As t he advance
gat her ed moment um, some of t he si gns of a
col l apse i n t he command and cont r ol syst em
t hat had exi st ed t he pr evi ous summer
r eappear ed on t he Russi an
si de. ' 9 Never t hel ess, al t hough l osi ng much of i t s
equi pment i n t he pr ocess,
most of t he Red Ar my managedt o escape.
Hi t l er ' s bal ef ul i nf l uence
was soonappar ent . In mi d J ul y, he f i r ed Bock,
whi l e
r el at i ons bet ween t he Fuhr er
and t he ar my' s Chi ef of St af f wer e
i ncr easi ngl y
st r ai ned
. Hai der , r ecogni zi ng t he
l i mi t ed nat ur e of Ger man f i ght i ng st r engt h,
was
not
f ool ed by t he i ni t i al success .
Hi t l er , however , was nowt hi nki ng
i n gr andi ose
t er ms . Fur t her encour agi ng hi s
dr eams was hi s ownser i ous
under est i mat i on of t he
Sovi et ' s abi l i t y t o r esi st
f ur t her Ger manadvances. As t he
OKWWar Di ar y not ed on
J une 25, Hi t l er bel i eved
t hat Russi an r esi st ance woul d be
consi der abl y l ess t han i n
1941, and t hat Ar my
Gr oup Sout h coul d execut e t he phases
f or oper at i on " Bl au"
wi t h l ess di f f i cul t y
and mor e qui ckl y t han or i gi nal l y
pl anned.
40
In l at e J ul y,
he
demanded
t hat Ar my Gr oup A" occupy t he ent i r e
east er n coast l i ne of
t he Bl ack
Sea, f or ce
a passage of t he Kuban, " dr i ve
t owar ds Gr ozny, and t hr ust
t hr ough t o
t he
Caspi an Sea i n t he Baku ar ea.
Si mul t aneousl y, Ar my Gr oup B
was t o " t hr ust
123
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
f or war d t o
St al i ngr ad, smash t he enemy f or ces concent r at ed t her e, . . . ,
and . . . bl ock . . . l and communi cat i ons
bet ween t he Don and t he Vol ga [ Ri ver s] ,
as wel l as t he Don i t sel f .
" 4'
Thus, not onl y di d Hi t l er di r ect t he advance al ong
wi del y di ver gi ng axes but t he obj ect i ves of Ar my Gr oup Awer e so di ver se t hat t he
at t empt t o gai n al l i nsur ed t hat
Ger man f or ces woul d gai n none. Hi t l er al so made
cl ear hi s gr owi ng i nt er est i n St al i n' s ci t y, f or one
of t he Luf t waf f e' s maj or t asks was
t o i nsur e " t he ear l y dest r uct i on of t he ci t y of St al i ngr ad. "
The Luf t waf f e' s mi ssi on i n t hi s l ast gr eat , wi de- r angi ng Ger man of f ensi ve of
t he
war r epr esent ed a r epl ay of t he pr evi ous year . By and l ar ge, i t s uni t s mai nt ai ned ai r
super i or i t y over t he
ent i r e f r ont and sever el y hamper ed Sovi et r econnai ssance and
bombi ng
ef f or t s. 4z Ger man ai r cr af t pl ayed an i mpor t ant r ol e i n br eaki ng up Sovi et
count er at t acks i n t he f i r st days of " Bl au. " The Luf t waf f e' s i nt er di ct i on of Sovi et
f or ces di sr upt ed suppl i es and, i n one
case, caught t wo r eser ve di vi si ons i n t he
open- 150 ki l omet er s east of St al i ngr ad- and but cher ed t hem. Ri cht hof en
t r umpet ed i n hi s di ar y about a " beaut i f ul bl oodbat h ( Tol l es Bl ut bad! ) "
43
Dur i ng
t hi s per i od, most assi gned ai r cr af t suppor t ed t he ar my' s advance. For J ul y and
August , Luf t waf f e r epor t s t o OKWheadquar t er s cont ai ned t he const ant r ef r ai n t hat
bat t l e emphasi s i n t he east l ay " i n suppor t i ng t he ar my' s advance ( Schwer punkt
Kampf ei nsat z zur
Unt er st ut zung der Angr i sar meen) .
" 44
As i n 1941, t he Ger mans i nf l i ct ed heavy aer i al l osses ont hei r Russi anopponent s,
whi l e l osi ng r el at i vel y f ewai r cr af t t hemsel ves. But a const ant at t r i t i on of ai r uni t s
t ook pl ace, and t he cumul at i ve ef f ect of such l osses was devast at i ng . Fr omMay
t hr ough Sept ember 1942, Luf t waf f e bomber uni t s i n t he east l ost appr oxi mat el y 120
bomber s per mont h, whi l e f i ght er l osses wer e al most exact l y t he
same . Ai r cr af t
l osses
ont he east er n
f r ont wer e appr oxi mat el y
60
per cent
of
al l
Luf t waf f e l osses
f or
al l
t heat er s ( see
Tabl e
XXV
45) . For bomber
squadr ons, mont hl y l osses r epr esent ed
appr oxi mat el y 15 per cent of t ot al act ual st r engt h f or al l t heat er s. Fi ght er l osses
aver aged near l y 20 per cent per mont h. 46 In spi t e of t hi s st eady at t r i t i on l ast i ng over
f i ve mont hs,
t he Ger mans
mai nt ai ned
uni t ai r cr af t st r engt h ont he east er n f r ont at a
uni f or ml evel . In August and Sept ember , t he gener al st af f wi t hdr ewa
number of
l ong- r ange bomber wi ngs t hat had suf f er ed par t i cul ar l y heavy l osses, but pr ompt
r epl acement by r ehabi l i t at ed
and r ef r eshed uni t s f r omt he zone of t he
i nt er i or kept
f r ont l i ne
st r engt h at t he same l evel . 4' But i mpr oved suppl y
and r epl acement
pr ocedur es desi gned
f or mai nt ai ni ng st r engt h shoul d not
di sgui se t he over al l st at e of
t he
Luf t waf f e
i n t he east - a st at e whi ch as ear l y
as J une 26, t he OKWWar Di ar y
descr i bed
as " st r ai ned.
" 48
Addi ng t o Luf t waf f e
di f f i cul t i es was t he f act t hat as t he ar my
hur t l ed f or war d, t he
di st ances over
whi ch suppl i es moved r api dl y i ncr eased
. Ar my Gr oup Sout h was
al r eady t he f ar t hest r emoved of t he ar my gr oups f r omt he
suppl y syst em. As Si xt h
Ar my, wi t h i t s suppor t i ng f l ak
and
ai r f or ce
uni t s, appr oachedSt al i ngr ad i n August ,
t he near est
suppl y
syst em
r ai l head
was
350
ki l omet er s behi nd
i n
St al i no . Wi t h
sever e shor t ages of mot or i zed t r anspor t , t he Wehr macht f aced an i ncr easi ng
l ogi st i cal pr obl emas t he advance cont i nued. 49 At t he end of
J ul y,
t he
dr i ve i nt o t he
Caucasus r an out of f uel ; and whi l e Luf t waf f e t r anspor t uni t s
hel ped
t o
al l evi at e
124
ONTHE
BRINK
some shor t ages, t he bul k nat ur e
of f uel made i t i mpossi bl e t o
al t er f undament al
suppl y
r eal i t i es. s° Consequent l y, t he
ut i l i zat i on r at e begant o f al l as uni t s
depl oyed
f or war dt o new
ai r f i el ds t o suppor t advanci ng
gr ound f or ces. Poor communi cat i ons
and t he sl ow ar r i val of
suppl i es, as wel l as t he pr i mi t i ve
condi t i ons f ound on
f or war doper at i ng bases, addedt o
t he Luf t waf f e' s pr obl ems. 51
As Ger manf or ces sur ged i nt o t he Caucasus, Hi t l er under cut t hei r ef f or t s . He was
nowent r anced wi t h St al i ngr ad and on August 1 or der ed t he t r ansf er of Four t h
Panzer Ar my ( t wo
Ger manandRumani an Cor ps, t he equi val ent of ei ght di vi si ons)
f r omAr my Gr oup At o Ar my Gr oup B. By mi d- August , t he Ger mans hadcl ear ed
out t he Donbend andwer e
pr epar i ng
t o
cr oss t he Donand t o sei ze St al i ngr ad . On
t he 23r d,
Gener al
von Wi et er shei m' s panzer cor ps cr ossed t hat r i ver i n a sur pr i se
at t ack andwi t hi n one day hadadvanced t o t he
Vol ga nor t hof
St al i ngr ad,
a di st ance
of 60 ki l omet er s. Aer i al suppor t pr ovi ded
by Fl i eger kor ps VIII, 1, 600 sor t i es,
1, 000 t ons of
bombs,
wi t h t he l oss of onl y 3 ai r cr af t ( and a cl ai mof 91 Russi an
ai r cr af t shot down) f aci l i t at ed t he r ush f or war d. That af t er noon, Ri cht hof en, now
Commander of Luf t f l ot t e 4, l aunched massi ve aer i al at t acks on t he ci t y i t sel f . " For
t he next week, St al i ngr ad f el t t he f ur y of Ger man ai r at t acks as t he Luf t waf f e
suppor t ed t he ar my
by t r yi ng t o br eak t he wi l l of St al i ngr ad' s def ender s and
popul at i on.
Fr om t hi s poi nt f or war d, t he Nazi ef f or t cent er ed on t he st r uggl e f or
St al i ngr ad- a st r uggl e mi ni mi zi ng t he f l exi bi l i t y and adapt abi l i t y of Ger manuni t s
whi l e maxi mi zi ng t he dogged det er mi nat i on of t hei r Russi an opponent s. The
house- t o- house st r uggl e sucked mor e and mor e t r oops i nt o t he dyi ng ci t y . What
Ger man st r at egy had once vi ewed as a bl ocki ng posi t i on f or t he advance i nt o t he
Caucasus nowbecame t he f ocal poi nt f or Hi t l er .
By
t he end of Oct ober , t he
Ger mans hadcapt ur ed most of t he ci t y, but Russi anr esi st ance cl ung t enaci ousl y t o
t he banks of t he Vol ga. In t he sout h, Ar my Gr oup Ar emai ned hal t ed at t he endof
i t s l ong suppl y l i nes. Ever ywher e on t he east er n f r ont , t he Ger mans nowl ay i n
over ext ended posi t i ons. Meanwhi l e, t hei r
Russi an opposi t i on, unl i ke t he pr evi ous
year , had
conser ved andbui l t up i t s st r engt h. Begi nni ng i n mi d- Oct ober , i ncr easi ng
number s
of Sovi et ai r cr af t chal l enged t he Luf t waf f e. By ear l y November , Russi an
aer i al i nt er di ct i on
ef f or t s wer e ser i ousl y i nt er f er i ng wi t h Si xt hAr my' s
suppl i es
. "
Even r i si ng ai r cr af t pr oduct i on i n Ger many
had l i t t l e i mpact on t he f or ce
st r uct ur e, because commi t ment s and
opposi t i on t hat t he Luf t waf f e f aced
wer e
ext r act i ng
an even hi gher pr i ce. The at t r i t i on on t he east er n f r ont
f r omMay t hr ough
Oct ober 1942 r epr esent ed a maj or por t i on of t he Luf t waf f e' s over al l
st r engt h. In t hi s
t i me f r ame,
bomber l osses ( ai r cr af t wr i t t en of f ) i n Russi a equal l ed 51 per cent
of al l
bomber s at t he end of Apr i l ,
whi l e t he cor r espondi ng f i gur e f or si ngl e- engi ne
f i ght er s was 48. 6
per cent .
14
Thus,
Hi t l er ' s deci si on t o def eat t he Sovi et Uni on
i n
1942 i nsur ed
t hat nei t her t he Luf t waf f e nor t he ar my woul d r ecei ve
a r espi t e t o
r ecuper at e
f r omt he wi nt er def eat s of 1942. Per chedpr ecar i ousl y at t he
endof l ong
l i nes of
communi cat i ons and wi t h i t s st r engt h sever el y at t r i t ed, t he Wehr macht
awai t ed t he cr ushi ng Russi ancount er bl ow.
125
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
THEMEDITERRANEAN
As i n 1941, t he Medi t er r anean had
r emai ned a si de show f or t he Ger mans
t hr ough most of 1942. Ai r and
gr ound f or ces depl oyed i n Nor t h Af r i ca
r epr esent ed
t he mi ni mumr equi r ed t o f end of f t he Br i t i sh. The f act t hat Rommel wi t h t hese
f or ces had won gr eat t act i cal vi ct or i es i s a t r i but e t o
hi s geni us
.
Never t hel ess, hi s
success i nevi t abl y l ed t o a r i se i n t he f or ces depl oyed agai nst hi mont he gr ound as
wel l as i n t he ai r .
The Br i t i sh, saddl ed wi t h a ser i es of i ncompet ent
commander s on t he gr ound,
wer e wel l ser ved i n t he ai r . Fr omMay 1941, Ar t hur Tedder , one of t he out st andi ng
ai r men of t he war , commanded t he RAFi n t he Mi ddl e East , whi l e hi s deput y, Si r
A. " Mar y" Coni ngham, l edt he ai r f or ces assi gned t o suppor t Ei ght h Ar my. Tedder
and Coni ngham bui l t up a f or ce i n t he 1941- 42 per i od t hat showed ext r eme
ver sat i l i t y i n i t s empl oyment i n cl ose ai r suppor t , ai r super i or i t y, and shor t - and
l ong- r ange i nt er di ct i on mi ssi ons . Whi l e t he RAF i n t he Medi t er r anean gai ned
numer i cal and qual i t at i ve super i or i t y over t he Luf t waf f e, di f f i cul t i es compl i cat ed
t he execut i on of a successf ul Br i t i sh ai r st r at egy . Per haps t he most daunt i ng wer e
t he enor mous di st ances t hat Br i t i sh f or ces had t o t r aver se wi t hi n t hi s t heat er . The
di st ance bet ween Tr i pol i and El Al amei nwas 1, 500 ki l omet er s, equal t o t hat f r om
East Pr ussi a t o Moscow. Mor eover , suppl y l i nes r eached f r om
Br i t ai n ar ound t he
Af r i can
cont i nent , whi l e t he ai r cr af t
f er r yi ng
syst em, al t hough i nvol vi ng l ess
di st ance, cr ossed Cent r al Af r i ca
and t hus pr esent ed consi der abl e l ogi st i cal
di f f i cul t i es .
Mor eover , t he Br i t i sh suf f er ed f r omi nt er ser vi ce coor di nat i on pr obl ems. Ear l y i n
hi s command, Tedder r ecogni zed t he i nt er r el at i onshi p bet weent he ef f or t s of t he
t hr ee ser vi ces and t hat , wi t hout a st r at egi c concept i on, Br i t i sh ar med f or ces coul d
not achi eve deci si ve r esul t s . As he not ed i nhi s memoi r s:
The campai gn i n
Nor t h
Af r i ca pr ovi de a pr i me exampl e of t he
compl ement ar y r ol es pl ayed i n t he Second Wor l d War by al l t hr ee
ser vi ces. The
br unt of
t he
deser t bat t l es f el l upon t he Ar my and t he
Royal Ai r For ce; t he event ual i nt ent i on was t o t ur n out of Nor t h
Af r i ca, bag and baggage, t he It al i an and Ger man f or ces. By
seemi ng par adox,
t hi s obj ect coul d not be achi eved wi t hout success
at
sea . . . .
By a f ur t her
par adox, such super i or i t y at sea coul d af t er
1941 be secur ed onl y by t he exer ci se of ai r power
and coul d
cer t ai nl y not be secur ed
by sur f ace f or ces al one.
55
Tedder f oundi t di f f i cul t t o cooper at e wi t h t he ar my
whi chcoul d not under st andt he
par t i cul ar advant ages as wel l
as l i mi t at i ons of t he ai r weapon.
56
Onone occasi on i n
1942, he wr ot e
home t hat t he ar my' s per f or mance r esul t ed f r om" an excess of
br aver y and a shor t age of br ai ns. "
57
The r esul t of such f ai l i ngs i n ar my t r ai ni ng,
doct r i ne, and l eader shi p l ar gel y nul l i f i ed Br i t i sh ai r super i or i t y over t he deser t
bat t l ef t el d. 58
It was one mat t er t o cont r ol t he ai r space over t he bat t l ef i el d; i t was
anot her t o t r ansl at e t hat super i or i t y
i nt o di r ect success when cooper at i on wi t h
t he
ar my
br oke downor i f gr oundcommander s
consi st ent l y l ost t o i nf er i or f or ces.
Br i t i sh ai r and naval
f or ces oper at i ng f r om Mal t a
wer e a t hor n f or t he It al i an
l ogi st i cs
t o Nor t h Af r i ca f r om
t he onset of t he
Medi t er r anean war . By l at e
1941,
126
ONTHEBRINK
what had began
as
a
nui sance had nowbecome a
st r at egi c t hr eat . In Sept ember
1941, t he Br i t i sh
sank 38. 5 per cent of t he t onnage sent f r om It al y t o Li bya .
In
Oct ober , t he f i gur e r eached 63 per cent and i n November
an ast oni shi ng l evel of 77
per cent . 59 Br i t i sh f or ces undoubt edl y r ecei ved consi der abl e hel p f r om " Ul t r a"
decr ypt s of Axi s cypher t r af f i c, maki ng convoy oper at i ons r el at i vel y easy t o
pi npoi nt and at t ack . Thi s i nt ol er abl e pr essur e onRommel ' s l ogi st i cal syst emhel ps
expl ai n t he sudden t r ansf er of Luf t f l ot t e 2 i nt o t he t heat er i n November
.
The f act
t hat t hese f or ces
r epr esent ed a subst ant i al por t i on of t he ai r cr af t suppor t i ng t he
advance
on
Moscowdoes, however , r ai se an i nt er est i ng quest i on about
t he OKW' s
st r at egi c pr i or i t i es .
Indeed t he ar r i val of new ai r uni t s i n Si ci l y i n
December 1941 al l owed t he
Ger mans t o cl ear t he wat er s ar ound
Mal t a and pr ot ect Axi s convoys f r omBr i t i sh
i nt er f er ence . Shi ppi ng l osses f el l t o a mor e accept abl e
l evel of 20- 30 per cent .
However , unt i l l ogi st i cal pr epar at i ons had been accompl i shed, Kessel r i ng coul dnot
l aunch an aer i al of f ensi ve ai med at dest r oyi ng Mal t a. b° Begi nni ng
i n
ear l y
Apr i l
1942, t he ai r of f ensi ve on Mal t a began. By May 10, Second Ai r Fl eet had f l own
11, 000 sor t i es agai nst t he i sl and f or t r ess and pl aced t he gar r i son and l ocal
popul at i on i n desper at e st r ai t s. " The quest i on nowf aci ng t he Ger mans was whet her
t o pr oceed wi t h an ai r bor ne and naval i nvasi on. Af t er consi der abl e debat e wi t hi n
t he Axi s' hi gh commands, Hi t l er vet oed t he oper at i on. In r et r ospect , gi ven t he
enor mous
l ogi st i cal di f f i cul t i es i n t he t heat er , Mal t a' s capt ur e woul d
onl y have
made a mar gi nal di f f er ence t o
t he Nor t h Af r i can si t uat i on
. b
2
Never t hel ess, t he
f ai l ur e
t o seek a
deci si on
f or ced
t he
Luf t waf f e t o
l eave st r ong
f or ces i n Si ci l y t o
har ass Mal t a- a f ur t her di sper sal of l i mi t edai r r esour ces
. "
In t he summer of 1942, despi t e Rommel ' s br i l l i ant
successes i n t he spr i ng,
t he
Medi t er r anean bal ance was shi f t i ng agai nst t he Axi s . On t he gr ound, t he Br i t i sh
wer e accumul at i ng a numer i cal super i or i t y t hat out wei ghed what ever qual i t at i ve
super i or i t y
t he Ger mans st i l l enj oyed. Even mor e i mpor t ant was t he f act t hat i n
J ul y, Ei ght h Ar my acqui r ed a commander who r ef used t o t ol er at e t he
" ni ce chap"
syndr ome t hat had so hamper ed t he Br i t i sh ar my . 64 By
Oct ober , t he Br i t i sh
possessed an i mpr essi ve numer i cal super i or i t y.
Al t hough t he Medi t er r anean
campai gn oper at ed on a smal l er scal e, t he si mi l ar i t i es
bet ween t he st r at egi c
si t uat i on i n t he Medi t er r anean and t hose exi st i ng i n Russi a ar e st r i ki ng . Ger manai r
and gr ound uni t s at t he end of l ong l i nes of
communi cat i ons f aced massi ve enemy
bui l dups wi t hl i t t l e pr ospect of r ei nf or cement
. The si t uat i on r epr esent ed a r eci pe f or
st r at egi c di sast er .
THE
WEST
:
BRITISHEFFORTS
65
Wi t h t he out br eak of war i n Sept ember 1939, t he Br i t i sh gover nment
pl aced
sever e l i mi t at i ons on
Bomber
Command' s f r eedom of act i on; i t f or bade RAF
bomber s f r om at t acki ng any t ar get t hat
mi ght i nvol ve ci vi l i an casual t i es . 66
Never t hel ess, t he Br i t i sh l ear ned
much f r omt he " Phony War . " The f i r st l esson,
one t hat bur ned i t sel f i nt o Br i t i sh sensi bi l i t i es
f or
t he
r emai nder of t he war , was t he
12
7
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
massacr e of " Wel l i ngt on" bomber s by
Ger manf i ght er s i n December 1939. Af t er
t hi s di sast er ,
most RAFseni or commander s
wer e dubi ous about t he pot ent i al of
dayl i ght
bomber oper at i ons over wel l - def ended ai r spaces . 61 The second l esson
i nvol ved
pr obl ems associ at ed wi t h bad weat her and l ong- r ange f l yi ng
by Br i t i sh
bomber s over host i l e t er r i t or y i n ni ght l eaf l et r ai ds- r ai ds t hat " Bomber " Har r i s
cl ai medpr ovi ded
t he Ger mans wi t h t hei r t oi l et paper needs f or muchof t he war
.
61
The Ger man
i nvasi on of Fr ance and t he LowCount r i es i n May 1940 r emoved
most r est r i ct i ons on
bomber act i vi t y . 69 For t he next t en mont hs, Bomber Command
l aunched i t s ai r cr af t agai nst speci f i c t ar get s i n Ger many, especi al l y oi l pl ant s and
t r anspor t at i on syst ems. The i ni t i al hope was t hat " t he accur acy of ni ght bombi ng
[ woul d] di f f er l i t t l e f r omdayl i ght bombi ng. " ' ° By t he spr i ng of 1941, t he nat ur e of
t he pr obl em had emer ged. In August of t hat year , an anal ysi s of mi ssi on
phot ogr aphs i ndi cat ed t hat onl y one i n t hr ee Br i t i sh ai r cr af t was hi t t i ng wi t hi n 75
squar e mi l es of i t s t ar get . " In f act , gi ven t he l ack of navi gat i onal ai ds, Bomber
Commandhad a di f f i cul t t i me i nhi t t i ng ci t i es. OnOct ober 1, 1941, wi t h Kar l sr uhe
and St ut t gar t as t ar get s, Br i t i sh bomber s " wer e r epor t ed over Aachen, Eupen,
Mal medy, Cobl enz, Neuwi ed, Kr euznach, Fr ankf ur t am Mai n, Wi esbaden,
Li mbur g, Dar mst adt , Mai nz, Wor ms, Tr i er , Of f enbur g, Saar f el s, Nur ember g,
Er l angen, Bamber g, Bayr eut h, Cobur g, Pegni t z, Aschaf f enbur g,
Schwei nf ur t ,
Wur zbur g,
Regensbur g, Wei den,
and
Chemni t z .
" 72
The wei ght of such evi dence pushed Bomber Commandand t he Ai r St af f t owar ds
" ar ea" bombi ng, a euphemi smf or what was t o be a " ci t y bust i ng" campai gn. But
i f
t he consi der abl e di f f i cul t i es i n hi t t i ng t ar get s at ni ght poi nt ed i n t hi s di r ect i on, t he
doct r i nal f r ame of r ef er ence est abl i shed bef or e t he war made " ar ea" bombi ng an
at t r act i ve st r at egy . As ear l y as Sept ember 11, 1940, Si r Char l es Por t al - st i l l
Commander of Bomber Command- ur ged hi s gover nment t o
announce t he names
of 20 Ger man ci t i es t ar get ed f or r epr i sal r ai ds " f or each ni ght of i ndi scr i mi nat e
bombi ng by t he enemy. " " In May 1941, Chur chi l l ci r cul at ed t o t he
Cabi net a paper
by Tr enchar d. The f or mer Chi ef of Ai r St af f ( CAS)
ar gued t hat Ger many' s
popul at i on was " par t i cul ar l y suscept i bl e t o ai r
bombi ng . " Admi t t i ng t hat onl y 1
per cent of t he bombs dr opped hi t t hei r t ar get ,
he concl uded t hat :
Thi s means t hat i f you ar e bombi ng
a t ar get at sea, t hen99 per cent
of your bombs ar e
wast ed, but not onl y 99per cent of t he bombs ar e
wast ed but 99 per cent , t oo, of t he
pi l ot s and of t he t r ai ni ng whi ch
went t o pr oduce
t hem. . . . If , however , our bombs ar e dr opped i n
Ger many, t hen 99 per cent whi ch
mi ss t he mi l i t ar y t ar get al l hel p t o
ki l l ,
damage, f r i ght en, or i nt er f er e wi t h Ger mans i n Ger many, and
t he whol e 100 per cent of t he bomber or gani zat i on i s doi ng usef ul
wor k and not mer el y 1 per cent of i t .
Such a pol i cy, Tr enchar d admi t t ed, mi ght
i nvol ve heavy casual t i es i n ai r cr af t and
cr ews, " but t he count i ng of our l osses has not hi ng t o do
wi t h t he soundness of t he
pl an once you accept t he
vi ew t hat t he nat i oncan st and
t hei r casual t i es. The pi l ot s
i n t he l ast war st ood i t , and
t he pi l ot s of t hi s war ar e
evenbet t er , and, I f eel , woul d
wel come a pol i cy of t hi s
descr i pt i on. " 1^
128
Thi s movement t owar ds t he use of " ar ea"
bombi ng r ecei ved i t s f i nal i mpet us i n
Mar ch 1942 when
Chur chi l l ' s sci ent i f i c advi sor , Lor d Cher wel l , pr esent ed t he
Pr i me Mi ni st er wi t h a car ef ul l y st r uct ur ed ar gument
i n f avor of a syst emat i c at t empt
t o dest r oy Ger manci t i es . The hear t of Cher wel l ' s ar gument l ay i n hi s bel i ef t hat t he
dest r uct i on of housi ng was t he best met hod t o br eakGer manr esi st ance .
Invest i gat i on seems
t o showt hat havi ng one' s house demol i shed i s
most damagi ng t o mor al e
.
Peopl e seem
t o mi nd
i t
mor e t hanhavi ng
t hei r f r i ends or even r el at i ves ki l l ed. At Hul l , si gns of st r ai n wer e
evi dent t hough onl y one- t ent hof t he houses wer e demol i shed. On
t he above f i gur es, we shoul d be abl e t o do t en t i mes as muchhar m
t o eachof t he 58 pr i nci pal Ger man t owns. Ther e seems l i t t l e doubt
t hat t hi s woul dbr eak t he spi r i t of t he peopl e .
75
The basi c pr obl emf or Cher wel l ' s ar gument at i on was t hat Bomber Commandwas
al r eady suf f er i ng ser i ous l osses at ni ght , whi l e ot her t heat er s wer e maki ng demands
on bomber pr oduct i on. The r ai d of November 7, 1941, under scor edt he damage t hat
t he
Rei ch' s ni ght def enses coul d i nf l i ct on Br i t i sh bomber s. Fr om
a f or ce
of 400
ai r cr af t , Bomber Command l ost 37, or 9. 25 per cent . Ai r cr af t at t acki ng speci f i c
t ar get s suf f er ed even hi gher l osses: bomber s at t acki ng Ber l i n l ost 12. 5 per cent of
t hei r number , at Mannhei m13 per cent , and i n t he Ruhr Val l ey 21 per cent . Ni ght no
l onger pr ovi ded an i mpenet r abl e vei l f or bomber oper at i ons; as i t t ur ned out , t hi s
woul d not be t he l ast t i me t hat ci r cumst ances woul d f or ce Bomber Command t o
r et hi nk i t s basi c st r at egy and t act i cs. 76
In J anuar y 1942, di senchant ment wi t h t he r esul t s of t he bombi ng of f ensi ve t hus
f ar l ed t o t he appoi nt ment of Si r Ar t hur Har r i s as l eader of Bomber Command.
Hams possessed an unshakeabl e bel i ef t hat , wi t h t he necessar y r esour ces,
hi s
command coul d wi n t he war by i t sel f . For t i f i ed by a st r ong per sonal i t y
and
i nt ol er ant of di f f er i ng vi ews, Har r i s was an i deal l eader t o shake
t he l et har gy f r om
t he command. Int er est i ngl y, i t was not unt i l l at e
1942 t hat Har r i s became a
compl et e conver t t o an " ar ea" bombi ng st r at egy . "
Never t hel ess, as suggest ed
above, t he r eal i t i es wer e al r eady
pushi ng hi mi n t hat di r ect i on.
Har r i s est abl i shed excel l ent r el at i ons
wi t h t he Pr i me Mi ni st er , and over t he
cour se of t he spr i ng and summer
of 1942, he bombar ded Chur chi l l
wi t h
memor anda
. 78
In t hese he ar gued f or cef ul l y
t hat onl y a r esol ut e and
sust ai ned
bombi ng of f ensi ve coul d def eat
Ger many and t hat di ver si on of
ai r cr af t t o pr ot ect
Br i t i sh shi ppi ng, t o suppor t
t he ar my, or t o at t ack Axi s
f or ces i n t he Medi t er r anean
was a gr oss mi suse of
ai r power . ' 9 Har r i s became especi al l y
voci f er ous over t he
di ver si on of ai r cr af t t o
suppor t t he war onsubmar i nes .
The
st r engt h of Coast al Command, whi ch i s composed l ar gel y of
sui t abl e bomber t ypes, i s t oday al most t he equal of Bomber
Command. It achi eves
not hi ng essent i al , ei t her t o our
sur vi val or t o
t he def eat of t he enemy. It abat es l i t t l e, not event he possessi veness
of t he Admi r al t y . It ai ds by pr event i ng a f ew shi ppi ng l osses- a
ver y f ew. These f ewl osses we canbear awhi l e i f we do not f ur t her
embar r ass our shi ppi ng posi t i on by addi ng t o our di f f i cul t i es t he
t r anspor t at i on and suppor t
of vast ar mi es over seas. . . . Coast al
ONTHEBRINK
129
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Command i s t her ef or e
mer el y an obst acl e t o vi ct or y . By r edi r ect i ng
Coast al Command t o t he of f ensi ve, i t
coul d, i n conj unct i on wi t h
Bomber Command, do . . . mor e har mt o t he enemy naval si t uat i on
and t he enemy war si t uat i on as a whol e t han i t can do or has i n
year s of wast e andmi sempl oyment i n i t s pr esent wr ong and mai nl y
f ut i l e occupat i ons.
80
As a newcommander , Har r i s under st ood
t hat
hi s
command desper at el y needed
oper at i onal successes f or i t s mor al e as wel l as
f or t he sur vi val of i t s pr i mar y mi ssi on
as a ci t y bust er i n vi ewof t he pr essur es t o di ver t f our - engi ne ai r cr af t
t o ot her t asks.
The appear ance of t he f i r st si gni f i cant navi gat i onal ai d, Gee, ai ded
t he
accompl i shment of t hi s t ask. The f i r st demonst r at i onof
Gee' s ef f ect i veness came i n
ear l y Mar ch 1942, when Br i t i sh bomber s devast at ed t he Renaul t ar mament
f act or y
near Par i s. " The second demonst r at i on came
l at er
i n
t he mont h wi t h a l ow l evel
at t ack onLubeck, descr i bedby Har r i s as " bui l t mor e l i ke a f i r el i ght er t han a human
habi t at i on. "
Post - r ai d phot o r econnai ssance i ndi cat ed t hat t he bombi ng had
dest r oyed 40 t o 50
per cent of t he ci t y . At t he end of Apr i l , t he commandbl ast ed
Rost ock anda near by Hei nkel
f act or y. 81
But Har r i s' gr eat est t r i umph
of t he year came i n May. By scr at chi ng t oget her
ever y ai r cr af t i n t he command
and i n i t s oper at i onal t r ai ni ng uni t s, he put 1, 000
ai r cr af t over Col ogne and swamped t he ni ght
def enses t o achi eve an unhear d of
bombi ng concent r at i on. The r ai d was a success
. Wi t h a r el at i vel y l owl oss r at e ( 40
bomber s or 3. 8 per cent of t he at t acki ng f or ces) ,
Bomber Commanddest r oyed
much
of t he ci t y . Lat er phot o r econnai ssance i ndi cat ed t hat
t he at t ack had dest r oyed 600
acr es of Col ogne of whi ch 300 l ay i n t he cent er . The gr eat est success of t he r ai d
may, however , have r est ed i n t he pol i t i cal capi t al i t pr ovi ded Har r i s. The next 1, 000
bomber r ai d, f ol l owi ng soon af t er Col ogne, agai n under l i ned t he l i mi t at i ons under
whi cht he commandoper at ed. In ear l y J une, Har r i s sent hi s bomber s agai nst Essen;
and wi t h l ess f avor abl e condi t i ons, t he bomber s achi eved no concent r at i on.
In
f act ,
t he Ger man hi gh
command onl y r epor t ed " wi despr ead r ai ds over West
Ger many.
" 8s
Whi l e one mor e 1, 000 bomber r ai d occur r ed i n 1942, Har r i s, havi ng mace
hi s
poi nt , nowbegant he l ong pr ocess of bui l di ng up hi s command. The
i nt r oduct i on of
t he " Lancast er " bomber , f ur t her ai ds f or bl i nd bombi ng,
and cr eat i on of a
pat hf i nder
f or ce ( t he l at t er wi t h consi der abl e opposi t i on f r om
Har r i s) r esul t ed i n a
gr adual
r i se i n t he command' s dest r uct i ve
pot ent i al . But as t he Br i t i sh advanced,
so
t oo
di d t he Ger mans. By August , t he
Ger mans wer e j ammi ng Gee,
and t he new
pat hf i nder f or ce f aced t he same
navi gat i onal and t ar get - f i ndi ng pr obl ems
t hat had
f or so l ong pl agued t he
command. Not onl y t hat , but t her e wer e no
t ar get - mar ki ng
bombs avai l abl e.
14
If t he r esul t s f r om 1942 f ai l ed t o achi eve anot her st r i ki ng
success, t he command at l east bui l t up i t s st r engt h and gat her ed i nval uabl e
exper i ence f or 1943.
The Br i t i sh di d not conf i ne t hei r ef f or t s sol el y t o ni ght bombi ng . The RAF
expended consi der abl e ef f or t t hr oughout
1941 and 1942 i n dayl i ght oper at i ons,
al t hough t her e was some doubt concer ni ng
t he bomber ' s abi l i t y t o sur vi ve wi t hout
f i ght er
pr ot ect i on. Never t hel ess, af t er t he st ar t
of " Bar bar ossa, " some seni or
130
Br i t i sh of f i cer s hoped t hat t he
RAFcoul d l aunch day bombi ng sor t i es, pr ot ect edby
f i ght er s, agai nst t ar get s on t he cont i nent such as
ai r f i el ds and i mpor t ant f act or i es . In
t hi s way, t he RAF woul d f or ce t he Ger mans t o f i ght . Code name f or t hese
oper at i ons was " Ci r cus. " Unf or t unat el y, t he
r esul t s di d not meet expect at i ons
.
The
Ger mans
wi t hdr ew f i ght er uni t s f r om t he coast t o ai r f i el ds deep i n Fr ance and
Bel gi um. Ther e,
t hey coul d choose whet her t o f i ght or not , and Br i t i sh f i ght er
f or ces, oper at i ng at ext r eme r anges, f acedt he pr obl emt hat Bf 109' s had
conf r ont ed
i n 1940. Mor eover , t her e wer e r el at i vel y f ewt ar get s of i mpor t ance
t o
t he Nazi
war
ef f or t ; t her ef or e, t he Ger mans f ought onl y whenci r cumst ances f avor ed
t hem. "
Ther e was, of cour se, a sol ut i on: ei t her ext end t he r ange
of exi st i ng f i ght er s or
desi gn a l ong- r ange f i ght er speci f i cal l y t o pr ot ect deep penet r at i on
r ai ds . But t he
RAFshowed l i t t l e i nt er est i n dr op t anks,
and
t he
Ai r St af f di smi ssed t he not i on t hat
Br i t i sh i ndust r y coul d devel op a l ong- r ange f i ght er
of suf f i ci ent capabi l i t y t o t ake on
Ger man f i ght er s. In Mar ch 1940, pr odded
by Dowdi ng who ar gued t hat t he RAF
needed a l ong- r ange f i ght er
t o pr ot ect i nt er nat i onal t r ade, Ai r Vi ce Mar shal W. S .
Dougl as, Assi st ant Chi ef of Ai r St af f ,
suggest ed:
It must , gener al l y speaki ng, be r egar ded as axi omat i c t hat t he l ong-
r ange f i ght er must be i nf er i or i n per f or mance t o t he shor t - r ange
f i ght er . . . . The quest i on hadbeenconsi der ed many t i mes, and t he
di scussi on had
al ways t ended t o go i n ci r cl es
.
.
. . The
concl usi on
had been r eached t hat
t he escor t f i ght er
was
r eal l y
a myt h.
Af i ght er
per f or mi ng escor t f unct i ons woul d,
i n
r eal i t y, have
t o be
a hi gh
per f or mance
andheavi l y
ar medbomber .
86
ONTHEBRINK
Unf or t unat el y, Dougl as'
vi ew r ef l ect ed most vi ews i n t he Ai r Mi ni st r y . Por t al
i nf or med Chur chi l l i n J une 1941 t hat a l ong- r ange f i ght er coul d never hol d i t s
own
agai nst
shor t - r ange f i ght er s; t hus, t he f or mer coul d never f l y wher e t hey coul d
expect opposi t i on
f r omt he l at t er . Chur chi l l ' s r esponse t o t hi s
gl oomy concl usi on
was t hat
such a vi ewcl osed " many door s.
" 8'
Conf i r mi ng t he Pr i me Mi ni st er ' s
assessment wer e di sast r ous l osses suf f er ed i n
1942 by RAF
bomber s dur i ng unaccompani ed dayl i ght oper at i ons i nt o Ger many. In
Apr i l 1942, 12 " Lancast er s" made
a
l ow
l evel , deep penet r at i on at t ack on t he
M. A. N. Wor ks i n Augsbur g.
The RAFi ni t i at ed heavy f i ght er sweeps
and
bombi ngs of coast al
t ar get s
t o
di st r act Ger manf i ght er s. Never t hel ess,
over nor t her n
Fr ance,
20 t o 30 Bf 109' s j umped t he " Lancast er s" and
shot down4. The bomber s
encount er ed no f ur t her f i ght er s but l ost t hr ee mor e
ai r cr af t t o f l ak i n t he t ar get
ar ea,
whi l e
t he r emai ni ng f i ve ai r cr af t r ecei ved
damage .
In
December 1942, a maj or
at t ack on t he Phi l l i ps Radi o Wor ks i n Ei ndhoven
l ost 16
per cent of
t he at t acki ng
f or ce of 93 bomber s, whi l e a f ur t her 57 per cent wer e damaged. "
Thus
f ar , we have hi ghl i ght ed t he
at t r i t i on of Ger man ai r uni t s i n Wor l d
War II .
One must
emphasi ze, however , t hat
such l osses wer e endemi c t o
al l ai r f or ces.
Fr omMay t o
Sept ember 1942, Bomber
Command l ost 970 ai r cr af t .
In May, t he
command' s aver age st r engt h
had been417
ai r cr af t . Thus, t he l oss r at e
wor ks out t o
appr oxi mat el y
233 per cent i n a
f i ve- mont h per i od. "
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
In August
1942, anot her ai r f or ce ent er ed t he l i st s agai nst
t he Luf t waf f e. Fl yi ng at
23, 000 f eet , 12
B- 17' s at t acked t he mar shal l i ng yar ds at Rouen,
whi l e
6
ot her s f l ew
agai nst a di ver si onar y
t ar get . Four " Spi t f i r e" squadr ons pr ovi ded pr ot ect i on on t he
r un- i n, whi l e f i ve " Spi t f i r e"
squadr ons cover ed t he wi t hdr awal . 9° No l osses
occur r ed; and by Oct ober
1942, Gener al Ir a Eaker i nf or med Gener al Car l " Tooey"
Spaat z t hat t hi s exper i ence
i ndi cat ed t hat t he B- 17 coul d " cope wi t h t he Ger man
day f i ght er . " In November , Eaker ,
ont he basi s of t he f i r st 1, 100 mi ssi ons, cl ai med
t hat Ger man f i ght er s wer e no mat ch
f or
cl ose
f or mat i ons of Amer i can bomber s;
l osses on t hose f i r st 1, 100 mi ssi ons had t ot al l ed onl y 1 . 6 per cent . Unf or t unat el y,
what Eaker l ef t
unsai d was t he f act t hat most mi ssi ons had enj oyed i nt ensi ve f i ght er
suppor t . Those
at t acks, however , t hat had f l own t o t he f r i nges or beyond
of f i ght er
r ange had
suf f er ed a l oss r at e of 6. 4 per cent , and no mi ssi ons had yet r eached t he
Rei ch. 9' Thus, dayl i ght
and unaccompani ed bomber at t acks onGer many r emai ned
ver y muchi n quest i on.
THEGERMAN
RESPONSE: AIRWARINTHEWEST
Ger many had ent er ed t he war wi t h l ar ge
f i ght er and f l ak f or ces. However , t he ai r
def ense syst em, al t hough not i nt ended t o pr ot ect t he
ci vi l i an
popul at i on,
was behi nd
t he Br i t i sh. Thi s r ef l ect ed t he f act t hat Ger manst r at egy was by
def i ni t i on aggr essi ve
and of f ensi vel y or i ent ed. The Luf t waf f e
t r ai ned i t s f i ght er f or ces f or of f ensi ve
oper at i ons i n enemy ai r space. Consequent l y, t he bur den of def endi ng t he Rei ch f el l
on t he f l ak uni t s . However , t he r el at i ve f r eedomwi t h whi ch RAFbomber s cr ossed
t he ni ght ski es over Ger many dur i ng t he summer of 1940 r ai sed ser i ous quest i ons.
As a r esul t , at al most t he same t i me as t he Br i t i sh, t he Ger mans beganwor k ont he
pr obl emof ni ght cont r ol l ed, aer i al i nt er cept i on.
Fr omt he begi nni ng, t he Ger mans had emphasi zed t he r ol e of f l ak i n t he def ense
of t he Rei ch. Thi s par t i al l y r esul t ed f r oma mi sr eadi ng of t he l essons of Spai n wher e
ant i ai r cr af t had pr oven ef f ect i ve agai nst l ow f l yi ng ai r cr af t , t he pr of i l e of
most
mi ssi ons i n t hat war .
92
But despi t e t he r el at i ve i nef f ect i veness of
f l ak agai nst hi gh
al t i t ude t ar get s, t he Ger mans cont i nued t o pl ace st r ong emphasi s on
f l ak t hr oughout
t he war f or use agai nst enemy ai r cr af t . Two f act or s pl ayed
a r ol e i n t hi s cr uci al
deci si on. Hi t l er f ound ant i ai r cr af t guns mor e
congeni al t han ai r cr af t and mor e
wi t hi n hi s f r ame of r ef er ence . Al so i mpor t ant was
t he f act t hat ant i ai r cr af t guns,
bl ast i ng i nt o t he ni ght , pr ovi ded t he popul at i on
wi t h a psychol ogi cal
cr ut ch no
mat t er howi nef f ect i ve t he weapons mi ght be.
Goebbel s, wi t h suppor t f r om
t he
Gaul ei t er s ( Nazi di st r i ct l eader s) , ber at ed Mi l ch
as l at e as 1943 because t her e wer e
i nsuf f i ci ent ant i ai r cr af t guns f or def ense
of t he ci t i es
. 93
The use of ant i ai r cr af t guns,
however , di d i nvol ve di ver si on
of scar ce al umi numr esour ces t hat woul d have been
bet t er spent onai r cr af t . 94
In J ul y 1940, t he Luf t waf f e est abl i shed t he 1st Ni ght Fi ght er Di vi si on i n
Br ussel s
under Gener al J oseph Kammhuber . 95 The gener al st af f combi ned
var i ous uni t s,
i ncl udi ng a f ewf l i ght s
of Bf 109' s, a f l i ght of Do 17' s, and one
combi ned f l ak-
sear chl i ght r egi ment .
Ini t i al l y, def ense of t he Rei ch i nvol ved
a combi nat i on of
132
ONTHEBRINK
i nt r uder at t acks onBr i t i sh
bases wi t h a sear chl i ght zone
over t he Rei ch f or f i ght er
ai r cr af t t o at t ack i l l umi nat ed bomber s . The
f i r st t act i c showed pr omi se, but Hi t l er
hal t edi nt r uder oper at i ons i nt he summer of 1941 i n vi ewof mount i ng
bomber l osses
agai nst
Russi a . Ther eaf t er , he r ar el y al l owed Ger man ni ght f i ght er s or bomber s t o
at t ack RAF bomber s i n t hei r l ai r . Thus, f r om
1941, Ger many' s ai r def ense
emphasi zedpassi ve oper at i ons wi t h f ewof f ensi ve t hr ust s.
To hel p def end t he f at her l and, Kammhuber ' s def ensi ve measur es
i nvol ved t he
ext ensi ve use of sear chl i ght bel t s i n west er n Ger many wor ki ng i n t andemwi t h Bf
109' s. At t he begi nni ng, t hese ef f or t s depended on accoust i cal devi ces t o l ocat e
appr oachi ng bomber s. Not sur pr i si ngl y, t he f i ght er s achi eved f ewsuccesses si nce
Luf t waf f e f i ght er s coul d har dl y l ocat e t he bomber s, a si t uat i on qui t e anal ogous t o
t he RAF' s i nabi l i t y t o f i nd Ger manci t i es. Begi nni ng i n Oct ober 1940, t he Ger mans
i nt r oduced Wur zbur g r adar uni t s i nt o t he st r uggl e wi t h t he f i r st set i n Hol l and. By
l at e
1941, Kammhuber had est abl i shed a bel t of r adar st at i ons r eachi ng f r om
Denmar k
t o
Hol l and and t hen sout h t hr ough Bel gi um and nor t her n Fr ance. The
syst empr ovi ded ear l y
war ni ng
as
wel l as gr ound cont r ol i nt er cept ( GCI) st at i ons t o
suppor t a gr owi ng f or ce of ni ght f i ght er s wi t h t hei r own r adar set s. Kammhuber
est abl i shed a t i ght syst em i n
whi ch
each GCI st at i on
cont r ol l ed one f i ght er
oper at i ng i n a desi gnat ed ar ea t hat was a por t i on of t he l ar ger bel t . Hel ped
subst ant i al l y by t he exper i ment at i on of Maj or
W. Fal k, Kammhuber ' s ai r
def ense
f or ces r epr esent ed a f or mi dabl e t hr eat t o Bomber Command' s oper at i ons by t he
st ar t of 1942. What had been a t hi n l i ne i n f r ont of t he Ruhr i n ear l y 1941 had
become a def ensi ve syst em of consi der abl e dept h and ext ent by t he f ol l owi ng
year . 96 The syst em di d have one obvi ous weakness. Wi t h onl y one Ger man GCI
st at i onand f i ght er over a gi venar ea, Bomber Commandwas i n a posi t i on t o swamp
t he def enses i f i t coul d f eed i t s ai r cr af t t hr ough t he Ger man def ensi ve syst emi n a
concent r at ed st r eam.
Unf or t unat el y f or Ger many' s ci t i es, t hese ef f or t s r ai sed onl y occasi onal i nt er est
i nt he hi gh commandor i nt he
Luf t waf f e' s
gener al st af f . Thr oughout 1941 and 1942,
most eyes r emai ned cent er ed on Russi a. Ther e wer e admi t t edl y some nast y shocks
i n t he spr i ng of 1942. Heavy ai r r ai ds on Lubeck and Rost ockdi st ur bed some i n t he
hi gh command, and Goebbel s f ound t i me t o r age i n hi s di ar y
about t he dest r uct i on
of ar t by Br i t i sh bar bar i ans . 9' Lubeck, however , was har dl y of
deci si ve i mpor t ance
f or Ger many; andwhi l e t he OKWnot ed t he at t acks on
Rost ock, i t gave t he r ai ds no
par t i cul ar si gni f i cance . 98
The at t ack on Col ogne was anot her
mat t er . The Luf t waf f e' s under est i mat i on of
t he at t acki ng f or ce and a mi scal cul at i on of Hi t l er ' s mood exacer bat ed t he
i mpr essi on
cr eat ed by t he dest r uct i on. " Cal cul at i ng t hat ai r def ense f or ces had
account ed f or 37 Br i t i sh bomber s ( i n f act t he Br i t i sh l ost 40' ° ° ) , t he Luf t waf f e ur ged
t hat i n vi ewof what i t t er med a 50- per cent success, t he Rei ch' s pr opaganda ser vi ces
i ssue a vi ct or y bul l et i n. Not onl y di d Hi t l er r ef use t he r equest i n shar p t er ms
but he
poi nt edl y r emar ked t hat t he bomber f or ce cont ai ned a hi gher number of
ai r cr af t t han
est i mat ed. Di sr egar di ng enemy pr opaganda cl ai ms, Hi t l er ar gued,
t he damage on
t he gr ound i ndi cat edt hat somet hi ng ext r aor di nar y had occur r ed.
133
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
On J une 3, Hi t l er r ecei ved
J eschonnek and gave t he Chi ef of St af f a sever e
dr essi ng down. He r i di cul ed Luf t waf f e
est i mat es on t he bomber f or ce at t acki ng
Col ogne and i t s ef f or t s t o " gl oss over or t o descr i be what was a cat ast r ophe as a
def ensi ve vi ct or y . " In t he conver sat i on, Hi t l er made t wo f ur t her comment s f r aught
wi t h si gni f i cance f or Ger many' s f ut ur e . Fi r st , he suggest ed t hat t he onl y r epl y t o
such " t er r or " r ai ds was r et al i at i on i n ki nd. Al so, Hi t l er poi nt ed out qui t e cor r ect l y
t hat t hese r ai ds si gnal ed an at t empt t o est abl i sh an aer i al second f r ont . He concl uded
hi s di scussi ons wi t h J eschonnek by r emar ki ng t hat : " I never hi de f r omt he t r ut h, but
I must see cl ear l y i n or der t o be abl e t o dr awcor r ect concl usi ons. " ' ° '
For t unat el y f or Bomber Command, despi t e ef f or t s t o l aunch f ur t her 1, 000 pl ane
r ai ds,
i t
di d
not agai n
i n 1942 achi eve t he success of t he Col ogne at t ack. Thus,
Hi t l er di d not dr aw t he cor r ect concl usi ons . As t he OKWWar Di ar y r epor t ed
Br i t i sh f ai l ur es i n descr i pt i ons of wi del y di sper sed ef f or t s, t he
t hr eat
sl i pped
f r om
Ger man consci ousness.
102
Consequent l y, Kammhuber ' s ni ght def ense f or ces
r ecei ved onl y mi ni mal r ei nf or cement s . Fr om116 ai r cr af t assi gned t o ni ght ai r
def ense i n Sept ember 1940, t he f or ce gr ewt o 250 ai r cr af t i n
Sept ember 1941
andt o
345 ai r cr af t i n Sept ember 1942. ' ° s
However , had f ur t her Col ognes occur r ed i n
1942, Kammhuber mi ght have r ecei ved t he r esour ces i n l at e 1942 and ear l y 1943
t hat t he ni ght def enses r ecei ved i n r esponse t o t he Hambur g cat ast r ophe of J ul y
1943, whi ch ul t i mat el y enabl ed t hemt o deci mat e Bomber Commandi near l y 1944.
In r eact i on t o t he spr i ng r ai ds of 1942, t he Ger mans l aunched a ser i es of ni ght
r et al i at or y r ai ds agai nst Br i t i sh ci t i es . Shor t l y af t er t he Rost ock r ai d, a member of
t he Ger manf or ei gnof f i ce announcedt hat t he Luf t waf f e, usi ng t he Baedecker t our i st
gui de, woul d st r i ke t he name of each Br i t i sh ci t y dest r oyed of f t he l i st . ' ° '
The
Br i t i sh i n r esponse t er med t hese summer 1942 ni ght
r ai ds, " Baedecker " r ai ds. In
r eal i t y, t he r ai ds achi eved l i t t l e si gni f i cant
damage; bomber l osses wer e hi gh,
par t i cul ar l y i n t r ai ni ng uni t s whi ch l ost heavi l y among
i nst r uct i onal cr ews. '
° 5
Not
onl y had f ur t her at t r i t i on t aken pl ace i n t he
har d- pr essed bomber f or ces but once
agai n t he Ger mans
had sacr i f i ced l ong- r ange i nt er est s, t he t r ai ni ng of f ut ur e combat
ai r cr ews, f or
shor t - t er mexpedi ence.
In Mar ch 1941,
Gor i ng hel d a maj or conf er ence f or uni t s i n t he
west . Af t er
descr i bi ng
i n
det ai l t he
comi ng, ai r of f ensi ve agai nst Br i t ai n, he secr et l y admi t t ed
t o
Adol f Gal l and and
Wer ner M61der s t hat " t her e' s not a wor d of
t r ut h i n i t . " For ces
woul d t r ansf er
f r omFr ance t o t he Russi an t heat er l eavi ng onl y a
f ewf i ght er s i n t he
west . 106 Al t hough onl y
appr oxi mat el y t wo f i ght er wi ngs r emai ned
i n t he west f or
t he next year and a
hal f , many of t he best f i ght er cr ews
r emai ned i n t hat t heat er .
Si mi l ar l y, t he
best equi pment went t o t he west ; i ndust r y suppl i ed
t he Fw190' s t o
t he west er n t heat er f i r st , and onl y t he l at est model Bf 109' s f ought over Fr ance and
Bel gi um. 101 Smal l i nnumber s ( no mor e t han 180 ai r cr af t ) , t he
west er n
f i ght er
f or ces
wer e among t he best i nt he Luf t waf f e.
The dayl i ght aer i al def ense of t he west soonpul l ed back t o bases deep i n Fr ance
and Bel gi umf r omwhi chGer manf i ght er s met t he " Ci r cus" oper at i ons
on
mor e
or
l ess equal t er ms. At t he f ar t hest ext ensi on of " Spi t f i r e" r ange,
t he Ger mans coul d
choose whet her t o f i ght or
not . Al t hough numer i cal l y super i or i n
oper at i ons over
134
ON
THEBRINK
west er n Eur ope, t he Br i t i sh at no t i me
domi nat edt he Luf t waf f e. Whent hey wi shed
t o do so, t he Ger mans coul d chal l enge t he RAFi n most ef f ect i ve f ashi on
.
Two
exampl es- t he br eakout of t he Schar nhor st and Gnei senau, and t he Di eppe r ai d of
August 1942- under l i ne t he condi t i ons of
t he
1942 west er n
ai r
bat t l e .
In t he f i r st case, t he t wo bat t l e cr ui ser s had l ai n i n Fr ench por t s f or near l y a year
under at t ack f r omBr i t i sh bomber s . Wor r i ed by t he possi bl e l oss of one or bot h of
t hese
shi ps t o
ai r
at t ack and af r ai d t hat t he Al l i es mi ght i nvade Scandi navi a, Hi t l er
or der edt he shi ps t o br eak
t hr ough t he Channel t o Ger many f r omwhence
t hey
coul d
event ual l y move t o nor t her n wat er s. In char ge of t he ai r cover , Gal l anddr ewont wo
f i ght er wi ngs i n Fr ance as wel l as one f r omGer many; he begant he oper at i on wi t h
appr oxi mat el y 250 f i ght er s . In a wel l - coor di nat ed ef f or t , t he Ger mans br ought t he
shi ps home
.
Despi t e t he f act t hat mi nes damaged bot h bat t l e cr ui ser s, Ger man
f i ght er ai r cr af t kept t he RAFf r omi nt er veni ng i n a deci si ve f ashi on. 101
The Di eppe t r agedy does
not needa f ul l r ecapi t ul at i on her e, but t he ai r act i on t hat
day i s wor t hy of not e. In August
1942, Al l i ed f or ces r ai ded t he por t of Di eppe; t he
pur pose of t he at t ack was t o sei ze t he por t and
t est pl anni ng t heor i es f or an event ual
i nvasi on of t he cont i nent . The r ai d i t sel f was a di smal t act i cal f ai l ur e
.
Canadi an
t r oops never got past t he sea
wal l ; most
wer e
but cher ed on t he beaches. As naval
uni t s st r uggl ed t o get t he sur vi vor s
of f ,
t he Luf t waf f e i nt er vened
i n
r i si ng number s
and a maj or ai r bat t l e t ook pl ace . By t he end of t he oper at i on, t he Luf t waf f e had
wr i t t en of f 21 f i ght er s ( 4 Bf 109' s and 17 Fw190' s) and 27 bomber s ( 7 J u 88' s, 1
He 111, and 19 Do 217' s) . ' ° 9 The Br i t i sh, however , i n addi t i on t o consi der abl e
gr ound l osses, l ost 1 dest r oyer t o ai r at t ack and 106 ai r cr af t . " ° Whi l e t he di r ect
i mpact of Di eppe was of l i t t l e i mpor t ance, t he r ai d' s st r at egi c l essons had a cr i t i cal
ef f ect on t he war ' s f ut ur e. The Ger mans dr ewt he wr ong concl usi ons and bel i eved
t hat Di eppe i ndi cat ed t hat at i t s st ar t t he comi ng Al l i ed i nvasi on woul d at t empt t o
sei ze a maj or por t . " ' Such a concl usi on gr eat l y ai ded decept i on pl ans sur r oundi ng
" Over l or d. " Ont he Al l i ed si de, Br i t i sh and Amer i can commander s concl uded t hat
sei zur e of a bui l t up ar ea, such as a por t ci t y, r epr esent ed t oo
hazar dous an
oper at i on. Thus, t hey det er mi ned t o t ake t he por t wi t h t hem( t he " Mul ber r y"
har bor s)
. The second vi t al l esson dr awnwas t hat l ocal ai r super i or i t y over west er n
Fr ance and t he LowCount r i es was i nsuf f i ci ent f or t he success of such a compl ex
oper at i on
.
Rat her , t he Al l i es needed compl et e ai r super i or i t y over west er n
Eur ope,
a ci r cumst ance
t hat onl y t he def eat of t he Luf t waf f e coul dachi eve.
Ther e i s
one par ent het i cal aspect of t he ai r war t hat t ouches t angent i al l y on
t hi s
st udy and t hat
i s
t he
r ol e of ai r cr af t i n t he war on t r ade. For t unat el y f or Br i t ai n,
t he
war at sea r ai sed
mi ni mal i nt er est i n Gor i ng
.
Thus, despi t e a gr eat oppor t uni t y, t he
Rei chsmar schal l ' s wi l l i ngness t o cooper at e wi t h t he
navy was al most
nonexi st ent . " 2 The
gener al st af f
di d
sel ect t wo bomber wi ngs i n t he summer of
1939 t o oper at e agai nst Br i t i sh t r ade, whi l e t he sei zur e of
Nar vi k i n Apr i l 1940
r eveal ed t he l ong- r ange pot ent i al of t he Fw200, t he
" Condor . " Never t hel ess,
despi t e
t he t i me r equi r ed t o t r ai n bomber cr ews i n navi gat i on
over wat er , Gor i ng
usedt hese speci al i zed cr ews i n t he bombi ng
of f ensi ve agai nst Br i t ai n i n t he summer
andf al l of 1940. By Mar ch 1941, Fl i eger f i i hr er At l ant i k
( ai r commander , At l ant i c)
135
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
possessed
a t ot al of 83 ai r cr af t ( 21 " Condor s, " 26 He
111' s, 24 He 115 t or pedo
bomber s, and 12 J u
88/ Me 110 r econnai ssance ai r cr af t ) . By J ul y, t he number had
i ncr eased t o 155 ai r cr af t , a
f or ce har dl y capabl e of i nf l i ct i ng deci si ve damage on
Br i t i sh convoys . Despi t e t he scar ci t y of ai r cr af t , l ong- r ange " Condor s" had a
ser i ous i mpact on t he
naval war . In J anuar y, Ger man ai r cr af t sank 20 shi ps f or a
t ot al
of 78, 517 t ons, whi l e U- boat s sent t o
t he bot t om21 vessel s ( 126, 782
t ons) .
The f ol l owi ng mont h, " Condor s" sank 27
shi ps
( 89, 305 t ons) ;
t her eaf t er , Br i t i sh
count er measur es r est r i ct ed t he t hr eat . " ' Never t hel ess, t hese successes by a smal l
number of ai r cr af t i ndi cat e what t he Ger mans mi ght have achi eved wi t h mor e
r esour ces .
In 1942, t he ef f or t s
of t he Luf t waf f e' s ant i shi ppi ng f or ces cent er ed on nor t her n
wat er s . Fai l ur e i n t he east l ed t he Ger mans t o make a maj or ef f or t t o shut of f
west er n ai d r eachi ng Russi a t hr ough Mur mansk. In 1941, t he Ger mans had
const r uct ed
a
ser i es of ai r f i el ds i n nor t her n Nor way t o suppor t gr ound f or ces
oper at i ng i n t he Ar ct i c . These f i el ds pr oved usef ul when t he Luf t waf f e t ur ned t o
at t acki ng Nor t h Cape convoys. The f i r st aer i al at t acks, l aunched agai nst convoy PQ
16,
managed
t o si nk 7 out of
34 shi ps
.
The
next
oper at i on,
agai nst PQ
17,
was mor e
successf ul and r esul t ed i n dest r uct i on of
23
out of
34
shi ps. For t he Luf t waf f e, t hi s
at t ack r epr esent ed i t s l ast maj or success agai nst Al l i ed shi ppi ng. The next
Mur mansk convoy i n t he f al l possessed ai r cr af t car r i er pr ot ect i on, and Br i t i sh
f i ght er s ext r act ed
heavy
l osses f r omat t acki ng ai r cr af t . Soon t her eaf t er , however ,
t he Luf t waf f e shut down oper at i ons i n Ar ct i c wat er s because t he i nvasi on of Nor t h
Af r i ca r esul t ed i n t he t r ansf er of ant i shi ppi ng uni t s f r om t he Nor t h Cape t o t he
Medi t er r anean. "
4
In t he f i nal anal ysi s, Ger manef f or t s t o at t ack Br i t i sh shi ppi ng by
ai r achi eved di spr opor t i onat e successes f or t he l evel of ef f or t expended.
Never t hel ess,
whi l e
suggest i ng what t he Luf t waf f e mi ght have accompl i shed wi t h
mor e r esour ces, t he war agai nst Al l i ed commer ce never ar oused Gbr i ng' s i nt er est ,
and t he oppor t uni t y vani shed.
GERMANPRODUCTION, 1942:
PERFORMANCEANDIMPLICATIONS
Mi l ch' s
1942 pr oduct i on
pr ogr am, t he so- cal l ed " Gor i ng pr ogr am, " hadl ar gel y
been pr edi cat ed on t he
wi nni ng of t he Russi an campai gn.
" s
The ar my' s f ai l ur e i n
f r ont of Moscowr ai sed
ser i ous di f f i cul t i es f or t he possi bi l i t y of i ncr easi ng ai r cr af t
pr oduct i on
. Heavy equi pment l osses i n Russi a, combi ned wi t h ongoi ng mi l i t ar y
oper at i ons i n t he east , gave Hi t l er no choi ce but t o swi t ch i ndust r i al pr i or i t i es back
t o ar my pr oduct i on
. " '
Thr ee weeks af t er Hi t l er ' s deci si on, Mi l ch not ed t o
J eschonnek what t he i mpact
woul d
be:
136
( a) Inst ead of a t r ansf er of
wor ker s f r om t he ar my t o
Luf t waf f e t asks, a heavy wi t hdr awal of
ai r
f or ce
wor ker s
[ i n
f avor
of
t he ar my] .
( b) Indust r i al
capaci t y al r eady sur r ender ed by t he
ar my
t o t he ai r f or ce t o be r et ur ned
.
( c) Unexpect edl y st r ong
l i mi t at i ons on r aw mat er i al
al l ocat i ons- f or exampl e, onl y one- hal f of expect ed copper
.
( d) Ext r aor di nar y r educt i ons i n const r uct i on
pr oj ect s i n
suppor t of weapons and i ndust r y .
( e)
Si mi l ar di f f i cul t i es and no adj ust ment s wi t h t he
machi ne
t ool
i ndust r y .
117
ONTHEBRINK
Thomas est i mat ed t hat pr oduct i on pr i or i t i es woul d mean
t hat
t he
ai r cr af t i ndust r y
coul dcompl et e onl y 60 per cent of t he " Gor i ng pr ogr am.
" " s
In
f act ,
no
such r educt i on occur r ed. Despi t e t he f act t hat t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y
possessed t he same wor k f or ce and al umi numal l ocat i on t hat i t had had i n 1941,
ai r cr af t
pr oduct i onbegana dr amat i c accel er at i on t hat woul dcont i nue i nt o 1943 and
1944. Fr oman aver age
mont hl y pr oduct i on of 981 ai r cr af t i n 1941 ( 311 f i ght er s and
363 bomber s) , Ger man
pr oduct i on r ose t o 1, 296per mont h i n 1942, a 32 per cent
i ncr ease ( 434 f i ght er s, 39. 5 per cent ; and 545
bomber s, 50 per cent ) . In December
1942, pr oduct i on r eached
1, 548 ai r cr af t , a 58 per cent i ncr ease over December
1941, i ncl udi ng 554 f i ght er s ( 110
per cent ) and 674 bomber s ( 69 per cent ) .
1 ' 9
As
suggest ed ear l i er , t hi s dr amat i c i ncr ease was l ar gel y due t o one man, Er har d
Mi l ch.
To begi n wi t h, Mi l ch est abl i shed a cl ose wor ki ng r el at i onshi p wi t h t he new
ar mament s czar , Al ber t Speer , who had succeeded Dr . Fr i t z Todt af t er t he l at t er ' s
deat h i n an ai r cr af t cr ash. In addi t i on t o Todt ' s power s, Speer r ecei ved f ar wi der
l at i t ude t han Todt had ever possessed. Onl y t he Luf t waf e r emai ned i ndependent of
Speer ' s di r ect cont r ol , al t hough
cooper at i on bet ween Speer and Mi l ch r emoved
much
of
t he f r i ct i on char act er i zi ng
pr evi ous r el at i onshi ps .
' 2°
Never t hel ess, t he
ar my' s desper at e condi t i on i n t he east and
hi gh
ammuni t i on expendi t ur es i n t he
gr eat l and bat t l es on
t he east er n f r ont f or ced Mi l ch t o make- do wi t h what t he
Luf t waf f e had r ecei ved i npr evi ous year s
.
Whi l e t he Ger mans possessed si gni f i cant r esour ces of al umi num, ai r cr af t
pr oduct i on f aced ser i ous compet i t i on f r om ot her user s . In 1941, 5, 116 t ons of
al umi numper mont h ( 16 per cent of al l al l ocat i ons) went t o ammuni t i onpr oduct i on
f or t he t hr ee ser vi ces ( f or
f uses, i ncendi ar i es, t r acer s, et c . ) . Mi l chnot ed t o Gor i ng
t hat t hi s equal l ed
t he al umi numnecessar y t o pr oduce 1, 000 Do 217' s or 4, 000 Bf
109' s. ' 2I Al t oget her , ai r cr af t const r uct i on r ecei ved 74 per cent
of al umi num
pr oduct i on.
' 22
Fr omt he l ast quar t er of 1941, al l ocat i ons t o
ai r cr af t pr oduct i on began
t o r un
ser i ousl y i n ar r ear s and t hat si t uat i on r emai ned
const ant t hr oughout 1942. '
23
Whi l e Mi l ch
waged a r unni ng bat t l e t o i ncr ease
al umi numal l ocat i ons f or t he
ai r cr af t
i ndust r y, he under t ook subst ant i ve measur es
t o i mpr ove manuf act ur i ng
ef f i ci ency. Fi r st , he cr acked down on
wast ef ul pr act i ces t hat had char act er i zed
Ger man i ndust r y; al umi num
al l ocat i ons t o manuf act ur er s nowdepended on
act ual
use i n t he pr oduct i on of
each ai r cr af t r at her t han an absur dl y hi gh
i ndust r y- wi de
aver age set by t he Ai r
Mi ni st r y . By 1943, r ecycl i ng of scr ap al umi numas
wel l as
cr ashed ai r cr af t had i ncr eased
avai l abl e al umi numby 57 per cent . Al so,
i mpor t ant
was t he
f act t hat subst i t ut e mat er i al s, such
as st eel al l oys and wood, st r et ched
al umi num
al l ocat i ons.
' 24
Success was dr amat i c . In 1942, wi t h
15, 000 f ewer t ons of
137
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
al umi num, Ger man i ndust r y pr oduced 3, 780 mor e
ai r cr af t wei ghi ng a t ot al of
28, 628 mor e
t ons .
i zs
On t he l abor si de
of ai r cr af t pr oduct i on, Mi l ch and i ndust r y l eader s achi eved
si mi l ar r esul t s. Thr ough
1941, t he ai r cr af t
i ndust r y
had
r ecei ved
a di spr opor t i onat e
shar e of l abor r esour ces, undoubt edl y because of Gor i ng' s posi t i on as
l eader of t he
Four Year Pl an. In l at e 1941, however , Hi t l er ended t he Luf t waf f e' s f avor ed
posi t i on; and over t he cour se of 1942 despi t e a
massi ve
i nf l ux of
f or ei gn l abor er s
i nt o Ger many, t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y r ecei ved f ewnewwor ker s
. 126
Begi nni ng i n t he
summer of 1941, Mi l ch had demanded t hat t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y r at i onal i ze
pr oduct i on met hods and use r aw mat er i al al l ocat i ons as wel l as i t s wor k f or ce
bet t er . The r esul t of such pr essur e was a st eady i ncr ease i n pr oduct i vi t y f r om1941
t hr ough 1943 ( al t hough not near l y as mar ked as i n t he Uni t ed St at es) as Ger man
i ndust r y i nt r oduced mass
pr oduct i on met hods .
' 2'
But no mat t er howr evol ut i onar y
t he new met hods wer e i n t er ms of Ger man i ndust r i al pr act i ces, ai r cr af t
manuf act ur er s
never came cl ose t o equal l i ng what occur r ed i n t he Uni t ed St at es
wher e, as one hi st or i an of t he st r at egi c bombi ng of f ensi ve has not ed, Amer i can
i ndust r y was t ur ni ng out ai r cr af t
l i ke " cans
of beans. " I"
Despi t e Mi l ch' s dr i ve t o i ncr ease pr oduct i on, t her e r emai ned consi der abl e
skept i ci smi n t he gener al st af f as t o t he si ze of t he pr oposed pr ogr am. As l at e as
Mar ch 1942, J eschonnek obj ect ed t o Mi l ch' s ur gi ngs f or a r api d i ncr ease i n f i ght er
pr oduct i on. He r emar ked, " I do not know what I shoul d do wi t h mor e t han 360
f i ght er s! " " ' By J une, t he Chi ef of St af f had modi f i edhi s opi ni on
and
wr i t t enMi l ch
t hat
t he
gener al st af f f or esawa needf or
a
mont hl y pr oduct i on
of
at l east 900 f i ght er s
by t he wi nt er of 1943- 44. ' 3° Never t hel ess, i n vi ewof t he at t r i t i on r at es of 1940 and
1941, J eschonnek' s Mar chcomment can onl y be descr i bed as r emar kabl e
.
The i mpact of Mi l ch' s success was f avor abl e f or
t he shor t r un. Gi ven t he
di f f i cul t i es t hat t he
Luf t waf f e
had
exper i enced at t he end of 1941, t hi s was not
sur pr i si ng
.
Wi t hheavy commi t ment s i n Russi a, i ndi cat or s such as uni t st r engt h as a
per cent age of aut hor i zed st r engt h under went gr adual i mpr ovement over t he spr i ng
and summer of 1942. ' 3' Encour agi ng al so f or f r ont l i ne commander s was t he f act
t hat oper at i onal
r eady r at es al so began a sl owcl i mb f r om t he dept hs of wi nt er
1941- 42. Fr oma
l owof 39 per cent f or al l combat ai r cr af t ( 44
per cent f or f i ght er s
and
31
per cent f or bomber s) i n l at e J anuar y 1942, t he i n- commi ssi on
r at e had r i sen
t o 69 per cent f or
combat ai r cr af t by l at e J une ( 75 per cent f or
f i ght er s and 66 per cent
f or bomber s) .
Ther eaf t er , however , heavy oper at i ons
i n t he east and commi t ment s
over
gr eat di st ances r esul t ed i n a f al l i n over al l
oper at i onal r eady r at es t o as l ow as
59 per cent and no hi gher t han
65
per cent f or t he r emai nder
of
t he
year .
132
If t he
Luf hvaf f e had r ecover ed some st r engt h, t he pat i ent was st i l l i n
ser i ous condi t i on.
The most di scour agi ng of t he 1942 i ndi cat or s
conf r ont i ng t he Luf t waf f e was t he
f act t hat i ncr eased ai r cr af t l osses accompani ed r i si ng
pr oduct i on. In f act , by J une
1942 t he Luf t waf f e
possessed onl y 60 mor e combat ai r cr af t t han
one year ear l i er
( J une 21, 1941: 4, 882
ai r cr af t ; J une 20, 1942: 4, 942 ai r cr af t ) .
For t he r emai nder of
1942 as
commi t ment s mul t i pl i ed,
ai r cr af t st r engt h f el l unt i l by t he
end of t he year
t he Ger mans had
l ess t han 4, 400 combat
ai r cr af t
. " '
Thus, not
onl y wer e t he
138
ONTHEBRINK
Ger mans l osi ng mor e
ai r cr af t i n numer i cal t er ms but at t r i t i on i n absol ut e t er ms now
t ook pl ace
at a f ast er r at e t han i n 1941. The at t r i t i on t aki ng
pl ace t hr ough Oct ober
1942
( see Tabl e XXIX13^)
under scor es t he demands on t he
Luf t waf f e as t he
Wehr macht made i t s l ast l unge f or war d
. By t he end of Oct ober , i n
t er ms of i t s
oper at i onal r eady r at e,
i t s f or ce st r uct ur e, and i t s at t r i t i on
t hus f ar i n t he year , t he
Luf t waf f e
was danger ousl y over ext ended.
CONCLUSION
The
Luf t waf f e' s pr obl ems i n 1942
di r ect l y r ef l ect ed
t he cat ast r ophi c f ai l ur e of
Ger man gr and st r at egy i n Russi a. In
a l ar ger sense, however , t he r oot of t hose
pr obl ems l ay i n t he unj ust i f i ed over conf i dence
t hat had mar ked Ger manst r at egi c
and i ndust r i al pl anni ng af t er t he st unni ng
vi ct or y over Fr ance. Because t he Ger mans
had done so l i t t l e t o expand
pr oduct i on despi t e cont r ol over most of Eur ope,
t he
Rei ch' s gr ound and ai r
f or ces f aced enemi es who
possessed a gr owi ng
mat er i al
super i or i t y . Hi t l er ' s gambl e i n
t he summer of 1942 i n t he east f ur t her
exacer bat ed
Ger man numer i cal i nf er i or i t y
. For
t he
Luf t waf f e, t he i mbal ance was
becomi ng
unmanageabl e. Di sr egar di ng
t he di f f i cul t i es i n Russi a, t he Luf t waf f e conf r ont ed
i n
t he west an
Angl o- Amer i can i ndust r i al capaci t y t hat i n t he
l ast quar t er of 1942
out pr oduced Ger many by 250
per cent i n si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er s, by
196 per cent i n
t wi n- engi ne ai r cr af t ,
and by 20, 077. 7 per cent i n f our - engi ne
bomber s. Whi l e some
of t he West ' s pr oduct i on
went t o t he Paci f i c and t o Russi a, t he r i si ng
wave of Al l i ed
pr oduct i on was
becomi ng cl ear . " ' It woul d soon swamp
Ger many' s aer i al
def ender s .
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
140
TABLEXXIX
Ger man
Losses, Al l
Causes- J anuar y- Oct ober 1942
Ai r cr af t
Wr i t t enOf f
Ai r cr af t
Damaged: J anuar y- Oct ober
1942
Not Repar abl e
at Uni t Level
Due t o
Not Due
Enemy
t o Enemy
Act i on Act i on Tot al
Repar abl e
Uni t
Level
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
at
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on
Tot al
Tot al
Ai r cr af t
Damaged
Cl ose Recce
43 34 77
37 49 86
163
Long- Range
Recce 47
116 163 20 38
58 221
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 202
681 883 133
470 603 1, 486
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
88
181 269 39
118 157
426
Bomber s
329
566 895
90 294
384 1, 279
St ukas
46
83
129 28
50 78
207
Tr anspor t
21 90
111
23
143 166
277
Li ai son
10 91
101
14
65
79 180
Coast al
0
3
3 2
4 6
9
TOTAL
786
1, 845
2, 631
386
1, 231
1, 617
4, 248
Aver age
St r engt h,
J an1942
Due t o
Enemy
Act i on
Not Due
t o Enemy
Act i on
Tot al
Per cent of
J anuar y
St r engt h
Cl ose
Recce 280
70
73 143
51%
Long- Range
Recce
400
236 136
372 93%
Si ngl e- Engi ne
Fi ght er s 1, 500
868
866 1, 734
115
. 6%
Twi n- Engi ne
Fi ght er s
490 331
244 575
117. 3%
Bomber s
1, 750
1, 101
648 1, 749 99. 9%
St ukas 440
315
162 477
108. 4%
Tr anspor t
970 250
256 506
52. 2%
Li ai son
270
73 91
164 60. 7%
Coast al
230 33
40 73
31 . 7%
TOTAL
6, 330
3, 277 2, 516
5, 793 91. 5%
Not es
1 . KTBOKW, Vol 11, ed. by Andr eas
Hi l l gr uber , p . 166.
2 . BA/ MA, RL 2 III/ 1181- 1185, Fl ugzeugunf al l e and Ver l ust e bei den f l i egenden Ver Wnden.
3 .
BA/ MA
, RL
2111/ 1025,
6. Abt . ( III
A) , Fr ont - Fl ugzeug- Ver l ust e, 1942.
4 . Ibi d .
5. Ibi d.
6. Tr evor - Roper , Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat , Di r ect i ve #39, 8. 12. 41 . , p . 107 .
7 . Al ber t Seat on, The Russo- Ger man War , 1941- 45( NewYor k, 1971) , p . 212.
8 . Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, pp . 206, 210.
9. Er i ckson, The Road t o St al i ngr ad, pp . 297- 98; see al so Kur t von Ti ppel ski r ch, Geschi cht e des
Zwei t enWel t kr i eges ( Bonn, 1951) , p . 237.
10. See Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, Vol . III, ent r i es f or 29. 12. 41 . , 30. 12. 41 . , 31 . 12. 41 . , 2. 1 . 42. , whi ch
begi n wi t h t he f ol l owi ng comment s: 29. 12. : " Ei n sehr schwer er Tag! " ; 30 . 12. : " Wi eder ei n schwer er
Tag! " ; 31. 12. : " Wi eder ei n schwer er Tag! " ; and 2. 1 . : " Ei nTag wi l der Kampf e. "
11. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, p . 216.
12.
Her mann
Pl ocher , The Ger man Ai r For ce Ver sus Russi a, 1942, USAF
Hi st or i cal
St udy
No
. 154
( Ai r Uni ver si t y, 1967) , pp . 69- 70.
13.
Hal der ,
Kr i egst agebuch,
Vol
.
III,
ent r y f or
22
. 2 . 42. , p . 405.
14.
Ibi d. ,
ent r y f or
25. 3 . 42
. , p . 418.
15. Bur khar t Mul l et - Hi l l ebr and, Das Heer 1933- 1945, Vol . III, Der Zwei f r ont enkr i eg ( Fr ankf ur t am
Mai n, 1969) , Tabl e 2 " Ver l ust e, Panzer kampf wagen, " Bl au, The Ger man Campai gn i n Russi a, p . 41;
and Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, p . 258.
16. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor Moskau, p . 258.
17. Ir vi ng, The Ri se andFal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 144.
18. Pl ocher , The Ger manAi r For ce Ver sus Russi a, 1942, pp . 105, 107.
19. Ibi d. , p . 13.
20. Ibi d. , pp . 68, 139- 40. See al so von Ri cht hof en' s or der f or t he combi ng out
of 30 per cent
of
r ear
ser vi ce per sonnel , BA/ MA, RL8/ 49, Kor psbef ehl des komm.
Gener al des VIII
.
Fl . K. , 25. 2 . 42. ; and
Ri cht hof en' s di sappr oval i n Oct ober 1942of Gbr i ng' s i nt ent i on t o est abl i sh 20
Luf t waf f e f i el d di vi si ons :
" Luf t f l ot t e 4 vor St al i ngr ad
:
unt er Gen.
Ober st Fr hr .
v .
Ri cht hof en, " AFSHRC: K 113. 309- 3, v . 9,
di ar y ent r y f or 15. 10. 42 .
21 . " Ver sor gung Demj anskandChol m, " Mor zi k Nr
227, 2. 2. 56. , AFSHRS: K 113. 3018- 4.
22. " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y
Tabl es, August 1938- Apr i l 1945, " AHB, Tr ansl at i on No.
VII/ 107.
23. Seat on, The Russo Ger man War , p .
258.
24. Hans- Adol f
J acobsen, Der Zwei t e Wel t kr i eg i n Chr oni k andDokument en ( Dar mst adt ,
1962) , p
.
690.
25. Rei nhar dt , Di e Wende vor
Moskau, p . 259.
26. Bl au, The Ger manCampai gn
i n
Russi a,
p. 138.
27. Tr evor - Roper , Hi t l er
Di r ect s t he War , Di r ect i ve #41, 5. 4 . 42. , p .
116
.
Ther e was, of cour se, a
cor ol l ar y obj ect i ve i n gai ni ng
cont r ol of t he oi l . Sei zur e of t he oi l i n t he
Caucasus woul d deny t hat oi l
t o
t he Russi ans.
28. Shor t ages i n di esel f uel f or t he navy
had become so acut e by t he end of 1941
t hat one aut hor has
descr i bed t he 1942per i od
as one of " cr i si s" i n whi cht he navy, i ncl udi ng t he U- boat
f or ces, l i ved " hand
t o mout h. " See Wi l hel mMei er - Domber g,
Di e Ol ver sor gung der Kr i egsmar i ne 1935
bi s 1945 ( Fr ei bur g,
1973) , pp . 68- 71.
29. Tr evor - Roper , Hi t l er Di r ect s t he War , Di r ect i ve #41, 5 . 4 . 42. , p.
116.
30. Hal der , Kr i egst agebuch, Vol . III, ent r y f or 19. 5 . 42. , p .
444
.
31
. Er i ckson, TheRoadt o St al i ngr ad,
pp .
345- 47.
32
.
The Gr eat Pat r i ot i c War of
t he
Sovi et Uni on
1941- 1945, AGener al Out l i ne ( Moscow, 1974) , pp .
119- 20.
33. Ri cht hof en, " Kr i egst agebuch, " 12. 7 . 42.
34
. Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, pp . 178- 79.
35. Bl au, The Ger man
Campai gni n Russi a, p . 143 .
36. The Gr eat Pat r i ot i c War of
t he Sovi et Uni on, p . 125 .
37. Ti ppel ski r ch,
Geschi cht edes Zwei t en Wel t kr i eges, p . 283
.
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
38. Bl au,
The Ger manCampai gni nRussi a, pp . 146- 48.
39. The
Gr eat Pat r i ot i c War of t he Sovi et Uni on, p . 126.
40. KTBOKW, Vol . 11, ent r y
f or 25. 6. 42. , p . 448.
41. Tr evor - Roper , Bl i t zkr i eg t o Def eat ,
Di r ect i ve #45, 23. 7 . 42. , p . 129.
42. Er i ckson, The Roadt o St al i ngr ad, p . 356.
43. Ri cht hof en, " Tagebuch, " ent r y f or 21. 8. 42 . ; " Luf t f l ot t e 4 vor St al i ngr ad: unt er Gen. Ober st
Fr hr .
v .
Ri cht hof en, " AFSHRC: K 113 . 309- 3, v . 9.
44. KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r i es f or 2. 7. 42 . , 6. 7
. ,
9. 7 . , 10. 7
. ,
13 . 7
. ,
14. 7 . , 16. 7 . , 17 . 7 . , 18 . 7 . , 19. 7 . ,
20. 7 . , 24. 7. , 26. 7. , 27. 7 . , 28. 7 .
45. These t abul at i ons ar e based on t he aut hor ' s cal cul at i on of l osses r epor t ed t o t he Luf t waf f e
quar t er mast er gener al i n BA/ MA, RL 2 III/ 1181, 1182, 1183. These r epor t s i ndi cat e t he day on whi ch
ai r cr af t wer e l ost , al t hough t he mont hl y l oss r epor t s t he quar t er mast er gener al submi t t ed t o t he gener al
st af f r ef l ect ed t he day onwhi cht he l oss r epor t ar r i ved i n Ber l i n. Ther e was gener al l y a f our - day t o one-
mont h sl i ppage bet ween t he act ual l oss and i t s r epor t t o Ber l i n. Thus, t he aut hor ' s r et abul at i on f or t he
1942- 43 per i od
r epr esent s t he
most
accur at e
pi ct ur e t hat one
canget of act ual l osses whent hey occur r ed
.
One must add t hat , as i n al l admi ni st r at i ve or gani zat i ons,
not
ever y l oss was r epor t ed, al t hough t he
i ncent i ve t o do so was st r ong si nce i t was on t he basi s of t hese l oss r epor t s t hat t he suppl y ser vi ce i ssued
r epl acement ai r cr af t . Unf or t unat el y, di r ect l oss t abl es f or 1944 seemt o have been l ost ; consequent l y,
some f i gur es f or 1944 ar e mor e di f f i cul t t o speci f i cal l y t abul at e . Never t hel ess, dr awi ng on t he
i nf or mat i on cont ai ned i n ot her t abl es, one can est abl i sh a cl ear t r end t o Luf t waf f e l osses . We shal l , of
cour se, do so i n succeedi ng chapt er s .
46. Per cent ages based on aver age number of squadr ons ser vi ng on t he east er n f r ont , August 1942:
KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r i es f or 13. 8. 42. , 17. 8. 42. , 22. 8. 42.
47. Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, pp . 178- 79.
48. KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r y f or 26. 6. 42. , p . 452.
49. See, i n par t i cul ar , v . Ri cht hof en' s di scussi on wi t h t hose i n char ge of t he suppl y syst em i n
" Luf t f l ot t e 4 vor St al i ngr ad unt er Gen. Ober st Fr hr . v . Ri cht hof en, " ent r y f or 15. 8. 42 . , AFSHRC: K
113 . 309- 3, v . 9.
50. Ti ppel ski r ch, Geschi cht e des Zwei t en Wel t kr i eges, p . 285; and Bl au, The
Ger man Campai gn i n
Russi a, pp . 155- 56.
51. Pl ocher , The Ger manAi r For ce Ver sus Russi a, pp . 217, 229.
52. " Luf t f l ot t e 4 vor St al i ngr ad unt er
Gen. Ober st Fr hr . v . Ri cht hof en, " ent r y f or 23. 8. 42. ,
AFSHRC: K 113. 309- 3, v . 9.
53. Manf r edKehr i g, St al i ngr ad, Anal yse
andDokument at i on ei ner Schl acht ( St ut t gar t , 1974) , p . 120 .
54. Ger man bomber l osses f or t hi s
per i od wer e: 676 ai r cr af t wr i t t en of f , i ncl udi ng 633 f i ght er s.
Ger man st r engt h on Apr i l 30 was: 1, 319 bomber s and 1, 302 f i ght er s . These f i gur es
ar e based on t he
aut hor ' s cal cul at i ons of Luf t waf f e l oss t abl es i n BA/ MA, RL 2III/ 1181, 1182, 1183,
and
Ai r
Hi st or i cal
Br anch, " Luf t waf f e St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y Tabl es, August 1938- Apr i l 1945, "
Tr ansl at i on No.
VII/ 107.
55. Mar shal
of t he Royal Ai r For ce Lor d Tedder , Wi t hPr ej udi ce ( London, 1966) , p.
244.
56. Ibi d. , pp . 106- 07, 116,
163, 194.
57. Ibi d. , p .
217 .
58. Why
t he Br i t i sh ar my shoul d have had exceedi ng
di f f i cul t y i s exami ned i n Br i an
Bond' s
scr upul ousl y accur at e account of t he i nt er war per i od:
Br i t i sh Mi l i t ar y Pol i cy Bet ween t he Two
Wor l d
War s
( Oxf or d, 1980) . For anot her par t i ci pant ' s eval uat i on
of t he Br i t i sh ar my i n 1941- 42, see
Er wi n
Rommel , TheRommel Paper s, ed. by B.
H. Li ddel l Har t ( London, 1953) , pp . 132, 185, 211,
222, 262,
298, 308, 332, 341, 366, 519- 20, 523
.
59. Ri char d Suchenwi r t h,
Hi st or i cal Tur ni ng Poi nt s i n t he Ger man Ai r
For ce War Ef f or t , USAF
Hi st or i cal St udi es No . 89( Maxwel l
AFB, 1959) , p . 90.
60. Kessel r i ng, ASol di er ' s Recor d, pp . 123- 24.
61. KTBOKW, Vol
. II, ent r y f or 10. 5. 42. , p . 348.
62. Thi s i s especi al l y t r ue consi der i ng
t he f act
t hat
Rommel ' s suppl y l i nes r anf r omGr eece t o Bengasi
i n t he summer of 1942
. For Ger manl ogi st i cal di f f i cul t i es
i n t he t heat er , see vanCr evel d,
Suppl yi ng War ,
Chapt er VI .
63. KTBOKW, Vol . 11, p .
348.
64.
See, i n par t i cul ar , Tedder ' s
comment s i n Wi t hPr ej udi ce, p .
313.
65. The f ol l owi ng
summar y of event s
i s basedont he account i n
Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG,
Vol .
I, and Ant hony
Ver r i er , The Bomber
Of f ensi ve ( London, 1968) . For a
di scussi onof t he devel opment
of
Br i t i sh and Amer i can
ai r doct r i nes, see Appendi x
I .
142
ONTHEBRINK
66. Si r Ar t hur Har r i s, Bomber
Of f ensi ve ( NewYor k, 1947) , p . 36.
67. Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG,
Vol . I, p . 195 .
68. Har r i s, Bomber Of f ensi ve, p . 36.
69. The
change i n Pr i me Mi ni st er f r omNevi l l e Chamber l ai n t o
Wi nst on Chur chi l l undoubt edl y
cont r i but ed t o t he deci si onf or a mor e r ut hl ess bombi ng pol i cy .
70. Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . I, p . 216.
71. For t he f ul l But t r epor t , see Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG,
Vol .
IV, Appendi x
13, r epor t by Mr .
But t t o Bomber Commandonhi s exami nat i onof ni ght phot ogr aphs, 18. 8. 41 .
72. Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . I, p . 185.
73.
PROAIR14/ 1925, l et t er f r omPor t al t o t he Under Secr et ar y of St at e, Ai r Mi ni st r y, 11 . 9. 40.
74. PROPREM3/ 31, COS ( 41) 86 ( 0) , 28. 5 . 41 . , " The Pr esent War Si t uat i on Mai nl y Insof ar as i t
Rel at es t o
Ai r . "
75. PROAIR
8/ 440, Lor d Cher wel l t o t he Pr i me Mi ni st er , 30. 3. 42. See Ver r i er , The Bomber
Of f ensi ve, pp . 97- 98, f or t he f ai l ur e of t he Br i t i sh Cabi net t o consi der ser i ousl y
Lor d Ti zar d' s obj ect i ons
t o Cher wel l ' s cal cul at i ons.
76. Fr ankl and and Webst er , SAOAG,
Vol .
I, pp .
185- 86.
77. Ibi d. , p . 346.
78. See par t i cul ar l y t he Hams memor anda of 17. 6
. 42. , 28
. 6
. 42
. , and
3
. 9
. 42
. , as
wel l
as
Leo Amer y' s
shar p anal ysi s of t he weaknesses i n Har r i s' ar gument s ( l et t er t o Chur chi l l , 1 . 9. 42
. )
i n PROPREM3/ 19.
79. For Hams' out r age at t he di ver si on of bomber ai r cr af t t o t he Medi t er r anean as wel l as Tedder ' s
r epl y, see Tedder , Wi t hPr ej udi ce, pp . 253- 54.
80. PROPREM3/ 19, Har r i s memor andum17. 6. 42 . Thi s i s i ndeed a r emar kabl e mi scal cul at i onof t he
r ol e of Coast Command i n wi nni ng t he Bat t l e of t he At l ant i c . For t hat t ask, see Sl essor , The Cent r al
Bl ue, Chapt er XVII .
81.
Webst er
and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . I, pp . 387- 88.
82. Ibi d. , p . 391- 94.
83. Ibi d. , pp. 406- 11.
84. Ibi d. , p . 432.
85. Ibi d. , pp .
235- 36.
86. PROAIR16/ 1024, Mi nut es of t he 20t h Meet i ng of t he Ai r Fi ght i ng Commi t t ee, hel d at Ai r
Mi ni st r y, Whi t e
Hal l ,
12
. 3 . 40.
87. Webst er and
Fr ankl and, SAOAG,
Vol . I, p . 177.
88. Ibi d. , pp . 439- 13.
89. Thi s cal cul at i on
i s
based on
t he f i gur es
avai l abl e i n Tabl e Aof Max Hast i ng' s Bomber Command
( NewYor k, 1979) , and Appendi x 39of Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . IV, p . 428.
90. Wesl ey F. Cr aven
and
J ames
L .
Cat e, The
Ar my
Ai r
For ces i n Wor l d War
J l ,
Vol . I ( Chi cago,
1948) , pp . 663- 64.
91. Thomas A. Fabyani c, " ACr i t i que of Ai r War Pl anni ng, 1941- 44, " ( Sai nt Loui s Uni ver si t y
di sser t at i on, 1973) , pp . 125- 27 .
92. " Auswi r kung der Er f ahr ungen i n Spani en, " Aus ei ner Ausar bei t ung vonGener al l t .
Gal l and uber
di e Luf t ver t ei di gung des Rei ches, 1946, AFSHRC: K 113. 302, v . I .
93.
Goebbel s, The Goebbel s Di ar i es, ent r y f or 10 . 4. 43 . , p . 322. For Hi t l er ' s demand t hat
heavy
emphasi s r emai n on
t he f l ak pr ogr am, see BA/ MA, RL 3/ 60 Bespr echungsnot i z nr
46/ 42, 6. 3. 42.
Kar i nhal l , Gor i ng, Mi l ch,
J eschonnek,
v .
Br auchi t sch( Haupt ) .
94.
For
a
f ur t her di scussi onof t hi s poi nt , see t he f ol l owi ng
sect i on.
95. The
f ol l owi ng di scussi on of Ger man ni ght f i ght er t act i cs
i s dr awn f r omt he ext ensi ve r evi ew of
ni ght
ai r
def ense
wr i t t en f or t he RAFby Gener al J osef Kammhuber
at t he end of t he war , her eaf t er
r ef er r ed t o as
" Devel opment of Ni ght Fi ght i ng. "
96.
See t he maps del i neat i ng t he expansi on
of t he syst emi n Ver r i er , The Bomber Of f ensi ve, p .
175
.
For a st udy
di scussi ng t he expansi on of t he ni ght def ense syst em
as wel l as r equi r ement s f or
equi pment ,
see
: BA/ MA, RL 7/ 579, " Denkschr i f t
f i ber di e Luf t ver t ei di gung Her bst and
Wi nt er 1941/ 42 i mBer ei ch
Luf t waf f enbef ehl shaber Mi t t e, "
Luf t waf f enbef ehl shaber Mi t t e, Fi i hr ungsabt ei l ung
I, 116 Nr . 2500/ 41,
1 . 8. 41 . See al so Ai r Mi ni st r y,
TheRi se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce,
pp . 185- 92
97. Goebbel s,
The Goebbel s Di ar y, pp. 154, 155, 158, 160, 186, 193.
98. KTBOKW, Vol . 11, ent r i es f or 25. 4. , 26. 4. , and 27. 4. 42. , pp . 328- 29.
99. The f ol l owi ng account i s based on KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r i es f or 31. 5 . , 2 . 6. , and
3. 6. 42 . , pp .
394, 398- 400.
143
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
100. Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . I, p . 407 .
101 . KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r y f or 3 . 6. 42 . , p . 400. See al so Ni col aus vonBel ow, Al s Hi t t er s Adj ut ant
1937- 1945( Mai nz, 1980) , pp . 311- 12.
102. Begi nni ng i n J ul y 1942, Luf t waf f e r epor t s wer e r ecor ded i n t he OKWWar Di ar y . For t he gener al
ai ml essness
of t he Br i t i sh at t acks, see KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r i es begi nni ng wi t h 1 . 7 . 42. , pp . 467f f
.
103 . AHB, " Luf t waf f e St r engt hand Ser vi ceabi l i t y
Tabl es, " Tr ansl at i on No . VII/ 107.
104 . Goebbel s, The Goebbel s Di ar i es, pp . 200- 01.
105 . Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se andFal l of t he
Ger man
Ai r
For ce, p . 196.
106. Gal l and, The Fi r st andt he Last , pp .
54- 55
.
107. Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . I, p. 490.
108. BA/ MA, RL 8/ 252, " Er f ahr ungsber i cht uber Vor ber ei t ung and Dur chf uhr ung des Unt er nehmens
Donner kei l , " Gener al maj or Max Ibel , a . D. ; see al so Gal l and, The Fi r st andt he Last , pp . 96- 108.
109. Basedont he f i gur es i n BA/ MA, RL 2 III/ 1182 Genst . Gen. Qu. ( 6. Abt . ) , Hugzeugunf al l e and
Ver l ust e bei denf l i egendenVer banden, August 1941 .
110. Roski l l , The War at Sea, Vol . II, p . 250- 52.
111. Fr i edr i ch Ruge, Der Seekr i eg, 1939- 1945( St ut t gar t , 1954) ,
pp . 36- 38
.
112. The f ol l owi ng di scussi on ont he ai r war agai nst Br i t i sh t r ade
i s dr awnf r omt he Ai r Mi ni st r y' s The
Ri se andFal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, pp . 110- 19.
113. Roski l l , The War at Sea, Vol . I, pp . 362- 63.
114. Ai r Mi ni st r y, The Ri se and
Fal l of t he Ger manAi r For ce, pp . 114- 15. To be accur at e, one must
not e t hat
Ger man submar i nes
and
t he t hr eat of sur f ace uni t s wer e al so i nvol ved i n t he at t acks on t he
Mur manskconvoys.
115. See Der
St aat ssekr et i i r der Luf t f ahr t and Gener al i nspekt eur der Luf t waf f e, Bet r . : St ei ger ung
der
Rdst ung, gst . Nr . 675/ 41 , An den Her mGener al quar t i er mei st er , 15 . 10. 42. , AFSHRC: K113 . 82, v . 2 .
116.
Geor g Thomas, Geschi cht e der deut schen Wehr - andRi i st ungswi r t schaf t 1918- 1943/ 5 ( Boppar d
amRhei n, 1966) , Thomas t o Kei t el , Bet r . : For der ungen an di e Rdst ung, 23. 12. 41 . , p . 470, and Hi t l er :
Denkschr i f t , 3. 1 . 42. , p . 478. See al so BA/ MA, RL/ 315, Ober kommando der
Wehr macht , Wi Rd
Amt / Ru ( Il a) , Nr 130/ 42 Ber t . : Rdst ung 1942, 14. 1 . 42 .
117. BA/ MA, RL 3/ 864, Der St aat ssekr et ar der Luf t f ahr t and Gener al i nspekt eur
der Luf t waf f e,
144/ 42, geh, Kdos. , 23. 1 . 42. , AndenHer mChef des Gener al st abes .
118. Thomas, Geschi cht e der deut schen Wehr - und
Ri i st ungswi r t schaf t , Thomas t o Kei t el , Bet r . :
For der ungen andi e Rdst ung, 23. 12. 41 .
119.
Fi gur es f or Ger manai r cr af t pr oduct i ondr awn f r omUSSBS, The
Ef f ect s of St r at egi c Bombi ng on
t he
Ger man War Economy, Appendi x Tabl e 102 .
120. Al ber t Speer , Insi de t he Thi r dRei ch( NewYor k,
1970) , pp . 203, 244, 265, 275, 276, 336, 339.
121 . See BA/ MA, RL 3/ 50, Der St aat ssekr et ar der
Luf t f ahr t andGener al i nspekt eur der Luf t waf f e, Nr
118/ 41 g . Kdos . , DemHer r nRei chsmar schal l ,
24
. 10
. 41 .
122.
BA/ MA, RL 3/ 64, Indust r i er at des Rei chsmar schal l s f ur di e Fer t i gung von Luf t waf f enger dt en,
Umst el l ausschuss, St and der Umst el l ar bei t en Mi t t e
November 1942, 21. 11 . 41 . , Anl age 1 .
123. See t he excel l ent di scussi on i n Over y,
" Ger manAi r cr af t Pr oduct i on, " pp .
197- 99.
124. Ibi d. , pp . 201- 02.
125. USSBS, The Ef f ect s of
St r at egi c Bombi ng on t he Ger man War
Indust r y, Appendi ces Tabl es 101,
102.
126.
Over y, " Ger man Ai r cr af t Pr oduct i on, " pp . 206- 10
.
127 .
Ri char d J . Over y, The Ai r War 1939- 1945
( London, 1980) , pp . 168- 70.
128.
Ver r i er , The Bomber Of f ensi ve, p . 326.
129. Ir vi ng, The Ri se and
Fal l of t he Luf t waf f e, p . 148; Ir vi ng
ci t es much suppor t i ng evi dence f or
Mi l ch' s f r ust r at i on
at t he l owl evel of
f i ght er pr oduct i ont hat Ieschonnek was suggest i ng.
Ther e wer e
some InGer mani ndust r y who
r ecogni zed t he danger t hat Amer i ca' s
i ndust r i al pot ent i al r epr esent ed f or
t he Rei ch and ur ged maj or i ncr eases
i n Ger man ai r cr af t pr oduct i on
. See BA/ MA, RL 3/ 54, Fr . , W.
Si ebel , Wehr wi r t schaf t sf dhr er , An
Gener al ober st Udet , 7. 10. 40. ; and
Der Lei t er der Wi r t schaf t sgr uppe
Luf t f ahr t - Indust r i e, Pr . 312/ 41 La/ Wp,
24. 12 . 41 . , vonRohden
Col l ect i on, NARS T- 971/ 68-
130.
BA/ MA, RL 3/ 865, Gener al st ab,
Gener al quar t i er mei st er ,
6
.
Abt . Nr . 3474/ 42 , 23. 6. 42 . , Bet r
. :
Fl ugzeug- For der ungen, An
denSt aat ssekr et dr
andGener al i nspekt eur der
Luf t waf f e .
131 . See t he f i gur es i n
Webst er and Fr ankl and,
SAOAG, Vol . IV, pp .
501- 04.
132
.
Fi gur es based on
t ot al s f or 24. 1 . 42 . i n
AHB, " Luf t waf f e
St r engt h and Ser vi ceabi l i t y
Tabl es,
August 1938- Apr i l
1945, " Tr ansl at i on No . VII/ 107.
14
4
ONTHEBRINK
133. Ibi d .
134.
Based on f i gur es i n t he quar t er mast er l oss
r et ur ns f or ai r cr af t l osses
:
BA/ MA,
RL
2 111/ 1025,
6. Abt .
( III
A)
Fr ont - Fl ugzeug- Ver l ust e, 1942.
135 . Based ont he t abl e i n Webst er and Fr ankl and, SAOAG, Vol . IV, Appendi x XXIV, p . 497 .















THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
CHAPTER
V
At t r i t i on ont he
Per i pher y :
November 1942- August
1943
The Ger man successes
i n t he spr i ng and summer of
1942 decei ved t he
par t i ci pant s at t hat
t i me as t hor oughl y as t hey have hi st or i ans si nce .
For t he Br i t i sh,
Rommel ' s advance t o El Al amei n r epr esent ed a par t of Ger manst r at egy
i n whi cha
second gr eat pi ncer ar madvanci ng
f r omt he Caucasus woul d l i nk up wi t h t he Af r i ca
Cor ps i n t he Mi ddl e East . ' Such
megal omani a was, of cour se, par t and par cel of
Hi t l er ' s appr oach t o gr and st r at egy,
but t he means si mpl y di d not exi st f or such
wi de- r angi ng ai ms. z Ar gument s bet ween
Hi t l er and hi s gener al s i n t he summer
r ef l ect ed a di ver gence bet ween t he
l at t er ' s mor e r eal i st i c assessment s and t he
Fuhr er ' s i nt ui t i ve dr eams. Ther e was, however , no
showdown; Hi t l er r emoved
t hose who r ai sed uncomf or t abl e i ssues. Thus,
Ger manst r at egy i n 1942 was ent i r el y
of hi s own maki ng ( unl i ke t he pr evi ous year ) ; and
i n November , Hi t l er ' s
mi scal cul at i on of t he bal ance i n t he Medi t er r anean and i n t he east
l ed hi mt o make
maj or st r at egi c mi st akes . These deci si ons f or ced t he Wehr macht t o
f i ght on t he
per i pher y agai nst
enemi es who enj oyed a r i si ng numer i cal super i or i t y . For t he
Luf t waf f e,
Hi t l er ' s r esol ve was a cat ast r ophe,
f or he commi t t ed hi s ai r f or ce t o an
avoi dabl e bat t l e of
at t r i t i on under gr eat di sadvant ages . The i mpact of t he r esul t i ng
at t r i t i on was i mmedi at e and di r ect . Not
onl y di d t hese ai r bat t l es savage f r ont l i ne
squadr ons but aer i al
t r anspor t oper at i ons t o suppl y St al i ngr ad and Tuni si a
mor t gaged t he ent i r e t r ai ni ng pr ogr am.
For l osses suf f er ed i n var i ous t heat er s i n
1943, see
Tabl es
XXX' and
XXX14.
THEWARINTHEEAST: NOVEMBER1942- AUGUST1943
Whi l e
t he advance i nt o t he Caucasus sl owed because of l ogi st i cal di f f i cul l t i es
and
whi l e
Si xt h Ar my exhaust ed i t sel f at St al i ngr ad, t he Sovi et s bui l t up t hei r
r eser ves and pr epar ed f or a gr eat count er of f ensi ve. Unl i ke t he pr evi ous wi nt er
dur i ng
whi ch
t he Red Ar my had sought af t er f ar - r eachi ng goal s and as a r esul t had
achi eved none of t hem, t he Russi ans nowpl anned a l i mi t ed of f ensi ve: i t s t ar get ,
t he
Ger man Si xt h Ar my . Despi t e t he desper at e si t uat i on of St al i ngr ad' s def ender s, t he
Sovi et s
f ed i n mi ni mal r epl acement s, enough t o keep t he def ender s
goi ng but no
mor e.
s
Sovi et i nt ent i ons and capabi l i t i es r emai ned vei l ed t o
t he Ger mans. Hi t l er was
conf i dent t hat hi s summer of f ensi ve had br oken t he Red
Ar my and t hat t he
Wehr macht coul d go over t o t he def ensi ve wi t hout f ear . On
Oct ober 14, he si gned
" Oper at i onal Or der Nr . 1 " i n whi ch
he ar gued t hat t he Sovi et s coul d no l onger
r ebui l d t hei r
shat t er ed f or ces and t hat t he Ger manar my must hol d t he l i ne
over t he
a
SICILY

INVASION 2ND - ~
KURSK

OF ITALY

SCHWEINFURT
1ST SCHWEINFURT
a
GERMANLOSSES BYTHEATERJ AN- NOV 1943
0
7111"
" 625
558
530
529
503
412
"

.
X' f f '
338
; 285
321
J AN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

J UNE

J ULY

AUG

SEP

0 T

NOV
EASTERNFRONT- - - -
MEDITERRANEAN- - - - - -
WEST &AIRDEFENSE. . . . . . . , . . . , . .
800
REICH
700
STALINGRAD TUNISIA
600 572
500
482
I
400
331k
333
14r
~=1331". . . . ,
313
300
. , 318 -' J 08
282~~ "
"
. 0-
al l
2;
9
_
"
~
200
40 ,", '` 256
238
~.
235
176
100
162
i .
EASTERNFRON-
MEDITERRANEA
WESTERNFR
TABLEXXXI
GERMANFIGHTERLOSSES 1943
( NUMBEROF AIRCRAFT)
294
291
nu~t oo. . . .
r n8u' "
a
o
z
x
m
x
m
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV

, '
1247
124
140
140
15
110
au 0%
0
* 0
13\ 3
87 "~
`
" .
77
/ 100
9'
"~~
99
99 4
92
85
63
"
67
85 54
45
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
T
N- - - - - -
335
II
.
. 276
NT
246
247
i
' 00
"
X20
167
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
wi nt er " t o cr eat e t he condi t i ons
necessar y f or t he f i nal dest r uct i on of our most
danger ous opponent .
116
But Hi t l er was hopel essl y
opt i mi st i c . Si xt h Ar my was
enmeshed i n
St al i ngr ad and was ser i ousl y shor t of ammuni t i on, f uel , and r eser ves
. '
These shor t ages
sever el y l i mi t ed t hat ar my' s st r at egi c and t act i cal mobi l i t y. Even
mor e t hr eat eni ng was t he f act t hat bot h f l anks wer e up i n t he ai r . To t he sout h l ay
t he Four t h
Rumani an Ar my wi t h f ewr eser ves and l i t t l e Ger man suppor t . To t he
nor t h, on t he gr eat f l ank
sweepi ng f r om t he Russi an ci t y of Vor onezh al ong t he
Don, l ay t hr ee al l i ed ar mi es, t he
Second Hungar i an, Ei ght h It al i an, and
Thi r d
Rumani an, wi t h t he bar est
cor set i ng of Ger man t r oops. Nowher e ont he sout her n
f r ont di d t he Ger mans possess a st r at egi c
r eser ve, whi l e t act i cal r eser ves al ong t he
ent i r e f r ont wer e f ew.
In expl ai ni ng St al i ngr ad and t he r ef usal t o al l owa br eakout , one must under st and
t he r el at i onshi p among t heat er s . At t he begi nni ng of November 1942,
Hi t l er ' s
at t ent i on cent er ed on t he Medi t er r anean. The
f r ont
at
El Al amei n had col l apsed
;
and on November 2, Rommel i nf or med OKWt hat he coul d no l onger hol d. A
f ai l ur e t o
i nf or mHi t l er i mmedi at el y caused a bl owup, ' but Hi t l er ' s t ant r umcoul d
not r est or e
t he si t uat i on. Meanwhi l e, i nt el l i gence r epor t ed a massi ve movement of
Al l i ed shi ppi ng i nt o
t he Medi t er r anean. No one i n OKWwas sur e of Al l i ed
i nt ent i ons, but Hi t l er and Gor i ng r ul ed out t he possi bi l i t y of a st r i ke agai nst Fr ench
Nor t hwest Af r i ca. 9
In
t he f ol l owi ng week, di sast er pi l ed upondi sast er : Rommel ' s
r et r eat cont i nued, Angl o- Amer i canf or ces l anded i n Al ger i a and Mor occo, Fr ench
r esi st ance col l apsed, and event s f or ced t he Ger mans t o occupy Vi chy Fr ance . In
t hi s desper at e si t uat i on, Hi t l er ' s at t ent i on r emai ned gl ued ont he Medi t er r anean as
Ger manf or ces sei zedTuni si a t o count er
Al l i ed
occupat i on
of
Al ger i a and Mor occo .
For our pur poses her e, one need onl y not e t hese di st r act i ons onHi t l er whent he
st or m i n t he east br oke- and br eak i t di d! On November 19 af t er a hur r i cane
bombar dment , f our Sovi et ar mi es l ed by t he Fi f t h Tank Ar my, smashed i nt o t he
Thi r d Rumani an Ar my. By ear l y af t er noon, t he Rumani ans had col l apsed and
Russi an ar mor was dr i vi ng r api dl y t o t he sout heast . 10 Sovi et t anks swamped t he
22nd Panzer Di vi si on and t he 1st Rumani an Ar mor ed Di vi si on ( t he onl y
r eser ves
avai l abl e) . By af t er noon, OKWheadquar t er s- l ocat ed wi t h t he Fuhr er
near
Ber cht esgaden- had r ecei ved " al ar mi ng r epor t s" f r omar my headquar t er s, st i l l
i n
East
Pr ussi a. " Ont he f ol l owi ng day, Fi f t y- sevent h and
Fi f t y- f i r st Russi an Ar mi es
at t acked t he Rumani anVI Cor ps sout h of St al i ngr ad. The
Rumani ans col l apsed i n a
wel t er of
conf usi on. Thus, wi t hi n t wo days bot h
of Si xt h Ar my' s f l anks
had
di ssol ved. At t hi s j unct ur e, t he onl y hope was
a swi f t wi t hdr awal . Hi t l er r ef used t o
gi ve per mi ssi on f or a r et r eat , whi l e Gener al ober st
Fr i edr i ch Paul us woul d not t ake
t he i ni t i at i ve hi msel f .
Ont he 21st , Hi t l er or der ed Si xt h Ar my t o st and, but f or t he
next sever al days vaci l l at ed. On t he 23r d, Russi an spear heads compl et ed t he
enci r cl ement ; Hi t l er seal ed t he pocket ' s f at e ont he next day whenhe or der ed Paul us
t o hol d St al i ngr ad
and assur ed hi mt hat an ai r l i f t coul d meet Si xt h Ar my' s suppl y
needs.
Two days bef or e, on November 21,
Si xt h Ar my had exami ned t he possi bi l i t y of
aer i al
r esuppl y shoul d an enci r cl ement occur
. However , Luf t f l ot t e 4 i mmedi at el y
150
ATTRITIONON
THEPERIPHERY
war ned
Paul us and hi s st af f t hat
t he Luf t waf f e di d not possess
t he t r anspor t capaci t y
f or such
an ef f or t . On t he 21st ,
Ri cht hof en caut i oned bot h Si xt h
Ar my and t he
gener al st af f t hat
such an ef f or t was not
i n
t he
of f i ng. On t he next day, Luf t waf f e
commander s
on t he sout her n f r ont agai n war ned
Si xt h Ar my t hat t hey coul d not
suppor t an enci r cl ed ar my by ai r
. However , Paul us' Chi ef of St af f comment edt hat
t her e
was
no ot her choi ce ot her t han aer i al
r esuppl y.
' z
Whi l e t he war ni ng si gnal s at
t he f r ont
wer e unambi guous, t he si t uat i on was f ar f r omcl ear
i n t he hi gh command.
Despi t e not i ce f r omRi cht hof ent o t he OKWt hat
unf avor abl e weat her condi t i ons i n
concer t
wi t h Russi an numer i cal super i or i t y woul d make an
ai r l i f t doubt f ul , " Hi t l er
r ecei ved G6r i ng' s
assur ance t hat t he Luf t waf f e coul d suppl y t he
enci r cl ed f or ces.
Whent he ar my' s Chi ef
of
St af f ,
Kur t Zei t zl er , obj ect ed, G6r i ng woul d not
knuckl e
under and r epor t ed t hat
hi s st af f knew Si xt h Ar my' s needs and bel i eved t he
Luf t waf f e coul d meet t hem
.
14
G6r i ng' s pr omi se seems t o have r esul t ed
f r oma hope
of r est or i ng hi s t at t er ed
pr est i ge
.
The success of t he Demyansk andKhol mef f or t s i n
t he pr evi ous wi nt er al so bol st er ed t he
hope t hat ai r suppl y coul d mai nt ai n Si xt h
Ar my .
Whi l e G6r i ng was t he mai n
cul pr i t , J eschonnek and t he gener al st af f agr eed t o
t he ai r l i f t wi t h scar cel y a comment oni t s l ong- r ange i mpact ont he Luf t waf f e. " On
t he 24t h, Ri cht hof en not ed a ser i es of
conver sat i ons wi t h Zei t zl er , Fi el d Mar shal
Maxi mi l i an vonWei chs ( Ar my Gr oup
B) ,
and
J eschonnek; he ur ged an i mmedi at e
br eakout by Si xt h Ar my. Wei chs as wel l as
Zei t zl er
agr eed.
J eschonnek, however ,
Ri cht hof en not ed, had no opi ni on. " The r esul t of J eschonnek' s si l ence was t hat
OKHr ecei ved no ai r st af f suppor t i n i t s ef f or t t o per suade Hi t l er t o abandon
St al i ngr ad. The Fuhr er hel d hi s bel i ef t hat t he Si xt h Ar my coul d hol d t he banks of
t he Vol ga wi t h ai r suppl y . The Luf hvaf f e t hus r ecei ved ani mpossi bl e t ask.
Mor eover , t he Russi an wi nt er of f ensi ve caught
t he Luf t waf f e i n an exposed and
di f f i cul t si t uat i on. Begi nni ng i n l at e
August , a di mi nut i on of Ger manai r st r engt h i n
t he east i n f avor of ot her t heat er s had t aken pl ace. Bet ween
mi d- August and ear l y
November , t he east er n f r ont l ost f our and
t wo- t hi r ds bomber Gr uppen
( appr oxi mat el y 140bomber s) and f i ve and
one- t hi r d f i ght er Gr uppen ( 160 f i gher s) .
The col l apse i n Egypt and t he i nvasi on
of Fr ench Nor t hwest Af r i ca caused a
wi t hdr awal of f ur t her t hr ee and one- t hi r d
bomber Gr uppen ( 100 bomber s) and one
and
one- t hi r d
f i ght er Gr uppen ( 40 f i ght er s) . " Much of t he wi t hdr awal
came f r om
Ri cht hof en' s Luf f ot t e 4, t her eby
di mi ni shi ng ai r suppor t f or f or ces
f i ght i ng ar ound
St al i ngr ad. Fur t her weakeni ng
Luf t f l ot t e 4 was t he f act t hat t he gener al
st af f cr eat ed
a needl ess headquar t er s, Luf t waf f e
CommandDon, t o pr ovi de an
ai r assi gnment f or
one of i t s f avor edof f i cer s.
' s
The col l apse of Si xt h Ar my' s
f l anks enabl ed t he Russi ans t o compl et e a
deep
enci r cl ement ar ound
St al i ngr ad. Sovi et t r oops sei zed t he ai r f i el ds
t hat Luf t f l ot t e 4
had pr epar ed f or
wi nt er oper at i ons and pushed many suppor t
and mai nt enance
per sonnel i nt o t he
pocket . As a r esul t , Ri cht hof en' s
uni t s had t o est abl i sh
t hemsel ves on newai r f i el ds t hat wer e soon
over cr owded and di d not possess t he
suppor t needed
f or t he oper at i ons now begi nni ng . The
ar r i val of t r anspor t and
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
bomber squadr ons
onl y exacer bat ed t hese di f f i cul t i es
. " Mor eover , Ri cht hof en' s
f l yi ng uni t s f aced i nt ense
demands t o suppor t har d- pr essed gr ound f or ces.
Appal l i ng weat her condi t i ons cont r i but ed t o t he
l osses and st r ai n on f l yi ng
squadr ons.
On November 23, at G6r i ng' s behest , t he Luf t waf f e st af f began t he t ask of
i mpr ovi si ng an ai r t r anspor t f or ce t o suppl y Si xt h Ar my. Fr omt he st ar t , i t was
appar ent t hat
onl y i n t he best ci r cumst ances was an ai r l i f t capabi l i t y of 350 t ons per
day
possi bl e ( Si xt hAr my est i mat ed i t needed 600t ons) . However , onl y by st r i ppi ng
t r ai ni ng uni t s
of
al l
ai r cr af t and by r emovi ng t r anspor t ai r cr af t assi gned t o dut y i n
Ger many
coul d t he Luf t waf f e r each such a l evel . Anassor t ment of J u 52' s, J u 86' s,
andHe I l 1' s ( nowbei ng assi gned t o some t r anspor t uni t s) movedf r omt he Rei ch t o
suppor t t he ai r l i f t . 2° In addi t i on, t he f i r st oper at i onal Gr uppe of He 177' s and
sever al He 111 bomber Gr uppenj oi ned t he f or ce. " The f or mer ai r cr af t pr oved i t sel f
as danger ous t o cr ews i n combat as i t has pr oven i n t est i ng.
The di st ance f r om Ber l i n t o St al i ngr ad, 2, 225 ki l omet er s, exacer bat ed t he
pr obl em. To r each f or war d oper at i ng bases, t r anspor t cr ews- many newt o f l yi ng
and
f ew
wi t h exper i ence i n Russi a- had t o f l y near l y 2, 000 ki l omet er s t o t he f r ont .
Cr ewi nexper i ence, t he weat her , and mar gi nal ai r f i el d condi t i ons caused a hi gh
acci dent r at e. Per haps t he onl y mi t i gat i ng aspect of such bad weat her was t hat
oper at i onal r eady r at es r ar el y r eached 50 per cent , wi t h most r emai ni ng at t he 30 t o
40 per cent l evel , t hus l i mi t i ng f l yi ng oppor t uni t i es f or i nexper i enced cr ews . In
some cases, whent he weat her was par t i cul ar l y at r oci ous, i n- commi ssi on r at es sank
t o t he
10 t o 20 per cent
r ange.
22
Landi ng
possi bi l i t i es
i n t he pocket pr oved
unsat i sf act or y, because not onl y di d
Si xt h Ar my f ai l t o mai nt ai n t he ai r f i el ds
adequat el y but
al so
Russi an f i ght er s
of t en at t acked t he t r anspor t s onl andi ng.
The ai r l i f t
oper at i on r emai ned
under
Ri cht hof en' s cont r ol , but Ber l i n gave l i t t l e
l at i t ude . Whi l e admi t t i ng t hat " an
or der was an or der , " Ri cht hof en not ed bi t t er l y
on November
25 t hat he was l i t t l e mor e t han " a hi ghl y pai d noncommi ssi oned
of f i cer .
" 23
Luf t f l ot t e 4
r ecei ved t r anspor t r ei nf or cement s f r omGer many at a sl ow
r at e; not unt i l December
2 di d t he number of t r anspor t s r each 200 ai r cr af t , and i t
was not unt i l December 8 t hat ai r cr af t st r engt h r eached
300. Ther eaf t er ,
r ei nf or cement s bar el y pr event ed a col l apse i n uni t st r engt h. 2' Thr oughout t he ai r l i f t ,
t r anspor t squadr ons r emai ned wel l bel owaut hor i zed st r engt h, whi ch undoubt edl y
di st or t ed Ber l i n' s vi ew of t he si t uat i on. Ri cht hof en was cl ose t o despai r over
di f f er ences bet ween hi msel f and seni or commander s r emoved f r omt he f r ont . On
December 18, he not ed
:
15
2
Impor t ant
conver sat i ons t ake pl ace at Luf t waf f e and
OKW
headquar t er s
. One t al ks about t he Duce! - no one i s avai l abl e
t hat I
seek. I especi al l y
no l onger t el ephone J eschonnek, si nce al l
my
r ecommendat i ons
ar e r ej ect ed or , af t er or al agr eement ,
somet hi ng
el se i s or der ed. Mor eover , I nowhave i r r ef ut abl e
pr oof t hat cer t ai n
t hi ngs t hat I have sai d have been t ur ned
ar ound andpassed al ong . I
nowsend onl y t el et ype messages, t oday
one f our pages l ong about
t he si t uat i on. In i t I ask f or or der s f or t he
conduct of oper at i ons,
2 HUNGARIAN
ARMY
v
THE SOVIET COUNTERATTACK:
St al i ngr ad
0MOROZOYSK
&
TATSINKAYA
FRONT - NOV 19
SOVIET ATTACKS - NOV 19- 20
FRONT - NOV 30
4TZ" SOVIET - DECATTACKS
+
GERMANTRANSPORT BASES
si l t y
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
because r ecent l y
I
r ecei ved
onl y cr i t i ci sm r at her t han di r ect i ves .
Pr obabl y, t hey [ t he st af f i n Ber l i n]
wer e t hemsel ves wi t hout a sense
of what t o do.
25
Under t hese condi t i ons, i t i s not sur pr i si ng t hat t he ai r l i f t f ai l ed. Ononl y
t hr ee days,
( December 7, 21, and 31) di d t he t r anspor t s f l y over 300 t ons i nt o St al i ngr ad. On
most days, t he ef f or t hover ed ar ound
t he 100- t on l evel ; onsome days, i t sank t o no
del i ver i es at al l
. 26
In mi d- December , t he Ger mans mount ed
a r el i ef expedi t i on t owar ds St al i ngr ad.
The f or ces wer e onl y of cor ps st r engt h
but di d sur pr i si ngl y wel l . By December 19,
LVII Panzer Cor ps r eached Mi shkova, onl y 35 mi l es f r omt he pocket . Manst ei n
ur ged Hi t l er t o al l ow a br eakout ; Hi t l er r ef used t o make a deci si on,
whi l e Paul us
woul d not di sobey t he Fi shr er . 2' In r esponse, t he Russi ans l aunched a
maj or
of f ensi ve al ong t he Don. The Sovi et ' s
Si xt h Ar my qui ckl y br oke t hr ough t he
It al i ans, andt he det er i or at i ng si t uat i on al ong t he Dont hr eat enedt he
ent i r e sout her n
f r ont . OnDecember 24, t he Russi an advance over r an t he f or war d oper at i ng f i el d at
Tat si nskaya and br ought
t he ot her maj or ai r l i f t f i el d at Mor ozovskaya under
ar t i l l er y f i r e. G6r i ng
r ef used per mi ssi ont o abandon t he ai r f i el d unt i l under t ankf i r e;
onl y t he f l yi ng uni t s
bar el y escaped and many suppl i es wer e dest r oyed. 28 On
December 26, f l yi ng uni t s at
Mor ozovskaya br oke up Russi an t ank f or ces t hat
appr oached wi t hi n 6 ki l omet er s of t he ai r f i el d .
Gor i ng' s i nt er f er ence and
mi ni mi zat i on of t he t hr eat so embi t t er ed Manst ei nand Ri cht hof en t hat t he
f or mer
ur ged Hi t l er t o gi ve t he Rei chsmar schal l cont r ol of Luf t f l ot t e
4
and Ar my Gr oup
Don, " si nce he al ways asser t s t hat t he si t uat i on
nei t her
her e
nor i n St al i ngr ad i s as
st r ai ned as i s r epor t ed. Mot t o: The opt i mi st i c l eader at t he pl ace, over whi chhe i s
opt i mi st i c!
' ' 29
By t he f i r st
week of
J anuar y 1943, t he Ger mans had l ost Mor ozovskaya, and
t r anspor t squadr ons wer e oper at i ng f r om Novocher kassk- 350 ki l omet er s f r om
St al i ngr ad. Meanwhi l e, t he si t uat i on wi t hi n t he pocket was det er i or at i ng. On
J anuar y 10, t he Russi ans at t acked t he enci r cl ed def ender s . Wi t hi n t wo days,
t he
pocket ' s maj or ai r f i el d had f al l en, and l andi ng suppl i es became an i ncr easi ngl y
di f f i cul t
t ask. Hencef or t h, t he Luf t waf f e r el i ed al most excl usi vel y on ai r dr ops. By
mi d- J anuar y, t he mai nt enance si t uat i on was desper at e. OnJ anuar y 18, l ess
t han
7
per cent of
J u 52' s wer e i n commi ssi on, 33 per cent of t he He I l 1' s, 0per cent of t he
Fw200' s, and
35 per cent of t he He 177' s . 3° At t hi s moment , Mi l ch
ar r i ved. He
br ought some r el i ef
t o t he har d- pr essedLuf t f l ot t e 4, and t he f i el d mar shal got
al ong
wel l
wi t h Ri cht hof en. 3' Hi s manager i al ski l l s r ai sed
oper at i onal r eady r at es and
suppl i es t o St al i ngr ad, but t he si t uat i on had
been hopel ess f r omt he begi nni ng. The
f i nal col l apse came i n l at e J anuar y .
OnFebr uar y 2, t he l ast Ger mans sur r ender ed,
and Paul us, a r ecent l y pr omot ed f i el d
mar shal , was t he f i r st Ger manof f i cer
of t hat
r ank capt ur ed by
an enemy. Hi t l er was mor e upset over Paul us' capt ur e
t han t he
f at e of t he 200, 000ot her Ger mans
ki l l ed or capt ur ed i n t he pocket .
12
In ever y sense,
St al i ngr ad was a gr i evous def eat . Besi de t he
boost t o Russi an
mor al e and t he
bl owt o t he Ger man ar my' s st r engt h, i t had
no l ess of an i mpact on
t he Luf t waf f e. The ai r
t r anspor t f or ces suf f er ed devast at i ng l osses . By
Febr uar y 3,
154
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
t he Luf t waf f e hadl ost 269J u 52' s, 169He I l
1' s, 9
Fw
200' s, 1 J u 290, 5He 177' s,
and 42 J u 86' s, f or a gr and t ot al
of 495 ai r cr af t . " These l osses r epr esent ed t he
equi val ent
of f i ve f l yi ng wi ngs or an ent i r e Fl i eger kor ps.
34
Per haps as i mpor t ant
was t he negat i ve i mpact on t r ai ni ng
pr ogr ams, especi al l y t hose
t r ai ni ng
mul t i engi ne
pi l ot s. Par t i cul ar l y devast at i ng wer e cr ew
l osses among i nst r ument
i nst r uct or s
.
Dur i ng t he
r esuppl y ef f or t t o St al i ngr ad, Luf t waf f e bomber and
f i ght er uni t s
engaged i n heavy f i ght i ng t o suppor t gr ound f or ces
. These mi ssi ons, compounded
by badweat her , r esul t ed i n a st eady at t r i t i on
of ai r cr af t . The Luf t waf f e hel ped keep
t he escape r out e t hr oughRost ov
open f or Fi r st Panzer Ar my, whi l e al ong t he Don
t he col l apse of al l i ed ar mi es caused
a desper at e si t uat i on. " By mi d- Febr uar y, t he
Sovi et of f ensi ve was i n f ul l f l ood; i t nowai med
at encompasi ng dest r uct i on of t he
ent i r e sout her n f r ont . Fi r st Panzer
Ar my hel d al ong t he Mi us Ri ver , but t o t he nor t h
a yawni ng gap opened bet ween
Ar my Gr oup Sout h ( now r enamed f r om Ar my
Gr oup Don) and
Ar my Gr oup Cent er . Russi an spear heads appr oached
t he ci t y of
Dnepr opet r ovsk; Sovi et t r oops r et ook Khar kov and pushed t he Ger mans
back
t owar ds Pol t ava, whi l e t he
Ger mans l ost t hei r l ast hol d ont he Donnear Vor onezh
.
But as i n t he
pr evi ous year , t he Russi anwi nt er of f ensi ve
over ext endedi t sel f , and
t he
Ger mans r ecover ed t hei r bal ance. Mor eover , Hi t l er
was somewhat chast ened
and
mor e open t o suggest i ons and advi ce. As a r esul t ,
Manst ei n obt ai ned gr eat er
oper at i onal f r eedomt han had seni or commander s i n
1942. Rat her t han at t empt a
pat ched- t oget her
r esponse, he wai t ed unt i l subst ant i al
f or ces f or med up under
Gener al ober st Her mann Hot h' s Four t h
Panzer Ar my. Meanwhi l e,
Luf t waf f e
capabi l i t i es under went ar emar kabl e r ecover y
f r omJ anuar y' s di f f i cul t i es . The
end
of t he St al i ngr adr el i ef oper at i on
f r eed consi der abl e bomber andf i ght er
st r engt h f or
t asks ot her t han suppor t i ng
t he ai r l i f t , whi l e Ri cht hof en
compl et ed a t hor ough
r eor gani zat i on of hi s f or ces
i n ear l y Febr uar y . He ended
a conf usi ng wel t er of
di f f er ent commands, al l
compet i ng f or r esour ces, and
wi t hdr ew a number of
depl et ed f or mat i ons f or
r est andr ef i t . Thei r f l yi ng
per sonnel r et ur ned t o Ger many
t o
f or m new uni t s, but t hei r
suppor t per sonnel and
ai r cr af t t r ansf er r ed t o
ot her
squadr ons. Thus, mai nt enance
capabi l i t i es and
squadr on st r engt h
i mpr oved
consi der abl y . Fi nal l y, t he Ger mans
wer e nowoper at i ng
of f mor e per manent
f i el ds
and
wer e cl oser t o suppl y depot s
. 16
Mi l ch' s vi si t
al so di d mucht o shape
up Luf t f l ot t e
4' s
r ear ar ea or gani zat i on.
Sever al l ess
compet ent commander s,
i ncl udi ng
Ri cht hof en' s Chi ef
of St af f , von
Rohden, l ost t hei r
j obs. " Mi l chchar act er i zed
t he
si t uat i on when
he war ned hi s
subor di nat es t hat ,
" It i s a gr eat er r or t o suppose
t hat
we possess
a gr ound or gani zat i on
. " 38
Luf t f l ot t e 4' s capabi l i t i es
i mpr oved
dr amat i cal l y . In
J anaur y, t he ai r f l eet
managedonl y 350
sor t i es per day.
However , f r om
Febr uar y 20t hr oughMar ch
15,
Ri cht hof en' s
f or ces aver aged 1, 000
combat sor t i es
dai l y wi t h over 1, 200
on
Febr uar y
23. Ai di ng t he
Luf t waf f e' s t ask was t he
f act t hat Russi an
advances had
car r i edt hemf ar beyond
t hei r ai r f i el ds andsuppl y
or gani zat i on
. 39
Thus, t he Russi an
ai r f or ce had l i t t l e
i mpact on oper at i ons nowt aki ng
pl ace; Luf t f l ot t e 4 coul d gi ve
undi vi ded at t ent i on
t o suppor t i ng gr ound f or ces.
For command of ai r uni t s
155
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
suppor t i ng t he
count er of f ensi ve, Ri cht hof en kept l ong- r ange
bomber uni t s di r ect l y
under hi msel f , Fl i eger kor ps
1, Fl i eger kor ps IV, andFl i eger di vi si on Donet z di vi ded
up cl ose ai r suppor t dut i es, but Ri cht hof en
r emai ned f l exi bl e, t r ansf er r i ng avai l abl e
asset s back andf or t hbet weencommands as t he si t uat i onchanged. ^°
In t he l ast t endays of Febr uar y,
t he Ger man count er at t ack r ol l ed i nt o hi gh gear .
By t he end of Febr uar y, Fi r st Panzer
Ar my was dr i vi ng t he Russi ans i n conf usi on
back t o t he Donet s
Ri ver
. 41
Luf t f l ot t e 4 pl ayed a si gni f i cant
r ol e i n del ayi ng and
sof t eni ng up
Russi an ar mor unt i l gr ound f or ces
coul d count er at t ack. 4z The mor e
i mpor t ant dr i ve came f r om Hot h' s Four t h Panzer Ar my . Thi s f or ce cont ai ned a
number of t he Wehr macht ' s
best di vi si ons andi ncl uded SS di vi si ons Das Rei ch and
Tot enkopf . Begi nni ng near Dnepr opet r ovsk, Hot h' s f or ces sl i ced t o t he nor t heast
t owar ds Khar kov. By Mar ch 14, t hey had r et aken
t hat
ci t y;
by Mar ch 18, t he
Ger mans had r et aken Bel gogr ad, but
t he spr i ng t haw ended oper at i ons. 43
Ri cht hof en' s ai r cr af t subst ant i al l y ai ded t he
advance andmanagedt o dest r oy l ar ge
Sovi et f or ces at t empt i ng t o escape. 44 The count er at t ackr epr esent ed a maj or vi ct or y
f or Ger manar ms andr est or ed t he hi ghl y danger ous si t uat i on t hat hadexi st ed at t he
end of
J anuar y. It was, however , t he Wehr macht ' s l ast meani ngf ul vi ct or y i n t he
east
.
The vi ct or y i n l at e wi nt er di d not come wi t hout cost . In mi d- Febr uar y, ai r cr af t
st r engt hi n t he east had
t ot al l ed 275di ve bomber s, 484bomber s, and454f i ght er s
. 4s
Losses i n Febr uar y
andMar ch, most l y i n suppor t of t he count er of f ensi ve, wer e 56
di ve bomber s, 217 bomber s,
and 163f i ght er s. 46 As a per cent age of t he Luf t waf f e' s
t ot al st r engt h at t he end of
J anuar y, such l osses r epr esent ed 17. 1 per cent of
avai l abl e
di ve bomber s, 12. 3 per cent of f i ght er s, and 17. 2 per cent of bomber s. 47
Yet , t he f i ght i ng i n sout her n Russi a need not obscur e t he f act t hat combat was
occur r i ng el sewher e on t he east er n f r ont . The r esul t s wer e l ess spect acul ar but
cer t ai nl y of i mpor t ance. For t he Luf t waf f e, t hi s aer i al combat , l i ke t he dai l y wast age
on t he west er nf r ont i n t he Fi r st Wor l dWar , i mposed a st eady and wear i ng pr essur e
on
i t s
capabi l i t i es. The bat t l e ar ound Vel i ki ye Luki ont he upper Lovat Ri ver f r om
November 25 t hr ough J anuar y 15 i ndi cat es t hi s f act or . In l at e November ,
Russi an
f or ces hadi sol at ed 7, 000 t r oops i n t hat undi st i ngui shed t own. By t he
t i me t hat t he
Ger mans br ought out a f ew
hundr ed sur vi vor s i n mi d- J anuar y, 48 suppor t i ng ai r
squadr ons hadl ost 55 ai r cr af t dest r oyed ( i ncl udi ng 3J u 87' s,
8Bf 109' s, and20 He
I l 1' s)
and26 ai r cr af t damaged. 49 The st r at egi c r esul t was vi r t ual l y
ni l , but a f ur t her
at t r i t i on
hadt akenpl ace .
For
t he next t hr ee mont hs, gr ound oper at i ons sl owed
as bot h si des pr epar ed f or
t he summer . For t he
Luf t waf f e, however , t he per i od was anyt hi ng but
qui et .
Hi t l er ' s
i nabi l i t y t o t ai l or st r at egy t o
t he means at hand f or ced needl ess
commi t ment s
on over st r ai ned ai r squadr ons. The
Don col l apse i n J anuar y had
f i nal l y convi nced hi mt o wi t hdr aw f r omt he
Caucasus; but whi l e Fi r st Panzer Ar my
pul l ed
back
t hr ough
Rost ov, Sevent eent hAr my r emai ned on t he Kuban Peni nsul a
acr oss
f r omt he Cr i mea.
The
bat t l e t o
hol d
t hi s usel ess t er r i t or y, whi ch
Hi t l er
hoped
woul d ser ve as a j umpi ng of f poi nt f or anot her of f ensi ve i nt o t he Caucasus, t i ed
down gr ound and ai r f or ces desper at el y needed el sewher e and cont r i but ed t o
a
156
ATTRITIONON
THEPERIPHERY
heavy at t r i t i on r at e
t hr oughout t he per i ods°
El sewher e, f i ght er sweeps, bomber
i nt er di ct i on mi ssi ons, and
cl ose ai r suppor t at t r i t ed ai r uni t s despi t e
an absence of
maj or gr ound
oper at i ons. Fr omApr i l t o
J une, t he Luf t waf f e l ost 256 f i ght er s,
245
bomber s, and 115 di ve
bomber s i n t he east . " As a
per cent age of t ot al ai r st r engt h
( al l
t heat er s) , t hese l osses r epr esent ed
18. 3 per cent of f i ght er s,
17 per cent of
bomber s, and 31
. 8 per cent of di ve bomber s on
hand at t he begi nni ng of Apr i l
. 5
z
What seems t o
have happened i s t hat , despi t e a
l ower scal e of combat and a chance
t o r el i eve t he
pr essur e ont he f l yi ng uni t s, t he
Ger mans f ound t he ur ge t o use t hei r
ai r asset s i n i nsi gni f i cant
oper at i ons i r r esi st i bl e .
The spr i ng t hawr ai sedt he
quest i on of st r at egy f or t he comi ng summer
. Manst ei n
l at er cl ai med t hat he
ur ged a def ensi ve/ of f ensi ve st r at egy : The
Wehr macht woul d
adapt a def ensi ve post ur e
and al l ow t he Russi ans t he f i r st move . Then
usi ng t he
ar mor ed r eser ves t hat wer e
r ebui l t by r i si ng t ank pr oduct i on, t he Ger mans woul d
sl amt he door shut . " Sucha st r at egy was
t oo r i sky f or Hi t l er and cer t ai nl y di d not
appeal t o hi s aggr essi ve i nst i nct s. If t he
Ger mans wer e t o at t ack, however , t he
quest i on was wher e, when, and wi t h what . On
J anuar y 23, 1943, ar mor ed st r engt h
on t he east er n f r ont t ot al l ed onl y 495 useabl e
t anks.
54
Consi der abl e r esuppl y t ook
pl ace over t he next mont hs, but oper at i ons i n l at e
wi nt er causedheavy l osses . Hi t l er
i ni t i al l y consi der ed t hr ee possi bl e spoi l i ng at t acks, but by t he
end of Apr i l had
set t l ed on" Oper at i on
Ci t adel , " ai med at cl ear i ng t he Kur sk sal i ent . 51
Manst ei nhad
suggest ed t hi s possi bi l i t y
as a means of i nf l i ct i ng such heavy l osses
on t he Russi ans
as t o pr event a summer
of f ensi ve. Inst ead of l aunchi ng " Ci t adel "
i n May,
Manst ei n' s suggest ed dat e, Hi t l er
post poned i t , event ual l y choosi ng J ul y 5 i n or der
t o
st r engt hen hi s ar mor edf or ces i nt he east
.
By J une,
t r oops pr epar i ng f or t he of f ensi ve had r ecei ved 900 t anks and 300 sel f -
pr opel l ed guns, 56 but by t hen " Ci t adel " had r ai sed ser i ous doubt s. On J une 18,
OKWst af f ur ged Hi t l er t o cancel t he of f ensi ve and t o est abl i sh an oper at i onal
r eser ve i n Ger many t o meet any r ever se i n t he Wehr macht ' s t hr ee t heat er s. "
Guder i an ar gued
st r enuousl y t hat t he Russi ans had bui l t up t hei r def enses, and even
Hi t l er admi t t ed t hat t hi nki ng about t he pendi ng of f ensi ve made hi msi ck t o hi s
st omach. " But he di d not cancel t he of f ensi ve . Per haps t he r het or i c of hi s Apr i l
oper at i onal or der f or " Ci t adel , " announci ng t hat a
" vi ct or y at Kur sk must ser ve as
a beacon f or t he wor l d, " i ndi cat es t he under l yi ng
r eason f or hi s deci si on. 59 He
coul d not publ i cl y admi t t hat t he i ni t i at i ve
had sl i pped f r omhi s hands.
The pause t o bui l dup ar mor ed st r engt h al l owed t he
Russi ans t i me t o pr epar e. The
Cent r al Fr ont , on t he nor t her n hal f of t he
Kur sk bul ge, cont r ol l ed no l ess t han si x
Russi an ar mi es andont he
cr i t i cal nor t her n neckof t he sal i ent depl oyedt hr ee ar mi es
i n t wo echel ons . The Vor onezh
Fr ont on t he sout her n hal f of t he sal i ent hel d t he
l i ne wi t hf our Russi an
ar mi es wi t h a second echel on of t wo ar mi es behi nd t he neck.
Thr ee
Sovi et ar mi es l ay i n r eser ve wi t hi n t he sal i ent , whi l e t hr ee mor e
ar mi es l ay
nor t h of Or el and one
t o t he sout h of Kur sk. In addi t i on, t he Russi ans had dug t wo
or t hr ee
l i nes of t r enches
i n t he mai n zone of r esi st ance, and
t o t he r ear wer e
second
and t hi r d zones const r uct ed i n t he same f ashi on. 10
157
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
By
J ul y,
t her e
was no hope of sur pr i se .
The gr eat est l and bat t l e of t he war opened
on J ul y 5; Sovi et ar t i l l er y i nf l i ct ed
heavy casual t i es onGer mani nf ant r y movi ng i nt o
j umpof f posi t i ons. What now occur r ed
was a gr eat bat t l e of at t r i t i on. , ' The
Ger mans sl owl y f ought t hr ough t he f i r st l i nes of def ense; onl y i n t he sout h di d t hey
make si gni f i cant gai ns, al t hough at gr eat cost . On J ul y 12, t he Russi ans, sur e t hat
t he r agi ng Kur sk bat t l e had ent angl ed Ger manr eser ves, at t acked t he
nor t her n si de
of t he Or el sal i ent . Thei r of f ensi ve posed an
i mmedi at e t hr eat t o t he Ger man
nor t her n pi ncer . That move, combi ned wi t h t he i nvasi on of Si ci l y on J ul y 10,
caused Hi t l er t o shut down " Ci t adel .
" 62
Tr oop wi t hdr awal s t o bot h Si ci l y and t o
suppor t a desper at e si t uat i on devel opi ng
sout h of Kur sk f or ced an abandonment of
t he Or el sal i ent . In f act , t he most danger ous si t uat i on ar ose i n t he r egi on sout h of
Kur sk. At t he begi nni ng of August , Sovi et ar mi es went over t o t he of f ensi ve. The
ci t i es
of
Bel gor od and Khar kov soonf el l , and t he ent i r e Ger manposi t i on al ong t he
Donet s unr avel ed. By t he
begi nni ng of Sept ember , Ar my Gr oup Sout h was i n
headl ong r et r eat
;
i t s
wi t hdr awal car r i ed i t t o t he Dneper by ear l y Oct ober . 63
The Luf t waf f e' s r ol e i n t hese event s was sympt omat i c of t he decl i ne i n Ger man
power . As wi t h ar my pr epar at i ons
f or " Ci t adel , " t he ai r f or ce gave t op pr i or i t y t o
r ebui l di ng uni t s schedul ed f or t he
of f ensi ve. But t he
ef f ect
of hi gh at t r i t i on and
t he
dr op i n t r ai ni ng hour s f or new pi l ot s had an
obvi ous
i mpact on combat
ef f ect i veness . Ar uef ul J eschonnek admi t t ed t o G6r i ng t hat despi t e hi gh del i ver i es
of ai r cr af t t o f i ght er uni t s, l osses due t o noncombat causes wer e sever el y af f ect i ng
capabi l i t i es. , ° Asubst ant i al por t i on of t he Luf t waf f e st r engt h st i l l r emai ned on t he
Russi an f r ont . Of t he t ot al ai r cr af t avai l abl e at t he end of J une, 38. 7 per cent wer e i n
t he east ; mor e speci f i cal l y,
84
. 5 per cent of al l di ve bomber s, 27 per cent of al l
f i ght er s, and 33 per cent of al l bomber s wer e ser vi ng i nt he east . 6s For t he of f ensi ve,
t he Luf t waf f e concent r at ed near l y al l t hi s st r engt h i n t he t wo Luf ot t en
depl oyed
near Kur sk.
In t he nor t h, Luf t f l ot t e
6 possessed
750 ai r cr af t , whi l e Luf t f l ot t e 4
cont r ol l ed 1, 100 ai r cr af t
t o
suppor t t he sout her n
dr i ve.
66
The ai r f l eet s opened t he of f ensi ve wi t h a massi ve st r i ke . On t he f i r st day,
Ger man ai r cr af t f l ew 3, 000 sor t i es, and some " St uka" pi l ot s f l ew up t o si x
mi ssi ons. Never t hel ess, unl i ke pr evi ous year s, t he Luf t waf f e di d not gai n ai r
super i or i t y . , ' If
Ger man pi l ot s i nf l i ct ed heavy l osses on Sovi et f i ght er s and
bomber s, t hei r
opponent s si mpl y put up mor e ai r cr af t , whi l e
Ger man l osses
i nexor abl y
mount ed. Sovi et " St ur movi ks" st r uck Ger man
gr ound f or ces, whi l e
Russi an
bomber s hi t t r anspor t at i on poi nt s . Mor eover , t he
subsequent Ger man
f ai l ur e at Kur sk and
t he Russi an summer of f ensi ve t hen f or ced
t he Luf t waf f e t o
di vi de i t s asset s
t o meet t he desper at e si t uat i on on t he gr ound. The r et r eat
f r om
Or el , t he Khar kov bat t l e, and a massi ve Sovi et of f ensi ve al ong t he l ower Donet s
made ext ensi ve demands onLuf t waf f e r esour ces i nt hr ee wi del y
separ at ed ar eas. As
a r esul t , t he l ar ge st r i ki ng f or ce assembl ed
f or " Ci t adel " nowbecame t hr ee smal l
f or ces engaged i n bol st er i ng
t he si t uat i on on t he gr ound. For t he r emai nder of t he
war , as Russi an of f ensi ves r i pped Ger mandef enses
t o shr eds, t hi s was t o be t he f at e
of t he Luf t waf f e
. Wi t hdecr easi ngl y ski l l ed pi l ot s but
i ncr easi ng commi t ment s, t he
east er nLuf t f l ot t enbecame t he
backwat er of Ger manef f or t s i nt he
ai r .
158
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
The l osses t hat Luf t f l ot t en 4 and 6
suf f er ed i n J ul y and August under l i ne t he
Luf t waf f e' s over commi t ment . In t hi s t wo- mont h
per i od, t he Ger mans l ost 1, 030
ai r cr af t i n t he east ,
16 per cent of t hei r t ot al f or ce st r uct ur e as of J une 30, 1943 ( 351
f i ght er s, 19 per cent of al l
f i ght er s; 273 bomber s, 16. 4 per cent of al l bomber s; and
202 di ve bomber s, 38. 6 per cent of avai l abl e di ve bomber s) . But t he l osses shoul d
not be vi ewed i n i sol at i on si nce t he ai r bat t l e i n Russi a was onl y one of t he t hr ee
massi ve commi t ment s t hat t he Luf t waf f e f aced i n t he summer . Whi l e we shal l
di scuss t he i mpl i cat i ons of
f i ght i ng ont hr ee maj or f r ont s si mul t aneousl y at t he end
of t hi s chapt er , one must not e t hat t ot al
l osses f or al l t heat er s i n J ul y and August
wer e 3, 213 ai r cr af t ( 50. 6 per cent ) and 1, 313
f i ght er s ( 71 per cent ) . " Thi s was a l oss
r at e t hat no ai r f or ce coul d sust ai n. Consequent l y, t he Luf t waf f e
had t o cut i t s l osses
and commi t ment s; t o meet t he t hr eat at home, i t sur r ender ed ai r super i or i t y ont he
per i pher y t o
Al l i edai r f or ces .
THEMEDITERRANEAN
In. t he summer of 1942, Chur chi l l and
Roosevel t set t l ed on a Medi t er r anean
st r at egy . Amer i can pl anner s, however , gave heavy
emphasi s t o l andi ngs i n
Mor occo, whi l e t he Br i t i sh
pushed f or a l andi ng as f ar east al ong t he coast of Af r i ca
as possi bl e t o pr event a Ger man
move i n Tuni si a. b9 The compr omi se bet ween t hese
vi ews i nsur ed t hat t he Al l i es
woul d gai n cont r ol of Al ger i a but coul d not pr event t he
Ger mans f r omsei zi ng Tuni si a.
The OKWdi d
not have
a
cl ear pi ct ur e of Al l i edi nt ent i ons as t he i nvasi on convoy
sai l ed i nt o t he Medi t er r anean. Once, however , t he l andi ngs occur r ed, t he Ger mans
act ed wi t h usual di spat ch. J u 52' s f l ewpar at r ooper s i nt o Tuni s; t he Fr ench gover nor
gener al
col l apsed, and t he Ger mans r api dl y est abl i shed cont r ol t hr oughout t he
count r y . J odl but t r essed Hi t l er ' s deci si on t o
hol d Nor t h Af r i ca
.
At t he end of
November , he ar gued t hat " Nor t h Af r i ca i s t he gl aci s of Eur ope and must ,
t her ef or e, be hel d under al l ci r cumst ances . " ' ° Hi t l er hi msel f suggest ed t wo f act or s
mot i vat i ng hi s deci si on t o mai nt ai n an Axi s pr esence i n Af r i ca: f ear t hat i t s
abandonment woul d cause an It al i an col l apse and a desi r e t o keep t he
Medi t er r anean cl osed t o Al l i ed shi ppi ng. " The Ger mans r ushed i n par at r ooper s,
Luf t waf f e f i el d t r oops, and sol di er s f r om r epl acement pool s, but at t he
end of
November mor e st r uct ur ed r ei nf or cement s began ar r i vi ng. Tent h Panzer Di vi si on
was i n pl ace by t he
end of t he mont h; and i n ear l y December , Col onel Gener al
J ur gen von Ar ni massumed
command of what was euphemi st i cal l y cal l ed Fi f t h
Panzer Ar my
. ' z
In
r et r ospect , t he deci si on t o hol d i n Af r i ca was a
dr eadf ul mi st ake
. ' 3
At
St al i ngr ad,
Russi an ar mi es had execut ed a massi ve enci r cl i ng
movement t o t r ap
Si xt h Ar my.
In Tuni si a, t he Ger mans wer e i n an equal l y i ndef ensi bl e
posi t i on wi t h
t enuous suppl y l i nes f r omSi ci l y and t he mai nl and.
Si nce t he It al i annavy was i n no
posi t i on t o def end convoys, t he Luf t waf f e had t o
assume t he bur den of pr ot ect i ng
suppl i es movi ng by sea as wel l
as t he aer i al movement of menand mat er i el
sent i nt o
Tuni si a. Fi nal l y, Luf t f l ot t e 2 f aced i ncr easi ngl y
power f ul Al l i edai r f or ces cl osi ng i n
159
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
f r omt he east as
wel l as t he west . The r esul t , as we shal l see, was a t hor oughl y
needl ess at t r i t i on of Ger man
ai r st r engt h. The gr ound f or ces andmat er i el event ual l y
l ost wer e, ar guabl y, r epl aceabl e .
Losses i n ai r cr af t and pi l ot s wer e not .
The det er i or at i ng posi t i on at El Al amei n l ed t o a si gni f i cant augment at i on
i n
Luf t f l ot t e
2' s
ai r
st r engt h. In t he t hr ee mont hs of J ul y, August , and Sept ember 1942,
Rommel had r ecei ved 40, 000 t r oops and
4, 000
t ons of
suppl i es by ai r . The
exhaust i on of cr ews and ai r cr af t , t he col l apse of sea
suppl y l i nes t o Li bya as
" Ul t r a" i nf or mat i on al l owed t he Al l i es t o devast at e
convoys, and t he combi nat i on
of t he Af r i ca Cor ps' def eat and " Tor ch" f or cedt he Luf t waf f e
t o send 150 J u 52' s t o
t he Medi t er r anean i n ear l y November ; and an addi t i onal 170 f ol l owed at t he end
of
t he mont h. Thi s movement of t r anspor t ai r cr af t , combi ned wi t h t he St al i ngr ad
ai r l i f t , ef f ect i vel y shut down i nst r ument and bomber t r ansi t i on school s
. 74
The
devel opment i nt o t he Medi t er r anean al so expl ai ns why t he Luf t waf f e f ound i t
di f f i cul t t o t r ansf er mor e t r anspor t ai r cr af t t o Luf t f l ot t e 4 and t he St al i ngr ad suppl y
ef f or t . In November and December , t r anspor t squadr ons f l ew i n 41, 768 t r oops,
8, 614. 8 t ons of equi pment and suppl i es, and 1, 472. 8 t ons of f uel . The cost ,
however , was pr ohi bi t i ve.
The
Luf t waf f e
l ost no l ess t han 128 J u 52' s i n November
and December , wi t h an addi t i onal 36
dest r oyed i n
J anuar y ( 13. 9
per cent
of t he
Luf t waf f e' s t ot al t r anspor t st r engt h) . When combi ned wi t h t hose l ost at St al i ngr ad,
t he Ger mans had managed t o l ose 659 t r anspor t ai r cr af t ( 56 per cent of t he t r anspor t
f or ce as of November 10) by t he end of J anuar y . "
The
Ger manr esponse t o " Tor ch" l ed t o a maj or t r ansf er of bomber s and f i ght er s
i nt o t he t heat er .
As ear l y as November 4, Luf t f l ot t e
4
gave up a f i ght er gr oup t o t he
Medi t er r anean. 16 Mor eover , t he Nor t h Af r i can i nvasi on f or ced t he Ger mans t o shut
down at t acks on t he
Mur mansk convoys and t o send addi t i onal ant i shi ppi ng uni t s
i nt o t he
Medi t er r anean. " Ger man bomber and f i ght er f or ces oper at i ng f r om
Tuni si a,
Si ci l y, and Sar di ni a i nf l i ct ed consi der abl e damage onAl l i ed shi ppi ng
and
gr ound f or ces. The Al l i es f aced t wo pr obl ems i n br i ngi ng ai r power t o bear on
t he
br i dgehead. The f i r st was one of l ogi st i cs. Tedder ' s ai r f or ces, st i l l
l ocat ed on
Egypt i an
bases, wer e t oo f ar away t o i nt er vene ef f ect i vel y, whi l e t he bases
t hat
Ei ght h Ar my capt ur ed i n i t s
mar ch al ong t he Nor t h Af r i can l i t t or al
t ook t i me t o
r epai r and
st ockpi l e. Si mi l ar l y, t he ai r f or ces i n Al ger i a
and Mor occo f ound i t
di f f i cul t t o
mar shal t he l ogi st i cal ef f or t needed i n east er n
Al ger i a wher e i t count ed.
The second
pr obl em i nvol ved command and cont r ol
. Angl o- Amer i can uni t s i n
Fr ench Nor t hwest
Af r i ca oper at ed under di f f er ent
pr ocedur es, whi l e
Tedder ' s
f or ces
i n Mi ddl e East Command
oper at ed di f f er ent l y . The sol ut i on t o t he f i r st
pr obl emwas a mat t er
of t i me. By ear l y J anuar y 1943, Al l i ed ai r f or ces f r omAl ger i a
wer e i nt er veni ng wi t h gr eat er ef f ect i veness, andTedder ' s f or ces soonj oi ned up .
The second pr obl em
was al so easi l y sol ved. As
ear l y
as
December 19, t he
Medi t er r anean naval
commander , Si r Andr ew
Cunni ngham, cabl ed London t hat ,
" Ther e i s one sol ut i on and t hat
i s t o put Tedder i n her e. "
Ei senhower br ought
" Tooey" Spaat z
out f r omEngl and as
hi s deput y, but at
Casabl anca t he Combi ned
Chi ef s
appoi nt ed
Tedder as
Commander of Al l i ed
Medi t er r anean Ai r
For ces . "
160
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STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
Thus, began a par t ner shi p
bet ween Ei senhower and t wo of t he pr emi er
ai r men of
t he war , Spaat z andTedder
.
Al l i ed ai r
commander s i n t he Medi t er r anean pr oved t hemsel ves pr agmat i c,
wi l l i ng, andeager t o dr awon bat t l ef i el d exper i ence. Suchat t i t udes enabl edTedder ,
Spaat z, and t hei r st af f s ( i n t he Amer i can case,
par t i cul ar l y Dool i t t l e, Nor st ad, and
Quesada) t o addr ess cr i t i cal
i ssues i n r eal i st i c t er ms. " By t he spr i ng of 1943,
Dool i t t l e was al r eady pr essi ng f or l ong- r ange f i ght er s t o
suppor t medi umandheavy
bomber s. He ar gued
t hat t he pr esence
of
such f i ght er s woul d si gni f i cant l y r educe
bomber casual t i es, whi l e t hei r use " as i nt r uder s woul d gr eat l y i ncr ease t he
ef f ect i veness of our st r at egi c oper at i ons . " 8° The r esul t of such l eader shi p was soon
f el t . Tedder andSpaat z used t hei r ai r r esour ces i n a coher ent campai gn t o gai n ai r
super i or i t y i n t he Medi t er r anean. Thei r st r at egy ai med at suppor t i ng t he over al l
t heat er obj ect i ve of dest r oyi ng Axi s f or ces i n Tuni si a r at her t han a mor e caval i er
" i ndependent " ai r st r at egy . As was t he case t hr oughout t he war , ai r st r at egy pr oved
most ef f ect i ve wheni nt egr at ed i nt o an
over al l st r at egy i n whi chai r , l and, andnaval
f or ces wor ked
cl osel y t oget her . Thi s does not mean t hat Medi t er r anean ai r f or ces
wer e subor di nat ed t o naval and
gr ound f or ces, r at her t hey wer e subor di nat ed t o a
gener al st r at egi c f r amewor k
wi t hi n whi chal l t hr ee ser vi ces wor ked.
In Febr uar y, t he Ger mans
l aunched a spoi l i ng at t ack at Kasser i ne Pass, but
gr owi ngpr essur e ar ound t he Tuni si an pocket
st r et ched Ger mangr ound f or ces t o t he
l i mi t . Al l i ed ai r uni t s pl ayed an i mpor t ant
r ol e i n di sr upt i ng t he Kasser i ne at t ack,
whi l e t he shock of t he Ger man of f ensi ve r esul t ed i n consi der abl e i mpr ovement s i n
cooper at i on bet ween Amer i can gr ound and ai r f or ces. " Meanwhi l e, Al l i ed
ant i shi ppi ng st r i kes, at t acks on har bor s, and mi ne l ayi ng oper at i ons added t o t he
di f f i cul t y of br i ngi ng convoys over f r omSi ci l y . By Febr uar y, Al l i ed ai r oper at i ons
so i mpeded t he suppl y si t uat i on f or Axi s f or ces t hat most Ger man f i ght er s wer e
l i mi t ed
t o
pr ot ect i ng
por t s
andconvoy r out es; t hi s gr owi ng f ai l ur e of sea t r anspor t
f or ced
t he
Ger mans t o depend i ncr easi ngl y on aer i al
r esuppl y . " Al l i edai r andnaval
f or ces
wer e
cr eat i ng a si t uat i on anal ogous t o St al i ngr ad, except t hat i n t he
case of
Tuni si a, t he
agony l ast ed
l onger
and i mposed a hi gher at t r i t i on on Luf t waf f e
asset s. "
In Mar ch, t he Ger man' s
desper at e si t uat i on i n Nor t h Af r i ca became hopel ess.
The gr owi ng
quant i t at i ve super i or i t y of Al l i ed f i ght er s r educedt he sur vi vabi l i t y of
" St ukas, " whi l e t he det er i or at i ng
gr ound si t uat i on r esul t ed i n mor e cal l s f or ai r
suppor t . As a r esul t ,
Ger man bomber s ceased at t acks on Al l i ed por t s so
as t o
suppor t t he har d- pr essed t r oops
at t he f r onf . Thi s change i n bomber st r at egy
not
onl y eased Al l i ed
suppl y t r oubl es but al so pr obabl y i ncr eased Ger man
bomber
l osses
as wel l as bei ng of doubt f ul ut i l i t y f or t he gr ound si t uat i on. $ °
Mor eover ,
Al l i ed ai r and
naval at t acks onconvoys f r omSi ci l y hal t ed naval movement by t he
endof Mar ch.
Maki ng t he suppl y of Tuni si a, i n t he f ace of
over whel mi ng Al l i edai r
andnaval super i or i t y, al most i mpossi bl e was
t he
f act
t he " Ul t r a" pr ovi ded Angl o-
Amer i can commander s wi t h accur at e and t i mel y
i nf or mat i on on mi l i t ar y convoys
f r om Si ci l y . So wel l pr epar ed
wer e Al l i ed ai r f or ces t hat Fl i eger kor ps Tuni s
concl uded i n mi d- Mar ch " t hat
t he cour se f or convoys DandCwer e bet r ayed t o t he
162
enemy. " " The Ger mans, however , r ef used t o bel i eve t o t he end of t he war
t hat t he
pr obl emmi ght l i e i n t hei r el ect r oni c communi cat i onsi gnal s.
Ther e was, t hen, no ot her choi ce f or t he
Ger mans but t o f al l back on ai r l i f t . Thi s
aer i al
suppl y of Tuni si a i n t he spr i ng r epr esent ed t he t hi r d di sast er
f or t he
Luf t waf f e' s t r anspor t f l eet wi t hi n a si x- mont h per i od. In Apr i l and t he f i r st week of
May, as t he Tuni si an pocket bur ned i t sel f out , t he Luf t waf f e l ost 177 mor e J u 52' s,
al ong wi t h a number
of speci al i zed ai r cr af t such as t he Me 323, t he
" Gi ant . '
116
Par t i cul ar l y not ewor t hy was t he l oss of 6 " Gi ant s"
and 25 J u 52' s f l yi ng t o
Tuni si a
f er r yi ng 800 Ger man t r oops . " The t hi r d sl aught er of
Ger man t r anspor t
ai r cr af t wi t hi n a si x- mont h per i od had a wi der i mpact t han
j ust on t he t r anspor t
f or ce. As one r anki ng of f i cer t ol d anot her af t er capt ur e
: " You cannot i magi ne how
cat ast r ophi c t he ai r per sonnel [ si t uat i on] i s. We have no cr ews; al l
t he i nst r uct or
cr ews wer e shot downi n t he J unker s.
" $ a
The i mpact of t he Tuni si an
campai gn ont he Luf t waf f e f ar out wei ghed what ever
st r at egi c
advant age t he Ger mans gai ned i n cl osi ng t he Medi t er r anean f or si x mor e
mont hs . In
t he per i od bet ween November 1942 and May 1943, t he Ger mans l ost
2, 422 ai r cr af t i n
t he Medi t er r anean t heat er ( 40. 5 per cent of t hei r t ot al f or ce
st r uct ur e as of
November
10, 1942) .
Tabl e XXXII89 gi ves t he Medi t er r anean l osses
i n t er ms of maj or ai r cr af t
t ypes dur i ng t he per i od and suggest s t hei r si gni f i cance f or
t he Luf t waf f e.
TABLEXXXII
Ger man Ai r cr af t Losses, Medi t er r anean
Theat er - November 1942- May
1943
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
What makes
such l osses so appal l i ng i s
t he f act t hat Luf t waf f e st r engt h
i n t he
Medi t er r anean var i ed f r om 200 t o
300 f i ght er s and f r om 200
t o 300 bomber s
t hr oughout t he per i od. 9° Thus,
combat wast age was wel l
over 200 per cent of uni t
st r engt h. Admi t t edl y, some
l osses wer e unavoi dabl e .
Never t hel ess, t he i mpr essi on
l ef t by
t he Nor t h Af r i can debacl e i s
t hat had t he Ger mans cut t hei r
l osses at Li bya,
t hey coul d have def ended Si ci l y
wi t h gr ound f or ces depl oyed
t o Tuni si a . In t he ai r ,
t he
Luf t waf f e coul d have used t he
st r at egy i t had waged so
successf ul l y i n west er n
Eur ope over t he past year
and a hal f : f i ght i ng onl y on i t s
ownt er ms or f or a deci si ve
st r at egi c obj ect .
However , t he commi t ment t o Tuni si a
pl aced t he Luf t waf f e
i n a
posi t i on wher e i t had
t o f i ght at gr eat di sadvant age
wi t h a r esul t i ng hi gh r at e
of
at t r i t i on .
163
Ai r cr af t Losses
Per cent of Tot al For ce St r uct ur e
10. 11. 42.
Fi ght er s
888 62. 6
Bomber s
734 58. 3
Twi n- Engi ne Fi ght er s
117 41. 1
Di ve Bomber s
128
35. 2
Tr anspor t s
371
31. 5
STRATEGYFOR
DEFEAT
Ger many' s t r oubl es i n
t he Medi t er r anean wer e not yet over
.
At
Casabl anca,
Al l i ed st at esmen and
mi l i t ar y commander s had det er mi ned t hat af t er Tuni si a, t hei r
f or ces woul d i nvade Si ci l y
and gi ve t he It al i ans
a
shove t hat woul d t ake t hemout of
t he war . For Hi t l er , t he pr obl em was wher e t he bl ow woul d come . The Axi s
col l apse i n Tuni si a dest r oyed t he f ew good r emai ni ng It al i an di vi si ons,
whi l e
t he
Ger mans l ost heavi l y enough t o pr event
est abl i shment of a si gni f i cant r eser ve i n
t he Medi t er r anean. " Ci t adel " hel d t he pr i or i t i es, and
Al l i ed decept i on ef f or t s
per suaded t he Fuhr er t hat t he next at t ack woul d be i n t he Bal kans. 9' Never t hel ess,
he di d not r ul e out t he possi bi l i t y t hat t he bl ow mi ght f al l cl oser t o t he It al i an
homel and. Kessel r i ng f or med Ger man t r oops awai t i ng shi pment t o Tuni si a i nt o
t hr ee scr at ch
di vi si ons. Despi t e Mussol i ni ' s demand f or equi pment r at her t han
sol di er s, t wo new panzer gr enadi er ( mot or i zed i nf ant r y) and t wo new panzer
di vi si ons
moved
i nt o t he peni nsul a dur i ng J une 1943
. 92
As al l had j ust r ecei ved
equi pment and men, t hey har dl y r epr esent ed a combat - t est ed mi l i t ar y
f or ce. Agai n
t he t empt at i on, whi ch pr oved i r r esi st i bl e, woul d be t o use t he Luf t waf f e t o bol st er
weakgr ound f or ces .
Whi l e Al l i ed ar mi es r est ed and t r ai ned, Angl o- Amer i can ai r f or ces at t acked
Ger man bases i n Si ci l y and Sar di ni a and r ai ded coast al t ar get s t o sof t en up
def enses . Begi nni ng i n mi d- May, Al l i ed ai r f or ces began a bombar dment of t he
It al i an i sl and of Pant el l er i a, l ocat ed 70 mi l es sout hwest of Si ci l y . Af t er t hr ee
weeks, It al i an f or ces sur r ender ed bef or e l andi ng oper at i ons began; t he onl y casual t y
was a sol di er bi t t en by a j ackass. 93 Whi l e Pant el l er i a pr ovi ded a base t o ext end
f i ght er cover age t o Si ci l y, i t s r eal val ue l ay i n condi t i ons i t pr ovi ded f or t he
st udy of
t he
ef f ect s
of
aer i al
bombar dment . 94
Al l i ed ai r men, usi ng t he
r ecommendat i ons of
sci ent i st s i n t hese ai r oper at i ons, par t i cul ar l y over Si ci l y and
Sar di ni a, gave no
r espi t e
t o t he Luf t waf f e. Ger many' s J une f i ght er l osses wer e 131, whi l e a f ur t her 72
bomber s
wer e
l ost . 95
J ul y br ought t he i nvasi on
of Si ci l y and t he gr eat est ai r bat t l e of
t he
Medi t er r anean war
.
The Tuni si an def eat caused a r eor gani zat i on
of Ger man ai r f or ces i n t he sout h.
Luf t f l ot t e 2 di vi ded i n t wo,
wi t hLuf t f l ot t e Sout h East cont r ol l i ng t he Bal kans and a
new Luf t f l ot t e
2
cont r ol l i ng
It al y, Sar di ni a, Cor si ca, and Si ci l y . A
gener al
r epl acement
of commander s al so occur r ed. Ri cht hof en ar r i ved
as Luf t f l ot t e 2
commander , accompani ed
by a number of st af f of f i cer s and commander s
f r omt he
east er n f r ont . Gal l and,
nowi nspect or of f i ght er s, went t o Si ci l y
t o cont r ol f i ght er
oper at i ons. Al ong wi t h t hese
changes, consi der abl e r ei nf or cement s
ar r i ved i n t he
t heat er . Fi ght er
bomber s t r ansf er r ed f r omoper at i ons
agai nst t he Br i t i sh Isl es, whi l e
t he number
of f i ght er s i ncr eased f r om 190 i n
mi d- May t o 450 i n ear l y J ul y .
Consi der i ng t he heavy l osses i n May and J une,
such t r ansf er s wer e even heavi er
t han t he above f i gur es
suggest
.
Cl ose
t o
40 per cent of al l f i ght er pr oduct i on f r om
May
1 t hr ough
J ul y 15 went t o t he Medi t er r anean and
t wo
newl y f or med wi ngs,
pr obabl y schedul ed f or Ger many' s def ense, went sout h. 96 Yet , t he movement of
f i ght er s t o
r edr ess Al l i ed super i or i t y achi eved not hi ng mor e t han t o cause
a r i se i n
Ger man l osses- a r ef l ect i on of
how over whel mi ng t he super i or i t y
of Al l i ed
pr oduct i on had become.
164
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
At t he end of J une,
ai r oper at i ons i n t he Medi t er r anean heat ed
up . The Ger mans
l aunched a number of
bomber and f i ght er bomber sor t i es agai nst
Al l i edshi ppi ng . In
addi t i on, t hey at t empt ed t o neut r al i ze
t he ai r f or ces bui l di ng up on Mal t a and
Pant el l er i a ; such ef f or t s r equi r ed st r ong f i ght er
suppor t . Faci ng numer i cal
super i or i t y, Ger man
f i ght er s had di f f i cul t y i n f endi ng of f enemy f i ght er s muchl ess
pr ot ect i ng bomber s and
f i ght er bomber s. The ai r st r uggl e soon t ur ned i nt o a bat t l e
f or ai r super i or i t y over
Si ci l y and Sar di ni a. 91 By t he st ar t of Oper at i on " Husky" on
J ul y 10, t he Al l i es had
achi eved gener al ai r super i or i t y over t he i sl and. Ger man
f i ght er s had t r oubl e pr ot ect i ng t hei r
own ai r f i el ds f r omhi gh and l ow l evel at t ack.
Sor t i es agai nst t he i nvasi on achi eved
l i t t l e and suf f er ed exor bi t ant l osses . Wi t hi n a
week, muchof t he Luf t waf f e had wi t hdr awn t o
t he mai nl and and used Si ci l i an bases
onl y as f or war d oper at i ng ar eas. " Losses f or
t he mont h wer e heavy . In J ul y, t he
Luf t waf f e l ost 711 ai r cr af t ( 10 per cent of
t he Ger manai r f or ce at t he endof J une) of
whi ch 246 wer e f i ght er s ( 13. 3 per cent of
al l
f i ght er s)
and 237 bomber s ( 14. 4
per cent of al l bomber s) . In August , Al l i ed ai r f or ces,
nowoper at i ng f r omSi ci l y,
pounded sout her n It al y and i nf l i ct ed a f ur t her 321 l osses. 9 At t hi s poi nt ,
r ei nf or cement s
and r esuppl y t o uni t s i n It al y dr i ed up, whi l e a number of squadr ons
( wi t h t ot al compl ement of 210 ai r cr af t ) wi t hdr ew f r omIt al y af t er a sever e maul i ng
over Si ci l y . Onl y one uni t r et ur ned t o t he
Medi t er r anean; t he r est r emai ned at home
t o hel p def endt he Rei ch. 100
Ir r at i onal i t y mar ked
Hi t l er ' s conduct of oper at i ons dur i ng t he Tuni si an and
Si ci l i an wi t hdr awal s . In bot h cases, he f or bade r et r eat unt i l t he l ast possi bl e
moment . As a r esul t , gr ound cr ews escaped f r om
Tuni si a by t he desper at e
expedi ent of packi ng t wo t o t hr ee i ndi vi dual s behi ndt he pi l ot ' s seat i n f i ght er s. 101 In
Si ci l y, gr ound per sonnel f l ed acr oss t he st r ai t s of Messi na by f er r y . Never t hel ess,
t he Fahr er ' s or der t hat no wi t hdr awal pr epar at i ons occur f or ced r et r eat i ng
squadr ons t o abandon near l y al l t hei r mai nt enance equi pment and most spar e
par t s .
102
These vi ct or i es i n t he Medi t er r anean
pl ayed a cr i t i cal r ol e i n t he wi nni ng of t he
war . They pr ovi ded Amer i can gr ound f or ces wi t h an i nval uabl e l esson on t he
qual i t y and compet ence of t hei r opponent . Wi t hout t hat exper i ence, bought at hi gh
but not exor bi t ant cost , i t i s har d t o i magi ne a successf ul l odgment on t he coast of
Fr ance . ' °
3
Al so i mpor t ant f or event ual vi ct or y was t he at t r i t i on of Luf t waf f e
st r engt h. Admi t t edl y, t he
Ger mans t hemsel ves ai ded and abet t ed t hat pr ocess by
pl aci ng
t hei r Medi t er r anean f or ces i n st r at egi cal l y i ndef ensi bl e posi t i ons .
They t hus
i nsur ed t hat
t he Luf t waf f e woul d f i ght at a di sadvant age . Much of t hi s
f ai l ur e was
di r ect l y at t r i but abl e t o Adol f Hi t l er . Never t hel ess, Ger many' s
Medi t er r anean
command deser ves i t s shar e of r esponsi bi l i t y . Kessel r i ng' s opt i mi st i c
r epor t i ng
t hr oughout
t he per i od mi sl ed bot h t he OKWand
Hi t l er . 104
By t he
summer of 1943,
even t he Fuhr er seems t o have had
doubt s. He r ef used t o bel i eve " smi l i ng
Al ber t ' s" assur r ance t hat Mussol i ni ' s over t hr ow di d not i ndi cat e a shi f t i n It al y' s
at t i t ude t owar ds t he war . Never t hel ess, Kessel r i ng r emai ned i n a posi t i on of hi gh
r esponsi bi l i t y t o t he end; t he f act t hat Kei t el
was
t he
onl y ot her of t he f i el d mar shal s
cr eat ed i n J ul y 1940
st i l l
ar ound at
t he end of t he war i s ampl e t est i mony t o
Kessel r i ng' s i nt egr i t y and r eal i sm. Hi s messages t o
t he har d- pr essed ai r uni t s i n t he
165
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
spr i ng campai gn summar i ze hi s
br and of l eader shi p . In Mar ch, he t hr eat ened
" cour t - mar t i al pr oceedi ngs owi ng t o t he
negl i gence i n t he escor t pr ovi ded f or
val uabl e mer chant vessel s, " whi l e ear l i er i n t he campai gn he suggest ed t o
hi s
ai r cr ews t hat J apanese f anat i ci sm
was
an
excel l ent exampl e as t o howt hey shoul d
f i ght . ' ° s Suchat t i t udes har dl y f i t most def i ni t i ons of l eader shi p, but t hey cer t ai nl y
f i t wi t hi n Hi t l er ' s.
THEAIRWARINTHEWEST: THECOMBINEDBOMBEROFFENSIVE
Bomber Command' s 1942per f or mance hadat best beenspot t y. It i f had
achi eved
successes i n at t acki ng at Lubeck, Rost ock, and Col ogne, t he vul ner abi l i t y of t hose
ci t i es was due t o t hei r l ocat i on and const r uct i on r at her t han t o
t hei r over al l
i mpor t ance t o t he war ef f or t . Never t hel ess, t hose successes pr ovi dedHar r i s wi t h t he
t i me andpol i t i cal cl out t o t ur n hi s commandi nt o an ef f ect i ve weapon, al t hought he
1942 campai gn bought t hat t i me at consi der abl e cost . The command' s st r engt h
seems t o have var i ed bet ween 400 and 500 ai r cr af t i n 1942; ' ° 6 l osses f or t he year
wer e 1, 404 ai r cr af t shot downand 2, 724 damaged. Ai r r ai ds dur i ng 1942 di r ect ed
agai nst Essen i n whi chBr i t i sh bomber s caused no si gni f i cant damage cost Bomber
Command no l ess t han
201
bomber s. 101
Of t he new f our - engi ne bomber s now
r eachi ng
f r ont l i ne squadr ons, t he Br i t i sh wr ot e of f 228 " St i r l i ngs, " 249
" Hal i f axes, " and202 " Lancast er s
. " t os
Despi t e t hese depr essi ng
st at i st i cs, Bomber Command ent er ed 1943 on an
upswi ng. Squadr ons wer e
r ecei vi ng f our - engi ne bomber s i n quant i t y, and
i nt r oduct i on of Oboe, a di r ect i onal ai d, H2S, a r adar t ar get l ocat or , and t ar get
mar ki ng t echni ques i n t he pat hf i nder f or ce gave Br i t i sh bomber s t he capabi l i t y t o
pl ace bombs i n t he ar ea of t he t ar get under cer t ai n condi t i ons . As Har r i s l at er not ed,
t he command was " at l ong l ast . . . r eady and equi pped. " ' 0' But he had l i t t l e
i nt ent i on of i nt egr at i ng i t s oper at i ons wi t h ot her s except on hi s own t er ms, an
at t i t ude
he had di spl ayed si nce t he war ' s begi nni ng . " ° Har r i s, by now a f i r m
advocat e of " ar ea" bombi ng, woul d wage hi s campai gn
i n
1943
wi t h r ut hl ess
det er mi nat i on.
Begi nni ng i n Mar ch 1943 and f or t he f ol l owi ng
t hr ee mont hs, Har r i s' f or ces
bat t er edt he Ruhr . As t he of f i ci al hi st or i ans not e, t hi s
at t ack " mar ked t he begi nni ng
of a f amous Bat t l e i n t he cour se of whi ch Bomber
Command was t o showi t sel f
capabl e of achi evi ng not onl y an occasi onal
vi ct or y, as had pr evi ousl y been t he
case, but a whol e ser i es of consi st ent
and pul ver i zi ng bl ows among
whi ch t he
f ai l ur es wer e much r ar er
t han t he successes. " " ' Never t hel ess, whi l e Br i t i sh
bomber s i nf l i ct ed ser i ous damage
onGer manci t i es, mi ssi on f ai l ur es poi nt ed up t he
l i mi t at i ons on
oper at i ons . Two separ at e at t acks agai nst t he Skoda wor ks ( beyond
t he r ange of navi gat i onal ai ds) achi eved not hi ng. The f i r st mi st ook a l unat i c asyl um
f or t he wor ks, whi l e t he second at t ack i n May achi eved an excel l ent bombi ng
concent r at i on i n openf i el ds 2mi l es t o
t he
nor t h.
112
Whi l e t he May 1943 r ai ds on t he
dams i n t he Ruhr Val l ey paved t he way f or
subsequent successf ul oper at i onal
devel opment s i n 1944, Bomber Command
166
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
over al l i n 1943 coul d onl y act as a bl udgeon. It possessed
t he abi l i t y t o hi t l ar ge
ci t i es wi t h devast at i ng bl ows; but wi t ht he except i on of Essen and a f ewot her ci t i es,
Ger man i ndust r y
l ay
on
t he out ski r t s of maj or t owns. In f act , i t i s pr obabl y an
accur at e est i mat e
of t he command' s capabi l i t i es t o say t hat i t di d mor e col l at er al
damage t o i ndust r i al t ar get s i n t he 1943 " ar ea" bombi ng t han woul d have beent he
case had
i t waged a campai gn di r ect l y ai med at dest r oyi ng Ger mani ndust r y . The
dams r ai ds poi nt out a maj or f act or i n t he
f ai l ur e of bombi ng t o achi eve
deci si ve r esul t s. Luck el i mi nat edmost of t he
ai r cr af t or der ed t o t ake out t he cr i t i cal
Sor pe Dam; as a r esul t , onl y
t he M6hne and l ess i mpor t ant Eder Dams r ecei ved
damage. To t hei r sur pr i se, t he Ger mans wer e abl e t o r epai r t he M6hne Damby t he
f al l of 1943 wi t h no i nt er f er ence
agai nst t he vul ner abl e r econst r uct i on wor k. " '
Al l i ed ai r commander s st i l l t ended t o over est i mat e r ai d damage and under est i mat e
Ger man
r ecuper at i ve power s.
Bomber Commandpounded Ger many i n t he spr i ng of 1943 at a t er r i bl e cost t o
i t sel f . Losses i n t he " Bat t l e of t he Ruhr " r eached t he poi nt wher e Har r i s' f or ces
f l i r t ed wi t h def eat . In 43
maj or
at t acks,
t he RAFl ost 872 bomber s wi t h 2, 126
damaged. Despi t e t hese l osses,
f r ont l i ne st r engt h r ose f r om593 cr ews and ai r cr af t
i n Febr uar y t o 787 i n August - a
r ef l ect i on of t he massi ve pr oduct i on and cr ew
t r ai ni ng
pr ogr ams
. 114
These heavy l osses pr ompt ed
t he Br i t i sh t o i nt r oduce
" Wi ndow" ( t he use of chaf f ) t o conf use Ger man r adar . The Br i t i sh of f i ci al
hi st or i ans have cr i t i ci zed t he f act t hat " Wi ndow" was i nt r oduced at such a l at e
dat e; what ever t he mer i t s of t he case, one can st i l l doubt whet her " Wi ndow' s" use
at an ear l i er dat e woul d have equal edt he st unni ng ef f ect t hat i t s i nt r oduct i on had i n
l at e J ul y 1943. " 5
" Wi ndow"
enabl ed Bomber Command t o deal t he Ger mans a ser i es of
devast at i ng bl ows at t he end of J ul y . The most t er r i bl e of t hese, code- named
appr opr i at el y " Gomor r ah, " began on J ul y 24 wi t h an at t ack on Hambur g.
" Wi ndow" bl i nded t he ent i r e def ense syst em, and i nt er cept oper at or s of ` Y'
Ser vi ce l i st ened t o t he r i si ng f r ust r at i on of Ger mancont r ol l er s and r adar oper at or s,
at t empt i ng t o make sense of r adar
scr eens
t hat i ndi cat ed t housands of
bomber s. '
16
But t he dest r uct i on of Hambur g came not f r omany one r ai dbut f r omt he cumul at i ve
ef f ect of sever al r ai ds conduct ed under per f ect weat her condi t i ons. " ' OnJ ul y 25,
t hr ee Amer i can bomb gr oups at t acked t he ci t y wi t h t he ai mof pl ast er i ng t he Bl ohm
and Voss U- boat yar d and t he Kl ockner ai r cr af t engi ne f act or y . On t he f ol l owi ng
day, anot her
at t ack by f our bomb gr oups added t o t he dest r uct i on wi t hi n t he ci t y,
but bot h
Amer i can at t acks had di f f i cul t y i n f i ndi ng t hei r t ar get s.
In t he f i r st case,
smoke f r omt he st i l l - smol der i ng f i r es obscur ed muchof t he
ci t y ; i n t he second r ai d,
t he Ger mans l ai da smoke scr een as t he bomber s begant hei r
appr oach.
On t he eveni ng of J ul y 27, t he
second gr eat RAFat t ack occur r ed. Thi s t i me
dest r uct i on t ook pl ace on a whol l y di f f er ent
scal e f r om anyt hi ng i n pr evi ous
exper i ence. Muchof t he f i r e- f i ght i ng
f or ce was on t he ci t y' s west er n si de t o f i ght
smol der i ng coke and coal f i r es
;
t hi s f act or ,
combi ned wi t h t he occur r ence of war m,
dr y weat her and t he di sr upt i on
of t he wat er syst em by t he pr evi ous bombi ng,
cr eat ed t he r i ght
condi t i ons f or t he st ar t of a massi ve f i r e st or m. Wi t hi n
20 mi nut es
16
7
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
168
MAJ OR
TARGETS:
The St r at egi c Bombi ng
Of f ensi ve
T" , OSNABRUCK

BRUNSWICK

* VBERLIN
'
v
AACHEN
' BONN

i
i OBLENZ*
FRANKFURT
' \

MAINZ'
. I
MANNHEIM

\
" NEUXNIPCHEN

- LUDWIGSHAFEN
" NUREMBURC\
"~. KABLSRUHE

" Rf GENSBUAG
STUTTGART
j

. SCHLEISSHEIM
" MUNICH
of t he r ai d' s
st ar t , a gr owi ng ar ea- pr obabl y cent er ed
ar ound a t i mber yar d i n t he
ci t y' s
cent er - expl oded. Fur t her bombi ng
spr ead t he f i r e st or mt o t he
nor t heast as
t he phonomena of " cr eep back"
occur r ed ( l at e bomber s dumpi ng t hei r
l oads shor t
of t he f i r st bombi ngs) . By t he
next mor ni ng, f i r e had bur ned
an enor mous 4-
squar e- mi l e hol e i n t he
ci t y wi t h consi der abl e per i pher al damage
t o ar eas adj acent
t o t he gr eat f i r e .
" N
Bet ween 30
and 40, 000 peopl e per i shed.
" 9
Yet , t he or deal was
not over . Ont he eveni ng of
J ul y 29, a t hi r d gr eat r ai d occur r ed
. Bomber Command
agai n heavi l y bombed t he ci t y ;
mat er i al damage came cl ose
t o t hat of t he J ul y 27
r ai d. Loss of l i f e, however , was
consi der abl y l ess; no f i r e
st or moccur r ed, and t he
Gaul ei t er - t he Nazi Par t y' s
of f i ci al on t he
scene- had begun a subst ant i al
evacuat i on of t he popul at i on.
' z°
One f i nal r ai d f ol l owed
ear l y i n August , but
bad
weat her spar edHambur g
f ur t her devast at i on
.
Bomber Commandachi eved
t hi s t er r i bl e success at l i t t l e cost . The mi ssi ngr at es
i n t he
f our r ai ds on Hambur g wer e 1 . 5 per cent , 2. 2 per cent , 3 . 5 per cent , and
4
per cent . The r i se i n l osses di d r ef l ect a sur pr i si ngl y qui ck r ecover y by t he def enses,
but ai r cr af t l osses wer e f ewer t han t hose suf f er ed dur i ng t he Bat t l e of t he Ruhr . " '
The dest r uct i on was
t he gr eat est success t hat Bomber Commandwoul d achi eve f or
t he next year and a hal f . It r epr esent ed " ar ea"
bombi ng i n i t s most devast at i ng and
awesome aspect s.
Out of 122, 000
apar t ment s, t he r ai ds
dest r oyed or damaged
40, 000 and out of 450, 000
houses, 250, 000.
Sevent y- f i ve per cent of t he el ect r i c
wor ks,
60 per cent of t he
wat er syst em, and
90 per cent of t he gas syst em
wer e
" MUNSTER
HANOYEP
"
" MAGDEBURG
-
. I. EUNA
RU" HA~ - [ LEI( ZIG
. ~ .
KASSEL
- COLOGNE
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
knocked out of commi ssi on
. The f al l of f i n i ndust r i al pr oduct i on
was consi der abl e:
40 per cent f or l ar ge f i r ms
and 80 per cent f or medi umand smal l concer ns
.
" I
The i mpact onGer man l eader shi p was consi der abl e.
Goebbel s coul d not bel i eve
t he f i r st r epor t s
of t he second r ai d' s ef f ect s
. ' "
Speer i nf or med Hi t l er t hat si x mor e
at t acks on t hi s scal e woul d " br i ng Ger many' s ar mament s pr oduct i on t o a hal t . "
Hi t l er , however , r epl i ed t hat Speer woul d st r ai ght en t hi ngs out .
' z°
In r et r ospect ,
Hi t l er was cor r ect , not because Speer was wr ong i n an est i mat e t hat si x mor e
Hambur gs
woul d hal t ar mament pr oduct i on, but because Hambur g was a uni que
success, dependi ng on pecul i ar ci r cumst ances :
a per i od of war m, dr y weat her ; t he
bl i ndi ng of Ger mandef enses; and t he l ocat i on of t he ci t y on t he
El be est uar y whi ch
gave an excel l ent r adar echo. The success, however , was mi sl eadi ng
f or t he
condi t i ons r ar el y r eoccur r ed. For Har r i s,
Hambur g r epr esent ed t he f i nal
conf i r mat i on t hat hi s " ar ea" bombi ng campai gn was on t he r i ght
t r ack
. He
woul d
per sever e on t hi s cour se and t ake
hi s command and cr ews down a l ong, dar k
cor r i dor i n t he Bat t l e of Ber l i n.
Bomber Command' s subsequent success i n smashi ng t he r ocket exper i ment al
st at i on at Peenemunde i ndi cat ed bot h t he danger s ahead as wel l as t he possi bi l i t y of
ot her avenues. For t he f i r st t i me i n a maj or at t ack
on
Ger many,
t he commandused a
" mast er bomber , " who r emai ned over t he t ar get t hr oughout t he r ai d and cont r ol l ed
t he
bombi ng. Anewand i mpr oved mar ker bomb al so cont r i but ed t o t he success .
What ever t he del ay t he r ai d caused t he r ocket pr ogr ams, and t her e i s some quest i on
on
t hi s poi nt , ' " t her e i s no quest i on t hat t he new met hods cont r i but ed t o an
accur at e, wel l - pl aced bomb pat t er n. However , t he Ger man def enses wer e al r eady
on t he r oad t o r ecover y ; t he r ai di ng f or ce of 597 ai r cr af t l ost
40 bomber s ( 6. 7
per cent ) wi t h a f ur t her 32 damaged ( f or a l oss and damage
r at e
of
12. 1 per cent ) .
126
Thus, at t he end of August , Bomber
Commandwas f r esh f r omi t s gr eat t r i umphs of
hi gh summer , but addi t i onal pr obl ems and
quest i ons ar ose t hat r equi r ed r esol ut i on
bef or e Har r i s coul d be pr oven cor r ect i n hi s bel i ef
t hat " st r at egi c" bombi ng woul d
be t he deci si ve f act or i n
t he war .
Whi l e
Bomber Command was posi ng an i ncr easi ng t hr eat
t o
t he
secur i t y of
Ger many' s
ci t i es at ni ght , Amer i can dayl i ght " st r at egi c" bombi ng
f or ces wer e al so
bui l di ng up
i n Engl and. By l at e spr i ng 1943, consi der abl y l at er
t hanAl l i ed pl anner s
had hoped,
Amer i can bomber s wer e r eady t o t r y out
t he t heor i es of pr eci si on
bombi ng
at t acks
by
sel f - def endi ng f or mat i ons i n t he
ski es over t he Rei ch.
The
consi der abl e del ay i n t he l aunchi ng of t hi s of f ensi ve
r esul t ed f r omt he si phoni ng of f
of Amer i can ai r r esour ces
t o t he Medi t er r anean i n November 1942. The f or ces
r emai ni ng i n Engl and r epr esent ed a
f r act i on of what Amer i can ai r men f el t
t hey
needed t o accompl i sh t hei r
campai gn. Never t hel ess, as suggest ed ear l i er ,
Eaker had
seen not hi ng i n t he f i r st oper at i ons t hat suggest ed t hat dayl i ght , pr eci si on,
unescor t ed bombi ng was not a vi abl e pr oposi t i on. In f act , Eaker f i r ml y bel i eved
t hat
Ei ght h Ai r
For ce
coul d
event ual l y di spense
wi t h
f i ght er
pr ot ect i on and oper at e i n
t he dept hs of t he Rei ch i n gr eat unescor t ed
f or mat i ons . In Oct ober 1942, he wr ot e
Spaat z t hat :
169
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
The second phase, whi ch we ar e about
t o ent er , i s t he
demonst r at i on
t hat day bombi ng can be economi cal l y execut ed
usi ng
gener al f i ght er suppor t . . . i n get t i ng t hr ough t he Ger man
def ensi ve f i ght er bel t and t o hel p
our
cr i ppl es home t hr ough t hi s
same bel t ; t he t hi r d phase wi l l i ncl ude deeper penet r at i ons i nt o
enemy t er r i t or y, usi ng l ong- r ange f i ght er accompani ment of t he
P- 39 t ype i n gener al suppor t onl y and cont i nui ng t he use of shor t -
r ange f i ght er s at cr i t i cal poi nt s on a
t i me schedul e ;
t he f our t h phase
wi l l be a demonst r at i ont hat bombar dment i n f or ce- a
mi ni mumof
300 bomber s can ef f ect i vel y at t ack any Ger mant ar get
and
r et ur n
wi t hout excessi ve or uneconomi cal l osses
.
Thi s
l at er phase r el i es
upon mass and t he gr eat f i r epower of t he l ar ge bombar dment
f or mat i ons.
127
Wi t hl i mi t ed number s of ai r cr af t and beset by mai nt enance pr obl ems, Ei ght h Ai r
For ce l aunched r el at i vel y weak r ai ds ont o t he cont i nent . Bet weenNovember 1942
and mi d- Mar ch 1943, onl y t wo at t acks number ed mor e t han 100 bomber s.
' ZS
Onl y
i n May 1943 di d
i t s
f or ce st r uct ur e al l owEi ght h t o l aunch
200
bomber s on a r egul ar
basi s
. Never t hel ess, i n t he ear l y spr i ng of 1943, Amer i can bomber s began mor e
danger ous f or ays i nt o cont i nent al ai r space. These f i r st r ai ds qui ckl y i ndi cat ed t he
pr i ce t hat Ger man f i ght er f or ces coul d ext r act . On Apr i l 17, 115 ai r cr af t at t acked
t he Focke Wul f f act or y near Br emen; t he Ger mans shot down 16 bomber s ( 13. 9
per cent ) and damaged 46 ( 40 per cent ) . 119 The sor t i e l oss r at e i n May dr opped
because t he t ar get s wer e l ess danger ous andbecause t he number of avai l abl e ai r cr af t
cl i mbed f ast er t han l osses i nf l i ct ed by t he Ger mans
. Fi nal l y, i n l at e spr i ng of 1943,
Eaker r ecei ved r ei nf or cement s t hat r ai sed hi s
di spat chabl e st r engt h t o 300- pl us
bomber s- a l evel whi chhe and ot her Ei ght hAi r For ce
commander s bel i eved woul d
al l ow dayl i ght , unescor t ed mi ssi ons i nt o t he hear t of
t he Rei ch. As Eaker had
wr i t t en Spaat z i n Oct ober 1942, hi s seni or
of f i cer s wer e " absol ut el y convi nced t hat
300bomber s can at t ack any t ar get
i nGer many wi t hl ess t han 4 per cent l osses.
" ' 3o
As wi t h t he concept
of deep penet r at i on, unescor t ed r ai ds, Amer i can t ar get
sel ect i on showed t he i mpr i nt of pr ewar doct r i ne
as
wel l
as ongoi ng war - t i me
exper i ence . In t he f or mer case, t he si ze of
deep penet r at i on f or mat i ons showed a
gr eat i ncr ease over pr ewar est i mat es
as t o what was necessar y t o i nsur e t he sur vi val
of bomber s. In t he
l at t er case, t he t ar get pr i or i t y l i st l ai d down by t he
Combi ned
Bomber Of f ensi ve
( CBO) Pl an was a mi xt ur e of doct r i ne and r eal i t y
. Because t he
di scussi ons l eadi ng t o sel ect i on of bombi ng pr i or i t i es have
r ecei ved at t ent i on
el sewher e, " ' an exami nat i on of t he f i nal l i st wi l l
ser ve our pur poses . The pr i or i t y
l i st of t ar get s i nt he f i nal pl an was:
( 1) Int er medi at e Obj ect i ves:
Ger manf i ght er st r engt h.
( 2) Pr i mar y Obj ect i ves
:
Ger mansubmar i ne
yar ds and bases.
The r emai nder of t he
Ger manai r cr af t i ndust r y .
Bal l bear i ngs.
Oi l
( cont i ngent upon
at t acks agai nst Pl oest i
f r om
Medi t er r anean) .
( 3)
Secondar y Obj ect i ves :
Synt het i c r ubber
and t i r es .
Mi l i t ar y mot or t r anspor t
vehi cl es.
132
ATTRITIONONTHE
PERIPHERY
The pl acement of Ger manf i ght er
st r engt h at t he t op of t he l i st
was a r ecogni t i ont hat
t he Luf t waf f e' s f i ght er s
r epr esent ed a cr i t i cal t hr eat t o
t he dayl i ght bomber . The
t ar get i ng of U- boat yar ds and bases
r ef l ect edt he mi l i t ar y r eal i t y of t he Bat t l e of t he
At l ant i c i n whi ch Al l i ed sea and ai r f or ces wer e onl y nowbegi nni ng t o domi nat e t he
submar i ne. Fur t her , t he pr esence of pet r ol eum,
synt het i c r ubber , and bal l bear i ng
i ndust r i es dr ew di r ect l y f r om
pr ewar
t heor i es
whi ch had at t empt ed t o i dent i f y
" bot t l eneck" i ndust r i es, t he dest r uct i on of
whi ch woul d
cause
t he f ai l ur e of t he
whol e economi c st r uct ur e . The bal l bear i ng i ndust r y i t sel f was
t he cl assi c weak l i nk
posi t ed by Amer i canAi r Cor ps Tact i cal School t hi nker s. Thi s i s not
t o say
t hat
t he
sel ect i on of bal l bear i ngs was ent i r el y an Amer i can i dea; t her e wer e i mpor t ant
f i gur es wi t hi n t he Ai r Mi ni st r y who ar gued per suasi vel y i n 1943 t hat Bomber
Commandal so shoul d at t ack t he bal l bear i ng f act or i es .
' 33
In J une 1943, Ei ght h Ai r For ce l aunched t wo maj or r ai ds i nt o Ger man ai r space
beyond f i ght er
escor t
r ange . The f i r st , on J une 13, at t acked t wo t ar get s: t he mai n
f or ce, Br emen; and a smal l er f or ce, Ki el . Of t he
228 ai r cr af t di spat ched, Ei ght h
l ost 26 ( a l oss r at e of 11. 4 per cent ) . Ni ne days
l at er , B- 17' s and B- 24' s st r uck t he
I . G. Far ben synt het i c r ubber pl ant at Hul s
. Whi l e t he mai n and secondar y f or ces
l ost 20 bomber s ( 6. 7 per cent ) , t he r ai d
was
one of
t he mor e successf ul i nt he war . It
shut downt he pl ant f or a f ul l mont h and r educed r ubber st ocks t o
a one- and- a- hal f
mont h suppl y . As wi t h t he Mohne Dam, Al l i ed bomber s di d not r et ur n and t he
Ger mans r epai r ed t he damage. In Mar ch 1944, Hul s r eached peak pr oduct i on f or
t he war .
' J 4
For most of J ul y, weat her condi t i ons pr event ed Ei ght h Ai r For ce f r omat t acki ng
Ger many. In t he mont h' s l ast week, however , excel l ent f l yi ng condi t i ons occur r ed
and Eaker mount ed hi s most ambi t i ous oper at i ons. Ei ght h at t acked Hambur g on
J ul y 25 and agai n on t he 26t h ( al ong wi t h Hanover ) . On J ul y 28 and 30t h, t he
Amer i can bomber s hi t Kassel and assor t ed t ar get s and ont he 29t h at t acked Ki el and
War nemunde . These oper at i ons di d not come l i ght l y . Fer oci ous Ger man
opposi t i on cost Ei ght h Ai r For ce 87 bomber s.
' 35
Despi t e t he l osses, t hese oper at i ons
si gnal l ed t he ar r i val of Amer i can f i ght er s as
a f act or i n t he ai r bat t l e . OnJ ul y 28,
P- 47' s, equi pped f or t he f i r st t i me
wi t h
dr op
t anks, caught Ger man f i ght er s
at t acki ng B- 17 st r aggl er s; on t he 30t h,
escor t f i ght er s agai n caught t he Ger mans
and i nf l i ct ed heavy l osses. Whi l e t hese
f i r st dr op t anks onl y ext ended P- 47r ange by
30- pl us mi l es, t he pr esence
of Amer i can f i ght er s deeper ont he cont i nent
por t ended
ser i ous i mpl i cat i ons f or
Ger mandef enses.
' 36
Ext ensi ve oper at i ons
at t he end of J ul y exhaust ed and at t r i t ed
Ei ght h' s f or ces so
t hat avai l abl e st r engt h f el l
bel ow300; not unt i l August 12 di d t he
Amer i cans r et ur n
t o ski es over t he
Rei ch. The at t ack on t he Ruhr i ndi cat ed
no weakeni ng of Ger man
opposi t i on; 25
bomber s out of 330 di spat ched f el l ( a 7 . 5 per cent
l oss r at e) .
117
On
August 17,
Eaker l aunched hi s bomber s agai nst Schwei nf ur t and
Regensbur g i n one
of t he most f amous and cost l y r ai ds of t he war . The l at t er at t acks ai med
at
dest r oyi ng t he Messer schmi t t compl ex- an obvi ous ef f or t t o st r i ke at t he sour ce of
Luf t waf f e f i ght er st r engt h. Wi t hi n Schwei nf ur t , t hr ee
maj or
concer ns
pr oduced 45
per cent of t he bal l bear i ngs used by Ger man
i ndust r y ( 52. 5 per cent i n t er ms of net
STRATEGY
FORDEFEAT
ESCORT
FIGHTER
RANGE
; un~m[ A
j ,
HAMBU* ,
HANOV
. 1
BERLIN
KASSEL
COLOGNE0

LEIPZIG
"
i "
FRANKFURT~ I
SCHWEINFU
NUREMBERG
KARLSRU
6139
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
wor t h) . " ' The Schwei nf ur t - Regensbur g
at t ack was t he most ambi t i ous and
deepest
penet r at i on by Ei ght h Ai r For ce t hus f ar
i n
t he
war . It s r esul t s shat t er ed t he t heor y
t hat t he Ger mandef ensi ve syst eml acked dept h.
Bot h f or mat i ons suf f er ed heavy l osses . The Regensbur g f or ce l ost 24 bomber s
out of 146 di spat ched ( 16. 4 per cent ) and onl y t he f act t hat t hey f l ew on t o Nor t h
Af r i ca, t her eby di sconcer t i ng Ger mandef enses,
pr event edheavi er
l osses. 119
Inf act ,
t he number of ai r cr af t wr i t t en of f was hi gher t han 24, f or t he Regensbur g f or ces l ef t
appr oxi mat el y 20 B- 17' s i n Nor t h Af r i ca when t hey r et ur ned t o Eur ope .
' 4°
The
second f or ce, at t acki ng Schwei nf ur t , r ecei ved no benef i t f r om t he f i r st at t ack
because bad weat her had del ayed
i t s depar t ur e
.
As a r esul t , Ger man f i ght er s
savaged i t as t hor oughl y
as t hey had t he Regensbur g f or ce . Out of 230 bomber s, t he
Schwei nf ur t gr oups l ost
36 ( 15. 7 per cent ) . The l oss of 60 bomber s i n one day
r epr esent ed t he l oss of 10. 3 per cent of t he ai r cr af t
i n Ei ght h' s oper at i onal uni t s and
17. 5 per cent of i t s cr ewst r engt h.
' 4'
By t hemsel ves t hese per cent ages
expl ai n why
Ei ght h di d not go back t o Schwei nf ur t unt i l t he f ol l owi ng Oct ober . Whi l e t he
at t acki ng f or ce i nf l i ct ed subst ant i al damage ont he bal l
bear i ng wor ks, t he bombi ng
concent r at i on and t he number of ai r cr af t at t acki ng wer e i nsuf f i ci ent t o el i mi nat e
Schwei nf ur t as a pr oduct i on cent er .
The conduct of t he Schwei nf ur t / Regensbur g at t ack r ai ses i nt er est i ng quest i ons .
The si ze of t he at t acki ng f or ce and dual t ar get s r ef l ect anover est i mat i on of bot h t he
accur acy and ef f ect i veness of bombi ng.
142
Thus, t her e was a t endency t o
under est i mat e t he ai r cr af t needed t o dest r oy a t ar get andt o over est i mat e t he damage
i nf l i ct ed. Asecond poi nt has t o
do
wi t h
t he i nef f ect ual cooper at i on bet ween t he
Br i t i sh
and Amer i can st r at egi c
bombi ng f or ces i n Engl and
.
Despi t e t he f r i endshi p
bet ween Eaker and
Har r i s,
and Ei ght h Ai r For ce' s ear l i er cooper at i on i n t he assaul t
on Hambur g on J ul y 25 and 26t h, Bomber
Command
headquar t er s
showed
no
i nt er est i n suppor t i ng t he pr eci si on bombi ng of f ensi ve by hi t t i ng at ni ght what
Eaker ' s f or ces had hi t i n t he day . It i s wor t h not i ng t hat t he Ai r St af f ' s Di r ect or of
Bombi ng Oper at i ons, Ai r Commander S . O. Buf t on, was st r ongl y ur gi ng i n t he
summer of 1943 t hat Bomber Command f ol l ow up any Amer i can at t ack on
Schwei nf ur t . He suggest ed t hat RAFcr ews be t ol d t hat hi st or y mi ght " pr ove t hat
t oni ght ' s
oper at i on, i n conj unct i on wi t h t he day at t ack whi chi s t aki ng pl ace at t hi s
moment , wi l l be one of t he maj or bat t l es of t hi s war . If bot h oper at i ons
ar e
successf ul , Ger man r esi st ance may be br oken and t he war ended sooner t han coul d
be possi bl e
i n any ot her way.
" 143
But Har r i s had set hi s f ace agai nst bombi ng
any
" panacea"
t ar get , and Ei ght Ai r For ce went down t he dar k r oad t o
Schwei nf ur t
t wi ce
i n 1943- al one.
The heavy l osses t hat Amer i can bomber s suf f er ed
i n t he summer di r ect l y
r ef l ect ed t he i nsuf f i ci ent r ange of escor t i ng f i ght er s.
Thi s was a r esul t of Angl o-
Amer i can at t i t udes t hat r egar ded t he use of
l ong- r ange f i ght er ai r cr af t not onl y as
t echnol ogi cal l y i mpossi bl e but i n
some cases as not r eal l y necessar y . As
l at e as
mi d- J une, evenaf t er t he heavy l osses
ont he Ki el r ai d, Eaker pl acedr ange ext ensi on
t anks f or f i ght er s f our t h
on hi s l i st of pr i or i t i es. In f ai r ness t o Eaker ,
hi s
conver sat i ons wi t h Rober t Lovet t ,
Assi st ant Secr et ar y of War f or Ai r , l ed t he
l at t er
173
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
t o
gi ve t he l ong- r ange f i ght er escor t pr ogr am
st r ong suppor t when he r et ur ned t o
Washi ngt on. " ' Such l assi t ude and l ack of di r ect i on mar ked t he dr op t ank
engi neer i ng pr ogr ami n t he
Uni t ed St at es t hat VIII Fi ght er Commandand VFi ght er
Command, oper at i ng i n NewGui nea, had devel oped r ough and wor kabl e t anks
bef or e t he engi neer s at
Wr i ght - Pat t er son. 141 The r esul t s f or t he bomber s of Ei ght h
Ai r For ce showcl ear l y i n Tabl es XXXIII' 4b and XXXIV. 141 As we shal l see i n t he
next sect i on, t he l oss r at e
f or
Luf t waf f e
uni t s i n t he west was equal l y
appal l i ng .
The
quest i on was who coul d best
st and
up
t o t he at t r i t i on. In t he hi gh summer of 1943,
t he answer was st i l l i ndoubt .
Whi l e Ei ght h Ai r For ce mount ed i ncr easi ngl y power f ul r ai ds, Amer i can ai r
f or ces i n t he Medi t er r anean ent er ed t he st r uggl e over Eur ope. OnAugust 1, Ni nt h
Ai r For ce l aunched f i ve B- 24 gr oups, 177 bomber s, agai nst Rumani an oi l f i el ds
and
r ef i ner i es near
Pl oest i . Unf or t unat el y, due t o er r or s, t he at t ack suf f er ed f r om
bad t i mi ng and al er t ed t he def enses . Whi l e damage was consi der abl e,
bomber
l osses wer e so heavy,
41
due t o enemy act i on ( 23. 2 per cent ) and
54
over al l
( 30
. 5
per cent ) , t hat Amer i can ai r commander s coul d not i nt ensi f y t he damage wi t h
f ur t her r ai ds.
141
Thus, t he Ger mans r epai r ed cr i t i cal ar eas and ut i l i zed capaci t y not
i n use . On August 13, t hese f i ve gr oups, di mi ni shed i n st r engt h, st r uck t he Wi ener
Neust adt ai r cr af t assembl y pl ant i nAust r i a. Cat chi ng t he def enses by sur pr i se, t hey
i nf l i ct ed ser i ous damage wi t h t he l oss of onl y t wo ai r cr af t . 149 The Ger mans wer e on
not i ce t hat Amer i can ai r cr af t based i n t he Medi t er r anean coul d st r i ke deep ont o t he
cont i nent . ' S° The si t uat i on woul d become i ncr easi ngl y ser i ous f or t he Rei ch as
Al l i ed ar mi es i nvaded t he It al i an mai nl andand capt ur edai r f i el ds i n sout her n It al y .
THEDEFENSEOFTHEREICH
The per i od wi t h whi ch t hi s chapt er deal s was a t i me when qui t e l i t er al l y t he r oof
over t he Rei ch caved i n. How Ger many' s def enses and i t s l eader s r esponded
det er mi ned t he f at e of t he Rei ch' s ci t i es and t he l engt h of t he war . Whi l e mi l i t ar y
event s and pr oduct i on deci si ons t aken i n t he 1940- 41 t i me f r ame had
seal ed Nazi
Ger many' s f at e, st r at egi c deci si ons t aken i n 1943 det er mi ned how
event s woul d
unf ol d. Wi t h t he except i on of t he Bat t l e of Br i t ai n, t he
west er n ai r war had
r emai ned a per i pher al t heat er , ar ousi ng t he i nt er est of
Hi t l er and t he Luf t waf f e st af f
onl y
af t er a par t i cul ar l y egr egi ous Br i t i sh success such as t he May 1942
Col ogne
r ai d . However ,
t he t hr eat i n t he west r emai ned no mor e
t han t hat
f or
t he r emai nder
of 1942. Ther e wer e some who r ecogni zed t he danger .
However , i nt he f al l of 1942,
t he Ger mans had accept ed bat t l e on t he per i pher y, and
as a r esul t t he Luf t waf f e
suf f er ed enor mous l osses on t he
Medi t er r anean and Russi an f r ont s. But i n t he
summer of 1943, and f or t he f i r st t i me si nce 1940, ai r cr af t l osses i nt he west r eached
a si zeabl e pr opor t i on of t ot al l osses .
Bef or e
exami ni ng t he conduct of t he Rei ch' s ai r def ense,
t he Luf t waf f e' s
or gani zat i onal st r uct ur e i n t he west
deser ves at t ent i on. That st r uct ur e di d not r ef l ect
t he st r at egi c needs of 1943 but
t he bur eaucr at i c gr owt h of t he Luf t waf f e af t er t he
Fr ench
col l apse andt he i nvasi on of
Russi a. In 1941, Luf t f l ot t e 3 r emai ned
behi nd i n
174
20%
AIRCRAFT
WRITTEN
OFF: EIGHTH
AIRFORCE
1943
( HEAVY
BOMBERS)
PERCENTAGE
LOSS
- -

'
12. 6%
BOMBERS
ONHAND, TACTICAL UNITS
TOTAL WRITTEN
OFF
21. 5%
20. 3%
CREW
LOSSES EIGHTH AIR FORCE 1943
( HEAVY BOMBERS)
PERCENTAGE OF CREWS LOST-
NUMBEROF CREWS LOST\ \ \ \ \ \ \
37. 6%

&36
1
1 . "
1 . !

1

K
WIN
85
140
949
J AN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

J UN

J UL

AU6

8EP

OCT

NOV

DEC
700
t oo
ATTRITIONONTHE
PERIPHERY
t he west t o handl e t he Br i t i sh and
t o def end t he ski es over occupi ed Fr ance ; i t al so
hel d r esponsi bi l i t y f or Bel gi umand Hol l and. Meanwhi l e,
i n 1941, t he Ger mans
est abl i shed
a
cat ch- al l or gani zat i on i n nor t her n Ger many, whose commander
r ecei ved t he l engt hy and i mposi ng t i t l e " Luf t waf f enbef ehl shaber Mi t t e
. " ' s'
Thi s
command was r esponsi bl e f or def endi ng Ber l i n and cont r ol l ed t he ni ght f i ght er
di vi si on and
f l ak
di vi si ons t hr oughout nor t her n Ger many. However , f or
bur eaucr at i c r easons t he gener al
st af f t ur ned t wo ai r di st r i ct s ( Luf t gau) i n sout h
Ger many over t o Fi el d Mar shal Hugo Sper r l e, Commander of Luf t f l ot t e 3, i n or der
not t o di st ur b hi s vani t y .
' S2
Fr omt he
f i r st ,
cr eat i on
of t wo aut hor i t i es r esponsi bl e f or
ai r def ense i n t he west pr oved mi st aken. As ear l y as t he f al l of 1941, Mol der s
ar gued f or a uni f i ed f i ght er commandt o def end west er n Eur ope .
' s'
In 1943, Mi l ch
ur ged Gor i ng t o uni f y under one commander al l t he Luf t waf f e' s ai r def ense asset s, a
syst em whi ch he suggest ed woul d possess si mi l ar i t y t o t he Br i t i sh Fi ght er
Command.
' S4
Gor i ng, however , r ef used. As a r esul t , unt i l t he col l apse i n Fr ance i n
August 1944 ef f ect i vel y el i mi nat ed Luf t f l ot t e 3, t he Rei ch' s ai r def ense
r emai ned
spl i t bet ween t wo compet i ng
or gani zat i ons. Whi l e t hi s spl i t t i ng of r esponsi bi l i t y
pr esent ed ser i ous pr obl ems f or
day f i ght er
oper at i ons,
i t r eal l y exacer bat ed
t he
di f f i cul t i es of coor di nat i ng oper at i ons of scar ce ni ght f i ght er f or ces bet ween t wo
separ at e commands, addi ng enor mousl y t o t he bur den of anef f ect i ve ni ght def ense .
Whi l e t he Ger manhi ghcommandhad i gnor ed Bomber Command' s depr edat i ons
i n 1942, i t coul d not do so i n 1943. The at t acks on t he Ruhr i n Mar ch and Apr i l
poi nt ed out t hat Ger many f aced an ext r aor di nar y t hr eat t o her ci t i es. Hi t l er was
f ur i ous at t he Luf t waf f e' s f ai l ur e t o pr ot ect t he Ruhr , and
Gor i ng' s pr est i ge was
near l y exhaust ed as t he Fahr er made cl ear t o Goebbel s. I" The r esponse of many
Ger manl eader s t o t he Mar chat t acks was t hat Ger many must l aunchr epr i sal r ai ds at
such a l evel t hat t he
Br i t i sh woul d cal l of f Bomber Command. Even Mi l ch, who
t hr oughout 1943 was t he most cl ear headed ont he need f or an ef f ect i ve ai r def ense,
cal l ed i nMar chf or r epr i sal r ai ds .
As
he t ol d hi s st af f , " Our ent i r e ar mament s ef f or t
. . . i s dependent on whet her we can cl ear our own ski es by car r yi ng out t he
appr opr i at e at t acks on t he Br i t i sh home base- - ei t her on t hei r ai r f i el ds or on t hei r
i ndust r y or
on
t hei r ci vi l i ans and ci t i es .
" 156
Hi t l er ' s i mmedi at e r esponse t o t he
Br i t i sh at t acks was t o demand t hat t he
Luf t waf f e dr ast i cal l y st r engt hen t he f l ak
f or ces despi t e
obj ect i ons f r om hi s ai r f or ce adj ut ant . " ' That debat e cont i nued
t hr oughout t he year .
Bomber Command' s abi l i t y t o swamp t he ni ght f i ght er
def enses of t he t i ght l y
cont r ol l ed Kammhuber l i ne l ed sever al Luf t waf f e of f i cer s
t o
suggest
r adi cal
changes. In l at e spr i ng, Maj or Haj o Her r mann, a f or mer bomber pi l ot ,
pushed a
scheme t o concent r at e a f or ce of day f i ght er s di r ect l y
over a t ar get and t o use
sear chl i ght s as wel l as l i ght r ef l ect i ng f r om
t he bombi ng t o at t ack t he bomber
st r eam. Such a t act i c, he suggest ed, woul d al l ow
ni ght def enses t o t hr ow a
concent r at i on of f or ce at t he bomber st r eam
at t he poi nt wher e i t was most
vul ner abl e t o vi sual i nt er cept i on.
' se
In a l at e J une r epor t
onf i ght er def enses i n t he
west , Mi l ch suppor t ed Her r mannand suggest ed
t hat t he ni ght f i ght er cor ps r ecei ve
r esponsi bi l i t y f or t he ni ght def ense
over Fr ance. ' " ' Ot her s ar gued f or a mor e basi c
177
GERMANAIR DEFENSE - OCT 1943
LUFTFLOTTE BOUNDARIES ~
2 IGHTERDIVISION
- . . 1
3 FIGHTERDIVISI6N' ' ' -\
LUFTFLOTTE REICH
5 FIGHTERDIVISIO
4 FIGHTERDIVISION
1132
0
z
0
a
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
r est r uct ur i ng of t he def enses
. Shor t l y bef or e Hambur g, Gor i ng' s st af f was
r equest i ng bet t er r adar set s t o suppor t a pur sui t
f or ce t hat woul d not be t i ed di r ect l y
t o
GCI si t es but woul d sear chout and f ol l owt he bomber st r eam. ' 6°
The use of " Wi ndow" over Hambur g f or ced t he Ger mans t o r est r uct ur e t he
def ense syst em f ar mor e qui ckl y t han t hey woul d have ot her wi se. Her r mann
al r eady had
begun
t o
gat her
and
t o
t r ai nhi s f or ce bef or e t he r ai ds; t he col l apse of t he
ni ght def ense syst emcaused t he Luf t waf f e t o
commi t hi s
smal l uni t on
t he
ni ght of
t he f i r e st or m. Anumber of ni ght f i ght er s al so f r eel anced over t he bur ni ng ci t y .
Unf or t unat el y f or t he Ger mans, t hese f or ces wer e
not
numer ous enough t o i nf l i ct
subst ant i al damage on t he bomber f or ce, al t hough r ai d l osses di d i ncr ease f r om1. 5
per cent t o 2. 2 per cent . However , many Ger manni ght f i ght er s i n t hei r boxes t o t he
nor t h and t o t he sout h of t he i nf er no wer e not al l owed t o f r eel ance despi t e t he f act
t hat t hey coul d see bomber s.
161
Subst ant i al r ef or ms wer e sooni n mot i on. Her r mann' s
f or ce r api dl y i ncr eased i n
si ze. As ear l y as J ul y 27, a st af f paper ur ged cr eat i onof
a l ar ge ni ght f i ght er f or ce i n
Hol l andt hat cont r ol l er s woul d vect or i nt o t he bomber st r eam. It woul d t hen f l y
wi t h
t he bomber s, shoot i ng downBr i t i sh ai r cr af t unt i l i t r an out of ammuni t i onor f uel
.
' 61
Thi s t act i c, soonknown by t he code name " Tame Sow, " event ual l y became
t he
keyst one
of t he
Rei ch' s
def ense
syst em
.
The possi bi l i t i es of t he newsyst emshowed
cl ear l y i n
t he
Peenemf i nde r ai d of August 17. Because Ger mancont r ol l er s
f el l f or
an RAFspoof and r epor t ed t hat Ber l i n was t he mai n t ar get , t hey vect or ed t he
def endi ng
f or ces t o t he capi t al . Not unt i l t he l ast mi nut es of t he r ai d di d f i ght er s
ar r i ve over t he t ar get .
Never t hel ess, t hey shot down24 bomber s over Peenemf i nde
and a f ur t her 16 el sewher e al ong t he r ai d' s pat h.
163
Al ong
wi t h
t he
Br i t i sh
ni ght
of f ensi ve, t he Ger mans now f aced an Amer i can
dayl i ght of f ensi ve. Because of a
desper at e shor t age of day f i ght er s, t he Luf t waf f e
t hr ewi t s ni ght f i ght er f or ce i nt o t he bat t l es agai nst
Ei ght h
Ai r For ce. The use of t he
ni ght f i ght er s t o meet t he Amer i can t hr eat t ypi f i ed t he shor t - si ght ed, shor t - r ange
cal cul at i on of muchof t he Luf t waf f e' s ef f or t i n t he l at t er per i od of t he war . Ni ght
f i ght er ai r cr af t r epr esent ed a si zeabl e i nvest ment i n t er ms of equi pment ,
t echnol ogy, t r ai ni ng, and t he speci al i zed ski l l s needed by t he cr ews . The
commi t ment of t he ni ght f or ce t o dayl i ght oper at i ons br ought wi t h i t cor r espondi ng
hi gh
l osses. As ear l y as Apr i l , an " Ul t r a" i nt er cept i ndi cat ed a wi l l i ngness t o use
ni ght f i ght er s dur i ng dayt i me whenGor i ng f or bade t he use of ni ght pi l ot s wi t h
mor e
t han 20 vi ct or i es on day oper at i ons . ' 64 Angl o- Amer i can at t acks on
August 17 and
18t h
caused t he l oss of 30 ni ght f i ght er s wi t h 35 mor e damaged. Twent y- one
wer e
l ost i n dayl i ght oper at i ons al one, and a seni or st af f of f i cer r emar ked
t hat t he Bf 110
shoul d not be used i n dayt i me when i t mi ght come i nt o cont act wi t h
Br i t i sh or
Amer i can f i ght er s- a r emar k t hat mi ght have
had some uni queness i n t he summer
of 1940but seems somewhat out of pl ace i n 1943. '
61
Hambur g br ought t o t he f or e t he quest i on
of Ger many' s r esponse. OnJ ul y 30,
Mi l ch war ned hi s st af f
i n t he Ai r Mi ni st r y t hat Ger many coul d onl y l ook f or war d
t o
an i nt ensi f i cat i on
of t he enemy' s ai r of f ensi ve. " What has
happened i n Hambur g
had never
bef or e happened [ i n ai r war ] . " If Ger many coul d not mast er
t he t hr eat ,
179
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
she woul d f ace a desper at e
si t uat i on. Mi l ch f ur t her announced t hat Hi t l er had put
t op pr i or i t y onai r def ense and
on
pr oduct i on
of day and ni ght f i ght er s as wel l as t he
f l ak
.
Fi ght er pr oduct i ons was t o r i se t o 2, 000 ai r cr af t per
mont h by t he summer of
1944, and t he east er n
f r ont woul d have t o make- do unt i l t he Luf t waf f e mast er ed t he
ai r t hr eat .
' 66
Mi l chhad ear l i er i n t he war not f ound
hi s desi r e f or i ncr eased f i ght er
pr oduct i on
t o t he l i ki ng of ever yone on t he Ai r St af f . He now
di scover ed a l ess-
t han- unani mous agr eement
wi t h hi s emphasi s on t he def ense
of t he Rei ch. One
col onel suggest ed t hat a di ver si on of
Bf 110' s f r omt he f r ont t o ni ght f i ght er s was
" unt hi nkabl e . " Mi l ch r epl i ed t hat t he
f r ont woul d have t o make- do- t he t hr eat was
over Ger many .
' 61
Mi l ch and ot her advocat es of ai r
def ense f aced mor e subst ant i al opposi t i on t o
t hei r pol i ci es f r omHi t l er ' s nat ur al i ncl i nat i ons . As
suggest ed above, t he Fuhr er
had become
i ncr easi ngl y upset i n t he spr i ng of 1943 over t he
scal e and success of
RAFr ai ds
.
He
war ned hi s mi l i t ar y ai des shor t l y af t er t he f i r st Hambur g
at t ack:
" Ter r or can onl y be br oken wi t h t er r or . " At t acks on Ger man
ai r f i el ds made no
i mpr essi on on hi m, he comment ed, but t he
smashi ng of t he Rei ch' s ci t i es was
anot her mat t er . It was
t he same t hi ng wi t h t he enemy. " The Ger man peopl e
demanded r epr i sal s.
11161
Hi t l er ' s
at t i t udes had a di sast er ous i mpact on ai r st r at egy
af t er August 1943, but hi s l i ne
of
ar gument
was al r eady cl ear . Mor eover , ef f or t s t o
bui l d up t he ni ght f i ght er f or ce
wer e f ur t her compl i cat ed by Gor i ng' s sheer
i gnor ance. It i s wor t h not i ng t hat by
l at e August , t he Rei chsmar schal l was doubt i ng
whet her ni ght f i ght er s wer e wor t h t he consi der abl e expendi t ur es i n
man- hour s and
mat er i al s.
` 69
Consi der i ng t hat hi s st af f was
wast i ng
t hemi n dayl i ght
oper at i ons, one
canonl y wonder at t he muddl e at t he t op .
As f or dayl i ght oper at i ons, t he Al l i es- f or t he f i r st t i me- pl aced si gni f i cant
pr essur e on t he Luf t waf f e. The f i ght er sweeps of Fi ght er Command, accompani ed
by Amer i can f i ght er s i n l ar ge number s, had combi ned wi t h Ei ght h Ai r For ce' s
bomber oper at i ons t o make West er n Eur ope t he cr i t i cal t heat er of ai r oper at i ons by
t he l at e summer of 1943. Nei t her Gor i ng nor many
of
hi s mor e sober
commander s
had expect ed
t hi s devel opment .
In
J anuar y
1943, t he Rei chsmar schal l
suggest ed
i ncr eases i n
t he day f i ght er f or ces but not because of wor r i es over Al l i ed ai r cr af t
pr oduct i on, r at her t he
emphasi s was
on
f i ght er s f or t he f i ght er bomber mi ssi on. " °
EvenGal l and, who was pushi ng f or a maj or
i ncr ease i n
t he f i ght er
f or ce, di d not
appear t o r ecogni ze t he
t hr eat i n t he west . In J anuar y, he pr edi ct ed t hat t he mai n
wei ght of t he ai r war woul d l i e i n
t he Medi t er r anean t hr oughout t he year . " ' Thus,
t he heavy commi t ment of f i ght er f or ces
t o t he def ense of Tuni si a, Si ci l y, and It al y
r ecei ved suppor t f r omt he man
who l at er i n t he year became one of t he st r ongest
advocat es of beef i ng up
t he Rei ch' s def enses. Why Gal l and hel d such a posi t i on i s
cl ear f r oma r emar k
he made i n Febr uar y t hat hi s f i ght er s had sol ved t he pr obl em
of
f i ght i ng
f our - engi ne bomber s ( by day) .
' 72
What t he Luf t waf f e had not yet
f acedwas
t he pr obl emof deal i ng
wi t h hundr eds of bomber s t hat Amer i can i ndust r y
woul d
t hr owat
t he Rei ch i n t he summer of 1943 as wel l as t he t housands
i n 1944.
In ear l y 1943,
t he Luf t r vaf f e wi t h maj or commi t ment s i n t he
Medi t er r anean and
on t he east er n f r ont l ef t t he day def ense of t he
west ont he same basi s onwhi ch i t
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
had r est ed i n
pr evi ous year s. Some 250 t o 300 f i ght er s,
scat t er ed f r omHol l and t o
Br i t t any, scr ambl ed
i n smal l f or mat i ons t o meet t he Amer i can t hr ust s. " ' The
r esul t i ng l ack of
f i ght er concent r at i on made i t di f f i cul t t o dent t he " For t r ess"
f or mat i ons and put t he Ger mans at consi der abl e di sadvant age i n f endi ng of f Al l i ed
f i ght er s. By J une, t he west er n f i ght er def enses wer e br eaki ng downas Luf t f l ot t e 3
r epor t ed t hat i t s f i ght er s wer e
suf f er i ng heavy l osses i n i nt er cept i ng " For t r ess"
f or mat i ons accompani ed by numer ous f i ght er s. " ^ In mi d- J une,
Mi l ch r epor t ed af t er
a t r i p t o t he west t hat
mor al e among t he f i ght er pi l ot s was excel l ent , but t he number
of avai l abl e ai r cr af t was " mucht oo weak. " He
ur ged
t hat t he
Luf t waf f e quadr upl e
f i ght er f or ces i n t he west and t hat as a mi ni muma f ul l mont h' s pr oduct i on of Bf
109' s andFw190' s go t o uni t s i n west er n
Eur ope.
" s
Fi ght er l osses i n t he west showed an al ar mi ng r i se as ear l y as Mar ch, and i n t hat
mont h t he Luf t waf f e began t o t r ansf er exper i enced pi l ot s f r om t he east t o
compensat e f or i t s l osses i n t he west . The r eal pr essur e ar r i ved i n l at e spr i ng wi t h
t he f i r st penet r at i ons i nt o Ger man ai r space.
176
The r i se i n f i ght er l osses showed a
di r ect cor r el at i on wi t h Ei ght h
Ai r For ce oper at i ons . By J une, i t was cl ear t hat t he
Amer i can bomber s r epr esent ed a ver y di f f er ent t hr eat t o Ger many t han
di d
Bomber
Command. The at t ack on Hul s suggest ed t hat t he Amer i can
bomber s wer e goi ng
af t er speci f i c segment s of t he Ger man economy. By t he end of t he mont h,
J eschonnek r ecommendedt hat t he Luf t waf f e r equest an updat ed l i st f r omSpeer as t o
t he cr i t i cal poi nt s i n t he economy needi ng addi t i onal ai r def ense pr ot ect i on. " '
Ei ght h Ai r For ce' s oper at i ons i n J ul y and August cr eat ed a cr i si s. For J ul y,
Luf t f l ot t e 3 not ed t hat t he si ze and def ensi ve power of bomber f or mat i ons
penet r at i ng i nt o i t s ai r space had r eached a l evel wher e t he onl y possi bi l i t y of at t ack
r equi r ed a t i mel y, massed concent r at i on of Ger man f i ght er f or ces .
171
Ar gument s
over exact l y howmany ai r cr af t B- 17 and B- 24 gunner s shot down i n def endi ng
t hemsel ves have obscur ed what r eal l y occur r ed i n t hese ai r bat t l es.
Fi r st , i t
i s
cl ear
bomber cr ews cl ai med many
mor e
ai r cr af t t han i n f act
t hey shot
down,
but t he
cumul at i ve ef f ect of
Ger man
f i ght er
l osses i n t hese bat t l es was i mpr essi ve. In J ul y,
t he Luf t waf f e l ost 335
si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er s i n t he west .
179
Admi t t edl y, a
per cent age of t hese l osses was
not
di r ect l y
at t r i but abl e t o combat , but t he pr essur e
of st epped- up ai r oper at i ons and
l osses f or ced
t he
Luf t waf f e t o r el y i ncr easi ngl y on
par t i al l y t r ai ned pi l ot s . Thus, noncombat l osses r ef l ect ed t he pr essur es of
combat
at t r i t i on . J ul y' s l osses i n
t he west r epr esent ed 18. 1 per cent of al l si ngl e- engi ne
f i ght er st r engt h
on J ul y 1, r ef l ect i ng not onl y t he i mpact of t he heavy
dayt i me r ai ds
but al so t he f act t hat
dr op t anks ont he P- 47' s had ext ended
escor t r ange. Wi t hnew
r ange capabi l i t y, Amer i can f i ght er s coul d cat ch
Ger man pi l ot s deeper wi t hi n t he
Rei ch' s ai r space. Thi s escal at i on i n t he l evel of f i ght i ng over
Ger manai r space had
anef f ect on al l t heat er s. By t he end of J ul y, t he
Luf t waf f e had put l i mi t at i ons ont he
empl oyment of f i ght er ai r cr af t on t asks ot her
t han def ense of t he Rei ch, whi l e i t
pul l ed Bf 110 squadr ons out of Br i t t any and
t he Bat t l e of t he At l ant i c t o r et ur n t o
Ger many. ' 8o
J ul y' s ef f or t s pl aced
a gr eat st r ai n on Ei ght h' s capabi l i t i es, and i n August
t he
ai r cr af t di spat ched t o t ar get s i n
Ger many showed a si gni f i cant
dr op . " '
Losses,
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
depr essi ngl y
f or t he cr ews i nvol ved, showed no such
decl i ne . The
Schwei nf ur t / Regensbur g di sast er
added measur abl y t o t he mont h' s l osses, and
f or
t he t hi r d st r ai ght mont h cr ew
l osses wer e i n excess of 30 per cent ( see
Tabl e
XXXIV) . The Ger mansi t uat i on was not muchbet t er
.
August 17 cost
t he Ger mans
no l ess t han
24 si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er s shot down, 12 Bf 110' s dest r oyed, pl us an
addi t i onal 10 si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er s and 2
Bf 110' s wr i t t en of f because of bat t l e
damage. Thus, t he Ger mans l ost no
l ess
t han 48
f i ght er s dest r oyed wi t h a f ur t her 25
damaged. The Ger man success over
Schwei nf ur t had not come cheapl y nor di d
f i ght er oper at i ons over t he cour se of t he mont h
. By t he end of August , t he Ger mans
had l ost 248 si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er s ( 16. 2 per cent of t hei r t hen
avai l abl e t ot al si ngl e-
engi ne f i ght er f or ce) al ong wi t h 86 t wi n- engi ne f i ght er s ( 11. 6 per cent of t he
t wi n-
engi ne and ni ght f i ght er f or ce) i n ai r bat t l es i n t he west .
" I
In f act , t he
whol e
emphasi s
i n t he Eur opean ai r war had shi f t ed r adi cal l y
away
f r om a
cont est on t he per i pher y t o a massi ve bat t l e of at t r i t i on over t he Rei ch.
Concur r ent l y, Al l i ed f i ght er f or ces wer e f eel i ng t hei r way deeper i nt o t he Rei ch and
consequent l y r est r i ct i ng t he ar ea over
whi ch Ger man f i ght er s coul d i nt er cept t he
bomber s . Thus, at t he end of August ,
t he dayl i ght ai r war i n t he west was peaki ng
wi t h each si de
i nf l i ct i ng ser i ous damage on t he ot her . It st i l l r emai ned an open
quest i on as t o whi chai r f or ce coul d l ast
t he cour se.
LOSSES, PRODUCTION, ANDSTRATEGY
OnAugust 18, 1943, t he Luf t waf f e' s
Chi ef of St af f , J eschonnek, pl aced a gun t o
hi s t empl e and bl ewhi s br ai ns out . Hi s sui ci de was t he di r ect r esul t of t he t wo
massi ve bl ows Al l i ed bomber s had l aunched t he pr evi ous day and eveni ng
( Schwei nf ur t / Regensbur g and
Peenemi i nde) . Whi l e nei t her
r ai d r epr esent ed a
deci si ve bl ow, t oget her t hey
cl ear l y i ndi cat ed t he bankr upt cy
of
Ger many' s ai r
st r at egy . If t her e wer e ot her s who deser ved a si gni f i cant shar e of t he bl ame, and
Hi t l er as wel l as Gor i ng spr i ng r eadi l y t o mi nd, t hen J eschonnek' s
r ol e t ypi f i ed t he
par t t hat so
many of
t he of f i cer
cor ps
had
pl ayed
i n
Ger many' s f at e. Li ke t oo many
of hi s br ot her of f i cer s, J eschonnek had i gnor ed t he i ndust r i al ,
l ogi st i cal , and
t echni cal basi s on whi ch moder n
war bet ween i ndust r i al i zed st at es si nce t he
Amer i can Ci vi l War has beenf ought . That cur i ous
bl i ndness whi chl ed hi mi near l y
1942 t o wonder what t he Luf t waf f e
woul d do wi t h 360 f i ght er s had nowl ed hi s ai r
f or ce and nat i on i nt o a hopel ess
si t uat i on. The bat t l es on t he per i pher y
had qui t e
l i t er al l y st r i pped t he Luf t waf f e
of what ever chance i t had t o bui l d
up a r eser ve, and
J eschonnekhad
accept ed t hose commi t ment s wi t h scar cel y a
mur mur .
In
addi t i on, i t i s wor t h t aki ng a cl oser l ook at t he
gener al pi ct ur e of Ger man
l osses;
t hey r eveal t hat i n t hi s per i od t he Luf t waf f e
had suf f er ed a t er r i bl e r at e of
at t r i t i on
t hr oughout t he f or ce st r uct ur e . Fr omJ anuar y
t hr ough J une 1943, t he
aver age mont hl y
at t r i t i on r at e f or al l ai r cr af t was 13. 6
per cent . For combat ai r cr af t ,
t he
st at i st i cs wer e even mor e depr essi ng: t he
bomber at t r i t i on r at e was 16 per cent
per mont h and f or f i ght er s i t was 19. 9
per cent . " ' Cr ew l osses wer e no l ess
si gni f i cant and mor e danger ous. Whi l e
one can r epl ace ai r cr af t , cr ewr epl acement s
182
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
and ski l l
l evel became i ncr easi ngl y di f f i cul t t o
mai nt ai n. Thi s was t he f our t h
st r ai ght year
i n whi chheavy at t r i t i on had t aken pl ace .
It
i s,
t her ef or e, r emar kabl e
t hat t he Ger mans
mai nt ai ned t he l evel of
t enaci t y and compet ence t hat
t hey showed
t hr oughout t he year .
Whi l e pi l ot l osses f or most
ai r cr af t t ypes ar e di f f i cul t t o
det er mi ne because cr ew
l oss r epor t s i ncl uded al l f l yi ng per sonnel , t he si t uat i on wi t h
r egar ds t o si ngl e- engi ne ai r cr af t
i ndi cat es what was happeni ng t o t he f or ce
st r uct ur e . For t he f i r st t hr ee mont hs
of 1943, f i ght er pi l ot l osses r an at a f ai r l y
const ant r at e of bet ween6per cent and 9 per cent per mont h. However , as a r esul t of
heavy f i ght i ng i n Tuni si a, pi l ot l osses cl i mbed t o over 12 per cent i n May and by
J ul y wer e 16 per cent . Thus, i n t he f i r st
hal f of
t he year , f i ght er
pi l ot l osses equal l ed
67 per cent of t he cr ews pr esent at t he begi nni ng
of
t he year . ' 84 For
over al l l oss
t r ends, see Tabl es XXXV, ' 85 XXXVI, ' eb XXXVII, 117 and XXXVIII
. " I
Thi s at t r i t i on was onl y a f or et ast e of
what happened i n J ul y and August . Int hose
t wo mont hs, t he Luf t waf f e f ought t hr ee
gr eat ai r bat t l es and on each one of t he t hr ee
f r ont s t he Ger mans l ost mor e t han
1, 000
ai r cr af t . 119 In combat
uni t s, t he
at t r i t i on
r at e r eached a l evel t hat no mi l i t ar y f or ce coul d l ong sust ai n
. Fi ght er
l osses wer e
31 . 2 per cent f or J ul y and 36 per cent f or August , whi l e bomber l osses wer e 27 . 3
per cent i n J ul y and 32 per cent i n August . ' 9° As wi t h t he J anuar y t hr ough J une
per i od, onl y f i ght er pi l ot l osses ar e r eadi l y at t ai nabl e. They ar e cl ear enough: In
J ul y, t he Ger mans l ost 16per cent of si ngl e- engi ne f i ght er pi l ot s avai l abl e onJ ul y 1 ;
i n August , t hey l ost 15. 6 per cent . 191 The i mpact of t he pr essur e exer t ed by t hr ee
di f f er ent f r ont s f or ced t he Ger mans t o shut t he ai r war down somewher e. Gi vent he
t hr eat posed by t he Amer i canbomber s, t her e was no ot her al t er nat i ve but t o def end
t he Rei ch. Thus, t he ai r war i n t he east and i n t he Medi t er r anean, wi t h one f i nal
gasp i n Sept ember t o meet t he i nvasi on of It al y, became subsi di ar y t heat er s f or ' t he
Luf waf f e. Al l i ed ai r f or ces domi nat ed t he ski es
over
and
behi nd t hese t wo f r ont s,
andt he Ger mansol di er woul d see l i t t l e of hi s ai r f or ce f or t he
r emai nder of t he war .
The di sast r ous r at e of at t r i t i on was a r ef l ect i on bot h of combat l osses and
numer ous ai r cr af t
l osses
t hr ough noncombat causes. In
f act ,
t he
Luf waf f e seems t o
have al most been i n a r ace wi t h i t s opponent s t o see who coul d dest r oy t he most
Ger man ai r cr af t
. Af t er a f ai r l y r espect abl e showi ng i n 1940, f r om 1941 t hr ough
1944 t he
Luf waf f e l ost bet ween 40 per cent and45 per cent of i t s t ot al l osses t hr ough
noncombat causes.
' 92
The sur pr i si ng el ement i n such an acci dent r at e i s t he f act
t hat
unt i l t he spr i ng of 1944, f ewi n t he gener al st af f seemt o have been
par t i cul ar l y
wor r i ed about t he
i mpl i cat i on of such a l evel of noncombat l osses.
At t hat poi nt ,
however , a number of aut hor i t i es awoke and
began t o exami ne t he pr obl emi n
det ai l .
' 99
The Ger man saf et y r ecor d, however , deser ves
no smugness f r om an
Amer i can audi ence . The Ar my Ai r
For ces managed i n 1943 t o have no l ess t han
20, 389 maj or acci dent s i n t he cont i nent al Uni t ed
St at es wi t h 2, 264 pi l ot s and 3, 339
ot her ai r cr ew member s ki l l ed. The r ecor d f or
1944 was not much bet t er wi t h
16, 128 maj or acci dent s ( 1, 936 pi l ot s and 3, 037 ot her ai r cr ew
ki l l ed) .
' 94
The abi l i t y
of cr ews t r ansi t i oni ng i nt o
B- 26' s t o dest r oy t hei r ai r cr af t and t hemsel ves r esul t ed
i n a coupl et st i l l cur r ent among f l yi ng cr ews at MacDi l l AFB, Fl or i da
:
" One a day
i n Tampa Bay. "
°
191
183
30%
2001.
GERMAN
AIRCRAFT
LOSSES 1943 ( ALL
TYPES)
STALINGRAO
TUNISIA
TABLEXXXV
KURSK
SICILY
HAMBURG
24%
; . 9% "
` 22, 6%
'
.
18. 1 %
1ST
2ND
SCHWEINFURT
SCHWEINFURT
INVASIONOF
ITALY
20%
13 : % `

14. 5%
.
10. 9%/

- "
"wo. . mm"

12. 8%

14%
10. 8%
1

1 `

1

1 1 1 1

1
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
1374
40%
300/ 6
20%
TABLEXXXVI
GERMANBOMBER
LOSSES 1943
STALINGRAD
TUNISIA KURSK
SICILY
18. 9%
144% .

13. %
14. 8%

L
32%
27. 3%/ ~
24%
°
21. %
-

A 20%
B
131 .
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
TABLEXXXVII
GERMANFIGHTERLOSSES 1943
STALINGRAD TUNISIA KURSK 1ST

2ND
SICILY SCHWEINFURT SCHWEINFURT
N
0
T
A
e

20. 6%

V
20. 4 / e

A
,

19. 9%

. ~~. .
20. 6%

L
1 1 1 - - 1- L 1 1 1 1 1 1
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
TABLEXXXVIII
FIGHTERPILOT LOSS - J AN- AUG 1943
OF PILOTS LOST EACH MONTH ( ALL CAUSES)
NUMBEROF PILOTS LOST EACH MONTH ( ALL CAUSES)
z
0
z
r o
t o
b
x
J AN FEB MAR APR MAY J UN J UL AUG
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
The def eat i n
t he ai r war r epr esent ed by t he above
f i gur es i s per haps a f ai r er
eval uat i on of J eschonnek' s
f ai l ur e t han t he
Schwei nf ur t / Regensbur g and
Peenemunde at t acks. J eschonnek and
hi s st af f had i gnor edt he mess t hat Udet made
of
pr oduct i on and had as a r esul t voi ced no al ar m about
cont i nued pr oduct i on
st agnat i on as t he Luf t waf f e pr epar ed t o
at t ack Russi a. The gr owi ng gap bet ween
Ger man
and Al l i ed pr oduct i on began t o emer ge i n
devast at i ng f or mi n t he at t r i t i on
bat t l es of
summer 1943. Si nce l at e 1942,
Mi l ch had i ndeed done wonder s wi t h
Ger man
pr oduct i on. In 1943, t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y
pr oduced 64per cent mor e ai r cr af t
t han i n 1942, wi t h
a dr amat i c i ncr ease of 125. 2 per cent i n
f i ght er pr oduct i on and
31. 4 per cent i n bomber s
. By May 1943, i ndust r y pr oduced
1, 000 f i ght er s f or t he
f i r st t i me; by J ul y, pr oduct i on
r eached 1, 263. ' 96 It was not enough.
The at t r i t i on
was such t hat f or t he f i r st
hal f of t he year , t her e was a sl owbut st eady
i ncr ease i n
f i ght er and bomber st r engt h
. However , i n J ul y and August , despi t e
pr oduct i on
ef f or t s, t he number of ai r cr af t i n
f r ont l i ne uni t s began t o decl i ne not i ceabl y. In
addi t i on, t he per cent age of aut hor i zed
ai r cr af t al so began t o f al l ( see Tabl e
XXXIX' 97) .
188
TABLEXXXIX
Fi ght er and Bomber St r engt h i n Fr ont l i ne
Uni t s
As had happened i n 1942,
i ncr eased pr oduct i on made l i t t l e di f f er ence; l osses at t he
f r ont swal l owed what i ndust r y pr oduced
.
Mi l ch agai n st ands out i n hi s
r ecogni t i on of t he danger . He seems t o have made
a
sust ai ned ef f or t t o make Hi t l er as wel l
as Gor i ng under st and t he pr obl em.
' 98
Hi t l er ,
however , r emai ned unconvi nced
.
In
ear l y J ul y, Kammhuber pr esent ed hi m
wi t h a
pr oposal f or a r adi cal r est r uct ur i ng of
Ger many' s ai r def enses t o meet
massi ve
Al l i ed ai r pr oduct i on. Hi t l er , however ,
demanded t he or i gi n
of t hese " cr azy
number s" and added t hat " i f
t he number s onAl l i ed pr oduct i on
wer e cor r ect , t hen
he woul d have
t o st op t he of f ensi ve i n t he east and
concent r at e ever yt hi ng on ai r
def ense. " The f i gur es,
however , he assur ed Kammhuber wer e
f al se. 199 Mi l ch di d
get Hi t l er ' s appr oval
f or an i nf usi on of ai r cr af t i nt o
west er n ai r def enses i n J ul y but
was unabl e
t o get a f i r mcommi t ment f r omt he Fuhr er
t o bui l d up ai r def enses f or
t he l ong
t er m. Hi t l er ' s r esponse t o Bomber
Command' s devast at i ng at t acks
was t hat
t he onl y
way t o get t he Br i t i sh t o cease t he
dest r uct i on of Ger many' s ci t i es
was t o
pay t hem back i n
ki nd. Thus, any suggest i on
t hat i ndust r y i ncr ease f i ght er
Fi ght er s
Aut hor i zed Pr esent Per cent age
Bomber s
Aut hor i zed Pr esent Per cent age
Feb28, 1943 1, 660 1, 336 80. 5 2, 025 1, 443 71 . 3
Mar 31, 1943 1, 712 1, 535 89. 7 2, 025 1, 522 75. 2
Apr 30, 1943 1, 848 1, 582 85. 6 2, 034 1, 574 77. 4
May
31,
1943 2, 016
1, 786
88. 6 2, 109 1, 588 75. 3
J un30, 1943 2, 172 1, 849 85. 1 2, 111 1, 663 78. 8
J ul 31, 1943 2, 172 1, 528 70. 3 2, 122 1, 419 66. 9
Aug 31, 1943 2, 228 1, 581 71 2, 025 1, 134 56
ATTRITIONON
THEPERIPHERY
pr oduct i on at t he expense of bomber s was doomed t o f ai l ur e. Int er est i ngl y, t her e
was a r ecogni t i on f or a t i me on t he par t of some bomber commander s t hat t hei r ai r
uni t s mi ght f i ndbet t er
empl oyment i ndef endi ng t he Rei ch
t han i n r ai di ng Br i t ai n. 2° °
Hi t l er ' s emphasi s on r et al i at i on r at her t han ai r super i or i t y l ed t he Ger mans i nt o
anot her ser i ous er r or . The ar my andai r f or ces wer e bot h about t o pr oduce t hei r own
r et al i at i on weapons: t he ar my wi t h t he A- 4 ( l at er cal l ed t he V- 2) and t he Luf t waf f e
wi t h t he V- 1 . The V- 2was a t r i umph of Ger manengi neer i ng but cer t ai nl y was not
a monument t o good sense . As a weapon, i t r epr esent ed ext r emel y compl ex
t echnol ogy, i t was expensi ve, i t used scar ce r aw mat er i al s, and i t s pr oduct i on
over l oaded t he i nst r ument and el ect r i cal component s i ndust r y . However , t he V- 1, a
si mpl er pi ece of t echnol ogy, was i nexpensi ve and di d not pl ace a ser i ous st r ai n on
Ger man i ndust r i al pr oduct i on. In addi t i on, because of i t s vul ner abl e l aunch and
f l i ght char act er i st i cs, i t pr ovi ded a much gr eat er di st r act i on t o Br i t i sh
def ender s. 2° '
The l ast poi nt deser ves f ur t her el abor at i on: Ther e was no def ense agai nst t he V- 2.
However , t he V- 1 wi t h i t s r equi r ement f or bot h a l aunchi ng r amp and i t s vul ner abl e
f l i ght pat h kept a si gni f i cant por t i on of
Al l i ed
ai r f or ces busy i n
1944
bombi ng t he
Eur opeancont i nent andchasi ng V- I' s t hr ough t he ski es over Gr eat Br i t ai n.
Unf or t unat el y f or Ger many' s ci t i es, t he cr i t i cal pr oduct i on choi ces t hat Ger man
ai r st r at egy f aced i n t he summer and f al l of 1943 wer e made by i ndi vi dual s who di d
not possess t he backgr ound t o make i nt el l i gent deci si ons. Hi t l er , whi l e he knew
much about ar my weaponr y and t he conduct of gr ound oper at i ons, di d not
under st and t he t echnol ogy or conduct of t he ai r war . The f act t hat he consi st ent l y
r el i ed on Gor i ng di d not hi ng t o enhance hi s knowl edge, f or t he Rei chsmar schal l ' s
t echni cal exper t i se was sever el y l acki ng. Havi ng once admi t t ed t hat he di d not
knowhowt o t ur n onhi s r adi o, he exhi bi t ed hi s sci ent i f i c knowl edge f or hi s st af f i n
di scussi ng Ger man r adar set s: " I have f r equent l y t aken a l ook i nsi de such set s. It
does not l ook al l t hat i mposi ngj ust some wi r es and a f ewot her bi t s and pi eces-
and t he whol e appar at us i s r emar kabl y pr i mi t i ve event hen. . . .
" 2° 2
In anot her
case
i n Febr uar y 1943 af t er Mi l chur ged t he i ncl usi on
of mor e womeni n t he pr oduct i on
pr ocess, Gor i ng suggest ed t hat per haps t he best
met hod t o i ncl ude women i n t he
war ef f or t woul d be t o al l owt hemt o do
t he wor k at home wher e t hey woul d al so be
abl e t o wat ch t hei r chi l dr en. Asomewhat f l aber gast ed Mi l ch coul d
onl y r epl y t hat
Ger mani ndust r y was mor e advanced t han
t hat .
203
The f ai l ur e t o under st and moder n
pr oduct i on and t echni cal pr obl ems
r esul t ed i n a f ai l ur e t o i ncl ude f ul l y sci ent i st s
and t echni ci ans i n t he war
ef f or t . The ser vi ces of t en dr af t ed hi ghl y t r ai ned
and
ski l l ed i ndi vi dual s andused
t hemi nposi t i ons i nwhi cht hei r gi f t s and
exper t i se wer e
mi ni mi zed. 2° 4 Fi nal l y, t her e
was of t en a f ai l ur e of desi gner s t o t al k
t o pr oduct i on
peopl e. The mast
r emar kabl e exampl e of t hi s was t he i nt er act i on
bet ween t he
devel oper s
of t he A- 4 r ocket and t hose who wer e
at t empt i ng t o get i t i nt o
pr oduct i on. 2
° s
The l ack of cooper at i on bet weent hese t wo
gr oups may, i nf act , have
been mor e damagi ng t o t he r ocket ' s pr ogr ess
t hant he r ai d on Peenemunde.
As t hi s st udy
has suggest ed at sever al poi nt s, one
of t he cr i t i cal el ement s i n
moder n war f ar e
i s t he pr oduct i ve capaci t y of i ndust r y
and i t s use . By t he summer of
1943, Ger manst r at egy was al r eady sever el y
hamper ed by t he choi ces and deci si ons
189
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
made i n t he
1940- 41 per i od t hat had
f ai l ed t o mobi l i ze t he Eur opean
economy f or a
gr eat st r uggl e .
Nowi n t he summer of
1943, Ger man l eader s f aced t he
choi ce of
ei t her r adi cal l y
r est r uct ur i ng t he ai r cr af t i ndust r y f or a
massi ve out put of day and
ni ght f i ght er s at t he expense of
ot her t ypes or f aci ng def eat i nt he ai r over t he Rei ch.
Mi l ch hi msel f had suggest ed a t ar get of 5, 000 f i ght er s per mont h t o Hi t l er i n
Mar ch. 2° 6 But t he t op l eader shi p was unwi l l i ng t o addr ess a mi l i t ar y t hr eat wi t h a
mi l i t ar y r esponse. In f act , t he r eal t r i umph and i mpact of Bomber Command' s
" ar ea" bombi ng
campai gn i n 1943 was t he f undament al di st or t i on i t caused i n
Ger man ar mament s pr ogr ams.
The anger and desi r e f or a r et al i at i on st r at egy was
par t i cul ar l y cl ear i n t he case of Hi t l er ,
but even as i nt el l i gent and r at i onal an
i ndi vi dual as Speer coul d not r esi st
t he at t r act i on of payi ng t he Br i t i sh back i nki nd.
At t he end of May 1943, t he Ar mament s
Mi ni st er suggest ed t o a most ent husi ast i c
and appr eci at i ve audi ence i n t he Ruhr t hat whi l e " Ger man
mi l l s of r et r i but i on may
of t en
seemt o gr i nd t oo sl owl y, t hey do gr i nd ver y f i ne. . . . " Speer
hadj ust
seen a
successf ul
f i r i ng of an A- 4, and hi s cont i nued suppor t f or t he r ocket pr ogr am
t hr oughout 1943 and 1944 caused a maj or di ver si on of Ger manpr oduct i on
capaci t y
and
r aw
mat er i al s t hat
woul d have been f ar bet t er spent i n def endi ng Ger man
ai r space . 2° '
Whi l e i n a
l ar ger sense, t he mor al quest i ons i nvol ved i n t he " st r at egi c" bombi ng
of f ensi ves can
never be sat i sf act or i l y answer ed, t he quest i on of t he mi l i t ar y ut i l i t y
of t he
campai gns i s, however , easi er t o addr ess. By l at e summer 1943, Br i t i sh
" ar ea" bombi ng at t acks and
t he Amer i can pr eci si on bombi ng campai gn wer e
havi ng a maj or i mpact ont he war . In t he
f i r st case, t he r eal cont r i but i on of Bomber
Commandwas i ndi r ect , even t hough i t caused mor e di r ect
damage
t o
t he Ger man
nat i on. The pr obl emwas t he f act t hat so muchof Ger mani ndust r y l ay ont he f r i nge
ar eas of t he ci t i es t hat t he command was bl ast i ng i nt o r ubbl e . Thi s di st or t i on t hat
t he campai gn caused i n t he Ger manwar ef f or t , however , was enor mous .
Not onl y
di d i t r esul t i n such hi ghl y unpr oduct i ve ef f or t s as t he A- 4pr ogr ambut
i t pushed t he
Ger mans i nt o cont i nui ng pr oduct i on of bomber s f or r et al i at or y
r ai ds f ar t oo l ong.
Mor eover , t he A- 4pr ogr amkept t he Ger mans
f r omever pr oper l y i nvest i gat i ng a
pr omi si ng ant i ai r cr af t r ocket syst em. 101 Al so
i mpor t ant was t he f act t hat t he gr owi ng
number of Br i t i sh r ai ds causeda subst ant i al
di st or t i on i n t he manuf act ur i ng pr ocess
f or
ar t i l l er y and ammuni t i on. By summer 1943,
no l ess t han 89 f l ak bat t er i es
def ended Ber l i n. 209 The gr owt h f r om 1940 i n t he
number of f l ak bat t er i es
was
si zeabl e
. Fr oma l evel of 791 heavy
bat t er i es ( 88' s, 105' s, and
128' s) i n 1940, t o
967
i n 1941, t o 1, 148 i n 1942,
and t o 2, 132 i n 1943, Ger man
f l ak f or ces
r epr esent ed
an enor mous i nvest ment
i n equi pment and manpower
. 210 Al l of t hese
bat t er i es expended pr odi gi ous
amount s of ammuni t i on 24
hour s a day.
Unf or t unat el y f or t he Ger mans,
t he r esul t s wer e mor e vi sual l y
spect acul ar t han
damagi ng. The 88mm f l ak
36 weapon seems t o have
r equi r ed an aver age
expendi t ur e of 16, 000- pl us
shel l s t o br i ng downone
ai r cr af t f l yi ng at hi gh al t i t ude,
and t hat was t he weapon
wi t h whi ch most f l akbat t er i es
wer e equi pped. 2"
As f or
t he Al l i ed ef f or t , Amer i can dayl i ght
pr eci si on bombi ng had not yet
achi eved t he
spect acul ar r esul t s t hat Bomber Command
had t hus f ar caused. Inf act ,
190
t he Amer i can
campai gn had onl y r ecent l y begun and was i n ser i ous t r oubl e,
consi der i ng Amer i can l osses i n deep penet r at i on r ai ds. Never t hel ess, Ei ght h' s
f or ces r epr esent ed a mor e i mmedi at e t hr eat t o Ger manar mament pr oduct i on as wel l
as a l onger r ange danger t o t he Luf t waf f e as an ef f ect i ve mi l i t ar y f or ce. In t he f i r st
case, as t he Ger mans r ecogni zed
ear l y on, t he Amer i cans wer e goi ng af t er cr i t i cal
el ement s wi t hi n t hei r economi c st r uct ur e . The at t ack on t he r ubber f act or y at Hi i l s
had under scor ed t hi s i nt ent . Speer f ound t he August at t ack on Schwei nf ur t
even
mor e danger ous . As he t ol d RAFi nvest i gat or s af t er t he
war , a concent r at ed
of f ensi ve ont he bal l bear i ngs i ndust r y woul dhave had t he
f ol l owi ng r esul t s:
CONCLUSION
Ar mament s pr oduct i on woul d have been cr uci al l y weakened af t er
t wo mont hs, and af t er f our mont hs woul d have been br ought
compl et el y t o a st andst i l l . Thi s, t o be sur e, woul dhave meant :
One: Al l our bal l bear i ng f act or i es ( i n Schwei nf ur t ,
St eyr ,
Er kner ,
Cannst at t , and i n Fr ance and It al y) had been at t acked
si mul t aneousl y .
Two: These at t acks had been r epeat ed t hr ee or f our
t i mes,
ever y t wo weeks, no mat t er what t he pi ct ur es of t he t ar get ar ea
showed.
Thr ee: Any at t empt at r ebui l di ng t hese f act or i es had been
t hwar t ed by f ur t her at t acks, spaced at t wo- mont h i nt er val s .
212
ATTRITIONONTHEPERIPHERY
The
di f f i cul t y was t hat no mat t er what t he pr ospect s, Ei ght h di d not have suf f i ci ent
st r engt h t o car r y out such an of f ensi ve even had i t done not hi ng except bomb bal l
bear i ng f act or i es. One Schwei nf ur t ever y t wo mont hs came cl ose t o dest r oyi ng i t as
an ef f ect i ve f or ce . Anot her Schwei nf ur t
i n t hi s per i od mi ght have ended Ei ght h' s
ent i r e dayl i ght of f ensi ve . Thus, t he August r ai d war ned t he
Ger mans t o l ook f or
al t er nat i ve sour ces of suppl y ; t he second at t ack i n Oct ober
r edoubl edt hei r ef f or t s at
di sper sal and subst i t ut i on. The Febr uar y 1944 bombi ng
by t he RAFdi d mor e
damage t han t he Amer i can r ai ds but
came wel l af t er Speer ' s pr ecaut i onar y
measur es had t aken
ef f ect .
The assaul t
on t he Ger man ai r cr af t i ndust r y was pr obabl y i n
r et r ospect mor e
damagi ng t o t he war
ef f or t . The J ul y- August at t acks onf act or i es
pr oduci ng ai r cr af t
r esul t ed i n a f ai l of f i n
pr oduct i on of appr oxi mat el y 200 f i ght er s
. By November ,
f i ght er pr oduct i on was 300
under peak pr oduct i on i n
J ul y.
2 " Al so
i mpor t ant was t he
at t r i t i on t hat Ei ght h' s at t acks
wer e al r eady i mposi ng on t he
def endi ng f i ght er
f or ces. If f or t he shor t r un i t
was quest i onabl e as t o who was t aki ng
t he mor e sever e
beat i ng, t her e was no quest i on
t hat i n t he l ong r un Ei ght h
Ai r For ce had bet t er
pr ospect s . Andmont h by mont h,
Amer i can f i ght er s wer e ext endi ng
t hei r r ange t o
t he east .
The per i od
bet ween November 1942
and August 1943 was t he
l ast oppor t uni t y
t hat t he
Luf t waf f e had i n t he war t o
bui l d up a r eser ve so t hat i t
coul d mai nt ai n ai r
super i or i t y
at l east over t he Rei ch
. The unwi l l i ngness of
Ger many' s l eader s,
STRATEGYFORDEFEAT
however , t o t r ade space f or t i me f or ced t he Luf t waf f e
i nt o
a
bat t l e of at t r i t i on ont he
per i pher y . The r esul t s of t hose bat t l es bl ed t he Ger manai r f or ce
whi t e
. At t he
ver y
moment whent he ai r bat t l es i n t he Medi t er r anean and i n t he east peaked, a t er r i bl e
new
danger appear ed
i n t he
west . Whi l e t he Ger man
war
economy coul d bear t he
damage t hat Bomber Command met ed out t o Ger man ci t i es ( except per haps i n
psychol ogi cal t er ms) , t he bomber t hr ust s of Ei ght h Ai r For 6e ai med at t he i ndust r i al
hear t . The Luf t waf f e had no choi ce but t o come up
and
t o f i ght .
In t he pr ocess, i t s
dest r uct i on
had al r eady begun.
Not es
1 . Mi chael Howar d, Gr andSt r at egy, Vol . IV, August
1942- Sept ember 1943( London, 1972) , p. 46.
2. Thi s di d not pr event t he Ger manhi gh commandf r omcont r act i ng f or maps and
pamphl et s i n Per si an
t hat a Ger man pr i nt er was st i l l t ur ni ng out i n 1944- no one
hadbot her ed t o cancel t he or der . See Speer ,
Insi de t he Thi r dRei ch, p. 238.
3. BA/ MA, RL 2111/ 1185- I 195, Genst . Gen. Qu . ( 6. Abt . ) , " Fl ugzeugunf al l e and Ver l ust e bei den
f l i egendenVer banden. "
4. Ibi d.
5. The or i gi ns and conduct of oper at i ons ar ound St al i ngr ad ar e di scussed i n a number of si gni f i cant
wor ks
; among t he best ar e: Er i ckson, The Road t o St al i ngr ad; Kehr i g, St al i ngr ad; Ear l F. Zi emke,
St al i ngr ad t o Ber l i n: The Ger manDef eat i n t he East ( Washi ngt on, 1968) .
6. KTBOKW, Vol . 11, Document #26, Oper at i onsbef ehl Nr . 1 vom14. Okt ober 1942Bet r . : Wei t er e
Kampf f uhr ung i mOst en, p. 130.
7 . For t he t r anspor t and suppl y pr obl ems of Si xt h Ar my, see: Kehr i g, St al i ngr ad, pp . 6911' .
8. KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r y f or 3. 11. 42. , pp . 894- 96.
9. Wal t er War l i mont , Insi de Hi t l er ' s Headquar t er s, 1939- 1945 ( New Yor k, 1964) , pp .
270- 71.
Hi t l er di dr egal e Speer wi t hcomment s about what he woul ddo wer e
he
i n
commandof Al l i ed f or ces. See
Speer , Insi de t he Thi r dRei ch, p. 246.
10. The
f ol l owi ng account of gr ound oper at i ons i s dr awn f r om Zi emke, St al i ngr ad t o Ber l i n, pp .
52- 55; Er i ckson, The Road
t o St al i ngr ad, pp . 464- 72; and Kehr i g, St al i ngr ad, pp . 131- 60. Kehr i g' s
account i s par t i cul ar l y enl i ght eni ng because i t i s accompani edby anout st andi ng set of maps.
11. KTBOKW, Vol . II, ent r y f or 19. 11. 42. , p. 988.
12. Luf t f l ot t e 4 vor St al i ngr ad: unt er Gen. Ober st Fr hr , v. Ri cht hof en, " not at i ons f or 21. 11. 42. and
22. 11. 42. wi t h
quot at i on f r om Ri cht hof en' s di ar y f r om21 . 11. 42. , AFSHRC: K 113. 309- 3, v. 9; and
Fel dger i cht des VIII . Fl i eger kor ps, Br . B. Nr . 7/ 43, ImFel de, den26. 1 . 43. ; and Abschr i f t Wol f gang
Pi cker t , Pader bor n, 11 . 1 . 56. , AFSHRC: K 113. 309- 3, v. 9 .
13. KTBOKW, Vol . 11, ent r y f or 25. 11. 42. , p. 1019.
14. " Gener al ober st Zei t zl er f i ber das Zust andekommen des Ent schl usses,
St al i ngr ad aus der Luf t zu
ver sor gen, " l et t er f r omZei t zl er t o Pr of essor Suchenwi r t h,
11 . 3 . 55. ,
AFSHRC
:
K113
. 3018- 4.
15. Suchenwi r t h, Hi st or i cal Tur ni ng Poi nt s i n t he Ger manAi r For ce
War Ef f or t , pp . 102- 03 .
16. " Luf t f l ot t e 4vor St al i ngr ad: unt er Gen. Ober st Fr hr . v. Ri cht hof en, " not at i on f r om
Ri cht hof en' s
dai r y f r om24. 11. 42. , AFSHRC: K 113. 309- 3, v . 9.
17. KTBOKW, vol . II, ent r i es f or 17 . 8. 42. , 6. 11. 42. , and 21 . 11. 42. , pp .
601, 911, and999. Fi gur es
gi ven i n t hese ent r i es l i st ai r cr af t t hat wer e " st ar t ber ei t . "
Si nce oper at i onal r eady r at es wer e r unni ng at
appr oxi mat el y 60 per cent , t he f i gur es somewhat di st or t
t ot al st r engt h, al t hough t hey do r ef l ect act ual
capabi l i t i es .
18. Suchenwi r t h, Hi st or i cal Tur ni ng Poi nt s i n t he Ger man Ai r For ce
War Ef f or t , p . 101.
19.
Pl oeher , The Ger manAi r For ce Ver sus Russi a, 1942, pp . 280- 81
.
20. Kehr i g, St al i ngr ad, p. 219.
21. Russl andkr i eg, " Di e Luf t ver sor gung
St al i ngr ads, " 10. 3 . 56. , AFSHRC: K113. 309- 3, v.
9.
22. See Kehr i g, St al i ngr ad, p. 287; and Pl ocher ,
The Ger man Ai r For ce Ver sus Russi a,
1942, pp .
320- 21 .
23. Ri cht hof en di ar y ent r y f or 25. 11. 42. ,
quot ed i n " Luf t f l ot t e 4vor St al i ngr ad
: unt er Gen. Ober st
Fr hr . v. Ri cht hof en, " AFSHRC: K 113
. 309- 3, v. 9.
24.
For a compl et e l i st i ng of t r anspor t
ai r cr af t aut hor i zed st r engt h, act ual
st r engt h, and t onnage
pr ovi ded St al i ngr ad on a
day- t o- day basi s, see: " Luf t ver sor gung
der 6. Ar mee vom24. 11. 42. bi s
3. 2 . 43. , " NARS T- 321/ 18/ 4758846
.
25 . Ri cht hof en di ar y ent r y
f or 18. 12. 42. , quot ed i n " Luf t f l ot t e