ON THE BRINK:
As with 1941, the eastern theater of operations remained the focus ofLuftwaffe operations throughout 1942.1 (See Table XXV.2) Although the German air force faced critical deployments and tasks elsewhere, the bulk of German aircraft remained in the east until events in the fall required shifts in air resources. The war in the east in the summer of 1942 superficially resembled the swift advance of 1941 with a rapid surge towards the Caucasus and Stalingrad, but inherent supply and maintenance difficulties intensified as the Luftwaffe operated from bases deep inside Russia and far from its sources of supply. Moreover, the attrition that had occurred during 1941 forced the Luftwaffe to operate with considerably less effectiveness because of less well-trained crews than it had in 1941. Finally, one must note that geographic and climatic problems, complicated by difficulties facing ground forces that were outnumbered and losing their qualitative superiority, precluded the Luftwaffe from developing any new role in the east other than helping extricate the army out of increasingly dangerous situations. Perhaps, considering the balance of forces in the east, ground and air, there was no other choice. Overall, Luftwaffe attrition rates for the year showed an alarming rise over those of 1941 (see Tables XXVI,3 XXVII,4 and XXVIII5).
As indicated in Chapter III, the German failure in front of Moscow in December 1941 and Russian counterattacks provoked a crisis in the German high command and threatened the collapse of the eastern front. The Russian counteroffensive caught the Germans on the point of final exhaustion, short of supplies, and with few preparations to meet the winter weather. Hitler excused his and the high command's culpability by claiming that severe winter weather had come surprisingly early,6 but such claims did little to help troops that were fighting in temperatures 20° below zero. As the collapse threatened to become general, the Führer sacked Brauchitsch and other senior commanders and assumed the position of Commander in Chief of the army himself.7
Weather conditions accelerated the attrition of men through frostbite and of equipment through cold. By December 16, Panzer Group 2 was down to 40 tanks in operable condition. Sixth Panzer Division possessed only 350 riflemen and no tanks by the 13th, while 7th Panzer Division had a combat strength of barely 200 men.8 In such conditions, Russian attacks threatened to destroy the army in the east. This eventuality did not occur for two reasons. The first was that the vast blood letting of the summer and fall had left the Russian army with limited resources to achieve its objectives. The second factor dovetailed with the first. After the first flush of
German Losses, Jun-Dec 1942, by Theater
German Aircraft Losses 1942 (All Types)
German Bomber Losses 1942
German Fighter Losses 1942
victories in December, Stalin became overconfident; overruling Zhukov, he set wide-ranging strategic goals that were beyond the capabilities of his forces.9 The result was that everywhere Soviet forces succeeded in pushing the Germans back; nowhere did they succeed in fully exploiting the situation.10 Further complicating German difficulties at the front was a collapse of the Wehrmacht's supply system. In the cold, railroad engines froze up and those still in working condition moved with great difficulty through drifting snows. Railroad authorities warned Army Group Center that in temperatures below -15° Centigrade, over 50 percent of its supplies would not get through, and in heavy snow the entire supply system might cease to function.11
Yet despite the desperate situation, the Germans held the critical points and prevented a general collapse. In February 1942, the Russians opened a hundred-mile gap between Army Group North and Army Group Center. Russian forces failed to exploit their advantage, however, and the Germans escaped the full consequences of the breakthrough. Nevertheless, this time the Red Army managed to isolate two pockets of German troops: the first of approximately brigade strength around Kholm, the second containing the better part of two army corps (six divisions with 100,000 men) near Demyansk.12 Hitler ordered the forces trapped to hold in what was optimistically termed the Demyansk "fortress."13 The responsibility for resupplying the beseiged forces fell on the Luftwaffe's already overburdened shoulders.
By the time that the spring thaw arrived in late March, the immediate crisis was over. Both sides wearily faced each other with armies that had fought themselves to exhaustion. Attrition of the German army, however, insured that it would never again reach the level of efficiency that it had displayed at the beginning of "Barbarossa." On March 25, 1942, Halder recorded German losses in the east as 32,485 officers and 1,040,581 NCOs, and men from forces that had numbered 3.2 million at the start of the invasion (33.52 percent).14 This total did not include those reporting sick. Considering that these totals included support troops, attrition of combat units had undoubtedly exceeded 50 percent. Equipment losses were on a similar scale. By March 1942, tank losses had reached 3,486 from a tank force numbering 3,350 in June 1941, and which had received only 873 replacement tanks.15 Not surprisingly, the number of tanks ready for action on the eastern front on March 30, 1942, was 140.16 Losses in artillery, trucks, and support vehicles were comparable.
The winter crisis only intensified Luftwaffe problem areas (inadequate production and maintenance, and declining crew capabilities). The failure to defeat Russia, unlike the situation the previous year, meant that the Luftwaffe faced inescapable commitments with no possibility of a lull in operations during which it could rehabilitate exhausted flying units. Generally, however, the Luftwaffe was better prepared for cold weather than the army. The air transport system enabled it to evade supply bottlenecks and to move winter clothing forward to its units in Russia. Nevertheless, the weather was no kinder to the Luftwaffe's ground transportation system; by January 1942, only 15 percent of the 100,000 air force vehicles in the
east remained in working condition.17 Vehicle shortages forced some units to use shovels and peasant sleds to clear snow from airfields. The cold itself presented numerous problems from starting aircraft to performing simple maintenance. Mechanics had to preheat tools before beginning work and repeat the heating operation several times thereafter while working in the open.18 Special weather conditions in Russia demanded special procedures and the development of specific equipment items, most of which could not be available until the following winter.
Moreover, the army's plight forced air force commanders to commit their resources to aid frontline crises, while heavy losses of artillery increased demands for close air support. The fact that the Luftwaffe possessed few ground support aircraft led to the use of bombers in this role, thus increasing their loss rate. This tactical misuse of bombers continued unabated throughout the war, but the imperatives of the ground situation often offered no other choice. Not only was this an inefficient use of aircraft but each bomber loss involved the wastage of more crew, more instruments, more engines, and more raw materials than in the case of a single-engine ground attack aircraft.19
In the desperate battles on the eastern front, Luftwaffe antiaircraft units, especially those equipped with 88mm antiaircraft guns, played a valuable part in fighting Russian tanks. Because partisan activity made rear areas insecure and Russian breakthroughs threatened forward operating fields, the Luftwaffe used support and staff personnel in January 1942 to defend airfields. But what was defensible as necessity soon became indefensible as common practice. Deciding that the Luftwaffe was overmanned with maintenance and support personnel, Göring ordered establishment of Luftwaffe field divisions for frontline service. Led by untrained officers and NCOs, such units suffered disproportionately heavy casualties. Moreover, such shortsightedness, which characterized so much of the Luftwaffe's approach, resulted in the enlistment of maintenance and service troops for duty as frontline riflemen.20 Thus, at the same time that Milch and his staff prepared for a rapid expansion in aircraft strength, Göring was squandering the expertise of trained technicians who already were having difficulty in keeping sufficient numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft flying.
The aerial resupply of beleaguered ground forces in the Kholm and Demyansk pockets added to commitments, while the success of aerial resupply set a dangerous precedent for the following fall. In this case, aerial supply worked because a variety of factors were different from those involved in the Stalingrad relief operation. First, the front stabilized near the pocket, and forward operating airfields were thus only a short distance from the troops they supplied. Moreover, these forward operating bases were accessible to airfields in the former Baltic countries and were tied directly to the Luftwaffe's infrastructure in Germany. Consequently, it was relatively easy to move aircraft and supplies forward.
Unfortunately for the Luftwaffe, it had never possessed the resources to build a sizeable independent transport force; rather a significant percentage of transport aircraft served to transition future bomber pilots from single to multiengine aircraft.
Thus, the only way to build up airlift capability for emergency situations like Demyansk and Stalingrad was to strip training establishments of instructors, pupils, and aircraft; in other words, to shut schools down. But the losses in training resources, particularly in instructor pilots, were not only irreplaceable but were enormous in their cumulative impact. Nevertheless, in the short term, both the Kholm and Demyansk airlifts succeeded in their narrow tactical goals. The pockets held until relieving forces broke through in May. The airlift in support of the Demyansk pocket flew 14,455 missions, moved 24,303 tons of weapons and supplies and 15,445 soldiers into the pocket, and 22,093 wounded out: a performance that averaged between 100 and 150 missions and 265 tons per day.21 But the cost was inordinately high. By the time the army relieved the pocket in May 1942, the Luftwaffe had lost 265 transport aircraft, or 30 percent of its transport force at the end of February.22 The negative impact on training was, of course, substantial.
Having weathered the last crises in late winter, the Germans now faced the problem of what their strategy should be for the coming year. Halder, who had remained as Chief of Staff, argued for a defensive strategy in the east in which the army would launch no major offensives but rather husband and rebuild its strength.23 Hitler, convinced that he alone had prevented a disaster during the winter, disagreed. Ever the gambler, he determined to knock the Soviets out of the war. But this decision would prove difficult to execute given the extent of losses since "Barbarossa" had begun. In fact, only by tasking their allies--the Hungarians, the Italians, and the Rumanians--to defend large segments of the front were the Germans able to build up their forces for the summer offensive.
The condition of the German army gave little cause for optimism. At the end of March 1942, OKH reported that out of 162 divisions in the east, 8 were suitable for offensive operations, 3 could be brought up to full offensive capability after a short rest, and 47 could perform limited offensive tasks. The rest were only suitable for defensive warfare.24 In an effort to upgrade the combat capability of deficient divisions, the army reorganized itself. The results, however, were less than satisfactory. Army Groups North and Center lost virtually all motor vehicles so that their divisions were no longer capable of even limited mobile operations.25 Of 65 divisions detailed for the coming offensive, only 21 either had trained as new units or had received rehabilitation in rear areas. The remaining 44 divisions had reinforced and rehabilitated while serving in the frontline. Shortages of vehicles and horses severely limited the mobility of infantry divisions, while the spearhead divisions of panzer and motorized infantry possessed only 80 percent of their authorized motor vehicles.26
On April 5, 1942, Hitler issued Directive #41 for the summer offensive. Army Group Center would remain on the defensive, and Army Group North would undertake a limited offensive against Leningrad to link up with Finland. The main effort lay in the south, "with the aim of destroying the enemy before the Don [River], in order to secure the Caucasian oil fields and the passes through the
Caucasus mountains themselves."27 The primary strategic aim of the campaign was oil. Considering Germany's serious oil shortage, the emphasis on oil made sense.28 What did not make sense was the belief that German forces possessed the strength and logistical capacity to reach the main oil fields, to seize them undamaged, and to hold them long enough to allow exploitation of their production.
The Luftwaffe's task was to bolster the army's advance. It would provide air cover for ground redeployments in support of operation "Blau"; should the enemy seek to strengthen defending forces, German bombers were to attack his transportation system. When the offensive began, the Luftwaffe would seek to maintain air superiority while attacking enemy ground forces. Early in Directive #41, Hitler suggested that the purpose of the offensive was "to wipe out the entire defensive potential remaining to the Soviets and to cut them off, as far as possible, from their most important centers of war industry."29 However, Hitler cast his strategy so as to achieve the capture of the Soviet Union's oil production region, a goal which--as already suggested--was virtually unattainable given the forces available. Thus, there was no possibility of cutting the Soviets off "from their most important centers of war industry" except to deprive Russia of a limited percentage of her oil production. Nowhere in his directive did the Führer suggest using the Luftwaffe to strike Soviet industry or petroleum production; given the megalomaniacal extent of Hitler's summer aims and the weaknesses of the ground forces, the Luftwaffe would be completely employed in supporting the army's drive.
Before the main summer offensive began, Hitler decided to eliminate Soviet forces on the Crimea Peninsula. On May 8, Eleventh Army, supported by Fliegerkorps IV and VIII, attacked the Russians on the Kersch Peninsula. Aided by a continuous flow of close air support, Manstein's ground forces broke through Russian positions and routed substantial Soviet forces. On May 19, Halder recorded the successful completion of operations and the capture of 150,000 prisoners with considerable equipment.30 While the Germans mopped up Kersch, the Russians launched a spoiling offensive on the southern front. They hoped to dislocate German preparations by capturing the critical transportation center of Kharkov. After initial success, the Russians ran into strong resistance. Soviet infantry pressed Sixth Army back on Kharkov, but the Russians hesitated to unleash their armor. Having hesitated, they lost the opportunity. The Germans had reserves in the area; Kleist's First Panzer Army, supported by Richthofen's "Stukas," sliced northwards and in one great sweeping thrust isolated the Izyum salient and attacking Russian forces. Once again, Stalin turned a serious military situation into catastrophe. He refused to allow a withdrawal until too late. By the end of May, the Germans had destroyed two Russian armies and badly mauled three others. Two hundred thousand prisoners marched westward to work in German slave labor camps; probably as many lay dead in the wreckage of defeat. Not only had the Germans eliminated Russian reserves on the southern front but the Russians had lost the better part of their armored forces.31
One final preparatory operation came before the summer offensive began. Mainstein regrouped his forces, while Richthofen's "Stukas" returned from
Kharkov: their target, the fortress city of Sevastapol. On June 2, the German air and artillery bombardment began and continued without interruption for the next five days. Fliegerkorps VIII flew up to 1,000 sorties per day, while Manstein's troops fought their way through the Russian forts and defensive system.32 On the 19th, Richthofen noted with satisfaction that the city's center was a sea of flames from air attacks with smoke clouds reaching 1,500 meters and stretching from Sevastapol to the Sea of Azov and the Kersch Peninsula.33 By the beginning of July, resistance had collapsed; Richthofen's Fliegerkorps VIII moved north to support the main summer offensive.
Many historians have argued that the summer and fall of 1942 represented the decisive turning point in the history of World War II. The evidence does not support such a contention. The surge forward of German armies in Russia and in the Mediterranean region represented the last spasmodic advances of Nazi military power; there was no prospect of achieving a decisive strategic victory. By the spring of 1942, attrition had reduced both sides in Russia to desperate straits. While the Germans enjoyed a small qualitative edge, the explanation for their successes in the summer lay in the Soviet blunders in the Crimea and at Kharkov in the spring. However, the numerical scales were rapidly turning against the Wehrmacht, as Soviet production hit full stride and as Western aid reached Russia in increasing quantities. In the Mediterranean, the scales had already tilted against the Germans; the British collapse in North Africa in May is explicable only in terms of gross military incompetence.
We have already delineated the weaknesses of ground forces available for the summer; the Luftwaffe presented a similar depressing picture. The Luftwaffe deployed approximately 2,750 aircraft in the east, the bulk being assigned to Army Group South for the summer offensive. But major commitments in the Arctic as well as the need to aid the hard-pressed and equipment-starved northern and center army groups required significant numbers of aircraft. As a result, only 1,500 aircraft were available to support the main drive.34
On June 28, the summer offensive began as Fourth Panzer and Second Army jumped off. Three armored, three motorized infantry, and nine infantry divisions led the opening phase that hit the Bryansk Front. Led by "Stukas" and other bombers from Fliegerkorps VIII, German armor broke through and raced for Voronezh.35 By July 2, the Germans had advanced 80 kilometers; and as the official Russian history suggests, the situation was near disaster.36 Meanwhile on June 30, Sixth Army attacked from north of Kharkov to complete a pincer movement south of Voronezh. This time, however, the pincer arms closed around few Russians. The Soviet high command had finally absorbed the lessons of the past year; when threatened with encirclement, it pulled troops back without hesitation. This response to German breakthroughs characterized Soviet strategy throughout the summer, and prompt withdrawals denied the Germans the successes they had enjoyed the previous summer.37
Now in early July, Hitler divided Army Group South into two separate commands, Army Group B in the northern sector and Army Group A in the southern
The German Summer Offensive: 1942
sector. He also made major changes in the command structure to facilitate his control over operations. While Army Group B moved south from Voronezh to clear out the Don River bend, Army Group A, spearheaded by First Panzer Army, drove east to Voroshilovgrad and then southeast to seize the Don bridges at Konstantinovskaya.38 As the advance gathered momentum, some of the signs of a collapse in the command and control system that had existed the previous summer reappeared on the Russian side.39 Nevertheless, although losing much of its equipment in the process, most of the Red Army managed to escape.
Hitler's baleful influence was soon apparent. In mid July, he fired Bock, while relations between the Führer and the army's Chief of Staff were increasingly strained. Halder, recognizing the limited nature of German fighting strength, was not fooled by the initial success. Hitler, however, was now thinking in grandiose terms. Further encouraging his dreams was his own serious underestimation of the Soviet's ability to resist further German advances. As the OKW War Diary noted on June 25, Hitler believed that Russian resistance would be considerably less than in 1941, and that Army Group South could execute the phases for operation "Blau" with less difficulty and more quickly than originally planned.40 In late July, he demanded that Army Group A "occupy the entire eastern coastline of the Black Sea, force a passage of the Kuban," drive towards Grozny, and thrust through to the Caspian Sea in the Baku area. Simultaneously, Army Group B was to "thrust
forward to Stalingrad, smash the enemy forces concentrated there, . . . , and . . . block . . . land communications between the Don and the Volga [Rivers], as well as the Don itself."41 Thus, not only did Hitler direct the advance along widely diverging axes but the objectives of Army Group A were so diverse that the attempt to gain all insured that German forces would gain none. Hitler also made clear his growing interest in Stalin's city, for one of the Luftwaffe's major tasks was to insure "the early destruction of the city of Stalingrad."
The Luftwaffe's mission in this last great, wide-ranging German offensive of the war represented a replay of the previous year. By and large, its units maintained air superiority over the entire front and severely hampered Soviet reconnaissance and bombing efforts.42 German aircraft played an important role in breaking up Soviet counterattacks in the first days of "Blau." The Luftwaffe's interdiction of Soviet forces disrupted supplies and, in one case, caught two reserve divisions in the open--150 kilometers east of Stalingrad--and butchered them. Richthofen trumpeted in his diary about a "beautiful bloodbath (Tolles Blutbad!)"43 During this period, most assigned aircraft supported the army's advance. For July and August, Luftwaffe reports to OKW headquarters contained the constant refrain that battle emphasis in the east lay "in supporting the army's advance (Schwerpunkt Kampfeinsatz zur Unterstützung der Angrisarmeen)."44
As in 1941, the Germans inflicted heavy aerial losses on their Russian opponents, while losing relatively few aircraft themselves. But a constant attrition of air units took place, and the cumulative effect of such losses was devastating. From May through September 1942, Luftwaffe bomber units in the east lost approximately 120 bombers per month, while fighter losses were almost exactly the same. Aircraft losses on the eastern front were approximately 60 percent of all Luftwaffe losses for all theaters (see Table XXV45). For bomber squadrons, monthly losses represented approximately 15 percent of total actual strength for all theaters. Fighter losses averaged nearly 20 percent per month.46 In spite of this steady attrition lasting over five months, the Germans maintained unit aircraft strength on the eastern front at a uniform level. In August and September, the general staff withdrew a number of long-range bomber wings that had suffered particularly heavy losses, but prompt replacement by rehabilitated and refreshed units from the zone of the interior kept frontline strength at the same level.47 But improved supply and replacement procedures designed for maintaining strength should not disguise the overall state of the Luftwaffe in the east--a state which as early as June 26, the OKW War Diary described as "strained."48
Adding to Luftwaffe difficulties was the fact that as the army hurtled forward, the distances over which supplies moved rapidly increased. Army Group South was already the farthest removed of the army groups from the supply system. As Sixth Army, with its supporting flak and air force units, approached Stalingrad in August, the nearest supply system railhead was 350 kilometers behind in Stalino. With severe shortages of motorized transport, the Wehrmacht faced an increasing logistical problem as the advance continued.49 At the end of July, the drive into the Caucasus ran out of fuel; and while Luftwaffe transport units helped to alleviate
some shortages, the bulk nature of fuel made it impossible to alter fundamental supply realities.50 Consequently, the utilization rate began to fall as units deployed forward to new airfields to support advancing ground forces. Poor communications and the slow arrival of supplies, as well as the primitive conditions found on forward operating bases, added to the Luftwaffe's problems.51
As German forces surged into the Caucasus, Hitler undercut their efforts. He was now entranced with Stalingrad and on August 1 ordered the transfer of Fourth Panzer Army (two German and Rumanian Corps, the equivalent of eight divisions) from Army Group A to Army Group B. By mid-August, the Germans had cleared out the Don bend and were preparing to cross the Don and to seize Stalingrad. On the 23rd, General von Wietersheim's panzer corps crossed that river in a surprise attack and within one day had advanced to the Volga north of Stalingrad, a distance of 60 kilometers. Aerial support provided by Fliegerkorps VIII, 1,600 sorties, 1,000 tons of bombs, with the loss of only 3 aircraft (and a claim of 91 Russian aircraft shot down) facilitated the rush forward. That afternoon, Richthofen, now Commander of Luftflotte 4, launched massive aerial attacks on the city itself.52 For the next week, Stalingrad felt the fury of German air attacks as the Luftwaffe supported the army by trying to break the will of Stalingrad's defenders and population.
From this point forward, the Nazi effort centered on the struggle for Stalingrad--a struggle minimizing the flexibility and adaptability of German units while maximizing the dogged determination of their Russian opponents. The house-to-house struggle sucked more and more troops into the dying city. What German strategy had once viewed as a blocking position for the advance into the Caucasus now became the focal point for Hitler. By the end of October, the Germans had captured most of the city, but Russian resistance clung tenaciously to the banks of the Volga. In the south, Army Group A remained halted at the end of its long supply lines. Everywhere on the eastern front, the Germans now lay in overextended positions. Meanwhile, their Russian opposition, unlike the previous year, had conserved and built up its strength. Beginning in mid-October, increasing numbers of Soviet aircraft challenged the Luftwaffe. By early November, Russian aerial interdiction efforts were seriously interfering with Sixth Army's supplies.53
Even rising aircraft production in Germany had little impact on the force structure, because commitments and opposition that the Luftwaffe faced were extracting an even higher price. The attrition on the eastern front from May through October 1942 represented a major portion of the Luftwaffe's overall strength. In this time frame, bomber losses (aircraft written off) in Russia equalled 51 percent of all bombers at the end of April, while the corresponding figure for single-engine fighters was 48.6 percent.54 Thus, Hitler's decision to defeat the Soviet Union in 1942 insured that neither the Luftwaffe nor the army would receive a respite to recuperate from the winter defeats of 1942. Perched precariously at the end of long lines of communications and with its strength severely attrited, the Wehrmacht awaited the crushing Russian counterblow.
As in 1941, the Mediterranean had remained a side show for the Germans through most of 1942. Air and ground forces deployed in North Africa represented the minimum required to fend off the British. The fact that Rommel with these forces had won great tactical victories is a tribute to his genius. Nevertheless, his success inevitably led to a rise in the forces deployed against him on the ground as well as in the air.
The British, saddled with a series of incompetent commanders on the ground, were well served in the air. From May 1941, Arthur Tedder, one of the outstanding airmen of the war, commanded the RAF in the Middle East, while his deputy, Sir A. "Mary" Coningham, led the air forces assigned to support Eighth Army. Tedder and Coningham built up a force in the 1941-42 period that showed extreme versatility in its employment in close air support, air superiority, and short- and long-range interdiction missions. While the RAF in the Mediterranean gained numerical and qualitative superiority over the Luftwaffe, difficulties complicated the execution of a successful British air strategy. Perhaps the most daunting were the enormous distances that British forces had to traverse within this theater. The distance between Tripoli and El Alamein was 1,500 kilometers, equal to that from East Prussia to Moscow. Moreover, supply lines reached from Britain around the African continent, while the aircraft ferrying system, although involving less distance, crossed Central Africa and thus presented considerable logistical difficulties.
Moreover, the British suffered from interservice coordination problems. Early in his command, Tedder recognized the interrelationship between the efforts of the three services and that, without a strategic conception, British armed forces could not achieve decisive results. As he noted in his memoirs:
The campaign in North Africa provide a prime example of the complementary roles played in the Second World War by all three services. The brunt of the desert battles fell upon the Army and the Royal Air Force; the eventual intention was to turn out of North Africa, bag and baggage, the Italian and German forces. By seeming paradox, this object could not be achieved without success at sea . . . . By a further paradox, such superiority at sea could after 1941 be secured only by the exercise of airpower and could certainly not be secured by surface forces alone.55
Tedder found it difficult to cooperate with the army which could not understand the particular advantages as well as limitations of the air weapon.56 On one occasion in 1942, he wrote home that the army's performance resulted from "an excess of bravery and a shortage of brains."57 The result of such failings in army training, doctrine, and leadership largely nullified British air superiority over the desert battlefield.58 It was one matter to control the airspace over the battlefield; it was another to translate that superiority into direct success when cooperation with the army broke down or if ground commanders consistently lost to inferior forces. British air and naval forces operating from Malta were a thorn for the Italian logistics to North Africa from the onset of the Mediterranean war. By late 1941,
what had began as a nuisance had now become a strategic threat. In September 1941, the British sank 38.5 percent of the tonnage sent from Italy to Libya. In October, the figure reached 63 percent and in November an astonishing level of 77 percent.59 British forces undoubtedly received considerable help from "Ultra" decrypts of Axis cypher traffic, making convoy operations relatively easy to pinpoint and attack. This intolerable pressure on Rommel's logistical system helps explain the sudden transfer of Luftflotte 2 into the theater in November. The fact that these forces represented a substantial portion of the aircraft supporting the advance on Moscow does, however, raise an interesting question about the OKW's strategic priorities.
Indeed the arrival of new air units in Sicily in December 1941 allowed the Germans to clear the waters around Malta and protect Axis convoys from British interference. Shipping losses fell to a more acceptable level of 20-30 percent. However, until logistical preparations had been accomplished, Kesselring could not launch an aerial offensive aimed at destroying Malta.60 Beginning in early April 1942, the air offensive on Malta began. By May 10, Second Air Fleet had flown 11,000 sorties against the island fortress and placed the garrison and local population in desperate straits.61 The question now facing the Germans was whether to proceed with an airborne and naval invasion. After considerable debate within the Axis' high commands, Hitler vetoed the operation. In retrospect, given the enormous logistical difficulties in the theater, Malta's capture would only have made a marginal difference to the North African situation.62 Nevertheless, the failure to seek a decision forced the Luftwaffe to leave strong forces in Sicily to harass Malta--a further dispersal of limited air resources.63
In the summer of 1942, despite Rommel's brilliant successes in the spring, the Mediterranean balance was shifting against the Axis. On the ground, the British were accumulating a numerical superiority that outweighed whatever qualitative superiority the Germans still enjoyed. Even more important was the fact that in July, Eighth Army acquired a commander who refused to tolerate the "nice chap" syndrome that had so hampered the British army.64 By October, the British possessed an impressive numerical superiority. Although the Mediterranean campaign operated on a smaller scale, the similarities between the strategic situation in the Mediterranean and those existing in Russia are striking. German air and ground units at the end of long lines of communications faced massive enemy buildups with little prospect of reinforcement. The situation represented a recipe for strategic disaster.
THE WEST: BRITISH EFFORTS65
With the outbreak of war in September 1939, the British government placed severe limitations on Bomber Command's freedom of action; it forbade RAF bombers from attacking any target that might involve civilian casualties.66 Nevertheless, the British learned much from the "Phony War." The first lesson, one that burned itself into British sensibilities for the remainder of the war, was the
massacre of "Wellington" bombers by German fighters in December 1939. After this disaster, most RAF senior commanders were dubious about the potential of daylight bomber operations over well-defended airspaces.67 The second lesson involved problems associated with bad weather and long-range flying by British bombers over hostile territory in night leaflet raids--raids that "Bomber" Harris claimed provided the Germans with their toilet paper needs for much of the war.68
The German invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940 removed most restrictions on bomber activity.69 For the next ten months, Bomber Command launched its aircraft against specific targets in Germany, especially oil plants and transportation systems. The initial hope was that "the accuracy of night bombing [would] differ little from daylight bombing."70 By the spring of 1941, the nature of the problem had emerged. In August of that year, an analysis of mission photographs indicated that only one in three British aircraft was hitting within 75 square miles of its target.71 In fact, given the lack of navigational aids, Bomber Command had a difficult time in hitting cities. On October 1, 1941, with Karlsruhe and Stuttgart as targets, British bombers "were reported over Aachen, Eupen, Malmedy, Coblenz, Neuwied, Kreuznach, Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden, Limburg, Darmstadt, Mainz, Worms, Trier, Offenburg, Saarfels, Nuremberg, Erlangen, Bamberg, Bayreuth, Coburg, Pegnitz, Aschaffenburg, Schweinfurt, Würzburg, Regensburg, Weiden, and Chemnitz."72
The weight of such evidence pushed Bomber Command and the Air Staff towards "area" bombing, a euphemism for what was to be a "city busting" campaign. But if the considerable difficulties in hitting targets at night pointed in this direction, the doctrinal frame of reference established before the war made "area" bombing an attractive strategy. As early as September 11, 1940, Sir Charles Portal--still Commander of Bomber Command--urged his government to announce the names of 20 German cities targeted for reprisal raids "for each night of indiscriminate bombing by the enemy."73 In May 1941, Churchill circulated to the Cabinet a paper by Trenchard. The former Chief of Air Staff (CAS) argued that Germany's population was "particularly susceptible to air bombing." Admitting that only 1 percent of the bombs dropped hit their target, he concluded that:
This means that if you are bombing a target at sea, then 99 percent of your bombs are wasted, but not only 99 percent of the bombs are wasted but 99 percent, too, of the pilots and of the training which went to produce them . . . . If, however, our bombs are dropped in Germany, then 99 percent which miss the military target all help to kill, damage, frighten, or interfere with Germans in Germany, and the whole 100 percent of the bomber organization is doing useful work and not merely 1 percent of it.
Such a policy, Trenchard admitted, might involve heavy casualties in aircraft and crews, "but the counting of our losses has nothing to do with the soundness of the plan once you accept the view that the nation can stand their casualties. The pilots in the last war stood it, and the pilots of this war are even better, and, I feel, would welcome a policy of this description."74
This movement towards the use of "area" bombing received its final impetus in March 1942 when Churchill's scientific advisor, Lord Cherwell, presented the Prime Minister with a carefully structured argument in favor of a systematic attempt to destroy German cities. The heart of Cherwell's argument lay in his belief that the destruction of housing was the best method to break German resistance.
Investigation seems to show that having one's house demolished is most damaging to morale. People seem to mind it more than having their friends or even relatives killed. At Hull, signs of strain were evident though only one-tenth of the houses were demolished. On the above figures, we should be able to do ten times as much harm to each of the 58 principal German towns. There seems little doubt that this would break the spirit of the people.75
The basic problem for Cherwell's argumentation was that Bomber Command was already suffering serious losses at night, while other theaters were making demands on bomber production. The raid of November 7, 1941, underscored the damage that the Reich's night defenses could inflict on British bombers. From a force of 400 aircraft, Bomber Command lost 37, or 9.25 percent. Aircraft attacking specific targets suffered even higher losses: bombers attacking Berlin lost 12.5 percent of their number, at Mannheim 13 percent, and in the Ruhr Valley 21 percent. Night no longer provided an impenetrable veil for bomber operations; as it turned out, this would not be the last time that circumstances would force Bomber Command to rethink its basic strategy and tactics.76
In January 1942, disenchantment with the results of the bombing offensive thus far led to the appointment of Sir Arthur Harris as leader of Bomber Command. Harris possessed an unshakeable belief that, with the necessary resources, his command could win the war by itself. Fortified by a strong personality and intolerant of differing views, Harris was an ideal leader to shake the lethargy from the command. Interestingly, it was not until late 1942 that Harris became a complete convert to an "area" bombing strategy.77 Nevertheless, as suggested above, the realities were already pushing him in that direction.
Harris established excellent relations with the Prime Minister, and over the course of the spring and summer of 1942, he bombarded Churchill with memoranda.78 In these he argued forcefully that only a resolute and sustained bombing offensive could defeat Germany and that diversion of aircraft to protect British shipping, to support the army, or to attack Axis forces in the Mediterranean was a gross misuse of airpower.79 Harris became especially vociferous over the diversion of aircraft to support the war on submarines.
The strength of Coastal Command, which is composed largely of suitable bomber types, is today almost the equal of Bomber Command. It achieves nothing essential, either to our survival or to the defeat of the enemy. It abates little, not even the possessiveness of the Admiralty. It aids by preventing a few shipping losses--a very few. These few losses we can bear awhile if we do not further embarrass our shipping position by adding to our difficulties the transportation and support of vast armies overseas . . . . Coastal
Command is therefore merely an obstacle to victory. By redirecting Coastal Command to the offensive, it could, in conjunction with Bomber Command, do . . . more harm to the enemy naval situation and the enemy war situation as a whole than it can do or has in years of waste and misemployment in its present wrong and mainly futile occupations.80
As a new commander, Harris understood that his command desperately needed operational successes for its morale as well as for the survival of its primary mission as a city buster in view of the pressures to divert four-engine aircraft to other tasks. The appearance of the first significant navigational aid, Gee, aided the accomplishment of this task. The first demonstration of Gee's effectiveness came in early March 1942, when British bombers devastated the Renault armament factory near Paris.81 The second demonstration came later in the month with a low level attack on Lubeck, described by Harris as "built more like a firelighter than a human habitation." Post-raid photo reconnaissance indicated that the bombing had destroyed 40 to 50 percent of the city. At the end of April, the command blasted Rostock and a nearby Heinkel factory.82
But Harris' greatest triumph of the year came in May. By scratching together every aircraft in the command and in its operational training units, he put 1,000 aircraft over Cologne and swamped the night defenses to achieve an unheard of bombing concentration. The raid was a success. With a relatively low loss rate (40 bombers or 3.8 percent of the attacking forces), Bomber Command destroyed much of the city. Later photo reconnaissance indicated that the attack had destroyed 600 acres of Cologne of which 300 lay in the center. The greatest success of the raid may, however, have rested in the political capital it provided Harris. The next 1,000 bomber raid, following soon after Cologne, again underlined the limitations under which the command operated. In early June, Harris sent his bombers against Essen; and with less favorable conditions, the bombers achieved no concentration. In fact, the German high command only reported "widespread raids over West Germany."83
While one more 1,000 bomber raid occurred in 1942, Harris, having made his point, now began the long process of building up his command. The introduction of the "Lancaster" bomber, further aids for blind bombing, and creation of a pathfinder force (the latter with considerable opposition from Harris) resulted in a gradual rise in the command's destructive potential. But as the British advanced, so too did the Germans. By August, the Germans were jamming Gee, and the new pathfinder force faced the same navigational and target-finding problems that had for so long plagued the command. Not only that, but there were no target-marking bombs available.84 If the results from 1942 failed to achieve another striking success, the command at least built up its strength and gathered invaluable experience for 1943.
The British did not confine their efforts solely to night bombing. The RAF expended considerable effort throughout 1941 and 1942 in daylight operations, although there was some doubt concerning the bomber's ability to survive without fighter protection. Nevertheless, after the start of "Barbarossa," some senior
British officers hoped that the RAF could launch day bombing sorties, protected by fighters, against targets on the continent such as airfields and important factories. In this way, the RAF would force the Germans to fight. Code name for these operations was "Circus." Unfortunately, the results did not meet expectations. The Germans withdrew fighter units from the coast to airfields deep in France and Belgium. There, they could choose whether to fight or not, and British fighter forces, operating at extreme ranges, faced the problem that Bf 109's had confronted in 1940. Moreover, there were relatively few targets of importance to the Nazi war effort; therefore, the Germans fought only when circumstances favored them.85
There was, of course, a solution: either extend the range of existing fighters or design a long-range fighter specifically to protect deep penetration raids. But the RAF showed little interest in drop tanks, and the Air Staff dismissed the notion that British industry could develop a long-range fighter of sufficient capability to take on German fighters. In March 1940, prodded by Dowding who argued that the RAF needed a long-range fighter to protect international trade, Air Vice Marshal W. S. Douglas, Assistant Chief ofAir Staff, suggested:
It must, generally speaking, be regarded as axiomatic that the long-range fighter must be inferior in performance to the short-range fighter . . . . The question had been considered many times, and the discussion had always tended to go in circles . . . . The conclusion had been reached that the escort fighter was really a myth. A fighter performing escort functions would, in reality, have to be a high performance and heavily armed bomber.86
Unfortunately, Douglas' view reflected most views in the Air Ministry. Portal informed Churchill in June 1941 that a long-range fighter could never hold its own against short-range fighters; thus, the former could never fly where they could expect opposition from the latter. Churchill's response to this gloomy conclusion was that such a view closed "many doors."87
Confirming the Prime Minister's assessment were disastrous losses suffered in 1942 by RAF bombers during unaccompanied daylight operations into Germany. In April 1942, 12 "Lancasters" made a low level, deep penetration attack on the M.A.N. Works in Augsburg. The RAF initiated heavy fighter sweeps and bombings of coastal targets to distract German fighters. Nevertheless, over northern France, 20 to 30 Bf 109's jumped the "Lancasters" and shot down 4. The bombers encountered no further fighters but lost three more aircraft to flak in the target area, while the remaining five aircraft received damage. In December 1942, a major attack on the Phillips Radio Works in Eindhoven lost 16 percent of the attacking force of 93 bombers, while a further 57 percent were damaged.88
Thus far, we have highlighted the attrition of German air units in World War II. One must emphasize, however, that such losses were endemic to all air forces. From May to September 1942, Bomber Command lost 970 aircraft. In May, the command's average strength had been 417 aircraft. Thus, the loss rate works out to approximately 233 percent in a five-month period.89
In August 1942, another air force entered the lists against the Luftwaffe. Flying at 23,000 feet, 12 B-17's attacked the marshalling yards at Rouen, while 6 others flew against a diversionary target. Four "Spitfire" squadrons provided protection on the run-in, while five "Spitfire" squadrons covered the withdrawal.90 No losses occurred; and by October 1942, General Ira Eaker informed General Carl "Tooey" Spaatz that this experience indicated that the B-17 could "cope with the German day fighter." In November, Eaker, on the basis of the first 1,100 missions, claimed that German fighters were no match for close formations of American bombers; losses on those first 1,100 missions had totalled only 1.6 percent. Unfortunately, what Eaker left unsaid was the fact that most missions had enjoyed intensive fighter support. Those attacks, however, that had flown to the fringes or beyond of fighter range had suffered a loss rate of 6.4 percent, and no missions had yet reached the Reich.91 Thus, daylight and unaccompanied bomber attacks on Germany remained very much in question.
THE GERMAN RESPONSE: AIR WAR IN THE WEST
Germany had entered the war with large fighter and flak forces. However, the air defense system, although not intended to protect the civilian population, was behind the British. This reflected the fact that German strategy was by definition aggressive and offensively oriented. The Luftwaffe trained its fighter forces for offensive operations in enemy airspace. Consequently, the burden of defending the Reich fell on the flak units. However, the relative freedom with which RAF bombers crossed the night skies over Germany during the summer of 1940 raised serious questions. As a result, at almost the same time as the British, the Germans began work on the problem of night controlled, aerial interception.
From the beginning, the Germans had emphasized the role of flak in the defense of the Reich. This partially resulted from a misreading of the lessons of Spain where antiaircraft had proven effective against low flying aircraft, the profile of most missions in that war.92 But despite the relative ineffectiveness of flak against high altitude targets, the Germans continued to place strong emphasis on flak throughout the war for use against enemy aircraft. Two factors played a role in this crucial decision. Hitler found antiaircraft guns more congenial than aircraft and more within his frame of reference. Also important was the fact that antiaircraft guns, blasting into the night, provided the population with a psychological crutch no matter how ineffective the weapons might be. Goebbels, with support from the Gauleiters (Nazi district leaders), berated Milch as late as 1943 because there were insufficient antiaircraft guns for defense of the cities.93 The use of antiaircraft guns, however, did involve diversion of scarce aluminum resources that would have been better spent on aircraft.94
In July 1940, the Luftwaffe established the 1st Night Fighter Division in Brussels under General Joseph Kammhuber.95 The general staff combined various units, including a few flights of Bf 109's, a flight of Do 17's, and one combined flak-searchlight regiment. Initially, defense of the Reich involved a combination of
intruder attacks on British bases with a searchlight zone over the Reich for fighter aircraft to attack illuminated bombers. The first tactic showed promise, but Hitler halted intruder operations in the summer of 1941 in view of mounting bomber losses against Russia. Thereafter, he rarely allowed German night fighters or bombers to attack RAF bombers in their lair. Thus, from 1941, Germany's air defense emphasized passive operations with few offensive thrusts.
To help defend the fatherland, Kammhuber's defensive measures involved the extensive use of searchlight belts in western Germany working in tandem with Bf 109's. At the beginning, these efforts depended on accoustical devices to locate approaching bombers. Not surprisingly, the fighters achieved few successes since Luftwaffe fighters could hardly locate the bombers, a situation quite analogous to the RAF's inability to find German cities. Beginning in October 1940, the Germans introduced Würzburg radar units into the struggle with the first set in Holland. By late 1941, Kammhuber had established a belt of radar stations reaching from Denmark to Holland and then south through Belgium and northern France. The system provided early warning as well as ground control intercept (GCI) stations to support a growing force of night fighters with their own radar sets. Kammhuber established a tight system in which each GCI station controlled one fighter operating in a designated area that was a portion of the larger belt. Helped substantially by the experimentation of Major W. Falk, Kammhuber's air defense forces represented a formidable threat to Bomber Command's operations by the start of 1942. What had been a thin line in front of the Ruhr in early 1941 had become a defensive system of considerable depth and extent by the following year.96 The system did have one obvious weakness. With only one German GCI station and fighter over a given area, Bomber Command was in a position to swamp the defenses if it could feed its aircraft through the German defensive system in a concentrated stream.
Unfortunately for Germany's cities, these efforts raised only occasional interest in the high command or in the Luftwaffe's general staff. Throughout 1941 and 1942, most eyes remained centered on Russia. There were admittedly some nasty shocks in the spring of 1942. Heavy air raids on Lubeck and Rostock disturbed some in the high command, and Goebbels found time to rage in his diary about the destruction of art by British barbarians.97 Lubeck, however, was hardly of decisive importance for Germany; and while the OKW noted the attacks on Rostock, it gave the raids no particular significance.98
The attack on Cologne was another matter. The Luftwaffe's underestimation of the attacking force and a miscalculation of Hitler's mood exacerbated the impression created by the destruction.99 Calculating that air defense forces had accounted for 37 British bombers (in fact the British lost 40100), the Luftwaffe urged that in view of what it termed a 50-percent success, the Reich's propaganda services issue a victory bulletin. Not only did Hitler refuse the request in sharp terms but he pointedly remarked that the bomber force contained a higher number of aircraft than estimated. Disregarding enemy propaganda claims, Hitler argued, the damage on the ground indicated that something extraordinary had occurred.
On June 3, Hitler received Jeschonnek and gave the Chief of Staff a severe dressing down. He ridiculed Luftwaffe estimates on the bomber force attacking Cologne and its efforts to "gloss over or to describe what was a catastrophe as a defensive victory." In the conversation, Hitler made two further comments fraught with significance for Germany's future. First, he suggested that the only reply to such "terror" raids was retaliation in kind. Also, Hitler pointed out quite correctly that these raids signaled an attempt to establish an aerial second front. He concluded his discussions with Jeschonnek by remarking that: "I never hide from the truth, but I must see clearly in order to be able to draw correct conclusions."101
Fortunately for Bomber Command, despite efforts to launch further 1,000 plane raids, it did not again in 1942 achieve the success of the Cologne attack. Thus, Hitler did not draw the correct conclusions. As the OKW War Diary reported British failures in descriptions of widely dispersed efforts, the threat slipped from German consciousness.102 Consequently, Kammhuber's night defense forces received only minimal reinforcements. From 116 aircraft assigned to night air defense in September 1940, the force grew to 250 aircraft in September 1941 and to 345 aircraft in September 1942.103 However, had further Colognes occurred in 1942, Kammhuber might have received the resources in late 1942 and early 1943 that the night defenses received in response to the Hamburg catastrophe of July 1943, which ultimately enabled them to decimate Bomber Command in early 1944.
In reaction to the spring raids of 1942, the Germans launched a series of night retaliatory raids against British cities. Shortly after the Rostock raid, a member of the German foreign office announced that the Luftwaffe, using the Baedecker tourist guide, would strike the name of each British city destroyed off the list.104 The British in response termed these summer 1942 night raids, "Baedecker" raids. In reality, the raids achieved little significant damage; bomber losses were high, particularly in training units which lost heavily among instructional crews.105 Not only had further attrition taken place in the hard-pressed bomber forces but once again the Germans had sacrificed long-range interests, the training of future combat aircrews, for short-term expedience.
In March 1941, Göring held a major conference for units in the west. After describing in detail the coming air offensive against Britain, he secretly admitted to Adolf Galland and Werner Mölders that "there's not a word of truth in it." Forces would transfer from France to the Russian theater leaving only a few fighters in the west.106 Although only approximately two fighter wings remained in the west for the next year and a half, many of the best fighter crews remained in that theater. Similarly, the best equipment went to the west; industry supplied the Fw 190's to the western theater first, and only the latest model Bf 109's fought over France and Belgium.107 Small in numbers (no more than 180 aircraft), the western fighter forces were among the best in the Luftwaffe.
The daylight aerial defense of the west soon pulled back to bases deep in France and Belgium from which German fighters met the "Circus" operations on more or less equal terms. At the farthest extension of "Spitfire" range, the Germans could choose whether to fight or not. Although numerically superior in operations over
western Europe, the British at no time dominated the Luftwaffe. When they wished to do so, the Germans could challenge the RAF in most effective fashion. Two examples--the breakout of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the Dieppe raid of August 1942--underline the conditions of the 1942 western air battle.
In the first case, the two battle cruisers had lain in French ports for nearly a year under attack from British bombers. Worried by the possible loss of one or both of these ships to air attack and afraid that the Allies might invade Scandinavia, Hitler ordered the ships to break through the Channel to Germany from whence they could eventually move to northern waters. In charge of the air cover, Galland drew on two fighter wings in France as well as one from Germany; he began the operation with approximately 250 fighters. In a well-coordinated effort, the Germans brought the ships home. Despite the fact that mines damaged both battle cruisers, German fighter aircraft kept the RAF from intervening in a decisive fashion.108
The Dieppe tragedy does not need a full recapitulation here, but the air action that day is worthy of note. In August 1942, Allied forces raided the port of Dieppe; the purpose of the attack was to seize the port and test planning theories for an eventual invasion of the continent. The raid itself was a dismal tactical failure. Canadian troops never got past the sea wall; most were butchered on the beaches. As naval units struggled to get the survivors off, the Luftwaffe intervened in rising numbers and a major air battle took place. By the end of the operation, the Luftwaffe had written off 21 fighters (4 Bf 109's and 17 Fw 190's) and 27 bombers (7 Ju 88's, 1 He 111, and 19 Do 217's).109 The British, however, in addition to considerable ground losses, lost 1 destroyer to air attack and 106 aircraft.110 While the direct impact of Dieppe was of little importance, the raid's strategic lessons had a critical effect on the war's future. The Germans drew the wrong conclusions and believed that Dieppe indicated that at its start the coming Allied invasion would attempt to seize a major port.111 Such a conclusion greatly aided deception plans surrounding "Overlord." On the Allied side, British and American commanders concluded that seizure of a builtup area, such as a port city, represented too hazardous an operation. Thus, they determined to take the port with them (the "Mulberry" harbors). The second vital lesson drawn was that local air superiority over western France and the Low Countries was insufficient for the success of such a complex operation. Rather, the Allies needed complete air superiority over western Europe, a circumstance that only the defeat of the Luftwaffe could achieve.
There is one parenthetical aspect of the air war that touches tangentially on this study and that is the role of aircraft in the war on trade. Fortunately for Britain, the war at sea raised minimal interest in Göring. Thus, despite a great opportunity, the Reichsmarschall's willingness to cooperate with the navy was almost nonexistent.112 The general staff did select two bomber wings in the summer of 1939 to operate against British trade, while the seizure of Narvik in April 1940 revealed the long-range potential of the Fw 200, the "Condor." Nevertheless, despite the time required to train bomber crews in navigation over water, Göring used these specialized crews in the bombing offensive against Britain in the summer and fall of 1940. By March 1941, Fliegerführer Atlantik (air commander, Atlantic)
possessed a total of 83 aircraft (21 "Condors," 26 He 111's, 24 He 115 torpedo bombers, and 12 Ju 88/Me 110 reconnaissance aircraft). By July, the number had increased to 155 aircraft, a force hardly capable of inflicting decisive damage on British convoys. Despite the scarcity of aircraft, long-range "Condors" had a serious impact on the naval war. In January, German aircraft sank 20 ships for a total of 78,517 tons, while U-boats sent to the bottom 21 vessels (126,782 tons). The following month, "Condors" sank 27 ships (89,305 tons); thereafter, British countermeasures restricted the threat.113 Nevertheless, these successes by a small number of aircraft indicate what the Germans might have achieved with more resources.
In 1942, the efforts of the Luftwaffe's antishipping forces centered on northern waters. Failure in the east led the Germans to make a major effort to shut off western aid reaching Russia through Murmansk. In 1941, the Germans had constructed a series of airfields in northern Norway to support ground forces operating in the Arctic. These fields proved useful when the Luftwaffe turned to attacking North Cape convoys. The first aerial attacks, launched against convoy PQ 16, managed to sink 7 out of 34 ships. The next operation, against PQ 17, was more successful and resulted in destruction of 23 out of 34 ships. For the Luftwaffe, this attack represented its last major success against Allied shipping. The next Murmansk convoy in the fall possessed aircraft carrier protection, and British fighters extracted heavy losses from attacking aircraft. Soon thereafter, however, the Luftwaffe shut down operations in Arctic waters because the invasion of North Africa resulted in the transfer of antishipping units from the North Cape to the Mediterranean.114 In the final analysis, German efforts to attack British shipping by air achieved disproportionate successes for the level of effort expended. Nevertheless, while suggesting what the Luftwaffe might have accomplished with more resources, the war against Allied commerce never aroused Göring's interest, and the opportunity vanished.
GERMAN PRODUCTION, 1942: PERFORMANCE AND IMPLICATIONS
Milch's 1942 production program, the so-called "Göring program," had largely been predicated on the winning of the Russian campaign.115 The army's failure in front of Moscow raised serious difficulties for the possibility of increasing aircraft production. Heavy equipment losses in Russia, combined with ongoing military operations in the east, gave Hitler no choice but to switch industrial priorities back to army production.116 Three weeks after Hitler's decision, Milch noted to Jeschonnek what the impact would be:
Instead of a transfer of workers from the army to Luftwaffe tasks, a heavy withdrawal of air force workers [in favor of the army].
Industrial capacity already surrendered by the army to the air force to be returned.
Unexpectedly strong limitations on raw material allocations--for example, only one-half of expected copper.
Extraordinary reductions in construction projects in support of weapons and industry.
Similar difficulties and no adjustments with the machine tool industry.117
Thomas estimated that production priorities would mean that the aircraft industry could complete only 60 percent of the "Göring program."118
In fact, no such reduction occurred. Despite the fact that the aircraft industry possessed the same work force and aluminum allocation that it had had in 1941, aircraft production began a dramatic acceleration that would continue into 1943 and 1944. From an average monthly production of 981 aircraft in 1941 (311 fighters and 363 bombers), German production rose to 1,296 per month in 1942, a 32 percent increase (434 fighters, 39.5 percent; and 545 bombers, 50 percent). In December 1942, production reached 1,548 aircraft, a 58 percent increase over December 1941, including 554 fighters (110 percent) and 674 bombers (69 percent).119 As suggested earlier, this dramatic increase was largely due to one man, Erhard Milch.
To begin with, Milch established a close working relationship with the new armaments czar, Albert Speer, who had succeeded Dr. Fritz Todt after the latter's death in an aircraft crash. In addition to Todt's powers, Speer received far wider latitude than Todt had ever possessed. Only the Luftwaffe remained independent of Speer's direct control, although cooperation between Speer and Milch removed much of the friction characterizing previous relationships.120 Nevertheless, the army's desperate condition in the east and high ammunition expenditures in the great land battles on the eastern front forced Milch to make-do with what the Luftwaffe had received in previous years.
While the Germans possessed significant resources of aluminum, aircraft production faced serious competition from other users. In 1941, 5,116 tons of aluminum per month (16 percent of all allocations) went to ammunition production for the three services (for fuses, incendiaries, tracers, etc.). Milch noted to Göring that this equalled the aluminum necessary to produce 1,000 Do 217's or 4,000 Bf 109's.121 Altogether, aircraft construction received 74 percent of aluminum production.122 From the last quarter of 1941, allocations to aircraft production began to run seriously in arrears and that situation remained constant throughout 1942.123 While Milch waged a running battle to increase aluminum allocations for the aircraft industry, he undertook substantive measures to improve manufacturing efficiency. First, he cracked down on wasteful practices that had characterized German industry; aluminum allocations to manufacturers now depended on actual use in the production of each aircraft rather than an absurdly high industry-wide average set by the Air Ministry. By 1943, recycling of scrap aluminum as well as crashed aircraft had increased available aluminum by 57 percent. Also, important was the fact that substitute materials, such as steel alloys and wood, stretched aluminum allocations.124 Success was dramatic. In 1942, with 15,000 fewer tons of
aluminum, German industry produced 3,780 more aircraft weighing a total of 28,628 more tons.125
On the labor side of aircraft production, Milch and industry leaders achieved similar results. Through 1941, the aircraft industry had received a disproportionate share of labor resources, undoubtedly because of Göring's position as leader of the Four Year Plan. In late 1941, however, Hitler ended the Luftwaffe's favored position; and over the course of 1942 despite a massive influx of foreign laborers into Germany, the aircraft industry received few new workers.126 Beginning in the summer of 1941, Milch had demanded that the aircraft industry rationalize production methods and use raw material allocations as well as its work force better. The result of such pressure was a steady increase in productivity from 1941 through 1943 (although not nearly as marked as in the United States) as German industry introduced mass production methods.127 But no matter how revolutionary the new methods were in terms of German industrial practices, aircraft manufacturers never came close to equalling what occurred in the United States where, as one historian of the strategic bombing offensive has noted, American industry was turning out aircraft like "cans of beans."128
Despite Milch's drive to increase production, there remained considerable skepticism in the general staff as to the size of the proposed program. As late as March 1942, Jeschonnek objected to Milch's urgings for a rapid increase in fighter production. He remarked, "I do not know what I should do with more than 360 fighters!"129 By June, the Chief of Staff had modified his opinion and written Milch that the general staff foresaw a need for a monthly production of at least 900 fighters by the winter of 1943-44.130 Nevertheless, in view of the attrition rates of 1940 and 1941, Jeschonnek's March comment can only be described as remarkable.
The impact of Milch's success was favorable for the short run. Given the difficulties that the Luftwaffe had experienced at the end of 1941, this was not surprising. With heavy commitments in Russia, indicators such as unit strength as a percentage of authorized strength underwent gradual improvement over the spring and summer of 1942.131 Encouraging also for frontline commanders was the fact that operational ready rates also began a slow climb from the depths of winter 1941-42. From a low of 39 percent for all combat aircraft (44 percent for fighters and 31 percent for bombers) in late January 1942, the in-commission rate had risen to 69 percent for combat aircraft by late June (75 percent for fighters and 66 percent for bombers). Thereafter, however, heavy operations in the east and commitments over great distances resulted in a fall in overall operational ready rates to as low as 59 percent and no higher than 65 percent for the remainder of the year.132 If the Luftwaffe had recovered some strength, the patient was still in serious condition.
The most discouraging of the 1942 indicators confronting the Luftwaffe was the fact that increased aircraft losses accompanied rising production. In fact, by June 1942 the Luftwaffe possessed only 60 more combat aircraft than one year earlier (June 21, 1941: 4,882 aircraft; June 20, 1942: 4,942 aircraft). For the remainder of 1942 as commitments multiplied, aircraft strength fell until by the end of the year the Germans had less than 4,400 combat aircraft.133 Thus, not only were the
Germans losing more aircraft in numerical terms but attrition in absolute terms now took place at a faster rate than in 1941. The attrition taking place through October 1942 (see Table XXIX134) underscores the demands on the Luftwaffe as the Wehrmacht made its last lunge forward. By the end of October, in terms of its operational ready rate, its force structure, and its attrition thus far in the year, the Luftwaffe was dangerously overextended.
The Luftwaffe's problems in 1942 directly reflected the catastrophic failure of German grand strategy in Russia. In a larger sense, however, the root of those problems lay in the unjustified overconfidence that had marked German strategic and industrial planning after the stunning victory over France. Because the Germans had done so little to expand production despite control over most of Europe, the Reich's ground and air forces faced enemies who possessed a growing material superiority. Hitler's gamble in the summer of 1942 in the east further exacerbated German numerical inferiority. For the Luftwaffe, the imbalance was becoming unmanageable. Disregarding the difficulties in Russia, the Luftwaffe confronted in the west an Anglo-American industrial capacity that in the last quarter of 1942 outproduced Germany by 250 percent in single-engine fighters, by 196 percent in twin-engine aircraft, and by 20,077.7 percent in four-engine bombers. While some of the West's production went to the Pacific and to Russia, the rising wave of Allied production was becoming clear.135 It would soon swamp Germany's aerial defenders.
at Unit Level
at Unit Level
1. KTB OKW, Vol II, ed. by Andreas Hillgruber, p. 166.
2. BA/MA, RL 2 III/1181-1185, Flugzeugunfälle und Verluste bei den fliegenden Verbänden.
3. BA/MA, RL 2 III/1025, 6.Abt. (III A), Front-Flugzeug-Verluste, 1942.
6. Trevor-Roper, Blitzkrieg to Defeat, Directive #39, 8.12.41., p. 107.
7. Albert Seaton, The Russo-German War, 1941-45 (New York, 1971), p. 212.
8. Reinhardt, Die Wende vor Moskau, pp. 206, 210.
9. Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, pp. 297-98; see also Kurt von Tippelskirch, Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges (Bonn, 1951), p. 237.
10. See Halder, Kriegstagebuch, Vol. III, entries for 29.12.41., 30.12.41., 31.12.41., 2.1.42., which begin with the following comments: 29.12.: "Ein sehr schwerer Tag!"; 30.12.: "Wieder ein schwerer Tag!"; 31.12.: "Wieder ein schwerer Tag!"; and 2.1.: "Ein Tag wilder Kämpfe."
11. Reinhardt, Die Wende vor Moskau, p. 216.
12. Hermann Plocher, The German Air Force Versus Russia, 1942, USAF Historical Study No. 154 (Air University, 1967), pp. 69-70.
13. Halder, Kriegstagebuch, Vol. III, entry for 22.2.42., p. 405.
14. Ibid., entry for 25.3.42., p. 418.
15. Burkhart Müller-Hillebrand, Das Heer 1933-1945, Vol. III, Der Zweifrontenkrieg (Frankfurt am Main, 1969), Table 2 "Verluste, Panzerkampfwagen," Blau, The German Campaign in Russia, p. 41; and Reinhardt, Die Wende vor Moskau, p. 258.
16. Reinhardt, Die Wende vor Moskau, p. 258.
17. Irving, The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe, p. 144.
18. Plocher, The German Air Force Versus Russia, 1942, pp. 105, 107.
19. Ibid., p. 13.
20. Ibid., pp. 68, 139-40. See also von Richthofen's order for the combing out of 30 percent of rear service personnel, BA/MA, RL 8/49, Korpsbefehl des komm. General des VIII. Fl. K., 25.2.42.; and Richthofen's disapproval in October 1942 of Göring's intention to establish 20 Luftwaffe field divisions: "Luftflotte 4 vor Stalingrad: unter Gen. Oberst Frhr. v. Richthofen," AFSHRC: K 113.309-3, v. 9, diary entry for 15.10.42.
21. "Versorgung Demjansk and Cholm," Morzik Nr 227, 2.2.56., AFSHRS: K 113.3018-4.
22. "Luftwaffe Strength and Serviceability Tables, August 1938-April 1945," AHB, Translation No. VII/107.
23. Seaton, The Russo German War, p. 258.
24. Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, Der Zweite Weltkrieg in Chronik und Dokumenten (Darmstadt, 1962), p. 690.
25. Reinhardt, Die Wende vor Moskau, p. 259.
26. Blau, The German Campaign in Russia, p. 138.
27. Trevor-Roper, Hitler Directs the War, Directive #41, 5.4.42., p. 116. There was, of course, a corollary objective in gaining control of the oil. Seizure of the oil in the Caucasus would deny that oil to the Russians.
28. Shortages in diesel fuel for the navy had become so acute by the end of 1941 that one author has described the 1942 period as one of "crisis" in which the navy, including the U-boat forces, lived "hand to mouth." See Wilhelm Meier-Domberg, Die Olversorgung der Kriegsmarine 1935 bis 1945 (Freiburg, 1973), pp. 68-71.
29. Trevor-Roper, Hitler Directs the War, Directive #41, 5.4.42., p. 116.
30. Halder, Kriegstagebuch, Vol. III, entry for 19.5.42., p. 444.
31. Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, pp. 345-47.
32. The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union 1941-1945, A General Outline (Moscow, 1974), pp. 119-20.
33. Richthofen, "Kriegstagebuch," 12.7.42.
34. Air Ministry, The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, pp. 178-79.
35. Blau, The German Campaign in Russia, p. 143.
36. The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, p. 125.
37. Tippelskirch, Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges, p. 283.
38. Blau, The German Campaign in Russia, pp. 146-48.
39. The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, p. 126.
40. KTB OKW, Vol. II, entry for 25.6.42., p. 448.
41. Trevor-Roper, Blitzkrieg to Defeat, Directive #45, 23.7.42., p. 129.
42. Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, p. 356.
43. Richthofen, "Tagebuch," entry for 21.8.42.; "Luftflotte 4 vor Stalingrad: unter Gen. Oberst Frhr. v. Richthofen," AFSHRC: K 113.309-3, v. 9.
44. KTB OKW, Vol. II, entries for 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 tabulations are based on the author's calculation of losses reported to the Luftwaffe quartermaster general in BA/MA, RL 2 III/1181, 1182, 1183. These reports indicate the day on which aircraft were lost, although the monthly loss reports the quartermaster general submitted to the general staff reflected the day on which the loss report arrived in Berlin. There was generally a four-day to one-month slippage between the actual loss and its report to Berlin. Thus, the author's retabulation for the 1942-43 period represents the most accurate picture that one can get of actual losses when they occurred. One must add that, as in all administrative organizations, not every loss was reported, although the incentive to do so was strong since it was on the basis of these loss reports that the supply service issued replacement aircraft. Unfortunately, direct loss tables for 1944 seem to have been lost; consequently, some figures for 1944 are more difficult to specifically tabulate. Nevertheless, drawing on the information contained in other tables, one can establish a clear trend to Luftwaffe losses. We shall, of course, do so in succeeding chapters.
46. Percentages based on average number of squadrons serving on the eastern front, August 1942: KTB OKW, Vol. II, entries for 13.8.42., 17.8.42., 22.8.42.
47. Air Ministry, The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, pp. 178-79.
48. KTB OKW, Vol. II, entry for 26.6.42., p. 452.
49. See, in particular, v. Richthofen's discussion with those in charge of the supply system in "Luftflotte 4 vor Stalingrad unter Gen. Oberst Frhr. v. Richthofen," entry for 15.8.42., AFSHRC: K 113.309-3, v. 9.
50. Tippelskirch, Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges, p. 285; and Blau, The German Campaign in Russia, pp. 155-56.
51. Plocher, The German Air Force Versus Russia, pp. 217, 229.
52. "Luftflotte 4 vor Stalingrad unter Gen. Oberst Frhr. v. Richthofen," entry for 23.8.42., AFSHRC: K 113.309-3, v. 9.
53. Manfred Kehrig, Stalingrad, Analyse und Dokumentation einer Schlacht (Stuttgart, 1974), p. 120.
54. German bomber losses for this period were: 676 aircraft written off, including 633 fighters. German strength on April 30 was: 1,319 bombers and 1,302 fighters. These figures are based on the author's calculations of Luftwaffe loss tables in BA/MA, RL 2 III/1181, 1182, 1183, and Air Historical Branch, "Luftwaffe Strength and Serviceability Tables, August 1938-April 1945," Translation No. VII/107.
55. Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder, With Prejudice (London, 1966), p. 244.
56. Ibid., pp. 106-07, 116, 163, 194.
57. Ibid., p. 217.
58. Why the British army should have had exceeding difficulty is examined in Brian Bond's scrupulously accurate account of the interwar period: British Military Policy Between the Two World Wars (Oxford, 1980). For another participant's evaluation of the British army in 1941-42, see Erwin Rommel, The Rommel Papers, ed. by B. H. Liddell Hart (London, 1953), pp. 132, 185, 211, 222, 262, 298, 308, 332, 341, 366, 519-20, 523.
59. Richard Suchenwirth, Historical Turning Points in the German Air Force War Effort, USAF Historical Studies No. 89 (Maxwell AFB, 1959), p. 90.
60. Kesselring, A Soldier's Record, pp. 123-24.
61. KTB OKW, Vol. II, entry for 10.5.42., p. 348.
62. This is especially true considering the fact that Rommel's supply lines ran from Greece to Bengasi in the summer of 1942. For German logistical difficulties in the theater, see van Creveld, Supplying War, Chapter VI.
63. KTB OKW, Vol. II, p. 348.
64. See, in particular, Tedder's comments in With Prejudice, p. 313.
65. The following summary of events is based on the account in Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, and Anthony Verrier, The Bomber Offensive (London, 1968). For a discussion of the development of British and American air doctrines, see Appendix I.
66. Sir Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive (New York, 1947), p. 36.
67. Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, p. 195.
68. Harris, Bomber Offensive, p. 36.
69. The change in Prime Minister from Neville Chamberlain to Winston Churchill undoubtedly contributed to the decision for a more ruthless bombing policy.
70. Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, p. 216.
71. For the full Butt report, see Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. IV, Appendix 13, report by Mr. Butt to Bomber Command on his examination of night photographs, 18.8.41.
72. Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, p. 185.
73. PRO AIR 14/1925, letter from Portal to the Under Secretary of State, Air Ministry, 11.9.40.
74. PRO PREM 3/31, COS (41) 86 (0), 28.5.41., "The Present War Situation Mainly Insofar as it Relates to Air."
75. PRO AIR 8/440, Lord Cherwell to the Prime Minister, 30.3.42. See Verrier, The Bomber Offensive, pp. 97-98, for the failure of the British Cabinet to consider seriously Lord Tizard's objections to Cherwell's calculations.
76. Frankland and Webster, SAOAG, Vol. I, pp. 185-86.
77. Ibid., p. 346.
78. See particularly the Harris memoranda of 17.6.42., 28.6.42., and 3.9.42., as well as Leo Amery's sharp analysis of the weaknesses in Harris' arguments (letter to Churchill, 1.9.42.) in PRO PREM 3/19.
79. For Harris' outrage at the diversion of bomber aircraft to the Mediterranean as well as Tedder's reply, see Tedder, With Prejudice, pp. 253-54.
80. PRO PREM 3/19, Harris memorandum 17.6.42. This is indeed a remarkable miscalculation of the role of Coast Command in winning the Battle of the Atlantic. For that task, see Slessor, The Central Blue, Chapter XVII.
81. Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, pp. 387-88.
82. Ibid., p. 391-94.
83. Ibid., pp. 406-11.
84. Ibid., p. 432.
85. Ibid., pp. 235-36.
86. PRO AIR 16/1024, Minutes of the 20th Meeting of the Air Fighting Committee, held at Air Ministry, White Hall, 12.3.40.
87. Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, p. 177.
88. Ibid., pp. 439-43.
89. This calculation is based on the figures available in Table A of Max Hasting's Bomber Command (New York, 1979), and Appendix 39 of Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. IV, p. 428.
90. Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. I (Chicago, 1948), pp. 663-64.
91. Thomas A. Fabyanic, "A Critique of Air War Planning, 1941-44," (Saint Louis University dissertation, 1973), pp. 125-27.
92. "Auswirkung der Erfahrungen in Spanien," Aus einer Ausarbeitung von Generallt. Galland über die Luftverteidigung des Reiches, 1946, AFSHRC: K 113.302, v. I.
93. Goebbels, The Goebbels Diaries, entry for 10.4.43., p. 322. For Hitler's demand that heavy emphasis remain on the flak program, see BA/MA, RL 3/60 Besprechungsnotiz nr 46/42, 6.3.42. Karinhall, Göring, Milch, Jeschonnek, v. Brauchitsch (Haupt).
94. For a further discussion of this point, see the following section.
95. The following discussion of German night fighter tactics is drawn from the extensive review of night air defense written for the RAF by General Josef Kammhuber at the end of the war, hereafter referred to as "Development of Night Fighting."
96. See the maps delineating the expansion of the system in Verrier, The Bomber Offensive, p. 175. For a study discussing the expansion of the night defense system as well as requirements for equipment, see: BA/MA, RL 7/579, "Denkschrift über die Luftverteidigung Herbst und Winter 1941/42 im Bereich Luftwaffenbefehlshaber Mitte," Luftwaffenbefehlshaber Mitte, Führungsabteilung I, 116 Nr. 2500/41, 1.8.41. See also Air Ministry, The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, pp. 185-92
97. Goebbels, The Goebbels Diary, pp. 154, 155, 158, 160, 186, 193.
98. KTB OKW, Vol. II, entries for 25.4., 26.4., and 27.4.42., pp. 328-29.
99. The following account is based on KTB OKW, Vol. II, entries for 31.5., 2.6., and 3.6.42., pp. 394, 398-400.
100. Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, p. 407.
101. KTB OKW, Vol. II, entry for 3.6.42., p. 400. See also Nicolaus von Below, Als Hitlers Adjutant 1937-1945 (Mainz, 1980), pp. 311-12.
102. Beginning in July 1942, Luftwaffe reports were recorded in the OKW War Diary. For the general aimlessness of the British attacks, see KTB OKW, Vol. II, entries beginning with 1.7.42., pp. 467ff.
103. AHB, "Luftwaffe Strength and Serviceability Tables," Translation No. VII/107.
104. Goebbels, The Goebbels Diaries, pp. 200-01.
105. Air Ministry, The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, p. 196.
106. Galland, The First and the Last, pp. 54-55.
107. Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. I, p. 490.
108. BA/MA, RL 8/252, "Erfahrungsbericht über Vorbereitung und Durchführung des Unternehmens Donnerkeil," Generalmajor Max Ibel, a.D.; see also Galland, The First and the Last, pp. 96-108.
109. Based on the figures in BA/MA, RL 2 III/1182 Genst. Gen. Qu. (6. Abt.), Flugzeugunfälle und Verluste bei den fliegenden Verbänden, August 1941.
110. Roskill, The War at Sea, Vol. II, p. 250-52.
111. Friedrich Ruge, Der Seekrieg, 1939-1945 (Stuttgart, 1954), pp. 36-38.
112. The following discussion on the air war against British trade is drawn from the Air Ministry's The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, pp. 110-19.
113. Roskill, The War at Sea, Vol. I, pp. 362-63.
114. Air Ministry, The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, pp. 114-15. To be accurate, one must note that German submarines and the threat of surface units were also involved in the attacks on the Murmansk convoys.
115. See Der Staatssekretär der Luftfahrt und Generalinspekteur der Luftwaffe, Betr.: Steigerung der Rüstung, gst. Nr. 675/41, An den Herrn Generalquartiermeister, 15.10.42., AFSHRC: K 113.82, v. 2.
116. Georg Thomas, Geschichte der deutschen Wehr-und Rüstungswirtschaft 1918-1943/5 (Boppard am Rhein, 1966), Thomas to Keitel, Betr.: Forderungen an die Rüstung, 23.12.41., p. 470, and Hitler: Denkschrift, 3.1.42., p. 478. See also BA/MA, RL/315, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Wi Rü Amt/Ru (IIa), Nr 130/42 Betr.: Rüstung 1942, 14.1.42.
117. BA/MA, RL 3/864, Der Staatssekretär der Luftfahrt und Generalinspekteur der Luftwaffe, 144/42, geh, Kdos., 23.1.42., An den Herrn Chef des Generalstabes.
118. Thomas, Geschichte der deutschen Wehr-und Rüstungswirtschaft, Thomas to Keitel, Betr.: Forderungen an die Rüstung, 23.12.41.
119. Figures for German aircraft production drawn from USSBS, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on the German War Economy, Appendix Table 102.
120. Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich (New York, 1970), pp. 203, 244, 265, 275, 276, 336, 339.
121. See BA/MA, RL 3/50, Der Staatssekretär der Luftfahrt and Generalinspekteur der Luftwaffe, Nr 118/41 g. Kdos., Dem Herrn Reichsmarschall, 24.10.41.
122. BA/MA, RL 3/64, Industrierat des Reichsmarschalls für die Fertigung von Luftwaffengeräten, Umstellausschuss, Stand der Umstellarbeiten Mitte November 1942, 21.11.41., Anlage I.
123. See the excellent discussion in Overy, "German Aircraft Production," pp. 197-99.
124. Ibid., pp. 201-02.
125. USSBS, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on the German War Industry, Appendices Tables 101, 102.
126. Overy, "German Aircraft Production," pp. 206-10.
127. Richard J. Overy, The Air War 1939-1945 (London, 1980), pp. 168-70.
128. Verrier, The Bomber Offensive, p. 326.
129. Irving, The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe, p. 148; Irving cites much supporting evidence for Milch's frustration at the low level of fighter production that Jeschonnek was suggesting. There were some in German industry who recognized the danger that America's industrial potential represented for the Reich and urged major increases in German aircraft production. See BA/MA, RL 3/54, Fr., W. Siebel, Wehrwirtschaftsführer, An Generaloberst Udet, 7.10.40.; and Der Leiter der Wirtschaftsgruppe Luftfahrt-Industrie, Pr. 312/41 La/Wp, 24.12.41., von Rohden Collection, NARS T-971/68.
130. BA/MA, RL 3/865, Generalstab, Generalquartiermeister, 6. Abt. Nr. 3474/42, 23.6.42., Betr.: Flugzeug-Forderungen, An den Staatssekretär und Generalinspekteur der Luftwaffe.
131. See the figures in Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. IV, pp. 501-04.
132. Figures based on totals for 24.1.42. in AHB, "Luftwaffe Strength and Serviceability Tables, August 1938-April 1945," Translation No. VII/107.
134. Based on figures in the quartermaster loss returns for aircraft losses: BA/MA, RL 2 III/1025, 6. Abt. (III A) Front-Flugzeug-Verluste, 1942.
135. Based on the table in Webster and Frankland, SAOAG, Vol. IV, Appendix XXIV, p. 497.
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