Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Why did the Luftwaffe fail?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Why did the Luftwaffe fail?

    I recently read The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor. I was not aware of how inferior the German air force was compared to the Allies. It appeared to the soldiers on the ground that the Luftwaffe just didn't show up for the battle.

    I have read numerous articles about the Luftwaffe's shortcomings but one figure really stood out:

    In June 1944, the Western Allies had about 13000 aircraft to support the Normandy invasion whereas the Germans had 1300 aircraft in France.

    All the discussions about the quality of pilot training and problems with advanced aircraft designs seem irrelevant. With 1/10th as many planes as the Allies, they never had a chance. With the importance of air support at that time, the missing aircraft just about guaranteed an Allied victory.

    Does anyone know how the Germans came to have so few aircraft at the start of the Normandy invasion?

    Al

  • #2
    When the Allies overran Germany they found thousands of abandoned airframes that never got off the ground due to shortage of gas and shortage of pilots. The Germans, being very thorough people, "immobilized" those planes by smashing the canopies and stuff like that, but otherwise many were in flyable condition.

    It seems the shortage of trained pilots and shortage of gas and lubricants was the main reason.

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

    Comment


    • #3
      In a nutshell what hadn't been bled white in the USSR was needed to protect Germany. France was a low priority.

      The Luftwaffe - like the rest of the German armed forces - was never designed for a prolonged war, and the 1944 New Years Day orders to the Eighth AF to destroy the Luftwaffe in the air, on the ground and on the production line was just another nail in its coffin.

      It was actually a minor miracle they had as many aircraft in the theatre as they did.
      Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

      That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by al_1942 View Post
        I recently read The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor. I was not aware of how inferior the German air force was compared to the Allies. It appeared to the soldiers on the ground that the Luftwaffe just didn't show up for the battle.

        I have read numerous articles about the Luftwaffe's shortcomings but one figure really stood out:

        In June 1944, the Western Allies had about 13000 aircraft to support the Normandy invasion whereas the Germans had 1300 aircraft in France.

        All the discussions about the quality of pilot training and problems with advanced aircraft designs seem irrelevant. With 1/10th as many planes as the Allies, they never had a chance. With the importance of air support at that time, the missing aircraft just about guaranteed an Allied victory.

        Does anyone know how the Germans came to have so few aircraft at the start of the Normandy invasion?

        Al
        A number of reasons,starting with A H himself of course, heavy losses particularly in Russia,the wrong place at the wrong time waiting up in the Calaise area for an invasion that never came, shortage of fuel, shortage of spare parts,much of which can be contributed to the allied bombing raids,the experts on the subject could probably give you many more than I can. I will say one thing though,don't dwell on Antony Beevor to much,he is a self promoted smart ass, so intent on showing the world how clever he is that he is inclined to loose grasp of the subject he is supposed to be talking about.Shop around,there are plenty of good books on the Normandy campaign by authors that can put him away at any time. lcm1
        'By Horse by Tram'.


        I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
        " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
          When the Allies overran Germany they found thousands of abandoned airframes that never got off the ground due to shortage of gas and shortage of pilots. The Germans, being very thorough people, "immobilized" those planes by smashing the canopies and stuff like that, but otherwise many were in flyable condition.

          It seems the shortage of trained pilots and shortage of gas and lubricants was the main reason.
          They were so short of pilots that they were putting boys under 18 into the cockpits of FW 190s!! lcm1
          'By Horse by Tram'.


          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
            When the Allies overran Germany they found thousands of abandoned airframes that never got off the ground due to shortage of gas and shortage of pilots. The Germans, being very thorough people, "immobilized" those planes by smashing the canopies and stuff like that, but otherwise many were in flyable condition.

            It seems the shortage of trained pilots and shortage of gas and lubricants was the main reason.
            Where were these thousands of Luftwaffe planes? By that time, the Allies were running out of opponents in the air and were strafing and bombing airfields were they not?

            Luftwaffe Order of Battle 10 January 1945:

            http://sturmvogel.orbat.com/LWOB45.html#Apr45

            There appears to be 4566 Luftwaffe planes total as of that date. The Soviets alone had according to some estimates as many 45,000 planes.
            Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

            Prayers.

            BoRG

            http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

            Comment


            • #7
              Another figure that seems paradoxical is that German aircraft production continued to increase until 1945. If there was a shortage of fuel, parts or pilots, why continue to produce in such numbers?

              Total Production
              Year 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
              Total 1,928 7,829 9,422 12,822 20,599 35,076 7,052 94,622

              From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...g_World_War_II

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by al_1942 View Post
                Another figure that seems paradoxical is that German aircraft production continued to increase until 1945. If there was a shortage of fuel, parts or pilots, why continue to produce in such numbers?

                Total Production
                Year 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
                Total 1,928 7,829 9,422 12,822 20,599 35,076 7,052 94,622
                Because they were being shot down in such numbers. Compare the 1944 total (35,000), mostly fighters, with the inventory in January 1945, after Bodenplatte (4566). There were proportional losses in pilots, so that by the end they were sending conscripts into the air. Germany's armed forces were largely without petroleum because Germany had no petroleum, the Luftwaffe was no longer able to defend the country, and the synthetic oil industry had been bombed to smithereens. They continued building aircraft because they could still do that, sorta, whereas they had no control over of the other constraints.

                BTW, I concur that Beevor is more an entertainer than a historian.

                Regards
                Scott Fraser
                Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Salinator View Post
                  Where were these thousands of Luftwaffe planes? By that time, the Allies were running out of opponents in the air and were strafing and bombing airfields were they not?

                  Luftwaffe Order of Battle 10 January 1945:

                  http://sturmvogel.orbat.com/LWOB45.html#Apr45

                  There appears to be 4566 Luftwaffe planes total as of that date. The Soviets alone had according to some estimates as many 45,000 planes.
                  He said "abandoned airframes", not "planes".

                  It's the same problem you face when trying to assess the strength of the Armée de l'Air in 1940. If you go by production figures, they are bigger than the order of battle. The point being that there were aircraft parked around, not yet officially accepted by the air force, because they had not yewt installed small details such as guns and radios in them.

                  Completed fighting vehicles - which include all parts and at least a pilot and at least a tank's worth of fuel - were shot down in the air or bombed on the ground. Incomplete parts - such as airframes without engines, wheels or guns, and without a pilot, and without fuel - were lying around, useless.
                  Michele

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by al_1942 View Post
                    Another figure that seems paradoxical is that German aircraft production continued to increase until 1945. If there was a shortage of fuel, parts or pilots, why continue to produce in such numbers?

                    Total Production
                    Year 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
                    Total 1,928 7,829 9,422 12,822 20,599 35,076 7,052 94,622

                    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...g_World_War_II
                    As Scott said, plus production had shifted to an emphasis on fighters rather than bombers and fighter-bombers. It was much easier and cheaper to produce a fighter than a bomber, and I think the figure Speer quoted was that they could make four fighters instead of a bomber. Added to that Germany didn't go onto total war footing until around the time of the Stalingrad disaster which accounts for some of 1943 / 44 jump.
                    Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

                    That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by al_1942 View Post

                      Does anyone know how the Germans came to have so few aircraft at the start of the Normandy invasion?

                      Al
                      Between January and May 1944 the Luftwaffe in the West, including the Reich Defence fleet, had an average strength of 2,867 aircraft. Their losses in that period amounted to 8,732.

                      From June to October the Luftwaffes strength in the West averaged 2,632. Their losses in that period 10,168.

                      http://don-caldwell.we.bs/jg26/thtrlosses.htm

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's as much a question of what the Allies did right as what the Luftwaffe did wrong.

                        The Germans had some excellent a/c and aircrew, but in the end they were facing large numbers of well trained and determined foes- the Allies had an answer for everything the Germans did- for example, when the Me 262 was made operational, after their initial consternation the USAAF started deploying squadrons of fighters over the German airfields and began shooting down the ME 262's as they were RTB, low on fuel and fighting at a disadvantage. The Allies had more of everything- well trained aircrew and excellent a/c.

                        IMO it has more to do with Allied resources and skill than with German incompetence or disadvantages.

                        As far as the invasion goes, the destruction of Luftflotte III was an Allied priority, and they effectively annhialated it.
                        "Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way." - Christopher Hitchens

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by al_1942 View Post
                          Another figure that seems paradoxical is that German aircraft production continued to increase until 1945. If there was a shortage of fuel, parts or pilots, why continue to produce in such numbers?

                          Total Production
                          Year 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total
                          Total 1,928 7,829 9,422 12,822 20,599 35,076 7,052 94,622

                          From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_...g_World_War_II
                          Find a copy of John Ellis 'Brute Force'. He has several charts summarizing production statistics taken from several German & Allied original sources. Ellis has a fair amount of text picking aprt the reasons behind the numbers. That should clarify for you the points Scott, Michele, and the other make here.

                          One point not yet raised here was the rising non combat losses of aircraft and pilots. Mechanical failure & pilot error appears to have risen far higher than in USAAF or RAF operations. I've seen different statistics for each, but in all cases the German non combat losses per sortie, or per pilot, or per airframe flown are significantly higher from 1942.

                          Getting back to aircraft production, chronic problem for all airforces was the failure of aircraft to coming out the factory door to pass acceptance inspection. The RAF & USAAF, or rather the civilian production managers managed to resolve that problem, at least far enough losses could be replaced and new air groups formed. The GAF went into reverse with this & a the rate of aircraft reaching usable condition slowed as skilled labor could not keep up and Allied bombing disrupted production operations. The US developed a backlog of unusable aircraft outside the factory doors during the early years as production went from 500 a year to 5000 a year to 50,000 a year in barely 48 months. When one looks at gross production numbers of aircraft frames the number not advancing to combat worthy condition has to be identified to accurately estimate potiential or real strength.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            From Hooton¨(The Fall of the LW P 283)
                            june 1944:
                            LF 3: available aircraft : 1O15 serviceable:570
                            LF Reich: available :1750 serviceable : 964
                            P 284: LW activity in the west 1944
                            LF Reich : monthly average sorties:469O with 364 losses
                            LF 3 :6592 with 351 losses
                            In the second half of 1944,losses were 10.362 aircraft (1698 in accidents) and 6787 damaged( 2919 in accidents)
                            The training units lost 2052 aircraft and 1987 damaged .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To me it's simple the US by day and UK by night. This kept a great portion of the Luftwaffe busy I am sure. The bombing of Germany never stopped as we got a foothold in France. The Germans were already pretty busy with airpower in the East and defending German cities France was a third front if you will for the Luftwaffe 4th if you consider Italy. Somewhere wasn't going to get what it needed and being the Germans knew where the battles in Russia and Italy were being fought and still had to protect German cities. Well they were only guessing when and where the battles in France were gonna be so I believe they had no choice but to leave it virtually unprotected.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X