In this Volume Two, the author continues his excellent review of the Luftwaffe, picking up in 1943 and continuing to the end in 1945. The author has provided an astute review not only of operations, but the development of technology and tactics and the human story which was often the Luftwaffe’s greatest weakness. – Most Highly Recommended
NAME: Eagles Over The Sea 1943-45. A History of Luftwaffe Maritime Operations FILE: R3260 AUTHOR: Lawrence Paterson PUBLISHER: Seaforth Publishing, Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £30.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Luftwaffe, naval aviation, flying boats, long range maritime patrol, torpedo bombers, dive bombers, sea planes, shipboard aircraft, Arctic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean ISBN: 978-1-5267-7765-2 PAGES: 382 IMAGE: B3260.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yydgk3r8 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: In this Volume Two, the author continues his excellent review of the Luftwaffe, picking up in 1943 and continuing to the end in 1945. The author has provided an astute review not only of operations, but the development of technology and tactics and the human story which was often the Luftwaffe's greatest weakness. – Most Highly Recommended
The basic flaw in Hitlers plans and ambitions was the criticality of time. He had thought of waging war at some point after 1946. Many of his weapons development teams were working to provide leading edge weapons to replace the initial training and small war equipment issued by 1939. Hitler assumed that he could continue making territorial demands and annexing neighbouring countries without having to fight a major war. Then, when the potential enemies had all been weakened he could strike at France, Britain and the Soviet Union in turn, before attempting to take North America. When France and Britain decided to honour their commitment to Poland it was a shock to him. He simply was not ready.
The Luftwaffe suffered as much as the Navy and the Army from this fundamental and monumental error by Hitler. That meant that the Luftwaffe was equipped primarily with aircraft designed to provide close support for fast moving Panzer Armies and to pulverize those concentrations of population and military strong points that the Panzers moved around to maintain forward momentum, with the Luftwaffe, and following traditional infantry and artillery, dealing the final blows and occupying the areas. The aircraft with which the Luftwaffe entered WWII were therefore modern medium, light and dive, bombers that were approaching the time when the next generation would maintain an advanced air force, but also aircraft with limited range because they were expected to move their airfields forward behind the advancing Wehrmacht. They also had a limited payload because they had no strategic mission and could return to rearm and sortie again and again. Their main purpose was as flying artillery, not characteristics that were ideal for maritime patrol and attack aircraft.
The Luftwaffe did have a number of flying boat and float plane designs but they were not in the same class as British and US flying boats or accompanied by long range land-based bombers. By 1943, that situation was beginning to change as new designs were entering service but, by then, the war was being lost and there were shortages of materials and fuel, with Allied strategic bombing taking a terrible toll on war production and civilian workers.
Germany would have faced enough difficulties from these technical and logistical issues, but it also suffered severely from the chaos of Nazi Germany. Hitler believed in the survival of the fittest and was happy to appoint several people to do heavily overlapping jobs where they would fight each other politically for supremacy. He also established himself as a god-like figure who should be courted by his subordinates and never questioned, even when his limited military capabilities were plain to see. The Luftwaffe suffered from this in the same way as every other German organization. One of the most important insights the author provided in his first volume was the very human story of how senior Luftwaffe personnel worked and fought together in this dysfunctional environment.
The fighter component of the Luftwaffe maritime equipment was as generally unsuitable as the bombers and reconnaissance aircraft in service. Lacking aircraft carriers, the Germans only had a float plane capability on major warships and, as the Kriegs Marine had difficulty in operating groups of large ships together, that meant the Luftwaffe had a very limited shipboard capability. The U-boats faired even worse and only a few were equipped with towed giro copters to provide a greater visual horizon when operating away from the North Atlantic shipping lanes.
The author has provided a detailed review of how the Luftwaffe operated in the closing years of the war and his able text is supported by many illustrations through the body of the book.