The brief career of the Nazi Luftwaffe ran from the Spanish Civil War to the apex of power, with the victory in the Battle for France, the check, by the Battle of Britain and the increasingly fast slide to defeat. In 1944 the promise of new wonder weapons lay against the reality of losing air superiority in the skies over the Homeland and the similar defeat on the Eastern Front . – Highly Recommended.
NAME: The Last Year of the Luftwaffe, May 1944 – May 1945 FILE: R2511 AUTHOR: Alfred Price PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Frontline BINDING: soft back PAGES: 191 PRICE: £12.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War, jet aircraft, anti-aircraft missiles, rocket planes, stealth aircraft, the final phase, counting down to the end
IMAGE: B2511jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/mkdelen LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The brief career of the Nazi Luftwaffe ran from the Spanish Civil War to the apex of power, with the victory in the Battle for France, the check, by the Battle of Britain and the increasingly fast slide to defeat. In 1944 the promise of new wonder weapons lay against the reality of losing air superiority in the skies over the Homeland and the similar defeat on the Eastern Front - Highly Recommended. The author had written a compelling account of the final shout of the once invincible Luftwaffe, from Eagle to Shitehawk in less than a decade. The absorbing text is complemented with some fine illustrations. The renewed Luftwaffe began before the Nazi rise to power as a covert air force compelled to use a potential enemy, with an opposing philosophy, to hide the training of pilots and testing of new warplanes. More widespread pilot training was carried out in plain sight with gliding clubs across Germany. By the time the Nazis came to power the basic structure was already in place, staffed by experienced aviators, many with WWI combat experience. When Hitler decided to call his neighbours' bluff by reoccupying the Rhineland and beginning his expansion by little steps, it was time to unveil the new Luftwaffe. At that point even the most committed appeasers could see how the Germans had duped them and ignored the terms of the peace treaty that followed WWI. What the politicians could not agree on was how to respond. They sat in self-imposed impotency as Hitler followed each new expansion with another provocative step towards the Greater Germany he had described in Mein Kampf. The politicians could hardly complain that they had not been warned by Hitler himself. Germany decided to support General Franco in his attempt to seize power in Spain by winning the Civil War. To put flesh on their support, the Nazis formed the Kondor Legion of 'volunteer' aviators and sent them to Spain with the newest aircraft just being issued to the Luftwaffe. The Kondor Legion made a significant contribution to Franco's victory, but they made an even greater contribution to the Luftwaffe and its new equipment. In the 1930s, the new generation of metal monoplane bombers and fighters was just emerging. They outclassed overnight the biplanes that equipped most air forces and had advanced little from 1918. They introduced many new challenges in terms of manufacture and repair, but they also revolutionised air warfare and demanded the development of new tactics. The Germans did their tactical development in Spain under full war conditions. When the Germans invaded Poland, they may have still been short of modern equipment but what they did have was used as the strike force and demonstrated the power of integrated air and ground forces moving fast through the enemy and bypassing some defences to maintain speed of advance, allowing following units that still lacked many of the modern weapons to mop up the enemy strongholds conventionally, or just surround them so that they could not present a threat to the rear of the forward mechanized units. The invasion of Norway, the neutral Low Countries, and the Battle of France only reinforced the belief that the Luftwaffe and the Panzer Armies were invincible. The British triumph of evacuating large numbers of British and French soldiers from under the enemy noses was largely dismissed. Certainly it was not a victory in the accepted sense of military victory, but it was the first demonstration that the Luftwaffe was not all conquering even when it had beaches packed with enemy soldiers to bomb and machine-gun. As importantly, it meant that the British had managed to bring home a large part of its trained soldiery even if most of their equipment was left behind. There will be continuing controversy of what might have happened had the Germans invaded the British Isles but, even if the Germans had achieved air and sea superiority in the Chanel and South East Britain, they would have faced a determined defence by the sons of the Old Contemptibles who had been dismissed by the WWI German army, only to halt the much larger force and then counter attack convincingly. However, it all came down to the two opposing air forces and, on paper, it was no contest, with the Germans heavily outnumbering the RAF in numbers of aircraft and crewing them with battle hardened veterans, against an RAF Fighter Command that included many very raw young pilots straight from flying school with only a handful of hours on modern fighters. The outcome was a surprise, probably even for the British. What the Germans had failed to appreciate was that the RAF had the most advanced and thoroughly tested, radar-based command and control system that made maximum use of the fighters available. Industry had also been reworked to provide increasing numbers of new aircraft and spares to the point where the real RAF problem was finding pilots to fly all these new machines in combat. Getting them to the squadrons and taking damaged aircraft back for repair was brilliantly addressed by some incredibly brave young women, and men beyond the age for combat, flying all types of war plane in the ATA to keep the fighting units supplied with fully functioning aircraft. The Luftwaffe got its first taste of defeat when it failed to establish the air superiority essential for an invasion of Britain. From that point it was downhill at a gathering pace. By May 1944 even the most ardent Nazis in the Luftwaffe could see that German victory was no longer possible and it was only a matter of hoping that continuing resistance would result in better peace terms. The Luftwaffe continued to fight to the best of its ability but suffered from lack of fuel, munitions, spares and new aircraft. The advanced jet warplanes were late with small numbers completing manufacture. The situation was nicely summed up by General of Fighters Adolf Galland who remarked that he, a Kondor Legion veteran, started WWII as a major commanding a fighter squadron and ended the war as a General commanding a fighter squadron that was often grounded for lack of fuel even if the aircraft were advanced jet fighters, expected to destroy clouds of heavy bombers.