The full story of the history of Luftwaffe maritime operations has not been told before although there are many books that include parts of the story. This new book corrects the deficiency with a comprehensive review and impressive illustration through the body of the book in support of very able text – Very Highly Recommended.
NAME: Eagles Over The Sea 1935-42, A History of Luftwaffe Maritime Operations FILE: R3000 AUTHOR: Lawrence Paterson PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth Publishing BINDING: hard back PRICE: £30.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, WW2, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Spanish Civil War, naval aviation, seaplanes, float planes, flying boats, maritime reconnaissance, FW-200 Kondor, maritime attack aircraft, torpedo bombers, dive bombers, fighters
IMAGE: B3000.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y4dw6cw2 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The full story of the history of Luftwaffe maritime operations has not been told before although there are many books that include parts of the story. This new book corrects the deficiency with a comprehensive review and impressive illustration through the body of the book in support of very able text – Very Highly Recommended.
Nazi Germany saw much of its structure created by warring factions within the Party. The Luftwaffe became the power-base for Goering. He wanted, got, total control of all German military aviation, including aircraft aboard ships and paratroop and glider troops. Other nations divided their aviation across several services. In Britain, the Royal Navy regained control of shipboard naval aviation in 1938 and set about repairing the deficiencies it had suffered under RAF control, but it did not regain control of all naval aviation. RAF Coastal Command was responsible for land based maritime reconnaissance aircraft and flying boats operating from shore bases. It was also responsible for maritime attack aircraft operating from land. The exceptions were Fleet Air Arm aircraft that were based ashore from their carriers and might be deployed in emergencies, as when the small flight of Swordfish torpedo bombers made an heroic attack on German ships making a Channel dash from France to Germany.
During WWII, communications between the RN and the RAF often left much to be desired and, although the personnel in Coastal Command performed very well, this resulted in ship loses and missed opportunities. After a shaky start, relations improved and by mid-war the RN and RAF were working together with reasonable efficiency. It might therefore be assumed that the Luftwaffe would be more effective from the start of war because it had operated with the Kriegsmarine reliably during the Spanish Civil War and was a single command structure. In fact, the Luftwaffe had as much difficulty in working with the German warships.
Where the RAF had treated Coastal Command as a poor relation and supplied it with obsolete and obsolescent aircraft from Bomber Command, the Luftwaffe had started from 1935 developing aircraft for use in support of the navy and the army. It was required to supply aircrew and machines to the intended German aircraft carriers. In the event, of the carriers, only one was completed and that never saw combat service, with aircraft and crews assigned to other operations. However, the Luftwaffe was very active at sea. The FW-200 four engine maritime reconnaissance and attack aircraft was a major problem for Allied convoys crossing the Atlantic, both in directly attacking convoys and in radioing information to the U-Boat command to direct U-Boats onto targets. In the Mediterranean, Luftwaffe aircraft made attacks on Allied warships, convoys and invasion forces. From North Norway, Luftwaffe planes attacked British convoys to and from Russia for most of each voyage.
It is interesting to note that two Stuka pilots had different experiences of maritime operations. Oberst Rudel was deployed on the Eastern Front and is best know as a tank killer, but he also sunk a range of Soviet ships from battleship, through cruisers, destroyers, minor warships to barges. Helmut Mahlke began as a naval cadet in 1932 and became an observer flying in float planes from capital ships, to being selected to fly from the new planned carriers, before being transferred Blitzkrieg operations on land when the carriers failed to enter service.
The author has traced the Luftwaffe’s maritime activities thoroughly and also followed the development of aircraft that were capable of deployment to support both the army and the navy. The standard of illustration is very good, displaying the cross section of aircraft types.