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How Nazi Germany doomed the Luftwaffe...

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by robycop3, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    When Charles Lindbergh visited Germany several times in 1937-38, he was impressed with the Luftwaffe's aircraft & advised a US commission the US should build more & better military aircraft. His advice wasn't heeded much til the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor & the superiority of the Japanese planes was seen.

    But Hitler planted the seed of doom for the Luftwaffe by making Hermann Goering its head. While Goering had been an excellent WW1 flier with 22 victories & winning the Blue Max. But as a commander of an air force, he was vastly unqualified. He knew nothing of strategy, believed "his" Luftwaffe could do anything an air force was capable of, including supplying land forces, & some of his appointments into high office in the Luftwaffe were disastrous.

    Perhaps his worst move was making Ernst Udet as head of equipment production. Udet had been a brilliant WW1 pilot with 62 victories & a squadron commander, but he knew nothing about aircraft production & development, & hated administrative duties. He cancelled a Heinkel Co. turbojet in 1937 that would've been WW2's best aircraft, at least at the war's start. He cancelled a heavy bomber being made by the Junkers Co. as unnecessary. He almost cancelled Messerschmitt's jet, delaying its manufacture til it was too late for it to really affect the war's outcome. He allowed all german aircraft production to become clogged with bureaucratic paper work, left parts manufacture haphazard, & was poor at procuring raw materials for plane-making. Thus, aircraft production fell far behind that of Britain. (Udet killed himself in 1941, but the damage by then was irreversible.)

    And Goering tried several projects that didn't work. In the Battle of Britain against the RAF, he began with the right strategy - Bomb the radar towers & bases, and the sector airfields that vectored the RAF fighters onto the german formations. But he became dissatisfied because the destruction of radar facilities wasn't going fast enough to suit him, & his attacks of Fighter Command weren't going fast enough to please him, either. Unknown to Goering, his attacks were quite-effective, & Fighter Command was in peril. But he abandoned his war against Fighter Command for other British targets, giving the British the respite they needed to strengthen Fighter Command to make effective resistance.

    Goering's attempts to prevent the Dunkirk evacuation failed, as did his attempt to fully supply the German forces in Russia from the air. And his failure to put people in charge of production to keep the Luftwaffe adequately supplied with planes, fuel, & parts led to its being overwhelmed.
     
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  2. David Kent

    David Kent Well-Known Member
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    It was Hitler who stopped the raids on fighter bases, due to a revenge attack by the RAF on Berlin. That so enraged Hitler that he ordered the Luftwaffe to attack London.
     
  3. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Goering was in complete agreement. He didn't know how effective his war against the RAF actually was. he was going on the number of planes the RAF still had & not the loss of its combat-ready pilots, which was acute, with only some 130 experienced pilots left. Another 2 weex of attax against the radar facilities & sector airfields would've crippled the RAF Fighter Command to the point it couldn't defend Britain. But the british wisely concealed this from the Germans as much as possible.

    Goering had started his onslaught correctly, sending in swarms of fighters to engage the RAF fighters & pave the way for the bombers that followed, a tactic employed successfully by Britain & later the USA against both Germany & Japan. But Goering abandoned this, ordering the fighters to fly close escort for the Stukas & other bombers, thus making it easy for the British to intercept them.

    Another factor was the Luftwaffe's "Intelligence Officer", one 'Beppo' Schmid, who had never visited Britain before the war, knew nothing about the British aircraft, & formulated his "intelligence reports" outta thin air. He told Goering the RAF was collapsing, which was the opposite of the truth, & convinced both him & Hitler that there was no use fighting directly against the RAF any more, as it was almost-finished. he was Goering's close friend, & thus Goering took him at his word, while most other Luftwaffe leaders considered him a fool & an idiot.

    OTOH, the British had Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, as Minister of Aircraft Production. This extremely-talented businessman organized the British aircraft makers into assembly lines, made sure to supply all the raw materials they needed, created a Chain Home Command to repair or salvage damaged aircraft & return them so service ASAP if possible, & organized many parts makers, fuel suppliers, & research facilities so that the RAF generally had an ample supply of the best available aircraft, with models being improved all the time. Thus, Britain vastly outpaced Germany in aircraft making.
     
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  4. David Kent

    David Kent Well-Known Member
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    One of the Hurricane pilots in the Battle of Britain died yesterday aged 101. Only two left now..

    As I was in London at the beginning of the war, I was to an extent involved in itI must have been about three when the air raid alarms sounded and I grabbed my baby sister and took her under the stairs. (So I was told),
    Later my dad took me to the deep underground railway stations where we saw rows of bunks on the platforms which were used as air raid shelters.
    Then when we lived in Surrey we were near the Guards Barracks and Kenley fighter base, and we got a lot of boms near.
    Later we had the V1 flying bombs nicknamed Buzz Bombs and Doodlebugs. We had them going over many times a day. When their guidance estimated their distance to the target, the engine was cut and they nose dived. My mum and my sister and I were watching one and when it got over our house, the engine cut and we dived into our shelter. But we never heard the bang, we supposed it must have run out of fuel and glided on. Some seemed to be duds, There were rumours that the resistance put sandbags instead of explosives in them but it seems unlikely to me. My grandparents apartment block in London was destroyed by one of those bombs. Grandad had tried to get Grandma to go to friends in the country to escape the bombing but she wouldn't leave London. She would never go to the air raid shelter. One night a friend persuaded her to go to the shelter and that night her home was destroyed.
    When the V1's first came over the headmistress of our school came round and said that any child who didn't stop to school lunches could stay as they had air raid shelters in the school grounds. I was more afraid of my mum if I didn't go home than I was of the German bombs Only two of us went home.

    Then there were the V2 rockets, one of those landed about 200 yards or so from our house about 2.00 am one night and it was the loudest band I ever heard, until the IRA bomb that went off at the Old Bailey, which was about 100 yards from my office.
     
    #4 David Kent, Dec 10, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  5. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace Well-Known Member
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    A WWII book about a B-17 pilot & German fighter pilot would be a great addendum to your description of Goering.
    Can't remember the title right now, but will try to dig it up & post later. The book was written from the standpoint of each of the pilots after extensive interviews, & the German pilot's description meshes beautifully with your description.
    Excellent book if you like WWII history from a personal viewpoint!
     
  6. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace Well-Known Member
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    Edited to add:
    A Higher Call by Adam Makos
     
  7. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    My descriptions are based upon an extensive study of history from several sources, including what my dad had picked up from British pilots & captured German ones. I hope you're able to come up with that book & a link to it !

    MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH...

    goering also contributed largely to the German 6th Army's defeat at Stalingrad. When their supply lines were cut, he convinced Hitler that he could keep them, and the Luftwaffe units supporting them, supplied by air. He didn't have nearly enough transport planes to deliver more than a tenth of the MINIMUM supplies some 300K men needed to fight-and live. For awhile, it was possible that other German units could've worked in conjunction with the 6th Army to have opened a corridor thru the Russians to enable them to fight on & perhaps win, but Goering's vanity made it impossible.

    The supporting Luftwaffe units were ill-supplied as well, but they could send their planes to pick up some supplies. however, when the 6th Army fell, they had to pack up & retreat. (The Russian air units were becoming stronger, with modern aircraft & their famed, highly-skilled flock of female pilots.)
     
  8. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    S'more of Goering's petulance & harmful interference with the Luftwaffe...


    Jagdgeschwader 53 was one of Germany's oldest & most-respected fighter squadrons, distinguishing itself in the Battle of Britain & became the home unit of many of Germany's greatest WW2 aces. It was nicknamed the "Ace Of Spades"squadron, with an ace of spades symbol painted on its planes.

    But in 1940, Goering found that the wife of its commander, Major Hans-Jurgen Erdmann von Cramon-Taubadel, had some Jewish ancestry, & Goering removed him from command, relegating him to staff duties for the rest of the war, & made the unit remove its ace of spades symbols & replace them with red bands. In protest, the unit painted over the swastikas on their tail fins. (Later, Goering allowed them to replace the ace of spades symbol.) Goering then sent the unit to the Eastern front soon as the attack on Russia began. While they ran up impressive kill totals against the Russians, they would've served Germany much-better by being present to defend it against bomber attacks from Britain.

    Major Cramon-Taubedel & his wife survived the war, living til 1985, she til 1988.
     
  9. David Kent

    David Kent Well-Known Member
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    Hitler would never allow a retreat. NEVER.
    When the Messerschmitt 262 jet was made, Hitler insisted it should be a bomber as he wanted to attack, not defend. When it was too late he allowed it to be a fighter. (The Japanese also made this plane, but it seemed it was never completed)
     
    #9 David Kent, Dec 11, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  10. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    In the end, Hitler himself was the Allies best friend. How many times should the Germans have tactically retreated in Russia? His obstinance led to the defeat of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad, plus losses of those units sent to try to rescue it when it was clearly too late. This kind of stuff was repeated over and over again until late in the war he came up with the bright idea of attacking in the West, through the Ardennes, all the while depleting units from the East in his fantasy of an easy victory. The door to Berlin thus was literally swung wide open.

    And as you say, using a fighter as a bomber and while they had effective armor, such machines were prone to breakdowns and he just didn't have enough of them. And also by late in the war so many of his best troops had been killed, his SS units had many foreigners in them who were quite unlike the originals.
     
  11. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Hitler's demon left him as France fell. On his own, he was like a 4 yr. old playing "Battleship". His first mistake was not letting his forces take Dunkirk & force the BEF to surrender. Then, he let the incompetent Goering run the "Battle of Britain". The attack on the USSR was a COLOSSAL mistake. Russians have a history of not being too enthused about invading other nations without good reason, but they'll fight to the death for Russia itself if it's attacked. And Hitler's attack was as sneaky as the Japanese attack on us. Thus, the Russians were fully aroused, as we were.

    I could write all day about Axis goofs in all theatres, but in this thread, I'll mostly stick to Goering's.
     
  12. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Now, why did Hitler choose someone as incompetent as Goering to head the Luftwaffe, especially during Hitler's success years? Because Goering had shown a flair for business. Once appointed, he built the Luftwaffe into a mighty force. But he was like the American general, McClellan, who made the Army of the Potomac into a mighty force, but couldn't competently lead it in battle. Like Goering after him told Hitler, he told Lincoln, "I can do it all", but it turns out he couldn't do anything as General-In-Chief.

    While McClellan was paralytically cautious, Goering was over-confident & boastful. But it took his failure to supply the 6th Army at Stalingrad for Hitler to drop him as his "Golden Boy".

    BTW, Goering had the Volkswagen factory built at Hitler's request, but only 630 cars were made there during the war, as the factory was converted to war items production. A town was built to house the workers, named "Strength Through Joy City"; after the war it was renamed Wolfsburg, after a nearby castle. That's its name today, & the main VW HQ is still there.
     
  13. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    The Me 262 was invented before the war, but constant interference by Hitler & Goering kept the company from ironing out its bugs sooner. Also, its first Jumo engines weren't too reliable, used espensive fuel at double the rate of piston engines, was made of scarce strategic materials, & had an operational life of only 35 hours. Finally, most of those probs were overcome, & the first production models flew in 1942. But when Hitler saw a test flight, he decided it could be made into a bomber, & thus, fighter production was scaled back to attempt to make a jet bomber.

    Finally, late in 1944, the 262 was placed into service, but it still had many shortcomings that needed to be corrected. It had a short airborne time & limited range. It was not adequately armed. It still had unreliable engines.

    Still, it was more than a match for any Allied aircraft, & claimed some 542 victories in its short combat span. The Allies' only counter was to catch them on the ground, or during takeoff or landing, or to sneak up on them in flight, which was hard to do because of their much-greater cruising speed.

    The war could've gone much-differently had the 262 been allowed to go into production much-earlier than it did, with most of its problems worked out.("Willi" Messerschmitt, who lived til 1958, left a strong company behind. Most "medevac" copters & many other civilian copters in the USA are Messerschmitts.)
     
  14. David Kent

    David Kent Well-Known Member
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    Goering was a drug addict, Having taken morphine after an illness.
    The Germans converted all motor works into t The line was not reoppanlk factories, such as the Peugeot works in Sauchaux, That was the first factory the resistance in the area blew up. There is a village in the same region that has a railway cutting through the village. In 1944 a train carrying aircraft parts was blown up by the resistance. The then sent another train into the wreck in the opposite direction. They then sent another train into the wreck from the oposite direction. When the Germans sent a large crane to recover the parts, anotyer train was sent into that and it was wrecked, The line was not reopened till after the war. As the resistance took a large number of German prisoners no reprisals were taken. There is is sign by the cutting in French, English and German, decribing the events. We camped on a farm in the village some years ago.
     
  15. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    I remember reading a story about how the Polish resistance blew up a German train that was bringing wounded soldiers back from Russia. It was travelling on a bridge over a gorge when the explosives were detonated and the train and bridge collapsed into the gorge. This was done at night and the person who told the story related how gleeful they were in shooting the Germans down as they were silhouetted by the surrounding flames.
     
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