Air Force (armed forces)

the black-and-white bar cross: National emblem of Luftwaffe to 1945

the Air Force was the air armed force of the German armed forces.

Table of contents

the epoch between the two world wars (1918-1939)

because it was forbidden to Germany under the conditions of the contract by Versailles, onemilitary air service to maintained, German military pilots under secrecy were trained. First the flying students in light trainer aircraft were trained with the civilian training centres in Germany. In order to give to the pilots the opportunity to collect flight experience in hunt and combat aircraft asked GermanyRealm resistance the assistance of the USSR. A secret training air base was furnished to 1924 in the proximity of the Russian city Lipezk and operated to 1933. Altogether this school used a number of Netherlands, Russian and also German airplanes.

To 26. February 1935 instructed Adolf Hitler its aviation Minister and former flighter pilot of the First World War, Hermann Göring, to develop despite the still existing prohibition of the Versailler of contract of 1919, a Air Force for new National Socialist Germany. Germany broke thus the conditions of the contractwithout official permission of France, Great Britain or the Völkerbundes. From fear of a new world war neither France nor Great Britain Germany prevented to these and other actions, which were not permissible after the contracts. These nations did not want the war riskstrengthen. Although the new Air Force was befehligt independently of the realm army, the Air Force remained nevertheless in their tradition. In this case one gave still army ranks to the officers and men, instead of creating new names for the Air Force. That is however oneTradition, which both of today's Luftwaffe and of many other Air Forces of the world, which was included , maintained USAF.

The German air sport federation “(DLV), was only later in reality nothing else as a before-military air federation,as Air Force - with Ernst Udet as its commander in chief - one presented. The members of the DLV carried the same uniform and the same member badges of the later Air Force. One gave the DLV „to members “special names, in order to pretend outstanding ones that the federation rather civil flight association asan organization connected with the realm resistance would be.

A chain of Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers during the early months of the Second World War zirka 1939-1940

the Spanish civil war (1936 - 1939) was used, around crews, airplanes, weapons and tactics underTo test operating conditions. For the support of the military rebellion against the selected government, led by Francisco Franco, sent to Hitler the Legion CONDOR, whose commander in chief was a major general at that time Hugo Sperrle, to Spain. The assigned modern types included some airplanes,their names soon world-famous will should, so the Messerschmitt BF 109 and the Junkers Ju 87 mentioned „dive bomber “(“dive bomber”).

Also the world public should not notice that the National Socialist government supported Francos Putsch. Therefore the machines of the Legion carriedCONDOR no German bar or swastika. Instead they carried for special identification characters: the black „X “(St Andrews cross) on white reason on the rudder and a black round disk on the trunk. The indication on the rudder is at all Spanish militaryTo see airplanes this very day, although the round disk is not any more on the trunk; instead there is there an indication similarly that the RAF, whose colors are red, yellow and red. All units of the Legion CONDOR became also88 nummeriert:Fighter group 88 (J/88) for the fighters and combat team 88 (K/88) for the combat aircraft.

A horrible Vorgeschmack of the niederschmetternden air raids on civilian goals, accomplished during the next world war, became to 26. April 1937 given, as a group from Germansand Italian airplanes nearly completely destroyed the baskische city Guernica in the northeast of Spain. The air raid produced world-wide frightening and by many nations was condemned. Pablo Picasso perpetuated this crime at the humanity in the painting Guernica.

The Italian strategistGeneral Giulio Douhet formulated his theories too „strategic air bomb attacks “. The fundamental idea behind the theories was that a war could be won by constant powerful air bomb attacks against the industriellen centers of the opponent. The moral of the civilian population would sink therefore so far,that the governments of the attacked (and suffering) nations would be forced, in order to ask peace.

These tendencies and such publications particularly produced in Europe a deep fear of a forthcoming very cruel war with effects as in Guernica and called soonProtests out. Thus the Britisher George Kennedy of all Bell, bishop von Chichester placed itself, 1939 publicly against such measures. The air raid on Guernica applies in the whole world this very day as a Vorbedeutung - and not only the comingWar, which broke off only some months after the end of the Spanish of civil war in Europe.


Ein deutsches FlaK-Regiment der Luftwaffe bei der Ausbildung, 1940
a German FlaK regiment of the Air Force with the training, 1940

to 26. February 1935 instructed Adolf Hitler Hermann Göring, air forces underto rebuild the new name Air Force despite the prohibition existing still by the Versailler contract.

1939, at the beginning of the Second World War, were the Air Force the strongest air armed force of the world. Their superiority justified itself on the one hand on in the Spanish the civil warestablished airplanes like the Ju 87 and the BF 109, on the other hand on new blitzkrieg formulated before the war - concept.

at the beginning of the Second World War

thereby knew the Air Force a large contribution to of Germany early successes in secondWorld war carry out. So the armed forces between that have 1. September 1939 and in the middle of June 1940 Poland, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and finally France conquers.

A first defeat had the Air Force under their commander in chief Hermann Göring in the air battle around England against the Fighter COMMAND of the Royal air Force accept. German air power was weakened by this defeat.

war entrance of the USA

in December 1941 took place the entrance of the USA into thatWar.

the battle in the Atlantic

the first planned actions of the Air Force against the British fleet already 26 days take place after outbreak of war. A DO 18-Flugboot sights four British battle ships, an aircraft carrier, cruiser and destroyer. Those becomes immediatelyfirst group of the KG26 as well as a part of the KG30 with the attack assign. This first “battle” emerges however as total miss. Straight line mark only one bomb meets the British battle cruiser “Hood”, explodes however not, since the ignition mechanism fails. The qualitythis “prelude employment” reflects the process of the whole Atlantic battle again. Most attacks in the process of the years 1939 and 1940 obtain only moderate successes and play no war-crucial role. A much more important point is the close and long-range reconnaissance, with their assistancethe navy with important information about escort courses etc. one supplies. Only starting from 1941 co-operation is deepened between navy and Air Force. For example at least five British ships with altogether over 60.000 BRT can be sunk at the 9.Februar 1941. The airplanes of theKG40 were led from German submarines to the goal and needed to waste so no fuel on the search for the ships. In the two war years 1941/42 the target area of the Air Force of waters shifts around Südengland in the North Sea,where numerous convoys, which supply the USSR, are attacked. In June 1942 the well-known North Sea battle takes place around the escort courses PQ13, PQ15, PQ16 and PQ17. Altogether sink thereby 4100 vehicles, 580 tanks and 270 airplanes with their cargo ships, before themthe Soviet Union reach. Again there was German submarines, which transmitted target information to the airplanes and also at the attack closely with the Air Force together worked. This fight is more or less the most successful action of the Air Force against North Sea escort courses. Into the followingYears protect the allied ones their escort courses with ever more destroyers, so that the stronger air defense prevents each approach of German bombers. Fuel shortage and the lack of more modern airplanes lead to an attitude of the operations in the North Sea, which are navy with their submarinesin the last war years posed on itself alone.

the 4-motorige Focke Wulf L.G. 200 worked satisfactorily as sea-reconnaissance plane in the Atlantic, where her in co-operation with submarine - units by sinking of cargo ships the supply of Great Britain alsoFood, weapons and other goods to interrupt should.

the defense of the realm against the bomb offensive of the allied ones

Boeing B-17 „Flying Fortress “
the United States Army air Force (USAAF), their commander in chief general Henry H. Arnold was, placed an enormousBomber command up, whose purpose was deep bombarding strategic (industriellen) goals in the realm area.

To their protection they were escorted by long-distance hunters - first particularly by the Republic of P-47, then also of the Lockheed P-38, to end finally 1944 were introduced the superior North American P-51 and the two first mentioned samples to end of war nearly completely from this role displaced.

Nocturnal bombardments however were accomplished by bombers of the British Royal air Force and by in the war process risingNumbers of radar-equipped long-distance night fighters of the types Bristol Beaufighter and de Havilland Mosquito protected.

Bomber the COMMAND of the Royal air Force suffered at the night of 30. on the 31. October 1944 heavy defeat, as it the night interception pilots and thatSucceeded to Flak units, 95 RAF Lancaster bombers, whose task was the bombardment of Nuremberg to shoot.

the most successful flighter pilot of the Second World War

the most experienced and most successful German hunt pilots in the Air Force jargon “experts” were called. The most successful flighter pilot of all times was Erich “Bubi”Hartmann with 352 air victories, followed of bark horn also over 300. Altogether more than hundred combat fliers fought also over one hundred air victories in the Air Force. Opposite the allied ones did not have to exhibit anything comparable. Their most successful flighter pilot was Iwan Nikitowitsch Koschedub with 62Air victories.

protection of oil production

it gave also some hunt units in Romania, which were responsible for the protection of the strategically important oil refineries of the city Ploieşti. From there out the German Reich was supplied with oil products, which itfor the maintenance of the war needed.

a paratrooper

a singular characteristic of the Air Force was - contrary to other independent air forces - the possession of an organic elite troop of paratroopers. She was used in the years 1940/41,in particular with the income of the Belgian fortress even Emael (May 1940) and the island Crete (enterprise Merkur, May 1941). However more than 3,700 of 15.000 used paratroopers fell with the employment in Crete. In view of these losses Hitler forbade thatParatrooper units to accomplish in the future extensive use of this kind. Instead the paratroopers at smaller special in corroding capture part, as for example the successful release of the fallen and Italian dictator held Benito Mussolini (enterprise oak) in September 1943.

the night interception

A captured Messerschmitt BF 110G-4 night fighter with „a Liechtenstein built in the nose “- radar system in Farnborough, England, zirka autumn 1945

although the concept of the Nachtkampffliegerei in the First World War in fundamentals had been already set up, became the tactics „of the night interception “again developed,as the bombers of the Royal air Force in large number from 1940 on at night industrielle and also purely civilian goals in Germany attacked. A chain of radar stations, „the comb stroke he line in such a way specified “(after Colonel Josef Kammhuber, late colonel general),from Norway to Swiss was set up the border, so that the intimate night interception squadrons were alarmed during approximation of aliierter airplanes. These squadrons were usually later with the Messerschmitt BF 110 and the Junkers Ju 88 - with in the noseinserted „Liechtenstein “- radar system - equipped.

The most effective weapon of the night fighters was the so-called “diagonal music “. Thus the combat fliers designated a rapid-fire cannon, which shot diagonally upward. Thus equipped night fighters flew underneath the hostile federations and maneuvered in the dead angle thatOn-board contactors.

Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 Nachtjäger mit zusätzlichem Waffenbehälter und FuG 202/220 Radarsystem in der Nase, Anfang 1944
Messerschmitt BF 110G-4 night fighter with additional weapon container and join 202/220 radar system in the nose, at the beginning of 1944

the Heinkel He 219 „eagle owl “was one the technically best and most successful night fighter of the Air Force. Fortunately for the allied ones were the builtNumbers of items of this type however not sufficiently, in order to stop the bomber stream. In addition the aliierten bombers, for the disturbance of the German radar device, began aluminum strip (English. to throw chaffs, code name window) from the airplanes.

The militarily most successful night fighter was Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer,the 120 hostile bombers shot. It it succeeded to prevent Stuttgart as individual pilot a British air raid on its hometown. Schnaufer shot the so-called ceremony master from the hostile federation, which was responsible for the Zielmarkierung. Without this those hadremaining bomber their load in the emergency throw so mentioned into uninhabited area to fall indiscriminately leave. Schnaufer survived the war and died 1950 into France with a car accident. A further militarily successful night fighter was Helmut Lent, who aliierte 110Airplanes shot, until it died in October 1944 in a landing accident.

the first operational jets

Messerschmitt ME 262B-1a/U1 night fighter, with end of war by the British captured and 1946 in the USA tested

Luftwaffe was firstAir armed force of the world, which used a jet-powered fighter in the fight - the zweistrahliige Messerschmitt ME 262. The jet engines of the Axis powers had not developed operationally, but for different reasons.

Captured twin-jet Arado acre 234B on a German air base, summer 1945

Further assigned jet aircraft were the Arado acre 234 as twin-jet bombers and reconnaissance plane, than people hunters the designated Heinkel He 162 and the rocket-powered Messerschmitt ME 163 propelled of an individual BMW turbine.

With the end of war in May 1945 was a largeNumber of other progressive airplane types either in the test stage or also in the production, z. B. the Nurflügler strongholds Ho 229 (strongholds Ho IX), which should be manufactured in the Gothaer Waggonfabrik - aircraft plant.

new weapons

for the Air Force becamealso a new weapon develops - the V1: the first cruise missile of the world. The V2, the first long-distance rocket, had been developed however by the army, and the production of the A4 was because of the use of also forthe aircraft construction of important raw materials only at expense of the aircraft production possible.

the defeat

the defeat of the Air Force was the result of a war of attrition. A substantial factor for the wear was the scarcity of raw materials (particularly the lack on for the buildingof airplanes of important aluminum), starting from at the end of of 1944 also the lack of fuel caused by the allied air raids. Also at trained pilots it was missing.

The last attempt of the Air Force to achieve locally the air superiority found at the 1. January 1945 as enterprise base plate instead ofand should the success of the Ardennenoffensive threatened by the allied air rule secure. Enterprises base plate and the Ardennenoffensive failed.

organization of the Air Force

the Air Force of the third realm had only two commanders in chief: First was Göring, briefly forwardsEnd of war of Hitler to dismiss became, its successor was general field marshal Robert knight of dirt.

Heinkel He 59 mit Rotkreuz-Kennzeichen im Seenotdienst im Kanalgebiet, ca. 1940
Heinkel He 59 with red cross characteristics in the Seenotdienst in the canal area, approx. 1940

the units of Luftwaffe was organized in squadrons , groups and relays: A squadronusually consisted of a small staff with 4 - 6 machines and 2 - 4 groups with 30 - 40 airplanes. The group usually was in 3 - 4 relays of usually 12 airplanes partitions. Smaller one tactical federations were the chain with 3 and the gang with 2 airplanes.

Usually a squadron Kommodore had the responsibility for a squadron, (group) a commander for a group, and (relay) a captain for a relay. But these were not ranks,separate appointments in the Air Force. The Geschwaderkommodore was usually a lieutenant colonel (or, in exceptional cases, a Colonel). Also a second lieutenant knew a relay befehligen. In the tactical federation of the gang the more experienced pilot than foremen had a saying. Its gang flier -in the linguistic usage of the fliers also Kaczmarek mentioned - quite more rank-highly could be. It had to support the foreman with its projects to give for example with an attack covering.

The designations of the federations sat down from the abbreviation for the way of applicationas well as from Arabic numerals for the squadron and the relay and from latin numbers for the group together. For example the fighter wing 1 with JG 1 was marked, group of I of JG 1 with I/JG 1 and relay 1 ofJG 1 mit 1./JG 1. The combat squadrons (kg) were similar, night interception squadron (NJG), dive bomber squadron (StG), battle squadron (SG), Tranportgeschwader (TG) and high-speed combat squadron (SKG) organizes.

There were federations also specialized such as z. B. Combat teams (KGr) or the groups of coastal fliers (KüFlGr): the groups of coastal fliers had thoseResponsibility both for the coastal patrols and for distress employments.

„the eagle “

the Air Force had its own propaganda magazine with the title of the eagles.

post-war period

after the end of the Second World War was thoseGerman aviation very reduced, those military aviation completely forbade. In the year 1955 the Federal Republic of Germany became part sovereign. When member of NATO became, by a violent public discourse, the German Federal Armed Forces accompanied 1956 created. As a armed service the Air Force posed developed.

see also

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