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"The aces of JG 52 and Bagration, the destruction ..." Topic

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421 hits since 25 Aug 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Aug 2017 11:19 a.m. PST

…of the Ostheer July-August 1944 .

"During the summer of 1944 the Third Reich was enduring colossal setbacks on both East and West fronts. After barely eight weeks of hard fighting, the Normandy front had collapsed with the Allies closing the Falaise Pocket three Abteilungen (120 machines) of the vaunted Tiger and King Tiger tanks lost among much other materiel. Furthermore the Eastern front was seriously and rapidly contracting. The Soviets' launched their first major summer offensive -codenamed Bagration after a Georgian Tsarist marshall, a hero of the Napoleonic Wars shortly after D-Day and threatened the total annihilation of the Ostheer's Army Group Centre. Hitler believed the blow would fall further south and Ritter von Greim's Luftflotte 6 covering Ernst Busch's central sector had available only one hundred ground attack aircraft and one hundred or so fighters, the bulk of his forces being outmoded bomber types. The offensive was launched on 22 June and the skies above Army Group Centre were reportedly thick with wave after wave of VVS machines. During July Operation Bagration virtually wiped out the most formidable assemblage of German military might. In addition there was the failed assassination attempt on Hitler!

It has been suggested that Hartmann's exploits through the summer of 1944 were 'built-up' by German propaganda to counter the constant barrage of bad news from the fronts both East and West. Hartmann had passed 250 victories in June over Romania and was fast approaching '300'.

"..I suspect that Hartmann (352) may have been pressured on the occasion of his 300th 19 claims over 2 days with a Propaganda Kompanie (PK) unit at the scene it was after all a totalitarian system with dire consequences for those who resisted; bloody purges were even then occurring within the military following the assassination attempt on Hitler. Hartmann may not have been the most reliable claimer, but I don't believe he was typically as bad as on 23-24 August 1944…" …."
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