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"Late-WWII Luftwaffe Training" Topic

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Tango0113 Jan 2020 3:20 p.m. PST

"Wars of attrition against both Britain and the Soviets overwhelmed the Luftwaffe's relatively small training system. Training programmes were truncated to speed up the flow of replacements. By July 1944 the average new Luftwaffe pilot was arriving on the front line with around 120 flying hours, just 15- 20 of them on his operational type. By contrast, American pilots were receiving 400 hours training, nearly half of it on their operational type, and RAF pilots around 350 hours, 100 of them on operational types.

The training accident rate soared until sometimes a third of each intake was lost before even qualifying, wasting not only personnel but also aircraft. Oil shortages also cut training hours, until the flow of pilots was reduced to just 30 per cent of the system's theoretical monthly capacity. Personnel were not taught basic skills in instrument flying or tactics. From mid-1942, the strengths of front-line units gradually declined, reaching around 60 per cent of authorised pilots and 70 per cent of authorised aircraft by September 1944. It is telling that of the 107 German pilots credited with shooting down 100 or more enemy aircraft, only eight of them entered front line service after June 1942. The quality of German aircrew was decreasing and the quality of their foes improving…."
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rmaker13 Jan 2020 3:45 p.m. PST

From numbers given in James Holland's book Big Week, by 1944, as far as training went, new German fighter pilots were approaching the level of RFC pilots in April 1917 – Bloody April.

Tango0114 Jan 2020 12:37 p.m. PST



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