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"End of an Air Force: Germany after World War II" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2021 3:35 p.m. PST

"The World War II German air force the Luftwaffe was a force to be reckoned with.

It can be argued that the last six months of World War II in Europe saw a calculated battle of attrition in which the Allies pitted large numbers of good aircraft and well-trained crews against smaller numbers of advanced German fighters and the facilities that built them and made their fuel.

At war's end, statistics showed the race to produce German jet fighters like the Me 262 was ramping up:…"
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John the OFM11 Oct 2021 3:57 p.m. PST

Just like the Tiger tank, and ultimately just as successful.
Your crews are only as good as the ones that survived the 6 year attrition. And the more advanced the design, the more valuable the resources it eats up versus "adequate", or "good enough".

The Japanese had a similar problem, starting the war with super elite fighter pilots … who died off and couldn't be replaced fast enough because the training was so strenuous.

Dan Cyr11 Oct 2021 7:23 p.m. PST

The Nazis screwed it all up.

* Poor production until late in war.
* Did not build a successful heavy bomber (so Soviet war production was out of range).
* Spread their war production wildly, producing too many types of a/c, engines, etc.
* Had to continue using the Me-109 for nearly 10 years thru the war, with an air frame too restricted to really expand its abilities.
* Tried to (and spent a fortune in materials, industrial production, techs, etc.) trying to jump start '50s technology with jets, while the allies maxed out their '30s technology to bury the Nazis with production.
Never understood or accepted that they had a limited range air force that could not compete with the allies' production of aircraft, quality, numbers of crews trained, etc.

It was a dead man walking from about 1943 on.

emckinney12 Oct 2021 8:08 a.m. PST

"And the more advanced the design, the more valuable the resources it eats up versus "adequate", or "good enough"."

The big advantage of the jets was that the engines were so easy to produce relative to piston engines. The speed advantage was great, but the economic/production advantage made the transition inevitable.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2021 3:01 p.m. PST



Dan Cyr12 Oct 2021 7:57 p.m. PST

Building them with slave labor did not help with the quality either.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2021 10:11 p.m. PST

Well… I guess the German have a "Control Quality" in their factories… and if you don't work well… the punishment have been not only the loss of your job…


Dan Cyr13 Oct 2021 7:03 p.m. PST

You'd be surprised at the dud rate of German ammo, failure of machine parts, even comments written inside weapon systems indicating that there were many forced or slave labors doing what they could to damage the German war machine. Even in non-German facilities, where locals were employed for maintenance on aircraft, S-Boats, subs, tanks, vehicles, etc., sabotage was a real problem. A small amount of metal shavings goes a long way in fuel, oil or around ball bearings.

Who'd think it?

Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2021 9:50 p.m. PST

Dan Cyr. Watching TV 'Combat Dealers'… they sent a Panther engine to be restored, (Not many around, now), and repair firm found valve shaft filed through to fail sometime.
Brave people to do that!
One does wonder if the notorious Breakdown failings for German Tanks, in particular, may have been, in part, due to sabotage, rather than design flaws?

It is 'possibe' that sabotage 'could' have made more 'Kills', through abandonment and demolition, than Allied forces!

Joe Legan26 Oct 2021 9:59 a.m. PST

I read a great book, can't remember the name now, where an anti aircraft shell lodged into a B-17s gas tank. Several crew members expected an explosion. After the battle one of the crew members retrieved the shell. It was hollow and a note in a foreign language was written inside the shell. The OSI took it. After the war the author tracked it down. The note said in polish ( I think), "This is all we can do for you now".
Brave indeed.
Dan, I suspect that is the story you are referring to. Do you remember the name of the book?


Nine pound round29 Oct 2021 4:31 p.m. PST

I hate to recommend it, because his personal embrace of fascism makes him so toxic, but David Irving's book on Milch is worth reading for its description of the sheer waste, misallocation, and disorder that plagued Lutfwaffe procurement. There's an awful lot in that book that makes it stunningly clear how Hitler's knee-jerk assignment of new priorities and his interference in production and armament decisions crippled his Air Force.

One of the great mysteries of modern historiography, after reading the Milch book and "The Mare's Nest," is how on earth Irving himself became such an apologist for the Nazis (and in making that assertion I rely on some of the late Christopher Hitchens' recounting of their conversations, which make it seem as if he was). There are few books that demonstrate more conclusively than those two what a chaotic mess the fascist system actually was.

alexpainter30 Oct 2021 4:43 a.m. PST

Sadly, at least until the late'60s, there was the mithology of seeing the 3rd Reich as an inarrestable, "efficient", juggernaut. On the contrary it was a logistical (& economical) nightmare, without the war probabilly Germany would've collapsed, more swiftly than the eastern bloc in the late '80s.Corruption and inefficiency plagued their system, plus all the petty squabbles btw the various higher-ups, think only Goering's megalomania, on Kriegsmarine's future aircraft carrier he wanted the AA flaks guns manned by Luftwaffe's personnel!

Nine pound round30 Oct 2021 5:00 a.m. PST

Yes- it's ironic, but the mental image most people have of the Third Reich was the one that the dictator wanted them to have: the totalitarian state as it wished itself to be seen- monolithic, terrifying, swift and deadly.

Hitler devoted far more attention to aesthetics, spectacle, and presentation than any other national leader, than or since, and got the appearance he was aiming for. What he didn't get was the effect. In any other state, a Goebbels would have been a minor figure- a press Secretary. His centrality to the Nazi state tells you a lot about what mattered to Hitler. Even at the very end, with defeat staring them in the face, the two of them were focused on perpetuating "the myth." The horror of their actions overwhelmed that, but even that wasn't quite enough to erase the image they tried to create with attention to aesthetics. All you have to do is look at the enduring fascination the Wehrmacht holds for so many people.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2021 2:32 p.m. PST



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