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Old 6th February 2005, 20:39
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Luftwaffe replacement aircraft system (?) 1940

How did Luftwaffe units replace lost AC in 1940?

Up till now - possibly partly for lack of time, for I own two books on German aircraft PRODUCTION - I don't really know how Luftwaffe combat units - bombers, recce, fighters - replaced their lost aircraft (destroyed or badly damaged, hence for a while not combat-worthy).

When reading various books of German origin I got the impression that combat units had to fetch replacement AC directly from the tarmac of the factories and there were no suply pools (like in France, where they contained many hundreds of aircraft, new ones or "second-hand", and, it seems, in the UK) - reserve pools between the factories and the fighting units. It seems the LW did have some ferry pilots do deliver AC to the units. The famous provisional registrations on the sides of the fuselages, in big letters, seem to be explained by this system (French AC got their definitive markings directly within the units but possibly the "matricule militaire" on the lower side of the wings was applied in the factories). 1940 (and 1941) German production was much too low so obviously they couldn't afford to "lose" any AC in reserve pools feeding the units, they had to use the "straight (tense?) flow" system, which nowadays is so fashionable within industry. Are these assumptions correct?

(An example : 1940 Germany produced about 142 Me 109s monthly on average, France produced about 200-300 fighters monthly and would have reached 500 in September and 620 in November, in August 1940 the UK did reach 500 per month so clearly the German fighter units must have been very eager to lay their hands on any 109 they could get. Germany could not win 1940 even if lack of aircraft - bombers too - had been the sole reason).

Fighter deliveries were strongly boosted in France in May and June 1940 but, perhaps not surprisingly, in Germany too : in France 296 new fighters in May and 331 in June, in Germany 195 in May, 230 in June (then deliveries fell back). (French source : Danel and Cuny : Docavia-book on French fighters; German source : J. Prien IIRC).

Was there any "fighting" about replacement aircraft between various Geschwader and Gruppen actually? Were some Kommodores, possibly Galland, better at this business?
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Old 6th February 2005, 22:53
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John Vasco John Vasco is offline
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I can offer that with regard to Erprobungsgruppe 210, pilots of 1st Staffel travelled across country in Ju52/3m(s) to pick up fighter-bomber 110s in early August 1940. Up until then, 1st Staffel had only flown the 30 mm. MG 101 cannon armed Bf 110 C-6. After a short period of training they used the fighter-bombers in combat for the first time on 11th August.

Another method was that aircraft damaged but repairable were sent to repair facilities, and from there were re-issued to units. They were not always returned to the same unit, as I have a photo showing a Bf 110 with the Erpr. Gr. 210 emblem slightly overpainted with a Sharksmouth. Undoubted evidence that it had initially been with Erpr. Gr. 210, been repaired, and then re-issued to II,.ZG 76.

Hope this helps, Hawk-Eye.

John Vasco
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Old 6th February 2005, 23:07
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Thanks John!

Sure it helps!

Thanks for these details.

About the French : at the end of the Fr. Campaign, with general disorganisation, fighting units fetched AC directly from factories (especially Dewoitine at Toulouse) and from reserve pools too.
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