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Old 21st April 2017, 14:50
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Re: I have just written a new analysis of Luftwaffe resource distribution - it is on Michael Holm's website

Just out of curiosity, did the results of your study lead you to your conclusions, or did you want to proof your point by using statistics?
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Old 21st April 2017, 20:35
Dan History Dan History is offline
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Re: I have just written a new analysis of Luftwaffe resource distribution - it is on Michael Holm's website

Originally Posted by Ruy Horta View Post
Just out of curiosity, did the results of your study lead you to your conclusions
Hello Ruy,

I am happy to see the father of the House contribute to the thread. The motivation for writing my study was to make history as an undertaking scientific and rigorous. The aim of history should be to present systematic information about the course of events, and then to use this information to analyse the causes and consequences of the events described.

What I did in my work is set out how the Luftwaffe's resources were distributed, to the extent that I was able given the limitations of the accessibility of original documents and the problem that only a small proportion has survived. In the introduction on Michael Holm's website, I briefly summarised the conclusions I was able to reach after analysing the information I had collected. It would be most appropriate to collect more information on such subjects as the number of sorties flown by the Luftwaffe in each theatre and the deliveries of aircraft to frontline units, to extend the conclusions reached and add greater specificity to the information available at the moment. I would be very glad if other members contributed to the search for additional information. I plan to write further pieces on the subject in the immediate future.

Kind regards,

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Old 22nd April 2017, 14:57
Delmenhorst Delmenhorst is offline
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Re: I have just written a new analysis of Luftwaffe resource distribution - it is on Michael Holm's website

I would be glad to receive questions and comments from members, whether supportive or critical!

Dear Mr Zamansky

I have with great interest read our report and there are some interesting points.

I have a few questions and comments.

Page 4:
Access to ‘Personelle and materielle Einsatzbereitschaft’ is not a rare privilege. A few thousand people have had access to these files.

Page 6:
You use the term Western front. Do you mean Luftwaffenkommando West or the whole of western Europe including Luftflotte Reich etc ? I guess that it is the latter.

Page 7:
You are writing about allocation of German aircraft, but it is more interesting to investigate allocation of air crews, aircraft and fuel. One without the other is useless.

You are using the term ‘reserve’ on page 7. What do you mean by that term ?

Page 8:
You are stating that allocation of aircraft to the East fell in December 1941. Have you investigated why ?
The Luftwaffe strength fell on the eastern front at that time, but it could be due to weather, lack of suitable airfields, problems with fuel supplies and the Russian air force.

Page 11:
You states that the need to react to the allied landings in North Africa was one of the fundamental causes of the failure of the Stalingrad airlift. I disagree with you. The Stalingrad air lift failed because the Luftwaffe did not have suitable aircraft for maintaining the air lift, not enough airfields and because bad weather caused a lot of problems. The Russian AA defence around Stalingrad was so strong, that the air lift never could have worked.

You are writing about Scandinavia. Do you with this term mean Scandinavia or Luftflotte 5 ?

Page 15:
You are writing that Rolf Pringel was shot down by a small formation of Stirling bombers. Well, that is twisting it a bit. Bomber Command sent three Stirings against Chocques power station in France. One Stirling, R6017 from No. 7 Squadron, was shot down. Pringels Bf 109 was damaged by return fire from the two last Stirlings and he was then shot down by a Spitfire flown Sergeant J Smigielski from No. 306 Squadron. Pringel would have shot down the Stirling if the Spitfire did not come to the rescue. No four engine bombers could survive without fighter escort.

You are writing that the 210 mm rocket mortar was the most powerful weapon used by German fighters during the war. I disagree. The 210 mm was the largest caliber, but it was short range, difficult to aim (+ hit with) and there were a lot of malfunctions. The R4M was the most powerful rocket that the German fighter arm had. The 210 mm was only used in the West because it could only be used (in air combat) against big slow moving aircraft. It would have been even more useless on the Eastern front where the situation was different.

Page 19:
You are again writing about Scandinavia. Due to your extensive research, you are familiar with the fact, that the German Navy was responsible for AA defence quite a few places in Norway and Denmark. Are you only talking about Luftwaffe guns or the whole Flak arm ? Some cities in Germany was also protected by the Navy and not the Luftwaffe (for instance Wilhelmshaven and Kiel).

You are using the term ‘German air defence’ a few times. Are you talking about the AA defence. In my world the Air Defence consist of radar, fighters and AA.

Page 20:
You are writing that it is regrettable that information about the distribution of gun-laying radar is unavailable. Well, you have to go back to Freiburg. There is a lot of information about that subject. You are right – there were many more gun laying radars in the West than in the East.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 19:22
Dan History Dan History is offline
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Re: I have just written a new analysis of Luftwaffe resource distribution - it is on Michael Holm's website

Originally Posted by Delmenhorst View Post
I have with great interest read our report and there are some interesting points.
Delmenhorst, thank you for your words of praise! It is very pleasing that my work is of interest to people like you. I have responded to your points below and have also sent you a private message regarding a couple of specific points in your message.

Personelle and materielle Einsatzbereitschaft

I should hope that a few people have had access to this source, since it is so important. The privilege that I was referring to involved seeing the colour originals, rather than the microfiche copies of the files. The originals are in a tender state, though by no means as tender as a few of the documents from past centuries that I had a chance to view at the British National Archives. The benefit of seeing the originals is that the textual notes regarding the state of various Luftwaffe units can be read easily. I should clarify that I only saw a small selection of the volumes in the series and access to the rest is dependent on their physical state. I did not have the time to find out how many files in the series are accessible.

Western Front

This was one of several generalisations that I had to make to save space in my work and to avoid excessive detail for what was a non-specialist audience. You are correct, the Western front is shorthand for operations in Western Europe and over Germany.

Aircraft, crews and fuel

You are right that it is best to analyse these three in combination, but I found absolutely no data concerning the allocation of fuel between operational theatres and very little data concerning aircrew. If you know where to look for this, I would be very glad to find out!

Aircraft in reserve

I mean all aircraft not subordinated to an active command, so units resting, re-equipping or transferring from one theatre to another. I relied on the written comments in the Einsatzbereitschaft series to make this determination.

Fall in aircraft strength in the East in November-December 1941

This was caused by the withdrawal of some units for rest, due to German over-confidence, and by the transfer of other units to the Mediterranean. Losses were not as significant an influence, because German losses had declined precipitously from the peak in June-July 1941, as the Soviet air force had been largely destroyed, for the time being. Logistical and weather issues played a part too, but the core point is that the Wehrmacht was making a maximum effort to capture Moscow and defeat the USSR, so there was no operational pause during which the Luftwaffe could make the choice of reducing its activity, as there was in late spring 1943 before the battle of Kursk.

The Stalingrad airlift

It is likely that the airlift would have failed in any case, because the Germans had put themselves in an untenable position. However, it is not possible to argue that a doubling of Luftwaffe transport strength would not have changed the situation. Even if the Stalingrad pocket could not be maintained by an air lift, which is probable, the improvement in German logistics could have facilitated a successful relief of the pocket and the withdrawal of at least part of the 6 Army. Even if this were not to be the case, the general crisis along the entire southern sector of the German front would have been reduced, as units moving up to the front could have been supplied more easily. On the subsidiary point regarding the effectiveness of Soviet AA fire, I think it is clear that Allied fighters and long-range bombing attacks on airfields, the dominant dangers in the Mediterranean, posed a much more serious threat. Flights into the Stalingrad pocket were vulnerable to AA fire, but the Soviet forces could only rarely attack transport aircraft bases or formations of aircraft in the air.


This is shorthand, and you have again understood it correctly. I used Scandinavia to avoid having to discuss the precise nature of the deployment of Luftflotte 5, for which I did not have space.

Stirlings and four-engine bombers in general

I was not aware of the full details of the shoot down of Pingel, but the point still stands. It was far more difficult to attack heavy bombers, even weaker-armed RAF types, than other aircraft types. RAF Blenheims and Soviet Il-4s could not survive without fighter escort in the very literal sense, that is entire formations were shot down. In the case of four-engine bombers, the destruction of entire formations was rare and required great exertions from the Luftwaffe.


Rockets represent a resource cost, this is the main point. If rocket fighters had not been needed, the time and effort spent on this activity could have been redirected to address the requirements of the Eastern front. I am aware of the deficiencies of the 210 mm rocket, but it had an explosive charge far larger than any other cannon or rocket system used in air combat during the war. Thus, it is an excellent illustration of the lengths to which the Luftwaffe had to go to attack USAAF bomber formations. Indeed, the 210 mm rocket did make a significant contribution to the heavy losses suffered by the USAAF in autumn 1943, in spite of all the problems with this weapon. The case of the R4M only reinforces the point that the Luftwaffe had to develop a weapon of extraordinary complexity, the Me 262 jet fighter with rocket armament, to finally solve the problem of attacking bomber formations, and it took until the final weeks of the war to do this. The resources expended on this effort could have been allocated to producing more machine-guns and cannon to equip the standard types on the Eastern front.

Marine flak and IADS (Integrated Air Defence System)

I am aware of the existence of naval flak units of course. I could not locate data on the distribution of these units. Are you in a position to help? To use modern USAF terminology, an IADS consists of a multitude of components, from the surface and aerial defences to the variety of communications and command units that coordinate the air defence system. I would be very interested in writing about all this, but again the difficulty is finding data.

Gun-laying radar

This is excellent news! I am looking forward to going back to Freiburg to look at this information. I am not surprised that most gun laying radar were in the West, but it is good to have independent confirmation from you.

Kind regards,

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