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Old 12th August 2005, 11:50
Rob Romero Rob Romero is offline
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Kesselring Battle of Britain leadership.

For his performance and leadership in the Mediterranean and specifically in his defense of Italy Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring has won accolades as one of the top German Generals of WWII.



1) However, how does Kesselring’s performance as Air Fleet 3 CO during the Battle of Britain stack up especially comparted to Air Fleet 2 CO Hugo Sperrle? –IIRC Sperrle wanted to continue the campaign against Fighter Command Airfields, when Kesselring supported the ill-fated all out blow on London.



1) How was it that Kesselring went from being an Air Fleet CO to command the defense of Italy –essentially a job for someone familiar with the requirements of a land campaign?

Thanx

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Old 12th August 2005, 12:31
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Kesselring Battle of Britain leadership.

I can answer the second point: The Luftwaffe was not as separate from the German army as the RAF was from the British. Kesselring was an army general who simply moved from post to post as required.

However, if I recall correctly, he was also the man responsible for the cancellation of the invasion of Malta, so perhaps his handling of the Middle East was also not without its faults.
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Old 12th August 2005, 14:08
Rob Romero Rob Romero is offline
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Re: Kesselring and Malta

Thanks Graham IIRC Kesselring was actually strongly in favor of invading Malta -the main proponent of abandoning the landing and pressing on in Afrika instead was Rommel and the General Staff went along with the wishes of the Dessert Fox.
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Old 12th August 2005, 14:13
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Re: Kesselring Battle of Britain leadership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Boak
Kesselring was an army general who simply moved from post to post as required.
Errrrr.... well sort of! He was certainly a former army officer who transferred to the Luftwaffe pre-war and learned to fly (IIRC he had been an artilleryman in the Great War).

He may have got the role of OB Suedwest on account of being the ranking officer in theatre once Rommel was off the scene. And he wasn't appointed land commander, he was supreme commander. Obviously the land element of his command was way bigger than the air and naval ones but even so it was an all-arms job.

As for his command effectiveness in the BoB, as always I'd recommend the analysis in Stephen Bungay's "The Most Dangerous Enemy." As it turned out, Kesseling and Sperrle were running quite distinct campaigns after a while, especially when the fighters were massed in the Pas de Calais, so a comparison between them would maybe not be apt.

Bungay does point out however that AVM Keith Park beat Kesselring twice, in the BoB and the siege of Malta.
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Old 12th August 2005, 14:18
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Kesselring and Malta

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Romero
Thanks Graham IIRC Kesselring was actually strongly in favor of invading Malta -the main proponent of abandoning the landing and pressing on in Afrika instead was Rommel and the General Staff went along with the wishes of the Dessert Fox.
Was it not also true that Hitler was not enthusiastic about another airborne operation after the very high casulties of the Crete operation? Also, I have read that when plans were pretty far advance for the Malta operation, the Italian Navy could not commit to the very heavy support operation which would be required to confront the RN. The operations off Crete had not added to the Italian Navy's reputation in the eyes of the Germans.

I think these factors, along with Rommel's desires were what made the Germans drop the operation.
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