Who Really Destroyed the Luftwaffe?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by steve51, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. steve51

    steve51 Member

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    Gentlemen,

    I've begun reading a book that claims the USAAF defeated the Luftwaffe, a task that no other Allied AF was capable of. The author argues that the RAF was only able to achieve temporary, local air superiority beyond England, and that the Red Air Force was even less effective at superiority. Only the USAAF had the ability to destroy the GAF. Any thoughts?

    Amazon.com: Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe: The U.S. Army Air Forces Against Germany in World War II (9780811706599): Jay A. Stout: Books
     
  2. tail end charlie

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    just count up the total aircraft produced by Germany and the totals lost in each theatre....Simples
     
  3. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    They were the first force to put a persistant group of aircraft over the Luftwaffe's home fields. It forced the LW Dayfighter force to deal with them in a way they really hadn't had to before the USAAF showed up. In that respect, there is a nugget of truth to the arguement.

    But the Luftwaffe had a bigger problem which directly contributed to it's downfall. It was fighting 3 Major Air Forces (Soviet, British and American) at the same time. This was at the same time they were also fighting attendent armies to those air forces. The stress that put on the resources was unsustainable. No way they could handle all the threats at once (which is one of the reasons the German Military won in the beggining of the war, it handled threats successively).

    The USAAF might've been the Air Force that first put a presence in the Luftwaffe's world that they could not ignore (unlike fighting over France or occupied Eastern Europe), but sooner or later, the Soviets, the British would've made it to Germany and done the same thing.
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I have to agree with that. I think the LW would have been very hard pressed facing the RAF and Soviets alone and would not have been able to hold out in the end.
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    There is a level of 'truth' that the USAAF was the dominant force which destroyed the Luftwaffe day fighter arm, certainly during the period oft referred to as The Battle Over Germany. Beyond that discussion you should pose the definition of 'destroyed'

    What is true is that the battles between the 8th and 15th AF versus the Luftwaffe Fighter Arm from May 1943 to May 1945 were the most destructive to Germany in context of pilots lost, aircraft destroyed and damaged. The losses incurred by the German Fighter arm had a twofold effect - first it chewed up the Luftwaffe as the Luftwaffe desparately withdrew pilots from the East and South to try to stop daylight bombing and, second, the transfer of units to Germany significantly impaired German daylight air operations over USSR.
     
  6. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    I'm with TEC, it all comes down to production and manpower availability. You can shoot down 10 of my planes and i make 20 during the same period. Same with German tanks, some of the best ever produced but they sit back let the Russians surprise then with the T-34 then try to play catchup. And the US makes 20 Shermans to every Tiger. Goering didn't help matter either as he also watched the Lutwaffe go from the most advanced AF with the best planes ever downward. So who killed the luftwaffe, simple: Hitler and his meglomania
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Luftwaffe was critically damaged by Anglo-American ground forces that over ran France during the summer of 1944. This eliminated the Luftwaffe aerial buffer zone and allowed Allied fighter-bombers to maintain standing patrols over German airfields.
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    it was the total might of both RAF BC and USAF bombing commands ................ period with A/C and fuels you have nothing but a wurst fest
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    You have a lot more faith in WWII era heavy bombers then I do.

    Personally I think Germany could have been defeated just as quickly (and perhaps more so) if there had been no British and U.S. heavy bombers at all.
     
  10. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    There's a strong argument for the USAAF
    that implies no demerit to the RAF whatsoever. I'm not sure how the 8th was finally represented at its zenith but it was planned for 60 combat groups, around 35 bomber groups, 12 fighter groups and the remainder transport and reconnaissance. Yet if total 8th AF strength was added to all other USAAF assets not stationed on continental US soil, they still only represented under 40% of total USAAF strength.

    The RAF mirrored the USAAF technically with a general level of parity but it could not emulate the manpower juggernaut that the US could bring to bear.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    But you believe the Germans should have built NO Surface Navy in order to build large numbers of 4 engine, long range bombers/patrol planes?
    :lol:
     
  12. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    Um... anyone think this thread has been created to attract interest to a certain authors book? He's been plugging it on every aviation forum I'm a member of - with results varying from polite curiosity to downright hilarity.
     
  13. steve51

    steve51 Member

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    Maxinowitz,

    Please believe me that I have no affiliation with this author. If I did I would have mentioned it. I acquired the book yesterday and I'm simply curious what all of you think about the author's main assertion.

    davebender,

    Interesting comment, sir. So you believe that the GAF would have been destroyed in a tactical environment after the invasion of France? That's an interesting what if. You may be correct. GAF losses were very heavy during Normandy.
     
  14. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Feeding frenzy in action....
     
  15. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Steve

    allow me to ask you this, does the author cover any Luftwaffe pilot accounts ? reason is if not then it is just another book on the 8th AF fighters been driven by the numerous photos that have appeared more so the last 15 years of the internet...... the pilots have been interviewed many times by many authors besides the plethora of now existing 8th and 15th AF fighter histories several being revamped and re-released the last 10 years.

    if this is the very case the book will not sell, the audience in this day want both sides of the story, and personally I would too reason why in my future volume on JG 301 I bringing both sides to bear as much as possible. 1945 there is too much chaos especially in the form of informative text concerning the Lw.
     
  16. steve51

    steve51 Member

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    Erich,

    I have only read about a third of the book and there has been quotes from Gunther Rall and Hans Philipp. The book is primarily about the doctrine, tactics and equipment of the Americans and most quotes are from Americans. I don't expect that there will be many comments from Germans.

    I share your concern about hearing from both sides. I have only recently begun to seriously read about WW2 and Korean War aviation and I have acquired books by Mombeeck, Jessen, Prien, Resehke, Shores and Cull, although I haven't read them all yet. I'm also finding this forum to be invaluable.
     
  17. billswagger

    billswagger Member

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    #17 billswagger, Nov 13, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
    I would think the bombing of ball bearing factories and oil supplies would put a big dent in the ability to resupply or maintain an air force.

    Overall, i don't think there is one specific reason the Luftwaffe were so easily defeated.
    I do think that the USAAF fighters were able to do more than the British fighters because of range.
    They could fly higher and faster, and further over enemy territory, something that the Germans had not had to deal with up until 1943.

    It was more than air force, because obviously the advancement of the front caused the Germans to lose airfields which would make it easier to patrol airspace.

    Once the USAAF was able to set up air patrols over Western Europe it was much more difficult for the Luftwaffe to regain air supremacy.
    Their fighters were needed to cover assets in Germany, and attempts to fly over enemy territory would be limited by range and altitude.
    The Germans were using more modern technology, such as rockets and jets to make attacks on Allied targets, but the bulk of the fighter force was incapable of competing with the USAAF CAP.

    Bill
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Erich. You cannot attribute victory to one single air force, or oner single campaign.


    However it extremely disingenous to try and claim the USAAF was solely, or even predominantly responsible for the victory. If the RAF had not engaged the LW in rather unequal combats over France in 1941 and 42, the LW would have had a safe haven in which to train pilots, build reservesw, and generally prepare for what was to come. The US had virtually no fighters in the entire ETO until the very end of 1942, and throughout 1943, the numbers remained pitifully weak. Under those circumstances the LW, free from all pressure from the west, would have been able to concentrate reserves on the eastern front, blunt the Soviet counteroffenseives, and stand a much better chance of halting the Soviet advances in that theatre.

    In the west, aside from the tactical operations undertaken almost single handedly by the RAF until well into 1943 (with their attendant attritional effects on the almost irreplaceable experten pilots that gave the LW such a marked advantage in these battles) , there was of course the RAF Bomber offensive. This was sending 1000 bombers over germany and mounting the most devastatiing raids on Axis cities until the advent of the A-bomb and the Night bombing incendiary raids over Japan in 1945. At the time this was happening, the US was not even engaged. its first heavy bomber raids were not until August 1942, and then with strengths of around 12 aircraft per raid. Even in 1943, the average size of the big raids were less than 200 aircraft for the US and 785 for each RAF raid. Without these night bomber efforts, the LW could have roughly doubled its day fighter forces in 1943. There were roughly 600 Night fighters in 1943, to about 500 Day fighters at that same time. I fail to see how, in 1943 at least, the major effort was being made by the USAAF. In 1944, it was a different story, but 1944 would never have occurred without the heavy price paid in lives and money made by the British and the russians up to that time.
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say that. WWII Germany must have coast defense forces like K class CL-minelayers, FTBs and minesweepers.

    Nor did I suggest the Luftwaffe should build large numbers of heavy bombers. My proposed Fw-191C would be a NAVAL aircraft (even if nominally still part of the Luftwaffe high command). The German equivalent of the USN PB4Y-1.
     
  20. al49

    al49 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    I personally think that Luftwaffe (as well as the whole Germany) was defeated by one single man: Adolf Hitler.

    Besides some tactical mistakes like insisting to use the Me 262 as a bomber, the biggest mistake he did was to attack Russia.
    Not only he had one more enemy and a huge one, but he deprived the Luftwaffe of one advantage the other always had: the capability to train pilots and build aircraft in safe locations.
    Beside the heavy bombing, German industry was able to build thousand of aeroplanes even in 1944 but training pilots wasn't as easy. Reading the life of Erich Hartmann I understood that during the last years of the war, pilots were sent against allied bombers and fighters with only 80 hours of training and many were killed not by hostile fire but by insufficient training.
    Alberto
     
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