Aviation of World War II

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Luftwaffe of Great Patriotic War

Me-109G6 from JG 52







Combat Use

The German air force - the Luftwaffe - can be compared to the mythical Phoenix force that died in the fire and was reborn from the ashes. After the defeat in the First World War, the Entente countries were issued 5,000 fully combat-ready German aircraft for destruction. The German Imperial Air Force ceased to exist and in the future Germany was forbidden to have military aviation.

And yet, the revival of German aviation began immediately after its death. First of all, Germany managed to save the aviation industry. Some firms, such as Junkers, Heinkel and Dornier, managed to survive thanks to aircraft orders from the Soviet Union.

Gradually, the training of flight personnel was also improved. In the matter of combat training of pilots, Germany received significant assistance from the Soviet Union, which in 1925 provided an airfield in the Lipetsk region for the creation of a German aviation school. During the eight years of the existence of this aviation school, 120 fighter pilots and about 100 observer pilots were trained or retrained here.

By March 1, 1935, when Hitler decided to announce the creation of the German air force - the Luftwaffe, the basic structures of this machine already existed.

The head of the Luftwaffe was Field Marshal and then Reich Marshal of Aviation Hermann Goering.

Adolf Galland, commander of the Luftwaffe fighter aircraft 1941-1945.

According to German data, by the beginning of World War II in September 1939, the Luftwaffe had 4333 aircraft, including 1235 bombers, 340 dive bombers and 790 fighters.

From September 1, 1939, until the end of the war, the German aviation industry and the industry of the countries occupied by Germany produced 113,515 aircraft of all types, including 18,235 bombers, 53,729 fighters, 12,359 attack aircraft, 11,546 training aircraft, 1,190 naval aircraft, 3,145 airborne gliders.

If we take into account that these 113,515 aircraft were opposed by approximately 582,000 aircraft produced in the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the USA (297,199 aircraft), then we get a ratio of approximately 1: 5, which in some battles, for example, during the landing of allied forces in Normandy, increased to 1: 26.

During the summer of 1944, the Luftwaffe was losing an average of 300 aircraft per week. German figures speak of crushing losses: 31,000 aircrew from June 1941 to June 1944. And over the next five months, from June to October, this figure increased by 13,000, to a total of 44,000 pilots!

By the end of the war, German aircraft appeared in the sky very rarely.