Thursday, July 28, 2011

Luftwaffe strength 1941-45

While reading on the air war in both East and West I noticed that no author had the overall data for Luftwaffe ,VVS and USAAF strengths .This makes it difficult for the reader to access the importance of each campaign and the severity of the losses. For the German side the solution was to buy the ‘’ The Luftwaffe Data Book ‘’ by Alfred Price  .This is a table I made using that book:

Some notes on my ‘’methodology’’ .I assign planes according to function not type.What does that mean? A Bf109 in a ground attack unit is added to Ground Attack. A Fw190 in ground attack is also added to that category. A Ju-88 in a fighter unit is counted as a fighter not a bomber.Night harassment refers to older types not suited for day operations (Ju87 ,Hs126 ,CR 42 and other obscure types).Short range recon = 1 engine ,Long range recon = 2 engines.
Tables found in official reports may count them according to type.
Some observations :
1).The Luftwaffe grew in size during the war but not nearly as much as the RAF ,USAAF and VVS.Despite all the talk about specific campaigns leading to the destruction of the transport fleet or the fighter fleet or the bomber fleet there is no evidence of this in the data.Only in mid ’44 is the medium bomber fleet reduced due to the emphasis in building more fighters and training bomber pilots for the fighter role.The heavy(four engine) bombers however are the largest they have ever been at 282.
2).Older types were replaced by more modern aircraft.By May ’43 the Fw  made up ~40 % of the fighter force and  ~29% of ground attack planes.By '45 it has almost comletely replaced the Ju-87.Also in '43 the  Bf109 is starting to replace the Hs126 in short range recon role.The Ju-88 does the same for the Fw-189 long range recon and the Bf-110 night fighter.The Bf is also constantly upgraded with new versions E FGK .
3).Despite all the talk about production being spread over 100 types ( ‘’Why the Allies won’’ ) 3 types are used for most roles.Bf109 as fighter and recon , Fw190 as fighter and ground attack , Ju88 as bomber,recon,heavy fighter and night fighter.These types make ~58% of combat plus recon strength in May ’43 and May ’44.In Jan ’45 it is 75%.
4).Although most authors point out that the Germans had to invest in day fighters for the defence of the Reich the  increase in the night fighter force is much more impressive over the years.Nachtjagd’s performance against Bomber Command has to be attributed in some respect to the good numerical odds especially compared to the odds  the day fighters faced  against USAAF.
More posts will follow with similar data on VVS and USAAF.

No comments:

Post a Comment