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The Luftwaffe ("air
weapon") is the German air force.
1.1 WW1 World War I
1.2 Inter-war period
1.3 WW2 World War II
1.4 Cold war
WW1 - World War I
Max Immelmann was the first German
fighter pilot to win the coveted Pour le M?rite after
destroying eight enemy aircraft. It was because of this
that the decoration became popularly known as "The
Blue Max", though, later, the minimum score needed
to win the medal would be raised to 20.The forerunner of
the Luftwaffe, the Imperial German Army Air Service - the
Luftstreitkr?fte, was founded in 1910 before the outbreak
of World War I (1914-1918) with the emergence of military
aircraft, although they were intended to be used
primarily for reconnaissance in support of armies on the
ground, just as balloons had been used in the same
fashion during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 and
even as far back as the Napoleonic Wars. It was not the
world's first air force, however, because France's
embryonic army air service, which eventually became the
L'Arm?e de l'Air, had also been founded in 1910 and
Britain's Royal Flying Corps, which eventually became the
Royal Air Force, was founded in 1912.
During the war, the Imperial Army Air Service utilised a
wide variety of aircraft, ranging from fighters (such as
those manufactured by Albatros-Flugzeugwerke and Fokker),
reconnaissance aircraft (Aviatik and DFW) and heavy
bombers (Gothaer Waggonfabrik, better known simply as
Gotha, and Zeppelin-Staaken).
The Pour le M?rite medal is clearly in view here.However,
the fighters received the most attention in the annals of
military aviation, since it produced "aces"
such as Manfred von Richthofen, popularly known as
"The Red Baron", Ernst Udet, Hermann G?ring,
Oswald Boelcke (considered the first master tactician of
"dogfighting"), Max Immelmann (the first airman
to win the Pour le M?rite, Imperial Germany's highest
decoration for gallantry, as a result of which the
decoration became popularly known as the "Blue
Max") and Werner Voss. As well as the German Navy,
the German Army also used Zeppelins as airships for
bombing military and civilian targets in occupied France
and Belgium as well as the United Kingdom.
All aircraft in service until early 1918 were
distinguishable as being German from the Iron Cross that
was being used as the German military aircraft insignia.
(It should be noted, though, that Germany's closest ally,
Austria-Hungary, also adopted the Iron Cross for its
The Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker = "three-wing") was
the mount of Manfred von Richthofen and so became one of
the best-known fighter planes of World War IFrom early
1918, German military aircraft began to sport the
straight-line Balken Cross (Balkenkreuz, Balken =
"beam"), which would become better known the
world over during the era of the Third Reich.
After the war ended in German defeat, the service was
dissolved completely under the conditions of the Treaty
of Versailles, which demanded that its aeroplanes be
completely destroyed. As a result of this disbanding, the
present-day Luftwaffe (which dates from 1955, in any
case) is not the oldest independent air force in the
world, since the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom is
older, having been founded on 1 April 1918.
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Since Germany had been banned by the Treaty of Versailles
from having an air force, there existed the need to train
its pilots for a future war in secret. Initially, civil
aviation schools within Germany were used, yet only light
training planes could be used in order to maintain the
facade that the trainees were going to fly with civil
airlines like Lufthansa. In order to train its pilots on
the latest combat aircraft, Germany solicited the help of
its future enemy, the USSR. A secret training airfield
was established at Lipetsk in 1924 and operated for
approximately nine years using mostly Dutch and Russian,
but also some German, training aircraft before being
closed in 1933.
Collar tabs of a major in the Luftwaffe (1935-1945).
Specifically, the tabs with a yellow background denoted
those officers who were in the flying divisions of the
Luftwaffe, whereas officers in other divisions, such as
anti-aircraft artillery (Flak) and parachute troops
(Fallschirmj?ger) had patches with different colored
backgrounds.On February 26, 1935, Adolf Hitler ordered
Hermann G?ring to reinstate the Luftwaffe, breaking the
Treaty of Versailles signed in 1919. Germany broke it
without sanction from Britain and France or the League of
Nations, yet neither the two nations nor the League did
anything to oppose either this or any other action which
broke the provisions of the Treaty. Although the new air
force was to be run totally separately from the army, it
retained the tradition of according army ranks to its
officers and airmen, a tradition retained today by the
Bundesluftwaffe of the unified Germany and by many air
forces throughout the world. However, it is worth noting
that, before the official promulgation of the Luftwaffe,
what was a paramilitary air force was known as the
Deutscher Luftverband (DLV), with Ernst Udet as its head,
and the DLV uniform insignia became those of the new
Luftwaffe, although the DLV "ranks" were
actually given special names that made them sound more
civilian than military.
It is of interest to note that Dr. Fritz Todt, the
engineer who founded the Organisation Todt that organized
the construction of roads before the war and of
fortifications, such as the so-called "Atlantic
Wall", using thousands of forced laborers during
World War II, was appointed to the rank of Generalmajor
in the Luftwaffe even if he was not, strictly speaking,
an airman, although he had served in an observation
squadron during World War I, winning the Iron Cross.
(Ironically, he died in an air crash in February 1942.)
The Luftwaffe had the ideal opportunity to test its
pilots, aircraft and tactics in the Spanish Civil War of
1936-1939 when the Condor Legion was sent to Spain in
support of the anti-Republican government revolt led by
Francisco Franco. Modern machines included names which
would become world famous: the Junkers Ju 87
"Stuka" dive-bomber and the Messerschmitt Bf
109 fighter plane. However, as aircraft seconded to
Franco's Nationalist air force, Luftwaffe markings were
replaced so as not to make the world believe that Germany
was actively supporting the revolt. Instead of the Nazi
Party's swastika on the tailplane, there was a black
"X"-like marking on a white background, painted
on the rudder of the aircraft. On the fuselage,
meanwhile, instead of the Balkankreuz, there was a black
disc. All aircraft in the Legion were affiliated to units
given a designation ending in the number 88. For example,
bombers were in Kampfgruppe (bomber group) 88,
abbreviated to K/88, and fighters in Jagdgruppe (fighter
group) 88, J/88. (The markings on the rudder were, and
have still been, retained on Spanish military aircraft
ever since, though the black disc was replaced with an
RAF-style roundel of red-yellow-red.)
.A grim foretaste of the systematic bombing of cities
during World War II came in April 1937 when a combined
force of German and Italian bombers under National
Spanish command destroyed most of the Basque city of
Guernica in north-east Spain. This bombing received
worldwide condemnation and the collective memory of the
horror of the bombing of civilians has ever since become
most acute via the famous painting, named after the town,
by the Cubist artist, Pablo Picasso. It was feared by
many that this would be the way that future air wars
would be conducted, since the Italian strategist, General
Giulio Douhet (who had died in 1930), had formulated
theories regarding what would be dubbed "strategic
bombing", the idea that wars would be won by
striking from the air at the heart of the industrial
muscle of a warring nation and thus demoralizing the
civilian population to the point where the government of
that nation would be driven to sue for peace - a portent
of things to come, certainly, and not just during the war
which would break out in Europe only months after the end
of the civil war in Spain.
World War 2
By the summer of 1939, on the eve of the outbreak of
World War II, the Luftwaffe had become the most powerful
air force in the world. As such it played a major role in
Germany's early successes in the war, and formed a key
part of the Blitzkrieg concept, much due to the use of
the innovative Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber
swept through Poland, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg,
Belgium, The Netherlands and France in a matter of months
between September 1939 and June 1940 due in no small part
to the Luftwaffe, which seemed invincible, causing G?ring
to become over-confident in its abilities and boasting
that the RAF would be defeated in a matter of a month
before the planned launch of Operation Seel?we
("Sealion"), the invasion of the United
Kingdom. However, the fact that the English Channel was
between occupied France and Norway (since Luftflotte
("Air Fleet") V under Generaloberst Hugo
Sperrle operated from Norway) did as much to save the
U.K. from invasion as the unexpectedly fierce resistance
from the squadrons consisting of pilots of many
nationalities, not just British.
Ultimately, the inability of the Luftwaffe to control the
skies in what became world famous as the Battle of
Britain (so-called after Winston Churchill made a radio
broadcast announcing the end of the campaign in France)
after the tactical mistake of shifting the focus of
operations to bombing industrial targets in cities
instead of British airfields formed a key point in the
war. German air power, which suffered increasingly from a
shortage of aviation fuels, raw materials (especially
aluminum) for the construction of aircraft and frequently
flawed leadership by G?ring (who managed to deflect blame
onto others like Udet), diminished further with the entry
of the United States into the conflict in December 1941.
Unlike the Germans, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF),
under the command of General Henry H. Arnold, developed a
strategic bomber force. The USAAF bombers, along with
fighters like the P-51 when fitted with droptanks, were
capable of very deep penetration into Reich territory and
maintained daylight bombing of industrial targets, while
their RAF colleagues continued with the offensive by
conducting night operations.
Nevertheless, the Luftwaffe remained strong and both the
day fighters and the night fighters (see below) were able
to shoot down hundreds of Allied bombers, including 95 on
a single night (October 30-31, 1944) when the RAF bombed
the southern city of Nuremberg, famous as the place where
prewar Nazi Party rallies took place (and, postwar, where
the trials of Nazi criminals, including G?ring, would
Hans-Ulrich Rudel would become the most successful and
most highly-decorated German pilot of World War II flying
the "Stuka," whose Ju 87G variant was used to
devastating effect as a "tank-buster" with twin
37-mm cannons fitted under the wingsGerman superiority
was especially felt on the Eastern Front, given that the
Luftwaffe enjoyed an advanced technical standard as well
as employing highly trained and experienced pilots like
Hans-Ulrich Rudel, who, flying the "Stuka," was
to become the most highly decorated pilot of the war,
winning the Knight's Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords
and Diamonds (Das Ritterkreuz mit Goldenem Eichenlaub,
Schwertern und Brillanten) by the end of 1944 and being
promoted to Oberst (Colonel). Unlike other officers of
such high rank, Oberst Rudel would remain in the front
line until his surrender as Kommodore of SG 2 (a combined
dive-bomber and fighter unit) to the U.S. Army at
Kitzingen in Czechoslovakia on V-E Day, May 8, 1945.
Amongst the Experten (the name given to the fighter
pilots), Erich Hartmann would emerge at the end of the
war with the highest number of enemy aircraft shot
down352, a total initially disputed but eventually
accepted. In contrast, the highest number of aircraft
shot down by any Allied pilot was 62, achieved by Colonel
(later Colonel-General) Ivan Kozhedub of the Soviet Army
Air Force. Nevertheless, the vast land mass of Russia
allowed the Soviets to manufacture war mat?riel well away
from the front line and so it was partly due to
overwhelming numbers of weapons made available to the
ground and air forces of the USSR that the Soviets
managed to push the Germans back west, especially after
the crushing defeats of the German Army at both Kursk and
Stalingrad and the Germans' failure to take Leningrad
The Luftwaffe saw action on many fronts, including in
North Africa in support of ground operations conducted by
General Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, and in the
offensives against Yugoslavia and Greece prior to the
invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Many Luftwaffe units
were stationed in Italy, including after the Italians
switched sides in September 1943 and remained there until
the end of the war in May 1945. There were units also
present in Romania, since fighter units stationed there
were charged with the protection of the oilfields at
Ploesti, since they were providing vital fuel for the
German war machine in its continuation of its offensive
against the USSR.
One of the unique characteristics of the Luftwaffe (as
opposed to other independent air forces) was the
possession of an organic paratrooper elite force, termed
Fallschirmj?ger ( listen ? ). These paratroops saw action
during 1940-1941, most notably in the operations to
capture the Belgian army fortress at Eben-Emael in May
1940 and to capture the island of Crete in May 1941.
However, more than 3,000 Fallschirmj?ger were killed
during the Crete operation, and a shocked Adolf Hitler
ordered that these elite paratroopers would never be used
for such large-scale operations again, but only for
smaller-scale operations, such as the successful rescue
of Benito Mussolini, the then-deposed dictator of Italy,
Although night-fighting had been undertaken in embryonic
form way back in World War I, the German night-fighter
force, the Nachtjagd, had virtually to start from scratch
when British bombers began to attack targets in Germany
in strength from 1940 as far as tactics were concerned. A
chain of radar stations was established all across the
Reich territory from Norway to the border with
Switzerland known as the "Kammhuber Line",
named for Generalleutnant Josef Kammhuber, and nearby
night-fighter wings, Nachtjagdgeschwader (NJG), were
alerted to the presence of the enemy. These wings were
equipped mostly with Messerschmitt Bf 110 and Junkers Ju
88 aircraft, which would later be outfitted with the
Lichtenstein nose-mounted radar.
"Uhu" (Owl) was considered one of the best
night-fighters in the Luftwaffe's inventory, yet,
thankfully for the Allies, not enough of them were built
to stem the tide of bombers, which became effective at
using strips of aluminum foil called "Window"
(more commonly, "chaff") to jam the radar
screens. Two notable names amongst the night-fighter
pilots were Helmut Lent, who shot down 110 enemy aircraft
before being killed in a landing accident in October
1944, and Wolfgang Schnaufer, who shot down 102 enemy
aircraft and survived the war, only to die in a car crash
in France in 1950.
The Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a was the world's first
operational jet fighter planeAfter playing a pioneering
role in the development of aircraft powered by jet
engines ("TL Triebwerke") with prototypes such
as the Heinkel He 178 and Heinkel He 280, the Luftwaffe
became the first air force in the world to press an
operational jet fighter into servicethe twin-engine
Messerschmitt Me 262. The aircraft was still plagued by
reliability problems of its powerplants, however: while
the Junkers Jumo 004 engines were of the advanced
axial-flow design, they suffered from a lack of
high-quality strategic materials required during the
manufacturing process, a result of the Allied bombing
offensive and the turn of war fortunes for Germany. The
Me 262 was soon joined by other highly advanced aircraft
designs, such as the Arado Ar 234 twin and four-engine
jet bomber/reconnaissance aircraft, the Heinkel He 162
single-engine jet fighter (powered by a BMW jet engine),
the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket fighter and others. A
variety of further highly advanced aircraft designs, such
as the Horten Ho 229 flying wing (originally designated
Horten Ho IX and later to be manufactured by the Gothaer
Waggonfabrik aircraft factory), were either at the
testing stage or even ordered into production by the time
the war ended. The German aviation industry also
developed the first cruise missile used operationally on
large scale, the Fieseler Fi 103 V-1 flying bomb, and the
first ballistic missile, the V-2.
As modern as these aircraft were, they could not prevent
Germany's total defeat in the air. The Luftwaffe lacked
fuel, trained pilots, organizational unity and
"safe" airfields. The final fully-blown
offensive conducted by the Luftwaffe was on January 1,
1945, when it launched Operation Bodenplatte
("Baseplate"). The idea here was to destroy as
many Allied aircraft on the ground, yet the Germans lost
over 300 aircraft and were henceforward very much on the
defensive as the western Allies and the Soviets closed in
and invaded the Reich itself. The Allies were able to
harvest Germany's advanced technical efforts as many
German aircraft were abandoned after being deliberately
wrecked for the most part; Operation Paperclip, for
example, was one of many designed in 1944-45 to obtain
either technical specimens, data, or the design personnel
themselves and "evacuate" them to the United
States, England, the USSR or France.
The early US and Soviet space programs employed German
hardware and were staffed with many German scientists and
engineers, the most famous of which was Wernher von
Braun, subsequently the head of the design team of the
American Saturn V moon rocket. Many aircraft designers
were also captured by the Red Army and sent to the USSR
to design and build potential fighters and bombers for
the Soviet Army and Navy Air Forces.
The Junkers Ju 287 was the world's first
forward-swept-wing jet bomber, yet it never saw
operational serviceAmongst the designers sent to Russia
were Dr. Hans Wocke, the man who designed the world's
first forward-swept-wing jet bomber, the Junkers Ju 287,
the first prototype of which, the Ju 287V1, had flown
during the war on test flights. The Ju 287 design work
was incorporated into the Junkers EF (Erprobungsflugzeug
= "test aircraft") 140 bomber prototype, yet
neither this nor any other aircraft designed by the
Germans would ever be accepted into the Soviet Army or
Navy Air Forces since the Germans themselves were
technically prisoners and were denied access to the
latest facilities for designing and perfecting modern
warplanes. Most of the captured designers had been
allowed to return to either West or East Germany by the
end of 1953.
Wolfram von Richthofen was a cousin of the late Manfred
von Richthofen and one of only a few select officers in
the Luftwaffe to have attained the highest rank of
Generalfeldmarschall. However, he was retired on medical
grounds in late 1944 and died of a brain tumor in the
American POW camp at Bad Ischl on July 12, 1945Throughout
the history of the Third Reich, the Luftwaffe had only
two commanders-in-chief. The first was, of course,
G?ring, yet he was fired by Hitler near the end of the
war in Europe on account of his having contacted
(western) Allied forces without his authorization with a
view to securing a ceasefire before the Soviets overran
Berlin. Hitler thus appointed Generaloberst Robert Ritter
von Greim as the second (and last) commander-in-chief of
the Luftwaffe, concomitant with his promotion to
Generalfeldmarschall, the last German officer in World
War II to be promoted to the highest rank. One other
officer, who happened to have been promoted to this rank
himself, had been Wolfram von Richthofen, the cousin of
the "Red Baron," but he had retired in late
1944 on medical grounds and would die of a brain tumor
while in American captivity at Bad Ischl on July 12,
Operational and training units of the Luftwaffe were
organized roughly similarly to those of the U.S. Army Air
Corps (which later became the U.S. Army Air Forces).
Fighter wings (Jagdgeschwader) (JG) consisted of groups
(Gruppen), which in turn consisted of fighter squadrons
(Jagdstaffel). Hence, Fighter Wing 1 was JG 1, its first
group was I/JG 1 and its first squadron was 1./JG 1. (As
a point of interest, JG 1 was operating the
aforementioned Heinkel He 162 at the end of the war. In
the final two months, JG 1 lost 22 of them, mostly in
crashes, resulting in ten pilots being killed and another
Similarly, a bomber wing was a Kampfgeschwader (KG), a
night-fighter wing was a Nachtjagdgeschwader (NJG), a
dive-bomber wing was a Stukageschwader (StG), and units
equivalent to those in RAF Coastal Command, with specific
responsibilities for coastal patrols and
search-and-rescue duties, were K?stenfliegergruppen
(K?.Fl.Gr.). Specialist bomber groups were known as
Each Geschwader was commanded by a Kommodore, a Gruppe by
a Kommandeur, and a Staffel by a Staffelkapit?n. However,
these were appointments, not ranks, within the Luftwaffe.
Usually, the Kommodore would hold the rank of
Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) or, exceptionally, an
Oberst (colonel). Even a Leutnant (second lieutenant)
could find himself commanding a Staffel.
Some of the Luftwaffe's units came from countries under
German control such as 13 JG 52 (Slovakia) and
Luftwaffen-Legion Lettland (Latvia).
From before the war, the German Ministry of Propaganda
disseminated a magazine specializing in the Luftwaffe
called Der Adler ("The Eagle"), not just in
German but also in the first languages, including French,
of several countries which eventually became incorporated
into the Reich territory. While the USA remained
officially neutral (from September 1939 until December
1941), the magazine was also published in English. Many
color photographs of the Luftwaffe in action during the
war originally came from this publication.
Following the war, German aviation in general was
severely curtailed, and military aviation was completely
forbidden when the Luftwaffe was officially disbanded in
August 1946 by the Allied Control Commission. This
changed when West Germany joined NATO in 1955, as the
Western Allies believed that Germany was needed in view
of the increasing threat militarily from the USSR and its
Warsaw Pact allies. Throughout the following decades, the
West German Luftwaffe was equipped mostly with
US-designed aircraft manufactured locally under licence.
All aircraft sportedand continue to sportthe
Iron Cross on the fuselage, harking back to the days of
World War I, while the national flag of West Germany
could be seen on the tailplanes.
Many well-known fighter pilots, who had fought with the
Luftwaffe in World War II, joined the new postwar air
force and underwent refresher training in the USA before
returning to West Germany to upgrade on the latest
US-supplied hardware. These included Erich Hartmann, the
highest-ever scoring ace (352 enemy aircraft destroyed),
Gerhard Barkhorn (301), G?nther Rall (275) and Johannes
Steinhoff (176). Steinhoff, who suffered a crash in a
Messerschmitt Me 262 shortly before the end of the war
which resulted in lifelong scarring of his face and other
parts of his body, would eventually become
commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, with Rall as his
immediate successor. Hartmann retired as an Oberst
(colonel) in 1970 aged 48. The aforementioned Josef
Kammhuber also served with the postwar Luftwaffe,
retiring in 1962 as Inspekteur der Bundesluftwaffe.
During the 1960s, the "Starfighter crisis" was
a big problem for German politics, as many of these
Lockheed F-104 fighters crashed after being modified to
serve for Luftwaffe purposes. Therefore the Starfighter
was dubbed the "widow-maker" (German:
Witwenmacher). (It is of note that the F-104 served with
the USAF for only a few years.) On the other hand, the
Canadian version of the North American F-86 Sabre, the
Canadair CL-13, enjoyed a long career with Luftwaffe
fighter squadrons, since seventy-five of them entered
service in and after 1957.
The name "Typhoon" caused controversy since the
Hawker Typhoon was an RAF ground-attack aircraft which
destroyed many targets in support of the ground forces
invading France in June 1944 and afterwardsThe air force
of the Communist GDR used the same name as the one used
during World War I, that is, the Luftstreitkr?fte. It
flew Soviet-built aircraft, like the Sukhoi Su-7
"Fitter" and the more famous Mikoyan-Gurevich
(MiG) family of aircraft, such as the MiG-21, MiG-23 and
MiG-29 fighters. Unlike the West German Luftwaffe,
however, the markings sported on the aircraft reflected
the identity of the country as belonging to the Communist
bloc. As such, the markings consisted of a diamond-shaped
design, in which could be seen the vertically-oriented
three stripes in black, red and gold surmounted by the
stylized hammer, compass and wreath-like ears-of-grain
design, which was also seen on the Flag of East Germany,
although the stripes were a 90-degree orientation from
those to be seen on either national flag of the two
German nations between 1959 and 1990.
After the GDR and West Germany were reunified in October
1990, the aircraft of the Luftstreitkr?fte were taken
over by the unified Federal Republic of Germany, and
their GDR markings replaced by those of the Iron Cross,
thus creating the somewhat anomalous situation of
Soviet-built aircraft serving in a NATO air force.
However, these would eventually be taken out of service
altogether, in many cases being sold to the new Eastern
European allies now part of NATO, such as Poland and the
Since the 1970s, the Luftwaffe of West Germany and later
the reunited Germany has actively pursued the
construction of European combat aircraft such as the
Panavia Tornado and more recently, the Eurofighter
In 1999, for the first time since 1945, the Luftwaffe
engaged in combat operations as part of the NATO-led
Kosovo War. No strike sorties were flown and the role of
the Luftwaffe was restricted to providing support, for
example with suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD)
No Luftwaffe aircraft were lost during the campaign, but
the force's role proved to be controversial in Germany
because of the strong pacifist sentiment still present in
the population that is opposed to the use of force by
Germany in international affairs. Moreover, there were
constitutional concerns, because Germany was not and,
indeed, still is not - allowed to participate in
"wars of aggression" owing to its 1949
Grundgesetz (loosely: "constitution"). Because
of something like a paradigm shift, Germany can use its
Luftwaffe for crisis reaction and conflict prevention.
serviceable aircraft strengths (1940-1945)
The following tables summarize the
operational strength of the German air force, or
Luftwaffe, in terms of the number of different aircraft
by general category. The period covered is World War II
from 1940 to 1945, starting at the time of the Battle of
|17 August 1940
|Short-range and army
|24 June 1941
|Short-range and army
|27 July 1942
|Specialized ground attack
|Short-range and army
|17 May 43
|Specialized ground attack
|Short-range and army
|31 May 44
|Ground attack aircraft
|Night harassment aircraft
|Short-range and army
|Kampfgeschwader 200 (misc.
|10 January 1945
|Ground attack aircraft
|Night harassment aircraft
|Short-range and army
|Kampfgeschwader 200 (misc.
|9 April 1945
|Ground attack aircraft
|Night harassment aircraft
|Short-range and army
|Kampfgeschwader 200 (misc.
Text is available under
the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
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Trading cards game combat system
the outset of the war, the Luftwaffe was one of
the most modern, powerful, and experienced air
forces in the world, dominating the skies over
Europe with aircraft much more advanced than
their counterparts. The Luftwaffe was central to
the German Blitzkrieg (lightning war) doctrine,
as the close air support provided by various
medium two-engine bombers, Stuka dive bombers and
an overwhelming force of tactical fighters were
key to several early successes.
Unlike the British
and American Air Forces, the Luftwaffe
never developed four-engine bombers in any
significant numbers, and was thus unable to
conduct an effective long-range strategic bombing
campaign against either the Russians or the
Western Allies. The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the
most versatile and widely-produced fighter
aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe and was
designed when biplanes were still standard. Many
versions of this aircraft were made. The engine,
a liquid cooled Mercedes-Benz DB 601, initially
generated up to almost 1,000 hp (750 kW). This
power increased as direct fuel injection was
introduced to the engines. The kill ratio (almost
9:1) made this plane far superior than any of the
other German fighters during the war. In this
regard it was followed by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190
at 4:1. This plane had relatively short wings and
was powered by a radial BMW engine. The Junkers
Ju 87 Stuka was a main asset for Blitzkrieg, able
to place bombs with deadly accuracy. The leader
of the Luftwaffe was Hermann G?ring, a World War
I fighter ace and former commander of Manfred von
Richthofen's famous JG 1 (aka "The Flying
Circus") who had joined the Nazi party in
its early stages.
Game - build your own world business empire as an
arms dealer tycoon. Travel around the world,
trade with more than 400 weapon systems, hire
secretaries, bodyguards, lawyers, fighters and
tanks, establish companies and search for
criminals and hostages.
the summer and autumn of 1940, the Luftwaffe lost
the Battle of Britain over the skies of England,
the first all-air battle. Following the military
failures on the Eastern Front, from 1942 onwards,
the Luftwaffe went into a steady, gradual decline
that saw it outnumbered and overwhelmed by the
sheer number of Allied aircraft being deployed
against it. Towards the end of the war, the
Luftwaffe was no longer a major factor, and
despite fielding advanced aircraft like the
Messerschmitt Me 262, Heinkel He 162, Arado Ar
234, and Me 163 was crippled by fuel shortages
and a lack of trained pilots. There was also very
little time to develop these aircraft, and could
not be produced fast enough by the Germans, so
the jets and rockets proved to be "too
little too late."
||Guns Girls Lawyers Spies is
a trade management game.
You'll build your multinational spy
company, destroy competition, hire
employees, spies, and businessman,
establish spy cells, bases and objects.
There is a more than 40 missions with
different game objectives.
Luftwaffe Planes - List of Aircraft
"Shootdown"--an air victory.
Ami slang for American.
dicke Autos "fat
cars"--enemy heavy bombers.
Einsatzfruede love of
operational Staffel (of a training unit.).
operational training squadron.
final destruction of an already-culled aircraft.
advanced training group.
advanced training squadron.
operational test group.
operational test squadron.
Experte a fighter pilot
proficient in aerial combat; the Allied Ace.
Fliegerdivision (FD) air
division--a higher command containing several
types of flying units.
aircraft command/control unit or it's commander.
In the case of isolated theatres, the theatre air
Fliegerkorps (FG) air
corps--a higher command containing several
Freie Jagd "free
hunt"--a fighter sweep without ground
General der Jagdflieger (GdJ)
General of the Fighter Arms; a staff position in
the RLM. Werner Moelders and Adolf Galland were
the most prominent holders of this position.
Geschwader wing (pl.
Geschwader)--the largest mobile, homogeneous
Luftwaffe flying unit.
commodore--usually a Major, Oberstleutenant, or
Oberst in rank.
Gruppe (Gr) group (pl.
Gruppen)--basic Luftwaffe combat and
commander--usually a Haptmann, Major, or
Oberstleutnant in rank.
out" (cull)--to damage a bomber sufficiently
to seperate it from it's formation.
"mission to heaven"--suicide mission.
eye"--the last airplane in a formation.
Horrido hunters' or
pilots' cry of victory. St. Horridus was the
patron saint of hunters and fighter pilots.
Jaeger originally hunter,
now fighter pilot.
Jaegerschreck :fear of
fighter"--a derogatory term coined in
Jagddivision (JD) fighter
division; could command one or more Jafue or
fighter command/control unit or it's commander.
Tha Jafue originated as administrative units but
evolved into operational control units during the
fighter wing, commanding three or four Gruppen.
Jagdgruppe (JGr) fighter
group, containing three or four Staffeln.
Jagdkorps fighter corps;
commanded one or more Jagddivisionen.
protection"--generally, apatrol of a section
of front, rather than an escort mission.
squadron, originally containg twelve aircraft
(three Schwaerme). It's authorized strength was
increased to sixteen in 1943.
Jagdverband (JV) fighter
unit. The term was only used for JV 44, the
Gruppe of jet fighters commanded by General Adolf
Galland in 1945.
Jagdwaffe fighter arm or
Kanalfront the (English)
geschwader serving on the English Channel (JG 2
and JG 26).
pilot(s) based near the channel.
"captain"--a Staffel command position
rather than a rank.
Katschmarek a sland term
for a wingman--originally a derogatory term for a
dim-witted infantry recruit.
Kette flight of three
"commander"--a Gruppe command position
rather than a rank.
"commodore"--A Geschwader command
position rather than a rank.
Luftflotte (LF) "air
fleet"--corresponded to a numbered American
force"--refers to German Air Force.
air command-a small or down-graded Luftflotte.
growth"--a late-war replacement pilot.
Pulk combat box-an
American heavy bomber formation.
"empire"--Hitler's Germany was the
German Air Minitry; Goering's headquarters, it
controlled all aspects of German aviation.
organization responsible for the air defence of
Rotte tactical element of
the second man in a Rotte.
Rottenfuehrer leader of
an element of two aircraft.
fast bomber wing.
Schwarm flight of four
aircraft (pl Schwaerme); all German fighter
formations were made up of units of Schwaerme.
war"--the "phony war" in western
Europe between September 1939 and April 1940.
Staffel (St) squadron
leader (temporary or probationary).
leader--usually a Leutnant, OberLeutnant or
Tommy German slang for
Valhalla a large
formation of aircraft.
"destroyer" (heavy fighter)--Bf 110 or
Me 410 twin-engined fighter.
heavy fighter wing.
heavy fighter group.