the Luftwaffe 

The history of the German military aviation forces began in 1910 with the founding of the Imperial German Army Air Service, yet it has not been continuous because Germany lost both World Wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945). As a result, Germany had no military air force between 1918 and 1935 and again between 1945 and 1955.

In 1939-1940, the Luftwaffe helped the German army to astonishingly rapid success in both Eastern and Western Europe, but failed to win control of the skies over Britain. Later on, despite its best efforts, it could not prevent the defeat of Germany either by day, or by night, owing to constant Allied bombing of Germany's factories and cities by a numerically overwhelming force of bombers based in England. This was coupled with the advances of the Soviet armies from the East, as numbers of available German aircraft dwindled in the face of ever-growing numbers of Soviet aircraft. The Luftwaffe was, however, notable in putting the world's first jet fighter and the world's only rocket-powered fighter into action during the war.

Between 1955 and 1990, there were two German air forces as a result of the splitting of the defeated Germany in 1945 into two, but the air force of the GDR was dissolved and its structure taken over by the Luftwaffe in 1990 upon the German reunification. Only in Bosnia in 1999 has the Luftwaffe ever seen war action since the end of World War II.

World War I

The forerunner of the Luftwaffe, the Imperial German Army Air Service, 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 Armée de l'Air, had also been founded in 1910, and Britain's Royal Flying Corps (which merged in 1918 with the Royal Naval Air Service to form 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).

However, the fighters received the most attention in the annals of military aviation, since it produced "aces" such as Manfred von Richthofen, popularly known in English as "The Red Baron" (in Germany, he was known as "der rote Baron"), Ernst Udet, Hermann Göring, Oswald Boelcke (considered the first master tactician of "dogfighting"), Max Immelmann (the first airman to win the Pour le Mérite, 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 German and Austro-Hungarian military aircraft in service used the Iron Cross insignia until early 1918. Afterwards, the Balkenkreuz, a black Greek cross on white, was introduced.

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 1956) 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.

Inter-war period

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 such as Lufthansa. In order to train its pilots on the latest combat aircraft, Germany ironically 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.

On February 26, 1935, Adolph Hitler ordered Hermann Göring 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 ("German Air Union"; DLV for short), 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.

Dr. Fritz Todt, the engineer who founded the forced labour Organisation Todt, was appointed to the rank of Generalmajor in the Luftwaffe. He was not, strictly speaking, an airman, although he had served in an observation squadron during World War I, winning the Iron Cross. 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, the German planes used the Nationalist air force aircraft markings (a Saint Andrew's cross over a white background, painted on the rudder of the aircraft and a black dic on fuselage and wings). All aircraft in the Legion were affiliated to units given a designation ending in the number 88. For example, bombers were in Kampfgruppe ("Combat Group") 88, abbreviated to K/88, and fighters in Jagdgruppe ("Pursuit Group") 88, J/88.

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. Many feared 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 demoralising 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 II

Early war 1939 - 1941

Continental campaigns and Norway

Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers in formation circa 1939–1940

By the summer of 1939, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II, the Luftwaffe had become one of the most powerful air forces 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 Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber (Sturzkampfflugzeug—Stuka). Between 1939 and the summer of 1940, Germany occupied Poland, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands and France. The Luftwaffe played a major role in these campaigns, but suffered heavy losses in both planes and pilots, especially in the battle for France where it lost 1,130 planes, roughly 36% of its frontline strength.

The most significant operational failure of the Luftwaffe during these campaigns was the inability to prevent the embarkation of most of the British Expeditionary Force during the battle of Dunkirk in late May 1940.

Fallschirmjäger over Rotterdam during the invasion of the Netherlands, May 10, 1940

During these campaigns the Luftwaffe conducted mass bomb attacks on civilian targets such as Warsaw in 1939, and Rotterdam in 1940.

Battle of Britain

Following the successful campaign in As a pre-requisite for Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain, the RAF needed to be defeated. The earlier successes had caused Göring to become over-confident in its abilities and made him boast that the RAF would be defeated in a matter of a months.

Faulty German intelligence about the strength of the RAF Fighter Command, leading to faulty strategic decisions, coupled with the skilful handling of the British defence by Air Vice Marshal Hugh Dowding led to the Luftwaffe's defeat in the Battle of Britain. While it has been argued by e.g. Len Deighton that Hitler's decision to shift the focus of operations to bombing industrial targets in cities instead of British airfields was a crucial mistake, costing the Germans victory, this is now seen as over-stating the possibility for a success of the Luftwaffe. In reality, RAF fighter and pilot numbers increased throughout the battle, while those of the Luftwaffe fell through attrition. At the end of September 1940 Hitler conceded defeat by cancelling the invasion, to allow him to prepare for Operation Barbarossa, the planned invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. The Luftwaffe switched to a strategic bombing campaign against British cities that would last until late in 1941.

Defence of the Reich 1940-45

Between 1940 and 1945 the Luftwaffe had to continually increase the resources made available to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign, first carried out alone by RAF Bomber Command under Sir Arthur Harris, but eventually joined by the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF)'s Eighth Air Force.

Unlike the Germans, prior to the war the RAF and the USAAF (under the command of General Henry H. Arnold), developed a strategic bomber force. From 1942 onwards their bombers penetrated deep into Reich's territory in increasing numbers. The USAAF maintained an unescorted daylight bombing campaign of industrial targets until 1943, when it lost 120 bombers in two raids on Regensburg and Schweinfurt. It then had to switch its effort to attacks on target within the range of fighter cover for the bombers. The RAF, almost from the start of the war, executed their offensive by conducting night bombing operations on an increasingly large scale, with 1,000 bomber raids being assembled from 1942.

Until the development of allied long-range fighters the Luftwaffe remained relatively capable and kept the capability to inflict serious losses by the day fighters and night fighters (see below), as well as the anti-aircraft guns under its command. In total more than 11,000 heavy bombers of the RAF and USAAF were lost in the European theatre of operations. One of the most disastrous RAF raids occurring on (October 30–31, 1943) when the RAF bombed the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, losing 96 planes over Germany, and a further number on return to base. When long-range fighter support became available in early 1944, the Luftwaffe's defensive effort was quickly defeated and by the time of the Normandy invasion of 6 June 1944 the USAAF considered it to be defeated.

The Allied air campaign was not successful in knocking Germany out of the war by itself, but it contributed significantly to the German defeat, by forcing the Germans to focus valuable resources on the battle over Germany, which were then missed on other fronts.

Development of night fighting

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.

The Heinkel He 219 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 aluminium foil called "Window" (American name, chaff; German, Düppel) to jam the radar signals. 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.

As modern as these aircraft were, they could not prevent Germany's total defeat in the air. In the end, the Luftwaffe lacked fuel, trained pilots, organisational unity and "safe" airfields.

Luftwaffe in the East 1941-1945

Junkers Ju 87D Stuka dive-bombers on a mission over the Russian countryside. 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 "tankbuster" with twin 37 mm cannons fitted under the wings

German superiority was especially felt during the first two years on the Eastern Front, given that the Luftwaffe enjoyed an advanced technical standard compared to the VVS. Another factor was that it was employing highly trained and experienced pilots such as Hans-Ulrich Rudel. Even during the initial period however Luftwaffe resources were never sufficient to guarantee complete control of the air space over the frontline, unlike from what it had achieved in France 1940. From 1943 onwards however Luftwaffe superiority slipped away, as the VVS recovered from its devastating initial losses, and Soviet factories provided planes to the frontline that could compete with their German counterparts. At the same time, the air battle over the Reich drained the resources of the Luftwaffe, and despite post-war claims to the contrary, documentary evidence shows that the Red Army's employment of air support developed to a high standard during the war, especially in the area of direct aerial support of breakthrough operations. The Luftwaffe stayed active on the eastern front until the last days of the war, even though it had long lost the ability to resist the VVS.

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 on the eastern front. From 1943 onwards 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 (St. Petersburg).

There were units also present in Romania, since fighter units stationed there were charged with the protection of the oilfields at Ploesti that were providing vital fuel for the German war machine in its continuation of its offensive against the USSR.

The Mediterranean 1940 - 44

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.

The Battle of the Atlantic

Following some early experience in support of the war at sea during the Norwegian Campaign, the Luftwaffe contributed small amounts of forces to the Battle of the Atlantic from 1940 to 1944. These were primarily long-range reconnaissance planes, first with Focke-Wulf 200, and later Junkers 290 maritime patrol aircraft. The initial Focke Wulf aircraft were very successful, claiming 365,000 tons of shipping in early 1941. The development of escort carriers and increased efforts by RAF Coastal Command soon made the task more dangerous and less rewarding for the German planes though. From 1943 onwards, He 177 bombers with guided missiles were used for attacks on convoys, claiming minor successes.

The Luftwaffe also contributed fighter cover for U-boats venturing out into and returning from the Atlantic, and for returning blockade runners.

The end in the West 1944 - 45

The Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a was the world's first operational jet fighter plane

In early 1944 the Luftwaffe undertook Operation Steinbock, the so-called Baby-Blitz, assembling 474 bombers for a campaign against London. Steinbock was called off when V-1 rockets became available for the retribution attacks, after the loss of 329 bombers.

Following the defeat of the Luftwaffe fighter force in the battle over the Reich in early 1944, it was no longer in a position to offer serious opposition to Operation Overlord, the allied invasion of France on 6 June 1944. The Luftwaffe air units were virtually absent from the battle, except for night bomber forces.

During Operation Market Garden the allied attempt to force a route to Arnhem, Luftwaffe fighter forces managed to inflict serious losses on Allied planes transporting paratroopers and supplies into battle.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the Luftwaffe undertook night bombing attacks against Bastogne. A para-drop and aerial re-supply of German spearheads failed completely. On the 1 January 1945 the Luftwaffe undertook a final attack operation against allied airfields, which ended in crippling losses for the Luftwaffe. The idea was to destroy as many Allied aircraft on the ground as possible, yet the Germans lost over 300 aircraft and were henceforth entirely on the defensive as the western Allies and the Soviets closed in and invaded the Reich itself.

Luftwaffe organisation

Throughout the history of the Third Reich, the Luftwaffe had only two commanders-in-chief. The first was, of course, Göring, 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 authorisation 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. Other officers promoted to the second-highest military rank in Germany were Albert Kesselring, Hugo Sperrle, Erhardt Milch, and Wolfram von Richthofen, a cousin of the "Red Baron" who rose from staff officer in Spain to Air Assault Corps and later Air Fleet commander. Von Richthofen retired in late 1944 on medical grounds and died of a brain tumour while in American captivity at Bad Ischl on July 12, 1945.

Göring and Sperrle were to be prosecuted at the OKW Trial, one of the Nuremberg Trials after the war. Göring was sentenced to death, while Sperrle was acquitted. Milch was tried in a separate trial and sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence. Kesselring was a witness in the OKW Trial, and was himself sentenced for actions in Italy later.

Organisation and chain of command

Organisation and chain of command Operational and training units of the Luftwaffe were organised 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 six injured.)

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 Küstenfliegergruppen (Kü.Fl.Gr.). Specialist bomber groups were known as Kampfgruppen (KGr).

Each Geschwader was commanded by a Kommodore, a Gruppe by a Kommandeur, and a Staffel by a Staffelkapitãn. 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.

The Ural bomber Concept: Wever’s Dream
Raul Colon

Every major power air force since the middle of the Great War has possessed a tactical and strategic component. The British’s Royal Flying Corp, the predecessor of the famous Royal Air Force, developed during World War I a strategic component centred on the idea that a heavy bomber can penetrate the enemy’s air defences and submit them to an aerial pounding that would reduce their ability to produce, supply and field their ground and naval forces. Beside Great Britain, France, Italy and Imperial Germany implemented, in one form or another; the concept of strategic bombing during the war. When the war ended in 1918, only the victorious allies were able to maintain and expand these concepts. During the inter war years, the idea of strategic bombing gained valuable allies in the UK, France and the United States. Many experiments and trials were conducted leading to efforts to develop and produce long range platforms, bombers, capable of taking the war to the enemy’s farther reaches. The situation was not the same for Germany.

Unable to field a regular air force due to the terms of the Versailles Treaty, the new Nazi regime in Germany started to improvise ways to develop a different type of air arm. An air force mainly designed to cover and support ground troops engaging in rapid manoeuvres. But that this newly designed air arm lacked the vital strategic component can be attribute to several reasons. Mainly that the early Nazi military doctrine of employing rapid panzer formations in open field would require the use of much of their available air assets in a support role is the one most attributed reason of this shortcoming, but there was another, less reported situation that ended up costing the Luftwaffe more than its doctrine.

There have been many reports and papers written about the strategic shortcomings of the Luftwaffe, but seldom did these papers mention the name of Walther Wever, yet, if he would had lived, his strategic vision might have altered the course of World War II. Wever was a fierce proponent of strategic bombing. He possessed both the vision and the will power to built a strategic air fleet out of the Luftwaffe, fortunately for the allies he died before the war started. If he had not died, one can just imagine what aircraft and tactics Wever would have employed in the Battle of Britain or in the invasion of the Soviet Union.

Wever was born in the eastern province of Posen. A product of a middle class environment. When he became eligible he joined the army as an infantry officer. After completing his training, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. The rank on with which he would enter the Great War. During that terrible conflict, Wever displayed an above average intelligence, valour and superior organizational skills. These traits propelled him to the rank of captain and eventually to a post in the staff of the famous German military commander, General Erich Ludendorff. There he is credited for the development of the so called “elastic defence” strategy employed very effectively by the German army all throughout the conflict.

The defence called for the abandonment of forward positions during artillery bombardments making the allies feel more secure of their advance once the bombardment was over. A strategic troop build-up was placed near the withdrawn position while awaiting the advancing unsuspecting allies’ armies. The strategy was so successful that after the war, French military historians credited it with the breaking of their army’s will to fight in The Somme and other places. Wever’s stock rose during the interwar years. He achieved the rank of colonel and in early 1932, was appointed Germany’s Air Command Officer. A title used to deceive the watchful allies. The reality was that the new command given to Wever amounted to a Chief of the Air Force in the current military lexicon. At forty six, without any flying training, Wever was the overall commander of Germany’s air force.

Even before Adolf Hitler sealed the fate of Germany by going to war, Wever understood that the next armed conflict would be a tactical as well as a strategic one. Adhering to his vision Wever steered the German air industry into developing what he saw as its most precious asset in the next war: a four engine heavy bomber. The bomber Wever envisioned would have been able to carry a payload of some 3,300 pounds to a distance of at least 1,240 miles. In developing the concept for such an aircraft, Wever had only one enemy in mind: Soviet Russia. He understood what many of his peers and eventual successors failed to see. In order to take the war to Russian industry, buried deep behind the Ural Mountains, Germany needed an aircraft capable to subjecting those industries to a heavy bombardment that could disrupt the flow of aircraft, tanks, truck, artillery pieces and other tools of war; into the frontlines.

The destruction of the enemy’s means of war production. He clearly saw that in order to defeat the air force of a country such as Russia, where the sheer amount of aircraft available to them could had overwhelmed Germany’s fighter force, they would need to destroy the industry that make those aircraft instead of shooting them out of the skies. Here was the British Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Frederick Sykes’s strategic vision in its basic form. The objectives of the new German air force would not only be concentrated to support its ground and naval forces, although Wever was a passionate believer of a mixed mission and completely independent Luftwaffe, but it would take the tools of war to the enemy’s nerve centres, the troop staging areas, rear bases, their industries and in the end, their population as a whole. This concept of total air war was first promulgated by Sykes in December 1918.

For all of his visions, strategies and directions, Wever’s views were in the minority in the German air force. The most senior Luftwaffe commanders saw little need for the development of a strategic heavy force. They changed their minds when the British and American heavy bombers began to pound their beloved country. Following Wever’s lead, Germany’s air industry began to conceive plans for the design and production of a fleet of heavy bombers. Two proud German companies, Junkers and Dornier placed forward design sketches for a heavy level bomber in late 1934. On January 3rd, 1935, Junker’s chairman, Dr. Heinrich Koppenberg; reported to Colonel Wilhelm Wimmer, head of the Luftwaffe Technical Department and fierce backer of Wever; that a preliminary design for the new bomber, codenamed Ju-89, had been completed.

Dornier followed a couple of months later. On a clear morning in October 28th, 1936, the much anticipated Do-19 made its maiden flight. The Ju-89 followed two months later. But by this time, fate had intervened. On June 3rd, 1936, Wever was in Dresden addressing a gathering of Luftwaffe cadets when he received the news of the passing of a World War I German hero. He decided to leave the city immediately in order to attend the funeral. Wever took off in his He-70 airplane. As the plane started to climb, one wing tipped on the ground propelling the aircraft into a tailspin that ended with a fiery crash. Wever and his flight engineer died immediately. With his premature passing, his dream of a well balanced tactical and strategic Luftwaffe; also died. Without Wever’s vision and relentless driv, Germany fell behind its main adversaries in the development of a heavy bomber platform.

Wever’s successors were more “yes” type officers. Eager to please Luftwaffe’s Chief Commander Herman Goering rather than establishing a balanced force. From June 1936 onward, the main effort of the Luftwaffe’s aircraft development programs was concentrated on the design and production of aircraft capable of providing the German army with a close air support profile. Nearly all of the heavy bomber development resources were diverted to the development of the dive bomber platform. Even the much anticipated and needed He-177 was not ordered into full scale production until the four engine plane was refitted to operate as a dive bombing platform. It is safe to say that with the death of General Wever, the dream of developing a multi-facet air force, an air force capable of providing Germany with the same kind of capability as the Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Forces possessed, died.

There were many aspects of differences between the Allies’ combat air philosophy and that of Germany’s air arm, but what separates them most profoundly was the strategic aspect of their respective philosophy. The allies truly believed in the importance of strategic bombing to their overall war effort, while the Germans were more focused on the tactical aspect. Had Wever lived, maybe the Luftwaffe’s philosophy and the product of this philosophy would had been more balanced.