Luftwaffe Strength 1943

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
Carl Schwamberger
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Luftwaffe Strength 1943

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Mar 2007 03:35

I've searched about here & not yet found any clear information on the Luftwaffes strrength from January to December 1943. Plus the allocations of the units between various fronts.

Can anyone provide a bit of data on this, &/or point me to sources for this?

Thanks

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Pips
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Post by Pips » 14 Mar 2007 12:15

One of the best sources for OOB info is Alfred Prices' book "The Luftwaffe Data Book". It details, by year, the total strength of the Luftwaffe, then breaks that number down to the composition of each JG/KG alloted to each Lufflotte,. with maps showing the sphere of operation for that Luftflotte.

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Re: Luftwaffe Strength 1943

Post by RichTO90 » 14 Mar 2007 17:02

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I've searched about here & not yet found any clear information on the Luftwaffes strrength from January to December 1943. Plus the allocations of the units between various fronts.

Can anyone provide a bit of data on this, &/or point me to sources for this?

Thanks


From an old post of mine:

The distribution of the Luftwaffe shows an even more striking shift from East to West from 1942 to 1944. This may be partly illustrated by the loss patterns. In general, they were as follows

Luftwaffe Losses (WF/EF):

1942
1-engine fighter 536/707
2-engine fighter 61/178
nightfighter 83/0
ground attack 169/457
bombers 690/957
total 1,539/2,299

1943
1-engine fighter 2,359/1,135
2-engine fighter 182/132
nightfighter 274/23
ground attack 518/905
bombers 1,164/3,128
total 4,497/3,128

1944
1-engine fighter 6,818/972
2-engine fighter 275/185
nightfighter 1,063/94
ground attack 345/1,237
bombers 1,217/425
total 9,718/2,913

An even more intriguing change may be seen if we look at just the three months May-July 1943 and witness the changes that occurred then. Looking at just single-engine fighters we find that the distribution of strength (as of the first of the month)/losses (during the month) were:

Luftwaffe Strengths (WF/EF)
May 1943
West 1,113/159
East 623/112

June 1943
West 1,361/173
East 533/58

July 1943
West 1,399/487
East 494/183

So over just a three-month period the fighter strength in the West increased by 20.4 percent, while that in the East decreased by 20.7 percent. At the same time losses in the West went from 14.29 percent of strength, to 12.71 percent, to 34.81 percent, while losses in the East went from 17.98 percent, to 10.88 percent, to 37.04 percent.

As of 1 June 1944 a rough breakdown of strength by type is (West/East):

1-engine fighter 1,400/560
2-engine fighter 220/137
nightfighter 834/101
ground attack 265/816
bombers 917/781
total 3,636/2,395

Hope that helps.

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Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Mar 2007 23:02

Thanks, that a good start. Any books you would recomend on the subject?

& your numbers include Norway, but not the Med. Correct?

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Post by RichTO90 » 15 Mar 2007 15:22

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Thanks, that a good start. Any books you would recomend on the subject?

& your numbers include Norway, but not the Med. Correct?


The best authors are Alfred Price and E. R. Hooten, while the Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe, produced originally by the British Air Ministry from captured documents postwar is also excellent (and available relatively cheaply through the British National Archives bookshop). Online two excellent sources are Michael Holm's outstanding The Luftwaffe, 1933-45 at http://www.ww2.dk/ and the USAF Historical Center website, which has the postwar Luftwaffe monographs available as PDFs at http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/numbered_st ... sintro.asp along with a wealth of other material including a PDF of the AAF Statistical Digest.

BTW, the figures I gave include the Med and Norway as part of the "West".

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Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Mar 2007 11:56

The available/loss numbers for July 1943 show an abrupt increase. Since these figure include the Med it is not clear if this is the result of the start of the Sicillian campaign, or the begaining of the Allied air campaign vs the German airfields in NW Europe.

"July 1943
West 1,399/487
East 494/183 "

"So over just a three-month period the fighter strength in the West increased by 20.4 percent, while that in the East decreased by 20.7 percent. At the same time losses in the West went from 14.29 percent of strength, to 12.71 percent, to 34.81 percent, while losses in the East went from 17.98 percent, to 10.88 percent, to 37.04 percent. "

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Post by RichTO90 » 26 Mar 2007 14:48

Carl Schwamberger wrote:The available/loss numbers for July 1943 show an abrupt increase. Since these figure include the Med it is not clear if this is the result of the start of the Sicillian campaign, or the begaining of the Allied air campaign vs the German airfields in NW Europe.

"July 1943
West 1,399/487
East 494/183 "

"So over just a three-month period the fighter strength in the West increased by 20.4 percent, while that in the East decreased by 20.7 percent. At the same time losses in the West went from 14.29 percent of strength, to 12.71 percent, to 34.81 percent, while losses in the East went from 17.98 percent, to 10.88 percent, to 37.04 percent. "


The changes in strengths and losses can pretty much be attributed to two things, Zitadelle and Husky. Losses peaked in the Soviet Union over Kursk and in the Med over Sicily and Italy (and to a lesser degree over the Reich). And at the same time fighter forces were transferred from the East to the West.

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Re: Luftwaffe Strength 1943

Post by Bronsky » 28 Mar 2007 12:47

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Can anyone provide a bit of data on this, &/or point me to sources for this?


Carl,

As others mentioned, Price and Hooton are excellent, so is the RAF history (published 1948) "The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe" which could be had for something like $3 a few months ago, and probably still can.

For a pre-Kursk data point that could be copy/pasted on short notice:

17 May 1943 aircraft strength
East Front: (LF 1 + 4 + 6): 2,368
West (LF 3): 685
South (LF 2): 1,105
Norway (LF 5, both east and west): 373
Germany: 2,225
Balkans: Balkans 163
Total: 6,919.

In anticipation of an Allied move in the Mediterranean and of Zitadelle, most of what remained of the much-battered transport fleet (319 out of 411) had been recalled to Germany, as well as 1,007 out of 2,120 twin-engined bombers, for refits.

(source: Price).

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Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Mar 2007 18:52

Thanks. It looks like the Luftwaffe had already reduced its strength in France/Belgium considerablly by these dates.

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Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 May 2007 14:51

Any solid information on Luftwaffe plans for countering Allied campaigns in the East, the Med or Western Europe. From the sources above the actual actions taken can be seen, but I'm also curious about the planning. Particularly for the Med & for the event of a Allied surface attack into France in 1943. Expectaions vs thre reality.

Does Price cover this as well?

Thanks

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Post by Andreas » 28 May 2007 15:02

The title of the PRO book is actually 'Rise and Fall of the German Air Force'. It can still be had for very little money.

All the best

Andreas

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