In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

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LineDoggie
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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by LineDoggie » 26 Jan 2020 00:53

Field Divisions were formed because of shortages of Heer infantry and a glut of surplus Luftwaffe troops. Goering refused to give them to the Army, so formed his own infantry divisions.

The FD were chronically short of Artillery and Machineguns and less men and could not hold the same amount of frontage. Eventually most of the LW officers were replaced with Heer officers to bolster the units.
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Art
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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by Art » 26 Jan 2020 09:00

Operationally L. field divisions were under control of the Army (Heer) and from October 1943 they became full-fledged part of the Army, essentially a kind of infantry divisions with exotic name.

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Kingfish
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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by Kingfish » 31 Jan 2020 10:36

The Wehrmacht would have been better served had these men been incorporated into the replacement pool and used to rebuild depleted formations.
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 31 Jan 2020 14:45

Hi Kingfish,

I agree.

The Luftwaffe could produce good ground formations, especially its senior paratroop divisions, which had a specialisation not shared by the Army.

The Herman Goering Panzer Division was also OK, but it had the advantage of mechanization and armour.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Jan 2020 14:58

oplein wrote:
25 Jan 2020 04:57
Further questions: Did this lead to command issues? I would imagine coordination between Luftwaffe and Heer troops would make things needlessly complicated. What were the qualities of Luftwaffe field troops compared to those of the Heer?
It was a political thing, like with Himmler's Waffen SS. LWFD were purposed to take the heat off of the army and relieve their units by taking over quiet sectors of the Eastern Front. The qualities of LF troops were that their officer/nco corps were too often air force men that did not possess the necessary training to succeed in their jobs. Their units were a bit more motorized than army formations though and had good flak weapons. These units were badly mangled in the Soviet winter counteroffensive of 42-43 as the Soviets chose them as easy targets.

I don't know about LFD but I've read of German paratroop formations had some command friction between the Army. Some of this was in the Foreign military studies manuscripts by LW commanders. Also, in the unit histories of the 1st FJD by Christensen.

In General, the LW was considered, like the SS, to be more politically reliable than the army as they tended to be composed by what the germans considered to be better national socialist specimens. They were also younger men. Although the commanders in LWFD and newly formed FJD were not always the best infantry commanders, they had morale and motivation on their side. Interestingly, the late number FJDs like the 7.FJD and 8.FJD fought hard even in March 1945.

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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by Cult Icon » 02 Feb 2020 18:16

IIRC Eugen Meindl was in charge of organizing them for commitment in the Soviet Union. He has some Foreign military studies manuscripts where he talks of his role and why they failed.

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Aida1
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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by Aida1 » 02 Feb 2020 18:36

Kingfish wrote:
31 Jan 2020 10:36
The Wehrmacht would have been better served had these men been incorporated into the replacement pool and used to rebuild depleted formations.
Very true. Better keep existing divisions with experienced cadre up to strength than always creating new ones. Luftwaffe Feld Divisionen did not do very well.

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Sheldrake
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Re: In WWII, why did the Luftwaffe posses field divisions?

Post by Sheldrake » 02 Feb 2020 19:26

oplein wrote:
25 Jan 2020 04:57
Further questions: Did this lead to command issues? I would imagine coordination between Luftwaffe and Heer troops would make things needlessly complicated. What were the qualities of Luftwaffe field troops compared to those of the Heer?
There were indeed problems with the command of Luftwaffe Field Divisions.

#1 At a strategic level there was no rational allocation of resources between the Army AA Navy and Luftwaffe. All grew like topsy at the whim of Hitler and the political influence of his lieutenants. The Luftwaffe divisions were formed from a comb out of surplus Luftwaffe personnel in 1941. Later in the war the operational efficiency of the Luftwaffe was lowered through the lack of experienced ground crew serving.

#2 The land arms of the Army, Luftwaffe and SS each had its own administration, logistic chain and personnel department. It makes sense for the army navy land air forces to have a monopoly over soldiers, warships and aircraft. Four words symbolize the inefficiency of the Nazi war machine - Herman Goering Panzer Division.

#3 There were weaknesses in the command and training of the Luftwaffe infantry divisions. It was straight forward to call Luftwaffe 15,000 men an infantry division. But it took time and training to turn these into an effective infantry formation. With around 12 weeks of training an airman might be turned into a basic infantryman. It took a further ten to weeks to train 1,500 of the best as corporals NCOs. About six months would be needed to train those with potential as junior officers. However, it took years to train staff officers, battalion, regimental and divisional commanders. These simply did not exist in the Luftwaffe (or the SS).

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