LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Jan 2021 16:51

Thanks Andy. I don't remember seeing that title before.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Jan 2021 20:53

I see there was a December 1943 operation in the east to transport a Para Div by air. Apparently the operations was successful, tho it was not a paradrop. Anyone have anything that would indicate the size? How many transports, how many sorties, how many soldiers moved, any support weapons?

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by jwsleser » 25 Feb 2021 19:21

I am doing some research and I found this thread. I am researching the Italian paracadutisti and I am addressing transport aircraft. I was looking for the number of LW transport aircraft in September 1939.

I read this at the start of this thread.
Stock at start of war: 552 available (100 in dedicated transport groups, 450 available elsewhere, includes schools)
Given the normal back and forth on sources and data, are the numbers above still valid? I didn't see these numbers change after reading the discussion. If still good, can I get a full cite on the source for these numbers?

Thank you!

Pista! Jeff
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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Andy H » 25 Feb 2021 20:45

jwsleser wrote:
25 Feb 2021 19:21
I am doing some research and I found this thread. I am researching the Italian paracadutisti and I am addressing transport aircraft. I was looking for the number of LW transport aircraft in September 1939.

I read this at the start of this thread.
Stock at start of war: 552 available (100 in dedicated transport groups, 450 available elsewhere, includes schools)
Given the normal back and forth on sources and data, are the numbers above still valid? I didn't see these numbers change after reading the discussion. If still good, can I get a full cite on the source for these numbers?

Thank you!

Pista! Jeff
Hi Jeff

I can confirm the 552 as being the first line inventory as per August 31st 1939, which is detailed in the book 'German Aircraft Industry and Production 1933-45' by Vajda & Dancey Pg49. This references the following primary source as Chef Genst Qu.6.Abt.vom 2.9.1939

Regards

Andy H

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by jwsleser » 25 Feb 2021 21:33

Excellent! Thank you.

I am comparing Germany which employed paratroopers multiple times in 1940 to that of Italy which didn't. There certainly are multiple factors at play, but I was pinning down the transport capability.

Italy in Nov 1939 had 1 SM 82 with 50 under construction. Like Germany, Italy used several different types of aircraft as transports, but none had been built specifically as a transport. None of those aircraft were organized as transport squadrons, but are assigned to bomber units.

The transport fleet in June 1940 before « Progamma R » was completed consisted of 51 aircraft of various types (including 12 SM 82), most mobilized from civil use.

« Progamma R » (to be competed in Nov 1940) planned only 4 transport squadrons (36 aircraft).

To tie back into the Ju 52 discussion, the Italian had four Ju 52s to fly liaison/communication missions.

Source is Santoro L'aeronautica italiana nella seconda guerra mondiale tomo I p. 90.
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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Andy H » 26 Feb 2021 15:59

Hi jwsleser

From the same book, the figures in terms of strength (which doesn't always equate to serviceability) up until 1941 are:-

March'40 466
June '40 357
Sept'40 365
Dec'40 415

Regards

Andy H

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 27 Feb 2021 18:21

Guys, let's make this clear.

Ju-52s and other transports were either used for air transport - OR NOT. Also, the Luftflotten used their own transport planes for various tasks and no unified command existed before 1943. There were 3 main tasks for an air transport: 1. Air transport, 2. Airlift, 3. Air assault. On top of that, the Ju-52s were used to train pilots, in courier squadrons, liaison flights, etc.

First I'd like to take a look at the main tasks:

1936: Ju-52 units transfer francoist troops from Teutan to Spain
1937 October: The IV Group of the Bombardment Wing Hindenburg was renamed to 1st Bombardment Group for Special Employment (I Kampfgruppe zur besonderen Verwendung, KGzbV), in order to drop the Fallschirmjäger force, back then a battalion. This meant 53 Ju-52s.
1938 August 1: The 2nd Bombardment Group for Special Employment was formed. This meant an additional 53 Ju-52s.
1939 summer: The 3rd and the 4th Bombardment Groups for Special Employment were formed.

Thus the total number of Ju-52s in dedicated groups at the outbreak of the war was either 106 or 212, depending on how you'd count. The planes were there, but only half of them were combat ready. These crews were very thoroughly trained in all special flying skills (air transport, airlift and air assult). They could deploy one regiment of paratroopers in on wave.

However, the decision was made that the next Fallschirmjäger regiment will not use their own Ju-52s, but borrow their planes from the training schools. Thus never above the first 4 KGzbVs were trained in air assault, and never above the first FJ regiment had an integrated training with their pilots, because they didn't have their dedicated pilots.

Activation and Deactivation of Luftwaffe Airlift Units 1939-1945

1 September 39: I KGrzbV active with 7th Flieger division
Early September 39: II KGrzbV established, comprised of C-school instructors; IX KGzbV established, comprised of C-school and advanced instrument school instructors (returned to C-schools I AIS, 30 Sep 39); 172d KGrzbV established (returned to C-schools I AIS 30 Sept 40)
1 March 40: 101-108 KGzbV established
1 Apr40: 102 KGzbV reassigned to C-schools I AIS late April 40; 103 KGzbV deactivated
30 Jun 40: 107, 108 KGzbV merged. 50% of instructors from 107 KGzbV reassigned to C-schools
1 Jan 41: 40, 50, 60 KGzbV activated
1 Feb 41: 101, 104, 105 KGzbV consolidated
Apr 41: 40, 50, 60, 101, 104, 105 KGzb V assigned to XI Fliegerkorps for Operations Merkur (prelude to the Battle of Crete)
Mid-May 41: 3x Groups consolidated under XI Fligerkorps for the Battle of Crete
  • I KGrzbV -105, 106, 40 KGzbV
  • II KGrzbV -I/Luftlande, I/I KGrzbV, 60, 102, 101
  • III (Reserve)-1/172, II/172, Freight glider units, 50x Ju-52s
1 Jun 41: All groups withdrawn from Crete; 40, 60 KGzbV disbanded
Mid Jun 41: I, II, IV Luftflotte's assigned all transportation units from Crete for Operation Barbarossa (Invasion of Russia)
Nov 41: 300 KGzbV established
6-10 Dec 41: 400, 500 KGzbV established from C-school I AIS instructor cadre
15 Dec 41: 600, 700, 800, 900, 999 KGzbV established from C-school I AIS instructor cadre
Jan 42: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 KGzbV established
Late Apr 42: 8, 999 KGzbV deactivated
Oct 42: S-7th, S-11 th, S-l 3th KGzbV (Sicily) established
Nov42: 20, 21, 22, 23 KGzbV established for the Stalingrad airlift operation
Feb 43: S-7th, S-1 lth, S-13th KGzbV (Sicily) disbanded

At this point - Tunisgrad - the Germans realize that they're going to organize their air transport assets and end the chaos that prevailed before.

Apr 43: XIV Fliegerkorps established to consolidate all airlift forces under a single commander. This complete reorganization results in the establishment of five airlift wings (Transportgeschwader, or 'TGr'), each comprised of 3-4 assigned groups (TG).
1st Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 2d Transportgeschwader (3 groups, Ju-52), 3d Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 4th Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 5th Transportgeschwader (2 groups, Me-323 Gigant) Replacement Wing, 2 groups, 5 independent squadrons, various types
1 May 44: 24 groups active; fuel supplies dwindling, majority of units undertrained
1 Oct 44: XIV Fliegerkorps disbanded, TG's attached to Luftflotte commanders once again
15 Jan 45: 10 groups remain active through the end ofthe war, though by 1 Apr 45, they have almost no fuel available for operations.

Source: Fritz Morzik: German Air Force Airlift Operations.

Second, the total number of transport planes might be relevant to air transport and airlift missions, but for air assault missions (drop FJs)? No more than 4 groups. An additional 4 groups were more-or-less trained to land in fire and quickly unload the troops. Obviously, the instructors had sufficient amount of knowledge, but rarely in air assult.

Also, the capabilities of the "after Crete" groups were very different. For example, the personnel of the I and II Group of 172d KGzbV were drawn from Lufthansa personnel and the Berlin Air Liaison Staff. Also, the "last minute" transport units, activated for the campaigns were of mixed aircraft types and thus, different capacities. For example, the KGzbV 105 compromised 33 Ju 52, 5 Ju 90B, 1 Fw 200 and 1 Ju G-38 and were quite instrumental in the Norwegian campaign.


Third, the skills required from the air transport crews were more and more demanding, and air assult required the most of the skills.

For example: air transport during day and under ideal airfield conditions might have been done by C-school and instructor cadre. (There were sustained operation in early war with zero! losses. However, late war air transport missions were often done during the night and on primitive landing grounds with very high losses.) That required blind-flight and instrument-flight. In addition to that, airlift operations required low-altitude flights and quick loading-unloading procedures (a Ju-52 was to be unloaded and loaded in 30 minutes; the regular 5 minute take-off intervals could be reduced to 3). For air assault operations, the crew had to be trained - in addition to all the aforementioned skills - in close formation flying. There were early war missions where the Ju-52s flew in total darkness, using instrumental-flight and approached the target in close formation and low-altitude. The biggest size of such an undertaking approximated a regiment, and that was the height of the FJ's capabilities. When they attempted to do the same in 1944 December, one of the 68 Ju-52s was not even able to take off. The rest of the 67 planes could be divided to 32 veterans and 35 undertrained ones. Only 320 of the original 870 paratroopers reached their destination. Out of that 35, 10 was lost to AA fire; 2 more to night fighters; 10 returned to base without dropping their cargoes: of the 68 planned, only 45 executed the drop at all, and of the undertrained crews, some dropped their FJs behind German lines.

This is how the German air assult capacity dwindled from a regiment of fully trained FJs to a few companies' worth of FJs between early 1941 - late-1944. The total number of Ju-52s is almost irrelevant for the air assault capabilities.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 02 Mar 2021 17:33

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Jan 2021 20:53
jwsleser wrote:
25 Feb 2021 19:21
Andy H wrote:
25 Feb 2021 20:45
I should have quoted you before, but now I can't edit my previous comment.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Mar 2021 20:32

These sections seem to be at the core of my question, at least for the first nine months of 1944. I'll be examining parts of other years later.
Peter89 wrote:
27 Feb 2021 18:21
... At this point - Tunisgrad - the Germans realize that they're going to organize their air transport assets and end the chaos that prevailed before.

Apr 43: XIV Fliegerkorps established to consolidate all airlift forces under a single commander. This complete reorganization results in the establishment of five airlift wings (Transportgeschwader, or 'TGr'), each comprised of 3-4 assigned groups (TG).
1st Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 2d Transportgeschwader (3 groups, Ju-52), 3d Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 4th Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 5th Transportgeschwader (2 groups, Me-323 Gigant) Replacement Wing, 2 groups, 5 independent squadrons, various types
1 May 44: 24 groups active; fuel supplies dwindling, majority of units undertrained
1 Oct 44: XIV Fliegerkorps disbanded, TG's attached to Luftflotte commanders once again
15 Jan 45: 10 groups remain active through the end ofthe war, though by 1 Apr 45, they have almost no fuel available for operations.

Source: Fritz Morzik: German Air Force Airlift Operations.
So, it appears there was a specific command staff who in theory could organize all three classes of air lift operations.
Including air assault.
Peter89 wrote:
27 Feb 2021 18:21
Second, the total number of transport planes might be relevant to air transport and airlift missions, but for air assault missions (drop FJs)? No more than 4 groups. An additional 4 groups were more-or-less trained to land in fire and quickly unload the troops. Obviously, the instructors had sufficient amount of knowledge, but rarely in air assult.

Also, the capabilities of the "after Crete" groups were very different. For example, the personnel of the I and II Group of 172d KGzbV were drawn from Lufthansa personnel and the Berlin Air Liaison Staff. Also, the "last minute" transport units, activated for the campaigns were of mixed aircraft types and thus, different capacities. For example, the KGzbV 105 compromised 33 Ju 52, 5 Ju 90B, 1 Fw 200 and 1 Ju G-38 and were quite instrumental in the Norwegian campaign.

Third, the skills required from the air transport crews were more and more demanding, and air assult required the most of the skills.

For example: air transport during day and under ideal airfield conditions might have been done by C-school and instructor cadre. (There were sustained operation in early war with zero! losses. However, late war air transport missions were often done during the night and on primitive landing grounds with very high losses.) That required blind-flight and instrument-flight. In addition to that, airlift operations required low-altitude flights and quick loading-unloading procedures (a Ju-52 was to be unloaded and loaded in 30 minutes; the regular 5 minute take-off intervals could be reduced to 3). For air assault operations, the crew had to be trained - in addition to all the aforementioned skills - in close formation flying. There were early war missions where the Ju-52s flew in total darkness, using instrumental-flight and approached the target in close formation and low-altitude. The biggest size of such an undertaking approximated a regiment, and that was the height of the FJ's capabilities. When they attempted to do the same in 1944 December, one of the 68 Ju-52s was not even able to take off. The rest of the 67 planes could be divided to 32 veterans and 35 undertrained ones. Only 320 of the original 870 paratroopers reached their destination. Out of that 35, 10 was lost to AA fire; 2 more to night fighters; 10 returned to base without dropping their cargoes: of the 68 planned, only 45 executed the drop at all, and of the undertrained crews, some dropped their FJs behind German lines.

This is how the German air assult capacity dwindled from a regiment of fully trained FJs to a few companies' worth of FJs between early 1941 - late-1944. The total number of Ju-52s is almost irrelevant for the air assault capabilities.
I had long assumed the actual 'Para' capability for this & 1943 to be a battle or kampfgruppe size formation. That is a division size operations would depend on those few companies of paras seizing a landing site-a airfield, and the remainder of the force be air lifted in. Certainly the latter under harsh combat conditions, unless the airfield is relatively isolated.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 14 Mar 2021 10:47

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
07 Mar 2021 20:32
These sections seem to be at the core of my question, at least for the first nine months of 1944. I'll be examining parts of other years later.
Peter89 wrote:
27 Feb 2021 18:21
... At this point - Tunisgrad - the Germans realize that they're going to organize their air transport assets and end the chaos that prevailed before.

Apr 43: XIV Fliegerkorps established to consolidate all airlift forces under a single commander. This complete reorganization results in the establishment of five airlift wings (Transportgeschwader, or 'TGr'), each comprised of 3-4 assigned groups (TG).
1st Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 2d Transportgeschwader (3 groups, Ju-52), 3d Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 4th Transportgeschwader (4 groups, Ju-52), 5th Transportgeschwader (2 groups, Me-323 Gigant) Replacement Wing, 2 groups, 5 independent squadrons, various types
1 May 44: 24 groups active; fuel supplies dwindling, majority of units undertrained
1 Oct 44: XIV Fliegerkorps disbanded, TG's attached to Luftflotte commanders once again
15 Jan 45: 10 groups remain active through the end ofthe war, though by 1 Apr 45, they have almost no fuel available for operations.

Source: Fritz Morzik: German Air Force Airlift Operations.
So, it appears there was a specific command staff who in theory could organize all three classes of air lift operations.
Including air assault.
Yes.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
07 Mar 2021 20:32
Peter89 wrote:
27 Feb 2021 18:21
Second, the total number of transport planes might be relevant to air transport and airlift missions, but for air assault missions (drop FJs)? No more than 4 groups. An additional 4 groups were more-or-less trained to land in fire and quickly unload the troops. Obviously, the instructors had sufficient amount of knowledge, but rarely in air assult.

Also, the capabilities of the "after Crete" groups were very different. For example, the personnel of the I and II Group of 172d KGzbV were drawn from Lufthansa personnel and the Berlin Air Liaison Staff. Also, the "last minute" transport units, activated for the campaigns were of mixed aircraft types and thus, different capacities. For example, the KGzbV 105 compromised 33 Ju 52, 5 Ju 90B, 1 Fw 200 and 1 Ju G-38 and were quite instrumental in the Norwegian campaign.

Third, the skills required from the air transport crews were more and more demanding, and air assult required the most of the skills.

For example: air transport during day and under ideal airfield conditions might have been done by C-school and instructor cadre. (There were sustained operation in early war with zero! losses. However, late war air transport missions were often done during the night and on primitive landing grounds with very high losses.) That required blind-flight and instrument-flight. In addition to that, airlift operations required low-altitude flights and quick loading-unloading procedures (a Ju-52 was to be unloaded and loaded in 30 minutes; the regular 5 minute take-off intervals could be reduced to 3). For air assault operations, the crew had to be trained - in addition to all the aforementioned skills - in close formation flying. There were early war missions where the Ju-52s flew in total darkness, using instrumental-flight and approached the target in close formation and low-altitude. The biggest size of such an undertaking approximated a regiment, and that was the height of the FJ's capabilities. When they attempted to do the same in 1944 December, one of the 68 Ju-52s was not even able to take off. The rest of the 67 planes could be divided to 32 veterans and 35 undertrained ones. Only 320 of the original 870 paratroopers reached their destination. Out of that 35, 10 was lost to AA fire; 2 more to night fighters; 10 returned to base without dropping their cargoes: of the 68 planned, only 45 executed the drop at all, and of the undertrained crews, some dropped their FJs behind German lines.

This is how the German air assult capacity dwindled from a regiment of fully trained FJs to a few companies' worth of FJs between early 1941 - late-1944. The total number of Ju-52s is almost irrelevant for the air assault capabilities.
I had long assumed the actual 'Para' capability for this & 1943 to be a battle or kampfgruppe size formation. That is a division size operations would depend on those few companies of paras seizing a landing site-a airfield, and the remainder of the force be air lifted in. Certainly the latter under harsh combat conditions, unless the airfield is relatively isolated.
Indeed, but that was the early war theory as well. However, there was a point before Tunisgrad, when the equipment and doctrine of the FJ's reached its maximum, so I would say that by mid-1944 they still had a battalion or two's worth of crack FJs and the matching number of veteran pilots to deploy them. Also the unified command existed to carry out integrated missions, and the Gigants to carry heavier weapons.

The fuel requirements and allocations can be estimated through the operation Merkur, if you'd like to, I can give you the fuel requirement numbers for plane per mission.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Mar 2021 06:31

Certainly. We may as well fill out this conversation with useful data.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 06:46

Peter89 wrote:
27 Feb 2021 18:21
Guys, let's make this clear.
Thanks for a very interesting post; so, was the German parachute troop element envisaged for Malta in 1942 basically a couple of battalions/light regiment, then, at most?

And, presumably, capabilities were even less by the end of the year (1942, I mean)?

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Mar 2021 07:05

This is what have for the German para op at the Primosole bridge 15 July 1943. We can't assume much about what limited the op to these three battalions.
1st Fallschirmjäger Engineer Battalion, the 1st Battalion, 4th Fallschirmjäger Regiment and a battalion of the 1st Fallschirmjäger Artillery Regiment.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 07:19

Did the artillery drop with their pieces, or were they essentially acting as infantry?

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 15 Mar 2021 08:53

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Mar 2021 06:31
Certainly. We may as well fill out this conversation with useful data.
In operational planning, the air assaulting Ju-52s required 1570 liters (1165kg) of avgas, enough for one sortie in a range about 300km.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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