Gary created the topic: The Luftwaffe May 1944 to May 1945
The Luftwaffe May 1944 to May 1945
Extracts from ‘The last year of the Luftwaffe May 1944 to May 1945’ written by Alfred Price)
In April 1945, as the Soviet fo0rces moved closer to Berlin, Hermann Goring ordered that all documents held in the Luftwaffe historical archives were to be destroyed. In general these orders were carried out. There is thus a shortage of official documents.
The major air fighting formation was the Luftflotte, a combination of combat flying units of all types and their supporting services, based within a defined geographical area. At this stage in the war there were seven. Luftflotte Reich, based at airfields in Germany, Austria and western Czechoslavakia, had nearly 1300 aircraft of which just over a hundred were serviceable FW190s and just under three hundred and fifty were serviceable Me109s. Luftflotte Three, responsible for air operations in the Western Front, had just over 500 serviceable aircraft, slightly more than eighty of which were serviceable FW190s and just over thirty of which were serviceable Me109s. Luftflotten 1, 4 and 5, located on the Eastern Front, had just under ninety serviceable FW190s and just over two hundred serviceable Me109s. Luftflotte Two, based in Italy and responsible for air operations over central and western Mediterranean, had just over eighty serviceable Me109s.
The Fieseler Fi103 (V1) carried a 1870 pound high explosive warhead, was powered by an Argus pulse-jet engine which produced 740 pounds of thrust at launch and had a running life of about half an hour. It flew at a cruising speed of between 300 and 400 mph at a height of about 3000 feet. The bombardment started on the 13th June 1944 and continued to be launched from northern France until the 1st September (1944) by which time the sites had been abandoned due to the advance of the Allied troops. V1’s continued to be launched from other sites and from aircraft (modified Heinkel 111s) until the middle of March 1945. Just over ten thousand V1s were launched, of these just over 2400 reached London, about thirty reached Southampton and one hit Manchester.