Lutwaffe Doctrine and Air Superiority Through World War Two
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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Lessons from World War I and the debates of airpower enthusiasts influenced the development of German air war doctrine during the interwar years. L.Dv.16, Luftkriegfuhrung Conduct of the Air War, was developed in the mid thirties and was the Luftwaffes main doctrinal statement. It remained unchanged throughout the war. Because of its lack of doctrinal prioritization, this manual was not an effective framework for employment of the Luftwaffe during the war. Throughout WWII, Luftwaffe priorities changed frequently, assets were often not concentrated, and the full value of achieving and maintaining air superiority was never appreciated. The brief and dazzling successes in Poland and the west blurred any flaws in doctrine, organization, or operational practice. In the Battle of Britain changing priorities and a failure to achieve air superiority assured the Luftwaffes defeat. In Russia and North Africa a battle of attrition would begin to take a major toll on the Luftwaffe. Defense of the Reich would attrit qualified pilots, which could not be replaced. The fundamental flaw of the Luftwaffe was that prewar assumptions remained so strong that real conditions of warfare made little impression.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics