Alles was fliegt, gehört mir!
(Back to Actual Story Page)
This sentence from Reichsmarschall Göring is more or less the explanation
for the missing of any substantial support from the Luftwaffe for the U-boats.
"Everything that flies is mine" meens the total concentration of the Luftwaffe
supporting the Army in their operations.
The main tasks of maritime units of the Luftwaffe were coastal and sea reconnaisance, air-sea rescue, coastal patrol, and sea-mining and sea-minesweeping.
After the fall of France and the occupation of Norway some Kampfgeschwader (Bomber units) took part in anti shipping attacks. The most known units were the famous KG 40 with its Focke-Wulf 200 Condor, called as the scourge of the Atlantik and the KG 26 and KG 30 with their convoy attacks on the north cape lane.
What was left for the U-boats? Aufklärergruppen (reconnaissance-units), Küstenfliegerverbände (Coastal-flyer-units), Seeaufklärungsgruppen (See-reconnaissance-units) did their duty in controlling the the coastal waters and were searching for convoys. Seenotstaffeln could be sent out for rescue-purposes. Concentrated co-operation between the german navy and the Luftwaffe or support was never achieved. All attempts were more or less patchwork to keep the OKM silent.
MARITIME UNITS OF THE GERMAN LUFTWAFFE IN WWII
The maritime units (or better units with maritime tasks) of the german Luftwaffe can be divided in the following groups:
Aufklärergruppe 125 (See) Aufklärergruppe 126 (See) Aufklärergruppe 127 (See)
Fernaufklärungsgruppe 5 Aufklärungsgruppe 122 Aufklärungsgruppe 124
|Küstenfliegergruppe 106||Küstenfliegergruppe 406||Küstenfliegergruppe 506|
|Küstenfliegergruppe 606||Küstenfliegergruppe 706||Küstenfliegergruppe 806||Küstenfliegergruppe 906|
|Seeaufklärungsgruppe 125||Seeaufklärungsgruppe 126||Seeaufklärungsgruppe 127||Seeaufklärungsgruppe 128|
|Seeaufklärungsgruppe 129||Seeaufklärungsgruppe 130||Seeaufklärungsgruppe 131|
Kampfgeschwader 26 Kampfgeschwader 30 Kampfgeschwader 40 Kampfgeschwader 100 Kampfgruppe 126
|Seenotstaffeln||Bordfliegergruppe 196||Trans-Ozean-Staffel||Sonderkommando Mausi|
|Minensuchgruppe 1||Flieger-Erg. Gruppe (See) Kamp||Erg.Küstenfliegerstaffel||Aufklärerkette Lappland (no futher informations)|
(all units which are formatted in larger letters are displayed on the Order of Battle)
To give an overview of the disorganisation of the maritime units and their
dislocation over all Luftflotten the following Order of Battle of the 22.
June 1941 can be inspected.
Blue icons have maritime units in. Green icons lead to the unit description. Just click on the icon.
Order of Battle for the Luftwaffe
Looking at the pages, lists and units above might lead to a wrong conclusion. All what was documented above looks very impressive, both in number of units and airplanes but some things have to be taken in notice:
Ressources and links
The history of the development of this page is a little bit strange. I was tinkering on my main-pages for the Wolfpack-list trying to write something about the low air support which was given from the Luftwaffe to the U-boats. As a first approach I tried to get informations about the types which were used for maritime use and I found:
extraordinary web-page from Bert Hartmann, where all types of german
airplanes in WWII are described. (And much more!)
Mainly all informations about the airplanes and even the page design is harvested from him.
I was surprised about the many types of planes which were obviously for martime
use only, but also about the planes which saw service as torpedo-bomber or
reconaissance planes. So the Germans had a lot of planes which were able
to support the U-boats. Why the hell did they not do it?
As already said, the german navy had no own airplane unit, but an organisation of these airplanes in Luftwaffe units could have given good support.
The answer was delivered by the page:
The Luftwaffe, 1933-45, another outstanding exemplar of a web-page from Michael Holm. All ground and flying units of the Luftwaffe are displayed and again much more. So I took his information and pages for the unit descriptions.
I found over 30 units dealing with aspects of maritime warfare and was total confused about their organisation in the great german Luftwaffe. The answer gave the page:
World War II Armed Forces -- Orders of Battle and Organizations from Dr. Leo Niehorster (Page does not more exist). The Order of Battle from the 22th. June of 1941 showed the dislocation of the maritime units of the Luftwaffe. It is obvious to see, why a concentrated air support for the U-boats was not possible simply to administrative reasons.
At the end I was looking for an easy identification of the units. Also, the pages were overloaded with text-informations and I was looking for some variation for the eyes. What I found was:
Luftwaffe Emblems 1937-1945;from Les Butler (Page does not more exist). Another great site showing nearly all emblems of Luftwaffe units during WW II.
So what did I do at the end? Like working with a box of bricks I took from every of these pages the extracts I could use to give a more detailled overview of these mostly overseen units and the reason why they failed to support the U-boats as needed.
The comparison with a kid tinkering with a box of bricks is a very good one,
because like a kid I was not able to do anything without the help of the
persons which made the bricks. These pages are mainly their work. I was the
one who took the informations together.
So, a great thanks to all of them at this point!