German wonder weapons: degraded production and effectiveness
Todd J. Schollars
World War II was the greatest conflagration this planet has ever known. It started as a few hegemonic nations annexing territory for economic reasons, then became an ideological battle between right and wrong, and finally ended in a battle of survival for Germany. Facing the Allies' unconditional surrender demands, the Germans combined fervent ideology, a powerful industrial base, and cutting-edge technology to produce weapons to stave off the Allied tide. The effort was mostly concentrated in developing air weapons, where Germany tried, and ultimately failed, to meet the dual and competing needs of strike and air defense. Germany developed several wonder weapons to overcome Allied quantitative superiority. Some of these weapons were obviously flights of fancy, while others served as the basis for many US and Soviet weapon systems in the Cold War. German wonder weapons were a cut above anything the Allies had, yet they were not able to change the tide of war because there were not enough of them on operational status. This fact generates two questions. First, why couldn't the Germans produce and deploy their advanced technology in any effective numbers? Second, if German wonder weapons had reached the front in quantity, would they have made a difference in the war's outcome?
The Wonder Weapons
Germany produced a large number of high technology weapons during World War II. However, unlike the Allies' atomic bomb, electronic warfare, or Norden bombsight, the Germans were unable to reap benefits from their investment.
The Messerschmitt Me 262 is, along with the V1 and V2, the best known of Germany's wonder weapons. It could fly at more than 540 miles per hour (compared to the P-51's 437 miles per hour); had an operational ceiling of 37,000 feet; and packed a punch with its four heavy, fast-firing 30-millimeter MK 108 cannon concentrated in the nose. (1) It was so far advanced beyond other fighters that General Adolf Galland, commander of Luftwaffe fighters, declared on his first flight, "It felt as if an angel was pushing." (2) The technology behind this superb aircraft was the turbojet engine, which produced more power than piston engines and created less drag than a propeller. The amazing performance of the turbojets shocked Allied aircrews when they first saw the Me 262. It could easily outrun escort fighters, allowing Luftwaffe pilots to dictate the terms of combat. This was especially important for overcoming the Allies' quantitative advantage. Once they were in close, they could deliver devastating fire from their cannon and rocket armament; only a few hits could bring down a heavy bomber. (3) The Me 262 clearly made Allied air leaders nervous because it represented the potential for Germany to regain air superiority. However, the aircraft was not without problems.
Berlin, 25 May 1943
Most esteemed Herr Generalfeldmarschall!
On Saturday, the 22nd of the month, I tested the Me 262 at Augsburg in the presence of Oberst Petersen and other persons from the Technical Office. I would have preferred to report personally to the Generalfeldmarschall and also elaborate on other matters, however I was so occupied after my visit to Sicily that there was simply no time. The Reichmarschall has ordered me to report today.
Concerning the Me 262, I beg to state the following:
1) The aircraft represents an enormous leap forward, it would give us an unimaginable lead over the enemy if he adheres to the piston engine.
2) In-flight handling of the airframe is impressive.
3) The power plants are fully convincing, except during take-off and landing.
4) The aircraft offers entirely new tactical prospects.
I beg to submit the following proposal: The Fw 190D is under development, its performance should match the Me 209's in all respects. The performance of the two types, however, will not be superior to the enemy's models, particularly at altitude. The only progress seems to be in armament and higher speeds.
a) Me 209 be discontinued
b)Total fighter production to switch from the Fw 190 with BMW 801 to the Fw 190 with DB 603 and Jumo 213 respectively.
c) The construction and industrial capacities thus released to be concentrated on the Me 262, with immediate effect.
I shall report immediately on my return.
Heil Hitler! Herr Generalfeldmarschall your most obedient servant.
Fritz X guided bomb
With as few as 300 Me262 jet fighters we could, on any day, have shot down a minimum of 200 bombers. Over a week or two the daylight bombing of Germany would have been stopped.
~General Adolf Galland
Though some 1400 of Germany’s remarkable Me262 jet aircraft were built, fewer than 300 ever
saw action during its short 10 month combat career, the 550 mph fighter-bomber arriving
in service too late to make any impression on the course of the war.
The turbojets of the 1940s were still in their infant stage and required delicate care from pilots and maintenance personnel alike. Any sudden throttle movements could cause an engine flameout, resulting in deceleration and a lengthy engine restart--not ideal when a pilot was in combat. The high speeds made formation flying difficult, complicating the concentrated attacks essential to breaking up bomber formations. (4) Both these limitations required highly experienced pilots, something Germany would find in short supply late in the war. Additionally, maintaining the Junkers Jumo 004 engine was time-consuming and needed considerable skill, also in short supply. Each engine had a life of about 15 to 25 hours before needing replacement, (5) creating both maintenance and logistics supply headaches. Rarely did an Me 262 Geschwader (wing with 60 to 90 aircraft) have more than 16 serviceable aircraft for a mission. (6) Even with these problems, the Me 262 was still a potential war winner, if not for production and operational obstacles.
Germany was an early pioneer of air-to-air and air-to-ground rockets and missiles. One of the simplest, yet most effective was the R4M unguided rocket. The Me 262 could carry 24 of these small, simple, easy-to-produce weapons. Their size belied their strength: fired from outside the range of American .50 caliber defensive guns, one R4M had "indescribable efficiency--firing a salvo would hit several bombers--one rocket would kill them." (7) The attacks had the added benefit of breaking up bomber formations, making them more vulnerable to other Luftwaffe fighters. R4Ms also had the same ballistic characteristics as the MK 108 cannon, meaning the Me 262 could use the same sight for both weapons. (8) A more advanced weapon was the X-4, a fin stabilized, liquid propellant, air-to-air missile, having a speed of 600 miles per hour and a range of 3.7 miles. After firing it from an Me 262 or Focke-Wulf Fw 190, the pilot would guide it to the bomber target via a wire connecting the missile and launching aircraft. Then the missile would detonate on impact or with an acoustic fuze. (9) The guidance system had the major disadvantage that the pilot could not maneuver his airplane while guiding the X-4, a serious problem considering Allied escort fighters. Germany was developing an acoustically guided version, using a type of sonar to reach the target and explode, but the war ended before it was ready. Had the Germans deployed the R4M or X-4 in significant numbers, it could have dented the Allied bomber offensive. Moreover, since the Luftwaffe was primarily a striking force, German scientists did not confine themselves to air-to-air missiles.
Germany developed two air-to-ground guided weapons during World War II, both used primarily to stem the tide of Allied shipping crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The first was the Henschel Hs 293--a 1,100-pound bomb with 10-foot wings, a tail, and a liquid rocket engine. The launching aircraft would fire the Hs 293 from outside the target ship's antiaircraft range (possible with the bomb's rocket), then remote control it via radio during its terminal glide to impact. The Hs 293 only impacted at 450 miles per hour, so it had less penetrating power than conventional bombs and was effective only against merchant ships. (10)
The Germans overcame the penetration problem with the Fritz X guided bomb. This weapon did not have any propulsion. Rather, the aircraft dropped it as a normal bomb, then the bombardier guided its steep descent by radio remote control. (11) Both the Fritz X and Hs 293 had spectacular success, but Allied defenses overcame these weapons because of limitations cited later. Interestingly, the primary carrier of both weapons was the Heinkel He 177, a bomber whose serviceability greatly limited the bombs' employment, indicating Germany's integration problems.
The Germans also used rockets to propel their fighters. Two specific rocket fighters stand out as examples of what Germany was first able to design, then what shortages drove them to implement. First, the Me 163 was a high-performance interceptor. It relied on its flying wing design and single Walter R II-203 rocket engine to produce astonishing performance. It could reach more than 620 miles per hour and climb to 20,000 feet in a little more than 2 minutes. Allied fighters could not touch it, and it presented bomber gunners with a near impossible leading aim calculation. Like the Me 262, however, its propulsion system was not perfect. The fuels were hard to manufacture, extremely corrosive, and would explode if not properly mixed. (12) Further, two of the fuel tanks were beside the cockpit; any vapor or liquid leaks were life-threatening to the single pilot. The rocket burned more than 18 pounds of fuel per second, giving it not much more than 100 seconds of total burn time before the Me 163 became a vulnerable glider. Therefore, while it was a good basic design, lack of further development made the Me 163 operationally ineffective.
The second German rocket fighter was driven purely by economic and pilot shortages. The Bachem (Ba) 349 Natter launched vertically, climbed at more than 15,000 feet per minute, then flew at 600 miles per hour into the Allied formations, where it released its noseful of unguided rockets. Once its fuel was spent, the Natter glided back to base where the pilot ejected himself and the rocket engine--both then parachuted to earth. (13) The reason for this event was threefold. First, the aircraft structure was cheap and made of noncritical materials, so it could be disposed of. Second, the rocket was difficult to manufacture, so it needed to be saved. German engineers also knew that the shock of landing was likely to detonate any residual fuel, with dire results for the engine and pilot. Finally, the Natter was designed for inexperienced aviators. Since the vertical takeoff required no skills and landings were not attempted, pilot training could concentrate on intercepting the enemy. (14) This was clearly an extreme circumstance brought on by Germany's desperate situation late in the war.
The final wonder weapons of note were the V1 and V2 rockets, likely the best known of any German weapons. The V1 or Vergeltungswaffe (vengeance weapon) 1 was the world's first cruise missile. It employed a novel pulse jet engine (which made a distinctive sound, hence the name buzz bomb) and short wings to carry its 1,874-pound warhead to targets up to 150 miles. (15) While the overall idea was advanced, the V1 was actually unguided and flew a straight course until its primitive range-setting device locked the controls and crashed the missile into whatever was below, detonating the V1's warhead. This obviously was not a precision-strike weapon, but it did kill 6,184 people in and around London. This is still a record number of cruise missile deaths, impressive considering the number the United States has launched in the last 13 years. (16) The V2 was a prewar project designed to attack targets beyond the range of artillery. It was an unguided ballistic missile and the forerunner of today's intercontinental ballistic missiles and tactical ballistic missiles (the Scud is a direct descendent). The 28,500-pound missile lifted its 2,200-pound warhead (17) in a ballistic trajectory, then plummeted to each at more than 2,200 miles per hour. (18) V2s were unstoppable after launch; the only way to halt them was bombing the factories or launch sites. V2s inflicted 2,754 deaths in London, Amsterdam, and Antwerp, a record that stood until the immense Scud exchanges of the Iran-Iraq wars. (19) The V1 and V2 were the only mass-produced and employed wonder weapons. As we will see later, there were several reasons why they were not able to produce the effects Germany needed to turn the tide of war.
It is evident the Germans developed air weapons without equal. However, their failure to mass-produce and deploy these weapons is a monument to what could have been. It is important to remember that while the air effort received the most attention, the Germans also developed land and submarine wonder weapons, all theoretically capable of providing the push Germany needed to overcome the Allies.
Production Problems: Why Germany Could Not Deploy the Wonder Weapons
Germany arose from the ashes of Versailles to become a huge economic power. Its industry, technology, and mass-production capacity led Europe and most of the world in the 1930s. So why could Germany not produce its wonder weapons in significant numbers? The problem was not capability. Rather, it was the restrictions and obstacles Germany placed on its industry that affected the production time line of extremely sensitive weapons. Four reasons behind Germany's lack of production are discussed here: political and military interference; the difficulty of mass producing advanced weapons; a lack of strategic vision; and finally, damage and dispersion resulting from the Allies' Combined Bomber Offensive. Any one of the reasons was enough to hamper generating high-technology arms; all four in concert were absolutely crippling.
Political interference was a great obstacle to producing weapon systems and was particularly fatal to advanced systems that required long development times. The political obstruction started early and at the top of the Nazi hierarchy. On 11 February 1940, Hitler canceled all development work that could not get aircraft to the front within 1 year. (20) Work stopped on a half dozen major projects, from jets to long-range bombers, all of which would have made the Luftwaffe more capable of fighting a lengthy war. When Germany became desperate for advanced weapons, its hurried response would produce aircraft that had not benefited from full development processes. So confident in early victory were Germany's leaders that they cut the legs out from under the Luftwaffe before the major war really started, denying it any chance of victory in a drawn-out conflict.
High-level conflicts marked the Nazi regime, as Hitler dueled with his advisors for control of the German military's strategic direction. Hitler cut through many of these disagreements by removing dissenters and consolidating power to himself. For example, he already had taken command of military operations when he took control of critical production programs. Although Hitler had a weak technical knowledge of aviation, (21) he realized the importance of jet engines and personally controlled jet engine allocation after June 1944. (22) His tight control took allocation away from production experts. The result was haphazard distribution to manufacturers and operational units, with a corresponding drop in production and aircraft in-service rates. Compounding Hitler's central control was his top officials' fear of or refusal to confront him on decisions they knew were wrong. At best, dissenters received Hitler's extreme verbal abuse, at worst, removal from office. By 1943, Hitler distrusted the Luftwaffe, and there were many cases of Hermann Göring's passively watching Hitler sow the seeds of his air force's destruction. (23) Even the outspoken Erhard Milch, chief of Luftwaffe production, took orders without objection. When Hitler uncanceled the Me 209 program in August 1943, Milch said, "But I have my orders. I am a soldier and must obey them." (24) He knew the restart would split Messerschmitt's production between an obsolescent fighter that would never see operational service (the 209) and a potential war winner (the 262). The best and most damaging example of this phenomenon is seen in the saga to produce the Me 262.
The Me 262 jet started development as a fighter and had capabilities far beyond contemporary piston engine aircraft. It was the top priority for production after Galland's first flight and subsequent endorsement. Milch canceled the Me-209 program to devote full attention to the new jet. However, Hitler interfered and restarted Me-209 production, largely out of fear of another failed advanced aircraft (such as the He 177) and its associated risk. There were already several problems with getting the Me 262 into production. Milch knew Hitler's decision to continue the Me 209 would take up space on Messerschmitt's assembly lines and delay operational employment of the Me 262 but went along, happy the Me 262 was still a fighter. (25) Unfortunately, Hitler's interference in the program had only started.
Hitler observed Me-262 demonstrations in December 1943 with several staff members, including Göring, Milch, and Galland. After seeing the Me 262, Hitler remarked, "I see the Blitz bomber at last! Of course, none of you thought of that!" Galland, referring to the plane's obvious fighter characteristics, remarked in his autobiography, "Of course, none of us had." (26) Milch actually went behind Hitler's back and continued developing the Me 262 as a fighter. When Hitler found out and confronted him at a meeting on 24 May 1944, Milch responded that the plane required extensive modifications and delays to become a bomber. Hitler exploded. "You don't need any guns. The plane is so fast it doesn't need any armor plate either. You can take it all out!" He then turned to the Luftwaffe's director of research, who responded that Messerschmitt could make the modifications without difficulty (actually, removing the guns and armor to make way for bombs would have changed the center of gravity so much Messerschmitt would have had to move the wings). Göring and Galland were so browbeaten, they remained silent, but Milch finally had enough, saying, "Even an infant could see it was a fighter." (27) Hitler fired him 2 weeks later. Thus, Hitler's meddling and his highest advisors' ineffectiveness at objecting caused significant delays in a potential war-winning aircraft and led to the dismissal of his best aircraft production coordinator. The Me 262 would eventually become a fighter but too late to be produced in numbers sufficient to wrest air superiority from the Allies. There were other systemic problems with producing the jet fighter, but Hitler's interference made it impossible for Messerschmitt to stick with a firm production schedule. This was only one of several obstacles that kept the wonder weapons out of the air.
High-level interference and bickering were not the only impediments to production. The Luftwaffe's officers contributed as well. Galland remembers rival fanatical groups within the officer corps, some more dedicated to Nazi idealism than actually producing an effective air force. This led to a crisis of trust and leadership, two elements on which depends the fighting strength of any unit. (28) Its result was no single voice speaking for the operational and strategic needs of the Luftwaffe; it also made it difficult for the Luftwaffe to present a united front to deflect high-level interference in weapons programs. Furthermore, we often remember the Luftwaffe as an honorable band of eagles. However, several pilots accepted checks from aircraft companies to endorse their products--planes that were often inferior? (29) This, combined with Göring's financial interest in several aviation factories, meant Germany based production choices on personal profit, rather than capabilities. Making inferior planes not only put the Luftwaffe further behind but also took assembly line space away from advanced projects. Military interference also played on a grander scale before the war even started by creating a war industry that could not meet the demands of mass production.
Germany's advanced technology production problems lay both in the character of the industry and pervasive military interference from project inception through delivery. First, German industry was craftsman-based to deliver very complicated weapons. (30) This was ideal for creating wonder weapons but made it nearly impossible to mass-produce them. Second, the armaments industry spread its capacity over several different specialized designs. Instead of a core of proven aircraft, German industry had 425 types, (31) once again hindering mass production and limiting the number of advanced aircraft produced. The reason behind this structure was military fastidiousness--the Wehrmacht liked working with specialized craftsmen because they could respond to the field's demands for weapon changes. (32) These changes did make the weapons more effective, but the constantly changing specifications made mass production impossible. No engineers or industrialists were consulted before making changes, (33) creating inefficiencies that further limited production. Finally, the Luftwaffe's first transformation came during the 1930s, when it could upgrade its equipment in peacetime. Conversely, the Allies had to transform early in the war; then stuck with late 1930's technology pushed to its limits, a huge production capacity overcame any qualitative shortfalls. However, Germany tried to transform to wonder weapons late in the war. Transitioning to a superior model in war actually can cause substandard combat readiness and degraded logistics as operators and maintainers learn to deal with new technology. (34) The result was German industry produced too little, too late, and actually decreased the Luftwaffe's capability.
Political obstacles, military interference, and an industry ill-equipped to make advanced weapons combined to hinder the wonder weapons' deployment. The cause of these problems was a complete lack of strategic vision, which prevented effective campaign planning and long-term weapons production. The lack of vision began at the highest levels and set a tone of short-range thinking that permeated the Luftwaffe, ultimately crippling its ability to prosecute any kind of strategic warfare. Göring was an extremely able fighter pilot. During World War I, he took command of Manfred von Richthofen's Jasta when the Red Baron died in action. However, Göring never gained the technical and logistical perspective needed to command an entire air force. (35) Before the war, he abandoned the 10-year prewar plan for a well-staffed and exercised strategic air force in order to attain short-term goals quickly. (36) The discarded plan included high-tech weapons, long-range strike aircraft, and the ability to put the German economy on a war basis before hostilities began. Even in early 1941, Göring could have pursued an aggressive program to increase German production but failed to do so. Luftwaffe military leaders also were more interested in active operations than preparing for the long term, because they desired tactical superiority at the expense of strategic readiness. This resulted from the massive catch-up game Luftwaffe personnel played between the wars and made the officers technocrats and operations experts with limited vision. They could not relate airpower to national strategy, and the resulting defects were fatal. (37) When losses outstripped production in 1942, the Luftwaffe finally demanded construction increases. By the time the numbers caught up, there were not enough aircrews to fly them. (38) The only vision Germany had was a fanatical desire for a technological breakthrough to turn the tide of war, (39) relying on a belief in German superiority rather than reasoned strategic planning. Their fanatical desires not only diverted resources from realistic weapons programs but also gave the Allies targets for the Combined Bomber Offensive--the final impediment to German wonder weapons production.
Göring chose such people to fill positions around him as mirrored his own personality; men who were self-centered, incompetent and accommodating. It was men like these who influenced the spirit and manner of the Luftwaffe. Often they possessed not the slightest knowledge of technical understanding of their jobs and held them only because they were friendly, congenial or hero-worshippers of Göring.
Any discussion of German weapons manufacturing difficulties is incomplete without considering the Allied bombing campaign. Basically, the Combined Bomber Offensive made an already bad situation untenable for manufacturing wonder weapons. The reader must understand the Combined Bomber Offensive did not stop aircraft production--in fact, more aircraft rolled off the lines in 1944 (39,807) than in any previous year (15,904 in 1942, 24,807 in 1943). (40) However, it caused many operational problems for the Luftwaffe, as we will see in the next section.
The Combined Bomber Offensive did cause two major problems with production, negating the impact of increased numbers. First, the bombing forced German industry to disperse, a measure contradictory to mass production. (41) Unlike America's huge aircraft plants like Willow Run, Germany had small factories in many places. While this made Allied targeting more difficult, it also hindered component integration. Different manufacturers also used different tolerances, meaning parts often did not fit together when assembled in the field. (42) Second, as soon as the Allies saw German wonder weapons in action, they were quick to find and strike the factories. After seeing Me 262s successfully attack a US bomber formation at 100 to 1 odds, General James H. Doolittle told Air Marshal Arthur Tedder, "Something must be done, and done quickly." (43)
The result was dedicated, systematic attacks on wonder weapon facilities. It is very difficult to mass-produce sensitive, technically advanced weapons with dispersed industry subject to intense bombing. Increased Allied pressure also caused heavy operational losses with which replacements could not keep pace. This attrition was the final explanation for why the Germans could not produce their wonder weapons in significant quantities and turn the war in their favor.
Operational Difficulties: Would the Wonder Weapons Have Made a Difference?
This article has shown the obstacles Germany faced that made wonder weapon mass production and deployment nearly impossible. Even so, it did get limited numbers of its advanced hardware into service. This section will examine whether or not additional weapons would have attained Germany's goals. We must consider both the equipment and other factors such as available crews, training, and the operational constraints imposed by the Luftwaffe's ineptitude and the Allies' air superiority actions.
The first questions we must ask are, were the wonder weapons really that advanced, and if so, were they practical? In many individual cases they were advanced beyond the Allies' equipment, but they were incomplete packages lacking systems integration to other technology. For example, the Me 262 had the devastating 30-millimeter cannon. However, it never reached its full potential because the world's best optics industry could not design a good gyro gunsight that would fit in the jet. (44) A few experienced pilots learned to overcome the deficiency, but increasing numbers of rookies could not, leading to poor combat performance of an otherwise devastating weapon system. Further, the advanced Me 163 quickly ran short of fuel, then glided back to base. Similarly, the Me 262 flew slowly in the landing pattern, and its sensitive jets precluded any sudden power increases. US fighter pilots knew this and, thus, overcame the rocket and jet menace by orbiting their airfields, waiting to bounce the vulnerable fighters returning to base. This, in turn, forced the Germans to use Fw 190Ds for combat air patrols over their fields, (45) further exacerbating the fuel shortage. The air-to-ground weapons likewise had their faults. After releasing the Fritz X or Hs 293, the bomber had to fly a predictable course at only 165 miles per hour until bomb impact, (46) making the lightly armed bombers easy prey for naval fighters. Therefore, while the German wonder weapons were sophisticated, the failure to integrate them into total weapon systems presented vulnerabilities easy for the Allies to exploit.
Me262s of JV44 returning to base in southern Germany, having come under attack from P-51 Mustangs of the 353rd Fighter Group. Almost out of fuel and ammunition, the Me262s have little option but to complete their landing sequence, hoping fervently they are not “bounced” by American fighters loitering in the area..
The advanced technology also presented maintenance headaches for Luftwaffe ground crews. The previous section showed how production problems led to limited spares fabrication and parts incompatibility. Additionally, the emphasis on producing great numbers of new aircraft meant manufacturers were unwilling to waste production line space on spare parts, including jet engines. (47) The result was lower in-service rates for aircraft, because without spare parts, damaged aircraft were not repaired. Instead, ground crews cannibalized what they needed to keep other planes in service. (48) Cannibalism invariably led to fewer and fewer operational aircraft. The following story shows the effect of these maintenance troubles. Galland visited JG-7 (Kommando Nowotny) to see the Me 262 in action. The wing's leader, 250-kill ace Major Walter Nowotny, wanted a maximum effort to show why the Luftwaffe needed more Me 262s. This maximum effort consisted of 4 planes out of a unit of 80 aircraft; 2 of the 4 subsequently broke before takeoff. US pilots, having overwhelming numbers, then shot down one of the two remaining aircraft when Nowotny's engines malfunctioned during the dogfight. (49) Germany thus had lost one of its best fighter leaders, who was flying the best aircraft of his career but was let down by a system that could not integrate and maintain it.
Resource shortages forced Germany to use lower technology to gain increased performance. Fuel scarcity led Messerschmitt to experiment with simple steam turbine engines that used 65 percent coal and 35 percent petrol to deliver 6,000 horsepower. (50) They used the Me 264 long-range bomber as a test bed but were not able to produce and integrate the efficient engines before the war ended. Junkers also developed the long-range Ju 390 and worked on a refueling version to take Ju 290 bombers across the Atlantic.
Even if the rumored Ju 390 flight to within 12 miles of New York is true, (51) this wonder weapon still could not hit America where it hurt--the industrial areas of the upper Midwest. The same would hold true had the airplane used the coal and petrol engines. Similarly, the He 162 jet fighter was another step back: its wooden construction used noncritical materials and unskilled labor. (52) Hitler Youth were the intended pilots, problematic considering the plane's tricky handling. Hitler considered the aircraft and pilots expendable to stop the Combined Bomber Offensive. Fortunately for the young crews, they never flew in combat. While these wonder weapons allowed Germany to concentrate more material and fuel on other projects, they contributed no real capabilities to the Luftwaffe.
The most salient reason the wonder weapons would not have given Germany any advantage was the decreasing skill and experience of Luftwaffe pilots by the time the advanced systems arrived. There were two main reasons for waning crew proficiency. First, many of the best pilots had been killed in action or rendered unfit for duty. Operational losses meant there were few Experten left in service. In fall 1944 alone, the Luftwaffe lost 12 pilots with 1,146 kills among them. (53) This not only decreased Germany's combat capability but also meant there were few old hands left to pass on hard-won knowledge to the new pilots. Most had been flying since 1939-1940 (some even had Spanish Civil War experience), giving them unmatched combat experience. However, the lengthy combat time placed a tremendous physical and psychological stress on them. Indeed, Galland noticed the lack of fighting spirit, even in 1943, when he saw several fighters fire on bombers from too far away to be effective, then leave for home. (54) However, there were some pilots ready to fight, and the limited wonder weapons gave them the spirit to return to duty. When assembling his Me 262 wing, Jagdverband 44, Galland rounded up the most raffish, battle-hardened veterans, several from the pilots rest home. "Many reported without consent or transfer orders. Most had been in action since the first day of the war, and all had been wounded. The Knights Cross, so to speak, was the badge of our unit. Now after a long period of technical and numerical inferiority, they wanted once more to experience the feeling of air superiority. For this, they were ready once more to chance sacrificing their lives." (55) Unfortunately for them, there were far too few pilots and even fewer superior weapons, those being not advanced enough to matter. Germany had again failed those who served her so well.
The second reason for the decreasing pilot skill was the poor state of the replacement program. Starting early in the war, the Luftwaffe's faith in early victory kept it from increasing the frontline force, so there was no pressure to raise training output. (56) When heavy losses set in, there was no reserve from which the Luftwaffe could draw. Later, when it realized it needed replacements quickly, the Luftwaffe lowered training time to only 112 hours, with 84 percent of the time spent in basic aircraft instead of high-performance combat types. (57) This was half the time Allied pilots received. The air force also converted bomber crews to fighters, but the 20 hours' training they received was not enough to prepare them for the rigors of outnumbered fighter combat. Hitler even ordered all fighter groups on the Eastern Front to send two of their best pilots to the Reich's defense forces, (58) making the German lack of air superiority in Russia even worse. Finally, the Combined Bomber Offensive created a fuel shortage, leading to training curtailment as early as 1942. (59) Lack of fuel decreased instruction flights, further reducing new pilot skill and experience. All the above meant pilots arriving at the front were not skilled enough to handle basic aircraft, much less employ the highly sensitive wonder weapons (Galland relates how even his veteran pilots had trouble lining up for kill shots in the very fast Me 262). (60) This happened at the time Allied pilots were becoming more numerous and better trained as a result of combat veterans rotating home to instruct new pilots. Allied pilots also were becoming more experienced because of lower combat losses and were flying more aircraft of the same caliber as most German fighters. As the Luftwaffe's losses mounted, it closed the advanced schools, then the basic schools, moving the pilots and aircraft to operational units. (61) Replacements stopped just when the wonder weapons were arriving in numbers. Therefore, even with larger numbers of advanced aircraft, the Luftwaffe did not have the crews to fly them, negating their potential effect on the war's outcome.
Several operational reasons kept the wonder weapons, even in greater numbers, from changing the course of the war. Most of these explanations arose from Allied air superiority and the Combined Bomber Offensive's incessant attacks on German industry and transportation. The struggle for air superiority in 1944 made the Luftwaffe commit 82 percent of its manpower and aircraft to defending the Reich. (62) While this estimate seems high, it does reveal how Germany had to retain forces to protect itself. Further, several wonder weapons, such as the Me 163, were point defense weapons. They were effective defenders but were incapable of extending air superiority over Allied territory or protecting the German Army from Allied close air support and interdiction. Lack of air superiority also meant the Luftwaffe could not conduct offensive operations. This left Germany with no route to victory, as the Allies' goal of unconditional surrender meant Germany could not play a defensive waiting game. Last, defending Germany used many weapons that would have been useful for ground defense and offense. For example, the Luftwaffe employed 10,000 88-millimeter guns as antiaircraft artillery; these guns were also the most effective antitank cannons of the war. Moreover, 500,000 people manned the air defense system, depriving Germany of needed ground troops and factory workers. (63) Hence, wonder weapons in sufficient quantity would provide adequate defense but would not have enabled Germany to go on the offensive and push the Allies away from its borders. As it was, Allied close air support and interdiction left Germany no avenue to overcome the numerical superiority of US and British ground forces.
Allied interdiction and the ground offensive also kept the wonder weapons from making a meaningful contribution. Allied armies overran many of the Luftwaffe's front-line airfields after the D-day invasion, forcing the Germans farther to the rear. Their subsequent operations from unprepared fields caused lower serviceability, so the Luftwaffe could not meet Allied quantitative superiority with higher intensity operations. (64) Relatedly, Ultra intelligence revealed German movement plans and allowed the Allies to attack Luftwaffe ground units en route to their new airbases. (65) This prevented supplies, parts, and mechanics from arriving to service their airplanes. Finally, the Allies' dedicated attacks on German transportation, especially the railroads, kept new aircraft components from reaching their assembly points (necessary because of the dispersed factories discussed previously). They also destroyed completed aircraft before they could reach combat units. (66) The wonder weapons were no exception--the Allies knew their value and were intent on killing the airplanes on the ground instead of facing them in the air. Consequently, wonder weapons in greater numbers would not have had the chance to become operational. If they had, they would be starved for gas; lacking pilots; operating from bases with no ground support; and thus, incapable of making a difference.
History shows that superior aircraft did reach operational units. However, there were employment problems that would have increased had Germany deployed more of the advanced aircraft. First, Hitler was overtly hostile to any defensive measures. This, combined with his control of advanced production, meant fighter and antiaircraft deployments were piecemeal. Hitler believed a more effective defense was to meet terror with terror, causing him to deploy his new weapons in less than optimal ways. (67) Once airborne, the defenders did have the benefit of aircraft acting as airborne command posts to coordinate attacks. (68) However, it was only a local measure and did not affect the overall defense of Germany because it could not provide theater-wide situational awareness. Galland sums it up best: "We not only battled against technical, tactical, and supply difficulties, we also lacked a clear picture of the air situation, of the floods coming from the west--absolutely necessary for the success of an operation." (69) More wonder weapons inefficiently employed would not have improved the situation. They likely would have caused more confusion for the limited C2 system coordinating attacks on the bomber forces.
The final reason for the ineffectiveness of the wonder weapons comes from their secretive development and combat employment. Except for Göring and Milch, the Luftwaffe did not know about the Me 262's development until it was already in advanced testing. (70) There was no way for the units to develop training or tactics for the new aircraft if the operators did not know the planes were coming. Often a pilot's first experience with the aircraft would be in combat, with less than optimal results. Additionally, when Galland set up his JV-44 jet fighter unit, it was not subordinate to anyone--many felt it had finally shaken the micromanagement that had ruined the program. However, Hitler would not allow JV-44 to have contact with other units, fearing their defensive mindset would contaminate strike units. (71) This isolation was an effective quarantine, meaning the best pilots could not share their skill and experience with other units, especially those trying to employ complex equipment with rookie crews. The new pilots then had little chance to improve except in one-sided combats with Allied fighters. Lack of tactics for the advanced aircraft and the moratorium on sharing expertise would have made more wonder weapons just as ineffective and would have given the Allied fighter pilots easier targets.
Messerschmitt Me262s of I/JG7 tear through a formation of
Avro Lancasters and Handley Page Halifaxes heading
for Hamburg on 31st March 1945
The Luftwaffe was unable to prove what it could have done with more wonder weapons, as production difficulties kept it from reaching the operational numbers that could have made a difference. Incompletely integrated technology, decreasing crew skill and experience, a deficient training program, and Allied attacks kept the advanced aircraft in service from effective operations. These problems would have handicapped greater numbers as well. Galland's comment at the war's end concludes it well. When his unit finally received Me 262s, he said:
But this was 1945! In the middle of our breakup, at the beginning of our collapse! It does not bear thinking what we could've done with jet fighters, 30-millimeter quick-firing cannons, and 50-millimeter rockets years ago, before our war potential had been smashed, before indescribable misery had come over the German people through the raids. (72)
Fortunately for the Allies, the wonder weapons did not arrive on the scene until it was too late to make their mark.
Vergeltungswaffe 2 (A-4)
The V1 and V2 Case
So far, we have seen several reasons why the wonder weapons would not have made a difference, even if Germany had deployed them in significant numbers. However, there is a case showing two wonder weapons Germany managed to develop, produce, and use in large quantities: the V1 cruise missile and V2 ballistic missile. This section will further prove the point that greater numbers of advanced armaments would not have made a difference by demonstrating how 35,000 V1s (73) and 10,000 V2s (74) could not change the war's outcome. The primary reasons were the missiles' technology, the theory behind their combat employment, and production interference. It is logical to assume the other wonder weapons would experience similar problems had Germany mass-produced them.
The first topic is numbers. As we saw earlier, Germany built 35,000 V1s and fired 9,200 of them, killing 6,184 people in England. (75) Likewise, 1,300 V2s hit England between October 1944 and March 1945, killing more than 2,700 and wounding 19,000. V2s had some success degrading Allied logistics with attacks on Antwerp but, on the whole, were another futile effort to turn the war in Germany's favor. Why couldn't huge numbers of these weapons make a difference, especially considering the V2 was unstoppable?
No other countries developed cruise or ballistic missiles during World War II. In fact, the United States and Soviet Union used both the V1 and V2 to create their own systems after the war. However, closer examination reveals the missiles had several of the other wonder weapons' problems: relatively low technology, little systems integration, and minimal reliability. To start, Allied fighters could easily catch the slow (400 miles per hour) V1s and shoot them down. If they were out of ammunition, a few pilots dared to tip the V1s over by placing their wing under the V1's wing and then flicking it up, causing the missile to spin out of control. (76) The British set up dedicated warning nets to detect the incoming V1s and then sent out interceptors. Royal Air Force (RAF) action thus dispatched 4,000 of the 9,000 V1s fired. (77) Interestingly, the British kept all their new Meteor jet fighters in England to deal with the missile threat. (78) However, this was not a victory for the wonder weapons, as the Meteors did not have the range to escort bombers and were not ground attack aircraft either (the Allies already had plenty of aircraft to cover those missions). Vulnerability to interception was not the V1's only problem. A greater fault afflicted it and the V2: lack of accuracy.
No. 616 Squadron received the Gloster Meteor jet fighter first and flew its first combat sorties on 27 July 1944 against V-1 buzz bombs. On 4 August 1944 came the first victory when Flying Officer T.D. Dean sent a V-1 buzz bomb diving out of control by tipping it with his wing after he discovered
his guns were jammed.
While the English could not shoot down the V2s, they and the V1s that penetrated the defenses were extremely inaccurate: V1s had a 12 kilometer of circular error probable (CEP), while V2s had a 6-kilometer CEP, (79) meaning only half the rounds fired fell in a circle with the CEP's radius. The reason was neither advanced system had a guidance computer. The V1 flew straight at a constant speed (the engine actually lost efficiency as it burned, keeping the missile at the same speed even though it was getting lighter as it burned fuel), (80) then plunged to earth after the primitive air log propeller in its nose had counted the appropriate number of rotations. Once the air log reached the preset number, it locked the V1's controls so it would dive into whatever was below. (81) The Army's V2 was designed as long-range artillery (82) and essentially lobbed its warhead beyond gunfire's range. Considering the problems of ballistics, highspeed reentry, and rocket efficiency variations from poor fabrication, it was lucky any V2s hit their targets. Even a simple guidance system would have made the missiles more accurate and, certainly, more a threat to Allied targets. These limitations point to the fact that the V weapons were not that technologically advanced--an issue that reduced their effectiveness.
The V weapons caused relatively few deaths or damage, especially compared to the Combined Bomber Offensive. Three reasons caused the lack of destruction. First, the horrendous accuracy made pinpoint attacks impossible. The Germans did develop a missile-mounted transmitter that stopped signaling when the V1 hit the ground, allowing corrections for the next shot. (83) The ever-resourceful British electronic-warfare teams countered this tactic, spoofing the signal to make the weapons miss by even more. (84) Second, both missiles had very short range: the V1 required launch sites in Holland, with the V2s not much farther back. Even that close to England, the missiles could not reach the heavy industrial areas. Once the Allies liberated Holland, then the rest of Western Europe, the missiles had no way to reach their targets. The only exception was He-111-launched V1s (the first air-launched cruise missiles), which were impractical because of Allied air superiority. (85) Third, the Allies knew well the capabilities of the V1 and V2, capabilities that would increase if Germany could improve the missiles' guidance. The RAF and the US Army Air Forces also knew where the Germans built and launched the weapons and subjected the installations to unrelenting attack. Once again, the Combined Bomber Offensive created a final obstacle for wonder weapons and made a system that was not making a difference completely useless. With their inherent problems, why then did Germany focus so many resources on building and launching the V weapons? The answer lies in the unique political and military views of the Nazi party.
The lack of accuracy did not bother the Nazis, as the weapons' main purpose was terror, a goal that denied the Germans any chance of effectiveness. Hitler believed they were the decisive weapons that would bring him ultimate victory by destroying England and the Allies' will to fight. (86) Had Hitler looked at his own people, he would have seen the Combined Bomber Offensive's tremendous destruction had not broken their spirit, (87) even under daily attacks that dwarfed the entire VI and V2 campaigns. In addition, he should have learned a lesson from the Battle of Britain, where his extreme efforts could not touch the English spirit. While the V weapons did cause psychological strain, (88) the V1 counter campaign actually had a solidifying effect on British morale. The population eagerly tracked the operation's progress, hailing each interceptor's kill, especially the tippers. (89) England had no counter for the V2, but the people soon realized the low threat from the inaccurate missile, seeing it could only strike populated areas. They had dealt with terror raids before, and with the war going the Allies' way, they saw the V2s for what they were: weapons that could terrorize but not effectively hurt the Allies. Therefore, Hitler's purpose for employing the V1 and V2 actually helped the Allies' cause. At the same time, the weapons hurt Germany's chances for developing other wonder weapons.
The V weapon programs impaired other advanced projects by consuming vast resources and manpower that Germany could have used to make effective armaments. When Hitler saw a V2 demonstration film on 7 July 1943, he directed that the program receive whatever labor and materials it needed. The program cost more than 5 billion Reichsmarks and absorbed tens of thousands of workers (many of them slaves, an additional factor in the poor workmanship)--enough to have produced 24,000 aircraft. (90) The effort compromised the rest of Germany's war economy and prevented programs from having real strategic worth. One such weapon was the Hs-117 radio-controlled surface-to-air missile, (91) something the Germans needed to counter the Combined Bomber Offensive. The resource expenditure did not stop with the basic missile. Germany pursued two extreme measures to improve the weapons.
First, it developed a manned V1 much like the Japanese Ohka kamikaze rocket plane. Unlike the Japanese, the Germans found few volunteers to man the aircraft, even after a test program led by famous pilot Hanna Reitsch. (92) One can predict the program would have improved accuracy but would have resulted in many deaths from Allied interception before the missiles reached their targets.
In 1943, after the Allies began to step-up their devastating around-the-clock bombing campaign over Germany's cities, Flugkapitän Hanna Reitsch proposed to Hitler and Göring
to create an all-female fighter defense squadron. Many qualified female pilots were already ferrying fighters, later including the new Me-262 jet fighter, but the war ended before
Reitsch's proposal could become a reality.
The second scheme involved a Type XXI submarine (another wonder weapon) towing a V2 that rode in an underwater launch center to its liftoff point near the US east coast. (93) Although the designers knew it would have minimal accuracy, they justified the expenditure by saying the weapon's harassing effect would have strategic and political results. Germany produced one of these weapons in the 5 months preceding the war's end but never used it. These problems highlight Germany's complete lack of strategic vision and judgment of what made a successful weapon. The same problems would have affected the other wonder weapons had they reached mass production and deployment.
The V weapons were the only wonder weapons that saw mass production and employment yet had insignificant effect on the war's outcome. The basic problems of integration, poor accuracy, futilely striking morale, and wrongly prioritized expenditures made these wonder weapons, at best, useless, and, at worst, a war loser for Germany. We can see the same problems affecting the other advanced projects as well, showing again what little effect they would have, even in large numbers. In the final analysis, the wonder weapons only promoted the fantasy of the next technological breakthrough that would change the war. (94) This fantasy was at the expense of practical weapons that could have given the Luftwaffe and Germany a real chance at victory.
Relevance for Today: The US Defense Transformation
Examining the past for historical interest is fine, but it has true value when one applies it to similar events happening today or that could happen in the near future. Adapting a common phrase, one can see that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it or, at least, will miss opportunities. World War II Germany attempted to transform its war effort with technology but did not have the strategic vision, operational integration, or production capacity to pull it off. One can easily draw a parallel between Germany's efforts and the current US transformation employment. This section will examine the ongoing US military transformation with respect to producing technology, integrating it with other innovations and current weapon systems, then using it to execute national security strategy in a challenging world. Additionally, it will compare German efforts to do the same, showing the pitfalls on the way toward dominance in all phases of warfare.
Producing high technology has been America's trademark since World War II. During the Cold War, the United States counted on quality to defeat the Warsaw Pact's quantity. Whereas the Germans canceled all programs that could not be completed within 1 year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wants to cancel all projects that do not take the military to the next level. (95) This is a result of the US strategic orientation toward the long term, rather than focusing on near-term issues. However, the Department of Defense (DoD) must avoid going to the other extreme, because putting all its hope in next-generation weapons will be to the detriment of current and proven technology. Two reasons support this point. First, advanced technology is very expensive, making it difficult to replace combat losses. (96) The Luftwaffe demonstrated this lesson, and the DoD would be wise to learn it. Second, wars are now come as you are, leaving little time to develop new weapons to meet current threats--it could be disastrous to get caught between technological advancements. The key for producing technology is how the United States spends money. Germany could not control its wonder weapons' escalating costs, and it skewed the entire war economy. If the DoD cannot control the exponential cost growth in next-generation weapons, it could price itself out of the defense business altogether. The United States needs to make astute decisions regarding successor weapon systems, in some cases making ruthless choices to ensure it spends money in the right places to produce effective forces within a reasonable time. (97) Producing technology is important; more crucial is how the military integrates that technology into operations.
Germany failed to integrate its world-leading technology into effective weapon systems, leading to arms that were not as effective as they could have been. Component shortcomings, lack of aircrews, and maintenance problems contributed as well. The current DoD transformation has a better focus. According to Rumsfeld, transformation is more than building high-tech weapons. It is about finding new ways of thinking and fighting. The goal is not to transform within 1 year or even 10 years--it is an ongoing process. (98) While DoD works the process, it cannot assume new is always better, because integration will always limit high technology (99) until all weapon components are at the same development level. Additionally, a smaller force of less sophisticated weapons leaves more money for maintenance and upgrades. (100) A good example of this is the recent reduction in the B-l force, allowing the Air Force to upgrade the remaining bombers to be more effective against moving and time-critical targets. Relatedly, buying versatile weapons can bring down costs, improve integration, and increase effectiveness. The new push for an F/A-22 (vice an F-22) shows the Air Force is moving toward versatile platforms. (101) Integrating the technology is vital; equally crucial is taking care of the people who run the weapons. It would be a mistake for DoD to neglect training, retention, and services to pay for new weapons. Germany was unable to use its advanced aircraft for want of experienced aircrews. Current weapons are even more advanced and require the best people to make them effective when the military uses them.
Developing, producing, and integrating technology does no good unless the United States uses its transformed power in an effective way. There are four ways it can employ power to make the fullest use of the transformation. First, the services need clear concepts of operations (CONOPS) to guide both using the technology today and as a roadmap to the future. (102) Without thoroughly developed CONOPS describing how to employ new weapon systems to meet long-term goals, the DoD runs the risk of short-term thinking. The Air Force is pursuing eight CONOPS, covering everything from space to global strike and mobility, to realize its vision. (103) Second, the military must use a combination of old and new technology to get the job done. For example, Global Positioning System-guided munitions are superior high-accuracy weapons. However, they are much less effective without a man in the field using simple sighting equipment to find and pass target coordinates to orbiting aircraft. This supports the idea of not placing all hope in fantastic equipment. Third, while fighting the war on terror, the United States cannot become stuck in a defensive mindset like Germany did and lose its capability to strike its enemies. The Secretary of Defense and many other high-level government officials have stated the best defense against terror is a good offense, (104) an appropriate attitude that the United States has so far followed. Moreover, America should be realistic in planning to employ its power. The DoD has finally moved away from the two major wars scenario to a more realistic approach of fighting one major conflict while holding ground in other contingencies.(105) The DoD is doing this by replacing its Cold War threat-based approach with a capabilities-based view. This concept looks beyond current uncertain needs in order to maintain strategic flexibility and resistance to asymmetric surprise. (106) Thus, the capability-based approach directs readiness for the most likely military needs instead of preparing to counter threats that do not pose a realistic danger. Finally, the United States is strongly advocating effects-based operations (EBO). (107) These operations concentrate on achieving effects that will force the enemy to do our will, instead of just destroying targets that produce arbitrary effects. This requires the military to integrate all systems to find, target, and attack those centers of gravity that will make maintaining the status quo impossible for our adversaries. Attacks requiring pinpoint accuracy to eliminate collateral damage are tailor-made for advanced technology, but the United States must ensure it is hitting the right things. Germany squandered its ballistic and cruise missiles trying to attack British morale and ultimately did not attain its goal. The same fate awaits the United States if it does not do its homework to find those things that truly hurt its enemies.
Developing technology while not becoming over reliant on it, integrating advanced weapons to get full use out of all systems, and using the systems most effectively will allow the United States to avoid Germany's problems. Building a transformation to keep America ahead lets it fight on its terms and keeps enemies off balance and struggling to catch up. The United States must be ready for asymmetric threats and let other countries fantasize about finding their own wonder weapons to change their fortunes. If the DoD transforms correctly, it will not only be ready for them but also may even deter adversaries from using counter technologies against America.
We now know the dominant weapons on the battlefield are the ones that can be mass-produced, operated by motivated fighters, kept in action with spares and supplies, and used in concert with other weapons. (108) Ignoring the above advice in pursuit of superior weaponry courts disaster. In the words of General George S. Patton: "How easily people can fool themselves into believing wars can be won by some wonderful invention rather than by hard-fighting and superior leadership". (109) Nazi Germany possessed the technical prowess and industry to produce several wonder weapons during World War II. Its jet and rocket fighters, guided missiles, and cruise and ballistic missiles were all ahead of their time and superior to Allied armament. However, Germany could not transform its military into an effective force to stem the rising Allied tide for several reasons.
Germany's first significant problem was producing and deploying its wonder weapons. Many times, Nazi politicians interfered in projects, creating obstacles to efficient production. Further, the military itself played too large a role in design and production specifications, with changing demands making any kind of mass production nearly impossible. Corruption also played a role in keeping incompetent designs afloat, taking valuable production capacity away from truly useful projects. All this boiled down to a lack of strategic vision rising from the Germans' overconfidence in quick victory, a problem that plagued both weapons production and military operations. Finally, the Combined Bomber Offensive made an already horrible system untenable and was the straw that broke Germany's wonder weapons capacity.
Weapons are no good if a country cannot use them. Had Germany actually mass-produced its wonder weapons, it is doubtful they would have done any good. First, the weapons were not that advanced as systems because of German industry's failure to integrate them into total packages. Second, long-term pilot losses led to decreasing crew experience. This, combined with an inadequate training system, meant there were insufficient pilots to fly the wonder weapons. The Luftwaffe compounded the problem late in the war when it completely stripped its training units, sending all pilots and planes to fight. Third, Germany's focus on defense left it little capability to conduct offensive operations to truly hurt the Allies. When it did attack with its only mass-produced wonder weapons, the V1 and V2, it sought only terror effects. Its targeting mistake made the V missiles even more ineffective than their inherent inaccuracy dictated. Additionally, the missile program diverted enormous resources from other projects that could have dented the Allies' progress. In the end, the blade that cut through Poland, France, and the rest of Europe could not be sharpened by the wonder weapons and was ultimately too brittle to survive the exhausting conflict. (110) It dulled against the Allies' steel and concrete and was shattered in its turn, ending any chance of German victory.
The lesson Germany failed to learn is relevant today, as the United States moves to transform its military. We must heed the lesson that it is not enough to produce high technology with a short-term strategy. Instead, the United States must make careful choices on what to develop in the budget-constrained economy and fully integrate new weapons with the support systems and people on which they depend. Then it must effectively and realistically employ its transformed military to keep adversaries off balance. Producing, integrating, and employing new wonder weapons to strike targets for effects rather than brute destruction will bend adversaries to US will and allow the United States to attain its national security objectives. Germany lost the opportunity to become and remain a truly advanced power. America is totally dominant in many factors but must continue its ongoing transformation process to stay ahead and provide unmatched military effectiveness.
(1.) Bill Gunston, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Combat Aircraft of World War II. London: Salamander Books, Ltd, 1978
(2.) Generalleutnant Adolf Galland, The First and the Last, trans, Mervyn Savill, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1954.
(3.) Jeffrey L. Ethell and Alfred Price, The German Jets in Combat, London: Jane's Publishing Company Limited, 1979
(4.) Interrogation of Generalleutnant Galland, 16-18 Sep 45, typed transcript, 570.619A, in USAF Collection, Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell, AFB, Alabama, 2.
(5.) Interrogation of Hans Fay, test pilot for Messerschmitt, Me 262 jet-propelled aircraft and Me 163 rocket-propelled aircraft, 1 May 45, typed transcript, 170.2281-31, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 3.
(6.) Ethell and Price.
(7.) Galland, The First and the Last
(8.) Ethell and Price
(9.) The Diagram Group, Weapons, New York: St Martin's Press, Inc, 1980
(10.) Alfred Price, Luftwaffe Handbook 1939-1945, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1977
(12.) Ethell and Price
(13.) Interview of Dr Ing Hermann Lorenz (RLM), Information on Natter German Rocket Interceptor, 7 May 45, typed transcript, 170.2281-30, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, 1.
(14.) Joachim Dressel, Natter Ba-349, Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, 1994
(15.) Diagram Group.
(16.) James F. Dunnigan and Albert A. Nofi, Dirty Little Secrets of World War II, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc, 1994
(17.) Diagram Group.
(18.) Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett, A War to Be Won, Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1983.
(19.) Dunnigan and Nofi
(20.) David Irving, The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe: The Life of Field Marshal Erhard Milch, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1973
(21.) Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch, An Apologia for the Defeat and Deficiencies of the Luftwaffe, 15 Nov 45, 570.619B, in USAF Collection, Air Force Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 1. Milch states Hitler gained much of his aviation knowledge from his personal pilot, who was not much of an aviator or strategic expert. Hitler, not for the first time, trusted a close personal assistant instead of his true experts.
(22.) Galland, The First and the Last
(26.) Galland, The First and the Last
(28.) Galland, The First and the Last
(30.) Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1995
(34.) I. B. Holley, "Some Concluding Insights," Air Superiority, ed, B. Franklin Cooling, Washington DC, Center for Air Force History, 1994
(35.) Williamson Murray, Strategy for Defeat of the Luftwaffe 1933-1945. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air University Press, 1983
(38.) W.A. Jacobs, "Operation Overlord," Air Superiority, ed, B. Franklin Cooling, Washington, DC: Center for Air Force History, 1994 .
(40.) Murray and Millett
(43.) Galland, The First and the Last
(44.) Interrogation of General Lieutenant Galland, Special Weapons for Combating Four-Engined Bombers by Day with Single Engine and Twin Engine Fighters, 14 Sep 45, typed transcript, 570.619A, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 7. Ethell and Price cite similar information on pages 47 and 59, as does Perrett on page 253.
(45.) Hugh Morgan and John Weal, German Jet Aces of World War II , London: Osprey Publishing, 1998.
(46.) Interrogation of German PoWs, ADI (K) Report No 44A/1944. Hs 293 Radio Controlled Bomb,28 Dec 43, typed transcript, 512.6522, in USAF Collection. AFHRA, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 3. Report No 1534 in the same location gives information on the FX radio-controlled bomb, gathered from eyewitness accounts of an attack and examination of a crashed Do-217K-3 and unexploded FX bombs in England.
(47.) Interview of Reichsmarshal Herman Göring, no date, typed transcript 570.619, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
(48.) Stephen L. McFarland and Wesley Phillips Newton, "'The American Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany in World War II," Case Studies in Strategic Bombing, ed, R. Cargill Hall, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1998.
(49.) Morgan and Weal.
(50.) William Green, The Warplanes of the Third Reich. Garden City. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc, 1970
(52.) Bruce D. Callander, "The Jet Generations," Air Force Magazine, 85, 10, Oct 02, 70.
(53.) Geoffrey Perrett, Winged Victory, New York: Random House, 1993.
(55.) The Editors of Time-Life Books, The Luftwaffe, Alexandria, Virginia, Time-Life Books, 1982
(58.) McFarland and Newton
(62.) McFarland and Newton, 237. Overy (Why the Allies Won) also states that by Sep 44, 80 percent of the Luftwaffe fighter force was based in Germany for antibomber missions.
(63.) Murray and Millett
(66.) Murray and Millett
(70.) Morgan and Weal
(73.) John Keegan, The Second World War, New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc, 1989
(74.) Murray and Millett
(75.) Dunnigan and Nofi, Keegan cites similar numbers.
(76.) H.E. Bates, Flying Bombs Over England, Westerham, Kent, England: Froglets Publications Ltd, 1994
(79.) Dunnigan and Nofi
(81.) Interrogation of German PoWs, A.D.I. (K) Report No 2246, German Flying Bomb (no date, typed transcript, 512.6521, in USAF Collection, Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 1. Also contains information from examination of downed and captured V 1s.
(82.) Dunnigan and Nofi
(83.) War Department Memo, HQ AAF, German Pilotless Aircraft, 8 Jul 44, 142.0423-5, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
(85.) Crossbow report, Study: Flying Bomb and V2 Rocket, 8 Jan 45, 142.0423-4, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
(87.) Earl R. Beck, Under the Bombs, Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1986
(89.) Bob Ogley, Doodlebugs and Rockets, The Battle of the Flying Bombs, Froglets Publications Ltd, 1992
(91.) Report from Captured Personnel and Materiel Branch, US War Department Intelligence Division, Trends in Development of German Weapons for Countering Allied Bombers, 5 May 45, 170,2281-23, in USAF Collection, AFHRA, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. 2.
(92.) Dieter Holsken. V-Missiles of the Third Reich, the V1 and V2, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Monogram Aviation Publications, 1994
(95.) John A. Tirpak, "The Force Seeks a New Baseline," Air Force Magazine, 86, No 1, Jan 03
(97.) Benjamin S. Lambeth, The Transformation of American Air Power, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2000
(98.) Donald H. Rumsfeld, "Transforming the Military: Riding into the Future," National and International Security Studies, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air Command and Staff College, 2002.
(99.) "Long Arm of the Air Force," Air Force Magazine 85, No 10, Oct 02
(103.) HQ USAF XPXT, "The USAF Transformation Flight Plan, In Joint Force Employment, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air Command and Staff College, 2003
(106.) James G. Roche, "Transforming the Air Force," Joint Force Employment, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air Command and Staff College, 2003
(107.) Maj T. W. Beagle, "Effects-Based Targeting: Another Empty Promise?" in Air and Space Operations, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air Command and Staff College, 2002
(108.) Murray and Millett