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HITLER'S AIR BRIDGES: The Luftwaffe's Supply Operations of the Second World War

HITLER'S AIR BRIDGES: The Luftwaffe's Supply Operations of the Second World War
by Degtev, Dimitry


The Luftwaffe's transport aircraft played a vital role in supplying German forces in every WWII theater.

In early May 1940, the battle of Norway was nearing its climax, but General Eduard Dietl's 3rd Jager division was blocked by the Allies in the Narvik area. Only the Luftwaffe could provide effective assistance to the encircled troops. The special purpose groups KGr.zbV107 and KGr.zbV108 were ordered to supply the division by air. Transports delivered ammunition, food, and other supplies for German sailors who found themselves on land.

This was the first of a number of occasions in which the Luftwaffe's transport Gruppen, often equipped with the slow, but reliable Junkers 52, created an air bridge to supply troops cut off or surrounded by the enemy. The transport Gruppen had previously been involved in supporting the advance of German forces during the Polish campaign, this being followed by the capture of Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Greece.

During Operation Barbarossa, German troops were dispersed over the vast expanses of Russia. It was a country without roads where the normal supply by trucks and trains to the troops was difficult and sometimes impossible. Often, it was only the Luftwaffe's transport aircraft that kept the Germans fighting.

But with Hitler's insistence that there should be no retreat despite the overwhelming strength of the Soviet forces, his Germans armies found themselves surrounded and the Luftwaffe had to create air bridges to supply the beleaguered troops. Nowhere was this more evident than the Battle of Stalingrad, Goering having convinced Hitler that the Luftwaffe was capable of keeping the Sixth Army supplied.

As the war increasingly turned against the Third Reich, air bridges were vital in supporting and maintaining its garrisons in places such as Demyansk, Holm, Korsun, Budapest, Breslau, and many others.

1 vol, 296 pgs 2022 UK, AIR WORLD
NEW-dj, available early January 2023 ......$43.00 rct

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Updated as of 9/21/2023

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