The Defence of the Reich (German: Reichsverteidigung) is the name given to the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe over German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. Its aim was to prevent the destruction of German civilians, military and civil industries by the Western Allies. The day and night air battles over Germany during the war involved thousands of aircraft, units and aerial engagements to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign. The campaign was one of the longest in the history of aerial warfare and with the Battle of the Atlantic and the Allied Blockade of Germany was the longest of the war. The Luftwaffe fighter force defended the airspace of German-occupied territory against attack, first by RAF Bomber Command and then against the U

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dbo:abstract
  • The Defence of the Reich (German: Reichsverteidigung) is the name given to the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe over German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. Its aim was to prevent the destruction of German civilians, military and civil industries by the Western Allies. The day and night air battles over Germany during the war involved thousands of aircraft, units and aerial engagements to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign. The campaign was one of the longest in the history of aerial warfare and with the Battle of the Atlantic and the Allied Blockade of Germany was the longest of the war. The Luftwaffe fighter force defended the airspace of German-occupied territory against attack, first by RAF Bomber Command and then against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). In the early years, the Luftwaffe was able to inflict a string of defeats on Allied strategic air forces. In 1939, Bomber Command was forced to operate at night, due to the extent of losses of unescorted heavy bombers flying in daylight. In 1943, the USAAF suffered several reverses in daylight and called off the offensive over Germany in October. The British built up their bomber force and introduced navigational aids and tactics such as the bomber stream that enabled them to mount larger and larger attacks with an acceptable loss rate. However, the USAAF introduced the P-51 Mustang, a fighter capable of escorting the USAAF bombers to and from their targets in daylight. With new fighter tactics, the Eighth Air Force gained air supremacy over Nazi Germany by the spring of 1944 against the Luftwaffe. American strategic bombing raids in June-July 1944 seriously damaged twenty-four synthetic oil plants and sixty-nine refineries, which brought 98% of all of Germany’s aviation fuel plants to halt and dropped monthly synthetic oil production to 51,000 tons. After these attacks, recovery efforts in the following month could only bring back 65% of aviation fuel production temporarily. In the first quarter of 1944, Nazi Germany produced 546,000 tons of aviation fuel, with 503,000 tons came from synthetic fuel by hydrogenation. Aviation fuel stock reserves had since dropped by 70% in April 1944, to 370,000 tons in June 1944, and to 175,000 tons in November. Chronic fuel shortages, severe curtailment of flying training and further accelerated deterioration in pilot quality steadily decreased the Luftwaffe's effective fighting capabilities in the last months. By the end of the campaign, American forces claimed to have destroyed 35,783 enemy aircraft and the RAF claimed 21,622, for a total of 57,405 German aircraft claimed destroyed. The USAAF dropped 1.46 million tons of bombs on Axis-occupied Europe while the RAF dropped 1.31 million tons, for a total of 2.77 million tons, of which 51.1 percent was dropped on Germany. In addition to the direct damages incurred by Germany's industry and air force, the Wehrmacht was forced to use millions of men, thousands of artillery pieces, and hundreds of millions of shells in a desperate attempt to halt American-British Combined Bomber Offensive. From January 1942 to April 1943, German arms industry grew by an average of 5.5% monthly, and by summer 1943, the systematic attack against German industry by Allied bombers, brought the overall armament production — during the period of May 1943 to March 1944 — to a complete halt. At the ministerial meeting in January 1945, Albert Speer noted that, since the intensification of the bombing began, 35 percent fewer tanks, 31 percent fewer aircraft and 42 percent fewer lorries were produced as planned and as a direct result of the bombing. The German economy had to switch vast amount of resources away from equipment for the fighting fronts and assign them instead to combat the bombing threat. The intensification of night bombing by the RAF and daylight attacks by the USAAF added to the destruction of a major part of the German's industries and cities, which caused the economy to collapse in the winter of 1944–45. By this time, the Allied armies had reached the German border and the strategic campaign became fused with the tactical battles over the front. The air campaign continued until April 1945, when the last strategic bombing missions were flown and it ended upon the capitulation of Germany on 8 May. (en)
dbo:causalties
  • 79,265 American airmen
  • 79,281 RAF Bomber Command personnel
  • *18,000 American aircraft
  • *22,000 RAF Bomber Command aircraft
  • 40,000 aircraft destroyed
dbo:combatant
  • Slovakia
  • Other Allies
dbo:commander
dbo:date
  • 1939-09-04 (xsd:date)
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dbo:result
  • Allied victory
dbo:strength
  • * 4,157 105mm Flak 38/39 and 128mm Flak 40 guns
  • *10,930 88mm Flak 18/36 and Flak 37 guns
  • *30,463 20mm Flak 30/38 and 37mm Flak 43 guns
  • Ground-based, Mid-1944:
  • Personnel: 1,110,900
  • 1,612 light flak gun batteries:
  • 2,655 heavy flak gun batteries:
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  • 2019-10-22 19:43:09Z (xsd:date)
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  • 2019-10-22 19:42:30Z (xsd:date)
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  • The Defence of the Reich (German: Reichsverteidigung) is the name given to the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe over German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. Its aim was to prevent the destruction of German civilians, military and civil industries by the Western Allies. The day and night air battles over Germany during the war involved thousands of aircraft, units and aerial engagements to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign. The campaign was one of the longest in the history of aerial warfare and with the Battle of the Atlantic and the Allied Blockade of Germany was the longest of the war. The Luftwaffe fighter force defended the airspace of German-occupied territory against attack, first by RAF Bomber Command and then against the U (en)
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  • Defence of the Reich (en)
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  • Defence of the Reich (en)
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