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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Failure of the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Stalingrad




 In late winter of 1943 the German army under General Von Paulos was bottled in Stalingrad and was surrounded by the Russian army. At that time the top German general Staff officers led by Field Marshal Von Man stein suggested that the army of Von Paulos be allowed to break out and join forces with his army group. Hitler was against this and gave a decision that the German army would fight to the last man at Stalingrad.
 He was supported in this by Reich Marshal Goering the chief of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) who announced grandly that the German army bottled up in the Stalingrad salient would be supplied by air. For this he banked on an air bridge being created by the only 4 engine plane of the German air force the Focke Wulf 200. 
The Focke Wulf 200 also known as the Condor was designed by Dr. Kurt Tank for the German air line Lufthansa.
It was put to military use by Goering. The plane however had limitations in operation in extreme cold climate and when put to use for the Stalingrad air lift was a colossal failure.
The air bridge promised by Goering never took off and only a handful of Condors could land with supplies in the extreme cold and sub zero temperatures. In addition they suffered a tremendous attrition rate at the hands of the Russian air force. Thus the Luftwaffe failed to keep the German army supplied in the Stalingrad salient and was one of the primary causes for the surrender of the German force in Stalingrad.

 Goering must take the full blame for this sorry performance of the German Air Force. The FW 200 has gone down in history as a plane which had  little to no  impact in the war