Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This is coolbert:

"'neither fliers nor soldiers'"

Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen [LwFD].

From a comment to the blog:

"According to von Manstein its formation was 'sheer lunacy.'"

Here is what Manstein had in mind? NOT the "Hermann Goering division" but rather hastily formed and ill-trained German air force ground combat units, a response to the German man-power shortage, 1942.

"The Luftwaffe Field Divisions (German: Luftwaffen-Feld-Divisionen or LwFD) were German military formations which fought during World War II."

Fighting - - but as ground troops.

"The divisions were originally authorized in October 1942 . . . the divisions were raised from 200,000–250,000 Luftwaffe ground, support and other excess personnel. They . . . were substantially smaller than equivalent Heer divisions [German army] . . . restricted to defensive duties in quieter sectors"

. . . .

"Their reputation as combat troops was poor . . . suffering from a shortage of trained officers and NCOs, and from poor morale"

This is an area totally new to me. Thanks to the comment by Dan my interest has been stimulated in a way I thought not possible. German air force personnel, during the latter part of 1942, volunteers formed into ground combat units, infantry. Fighting almost exclusively on the Eastern Front, originally intended as security type units, anti-partisan fighters, etc. NOT to taken on in the role of frontal combat soldiers. So was the original intention!

Fighting as Luftwaffe ground combat units, uniquely and distinctly air force.

[Soviet units were able to easily distinguish these LwFD units and marked them as inferiors and weak-links!]

A much larger force than I ever thought existed. Twenty-two [22] divisions total raised during the war, twenty-one [21] committed, one in training.

[please do not think of these "divisions" as units of about 10,000 fully trained and equipped troops! Units of much smaller size, at best maybe only half the size of a normal German infantry division of World War Two!! Called a division but NOT that!]

Here with some excerpts from the book:

"Luftwaffe Field Divisions 1941-45" By Kevin Conley Ruffner.

"The Luftwaffe divisions were completely unprepared for the shock of combat in Russia or for the rigours of its climate."

"the original purpose of the divisions - - to briefly relieve worn-out Army units so as to allow them to recuperate and then return to combat - - had clearly not been carried out."


And with regard to Manstein:

"The newly-arrived 7 and 8.LwFD . . . were among the miscellaneous troops under Manstein's new command, Army Group Don . . . 8 LwFD was destined to make the first effort to relieve the Sixth Army at Stalingrad."

The first troops, the spear-head of the effort to relieve the trapped German Sixth Army, Stalingrad, were LwFD units. TOTALLY UNPREPARED AND ILL-EQUIPPED FOR THE MISSION!! "FRESH-FISH" THROWN INTO THE MEAT GRINDER FOR NO REAL GOOD PURPOSE.

Light infantry units ["Hermann Goering" was a combined arms unit at full strength] under-strength for the task at hand, called a division but often NO MORE than a brigade sized unit, placed in a position for which the LwFD was totally unprepared and ill-suited!!

Even the most highly motivated units cannot succeed under such circumstances.

LwFD WAS NOT, HOWEVER, "Hermann Goering"!!



No comments: