PROOF THAT OUR TACTICAL PLAN WAS RIGHT

Generaloberst Heinz Guderian, former chief of staff, German ground forces, and inspector general of armored units: "Lack of German air superiority in Normandy led to complete breakdown of the German net of communications. The German Air Force was unable to cope with Allied air superiority in the West."

General Feldmarschall Karl Gerd Von Rundstedt, commander-in-chief in the West before German surrender: "Three factors defeated us in the West where I was in command. First, the unheard-of superiority of your air force, which made all movement in daytime impossible. Second, the lack of motor fuel — oil and gas — so that the Panzers and even the remaining Luftwaffe were unable to move. Third, the systematic destruction of all railway communications so that it was impossible to bring one single railroad train across the Rhine. This made impossible the reshufflng of troops and robbed us of all mobility. Our production was also greatly interfered with by the loss of Silesia and the bombardments of Saxony, as well as by the loss of oil reserves in Romania."

Generaloberst Von Vietinghoff, supreme commander in Southwest (Italy): "On the Italian and the Western Front, all freedom of movement for reserves and tanks was denied during daylight hours. Thus counterattacks were impossible. In isolated instances, when we were successful in assembling troops for a major surprise attack, it could only be done at night and then the Allies were always in a position to bring their air force into action at any desired spot in a few hours and thus frustrate every German attack."

General Feldmarschall Hugo Sperrle, commander-in-chief of Luftflotte 3 until the fall of Paris: "Allied bombing was the dominant factor in the success of the invasion. I believe the initial landing could have been made without assistance from the air forces, but the breakthrough that followed would have been impossible without the massive scale of bombing, particularly of the German communications far in the rear. "Allied air power was the chief factor in Germany's defeat."

War Diary of the 7th German Army High Command (General Dollman), June 11, 1944: "Since the beginning of the Allies' large-scale attack, our transport system has been under constant attack by their air forces. Because of the continuous bombing of the main roads and the constant disruption of the detours, some of which could be driven over only at night and could be kept open for only a few hours, it became evident even after the first three hours that troop movements by rail could not be maintained. Not only did the combat group of the 275th Infantry Division, parts of the combat group of the 265th Infantry Division, and the 353rd AT Battalion have to be unloaded after one-fourth of the distance had been covered, but the 17th Armored Infantry Division and the 8th Smoke Projector Unit, which were being carried by rail, also had to be unloaded because the route was blocked even before they reached the army boundary line.

"Troop movements and all supply traffic by rail to the army sector must be considered as completely cut off. The fact that traffic on the front and in rear areas is under constant attack from Allied air power has led to delays and unavoidable losses in vehicles, which in turn have led to a restriction in the mobility of the numerous Panzer units due to the lack of fuel and the unreliability of the ammunition supply…

"The following information, based on the first few days' experiences with the Allied deployment of air power, is reported by the Army Supreme Command to the Army Group B:

  1. Rail transport is impossible because the trains are observed and attacked in short order: under these circumstances, the expenditure of fuel and the wear and tear on materiel in bringing up Panzer units is extremely high.
  2. The movement of units by motor transport is possible only at night, and even then the highways and communication centers are continually bombed. The continual control of the field of battle by Allied air forces makes daylight movement impossible and leads to the destruction from air of our preparations and attacks.
  3. The army considers it urgently necessary that our own air force be used by day and night in order to neutralize the Allies' now unbearably overwhelming air supremacy."

Feldmarschall Robert Von Greim, Goering's successor as head of the air force, said just before taking a fatal bite of potassium cyanide: "I am the head of the Luftwaffe but I have no Luftwaffe."

This article was originally published as and addendum to "US Tactical Air Power in Europe" in the January, 1946, issue of Flying magazine, vol 36, no 1, pp 73-74.
The original article includes 2 photos.
The article, minus the photos, is included in the PDF of "US Tactical Air Power in Europe".