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Osprey Men-at-Arms 229 : Luftwaffe Field Divisions 1941-1945

Hermann Göring raised the Luftwaffe Field Divisions [LwFD] during 1942, when Nazi Germany was still making spectacular gains but was first feeling the pinch of its losses on the Eastern Front [over 700,000 men from June 1942 until the onset of winter]. By the middle of that year Army leaders were turning to previously untapped manpower resources for troop replacements. The Army proposed to transfer 10-20,000 Naval and up to 50,000 Luftwaffe personnel to Army control. Göring, however, refused to permit the loss of his good National Socialist airmen to the reactionary Army, which still had chaplains and officers imbued with the traditions of the old Imperial Army. The Reichsmarschall instead decided to raise his own divisions for ground service under the command of Luftwaffe officers. Hitler accepted Göring's solution to the manpower shortage, and directed that the number of Air Force personnel for these new units be doubled from the original figure of 50,000. Prominent Army figures, with some notable exceptions, made little attempt to prevent the creation of yet another private army and, in the words of one Army officer, 'so the bells rang for the birth of the unlucky 'Luftwaffe Field Divisions'. This then, was the immediate background to Göring's call on 17 September 1942 for volunteers from throughout the Luftwaffe for combat duty in the East. Even before that date, however, some Luftwaffe troops were heavily engaged against the enemy in Russia in a ground role. Kevin Conley Ruffner tells the story of the LwFD accompanied by numerous photographs and eight full page colour plates by Ron Volstad.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Luftwaffe Ground Service in Russia - 1941-42
  • The Luftwaffe Field Regiments
  • The Luftwaffe Field Divisions
  • The Eastern Front - 1942-43
  • The Army Takes Over
  • War in the West
  • The Mediterranean Theatre
  • The End in the East
  • The Plates

 

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