The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germanny’s military air arms during World War I the Luftstretkrafte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegersabteilung of the Navy , had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.
During the interwar period, German pilots were trained secretly in violation of the treaty at Lipetsk Air Base . With the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Versailles Treaty, the Luftwaffe was officially established on 26 February 1935. The Condor Legion under command of General der Flieger Hugo Sperrle with Generalmajor der Flieger, Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen serving as his Chief of Staff, a Luftwaffe detachment sent to aid Nationalist forces in the Spain Civil War , provided the force with a valuable testing ground for new doctrines and aircraft. Partially as a result of this combat experience, the Luftwaffe had become one of the most sophisticated, technologically advanced, and battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II broke out in 1939. By the summer of 1939, the Luftwaffe had twenty-eight Geschwaders, wings..
During World War II, German pilots claimed roughly 70,000 aerial victories, while over 75,000 aircraft were destroyed or significantly damaged. Of these, nearly 40,000 were lost entirely.
The Luftwaffe proved instrumental in the German victories across Poland and Western Europa in 1939 and 1940. During the Battle of Britain , however, despite inflicting severe damage to the RAF’s infrastructure and, during the subsequent Blitz , devastating many British cities, the German air force failed to batter the beleaguered British into submission. From 1942, Allied bombing campaigns gradually destroyed the Luftwaffe‘s fighter arm. In addition to its service in the West, the Luftwaffe operated over the Soviet Union, see Hans Rudel, North Africa, see Hans Marseille and Southern Europe. Despite its belated use of advanced turbojet and rocket propelled aircraft for the destruction of Allied bomber’s, the Luftwaffe was overwhelmed by the Allies’ superior numbers and improved tactics, and a lack of trained pilots and aviation fuel. In January 1945, during the closing stages of the Battle of the Bulge, the Luftwaffe made a last ditch effort to win air superiority and met with failure. With rapidly dwindling supplies of petroleum, oil and lubricants after this campaign, and as part of the entire combined Wehrmacht military forces as a whole, hes Luftwaffe ceased to be an effective fighting force. After the defeat of Germany, the Luftwaffe was disbanded in 1946. The Luftwaffe had only two commanders-in-chief throughout its history: Hermann Goering and later Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim. The last Chief of the OKL General Staff was General der Flieger Karl Koller, from 12 November 1944 – 8 May 1945 The Luftwaffe High Command was involved in Nazi medical experiments..