Wever, Walther.

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Walther Wever born on 11-11-1887 in Wilhelmsort  in the county of Bromberg (now in Poland, then in East Prussia). He was the son of Arnold Wever, the one-time director of a Berlin bank and the grandson of the Prussian Prosecutor-General Dr. Carl George Wever. After his final secondary examinations, he settled in Schweidnitz where he trained as an officer.

Wever saw action in World War I and served as a staff officer for the OHL (Oberste Heeresleitung, Army High Command). Walther Wever became the Commander of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium on 01-09-1933. On 01-03-1935, he became Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe shortly after its creation on 26-02-1935, a post he held until his death. Wever was a supporter of the Strategic bomber and recognised its importance as early as 1934. He was early proponent of the theory of strategic bombing as a means to wage war, while supporting the theories of Giulio Douhet. Douhet was a key proponent of strategic bombing in aerial warfare. He was a contemporary of the air warfare advocates Walther Wever, the American Colonel (Permanent) Brigadier General (Temporary) Air Service, Third Army – AEF William Lendrum “Billy” Mitchell,

and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO (03-02-1873 – 10-02-1956) . Bill Mitchel died 19-02-1936 ( age 56) New York

Walther supported the aviation companies such as Junkers and Dornier, in their respective projects to produce the Ju 89 and Dornier Do 19 competitors for the Ural Bomber production contract competition. Wever outlined five key points to air strategy:

1. To destroy the enemy air force by bombing its bases and aircraft factories, and defeating enemy air forces attacking German targets.2. To prevent the movement of large enemy ground forces to the decisive areas by destroying railways and roads, particularly bridges and tunnels, which are indispensable for the movement and supply of forces3. To support the operations of the army formations, independent of railways, i.e, armored forces and motorised forces, by impeding the enemy advance and participating directly in ground operations.4. To support naval operations by attacking naval bases, protecting Germany’s naval bases and participating directly in naval battles5. To paralyze the enemy armed forces by stopping production in the armaments factories.

However, after his death, other strategists, like Ernst Udet and Hans Jeschonnek favored smaller aircraft as they did not expend as much material and manpower. They were proponents of the dive-bomber (Junkers Ju 87) and the doctrine of close support and destruction of the opposing air forces on the ‘battle-ground’ rather than through attacking enemy industry. As a result, high-speed medium-bombers such as the Heinkel He 111, Dornier Do 17, and Junkers Ju 88 were developed, with much initial success. While some large strategic bomber programs were initiated, most notable the Ural Bomber project, which morphed into the He 177 Program, without a proponent of strategic bombing in the upper echelons of the Luftwaffe, the programs saw little progress, and would ultimately be developed too late into the war to have any meaningful effect.

Death and burial ground of Wever, Walther.

On 3 June 1936 Wever, age 48, flew from Berlin to Dresden, to give a lecture at the Luftkriegsschule Klotzsche to a gathering of Luftwaffe cadets. When he received the news of the death of World War I German hero Karl Litzmann, he immediately set off for Berlin. On his return journey, the Heinkel He 70 Blitz that he was flying had not been properly examined during preflight checks, and the aileron gust locks were not removed. The aircraft was airborne when the wing dipped, and the Heinkel stalled and went into a horizontal cartwheel (akin to a ground loop, but at low altitude). It crashed and exploded in flames, killing Wever and his flight engineer. That same day, the RLM issued the Bomber A heavy bomber specification and design competition for what would become the Luftwaffe’s only wartime heavy bomber in production and frontline service, the Heinkel He 177.

After Wever’s death, a Luftwaffe bomber wing, Kampfgeschwader 4 General Wever was named after him, which fittingly enough in the later war years, would be equipped with and using in combat the one aircraft created for the design competition that started on the day of General Wever’s death, the Heinkel He 177. His son, also named Walther Wever, was a fighter pilot who was killed in action in 10-04-1945, age 23. . Walther Jr. claimed 44 aerial victories in 250 combat missions. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.  Wever was shot down and killed in action by Allied fighters near Neuruppin. That day, the Luftwaffe lost a number of Me 262 pilots, including Hauptmann Franz Schall. The Americans dubbed this day the “great jet massacre”.  Hauptman Schall on 10-04-1945 (aged 26) was killed when his aircraft rolled into a bomb crater, flipped, and exploded during an attempted emergency landing at Parchim Airfield.



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