C-897 Men of the Luftwaffe

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This insightful, well-researched book traces the rise and fall of Hitler's air force from the perspective of its top leaders, concentrating on problems of organization, policy and aircraft production rather than battles and campaigns. Although Hermann Goering dominated the Luftwaffe throughout its existence, Mitcham ( Rommel's Desert War , etc.) shows that his erratic leadership, combined with self-defeating organizational fragmentation, kept it from achieving its great potential. A large portion of the book is concerned with the design, testing and modification of various warplanes and the futile attempt to stay ahead of the Allies materially and technologically. At the core of this effort was the bitter rivalry between Erhard Milch, the second-ranking man in the Luftwaffe for much of his career, and Ernst Udet, chief of the Technical Office. The latter made such a mess of things that he committed suicide, after which Milch effected a brilliant reorganization. For all its tactical successes in Spain and during the early years of World War II, the Luftwaffe failed to make a significant contribution to the German war effort, a failure Mitcham ascribes partly to the lack of a reliable long-range bomber. Photos. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.