Schlachtflieger - cooperation

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Experiences of an officer as Schlachtflieger in the Northern part of the Ostfront between 1st of July and 10th of October 1944

The "von Rhoden" collection of Luftwaffe documents contains several very interesting documents which give valuable insights in the Luftwaffe's operations. This collection can be found at  One of the reports included is briefly analyzed here for the people who cannot read german.

Structure of the article

I.) Re-equipping from Ju 87D to Fw 190F
II.) Targets of attack
a) Recconnaissance
b) Cooperation with the army
c) Used means of battle
d) Possibilities and frequencies of operation
e) Finding and identifying targets

III.) Methods of attack
a) Approach
b) Starting the attack
c) Attack with bombs and guns
d) Leaving the target
e) Fighter protection

IV.) Enemy Fighter- and Flakdefense

V.)  Ground organisation and supply

VI.) Training demands

Brief summary of interesting details

II.) Targets
- Road hunting was conducted at lowest level flight up to 50km behind the HKL (Hauptkampflinie = main combat line). During the Russian advance to wards the Düna (river Dvina), very good results were obtained. Later, high losses due to defensive ground fire prohibited such missions.
- Self-Recconaissance in the combat area is often necessary, but only during ground combat in motion. It is not feasible when the frontline is more or less fixed due to increase of enemy flak and fighter presence in such situations.
- Cooperation with the army's Schlachtfliegerleitoffizier (ground attack wing control officer) leads to higher accuray and most destructive attacks.
- Best marking method for own troops is orange smoke; white balls of light are also used by the enemy.
- Own artillery should fire on identified enemy flak positions during air attacks.
- Bombs used: AB250, AB500-SD1 and -SD10, AB250-SD4HL on 20-30% of the used aircraft. Enemy fears AB-bombs.
- Combat days "without break" lead to 7-8 missions.
- For target finding, maps in 1:300.000 or 1:100.000 and aerial pictures were used.

III.) Methods of attack
- Attack height 4-.5.000 meters, therefore the airfield should not be nearer to the frontline then 60-80km.
- Distance between aircraft ca. 80-100m.
- A part of the attack group should fly as fighter cover without outer wing guns and central bomb (racks) only.
- Common bomb dropping of the whole Staffeln or Schwärme (hammer hit) is better then "individual dripping".
- Normal drop height of Fw 190 after starting the attack at 3-5.000m is, ABs should not be dropped above 1.000m, dive angle ca. 50-60°.
- The hitting accuray with Fw 190 is the same as with Ju 87.
- For strong flak defense, one Staffel per Gruppe is dedicated for attacking the Flak and should dive before the main group.
- The fighter cover group should drop from higher altitude and then pull up to cover again from higher altitude.
- Departure in direction to own lines, in any case the group has to reassemble, even before a renewed attack. Otherwise, loss of contact is possible.

IV.) Enemy Fighter- and Flakdefense
- Russian fighter forces have improved not only in quantity but also in quality of material and personnel.
- They not only fly Cap but also try to push away our attacks over our territory.
- Tactics is flying in pairs, strongly divided at altitudes between 2-6.000m.
- Most used types: Airacobra and Lagg-5, most recently also the Yak-3.
- Medium and light Flak as well as MGs are quite dangerous and is often not even visible, if no tracers are used.

VI.) Training demands
- Most important are training of exact bomb dropping and basic air combat techniques.
- Bad weather flying incl. use of navigational aids should be pursued.

The original file can be found in the downloads section

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Last update 17.10.11