Based on forty years of detailed research, Phoenix – A Complete History of the Luftwaffe 1918–1945 is a unique history of the wartime German Luftwaffe. Going far beyond a simple description of famous air battles and operations, the overall work draws extensively on original documents, secondary sources and contemporary accounts to place the Luftwaffe within its proper historical context, gather together its many disparate components and provide a hitherto unpublished balance to its diverse activities.
In addition to the lead role of the combat air forces, the history provides a proper emphasis to the largely unsung work of the Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Luftwaffe ground forces, Signals Service and the Medical Services. It also examines in detail the vital work of the huge training organisation, and the organisation and role of a continent-wide ground organisation.
All theatres are covered, thus placing a much needed emphasis on the Luftwaffe’s momentous struggle in the East, a theatre of operations that was always more urgent and more vital to the Wehrmacht. Throughout this work Luftwaffe activities are set within the wider role of overall military operations and Luftwaffe activity is therefore placed back within its proper context in the overall European conflict.
Volume 2: The Phoenix Matures 1935–1937 covers a still neglected area, namely the early years of post-Reichswehr development from March 1935. During this period the concept of operativer Luftkrieg was formalised, operational commands established, new units and bases created, new equipment introduced and the training of personnel expanded. Key studies include: the formation of the Flakartillerie, the Luftwaffe General Staff, Luftwaffe uniforms, the construction programme of 1935–39, the development and production of new combat aircraft and weapons, flying training, the Luftwaffen-Reserve, the supply organisation, the development of the Regiment General Goring and the re-militarisation of the Rhineland. In addition the Luftwaffe’s involvement in Spain is considered in depth from initial operations by the German volunteers to the deployment of the Legion Condor in the battles around Madrid and on the Northern Front.
The structure of the Phoenix Project is unique. Five major themes run throughout the history’s constituent volumes – (A) Strategy and Command, (B) Ministerial Activity, (C) Technology and Production, (D) Infrastructure and Training, and (E) Operations. These divisions enable the reader to pursue particular areas of interest throughout the overall work or to look at the inter-relationships between the various aspects of Luftwaffe activity.
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