You are not logged in.


Saturday, June 7th 2014, 1:28am

Air Force Manpower

Several of us have wrestled with the question of how much of our manpower resources are soaked up by our diverse military services. Army tables of establishment are readily available on line and easily rolled up. Springsharp provides us with crew numbers which form a good approximation of the overall size of naval forces. Air forces have been the element that has escaped us. Being the numbers person that I am, I found on line a list of US Army Air Force TOEs that furnished me a place from which to start my own estimates. I'd like your opinions on what have calculated so far.

I have known the breakdown of equipment and air crews for the Luftwaffe for quite a long time, but the overall size of the Luftwaffe eluded me. My first approximations look like this.

If it is not immediately clear, I estimate that a full fighter wing - with 192 first line and 28 reserve aircraft, and air crews, together with the ground and first and second line maintenance staffs organic to the wing itself - would total 2,419 officer and other ranks, and average 11.0 personnel per aircraft.

For the sample bomber wing - with 108 first line and 15 reserve aircraft, and aircrews, with their ground staff - would number 3,444 officers and other ranks, and average 28 personnel per aircraft.

My question to the player base is - do you think this is the right order of magnitude, too little, or too much? I have adjusted the USAAF data to fit the number of aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe unit but it follows within reason the cited data; it may therefore be rich. Thoughts?


Sunday, June 8th 2014, 3:52pm

Interesting table.

A Staffel depending on role and aircraft type had 10-40 aircrew and 150-80 (groundcrew (NOTE: multi-engine units only had 80 groundcrew because much of the servicing and admin was done by detached personnel from the local Luftgau, single-engine units had more of their own personnel). A Gruppe occupied one airfield and depending on its function and type of aircraft flown would vary from 35-150 aircrew and 300-515 groundcrew. Source: The Luftwaffe Data Book, Dr. Alfred Price, 1977 (1997 edition).

That means a Geschwader with three Gruppen would probably have around 105-450 aircrew and 900-1545 groundcrew plus extra HQ staff for the Geschwader staff and bomber Geschwader later had a fourth gruppe too.


Sunday, June 8th 2014, 4:55pm

I think my ground crews are larger than the historical Luftwaffe's due to my reliance on a USAAF source; unfortunately, while I have some data on the USAAF's composition of air service groups, I have not figured out any guess on the historical Luftwaffe's structure for such; I may come up with an approximation - which I think will be good enough for our purposes here - but I am not there yet.

When I ran the numbers for the Luftwaffe's flak arm, I recognized that what I had was really too large - having based 1939's start establishment on OTL Germany's prewar strength. Hence today's news item.