Thursday, May 13, 2010
The German air situation in late July 1942
In late July 1942, Rommel was pressing to be able to break the British line at El Alamein. To aid that goal, Rommel wanted to see more air operations over Egypt. The German air forces, though, had problems. With defense of the Axis supply lines at sea being critical, the Germans had to divide their air forces between attacking Malta and shipping and in support of the army and against Egypt. That was especially true of the air forces based on Sicily. More than half of the available Ju-88 bombers were based there. They were largely used in the anti-shipping role as well as bombing Malta. The biggest problem was a shortage of German fighters. They were operating at a increased tempo, plus they faced late-model Spitfires for the first time. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.