Review by Choice Review
Stalingrad campaign histories normally slight the Luftwaffe's role, preferring instead to focus on the drama of the trapped German Sixth Army in that pocket. Hayward (Massey Univ.) seeks to rectify this scholarly imbalance with his important study of Luftflotte IV in 1942. The Luftwaffe began its participation by supporting the successful German conquest of the Crimea, itself seen as a potential base for air operations against the Ploesti oil fields. As the year progressed, Luftflotte IV units fought in the Ukraine, conducted antinaval operations, and provided valuable tactical support in the drive to the Caucasus. However, the push toward Stalingrad eventually drained aircraft from the latter offensive, and the disastrous decision to hold the city meant converting the air fleet to logistical efforts. Hayward successfully refutes Sixth Army Commander Friedrich Paulus's contention that the Luftwaffe's failed resupply operations brought his army's surrender. Instead, the author argues that the combination of bad weather, lost airfields, Soviet antiaircraft activities, and the amount of materiel needed by the trapped army doomed the attempt from the start. A solid study of the Luftwaffe in 1942 that establishes its role within the broader context of the Stalingrad campaign. All levels. P. L. de Rosa; Bridgewater State College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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