The Eighth Air Force vs The Flakwaffe

Donald Nijboer examines the use of flak in World War Two – the greatest combat hazard to bombers operating in European skies

The combat that raged over European skies during World War Two has often been described as a battle between fighters and fighters vs bombers. Historians frequently dismiss the impact of German anti-aircraft defenses (flak) as ineffective and a waste of valuable material and personnel. The official histories after the war downplayed the impact of the Flakwaffe. According to The Strategic Air War Against Germany 1939-45 British Bombing Survey: “Anti-aircraft guns were plentiful, but relatively speaking, provided with poor radar control. They did not prove a very lethal weapon – even when they were most numerous.” In fact, the German Flakwaffe made a major contribution to the defence of Germany and one for which the US Eighth Air Force was unprepared.

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