Luftwaffe Orders of Battle September 1942

Strength and aircraft of the Luftflotten at the beginning of the Battle for Stalingrad.
Orders of Battle for the German Air fleets, Geschwader, Groups, aircraft types and number of planes.

Ju88C long-range fighters
Ju88C long-range fighters of 13 Squadron KG 40 in western France to harass RAF aircraft operating over the Bay of Biscay.

The Luftwaffe Orders of Battle gives the strength of its operational units when the German Air Force was at its most powerful.

German Luftwaffe in September 1942

After three years of war the area occupied by German forces was almost at its greatest extent. A major part of the Luftwaffe supported the army in Russia, whose leading elements were fighting their way through the outer defenses of Stalingrad. In the Mediterranean theater, the front line in North Africa was near Alamein and the siege of Malta had reached a critical stage. In the west Luftflotte 3, and in Germany itself Luftwaffenbefehlshaber Mitte, operated strong forces of day and night fighters to counter strategic bombing attacks by the Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Forces.

On each front the Luftwaffe was now matched by the British, American and Russian air force units facing it. For the remainder of WW2 each month that passed would see the Luftwaffe becoming progressively weaker in relation, and the forces opposing it becoming progressively stronger in relation.

Luftwaffe Orders of Battle from September 20th, 1942

Air fleetGeschwaderGroupAircraft TypeTotalService-able
Luftflotte Ost (East), compromised Luftflotte 1, V Fliegerkorps, Luftwaffen-Komando Don on the central and northern front in RussiaAufklärungs-gruppe 11Fw18976
Total 2,113 aircrafts:Ju8887
50 Fw189Recon Group 12Fw18976
63 Hs126Hs12685
67 Do17Do173332
645 Ju88Recon Group 13Fw18973
214 He111Hs1262119
202 Ju87Recon Group 14Ju8866
489 Bf109Recon Group 21Hs126 and Bf1092517
41 Fw190Recon Group 22Ju88 and Bf1103021
82 Bf110Recon Group 23Hs12666
12 Hs129Recon Group 31Fw1892112
26 Ar196Hs12694
22 BV138Recon Group 32Hs1261411
23 He160Recon Group 33Bf1101210
166 Ju52Recon Group 41Fw18987
5 BV222Recon Group 121Ju8863
6 He115Recon GroupJu88128
Recon Group Commander LuftwaffeJu88 und Bf109139
Night Recon GroupDo17 and He1113110
Maritime Recon Group 125Ar196135
Maritime Recon Group 127He160 and various captured aircrafts2313
JG3II GroupBf1093732
JG51Staff flightBf10955
I GroupFw1904135
II GroupBf1093325
III GroupBf1093518
IV GroupBf1093221
Tank destroyer squadronHs1291212
15st Spanish SquadronBf109117
JG53Staff flightBf10955
II GroupBf1093225
III GroupBf1092714
JG54Staff flightBf10944
I GroupBf1093425
II GroupBf1093230
III GroupBf1093029
JG77Staff flightBf10966
I GroupBf1093424
II GroupBf1091610
III GroupBf1093324
ZG1III GroupBf1092718
ZG26III GroupBf1104919
IV GroupJu88 and Do17116
StG1Staff flightJu87 and Bf110125
III GroupJu873523
StG2III GroupJu872925
StG3Staff flightJu8743
I GroupJu873428
II GroupJu873123
III GroupJu873226
StG77III GroupJu873126
KG1Staff flightJu8832
I GroupJu883321
II GroupJu882610
III GroupJu882810
KG3Staff flightJu8822
I GroupJu882415
II GroupJu881915
III GroupJu882413
KG4Staff flightHe11131
I GroupHe1112514
II GroupHe1112720
KG6III GroupJu882418
KG26III GroupJu88178
6 SquadronHe1111010
KG30Staff flightJu8832
I GroupJu883529
II GroupJu883130
III GroupJu883326
KG53Staff flightHe11165
I GroupHe1113018
II GroupHe1112718
III GroupHe1112922
Croatian 15 SquadronDo17138
KG54Staff flightJu8821
I GroupJu883214
II GroupJu882615
III GroupJu88319
KG76I GroupJu882419
KG77Staff flightJu8822
I GroupJu883314
II GroupJu882813
III GroupJu882812
KG100Staff flightHe11111
II GroupHe1112811
III GroupHe111 and Ar196268
LG1Staff flightJu8822
I GroupJu883116
II GroupJu883019
12 SquadronJu88145
KG zbV 1 (Transport)III GroupJu522818
IV GroupJu522718
Kampfgruppe zbV 400Ju522411
Kampfgruppe zbV 600Ju523520
Kampfgruppe zbV 800Ju525228
Air transport Squadron SeaBV22251
Coastal flight Group 906He11565
Fighter Command 27 (originally based in Greece)Bf109116
Fighter-bomber saudron AfricaBf1092714
Luftflotte 2 in North Africa, Italy and GreeceRecon Group 11Bf109 and Bf110119
Total 171 aircrafts:Recon Group 121Ju88105
33 Ju88Recon GroupJu88 and Bf1093115
8 Ju86Recon Group 123Ju86 and Ju 88157
106 Bf109JG27Staff flightBf10932
5 Bf110I GroupBf1092815
19 Ju52II GroupBf1092616
III GroupBf1092818
II Flight Corps Transport SquadronJu521410
Transport Squadron SoutheastJu5255
Luftflotte 3 in France, Holland and Belgium
Total 725 aircrafts:Recon Group 33Ju88 and Bf 1092011
86 Ju88Recon Group 123 Ju88, Bf109, Bf110, Fw1903420
74 Do217JG2Staff flightFw19085
3 Ju86I GroupFw1904235
6 He111II GroupFw1904035
5 Me210III GroupFw1904133
19 He177IV GroupFw190 and Bf1093422
17 Fw200JG26Staff flightFw19054
12 Do215I GroupFw1903932
80 Bf109II GroupFw1904443
141 Bf110III GroupFw190 and Bf1095848
300 Fw190IV GroupFw190 and Bf 1093021
5 BV138NJG1 (night fighters)Staff flightBf11041
4 Ar196I GroupBf1102316
II GroupBf110 and Do2174833
III GroupBf1102822
IV Group Bf110, Do215, Do217, Fw1904833
NJG2Staff flightJu8832
NJG4Staff flightBf11011
II GroupBf1101812
III GroupBf1102320
KG2Staff flightDo21711
I GroupDo2172519
III GroupDo2173719
KG6Staff flightJu8811
I GroupJu882512
II GroupJu882820
14 SquadronJu86 (high-altitude bombers)32
15 SquadronHe111 and Do217113
16 SquadronMe21053
KG40 (Atlantic long-range operations)I GroupHe1771913
III GroupFw2001711
13 SquadronJu88 (long-range fighters)106
Coastal flight Group 706BV138 and Ar19698
Luftflotte 4 in southern Russia
Total 886 aircrafts:Recon Group 10Fw1892311
106 Fw189Hs126 and Ju8875
16 Hs126Recon Group 11Do1784
122 Ju88Bf11095
8 Do17Fw18997
147 He111Recon Group 12Fw189187
116 Ju87Recon Group 13Fw18983
23 Hs123Recon Group 14Fw189109
23 Hs129Recon Group 21Fw18986
89 Bf110Recon Group 31Bf110 and Fw18972
233 Bf109Recon Group 32Fw1891310
2 He114Recon Group 41Fw1892113
1 Ar196Recon Group 121Ju88115
Recon Group 122Ju8884
7 Squadron LG2 (Recon)Bf11062
Night Recon GroupHe111117
Close Recon Group 4Hs12611
Close Recon Group 7Hs12611
Close Recon Group 9Hs12621
Close Recon Group 12Fw189 and Hs12622
Naval Recon Group 125He114 and Ar19631
JG3Staff flightBf10932
III GroupBf1093110
JG4I GroupBf109117
JG52Staff flightBf10966
I GroupBf1092618
II GroupBf1094136
III GroupBf1094835
Croatian 15 SquadronBf1091313
JG53I GroupBf1093414
ZG1Staff flightBf11022
I GroupBf1102813
II GroupBf1103716
SG1 (close support)Staff flightBf10943
1 SquadronBf109160
II GroupHs123 and Hs1294628
StG1II GroupJu872411
StG2Staff flight Ju87, Bf110, Fw189104
I GroupJu872516
II GroupJu872813
StG77I GroupJu873520
KG4III GroupHe1112414
KG26II GroupHe111155
KG51Staff flightJu8811
II GroupJu881810
KG55Staff flightHe11143
I GroupHe11164
II GroupHe1112915
III GroupHe1113119
KG76Staff flightJu8833
II GroupJu883918
III GroupJu883518
KG100I GroupHe1112720
Luftflotte 5 in Norway and Finland
Total 261 aircrafts:Recon Group 32Fw189 and Hs1261614
8 Fw189Recon Group 120Ju88 and Fw2001410
8 Hs126Recon Group 124Ju88 and Bf110118
13 Ju88JG5Staff flightBf10921
7 Fw200I GroupFw1903528
29 He111II GroupBf1093221
59 Ju87III GroupBf1091010
18 Bf110IV GroupFw19033
44 Bf10913 (heavy fighter) squadronBf1101311
38 Fw190KG26Leader flightHe11133
11 He115I GroupHe1112616
26 Bv138StG5I GroupJu875951
Coastal flight Group 406He115116
Coatsal flight group 906BV13898
Luftwaffen Commander Center in Germany
Total 327 aircraftsJG 1Staff flightFw19020
118 Fw190I GroupBf1096753
85 Bf109II GroupFw1906019
60 Bf110III GroupFw1903731
46 Do217IV GroupFw190 and Bf1093731
18 Ju88NJG3 (night fighters)Staff flightBf110 and Do21752
I GroupBf110 and Do 2172520
II GroupBf110 and Do2172618
III GroupBf1103120
IV GroupDo217 and Ju883720

Equipment of Luftwaffe First Line Units 1942:

Aircraft TypeStrength on 24 SeptemberStrength on 31 December
Do21512(incl Do217)
Ju87 Stuka377270
Hs12323(incl Hs129)
Bf109G(incl Bf 109F)610
Fw189 Recon164130
Hs126 Recon8765
Coastal and sea planes131135
TOTAL 4,117 3,965

Staffel (Squadron):
The number of flying personnel in a Staffel naturally depended on the type of aircraft it operated; between 10 (in the case of single-seat fighters) and more than 40 (in the case of multi-engined bombers). The number of ground personnel in a Staffel varied from 150 (in the case of single-engined fighters) to 80 (in the case of multi-engined bombers); the latter’s ground staff was smaller because much of its servicing and administration was done for it by attached units provided by the local Luftgau command.
A Staffel had a strength of 9 to 12 aircraft in 1939, but gradually rose during the war to a maximum of 16, with corresponding rises in the number of aircrew and ground personnel.

Gruppe (Group):
The Gruppe was the basic flying unit for operational and administrative purposes. Initially the Gruppe comprised three Staffeln, and a Stab (headquarters flight) with three aircraft more, making a total of 30 aircraft in all. By the mid-war period many fighter groups operated a fourth Staffel, however, and this, with the 16-aircraft Staffel establishment, brought the strength of some Gruppen to 67 aircraft.
The total personnel strength of a Gruppe varied between 35 and 150 aircrews, and 300 and 515 ground crew.

Geschwader (no English equivalent):
The Geschwader was the largest German flying unit. Initially it comprised three Gruppen, with 90 aircraft, and a Stab (staff) flight with four, making a total of 94 aircraft.

References and literature

Das große Buch der Luftkämpfe (Ian Parsons)
Luftkrieg (Piekalkiewicz)
Luftwaffe Handbook (Dr Alfred Price)

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