Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering's failure to deliver his promise to keep Sixth Army supplied at Stalingrad was one of the most hard-hitting strategic air failures of World War II. 300 tons a day of supplies were required to sustain the Sixth Army, flown in against a Soviet fighter force whose capabilities were rapidly being transformed. The Luftwaffe's failure left Sixth Army trapped, vulnerable and too weak to attempt a breakout.
The destruction of Sixth Army was one of the major turning points in World War II but the Luftwaffe's crucial role in this disaster has often been overlooked. Some claim the attempt was doomed from the beginning but, in this intriguing book, author William E. Hiestand explains how the Germans had amassed sufficient aircraft to, at least theoretically, provide the supplies needed. Demands of aircraft maintenance, awful weather and, in particular, the Soviet air blockade crippled the airlift operation. In addition, the employment of increasing numbers of modern aircraft by the Soviet Air Force using more flexible tactics, coupled with Chief Marshal Novikov's superior Air Army organisation proved decisive.
The Luftwaffe did eventually recover and mounted focused operations for control of limited areas of the Eastern Front, but overall it had lost its dominance. Packed with strategic diagrams and maps, archive photos and artwork of aerial battles over Stalingrad, and including bird's eye views of Operation Winter Storm and airlift operations and tactics, this title clearly demonstrates how the Luftwaffe lost its strategic initiative in the air.