ADVANTAGES

o. July 1944. The GAF, already no match for the escort fighters of the Eighth AT, now found itself split between strategic defense and tactical requirements. To the overpowering force of Allied strategic escort was added an even larger fores of Allied tactical fighters. Where there had been a sharp increase in enemy fighter losses in the first half of the year, the loss rate now became catastrophic. With oil production In Germany under attack, the problem of the GAF was critical. In a desperate attempt to throw into the air a maximum defensive force, schools were closed and instructors used as fighter pilots. Short courses were given to convert bomber and transport pilots into fighters. Whole Allied missions would be unopposed in the enemy's attempts to gather strength. The enemy situation is confirmed in an interview with Lieutenant General Karl Koller, Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe, who stated that In addition to the lack of suitable fighter aircraft, the Luftwaffe was handicapped by lack of petroleum and of well-trained pilots. When General Seller became Chief of the Air Staff in 1943 he found that the total aviation gasoline alloted to pilot training was 10,000 tone a month. By February 1944, he had increased this allotment to 50,000 tons. Thereafter, the progressive difficulties in production caused by air attack made it necessary to curtail training and finally to cease training altogether. (Reference Note 6)

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