It's brief is to collate information about foreign air forces and to prepare target information for an air war. The Abteilung takes over the functions of two small units known as the target data unit and the ‘department for foreign air forces’ at the Reich Luftministerium (German Air Ministry). Command as Chef IC (Intelligence) is given to Major Josef Schmid, who is recommended to Göring by Jeschonnek. Schmid finds that the two units forming the basis of his department are staffed with civilians and reserve officers who have no clear idea of what they are supposed to be doing. Their files seem to consist entirely of mountains of newspaper cuttings and foreign magazines.
This contains an assessment of British air power alongside alongside details of potential British targets in the event of war. A series of ‘target files’ was created which allocated each target a code (e.g. GB10 for Airfields; GB50 for power stations; GB45 for docks; GB45 3 for Millwall Dock). The document, however, failed to recognise the extent to which British industry had moved onto a war footing after the Munich Crisis. It assessed that the British Isles presented "very difficult meteorological flying conditions".
When a thorough aerial survey of Britain had been completed, a target folder was compiled for each location comprising:
- a 1:250,000 scale map to determine aircraft approach
- proximity of enemy airfields
- navigational aids such as railway lines
- a 1:5000 scale map of the target
Other details which might be included were:
- the most important parts of the installation
- the most advantageous time to attack
- the best type of bomb for the installation
The number of British targets identified exceeded the strike capacity of the Luftwaffe bomber fleets so it was necessary to prioritise targets. In order to do so it was necessary to determine:
- what category of goods was of most importance to the enemy’s military?
- what level of stockpiling existed?
- the means of disrupting supplies of essential materials
- the main dockland areas
- the main inland transport routes
- the vulnerable points along internal transport routes
- the location and generating capacity of power stations
- the main electricity power supply lines
It was the job of Luftwaffe Intelligence to determine:
- when and under what circumstances a target might be attacked to offer the best prospect of success?
- what might be the consequences to the enemy of a successful attack?
- how might the success of an attack be assessed?
The document makes clear the necessity for continuous reassessment of the results obtained through analysis of the surveys. In a fast-changing political and industrial landscape, it was essential to keep track of new (or diminished) sources of raw materials and development of new industrial processes and factories. With a clear directive to concentrate on the "centre of gravity" of the enemy, the manual states "operate only against the currently most important elements."
This expands on several points and suggests that continuous attacks should be made by day and night in widely separated areas. The RAF would then have to retain aircraft in the United Kingdom and even withdraw some of those already in France. The targets which are to be attacked by a force which numbered fewer than 400 medium bombers of Fliegerkorps X are listed. They include warships at sea and in port, the naval dockyards of the Tyne, Clyde, Birkenhead and Barrow-in-Furness, harbour installations at Liverpool, the Manchester Ship Canal, Avonmouth, Cardiff, Swansea and ‘the important military target’ of Billingham.
It fails to mention radar or the lack of maritime bombers and torpedo aircraft.
From Germany’s point of view Britain is the most dangerous of all possible enemies. The war cannot be ended in a manner favourable to us as long as Britain has not been mastered. France on the other hand ranks in the second class for unlike Britain she would not be capable of carrying on the war without her allies. Germany’s war aim must therefore be to strike at Britain with all available weapons, particularly those of the navy and air force.
In pursuit of this aim it is considered of decisive importance that operations against the British Isles should begin soon, and in as great strength as possible—under any circumstances in the present year. The enemy must not be allowed the time to use past experience to perfect his defences. Furthermore, economic assistance from the British and French colonial empires and from neutrals, particularly the U.S.A., and the encirclement of Germany, must not be permitted to come fully into operation.
- The most important ports must be attacked without exception and as far as possible simultaneously. The intermixture of residential areas with dockyards in some British ports is no reason for failing to attack such ports. The most important ports are those of London, Liverpool, Hull, Bristol and Glasgow. In all these ports the primary target will be shipping. As secondary targets, dockyard and warehouse installations, in particular food and oil stores and silos, may be attacked. Raids must be constantly repeated—by day and by night. To achieve the maximum effect, even small formations may be usefully employed.
- Warships under repair and under construction on the point of completion are also to be considered as targets worthy of attention.
- It is necessary that ports of secondary importance should also be subjected to occasional attack. Nevertheless, in view of their very limited capacity, they should only be considered as secondary or alternative targets.
- In view of the superior bad weather flying training of the Luftwaffe it is also possible that we may be able to achieve some purely tactical successes should the enemy air force choose to counter-attack, which is unlikely.
5th Abteilung (Air Intelligence Department of the Luftwaffe General Staff under 'Beppo' Schmid) report fails to mention radar, although 3rd Abteilung (Luftwaffe Signals and Cypher service under Wolfgang Martini) were aware of its existence and - before the war - had attempted to determine the frequencies used.
GERMAN INTELLIGENCE APPRECIATION OF THE R.A.F. AND COMPARISON WITH CURRENT LUFTWAFFE STRENGTH
Oberkommando der Luftwaffe Operations Staff IC 16th July 1940. 7
I. THE MILITARY VALUE OF THE R.A.F
A. Strength and Equipment
1. Fighter Formations
With 50 fighter squadrons each having about 18 aircraft, there are 900 first line fighters available of which approximately 675 (75 per cent) may be regarded as serviceable.
About 40 per cent of the fighters are Spitfires and about 60 per cent are Hurricanes. Of these types the Spitfire is regarded as the better.
In view of their combat performance and the fact that they are not yet equipped with cannon guns both types are inferior to the Bf 109, while the individual Bf 110 is inferior to skilfully handled Spitfires.
In addition to the above formations Blenheim squadrons are available for night fighter tasks as auxiliary heavy fighters and operate in cohesion with particularly intense searchlight defence.
2. Bombing Formations
Assuming the average squadron strength to be 20 aircraft, the 55 to 60 bomber squadrons contain about 1,150 first line bombers of which about 860 (75 per cent) may be regarded as serviceable.
This strength is divided among four types of aircraft of various series, approximately as follows:
Comparison of these types shows that the Hampden has the best qualities as a bomber.
In addition, there is a large number of Blenheim bombers available. Most of these are in training schools but there are also some in operational units. However, in view of its performance, this type can no longer be considered a first line aircraft.
In comparison with German bombers all these types have inadequate armour, and poor bomb-aiming equipment. However, they usually have strong defensive armament.
3. Other Formations
These include coastal formations equipped with Lockheed Hudsons (reconnaissance) and flying-boats and various obsolescent types of aircraft — close reconnaissance and low-level attack aircraft designed for co-operation with the army. These need not be taken into consideration in this report.
4. Anti-aircraft Artillery
In view of the island’s extreme vulnerability to air attack and the comparatively limited amount of modern equipment the number of heavy and light A.A. guns available (1,194 plus 1,114) is by no means adequate to ensure the protection of the island by ground defences.
The large number of efficient searchlights available (3,200) constitutes an advantageous factor in defence at night.
Only limited importance should be attributed to the numerous barrage balloons, as these can be used only at low altitudes (1,000 to 2,000 metres) owing to the medium wind velocities prevailing over the island. The balloons cannot be raised at all at appreciable wind velocities.
B. Personnel and Training
At present there are no difficulties regarding the number of men available.
From the outset the training is concentrated on the production of good pilots and the great majority of the officers in particular are trained solely as such. By comparison tactical training is left far in the background. For this reason the R.A.F. has comparatively well-trained fighter pilots while bomber crews are not up to modern tactical standards. This applies to the bomb-aimers in particular, most of whom are N.C.O.s and men with little service experience. Although there are deficiencies in equipment the comparatively low standard of bombing accuracy may be attributed to this factor.
In the ground organisation there is a considerable number of air-strips in the southern part of the island and in some areas in the north. However, only a limited number can be considered as operational airfields with modern maintenance and supply installations.
In general, the well-equipped operational airfields are used as take-off and landing bases, while the numerous smaller airfields located in the vicinity serve as alternative landing grounds and rest bases.
There is little strategic flexibility in operations as ground personnel are usually permanently stationed at home bases.
D. Supply Situation
- As regards aircraft, the R.A.F. is at present almost entirely dependent on home production. American deliveries will not make any important contribution before the beginning of 1941. If deliveries arriving in Britain in the immediate future are supplemented by French orders these aircraft may be ready for operations by the autumn. At present the British aircraft industry produces about 180 to 300 first line fighters and 140 first line bombers a month. In view of the present conditions relating to production (the appearance of raw material difficulties, the disruption or breakdown of production at factories owing to air attacks, the increased vulnerability to air attack owing to the fundamental reorganisation of the aircraft industry now in progress) it is believed that for the time being output will decrease rather than increase. In the event of an intensification of air warfare it is expected that the present strength of the R.A.F. will fall and this decline will be aggravated by the continued decrease in production.
Unless an appreciable proportion of present stocks is destroyed, the fuel situation can be regarded as secure.
- Bombs. Bomb production is limited by the method of manufacture (cast casings). However there will be no difficulty in the supplies of bombs so long as present stocks are not used and operations continue on a moderate scale. It is believed that these stocks will be adequate for intensive operations lasting several weeks. Most of the bombs available are of medium calibre (112 and 224 kilogrammes), of which a large proportion are of an obsolete pattern with unfavourable ballistic qualities (bombs with fins).
The Command at high level is inflexible in its organisation and strategy. As formations are rigidly attached to their home bases, command at medium level suffers mainly from operations being controlled in most cases by officers no longer accustomed to flying (station commanders). Command at low level is generally energetic but lacks tactical skill.
II. THE OPERATIONAL SCOPE OF THE RAF.
- For its operations the R.A.F. has at its disposal an area of only 200 to 300 kilometres in depth. This corresponds approximately to an area the size of the Netherlands and Belgium. There is little possibility of Ireland being used in the system of depth owing to the lack of ground organisation and the fact that once R.A.F. units have been transferred there they cannot restore their serviceability. In contrast the Luftwaffe has at its disposal an area extending from Trondheim, across Heligoland Bay and along the North Sea and Channel coasts to Brest with a practically unlimited zone in depth.
- In view of the inferiority of British fighters to German fighters, enemy bomber formations even with fighter escort are not capable of carrying out effective daylight attacks regularly, particularly as escort operations are in any case limited by the lack of long-range single-engine or heavy fighters. The R.A.F. will therefore be obliged to limit its activity primarily to night operations even in the advent of intensified air warfare. These operations will undoubtedly achieve a nuisance value but will in no way be decisive. In contrast, the Luftwaffe is in a position to go over to decisive daylight operations owing to the inadequate air defences of the island.
The Luftwaffe is clearly superior to the R.A.F. as regards strength, equipment, training, command and location of bases. In the event of an intensification of air warfare the Luftwaffe, unlike the R.A.F., will be in a position in every respect to achieve a decisive effect this year if the time for the start of large-scale operations is set early enough to allow advantage to be taken of the months with relatively favourable weather conditions (July to the beginning of October).
German intelligence circulates its appreciation of Fighter Command's control system to operational commands.
As the British fighters are controlled on the ground by R/T, the forces are tied to their respective ground stations and thereby restricted in ability, even taking into consideration the probability that the ground stations are partly mobile. Consequently, the assembly of strong fighter forces at seven points and at short notice is not to be expected. A mass German attack on a target area can therefore count on the same conditions of light fighter opposition as in attacks on widely scattered targets. It can, indeed, be assumed that considerable confusion in the defensive networks will be unavoidable during mass attacks, and that the effectiveness of the defences can thereby be reduced.
German intelligence reports 71 aircraft destroyed - including all of 65 Sqn on the ground at Manston. (Actual RAF losses were 22 from 732 sorties.)
Luftwaffe signals chief Martini assesses that all radar stations are still operational. (Ventnor appeared on line as it is transmitting powered by a backup generator but it is unable to receive any echoes so is actually not functioning.) Conclusion is that operations rooms must be well protected underground and it is only possible to shut down radar coverage for short periods.
Reichsmarscahll Göring gives the order to launch Adler Tag the following day - this is intercepted by the British Boniface .
German intelligence estimates that the Luftwaffe has destroyed no less than 664 British aircraft in the period August 12th to 19th and that up to August 17th forty-four R.A.F. airfields had been attacked.
11 are claimed as destroyed:
- Martlesham Heath
A further twelve airfields were described as ‘severely damaged’ and twenty-one ‘partly damaged’. Contrary to German belief, only one airfield, Manston, was put out of action for any length of time.
Göring leads a staff conference on the conduct of the air war against Britain.
Kesslering is of the opinion that the R.A.F. is nearly finished, and this is supported by Schmidt's intelligence estimate that serviceability is down to around 100 fighters, although this may have risen to 350 due to the reduced intensity of operations imposed by bad weather. Based on these figure he advises Göring to launch the second phase and attack London, which would force the RAF to commit its last reserves. Sperrle disagreed, but on
Sperrle thinks the number of fighters is still around 1000 and disagrees that the second phase should begin but on 30 August Göring had already advised Hitler to begin attacks on London. The order was issued on 5 September.
The claimed total of enemy aircraft destroyed is 1,115 (644 having been destroyed during Adlerangriff) but the R.A.F.'s more significant problem of a lack of pilots is not considered despite intelligence having established that bomber pilots were being called in to replace losses.
Geheim Lagerbericht Nr.367 7 Sept 1940 Assessment of the impact of air attacks against British airfields From August 00.00 hrs to 6 September 10.00 hrs The attacks on the ground organisation in Britain were directed against a total of 109 airfields. The ground facilities of the following 18 airfields have been destroyed and confirmed by the evaluation photo-reconnaissance images.
The ground facilities of 31 airfields have been damaged based on visual observation (those underlined have been confirmed by the evaluation photo-reconnaissance images.
- Biggin Hill
- Martlesham Heath
- Thorney Island
60 other airfields have been attacked but the extend of the damaged cannot be ascertained.
- Brize Norton
- North Weald
- St Athan
- St Eval