Luftwaffe Maritime Operations in World War II - Defense.

The Luftwaffe [N 2] ( German pronunciation: [ˈlʊftvafə]  (   listen ) ) was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II . Germany 's military air arms during World War I , the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy , had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.

The Luftwaffe proved instrumental in the German victories across Poland and Western Europe in 1939 and 1940. During the Battle of Britain , however, despite inflicting severe damage to the RAF 's infrastructure and, during the subsequent Blitz , devastating many British cities, the German air force failed to batter the beleaguered British into submission. From 1942, Allied bombing campaigns gradually destroyed the Luftwaffe ' s fighter arm. From late 1942, the Luftwaffe used its surplus ground, support and other personnel to raise Luftwaffe Field Divisions .

The Imperial German Army Air Service was founded in 1910 with the name Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches , most often shortened to Fliegertruppe . It was renamed Luftstreitkräfte on 8 October 1916. [7] The air war on the Western Front received the most attention in the annals of the earliest accounts of military aviation, since it produced aces such as Manfred von Richthofen and Ernst Udet , Oswald Boelcke , and Max Immelmann . After the defeat of Germany, the service was dissolved on 8 May 1920 under the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles , which also mandated the destruction of all German military aircraft.