German Aircraft Maintanance



July 1945

Reported by

Lieut. J.M. Jayne,    U.S.N.R.



CIOS Items 25 and 26

Aircraft and Aircraft Engines


It has to be said, though: The American reports are in most cases realistic and do appreciate the German way of maintaining and technology (of course, technically and not politically). In contrast to most reporters in the BIOS and CIOS series.



Keywords:    German aircraft mainenance appeared to be satisfactory. Equipment examined was generally well carred for and in good operating condition. The organization of the maintenance side of the Luftwaffe was sound, the personnel well trained, and procedures and practices practical in that they were designed and subsequently modified as necessary to accomplish the task of keeping aircraft flying with the minimum of waste, effort and material. Their supply program was well managed and elastic and emphasis on practical design was evident on all equipment. .... ; One of the main reasons why the German Air Force (GAF) was so successful during the first years of the war was that from its very inception a comprehensive and thorough plan of organisation was adopted and followed ... The administration and supply branch benefited similarly by having a well trained group of officers shose practical experience was utilized to the best advantage, and who were kept in the field of their specialty ... The Fliegerkorps was a purely operational flying command consisting of ten to twenty-five Gruppen .... Ordinarily a Fliegerkorps (Night fighter, etc) which were moved about as the military situation dictated. ... Werft The average Operational Airfield Command consisted of between three hundred fifty and four hundred officers and men ... In summary, there is one feature of the organization of the German Air Force which stands out, namely the sharp division between the operational and administrative functions. It was rigidly maintained ... In the posting of enlisted maintenance personnel, the most experienced and capable men were always assigned to Werften in preference to Staffeln ... The basic organization and segregation of operational and administrative functions proved quite successful and it gave the German Air Force the mobility and efficiency that proved so successfull during the first stages of war. .. Overhaul All engines were overhauled after 450 hours (three 150 hours periods). No provisons were made for time extensions, and all the time policy was rigidly followed. Overhaul methods were standard and the mojarity was done by civilian contractors. A small percentage (15 percent) was done by small Luftwaffe overhaul shops located on some of the permanet airfields. Technical officers stated that no noticeable difference were apparent between service and private overhauls  .... All overhauled engines were run in and tested on engine test stands. The tests were standard and comparable to U.S. Naval engine tests. .. Greasing All aircraft were greased daily. It was standard practice for each Staffel to have one man assigned permanently and exclusively to this work, ... Washing All aircraft were wahed daily. The writer (Lieut. J.M. Jayne USNR, AOB) inspected a number of aircraft captured in operating condition and virtually without exception, they were clean and well lubricated. ... Quick-Change Stands The German Airforce made extensive use of quick-change engine stands. Units were complete, including all cowling and accessories. Assembly usually took place at supply depot and .... Oil Dilution Oil dilution was standard practice for cold weather operation .... the Germans experienced little difficulty resulting in damaged engines due to improper dilution by indexperienced personnel  .... Several German technical officers were interrogated inoil delution because the U.S. Naval experience with oil delution has shown considerable difficulty due to improper dilution. There are two factors, both pertaining to oil properties, which might have a bearing on German success. First, the synthetic oil used for lubricating might be less easily washed from the cylinder walls, ... ; TA 183 .. ; Spare parts The German spare parts program was very well organized and efficent. Considerable difficulty was experienced during the last year of the war, but it was mainly due to Allied startegic bombing both sources and transportation lines ... ;Oil Changes  It was standard practice to change oil on each 25 hour engine check. The waste oil was shipped in drums to refineries for filtering and reconditioning ... ; Spark Plugs Spark Plugs were changed on 25 hour check. Every Werft had a small shop for cleaning and checking plugs before reinstalling ... ; Radio-Radar Very little radio repair was done in the field either by operating or service units. Only minor repais  ... The manufacturers assembled units with different coloured screws, the color indicating whether the part could be removed or disassembled  .. When troubles were encountered, it was standard practice to change the entire radio or radar unit. Mounting design and installation were designed to facilitated this, and few mounting screws and two or three connections were usually all that was necessary to disconnect (In most cases not even that, as entire units can be disassembled by two or maximally four turn-locks, AOB) .. Defective units were then returned to the manufacturers for repair and reconditioning .. To overcome the difficulties and time necessary for shipment of defective equipment back from areas, elaborate especially equipped trucks were designed as mobile radio and radar shops. Extensive use was made of these mobile units in forward areas. Training The training program for German ground personnel was excellent. Whereever possible, assigment was made in order to take advantage of civilian experience. .. At the ...  Wartime conditions forced the shortening of the main course to six months, but the good balance between theory and practice was maintained ... Design The one aspect of German aircraft maintenance picture that stands above all the others in making  for ease and speed of work in the field is the control and direction of design,  ... New equipment was designed to utilize as much as possible parts already in service .. General Maintenance Information ... Part numbers were standardized and different manufacturers used the same part numbers for the same parts.  .... These standard installation design requirements made the interchange of different types of radio equipment in the field a relatively simple problem ..  Occasionally the Geramns sacrificed performance to some extent to similar upkeep. The use of a limited number of standard tubes in radio equipment eas expressly for the purpose of simplifying supply and repair problems, even though it did mean a reduction in operating efficiency. It is debatable whether or not the Germans carried this too far in some respects but it was also very evident that considerable benefit was obtained from the effort expended inkeeping maintenance and installation in mind in the design of aircraft and equipment.  .... Summary of Recommendations Advantage There were three major advantages of the German aircraft maintenance program .... Disadvantages Completed overhauled products appeared satisfactory but with a relatively small safety margin. ... (533565393/36628.750.12.45.S.L.S.T.C.      



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