Luftflotte 5 (Air Fleet 5) was one of the primary divisions of the
Luftwaffe in World War II. It was formed 12 April 1940 in
Hamburg for the invasion of Norway. It transferred to Oslo,
24 April 1940 and was the organization responsible for Luftwaffe
activity in Occupied
Norway throughout the Second World War.
2 Commanding officers
3 Subordinated units
Luftflotte 5 was responsible for German air operations during the
invasion of Norway, and for the defence of the occupied territory
thereafter. It was divided into various operational formations,
governing air forces, and into Air Districts (Luftgau) controlling
ground forces and facilities.
In 1940, for the invasion, its main air asset was FliegerKorp X, a
formation comprising four bomber and one fighter wings (Geschwader)
together with air support forces. With the conclusion of the Norwegian
campaign FliegerKorps X was moved to other theatres (first to the
Battle of Britain, then to the Mediterranean Sea).
On 15 August 1940 the
Luftwaffe mounted the largest number of sorties
of the Battle of Britain.
Luftflotte 5 attacked the north of England.
Believing Fighter Command strength to be concentrated in the south,
raiding forces from
Norway ran into unexpectedly strong
resistance. Inadequately escorted by Bf 110s, bombers were shot down
in large numbers. North East England was attacked by 65 Heinkel He
111s escorted by 34 Messerschmitt Bf 110s, and
RAF Driffield was
attacked at midday by 50 unescorted Junkers Ju 88s. Out of 115 bombers
and 35 fighters sent, 16 bombers and 7 fighters were destroyed. As
a result of these casualties,
Luftflotte 5 did not appear in strength
again in the campaign.
After the invasion of
Norway air operations came under Fliegerführer
(Ff) Nord, an ad hoc formation of assigned squadrons (Staffel) and
groups (Gruppe). From June 1941 fighter forces in
Norway came under
the separate command of Jagdfliegerführer Norwegen. Total forces
amounted to three fighter groups and one bomber group, with attached
night fighter and fighter bomber squadrons plus auxiliaries.
On the ground Luftflotte 5's assets were administered by a single air
district, Luftgau Kommando(LgK) Norwegen, with subordinate commands
operating airfields around Oslo, Kristiansand, Bergen, and Stavanger
in the south, Trondheim, in the centre, and
Kirkenes in the
north of the country.
In 1941, with the invasion of the
Soviet Union and the entry of
Finland into the war as Germany’s ally, a second air district was
formed (LgK Finnland) around Rovaniemi, to co-ordinate German air
activity on the northern front and Operation Silberfuchs.
In June 1942 Ff Nord was divided into three separate commands; Ff Nord
West ("North (West)"), organized from Trondheim; Ff
Lofoten Islands against Allied convoys to
Murmansk and the
Soviet arctic ports; and Ff Nord Ost ("North (East)"), supporting Army
Murmansk and the northern front. In the summer of
Lofoten was reinforced with two bomber groups formed
specifically for maritime operations.
In 1944 these formations were reorganized again; Nord Ost became,
briefly Ff Eismeer before becoming Ff 3; Nord West became Ff 4; and
Lofoten became Ff 5.
On the ground LgK Norwegen became Kommandierende General der Luftwaffe
(K.G.) in Norwegen, covering ground and air formations in Norway,
while LgK Finnland became K.G. Finnland, with a similar remit in
Finland and, later, northern Norway.
As the war progressed however these organizations became increasingly
irrelevant as German forces were forced to retreat and their air
strength diminished. By the end of
World War II
World War II they existed largely
Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch, 12 April 1940 – 9 May 1940
Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen Stumpff, 10 May 1940 – 27 November 1943
General Josef Kammhuber, 27 November 1943 – 16 September 1944
^ For an explanation of the meaning of
Luftwaffe unit designation see
^ Document 32,
Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain Historical Society.
Luftflotten (Air Fleets) of the