What happened to captured pilots during World War II

The "Battle of Britain"

In a completely inaccurate assessment of British air defense and aircraft production, Hermann Göring portrayed a German air force that was superior in almost all areas. But the large-scale operations over England revealed the German lack of armaments and training. The German pilots were often insufficiently trained in protecting combat aircraft in formation flights. On the day of the "Battle of Britain" alone, the climax of the air battle on September 15, 1940, the Luftwaffe lost 56 of 1,700 aircraft in use.

After heavy losses, the major German attacks were stopped in mid-September. Since the average British aircraft production of 470 fighters per month was twice as high as the German, the air superiority sought by the German Reich had become an illusion. However, the night attacks on London and other English industrial cities continued to break the economic and defense strength of Great Britain and the morale of the people. For the first time, London was on 5./6 September 1940 released as a target. In mid-October, the air strikes were extended to the central English industrial area. On the night of November 15, 1940, 500 bombers flew the heaviest attack on an English city and almost completely destroyed Coventry. Subsequently, the cynical term "coventrieren" found its way into the parlance of the German military. But even the constant bombing of areas could not break the will to resist of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who had been in office since May 1940. In the spring of 1941 the aerial warfare against England was stopped: Hitler now needed the planes for the attack on the Soviet Union.

The German Reich lost 2,265 machines in the air battle, another 867 were more than ten percent damaged. The almost 2,000 pilots who had died and 2,600 pilots who were missing or captured could hardly be replaced by the Air Force in the following months.