by Henry L. deZeng IV

From 1933 to 1937, the medical branch of the Luftwaffe was nothing more than a small department that was subordinate to the Army Medical Inspectorate (Heeres-Sanitäts-Inspekteur) for professional matters and to the chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff for administrative matters. In 1937 the Luftwaffe got its own Medical Inspectorate (Inspektion des Sanitätswesens), abbreviated as L.In.14, that was organized into three groups: Medical, Organization, Personnel. From then to 1944, it expanded rapidly to meet wartime needs. An organizational chart of the Medical Inspectorate for 1943 shows three large administrative departments: 1. Organisations (Organizations) with 7 sections, 2. Ärztliche (Medical) with 8 sections and 3. Selbst. Pharmakologie-Gruppe (Independent Pharmacology Group) with 3 sections. Collectively, they ran the Luftwaffe’s entire medical establishment.

The Luftwaffe’s Sollstärke (authorized allowance) for medical doctors in October 1939 was 2,500, of which 2,000 were available along with 500 interns. At peak strength during the 1943-44 period, the Luftwaffe had approximately 7,500 medical doctors of which 1,500 were dentists.

Sources used

Schröder, Prof. Dr. (med.) Oskar (Generaloberstabsarzt and Chef des Sanitätswesens d.Lw. (L.In.14)) – “Sanitätswesen der Luftwaffe”, unpublished manuscript dated 23.7.1945, in: NASM T-2/USSBS Captured German/Japanese Air Technical Documents, roll 8188, IP No. 360, 12 pages; Fischer, Hubert - Der deutsche Sanitätsdienst 1921-1945, 5 Bde (Osnabrück, 1982-1988), Bd. 3, pp.2003.]