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The Luftwaffe was a branch of the German Wehrmacht during World War II, and a branch of the Bundeswehr from the Cold War to the present. Initially the Luftwaffe was more powerful and modern than its foes during World War II. Possessing one of the first dedicated monowing fighters, as well as numerous ground-support aircraft like the Ju-87 Stuka and He 111, the Luftwaffe was key to the German blitzkrieg strategy, striking at targets before the rest of the Wehrmacht forces arrived, and then continuing to provide support for the ground forces.
However, in spite of their early successes, many of their most skilled pilots and older aircraft were lost during a string of defeats on all fronts beginning with the Battle of Britain. The Stuka and other outdated craft in particular were at risk from increasingly-modernized Allied fighter craft like the Spitfire and P-51 Mustang. As the war wound down, not even the Me262, one of the world's first jet fighters, could save the Luftwaffe, as the new aircraft were largely piloted by inexperienced recruits, and there was not enough in the way of resources such as aviation fuel to allow extensive operations.
In Battlefield 1942, the Luftwaffe is represented by the overall Wehrmacht on all maps. For the most part their aircraft are used in a supportive role during battle, as in El Alamein, due to the fact that they are incapable of capturing flags while in-flight. However, during an all-air battle such as the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe's He 111s and BF109s are used to destroy the British radio towers, which wins the overall battle.