in 1944 the German war industry performed a production record.
That was rightly questioned in other forums, for several reasons.
Total production figures are worthless. Only finished goods that actually worked are worth counting. German airframes and engines were often riddled with enough defects to render them unusable.
Scarcity of aluminum forced Germany to use wooden parts for aircraft, with quality control problems due to skilled labor shortage.
Germany already had a shortfall of special engine alloys in 1943.
“ ... As the war progressed the scarcity of aluminum forced the German aircraft industry to revert to the use of wood. Several variants of the Bf 109G had wooden tailplanes, but these caused many complaints. On 22 August 1944, I./JG3 sent a complaint to Rechlin concerning Bf 109 wooden tailplanes and immediately five of the unit's fighters were examined by Hauptmann Lichtenecker from Rechlin. The resulting report, dated 22 September 1944, also covered deficiencies in wood items and assemblies in the Bf 110, Junkers Ju 352, and Kalkert Ka 430.
Three G-6s were found to be defective; WN 166261 had been standing in the open since 21 July 1944 and flown a total of 23 hours 30 minutes. The right elevator showed three cracks of 15 millimetres length, cracks in the front spar, and a poor protective layer on the hinge-carrying spar; WN 165485 with a total flying time of three hours, and no exposure to the elements, showed cracks near the right elevator hinge; while WN 165689, fresh from the factory, showed a 60mm long crack in its right elevator, and ungluing of the rear spar of the right tailplane. The tailplane was taken off and sent to Rechlin for closer examination. The report stated that use of this tailplane would have caused an accident. It went on to state that neither the gluing, nor the protection of the wood, nor the craftsmanship was done in an expert manner.
‘In view of such faulty manufacture the further use of wooden tailplanes must be questioned; the safety of the Bf 109 is highly endangered.’
The reason for such poor manufacturing was the fact that the small woodworking firms that supplied the tailplanes to Messerschmitt simply did not have labour or staff with adequate experience in woodworking. Quite often foreign workers had to be employed. Some came to work in Germany voluntarily, but many had been forced to do so—sabotage was a tempting way of ‘getting even’...”
Armand von Ishoven. Messerschmitt Bf 109 at War (see page 132).
“ One especially severe handicap was the growing shortage of chromium and nickel, alloying elements which greatly increased the durability and heat resistance of steel. The first engines were constructed without regard to the amount of “rationed materials”. For example, each Jumo 004 initially used 88 kg of nickel. These amounts were drastically lowered by the RLM as development progressed - by late 1943 only 24.4 kg was authorized for each engine - and the choice of materials became ever more limited.”
Manfred Boehme. JG 7: The World's First Jet Fighter Unit 1944/1945. Schiffer Publishing, 1992.
In the five years between between the Battle of Britain and the end of World War II, the number of hours that an Me 109 engine could be run without major work decreased from 100 to 10.”
Philip D. Caine. Eagles of the RAF (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Publications, 1991).
" I should point out the enormous problems caused by the unreliability of our supercharged Daimler-Benz 605 AS engines. They would barely make it beyond the fateful 50 hour mark ... In my Staffel, it was frequently the case that engines would have to be changed two or three times before finding one which ran satisfactorily ... We were astonished to read in 'Interavia' that the Russians had complained to the Americans that the engines that had been supplied had a life of only 300 hours instead of the 350 hours promised!”
Lorant, Jean-Yves and Richard Goyat. Jagdgeschwader 300 "Wilde Sau": A Chronicle of a Fighter Geschwader in the Battle for Germany. Volume One, June 1943 - September 1944 (Hamilton, MT: Eagle Editions, 2005).
“ A disadvantage of the powerplants was that they were not reliable. My JV 44 jets accumulated only 12 hrs and 20 minutes between engine changes. This was a very short time when one considers that airliner engines of today last up to 40,000 hrs. Often we took a new engine out of its packing case, fitted it onto the wing and in the first test run it suffered a massive mechanical failure of some sort.”
General der Jagdflieger
Hugh Morgan. Me 262: Stormbird Rising. Motorbooks Inc, 1994.
It seems likely that the Fw 190C-1 series might have become a very effective high-altitude aircraft if the Hirth turbo-blower installation had proved satisfactory. It's failure can only be blamed on the desperate shortage of high-temperature steels, and was but one of many powerplant projects that broke down due to this cause.
The turbo-blowers themselves worked quite satisfactorily; failure occurred in the tubes used to conduct the exhaust gases from the engine to the turbo-blower assembly, the material used in their construction being unable to withstand the high temperature of the exhaust gases.
The whole installation was constructed at the Eberspraecher factory, using Sicromal 8, but in the first report on the equipment, issued to HMZ on May 23rd, 1944, they stated quite openly that the Sicromal was unable to stand up to the temperatures involved and that the exhaust tubes were damaged after as little as ten hours of operation.
Their second report, issued on October 26th, 1944, told the same sad story, this additional five months of development having only raised the operational life to some 20 hours. Altogether 81 turbo-blowers were installed, mostly of experimental construction ... Because of the lack of a suitable powerplant the decision was taken to end the development of the 'C' series ... The failure of the German aero-industry to produce a first-class high-performance engine was a continual and limiting factor to the performance of their aircraft during both the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 wars.”
Nowarra, Heinz. The Focke-Wulf 190: A Famous German Fighter. Aero Publishers, 1965