By the time Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941, he knew that his military machine was running out of fuel. In response, he launched Operation Blau, a campaign designed to protect Nazi oilfields in Romania while securing new ones in the Caucasus. All that stood in the way was Stalingrad. Here, Joel Hayward chronicles Luftwaffe operations during that campaign, focusing on Hitler's use of the air force as a tactical rather than strategic weapon in close support of ground forces. He details the Luftwaffe's key role as ""flying artillery"", showing that the army relied on Luftwaffe support to a far greater degree than has been previously revealed and that its successes in the East occurred largely because of the effectiveness of that support. Hayward shows the poorly conceived strategies of Hitler, Goering and others in Berlin doomed the efforts of air commander Wolfram von Richthofen, a resolute leader attempting to come to grips with an increasingly impossible situation. By reconsidering the campaign in the light of a wider body of documentary sources and analyzing many previously ignored events, Hayward offers military historians and general readers a more complete understanding of the Battle of Stalingrad and its impact on World War II.