Approval stamps for field airmail by Rolf Michaelis
Already during WWI, there were enormous masses of field mail which showed its significance as a way of communication between the fighters in the front and their families at home.
Amount of airmail
During WWII, the amount of field mail increased gradually, due to the high number of soldiers and the big distances between the front/occupied areas (Africa, USSR, Norway, Greek islands...) and the families. As the normal transport (per rail or truck) of the more than 2,5 million letters from and to the the warriors could take four to six weeks, the airmail service was founded in spring in 1942.
Stamps and how to use them
From the 18th of April 1942, the soldiers received blue approval stamps for their field-airmail. These stamps showed the aeroplane „Junkers Ju-52“, which was normally used for the transport of the airmail. On the stamp, above the plane, you could read „LUFTFELDPOST“ (field airmail) and beneath the plane „DEUTSCHES REICH“ (German Reich).
In the beginning the soldiers received two, later (from May 1943) four stamps every other week, to send letters up to 10 grams per airmail. If the letter was heavier, the warriorhad to use two stamps. The so-called airmail stamps could also be sent home to the soldiers' families, who could use them to send letters to the soldiers per airmail, which was much faster. The soldiers hat to underline the word „Luftfeldpost“ with red ink, the families had to draw a diagonal cross over the letter, which also had to be done if letters were sent as a special-delivery mail.
However, some warriors did this in addition to underlining the word „Luftfeldpost“. In summer 1944, the mail service started to get restricted. As the eastern front had moved westward and the aeroplanes were needed to transport equipment, the airmail service only delivered letters to the islands in the Mediterranean Sea and to the northern front. At the end of the war, the airmail service was only used to transport mail to the soldiers who were trapped in France and the Kurland pocket.