Sperrle was Commander of the Luftflotte III, one of several self-contained air units of the Luftwaffe. After commanding the German Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War, Sperrle became General of Aviators in 1937. Appointed to the command of Luftflotte III in January 1939 he provided air support for the ‘Blitzkriegs.’ During the Battle of Britain, from July 1940 to May 1941, the Luftflotte III were stationed in northern France and Sperrle in Paris. His unit was given the operational sphere of eastern Britain and KESSELRING’s Luftflotte II stationed in northeast France and the Low Countries were assigned to western Britain. Both being self-contained, coordination between the two was poor. After heavy losses through the summer they settled down to constant night bombing from high altitudes.
Luftflotte III took the brunt of the Allied air offensive before and during D-Day and therefore took little part in opposing the invaders.