The most successful fighter pilots of all time spring to vibrant life again in this revised and updated edition of the classic account of Germany's greatest aces in action. Ride into combat with such Luftwaffe luminaries as ace of aces Erich Hartmann, Gun
By his own, modest, admission Norbert Hannig was a Frontflieger, or operational pilot, who really did nothing special during World War Two. He was just, he says, one of the many rank and file pilots fighting for his country and not for the Führer. But his wartime career makes for fascinating and highly informative reading on an aspect of the 1939-45 war not often covered in the English language; primarily that of the campaign against the Soviet Union.
Norbert started flying during high school on gliders and joined the German Air Force as volunteer and officer cadet, one of the midwar-generation of Luftwaffe fighter pilots. He began operations with JG54 on the eastern (Leningrad) front in March 1943; initially he flew Messerschmitt Bf 109s before transitioning to the Focke-Wulf FW 190. After a year’s fighting, he was ordered back to Germany as a flight instructor to oppose the bomber streams of the AAF and RAF. Returning to Russia at the end of 1944, he became a Staffel CO and claimed many aircraft shot down. In April 1945 he converted to the first jet fighter, the Me 262, in south Germany, and flew his last missions with this aircraft. Also serving with JV44 (whose CO was Adolf Galland), Norbert Hannig finished the war with 42 victories from more than 200 missions. Many and varied were his experiences in action against the rejuvenated Soviet Air Force in the east, and the powerful western Allies over the homeland during the final chaotic months of hostilities, which culminated in his captivity.
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Luftwaffe pilot Walter Schuck flew the Me109 in the Arctic Sea fighter squadrons, becoming the Russian air force's feared enemy in the far north. Awarded the Knights Cross in April 1944, he claimed his 100th kill in June of that year, then barely 48 hours later shot down 12 aircraft in one day a record never achieved by any other Arctic Sea pilot.
His mastery continued when in March 1945 he joined Jagdgeschwader 7, newly equipped with Me 262 jet fighters and shot down two Allied fighters on his first operation. He took command of the third Staffel of JG 7, and his success in the aerial theatre was unsurpassed when he brought down four B-17 bombers while on a transit flight. Shortly afterwards, meeting one of the bombers' escort fighters in combat, his fuel system exploded and he had to bail out. Walter Schuck's war was over, after more than 500 front-line sorties and 206 confirmed kills.
Celebrated by his colleagues for his skill, courage, sheer guts, and chivalry, including his deep feelings for those he shot down, he earned the nickname "Adler der Tundra" or "Northern Knight".
In this autobiography, the author tells his story simply, conveying his impressions of life, the rationale of the Luftwaffe, and the everyday life of a military man in those times, including the difficulties and hardships of the war in the Arctic Seas. In a gripping narrative, the author helps us to understand why he and his colleagues were prepared to lay down their lives for their people and their country.
Rich in detail and facts, and supplemented by photographs from his personal collection and color aircraft profiles, Walter Schuck helps us to put the past into context, painting a unique picture of life in the Luftwaffe during the times of the Third Reich.
When the Luftwaffe entered World War 2, its nightfighter force was virtually nonexistent thanks to its leader, Reichmarschall Hermann Göring, who boasted that bombs would never fall on Germany. By mid-1940 his folly was evident; the first night fighter wing was hastily formed with Bf 110s. Initially capable of detecting targets by visual acquisition only, the force greatly improved its effectiveness with the creation of the 'Giant Würzburg' radar chain. By the end of 1942, the night fighter force controlled some 389 fighters and had destroyed 1,291 RAF bombers in that year alone. Complete with first-hand accounts and detailed colour illustrations, this book profiles the many variations of night fighters, and the men who made ace flying them.
Actions of the German air force during the Spanish Civil War Covers the bombing of Guernica and other events Draws from previously undiscovered source material
In 1936, civil war broke out in Spain, a violent prelude to World War II. Germany and the Soviet Union clashed there by proxy, with Hitler supporting Franco's Nationalists and Stalin aligning with the Republicans. The Third Reich sent the Condor Legion, a unit composed primarily of Luftwaffe forces, and the conflict became a proving ground for concepts like blitzkrieg, for officers like Adolf Galland and Werner Mölders, and for aircraft like the Bf 109, He 111, and Ju 97. Chillingly, the war also saw the development of terror bombing.