The German Aces Speak
This book contains interviews with four prominent Luftwaffe fighter pilots who fought from the Spanish Civil War until the end of the war in Europe in 1945. They are candid about their combat experiences, dealing with the corrupt Nazi civil government and their dislike and contempt for RFM Goering and Hitler. It presents an interesting look into World war II as viewed from “the other side.”
Interview number one is with 197 victory ace Walter Krupinski. Serving mostly on the Eastern Front, his insight into combat in that arena is very interesting. Krupinski concluded his flying career with the West German Air Force after learning to fly jets in the US post-war.
Next up is Fighter General and 104 victory ace Adolf Galland. Galland relates his experiences from the Spanish Civil war up to flying the Me-262. He is quite open in discussing how he began to lose favor with Hitler and Goering over his opposition to their decision-making and tactics, so much so that Goering had secret investigations conducted to try and find anything he could use to discredit Galland in the eyes of the German public. One of the most heated exchanges is recounted where Goering accused Galland and the Luftwaffe pilots of cowardice, to which Galland took off his medals put them on the table and went to walk out. He was followed by all the other pilots in attendance with Goering screaming that they had not been dismissed. While thinking that all had just ended their careers, if not their very lives, nothing more was said by Goering and the medals were returned to each pilot in a few days.
Another favorite tidbit is Galland’s love of cigars. He went so far as to have a lighter and cigar holder installed in the cockpit of his aircraft.
Eduard Neumann is the third interview. While his score of 13 aerial victories seems small when compared with the first two aces in the book, Neumann was responsible for training many of the Luftwaffe’s successful pilots and he provides great insight into this area, as well as to the Honor Code that he and his pilots operated under.
Last is Wolfgang Falck, referred to as the the “Father of Night Fighters.” He was instrumental in developing the Luftwaffe’s night fighting tactics. Falck was involved from the beginning of the reformation of the Luftwaffe until the end of the war.
The book concludes with a 96 page index of all Luftwaffe pilots who scored an aerial victory. The book is an enjoyable read and, as I said before, it is interesting to see how the other side perceived the events of WWII. If you have any interest in aerial combat, WWII history, or the individuals within, I can recommend this book to you. You will enjoy it. For the modeler, you might draw inspiration to build one or more of the aircraft these men flew. Again, if you buy it I think you will find it worth the money.
The book is available from Zenith Press through their website above. Our thanks to Zenith Press for the review copy and to IPMS for the opportunity to review this book.