Adolf "Dolfo" Joseph Ferdinand Galland (1912 -1996) was a German Luftwaffe General and one of the greatest flying aces of World War II. He flew 705 ...Show synopsisAdolf "Dolfo" Joseph Ferdinand Galland (1912 -1996) was a German Luftwaffe General and one of the greatest flying aces of World War II. He flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western and the Defence of the Reich fronts. On four occasions he survived being shot down, and he was credited with an astonishing 104 aerial victories, all of them against the Western Allies. He is a legend of air combat, and this is his heroic story. First published in 1954, this is a reprint of the original edition and not any revised version. It was a best-seller in 14 languages and sold three million copies. It was also very well received by the British and American airforces as a frank and honest statement of how the war was won and lost in the air. Time magazine,too, called this book "The clearest picture yet of how the Germans lost their war in the air."Hide synopsis
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I read Adolf Galland's memoirs of the second great conflict of the last century between England and Germany decades after it was written. To place the historic bibliographies on this conflict in context, the above referenced reading follows Sir Winston Churchill's account of that conflict, as well as the treatises written by William Shirer (The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich); the recent historical account of Mr. Patrick Buchanan (Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War), as well as Field Marshall Erich v. Manstein's account "Lost Victories" (in which references are made, independently of the Galland account, of the amazing incompetence and utter absence of any identifiable strategy of the German High Command - whatever that term "strategy" ultimately led to mean for the German side).
Adolf Galland has been shown by the German Propaganda Ministry in one or two newsreels (i.e. the so-called Wochenshaus now available in short YouTube streaming videos) as a "showcase" hero by Dr. Goebbels' organization. but it is only through a reading of Galland's account that one can appreciate distance between the political and the military in Germany, as well as the real forces and events behind the the eventual victory of the "Anglo-Saxon" (sic) island race against their German brothers across the channel. Galland provides one humorous insight (among many others) in which "the fat boy" (Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering) asks the assembled Luftwaffe Calais leadership, after a series of disasterous raids against England, what suppport he could give them, after first having berated them. Galland replied with his famous (but misassigned in the film "The Battle of Britain")..."a squadron of Spitfires". Galland is gallant! He unequivocally praises the combatants of "The Finest Hour", their chivalry and their bravery.
The First and The Last above all, for the serious student of that conflict, has to be one additional element sewn into the fabric of history, from which, as the distance and healing of time shows, a richer picture of the events and forces of that terrible conflict appears. I will leave it to those students to arrive at their own conclusions about the times and tides which have so scarred humanity both from their intended and unintended consequences.....
This book has been very useful in understanding the war from the German perspective. I found the impressions, correct and incorrect, that the Germans had of Allied technologies, strategy, tactics and operations and vice versa very interesting. Also the political battles that Galland had in order to try and get his fighter arm recognised and equipped. It is a situation that many operational leaders find themselves in, in times of war, but more so when the German hierarchy was so unable to contradict the Fuhrer. How different things would have been if the ME262 had become operational in quantity a couple of years earlier!!
I had the paperback without the photos but many can be found on the Internet if one searches under Adolf Galland.
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