Luftwaffe Fighter Force - The View from the Cockpit, ed. David C. Isby

Luftwaffe Fighter Force - The View from the Cockpit, ed. David C. Isby

Immediately after the end of the Second World War the Allies conducted a series of interrogations of senior German officers, in an attempt to understand the German war machine. This book reproduces a series of interviews with leaders of the Luftwaffe's fighter arm conducted in England by the US Army. They cover the full range of fighter activities, from bomber escort in 1940 to the desperate defence of Germany in 1944-45, as well as ground attack and fighter bomber missions. A wide range of topics is covered within that, including the structure of the fighter force, the quality and problems with its equipment, tactics and examples of standard missions.

These interviews were conducted without any access to documents, so some of the material on earlier periods might not be entirely accurate (although the gist of it will be correct, as the authors were heavily involved in the events). The authors were already beginning to pass the buck for Germany's defeat – in particular to Hitler and Goering, although not to the same extent as in later years.

The immediacy does mean that the interviews are untainted by later Cold War attitudes, as well as later claims that the Luftwaffe didn't take part in strategic bombing (a claim used to try and claim some sort of moral superiority over the Allies). Here the attitude is quite different – the authors are clear that Germany did indeed carry out strategic bombing. There are even complaints about the transfer of twin engined bombers from strategic bombing to ground support missions.

This is a fascinating book, providing us with the immediate post-war views of key Luftwaffe figures (most notably Adolf Galland, Hubertus Hitschhold and Heinrich Bar), written at a period where they were still close to events (and were perhaps still caught up in some of the later wartime arguments).

Part 1 - The Fighter Force
1 - History and Development of GAF Fighter Commands, Galland and Milch
2 - The Organization and Function of Fighter Units, Galland
3 - A History of the Twin-Engine Fighter Force, Galland, Kowalewski, Nolle & Eschenauer
4 - German Fighter Pilots: Equipment and Service, Galland
5 - Mobility of Fighter Units, Galland and Bär

Part 2 - The Offensive War
6 - Escort Tactics, Galland
7 - Typical Orders for Fighter Escort to a Geschwader (Battle of Britain), Bär
8 - Fighter Tactics: The Free Hunt, Galland and Bär
9 - Typical Fighter Sweep, Bär
10 - Fighter Escort for Ship Convoys and Naval Units, Galland, Bär, Dahl and Petersen
11 - Protection of Naval Forces and Convoys by Fighter Forces, Galland

Part 3 - Air-Ground Operations
12 - Fighter-Bomber Tactics, Galland
13 - Fighters in Ground Attack, Gollob
14 - Typical Ground Attack Mission by a fighter Geschwader, Bär
15 - Organization of Ground Attack units, Hitschhold
16 - Principles for the Control of Operations of Ground Attack Units, Hitschhold
17 - Ground Attack Operations, Hitschhold
18 - Ground Attack Tactics, Hitschhold
19 - Tactical Execution of Ground Attack Missions in the FW 190, Hitschhold and Jacob
20 - Mistakes and Omissions in the GAF Ground Attack Arm, Hitschhold

Part 4 - The Defensive War
21 - The Evolution of the Defense of the Reich, Galland, Bar and Dahl
22 - Attacks on Heavy Bombers, Galland
23 - Weapons for Combating Four-Engine Bombers by Day, Galland, Bär, Dahl and Petersen
24 - A Typical Fighter Mission Briefing in Defense of the Reich, Bär
25 - A Typical Mission in the Defense of the Reich, Dahl
26 - Conduct of a Company Front Attack, Dahl
27 - Experiences in Combat against the Boeing Fortress II and Consolidated Liberator (1942), Galland
28 - Tactical Regulations for SE and TE Fighter Formations in Air Defense (1943), Galland
29 - Air Defense of the Reich: The Fighter Arm (1944), GAF Operations Staff

Part 5: Summing Up
30 - GAF Opinions of Allied Aircraft, Galland, Neumann, Milch, Bär and Hitschhold
31 - Allied Fighters and Equipment, Bär
32 - Allied Aircraft, Neumann
33 - Plans of the German Fighter Force for the Continuation of World War II, Galland
34 - The Most Important Mistakes of the Luftwaffe as Seen from the GAF Fighter Forces, Galland and Schmid

Author: Various
Editor: David C. Isby
Edition: Paperback
Pages:
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2016 edition of 1996 original


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