Spitfire of 54 Sqn, RAF. NNW Margate. Hurricane of Sqn, RAF. SW Dover. Spitfire of 64 Sqn, RAF. Defiant of Sqn, RAF. Spitfire of 19 Sqn, RAF. SE London.
Luftwaffe fighter aces : the Jagdflieger and their combat tactics and techniques
NW Dungeness. Hurricane of Sqn RAF. Thames Estuary. Josef Hubacek. Hurricane of 46 Sqn RAF. W Rochester. S Hornchurch. Spitfire of Sqn, RAF.
W Ashford-Canterbury. Spitfire of 92 Sqn, RAF. N Rochester. S Guidford. S Eastchurch. Spitfire of 66 Sqn, RAF.
Spitfire of Flt, RAF. Galland: I think so, plus a holder for it if I was on oxygen. It created quite a controversy, I can tell you. Galland: This was on June 21, , when JG. We had attacked some Bristol Blenheim bombers and I shot down two, but some Supermarine Spitfires were on me and they shot my plane up. I had to belly-land in a field until picked up later, and I went on another mission after lunch. On this mission I shot down number 70, but I did something stupid.
I was following the burning Spitfire down when I was bounced and shot up badly.
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My plane was on fire, and I was wounded. I tried to bail out, but the canopy was jammed shut from enemy bullets. So I tried to stand in the cockpit, forcing the canopy open with my back as the plane screamed toward earth. I had opened it and almost cleared the when my parachute harness became entangled on the radio aerial. I fought it with everything I had until I finally broke free, my parachute opening just as I hit the ground. I was bleeding from my head and arm, plus I had damaged my ankle on landing.
I was taken to safety by some Frenchmen. Galland: I was worried that my wounds might ground me for a long time—that was my greatest concern, not to mention I had lost two airplanes. Galland: He was shot down during a dogfight on August 9. One of his artificial legs was left in the Spitfire when he bailed out, and the other was smashed after he landed.
I made a request through the International Red Cross, and the British were offered safe passage for the plane to drop replacement artificial legs. Well, they dropped them after they bombed my air base. Bader was fitted and sent to a prison camp. We remained friends until his death a few years ago. His Heinkel He struck some telephone wires, and he was killed in the crash.
At the time of his death he was acting as general of fighters, holding the rank of Oberst colonel. Gerhard Schoepfel became Kommodore of my JG. How did that work? Galland: I organized a rotation of various fighter wings to fly top cover for the ships, an air umbrella to protect them from British air attacks. There was some damage from mines, but the Luftwaffe fighters shot down many British planes, and not a single major hit was made on the warships.
Aces of the Luftwaffe: The Jagdflieger in the Second World War by Peter Jacobs
That was a great success story that made me proud. Galland: Well, it was a big responsibility, and you could never get what you needed. What did you think of him personally? Galland: Yes, he had many problems, but he was basically an intelligent man and well educated, from the aristocracy. He had many weak points in his life, and he was always under pressure from Hitler, yet he never contradicted him or corrected him on any point.
That was where he made his greatest mistakes. This weakness increased as the war dragged on, along with his drug addiction, until he was nothing. As far as our Luftwaffe was concerned, he was even less and should have been replaced. WWII: What were your impressions of Hitler, since you spent months in his company and knew him very well. I was not very impressed with him. The first time I met him was after Spain when we were summoned to the Reichschancellery. There was Hitler, short, gray-faced and not very strong, and he spoke with a crisp language. He did not allow us to smoke, nor did he offer us anything to drink, nothing like that.
Other officers did, and they were relieved, but at least they did the right thing and voiced their objections. People were not lining up for the job, I can tell you. Hitler was unable to think in three dimensions, and he had a very poor understanding when it came to the Luftwaffe ,as with the U-boat service.
He was strictly a landsman. WWII: Well, of all the men you led and are friends with today, are there any who simply stood out as great leaders apart from their records as aces? Galland: Oh, my, that would be a long list, and you also know most of them. All the rest are still very good friends of mine, but we are old men now, and life is not as fast as it was in the cockpit.
However, as their leader I also made many mistakes. I could have done better. I was young and inexperienced with life, I guess. It is very easy to look back retrospectively and criticize yourself; however, at that time it was very difficult. All of the senior Kommodores brought their grievances to me, and we chose a spokesman to represent them. At least now it was in the open, no pretenses. Galland: I had been telling Hitler for over a year, since my first flight in an Me, that only Focke Wulf Fw fighter production should continue in conventional aircraft, to discontinue the Me, which was outdated, and to focus on building a massive jet-fighter force.
I was in East Prussia for a preview of the jet, which was fantastic, a totally new development. This was , and I was there with Professor Willy Messerschmitt and other engineers responsible for the development. The fighter was almost ready for mass production at that time, and Hitler wanted to see a demonstration. When the was brought out for his viewing at Insterburg, and I was standing there next to him, Hitler was very impressed.
This is the Blitz lightning bomber I have been requesting for years. No one thought of this. I order that this be used exclusively as a Blitz bomber, and you, Messerschmitt, have to make all the necessary preparations to make this feasible. These bomber pilots had no fighter experience, such as combat flying or shooting, which is why so many were shot down. They could only escape by outrunning the fighters in pursuit.
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