Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
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gustav109
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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby gustav109 » 20 May 2011 23:58

Books on Command of LW:

The memoirs of Field Marshall Kesselring: Interesting viewpoint from one of the principal generals of the LW. I particularly found interesting his insight into the Kanal Kampf (Battle of Britain) as a General on that front.

The First and the Last - Adolf Galland and Fighter General; the life of Adolf Galland by Raymond Toliver and Trevor Constable. Both books give an insight into the life and war service of Adolf Galland, the latter tends to cover Gallands life in contexts and is wider in subject material than autobiography.

The Life and Death of the Luftwaffe by Werner Baumbach: Insight into the command and conduct of the war for the LW Bomber force. Interesting book but somewhat disjointed as it is not written chonologically but hops between dates throughout chapters, which is offputting but does not detract from the relevance of the subject material. I only wish he had covered his active service a bit more thoroughly, there are only a few wartime missions covered considering his long service. Very interesting insights into bombers developed for bombing USA (Me264 in particular).

The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe:The life of Field Marshal Erhard Milch by David Irving: Possibly the best book I have read that gives an insight into the command decisions within the LW. An excellent read from start to finish with interesting facts and anecdotes on almost every page.Particularly informative the Stalingrad airlift chapter, gives a more thorough insight than many books covering the subject.
Hitler said of Milch "Here was a man like me, who just did not know the word 'impossible'"

Goring by David Irving: Further insight to decisions made at the top of the LW. Well written and researched.

The Fall of an Eagle by Armand van Ishoven: Biography of Ernst Udet. Very well written and researched, as are all his books. Gives an insight into Udets life, particularly his shortcomings as head of the Technical Branch of the LW and issues with Goring which led to his suicide.

General LW:

Apocalypse1945: The destruction of Dresden by David Irving: Again a thoroughly well written and researched book. Early chapters cover the progressive build-up of bombing in a ww2 total war concept which led to the bombing raid on Dresden. Whilst some have been critical of his findings as to the numbers killed at Dresden (his figures being backed by Enigma transcripts) that doesn't take away from the importance of this book.

Luftwaffe War Diaries by Cajus Bekker. I agree with earlier post. Interesting read and gives a good all round overview of the luftwaffe in the field and decisions that led to its demise. Author highlights many aspects of LW history that are absent or glossed over from contemporary books such as the successes of the LW in the Kanal Kampf and how close the allies came to losing the airwar over Germany (particularly the RAF).

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby willi_klingel » 10 Jul 2011 23:57

Hallo Marcus,
My favourite reference book has to William Green's book "Warplanes of the Third Reich" first published in 1970. It is the most complete book that I have ever seen. I have yet to find a type of plane which was not included. It is true that some other books might contain a little more detail on some of the specific types but Green's book is a must for serious researchers.
Willi

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby JonS » 11 Jul 2011 04:06

gustav109 wrote:The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe:The life of Field Marshal Erhard Milch by David Irving: Possibly the best book I have read ...

Göring by David Irving: Further insight to decisions made at the top of the LW. Well written and researched.

Apocalypse1945: The destruction of Dresden by David Irving: Again a thoroughly well written and researched book.

I have no reason to doubt that 'Rise and Fall' is the best book you've read, but it astonishes me that people still trot out anything by that author. Pretty much everything he's written has been called into question, especially since he's been shown to be fully prepared to make stuff up, or hide anything inconvienient, in order to advance his version of the way history should have been.

Williamson Murray "Strategy for Defeat" is a very thorough and scholarly book on the GAF. Most libraries with a decent mil-hist section should have a copy, 2nd hand copies are fairly easy to come by, and the entire book is available as a legitimate PDF from the US Air Force University website: http://aupress.maxwell.af.mil/bookinfo.asp?bid=72

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby Jon G. » 11 Jul 2011 10:23

I can second Warplanes of the Third Reich as an excellent book.

Irving's works have been thoroughly disproved, and rightly so, but you can still find references to eg. his Milch biography in surprisingly many places (eg. Tooze as I recall)

There's definitely an inflated number of rise & fall titles out there, but some of them are worth buying regardless:

One Luftwaffe monograph which I have recommended often enough, but not on this thread, is The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force 1933 to 1945, originally published by the HMSO in 1948, but available in many reprints. Second-hand copies are easy to find.

No author credits are given, and no references are stated anywhere in the book, but it's staggering how many later Luftwaffe authors quote sometimes entire sections of this book - frequently without giving proper credit.

Another Luftwaffe monograph which I can recommend is E. R. Hooton's two-volume history on the Luftwaffe, entitled Phoenix Triumphant. The Rise and Rise of the German Air Force and Eagle in Flames. The Fall of the Luftwaffe respectively. Like so many other authors before and after him, Hooton relies on the HMSO Rise and Fall... but he at least gives proper credit, and his narrative is compelling and not difficult to read.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby JonS » 13 Jul 2011 08:53

Jon G. wrote:Irving's works have been thoroughly disproved, and rightly so, but you can still find references to eg. his Milch biography in surprisingly many places (eg. Tooze as I recall)

Indeed. I remember being surprised to see it there. I've just done a trawl through the chapter notes, and of 2088 individual notes, AFAICT Irving is the reference for one (1) of them, covering a single sentence in Chapter 17. The note reads in toto; "Unfortunately, the best source on Milch is still D. Irving, The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe: The Life of Luftwaffe Marshal Erhard Milch (London, 1973)."

Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Last edited by JonS on 13 Jul 2011 20:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby Jon G. » 13 Jul 2011 19:42

No, it's not a glowing recommendation of Irving, but that doesn't change that Tooze must have relied on Irving's Milch biography for some of the information presented in his book.

It's better to come out clear, rather than dig information from Irving (or other suspect sources, for that matter) without saying so. If you exercise due caution, you can still get useful information from a biased source. I guess a professional historian working on a major redifinition of our understanding of the economy of Nazi Germany can be excused - as long as he issues due warning, as Tooze does.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby gustav109 » 15 Jul 2011 04:31

JonS wrote:I have no reason to doubt that 'Rise and Fall' is the best book you've read, but it astonishes me that people still trot out anything by that author. Pretty much everything he's written has been called into question, especially since he's been shown to be fully prepared to make stuff up, or hide anything inconvienient, in order to advance his version of the way history should have been.


JonS,

Thank you for the put down of finding it astonishing that "people still trot out anything by this author".
You are obviously coming from a point of knowledge having read the 3 books quoted.
As I have read all of his books, plus those he has edited which not many are aware of (ie the Gehlen memoirs being one), plus numerous other books from numerous other authors on this subject in my 52 years, I stand by my comments that his books are well researched, well written and full of a wealth of details from primary sources rather than some of the drivel passed of as history that rely on regurgitating some incorrect "fact" they have read and decided to reproduce in their book.
I look forward to receiving his recent book on ther Dambusters as a case in point, especially there was recently a newspaper report in Australia from a British war vet who claimed his service with the dambusters yet his later war service, as reported, was a plain falsehood. I look forward to reading if this vet was even a member of a crew on that mission.
Can you please tell me what is bought into question in these 3 books so I can re-read them to correct my misguided appreciation of his research. Or mybe you can point out which parts were hidden as inconvenient? I would have thought in the case of the Milch diaries that advancing Irving's version of history would be somewhat limited if he is using a diary as the basis for the book, or maybe Milch was in conspiracy with him in writng the diary.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby JonS » 15 Jul 2011 04:39

As I said, I have no doubt that it's the best book you've ever read.

Regarding your request, feel free to start here:
http://www.pixunlimited.co.uk/news/rtf/ ... dgment.rtf
In particular paragraphs 11.1 - 11.55 and 13.116 - 13.127
Note that those paragraphs relate to his very first book. He established his unique methods very early in his career.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby uhu » 17 Jul 2011 03:53

Most books have some errors. In David Irving's case, yes there are errors.....but some of the posters here are close to suggesting a "David Irving book burning"! The 'Destruction of Convoy PQ.17' had an error, and Irving was sued over it. That doesn't detract from the book.

The best book I've read in a long time is, "For Kaiser and Hitler", very insightful. A career from pre WWI through WWII by a Luftwaffe General.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby JonS » 17 Jul 2011 10:16

uhu wrote:Most books have some errors. In David Irving's case, yes there are errors.

No, you're wrong there. Irving's books don't have errors. They have a repeated and proven pattern of deliberate lies, distortions, omissions, and fabrications. But no errors.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby gustav109 » 18 Jul 2011 11:46

JonS wrote:
uhu wrote:Most books have some errors. In David Irving's case, yes there are errors.

No, you're wrong there. Irving's books don't have errors. They have a repeated and proven pattern of deliberate lies, distortions, omissions, and fabrications. But no errors.

JonS, there you go again..."repeated and proven pattern of deliberate lies, distortions, omissions and fabrications".
I know you have referred me to the Dresden book and Irvings dispute (and others dispute with him) over the number of casualties however, if he is a distorter of the facts, what of the historians that maintain that allied fighter pilots (US) did not machine gun civilians during the daylight raids, which Irving maintains happened (based on his research)and was backed up by testimony from the late Kurt Vonnegut Jnr, a POW in Dresden at the time of the raid who saw that happen.
Jon, can you also please refer me to the deliberate lies, distortions, ommissions and fabrications (DLDOF) in Irving's Milch biography, and would they be DLDOF by Milch as the author of the diaries or Irvings as the author of the book on them?

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Tornike
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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby Tornike » 25 Oct 2012 12:13

Hello.

I've added several books on Luftwaffe to my Google Books' 'to read' shelf, and as far as I can tell from having a look at available information on them, they seem to be interesting source of valuable historical material. Still, could anyone here recommend for or against getting my hands on these?

(1) Luftwaffe Fighter Aces: The Jagdflieger and Their Combat Tactics and Techniques by Mike Spick;

(2) Luftwaffe Sturmgruppen by John Weal;

(3) The Most Dangerous Enemy: An Illustrated History of the Battle of Britain by Stephen Bungay;

(4) The Battle of Britain: Dowding and the First Victory, 1940 by John Ray;

(5) The German Aces Speak: World War II Through the Eyes of Four of the Luftwaffe's Most Important Commanders by Colin D. Heaton, Anne-Marie Lewis;

(6) The Luftwaffe Over Germany: Defense of the Reich by Donald Caldwell, Richard Muller.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby uhu » 27 Oct 2012 21:17

Of the books you've listed my first choice would be "Luftwaffe over Germany". I've just started reading "Luftwaffe day fighters in Defence of the Reich" by Donald Caldwell and I'd put that one on your list too. It must have been a labor of love for Caldwell to sift through his years of correspondence with former Luftwaffe pilots, and then combine the information from those with USAAF records and first person accounts, to document almost every bombing mission over Europe with details on who fought who. Claims vs. losses -- complete lists. He tops it all off with mostly unpublished photos. It will take a lot of time to read this one.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby Tornike » 28 Oct 2012 20:55

Thanks for the feedback.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Luftwaffe

Postby uhu » 20 Nov 2012 01:20

Boys At War, Men at Peace -- just browsing thru some of the 312 pages of this 1988 book and it looks good and very different. With a little patience you can find it on the used book market for a few dollars. Simply the story of one B-17 shootdown, the Luftwaffe pilot pilot that made the kill, and the crew of the B-17. The book then describes the meeting of the veterans decades later at the site of the crash landing. This explains the book.

http://www.combatvets.net/asp/biopage.asp?ID=407


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