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- Joined: 11 Jul 2013 13:04
RE: U.S. fighters strafing civilians at Dresden.
I have heard of this through a longstanding friend (who is very reserved, careful what he repeats as "fact") as told by a former American servicman who was there. Some of those guys did go down and indiscriminately strafe men, women and children that had taken refuge along the Elbe. Not "all of them"; some of them.
Really this should not be such a point of contention or even a surprise to anyone; during the last stages of the war the allies were somewhat engaged in what can only be described as an open free for all. Even the History Channel and Military channel here in the U.S. has shown footage in documentaries of gun camera footage where the targets are people on horse and carts, farm houses, villages etc. This is not to say that all fighter pilots and soldiers murdered German civilians, but the atmosphere and apparent "blind eye" by much of the command structure was there.
If we digress into the conduct of the Red Army it was something truly barbaric on a mass scale. But let us not try to say that somehow our conduct of the war was anything to laud over that of the German military or people.
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Ulrich never turned into a German top ace as his career ended in a British POW camp in 1940. Because of that he has no reputation to promote or fighter ace status to defend.
There are three themes in the book that is very distinctive.
At first, he describe what it was like to grow up in Weimar Germany and how he was engaged in the Hiltler-Jugend. This part is interesting as "general history" and paint a background to what is to come.
The second theme cover the period where joined the Luftwaffe and the training. Especially those who have gone through a similar program will find this one interesting, but what strikes me is the lack of safety and discipline in the air and a rather ineffective training program.
The third theme starts when he join the front line unit JG 52. Here we can follow the daily life in the unit as they struggle to get battle ready, the boredom of the "sitzkrieg", the campaign in France and the Battle of Britain. I find it very interesting as he add a lot of details that is usually omitted in other books. One of those is that, during the German offensive through northern France, many farmers abandoned their farms, including all the cattle's. So when the Germans arrived to the area, the cows had not been milked or fed for maybe two days. Here he describe the improvised actions taken by individuals and units to take care of the animals. An episode that is probably very common in war, but rarely mentioned.
One particularly interesting aspect of Ulrichs story is that he served in the same unit as the famous fighter ace Adolf Gallard.
It is apparent that the two didn't get along very well.
As with all memoir's, you have to read it carefully, but I would gladly recommend it.
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- Location: Bangkok, Thailand
I can recommend the two books by Krzysztof Janowicz published by Kagero in their 'Air Miniture' series:
no.11 "Luftflotte I 1939" ISBN 8389088304 and no.17 "Luftflotte IV 1939" ISBN 8389088657 . Both are softbound books of Polish/English languages with accounts from both sides.
Another good read regarding the Polish Campaign is the English translation of Cajus Bekker's "Angriffshohe 400" entitled "The Luftwaffe War Diaries"
If you can read Polish then the three books by M.Emmerling "Luftwaffe nad Polska 1939" Vol1-Fighters, Vol2-Bombers,Vol3-Stukas are reputed to be good.
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A book, of which I have not found English translation, but which is recommended for those who understand German is:
Meimberg, Julius: Feindberührung 2002, ISBN 3-980793516.
Julius Meimberg was an ace of 54 air victories and he served at the Western Front (of Germany) and in North Africa. His combat career covered the time from the Battle of France to the bitter end in 1945. The book is his autobiography of that time. Meimber´s book is a worthy addition to the history of Luftwaffe and he is critical not only to Göring, who is a easy target for any criticism. Adolf Galland was legendary character and leader figure in Luftwaffe, but also he deserves some critic as Meimberg points out.
Meimberg writes well how hardly the war of attrition hit Luftwaffe in West and and how difficult it was to deal with heavy Allied bombers. I would recommend this book for those, who like to have somewhat different view (compared to some standard book) about the airwar as told by a renowned ace pilot. This is not a hero story, but a realistic description of airwar.
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- Location: US
Target England by Edmund Blandford. Subtitled "Flying with the Luftwaffe in WW II, its accounts by Luftwaffe air crew that sortied against the British Isles. A worthy addition to the library I picked up used for just a few dollars. Makes great first person reading.
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- Location: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Two web pages which I highly recommend - with many fine drawings, photographs and information:
Now a question too:
Are there some books on the Luftwaffe and other Axis powers airforces (and their airplanes) that are available for download, e.g. at Scribd?
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- Location: The Big City on Lake Erie
Rise and Fall of the German Air Force 1933-1945 by the Air MInistry- a professional history
Command and Leadership in the German AIr Force by Richard Suchenwirth
Development of the German Air Force 1935-1945 by Richard Suchenwirth
German AIr Force 1933-1945: An Anatomy of Failure by Matthew Cooper
Luftwaffe: Creating the Operational Air War 1918-1940 by James S. Corum
Luftwaffe 1933-1945: Hitler's Eagles by Chris McNab
Strategy for Defeat: the Luftwaffe 1933-1935 by WIlliamson Murray
Bill in Cleveland
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Phoenix Triumphant: The Rise and Rise of the Luftwaffe & Eagle In Flames: The Fall of the Luftwaffe.These two books are by E.R. Hooton. These two books cover the period of covert rearmament starting at the end of World War I through various battle fronts of World War II. Excellent books.
JG 26: Top Guns of the Luftwaffe, by Donald L. Caldwell; Forward by Adolf Galland. Written much in the same mode as Galland's "The First and the Last",the author briefly takes you through the organizing period of the Luftwaffe and the official birth of JG 26 in May, 1939 and takes the reader on a well written journey of JG 26's exploits during the rest of the war.
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- Location: Minnesota, USA
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- Joined: 08 Oct 2010 04:04
- Location: Tasmania
John Weal has written Osprey volumes on Jagdgeschwader 52 and Jagdgeschwader 54. Both are not as accurate as they could be, and are understandably only summaries given that the author had a limit of 128 pages, but Weal writes well, and they are good reads. See: https://ospreypublishing.com/jagdgeschwader-52 and https://ospreypublishing.com/jagdgeschw ... unherz-039