Few perspectives epitomize the sheer drama and sacrifice of combat more perfectly than those of the fighter pilots of World War II. As romanticized as any soldier in history, the World War II fighter pilot was viewed as larger than life: a dashing soul waging war amongst the clouds. In the 65-plus years since the Allied victory, stories of these pilots´ heroics have never been in short supply. But what about their adversaries - the highly skilled German aviators who pushed the Allies to the very brink of defeat? Of all of the Luftwaffe´s fighter aces, the stories of Walter Krupinski, Adolf Galland, Eduard Neumann, and Wolfgang Falck shine particularly bright. In The German Aces Speak, for the first time in any book, these four prominent and influential Luftwaffe fighter pilots reminisce candidly about their service in World War II. Personally interviewed by author and military historian Colin Heaton, they bring the past to life as they tell their stories about the war, their battles, their lives, and, perhaps most importantly, how they felt about serving under the Nazi leadership of Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler. 1. Language: English. Narrator: P.J. Ochlan. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tant/008625/bk_tant_008625_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The much-anticipated sequel to The German Aces Speak gives voice to four more of WWII´s most noteworthy German pilots. When The German Aces Speak was published in 2011, Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine welcomed Colin Heaton´s and Anne-Marie Lewis´ masterful command of interview-based narrative, writing, ´´[W]hat might have been numbing recitations of dogfights are instead vivid descriptions of life as a warrior during World War II.” Indeed, it is this unexpected perspective, brought to life by the authors´ neutrality and thoughtful research, that illuminates a side of war largely hidden from the American public: the experience of the German Luftwaffe pilot. In The German Aces Speak II, Heaton and Lewis paint a picture of the war through the eyes of four more of Germany´s most significant pilots - Johannes Steinhoff, Erich Alfred Hartmann, Guther Rall, and Dieter Hrabak - put together from numerous interviews personally conducted by Heaton from the 1980s through the 2000s. The four ex-Luftwaffe fighter aces bring the past to life as they tell their stories about the war, their battles, their off-duty lives, their lives after the war, and perhaps most importantly, how they felt about serving under the Nazi leadership of Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler. Together, the memories of the events captured in The German Aces Speak II continue one of today´s most unique World War II series, unearthing a facet of the war that has gone widely overlooked for the American public. 1. Language: English. Narrator: P.J. Ochlan. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tant/012369/bk_tant_012369_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Tra le forze armate tedesche, la Luftwaffe, l´aviazione militare, fu una delle ´´armi´´ più efficienti ed efficaci della Wehrmacht durante la seconda guerra mondiale. Fondamentale per la riuscita della Blitzkrieg, la Guerra Lampo in Europa, la Luftwaffe ebbe sotto il proprio controllo anche le unità di paracadutisti (Fallschirmjäger) e altre formazioni militari terrestri. In questo audiolibro raccontiamo i momenti più importanti dell´aviazione tedesca, asso nella manica del Terzo Reich. [Among the German armed forces, the Luftwaffe, the air force was one of the ´´weapons´´ more efficient and effective in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Crucial to the success of the Blitzkrieg, the Blitzkrieg in Europe, the Luftwaffe had under its control the units of paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) and other military formations on Earth. In this audiobook tell the most important moments of the German aviation ace in the sleeve of the Third Reich.] Please note: This audiobook is in Italian. 1. Italian. Lorenzo Visi. http://samples.audible.de/bk/area/000101/bk_area_000101_sample.mp3.
The Third Reich´s Luftwaffe began World War II with significant advantages over other European air forces, playing a critical role in the German war machine´s swift, powerful advance. By war´s end, however, the Luftwaffe had been decimated by combat losses and crippled by poor decisions at the highest levels of military decision-making, and it proved unable to challenge Allied air superiority despite a last-minute upsurge in German aircraft production. Given its unique strengths and distinctive weaknesses by the personal quirks of the men who developed it, the Luftwaffe initially overwhelmed the more conservative, outdated military aviation of other countries. Its leaders embraced such concepts as the dive-bomber, which proved both utterly devastating and extremely useful for supporting the sweeping, powerful movements of Blitzkrieg, while other martial establishments rejected dive-bombers as impractical or even impossible. Though the superb fighting qualities of highly trained and motivated German soldiers, and the Third Reich´s technological superiority in tank and weapon design, also had crucial roles to play, the Luftwaffe represented the key element making the successes of all other branches possible. While the Luftwaffe enjoyed air superiority, the combat fortunes of the Third Reich continued to ride high. When control of the air passed decisively to the Allies, Germany´s hopes of victory began accelerating into a spiral of defeat. The Luftwaffe: The History of Nazi Germany´s Air Force during World War II looks at the role the German air force played during the war, from its origins to its near demise. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Michael Gilboe. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/036138/bk_acx0_036138_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Wilhelm Johnen flew his first operational mission in July 1941, having completed his blind-flying training. In his first couple of years he brought down two enemy planes. The tally went up rapidly once the air war was escalated in spring 1943, when Air Marshal Arthur Harris of the RAF Bomber Command began the campaign dubbed the Battle of the Ruhr. During this phrase of the war Johnen´s successes were achieved against a 710-strong force of bombers. Johnen´s further successes during Harris´s subsequent Berlin offensive led to his promotion as Staffelkapitan (squadron leader) of Nachtjagdgeschwader and a move to Mainz. During a sortie from there, his Bf 110 was hit by return fire and he was forced to land in Switzerland. He and his crew were interned by the authorities. The Germans were deeply worried about leaving a sophisticatedly equipped night fighter and its important air crew in the hands of a foreign government, even if it was a neutral one. After negotiations involving Göring, the prisoners were released. Johnen´s unit moved to Hungary and by October 1944, his score was standing at 33 aerial kills. His final one came in March the following year, once Johnen had moved back to Germany. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Steven Crossley. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tant/011158/bk_tant_011158_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
´´The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world except in the abodes of the guilty goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unweakened by their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their prowess and their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill, August 21, 1940. At the end of August 2012, BBC ran a report about the commemoration of a young man who had been killed more than 70 years earlier. ´´A Battle of Britain pilot who was killed when his Spitfire crashed following a dogfight in the skies above Kent has been honored. Flying Officer Oswald St John ‘Ossie’ Pigg lost his life in the crash at Elvey Farm on 1 September 1940. The 22-year-old had been involved in an aerial fight with a Messerschmitt. A plaque was unveiled near the site by his niece Stephanie Haigh and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out a flypast on Thursday.” Just 12 days before Pigg’s death, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had already immortalized the men of the Royal Air Force with one of the West’s most famous war-time quotes. But the sentiment and gratitude Churchill expressed back in 1940 is very much alive today. The sacrifice made by ´´The Few”, the British and Allied fighter pilots who won the Battle of Britain in 1940, remains close to the hearts of the British public, and the piece by the BBC is typical of the national sentiment manifested in air shows, museums, TV programs, and books. Even as the last of ´´The Few” pass on, it seems unlikely that the legend they helped to create will be forgotten anytime soon. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Colin Fluxman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/113343/bk_acx0_113343_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
From July to September 1940, the British people watched the Battle of Britain play out in the skies above them, aware that the eventual outcome would decide their fate. From September through to the following May, Hitler attempted to ´´blitz´´ London and other major cities into submission. For a year, the citizens of Britain were effectively front-line soldiers in a battle that united the country against a hated enemy. Despite the terror, destruction, and heavy casualties, the British people survived the onslaught, until May 1941, when Hitler re-directed his attention, and that of the Luftwaffe, to the campaign in Russia. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Simon MacCorkindale. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/000166/bk_rhuk_000166_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
As Hitler proceeded with his invasion plans, code-named Operation Sealion, he knew that the RAF must not be allowed to threaten the invading forces as they crossed the Channel. It was clear that they would have to be brought to battle and defeated. Still hopeful of a settlement, Hitler believed that a sustained aerial attack, coupled with a U-Boat blockade, might bring Britain to the negotiating table. The Luftwaffe´s specific aim was to win superiority by luring Fighter Command into the air and wiping it out. But Fighter Command, with its pilots, aircraft, and carefully considered systems of control, was waiting. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Simon MacCorkindale. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/000165/bk_rhuk_000165_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The first British major success of World War II was when the Royal Navy forced the preying pocket battleship, Graf Spee, to scuttle at sea. Hitler had ordered a blockade of the British Isles and for some months German U-boats and warships caused havoc among allied merchant shipping carrying vital supplies. In 1941, the one sided battle of the Atlantic became more even when the Royal Navy started moving ships in convoy with escorts using radar and information from British scientists who had cracked the Kreigsmarine version of the Enigma Code captured by the Royal Navy. The perils of the Atlantic were only equalled by the convoys on the run to northern Russia. Sub-zero temperatures, pack ice and appalling weather conditions plus the menacing Luftwaffe and the German Navy based in Norway, made it one of the most hazardous actions of the entire war. Meanwhile, in the air, bomber planes of the RAF and U.S. air force were incessantly bombarding German industries and cities. Casualties on the ground were devastating and the life expectancy of the aircrew was alarmingly short. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Timothy West. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/000021/bk_rhuk_000021_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.