In 1939, the Luftwaffe was arguably the world’s best-equipped and best-trained air force. Its fighters were second to none, and their pilots had a tactical system superior to any other in the world. In campaigns over Poland, Norway, the Low Countries and France, they carried all before them. Only in the summer of 1940 did they fail by a narrow margin in achieving air superiority over England. In the West, with a mere holding force, they maintained an enviable kill-loss ratio against the RAF, while elsewhere they swept through the Balkans, then decimated the numerically formidable Soviet Air Force. Their top scorers set marks in air combat that have never been surpassed.
Yet within three years – despite the introduction of the jet Me 262, the world’s most advanced fighter – the Luftwaffe fighter arm had been totally defeated. How did this happen? Air-warfare historian Mike Spick explores this question in depth in this incisive and compelling study of World War II’s most fearsome air force.
ACES OF THE REICH The Making of a Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot
In this revealing study of the fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe, Aviation historian Mike Spick shows how the world’s best equipped and trained air force changed from an all-conquering war winning machine into a defeated and demoralised shambles.