General der Jagdflieger
Focke-Wulf Fw 190A6 General der Jagdflieger white (((+2 Adolf Galland Achmer 1943
Series of photos taken at Achmer November 1943 as Horst Geyer takes General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland on an inspection tour of Erprobungskommando 25
Adolf Galland was 14 when, in early 1927, a group of sailplane enthusiasts brought their gliders to a corner of the Westerholt estate and first sparked in him an overwhelming enthusiasm to fly. By the time Galland was 17 years of age, he was a glider pilot in the DLV (Deutscher Luftsportverband - German Air Sport Association) and, in February 1932, he entered the Deutsche Fliegerschule (German Flying School) at Braunschweig. Between July and September, 1933 Galland attended a secret flying course in Italy and subsequently became a pilot with Deutsche Luft Hansa - the German airline - flying JuG-24 and Rohrbach Roland aircraft, mainly on the Stuttgart/Geneva/Marseilles/Barcelona routes.
When Adolf Hitler came to power and created a new air force, volunteers with flying experience were urgently sought and Galland joined the new clandestine air force. After basic training at Schleissheim, he qualified as a fighter pilot and, on 1 January 1935, the newly commissioned Leutnant Galland was posted to JG132 'Richthofen', then equipped with Ar 65 aircraft, though later to receive the He-51.After two flying accidents, Galland faced the unwelcome prospect of being forced to leave the Luftwaffe. However, by devious means, he managed to convince the medical authorities that he was indeed fit for flying duties - though, in fact, he suffered a minor sight deficiency in his left eye - and succeeded in retaining his position in the Luftwaffe.
When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Galland volunteered to join the Legion Condor. He arrived in Spain on 8 May 1937, at which time he was nearly 25, but he had to wait two months before he could fly with his assigned unit, the I./J88. From the Summer of 1937 he led the 3./J88, a Staffel equipped with obsolescent He-51 biplane fighters which, as they were no match against the superior Soviet Polikarpov 1-16 monoplanes, were employed in the ground-attack role, principally strafing enemy ground forces.
After a year in Spain - twice the amount of time spent by any other pilot - and after flying 280 missions, Galland returned to Germany in August, 1938. He was then an experienced formation leader and, in view of the role his unit had played in Spain, he was instructed to prepare numerous reports for the Reichslujtministerium to ensure that his expertise in the ground-attack role was passed on to future Schlachtflieger. Such a desk-bound position, however, was not at all to Galland's liking and in November, 1938, he was able to leave the RIM, only to find himself posted back to the ground-attack force in the Summer of 1939 when, just before the invasion of Poland, he was ordered to lead the 4. Staffel of II.(Schlacht)/LG2, a ground-attack unit based at Tutow and equipped with Hs-123s.
On 1 October, 1939, after the Polish campaign - which proved the importance of effective ground-support operations - Galland was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class, and promoted to the rank of Hauptmann. In April 1940, he succeeded in being transferred back to fighters and was assigned to the Stab IJG27 as Operations Officer. As the inactivity of the so-called Phony War dragged on over several months, Galland was meanwhile able to arrange a temporary transfer to Stab III./JG53 in order to join his comrade Werner Molders, whom he had met in Spain, Galland returning to JG27 only a few days before the opening of the Westfeldzug, the campaign in the West.
During the invasion of France and Belgium, Galland shot down two RAF Hurricanes from 87Sqn. Unfortunately, in his autobiography, Galland incorrectly referred to these aircraft, which fell south of Liege, as Belgian Hurricanes, inadvertently creating a myth which some authors insist on perpetuating to the present day. In fact, all Belgian Hurricanes had already been destroyed in the first two days of the invasion.
Galland subsequently went on to claim many other victories during the campaign in the West. A Spitfire fell to his guns south of Sedan on 16 May; two French Potez 63-11 s on 19 May; another Potez south of Amiens on 20 May; two Bristol Blenheims over Dunkirk on 29 May and a Spitfire over Dunkirk on 2 June. On 3 June - the day of the infamous Operation Pau1a, when 300 bombers and dive-bombers attacked Armee de Fair airfields and French aircraft factories in and around Paris - he claimed a further two French aircraft shot down. On 20 May, Galland was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, and at the same time left Stab/JG27 to become Kommandeur of III/JG26. His last two victories in the Western campaign, a Blenheim and a Defiant south of Evreux, were claimed on 14 June.
After the fall of France, III/JG26 returned to its home base at Munchengladbach in Germany in order to rest its personnel andoverhau1 and service its equipment. On 18 July, Galland was promoted to the rank of Major and, two days later, III./JG26 was ordered to move back to France where it was to be based on the coast at Caffiers, some 11 kilometers south-east of Wissant in the Pas de Calais, in preparation for the assault against Great Britain.
The III./JG26 flew its first sorties of the Battle of Britain on 24 July, when Galland's 40 Bf-109s escorted 18 Do-17s briefed to attack a convoy. During this mission, Galland shot down a Spitfire of 54Squadron P/O John Allen, a successful pilot credited with 8 victories. The following day, Galland shot down another Spitfire over Dover and a third on the 28th, bringing his score to 17. For these victories, Galland was awarded the coveted Ritterkreuz on 1 August, at that time only the fourth fighter pilot to be so decorated.
During a Stuka escort mission on 14 August, Galland claimed a Hurricane shot down and three Spitfires the following day. On the 17th, the young Gruppenkommandeur, together with Werner Molders, the Kommodore of JG51, was summoned by Goring to Karinhall. There, Galland learned that the Reichsmarschall had decided to replace the older Geschwaderkommodoren, many of whom, like Osterkamp and von Bulow-Bothkamp had flown in the First World War, with younger fighter pilots. Consequently, at the age of only 28, Galland was appointed Kommodore of JG26.
Returning to JG26, Galland claimed his 45th victory on 15 October while flying escort to his former unit of the Polish campaign, II.(Schlacht)/LG2, since equipped with Bf 109Es and then flying Jabo sorties to bomb London. Promoted to Oberstleutnant on 1 November, Galland claimed his 57th victory on 5 December. At that time he was the highest-scoring Luftwaffe pilot, but this was also his last victory of the year since deteriorating weather conditions during the winter of 1940-41 temporarily curtailed further fighter operations.
In early 1941, the air-war changed when German plans to invade Great Britain were abandoned and the Wehrmacht turned its attention first to the Balkans and later to Russia. In the West, only a small number of fighters remained, mainly operating in a defensive role against RAF intruder missions. In March, JG26 was dispersed over various French airfields in Brittany, mainly in defence of Brest harbor. Galland claimed his first victory of 1942 on 4 April when he shot down a Spitfire of 91Sqn, believed to have been Sgt. Jack Mann, a pilot credited with five confirmed victories plus three unconfirmed. On 15 April, while flying with his Katschmarek to visitjafu 2 (Gen. Osterkamp), the pair made a short detour en route and over the English coast Galland succeeded in downing two, possibly three, Spitfires.
JG26 was then transferred to airfields in Belgium and Northern France and on 21 June, Galland claimed two Blenheims and one Spitfire, but on the same day was shot down twice. On the first occasion he safely force-landed his damaged aircraft, but when shot down the second time he was wounded and had to bail out of his blazing machine.
With 70 victories, Galland was once more called to Hitler's HQ where he received the Oak Leaves with Swords, the first recipient of only 159 ever awarded. However, this high honor brought with it an order from Hitler forbidding Galland to continue flying but, with his usual resourcefulness, he was able to circumvent this restriction. By interpreting Hitler's order to mean operational flying and, on the pretext that he was only testing his unit's new Bf-109 F-3 and F-4 aircraft, Galland continued to fly and in this way justified his increasing score.
General der Jagdflieger
Taken to Great Britain for detailed interrogation by British and US intelligence officers, Galland was eventually released in May 1947. The following year he left Europe for Argentina where he helped raise a modern air force for President Peron. Returning to Germany after seven years in South America, Galland later set up his own company - an aviation consultancy - which he headed until advancing years and failing health forced him into retirement.
During his lifetime, Generalleutnant a.D. Adolf Galland, holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, succeeded in gaining the respect not only of his comrades, but also of his former enemies. He died on 9 February 1996, little more than a month before his 84th birthday, and was buried at the church of St. Laurentius in Bonn-Oberwinter.
Adolf “Dolfo” Galland was born on 19 March 1912 at Westerholt, Westphalia. At the age of 17 he started flying gliders. He began flying for Lufthansa after graduating from the German Commercial Air Transport School at Brunswick. This was at a time when the German Air Arm was created, following Hitler's rise to power, and students were sent clandestinely to the Soviet Union and Italy. In February 1934, he joined the Luftwaffe, an accomplished pilot and instructor, at the Fighter Pilot School at Munich-Schleissheim. By April 1935 he was a fighter pilot with Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richtofen”.
In 1937, he volunteered for service with the Condor Legion in Spain. Galland was put in command of 3 Staffel of J/88, equipped with the Heinkel He-51 biplanes, which were used in the ground attack and support role. He distinguished himself, especially on the Asturias, Teruel and Ebro fronts, completing 280 combat sorties before being relieved by Werner Mölders in mid-1938. He had met Mölders in the hotel 'Cristina' where they were billeted, and they were to become firm friends. Galland's many original contributions to ground support techniques brought him to the attention of the Luftwaffe High Command. However, his reward for the innovative work in Spain was flying a desk in the Air Ministry working out directives for the organisation of close support units and the training of fighter pilots in direct support operations. When World War 2 broke out Oberleutnant Galland was a Staffelkapitän of 4.(S)/LG2 equipped with the Henschel Hs 123, a biplane Stuka. He took part in the invasion of Poland flying 50 ground attack missions. Galland was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class for his efforts. Galland was posted away to JG27 at Krefeld, arriving there on 15 February 1940. He was assigned to the Geschwaderstab and assumed the role of Geschwader Adjutant. On 12 May, west of Liege, Belgium, he scored his first aerial victory. Two more victories followed that day. All three victims were RAF Hurricanes. By the end of the French campaign he had accumulated 14 victories. On 6 June 1940, Hauptmann Galland was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG26. Promoted Major on 18 July, Galland stayed with III./JG26 through the Battle of Britain.
On 24 July, Galland led III./JG26 over the north coast of the Thames Estuary. Here they engaged Spitfires and Galland was able to shoot one down to the north of Margate. He had shot down the British ace P/O “Johnny” Allen (7.333 confirmed and 5 unconfirmed destroyed victories) of 56Sqn, RAF, who was killed in the crash-landing that followed this combat. On 28 July, RAF fighters were scrambled to intercept a large German bomber formation headed for Dover. When confronted by the RAF fighters, the German bomber formation promptly headed for home. The RAF fighters were thus left to combat the escorting German fighters of I. and II./JG51 and III./JG26. Galland claimed a Spitfire shot down near Dover for his 17th victory. He had shot down another British ace, Sub-Lt Francis Dawson-Paul (7.25 confirmed and 1 unconfirmed destroyed and 1 damaged victories), a Royal Navy pilot on loan to the RAF.
Dawson-Paul was shot down into the Channel where he was picked up by a German E-boat, but he died from the wounds received in this combat on 30 July. Galland was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 1 August for 17 victories. It is thought he again shot down a notable RAF pilot on 15 August, when he brought down the New Zealand ace F/Lt “Al” Deere (17.333 confirmed and 2.5 unconfirmed destroyed, 4 probable and 7.5 damaged victories) of 54Sqn, RAF. Deere baled out of his Spitfire between Dover and Folkestone.
On 24 September, Galland downed his 40th victim, another notable RAF pilot, Harold Bird-Wilson (5.2 destroyed, 3 probable and 3 damaged victories) of 17Sqn, RAF who baled out badly burned near Chatham. Galland was awarded the newly instituted Eichenlauben on 25 September.
By the end of September he had 42 victories. On 1 November 1940, Galland was promoted to Oberstleutnant and given command of JG26. He had 50 victories to his credit. JG26 was escorting the Bf 110 fighter bombers of EprGr 210 on a raid of Martlesham Heath on 17 November. The formation was intercepted by RAF Hurricanes. In the ensuing combat, Galland claimed a Hurricane shot down. The pilot, ace Count Manfred Czernin (17 destroyed, 3.5 probable and 3.833 damaged victories) of 17Sqn, RAF, baled out unhurt. On 21 June 1941, Galland shot down a Spitfire east of Boulogne. He, in turn, was shot down, by the Polish ace Boleslaw Drobinski (7.133/1.333/0 victories) of 303Sqn, RAF, and baled out wounded. Shortly after, he was awarded the Schwerten to his Ritterkreuz. Galland had, by now, been ordered by Hitler and Göring not to fly combat missions. However, he disregarded these orders and continued to rack up aerial victories. On the death of Oberst Werner Mölders (115 victories, RK-Br) on 22 November 1941, Galland was named General der Jagdflieger. Before settling into his new job, Oberst Galland directed the fighter protection for the Channel dash of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, from Brest.
Operation Donnerkeil was a striking success. He was awarded the Brillanten to his Ritterkreuz on 28 January 1942 with his victory tally at 94. As General der Jagdflieger, he commanded a small unit operating Fw 190s. He flew about 10 combat missions and, it is thought, he gained two victories over USAAF B-17 bombers during 1944. It remains unsure whether his claims during this period were submitted or confirmed. Stab G.d.J claimed two B-17s shot down on 8 March 1944 and it is thought Galland may have been one of the claimants. Galland became one of the most controversial figures of his time through his skirmishes with Reichsmarschal Göring and his frank addresses to Hitler when he emphasized the need for more fighters to oppose the increasingly intense allied bombing raids over Germany. Galland's contemporaries in combat commands eventually began planning to force Göring's resignation, by seeking an audience with Hitler. Although Galland took no direct part in such activities, he was aware that all this was in train. In the denouement, Göring attributed the incipient mutiny to Galland, sacked him and prepared a trial in which blame for the collapse of the Jagdwaffe would be directed to the General der Jagdflieger. Hitler intervened but then insisted, as an end to the “Galland affair”, that he be given command of a unit of jet fighters. Galland led JV 44 until 26 April 1945 gaining up to seven victories flying the Me 262 jet fighter. On this day Generalleutnant Galland led 12 rocket-equipped Me 262s from München-Reim to intercept a formation of B-26 medium bombers targetting the airfield at Lechfeld. He claimed two of the bombers, but with cannon-fire rather than the rockets with which his Me 262 was armed. During his initial approach, Galland had failed to deactivate a safety switch which prevented him from firing the rockets. During his attacks on the bombers, Galland's Me 262 was struck by return fire. Disengaging from the bombers, he was bounced by a P-47 1st Lt James J Finnegan of the 50th Fighter Group, USAAF. Galland was wounded in the right knee and his aircraft received further damage. He was able to bring his crippled jet back to München-Reim and successfully land, albeit with a flat nose wheel tyre. He was forced to leap from his aircraft and take shelter because the airfield was under attack by American fighters. The wound suffered in this encounter were serious enough to end his combat flying. Galland surrendered himself to American forces at Tegernsee on 5 May 1945.
He was held in military custody for two years. He was released in 1947. In October 1948, Galland took a position with the Argentine Air Force. There followed many offers to act as consultant to armament firms who would equip the new Luftwaffe. He made his choices and settled down to prosperous and lively decades as a businessman. In his final years he divided his time between his home in Germany and his bungalow by the Alicante coast of Spain. Adolf Galland passed away on 9 February 1996 at Remagen-Oberwinter. Adolf Galland achieved 104 aerial victories in 705 missions, all on the Western front. Included in his score are at least seven victories flying the Me 262 and four four-engined bombers. He was himself shot down four times.
Victories : 104
Asisbiz database list of 105 aerial victories for Adolf Galland
Some of the most widely used Book References:
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase One: July-August 1940 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 1) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Eddie J Creek (Author)
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase Two: August-September 1940 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 2) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Martin Pegg (Author)
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase Three: September-October 1940 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 3) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Martin Pegg (Author)
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase Four: November 1940-June 1941 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 4) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Martin Pegg (Author)
Some of the most widely used Magazine References:
- Airfix Magazines (English) - http://www.airfix.com/
- Avions (French) - http://www.aerostories.org/~aerobiblio/rubrique10.html
- FlyPast (English) - http://www.flypast.com/
- Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) - http://vdmedien.com/flugzeug-publikations-gmbh-hersteller_verlag-vdm-heinz-nickel-33.html
- Flugzeug Classic (German) - http://www.flugzeugclassic.de/
- Klassiker (German) - http://shop.flugrevue.de/abo/klassiker-der-luftfahrt
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://boutique.editions-lariviere.fr/site/abonnement-le-fana-de-l-aviation-626-4-6.html
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://www.pdfmagazines.org/tags/Le+Fana+De+L+Aviation/
- Osprey (English) - http://www.ospreypublishing.com/
- Revi Magazines (Czech) - http://www.revi.cz/