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Adolf "Dolfo" Joseph Ferdinand Galland (19 March 1912 9 February 1996) was a World War II Germanmarker fighter pilot and commander of Germany's fighter force (General der Jagdflieger) from 1941 to 1945. Galland joined the Luftwaffe in 1933, and despite suffering injuries, including a damaged eye, in two crashes, he continued his military career.In 1937 he was one of 20,000 German military personnel to see action in the Condor Legion, providing Galland with valuable combat experience. Galland transferred to a fighter unit in 1940 and quickly reached Ace status during the Battle of France. In November 1941, with his score standing at 94 Galland became General der Jagdflieger at the age of 29.Galland continued to test fly many types of German aircraft, occasionally flying combat missions when he could.

In January 1945, Galland, along with other Luftwaffe officers, was sent back to operational units after questioning the competence of Hermann Göring. Galland surrendered to United States Army forces in May 1945.He claimed a total of 104 victories in 705 missions and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz) with oak leaves, swords and diamonds, one of only 27 recipients of the highest German military decoration. His victory claims were all against the Western Allies.

Early life

Born in Westerholtmarker, Westphaliamarker to a family of Huguenot ancestry, Galland was the second of four sons of a land manager. Two of his brothers also became fighter pilots and aces. Paul Galland scored 17 victories and was shot down and killed by a Royal Air Force (RAF) Supermarine Spitfire on 31 October 1942, and Wilhelm-Ferdinand Galland, a 54 victory ace, shot down on 17 August 1943.Adolf Galland developed an early interest in aviation, flying home-built gliders (at the time the only type of aircraft allowed in Germany under the terms of the Versailles Treaty) from an improvised field near his hometown. Galland graduated from Hindenburg Gymnasium (high school) in Buer in 1932 and was among 20 who were accepted to the aviation school of Germany's national airline, Lufthansamarker.

Galland transferred to the new and technically illegal air force (Luftwaffe) in 1933. During his training Galland crashed his aircraft and was in a coma for three days, suffering from a damaged eye, fractured skull and broken nose. A year later he crashed an Arado Ar 68 and was hospitalized again, aggravating his injured eye. Galland was allowed to continue his training after passing an eye test (which he memorised) he completed his training in Italy in 1935 and was posted to Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen, then based at Döberitzmarker airfield near Berlinmarker.

Condor Legion and Spanish Civil War

During the Spanish Civil War, Galland was appointed Staffelkapitän of a Legion Condor squadron, 3. Staffel Jagdgruppe 88 (J/88), on the Nationalist side at Ferrolmarker from mid-1937, flying ground attack missions in Heinkel He 51s.In Spain, Galland first displayed his dashing style, flying in swimming trunks with a cigar between his teeth, in an aircraft decorated with a Mickey Mouse figure. When asked why he developed this style he replied:

I like Micky Mouse.
I always have.
And I like cigars, but I had to give them up after the war.


He flew over 300 missions in Spain, developed early gasoline and oil bombs, suggested the quartering of personnel on trains to aid in relocation, and was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold with Diamonds following the Nationalist victory.

World War II

Front line service: 1939–1941

Just before the outbreak of World War II, Galland was promoted to Hauptmann and took part in 50 ground-attack missions during the Invasion of Poland. He flew with 4.(S)/Lehrgeschwader 2 (LG 2), equipped with the Henschel Hs 123, a "biplane Stuka", from 1 September 1939 onwards.Galland flew an average of four daily sorties in Poland and received the Iron Cross Second Class; however, he wanted to join the fighter arm.After the Polish Campaign Galland falsely claimed he was suffering from rheumatism and, on medical grounds, was removed from his post as a direct ground support pilot.He was transferred to the fighter unit Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) in February 1940, as adjudant, restricting him from flying. Galland had to sneak away to fly combat missions using various tricks and ruses.On 12 May 1940, near Liegemarker, Galland scored his first three aerial victories, over RAF Hawker Hurricanes. His wingman on his first mission was Gustav Rödel. Only one Hurricane was actually shot down near the city that day. The machine, from No. 607 Squadron , was destroyed and its pilot, Flight Officer Fredman was killed, aged 21. By the end of the French campaign, Galland had claimed 14 victories. On 1 August 1940, Galland became the third fighter pilot to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Galland's Messerschmitt Bf 109-E
From June 1940 on, Galland flew as a Gruppenkommandeur of III./Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26), fighting in the Battle of Britain with Messerschmitt Bf 109 "Emils" from bases in the Pas de Calais.In July, Galland was promoted to major. By mid-August, Luftwaffe commander Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring's dissatisfaction with the performance of the fighter arm led him to replace several of his pre-war Jagdgeschwader commanders with the current wave of younger high-achievers. Thus on 22 August Galland replaced Major Gotthard Handrick and became Geschwaderkommodore of JG 26. A month later, on 25 September, Galland was awarded the Eichenlaub to the Ritterkreuz for 40 kills.

During the Battle of Britain, in a legendary front line General Officer briefing on Luftwaffe tactics, the Reichsmarshall asked what his pilots needed to win the battle. Werner Mölders replied that he would like the Bf 109 to be fitted with more powerful engines. Galland replied: "I should like an outfit of Spitfires for my squadron." Göring was speechless with rage.

During the Battle of Britain the question of killing enemy pilots while in their parachutes was raised. In another confrontation with Göring, Galland recalled:

Göring wanted to know if we had ever thought about this.
"Jawohl, Herr Reichsmarschall!"
He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "What would you think of an order to shoot down pilots who were bailing out?
"I should regard it as murder, Herr Reichsmarschall", I told him, "I should do everything in my power to disobey such an order".
"That is just the reply I had expected from you, Galland".


By the end of 1940, Galland had 58 victories. Promoted to Oberstleutnant, he continued to lead JG 26 through 1941 against RAF fighter sweeps across northern Europe. In early 1941 most of the fighter units of the Luftwaffe were sent to the Eastern Front, or south to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, thus leaving JG 26 and Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen (JG 2) as the sole single-engine fighter Geschwader in France.

By this time, JG 26 were starting to re-equip with the new Bf 109F, normally equipped with a 15 mm (or later a 20 mm) cannon firing through the propeller hub and two cowl-mounted 7.9 mm MG 17. Galland felt the model was grossly under-armed and so tested a series of 109 "specials" — one with a unique armament of an MG 151/20 cannon and two cowl-mounted 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, and another with integral wing-mounted 20 mm MG-FF cannons.

For the next two years, these two Geschwader were the main adversaries to the RAF’s day offensives over occupied Europe. Galland's careful husbanding of his resources and astute tactical awareness meant JG 26 kept their losses to a minimum while inflicting maximum damage on the RAF's tactical fighters through 1941. This became even more evident with the arrival of the potent Focke-Wulf Fw 190A to units in late 1941 - early 1942, which outclassed the current Spitfire Mark Vb in service with the RAF in all but turn radius.However, on April 15, 1941 Galland was on his way to a birthday party for General Theo Osterkamp at La Touquet, France. He made a detour on his flight towards England to see if he could find any prey, and his predator instincts paid dividends. On maneuvers off the cliffs of Dover was a group of Spitfires commanded by RAF ace Brendan 'Paddy' Finucane. Galland quickly claimed three Mk II spitfires. However, Finucane rolled away and came up behind Galland and shot him down. Galland bailed out and was rescued a few hours later. The engagement resulted in the destruction of one Spitfire (P7901), its pilot Warrant Officer W.E. Coope survived. Another two Spitfires, P8014, and P7544 piloted by Sgt H Whewell and Sgt R.G.V Barraclough were wounded. Both pilots force landed and their aircraft were repaired.

On the morning of 21 June 1941, Galland was shot up by Polish No. 303 Squadron Spitfire and had to crash land. In the afternoon, he was shot down by a No. 145 Squadron Spitfire, bailing out and suffering slight injuries. That same night he became the first member of the Wehrmacht to be awarded the Schwerter (Swords) to the Ritterkreuz for his 70th kill.

On 2 July 1941, Galland led JG 26 into combat against a formation of Blenheims. A Spitfire of the bomber escort (probably from Polish 308 Squadron) managed to hit Galland's plane with a 20 mm shell. The armour plate mounted on the fighter just days earlier saved Galland's life. Galland landed at base, where he was hospitalised for the second time in a few days. Experiences like this taught Galland to respect his opponents, and in some ways more importantly, his ground crew. Just earlier that week, when the armour plate was installed, he severely berated the mechanic who did it when he hit his head on the canopy upon entering his aircraft (due to the slightly restricted cockpit space). That same mechanic, when Galland was discharged from hospital, received 100 DM and two days leave.

High command

In November 1941, following his 94th official victory, he was chosen by Hermann Göring to command Germany's fighter force as General der Jagdflieger, succeeding renowned ace Oberst Werner Mölders who had just died in an air crash (having himself just succeeded another German aviation legend, Ernst Udet, and ironically died en route to Udet's funeral). Galland was not enthusiastic about his promotion, seeing himself as a combat leader and not wanting to be "tied to a desk job"In November 1942 a promotion to Generalmajor made Galland the youngest officer to attain General rank in Germany. Galland was now responsible for deciding the ongoing tactical and operational doctrine of the Luftwaffe's fighter strategies. No longer flying operationally, one of his first tasks was organising the successful air protection for the Channel Dash of the German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the cruiser Prinz Eugenmarker.

Galland inspecting a new aircraft design at Rechlin, 5–7 September 1943
On 23 May 1943, Galland flew an early prototype of the Messerschmitt Me 262, the world's first operational jet fighter. After the flight, he described his experience:

For the first time I was flying by Jet propulsion!
No engine vibrations.
No torque and no lashing sound of the engine propeller.
Accompanied by a whistling sound, my jet shot through the air.
Later when asked what it felt like, I said, "It was as though angels were pushing."


He became an enthusiastic supporter of this aircraft, realising its potential to be that of a fighter rather than a "Blitzbomber". However due to Hitler's determination and persistant problems with its turbojet engines, the Me 262 was not developed as a fighter fast enough. Galland hoped that the Me 262 would compensate for the numerical superiority of the Allies:

In the last four months [January - April 1944] our day fighters have lost 1,000 pilots...we are numerically inferior and will always remain so...I believe that a great deal can be achieved with a small number of technically and far superior aircraft such as the [Me] 262 and [Me] 163...I would at this moment rather have one Me 262 in action rather than five Bf 109s.
I used to say three 109s, but the situation develops and changes.


During 1943, Galland became more involved with the organization of the air defence of the Reich against the increasing United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) day bombing offensive. As General der Jagdflieger, he had at his disposal a small staff flight operating Fw 190s. Galland was a supporter of attempts to develop heavily armed versions of the Fw 190, and add one to each of the nine Geschwader defending the Reich.In order to experience the operational conditions under which his pilots flew, Galland flew a dozen or so combat missions through 1942–44 and probably gained two more victories over USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers sometime during early 1944, although on one occasion, flying with Hannes Trautloft, he narrowly avoided being shot down by the USAAF escort fighters.

By mid 1944, the catastrophic aircrew losses suffered by the Luftwaffe prompted Galland to carefully husband a last reserve of 1,000 pilots and fighter planes in order to strike a potentially decisive single blow at the Allied bomber streams. However the daring operation, planned for late 1944, never came about, as the reserves were squandered in the ill-fated Operation Bodenplatte.

Conflict with the Luftwaffe leadership

Typically open, blunt and a consistent critic of his superiors, as the war progressed, Galland soon became distanced from the Nazi hierarchy, who no longer tolerated his outspoken views. While patriotic, he increasingly found himself at odds with them over how they ran the war as it began to turn against Germany. In January 1945, he was finally relieved of his command and put under house arrest following the "Fighter Pilots Revolt". Galland's high standing with his fighter pilot peers led to a group of the most decorated Luftwaffe leaders loyal to Galland (including Johannes Steinhoff and Günther Lützow) confronting Göring with a list of demands for the survival of their service, coupled with their concern over the Reichsmarschall's lack of understanding and unwillingness to support his pilots against accusations of cowardice and treason.Heinrich Himmler had wanted to put Galland on trial for treason himself. The Schutzstaffelmarker (SS) and Gestapomarker had already began investigations into who he associated with.

The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe appointed the more politically acceptable Gordon Gollob to succeed him as General der Jagdflieger. Although professional contemporaries, Gollob and Galland had a mutual dislike, and after Galland had removed the Austrian from his personal staff earlier in the war Gollob started to gather evidence to use against Galland, detailing false accusations of his gambling, womanizing and his alleged private use of Luftwaffe transport aircraft.

Return to front line service with JV 44

Galland was returned to front line duties in disgrace, and was initially assigned to command a Staffel of JG 54, at that time stranded behind Sovietmarker lines in the Courland pocket. He never took up this command, however, but was tasked to form JV 44 (Jagdverband) in March 1945. He was allowed to handpick a number of formidable Experten for the unit, including such highly-decorated men as Johannes Steinhoff, Heinrich Bär and Gerhard Barkhorn. Achieving seven kills over the USAAF, Galland led JV 44 until his last mission on 26 April 1945, when he was wounded in a dogfight with an American P-47 Thunderbolt and sustained a knee injury crash-landing his Me 262. It appears the Me 262 was not destroyed despite an attack by two P-47s on the airfield. Galland managed a "wheels up" landing. The engagement resulted in five American aircraft shot down.

Command was transferred to Bär, but Galland was concerned about his men and tried to negotiate a separate surrender for the JV 44 pilots to Allied forces in early May.

Galland's 104 victory claims included seven with the Me 262. His claims for aircraft destroyed include 55 Spitfires, 30 Hurricanes, and five French Armee de L'air aircraft. All seven of his Me 262 kills were against American aircraft, two of them heavy bombers.

In the 1970s a San Jose State Universitymarker graduate student came across Galland's memoirs The First and the Last while researching records of United States Army Air Force records and matching them to German victory claims. He found that James Finnegan, a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot of the 50th Fighter Group, Ninth US Army Air Force, had made a "probable" claim on 26 April 1945, the day of Galland's last mission. The details of the engagement matched. Galland and Finnegan met for the first time at an Air Force Association meeting in San Franciscomarker in 1979.

Post-war

Galland was captured by the United States Army on 14 May 1945 and remained a prisoner of war until 1947. His first job after captivity was to lecture on tactics for Britain's Royal Air Force. From 1948 to 1955, he and other ex-Luftwaffe experts worked as consultants to the Argentine Air Force and the nascent Argentine aircraft industry. Following the termination of Argentina's attempt to establish an indigenous aeronautical industry, Galland returned to Germany and had a successful career running his own aviation firm and consultancy. Through the postwar years Galland built up lasting respect and friendship with many of his former adversaries, particularly Robert Stanford Tuck, Johnnie Johnson, and Douglas Bader.

Galland married Sylvinia von Dönhoff in February 1954.

In 1963, he married his second wife, Hannelies, with whom he had two children, a son: Andreas Hubertus, and a daughter, Alexandra.

In 1984, he married his third wife, Heidi Horn, who remained with him until his death.

In his private home museum, Galland had many souvenirs of his dogfights (such as pieces of American aircraft he shot down) and his service in the war, including German newsreels from that time. He also had two almost identical oil painting portraits that were made of him during the war. They feature Galland in his Luftwaffe uniform, but in the first painting he was holding one of his ubiquitous cigars. Hitler was adamantly opposed to smoking and ordered the second portrait made without the cigar.

Galland's autobiography, The First and the Last (Die Ersten und die Letzten), was published in 1954. In 1969 he served as technical adviser for the film Battle of Britain,, in which it is quite clear that the character Major Falke is loosely based on Galland, and in 1973 was a significant on-screen contributor to the British television documentary series The World at War. Galland authorized reprints of The First and the Last and A Pilot's Life by Champlin Fighter Museum Press (Mesa, Arizona) in 1986.

Awards



References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Friday, 16 August 1940 Am 15. und in der Nacht zum 16. August setzte die Luftwaffe ihre Angriffe auf Seehäfen, Anlagen der Rüstungsindustrie, Flugplätze und Ballonsperren weiter fort. Die Hafenanlagen von Portland, Scarborough, Bridlington und Middlesbrought, Fluzeug- und Motorenwerke in Birmingham und Brought bei Hull sowie Hallen und Unterkünfte auf mehreren Flugplätzen in Süd-, Südost- und Mittelengland wurden schwer beschädigt. Dabei kam es zu heftigen Luftkämpfen, in deren Verlauf Major Galland seinen 20. Luftsieg errang. The Luftwaffe continued their attacks against sea ports, arms industry, airfields and balloon barrages in the night of 15 and 16 August. The harbour of Portland, Scarborough, Bridlington and Middlesbrought, aircraft and engine factories in Birmingham and Brought near Hull, as well as hangars and lodgings at numerous airfields in southern, south-eastern and Middle England were severely damaged. Heavy aerial battles erupted during their course Major Galland achieved his 20th aerial victory.
Wednesday, 25 September 1940 Major Mölders und Major Galland errangen ihren 40. Luftsieg. Major Mölders and Major Galland achieved their 40th aerial victory.
Saturday, 2 November 1940 Der Gegner verlor gestern im Luftkampf zehn Flugzeuge. Zwei deutsche Flugzeuge werden vermisst. Major Galland schoß seinen 50. Gegner ab. The enemy lost ten aircraft in aerial combat yesterday. Two German aircraft are missing. Major Galland shot down his 50th opponent.
Friday, 18 April 1941 Oberstleutnant Mölders errang am 16. April seinen 64. und 65., Oberstleutnant Galland am 15. April seinen 59. und 60. Luftsieg. Oberstleutnant Mölders achieved on 16 April his 64th and 65th, Oberstleutnant Galland on 15 April his 59th and 60th aerial victory.
Sunday, 22 June 1941 In den gestrigen Nachmittagstunden flog eine geringe Zahl britischer Kampfflugzeuge unter starkem Jagdschutz die Französische Kanalküste an. In heftigen Luftkämpfen schossen deutsche Jäger 26 britische Flugzeuge ab. Flakartillerie und Marineartillerie brachten zwei weitere Flugzeuge zum Absturz. Oberstleutnant Galland errang bei diesen Kämpfen drei Luftsiege. A few British combat aircraft under strong fighter protection approached the French channel coast in yesterdays afternoon hours. German fighter aircraft shot down 26 British aircraft in heavy aerial combat. Anti aircraft artillery and naval artillery brought to a crash two further aircraft. Oberstleutnant Galland achieved in these battles three aerial victories.
Thursday, 30 October 1941 Oberstleutnant Galland, Kommodore eines Jagdgeschwaders, errang seinen 90. und 91. Luftsieg. Oberstleutnant Galland, commander of a fighter wing, achieved his 90th and 91st aerial victory.
Sunday, 15 February 1942 Die Verluste der britischen Luftwaffe bei See- und Luftgefecht im Kanalgebiet am 12. Februar erhöhen sich auf 49 Flugzeuge. Mit dem Abschuß von weiteren feindlichen Flugzeugen in diesen Luftkämpfen ist zu rechnen. Bei den Kämpfen zeichneten sich die unter dem Oberbefehl des Generalfeldmarschalls Sperrle stehenden Verbände, geführt von General der Flieger Coeler und Oberst Galland, besonders aus. The losses of the British Air Force in sea and aerial combat on 12 February increased to 49 aircrafts. It is assumed that further enemy aircraft will be shot down in these aerial battles. Units under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Sperrl, lead by General der Flieger Coeler and Oberst Galland, distinguished themselves in this combat.


Notes

  1. Taylor and Walker 2000, p. 72.
  2. Baker, p. 1
  3. Aces of the Luftwaffe: Paul Galland
  4. Aces of the Luftwaffe: Wilhelm Galland
  5. Kaplan 2007, p. 2.
  6. Jagdgruppe 88, a four Staffel Gruppe
  7. Feist 1993, p. 104.
  8. Kaplan 2007, p. 3.
  9. For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II
  10. Kaplan 2007, p. 4.
  11. Ring 1994, p. 27.
  12. Franks 1997, p. 20.
  13. Deighton 1977, p. 182.
  14. Kaplan 2007, p. 10.
  15. Kaplan 2007, p. 15.
  16. Franks 1997. p. 112.
  17. Kaplan 2007, pp. 9, 30.
  18. Kaplan 2007, p. 41.
  19. Kaplan 2007, p. 43.
  20. Miller 2006, p. 355.
  21. Caldwell and Muller 2007, p. 189.
  22. Kaplan 2007, p. 39.
  23. Caldwell and Muller 2007, p. 262.
  24. Caldwell and Muller 2007, p. 264.
  25. Kaplan 2007, pp. 49–50.
  26. For a list of Luftwaffe Jet aces see List of German World War II jet aces
  27. Kaplan 2007, p. 49.
  28. Interview with World War II Luftwaffe General and Ace Pilot Adolf Galland
  29. Galland At the Internet Movie Database
  30. Mosley 1969, p. 99.
  31. Scherzer 2007, p. 325.
  32. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 280.
  33. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 311.
  34. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 348.
  35. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 494.
  36. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 585.
  37. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 712.
  38. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 35.


References

Citations
  1. Taylor and Walker 2000, p. 72.
  2. Baker, p. 1
  3. Aces of the Luftwaffe: Paul Galland
  4. Aces of the Luftwaffe: Wilhelm Galland
  5. Kaplan 2007, p. 2.
  6. Jagdgruppe 88, a four Staffel Gruppe
  7. Feist 1993, p. 104.
  8. Kaplan 2007, p. 3.
  9. For an explanation of the meaning of Luftwaffe unit designation see Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II
  10. Kaplan 2007, p. 4.
  11. Ring 1994, p. 27.
  12. Franks 1997, p. 20.
  13. Deighton 1977, p. 182.
  14. Kaplan 2007, p. 10.
  15. Kaplan 2007, p. 15.
  16. Franks 1997. p. 112.
  17. Kaplan 2007, pp. 9, 30.
  18. Kaplan 2007, p. 41.
  19. Kaplan 2007, p. 43.
  20. Miller 2006, p. 355.
  21. Caldwell and Muller 2007, p. 189.
  22. Kaplan 2007, p. 39.
  23. Caldwell and Muller 2007, p. 262.
  24. Caldwell and Muller 2007, p. 264.
  25. Kaplan 2007, pp. 49–50.
  26. For a list of Luftwaffe Jet aces see List of German World War II jet aces
  27. Kaplan 2007, p. 49.
  28. Interview with World War II Luftwaffe General and Ace Pilot Adolf Galland
  29. Galland At the Internet Movie Database
  30. Mosley 1969, p. 99.
  31. Scherzer 2007, p. 325.
  32. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 280.
  33. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 311.
  34. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 348.
  35. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 494.
  36. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 585.
  37. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, p. 712.
  38. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 35.
Bibliography


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