Stories from World War II

That’s how historic air battles get botched by Hollywood.

Time and again the ignorance and nonchalance with which even highly renowned directors simply ignore historic details is fascinating. They do this in spite of the fact that it should easily be possible to gain competent information and, with a minimum of historical diligence, to also correctly incorporate those resulting consolidated findings in the movie. In this respect a rather positive example of this genre is the legendary movie “Battle of Britain” by director Guy Hamilton, released in the year …

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Comparison of the Supermarine “Spitfire” Mk. IA with the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E

The Supermarine Spitfire was a very serious rival to the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, abbreviated Me 109, and it developed during the Battle of Britain in 1940 into a very worthy opponent, although one with different flying qualities. Similar to the case of the Hurricane the Spitfire was superior to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter in a dogfight, since it had considerably better turning ability than its German arch rival. Example: A German Me 109 E is in pursuit of …

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What happened on 14th February 1945 to the south of Dresden?

Why were there reports of strafing attacks by American fighter aircraft in the southern vicinity of Dresden? Did these attacks really take place or not? There has been a controversial discussion about this topic for many years. The English/American Wikipedia page—of June 2016—answers the question as follows: Strafing of civilians has become a traditional part of the oral history of the raids since a March 1945 article in the Nazi-run weekly newspaper Das Reich claimed that this had occurred.[c] Historian …

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Why did the German Luftwaffe have no strategic bomber fleets at its disposal?

When the German Reich began to equip its bomber fleets, his planners in the year 1936 made a persuasive case to Hermann Göring of an urgent requirement for Germany to develop heavy strategic bombers, and demanded they began producing them. Göring, the former flying ace who had risen to the rank of Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, glibly replied, “the Führer does not ask me how big the bombers are, but how many there are!“ The production of four-engined heavy bombers …

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The night fighter He 219 “eagle owl” – the misjudged genius

In the year 1943 Germany was under pressure on all fronts, even on the so-called home front. Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force, was determined to earn a place in history. He wanted to prove that a nation, namely Germany, could be forced to surrender by blanket-bombing its cities. In the territory of the German Reich the Luftwaffe was defending itself with its back to the wall. By day it had to take on the …

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How good was the Messerschmitt Bf 109?

In many publications, even in YouTube contributions, it is emphasised time and again that as of 1943 the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was technically inferior to the enemy aircraft and should in fact have been taken out of service in favour of the allegedly significantly better Focke-Wulf 190 (A-series). If that is the case, why then was it not replaced? The Focke-Wulf 190 was, without a doubt, an outstanding fighter aircraft with cutting edge design. It was also easier to fly …

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Boeing B-17 – the thorny path of the »Flying Fortresses«

On 17th August 1942 Boeing B-17 Es penetrated enemy territory for the first time. Twelve four-engined bombers of 97th Bombardment Group (or Bomb Group, BG) approached the railway installations of Rouen-Sotteville. The formation was led by Brigadier General Ira Eaker in person, and escort was provided by British Spitfires. The British Spitfire fighter interceptors were only able to cover the US bombers on raids deep into France or over Germany’s air space for a part of the mission, however. Although the American P-47 …

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Messerschmitt Me 262 – Germany’s last trump card in her air space above ruins

On the morning of 18th July 1942 the first Me 262 jet fighter to fly purely with jet propulsion took off from the runway of Leipheim airfield, piloted by Flugkapitän Fritz Wendel. It was indicative of the arbitrariness of the decision-making process within the Reich Air Ministry, that Adolf Galland who, in his capacity as General der Jagdflieger, bore the responsibility for the planning and provision of future fighter operations, knew absolutely nothing of this jet fighter’s development until the …

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