When I plan the podcast episodes I don’t usually sit down and look at the subject and how it relates to those episodes around it, hence we’ve often found ourselves in the pacific in quick succession.
In this instance it seems serendipitous that we’re going from looking at the fall of France, in the last episode, to looking at the experiences of German fighter pilots in Europe. The two topics compliment one another rather well.
Alarmstart (scramble) charts the experiences of the German fighter pilots in the Second World War, based on extensive recollections of veterans as well as primary documents, diaries and flying log books, with photographs from the veterans themselves, many never previously published. For anyone interested in the air war 1939?45, the information provided is of inestimable value. There are no more than a handful of WW2 Luftwaffe members alive today. Patrick Eriksson had the foresight to record their experiences first-hand before it was too late. Some witnesses ended up as senior fighter controllers, and one was even a Luftwaffe psychologist. The recollections and views of the former pilots are put within the historical context of the German aerial war. By no means all the witnesses were from the ranks of the aces’, and the awful strain of the conflict is manifest: My friend Leo, Kapitän of the 8/JG 54, in the last weeks on the Channel front developed insomnia, anxiety attacks. He was flown out” (abgeflogen) and should have been relieved. He was shot down and killed in September 1940.’ This first volume covers Poland, Denmark and Norway, the Phoney War, the invasion of France and the Low Countries, the Battle of Britain, combating the RAF sweeps in the West, and finally, the Battle of Germany (home defence).
Joining me is Patrick Eriksson.
Patrick is the author of Alarmstart: The German Fighter Pilot’s Experience in the Second World War. Since the 1970’s Patrick has been an associate member of the German Air Force Veterans Association interviewing and corresponding with former members of the Luftwaffe.