Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot, by Helmut Mahlke

Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot, by Helmut Mahlke

Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot, by Helmut Mahlke

Book published by Fonthill in 2013, 306 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket (N5994)

Brand New Book

From the inside front fly leaf: This book is a first-hand account of Stuka operations in the first two years of the Second World War, with vivid descriptions of dive-bombing and air combat, and is illustrated with over 50 photographs from the author's personal albums, plus 8 pages of colour illustrations by the official German war artist Hans Liska

This is the first and only book of its kind to appear since Hans Ulrich Rudel's classic Stuka Pilot was originally published in English in the 1950s. But unlike Rudel, Mahlke flew Stukas during the Blitzkrieg years, when the Luftwaffe's dive-bomber force was at its most feared and most powerful.

Mahlke began his career as a naval pilot and later transferred to a Stuka Gruppe that was intended to serve aboard the never­completed aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. At the outbreak of war Mahlke and his comrades were incorporated into the Luftwaffe, and what follows in his memoirs is a fascinating Stuka pilot's eye view of the most important campaigns otthe early war years: the fall of France, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, Malta, Tobruk, Crete and the invasion of the Soviet Union.

He also provides an insight into day-to­ day life in his unit: the use of a convoy of captured enemy vehicles to move from base to base; scrounging materials to build their own dispersal pens; and the difficulties of scraping a Stuka's engine clean after a sandstorm. He brings the members of his Gruppe to vivid life; describing their off-duty antics, mourning their loss in action.

The story ends when Mahlke was shot down and badly burned on the Eastern Front. He spent the rest of the war in staff positions, but evidently kept an eye on 'his' Gruppe, as one of the Appendices gives full details of all the casualties it suffered during the war.

This is a unique account of the career of a pilot of one of the most iconic aircraft of the Second World War and a fascinating insight into the realities of war in the air.
Condition New