- Hardcover: 238 pages
- Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd (US) (1 Mar. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0764332430
- ISBN-13: 978-0764332432
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.8 x 28.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,243,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Luftwaffe Generals Hardcover – 1 Mar 2009
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
About the Author
Jeremy Dixon has been interested in the Third Reich for thirty-five years and has written four books on the subject. He lives in England and has collected photographs and postcards of Knights Cross recipients for a number of years.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After a short description of the history and development of the Knight's Cross award, Dixon examines the recipients by award category (Grand Cross, KC with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds, KC with Oakleaves, etc.). With each category, winners are arranged aphabetically. Depending on the exploits/careers of the men honored, write-ups can vary in length from one page to seven. At least one photograph is included for each recipient. Fighter ace Adolf Galland, for example, has a 3 1/2-page write-up with five photos. Generalleutnant Rainer Stahl, who commanded various Luftwaffe flak and ground units, has a 2 1/2-page write-up featuring three pix and so on.
It's interesting to note that while most recipients deserved their awards, in at least one case - Beppo Schmid - it wasn't a case of what you did but who you knew! Schmid, the Luftwaffe's inept head of Intelligence, did so much harm to Germany's war effort, he should have been court-martialled...or decorated by the Allies! Dixon also evenhandedly discusses several cases where Luftwaffe officers claimed to have been awarded such-and-such a KC award but lacked the final paperwork.
Dixon certainly gets high marks for his research. He's uncovered a wealth of information on a variety of highly successful airmen along with many interesting photographs.
Having said that, I reluctantly gave the book four stars for several reasons. First off, Schiffer did a poor job of editing/proofreading. Along with typos, etc., there were many run-on sentences throughout the book. Lastly, LUFTWAFFE GENERALS is serious history and merits an index. No index.
In any case, Luftwaffe fans should enjoy this book. It offers a unique, factual, interesting and well-illustrated look at the Luftwaffe's "best of the best." Recommended.
2,000 Helpful Votes.
SCHIFFER PUBLISHING, 2009
HARDCOVER, $69.99, 238 PAGES, BIBLIOGRAPHY, APPENDICES, NOTES
The Knight's Cross was Germany's equivalent to the U.S. Medal of Honor and the United Kingdom's Victoria Cross. There were several grades of the Knight's Cross: first is the Knight's Cross, next is the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, next is the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, next is the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, next is the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds (awarded only once to Luftwaffe ace Hans-Ulrich Rudel), and finally the Grand Cross of the Knight's Cross (a larger version of the Knight's Cross and awarded only once to Hermann Goring.) There were a total of 7,366 Knight's Crosses awarded, 890 Oak Leaves, 160 Swords, and 27 Diamonds. The Knight's Cross was a variation of the sought after Iron Cross which had seven grades. The Knight's Cross was a highly respected decoration and among the troops it was the greatest honor one could achieve for many. Troops took great pride if their officers or fellow soldiers were awarded this medal. Both soldiers and sailors would often joke about having an "itchy neck" that could only be cured by wearing the Knight's Cross. The highest grade of the Knight's Cross (Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds) was tailored for Hitler's favorite fighter pilot, Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel of the Luftwaffe, who destroyed more than 500 Russian tanks (and a battleship at Leningrad!) in his dual-cannon equipped Ju-87 Stuka aircraft in over 2,500 combat sorties! Of all the awards approved during World War II in Nazi Germany, none held the mystique as much as the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. In fact, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross is the most famous grade of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross or Ritterkreuz (RK) was instituted by Adolf Hitler at the start of World War II on 1 September 1939. This award was unique since it hadn't been in existence prior to that time. Contrary to what has been written and what Hollywood has produced, the World War I Pour Le Merite or PLM (Blue Max) wasn't the highest award for valor; it was the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. The problem with the PLM is that it could only be awarded to officers. Hitler, a decorated combat veteran of World War I, decided to change that when he became Chancellor and then Fuehrer of Germany. When he launched Germany into World War II, he made the decision to create a decoration that would bridge the gap between the Iron Cross First Class and the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. In addition, he wanted a decoration that could be awarded regardless of rank. Out of this came the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross was to be awarded for acts of ultimate bravery in the face of the enemy. The award was also extended to foreign nationals fighting with the Wehrmacht or SS. The Knight's Cross was unusual in other ways. Unlike awards as the British Victoria Cross or the U.S. Medal of Honor which were strictly valor based, the Knight's Cross could also be awarded on a point basis. For example, a Luftwaffe pilot would be awarded a Knight's Cross after downing 26 enemy aircraft (1 point given for one aerial combat victory over one enemy single engine aircraft, 2 points given over a double engine enemy's aircraft, 3 points over an enemy four engine aircraft usually a bomber, and for combat at night, all points are multiplied by 2.) All achievement points and criteria for a Knight's Cross are gradually increased as the war continues and thus more German armed forces personnel were able to fulfill all qualifications for this award. A U-Boat commander could be awarded a Knight's Cross for sinking 100,000 tons of shipping. Unlike the Victoria Cross, a Knight's Cross could also be awarded for a victory on the battlefield and even in some cases, a successful withdrawal. In some cases, the Knight's Cross was even awarded for services rendered. As a result of all this, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was an all-around award. Judging by the low number of recipients-7,318 Knight's Cross awards-it was very stringent. Some of the early Knight's Cross presentations as well as a few later special awards, were made by Hitler himself. In most cases, the Knight's Cross was made by divisional commanders, corps commanders, army group commanders, or in a few cases district officials. Recommendations for the Knight's Cross was generally submitted by the individual's commanding officer with the final approval coming from Hitler himself. Hitler meant what he said, when he wanted the Knight's Cross to be awarded without regard to rank. During World War II, 1,676 NCOs and enlisted men were recipients of the Knight's Cross. There are many individuals that believe the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to more generals than enlisted men but that is false. Only 6.9% or 502 of the German generals were awarded this decoration. Presented in this heavily illustrated book are 115 biographies of Luftwaffe officers who reached the rank of general, and were awarded Germany's highest award for bravery-the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross as well as its higher grades. Inside, the book gives details of when the award was rendered including the date and the reasons for the award. Each recipient has a detailed biography which includes promotion dates and other awards received. This book includes recipients such as Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland together with one of the most successful field commanders of the war Albert Kesselring, as well as airborne troopers Kurt Student and Eugen Meindl, Field Marshals Erhard Milch, Wolfram von Richthofen, Robert Ritter von Greim, Hugo Sperrie, and of course Hermann Goring, the head of the Luftwaffe. LUFTWAFFE GENERALS: THE KNIGHT'S CROSS HOLDERS, 1939-1945 is both an impressive and engrossing account of the brave actions of the men who made the Luftwaffe.
Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard
I am pleased to own this book, but, in my opinion, for a list price of $69.95, one deserves better. At Amazon's discount price, it is worth the investment. For anyone with a serious interest in the German Luftwaffe of WWII, this volume is worth consideration.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Film, Television & Music > Music
- Books > Biography > Historical > 1901 Onwards
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > Europe
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > Germany
- Books > Biography > War & Espionage > Air Force
- Books > Biography > War & Espionage > World War II
- Books > History > Europe > Germany
- Books > History > Military History > Armed Forces > Air Forces
- Books > History > World History > World War II 1939-1945 > Biographies & Memoirs