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I Flew for the Fuhrer: Story of a German Airman Hardcover – 1 Nov 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; New edition edition (1 Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853671045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853671043
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,666,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Famous memoir by German fighter ace, illustrated with his personal photos. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a quick read. It takes the form of a diary, although it was written after the war. Knoke was a high-scoring Luftwaffe pilot. He fought briefly in the Battle of Britain, and then on the Russian front, but the majority of his victories were against bombers and escort fighters during the Allied bomber operations against the Reich in 1943 and 1944. At first he approaches this task with gusto. He comes up with a scheme to drop time-delay bombs onto the American bombers, and eagerly awaits the introduction of Me262 jet fighters. As the war continues his comrades are shot out of the sky, or crash in accidents, and he is frequently ordered to send his last half-dozen Messerschmitts against thousand-strong bomber formations, guarded by Allied fighters. He is shot down several times - there is a period in 1943 where he seems to be shot down every other page, but each time he gets back into the air, escaping from hospital if needs be. He ends the war with a smashed foot, numerous minor wounds, and a crippled right leg. This is all conveyed in punchy, precise sentences. He becomes accustomed to death early in his career, during one of his first training flights, and he does not become philosophical until the final chapters.

Knoke comes across as a complicated man. He seems likeable. He enjoys flying, and writes about the beauty of Norway's mountains. But he is clearly a product of his upbringing, and of a terrible regime. He describes the invasion of Poland as a liberation of the German minority from wanton massacres - perhaps he believed that in 1939, but the book was written in 1953, and is not a literal presentation of his diaries, it is a post-war adaptation.
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Format: Paperback
This book is highly interesting . It is not a book about WW2, but a personal diary. Heinz Knoke writes very well about how he experiences the fighting, the hardships, and the fall of the Luftwaffe. He also tells us how he, an eager nationalist in the beginning, feels betrayed by Hitler in the end. This is a very emotional book aswell. In addition to this there is many vivid descriptions of arial combat.
An unusual and well written book!
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Format: Paperback
A fabulous acount of what it was like to serve in Germany's Luftwaffe through the early successful period, though the decline
and finally,to humilliating defeat. Though Heinz Knoke was obviously a fantastic pilot he alone, could not stop the march of history.From his early life, to joining the Luftwaffe, to the harsh training, this is a charming book which chronicles the characters and the organisation that went to form a flight of ME 109,s, hell bent on stopping the bombers of the Allies. His account of a frontal attack on a Flying Fortress at some 600mph closing speed made the hairs on the back ofmy neck stand up.The book has an ironic ending too, that I won,t spoil for the readers of this great book.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in two sessions; I simply could not put it down.

Using his diary and logs, Heinz Knoke recalls life in the Luftwaffe as a 109 fighter pilot. He takes you through his life from the start of his career right up to the end of the war in Europe.

It is interesting to see the contrast between his early years and the last, with the ultimate destruction of the Luftwaffe as a fighting force. I often found myself wondering how somebody could survive so many close calls, when all around him were not returning to base.

Knoke describes his encounters with Liberators and B.17s in formations of hundreds, later with heavy fighter escort. I don't want to spoil it, but it is hard to imagine yourself as a lone pilot attacking a B.17 from the front, with eight enemy fighters on your tail.

Although fighting for the "other" side, I admire his skill and determination in defending his country. Having not lived through it, I found myself sympathising with somebody that was shooting down aircraft that fought for "our" side.

After reading the book I was interested in seeing what he was doing today, only to be saddened to read of his and his wifes death some years ago.

A true fighter Ace.
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This book made a huge impression on me as a teenager in the early 60's when I bought it second-hand on the market. I was mad keen on airplanes (or aeroplanes as we spelled them then) and this was a very readable set of personal experiences. It was a great read and revelation to me who had been brought up on tales of the war from teachers, parents etc who had all fought, that Germans were normal people too.

It gives a fantastic feel of the overwhelming power of the allied bomber offensive and gradual failure to combat it.

The steady change in tone of the book from confidence through determination to forlorn hope can only be gained from a person who fought on the 'wrong' side, and is an interesting microcosm of the experiences of the defeated. As a tale of aerial combat, however, it is very surprisingly similar to equivalent works by other successful (and surviving)fighter pilots of both the allies and axis air arms.
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