Monday, 9 March 2015

Adolf Joseph Ferdinand Galland

Adolf Joseph Ferdinand Galland


Branch: Luftwaffe
Born: 19 March 1912 in Westerholt, Germany
Died: 9 February 1996 in Remagen, Germany

Leutnant 1934

Spanish Medalla de la Campaña
Spanish Medalla Militar
Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds 6 June 1939
Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold with Pennant
Wound Badge in Black
Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds
Iron Cross 1939
2nd Class 13 September 1939
1st Class 22 May 1940
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Knight's Cross 29 July 1940
Oak Leaves 24 September 1940
Swords 21 June 1941
Diamonds 28 January 1942

Jagdgeschwader 26
Takes command on 22 August 1940
Ends command on 6 December 1941

Jagdverband 44
Takes command on
Ends command on

Personal Information:

Adolf Joseph Ferdinand Galland was born on 19 March 1912 and became a German Luftwaffe General and flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe. Adolf Galland flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western front and in Defence of the Reich. On four occasions he survived being shot down, and he was credited with 104 aerial victories, all of them against the Western Allies.

Adolf Galland, born in Westerholt (now Herten), Westphalia was a glider pilot in his youth, joined the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic later in 1932. In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, he volunteered for the Legion Condor (Condor Legion) and flew ground attack missions in support of the Nationalists under Francisco Franco. After finishing his tour Adolf Galland was employed writing doctrinal and technical manuals about his experience and served as an instructor for ground-attack units. At the outbreak of World War II he again flew ground attack missions before he persuaded his superiors to allow him to become a fighter pilot.

Adolf Galland flew in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain fighting the Royal Air Force (RAF) over the English Channel and Northern France. By November 1941 his number of aerial victories claimed stood at 96, which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. In November 1941 he replaced Werner Mölders, who was killed in a flying accident, as Germany's commander of the Fighter Force (General der Jagdflieger), staying in this position until January 1945 when he was relieved of his command because of his constant criticism of the Luftwaffe senior leadership, climaxing in the Fighter Pilots Conspiracy. As General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland was forbidden to fly combat missions. For commanding Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) with distinction, he earned the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.

In March 1945, Adolf Galland returned to operational flying and formed a jet fighter unit which Adolf Galland called Jagdverband 44. He flew missions over Germany until the end of the war in May. After the war Adolf Galland was employed by Argentina's Government and acted as a consultant to the Argentine Air Force. Later he returned to Germany and managed his own business. Adolf Galland also befriended many former enemies, such as RAF aces Robert Stanford Tuck and Douglas Bader. Adolf Galland died in February 1996.

Galland's early Life

Adolf Galland was born in Westerholt (now Herten), Westphalia on 19 March 1912 to a family with French Huguenot ancestry. The first Adolf Galland in Westerholt was a refugee from France in 1792. He became a bailiff to the count von Westerholt, beginning a tradition that was handed down from father to son. Adolf Galland (junior) was the second of four sons of Adolf Galland (senior) and his French wife Anna, née Schipper. Upholding the family tradition, Adolf Galland (senior) worked as the land manager or bailiff to the Count von Westerholt. Adolf Galland's older brother was Fritz and his two younger brothers were Wilhelm-Ferdinand and Paul. Their father had pet names for all his family members. His wife Anna was called Anita. Fritz, his older brother, was called Toby, Adolf was Keffer, Wilhelm-Ferdinand was nicknamed Wutz and Paul was called Paulinchen or since they were expecting a girl, occasionally Paula.

His two younger brothers also became fighter pilots and aces. Paul claimed 17 victories, he was shot down and killed on 31 October 1942. Wilhelm-Ferdinand, credited with 54 victories, was shot down and killed on 17 August 1943. In 1927 Adolf Galland's lifelong interest in flying started when a group of aviation enthusiasts brought a glider club to Borkenberge, a heath east of the Haltern-Münster railway and part of the Westerholt estate. It was here that the Gelsenkirchen Luftsportverein (Air Sports Club of Gelsenkirchen) created an interest in flying among young Germans. Adolf Galland travelled by foot or horse-drawn wagon 30 kilometres until his father bought him a motorcycle to help prepare the gliders for flight. Under the Treaty of Versailles Germany was denied an air force. They were however allowed gliders and it became the way for fledgling pilots to begin their flying career. The sport became so popular that the Reichswehr set up ten schools, one in each of the seven military districts of Germany. The military also published a magazine, Flugsport (Flight Sport), to encourage an interest in aviation and began a series of glider competitions around the country. Adolf Galland had learned the basic laws of flight and how everything worked on paper but he found they did not always work in reality and his inexperience caused a few accidents. One of his tutors, Georg Ismer, taught him various techniques and in 1929, the 17 year old Adolf Galland passed his A certificate. This was one of three certificates he needed for his professional license. When he eventually attained his B and C certificates, his father promised to buy him his own glider if he also passed his matriculations examinations, which he succeeded in doing. Adolf Galland became an outstanding glider pilot he became an instructor before he had passed his Abitur.

In February 1932 Adolf Galland graduated from Hindenburg Gymnasium (high school) in Buer and was among 20 personnel who were accepted to the aviation school of Germany's national airline, Luft Hansa.

Galland's military career

During the final years of the Weimar Republic, jobs were scarce and life was hard for the Adolf Galland family economically. Adolf had some experience of flying gliders so he applied to the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule or DVS (German Commercial Flying School) which was heavily subsidised by Luft Hansa. He was one of 100 successful applicants out of 4,000. After ten days of evaluations, he was among just 18 selected for flight training. Adolf was then assessed on performance. Those that did not reach the standard were sent home. Adolf Galland's first flight was in an Albatros L 101. His early career went badly. On one flight, he made a heavy landing and damaged the undercarriage of his aircraft. Later, while leading three aircraft in formation, two of them collided. No one was killed, but Adolf Galland was judged to have employed poor formation tactics. These incidents affected him so badly he was convinced he would soon be sent home, and he applied to join the German Army. In the meantime, he carried on with his flight training. Adolf Galland did not receive a reply from the Army and settled down to continue his training. Flights in an Albatros L 75 and the award of a B1 certificate allowing him to fly large aircraft over 2,500 kilograms in weight helped him regain his confidence. Around the same time, the Army accepted his application, but owing to his successful training and improved flying, the flying school refused to release him. By Christmas 1932, he had logged 150 hours flying and had obtained a B2 certificate.

Early in 1933, Adolf Galland was sent to the Baltic Sea training base at Warnemuende to train on flying boats. Adolf Galland disliked learning what he perceived to be seamanship, but logged 25 hours in these aircraft. Soon afterward, along with several other pilots, he was ordered to attend an interview at the Zentrale der Verkehrsflieger Schule (ZVS-Central Airline Pilot School). Here the group were interviewed by military personnel in civilian clothing. After being informed of a secret military training program being built that involved piloting high performance aircraft, all the pilots accepted an invitation to join the organisation.
In May 1933 Adolf Galland was ordered to a meeting in Berlin as one of 12 civilian pilots among 70 airmen who came from clandestine programmes, meeting Hermann Göring for the first time. Adolf Galland was impressed by and believed Hermann Göring to be a competent leader. In July 1933 Adolf Galland travelled to Italy to train with the Regia Aeronautica. Initially the Germans were treated as inferior by the Italians, but after Adolf Galland had flown some daring and impressive low-level manoeuvres, the German contingent won their hosts' respect.

In September 1933 Adolf Galland returned to Germany and flew in some minor competitions as a glider pilot, winning some prizes. Soon afterwards he returned to the ZVS to learn instrument flying and receive training in piloting heavy transport aircraft logging another 50 hours. As a part of his training, beginning in October 1933, Adolf Galland flew Luft Hansa airliners. Flying the Junkers G24 from Stuttgart to Barcelona in Spain, via Geneva and Marseilles. In December 1933 Adolf Galland was recalled to the ZVS headquarters and offered the chance to join the new Luftwaffe. Adolf Galland found the choice hard as he wanted the adventure of a military flying career, but as an airline pilot, Adolf Galland had enjoyed the life style of flying and visiting exotic places and was reluctant to give it up. Nevertheless, he decided to officially join the Luftwaffe.

After basic training in the Army he was discharged from his barracks in Dresden in October 1934. In February 1935 Adolf Galland was now part of 900 airmen waiting to be inducted to the new ReichsLuftwaffe. In March Adolf Galland was ordered to report to Jagdgeschwader 2 (2nd Fighter Wing), arriving at its headquarters in Jüterbog-Damm on 1 April 1935. Adolf Galland's performance had not yet been impressive enough for a position as an instructor, so he was evaluated and deemed good enough for an operational posting.

In October 1935, during aerobatic manoeuvre training, he crashed a Focke-Wulf Fw 44 biplane and was in a coma for three days, other injuries were a damaged eye, fractured skull and broken nose. When Adolf Galland recovered, he was declared unfit for flying by the doctors. A friend, Major Rheital kept the doctors report secret to allow Adolf to continue flying. The expansion of the Luftwaffe and his own Geschwader (aviation wing) flooded the administration officers and Adolf Galland's medical report was overlooked. Within a year Adolf Galland showed no signs of injury from his crash. In October 1936 he crashed an Arado Ar 68 and was hospitalised again, aggravating his injured eye. It was at this point his previous medical report came to light again and Adolf Galland's unfit certificate was discovered. Major Rheital was rumoured to have undergone a court-martial, but the investigators dropped the charges. Adolf Galland, however, was grounded. He admitted having fragments of glass in his eye, but convinced the doctors he was fit for flying duty. Adolf Galland was ordered to undergo eye tests to validate his claims. Before the testing could begin, one of his brothers managed to acquire the charts. Adolf memorised the charts passing the test and was permitted to fly again.
During the Spanish Civil War, Adolf Galland was appointed Staffelkapitän of a Legion Condor (Condor Legion) unit, 3. Staffel Jagdgruppe 88 (J/88-88th Fighter Group), which was sent to support the Nationalist side under Franco at Ferrol from mid-1937. Adolf Galland flew ground attack missions in Heinkel He 51s. In Spain, Adolf Galland first displayed his unique style flying in swimming trunks with a cigar between his teeth in an aircraft decorated with a Mickey Mouse figure. When asked why he developed this style he gave a simple answer:

I like Mickey Mouse. I always have. And I like cigars, but I had to give them up after the war.

Adolf Galland flew his first of 300 combat mission in Spain with the J/88 commander Gotthard Handrick, on 24 July 1937, near Brunete. During his time in Spain, Adolf Galland analysed the engagements, evaluated techniques and devised new ground-attack tactics which were passed on to the Luftwaffe. His experiences in pinpoint ground assaults were used by Ernst Udet, a proponent of the dive bomber and leading supporter of the Junkers Ju 87 to push for Stuka wings. Wolfram von Richthofen, an opponent of Ernst Udet's, used them to push for the opposite Schlachtflieger dual combination fighter-bombers. After trials with Henschel Hs 123s, Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109s and Junkers Ju 87s, the Junkers was selected to undergo trials for the dive bomber role.

During his time in Spain he developed early gasoline and oil bombs, suggested the quartering of personnel on trains to aid in relocation, and following the Nationalist victory was awarded the Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds for his contributions. On 24 May 1938 Adolf Galland left Spain and was replaced by Werner Mölders. Before leaving he made ten flights in the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 deeply impressed with the performance of the aircraft it persuaded him to change from a strike pilot to a fighter pilot. From May to August 1938, Adolf Galland took leave and visited Spanish Morocco. On his return to Germany, he was ordered to the headquarters of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM-Ministry of Aviation) where he was tasked with preparing recommendations on the subject of close air support. Adolf Galland favoured the virtually simultaneous attack of the air force before the Army advance, leaving their opponents no time to recover. While this reasserted the lessons of the First World War, some of the Officer Corps were still pessimistic as to whether that kind of coordination was possible. Adolf Galland also adopted the Italian suggestion of heavy armament and criticised the light machine guns in early German fighter aircraft and pointed to the advantages of multi-gun configurations (combining machine guns with cannon). These proved successful in the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190. He also recognised the innovation of drop tanks to extend the range of aircraft as well as the need for specialised tactics for escorting bomber fleets Adolf Galland did not subscribe to the prevailing idea in the Luftwaffe (and RAF) that the bomber would always get through (alone). All of Adolf Galland's suggestions were adopted and proved successful in the early campaigns, 1939 to 1941. During his time in the RLM he instructed, trained and equipped ground-support wings for Fall Grün (Case Green), the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938. However, the invasion did not take place.

Unluckily for Adolf Galland, his excellence at evaluation earned him a place at Tutow training facility where he was asked to test fly prototype reconnaissance and strike aircraft. This was not what he wanted, and he hoped to be returned to a fighter unit to fly the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109. During his time there, he gave positive evaluations on types such as the Focke-Wulf Fw189 and Henschel Hs 129. During his test piloting career at Tutow, Adolf Galland received unwelcome news he was to become Gruppenkommandeur of II.(Schlacht)/Lehrgeschwader 2 (II.(S)/LG 2-2nd group (ground support) of the 2nd Demonstration Wing). It was not a fighter unit, but a special mixed Geschwader of ground attack aircraft.

Galland's combat career

Galland during the Polish Campaign

Just before the outbreak of war, Adolf Galland was promoted to Hauptmann. During the Invasion of Poland from 1 September 1939, onwards he flew with 4 Staffel, II./Lehrgeschwader 2. Equipped with the Henschel Hs 123, nicknamed the biplane Stuka, supporting the German Tenth Army. On 1 September Adolf Galland flew alone in a Fiesler Fi 156 Storch on a reconnaissance mission and was nearly shot down. The next day he flew ground attack missions in support of the 1st Panzer Division advancing to the Warta River. Adolf Galland's Geschwader flew intensive sorties in support of the division and XVI. Armeekorps (16th Army Corps) Army Corps at Krakow, Radom, Deblin and L'vov. The German Army had reached the Vistula river near Warsaw by 7 September and the Luftwaffe had been executing the kind of close air support operations Adolf Galland had been advocating. Adolf Galland participated in the maximum effort by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Bzura. On 11 September during one of his visits to the front Adolf Hitler arrived at LG 2 headquarters for lunch with the staff. Such was the state of the Polish Air Force and Polish Army, that by 19 September 1939 some German air units were withdrawn from the campaign. Adolf Galland ceased combat operations on this date, having flown 87 missions. After flying nearly 360 missions in two wars and averaging two missions per day, on 13 September 1939, Adolf Galland was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class.

After the Polish Campaign Adolf Galland claimed to be suffering from rheumatism and therefore unfit for flying in open-cockpit aircraft, such as the Henschel Hs 123. He tactfully suggested a transfer to a single-engine aircraft type with a closed cockpit would improve his condition. His request was accepted on medical grounds. Adolf Galland was removed from his post as a direct ground support pilot. Adolf Galland never explained whether open cockpits had caused the complaint or some other cause given his performance with eye specialists, a certain amount of suspicion is reasonable. He was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 27 (27th Fighter Wing) on 10 February 1940, as the adjutant, which restricted him from flying.

Galland in western Europe

After his transfer to Jagdgeschwader 27 (27th Fighter Wing), Adolf Galland met Werner Mölders again. Due to his injuries, Adolf Galland could never match Werner's sharp eyesight the shards of glass in his eyes denied him that ability. However, Werner Mölders, by that time a recognised ace (a pilot with five or more aerial victories), shared what experiences he could with Adolf Galland leadership in the air, tactics and organisation. Werner Mölders was Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 53 (53rd Fighter Wing) at the time of their meeting. He offered Adolf Galland the chance to join his unit which was flying patrols along the French border in order for Adolf Galland to gain experience on the Messerschmitt Me 109E or Bf 109E, which Adolf Galland lacked. During these sorties Adolf Galland learned Werner Mölders tactics, such as using spotter aircraft to indicate the position of enemy formation a type of rudimentary early warning system. Adolf Galland learned to allow the Staffel to operate freely in order to seize the initiative and surprise. Taking his findings back to Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) its commander Max Ibel, agreed to their implementation. Adolf Galland gained further experience as a combat leader acting as the Gruppenkommandeur, when those personnel went on leave.

On 10 May 1940 the Wehrmacht invaded the Low Countries and France under the codename Fall Gelb. On the third day of the offensive, 12 May 1940, 7 kilometres west of Liege, Belgium, at a height of about 4,000 metres, flying a Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109, Adolf Galland with Gustav Rödel as his wing man claimed his first aerial victories, over two Royal Air Force Hawker Hurricanes. Both aircraft were from No. 87 Squadron. The Hurricanes had been escorting Bristol Blenheim bombers to bomb bridges in the Netherlands. They came from the sun with height advantage and I never saw them, recalled later Sgt Frank Howell of No. 87 Squadron, Adolf Galland's first victim. Suddenly there was a shattering noise and the cockpit was full of burnt cordite. My first kill was child's play. An excellent weapon and luck had been on my side. To be successful, the best fighter pilot needs both. Adolf Galland pursued one of the scattering Hurricanes and shot down another at low level (Canadian Flying Officer Jack Campbell who was killed in the subsequent crash).

Adolf Galland claimed his third victory later the same day over a Hurricane. Over Tienen. He had long believed that his opponents had been Belgian, but Belgian Air Force Hurricanes had all been destroyed on the ground in the first two days without seeing combat. On 19 May, Adolf Galland shot down a French Potez aircraft. During the flight he ran out of fuel and landed at the base of a hill. Enlisting the help of a soldiers from a German Flak battery, they pushed the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 up a hill and he then half-flew, and half-glided down into the valley to the Charleville-Mézières airfield. He sent back a can of fuel for his wing man who had also landed. He continued flying and the next day, claimed another three more aircraft shot down, making his total seven, for which he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class from Erhard Milch on 22 May.

During the Battle of Dunkirk, after encountering the Supermarine Spitfire for the first time, Adolf Galland was impressed with the aircraft and pilots and expressed his high opinion of both. On 29 May, Adolf Galland claimed he had shot down a Bristol Blenheim over the sea. On 3 June during Operation Paula, he claimed another French aircraft, a Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 for his 12th victory.

On 6 June 1940, Adolf Galland took over the command of III./Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) with the position of Gruppenkommandeur. Under his command were the 7, 8 and 9 Staffels with an establishment of 39 Messerschmitt Me 109Es or Bf 109Es. His Staffelkapitäns included Joachim Müncheberg and Wilhelm Balthasar. Wilhelm Balthasar, Staffelkapitän of 7 Staffel had mistakenly attacked Adolf Galland during Fall Rot (Case Red). Being on the same radio frequency, Adolf Galland was able to warn Wilhelm Balthasar before he opened fire. The remainder of the campaign passed without incident and on 26 June, Major Gotthard Handrick took over command of Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing). Adolf Galland was pleased, having served under him during his Legion Condor (Condor Legion) days.

Galland in the Battle of Britain

From June 1940 on, Adolf Galland flew as the Gruppenkommandeur of III./Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing), fighting in the Battle of Britain with Messerschmitt Me 109E or Bf 109E. On 19 July 1940, he was promoted to Major and Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) moved to the Pas de Calais, where they were to remain for the next 18 months with III./Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) based at Caffiers.

On 24 July 1940 almost 40 Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 of III./Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) took off for operations over the English Channel. They were met by 12 No. 54 Squadron Spitfires. The Spitfires forced the larger number of Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 into a turning battle that ran down the Germans' fuel. Adolf Galland recalled being impressed by the Spitfire's ability to outmanoeuvre Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 at low speed and turning on to the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 within little airspace. Only executing a Split S a long curving dive that the Spitfire could not follow, could his aircraft escape back to France at low altitude. The II./Jagdgeschwader 52 (52nd Fighter Wing) covered their retreat, losing two Bf 109s to Spitfires from No. 610 Squadron. During the action, two Spitfires were shot down for the loss of four Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109. Adolf Galland was shocked by the aggression shown by the relatively inexperienced and outnumbered RAF and realised there would be no quick and easy victory.

As the battles over the Channel continued, Adolf Galland shot down Spitfires on 25 July and 28 July. On 1 August 1940, Adolf Galland was awarded the Knight's Cross for his 17 victories. Adolf Galland continued to make fighter sweeps over southern England before the main assault opened. On 11 August 1940, Adolf Galland's unit engaged No. 74 Squadron. In a brief dogfight, one Spitfire was shot down. During these battles the RAF seemed to know just where and when to send their aircraft. This made Adolf Galland suspect a high level of organisation was at work controlling RAF fighters. The cloudy British skies made it a dangerous place against an enemy that had an effective ground control system. Adolf Galland resolved to fly higher, where he could see most things and where the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 performed at its best.

By 15 August 1940, in two weeks fighting over Britain, Adolf Galland had increased his own score to 22. This put him to within three victories of Werner Mölders, who had claimed the highest number of enemy aircraft destroyed and who was wounded and grounded with a damaged knee. By mid-August, Hermann Göring's dissatisfaction with the performance of his fighters led him to replace several of the pre-war Jagdgeschwader (fighter wing) commanders with younger and combat experienced aviators.

Adolf Galland was summoned to Karinhall on 18 August 1940, and missed the intense air battle that day, known as The Hardest Day. During the meeting Hermann Göring insisted that, in combat, Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 fighters escort Messerschmitt Bf 110's, which could not survive against single-engine fighters. As high-scoring aces, both Adolf Galland and Werner Mölders shared their concerns that close escort of Messerschmitt Bf 110's and bombers robbed fighter pilots of their freedom to roam and engage the enemy of their own terms. They also pointed to the fact that German bombers flew at medium altitudes and low speed, the best height area and speed for the manoeuvrability of the Spitfire. Adolf Galland resented his pilots having to carry out a task unsuited to their equipment but Hermann Göring would not move from his position. Adolf Galland returned to action on 22 August replacing Gotthard Handrick as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing).

During the Battle of Britain, in a front line General Officer briefing on Luftwaffe tactics, Hermann Göring asked what his pilots needed to win the battle. Werner Mölders replied that he would like the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 to be fitted with more powerful engines. Adolf Galland replied: I should like an outfit of Spitfires for my squadron. Which left Hermann Göring speechless with rage. Adolf Galland still preferred the Bf 109 for offensive sweeps, but he perceived the Spitfire to be a better defensive fighter, owing to its manoeuvrability. Adolf Galland said:

The Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 was superior in the attack and not so suitable for purely defensive purposes as the Spitfire, which, although a little slower, was much more manoeuvrable.

During the Battle of Britain the question of killing enemy pilots while in their parachutes was raised. In another conversation with Hermann Göring, Adolf Galland recalled:

Hermann Göring wanted to know if we had ever thought about this. Jawohl, Herr Reichsmarschall! He looked me straight in the eyes and said, What would you think of an order to shoot down pilots who were bailing out? I should regard it as murder, Herr Reichsmarschall, I told him, I should do everything in my power to disobey such an order. That is just the reply I had expected from you, Adolf Galland.

Adolf Galland went on to say that he thought Hermann Göring may have been asking him this question so as to have an answer if the question was ever posed to him, as opposed to the implication that Hermann Göring would be in favour of such an action.

On 23 September, Adolf Galland became the third member of the Wehrmacht to receive the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross. On 25 September, he was summoned to Berlin to receive the award from Adolf Hitler. The Battle of Britain continued with large-scale dogfights well past 31 October 1940, considered by some historians as the end of the campaign. On 5 December 1940, Adolf Galland recorded his 57th victory. This made him the most successful fighter pilot of the war at that point, putting him ahead of his colleague, friend and rival Werner Mölders.

Galland during Channel Front

Now, promoted to Oberstleutnant, he continued to lead Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) in 1941 against the RAF fighter sweeps across northern Europe. In early 1941 most of the Luftwaffe's fighter units were sent to the Eastern Front, or south to the Mediterranean theatre of Operations (MTO), only leaving Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) and Jagdgeschwader 2 (2nd Fighter Wing) as the sole single-engine fighter Geschwader in France. By this time, Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) were being re-equipped with the new Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109F, normally equipped with a 15 mm or later a 20 mm cannon firing through the propeller hub and two cowl-mounted 7.9 mm MG 17. Adolf Galland felt the model was grossly under armed and so tested a series of Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109F specials one with a unique armament of an MG 151/20 cannon and two cowl-mounted 13 mm MG 131 machine guns, and another with integral wing-mounted 20 mm MG-FF cannons.

On 15 April 1941, Adolf Galland took off with lobster and champagne to celebrate General Theo Osterkamp's birthday at Le Touquet, France. He made a detour with his wing man towards England, looking for RAF aircraft. Off the cliffs of Dover he spotted a group of Spitfires. Adolf Galland attacked and claimed two confirmed and one unconfirmed shot down. The actual result was the destruction of one Spitfire, the other two were damaged in force landings with both pilots wounded. During the combat Adolf Galland's undercarriage had dropped causing one of the RAF pilots (Flight Lieutenant Paddy Finucane) to claim Adolf Galland's aircraft as destroyed, but Adolf Galland landed without incident at Le Touquet and presented Osterkamp with his gifts.

Adolf Galland received a telephone from Hermann Göring on 10 May 1941, requesting Adolf Galland to intercept a Messerschmitt Bf 110 flown by Rudolf Hess heading for Scotland. Adolf Galland was unable to launch a full fighter sweep. However, Rudolf Hess flight was far to the north and he reached Scotland crashing his aircraft. Adolf Galland sent out fighters to conduct some sweeps so he could honestly claim to have carried out his orders but it was nearly dark and Adolf Galland ordered his pilots unused to night flying to stand down.

On the morning of 21 June 1941, Adolf Galland's Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 was damaged by a No. 303 Squadron Spitfire and trailing coolant, had to force land at Calais-Marck. At 16:00 that same afternoon, Adolf Galland shot down a No. 611 Squadron Spitfire, but watching his victim for too long, he was himself shot down by a No. 145 Squadron Spitfire flown by Sergeant R.J.C. Grant. Adolf Galland bailed out and tugged at what he thought was his parachute ripcord, but was actually pulling at his parachute release harness. With a sickening feeling, he composed himself and pulled the ripcord which opened. Theo Osterkamp drove over to the hospital where Adolf Galland was being treated for his wounds and informed him his 70 victories had now earned him the Swords to his Oak Leaves and Knight's Cross.

On 2 July 1941, Adolf Galland led Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) into combat against a formation of No. 226 Squadron Blenheim bombers. Adolf Galland's fighter was hit by a 20 mm round from one of the bombers escort fighters. The armour plate fitted to the Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 just days earlier saved Adolf Galland's life. Wounded in the head he managed to land and was again hospitalised for the second time in a few days. Just earlier that week, when the armour plate was installed, he severely berated his mechanic, Gerhard Meyer, who welded it in when he hit his head on the canopy upon entering his aircraft. That same mechanic received a grateful slap on the back. Adolf Galland had been shot up and shot down twice in the space of four days.

On 9 August 1941, RAF ace Douglas Bader bailed out over St Omer, France. Bader was well known to the Luftwaffe and at the time of his capture had been credited with 22 aerial victories. Adolf Galland himself claimed two Spitfires on that date. Adolf Galland and Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing) entertained Bader over the next few days. Owing to the significant stature of the prisoner, Adolf Galland permitted Bader, under escort, to sit in the cockpit of a Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109. Apparently, despite losing one of his tin legs in the aircraft, Bader, in a semi-serious way, asked if they wouldn't mind if he took it on a test flight around the airfield. Adolf Galland replied that he feared Douglas would attempt to escape and they would have to give chase and shoot at each other again, and declined the request.

In autumn 1941, Adolf Galland was to add another 26 victories. His 96th victim, a Spitfire was claimed on 18 November 1941. It proved to be his last official victory for three years as he was about to be forbidden to fly combat missions.

Galland in the high command 1941 to 1945

In November 1941, he was chosen by Hermann Göring to command Germany's fighter force as General der Jagdflieger, succeeding Werner Mölders who had just been killed in an air crash on route to attend the funeral of Ernst Udet. Adolf Galland was not enthusiastic about his promotion, seeing himself as a combat leader and not wanting to be tied to a desk job.

Soon afterwards, on 28 January 1942, Adolf Galland was awarded the Diamonds to his Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves and Swords for his service as Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter Wing). Although not keen on a staff position, soon after Adolf Galland's appointment, he planned and executed the German air superiority plan (Operation Donnerkeil) for the Kriegsmarine's Operation Cerberus, from his headquarters at Jever. The German battleships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and cruiser Prinz Eugen sailed from Brest, France, up the English Channel to Kiel, Germany. The operation caught the British off guard. The RAF attempted to intercept with the forces available, but the German fighter defences were able to shoot down 43 RAF aircraft with 247 British casualties. The Luftwaffe had prevented any damage on the ships by air attack.

A strong proponent of the day fighter force and the defence of Germany, Adolf Galland used his position to improve the position of the Jagdwaffe. The need was now pressing, as Germany had declared war on the United States on 11 December 1941, and Adolf Galland was keen to build up a force that could withstand the resurgence of the Western Allied Air Forces in preparation for what would become known as the Defence of the Reich campaign. Adolf Galland was outspoken, something that was not often tolerated by Hermann Göring. Yet, by earning and cultivating the support of other powerful personalities in the Luftwaffe, like Erhard Milch and Günther Korten, and personalities in the industrial sector such as Albert Speer and even Adolf Hitler, Adolf Galland was able to survive in his position for three years.

Galland's unofficial combat missions

After his appointment, Adolf Galland was strictly confined to operational matters and not allowed to fly tactical or combat missions. As the war continued Adolf Galland flew missions in violation of these restrictions against the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) bombing raids during the Defence of the Reich. Adolf Galland was keen to familiarise himself with all types of German fighter aircraft and flew the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 on these interception missions. He would actively engage American bombers on some raids. On at least one mission he shot down a USAAF heavy bomber. It is possible that as many as three USAAF heavy bombers were shot down by Adolf Galland while flying Focke-Wulf Fw 190s.

Galland's conflict with leadership

Adolf Galland's position as General der Jagdflieger brought him into gradual conflict with Hermann Göring as the war continued. In 1942 to 1944 the German fighter forces on all fronts in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) came under increasing pressure and Adolf Galland's relationship with Hermann Göring began to turn sour. During the late summer, 1943, the USAAF fighters operated over German air space for the first time. Several aircraft crashed near Aachen on the cusp of Germany's west border. Adolf Galland presented these wrecks as proof that the Luftwaffe was facing an enemy that could soon escort its heavy bombers with fighter aircraft to industrial targets inside Germany. Adolf Galland submitted his findings to Hermann Göring. Hermann Göring was livid with Adolf Galland and the fighter force. The Reichsmarschall called the report the rantings of a worn-out defeatist, and gave Adolf Galland an order, that no Allied fighters had crossed into Germany. Hermann Göring declared the only possible reason could have been that short range fighters ran out of fuel at high altitude and they were shot down much further west... and glided quite a distance before they crashed. Adolf Galland and Erhard Milch, responsible for production and procurement in the Luftwaffe, denied this and argued that they must increase fighter production to reach a three or fourfold advantage over the attackers immediately to prepare for this new threat. Adolf Galland's efforts to produce a fighter force fit for an war of attrition conflicted with Hermann Göring's bias in favour of bombers, to maintain the offensive on all fronts, an attitude the Reichsmarschall had even as late as the autumn, 1943.

By October 1943, the fractious relationship came to the surface again. Hermann Göring met Adolf Galland at his estate, Schloss Veldenstein. During the conversation the need for new and improved interceptor aircraft arose. The demands made by Hermann Göring, that heavily cannon-armed fighters be used in mass numbers to defeat bomber formations, were unreasonable to Adolf Galland. Hermann Göring, prompted by the desires of Adolf Hitler, wanted cannons of some 2,000 lb in weight which fired at a rate of one shell per second. Adolf Galland explained that such a weapon could not be used effectively in an aircraft the cannon would be prone to jamming and the aircraft would be too difficult to manoeuvre. Adolf Galland also asserted the use of inappropriate weaponry such as the Messerschmitt Me 410, a favourite of Adolf Hitler's, had caused heavy losses. Adolf Galland argued such measures were deplorable and irresponsible. Hermann Göring ignored Adolf Galland's arguments and continued his frequent attacks on the fighter force, accusing them of cowardice. Adolf Galland, as he always did, defended them, risking his career, and near the end of the war, his life in doing so. Adolf Galland stated that he could not agree to follow Hermann Göring's plans and requested to be dismissed from his post and sent back to his unit. Hermann Göring accepted, but two weeks later he apologised to Adolf Galland and attributed his behaviour to stress. Adolf Galland continued in his post.

The arguments, mainly over aircraft procurement and armament for the defence of Germany from Allied bombing began to give rise to a growing personal rift between Hermann Göring and Adolf Galland.

Galland's innovations

To retrieve the situation for the fighter force, Adolf Galland looked to employ new technology in the air war. On 23 May 1943, Adolf Galland flew an early prototype of the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. After the flight, he described his experience:

For the first time I was flying by Jet propulsion! No engine vibrations. No torque and no lashing sound of the engine propeller. Accompanied by a whistling sound, my jet shot through the air. Later when asked what it felt like, I said, It was as though angels were pushing.

Adolf Galland became an enthusiastic supporter of the aircraft, realising its potential as a fighter rather than a Blitzbomber. Adolf Galland hoped that the Messerschmitt Me 262 would compensate for the numerical superiority of the Allies:

In the last four months January April 1944 our day fighters have lost 1,000 pilots we are numerically inferior and will always remain so I believe that a great deal can be achieved with a small number of technically and far superior aircraft such as the Messerschmitt Me 262 and Messerschmitt Me 163. I would at this moment rather have one Messerschmitt Me 262 in action rather than five Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109. I used to say three Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 but the situation develops and changes.

However, because of persistent problems with its turbojet engines and later, Adolf Hitler's determination to use it as a bomber, the Messerschmitt Me 262 was not developed as a fighter until late in the war. Hermann Göring refused Adolf Galland's requests to have equal numbers of Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter and bomber variants built. However, Adolf Galland's close relationship with Albert Speer, the German armaments minister, enabled him to retain a small operational number. Even this was difficult, as Adolf Hitler had taken personal control of turbojet production and checked where each batch of the aircraft were being deployed. It was not until September 1944 that Adolf Hitler rescinded his directive that the Messerschmitt Me 262 be used as a fighter-bomber.

Owing to his keen interest in the type he followed, with interest, the exploits of Kommando Nowotny, the all jet fighter unit. Although it had low serviceability rates, its aircraft achieved considerable success. To see how new aircraft performed in action, Adolf Galland often visited the front line airfields close to the scene of the fighting. On one occasion, he was present when ace Walter Nowotny took off with a force of Messerschmitt Messerschmitt Me 262s in an overcast to engage a USAAF raid. Adolf Galland listened to it over the radio waves. Walter Nowotny claimed a bomber but his Messerschmitt Me 262 was damaged. He was then jumped by USAAF fighters and crashed close to the airfield. Adolf Galland heard the firing but did not see the event. It did not dissuade Adolf Galland from believing in the capabilities of the aircraft as a fighter.

In the meantime, Adolf Galland pursued innovations with existing designs. The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 aircraft was formed into several Geschwader with distinctly upgraded firepower. Called the Sturmbock (Battering ram) these machines could inflict heavy damage on unescorted bomber formations. Adolf Galland supported the conversion of units such as Jagdgeschwader 300 (300th Fighter Wing) to the Sturmbock role. The Sturmbock were heavily armed and armoured, which meant they were unmanoeuvrable and vulnerable without protection from escorting Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109. Still, the tactics quickly became widespread and were one of the few Luftwaffe success stories in 1944. Adolf Galland said after the war, had it not been for the Allied landing in Normandy which increased the need for lighter fighter variants, each Geschwader in the Luftwaffe would have contained a Gruppe of Sturmbock aircraft by September 1944.

Adolf Galland himself flew on unauthorised interception flights to experience the combat pressures of the pilots. Adolf Galland witnessed USAAF bombers being escorted by large numbers of North American P-51 Mustangs. Nevertheless, on occasions the Sturmbock tactics worked. For example, on 7 July 1944 Eighth Air Force bombers belonging to the 492nd Bomb Group were intercepted unescorted. The entire squadron of 12 B-24s were shot down. The USAAF 2nd Air Division lost 28 Liberators that day, the majority to a Sturmbock attack.

Galland's dismissal and revolt

Despite Hermann Göring's apology after their previous dispute, it did not improve the relationship between the two men. Hermann Göring's influence was in decline by late 1944 and he had fallen out of favour with Adolf Hitler. Hermann Göring became increasingly hostile to Adolf Galland, blaming him and the fighter pilots for the situation. In 1944, the situation worsened. A series of USAAF raids termed Big Week won air superiority for the Allies in February. By the spring 1944, the Luftwaffe could not effectively challenge the Allies over France or the Low Countries. Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of German-occupied Europe took place in June 1944. According to a report made by Adolf Galland, in the previous four months 1,000 pilots had been killed. Adolf Galland reported that the enemy outnumbered his fighters between 6:1 and 8:1 and the standard of Allied fighter pilot training was astonishingly high.

To win back some breathing space for his force and German industrial targets, Adolf Galland formulated a plan which he called the Big Blow (German: Großer Schlag). It called for the mass interception of USAAF bomber formations by approximately 2,000 German fighters. Adolf Galland hoped that the German fighters would shoot down some 400 to 500 bombers. Acceptable losses were to be around 400 fighters and 100 to 150 pilots. Whether this operation would have worked is a matter of academic debate. Historians remained divided, with some believing it was a lost opportunity while others think it would have had much less impact than Adolf Galland estimated.

However, the operation never took place. Instead, the fighter force was committed to the disastrous Unternehmen Bodenplatte, designed to support German forces during the Battle of the Bulge. In its aftermath, on 13 January 1945, he was finally relieved of his command after protesting against the operation and being particularly critical of Hermann Göring.

On 17 January, a group of senior pilots took part in a Fighter Pilots Revolt. Adolf Galland's high standing with his fighter pilot peers led to a group of the most decorated Luftwaffe combat leaders loyal to Adolf Galland including Johannes Steinhoff and Günther Lützow into confronting Hermann Göring with a list of demands for the survival of their service. Hermann Göring initially suspected Adolf Galland had instigated the unrest. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had wanted to put Adolf Galland on trial for treason himself. The SS and Gestapo had already began investigations into who he associated with. The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKW) appointed the more politically acceptable Gordon Gollob, a National Socialist supporter, to succeed him as General der Jagdflieger on 23 January. Although professional contemporaries, Gordon Gollob and Adolf Galland had a mutual dislike, and after Adolf Galland had removed the Austrian from his personal staff earlier in the war Gordon Gollob started to gather evidence to use against Adolf Galland, detailing false accusations of his gambling, womanising and his alleged private use of Luftwaffe transport aircraft. The official reason for his being relieved of command was his ill health.

For his own safety, Adolf Galland went to a retreat in the Harz Mountains. He was to keep the RLM informed of his whereabouts. but was effectively under house arrest. Adolf Hitler, who liked Adolf Galland, had not heard of the events. However, when he learned of them he ordered that all this nonsense the treatment of Adolf Galland, was to stop immediately. Adolf Hitler had been informed by Albert Speer, who in turn had been informed of events by one of Adolf Galland's close friends. In the end, Hermann Göring contacted Adolf Galland and invited him to Karinhall. In light of his service to the fighter arm, he promised no further action would be taken against him and offered command of a unit of Messerschmitt Me 262 jets. Adolf Galland accepted on the understanding Gordon Gollob had no jurisdiction over him or his unit.

Self appraisal

Adolf Galland did not pretend to have been error free. After the war, he was candid about his own mistakes as General der Jagdflieger. Production and aircraft procurement were not his responsibility but Adolf Galland identified four major mistakes by the OKL during the war, and accepted partial responsibility for the first three:

Fighter pilots received no instrument training until very late in the war, after the training course had already been curtailed because of fuel shortages and the need to produce pilots more quickly to replace losses. Adolf Galland also did not make sure all-weather flying was incorporated into pilot training, which was of decisive importance in an effective air defence force.
Attrition by 1942 had created a shortage of experienced combat leaders. No special training was made available for this role. Adolf Galland set up a course in late 1943, but it only lasted a few months. Adolf Galland was quoted as saying he thought they could learn the skills while on operations, as he had. This ignored his own talents, and blithely expected other pilots to reach his high standards.
The Messerschmitt Me 262, while not a war winner, might have extended the Defence of the Reich campaign. The problems with the engines, failures of production priorities and Adolf Hitler's meddling are well known, but the long delay between operational testing, tactical and doctrinal development and training were largely Adolf Galland's fault. The German pilots were increasingly lacking in quantity and quality. Adolf Galland recognised this but could not correct it without stepping outside his own authority. Adolf Galland noticed that the highly educated engineers and trainees were selected for the bomber arm in the early war years. Most of the brightest youth were pulled by expert campaigners, toward the Waffen SS and Kriegsmarine. The Luftwaffe did not match this effort.

Galland's return to front line service

Adolf Galland was initially assigned to command a Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 54 (54th Fighter Wing), at that time stranded behind Soviet lines in the Courland Pocket. Adolf Galland never took up this command but was given the task of forming Jagdverband 44 (JV 44). On 24 February 1945 the order for formation of Jagdverband 44 read:

JV 44 is established at Brandenburg-Briest with immediate effect. Ground personnel are to be drawn from 16./Jagdgeschwader 54 (54th Fighter Wing), Factory Protection Unit 1 and III./Erg Jagdgeschwader 2 (2nd Fighter Wing). The commander of this unit receives the disciplinary powers of a Divisional Commander as laid down in Luftwaffe Order 3/9.17. It is subordinated to Luftflotte Reich and comes under Luftgaukommando III (Berlin). Verband Adolf Galland is to have a provisional strength of sixteen operational Messerschmitt Me 262s and fifteen pilots. Generalleutnant Karl Koller, Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe.

Adolf Galland was allowed to hand pick a number of experienced fighter pilots and aces for the unit, including Johannes Steinhoff, Erich Hohagen, Heinrich Bär and Gerhard Barkhorn. Erich Hartmann was also asked but would not leave his unit. The unit was officially formed on 22 February 1945. Adolf Galland did everything he could to introduce the Messerschmitt Me 262s to the wing as quickly as possible. Hermann Göring showed sympathy for Adolf Galland's efforts, which thus far had only 16 operational jets in February. General Josef Kammhuber was asked to assist Adolf Galland. Kampfgeschwader 51 (51st Battle Wing), Kampfgeschwader 6 (6th Battle Wing) and Kampfgeschwader 27 (27th Battle Wing) were behind their training schedules on jets, and they were to hand over their pilots and Messerschmitt Me 262s to Jagdgeschwader 7 (7th Fighter Wing) and Kampfgeschwader 54 (54th Battle Wing). Adolf Galland added a suggestion that all experienced fighter pilots flying with Messerschmitt Me 109 or Bf 109 or Focke-Wulf Fw 190 units should be made to join the Messerschmitt Me 262 unit. If this could be done Adolf Galland believed he could get 150 jets in action against the USAAF fleets. The general chaos and impending collapse prevented his plans from being realised.

On 31 March 1945 Adolf Galland flew 12 operational jets to Munich to begin operations. On 5 April 1945 he organised the interception of a USAAF raid. The Messerschmitt Me 262s destroyed three B-17s. On 16 April Adolf Galland claimed two Martin B-26 Marauders. Within the space of six days, Adolf Galland's friend, Johannes Steinhoff was badly burned in a crash on 18 April, and then, on 24 April 1945, his friend Günther Lützow was posted missing. On 26 April Adolf Galland claimed his 103rd and 104th aerial victories against B-26s, escorted by the 27th Fighter Group and 50th Fighter Group. Adolf Galland again made a mistake he stopped to make sure his second victory was going to crash and he was hit by a USAAF P-47 Thunderbolt piloted by James Finnegan. Adolf Galland nursed his crippled Messerschmitt Me 262 to the airfield, only to find it was under attack by more P-47s. Adolf Galland landed under fire and abandoned his jet on the runway. The battle was his last operational mission. Soon afterwards he was sent to hospital for a knee wound sustained during his last mission.

In the 1970s, a San Jose State University graduate student came across Adolf Galland's memoirs The First and the Last while researching records of United States Army Air Forces records and matching them to German victory claims. He found that James Finnegan, a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot of the 50th Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force, had made a probable claim on 26 April 1945, the day of Adolf Galland's last mission. The details of the engagement matched. Adolf Galland and Finnegan met for the first time at an Air Force Association meeting in San Francisco in 1979.

Galland's surrender

By late April the war was effectively over. On 1 May 1945 Adolf Galland attempted to make contact with United States Army forces to negotiate the surrender of his unit. The act itself was dangerous. SS forces roamed the countryside and towns executing anyone who was considering capitulation. The Americans requested that Adolf Galland fly his unit and Messerschmitt Me 262s to a USAAF controlled airfield. Adolf Galland declined citing poor weather and technical problems. In reality, Adolf Galland was not going to hand over Messerschmitt Me 262s jets to the Americans. Adolf Galland had harboured the belief that the Western Alliance would soon be at war with the Soviet Union, and he wanted to join American forces and to use his unit in the coming war to free Germany from Communist occupation. Adolf Galland replied, making his whereabouts known to the Americans, and offering his surrender once they arrived at the Tegernsee hospital where he was being treated. Adolf Galland then ordered his unit, which had then moved to Salzburg and Innsbruck, to destroy their Messerschmitt Me 262s. Upon his surrender, Adolf Galland had filed claims for 104 Allied aircraft shot down. His claims included seven with the Messerschmitt Me 262.

On 14 May 1945 Adolf Galland was flown to England and interrogated by RAF personnel about the Luftwaffe, its organisation, his role in it and technical questions. Adolf Galland returned to Germany on 24 August 1945 and imprisoned at Hohenpeissenberg. On 7 October 1945 Adolf Galland was returned to England for further interrogation. Adolf Galland was eventually released on 28 April 1947.

Galland after the war

After his release, he travelled to Schleswig-Holstein to join Baroness Gisela von Donner, an earlier acquaintance, on her estate and lived with her three children. During this time, Adolf Galland found work as a forestry worker. There he convalesced and came to terms with his career and knowledge of Nazi war crimes. Adolf Galland began to hunt for the family and traded the kills in the local markets to supplement meagre meat rations. Soon Adolf Galland rediscovered his love of flying. Kurt Tank, the designer of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, requested that he go to his home in Minden to discuss a proposal. Kurt Tank had been asked to work for the British and Soviets, and had narrowly avoided being forcibly kidnapped by the latter. Kurt Tank, through a contact in Denmark, informed Adolf Galland about the possibility of the Argentinian Government employing him as a test pilot for Kurt Tank,s new generation of fighters. Adolf Galland accepted and flew to Argentina. He settled with Gisela in El Palomar, Buenos Aires. Adolf Galland enjoyed the slow life. His time there, aside from work commitments, were taken up with Gisela and the active Buenos Aires night life. Adolf Galland found South America a world away from post-war shortages of Germany. Soon, he took up gliding again.

In a professional capacity, Adolf Galland spoke fluent Spanish which eased his instruction on new pilots. During his time with the Argentinian Air Force (AAF) he flew the British Gloster Meteors. Adolf Galland commented, mindful it was a contemporary to the Messerschmitt Me 262, that it was a fine aircraft. If he could fit the Meteor engines to the Messerschmitt Me 262 airframe he would have had the best fighter in the world. Adolf Galland continued training, lecturing and consulting for the AAF until 1955. During his later years in Argentina Adolf Galland returned to Europe to test fly new types. While there, he teamed up with Eduard Neumann, the former Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 27 (27th Fighter Wing) and mentor of Hans-Joachim Marseille The Star of Africa. Eduard Neumann had joined Adolf Galland's staff in April 1943. They flew a Piaggio P.149 in an international air rally across Italy. The weather was appalling and seven aircraft crashed taking two lives. Adolf Galland and Eduard Neumann came in second place.

Galland's return to Germany

Adolf Galland's time in Argentina was running out. For his services he was awarded a pilot's wings badge and the title Honorary Argentine Military Pilot. Later that year Adolf Galland left South America. By that time, he had begun writing his autobiography, The First and the Last (Die Ersten und die Letzten), and it was published in 1954 by Franz Schneekluth. It was a best-seller in 14 languages and sold three million copies. It was very well received by the RAF and USAF as a frank and honest statement. Adolf Galland returned to Germany and was approached by a commissioner for Chancellor Konrad Adenauer for the purpose of joining the new Bundeswehr now that West Germany was to join NATO as a military power. Adolf Galland joined with Johannes Steinhoff, and went over the proposal. However, France objected to West Germany's proposal for a pan-European defence pact and chose to go its own way. That changed the organisation structure of the German armed forces. Adolf Galland got on with his life as the months rolled by. In 1956 Josef Kammhuber, the leader of the German Nachtjagdgeschwader (Night Fighter Wings) during the war, became the new commander-in-chief of the Bundesluftwaffe. Adolf Galland now accepted he had been turned down as a potential leader of, or in, the new air force. Adolf Galland suspected that it was more to with his technically illegal departure from Germany in 1948 and his association with Argentina, a state which was on poor terms with the United States, the dominant partner of NATO.

In the summer, 1957, Adolf Galland moved to Bonn and rented an office on Koblenzerstrasse, beginning his own aircraft consultancy there. Adolf Galland worked hard but continued flying, taking part in national air shows. In 1956 he was appointed chairman of the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger, the Association of Fighter Pilots. Through this he came into contact with contemporaries in Britain and America. In 1961 he joined the Gerling Group of Cologne who contracted Adolf Galland to help develop their aviation business. With business going well, Adolf Galland bought his own aircraft on 19 March 1962, his 50th birthday. The aircraft was a Beechcraft Bonanza, registered D-EHEX, which he named Die Dicke (Fatty).

In 1969, he served as technical adviser for the film Battle of Britain, in which the character Major Falke is based on Adolf Galland. Adolf Galland was upset about the director's decision not to use the real names. While making the film, Adolf Galland was joined by his friend Robert Stanford Tuck. In 1973 Adolf Galland appeared in the British television documentary series The World at War, in episodes four and twelve, Alone May 1940 to May 1941 and Whirlwind: Bombing Germany September 1939 to April 1944.

Adolf Galland took part in many engagements throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 1974 he was part of the remaining German General Staff that took part in the war game Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of Britain in 1940 (which the German side lost). In 1975 he was a guest at the RAF Museum Hendon, during the unveiling of the Battle of Britain Hall, where he was entertained by Prince Charles. In 1980 Adolf Galland's eyesight became too poor for him to fly and he retired as a pilot. On 16 October he was reunited with two Merkel shotguns stolen by American soldiers after his capture in 1945. Adolf Galland had located them before and had tried to buy them back, only to be told no, as they would be worth more after his death. Towards the end of the 1980s, Adolf Galland's health began to fail.

Galland's personal life

Gisela had refused to marry Adolf Galland as the restrictions imposed upon her former husband's will would deny her the wealth and freedom she had enjoyed. She left for Germany in 1954. Adolf Galland married Sylvinia von Dönhoff on 12 February 1954. However, she was unable to have children and they divorced on 10 September 1963.

On 10 September 1963, Adolf Galland married his secretary, Hannelies Ladwein. They had two children: a son, Andreas Hubertus (nicknamed Andus) born 7 November 1966 and a daughter, Alexandra-Isabelle born 29 July 1969. The RAF ace Robert Stanford Tuck was the godfather of his son Andreas. Adolf Galland remained friends with Tuck until the latter's death on 5 May 1987. Adolf Galland felt this loss greatly. Adolf Galland's marriage to Hannelies did not last and on 10 February 1984, he married his third wife, Heidi Horn, who remained with him until his death.

By the 1980s Adolf Galland was now regularly attending the funerals of friends like Tuck, and also Douglas Bader, who had died on 4 September 1982 after speaking at a dinner for Arthur Harris. In June 1983 he attended the funeral of Gerhard Barkhorn and his wife Christl, who had died in a traffic accident.

Later that year, Adolf Galland tracked down his mechanic, Gerhard Meyer, who had installed the armour that saved his life in 1941. On 25 June 1983 he entertained them at his home in Oberwinter outside Bonn on the Rhine river. They were invited every year until Adolf Galland's death. In early February 1996 Adolf Galland was taken seriously ill. He had wanted to die at home and so was released from hospital and returned to his own house. With his wife Heidi, son and daughter present he was given the last rites. Adolf Galland died at 0115 hrs in the morning of Tuesday, 9 February 1996. Adolf Galland was buried at St Laurentius Church, Remagen-Oberwinter on 21 February. A memorial service was held on 31 March.


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