"Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot" by Helmut Mahlke

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  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2009
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    Korporate Kontrolleur
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    "Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot"
    by Helmut Mahlke
    Frontline Books - 2013
    ISBN: 978-1-84832-664-4


    This is a reprinted edition of the book originally printed in 1950s with minor corrections and a few "brief passages of a socio-political nature" having been removed.

    The book follows the experience of the author from the time he was finally accepted into the Kriegsmarine in 1932 as an air observer based on the cruiser Koln. He was eventually accepted into pilot training and transferred to Carrier Stuka Gruppe I./186 (which was to be based on the Graf Zepplin flying Stukas). With the delay of the carrier the Gruppe was transferred to land where they fought in Poland, France, over the British Isles, Italy, Malta, Africa to end his flying career after being shot down on the Russian front and severely burned. The book ends in July of 1941.

    The book is 306 pages long divided into 15 Chapters, 5 Appendices, and 31 photos/drawings.

    My favorite plane in WW2 has always been the Stuka so for me this was really an enjoyable read. The author spokes a lot of the day to day experiences he and other pilots faced and regardless of which country's military you are in, there exists bureaucracy and red tape that would befuddle any person with common sense. As an example when it was decided to use the Gruppe during the early campaigns they were not provided with any transportation and were instructed to borrow what they needed from the other Luftwaffe Groups they were stationed with, the ones that did not even have enough for themselves. Several times from Poland to Russia they had to scrounge and repair any vehicles they could get their hands on. The results looked like a Gypsy Caravan whenever they moved.

    This really was an enjoyable book and an easy read. There are moments of great humor and chivalry sprinkled though out. The only negative things I can say is the exclusion of a few "brief passages of a socio-political nature" having been removed (the reasoning being it offered the English Reader very little) and the book stopping when it did. I had to do some additional research to find out that after the war he played a role in establishing the new Luftwaffe and the Navy's Air Arm.

    I give it 9 Jericho Trumpets

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