Herr Norbert Hanning’s wartime career makes for fascinating and highly informative reading on an aspect of the 1939-45 air war not often covered in the English language; primarily that of the campaign against the Soviet Union.
He was one of the midwar-generation Luftwaffe fighter pilots and began operations with JG 54 on the eastern (Leningrad) front in early 1943; initially flying Messerschmitt Bf 109s before transitioning to the Focke-Wulf Fw 190. He became a Staffel CO and was credited with 42 victories, also serving with JV 44 (whose CO was Adolf Galland); he then returned to Germany towards the closing stages of the war to convert to Me 262 jet fighters.
Many and varied were his experiences in action against the rejuvenated Soviet Air Force in the east, and the powerful western Allies over the homeland during the final chaotic months of hostilities, which culminated in his captivity.
John Weal’s skilful translation ensures that the fluid and descriptive style of the author is preserved. Thankfully, also, Norbert was a keen photographer who shot a profusion of images, all previously unpublished, many of which appear in this important book.