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Deluxe leather bound, limited edition autographed by Alfred Grislawski. The full story of two Luftwaffe Fighter Aces during World War 2, Hermann Graf and Alfred Grislawski. Loss Lists, color profiles and over 300 photos, most never before published. Comprehensive full story of two famous Luftwaffe pilots.
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If you have any interest in fighter pilots then this is a must read. Two pilots from a working class background make good...and how! Graf has the added interest of his Russian imprisonment and the rumours that surround that experience. Griswalski comes across as very tough and determined. A great read --By Big Dud
This excellent book follows the lives and careers of two German Luftwaffe aces Graf and Grislawski and is written by the same authors of 'Black Cross Red Star'. The two men were like chalk and cheese, but they complimented each other well and became good friends. Graf, the quiet conscientious type that belied his determination while Grislawski was brash, hot-headed and stood for no nonsense. Grislawski came from a working class background and hardship and his refusal to join the Hitlerjugend vitually railroaded his chances of becoming a pilot from the outset, but was able to join the navy as naval flier to receive flight training. The book is extremely well written and thought out and we see two inexperienced flyers slowly develop in confidence and develop into hardened vetrans and aces of immense skill. The book seems to interchange from a biographical mode to one that describes events and experiences first hand, providing excellent and enthralling accounts of some aerial combat. The book talks of German fighter pilots (including Graf) driven onward to fly as many missions as possible despite exhaustion and fatigue, to achieve the Knights Cross decoration. (Neck-Itches as referred to in the book). Graf was effectively grounded by the Nazi hierachy after becoming the first man to reach two hundred victories and this is when his obsession for the love of soccer became more apparant. Grislawski's fighter career continued and became the mentor to Erich Hartmann and Hartmann likewise Grislawski's protege. Despite all Grislawski's experience on the Russian front it was ironically his transfer to the Western front for him to realise the meaning of total war, for this is where he saw German pilots machine gunned in their parachutes by American fighter pilots. The unrelentless Allied aerial assualt became a huge mounting cost for the Luftwaffe. The book also covers the captivity of Graf and Grislawski and the authors find no evidence of Graf's alleged cooperation with the Soviets after examining his POW file. Overall, this is a first class book, easy to read, (exciting to read at times), with many photographs (many probably from Grislawski's private collection). It also includes a section of colour profiles of the machines Graf and Grislawski flew and a full tally of their confirmed kills. I highly recommend this book. --By W. B. Smith
This is a quality book, from beginning to end. An interesting feature of this book is that the author has taken great pains to identify the foes who Graf and Grislawski flew against, both on the Eastern and Western front. This gives us the opportunity to see what an opponent thought and experienced during an encounter against these aces. The author has also checked the official records of the Luftwaffe and Allied air forces in order to confirm that an opponent claimed shot down was actually shot down. (Not surprisingly for me, it seems that about half the time, claims for kills are exaggerated by 50% for both sides.) Through such research, he is also able to identify that aircraft from the 354th FG and 4th FG were responsible for 2 incidents of 'chute-shooting'. And that Grislawski and Hub Zemke from the 56th FG dueled each other later in the war. Being a historian, the author has also takes pains to describe the big picture, be it a German offensive, or an 8th AF attempt to cripple German synthetic oil production, in conjunction with the specific activities these aces' air units were engaged in during a given period. Thus, for example, when 7/JG52 transfers to Kerch, we know why, and the excellent map provided with the book lets us pinpoint where. The book has quality (shiny) paper, which allows photos to be printed on any page (some are even in color). In fact, this book and Hermann Buchner's 'Stormbird' are much alike in terms of features and quality. The only negative I found with this book is the writing, which I rate as mediocre, primarily because the author, whose native tongue is not English (I hope), bungles common expressions here and there. For example, instead of writing 'his predication came true', Bergstrom writes 'his predicament came true'. Regardless, this book rates a 5. --By Viktor Viktor
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