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Luftwaffe Bomber to Nightfighter (Hardback)

Volume I: The Memoirs of a Knight's Cross Pilot

Military > Greenhill Books

By Arnold Doring, Edited by Thomas Baumert , Foreword by James Holland, Translated by Eva Burke
Greenhill Books
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 20 mono
ISBN: 9781784388164
Published: 24th April 2024

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'Suddenly, flash bombs to my right, I instantly dive low to avoid being a direct target. We stay down, close above ground … before too long life returns in the area and we spot men milling around; Richard and Pitt let them have it, but good. We’re down to our last bit of ammunition. Some Russians have frozen in fear, others lift their arm, others still lie flat on the ground. Not a single one remembers to get up and fire.'

On 21 June 1941, assigned to Luftwaffe bomber wing Kampfgeschwader 53, the 23-year-old Arnold Döring took off to fly his first mission against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. From that day, he kept a diary describing his operations in vivid detail.

These diaries, here translated into English for the first time, give a unique perspective on the action on the Eastern Front, from the point of view of a bomber pilot. Döring’s accounts not only give technical aspects but are also filled with suspense and excitement with their close descriptions of bombing raids and narrow escapes from enemy fighter planes.

This unembellished account gives an honest and meticulous record that moves rapidly from one area to another, from one operation to the next. With a detached professionalism, Döring offers us thrilling, action-packed snapshots of life as a Luftwaffe nightfighter.

Döring flew a total of 392 aerial attacks and was awarded the Knight’s Cross in April 1945.

Thomas Baumert is Professor of Economics at the Complutense University of Madrid. Besides multiple research articles and academic books and monographies in the field of Economics and History, he has also published several biographical studies. His interest in the history of the Luftwaffe was spurred in his early youth by his neighbour, a former Luftwaffe member who had been shot down in in the Battle of Britain. He subsequently got to know several Luftwaffe veterans who shared their war and peacetime experiences with him. In 2016 he edited the Spanish translation of Peter Spoden’s nightfighter memories Enemy in the Dark.

James Holland is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer and broadcaster, specialising in the Second World War. The author of a number of best-selling histories, including, most recently, The War in the West, he has also presented – and written – a large number of television programmes and series.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is the first part of a young Luftwaffe pilot flying the Heinkel He111 bomber against the Russians after the invasion in June 1941 by Hitler. The story is a mixture personal recollection and information from combat reports and tells of an extraordinary account of intense flying, life on forward airfields during the approaching Russian winter yet the missions have a recurring theme of optimism and success during the support the bombers gave to advancing German armies. The level of detail of the crew that stayed together most of the time is remarkable and at this early stage of their aircrew careers, they were all junior and senior NCOs and worked extremely well together.
This is an excellent read and I look forward the reading the continued story of Doring and his crew.

NetGalley, Sandra Miller

About Eva Burke

Eva Burke grew up in Vienna and then Zug, Switzerland. She graduated from Brandeis University, Massachusetts with a BA and MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Studies. She translated Screams of the Dying (Greenhill Books) and I Somehow Survived (Greenhill Books). She lives in London with her husband, four children and three grandchildren.

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