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The Luftwaffe's Secret WWII Missions (Hardback)

WWII Aviation Aviation in WWII Luftwaffe

By Dmitry Degtev, Dmitry Zubov
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 264
Illustrations: 86 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526775474
Published: 26th November 2020



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On the night of 14/15 August 1944, the roar of an unknown aircraft was heard over the dense forests to the south-east of Moscow. Flying past the Soviet capital, the aircraft turned towards a ‘secret’ landing site at Yegoryevsk on the outskirts of the city. But lying in wait were troops of Stalin’s elite secret service, SMERSH.

The troops turned on the landing lights and the aircraft, a German machine of some description, swept down to land. As the aircraft touched down, some of the SMERSH troops lost their nerve and opened fire prematurely. The German pilot responded quickly and managed to pull his aircraft up in time to brush over the top of the trees at the end of the clearing and disappear back into the dark Soviet sky.

This was just one of many vivid episodes in the operational service of the Luftwaffe’s special and secret units which engaged in the delivery of agents and saboteurs in the rear of the enemy throughout the Second World War – not just on the Eastern Front but across Asia and Europe. The activities of the pilots and crews of these squadrons, even in the Luftwaffe itself, were closed and secret. Information on the operations and missions of these units was known only a limited number of people. It was common practice for the crew of one aircraft in these units to know nothing about the assignments of their fellow airmen.

The area of activity of such units and aircraft covered the whole of Europe, North Africa, the Arctic circle, the Urals, the Caucasus, and Central Asia including Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Luftwaffe not only flew to these remote regions, but also created secret bases for their aircraft.

Drawn from German and Russian sources, much of the latter only recently declassified, the authors expose for the very first time the Luftwaffe’s secret operations and reveal the fate of many of the pilots, agents and saboteurs in a story as breathtakingly dramatic as any blockbuster novel.

The Luftwaffe's Secret WW ll Missions is thought provoking book and one cannot help but compare it Special Operation Executive's (SOE) missions during the same period. Luftwaffe's special units flew thousands of miles to place teams of agents and saboteurs into far flung outpost in Eastern Europe, behind Russian lines on the Eastern Front and Asia. The SOE and SIS carried out similar missions in the Far East and Europe. The stark difference was SOE missions took place in pro-British areas while the Luftwaffe's missions, thousands of miles from friendly forces were often suicides missions or 'turned former captured P o W' used the missions for a quick return home.

The well-researched work has the benefit of recently declassified German and Russian sources and reveals the fate of many of the pilots, agents and saboteurs who, just disappeared.

Richard Gough, Military author and historian

It reads very easily and is full of mystery and intrigue surrounding the Abwehr and the Luftwaffe secret missions supporting the insertion and less frequent extraction of agents behind enemy lines using specialised or captured aircraft. This is a book you won’t be able to put down if you are interested in covert German activities during the war or Luftwaffe special missions.

Aviation News

Listed in Model Aircraft's Monthly Look at New Books

Model Aircraft, October 2020, Vol 19, Iss 10

Prewar missions over the UK and Poland; German airfields behind Soviet lines and a "Tatzelwurm" mission against Stalin himself - there is so much amazing stuff in this book, and not just about the Luftwaffe´s most secret missions. Some spectacular photos are also in the book.

Read the full review here

Lars Gyllenhaal

About Dmitry Degtev

The author of twenty-nine books, DMITRY DEGTEV is one of the leading Russian researchers of the history of the Second World War, having studied the air battles of the Second World War and the history of the Luftwaffe for more than twenty years. He currently lectures at Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University.

About Dmitry Zubov

DMITRY ZUBOV is the author of twenty-two books on military history. He prefers to analyze the psychological causes of historical events, complementing the narrative of his regular co-author – Dmitry Degtev. A professional psychologist, Dmitry is an Associate Professor who lectures on psychology at the Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University.

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