Title: The First and the Last

Author: Galland, Adolph

Condition: Very Good

Edition: 5th Edition

Publication Date: 1955


Cover: Hard Cover without Dust Jacket – 368 pages

Comments: Adolf Galland, the most famous of the German fighter pilots and a general in the Luftwaffe provides a personal account of the rise and decline of the Luftwaffe, including the stories of some of his 104 air victories.

Adolf “Dolfo” Joseph Ferdinand Galland (19 March 1912 – 9 February 1996) was a German Luftwaffe General and flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe. He flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western front and in Defence of the Reich. On four occasions he survived being shot down, and he was credited with 104 aerial victories, all of them against the Western Allies.

Galland, born in Westerholt (now Herten), Westphalia was a glider pilot in his youth, joined the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic later in 1932. In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, he volunteered for the Condor Legion and flew ground attack missions in support of the Nationalists under Francisco Franco. After finishing his tour Galland was employed writing doctrinal and technical manuals about his experience and served as an instructor for ground-attack units. At the outbreak of World War II he again flew ground attack missions before he persuaded his superiors to allow him to become a fighter pilot.

Galland flew in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain fighting the Royal Air Force (RAF) over the English Channel and Northern France. By November 1941 his number of aerial victories claimed stood at 96, which earned him the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. In November 1941 he replaced Werner Mölders, who was killed in a flying accident, as Germany’s commander of the Fighter Force (General der Jagdflieger), staying in this position until January 1945 when he was relieved of his command because of his constant criticism of the Luftwaffe senior leadership, climaxing in the Fighter Pilots Conspiracy. As General der Jagdflieger Galland was forbidden to fly combat missions. For commanding Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing) with distinction, he earned the coveted Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.

In March 1945, Galland returned to operational flying and formed a jet fighter unit which Galland called Jagdverband 44. He flew missions over Germany until the end of the war in May. After the war Galland was employed by Argentina’s Government and acted as a consultant to the Argentine Air Force. Later he returned to Germany and managed his own business. Galland also befriended many former enemies, such as RAF aces Robert Stanford Tuck and Douglas Bader, and became a consultant on the set of the movie Battle of Britain in 1969. He died in February 1996.