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"Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot Review" Topic

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144 hits since 16 Oct 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2020 9:21 p.m. PST

"Helmet Mahlke trained as a naval aviator expecting to serve on Germany's planned Zeppelin aircraft carrier. Instead, his unit was transferred to the Luftwaffe and he took part in most of the early war campaigns. He flew the iconic Stuka dive-bomber or properly, the Ju 87 Sturzkampfflugzeug.

The early war period was probably the heyday of the Stuka. Operating when the Luftwaffe had air superiority, and able to protect the Stuka from enemy fighters. The exception was the Battle of Britain when the Stuka units suffered significant losses. One fact I wasn't aware of was the Stuka's nickname, Iolanthe. Why is not made clear? Assuming that Luftwaffe pilots were not big Gilbert and Sullivan fans, perhaps it was the moth of the same name.

Mahlke didn't serve in the Polish campaign and first saw combat in the French campaign when his unit flew over sixty missions. These varied from interdicting supplies and reinforcements, to direct attacks on front line positions. Unlike Allied fighter-bombers later in the war, there was not always a forward air observer calling in Stukas, so they had pre-planned missions or attacked targets of opportunity.


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