Bf 109 Aces of North Africa and the Mediterranean by Jerry Scutts

By Jerry Scutts

Completely outnumbered all through their brief two-year sojourn within the Western wasteland, the crack fighter pilots of the handful of Jagdgeschwader in-theatre fought an efficient crusade in help of Rommel’s Afrika Korps opposed to the British and American forces. depending virtually completely at the Luftwaffe’s staple fighter of global battle 2, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the battle-hardened aces used the aircraft’s more advantageous functionality to accomplish exceptional ratings opposed to the Allies. equally, as soon as driven out of North Africa, those devices endured to take the struggle to the RAF and USAAF from makeshift bases in northern Italy.

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The unbeaten Napoleon faced a strategic dilemma. Retreating empty-handed looked too much like a defeat, but remaining in Moscow for the winter would almost certainly result in a real one. 19 By December 1812 the Grande Armée that had invaded Russia only six months before had been utterly vanquished, a result that owed much more to Alexander and Barclay’s strategic understanding of the eastern theatre of war than to any battlefield deed. Indeed, for the 1813 campaign a huge Russian army managed to push beyond Russia’s borders without suffering the same crippling attrition associated with Napoleon’s movement into the east.

D. ), The Oxford Companion to the Second World War (Oxford, 1995) p. 1060. b 30 / Contextualising Barbarossa After the war Colonel-General Erhard Raus, who took part in Operation Typhoon as a major-general in the 6th Panzer Division, wrote about the special nature of the eastern theatre: [H]e who steps for the first time on Russian soil is immediately conscious of the new, the strange, the primitive. The German soldier who crossed into Russian territory felt that he entered a different world, where he was opposed not only by the forces of the enemy but also by the forces of nature.

When Barbarossa failed to return from the Third Crusade to the Holy Lands (he drowned in a small river in Turkey) many of his subjects refused to believe that their great emperor was dead. Instead a myth spread that a spell had been cast on Barbarossa, confining him to live in the depths of a mountain – the Kyffhäuser – and that he would return again at Germany’s hour of need. The legend soon became entrenched in Germanic folklore. Following the successes of Germany’s wars of unification (1864–1871), Wilhelm I was seen not only as the triumphant leader of the united German kingdoms but also, to some, as the realisation of a legend, an heir to Friedrich Barbarossa’s long-vacant throne.

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