For anyone who is interested in the air war 1941-45, the information provided here is of inestimable value. There are no more than a handful of Second World War Luftwaffe members alive today. Patrick Eriksson had the foresight to record these experiences first-hand before it was too late. Some witnesses ended up as senior fighter controllers. The recollections and views of the veterans are put within the context of the German aerial war history. By no means all the witnesses were from the ranks of the so-called `aces'.
It was on the Eastern Front that, essentially, much of the Luftwaffe was destroyed, and this is the subject of the second in the author's trilogy. Death wasn't always in the air: `"Quick, out of the aircraft, the Russians are here." The airfield had been overrun. Chaos followed.'
In addition to giving voice to those who were there, Patrick Eriksson describes pilot training and scrutinises the Luftwaffe's complicated victory claims system to find out if it really was as accurate as is often suggested.
Having retired after a career as a university lecturer in geology, Professor Patrick G. Eriksson has devoted many years to research for this series of books. He returned to primary sources and, crucially, as an associate member of the German Air Force Veteran's Association since 1974, he has interviewed and corresponded with more than a hundred former members of the Luftwaffe, from junior NCOs to Geschwader commanders. Such primary material is unavailable anywhere else and can never be gathered again.