Although he is mostly remembered for his part in the campaign in Italy from 1943 to 1945, Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring was also chief of staff of the Luftwaffe in 1936-37, playing a crucial role in the shaping of the service for the coming war. As commander of Luftflotte 1 in Poland and Luftflotte 2 in France and the Low Countries, he was responsible for supporting the armoured spearheads of the German Army as they undertook their Blitzkrieg campaigns. With the Fall of France, the Battle of Britain began and Luftlotte 2 was the main force in the air attack against the British air defences, with Kesselring planning many raids. Following the war Kesselring was tried and convicted of war crimes following a number of massacres of civilians in Italy. He was sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment before being released on the grounds of ill health in October 1952. Here Pier Paolo Battistelli provides a detailed study of one of the most famous German commanders of World War II.
Pier Paolo Battistelli was awarded his PhD in military history by the University of Padua. An established writer, his titles for Osprey include Rommel's Afrika Korps, the three volumes on the Panzer divisions in the Battle Orders series, as well as Italian Blackshirts (with Piero Crociani) in the Warrior series. His most recent publications include, in cooperation with Andrea Molinari, Le Forze Armate della RSI (Milan, 2007). Adam Hook studied graphic design, and began his work as an illustrator in 1983. He specializes in detailed historical reconstructions, and has illustrated Osprey titles on the Aztecs, the Greeks, several 19th-century American subjects, and a number of books in the Fortress series. His work features in exhibitions and publications throughout the world.