This book covers the last chapter, the decline and fall of the air defense of Germany. It is a diary of losses and a chronicle in which the fighter pilot plays the lead. It tells of the young men who joined their squadrons full of optimism and derring-do, only to give their lives to no purpose in a last desperate endeavour. Its focal point is the controversial Operation "Bodenplatte" on the morning of New Year's Day 1945, an operation in which the German fighter force received its final mortal wound - losing some 230 aircrew in less than 4 hours, the fighter units suffered their most severe defeat. Only now, after years of evaluation of all available sources, can the true figures of fighter losses on January 1, 1945 be reported. But this picture of the sacrifice of fighter formations does not mean that fighter pilots were unable to score successes. The figures for enemy aircraft shot down and the contact reports show clearly that the German pilots could still both parry and deal out hard punches. Few people have any real idea of the actual scale of the German fighter force's sacrifice. The imagination boggles at the tragic events that took place in the skies over Europe as the war neared its end, even in the perspective of history the full extent of the debacle can scarcely be depicted. In Six Months to Oblivion Werner Girbig explains these last months of the Luftwaffe and the fall of a once mighty air force.