The Blond Knight of Germany: A Biography of Erich Hartmann

Overview

During the Second World War, one German Luftwaffe pilot compiled a combat record so remarkable that he earned the distinction of becoming the premier fighter pilot in the history of aerial warfare! Erich Hartmann, called the Blond Knight of the German Luftwaffe, achieved the staggering total of 352 confirmed victories. Hartmann's incredible combat record earned him the coveted diamonds to his Knight's Cross, but his wartime exploits convey only an inkling of the drama consummated in Hartmann's life and career. ...
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Overview

During the Second World War, one German Luftwaffe pilot compiled a combat record so remarkable that he earned the distinction of becoming the premier fighter pilot in the history of aerial warfare! Erich Hartmann, called the Blond Knight of the German Luftwaffe, achieved the staggering total of 352 confirmed victories. Hartmann's incredible combat record earned him the coveted diamonds to his Knight's Cross, but his wartime exploits convey only an inkling of the drama consummated in Hartmann's life and career. Now, at last, the story of Germany's Blond Knight has been told by the award-winning authors of Fighter Aces of the U.S.A and Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe. You'll relive Hartmann's extraordinary aerial achievements, the ordeals suffered during 10 years of postwar imprisonment by the Soviet Union, and his subsequent role in the development of the new West German Air Force.

Illustrated with numerous historic photographs-many from Hartmann's own personal files-and silhouette drawings and statistics on the aircraft downed by Hartmann, The Blond Knight of Germany is a colorful tribute to an heroic airman. In the words of Lt. General Adolf Galland, General of the Luftwaffe Fighter Arm from 1941 to 1945 and a personal friend of Hartmann's: "I believe this to be the most remarkable book ever written about a fighter pilot, and all the more noteworthy because it is the leading fighter pilot of all time who has lived through these experiences. I recommend this book as a worthy addition to aviation history."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830681891
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/1986
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 332
  • Sales rank: 542,935
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide

McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Acknowledgments xi
Authors' Preface xiii
1 Caliber of a Hero 1
2 The Making of a Man 15
3 To War 32
4 Winning His Spurs 48
5 In the Bear's Grasp 64
6 Oak Leaves 78
7 Aces of Fighter Wing 52 94
8 Fame and Swords 104
9 Stalin Hawks 119
10 300 Down and Diamonds 134
11 302nd Victory 148
12 Mustangs 161
13 Surrender 175
14 Soviet Prisoner 191
15 Persuasion and Pressure 209
16 War Criminal 224
17 The Shakhty Revolt 238
18 Release 255
19 Rebirth 269
20 Epilogue 288
Appendix 290
Erich Hartmann's Victory Record 290
Types of Planes Flown by Hartmann 294
Movements of III Gruppe/JG-52 295
Personal Data 296
Tops and Firsts-Luftwaffe, WWII 297
Luftwaffe Aces with Top Decorations 298
Hartmann's Handbook of Enemy Strength 299
Glossary 311
Index 321
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    The Best of the Best

    It is perhaps unamazing that Harmann's incredible lethality is lost in accolades to our far less dangerous allied pilots. Hartmann was, after all, the enemy. Still, it is a great shame that the greatest ace who has ever lived has been relocated to the dustbin of history. I know all the arguments: 'Hartmann fought against 'inferior' Russian pilots Hartmann's victory numbers were inflated Hartmann wasn't rotated home [like allied pilots]. He fought for years... Well, we can't be certain and, odds are great, that he didn't shoot down a precise total of 352 enemy aircraft. Post WW II studies indicate that fighter pilots overstate their kills by an average of fifty percent. There is, after all, the fog of combat with multiple pilots, unaware of one another, ganging up on the same aircraft. One aircraft shot down is multiplied by the number of aircraft shooting at it. There's also the issue of unsubstantiated claims i.e. the aircraft 'going down in flames' that miraculously survives. There's also that oldest of human sins--false witness. Fighter pilots, eager for accolades, sometimes overstate their own prowess although the Germans, in particular, seem to have been more meticulous in their scoring than were the allies. Hartmann would seem to be free of most of these faults. He has clearly forgotten the details of most of the combats he participated in. This is entirely natural. No one could remember over 300 kill, no matter how dramatic. Make no mistake, a liar would 'remember' them well. He would recite every emotion, every scene, evey smell. Hartmann's memory is sometimes hazy which, in my opinion, serves to confirm his incredible score. Was he the greatest ace of all? Marseilles is usually given the credit, which is fine. 157 Western Ally kills in less than a year was an incredible fete in and of itself. Marseilles was unfortunate enough to die in an accident else his score would have gone higher. Then again, what is survival and high scores, but a turn of fate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2001

    Forgotten Hero

    The Blond Knight of Germany, A Biography of Erich Hartmann is an outstanding book. The book details the life and military career Hartmann a WWII German fighter pilot who became the worlds top fighter ace with 352 kills to his credit. The books details his career rise and subsequent captivity in a Russian prison camp, in which his love of family sustained him through his inhuman treatment. This book is a great tribute to a man whose virtues are inspirational. This is a well written and researched book and, I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2000

    Blond Knight of Germany

    Generally a well-written book that details Hartmanns life very well. I personally feel that the authors were a little biased in their opinions of Hartmann, who I would never agree was a war criminal, but he did serve Nazi Germany. The Cold War and consequent distrust of 'Ivan' definitely colored the authors thoughts. The authors did a good job detailing life at the front for the pilots of JG52, but didn't go into enough detail concerning Hartmanns tactics. All around, a good read though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2011

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