WWII: Do you feel that Galland’s appointment as general of the fighters was good for the service, and if so, why? I have two sisters, one living in Germany and the other deceased. My 24 R4M rockets had exploded, and the fuel was burning me alive. According to ace fighter pilot and member of JV-44 Franz Stigler, "In a matter of seconds, Steinhoff had turned into a human torch." He was 80, and had lived in nearby Bad Godesberg. Steinhoff: Oh, that is a very good question. I think that the mentality in Berlin was one of pride and ego. If you've ever seen the movie "The Battle of Britain", you'll remember a character named "Squadron Leader Tom Evans" whose face had been burned. Then we could blast huge holes in even the tightest formation from outside the range of their defensive fire, inflict damage, then come around and finish off the cripples with cannon fire. Johannes "Macky" Steinhoff was a German general, NATO official and Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II. For instance, in 1940 in France you commanded a young pilot named Hans-Joachim Marseille. Senere ble han utnevnt til formann for NATOs militærkomité. Many pilots died needlessly because of him, killed before they were able to lead. I was then transferred to 4/JG.52 in February 1940, where I remained until the start of the French campaign and the Battle of Britain. WWII: What did you think of the possibility of Heinrich Himmler and the SS taking over the operational control of the jets? It was more or less the end of the war–only time determined how long we would survive. WWII: After the fighters’ revolt, how did the fighter pilots feel about the war? WWII: In your opinion, what was the reason for the Luftwaffe‘s failure to gain air superiority over Britain in 1940? This along with the * (asterisk) indicates an Herausschuss (separation shot)—a severely damaged heavy bomber forced to separate from his combat box which was counted as an aerial victory. Steinhoff served as Chief of Staff and acting Commander Allied Air Forces Central Europe (1965–1966), Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe (1966–1970) and later as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (1971–1974). This was what eventually led to the fighters’ revolt against Göring, and he threatened to court-martial me and told Lützow that he would be shot for treason. We trained at the same school and became friends with many other flight students, most of whom became very successful and highly decorated aces. WWII: How many times were you shot down during the war? Hitler ordered me, or rather banished me, to Italy for my own safety along with Lützow, and Trautloft was sent packing back to the East. The event was planned to be an act of reconciliation on the 40th anniversary of V-E Day. Do you look forward to these gatherings? Steinhoff claimed 28 Soviet aircraft shot down in the first month and by August, Steinhoff had attained 35 victories and been awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Etter krigen var han med på oppbyggingen av et nytt Luftwaffe, og ble i 1966 sjef for våpengrenen. He said that even though arguments could be made in favor of its use as either a fighter or a bomber, it should have been focused on as a fighter so late in the war. Steinhoff is one of only a handful of pilots honored in this way, along with Manfred von Richthofen and Max Immelmann. They were very brave for the most part, but unlike the British and Americans, they would break off combat after only a few minutes and a couple of rotations. It was simply nonsense. Steinhoff: When this happened we were in the middle of the first Russian winter, and we were too busy to think about it. We found that attacking from the flank, entering the enemy formation from the side and attacking with rockets, brought many good results. Looking for some great streaming picks? For more great articles be sure to pick up your copy of World War II. WWII: Were the tactics pretty much the same with JV44 as with JG.7, or were there differences in attack strategy? We were upset because the Luftwaffe was torn to pieces. Steinhoff remained with JG 52 until March 1943, when he took over Jagdgeschwader 77 as Geschwaderkommodore operating over the Mediterranean. German air force general Johannes Steinhoff died on this day in 1994. That was absolutely the worst time.
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