Alarmstart South and Final Defeat
The German Fighter Pilot's Experience in the Mediterranean Theatre 1941-44 and Normandy, Norway and Germany 1944-45
- Patrick G. Eriksson
15th October 2019
Alarmstart South completes Patrick Eriksson’s Alarmstart trilogy on Second World War German fighter pilots, detailing their experiences in the Mediterranean theatre (1941‒1944), and during the closing stages of the war over Normandy, Norway and Germany (1944‒1945). He utilises extensive personal reminiscences of veterans and original documents, set within a brief factual framework of campaigns, equipment and the progress of the war. Veterans who flew in Me 109, Fw 190 and Me 110/410 aircraft provide their stories in their own words. They range from junior NCOs to Colonels, including a senior fighter controller and even one of the Luftwaffe’s psychologists.
The Mediterranean theatre provided the top scoring aces on both sides for the entire war (excluding the Russian front battles): Hans-Joachim Marseille (158 victory claims) on the German side and South African ‘Pat’ Pattle (an estimated 41+), on the Allied side. In the air battles over the Mediterranean region, many aircrew ended up ‘in the drink’ with little chance of being found. Occasionally, a miracle would happen, as with Dr Felix Sauer of JG 53, a pre-war biology teacher, who used his knowledge of chemistry and a calm demeanour to survive eight days in a dinghy at sea without water, apart from rain or dew.
For many pilots the war would end only in death, for others in imprisonment. Oberfeldwebel Horst Petzschler endured forced labour in southern Russia: ‘On 22 September 1949 I arrived in Berlin, my home town, weighing 118 pounds, half dead but having survived!'