During the years when the outcome of World War II was very much in doubt, the skies over Europe were the setting for the greatest air battles ever fought. In that titanic struggle, no pilots were more feared by Allied aircrews than the men of Germany's Jagdgeschwader (Fighter Wing) 26.

Their distinctive yellow-nosed planes always seemed to come slashing out of the sun with no warning, and with devastating effect. The RAF pilots who faced them soon gave them their own nickname, after JG 26's base in the French countryside: the "Abbeville Kids."

Fighter Wing 26 achieved it's greatest effectiveness once Adolf Galland joined the unit as a group commander. Galland, a superb pilot, was also a dynamic leader, and he galvanized the unit into the Luftwaffe's premier fighter force.

Yet the grueling combat took it's toll, and the Abbeville Kids suffered in the later years of the war as new, green pilots took the place of experienced men who were lost. But the unit fought on, right up to the Western Front cease-fire, and ended the war with more than 2,700 aerial victories, a ratio of better than three to one against its opponents.

Author Donald Caldwell discovered a microcosm of the entire german war effort in the story of the rise and fall of this fighter wing, from its founding during Hitler's military buildup through its glory days in the first four years of the war, right up to the grim last days of the Third Reich. Caldwell based
JG 26 on extensive research in the military archives of Germany, Britain, and the United States, and in interviews with more than fifty surviving JG 26 pilots - much of the story is told in their own first-person accounts - and the pilots who flew against them. This is sure to be the definitive work in English on the subject.