Jagdgeschwader 26, the 'Abbeville
Kids', is the Luftwaffe fighter wing best known in the UK and
the USA. It was one of only two German fighter units to remain
on the Western front for the entire war. This one wing's rise
and fall mirror the history of the German fighter arm, the the
German Air Force, and Germany itself. Its story is a reflection
in microcosm of the entire air war in the West, and is thus
of value to all students of air power.
Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) was
considered by both the Allies and Axis to be the best German
fighter unit from 1940 to 1944. It gained that status initially
as a result of outstanding leadership during the Battle of Britain
in 1940, and held it as a natural outgrowth of its war station
on the Channel coast, where its mission was to fend off attacks
by the best aircraft and airmen that the Allies could muster.
During the years 1941 and 1942, JG 26, with no more than 124
fighters under command, completely dominated the airspace over
northern France and western Belgium.
This volume covers the unit
from its origin until the end of 1942, when it had reached the
peak of its power and influence. The main body consists of a
daily chronology of the wing's activities. As only two of the
thirty volumes of the unit's official diary survived the war,
the creation of a daily combat log was not a simple matter of
transcribing records, but required careful comparison of Allied
documents, especially those derived from radio intelligence,
with the limited material available from Germany. The book is
based largely on primary documentation obtained from the unit's
veterans and on material from the national archives of Germany
and the UK and from the USAF Historical Research Agency. The
author's eleven years of research have already produced a general
history and a photographic history of JG 26 that have proved
very popular with the unit's veterans, resulting in unprecedented
access to their personal documents and photo collections. The
present book is thus new in every respect. In common with the
author's previous works, it is an unbiased, scholarly history
that is highly readable.
The book is fully illustrated
and annotated. It contains 150 previously-unpublished photos
of JG 26 personalities, scenes, and aircraft; area maps; and
a complete bibliography.
Lists of JG 26 casualties (with
Allied victors) and JG 26 aerial victories (with Allied victims)
are included in the text. The appendices contain lists of the
unit's bases and commanders. Compilations of this scope have
never before been published, and the results will be of great
value for enthusiasts and historical researchers.