Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich:
A War Diary, 1942-45

Donald Caldwell

This book is a detailed, comprehensive daily reference to the air operations flown by the Luftwaffe against the strategic missions flown by the United States Army Air Force to the German Reich and the western occupied zone. It is a unique look at the German air defenses as they struggled to cope with the threat posed by the American 8th and 15th Air Forces, which were charged with destroying Germany’s critical war industries and wresting control of the air over the Reich from the Luftwaffe.

The previous volume in this series, The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defense of the Reich is a narrative history of the defenses. This book extends the story in an unprecedented fashion, and includes:

  • A brief synopsis and a table of statistics detailing every mission of every Luftwaffe unit defending the Greater German Reich or the western occupied zone against strategic raids by the USAAF.
  • A summary of every 8th and 15th US Army Air Force strategic mission over this area in which the Luftwaffe was encountered.
  • Tables of monthly sorties, losses and victory claims by the USAAF and the Luftwaffe over the Reich and the western occupied zone. The growth of the American juggernaut can be followed in detail, as can the ever more futile struggle by the Reich Defense Force. The data allow valihdity of USAAF and Luftwaffe victory claims to be estimated.
  • Quarterly orders of battle and casualties for the Reich Defense Force, broken down by aircraft type. The unsuccessful struggle of the Luftwaffe to keep its fighter units up to strength while introducing superior types and the relative vulnerability of its various fighters can be seen at a glance.
  • Maps for 32 major missions showing the tracks of the bombers and every defending Luftwaffe unit, including their points of attack on the bombers.
  • 189 photographs of Luftwaffe personalities and aircraft, many previously unpublished.
  • 72 combat accounts by Luftwaffe pilots, most previously unpublished and all readily available in English for the first time.

This unique and authoritative book is based on documents in the German, American and British government archives and German pilot logbooks and interviews from the author’s extensive collection. This book is a must-have for anyone with a serous interest in World War II aviation history.

Selected Reviews:


              “Donald Caldwell… once again tackles an immense, complex subject with his usual skill. Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich is an important  resource for historians, but lay readers will also find it fascinating due to the deft way in which Caldwell incorporates personal accounts.
             “…Caldwell spices up his tight narrative with excellent photos and informative captions. Combat reports, obviously written immediately after encounters and often relayed in an engaging, informal style, reveal the true nature of fighter-versus-bomber combat. The book includes maps for 32 major missions, depicting the points where the Luftwaffe attacked.
              “A final chapter features five tables that present a statistical picture of just how devastating the relentless battle was to both sides. Here Caldwell gives a generous tribute to the work of Roger Freeman’s work on the Eighth Air Force. In the future, Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich is likely to be honored by other historians in a similar way.” — Walter J. Boyne, Aviation History.

“…The first serious effort to compile…a mass of statistical evidence about fighter operations, as opposed to groaning shelves filled with volume after volume of Luftwaffe histories sans numerical underpinnings. Imperfect as it must be, Day Fighters nonetheless represents the closest thing we have to an authoritative quantitative accounting of these operations. Anyone with any serious interest in the subject will need to have this book on hand to accompany and complement all those more general histories that have been accumulating over the years. Put it on the shelf right next to the meticulous, scholarly work done by Freeman, Middlebrook, Boiten, and other aviation historians.
              “Highly recommended, and quite likely to be remembered as one of the most important new books of the year.” — Bill Stone,

"...This weighty volume is the result of the author’s lengthy researches in German, British and American government archives, his studying of German pilots’ log books and interviews in his private collection.…A brief introductory section for each month is followed by accounts of the events on specific dates, accompanied by very detailed tabulated data of the defensive activities of the Luftwaffe or Axis units involved and their claims and losses, sometimes enhanced by well-drawn maps tracing the routes flown by attackers and defenders. Interspersed among the text and tables is a good collection of monochrome photographs, many of which will be less than familiar to most readers. This is a tremendous piece of work…five stars!" — Philip Jarrett. Aeroplane Monthly.

You can obtain a copy from the author or from on-line bookstores such as or Amazon UK
or from the
American or the European distributor.

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