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Films condition how we see history! Who has never seen the now famous scene in Darryl F. Zanuck’s the Longest day when two Luftwaffe fighters, alone against the air and sea armada, carry out a brief strafing sweep along Sword Beach, leaving several hundreds of Tommies just as dumbfounded as they were surprised, before heading off to the east and landing wit- hout damage on a base to the north of Paris. This picture has stuck for ages and has conditioned us with the idea that the Luftwaffe was particularly absent from the Normandy skies while France was being liberated and the German armies annihilated.
In 1999 a sizeable book was published by Editions Heimdal which put matters back into perspective, providing a wealth of information, details and photos of how the German fighters intervened in the skies of Normandy and the Ile de France (the Paris region), then in Provence after the Allied landings on the Mediterranean coast. That being said, compared to the 15 000 sorties carried out by American and British aircraft on the 6 June 1944, the Luftwaffe only managed to put in 300; four days later 1300 black-crossed aircraft, among which almost 500 fighters from twenty or so fighter groups, were able to intervene, a peak being reached on the following 20 August with 580 Focke-Wulf 190 As and Messerschmitt 109 Gs being present at the front while the Wehrmacht was in full retreat. Fighting with odds of 1 to 10, the German fighter pilots paid for their action in the skies of France with their blood, more than a thousand of them being shot down with their planes during the hundreds of dog- fights against Mustangs, Thunderbolts, Typhoons and Spitfires with white stars or roundels. The counterpart of these terrible losses was that these German pilots did their duty to the end of their moral and physical strength: more than 1200 kills were claimed, recorded between 6 June and 31 August and bear witness to their determination and their courage.
The success of the first edition of the historical album The Luftwaffe During The Normandy Landings – (Normandy 6 June – 31 August 1944) was due to public interest, so much so that it was no longer possible to find it any more. Editions Heimdal the- refore chose to offer its new generation of readers a new, revised and enlarged edition, illustrated with mainly unpublished pictures, with dozens of colour profiles showing the Focke-Wulfs and Messerschmitts which flew in the skies of France during that terrible summer of 1944.
|Format||21 x 29x7 cm|
|nombre de pages||350|