In this compelling memoir, Erich Sommer recalls his life in pre-war Germany and the adventures he had flying for the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Born in 1912, the third son of a district court judge, Erich grew up in an atmosphere of uncertainty following the First World War. In 1932 he started training as a brewery engineer, shortly before the Nazis came to power. The implications this had on the lives of average Germans are described in great detail.
When war came in 1939, he became a navigator, successfully serving with the Luftwaffe’s first pathfinding unit, then a special and little-known control commission in Morocco to monitor the disarmament of Vichy French forces. He then served as a navigator with a high-altitude squadron flying the relatively rare Ju 86 bomber fitted with a pressurised cabin in missions during the Battle of Britain. He then went to the Russian Front flying radar-equipped Ju 88s tracking Soviet fleet movements. This led to training as a pilot, following which Erich joined a special commando equipped with the revolutionary Arado Ar 234 jet. Shortly afterwards Erich flew the world’s first jet-reconnaissance sortie over the invasion front. He ended his war in Italy. After the war, Erich moved with his wife to Australia where he lived peacefully until his death in 2005.
With a detailed introduction from acclaimed Luftwaffe historian J. Richard Smith and illustrated throughout with photographs from private family albums, Luftwaffe Eagle is a fascinating insight into the life of an exceptional Luftwaffe pilot and navigator.