The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Its use in WWII started in 1944 as a multi-role fighter/bomber/ reconnaissance warplane for the Luftwaffe. After the war, it influenced the designs of such aircraft as the American F-86 and Boeing B-47.
Adolf Galland was a World War II German fighter pilot, who became commander of Germany's fighter force from 1941 to 1945. Of Austrian descent, Galland joined the Luftwaffe in 1933. Four years later, he was one of 20,000 German military personnel to see action in the Condor legion, which gave him valuable combat experience. Galland transferred to a fighter unit in 1940 and quickly reached Ace status during the Battle of France. Then, in November 1941, at the age of just 29 and with his score standing at 94 Galland became General der Jagdflieger.
Our example of Galland's Messerschmitt recalls the occasion when he was tasked to form Jagdverband (JV 44) in March 1945. After 7 kills over the USAAF, Galland led JV 44 until his last mission on 26 April 1945, when he was wounded in a dogfight with a US P-47 Thunderbolt. Despite that, he managed a "wheels up" crash landing, without destroying the plane. At this late stage in the War, Galland was concerned about his men and tried to negotiate a separate surrender for the JV 44 pilots. He surrendered to the United States Army in early May.
He had claimed a total of 104 victories in 705 missions for which he had been awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, with oak leaves, swords and diamonds, one of only 27 recipients of the highest German military decoration.
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