THE JG 26 WAR DIARY. VOLUME ONE 1939 - 1942. VOLUME TWO 1943-1945.

Caldwell, Donald.


2 Volumes Complete. Vol. I : 1st ed., 1996. Vi + 346 pp. Vol. II : 1st ed., 1998. 576 pp. Both Vols : Numerous photo-ills., + e.p., maps. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. Jagdgeschwader 26, (JG 26), was considered by both the Allies and the Axis to be the best German fighter unit from 1940-1944. It gained that status initially as a result of outstanding leadership in 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. The first 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 and 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 The book contains 150 previously unpublished photographs of JG 26 personalities, scenes, and aircraft; area maps; and a complete bibliography. Appendices contain lists of the unit’s bases and commanders. The second volume takes JG 26 from the beginning of 1943, when the American 8th Air Force first began to make its presence felt over occupied Europe, until the end of the war. During this period in a war of attrition that it could not win, the Luftwaffe, and with its JG 26, began an inexorable decline. The men of JG 26 fought on however, scoring some spectacular, if isolated, successes over Normandy, Arnhem, and the Ardennes. The interviews with these men are among the unique aspects of this volume. Like the first volume, the main body of this book is a daily account of the wing’s activities and it is based largely on primary documentation. Both volumes contain lists of JG 26 casualties (with Allied victors) and JG 26 aerial victories (with Allied victims).

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