Adolf Galland

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Adolf Galland
Adolf Galland, verschiedene Bilder.jpg
Birth name Adolf Josef Ferdinand Galland
Nickname Keffer, Dolfo
Birth date 19 March 1912(1912-03-19)
Place of birth Westerholt, Province of Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 9 February 1996 (aged 83)
Place of death Oberwinter, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Resting place Cementerio, Oberwinter, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Allegiance  Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch War Ensign of the Reichswehr, 1919 - 1935.png Reichswehr
Luftwaffe eagle.jpg Luftwaffe
Roundel of the Argentine Air Force.png Argentine Air Force
Years of service 1932–1935 (unofficially until 1934)
Rank Generalleutnant
Unit Condor Legion
LG 2, JG 27, JG 26, JV 44
Commands held JG 26, JV 44
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Relations ∞ 12 February 1954 Sylvinia von Hirschfeld, née Gräfin von Dönhoff (o¦o 1963)
∞ 10 September 1963 Hannelies Ladwein (o¦o 1973)
∞ 10 February 1984 Heidi Horn
Other work Aircraft consultant

Adolf "Dolfo" Josef Ferdinand Galland (19 March 1912 – 9 February 1996) was a German officer of the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, finally Generalleutnant of the Luftwaffe and Recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. He was a flying ace (Flieger-As) who served throughout the Second World War in Europe. He flew 705 combat missions (Feindflüge), and fought on the Western Front and in the Defence of the Reich (Reichsluftverteidigung). On four occasions, he survived being shot down, and he was credited with 104 aerial victories (Luftsiege), all of them against the Western Allies, seven of them with the Me 262.

During the Battle of Britain, he was Germany's highest scoring pilots with 57 victories. On the death of Oberst Mölders on 22 November 1941, Galland succeeded him as General of the Fighter Arm (provisionally acting, then official General der Jagdflieger). On 19 November 1942, Galland became Germany's youngest general (Generalmajor). He also commanded the German fighters that opposed the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) in July 1943. In 1943, Galland began to argue that the Luftwaffe needed to change to a more defensive strategy. Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering disagreed and after a series of arguments, Galland was sacked as General of the Fighter Arm in December 1944. After over six years in Argentina, Galland returned to Germany in 1955 and was employed as an aviation consultant, airline president and business executive.


Adolf Galland, Jagdgruppe 88
In this painting by aviation artist Robert Taylor, Galland and his wingman Bruno Hegenauer streak through a screen of RAF Spitfires to attack Bristol Blenheim bombers in the skies above France on 21 June 1941.[1]
Brothers Adolf and Fritz Galland side-by-side, Paul Galland to the right
Major Wilhelm "Wutz" Galland (de)
Adolf Galland and flying ace Günther Lützow (110 victories) with the JV 44 in München-Riem
Argentinian Civil Pilot License Nº 925 for Adolf Galland, 1949

Early 1927, Galland's lifelong interest in flying started when a group of aviation enthusiasts brought a glider club to Borkenberge, a heath east of the Haltern-Münster railway and part of the Westerholt estate. It was here that the Gelsenkirchen Luftsportverein (Air Sports Club of Gelsenkirchen) created an interest in flying among young Germans. Galland travelled by foot or horse-drawn wagon 30 kilometres (19 mi) until his father bought him a small motorcycle to help prepare the gliders for flight. In 1929, now 17 years of age, Galland would fly his first glider. In the autumn of 1929, he was already allowed to fly at the first West German gliding competition. What followed were the A (A certificate 1929), B and finally, after a course in the Rhön Mountains (Wasserkuppe), Easter 1931, the C exams (at least 5 minutes solo flight). He was, of course, a member of the Deutscher Luftfahrt-Verband e. V. and would later found the Ortsgruppe Westerholt.

On the 11 and 12 February 1932, Galland and 23 high school graduates completed their exams (Abitur) at the Hindenburg-Gymnasium in Buer. In 1932, in the meantime an instructor himself, he completed pilot training at the Gelsenkirchener Luftsportverein and applied, along with 4,000 other young men, for only 20 apprenticeships at the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule[2] (DVS – commercial pilots' school) in Broitzem near Braunschweig. The aviation school officially trained pilots for civil aviation. In fact, the pilot requirements for Deutsche Lufthansa were almost exclusively trained at DVS. However, the DVS was also actively involved in the secret construction of the Luftwaffe, at the time of Germany's rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty. During their affiliation with the DVS, the volunteers were not considered soldiers, but the training period was later counted towards the service period in the Luftwaffe. For ten days, Galland and his comrades were checked thoroughly and had to endure countless medical and psychotechnical examinations and tests. In the end, a total of 18 candidates passed what was probably the most difficult exam of their life. At the same time, he applied for the Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 18 in Paderborn of the Reichswehr as officer candidate. In autumn of 1932, he application was accepted, but not for the infantry, but for the future air force. At this time, he came to Schleissheim near Munich for aerobatic training. Rolls, loops, inverted flight, nosedive, spin – he entered a whole new area of ​​aviation, which the glider pilot from then had no idea of. Soon after that, he was coammnded to seafaring and sea pilot training (flying boats) in Warnemunde. Galland disliked learning what he perceived to be "seamanship", but logged 25 hours in these aircraft. Soon afterward, along with several other pilots, he was ordered to attend an interview at the Zentrale der Verkehrsflieger Schule (ZVS – Central Airline Pilot School). The group were interviewed by military personnel in civilian clothing. After being informed of a secret military training program being built that involved piloting high performance aircraft, all the pilots accepted an invitation to join the organisation. In May 1933, Galland was ordered to a meeting in Berlin as one of 12 civilian pilots among 70 airmen who came from clandestine programmes, meeting Hermann Göring for the first time. Galland was impressed by Göring, and believed him to be a competent leader.

In the uniforms of the Regia Aeronautica Italiana, the Royal Italian Air Force, the pilots learned in Italy, where they arrived in July 1933, how to shoot in air combat and the general warfare of fighter pilots, mainly from German instructors of the Imperial Air Force. In September 1933, Galland returned to Germany and flew in some minor competitions as a glider pilot, winning some prizes. In December 1933, Galland was recalled to the ZVS headquarters and offered the chance to join the new Luftwaffe. Galland found the choice hard. He wanted the adventure of a military flying career, but as an airline pilot, Galland had enjoyed the life style of flying and visiting exotic places and was reluctant to give it up. Nevertheless, he decided to officially join the Luftwaffe and was accepted as Fahnenjunker on 1 May 1934. After basic training in the Army, he was discharged from his barracks in Dresden in October 1934. In February 1935, Galland was now part of 900 airmen waiting to be inducted to the openly established Luftwaffe. In March 1935, Galland was ordered to report to Jagdgeschwader 132 (JG 132) Richthofen based at Döberitz airfield near Berlin, arriving at its headquarters in Jüterbog-Damm on 1 April 1935. Galland's performance had not yet been impressive enough for a position as an instructor, so he was evaluated and deemed good enough for an operational posting.

In October 1935, during aerobatic manoeuvre training, he crashed a Focke-Wulf Fw 44 biplane and was in a coma for three days, other injuries were a damaged eye, fractured skull and broken nose. When Galland recovered, he was declared unfit for flying by the doctors. A friend, Major Rheital, kept the doctors report secret to allow Adolf to continue flying. The expansion of the Luftwaffe and his own Geschwader (wing) flooded the administration officers and Galland's medical report was overlooked. Within a year, Galland showed no signs of injury from his crash. In October 1936 he crashed an Arado Ar 68 and was hospitalised again, aggravating his injured eye. It was at this point his previous medical report came to light again and Galland's unfit certificate was discovered. Major Rheital was rumoured to have undergone a court-martial, but the investigators dropped the charges. Galland, however, was grounded. He admitted having fragments of glass in his eye, but convinced the doctors he was fit for flying duty. Galland was ordered to undergo eye tests to validate his claims. Before the testing could begin, one of his brothers managed to acquire the charts. Adolf memorised the charts passing the test and was permitted to fly again.

During the Spanish Civil War, Galland was appointed Staffelkapitän of a Condor Legion unit, 3. Staffel of Jagdgruppe 88 (J/88 – 88th Fighter Group). Galland flew ground attack missions in Heinkel He 51 (L)C. In Spain, Galland first displayed his unique style: flying in swimming trunks with a cigar between his teeth in an aircraft decorated with a Mickey Mouse figure.[24] When asked why he developed this style, he gave a simple answer:

I like Mickey Mouse. I always have. And I like cigars, but I had to give them up after the war.

Galland flew his first of 300 combat missions in Spain with the J/88 commander Gotthard Handrick, on 24 July 1937, near Brunete. During his time in Spain, Galland analysed the engagements, evaluated techniques and devised new ground-attack tactics which were passed on to the Luftwaffe. His experiences in pin-point ground assaults were used by Ernst Udet, a proponent of the dive bomber and leading supporter of the Junkers Ju 87 to push for Stuka wings. Wolfram von Richthofen used them to push for the opposite: Schlachtflieger dual combination fighter-bombers. After trials with Henschel Hs 123s, Bf 109s and Ju 87s, the Junkers was selected to undergo trials for the dive bomber role.

During his time in Spain, he developed early gasoline and oil bombs, suggested the quartering of personnel on trains to aid in relocation, and following the Nationalist victory was awarded the ‘Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds' for his contributions. On 24 May 1938, Galland left Spain and was replaced by Werner Mölders. Before leaving he made ten flights in the Bf 109; deeply impressed with the performance of the aircraft, it persuaded him to change from a strike pilot to a fighter pilot. Galland's fellow student and friend at the Kriegsschule in Dresden, Johannes Janke, later said of him "a very good pilot and excellent shot, but ambitious and he wanted to get noticed. A parvenu. He was crazy about hunting anything, from a sparrow to a man."

World War II

Werner Baumbach, Hans-Ulrich Rudel and Adolf Galland in the Aeroparque Airport Buenos Aires, 1951
Sylvina watches her husband Adolf Galland`s pre-takeoff preparation with some concern (1954)
Adolf and Sylvina Galland on 8 August 1955 in England for the Farnborough Air Show
Adolf and Heidi Galland, 1990
Historical artist Jerry C. Crandall (b. 1 April 1935; d. 12 June 2022)[3][4] with Heidi and Adolf Galland (left)[5]
Just before the outbreak of the European War, Galland was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann (equivalent to the rank of captain in the contemporary United States Army Air Corps). During the invasion of Poland, he flew 50 ground attack missions with 4.(S)/Lehrgeschwader 2 (LG 2), flying the Hs 123 biplanes. He was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class medal at the end of the Polish campaign. In late 1939, he claimed that he was suffering from rheumatism to secure a release from his post, which gave him the opportunity to transfer to the fighter arm of the Luftwaffe in Feb 1940. His initial service with the Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) was that of an adjutant, with restrictions on flying, but that did not stop him from sneaking in combat air time. On 12 May 1940, near Liège, Belgium, he scored his first aerial victories, a British Hurricane fighter flew by Flight Officer Fredman of No. 607 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). His victories in the campaign in the Low Countries and France totaled 14 at its conclusion, thus by 1 Aug 1940, he found himself as the third German fighter pilot to have received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross medal. During the Battle of Britain, Galland flew Bf 109 fighters as a part of Gruppenkommandeur of III./Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) based in Pas-de-Calais, France. In Jul 1940, he was promoted to the rank of Major. On 22 Aug, he was promoted to the commanding officer of JG 26 during Hermann Göring's attempt to instill more spirit into the Luftwaffe by introducing younger wing commanders. On 8 Sep 1940, Galland was flying in a Bf 109 fighter on the French coast. Nearby, fellow veteran pilot Ulrich Steinhilper found a lone and unsuspecting British Hurricane fighter, and broadcasted over the radio that he was to demonstrate to the rookie pilots in his squadron how to bounce a Hurricane fighter. Galland listened in on the radio, curious whether his comrade's approach would be any different than his own. Suddenly, tracers flew passed him from behind. Turning his head, he found a Bf 109 fighter on his tail, firing at him. He yelled into the radio, and was fortunate to stop Steinhilper before Steinhilper shot down the "Hurricane fighter" in this near-fatal episode of mis-identification. On 25 Sep, Galland was awarded Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross medal. By the end of 1940, he had achieved 58 kills. In 1941, he was promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel). As the commander of one of the only two fighter wings in France (with the majority of Luftwaffe's resources fighting in the Russo-German War), he carefully managed his resources so that he could continue to fight against the RAF. On 15 Apr 1941, Galland flew a Bf 109 fighter toward La Touquet, France to attend his General Theo Osterkamp's birthday party; he took a detour toward Britain in search of potential targets, and was engaged with a group of Spitfire fighters off Dover, England. Although Galland was able to shoot down one fighter and damage to others, he was shot down by the British group's commander Brendan Finucane. He was rescued from the sea a few hours later.
In the afternoon of 21 Jun 1941, he was once again shot down, this time by a No. 145 Squadron RAF Spitfire after sustaining damage from aircraft of No. 303 (Polish) Squadron RAF earlier that day. When he returned to base that evening, he was awarded Swords to his Knight's Cross for having achieved his 70th kill that day. On 2 Jul 1941, while flying against a formation of British Blenheim bombers, his fighter was damaged by 20-millimeter shells fired by an escorting British Spitfire fighter, which also caused injuries; he was hospitalized upon landing. It was determined that a recently-installed armor plating in the cockpit probably saved his life. By Nov 1941, his kills had reached 94. In Nov 1941, Galland was appointed by Göring to the position of General der Jagdflieger (Inspector of Fighters), thus making him a member of the High Command of the Luftwaffe, succeeding the recently passed Oberst (Colonel) Werner Mölders; he was reported unenthusiastic about this appointment, feeling that it took his time away from the cockpit. As he had feared, he spent much of 1942 inspecting fighter bases on various fronts, taking him to Russia, Ukraine, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, North Africa, and the Balkan Peninsula. In Nov 1942, he was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor, making him the youngest German officer to attain a general rank. Responsible for training, doctrine development, and operational planning of fighter forces in the Luftwaffe, he played a role Operation Cerberus (as known as the Channel Dash) and the evaluation of new fighters; toward the latter, he test flew the prototype of Me 262 jet fighter, commenting that "[i]t was as though angels were pushing". He would become an active support of the jet program to the last days of the war, but ultimately these new fighters would enter the war far too late to make a difference. Even with his high rank, he still flew combat missions whenever he could, probably gaining two more kills by the end of 1944 while was almost shot down at one occasion. [...] The German 6th Army was wiped out at Stalingrad, Russia in early 1943, and Göring placed the blame on Luftwaffe officers such as Galland rather than blaming himself for making baseless promises to Adolf Hitler. "Our leadership killed our brave men", Galland noted on the Stalingrad defeat. It was around this time that he no longer held in his frustration with Göring. In one instance, after a particularly unbearable meeting with Göring, he took off his medals one by one, placed them on the table before him, and simply walked out of the room; he fully expected to be fired, or worse, after the incident, but he believed that Hitler had heard about the incident, understood Galland's contribution to the war effort, and prevented Göring from seeking retribution. The source of frustration, however, remained and steadily grew in scale. In Jan 1945, he arranged a meeting during which Günther Lützow complained of the incompetence of the German High Command (ie. Göring), he was relieved of his command. Dubbed the Fighter Pilots Conspiracy, the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo each established files on him, and Heinrich Himmler sought to put him on trial for treason. He was relegated to a squadron commander with JG 54 on the Soviet front in the Courland pocket (de), but he never took command of this squadron; instead, he was soon given the task of forming Jagdverband 44 (JV 44) in March 1945, which was to be consisted of the best pilots in Germany for piloting the new Me 262 jet fighters. Participating in combat himself, he achieved an additional 7 kills against American aircraft. On 26 Apr 1945 when he was shot down by an American P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft and sustained a knee injury during the crash landing of his Me 262 jet fighter; he was removed from the command of JV 44 due to his injuries. In early May, he attempted to negotiate a separate surrender with the Allies for his pilots, but this attempt did not succeed. At the end of the war, Galland's total kills was claimed to be 104, most of which were British fighters (55 Spitfire fighters and 30 Hurricane fighters. He flew a total of 705 missions. He was one of only 27 to have Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds added to the Knight's Cross award.[6]


Jagdverband 44

The Jagdverband 44 (JV 44) was a fighter pilot unit of the German Air Force during World War II from January 1945 to May 1945. The jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" served as the operational aircraft for the Reich Air Defense against the Allied terror bombers. This jet fighter squadron of flying aces is still known worldwide today as the "Association of Experts" (Verband der Experten).

After his replacement as "General of the Fighter Pilots" (de) in January 1945, as a result of the so-called "fighter pilot mutiny" (Meuterei der Jagdflieger), Adolf Galland received permission from Hitler to field a unit of Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter aircraft. In the JV 44, the Me 262 fighter was flown in various versions, mostly armed with four 30 mm MK 108 machine cannons. A prototype with a 50 mm MK 214 A automatic cannon was also used. Many of the Me 262s used in Jagdverband 44 were also equipped with R4M rockets.

JV 44 is established at Brandenburg-Briest with immediate effect. Ground personnel are to be drawn from 16./JG 54, Factory Protection Unit 1 and III./EJG 2. The commander of this unit receives the disciplinary powers of a Divisional Commander as laid down in Luftwaffe Order 3/9.17. It is subordinated to Luftflotte Reich and comes under Luftgaukommando III (Berlin). Verband Galland is to have a provisional strength of sixteen operational Me 262s and fifteen pilots. [Signed] Generalleutnant Karl Koller, Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe.[7]

Despite enemy air superiority, Jagdverband 44 achieved 24 victories in air combat (Luftkampf) during its eleven-week deployment, losing three Me 262s against the mostly Western Allied air forces (USAAF and RAF). Most of the unit's Me 262s were destroyed on the ground by Allied attacks. The Jagdverband 44 never had more than 12 operational Me 262s and thus at most reached the strength of a fighter squadron (Jagdstaffel). After Adolf Galland was wounded, the association was led by Lieutenant Colonel Oskar-Heinrich Bär (221 victories), Recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

By late April 1945, the war was effectively over. On 1 May 1945, Galland attempted to make contact with United States Army forces to negotiate the surrender of his unit. The act itself was dangerous. The Americans requested that Galland fly his unit and Me 262s to a USAAF controlled airfield. Galland declined citing poor weather and technical problems. In reality, Galland was not going to hand over Me 262 jets to the Americans. Galland had harboured the belief that the Western Alliance would soon be at war with the Soviet Union, and he wanted to join American forces and to use his unit in the coming war to free Germany from Communist occupation. Galland replied, making his whereabouts known to the Americans, and offering his surrender once they arrived at the Tegernsee hospital where he was being treated. Galland then ordered his unit, which had then moved to Salzburg and Innsbruck, to destroy their Me 262s. On 3 May 1945, the last aircraft of the association were blown up at Salzburg airport and the members of JV 44 ended up as US prisoners of war. Sources on 14 May 1945

Galland led JV 44 until 26 April 1945 gaining up to seven victories flying the Me 262 jet fighter. On this day Generalleutnant Galland led 12 rocket-equipped Me 262s from München-Reim to intercept a formation of B-26 medium bombers targetting the airfield at Lechfeld. He claimed two of the bombers, but with cannon-fire rather than the rockets with which his Me 262 was armed. During his initial approach, Galland had failed to deactivate a safety switch which prevented him from firing the rockets. During his attacks on the bombers, Galland’s Me 262 was struck by return fire. Disengaging from the bombers, he was bounced by a P-47 flown by 1st Lt James J Finnegan of the 50th Fighter Group, USAAF. Galland was wounded in the right knee and his aircraft received further damage. He was able to bring his crippled jet back to München-Reim and successfully land, albeit with a flat nose wheel tyre. He was forced to leap from his aircraft and take shelter because the airfield was under attack by American fighters. The wound suffered in this encounter were serious enough to end his combat flying. Galland surrendered himself to American forces at Tegernsee on 5 May 1945 [Note: other sources state on 14 May 1945).[8]



On 14 May 1945, Galland was flown to England and interrogated by RAF personnel about the Luftwaffe, its organisation, his role in it and technical questions. Galland returned to Germany on 24 August and was imprisoned at Hohenpeissenberg. On 7 October 1945, Galland was returned to England for further interrogation. He was eventually released on 28 April 1947. After Galland was released, he travelled to Schleswig-Holstein to join Gisela Freifrau von Donner on her estate and lived with her three children. During this time, Galland found work as a forestry worker. There he convalesced, began to hunt for the family and traded at the local markets to supplement meagre meat rations. Soon Galland rediscovered his love of flying. Kurt Tank, the designer of the Fw 190, requested that he go to his home in Minden to discuss a proposal. Tank had been asked to work for the British and Soviets, and had narrowly avoided being kidnapped by the latter. Tank, through a contact in Denmark, informed Galland about the possibility of the Argentinian Government employing him as a test pilot for Tank's new generation of fighters.

In October 1948, Galland took the position with the Argentine Air Force at the invitation of President Juan Perón. He settled with Gisela in Ciudad Jardín Lomas del Palomar, Buenos Aires. Soon, he took up gliding and motor flying again. In a professional capacity, Galland spoke fluent Spanish, which helped in his instruction of new pilots. In 1953, Galland published his autobiography under the title Die Ersten und die Letzten. It was a best-seller in 14 languages, sold three million copies in short time and was also published in weekly installments in the Deutsche Illustrierte. During his later years in Argentina Galland returned to Europe to test fly new types. While there, he teamed up with Eduard "Edu" Neumann, the former Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 27 and mentor of Hans-Joachim Marseille (de), "The Star of Africa". Neumann had joined Galland's staff in April 1943. They flew a Piaggio P.149 in an international air rally across Italy. The weather was appalling and seven aircraft crashed taking two lives. Galland and Neumann came in second place.

After the war he had to withstand harsh interrogations for his role as General of the German Fighter Arm and he was released from captivity in 1947. This resulted in him not being allowed to fly again; afterwards he found a job as a Forest Ranger. In 1948 however, he was invited by the Argentine President, Peron, to become an Air Force advisor to the Argentine Air Force. [...]. The Argentine forces gave him a Royal farewell party on 7th February 1955 at which, he was highly decorated. At a flying show on 26th April 1955, Galland received special permission to fly an Italian Piaggio 149 and he subsequently won 2nd prize.[9]

He returned to Germany and became an industrial consultant, since the summer of 1957 in Bonn with an office in the Koblenzerstraße, as well as Chairman of the Board of Directors of three general aviation companies and a major helicopter operations company. He was approached by Amt Blank, a commissioner for Bundeskanzler Konrad Adenauer for the purpose of joining the new Bundeswehr now that West Germany was to join NATO as a military power. In 1955, General Nathan Twining, the chief of staff of the USAF, sent a secret telegram to General William H. Tunner, commander of United States Air Forces in Europe and asked that Tunner communicate to the German government that although the United States made it clear the appointment was entirely the choice of the Germans, they disapproved of Galland for the position of Inspektor (chief of staff) to the new German Air Force (Luftwaffe). In 1956, Galland was appointed honorary chairman (Ehrenvorsitzender) of the Gemeinschaft der Jagdflieger, the Association of Fighter Pilots.


In early February 1996, Galland was taken seriously ill. He had wanted to die at home and so was released from hospital and returned to his own house. Adolf Galland died on 9 February 1996, survived by his third wife, Heidi, and a son and daughter by his second wife.


Heidi Galland, 2007[10]
Grave (Friedhof Oberwinter)

Galland was born in Westerholt (now Herten), Westphalia, Prussia in 1912 to a family with partial Huguenot ancestry, in Germany since in 1792. Adolf was the second of four sons of Adolf Galland (senior, born 1890) and his wife Anna, née Schipper. Upholding the family tradition, Galland (senior) worked as the land manager or bailiff (estate manager) to the Count von Westerholt. Young Adolf's brothers were:

  • Hauptmann Dr. jur. Fritz "Toby" Felix Galland (b. 21 May 1910 in Recklingshausen), lawyer in civilian life, fighter (Jagdgeschwader 3, 5, 104, 111 and Jagdgruppe 10) and reconnaissance pilot (Aufklärungsgeschwader 14, Nah-Aufklärungsgeschwader 11) in WWII
  • Leutnant Paul "Paulinchen" Galland (b. 3 November 1919 in Westerholt), 107 combat missions, 17 victories[11] (plus five further unconfirmed[12]), (8. Staffel/JG 26) on 31. Oktober 1942 as his Fw 190 A-4 „Schwarze 1“ because of an engine failure was shot down by a Spitfire near Dixmuide-Comines, 14 km from Calais, after returning from a mission in the vicinity of Canterbury. Oberfeldwebel Johann Edmann (5 victories, on 21 March 1944) then attacked the Spitfire and shot it down. Posthumously, Galland, who had both classes of the Iron Cross and the golden Front Flying Clasp, was awarded the Honour Goblet of the Luftwaffe (Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe) on 7 December 1942.

Relationsships and marriages

Adolf Galland is said to have dated frequently, but never found the perfect match. He was married to his strenuous and time-consuming career. At the end of the war, he had fallen in love with Gisela Anna Elli Freifrau von Donner, née von Dippe (b. 24 September 1914; d. 14 August 1996). Gisela was the widow of his friend Oberleutnant Conrad Hinrich Freiherr von Donner (b. 15 March 1913 in Kiel), who had served under him in the Jagdgeschwader 26 (3 victories) and would become his adjutant as General der Jagdflieger in January 1944. On 8 March 1944, Freiherr von Donner was shot down in his Fw 190 A-6 by fighters vic Lehmkuhlen/Holstein, north of lake "Plöner See". He was able to bail out, but was shot while still hanging in his parachute. Galland travelled as fast as he could to Gisela and the three children (Conrad Hinrich, Angelika and Götz) in order to give them the bad news in person. In the next months they found to each other in shared mourning. In 1948, when he went to Argentina, she and the children went with him. He often asked her to marry him, but she declined, as the restrictions imposed upon her by her fallen husband's will would deny her the wealth and vast possessions of the family for her children. Her eldest son Conrad Hinrich Freiherr von Donner (1939–1989) became head of the manor Lehmkuhlen, Götz received the Meierhof Hohenhütten and Angelika the Meierhof Christiansruhe.

In Merlo, Buenos Aires Province, at the end of 1953, Galland met Sylvina Margita Victoria Friederike Henriette Dominga von Hirschfeld, née Gräfin von Dönhoff (1921–1986), born in Berlin, daughter of Bogislav Otto Magnus Kurt Graf von Dönhoff Freiherr von Krafft (1881–1961), from 1911 to 1920, diplomat at the Embassy in Buenos Aires and from 29 October 1936 until 3 September 1939 Consul (since 26 September 1938 zum Generalkonsul) in Bombay. Sylvina was the widow of Generalleutnant Harald Siegwart Hans Lutze von Hirschfeld, commander of the 78. Sturm-Division, who had fallen on 18 January 1945 at the Eastern Front. The two married on 12 February 1954. However, she was unable to have children and they divorced, living apart over one year, on 10 September 1963.

On 10 September 1963, Galland married his secretary, Hannelies Ladwein. They had two children: a son, Andreas Hubertus (nicknamed "Andus") born 7 November 1966; and a daughter, Alexandra Isabelle born 29 July 1969. The RAF ace Robert Stanford Tuck was the godfather of his son Andreas. Galland's marriage to Hannelies did not last and they divorced in 1973.

On 10 February 1984, he married his third wife, Heidi Horn (b. 1941), who remained with him until his death. She was the President of the Association of Female German Pilots e.V. (Präsidentin der Vereinigung Deutscher Pilotinnen e.V.; VDP)[13] and piloted over 20 years Cessna 172 and 182. In 2007, when Hedwig Sensen became President of the VDP, she became Honorary President (Ehrenpräsidentin).


  • 1.5.1934 Fahnenjunker (Officer Candidate)
  • 1.9.1934 Fähnrich (Officer Cadet)
  • 1.1.1935 Leutnant
  • 1.8.1937 Oberleutnant
  • 1.10.1939 Hauptmann
  • 18./19.7.1940 Major
  • 1.11.1940 Oberstleutnant
  • 4.12.1941 Oberst (Colonel)
  • 19.11.1942 Generalmajor
  • 1.11.1944 Generalleutnant

Awards and decorations


Further reading

  • Trevor J. Constable / Raymond F. Toliver:[14] Horrido! Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe, 1970 (with introduction by Adolf Galland)
  • Colin D. Heaton / Anne-Marie Lewis: The German Aces Speak – WWII Through the Eyes of Four of the Luftwaffe's Most Important Commanders, 2011[15]


  1. German Fighter Ace Adolf Galland was Fearless and Outspoken (Archive)
  2. The Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (DVS) began during the Weimar Republic in Staaken, Berlin in 1925 and its head office was transferred in 1929 to Broitzem airfield near Braunschweig.
  3. Historical Artist Jerry Crandall (1935 – 2022)
  4. Jerry C. Crandall; Numerous organizations claim his membership including the American Mountain Men. He holds associate memberships in several additional groups as well. Aviation history has also been at the forefront of his interest. He has written 20 books on the WWII Luftwaffe and is recognized as one of the top 5 Luftwaffe (German Aviation) historians in the world.
  5. Adolf Galland’s Lobster Flight AP
  6. Adolf Galland,
  7. Price, Alfred (1991), The Last Year of the Luftwaffe – May 1944 to May 1945, London: Greenhill, p. 135
  8. Adolf "Dolfo" Galland
  9. Galland, Adolf, Traces of War
  10. VDP-Nachrichten (2007)
  11. Career Summaries - Luftwaffe Officers 1935 - 1945 Section G - K
  12. Matthews and Foreman, authors of Luftwaffe Aces: Biographies and Victory Claims, researched the German Federal Archives and found records for 17 aerial victory claims, plus five further unconfirmed claims, all of which were claimed on the Western Front.
  13. Interview mit Heidi Galland, Präsidentin der Vereinigung Deutscher Pilotinnen e.V. (Archive)
  14. Trevor J. Constable and Colonel Raymond F. Toliver were American authors who produced 10 non-fiction books on the fighter aces of World War II. Toliver was a U.S. Air Force pilot and official historian of the American Fighter Aces Association.
  15. "Of all the Luftwaffe's fighter aces, the stories of Walter Krupinski, Adolf Galland, Eduard Neumann and Wolfgang Falck shine particularly bright. For the first time in any book these four prominent and influential Luftwaffe fighter pilots reminisce candidly about their service in World War II." – Military Review