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The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WWII Skies Hardcover – November 12, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"His list of affairs with women, some even married and famous was an embarrasment, but his success as a fighter pilot quieted much of the dissent."
Lt. Gen. Hans Baur
"He was so handsome, all the women loved him, and it was easy to be infatuated with him."
Film director Leni Riefenstahl
"Marseille was the ultimate role model for German youth, until he opened his mouth."
Hitler Youth Leader Artur Axmann
"His loss was a bitter blow to his compatriots in JG-27 but a blessing to those of us on the other side."
Ron Cundy, Royal Air Force, North Africa
"If Marseille had about three victories per mission on average. If he had He could have been the top ace above Hartmann, if he had lived."
Col. Hannes Trautloft, Knight's Cross
"I suppose from what I learned, and what i knew, that once Marseille accidentally learned of Auschwitz, that may have been what changed his attitude."
SS Lt. Gen. Karl Wolff
"Watching Marseille in the air was like watching a deadly aerial ballet. He looked like he was twelve years old, and often acted like it."
Major Werner Schroer, Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves and Swords, JG-27.
"Marseille was perhaps the best that the Luftwaffe had. His record was only surpassed by his immature unrpofessionalism."
Col. Hajo Herrmann, Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves and Swords.
"Men like Marseille captured the public imagination, and rightly so. they played a dangerous game, and Marseille was perhaps the best to ever fly a fighter."
Lt. Gen. Gunther Rall, Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves, Swords with 275 victories.
"There was great rivalry for kills, and Marseille boasted that he would beat all of us."
General Gustav Rodel, JG-27, Knights Cross, Oak Leaves, 98 victories
Marseille often cried when he killed man, but he still managed to do his job. He was really too sensitive for the war.
Ambassador Franz Elles, JG-27
He was the kind of pilot you probably expected to meet, and deep inside were afraid to. he was apparently just that damned good.
BGEN Robin Olds
So many charges were filed against him for misconduct, I was stunned at the amount of paperwork.
Col. Herbert Ihlefeld
To be so young yet so successful was incredible, and we all admired him.
Marseille was perhaps the best deflection shot in the Luftwaffe, and we all knew of his success.
Lt. Gen. Gunther Rall
I knew that when I saw Yellow 14 and the first gruppe, my men would be fine.
Maj. Gen. Kurt Kuhlmey, Stuka pilot
From the Inside Flap
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What a great story. This man was anything but the typical Nazi. He was a drinker, womanizer, jazz listener, military protocol rule breaker and an anti-party pilot. If it weren’t for his father, sympathetic superiors and his excellent pilot skills, it’s no doubt he would have been court-martialed and shot or sent to Buchenwald. He was the antithesis of everything Germany stood for ideologically.
In his early years as pilot he was nothing more than rogue. He didn’t communicate with his copilots or wingman on what his intentions would be during combat. He took off, engaged the enemy with no regard for his mates. Many of them complained and refused to fly with him fearing for their own lives. Yet they could not deny his prowess in the air. No one in the Luftwaffe could make an ME-109 dance and maneuver the way he could.
It was in Africa under the tutelage of Oberleutnant Gerhard Holmuth he finally started finding his groove. Rather than constantly reprimand him for his indiscretions and lack of discipline he became the father figure Hans never had. He became aware that combat flying wasn’t a one-man-show. It was a concerted effort of his gruppen and schwarm. This isn’t to say he still didn’t pull pranks on his mates or continue his defiance of authority figures. He was invited to Berlin by Hitler to receive his Knight’s Cross. During the reception, he showed his pianist skills for all the top Nazi brass. After several excellent classical pieces, he started pounding out jazz. By the end of the recital the room was empty. In another instance he commented about Goring wearing nail polish and insinuated he could have a gender issue. Any of these acts would have spelled the doom of an ordinary man, not Hans.
The last item I want to point his respect and chivalrous behavior to his opponents. He was a firm believer that if at all possible the families of downed pilots, especially the mothers, should know the fate of their sons. Several times he would fly over British airfields, dropping off notes concerning a pilot who didn’t return from a mission.
Despite his charm and excellent flying skills, there was one threat he couldn’t combat-mechanical failure. On September 30, 1942 he would take to the sky for the last time. His final tally would be 158 enemy kills.
There are some minor punctuation and formatting issues. They do not detract from the story.
Highly recommend this story.
A good starting point but certainly not the 'definitive' work about this "one in a million" fighter pilot; Marseille the "sure shot" ace is well documented but his personal life is left as an empty shell.