Helmut Mahlke began his career as a naval pilot and later
transferred to a Stuka Gruppe that was intended to serve aboard
the never-completed aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. At the outbreak
of war, Mahlke and his comrades were incorporated into the
Luftwaffe; what follows in his memoirs is a fascinating Stuka pilot’s
eye view of the most important campaigns of the early war years
including the fall of France, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the
invasion of the Soviet Union.


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Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot is the only book of its kind to appear
since Hans Ulrich Rudel’s classic in the 1950s. Unlike Rudel,
however, Mahlke flew Stukas during the Blitzkreig years, when the
Luftwaffe’s dive-bomber force was at its most feared and most
The author begins by recounting his early days as a naval cadet,
before going on to describe his flying training as a Stuka pilot. His
gripping narrative provides insight into the day-to-day activities of
his unit, bringing the members of his Gruppe to vivid life as he
recounts their off-duty antics – and mourns their loss in action.
A unique account of the career of a pilot of one of the most iconic
aircraft of the Second World War, this book is also a fascinating
insight into the realities of war in the air. It should be read by
anyone with an interest in aviation or military history in general.
Born in Berlin in 1913, Helmut Mahlke joined the German navy as
a cadet in 1932 before being transferred to the Luftwaffe three
years later. After the war, he played a leading role in establishing
both the new Luftwaffe and Germany’s new naval air arm. He died
in 1998.

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