During World War II, Germany had excellent fighter pilots. The Luftwaffe were known as some of the greatest pilots globally and were vital to the blitzkrieg.
All of the other countries in Europe paled in comparison, except for Great Britain and their Royal Air Force. While they weren’t superior to the Germans, they put up a fight.
However, as the war went on, the Royal Air Force became a stronger power, and the Germans began to lose their hold as top dogs. They lost pilots, ammo, oil, fuel, and lubricants as the Allied forces continually bombed them.
The bombing runs were putting a damper on the Luftwaffe, but that wasn’t the only thing causing problems. Hermann Goering was partial to promoting men who were loyal to him, instead of those who were capable.
As time went on, the air force became less and less of a fighting force. As they took on casualties, they did not move to immediately replace their losses. Finally, in 1944, the Germans moved to recruit more pilots, but it was far too late at that point.
Battle of the Bulge
In 1945, the Germans attempted to demonstrate a show of force at the Battle of the Bulge. However, they had one more hiccup they did not see coming, the “Fighter Pilots Revolt.”
The experienced and elite pilots wanted Adolf Galland to take the place of Goering. Galland was not one of Goering’s “yes men.” He frequently voiced his disagreement with Goering’s orders.
Galland and his men flew the Bf-109 fighters, which flew better in higher altitudes making them more efficient. The high altitude capabilities also made them better than the British Spitfires since those planes could not fly at that altitude.
Goering would not allow the Bf-109 fighters to fly at that height. Galland became the General of fighters, which strengthened the divide between the two men.
The Battle of the Buldge’s Operation Bodenplatte, a mission to eradicate Allied air forces, was the final straw for Galland and his men.
In front of the Luftwaffe leadership, Galland presented Goering with a list of the airmen’s demands, including replacing Goering. However, Goering wasn’t the one removed, Galland was.
But Galland fared better than the other men. Hilter stepped in on his behalf, having him take control over the Me-262 jet fighters. Unfortunately, it did not make a difference for the Germans.