The story of Hans-Ekkehard Bob’s wartime career is one which personifies the life and experiences of many of the Luftwaffe’s leading Experten – but Bob numbered himself amongst the few who had flown in one of Germany’s pre-war bi-plane fighter units through to the Me 262 jet fighter in 1945.
He took part in the campaigns in Poland and France, and fought in some of the most intense air combats of the Battle of Britain shooting down fourteen Spitfires and Hurricanes, following which he was awarded the coveted Ritterkreuz – the Knight’s Cross – before being posted to the Balkans. Then came Russia – a vast, challenging battlefront which tested men and machines to their limit. He survived, and when he finally left the Eastern Front in early 1943 he had 56 confirmed victories to his credit – all scored flying the MesserschmittBf 109.
When 292 ShAP attempted to attack Dugino aerodrome on the morning of 17 December, Bob scrambled as the Il-2s appeared on the horizon. The fast-approaching Shturmoviks and Bob’s climbing Bf 109 G-2 met head on; Bob had opened fire with all three cannon before he even had the gear up. The first Il-2 exploded and crashed in a snow drift. Bob turned and pursued another, opening up with all his cannon, until this too crashed into the ground. The congratulations from his Staffel mates over the radio were apparently intercepted by the Soviets, for on the following day they heard Radio Moscow announce: ‘Sooner or later we will get the commander of the Devil’s squadron.’
Transferred to the West, he went into action against USAAF heavy bombers and led the famed Jagdgeschwader 3 ‘Udet’ on operations. The end of the war saw him serving with Adolf Galland’s famous JV 44.
Acclaimed aviation historian Christer Bergstöm has drawn upon personal recollections and records to produce this in-depth and graphic account of the wartime experiences of one the Luftwaffe’s leading Jagdflieger. The text is enhanced by rare photographs taken from Hans-Ekkehard Bob’s own collection as well as highly detailed color artwork by leading aviation artist, Claes Sundin.
At the last moment, Bob pushed the stick forward and attempted to dive his Bf 109 to the left, and beneath the crippled bomber. But his maneuver was carried out a fraction of a second too late… Bob flashed beneath the bomber and, just as he did, he heard a crash and felt a terrible jolt. Looking back, he saw that his Bf 109 had lost its whole tail section, and he also saw that a part of the bomber’s starboard wing was missing.
Soft cover, 8.3″ x 11.7″, 72 pages, 77 rare b+w photographs, 11 beautiful color artwork profiles.