Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory – ‘One of our greatest officers’

L-M 1944

The Air C-in-C of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, chats with Flight-Sergeant T.P. Fargher at B2/Bazenville, Normandy. Fargher was one of three Supermarine Spitfire pilots forced down in the Caen area after being hit by anti-aircraft fire, to whom Leigh-Mallory offered a lift back to the United Kingdom in his Douglas Dakota, following his visit to General Sir Bernard Montgomery. © IWM (CL 129)

Such was the description provided by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Charles Portal to Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory’s son Thomas in a letter dated 20 November 1944.[1] Sent just six days after Leigh-Mallory and his wife, Doris, disappeared when the aircraft transporting them to his new command in South-East Asia crashed, this handwritten letter illustrates heartfelt recognition from not only the former’s superior but also a peer and father himself. While such a letter should be treated with care, clearly Portal held Leigh-Mallory in high regard both as an officer and as a friend. Despite this, historians have generally held a negative view of Leigh-Mallory’s abilities during the Second World War. For example, the late Vincent Orange stated that Leigh-Mallory was either ‘misguided or incompetent, or at worst both’, while Williamson Murray claimed that he was ‘ambitious and duplicitous’.[2] These are serious accusations. They not only concern Leigh-Mallory’s competency, but also raise questions over the organisation that nurtured him. Nevertheless, Leigh-Mallory’s death itself is, in many ways, a microcosm of his determination to prove himself as he sought to get in theatre as soon as possible.[3]

Nevertheless, Orange’s and Murray’s views do not tell the whole picture regarding Leigh-Mallory’s ability. However, an examination of the relevant literature typically shows that views such as those presented above tend to be those found in works that involve Leigh-Mallory, especially those on the Battle of Britain. Nevertheless, a good historian should not rely on secondary sources and a return to the archives often throws up views that bring into question orthodox interpretations, which are often trotted out in poorly researched books. Indeed, an examination of various sources illustrates a more complex picture than hitherto understood. Questioning such orthodox views can be difficult as it bring into question people’s beliefs concerning the collective memory of historic events. However, it is clear that Leigh-Mallory got on with subordinates who often showed great loyalty to him. In 1988, Air Chief Marshal Sir Kenneth Cross, who was a staff officer at No. 12 Group in 1940, described Leigh-Mallory as ‘Much undervalued by history’ while Group Captain Wilfrid Duncan Smith recalled numerous visits by his Air Officer Commanding (AOC), and that he ‘was never happier than when he could mix with pilots and ground-crews.’[4] This example of maintaining morale was at the heart of understanding effective leadership in this period. More significantly, Richard Hough and Denis Richards provided a more balanced conclusion concerning Leigh-Mallory’s appointment as AOC No. 11 Group in late 1940. They wrote that:

As the senior Group commander, in charge of 12 Group since its inception, Leigh-Mallory had excellent qualifications for the post.[5]

Hough and Richards also noted, related to Leigh-Mallory’s further wartime promotions, that ‘he was considered fit for much higher command than that of a Group.’[6] The use of ‘fit’ is interesting as it relates to his leadership development over the inter-war period. Nurtured through key experiences such as appropriate job assignments and military education, Leigh-Mallory emerged as an able and agile officer capable of operating at the senior level. Even contemporaries shared this view. Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté recalled in 1955 concerning questions over his performance in 1940, that, Leigh-Mallory:

had a brilliant brain and his character was determined and calm. To use a colloquialism he “he could run rings around Park intellectually.[7]

Given that Joubert served as a Commandant of the RAF Staff College at Andover, he was well equipped to comment on officers abilities, though; Leigh-Mallory did have character flaws. In the opinion of Air Vice-Marshal Edgar Kingston-McCloughry, this was because Leigh-Mallory had ‘a nervous self-defence rather than pomp and conceit’, which his bombastic nature covered for.[8] While it is easy to suggest that this assessment derived from Kingston-McCloughry owing his position at Allied Expeditionary Air Force (AEAF) to Leigh-Mallory’s support, it should be understood that the former did not hold back his opinion when necessary.[9] In 1940, Kingston-McCloughry authored a memorandum entitled, ‘A Weak Link in the Nation’s Defence’, which ultimately made its way to the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.[10] The paper was highly critical of CAS, Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril Newall, and played a role in the latter’s removal. Kingston-McCloughry is unlikely to have held back if he seriously felt that Leigh-Mallory was incompetent.

By 1944, Leigh-Mallory operated under difficult conditions at the senior level, which included maintaining relationships with a variety of individuals. Each individual involved had a strong personality. Additionally, the command team brought together to launch Operation OVERLORD had worked together in the Mediterranean, which placed Leigh-Mallory in a challenging position as he was clearly an outsider. Furthermore, it is possible to suggest that Leigh-Mallory had hit his operational ceiling before becoming Air Commanding-in-Chief (Air C-in-C) AEAF; however, he contributed much to OVERLORD’s planning, was self-aware enough, and recognised the challenges related to his position. Leigh-Mallory recalled in his diary, which he kept during the Normandy Campaign, that, ‘The Americans don’t like being under the command of an Englishman.’[11] This was just one challenge Leigh-Mallory faced during the planning for OVERLORD, and the conduct of the Normandy Campaign. Indeed, Leigh-Mallory’s diary remains one of his most valuable historic artefacts as it illustrates many of his inner thoughts during this important period of his career. Hillary St George Saunders, a noted author who wrote many pamphlets for various government bodies during the Second World War, and who described Leigh-Mallory as a ‘bulldog in trousers’, kept the diary.[12] Richards, who co-wrote the RAF’s authorised history of the Second World War with Saunders, recalled being intrusted with ‘fresh sections’ of the diary while he worked at the Air Historical Branch, and that by understanding Leigh-Mallory’s ‘inner thoughts’ he was not able to ‘swallow Field Marshal Montgomery’s claim’ concerning the breakout from Normandy.[13]

Even the argument that the Americans did not like or respect Leigh-Mallory has been over simplified. On 5 June 1944, Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division, Major General Matthew Ridgeway wrote to Leigh-Mallory thanking him for his message of support before OVERLORD’s launch. Ridgeway wrote that:

it is characteristic of that broad visioned (sic) leadership and sympathetic patience with the problems of others which has made my association with you so highly regarded.[14]

This stands at variance with the more commonly cited example of Leigh-Mallory expressing his concerns over the planned American airborne operations in the Cotentin Peninsula to General Dwight Eisenhower on the same day. As the Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command (SEAC), Major General A.C. Wedemeyer, noted to Lord Ismay in September 1944, that Eisenhower and Major General Walter Beddell-Smith thought much of Leigh-Mallory and supported his new position as Air C-in-C SEAC.[15] A point that Portal also noted to the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, in August 1944 in correspondence related to Leigh-Mallory’s future employment.[16]

If Leigh-Mallory was an ineffective leader, the question remains as to why he was considered for the position of Air Member for Personnel (AMP), the RAF’s second most senior post. While Portal recognised Leigh-Mallory’s limitations concerning selection of subordinates, he noted in July 1944 that the latter had ‘great energy and ability [moreover] fair-mindedness’.[17] It would be unusual for any senior leader not to have some flaw, for example, in the same note to Sinclair, Portal noted that Air Marshal Sir John Slessor was ‘a little too much inclined to hastiness and intolerance.’[18] Air Chief Marshal Sir Wilfrid Freeman, in discussion with Portal over the position of AMP in May 1944, noted that Leigh-Mallory did not have the ‘breadth of vision’ for the role.[19] While appearing scathing, Freeman admitted that:

I hope the above does not seem unfair on L-M. You must remember that after yourself I consider Slessor is the only possible choice for CAS and in this respect would be far better than Tedder.[20]

It is interesting, that, in this correspondence Freeman used the sobriquet L-M, which indicates some form of friendship with Leigh-Mallory as this was the common moniker used for the latter. In the end, it seems the post of AMP was never mentioned to Leigh-Mallory as Portal recognised his desire to go to SEAC as he felt he still had something to prove operationally.[21] Slessor eventually became AMP on 5 April 1945. Leigh-Mallory, despite his wide-ranging experience over 30 years, felt the need to prove himself as an operational commander, an opportunity he never received.

Perhaps, most importantly, this foregoing discussion illustrates is that a more balanced analysis of Leigh-Mallory’s Second World War service is required to move past biased assertions concerning his ability. Leadership at the senior level is both challenging and ambiguous, and requires well-prepared officers’ to manage the situations they face. As Air Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore recognised in 1938, it would take the test of war to see if the education officers’ received had prepared them effectively.[22] Leigh-Mallory was clearly nurtured during the inter-war years, but whether that development produced an officer able to operate at senior levels in intra-, inter-service and coalition contexts remains an open question. However, as historians we must continually question the interpretation presented to us and seek to deep further into the archival record to properly understand the subject that we are researching.

Things are not always what they appear to be!

[1] RAFM, Personal Papers of Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, AC 71/24/7/2, Letter from Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Charles Portal to Thomas Leigh-Mallory, 20 November 1944.

[2] Vincent Orange, ‘The British Commanders’ in Sebastian Cox and Henry Probert (eds.), The Battle Re-Thought: A Symposium on the Battle of Britain (Shrewsbury: Airlife, 1991), p. 40; Williamson Murray, Military Adaptation in War: With Fear of Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 175.

[3] TNA, AIR 2/10593, Court of Inquiry into the disappearance of aircraft York MW 126 on 14 November 1944 with Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory on board.

[4] IWM, 10481, Interview with Air Chief Marshal Sir Kenneth Cross, 12 November 1988; Wilfrid Duncan Smith, Spitfire into Battle (London: Hamlyn, 1982), p. 34, pp. 67-68.

[5] Richard Hough and Denis Richards, The Battle of Britain: The Jubilee History (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1989), p. 320.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté, The Third Service: The Story behind the Royal Air Force (London: Thames and Hudson, 1955), p. 137.

[8] Air Vice-Marshal E.J. Kingston-McCloughry, The Direction of War: A Critique of the Political Direction and High Command in War (London: Jonathan Cape, 1955), p. 172

[9] IWM, Personal Papers of Air Vice-Marshal Edgar Kingston-McCloughry, EJK-M6/15, Kingston-McCloughry to Leigh-Mallory, 13 November 1943; Leigh-Mallory to Kingston-McCloughry, 15 November 1943.

[10] TNA, PREM 4/3/6, A Weak Link in the Nation’s Defence’, 1940.

[11] TNA, AIR 37/784, Daily Reflections, 27 June 1944.

[12] Denis Richards, It Might have Been Worse: Recollections, 1941-1996 (London: Smithson Albright, 1998), pp. 87-88.

[13] Ibid, p. 88.

[14] TNA, AIR 37/771, Major General Matthew B. Ridgeway to Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, 5 June 1944.

[15] LHCMA, Personal Papers of General Baron Ismay, 4/32/6, Major General A.C. Wedemeyer to Ismay, 19 September 1944.

[16] CC, Portal Papers, Chief of the Air Staff to the Secretary of State for Air, 16 August 1944.

[17] CC, Portal Papers, Chief of the Air Staff to Secretary of State for Air, 9 July 1944, p. 2.

[18] Ibid.

[19] CC, Portal Papers, Vice-Chief of the Air Staff to Chief of the Air Staff, 25 May 1944, p. 3.

[20] Ibid.

[21] CC, Portal Papers, Chief of the Air Staff to the Secretary of State for Air, 16 August 1944.

[22] Air Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore, ‘Training for Higher Command’, Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, 84 (1939), p. 476.

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12 responses to “Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory – ‘One of our greatest officers’

  1. Ross,

    I’m afraid I cannot agree and fear you may be leaning toward a hagiographical account of the man.

    Even flawed characters have positive characteristics and senior officers often write charming letters to each other, whatever their real feelings about their ability and character. I also worry that your piece implicitly suggests that Orange and Murray are bad historians…yet I note you do not mention the piece by the Head of the AHB, Seb Cox, in his piece ‘Sholto Douglas and Leigh-Mallory’ in Air Force Leadership: Changing Culture, which questioned Leigh-Mallory’s trustworthiness, integrity, professional competence and described his analytical limitations.

    That said, I think Leigh-Mallory’s definition of air superiority, articulated in his 1937 RUSI paper was very perceptive indeed. It is remarkably similar to the definition used in JDP 0-30 today. For me it shows a firm grasp of understanding of the concept, and differed greatly from that described by Trenchard in 1928 and in subsequent iteration of AP 1300. The question that arises is was it really his definition or was it written for him by someone else? During the Battle of Britain Leigh-Mallory’s, or was it Bader’s, emphasis trying to shoot down more GAF aircraft than achieved by Keith Park’s 11 Gp pilots, using Big Wing tactics, owed more to the Trenchardian view of air superiority, and its legacy in the 1940 version of AP1300, than it did to his 1937 definition – which to my mind is what Dowding and Park were trying to achieve by denying the GAF freedom to operate. If Leigh-Mallory really believed in his 1937 definition he should have been applauding what they were doing, not trying to undermine them.

    By the way, Kenneth Cross, in ‘Straight and Level’, between pages 120-124 says a lot about the way L-M developed his relationships with Bader and Sholto Douglas in the period before Dowding and Park were relieved of their duties. In 1966 Sholto Douglas, in his ‘Years of Command’ pp.89-91, 99 tries to appear the honest broker at the time, but Cross’s account shows otherwise. Perhaps that is why Wilfrid Freeman described Sholto Douglas as ‘at heart a cad’.

    David Stubbs

  2. David,

    I suspect we won’t agree, but what I present here are some differing views of Leigh-Mallory rather than those normally encountered. This is but a snapshot (designed to encourage debate). I am not being hagiographic, but rather playing devils advocate. I recognise that Leigh-Mallory was far from perfect, but as historians we must go back and re-evaluate the sources(some of what you see here on the blog is based on five years of deep archival research into both the person and how the RAF developed its officers). I know most people will not agree with my views and I am fine with that. However, as for Orange and Murray, yes, I think their research is flawed. Orange viewed Leigh-Mallory through the lens of Park and this was a view he transposed onto other officers with whom the latter clashed such as Slessor. He was hardly unbiased.

    Just jumping to your comment of Cross’ book. Cross wrote this with the support of Orange after the interview I cite. Perhaps Orange allowed his views to influence Cross? Actually, if you read Cross carefully, he is not that scathing of Leigh-Mallory and draws out many positive aspects such as replacing inexperienced controllers with those with flying experience. This is probably because he retired as a senior leader and recognised many of the challenges that Leigh-Mallory faced. Interestingly, if you look at many of the recollections there is often a split in the views presented on Leigh-Mallory between those who reach senior leadership and those who don’t. Those who don’t reach senior position lack an understanding of the challenges faced at that level and look at it from their own narrow perspective. Similarly, we should remember that while Leigh-Mallory and Douglas were supportive of ‘leaning over into France’, this was a directive from the Air Staff and they were the ones left to implement it in a similar vein to Harris and area bombing. If you look through the Fighter Command files there is a lot of discussion between Douglas, Leigh-Mallory and the Air Staff about the challenges of this policy. Again, not all is what it seems!

    As for Seb’s piece. I have read it, and I do not fully agree with him (actually I think most of Seb’s criticism was targeted at Douglas, but that is another discussion). Yes, Leigh-Mallory was far from perfect, but as you note, flawed characters have positive aspects. Indeed, I would turn that on its head and suggest that good (note I am saying good not greatest) commanders have flawed characteristics. It is the problem of measuring the human element of war. It is less certain than analyzing doctrine or technology. Humans are infallible. However, Leigh-Mallory was clearly the type of officer that the RAF wanted, and nurtured. He was one of the RAF’s leading intellectuals (as you note with his 1930 JRUSI article, which as far as I am aware, he wrote as he did his RAFQ contributions), but he did, on occasion, as Portal recognised, select the wrong subordinates to advice him. Potentially, Bader was one of these. Yes, Portal’s letter is charming, but he was seriously considering Leigh-Mallory for the position of AMP and I very much doubt he would have been doing that if he did not think highly of his abilities. Also, he sought the opinions of other officer such as Freeman and the position would have had to be approved by Sinclair.

    On ‘Big Wings’, we have to remember that this was a commonly held view that large fighter formations were the preferred tactics. Indeed, Dowding said as much in the lecture to the Staff College lecture in 1938. The problem was, as Seb pointed out elsewhere, one of time and space. ‘Big Wings’ did not work in 11 Grp, and while Orange cites a paper exercise in early 1941 where Leigh-Mallory tests whether or not they would work, there is no evidence that he actually used them in operations. A case of a thinking officer learning his lesson? I suspect so. As for a doctrinal analysis, we have to get away from the so-called Trenchard view and begin to understand what the RAF was writing at the operational level. For example, what was being said in the various iterations of Fighter Command’s ‘Fighter Tactics’ memoranda, which Leigh-Mallory presented views on pre-war.

  3. Just one very quick comment. I completely agree on the importance of L-M in terms of air superiority. I discuss the development of such terms in the introduction to my PhD. Leigh-Mallory and Slessor appear to have a more useful understanding of issues relating to the control of the air than views recorded in AP1300.

    My PhD: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/4314/1/Pugh13PhD.pdf

  4. Ross and James,

    All I can say is well done to Ross for starting this topic as it has been most interesting, and to James for his comment on the various perceptions of air superiority.

    As you probably know I came through the ranks and although a sqn ldr didn’t make senior rank and, as you would suspect, I am less convinced about the argument that somehow limits my ability to understand the pressures facing those of one star rank and above. My method of looking into a subject is to do the research, analyse it and then, and only then, form an opinion. So, in this context I enjoy listening to others – even if a certain amount of disagreement on a topic ensues, and I do envy the access to many of the source files that both of you have.

    At the moment I am finishing off a piece on the impact of the RAF’s offensive [strategy] on its performance at Dieppe in 1942. I have read Ross’s piece in the CMH. By the way I thought the CIRCUS, RODEO etc ops were supported by Wings of fighters, hence Johnny Johnson’s ‘Wing Leader’.

    Always good to chat.

    David

  5. David,

    Don’t take my comment on SqnLdrs as being aimed at you (perhaps I should have said didn’t rather than don’t!). It is a very different situation to the one faced in the past. Remember, we are talking about an air force that reaches the million mark in terms of number of personnel. In that context, it would be difficult for mid-ranking officers to know what is really happening at the senior level even in post-war recollections. I suspect that is very different in the modern air force/military where we live in the age of the strategic corporal.

    Be interested in reading your piece on Dieppe. Given that I have written on the subject, I would be happy to have a read if you want. As for CRICUS etc., it depends on the operation; for example, RHUBARB operations were freelance sorties against targets of opportunity. So, not all involved large formations.

    James,

    I think the core issue is related to what AP1300 was trying to achieve. In many respects it was caught between being conceptual and being a how to manual, which is something that the I think all the services struggled with. I am not fully convinced that any of the services quite understood what a capstone manual was, though, I do think the RAF come the closest to statement of intent despite any potential flaws. I mean it took until 1925 for the Royal Navy to produce its War Manual! The advantage the Leigh-Mallory and Slessor had was that they were writing in an ‘informal’ sense, which probably gave them more freedom, though they were clearly able to translate capstone ideas into the operational arena. Clearly capable officers!

  6. Ross, David and James.

    A truly interesting subject, about which Ross and I at least have spoken in the past. I agree that there has perhaps been some overly-simplistic pigeon-holing of Leigh Mallory in the past. Given the leisurely pace at which documents emerge, this is not entirely surprising.

    There are a range of views on the succession at Fighter Command, Big Wings and associated intrigue and I suspect 100% alignment would not appear in my lifetime.

    What I would like to focus on is the policy of “Leaning Forward into France”. I have always believed that all it achieved was to donate tons of aluminium (in the form of shot down aircraft) to the German war economy and deliver hundreds of Grammar School boys (pilots) into extended captivity.

    Ross, I have read your piece from 2010 at

    https://thoughtsonmilitaryhistory.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/the-tragic-life-of-air-chief-marshal-sir-trafford-leigh-mallory/#_ftn16

    but do not think that Leigh Mallory’s culpability (or not) in this has been fully addressed. Why on earth, given the shortages of modern fighter aircraft and pilots in almost every theatre of war, did L-M prosecute (even if he did not conceive) such an idiotic, fruitless and wasteful policy?

    If it was merely because ‘ he had to do something with the resources he was given”, that tends, in my mind at least, to underline his lack of suitability for command at the highest level.

  7. Adam,

    I am currently writing a piece on Dieppe which, I hope, goes some way to answer your question. Essentially, I will argue that the influence of RAF doctrine and Sholto Douglas’s unwillingness to persevere with long-range fighter development limited Fighter Commands options and constrained Leigh-Mallory’s freedom of manoeuvre. I aim to show how the political imperative to provide some relief to the Russians required the RAF to begin Rhubarb, Circus, Rodeo, Roadstead type missions in late 1940 and how the losses and results (and winter) influenced their suspension in October 1941, only for them to be resumed at terrible for political reasons again in March 1942.

    Leigh-Mallory recognised the impact of the very hight losses and tried to get Sholto Douglas to support him in avoiding catastrophe for Fighter Command at Dieppe, only to be rebutted. Results at Dieppe, for the RAF, were much better than expected but not as good as claimed: 48 for 106 was a much better performance than 58 for 259 achieved from March to June 1942. Hence Leigh-Mallory was much relieved and thought a big air battle over Normandy was the solution, not Pointblank, to denude the GAF. Incidentally, the kill ratio at Dunkirk, under Park, though admittedly in much different circumstances was close to 1:1.

    But, if the constraining influences had not existed and long-range fighters had been developed the GAF might have struggled to cope with the options available to the RAF, particularly if it have configured itself in a way to perform an offensive counter air campaign, through ground attack, on the GAF. Effectively that is what the RAF did at Dieppe: provide overwhelming numbers to unbalance the tried and trusted defence.

    David

  8. David. Many thanks for that and I will look forward to your article with a great deal of interest. Where will it appear, Air Power Review? I think my main point is that many of those 50-odd Squadrons of Spitfires should not have been in Fighter Command at that time. They were a complete overmatch for anything that Hermann could conceivably have deployed over the UK and were, in fact, desperately needed elsewhere. I agree that, for much of the war, there was a need to help out ‘Uncle Jo’ but, until several weeks/months after Barbarossa kicked off on 22nd June 1941, other theatres that were sadly lacking in modern fighter aeroplanes were, to my mind at least, a much higher priority either than Russia or frivolous, futile Fighter Command frolicking over France! Do let me know when you publish.. Adam

  9. Adam,

    I agree entirely.

    More fighter aircraft ought to have been sent from the UK soon after ULTRA revealed Hilter’s intent in the east. I allude to that view in my piece on Greece in the Winter edition of Air Power Review 2014. As for my current piece, I would not presume to say that it will be accepted anywhere, but I know where I plan to send it first to see if they like it. Hopefully, someone will want it and the good news is that I now have a first draft.

    All the best

    David

  10. David.

    Thanks. Downloaded and read a couple of times. Given my views about donating Grammar School boys and Spitfires to the Luftwaffe whilst ‘leaning forward into France’, you would expect that I would agree with much of what you have written. I do.

    I found a full copy of the post-Dieppe, Combined Operations Report at the Museum t’other day. Have you seen it? Obviously it emerged after passing through the hands of Mountbatten and others, but there is some interesting detail about ‘smoke sorties’ and other RAF involvement. I recall reading somewhere, perhaps Vincent Orange ‘Churchill and his Airmen,’ that WSC promised an enquiry on the whole Operation, which never materialised.

    At the moment, the only point I would make is that I know of no Air Force, where the metric of success for pure fighter pilots has not been aerial victories claimed. This was not just a British ADGB or Fighter Command issue. It affected everyone from the chap painting rows of swastika symbols alongside Mustang cockpit sills to the court photographer at the Reichskanzlei, recording the procession of ‘Experten’ receiving ‘Schwerten und Brillianten’.

  11. Adam, I have only seen the reports in Franks’s book – so well done to you. Thank you for taking the time to look at my piece. Pilots certainly were focused on scoring kills which implicitly appeared to meet the aim of gaining control of the air, but the lethargy in requiring gun kill camera verification and the clear disquiet of pilots leaning to France suggests the authorities were either happy to perpetuate the falsehood of even kill ratios or too dim to grasp what was really going on because of the gung Ho enthusiasm to increase their score by Bader types. I look forward to reading your work and maybe we’ll meet at Lincoln at an IBCC event when I am not working abroad. David

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