Tuesday 3 April 2012

new Luftwaffe books from 296 Verlag - Roderich Cescotti memoir "Langstreckenflug’ (Long distance flight)

 As the generation that fought WWII slowly passes, veterans continue to write and publish their memoirs and some of those who have largely remained silent up to now are finally setting down their accounts before the day of reckoning. 296 Verlag is one of those publishers still prepared to bring these memoirs to print. In the case of Roderich Cescotti this must have been an  easy decision.

"Chess", as he was known to friends and comrades, has some truly unique tales to tell. Having flown Heinkel He 111 bombers with KG 26 during the Battle of Britain, he ended the war as a Gruppenkommandeur in JG 301 flying the Focke Wulf Ta 152. In the years between he flew torpedo bombers against Artic convoys and long range reconnaissance sorties as far as the coasts of Greenland. In January 1943 he flew re-supply sorties into the besieged city of Stalingrad and was almost certainly one of the last pilots to drop supplies for the doomed 6. Armee. After this experience he was posted as Technischer Offizier to KG 100, and flew sorties with some of the first radio-guided anti-shipping missiles. He participated in bombing sorties against the Allied invasion fleet off the coast of Normandy at the controls of what he describes as the Luftwaffe's best pre-1945 bomber, the sleek and fast Dornier 217 M-11 and also flew the Luftwaffe's biggest - and some would say, least successful bomber - the Heinkel He 177. During the final months of WWII he was appointed Kommandeur of II./JG 301, and flew the fastest piston-engine fighter of the war - the Ta 152. Taken captive by the British, he trained as a translator and gained experience at the controls of British types such as the Mosquito. He was one of the first ex-Luftwaffe pilots to qualify post-war on jets for the new Bundesluftwaffe passing out at the Flugzeugführerschule B in Fürstenfeldbruck in 1956. In the early 60s he was appointed CO of AG Aufklärungsgeschwader 52 flying the Republic Thunderstreak and RF-104. He retired in 1980 with the rank of Generalmajor with some 4,000 hours and over thirty aircraft types in his logbook.

According to publisher Kurt Braatz, Cescotti's memoir is a no-holds-barred and vividly written tale of derring-do, featuring much first-hand detail of Battle of Britain operations, the maritime air-war and the defence of the Reich - names such as Steinhoff, Rall, Wolfgang Falck, Julius Meimberg and Walter Wolfrum feature throughout its pages.

You can read extracts from and even order Roderich Cescotti's memoir entitled "Langstreckenflug’ (Long distance or perhaps more colloquially 'long haul flight') now at http://www.neunundzwanzigsechs.de/

With the permission of the publisher I have translated an extract from "Langstreckenflug" here