Academic journal article Military Review

The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WWII Skies

Academic journal article Military Review

The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WWII Skies

Article excerpt

THE STAR OF AFRICA: The Story of Hans Marseille, The Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WWII Skies

Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis, Zenith Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2012, 240 pages

Heaton and Lewis drafted an eminently readable book relating to the life and exploits of one of the most colorful and flamboyant pilots of any nation during World War II, Hans-Joachim Marseille, who died on 30 September 1942. Ironically, he died not as a result of military action but rather from an accident involving his aircraft. Refreshingly, and unlike many biographies, the approach taken by the authors focuses almost exclusively upon his time as a pilot in the Luftwaffe.

The antithesis of the German officer, he was a brash, egotistical womanizer, who was transferred from unit to unit due to his individuality, lack of discipline, and dismissiveness of protocol and tradition. Finally finding a home in Africa with Jagdgeschwader 27 Afrika (JG-27), he honed his skills and gradually grew from a loner and outsider to the darling of the Reich. When he died, he had 158 confirmed kills and was one of the very few recipients of the Knight's Cross with Diamonds--but he had not lost his rebellious streak.

The authors draw upon first-person anecdotes and interviews with many of his former commanders and colleagues, thereby adding a rarely enjoyed level of insight and intimacy. …

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