Adolf Galland was born on 19th March 1912 and started flying, the same way as many other German pilots of that time, as a glider pilot. He began his flying career with Lufthansa, but then he had to join the army where he was recruited into the 10.Infanterie-Regiment stationed in Dresden. Galland soon transferred to the Luftwaffe and on 12th March 1935 he was appointed as a Lieutenant to the Jagdgeschwader 1 at Doberitz.
He received his combat experience in the Spanish Civil War, where he arrived on 8th May 1937 as commander of 3. / Jagdgeschwader 33 at El Ferrol. This unit flew the Heinkel He 51. During the Spanish Civil War he flew a total of 280 missions.
Just after the start of the Polish Campaign, on 1st October 1939, Galland was promoted to Captain. In the Polish Campaign he flew a Henschell Hs 123 in a ground support unit. During the Campaign in the West (Fall Gelb) he joined Jagdgeschwader 27 (27th Fighter Squadron) and in his Messerschmitt Bf-109 he shot down his first two enemy planes on 12th May 12th 1940, these were soon to be followed by another 10. On 10th June 1940 he was appointed commander of III. / Jagdgeschwader 26 and was promoted to Major on 18th July. During the Battle of Britain, Adolf Galland became one of the top aces with 57 enemy planes shot down. His leadership capabilities did not go unnoticed and he became commander of Jagdgeschwader 26 on 22nd August. After the death of Oberst Mölders on 22nd November 1941, Galland succeeded him as General of the German Fighter arm. But he was not promoted to General until 19th November 1942, becoming the youngest General in the entire German army.
On 22nd May 1942 Galland was the first to make a flight with the prototype of the new Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter. After being promoted to General-Lieutenant (November 1944) he organized a meeting between Göring and the most important Fighter unit Commanders. They criticized the German Fighter policy which resulted in the dismissal of Galland as General of the Fighter arm. Under the influence of Adolf Hitler himself, Adolf Galland was appointed as commander of a new fighter unit flying the Me-262. He succeeded in recruiting most of the Knights-Cross fighter pilots, making it the highest decorated German fighter unit. Galland flew his last wartime mission on 26th April 1945 when he shot down his last plane, a Martin B-26 Marauder.
After the war he had to withstand harsh interrogations for his role as General of the German Fighter Arm and he was released from captivity in 1947. This resulted in him not being allowed to fly again; afterwards he found a job as a Forest Ranger. In 1948 however, he was invited by the Argentine President, Peron, to become an Air Force advisor to the Argentine Air Force. He returned to Germany in the summer of 1953 to married Sylvinia, Countess von Dönhoff. The Argentine forces gave him a Royal farewell party on 7th February 1955 at which, he was highly decorated. At a flying show on 26th April 1955, Galland received special permission to fly an Italian Piaggio 149 and he subsequently won 2nd prize. At the end of 1955 he was invited to work for the German Government once again and he became the Commanding Officer of the newly formed German Air Force. He left the Air Force in 1957 to start his own aeronautical consultancy company.
Subsequently, he became a widower and on 10th February 1984 he married Heidi Horn. Adolf Galland died on 9th February 1996 and was buried at Remagen-Oberwinter.
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