The experiences of Luftwaffe fighter pilot Walter Sommer, thrown into battle with III./JG 76 and its Messerschmitt Bf 109Gs as the Allies gained air superiority over western Europe, were typical of the period. Not long before his death, he recalled his eventful combat baptism
“Climb climb, climb, we should only ever climb”. That, recalled former Messerschmitt Bf 109 pilot Walter Sommer, was the sole advice the Luftwaffe’s young, inexperienced men were given in the event of entering aerial combat late in the war. A few months before his death on 30 January this year, the 97-yearold was reminiscing about his last flight on 20 October 1944, when he was shot down by American fighters and injured. He may have owed his life to that injury, given how many of his comrades never made it back from the final air battles over the German Reich.