- Galland, Adolf Joseph Ferdinand
▪ 1997German aviator (b. March 19, 1912, Westerholt, Ger.—d. Feb. 9, 1996, Oberwinter, Ger.), was one of the country's most famous World War II fighter pilots, shooting down more than 100 Allied planes. Nonetheless, as a result of his arrangements for procuring a replacement artificial leg for a captured Royal Air Force flyer, he gained the respect of his British enemies. Galland became a glider pilot when he was in his teens and began working for the civilian airliner Lufthansa in 1932. When the Luftwaffe was formed—secretly, because the Treaty of Versailles, signed at the end of World War I, did not allow Germany to have a military air force—Galland transferred to it. He flew several missions with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War (1937-38) and, after providing ground support during the invasion of Poland (1939) that began World War II, returned to air combat. His first kills came in May 1940 over Belgium, and in July he entered the Battle of Britain as commander of a fighter squadron. In November 1941 Galland became inspector of fighters, and the next year he was promoted to major general, becoming at age 30 the youngest general in the German armed forces. Because he was critical of many of the tactics devised by Nazi leaders, Galland gradually lost favour despite his able leadership, and in January 1945 he was relieved of his command and returned to active duty. He formed a jet-fighter unit and in May was shot down and captured. Following his release (1947) from a prisoner-of-war camp, he served for six years in Argentina as a technical adviser to the air force and then returned (1955) to West Germany, where he worked as an aviation consultant.
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