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ADOLF GALLAND KC with Oak Leaves, Swords & Diamonds
GeneralleutnantWALTER KRUPINSKI KC with Oak Leaves

Ensemble unframed: $145.12
Ensemble silver-framed: $184.64
Ensemble gun-metal-framed: $184.64
(Overall size 17½” x 13½”)

Platinum Editiion:

Galland became the youngest General in the German High Command when he was appointed Inspector General of the Fighter Arm in November 1941. He led his famous JG 26 through the battles of France and Britain becoming Wing Commander of all nine squadrons. Krupinski, with over 1100 operational missions, was one the first pilots Galland selected for his JV-44 ‘Squadron of Experts’ of Me262 fighter jets in 1945.

Threatened with the firing squad by Goering following continual tactical disagreements, Galland was reprieved by Hitler and instructed to form a jet fighter wing for the Defence of the Reich. He was the only General ever to lead operational fighters in combat. Being one of his most trusted commanders Galland recruited Krupinski to join JV-44, where the two long-serving friends flew till the fall of Germany.

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Generalleutnant ADOLF GALLAND, KC with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds

A great passion for flying and aeronautics has consumed me since boyhood. Fascinated by the adventures of the world’s great pioneer aviators and stimulated by the exploits of combat pilots, I began my career in aviation, flying gliders at the tender age of fifteen. After leaving school in 1932, I graduated from Airline Pilot School and went on to complete basic military training, flying fighters, and joined the newly-formed “Richthofen” Fighter Wing as a Leutnant early in 1934.

Between April 1937 and September 1939, I flew combat missions as a Squadron Leader in the Spanish Civil War and Polish Campaign. I then participated in the Western Campaign where, as a Gruppenkommandeur, I led three squadrons of JG 26. During the Battle of Britain in 1940, I was promoted to Major and appointed Wing Commander of JG 26, with nine squadrons. In November, with 50 victories, I was promoted to Oberstieutnant.

My most important operational unit was, without doubt, JG26. Here I became one of the ‘new generation’ Commanders when I took over III./JG 26 during the Battle of France and then, along with Molders, became one of the first young Kommodores during the Battle of Britain. Initially I feared this appointment would mean flying a desk with little time for air combat. But Molders said to me: “If you want to be the new Richthofen, that’s fine, but I’m going to be the new Oswald Boelke” referring to the First World war pilot known as the ‘gentleman of the skies’. I was a fighter pilot and wanted to remain one!

In the event I managed to achieve 77 personal air victories in my Wing, being shot down three times and wounded twice. I developed a very close relationship with my officers, pilots and ground crews, and it was with great sadness that I had to depart and thereafter took every opportunity to visit my old Fighter Wing. At my Farewell Parade in November 1941when I was appointed “Inspector General of the Fighter Arm” with the rank of Oberst, Hermann Goring described JG 26 as the finest in the Luftwaffe.

As Inspector General of the Fighter Arm I became responsible for the inspection of all Luftewaffe fighter units, and, considering the responsibilities that came with my new duties, this became a decisive turning point in my military career. In February 1942 I organised and conducted the fighter escort for the spectacular ‘Channel Dash’ — the break-out of the German battleships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, through the English Channel. Thereafter, I visited all fighter units in the different theatres of war (Norway, Russia — from Leningrad to the Crimea and the Caucasus — Rumania, Bulgaria Africa, Sicily, Italy and France) to become fully briefed as to their operational capabilities. Like the other Weapon-Generals (bombers, reconnaissance, anti-aircraft-artillery, etc), I was responsible for everything except the immediate operational command.

In 1943 I was given the responsibility for Fighter Operations in Sicily just before the Allied landings. But with the Allied air superiority established, this was an impossible task. I then moved on to concentrate my efforts on the air defence of Germany. RAF Bomber Command was operating large forces by night, meanwhile the American 8th Air Force was flying missions out of England by day. I was given the responsibility for the Night Fighter Arm, too, and was, in the same rhythm as the war, working 24 hours every day.

The RAF and USAAF steadily gained air superiority during a time when greater fighter production was badly needed by the Luftwaffe. However, by the time this was achieved, fuel shortages, due to the incessant air attacks, became our next problem. I never succeeded in convincing Hitler to concentrate the entire effort on air defence, and even when the advanced Me 262 Jet became available, my efforts to use this purely in a fighter role were strictly refused by Hitler.

The war had already been lost years previously and the earlier introduction of the jet fighters would not have changed its course. Even if we had prevented the day offensive of the USAAF, the war would simply have been prolonged, allowing Russia to occupy even more German territory.

After on-going disputes with Hermann Goring, at end of 1944 I was discharged from my position and ordered to set up an Me 262 fighter unit. Thus I started the war as a Oberleutnant leading a squadron, and uniquely ended it as a Generalleutnant leading – again leading a squadron!

At the end of 1948, I became an advisor to the Argentine Air Force, a post I held for six years and, thereafter, was a consultant to the Aerospace Industry.

aircraft flown in combat

My first operational aircraft was the Heinkel He 51 biplane, a direct support aircraft which I flew in Spain. Although obsolete at the time, it was a nice aircraft to fly but we avoided contact with enemy fighters. Whilst in Spain, I had a brief opportunity to fly the Me 109C, but did not fly it in combat. During the Polish Campaign, my squadron flew the Henschel Hs 123 biplane. This was another nice, robust, but obsolete dive-bomber which was superior to the He 51 for direct support missions.

I began the French Campaign flying the Messerschmitt Me 109E-series, flying the E-4 variant during the Battle of Britain. I also flew the E-4N sub-variant and, in 1941, most sub-variants of the Me 109F with various levels of special armament. I later flew the Focke Wulf Fw 190C and D and, finally, the Me 262 jet fighter. The Me 262 was superior to every other fighter plane at the time, and the Fw 190C and D were the best piston-engined aircraft for use against bombers. In total, I have flown more than 80 different aircraft types, including the Hurricane, Spitfire, P38 and P51.


Generalleutnant WALTER KRUPINSKI, KC with Oak Leaves

When war broke out on 1 September 1939 I was still in labour service, but was discharged a few days later. I soon received my military and flying basic training at the Air Warfare School at Berlin-Gatow. I then underwent fighter pilot training in Vienna, flying the He 51, Ar 58 and Me 109B and D, finishing in October 1940. I was then transferred to JG 52, firstly to a supplementary squadron and then to 5 Squadron which was based at Maldegem, later Kaywyk, then Ostend.

My first enemy encounter was with a Bristol Blenheim which was returning from France after a reconnaissance mission. On standby at Ostend sat Lt Barkhorn and Lt Krupinski. After taking off, we immediately recognised the aircraft over the Channel, but despite shooting off our entire supply of ammunition, the Blenheim returned home safely – so poor was our shooting at that time. Later, flying 30 missions against England during the Battle of Britain, I often had contact with Spitfires and Hurricanes, but couldn’t shoot anything down. My first aerial victory came many weeks into the Russian campaign, a DB 3 bomber south of Leningrad. By the end of the year, I had just 7 victories from many opportunities.

After the Gruppe had been refurbished in Germany, I began my ‘improved shooting programme’ and by the second year of the Russian Campaign (1942), I had 66 victories, for which I received, in May 1942, the Reichsmarschall’s “Honour Goblet”. On 22 August, I was awarded the German Cross in Gold and, on 29 October, the Knight’s Cross.

Most of the aircraft I had shot down were Yaks and Laggs, but there were also a few Pe 2 and Boston bombers, as well as a few II 2 and II 4s. Our operational area was Southern Russia, from the Crimea to the Caucasus and Stalingrad.

My last mission in 1942 was flying escort for Ju 52 transport aircraft to Stalingrad. After a stay in hospital, I enjoyed 3 months as a flying instructor in the supplementary squadron of JG 52, in Cognac and La Rochelle, before, on 15 March 1942, I took over 7 Squadron JG 52 at Taman on the Cuban Bridgehead.

My most successful day was 5 July 1943, at the beginning of the Battle of Orel. On this day, I shot down my 80th to 90th victories. On 12 October, I shot down my 150th opponent and on the following day, with my 154th victory, I scored the 1,000th success attributed to 7 Squadron JG 52. On 2 March 1944 I was, after 177 victories in over 1,000 missions, decorated with the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross and transferred to Germany for the “Defence of the Reich”.

After a short assignment as a squadron leader in I./JG 5, I was appointed Kommandeur of II/.JG 11 in Hustedt near Celle, after which, on 6 June 1944, we were transferred to the Invasion Front, firstly to Beauvais, then to Mons-au-Chaussee. Up to this point, I had achieved 14 aerial victories in the West, which included 9 Mustangs and 4 Thunderbolts. After my Me 109 exploded in mid-air, resulting in another stay in hospital, I took command of III./JG 26, where I remained until 25 March 1945. Five days later, General Galland and Oberst Steinhoff collected me from the Fighter Pilots’ Rest Home in Bad Weissee and took me to Fighter Unit (JV) 44 at Munich-Riem, where I flew my last operations on the Me 262.

In total I flew over 1,100 missions, was wounded 5 times, bailed out 4 times, had many belly and crash landings and achieved 197 aerial victories.

Of the five wings I flew in, it was JG 52, which left the greatest impression on me. I flew in this wing from late 1940 to early 1944, with 6 Squadron for two years, and over a year in command of 7 Squadron, achieving with them 66 and 111 victories, respectively. I also scored the 900th and 1,000th victories for 7 Squadron, an achievement which I believe was only matched by two other Luftwaffe squadrons.

During my time with JG 52, I was wounded 3 times, took to my parachute twice from burning machines and had numerous belly and crash landings, one of which was in a mine-field in Russia, which resulted in spectacular explosions.

aircraft flown in combat

I flew over 1,000 missions and scored over 190 victories in the Me 109, flying models E,F,G and K. Therefore, for many years, I considered this the best that the Luftwaffe had to offer. When, at the beginning of 1945, I flew the Fw 190 D9 (long nose) and then the Me 262 for a month in JV 44, I knew that there were much better aircraft than the old, brave Me 109. The fastest of the breed was definitely the F-4 which I flew mainly in Russia. In the “Defence of the Reich” in 1944, I flew the Me 109 K-14 with methanol injection as a high altitude fighter to protect our heavy fighters, typically the Fw 190. But in spite of many improvements, the later marks of the Me 109 were always ‘lame ducks’, limited by many lumps on its profile, which no longer fitted the “old shirt”. This gave rise to its nickname, “The Bulge”.

The high point of my flying career was the last month of the war on the Me 262. Everyone knew that the war was nearly over, but a flying dream had become reality.



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