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Around 40 years ago, or perhaps a little earlier (say around 1980), I read the memoir (or perhaps the biography) of a fighter or perhaps light-bomber pilot who flew for the Luftwaffe on the Russian Front. I have no idea when it was published, other than guessing that it was probably after about 1950.

The only detail I can now remember is that he was captured (presumably having been shot down), and charged with having caused civilian Russian deaths because of all the spent cartridges falling from his aircraft during many combat sorties.

I think that he was incarcerated following trial, and then possibly repatriated within some kind of prisoner-exchange arrangement.

For years I felt sure that this book was Hans-Ulrich Rudel's Stuka Pilot, which I also read around that time. I recently got another copy of that, however, and found that after all this time I was clearly mixing-up two different books.

Can anyone suggest the book that I have forgotten, or at least the identity of the pilot?

I wish I could offer more detail, but this is all I have, and research from the ground up is getting me nowhere. I think I need somoeone's actual knowledge!

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I think you are referring to Erich Hartmann.

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    $\begingroup$ That was amazingly fast! . Please see my comment on @Niels Nielsen's suggestion, for the reason why this came to mind after all this time, and for an idea of the angles I am considering. I am interested (always have been) in the conduct of WWII German officers who may have been acting in good faith without being out-and-out Nazis. With the Luftwaffe we have Galland, who seemingly tried to make peace, against Rudel, who (I think) went on to set up post-war South American refuges for genuine Nazis. There is also the problem that some genuine supporters' reputations seem to have been whitewashed. $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2023 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ @CaptainCranium I live in Germany and a few weeks ago I stumbled across a book about Hartmann on the local ebay. It had an aircraft on the cover so it naturally attracted my attention. I had never heard of him before and did a bit of research. When I saw your question it sounded very much like what I gathered about him. Glad I could help! $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Sep 24, 2023 at 19:47
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Or you could be referring to Adolf Galland.

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  • $\begingroup$ That is a very good call -- thank you! As it happens I think that @DeltaLima has identified the source (Hartmann) of the specific book I was looking for, from 40+ years' memory failure... but Galland would add very usefully to what I have in mind. The project that I am considering is a delicate one. It was motivated by my feeling obscurely troubled about a British documentary radio series, 'History's Secret Heroes' (bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001mcbk), unilaterally praising groups who did brave things (no longer very 'secret', anyway) opposing Hitler and his evil friends. $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2023 at 18:08

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