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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Galland, Adolf, 1912-1996



  • Existence: 1912-1996

Biographical Note: Adolf Galland

Adolf Galland was a flying ace and General for the German Luftwaffe during World War II.

Adolf Joseph Ferdinand Galland was born on March 19, 1912 in Westerholt (now Herten), Germany. After witnessing a demonstration from an aviation club Galland decided he wanted to become a pilot. He became a licensed glider pilot in 1932. After graduating high school (also in 1932), Galland was admitted into aviation school for national airline Luft Hansa. In 1933 Galland went to Italy to train with the Italian Air Force. Following his training he was recruited into the Luftwaffe and gave up his commercial flying career.

After two serious accidents, Galland was grounded. It was only after passing an eye test that he was allowed to fly again. He went on to fly combat missions in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Prior to the beginning of World War II Galland was promoted to Captain. Galland flew combat missions during the Invasion of Poland and the Battle of Britain. In November of 1941 Galland was removed from combat missions and sent to serve as a staff position commanding Germany’s fighter force.

Galland is known for testing new aircraft and working to develop new bomb types. His strategic thinking helped him rise in the ranks and earn decorations, but also lead to clashes with Hermann Goring and other top Nazi officials. In 1944 was placed under unofficial house arrest in the Harz Mountains, but did not face any other disciplinary actions. In 1945 Galland returned to active duty and was given a command of ME 262s. On May 1, 1945 Galland negotiated his units surrender to American forces. Following surrender he was taken to England for interrogation. In 1947, following his final release from interrogations, Galland moved to Argentina with Baroness Gisela von Donner and accepted a position in the Argentinian Air Force. During his entire military career Galland flew 705 combat missions, and is credited with 104 aerial victories.

In 1955 Galland returned to Germany, and in 1957 he moved to Bonn and started an aircraft consultancy.

Galland was married three times. His first wife was Sylvinia von Dönhoff and the marriage lasted from 1954-1963. On the same day as his divorce to von Dönhoff was finalized Galland married Hannelies Ladwein. The couple had two children, Andreas (born 1966) and Alexandra-Isabelle (born 1969). Galland and Ladwein divorced, and in 1984 Galland married Heidi Horn. Galland passed away on February 9, 1996.

Biographical note derived from online sources.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Biographical Information Files - G

Scope and Contents Individuals whose names begin with G: Gabreski, Francis S. "Gabby" [Fighter pilot] "A Nation's Loss," Flight Journal, June 2002"Francis Gabreski, 83; Pilot Was War Hero," Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2002Caption for paintingBiograpical sketch from the Department of the Air Force, undated Gagarin, Yuri [Russian cosmonaut] "The Gagarin Inquest," Air...

German Aces Photograph

 Collection — Box: Small Collections oversize materials 2019-, oversize: folder
Identifier: 2019-07-18
Content Description The German Aces Photograph is one photographic print featuring two images. The larger image shows top fighter ace Erich Hartmann examining a chart with fellow fighter ace Gerhard “Gerd” Barkhorn. The two are wearing official Nazi Luftwaffe uniforms. The smaller, insert photograph is a formal portrait of General Adolf Galland in dress uniform. The print is signed by Erich Hartmann and Adolf Galland.

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