Editor's note: This is a true story of a Luftwaffe pilot who was lucky to survive the war. It is amazing that he survived the war and that he was able to survive after the war. The majority of the Germans were at the mercy of the NAZI party members and the SS. The horrors we associate with Germany were unknown to a vast majority of the population and if they did know and complained they either went to slave labor camps or were simply shot out of hand.

This story comes from the son of the pilot who at one time was an artist in Germany. I compiled this story over several years of editing.


My father, Alfred Missbach, was born 12-20-1920. This picture is dated December 1941.
A note on the back in Sutterlin script: "As pilot in a Stuka-squadron Ju 87"
All the equipment he is wearing here he managed to save after the war; he probably did not have anything else to wear. I wore the jeans jacket with the mock fur collar with pride during my Berlin student years 1966-1969 until it fell apart.
The rubber in the flight goggles had deteriorated by 1966. Otherwise I would have used them with my motorbike. The cap was far too small for me.
Father is a bit taller than I (192 / 190 cm), so I am a smaller son, quite unusual for our times (my mother was also tall, 178 cm. Father is considerably taller than his father, which follows this rule), but I have a bigger head and broader shoulders.

Father's height caused him some problems. It made soaring and joining the air force difficult. Also, he wore glasses, but somehow he overcame these obstacles, probably because he was so dedicated to flying.

He saved the report from his flight school. Although he was ranked at the bottom of his class he managed to distinguish himself and to survive the war.

Note on the back: My old Dora, which carried me on 40 missions, has been rolled out to guard the base. The mechanic is working on the tail wheel while we guard the airfield.


My father trained in Stukas and was flying in a JU 87 squadron in the early part of the war. He started dating the group commander's daughter. His sergeant told him that this was dangerous since the commander wanted his daughter to marry an officer. After she kept him out late one night he returned to base only to learn that he had been transferred to the Russian front. There he flew old biplanes and monoplane spotter aircraft.

The weather was terrible and he frequently went for weeks without adequate rations. Cigaretts made the hunger bearable.
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I am reading greetings from home right after landing in July, 1943.
Ljubysch, village in White Russia.

Flying this obsolete relic is my reward for not listening to my sergeant. But, how could I? Hilka was so beautiful and I was so alone.



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Note on back:
March, 1944

This is a DB 2 which we found near our base. We do not know who shot it down. I am in the center.


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Emblem of the squadron:
gnat with lamp on a bomb with number 3 on wing during the full moon at night "3rd order night battle group II" At this time my father did not belong to a Stuka unit. The night battle group had to fly to disrupt the Russian enemy and, drop pamphlets for the civilians. Bombs were dropped by the rifleman by hand over the side, "it was all very primitive", they had biplanes of type Go145 and He72. The Commander was General Ritter von Graim. Later it was too dangerous for the Stukas to fly in the daylight so they decided to take them up at night. The planes were not equipped for night flight.

The unit was retrained in the Stukas in Stubendorf / Schlesien. There my father met my mother. The emblem is to show how single bombs are distributed at night like mosquito's bites.
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Note on the back:
Happy hour with my Trude in Stubendorf, May, 1944.
Shortly after arriving in Stubendorf my father met my future mother.
In 1944 the Stuka JU 87 was so obsolete that pilots flying these were moved up to the ME 109s and the FW 190s. My father's squadron was then assigned the JU 87s. Since my father was already familiar with the JU 87, he assisted the rest of his squadron in making the transition. Only one pilot failed to qualify. He landed out at night. "presumbly he was killed in the accident".


Back in the JU 87. The wheel pants are removed but we fly nevertheless.

Turbia, July 1944.
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Here I sit on the wing of my plane studying a map. We are at a Type A school at AT. Raphael, Southern France.


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Probably Christmas, 1944. Note: It was only me that reached Bavaria in 1945. The others fell.

My father is on the right.
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From today on an "EK I" adorns my chest.

Father saved this leather jacket. When I became a student I tried the jacket on but my shoulders were too broad.


Freshly decorated with an EK II and a bronz Frontflugspange. Trahslation: Frontflugspange = front line flying medal.


Because the Stukas were now obsolete they were only flown at night. On one of these missions my father returned to his base but there we no lights. He ran out of fuel and when the engine stopped he told his back seater to bail out. After he left the plane my father had trouble opening the canopy. Finally he was able to get out and jumped just before the plane crashed. His flashlight was broken and so he had no idea when he was about to land. He landed with such force that he broke both heels. He did not know that his heel bones were broken until 1966 when he went to a physician for some other problem and X-RAYS revealed the old injuries.
After landing he folded up his parachute and caught a ride home. He lived with his parents for two months but it was awkard. People thought his 10 year old sister was his daughter. His father thought he should work to support the family. Then one day his sergeant arrived and asked him to return to his unit as a pilot. There would be no charges for his desertion. When he walked in with his parachute the supply sergeant was flabbergasted. No other pilot had returned their parachute. They had kept them to trade for food or female favors. He continued to fly with his unit until they could no longer get aviation fuel.
It is interesting to note that although my father was flying night fighters his night vision was so bad that after the war he would never drive a car after dark.