Air University Review, January-February 1977

Early Development of Air-Sea Rescue

Captain Earl Tilford, Jr.

THE sky over the northwestern Soviet Union between Murmansk and Petsamo was clear and cold on a winter day in 1942. For the German war correspondent in the back of the twin-engine Messerschmitt 110 (Bf 110), an actual combat patrol flight was exciting and unusual. Neither he, the gunner, nor the pilot saw the Soviet Yakovlev fighter until the bullets slammed into the fuselage, ruptured hydraulic lines, and severed control cables. The German fighter rolled out of control and plummeted toward the arctic tundra.

The correspondent and gunner parachuted from the falling aircraft. They became separated in the descent, and, to further complicate the situation, the newspaperman lost his eyeglasses. He soon found himself alone and half-blind on the snow-covered tundra, well behind enemy lines.

Shortly after landing, however, a German airplane spotted him and circled overhead. The correspondent managed to make his myopic condition known to the flyers, and soon another plane dropped him a new pair of spectacles along with precise instructions on how to reach a nearby lake, where he would be picked up. On reaching it the reporter found the gunner, and together they anxiously awaited their rescue. An Arado 199 (Ar 199) rescue plane fitted out with skis, landed on the frozen lake, and soon the two weary men were strapped in and ready for takeoff. The Arado was almost airborne when Soviet fighters attacked and sent it sliding into a snowbank. The pilot and his two passengers climbed from the disabled craft and scrambled for cover. Fearing further losses, the Seenotdienst (Air-Sea Rescue Service) commander at Kirkenes in northern Norway suspended further recovery efforts. However, the three Germans reached friendly lines after avoiding Soviet patrols for four days. 1

IT WAS during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 that the first aerial rescue occurred. While the Prussians besieged the city of Paris, the French used observation balloons to airlift 164 wounded soldiers and some important bags of mail from the beleaguered city.2

During World War I there were several attempts to use airplanes as ambulances. The French Air Service evacuated sick soldiers from Serbia by air as early as 1915.3 Two years later, as the United States proceeded with an all-out mobilization for war, thousands of new pilots were trained at temporary fields all over America. Many inexperienced pilots suffered accidents and injuries. Since most training fields were isolated, overland transportation by ambulance took hours. Early in 1918 Captain William C. Ocker, a training officer at a remote field in Louisiana, converted a standard IN-4 "Jenny" to accommodate a patient in a semirecumbent litter in the rear cockpit, thus initiating the world's first military aerial ambulance service.4

Britain, France, and Germany made advances in the use of the airplane for humanitarian purposes during the interwar period. In April 1923 an epidemic of dysentery afflicted British soldiers on garrison duty at isolated posts in Kurdistan. The Royal Air Force (RAF) units stationed in Iraq had a few Vickers-Vernon troop carrier aircraft which were quickly dispatched from Baghdad to Kirkuk and then on to a forward landing field near Serkhuma in the Adghir Dagh Mountains. Two hundred stricken troops were then quickly evacuated to hospitals in Baghdad.5 Three years later, during the Riman War in Morocco, the French improvised ambulance planes and evacuated a number of wounded.6

The Death and Resurrection
of German Air Power

The Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919, limited the size of the German military to a defensive force of 115,000 men and prohibited an air force and armored units.7 Article 202 specified that Germany must surrender, " . . . all her land and water aircraft, including any which may '" be in the process of manufacture, development, or construction." Neither was Germany permitted to retain" . . . aircraft engines, ballonets, and wings, armaments, ammunition, airborne instruments... and photographic equipment."8

The Allied Control Commission oversaw the dismantling of the German Air Force. Although arbitrary deadlines and force cuts hampered its efficiency, the Control Commission effectively clipped the wings of German air power by January 1922.9 However, interest in aviation continued in both civilian and military sectors of German society. Glider clubs and gliding became popular around German universities. A sport flying club (Sportflug G.m.b.H) was funded by the Reichswehrministerium (Ministry of Defense); it operated ten flying schools where former military pilots could use their flying experience and civilians were trained as aviators.10

While publicly abiding by the terms of the Versailles Treaty, the German government moved secretly to circumvent its provisions. Germany and the U.S.S.R. signed the Treaty of Rapallo on 17 April 1922. In addition to the political and economic provisions, the Treaty included a number of mutually beneficial secret military agreements. 11 Under the farsighted guidance of Generaloberst (Colonel General) Hans von Seeckt, Chief of the Reichswehr, the diplomats obtained a provision whereby a number of German pilots and engineers were placed at the disposal of' the fledgling Red Air Force. In 1924 the Germans and the Soviets established a flying school at Lipetsk, about 300 miles southeast of Moscow, and Junkers Flugzeugwerke obtained a concession from the Soviet government to build aircraft in an old factory at Fili, near the capital. 12 Lipetsk proved to be not only a flying school but also a testing ground for prototype Heinkel and Fokker airplanes, built in Germany and Holland to comply carefully with Allied restrictions, then shipped to Russia and made combat-ready at Lipetsk13

Reichspräsident (Reichs President) Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg appointed National Socialist Party Fuhrer Adolf Hitler to the post of Reichskanzler (Reichs Chancellor) on 30 January 1933. Hitler arranged for his friend Hermann Göring to succeed Ceneralleutnant (Major-General) Helmut Wilberg as Der Reichsminister der Luftfahrt (Reichs Air Commissioner). (Wilberg, a Jew, became Chief of the Air War College.)14 The rebuilding of German air power began immediately, and two years later, on 10 March 1935, Göring revealed the existence of the new Luftwaffe which then had a force of five reconnaissance and eleven fighter and bomber squadrons. 15

The Luftwaffe developed as a tactical air arm for use in supporting the Wehrmacht, and in its early years operations were oriented to combat over land mass areas. As the Luftwaffe expanded quickly, it could ill afford the unnecessary loss of a single trained aircrew member. If a plane encountered problems over land, the crewmen could ultimately parachute to safety. However, if a seaplane was forced down, the crewmen had to be picked up by boat. In the spring of 1935 Luftkreis-Kommando VI (See) (Air Regional Command VI, Naval), headquartered at Kiel, assumed the responsibility of developing a system for recovering downed seaplanes and their crews. Lieutenant Colonel Konrad Goltz, a supply officer, was given, as an added duty, the administrative responsibility for some boats to be used in picking up downed airmen.

Initially Goltz had very little equipment with which to accomplish his mission. The pride of his Luftwaffe seagoing fleet was an old Air Traffic Control Boat; the Krischen. He rigged the leaky old vessel with a boom and tackle sufficient for hoisting smaller types of seaplanes on board. Additionally, he commanded a small number of barely seaworthy boats of various sizes and descriptions, none over 50 feet in length.16

Goltz issued regulations that provided for six rescue zones-two in the North Sea and four in the Baltic. Each zone was assigned a rescue boat for retrieval purposes, and each zone commander was given the authority to request the use of Kriegsmarine (Navy) aircraft for search purposes. Support from naval units could be obtained through German Naval Headquarters at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. German lifeboat societies also ren. dered aid whenever possible.17

In response to the increased danger of war with Great Britain following the Munich Crisis of 1938, the Luftwaffe conducted exercises early in 1939 that included its first large-scale, over-water operations. The bombers then available to the Luftwaffe proved grossly inadequate in range. As a result numerous airfields were established along the coast, and large numbers of airplanes incapable of landing on water began operating over the North Sea and along the Baltic coast. Until this time there had been only a few instances of airmen in distress at sea. In such cases rescue units involved used any available naval seaplanes to assist in recovery efforts. Only after the Luftwaffe commenced operations over water on a regular basis was the decision made to acquire a seaplane specifically modified for air-sea rescue operations.18

Colonel Goltz selected the Heinkel 59 (He 59), a large, twin-engine biplane fitted with floats, as the first Luftwaffe aircraft dedicated for air-sea rescue duties. The Rescue Service acquired 14 of these planes and awarded the firm of Walter, Bachman, and Ribnitz of Mecklenburg, a contract for refitting the machines to the specifications outlined by the Luftwalfen-inspektion des Sanitätswesens (Medical Inspectorate of the Luftwaffe). Accordingly, first aid equipment, electrically heated sleeping bags, and artificial respiration machines were installed. The rescue experts ordered the planes refitted with a floor hatch, a collapsible ladder long enough to reach through the hatch to the surface of the water, a hoist, and lockers to hold life belts, signaling devices, as well as other survival paraphernalia.19

By February 1939, the growth of the Luftwaffe, its reorientation resulting from the exercises, and its increased area of activity prompted a large-scale reorganization of its command structure. Political as well as military considerations motivated these changes. First, the Office of Secretary of State for Air, under Field Marshal Erhard Milch, absorbed the title and functions of the Office of Inspectorate-General of the Luftwaffe. Second, to better prepare for war against potential enemies in the West as well as in the East, flying units were subordinated to four operational commands, known as Luftflotten (Air-Fleets), headquartered in Berlin, Brunswick, Munich, and Vienna.20 This reorganization placed the rescue function under the Office of General of the Luftwaffe with the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and Commander of Naval Units.21*

*Name of one office under Der Reichsminister der Luftfahrt und Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe (Relchminister of Aviation and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe).

Air-Sea Rescue at the
Beginning of the War

On 1 September 1939, German forces crossed the Polish frontier. The Luftwaffe proved to be a potent attack force as it first demolished the Polish Air Force then demoralized the Polish Army with seemingly endless strafing attacks. Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September. However, since combat operations in the first months of the war were limited primarily to the Polish theater and therefore took place almost entirely over land areas, rescue was not much involved. A different phase of humanitarian endeavor played a part inthe fighting in Poland. Drawing on their aeromedical evacuation experience gained in the civil war in Spain, the Luftwaffe used Ju 52s to evacuate over 2500 wounded from Poland during the four weeks of fighting.22

Late in September 1939, Luftwaffe fighters shot down five Royal Air Force Hampden bombers of a group that was attacking two German destroyers near Heligoland Bight, an arm of the North Sea off the port of Wilhelmshaven. These early losses made Bomber Command hesitant to send planes too close to Germany during daylight hours. As German V-boats and mines claimed ever more British shipping, the War Cabinet put increasing pressure for action on Bomber Command. In early December twin-engine Vickers Wellingtons, flying in tight formations, resumed armed reconnaissance flights over the North Sea.23 Their task was to seek out and attack German naval vessels operating in the Heligoland Bight and off Wilhelmshaven. During the first two missions, on 3 and 14 December, the bombers held their tight formations and successfully repelled German fighter attacks.

On 18 December, 24 Wellingtons took off for Heligoland in their tight formation. A low ceiling prevented the bombers from releasing on their targets at Wilhelmshaven, so still holding formation, the pilots turned for home. Bf 109s and Bf 11 Os picked up the bombers soon after they departed the German coast. The fighters attacked the formation from the top, firing diagonally across the wing and upper portions of the fuselage. With no upper fuselage gun turrets, the Wellingtons were defenseless against tllis new tactic. Over half the formation went down willIe the Germans lost only one Messerschmitt. 24

Seenotdienst (Air-Sea Rescue Service) boats and newly acquired He 59 rescue planes responded from their base at Hörnum. They saved a score of British airmen in this first wartime air-sea rescue operation of any appreciable size.25

Conversely, the British could hardly have responded to save their own downed airmen. The RAF had only a few crash boats and no rescue planes in 1939. Back in 1935, the Air Ministry approved the building of an experimental high-speed rescue launch. Coastal Command subsequently ordered 15 of these boats following successful testing in 1936. An order for 13 additional boats was placed in 1939, about the time that the entire force was called in from Aden, Singapore, Malta, and Malaysia and stationed in home waters. These actions marked the extent of British preparations for search and rescue (SAR). Locating a downed pilot remained the primary responsibility of the parent unit throughout the first two years of the war.26

The Seenotdienst Moves North

After smashing Poland, Hitler turned his attention to the West. On 9 April 1940, 2 hours and 29 minutes after the first German paratrooper landed outside Copenhagen, the King of Denmark surrendered. At a cost of twenty dead and wounded the territory of the Reich grew by 16,000 square miles.27

On that same day Germany began air and sea operations against Norway. The Norwegians, aided by the British and French, offered stiffer resistance. Their small air force, elements of the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Navy combined with the unpredictable northern weather to exact a price for the Luftwaffe's victory in the North.28

Generaloberst Hans Jeschonnek, Chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff, revealed the details of Hitler's plan to attack in the North to only a handful of staff officers. The Seenotdienst was, therefore, unaware of the details of Hitler's Directive Number 1, and consequently made no preparations for large-scale rescue operations. On the first day of operations, when a number of Junkers transports crashed into the Norwegian Sea, no rescue forces were available to save their drowning crews.

Upon learning of the invasion, Goltz ordered several He 59 seaplanes transferred from the Isle of Sylt to Aalborg in northern Denmark, and within two days rescue planes and boats began operating in support of the Norwegian campaign.29 Rescue operations responded to meet the requirements as fighting in Norway expanded and intensified. Heinkels and rescue boats moved from Listafjord to Stavanger, Bergen, and Trondheim. Following the fall of Norway, rescue units deployed to Tromsö and Kirkenes in the far north. Units of the German Air-Sea Rescue Service remained in Norway throughout the war to provide valuable rescue service along the bitterly contested Arctic sea lanes into the Soviet Union and to perform aircrew recoveries throughout Luftflotte V (Air-Fleet V).30

As the fighting in Norway drew to a close, the General Staff assessed the Luftwaffe's performance. Colonel Goltz was ordered to Berlin where he presented a detailed list of complaints and recommendations to Jeschonnek, who as a result, ordered the establishment of Der Inspektion des Seenotdienstes (Inspectorate of Air-Sea Rescue Services). Goltz was appointed Chief of the Inspectorate and promoted to the rank of Generalmajar (brigadier general).31

Early Summer, 1940

On 10 May 1940 Hitler's forces opened their attack in the West. Three days later the panzers of General Heinz Guderian crossed the Meuse at Sedan. Within a week German forces reached the English Channel, cutting off and trapping the Allied armies in Belgium.32

In spite of the lessons learned in Norway, the General Staff again failed to preposition search and rescue forces prior to Luftwaffe operations in Holland, Belgium, and France. Though the greater weight of air operations was concentrated in eliminating the French Air Force, the Luftwaffe had a secondary mission of keeping the Channel under observation and attacking British ships bringing reinforcements to the continent.33

During May, rescue operations were conducted on a shoestring as the Seenotdienst depended on interim solutions while trying to expand to meet the needs of the approaching confrontation over the Channel. General Goltz prevailed on Generalmajor Hans-George von Seidel, Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe (Quartermaster General of the Luftwaffe), to transfer 12 Heinkel He 59s from his resources to the rescue inventory. The Heinkels were flown to Kiel, where, following rapid conversion to white-painted rescue models, they joined the Air-Sea Rescue Service late in July.34

The Luftwaffe bombed Dover on 22 May and carried out its first attacks on RAF airfields three days later.35 In spite of the fighting over the Channel, Seenotdienst units did not move into France until after the armistice was signed on 22 June 1940. Goltz toured the French and Belgian coasts in late June and decided to establish three centers for air-sea rescue. He selected Boulogne as the center for northern Channel rescue operations, Cherbourg for the south Channel, and Brest for the Atlantic. In Holland, an Air-Sea Rescue Service Center was attached to the Naval Command Hague, and a base was established at Schellingwoude to monitor North Sea activities.36

Two Heinkels and two rescue boats were assigned to each of these bases. Since the 12 He 59s procured from the quartermaster had not been delivered, The German Air-Sea Rescue Service delivers the crew of a downed RAF bomber to safety in Holland, 1942. Goltz used his ingenuity to acquire and jury-rig French seaplanes for rescue duties. The army discovered two three-engine Breguet-Bizerte seaplanes on a lake near Bordeaux. * Mechanics repaired these planes, and they were soon active in support of German SAR efforts. When, in late July, the additional Heinkels became available, Seenotdienst units were established at Le Havre, Saint-Nazaire, and Royan.37

*Later the Vichy government provided six additional Breguets for the German Air-Sea Rescue Service.

The Luftwaffe mauled the Royal Air Force during the Battle of France. During May and June 1940, the RAF, by official British accounts, lost 959 aircraft, including 477 fighters.38 On 4 June, Fighter Command's inventory totaled only 466 operational machines, of which 331 were Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes. The British aircraft industry provided replacements for most of these losses by mid-July; nevertheless, combat attrition continued. The absence of an effective SAR capability aggravated the situation since the downing of an aircraft in the Channel or North Sea usually meant the loss of its aircrew.39

The Seenotdienst deployed with the Luftwaffe as the Germans massed along the English Channel in late June and early July. Luftflotten 2 and 3 established an operational boundary by drawing an arbitrary line north from the mouth of the Seine through the center of England into Scotland. By British estimates, the German air order of battle (AOB) stood at 1200 light bombers, 280 Ju 87 Sroka dive bombers, 760 single-engine and 220 twin-engine fighters.40

At the end of June, German troops were poised at Pas-de-Calais, prepared to initiate Operation Seelöwe (sea lion), the invasion of Britain. Both Hitler and Goering agreed on the necessity of achieving air superiority before conducting the Channel crossing. The Battle of Britain began with the Luftwaffe attempting to engage and destroy the RAF. It was during this phase of operations, when much of the fighting centered over the Channel, that the German Air-Sea Rescue Service proved its value.

Adolf Galland, one of Germany's top fighter aces, emphasized the importance of survival in the water following shootdown. According to Galland, since even single-engine German fighters carried inflatable rubber dinghies, it was preferable to ditch rather than bail out over the water. The Bf 109 and the Bf 110 usually floated for up to 60 seconds after first touching the water. A cool-headed pilot had plenty of time to unstrap, scramble out, inflate his collapsible dinghy, and clear the aircraft.41

British fighter pilots were not so fortunate. Cockpit space in both the Spitfire and the Hurricane was not sufficient to accommodate an inflatable dinghy. British pilots preferred to bail out rather than ditch their mangled machines, and after hitting the water they could rely only on their Mae West life jackets.

KRIEGSMARINE and Luftwaffe He 59 operations in the Channel were less humanitarian than those of the Seenotdienst. Navy Heinkels laid mines along British shipping lanes and at the entrances to ports and harbors. At night Luftwaffe Heinkels flew to selected locations along the English coast to drop off spies and saboteurs. No wonder the British became wary of the intentions of white-painted rescue planes operating near their coast.42

The flight log or Group Captain A. C. Deere recorded that on 11 July 1940, ". . . we had just crossed the coast at Deal where I spotted a silver-colored seaplane with Red Cross markings. . . behind it were a dozen Me 1O9s. "43 A fight ensued in which the seaplane was forced down. The Heinkel and its crew were captured. Entries in the pilot's log noted positions and movements of British convoys. Reconnaissance being definitely a military and not a humanitarian function, -the British decided to take repressive measures. On 13 July the Air Ministry released Bulletin 1254 which stated that as of 20 July air-sea rescue planes would be shot down. 44

Sir Winston Churchill presented a somewhat less legalistic and more sanguine interpretation of the issue when he wrote, "We did not recognize this means of rescuing enemy pilots so they could come and bomb our civil population again. . . all German air ambulances were forced down or shot down by our fighters on definite orders approved by the War Cabinet."45 It was Churchill's contention that since the 1929 Geneva Convention made no specific mention of rescue airplanes, such aircraft were not entitled to its protection.

The Germans claimed that their rescue aircraft were protected by Articles 3, 6, and 17 of the Convention. According to Article 3, " . . . the belligerent who remains in possession of the field of battle shall take measures to search for the wounded." Article 6 provided that, "Mobile sanitary formations, i.e., those which are intended to accompany armies in the field, and the fixed establishments belonging to the sanitary service shall be protected and respected by the belligerents." Article 17 claimed that, "Vehicles equipped for sanitary evacuation, traveling singly or in convoy, shall be treated as mobile sanitary formations. . . . "46

After 20 July, British attacks on Seenotdienst aircraft increased in frequency and ferocity. Colonel Otto Dreyer, squadron commander of the rescue unit at Cherbourg, reported that a British bomber machine-gunned his white-painted, red cross-marked, unarmed Heinkel as it taxied toward a downed aircrew. Dreyer's Heinkel caught fire and, sank, but the crew escaped on their life rafts and floated ashore on the Isle of AIderney the next day.47

In the light of the British actions, the General Staff ordered all rescue aircraft armed and painted to match the camouflage schemes in use in their area of operations. Though armed, the slow and cumbersome Heinkels and Breguet-Bizertes were no match for Spitfires and Hurricanes. In August, fighters began escorting rescue aircraft whenever mission requirements entailed operations in proximity to the English coast. Adolf Galland spoke of the gallantry of rescue crews that, with fighter escort, flew into the Thames estuary to pick up German and even English flyers. 48

By autumn, the primary focus of the air war had shifted to the interior of England as the Luftwaffe began bombing cities. The rescue forces varied their tactics according to the needs of the Luftwaffe and the policies of the British. Since fighter operations no longer centered on massive sweeps at specific times and places to draw the RAF into combat, rescue patrols were no longer needed. In October 1940, the Germans introduced the Sea Rescue Float as one remedy for the changing needs of the air war. These buoy-type floats contained bunks, blankets, dry clothes, food, water, and distress signals. Their distinctive yellow paint made them visible for many miles. Periodically, rescue boats as well as Heinkels checked the buoys. Since they attracted any distressed aviator, British and German alike, the RAF also sent launches to make occasional checks. The hapless airmen who made it to one of these floats never knew if they might be rescued by their own forces or picked up by the enemy and interned for the rest of the war.49

During the Battle of Britain the Seenotdienst performed a valuable service because German pilots who were shot down over the sea stood a good chance of being rescued. The actions of the Air-Sea Rescue Service crews drew high praise from fighter pilots like Adolf Galland. But, in a way, it was the British who paid the highest compliments to the effectiveness of the German rescue efforts. In the summer of 1940 the Air Ministry decided to destroy the Seenotdienst through military action, but, when Coastal Command sought to improve its almost nonexistent SAR program in 1941, they drew heavily on their enemy's model.

Losses suffered by the RAF in the Channel and North Sea made it evident that an improved rescue capability was urgently needed. In late July 1940, Air Vice Marshal Keith R. Park, Air Officer Commanding No. 11 Group of Fighter Command, borrowed 12 Lysander single-engine patrol aircraft from Army Cooperation Command. These planes worked in coordinated rescue efforts with launches and Royal Navy ships to locate and retrieve downed airmen. 50 Air Vice Marshal Sir Arthur T. Harris, Air Officer Commanding No.5 Group of Bomber Command, called a meeting at the Air Ministry in London to draft a plan for coordinating rescue efforts. The result was the establishment of a joint RAF I Royal Navy rescue apparatus, with the RAF responsible for organizing and performing aerial search and the Navy for making the actual pickup. 51

The growing British awareness of rescue needs was reHected in an improved record. While the rescue of a flyer downed off the coast in the summer of 1940 was a rarity, between February and August 1941, of the 1200 aircrew members who went down in the Channel or North Sea, 444 were saved. 52 During the same period the Seenotdienst picked up 78 other downed British Hyers.53

The United States, like Great Britain, entered World War II with almost no airsea rescue capability. As American aircrew casualties climbed, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, Commanding General, United States Army Air Forces, became concerned with the need for rescue. In September 1942, the Royal Air Force and the USAAF held a conference that led to an agreement on coordination of SAR efforts in the North Sea and English Channel. 54

American rescue pioneers learned from the Seenotdienst, and by 1945 air-sea rescue had improved to the point where chances of rescue were good, given adequate planning and prepositioning of forces. Rescue equipment, much of it patterned on German models, developed as the war progressed. Throughout the war nearly 5000 USAAF aircrew members were rescued, testifying to the improved conditions in air-sea rescue. By the end of the war, combat crews could reasonably expect to be picked up if they were shot down. 55

In World War II a number of German, British, and American airmen dedicated themselves to the saving of human lives. These men resolved that their comrades were not to be abandoned-not to death, or suffering, or captivity. This spirit soared above the carnage of war to proclaim a credo of rescue 'that has survived up to the present.

Office of Air Force History


1. Carl Hess, "The Air-5ea Rescue Service of the Luftwaffe in World War II" (unpublished manuscript. Air University, German Monograph Series, 1955), p. 52.

2. Michael Howard, The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871 (New York, 1962). pp. 325-26.

3. John L. Vandegrift. Jr., editor, A History of the Air Rescue Service (Winter Park. Florida, 1959), pp. 2-3.

4. Robert F. Futrell, Development of Aeromedical Evacuation in the USAF 1909-1960 (Research Studies Institute, Air University, 1960), pp. 9-10.

5. lbid.

6. Vandegrift, p. 3.

7. Richard Suchenwirth, The Development of the German Air Force, 1919-1939 (Air University, German Monograph Series, 1968), pp. ix-x.

8. "The Peace Treaty Between Germany and the Allies and their Associates, Together with the Final Protocol and the Agreement Concerning the Military Occupation of the Rhineland, Article 202," 28 June 1919, in Charles I. Bevans, editor, Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949, vol. 2: Multilateral, 1918-1930, p. 130. (The Treaty of Versailles)

9. Herbert Molloy Mason. Jr., The Rise of the Luftwaffe: Forging the Secret German Air Weapon, 1918-1940 (New York, 1973), pp. 72-87.

10. Francis L. Carsten, The Reichswehr and Politics, 1918 to 1945 (Oxford, 1966), p. 221.

11. John W. Wheeler-Bennett, The Nemesis of Power: The German Army in Politics, 1918-1945 (London. 1953), pp. 130-33.

12. William Green, Warplanes of the Third Reich (New York, 1970), p. 404.

13. See Mason, pp. 151-64; Suchenwirth. pp. 12-17; Wheeler-Bennett, pp. 130-33.

14. Leonard Mosely, The Reich Marshal: A Biography of Hermann Goering (New York, 1974), pp. 183-85.

15. See Mason, pp. 151-84, and Suchenwirth, pp. 12-17.

16. Hess, pp. 27-28.

17. Ibid.

18. Suchenwirth, p. 176.

19. Hess, pp. 6-7.

20. Air Ministry, The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, 1939-1945 (London, 1947), pp. 33-34.

21. See Hess, p. 31, Suchenwirth. p. 259.

22. Professor Dr. Schroeder, "Medical and Health Services in the German Air Force" (unpublished manuscript, Air University, German Monograph Series, 1968), pp. 89-93.

23. Denis Richards, Royal Air Force, 1939-1945, vol. I: The Fight at Odds (London. 1953). pp. 42-43.

24. Cajus Bekker, The Luftwaffe War Diaries (New York, 1969), pp.87-94.

25. Hess, p. 33a.

26. Frank E. Ransom, Air Sea Rescue: 1941-1952 (Research Studies Institute, Air University. 1954), p. 23.

27. Mason, pp. 319-20.

28. Ibid.

29. Hess, pp. 38a-39.

30. Ibid.

31. See Karl-Heinz Völker, Die Deutesche Luftwaffe, 1933-1939, Aufhau,Führungund Rustung der Luftwaffe sowie die Entwicklung der deuschen Luftkriegstheorie (Stuttgart, 1967), p. 288, and Hess, p. 35.

32. B. H. Liddell Hart, History of the Second World War (New York: 1970), p. 65.

33. Wilhelm Speidel, "Luftwaffe Operations in the West, 1939-40, Part IV, Operation Gelb (Yellow)" (unpublished Air University Study in the German Monograph Series, 1955), pp. 440-41.

34. Hess, pp. 8-9.

35. Speidel, p. 31.

36. Hess, pp. 56-59.

37. Ibid., p. 61.

38. Richards, vol. I, p. 150.

39. Derek Dempster and Derek Wood, The Narrow Margin, The Battle of Britain and the Rise of Air Power, 1930-1940 (New York, 1961), pp. 81-100.

40. Air Ministry, Rise and Fall of the German Air Force, pp. 75-76.

41. Adolf Galland, The First and the Last: The Rise and Fall of the German Fighter Forces, 1938-1945 (New York, 1954), p. 45.

42. Green, pp. 276-77.

43. Dempster and Wood, pp. 240-41.

44. Air Ministry Bulletin No. 1254, 13 July 1940. Quoted in James M. Spaight, Air Power and War Rights (London, 1947), p. 361.

45. Winston S. Churchill. Their Finest Hour, vol. II of The Second World War (Boston, 1946), p. 332.

46. "Convention of Geneva of 27 July, 1929, for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field," found in Bevans, Treaties and Other International Agreements, vol. 2, Multilateral, p. 971.

47. Hess, p. 61a.

48. Galland, p. 33.

49. Vandegrift, pp. 6-7.

50. Richards, p. 159.

51. Dempster and Wood, p. 297.

52. Denis Richards and Hilary St. George, Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939-1945, vol. II: The Fight Avails (London, 1954), pp. 87-88.

53. Hess, Appendix, p. 170.

54. Vandegrift, p. 10.

55. Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, editors, The Army Air Forces in World War II, vol. VII: Services around the World (Chicago, 1958), p. 480.


Captain Earl H. Tilford Jr., (M.A., University of Alabama) is assigned to the Office of Air Force History, Hq USAF, where he is researching and writing a history of search and rescue in Southeast Asia. Additionally, he is studying for his Ph.D. in military history at George Washington University. Previous assignments have included tours as an intelligence analyst in Thailand and at Hq Strategic Air Command.


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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