• La Luftwaffe en Belgique, Tome I. Conquête et installation Collection Histoire des Unités n°15

    From September 1939 and throughout the ‚Funny War‘, the airspace of neutral Belgium was criss-crossed by belligerent aircraft taking advantage of the weakness of Military Aeronautics. German reconnaissance planes were thus able to identify future invasion routes. On May 10, 1940, the Wehrmacht entered the country and, until the end of that month, fighting raged in the Belgian sky, which had become a major strategic challenge for the invaders. With the withdrawal of the British expeditionary force, air engagements became rare (although still active in France) which allowed the Luftwaffe services to establish themselves very quickly in the country to restore the airfields as well as the military structures that could serve them.
    After the French capitulation at the end of June 1940, Belgium experienced little daylight air combat, whether during the Battle of Britain or the Non-Stop Offensive in 1941, being ‚protected‘ by the distance separating it from the RAF fighter bases. At most, ships and a few ports became the targets of the British air force.
    On the other hand, Belgium was (like the Netherlands) on one of the direct routes taken by the aircraft of Bomber Command leaving at night to attack the factories of the Ruhr. Hence the rapid establishment in the country of night fighter units (Nachtjagd) which were to make a name for themselves (the famous ‚Ghosts of Saint-Trond‘ feared by the crews of the RAF).
    The period 1939-1942 was therefore contrasted with bloody fighting during the offensive in the west followed by relative tranquility in the Belgian skies only disturbed by a rise in power of Bomber Command. The few intrusions of the heavy Americans in 1942 remained anecdotal although harbingers of a growing threat.
    With about 550 photos.

  • La Luftwaffe en Belgique, Tome II. Fighting escalation and withdrawal. Collection Histoire des Unités n°16

    In 1941-1942, if we do not take into account the night operations of Bomber Command, the air war ultimately had little effect on Belgium. 1943, the pivotal year of the Second World War, was however marked for this country by the increasing intrusion of the ‚Viermots‘ of the American VIIIth Airforce who, until then, had shown little expression in its airspace.
    Since 6th of April 1943, the population discovered the deadly power of the ‚Flying Fortresses‘ during the bloody bombing of Mortsel. On this occasion, we could apprehend the local weakness of the Tagjagd (day hunt). Despite a regular call to hunters based in the vicinity or temporary transfers of portions of Jagdeschwader, the German hunt (supported by the Flak) could hardly contain the assaults of the USAAF.
    Since the first quarter of 1944, when American fighters now had autonomy to fly over Reich territory, the daytime defense of the Belgian defensive glacis collapsed and aerial combat in the Belgian sky turned into bloody setbacks for a Tagjagd still present but numerically dominated.
    Despite its important successes and the strengthening of its structures (such as the entry into service of the Florennes airfield at the beginning of 1943), the Nachtjagd in turn suffered the law of numbers and it was probably during the last quarter of 1943 that its aircraft lost the game. Although fighting foot to foot, the Nachtjäger could no longer seriously block the British four-engine fleets going to bomb the Reich.
    The ordeal of the Luftwaffe in Belgium continued in 1944 until the evacuation of the country in September 1944.
    However, aerial fighting continued sporadically in the east of the country, culminating in December 1944 with the outbreak of the ‚Battle of the Bulge‘. But, despite the efforts and sacrifices made, the Luftwaffe was no longer able to carry any decision (as was the case on 1 January 1945 during Operation Bodenplatte).
    In 1945, pushed back to the east, the German aircraft rarely manifested themselves on Belgium, the last of them seeming to have been lost on March 30 at Saint-Géry.
    With more than 550 b/w pictures!!