2010-05-09 03:48:27 UTC
By Jim Newsom
The following is an interview with Anna Kresiling - The White Wolf of
the Luftwaffe- of what it was like to fly the Junkers Ju-52/3m
trimotor in World War II.
James: How many Lady pilots flew with the Luftwaffe in World War II?
Anna: At the beginning of the war there were 50 pilots that flew
transport aircraft, and there were many more who trained our young
fledgling pilots, but both Hitler and Goering were against women
flying fighters and bombers in combat. In Russia there were many women
that flew fighters and bombers for Stalin.
James: I have flown in the Ford Trimotor, The Junkers Ju-52/3m has
always been one of my favorite airplanes, what was it like to fly?
Anna: The Junkers was an amazing and beautiful aircraft to fly! At
Stalingrad sometimes I made take-offs with only two engines running.
If you had only one engine running you could maintain altitude.
Visability was wonderful, but the Junkers was a complex aircraft and
you needed a great instructor if you wanted to learn quickly how to
fly the trimotor.
James: You mentioned STALINGRAD, was that the nightmare we read so
much about in history books?
Anna: Stalingrad was a living hell, but what happened at Crete was far
worse. For our airborne assault on Crete we had over 450 Junkers Ju-52
trimotors filled with paratroopers. We were told that we would not
encounter ack ack flak, and taking the island would be easy. However,
the island was filled with Australian, New Zealand, and British troops
who fought like hell and we lost over half our planes and troops
taking that island. I was not there; I was lucky because I was based
at France at the time. We lost so many good pilots and men at Crete.
We would have won the war against Russia if we had saved those planes
James: Speaking of Russia, tell me about Stalingrad.
Anna: For many years I could not talk about it, it was too terrible.
Goering who had promised Hitler that he could re-supply Stalingrad
from the air had no idea what he was talking about. Von Pailis and the
6th Army should have been ordered to fight their way out. But Hitler
agreed to airlift when Paulus agreed to stay, that victory was near.
The Junkers Ju-52/3m flew 95% of all the missions into Stalingrad.
Other planes also flew in this massive airlift, but the Junkers was
the workhorse. The nightmare was crashing into Stalingrad itself. If
you were captured by the Russians, they brutally tortured you before
they would kill you. At Stalingrad we had over 7,000 women working in
the German Army that Hitler wanted flown out because what the Russians
would do to them.
At Stalingrad we had over 350,000 men fighting the communist hoardes,
but it was not enough. We Didn’t have enough fuel, fighters, trained
mechanics, and even decent runways to work with. I usually flew out of
Tatsinskaya with food and supplies loaded aboard. I also carried three
gunners, two in the waist position and one on top. At Stalingrad
Russian Yaks were everywhere and our losses were grim.
The Russian Yak was very similar to the British Spitfire, very
maneuverable and fast. If they came out of the sun and caught you by
surprise, it was all over. However, many Russian pilots made the
mistake of approaching slowly from behind and that is when my young
men would shoot them down.
Once I heard of a gunner who ran out of ammunition, and in desperation
threw toilet paper at the Russian Yak, and the Russian was frightened
away by it!! The Russians did not know what toilet paper was, so this
pilot probably thought the gunner was throwing a bomb at him. This
trick worked many times.
James: What were the casualties at Stalingrad?
Anna: We lost 800 Ju-52 trimotors at Stalingrad, so many great superb
pilots we lost. Germany never recovered from these losses. Hitler
should have resigned and the High Command surrender to the Americans
and British. I only survived through luck and determination not to be
captured by the Russians. It is easy to be brave with two engines on
fire when the alternative is to be captured by the Russians.
James: Is there anything you would like to say to the young people
Anna: Yes, flying is a great adventure, it is a joy that is boundless,
but try to do your flying when people are not trying to shoot you
down. Flying into Stalingrad was not fun, but we had to do it, we
could not let so many young men die. The future will be better for
everyone if we could be at peace and flying could be enjoyed for what
it is, the most fun that you can have!! The memories of flying the
Alps in a Junkers Ju-52/3m will be with me forever!!