Frank Gerards

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Luftwaffe Pilot training in WW II
Supervisors:  Dr Armin Grünbacher and Dr Jonathan Boff
PhD History


My PhD project started in October 2020 and the working title for now is: Why did Luftwaffe pilot training in WWII fail? The defeat of the Luftwaffe is generally attributed to attrition as a result of the overwhelming pressure exercised by the Allies in the air war over Germany, leading to the de facto demise of the Luftwaffe in the first half of 1944. This emphasis on Allied air power has obscured factors on the German side, i.e. decisions and processes in the Luftwaffe that also played a significant role. One of these factors is Luftwaffe pilot training which in most secondary literature is only referred to in passing remarks.

My thesis attempts to dig deeper into the attitudes, culture, organization and execution of Luftwaffe pilot recruitment, selection and training. Was Luftwaffe pilot training indeed the 'stepchild of the Luftwaffe' or is there more to it?