(7 February 1885 – 2 April 1953) was a German field marshal
of the Luftwaffe
during World War II
Early life and career
Born in Ludwigsburg
, he joined the German Army in 1903 and transferred to the Luftstreitkräfte
(German Army Air Service) at the start of World War I
, serving as an observer to the end of the war.
Between the wars
Sperrle joined the Freikorps
at the end of the war after the disbanding of the Air Service, before rejoining the German Army.
He entered the newly formed Luftwaffe
in 1935 and served as commander of the Condor Legion
during the Spanish Civil War
, with Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen
serving as his chief of staff.
Second World War
He led the German Luftflotte 3
(Air Fleet 3) in May and June 1940. In July 1940, he was made a Generalfeldmarschall
of the Luftwaffe. Sperrle advised that Britain
's Royal Air Force
had to be destroyed to ensure a successful invasion of Britain. Air Fleet 3, stationed in northern France, played a major role in the Battle of Britain
, from June 1940 to October 1940 and the The Blitz
, to May 1941. His forces continued to bomb Britain until the autumn, 1941.
He continued to command his forces to support Erwin Rommel
in the North African Campaign
and took full command over the German air forces in Western Europe
in 1944, shortly before D-Day
. Because of the Luftwaffe's failure to prevent the Normandy landings, due to a severe lack of aircraft, he was dismissed from command in August 1944.
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