In World War II field marshal Sperrle was the commander of an entire air fleet – the so-called “Luftflotte 3”, which had the task of attacking the western part of the United Kingdom.
German Field Marshal Hugo Sperrle was born on this day. He is known as one of the chief commanders of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in World War II. Besides, already before the war he had an extremely important function as a commander of a well-known German Condor Legion, which was the backbone of the German forces in the Spanish Civil War.
Field Marshal Hugo Sperrle was born in the German town of Ludwigsburg, not far from Stuttgart. That city was named after Duke Eberhard Ludwig von Württemberg who built himself one of the largest castles in Germany there. The city of Ludwigsburg is also known for being the headquarters of the famous Wüstenrot association.
Sperrle became the first commander of the Condor Legion in Spain in 1936. Interestingly, his right-hand man and chief of staff was Baron Wolfram von Richthofen, cousin of the famous flying ace Manfred von Richrofen (the “Red Baron”). In World War II field marshal Sperrle was the commander of an entire air fleet – the so-called “Luftflotte 3”, which had the task of attacking the western part of the United Kingdom. Sperrle then came into conflict with his commander – the powerful Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring.
Namely, Göring decided at one point to refocus the Luftwaffe bombing on English civilian targets, especially the city centers. Sperrle opposed to that. Specifically, such a bombing was inhumane, and it also deterred the German attacks from the most important targets – the English airports and infrastructure. At the end, Göring’s decision indeed proved disastrous. The Germans failed to destroy the British Royal Air Force (RAF), so the possibility to invade Great Britain was lost.
After the war, the Allies tried field marshal Sperrle but, interestingly, he was acquitted. He lived the rest of his life quietly and died in Munich in 1953.