Hugo Sperrle

Hugo Sperrle : Nazi Germany

Hugo Sperrle, the son of a brewer, was born in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 7th February, 1885. He joined the German Army in 1903 as an ensign in the infantry.

On the outbreal of the First World War Sperrle was transferred to the German Army Air Service where he served as an observer for four years.

After the war he joined the right-wing Freikorps group. He rejoined the German Army after the airforce was banned under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

When Hermann Goering announced the formation of the Luftwaffe, Sperrle immediately joined and was given the rank of major general. In 1936 Sperrle went to Spain as head of the Condor Legion. His chief of staff was Wolfram von Richthofen, the cousin of the First World War flying ace, Manfred von Richthofen.

The Condor Legion was initially equipped with around 100 aircraft and 5,136 men. Sperrle demanded higher performance aircraft from Germany and he eventually received the Heinkel He111, Junkers Stuka and the Messerschmitt Bf109. The Condor Legion participated in all the major engagements in the Spanish Civil War including Brunete, Teruel, Aragon and Ebro.

In October 1937 he returned to Nazi Germany to become commander of Air Fleet 3. Sperrle played an important role in the blitzkrieg tactics used during the Western Offensive. He remained in France and in May 1941 he became air commander in the west. However, he was unable to stop the Allied landing in Normandy in June 1944. Two months later he was dismissed from office.

After the war Sperrle was charged with war crimes but was acquitted of all charges at Nuremberg. Hugo Sperrle died in Munich on 4th April 1953.