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Hugo Sperrle
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1987-121-30A, Hugo Sperrle.jpg
Hugo Sperrle in 1940
Born (1885-02-07)7 February 1885
Ludwigsburg, German Empire
Died 2 April 1953(1953-04-02) (aged 68)
Munich, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (1903–18)
 Weimar Republic (1918–33)
 Nazi Germany (1933–44)
Service/branch Imperial German Army (1903–14)
Luftstreitkräfte (1914–18)
Reichswehr (1918–35)
Luftwaffe (1935–44)
Years of service 1903–1944
Rank Generalfeldmarschall
Unit Condor Legion
Commands held 1 Fliegerdivision
Luftflotte 3
Battles/wars
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Spanish Cross

Hugo Sperrle (7 February 1885 – 2 April 1953) was a German military aviator in World War I and a Generalfeldmarschall in the Luftwaffe during World War II.

Born in 1885 Sperrle joined the Imperial German Army in 1903. He served in the artillery upon the outbreak of World War I. In 1914 he joined the Luftstreitkräfte as an observer then trained as a pilot. Sperrle ended the war at the rank of Hauptmann (Captain) in command of an aerial reconnaissance attachment of a field army.

In the inter-war period Sperrle was appointed to the General Staff in the Reichswehr, serving the Weimar Republic in the aerial warfare branch. In 1934 after Nazi Party seized power, Sperrle was promoted to Generalmajor (Brigadier General) and transferred from the army to the Luftwaffe. Sperrle was given command of the Condor Legion in November 1936 and fought with the expeditionary force in the Spanish Civil War until October 1937. The Legion attracted global attention for the ruthless bombing of towns and cities in Spain.

Sperrle was appointed as commanding officer of Luftwaffengruppenkommando 3 (Air Force Group Command 3) the forerunner of Luftflotte 3 (Air Fleet 3) in February 1938. Sperrle was used during the Anschluss and Czech crisis by the Nazi leadership to threaten other governments with bombardment. Sperrle attended several important meetings with Austrian and Czech leaders for this purpose upon the invitation of Adolf Hitler.

In September 1939 World War II began with the invasion of Poland. Sperrle and his air fleet served exclusively on the Western Front. He played a crucial role in the Battle of France and Battle of Britain in 1940. In 1941 Sperrle directed operations during The Blitz over Britain. From mid-1941 his air fleet became the sole command in the west. Through 1941 and 1942 he defended German-occupied Europe against the Royal Air Force, as well as the United States Army Air Forces from 1943. Sperrle's command was depleted in the battles of attrition forced on him by the Combined Bomber Offensive.

By mid-1944 Sperrle's air fleet had been reduced to impotence and it could not repel the Allied landings in Western Europe. As a consequence, Sperrle was dismissed to the Führerreserve and never held a senior command again. On 1 May 1945 he was captured by the British. After the war, he was charged with war crimes at the High Command Trial but was acquitted. Sperrle was involved in the bribery of senior Wehrmacht officers.

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