Albert Kesselring (30 November 1885 – 16 July 1960) was a German Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany’s most skilful commanders, being one of 27 soldiers awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Nicknamed “Smiling Albert” by the Allies and “Uncle Albert” by his troops, he was one of the most popular generals of World War II with the rank and file.
During World War II he commanded air forces in the invasions of Poland and France, the Battle of Britain, and Operation Barbarossa. As Commander-in-Chief South, he was overall German commander in the Mediterranean theatre, which included the operations in North Africa. Kesselring conducted a stubborn defensive campaign against the Allied forces in Italy until he was injured in an accident in October 1944. In the final campaign of the war, he commanded German forces on the Western Front. He won the respect of his Allied opponents for his military accomplishments, but his record was marred by massacres committed by troops under his command in Italy.
After the war, Kesselring was tried for war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment. A political and media campaign resulted in his release in 1952, ostensibly on health grounds. He was one of only two Generalfeldmarschalls to publish his memoirs (the second being Erich von Manstein), entitled Soldat bis zum letzten Tag (A Soldier to the Last Day)... (see more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/)
- Head-and-shoulders portrait of a uniformed Nazi German air force general in his 50s wearing an Iron Cross.
- Kesselring at the controls of a Siebel Fh 104 aircraft.
- Kesselring (left), with his chief of staff, Wilhelm Speidel (centre), and Hermann Göring (right) – 1940.
- Kesselring in 1940.
- North Africa, February 1942. Kesselring (right) meets with Erwin Rommel (left) and Fritz Bayerlein of the Afrika Korps.
- Kesselring inspects the front near Monte Cassino in April 1944. He attempted to maintain contact with the front line troops with frequent inspection tours.