Tuesday, 7 April 2020

new and forthcoming from Chandos - Blitz bombers - Arado 234 jets of KG 76 in the West 1944-45

..from Chandos Publications' Rich Carrick;

 " Hi guys - it give me great pleasure to announce that I am now taking pre-orders for Chandos Publications' second title 'Blitz Bombers, Kampfgeschwader 76 and the Arado Ar 234: Luftwaffe Jet Bombers on the Western Front 1944-1945' by Eddie J. Creek and Robert Forsyth. (RRP £50, Postage: £4.00 UK, £14 Europe, £20 USA and Canada, £21 ROW)
Aimed at aviation fans (and model makers) in general and Luftwaffe aficionados in particular. Please head on over to my website to place your pre-order. I expect to take delivery towards the end of June but PLEASE allow for COVID-19 related delays! I have been assured that our printers are operating normally..."

This is the first time that the story of the Arado Ar 234 as the world’s first dedicated jet-bomber has been told in such detail in the English language. In late December 1944 the Luftwaffe surprised the Allies when it unexpectedly introduced a new, high-speed bomber to its inventory. Though deployed in small numbers, the Arado Ar 234 B-2 jet-bomber proved itself an effective day and night strike aircraft over the Western Front and a tough challenge for Allied fighter pilots who tried to counter it. Powered by the same Jumo 004 turbojets as the Me 262, the Ar 234 could attack pinpoint targets such as transport hubs or enemy vehicle columns and troop assemblies in ‘glide attacks’ with a high degree of impunity. The jets were flown by experienced and often highly decorated Luftwaffe bomber pilots who worked hard to master the new aircraft in a short time and amidst the chaotic conditions of a Third Reich in decline. ‘Blitz Bombers’ tells the story of KG 76’s operations when equipped with what was the world’s first jet bomber, the Arado Ar 234 B-2. The book is founded on original unit diaries, reports and other records, as well as various German and Allied material drawn from archives and private collections gathered over many years. It traces KG 76’s period working up on the aircraft and its subsequent combat operations over the Western Front from December 1944 through to the end of the war. The Geschwader’s jets took part in operations over the Ardennes, in the ill-fated Bodenplatte attack of New Year’s Day 1945, in missions against the Allied armies driving into the Reich in early 1945, and in a series of intensive strikes against the Ludendorff bridge at Remagen and the bridgehead established there by the Allies in March 1945. Following many years research, the book includes nearly 300 illustrations, comprised of rare photographs of KG 76’s aircraft, personnel and equipment, as well as the Allied aircraft and pilots who encountered the Arados in combat, plus key documents taken from the unit’s records. These are supplemented by specially commissioned and highly detailed colour artwork depicting the unit’s aircraft.


Monday, 6 April 2020

review 'Luftwaffe in Africa " - Jean-Louis Roba, Casemate Illustrated series, 'Black Tulip' by Erik Schmidt

a new review  of the 'Luftwaffe in Africa " title by Jean-Louis Roba (Casemate Illustrated series). This review is published in the latest issue of the bi-monthly Iron Cross magazine..indulge me here, I don't often get asked to work for a 'mainstream' publisher and when I do it doesn't usually get reviewed ...

The Casemate Illustrated series are 'Osprey-like' monographs of 128 glossy pages with neat glossy card covers, 150-200 photos and profile artworks by Vincent Dhorne. This particular volume features newly translated first-person accounts by this blog author and covers aspects of the campaign in North Africa that are generally little known; KG 26 raids on the Suez Canal, KG 40 Fw 200 transport missions, Go 242 glider units and the end in Tunisia with JG 77 to cite just a few examples from the text..

Also published by Casemate this month is Erik Schmidt's life of Erich Hartmann entitled 'Black Tulip'. This is a book that will quite probably divide the air-warfare enthusiast fraternity but possibly interest a more general readership. According to the blurb 'Black Tulip' is the dramatic story of history's top fighter ace..
" over 1,404 wartime missions, Hartmann claimed a staggering 352 airborne kills, and his career contains all the dramas you would expect. There were the frostbitten fighter sweeps over the Eastern Front, drunken forays to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, a decade of imprisonment in the wretched Soviet POW camps, and further military service during the Cold War that ended with conflict and angst.."

Of course everyone knows that Hartmann achieved '352' victories even today. Only ONE writer has come out and said 'no he didn't' - and he's been dismissed because he's Russian. Guys like Hartmann are 'heroes' - or had to become so during the Cold War  because by then they were on our side..of course Schmidt's book is subtitled 'the Myth...' The 'myth' is the story of how his service on the Eastern Front with JG 52 (and briefly with JG 53, although not even mentioned by the author)  was simplified and elevated to a particular sort of Western mythology during the Cold War, driven by a network of writers and commentators personally invested in his welfare and reputation. " These men, mostly Americans, published elaborate, celebratory stories about Hartmann and his elite fraternity of Luftwaffe pilots. With each dogfight tale put into print, Hartmann’s legacy became loftier and more secure, and his complicated service in support of Nazism faded away. A simplified, one-dimensional account of his life - devoid of the harder questions about allegiance and service under Hitler - has gone unchallenged for almost a generation..."

So the author's discussion of how Hartmann's wartime career has been portrayed is regularly punctuated with 'reminders' that Hitler fought a terrible war of conquest and that the guys flying the planes with the red stars were NOT the 'enemy'. (..which is a little tricky since post-war for a very long period and to the average American they most certainly were..)  " Here was a tough-as-nails freedom-seeker who had been swallowed into the Soviet camps and then soared out of them, a man whose fighting values would have put him at home in the U.S. Army Air Corps or the Royal Air Force at any time..."

This however ends on page 117 of 'Black Tulip'. The second half of the book was probably the most interesting part of the book for me  as Schmidt discusses the ace's return from captivity and his 'reinsertion' into 'professional' life. This of course coincided with the 'rebirth' of the German nation (or at least the Western half..). However as a 'Diamonds' winner Hartmann very quickly found himself being passed over for promotions ' by pilots who had never flown a combat sortie or fired a shot in anger..'

'Black Tulip' looks a little harder at Hartmann and so much of the German Wehrmacht in general. Re-evaluating Hartmann's career Schmidt uses all the secondary sources that are to hand. Many airwar enthusiasts will be familiar with them. He sets out to counter the narrative of 'chivalrous knight' of the sky that 'filtered' into the market-place post-war. He argues that post-war writers have created a 'comfortably clean view' of the Luftwaffe aces as happened with other branches of the Wehrmacht. He concludes that while many of Hartmann's ilk were not full-blown Nazis they were hardly 'Blond Knights' either..

Friday, 3 April 2020

Fw 190 in Brussels Evere

" ...On 4 November 1944, 416 Sqn RCAF moved to Base 56 at Evere, Belgium, an ex-German Luftwaffe airfield. When the RCAF pilots flew their Spitfires into the former Luftwaffe base [5 November 1944] they found one abandoned Fw 190 fighter aircraft. Many photos were taken on or beside this enemy fighter, including four images by pilot Gordon Hill...

This became the first German fighter aircraft seen up close by most of the Canadian Spitfire pilots and they climbed all over the enemy fighter... A month later, the British Army came to remove the fighter and it blew-up. It had been booby trapped by the retreating German troops. A lesson learned the hard way by all pilots in 416 Squadron...

From the Clarence Simonson blog 'Preserving the Past' " The making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire pilot"

Fw 190 A-8. WNr. 680883
(Best image I’ve seen of this machine, my collection via James V. Crow- click on the image to view large. Note that in the last two photos most ‘detachable’ parts of the airframe have gone!)

III./JG 51 Gefr. Gabriel Tautscher - Ebay photo find #328

III./JG 51 Gefr. Gabriel Tautscher, "hochgenommen" to mark his 50th. He was a recipient of the  DKiG for this achievement.

Rare image of one of only 24 Jagdflieger to achieve 50 victories and not to have been awarded the RK. By late 1943 award criteria was at least 75 victories and a number of aces had returned well over one hundred victories before being awarded the RK.
Tautscher returned his first victory on October 23, 1942 south-west of Subzow (captured October 11, 1941 and retaken by the Red Army during the first Rschew-Sytschowka-Operation on August 23, 1942). Tautscher was the highest scorer in 9.Staffel during the Kursk offensive. His best day was 12 July 1943  - he claimed three LaGG -3 and two MiG-1 fighters and added another two victories the following day. On July 17 he claimed four - three LaGG-3s and a single LaGG-5. He scored at regular intervals through August 1943 with his next handful of claims not being until December.
Tautscher of 9. Staffel was shot down by Soviet anti-aircraft fire - Flakvolltreffer -on January 12, 1944 north of Osaritschi. This was also the date of his final 'claim', an Il-2 - it was usual Jagdwaffe practise to assign a final claim to a fallen ace. Tautscher's final 'score' was 55 vics.
Photo published on p. 244 of " Das Jagdgeschwader 51 - JG Mölders" by Paul Stipdonk and Michael Meyer.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Eduard Junkers Ju 52 'Airliner' 1:144 kit in "Where Eagles Dare" scheme custom decals

Model and model photos and custom-made decals via Jasonb13

" ..I have wanted to do this scheme for a while and picked up the Eduard Ju 52 'Airliner' kit in 1:144 scale in December 2017 and finally started it late last year. I got the decals custom made but they got lost in the Christmas post so had to be re-sent, so I only got it finished a couple of days ago.

It's a decent kit, but I had some fit issues, especially with the windows section, as the two strips for the windows are clear (both the windows themselves and the surrounding area) so it's hard to get them flush with the plastic fuselage sides. I also had some issues with the method I tried to use to do the camo, so all in all this isn't as 'smooth' a build as I would have liked! As to the camo scheme (see diagram of camo finish below) I'm pretty sure that it is finished overall white from what I can see from freezing the DVD and also pics online of the Swiss aircraft used. I think it looks like the movie aircraft - and I'm happy enough to have a model of such an iconic aircraft on the shelf - and from such an iconic film!...."

Kit: Eduard Ju-52 'Airliner'
Scale: 1:144
Paint & Weathering: Airbrushed with One Shot Mig Primer and Revell Aqua Colours, Weathered with Oils.
Extras: Bedlam Creations Custom Decals for 'Where Eagles Dare' scheme.

".. the decals were done by Bedlam Creations (https://www.bedlamcreations.com/custom-waterslide-decals/) and the option I went with was the 'Thermal Resin ALPS' 2" x 3" which cost $10 + Shipping. Obviously, depending on the size of the decal sheets you want, it could cost more. I found them very helpful, and even though the original sheet was lost in the post, they reprinted and re-shipped free of charge..."

Below - a single click to view here. The final chase scene from the film "Where Eagles Dare" featuring the all-white Swiss Air Force Junkers Ju 52 rented for the filming. This machine is better known as Ju Air HB-HOT which sadly crashed on 4 August 2018 in Switzerland with the loss of all onboard. The Ju 52 was still in Swiss AF service at the time of filming "Where Eagles Dare" - note the over-painted Swiss AF roundels on the lower wing surfaces! Note too the ex-Swiss AF T-6s masquerading as Messerschmitts in the clip. Starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood of course. Filmed on location at Aigen i. Ennstal (military) airfield, Austria.


Also on this blog - building the Italeri 72nd scale Ju 52 as the 450 RAAF hack 'Libyan Clipper'

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Jagdfliegerverbände Teil 13/V - Einsatz in der Reichsverteidigung und im Westen

The latest Jagdfliegerverbände volume has arrived. Teil 13/V comprises 484 pages and some 212 photos and covers JGs 7, 11, 26, 27, 53 and 54 as well as JGr. 10. The 7-page Appendix in this volume features JG 2 during 1942/1943 with many images new to me. The five volumes so far published in Teil 13 covering 1944 - Defence of the Reich and deployment in the West - amount to some 2,500 pages of text and 1,000 + great photos! From Jochen Prien;

 "... JFV Vol. 13/VI is also finished and will go to the printer before the end of the month. It will have appr. 300 pages and 150 + photos, covering JGs 76, 77, 300, 301, 302 as well as the parts of JG 5 fighting against the western allies from Norway. The miscellaneous units - Ergänzungs- and training units etc. - will be dealt with in an extra volume after the main series has been completed. Next will be Vol. 14, service in the MTO in 1944, which is almost finished. As of now it will be a single volume comprising some 500 pages and 300 + photos. The team has found a very important and effective addition - beginning with Vol. 13/V Ulf Balke will be an official member of the JFV team. He has accompanied the series from the very beginning and his input has been essential in many ways so far. We are very happy to have Ulf on board..."

Note these volumes can be purchased from jagdgeschwader.net or from publisher Buchverlag Rogge's ebay site here

Also on this blog;

" The story behind the Luftwaffe books ";  author interview with Dr. Jochen Prien