Sunday, 24 December 2017

latest new Luftwaffe books and the contenders for Luftwaffe 'book of the year' ? Jochen Prien's Jagdfliegerverbände series

The latest Prien/Stemmer/Bock Jagdfliegerverbände volume arrived here a while ago -apologies for not talking about it sooner! I do appreciate of course that this volume has been out for a while and there is probably no need to introduce this series to the hard-core enthusiast. There is even talk that Vol 13/III may be published soon as well - see the annoucement from Jochen Prien below. Volume 13/II is entitled Reichsverteidigung 1944 and covers 'Defence of the Reich' from June to December 1944 and operations in the West from October 1944 to the end of that year in 600 pages of closely-typed German text. The photo content is quite simply amazing and superbly reproduced on thicker, glossy paper with many images via the 'Archive of Modern Conflict'. Look out for some colour shots of JG 300 Bf 109s and a good number of rare images of JG 302 machines. There are many other photographic highlights, one of my personal favourites being a view of Gkr. Siegfried Lemke of III./JG 2 with his pilots in front of some of the unit's Fw 190s dating from October 1944. Lemke is of course a pilot about whom very little is known.

"...tomorrow the complete manuscript of JFV 13/III will go to the printer. It will cover the service of the Luftwaffe day fighter units in the West from 1 January to 30 September 1944, thus completing the narrative part of the year 1944 for Reichsverteidigung and the West. The new Volume will comprise 678 pages with 246 photos. Vol. 13/IV and V will complete this part of the series with the usual General Part - command-structure, strength, newly introduced a/c types, camouflage and markings etc. - a very short summary of each unit's service and of course the usual tables with claims and losses etc..."

New from Lela Presse is this reissue (in French) of Peter Taghon's LG 1 history (Volume 1).  While this is a soft-back card-covered book, the paper is nice and thick and glossy and a world away from the thin almost see-though paper of the original German language edition. So the reader can enjoy much better photo reproduction, Thierry Dekker artworks and a Bundesarchiv colour series devoted to the unit - some of the images are reproduced in full A-4 page size. Taghon's book was of course largely devoted to personal accounts by the veterans themselves and is thus very 'immediate' with little in the way of footnotes or other obstacles to hamper 'readability' (aside from the language issue if you can't manage the French of course..).

.. My (purchased) copy of Philippe Saintes history of JG 54 arrived from Lela Presse. As an 'Avions' subscriber you get a reasonable discount. I've only spent a short time with my copy before going to work, but it looks great. A very nicely done volume - card covered softback, thick glossy pages. Loads of images -850 according to the blurb- over 304 pages. A small amount of over-lap with another recent JG 54 publication. Some profile artworks vertical full page, others are printed across the A-4 page horizontally and are much smaller. I noticed that the photo of the actual machine is more often than not printed alongside the artwork.Some colour pics. All of it well crammed in. French text. Admittedly not 850 photos as advertised - apparently there are 'only' 813 photos within the book's 304 pages. Not bad, and while some photos look a little 'dodgy' this is a good replacement for the 'old' Schiffer JG 54 photo album! As for 'known' photos, well of course, you could hardly leave them out without spoiling the 'story'. Of course Philippe's 2-part history of JG 54 is no photo album, there being acres of text and thirty colour profile artworks. There are plenty of images that are 'new' to me although some of them are necessarily a little small. And for every page 221 ( a view taken from the ground of a Staffel at altitude) you have a page 261 (four views of Helmut Biederbick's Bf 109 F 'white 7').  Publisher Lela Presse is here and you can download their 2018 catalogue as a PDF.

Below; note roughly over-sprayed 02 Grau upper surface finish

A quick mention for the latest issue No. 5 of Many Souffan's "Aces" quarterly from Heimdal - something of a JG 53 'special' with over 70 pages covering the unit and its personalities. A fine card covered publication with stiff spine, recommended! Of particular interest was the article devoted to fighter aces and their relationships with the propaganda services of the Reich including Luftwaffe PK reporters, illustrated with rare ECPA-D photos.

The latest issue of 'Aces High' from AK-Interactive has arrived. Issue 11 is something of  a 'first' being devoted to a single aircraft type, in this instance the Fw 190. Designed essentially to promote their series of weathering products this is another superbly produced magazine. According to Luftwaffe blog correspondent Laurent Friedine who has already purchased it, " le résultat est très agréable et donne envie de passer à l’action..". - ..very nicely done and certainly inspires you to get down to action straight away! Inside there are lots of builds from talented modellers based around photo coverage and detailed how-tos on camo schemes and markings with plenty of hints and tips on finishing your latest Fw 190 and above all plenty of inspiration to get going and actually build something! ( ..the JG 54 A-5 is magnificent!).

Joyeux Noël et bonnes fêtes de fin d'année a tous mes correspondents français et belges!