Tuesday, 4 May 2021

New books - new and forthcoming from LeLa Presse, Arès and the latest JfV from Jochen Prien


Another excellent title in the ‘Batailles Aériennes’ series, personal accounts, artworks and an excellent selection of images. Forthcoming from Peter Taghon, a new history of KG 6. Free postage on pre-orders up to publication date in June.

'Avions' issue 240 is another 'Aces' special - although I have to say that articles describing the events of various dates on which H-J Marseille was shot down are becoming as common-place as articles about his successes.. (cf. recent issues of 'Aces' and 'Flypast' magazines)

And the latest JfV title from Jochen Prien and team has arrived from Struve - Teil 14 covers ops in the Med through Jan-September 1944. At the turn of the year 1943-44 barely six Gruppen and less than 100 serviceable Bf 109s faced up to some 3,000 Allied aircraft that could be deployed over Italy - these included Gruppen from JG 77, JG 4, JG 51, and 10./ JG 301. II./JG 77 had only just given up its Italian Macchi fighters and had less than 10 Bf 109s on strength at the turn of the year while I./JG 4 had just two Staffeln.  Gruppen such as IV./JG 3, II./JG 27 and II./JG 53 had returned to Germany. The Med was a theatre much reduced in importance given events elsewhere and especially over the Reich itself. A considerably weakened Tagjagd was deployed over both the northern Italian industrial centres to counter 15th AAF raids and over southern Italy from where the Americans had started raiding both Germany and the oil fields of Romania from Foggia. Meanwhile the meagre Tagjad forces were also of course committed against Allied forces and in support of German ground forces attempting to hold a line south of Rome. At the start of the year the Allies flew huge numbers of sorties ahead of the landings at Anzio while the Tagjagd was far too weak to put up any effective opposition. On the morning of 22 January Lf2. flew just 154 Schlachtflieger sorties over the course of four missions while just 54 Bf 109s flew escort prompting the hurried re-deployment of III./JG 53 and II./JG 77 to airfields north of Rome. This took several days to achieve because of bad weather. Up to the end of January most sorties were escorts for SG 4 Fw 190s or 'free hunts' over the invasion zone and over Cassino and every sortie brought with it the usual toll of lost and damaged machines. During mid-February I./JG 2 arrived in Italy having been deployed to southern France to operate against the 15th AAF raids during January. .  On March 3, 200 B-17s and 80 B-24s escorted by 50 P-47s bombed rail installations and hubs in and around Rome- I./JG 2 claimed five  B-24s and four P-47s. Two were credited to FhjObfw. Siegfried Lemke taking his ‘score’ to 23 victories.  Uffz. Clemens Waltherscheid of 3 Staffel knocked down two Viermots. On March 14 the ace and Staffelkapitän of 3./JG 2 Hptm.  Adalbert Sommer was shot down and killed. Sommer had spent most of the war with III./JG 52 in the East and had returned his 52nd victory on February 29 and his 53rd on March 3.  For some time, Allied bombers had been flying intensive raids in the vicinity of Monte Casino, completely destroying the Benedictine monastery. I./JG 2 flew occasional patrols over the area and clashed with 25 Spitfires on March 17. Two victories were scored by Lemke (vs. 30 and 31) and Uffz. Wirtgen. On March 21, Uffz. Rudolf Wirtgen of 1./JG 2 became an ace after downing his fifth Spitfire in ten days.

 Below; part II of Jean-Louis Roba’s « La Luftwaffe en France 1939-45 » from publisher Arès - visit their website for page views and ordering info.  And the latest issue of ‘Iron Cross’. I definitely still do not like the ‘colorisations’ nor do I particularly like the artwork but this ‘special’ issue has a lot of good MvR content. 

Elsewhere Pen & Sword have a new photo-book from Terry Treadwell on MvR which includes the fake photo below. Unbelievable, as is the terrible caption  -  ‘MvR - an early ‘Hell’s Angel’ - what on earth were they thinking?

More Luftwaffe fighters in Profile from Claes Sundin - stunning!