Wednesday, 14 December 2016

new and forthcoming - Heimdal's "ACES" magazine, 'Luftwaffe Aircraft in Profile No.6' Claes Sundin, 'Feldflugplatz Brunnthal', Luftwaffe Gallery 5 and Erik Mombeek's history of JG 2 Band 5 1943

"Aces" is a quality new quarterly aviation title in French from the leading independent publisher Heimdal under the stewardship of Georges Bernage ("39-45 Magazine"). Editors-in-Chief are Many Souffan and Jean-Charles Stasi both well known for their diligently researched books and articles. At first sight "Aces" seems to be a difficult subject to write about - the careers of the leading 'Aces' have surely been dissected over and over. However 'Aces' has undertaken to bring new and undiscovered facts, photos and artworks about the leading aviators in the history of air combat - and their machines - to a wider audience under the by-line 'Get closer to the aces and their machines!'

 The evidence here is that they have largely succeeded. A fine glossy A-4 card-covered publication with spine, each issue will be around 100-pages (text in French) with quality production values. The six subject articles are given from 10 to 24 pages each. Note that the Marseille 'dossier' in issue no. 1 is spread over three features. One that immediately caught my eye in this first issue discusses the Free French pilots in 73 Sqd Hurricanes - the so-called Escadrille Francaise no. 1 -that operated over Tobruk with the British. In two separate combats with the Emils of JG 27 James Denis shot down HJ Marseille twice! The personal accounts from the French pilots furnish enough detail to enable the artists (Nico Gohin, Vincent Dhorne) to produce profile compositions of some of Marseille's Emils including his E-7 WNr. 5160 'yellow 7' in which he was shot down on 23 April 1941. A neat touch are the diary and logbook reproductions that accompany the article. The feature on Marseille himself covers his career with accounts from those who were there (Emil Clade, Werner Schroer) Apparently Marseille never claimed his 159th - full details in this issue. Photographic reproduction is excellent - and as usual, the French have exploited the ECPA-D archives which seem to be too expensive for everyone else - one superb shot of Marseille strapping in to his F-4 WNr 10 059 is reproduced across two pages. Worth mentioning again that 'Aces' is published by Heimdal - armour fans will know the quality of their work. While UK publishers seem to exist on a diet of nice, glossy restored warbirds, Spitfires and the like, far too parochial all round, it appears that only in France ( and to a lesser extent in Germany) do they do 'real' aviation writing and research. Another 'Aces' spread below - six pages on the Bf 109s in Africa in colour - inspiration for modellers! Elsewhere in issue one of 'Aces' Spitfire fans will lap up the in-depth feature on leading French ace Jean Maridor, the 91 Sqd ace based at Hawkinge who carved out a reputation as a V-1 'hunter' and there are twenty-two pages of P-47s and P-51s as Christophe Cony of 'Avions' magazine produces a detailed feature on Don Gentile - Thierry Dekker artwork!

 The title is currently on French news stands or the usual retailers. A 'launch price' subscription is available directly from the publisher Heimdal via which enables the subscriber to get the equivalent of one issue free on a one-year sub and two issues free on a two year subscription.

December 2016 sees the publication of a new profile book from Claes Sundin - Luftwaffe Profile book no. 6 'Golden Edition'. This is an updated, re-worked and improved edition of the now impossible-to-find so-called 'Yellow Book' which as Claes explained to me recently was really a 'proof-of-concept'  work, the book that proved to Claes that he could successfully self-publish. Of course he now has a loyal and ready audience demanding new subjects. So book 6 has more and previously unpublished artworks drawn and 'painted' to the latest standards - all single-engine aircraft on this occasion - and much more extensive artwork texts proofed and corrected by leading commentators such as David E. Brown. More info and ordering details at the link that follows..

new Luftwaffe profile book from Claes Sundin

 Norbert Loy and Matthias Hundt published a fascinating article in "Jet & Prop" issue 4/10 on the satellite field at Brunnthal built to accommodate Luftwaffe aircraft as an 'Ausweichs' or diversionary field close to Munich in southern Germany. Brunnthal offered an 'alternative' to the regular fields at München-Neubiberg and München-Riem. By the spring of 1945 these fields were on the end of almost constant Allied air attacks as the Americans pushed further and further into southern Germany. Many different Luftwaffe types operated there in some numbers -almost 60 machines by the time the Americans arrived there including examples of the Ju-87, Bf-109 G-4, Me 410, He 111 G, Ju-W 34hi, Ju 52/3, Ju-88 G-6, Ju 290 A, Si-104 A, Si204 D and of course the latest jets produced in 'forest factories' such as the Me 262 A. Now Loy and Hundt's research has been published in book form..

Brunnthal was a so-called 'Schattenplatz' or 'shadow' field. It was constructed between the town of Brunnthal and the Hofoldinger forest bounded on one side by the Munich-Salzburg Autobahn. There were two takeoff and landing strips constructed, although one of these was the A8 Autobahn itself. Aircraft including Me 262s were hidden along the forest perimeter in specially cut-out boxes and it is reported that animals were used to tow the aircraft into position on the airfield because of fuel shortages - not the usual oxen or horses, but two elephants from the Munich zoo. However the elephants didn't perform that war service for long - they were not susceptible to obeying commands and at least one aircraft lost its wings as the elephant stomped into the forest ! The authors have eye witness accounts from American veterans and the local populace so covering the story of  Brunnthal airfield in detail.

Wars end in Bavaria. Allied troops moving along the Munich-Salzberg Autobahn towards Salzberg pass abandoned Luftwaffe jets including this Me 262 'White F' coded 9K+FH on the strength of KG 51 and probably re-assigned to JV44

A few key-points regarding the book:
Approx. 392 pages hard cover
Size 23 cm x 27,5 cm
40 pictures in colour and 178 in black and white
ISBN 978-3-938845-64-6
price: 45,00 Euro + postage The book can be purchased from:
as well as Ebay and Amazon (Search: Norbert Loy: Der Feldflugplatz Brunnthal)

Also received here recently were two books from Eric Mombeek - not purchased by myself I have to say and I can hardly comment on them objectively since I helped out and have a credit. This is Luftwaffe Gallery no.5 (which with the two 'specials' devoted to JG 26 and JG 77) makes seven of these fine publications now published. Superlative artwork as usual by Thierry Dekker -contents includes articles on JG 2, JG 5 and Wekusta 2

As far as I am aware these are the first accounts in English from pilots and crews of this little-known weather reconnaissance unit. Wekusta 2 is notable for having deployed the He 177 in the long-range weather recce role. The full story of Wekusta 2 is told by Pierre Babin in his French-language book from Heimdal devoted to the unit reviewed in a previous 'new Luftwaffe books' blog piece, see link below..

Page samples of the latest 'Luftwaffe Gallery' and ordering on Erik's site here

More on Wekusta 2 on this blog

"Am Himmel Frankreichs"  - In the skies of France - is the German edition of Eric Mombeek's superb JG 2 history. Possibly a better investment for many than the French edition - indeed the translator is a former Jagdflieger himself, Hans Berger. The text contains many of his notes and explanations which certainly adds to the value of the content. I reviewed the French edition covering the year 1943 on this blog here and included a translation of Georg-Peter Eder's account of the USAF raid on Rouen, 28 March 1943.