Title: Luftwaffe versus USAAF 8th Air Force vol. I
Author: Marek J. Murawski
Series of “Air Battles”
describes the air struggle on the particular fronts, theatres of war, battles or campaigns. Nineteenth issue focuses on the first phases of air struggle on the Western Front between Germans and Americans.
Book format is 205x275mm what is slightly smaller than A4 page. As the time period is rather long topic will be presented in multiple volumes. First volume covers the period from December 1941, when Third Reich declared war on the USA, to the end of 29th April 1943 when 112 P-47 conducted an “Operation Rodeo” near Pas de Calais.
History is presented on 80 pages in chronological order and divided into following chapters:
- The Americans enter the European Theatre of Operations
- Harsh autumn of 1942
- American bombers over the Reich – winter 1943
- Strengthening the Reich's defence – April 1943
- Colour plates
Author discusses particular operations and missions performed by 8AF together with German counteracts. Details provided are strength and number of units which took part, mission target and result of bombardment, victories and losses on both sides. A lot of statistical details are confronted, mostly number of shot down enemy machines reported by pilots and gunners. Content is illustrated with 109 archive black&white photographs presenting machines and people who took part in the struggle on both sides. Photos may be a good inspiration for modellers, you can find there intensively weathered and factory fresh machines, scenes of formation flights, crash landing and landing mis-haps, interesting painting schemes or machines on the dispersal standing next to the trenches or meteo stations.
Reading of this book was a great, relaxing pleasure. It is more like a novel than historical title. Events are often additionally described in the words of participants taken from their report and recollections. This gives a bit of action, makes reading a bit lighter and relaxing as you don't have to be focused all the time on historical listings of statistics, dates, names and other numbers. Author provides a lot of endnotes to his sources for further studies for those who would like to dig deeper in other titles.
At the end of book we can find eight colour painting schemes presenting following American and German machines:
- B-17-50-BO (n/s 42-5483) “Red Ass” of 360 BS/ 303 BG , fuselage code PU*F, 1943
- B-17F-10 (n/s 42-24485) “Memphis Belle” of 324 BS/ 91 BG , DF*A, of Cpt. Robert Morgan, April 1943
- B-17E (n/s 41-9019) “Little Skunkface” of 414BS/ 97BG, autumn 1942
- B-17F-27-BO (n/s 41-24585) formerly PU*B of 303 BG, captured by Germans on 12th Dec. 1942, German fuselage code DL XC
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-2, W. Nr. 0120 333, “White 8”, Lt. Jakob Augustin of 7./JG 2, Theville, June 1942
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-2, W. Nr. 0125 304, Hptm. Johannes Seifert, Kommandeur of I./JG 26, St. Omet-Arques, May 1942
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-2, W. Nr. 0125 228, “Chevron L”, Ofw. Erwin Leibold of Stab I./JG 26, St. Omer-Arques, July 1942
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-4/U7, W. Nr. 0147 092, Hptm. Wilhelm-Ferdinand Galland, Kommandeur of II./JG 26, France, Spring 1943
The book is a good reference for both historians and modellers. Each of this group will find a lot of interesting interesting information, details, descriptions or statistics. I am impatiently awaiting second volume of this title.
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