In Me-109s and FW-190s from the Battle of Britain to Stalingrad, Kursk, Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and Berlin, German aces from Jagdgeschwader 3 racked up a stunning aerial record.Jagdgeschwader 3 may not have the same immediate resonance as some of the more famous Luftwaffe fighter units, such Jagdgeschwader 2 'Richthofen', but it is arguably the archetypal German fighter formation of World War 2. Not only did it participate in every campaign fought by the Luftwaffe (with the exceptions of Poland and Norway), it flew every major variant of the two legendary German wartime fighters, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 - starting with the Bf 109E in 1939 and ending with the Fw 190D-9 'Long-nose' in 1945. And, during the course of the hostilities, it numbered among its ranks more than 70 Knight's Cross winners (a total exceeded by only one other Jagdgeschwader). The wealth and variety of detail afforded by such a background - which includes the historic battles of Britain, Stalingrad, Kursk, Normandy, the Ardennes and Berlin - provides an ideal framework upon which to portray the multitude of stories, exploits and ultimate fates of the many aces themselves, from the now unknown trio who achieved their first five kills during the Blitzkrieg in France in the late spring/early summer of 1940 to the nearly two-dozen highly acclaimed and lauded 'centurions' who flew with JG 3.
Entering service at the end of the Battle of Britain, the pugnacious Bristol Beaufighter was deployed in numbers by Fighter Command just in time for the start of the Luftwaffe's night 'Blitz' on Britain. Flown by specialised nightfighter squadrons - several of them elite pre-war Auxiliary Air Force units - it was the first nightfighter to be equipped with an airborne radar as standard. Thus equipped, it combined the ability to 'see' the enemy at night with the devastating hitting power of four cannon and six machine guns. This book covers the exploits of the men who made ace in the Beaufighter and includes stunning original artwork together with first hand accounts of the action.
The highest scoring aces of any aerial conflict were the Luftwaffe pilots involved in the bloody combats on the Russian Front. The most common fighter used by these pilots was the Bf 109, which was involved in the action from Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, through to the doomed Defence of the Reich in 1945. Units like JGs 5, 52 and 54 all flew the Messerschmitt fighter, progressing from Emil to Gustav variants. This volume includes all the high-scoring aces, and explains just how difficult a job the Jagdwaffe faced on the Russian Front, and how its experts achieved such overwhelming scores.
This volume tells the story of the daylight air battles over Germany through the eyes of the Bf 109 aces involved. It traces the development of the aerial defence of the Reich from its small beginnings to arguably the most savage and costliest campaign in the history of aerial warfare. The Luftwaffe pilots explain their tactics and relate their experiences - in the early days, waiting for short-ranged Allied fighters to turn back before attacking the bombers, the see-saw battle for aerial supremacy that followed, the advent of the P-51 and its devastating effect, the growing might of the heavy bomber streams and the final desperate measures against overwhelming odds. The story is predominantly that of the Bf 109's struggle to defeat the US Eighth Air Force, although latterly both the 'mediums' of the US Ninth Air Force and the 'heavies' of RAF Bomber Command were also active by day over Germany.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The follow-on volume to Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 11 - Bf 109D/E Aces 1939-41, this book charts the story of the myriad aces who flew the later marks of Messerschmitt fighter through to VE-Day. As good as the Emil had been during the opening 18 months of the war, the aircraft was being progressively bettered in virtually all aspects of aerial combat by the Spitfire come 1941, so Messerschmitt updated and improved the breed, firstly with the introduction of the Friedrich and then the multi-variant Gustav.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The period covered in this volume was considered to be the 'glory years' for the Jagdwaffe - fresh from the experience gained in the Spanish Civil War - and for the Bf 109 in particular. Many famous pilots scored their first kills in the classic dogfights staged over Poland, Western Europe, the Channel and finally southern England. Some 40 Knight's Crosses were awarded in 1940 alone. However, after sweeping all before them in support of the Blitzkrieg across continental Europe, the Bf 109E pilots were to suffer badly during the Battle of Britain, the result of poor tactics inflicted upon them by the Luftwaffe High Command, and their mount's less then generous range.
Initially flying Italian-supplied Fiat G.50s, the Croat forces suffered heavy losses during 1942 whilst flying alongside JG 52 in the southern sector of the Russian front. Despite this, a significant number of kills fell to future aces such as Cvitan Galic and Mato Dubovak during this time, and when the units re-equipped with Bf 109G-10s in 1943, battle-seasoned Croat pilots started to rack up impressive scores. This book reveals how, by 1944, Croat air groups were defending Yugoslavia from British and American air raids, and in the final months of the war a handful of surviving pilots fought on until final defeat in May 1945.
The Fw 190 was the scourge of Fighter Command from the moment it appeared on the Western Front at Abbeville in August 1941 with II./JG 26. A nimble, speedy and well-armed adversary, the 'Butcher Bird' quickly proved superior to all Allied fighters of the time, particularly at medium to low altitude. Led by Experten of the calibre of 'Pips' Priller, Heinz Bar and Walter Oesau, the handful of Fw 190-equipped Jagdgeschwader flew against overwhelming odds, firstly on the Channel coast, and then in direct defence of the Reich when the Jagdflieger took on the might of the USAAF's Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. This is their story.
This title is the natural conclusion to the collection of titles chronicling the exploits of the fighter pilots of the German Luftwaffe of World War 2 that has been part of - and contributed in some small measure to the success of - Osprey's long running Aircraft of the Aces series. Since the first appearance of Aircraft of the Aces 2 back in 1994, a further ten titles by various authors have been published on German fighters and their pilots. Together, these provide a comprehensive and unique overview of all the famous names (together with some lesser-known ones) who flew fighters 'for the other side' during the war . . . all, that is, except for one final category - those who were operationally on the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in the defense of their own homeland during the later stages of the conflict from mid 1942 to May 1945. There has not been a work in either English or German - to the writer's knowledge - that deals specifically with this particular subject. Combining a selection of previously unpublished black and white photographs and color profiles, it admirably fulfills two roles - standing on its own, it provides something entirely new for the aviation historian and/or modeler, while as part of Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces collection, it closes the one remaining gap in the coverage of the Luftwaffe's World War 2 fighter pilots and their frontline operations.
The twin-engined He 111 was the mainstay of the Luftwaffe's bomber arm at the start of World War 2. This second volume aims to chronicle its history facing a new enemy - the Soviet Union. The Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber combined with it to provide the aerial striking power for all the early Blitzkrieg campaigns. In fact, the two aircraft enjoyed remarkably similar careers. Both swept all before them during the first 12 months of hostilities, both were found wanting when faced by the RAF during the Battle of Britain, but then both went on to gain fresh laurels and be given a new lease of life on the Eastern Front. The He 111's war against the Western Allies has recently been covered by Osprey. The He 111 bomber was in action against the Russians from the first day of the war in the east until the last. It played a part in all the major battles and was employed in a wide variety of roles - operating as a strategic bomber, torpedo-bomber (over both the Arctic Ocean and the Black Sea), train-buster, interim nightfighter and, latterly, as an auxiliary transport. Its bombing targets included the cities of Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad, as well as bridges, dams and the Red Army in the field. But arguably its most successful single raid of the campaign was the attack on Poltava airfield in the Ukraine, which resulted in the destruction of 44 American B-17 Flying Fortresses (and the damaging of many more) engaged in a USAAF shuttle mission. But the turning point of the war in the east had been Stalingrad, a fact neatly encapsulated by the Luftwaffe's He 111s. In the autumn of 1942 they had bombed the city flat, but before the year was out they were dropping supplies to the German army trapped in its ruins! And it would be the transport role that latterly came to dominate their activities, culminating in supply flights to beleaguered Breslau and Berlin in the spring of 1945.
The Hurricane saw widespread action with Allied forces, as the RAF's first monoplane fighter. This book describes its many feats throughout 1945. It served as a fighter-bomber on the Channel Front, where the American Eagles and Polish units were amongst the Fighter Command squadrons flying the Hurricane, and where some of its highest-scoring aces operated. The Sea Hurricane was the principal fighter deployed by the Fleet Air Arm in the Mediterranean, and Hurricane units continued to operate from bases in India and Ceylon until 1945, following their failure to defend Singapore and Malaya from the Japanese.
Tracing its roots to Manfred, Freiherr von Richthofen's 'Flying Circus' of WWI, the Jagdgeschwader 'Richthofen' is arguably the most famous fighter unit of all time. Designated JG 1 during the Great War, then disbanded following defeat, the Jagdgeschwader reformed as JG 132. By September 1939 the unit had become JG 2, seeing much action during the Blitzkrieg and Battle of Britain. This first in a new series focusing on elite fighter and bomber units, charts the career of JG 2 from its first aerial kills in 1939 to the destruction of its own Fw 190s in the face of the Allied advance in 1945.
Synonymous with the Afrika Korps and the campaign in North Africa, JG 27 provided Rommel's army with fighter protection for virtually the whole 'roller coaster ride that was the war in the Western Desert from 1941-43. Formed in Germany on 1 October 1939 (with Adolf Galland as CO of I.Gruppe), JG 27 saw considerable action both during the Battles of France and Britain, downing 146 aircraft in the latter campaign alone. Sent to North Africa in April 1941, the geschwader had an immediate impact on the campaign, which had up until then been dominated by the Allies. The third volume in the Aviation Elite series on a German fighter geschwader, this book will once again prove popular with Luftwaffe enthusiasts and hobbyists alike.
JG 51 were one of the Luftwaffe's top wartime fighter units, yet their story has never been told in English. The unit's history encapsulates the fortunes of the Luftwaffe's fighter arm as a whole - the heady successes of the early months, the steady attrition and the growing strength of the opposition during the mid-war years, and the final chaos and collapse of the last days. But it is perhaps the details of the pilots who served with the unit that sets JG 51 apart. During the course of the war it numbered more Knight's Cross winners among its ranks than any other. And it is their stories - their successes, exploits and eventual fates - which brings this history to life.
Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) was the most successful and highest-scoring fighter unit, not just in Germany's World War 2 Luftwaffe, but in the entire annals of aviation history. No other fighter group has ever come close to matching its staggering total of around 9000 enemy aircraft shot down in combat. And yet, because much of that combat took place over the tractless wastes of the Russian front, very little has been written in English about the exploits of this charismatic unit. This book provides a full combat history of JG 52 and its members, including the three top-scoring aces of all time, who claimed a total of 900 victories between them.
Arguably the archetypal Luftwaffe fighter unit of World War 2, JG 53 aircraft were encountered on almost every fighting front from the first day of hostilities until the last. During almost six years of near-constant campaigning, JG 53 took a steady toll of Allied aircraft in every theatre it fought over. The variety of camouflage finishes worn by its machines -winter white, desert dapple and Reich's defence black - and the progression of variants are reflected in an eye-opening colour section. John Weal has spent several years researching in German archives and this, together with his personal contact with several veterans, results in an authoritative and human account of JG 53's long and eventful war.
One of the most successful of the high-scoring Luftwaffe Jagdgeschwader during World War 2, JG 54 'Grünherz' (Green Hearts) was formed from three disparate fighter 'Gruppen' immediately prior to the Battle of Britain. Having enjoyed immediate success over the Channel and South-east England during the summer of 1940, the unit was transferred to the Eastern Front in the spring of 1941 in preparation for Operation Barbarossa - the German invasion of the Soviet Union. JG 54 would remain a Jagdwaffe stalwart in the east, flying firstly Bf 109Fs and then the Fw 190. By war's end, the Geschwader's pilots had claimed over 9500 kills, and produced over 100 aces. Men like Hans Philipp, Walter Nowotny and Otto Kittel are profiled in this volume, which reveals the struggle in the face of overwhelming odds that was the lot of the Jagdflieger on the Eastern Front.
Undoubtedly the most versatile German aircraft of World War II (1939-1945), the Junkers Ju 88 served as a fighter, bomber and patrol aircraft on every front on which the Luftwaffe fought. Blooded in action during the Blitzkrieg, the Ju 88 soon proved to be a formidable opponent for the beleaguered Allied air forces. This book is the first of three volumes which will cover the Ju 88's extensive wartime service in the bomber role, and it details the aircraft's early campaigns, through to its extensive use in the night Blitz of 1940-41.
The Ju 87 Stuka was the most feared weapon in the German arsenal in the first year of World War II (1939-1945), the Luftwaffe using it to deadly effect during the Blitzkrieg between September 1939 and June 1940. Although vulnerable to the enemy fighters due to its moderate speed in level flight and general lack of manoeuvrability, the Ju 87 nevertheless soon came to symbolise the might of Nazi Germany as the mere handful of Stukageschwader supporting the Wehrmacht rampaging out of the Fatherland took a heavy toll of the Allied forces.
This final volume of the Osprey trilogy on the infamous Luftwaffe dive-bomber charts its fortunes in the toughest theater of all: the Eastern Front. The fearsome reputation that the Stuka had enjoyed in the opening months of World War II (1939-1945) was shattered over the English Channel in the summer of 1940 but was restored in the invasion of the Soviet Union. Against a demoralized enemy, the Ju 87 scored a string of spectacular successes, destroying infantry, artillery and armor alike and sinking numerous ships of the Soviet Baltic Fleet. In the far north one Stukagruppe concentrated on bombing the Arctic port of Murmansk and disrupting rail traffic down into the Russian hinterland. However, as the Soviet Union slowly gathered strength, the Stuka units found themselves outnumbered, outfought, and relegated to operating under cover of darkness. The days of the dive-bomber were finally over. The Schlacht, or ground-attack, aircraft now ruled the skies above the battlefields.
This volume follows the Luftwaffe's twin-engined Wunderbomber southwards to describe its deployment in North Africa and the Mediterranean Theater during World War II (1939-1945), from the Straits of Gibraltar in the west, via the beleaguered island of Malta, to the Aegean and the Suez Canal in the east. It is a story of two distinct parts - the initial lightning successes, and then the long, slow process of retreat and defeat. It began early in 1941 with the first sporadic air raids on Malta, followed in the spring by the campaign in the Balkans which resulted in the conquests of Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete. After supporting land operations in North Africa during the latter half of 1941, the Ju 88s resumed their assault on Malta. Such was their decline, however, that by the final month of the war there was just one machine left in the Mediterranean - an improved model Ju 188, which was used to drop Axis agents behind the Allied lines in Italy. Bringing the story to life are personal accounts of some of the more famous actions - the bombing of the evacuation shipping off the coast of Greece and the sinking of three Royal Navy destroyers south of Crete by the renowned 'Helbig Flyers' of LG 1, all illustrated with rare photographs and full color profiles.
Completing Osprey's triliogy on the Ju 88 Kampfgeschwader this new volume focuses on activities on the Eastern Front during World War II (1939-1945). Comprising the main punch of the Luftwaffe's bomber arm during the initial invasion of the Soviet Union, the Ju 88 participated in a number of early strategic bomber raids on Moscow before assuming responsibility for supporting the Wehrmacht's ground forces in the field. In this role, the Ju 88s attacked bridges, road and rail communications, and troop concentrations and gave rise to many individual incidents that contribute to a varied and interesting narrative. Along with this main narrative, the book also covers the role the Ju 88s played in attacking the artic convoys that were shipping allied war supplies to Russia, and the several variant models that were employed. The strangest of these was a Ju 88 packed with explosives and guided by a fighter clipped onto its back that was used as a giant bomb against the Russians as they were approaching Berlin late in the war.
Finland's premier fighter squadron during World War 2, Lentolaivue 24 (Flying Squadron 24) first saw action during the bloody Winter War of 1939-40, when the Soviet Red Army launched a surprise attack on the small Scandinavian country - the squadron enjoyed great success against numerically superior opposition. LLv 24 was once again in the thick of the action following the outbreak of the Continuation War in June 1941. Easily the air force's most successful fighter unit, LLv 24 claimed 877 kills, and its pilots won five direct and two indirect Mannerheim Crosses (Finland¹s highest military award) out of a total of 19 presented to all Finnish soldiers. Most top aces also scored the bulk of their kills flying with this unit.
One of the most important, and yet least publicised, components of the front-line Luftwaffe was the Schlacht, or ground attack, arm. This book details the Schlacht units who were in the thick of the fighting from the first day of the war until the last. They played a vital part in the heady successes of the early Blitzkrieg campaigns and went on to perform an equally essential role in the dark hours of last ditch defence and ultimate defeat. In between, they fought in all defensive battles: on the eastern front at Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin; in the west, by night, over Normandy, the Ardennes and the Rhine.The color plate section of the book has profiles of the following, disperate aircraft:HS 123AHE 51BBf 109-4Bf 109EBf 109E-7HS 129BFw 190F-2Fiat Cr.42Fokker CV-EJu 87DAll of which were flown by this squadron. Also of note is the fact that this Ace pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel was part of this distinguished unit.
The 'storm troopers' of the Luftwaffe, the elite Strumgruppen units comprised the most heavily armed and armoured fighter interceptors ever produced by the Germans. Their role was to smash like a mighty fist through the massed ranks of USAAF daylight bombers. Only volunteers could serve with these elite units, and each pilot was trained to close with the enemy and engage him in extremely short-range combat, attacking from the front and the rear in tight arrowhead formations. In exceptional circumstances pilots would even ram their enemy. This book chronicles the brief, but violent, career of the Sturmgruppen during the dark days of 1944-45, employing first-hand accounts and rare archival photography.From the Trade Paperback edition.