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By the outbreak of World War 2, the Luftwaffe had acquired effective tactical battlefield experience from its involvement in the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1939, centered around the operations conducted by the Legion Condor, a force of some 19,000 'volunteer' German airmen, staff, technicians and groundcrew formed into fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, Flak, weather and signals elements.In this new book, author Robert Forsyth, renowned expert on World War 2 German aviation, details the development of both the technologies and the pilots of this German air force, with full-color illustrations, plates and details of color schemes used within the Legion Condor. From the He 51 to the Messerschmitt, from flying in close wing-to-wing formations to the looser, wider formations common to the Luftwaffe during World War 2, this book is a must-have for any German aviation historian or modeler.From the Trade Paperback edition.
When the revolutionary Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter first appeared in the skies over northwest Europe in mid-1944, it represented one of the greatest challenges to Allied air superiority. The first group to solely fly jet fighters, Jagdgeschwader 7 was tasked with wrestling back command of the skies. Put almost immediately into action, despite fuel shortages, poor training and problems with the jet engine, victories quickly followed against both US and British aircraft. By the end of the war, the Jagdgeschwader had claimed nearly 200 enemy aircraft destroyed in daylight bomber raids during 1945. This book follows the history of the JG 7 unit, examining how their courage, determination and the most advanced aircraft in the world were simply not enough to ensure victory. In the final section of the book Robert Forsyth details how JG 7 were eventually defeated by gradual losses, restricted operating conditions, lack of fuel and overwhelming Allied fighter strength.
Jagdverband 44 was formed in February 1945 on Hitler's orders, to fly the Me 262 "Stormbird", the world's first operational jet fighter, and demonstrate its superiority. The unit was led by the legendary Adolf Galland, who recruited some of Germany's leading aces into it, to the extent that it was said that the Knight's Cross was its unofficial badge. JV 44 engaged the US Ninth Army Air Force over Bavaria and, with its significant speed advantage and powerful armament of cannon and rockets, the Me 262 proved a formidable interceptor in the hands of its expert pilots. In its brief operational existence, never able to get more than six jets in the air at any one time, this small unit achieved approximately 50 kills in less than a month. Unfortunately for the German defensive effort (though Galland himself was glad not to have prolonged the war) there were not enough Me 262s to have any overall effect on the Allied air campaign.This book is a dramatic record of a highly individual unit and an exciting early chapter in the history of the jet fighter. Four of the world's ten surviving Me 262s are major attractions at flight museums in the USA and recently constructed replicas will soon be a feature of air shows around the nation and the "experten" aces of the Luftwaffe have an enduring fascination.From the Trade Paperback edition.