On the front cover it says “Aviation history from enthusiasts for enthusiasts” and that is exactly what it is, albeit purely on the Luftwaffe. The magazine contains captions for the 65 photographs, 10 in colour, with captions describing the photographs. There is also text describing events around some of the photographs. All text and captions are in both German and English, with the English written to a very high standard – you would not know this magazine comes from Germany. This edition also contains 3 maps and 3 aircraft colour profiles, 2 two page profiles and one of a Ju88 C-4 night fighter spread across 3 pages.
The current edition, number 20, is an anniversary edition and so contains a few more pages than the usual editions. The magazine consists of 54 pages, although the front and back covers also contain information so one could really say it contains 58 pages.
The magazine is broken down into sections that previous readers will be familiar with. We start with the editorial, an update of news from the publisher/editor, Axel Urbanke. Next we go to the readers forum. In this area you find many previously unknown facts come to light. Readers write in to answer questions and unknown facts from previous editions, many sending in previously unseen photographs from their private collections.
Now we start the magazine proper with a 2 page profile illustration of a Fw190A-8 from an unknown unit with an unusual aircraft code from late in the war. A photo of the aircraft with a US soldier sat in the cockpit shows the aircraft at the end of the war. Next up are 2 photos of a Bf109G-10 with an Erla hood, one of which shows the engine being warmed prior to starting. On the facing page is a colour photo from inside a damaged hanger immediately after the capture of Nuremberg airfield. In the photos are several Bf109K-4s with various panels open highlighting some differences between the late 109Gs and 109Ks.
Next we move to the eastern front for 4 photos depicting rare Bf 109s of a tactical reconnaissance unit and a couple of photos showing the harsh conditions that people had to work in on a typical Russian airfield in winter – think Canadian winters.
There’s a beautiful colour photo of Bv222 V1 moored to a buoy off Athens in late 1941. Accompanying this photo is a map and a description of the use of the aircraft as a transport in flights to Kirkenes in the extreme north of Norway and to Derna in Libya where it was used to ferry a total of 515 wounded soldiers to Athens. There are also 2 colour photos of a Bv138. One is a close up of the aft gun turrets and the other would make a great diorama; a BV138 having its centre engine replaced at the waters edge.
In each issue there is also a section on the tails of aircraft. In this issue the tail in question is of Ofw. Werber Machold’s Bf 109E-4 from 9./JG 2. In the black and white photo of him stood in front pf his aircraft you can see there is a peculiar finish to the paint work. In the colour photo of the tail, with his victory markings, you can see it is a very thinly applied yellow identification finish. There then follows more detailed text describing Machold’s career until he was shot down and captured in England in June 1941.
Next is a good idea for a diorama, a colour photograph of a Ju 52 that has taxied into a truck and over a small staff car. It would seem like a pretty straight forward but unusual diorama. If you compress the suspension of the staff car and squeeze it under the Ju 52, and put the port propeller into the cargo area of a truck, you’re about done.
General der Flieger Pflugbeil was photographed many times on his travels as commanding general of IV. Fliegerkorps. However, photographs of his personal aircraft are extremely rare. So here is the first photograph to be published showing his family coat of arms on his personal aircraft .
Towards the end of the war new emblems are very rare, and usually just existed on paper. 10.(pz)/SG 3 was a unit formed in February 1944 that had a new emblem, a wolf cracking a T-34, painted on its Ju 87D-5s. There is a close up of a 37mm cannon being reloaded and also a photograph of the emblem painted on some of the units trucks on train flat cars.
Aircraft in Focus
The first aircraft in focus in this edition is a Bf 109 E-7 with a very unusual RLM76 speckled camouflage. There are 3 photos of this aircraft and a 2 page colour profile. It seems the aircraft was repaired using parts from a Bf 109T perhaps in the winter of 1943-44. There’s not much known about this aircraft, but perhaps readers will help fill in the gaps.
The second aircraft in focus is a Ju 88C-4 night fighter. There are no less than 7 pages dedicated to the story of this aircraft and its crew, in text and photos. The text describes the units’ role of long range night fighter and the story of the aircraft in question up to its fate over England in October 1941. The main piece of interest is the 3 page wide colour profile showing everything has been over painted apart from the aircraft code letter ‘N’ and the 14 victory bars on the tail.
We have 2 colour photographs of a gun emplacement at the side of a Russian railway, made from concrete practice bombs. Interestingly, lying next to the emplacement are 2 dismantled Go 242 gliders, waiting for transport by rail to the southern sector of the eastern front.
This edition’s portrait is of Lt.d.R Anton Korol. Korol was in the infantry until the surrender of France and then transferred to the Luftwaffe. He flew Ju 87s and , perhaps because of his time served in the infantry, he was well suited to the ground support role. The text and photos describe his story, especially in late 1944 on the occasion of his destroying the Staffel’s 500th tank. Unlike so many of his peers. Korol survived the war and after 703 combat missions and 99 confirmed tank kills he surrendered in southern Austria in May 1945.
In this edition there is a section on an unusual weapon, the Waffenbehälter 81A, in use on a Ju 88.The weapon was about the size of a drop tank and housed 3 MG81 Z machine guns and was intended for use against mass area targets, such as infantry concentrations and airfields. There are some close up photos, including a shot showing the internals of the weapon and a photo of 2 of them mounted on a Ju 88A-4.
Photos with a Story
In this section each edition shows a series of photographs that, well, tell a story. In this edition the story is about a Ju 88C-6 and its fateful mission over the Bay of Biscay on November 20, 1943. There are 8 photographs and 1 map, along with text, over 7 pages telling the background leading up to the fateful day.
Finally we have 5 pages over 9 photos describing the end of a Ju 88A-5 of II/KG 54 on Jun 26, 1941. The aircraft had been attacking Russian tank and troop concentrations. Unknown to the crew, while they were airborne the conditions on the ground at their home base had changed dramatically and the airfield was now muddy and greasy after a heavy summer rainfall. Upon landing the aircraft skidded and slid into 2 parked Ju 88s and all 4 crewmen died either in the crash or shortly after.
This book is a great addition to a reference library, model builder and historian alike! I have several of these magazines in my collection and very highly recommend them.
Review sample courtesy of Luftfahrtverlag Start.