Luftwaffe in Colour 1939-42

This book is the first in a pair of books. The second book in the series covering 1943-45 has just been released.


Part I The Pre-War Period
Part II From Poland to Sitzkrieg
Part III Blitzkrieg in the West
Part IV The Battle of Britain and the Blitz
PartV Marita and Merkur: Blitz in the Balkans
Part VI Operation Barbarossa
Part VII African Adventure and the Mediterranean Front
Part VIII In the West
Part IX The Second Line: Schools, Factories and Training

The book is printed on glossy paper and the quality of the colour photographs is generally very good. I’ve seen a few of the photographs previously, but the vast majority I have not seen before. The captions for for each of the photographs provide some good information and the photographs vary from close-ups to larger views. In the colour photographs subtle changes in colour are much more noticeable than on black-and-white photographs and you can easily see where the paint has worn off. Another factor that makes these photographs so interesting as you can see the colours of things other than the aircraft such as the clothing worn by ground crew and aircrew and even the colours of the grass and sand in different places at different times of year. There is a good spread of photos for each part of the book and a wide variety of subjects.

From the publisher’s website:

This remarkable work pulls the lid off one of the legendary air forces in history at the very peak of its power—unveiling the men and machines as they truly existed day-to-day, underneath the propaganda of their own regime and the scare stories of their enemies.

In Hitler’s Germany, color photography was primarily co-opted for state purposes, such as the military publication Signal, or the Luftwaffe’s own magazine, Der Adler (Eagle). But a number of men had cameras of their own, and in this painstakingly acquired collection, originally published in France, we can witness true life on Germany’s airfields during the period of the Luftwaffe’s ascendancy.

Thus not only do we see famous planes such as the Me-109, Ju-87 or He-111, but the wide variety of more obscure types with which the Germans began the war. The array of Arados, Dorniers, Heinkels—not to mention elegant 4-engine Condors—that were initially employed in the war are here in plain sight and full color, providing not only an insight into WWII history but a model maker’s dream.

Just as fascinating are the shots of the airmen themselves, along with their ground crews—full of confidence and cheer as they bested every other air force in Europe during these years, with the single exception of the RAF’s Fighter Command in late-summer 1940. But that was no big stumbling block to the Luftwaffe, which had bigger fish to fry in Russia and North Africa the following year.

In the authors’ next work, “The Years of Defeat,” we will see how the war turned more grim for the Luftwaffe, even as its expertise and skill at more deadly aircraft designs, increased. In “The Victory Years” we have a uniquely intimate view of an air force at the very apex of its capabilities.

The details of the book are:

  • Authors: Christophe Cony, Jean-Louis Roba
  • Publication date: October 2016
  • Publisher : Casemate
  • Language: English
  • Illustration : 300 photos
  • Costs £19.99 ($25.33 at today’s exchange rate) from the Publisher’s UK website
  • Also available at Casemate in the US

This is an essential book to have on your shelf to use for Luftwaffe colour references.

Many thanks to Casemate for sending the book along for review.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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