Casemate's Air War on the Eastern Front

Author/Artists: Mike Guardia

Publisher/Distributor

Casemate

Price

$24.95 MSRP from Casemate

Reviewer:

Scott Van Aken

Notes: 128 pages,  softcover, over 150 photos and illustrations. 7 x 10 inches.
ISBN: 978-1-61200-908-7

The greatest amount of fighting in the war against Germany during WWII was on the Eastern Front. It is there that the vast majority of men and equipment was concentrated and the highest number of casualties occurred. The victory scores of Luftwaffe pilots greatly exceeded those fighting in North Africa, Western Europe or any other field of battle.

The reasons for these high scores had several factors. One is that the Germans had better planes. Another is that they had combat veterans for pilots. Even when new pilots were put up against Soviets, they tended to do better. Soviet training did not really encourage that much individual thinking. At least that was the way it was at the beginning of the war. As the war progressed, Soviet aircraft got better. Those Soviet pilots who managed to make it past their first air combats learned how to fight with their aircraft and so they got better as well. Soviet training was always somewhat lacking in quality, but as with ground troops, Stalin figured that if enough were tossed into the cauldron, there were be those who would survive to get better.

This book is as much a picture book as it is a history of the two air forces during the Great Patriotic War. The quality of the images is generally quite good and includes some period color photos. A rather large number of images of Soviet aircraft are of those that have crashed or been destroyed on the ground. I'm sure that there are good pics of complete Russian aircraft out there, just that not many were used in this book. Interspersed within the pages are single page features of various units or pilots. This is a feature of this series and I like it.

Overall it makes for an interesting read and a great initial introduction to the subject. Well worth picking up.

November 2020

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