Pen & Sword's Foreign Planes in the Service of the Luftwaffe
|Pen & Sword|
|$26.95 MSRP from Casemate|
224 pages, Softcover, 200 b&w images
One thing about the German military of WWII is that they made use of a lot of equipment captured from the various nations they conquered. Few realize that a fair portion of the armor used during the first year of the war was that which was made in Czechoslovakia. So it was when it came to aircraft. A pretty good chunk of that came from the French, first from the area occupied after the 1940 armistice and another amount after the rest of metropolitan France was taken over in 1942.
The majority of these aircraft were used in second line units with training and transport getting the lion's share of materials. Many of these planes were reconditioned and sold to other friendly countries. In addition to aircraft captured from overrun territories, a few Allied aircraft fell into German hands after having been forced down with minor battle damage or aircraft pieced together from a number of similarly obtained units. These aircraft were used to help train fighter pilots on the best way to attack them when met in combat.
There are those of us who find these types of planes interesting and so are quite pleased to find a book that provides a lot of photos of these aircraft. Indeed, this is primarily a photo book, with images gleaned from a variety of sources including official archives and private collections.
The book itself is divided into several sections that is pretty much arranged in chronological order of when the aircraft were obtained. It starts with those obtained during the Spanish Civil War and in Czechoslovakia. It then goes into Polish, Dutch, Belgian and French aircraft. In some cases, such as Poland and the Dutch and Belgian campaigns, little that would be useful was found. Same goes for Denmark and Norway where almost no aircraft were put into Luftwaffe service. However, France was another story entirely and a large number of aircraft were obtained. The Soviet Union also provided quite a few types, though most were not flyable. The last good source of aircraft was Italy. After Italy surrendered, the Germans still occupied the northern part of the country and that included aircraft factories. Like with France, these factories still produced aircraft for the Luftwaffe until they were overrun by Allied advances.
The last chapters cover the use of Allied planes that were shot down or forced down. These were mostly put into what is known as the Circus Rosarius, a unit that travelled around Germany providing fighter pilots a look at and a chance to fly types they would be facing in combat.
All in all, it is an excellent reference and resource for both the interested reader and the modeler alike. About the only thing I found odd is that there is an appendix for color photos and there are no photos. Overall, it is a book that is well worth obtaining and one I can easily recommend to you.
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