Luftwaffe Codes, Markings and Units; 1939 - 1945

by Barry Rosch

Published by Schiffer Books, 1995

444 pages, hardback, $59.95

If you have ever looked at a photo or model of a Luftwaffe aircraft, and wondered what in the work those code numbers meant, then this is the book for your. Barry Rosch has provided Luftwaffe enthusiasts with a well-researched and well illustrated book covering the codes of all known units of the Luftwaffe that participated in World War II. Profusely illustrated with hundreds of black and white photographs and side view drawings, this book is the culmination of years of research into the subject.

The book is broken down into 11 chapters as follows:

Chapter 1 -- An overview of the code and marking system.

Chapter 2 -- The four character code system

Chapter 3 -- Sample codes for Stab flight and first 3 Staffeln

Chapter 4 -- Unit codes

Chapter 5 -- Luftwaffe organization and structure

Chapter 6 -- Glider codes

Chapter 7 -- Transport codes

Chapter 8 --Fighter and ground attack markings

Chapter 9 -- Luftwaffe units; codes and aircraft operated

Chapter 10 - Training and school units

Chapter 11 - Unknown markings.

Chapter 4 is one of the larger chapters in the book.  In this chapter each unit code is listed and shows photos or drawings of the aircraft that carried that code.  In addition, known codes are listed. It is difficult to tell of the magnitude of this section without a sample, so one is provided here. Note: this is a large page and may take a while to load on slower machines.

Even more detailed is Chapter 9.  This lists each unit and subunit as well as the codes used, aircraft flown, and a plethora of other information.  As with chapter 4, an image is worth a thousand words and you can see it here. One of the reasons this chapter is so much larger is that besides the depth of the information, it includes the many fighter units, which did not carry organized codes as did the bomber and reconnaissance units.

The author admits that there are a lot of question marks still remaining in this subject and his book should be used as a basis to get more information.  I plan on using mine just for that purpose, so hopefully in the years that come, there will be a number of write-in additions to a book that will become a useful research tool.  Well worth the money and if you want it, I would recommend getting it before it goes out of print.