Osprey's Jagdgeschwader 1 'Oesau' Aces 1939-45

Author:

Robert Forsyth

Publisher/Distributor

Osprey Publishing

Price

$23.00 MSRP

Reviewer:

Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2291-8

One of the longest existing Lufwaffe units was JG 1. This started pre-war under another number, but was soon re-numbered and tasked with air defense. While portions of the unit were, as was frequently the case, sent to other theaters of operation for a short period of time, for the most part they stayed in northwestern Europe.

Initially defending against the rather ineffective attacks by British bombers, the unit soon found itself heavily involved in defending against American bombers. The first forays into German held territory by the US 8th Air Force was not as successful as the Allies had hoped and on the other side, the Germans had to learn how best to attack these much larger and much more heavily armed aircraft. B-17s were by no means easy to shoot down, but early it was found that head on attacks worked the best.

Later the B-17 was modified with a nose turret and it made these sorts of attacks less successful. Also an increased hazard came about when the USAAF was finally able to escort its bombers much past the Channel coast. These were mostly done by P-38s and some P-47s once the latter was equipped with long range tanks. But it was the P-51 in early 1944 that really made bomber attacking a hazardous job.

As German pilots fell to Allied guns, so went a lot of experience. As the war progressed, JG-1 still put up a valiant defense, but lack of experienced pilots and a nearly overwhelming Allied air assault meant that late in the war, German victories became fewer.

In this book, Robert Forsyth does a superb job of telling the story of JG-1's battles against Allied bombers. Much of it focuses on the see-saw technological battle as one side would gain the upper hand then the other.  Full of great period photos, a super selection of full color profiles and the now-usual pilot stories, it tell a great tale and is a book that those interested in this aspect of the WWII air war will want to read.

November 2017

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