|Stephen Chapis & Andrew Thomas|
80 pages, 7¼ x 9¼ inches, softcover
German Jets were a real surprise to bomber crews during WWII. Many of them were aware of their existence, but they were unprpared for the speed of the aircraft. These were aircraft that were nearly impossible to hit and it was only sheet luck that a bomber gunner would be able bag one.
Pretty much the same for escorting fighters. The plane's speed was such that about the only way German jet and rocket fighters could be shot down was either if the German had some sort of engine trouble that caused it to slow, or if it maneuvered in such as way as to offer a target to the Allied pilots. They could also be caught from time to time in a dive. However, if the jet was under full power, it was bye-bye as they had at least a 100mph advantage in speed.
Despite their technical superiority, a goodly number of these speedy Luftwaffe planes were shot down. It was soon discovered that they were at their most vulnerable when coming in to land, so frequently Allied fighters would discover German jet bases and lay in wait for them to return from missions when they were low on fuel. An issue with early turbojets was that it took them a long time to spool up so once committed to land, they could not 'pour on the coal' and engage in combat.
The book is filled with the the meat and potatoes of this series, which are after action reports and pilot reminiscences. While starting with a brief rundown on the various German jet aircraft, it then is divided into three sections. The first and largest is on US pilots. A smaller one covers the British and an even smaller one is on the Soviets. Germany used here jets mostly against bombers so they were not really all that active on the Eastern Front.
You get the usual selection of period photos, most of the pilots, as well as a section of the full color profiles that are a staple of this series. It is a great addition to the Osprey catalog and those of you who are interested in the subject will not be disappointed. Well worth picking up.
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