Osprey's Luftwaffe Emergency Fighters


Robert Forsythe


Osprey Publishing


$20.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-1994-9

Their next edition in their X-plane series has Osprey headed for mostly 'what if' aircraft that are favorites with the Luft '46 crowd. As the end of 1944 was nearing, the leadership in the German government put forth a proposal for an emergency fighter. The war was going badly and it was hoped it would last long enough to get some additional wonder weapons into the air. The volksjaeger project had gone fairly well and the chosen aircraft (chosen purely for favoritism instead of possible capabilities) was the He-162.

The emergency fighter program was all based on the best turbojet in the world at the time, the Heinkel Hs-011. Unfortunately, the engine was not ready for prime time, having difficulties mostly due to its advanced design and a lack of proper strategic materials. When it operated, it was great, but is simply was not reliable enough for full production. Regardless, several companies submitted proposals. That included the Blohm und Voss P212.03, the Focke-Wulf Ta-183, the Heinkel P.1078, the Junkers EF-128, Messerschmitt P. 1101, and the Henschel P.135.

None of these planes actually flew and the only one to come close was the Messerschmitt project. This as much due to it being in development prior to the request being put forward as anything. For the most part, these aircraft were somewhat unusual in their shape with the Messerschmitt and Focke Wulf aircraft being the most 'normal'.

The book covers the history of the program as well as the engine. It then is divided into separate sections, one for each of the proposals. Each section provides photos where applicable and some very nicely done illustrations of each of the types. After much debate and comparisons of data, the Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf offerings were selected for further work and prototypes were ordered. Of course, the end of the war pretty much put the kibosh on additional German development, but that is not the end of the story.

I don't want to tell the whole story, but most of you know that Bell Aircraft got its hands on the Messerschmitt aircraft and after a failed attempt to complete the aircraft, developed it into the larger X-5 research plane. Tank took his Ta-183 data with him to Argentina where the Pulqui II was built, looking very much like the 183. However, the forced move of the wings from a central fuselage to upper fuselage position instilled a weakness in the aircraft that not only caused a fatality of one of the prototypes, but also negatively affected the handling. The long development process and a coup pretty well put an end to Tank's plans.

Perhaps I'm biased, but I have found every edition of this particular series to be well worth the cover price. This one is no exception with some great photos, including several I've not seen before. It makes for not only great reading, but a book that I can quite easily recommend to you

June 2017

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