HISTORYWhen the ME 262 first appeared as a bomber in the skies over north-east Europe in late 1944, it represented both a new dawn in aeronautical development and a great shock to the allied air forces and armies. There was nothing that the RAF or USAAF had in the inventories that could touch it. From the autumn of 1944 bomb-carrying ME 262s conducted hit-and-run raids against RAF airfields in Belgium and Holland, often using single or formations of two aircraft, carrying SD-2 anti-personnel bombs. KG 51 was the most tactically effective ME 262 bomber force, conducting operations against targets in Belgium and Holland, as well as against enemy troop concentrations at Arnhem. As late 1944 passed into 1945, the ME 262s of GK51 proved to be a real thorn in the side of Allied ground operations. First appearing in November 1944 were a small number of ME 262A-1a/U3 reconnaissance aircraft. Although modest in number (never usually more than six aircraft), the ME 262 recce force quickly provided German commanders on the Western Front with valuable information on Allied movements and dispositions.
**Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Me 262 Bomber And Reconnaissance Units
as Number 83 in their Combat Aircraft series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, black and white and color illustrations, scale line drawings and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-749-0. As the titles states the book examines and discusses German Me 262 Bomber And Reconnaissance Units during World War Two.
- Chapter One
- ‘That Answers The Führer’s Question…’
- Chapter Two
- Kommando Schenck
- Chapter Three
- Hitting Back
- Chapter Four
- High-Speed Intelligence
- Chapter Five
- Bodenplatte To The Banks Of The Rhine
- Chapter Six
- Too Little, Too Late
- Colour Plates Commentary
The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. Robert Forsyth with Eddie J Creek cover the Me 262 Bomber and Reconnaissance Units very well and go into great detail and will be of great use and value to anyone interested in the German ME 262 and other period aircraft. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the book. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. One thing that I did notice and take note of in regards to the text is on the back cover. I realize that the back cover is not actually part of the written text but there was one thing I found to not be true and I felt that it is somewhat misleading. It states that the text is supported by at least 30 original colour artworks. There are not 30 colour artworks in this volume. There are 25 detailed colour artworks by illustrator Jim Laurier and the 1 cover illustration artist Mark Postlewaite. That totals 26 and not 30. That may be a minor thing and maybe I am being nit-picky but to me that is a false misleading statement. That was my only fault with the written portion of this volume. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 80 black and white photographs throughout the book. There is only 1 color photograph featured in this volume and it is on the back cover. As the title of the book suggests the main focus of the photographs are of the Me 262 jet aircraft. The majority of the photographs are nice, clear, focused and centered images. Several of them are up-close detailed photographs that provide a wealth of information for the aviation enthusiast and the detailed oriented scale modeler. Some of the images are a little too dark in my opinion but that is of no fault of the authors. A couple of the photographs that I found to be of particular interest are those on pages 49 and 67. These images are of the German Zeiss Rb 50/30 aircraft camera. These are a useful image to not only the aircraft enthusiast and the scale modeler but also to the aviation photography and camera enthusiast. The photographs will be of interest to the aviation and military aviation enthusiast as well as the military historian. The scale aircraft modeler will find value in the color plates as they provide a visual reference to the various aircraft color schemes and markings that were used.
There are aircraft other than the Me 262 shown and discussed. Some of these are:
- German Arado Ar 234 V5 prototype
- German Messerschmitt Me 410
- German Focke-Wulf Fw 190
- British Spitfire
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 8 pages of color aircraft illustrations by illustrator Jim Laurier which cover a total of 25 aircraft (one of these is on the back cover of the book and not with the rest) and they are very well done. The color plates commentary at the back of the book provides detailed information about each aircraft shown. The front cover art is by illustrator Mark Postlewaite.
The color illustrations are of the following aircraft:
- Me 262a-1a Wk-Nr. 170070 “white ‘12’/’E7 02’ of the Erprobungsstelle Rechlin, August 1944
- Me 262A_1a/I3 Wk-Nr. 170111 of Kommando Braunegg/Kommando Panther, Schwäbisch Hall, December 1945
- Me 262 V10 Wk-Nr. 130005/’VI=AE’ of Messerschmitt AG, Lechfeld, January-July 1944
- Me 262A-1a Wk-Nr. 130179/”black F’ of Kommando Schenck, Lechfeld, July 1944
- Me 262-1a Wk-Nr. 170063(?)/’Black D’ of Kommando Schenck, Lechfeld, July 1944
- Me 262A Wk-Nr. 130303/’White V303’ of Messerschmitt AG, Lechfeld, late 1944/early 1945
- Me 262A-2a Wk-Nr. 170096/’9K BH’ 0f 1./KG 51, Rheine, autumn 1944
- Me 262A-2a ‘9K YH’ 0f 1./KG 51, Rheine, autumn 1944
- Me 262A-2a Wk-Nr. 170064(?)/’9K BK’ of 2./KG 51, Rheine, October 1944
- Me 262A-a/U2 Wk-Nr. 110484/’White V484’ of the Erprobungsstelle, Rechlin, early 1945
- Me 262A-1a Wk-Nr. 111603 of Messerschmitt AG, Lechfeld, January 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 Wk-Nr. 500259/’White 3’ of 1.NAG 6, Eger or Lechfeld, March 1945
- Me 262A-2a Wk-Nr. 110813 of Messerschmitt AG, Memmingen and Leipheim, January 1945
- Me 262A-2a Wk-Nr. 111685/’White F’ of 1./KG 51, Hopsten, march 1945
- Me 262A-2a Wk-Nr. 110836/’Black L’ of Hauptmann Rudolf Abrahamczik, 2./KG 51, Saaz, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 Wk-Nr. 500257/’White 2’ of 1./NAG 1, Zerbst, April 1945
- Me 262A-2a Wk-Nr. 500200/’Black X’ of Leutnant Hans-Robert Fröhlich, 2./KG 51, Fassberg, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 Wk-Nr. 500098/’27’ of 1./NAG 6, Lechfeld, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 Wk-Nr. 500453/’25’ of 1./NAG 6, Lechfeld, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 ‘26’ probably of 1./NAG 6, Lechfeld, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U# Wk-Nr. 500853/’29’ probably of 1./NAG 6, Lechfeld, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 ‘30’ probably of 1./NAG 6, Lechfeld, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 Wk-Nr. 500539/’33’ probably of 1./NAG6, Lechfeld, May 1945
- Me 262A-1a/U3 ‘34’ possibly of NAG 6 or I./KG 51, München-Riem, May 1945
- Me 262B-1a Wk-Nr. 110639/’35’ possibly of 2./NAG 6, Schleswig, May 1945
There are 2 black and white illustrations in this volume. The black and white illustrations are of:
- USAAF Intelligence diagram of Me 262 tactics during daylight, darkness and at dusk
- USAFF view of the Me 262s as ‘troublesome customers’
THE SCALE LINE DRAWINGS
There are 2 scale line drawings provided in this volume. They are of:
- Me 262 – ‘Schnellbomber 1’
- Me 262 – Schnellbomber II
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
There are no maps provided in this volume.
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations well. They provide information such as the aircraft's location, variations shown, aircraft markings, pilots and key individuals and other such valuable information. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
I am very pleased with the book. This is a very nice reference book of German Me 262 Bomber and Reconnaissance Units during World War Two that contains many useful photographs and illustrations as well as detailed captions. It details the German Me 262 Bomber and Reconnaissance Units World War 2 very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.
This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
The Epic Of Flight
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Introduction by Bernard E. Trainor
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