Tuesday, August 7

Luftwaffe Im Focus Edition No. 20 Review


Luftwaffe im Focus time again! - And as we have read it cover to cover we thought we would show you one of the best quarterly pictorial periodicals on the market today. This – the 20th anniversary edition promises more colour pictures and more pages for the same price – so let’s have a look at what is in this special issue…

Written & Compiled by: Axel Urbanke
Languages: dual German / English text on each page
Pages: 57
Format: Soft cover A4 (210x297 mm)
ISBN: 978-3-941437-13-5
In this issue:
57 pages, 65 photos - 10 in colour
 Three colour profiles - one 60 cm wide (Fold-out), 3 coloured maps, 3 coloured emblems, + readers Forum
This Edition is a special “Jubiläumsedition” with extra colour pictures and special additions for the same price.


The 20th Edition of the
"Luftwaffe im Focus" series has just landed a few weeks ago -and we have the good fortune to be able to hopefully better show you what is inside. Often with a book like this that relies so much on pictures and the stories of what the pictures reveal means that we cannot show you the whole entirety of the pictures in all their glory – so please do accept our apologies in only showing you part of the images.
For those of you who are not familiar with the series, Luftwaffe Im Focus has been publicated now for ten years (Happy Birthday!) The books are put together by writer and researcher Axel Urbanke who has collected and speaks to many collectors and families of the soldiers and airmen who come forward to provide the pictures – Urbanke then collates the information and weaves an interesting explanation behind the stories, the situation, aircraft and most importantly the people involved in the situations. In this edition Urbanke is giving the people what they want - more pictures of obscure and aircraft that have the light taken from them by the fighters. In this edition you will find transports, trainers, Stukas, seaplanes, nightfighters, day fighters, interesting weapons and the occasional bomb used as a shelter (I kid you not)
The books are broken into several sections of a few pages and pictures each – usually with either the man or the machine being the focus – sometimes the emblem of the machine or a unit. There are always new things to be discovered. As the author finds out – and to his credit – there is a small section in the book for readers to either question with evidence or correct the earlier stories in his publications. I think it is of great credit to the author to include these interesting and sometimes amusing additions. This part of the book fosters community interest which is imperative to running a great series of publications people can feel involved in.

The people in the books – the flyers of the aircraft - are what make these books/magazines so good to read - in this edition for instance Urbanke relates in his story “Aircraft in Focus: Lt. Hans Hahn's Ju 88 C-4 Night Fighter” the story of a young airman who sets off on a great carrier in the Luftwaffe and becomes a successful night fighter pilot. Along the way he picks up many memories (and a barrage balloon on his aircraft) before his later demise. The machine of the pilot is not forsaken here – many close up pictures and references are included – as well as in this case a lovely large three page fold out of Hahn's Ju 88 C-4 Night Fighter.
Urbanke talks in this issue in his story “Portrait: Lt.dR Anton Korol, 3./St.G. 2 and 10 (Pz) / SG 2” of the pilot Anton Korol . Korol was the stuka pilot who survived the war amazingly with 99 tanks killed and 300 disabled and 703 missions on his score ( along with a knight’s cross) There are many pictures of the man and his 37mm equipped “Cannon bird” Stukas.
Indeed there is a large section on the aircraft markings themselves – the Wolf’s head markings are investigated in the short photo essay called “Unknown Emblem: The "Wolf's Head" Emblem of 10th (Pz) / SG 3” in which the wolf in question is seen cracking open a T-34 tank in this squadron emblem.  There are even pictures with the unit’s trucks wearing the badge!

Weapons get a good showing here in this issue – with the interesting concept - the  “Waffenbehälter WB 81” or  “watering can” pod in the “Armament: 81 A tank weapons in use on The Ju 88” section this truly lethal cannon pod weapon system is investigated . I had not seen this many pictures of the weapon system before – a devilish device that could be mounted backwards or forward for firing at an angle at the target in front of and behind a target – truly smart people working out how to kill in a devastating salvo from a Ju-88.
Also in this book are stories of a speckled Bf 109 who everyone thought was a T model but was in fact and earlier E, an improvised “Bomb position" made from inert ordinance, a story of a horrible ground collision of three JU 88s, as well as seaplanes in the Bay of Biscay on a fateful mission - and don't forget a ground collision with a Ju52, a Mercedes and a truck!
Basically I do not want to go through all of these as I would like to leave something to you to discover when you read the book – just know that this special edition is a great read and even nicer in quality of pictures than normal.

I recommend it to any modeller, armchair historian or anyone interested in the human side of the conflict.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the people at Luftfahrtverlag-Start for this excellent book