Friday, November 29

Kagero's "Units: 5" - JG 2. “Richthofen” reviewed...

Kagero’s “Units” series continues with a great subject - the unit of Jagdgeschwader 2 “Richthofen” - this grouppe had many aces and served right throughout the Second World War in several different types – so lot of choices for the three scales of decals which accompany them! Let’s look deeper in our review

Units: 5 - JG 2. “Richthofen”

Marek J. Murawski
A4 landscape softcover
32 pages
Decals in 1/72 + 1/48th & 1/32nd scales
Decals printed by Cartograf.
Available from Kagero Directly at this link
Price: €15.71

This is the fifth volume of Kagero’s new series called 'Units.' These are meant to be a short but a sweet one stop shop giving you a brief taste of the unit – it’s history and the aircraft they flew and the men who flew them.
At 32 pages of A4 Landscape with soft cover this is never going to be as big a title as even their earlier books on the same units portrayed in fact Kagero have three other titles on this unit in history. With those parameters in place I now will look at this book.

This book concerns the exploits, men and machines from the Luftwaffe’s unit JG2 - "Richthofen". Having been based on the First World War unit  Jasta 11 commanded by the famous Baron who gave the unit their name.  
This book is written in English text – and those looking for an in depth study should look elsewhere. There is a basic chronological walkthrough of the unit’s history from 1935 to it’s demise in 1945 at war’s end. The writing does not too far beyond the commanders and their men and who shot down what or was shot down by. You do however get a real sense of the temporary nature of these men’s lives in this conflict.

The when it comes to names of famous aces this unit had them in droves – Helmut Wick, Egon Mayer, Horst Hannig,  Kurt Buligen, Kurt Ubben, Hans “Assi” Hahn and Wilhelm Balthasar. Most of whom died in a fiery death. At the rear of the book are the list of commanders of both the unit and it’s stafflen C/O’s poignantly also their end of command often was the same as their deaths.
Not only the men and timeframes are examined – there are wonderful pictures of the aircraft of the unit. Starting in 1935 with the biplane Arado AR 95’s and Heinkel He-51’s before the unit adopted Bf-109’s (“D” model thru “F’s”) then onto the early short nosed Wurger Fw-190’s and later the long nose D-9 variant. The aircraft in these pictures are varied and the pictures of a good quality. Don’t look for unpublished pictures here as most were used in other titles.
A highlight of these books and something NOT in other books are the excellently drawn and painted colour profiles of four different fighters from various periods and pilots of “Richthofen” They are:

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4; W.No. 5159, 'White 9', flown by Oblt. Hermann Reifferscheidt, commander 1./JG 2, airport Beaumont-le-Roger, France, October 1940
Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 / B, 'Yellow 3', flown by Uffz. Richard Übelbacher of 6 (Jabo). / JG 2, airport-Drucat Abbeville, France, summer 1941
Focke-Wulf  Fw-190 A-2; W.No. 0120 333, 'White 8', flown by Lt.. Jakob Augustin 7./JG 2, airport Théville, France, the beginning of June 1942,
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D-9; W.No. 400 271, 'Black 4' of 10./JG 2, airport Großostheim, Germany, spring 1945.
These profiles – drawn by Arkadiusz Wrobel are all great inspirations for model makers – now only if someone did the decals to match….
….Well yes they do! Kagero have decals for each of these four machines in 1/72, 1/48th and 1/32nd scales printed by Cartograf of Italy, the leaders in the decal printing market.
Not only good choices but the decals have very little carrier film which I like a lot and the colours are strong. The artwork is sharp and the helpful hints of the specifics of the markings of each aircraft in the text accompanying the profiles only helps this books cause.

This book is not an exhausting historical tome, it isn’t that deep – but it IS a good educational book that isn’t long enough to become dull. It shows off the majority of high and ultimately low points of the unit with some great supporting pictorial and historical text as evidence to what happened.

The decals and the profiles are the jewel of this book – and for the light on price it is comparable to a decal sheet in just the larger scale.

All in all good value – and a decent addition to Kagero’s “units” series. These would look great in a binder at the end of the series.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Kagero for sending this to review.